SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 2 CHAPTER 7

THE SECOND BOOK

Chapter VII

On showing the departed ones

Sūta said: -

The chaste Draupadi was the common wife of all the five very beautiful sons of Kunti; and she bore five sons, one to every husband.

Arjuna had one wife more; she was Subhadrā, the sister of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

By the order of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna stole her away (took her by force).

The great hero Abhimanyu was born of Subhadrā. This Abhimanyu and the five sons of Draupadi were killed in battle.

Abhimanyu's wife Uttarā was the charming daughter of the king Virāt. She gave birth to one dead child, after all the boys, the descendants of the family were extinct. The above child died out of the arrows of Aśvatthāmā. The extraordinarily powerful Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself made alive again this his sister's dead grandson.

As this son was born after the family had become extinct, he became known in the world by the name of Parīksit.

When the sons were all destroyed, Dhritarāṣtra became very sorry, and, tormented by the arrow-like words of Bhīma, remained in the kingdom of the Pāṇḍavas.

Gāndhāri, too, exceedingly distressed on the bereavement of the sons, remained there also.

Yudhisṭhīra, day and night, served Dhritarāṣtra and Gāndhāri. The greatly religious Vidura always used to console, by the advice of Yudhisṭhīra, his brother Dhritarāṣtra, who possessed the eye of wisdom and he remained by his brother's side.

Dharma's son Yudhisṭhīra used to serve his uncle Dhritarāṣtra in such a way as he might forget the pain of the death of his sons.

But Bhīma used to pierce his heart by his arrow-like words that he pronounced so loud as to reach the ears of the old king Dhritarāṣtra. Bhīma used to-say: -

“In the battle field I killed all the sons, of the wicked blind king (Dhritarāṣtra) and it was I that sucked well and drunk, full to the brim, the blood of the heart of Duhśāsana. Now this blind king eats shamelessly like a crow and a dog, the mass of food (Piṇḍa) given by me, and thus is bearing uselessly the burden of life.

Daily Bhīma used to tell, thus, harsh words to him; whereas the religious Yudhisṭhīra used to console him, saying:

“Bhīma is a quite illiterate brute” and so forth.

The king Dhritarāṣtra remained there with a grieved heart for eighteen years; the one day he proposed to the Dharma's son Yudhisṭhīra about his intention to dwell in forest thus: -

“Today I wish to perform Tarpaṇas in the names my sons. True it is, that Bhīma performed the funeral obsequies of them all; but, having in view of the former enmity, he did not do anything for my sons. If you give me some money, I will, then, perform the funeral obsequies of my sons and then retire to the forest to perform tapasyā that I can go to Heaven.”

Vidura also asked Yudhisṭhīra privately pay to Dhritarāṣtra the sum that he wanted; Yudhisṭhīra also intended to pay the required money. Then Yudhisṭhīra, the lord of the world called his younger brothers and addressed them as follows: -

“O highly fortunate ones! Our revered uncle is desirous to perform the funeral obsequies of his sons; so we will have to give him some money for the purpose.”

Hearing these words of his elder brother of indomitable valour, Pavana's son, the mighty armed Bhīma became very angry and spoke out follows:

“O highly lucky one! Is it that we will have to give wealth for the spiritual benefit of Duryodhana and others? What a great stupidity can there be than the fact that such a malevolent blind king is deriving so great happiness at your hands?

O Ārya! It is by your bad counsel that we suffered endless troubles in the forest and the extremely good Draupadi was brought before the public in the hall by Duhśāsana.

O one of good vows! It is for your satisfaction alone that we, though we were very mighty, had to remain in the house of Matsya Rāj Virāt as servants.

Had you not been our elder brother and not been addicted to the gambling, would it have been possible I, who killed Jarāsandha, would have been a cook to Virāt Rāj!

Never had we been put to so great a trouble! Never would the mighty armed Arjuna, the Vāsava's son, have acted the part of an actress (a dancer), dressing himself in a female garb, under the name Vrihannalā.

Alas! What more painful could there be by assuming a human birth that the hands of Arjuna, that wielded always the Gāndīva bow, would have worn bracelets befitting a woman?

I would have been happy then had I, seeing the braid of hair on Arjuna's head and the collyrium in his eyes, cut off the head of Dhritarāṣtra!

O Lord of the earth! Without asking you, I set fire on the house, named Jatugriha (a lac- house, as built by Duryodhana in order to burn up the Pāṇḍavas) and therefore the vicious Virochana, who wanted to burn us, was himself burnt up.

Again, O Lord of men! Similarly, without asking you, I slew Kichaka; this is now the one thing I regret that I could not have killed in the same way the sons of Dhritarāṣtra before the public hall.

O king of kings! It was simply your stupidity that you liberated Duryodhana and other sons, the great enemies of the Gandharvas, when they had been imprisoned by them.

Again today you are willing to give wealth for the spiritual benefit of those Duryodhana and others! But, O Lord of the earth, I would never give wealth, even if you request me specially to do this.

Thus saying, Bhīma went away.

Dharma's son Yudhisṭhīra then consulted with the other three brothers and gave abundance of wealth to Dhritarāṣtra. With this sum, the Ambikā's son Dhritarāṣtra duly performed the Śrādh ceremony of his sons and gave away lots of things to the Brāhmaṇas.

The king Dhritarāṣtra, thus performing all the funeral obsequies, became ready to go early to the forest with Gāndhāri, Kunti and Vidura.

By the help of Sanjaya, the highly intelligent Dhritarāṣtra became informed of the roads of the forest, and then went out of the house. Sūrasena's daughter Kunti, though stopped by her sons, followed them.

Bhīma and other Kaurāvas went along with them weeping up to the banks of the Ganges and thence returned to Hastināpura.

The ascetics went to the auspicious Śatayūpa hermitage on the banks of the Ganges and building a hut practised tapasyā with their hearts concentrated. Thus six years elapsed when Yudhisṭhīra, troubled by their bereavements, said to his younger brothers:

“I dreamt that our mother Kunti got very lean and thin. Now my mind wants bitterly to see mother, uncle, aunt, the high souled Vidura and the highly intelligent Sanjaya. If you approve, I want to go to there.”

Then the five brothers, Pānḍu's sons, became desirous to see Kunti, and taking with them Draupadi, Subhadrā, Uttarā, and other persons went to the Śatayūpa hermitage and saw the persons there;

but not seeing Vidura, Yudhisṭhīra asked:

“Where is Vidura?”

Hearing this Dhritarāṣtra said:

“Vidura has taken up Vairāgyam (dispassion) and has gone alone to a solitary place and is meditating in his heart the eternal Brahmā.”

Next day while the king Yudhisṭhīra was walking along the banks of the Ganges, he saw in the forest Vidura, engaged in his vow and become lean and thin by his tapasyā; he then exclaimed:

“I am the king Yudhisṭhīra; I am saluting you.”

The holy Vidura heard and remained motionless like a log of wood. Within an instant a wonderful halo came out of Vidura's face and entered the mouth of Yudhisṭhīra, both of them being Dharma's parts.

Vidura then died; Yudhisṭhīra expressed great sorrow.

When the Vidura's body was going to be set on fire, a celestial voice was heard:-

“O king! He was very wise; so he ought not to be burnt; you can go away as you like.”

Hearing this, Yudhisṭhīra bathed in the pure Ganges and returned to the Āśrama and informed everything in detail to Dhritarāṣtra.

While the Pāṇḍavas were staying in the hermitage with the other inhabitants of the city, Veda Vyāsa, Nārada, and other high-souled Munis came there to Yudhisṭhīra. Kunti then spoke to the auspicious Vyāsa:

“O Kṛṣṇa! I saw my son Karna, only just when he was born; my mind is being very much tormented for him; so, O great ascetic! Show him once to me. O highly fortunate One! You alone can do this; so O Lord! Satisfy my heart’s desire.”

Gāndhāri said:

“O Muni! I did not see while Duryodhana went to battle; so, O Muni! Show me Duryodhana with his younger brothers.”

Subhadrā said:

“O Omniscient one! I want very much to see the great hero Abhimanyu, dearer to me than my life even; O great ascetic! Show him once to me.” (33-57.)

Sūta said:

Satyavatī's son Vyāsa Deva, hearing their words, held Pranayama (deep breathing exercise) and meditated on the eternal Devī, the force of Brahmā.

When the evening time came, the Muni invited Yudhisṭhīra and all others to the banks of the Ganges. He then bathed in the Ganges and began to chant hymns in praise of the Devī Brahmāmayi Prakriti, resting on the Puruṣa, the Dweller in the Mani Dvīpa, with attributes, at the same time transcending them, thus:

“O Devī! When Brahmā was not, Viṣṇu was not, Mahēśvara was not, nor when existed Indra, Varuna, Kubera, Yama, and Agni, Thou alone existed then; my salutation to Thee.

When there existed not water, Vāyu, ether, earth and their Guṇas, taste, smell, etc., when there were no senses, mind, Buddhi, Ahaṁkāra; when there existed no Sun, Moon nor anything, Thou alone existed then;

so, O Devī! I bow down again and again to Thee. O Mother! Thou holdest all these visible Jīva lokas in the cosmic Hiraṇyagarbha; again Thou bringest this Hiraṇyagarbha, the sum-total of Linga Śarīras (the subtle bodies), with the Guṇas Sattva, Rājas and Tamas to a state of equilibrium named Sāmyāvasthā and remainest quite independent and apart for a Kalpa period.

At that time even those that are possessed of the power of great discrimination and dispassion cannot fathom Thy nature.

O Mother! These persons are praying to me to see their dead ones; but I am quite incapable to do that. So kindly show them their departed ones early.”

While Vyāsa praised thus the Devī, the Devī Mahāmāyā, the Lady of the Universe, of the nature of Universal Consciousness called all the departed ones from the Heavens and showed them to their relatives.

Then Kunti, Gāndhāri, Subhadrā, Uttarā, and the Pāṇḍavas became very glad to see their relatives come to them again. Vyāsa, of indomitable valour, again remembering Mahāmāyā, bade good bye to the departed ones; it seemed then, a great magic had occurred. The Pāṇḍavas and the Munis bade good bye to each other and went to their respective places. The king Yudhisṭhīra talked on the way about Vyāsa and ultimately came to Hastinā. (58-68.)

Thus ends the seventh chapter of the Second Skandha on showing the departed ones in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses.