Mahabharata -Rajagopalachari 64

Mahabharata -Chakravarti Rajagopalachari


IN the stories narrated in the Puranas, birds and beasts speak like men, and sometimes they give sound advice and even teach spiritual wisdom. But the natural qualities of those creatures are adroitly made to peep through this human veil. One of the characteristic beauties of the Puranic literature is this happy fusion of nature and imagination. In a delightful passage in the Ramayana, Hanuman, who is described as very wise and learned, is made to frolic with apish joy, when he imagined that the beautiful damsel he saw at Ravana's inner courtyard was Sita. It is usual to entertain children with stories in which birds and beasts are made to speak. But the stories of the Puranas are meant for elderly people, and in them usually some background is given in explanation of animals having the gift of human speech. The usual expedient employed is a previous birth when those creatures were human beings. For instance, a deer was a rishi in a previous birth, or a fox a king. The subsequent degradation being due to a curse. In such cases the deer will act as a deer and yet speak as a rishi, and in the fox the clever nature is shot through with the characteristics of a wise and experienced king. The stories are thereby made interesting vehicles of the great truths they sometimes convey. Khandavaprastha, that forest full of uneven places and thorns and prickles and cumbered with the crumbling vestiges of a long dead city, was indeed a frightful place when it came into the possession of the Pandavas. Birds and beasts had made it their abode, and it was infested with thieves and wicked men. Krishna and Arjuna resolved to set fire to the forest and construct a new city in its place. A saranga bird was living there with its four fledgelings. The male bird was pleasantly roaming about in the forest with another female bird neglecting wife and children. The mother bird looked after its young ones. As the forest was set on fire as commanded by Krishna and Arjuna and the fire spread in all directions, doing its destructive work, the worried mother bird began to lament: 'The fire is coming nearer and nearer burning everything, and soon it will be here and destroy us. All forest creatures are in despair and the air is full of the agonising crash of falling trees. Poor wingless babies! You will become a prey to the fire. What shall I do? Your father has deserted us, and I am not strong enough to fly away carrying you with me." To the mother who was wailing thus, the children said: "Mother, do not torment yourself on our account. Leave us to our fate. If we die here, we shall attain a good birth in some future life. If you give up your life for our sake, our family will become extinct. Fly to a place of safety, take another mate and be happy. You will soon have other children and be able to forget us. Mother, reflect and do what is best for our race." Despite this earnest entreaty, the mother had no mind to leave her children. She said: "I shall remain here and perish in the flames with you." This is the background of the story of the birds. A rishi named Mandapala long lived faithful to his vow of perfect brahmacharya but when he sought entry to the higher regions,



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Mahabharata -Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
Chapter Chapter Name Page No.
1. Ganapati The Scribe Bhagwan Vyasa 1
2. Devavrata 4
3. Bhishma's Vow 7
4. Amba and Bhishma 9
5. Devayani and Kacha 13
6. The Marriage of Devayani 18
7. Yayati 24
8. Vidura 26
9. Kunti Devi 29
10. Death of Pandu 31
11. Bhima 32
12. Karna 34
13. Drona 37
14. The Wax Palace 40
15. The Escape of the Pandvas 44
16. The Slaying of Bakasura 48
17. Draupadi's Swayamvaram 54
18. Indraprastha 58
19. The Saranga Birds 64
20. Jarasandha 67
21. The Slaying of Jarasandha 70
22. The First Honor 73
23. Sakuni Comes In 76
24. The Invitation 79
25. The Wager 82
26. Draupadi's Grief 86
27. Dhritarashtra's Anxiety 90
28. Krishna's Vow 93
29. Pasupata 96
30. Affliction is Nothing New 101
31. Agastya 105
32. Rishyasringa 109
33. Fruitless Penance 113
34. Yavakrida's End 115
35. Mere Learning is Not Enough 118
36. Ashtavakra 120
37. Bhima and Hanuman 122
38. I am No Crane 127
39. The Wicked Are Never Satisfied 130
40. Duryodhna Disgraced 133
41. Shri Krishna's Hunger 136
42. The Enchanted Pool 140
43. Domestic Service 146
44. Virtue Vindicated 151
45. Matsya Defended 155
46. Prince Uttara 159
47. Promise Fulfilled 163
48. Virata's Delusion 167
49. Taking Counsel 171
50. Arjuna's Charioteer 176
51. Salya Against his Nephews 178
52. Vritra 180
53. Nahusha 183
54. Sanjaya's Mission 187
55. Not A Needle-Point of Territor 191
56. Krishna's Misssion 194
57. Attachment and Duty 199
58. The Pandava Generalissimo 202
59. Balarama 202
60. Rukmini 205
61. Non-Cooperation 210
62. Krishna Teaches 213
63. Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction 215
64. The First Day's Battle 217
65. The Second Day 220
66. The Third Day's Battle 223
67. The Fourth Day 227
68. The Fifth Day 231
69. The Sixth Day 233
70. The Seventh Day 236
71. The Eighth Day 239
72. The Ninth Day 242
73. The Passing Of Bhishma 244
74. Karna and the Grandsire 246
75. Drona in Command 248
76. To Seize Yudhishthira Alive 249
77. The Twelfth Day 252
78. Brave Bhagadatta 255
79. Abhimanyu 260
80. The Death Of Abhimanyu 264
81. A Father's Grief 267
82. The Sindhu King 271
83. Borrowed Armor 275
84. Yudhishthira's Misgivings 279
85. Yudhishthira's Fond Hope 283
86. Karna And Bhima 286
87. Pledge Respected 290
88. Somadatta's End 293
89. Jayadratha Slain 297
90. Drona Passes Away 299
91. The Death Of Karna 302
92. Duryodhana 305
93. The Pandavas Reproached 309
94. Aswatthama 313
95. Avenged 316
96. Who Can Give Solace? 318
97. Yudhishthira's Anguish 321
98. Yudhishthira Comforted 324
99. Envy 326
100. Utanga 329
101. A Pound Of Flour 332
102. Yudhishthira Rules 336
103. Dhritarashtra 338
104. The Passing Away Of The Three 341
105. Krishna Passes Away 342
106. Yudhishthira's Final Trial 345