Khandavaprastha

Vaisampayana said, “The news was carried unto all the monarchs by their trusted spies that the handsome Draupadi had been united in marriage with the sons of Pandu. And they were also informed that the illustrious hero who had bent the bow and shot the mark was none else than Arjuna, that foremost of victorious warriors and first of all wielders of the bow and arrows. And it became known that the mighty warrior who had dashed Salya, the king of Madra, on the ground, and who in wrath had terrified the assembled monarchs by means of the tree (he had uprooted), and who had taken his stand before all foes in perfect fearlessness, was none else than Bhima, that feller of hostile ranks, whose touch alone was sufficient to take the lives out of all foes. The monarchs, upon being informed that the Pandavas had assumed the guise of peaceful Brahmanas, wondered much. They even heard that Kunti with all her sons had been burnt to death in the conflagration of the house of lac. They, therefore, now regarded the Pandavas in the light of persons who had come back from the region of the dead. And recollecting the cruel scheme contrived by Purochana, they began to say, ‘O, fie on Bhishma, fie on Dhritarashtra of the Kuru race!’ All the monarchs (who had come thither), hearing that Draupadi had been united with the Pandavas, set out for their own dominions. And Duryodhana, hearing that Draupadi had selected the owner of white steeds (Arjuna) as her lord, became greatly depressed. Accompanied by his brothers, Aswatthaman, his uncle (Sakuni), Karna and Kripa the prince set out with a heavy heart for his capital. Then Duhsasana, blushing with shame, addressed his brother softly and said, ‘If Arjuna had not disguised himself as a Brahmana, he could never have succeeded in obtaining Draupadi. It was for this disguise, O king, that no one could recognise him as Dhananjaya. Fate, I ween, is ever supreme. Exertion is fruitless; fie on our exertions, O brother! The Pandavas are still alive!’ Speaking unto one another thus and blaming Purochana (for his carelessness), they then entered the city of Hastinapura, with cheerless and sorrowful hearts. Beholding the mighty sons of Pritha, escaped from the burning house of lac and allied with Drupada, and thinking of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandin and the other sons of Drupada all accomplished in fight, they were struck with fear and overcome with despair. Then Vidura, having learnt that Draupadi had been won by the Pandavas and that the sons of Dhritarashtra had come back (to Hastinapura) in shame, their pride humiliated, became filled with joy. And, O king, approaching Dhritarashtra, Kshattri said, ‘The Kurus are prospering by good luck!’ Hearing those words of Vidura, the son of Vichitravirya, wondering, said in great glee, ‘What good luck, O Vidura! What good luck!’ From ignorance, the blind monarch understood that his eldest son Duryodhana had been chosen by Drupada’s daughter as her lord. And the king immediately ordered various ornaments to be made for Draupadi. And he commanded that both Draupadi and his son Duryodhana should be brought with pomp to Hastinapura. It was then that Vidura told the monarch that Draupadi had chosen the Pandavas for her lords, and that those heroes were all alive and at peace, and that they had been received with great respect by king Drupada. And he also informed Dhritarashtra that the Pandavas had been united with the many relatives and friends of Drupada, each owning large armies, and with many others who had come to that self-choice.”

“Hearing these words of Vidura, Dhritarashtra said, ‘Those children are to me as dear as they were to Pandu. Nay, more. O listen to me why my affection for them now is even greater! The heroic sons of Pandu are well and at ease. They have obtained many friends. Their relatives, and others whom they have gained as allies, are all endued with great strength. Who amongst monarchs in prosperity or adversity would not like to have Drupada with his relatives as an ally?’ Having heard these words of the monarch, Vidura said, ‘O king, let thy understanding remain so without change for a hundred years!’ Having said this Vidura returned to his own abode. Then, there came unto Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana and the son of Radha, Karna. Addressing the monarch, they said, ‘We cannot, O king, speak of any transgression in the presence of Vidura! We have now found thee alone, and will, therefore, say all we like! What is this that thou hast, O monarch, desired to do? Dost thou regard the prosperity of thy foes as if it were thy own, that thou hast been applauding the Pandavas, O foremost of men, in the presence of Vidura? O sinless one, thou actest not, O king, in the way thou shouldst! O father, we should now act every day in such a way as to weaken (the strength of) the Pandavas. The time hath come, O father, for us to take counsel together, so that the Pandavas may not swallow us all with our children and friends and relatives.’ Dhritarashtra replied saying, I desire to do exactly what you would recommend. But I do not wish to inform Vidura of it even by a change of muscle. It was, therefore, O son, that I was applauding the Pandavas in Vidura’s presence, so that he might not know even by a sign what is in my mind. Now that Vidura hath gone away, this is the time, O Suyodhana (Duryodhana), for telling me what thou hast hit upon, and what, O Radheya (Karna), thou too hast hit upon.’ Duryodhana said. ‘Let us, O father, by means of trusted and skilful and adroit Brahmanas, seek to produce dissensions between the sons of Kunti and Madri. Or, let king Drupada and his sons, and all his ministers of state, be plied with presents of large wealth, so that they may abandon the cause of Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti. Or, let our spies induce the Pandavas to settle in Drupada’s dominions, by describing to them, separately, the inconvenience of residing in Hastinapura, so that, separated from as, they may permanently settle in Panchala. Or, let some clever spies, full of resources, sowing the seeds of dissension among the Pandavas, make them jealous of one another. Or, let them incite Krishna against her husbands. She has many lords and this will not present any difficulty. Or, let some seek to make the Pandavas themselves dissatisfied with Krishna, in which case Krishna also will be dissatisfied with them. Or, let, O king, some clever spies, repairing thither, secretly compass the death of Bhimasena. Bhima is the strongest of them all. Relying upon Bhima alone, the Pandavas used to disregard us, of old. Bhima is fierce and brave and the (sole) refuge of the Pandavas. If he be slain, the others will be deprived of strength and energy. Deprived of Bhima who is their sole refuge, they will no longer strive to regain their kingdom. Arjuna, O king, is invincible in battle, if Bhima protecteth him from behind. Without Bhima, Arjuna is not equal to even a fourth part of Radheya. Indeed, O king, the Pandavas conscious of their own feebleness without Bhima and of our strength would not really strive to recover the kingdom. Or, if, O monarch, coming hither, they prove docile and obedient to us, we would then seek to repress them according to the dictates of political science (as explained by Kanika). Or, we may tempt them by means of handsome girls, upon which the princess of Panchala will get annoyed with them. Or, O Radheya, let messengers be despatched to bring them hither, so that, when arrived, we may through trusted agents, by some of the above methods, cause them to be slain. Strive, O father, to employ any of these (various) methods that may appear to thee faultless. Time passeth. Before their confidence in king Drupada–that bull amongst kings–is established we may succeed, O monarch, to encounter them. But after their confidence hath been established in Drupada, we are sure to fail. These, O father, are my views for the discomfiture of the Pandavas. Judge whether they be good or bad. What, O Karna, dost thou think?'”

“Thus addressed by Duryodhana, Karna said, ‘It doth not seem to me, O Duryodhana, that thy reasoning is well-founded. O perpetuator of the Kuru race, no method will succeed against the Pandavas. O brave prince, thou hast before, by various subtle means, striven to carry out thy wishes. But ever hast thou failed to slay thy foes. They were then living near thee, O king! They were then unfledged and of tender years, but thou couldst not injure them then. They are now living at a distance, grown up, full-fledged. The sons of Kunti, O thou of firm resolution, cannot now be injured by any subtle contrivances of thine. This is my opinion. As they are aided by the very Fates, and as they are desirous of regaining their ancestral kingdom, we can never succeed in injuring them by any means in our power. It is impossible to create disunion amongst them. They can never be disunited who have all taken to a common wife. Nor can we succeed in estranging Krishna from the Pandavas by any spies of ours. She chose them as her lords when they were in adversity. Will she abandon them now that they are in prosperity? Besides women always like to have many husbands, Krishna hath obtained her wish. She can never be estranged from the Pandavas. The king of Panchala is honest and virtuous; he is not avaricious. Even if we offer him our whole kingdom he will not abandon the Pandavas. Drupada’s son also possesseth every accomplishment, and is attached to the Pandavas. Therefore, I do not think that the Pandavas can now be injured by any subtle means in thy power. But, O bull amongst men, this is what is good and advisable for us now, viz., to attack and smite them till they are exterminated. Let this course recommend itself to thee. As long as our party is strong and that of the king of the Panchalas is weak, so long strike them without any scruple. O son of Gandhari, as long as their innumerable vehicles and animals, friends, and friendly tribes are not mustered together, continue, O king, to exhibit thy prowess. As long as the king of the Panchalas together with his sons gifted with great prowess, setteth not his heart upon fighting with us, so long, O king, exhibit thy prowess. And, O king, exert thy prowess before he of the Vrishni race (Krishna) cometh with the Yadava host into the city of Drupada, carrying everything before him, to restore the Pandavas to their paternal kingdom. Wealth, every article of enjoyment, kingdom, there is nothing that Krishna may not sacrifice for the sake of the Pandavas. The illustrious Bharata had acquired the whole earth by his prowess alone. Indra hath acquired sovereignty of the three worlds by prowess alone. O king, prowess is always applauded by the Kshatriyas. O bull amongst Kshatriyas, prowess is the cardinal virtue of the brave. Let us, therefore, O monarch, with our large army consisting of four kinds of forces, grind Drupada without loss of time, and bring hither the Pandavas. Indeed, the Pandavas are incapable of being discomfited by any policy of conciliation, of gift, of wealth and bribery, or of disunion. Vanquish them, therefore, by thy prowess. And vanquishing them by thy prowess, rule thou this wide earth. O monarch, I see not any other means by which we may accomplish our end.’ Hearing these words of Radheya, Dhritarashtra, endued with great strength, applauded him highly. The monarch then addressed him and said, ‘Thou, O son of a Suta, art gifted with great wisdom and accomplished in arms. This speech, therefore, favouring the exhibition of prowess suiteth thee well. But let Bhishma, and Drona, and Vidura, and you two, take counsel together and adopt that proposal which may lead to our benefit.’ Then king Dhritarashtra called unto him, all those celebrated ministers and took counsel with them.”

“Asked by Dhritarashtra to give his opinion, Bhishma replied, ‘O Dhritarashtra, a quarrel with the Pandavas is what I can never approve of. As thou art to me, so was Pandu without doubt. And the sons of Gandhari are to me, as those of Kunti. I should protect them as well as I should thy sons, O Dhritarashtra! And, O king, the Pandavas are as much near to me as they are to prince Duryodhana or to all the other Kurus. Under these circumstances a quarrel with them is what I never like. Concluding a treaty with those heroes, let half the land be given unto them. This is without doubt, the paternal kingdom of those foremost ones of the Kuru race. And, O Duryodhana, like thee who lookest upon this kingdom as thy paternal property, the Pandavas also look upon it as their paternal possession. If the renowned sons of Pandu obtain not the kingdom, how can it be thine, or that of any other descendant of the Bharata race? If thou regardest thyself as one that hath lawfully come into the possession of the kingdom, I think they also may be regarded to have lawfully come into the possession of this kingdom before thee. Give them half the kingdom quietly. This, O tiger among men, is beneficial to all. If thou actest otherwise, evil will befall us all. Thou too shall be covered with dishonour. O Duryodhana, strive to maintain thy good name. A good name is, indeed, the source of one’s strength. It hath been said that one liveth in vain whose reputation hath gone. A man, O Kaurava, doth not die so long as his fame lasteth. One liveth as long as one’s fame endureth, and dieth when one’s fame is gone. Follow thou, O son of Gandhari, the practice that is worthy of the Kuru race. O thou of mighty arms, imitate thy own ancestors. We are fortunate that the Pandavas have not perished. We are fortunate that Kunti liveth. We are fortunate that the wretch Purochana without being able to accomplish his purpose hath himself perished. From that time when I heard that the sons of Kuntibhoja’s daughter had been burnt to death, I was, O son of Gandhari, ill able to meet any living creature. O tiger among men, hearing of the fate that overtook Kunti, the world doth not regard Purochana so guilty as it regardeth thee. O king, the escape, therefore, of the sons of Pandu with life from that conflagration and their re-appearance, do away with thy evil repute. Know, O thou of Kuru’s race, that as long as those heroes live, the wielder of the thunder himself cannot deprive them of their ancestral share in the kingdom. The Pandavas are virtuous and united. They are being wrongly kept out of their equal share in the kingdom. If thou shouldst act rightly, if thou shouldst do what is agreeable to me, if thou shouldst seek the welfare of all, then give half the kingdom unto them.'”

“After Bhishma had concluded, Drona spoke, saying, ‘O king Dhritarashtra, it hath been heard by us that friends summoned for consultation should always speak what is right, true, and conductive to fame. O sire, I am of the same mind in this matter with the illustrious Bhishma. Let a share of the kingdom be given unto the Pandavas. This is eternal virtue. Send, O Bharata, unto Drupada without loss of time some messenger of agreeable speech, carrying with him a large treasure for the Pandavas. And let the man go unto Drupada carrying costly presents for both the bridegrooms and the bride, and let him speak unto that monarch of thy increase of power and dignity arising from this new alliance with him. And, O monarch, let the man know also that both thyself and Duryodhana have become exceedingly glad in consequence of what hath happened. Let him say this repeatedly unto Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna. And let him speak also about the alliance as having been exceedingly proper, and agreeable unto thee, and of thyself being worthy of it. And let the man repeatedly propitiate the sons of Kunti and those of Madri (in proper words). And at thy command, O king, let plenty of ornaments of pure gold be given unto Draupadi. And let, O bull of Bharata’s race, proper presents be given unto all the sons of Drupada. Let the messenger then propose the return of the Pandavas to Hastinapura. After the heroes will have been permitted (by Drupada), to come hither, let Duhsasana and Vikarna go out with a handsome train to receive them. And when they will have arrived at Hastinapura, let those foremost of men be received with affection by thee. And let them then be installed on their paternal throne, agreeably to the wishes of the people of the realm. This, O monarch of Bharata’s race, is what I think should be thy behaviour towards the Pandavas who are to thee even as thy own sons.’ After Drona had ceased, Karna spake again, ‘Both Bhishma and Drona have been pampered with wealth that is thine and favours conferred by thee! They are also always regarded by thee as thy trusted friends! What can therefore be more amusing than that they both should give thee advice which is not for thy good? How can the wise approve that advice which is pronounced good by a person speaking with wicked intent but taking care to conceal the wickedness of his heart? Indeed, in a season of distress, friends can neither benefit nor injure. Every one’s happiness or the reverse dependeth on destiny. He that is wise and he that is foolish, he that is young (in years) and he that is old, he that hath allies and he that hath none, all become, it is seen everywhere, happy or unhappy at times. It hath been heard by us that there was, of old, a king by name Amvuvicha. Having his capital at Rajagriha, he was the king of all the Magadha chiefs. He never attended to his affairs. All his exertion consisted in inhaling the air. All his affairs were in the hands of his minister. And his minister, named Mahakarni, became the supreme authority in the state. Regarding himself all powerful, he began to disregard the king. And the wretch himself appropriated everything belonging unto the king, his queens and treasures and sovereignty. But the possession of all these, instead of satisfying his avarice, only served to inflame him the more. Having appropriated everything belonging to the king, he even coveted the throne. But it hath been heard by us that with all his best endeavours he succeeded not in acquiring the kingdom of the monarch, his master, even though the latter was inattentive to business and content with only breathing the air. What else can be said, O king, than that monarch’s sovereignty was dependent on destiny? If, therefore, O king, this kingdom be established in thee by destiny, it will certainly continue in thee, even if the whole world were to become thy enemy! If, however, destiny hath ordained otherwise, howsoever mayest thou strive, it will not last in thee! O learned one, remembering all this, judge of the honesty or otherwise of thy advisers. Ascertain also who amongst them are wicked and who have spoken wisely and well.’ Hearing these words of Karna, Drona replied, ‘As thou art wicked it is evident thou sayest so in consequence of the wickedness of thy intent. It is for injuring the Pandavas that thou findest fault with us. But know, O Karna, what I have said is for the good of all and the prosperity of the Kuru race. If thou regardest all this as productive of evil, declare thyself what is for our good. If the good advice I have given be not followed, I think the Kurus will be exterminated in no time.'”

“After Drona had ceased, Vidura spoke, saying, ‘O monarch, thy friends without doubt, are saying unto thee what is for thy good. But as thou art unwilling to listen to what they say, their words scarcely find a place in thy ears. What that foremost one of Kuru’s race, viz., Bhishma, the son of Santanu, hath said, is excellent and is for thy good. But thou dost not listen to it. The preceptor Drona also hath said much that is for thy good which however Karna, the son of Radha, doth not regard to be such. But, O king, reflecting hard I do not find any one who is better a friend to thee than either of these two lions among men (viz., Bhishma and Drona), or any one who excels either of them in wisdom. These two, old in years, in wisdom, and in learning, always regard thee, O king, and the sons of Pandu with equal eyes. Without doubt, O king of Bharata’s race, they are both, in virtue and truthfulness, not inferior to Rama, the son of Dasaratha, and Gaya. Never before did they give thee any evil advice. Thou also, O monarch, hast never done them any injury. Why should, therefore, these tigers among men, who are ever truthful, give thee wicked advice, especially when thou hast never injured them? Endued with wisdom these foremost of men, O king, will never give thee counsels that are crooked. O scion of Kuru’s rate, this is my firm conviction that these two, acquainted with all rules of morality, will never, tempted by wealth, utter anything betraying a spirit of partisanship. What they have said, O Bharata, I regard highly beneficial to thee. Without doubt, O monarch, the Pandavas are thy sons as much as Duryodhana and others are. Those ministers, therefore, that give thee any counsel fraught with evil unto the Pandavas, do not really look to thy interests. If there is any partiality in thy heart, O king, for thy own children, they who by their counsel seek to bring it out, certainly do thee no good. Therefore, O king, these illustrious persons endued with great splendour, have not I think, said anything that leadeth to evil. Thou, however, dost not understand it. What these bulls among men have said regarding the invincibility of the Pandavas is perfectly true. Think not otherwise of it, O tiger among men. Blest be thou! Can the handsome Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, using the right and the left hand with equal activity, be vanquished in battle even by Maghavat himself? Can the great Bhimasena of strong arms possessing the might of ten thousand elephants, be vanquished in battle by the immortals themselves? Who also that desireth to live can overcome in battle the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) like unto the sons of Yama himself, and well-skilled in fight? How too can the eldest one of the Pandavas in whom patience, mercy, forgiveness, truth, and prowess always live together, be vanquished? They who have Rama (Valadeva) as their ally, and Janardana (Krishna) as their counsellor, and Satyaki as their partisan, have already defeated everybody in war. They who have Drupada for their father-in-law, and Drupada’s sons–the heroic brothers, viz., Dhristadyumna and others of Prishata’s race for their brothers-in-law, are certainly invincible. Remembering this, O monarch, and knowing that their claim to the kingdom is even prior to thine, behave virtuously towards them. The stain of calumny is on thee, O monarch, in consequence of that act of Purochana. Wash thyself of it now, by a kindly behaviour towards the Pandavas. This kindly behaviour of thine, O monarch, towards the Pandavas will be an act of great benefit to us, protecting the lives of us all that belong to Kuru’s race, and leading to the growth of the whole Kshatriya order! We had formerly warred with king Drupada; if we can now secure him as an ally, it will strengthen our party. The Dasarhas, O king, are numerous and strong. Know where Krishna is, all of them must be, and where Krishna is, there victory also must be! O king, who, unless cursed by the gods, would seek, to effect that by means of war which can be effected by conciliation? Hearing that the sons of Pritha are alive, the citizens and other subjects of the realm have become exceedingly glad and eager for beholding them. O monarch, act in a way that is agreeable to them. Duryodhana and Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, are sinful, foolish and young; listen not to them. Possessed of every virtue thou art I long ago told thee, O monarch that for Duryodhana’s fault, the subjects of this kingdom would be exterminated.'”

“Hearing these various speeches, Dhritarashtra said, ‘The learned Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and the illustrious Rishi Drona, and thyself also (O Vidura), have said the truth and what also is most beneficial to me. Indeed, as those mighty car-warriors, the heroic sons of Kunti. are the children of Pandu, so are they, without doubt, my children according to the ordinance. And as my sons are entitled to this kingdom, so are the sons of Pandu certainly entitled to it. Therefore, hasten to bring hither the Pandavas along with their mother, treating them with affectionate consideration. O thou of Bharata’s race, bring also Krishna of celestial beauty along with them. From sheer good fortune the sons of Pritha are alive; and from good fortune alone those mighty car-warriors have obtained the daughter of Drupada. It is from good fortune alone that our strength hath increased, and it is from good fortune alone that Purochana hath perished. O thou of great splendour, it is from good fortune that my great grief hath been killed!’ Then Vidura, at the command of Dhritarashtra, repaired unto Yajnasena and the Pandavas. And he repaired thither carrying with him numerous jewels and various kinds of wealth for Draupadi and the Pandavas and Yajnasena also. Arrived at Drupada’s abode, Vidura conversant with every rule of morality and deep in every science, properly accosted the monarch and waited upon him. Drupada received Vidura in proper form and they both enquired after each other’s welfare. Vidura then saw there the Pandavas and Vasudeva. As soon as he saw them he embraced them from affection and enquired after their well being. The Pandavas also along with Vasudeva, in due order, worshipped Vidura of immeasurable intelligence. But Vidura, in the name of Dhritarashtra repeatedly enquired with great affection after their welfare. He then gave unto the Pandavas and Kunti and Draupadi, and unto Drupada and Drupada’s sons, the gems and various kinds of wealth that the Kauravas had sent through him. Possessed of immeasurable intelligence, the modest Vidura then, in the presence of the Pandavas and Keshava, addressed the well-behaved Drupada thus: ‘With thy ministers and sons, O monarch, listen to what I say. King Dhritarashtra, with ministers, sons, and friends, hath with a joyous heart, O king, repeatedly enquired after thy welfare. And, O monarch, he hath been highly pleased with this alliance with thee. So also, O king, Bhishma of great wisdom, the son of Santanu, with all the Kurus, enquired after thy welfare in every respect. Drona also of great wisdom the son of Bharadwaja and thy dear friend, embracing thee mentally, enquired of thy happiness. And, O king of Panchalas, Dhritarashtra and all the Kurus, in consequence of this alliance with thee regard themselves supremely blest. O Yajnasena, the establishment of this alliance with thee hath made them happier than if they had acquired a new kingdom. Knowing all this, O monarch, permit the Pandavas to re-visit their ancestral kingdom. The Kurus are exceedingly eager to behold the sons of Pandu. These bulls among men have been long absent (from their kingdom). They as well as Pritha must be very eager to behold their city. And all the Kuru ladies and the citizens and our subjects are eagerly waiting to behold Krishna, the Panchala Princess. This, therefore, is my opinion, O monarch, that thou shouldst, without delay, permit the Pandavas to go thither with their wife. And after the illustrious Pandavas, O king, will have received thy permission to go thither, I shall send information unto Dhritarashtra by quick messengers. Then, O king, will the Pandavas set out with Kunti and Krishna.'”

“Agreeing to what Dhritarashtra said, those bulls among men, worshipping the king set out from Hastinapura. And content with half the kingdom, they removed to Khandavaprastha, which was in unreclaimed desert. Then those heroes of unfading splendour, viz., the Pandavas, with Krishna at their head, arriving there, beautified the place and made it a second heaven. And those mighty car-warriors, selecting with Dwaipayana’s assistance a sacred and auspicious region, performed certain propitiatory ceremonies and measured out a piece of land for their city. Then surrounded by a trench wide as the sea and by walls reaching high up to the heavens and white as the fleecy clouds or the rays of the moon, that foremost of cities looked resplendent like Bhogavati (the capital of the nether kingdom) decked with the Nagas. And it stood adorned with palatial mansions and numerous gates, each furnished with a couple of panels resembling the out-stretched wings of Garuda. And it was protected with gateways looking like the clouds and high as the Mandara mountains. And well-furnished with numerous weapons of attack the missiles of the foes could not make slightest impression on them. And they were almost covered with darts and other missiles like double-tongued snakes. The turrets along the walls were filled with armed men in course of training; and the walls were lined with numerous warriors along their whole length. And there were thousands of sharp hooks and Sataghnis (machines slaying a century of warriors) and numerous other machines on the battlements. There were also large iron wheels planted on them. And with all these was that foremost of cities adorned. The streets were all wide and laid out excellently; and there was no fear in them of accident. And decked with innumerable mansions, the city became like unto Amaravati and came to be called Indraprastha (like unto Indra’s city). In a delightful and auspicious part of the city rose the palace of the Pandavas filled with every kind of wealth and like unto the mansion of the celestial treasurer (Kuvera) himself. And it looked like a mass of clouds charged with lightning. When the city was built, there came, O king, numerous Brahmanas well-acquainted with all the Vedas and conversant with every language, wishing to dwell there. And there came also unto that town numerous merchants from every direction, in the hope of earning wealth. There also came numerous persons well-skilled in all the arts, wishing to take up their abode there. And around the city were laid out many delightful gardens adorned with numerous trees bearing both fruits and flowers. There were Amras (mango trees) and Amaratakas, and Kadamvas and Asokas, and Champakas; and Punnagas and Nagas and Lakuchas and Panasas; and Salas and Talas (palm trees) and Tamalas and Vakulas, and Ketakas with their fragrant loads; beautiful and blossoming and grand Amalakas with branches bent down with the weight of fruits and Lodhras and blossoming Ankolas; and Jamvus (blackberry trees) and Patalas and Kunjakas and Atimuktas; and Karaviras and Parijatas and numerous other kinds of trees always adorned with flowers and fruits and alive with feathery creatures of various species. And those verdant groves always resounded with the notes of maddened peacocks and Kokilas (blackbirds). And there were various pleasure-houses, bright as mirrors, and numerous bowers of creepers, and charming and artificial hillocks, and many lakes full to the brim of crystal water, and delightful tanks fragrant with lotuses and lilies and adorned with swans and ducks and chakravakas (brahminy ducks). And there were many delicious pools overgrown with fine aquatic plants. And there were also diverse ponds of great beauty and large dimension. And the joy of the Pandavas increased from day to day, in consequence of their residence in that large kingdom that was peopled with pious men. Thus in consequence of the virtuous behaviour of Bhishma and king Dhritarashtra towards them, the Pandavas took up their abode in Khandavaprastha. Adorned with those five mighty warriors, each equal unto Indra himself, that foremost of cities looked like Bhogavati (the capital of the nether kingdom) adorned with the Nagas. And having settled the Pandavas there, the heroic Krishna, obtaining their leave, came back with Rama to Dwaravati.'”

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows the Pandavas in King Drupad’s court. It is an illustration from a folio of the Mahabharata that is preserved at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The painting, from Kangra, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, dates back to the period between 1775 and 1800.

Reference:

  • The Mahabharata (translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, 1883-1896)