By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Indian Myth and Legend
Author: Mackenzie, Donald A. (Donald Alexander)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Indian Myth and Legend" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



  _By A. R. Hope Moncrieff_

  _By Charles Squire_

  _By Donald A. Mackenzie_

  _By A. R. Hope Moncrieff_

  _By Donald A. Mackenzie_

  _By Donald A. Mackenzie_

  _By Donald A. Mackenzie_

  _By Donald A. Mackenzie_


_From the painting by Warwick Goble_]



  _With Illustrations in Colour
  by Warwick Goble
  and numerous monochrome



This volume deals with the myths and legends of India, which survive to
us in the rich and abundant storehouse of Sanskrit literature, and with
the rise and growth of Brahmanism, Buddhism, Jainism, &c. The reader
is introduced to the various sacred works of the Hindus, including
the ancient invocatory hymns of the four Vedas, the later speculative
and expository “Forest Books” in which “the Absolute is grasped and
proclaimed”, and those great epic poems the _Rámáyana_, which is three
times longer than the _Iliad_, and the _Máhábharata_, which is four
times longer than the _Rámáyana_. In no other country have the national
poets given fuller and finer expression to the beliefs and ideals and
traditions of a people, or achieved as a result wider and more enduring
fame. At the present day over two hundred million Hindus are familiar
in varying degrees with the legendary themes and traditional beliefs
which the ancient forest sages and poets of India invested with much
beautiful symbolism, and used as mediums for speculative thought and
profound spiritual teachings. The sacred books of India are to the
Hindus what the Bible is to Christians. Those who read them, or hear
them read, are believed to be assured of prosperity in this world and
of salvation in the next. To students of history, of ethnology, and of
comparative religion they present features of peculiar interest, for
they contain an elaborate sociology of the ancient Aryo-Indians, their
political organizations, their codes of laws, their high ethical code,
and above all their conceptions of God, the soul, and the Universe.
Some knowledge of them is necessary for those who desire to approach
with sympathy the investigation of the religious beliefs of our Hindu
fellow men and to understand their outlook upon life and the world.

The Introduction deals with various aspects of the study of these
ancient myths and legends which have been the inspiration of a national
literature infused with much grandeur and sublimity. The historic
Aryan controversy, of which the science of comparative mythology is
a by-product, is passed under review, and it is shown to what extent
philological theories regarding race problems have been modified during
recent years as a result of the adoption of broader and more exact
methods of ethnic and archæological research and the ever-extending
study of comparative mythology. There has also been condensed
much important data dealing with the early phases of Aryo-Indian
civilization accumulated for historical purposes by industrious and
painstaking Sanskrit scholars who have been engaged in investigating
and systematizing the internal evidence of the various religious poems
and treatises. It will be found that no general agreement has yet been
reached regarding Aryo-Indian chronology, but it now appears to be well
established that although there were early cultural as well as racial
“drifts”, fresh invasions, which had far-reaching results in the social
and religious life of northern India, occurred at a late period in
what is known as the Vedic Age. In consequence, the problem presented
by this ancient civilization tends rather to grow more complex than to
become simplified. Its origin is still wrapped in obscurity. At the
very dawn of history Aryo-Indian culture had attained a comparatively
high state of development, and a considerable period must be allowed
for its growth. Even some of the ancient Vedic hymns, addressed by
priests to the deities, are styled “new songs”, which suggests the
existence of an older collection. Many of them also afford indications
that immemorial beliefs were in process of change and fusion. The
sublime deities, Varuna and Mitra (Mithra), for instance, were already
declining in splendour. Yet they must have been closely associated with
Indra, king of the gods, in the unknown Aryan homeland, as is made
evident by an inscription recently deciphered at Boghaz Köi, in Asia
Minor, which refers to them as deities of the mysterious Mitanni people
who were of Aryan speech like the settlers in the Punjab. There is no
evidence, however, that the Mitanni rulers gave recognition to the fire
god Agni, who in India was exalted as the twin brother of Indra. The
problem involved may not be devoid of ethnic significance, although the
identity of the Agni-worshipping section of the early raiders remains

During the early Vedic Age in India prominence was given to the gods:
the social organization was of patriarchal character; the goddesses
remained shadowy and vague, some being, indeed, little more than
figures of speech. A great change took place, however, after the
invasions of the Bharata and other tribes who are now referred to
as “late comers”. Profound and speculative thinkers attained to the
pantheistic conception of the world soul; new doctrines, which are not
referred to in the Vedic hymns, regarding the ages of the universe
and transmigration of souls, received wide acceptance as the result
of missionary efforts: the Vedic gods were reduced to the position of
minor deities and new goddesses rose into prominence, one indeed being
Bharati, the tribal deity of the Bharatas, who became associated with
the Saraswati river and under her new name was ultimately made the
wife of the supreme god Brahma. It is significant to note that the
new culture radiated from the “Middle Country”, the area controlled
by the “late comers”. That it contained elements which were not of
Indian origin is made clearly evident when we find that the doctrines
of the ages of the universe and transmigration of souls were shared
by other peoples, including the Greeks and Celts and a section of the
ancient Egyptians. Sumero-Babylonian and Egyptian resemblances may
also be traced in post-Vedic religious literature, the former, for
instance, in the Deluge legend, and the latter in the myth regarding
the avenging goddess Kali, who slaughters the enemies of the gods
like Hathor-Sekhet, and has similarly to be restrained by one of
the deities. The worship of goddesses was also prominent among the
Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Celts, as contrasted with the worship
of gods among broad-headed mountain and wandering peoples. In this
connection special interest attaches to the conclusions of prominent
ethnologists, who include in the Mediterranean or “Brown” race of
brunet “long heads” the early Egyptians and Neolithic Europeans, the
Sumerians and present-day “Aryan” types in India, and especially in the
old “Middle Country” and Bengal. On the other hand, a broad-headed type
is still prominent in the Punjab, the area occupied by the earliest
invaders who worshipped the Vedic gods. Dr. Haddon suggests that these
pioneers of civilization were mixed with peoples of Mongolian and other
affinities. Some such ethnic explanation must be urged to account
for the differences between Vedic and post-Vedic mythologies. The
invasions of the “late comers”, who entered India by a new route, no
doubt stimulated thought and promoted culture after settled conditions
were secured, as was undoubtedly the result of the mingling of races

“It may be put down as an axiom”, says Professor Jastrow, “that nowhere
does a high form of culture arise without the commingling of diverse
ethnic elements. Civilization, like the spark emitted by the striking
of steel on flint, is everywhere the result of stimulus evoked by the
friction of one ethnic group upon another”: and he supports his theory
with the evidence afforded by Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, Rome, France,
Germany, and Great Britain, as well as the present-day United States of
America, “the melting pot” of many peoples.

Throughout this volume comparative evidence is provided to assist the
reader towards the study of this most interesting aspect of the Aryan
problem. We trace the cremation custom, which has prevailed in India
since Vedic times, to countries as wide apart as Great Britain, into
which it was introduced during the Bronze Age, and Southern Siberia,
where it is still practised by the Mongolian Buriats. Over the areas
occupied by representatives of the Mediterranean race it was unknown
prior to the invasions of unidentified fire-worshippers. Special
interest also attaches to the horse sacrifice, which was also an
Aryo-Indian ceremony even in Vedic times. It is not yet unknown among
the Buriats. At one time the horse sacrifice was widely prevalent.
White horses were sacrificed to the sun in Ancient Greece; the sun
horses are referred to with horror by Ezekiel; the ceremony was also
connected with the mysteries of Aricia grove. Indeed, as is pointed
out in Chapter V, various ancient peoples offered up this domesticated
and historic animal. In the Indian epics and religious treatises there
are illuminating references to the horse sacrifice which throw much
light on the significance of the immemorial practice. White and black
horses were alternately favoured, and it is evident that the practice
was not only associated with solar worship, but was also intended
to secure fertility—crops, and therefore rain in the first place,
increase of flocks, herds, human offspring, &c.—as is undoubtedly
the case among the modern-day Buriats. In India the horse was also
offered up as a sin offering, a late conception, evidently. A prominent
feature of this sacrifice in most countries was the decapitation of
the sacrificial victim. Recent evidence from Egypt suggests that the
sacrifice of the ass may have preceded the sacrifice of the horse.
Professor Flinders Petrie has found in a triple tomb in the early
dynastic Tarkhan cemetery the skeletons of three asses with the heads
cut off and placed beside them. He suggests that the animals were
killed to accompany their owner to the other world. The Buriats still
sacrifice horses at graves, professedly for the same reason. As this
custom was not prevalent throughout Ancient Egypt, it may have been an
importation, connected, perhaps, with the myth about the sun-ass which
gallops round a hill-surrounded world followed by the pursuing night
serpent. An isolated reference is also made to the sacrifice of the
ass in a Twelfth Dynasty story about a Naga-like demigod, a fact which
emphasizes the historical importance of the material embedded in folk
tales and mythologies. In this connection it may be noted that certain
developed myths suggest there may have been either a cultural contact
of Ancient Egypt with India, through an unidentified medium, or an
infusion of religious ideas into both countries from a common source.
In an Indian creation myth Prajápati weeps creative tears like the
Egyptian sun-god Ra, whose rays are tears from which all things spring,
as Maspero shows.

In India the juice of the soma plant was identified with the vital
principle, and the demons were the poisoners of crops and plants;
in Egypt honey-flowers and sacred trees sprang from the fertilizing
tears of deities, while the tears of demons produced poisonous plants,
diseases, &c. Like the Egyptian Horus, the Indian Prajápati, or Brahma,
sprang from a lotus bloom floating on the primordial waters. The
chaos-egg myth is also common to both mythological systems. Brahma
issues from a golden egg like Ra, and a similar myth is connected with
the Egyptian Ptah and Khnumu, and with the Chinese P'an Ku, while the
egg figures in Eur-Asian folk tales which contain the germs of the
various mythologies. All mythologies have animistic bases; they were,
to begin with, systematized folk beliefs which were carried hither
and thither in various stages of development by migrating and trading
peoples. Each separate system bears undoubted traces of racial or local
influences; each reflects the civilization in which it flourished, the
habits of thought and habits of life of the people, and the religious,
ethical, and political ideals of their rulers and teachers. When
well-developed myths of similar character are found in widely separated
districts, an ethnic or cultural contact is suggested. Such myths may
be regarded as evidence of remote racial movements, which, although
unsupported by record or tradition, are also indicated by ethnological
data. It is hoped that the reader will find much suggestive material
in this connection in their study of the myths and legends of India.
They will also find that many of the tales retold in this volume have
qualities which make universal appeal, and that some are among the most
beautiful which survive from the civilizations of the ancient world.

Not a few, we are assured, will follow with interest the development
from primitive myths of great and ennobling ideas which have exercised
a culturing influence in India through many long centuries, and are
still potent factors in the domestic, social, and religious life of
many millions of Hindus.



   CHAP.                                                            Page

         INTRODUCTION                                               xvii

      I. INDRA, KING OF THE GODS                                       1

     II. THE GREAT VEDIC DEITIES                                      19

    III. YAMA, THE FIRST MAN, AND KING OF THE DEAD                    38

     IV. DEMONS AND GIANTS AND FAIRIES                                61




   VIII. DIVINITIES OF THE EPIC PERIOD                               138

     IX. PRELUDE TO THE GREAT BHARATA WAR                            157

      X. ROYAL RIVALS: THE PANDAVAS AND KAURAVAS                     173

     XI. THE TOURNAMENT                                              185

    XII. FIRST EXILE OF THE PANDAVAS                                 195

   XIII. THE CHOICE OF DRAUPADI                                      213

    XIV. TRIUMPH OF THE PANDAVAS                                     224

     XV. THE GREAT GAMBLING MATCH                                    237

    XVI. SECOND EXILE OF THE PANDAVAS                                249

   XVII. DEFIANCE OF DURYODHANA                                      270

  XVIII. THE BATTLE OF EIGHTEEN DAYS                                 285

    XIX. ATONEMENT AND THE ASCENT TO HEAVEN                          310

     XX. NALA AND DAMAYANTÍ                                          328

    XXI. WANDERINGS IN THE FOREST                                    340

   XXII. NALA IN EXILE                                               353

  XXIII. THE HOMECOMING OF THE KING                                  364

   XXIV. STORY OF RAMA: HOW SITA WAS WON                             374

    XXV. THE ABDUCTION OF SITA                                       394

   XXVI. RAMA'S MISSION FULFILLED                                    408

         INDEX                                                       429



  SITA FINDS RAMA AMONG LOTUS BLOOMS                   _Frontispiece_
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_

  SHANTANU MEETS THE GODDESS GANGA                     _facing_   164
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_

  ARJUNA AND THE RIVER NYMPH                               "      226
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_

  THE ORDEAL OF QUEEN DRAUPADI                             "      242
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_

  THE RETURN OF THE HEROES SLAIN IN BATTLE                 "      320
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_

  DAMAYANTI AND THE SWAN                                   "      330
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_

  DAMAYANTI CHOOSING A HUSBAND                             "      336
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_

  RAMA SPURNS THE DEMON LOVER                              "      400
      _From the painting by Warwick Goble_



  THE CREMATION GHAT, BENARES                           _facing_   xxxvi

  KALI                                                     "          xl
      _From a bronze in the Calcutta Art Gallery_


  INDRA                                                    "           4
      _From the Indra Temple, Ellora_

  INTERIOR OF A TEMPLE TO VISHNU (BRINDABAN)               "          10

  THE PARADISE OF INDRA                                    "          16
      _From a rock sculpture at Mâmallapuram_

  AGNI, THE FIRE GOD                                       "          20
      _From a painting by Nanda Lall Bose_

  SHIVA'S DANCE OF DESTRUCTION, ELLORA                     "          26

  SURYA IN HIS CHARIOT                                     "          32
      _From the Kailâsa Temple, Ellora_

  THE KAILASA TEMPLE OF SHIVA, ELLORA                      "          40

  YAMA AND SAVITRI                                         "          52
      _From a painting by Nanda Lall Bose_

  THE CITY OF THE GODS, PALITANA                           "          58

  DURGA SLAYING GIANTS AND DEMONS                          "          64
  _From a sculpture at Mámallapuram_

  THE CELESTIAL FAIRIES (APSARAS)                          "          68
  _Sculpture on a modern Hindu temple, Benares_

  GROUP OF PRESENT-DAY BRAHMANS                            "          80

  SADHUS (RELIGIOUS MENDICANTS) AT BENARES                 "          82

  A YOGI ON A BED OF SPIKES                                "          84
  _An example of present-day austerities_

    FROM VISHNU                                            "         100
  _From an original Indian painting_

  HANUMAN                                                  "         106
  _From a bronze in the Victoria and Albert Museum_

  THE HINDU TRINITY AT ELEPHANTA                           "         120

  VISHNU UPHOLDING THE UNIVERSE                            "         124
  _From a sculpture at Mâmallapuram_

  KRISHNA AND THE GOPIS (HERDSMAIDS)                       "         128
  _From a modern sculpture_

  BUDDHA EXPOUNDING THE LAW                                "         130

    THE DEEP                                               "         136
  _From a rock sculpture at Udayagiri_


  LAKSHMI ARISING FROM THE SEA OF MILK                     "         144
  _From a sculpture at Mâmallapuram_

  SHIVA DANCING ON TRIPURA                                 "         148
  _From a bronze in the Madras Museum_

  GANESA                                                   "         150
  _From a sculpture in the Victoria and
  Albert Museum_

  KARTIKEYA, THE WAR GOD                                   "         152
  _From a painting by Surendra Nalh Gangoly_

  PARVATI, WIFE OF SHIVA                                   "         154
  _From a South Indian temple_

  A VAISHNAVAITE NUN READING THE RAMAYANA                  "         374

  THE CORONATION OF RAMA AND SITA                          "         424

_To My Indian Friends_


The triangular sub-continent of India is cut off from the rest of Asia
by the vast barriers of the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush, the Suleiman
mountains, and the Indian Ocean. Its population comprises about two
hundred and ninety-five millions, and is of greatest density on the
fertile northern plain, which is watered by three river systems, the
Indus and its tributaries on the west, and the Ganges and Brahmaputra
with their tributaries which pour into the Bay of Bengal. South of
the Vindhya mountain ranges is the plateau of the Deccan. The climate
varies from temperate on the Himalayan slopes to tropical in southern
India, and over the entire country there are two pronounced annual
seasons, the dry and the rainy.

Our interest abides in this volume chiefly with the northern plain
and the people who are familiar in varying degrees with the sacred
and heroic literature passed under review; that is, with the scenes
of the early Indian civilization known as Aryan and those numerous
inheritors of Aryan traditions, the Hindus, who exceed two hundred and
seven millions of the population of India. Modern Hinduism embraces a
number of cults which are connected with the early religious doctrines
of the Aryanized or Brahmanized India of the past; it recognizes, among
other things, the ancient caste system which includes distinct racial
types varying from what is known as the Aryan to the pre-Dravidian
stocks. Other religious organizations may be referred to in passing.
Buddhists are chiefly confined to Burma, Sikhs number two millions,
the Mohammedans nearly sixty-three millions, while the Parsees number
roughly ninety-five thousand; less than three million natives and
half-castes are Christians.

Like Egypt, India is a land of ancient memories, but its history, or
rather pre-history, does not begin until about a thousand years after
the erection was completed of the great pyramids at Gizeh. Between
2000 B.C. and 1200 B.C. tribes of pastoral and patriarchal peoples of
Aryan speech were pouring over the north-western frontier and settling
in the Punjab. There are no written or inscribed records, or even
native traditions, of this historic migration, but we are able to
follow vaguely, from the references found in religious compositions,
the gradual conquest of northern India, which covered a period of
several centuries. To what extent this invasion was racial, rather than
cultural, it is extremely difficult to discover. But no doubt can be
entertained regarding the influence exercised by the ancient military
aristocracy and their religious teachers. Certain of the Aryan gods
still receive recognition in India after a lapse of over three thousand
years. This fact makes Indian mythology of special interest to the
ever-increasing number of students of comparative religion.

Indian mythology also possesses particular attractions for us on
account of its intimate association with what is known as the “Aryan
problem”. Scholars of a past generation held pronounced views on Aryan
matters, and produced a considerable literature of highly controversial
character. In fact, theories regarding the Aryan languages and the
Aryan “race” are as varied as they are numerous; the wordy warfare
which occupied the greater part of the nineteenth century, was
waged ever strenuously and not infrequently with much brilliance;
occasionally, however, it was not awanting in the undesirable elements
of personal feeling and national antipathy. But, happily, we appear to
have reached a time when this fascinating and important problem can be
considered dispassionately in the proper scientific spirit, and without
experiencing that unnecessary dread of having to abandon decided
opinions which may have been formed when the accumulated data had less
variety and bulk than that which is now available. This change has been
brought about by the extended study of comparative religion and the
wonderful and engaging results which have attended modern-day methods
of ethnic and archæological research.

The Aryan controversy had its origin at the close of the eighteenth
century, when that distinguished Oriental scholar Sir William Jones,
who acted for a period as a judge of the Supreme Court in Bengal, drew
attention to the remarkable resemblances between the Sanskrit, Greek,
Latin, German, and Celtic languages. In 1808, Schlegel published his
_Language and Wisdom of the Hindus_, and urged the theory that India
was the home of an ancestral race and a group of languages that were
progenitors of various European ones. Other scholars subsequently
favoured Zend, the language of Persia, and transferred the “racial
beehive” to that country; rival claims were afterwards set up for Asia
Minor and the Iranian plateau.

The science of Comparative Philology was a direct product of these
early controversies; it was established in the “thirties” when Bopp
published his Comparative Grammar in which a new term, having a racial
significance, was invented: he grouped all European languages, except
Basque, Magyar, Turkish, and Finnish, as “Indo-Germanic”. After the
study of Sanskrit literature revealed, however, that the Aryans
occupied but a small part of India when their sacred hymns, the Vedas,
were composed, the cradle of the Aryan race was shifted to some
uncertain area beyond the Himalayan mountains.

Max Müller, the distinguished Sanskrit authority, who in the words
of an Indian scholar “devoted his lifetime to the elucidation of the
learning, literature, and religion of ancient India”,[1] abandoned
Bopp's patriotic term “Indo-Germanic” and adopted Aryan, which he
founded on the Sanskrit racial designation “Arya”. At first he accepted
the theory of an Aryan race and especially of an Aryan civilization
which originated on the Central Asian plateau, but, as will be seen, he
subsequently modified his views in this regard.

[1] Romesh C. Dutt's _Ramáyana_ dedication.

A new theory regarding the Aryans, who are now more commonly referred
to as Indo-Europeans, was strongly advocated in 1851 and later by Dr.
Robert Gordon Latham, who devoted many years to the study of ethnology
and philology. He argued that as the major part of the peoples speaking
Indo-European tongues was found in Europe, the cradle of the race
might, after all, be transferred westward. This theory was supported
by the fact (among others) that the Lithuanian language was no less
archaic than Sanskrit.

The European hypothesis found in time many able supporters, and the
advocates of rival Teutonic and Celtic claims waxed eloquent and heated
over the exact location of the Aryan homeland. An industrious search
was meanwhile conducted for words common to all Aryan languages which
described the natural features of the racial “cradle”. This work of
reconstruction was certainly not lacking in picturesque results, for
attractive visions were presented of Aryan Arcadias in which the simple
and contemplative ancestors of many bitter controversialists dwelt
together in exemplary unity and peace. The question of location might
remain unsettled, but it was generally agreed that the ancient people
were surrounded by cows, sheep, and goats; sometimes they rode their
horses or yoked them in rough rumbling carts, and sometimes they ate
them. No asses were admitted to the fold because of their decided
partiality for Central Asian plains, which seemed quite reasonable.
Trouble was occasionally caused by wolves and bears, or, mayhap, a
stray lion, but these and other worries associated with the simple
life might be compensated for by the fact that the primitive people,
as one writer[2] put it, “understood the art of drinking”. Mead,
brewed from honey, was found to be “dear to the hearts of the ancient
Aryans”; had the Brahman ever forgotten his “madhu”, the Welshman his
“medhu”, or the Lithuanian his “medus”? Problems arose regarding the
ancients' knowledge of trees: it was found that “bhaga” was applied
indifferently by the family groups to the beech and the oak, and more
than one ingenious explanation was suggested to account for this
apparent discrepancy. Then, suddenly, Professor Max Müller swept into
the background the rival Aryan homeland pictures, pointing out the
while that it is “almost impossible to discover any animal or any plant
that is peculiar to the north of Europe and is not found sporadically
in Asia also”. Destructive criticism proceeded apace, until now nothing
has been left to us of the ancestral Arcadia but “air, water, heat and
cold”. In his review of the widely accepted philological “evidence”
regarding the Aryan homeland, Max Müller declared it to be so pliant
that it was possible “to make out a more or less plausible case for any
part of the world”. The advanced group of philologists held, indeed,
that no racial centre could be located. Ultimately “Delbrück went
so far,” says Professor Ripley, “as to deny that any single parent
language ever existed in fact”.[3]

[2] Rydberg's _Teutonic Mythology_.

[3] _The Races of Europe_, W. Z. Ripley, p. 481.

Meanwhile ethnologists and archæologists were engaged accumulating
important data. It was found that Europe had been invaded at the close
of the Stone Age by a broad-headed (brachycephalic) people, who brought
no culture and even retarded the growth of civilization in their areas
of settlement. A new problem was thus presented: were the Aryans a
brachycephalic (broad-headed) or a dolichocephalic (long-headed)
people? Its solution was rendered all the more difficult when it was
found that living representatives of both racial types were peoples of
Aryan speech. The idea that skull shapes, which are associated with
other distinct physical characteristics, were due to habits of life and
the quality of food which had to be masticated, was in time advanced
to discredit new methods of ethnic research, but it has since been
thoroughly disproved. In many ancient graves are found skulls which do
not differ from those of modern men and women, living under different
conditions and eating different food.

Patriotic controversialists were not awanting again in dealing with the
problem of varying skull shapes. French scientists, for instance, have
identified the “broad heads”, now generally known as the Alpine race,
with the ubiquitous Celts, but as present-day Hindus are mainly “long
heads”, the Aryan racial connection here suggested remains obscure. A
clue to the mystery was sought for in Asia Minor, but no satisfactory
result could be obtained there to support philological theories,
because the Armenians, who are “broad heads”, and their enemies and
neighbours the Kurds, who are “long heads”, are both peoples of Aryan
speech. A scornful scientist has dismissed as a “prehistoric romance”,
the theory that the fair Scandinavian “long heads” are identical
with the brunet “long heads” of India. Both the Celtic (Alpine)
and Indo-Germanic racial theories are as inconclusive as they are
diametrically in opposition.

The science of philology, which, at its inception, “dazzled and
silenced all”, has been proved to be no safe guide in racial matters.
We must avoid, as Professor Ripley says, “the error of confusing
community of language with identity of race. Nationality may often
follow linguistic boundaries, but race bears no necessary relation
whatever to them.”[4]

[4] _The Races of Europe_, W. Z. Ripley, p. 17.

By way of illustration, it may be pointed out in this connection
that English is spoken at the present day by, among others, the Hong
Kong Chinamen, the American Red Indians and negroes, by the natives
of Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and the Scottish Highlands, besides the
descendants of the ancient Britons, the Jutes, the Angles, the Saxons,
the Norsemen, the Danes, and the Normans in England, but all these
peoples cannot be classified in the racial sense simply as Englishmen.
Similarly, the varied types of humanity who are Aryan in speech cannot
all be regarded as representatives of the “Aryan race”, that is, if we
accept the theory of an “Aryan race”, which Virchow, by the way, has
characterized as “a pure fiction”.

Max Müller, in his closing years, faced this aspect of the problem
frankly and courageously. “Aryas”, he wrote, “are those who speak
Aryan languages, whatever their colour, whatever their blood. In
calling them Aryas we predicate nothing of them except that the grammar
of their language is Aryan.... I have declared again and again that
if I say Aryas, I mean neither blood, nor bones, nor hair, nor skull;
I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language. The same applies to
Hindus, Greeks, Romans, Germans, Celts, and Slavs. When I speak of
these I commit myself to no anatomical characteristics. The blue-eyed
and fair-haired Scandinavians may have been conquerors or conquered,
they may have adopted the language of their darker lords or their
subjects, or vice versa. I assert nothing beyond their language when
I call them Hindus, Greeks, Romans, Germans, Celts, and Slavs, and in
that sense, and in that sense only, do I say that even the blackest
Hindus represent an earlier stage of Aryan speech and thought than the
fairest Scandinavians.... To me an ethnologist who speaks of an Aryan
race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a
linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic

[5] _Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryas_, pp. 120 and 245.

Aryan, however, has been found to be a convenient term, and even
ethnologists do not scorn its use, although it has been applied “in
a confusing variety of signification by different philologists”.
One application of it is to the language group comprising Sanskrit,
Persian, Afghan, &c. Some still prefer it to “Indo-European”, which
has found rivals in “Afro-European”, among those who connect the
Aryan languages with North Africa, and “Afro-Eurasian”, which may be
regarded as universal in its racial application, especially if we
accept Darwin's theory that the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in
Africa.[6] We may think of the Aryans as we do of the British when that
term is used to include the peoples embraced by the British Empire.

[6] _The Descent of Man_, Charles Darwin, chap. vi, p. 155 (1889 ed.),
and _The Ancient Egyptians_, G. Elliot Smith, pp. 63, 64 (1911).

In India the Aryans were from late Vedic times divided into four
castes—Brahmans (priests), Kshatriyas (kings and warriors), Vaisyas
(traders, &c.), and Sudras (aborigines).

Caste (Varna) signifies “colour”, but it is not certain whether the
reference is to be given a physical or mythological application. The
first three castes were Aryans, the fairest people; the fourth caste,
that comprising the dark-skinned aborigines, was non-Aryan. “Arya”,
however, was not always used in the sense that we have been accustomed
to apply “Aryo-Indian”. In one of the sacred books of the ancient
people it is stated: “The colour of the Brahmans was white; that of
the Kshatriyas red; that of the Vaisyas yellow; and that of the Sudras
black”.[7] This colour reference connects “caste” with the doctrine of
yugas, or ages of the universe (Chapter VI).

[7] Muir's _Original Sanskrit Texts_, vol. 1, p. 140.

Risley, dealing with “the leading castes and tribes in Northern India,
from the Bay of Bengal to the frontiers of Afghanistan”, concludes
from the data obtained from census returns, that we are able “to
distinguish two extreme types of feature and physique, which may be
provisionally described as Aryan and Dravidian. A third type, which in
some respects may be looked upon as intermediate between these two,
while in other, and perhaps the most important, points it can hardly
be deemed Indian at all, is found along the northern and eastern
borders of Bengal. The most prominent characters are a relatively short
(brachycephalic) head, a broad face, a short, wide nose, very low in
the bridge, and in extreme cases almost bridgeless; high and projecting
cheekbones and eyelids, peculiarly formed so as to give the impression
that the eyes are obliquely set in the head.... This type ... may be
conveniently described as Mongoloid....”[8]

[8] _The Tribes and Castes of Bengal_, H. H. Risley, vol. 1, xxxi.

According to Risley, the Aryan type is dolichocephalic (long-headed),
“with straight, finely-cut (lepto-rhine) nose, a long, symmetrical
narrow face, a well-developed forehead, regular features, and a high
facial angle”. The stature is “fairly high”, and the body is “well
proportioned, and slender rather than massive”. The complexion is “a
very light transparent brown—‘wheat coloured’ is the common vernacular
description—noticeably fairer than the mass of the population”.

The Dravidian head, the same authority states, “usually inclines to be
dolichocephalic”, but “all other characters present a marked contrast
to the Aryan. The nose is thick and broad, and the formula expressing
its proportionate dimensions is higher than in any known race, except
the Negro. The facial angle is comparatively low; the lips are thick;
the face wide and fleshy; the features coarse and irregular.” The
stature is lower than that of the Aryan type: “the figure is squat and
the limbs sturdy. The colour of the skin varies from very dark brown
to a shade closely approaching black.... Between these extreme types”,
adds Risley, “we find a large number of intermediate groups.”[9]

[9] _ibid._ xxxii-xxxiii.

Of late years ethnologists have inclined to regard the lower types
represented by hill and jungle tribes, the Veddas of Ceylon, &c., as
pre-Dravidians. The brunet and long-headed Dravidians may have entered
India long before the Aryans: they resemble closely the Brahui of
Baluchistan and the Man-tse of China.

India is thus mainly long-headed (dolichocephalic). We have already
seen, however, that in northern and eastern Bengal there are traces of
an infusion of Mongolian “broad heads”; another brachycephalic element
is pronounced in western India, but it is not Mongolian; possibly we
have here evidences of a settlement of Alpine stock. According to
Risley, these western broad heads are the descendants of invading
Scythians,[10] but this theory is not generally accepted.

[10] _The People of India_, H. H. Risley, p. 59.

The Eur-Asian Alpine race of broad heads are a mountain people
distributed from Hindu Kush westward to Brittany. On the land bridge
of Asia Minor they are represented by the Armenians. Their eastern
prehistoric migrations is by some ethnologists believed to be marked
by the Ainus of Japan. They are mostly a grey-eyed folk, with dark
hair and abundant moustache and beard, as contrasted with the Mongols,
whose facial hair is scanty. There are short and long varieties of
Alpine stock, and its representatives are usually sturdy and muscular.
In Europe these broad-headed invaders overlaid a long-headed brunet
population, as the early graves show, but in the process of time the
broad heads have again retreated mainly to their immemorial upland
habitat. At the present day the Alpine race separates the long-headed
fair northern race from what is known as the long-headed dark
Mediterranean race of the south.

A slighter and long-headed brunet type is found south of Hindu Kush.
Ripley has condensed a mass of evidence to show that it is akin to the
Mediterranean race.[11] He refers to it as the “eastern branch”, which
includes Afghans and Hindus. “We are all familiar with the type,” he
says, “especially as it is emphasized by inbreeding and selection
among the Brahmans.... There can be no doubt of their (the Eastern
Mediterraneans) racial affinities with our Berbers, Greeks, Italians,
and Spaniards. They are all members of the same race, at once the
widest in its geographical extension, the most populous and the most
primitive of our three European types.”[12]

[11] _The Races of Europe_, W. Z. Ripley, 450 _et seq_.

[12] _The Races of Europe_, W. Z. Ripley, p. 451.

Professor Elliot Smith supports Professor Ripley in this connection,
and includes the Arabs with the southern Persians in the same group,
but finding the terms “Hamitic” and “Mediterranean” insufficient,
prefers to call this widespread family the “Brown race”, to distinguish
its representatives from the fair Northerners, the “yellow” Mongolians,
and the “black” negroes.

North of the Alpine racial area are found the nomadic Mongolians, who
are also “broad heads”, but with distinguishing facial characteristics
which vary in localities. As we have seen, the Mongoloid features are
traceable in India. Many settlers have migrated from Tibet, but among
the high-caste Indians the Mongoloid eyes and high cheek bones occur in
families, suggesting early crossment.

Another distinctive race has yet to be accounted for—the tall, fair,
blue-eyed, long-headed Northerners, represented by the Scandinavians of
the present day. Sergi and other ethnologists have classed this type as
a variety of the Mediterranean race, which had its area of localization
on the edge of the snow belt on lofty plateaus and in proximity to the
Arctic circle. The theory that the distinctive blondness and great
stature of the Northerners were acquired in isolation and perpetuated
by artificial selection is, however, more suggestive than conclusive,
unless we accept the theory that acquired characteristics can be
inherited. How dark eyes became grey or blue, and dark hair red or
sandy, is a problem yet to be solved.

The ancestors of this fair race are believed to have been originally
distributed along the northern Eur-Asian plateaus; Keane's blonde
long-headed Chudes[13] and the Wu-suns in Chinese Turkestan are classed
as varieties of the ancient Northern stock. An interesting problem
is presented in this connection by the fair types among the ancient
Egyptians, the modern-day Berbers, and the blondes of the Atlas
mountains in Morocco. Sergi is inclined to place the “cradle” of the
Northerners on the edge of the Sahara.

[13] _Man, Past and Present_, A. H. Keane, p. 270.

The broad-headed Turki and Ugrians are usually referred to as a blend
of the Alpine stock and the proto-Northerners, with, in places,
Mongolian admixture.

As most of the early peoples were nomadic, or periodically nomadic,
there must have been in localities a good deal of interracial and
intertribal fusion, with the result that intermediate varieties were
produced. It follows that the intellectual life of the mingling peoples
would be strongly influenced by admixture as well as by contact with
great civilizations.

It now remains for us to deal with the Aryan problem in India. Dr.
Haddon considers that the invading Aryans were “perhaps associated
with Turki tribes” when they settled in the Punjab.[14] Prior to this
racial movement, the Kassites, whose origin is obscure, assisted
by bands of Aryans, overthrew the Hammurabi dynasty in Babylon and
established the Kassite dynasty between 2000 B.C. and 1700 B.C. At
this period the domesticated horse was introduced, and its Babylonian
name, “the ass of the East”, is an indication whence it came. Another
Aryan invasion farther west is marked by the establishment of the
Mitanni kingdom between the area controlled by the Assyrians and the
Hittites. Its kings had names which are clearly Aryan. These included
Saushatar, Artatatama, Sutarna, and Tushratta. The latter was the
correspondent in the Tel-el-Amarna letters of his kinsmen the Egyptian
Pharaohs, Amenhotep the Magnificent, and the famous Akhenaton. The two
royal houses had intermarried after the wars of Thothmes III. It is
impossible to fix the date of the rise of the Mitanni power, which held
sway for a period over Assyria, but we know that it existed in 1500
B.C. The horse was introduced into Egypt before 1580 B.C.

[14] _The Wanderings of Peoples_, A. C. Haddon, p. 21.

It is generally believed that the Aryans were the tamers of the horse
which revolutionized warfare in ancient days, and caused great empires
to be overthrown and new empires to be formed. When the Aryans entered
India they had chariots and swift steeds.

There is no general agreement as to the date of settlement in the
Punjab. Some authorities favour 2000 B.C., others 1700 B.C.; Professor
Macdonell still adheres to 1200 B.C.[15] It is possible that the
infusion was at first a gradual one, and that it was propelled by
successive folk-waves. The period from the earliest migrations until
about 800 or 700 B.C. is usually referred to as the Vedic Age, during
which the Vedas, or more particularly the invocatory hymns to the
deities, were composed and compiled. At the close of this Age the area
of Aryan control had extended eastward as far as the upper reaches of
the Jumna and Ganges rivers. A number of tribal states or communities
are referred to in the hymns.

[15] _Vedic Index of Names and Subjects_ (1912), p. viii.

It is of importance to note that the social and religious organization
of the Vedic Aryans was based upon the principle of “father right”,
as contrasted with the principle of “mother right”, recognized by
representative communities of the Brown race.

Like the Alpine and Mongoloid peoples, the Vedic Aryans were a
patriarchal people, mainly pastoral but with some knowledge of
agriculture. They worshipped gods chiefly: their goddesses were vague
and shadowy: their earth goddess Prithivi was not a Great Mother in the
Egyptian and early European sense; her husband was the sky-god Dyaus.

In Egypt the sky was symbolized as the goddess Nut, and the earth as
the god Seb, but the Libyans had an earth-goddess Neith. The “Queen
of Heaven” was a Babylonian and Assyrian deity. If the Brown race
predominated in the Aryan blend during the Vedic Age, we should have
found the Great Mother more in prominence.

The principal Aryan deities were Indra, god of thunder, and Agni, god
of fire, to whom the greater number of hymns were addressed. From the
earliest times, however, Aryan religion was of complex character. We
can trace at least two sources of cultural influence from the earlier
Iranian period.[16] The hymns bear evidence of the declining splendour
of the sublime deities Varuna and Mitra (Mithra). It is possible that
the conflicts to which references are made in some of the hymns were
not unconnected with racial or tribal religious rivalries.

[16] A convenient term to refer to the unknown area occupied by the
Vedic Aryans before they invaded India.

Indra, as we show (Chapter I), bears resemblances to other “hammer
gods”. He is the Indian Thor, the angry giant-killer, the god of war
and conquests. That his name even did not originate in India is made
evident by an inscription at Boghaz Köi, in Asia Minor, referring to a
peace treaty between the kings of the Hittites and Mitanni. Professor
Hugo Winckler has deciphered from this important survival of antiquity
“In-da-ra” as a Mitanni deity who was associated with Varuna, Mitra,
and Nasatya.

No evidence has yet been forthcoming to indicate any connection between
the Aryans in Mitanni and the early settlers in India. It would appear,
however, that the two migrations represented by the widely separated
areas of Aryan control, radiated from a centre where the gods Indra,
Varuna, and Mitra were grouped in the official religion. The folk-wave
which pressed towards the Punjab gave recognition to Agni, possibly
as a result of contact, or, more probably, fusion with a tribe of
specialized fire-worshippers.

If we separate the Indra from the Agni, cremating worshippers, it will
be of interest to follow the ethnic clue which is thus suggested.
Modern-day Hindus burn their dead in accordance with the religious
practice of the Agni worshippers in the Vedic Age. It is doubtful,
however, if all the Aryan invaders practised cremation. There are
references to burial in the “house of clay”, and Yama, god of the dead,
was adored as the first man who explored the path to the “Land of the
Pitris” (Fathers) which lay across the mountains. Professor Oldenberg
considers that these burials referred to the disposal of the bones and
ashes of the dead.

Professor Macdonell and Dr. Keith, however, do not share Professor
Oldenberg's view in this connection.[17] They hold that the epithet
_Agni-dagdhah_, “burnt with fire”, “applies to the dead who were burned
on the funeral pyre”; the other custom being burial—_An-agni-dagdhah_,
“not burnt with fire”. They also refer to _Paroptah_, “casting out”,
and _Uddhitah_, “Exposure of the dead”, which are expressions of
doubtful meaning. These authorities add: “Burial was clearly not rare
in the Rigvedic period: a whole hymn (x, 18) describes the ritual
attending it. The dead man was buried apparently in full attire, with
his bow in his hand, and probably at one time his wife was immolated
to accompany him.... But in the Vedic period both customs appear in a
modified form: the son takes the bow from the hand of the dead man, and
the widow is led away from her dead husband by his brother or nearest
kinsman. A stone is set up between the dead and the living to separate

[17] _Vedic Index of Names and Subjects_, A. A. Macdonell and A. B.
Keith, Vol. I, pp. 8, 9 (1912).

The Persian fire-worshippers, on the other hand, did not cremate
their dead, but exposed them on “towers of silence” to be devoured
by vultures, like their modern-day representatives the Parsees, who
migrated into India after displacement by the Mohammedans. In Persia
the sacred fire was called Atar,[18] and was identified with the
supreme deity Ahura-Mazda (Ormuzd).

[18] Compared with the Latin _atrium_, “the room that contained the
hearthfire”. Agni is cognate with the Latin _ignis_, cf. Lithuanian,
_ugnis szwenta_, “holy fire”—_Early Religious Poetry of Persia_,
Professor Moulton, pp. 38, 39.

Agni of the Vedic Age is the messenger between gods and men; he
conducts the deities to the sacrifice and the souls of the cremated
dead to Paradise; he is also the twin brother of Indra.

Now, it is of interest to note, in considering the racial significance
of burial rites, that cremation was not practised by the western
representatives of the Brown race. In pre-Dynastic Egypt the dead were
interred as in Babylon,[19] with food vessels, &c. Neolithic man in
Europe also favoured crouched burials, and this practice obtained all
through the Bronze Age.

[19] The theory that certain Babylonian graves show traces of cremation
has been abandoned.—_A History of Sumer and Akkad_, L. W. King, pp.
20, 21 (1910).

The Buriats, who are Mongols dwelling in the vicinity of Lake Baikal,
still perpetuate ancient customs, which resemble those of the Vedic
Aryans, for they not only practise cremation but also sacrifice
the horse (see Chap. V). In his important study of this remarkable
people, Mr. Curtin says:[20] “The Buriats usually burn their dead;
occasionally, however, there is what is called a ‘Russian burial’,
that is, the body is placed in a coffin and the coffin is put in the
ground. But generally if a man dies in the Autumn or the Winter his
body is placed on a sled and drawn by the horse which he valued most to
some secluded place in the forest. There a sort of house is built of
fallen trees and boughs, the body is placed inside the house, and the
building is then surrounded with two or three walls of logs so that no
wolf or other animal can get into it.” The horse is afterwards slain.
“If other persons die during the winter their bodies are carried to the
same house. In this lonely silent place in the forest they rest through
the days and nights until the first cuckoo calls, about the ninth of
May. Then relatives and friends assemble, and without opening the house
burn it to the ground. Persons who die afterwards and during the Summer
months are carried to the forest, placed on a funeral pile, and burned
immediately. The horse is killed just as in the first instance.”

[20] _A Journey in Southern Siberia_, Jeremiah Curtin, p. 101.

When the dead are buried without being burned, the corpse is either
carried on a wagon, or it is placed upright in front of a living man on
horseback so as to ride to its last resting place. The saddle is broken
up and laid at the bottom of the grave, while the body is turned to
face the south-east. In this case they also sacrifice the horse which
is believed to have “gone to his master, ready for use”.

Cremation spread throughout Europe, as we have said, in the Bronze
Age. It was not practised by the early folk-waves of the Alpine race
which, according to Mosso,[21] began to arrive after copper came into
use. The two European Bronze Age burial customs, associated with urns
of the “food vessel” and “drinking cup” types, have no connection with
the practice of burning the dead. The Archæological Ages have not
necessarily an ethnic significance. Ripley is of opinion, however,
that the practice of cremation indicates a definite racial infusion,
but unfortunately it has destroyed the very evidence, of which we are
most in need, to solve the problem. It is impossible to say whether the
cremated dead were “broad heads” or “long heads”.

[21] _The Dawn of Mediterranean Civilization_, A. Mosso, London Trans.,

“Dr. Sophus Müller of Copenhagen is of opinion that cremation was not
practised long before the year 1000 B.C. though it appeared earlier
in the south of Europe than in the north. On both points Professor
Ridgeway of Cambridge agrees with him.”[22]

[22] British Museum _Guide to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age_, pp.
23, 24.

The migration of the cremating people through Europe was westward and
southward and northward; they even swept through the British Isles as
far north as Orkney. They are usually referred to by archæologists
as “Aryans”; some identify them with the mysterious Celts, whom the
French, however, prefer to associate, as we have said, with the Alpine
“broad heads” especially as this type bulks among the Bretons and the
hillmen of France. We must be careful, however, to distinguish between
the Aryans and Celts of the philologists and archæologists.

It may be that these invaders were not a race in the proper sense,
but a military confederacy which maintained a religious organization
formulated in some unknown area where they existed for a time as a
nation. The Normans who invaded these islands were Scandinavians[23];
they settled in France, intermarried with the French, and found allies
among the Breton chiefs. It is possible that the cremating people
similarly formed military aristocracies when they settled in Hindustan,
Mitanni, and in certain other European areas. “Nothing is commoner in
the history of migratory peoples,” says Professor Myres,[24] “than to
find a very small leaven of energetic intruders ruling and organizing
large native populations, without either learning their subjects'
language or imposing their own till considerably later, if at all.”
The archæological evidence in this connection is of particular value.
At a famous site near Salzburg, in upper Austria, over a thousand
Bronze Age graves were discovered, just over half of which contained
unburnt burials. Both methods of interment were contemporary in this
district, “but it was noticed that the cremated burials were those
of the wealthier class, or of the dominant race.”[25] We find also
that at Hallstatt “the bodies of the wealthier class were reduced to
ashes”.[26] In some districts the older people may have maintained
their supremacy. At Watsch and St. Margaret in Carniola “a similar
blending of the two rites was observed ... the unburnt burials being
the richer and more numerous”.[27] The descent of the Achaens into
Greece occurred at a date earlier than the rise of the great Hallstatt
civilization. According to Homeric evidence they burned their dead;
“though the body of Patroklos was cremated,” however, “the lords of
Mycenae were interred unburnt in richly furnished graves”.[28] In
Britain the cremating people mingled with their predecessors perhaps
more intimately than in other areas where there were large states
to conquer. A characteristic find on Acklam Wold, Yorkshire, may
be referred to. In this grave “a pile of burnt bones was in close
contact with the legs of a skeleton buried in the usual contracted
position, and they seemed to have been deposited while yet hot,
for the knees of the skeleton were completely charred. It has been
suggested in cases like this, or where an unburnt body is surrounded
by a ring of urn burials, the entire skeleton may be those of chiefs
or heads of families, and the burnt bones those of slaves, or even
wives, sacrificed at the funeral. The practice of suttee (sati) in
Europe rests indeed on the authority of Julius Cæsar, who represents
such religious suicides as having, at no remote period from his own,
formed a part of the funeral rites of the Gaulish chiefs; and also
states that the relatives of a deceased chieftain accused his wives
of being accessory to his death, and often tortured them to death on
that account.”[29] If this is the explanation, the cremating invaders
constituted the lower classes in Gaul and Britain, which is doubtful.
The practice of burning erring wives, however, apparently prevailed
among the Mediterranean peoples. In an Egyptian folk-tale a Pharaoh
ordered a faithless wife of a scribe to be burned at the stake.[30]
One of the Ossianic folk tales of Scotland relates that Grainne,
wife of Finn-mac-Coul, who eloped with Diarmid, was similarly dealt
with.[31] The bulk of the archæological evidence seems to point to the
invaders, who are usually referred to as “Aryans” having introduced
the cremation ceremony into Europe. Whence came they? The problem is
greatly complicated by the evidence from Palestine, where cremation
was practised by the hewers of the great artificial caves which were
constructed about 3000 B.C.[32] As cremation did not begin in Crete,
however, until the end of period referred to as “Late Minoan Third”
(1450-1200 B.C.)[33] it may be that the Palestinian burials are much
later than the construction of the caves.

[23] Associated, some authorities urge, with Germans from the mouth of
the Elbe.

[24] _The Dawn of History_, J. L. Myres, p. 199.

[25] British Museum _Guide to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age_, p. 98.

[26] British Museum _Guide to the Antiquities of the Early Iron Age_,
p. 8.

[27] _ibid._ p. 6.

[28] _ibid._ p. 8.

[29] British Museum _Guide to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age_, pp.
16, 17.

[30] _Egyptian Myth and Legend_, p. 143.

[31] Campbell's _West Highland Tales_, vol. iii, p. 55.

[32] _A History of Civilization in Palestine_, R. A. S. Macalister.

[33] _The Discoveries in Crete_, Professor R. M. Burrows, p. 100.
Dating according to _Crete the Forerunner of Greece_, C. H. and H. B.
Hawes, p. xiv.

  1        Photo. Johnson and Hoffmann]

It seems reasonable to suppose that the cremation rite originated among
a nomadic people. The spirits of the dead were got rid of by burning
the body: they departed, like the spirit of Patroklos, after they had
received their “meed of fire”. Burial sites were previously regarded
as sacred because they were haunted by the spirits of ancestors (the
Indian _Pitris_ = “fathers”). A people who burned their dead, and were
therefore not bound by attachment to a tribal holy place haunted by
spirits, were certainly free to wander. The spirits were transferred by
fire to an organized Hades, which appears to have been conceived of by
a people who had already attained to a certain social organization and
were therefore capable of governing the communities which they subdued.
When they mingled with peoples practising other rites and professing
different religious beliefs, however, the process of racial fusion must
have been accompanied by a fusion of beliefs. Ultimately the burial
customs of the subject race might prevail. At any rate, this appears
to have been the case in Britain, where, prior to the Roman Age, the
early people achieved apparently an intellectual conquest of their
conquerors; the practice of the cremation rite entirely vanished.

We have gone far afield to find a clue to assist towards the solution
of the Aryan problem in India. The evidence accumulated is certainly
suggestive, and shows that the conclusions of the early philologists
have been narrow in the extreme. If the long-headed Kurds are, as
Ripley believes, the descendants of the Mitanni raiders, then the
Aryans of history must be included in the Brown race. As, however,
cremation was not practised by the Berbers, the Babylonians, the early
Cretans, or other representatives of the ancient brunet dolichocephalic
peoples, it may be that the custom, which still lingers among the
Mongolian Buriats, was not in the narrow sense of Aryan origin. It may
have been first practised among an unknown tribe of fire-worshippers,
who came under the influence of a great teacher like Zoroaster. We
cannot overlook in this connection the possibility of an individual
origin for a new and revolutionary system of religious doctrines.
Buddhism, for instance, originated with Buddha.

As we have said, the Vedic religion of the Aryans in India was
characterized by the worship of male deities, the goddesses being of
secondary and even slight importance. A religious revolution, however,
occurred during the second or Brahmanical Age—the age of priestly
ascendancy. Fresh invasions had taken place and the Aryans were divided
into tribal groups of Westerners and Easterners, on either side of
a central power in Madhyadesa, the “Middle Country” which extended
between the upper reaches of the Saraswati and the Ganges and the
Jumna rivers. The Westerners included the peoples of the Punjab and
the north-western frontier, and the Easterners the kingdoms of Kasi
(Benares) and Maghadha as well as Kosala and Videha, which figure
prominently in the _Ramáyana_ epic, where the kings are referred to
as being of the “Solar race”. The Middle Kingdom was the centre of
Brahmanical culture and influence: it was controlled by those federated
tribes, the Kuru Panchalas, with whom were fused the Bháratas of
the “Lunar race”. It is believed that the military aristocracy of
the “Middle Country” were late comers who arrived by a new route
and thrust themselves between the groups of early settlers.[34] The
Bharatas worshipped a goddess Bharati who was associated with the
Saraswati river on the banks of which the tribe had for a period been
located. Saraswati became the wife of Brahma, the supreme god, and it
would seem that she had a tribal significance.

[34] _Vedic Index of Names and Subjects._

If the Bharatas of the “Lunar race” worshipped the moon and rivers, it
is possible that they belonged to the Brown race. The folk-religion
of the tribe would be perpetuated by the people even although their
priests became speculative thinkers like the unknown authors of the
_Upanishads_. It is significant to note, therefore, that the goddesses
ultimately came into as great prominence in India as in Egypt. This
change took place during the obscure period prior to the revival of
Brahmanism. In the sixth century before the Christian era Buddhism
had origin, partly as a revolt of the Kshatriya (aristocratic) class
against priestly ascendancy, and the new faith spread eastward where
Brahmanic influence was least pronounced. When the influence of
Buddhism declined, the Pantheon is found to have been revolutionized
and rendered thoroughly Mediterranean in character. The Vedic gods had
in the interval suffered eclipse; they were subject to the greater
personal gods Brahma, with Vishnu and Shiva, each of whom had a goddess
for wife. Brahma, as we have said, had associated with him the river
deity Saraswati of the Bharatas; the earth goddess, Lakshmi, was the
wife of Vishnu; she rose, however, from the Ocean of Milk. But the most
distinctive and even most primitive goddesses were linked with Shiva,
the Destroyer. The goddess Durga rivalled Indra as a deity of war.
Kali, another form of Durga, was as vengeful and bloodthirsty as the
Scottish Cailleach, or the Egyptian Hathor, who, as the earlier Sekhet,
rejoiced in accomplishing the slaughter of the enemies of Ra.[35] Kali,
as we shall see (Chapter VIII) replaced the Vedic king of the gods as
a successful demon slayer. As the Egyptian Ra went forth to restrain
Hathor, so did Shiva hasten to the battlefield, flooded by gore, to
prevail upon his spouse Kali to spare the remnant of her enemies.

[35] See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.

[Illustration: KALI
_From a bronze in the Calcutta Art Gallery_

The rise of the goddesses may have been due in part to the influence
of Dravidian folk-religion. This does not, however, vitiate the theory
that moon, water, and earth worship was not unconnected with the
ascendancy of the Brown race in India. The Dravidian brunet long heads
were, as we have said, probably represented in the pre-Aryan, as well
as the post-Vedic folk-waves, which mingled with pre-Dravidian stocks.
Mr. Crooke inclines to the view that the Aryan conquest was more moral
and intellectual than racial.[36] The decline of the patriarchal
religion of the Vedic military aristocracy may thus be accounted
for; the religious practices of the earlier people might ultimately
have attained prominence in fusion with imported ideas. If the Aryan
racial type was distinctive, as it appears to have been, in colour at
any rate, the predominant people who flourished when the hymns were
composed, may have greatly declined in numbers owing to the ravages
of disease which in every new country eliminates the unfit in the
process of time. Even if Aryan conquest was more racial in character
than Mr. Crooke will allow, the physical phenomena of the present day
can be accounted for in this way, due allowance being made, of course,
for the crossment of types. In all countries which have sustained
the shock of invasion, the tendency to revert to the aboriginal type
is very marked. At any rate, this is the case in Egypt and Crete as
present-day evidence shows. In Great Britain, which was invaded by the
broad heads of the Bronze Age, the long-headed type is once again in
the majority; a not inconsiderable proportion of our people show Stone
Age (Mediterranean) physical characteristics.

[36] _The North-Western Provinces of India_, 1897, p. 60.

In this connection it is of interest to refer to immemorial beliefs and
customs which survive in representative districts in Britain and India
where what may be called pre-Aryan influences are most pronounced. A
people may change their weapons and their language time and again, and
yet retain ancient modes of thought. In Devon, which the philologists
claim to be largely Celtic like Cornwall, the folk-lore shows marked
affinities with that of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, suggesting the
survival of ancient Mediterranean racial influence, for much of what
we call Celtic links with what belongs to ancient Greece and the
Egyptian Delta. Mr. Gomme has shown[37] in an interesting summary
of recorded folk-practices that the “ram feast” of Devon resembles
closely in essential details similar ceremonies in ancient Greece and
modern India. At the beginning of May the people of Devon were wont
to sacrifice a ram lamb to the deity of waters. The animal was tied
to a pillar, its throat was cut, and young men scrambled to obtain
pieces of its flesh for girls. The devourer was assured of good luck
during the year. After the ceremony, dancing, wrestling, and drinking
were indulged in. A comparison is drawn between this and similar rites
among the ancient Semites and ancient Greeks. In India a Dravidian
Paria acts as the temporary village priest. He uses a whip like the
“gad whip” in Lincolnshire, and kills the lamb by tearing its throat
with his teeth. A scramble takes place for the flesh, the people
circulate the village, as some communities in our own country still
perpetuate the ceremony of “riding the marches” of ancient burghs;
then universal licence prevails. Similarly law was suspended at the
ancient Scottish Hallowe'en celebrations; in some districts even in our
own day Hallowe'en and New Year practical jokes and rowdyism is still
prevalent. Herodotus refers to the universal licence and debauchery
which characterized the Isis festival in Egypt.

[37] _Ethnology in Folklore_, George Laurence Gomme, p. 34 _et seq_.

A remarkable feature of post-Vedic religion in ancient India is the
prominence given to the doctrine of metempsychosis (transmigration of
souls) and the conception of the yugas or ages of the universe.

In the _Rigveda_ the soul of the dead proceeds at once, or at any
rate after burial, towards the next world. In one passage only is
it spoken of “as departing to the waters or the plants”, and this
reference, Professor Macdonell suggests,[38] “may contain the germs
of the theory” of transmigration. In the speculative prose treatises,
the _Upanishads_, which were composed in the Middle Country, the
doctrine of metempsychosis is fully expounded. It does not follow,
however, that it originated in India although it may have obtained
there unrecognized by the priestly poets who composed the hymns to
the deities, long before it became an essential tenet of orthodox or
official religion. Other representative communities of the Brown race
professed this doctrine which appears to have evolved from the vague
belief shared by more than one primitive race, that the souls of the
dead, and especially of dead children, were ever on the outlook for
suitable mothers. Even in Central Australia a particular tribe has
perpetuated “the germs of the theory”, which may also be traced in the
widespread custom of visiting standing stones at a certain phase of
the moon to perform a ceremony so that offspring may be obtained. The
Upanishadic doctrine of metempsychosis is less likely to have been
so much coincidental as racial when we find that it is restricted to
those areas where definite racial influences must have been at work.
The Greeks believed in transmigration. So did also a section of the
Egyptian people as Herodotus has stated and as is proved by references
in folk-tales, temple chants and inscriptions.[39] As we show (Chapter
VI), the Irish conception closely resembled the Indian, and it also
obtained among the Gauls. There is no trace, however, that the
Teutonic peoples were acquainted with the fully developed doctrine of
metempsychosis; the souls of the dead departed immediately to Valhal,
Hela, or the loathsome Nifelhel.

[38] _A History of Sanskrit Literature_, p. 115.

[39] See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.

The doctrine of the world's ages is common to the Indian, Greek, and
Irish mythologies, but is not found in Teutonic mythology either.[40]
There are indications that it may have at one time obtained in Egypt,
for there was an Age of Ra, then a deluge, an Age of Osiris, an Age of
Set, &c.; but the doctrine, like other conceptions in Egypt, probably
suffered from the process of priestly transformation in the interests
of sectarian propaganda.

[40] The “Golden Age” of the gods, and the regeneration of the world
after Ragnarok, do not refer to the doctrine of the world's ages as
found in other mythologies.

In India the ages are called the yugas, and this term has a totally
different meaning in Vedic and Upanishadic times. Evidently the Bharata
invasion and the establishment of the middle country power of their
allies, the Kuru-Panchalas, was not unconnected with the introduction
of the doctrines of metempsychosis and the yugas, and the prominence
subsequently given to the worship of female deities.

If this theory can be established, we are confronted by an extremely
interesting problem. It would appear that the mythology of the Vedic
period bears a close resemblance to Teutonic, while that of the
post-Vedic period connects more intimately with Greek, Celtic, and
Egyptian. Assuming that the Vedic people were influenced by what we
recognize as Teutonic modes of thought, do we find here proof that
the Aryans came from Europe? In Chapter II it is shown that the Norse
Heimdal displays points of resemblance to Agni. The former, however,
has been developed almost beyond recognition as a fire god, and it is
evident that we find him in northern Europe in his latest and most
picturesque form. On the other hand, there is no dubiety about the
origin of the Vedic Agni.

The evidence afforded by archæology is highly suggestive in this
connection. Scandinavia received its culture from the south at a
comparatively late period in the Bronze Age, and it certainly exercised
no intellectual influence in Europe in earlier times. Bronze is, of
course, of less ethnic significance than beliefs, but it is difficult
to believe, at the same time, that an isolated and poorly armed
people could have imposed its intellectual culture over a wide area
without having received anything in return. It is more probable that
the northern Germanic peoples were subjected to the same influences
which are traceable in their mythology and in the Vedic hymns, from
a common source, and there may be more than mere mythology in the
persistent tradition that the ancestors of the Teutons immigrated from
Asia led by Odin. We need not assume that the movement was so much a
racial as a cultural one, which emanated from a particular area where
religious conceptions were influenced by particular habits of life
and “immemorial modes of thought”. Among the settled and agricultural
peoples of the Brown race, the development of religious ideas followed
different lines, and were similarly controlled by early ideas which
sprang from different habits and experiences.

In the opening chapters we present various phases of Aryan life and
religion in India, beginning with the worship of Indra, and concluding
with the early stages of modern Hinduism. From the ancient tribal
struggles of the Middle Country accumulated the hero songs which
received epic treatment in the _Mahábhárata_, while the traditions of
the “Easterners” were enshrined in the _Rámáyana_. Although neither
of these great works can be regarded as historical narratives, they
contain a mass of historical matter which throws much light on the
habits and customs and beliefs of the early peoples.

These epics were utilized by Brahmanical compilers for purposes of
religious propaganda, and survive to us mainly as sacred books. In
our pages we have given prominence to the heroic narrative which
remains embedded in the mass of doctrinal treatises and mythological
interpolations. The miraculous element is somewhat toned down in the
accounts of conflicts, and the more dramatic phases of the heroic
stories are presented in as full detail as space permits, so as to
afford our readers glimpses of ancient life in northern India at a
time when Vedic religion still held sway. This applies especially to
the _Mahábhárata_, the kernel of which, no doubt, contains the hero
songs of the Bharata and other tribes. The mythical conflicts of the
_Rámáyana_ appeal less to western minds than its purely human episodes.
We cannot help being impressed by the chivalrous character of the
leading heroes, the high sense of honour displayed by the princes,
and the obedience shown by sons to their parents. We may weary of
Rama's conflicts with giants and demons, but will long remember him
as the child who pronounced his name as “'Ama” and cried for the moon,
or sat on his father's knee at meetings of the State Council. Our
interest will also abide with him as a lover and a faithful husband
who suffered wrong. His brothers are noble and heroic characters,
worthy of Shakespeare. But even the Bard of Avon never depicted more
wonderful and fascinating women than the heroines of the _Mahábhárata_
and _Rámáyana_. Our gallery includes, among others, the noble and
self-sacrificing Savitri, who rescued her husband from the clutches of
death by exercise of her strong love and devotion; the faithful and
virtuous Sita, and the sorrowful and constant Damayantí, and beautiful
Shakuntalá. In western literature romance usually ends with marriage;
in India the devotion of wives is of more account than the yearnings of
love-smitten Juliets on moonlight nights.

Another aspect of Sanskrit literature is the feeling of the poets for
Nature. These voluminous writers revelled in the luxuriant loveliness
and splendour of Indian forests, and the charms of gleaming valleys
and serene, snow-capped mountains; even the gods loved to hear the hum
of insects and the songs of melodious birds, and, like mortals, to
gather flowers of sweet scents and brilliant colours. Hundreds of songs
were sung in praise of the lotus blooms that gemmed the clear waters
of lakes and ponds, and Paradise was pictured as a jungle of beauty,
fanned by soft winds, radiant with blossoms, and ever vocal with music
and song. To illustrate this phase of India's classic literature, we
reproduce at length the representative story of Nala with much of its
poetic details.

The civilization revealed by the narrative poems was of no mean
order. The ancient Aryans were chivalrous knights. No such barbaric
incident occurs in the _Mahábhárata_ battles as when in the _Iliad_ the
victorious Achilles drags behind his chariot the body of the slain
Hector. When Arjuna, the Indian Achilles, slays Karna, the Indian
Hector, he honours his fallen foe and performs those rites at the
funeral pyre which assures the dead hero immortal bliss in Paradise.
When, again, Arjuna mortally wounds Bhishma, he procures water to
quench the thirst of his dying opponent. Even the villains are not
without their redeeming qualities. Duryodhana of the _Mahábhárata_,
who consents to the slaughter of his sleeping rivals, dies with grief
because the innocent children of his enemies were slain. Rávana, the
demon king of Ceylon, touches us in the _Rámáyana_ by his grief for his
son, who was slain fighting against Laksmana, brother of Rama.

To appreciate fully the sacred and romantic literature of India, we
should follow the advice of Robert Louis Stevenson. “To learn aright
from any teacher,” he wrote, “we must first of all, like a historical
artist, think ourselves into sympathy with his position.” And if in
endeavouring to understand the religious conceptions of the ancient
forest sages, we, at times, find ourselves in difficulties, it may be
that “if a saying is hard to understand, it is because we are thinking
of something else”—we are looking on India with European eyes and
with European prejudices. “There is always”, said Stevenson, “a ruling
spirit behind the code of rules, an attitude, a relation, a point of
the compass, in virtue of which we conform or dissent.”[41]

[41] _Lay Morals._

We are confident that our readers who peruse with sympathy and, we
hope, with enjoyment, the chapters which follow, will feel themselves
drawn closer than hitherto to the millions of our fellow subjects
in the great dependency of the British Empire, by whom Rama and
Yudhishthira are regarded as ideal types of strong manhood, and Savitri
and Sita as perfect women and exemplary lovers and wives.




Indra, King of the Gods

 Types of Hammer Gods—The Aryan Indra—Chinese World Shaper—Scottish
 Hunting Deity—Egyptian Artisan God—Greek and Roman Thunder
 Gods—Thor—Hittite, Assyrian, and other types—A Wail from
 Palestine—Babylonian Influence—Indra's Indian Character—A Nature
 Myth—Drought Demon slain—Gods and Demons in conflict—Origin of
 Indra's Thunderbolt—Demons' plot to destroy Universe—Babylonian
 Creation Myth—How Indra Shaped the World—Elfin Artisans in
 India, Egypt, and Germania—Babylonian Artisan God—Indra the
 Harvest God—The God of Battle—Comparison with Thor—Aryan Cattle
 Lifters—Indra's Queen and Attendants.

The ancient Eur-Asian “hammer god”, bearing the tribal name of Indra,
accompanied the earliest invading bands of hunting and pastoral
Aryans, who hailed with joy the “fresh woods and pastures new” of the
Punjab, the green country of “Five Rivers”. This deity of wanderers
and invaders was already of great antiquity and wide distribution;
his attributes were in accord with the habits and ideals of his
worshippers; they multiplied with the discoveries of man and were ever
influenced by the conditions prevailing in new areas of localization.
He was the Thunderer who brought rain to quicken dried-up pasture
lands; he was the god of fertility, and he became the corn spirit;
he was “the friend of man”; he was the artisan of the Universe which
he shaped with his hammer, the dragon slayer, the giant killer, the
slaughterer of enemies, the god of war. His racial significance must
ever remain obscure. We cannot identify his original home, or even
fix with certainty the archæological period in which he first took
definite shape. It is possible that he may have been invoked and
propitiated by Neolithic, or even by Palæolithic, flint knappers who
struck fire from stone long ere they suspected the existence of metal;
the primitive hunting and pastoral wanderers may have conceived of a
thunder deity engaged in splintering the hills with his stone hammer,
and fighting demons in the rude manner in which they themselves
contended against beasts of prey. Memories of the Stone Age cling to
the hammer god. Indra's bolt was “the all-dreaded thunderstone” of
Shakespeare's lyric; until recently Palæolithic and Neolithic artifacts
were reputed to be “elf bolts” and “thunder bolts” which fell from the
sky; in Scandinavian folklore “the flint hills” are the fragments of
the weapon wielded by the thunder giant Hrungner. The bolt or hammer
ultimately became an axe; and according to the modern Greeks, lightning
flashes are caused by the blows of the “sky axe” (astropeléki);
Scottish Gaelic retains an immemorial reference to the “thunder ball”

The hammer god's close association with hilly countries suggests that
he was first worshipped on the steppes and then distributed by the
nomads whose migrations were propelled by changing climatic conditions.
He is found as far east as China, where, as P'an Ku, the dwarfish
“first man”, he smites primeval rocks with his thunder hammer while
engaged in the work of shaping the hills; he is found as far west
as Scotland, where, as the hunting giant Finn-mac-Coul, “in height
sixty feet”, he strikes with his hammer, “Ord na Feinne”, such mighty
blows on his shield that he is heard by his followers in Lochlann
(Scandinavia). From ancient Egypt come distant echoes of the world
artisan Ptah, now a dwarf and anon a giant, who hammers out the copper
sky, suggesting the presence in Memphis of early Asian settlers at
the very dawn of history. In southern Europe the deity is Zeus-pater
(Jupiter), the sublime wielder of the thunderbolt; in northern Europe
he is lusty Thor, hurling Mjolner through the air against Jotuns, or
cleaving valleys with it in the mountain range which he mistook for
the giant Skrymer. We find the hammer god as Tarku among the Hittites;
he is Indra in Mitanni as in the Punjab; he is Rammon, or Adad, who
is carried aloft in triumph by the soldiers of Assur-banipal, the
Assyrian Emperor; he is remembered in Palestine by the wail of Naaman,
who cried: “When my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship
there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of
Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon
thy servant in this thing....”[42] The thunder god is also known in
Babylon, which received many of its settlers from the hills of Elam
and where Kassites, associated with Aryans, established a dynasty
after successful invasion, prior to the discovery of the Punjab. The
authorities are agreed that Aryan culture shows traces of Babylonian
influence; it does not follow, however, that Indra is of Babylonian

[42] _2 Kings_, v, 18.

But although his name, which has been deciphered as “In-da-ra” at
Boghaz-Köi in Asia Minor, may belong to the early Iranian period, the
Vedic “King of the gods” assumed a distinctly Indian character after
localization in the land of the “Five Rivers”; he ultimately stepped
from his chariot, drawn by the steeds of the Aryan horse tamers, and
mounted an elephant; his Heaven, called Swarga, which is situated on
the summit of Mount Meru, eclipses Olympus and Valhal by reason of its
dazzling Oriental splendour; his combats are reflections of the natural
phenomena of Hindustan.

When the hot Indian summer draws to a close, the whole land is parched
and athirst for rain; rivers are low and many hill streams have dried
up; man and beast are weary and await release in the breathless
enervating atmosphere; they are even threatened by famine. Then dense
masses of cloud gather in the sky; the tempest bellows, lightnings
flash and thunder peals angrily and loud; rain descends in a deluge;
once again torrents pour down from the hills and rivers become swollen
and turgid. Indra has waged his battle with the Drought Demons, broken
down their fortress walls, and released the imprisoned cow-clouds which
give nourishment to his human “friends”; the withered pastures become
green with generous and rapid growth, and the rice harvest follows.

According to Vedic myth, Indra achieved his first great victory
immediately after birth. Vritra, “the encompasser”, the Demon of
Drought, was holding captive in his mountain fortress the cloud-cattle
which he had harried in the approved manner of the Aryan raiders.[43]
Mankind entreated the aid of the gods, “the shining ones, the world

[43] One of the sections of the epic _Mahabharata_ is called
“Go-Harran”, which signifies “cattle harrying”.

    Who will take pity? Who will bring refreshment?
    Who will come nigh to help us in distress?
    Counsels the thoughts within our hearts are counselling,
    Wishes are wished and soar towards the highest—
    O none but them, the shining ones, are merciful,
    My longing wings itself towards the Eternals.

[Illustration: INDRA
_From the Indra Temple, Ellora_

Indra arose heroically to do battle for the sacrificers. Impulsively he
seized the nectar of the gods, called Soma, and drank a deep draught
of that intoxicating juice. Then he snatched up his thunderstone which
had been fashioned by the divine artisan Twashtri, who resembles the
Germanic Mimer, the “wonder smith”. His “favourite bays”, named the
Bold and the Brown, were yoked in his golden chariot by his attendants
and followers, the youthful Maruts.

Now, at the very beginning, Indra, the golden child, became the king of
the three worlds. He it was who gave the air of life; he gave strength
also. All the shining gods revered him and obeyed his commands. “His
shadow is immortality; his shadow is death.”

The Maruts, the sons of red Rudra, were the spirits of tempest and
thunder. To each of their chariots were yoked two spotted deer and one
swift-footed, never-wearying red deer as leader. They were stalwart and
courageous youths, “full of terrible designs like to giants”; on their
heads were golden helmets and they had golden breastplates, and wore
bright skins on their shoulders; their ankles and arms were decked with
golden bracelets. The Maruts were always strongly armed with bows and
arrows and axes, and especially with gleaming spears. All beings feared
those “cloud shakers” when they hastened forth with their lightning
spears which “shattered cattle like the thunderstone”; they were wont
to cleave cloud-rocks and drench the earth with quickening showers.

When Indra drove forth to attack the Drought Demon, the “hastening
Maruts” followed him, shouting with loud voices: in “a shower” were
the Maruts “let loose”; they dashed towards the imprisoned cows of the
clouds and “chased them aloft”.

The dragon Vritra roared when Indra drew nigh; whereat heaven shook and
the gods retreated. Mother Earth, the goddess Prithivi (prit´hi-vee),
was troubled regarding her golden son. But Indra advanced boldly with
the roaring Maruts; he was inspired by the hymns of the priests; he had
drunken deeply of Soma; he was strengthened by the sacrifices offered
on earth's altars; and he wielded the thunderstone.

The Drought Demon deemed itself invulnerable, but Indra cast his weapon
and soon discovered the vulnerable parts of its writhing body. He slew
the monster; it lay prone before him; the torrents burst forth and
carried it away to the sea of eternal darkness. Then Indra rejoiced and
cried out:

    I have slain Vritra, O ye hast'ning Maruts;
    I have grown mighty through my own great vigour;
    I am the hurler of the bolt of Thunder—
    For man flow freely now the gleaming waters.

On earth the worshippers of the god were made glad; the Rishi hymned
his praises:

    I will extol the manly deeds of Indra:
    The first was when the Thunder stone he wielded
    And smote the Dragon; he released the waters,
    He oped the channels of the breasted mountains.

    He smote the dragon Vritra in its fortress—
    Twashtri had shaped for him the thunder weapon—
    Then rushing freely like to bellowing cattle
    The gladsome waters to the sea descended.

    Bull-spirited did Indra choose the Soma,
    He drank its juices from the triple ladles;
    Then clutched the Bounteous One his thunder weapon,
    And fiercely smote the first-born of the Dragons.

    The smitten monster fell amidst the torrents,
    That pause nor stay, for ever surging onward;
    Then Vritra covered by the joyful billows
    Was carried to the darksome deeps of Ocean.

        —_Rigveda_, i. 32.

A post-Vedic version of the encounter between Indra and the demon
Vritra is given in the “Vana Parva” section of _Mahābhārata_. Although
it is coloured by the change which, in the process of time, passed
over the religious beliefs of the Aryans, it retains some features of
the original myth which are absent in the Vedic hymns. It should be
understood that, at the period referred to, the belief obtained that
the gods derived their powers from the saintly Rishis,[44] who fed them
with sacrifices and underwent terrible penances, which enabled them to
support or destroy the Universe at will.

[44] The deified poets and sages. See Chapter VIII.

It is related that in the Krita Age (the first Age of the Universe) a
host of Dānāvas (giants and demons) were so strongly armed that they
were invincible in battle. They selected the dragon Vritra as their
leader, and waged war against the gods, whom they scattered in all

Realizing that they could not regain their power until they
accomplished the death of Vritra, the Celestials appeared before their
Grandsire, the Supreme Being, Brahma, the incarnation of the Soul of
the Universe. Brahma instructed them to obtain the bones of a Rishi
named Dadhicha, from which to construct a demon-slaying weapon. So the
gods visited the Rishi and bowed down before him, and begged the boon
according to Brahma's advice.

Said Dadhicha: “O ye gods, I will renounce my body for your benefit.”

Then the Rishi gave up his life, and from his bones the artisan god,
Twashtri, shaped Indra's great weapon, which is called Vajra.[45]

[45] Adolf Kaegi says: “Also Vadha or Vadhar”, which he compares
with German, _Wetter_; O.H. German, _Wetar_: Anglo-Saxon, _Weder_;
English, _Weather_. The original word signifying the sudden change
in atmospheric conditions caused by the thunderstorm was ultimately
applied to all states of the air.

Twashtri spake to Indra and said: “With this, the best of weapons, O
exalted one, reduce that fierce foe of the gods to ashes! And, having
slain the foe, rule thou happily the entire domain of heaven, O chief
of the celestials, with those that follow thee.”[46]

[46] Roy's translation of _Mahabharata_.

Then Indra led the gods against the mighty host. They found that Vritra
was surrounded by dreaded Danavas, who resembled mountain peaks. A
terrible conflict was waged, but once again the gods were put to
flight. Then Indra saw Vritra growing bolder, and he became dejected.
But the Supreme Being protected him and the gods endowed him with their
strength, so that he became mightier than before. Thereupon Vritra was
enraged, and roared loudly and fiercely, so that the heavens shook and
the earth trembled with fear. Deeply agitated, Indra flung his divine
weapon, which slew the leader of the Danavas. But Indra, thinking the
demon was still alive, fled from the field in terror to seek shelter
in a lake. The Celestials, however, perceived that Vritra had been
slain, and they rejoiced greatly and shouted the praises of Indra.
Then, rallying once more, the gods attacked the panic-stricken Danavas,
who turned and fled to the depths of ocean. There in the fathomless
darkness they assembled together, and began to plot how they would
accomplish the destruction of the three worlds.[47]

At length the dread conspirators resolved to destroy all the Rishis who
were possessed of knowledge and ascetic virtue, because the world was
supported by them. So they made the ocean their abode, raising billows
high as hills for their protection, and they began to issue forth from
their fortress to make attacks on the mighty saints.

In the Babylonian Story of Creation the female dragon Tiawath (Tiamat),
whose name signifies “the sea”,[47] desired to possess the world, and
plotted against the gods with her horde of giant serpents, “raging
dogs, scorpion men, fish men, and other terrible beings”. The gods
then selected Belus (Bel-Merodach) as their leader, and proclaimed him
their king. He slew Tiawath and covered the heavens with one part of
her body, and fashioned the earth with the other half. Then he set the
moon and the stars in the sky, and afterwards created man: “he divided
the darkness, separated the heavens from the earth, and reduced the
universe to order”.[48] The sun was the offspring of the moon.

[47] Like the giants and demons of Teutonic mythology, who fought with
the gods in the Last Battle.

[48] _The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria_, by T. G. Pinches, LL.D.

The Indian Vedic and Epic dragon-slaying stories have evidently no
connection, however, with a lost Creation myth. It is possible that
they are part of the floating material from which Babylonian mythology
was framed. At the same time Babylonian influences may not have been
absent in the post-Vedic Age. Indra bears points of resemblance to
Bel-Merodach, but he is not a Creator in the sublime sense; he is
rather an artisan god like the Chinese P'an Ku, the lonely hammerman,
and the Egyptian Ptah, who acquired a potter's wheel, in addition to
his hammer, in the Nile valley.

Indra fashioned the universe in the simple manner that the early
Aryans built their wooden houses.[49] How he obtained the requisite
material puzzled the Vedic poets. It may be that there was a World
Tree, however, like the great ash Ygdrasil of Teutonic mythology.
After measuring space with the sun, Indra set up four corner posts and
constructed the world walls; the roof was the cloud-thatched sky. The
wide doors of the world opened to the east, and every morning they
were opened to admit the sun, which Indra flung at evening into the
darkness as a Neolithic man may have flung out a house torch. These
doors are the “gates”, celebrated in the Vedic hymns, through which the
gods entered to partake of the sacrifices and libations. Indra, who
is called “an accomplished artisan”, is lauded as the god who “firmly
secured the dominion of air in the frame of heaven and earth”. In
another hymn it is told: “Indra measured six broad spaces, from which
no existing thing is excluded: he it is who made the wide expanse of
earth and the lofty dome of the sky, even he”. (V. i, 47·3, 4.)

[49] _Cosmology of Rigveda_, Wallis.


In the work of shaping the universe Indra is assisted by the shadowy
deities Savitri, who merged with Surya, the sun god, Brihaspati, “Lord
of Prayer”, who merged with Agni, god of fire, and Vishnu, god of
grace. He was also aided by the Ribhus, the artisans of the gods, who
dwelt in the region of mid-air. Their number is given variously as
three or the multiples of three; they were the sons of Sudhanvan, who
was apparently identical with Indra, because “Indra is a Ribhu when he
confers gifts”; indeed, the artisans are referred to as the children
of the Thunder god. They make grass and herbs, and also channels for
streams. In some respects they resemble the earth-gnomes, the Khnumu,
“the modellers”, the helpers of the Egyptian artisan god Ptah, who
shaped the world. “Countless little figures of these gods are found in
Egyptian tombs; for even as once the Khnumu had helped in the making
of the world, so would they help to reconstruct in all its members the
body of the dead man in whose tomb they were laid.”[50] The Ribhus
similarly renovated aged and decrepit parents; “they reunited the old
cow to the calf”; they are also credited with having shaped the heavens
and the earth,[51] and with having fashioned the “cow of plenty”, and
also a man named Vibhvan.[52]

[50] _Religion of the Ancient Egyptians_, Professor A. Wiedemann, p.

[51] _Rigveda_, iv, 34. 9.

[52] _Cosmology of Rigveda_, Wallis.

According to the _Oxford Dictionary_, they are “the three genii of the
seasons in Hindu mythology”. The Sanskrit word “Ribhu” is sometimes
compared with the Germanic word “Elf”. Professor Macdonell considers
it “likely that the Ribhus were originally terrestrial or aerial
elves”.[53] They are evidently of common origin with the Teutonic elfin
artisans who are associated with Thor, the Germanic Indra.

[53] _A History of Sanskrit Literature_, pp. 106, 107.

The mother of the Ribhus was Saranyu, daughter of Twashtri, “the Hindu
Vulcan”, the “master workman”. Twashtri forms the organism in maternal
wombs and supports the races of man.[54] As we have seen, he was the
fashioner of Indra's thunderbolt: similarly the Teutonic elfin artisan
Sindre makes Thor's hammer.[55]

[54] _Rigveda_, ii, 53; iii, 55.

[55] _Teutonic Myth and Legend_, pp. 35-9.

The two groups of Teutonic wonder-smiths were rivals; so were the
Ribhus and Twashtri. The elfin artisans prove their skill in both
cases by producing wonderful gifts for the gods. Loke acts as a
mischief-making spy in Germanic myth, and Dadyak in Indian, and both
lose their heads for wagers, but save them by cunning.

The Ribhus had provided the Celestials with horses and chariots, but
Twashtri fashioned a wonderful bowl which filled itself with Soma
for the gods. In the contest that ensued the Ribhus transformed the
bowl into four cups. “This bowl”, says Professor Macdonell, “perhaps
represents the moon, the four cups being its phases.” One of the Ribhus
was a famous archer, like the elfin artisan Egil of Teutonic mythology.

The artisan of Babylonian mythology is Ea, father of Bel-Merodach. He
is “King of the abyss, creator of everything, lord of all”. He was the
god of artisans in general, and is identified with the sea-deity of
the Persian Gulf—half-fish, half-man—who landed “during the day to
teach the inhabitants the building of houses and temples, the gathering
of fruits, and also geometry, law and letters”. His pupils included
“potters, blacksmiths, sailors, stonecutters, gardeners, farmers,

[56] _The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria_, T. G. Pinches, LL.D.

The Ribhus and Twashtri were the artisans of nature, the spirits of
growth, the genii of the seasons, the elves of earth and air. Indra's
close association with them emphasizes his character as a god of
fertility, who brought the quickening rain, and as the corn god, and
the rice god. He was the son of Father Heaven and Mother Earth, two
vague deities who were never completely individualized, but were never
forgotten. Heaven was the sky-god Dyaus-pita (from div = to shine), the
Zeus pater of the Greeks, Jupiter of the Romans, and Tivi[57] (later,
Odin) of the Germanic peoples, whose wife was the earth-goddess Jord,
mother of Thor. The Hindu earth-mother (Terra mater) was Prithivi.
Dyaus is sometimes referred to as a ruddy bull, whose bellowing is
the thunder; as the Night heaven he is depicted as a black steed
decked with pearls which are the stars; in one of the Vedic hymns
reference is made to his “thunderstone”. Prithivi, who is sometimes
symbolized as a cow, is the source of all vegetation, the supporter
of earth, the female principle. She never assumes the importance of
the Assyrian Ishtar, or the north Egyptian “earth-mother” Neith, or
the “earth-mothers” of Europe. The Vedic Aryans were Great Father
worshippers rather than Great Mother worshippers: their female deities
were Night, Dawn, Earth, and the Rivers, but they were not sharply
individualized until late; they are vague in the Vedas.

[57] An old Germanic name of Odin related to Divus. Odin's descendants
were the “Tivar”. (Pronounce _Dyaus_ as one syllable rhiming with

As the Greek Cronus (Roman Saturn) slew his father Urănus (Heaven), so
did Indra slay his father Dyaus (Heaven). His earth-mother addresses
him, saying: “Who has made thy mother a widow? Who has sought to slay
the sleeping and the waking? What deity has been more gracious than
thou, since thou hast slain thy father, having seized him by the

[58] _Rigveda_, iv, 18. Wilson, vol. iii, p. 153.

The Indian father-slaying myth appears to be connected with the
doctrine of reincarnation. In the _Laws of Manu_ it is stated that
“the husband, after conception by his wife, becomes an embryo and is
born again of her; for that is the wifehood of a wife, that he is born
again by her”.[59] In the famous story of Shakuntălā, the husband
is similarly referred to as the son of his wife, the son being a
reincarnation of the father.[60] This belief resembles the Egyptian
conception which is summed up in the phrase “husband of his mother”.[61]

[59] _The Laws of Manu_, ix, 8; p. 329. (_Sacred Books of the East_,
vol. xxv.)

[60] _Adi Parva_, sect. lxxiv of _Mahabharata_, Roy's translation.

[61] See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.

At the barley harvest in spring and the rice harvest in autumn
offerings were made to the gods. A sacrificial cake of the new barley
or rice was offered to Indra and Agni, a mess of old grain boiled and
mixed with milk and water was given to the other gods, and a cake was
also offered to Father Heaven and Mother Earth in which clarified
butter was an important ingredient; or the offering might consist
entirely of butter, because “clarified butter is manifestly the sap of
these two, Heaven and Earth; ... he (the offerer) therefore gladdens
these two with their own sap or essence”.

The reason for this harvest offering is explained as follows: The gods
and the demons contended for supremacy. It chanced that the demons
defiled, partly by magic and partly by poison, the plants used by men
and beasts, hoping thus to overcome the gods. Men ceased to eat and the
beasts stopped grazing; all creatures were about to perish because of
the famine.

Said the gods: “Let us rid the plants of this.”

Then they offered sacrifices and “accomplished all that they wanted to
accomplish, and so did the Rishis”.

A dispute then arose among the gods as to who should partake of the
offerings of the firstfruits—that is, of the new plants which replaced
those the demons had poisoned. It was decided to run a race to settle
the matter. Indra and Agni won the race and were therefore awarded the
cake. These two gods were divine Kshatriyas (noblemen), the others
were “common people”. Whatever Kshatriyas conquer, the commoners are
permitted to share; therefore the other gods received the mess of old

After the magic spell was removed from the plants by the gods, men ate
food and cattle grazed once again. Ever afterwards, at the beginning of
each harvest, the first fruits were offered up to Indra and Agni. The
fee of the priest was the first-born calf “for that is, as it were, the
firstfruits of the cattle”.[62]

[62] _The Satapatha Brahmana_, translated by Professor J. Eggeling,
Part I, pp. 369, 373. (_Sacred Books of the East_, vol. xii.)

The popular Thunder god of the Vedic period bears a close resemblance
to the hard-drinking, kindly, and impulsive Thor, the Teutonic god
of few words and mighty deeds, the constant “friend of man” and the
inveterate enemy of demons. In the hymns Indra is pictured as a
burly man, with “handsome, prominent nose”, “good lips”, and “comely
chin”; he is “long-necked, big-bellied, strongly armed”, and has
a weakness for ornaments. He is much addicted to drinking “sweet,
intoxicating Soma”; he “fills his stomach”; he quaffs “thirty bowls”
at a single draught ere he hastens to combat against “hostile air
demons”. Sometimes he is placed in a difficulty when two tribes of his
worshippers are in conflict: both cry to him for victory, but—

    The god giveth victory unto him
    Who with generous heart pours out
    The draught he thirsts for—
    Nor feels regret in giving;
    Indra joins with him upon the battlefield.

        _Rigveda_, iv, 24. 2-6.

The Aryans, who were as notorious cattle lifters as the Gauls and the
Scottish Highlanders, were wont to invoke the god ere they set out on a
raid, chanting with loud voices:

    Indra, whose riches are boundless, O grant us
      Thousands of beautiful cows and horses:
    Destroy, thou mighty one, all who despise us,
      Visit with death all those who would harm us, and
    Indra, whose riches are boundless, O grant us,
      Thousands of beautiful cows and horses.

        _Wilson's translation._

In other hymns the Thor-like character of Indra, the war god, is
naively depicted. A sceptic is supposed to say: “Many men declare that
there is no Indra. Who ever saw him? Why should we adore him?”

The god makes answer: “O singer, I _am_: behold me! I am here now,
and I am greater than any living being. I delight in the performance
of holy rites. I am also the Destroyer; I can hurl creation to ruin.”
_Rigveda_, viii, 89.

    I never knew a man to speak so to me,
    When all his enemies are safely conquered;
    Yea, when they see how fierce the battle rages,
    They even promise me a pair of bullocks.

    When I am absent in far distant places,
    Then all with open hands their gifts would bring me ...
    Lo! I will make the wealthy niggard needy,
    Seize by the foot and on the hard rock dash him.

        _Rigveda_, x, 27.

    The lord of both the worlds hates all the haughty,
    He cares for those who feel themselves but human.

        _Rigveda_, vi, 47.[63]

[63] Arrowsmith's translation.

These verses recall: “Silence, thou evil one,” roared Thor, “or else
with my hammer shall I strike thy head off and end thy life.”

Then did Loke answer humbly: “Silent indeed I shall be now, O Thor, for
I know full well thou wilt strike.”[64]

[64] _Teutonic Myth and Legend_, p. 173.

_From a Rock Sculpture at Mâmallapuram_

The human qualities of Indra are illustrated in epic narrative. Arjuna,
the Indian Achilles, is his son, and pays a visit to the brilliant
Celestial city on the summit of Mount Meru, where flowers are ever
blooming, and pretty nymphs dance to pleasure battle-slain warriors.

Arjuna saluted his divine sire. “And Indra thereupon embraced him
with his round and plump arms. And taking his hand, Shakra (Indra)
made him sit on a portion of his own seat.... And the lord of the
Celestials—that slayer of hostile heroes—smelt the head of Arjuna,
bending in humility, and even took him upon his lap.... Moved by
affection, the slayer of Vritra touched that beautiful face with his
own perfumed hands. And the wielder of the thunderbolt, patting and
rubbing gently again and again with his own hands, which bore the
marks of the thunderbolt, the handsome and large arms of Arjuna, which
resembled a couple of golden columns and were hard in consequence of
drawing the bowstring and shooting arrows, began to console him. And
the slayer of Vritra ... eyeing his son of curling locks smilingly and
with eyes expanded with delight, seemed scarcely to be gratified. The
more he gazed, the more he liked to gaze on. And seated on one seat,
the father and son enhanced the beauty of the assembly, like the sun
and moon beautifying the firmament together.”[65]

[65] _Vana Parva_ section of _Mahăbhărata_, sect. xliii, Roy's

Indra was attended in his heaven by vague spirits, called Vasus, who
appear to have acted as his counsellors. When Bhishma, a hero of the
great Bhărata war, was slain in battle, he was given a place among the
Vasus. The Thunder god's queen is a shadowy personality, and is called

Indra was attended by a dog, as befitted a deity of primitive
huntsmen. After the early Aryan period, he showed less favour for his
bays and chariot, and seated himself upon a great white elephant, “the
handsome and ever victorious”, named Airavata; it “was furnished with
four tusks” and “resembled the mountain of Kailasa with its summits”.


The Great Vedic Deities

 Agni the Fire God—Source of Life—The Divine Priest—Myths
 regarding his Origin—The Child God—Resemblances to Heimdal and
 Scyld—Messenger of the Gods—Martin Elginbrodde—Vayu or Vata, the
 Wind God—Teutonic Vate and Odin—The Hindu “Wild Huntsman”—Rudra the
 Howler—The Rain God—Sublime Varuna—The Omniscient One—Forgiver of
 Sins—Mitra, an ancient Deity—Babylonian Prototype—A Sun God—A Corn
 God—Mitanni Deities—Surya, the Sun God—The Adityas—Ushas, Goddess
 of Dawn—Ratri, Night—Chandra, the Moon—Identified with Soma—The
 Mead of the Gods—A Humorous Hymn—Sources of Life—Origin of Spitting

Agni, the fire god, was closely associated with Indra, and is sometimes
called his twin brother. The pair were the most prominent deities in
Vedic times: about 250 hymns are addressed to Indra and over 200 to

Indra gave the “air of life” to men; Agni symbolized the “vital spark”,
the principle of life in animate and inanimate Nature; he was in man,
in beast, and fish; he was in plants and trees; he was in butter and in
intoxicating Soma. The gods partook of the nature of Agni. In one of
the post-Vedic Creation myths he is identified with the Universal soul;
Brahma existed in the form of Agni ere the worlds were framed and gods
and men came to be. Agni was made manifest in lightning, in celestial
sun flames, in the sacred blaze rising from the altar and in homely
household fires. The fire god was the divine priest as contrasted with
Indra, the divine warrior.

In the Vedic invocations there are evidences that several myths
had gathered round the fascinating and wonderful fire god. One hymn
refers to him as a child whose birth was kept a secret; his mother,
the queen, concealed him from his sire; he was born in full vigour as
a youth, and was seen sharpening his weapons at a distance from his
home which he had forsaken.[66] Sometimes he is said to have devoured
his parents at birth: this seems to signify that he consumed the fire
sticks from which holy fire was produced by friction. Another hymn says
that “Heaven and Earth (Dyaus and Prithivi) fled away in fear of (the
incarnation of) Twashtri when he was born, but they returned to embrace
the lion”.[67]

[66] _Rigveda_, v, 2.

[67] _Rigveda_, i, 95.

Agni was also given ten mothers who were “twice five sisters”,[68] but
the reference is clearly explained in another passage: “The ten fingers
have given him birth, the ancient, well-loved Agni, well born of his

[68] _Rigveda_, iv, 6. 8.

[69] _Rigveda_, iii, 23. 3.

Dawn, with its darkness-consuming fires, and starry Night, are the
sisters of Agni; “they celebrate his three births, one in the sea, one
in the sky, one in the waters (clouds)”. Typical of the Oriental mind
is the mysterious reference to Agni's “mothers” owing their origin to
him. The poet sings:

    Who among you hath understood the hidden (god)?
        The calf has by itself given birth to its mothers.

Professor Oldenberg, who suggests that the waters are the “mothers”,
reasons in Oriental mode: “Smoke is Agni, it goes to the clouds, the
clouds become waters”.[70]

[70] _Rigveda_, _i_, 95. 4, and note, Oldenberg's _Vedic Hymns_
(_Sacred Books of the East_, vol. xlvi).

[Illustration: AGNI, THE FIRE GOD
_From a painting by Nanda Lall Bose_
(By permission of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta)

In his early humanized form Agni bears some resemblance to Heimdal,
the Teutonic sentinel god, who has nine mothers, the daughters of
sea-dwelling Ran, and is thus also a “son of the waters”; he is clad
in silvern armour, and on his head is a burnished helmet with ram's
horns. Horsed on his swift steed, Gulltop, he watches the demons who
seek to attack the citadel of the gods.... His sight is so keen that
he can see by night as well as by day.... Heimdal is loved both by
gods and by men, and he is also called Gullintani because his teeth
are of gold. There was a time when he went to Midgard (the earth) as
a child; he grew up to be a teacher among men and was named Scef.
Scef is identified as the patriarch Scyld in _Beowulf_, who came over
the sea as a child and rose to be the king of a tribe. Mankind were
descended from Heimdal-Scef: three sons were born to him of human
mothers—Thrall, from whom thralls are descended; Churl, the sire of
freemen, and Jarl from whom nobles have sprung.[71]

[71] _Teutonic Myth and Legend_, pp. 16 and 187-9.

In _Mahabharata_ there is a fragment of an old legend which relates the
origin of Karna, the son of Queen Pritha and the sun god: the birth
of the child is concealed, and he is placed in a basket which is set
afloat on the river and is carried to a distant country.[72]

[72] See Chapter X.

One of the Vedic references to Agni, as we have seen, suggests an
origin similar to Karna of the epic period. He was connected with the
introduction of agriculture like the Teutonic Scef, which signifies
“Sheaf”. Agni is stated to have been “carried in the waters.... The
great one has grown up in the wide unbounded space. The waters (have
made) Agni (grow)”.[73] Agni is “sharp faced” (i, 95); he is “the
bright, brilliant, and shining one” (iv, i. 7); he is “gold toothed”
(v, 22); he sees “even over the darkness of night” (i, 94. 7); he
“makes all things visible”; he conquers the godless, wicked wiles; he
sharpens his two horns in order to pierce Rakshasas (giants) (v, 2). “O
Agni, strike away with thy weapons those who curse us, the malicious
ones, all ghouls, be they near or far” (i, 94. 9). Heimdal blows a
trumpet in battle; Agni is “roaring like a bull” (i, 94. 10).

[73] Oldenberg, _Rigveda_, iii, 1.

As Heimdal, in his Scef-child form, was sent to mankind by the gods,
“Matarisvan[74] brought Agni to Bhrigu as a gift, precious like wealth,
of double birth, the carrier, the famous, the beacon of the sacrifice,
the ready, the immediately successful messenger.... The Bhrigus
worshipping him in the abode of the waters have verily established
him among the clans of Ayu. The people have established beloved Agni
among the human clans as (people) going to settle (establish) Mitra”
(i, 60). Oldenberg explains that people going anywhere secure safety
by ceremonies addressed to Mitra, i.e. by concluding alliances under
the protection of Mitra. Another reference reads, “Agni has been
established among the tribes of men, the son of the waters, Mitra
acting in the right way”. Oldenberg notes that Mitra is here identified
with Agni; Mitra also means “friend” or “ally” (iii, 5. 3, and note).
Scyld in _Beowulf_, the mysterious child of the sea, became a king over
men. Agni “indeed is king, leading all beings to gloriousness. As soon
as born from here, he looks over the whole world.... Agni, who has been
looked and longed for in Heaven, who has been looked for on earth—he
who has been looked for has entered all herbs” (i, 98).[75] To Agni's
love affairs upon earth there are epic references, and in the “Vishnu
Purana” he is mentioned as the father of three human sons.

[74] A demi-god.

[75] _Vedic Hymns_, trans. by Oldenberg. (_Sacred Books of the East_,
vol. xlvi.)

The reference to the Bhrigus, to whom Agni is carried, is of special
interest. This tribe did not possess fire and were searching for it
(_Rigveda_, x. 40. 2). In another poem the worshippers of Agni are
“human people descended from Manush (Manu)” (vi, 48. 8). The Bhrigus
were a priestly family descended from the patriarch Bhrigu: Manu was
the first man. Two of the Teutonic patriarch names are Berchter and

Agni was the messenger of the gods; he interceded with the gods on
behalf of mankind and conducted the bright Celestials to the sacrifice.
The priest chanted at the altar:

    Agni, the divine ministrant of the sacrifice, the greatest
        bestower of treasures; may one obtain through Agni wealth
        and welfare day by day, which may bring glory and high
        bliss of valiant offspring.

    Agni, whatever sacrifice and worship thou encompassest on
        every side, that indeed goes to the gods. Thou art King of
        all worship.... Conduct the gods hither in an easy-moving

[76] _Rigveda_, i, 13 and i, 26 (Oldenberg).

Like Indra, Agni was a heavy consumer of Soma; his intensely human side
is not lost in mystic Vedic poetry.

    Agni, accept this log, conqueror of horses, thou who lovest
        songs and delightest in riches....

    Thou dost go wisely between these two creations (Heaven and
        Earth) like a friendly messenger between two hamlets....

His worshippers might address him with great familiarity, as in the
following extracts:—

    If I were thee and thou wert me, thine aspirations should be

        _Rigveda_, xiii, 44. 23.

    If, O Agni, thou wert a mortal and I an immortal, I would not
        abandon thee to wrong or to penury: my worshippers should
        not be poor, nor distressed, nor miserable.

        _Rigveda_, viii, 19.

These appeals are reminiscent of the quaint graveyard inscription:

    Here lie I, Martin Elginbrodde.
    Hae mercy on my soul, Lord God,
    As I wad dae were I Lord God,
    And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.

The growth of monotheistic thought is usually evinced in all
mythologies by the tendency to invest a popular deity with the
attributes of other gods. Agni is sometimes referred to as the sky god
and the storm god. In one of the hymns he is entreated to slay demons
and send rain as if he were Indra:

    O Agni, overcome our enemies and our calamities;
    Drive away all disease and the Rakshasas—
    Send down abundance of waters
    From the ocean of the sky.

        _Rigveda_, x, 98. 12.

Indra similarly absorbed, and was absorbed by, the wind god Vayu or
Vata, who is also referred to as the father of the Maruts and the
son-in-law of the artisan god Twashtri. The name Vata has been compared
to Vate, the father of the Teutonic Volund or Wieland, the tribal deity
of the Watlings or Vaetlings; in old English the Milky Way was “Watling
Street”. Comparisons have also been drawn with the wind god Odin—the
Anglo-Saxon Woden, and ancient German Wuotan (pronounced Vuotan). “The
etymological connection in this view”, writes a critic, “is not free
from difficulty.”[77] Professor Macdonell favours the derivation from
“va” = “to blow”.

[77] Art. “Aryan Religion”, Hastings' _Ency. Rel. and Ethics_.

The Indian Vata is invoked, as Vayu, in a beautiful passage in one of
the hymns which refers to his “two red horses yoked to the chariot”: he
had also, like the Maruts, a team of deer. The poet calls to the wind:

    Awake Purandhu (Morning) as a lover awakes a sleeping maid....
        Reveal heaven and earth....
    Brighten the dawn, yea, for glory, brighten the dawn....

These lines recall Keats at his best:

                              There is no light
    Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown....

        _Ode to the Nightingale._

A stirring hymn to the wind god loses much of its vigour and beauty in

    Sublime and shining is the car of Vata;
    It sweeps resounding, thundering and crashing;
    Athwart the sky it wakens ruddy flashes,
    Or o'er the earth it sets the dust-clouds whirling.

    The gusts arise and hasten unto Vata,
    Like women going to a royal banquet;
    In that bright car the mighty god is with them,
    For he is rajah of the earth's dominions.

    When Vata enters on the paths of heaven,
    All day he races on; he never falters;
    He is the firstborn and the friend of Ocean—
    Whence did he issue forth? Where is his birthplace?

    He is the breath[78] of gods: all life is Vata:
    He cometh, yea, he goeth as he listeth:
    His voice is heard; his form is unbeholden—
    O let us offer sacrifice to Vata.

[78] The air of life = the spirit.

        _Rigveda_, x, 168.

Another wind or storm god is Rudra, also the father of the Maruts,
who are called “Rudras”. He is the “Howler” and “the Ruddy One”, and
rides a wild boar. Saussaye calls him “the Wild Huntsman of Hindu
Mythology”. He is chiefly of historical interest because he developed
into the prominent post-Vedic god Shiva, the “Destroyer”, who is still
worshipped in India. The poets invested him with good as well as evil

    Rudra, thou smiter of workers of evil,
    The doers of good all love and adore thee.
    Preserve me from injury and every affliction—
    Rudra, the nourisher.

    Give unto me of thy medicines, Rudra,
    So that my years may reach to a hundred;
    Drive away hatred, shatter oppression,
    Ward off calamity.

        _Rigveda_, ii, 33.

The rain cloud was personified in Parjanya, who links with Indra as the
nourisher of earth, and with Agni as the quickener of seeds.

Indra's great rival, however, was Varuna, who symbolized the investing
sky: he was “the all-enveloping one”. The hymns impart to him a
character of Hebraic grandeur. He was the sustainer of the universe,
the lawgiver, the god of moral rectitude, and the sublime sovereign
of gods and men. Men worshipped him with devoutness, admiration, and
fear. “It is he who makes the sun to shine in heaven; the winds that
blow are but his breath; he has hollowed out the channels of the rivers
which flow at his command, and he has made the depths of the sea. His
ordinances are fixed and unassailable; through their operation the
moon walks in brightness, and the stars which appear in the nightly
sky, vanish in daylight. The birds flying in the air, the rivers in
their sleepless flow, cannot attain a knowledge of his power and wrath.
But he knows the flight of the birds in the sky, the course of the
far-travelling wind, the paths of ships on the ocean, and beholds all
secret things that have been or shall be done. He witnesses men's truth
and falsehood.”[79]

[79] Muir's _Original Sanscrit Texts_, v, 58, ff.

[Illustration: SHIVA'S DANCE OF DESTRUCTION, ELLORA (see pages 147-8)

He is the Omniscient One. Man prayed to him for forgiveness for sin,
and to be spared from the consequences of evil-doing:

    May I not yet, King Varuna,
    Go down into the house of clay:
    Have mercy, spare me, mighty Lord.

    O Varuna, whatever the offence may be
    That we as men commit against the heavenly folk,
    When through our want of thought we violate thy laws,
    Chastise us not, O god, for that iniquity.

        _Rigveda_, vii, 89.[80]

[80] Professor Macdonell's _A History of Sanskrit Literature_.

                        His messengers descend
    Countless from his abode—for ever traversing
    This world and scanning with a thousand eyes its inmates.
    Whate'er exists within this earth, and all within the sky,
    Yea, all that is beyond, King Varuna perceives....
    May thy destroying snares, cast sevenfold round the wicked,
    Entangle liars, but the truthful spare, O King!

        _Rigveda_, iv, 16.[81]

[81] _Indian Wisdom_, Sir Monier Williams.

In contrast to the devotional spirit pervading the Varuna hymns is the
attitude adopted by Indra's worshippers; the following prayer to the
god of battle is characteristic:—

    O Indra, grant the highest, best of treasures,
    A judging mind, prosperity abiding,
    Riches abundant, lasting health of body,
    The grace of eloquence and days propitious.

        _Rigveda_, ii, 21. 6.

The sinner's fear of Varuna prompted him to seek the aid of other gods.
Rudra and the Moon are addressed:

    O remove ye the sins we have sinned,
    What evil may cling to us sever
    With bolts and sharp weapons, kind friends,
    And gracious be ever.
    From the snare of Varuna deliver us, ward us,
    Ye warm-hearted gods, O help us and guard us.

Associated with Varuna was the God Mitra (the Persian Mithra). These
deities are invariably coupled and belong to the early Iranian period.
Much controversy has been waged over their pre-Vedic significance.
Some have regarded Mithra as the firmament by day with its blazing
and fertilizing sun, and Varuna as the many-eyed firmament of night,
in short, the twin forms of Dyaus. Prof. E. V. Arnold has shown,
however, that in the Vedas, Mithra has no solar significance except in
his association with Agni. The fire god, as we have seen, symbolized
the principle of fertility in Nature: he was the “vital spark” which
caused the growth of “all herbs”, as well as the illuminating and
warmth-giving flames of sun and household hearth.

Mitra as Mithra with Varuna, and a third vague god, Aryaman, belong
to an early group of equal deities called the Adityas, or “Celestial
deities”. “It would seem that the worship of these deities”, says Prof.
Arnold, “was already decaying in the earliest Vedic period, and that
many of them were then falling into oblivion.... In a late Vedic hymn
we find that Indra boasts that he has dethroned Varuna, and invites
Agni to enter his own service instead. We may justly infer from all
these circumstances that the worship of the ‘celestials’ occupied at
one time in the history of the race a position of greater importance
than its place in the _Rigveda_ directly suggests.”[82]

[82] _The Rigveda_, by Professor E. Vernon Arnold, p. 16 (_Popular
Studies in Mythology, Romance, and Folklore_).

The following extracts from a Mitra-Varuna hymn indicate the attitude
of the early priests towards the “Celestial deities”:—

    To the gods Mitra and Varuna let our praise go forth with
        power, with all reverence, to the two of mighty race.

    These did the gods establish in royal power over themselves,
        because they were wise and the children of wisdom, and
        because they excelled in power.

    They are protectors of hearth and home, of life and strength;
        Mitra and Varuna, prosper the mediations of your

    As the sun rises to-day do I salute Mitra and Varuna, and
        glorious Aryaman.... The blessings of heaven are our

        _Prof. Arnold's translation._

In Babylonian mythology the sun is the offspring of the moon. The
Semitic name of the sun god is Samas (Shamash), the Sumerian name is
Utu; among other non-Semitic names was Mitra, “apparently the Persian
Mithra”. The bright deity also “bears the names of his attendants
‘Truth’ and ‘Righteousness’, who guided him upon his path as judge of
the earth”.[83]

[83] _The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria_, by Dr. T. G. Pinches, p.

It may be that the Indian Mitra was originally a sun god; the religion
of the sun god Mithra spread into Europe. “Dedications to Mithra the
Unconquered Sun have been found in abundance.”[84] Vedic references
suggest that Mitra had become a complex god in the pre-Vedic Age,
being probably associated with a group of abstract deities—his
attributes symbolized—who are represented by the Adityas. The
Mitra-Varuna group of Celestials were the source of all heavenly gifts;
they regulated sun and moon, the winds and waters and the seasons. If
we assume that they were of Babylonian or Sumerian origin—deities
imported by a branch of Aryan settlers who had been in contact with
Babylonian civilization—their rivalry with the older Aryan gods, Indra
and Agni, can be understood. Ultimately they were superseded, but the
influence exercised by their cult remained and left its impress upon
later Aryan religious thought.

[84] Frazer's “Golden Bough” (_Adonis, Attis, Osiris_, p. 255, n.,
third edition).

The Assyrian word “metru” signifies rain.[85] The quickening rain which
caused the growth of vegetation was, of course, one of the gifts of the
Celestials of the firmament. It is of interest to note, therefore, in
this connection that Professor Frazer includes the western Mithra among
the “corn gods”. Dealing with Mithraic sculptures, which apparently
depict Mithra as the sacrificer of the harvest bull offering, he says:
“On certain of these monuments the tail of the bull ends in three
stalks of corn, and in one of them cornstalks instead of blood are seen
issuing from the wound inflicted by the knife”.[86]

[85] Professor H. W. Hogg, in Professor Moulton's _Early Religious
Poetry of Persia_, p. 37.

[86] “The Golden Bough” (_Spirits of the Corn and Wild_, vol. ii, p.

Commenting on the Assyrian “metru” Professor Moulton says: “If this is
his (Mithra's) origin, we get a reasonable basis for the Avestan (Early
Persian and Aryan) use of the word to denote a ‘contract’, as also for
the fact that the deity is in the Avesta patron of Truth and in the
Veda of Friendship. He is ‘the Mediator’ between Heaven and Earth, as
the firmament was by its position, both in nature and mythology: an
easy corollary is his function of regulating the relations of man and

The character of an imported deity is always influenced by localization
and tribal habits. Pastoral nomads would therefore have emphasized the
friendliness of Mithra, who sent rain to cause the growth of grass on
sun-parched steppes. Both Mithra and Varuna had their dwelling-place
in the sea of heaven, the waters “above the firmament” from which the
rain descended. Ultimately the Indian Mitra vanished, being completely
merged in Varuna, who became the god of ocean after the Aryans reached
the sea coast. In post-Vedic sacred literature the priestly theorists,
in the process of systematizing their religious beliefs, taught that a
great conflict took place between the gods and demons. When order was
restored, the various deities were redistributed. Indra remained the
atmospheric god of battle, and Varuna became the god of ocean, where,
as the stern judge and lawgiver and the punisher of wrongdoers, he kept
watch over the demons. In the “Nala and Damayanti” epic narrative, the
four “world guardians” are: Indra, king of the gods; Agni, god of fire;
Varuna, god of waters; and Yama, judge of the dead.

It may be that the displacement of Varuna as supreme deity was due to
the influence of the fire-worshipping cult of Agni, who was imported
by certain unidentified Aryan tribes that entered India. Agni did not
receive recognition, apparently, from the other Aryan “folk-wave”,
which established a military aristocracy at Mitanni in Mesopotamia,
and held sway for a period over the Assyrians and some of the Hittite
tribes. An important inscription, which is dated about 1400 B.C.,
has been deciphered at Boghaz-Köi in Asia Minor by Professor Hugo
Winckler, who gives the names of the following deities:

 “Mi-it-ra, Uru-w-na, In-da-ra, and Na-sa-at-ti-ia”—

Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Nasatya. The latter is Nasatyau, the Vedic
Aswins, twin gods of morning, who have been compared to the Greek
Dioskouri (Castor and Pollux), sons of Zeus.

A Vedic triad, which suggests a rival cult to that of the worshippers
of Varuna and other Adityas, is formed by Vayu (wind), Agni (fire), and
Surya (the sun).

The Indian sun god Surya, like the Egyptian Ra, had three forms. The
rising sun was Vivasvat; the setting sun was Savitri.

Vivasvat was the son-in-law of Twashtri, the artisan of Nature; he
was an abstract deity, and apparently owed his origin to the group of

Savitri, who had yellow hair, was of pre-Vedic origin. He was the
“Stimulator”. When he commanded Night to approach, men ceased their
labours, birds sought their nests, and cattle their sheds.[87]

[87] _Rigveda_, ii, 38.

During the long centuries covered by the Vedic period many “schools of
thought” must have struggled for supremacy. The Vivasvat myth belongs,
it would appear, to the time before the elephant was tamed by the
Aryans. Aditi, the mother of the Adityas, who is believed to be of
later origin than her children, had eight sons. She cherished seven
of them; the eighth, which was a shapeless lump, was thrown away, but
was afterwards moulded into Vivasvat, the sun; the pieces of the lump
which were cast away by the divine artisan fell upon the earth and
gave origin to the elephant, therefore elephants should not be caught,
because they partake of divine nature.

_From the Kailâsa Temple, Ellora_

Surya is an Aryanized sun god. He drives a golden chariot drawn by
seven mares, or a mare with seven heads; he has golden hair and golden
arms and hands. As he is alluded to as “the eye of Varuna and Mitra”,
and a son of Aditi, it is evident that if he did not originally belong
to the group of Adityas, he was strongly influenced by them. In his
Savitri character, which he possesses at morning as well as at evening,
he stimulates all life and the mind of man. One of the most sacred and
oldest mantras (texts) in the Vedas is still addressed by Brahmans to
the rising sun. It runs:—

    Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the divine Vivifier,
    May he enlighten (or stimulate) our understandings.[88]

[88] _Indian Wisdom_, p. 20.

The feeling for Nature pervades the ancient religion and literature of
India. Priests were poets and singers in early Vedic times. A Rishi
was a composer of hymns to the gods, and several are named in the
collections. Every great family appears to have had its bardic priest,
and its special poetic anthology which was handed down from generation
to generation. Old poems might be rewritten and added to, but the
ambition of the sacred poet was to sing a new song to the gods. The
oldest Vedic hymns are referred to as “new songs”, which suggests that
others were already in existence.

These Rishis looked upon Nature with the poet's eye. They symbolized
everything, but they revelled also in the gorgeous beauty of dawn and
evening, the luxuriance of Indian trees and flowers, the serene majesty
of Himalayan mountains, the cascades, the rivers, and the shining
lakes. The wonder and mystery of the world inspired their hymns and
their religion. Even the gods took delight in the songs of birds, the
harping of forest winds, the humming of bees, the blossoming trees,
and the flower-decked sward. Heaven has its eternal summer and soft
scented winds, its lotus-gemmed lakes and never-fading blooms.

The effulgence and silence of dawn inspired some of the most beautiful
Vedic hymns. Dawn is Ushas, the daughter of Dyaus; she is the Indian

    Hail, ruddy Ushas, golden goddess, borne
    Upon thy shining car, thou comest like
    A lovely maiden by her mother decked,
    Disclosing coyly all thy hidden graces
    To our admiring eyes; or like a wife
    Unveiling to her lord, with conscious pride,
    Beauties which, as he gazes lovingly,
    Seem fresher, fairer, each succeeding morn.
    Through years and years thou hast lived on, and yet
    Thou'rt ever young. Thou art the breath of life
    Of all that breathes and lives, awaking day by day
    Myriads of prostrate sleepers, as from death,
    Causing the birds to flutter from their nests,
    And rousing men to ply with busy feet
    Their daily duties and appointed tasks,
    Toiling for wealth, or pleasure, or renown.[89]

[89] _Indian Wisdom_, Sir Monier Williams.

The Vedic poets “looked before and after”. One sang:

    In ages past did mortals gaze
      On Ushas veiled in gleaming gold.
    We who are living watch her rays,
      And men unborn will her behold.

        _Rigveda_, i, 113. 11.

Night, Ratri, is the sister of Dawn. The one robes herself in crimson
and gold; the other adorns her dark raiment with gleaming stars. When
benevolent Ratri draws nigh, men turn towards their homes to rest,
birds seek their nests, cattle lie down; even the hawk reposes. The
people pray to the goddess to be protected against robbers and fierce
wolves, and to be taken safely across her shadow:

    She, the immortal goddess, throws her veil
    Over low valley, rising ground, and hill.
    But soon with bright effulgence dissipates
    The darkness she produces; soon advancing
    She calls her sister Morning to return,
    And then each darksome shadow melts away.

        _Rigveda_, x.[90]

[90] _Indian Wisdom_, Sir Monier Williams.

The moon is the god Chandra, who became identified with Soma. Among
ancient peoples the moon was regarded as the source of fertility
and growth; it brought dew to nourish crops which ripened under the
“harvest moon”; it filled all vegetation with sap; it swayed human life
from birth till death; it influenced animate and inanimate Nature in
its periods of increase and decline; ceremonies to secure offspring
were performed during certain phases of the moon.

Soma was the intoxicating juice of the now unknown Soma plant, which
inspired mortals and was the nectar of the gods. The whole ninth book
of the _Rigveda_ is devoted to the praises of Soma, who is exalted even
as the chief god, the Father of all.

    This Soma is a god; he cures
    The sharpest ills that man endures.
    He heals the sick, the sad he cheers,
    He nerves the weak, dispels their fears;
    The faint with martial ardour fires,
    With lofty thought the bard inspires,
    The soul from earth to heaven he lifts,
    So great and wondrous are his gifts;
    Men feel the god within their veins,
    And cry in loud exulting strains:
      We've quaffed the Soma bright
        And are immortal grown:
      We've entered into light
        And all the gods have known.
      What mortal now can harm,
        Or foeman vex us more?
      Through thee beyond alarm,
        Immortal god, we soar.[91]

[91] Muir's _Original Sanskrit Texts_, v, 130.

“The sun”, declared one of the poets, “has the nature of Agni, the moon
of Soma.” At the same time Agni was a great consumer of Soma; when it
was poured on the altar, the fire god leapt up joyfully. The beverage
was the “water of life” which was believed to sustain the Adityas and
the earth, and to give immortality to all the gods; it was therefore
called Amrita (ambrosia).

As in Teutonic mythology, the Hindu giants desired greatly to possess
the “mead” to which the gods owed their power and supremacy. The
association of Soma with the moon recalls the Germanic belief that the
magic mead was kept for Odin, “the champion drinker”, by Mani, the moon
god, who snatched it from the mythical children who are the prototypes
of “Jack and Jill” of the nursery rhyme.[92] Indra was the discoverer
of the Soma plant and brought it from the mountains. The Persian mead
(mada) was called Haoma.

[92] See _Teutonic Myth and Legend_.

The priests drank Soma when they made offerings and lauded the gods.
A semi-humorous Rigvedic hymn compares them to the frogs which croak
together when the rain comes after long drought.

    Each (frog) with merry croak and loudly calling
    Salutes the other, as a son his father;
    What one calls out, another quickly answers,
    Like boys at school their teacher's words repeating....
    They shout aloud like Brahmans drunk with Soma,
    When they perform their annual devotions.

        _Rigveda_, vii, 103.[93]

[93] Kaegi's _Rigveda_, Arrowsmith's translation. This was apparently a
rain charm; its humour was of the unconscious order, of course.

There are references in the _Rigveda_ to the marriage of Soma, the
moon, and Suryá, the maiden of the sun.

In Vedic religion many primitive beliefs were blended. We have seen,
for instance, that life was identified with breath and wind; the
“spirit” left the body as the last breath. Agni worshippers regarded
fire as “the vital spark”. Soma worship, on the other hand, appears
to be connected with the belief that life was in the blood; it was
literally “the life blood”. The “blood of trees” was the name for
sap; sap was water impregnated or vitalized by Soma, the essence of
life. Water worship and Soma worship were probably identical, the
moon, which was believed to be the source of growth and moisture,
being the fountain head of “the water of life”. In Teutonic mythology
the “mead” is taken from a hidden mountain spring, which issued from
“Mimer's well” in the Underworld. Odin drank from Mimer's well and
obtained wisdom and long life. The “mead” was transported to the moon.
The “mead” was also identified with saliva, the moisture of life,
and spitting ceremonies resulted; these survive in the custom still
practised in our rural districts of spitting on the hand to seal a
bargain; “spitting stones” have not yet entirely disappeared. Vows are
still taken in India before a fire. References to contracts signed in
blood are common and widespread.


Yama, the First Man, and King of the Dead

 Burial Customs—Inhumation and Cremation—Yama the First Man—The
 Discoverer of Paradise—His Twin Sister—Persian Twin Deities—Yama
 and Mitra—Yama as Judge of the Dead—The “Man in the Eye”—Brahman's
 Deal with Dharma-Yama—Sacrifice for a Wife—Story of Princess
 Savitri—Her Husband's Fate—How she rescued his Soul from Yama—The
 Heavens of Yama, Indra, and Varuna—Teutonic, Greek, and Celtic
 Heavens—Paradise denied to Childless Men—Religious Need for a
 Son—Exposure of Female Infants—Infanticide in Modern India—A
 Touching Incident.

In early Vedic times the dead might be either buried or cremated. These
two customs were obviously based upon divergent beliefs regarding the
future state of existence. A Varuna hymn makes reference to the “house
of clay”, which suggests that among some of the Aryan tribes the belief
originally obtained that the spirits of the dead hovered round the
place of sepulture. Indeed, the dread of ghosts is still prevalent in
India; they are supposed to haunt the living until the body is burned.

Those who practised the cremation ceremony in early times appear to
have conceived of an organized Hades, to which souls were transferred
through the medium of fire, which drove away all spirits and demons
who threatened mankind. Homer makes the haunting ghost of Patroklos
exclaim, “Never again will I return from Hades when I have received my
meed of fire”.[94] The Vedic worshippers of Agni burned their dead
for the same reason as did the ancient Greeks. “When the remains of
the deceased have been placed on the funeral pile, and the process of
cremation has commenced, Agni, the god of fire, is prayed not to scorch
or consume the departed, not to tear asunder his skin or his limbs,
but, after the flames have done their work, to convey to the fathers
the mortal who has been presented to him as an offering. Leaving behind
on earth all that is evil and imperfect, and proceeding by the paths
which the fathers trod, invested with a lustre like that of the gods,
it soars to the realms of eternal light in a car, or on wings, and
recovers there its ancient body in a complete and glorified form; meets
with the forefathers who are living in festivity with Yama; obtains
from him, when recognized by him as one of his own, a delectable abode,
and enters upon more perfect life, which is crowned with the fulfilment
of all desires, is passed in the presence of the gods, and employed in
the fulfilment of their pleasure.”[95]

[94] _Iliad_, xxiii, 75.

[95] Muir, _Original Sanskrit Texts_, v. 302.

Agni is the god who is invoked by the other deities, “Make straight the
pathways that lead to the gods; be kind to us, and carry the sacrifice
for us”.[96]

[96] _Rigveda_, x. 51 (Arnold's translation).

In this connection, however, Professor Macdonell says, “Some passages
of the _Rigveda_ distinguish the path of the fathers or dead ancestors
from the path of the gods, doubtless because cremation appeared as a
different process from sacrifice”.[97]

[97] _A History of Sanskrit Literature_, p. 117.

It would appear that prior to the practice of cremation a belief in
Paradise ultimately obtained: the dead walked on foot towards it. Yama,
King of the Dead, was the first man.[98] Like the Aryan pioneers who
discovered the Punjab, he explored the hidden regions and discovered
the road which became known as “the path of the fathers”.

[98] As was also Manu of a different or later cult.

    To Yama, mighty king, be gifts and homage paid.
    He was the first of men that died, the first to brave
    Death's rapid rushing stream, the first to point the road
    To heaven, and welcome others to that bright abode.

        _Sir M. Monier Williams' translation._[99]

[99] From _Indian Wisdom_.

Professor Macdonell gives a new rendering of a Vedic hymn[100] in which
Yama is referred to as follows:

[100] _A History of Sanskrit Literature_, p. 117.

    Him who along the mighty heights departed,
    Him who searched and spied the path for many,
    Son of Vivasvat, gatherer of the people,
    Yama the king, with sacrifices worship.

        _Rigveda_, x, 14. 1.

Yama and his sister Yamí, the first human pair, are identical with the
Persian Yima and Yimeh of Avestan literature; they are the primeval
“twins”, the children of Vivasvat, or Vivasvant, in the _Rigveda_ and
of Vivahvant in the _Avesta_. _Yama_ signifies twin, and Dr. Rendel
Harris, in his researches on the Greek Dioscuri cult, shows that among
early peoples the belief obtained widely that one of each pair of
twins was believed to be a child of the sky. “This conjecture is borne
out by the name of Yama's father (Vivasvant), which may well be a
cult-epithet of the bright sky, ‘shining abroad’ (from the root _vas_,
‘to shine’)”.... In the _Avesta_ ‘Yima, the bright’ is referred to: he
is the Jamshid of Fitzgerald's Omar.[101]

[101] _Early Religious Poetry of Persia_, Professor J. H. Moulton, p.


Yima, the Iranian ruler of Paradise, is also identical with Mitra
(Mithra), whose cult “obtained from 200-400 A.D. a world-wide diffusion
in the Roman Empire, and came nearer to monotheism than the cult of any
other god in paganism”.[102]

[102] _A History of Sanskrit Literature_, Professor Macdonell, p. 68.

Professor Moulton wonders if the Yama myth “owed anything to Babylon?”
It is possible that the worshippers of Agni represented early Iranian
beliefs, and that the worshippers of Mitra, Varuna, and the twins (Yama
and Yima and the twin Aswins) were influenced by Babylonian mythology
as a result of contact, and that these opposing sects were rivals in
India in early Vedic times.

In one of the hymns[103] Yami is the wooer of her brother Yama. She
declares that they were at the beginning intended by the gods to be
husband and wife, but Yama replies:

[103] _Rigveda_, x, 10.

 “Who has sure knowledge of that earliest day? Who has seen it with his
 eyes and can tell of it? Lofty is the law of Mitra and Varuna; how
 canst thou dare to speak as a temptress?”

        _Arnold's translation._

In the Vedic “land of the fathers”, the shining Paradise, the two
kings Varuna and Yama sit below a tree. Yama, a form of Mitra, plays
on a flute and drinks Soma with the Celestials, because Soma gives
immortality. He gathers his people to him as a shepherd gathers his
flock: indeed he is called the “Noble Shepherd”. He gives to the
faithful the draught of Soma; apparently unbelievers were destroyed or
committed to a hell called Put. Yama's messengers were the pigeon and
the owl; he had also two brindled watch-dogs, each with four eyes. The
dead who had faithfully fulfilled religious ordinances were addressed:

                           Fear not to pass the guards—
    The four-eyed brindled dogs—that watch for the departed.
    Return unto thy home, O soul! Thy sin and shame
    Leave thou behind on earth; assume a shining form—
    Thine ancient shape—refined and from all taint set free.

        _Sir M. Monier Williams' translation._[104]

[104] From _Indian Wisdom_.

Yama judged men as Dharma-rajah, “King of righteousness”; he was
Pitripati, “lord of the fathers”; Samavurti, “the impartial judge”;
Kritana, “the finisher”; Antaka, “he who ends life”; Samana, “the
leveller”, &c.

In post-Vedic times he presided over a complicated system of Hells; he
was Dandadhara, “the wielder of the rod or mace”. He had a noose with
which to bind souls; he carried out the decrees of the gods, taking
possession of souls at their appointed time.

In one of the _Brahmanas_ death, or the soul which Death claims as his
own, is “the man in the eye”. The reflection of a face in the pupil
of the eye was regarded with great awe by the early folk; it was the
spirit looking forth. We read, “Now that man in yonder orb (of the sun)
and that man in the right eye truly are no other than Death; his feet
have stuck fast in the heart, and having pulled them out, he comes
forth; and when he comes forth then that man dies; whence they say of
him who has passed away, ‘_he has been cut off_’ (life or life-string
has been severed)”.[105]

[105] _Satapatha Brahmana_, translated by Professor Eggeling, Part IV,
1897, p. 371 (_Sacred Books of the East_).

Yama might consent to prolong the life of one whose days had run out,
on condition that another individual gave up part of his own life in
compensation; he might even agree to restore a soul which he had bound
to carry away, in response to the appeal of a mortal who had attained
to great piety. The Vedic character of Yama survives sometimes in Epic
narrative even after cremation had become general. The following
two touching and beautiful stories, preserved in _Mahabharata_, are
probably very ancient Aryan folk tales which were cherished by the
people and retold by the poets, who attached to them later religious
beliefs and practices.


Once upon a time Menaka, the beautiful Apsara (celestial fairy), who is
without shame or pity, left beside a hermitage her new-born babe, the
daughter of the King of Gandharvas (celestial elves). A pious Rishi,
named Sthula-kesha, found the child and reared her. She was called
Pramadarva, and grew to be the most beautiful and most pious of all
young women. Ruru, the great grandson of Bhrigu, looked upon her with
eyes of love, and at the request of his sire, Pramati, the virgin was
betrothed to the young Brahman.

It chanced that Pramadarva was playing with her companions a few
days before the morning fixed for the nuptials. As her time had
come, she trod upon a serpent, and the death-compelling reptile bit
her, whereupon she fell down in a swoon and expired. She became more
beautiful in death than she had been in life.

Brahmans assembled round the body of Pramadarva and sorrowed greatly.
Ruru stole away alone and went to a solitary place in the forest where
he wept aloud. “Alas!” he cried, “the fair one, whom I love more
dearly than ever, lieth dead upon the bare ground. If I have performed
penances and attained to great ascetic merit, let the power which I
have achieved restore my beloved to life again.”

Suddenly there appeared before Ruru an emissary from the Celestial
regions, who spake and said: “Thy prayer is of no avail, O Ruru.
That one whose days have been numbered can never get back her own
life again. Thou shouldst not therefore abandon thine heart to grief.
But the gods have decreed a means whereby thou canst receive back thy

Said Ruru: “Tell me how I can comply with the will of the Celestials, O
messenger, so that I may be delivered from my grief.”

The messenger said: “If thou wilt resign half of thine own life to this
maiden, Pramadvara, she will rise up again.”

Said Ruru: “I will resign half of my own life so that my beloved may be
restored unto me.”

Then the king of the Gandharvas and the Celestial emissary stood before
Dharma-rajah (Yama) and said: “If it be thy will, O Mighty One, let
Pramadarva rise up endowed with a part of Ruru's life.”

Said the Judge of the Dead: “So be it.”

When Dharma-rajah had spoken thus, the serpent-bitten maiden rose from
the ground, and Ruru, whose life was curtailed for her sake, obtained
the sweetest wife upon earth. The happy pair spent their days deeply
devoted to each other, awaiting the call of Yama at the appointed

[106] From _Adi Parva_ section of _Mahabharata_.


There was once a fair princess in the country of Madra, and her name
was Savitri. Be it told how she obtained the exalted merit of chaste
women by winning a great boon from Yama.

Savitri was the gift of the goddess Gayatri,[107] wife of Brahma, the
self-created, who had heard the prayers and received the offerings
of Aswapati, the childless king of Madra, when he practised austere
penances so that he might have issue. The maiden grew to be beautiful
and shapely like to a Celestial; her eyes had burning splendour, and
were fair as lotus leaves; she resembled a golden image; she had
exceeding sweetness and grace.

[107] Saraswati's rival. Brahma took Gayatri, the milkmaid, as a second
wife, because his chief wife, Saraswati, despite her wisdom, arrived
late for a certain important ceremony, at which the spouse of the god
was required.

It came to pass that Savitri looked with eyes of love upon a youth
named Satyavan “the Truthful”. Although Satyavan dwelt in a hermitage,
he was of royal birth. His father was a virtuous king, named
Dyumatsena, who became blind, and was then deprived of his kingdom by
an old enemy dwelling nigh to him. The dethroned monarch retired to the
forest with his faithful wife and his only son, who in time grew up to
be a comely youth.

When Savitri confessed her love to her sire, the great sage Narada, who
sat beside him, spoke and said: “Alas! the princess hath done wrong in
choosing for her husband this royal youth Satyavan. He is comely and
courageous, he is truthful and magnanimous and forgiving, he is modest
and patient and without malice; honour is seated upon his forehead; he
is possessed of every virtue. But he hath one defect, and no other. He
is endued with short life; within a year from this day he must die, for
so hath it been decreed; within a year Yama, god of the dead, will come
for him.”

Said the king unto his daughter: “O Savitri, thou hast heard the words
of Narada. Go forth, therefore, and choose for thyself another lord,
for the days of Satyavan are numbered.”

The beautiful maiden made answer unto her father the king, saying:
“The die is cast; it can fall but once; once only can a daughter be
given away by her sire; once only can a woman say, ‘_I am thine_’. I
have chosen my lord; once have I chosen, nor can I make choice a second
time. Let his life be brief or be long, I must now wed Satyavan.”

Said Narada: “O king, the heart of thy daughter will not waver; she
will not be turned aside from the path she hath selected. I therefore
approve of the bestowal of Savitri upon Satyavan.”

The king said: “As thou dost advise, so must I do ever, O Narada,
because that thou art my preceptor. Thee I cannot disobey.”

Then said Narada: “Peace be with Savitri! I must now depart. May
blessings attend upon all of you!”

Thereafter Aswapati, the royal sire of Savitri, went to visit
Dyumatsena, the blind sire of Satyavan, in the forest, and his daughter
went with him.

Said Dyumatsena: “Why hast thou come hither?”

Aswapati said: “O royal sage, this is my beautiful daughter Savitri.
Take thou her for thy daughter-in-law.”

Said Dyumatsena: “I have lost my kingdom, and with my wife and my
son dwell here in the woods. We live as ascetics and perform great
penances. How will thy daughter endure the hardships of a forest life?”

Aswapati said: “My daughter knoweth well that joy and sorrow come and
go and that nowhere is bliss assured. Accept her therefore from me.”

Then Dyumatsena consented that his son should wed Savitri, whereat
Satyavan was made glad because he was given a wife who had every
accomplishment. Savitri rejoiced also because she obtained a husband
after her own heart, and she put off her royal garments and ornaments
and clad herself in bark and red cloth.

So Savitri became a hermit woman. She honoured Satyavan's father and
mother, and she gave great joy to her husband with her sweet speeches,
her skill at work, her subdued and even temper, and especially her
love. She lived the life of the ascetics and practised every austerity.
But she never forgot the dread prophecy of Narada the sage; his
sorrowful words were always present in her secret heart, and she
counted the days as they went past.

At length the time drew nigh when Satyavan must cast off his mortal
body. When he had but four days to live, Savitri took the _Tritatra_
vow of three nights of sleepless penance and fast.

Said the blind Dyumatsena: “My heart is grieved for thee, O my
daughter, because the vow is exceedingly hard.”

Savitri said: “Be not sorrowful, saintly father, I must observe my vow
without fail.”

Said Dyumatsena: “It is not meet that one like me should say, ‘Break
thy vow,’ rather should I counsel, ‘Observe thy vow.’”

Then Savitri began to fast, and she grew pale and was much wasted
by reason of her rigid penance. Three days passed away, and then,
believing that her husband would die on the morrow, Savitri spent a
night of bitter anguish through all the dark and lonely hours.

The sun rose at length on the fateful morning, and she said to herself,
“_To-day is the day_.” Her face was bloodless but brave; she prayed in
silence and with fervour and offered oblations at the morning fire;
then she stood before her father-in-law and her mother-in-law in
reverent silence with joined hands, concentrating her senses. All the
hermits of the forest blessed her and said: “Mayest thou never suffer

Said Savitri in her secret heart: “So be it.”

Dyumatsena spoke to her then, saying: “Now that thy vow hath been
completed thou mayest eat the morning meal.”

Said Savitri: “I will eat when the sun goes down.”

Hearing her words Satyavan rose, and taking his axe upon his shoulder,
turned towards the distant jungle to procure fruits and herbs for his
wife, whom he loved. He was strong and self-possessed and of noble

Savitri spoke to him sweetly and said: “Thou must not go forth alone,
my husband. It is my heart's desire to go with thee. I cannot endure
to-day to be parted from thee.”

Said Satyavan: “It is not for thee to enter the darksome jungle; the
way is long and difficult, and thou art weak on account of thy severe
penance. How canst thou walk so far on foot?”

Savitri laid her head upon his bosom and said: “I have not been made
weary by my fast. Indeed I am now stronger than before. I will not
feel tired when thou art by my side. I have resolved to go with thee:
do not therefore seek to thwart my wish—the wish and the longing of a
faithful wife to be with her lord.”

Said Satyavan: “If it is thy desire to accompany me I cannot but
gratify it. But thou must ask permission of my parents lest they find
fault with me for taking thee through the trackless jungle.”

Then Savitri spoke to the blind sage and her husband's mother and said:
“Satyavan is going towards the deep jungle to procure fruits and herbs
for me, and also fuel for the sacrificial fires. It is my heart's wish
to go also, for to-day I cannot endure to be parted from him. Fain,
too, would I behold the blossoming woods.”

Said Dyumatsena: “Since thou hast come to dwell with us in our
hermitage thou hast not before asked anything of us. Have thy desire
therefore in this matter, but do not delay thy husband in his duties.”

Having thus received permission to depart from the hermitage, Savitri
turned towards the jungle with Satyavan, her beloved lord. Smiles
covered her face, but her heart was torn with secret sorrow.

Peacocks fluttered in the green woodland through which they walked
together, and the sun shone in all its splendour in the blue heaven.

Said Satyavan with sweet voice: “How beautiful are the bright streams
and the blossoming trees!”

The heart of Savitri was divided into two parts: with one she held
converse with her husband while she watched his face and followed his
moods; with the other she awaited the dread coming of Yama, but she
never uttered her fears.

Birds sang sweetly in the forest, but sweeter to Savitri was the
voice of her beloved. It was very dear to her to walk on in silence,
listening to his words.

Satyavan gathered fruits and stored them in his basket. At length
he began to cut down the branches of trees. The sun was hot and
he perspired. Suddenly he felt weary and he said: “My head aches;
my senses are confused, my limbs have grown weak, and my heart is
afflicted sorely. O silent one, a sickness hath seized me. My body
seems to be pierced by a hundred darts. I would fain lie down and rest,
my beloved; I would fain sleep even now.”

Speechless and terror-stricken, the gentle Savitri wound her arms about
her husband's body; she sat upon the ground and she pillowed his head
upon her lap. Remembering the words of Narada, she knew that the dread
hour had come; the very moment of death was at hand. Gently she held
her husband's head with caressing hands; she kissed his panting lips;
her heart was beating fast and loud. Darker grew the forest and it was
lonesome indeed.

Suddenly an awful Shape emerged from the shadows. He was of great
stature and sable hue; his raiment was blood-red; on his head he wore
a gleaming diadem; he had red eyes and was fearsome to look upon; he
carried a noose.... The Shape was Yama, god of death. He stood in
silence, and gazed upon slumbering Satyavan.

Savitri looked up, and when she perceived that a Celestial had come
nigh, her heart trembled with sorrow and with fear. She laid her
husband's head upon the green sward and rose up quickly: then she
spake, saying, “Who art thou, O divine One, and what is thy mission to

Said Yama: “Thou dost love thy husband; thou art endued also with
ascetic merit. I will therefore hold converse with thee. Know thou that
I am the Monarch of Death. The days of this man, thy husband, are now
spent, and I have come to bind him and take him away.”

Savitri said: “Wise sages have told me that thy messengers carry
mortals away. Why, then, O mighty King, hast thou thyself come hither?”

Said Yama: “This prince is of spotless heart; his virtues are without
number; he is, indeed, an ocean of accomplishments. It would not be
fitting to send messengers for him, so I myself have come hither.”

The face of Satyavan had grown ashen pale. Yama cast his noose and tore
out from the prince's body the soul-form, which was no larger than a
man's thumb; it was tightly bound and subdued.

So Satyavan lost his life; he ceased to breathe; his body became
unsightly; it was robbed of its lustre and deprived of power to move.

Yama fettered the soul with tightness, and turned abruptly towards the
south; silently and speedily he went upon his way....

Savitri followed him.... Her heart was drowned in grief. She could not
desert her beloved lord.... She followed Yama, the Monarch of Death.

Said Yama: “Turn back, O Savitri. Do not follow me. Perform the funeral
rites of thy lord.... Thine allegiance to Satyavan hath now come to an
end: thou art free from all wifely duties. Dare not to proceed farther
on this path.”

Savitri said: “I must follow my husband whither he is carried or
whither he goeth of his own will. I have undergone great penance. I
have observed my vow, and I cannot be turned back.... I have already
walked with thee seven paces, and the sages have declared that one who
walketh seven paces with another becometh a companion. Being thus made
thy friend, I must hold converse with thee, I must speak and thou must
listen.... I have attained the perfect life upon earth by performing
my vows and by reason of my devotion unto my lord. It is not meet
that thou shouldest part me from my husband now, and prevent me from
attaining bliss by saying that my allegiance to him hath ended and
another mode of life is opened to me.”

Said Yama: “Turn back now.... Thy words are wise and pleasing indeed;
therefore, ere thou goest, thou canst ask a boon of me and I will grant
it. Except the soul of Satyavan, I will give thee whatsoever thou dost

Savitri said: “Because my husband's sire became blind, he was deprived
of his kingdom. Restore his eyesight, O mighty One.”

Said Yama: “The boon is granted. I will restore the vision of thy
father-in-law.... But thou hast now grown faint on this toilsome
journey. Turn back, therefore, and thy weariness will pass away.”

Savitri said: “How can I be weary when I am with my husband? The fate
of my husband will be my fate also; I will follow him even unto the
place whither thou dost carry him.... Hear me, O mighty One, whose
friendship I cherish! It is a blessed thing to behold a Celestial;
still more blessed is it to hold converse with one; the friendship of a
god must bear great fruit.”

Said Yama: “Thy wisdom delighteth my heart. Therefore thou canst ask
of me a second boon, except the life of thy husband, and it will be
granted thee.”

Savitri said: “May my wise and saintly father-in-law regain the kingdom
he hath lost. May he become once again the protector of his people.”

Said Yama: “The boon is granted. The king will return to his people and
be their wise protector.... Turn back now, O princess; thy desire is

Savitri said: “All people must obey thy decrees; thou dost take away
life in accordance with divine ordinances and not of thine own will.
Therefore thou art called Yama—he that ruleth by decrees. Hear my
words, O divine One. It is the duty of Celestials to love all creatures
and to award them according to their merit. The wicked are without
holiness and devotion, but the saintly protect all creatures and show
mercy even unto their enemies.”

Said Yama: “Thy wise words are like water to a thirsty soul. Ask of
me therefore a third boon, except thy husband's life, and it will be
granted unto thee.”

Savitri said: “My sire, King Aswapati, hath no son. O grant that a
hundred sons may be born unto him.”

[Illustration: YAMA AND SAVITRI
_From a painting by Nanda Lall Bose_
(By permission of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta)

Said Yama: “A hundred sons will be born unto thy royal sire. Thy boon
is granted.... Turn back, therefore, O princess; thou canst not come
farther. Long is the path thou hast already travelled.”

Savitri said: “I have followed my husband and the way hath not seemed
long. Indeed, my heart desireth to go on much farther. Hear my words,
O Yama, as thou dost proceed on thy journey. Thou art great and wise
and powerful; thou dost deal equally with all human creatures; thou art
the lord of justice.... One cannot trust oneself as one can trust a
Celestial; therefore, one seeketh to win the friendship of a Celestial.
It is meet that one who seeketh the friendship of a Celestial should
make answer to his words.”

Said Yama: “No mortal hath ever spoken unto me as thou hast spoken. Thy
words are indeed pleasing, O princess. I will grant thee even a fourth
boon, except thy husband's life, ere thou dost depart.”

Savitri said: “May a century of sons be born unto my husband and me so
that our race may endure. O grant me this, the fourth boon, thou Mighty

Said Yama: “I grant unto thee a century of sons, O princess; they will
be wise and powerful and thy race will endure.... Be without weariness
now, O lady, and turn back; thou hast come too far already.”

Savitri said: “Those who are pious must practise eternal morality,
O Yama. The pious uphold the universe. The pious hold communion with
the pious only, and are never weary; the pious do good unto others nor
ever expect any reward. A good deed done unto the righteous is never
thrown away; such an act doth not entail loss of dignity nor is any
interest impaired. Indeed, the doing of good is the chief office of the
righteous, and the righteous therefore are the true protectors of all.”

Said Yama: “The more thou dost speak, the more I respect thee, O
princess. O thou who art so deeply devoted unto thy husband, thou canst
now ask of me some incomparable boon.”

Savitri said: “O mighty One, thou bestower of boons, thou hast already
promised what cannot be fulfilled unless my husband is restored unto
me; thou hast promised me a century of sons. Therefore, I ask thee, O
Yama, to give me back Satyavan, my beloved, my lord. Without him, I
am as one who is dead; without him, I have no desire for happiness;
without him I have no longing even for Heaven; I will have no desire
to prosper if my lord is snatched off; I cannot live without Satyavan.
Thou hast promised me sons, O Yama, yet thou dost take away my husband
from mine arms. Hear me and grant this boon: Let Satyavan be restored
to life so that thy decree may be fulfilled.”

Said Yama: “So be it. With cheerful heart I now unbind thy husband.
He is free.... Disease cannot afflict him again and he will prosper.
Together you will both have long life; you will live four hundred
years; you will have a century of sons and they will be kings, and
their sons will be kings also.”

Having spoken thus, Yama, the lord of death, departed unto his own
place. And Savitri returned to the forest where her husband's body lay
cold and ashen-pale; she sat upon the ground and pillowed his head
upon her lap. Then Satyavan was given back his life.... He looked upon
Savitri with eyes of love; he was like to one who had returned from a
long journey in a strange land.

Said Satyavan: “Long was my sleep; why didst thou not awaken me, my
beloved?... Where is that dark One who dragged me away?”

Savitri said: “Yama hath come and gone, and thou hast slept long,
resting thy head upon my lap, and art now refreshed, O blessed one.
Sleep hath forsaken thee, O son of a king. If thou canst rise up, let
us now depart hence for the night is already dark....”

Satyavan rose up refreshed and strong. He looked round about and
perceived that he was in the midst of the forest. Then he said: “O
fair one, I came hither to gather fruit for thee, and while I cut down
branches from the trees a pain afflicted me. I grew faint, I sank upon
the ground, I laid my head upon thy lap and fell into a deep slumber
even whilst thou didst embrace me. Then it seemed to me that I was
enveloped in darkness, and that I beheld a sable One amidst great
effulgence.... Was this a vision or a reality, O fairest and dearest?”

Savitri said: “The darkness deepens.... I will tell thee all on the
morrow.... Let us now find our parents, O prince. The beasts of the
night come forth; I hear their awesome voices; they tread the forest in
glee; the howl of the jackal maketh my heart afraid.”[108]

[108] Unfaithful wives were transformed into jackals after death.

Said Satyavan: “Darkness hath covered the forest with fear; we cannot
discover the path by which to return home.”

Savitri said: “A withered tree burneth yonder. I will gather sticks and
make a fire and we will wait here until day.”

Said Satyavan: “My sickness hath departed and I would fain behold
my parents again. Never before have I spent a night away from the
hermitage. My mother is old and my father also, and I am their crutch.
They will now be afflicted with sorrow because that we have not

Satyavan lifted up his arms and lamented aloud, but Savitri dried
his tears and said: “I have performed penances, I have given away
in charity, I have offered up sacrifices, I have never uttered a
falsehood. May thy parents be protected by virtue of the power which I
have obtained, and may thou, O my husband, be protected also.”

Said Satyavan: “O beautiful one, let us now return to the hermitage.”

Savitri raised up her despairing husband. She then placed his left arm
upon her left shoulder and wound her right arm about his body, and they
walked on together.... At length the fair moon came out and shone upon
their path.

Meanwhile Dyumatsena, the sire of Satyavan, had regained his sight, and
he went with his wife to search for his lost son, but had to return to
the hermitage sorrowing and in despair. The sages comforted the weeping
parents and said: “Savitri hath practised great austerities, and there
can be no doubt that Satyavan is still alive.”

In time Satyavan and Savitri reached the hermitage, and their own
hearts and the hearts of their parents were freed from sorrow.

Then Savitri related all that had taken place, and the sages said: “O
chaste and illustrious lady, thou hast rescued the race of Dyumatsena,
the foremost of kings, from the ocean of darkness and calamity.”

On the morning that followed messengers came to Dyumatsena and told
that the monarch who had deprived him of his kingdom was dead, having
fallen by the hand of his chief minister. All the people clamoured for
their legitimate ruler. Said the messengers: “Chariots await thee, O
king. Return, therefore, unto thy kingdom.”

Great was their wonder to find that Dyumatsena was no longer blind.

So the king was restored to his kingdom, in accordance with the boon
which Savitri had obtained from Yama. And sons were in time born unto
her father. Thus did the gentle Savitri, by reason of her great piety,
raise from misery to high fortune the family of her husband and her own
father also. She was the rescuer of all; the bringer of happiness and
prosperity.... He who heareth the story of Savitri will never endure
misery again....

       *       *       *       *       *

The beauties of Yama's heaven are sung by the sage Narada in the great
epic poem _Mahabharata_.[109] “Listen to me,” he says. “In that fair
domain it is neither too hot nor too cold. Life there is devoid of
sorrow; age does not bring frailties, and none ever hunger or thirst;
it is without wretchedness, or fatigue, or evil feelings. Everything,
whether celestial or human, that the heart seeks after is found there.
Sweet are the juicy fruits, delicious the fragrance of flowers and tree
blossoms, and waters are there, both cold and hot, to give refreshment
and comfort. Nymphs dance and sing to the piping of celestial elves,
and merry laughter ever blends with the strains of alluring music.

[109] _Lokapala-Sabhakhyana_ section of _Sabha Parva_.

“The Assembly House of Yama, which was made by Twashtri, hath splendour
equal to the sun; it shines like burnished gold. There the servants of
the Lord of Justice measure out the allotted days of mortals. Great
rishis and ancestors await upon Yama, King of the Pitris (fathers),
and adore him. Sanctified by holiness, their shining bodies are clad
in swan-white garments, and decked with many-coloured bracelets and
golden ear-rings. Sweet sounds, alluring perfumes, and brilliant flower
garlands make that building ever pleasant and supremely blest. Hundreds
of thousands of saintly beings worship the illustrious King of the

“The heaven of Indra was constructed by the great artisan-god himself.
Like a chariot it can be moved anywhere at will. The Assembly House
has many rooms and seats, and is adorned by celestial trees. Indra
sits there with his beautiful queen, wearing his crown, with gleaming
bracelets on his upper arms; he is decked with flowers, and attired
in white garments. He is waited upon by brilliant Maruts, and all the
gods and the rishis and saints, whose sins have been washed off their
pure souls, which are resplendent as fire. There is no sorrow, or fear,
or suffering in Indra's abode, which is inhabited by the spirits of
wind and thunder, fire and water, plants and clouds, and planets and
stars, and the spirits also of Prosperity, Religion, Joy, Faith, and
Intelligence. Fairies and elves (Apsaras and Gandharvas) dance and sing
there to sweet music; feats of skill are performed by celestial battle
heroes, auspicious rites are also practised. Divine messengers come and
go in celestial chariots, looking bright as Soma himself.

“The heaven of Varuna was constructed by Vishwakarman (Twashtri)
within the sea. Its walls and arches are of pure white, and they are
surrounded by celestial trees, made of sparkling jewels, which always
blossom and always bear fruit. In the many-coloured bowers beautiful
and variegated birds sing delightful melodies. In the Assembly House,
which is also of pure white, there are many rooms and many seats.
Varuna, richly decked with jewels and golden ornaments and flowers, is
throned there with his queen. Adityas[110] wait upon the lord of the
waters, as also do hooded snakes (Nagas) with human heads and arms,
and Daityas and Danavas (giants and demons) who have taken vows and
have been rewarded with immortality. All the holy spirits of rivers and
oceans are there, and the holy spirits of lakes and springs and pools,
and the personified forms of the points of the heavens, the ends of the
earth, and the great mountains. Music and dances provide entertainment,
while sacred hymns are sung in praise of Varuna.”

[110] Sons of the goddess Aditi. They are attendants of Varuna, their
chief, as the Maruts are attendants of Indra.


These heavens recall the Grecian “Islands of the Blest” and the Celtic
Otherworld, where eternal summer reigns, trees bear blossoms and fruit
continually, and there is no wasting with age. Indra's Assembly House
is slightly reminiscent of the Teutonic Valhal, but is really more like
the gardens of the underworld Hela. The Indian heroes do not feast on
pork like those of Teutonic and Celtic myth; in the Assembly House
of Kuvera, god of wealth, however, fat and flesh are eaten by fierce
sentinel dwarfs. The fairy-like Apsaras are wooed by Indra's favoured
warriors as well as by the gods.

One of the conditions which secured entry to the heaven of Yama was
that a man should have offspring. A rishi, named Mandapala, devoted
himself to religious vows and the observance of great austerities, but
when he reached the region of the Pitris, he could not obtain “the
fruit of his acts”. He asked: “Why is this domain unattainable to me?”

Said the Celestials: “Because thou hast no children.... The Vedas have
declared that the son rescueth the father from a hell called Put. O
best of Brahmans, strive thou to beget offspring.”[111]

[111] _Adi Parva_ section of _Mahabharata_, Roy's trans., p. 635.

A father could only reach Heaven if his son, after performing the
cremation ceremony, poured forth the oblation and performed other
necessary services to the dead. Consequently, all men showed great
anxiety to have sons. In the Vedic period the exposure of female
children was not unknown; indeed, this practice is referred to in the
_Yajurveda_. “It is sorrowful to have a daughter,” exclaims the writer
of one of the _Brahmanas_.

One reason for infanticide in modern India is associated with the
practice of exogamy (marriage outside of one's tribe). Raids took
place for the purpose of obtaining wives and these were invariably
the cause of much bloodshed. In 1842 members of the Kandhs tribe
told Major Macpherson “that it was better to destroy girls in their
infancy than to allow them to grow up and become causes of strife
afterwards”. Colonel MacCulloch, Political Agent for Manipur, stamped
out infanticide in the Naga country by assuring the people of a tribe
that they would be protected against the wife-hunting parties of a
stronger tribe. “Many years afterwards a troop of Naga girls from the
weaker tribe paid a visit of ceremony to Colonel MacCulloch, bearing
presents of cloth of their own weaving in token of their gratitude to
the man who had saved their lives.”[112]

[112] The Tribes and Castes of Bengal. H. H. Risley (1892), vol. i,
lxv, _et seq_.


Demons and Giants and Fairies

 Indian Asuras as Demons—Persian Ahura a God—Indian Gods as Persian
 Demons—Theory of Assyrian Influence—Indra's Battle with Asuras—Like
 Thor's Conflict with Giants—The Sun and Moon Devourer—Giants
 and Demons of Ocean—The Flying City—Destruction of World by
 Fire—Teutonic Parallel—Serpent Demigods—Man's Special Enemies—The
 Corpse Eaters—Demons of Disease, Unbelief, and Robbery—Elves
 and Fairies—The “Good People”—Celestial Musicians and Dancing
 Girls—Origin of Mythical Beings—Story of a Love-sick King—His Fairy
 Bride—The Echoing Forest Nymph—The “Language of Birds”—Birds as
 Spirits and Ghosts.

The gods are the Suras and the demons the Asuras or “non-gods”. This
distinction, however, did not obtain in the early Vedic period.
Originally the deities, and especially Varuna and Mitra, were called
Asuras, but in the later part of the _Rigveda_ the term is applied
chiefly to the enemies of the gods. In the _Atharvaveda_, as in
subsequent Epic literature, the Asuras are simply demons and giants and

No conclusive explanation can be offered as to how this remarkable
change took place in the course of the centuries embraced by the Vedic
period. It may have been due primarily to sectarian strife between
the religious teachers of those tribes which had been influenced by
Babylonian modes of thought and those which clung tenaciously to
the forms of primitive Aryan nature worship, and perhaps also the
worship of ancestors (Pitris). In the old Persian language, which,
like Greek, places “h” before a vowel where “s” is used in Sanskrit,
Ahura ( = Asura) signifies “god”. The Zoroastrian chief god is
called Ahura-Mazda, “the wise Lord”, as Varuna is addressed in early
Rigvedic hymns, “wise Asura and King”, and “the all-knowing Asura
who established the heavens and fixed the limits of the earth”. On
the other hand “daeva” in the Iranian dialect, which is cognate with
Sanskrit “deva”, “god”, came to mean “demon”. “Asura” is derived from
the root “asu”, which signifies “the air of life”, and “deva” from
“div”, “to shine”, or “deiwo”, “heavenly”.

The view has been urged that the revolt against “Asura” in India was
due to the hatred cherished towards the Persians who had become subject
to the Assyrians, the worshippers of Ashur. It was originally based
on the assumption that Assyrian aggression caused the migration of
Aryan tribes towards India. Subsequent research, however, has tended
to dispel this theory. It has been found, for instance, that Aryans
were associated with the Kassites who overthrew the Hammurabi dynasty
of Babylon prior to the invasion of the Punjab, and that the Assyrians
were for a period vassals of the Mitanni kings, who had Aryan names and
worshipped Indra, Varuna, and Mithra in Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.
The weak point in the Ashur-Asura theory is that it throws no light on
the process which caused the Persian “daeva” to be applied to demons
instead of to gods. How the gods of the Indian Aryans became the demons
of Persia and the demons of Persia became the gods of India is a
problem for which a solution has yet to be found.

The expository and speculative books of the priests—the _Brahmanas_
and _Upanishads_—which are attached to the Vedic hymns, do not help
us greatly in accounting for the change. We read that “the gods and
Asuras contended together, and that the former, being less numerous
than the latter, took some bricks, and placing them in a proper
position to receive the sacrificial fire, with the formula, ‘Thou art a
multiplier’, they became numerous”.[113] In one of the Brahmanas we are

[113] Muir's _Original Sanskrit Texts_, v, 15.

 “The Asuras performed at the sacrifice all that the Devas performed.
 The Asuras became thus of equal power with the Devas, and did not
 yet yield to them. Thereupon the Devas had a vision of the ‘silent
 praise’. The Asuras, not knowing it, did not perform the ‘silent
 praise’. This ‘silent praise’ is the latent essence of the hymns.
 Till then, whatever weapons the Devas used against the Asuras, the
 Asuras used in revenge against them; but when the Devas had a vision
 of the ‘silent praise’ and raised it as a weapon, the Asuras did not
 comprehend it. With it the Devas aimed a blow at the Asuras, and
 defeated them, for they had no comprehension of this weapon. Thereupon
 the Devas became masters of the Asuras. He who has such a knowledge
 becomes master of his enemy, adversary, and hater.”[114]

[114] Professor E. Vernon Arnold's _The Rigveda_, p. 54.

This explanation is but an echo of the Indra-Vritra combat. Another
statement is to the effect that “the Devas gave up falsehood and
adopted truth, while the Asuras gave up truth and adopted falsehood”.
Further, we learn that when a sacrifice was performed the Asuras put
the offerings into their own mouths, while the Suras (gods) gave the
offerings they received to one another.

The Asuras became completely identified with the demons and giants;
they symbolized evil, darkness, and drought. In Epic literature we
read that “in ancient times the gods and Asuras were very active in
destroying one another. And the terrible Asuras always succeeded in
defeating the gods.” ... Indra goes forth with his thunderbolt against
Kesin, the leader of the Asuras, who wielded a great mace; this mace
the demon hurled against the god, but Indra “cut it up in its course
with his thunderbolt. Then Kesin, furious with rage, hurled a huge mass
of rock at him.” Indra “of a hundred sacrifices rent it asunder with
his thunderbolt, and it fell down upon the ground. And Kesin himself
was wounded by that falling mass of rock.[115] Thus sorely afflicted he
fled”. Indra rescues a beautiful lady who had been seized by the Asura,
and she informs the god that her sister had previously fallen a victim
to the demon....[116]

[115] In the combat between Thor and the giant Hrungner, the
thunder-hammer similarly cleaves a mass of flint hurled by the
enemy.—_Teutonic Myth and Legend._

[116] _Mahabharata, Vana Parva_ section, pp. 679-80, Roy's trans.

The Asuras obstructed sacrifices; they were ever hovering round
altars to discover if rites were properly performed; if a priest did
not perform a ceremony in orthodox fashion, the sacrifice was of no
avail, because the Asuras devoured it; if a man neglected a part of
a ceremonial performance, a demon might take possession of him and
accomplish his ruin.

One of the terrible Asuras is the demon Rahu, who causes eclipses by
swallowing the sun and the moon, like the Chinese dragon, the wolf
Managarm of Teutonic mythology, and the Grecian demons who devour
Helena, the sun maiden, sister of the twin Dioscuri. In the Vedic
period Rahu was represented by the demon Svarbhanu.

_From a sculpture at Mámallapuram_

The Asuras of Ocean are the Daityas and Danavas, the descendants of
the chaos hags Diti and Danu, and Kasyapa, a superhuman sage. These
are the giants and demons who fought against the gods like the Titans,
the Irish Fomorians, and the Norse Jotuns. Indra confined them in
this region, which is called Patala, and they remain there “afflicted
by Time”,[117] and subject to the sway of Varuna. Like the Norse
giants, they will be let loose to take part in the “Last Battle”. An
“Asura fire” burns constantly in Patala, fed by water; it is “bound
and confined”, but cannot be extinguished; when the end of all comes,
it will burst forth and burn up the three worlds.[118] In Teutonic
mythology the Universe is similarly doomed to be consumed by fire at
Ragnarok, “the Dusk of the Gods”.

[117] “Overwhelmed by misfortune” (Roy).

[118] Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.

The abodes of these giants and demons are exceedingly beautiful; they
are agleam with gold and precious stones; seats and beds are provided
in the mansions, and there are also recreation grounds, and forests
and mountains resembling clouds. Indeed, the Daityas and Danavas live
pretty much in the same manner as the gods, for “the gods and Danavas
are brothers, although ever hostile to one another”.[119] The Danava
women are of gigantic stature, and wear jewels as large as mountain
boulders; when terrified by the attacks of the gods, they “bewail like
unto cranes in Autumn”. One of the Daitya tribes reside in the moving
city named Hiranyapura, which they constructed for their protection;
sometimes it sinks below the sea, or under the earth; at other times it
soars across the heavens like the sun. Indra, as we have seen, has a
similar aerial city.

[119] _Mahabharata._

In the Underworld dwell also the Nagas, the demoniac Cobras; they
are of human form to the waist, the rest of their bodies being like
those of serpents. Their king is Shesha, who is also named Vasuki and
Karkotáka; he is sometimes represented with a thousand heads, and
resembles Typhon, who fought with Zeus. In the _Ramayana_ he is Ravana,
the Demon of Ceylon. The prototypes of Shesha and his hosts are the
dragons Vritra, “the encompasser”; Ahi, “the confiner”; and fierce
Kushna, “the scorcher”, who spits out the sunset fires and burns up day.

When serpent worship became prevalent among the Aryans, the Nagas
were regarded as demigods. They were occasionally “the friends of
man”, and to those they favoured they gave draughts of their nectar,
which endowed them with great strength. Their city was the Paradise of
serpent worshippers. The female Nagas were beautiful nymphs, who were
sometimes wooed by mortals.

As the Asuras are the enemies of the gods, the Rakshas or Rakshasas
are the enemies of man.[120] These demons are “night prowlers”; they
have greatest power after “the first forty seconds of grey twilight
preceding nightfall”. They travel faster than the wind, and go through
the air; they have also power to change their shape. Sometimes they
appear in the guise of tigers, bears, or great monkeys; and their hues
vary from yellow to red, and blue to green. In the _Ramayana_ they
are found associated with the Asuras of Ceylon; a spy enters a demon
dwelling and sees them in all their shapes, some frightfully deformed,
with small bodies and long arms; some as grotesque dwarfs, others
as horrible giants with long projecting teeth; some with one eye,
others with three eyes; some with one leg, two legs, or three, or even
four; and some with heads of serpents, horses, or elephants. In the
_Mahabharata_ the Rakshasas are like gorillas; they have arrow-shaped
ears, big red eyes, and red hair and beards, and mouths like caves;
they feast on human beings and cattle. The heroic Bhima, like Siegfried
Dietrich of Bern, Beowulf, and Finn-mac-Coul, is a mighty slayer of
these man-eating demons. They are impervious to weapons, but Bhima
wrestles with them and breaks their backs or tears them asunder, after
lively combats with trees and boulders. Female Rakshasas sometimes fall
in love with human beings, and transform themselves into beautiful
women. Bhima takes one for his bride, and she carries him through the
air to a Celestial retreat among the mountains.

[120] Asuras are sometimes called Rakshasas also.

The most loathsome Rakshasas are the goblin-like Pisachas,[121] who
are devourers of dead bodies in cemeteries, and are exceedingly vile
and malignant fiends. They are the bringers of diseases and wasting
fevers. In the _Atharvaveda_ Agni is invoked by the priests, who mutter
charms over suffering and “possessed” mortals, to take the Pisachas
between his teeth and devour them. They are “those who hound us in
our chambers, while shouting goes on in the night of the new moon ...
the flesh devourers, who plan to injure us, and whom I overcome”.
The priest declares: “I plague the Pisachas as the tiger the cattle
owners. As dogs who have seen a lion, these do not find a refuge....
From villages I enter Pisachas fly away.... May Nirriti (a goddess of
destruction) take hold of this one.”[122]

[121] _Pron._ pe-shatch'as.

[122] Bloomfield's _Atharvaveda_ iv, 36 (_Sacred Books of the East_,
vol. xlii).

Kali, a demon who holds friendly converse with the gods in the “Story
of Nala”, is attended by Dwápara, a flesh-eater like the Pisachas.
The Panis are aerial demons, who are hated by bluff, honest Indra,
because they are the inspirers of foolish actions, slander, and
unbelief, and the imps who encourage men to neglect homage to deities.
The black Dasyus are repulsive of aspect and jealous-hearted; they
are the stealers of the cloud cows who are held captive for Vritra in
the cave of the demon Vala. The Darbas, “the tearers”, are a variety
of Pisachas. Reference is made in _Mahabharata_ to “ugly Vartikas of
dreadful sight, having one wing, one eye, and one leg”; when they
“vomit blood, facing the sun”, a dreadful happening is known to be at
hand, because they are fiends of evil omen.

Among the supernatural beings who are sometimes the enemies, but in
most cases the friends of mankind, are the Yakshas, the Gandharvas, and
the Apsaras (Apsarasas).

The Yakshas are occasionally referred to as the Punyajanas, “the good
people”; they may be of human stature, with big benevolent eyes, or
powerful giants who can fight as fiercely as Rakshasas. They are
guardians of hidden treasure, like the dwarfs and giants of Teutonic
legend, being associated with Kuvera, god of wealth, whose abode is
situated among the Himalayan mountains. In Kuvera's domain are found
“multitudes of spirits” who do not visit the world of men as a rule,
but remain near the treasure for purposes of defence; “some are of
dwarfish stature, some of fierce visage, some hunchbacked, some of
blood-red eyes, some of frightful yells; some are feeding upon fat and
flesh, and some are terrible to behold; and all are armed with various
weapons, and endued with the speed of the wind”.[123]

[123] _Mahabharata_, Roy's trans. (_Sabha Parva_, p. 32).

_Sculpture on a modern Hindu Temple, Benares_

The Gandharvas are grouped in tribes, and number over six thousand
individuals. They are all of the male sex. They haunt the air, the
forests, and the mountains, and, like the Rakshasas, have power to
work illusions in the grey twilight before nightfall. References are
made in the Epics to their combats with human beings. To warriors who
overcome them they impart instruction in religious matters; those whom
they conquer they carry away, like the Teutonic elves and dwarfs. The
Gandharvas are renowned musicians and bards and singers. When they
play on their divine instruments the fairy-like Apsaras, who are all
females, dance merrily. In the various Aryan heavens these elves and
fairies delight and allure with music and song and dance the gods, and
the souls of those who have attained to a state of bliss. The Apsara
dancing girls are “voluptuous and beautiful”, and inspire love in
Paradise as well as upon earth. Their lovers include gods, Gandharvas,
and mortals. Arjuna, the human son of Indra, who was transported in
a Celestial chariot to Swarga over Suravithi, “the Milky Way”, was
enchanted by the music and songs and dances of the Celestial elves and
fairies. He followed bands of Gandharvas who were “skilled in music
sacred and profane”, and he saw the bewitching Apsaras, including the
notorious Menaka, “with eyes like lotus blooms, employed in enticing
hearts”; they had “fair round hips and slim waists”, and “began to
perform various evolutions, shaking their deep bosoms and casting their
glances around, and exhibiting other attractive attitudes capable of
stealing the hearts and resolutions and minds of the spectators”.[124]

[124] _Vana Parva_ section of _Mahabharata_.

In the _Rigveda_ there is a water-nymph, named Apsaras; she is the
“spouse” of Gandharva, an atmospheric deity who prepares Soma for
the gods and reveals divine truths to mortals. They vanish, however,
in later times; the other Vedas deal with the spirit groups which
figure so prominently in the Epics. No doubt the groups are older than
Gandharva, the god, and Apsaras, the goddess, who may be simply the
elf-king and the fairy-queen. The “black” Dasyus are sometimes referred
to by modern-day writers as the dark aborigines who were displaced by
the Aryans; a tribal significance is also given to the Rakshasas and
the Gandharvas. But this tendency to identify the creatures of the
spirit world with human beings may be carried too far. If “Dasyus”
were really “dark folk”,[125] it should be remembered that in Teutonic
mythology there are “black dwarfs”, who live in underground dwellings,
and “white elves” associated with air and ocean; there are also black
and white fairies in the Scottish Highlands, so that black and white
spirits may simply belong to night and day spirit groups. It may be
that the Indian aborigines were referred to contemptuously as Dasyus
by the Aryans. The application of the names of repulsive imps to human
enemies is not an unfamiliar habit even in our own day; in China the
European is a “foreign devil”, but Chinese “devils” existed long
before Europeans secured a footing in the Celestial Kingdom. Those
who seek for a rational explanation for the belief in the existence
of mythical beings should remember that primitive man required no
models for the creatures of his fancy. He symbolized everything—his
ideals, his desires, his hopes and his fears, the howling wind, the
low whispering breeze, the creaking tree, the torrent, the river, the
lake, and the mountain; he heard the hammer or the trumpet of a mighty
god in the thunderstorm, he believed that giants uprooted trees and
cast boulders down mountain slopes, that demons raised ocean billows
in tempest, and that the strife of the elements was a war between gods
and giants; day and night, ever in conflict, were symbolized, as were
also summer and winter, and growth and decay. If the fairies and elves
of Europe are Lapps, or the small men of an interglacial period in
the Pleistocene Age, and if the Dasyus and Gandharvas of India are
merely Dravidians and pre-Dravidians who resisted the Aryan invasion,
who, then, it may be asked, were the prototypes of the giants “big as
mountains”, or the demons like “trees walking”, the “tiger-headed”
Rakshasas, “ugly Vartikas” with “one wing, one eye, and one leg”?
and what animal suggested Vritra, or the fiery dragon that burned up
daylight, or Rahu, the swallower of sun and moon? If the redhaired and
red-bearded Rakshasas are to be given a racial significance, what of
the blue Rakshasas and the green? The idea that primitive man conceived
of giants because he occasionally unearthed the bones of prehistoric
monsters, is certainly not supported by Scottish evidence; Scotland
swarms with giants and hags of mountain, ocean, and river, although it
has not yielded any great skeletons or even a single artifact of the
Palæolithic Age. Giants and fairies are creations of fancy. Just as
a highly imaginative child symbolizes his fears and peoples darkness
with terrifying monsters, so, it may be inferred, did primitive man who
crouched in his cave, or spent sleepless nights in tempest-stricken
forests, conceive with childlike mind of demons thirsting for his blood
and giants of wind and fire intent on destroying the Universe.

[125] Dasyu and Dasa are “applied in many passages of the _Rigveda_
to superhuman enemies”. The colour reference in Dasa is probable, but
it is also used in other senses. For a full discussion on conflicting
views regarding Dasyu and Dasa see _Vedic Index of Names and Subjects_.
Macdonell and Keith, vol. i, pp. 347-9 and 356-8.

In India, as elsewhere, the folk of the spirit world might woo or be
wooed by impressionable mortals. A Gandharva related to Arjuna, the
Pandava prince, by whom he was defeated in single combat, the “charming
story”, as he called it, of King Samvarana and the fairy-like Tapati,
a daughter of the sun god, Surya. Tapati was of all nymphs the most
beautiful; she was “perfectly symmetrical” and “exquisitely attired”;
she had “faultless features, and black, large eyes”; and, in contrast
to an Apsara, she “was chaste and exceedingly well conducted”. For
a time the sun god considered that no husband could be found who was
worthy of his daughter; and therefore “knew no peace of mind, always
thinking of the person he should select”. One day, however, King
Samvarana worshipped the sun, and made offerings of flowers and sweet
perfumes, and Surya resolved to bestow his daughter upon this ideal man.

It came to pass that Samvarana went a-hunting deer on the mountains. He
rode swiftly in pursuit of a nimble-footed stag, leaving his companions
behind, until his steed expired with exhaustion. Then he wandered about
alone. In a secluded wood he beheld a maiden of exquisite beauty; he
gazed at her steadfastly for a time, thinking she was a goddess or “the
embodiment of the rays emanating from the sun”. Her body was as radiant
as fire and as spotless as the crescent moon; she stood motionless like
to a golden statue. The flowers and the creepers round about partook
of her beauty, and “seemed to be converted into gold”. She was Tapati,
daughter of the sun.

The king's eyes were captivated, his heart was wounded by the arrows of
the love god Kama; he lost his peace of mind. At length he spoke and
said: “Who art thou, O fair one? O maiden of sweet smiles, why dost
thou linger in these lonely woods? I have never seen or heard of one so
beautiful as thee.... The love god tortures me.”

That lotus-eyed maiden made no answer; she vanished from sight like to
lightning in the clouds.

The king hastened through the forest, lamenting for her: he searched
in vain; he stood motionless in grief; he fell down on the earth and

Then, smiling sweetly, the maiden appeared again. In honeyed words she
spoke, saying: “Arise, thou tiger among kings. It is not meet that
thou shouldst lose thy reason in this manner.”

Samvarana opened his eyes and beheld Tapati. Weak with emotion he spoke
and said: “I am burning with love for thee, thou black-eyed beauty, O
accept me. My life is ebbing away.... I have been bitten by Kama, who
is even like a venomous snake. Have mercy on me.... O thou of handsome
and faultless features, O thou of face like unto the lotus or the
moon, O thou of voice sweet as that of singing Kinnaras, my life now
depends on thee. Without thee, O timid one, I am unable to live. It
behoveth thee not, O black-eyed maid, to cast me off; it behoveth thee
to relieve me from this affliction by giving me thy love. At the first
sight thou hast distracted my heart. My mind wandereth. Be merciful;
I am thy obedient slave, thy adorer. O accept me.... O thou of lotus
eyes, the flame of desire burneth within me. O extinguish that flame by
throwing on it the water of thy love....”[126]

[126] _Mahabharata_, Roy's translation (_Adi Parva_, section, pp.

Tapati replied: “I am not mistress of mine own self. I am a maiden
ruled by my father. If thou dost love me, demand me of him. My heart
hath been robbed by thee.”

Then, revealing her identity, Tapati ascended to heaven, and once again
Samvarana fell upon the earth and swooned.

The ministers and followers of the king came searching for him, and
found him “lying forsaken on the ground like a rainbow dropped from
the firmament”. They sprinkled his face with cool and lotus-scented
water. When he revived, the monarch sent away all his followers except
one minister. For twelve days he worshipped the sun constantly on the
mountain top. Then a great Rishi, whom he had sent for, came to him,
and the Rishi ascended to the sun. Ere long he returned with Tapas, the
sun god having declared that Varanasi would be a worthy husband for his

For twelve years the king lived with his fairy bride in the mountain
forests, and a regent ruled over the kingdom.

But although the monarch enjoyed great bliss, living the life of a
Celestial, the people of the kingdom suffered greatly. For twelve years
no rain fell, “not even a drop of dew came from the skies, and no corn
was grown”. The people were afflicted with famine; men grew reckless,
and deserted their wives and children; the capital became like to a
city of the dead.

Then a great Rishi brought Varanasi back to his capital with his
Celestial bride. And after that things became as they were before. Rain
fell in abundance and corn was grown. “Revived by that foremost of
monarchs of virtuous soul, the capital and the country became glad with
exceeding joy.”[127] A son was born to the king, and his name was Kuru.

[127] Like an Egyptian Pharaoh, the rajah is here a god among men.
His presence was necessary to ensure the success of rain-bringing

There are many other uncatalogued Celestial beings like Tapati in
Indian fairyland. In the _Atharva-veda_ there are numerous named and
nameless spirits of good and evil, and throughout the Epics references
are made to semi-divine beings who haunt streams, lakes, forests, and
plains. A _Rigveda_ hymn is addressed to the forest nymph Aranyani. She
echoes the voices of man and beast and creates illusions:

    She mimics kine that crop the grass,
    She rumbles like a cart at even,
    She calls The cow, she hews down wood,
    The man who lingers says, “Who calleth?”

    O Aranyani will not harm
    If one will not invade her dwelling,
    When, having eaten luscious fruit,
    At her sweet will she turns to slumber.

The singing birds are all singing spirits in India as in Europe. The
“language of birds” is the language of spirits. When Siegfried, after
eating of the dragon's heart, understood the “language of birds”, he
heard them warning him regarding his enemies. Our seafarers whistle
when they invoke the spirit of the wind. Sir Walter Scott drew
attention, in his _Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_, to the belief
that the speech of spirits was a kind of whistling. As we have seen,
the wives of Danavas had voices like Cranes; Homer's ghosts twittered
like bats; Egyptian ghosts were hooting owls. In India the croaking
raven is still a bird of evil omen, as it is also in the West. In the
Scottish Highlands the spirits of the dead sometimes appear as birds;
so do fairies. The Irish gods and the Celestial Rishis of India take
the form of swans, like the “swan maidens”, when they visit mankind. In
the Assyrian legend of Ishtar the souls of the dead in Hades “are like
birds covered with feathers”. Numerous instances could be quoted to
illustrate the widespread association of birds with the spirit world.


Social and Religious Developments of the Vedic Age

 Aryan Civilization—Tribes and Clans—Villages and Trade—Divisions of
 Society—Origin of Castes—Rise of the Priestly Cult—Brahmanic Ideals
 of Life—Brahmanic Students—The Source of Algebra—Samaveda and
 Yajurveda—Atharva-veda Charms and Invocations—The “Middle Country”
 the Centre of Brahmanic Culture—Sacred Prose Books—Bold Pantheism
 of the Upanishads—Human Sacrifice and its Symbolism—Chaos Giant
 Myth in India, Babylonia, and China, and in Teutonic Mythology—Horse
 Sacrifices in India, Siberia, Greece, Rome, &c.—Creation the Result
 of Sacrifice—Death as the Creator and Devourer.

During the Vedic Age, which came to a close in the eighth century
B.C., the Aryan settlers spread gradually eastward and southward. At
first they occupied the Punjab, but ere the Rigvedic period was ended
they had reached the banks of the Jumna and the Ganges in the “Middle
Country”. In the early hymns the great Himalayan mountains dominate
fertile river valleys, but the greater part of northern India is
covered by vast and dense forests. No mention is made of the sea.

The Aryans were a pastoral and hunting people, with some knowledge of
agriculture. They possessed large herds of cattle, and had also sheep,
goats, and asses; they were, besides, famous breeders and tamers of
horses; the faithful dog, man's earliest friend, followed both herdsman
and hunter. The plough was in use, and bullocks were yoked to it; grain
was thrashed in primitive manner and ground between “pounding stones”.
Barley and wheaten cakes, milk, curds, butter, and cheese, and wild
fruits were the chief articles of diet; the products of the chase were
also eaten, but there appears to have been at the earliest period a
restriction in the consumption of certain foods. Beef was not eaten at
meals. Bulls were sacrificed to the gods. Two kinds of intoxicating
liquors were brewed—the mysterious Soma, beloved by deities, and a
mead or ale called “sura”, the Avestan “hura”, prepared probably from
grain, which had ever an evil reputation as a cause of peace-breaking,
like dice, and of wrongdoing generally.

Metals were in use, for the earliest Aryan invasion took place in the
Bronze Age, during which there were great race movements and invasions
and conquests in Asia and in Europe. It is doubtful whether or not iron
was known by the earliest Aryan settlers in India; it was probably not
worked, but may have been utilized for charms, as in those countries
in which meteoric iron was called “the metal of heaven”. The knowledge
of the mechanical arts had advanced beyond the primitive stage.
Warriors fought not only on foot but also in chariots, and they wore
breastplates; their chief weapons were bows and horn or metal-tipped
arrows, maces, battleaxes, swords, and spears. Smiths roused their
fires with feather fans; carpenters are mentioned in the hymns, and
even barbers who used razors.

The father was the head of the family, and the family was the tribal
unit. War was waged by a loose federation of small clans, each of which
was distinguished by the name of a patriarch. The necessity of having
to conduct frequent campaigns in a new country, peopled by hostile
aliens, no doubt tended to weld tribal units into small kingdoms and
to promote the monarchic system. But intertribal feuds were frequent
and bitter. The Aryans of the Punjab, like the Gauls who settled in
northern Italy, and the clans of the Scottish Highlands in the Middle
Ages, were continually divided among themselves, and greatly occupied
in subduing rivals and in harrying their cattle.

Villages were protected by stockades or earthworks against the attacks
of enemies and wild beasts, or they contained strongholds. They were
governed by headsmen, who were, no doubt, military leaders also;
disputes were settled by a judge. Land, especially grazing land,
appears to have been held in common by communities, but there are
indications that cultivated plots and houses were owned by families and
ultimately by individuals, the father in such cases being the supreme
authority. Village communities, however, might be migratory, and
certain of them may have had seasonal areas of settlement.

Permanent villages existed in groups and also at some distance from
one another, and were connected by roads, and one clan might embrace
several separate communities. Trade was conducted by barter, the cow
being the standard of value, but in time jewels and gold ornaments
were used like money for purchases; “nishka”, a necklet, afterwards
signified a coin. Foreign traders were not unknown at an early period.
The use of alphabetic signs appears to have been introduced by Semites
before the close of the Vedic period; from these evolved ultimately the
scientific Sanskrit alphabet and grammar.

In the Iranian period[128] there were social divisions of the people,
but the hereditary system does not appear to have obtained until
the close of Rigvedic times. Kings might be elected, or a military
aristocracy might impose its sway over an area; a priest was originally
a poet or leader of thought, or a man of elevated character, like the
Scottish Highland _duine-usual_, the “upwardly man”, who might be the
son of a chief or of the humblest member of a community.

[128] A convenient term as explained in our Introduction.

The earliest Aryan divisions of society were apparently marked by
occupations. At first there were three grades: warriors, priests, and
traders, but all classes might engage in agricultural pursuits; even
in the Epic period princes counted and branded cattle. In the later
Vedic age, however, a rigid system of castes came into existence,
the result, apparently, of having to distinguish between Aryans and
aborigines at first, and subsequently between the various degrees
of Aryans who had intermarried with aliens. Caste (Varna) signifies
colour, and its relation to occupation is apparent in the four
divisions—Brahmans, priests; Kshatriyas, the military aristocracy;
Vaisyas, commoners, workers, and traders, who were freemen; and Sudras,
slaves and aborigines. In the _Yajurveda_, the third Veda, the caste
system is found established on a hereditary basis. The three upper
castes, which were composed of Aryans only, partook in all religious
ceremonials, but the members of the Sudra caste were hedged about by
severe restrictions. The knowledge of the Vedas was denied to them, and
they were not allowed to partake of Soma offerings, and although in the
process of time their position improved somewhat in the religious life
of the mingled people, their social inferiority was ever emphasized;
they might become traders, but never Kshatriyas or Brahmans.

The most renowned of early Brahmans were the Rishis, the poets[129]
who composed the “new songs” to the gods. They were regarded as
divinely inspired men and their fame was perpetuated after death.
Several renowned poets are referred to in sacred literature and
invested with great sanctity. The hymns or mantras were committed to
memory and then handed down from generation to generation. At religious
ceremonies these were chanted by reciters, the Hotri priests. There
were also priests who were skilled in the correct performance of
sacrificial rites, and family priests, the Purohitas, who were the
guides, philosophers, and friends of kings and noblemen. A Rishi might
be a Purohita and a seer, who ensured by the performance of mystic
ceremonies a monarch's success in battle and afterwards celebrated his
achievements in song.

[129] “A Rishi, ‘seer’, is primarily a composer of hymns.... The Rishis
ultimately become the representatives of a sacred past.” _Vedic Index
of Names and Subjects_ vol. i, pp. 115-117 (1912).

In the process of time an organized priesthood came into existence, and
a clan or kingdom had its chief priest. The production of new hymns
came to an end; those which existed were considered sufficient for all
purposes; religious beliefs were systematized, and an arbitrary ritual
became more and more complicated.

There are indications that at an early period a chief or king might
offer up a sacrifice, but when the profession of the Brahman became
hereditary, no rite could be performed unless presided over by
holy men. A sacrifice might be rendered futile by an error in the
construction of an altar, or in the order of ceremonial practices,
or by failure to select appropriate chants. The Asuras and Rakshasas
and other demons were ever hovering round the altar, endeavouring to
obstruct ceremonies and to take advantage of ritualistic errors to
intercept offerings intended for the gods. It was by making sacrifices
that man was believed to obtain power over the gods, or magical control
over the forces of nature.

  15        Photo. Frith]

For the performance of some sacrifices a day of preparation might be
required. Altars had to be erected with mathematical exactness; the
stones were blessed and anointed; offerings were made at every stage
of the work so that the various deities might give protection in their
various spheres. The following extract from one of the Brahmanas
affords a glimpse of the preparatory rites:—

 Thrice he (the priest) perambulates it (the altar); for thrice he
 walks round it (whilst sprinkling); thus as many times as he walks
 round it, so many times does he perambulate it....

 Having thereupon put that stone into the water pitcher, (he) throws it
 in that (south-westerly) direction, for that is Nirriti's region; he
 thus consigns pain to Nirriti's region....

 Outside the fire altars he throws it, &c.[130]

[130] _Satapatha Brahmana_, trans. by Prof. Eggeling (_Sacred Books of
the East_, No. XLIII, p. 170).

Human failings may be imputed to Brahmans, but it must be recognized
that the ideals of their caste were of a high order. They were supposed
to be born with “spiritual lustre”, and their lives were consecrated
to the instruction and uplifting of mankind and the attainment of
salvation. A Brahman's life was divided into four periods. The
first was the period of childhood, and the second was the period
of probation, when he went to live in a forest hermitage, where he
acted as the servant of a revered old sage, his spiritual father, and
received instruction in Brahmanic knowledge for a number of years.
During the third period the Brahman lived the worldly life; he married
and reared a family and performed the duties pertaining to his caste.
Hospitality was one of the chief worldly duties; if a stranger, even
although he might be an enemy, came and asked for food he received it,
although the Brahman family should have to fast to supply him. In the
fourth period the Brahman, having proved himself a faithful husband and
exemplary father, divided his worldly possessions between his grown-up
sons and daughters; then he abandoned his comfortable home and,
assuming the deerskin clothing of hermits, went to live in a lonely
forest, or among the Himalayan mountains, to prepare for the coming of
death, far away from the shadows cast by sin and sorrow. In solitude
he performed rigid penances and addressed himself with single-minded
devotion to the contemplation of spiritual problems. Subduing the five
senses, he attained to the state of Yoga (concentration). Placing his
mind entirely upon the contemplation of the soul, he became united
ultimately with the World Soul (God), thus obtaining the release which
was Salvation. Some Brahmans were teachers who instructed pupils
and composed the sacred writings. The forest hermitages were the
universities of ancient India.

The profession of the priesthood had certainly its mercenary aspect;
sacrificial fees were fixed as well as sacrificial rites, and a not
unimportant part of a ceremony was the offering of generous gifts to
the Brahmans, who presided at the altar. But on the whole the riches
thus expended were not given in vain. As in Egypt, the rise and
endowment of the priestly cult was due to the accumulation of wealth
which enabled a section of society to find leisure for study and the
promotion of culture. Aryan civilization in India owed much to the
Brahmans. They introduced and elaborated alphabetic signs; the devoted
scholars among them compiled the first Sanskrit grammar and studied the
art of composition. Among the hermits there were great and original
thinkers who laid the basis of Indian metaphysical thought, and rose
from the materialism of the early Vedic hymns to the idealism of the
speculative prose works, which included the _Forest Books_, a name
redolent of leafy solitude and of simple and contemplative lives on the
banks of sweetly-flowing waters. Even their devotion to the mysteries
of sacrificial ritual, which became more and more complicated, was not
unproductive of permanent benefits to mankind. The necessity for the
exact construction of altars, and the observance of ceremonies in due
season, promoted the study of mathematical science. These Brahmans
invented the numerical figures which have attained universal usage, and
in time they gave the world Algebra. The influence of their culture may
be traced in other directions. At the present day it has indirectly
brought into existence the science of Comparative Religion.


At the close of the Rigvedic period the Aryans had extended their sway
to the district known as Madhyadesa, the “middle country”, between the
“Five Rivers” of the Punjab and the upper reaches of the Jumna and
Ganges. Pioneers were meantime pressing southward and eastward towards
the sea. Migrations were, no doubt, due to propulsion as well as
attraction; fresh folk-waves probably poured in periodically from the
north-west, while the settled population must have increased rapidly
in the fertile land controlled by the invaders, to whom the aborigines
offered but slight resistance.

The second Vedic book, the _Samaveda_, does not contain much fresh
material: it is mainly a compilation of the Rigvedic hymns which the
priests chanted at the Soma sacrifice. Its sole interest, from a
historical point of view, is the evidence it affords of the steady
growth of ritualistic tendencies. A new era of Aryan civilization is
revealed, however, by the third Veda, the _Yajurveda_. In this book the
tribes are found to have extended their area of control down the Ganges
valley, and southward along the banks of the Indus. It is of interest
to note here that the word “Samudra”, first applied to the broadening
Indus where it receives its tributaries, and signifying “collected
waters”, became in the _Brahmanas_ the name of the world-encircling
ocean, across which in due time loomed the ships which “once in
three years” carried to Solomon's order “gold, and silver, ivory (or
elephants' tusks), and apes, and peacocks”.[131]

[131] 1 _Kings_, x, 22.

In the _Yajurveda_ we find that Aryan civilization has developed
greatly in the course of three or four centuries. Powerful tribes have
established kingdoms, and small states are being subjected to the
larger. The hardened system of social organization is reflected by the
references to the four distinct castes. Hitherto the Kshatriyas have
controlled the destinies of the people, but now the Brahmans achieve an
intellectual conquest and impose their sway over kings and nobles. The
holy men are no longer the humble servants of generous patrons; they
are the human representatives of the all-controlling deities. “Verily,
there are two kinds of gods; for the gods themselves, assuredly, are
gods, and those priests who have studied and teach Vedic lore, are the
human gods.”

The offerings to the deities are “consecrated by the feeding of

[132] _Satapatha Brahmana_, translated by Professor Eggeling, Part I,
p. 374 (_Sacred Books of the East_).

Even the gods become dependent upon the priests, who provided them by
offering sacrifices with the “food” they required, and also with the
Soma which gave them length of years. Indra could not combat against
the Asuras without the assistance of the priests who chanted formulas
to ensure victory; it was, therefore, due to the power exercised, in
the first place, by the priests that the drought demon was overcome and
rain fell in abundance.

[Illustration: A YOGI ON A BED OF SPIKES
_An example of present-day austerities_

Priests might also accumulate in heaven credit balances of Celestial
power by undergoing penances for long periods. A heavy debt was also
due to them by the gods for their sacrificial offerings. When a Brahman
desired to exercise his accumulated power, he might even depose the
deities, who were therefore placed under compulsion to fulfil his
demands; his Celestial credit might exceed the “paying” possibilities
of the supreme Powers. In the sacred tales Brahmans were credited with
performing rigid penances for centuries.

In the fourth Veda, the _Atharva-veda_, the revival of belief in
formulas is emphasized. This book, which did not receive recognition
as an inspired work at first, is in the main a collection of metrical
charms of great antiquity. Many resemble closely those which have been
collected by folk-lorists during late years in the Scottish Highlands
and elsewhere throughout Europe. The Rigveda hymns reveal the religious
beliefs and aspirations of the advanced thinkers of their age; the
_Atharva-veda_ contains the germs of folk religion—the magical
formulas chanted to dispel or invoke the vague spirits who helped or
thwarted mankind. It teaches that the Universe is upheld by sacrifice
and the spiritual exaltation of Brahmans, and that Brahmanic power may
be exercised by the use of appropriate charms. Human beings might also
be influenced by the spirits invoked by means of formulas.

Primitive man believed that all emotions were caused by spirits. When
the poet sang, he was “inspired”—he drew in a spirit; ecstasy was “a
standing outside of oneself”, the soul having escaped temporarily from
the body. Wrath was caused by a demon, and “battle fury” by the spirit
of war which possessed the warrior. When a human being was “seized” by
a fit, his convulsions were believed to be caused by the demon who had
entered his body. Love was inspiration in the literal sense, and an
Indian lover might compel a heedless lady to regard him with favour
by reciting an Atharva-vedic spell. Apparently the love spirit had a
weakness for honey. The lover chanted:

    Honey be mine at the tip of my tongue,
    May sweetness of honey pervade my speech,
    So that my love may come under my spell—
    So that my lady may yield to my will.

        _Atharva-veda_, i, 34.

    As the grass is shorn from earth by the wind,
    So may thy soul be shorn to my will,
    And then, O lady, thou'lt give me thy love,
    Nor be averse to me as thou wert.

        _Atharva-veda_, ii, 30.

A lover, we find, can invoke the lady to embrace him “as the creeper
embraces a tree”; if she clings to his arm he can cause her to cling
to his heart; his influence over her mind is like the influence of a
wing-beating eagle over the wind. It may be, too, that a neglected girl
finds it necessary to prepare a love potion with “salve, sweet wood,
and spikenard”, and to cause the heart of an ungallant swain to suffer
from “a parching heart”, which “languishes for love”, and experiences
the “yearning of the Apsaras”.

Warriors were charmed against spells, cattle and sheep were charmed
against wild beasts, a house was charmed against evil spirits and
demons.[133] Greedy demons of disease, who devoured the flesh of
patients, were greatly feared: Brahmans performed ceremonies of
riddance and “plagued them as the tiger plagues the cattle owners”.
The following is a charm against cough:

[133] There are formulas in Gaelic for blessing a house, &c. The
customs of nailing horse-shoes upon doors and hanging up holly at
Christmas for protection against evil spirits indicate the persistence
of ceremonial practices long after ancient beliefs have been forgotten.

    As the soul with the soul's desires swiftly to a distance flies,
      Thus do thou, O cough, fly forth along the soul's course of flight.
    As a well-sharpened arrow swiftly to a distance flies,
      Thus do thou, O cough, fly forth along the expanse of the earth.
    As the rays of the sun swiftly to a distance fly,
      Thus do thou, O cough, fly forth along the flood of the sea.

        _Atharva-veda_, vi, 105.[134]

[134] Bloomfield's _Atharva-veda_ (_Sacred Books of the East_, vol.

A Scottish Highland charm similarly invokes the Powers, or the “King of
the Elements”:

    To cause the wrath of men to ebb,
    Like to a wave from the sea to the floodtide,
    And a wave from the floodtide to the ebb.

Occasionally a mantra is infused with high religious fervour. A Brahman
might pray:

 From the sins which knowingly or unknowingly we have committed, do ye,
 all gods, of one accord release us.

 If awake or asleep, to sin inclined, I have committed a sin, may what
 has been, and what shall be, as if from a wooden post, release me.

        _Atharva-veda_, vi, 115. 1-2.[135]

[135] Bloomfield's translation.

Another hymn of this character concludes:

    In heaven, where our righteous friends are blessed,
    Having cast off diseases from their bodies,
    From lameness free and not deformed in members,
    There may we see our parents and our children.

        _Atharva-veda_, vi, 120.[136]

[136] _A History of Sanskrit Literature_, Professor Macdonell, p. 199.

While the tribes were spreading southward and eastward, Madhyadesa,
the “middle country”, remained the centre of Brahmanic culture. In that
district came into existence the earliest sacred prose works which
constitute the basis of classic Hinduism. The first were the oldest
_Brahmanas_; these comment on and expound the doctrines of the Vedic
hymns, especially in their relation to the ritual of sacrifices. To
the _Brahmanas_ were added the _Aran´yakas_, “forest books”, which
are more speculative in tendency. The expository appendices to the
_Aran´yakas_ are called the _Upanishads_, “the sittings down”, or “the
sessions”—the pupil sat at his master's feet—and in these a high
level of thought is attained. “For the first time”, says Professor
Macdonell, “we find the Absolute grasped and proclaimed.”

All the tribes were not infused with the same degree of culture. In the
_Yajur-veda_ period there were various schools of thought, and these
continued to exercise their influence into historic times, even after
Upanishadic doctrines became widespread.

Ere we deal, however, with the new theological doctrines of the
Brahmanic teachers, we should follow the development of sacrificial
practices, because from these evolved the bold Pantheism which
characterized the conception of the World Soul, Brahmă.

The two greatest sacrifices were the _purusha-medha_, the human
sacrifice, and _aswa-medha_, the sacrifice of the horse. Both were
prevalent in early times, and in simpler form than they survive to us
in the doctrinal works and the Epics. A human sacrifice was believed
to be of highest potency, but it became extremely rare, as in Egypt,
among the ruling and cultured classes. It was perpetuated in India,
however, until about half a century ago, by the Dravidian Khonds in
Bengal and Madras, and had to be suppressed by British officers. Human
sacrifices, in historic times, were “offered to the earth goddess,
Tari Pennu or Bera Pennu, and were believed to ensure good crops, and
immunity from all diseases and accidents”. One official record states
that the victim, after being stabbed by the priest, was “literally cut
to pieces”. Each person who was “so fortunate as to procure it carried
away a morsel of the flesh, and presented it to the idol of his own

[137] _Omens and Superstitions of Southern India_, by Edgar Thurston,
p. 799 _et seq._, 1912.

From the practice of sacrificing human beings arose the conception that
the first act of Creation was, if not human sacrifice, at least the
sacrifice of the first being with human attributes. The Universe is the
giant Purusha (“man”); he is “all that hath been and shall be”. In a
Rigvedic hymn, which is regarded as being of later composition than the
Rigvedic period, it is set forth:

 “When the gods performed a sacrifice with Purusha as the oblation,
 the Spring was its butter, the Summer its fuel, and the Autumn its
 (accompanying) offering. This victim, Purusha, born in the beginning,
 they immolated on the sacrificial grass.”

From this universal sacrifice issued forth all that exists. The Brahman
rose from Purusha's mouth, the Rajanya (Kshatriya) from his arms, the
Vaisya from his thighs, and the Sudra sprang from his feet. Indra and
Agni came from his mouth, and Vayu from his breath.

 “When the gods, performing sacrifice, bound Purusha as a victim,
 there were seven sticks (stuck up) for it (around the fire).... With
 sacrifice the gods performed the sacrifice. These were the earliest

[138] Muir's _Original Sanskrit Texts_, vol. i, pp. 9-10.

“From his (Purusha's) navel arose the air, from his head the sky,
from his ears the four quarters; in this manner (the gods) formed
the worlds.” This conception resembles closely the story in Teutonic
mythology of the cutting up by the gods of the body of the chaos giant
Ymer; his skull became the sky, his bones the rocks, his blood the
sea, and so on. One of the Chinese P'an Ku[139] myths is of similar
character; the world is composed of different parts of his body. The
Babylonian Merodach also divided the body of the chaos demon, Tiawath
or Tiamat; her head became the sky, her body the earth, and her blood
the rivers which fill the sea. Purusha, the chaos giant of India, had
“a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet”; the earth was
equal to the space covered by ten of his fingers; he was “the whole

[139] P'an Ku in his giant form. Like the Egyptian Ptah, he is now a
dwarf and anon a giant.

The horse sacrifice was also infused, like the human sacrifice, with
symbolic significance. It was probably practised in the early Iranian
period by the Aryan horse tamers, who may have substituted man's
fleet-footed friend for human beings. The Mongolian Buriats in the
vicinity of Lake Baikal, Siberia, are the latest surviving sacrificers
of the domesticated animal. Their horse sacrifice (Tailgan) was held on
2 August on a sacred hill inhabited by their gods, the Burkans, “the
masters”. The horse was bound, thrown upon its back and held tightly
by ropes, while the officiating person cut open its breast and pulled
out the pulsating heart like the sacrificers of human beings in Ancient
Mexico. The animal's bones were burned on the altars, and the flesh was
cooked and devoured by the worshippers. Portions of the flesh, and some
of the broth prepared, were given to the flames, which also received
libations of the liquor called _tarasun_, distilled from sour milk.
_Tarasun_ was the Soma of the Buriats, and their fire spirit was, like
the Indian Agni, a ready drinker of it. Bits of food were also flung
to aerial spirits, while oblations were poured on the hill, the belief
prevailing that these offerings multiplied sufficiently to permit of
the gods feeding sumptuously. As each of the worshippers of the spirits
of nature accepted a portion of sacrificial food, a prayer was chanted,
entreating the gods to cause increase of all things.

“Let our villages be one verst longer,” they said; “create cattle in
our enclosures; under our blankets create a son; send down rain from
high heaven to us; cause much grass to grow; create so much grain that
the sickle cannot raise it, and so much grass that the scythe cannot
cut it.”

After the sacrifice, the food was divided and the fragments that
remained were carefully burned, “for none of it must be eaten by
dogs; that would be desecration, and misfortune would follow in its

[140] _A Journey in Southern Siberia_, by Jeremiah Curtin, pp. 44-8.

The purpose of this annual sacrifice was evidently to secure fertility
and prosperity generally, and we refer to it here so fully because of
the light it throws on the Indian ceremonial which it resembles closely
in some of its details.

There are two direct references to the horse sacrifice in the
_Rigveda_.[141] The animal is “covered with rich trappings” and led
thrice round the altar. It is accompanied by a goat, which is killed
first to “announce the sacrifice to the gods”. A goat was also slain at
a burial to inform the gods that the soul was about to enter Heaven.

[141] _Rigveda_, i, 162, and i, 163.

In the _Story of Nala_ and in the _Ramáyana_, the horse sacrifice
is performed to secure human offspring. A second _Ramáyana_ horse
sacrifice is offered as an atonement after the slaying of the demon
Ravana. An elaborate account of this great ceremonial is also given in
the _Mahábhárata_. It was performed after “the great war” on the advice
of the sage Vyasa to atone for the slaying of kinsmen. The horse was
let loose and an army followed it. Whichever country the animal entered
had to be conquered for the owner of the horse, so that only a powerful
monarch could fulfil the conditions of the sacrifice. A hundred such
sacrifices might enable a king to depose Indra.

It is significant, however, that the animal was released to wander from
kingdom to kingdom on the night of the full moon in the spring month
of Choitro, and that it returned in the following year at the close
of the winter season. When the ground was prepared by being ploughed
by the king, the queen followed him, sowing the seeds of every kind
of vegetable and curative herb which grew in the kingdom. A countless
number of representative animals were sacrificed before the sacred
horse was slain, the rain drum and trumpet were sounded, and the king
and queen were drenched with holy water.

The flesh of the horse was cooked and eaten, and Indra and the other
gods appeared and partook of their portions. Pieces were also flung
in the fire, and the fire received also its meed of Soma. When the
sacrifice was completed, the king divided the herb offerings among the
people; what remained over was burned.

In the _Mahábhárata_ a white horse is sacrificed, but in the _Ramáyana_
a black victim is offered up. White horses were sacrificed to Mars by
the Romans; the Greeks sacrificed white horses to the sun by throwing
them in the sea; the Spartans offered up their horses, like the
Buriats, on a hilltop.

There can be little doubt that the Greek and Roman horse sacrifices
were also intended to ensure fertility. A horse was offered up to Diana
at the August harvest festival, and we know that that popular goddess
gave plentiful crops and was the guardian of flocks and herds and wild
animals of the chase; she also presided at birth, and women invoked her
aid. Virgins and youths took a prominent part at this harvest festival.
The Roman horse sacrifice took place on 15 October. The animal was
offered to Mars; the head was conveyed to the king's house[142] and
decorated with loaves, and the blood was preserved until April, when it
was mixed by virgins with the blood of calves; this mixture was given
to shepherds to ensure the increase of flocks which were fumigated.
In the _Mahábhárata_ the king and the princes stand for a time in the
smoke belching from the altar, to be cleansed of their sins.

[142] That is, the so-called “royal house”, or house of the “king of
the sacred rites”.

The Persians, and other peoples of Aryan speech and custom, sacrificed
horses regularly. But the custom was not confined to Indo-Europeans.
The Scythians,[143] who were probably Mongols, not only offered horses
to the Spirit of Fertility, but also, like the Buriats, to the dead.
The Patagonians sacrificed horses to tree spirits. In this connection
it may be noted that some European horse sacrifices took place in
sacred groves; the Buriats tied their horse to a birch tree, which
was carried to the mountain top and fixed to a stake; the Indian
sacrificial posts were probably substitutes for trees.

[143] A broad-headed people.

In the _Upanishads_ the sacrifice of the horse is infused, as we have
indicated, with mystic symbolism. We read: “The dawn in truth is the
head of the sacrificial horse. The sun is the eye; the wind the
breath ... the year the body, the heaven is the back ... the
constellations the bones; the sky the muscles; the rivers, arteries and
veins; the liver and spleen, the mountains; the herbs and trees, the
various kinds of hair.” The horse is also identified with the sun: “The
sun, as long as he rises is the fore part of the body; the sun, as long
as he descends is the hind part of the body, &c.” The horse is also day
and night in turn, and its birthplace is the sea; it carries the gods
and the Asuras; it is the symbol of Death, “who is voracity”, from whom
all things came. “There was not anything here before.” Death first
“created this mind, desiring, _May I have a soul_. He went forth
worshipping. From him, when worshipping, the waters were produced....
The froth of the waters which was there became consistent. This became
the earth.... He made himself threefold. His eastern quarter is the
head ... his western quarter is the tail, &c.”

The work of Creation proceeds, and then “he (Death as the Creator)
resolved to devour all that he had created; for he eats all.... He is
the eater of the whole universe; this whole universe is his food.”

After a year of purification the Creator slaughtered his horse body.
“He gave up the animal to the gods. Therefore they (the gods) slaughter
the purified animal, representing in its nature, as Prajápati, all
deities. He (the Creator) is the Ashwameda[144] who shines.”

[144] Horse sacrifice.

The gods performed the sacrifice to overcome the demons, the
representatives of sin. Therefore the horse sacrifice removes all sin.

After much fantastic symbolism the following lesson in the form of a
mantra is extracted from the parable of Creation:—

 “From the unreal lead me to the real, from darkness lead me to light,
 from death lead me to immortality.”

The Upanishadic treatment of the Purusha myth differs somewhat from
the Vedic, and is intended to strengthen the Monotheistic tendencies
displayed in some of the hymns.

When the Universal soul, according to this later doctrine, took at the
beginning “the shape of a man” ... he “beheld nothing but himself”.

 “He said first _This, I am_. Hence the name of ‘I’ was produced.
 Therefore, even now a man, when called, says first, ‘It is I’, and
 tells afterwards any other name that belongs to him. And, because He,
 as the first of all of them consumed by fire all the sins, therefore
 he is called Purusha....

 He was afraid; therefore man, when alone, is afraid. He then looked
 round. Since nothing but myself exists, of whom should I be afraid?
 Hence his fear departed; for whom should he fear, since fear arises
 from another.

 He did not feel delight. Therefore nobody, when alone, feels delight.
 He was desirous of a second. He was in the same state as husband
 (Pati) and wife (Patni).... He divided this self twofold. Hence were
 husband and wife produced. Therefore was this only a half of himself,
 as a split pea is of the whole.... This void is thus completed by
 woman. He approached her. Hence men were born.”

The first two “mortals” then assumed the forms of all creatures, male
and female in turn. They were, in order, the first cattle, the first
horses, the first asses, the first goats, the first sheep, and so on.
“In this manner He created every living pair whatsoever down to the
ants.” Then he reflected and said: “I am verily this creation, for I
created this all.”

The lesson then follows. Men say, “Sacrifice to this, sacrifice to
this, sacrifice to one or the other god?” But these words are “not
proper”, because “He is really this creation; for he verily is all the

Thus the first Being, as a commentator remarked, “whose nature
comprehended all elements, who is eternal, who is not conceived by
thought, sprang forth by himself.... He consumed all sins, for unless
one is in a worldly state he cannot consume sins.... Being mortal he
created immortals.”[145]

[145] _The Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad._

From the myth of the chaos-giant Purusha we pass to the higher
pantheistic conception of Brahmă, the soul of the Universe.


Mysteries of Creation, the World's Ages, and Soul Wandering

 The World Soul—Vedic Hymn of Creation—Brahmă the only
 Reality—Doctrine of the Upanishads—Creation Myths—The Chaos
 Egg in India and Egypt—Ancestor Worship—Celestial Rishis and
 Manus—Influence of Folk Religion—Imported Doctrines—The Yugas
 or Ages of the Universe—Ape God's Revelations—The Ages in
 Greek and Celtic Mythologies—Universal Destruction—A Deathless
 Sage—His Account of the Mysteries—Narayana the Creator and
 Destroyer—Transmigration of Souls—Beliefs in India, Egypt, Greece,
 and among the Celts.

Before the Vedic Age had come to a close an unknown poet, who was
one of the world's great thinkers, had risen above the popular
materialistic ideas concerning the hammer god and the humanized spirits
of Nature, towards the conception of the World Soul and the First
Cause—the “Unknown God”. He sang of the mysterious beginning of all

    There was neither existence, nor non-existence,
    The kingdom of air, nor the sky beyond.

    What was there to contain, to cover in—
    Was it but vast, unfathomed depths of water?

    There was no death there, nor Immortality.
    No sun was there, dividing day from night.

    Then was there only THAT, resting within itself.
    Apart from it, there was not anything.

    At first within the darkness veiled in darkness,
    Chaos unknowable, the All lay hid.

    Till straightway from the formless void made manifest
    By the great power of heat was born that germ.

        _Rigveda_, x, 129 (Griffith's trans.).

The poet goes on to say that wise men had discovered in their hearts
that the germ of Being existed in Not Being. But who, he asked, could
tell how Being first originated? The gods came later, and are unable to
reveal how Creation began. He who guards the Universe knows, or mayhap
he does not know.

Other late Rigvedic poets summed up the eternal question regarding the
Great Unknown in the interrogative pronoun “What?” (Ka). Men's minds
were confronted by an inspiring and insoluble problem. In our own day
the Agnostics say, “I do not know”; but this hackneyed phrase does
not reflect the spirit of enquiry like the arresting “What?” of the
pondering old forest hermits of ancient India.

The priests who systematized religious beliefs and practices in the
_Brahmanas_ identified “Ka” with Praja´pati, the Creator, and with
Brahma, another name of the Creator.

In the Vedas the word “brahma” signifies “devotion” or “the highest
religious knowledge”. Later Brahmă (neuter) was applied to the World
Soul, the All in All, the primary substance from which all that exists
has issued forth, the Eternal Being “of which all are phases”; Brahmă
was the Universal Self, the Self in the various Vedic gods, the Self
in man, bird, beast, and fish, the Life of Life, the only reality, the
unchangeable. This one essence or Self (Atman) permeates the whole
Universe. Brahmă is the invisible force in the seed, as he is the
“vital spark” in mobile creatures. In the _Khandogva Upanishad_ a young
Brahman receives instruction from his father. The sage asks if his
pupil has ever endeavoured to find out how he can hear what cannot be
heard, how he can see what cannot be seen, and how he can know what
cannot be known? He then asks for the fruit of the Nyagrodha tree.

“Here is one, sir.”

“Break it.”

“It is broken, sir.”

“What do you see there?”

“Not anything, sir.”

“My son,” said the father, “that subtile essence which you do not
perceive there, of that very essence this great Nyagrodha tree exists.
Believe it, my son. That which is the subtile essence, in it all that
exists has itself. It is the True. It is the Self; and thou, my son,
art it.”

In _Katha Upanishad_ a sage declares:

 The whole universe trembles within the life (Brahmă); emanating
 from it (Brahmă) the universe moves on. It is a great fear, like an
 uplifted thunderbolt. Those who know it become immortal....

 As one is reflected in a looking-glass, so the soul is in the body; as
 in a dream, so in the world of the forefathers; as in water, so in the
 world of the Gandharvas; as in a picture and in the sunshine, so in
 the world of Brahmă....

 The soul's being (nature) is not placed in what is visible; none
 beholds it by the eye.... Through thinking it gets manifest Immortal
 become those who know it....

 The soul is not to be gained by word, not by the mind, not by the eye,
 how could it be perceived by any other than him who declares it exists?

 When all the desires cease that are cherished in his heart (intellect)
 then the mortal becomes immortal.

 When all the bonds of the heart are broken in this life, then the
 mortal becomes immortal....[146]

[146] Dr. E. Röer's translation (Calcutta).

The salvation of the soul is secured by union with Brahmă, the supreme
and eternal Atman (Self), “the power which receives back to itself
again all worlds.... The identity of the Brahmă and the Atman, of God
and the Soul, is the fundamental thought of the entire doctrine of the

[147] Deussen's _Philosophy of the Upanishads_, p. 39.

Various creation myths were framed by teachers to satisfy the desire
for knowledge regarding the beginning of things. The divine incarnation
of Brahmă is known as Brahma (masculine) Prajapati, and Nãrãyana.

In one account we read: “At first the Universe was not anything. There
was neither sky, nor earth, nor air. Being non-existent it resolved,
‘Let me be’. It became fervent. From that fervour smoke was produced.
It again became fervent. From that fervour fire was produced.”
Afterwards the fire became “rays” and the rays condensed like a cloud,
producing the sea. A magical formula (Dásahotri) was next created.
“Prajapati is the Dásahotri.”

Eminently Brahmanic in character is the comment inserted here: “That
man succeeds who, thus knowing the power of austere abstraction (or
fervour), practises it.”

When Prajapati arose from the primordial waters he “wept, exclaiming,
‘For what purpose have I been born if (I have been born) from this
which forms no support?...’ That (the tears) which fell into the
water became the earth. That which he wiped away became the air. That
which he wiped away, upwards, became the sky. From the circumstance
that he wept (_arodít_), these two regions have the name of _rodasí_

FROM VISHNU (see page 124)

_From an original Indian painting_

Prajapati afterwards created Asuras and cast off his body, which became
darkness; he created men and cast off his body, which became moonlight;
he created seasons and cast off his body, which became twilight; he
created gods and cast off his body, which became day. The Asuras
received milk in an earthen dish, men in a wooden dish, the seasons in
a silver dish, and the gods were given Soma in a golden dish. In the
end Prajapati created Death, “a devourer of creatures”.

“Mind (or soul, _manas_) was created from the non-existent”, adds
a priestly commentator. “Mind created Prajapati. Prajapati created
offspring. All this, whatever exists, rests absolutely on mind.”[148]

[148] Muir's _Original Sanskrit Texts_, vol. i, pp. 29-30.

In another mythical account of Creation, Prajapati emerges, like the
Egyptian Horus, from a lotus bloom floating on the primordial waters.

The most elaborate story of Creation is found in the _Laws of Manu_,
the eponymous ancestor of mankind and the first lawgiver.

It relates that in the beginning the Self-Existent Being desired to
create living creatures. He first created the waters, which he called
“narah”, and then a seed; he flung the seed into the waters, and it
became a golden egg which had the splendour of the sun. From the
egg came forth Brahma, Father of All. Because Brahma came from the
“waters”, and they were his first home or path (ayana), he is called

The Egyptian sun god Ra similarly rose from the primordial waters as
the sun-egg. Ptah came from the egg which, according to one myth,
was laid by the chaos goose, and to another issued from the mouth of
Khnumu.[149] This conception may have had origin in the story of the
giant of the folk tales who concealed his soul in the egg, in the
tree, and in various animal forms. There are references in Indian
literature to Brahma's tree, and Brahma is identified with Purusha, who
became in turn a cow, a goat, a horse, &c., to produce living creatures.

[149] See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.

In Manu's account of Creation we meet for the first time with the
Maha-rishis or Deva-rishis, the Celestial priest poets. These are the
mind-born sons of Brahma, who came into existence before the gods and
the demons. Indeed, they are credited with some acts of creation. The
seven or fourteen Manus were also created at the beginning. Originally
there was but a single Manu, “the father of men”.

The inclusion of the Rishis and the Manus among the deities is a late
development of orthodox Brahmanism. They appear to represent the
Fathers (Pitris) who were adored by ancestor worshippers. The tribal
patriarch Bhrigu, for instance, was a Celestial Rishi.

It must be borne in mind that more than one current of thought was
operating during the course of the centuries, and over a wide area,
in shaping the complex religion which culminated in modern Hinduism.
The history of Hinduism is the history of a continual struggle between
the devotees of folk religion and the expounders of the Forest Books
produced by the speculative sages who, in their quest for Truth, used
primitive myths to illustrate profound doctrinal teachings. By the
common people these myths were given literal interpretation. Among the
priests there were also “schools of thought”. One class of Brahmans, it
has been alleged, was concerned chiefly regarding ritual, the mercenary
results of their teachings, and the achievement of political power: men
of this type appear to have been too ready to effect compromises by
making concession to popular opinion.

Just as the _Atharva-veda_ came into existence as a book after the
_Rigveda_ had been compiled, so did many traditional beliefs of
animistic character receive recognition by Brahmanic “schools” after
the period of the early _Upanishads_. It may be, however, that we
should also recognize in these “innovations” the influence of races
which imported their own modes of thought, or of Aryan tribes that had
been in contact for long periods with other civilizations known and

In endeavouring to trace the sources of foreign influences, we
should not always expect to find clues in the mythologies of great
civilizations like Babylonia, Assyria, or Egypt alone. The example of
the Hebrews, a people who never invented anything, and yet produced the
greatest sacred literature of the world, is highly suggestive in this
connection. It is possible that an intellectual influence was exercised
in early times over great conquering races by humble forgotten peoples
whose artifacts give no indication of their mental activity.

In Indian Aryan mythology we are suddenly confronted at a comparatively
late period, at any rate some time after tribal settlements were
effected all over Hindustan from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian
Sea, with fully developed conceptions regarding the World's Ages and
Transmigration of Souls, which, it is quite evident, did not originate
after the Aryan conquest of Hindustan. Both doctrines can be traced in
Greek and Celtic (Irish) mythologies, but they are absent from Teutonic
mythology. From what centre and what race they originally emanated we
are unable to discover. The problem presented is a familiar one. At the
beginnings of all ancient religious systems and great civilizations
we catch glimpses of unknown and vanishing peoples who had sowed the
seeds for the harvests which their conquerors reaped in season.

The World's Ages are the “Yugas” of Brahmanism. “Of this elaborate
system ... no traces are found in the hymns of the _Rigveda_. Their
authors were, indeed, familiar with the word ‘yuga’, which frequently
occurs in the sense of age, generation, or tribe.... The first passage
of the _Rigveda_ in which there is any indication of a considerable
mundane period being noted is where ‘a first’ or an earlier age
(yuga) of the gods is mentioned when ‘the existent sprang from the
non-existent’.... In one verse of the _Atharva-veda_, however, the word
‘yuga’ is so employed as to lead to the supposition that a period of
very long duration is intended. It is there said: ‘We allot to thee a
hundred, ten thousand years, two, three, four ages (yugas)’.”[150]

[150] Muir's _Original Sanskrit Texts_, vol. i, p. 46.

Professor Muir traced references in the _Brahmanas_ to the belief in
“Yugas” as “Ages”, but showed that these were isolated ideas with
which, however, the authors of these books were becoming familiar.

When the system of Yugas was developed by the Indian priestly
mathematicians, the result was as follows:—

 One year of mortals is equal to one day of the gods. 12,000 divine
 years are equal to a period of four Yugas, which is thus made up, viz.:

  Krita Yuga,    with its mornings and evenings,  4,800 divine years.
  Treta Yuga,      "      "      "      "         3,600      "
  Dwãpara Yuga,    "      "      "      "         2,400      "
  Kali Yuga,       "      "      "      "         1,200      "
                                          Making 12,000      "

These 12,000 divine years equal 4,320,000 years of mortals, each
human year being composed of 360 days. A thousand of these periods of
4,320,000 years equals one day (Kalpa) of Brahma. During “the day of
Brahma” fourteen Manus reign: each Manu period is a Manvantara. A year
of Brahma is composed of 360 Kalpas, and he endures for 100 of these
years. One half of Brahma's existence has now expired.

At the end of each “day” (Kalpa) Brahma sleeps for a night of equal
length, and before falling asleep the Universe becomes water as at the
beginning. He creates anew when he wakes on the morning of the next

[151] Abridged from Muir's _Original Sanskrit Texts_, pp. 43, 44, and
Wilson's _Manu_, p. 50.

One of the most interesting accounts of the Yugas is given in the
_Mahábhárata_. It is embedded in a narrative which reflects a phase of
the character of that great epic.

Bhima of the Pan´davas, the human son of the wind god Vayu, once went
forth to obtain for his beloved queen the flowers of Paradise—those
Celestial lotuses of a thousand petals with sun-like splendour and
unearthly fragrance, which prolong life and renew beauty: they grow
in the demon-guarded woodland lake in the region of Kuvera, god of
treasure. Bhima hastened towards the north-east, facing the wind, armed
with a golden bow and snake-like arrows; like an angry lion he went,
nor ever felt weary. Having climbed a great mountain he entered a
forest which is the haunt of demons, and he saw stately and beautiful
trees, blossoming creepers, flowers of various hues, and birds with
gorgeous plumage. A soft wind blew in his face; it was anointed with
the perfume of Celestial lotus; it was as refreshing as the touch of
a father's hand. Beautiful was that sacred retreat. The great clouds
spread out like wings and the mountain seemed to dance; shining streams
adorned it like to a necklace of pearls.

Bhima went speedily through the forest; stags, with grass in their
mouths, looked up at him unafraid; invisible Yakshas and Gandharvas
watched him as he went on swifter than the wind, and ever wondering how
he could obtain the flowers of Paradise without delay....

At length he hastened like to a hurricane, making the earth tremble
under his feet, and lions and tigers and elephants and bears arose and
took flight from before him. Terrible was then the roaring of Bhima.
Birds fluttered terror-stricken and flew away; in confusion arose the
geese and the ducks and the herons and the kokilas....[152] Bhima tore
down branches; he struck trees and overthrew them; he smote and slew
elephants and lions and tigers that crossed his path. He blew on his
war-shell and the heavens trembled; the forest was stricken with fear;
mountain caves echoed the clamour; elephants trumpeted in terror and
lions howled dismally.

[152] Indian cuckoo.

The ape god Hanuman[153] was awakened; drowsily he yawned and he lashed
his long tail with tempest fury until it stretched forth like a mighty
pole and obstructed the path of Bhima. Thus the ape god, who was also
a son of Vayu, the wind, made Bhima to pause. Opening his red sleepy
eyes, he said: “Sick am I, but I was slumbering sweetly; why hast thou
awakened me so rudely? Whither art thou going? Yonder mountains are
closed against thee: thou art treading the path of the gods. Therefore
pause and repose here: do not hasten to destruction.”

[153] In his character as the Typhoon.

Said Bhima: “Who art thou? I am a Kshatriya, the son of Vayu.... Arise
and let me pass, or else thou wilt perish.”

Hanuman said: “I am sickly and cannot move; leap over me.”

[Illustration: HANUMAN
_From a bronze in the Victoria and Albert Museum_

Said Bhima: “I cannot leap over thee. It is forbidden by the Supreme
Soul, else would I bound as Hanuman bounded over the ocean, for I am
his brother.”

Hanuman said: “Then move my tail and go past.”

Then Bhima endeavoured to lift the tail of the ape god, but failed, and
he said: “Who art thou that hath assumed the form of an ape; art thou a
god, or a spirit, or a demon?”

Hanuman said: “I am the son of Vayu, even Hanuman. Thou art my elder

Said Bhima: “I would fain behold the incomparable form thou didst
assume to leap over the ocean.”

Hanuman said: “At that Age the universe was not as it is now. Thou
canst not behold the form I erstwhile had.... In Krita Yuga there was
one state of things and in the Treta Yuga another; greater change came
with Dwãpara Yuga, and in the present Yuga there is lessening, and I
am not what I have been. The gods, the saints, and all things that are
have changed. I have conformed with the tendency of the present age and
the influence of Time.”

Said Bhima: “I would fain learn of thee regarding the various Yugas.
Speak and tell what thou dost know, O Hanuman.”

The ape god then spake and said: “The Krita Yuga (Perfect Age) was so
named because there was but one religion, and all men were saintly:
therefore they were not required to perform religious ceremonies.
Holiness never grew less, and the people did not decrease. There were
no gods in the Krita Yuga, and there were no demons or Yakshas, and no
Rakshasas or Nagas. Men neither bought nor sold; there were no poor and
no rich; there was no need to labour, because all that men required was
obtained by the power of will; the chief virtue was the abandonment
of all worldly desires. The Krita Yuga was without disease; there was
no lessening with the years; there was no hatred, or vanity, or evil
thought whatsoever; no sorrow, no fear. All mankind could attain to
supreme blessedness. The universal soul was Narayana: he was _White_;
he was the refuge of all and was sought for by all; the identification
of self with the universal soul was the whole religion of the Perfect

“In the Treta Yuga sacrifices began, and the World Soul became _Red_;
virtue lessened a quarter. Mankind sought truth and performed religious
ceremonies; they obtained what they desired by giving and by doing.

“In the Dwãpara Yuga the aspect of the World Soul was _Yellow_:
religion lessened one-half. The Veda, which was one (the _Rigveda_)
in the Krita Yuga, was divided into four parts, and although some
had knowledge of the four Vedas, others knew but three or one. Mind
lessened, Truth declined, and there came desire and diseases and
calamities; because of these men had to undergo penances. It was a
decadent Age by reason of the prevalence of sin.

“In the Kali Yuga[154] the World Soul is _Black_ in hue: it is the Iron
Age; only one quarter of virtue remaineth. The world is afflicted, men
turn to wickedness; disease cometh; all creatures degenerate; contrary
effects are obtained by performing holy rites; change passeth over all
things, and even those who live through many Yugas must change also.”

[154] The present Age, according to Hindu belief.

Having spoken thus, Hanuman bade Bhima to turn back, but Bhima said: “I
cannot leave thee until I have gazed upon thy former shape.”

Then Hanuman favoured his brother, and assumed his vast body; he grew
till he was high as the Vindhya mountain: he was like to a great golden
peak with splendour equal to the sun, and he said: “I can assume even
greater height and bulk by reason of mine own power.”

Having spoken thus, Hanuman permitted Bhima to proceed on his way under
the protection of Vayu, god of wind. He went towards the flowery steeps
of the sacred mountain, and at length he reached the Celestial lotus
lake of Kuvera, which was shaded by trees and surrounded by lilies; the
surface of the waters was covered with golden lotuses which had stalks
of lapis lazuli. Yakshas, with big eyes, came out against Bhima, but
he slew many, and those that remained were put to flight. He drank the
waters of the lake, which renewed his strength. Then he gathered the
Celestial lotuses for his queen.

In this tale we discover the ancient Indo-European myth regarding the
earth's primitive races. The first age is the White Age, the second is
the Red Age, the third the Yellow Age, and the fourth, the present Kali
Yuga, is the Black or Iron Age.

Hesiod, the Greek poet, in his _Works and Days_, divided the mythical
history of Greece similarly, but the order of the Ages was different;
the first was the Golden Age (yellow); the second was the Silver Age
(white); the third was the Bronze Age (red); the fourth was the Age
of the Heroes; and the fifth was the Age in which Hesiod lived—the
Iron (black) Age. The fourth Age is evidently a late interpolation.
Authorities consider that the Heroic Age did not belong to the original

In the Greek Golden Age men lived like the gods under the rule of
Kronos; they never suffered the ills of old age, nor lost their
strength; they feasted continually, and enjoyed peace and security.
The whole world prospered. When this race passed away they became
beneficent spirits who watched over mankind and distributed riches.

In the Silver Age mankind were inferior; children were reared up for a
century, and died soon afterwards; sacrifice and worship was neglected.
In the end Zeus, son of Kronos, destroyed the Silver Race.

In the Bronze Age mankind sprang from the ash. They were endowed with
great strength, and worked in bronze and had bronze houses: iron was
unknown. But Bronze Age men were takers of life, and at length Black
Death removed them all to Hades.

Zeus created the fourth race, which was represented by the semi-divine
heroes of a former generation; when they fell in battle on the plain of
Troy and elsewhere, Zeus consigned them to the Islands of the Blest,
where they were ruled over by Kronos. The fifth Age may originally have
been the fourth. As much is suggested by another Hesiodic legend which
sets forth that all mankind are descended from two survivors of the
Flood at the close of the Bronze Age.

In _Le Cycle Mythologique Irlandais et la Mythologie Celtique_, the
late Professor D'Arbois de Jubainville has shown that these Ages are
also a feature of Celtic (Irish) mythology. Their order, however,
differs from those in Greek, but it is of special interest to note that
they are arranged in exactly the same colour order as those given in
the _Mahábhárata_. The first Celtic Age is that of Partholon, which
de Jubainville identified with the Silver Age (white); the second is
Nemed's, the Bronze Age (red); the third is the Tuatha de Danann, the
Golden Age (yellow); and the fourth is the Age of the dark Milesians,
called after their divine ancestor Mile, son of Beli, the god of night
and death. The Irish claim descent from the Milesians.

Professor D'Arbois de Jubainville considered that the differences
between the Irish and Greek versions of the ancient doctrine were due
in part to the developments which Irish legend received after the
introduction of Christianity. There are, however, he showed, striking
affinities. The Tuatha de Danann, for instance, like the “Golden Race”
of the Greeks, became invisible, and shared the dominion of the world
with men, “sometimes coming to help them, sometimes disputing with them
the pleasures of life”.

Like the early Christian annalists of Ireland, the Indian Brahmans
appear to have utilized the legends which were afloat among the people.
Both in the Greek and Celtic (Irish) myths the people of the Silver Age
are distinguished for their folly; in the Indian Silver or White Age
the people were so perfect and holy that it was not necessary for them
to perform religious ceremonies; they simply uttered the mystic word

[155] “Om” originally referred to the three Vedas; afterwards it
signified the Trinity.

There are many interesting points of resemblance between certain of the
Irish and Indian legends. We are informed, for instance, of the Celtic
St. Finnen, who fasted like a Brahman, so to compel a pagan sage, Tuan
MacCarell, to reveal the ancient history of Ireland. Tuan had lived
all through the various mythical Ages; his father was the brother of
Partholon, king of the “Silver Race”. At the end of the First Age,
Tuan was a “long-haired, grey, naked, and miserable old man”. One
evening he fell asleep, and when he woke up he rejoiced to find that
he had become a young stag. He saw the people of Nemed (the Bronze or
Red Race) arriving in Ireland; he saw them passing away. Then he was
transformed into a black boar; afterwards he was a vulture, and in the
end he became a fish. When he had existed as a fish for twenty years he
was caught by a fisherman. The queen had Tuan for herself, and ate his
fish form, with the result that she gave birth to the sage as her son.

In similar manner Bata of the Egyptian Anpu-Bata story,[156] after
existing as a blossom, a bull, and a tree, became the son of his
unfaithful wife, who swallowed a chip of wood.

[156] See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.

Tuan MacCarell assured St. Finnen, “in the presence of witnesses”,
as we are naively informed, that he remembered all that happened
in Ireland during the period of 1500 years covered by his various

Another, and apparently a later version of the legend, credits the
Irish sage, the fair Fintan, son of Bochra, with having lived for 5550
years before the Deluge, and 5500 years after it. He fled to Ireland
with the followers of Cesara, granddaughter of Noah, to escape the
flood. Fintan, however, was the only survivor, and, according to Irish
chronology, he did not die until the sixth century of the present era.

One of the long-lived Indian sages was named Markandeya. In the _Vana
Parva_ section of the _Mahábhárata_ he visits the exiled Pandava
brethren in a forest, and is addressed as “the great Muni, who has seen
many thousands of ages passing away. In this world”, says the chief
exile, “there is no man who hath lived so long as thou hast.... Thou
didst adore the Supreme Deity when the Universe was dissolved, and the
world was without a firmament, and there were no gods and no demons.
Thou didst behold the re-creation of the four orders of beings when the
winds were restored to their places and the waters were consigned to
their proper place.... Neither death nor old age which causeth the body
to decay have any power over thee.”

Markandeya, who has full knowledge of the Past, the Present, and
the Future, informs the exiles that the Supreme Being is “great,
incomprehensible, wonderful, and immaculate, without beginning and
without end.... He is the Creator of all, but is himself Increate, and
is the cause of all power.”[157]

[157] Roy's translation.

After the Universe is dissolved, all Creation is renewed, and the cycle
of the four Ages begins again with Krita Yuga. “A cycle of the Yugas
comprises twelve thousand divine years. A full thousand of such cycles
constitutes a Day of Brahma.” At the end of each Day of Brahma comes
“Universal Destruction”.

Markandeya goes on to say that the world grows extremely sinful at the
close of the last Kali Yuga of the Day of Brahma. Brahmans abstain
from prayer and meditation, and Sudras take their place. Kshatriyas
and Vaisyas forget the duties of their castes; all men degenerate and
beasts of prey increase. The earth is ravaged by fire, cows give little
milk, fruit trees no longer blossom, Indra sends no rain; the world
of men becomes filled with sin and immorality.... Then the earth is
swept by fire, and heavy rains fall until the forests and mountains are
covered over by the rising flood. All the winds pass away; they are
absorbed by the Lotus floating on the breast of the waters, in which
the Creator sleeps; the whole Universe is a dark expanse of water.

Although even the gods and demons have been destroyed at the eventide
of the last Yuga, Markandeya survives. He wanders over the face
of the desolate waters and becomes weary, but is unable to find a
resting-place. At length he perceives a banyan tree; on one of its
boughs is a Celestial bed, and sitting on the bed is a beautiful boy
whose face is as fair as a full-blown lotus. The boy speaks and says;
“O Markandeya, I know that thou art weary.... Enter my body and secure
repose. I am well pleased with thee.”

Markandeya enters the boy's mouth and is swallowed. In the stomach of
the Divine One the sage beholds the whole earth (that is, India) with
its cities and kingdoms, its rivers and forests, and its mountains and
plains; he sees also the gods and demons, mankind and the beasts of
prey, birds and fishes and insects....

The sage related that he shook with fear when he beheld these wonders,
and desired the protection of the Supreme Being, whereat he was ejected
from the boy's mouth, and found himself once again on the branch of the
banyan tree in the midst of the wide expanse of dark waters.

Markandeya was then informed by the Lord of All regarding the mysteries
which he had beheld. The Divine One spoke saying: “I have called
the waters ‘Nara’, and because they were my ‘Ayana’, or home, I am
Narayana, the source of all things, the Eternal, the Unchangeable. I
am the Creator of all things, and the Destroyer of all things.... I am
all the gods.... Fire is my mouth, the earth is my feet, and the sun
and the moon are my eyes; the Heaven is the crown of my head, and the
cardinal points are my ears; the waters are born of my sweat. Space
with the cardinal points are my body, and the Air is in my mind.”[158]

[158] Roy's translation. This conception of the World God resembles the
Egyptian Ptah and Ra. See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.

The Creator continues, addressing Markandeya: “I am the wind, I am the
Sun, I am Fire. The stars are the pores of my skin, the ocean is my
robe, my bed and my dwelling-place....” The Divine One is the source
of good and evil: “Lust, wrath, joy, fear, and the overclouding of the
intellect, are all different forms of me.... Men wander within my body,
their senses are overwhelmed by me.... They move not according to their
own will, but as they are moved by me.”

Markandeya then related that the Divine Being said: “I create myself
into new forms. I take my birth in the families of virtuous men....
I create gods and men, and Gandharvas and Rakshas and all immobile
beings, and then destroy them all myself (when the time cometh). For
the preservation of rectitude and morality, I assume a human form;
and when the season for action cometh, I again assume forms that are
inconceivable. In the Krita Age I become white, in the Treta Age I
become yellow, in the Dwãpara I become red, and in the Kali Age I
become dark in hue.... And when the end cometh, assuming the fierce
form of Death, alone I destroy all the three worlds with their mobile
and immobile existences.... Alone do I set agoing the wheel of Time: I
am formless: I am the Destroyer of all creatures: and I am the cause of
all efforts of all my creatures.”[159]

[159] _Mahabharata, Vana Parva_, section clxxxix, P. C. Roy's

Markandeya afterwards witnessed “the varied and wondrous creation
starting into life”.

The theory of Metempsychosis, or Transmigration of Souls, is generally
regarded as being of post-Vedic growth in India as an orthodox
doctrine. Still, it remains an open question whether it was not
professed from the earliest times by a section of the various peoples
who entered the Punjab at different periods and in various stages of
culture. We have already seen that the burial customs differed. Some
consigned the dead hero to the “House of Clay”, invoking the earth
to shroud him as a mother who covers her son with her robe, and the
belief ultimately prevailed that Yama, the first man, had discovered
the path leading to Paradise, which became known as the “Land of the
Fathers” (Pitris). The fire worshippers, who identified Agni with the
“vital spark”, cremated the dead, believing that the soul passed to
heaven like the burnt offering, which was the food of the gods. It is
apparent, therefore, that in early times sharp differences of opinion
existed among the tribes regarding the destiny of the soul. Other
unsung beliefs may have obtained ere the Brahmans grew powerful and
systematized an orthodox creed. The doctrine of Metempsychosis may
have had its ancient adherents, although these were not at first very
numerous. In one passage of the _Rigveda_ “the soul is spoken of as
departing to the waters or the plants”, and it “may”, says Professor
Macdonell, “contain the germs of the theory” of Transmigration of

[160] _History of Sanskrit Literature_, p. 115.

The doctrine of Metempsychosis was believed in by the Greeks and the
Celts. According to Herodotus the former borrowed it from Egypt, and
although some have cast doubt on the existence of the theory in Egypt,
there are evidences that it obtained there as in early Aryanized India
among sections of the people.[161] It is possible that the doctrine
is traceable to a remote racial influence regarding which no direct
evidence survives.

[161] See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.

All that we know definitely regarding the definite acceptance of
the theory in India is that in _Satapatha Brahmana_ it is pointedly
referred to as a necessary element of orthodox religion. The teacher
declares that those who perform sacrificial rites are born again and
attain to immortality, while those who neglect to sacrifice pass
through successive existences until Death ultimately claims them.
According to Upanishadic belief the successive rebirths in the world
are forms of punishment for sins committed, or a course of preparation
for the highest state of existence.

In the code of Manu it is laid down, for instance, that he who steals
gold becomes a rat, he who steals uncooked food a hedgehog, he who
steals honey a stinging insect; a murderer may become a tiger, or have
to pass through successive states of existence as a camel, a dog, a
pig, a goat, &c.; other wrongdoers may have to exist as grass, trees,
worms, snails, &c. As soon as a man died, it was believed that he was
reborn as a child, or a reptile, as the case might be. Sufferings
endured by the living were believed to be retribution for sins
committed in a former life.

Another form of this belief had evidently some connection with lunar
worship, or, at any rate, with the recognition of the influence
exercised by the moon over life in all its phases; it is declared in
the _Upanishads_ that “all who leave this world go directly to the
moon. By their lives its waxing crescent is increased, and by means of
its waning it brings them to a second birth. But the moon is also the
gate of the heavenly world, and he who can answer the questions of the
moon is allowed to pass beyond it. He who can give no answer is turned
to rain by the moon and rained down upon the earth. He is born again
here below, as worm or fly, or fish or bird, or lion, or boar or animal
with teeth, or tiger, or man, or anything else in one or another place,
according to his works and his knowledge.”[162]

[162] Paul Deussen's translation.

Belief in Metempsychosis ultimately prevailed all over India, and it
is fully accepted by Hinduism in our own day. Brahmans now teach that
the destiny of the soul depends on the mental attitude of the dying
person: if his thoughts are centred on Brahma he enters the state of
everlasting bliss, being absorbed in the World Soul; if, however, he
should happen to think of a favourite animal or a human friend, the
soul will be reborn as a cow, a horse, or a dog, or it may enter the
body of a newly-born child and be destined to endure once again the
ills that flesh is heir to.

In Egypt, according to Herodotus, the adherents of the Transmigration
theory believed that the soul passed through many states of existence,
until after a period of about three thousand years it once again
reanimated the mummy. The Greeks similarly taught that “the soul
continues its journey, alternating between a separate, unrestrained
existence and fresh reincarnation, round the wide circle of necessity,
as the companion of many bodies of men and animals”.[163] According
to Cæsar, the Gauls professed the doctrine of Metempsychosis quite

[163] _Psyche_, Erwin Rohde.

[164] _De Bello Gallico_, vi, xiv, 4.

Both in India and in Egypt the ancient doctrine of Metempsychosis was
coloured by the theologies of the various cults which had accepted
it. It has survived, however, in primitive form in the folk tales.
Apparently the early exponents of the doctrine took no account
of beginning or end; they simply recognized “the wide circle of
necessity” round which the soul wandered, just as the worshippers of
primitive nature gods and goddesses recognized the eternity of matter
by symbolizing earth, air, and heaven as deities long ere they had
conceived of a single act of creation.


New Faiths: Vishnu Religion, Buddhism, and Jainism

 Religious Ages—Influence of the Upanishads—The Inspiration
 of Great Teachers—Conception of a Supreme Personal God—Rise
 of Vishnu and Shiva Cults—Krishna a Human Incarnation of
 Vishnu—The Bhagavad-gita—Salvation by Knowledge—Buddha's Revolt
 against Brahmanism—His Gloomy Message to Mankind—Spread of
 Buddhism—Jainism—Revival of Brahmanism—The Puranas—Incarnations
 of Vishnu—Creator as a Boar—Egyptian and European Conceptions and

Modern-day Brahman pundits, the cultured apostles of the ancient forest
sages, acknowledge a Trinity composed of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the
Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. A rock carving at Elephanta, which
depicts the supreme god with three heads, indicates that the conception
is of considerable antiquity. To what particular period it must be
assigned, however, we cannot yet definitely decide.

The religious history of India is divided into four Ages: (1) the Vedic
Age; (2) the Brahmanical Age; (3) the Buddhist Age; and (4) the Age of
the reform and revival of Brahmanism.

As we have seen, many gods were worshipped in the Vedic Age, but ere it
had ended Pantheistic ideas found expression in the hymns. Two distinct
currents of thought characterize the Brahmanical Age. On the one hand
there was the growth of priestly influence which is the feature of the
_Brahmanas_, and on the other the development of the bold Pantheism
of the _Upanishads_, which are permeated with a catholicity of spirit
directly opposed to narrow and pedantic ritualism. Towards the close of
this Age, Vishnu and Shiva were deities of growing ascendancy.

The Buddhist Age began in the sixth century before Christ, and Buddhism
gradually supplanted Brahmanism as a national religion. In the tenth
century of our era, however, Brahmanism was revived, drawing its
inspiration mainly from the _Upanishads_, and purified by the teachings
of Buddha and other reformers.

These religious movements of the post-Vedic times, which have exercised
a cumulative influence in shaping modern-day Hinduism, were due
directly and indirectly to the speculative reasonings of the unknown
authors of the _Upanishads_. The Pantheistic doctrines of these ancient
philosophers, however, hardly constituted a religion: they were rather
an esoteric system of belief devoid of popular appeal. But they have
been the inspiration of a succession of profound thinkers and eloquent
teachers of revered memory in India, who infused ancient modes of
thought with high philosophic doctrines, and utilized archaic myths
to develop a religion which in its purest form permeates the acts of
everyday life and requires the whole-hearted devotion and service of
pious Hindus to the will of the Supreme Being.

In the Brahmanical Age Upanishadic teachings made limited appeal, but
evidences are not awanting that knowledge of them was not confined
to the Brahmans, because the revolts which gave India Buddhism and
Jainism originated among the Kshatriyas. Meanwhile the gods of the
_Vedas_ continued their hold upon the allegiance of the great masses
of the people, although the ancient Vedic religion had been divested
of its simplicity and directness by the ritualistic priesthood. Gods
and men depended upon the Brahmans for their prosperity and even for
their continued existence. It was taught that “the gods lived in fear
of death, the strong Ender”, but were supported and fed by penance and
sacrifice. The priests achieved spiritual dominion over their rivals,
the Kshatriyas.

[Illustration: THE HINDU TRINITY AT ELEPHANTA (see page 119)

There was, however, more than one “school of thought” among the
Brahmans. The sages who memorized and repeated the older Upanishads,
and composed new ones, could not have failed to pass unrecorded
judgments on the superstitious practices of their ritualistic
brethren. Account must also be taken of the example and teachings of
the bands of wandering devotees, the Bhiksus, who neither performed
penances nor offered up sacrifices, and of the influence exercised
by the independent thinkers among the Kshatriyas, who regarded with
disfavour the pretensions of the powerful priesthood. The elements
of revolt could never have been absent during the two centuries of
the Brahmanical Age. Upanishadic teachings had stirred the minds of
thinking men, but they had one marked defect; they left unsatisfied
the religious sense which could find no repose in a jungle of abstract
thought. It was impossible, however, for the leaders of thought to
return to the polytheism of the Vedic Age, or to worship deities
controlled by human beings. A new and higher religion became a
necessity for those who, like the Hebrew Psalmist, appear to have cried:

 “O Lord ... thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou
 delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken

        —_Psalms_, li, 16, 17.

At any rate, we find that, before the Brahmanical Age had ended,
the conception was becoming more prevalent of a supreme personal
god, greater than Indra or Agni, and worthy of minds influenced by
the _Upanishads_—a god who was the embodiment of the First Cause,
an Infinite Being uncontrolled by the priesthood. One section of the
people appears to have worshipped Vishnu as the Celestial incarnation
of the World Soul, while another gave recognition to Shiva. In the
absence of records, however, it is impossible to ascertain to what
extent monotheistic ideas were developed by unorthodox teachers. The
new doctrines may have degenerated, like Buddhism, as they became
widespread. It is evident, however, that the priesthood were unable to
ignore them, for they are referred to in their “books”.

Although the political prominence of Vishnu and Shiva belong to the
Age of reformed Brahmanism, it is undoubted that both deities were
worshipped throughout the long period of Buddhistic ascendancy. The
Greek ambassador Megasthenes, who resided in India between B.C. 311
and 302, and wrote _Ta Indika_, furnishes interesting evidence in
this connection. “By his description of the god Dionysus, whom they
worshipped in the mountains, Shiva”, says Professor Macdonell, “must
be intended, and by Herakles, adored in the plains ... no other can be
meant than Vishnu and his incarnation Krishna.... These statements seem
to justify the conclusion that Shiva and Vishnu were already prominent
as highest gods, the former in the mountains, the latter in the Ganges
valley.... We also learn from Megasthenes that the doctrine of the
four Ages of the World (Yugas) was fully developed in India by this

[165] _A History of Sanskrit Literature_, p. 411.

In the _Rigveda_ Vishnu is a god of grace. He is, however, a secondary
deity—an attribute of the sun and a phase of Agni. From the earliest
times, it is significant to note, his benevolent character is
emphasized. In one of the hymns[166] he is called “the Kinsman”; he
welcomed to his heaven of bliss the faithful worshippers of the gods.
An interesting reference is made to his “highest step”. As detailed in
later writings, the myth involved is to the effect that the demon Bali,
one of the dreaded Danavas (Titans), had, in the Treta Yuga, secured
temporary ascendancy over the gods. Vishnu appeared before him in the
form of the dwarf Vamana, and requested as much territory as he could
measure out by taking three strides. The demon granted this request,
and Vishnu immediately assumed the form of a giant; his first step
covered the heavens, the second crossed the entire earth, and the third
and highest reached the abode of the gods. So was the Universe won back
from the Asuras. It is believed that the myth refers to the progress of
the conquering sun by day and by night.

[166] _Rigveda_, i, 154, 155.

In _Yajurveda_ Vishnu is more prominent than in the _Rigveda_, and
in the _Brahmanas_ “there is a growing tendency”, remarks Professor
Barnett, “to regard him as a blessed Cosmic Spirit”.[167] He is fully
identified with Brahma in the _Mahábhárata_. In some of the myths he
is the source of Indra's strength and valour, and he appears to have
absorbed the sublime character of Varuna, the god of sinners; he is
similarly associated with the sea, but the Sea of Milk.

[167] _Hinduism_, by L. D. Barnett.

Shiva is a development of the Vedic storm god Rudra, who was not only
dreaded, but also revered as a destroyer of evil-doers, hatred, evil,
and disease, and as a nourisher who gave long life.[168]

[168] _Rigveda_, ii, 33.

Both deities inspired love and reverential fear; they won the
affections of human hearts and were worshipped emotionally. Their
cults have had independent doctrinal development, however, and they
divide Hinduism to-day into two great churches, one of which recognizes
Vishnu, and the other Shiva, as the greatest god. Their union in the
Trinity has not yet obliterated sectarian differences.

Many myths have collected round Vishnu, originally a purely abstract
deity, because the faith which he represents had to be imparted to the
masses in “parables”. These “parables” were, of course, given literal
interpretation by the people. The majority of the myths belong to the
post-Buddhist Age—the Age of Brahmanical revival, during which came
into existence the sacred poems called the _Puranas_. Many were also
incorporated in the great epics, the _Mahábhárata_ and the _Ramáyana_,
which existed in part, at least, before the rise of Buddhism and

When Vishnu, the god of mercy and goodness, received recognition
as Narayana in the Brahmanical Age, he was worshipped as the
“unconquerable preserver” who at the dawn of each Yuga (Age) awoke as
the child of the primordial waters. In one myth he rises from a lotus
bloom; in another he is supposed to sleep, as Brahma, on the coils
of the world-serpent Shesha, which is “a part of a part of Vishnu”.
This serpent rests on the tortoise, Kurma, another form of Vishnu.
When the tortoise moves its limbs, Shesha is roused to yawn; thus
are earthquakes caused. A creation myth which teaches the absolute
supremacy of Vishnu tells that at the beginning Brahma sprang from a
lotus issuing from the navel of the Preserver, while Shiva came from
his forehead.

_From a sculpture at Mâmallapuram_

Vishnu is a dark god with four arms; in one of his right hands he holds
a warshell, and in the other a flaming discus, which destroys enemies
and returns after it is flung; in one left hand he holds a mace, and in
the other a lotus bloom.

The belief that the Supreme Being from time to time “assumes a human
form ... for the preservation of rectitude and morality” is an
outstanding feature of Vishnuite religion, which teaches that Vishnu
was born among men as Ramachandra, Krishna, Balarama, and Buddha. These
are the Avataras of the Preserver. Avatara means literally “a descent”,
but is used in the sense of an “Incarnation”.

Rama Chandra is the hero of the _Ramáyana_ epic, which is summarized in
our closing chapters; he is the human ideal of devotion, righteousness,
and manliness, the slayer of the demon Ravana, who oppressed and
persecuted mankind.

Krishna and his brother Balarama figure as princes of Dwaraka in the
_Mahábhárata_. Krishna is represented as the teacher of the Vishnuite
faith, the devotional religion which displaced the Vedic ceremonies
and links Upanishadic doctrines with modern Hinduism. It recognizes
that all men are sinful, and preaches salvation by Knowledge which
embraces Works. Sinners must surrender themselves to Krishna, the human
incarnation (Avatara) of Vishnu, the Preserver, the God of Love.

This faith is unfolded in the famous _Bhagavad-gita_[169] in the
_Bhishma Parva_ section of the _Mahábhárata_ epic. Krishna is acting
as the counsellor and charioteer of the Pandava warrior Arjuna. Ere
the first day's battle of the Great War begins, the human Avatara of
Vishnu reveals himself to his friend as the Divine Being, and gives
instruction as to how men may obtain salvation.

[169] The “Divine Song”.

Krishna teaches that the soul is “unborn, unchangeable, eternal, and
ancient”; it is one with the Supreme Soul, Vishnu, the First Cause,
the Source of All. The soul “is not slain when the body is slain”; it
enters new bodies after each death, or else it secures emancipation
from sin and suffering by being absorbed in the World Soul.... All
souls have to go through a round of births. “On attaining to Me,
however,” says Krishna, “there is no rebirth.”

Krishna gives Salvation to those who obtain “Knowledge of self or
Brahma”.... He says: “The one who hath devoted his Self (Soul) to
abstraction, casting an equal eye everywhere, beholdeth his Self in
all creatures, and all creatures in his Self. Unto him that beholdeth
Me in everything and beholdeth everything in Me, I am never lost and
he also is never lost in Me. He that worshippeth Me as abiding in all
creatures, holding yet that All is One, is a devotee, and whatever mode
of life he may lead, he liveth in Me....

“Even if thou art the greatest sinner among all that are sinful, thou
shalt yet cross over all transgressions by the raft of Knowledge”....
Knowledge destroys all sins. It is obtained by devotees who, “casting
off attachment, perform actions for attaining purity of Self, with
the body, the mind, the understanding, and even the senses, free from
desire”. To such men “a sod, a stone, and gold are alike”.

Krishna, as Vishnu, is thus revealed: “I am the productive cause of
the entire Universe and also its destroyer. There is nothing else that
is higher than myself.... I am Om (the Trinity) in all the Vedas,
the sound in space, the manliness in man. I am the fragrant odour in
earth, the splendour in fire, the life in all creatures, and penance in
ascetics.... I am the thing to be known, the means by which everything
is cleansed.... I am the soul (self) seated in the heart of every
being. I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all beings.... I
am the letter A (in the Sanskrit alphabet).... I am Death that seizeth
all, and the source of all that is to be.... He that knoweth me as the
Supreme Lord of the worlds, without birth and beginning ... is free
from all sins.... He who doeth everything for me, who hath me for his
supreme object, who is freed from attachment, who is without enmity
towards all beings, even he cometh to me.... He through whom the world
is not troubled, and who is not troubled by the world, who is free from
joy, wrath, fear, and anxieties, even he is dear to me.”

To Arjuna Krishna says: “Exceedingly dear art thou to me. Therefore
I will declare what is for thy benefit. Set thy heart on Me, become
my devotee, sacrifice to me, bow down to me. Then shalt thou come to
me.... Forsaking all (religious) duties, come to me as thy sole refuge.
I will deliver thee from all sins. Do not grieve.”

It is, however, added: “This is not to be declared by thee to one who
practiseth no austerities, to one who is not a devotee, to one who
never waiteth on a preceptor, nor yet to one who calumniateth Me.”

Unbelievers are those who are devoid of knowledge. Krishna says: “One
who hath no knowledge and no faith, whose mind is full of doubt, is
lost.... Doers of evil, ignorant men, the worst of their species ... do
not resort to Me.” ... Such men “return to the path of the world that
is subject to destruction”. He denounces “persons of demoniac natures”
because they are devoid of “purity, good conduct, and truth.... They
say that the Universe is void of truth, of guiding principle and of
ruler.... Depending on this view these men of lost souls, of little
intelligence and fierce deeds, these enemies of the world, are born
for the destruction of the Universe.” They “cherish boundless hopes,
limited by death alone”, and “covet to obtain unfairly hoards of wealth
for the gratification of their desires”; they say, “This foe hath been
slain by me—I will slay others.... I am lord, I am the enjoyer....
I am rich and of noble birth—who else is there that is like me?...
I will make gifts, I will be merry.... Thus deluded by ignorance,
tossed about by numerous thoughts, enveloped in the meshes of delusion,
attached to the enjoyment of objects of desire, they sink into foul
hell.... Threefold is the way to hell, ruinous to the Self (Soul),
namely, lust, wrath, likewise avarice.... Freed from these three gates
of darkness, a man works out his own welfare, and then repairs to the
highest goal.”[170]

[170] Extracts from Roy's translation of _Mahábhárata_.

Balarama is an incarnation of the world serpent Shesha. According to
the legend, he and Krishna are the sons of Vasudeva and Devakí. It
was revealed to Kansa, King of Mat´hurã[171], who was a worshipper
of Shiva, that a son of Devakí would slay him. His majesty therefore
commanded that Devakí's children should be slain as soon as they were
born. Balarama, who was fair, was carried safely away. Krishna, the
dark son, performed miracles soon after birth. The king had his father
and mother fettered, and the doors of the houses were secured with
locks. But the chains fell from Vasudeva, and the doors flew open
when he stole out into the night to conceal the babe. As he crossed
the river Jumna, carrying Krishna on his head in a basket, the waters
rose high and threatened to drown him, but the child put out a foot
and the river immediately fell and became shallow. In Mathura the
two brothers performed miraculous feats during their youth. Indeed,
the myths connected with them suggest that their prototypes were
voluptuous pastoral gods. Krishna, the flute-player and dancer, is the
shepherd lover of the Gopis or herdsmaids, his favourite being Radhá.
He was opposed to the worship of Indra, and taught the people to make
offerings to a sacred mountain.

[171] Or Muttra.

_From a modern sculpture_

King Kansa had resort to many stratagems to accomplish the death
of Krishna, but his own doom could not be set aside; ultimately he
was slain by the two brothers. The _Harivamsa_, an appendix to the
_Mahábhárata_, which is as long as the Iliad and the Odyssey together,
is devoted to the life and adventures of Krishna, who also figures in
the _Puranas_.

Vishnu's Buddha Avatara was assumed, according to orthodox teaching,
to bring about the destruction of demons and wicked men who refused to
acknowledge the inspiration of the Vedas and the existence of deities,
and were opposed to the caste system. This attitude was assumed by the
Brahmans because Buddhism was a serious lay revolt against Brahmanical
doctrines and ceremonial practices.

Buddha, “the Enlightened”, was Prince Siddartha of the royal family
Gautama, which, as elsewhere told, ruled over a Sakya tribe. At his
birth marvellous signs foretold his greatness. Reared in luxury, he was
kept apart from the common people; but when the time of his awakening
came, he was greatly saddened to behold human beings suffering from
disease, sorrow, and old age. One night he left his wife and child, and
went away to live the life of a contemplative hermit in the forest,
with purpose to find a solution for the great problem of human sin and
suffering. He came under the influence of Upanishadic doctrines, and
at the end of six years he returned and began his mission.

Buddha, the great psychologist, was one of the world's influential
teachers, because his doctrines have been embraced in varying degrees
of purity by about a third of the human race. Yet they are cold and
unsatisfying and gloomy. The “Enlightener's” outlook on life was
intensely timid and pessimistic; he was an “enemy of society” in
the sense that he made no attempt to effect social reforms so as to
minimize human suffering, which touched him with deepest sympathy, but
unfortunately filled him with despair; his solution for all problems
was Death; he was the apostle of benevolent Nihilism and Idealistic

There is no supreme personal god in Buddhism and no hope of
immortality. Gods and demons and human beings are “living creatures”;
gods have no power over the Universe, and need not be worshipped or
sacrificed to, because they are governed by laws, and men have nothing
to fear from them.

Buddha denied the existence of the Self-Soul of the _Upanishads_.
Self is not God, in the sense that it is a phase of the World Soul.
The “self-state” is, according to the “Enlightener”, a combination of
five elements—matter, feeling, imagination, will, and consciousness;
these are united by Kamma,[172] the influence which causes life to
repeat itself. Buddha had accepted, in a limited sense, the theory
of Transmigration of Souls. He taught, however, that rebirth was the
result of actions and desire. “It is the yearning for existence”, he
said, “which leads from new birth to new birth, which finds its desire
in different directions, the desire for pleasure, the desire for
existence, the desire for power.” Death occurs when the five elements
which constitute life are divided; after death nothing remains but the
consequences of actions and thoughts. Rebirth follows because “the
yearning”, the essence of “works”, brings the elements together again.
The individual exists happily, or the reverse, according to his conduct
in a former life; sorrow and disease are results of wrong living and
wrong thinking in previous states of existence.

[172] Karma, “works” and their consequences.


The aim of the Buddhist is to become the “master of his fate”. Life
to him is hateful because, as the Enlightener taught,“birth is
suffering, death is suffering; to be joined to one thou dost not love
is suffering, to be divided from thy love is suffering, to fail in thy
desire is suffering; in short, the fivefold bonds that unite us to
earth—those of the five elements—are suffering”. As there can be no
life without suffering in various degrees, it behoves the believer to
secure complete emancipation from the fate of being reborn. Life is
a dismal and tragic failure. The Buddhist must therefore destroy the
influence which unites the five elements and forms another life. He
must achieve the complete elimination of inclination—of the yearning
for existence. Buddha's “sacred truth”, which secures the desired end,
is eightfold—“right belief, right resolve, right speech, right action,
right life, right desire, right thought, and right self-absorption”.
The reward of the faithful, who attains to perfect knowledge, unsullied
by works, is eternal emancipation by Nirvana, undisturbed repose or
blissful extinction[173], which is the Supreme Good. If there had been
no belief in rebirth, the solution would have been found in suicide.

[173] Buddha's negative attitude towards immortality and the conception
of a Supreme Being was departed from by those of his followers who have
taught that Nirvana is a conscious state of eternal bliss.

Buddha taught that the four Noble Verities are: (1) pain, (2) desire,
the cause of pain, (3) pain is extinguished by Nirvana, (4) the way
which leads to Nirvana. The obliteration of Desire is the first aim
of the Buddhist. This involves the renunciation of the world and of
all evil passions; the believer must live a perfect life according to
the Buddhist moral code, which is as strict as it is idealistic in the
extreme. “It does not express friendship, or the feeling of particular
affection which a man has for one or more of his fellow creatures, but
that universal feeling which inspires us with goodwill towards all men
and constant willingness to help them.”[174]

[174] Burnouf, quoted by Max Müller, _Chips from a German Workshop_, i,

Belief in the sanctity of life is a prevailing note in Buddhism. The
teacher forbade the sacrifice of animals, as did Isaiah in Judah.

 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith
 the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed
 beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of
 he goats.”

        _Isaiah_, i, II.

Brahmanism was influenced in this regard, for offerings to Vishnu were
confined to cakes, curds, sweetmeats, flowers, oblations, &c.

Buddha, the enemy of the priesthood, was of the Kshatriya caste, and
his religion appears to have appealed to aristocrats satiated with
a luxurious and idle life, who felt like the Preacher that “all is
vanity”; it also found numerous adherents among the wandering bands of
unorthodox devotees. The perfect Buddhist had to live apart from the
world, and engage for long intervals in introspective contemplation so
as to cultivate by a stern analytic process that frame of mind which
enabled him to obliterate Desire blankly and coldly. Familiar statues
of Buddha show the posture which must be assumed; the legs are crossed
and twisted, and the hands arranged to suggest inaction; the eyes gaze
on the bridge of the nose.

Monastic orders came into existence for men and women, but the status
of women was not raised. From these orders were excluded all officials
and the victims of infectious and incurable diseases. A lower class of
Buddhists engaged in worldly duties. Although Buddha recognized the
caste system, his teaching removed its worst features, for Kshatriyas
and converted Brahmans could accept food from the Sudras without fear
of contamination. Kings embraced the new religion, which ultimately
assumed a national character.

Missionaries were from the earliest times sent abroad, and Buddhism
spread into Burma, Siam, Anam, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Java, and Japan.
The view is suggested that its influence can be traced in Egypt. “From
some source,” writes Professor Flinders Petrie, “perhaps the Buddhist
mission of Asoka, the ascetic life of recluses was established in the
Ptolemaic times, and monks of the Serapeum illustrated an ideal to man
which had been as yet unknown in the West. This system of monasticism
continued until Pachomios, a monk of Serapis in Upper Egypt, became the
first Christian monk in the reign of Constantine.”[175]

[175] Petrie, _The Religion of Egypt_, pp. 92-3.

Jainism, like Buddhism, was also a revolt against Brahmanic orthodoxy,
and drew its teachers and disciples chiefly from the aristocratic
class. It was similarly influenced in its origin by the _Upanishads_.
Jainites believe, however, in soul and the world soul; they recognize
the Hindu deities, but only as exalted souls in a state of temporary
bliss achieved by their virtues; they also worship a number of
“conquerors” or “openers of the way”, as Buddhism, in debased form,
recognizes Buddha and his disciples as gods, and allows the worship
here of a tooth and there of a hair of the Enlightener, as well as
sacred mounds connected with his pilgrimages. In the gloomy creed of
the Jainites it is taught that “emancipation” may be hastened by rigid
austerities which entail systematic starvation. Many Jainites have in
their holy places given up their lives in this manner, but the practice
is now obsolete.

In the Age which witnessed the decline of Buddhism in India, and the
rise of reformed Brahmanism, the religious struggle was productive
of the long poems called the _Puranas_ (old tales) to which we have
referred. In these productions some of the ancient myths about the
gods were preserved and new myths were formulated. They were meant
for popular instruction, and especially to make converts among the
unlettered masses. Their authors were chiefly of the Vishnu cult, which
had perpetuated the teachings of the unknown sages who at the close
of the Brahmanical Age revolted against impersonal Pantheism, the
ritualistic practices of the priesthood, and the popular conceptions
regarding the Vedic deities who ensured worldly prosperity, but
exercised little influence on the character of the individual.

Indra and Agni and other popular deities were not, however, excluded
from the Pantheon, but were divested of their ancient splendour and
shown to be subject to the sway of Brahma, their Lord and Creator,
whose attributes they symbolized in their various spheres of activity.
Vishnuites taught that Vishnu was Brahma, and Shivaites that Shiva was
the supreme deity.

In this way, it would appear, the authors of the _Puranas_ effected
a compromise between immemorial beliefs and practices and the higher
religious conceptions towards which the people were being gradually
elevated. A similar policy was adopted by Pope Gregory the Great, who
in the year 601 caused the Archbishop of Canterbury to be instructed to
infuse Pagan ceremonials with Christian symbolism. It was decreed that
heathen temples should be changed into churches, and days consecrated
to sacrificial ceremonies to be observed as Christian festivals. The
Anglo-Saxons were not to be permitted to “sacrifice animals to the
Devil”, but to kill them for human consumption “to the praise of God”,
so that “while they retained some outward joys they might give more
ready response to inward joys”. The Pope added: “It is not possible to
cut off everything at once from obdurate minds; he who endeavours to
climb to the highest place must rise not by bounds, but by degrees or

[176] Bede, _Historia Ecclesiastica_, lib. i, chap. xxx.

It is necessary for us, therefore, in dealing with Puranic beliefs,
and the movement which culminated in modern-day Hinduism, to make a
distinction between the popular faith and the beliefs of the most
enlightened Brahmans, and also between the process of mythology-making
and the development of religious ideas.

In early Puranic times, when Brahmanism was revived, Vishnu's
benevolent character was exalted to so high a degree that, it was
taught, even demons might secure salvation through his grace. Prahlada,
son of the King of the Danavas, worshipped Vishnu. As a consequence,
terrible punishments were inflicted upon him by his angry father. At
length Vishnu appeared in the Danava palace as the Nrisinha incarnation
(half man, half lion), and slew the presumptuous giant king who had
aspired to control the Universe.

Another incarnation of Vishnu was the boar, Varáha. A demon named
Hiranyaksha had claimed the earth, when at the beginning of one of the
Yugas it was raised from the primordial deep by the Creator in the form
of a boar. Vishnu slew the demon for the benefit of the human race.
Earlier forms of this myth recognize Brahma, or Prajapati, as the boar.
In _Taittiriya Brahmana_ it is set forth: “This Universe was formerly
water, fluid; with that (water) Prajapati practised arduous devotions
(saying), ‘How shall this universe be (developed)?’ He beheld a lotus
leaf standing. He thought, ‘There is something on which this rests.’
He as a boar—having assumed that form—plunged beneath towards it. He
found the earth down below. Breaking off (a portion of) her, he rose to
the surface.”

This treatment of the boar is of special interest. In Egypt the boar
was the demon Set, and the “black pig” is the devil in Wales and
Scotland, and also in a “layer” of Irish mythology. Hatred of pork
prevailed in Egypt and its vicinity, and still lingers in parts of
Ireland and Wales, but especially in the Scottish Highlands. The Gauls,
like the Aryans of India, did not regard the boar as a demon, and they
ate pork freely, as did also the Achæans and the Germanic peoples.
Roast pig is provided in Valhal and in the Irish Danann Paradise, but
the Irish “devil”, Balor, who resembles the Asura king of India, had a
herd of black pigs.

The struggle between Kshatriyas and Brahmans is reflected in Vishnu's
incarnation as Parasu-rama (Rama with the axe). He clears the earth
twenty-one times of the visible Kshatriyas, but on each occasion a few
survive to perpetuate the caste.

Jagannath[177] is also regarded as a form of Vishnu, although
apparently not of Brahmanic origin. He is represented by three forms,
representing the dark Krishna, the fair Balarama, and their sister,
Subhadra. Once a year the idol is bathed and afterwards taken forth
in a great car, which is dragged by pious worshippers. Some have
considered it a meritorious act to commit suicide by being crushed
under its wheels.

[177] Juggernaut.


_From a rock sculpture at Udayagiri_

It is believed that Vishnu will yet appear as Kalki, riding on a
white horse and grasping a flaming sword. He will slay the enemies of
evil and re-establish pure religion. Many pious Vishnuites in our own
day look forward to the coming of their supreme deity with fear and
trembling, but not without inflexible faith.


Divinities of the Epic Period

 The Great Indian Epics—Utilized by the Brahmans—The Story
 of Manu—Universal Cataclysm—How Amrita (Ambrosia) was
 obtained—Churning of the Ocean—The Demon Devourer of Sun and
 Moon—Garuda, the Man Eagle—Attributes of the God Shiva—Comparison
 with Irish Balor—Rise of the Goddesses—Saraswati and Lakshmi or
 Sri—Fierce Durga and Kali—Sati, the Ideal Hindu Wife—Legend of the
 Ganges—The Celestial Rishis—Vishwamitra and Vasishtha—History in
 the Vedas—Wars between Aryan Tribes—Kernel of Mahábhárata Epic.

The history of Brahmanism during the Buddhist Age is enshrined in the
great epics _Mahábhárata_ and _Ramáyana_, which had their origin before
B.C. 500, and continued to grow through the centuries.

The _Mahabharata_, which deals with the Great War for ascendancy
between two families descended from King Bharata, has been aptly
referred to as “the Iliad of India”. It appears to have evolved from
a cycle of popular hero songs, but after assuming epic form it was
utilized by the Brahmans for purposes of religious propaganda. The
warriors were represented as sons of gods or allies of demons, and the
action of the original narrative was greatly hampered by inserting
long speeches and discussions regarding Brahmanic conceptions and
beliefs. An excellent example of this process is afforded by the famous
_Bhagavad-gita_, from which we have quoted in the previous chapter. The
narrative of the first day's battle is interrupted to allow Krishna to
expound the doctrines of the Vaishnava faith, with purpose to make
converts to the cult of Vishnu. Almost every incident in the poem is
utilized in a similar manner. In fact the epic, as we are informed in
the opening section, “furnisheth the means of arriving at the knowledge
of Brahma”. The priests, with this aim in view, loaded the chariots of
heroes with religious treatises, and transformed a tribal struggle for
supremacy into a great holy war. If the _Iliad_ survived to us only in
Pope's translation, and our theologians had scattered through it, say,
metrical renderings of Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_, the Thirty-nine
Articles of the Church of England, the _Westminster Confession of
Faith_, Fox's _Book of Martyrs_, and a few representative theological
works of rival sects, a fate similar to that which has befallen the
_Mahabharata_ would now overshadow the great Homeric masterpiece. The
“Iliad of India” is a part of what may be called the Hindu Bible, which
embraces the _Ramayana_, the _Vedas_, the _Upanishads_, the _Puranas_,

The _Ramáyana_, which is called “the Odyssey of India”, because it
deals with the wanderings and adventures of the exiled prince Rama, was
utilized mainly by the cult of Vishnu, but both Vishnu and Shiva figure
as great gods in the _Mahábhárata_, and now one and anon the other is
given first place.

If the documentary material, which is available in India for dealing
with its ancient religious beliefs, were as scanty as those which
survive to us from Ancient Egypt, comparisons might have been drawn
between the Brahmanic cults and the priestly theorists of Heliopolis,
Memphis, Sais, &c., and it might have been remarked of the one nation
as of the other that its people clung to archaic beliefs long after
new and higher religious conceptions obtained as tenets of orthodox
religion. In India the process of change and development can, however,
be not only traced, but partially accounted for, as we have shown. Old
myths were embraced in the epics and the _Puranas_ for the purpose of
educating the people by effecting a compromise between folk religion
and the profound doctrines of the ancient forest sages.

“Father Manu” of the _Vedas_, who appears to have been worshipped as a
patriarchal ancestor, was, for instance, embraced in the _Mahábhárata_
by the cult of Vishnu. He had been exalted by the ritualists as one who
was greater than the gods, because he had been the first to inaugurate
sacrificial rites, and he was afterwards associated with Brahma in
performing some of the acts of Creation at the beginning of one of the
Yugas (Ages). It was necessary, therefore, to show that he owed his
power and opportunities to Vishnu.

In the _Mahábhárata_ the sage Markandeya refers to Manu as the great
Rishi, who was equal unto Brahma in glory. He had practised rigid
austerities in a forest for ten thousand years, standing on one leg
with uplifted hand. One day while he brooded in wet clothes, a fish
rose from a stream and asked for his protection against the greater
fish which desired to swallow it, at the same time promising to reward
him. Manu placed the fish in an earthen jar and tended it carefully
till it increased in size; then he put it in a tank. The fish continued
to grow until the tank became small for it, and Manu heard it pleading
to be transferred to the Ganges, “the favourite spouse of Ocean”. He
carried it to the river, and in time the fish spoke to him, saying: “I
cannot move about in the river on account of my great length and bulk.
Take me quickly to the Ocean.” Manu was enabled to carry the fish from
the Ganges to the sea, and then it spoke with a smile and said:


 “Know thou, O worshipful one, my protector, that the dissolution of
 the Universe is at hand. The time is ripe for purging the world. I
 will therefore advise thee what thou shouldst do, so that it may be
 well with thee. Build a strong and massive ark, and furnish it with a
 long rope; thou wilt ascend in it with the seven Rishis (the Celestial
 Rishis), and take with thee all the different seeds enumerated by
 Brahmans in days of yore, and preserve them carefully. Wait for me and
 I will appear as a horned animal. Act according to my instructions,
 for without mine aid thou canst not save thyself from the terrible

Manu gathered together all the different seeds and “set sail in an
excellent vessel on the surging sea”. He thought of the fish, and
it arose out of the waters like an island; he cast a noose which he
fastened to the horns on its head, and the fish towed the ark over the
roaring sea; tossed by the billows the vessel reeled about like one who
is drunk. No land was in sight. “There was water everywhere, and the
waters covered the heaven and the firmament also.... When the world was
thus flooded none but Manu, the seven Rishis, and the fish could be

After many long years the vessel was towed to the highest peak of the
Himavat, which is still called Nau-bandhana (the harbour), and it was
made fast there. The fish then spoke and said: “I am Brahma, the Lord
of all Creatures; there is none greater than me. I have saved thee
from this cataclysm. Manu will create again all beings—gods, Asuras,
and men, and all those divisions of creation which have the power of
locomotion and which have it not. By practising severe austerities he
will acquire this power....”

Then Manu set about creating all beings in proper and exact order.[178]

[178] Condensed from _Vana Parva_ section of _Mahábhárata_, sec.
clxxxvii, Roy's trans.

Markandeya elsewhere described the universal cataclysm with more
detail. After a drought lasting for many years, seven blazing suns
will appear in the firmament; they will drink up all the waters. Then
wind-driven fire will sweep over the earth, consuming all things;
penetrating to the nether world it will destroy what is there in a
moment; it will burn up the Universe. Afterwards many-coloured and
brilliant clouds will collect in the sky, looking like herds of
elephants decked with wreaths of lightning. Suddenly they will burst
asunder, and rain will fall incessantly for twelve years until the
whole world with its mountains and forests is covered with water. The
clouds will vanish. Then the Self-created Lord, the First Cause of
everything, will absorb the winds and go to sleep. The Universe will
become one dread expanse of water.

Account has to be taken of the persistent legend regarding the ambrosia
which gave strength to the gods and prolonged their existence. In
“Teutonic mythology” it is snatched by Odin from the giants of the
Underworld, and is concealed in the moon, which is ever pursued by the
demon wolf Managarm, who seeks to devour it.

The development of the Indian form of the myth is found in the story of
“The Churning of the Ocean”, which is dealt with in the _Mahábhárata_,
the _Ramáyana_, and several of the _Puranas_.

According to the epics, the ambrosia, the Indian name of which is
amrita (both words implying immortality), was required by the gods so
as to enable them to overcome the demons. In _Vishnu Parva_, however,
a Brahmanic addition to the myth was made so as to exalt a sage and
illustrate the power he could exercise over the old Vedic deities. It
is related that Durvásas obtained from a merry nymph a sweet-scented,
inspiring garland which made him dance. He presented it to Indra,
who placed it on the head of his elephant. The elephant then began
to prance about, and grew so excited that it cast the garland on the
ground. Durvásas was enraged because that his gift was slighted in
this manner, and cursed Indra and foretold the ruin of his kingdom.
Thereafter the king of the gods began to suffer loss of power, whereat
the other deities became alarmed, fearing that the demons would
overcome him in battle. Appeal was made to Brahma, who referred the
gods to Vishnu, the Preserver. That supreme being commanded that the
ocean should be churned for amrita.

In the epics the gods allied themselves with the demons to procure
amrita from Vishnu's Sea of Milk. The “churning stick” was the mountain
Mandara, and the “churning rope” the serpent Vasuka[179] (Ananta or
Shesha). Vishnu said: “The demons must share in the work of churning,
but I will prevent them from tasting of the amrita, which must be kept
for Indra and the gods only.”

[179] Va'suki.

The gods carried the mountain Mandara to the ocean, and placed it on
the back of Kurma, the king of tortoises, who was an incarnation of
Vishnu.[180] Round the mountain they twisted the serpent, which was “a
part of a part of Vishnu”, the Asuras holding its hood and the gods its
tail. As a result of the friction caused by the churning, masses of
vapour issued from the serpent's mouth which, becoming clouds charged
with lightning, poured down refreshing rains on the weary workers.
Fire darted forth and enwrapped the mountain, burning its trees and
destroying many birds, and the lions and elephants that crouched on its
slopes. In time the Sea of Milk produced butter flavoured by the gums
and juices which dropped from the mountain. The gods grew weary, but
Vishnu gave them fresh strength to proceed with the work. At length the
moon emerged from the ocean; then arose the Apsaras, who became nymphs
in Indra's heaven; they were followed by the goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu's
white steed, and the gleaming gem which the god wears on his breast.
Then came Dhanwantari, the physician of the gods, who carried a golden
cup brimming with amrita. Beholding him, the Asuras cried out: “The
gods have taken all else; the physician must be ours.”

[180] Brahma, as Prajapati, assumes, in one of the myths, the form of a
tortoise to “create offspring”.

Next arose the great elephant Airávata, which Indra took for himself.
The churning still went on until the blue, devastating poison appeared
and began to flow over the earth, blazing like a flame mixed with
fumes. To save the world from destruction, Shiva swallowed the poison
and held it in his throat. From that time he was called Nilakantha,
“the blue-throated”.

Meanwhile the demons desired to combat against the gods for the
possession of the beautiful goddess Lakshmi and the amrita. But Vishnu
assumed a bewitching female form, and so charmed the Asuras that they
presented the amrita to that fair woman.

Vishnu immediately gave the amrita to the gods, but soon it was
discovered that a demon named Rahu had assumed Celestial form with
purpose to drink it. The amrita had only reached his throat when the
sun and moon discovered him and informed Vishnu. The divine Preserver
then flung his discus and cut off Rahu's huge head, which resembled
a mountain peak. Rendered immortal by the amrita the head soared to
the sky, roaring loud and long. From that day Rahu's head, with mouth
agape, has followed sun and moon, and when he swallows one or the other
he causes the eclipses.

_From a sculpture at Mâmallapuram_

Meanwhile the demons fought against the gods, but were defeated,
although they flung rocks and mountains. Thousands were slain by
the sky-scouring discus of Vishnu, and those who survived concealed
themselves in the bowels of the earth and the depths of the ocean of
salt waters.

Once upon a time the ambrosia was robbed from the gods by Gar´uda,
half giant and half eagle, the enemy of serpents. This “lord of birds”
was hatched from an enormous egg five hundred years after it had been
laid by Diti, mother of giants; his father was Kas´yapa, a Brahman
identified with the Pole Star, who had sacrificed with desire for
offspring. It happened that Diti, having lost a wager, was put under
bondage by the demons, and could not be released until she caused the
amrita to be taken from a Celestial mountain where it was surrounded
by terrible flames, moved by violent winds, which leapt up to the sky.
Assuming a golden body, bright as the sun, Garuda drank up many rivers
and extinguished the fire. A fiercely revolving wheel, sharp-edged and
brilliant, protected the amrita, but Garuda diminished his body and
entered between the spokes. Two fire-spitting snakes had next to be
overcome. Garuda blinded them with dust and cut them to pieces. Then,
having broken the revolving wheel, that bright sky-ranger flew forth
with the amrita which was contained in the moon goblet.

The gods went in pursuit of Garuda. Indra flung his thunderbolt, but
the bird suffered no pain and dropped but a single feather. When he
delivered the amrita to the demons his mother was released, but ere
the demons could drink Indra snatched up the golden moon-goblet and
wended back to the heavens. The demon snakes licked the grass where the
goblet had been placed by Garuda, and their tongues were divided. From
that day all the snakes have had divided tongues.... Garuda became
afterwards the vehicle of Vishnu; he has ever “mocked the wind with his

Shiva, as we have indicated, developed from Rudra, the storm god. He
is first mentioned as Mahadeva, “the great god”, in the _Yajurveda_,
and in the _Mahábhárata_ he is sometimes exalted above Vishnu. In one
part he is worshipped by Krishna. He is the “blue-necked, three-eyed
trident-bearing lord of all creatures”. The trident is a lightning
symbol which appears to have developed from the three wriggling flashes
held in the left hand of hammer-gods like Tarku and Rammon. Shiva's
third eye was on his forehead, and from it issued on occasion a flame
of fire which could consume an enemy; once he slew Kamadeva, the love
god, who wounded him with flowery arrows, by causing the flame to
spring forth.

Balor, the night god of Irish mythology, had similarly a destroying
eye; “its gaze withered all who stood before it”;[181] he was the god
of lightning and death, the “eye-flame” being the thunderbolt.

[181] _Celtic Myth and Legend_, p. 49.

Shiva's dwelling is on the Himalayan mount Kaila´sa[182]. He is
Girisha, “the lord of the hills”, and Chandra-Shekara, “the moon
crested”, Bhuteswara, “lord of goblins”, and Sri Kanta, “beautiful
throated”. When he is depicted with five heads, he is regarded as the
source of the five sacred rivers flowing from the mountains. As the
god with snow-white face, he is the spirit of asceticism (Maha-Yogi)
adored by Brahmans performing penances. In the _Mahábhárata_ Arjuna,
the warrior, invoked him by engaging in austerities until smoke issued
from the earth. Then Shiva, “the illustrious Hara”, appeared in huge
and stalwart form and wrestled with him. Arjuna's limbs were bruised
and he was deprived of his senses. When he recovered he hailed the god,
saying: “Thou art Shiva in the form of Vishnu and Vishnu in the form
of Shiva....[183] O Hari, O Rudra, I bow to thee. Thou hast a (red)
eye on thy forehead.... Thou art the source of universal blessing, the
cause of the cause of the Universe.... Thou art worshipped of all the
worlds. I worship thee to obtain thy grace.... This combat in which I
was engaged with thee (arose) from ignorance.... I seek thy protection.
Pardon me all I have done.”

[182] Or Kailāsa.

[183] Combined with Vishnu he is Hari-hara.

Shiva, whose sign is the bull, embraced Arjuna and said, “I have
pardoned thee.”

The god was invoked by another warrior, Ashwattaman, son of Drona.
Having naught else to sacrifice, the worshipper flung himself upon the
altar fire; Shiva accepted him and entered his body so as to assist him
in slaughtering his sleeping enemies. Bloody rites were at one time
associated with Shiva worship. As the Destroyer of the Hindu Trinity,
he is armed with a discus, a sword, a bow, and a club; but his most
terrible weapon is the trident. Sometimes he is clad in the skin of an
elephant and sometimes in that of a leopard, the tail dangling behind.
A serpent, coiled on his head, rears itself to strike; another serpent
darts from his right shoulder against an enemy.

The bull symbol, Nandi, the moon crescent on his forehead, and the
serpent girdle, indicate that Shiva is a god of fertility. A phallic
symbol is associated with his worship. In localities he is adored
at the present day in the form of a great boulder painted red which
usually stands below a tree. Offerings are made to this stone, and
women visit it during the period of the moon's increase to pray for

As Natesa, the dancer, Shiva dances triumphantly on the body of a slain
Asura. A fine bronze in the Madras Museum depicts him with four arms,
and a beaming, benevolent face, wearing a tiara, and surrounded by a
halo of fire; he absorbed the attributes of Agni as well as those of
Rudra. He is the destroyer of evil and disease, the giver of long life
and the god of medicine, and is accordingly invoked to cure sickness.
Victims of epilepsy are believed to be possessed by Shiva.

In early Puranic times, when Brahmanism was revived and reformed, the
worship of goddesses came into prominence. This was one of the most
pronounced features of the anti-Buddhist movement, and was due probably
to the influence of Great Mother worshippers. In the Vedic Age, as
we have seen, the goddesses were vague and shadowy; as wives of the
gods they were strictly subordinate, reflecting, no doubt, the social
customs which prevailed among the Aryans. Ushas, the dawn, and Ratri,
the night, were mainly poetic conceptions. Even Prithivi, the Earth
Mother, who was symbolized as a cow, played no prominent part in Vedic
religion: a magical influence was exercised by water goddesses. The
male origin of life appears to have been an accepted tenet of Vedic
belief. Aditi, mother of the Adityas, is believed to be of more recent
origin than her sons. Indra seems to have similarly had existence
before his mother, like the other hammer gods, and especially P'an Ku
and Ptah.

Female water spirits are invariably regarded as givers of boons,
inspiration and wisdom; holy wells have from remote times been
regarded as sources of luck; by performing ceremonial acts those who
visit them obtain what they wish for in silence; their waters have,
withal, curative properties, or they may be used for purposes of
divination. The name of the goddess Saraswati signifies “waters”; she
was originally the spirit of the Saraswati river, and was probably
identical with Bharati, the goddess of the Vedic Bharata tribe. In
Puranic times she became the wife of Brahma and the Minerva of the
Hindu Pantheon. She is identical with Vach, “Mother of the Vedas”,
the goddess of poetry and eloquence, and Viraj, the female form of
Purusha, who divided himself to give origin to the gods and demons and
all living creatures. When Brahma took for a second wife Gayatri, the
milkmaid, she cursed him so that he could only be worshipped once a

_From a bronze in the Madras Museum_

Saranyu, who may have developed from Ushas, the Dawn, is the bride of
Surya, the sun god, and mother of the twin Aswins; she fashioned the
trident of Shiva and the discus of Vishnu, and other weapons besides.

Lakshmi, or Sri, who had her origin at the Churning of the Ocean,
became the wife of Vishnu, and the goddess of beauty, love, and
prosperity. She has had several human incarnations, and in each case
was loved by the incarnation of Vishnu. She is Sita in the Ramáyana,
and the beautiful herdswoman beloved by Krishna. Lakshmi is “the
world-mother, eternal, imperishable; as Vishnu is all-pervading, she is
omnipresent. Vishnu is meaning, she is speech; Vishnu is righteousness,
she is devotion; Sri is the earth, and Vishnu is the support of the
earth.” This benevolent goddess is usually depicted as a golden lady
with four arms, seated on a lotus.

Shiva's complex character is reflected in the various forms assumed
by his bride. As the Destroyer he is associated with Durga, who has
great beauty and is also a war goddess. As Kali she is the black
earth-mother, and as Jagadgauri, the yellow woman, the harvest bride.
Armed with Celestial weapons, Durga is a renowned slayer of demons. In
her Kali form she is of hideous aspect. Sculptors and painters have
depicted her standing on the prostrate form of Shiva and grinning with
outstretched tongue. Her body is smeared with blood because she has
waged a ferocious and successful war against the giants. Like Shiva,
she has a flaming third eye on her forehead. Her body is naked save
for a girdle of giants' hands suspended from her waist; round her neck
she wears a long necklace of giants' skulls: like the Egyptian Isis,
Kali can conceal herself in her long and abundant hair. She has four
arms: in one she holds a weapon, and in another the dripping head of a
giant; two empty hands are raised to bless her worshippers. Like the
Egyptian Hathor or Sekhet, the “Eye of Ra”, she goes forth to slay the
enemies of the gods, rejoicing in slaughter. Like Hathor, too, she is
asked to desist, but heeds not. Then Shiva approaches her and lies
down among her victims. Kali dances over the battlefield and leaps on
her husband's body. When she observes, however, what she has done, she
ejects her tongue with shame.

As Sati, Shiva's wife is the ideal of a true and virtuous Hindu woman.
When Sati's husband was slighted by her father, the Deva-rishi,
Daksha, she cast herself on the sacrificial fire. Widows who died on
the funeral pyres of their husbands were called Sati[184], because in
performing this rite they imitated the faithful goddess.

[184] Often spelled _Suttee_.

Sati was reborn as Uma, “Light”, the impersonation of divine wisdom;
as Amvika the same goddess was a sister of Rudra, or his female
counterpart, Rudra taking the place of Purusha, the first man. Par´vati
was another form of the many-sided goddess. Shiva taunted her for being
black, and she went away for a time and engaged in austerities, with
the result that she assumed a golden complexion.

[Illustration: GANESA (see page 151)
_From a sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum_

A trinity of goddesses is formed by Saraswati, the white one, Lakshmi,
the red one, and Par´vati, the black one. The three were originally
one—a goddess who came into existence when Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva
spoke of the dreaded Asura, Andhaka (Darkness) and looked one at
another. The goddess was coloured white, red, and black, and divided
herself, according to the Varaha Purana, into three forms representing
the Past, Present, and Future.

It was after Sati burned herself that the sorrowing Shiva was wounded
by Kamadeva, the love god, whom he slew by causing a flame of fire to
dart from his third eye. This god is the son of Vishnu and Lakshmi.
He is usually depicted as a comely youth like the Egyptian Khonsu; he
shoots flowery arrows from his bow; his wife Rati symbolizes Spring,
the cuckoo, the humming bee, and soft winds. As Manmatha he is the
“mind-disturber”; as Mara, “the wounder”; as Madan, “he who makes one
love-drunk”; and as Pradyumna he is the “all-conqueror”.

Gane´sa[185], the four-armed, elephant-headed god of wisdom, is the son
of Shiva and Parvati. He is the general of Shiva's army, the patron of
learning and the giver of good fortune. At the beginning of books he is
invoked by poets, his image is placed on the ground when a new house
is built, and he is honoured before a journey is begun or any business
is undertaken. The elephant's head is an emblem of sagacity. A myth
in one of the Puranas relates that the planet Saturn, being under a
curse, decapitated Ganesa simply by looking at him. Vishnu mounted on
the back of the man-eagle Garuda and came to the child's aid. He cut
off the head of Indra's elephant and placed it on Ganesa's neck. In a
conflict with a Deva-rishi Ganesa lost one of his tusks. Several myths
have gathered round this popular, elephant-headed deity, who is also
identified with the wise rat.

[185] A familiar Bengali rendering is “Gonesh”, which is often given as
a pet name to an exemplary boy.

Another son of Shiva and Parvati is Kartikeya, the Celestial general
and slayer of demons. He is also regarded as the son of Agni and the

The goddess of the Ganges is Gangá. This most sacred of all Indian
rivers, the cleanser of sins and the giver of immortality, was
originally confined to the Celestial regions, where it flowed from a
toe of Vishnu. How it came to earth is related in the following myth:
Sag´ara, a King of Ayodha (Oude), had great desire for offspring. He
performed penance, with the result that one wife became the mother of a
single son and the other of sixty thousand sons. He prepared to perform
a horse sacrifice, but Indra stole the sacred animal. All the sons
went in search of it by digging each for the depth of a league towards
the centre of the earth. They were, however, consumed by the fire of
Kapila, a form of Vishnu, who protected the earth goddess, his bride.
Sagara was informed that his sons would come to life again and rise
to heaven when the Ganges flowed down to the earth. His grandson went
through rigid penances, and at length Brahma consented to grant the
prayer that the sacred river should descend from the Himalayas. Shiva
broke the fall of the waters by allowing them to flow through his hair,
and they were divided into seven streams. When the waters reached the
ashes of the slain princes, their spirits rose to heaven and secured
eternal bliss. Sagra island, at the mouth of the Ganges, is invested
with great sanctity, on account of its association with the King of
Ayodha of this legend. All the Indian rivers are female, with the
exception of the Sona and Brahmaputra, the spirits of which are male.

_From a painting by Surendra Nath Gangoly_
(By permission of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta)

Other goddesses include Man´asa, sister of Vasuka, King of the Nagas,
who gives protection against snake bites, and is invoked by the serpent
worshippers: Sasti, the feline goddess of maternity and protectress
of children, who rides on a cat; and Shitala, the Bengali goddess of
smallpox, who is mounted on an ass, carries a bundle of reeds in her
hand, and is clad in red; she is propitiated on behalf of victims of
the dreaded disease.

A prominent part is played in the Brahmanic mythology of the
Restoration period by the Deva-rishis, the deified Vedic poets, sages,
and priests, who stand between the Vedic gods and the Trinity of
Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Originally there were seven Deva-rishis, and these were identified with
the seven stars of the Great Bear, their wives being represented by the
Pleiades. Their number was, however, increased in time.[186] Sometimes
they visit the earth in the form of swans, but more often they are
brooding sages who curse gods and mortals on receiving the slightest

[186] In _Vishnu Purana_ the Rishis are divided as follows: 1,
Brahmarishis, sons of Brahma; 2, Devarishis, semi-divine saints; 3,
Rajarishis, royal saints who had practised austerities. There are
variants in other sacred books which refer to Maharishis, Paramarishis,

One of the most prominent of these Rishis is Na´rada[187], who cursed
and was cursed by Brahma. In the _Mahábhárata_ he is a renowned
teacher and a counsellor of kings, and also a messenger between Indra
and heroes. He is a patron of music, and invented the Vina (lute) on
which he loves to play. His great rival is Parvata, who also acts as a
Celestial messenger.

[187] Or Nãrada.

Daksha is the father of Sati, the peerless wife of Shiva. It was on
account of this rishi's quarrel with her husband, who was not invited
to a great feast, that she flung herself upon the sacrificial fire.
Shiva cut off Daksha's head and replaced it with the head of a goat.

Bhrigu was the patriarch of a Vedic priestly family. He married a
daughter of Daksha, and was the father of Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu, who
rose from the ocean of milk. Bhrigu once cursed Agni, whom he compelled
to consume everything. Angiras, Kratu, and Pulaha were Deva-rishis
who also married daughters of Daksha. Pulastya was a famous slayer of
Rakshasas. He once cursed a king who refused to make way for him on a
narrow forest path, and the king became a Rakshasa.

Marichi was the grandfather of the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu, and
Atri was the father of the irascible sage Durvasas, a master curser.

Vasishtha is sometimes referred to as identical with Vyasa, the reputed
arranger of the Vedas, and author of the _Mahábhárata_. He possessed
a wonderful cow which granted whatever he wished for. A king named
Vishwamitra desired to possess this wonderful animal, and when he
found that he was unable to obtain it by force, he determined to raise
himself from the Kshatriya to the Brahman caste by performing prolonged
austerities. When Vishwamitra secured this elevation he fought with his

Some Vedic scholars regard Vishwamitra and Vasishtha as actual
historical personages. They argue that Vishwamitra was originally a
Purohita (family priest) in the service of Sudas, the king of an Aryan
tribe called the Tritsus. References are found in the _Rigveda_ to the
wars of Sudas, who once defeated a coalition of ten kings. Vishwamitra
is believed to have been deposed by Sudas in favour of Vasishtha, and
to have allied himself afterwards with the enemies of the Tritsus.[188]

[188] _Rigveda_, viii, 53. 9-11, and vii, 18.

Professor Oldenberg, the German Sanskrit scholar, is convinced,
however, that there is no evidence in the _Rigveda_ of the legendary
rivalry between Vishwamitra and Vasishtha. He regards the Vasishthas as
the family priests of the Bharata tribe and identical with the Tritsus.

[Illustration: PARVATI, WIFE OF SHIVA (see page 150)
_From a South Indian temple_

Among the tribes which opposed the advance of the conquering King
Sudas, who appears to have been a late comer, was the Puru people
on the banks of the Saraswati river. We find that the early authors
suddenly cease to refer to them, and the problem is presented: What
fate had befallen the Purus? Professor Oldenberg, whose view is
accepted by Professor Macdonell, Oxford, explains that the Purus merged
in the Kuru coalition. The Kurus gave their name to Kuru-kshetra,
the famous battlefield of the epic _Mahábhárata_; they had already
fused with the Panchala tribe and formed the Kuru-Panchala nation in
Madhyadesa, the “Middle Country”, the home of Brahmanic culture, the
birthplace of the famous old _Upanishads_.

The Bharatas, and their priestly aristocracy of Tritsus, the
Vasishthas, appear to have joined the Kuru-Panchala confederacy about
the time that the _Brahmanas_ were being composed, and these were
probably influenced by the ritualistic practices of the Vasishthas.
There are references to Agni of the Bharatas, and a goddess Bharati is
mentioned in connection with the Saraswati river.

It appears highly probable that the Bharatas and the Kuru-Panchalas
represent late invasions of peoples who displaced the earlier Aryan
settlers in Hindustan. Among the enemies of the invaders were the
Kasis, a tribe which became associated with Benares. It is not
possible to prove the theory that this people had any connection with
the Kassites who established a Dynasty at Babylon. The Kassites are
believed to be identical with the Cossæi of later times, who were
settled between Babylon and the Median highlands. Some think the
Kassites came from Asia Minor after the Hittite raid on Babylon, if
the Kassites, as Hittite allies, were not the actual raiders. The fact
that the Maltese cross, which is found on Elamite neolithic pottery,
first appears on Babylonian seals during the Kassite Dynasty, suggests,
however, that the Kassites came from the east and not the west, with
the horse, called in Babylon “the ass of the east”.

The great epic _Mahábhárata_, “the Iliad of India”, may have been
founded on the hero songs which celebrated the Aryan tribal wars in
India. Its action is centred in Kuru-kshetra, “the country of the
Kurus”, in which the Bharatas had settled. Two rival families contend
for supremacy; these are the Kauravas (the Kurus) and the Pandavas who
are supported by the Panchalas and others. The Pandavas and Kauravas
are cousins and the descendants of the eponymous King Bharata. In the
royal family tree the tribal names of Kuru and Puru appear as names of

A popular rendering is given in several chapters which follow of the
epic narrative embedded in the _Mahábhárata_, which is about eight
times as long as the _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_ combined. This monumental
work is divided into eighteen books; a supplementary nineteenth book
alone exceeds in length the two famous Greek epics.

As we have stated, the _Mahábhárata_ had its origin as an epic prior
to B.C. 500. It was added to from time to time until it assumed its
present great bulk. The kernel of the narrative, however, which appears
to have dealt with the early wars between the Kurus and Panchalas, must
be placed beyond B.C. 1000.

Our narrative begins with the romantic stories which gathered round
the names of the legendary ancestors of the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
The sympathies of the Brahmanic compilers are with the latter, who are
symbolized as “a vast tree formed of religion and virtue”, while their
opponents are “a great tree formed of passion”.


Prelude to the Great Bharata War

 Dushyanta and Shakuntala—Romantic Wooing—Birth of
 Bharata—Shakuntala's Appeal—Her Claim vindicated—King Bharata's
 Reign—King Hastin and King Kuru—King Shantanu's Bride a
 Goddess—Seven Babes drowned—Story of Satyavati—Vyasa, Poet and
 Sage—Bhishma's Terrible Vow—Fisher Girl becomes Queen—Marriage by
 Capture—A Childless King—Origin of Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura.

Now the sire of the great King Bharata[189] was royal Dushyanta of
the lunar race, the descendant of Atri, the Deva-rishi, and of Soma,
the moon; his mother was beautiful Shakuntala, the hermit maiden, and
daughter of a nymph from the celestial regions. And first be it told of
the wooing of Shakuntala and the strange childhood of her mighty son.

[189] _Pron._ bah´ra-ta or bhah´ra-ta.

One day King Dushyanta, that tiger among men, went forth from his
stately palace to go a-hunting with a great host and many horses and
elephants. He entered a deep jungle and there slew numerous wild
animals; his arrows wounded tigers at a distance; he felled those
that came near with his great sword. Lions fled from before him, wild
elephants stampeded in terror, deer sought to escape hastily, and birds
rose in the air uttering cries of distress.

The king, attended by a single follower, pursued a deer across a desert
plain, and entered a beautiful forest which delighted his heart, for
it was deep and shady, and was cooled by soft winds; sweet-throated
birds sang in the branches, and all round about there were blossoming
trees and blushing flowers; he heard the soft notes of the kokila[190],
and beheld many a green bower carpeted with grass and canopied by
many-coloured creepers.

[190] The Indian cuckoo.

Dushyanta, abandoning the chase, wandered on until he came to a
delightful and secluded hermitage, where he saw the sacred fire of that
austere and high-souled Brahman, the saintly Kanva. It was a scene of
peace and beauty. Blossoms from the trees covered the ground; tall were
the trunks, and the branches were far-sweeping. A silvery stream went
past, breaking on the banks in milk-white foam; it was the sacred River
Malini, studded with green islands, loved by water fowl, and abounding
with fish.

Then the king was taken with desire to visit the holy sage, Kanva, he
who is without darkness. So he divested himself of his royal insignia
and entered the sacred grove alone. Bees were humming; birds trilled
their many melodies; he heard the low chanting voices of Brahmans among
the trees—those holy men who can take captive all human hearts....

When he reached the abode of Kanva, he wondered to find that it was
empty, and called out: “Who is here?” and the forest echoed his voice.

Then came towards him a beautiful black-eyed virgin, clad in a robe of
bark. She reverenced the king and said: “What seekest thou? I am thy

Said the royal Dushyanta to the maiden of faultless form and gentle
voice: “I have come to honour the wise and blessed Kanva. Tell me, O
fair and amiable one, whither he hath gone?”

The maiden answered: “My illustrious sire is gathering herbs, but if
thou wilt tarry he will return ere long.”

Dushyanta was entranced by the beauty and sweet smiles of the gentle
girl, and his heart was moved towards her, for she was in the bloom of
youth. So he spake, saying: “Who art thou, O fairest one? Whence comest
thou, and why dost thou wander alone in the woods? O comely maiden,
thou hast taken captive my heart.”

The bright-eyed one made answer: “I am the daughter of the holy and
high-souled Kanva, the ever-wise and ever-constant.”

Said the king: “But Kanva is chaste and austere and hath ever been a
celibate, nor can he have broken his rigid vow. How came it that thou
wert born the daughter of such a one?”

Then the maiden, who was named Shakuntala, because that the birds
(shakunta) had nursed her, revealed unto the king the secret of her
birth. Her real sire was Vishwamitra[191], the holy sage who had been
a Kshatriya and was made a Brahman in reward for his austerities. It
came to pass that Indra became alarmed at his growing power, and he
feared that the mighty sage of blazing energy would, by reason of his
penances, cast down even him, the king of the gods, from his heavenly
seat. So Indra commanded Menaka, the beauteous Ap'sara, to disturb the
holy meditations of the sage, for he had already achieved such power
that he created a second world and many stars. The nymph called on
the wind god and on the god of love, and they went with her towards

[191] _Pron._ vish-wah-mit´ra.

Menaka danced before the brooding sage; then the wind god snatched
away her moon-white garments, and the love god shot his arrows at
Vishwamitra, whereupon that saintly man was stricken with love for the
nymph of peerless beauty, and he wooed her and won her as his bride. So
was he diverted from his austerities. In time Menaka became the mother
of a girl babe, whom she cast away on the river bank.

Now the forest was full of lions and tigers, but vultures gathered
round the infant and protected her from harm. Then Kanva found and took
pity on the child; he said: “She will be mine own daughter.”

Said Shakuntala: “O king, I was that child who was abandoned by the
nymph, and now thou dost know how Kanva came to be my sire.”

The king said: “Blessed are thy words, O princess. Thou art of royal
birth. Be thou my bride, O beautiful maid, and thou wilt have garlands
of gold and golden ear-rings and white pearls and rich robes; my
kingdom also will be thine, O timid one; wed thou me in Gandharva mode,
which of all marriages is the best.”[192]

[192] The Gandharva marriage was legalized by Manu, but only for
members of the Kshatriya (kings and warriors) caste.

Then Shakuntala promised to be the king's bride, on condition that he
would choose her son as the heir to his throne.

“As thou desirest, so let it be,” said Dushyanta. And the fair one
became his bride.

Ere Dushyanta went away he promised Shakuntala that he would send a
mighty host to escort her to his palace.

When Kanva returned, the maiden did not leave her hiding-place to greet
him; but he searched out and found her, and he read her heart. “Thou
hast not broken the law,” he said. “Dushyanta, thine husband, is noble
and true, and a son will be born unto thee who will achieve great

In time fair Shakuntala became the mother of a comely boy, and the
wheel mark[193] was on his hands. He grew to be strong and brave, and
when but six years old he sported with young lions, for he was suckled
by a lioness; he rode on the backs of lions and tigers and wild boars
in the midst of the forest. He was called All-tamer, because that he
tamed everything.

[193] A sign of martial and royal origin.

Now when Kanva perceived that the boy was of unequalled prowess, he
spake to Shakuntala and said: “The time hath come when he must be
anointed as heir to the throne.” So he bade his disciples to escort
mother and son unto the city of Gajasahvaya[194], where Dushyanta had
his royal palace.

[194] _Pron._ Gaj-as-ah-va´ya.

So it came that Shakuntala once again stood before the king, and she
said unto him: “Lo! I have brought unto thee this thy son, O Dushyanta.
Fulfil the promise thou didst make aforetime, and let him be anointed
as thine heir.”

Dushyanta had no pleasure in her words, and made answer: “I have no
memory of thee. Who are thou and whence cometh thou, O wicked hermit
woman? I never took thee for wife, nor care I whether thou art to
linger here or to depart speedily.”

Stunned by his cold answer, the sorrowing Shakuntala stood there like
a log.... Soon her eyes became red as copper and her lips trembled;
she cast burning glances at the monarch. For a time she was silent;
then she exclaimed with fervour: “O king without shame, well dost
thou know who I am. Why wilt thou deny knowledge of me as if thou wert
but an inferior person? Thy heart is a witness against thee. Be not a
robber of thine own affections.... The gods behold everything: naught
is hidden from them; verily, they will not bless one who doth degrade
himself by speaking falsely regarding himself. Spurn not the mother of
thy son; spurn not thy faithful wife. A true wife beareth a son; she
is the first of friends and the source of salvation; she enables her
husband to perform religious acts, her sweet speeches bring him joy;
she is a solace and a comforter in sickness and in sorrow; she is a
companion in this world and the next. If a husband dies, a wife follows
soon afterwards; if she is gone before, she waiteth for her husband
in heaven. She is the mother of the son who performs the funeral rite
to secure everlasting bliss for his sire, rescuing him from the hell
called Put. Therefore a man should reverence the mother of his son, and
look upon his son as if he beheld his own self in a mirror, rejoicing
the while as if he had found heaven.... Why, O king, dost thou spurn
thine own child? Even the ants will protect their eggs; strangers far
from home take the children of others on their knees to be made happy,
but thou hast no compassion for this child, although he is thy son,
thine own image.... Alas! what sin did I commit in my former state that
I should have been deserted by my parents and now by thee!... If I must
go hence, take thou thy son to thy bosom, O king.”

Said Dushyanta: “It has been well said that all women are liars. Who
will believe thee? I know naught regarding thee or thy son.... Begone!
O wicked woman, for thou art without shame.”

Shakuntala made answer, speaking boldly and without fear: “O king,
thou canst perceive the shortcomings of others, although they may be
as small as mustard seeds; thou art blind to thine own sins, although
they may be big as Vilwa fruit. As the swine loveth dirt even in a
flower garden, so do the wicked perceive evil in all that the good
relate. Honest men refrain from speaking ill of others: the wicked
rejoice in scandal. O king! truth is the chief of all virtues. Truth is
God himself. Do not break thy vow of truth: let truth be ever a part
of thee. But if thou wouldst rather be false, I must needs depart,
for, verily, such a one as thee should be avoided.... Yet know now, O
Dushyanta, that when thou art gone, my son will be king of this world,
which is surrounded by the four seas and adorned by the monarch of

Shakuntala then turned from the king, but a voice out of heaven spoke
softly down the wind, saying:

“_Shakuntala hath uttered what is true. Therefore, O Dushyanta, cherish
thy son, and became thou wilt cherish him by command of the gods, let
his name be Bharata (‘the cherished’)_.”

When the king heard these words, he spoke to his counsellors and said:
“The celestial messenger hath spoken.... Had I welcomed this my son by
pledge of Shakuntala alone, men would suspect the truth of her words
and doubt his royal birth.”

Thereafter Dushyanta embraced his son and kissed him, and he honoured
Shakuntala as his chief rani[195]; he said to her, soothingly: “From
all men have I concealed our union; and for the sake of thine own good
name I hesitated to acknowledge thee. Forgive my harsh words, as I
forgive thine. Thou didst speak passionately because thou lovest me
well, O great-eyed and fair one, whom I love also.”

[195] Queen.

The son of Shakuntala was then anointed as heir to the throne, and he
was named Bharata.[196]

[196] This story is the plot of “Shakuntala”, the Sanskrit drama of the
poet Kalidasa, who lived in the fifth century A.D. He makes the king
give the heroine a ring, which she loses while bathing. A fish swallows
the ring, and it is found by a fisherman, who delivers it to the king.
Then suddenly His Majesty remembers his bride, whom he had forgotten
and already denied. The misfortunes of the monarch and maid resulted
from the curse of the sage Durvasas. _Pron._ Sha-koon´-ta-lah.

When Dushyanta died, Bharata became king. Great was his fame, as
befitted a descendant of Chandra.[197] He was a mighty warrior,
and none could withstand him in battle; he made great conquests,
and extended his kingdom all over Hindustan, which was called

[197] _Pron._ chun´dra (“ch” as in “change”). Also Soma, the moon god.

[198] Subsequently the name for India as a whole.

King Bharata was the sire of King Hastin, who built the great city
of Hastinapur; King Hastin begot King Kuru, and King Kuru begot King

Be it told of the King Shantanu that he was pious and just and
all-powerful, as was meet for the great grandson of King Bharata. His
first wife was the goddess Ganga of the Ganges river, and she was
divinely beautiful like to her kind. Ere she assumed human form for
a time, there came to her the eight Vasus, the attendants of Indra.
It chanced that when the Brahman Vasishtha was engaged in his holy
meditations the Vasus flew between him and the sun, whereupon the
angered sage cursed them, saying: “Be born among men!” Nor could they
escape this fate, so great was the Rishi's power over celestial beings.
So they hastened to Ganga, and she consented to become their human
mother, promising that she would cast them one by one into the Ganges
soon after birth, so that they might return speedily to their celestial
state. For this service Ganga made each of the Vasus promise to confer
an eighth part of his power on her son, who, according to her desire,
should remain among men for many years, but would never marry or have

_From the painting by Warwick Goble_

A day came thereafter when King Shantanu walked beside the Ganges.
Suddenly there appeared before him a maiden of surpassing beauty. She
was Ganga in human form. Her celestial garments had the splendour of
lotus blooms; she was adorned with rare ornaments, and her teeth were
radiant as pearls. The king was silenced by her charms, and gazed upon
her steadfastly.... In time he perceived that the maiden regarded him
with love-lorn eyes, as if she sought to look upon him for ever, and
he spoke to her, saying: “O slender-waisted and fair one, art thou one
of the Danavas, or art thou of the race of Gandharvas, or art thou of
the Apsaras; art thou one of the Yakshas or Nagas,[199] or art thou of
human kind, O peerless and faultless one? Be thou my bride.”

[199] Art thou a demon or nymph or fairy or dwarf or demi-god?

The goddess made answer that she would wed the king, but said she must
needs at once depart from him if he spoke harshly to her at any time,
or attempted to thwart her in doing as she willed. Shantanu consented
to her terms, and Ganga became his bride.

In time the goddess gave birth to a son, but soon afterwards she cast
him into the Ganges, saying: “This for thy welfare.”

The king was stricken with horror, but he spake not a word to his
beautiful bride lest she should leave him.

So were seven babes, one after another, destroyed by their mother in
like manner. When the eighth was born, the goddess sought to drown him
also; but the king's pent-up wrath broke forth in a torrent of speech,
and he upbraided his heartless wife. Thus was his marriage vow broken,
and Ganga given power to depart unto her own place. But ere she went
she revealed unto the king who she was, and also why she had cast the
Vasus, her children, into the Ganges. Then she suddenly vanished from
before his eyes, taking the last babe with her.

Ere long the fair goddess returned to Shantanu for a brief space, and
she brought with her for the king a fair and noble son, who was endowed
with the virtues of the Vasus. Then she departed never to come again.
The heart of Shantanu was moved towards the child, who became a comely
and powerful youth, and was named Satanava.[200]

[200] His other names are Deva-bratta and Ganga-bratta, and he was
ultimately known as Bhishma.

When Shantanu had grown old, he sought to marry a young and beautiful
bride whom he loved. For one day as he walked beside the Jumna river he
was attracted by a sweet and alluring perfume, which drew him through
the trees until he beheld a maiden of celestial beauty with luminous
black eyes.[201] The king spake to her and said: “Who art thou, and
whose daughter, O timid one? What doest thou here?”

[201] The Pharaoh of the Anpu-Bata Egyptian story was similarly
attracted by a perfume which issued from a lock of hair. See _Egyptian
Myth and Legend_.

Said the maiden, blessing Shantanu: “I am the daughter of a fisherman,
and I ferry passengers across the river in my boat.”

Now, the name of this fair maiden was Satyavati.[202] Like Shakuntala,
she was of miraculous origin, and had been adopted by her reputed sire.
It chanced that a fish once carried away in its stomach two unborn
babes, a girl and a boy, whose father was a great rajah. This fish was
caught by a fisherman, who opened it and found the children. He sent
the manchild unto the rajah and kept the girl, who was reared as his
own daughter. She grew to be comely and fair, but a fishy odour ever
clung to her.

[202] _Pron._ sat´ya-vat-ee.

One day, as she ferried pilgrims across the Jumna, there entered her
boat alone the high and pious Brahman Parashara, who was moved by the
maiden's great beauty. He desired that she should become the mother of
his son, and promised that ever afterwards an alluring perfume would
emanate from her body. He then caused a cloud to fall upon the boat,
and it vanished from sight.

When the fisher girl became the mother of a son, he grew suddenly
before her eyes, and in a brief space was a man. His name was
Vyasa[203]; he bade his mother farewell, and hastened to the depths of
a forest to spend his days in holy meditation. Ere he departed he said
unto Satyavati: “If ever thou hast need of me, think of me, and I shall
come to thine aid.”

[203] _Pron._ vyas´a (two syllables). The reputed author of the

When this wonder had been accomplished, Satyavati became a virgin again
through the power of the great sage Parashara, and a delicious odour
lingered about her ever afterwards.

On this maiden King Shantanu gazed with love. Then he sought the
fisherman, and said he desired the maiden to be his bride. But the man
refused to give his daughter to the king in marriage until he promised
that her son should be chosen as heir to the throne. Shantanu could
not consent to disinherit Satanava, son of Ganga, and went away with a
heavy heart.

Greatly the king sorrowed in his heart because of his love for the
dark-eyed maiden, and at length Satanava was given his secret. Then
that noble son of Ganga went to search for the beautiful daughter of
the fisherman, and he found her. The fisherman said unto him, when
he had made known his mission: “If Satyavati bears sons, they will
not inherit the kingdom, for the king hath already a son, and he will
succeed him.”

Satanava thereupon made a vow renouncing his claim to the throne, and
said: “If thou wilt give thy daughter unto my sire to be his queen, I,
who am his heir, will never accept the throne, nor marry a wife, or be
the father of children. If, then, Satyavati will become the mother of a
son, he will surely be chosen rajah.” When he had spoken thus, the gods
and Apsaras, the mist fairies, caused flowers to fall out of heaven
upon the prince's head, and a voice came down the wind, saying: “_This
one is Bhishma._”

So from that day the son of Ganga was called Bhishma, which signifies
the “Terrible”, for the vow that he had taken was terrible indeed.

Then was Satyavati given in marriage to the king, and she bore him two
sons, who were named Chitrangada and Vichitra-virya.[204]

[204] _Pron._ chit-ran´gad-a (“ch” as in “change”) _and_

In time Shantanu sank under the burden of his years, and his soul
departed from his body. Unto Bhishma was left the care of the
queen-mother, Satyavati, and the two princes.

When the days of mourning went past, Bhishma renounced the throne in
accordance with his vow, and Chitrangada was proclaimed king. This
youth was a haughty ruler, and his reign was brief. He waged war
against the Gandhari of the hills[205] for three years, and was slain
in battle by their rajah. Then Bhishma placed Vichitra-virya on the
throne, and, as he was but a boy, Bhishma ruled as regent for some

[205] An Aryan tribe in the north-west of India. Part of their
territory was included in the Persian empire. Keith identifies them
with the Gandarians who accompanied Xerxes in his campaign against the

At length the time came for the young king to marry, and Bhishma set
out to find wives for him. It chanced that the King of Kasi (Benares)
had three fair daughters whose swayamvara[206] was being proclaimed.
When Bhishma was told of this he at once entered his chariot and drove
from Hastinapur[207] to Kasi to discover if the girls were worthy of
the monarch of Bharatavarsha. He found that they had great beauty, and
he was well pleased thereat. The great city was thronged with rajahs
who had gathered from far and near to woo the maidens, but Bhishma
would not tarry until the day of the swayamvara. He immediately seized
the king's fair daughters and placed them in his chariot. Then he
challenged the assembled rajahs and sons of rajahs in a voice like
thunder, saying:

[206] A festival at which a princess selected a husband from among the
kings and warriors assembled together.

[207] A drive of about 500 miles. Indian poets, however, have never
troubled about geographical difficulties.

“The sages have decreed that a king may give his daughter with many
gifts unto one he has invited when she hath chosen him. Others may
barter their daughters for two kine, and some may give them in exchange
for gold. But maidens may also be taken captive. They may be married
by consent, or forced to consent, or be obtained by sanction of their
sires. Some are given wives as reward for performing sacrifices, a form
approved by the sages. Kings ever favour the swayamvara, and obtain
wives according to its rules. But learned men have declared that the
wife who is to be most highly esteemed is she who is taken captive
after battle with the royal guests who attend a swayamvara. Hear and
know, then, ye mighty rajahs, I will carry off these fair daughters of
the king of Kasi, and I challenge all who are here to overcome me or
else be overcome themselves by me in battle.”

The royal guests who were there accepted the challenge, and Bhishma
fought against them with great fury. Bows were bent and ten thousand
arrows were discharged against him, but he broke their flight with
innumerable darts from his own mighty bow. Strong and brave was he
indeed; there was none who could overcome him; he fought and conquered
all, until not a rajah was left to contend against him.[208]

[208] The Kasi tribe was Aryan but was disliked by the eastern Aryans
because its beliefs were not according to the standards imposed by the
Brahmans. Conflicts were frequent.

Thus did Bhishma, the terrible son of the ocean-going Ganga, take
captive after battle the three fair daughters of the King of Kasi; and
he drove away with them in his chariot towards Hastinapur.[209]

[209] _Pron._ has-teen´a-poor. Marriage by capture was called a Rákshas
marriage, and was sanctioned by Manu.

When he reached the royal palace he presented the maidens unto Queen
Satyavati, who was well pleased, and at once gave many costly gifts to
Bhishma. She decided that the captives should become the wives of her
son, King Vichitra-virya.

Ere the wedding ceremony was held, the eldest maiden, whose name was
Amba, pleaded with the queen to be set free, saying:

“I have been betrothed already by my sire unto the Rajah of Sanva. Oh,
send me unto him now, for I cannot marry a second time.”

Her prayer was granted, and Bhishma sent her with an escort unto the
Rajah of Sanva. Then the fair Amba related unto him how she had been
taken captive; but the rajah exclaimed, with anger: “Thou hast already
dwelt in the house of a strange man, and I cannot take thee for my

The maiden wept bitterly, and she knelt before the monarch and said:
“No man hath wronged me, O mighty rajah. Bhishma hath taken a terrible
vow of celibacy which he cannot break. If thou wilt not have me for
wife, I pray thee to take me as thy concubine, so that I may dwell
safely in thy palace.”

But the rajah spurned the beautiful maiden, and his servants drove
her from the palace and out of the city. So was she compelled to seek
refuge in the lonely forest, and there she practised great austerities
with purpose to secure power to slay Bhishma, who had wronged her. In
the end she threw herself upon a pyre, so that she might attain her
desire in the next life.[210]

[210] She helps to kill Bhishma in the great war, having changed her
sex with a Yaksha.

Her two sisters, Amvika and Amvalika, became the wives of
Vitchitra-virya, who loved them well; but his days were brief, and he
wasted away with sickness until at length he died. No children were
born to the king, and his two widows mourned for him.

The heart of Queen Satyavati was stricken with grief because that her
two sons were dead, and there was left no heir to the throne of King

Now it was the custom in those days that a kinsman should become the
father of children to succeed the dead king.[211] So Queen Satyavati
spake unto Bhishma, saying: “Take thou the widows of my son and raise
up sons who will be as sons of the king.”

[211] A similar practice is referred to in Genesis xxxviii; it was a
regular institution among the ancient Hebrews.

But Bhishma said: “That I cannot do, for have I not vowed never to be
the sire of any children.”

In her despair Satyavati then thought of her son Vyasa, and he
immediately appeared before her and consented to do as was her

[212] This custom is called “niyoga”, and was legalized by Manu, but
only for the lower castes.

Now Vyasa was a mighty sage, but, by reason of his austerities in his
lonely jungle dwelling, he had grown gaunt and repulsive of aspect so
that women shrank from before him; fearsome was he, indeed, to look

Amvika closed her eyes with horror when she beheld the sage, and she
had a son who was born blind: he was named Dhritarashtra. Amvalika
turned pale with fear: she had a son who was named Pandu, “the pale

Satyavati desired that Vyasa should be the father of a son who had no
defect; but Amvika sent her handmaiden unto him, and she bore a son
who was called Vidura. As it happened, Dharma, god of justice, was put
under the spell of a Rishi at this time, to be born among men, and he
chose Vidura to be his human incarnation.

The three children were reared by Bhishma, who was regent over the
kingdom, and was yet subject to Queen Satyavati. He taught them the
laws and trained them as warriors. When the time came to select a king,
Dhritarashtra[213] was passed over because that he was blind, and
Vidura because of his humble birth, and Pandu, “the pale one”, was set
upon the throne.

[213] _Pron._ dreet´a-rash´´tra, Pan´doo, _and_ Ve-dur´a (“u” as “oo”).


Royal Rivals: the Pandavas and Kauravas[214]

[214] _Pron._ pan´davas _and_ kow´ravas.

 King Pandu's Two Wives—Pritha and the Sun God—Birth of Karna—The
 Indian Moses—Babe rescued from Floating Cradle—Pandu slays Brahman
 in Deer Guise—His Doom pronounced—Queen burned on King's Pyre—Blind
 Brother becomes Rajah—The Rival Princes—Attempt to kill Bhima—His
 Visit to the Underworld—The Draught of Strength—Drona, Preceptor of
 Princes—His Royal Rival Draupada—Training of Young Warriors—The
 Faithful Bhil Prince—His Sacrifice.

King Pandu became a mighty monarch, and was renowned as a warrior and a
just ruler of his kingdom. He married two wives: Pritha, who was chief
rani, and Madri[215], whom he loved best.

[215] _Pron._ pree´tha _and_ ma-dree´.

Now Pritha was of celestial origin, for her mother was a nymph; her
father was a holy Brahman, and her brother, Vasudeva, was the father
of Krishna.[216] When but a babe she had been adopted by the Rajah of
Shurasena, whose kingdom was among the Vindhya mountains. She was of
pious heart, and ever showed reverence towards holy men. Once there
came to the palace the great Rishi Durvasas, and she ministered unto
him faithfully by serving food at any hour he desired, and by kindling
the sacred fire in the sacrificial chamber. After his stay, which was
in length a full year, Durvasas, in reward for her services, imparted
to Pritha a powerful charm[217], by virtue of which she could compel
the love of a celestial being. One day she had a vision of Surya, god
of the sun; she muttered the charm, and received him when he drew nigh
in the attire of a rajah, wearing the celestial ear-rings. In secret
she became in time the mother of his son, Karna, who was equipped at
birth with celestial ear-rings and an invulnerable coat of mail, which
had power to grow as the wearer increased in stature. The child had the
eyes of a lion and the shoulders of a bull.

[216] Krishna of the Yadavas was descended from the moon through Yadu:
Bharata was descended through Puru, Yadu's brother.

[217] A _mantra_.

In her maidenly shame Pritha resolved to conceal her new-born babe.
So she wrapped him in soft sheets and, laying under his head a costly
pillow, placed him in a basket of wicker-work which she had smeared
over with wax. Then, weeping bitterly, she set the basket afloat on the
river, saying: “O my babe, be thou protected by all who are on land,
and in the water, and in the sky, and in the celestial regions! May all
who see thee love thee! May Varuna, god of the waters, shield thee from
harm. May thy father, the sun, give thee warmth!... I shall know thee
in days to come, wherever thou mayst be, by thy coat of golden mail....
She who will find thee and adopt thee will be surely blessed.... O my
son, she who will cherish thee will behold thee in youthful prime like
to a maned lion in Himalayan forests.”

The basket drifted down the River Aswa until it was no longer seen by
that lotus-eyed damsel, and at length it reached the Jumna; the Jumna
gave it to the Ganges, and by that great and holy river it was borne
unto the country of Anga.... The child, lying in soft slumber, was kept
alive by reason of the virtues possessed by the celestial armour and
the ear-rings.

Now there was a woman of Anga who was named Radha, and she had peerless
beauty. Her husband was Shatananda, the charioteer. Both husband
and wife had for long sorrowed greatly because that they could not
obtain a son. One day, however, their wish was gratified. It chanced
that Radha went down to the river bank, and she beheld the basket
drifting on the waves. She caused it to be brought ashore; and when it
was uncovered, she gazed with wonder upon a sleeping babe who was as
fair as the morning sun. Her heart was immediately filled with great
gladness, and she cried out: “The gods have heard me at length, and
they have sent unto me a son.” So she adopted the babe and cherished
him. And the years went past, and Karna grew up and became a powerful
youth and a mighty bowman.

Pritha, who was comely to behold, chose King Pandu at her swayamvara.
Trembling with love, she placed the flower garland upon his shoulders.

Madri came from the country of Madra[218], and was black-eyed and
dusky-complexioned. She had been purchased by Bhishma for the king with
much gold, many jewels and elephants and horses, as was the marriage
custom among her people.

[218] Identified with Cashmere by some of the authorities.

The glories of King Bharata's reign were revived by Pandu, who achieved
great conquests and extended his territory. He loved well to go
a-hunting, and at length he retired to the Himalaya mountains with
his two wives to pursue and slay deer. There, as fate had decreed, he
met with dire misfortune. One day he shot arrows at two deer which
he beheld sporting together; but they were, as he discovered to his
sorrow, a holy Brahman and his wife in animal guise. The sage was
wounded mortally, and ere he died he assumed his wonted form, and
foretold that Pandu, whom he cursed, would die in the arms of one of
his wives.

The king was stricken with fear; he immediately took vows of celibacy,
and gave all his possessions to Brahmans; then he went away to live in
a solitary place with his two wives.

Some have told that Pandu never had children of his own, and that the
gods were the fathers of his wives' great sons. Pritha was mother of
Yudhishthira[219], son of Dharma, god of justice, and of Bhima, son
of Vayu, the wind god, and also of Arjuna[220], son of mighty Indra,
monarch of heaven. Madri received from Pritha the charm which Durvasas
had given her, and she became the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva, whose
sires were the twin Aswins, sons of Surya, the sun god. These five
princes were known as the Pandava brothers.

[219] _Pron._ yoo-dish´thi-ra (_h_ sounded after _t_).

[220] _Pron._ arjoo´na´´.

King Pandu was followed by his doom. One day, as it chanced, he met
with Madri, his favourite wife; they wandered together in a forest, and
when he clasped her in his arms he immediately fell dead as the Brahman
had foretold.

His sons, the Pandava brothers, built his funeral pyre, so that his
soul might pass to heaven. Both Pritha and Madri desired to be burned
with him, and they debated together which of them should follow her
lord to the region of the dead.

Said Pritha: “I must go hence with my lord. I was his first wife and
chief rani. O Madri, yield me his body and rear our children together.
O let me achieve what must be achieved.”

Madri said: “Speak not so, for I should be the chosen one. I was King
Pandu's favourite wife, and he died because that he loved me. O sister,
if I survived thee I should not be able to rear our children as thou
canst rear them. Do not refuse thy sanction to this which is dear unto
my heart.”

So they held dispute, nor could agree; but the Brahmans, who heard
them, said that Madri must be burned with King Pandu, having been his
favourite wife. And so it came to pass that Madri laid herself on the
pyre, and she passed in flames with her beloved lord, that bull among

Meanwhile King Pandu's blind brother, Dhritarashtra, had ascended the
throne to reign over the kingdom of Bharatavarsha, with Bhishma as his
regent, until the elder of the young princes should come of age.

Dhritarashtra had taken for wife fair Gándhári, daughter of the Rajah
of Gándhára. When she was betrothed she went unto the king with eyes
blindfolded, and ever afterwards she so appeared in his presence. She
became the mother of a hundred sons, the eldest of whom was Duryodhana.
These were the princes who were named the Kauravas, after the country
of Kuru-jangala.[221]

[221] The upper part of the Punjab, which was ruled over ultimately by
the sons of Duryodhana. Another explanation is that the Kauravas, or
Kuru brothers, were called after their eponymous ancestor, King Kuru.
The Kuru people are believed to be a group of the tribes mentioned
in the _Rigveda_. The Kurus may have been late-comers who formed a
military aristocracy, and displaced earlier settlers who opposed their

The widowed Pritha returned to Hastinapur with her three sons and the
two sons of Madri also. When she told unto Dhritarashtra that Pandu his
brother had died, he wept and mourned greatly; then he bathed in holy
waters and poured forth the funeral oblation. The blind king gave his
protection to the five princes who were Pandu's heirs.

So the Pandavas and Kauravas were reared together in the royal palace
at Hastinapur. Nor was favour shown to one cousin more than another.
The young princes were trained to throw the stone and to cast the
noose, and they engaged lustily in wrestling bouts and practised
boxing. As they grew up they shared work with the king's men; they
marked the young calves, and every three years they counted and branded
the cattle. Yet, despite all that could be done, the two families lived
at enmity. Of all the young men Bhima[222], of the Pandavas[223], was
the most powerful, and Duryodhana[224], the leader of the Kauravas,
was jealous of him. Bhima was ever the victor in sports and contests.
The Kauravas could ill endure his triumphs, and at length they plotted
among themselves to accomplish his death.

[222] _Pron._ bhee´ma.

[223] The _Mahá-bhárata_ favours the Pandavas from the outset.

[224] _Pron._ door-yo´dhan-a.

It chanced that the young men had gone to dwell in a royal palace on
the banks of the Ganges. One day, when they feasted together in the
manner of warriors, Duryodhana put poison in the food of Bhima, who
soon afterwards fell into a deep swoon and seemed to be dead. Then
Duryodhana bound him hand and foot and cast him into the Ganges; his
body was swallowed by the waters.

But it was not fated that Bhima should thus perish. As his body sank
down, the fierce snakes, which are called Nagas, attacked him; but
their poison counteracted the poison he had already swallowed, so that
he regained consciousness. Then, bursting his bonds, he scattered the
reptiles before him, and they fled in terror.

Bhima found that he had sunk down to the city of serpents, which is in
the underworld. Vasuki, king of the Nagas, having heard of his prowess,
hastened towards the young warrior, whom he desired greatly to behold.

Bhima was welcomed by Aryaka, the great grandsire of Pritha, who was a
dweller in the underworld. He was loved by Vasuki, who, for Aryaka's
sake, offered great gifts to fearless Bhima. But Aryaka chose rather
that the lad should be given a draught of strength which contained the
virtues of a thousand Nagas. By the king of serpents was this great
boon granted, and Bhima was permitted to drain the bowl eight times. He
immediately fell into a deep slumber, which continued for the space of
eight days. Then he awoke, and the Nagas feasted him ere he returned
again unto his mother and his brethren, who were mourning for him the
while. Thus it fell that Bhima triumphed over Duryodhana, for ever
afterwards he possessed the strength of a mighty giant. He related unto
his brothers all that had befallen him, but they counselled him not to
reveal his secret unto the Kauravas, his cousins.

About this time the prudent Bhishma deemed that the young men should
be trained to bear arms; so he searched far and wide for a preceptor
who was at once a warrior and a scholar, a pious and lofty-minded man,
and a lover of truth. Such was Drona, the brave and god-adoring son of
Bharadwaja. He was well pleased to have care of the princes, and to
give them instruction worthy of their rank and martial origin.

Drona had no mother: his miraculous birth was accomplished by a
beautiful nymph, and his sire was Bharadwaja, a most pious Brahman. Of
similar origin was Drupada[225], son of a rajah named Prishata[226].
Drona and Drupada were reared together like brothers by the wise
Bharadwaja, and it was the hope of both sires that their sons would
repeat their own lifelong friendship. But when, after happy youth, they
grew into manhood, fate parted them. The rajah retired from the throne,
and Drupada ruled the kingdom of Panchala[227]. Bharadwaja died soon
afterwards, and Drona married a wife named Kripa, who became the mother
of his son Ashwatthama[228]. The child was so named because at birth he
uttered a cry like to the neighing of a horse. Drona devoted himself
to rearing his son, while he accumulated the wisdom of the sages and
performed sacred rites with pious mind like to his holy sire.

[225] _Pron._ droo´pa-da.

[226] _Pron._ prish´ata.

[227] _Pron._ pan-chal´a.

[228] _Pron._ ash-wat-tha´ma. _Aswa_, a horse; _sthama_, sound or

When the sage Jamadagni, son of Bhrigu, closed his career, he bestowed
his great wealth on the sons of Brahmans. Drona received heavenly
weapons and power to wield them. Then he bethought him to visit
Drupada, the friend of his youth, and share his inheritance with

[229] Apparently Drona had a claim to part of the kingdom ruled over by

Drona stood before the rajah and exclaimed: “Behold thy friend.”

But Drupada frowned; his eyes reddened with anger, and for a while he
sat in silence. At length he spoke haughtily and said:

“Brahman, it is nor wise nor fitting that thou shouldst call me friend.
What friendship can there be between a luckless beggar and a mighty
rajah?... I grant that in youth such a bond united us, one to another,
but it has wasted away with the years. Do not think that the friendship
of youth endures for ever in human hearts; it is weakened by time, and
pride plucks it from one's bosom. Friendship can exist only between
equals as we two once were, but no longer chance to be. Hear and know!
Rich and poor, wise and ignorant, warriors and cowards, can never be
friends; it is for those who are of equal station to exercise mutual
esteem.... Say, can a Brahman respect one who is ignorant of the Vedas?
Can a warrior do other than despise one who cannot go forth to battle
in his rumbling chariot? Say, can a monarch condescend to one who is
far beneath him?... Begone, then, thou dreamer! Forget the days and the
thoughts of the past.... I know thee not....”

Drona heard the harsh words of his old friend with mute amaze. For a
moment he paused. Then abruptly he turned away, nor spake he in reply.
His heart burned with indignation as he hastened out of the city.

In time he reached the city of Hastinapur, and Bhishma bade him
welcome. When Drona undertook the training of the princes he said:
“I will do as is thy desire, O Bhishma, but on condition that when
the young men are become complete warriors they will help me to fight
against mine enemy, Drupada, the Rajah of Panchala.”

Bhishma gave willing consent to this condition. Thereafter Drona abode
with his wife in the royal palace, and his son Ashwatthama was trained
with the Pandavas and Kauravas. He became the family priest as well
as the instructor of the princes. And ere long the young men were
accomplished warriors, and deeply learned in wisdom and in goodness.

Drona took most delight in the Pandavas. Yudhishthira was trained as a
spearman, but he was more renowned as a scholar than for feats of arms.
Arjuna surpassed all others in warrior skill; he was of noble bearing,
and none like him could ride the steed, guide the elephant, or drive
the rattling chariot, nor could any other prince withstand his battle
charge or oppose him in single combat. He was unequalled with javelin
or dart, with battleaxe or mace, and he became the most famous archer
of his day. Strong Bhima learned to wield the club, Nakula acquired
the secret of taming steeds, and Sahadeva became a mighty swordsman,
and acquired great knowledge of astronomy.

Drona trained the Kauravas with diligence also, as well as his own son,
who was wise and brave; but among all his pupils he loved Arjuna best,
for he was the most modest and the most perfect, the most fearless, and
yet the most obedient to his preceptor.

Duryodhana of the Kauravas was jealous of all the Pandavas, and
especially of Arjuna.

The fame of Drona as a preceptor was spread far and wide, and the sons
of many rajahs and warriors hastened to Hastinapur to be instructed by
him. All were welcomed save one, and he was the son of the rajah of the
robber Bhils. This young man pleaded that he might be trained as an
archer, but without avail. Drona said: “Are not the Bhils highwaymen
and cattle-lifters? It would be a sin, indeed, to impart unto one of
them great knowledge in the use of weapons.”

When he heard these words, the rajah's son was stricken with grief, and
he turned homeward. But he resolved to become an accomplished warrior.
So he fashioned a clay image of Drona and worshipped it, and wielded
the bow before it until his fame as an archer was noised abroad.

One day Drona went forth with the princes to hunt in the Bhil kingdom.
Their dog ran through the woods, and it beheld the dark son of the
rajah of the Bhils and barked at him. Desiring to display his skill,
the young man shot seven arrows into the dog's mouth ere it could be
closed, and, moaning and bleeding, the animal returned thus to the

Wondering greatly, the princes searched for the greatly-skilled
archer, and found him busy with his bow. They spoke, saying: “Who art
thou?” And the Bhil made answer: “I am a pupil of Drona.”

When Drona was brought to the place, the young man kissed his feet.

Said the wise preceptor: “If thou art my pupil, I must receive my

The young man made answer: “Command me, and I will give thee whatsoever
thou dost desire.”

Said Drona: “I should like to have the thumb of thy right hand.”

The faithful prince of the Bhils did not hesitate to obey his
preceptor; with a cheerful face he severed his thumb from his right
hand and gave it to Drona.

After his wound had healed, the young man began to draw his bow with
his middle fingers, but found that he had lost his surpassing skill,
whereat Arjuna was made happy.

All the other Bhil warriors who trained in archery followed the
prince's example and drew the bow with their middle fingers, and this
custom prevailed ever afterwards amongst the tribe.

Now when all the Hastinapur princes had become expert warriors, Drona
addressed the blind king, as he sat among his counsellors, and said:
“O mighty rajah, thy sons and the sons of thy brother Pandu have now
attained surpassing skill in arms, and they are fit to enter the

Said the king, who was well pleased: “So thy task is finished, O noble
son of Bharadwaja? Let now a place be made ready, in accordance with
thy desire, so that the princes may display their martial skill in the
presence of their peers and the common people.”

Then Drona, accompanied by Vidura, the king's brother, made choice of
a wide and level plain on which the Pandavas and Kauravas might perform
their mighty feats.

So be it next told of the great tournament on the plain, and of the
coming of illustrious Karna.


The Tournament

 A Brilliant Assembly—Princes display Feats of Arms—Mimic
 Warfare—Duryodhana and Bhima—A Fierce Struggle—Arjuna's Wonderful
 Skill—Despondency of Kauravas—The Coming of Karna—He proves Himself
 equal to Arjuna—Challenge to Single Combat—The Gods intervene—Queen
 Pritha's Emotion—Karna taunted with Low Birth—Kauravas make him a
 King—Joy of his Foster Father—Bitter and Angry Rivals.

On the day of the great tournament, vast multitudes of people from all
parts of the kingdom assembled round the barriers on the wide plain.
A scene of great splendour was unfolded to their eyes. At dawn many
flags and garlands of flowers had been distributed round the enclosure;
they adorned the stately royal pavilion, which was agleam with gold and
jewels and hung with trophies of war; they fluttered above the side
galleries for the lords and the ladies, and even among the clustering
trees. White tents for the warriors occupied a broad green space.
A great altar had been erected by Drona beside a cool, transparent
stream, on which to offer up sacrifices to the gods.

From early morn the murmurous throng awaited the coming of king and
counsellors, and royal ladies, and especially the mighty princes who
were to display their feats of arms and engage in mimic warfare. The
bright sun shone in beauty on that festal day.

The clarion notes of the instruments of war proclaimed the coming of
the king. Then entered the royal procession, and blind Dhritarashtra
was led towards his throne in the gleaming pavilion. With him came the
fair queen Gandhari, mother of the Kauravas, and stately Pritha, widow
of King Pandu, the mother of the Pandavas. There followed in their
train many high-born dames and numerous sweet maidens renowned for
their beauty. When all these ladies, attired in many-coloured robes and
glittering with jewels and bright flowers, were mounting the decorated
galleries, they seemed like to goddesses and heavenly nymphs ascending
to the golden summit of the mountain of Meru.... The trumpets were
sounding loud, and the clamour which arose from the surging multitude
of people of every caste and every age and every tribe was like the
voice of heaving ocean in sublime tempest.

Next came venerable and white-haired Drona, robed in white, with white
sacrificial cord; his sandals were white, and the garlands he wore were
white also. His valiant son, Aswatthama, followed him as the red planet
Mars follows the white moon in cloudless heaven. The saintly preceptor
advanced to the altar where the priestly choir gathered, and offered up
sacrifices to the gods and chanted holy texts.

Then heralds sounded their trumpets as the youthful princes entered in
bright array, bejewelled and lightly girded for exercise, their left
arms bound with leather. They were wearing breastplates; their quivers
were slung from their shoulders, and they carried stately bows and
gleaming swords. The princes filed in according to their years, and
Yudhishthira came first of all. Each saluted Drona in turn and awaited
his commands.

One by one the youthful warriors displayed their skill at arms, while
the vast crowd shouted their plaudits. The regent Bhishma, sitting on
the right side of the throne, looked down with delight, and Vidura,
sitting on the left side, informed the sightless king of all that took

The princes shot arrows at targets, first on foot and then mounted on
rapid steeds,[230] displaying great skill; they also rode on elephants
and in chariots, and their arrows ever flew with unerring aim.

[230] Like the Parthians, the ancient Hindus were expert archers on

Next they engaged in mimic warfare, charging with chariots and on
elephants: swords clamoured on shields, ponderous maces were wielded,
and falchions shimmered like to the flashes of lightning. The movements
of the princes, mounted and on foot, were rapid and graceful; they were
fearless in action and firm-footed, and greatly skilled in thrust and

But ere long the conflict was waged with more than mimic fury. Proud
Duryodhana and powerful Bhima had sought one another and were drawn
apart from their peers. They towered on the plain with uplifted maces,
and they seemed like two rival elephants about to fight for a mate.
Then they charged with whirling weapons, and the combat was terrible to

Vidura pictured the conflict to blind Dhritarashtra, as did Pritha also
to the blindfolded Queen Gandhari. Round the barriers the multitudes
swayed and clamoured, some favouring Duryodhana and others mighty Bhima.

The princes fought on, and their fury increased until at length it
seemed that one or the other would be slain. But while yet the issue
hung doubtful, Drona, whose brow was troubled, marked with concern the
menacing crowd, which was suspended with hope and fear, and seemed like
an ocean shaken by fitful gusts of changing wind. Then he interposed,
bidding his son to separate the angry combatants so that the turmoil
might have end. The princes heard and obeyed, and they retired slowly
like ocean billows, tempest-swollen, falling apart.

To allay excitement, trumpet and drum were sounded aloud. Then
white-haired Drona stepped forward, and in a voice like thunder
summoned brave Arjuna to come forth.

First of all the valiant hero performed a sacred rite. Thereafter he
came before the multitude in all his splendour, clad in golden armour,
like to a glorious evening cloud. Modestly he strode, while trumpets
blared and the drums bellowed, and he seemed a very god. He was girdled
with jewels, and he carried a mighty bow. As the people applauded and
shouted his praises, Pritha, his mother, looked down, and tears dropped
from her eyes. The blind king spake to Vidura, saying: “Why are the
multitudes shouting now like to the tumultuous sea?”

Said Vidura: “The valiant son of Pritha hath come forth in golden
armour, and the people hail him with joy.”

The blind monarch said: “I am well pleased. The sons of Pritha sanctify
the kingdom like to sacrificial fires.”

Silence fell upon the people, and Drona bade his favourite pupil to
display his skill. Arjuna performed wonders with magic arms; he created
fire by the _Agneya_ weapon, water by the _Varuna_ weapon, wind by the
_Vayavya_ weapon, clouds by the _Paryanya_ weapon, land by the _Bhanma_
weapon, and he caused mountains to appear by the _Parvatya_ weapon.
Then by the _Antardhyana_ weapon he caused all these to vanish.[231]

[231] This is a notable example of the characteristic exaggerations of
late Brahmanical compilers. Other exaggerations are of milder form.

Arjuna then set up for his target an iron image of a great boar, and
at one bending of the bow he shot five arrows into its gaping jaws.
Wondrous was his skill. Next he suspended a cow horn, which swayed
constantly in the wind, and discharged into its hollow with unerring
aim twenty rapid arrows. Heaven and earth resounded with the plaudits
of the people when he leapt into his chariot and discharged clouds
of arrows as he was driven speedily round the grounds. Having thus
displayed his accomplishments as an archer, he drew his sword, which he
wielded so rapidly round and about that the people thought they beheld
lightning and heard thunder. Ere he left the field he cast the noose
with exceeding great skill, capturing horses and cows and scampering
deer at a single throw. Then Drona embraced him, and the people shouted
his praises.

Great was the joy of the Pandavas as they rested around Drona like to
the stars that gather about the white moon in heaven. The Kauravas were
grouped around Aswatthama as the gods gather beside Indra when the
giant Daityas threaten to assail high heaven. Duryodhana's heart burned
with jealous anger because of the triumph achieved by Arjuna.

Evening came on, and it seemed that the tournament was ended; the
crowds began to melt away. Then, of a sudden, a mighty tumult of
plaudits broke forth, and the loud din of weapons and clank of armour
was heard all over the place. Every eye immediately turned towards the
gate, and the warriors and the people beheld approaching an unknown
warrior, who shook his weapons so that they rattled loudly.

So came mighty Karna, son of Surya, the sun god, and of Pritha, the
mother of the three Pandavas—Arjuna, Bhima, and wise Yudhishthira.
He was comely as a shining god, clad in golden armour, and wearing
celestial ear-rings. In his right hand he carried a great
many-coloured bow; his gleaming falchion was on his thigh. Tall as a
cliff he strode forward; he was an elephant in his fury, a lion in his
wrath; stately as a palm tree was that tamer of foemen, so fearless and
so proud, so dauntless and so self-possessed.

He paused in the centre of the plain and surveyed the people with
pride. Stiffly he paid homage to Drona and Kripa. Then he, the eldest
son of Pritha, spake to Pritha's youngest son, Arjuna, the brothers
being unknown one to another, and he said: “Whatever feats thou hast
performed this day with vain boast, Arjuna, these will I accomplish and
surpass, if Drona will permit me.”

His voice was like to thunder in heaven, and the multitude of people
sprang up and uttered cries of wonder. Duryodhana and the other sons of
Kuru heard the challenge with glad hearts, but Arjuna remained silent,
while his eyes flashed fire.

Then Drona gave the warrior permission to display his skill. Karna was
well pleased, and he performed every feat which had given Arjuna fame
on that great day.

Duryodhana proclaimed his joy with beaming countenance, and he embraced
Karna, whom he hailed as “brother”, saying: “I bid thee welcome, thou
mighty warrior. Thou hast won the honours of the field. Demand from me
whatsoever thou dost desire in this kingdom, and it will be given unto

Said Karna: “Thy word is thy bond, O prince. All I seek is to combat
against Arjuna, whom I have equalled so far. Fain would I win the
victor's renown.”

Duryodhana said: “Thou dost ask for a worthy boon indeed. Be our ally,
and let the enemy fear thee.”

Arjuna was moved to great wrath, and cried out: “Uninvited chief!
Boasting thus, thou wouldst fain be regarded as mine equal, but I will
so deal with thee that thou wilt die the death of a braggart who cometh
here an unbidden guest, speaking boastfully ere thou art spoken to.”

Said Karna, answering proudly and calm: “Waste not words, Arjuna, nor
taunt me with coming hither uninvited. The field of combat is free to
all warriors; they enter by their valour, and do not await until thou
dost call them; they win their places by strength and skill, and their
warrant is the sword. Wrathful speech is the weapon of a coward. Do not
boast of thy pastimes or be vain of thy bloodless feats. Speak with
thine arrows, O Arjuna, until, in Drona's presence, mine will cause all
men to wonder, flying towards thee.”

Drona was stirred to wrath, and spake to Arjuna, saying: “Canst thou
hear him boast in this manner? I give thee leave to fight him here and

Arjuna at once strode forward, fully armed, and he was supported by
Drona and Bhishma. Duryodhana and his band stood by Karna. Then the two
warriors prepared for single combat, but not in mimic warfare.

Thick clouds gathered in the sky; lightning flashed and thunder pealed;
the mighty Indra guarded his son Arjuna, who stood in shadow. Surya,
the sun god, cast a shaft of light athwart the darkening plain, and
Karna's golden armour gleamed bright and fair.

The noble dames looked on, and some praised Arjuna and others praised
Karna. Pritha, the mother of both heroes, was alone divided in her
love. She knew her firstborn by his voice and noble bearing and by his
armour, and her heart was torn with grief to behold the two brothers
ready to slay each other. A cloud blinded her eyes, and, uttering a
low cry, she swooned where she sat. Vidura sprinkled water on her face,
and she was revived. Then she wept bitterly because that she could not
reveal the secret of Karna's birth.

Kripa,[232] the foster-brother of Bhishma, performed the duties of
herald, and as Arjuna strode forth to combat he proclaimed: “Behold!
this is mighty Arjuna, of Bharata's great line, son of Pandu and of
Pritha, a prince of valour and worth who will not shrink from battle.
Unknown and long-armed chief,” he said unto Karna, “declare now thy
name and lineage, the royal house thou dost adorn, and the names of thy
sire and thy mother. Know thou that by the rules of single combat the
sons of kings cannot contend against low-born or nameless rivals.”

[232] Kripa, like Drona, was of miraculous birth. He and his sister
were found in a forest, and were adopted by King Shantanu.

Karna heard, but was silent. He hung his head like the dew-laden lotus
bloom; he could claim nor lineage or high rank, as he believed, for he
regarded the charioteer of Anga as his sire.

Duryodhana, perceiving his discomfiture, cried out to Kripa, saying:
“Valour is not reckoned by birth but by deeds. Karna hath already shown
himself to be the peer of princes. I now proclaim him the Rajah of

Having spoken thus, the elder of the Kauravas led Karna by the hand
and placed him upon a throne, and the red umbrella was held above his
head. Brahmans chanted the texts for the ceremony and anointed Karna as
a king. Then the fan was waved and the royal umbrella raised on high,
while the Kauravas shouted: “The rajah is crowned; blessings on the
rajah; honour to the valorous warrior!”

Robed in royal attire, Karna then spake to Duryodhana and said: “With
generous heart thou hast conferred upon me a kingdom. O prince, speak
and say what service thou wouldst have me to render unto thee.”

Said Duryodhana: “But one boon do I ask of thee, O king. Be my comrade
and, O valiant warrior, be my helper also.”

Karna said: “As thou desirest, so be it.”

Then Duryodhana and Karna embraced one another to confirm their loyal

Lo! now a charioteer drew nigh; he was a scantily-clad and wearied
old man, and he stooped, leaning heavily upon his staff. He was the
aged sire of Karna, and rejoiced in his heart to see his son so highly
honoured among princes. Karna cast aside his weapons, knelt down, and
kissed the old man's feet. The happy sire embraced the crowned head of
the warrior and wept tears of love.

The Pandava brothers gazed upon father and son, amused and scornful....
Bhima spake to Karna, saying: “So thou, with such a sire, hast presumed
to seek combat with a Pandava!... Son of a charioteer, what hast thou
to do with weapons of war? Better were it that thou shouldst find thee
a goad and drive a bullock-cart behind thy sire.”

Karna grew pale with wrath; his lips quivered, but he answered not a
word. He heaved a deep sigh and looked towards the sun.

Then Duryodhana arose like a proud elephant and spake to Bhima,
saying: “Seek not with insults to give sorrow unto a mighty hero.
Taunts come ill from thee, thou tiger-like chief. The proudest warrior
may contend against the most humble: a hero is known by his deeds. Of
Karna's birth we care naught. Hath Drona other than humble lineage?
'Tis said, too, that thou and thy brethren are not sons of Pandu, but
of certain amorous deities.... Look upon Karna, adorned with jewels and
in golden armour! Do hinds bring forth tigers?... Karna was born to be
a king; he hath come to rule by reason of his valour and his worth. If
any prince or warrior among you will deny my words, hear and know, now,
that I will meet him in deadly combat.”

The assembled multitude heard these mighty words with joy and shouted
loud applause.

But darkness came on, and lamps were lit upon the plain.... Drona and
the sons of Pandu made offerings at the altar, and the king and his
counsellors, the noble dames and the high-born maids, departed in
silence to their homes.... Then all the people deserted the barriers,
some shouting, “Arjuna hath triumphed;” others, “Karna is victor;” and
some also, “Duryodhana hath won.”

Pritha had rejoiced in her heart to behold her noble son crowned

Duryodhana walked by Karna's side and took him away to his own palace,
glad of heart, for he no longer feared Arjuna's valour and skill at

Even Yudhishthira doubted Arjuna's worth; he feared that Karna was the
greatest hero in the world of men.


First Exile of the Pandavas

 Princes' First Campaign—Kauravas driven back—Pandavas achieve
 Victory—Drupada humbled by Drona—Panchala Kingdom divided—Pandava
 Prince made “Little Rajah”—Duryodhana's Plot—Pandavas' First
 Exile—Their New Home—Escape in the Night—Wanderings in the
 Jungle—Bhima slays a Rakshasa—The Demon Bride—Sojourn in
 Eka-chakra—Story of the Brahman Family—Bhima overcomes the
 Asura King—Miraculous Birth of Drupada's Children—Swayamvara
 proclaimed—Pandavas depart to Panchala.

The Pandavas and Kauravas had now become accomplished warriors, and
Drona, their preceptor, claimed his reward. So he spoke unto his pupils
and said: “Go forth against Drupada, Rajah of Panchala; smite him in
battle and bring him to me.”

The cousins could not agree to wage war together by reason of their
jealousies. So the Kauravas, led by Duryodhana, were first to attack
Drupada; they rode in their chariots and invaded the hostile capital,
and slaked their thirst for battle. The warriors of Panchala arose to
fight; their shouting was like the roaring of lions, and their arrows
were showered as thickly as rain dropping from the clouds. The Kauravas
were defeated, and they retired in disorder, uttering cries of despair.

The Pandavas then rushed against the enemies of Drona. Arjuna swept
forward in his chariot like to the fire which consumeth all things
at the end of time, and he destroyed horses and cars and warriors.
The battle-roar of Bhima was like to the roar of ocean stricken by a
tempest; wielding his mace, he struck down elephants big as mountains,
and many horses and charioteers also, and he covered the ground with
rivers of blood; as a herdsman driveth his cattle before him, so did
Bhima drive before him with his mace the terror-stricken hosts of

Drupada endeavoured to turn the tide of battle; surrounded by his
mightiest men, he opposed Arjuna. Then a great uproar arose among
the Panchala forces, for as the lion leaps upon the leader of a herd
of elephants, so did Arjuna rush against Drupada. A boastful warrior
intervened, but the strong Pandava overcame him, and at length, after
fierce fighting, Arjuna seized Drupada as Garuda, king of birds,[233]
seizeth a mighty snake after disturbing the waters of the ocean.

[233] Half man and half eagle, and enemy of the serpent race.

The remnant of the Panchala host then broke and fled, and the Pandavas
began to lay waste the capital. Arjuna, however, cried unto Bhima:
“Remember that Drupada is the kinsman of the Kauravas; therefore cease
slaying his warriors.”[234]

[234] The Kurus and Panchalas were allies.

Drupada was led before Drona, who, remembering the proud words of the
fallen rajah, spoke and said: “At last I have conquered thy kingdom,
and thy life is in my hands. Is it thy desire now to revive our

Drona smiled a little and continued thus: “Brahmans are full of
forgiveness; therefore have no fear for thy life, O king. I have not
forgotten that we were children together. So once again I ask for thy
friendship, and I grant thee, unasked, the half of the kingdom; the
other half will be mine, and if it pleaseth thee we will be friends.”

Said Drupada: “Thou art indeed noble and great. I thank thee, and
desire to be thy friend.”

So Drona took possession of half of the kingdom. Drupada, who sorrowed
greatly, went to rule the southern Panchalas; he was convinced that
he could not defeat Drona by Kshatriya power alone, which is inferior
to Brahman power, and he resolved to discover means whereby he might
obtain a son who could overcome his Brahman enemy.

Thereafterwards the Pandavas waged war against neighbouring kings, and
they extended the territory over which the blind maharajah held sway.

The Kauravas were rendered more jealous than ever by the successes
achieved by the Pandavas, and also because the people favoured them.
Now Duryodhana desired to become heir to the throne, but the elder
prince of the conquering Pandavas could not be set aside. In the end
Yudhishthira was chosen, although unwillingly, by the blind king, and
he became Yuva-rajah, “Little Rajah”, supplanting Bhishma, who had been
regent during the minority. Yudhishthira, accordingly, ruled over the
kingdom, and he was honoured and beloved by the people; for although
he was not a mighty warrior like Arjuna, or powerful like Bhima, he
had great wisdom, and he was ever just and merciful, and a lover of

[235] The modern-day Hindu regards Yudhishthira as an ideal man.

Duryodhana remonstrated with his blind father, the maharajah, and he
spoke to him, saying: “Why, O my father, hast thou thus favoured the
Pandavas and forgotten thine own sons? Thou wert Pandu's elder brother,
and should have reigned before him. Now the children of thy younger
brother are to succeed thee. The kingdom is thine own by right of
birth, and thy sons are thine heirs. Why, then, hast thou lowered us in
the eyes of thy subjects?”

Said the blind Dhritarashtra: “Duryodhana, my son, know thou that
Pandu, my brother, was the mightiest ruler in the world. Could I, who
have ever been blind, have set him aside? His sons have great wisdom
and worth, and are loved by the people. How, then, could I pass them
over? Yudhishthira hath greater accomplishments for governing than thou
dost possess, my son. How could I turn against him and banish him from
my council?”

Duryodhana said: “I do not acknowledge Yudhishthira's superiority as a
ruler of men. And this I know full well, I could combat against half a
score of Yudhishthiras on the field of battle.... If, my father, thou
wilt set me aside and deny me my right to a share of government in the
kingdom, I will take mine own life and thus end my sorrow.”

Said Dhritarashtra: “Be patient, O my son, nor give way to thy
vexation. If such is thy desire, I will divide the kingdom between thee
and Yudhishthira, so that no jealousy may exist between you both.”

Duryodhana was well pleased, hearing these words, and he said: “I
agree, O my father, and will accept thine offer. Let the Pandavas take
their own land and rule over it, and I and my brethren will remain at
Hastinapur with thee. If the Kauravas and Pandavas continue to dwell
here together, there will be conflicts and much shedding of blood.”

Said Dhritarashtra: “Neither Bhishma, the head of our family, nor
Vidura, my brother, nor Drona, thy preceptor, will consent to the
Pandavas being sent hence.”

Duryodhana made answer: “Consult them not; they are beneath thee, my
sire. Command the Pandavas to depart unto the city of Varanavartha[236]
and dwell there; when they have gone no one will speak to thee
regarding this matter.”

[236] Allahabad, then probably a frontier town of the area of Aryan
control, pronounced Var´an-a-vart´´ha.

Dhritarashtra listened to his son and followed his counsel. He
commanded Yudhishthira to depart with his brethren to the city of
Varanavartha, rich in jewels and gold, to dwell there until he recalled
them. Accordingly the Pandava brethren bade farewell to Dhritarashtra
and left Hastinapur, taking with them their mother, the widowed queen
Pritha, and went towards the city of Varanavartha. The people of
Hastinapur mourned for them greatly.

Ere they departed, Vidura spoke to them in secret, bidding them to be
aware of the perils of fire. He repeated a verse to Yudhishthira and
said: “Put thy trust in the man who will recite these words unto thee;
he will be thy deliverer.”

Now Duryodhana had plotted with Shakuni, the brother of Queen Gandhari,
to accomplish the destruction of his kinsmen. Then their ally, Kanika
the Brahman, said in secret to Dhritarashtra: “When thine enemy is in
thy power, destroy him by whatever means is at thy disposal, in secret
or openly. Show him no mercy, nor give him thy protection. If thy son,
or brother, or kinsman, or thy father even, should become thine enemy,
do not hesitate to slay if thou wouldst have prosperity. Let him be
overcome either by spells, or by curses, or by deception, or by payment
of money. Do not forget thine enemy, even although thou mayst disdain

The maharajah lent a willing ear thereafter to the counsel of his son,
whom, in his secret heart, he favoured most.

Ere the Pandavas had left Hastinapur, Duryodhana sent unto Varanavartha
his secret agent, Purochana, to erect a commodious new dwelling for
them. This was accomplished with all speed, and it became known as
the “house of lac”. It was built of combustible material: much hemp
and resin were packed in the walls and between the floors, and it was
plastered over with mortar well mixed with pitch and clarified butter.

Purochana welcomed the Pandavas when they arrived at Varanavartha,
and they wondered at the splendour of the great new dwelling. But
Yudhishthira smelt the mortar, and he went over the whole house
examining it closely; then he said unto Bhima: “The enemy hath caused
this mansion to be erected for us, and their trusted workers have done
well for them, for it is full of hemp and straw, resin and bamboo, and
the mortar is mixed with pitch and clarified butter.”

In due time a stranger visited the Pandavas, and he repeated the secret
verse which Vidura had communicated to Yudhishthira. He said: “I will
construct for you a secret passage underground which will lead to a
place of safety, lest you should have to escape from this house when
the doors are made secure and it is set on fire.”

So the man set to work in secret, and ere long the underground passage
was ready. Then Bhima resolved to deal with Purochana in the very
manner that he had undertaken to deal with the princes.

One evening Pritha gave a feast in the new dwelling to all the poor
people in Varanavartha. When the guests had taken their departure,
there remained behind a poor Bhil woman and her five sons, who had
drunken heavily, as was the custom of their people, and were unable to
rise up. They slumbered on the floor.

A great windstorm had arisen, and the night was dark. So Bhima deemed
that the time had come to accomplish his purpose. He went outside and
secured the doors of the dwelling of Purochana, which stood beside that
of the Pandavas; then he set it on fire. Soon the flames spread towards
the new mansion which had been erected according to Duryodhana's
desire, and it burned fiercely and speedily. Pritha and her sons made
swift escape by the underground passage and took refuge in the jungle.
In the morning the people discovered among the embers of Purochana's
house the blackened remains of his body and the bodies of his servants.
In the ruins of the Pandavas' dwelling they found that a woman and five
men had perished, and they lamented, believing that Pritha and her
sons were dead. There was great sorrow in Hastinapur when the tidings
were borne thither. All the people bewailed the fate of the Pandavas.
Bhishma and Vidura wept, and blind Dhritarashtra was moved to tears
also. But Duryodhana rejoiced in secret, believing that his enemies had
all been destroyed.

The Pandavas, having escaped through the subterranean passage, hastened
southwards and entered the forest, which abounded with reptiles and
wild animals and with ferocious man-eating Asuras and Rakshasas of
gigantic stature. Weary and footsore were they all, and greatly
oppressed with sleepiness and fear. At length the mighty Bhima lifted
up all the others and hastened on through the darkness: he took his
mother on his back, and Madri's sons on his shoulders, and Yudhishthira
and Arjuna under his arms. He went swifter than the wind, breaking down
trees by his breast and furrowing the ground that he stamped upon. The
whole forest was shaken as with fear.

At length the Pandavas, fatigued and athirst and heavy with sleep,
found a place to rest in safety; and they all lay down to slumber below
a great and beautiful Banyan tree except mighty Bhima, who kept watch
over them.

Now there lived in the forest on a Shala tree a ferocious Rakshasa
named Hidimva. He was of grim visage and terrible to behold; his eyes
were red, and he was red-haired and red-bearded; his cheeks were of
cloud colour and his mouth was large, with long, sharp-pointed teeth,
which gleamed in darkness; his ears were shaped like to arrows; his
neck was broad as a tree, his belly was large, and his legs were of
great length.

The monster was exceedingly hungry on that fateful night. Scenting
human flesh in the forest, he yawned and scratched his grizzly beard,
and spoke to his sister, saying: “I smell excellent food, and my mouth
waters; to-night I will devour warm flesh and drink hot, frothy blood.
Hasten, now, and bring the sleeping men unto me; we will eat them
together, and afterwards dance merrily in the wood.”

Then the Rakshasa woman went towards the place where the Pandavas
slept. When she beheld Bhima, the long-armed one, clad in royal
garments and wearing his jewels, she immediately fell in love with him,
and she said to herself: “This man with the shoulders of a lion and
eyes like to lotus blooms is worthy to be my husband. I will not slay
him for my evil brother.”

Now a Rakshasa woman has power to transform herself, and this one at
once assumed the shape of a beautiful woman; her face became as fair as
the full moon; on her head was a garland of flowers, her hair hung in
ringlets; delicate was the hue of her skin, and she wore rich ornaments
of gold with many gems. Timidly she approached Bhima and spoke to him,
saying: “O bull among men, who art thou and whence comest thou? Who
are these fair ones lying in slumber there? Hear and know that this
forest is the abode of the wicked chieftain of the Rakshasas. He is my
brother, and hath sent me hither to kill you all for food, but I desire
to save thee, O long-armed one. Be thou my husband. I will take thee to
a secret place among the mountains, for I can speed through the air at

Said Bhima: “I cannot leave my mother and my brethren to become food
for a Rakshasa.”

The woman said: “Let me be thy servant. Awaken thy mother and thy
brethren and I will rescue you all from my fierce brother.”

Said Bhima: “I will not awaken them from pleasant and needful slumber,
because I do not fear a Rakshasa. O fair one, thou canst go as it
pleaseth thee, and I care not if thou dost send thy brother unto me.”

Meantime the Rakshasa chieftain had grown impatient. He descended from
his tree and hastened after his sister, with gaping mouth and head
thrown back. Darkly blue was his body, like to a raincloud.

The Rakshasa woman said to Bhima: “He cometh hither in wrath. Awaken
thy kinsfolk, and I will carry you all through the air to escape him.”

Said Bhima: “Look on my arms, which are strong as the trunks of
elephants; my legs are like iron maces, and my chest is indeed powerful
and broad. I will slay this man-eater, thy brother.”

The Rakshasa chieftain heard the boast of Bhima, and he fumed with rage
when he beheld his sister in comely human guise, and said to her: “I
will slay thee and those whom thou wouldst fain help against me.” Then
he rushed against her, but Bhima cried: “Thou wilt not kill a woman
while I am near. I challenge thee to single combat now. This night will
thy sister behold thee slain by me as an elephant is slain by a lion.”

Said the Rakshasa: “Boast not until thou art the victor. I will kill
thee first of all, then thy friends, and last of all my treacherous

Having spoken thus, he rushed towards Bhima, who nimbly seized the
monster's outstretched arms and, wrestling violently, cast him on the
ground. Then as a lion drags off his prey, Bhima dragged the struggling
Rakshasa into the depths of the forest, lest his yells should awaken
the sleepers. There they fought together like furious bull elephants,
tearing down branches and overthrowing trees.

At length the dread clamour awoke the Pandavas, and they gazed with
wonder on the beautiful woman who kept watch in Bhima's place.

Said Pritha: “O celestial being, who art thou? If thou art the goddess
of woods or an Apsara, tell me why thou dost linger here?”

The fair demon said: “I am the sister of the chieftain of the
Rakshasas, and I was sent hither to slay you all; but when I beheld thy
mighty son the love god wounded me, and I chose him for my husband.
Then my brother followed angrily, and thy son is fighting with him, and
they are filling the forest with their shouting.”

All the brethren rushed to Bhima's aid, and they saw the two wrestlers
struggling in a cloud of dust, and they appeared like two high cliffs
shrouded in mist.

Arjuna cried out: “O Bhima, I am here to help thee. Let me slay the

Bhima answered: “Fear not, but look on. The Rakshasa will not escape
from my hands.”

Said Arjuna: “Do not keep him alive too long. We must hasten hence.
The dawn is near, and Rakshasas become stronger at daybreak; they
exercise their powers of deception during the two twilights. Do not
play with him, therefore, but kill him speedily.”

At these words Bhima became strong as Vayu, his sire, when he is
angered,[237] and, raising aloft the Rakshasa, he whirled him round and
round, crying: “In vain hast thou gorged on unholy food. I will rid the
forest of thee. No longer wilt thou devour human beings.”

[237] The god of wind.

Then, dashing the monster to the ground, Bhima seized him by the hair
and by the waist, laid him over a knee, and broke his back. So was the
Rakshasa slain.

Day was breaking, and Pritha and her sons immediately turned away to
leave the forest. The Rakshasa woman followed them, and Bhima cried to
her: “Begone! or I will send thee after thy brother.”

Said Yudhishthira: “It is unseemly to slay a woman. Besides, she is the
sister of that Rakshasa, and even although she became angry, what harm
can she do us?”

Kneeling at Pritha's feet, the demon wailed: “O illustrious and blessed
lady, thou knowest the sufferings women endure when the love god wounds
them. Have pity upon me now, and command thy son to take me for his
bride. If he continues to scorn me, I will slay myself. Let me be thy
slave, and I will carry you all wheresoever you desire and protect you
from perils.”

Pritha heard her with compassion, and prevailed upon Bhima to take
her for his bride. So the two were married by Yudhishthira; then the
Rakshasa took Bhima upon her back and sped through the air to a lonely
place among the mountains which is sacred to the gods. They lived
together beside silvery streams and lakes sparkling with lotus blooms;
they wandered through woods of blossoming trees where birds sang
sweetly, and by celestial sea-beaches covered with pearls and nuggets
of gold. The demon bride had assumed celestial beauty, and ofttimes
played sweet music, and she made Bhima happy.

In time the woman became the mother of a mighty son; his eyes were
fiercely bright, like arrows were his ears, and his mouth was large; he
had copper-brown lips and long, sharp teeth. He grew to be a youth an
hour after he was born, but, still remaining bald, his mother named him
Ghatotkacha, which signifies “pot-headed”.[238]

[238] Bald as a pot. _Pron._ gat-ot-katch´a.

Bhima then returned to his mother and his brethren with his demon bride
and her son. They abode together for a time in the forest; then the
Rakshasa bade all the Pandavas farewell and departed with Ghatotkacha,
who promised to come to aid the Pandavas whenever they called upon him.

One day thereafter Vyasa appeared before the Pandavas and counselled
them to go towards the city of Eka-chakra[239] and to live there for a
time in the house of a Brahman. Then he vanished from sight, promising
to come again.

[239] _Pron._ eka chak´ra.

The Pandavas went therefore to Eka-chakra and lived with a Brahman who
had a wife and a daughter and an infant son. Disguised as holy men, the
brethren begged for food as alms. Every evening they brought home what
they had obtained, and Pritha divided the whole into two portions; the
one half she gave to wolf-bellied Bhima, and the rest she kept for his
brethren and herself.

Now the city of Eka-chakra was protected against every enemy by a
forest-dwelling Rakshasa named Vaka, who was king of the Asuras.[240]
Each day the people had to supply him with food, which consisted of a
cartload of rice, two bullocks, and the man who conveyed the meal to

[240] As a rule the Asuras are the enemies of the gods and the
Rakshasas the enemies of mankind. See Chapter IV.

One morning a great wailing broke forth in the Brahman's house because
that the holy man was required to supply the demon's feast. He was too
poor to purchase a slave, and he said he would deliver himself unto
Vaka. “Although I reach Heaven,” he cried, “I will have no joy, for my
family will perish when I am gone.” His wife and his daughter pleaded
in turn to take his place, and the three wept together. Then the little
boy of tender years plucked a long spear of grass, and with glowing
eyes he spoke sweetly and said: “Do not weep, Father; do not weep,
Mother; do not weep, Sister. With this spear I will slay the demon who
devours human beings.”

As they wept there they heard him, nor could forbear smiling.

Pritha was deeply moved by the lamentations of the Brahman family, and
she said: “Sorrow not. I will send forth my son Bhima to slay the Asura

The Brahman made answer, saying: “That cannot be. Thy sons are Brahmans
and are under my protection. If I go forth, I will but obey the rajah;
if I send thy son, I will be sin-guilty of his death, for the gods
abhor the man who causeth a guest to be slain, or permits a Brahman to

Said Pritha: “Bhima is strong and mighty, nor can a demon do him
any harm. He will slay this bloodthirsty Rakshasa and return again
in safety. But, O Brahman, thou must not reveal unto anyone who hath
performed this mighty deed, lest the people should trouble my son
and desire to obtain the secret of his power, for he is skilled in

[241] Charms.

Then was the household made happy, and Bhima prepared to go forth.
That mighty hero collected the rice and drove the bullocks towards the
forest. When he drew nigh to the appointed place, he began to eat the
food himself, and called the Rakshasa by name over and over again.
Vaka heard and came through the trees towards Bhima. Red were his
eyes, and his hair and his beard were red also; his ears were pointed
like arrows; he had a mouth like a cave, and his forehead was puckered
in three lines. Terrible was he to look upon; his body was huge,

[242] A man-devouring demon was supposed to sit under a bridge in
Caithness every night. When a late wayfarer began to walk over, the
monster growled, “Tramp, tramp, tramp”, so as to terrify him and obtain
him for food. According to local belief, the demon “had eyes like a
saucer, a nose like a poker, and a mouth like a cave”. The Egyptian
demon Set was red like the Indian Rakshasa. Red-haired people are
disliked in India still; a native girl with auburn locks is not cared
for as a bride.

The Rakshasa saw Bhima eating his meal, and approached angrily, biting
his lower lip. “Fool,” he cried, “wouldst thou devour my food before my
very eyes?”

Bhima smiled, and continued eating with face averted. The demon
smote him, but the hero only glanced round as if one had touched his
shoulder, and he went on eating as before.

Raging furiously, the Rakshasa tore up a tree, and Bhima rose leisurely
and waited until it was flung at him. When that was done, he caught the
trunk nimbly and hurled it back. Many trees were uprooted and flung by
one at the other. Then Vaka sprung forward to wrestle, but the Pandava
overthrew him and dragged him round and round until the demon gasped
with fatigue. The earth shook; trees were splintered in pieces. Then
Bhima began to strike the monster with his iron fists, and at length he
broke Vaka's back across his knee. Terrible were the loud screams of
the Rakshasa while Bhima was bending him double. He died howling.

A mighty clamour was then awakened in the forest. All the other Asuras
were terror-stricken, and, bellowing horribly, they hastened towards
Bhima and made obeisance before him. Then Bhima made them take vows
never again to eat human flesh or to oppress the people of the city.
They promised willing obedience, and he allowed them to depart.

Thereafter Pritha's son dragged the monster's body to the main gate of
Eka-chakra. He entered the city secretly and hastened to the Brahman's
house, and he told Yudhishthira all that had taken place.

When the people of the city discovered that the Asura king had been
slain, they rejoiced greatly, and hastened towards the house of the
Brahman. But that holy man made evasive answer to them, and said that
his deliverer was a certain high-souled Brahman who had offered to
supply food to the demon. Thereafter the people established a festival
in honour of Brahmans.

The Pandavas remained a time in the city, and they studied the Vedas.
One day there came to their dwelling a saintly man of rigid vows,
and he told the story of the miraculous births of Drupada's son and
daughter from sacrificial fire.

When Drupada had lost half of his kingdom, he paid pilgrimages to holy
places. He promised great rewards to superior Brahmans, so that he
might have offspring, ever desiring greatly to be avenged upon Drona.
He offered the austere Upayája a million cows if he would procure a
son for him, and that sage sent him unto his brother Yája. Now Yája was
reluctant to aid the rajah thus; but at length he consented to perform
the sacrificial rite, and prevailed upon Upayája to help him.

So the rite was performed, and when the vital moment came, the Brahmans
called for the queen to partake in it. But Drupada's wife was not
prepared, and said: “My mouth is still filled with saffron and my body
is scented. I am not fit to receive the libation which will bring
offspring. Tarry a little time for me.”

But the Brahmans could not delay the consummation of the sacrificial
rite. Ere the queen came, a son sprang forth from the flames: he was
clad in full armour, and carried a falchion and bow, and a diadem
gleamed brightly upon his head. A voice out of the heavens said: “_This
prince hath come to destroy Drona and to increase the fame of the

Next arose from the ashes on the altar a daughter of great beauty. She
was exceedingly dark, with long curling locks and lotus eyes, and she
was deep-bosomed and slender-waisted. A sweet odour clung to her body.

A voice out of heaven said: “_This dusky girl will become the chief of
all women. Many Kshatriyas must die because of her, and the Kauravas
will suffer from her. She will accomplish the decrees of the gods._”

Then the son was called Dhrishta-dyumna[243] and the daughter
Draupadi.[244] Drona thereafter took the Panchala prince to his palace,
and instructed him to become an accomplished warrior. He knew that he
could not thwart destiny, and he desired to perpetuate his own mighty

[243] _Pron._ dhrish-ta-dyum´na.

[244] _Pron._ drow´pa-dee´´

Having heard these words, Pritha desired to journey towards Panchala,
and she and her sons took leave of their host. Ere they went away, the
high-souled ascetic said that Draupadi had been destined to become a
Pandava queen.

Pritha and her sons wandered from the banks of the Ganges and went
northwards, and soon they fell in with great numbers of people all
going the same way. Yudhishthira spake to a troop of Brahmans, and
asked them whither they were bound, and they answered saying that
Drupada of Panchala was observing a great festival, and that all the
princes of the land were hastening to the swayamvara of his peerless
and slender-waisted daughter, the beautiful Draupadi.

In that great and increasing company were Brahmans who were to
perform the sacred rites, and youths who were to take part in joyous
revelry—dancers and jugglers, boxers and wrestlers, and those who
displayed feats of strength and skill at arms; there were also bards
there and singers to chant the praises of heroes.

The Brahmans praised the beauty of Draupadi, and said to the Pandava
brethren: “Come with us to the festival and the sports and the
swayamvara; you will be feasted and will receive gifts. You are all as
comely as princes and as fair as the bright gods; mayhap Draupadi may
choose from among ye this stalwart and noble youth, strongly armed and
of fearless bearing, and if he should perform mighty feats, the garland
may be thrown upon his shoulders.”

Said Yudhishthira: “So be it. We will hasten with you to the swayamvara
and share banquet and bounty.”

So the Pandavas went towards Panchala with the troop of Brahmans. When
they reached the city they took up their abode in the humble dwelling
of a potter, still disguised as Brahmans, and they went out and begged
food from the people.

In their secret hearts the brethren desired greatly to win the fair
bride whose fame had been bruited abroad.


The Choice of Draupadi

 Drupada's Hope—Conditions for winning his Daughter—The Great Bow
 and Whirling Target—The Swayamvara—Pandavas in Disguise—Love-sick
 Rajahs put to Shame—Karna strings the Bow—Rejected as a Base-born
 Suitor—Arjuna's Triumph—Chosen by Princess—An Angry Scene—Rajahs
 seek Vengeance—Warriors attack Supposed Brahmans—Karna and Salya
 overcome—Princess taken to Potter's House—Pritha's Command—An
 Evening Meal—The Royal Spy.

Now Drupada had long cherished the hope that Arjuna would become his
daughter's husband. He never revealed his wish to any man, but ere he
proclaimed the swayamvara of Draupadi, he thought of the great Pandava
archer, and caused to be made a powerful bow which only a strong man
could bend and string. For a target he had constructed a strange and
curious device: a high pole was erected, and it was surmounted by a
golden fish, which was poised above a swiftly-revolving wheel. Then
Drupada issued a proclamation far and wide summoning the regents and
princes of the world to the swayamvara. He said: “The man who will
bend the bow and shoot an arrow through the wheel which will strike
and bring down the golden fish shall obtain my daughter in marriage.”
None but a mighty archer who was Arjuna's equal could hope to win
the beautiful Draupadi, for five arrows only were allowed to each
competitor, and the fish must needs be struck on an eye to be brought

A great field was enclosed for the swayamvara. It was surrounded by a
fosse and barrier and swan-white pavilions, with domes and turrets that
were agleam with gold and jewels, festoons and streamers and bright
garlands. The turrets of the royal mansion were lofty and golden like
Himalayan mountain peaks.

For sixteen days there were sports and banquets, and everyone within
the city made merry. Then came the great and festal day. At dawn
trumpets and drums awakened the people, and flags and flowers decorated
every street. The whole populace gathered on the plain and massed
around the barriers. The rajah's soldiers kept order, and wrestlers
and jugglers and dancers and musicians performed merrily until the
appointed hour drew nigh.

At length the people roared their welcome to the king and the high-born
ladies and all the royal guests, who thronged the galleries and
pavilions. The mighty rajahs, frowning defiance one upon another, were
ranged on lofty seats round the throne of King Drupada. Multitudes
had gathered to gaze on the glittering scene, pressing against the
barriers, or clustering on trees and scaffolds, while others looked
down from lofty lattice and high house roofs.... A thousand trumpets
clamoured; and the murmuring of the swaying people was like the voice
of the heaving main.

Among others came in all her beauty the Princess Draupadi, stepping
gently and sweet, bearing in a delicate hand the golden bridal garland,
which was adorned with sparkling gems. Tardily she made approach,
blushing with increasing loveliness, and appeared in the presence of
the princes. Mighty and high-born men were there. The Pandavas beheld
in the galleries their enemies Duryodhana, Karna, and all the great
Kauravas, and they saw also Krishna, the amorous and powerful one,
and his brother, the wine-drinking Balarama[245], the Yádava princes,
the Rajah of Sindhu and his sons, the Rajah of Chedi, the Rajah of
Kosala, the Rajah of Madra, and many more. Now the Pandavas were still
disguised as Brahmans, and stood among the holy men.

[245] _Pron._ bal-a-rah´ma.

An aged and white-haired Brahman, clad in white, approached the high
altar, chanting mantras. He spread the holy grass and poured out oil;
then he kindled the sacred fire, and the offering to the gods was

Thereafter the thousand trumpets were sounded, and a tense silence
fell upon the buzzing crowd. In the solemn hush all eyes were turned
towards the royal mansion as Drupada's valiant son, Dhrishta-dyumna,
led forth his sister Draupadi, and in a voice like thunder proclaimed
his father's will, saying:

“Here stands the noble princess, my sister. Whosoever can bend this
bow, and strike with an arrow yonder whirling target set on high, may,
if his lineage is noble, claim Draupadi for his bride. My words are

Having spoken thus, the prince recited to his sister the names of the
royal guests, their lineage and their deeds of fame, and bade her award
the golden garland to the successful archer.

The rajahs then descended from their gorgeous thrones and gathered
around Draupadi as the bright gods gather around Párvati, the mountain
bride of Shiva. Their hearts were filled with love for the maiden
and with hate for one another. Rivals frowned upon rivals. Those who
had been close friends became of a sudden angry enemies because that
Draupadi was so beautiful. Krishna and Balarama alone remained aloof;
calmly and self-restrained they stood apart, while rajah opposed rajah
like to angry elephants.

Each of the love-sick monarchs gazed upon the mighty bow and upon the
whirling target on high, and for a time no man sought to lift the bow
lest he should be unable to bend it and then be put to shame. At length
a rajah, more bold than the others, picked it up and tried his strength
without avail; another followed and another, but failed to string it.
Soon many rajahs strained their arms in vain, and some fell upon the
ground and groaned, while the laughter of the people pealed around the
barriers.... The gods had assembled in mid-air and looked down with
steadfast eyes.

At length proud Karna strode forward; he took the bow and bent it and
fixed the bowstring. Then he seized an arrow. Drupada and his son
were alarmed, fearing he might succeed and claim the bride. Suddenly
Draupadi intervened, for she would not have the son of a charioteer for
her lord. She said, speaking loudly: “I am a king's daughter, and will
not wed with the base-born....”

Karna smiled bitterly, his face aflame. He cast down the bow and walked
away, gazing towards the sun. He said: “O sun! be my witness that
I cast aside the bow, not because I am unable to hit the mark, but
because Draupadi scorns me.”

Others sought to perform the feat, but in vain, and many rajahs feared
to make attempt lest they should compel the laughter of the people. A
buzz of merry voices arose from beyond the barriers.

Meanwhile the Pandava brethren, disguised as Brahmans, looked on with
the others.

Then suddenly silence fell upon everyone, for Arjuna advanced from
the priestly band to lift the bow. The Brahmans applauded him, shaking
their deerskins.

Said the rajahs: “Can a weakly Brahman, who is a mere stripling,
accomplish a feat which is beyond the strength of mighty warriors.”

Others said: “The Brahman knoweth best his own skill. He would not go
forward if he were not confident of success.”

An aged priest endeavoured to restrain Arjuna, lest he should by his
failure bring ridicule upon the Brahmans; but the hero would not be
thwarted. He strode forward like to a stately elephant and bared his
broad shoulders and ample chest. He was nimble as a lion, and calm and

Ere he lifted the bow, he walked round it; then he addressed a prayer
to the gods.... He stood up unmoved and serene as a mountain peak, and
he bent the bow and fixed an arrow in it....

All eyes watched him. He drew the cord, and the arrow flew upwards with
a hissing sound; it hit the target eye, and the golden fish fell over
and clashed upon the ground.

Like distant thunder arose the plaudits of the multitude; hundreds of
Brahmans shouted in ecstasy and waved their scarfs; a thousand trumpets
clamoured in triumph, and the drums were beaten loud....

The heart of Draupadi was filled with joy, and, smiling coyly, she
advanced towards Arjuna and flung the golden bridal garland over his
shoulders. Celestial blossoms fluttered, descending through the air,
and the sound of celestial music was heard.

Drupada was well pleased, because he had already recognized the hero
in his Brahman guise; but the jealous rajahs stormed in fury, and each
said unto the other: “Behold! the king goeth to greet this youth.
To him we are as worthless as jungle grass; he tramples upon us in
his pride.... Are we to be humbled by a Brahman and denied the fruit
of our nourished hopes? The daughter of a rajah must even choose a
Kshatriya for her husband.... Verily, the life of a priest is sacred,
but the rajah who scorns his peers must die—he and his son together.
Let us seize also this shameless woman who honours the Brahman—that
trespasser of our birthright—so that she may be burned at the stake!”

Shouting with anger one to another, the rajahs poured from the
galleries with drawn swords and rushed towards Arjuna and the princess.
Like ponderous wild elephants they advanced; but the Pandavas rose
against them. Arjuna bent the great bow, and Bhima, having no weapon,
uprooted a tree and stood defying them like to hell's stern judge
wielding his mighty club. Yudhishthira and the younger brothers were
soon beside them, and the Brahmans hastened also to give their aid.

For a moment the rajahs paused, wondering at the daring of the priestly
band; but impatient Karna and angry Salya, Rajah of Madra, dashed
forward like to infuriated elephants against Arjuna and Bhima. The
brothers sustained the shock, and when Karna had been struck by Arjuna,
he faltered in amaze and said: “Brahman, who art thou? Art thou a god
in human guise? No Brahman could thus attack me, nor dost there live a
man who can thwart me with defiance as thou hast done even now, save
Arjuna alone.”

Said Arjuna, “I am nor god nor hero, but a humble Brahman who hath
been trained to use of arms. I have come hither to tame thy pride, thou
haughty youth; therefore be firm.”

But Karna fell back, deeming it vain to oppose the power of a holy man.

Meanwhile Madra's king fought against peerless Bhima. Both were
long-armed and of gigantic strength. Sharp and fierce was their
conflict. When their clubs were splintered, they leapt one upon the
other and wrestled fiercely, struggling with all their might. Then, of
a sudden, Bhima stopped and swung aloft the mighty rajah and threw him
heavily upon the ground, where he lay unconscious and bleeding before
the eyes of the multitude.

The rajahs drew back, humbled because of Karna's flight and Salya's

“Brave, indeed, are the Brahmans,” they said. “Who can they be? What is
their lineage? and whence come they?”

The Pandavas scorned to make answer. But Krishna had knowledge of
who they were, and he interposed with gentle words to soothe the
angry rajahs. The monarchs heard him and withdrew, and the tumult was

Then Arjuna took Draupadi by the hand and led her away in peace from
that scene of angry strife. So ended the swayamvara, and Krishna
declared that the bride had been fairly won.

The Pandava brethren went towards the house of the potter, and they
entered and addressed their mother Pritha, saying: “A great gift have
we obtained this day.”

Said Pritha: “Then share the gift between you, as becomes brethren.”

Yudhishthira said: “What hast thou said, O mother? The gift is the
Princess Draupadi whom Arjuna hath won at the swayamvara.”

Said Pritha: “Alas! what have I said? I have sinned deeply in saying,
‘Then share the gift between you, as becomes brethren.’ But, O
Yudhishthira, my son, the fatal words have been spoken; you must devise
how they can be obeyed without involving one another in wrong.”

Yudhishthira pondered a time and then spake to Arjuna, saying: “My
brother, thou hast won Draupadi by thine own merit. She must therefore
be thy bride.”

Said Arjuna: “Thou, Yudhishthira, art our elder brother and we are thy
servants. The princess is for thee.”

Yudhishthira said: “Let this matter be arranged in accordance with
the will of the gods. It is for Drupada to say unto which of us his
daughter will be given.”

Now, as hath already been told, each one of the Pandavas yearned in his
secret heart to have Draupadi for his bride....

Meanwhile the evening meal had been prepared, and Pritha desired that
the princess should at once take her place, and serve out the portions
to the brethren. So she said unto Draupadi: “Divide the food, and first
set aside a share for the poor; then cut what is left into two parts,
one part for Bhima, and the rest for my other sons and for thee and me.”

The princess smiled when she beheld the great meal which Bhima devoured.

When they had all eaten they retired to rest. Draupadi slept with
Pritha, and the brethren lay at their feet.

King Drupada was sore troubled in heart after his daughter had been
led away to the potter's house, and he sent his valiant son to watch
her. Dhrishta-dyumna went forth in disguise, and, listening at the
window, he discovered to his joy that the Brahmans were no other than
the Pandava brethren. He returned to his royal sire and related all
that had happened, and what had been spoken at the evening meal. The
king was well pleased because that the brethren were Kshatriyas and not

In the morning Drupada sent a priest to the potter's house to ask how
it fared with all the brethren.

Said Yudhishthira: “Inform thou the rajah that his daughter hath been
won by a family who will not bring shame or disgrace upon his royal
name. None but a man of high birth could have shot down the fish of

Drupada, ere this message was delivered unto him, sent a second
messenger bidding the brethren to come to the palace because that the
nuptial feast was ready.... Two chariots awaited them. Then Pritha and
Draupadi entered one of the chariots together, and the five brethren
entered the other, and they were all driven towards the royal palace.

When the people beheld the Pandavas and marked their comely bearing
and royal gait, they knew that they were not Brahmans, but high-born

The Pandava guests were made welcome, and the king and his son and all
his counsellors sat down to feast with them.

Said the rajah at length unto Yudhishthira: “I perceive that you are
men of high birth. Tell me, therefore, I pray thee, who ye are—your
names and your lineage.”

Yudhishthira said: “We are of humble birth. Do now with us as is thy

Said Drupada: “In Indra's name, I adjure thee to reveal yourselves unto
me now.”

Yudhishthira said: “Know, then, that we are the Pandava princes....
Our brother Arjuna was the winner of Draupadi. Thy daughter, like to
a lotus, hath been but transferred from one lake to another. I have
spoken what is true.”

Drupada glowed with joy and satisfaction. He prevailed upon the
brethren to remain at the palace, and entertained them for many days.

At length Yudhishthira was addressed by Drupada, who said: “Thou art
the elder brother. Speak and say if it is thy desire that Arjuna be
given Draupadi for his bride.”

Said Yudhishthira: “I would fain speak with Vyasa, the great Rishi,
regarding this matter.”

Now Vyasa was in the city of Panchala at that time, and he was brought
before the rajah, who spake to him regarding Draupadi.

The Rishi said: “The gods have already declared that she will become
the wife of all the five Pandava brethren.”

Drupada's son spoke and said: “With reverence I have heard thy words,
O Vyasa, but to me it appears that Draupadi hath been betrothed unto
Arjuna alone.”

Said Yudhishthira: “Thou hast spoken truly, but there is wisdom in the
words of Vyasa which in my heart I cannot condemn. Besides, our mother
hath already commanded us to share our gift together.”

Then Vyasa told that Draupadi was the reincarnation of a pious woman
who once prayed unto the god Shiva for a husband: five times she
prayed, and the god rewarded her with the promise of five husbands in
her next existence. Vyasa also revealed that the Pandava brethren were
five incarnations of Indra, and thus were but as one.

Drupada then gave consent for his daughter to become the bride of all
the brethren, and it was arranged that she should be married unto
them all, one after the other, according to their ages. So on five
successive days she was led round the holy fire by each of the five
Pandava princes.

Drupada thereafter conferred great gifts upon his sons-in-law; he gave
them much gold and many jewels, and he gave them numerous horses and
chariots and elephants, and also a hundred female servants clad in
many-coloured robes, and adorned with gems and bright garlands. Unto
the Pandavas Krishna gave much raiment and ornaments of gold, and rare
vessels sparkling with jewels, besides female servants from various

Now when Duryodhana came to know that the Pandava brethren were still
alive, and had formed a powerful alliance with Drupada, he was moved
to jealous wrath. A great council was held, at which the young men
clamoured for war and the grave elders spoke in favour of peace. At
length it was agreed that the Pandava princes should be invited to
return to Hastinapur so that the raj might be divided between them and
the sons of Dhritarashtra. Then Vidura was sent to Panchala to speak
with the Rajah Drupada and his sons-in-law regarding this matter.


Triumph of the Pandavas

 Pandavas visit Drupada's Palace—Their Identity revealed—Draupadi's
 Five Husbands—Kingdom assigned to Pandavas—Building of
 Indra-prastha—Arjuna goes into Exile—His Serpent Bride—Marriage
 in Manipur—An Heir to a Throne—Meeting with Krishna—Abduction
 of Princess—Miraculous Origin of Jarasandhu—His Two
 Mothers—Slain by Bhima—The Imperial Sacrifice—Krishna kills
 Shishupala—Yudhishthira's Triumph—Jealousy of Duryodhana.

The Pandava brethren returned to Hastinapur with Vidura. They took with
them their mother, Queen Pritha, and their wife, Draupadi, and the
people went forth in great multitudes and bade them glad welcome. Then
there was much rejoicing and many banquets.

At length Dhritarashtra spake unto Yudhishthira and his brethren and
said: “I will now divide the raj between you and my sons. Your share
will be the southwestern country of Khandava-prastha.”

Said Bhishma: “The maharajah hath spoken wisely. It is meet that you
should depart unto the country of Khandava-prastha as he hath decreed.”

So the Pandava princes bade farewell to all their kinsmen and to wise
Drona, and they went towards their own country. On the banks of the
Jumna they built a strong fort, and in time they made a great clearance
in the forest. When they had gathered together the people who were
subject unto them, they erected a great and wonderful city like unto
the city of Indra, and it was called Indra-prastha.[246] High walls,
which resembled the Mandara mountains, were built round about, and
these were surrounded by a deep moat wide as the sea.

[246] _Pron._ indra-prast´ha.

In time the fame of Rajah Yudhishthira went far and wide. He ruled with
wisdom and with power, and he had great piety. Forest robbers were
pursued constantly and put to death, and wrongdoers were ever brought
to justice; indeed, the people who suffered from evildoing went before
the rajah as children go before a father seeking redress.

The brethren lived happily together. In accordance with the advice of
a Rishi, they made a compact that when one of them was sitting beside
Draupadi, none of the others should enter, and that if one of them
should be guilty of intrusion, he must needs go into exile for the
space of twelve years.

As it chanced, Yudhishthira was sitting with Draupadi one day when a
Brahman, whose cattle had been carried off, hastened to Arjuna and
entreated him to pursue the band of robbers. The weapons of the prince
were in the king's palace, and to obtain them Arjuna entered the room
in which Yudhishthira and Draupadi sat, thus breaking the compact made
by the brethren. He hastened after the robbers and recovered the stolen
cattle, which he brought back unto the Brahman.

On his return to the palace, Arjuna said unto his brother that he
must needs become an exile for twelve years to expiate his offence.
Yudhishthira, however, sought to prevail upon him not to depart. But
Arjuna made answer that he had pledged his oath to fulfil the terms
of the compact. “I cannot waver from truth,” he said; “truth is my
weapon.” So when he had bidden farewell to Pritha and Draupadi and his
four brethren, he took his departure from the city of Indra-prastha.
And a band of Brahmans went with him.

Arjuna wandered through the jungle, and he visited many holy places.
One day he went unto Hurdwar, where the Ganges flows upon the plain,
and he bathed in the holy waters. There he met with Ulúpí, daughter of
Vásuka, king of the Nagas, who had great beauty. She loved him, and she
led him to her father's palace, where he abode a time, and she gave him
the power to render himself invisible in water. A child was born unto
them, and he was named Iravat.

Thereafterwards Arjuna went southwards until he came to the Mahendra
mountain.[247] He was received there by Parasu Rama, the Brahman hero,
who gave him gifts of powerful weapons, and imparted to him the secret
of using them.

[247] In Ganjam district, Madras.

So he wandered from holy place to holy place until he reached Manipur.
Now the rajah of that place had a beautiful daughter whose name was
Chitrángadá. Arjuna loved her, and sought her for his bride. The rajah
said: “I have no other child, and if I give her unto thee, her son must
remain here to become my heir, for the god Shiva hath decreed that the
rajahs of this realm can have each but one child.” Arjuna married the
maiden, and he dwelt for three years at Manipur. A son was born, and he
was named Chitrangada. Thereafter Arjuna set out on his wanderings once

He passed through many strange lands, travelling westward, and at
length he reached the city of Prabhása[248], which is nigh to Dwáraká,
on the southern sea, the capital of his kinsman Krishna, rajah of the

[248] _Pron._ pra-bha´sa.

_From the painting by Warwick Goble_

Krishna welcomed Arjuna, and took the Pandava hero to dwell in his
palace. Then he gave a great feast on the holy mountain of Raivataka,
which lasted for two days. Arjuna looked with love upon Krishna's fair
sister, Subhadra[249], a girl of sweet smiles, and desired her for a

[249] _Pron._ soo-bhad´ra.

Now it was the wish of Balarama that Subhadra should be given unto
Duryodhana, whom, indeed, she would have chosen had a swayamvara
been held. So Krishna advised Arjuna to carry her away by force, in
accordance with the advice of the sages, who had said aforetime: “Men
applaud the Kshatriyas who win brides by abducting them.”

When the feast was over, Arjuna drove his chariot from the holy
mountain towards Dwaraka until he came nigh to Subhadra. Nimbly he
leapt down and took her by the hand and lifted her into his chariot;
then he drove hastily towards the city of Indra-prastha.

Balarama was greatly angered, and desired to pursue Arjuna; and he
spoke to Krishna, saying: “Thou art calm, and I can perceive that
Arjuna has done this thing with thy knowledge. Thou shouldst not have
given our sister unto him without my consent. But let the deed be upon
his own head, for I will pursue him and slay him and his brethren, one
and all.”

Said Krishna: “Arjuna is our kinsman[250] and of noble birth, and is
a worthy husband for Subhadra. If thou wilt pursue him and bring back
our sister, no one else will marry her now because that she hath been
in the house of another. Better were it that we should send messengers
after Arjuna and invite him to return here, so that the marriage may be
held according to our rites.”

[250] Krishna's father, Vasudeva, was the brother of Pritha, mother of

Balarama said: “So be it, seeing that thou art well pleased with this

Thus it came to pass that messengers followed Arjuna and prevailed
upon him to return with Subhadra to Dwaraka. A great feast was then
held, and they were married with pomp and in state. And Arjuna abode at
the court of Krishna for many months, until the time of his exile came
to an end.

When Arjuna returned to Indra-prastha with Subhadra, he was received
with great rejoicing by his brethren. He went unto Draupadi and greeted
her; but she said coldly: “Why come hither? Where is the sister of

Arjuna soothed her with gentle words; and then Subhadra approached
Draupadi, attired in red silk, but in the simple fashion of a keeper of
cows, and made obeisance before her, saying: “I am thy handmaiden.”

Draupadi embraced the sister of Krishna and said “Let thy husband be
without an enemy.”

The heart of Subhadra was filled with joy at these words; she said: “So
be it.”

Thus was peace made; the two women thereafter loved one another, and to
Pritha both were very dear.

Now Draupadi became the mother of five sons to her five husbands; and
Subhadra had one son only, and his name was Abhimanyu[251], who in the
years that followed was an illustrious warrior.

[251] _Pron._ ab-hi-mun´yoo (“u” as in “bun”).

As time went on, the Pandavas grew more and more powerful. They waged
great wars, until many rajahs owed them allegiance; and at length
Yudhishthira deemed that the time had come to hold his great Rajasúya
sacrifice to celebrate the supremacy of his power over all.

Krishna came to Indra-prastha at this time and said: “There is now but
one rajah who must needs be overcome ere the Imperial sacrifice can be
performed: his name is Jarasandha, monarch of Magadha. He hath already
conquered six-and-eighty kings, and he hath slaughtered those who were
our kinsmen dear.”

Now this rajah was of great valour and matchless strength. His body
was invulnerable against weapons; not even the gods could wound him
with mace or sword or with arrow. He was also of miraculous birth,
for he was born of two mothers[252] who had eaten of a mantra-charmed
mango which fell into the lap of his sire when that he was childless
and was undergoing penances to obtain offspring. Nor did the babe come
to life after birth until he was united by a Rakshasa woman, named
Jara, the goddess of the household, who, because she was worshipped in
the palace, performed some good each day in return.[253] So the child
was called Jarasandha[254], which signifies “united by Jara”, and he
increased daily like to the moon in its first phase.

[252] In one of the Egyptian temple chants Osiris is called “the
progeny of the two cows Isis and Nepthys”.

[253] Like the European household elves and fairies.

[254] _Pron._ ja-ra-sund´ha.

Krishna said unto Yudhishthira: “This monarch of Magadha cannot be
vanquished in battle even by gods or by demons. But he may be overcome
in a conflict, fighting with bare arms. Now I am ‘Policy’, Bhima is
‘Strength’, and Arjuna is ‘Protector’. Together, O king, we will surely
accomplish the death of Jarasandha, who is arrogant and covetous and

Said Yudhishthira: “Do as it seemeth best unto thee, O lord of the
universe; thou art our wise counsellor and guide.”

Then Krishna, Arjuna, and Bhima disguised themselves as Brahmans and
went towards the city of Mathura, which was Jarasandha's capital. When
they arrived there they entered the palace of the mighty rajah like to
mountain lions eyeing cattle-folds. They went boldly before the king
decked with flowers, and the king said: “Ye are welcome.”

Arjuna and Bhima were silent, but Krishna spake to Jarasandha, saying:
“These two men are observing vows, and will not open their mouths until
midnight; after that hour they will speak.”

The king provided for his guests in the sacrificial chamber, and after
midnight he visited them, and discovering that they were warriors, he
asked: “Tell me truly who ye are, and why ye have come hither.”

Said Krishna: “We are decked with flowers to achieve prosperity, and we
have entered the abode of our enemy to fulfil the vows of Kshatriyas.”

Jarasandha said: “I have never done you an injury. Why, therefore, do
ye regard me as your enemy?”

Then Krishna revealed himself, and upbraided the king because that he
was wont to offer up in sacrifice to Shiva the rajahs whom he took
captive in battle. He said: “Thou hast slaughtered our kinsmen in this
manner because thou dost imagine there liveth no man who is so powerful
as thou. For thy sins thou art doomed to go to Yama's kingdom, there
to be tortured a time. But thou canst attain to the Heaven of Indra
by dying the death of a Kshatriya in battle with thy peers. Now, O
king, we challenge thee to combat. Set free the rajahs who are in thy
dungeons, or die at our hands!”

Said the king: “I have taken captive in battle these royal prisoners
of mine, whom I shall offer in sacrifice to Shiva, according to my
vow. Let us therefore meet in battle, army against army, or in single

Krishna said: “Meet thou one of us in single combat. With whom dost
thou desire to fight?”

Then Jarasandha expressed his wish to meet Bhima in battle. Bhima was
made glad thereat, for, in truth, he thirsted for the conflict; but he
desired that they should fight without weapons, and the king consented,
and made ready for the fray.

Now Jarasandha was of lofty stature and great strength, and he fought
so fiercely that the combat lasted for thirteen days in presence of
great multitudes of the people. In the end the king was swung aloft,
and his back was broken over Bhima's knee. Then a mighty tumult arose,
which caused all who were there to quake with fear, for the roar of the
Pandavas mingled with the shrieks of Jarasandha ere death silenced him.

Krishna went boldly into the palace and set free all the rajahs who
were in captivity. And one by one they took vows to attend the Imperial
sacrifice. Then Krishna received Sahadeva, son of Jarasandha, and
installed him as Rajah of Magadha.

When the great Yudhishthira came to know that Jarasandha had been
slain, he sent forth his four brethren with great armies to collect
tribute from every rajah in the world.[255] Some there were among the
kings who welcomed them; others had to be conquered in battle. But when
they had sworn allegiance to Yudhishthira, they joined the Pandava
force and assisted in achieving further victories. A whole year went
past ere the brethren returned again unto Indra-prastha.

[255] That is, in Northern India.

Krishna came from Dwaraka to aid Yudhishthira at the ceremony, and he
brought with him much wealth and a mighty army.

Stately pavilions were erected for the kings who came to attend the
great sacrifice: their turrets were high, and they were swan-white and
flecked with radiant gold. Silver and gold adorned the walls of the
rooms, which were richly perfumed and carpeted and furnished to befit
the royal guests.

Then the rajahs came to Indra-prastha in all their splendour and
greeted mighty Yudhishthira. Those who were friends brought gifts, and
those who had been subdued in battle brought tribute. White-haired
and blind old Dhritarashtra came, and with him were Kripa and Bhishma
and Vidura. Proud Duryodhana and his brethren came also, professing
friendship, and Karna came with bow and spear and mace. Drona and
his son, and their enemies Drupada and his son, were there also, and
Balarama, Krishna's brother, and their father Vasudeva. And among many
others were jealous Sishupala[256], King of Chedi[257], and his son,
and both wore bright golden armour.

[256] _Pron._ sish-oo-pah´la.

[257] _Pron._ chay´dee.

Many Brahmans assembled at Indra-prastha, and Krishna honoured them and
washed their feet. The gifts that were given to these holy sages were
beyond computation. In great numbers came men of every caste also; and
all were feasted at banquets, so that the words “Take ye and eat” were
heard continuously on every hand.

Now there were deep and smouldering jealousies among the assembled
rajahs, and when the time came to honour him who was regarded as the
greatest among them by presenting the Arghya[258], their passions were
set ablaze. First Bhishma spake forth and said that the honour was due
to Krishna, the pious one, who was the noblest and greatest among them
all. “Krishna,” he said, “is the origin of all things; the universe
came into being for him alone. He is the incarnation of the Creator,
the everlasting one, who is beyond man's comprehension.”

[258] A gift of fruit or flowers, like an offering to the image of a

When the Arghya was given unto Krishna, Sishupala, the Rajah of Chedi,
arose in wrath and said: “It ill becomes thee, O Yudhishthira, to
honour thus an uncrowned chieftain. Gathered about thee are ruling
kings of highest fame. If the honour be due to age, then Vasudeva can
claim it before his son; if it is due to the foremost rajah, then
Drupada should be honoured; if it is due to wisdom, Drona is the most
worthy; if it is due to holiness, Vyasa is the greatest. Drona's son
hath more knowledge than Krishna, Duryodhana is peerless among younger
men, Kripa is the worthiest priest, and Karna the greatest archer. For
what reason should homage be paid unto Krishna, who is neither the
holiest priest, the wisest preceptor, the greatest warrior, nor the
foremost chieftain? To the shame of this assembly be it said that it
doth honour the murderer of his own rajah, this cowherd of low birth.”

So spake Sishupala, the tiger-hearted one, and terrible was his wrath.
He hated Krishna, because that he had carried away by force the
beautiful Rukmini, who had been betrothed unto himself, the mighty
Rajah of Chedi.

Krishna then spoke. Calm was he of voice and demeanour, but his eyes
were bright. Unto the rajahs he said: “Hear me, O ye princes and
kings! The evil-tongued Sishupala is descended from a daughter of
our race, and in my heart I have never sought to work ill against a
kinsman. But once, when I went eastward, he sacked my sea-swept Dwaraka
and laid low its temple; once he broke faith with a rajah and cast him
into prison; once he seized the consort of a king by force; and once
he disguised himself as the husband of a chaste princess and deceived
her. And I have suffered because of his sins, nor sought vengeance,
because that he was of our own race. He hath even come after my consort
Rukmini, and is worthy of death.”

As he spoke, the faces of many rajahs grew red with shame and anger,
but Sishupala laughed aloud and made answer: “I seek no mercy from
Krishna, nor do I fear him.”

Then Krishna thought of his bright, resistless discus, and immediately
it was in his hand. In anger he spake forth and said: “Hear me, ye
lords of earth! I have promised the pious mother of Sishupala to pardon
a hundred sins committed by her son. And I have fulfilled my vow. But
now the number is more than full, and I will slay him, O ye mighty
rajahs, before your eyes.”

Having spoken thus, Krishna flung the discus, and it struck Sishupala
on the neck, so that his head was severed from his body. He fell down
like to a cliff struck by the thunderbolt. Then the assembled rajahs
beheld a great wonder, for the passion-cleansed soul of Sishupala
issued from his body, beautiful as the sun in heaven, and went towards
Krishna. Its eyes were like to lotus blooms, and its form like to a
flame; and it adored Krishna and entered into his body.[259]

[259] Krishna represented the worshippers of Vishnu, of whom he was
an incarnation. Sishupala, who was reputed to have been born with
three eyes, was an incarnation of Shiva. Rukmini was an incarnation of

The rajahs all looked on, silent and amazed, while thunder bellowed out
of heaven, and lightning flashed, and rain poured down in torrents.
Some grew angry, and laid hands on their weapons to avenge the death of
Sishupala; others rejoiced that he had been slain; the Brahmans chanted
the praises of Krishna.

Yudhishthira commanded his brothers to perform the funeral rites over
the dead with every honour. So the body of Sishupala was burned and the
oblation poured forth. Then his son was proclaimed Rajah of Chedi.

Thereafter the great sacrifice was performed with solemnity and in
peace. Krishna, who had maintained the supremacy of Yudhishthira by
slaying a dangerous and jealous rival, looked on benignly.

Holy water was sprinkled by the Brahmans, and all the monarchs made
obeisance and honoured Yudhishthira, saying: “Thou hast extended the
fame of thy mighty sire, Pandu, and thou art become even greater than
he was. Thou hast graced with this sacrifice thine high station and
fulfilled all our hopes. Now, O emperor over all, permit us to depart
to our own homes, and bestow thy blessing upon us.”

So one by one they took leave of Yudhishthira and went away, and the
four Pandavas accompanied the greatest of them to the confines of their
kingdoms. Krishna was the last to bid farewell.

Said Yudhishthira: “Unto thee I owe all things. Because thou wert here,
O valorous one, I was able to perform the great sacrifice.”

Krishna said: “Monarch of all! rule thou over thy people with a
father's wisdom and care. Be unto them like rain which nourisheth the
parched fields; be a shade in hot sunshine; be a cloudless heaven
bending over all. Be thou ever free from pride and passion; ever rule
with power and justice and holiness, O Yudhishthira.”

So he spake from his chariot and then went his way, and Yudhishthira
turned homeward with tear-dimmed eyes.

Now when Duryodhana had witnessed the triumph of the Pandavas, his
heart burned with jealous rage. He envied the splendour of the palaces
at Indra-prastha; he envied the glory achieved by Yudhishthira. Well he
knew that he could not overcome the Pandavas in open conflict, so he
plotted with his brethren to accomplish their fall by artifice and by

As in after-time the wise Sanjaya said: “The gods first deprive of his
reason that man unto whom they ultimately send disgrace and defeat”.

But Duryodhana had to work the will of the Creator under the influence
of fate, and it was doomed that the Pandavas should suffer for a time
at his hands.


The Great Gambling Match

 Duryodhana's Plot—Shakuni the Gambler—Loaded Dice—Challenge to
 Yudhishthira—An Unequal Contest—Pandavas lose Kingdom and become
 Slaves—Draupadi Staked and Lost—How Duhsasana humbled her—Pandava
 Queen's Appeals—Treated as a Menial—Attempt to Disrobe her—Taunted
 by Karna—Bhima's Terrible Vows—Alarming Omens—Pandavas regain
 Liberty—Second Gambling Match—Pandavas go into Exile.

Now Shakuni, Prince of Gandhara,[260] and brother of Dhritarashtra's
queen, was renowned for his skill as a gambler. He always enjoyed good
fortune because that he played with loaded dice. Duryodhana plotted
with him, desiring greatly to subjugate the Pandavas, and Shakuni said:
“Be advised by me. Yudhishthira loves the dice, although he knows not
how to play. Ask him to throw dice with me, for there is no gambler who
is my equal in the three worlds. I will put him to shame. I will win
from him his kingdom, O bull among men.”

[260] Candahar

Duryodhana was well pleased at this proposal, and he went before his
blind father, the maharajah, and prevailed upon him to invite the
Pandavas to Hastinapur for a friendly gambling match, despite the
warnings of the royal counsellors.

Said Dhritarashtra: “If the gods are merciful, my sons will cause no
dispute. Let it be as fate hath ordained. No evil can happen so long
as I am near, and Bhishma and Drona are near also. Therefore, let the
Pandavas be invited hither as my son desireth.”

So Vidura, who feared trouble, was sent unto Indra-prastha to say:
“The maharajah is about to hold a great festival at Hastinapur, and he
desires that Yudhishthira and his brethren, their mother Pritha and
their joint wife Draupadi, should be present. A great gambling match
will be played.”

When Yudhishthira heard these words, he sorrowed greatly, for well
he knew that dice-throwing was ofttimes the cause of bitter strife.
Besides, he was unwilling to play Prince Shakuni, that desperate
and terrible gambler.... But he could not refuse the invitation of
Dhritarashtra, or, like a true Kshatriya, disdain a challenge either to
fight or to play with his peers.

So it came to pass that the Pandava brethren, with Pritha, their
mother, and their joint wife Draupadi, journeyed to Hastinapur in
all their splendour. Dhritarashtra welcomed them in the presence of
Bhishma and Drona and Duryodhana and Karna; then they were received
by Queen Gandhari, and the wives of the Kaurava princes; and all the
daughters-in-law of the blind maharajah became sad because that they
were jealous of the beauty of Draupadi and the splendour of her attire.

The Pandava lords and ladies went unto the dwelling which had been
prepared for them, and there they were visited in turn by the lords and
ladies of Hastinapur.

On the day that followed, Yudhishthira and his brethren went together
to the gambling match, which was held in a gorgeous pavilion, roofed
with arching crystal and decorated with gold and lapis lazuli: it had a
hundred doors and a thousand great columns, and it was richly carpeted.
All the princes and great chieftains and warriors of the kingdom were
gathered there. And Prince Shakuni of Gandhari was there also with his
false dice.

When salutations had passed, and the great company were seated, Shakuni
invited Yudhishthira to play.

Said Yudhishthira: “I will play if mine opponent will promise to throw
fairly, without trickery and deceit. Deceitful gambling is sinful,
and unworthy a Kshatriya; there is no prowess in it. Wise men do not
applaud a player who winneth by foul means.”

Shakuni said: “A skilled gambler ever playeth with purpose to vanquish
his opponent, as one warrior fighteth another less skilled than himself
to accomplish his overthrow. Such is the practise in all contests; a
man plays or fights to achieve victory.... But if thou art in dread of
me, O Yudhishthira, and afraid that thou wilt lose, 'twere better if
thou didst not play at all.”

Said Yudhishthira: “Having been challenged, I cannot withdraw. I
fear not to fight or to play with any man.... But first say who doth
challenge and who is to lay stakes equally with me.”

Then Duryodhana spoke, saying: “O rajah, I will supply jewels and gold
and any stakes thou wilt of as great value as thou canst set down. It
is for me that Shakuni, my uncle, is to throw the dice.”

Said Yudhishthira: “This is indeed a strange challenge. One man is to
throw the dice and another is to lay the stakes. Such is contrary to
all practice. If, however, thou art determined to play in this fashion,
let the game begin.”

Well did the Rajah of Indra-prastha know then that the match would not
be played fairly. But he sat down, notwithstanding, to throw dice with

At the first throw Yudhishthira lost; indeed, he lost at every throw
on that fatal day. He gambled away all his money and all his jewels,
his jewelled chariot with golden bells, and all his cattle; still he
played on, and he lost his thousand war elephants, his slaves and
beautiful slave girls, and the remainder of his goods; and next, he
staked and lost the whole kingdom of the Pandavas, save the lands which
he had gifted to the Brahmans. Nor did he cease to play then, despite
the advice offered him by the chieftains who were there. One by one he
staked and lost his brethren; and he staked himself and lost also.

Said Shakuni: “You have done ill, Yudhishthira, in staking thine own
self, for now thou hast become a slave; but if thou wilt stake Draupadi
now and win, all that thou hast lost will be restored unto thee.”

Yudhishthira said: “So be it. I will stake Draupadi.”

At these words the whole company was stricken with horror. Vidura
swooned, and the faces of Bhishma and Drona grew pallid; many groaned;
but Duryodhana and his brethren rejoiced openly before all men.

Shakuni threw the dice, and Yudhishthira lost this the last throw. In
this manner was Draupadi won by Duryodhana.

Then all the onlookers gazed one upon another in silence and wide-eyed.
Karna and Duhsasana[261] and other young princes laughed aloud.

[261] _Pron._ doo-sas´a-na.

Duryodhana rose proudly and spake unto Vidura, saying: “Now hasten unto
Draupadi and bid her to come hither to sweep the chambers with the
other bondswomen.”

Vidura was made angry, and answered him: “Thy words are wicked, O
Duryodhana. Thou canst not command a lady of royal birth to become a
household slave. Besides, she is not thy slave, because Yudhishthira
did stake his own freedom before he staked Draupadi. Thou couldst not
win aught from a slave who had no power to stake the princess.”

But Duryodhana cursed Vidura, and bade one of his servants to bring
Draupadi before him.

Said Vidura: “Duryodhana is this day deprived of his reason. Dishonesty
is one of the doors to hell. By practising dishonesty Duryodhana will
accomplish yet the ruin of the Kauravas.”

The beautiful Draupadi was sitting at peace within the fair dwelling
set apart for the Pandavas on the banks of the Ganges; its walls
and towers were mirrored on the broad clear waters. Then suddenly,
as a jackal enters stealthily the den of a lion, the menial sent by
Duryodhana entered the palace and stood before high-born Draupadi.

Said this man: “O queen, the mighty son of Pandu hath played and lost;
he hath lost all, even his reason, and he hath staked thee, and thou
hast been won by Duryodhana. And now Duryodhana bids me to say that
thou art become his slave, and must obey him like to other female
slaves. So come thou with me, for thou must henceforth engage in menial

Draupadi was astounded when he spake these words, and in her anguish
she cried: “Have I heard thee aright? Hath my husband, the king, staked
and lost me in his madness? Did he stake and loose aught beside?”

Said the man: “Yudhishthira hath lost all his riches and his kingdom;
he staked his brethren and lost them one by one; he staked himself and
lost; and then he staked thee, O queen, and lost also. Therefore, come
thou with me.”

Draupadi rose in her pride and spoke angrily, saying: “If my lord did
stake himself and become a slave, he could not wager me, for a slave
owns neither his own life nor the life of another. Speak, therefore,
unto my husband these words, and unto Duryodhana say: ‘Draupadi hath
not been won’.”

The man returned to the assembly and spake unto Yudhishthira the words
which Draupadi had said, but he bowed his head and was silent.

Duryodhana was made angry by the defiant answer of the proud queen, and
he said unto his brother Duhsasana: “The sons of Pandu are our slaves,
and thy heart is without fear for them. Go thou to the palace and bid
the princess, my humble menial, to come hither quickly.”

Red-eyed and proud Duhsasana hastened to the palace. He entered the
inner chambers and stood before Draupadi, who was clad in but a single
robe, while her hair hung loosely.

Said the evil-hearted Kaurava: “O princess of Panchala with fair lotus
eyes, thou hast been staked and lost fairly at the game of hazard.
Hasten, therefore, and stand before thy lord Duryodhana, for thou art
now his bright-eyed slave.”

Draupadi heard and trembled. She covered her eyes with her hands before
the hated Duhsasana; her cheeks turned pale and her heart sickened.
Then suddenly she leapt up and sought to escape to an inner room. But
the evil-hearted prince seized her by the hair, for he no longer feared
the sons of Pandu, and the beautiful princess quivered and shook in
her loose attire like to a sapling which is shaken by the storm wind.
Crouching on her knees, she cried angrily, while tears streamed from
her lotus eyes: “Begone! O shameless prince. Can a modest woman appear
before strangers in loose attire?”

_From the painting by Warwick Goble_

Said stern and cruel Duhsasana: “Even if thou wert naked now, thou must
follow me. Hast thou not become a slave, fairly staked and fairly won?
Henceforth thou wilt serve among the other menials.”

Trembling and faint, Draupadi was dragged through the streets by
Duhsasana. When she stood before the elders and the chieftains in the
pavilion she cried: “Forgive me because that I have come hither in this
unseemly plight....”

Bhishma and Drona and the other elders who were there hung their heads
in shame.

Unto Duhsasana Draupadi said angrily: “Cease thy wickedness! Defile me
no longer with unclean hands. A woman's hair is sacred.”

Sacred indeed were the locks of the Pandava queen, for they had been
sprinkled with water sanctified by mantras at the imperial sacrifice.

Weeping, she cried: “Hear and help me, O ye elders. You have wives
and children of your own. Will you permit this wrong to be continued.
Answer me now.”

But no man spake a word.

Draupadi wept and said: “Why this silence?... Will no man among ye
protect a sinless woman?... Lost is the fame of the Kauravas, the
ancient glory of Bharata, and the prowess of the Kshatriyas!... Why
will not the sons of Pandu protect their outraged queen?... And hath
Bhishma lost his virtue and Drona his power?... Will Yudhishthira no
longer defend one who is wronged?... Why are ye all silent while this
deed of shame is done before you?”

As she spake thus, Draupadi glanced round the sons of Pandu one by one,
and their hearts thirsted for vengeance. Bhishma's face was dark, Drona
clenched his teeth, and Vidura, white and angry, gazed upon Duhsasana
with amaze while he tore off Draupadi's veil and addressed her with
foul words. When she looked towards the Kaurava brethren, Duhsasana
said: “Ha! on whom darest thou to look now, O slave?”

Shakuni and Kama laughed to hear Draupadi called a slave, and they
cried out: “Well spoken, well spoken!”

Duhsasana endeavoured to strip the princess naked before the assembly;
but Draupadi, in her distress, prayed aloud to Krishna, invoking him
as the creator of all and the soul of the universe, and entreated him
to help her. Krishna heard her, and multiplied her garments so that
Duhsasana was unable to accomplish his wicked purpose.

Karna spake to Draupadi and said: “'Tis not thy blame, O princess, that
thou hast fallen so low. A woman's fate is controlled by her husband;
Yudhishthira hath gambled thee away. Thou wert his, and must accept thy
fate. Henceforward thou wilt be the slave of the Kaurava princes. Thou
must obey them and please them with thy beauty.... 'Tis meet that thou
shouldst now seek for thyself a husband who will love thee too well to
stake thee at dice and suffer thee to be put to shame.... Be assured
that no one will blame a humble menial, as thou now art, who looks with
eyes of love upon great and noble warriors. Remember that Yudhishthira
is no longer thy husband; he hath become a slave, and a slave can have
no wife.... Ah! sweet Princess of Panchala, those whom thou didst
choose at thy swayamvara have gambled and lost thee; their kingdom they
have lost, and their power also.”

At these words Bhima's bosom heaved with anger and with shame. Red-eyed
he scowled upon Karna; he seemed to be the image of flaming Wrath.
Unto Yudhishthira he spake grimly, saying: “If you hadst not staked
our freedom and our queen, O king and elder brother, this son of a
charioteer would not have taunted us in this manner.”

Yudhishthira bowed his head in shame, nor answered a word.

Arjuna reproved Bhima for his bitter words; but Pritha's mighty son,
the slayer of Asuras, said: “If I am not permitted to punish the
tormentor of Draupadi, bring me a fire that I may thrust my hands into

A deep uproar rose from the assembly, and the elders applauded the
wronged lady and censured Duhsasana. Bhima clenched his hands and, with
quivering lips, cried out:

“Hear my terrible words, O ye Kshatriyas.... May I never reach Heaven
if I do not yet seize Duhsasana in battle and, tearing open his breast,
drink his very life blood!...”

Again he spoke and said: “If Yudhishthira will permit me, I will slay
the wretched sons of Dhritarashtra without weapons, even as a lion
slays small animals.”

Then Bhishma and Vidura and Drona cried out: “Forbear, O Bhima!
Everything is possible in thee.”

Duryodhana gloried in his hour of triumph, and unto the elder of the
Pandava brethren spake tauntingly and said: “Yudhishthira, thou art
spokesman for thy brethren, and they owe thee obedience. Speak and say,
thou who dost ever speak truly, hast thou lost thy kingdom and thy
brethren and thine own self? O Yudhishthira, hast thou lost even the
beauteous Draupadi? And hath she, thy wedded wife, become our humble

Yudhishthira heard him with downcast eyes, but his lips moved not....
Then Karna laughed; but Bhishma, pious and old, wept in silence.

Then Duryodhana cast burning eyes upon Draupadi, and, baring his knee,
invited her, as a slave, to sit upon it.

Bhima gnashed his teeth, for he was unable to restrain his pent-up
anger. With eyes flashing like lightning, and in a voice like to
thunder he cried out: “Hear my vow! May I never reach Heaven or meet my
ancestors hereafter if, for these deeds of sin, I do not break the knee
of Duryodhana in battle, and drink the blood of Duhsasana!”

The flames of wrath which leapt on the forehead of Bhima were like red
sparks flying from tough branches on a crackling fire.

Dhritarashtra was sitting in his palace, nor knew aught of what was
passing. The Brahmans, robed in white, were chanting peacefully their
evening mantras, when a jackal howled in the sacrificial chamber. Asses
brayed in response, and ravens answered their cries from all sides.
Those who heard these dread omens exclaimed: “_Swashti! Swashti!_”[262]

[262] Similar to “Amen”.

Dhritarashtra shook with terror, and when Vidura had told him all that
had taken place, he said: “The luckless and sinful Duryodhana hath
brought shame upon the head of Rajah Drupada's sweet daughter, and thus
courted death and destruction. May the prayers of a sorrowful old man
remove the wrath of Heaven which these dark omens have revealed.”

Then the blind maharajah was led to Draupadi, and before all the elders
and the princes he spoke to her, kindly and gently, and said: “Noble
queen and virtuous daughter, wife of pious Yudhishthira, and purest of
all women, thou art very dear unto my heart. Alas! my sons have wronged
thee in foul manner this day. O forgive them now, and let the wrath of
Heaven be averted. Whatsoever thou wilt ask of me will be thine.”

Said Draupadi: “O mighty maharajah, thou art merciful; may happiness
be thy dower. I ask of thee to set at liberty now my lord and husband
Yudhishthira. Having been a prince, it is not seemly that he should be
called a slave.”

Dhritarashtra said: “Thy wish is granted. Ask a second boon and
blessing, O fair one. Thou dost deserve more than a single boon.”

Said Draupadi: “Let Arjuna and Bhima and their younger brethren be
set free also and allowed to depart now with their horses and their
chariots and their weapons.”

Dhritarashtra said: “So be it, O high-born princess. Ask yet another
boon and blessing and it will be granted thee.”

Said Draupadi: “I seek no other boon, thou generous monarch: I am a
Kshatriya by birth, and not like to a Brahman, who craveth for gifts
without end. Thou hast freed my husbands from slavery: they will regain
their fortunes by their own mighty deeds.”

Then the Pandava brethren departed from Hastinapur with Pritha and
Draupadi, and returned unto the city of Indra-prastha.

The Kauravas were made angry, and Duryodhana remonstrated with his
royal sire and said: “Thou hast permitted the Pandava princes to depart
in their anger; now they will make ready to wage war against us to
regain their kingdom and their wealth; when they return they will slay
us all. Permit us, therefore, to throw dice with them once again. We
will stake our liberty, and be it laid down that the side which loseth
shall go into exile for twelve full years, and into concealment for a
year thereafter. By this arrangement a bloody war may be averted.”

Dhritarashtra granted his son's wish and recalled the Pandavas. So
it came to pass that Yudhishthira sat down once again to play with
Shakuni, and once again Shakuni brought forth the loaded dice. Ere long
the game ended, and Yudhishthira had lost.

Duhsasana danced with joy and cried aloud: “Now is established the
empire of Duryodhana.”

Said Bhima: “Be not too gladsome, O Duhsasana. Hear and remember my
words: May I never reach Heaven or meet my sires until I shall drink
thy blood!”

Then the Pandava princes cast off their royal garments and clad
themselves in deerskins like humble mendicants. Yudhishthira bade
farewell to Dhritarashtra and Bhishma and Kripa and Vidura, one by one,
and he even said farewell to the Kaurava brethren.

Said Vidura: “Thy mother, the royal Pritha, is too old to wander with
thee through forest and jungle. Let her dwell here until the years of
your exile have passed away.”

Yudhishthira spoke for his brethren and said: “Be it so, O saintly
Vidura. Now bless us ere we depart, for thou hast been unto us like to
a father.”

Then Vidura blessed each one of the Pandava princes, saying: “Be
saintly in exile, subdue your passions, learn truth in your sorrow, and
return in happiness. May these eyes be blessed by beholding thee in
Hastinapur once again.”

Pritha wept over Draupadi and blessed her. Then the Princess of
Panchala went forth with loose tresses; but ere she departed from the
city she vowed a vow, saying: “From this day my hair will fall over my
forehead until Bhima shall have slain Duhsasana and drunk his blood;
then shall Bhima tie up my tresses while his hands are yet wet with the
blood of Duhsasana.”

The Pandava princes wandered towards the deep forest, and Draupadi
followed them.


Second Exile of the Pandavas

 The Gift of the Sun God—Life in the Jungle—Bhima and the Ape
 God—Flowers of Paradise—Draupadi's Complaint to Krishna—Reproved
 by Yudhishthira—Arjuna wrestles with the God Shiva—His Celestial
 Weapon—Visit to Indra's Heaven—Battle with Sea Giants—Sages in the
 Forest—Duryodhana captured by Gandharvas—Pandavas rescue him—His
 Desire to perish—The Rival Sacrifice—Karna's Vow—Adventure at
 Sacred Pond—Pandavas in Virata—Adventures of Brethren—The Cattle
 Raid—Kauravas defeated—Marriage of Arjuna's Son—End of Exile.

Yudhishthira lamented his fate to the Brahmans as he wandered towards
the forest. “Our kingdom is lost to us,” he said, “and our fortune;
everything is lost; we depart in sorrow, and must live on fruits and
roots and the produce of the chase. In the woods are many perils—many
reptiles and hungry wild animals seeking their prey.”

A Brahman advised the deposed rajah to call upon the sun god, and
Yudhishthira prayed: “O sun, thou art the eye of the universe, the soul
of all things that are; thou art the creator; thou art Indra, thou art
Vishnu, thou art Brahma, thou art Prajapati, lord of creatures, father
of gods and man; thou art fire, thou art Mind; thou art lord of all,
the eternal Brahma.”

Then Surya[263] appeared before Yudhishthira and gave unto him a copper
pot, which was ever filled with food for the brethren.[264]

[263] The sun god.

[264] Like the “Pot of Worth” possessed by the Celtic Finn-mac-Coul.

For twelve long years the Pandavas lived in the woods with their wife
Draupadi, and Dhaumya, the Brahman. Whatever food they obtained, they
set apart a portion for the holy men and ate the rest. They visited
holy shrines; they bathed in sacred waters; they performed their
devotions. Ofttimes they held converse with Brahmans and sages, who
instructed them in pious works and blessed them, and also promised them
that their lost kingdom would be restored in the fullness of time.

They wandered in sunshine and in shade; they dwelt in pleasant places,
amidst abundant fruits and surrounded by flowers. They suffered also
from tempests and heavy rains, when their path would be torn by
streams, and Draupadi would swoon, and all the brethren would be faint
and weary and in despair. Then Bhima would carry them all on his back
and under his arms.

The gods appeared unto the brethren during their exile. Dharma, god of
wisdom and holiness, addressed Yudhishthira his son many questions,
which he answered piously and well. Hanuman, son of Vayu, the wind god,
was made manifest before Bhima. It chanced that the strong Pandava, who
was also Vayu's son, was hastening on his way and went swift as the
wind; the earth shook under him and trees fell down, and he killed at
one touch of his foot tigers and lions and even great elephants that
sought to obstruct his path.[265] Hanuman shrank to the size of an ape,
but his tail spread out in such great proportions across Bhima's path,
that he was compelled to stay his course and stand still. He spake to
Bhima then and told the tale of Rama and Sita. Then he grew suddenly as
lofty as Vindhya mountain and transported his brother, the Pandava,
to the garden of Kuvera,[266] King of Yakshas, lord of treasure,
who dwells in Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas; then Bhima procured
sweet-scented flowers, which gave youth to those who had grown aged and
turned grief into joy, and these he gave unto Draupadi.

[265] Like the Celtic giant Caoilte, who went swifter than the March
wind, and the Teutonic storm-giant Ecke, who gave chase to Dietrich
in his character as Thunor (Thor).—See _Teutonic Myth and Legend_,
Chapter xxxviii.

[266] Like the Teutonic elf-king Laurin, whose wonderful rose garden is
among the Tyrolese mountains.—_Teutonic Myth and Legend._

Krishna came to visit the Pandavas in the forest, and Draupadi lamented
before him, saying: “The evil-hearted Duryodhana dared to claim me for
his slave. Fie! fie! upon the Pandavas because that they looked on in
silence when I was put to shame. Is it not the duty of a husband to
protect his wife?... These husbands of mine, who have the prowess of
lions, saw me afflicted, nor lifted a hand to save.”

Draupadi wept bitter tears from her exquisite coppery eyes, but Krishna
at length comforted her, saying: “Thou wilt yet live to see the wives
of those men who persecuted thee lamenting over their fallen husbands
as they welter in their life blood.... I will help the Pandavas, and
thou wilt be once again a queen over kings.”

Krishna said to Yudhishthira: “Had I been at Dwaraka when thou wert
called upon to visit Hastinapur, this unfair match would not have
taken place, for I would have warned Dhritarashtra. But I was waging
a war against demons.... What can I do, now that this disaster is
accomplished?... It is not easy to confine the waters after the dam
hath burst.”

After Krishna returned to his kingdom, Draupadi continued to lament her
fate. She said to Yudhishthira: “The sinful, evil-hearted Duryodhana
hath a heart of steel.... O king, I lie on the ground, remembering
my soft luxurious bed. I, who sit on a grass mat, cannot forget my
chairs of ivory. I have seen thee in the court of monarchs; now thou
art a beggar. I have gazed upon thee in thy silken robes, who art now
clad in rags.... What peace can my heart know now, O king, remembering
the things that have been? My heart is full of grief.... Doth not thy
wrath blaze up, seeing thy brothers in distress and me in sorrow?
How canst thou forgive thy cruel enemy? Art thou devoid of anger,
Yudhishthira?... Alas! a Kshatriya who doth not act at the right
moment—who forgiveth the foeman he should strike down, is the most
despised of all men. The hour hath now come for thee to seek vengeance;
the present is not a time for forgiveness.”

Said the wise Yudhishthira: “Anger is sinful; it is the cause of
destruction. He that is angry cannot distinguish between right and
wrong. Anger slayeth one who should be reverenced; it doth reverence
to one who should be slain. An angry man may commit his own soul to
hell. Know thou that wise men control their wrath so as to achieve
prosperity both in this world and in the next. A weak man cannot
control his wrath; but men of wisdom and insight seek to subdue their
passions, knowing that he who is angry cannot perceive things in their
true perspective. None but ignorant people regard anger as equivalent
to energy.... Because fools commit folly, should I who seek wisdom do
likewise?... If wrongs were not righted except by chastisement, the
whole world would speedily be destroyed, for anger is destruction;
it maketh men to slay one another. O fair Draupadi! it is meet to
be forgiving; one should forgive every wrong. He who is forgiving
shall attain to eternal bliss; he who is foolish and cannot forgive
is destroyed both in this world and in the next. Forgiveness is the
greatest virtue; it is sacrifice; it is tradition; it is inspiration.
Forgiveness, O beautiful one! is holiness; it is Truth; it is Brahma.
By forgiveness the universe is made steadfast.... The wise man who
learns how to forgive attaineth to Brahma (the highest god). O
Draupadi, remember thou the verses of the sage—

    ‘Let not thy wrath possess thee,
      But worship peace with joy;
    Who yieldeth to temptation
      That great god will destroy’.

He who is self-controlled will attain to sovereignty, and the qualities
of self-control are forgiveness and gentleness. O let me attain with
self-control to everlasting goodness!”

Said Draupadi: “I bow down before the Creator and Ordainer of life and
the three worlds, for my mind, it seems, hath been dimmed. By deeds men
are influenced, for deeds produce consequences; by works are they set
free.... Man can never gain prosperity by forgiveness and gentleness;
thy virtue hath not shielded thee, O king; thou art following a
shadow.... Men should not obey their own wills, but the will of the god
who hath ordained all things.... Yet O, methinks, as a doll is moved by
strings, so are living creatures moved by the lord of all; he doth play
with them as a child with a toy.... Those who have done wrong are now
happy, and I am full of grief and in sore distress. Can I praise thy
god who permits of such inequality? What reward doth thy god receive
when he alloweth Duryodhana to prosper—he who is full of evil; he who
doth destroy virtue and religion? If a sin doth not rebound on the
sinner, then a man's might is the greatest force and not thy god, and I
sorrow for those who are devoid of might.”

Yudhishthira made answer: “Alas! thy words are the words of an
unbeliever. I do not act merely for the sake of reward. I give because
it is right to give, and I sacrifice because it is my duty so to do.
I follow in the paths of those who have lived wise and holy lives,
because that my heart turneth toward goodness. I am no trader in
goodness, ever looking for the fruits thereof. The man who doubteth
virtue will be born among the brutes;[267] he will never attain to
everlasting bliss. O do not, thou fair one, doubt the ancient religion
of thy people! God will reward; he is the giver of fruits for deeds;
virtue and vice bear fruits.... The wise are content with little in
this world; the fools are not content although they receive much,
because they will have no joy hereafter.... The gods are shrouded in
mystery; who can pierce the cloud which covers the doings of the gods?
Although thou canst not perceive the fruits of goodness, do not doubt
thy religion or the gods. Let thy scepticism give room to faith. O do
not slander the great god, but endeavour to learn how to know him. Turn
not away from the Supreme One who giveth eternal life, O Draupadi.”

[267] In the next life in this world, according to the belief in
transmigration of souls.

Said Draupadi: “I do not slander my god, the lord of all, for in my
sorrow I but rave.... But yet I hold that a man should act, lest by
inaction he is censured. Without acts no one can live. He who believeth
in chance and destiny and is inactive, liveth a life of weakness and
helplessness which cannot last long. Success comes to him who acts, and
success depends on time and circumstance. So hath a wise Brahman taught

Bhima then spoke, charging Yudhishthira with weakness, and pleading
with him to wrest the sovereignty from Duryodhana: “O thou art like
froth,” he cried; “thou art unripe fruit! O king, strike down thine
enemies! Battle is the highest virtue for a Kshatriya.”

Said Yudhishthira: “Verily, my heart burneth because of our sufferings.
But I have given my pledge to remain in exile, and it cannot be
violated, O Bhima. Virtue is greater than life and prosperity in this
world; it is the way to celestial bliss.”

Then they were all silent, and they pondered over these things.

Now the Pandavas had need of celestial weapons, for these were
possessed by Drona and Bhishma and Karna. In time, therefore, the holy
sage Vyasa appeared before Arjuna and bade him to visit Mount Kailasa,
the high seat of the gracious and propitious god Shiva, the three-eyed,
the blue-throated, and to perform penances there with deep devotion, so
as to obtain gifts of arms. So Arjuna went his way, and when he reached
the mountain of Shiva he went through great austerities: he raised his
arms aloft and, leaning on naught, stood on his tiptoes; for food he
ate at first withered leaves, then he fed upon air alone. Great was the
fervour of his austerities, and from the ground smoke issued forth.
The Rishis pleaded with Shiva, fearing disaster from the penances of
Arjuna. Then the god assumed the form of a hunter and went towards
Indra's warrior son, whom he challenged to single combat. First they
fought with weapons; then they wrestled one with another fiercely and
long, and in the end Arjuna was cast upon the ground and he swooned.
When that brave Pandava regained consciousness he made a clay image of
Shiva, prostrated himself and worshipped the gracious one, and made an
offering of flowers. Soon afterwards he beheld his opponent wearing
the garland he had given, and he knew that he had wrestled with Shiva
himself. Arjuna fell down before him, and received from the god a
celestial weapon named Pasupata. Then a great storm broke forth, and
the earth shook, and the spirit of the weapon stood beside Arjuna,
ready to obey his will.

Next appeared Indra, king of gods, Varuna, god of waters, Yama, king
of the dead, and Kuvera, lord of treasures, and they stood upon the
mountain summit in all their glory; unto Arjuna they gave gifts of
other celestial weapons.

Thereafter Indra transported his son to his own bright city, the
celestial Swarga, where the flowers always bloom and sweet music is
ever wafted on fragrant winds. There he beheld sea-born Apsaras, the
heavenly brides of gods and heroes, and music-loving Gandharvas, who
sang songs and danced merrily in their joy. And Urvasi, a fair Apsara
of faultless form, with bright eyes and silken hair, looked with love
upon Arjuna; but she sought in vain to subdue him, whereat she spoke
scornfully, saying: “Kama, god of love, hath wounded me with his
arrows, yet thou dost scorn me. For this, O Arjuna, thou wilt for a
season live unregarded among women as a dancer and musician.”

Arjuna was troubled, but Indra said: “This curse will work out for thy

Arjuna abode in Indra's fair city for the space of five years. He
achieved great skill in music and in dance and song. And he was trained
also to wield the celestial weapons which the gods had given unto him.

Now the demons and giants who are named the Daityas and Danavas were
the ancient enemies of Indra. Certain of them there were who had their
dwellings in the lowest division of the underworld beneath the floor
of ocean, which is called Patala. And a day came when Arjuna waged war
with them. He rode forth in Indra's great car, which went through the
air like to a bird, and Matali was the driver. When he reached the
shore of the sounding sea, the billows rose against him like great
mountains, and the waters were divided; he saw demon fish and giant
tortoises, and vessels laden with rubies. But he paused not, for he was
without fear. The mighty Arjuna was eager for battle, and he blew a
mighty blast upon his war shell: the Daityas and Danavas heard him and
quaked with terror.[268] Then the demons smote their drums and sounded
their trumpets, and amidst the dread clamour the wallowing sea monsters
arose and leapt over the waves against Indra's great son. But Arjuna
chanted mantras; he shot clouds of bright arrows; he fought with his
bright celestial weapons, and the furies were thwarted and beaten back.
Then they sent fire against him and water, and they flung rocks like to
great peaks; but he fought on until in the end he triumphed, and slew
all that stood against him nor could escape.

[268] Like Dietrich von Bern, he assumes the character of the thunder
god, and reminds us of Thor going eastward to battle against the Jotuns.

Thereafter the valiant hero rode speedily towards the city of demons
and giants which is named Hiranyapura. The women came out to lure him,
calling aloud, and their voices were like the voices of cranes. He
heard but paused not. All these evil giant women were driven before
him; in confusion they fled, terrified by the clamour of Indra's
celestial car and the driving of Matali, and their ear-rings and
their necklaces fell from their bodies like to boulders tumbling and
thundering adown mountain steeps.

Arjuna reached the city of Hiranyapura and entered it; and he gazed
with wonder on mighty chariots with ten thousand horses, which were
many-coloured like to gaily-plumaged peacocks, beautiful and stately
and proud. And he wrecked the dwellings of the Daityas and Danavas.

Indra praised his warrior son for his valour in overcoming the demons
and giants of ocean, and he gave unto him a chain of gold, a bright
diadem, and the war shell which gave forth a mighty blast like to

[269] For slaying a sea giant, the Celtic Finn-mac-Coul was awarded by
the king of Erin the “Horn of Worth”, which could be heard “over seven
hills”. Like Arjuna's war shell, it was evidently the “thunder horn”.

During the years that Arjuna had his dwelling in Indra's celestial
city, Yudhishthira and his three younger brethren, with Draupadi and
the priest Dhaumya, abode a time in the forest of Kamyaka. Great
sages visited them there, and from one Yudhishthira obtained skill in
dice. Others led the wanderers to sacred waters, in which they were
cleansed of their sins, and they achieved great virtues. And the sages
related unto them many tales of men and women who suffered and made
self-sacrifices, undergoing long exiles and performing penances so as
to attain to great wisdom and win favour from the gods.

Thereafter the exiles went northward towards the Himalayas, and at
length they beheld afar off the dwelling of Kuvera, lord of treasure
and King of Yakshas. They gazed upon palaces of crystal and gold; the
high walls were studded with jewels, and the gleaming ramparts and
turrets were adorned by dazzling streamers. They saw beauteous gardens
of bright flowers, and soft winds came towards them laden with perfume;
wonderful and fair were the trees, and they were vocal with the songs
of birds.

Kuvera walked forth and spake words of wisdom unto Yudhishthira,
counselling him to be patient and long-suffering, and to wait for the
time and the place for displaying Kshatriya prowess.

The exiles wandered on, and one day, when they sighed for Arjuna,
they beheld the bright car of Indra, and they worshipped Matali, the
charioteer. Then Indra came with his hosts of Apsaras and Gandharvas,
and when they had adored him, the god promised Yudhishthira that he
would yet reign in splendour over all men.

Arjuna appeared, and he was received with rejoicing, and all the
Pandavas returned together to Kamyaka. There they were visited by
Markandeya, the mighty sage, whose life endures through all the world's
ages, and he spake of the mysteries and all that had taken place from
the beginning, and revealed unto them full knowledge of the Deluge.

Now while the Pandavas were enduring great suffering in the forest,
Karna spake to Duryodhana and prevailed upon him to spy upon their
misery. So Dhritarashtra's son went forth, as was the custom every
three years, to inspect the cattle and brand the calves. And with him
went Karna and many princes and courtiers, and also a thousand ladies
of the royal household. When, however, they all drew nigh to the
forest, they found that the Gandharvas and Apsaras, who, as it chanced,
had descended to make merry there, would not permit the royal train to
advance. Duryodhana sent messages to the Gandharva king, commanding
him to depart with all his hosts; but the celestial spirits feared him
not, and issued forth to battle. A great conflict was waged, and the
Kauravas were defeated. Karna fled, and Duryodhana and many of his
courtiers and all the royal ladies were taken prisoners.

It happened that some of Duryodhana's followers who took flight reached
the place where the Pandavas were, and told them how their kinsmen
had been overcome. Then Arjuna and Bhima and the two younger brethren
went forth against the Gandharvas and fought with them until they were
compelled to release the royal prisoners. In this manner was the proud
Duryodhana humbled by those against whom he had cherished enmity.

Yudhishthira gave a feast to the Kauravas, and he called Duryodhana
his “brother”, whereat Duryodhana made pretence to be well pleased,
although his heart was stung with deep mortification.

After this the sullen and angry Duryodhana resolved to end his life.
His friends remonstrated with him, but he said: “I have naught to live
for now, nor do I desire friendship, or wealth, or power, or enjoyment.
Do not delay my purpose, but leave me each one, for I will eat no
more food, and I will wait here until I die. Return, therefore, unto
Hastinapur and reverence and obey those who are greater than me.”

Then Duryodhana made a mat of grass, and, having purified himself with
water, sat down to wait for the end, clad in rags and absorbed in
silent meditation.

But the Daityas and Danavas[270] desired not that their favourite
rajah should thus end his life lest their power should be weakened,
and they sent to the forest a strange goddess, who carried him away
in the night. Then the demons, before whom Duryodhana was brought,
promised to aid him in the coming struggle against the Pandavas, and he
was comforted thereat, and abandoned his vow to die in solitude. So he
returned speedily unto Hastinapur and resumed his high position there.

[270] Demons and giants.

Soon afterwards, when the princes and the elders sat in council with
the maharajah, wise old Bhishma praised the Pandava princes for their
valour and generosity, and advised Duryodhana to offer them his
friendship, so that the kinsmen might ever afterwards live together in
peace. Duryodhana made no answer, and, smiling bitterly, rose up and
walked out of the council chamber. Bhishma was made angry thereat, and
departed also and went unto his own house.

Then Duryodhana sought to rival the glory of Yudhishthira by holding
an Imperial sacrifice. Duhsasana, with evil heart, sent messengers
unto Yudhishthira, inviting him to attend with his brethren; but
Yudhishthira said: “Although this great sacrifice will reflect honour
on all the descendants of King Bharata, and therefore upon me and my
brethren, I cannot be present because our years of exile have not yet
come to an end.”

He spoke calmly and with dignity, but Bhima was made angry, and
exclaimed: “Messengers of Duryodhana, tell thy master that when
the years of exile are over, Yudhishthira will offer up a mighty
sacrifice with weapons and burn in consuming flames the whole family of

Duryodhana received these messages in silence. And when the sacrifice,
which was called Vaishnava, was held, Karna said unto Duryodhana: “When
thou has slain the Pandavas and canst hold thy Rajasuya[271], I will be
present also to do homage unto thee.”

[271] Dhritarashtra being still alive and the Pandavas having refused
to attend, Duryodhana was unable, as he desired, to perform the greater

Then Karna took a vow and said: “I will neither eat venison nor wash my
feet[272] until I have slain Arjuna.”

[272] A necessary religious act of purification before prayer. Karna
thus imperilled his soul's welfare to be avenged upon his rival.

Spies hastened unto the Pandavas and related all that had taken place
at the sacrifice, and also the words which Karna had spoken. When
Yudhishthira heard of the terrible vow which Karna had vowed, he
sorrowed greatly, for he knew that a day must come when Arjuna and
Karna would meet in deadly conflict.

One day thereafter Surya, god of the sun, warned Karna that Indra had
resolved to divest him of his celestial armour and ear-rings. “But,”
said Surya, “thou canst demand in exchange a heavenly weapon which hath
power to slay gods and demons and mortal men.”

So it came that Indra stood before Karna, disguised as a Brahman, and
asked for his armour and ear-rings. Having vowed to give unto the
Brahmans whatsoever they might ask of him, Karna took off his armour
and ear-rings and gave them unto the king of the gods, from whom he
demanded in exchange an infallible weapon. Indra granted his request,
but smiled[273] and went upon his way, knowing well that the triumph of
the Pandavas was now assured.

[273] A supernatural gift in such circumstances carried with it fatal

It chanced that one day after this that Jayadratha[274], Rajah of
Sindhu, passed through the wood when the Pandavas had gone a-hunting.
He beheld Draupadi with eyes of love, and, despite her warnings,
carried her away in his chariot.

[274] _Pron._ jay-a-drat´ha.

When the Pandavas returned and were told by a bondmaiden what had taken
place, they set out in pursuit of the Rajah of Sindhu, who left his
chariot when they drew nigh, and concealed himself in a thicket.

Bhima then said unto Yudhishthira: “Return now with Draupadi and our
brethren. Although the rajah should seek refuge in the underworld, he
will not escape my vengeance.”

Said Yudhishthira: “Remember, O Bhima, that although Jayadratha hath
committed a grievous sin, he is our kinsman, for he hath married the
sister of Duryodhana.”

Draupadi said: “He is worthy of death, for he is the worst of kings
and the vilest of men. Have not the sages said that he who carries off
the wife of another in times of peace must certainly be put to death.”

When Bhima found Jayadratha, he cast him down and cut off his hair
except five locks; then the strong warrior promised to spare the
rajah's life if he would do homage to Yudhishthira and declare himself
his slave.

So the Rajah of Sindhu had to prostrate himself before Yudhishthira as
a humble menial. Thereafter he departed in his shame and went unto his
own country.

When the twelfth year of exile was nigh to an end, the Pandava brethren
bethought them to leave the forest. But ere they went a strange and
dread adventure threatened them with dire disaster. It chanced that a
stag carried away upon its antlers the twigs with which a Brahman was
wont to kindle his holy fire. The Brahman appealed to Yudhishthira to
pursue the animal, and the Pandavas endeavoured in vain to kill it or
recover the sacred twigs. Weary with the chase, they at length sat down
to rest. They were all athirst, and one of them climbed a banyan tree
to look for signs of water, for birds ever flutter over pools. When it
was discovered that a pond was nigh, Yudhishthira sent Nakula towards
it. The young man approached the water, and ere he stooped he heard a
Voice which said: “Answer thou what I shall ask of thee ere thou dost
drink or draw water.”

But Nakula's thirst was greater than his fear, and he drank of the
waters; then he fell dead.

Sahadeva followed him, wondering why his brother tarried. He too gazed
greedily upon the pool, and he too heard the Voice, but heeded not and
drank; and he fell dead also.

Arjuna next went towards the water. The Voice spake to him, and he
answered with anger: “Who art thou that wouldst hinder me thus? Reveal
thyself, and mine arrows will speak to thee.”

Then he drew his bow, and his shafts flew thick and fast as raindrops.
But his valour was as naught, for when he drank he also fell dead like
the others. Bhima followed him, and stooped and drank, unheeding the
Voice, and he was stricken down like to Arjuna and Nakula and Sahadeva.

At length wise Yudhishthira approached the pond. He beheld his brethren
lying dead, and sorrowed over them. Then, as he drew nigh to the water,
the Voice spake once again, and he answered it, saying: “Who art thou?”

The Voice said: “I am a Yaksha. I warned thy brethren not to drink of
this water until they had answered what I should ask of them, but they
disregarded my warning and I laid them in death. If thou wilt answer my
questions thou canst, however, drink here nor be afraid.”

Said Yudhishthira: “Speak and I will answer thee.”

The Voice said: “Who maketh the sun to rise? Who keepeth him company?
Who maketh the sun to go down? In whom is the sun established?”

Said Yudhishthira: “Brahma maketh the sun to rise; the gods accompany
him; Dharma maketh the sun to set; in truth is the sun established.”

The Voice said: “What sleepeth with open eyes? What moveth not after
birth? What is that which hath no heart? What is that which swelleth of

Said Yudhishthira: “A fish doth sleep with open eyes; an egg moveth not
after birth; a stone hath no heart; a river swelleth of itself.”

The Voice said: “What maketh The Way? What is called Water? What is
called Food? What is called Poison?”

Said Yudhishthira: “They that are pious make The Way; space is called
water; the cow is food[275]; a request is poison.”

[275] Babu P. C. Roy comments on this head: “The cow is the only food
in this sense. The cow gives milk. The milk gives butter. The butter is
used in _Homa_ (the offering). The Homa is the cause of the clouds. The
clouds give rain. The rain makes the seeds to sprout forth and produce

The Voice said: “Who is spoken of as the unconquered enemy of man? What
is spoken of as the enemy's disease? Who is regarded as holy? Who is
regarded as unholy?”

Said Yudhishthira: “Man's unconquered enemy is anger, and his disease
is covetousness; he who seeketh after the good of all is holy; he who
is selfishly cold is unholy.”

The Voice said: “Who are worthy of eternal torment?”

Said Yudhishthira: “He who sayeth unto the Brahman whom he hath asked
to his house, I have naught to give; he who declareth the Vedas to be
false; he who is rich and yet giveth naught to the poor.”

Many such questions did the Voice address to wise Yudhishthira, and
he answered each one patiently and with knowledge. Then the Yaksha
revealed himself in the form of Dharma, god of wisdom and justice, for
behold! he was the celestial sire of Yudhishthira. Unto his son he
granted two boons; and Yudhishthira desired that his brethren should
be restored to life, and that they should all have power to remain
unrecognized by anyone in the three worlds for the space of a year.

Ere the Pandavas left the forest, Yudhishthira invoked the goddess
Durga[276], giver of boons, saying: “O slayer of the Buffalo Asura,
thou art worshipped by the gods, for thou art the protector of the
three worlds. Chief of all deities, protect thou and bless thou us.
Confer victory upon us, and help us in our distress.”

[276] A form of the goddess Kali, wife of Shiva.

The goddess heard Yudhishthira, and confirmed the promise of Dharma
that the Pandava brethren and Draupadi would remain unrecognized during
the thirteenth and last year of their exile.

Then the wanderers concealed their weapons in a tree, and went together
towards the city of Virata[277] so that they might conceal themselves.
According to the terms of banishment, they would have to spend a
further twelve years in the jungle if the Kauravas discovered their

[277] _Pron._ vir-at´a.

The Pandavas found favour in the eyes of the rajah. Yudhishthira became
his instructor in the art of playing with dice, because he was wont to
lose heavily. Bhima was made chief cook. Arjuna, attired as a eunuch,
undertook to teach dancing and music to the ladies of the harem. Nakula
was given care of horses, and Sahadeva of kine. The queen was drawn
towards Draupadi, who offered to become a bondwoman on condition that
she should not have to wash the feet of anyone, or eat food left over
after meals; and on these terms she was engaged. The queen feared that
Draupadi's great beauty would attract lovers and cause dispeace; but
the forlorn woman said that she was protected by five Gandharvas, and
was without fear.

Bhima soon won much renown by reason of his matchless strength. At a
great festival he overcame and slew a wrestler from a far country who
was named Jimúta, and he received many gifts. The rajah took great
pride in him, and was wont to take him to the apartments of the women,
where he wrestled with caged tigers and lions and bears, slaying each
one at desire with a single blow. Indeed, all the brothers were well
loved by the monarch because of their loyal services.

It chanced that the queen's brother, Kichaka[278], a mighty warrior
and commander of the royal army, was smitten with love for beautiful
Draupadi, and at length he sought to carry her away. But one night
Bhima waited for him when he came stealthily towards Draupadi, and
after a long struggle the strong Pandava slew him. Then Bhima broke all
this prince's bones and rolled up his body into a ball of flesh.

[278] _Pron._ kee-chak´a (“ch” at in “change”).

Great was the horror of Kichaka's kinsmen when they discovered what
had happened, and they said: “No man hath done this awful deed; the
Gandharvas have taken vengeance.”

In their wrath they seized Draupadi, to burn her on the pyre with the
body of Kichaka; but Bhima disguised himself and went to her rescue,
and he scattered her tormentors in flight, killing many with a great
tree which he had uprooted.

The rajah was terror-stricken, and spake unto the queen, and the queen
thereafterwards asked Draupadi to depart from Virata. But the wife of
the Pandavas begged to remain in the royal service yet a time; and
she said that her Gandharva protectors would serve the rajah in his
greatest hour of peril, which, she foretold, was already nigh to him.
So the queen bore with her, and Draupadi tarried there.

Soon afterwards the Rajah of Trigartis, hearing that mighty Kichaka was
dead, plotted with the Kauravas at Indra-prastha to attack the city of
Virata with purpose to capture the raj. Duryodhana agreed to aid him,
so the Rajah of Trigartis invaded the kingdom from the north, while
the Kauravas marched against Virata from the south.

It came to pass that on the last day of the thirteenth year of the
Pandavas' exile the first raid took place from the north, and many
cattle were carried off. Yudhishthira and Bhima, with Nakula and
Sahadeva, offered to give their help when it became known that the
Rajah of Virata had been captured by his enemies. The Pandavas went
forth to rescue the monarch, and they routed the raiders and rescued
their prisoner; they also seized upon the Rajah of Trigartis, and
forced him to submit with humility to his rival ere he was allowed to
return to his own city.

Meanwhile the Kauravas had advanced from the south. Uttar[279], son of
the Rajah of Virata, went against them, and Arjuna was his charioteer.
When the young man, however, beheld his enemies, he desired to flee,
but his driver compelled him by force to remain in the chariot.

[279] _Pron._ oot´ar.

Then Arjuna procured his own weapons from the tree in which they were
concealed. Thus, fully armed, he rode against the Kauravas, who said:
“If this be Arjuna, he and his brethren must go into exile for another
twelve years.”

Bhishma said: “The thirteenth year of concealment is now ended.”

The Kauravas, however, persisted that Arjuna had appeared ere the full
time was spent.

Indra's great son advanced boldly. Suddenly he blew his celestial war
shell, and all the Kauravas were stricken with fear, and they swooned
and lay on the field like men who slept. Arjuna forbore to slay them,
and he commanded Uttar to take possession of their royal attire. Then
the great archer of the Pandavas returned to the city with the rajah's

Now when the monarch discovered how Arjuna had served him by warding
off the attack of the Kauravas, he offered the brave Pandava his
daughter, Uttara, for a bride; but Arjuna said: “Let her be given unto
my son.”

It was then that the Pandava brethren revealed unto the Rajah of Virata
who they were. All those who had assembled in the palace rejoiced
greatly and honoured them.

To the marriage of Abhimamju, son of Arjuna and Subhadra, came many
great rajahs. Krishna came with his brother Balarama, and the Rajah
Drupada came with his son Dhrishta-dyumna.

Now the Rajah of Virata resolved to aid Yudhishthira in obtaining back
his kingdom from the Kauravas, who protested that their kinsmen had
been discovered ere yet the complete term of exile was ended.

Shakuni, the cunning gambler, and the vengeful Karna supported the
proud and evil-hearted Duryodhana in refusing to make peace with the
Pandava brethren, despite the warnings of the sages who sat around the
Maharajah Dhritarashtra.


Defiance of Duryodhana

 The Council at Virata—Speeches of Kings and Princes—Army to be
 raised for the Pandavas—Krishna's Attitude—His Army on one side
 and Himself on the other—Ambassador visits Kauravas—Pandavas
 invited to Hastinapur—A Deadlock—Krishna visits Hastinapur—Elders
 counsel Peace—Duryodhana refuses to Yield—Plot to seize Krishna—A
 Revelation of Divine Power—Krishna's Interview with Karna—Pritha
 informs Karna of his Birth—Karna refuses to desert Duryodhana—His
 Resolution and Promise.

Ere the wedding guests departed from Virata, after merrymaking and
song and dance, the elders and princes and chieftains assembled in the
council chamber. Drupada was there with his son, and Krishna with his
brother Balarama and Satyaki his kinsman, and all the Pandava brethren
were there also, and many others both valiant and powerful. Bright and
numerous as the stars were the gems that glittered on the robes of the
mighty warriors. For a time they spake kindly greetings one to another,
and jested and made merry. Krishna sat pondering in silence, and at
length he arose and spake, saying:

“O rajahs and princes, may your fame endure for ever! Thou knowest well
that Yudhishthira was deprived of his kingdom by the evil trickster
Shakuni. He hath endured twelve years of exile, and hath served, like
his brethren, as a humble menial for a further year in the palace of
the Rajah of Virata. After long suffering Yudhishthira desires peace;
his heart is without anger, although he hath endured great shame. The
heart of Duryodhana, however, still burns with hate and jealous wrath;
still, as in his youth, he desires to work evil by deceit against the
Pandava brethren. Now, consider well, O ye monarchs, what Yudhishthira
should do. Should he call many chieftains to his aid and wage war to
punish his ancient foes? Or should he send friendly messengers to
Duryodhana, asking him to restore the kingdom which he still continues
to possess?”

Balarama then spoke and said: “Ye pious rajahs! ye have heard the
words of my brother, who loveth Yudhishthira. It is true, indeed, that
the Kauravas have wronged the Pandavas. Yet I would counsel peace, so
that this matter may be arranged between kinsmen. Yudhishthira hath
brought his sufferings upon his own head. He was unwise to play with
cunning Shakuni, and also to continue playing, despite the warnings of
the elders and his friends. He hath suffered for his folly. Now let a
messenger be sent to Duryodhana, entreating him to restore the throne
unto Yudhishthira. I do not advise war. What hath been gambled away
cannot be restored in battle.”

Next arose Satyaki, the kinsman of Krishna. He said: “O Balarama,
thou hast spoken like to a woman. Thou remindest me that weaklings are
sometimes born to warriors, like to barren saplings sprung from sturdy
trees. Timid words come from timid hearts. Proud monarchs heed not
counsel so weakly as thine. O Balarama! canst thou justify Duryodhana
and blame the pious-hearted and gracious Yudhishthira? If it had
chanced that Yudhishthira while playing with his brethren had been
visited by Duryodhana, who, having thrown the dice, achieved success,
then the contest would have been fair in the eyes of all men. But
Duryodhana plotted to ruin his kinsman, and invited him to Hastinapur
to play with the evil-hearted Shakuni, who threw loaded dice. But that
is ended. Yudhishthira hath fulfilled his obligation; his exile is
past, and he is entitled to his kingdom. Why, therefore, should he beg
for that which is his own? A Kshatriya begs of no man; what is refused
him he seizeth in battle at all times.... Duryodhana still clings to
Yudhishthira's kingdom, despite the wise counsel of Bhishma and Drona.
Remember, O Balarama, it is not sinful to slay one's enemies, but it is
shameful to beg from them. I now declare my advice to be that we should
give the Kauravas an opportunity to restore the throne of Yudhishthira;
if they hesitate to do so, then let the Pandavas secure justice on the

Drupada, Rajah of Panchala, then arose and said: “Ye monarchs, I fear
that Satyaki hath spoken truly. The Kauravas are a stubborn people.
Methinks it is useless to entreat Duryodhana, whose heart is consumed
with greed. It is vain to plead with Dhritarashtra, who is but as
clay in the hands of his proud son. Bhishma and Drona have already
counselled in vain. Karna thirsts for war, and Duryodhana intrigues
with him and also with false and cunning Shakuni. Methinks it were
idle to follow the advice of Balarama. Duryodhana will never yield up
what he now possesseth, nor doth he desire peace. If we should send
to him an ambassador who will speak mild words, he will think that
we are weak, and become more boastful and arrogant than heretofore.
My advice is that we should gather together a great army without
delay: the rajahs will side with him who asketh first. Meanwhile let
us offer peace and friendship unto Duryodhana: my family priest will
carry our message. If Duryodhana is willing to give up the kingdom of
Yudhishthira, there will be peace; if he scorns our friendship, he will
find us ready for war.”

Krishna again addressed the assembly and said: “Drupada hath spoken
wisely. The Pandavas would do well to accept his counsel. If Duryodhana
will agree to restore the raj unto Yudhishthira, there will be no
strife or bloodshed.... You all know that the Pandavas and Kauravas are
my kinsmen; know also that they are equally dear unto me.... I will now
go hence. When ye send out messengers of war, let them enter my kingdom
last of all.”

After Krishna had returned home, he was visited by Duryodhana and
Arjuna, for both parties desired greatly his help in the war. He spake
to the rival kinsmen and said: “Behold, I stand before you as in the
balance; I have put myself on one side, and all my army is on the
other. Choose now between you whether you desire me or my forces. I
shall not fight, but will give advice in battle.”

Then Duryodhana asked for the army, but Arjuna preferred to have
Krishna alone. And Krishna promised to be Arjuna's charioteer.

Duryodhana sought to prevail upon Balarama to aid him, but Krishna's
brother said: “I have no heart for this war. I spake to Krishna in
thy favour, but he answered me not. Well, thou knowest that thou hast
wronged Yudhishthira, and that it would well become thee to act justly
in this matter. Do thy duty, and thy renown will be great.”

Duryodhana departed in sullen anger from Balarama.

In time Drupada's priest appeared in the city of Hastinapur, and the
elders and princes sat with Dhritarashtra to hear his message. Said
the Brahman: “Thus speaketh the Pandavas—‘Pandu and Dhritarashtra
were brothers: why, therefore, should Dhritarashtra's sons possess
the whole kingdom, while the sons of Pandu are denied inheritance?
Duryodhana hath ever worked evil against his kinsman. He invited them
to a gambling match to play with loaded dice, and they lost their
possessions and had to go into exile like beggars. Now they have
fulfilled the conditions, and are prepared to forget the past if their
raj is restored to them. If their rightful claim is rejected, then
Arjuna will scatter the Kauravas in battle.’”

Bhishma said: “What thou hast said is well justified, but it is wrong
to boast regarding Arjuna. It would be wise of thee not to speak of him
in such manner again.”

Angrily rose Karna and said: “If the Pandavas have suffered, they are
themselves to blame. It is but fitting that they should plead for
peace, for they are without followers. If they can prove their right
to possessions, Duryodhana will yield; but he will not be forced by
vain threatenings, or because the Rajahs of Panchala and Virata support
them. O Brahman! tell thou the Pandavas that they have failed to fulfil
their obligations, for Arjuna was beheld by us before the thirteenth
year of banishment was completed. Let them return to a jungle for
another term, and then come hither and submit to Duryodhana and beg for
his favours.”

Said Bhishma: “Thou didst not boast in this manner, O Karna, when
Arjuna opposed thee at the Virata cattle raid. Remember that Arjuna is
still powerful. If war comes, he will trample thee in the dust.”

Dhritarashtra reproved Karna for his hasty speech, and said unto
Bhishma: “He is young and unaccustomed to debate; be not angry with

Then the blind old monarch sent his minister and charioteer, Sanjaya,
to the Pandavas to speak thus: “If you desire to have peace, come
before me and I will do justice. Except wicked Duryodhana and hasty
Karna all who are here are well disposed to you.”

When Sanjaya reached the Pandavas, he was astonished to behold that
they had assembled together a mighty army. He greeted the brethren and
delivered his message.

Said Yudhishthira: “We honour Dhritarashtra, but fear that he has
listened to the counsel of his son Duryodhana, who desires to have
us in his power. The maharajah offers us protection, but not the
fulfilment of our claims.”

Krishna then spake, saying: “The Pandavas have assembled a mighty army,
and cannot reward these soldiers unless they receive their raj. It is
not yet too late to make peace. Deliver unto the Kauravas, O Sanjaya,
this message: ‘If you seek peace, you will have peace; if you desire
war, then let there be war.’”

Ere Sanjaya left, Yudhishthira spoke to him and said: “Tell thou
Duryodhana that we will accept that portion of the raj which we
ourselves have conquered and settled: he can retain the rest. My desire
is for peace.”

Many days went past, and the Pandavas waited in vain for an answer to
their message. Then Yudhishthira spake to Krishna, saying: “We have
offered to make peace by accepting but a portion of our kingdom, yet
the Kauravas remain silent.”

Said Krishna: “I will now journey unto Hastinapur and address the
maharajah and his counsellors on thy behalf.”

Yudhishthira said: “Mayst thou secure peace between kinsmen.”

Then Draupadi entered and, addressing Krishna, said: “Yudhishthira is
too generous towards the Kauravas in offering to give up part of his
kingdom unto them. He entreateth them overmuch, as well, to grant him
that which belongs not unto them. If the Kauravas wage war, my sire and
many other rajahs will assist the Pandavas.... Oh! can it be forgotten
how Duhsasana dragged me by the hair to the Gambling Pavilion, and how
I was put to shame before the elders and the princes?...”

She wept bitterly, and Krishna pitied her. “Why do you sorrow thus?”
he asked with gentle voice. “The time is drawing nigh when all the
Kauravas will be laid low, and their wives will shed tears more bitter
than thine that fall now, O fair one.”

Messengers who arrived at Hastinapur announced the coming of Krishna.
Wise Vidura counselled that he should be welcomed in state, whereupon
Duryodhana proclaimed a public holiday, and all the people rejoiced,
and decorated the streets with streamers and flowers.

Vidura was well pleased, and he said to Duryodhana: “Thou hast done
well. But these preparations are in vain if thou art unwilling to do
justice unto the Pandavas.”

Duryodhana was wroth, and said: “I will give naught except what they
can win in battle. If the success of the Pandavas depends upon Krishna,
then let us seize Krishna and put him in prison.”

Dhritarashtra was horror-stricken, and cried out: “Thou canst not thus
treat an ambassador, and especially an ambassador like unto Krishna.”

Bhishma rose up and said: “O maharajah, thy son desireth to work evil
and bring ruin and shame upon us all. Methinks disaster is not now afar

So saying, he departed unto his own house, and Vidura did likewise.

All the Kauravas went forth to meet the royal ambassador save
Duryodhana, who scarcely looked upon Krishna when he arrived at the

Krishna went to the house of Vidura, and there he saw Pritha, who
wept and said: “How fares it with my sons, whom I have not beheld for
fourteen years? How fares it with Draupadi? In sorrow have I heard of
their sufferings in desolate places. Ah! who can understand mine own
misery, for every day is full of weariness and grief unto me?”

Said Krishna: “Be comforted, O widow of Pandu! Thy sons have many
allies, and ere long they will return in triumph to their own land.”

Thereafter Krishna went to the house of Duryodhana, who sat haughtily
in the feasting chamber. At length Dhritarashtra's son spake unto his
kinsman, who ate naught. He said: “Why art thou unfriendly towards me?”

Said Krishna: “I cannot be thy friend until thou dost act justly
towards thy kinsmen, the Pandavas.”

When Krishna went again to the house of Vidura, the aged counsellor
said to him: “'Twere better if thou hadst not come hither. Duryodhana
will take no man's advice. When he speaketh he doth expect all men to
agree with him.”

Said Krishna: “It is my desire to prevent bloodshed. I came to
Hastinapur to save the Kauravas from destruction, and I will warn them
in the council chamber on the morrow. If they will heed me, all will be
well; if they scorn my advice, then let their blood be upon their own

When the princes and the elders sat with Dhritarashtra in the council
chamber, Narada and other great Rishis appeared in the heavens and were
invited to come down and share in the deliberations, and they came down.

Krishna arose, and in a voice like thunder spake forth, saying: “I have
come hither not to seek war, but to utter words of peace and love.
O maharajah, let not your heart be stained with sin. Thy sons have
wronged their kinsmen, and a danger threatens all: it approacheth now
like an angry comet, and I can behold kinsmen slaying kinsmen, and many
noble lords laid in the dust. All of you here gathered together are
already in the clutch of death. O Dhritarashtra, man of peace, stretch
forth thine hand and avert the dread calamity which is about to fall
upon thy house. Grant unto the Pandavas their rightful claim, and thy
reign will close in glory unsurpassed and in blessed peace.... What
if all the Pandavas were slain in battle! Would their fall bring thee
joy? Are they not thine own brother's children?... But, know thou, the
Pandavas are as ready for war as they are eager for peace; and if war
comes, it will be polluted with the blood of these thy sons. O gracious
maharajah, let the last years of thy life be peaceful and pleasant, so
that thou mayst be blessed indeed.”

Dhritarashtra wept and said: “Fain would I do as thou hast counselled
so wisely, O Krishna, but Duryodhana, my vicious son, will not listen
to me or obey, nor will he give heed unto his mother, nor to Vidura,
nor unto Bhishma.”

Next Bhishma spoke, and he addressed Duryodhana, saying: “'Twould be
well with thee if thou wouldst follow the advice of Krishna. Thou
art evil-hearted and a wrongdoer; thou art the curse of our family;
thou takest pleasure in disobeying thy royal sire and in scorning
to be guided by Krishna and Vidura. Soon thy sire will be bereft of
his kingdom because of thy deeds; thy pride will bring death to thy
kinsmen. Hear and follow my advice; do not bring eternal sorrow to
thine aged parents.”

Duryodhana heard these words in anger, but was silent.

Then Drona spake to him and said: “I join with Bhishma and Krishna in
making appeal unto thee. Those who advise thee to make peace are thy
friends; those who counsel war are thine enemies. Be not too certain of
victory; tempt not the hand of vengeance; leave the night-black road of
evil and seek out the road of light and welldoing, O Duryodhana.”

Next Vidura rose up. He spoke with slow, gentle voice, and said: “Thou
hast heard words of wisdom, O Duryodhana.... I sorrow deeply in this
hour. My grief is not for thee, but for thine aged sire and thine aged
mother, who will fall into the hands of thine enemies; my grief is for
kinsmen and friends who must die in battle, and for those who will
thereafter be driven forth as beggars, friendless and without a home.
The few survivors of war will curse the day of thy birth, O Duryodhana.”

Again Bhishma spoke. He praised the valour of the Pandavas, and said:
“It is not yet too late to avoid calamity. The field of battle is
still unstained by the blood of thousands; thine army hath not yet met
the arrows of death, O Duryodhana. Ere it is too late, make thy peace
with thy kinsmen, the Pandavas, so that all men may rejoice. Banish
evil from thine heart for ever; rule the whole world with the heirs of

Dhritarashtra still wept.... The Rishis counselled peace like the

Then angry Duryodhana spoke, while his eyes burned bright and his
brows hung darkly, and said: “Krishna counsels me to be just, yet he
hateth me and loveth the Pandavas. Bishma scowls upon me, and Vidura
and Drona look coldly on; my sire weeps for my sins. Yet what have
I done that ye, O elders, should turn my sire's affection from me?
If Yudhishthira loved gambling and staked and lost his throne and
freedom, am I to blame? If he played a second time after being set
at liberty, and became an exile, why should he now call me a robber?
Pallid and inconstant is the star of the Pandavas' destiny: their
friends are few, and feeble is their army. Shall we, who fear not
Indra even, be threatened and browbeaten by the weak sons of Pandu?
No warrior lives who can overcome us. A Kshatriya fears no foeman;
he may fall in battle, but he will never yield. So have the sages
spoken.... Hear me, my kinsmen all! My sire gifted Indra-prastha to the
Pandavas in a moment of weakness. Never, so long as I and my brother
live, will they possess it again. Never again will the kingdom of
Maharajah Dhritarashtra be severed in twain. It has been united, and
so will remain for ever. My words are firm and plain. So tell thou the
Pandavas, O Krishna, that they ask in vain for territory. Nor town nor
village will they again possess with my consent. I swear by the gods
that I will never humble myself before the Pandavas.”

Said Krishna: “How canst thou speak in such a manner, O Duryodhana? How
canst thou pretend that thou didst never wrong thy kinsmen? Be mindful
of thine evil thoughts and deeds.”

Duhsasana whispered to his elder brother: “I fear, if thou dost not
make peace with the Pandavas, the elders will seize thee and send thee
as a prisoner to Yudhishthira. They desire to make thee and me and
Karna to kneel before the Pandavas.”

Angry was Duryodhana, and he rose and left the council chamber.
Duhsasana and Karna and Shakuni followed him.

Krishna then turned to Dhritarashtra and said: “Thou shouldst arrest
these four rebellious princes and act freely and justly towards the

The weak old maharajah was stricken with grief, and he sent Vidura
for his elder son. Then came Queen Gándhári and remonstrated with
Duryodhana; but when she had spoken he answered not, and went away

Shakuni and Karna and Duhsasana waited outside for Duryodhana, and they
plotted to lay hands on Krishna so that the power of the Pandavas might
be weakened. But to Krishna came knowledge of their thoughts, and he
informed the elders who were there.

Once again the maharajah summoned Duryodhana before him, and Krishna
said: “Ah! thou of little understanding, is it thy desire to take me
captive? Know now that I am not alone here, for all the gods and holy
beings are with me.”

Having spoken thus, Krishna suddenly revealed himself in divine
splendour. His body was transformed into a tongue of flame; gods and
divine beings appeared about him; fire issued from his mouth and eyes
and ears; sparks broke from his skin, which became as radiant as the

All the rajahs closed their eyes; they trembled when an earthquake
shook the palace. But Duryodhana remained defiant.

Krishna, having resumed his human form, then bade farewell to the
maharajah, who lamented the doings of Duryodhana. The divine one spake
and said: “O Dhritarashtra, thee I forgive freely; but alas! a father
is often cursed by the people because of the wicked doings of his own

Ere Krishna left the city he met Karna and spake to him, saying: “Come
with me, and the Pandavas will regard thee as their elder brother, and
thou wilt become the king.”

Said Karna: “Although Duryodhana is a rajah, he rules according to
my counsel.... I know, without doubt, that a great battle is pending
which will cover the earth with blood. Terrible are the omens. Calamity
awaits the Kauravas.... Yet I cannot desert those who have given me
their friendship. Besides, if I went with thee now, men would regard me
as Arjuna's inferior. Arjuna and I must meet in battle, and fate will
decide who is the greater. I know I shall fall in this war, but I must
fight for my friends.... O mighty one, may we meet on earth again. If
not, may we meet in heaven.”

Then Krishna and Karna embraced one another, and each went his own way.

Vidura spake to Pritha, mother of the Pandavas, and said: “O mother of
living sons, my desire is ever for peace, but although I cry myself
hoarse, Duryodhana will not listen to my words. Dhritarashtra is old,
yet he doth not work for peace; he is intoxicated with pride for his
sons. When Krishna returneth to the Pandavas, war will certainly break
out; the sin of the Kauravas will cause much bloodshed. I cannot sleep,
thinking of approaching disaster.”

Pritha sighed and wept. “Fie to wealth!” she said, “that it should
cause kinsmen to slaughter one another. War should be waged between
foemen, not friends. If the Pandavas do not fight, they will suffer
poverty; if they go to war and win, the destruction of kinsmen will not
bring triumph. My heart is full of sorrow. And alas! it is Karna who
supports Duryodhana in his folly; he hath again become powerful.”

Pritha lamented the folly of her girlhood which caused Karna to be, and
she went forth to look for him. She found her son bathing in sacred
waters, and she spoke, saying: “Thou art mine own son, and thy sire
is Surya. I hid thee at birth, and Radha, who found thee, is not thy
mother. It is not seemly that thou shouldst in ignorance plot with
Duryodhana against thine own brethren. Let the Kauravas this day behold
the friendship of thee and Arjuna. If you two were side by side you
would conquer the world. My eldest son, it is meet that thou shouldst
be with thy brethren now. Be no longer known as one of lowly birth.”

A voice spoke from the sun, saying: “_What Pritha hath said is truth. O
tiger among men, great good will be accomplished if thou wilt obey her

Karna remained steadfast, for his heart was full of honour. He said
unto Pritha, his mother: “O lady, it is now too late to command my
obedience. Why didst thou abandon me at birth? If I am a Kshatriya, I
have been deprived of my rank. No foeman could have done me a greater
injury than thou hast done. Thou hast never been a mother to me, nor do
thy sons know I am their brother. How can I now desert the Kauravas,
who trust in me in waging this war. I am their boat on which to cross
a stormy sea.... I will speak without deceit unto thee. For the sake
of Duryodhana I will combat against thy sons. I cannot forget his
kindness; I cannot forget mine own honour. Thy command cannot now be
obeyed by me. Yet thy solicitation to me will not be fruitless. I have
power to slay Yudhishthira, and Bhima, and Nakula, and Sahadeva, but I
promise they shall not fall by my hand. I will fight with Arjuna alone.
If I slay Arjuna, I will achieve great fame; if I am slain by him, I
will be covered with glory.”

Said Pritha: “Thou hast pledged the lives of four of thy brethren. Be
that remembered to thee in the perils of battle. Blessed be thou, and
let health be given thee.”

Karna said: “So be it,” and then they parted, the mother going one way
and the son another.

After this the Pandavas and Kauravas gathered together their mighty
armies and marched to the field of battle.


The Battle of Eighteen Days

 Armies on the Battlefield—Bhishma leads the Kauravas—Karna
 refrains from fighting—Bhishma's Triumphant Charge—Arjuna's
 Success—Slaughter of Princes—Bhima in Peril—Iravat is slain—The
 Rakshasa Warrior—Duryodhana desires Karna as Leader—The Fall
 of Bhishma—Drona as Leader—How Abhimanyu perished—Arjuna's
 Revenge—The Night Battle—Drupada and Drona are slain—Karna's
 Vow—Bhima drinks Duhsasana's Blood—Karna's Combat with
 Arjuna—The Fall of Karna—The Last Day of Battle—Duryodhana in
 Hiding—Discovered by Pandavas—Bhima overcomes Duryodhana—Wrath of
 Balarama—Krishna intervenes—Drona's Son in Pandava Camp—A Night of

Soon after Krishna had returned from Hastinapur, Duryodhana sent a
challenge to the Pandavas. His messenger spake, saying: “You have
vowed to wage war against us. The time has come for you to fulfil
your vow. Your kingdom was seized by me, your wife Draupadi was put
to shame, and you were all made exiles. Why do you not now seek to be
avenged in battle? Where is drowsy Bhima, who boasted that he would
drink the blood of Duhsasana? Duhsasana is weary with waiting for him.
Where is arrogant Arjuna, who hath Drona to meet? When mountains are
blown about like dust, and men hold back the wind with their hands,
Arjuna will take captive the mighty Drona.... Of what account was the
mace of Bhima and the bow of Arjuna on the day when your kingdom was
taken from you, and you were banished like vagabonds?... Vain will be
the help of Krishna when you meet us in battle.”

Krishna answered the messenger, saying: “Vainly dost thou boast of
prowess, but ere long thy fate will be made known unto thee. I will
consume thine army like to fire which consumeth withered grass. Thou
wilt not escape me, for I will drive the chariot of Arjuna. And let
Duhsasana know that the vow of Bhima will ere long be fulfilled.”

Said Arjuna: “Tell thou Duryodhana, ‘It is unseemly for warriors to
boast like women.... It is well that Duhsasana cometh to battle.’”

When the messenger spake these words to Duryodhana, Karna said: “Cease
this chatter! Let the drums of war be sounded.”

So on the morrow at red dawn the armies of the Kauravas and the
Pandavas were assembled for battle on the wide plain of Kuru-Kshetra.
Bhishma, with his large palmyra standard decked with five stars, had
been chosen to lead Duryodhana's army, and Karna, who had quarrelled
with him, vowed not to fight so long as the older warrior remained
alive. “Should he fall, however,” Karna said, “I will go forth against

The army of the Pandavas was commanded by Dhrishta-dyumna, son of
Drupada, and brother of Draupadi. Among the young heroes were Arjuna's
two sons, the noble and peerless Abhimanyu, whose mother was Krishna's
fair sister Subhadra, and brave Iravat, whose mother was Ulupi, the
serpent nymph, daughter of the king of the Nagas. Bhima's Rakshasa son,
the terrible Ghatotkacha, who had power to change his shape and create
illusions, had also hastened to assist his kinsmen. Krishna drove the
chariot of Arjuna, who carried his celestial bow, named Gandiva, the
gift of the god Agni; and his standard was the image of Hanuman, the
chief ape god, who was the son of Vayu, the wind god. Now the army of
Duryodhana was more numerous than the army of Yudhishthira.

Drona led the right wing of the Kaurava forces, which was strengthened
by Shakuni, the gambler, and his Gandhari lancers. The left wing was
led by Duhsasana, who was followed by Kamboja cavalry and fierce
Sakas and Yavanas mounted on rapid steeds. The peoples of the north
were there and the peoples of the south, and of the east also.[280]
Blind old Dhritarashtra was in the rear, and with him was Sanjaya, his
charioteer, who related all that took place, having been gifted with
divine vision by Vyasa.

[280] The late Professor H. H. Wilson considered that the Kamboja were
troops of Khorasan, Balkh, and Bokhara, that the Sakas, the Sacæ of the
ancients, were some of the Scythians from Turkestan and Tartary, and
that the Yavanas, “Ionians”, were the Greeks of Bactria. The peoples of
south and east included half-breeds and aborigines.

Ere yet the conflict began, Yudhishthira walked unarmed towards
the Kauravas, whereat his kinsmen made merry, thinking he was
terror-stricken. But Pandu's noble son first spake to Bhishma and
asked permission to fight against him. Bhishma gave consent. Then he
addressed Drona in like terms, and Drona gave consent also. And ere he
returned to his place, Yudhishthira called out before the Kaurava army:
“Whoso desireth to help our cause, let him follow me.” When he had
spoken thus, Yuyutsu, the half-brother of Duryodhana, made answer: “If
thou wilt elevate me, I will serve thee well.” Said Yudhishthira: “Be
my brother.” Then Yuyutsu followed Yudhishthira with all his men, and
no man endeavoured to hold him back.

When the armies were being set in order for battle, Arjuna bade Krishna
to drive his chariot to the open space on which the struggle would take
place. Indra's mighty son surveyed the hosts, and when he saw his
kinsmen, young and old, and his friends and all the elders and princes
on either side ready to fall upon one another, his heart was touched,
and he trembled with pity and sorrow. He spake to Krishna, saying: “I
seek nor victory, nor kingdom, nor any joy upon earth. Those for whose
sake we might wish for power are gathered against us in battle. What
joy can come to us if we commit the crime of slaying our own kinsmen?”

So saying, Arjuna let fall his celestial bow and sat down on the bench
of his chariot with a heart full of grief.

Krishna admonished Arjuna, saying: “Thou art a Kshatriya, and it is
thy duty to fight, no matter what may befall thee or befall others. So
I command thee who am responsible for thy doings. He who hath wisdom
sorroweth not for the living or for the dead. As one casteth off old
raiment and putteth on new, so the soul casteth off this body and
entereth the new body. Naught existeth that is not of the soul.”

After long instruction, Krishna revealed himself to Arjuna in his
celestial splendour and power and said: “Let thy heart and thine
understanding be fixed in me, and thou shalt dwell in me hereafter.
I will deliver thee from all thy sins.... I am the same unto all
creatures; there is none hateful to me—none dear. Those who worship
me are in me and I am in them. Those who hate me are consigned to
evil births: they are deluded birth after birth, nor ever reach unto

[281] A long section of the _Mahábhárata_ occurring here, and forming a
sort of episode or discussion by itself, is called “Bhagavadgita”, and
is dealt with more fully in Chapters VI, VII.

Arjuna gave ear unto the counsel of Krishna, and prepared for the fray.

Loudly bellowed the war shells, and the drums of battle were sounded.
The Kauravas made ready to attack with horsemen, footmen, and
charioteers, and elephants of war. The Pandavas were marshalled to meet
them. And the air was filled with the shouting of men, the roaring
of elephants, the blasts of trumpets, and the beating of drums: the
rattling of chariots was like to thunder rolling in heaven. The gods
and Gandharvas assembled in the clouds and saw the hosts which had
gathered for mutual slaughter.

As both armies waited for sunrise, a tempest arose and the dawn was
darkened by dust clouds, so that men could scarce behold one another.
Evil were the omens. Blood dropped like rain out of heaven, while
jackals howled impatiently, and kites and vultures screamed hungrily
for human flesh. The earth shook, peals of thunder were heard, although
there were no clouds, and angry lightning rent the horrid gloom;
flaming thunderbolts struck the rising sun and broke in fragments with
loud noise....

The undaunted warriors never faltered, despite these signs and
warnings. Shouting defiance, they mingled in conflict, eager for
victory, and strongly armed. Swords were wielded and ponderous maces,
javelins were hurled, and numerous darts also; countless arrows
whistled in speedy flight.

When the wind fell and the air cleared, the battle waxed in fury.
Bhishma achieved mighty deeds. Duryodhana led his men against Bhima's,
and they fought with valour. Yudhishthira fought with Salya, Rajah
of Madra[282]; Dhrishta-dyumna, son of Drupada, went against Drona,
who had captured aforetime half of the Panchala kingdom with the
aid of the Pandavas. Drupada was opposed to Jayadratha, the Rajah of
Sindhu, who had endeavoured to carry off Draupadi, and was compelled to
acknowledge himself the slave of Yudhishthira. Many single combats were
fought with uncertain result.

[282] Although the brother of Madri, mother of the two younger Pandava
princes, he was an ally of the Kauravas.

All day the armies battled with growing ardour. When evening was coming
on, Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, perceived that the advantage lay with the
Kauravas, chiefly because of Bhishma's prowess. So he went speedily
against that mighty warrior, and cut down the ensign of his chariot.
Bhishma said that never before had he beheld a youthful hero who could
perform greater deeds. Then he advanced to make fierce attack upon the
Pandava army. Victoriously he went, cutting a blood-red path through
the stricken legions; none could resist him for a time. The heart
of Arjuna was filled with shame, and he rode against Bhishma, whose
advance was stayed. The two heroes fought desperately until dusk. Then
Bhishma retired; but Arjuna followed him, and pressed into the heart of
the Kaurava host, achieving great slaughter. The truce was sounded, and
the first day's battle came to an end.

Yudhishthira was despondent because that the fortunes of war seemed to
be against him; in the darkness he went unto Krishna, who bade him to
be of good cheer, and Yudhishthira was comforted.

On the morning of the second day Bhishma again attacked the Pandava
forces, shattering their ranks; but Arjuna drove him back. Perceiving
this, Duryodhana lamented to Bhishma that he had quarrelled with Karna.
The old warrior made answer: “Alas! I am a Kshatriya and must fight
even against my beloved kinsman.” Then he rode against Arjuna once
more, and the two warriors contended fiercely and wounded one another.

Drupada's son waged a long combat with Drona, and Bhima performed
mighty deeds. He leapt on the back of an elephant and slew the son of
the Rajah of Maghadha[283]; and he slew the rajah and his elephant also
with a single blow of his mace.

[283] Behar.

Towards evening a furious combat was waged by Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna,
and Lakshmana, son of Duryodhana. The young Pandava was about to
achieve the victory, when Duryodhana came to his son's aid with many
rajahs. Shouts were raised: “Abhimanyu is in peril; he will be overcome
by force of numbers!” Arjuna heard these words, and rode to the rescue.
Thereupon the Kauravas cried out in terror: “Arjuna! Arjuna!” and
scattered in flight. That evening Bhishma spake unto Drona and said:
“Methinks the gods are against us.”

On the third day the army of the Pandavas advanced in crescent
formation and drove back the Kaurava army. Many were slain, and rivers
of blood laid down the dust; horses writhed in agony, and the air was
filled with the shrieking and moaning of wounded men. Terrible were the
omens, for headless men rose up and fought against one another; then
the people feared that all who contended in that dread battle would be

When he beheld the broken cars, the fallen standards, and the heaps of
slain elephants and horses and men, Duryodhana said to Bhishma: “Thou
shouldst yield thy place to Karna. Methinks thou art partial to Arjuna
and the Pandavas.”

Said Bhishma: “Thy struggle is in vain, foolish Duryodhana. None
can wipe out the stain of thy sins; of no avail is cunning against a
righteous cause. Verily, thou shalt perish because of thy folly.... I
have no fear of battle, and I will lead the Kauravas until I triumph or

Then angry Bhishma urged his charioteer to attack the enemy; and he
drove back all who opposed him, even Arjuna. The fighting became
general, nor did it end until night obscured the plain.

Bhima was the hero of the fourth day of battle. He swept against the
Kauravas like a whirlwind; in vain were darts thrown and arrows shot
at the strong Pandava. He wounded both Duryodhana and Salya, Rajah of
Sindhu. Then fourteen of Duryodhana's brethren rushed to combat with
him. Like the lion who licks his lips when he beholds his prey drawing
nigh, Bhima awaited them. Brief and terrible was the conflict, and
ere six princes fled in terror, eight were slaughtered by the mighty

Another day dawned, and Arjuna and Bhima advanced in triumph until they
were met and held back by Drona. Once again the sons of Duryodhana and
Arjuna sought out one another. Mighty were their blows and swift, and
for a time all men watched them, wondering greatly. At length Lakshmana
was grievously wounded, and was carried from the field by his kinsmen.
Abhimanyu returned in triumph to Yudhishthira. On that same day were
slain by Bhuri-sravas the ten great sons of Satyaki, Krishna's kinsman.

Another day dawned, and it was a day of peril for Bhima. Confident of
victory, he pressed too far into the midst of the Kaurava host, and was
surrounded by overwhelming numbers. Drupada perceived his peril and
hastened to help him, but neither could retreat. Then Arjuna's fearless
son, the slayer of Lakshmana, with twelve brave chieftains shattered
the Kaurava hosts and rescued Bhima and Drupada from the surging
warriors who thirsted for their blood.

The seventh day was the day of Bhishma. None could withstand him in
his battle fury. The Pandavas quailed before him, nor could Bhima or
Arjuna drive him back. Ere night fell, the standard of Yudhishthira was
cut down, and the Kauravas rejoiced greatly, believing that they would
achieve a great victory.

On the day that followed, however, the tide of battle turned. As
Bhishma advanced, his charioteer was slain, and the steeds took flight
in terror. Then confusion fell on the Kaurava army. For a time the
Pandavas made resistless advance amidst mighty slaughter. Then the six
Gandhari princes advanced to beat back the forces of Yudhishthira.
On milk-white steeds they rode, and they swept like to sea birds
across the ocean billows. They had vowed to slay Iravat, son of Arjuna
and the Naga princess. The gallant youth feared them not and fought
triumphantly, stirred with the joy of battle; he slew five of the
princes, but the sixth, the eldest prince, struck down Arjuna's son,
who was plucked thus rudely from life like to a fair and tender lotus.
Terrible was the grief of Arjuna when he was told that his son had
fallen. Then with tear-dimmed eyes he dashed upon the foe, thirsting
for vengeance; he broke through the Kaurava ranks, and Bhima, who
followed him, slew more of Duryodhana's brethren.

Bhima's terrible son, the Rakshasa Ghatotkacha, also sought to be
avenged when Iravat fell. Roaring like the sea, he assumed an awesome
shape, and advanced with flaming spears like the Destroyer at the end
of Time, followed by other Rakshasas. Warriors fled from his path,
until Duryodhana went against him with many elephants; but Ghatotkacha
scattered the elephant host. Duryodhana fought like a lion and slew
four Rakshasas, whereupon Bhima's son, raging furiously, his eyes red
as fire, dashed against Duryodhana; but that mighty Kaurava shot
arrows like angry snakes, and he wounded his enemy. Then a rajah
urged his elephant in front of Duryodhana's chariot for protection.
Ghatotkacha slew the great animal with a flaming dart. Next Bhishma
pressed forward with a division to shield Dhritarashtra's son, and the
Rakshasa fought fiercely; he wounded Kripa, and with an arrow severed
the string of Bhishma's bow. Then the Panchalas hastened to aid Bhima's
son, and the Kauravas were scattered in flight.

Duryodhana was stricken with sorrow, and went to the snow-white tent
of Bhishma that night and spoke, saying: “Forgive my harsh words, O
mighty chieftain. The Pandavas are brave in battle, but they are unable
to resist thee. If, however, thou dost love them too well to overcome
them utterly, let Karna take thy place, so that he may lead the hosts
against our enemies.”

Said Bhishma: “Alas! Duryodhana, thy struggle is of no avail. The just
cause must win; they who fight for the right are doubly armed. Besides,
Krishna is with the Pandavas: he drives Arjuna's car, and not even the
gods could strike them down. Thou art confronted by utter ruin, O proud
and foolish prince. I will fight as I have fought until the end, which
is not now far off.”

On the next day Bhishma was like a lordly elephant which treads down
the marsh reeds; he was like a fire which burns up a dry and withering
forest. In his chariot he advanced triumphantly, and great was the
carnage which he wrought.

Yudhishthira was in despair, and spake to Krishna when night fell.
Krishna said: “Bhishma has vowed that he will not slay one who had
been born a woman, knowing that the righteous would defame him if he
slew a female. Let Sikhandin[284] be therefore sent against him with

[284] A daughter of Drupada who exchanged her sex with a Yaksha. She
was a reincarnation of the Princess Amba of Kasi, who, with her two
sisters, was captured by Bhishma at the swayamvara. Her sisters were
the mothers of Pandu and Dhritarashtra.

Arjuna said: “Alas! I cannot fight behind another, or achieve the fall
of Bhishma by foul means. I loved him as a child; I sat upon his knee
and called him ‘Father’. Rather would I perish than slay the saintly

Said Krishna: “It is fated that Bhishma will fall on the morrow, a
victim of wrong. As he hath fought against those whom he loveth, so
must thou, Arjuna, fight against him. He hath shown thee how Kshatriyas
must ever wage war, although their foemen be hated or well beloved.”

Arjuna, being thus admonished, went forth on the tenth day with
Sikhandin, born a woman and made a male by a Yaksha.

Once again Duryodhana sought to prevail upon Bhishma to give place to
Karna, and Bhishma answered him in anger: “This day will I overcome the
Pandavas or perish on the field of battle.”

Then the ancient hero advanced and challenged Arjuna. A terrible
conflict ensued, and it lasted for many hours; all the warriors on
either side stopped fighting and looked on. At length Sikhandin rushed
forward like a foaming billow, and when Bhishma saw him his arms fell,
for he could not contend against one who had been born a woman. Then
the arrows of Arjuna pierced Bhishma's body, and the peerless old hero
fell from his chariot wounded unto death.... The sun went down, and
darkness swept over the plain.

There was great sorrow on the blood-drenched plain that night. Arjuna
wept as a son weeps for a father, and he carried water to Bhishma.
Yudhishthira cursed the day on which the war began. To the dying
chieftain came Duryodhana and his brethren also. Friends and enemies
lamented together over the fallen hero.

Bhishma spake to Duryodhana, saying: “Hear the counsel of thy dying
kinsman; his voice speaketh as from the dead. If thy heart of stone can
be moved, thou wilt bring this slaughter of kinsmen by kinsmen to an
end now. Restore unto Yudhishthira his kingdom and make thy peace with
him, and let Pandavas and Kauravas be friends and comrades together.”

He spoke in vain, for his words stirred the heart of Duryodhana to hate
his kinsmen the Pandavas with a deeper hatred than before.

Karna came to the battlefield, and Bhishma said unto him: “Proud rivals
have we two been, jealous one of the other, and ever at strife. My
voice faileth, yet must I tell thee that Arjuna is not greater than
thou art on the battlefield. Nor is he of higher birth, for thou
art the son of Pritha and the sun god Surya. As Arjuna is thine own
brother, 'twould be well for thee to bring this strife to an end.”

But Bhishma spoke in vain. Karna hated his brother, and thirsted for
his life.

A guard was set round Bhishma, who lay supported by a pillow of arrows,
waiting the hour of his doom. Nor did he die until after the great
conflict was ended.

The Kauravas held a council of war, and they chose Drona to be their
leader. The battle standard of the Brahman was a water jar and a golden
altar upon a deerskin. He vowed before Duryodhana that he would take
Yudhishthira prisoner.

On the first day of Drona's command, and the eleventh day of the
great war, Abhimanyu was foremost in the fight. He dragged a chieftain
by the hair out of his chariot, and would have taken him prisoner,
but Jayadratha, the rajah who had endeavoured to abduct Draupadi,
intervened, and broke his sword upon the young man's buckler.
Jayadratha fled, and Salya, Rajah of Madra, attacked Arjuna's noble
son. But Bhima dashed forward and engaged him in fierce combat. Both
were mighty wielders of the mace; they were like two tigers, like
two great elephants; they were like eagles rending one another with
blood-red claws. The sound of their blows was like the echoing thunder,
and each stood as steadfast as a cliff which is struck in vain by fiery
lightning.... At length both staggered and fell, but Bhima at once
sprang up to strike the final blow. Ere he could accomplish his fierce
desire, however, Salya was rescued by his followers and carried to a
place of safety.... Thereafter the battle raged with more fury than
ever, until night fell and hid from sight all the dead and the living.

Drona sought to fulfil his vow on the second day of his command, and he
prompted Susarman, the rajah who had invaded Virata when the Pandavas
were servants there, to send a challenge for single combat to Arjuna.
Susarman selected a place apart. Arjuna fought many hours, until he put
the boastful rajah and his followers to flight; then he taunted them
for their cowardice. Meanwhile Drona had dashed upon Yudhishthira, who,
when confronted by certain downfall, leapt on the back of a swift steed
and escaped from the battlefield. But it was no shame for a Kshatriya
to flee before a Brahman.

Duryodhana went against Bhima: he was wounded after a brief combat, and
retreated from the field. Many warriors then pressed against Bhima,
but Arjuna had returned after fighting Susarman, and drove furiously
against the Kauravas; in triumph he swept over the blood-red plain.
Karna watched his rival with jealous wrath and entered the fray. The
fire burned redly in his eyes, and he attacked Arjuna, resolved to
conquer or to die. Uncertain and long was the conflict, and when night
fell the two great warriors withdrew reluctantly from the field.

Drona on the morrow arranged his army like to a spider's web, and
once again Susarman challenged Arjuna, so as to draw him from the
battle-front. It was the day of Abhimanyu's triumph and the day of
his death. Yudhishthira sent Arjuna's son to break the web of foemen,
and he rode his chariot against elephants and steeds with conquering
fury. Duryodhana attacked the youthful hero with a band of warriors,
but fell wounded by Abhimanyu, who also slew the warriors. Salya next
dashed against Arjuna's son, but ere long he was carried from the field
grievously wounded. Then Duhsasana came forward, frowning and fierce.

Abhimanyu cried out: “Base prince, who plotted with Shakuni to win the
kingdom of Yudhishthira and put Draupadi to shame, I welcome thee, for
I have waited long for thee. Now thou wilt receive meet punishment for
thy sins.”

As he spake, the fearless youth flung a dart, and Duhsasana fell
stunned and bleeding, but was rescued from death by his followers.

Proudly rode Lakshmana, son of Duryodhana, against Arjuna's son,
and fought bravely and well; but he was cut down, and died upon the

Then it was that the evil Jayadratha, who had vowed to be the slave
of Yudhishthira in the forest, advanced stealthily with six warriors
to fight with the lordly youth. Round him they surged like howling
billows; alone stood Abhimanyu, and seven were against him. His
charioteer was slain and his chariot was shattered; he leapt to the
ground and fought on, slaying one by one.... Perceiving his peril,
the Pandavas endeavoured to rescue Arjuna's son; but Jayadratha held
them back, and Karna aided him. At length Abhimanyu was wounded on
the forehead, blood streamed into his eyes and blinded him, and he
stumbled. Ere he could recover, the son of Duhsasana leapt forward and
dashed out his brains with a mace. So died the gallant youth, pure as
he was at birth. He died like to a forest lion surrounded by hunters;
he sank like to the red sun at evening; he perished like to a tempest
whose strength is spent; he was spent out even like a fire which has
consumed a forest and is extinguished on the plain; Abhimanyu was lost
as is the serene white moon when shrouded in black eclipse.

So that day's battle ended, and Abhimanyu slumbered in the soft
starlight, lifeless and cold.

When it was told to Arjuna that his son was slain, the mighty warrior
wept silently and lay upon the ground. At length he leapt up and
cried: “May the curse of a father and the vengeance of a warrior
smite the murderers of my boy!... May I never reach heaven if I do
not slay Jayadratha on the morrow....” A spy hastened to the camp of
the Kauravas and told of the vow which Arjuna had taken. Jayadratha
trembled with fear.

Early next morning Arjuna spake to Krishna, saying: “Drive swiftly, for
this will be a day of great slaughter.” He desired to find Jayadratha;
with him went Bhima and Satyaki. Many warriors engaged them in battle,
for the Kauravas hoped to contrive that the sun should go down ere
Arjuna could fulfil his terrible vow.

Mounted on an elephant, Duhsasana opposed Arjuna; but the lordly
tusker took flight when the rattling chariot drew nigh. Drona blocked
the way; but Arjuna refused combat, saying: “Thou art as a father
unto me.... Let me find the slayer of my son....” He passed on. Then
Duryodhana came up and engaged him. Karna fought with Bhima, and
Bhurisrava attacked Satyaki. Long waged the bitter conflicts, and at
length Krishna perceived that his kinsman was about to be slain. He
called to Arjuna, who cast a celestial weapon at Bhurisrava, which cut
off both his arms; then Satyaki slew him. Many warriors confronted
Arjuna thereafter, and many fell. But the day wore on and evening drew
nigh, and he could not find Jayadratha. At length Arjuna bade Krishna
to drive furiously onward, and to pause not until he found the slayer
of his son. The chariot sped like to a whirlwind, until at length
Arjuna beheld the evil-hearted Jayadratha; he was guarded by Karna and
five great warriors, and at that time the sun had begun to set.

Karna leapt forward and engaged Arjuna; but Krishna, by reason of his
divine power, caused a dark cloud to obscure the sun, whereupon all
men believed that night had fallen. Karna at once withdrew; but Arjuna
drove on, and as the sun shot forth its last ray of dazzling light, he
dashed upon Jayadratha as a falcon swoops down upon its prey. Brief
was the struggle, for ere daylight faded utterly, Arjuna overthrew
the slayer of his son and cut off his head. Bhima uttered a roar of
triumph when he saw the head of Jayadratha held aloft, and the Kauravas
sorrowed greatly because that their wicked design had been thwarted.

Night fell, but the fighting was renewed. In the darkness and confusion
men slew their kinsmen, fathers cut down their sons, and brothers
fought against brothers. Yudhishthira sent men with torches to light up
the blood-red plain, and the battle was waged for many hours. Swords
were splintered and spears were lost, and warriors threw great boulders
and chariot wheels against one another. All men were maddened with the
thirst for blood, and the night was filled with horrors.

At length Arjuna called for a truce, and it was agreed that the
warriors should sleep on the battlefield. So all lay down, the
charioteer in his chariot, the horseman on his steed, and the driver of
the elephant on his elephant's back....

Duryodhana reproached Drona because that he did not slay the Pandavas
in their sleep.... “Let Karna,” he said, “lead the hosts to victory.”

Said Drona: “Thou art reaping the red harvest of thy sins.... But know
now that on the morrow either Arjuna will fall or I will be slain by

When the bright moon rose in the heavens the conflict was renewed. Many
fell on that awful night. Ghatotkacha, the Rakshasa son of Bhima, was
foremost in the fray, and he slaughtered numerous Kaurava warriors. At
length Karna went against him, and then the air was filled with blazing
arrows. Each smote the other with powerful weapons, and for a time the
issue hung in the balance. Ghatotkacha created illusions, but Karna
kept his senses in that great fight, even after his steeds had been
slain; he leapt to the ground, then flung a celestial dart, the gift of
Indra, and Ghatotkacha, uttering terrible cries, fell down and breathed
his last breath. The Kauravas shouted with gladness, and the Pandavas
shed tears of sorrow.

Ere the night was ended, Drona slew his ancient enemy Drupada, Rajah of
Southern Panchala, and he cut down also the Rajah of Virata.

Ere dawn broke, Dhrishta-dyumna, son of Drupada, went forth to search
for Drona, the slayer of his beloved sire.

Said Bhima: “Thou art too young to strike down so great a warrior as
Drona. I will fight with him until he is wearied, then thou canst
approach and be avenged.”

Bhima struggled with the sage, his preceptor, for many hours; then
Dhrishta-dyumna engaged him, but neither could prevail over the slayer
of Drupada.

At length the Pandava warriors shouted falsely: “Aswatthaman, son of
Drona, is slain.”

When Drona heard the dread tidings, he fainted in his chariot, and
vengeful Dhrishta-dyumna rushed forward and cut off his head. Then the
son of Drupada threw the head of Drona towards Duryodhana, saying:
“Here is the head of thy mighty warrior; I will cut off the heads of
each Kaurava prince in like manner.”

The fall of Drona was like the sinking of heaven's sun; it was like the
drying up of the ocean; the Kauravas fled away in fear.

Terrible was the grief of Aswatthaman when he approached at eventide
and found that his sire had been slain. Night fell while he sorrowed,
and he vowed to slay Dhrishta-dyumna and all his kindred.

Karna was then chosen to be the leader of the Kaurava army, and
Duryodhana hailed him with joy and said: “Thou alone canst stem the
tide of our disasters. Arjuna hath been spared by Bhishma and by Drona
because that they loved him. But the arm of Karna is strengthened by
hatred of the proud Pandava archer.”

When morning broke over the plain of Kuru-kshetra, the first battle of
Karna began, and it continued all day long. Countless warriors were
slain; blood ran in streams, and the dead and mangled bodies of men and
elephants and horses were strewn in confusion. The air was darkened
with arrows and darts, and it rang with the shouts of the fighters and
the moans of the wounded, the bellowing of trumpets, and the clamour of

At length evening came on and the carnage ended.... Duryodhana summoned
a council of war and said: “This is the sixteenth day of the war,
and many of our strongest heroes have fallen. Bhishma and Drona have
fallen, and many of my brethren are now dead.”

Said Karna: “To-morrow will be the great day of the war. I have vowed
to slay Arjuna or fall by his hand.”

Duryodhana was cheered by Karna's words, and all the Kauravas were once
more hopeful of victory.

In the morning Karna went forth in his chariot. He chose for his driver
Salya, Rajah of Madra, whose skill was so great that even Krishna was
not his superior.

Arjuna was again engaged in combat with Susarman when Karna attacked
the Pandava army. So the son of Surya went against Yudhishthira and
cast him on the ground, saying: “If thou wert Arjuna I would slay thee.”

Bhima then attacked Karna, and they fought fiercely for a time, until
Arjuna, having overcome Susarman, returned again to combat with Karna.

Duhsasana, who put Draupadi to shame, came up to help Karna, and Bhima
sprang upon him. Now Bhima had long desired to meet this evil-hearted
son of the blind maharajah, so that he might fulfil his vow. He swung
his mace and struck so mighty a blow that the advancing chariot was
shattered. Duhsasana fell heavily upon the ground and broke his back.
Then Bhima seized him and, whirling his body aloft, cried out: “O
Kauravas, come ye who dare and rescue the helper of Karna.”

No one ventured to approach, and Bhima cast down Duhsasana's body, cut
off his head, and drank his blood as he had vowed to do. “Ho! ho!” he
cried, “never have I tasted a sweeter draught....”

Many Kaurava warriors fled, and they cried out: “This is not a man, for
he drinketh human blood.”

All men watched the deadly combat which was waged between the mighty
heroes Arjuna and Karna. They began by shooting arrows one at another,
while Krishna and Salya guided the chariots with prowess and care. The
arrows of Arjuna fell upon Karna like to summer rain; Karna's arrows
were like stinging snakes, and they drank blood. At length Arjuna's
celestial bow Gandiva was struck and the bowstring severed....

Arjuna said: “Pause, O Karna. According to the rules of battle, thou
canst not attack a disabled foeman.”

But Karna heeded not. He showered countless arrows, until his proud
rival was wounded grievously on the breast.

When Arjuna had restrung his bow, he rose up like to a stricken and
angry tiger held at bay, and cast a screen of arrows against his foe.
But Karna feared him not, nor could Arjuna bear him down. The issue
hung in the balance....

Then suddenly a wheel of Karna's chariot sank in the soft ground, nor
could Salya urge the horses to advance.

Karna cried out: “Pause now, O Arjuna, nor wage unequal war. It is not
manly to attack a helpless enemy.”

Arjuna paused; but Krishna spake quickly, saying: “O Karna, thou
speakest truly; but was it manly to shoot arrows at Arjuna whilst he
engaged himself restringing his bow? Was it manly to scoff at Draupadi
when she was put to shame before elders and princes in the gambling
hall? Was it manly of thee and six warriors to surround Abhimanyu so as
to murder him without compassion?”

When Arjuna heard his son's name, his heart burned with consuming
wrath. Snatching from his quiver a crescent-bladed arrow, he drew his
bow and shot it at Karna, whose head was immediately struck off.

So fell in that dread combat a brother by a brother's hand.

The Kauravas fled in terror when Karna was slain, and Kripa said unto
Duryodhana: “Now that our greatest warriors are dead, it would be well
to sue for peace.”

Said Duryodhana: “After the wrongs I have done the Pandavas, how can
I ask or expect mercy at their hands? Let the war go on till the end

Salya was then chosen as the leader of the Kaurava army, which had
greatly shrunken in numbers, and on the morning of the eighteenth
day of the war the battle was waged with fury. But the Pandavas were
irresistible, and when Duryodhana perceived that they were sweeping all
before them, he fled away secretly, carrying his mace. He had power to
hide under water as long as he desired, by reason of a mighty charm
which had been conferred upon him by the demons; so he plunged into a
lake and lay concealed below the waters.

Salya was slain by Yudhishthira, and he fell like to a
thunder-splintered rock. Sahadeva overthrew false Shakuni, the gambler,
who had played against Yudhishthira with loaded dice, and Bhima cut
down all Duryodhana's brethren who had survived until that last
fateful day. Of all the Kaurava heroes there then remained alive only
Aswa-thaman, son of Drona, Kripa, and Kritavarman, and the hidden

At length Bhima discovered where Duryodhana was concealed.
Yudhishthira went to the lake side and urged him to come forth and

Said Duryodhana: “Take my kingdom now and have pleasure in it. Depart
and leave me, for I must retire to the jungle and engage in meditation.”

Yudhishthira said: “I cannot accept aught from thee except what is won
in battle.”

Said Duryodhana: “If you promise to fight one by one, I will come out
of the water and slay you all.”

Yudhishthira said: “Come forth, and the battle will be fought as thou
dost desire. Now thou hast spoken as becomes a Kshatriya.”

Still Duryodhana tarried, and Bhima shouted: “If thou dost not come out
of the lake at once, I will plunge in and drag thee to the shore.”

Then Duryodhana came forth, and the Pandavas laughed to see him, for he
was covered with mire, and water streamed down from his raiment.

Said Duryodhana: “Soon will your merriment be turned to grief.”

Now, all during the time of the Pandava exile, Duryodhana had practised
with the mace, so that he became the equal of Bhima. But he had no one
to support him there. The other survivors remained in hiding. Then
Balarama appeared, and he caused the combat to be waged in the middle
of the blood-red plain; he was Duryodhana's supporter.

The warriors fought like two fierce bulls, and smote one another heavy
blows, until their faces were reddened with blood. Once Duryodhana
almost achieved victory, for he struck Bhima on the head so that all
present thought that the Pandava hero had received his deathblow.
Bhima staggered but recovered himself, and soon afterwards he struck
Duryodhana a foul blow upon the knee, which smashed the bone so that
he fell prostrate. Thus was the vow of Bhima fulfilled....

He danced round Duryodhana a time, then, kicking his enemy's head,
cried out at length: “Draupadi is avenged.”

Yudhishthira was wroth; he smote Bhima on the face and said: “O
accursed villain, thou wilt cause all men to speak ill of us.”

Then Arjuna led Bhima away, and Yudhishthira knelt beside Duryodhana
and said: “Thou art still our ruler, and if thou wilt order me to slay
Bhima, thy command will be obeyed. Thou art now very nigh unto death,
and I sorrow for the Kaurava wives and children, who will curse us
because that thou hast been laid low.”

Said Balarama: “Bhima hath broken the laws of combat, for he smote
Duryodhana below the waist.”

Krishna said: “My brother, did not Duryodhana wrong the Pandavas with
foul play at dice? And did not Bhima, when he beheld Draupadi put to
shame, vow to break the knee of Duryodhana?”

Said Balarama: “So thou dost approve of this?... Can I forget that
Bhima kicked the head of our wounded kinsman, the rajah?”

Krishna stayed the vengeful hand of Balarama, and prevailed upon him to
take vows not to fight against the Pandavas.

When night fell, the dying Duryodhana was visited on the battlefield by
Aswatthaman, son of Drona, and Kripa, and Kritavarman. Unto Aswatthaman
he gave permission to attack the Pandavas while yet they slumbered....
Then Drona's son went forth in the darkness to glut his hunger for
vengeance because that his sire had been slain.... The pale stars
looked down on the dead and the dying as Aswatthaman crossed the
battleplain and went stealthily towards the tents of his foemen, with
Kripa and Kritavarman.

At the gate of the Pandava camp an awful figure rose up against
the conspirators. Aswatthaman was not afraid, and he fought with
his adversary until he perceived that he was the god Shiva, the
Blue-throated Destroyer. Then Drona's son drew back, and on an altar
he kindled a fire to worship the all-powerful deity. Then, having
naught else to sacrifice, he cast his own body upon the flames. By this
supremely pious act Shiva was propitiated; he accepted Drona's son and
entered his body, saying: “Hitherto, for the sake of Krishna, have I
protected the sons of Draupadi, but now their hour of doom hath come.”

Then Aswatthaman rushed into the camp and slaughtered with the cruel
arm of vengeance. Rudely he awakened Dhrishta-dyumna, who cried out:
“Coward! wouldst thou attack a naked man?”

Aswatthaman answered not his father's slayer, but took his life with
a single blow.... Through the camp he went, striking down each one he
met, and shrieks and moans arose on every side.

Draupadi was awakened by the clamour, and her five young sons sprang up
to protect her. Aswatthaman slew each one without pity.... Then he lit
a great fire to discover those who had concealed themselves, and with
reeking hands he completed his ghastly work of slaughter. Meanwhile
Kripa and Kritavarman, with weapons in their hands, kept watch at the
gate, and cut down all who endeavoured to escape.

Now the Pandava princes slept safely on that night of horror in the
camp of the Kauravas, so that they escaped the sword of Drona's son.

When his fell work was accomplished, the bloodthirsty Aswatthaman
cut off the heads of Draupadi's five sons and carried them to
Duryodhana, who rejoiced greatly, believing that they were the heads
of Yudhishthira and his brethren. But when he perceived that the
avenger of night had slain the children of Draupadi instead, he cried
out: “Alas! what horror hast thou committed? Thou hast slain innocent
children, who, had they lived, would have perpetuated our name and
our fame. My heart burns with anger against the sires and not their
harmless sons.”

Duryodhana groaned heavily: his heart was oppressed with grief, and,
bowing down his head, he died sorrowing.

Then Aswatthaman and Kripa and Kritavarman fled away, fearing the wrath
of the Pandavas.


Atonement and the Ascent to Heaven

 Draupadi's Sorrow—The Vengeful Maharajah—Bhima is Forgiven—Dead
 Burned on Battlefield—Atonement for Sin—The Horse
 Sacrifice—Arjuna's Wanderings—A Woman turned to Stone—The
 Amazons—Father and Son Conflict—The Wonderful Serpent Jewel—Return
 of the Horse—The Sacrifice Performed—Maharajah Retires to the
 Forest—Meeting of Mournful Relatives—The Vision of the Dead—Widows
 Drown Themselves—A Forest Tragedy—Dwaraka Horrors—End of Krishna
 and Balarama—City Destroyed by the Sea—Farewell of the Pandavas—The
 Journey to Heaven—Yudhishthira Tested by Deities—Vision of Hell—The
 Holy Life.

When it was told to the Pandava brethren that their camp had been
raided in darkness by the bloodthirsty Aswatthaman, Yudhishthira
exclaimed: “Alas! sorrow upon sorrow crowds upon us, and now the
greatest sorrow of all hath fallen. Draupadi mourns the death of her
brother and her five sons, and I fear she will perish with grief.”

Draupadi came before her husbands and, weeping bitterly, said: “For
thirteen cruel years you have endured shame and exile so that your
children might prosper. But now that they are all slain, can you desire
to have power and kingdom?”

Said Krishna: “O daughter of a rajah, is thy grief so great as is
Pritha's and Gandhari's, and as great as those who lament the loss or
their husbands on the battlefield? Thou hast less cause than others to
wail now.”

Draupadi was soothed somewhat, but she turned to Bhima and said: “If
thou wilt not bring to me the head of Aswatthaman, I will never again
look upon thy face.”

Said Yudhishthira: “Aswatthaman is a Brahman, and Vishnu, the greatest
of the gods, will punish him if he hath done wrong. If we should slay
him now, O Draupadi, thy sons and thy brother and thy sire would not be
restored unto thee.”

Draupadi said: “So be it. But Aswatthaman hath a great jewel which
gleams in darkness. Let it be taken from him, for it is as dear unto
him as his life.”

Then Arjuna went in pursuit of Aswatthaman and found him, and returned
with the jewel.

To the battlefield came blind old Dhritarashtra, mourning the death of
his hundred sons. And with the weeping maharajah were Queen Gandhari
and the wives of the Kaurava princes, who sorrowed aloud. Wives wept
for their husbands, their children wailed beside them, and mothers
moaned for their sons. Bitter was the anguish of tender-hearted
women, and the air was filled with wailing on that blood-red plain of

When Queen Gandhari beheld the Pandavas she cried out: “The smell of
Duryodhana is upon you all.”

Now Dhritarashtra plotted in his weak mind to crush the head of Bhima,
the slayer of Duryodhana. When he embraced Yudhishthira he said: “Where
is Bhima?” and they placed before him an image of the strong Pandava.
Dhritarashtra put forth his arms, and he crushed the image in his
embrace and fell back fainting. Then he wailed: “Alas! Bhima was as a
son unto me. Although I have slain him, the dead cannot return.”

Well pleased was the maharajah when it was told to him that Bhima still
lived; and he embraced his son's slayer tenderly and with forgiveness,
saying: “I have no children now save the sons of Pandu, my brother.”

Pritha rejoiced to meet her five sons, and she embraced them one by
one. Then she went towards the sorrowing Draupadi, who fainted in her
arms. Thereafter they wept together for the dead.

The bodies of the slain rajahs and princes were collected together,
and wrapped in perfumed linen and laid each upon a funeral pyre and
burned, and the first pyre which was kindled was that of Duryodhana.
The Pandavas mourned for their kinsmen. Then they bathed in the holy
Ganges, and took up water and sprinkled it in the name of each dead
hero. Yudhishthira poured out the oblation for Karna, his brother, and
he gave great gifts to his widows and his children. Thereafter all the
remaining bodies of the slain were burned on the battlefield.[285]

[285] No widows were burned with their husbands, for the Satí (or
Suttee) ceremony had not yet become general in India; nor did the
Brahmans officiate at the pyres.

Yudhishthira was proclaimed rajah in the city of Hastinapur, and he
wore the great jewel in his crown. A great sacrifice was offered
up, and Dhaumya, the family priest of the Pandavas, poured the Homa
offering to the gods on the sacred fire. Yudhishthira and Draupadi were
anointed with holy water.

In the days that followed, Yudhishthira lamented over the carnage of
the great war, nor could he be comforted. At length Vyasa, the sage,
appeared before him and advised that he should perform the horse
sacrifice to atone for his sins.

Then search was made for a moon-white horse with yellow tail and one
black ear, and when it was found a plate of gold, inscribed with the
name of Yudhishthira, was tied upon its forehead. Thereafter the horse
was let loose, and was allowed to wander wheresoever it desired. A
great army, which was led by Arjuna, followed the horse.

Now it was the custom in those days that when the sacred horse entered
a raj[286], that raj was proclaimed to be subject to the king who
performed the ceremony. And if any ruler detained the horse, he was
compelled to fight with the army which followed the wandering animal.
Should he be overcome in battle, the opposing rajah immediately joined
forces with those of the conqueror, and followed the horse from kingdom
to kingdom. For a whole year the animal was allowed to wander thus.

[286] Royal territory.

The horse was let loose on the night of full moon in the month of

[287] The Easter full moon.

Arjuna met with many adventures. He fought against a rajah and the
son of a rajah, who had a thousand wives in the country of Malwa, and
defeated them. But Agni, who had married a daughter of the rajah, came
to rescue his kin. He fought against Arjuna with fire, but Arjuna shot
celestial arrows which produced water. Then the god made peace, and
the rajah who had detained the horse went away with Arjuna. Thereafter
the horse came to a rock which was the girl-wife of a Rishi who had
been thus transformed because of her wickedness. “So will you remain,”
her husband had said, “until Yudhishthira performs the Aswa-medha
ceremony.” The horse was unable to leave the rock. Then Arjuna touched
the rock, which immediately became a woman, and the horse was set free.

In time the horse entered the land of Amazons, and the queen detained
it, and came forth with her women warriors to fight against Arjuna,
who, however, made peace with them and went upon his way. Thereafter
the holy steed reached a strange country where men and women and
horses and cows and goats grew upon mighty trees like to fruit, and
came to maturity and died each day. The rajah came against Arjuna, but
was defeated. Then all the army fled to the islands of the sea, for
they were Daityas, and Arjuna plundered their dwellings and obtained
much treasure.

Once the horse entered a pond, and was cursed by the goddess Parvati,
and it became a mare; it entered another pond and became a lion, owing
to a Brahman's spell.

In the kingdom of Manipura the horse was seized, and soldiers armed
with fire weapons were ready to fight against the Pandavas and their
allies. But when the rajah, whose name was Babhru-váhana, discovered
that the horse bore the name of Yudhishthira, he said: “Arjuna is my
sire;” and he went forth and made obeisance, and put his head under the
foot of the Pandava hero. But Arjuna spurned him, saying: “If I were
thy sire, thou wouldst have no fear of me.”

Then the rajah challenged Arjuna to battle, and was victorious on that
day.[288] He took all the great men prisoners, and he severed Arjuna's
head from his body with a crescent-bladed arrow. The rajah's mother,
Chitrangada, was stricken with sorrow, as was also Ulupi, the daughter
of Vasuka, the king of serpents, who had borne a son to Arjuna. But
Ulupi remembered that her sire possessed a magic jewel which had power
to restore a dead man to life, and she sent the rajah of Manipura to
obtain it from the underworld. But the Nagas refused to give up the
jewel, whereupon Arjuna's mighty son fought against them with arrows
which were transformed into peacocks; and the peacocks devoured the
serpents. Then the Naga king delivered up the magic jewel, and the
rajah returned with it. He touched the body of Arjuna with the jewel,
and the hero came to life again, and all his wounds were healed. When
he departed from Manipura city the rajah, his son, accompanied him.

[288] Here we meet with the familiar father-and-son-combat theme of
which the stories of the Persian Sohrab and Rustem, the Germanic
Hildebrand and Hadubrand, and the Celtic Cuchullin and Conlaoch are
representative variants. Arjuna had effected a temporary exogamous
marriage according to matriarchal customs.

So from kingdom to kingdom the horse wandered while the army followed,
until a year had expired. Then it returned to Hastinapur.

Yudhishthira had meantime lived a life of purity and self-restraint.
Each night he lay upon the ground, and always slept within the city.
Beside him lay Draupadi, and a naked sword was ever betwixt them.

Great were the rejoicings of the people when the horse came back:
they made glad holiday, and went forth to welcome the army with gifts
of fine raiment and jewels and flowers. Money was scattered in the
streets, and the poor were made happy, being thus relieved generously
in their need.

Yudhishthira embraced Arjuna and kissed him and wept tears of gladness,
and welcomed Arjuna's son, Babhru-váhana, Rajah of Manipura, and also
the other rajahs who had followed the sacred horse.

Twelve days after the return of Arjuna, and on the day when Magha's
full moon marked the close of the winter season, the people assembled
in great multitudes from far and near to share Yudhishthira's generous
hospitality and witness the Aswa-medha ceremony, which was held upon
a green and level portion of consecrated ground. Stately pavilions,
glittering with jewels and gold, had been erected for the royal
guests, and there were humbler places for the Brahmans. In thrones
of gold sat Maharajah Dhritarashtra and Rajah Yudhishthira, and the
other rajahs had thrones of sandalwood and gold. The royal ladies were
ranged together in their appointed places. Wise Vyasa was there, and he
directed the ceremony. And Krishna, the holy one, was there also.

When all the guests were assembled, Yudhishthira and Draupadi bathed
together in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Then a portion of ground
was measured out, and Yudhishthira ploughed it with a golden plough.
Draupadi followed him, and sowed the seeds of every kind which is
sown in the kingdom, while all the women and the Brahmans chanted
holy mantras. Then a golden altar was erected with four broad layers
of golden bricks, and stakes of sacred wood from the forest and from
Himalaya, and it was canopied and winged with gold-brocaded silk.

Then eight pits were dug for Homa[289] of milk and butter to be made
ready for the sacrificial fire, and in skins were wrapped up portions
of every kind of vegetable and curative herb which grew in the kingdom,
and these were placed in the Homa pits.

[289] Offerings.

On the ground there were numerous sacrificial stakes, to which were
tied countless animals—bulls and buffaloes and steeds, wild beasts
from forest and mountain and cave, birds of every kind, fishes from
river and lake, and even insects.

The priests offered up animals in sacrifice to each celestial power,
and the feasting was beheld by sacred beings. The Gandharvas sang, and
the Apsaras, whom the Gandharvas wooed, danced like sunbeams on the
grass. Messengers of the gods were also gathered there, and Vyasa and
his disciples chanted mantras to celestial music. The people lifted
up their voices at the sound of rain drum and the blast of the rain
trumpet. Then bright was the lustre of Yudhishthira's fame.

When all the kings and royal ladies and sages took their places to be
blessed by the horse sacrifice, Yudhishthira sat on his throne, and in
his hand he held the horn of a stag.

Vyasa sent four-and-sixty rajahs with their wives to draw water from
the holy Ganges. Many musicians went with them beating drums and
blowing trumpets and playing sweet instruments, and girls danced in
front, going and returning. And all the rajahs and their wives were
given splendid raiment by Yudhishthira, and necklaces of jewels also,
and he put betelnut in their mouths one by one. To the Brahmans were
gifted much gold and many jewels, and elephants, horses, and kine, and
they were well pleased.

Yudhishthira then sat naked in his throne, and each one who had drawn
holy water poured a quantity over his head; and they poured what
remained over the head of the sacred white horse.

Nákula held the horse's head, and said: “The horse speaketh.”

Those who were about him asked in loud voices: “What doth the horse

Said Nákula: “Thus speaketh the horse—‘In other such ceremonies the
horse which is sacrificed departs unto Swarga[290], but I shall rise
far above Swarga, because that Krishna is here’.”

[290] Indra's heaven.

Then Dhaumya, having washed the horse, gave a scimitar to Bhima with
which to strike off the head at a single blow. But ere this was done,
Dhaumya pressed an ear of the holy animal, and milk flowed forth. Then
he said to Bhima: “Pure indeed is the horse; verily the gods will
accept the sacrifice. Strike now, O strong one.”

Bhima raised the scimitar and severed the head, which immediately
ascended unto heaven and vanished from before the eyes of all. Great
was the wonder and the joy of the assembled multitude.

Krishna and other rajahs and sages then cut open the horse's body, from
which a bright light issued forth. They found that the animal was pure,
and Krishna said unto Yudhishthira: “This, thy sacrifice, is acceptable
unto Vishnu.”

Draupadi was made Queen of the Sacrifice, and mantras were chanted, and
she was adored and given rich offerings, because of her virtue and her

The body of the slain steed was divided, and the flesh gave forth
the odour of camphor. Priests lifted portions in their ladles and
placed these on the sacrificial fire, and they made Soma. And Rajah
Yudhishthira and all his brethren stood in the sin-cleansing smoke and
breathed its fragrance.

Dhaumya cried out, as he laid a piece of flesh on the altar fire: “O
Indra, accept thou this flesh which hath turned to camphor.”

When he had uttered these words, Indra, accompanied by many gods,
appeared before the people, who made obeisance with fear and secret
joy. Indra took from Vyasa portions of the flesh and gave these to each
of the gods. Then he vanished from sight with all his companions.

Vyasa blessed Yudhishthira, and Krishna embraced him.

Said Krishna: “Thy fame will endure for ever.”

Yudhishthira made answer: “Unto thee do I owe all these blessings.”

Thereafter Krishna and the rajahs poured holy water over the heads of
Yudhishthira and Draupadi.

All the fragments of the herbs which had been provided for Homa were
then ground into powder. And Yudhishthira gave balls of the powder to
each one present, so that they might eat of the sacred herbs and share
in the blessings of the Aswa-medha. He ate his own portion last of all.
The fragments of the offerings which remained were burnt on the altar.

Then Pritha and all the maidens who were with her made merry, while the
musicians played gladsome airs.

Yudhishthira distributed more gifts. Unto Vyasa he assigned an estate,
and bestowed upon the Brahmans who officiated many animals and pearls
and slaves. To the rajahs he gave war elephants and steeds and money,
and to the rajahs' wives bridal-night gifts of raiment and jewels and

Bhima feasted all the Brahmans, and Yudhishthira wept as he bade
farewell to Krishna, his friend in peace and in war, who departed in
his chariot unto sea-washed Dwaraka.

There was prosperity in the kingdom under Yudhishthira's wise and just
government; but blind old Dhritarashtra never ceased to mourn the
death of Duryodhana, his first-born, and at length he retired to live
in a humble dwelling in the jungle. With him went Queen Gandhari, and
Pritha, the mother of the Pandavas, and Vidura, and others who were of
great age.

Years went past, and a day came when Yudhishthira and his brethren and
their wife Draupadi journeyed to the dwelling-place of their elders.
They found them all there save Vidura, who had departed to a sacred
place on the banks of the Ganges to undergo penance and wait for the
coming of Yama, god of the dead. Then all the kinsfolk, young and old,
went forth to find Vidura; but when they came to him he was wasted with
hunger and great age, nor could he speak unto them. They waited beside
him until he died, and then they mourned together. This new sorrow
awakened old-time grief, and they spoke of all those who had fallen in
the great war. Fathers and mothers lamented for their sons, and wives
for their husbands....

While they wept and moaned together, the great sage Vyasa came nigh and
spoke, saying: “Verily, I will soothe all your sorrows.... Let each one
bathe at sunset in the holy waters of the Ganges, and when night falls
your lost ones will return to you once again.”

Then they all sat waiting on the river bank until evening came on.
Slowly passed the day; it seemed to be as long as a year.

At length the sun went down, and they chanted mantras and went into
the Ganges. Vyasa bathed beside the old Maharajah Dhritarashtra and
Yudhishthira.... Then all came out and stood on the bank.

Suddenly the waters began to heave and foam, and Vyasa muttered holy
words and called out the names of the dead one by one.... Soon all the
heroes who had been slain arose one by one. In chariots they came,
and on horseback and riding upon lordly elephants. They all uttered
triumphant cries; drums were sounded and trumpets were blown; and it
seemed as if the armies of the Pandavas and Kauravas were once again
assembled for battle, for they swept over the river like a mighty

_From the painting by Warwick Goble_

Many of the onlookers trembled with fear, until they beheld Bhishma and
Drona, clad in armour, standing aloft in their chariots in splendour
and in pride; then came Arjuna's son, the noble Abhimanyu, and Bhima's
Asura son. Soon Gandhari beheld Duryodhana and all his brethren, while
Pritha looked with glad eyes upon Karna, and Draupadi welcomed her
brother Dhrishta-dyumna and her five children who had all been slain
by vengeful Aswatthaman. All the warriors who had fallen in battle
returned again on that night of wonder.

With the host came minstrels who sang of the deeds of the heroes, and
beautiful girls who danced before them. All strife had ended between
kinsmen and old-time rivals; in death there was peace and sweet

The ghostly warriors crossed the Ganges and were welcomed by those
who waited on the bank around Vyasa. It was a night of supreme and
heart-stirring gladness. Fathers and mothers found their sons, widows
clung to their husbands, sisters embraced their brothers, and all wept
tears of joy. The elders who were living conversed with those who were
dead; the burdens of grief and despair fell from all hearts after lone
years of mourning; the past was suddenly forgotten in the rapture of
beholding those who had died.

Swiftly passed the night as if it had endured but for an hour. Then
when dawn began to break, the dead men returned to their chariots and
their horses and their elephants and bade farewells....

Vyasa spoke to the widows and said that those of them who desired to be
with their husbands could depart with them. Then the Kaurava princesses
and other high-born ladies, who never ceased to mourn for their own,
kissed the feet of the Maharajah Dhritarashtra and Queen Gandhari and
plunged into the Ganges with the departing hosts.... Vyasa chanted
mantras, and all the drowned widows were transported to heaven with
their husbands....

The Pandavas returned to Hastinapur, and when two years had gone past
a new sorrow fell upon them. One day Narada, the sage, stood before
Yudhishthira and told that a great fire had swept through the jungle,
and that Dhritarashtra, and Gandhari, and Pritha, and all who were with
them, had perished.

Soon afterwards the Pandavas came to know, by reason of dread omens
which appeared, that a great calamity was drawing nigh, but no man
could tell what it was or when it would take place.

Ere long it became known that the city of Dwaraka was doomed to be
destroyed. A horror in human shape was beheld in the night; it was
coloured yellow and black, its head was bald and its limbs misshapen,
and men said it was Yama, god of the dead.... Visions of headless men
contending in battle were beheld at sunset.... The moon was eclipsed, a
dread tempest ravaged the land, and a plague of rats afflicted the city.

Krishna forbade all the people, on pain of death, to drink wine, and
commanded them to perform devotions on the seashore....

Then the night was haunted by a black woman with yellow teeth who
grinned horribly at house doors. All the inhabitants of the city were
stricken with terror.... Evil spirits came also and robbed the jewels
of the women and the weapons of the men.... At length the chakra[291]
of Krishna went up to heaven, and his chariot and horses followed
it.... The end of the Yádavas was not afar off, and the day came when
Apsaras called out of heaven: “Depart from hence,” and all the people
heard them.

[291] Celestial weapon.

When the people gathered on the seashore they held a feast, and
being allowed to drink wine for one day, they drank heavily and
began to quarrel. At length Satyaki slew Kritavarman, who had gone
to the Pandava camp with Drona's son on the night of slaughter. Then
Kritavarman's friends killed Satyaki and one of Krishna's sons.
Krishna slew the rebels, but he could not quell the tumult and the
fighting which ensued; fathers slew their sons, and sons their fathers,
and kinsmen contended fiercely against kinsmen.

Then Krishna and Balarama left the city, and both died in the jungle.
From Balarama's mouth issued a mighty snake, for he was the incarnation
of the world serpent.... Krishna was mistaken for a gazelle by a
hunter, who shot an arrow which pierced his foot at the only spot where
he could be mortally wounded. He then departed to his heaven, which is
called Goloka.

Ere Krishna had left Dwaraka he caused messengers to hasten for
Arjuna, who came speedily, to find the women wailing for the dead.
Then Vasudeva, father of Krishna, died, and Arjuna laid the body of
the old man upon the pyre, and he was burned with four of his widows,
who no longer desired to live. The bodies of Krishna and Balarama were
cremated also.

Arjuna then set forth towards Indra-prastha with a remnant of the
people; and when they had left Dwaraka, the sea rose up and swallowed
the whole city, with those who had refused to depart from it.... Such
was the end of the power of the Yadavas.

Deep gloom fell upon the Pandavas after this, and Vyasa, the sage,
appeared before them, and revealed that their time had come to depart
from the world.

Then Yudhishthira divided the kingdom. He made Parikshit, son of
Abhimanyu, Rajah of Hastinapur; and Yuyutsu, the half-brother of
Duryodhana, who had joined the Pandava army on the first day of the
great war, was made Rajah of Hastinapur. He counselled them to live at
peace one with another.

The Pandavas afterwards cast off their royal garments and their jewels
and put on the garb of hermits, and the bright-eyed and faithful
Draupadi did likewise. Yudhishthira departed first of all, and his
brethren walked behind him one by one, and Draupadi went last of all,
followed by a hound. They all walked towards the rising sun, and by the
long circuitous path which leads to Mount Meru, through forests and
over streams and across the burning plains, never again to return.

One by one they fell by the way, all save Yudhishthira. Draupadi was
the first to sink down, and Bhima cried: “Why hath she fallen who hath
never done wrong?”

Said Yudhishthira: “Her heart was bound up in Arjuna, and she hath her

Sahadeva was next to fall, and then Nakula. At length Yudhishthira
heard the voice of Bhima crying in distress: “Lo! now the noble Arjuna
hath fallen. What sin hath he committed?”

Said Yudhishthira: “He boasted confidently that he could destroy all
his enemies in one day, and because he failed in his vow he hath fallen
by the way.”

The two surviving brothers walked on in silence; but the time came when
mighty Bhima sank down. He cried: “O Yudhishthira say, if thou canst
tell, why I have fallen now.”

Said Yudhishthira: “O wolf-bellied one, because of thy cursing and
gluttony and thy pride thou hast fallen by the way.”

Yudhishthira walked on, calm and unmoved, followed by his faithful
hound. When he drew nigh to sacred Mount Meru, the world-spine, Indra,
king of the gods, came forth to welcome him, saying: “Ascend, O
resolute prince.”

Said Yudhishthira: “Let my brethren who have fallen by the way come
with me also. I cannot enter heaven without them, O king of the gods.
Let the fair and gentle princess come too; Draupadi hath been a
faithful wife, and is worthy of bliss. Hear my prayer, O Indra, and
have mercy.”

Said Indra: “Thy brethren and Draupadi have gone before thee.”

Then Yudhishthira pleaded that his faithful hound should enter heaven
also; but Indra said: “Heaven is no place for those who are followed by
hounds. Knowest thou not that demons rob religious ordinances of their
virtues when dogs are nigh?”

Said Yudhishthira: “No evil can come from the noble. I cannot have joy
if I desert this faithful friend.”

Indra said: “Thou didst leave behind thy brethren and Draupadi. Why,
therefore, canst thou not abandon thine hound?”

Said Yudhishthira: “I have no power to bring back to life those who
have fallen by the way: there can be no abandonment of the dead.”

As he spake, the hound was transformed, and behold Dharma, god of
justice, stood by the rajah's side.

Dharma said: “O Yudhishthira, thou art indeed mine own son. Thou
wouldst not abandon me, thy hound, because that I was faithful unto
thee. Thine equal cannot be found in heaven.”

Then Yudhishthira was transported to the city of eternal bliss, and
there he beheld Duryodhana seated upon a throne. All the Kauravas were
in heaven also, but the rajah could not find his brethren or fair

Said Indra: “Here thou shalt dwell, O Yudhishthira, in eternal bliss.
Forget all earthly ties and attain to perfection; thy brethren have
fallen short, therefore they sank by the way.”

Yudhishthira said: “I cannot remain here with the Kauravas who have
done me great wrong. Where my brethren are, there would I be also with
our wife Draupadi.”

Then a celestial being conducted Yudhishthira to the abode of his
brethren and the Princess of Panchala. He entered the forest of the
nether regions, where the leaves were like to sharp weapons and the
path was covered with knives. Darkness hung heavily, and the way was
miry with blood and strewn with foul and mutilated corpses. Shapes
of horror flitted round about like to shadows; fierce birds of prey
feasted upon human flesh. The damned were burning in everlasting fires,
and the air reeked with foul odours. A boiling river went past, and
Yudhishthira saw the place of torture with thorns, and the desert of
fiery sand: he gazed mutely upon each horror that was unfolded before
his eyes.

Fain would Yudhishthira have turned back, but he heard in the darkness
the voices of his brethren and Draupadi bidding him to stay a little
while to comfort them while they suffered torment.

Then Yudhishthira said to the celestial being: “Depart now from me,
for I must remain here to assuage the sufferings of my brethren and

As he spake the gods appeared, and the scene of horror vanished from
before the eyes of Yudhishthira, for it was an illusion conjured up to
test his constancy.

Then Yudhishthira was led to the heavenly Ganges, and having bathed in
its sacred waters, he cast off his mortal body and became a celestial.
Then, rejoicing, he entered Swarga, the celestial city of Indra, and
was welcomed by Krishna in all his divine glory, and by his brethren
and by Draupadi, and all whom he had loved upon earth.

Indra spoke and said: “This is the beautiful and immortal one, who
sprang from the altar to be thy wife, and these bright beings are
her five children. Here is Dhritarashtra, who is now the king of the
Gandharvas; there is Karna, son of Surya, the peerless archer who was
slain by Arjuna. Here cometh towards thee Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna;
he is now the star-bright companion of the lord of night.... Here are
Pandu, thy sire, and Pritha, thy mother, now united in heaven. Behold!
also, Yudhishthira, the wise Bhishma, whose place is with the Vasus
round my throne: Drona sits with Dharma, god of wisdom. Here are all
the peerless warriors who fell in battle and have won heaven by their
valour and their constancy. So may all mortals rise to eternal bliss,
casting off their mortal bodies and entering by the shining door of the
celestial city, by doing kindly deeds, by uttering gentle words, and by
enduring all suffering with patience. The holy life is prepared for all
the sons of men.”

Thus ends sublimely the story of the Great War of the Bharatas.


Nala and Damayantí

 A Noble Prince and Fair Princess—Swan Messengers of Love—A
 Royal Romance—The Love-sick Maiden—Indra and the Rishis—The
 Swayamvara—Gods Descend from Heaven—Nala's Mission—Interview with
 Damayantí—A Faithful Lover—Gathering of Rajahs—Gods Rejected by
 Damayantí—The Choice of Nala—Wedding Gifts of the Gods—The Royal
 Marriage—Kali the Demon—Plot to Ruin Nala.

Once upon a time there reigned in Nishadha[292] a great rajah of
choicest virtues whose name was Nala. He had great skill in taming
steeds; he was a peerless archer, and was devoted to truth. Nala
commanded a mighty army: like to the sun was his splendour, and he
was exalted over all other kings as is the monarch of the gods. He
had withal great piety, and he was deeply read in the Vedas, but he
was ever a passionate lover of dice. Many a high-born lady spoke his
praises, for he was generous of heart, and self-controlled, and the
guardian of law. Indeed, Nala was a very present Manu.[293]

[292] The south-eastern division of Central India.

[293] An incarnation of Manu, the first lawgiver.

Now there ruled over the neighbouring state of Vidarbha the mighty
rajah Bhíma, the terrible in strength, who was likewise of choicest
virtues. He was childless, and he yearned for children. For long he
had been wont to perform many holy deeds intent upon offspring, but
without avail.[294] It chanced, however, that one day there came to
his court a Bráhman named Damana, and hospitable welcome was accorded
him by the child-desiring Bhíma, for the seer was feasted in the hall
with the rajah and his royal consort. Thereafter a boon was conferred
upon the queen: she became the mother of one sweet girl, the pearl of
maidens, who was named Damayantí, and of three noble sons, Dama, Danta,
and the renowned Dam´ana, who all grew great and powerful.

[294] It was a religious necessity to have offspring. A son performed
the funeral rites which rescued his father's soul from hell.

When fair Damayantí had attained the full bloom of her beauty, she was
unequalled throughout the world for her brilliance and for her grace.
Upon the faultless and slender-waisted maiden there waited, as about
Indra's queen, a hundred female slaves and a hundred virgin handmaids,
and she shone among them, decked with jewels and rich ornaments, like
to the goddess of beauty, unrivalled and without a peer. Never among
the gods, or the Yakshas, or among mortal men was a maiden more fair
ever heard of or ever beheld than soul-disturbing Damayantí, who
disturbed the souls of the gods.

In presence of Bhima's sweet daughter the high-born ladies of Vidarbha
took joy in constantly praising Nala, that tiger among rajahs. Likewise
before Nishadha's king was Damayantí ever extolled because of her
beauty. So it fell that, hearing much of each other's virtues, the
silent passion of love was nurtured in both their hearts.

Impatient grew Nala as his love increased, and he was wont to wander
in a grove within his palace garden musing secretly upon the maiden
of faultless form. One day he saw disporting in the grounds a flock
of beautiful swans with wings all flecked with gold. The rajah crept
forward softly and seized one, and much he marvelled to hear it cry
out in human language.

“Slay me not, O gentle king, and to thee I will render a service, for
I will praise thee in the presence of Damayantí so that ever after she
shall think of no other mortal man but thee.”

Immediately Nala set the bird at liberty, and it flew away rejoicing
with its bright companions towards Vidarbha. When they reached the
ladies' garden of Bhima's palace they settled down at the feet of
Damayantí, who was reposing in the shade with her virgin handmaids.
All the fair young women gazed in wonder on the swans, admiring their
graceful forms and their plumage gleaming with gold, and ere long they
began to pursue them among the trees. Then of a sudden the bird which
Damayantí followed spoke to her in human language and said:

“Damayantí, hear! The noble king Nala dwells in Nishadha. Comely is he
as a god, nor can his equal be found in the world. Thou art the pearl
of women, and he is the pride of men. If thou wert wed to him, then
would perfect beauty and noble birth be united. Blessed indeed would be
the union of the peerless with the peerless.”

Wondering, the maiden listened while the bird conversed thus strangely,
and then she said: “Speak also unto Nala in this manner.”

The swan made answer: “So be it,” and thereupon took flight with the
others to Nishadha, where it related unto Nala all that had taken

_From the painting by Warwick Goble_

Ever after that day Damayantí ceased to live for herself alone; all
her thoughts were given up to Nala. She desired most to sit apart in
silent reverie; the bloom faded from her cheeks, and she grew dejected
and melancholy. Indeed, the maiden yielded up her soul to sorrow, and
much she sighed in secret, gazing upward and meditating, for love had
taken possession of her heart; nor did she find pleasure in sleep, or
in gentle converse, or in merry banquets. In the midst of her broken
slumbers she was wont to weep and cry out: “Oh, woe is me!”

The virgin handmaidens read her heart, and they went before her sire
and told that his gentle daughter was pining for the monarch among
men. When Bhima heard this, he pondered deeply what should be done for
Damayantí, and he perceived that her time for the swayamvara[295] had
come. So he summoned all the high-born rajahs upon earth, saying: “O
heroes of the world, come ye to the swayamvara.”

[295] The ceremony at which a princess made public choice of a husband
from among a number of suitors gathered together.

Then did the whole land resound with the trampling of elephants and
horses and the rumbling of chariots, for the stately princes, followed
by their armies, swarmed towards the court of Bhima. By the strong lord
of Vidarbha were they welcomed with honour, and they sat upon their

Now it happened that at this time these two wise sages, Nárada and
Párvata,[296] ascended Mount Meru to Swarga, the heaven of Indra, and
they saluted the Cloud-compeller within his palace. The immortal lord
bade them welcome, and asked how it fared with the world. Narada said
it fared well with the world and with all the mighty kings. Then Indra
spake, saying: “Where are all the royal heroes? Why do they not come
hither as my honoured guests?”[297]

[296] Two of the ten Rishis (saints) who were sons of Bráhma. Narada
was a messenger of the gods. Parvata was his great rival.

[297] Indra wonders that no battle-slain heroes are arriving at the
Indian Valhal.

The wise sage made answer and said: “O Cloud-compeller, the great
rajahs cannot appear before thee because even now they are hastening
one and all to the swayamvara of Damayantí, the renowned daughter of
Bhima, the fairest woman upon earth. O slayer of drought demons, every
king seeks to woo this maid of transcending beauty, for she is the
pearl of all the world.”

As Narada spake, the other gods drew nigh and listened to his stately
utterance. Then together they exclaimed with rapture: “We also will go
thither....” In an instant they were hastening through the air in their
chariots towards the city of Vidarbha to mingle with the wooers of
Bhima's fair daughter.

Meanwhile Nala had set forth with joy, his heart full of love for
Damayantí. The gods beheld him standing upon the surface of the earth
with radiance like to the sun, and they arrested their course, gazing
in mute wonder, for he was as comely as the god of love. Then, dropping
down through the blue air, they hailed the stately hero, saying: “Do as
we now beseech thee, O most excellent of princes; be thou the bearer of
our message.”

Nala adored the gods with folded hands and promised to obey their will,
saying humbly: “Who are ye that now command my service?”

Indra spoke and said: “Lo! we are the dread guardians of the world. I
am Indra, lord of heaven; yon is Agni, god of fire; here is Varuna,
king of the waters; and there is Yama, lord of the dead.[298] Thou must
inform Damayantí that we have come to woo her and say to her: ‘_Choose
for thine husband one of the celestial beings_’.”

[298] At the period the poem was composed there were only four
“guardians”; later there were eight.

Nala made answer with folded hands, saying: “Send me not, I entreat
thee, upon this mission. How can I who am enamoured with the maiden,
plead aright the cause of another. In mercy spare me, ye gods—spare me
this unwelcome service.”

But the gods would not be moved from their purpose. They reminded Nala
he had already promised to do their will, and they therefore urged him
to set forth without delay lest he should belie his words.

Then the lord of Nishadha pleaded: “The palace of Bhima is strongly
guarded, and I cannot enter there.”

Indra said: “Thou wilt indeed enter.”

And lo! even as the god spake, Nala found himself standing before
Damayantí in her secret bower.

The beauteous maiden was surrounded by her virgin band, and he gazed
upon her faultless limbs and slender waist and into her entrancing
eyes. Her shining beauty excelled even the tender rays of the moon. The
love of Nala grew deeper and stronger as he looked upon the smiling
princess; but he curbed his passion, remembering his mission.

All the maidens gazed with wonder and joy at the noble form, and in
their hearts they exclaimed: “Oh! the splendid one; oh! the strong and
mighty hero—who is he?... Is he god, or Yaksha, or Gandharva?” But
they spoke not a word, for they were made bashfully silent by reason of
his beauty.

Nala smiled upon Damayantí, and first she smiled softly in return; then
she exclaimed in her wonder: “Who art thou that hast come hither like a
celestial being to awaken all my love. Speak and tell, O sinless lord.
How didst thou contrive to enter the palace unseen, for surely all the
chambers are strongly guarded by stern orders of the king?”[299]

[299] Evidently the zenana system was in vogue prior to the Mohammedan

The rajah made answer, saying: “O thou fairest one, know now that I am
even Nala, and that I come hither as the messenger of the gods Indra
and Agni, Varuna and Yama, and through their power have I entered here,
unseen nor stayed, for it is their desire that I should say unto thee:
‘_Choose, O princess, for thine husband one of the celestial beings_’.
Such is the purpose of my mission from the great world guardians.
Having heard me, thou mayst decide as thou wilt.”

Damayanti at once did homage to the gods. Then she smiled upon Nala
and spoke, saying: “Lo! I am thine already, and whatsoever I possess
is thine also. O give me thy love in return, Nala. For know that my
heart's love was increased by the endearing words of the swan, and it
is because of thee that the rajahs are all gathered here now. If thou
wilt despise me, I will suffer death for thy sake by fire, or by water,
or even by the noose[300].”

[300] Death by hanging was not regarded as a special disgrace.

The rajah made answer and said: “Wilt thou despise these, the gods,
and choose for thine husband a mortal who is more lowly than the dust
they walk upon? Let thy heart aspire to them. Remember, too, that the
man who incurs the anger of the world's dread guardians will meet with
certain death. From such a fate oh shield me, thou fairest one!... So
choose one of the perfect gods, and thou shalt have robes unsullied by
dust, garlands that never fade, and celestial joy without end.”

Trembling, and with tear-dimmed eyes, Damayantí said: “I do homage with
due humility to all the gods, but oh! I desire thee for my husband,
thee and thee only.”

But Nala spake, saying: “I am charged with the mission of the
celestial beings, and cannot plead for myself now. But afterwards
I will come to claim thee, and will speak boldly, O bright one, so
remember me in thine heart.”

The maiden smiled through her tears. “Ah!” she said, “I see now a way
of escape.... When thou comest to the swayamvara, enter thou together
with the gods, and I will name thee as mine own, so that no sin may be
charged against thee.”

Then Nala returned to the gods, who waited him eagerly, and he told
them all that the maiden had said, word for word. “In thy wisdom,” he
added, “thou wilt judge of what remains, O ye excelling gods.”

When at length the day of happy omen, the day of the swayamvara,
arrived, Bhima summoned at noontide all the love-sick rajahs, and they
passed through the court of golden columns and under the bright portal
arch, and entered the Hall of State like to lions on the mountains. The
rajahs were then seated on their thrones, adorned with garlands and
with dangling ear gems. The arms of some were robust and powerful like
the battle mace; those of others were delicate and smooth as a serpent.
With profuse and flowing hair, shapely noses, and arching eyebrows,
the faces of these great lords were radiant as the stars in heaven. As
a mountain cave is full of tigers, so was Bhima's great Hall full of
rajah tigers on that day.

When Damayantí entered in state, every eye and every soul was entranced
by her dazzling beauty; all these lords of earth gazed upon her with
unmoving eyes.... The name of each rajah was proclaimed in turn, and
Nala, looking about her, was suddenly stricken with dismay, for she
perceived that there were present five Nalas who were undistinguishable
in form and attire one from another. The four gods who desired to win
her had each assumed the likeness of her beloved one. Whichsoever of
these she gazed upon, he seemed to be her rajah, and in her secret
heart she wailed: “How can I discern Nala among the celestial beings?”

In her sore distress the trembling maiden folded her hands and did
homage before the gods, to whom she prayed, saying:

    “When I heard the sweet words of the swans, I pledged my heart to
    Nala. I adjure thee by this truth, O ye gods. Oh! reveal my lord.

    “From my faith I have never swerved either by word or by deed. I
    adjure thee by this truth, O ye all-knowing Powers. Oh! reveal my

    “The gods have destined that Nala should be mine husband. I adjure
    thee by this truth. Oh! reveal my lord.

    “The vow which I so pledged to Nala is holy, and I must ever keep
    it. I adjure thee by this truth. Oh! reveal my lord.

    “O ye mighty ones, ye guardians of the world, assume now your forms
    divine, so that I may know Nala, the monarch of men.”

The gods heard the sad maiden's piteous prayer and marvelled
greatly. They perceived that her resolve was firm, that she was
constant in truth and in love, and was holy and wise, and that she
remained faithful to her lord. So they revealed the tokens of their
greatness....[301] Then Damayantí was able to discern the four
celestial beings because their skins were without moisture and their
eyes never winked, there was no dust on their garlands and their feet
did not touch the earth. She also knew Nala because he cast a shadow;
there was dust on his raiment, and his garland was beginning to fade;
drops of moisture stood on his skin, and his eyelids moved.

[301] Deities cast no shadows, they never perspired, nor did their feet
touch the ground when walking. Their eyes never winked.

_From the painting by Warwick Goble_

Gazing first upon the celestial beings and then upon him who was her
heart's desire, Damayantí named Nala as her lord. She modestly touched
the hem of his garment and threw round his neck a wreath of bright
flowers, and thus chose him for her husband.

All the rivals of Nala uttered cries of sorrow, but the gods and the
sages exclaimed aloud: “Well done! Well done!” and honoured the lord of

Nala spake in his joy to fair Damayantí, saying: “Since thou, O maiden
with serene smile, hast chosen me for thine husband in the presence of
the gods, know that I will be a faithful consort who will ever take
delight in thy words. I am thine, and so long as my life endures I will
be thine only.”

So did the lord of Nishadha pledge his faith, and the heart of the
maiden was made glad. The happy pair then did homage before the gods,
and these resplendent guardians of the earth bestowed, in their joy,
eight surpassing gifts upon Nala. Indra gave him power to behold the
godhead in the sacrifice, and power to walk unhindered by any obstacle
wheresoever he desired; Agni gave him power over fire, and power over
the three worlds;[302] Varuna gave him power over water, and power
to obtain fresh garlands at will; and Yama gave him subtle skill in
preparing food, and eminence in every virtue. Each of the gods also
conferred his double blessing upon Nala, and thereafter they departed.

[302] Heaven, earth, and the underworld.

All the rajahs wondered greatly when they beheld the maiden's choice
confirmed in this manner, and they went away as they came, with joy,
and returned unto their own domains.

Bhima rejoiced greatly when the happy bridal was celebrated in pomp and
with state, and he bade Nala adieu with great courtesy when that great
lord of Nishadha, after fitting sojourn at Vidarbha, set out to return
to his native city with the pearl of women whom he had won.

Now it chanced that when the gods had left the swayamvara they met
in the midst of the blue air Kali[303], the demon of evil, who was
accompanied by the wicked spirit Dwápara. Indra, the slayer of giants,
spoke and said: “Whither art thou going with Dwápara, O Kali?”

[303] Dowson regards the demon Kali as the personification of the Kali

Kali made answer: “We are hastening to the swayamvara, for it is my
desire to obtain Damayantí as my bride.”

Smiling, the king of gods spake, saying: “The bridal is now arranged
and ended, for lo! the fair Damayantí has chosen Nala for her husband
in our presence.”

When he heard these words, the heart of Kali was made angry, and
he exclaimed: “Since she has preferred a mortal in presence of the
celestial beings, let her choice be her own doom.”

But the gods said: “Know thou that our consent was freely given,
because Damayantí has chosen for herself a husband endowed with all the
virtues, and equal even to the guardians of the world. If anyone should
chance to curse Nala, the curse will recoil fatally, and the curser
will be cast into the torments of the dark lake of hell.” Having spoken
thus, the bright deities ascended the heavens.

Then said Kali to Dwapara: “I cannot now control my fierce wrath. Lo!
I will be avenged upon Nala, for I will enter his body, and he will be
bereft of his kingdom and of his bride. Thou, Dwapara, wilt enter the
dice and give me thine aid.”

So was a malignant compact arranged between the demon of evil and his
darksome ally, and together they went towards Nishadha to haunt the
stately palace of Nala, waiting for the fatal moment.


Wanderings in the Forest

 Nala Possessed by a Demon—A Brother's Challenge—The Game
 of Dice—The Rajah's Stakes—Alarm of Citizens—Damayantí's
 Grief—Flight of Children—A Kingdom Gambled away—The Exiled
 King—His Faithful Wife—Departure to the Forest—Damayantí
 Deserted—Seized by a Serpent—Rescued by a Huntsman—A Terrible
 Curse—Forest Perils—Appeal to a Tiger—The Holy Mountain—Prophecy
 of Hermits—Address to the Asoka Tree—The Caravan—Disasters of a
 Night—Damayantí's Flight to Chedi.

For twelve bright years Nala and Damayantí lived happily together. The
great rajah ruled his people justly; he offered up every sacrifice
to the gods, and he gave sumptuous gifts to holy men. Fair Damayantí
became the mother of a beauteous daughter, who was named Indrasena, and
of a comely son, who was named Indrasen. So were the blessings of life
showered upon the blissful pair.

But at length there came a day when, after performing an unclean act,
Nala sipped holy water and went to prayer with unwashed feet.[304] The
watchful Kali seized this fatal opportunity, and straightway entered
the rajah and possessed his inmost soul. Then that evil demon summoned
Push´kara, the brother of Nala, saying: “Come now and throw dice with
the king. I will give thee mine aid, so that thou wilt be enabled to
win the whole realm for thyself.”

[304] The ceremony of purification included the sipping of water and
the washing of feet.

Pushkara at once challenged his brother, whereupon the wicked spirit
Dwapara entered the dice.

Nala gave ready consent to take part in the game of hazard, for he was
swayed by evil Kali. Then the two rivals began to play together in the
presence of Damayantí.

The great rajah staked his wealth, and he was worsted; he staked his
golden treasures and he staked his chariots, and still he was worsted;
he staked his rich attire, and he continued to lose. The passion for
dice had possessed Nala like to sudden madness, and it was in vain that
his friends endeavoured to restrain him.

In time rumours of dire happenings went abroad through the city,
whereupon the rajah's faithful subjects, accompanied by high
counsellors of state, assembled at the palace gate with desire to
prevail upon him to cease playing. They urged upon Damayantí to
intervene, and the spirit-broken daughter of Bhima approached Nala in
anguish and in dismay, and with tear-choking voice she spoke to him,
saying: “All thy subjects are gathered without, for they cannot endure
the thought that misfortune should fall upon thee.”

Nala heard her, but answered not a word, because his soul was clouded
by evil Kali. Then the wise men said: “It is not he;” and they departed
to their homes in sorrow and in shame....

So the play went on; daily it went on through many weary months, and
Nala was always worsted.

When, in the end, Damayantí perceived that all the treasures were lost,
she sent for the faithful charioteer, Várshneya, and spoke to him,
saying: “Hasten now and yoke Nala's speedy and much-loved steeds, and
place my children in the chariot. Then drive quickly to the city of my
kindred and leave them in care of my father, the Rajah Bhima. When thou
hast done me that service, O Varshneya, thou mayst go wheresoever thou

So the charioteer conveyed the beauteous girl Indrasena and the comely
boy Indrasen to the city of Vidarbha, and he delivered them safely unto
Bhima, whom he informed fully regarding the fall of Nala. Thereafter
he departed, sorrowing greatly, and went to the city of Ayodhyá,[305]
where he took service with the renowned Rajah Rituparna.

[305] Ayodhyá signifies “invincible” city. It is identified with the
modern Oude.

Nala played on; he continued to throw the dice, until at length he
had lost all his possessions. Then Pushkara smiled and spoke to his
stricken brother, saying: “Now, throw but one more hazard. Where is
your stake? Ah! you have naught left now save Damayantí. Let us throw
the dice for her.”

At these words Nala's heart was rent in twain. Mute with sorrow, he
gazed upon his brother.... He arose and stripped off his rich vestments
one by one in the presence of his lamenting friends. Then slowly and in
silence he went forth, naked and alone. Damayantí, wearing but a single
garment, followed him behind. Together they stood at the city gates.

Then Pushkara, who had become rajah, caused to be proclaimed throughout
the city the dread decree: “_Whosoever giveth food or drink unto Nala
shall be immediately put to death_”.

In their terror the people could not give further help to the fallen
king, and for three days and three nights he drank water only. Then he
plucked wild fruit and roots from the earth, and these he ate. Nala
thereafter wandered away from Nishadha, an outcast among men, and
Damayantí followed him behind.

Tortured by hunger, the fallen king at length beheld on the ground a
flock of birds with gold-flecked wings, and he said in his heart: “Now
I will make me a welcome feast.”

So he crept forward and flung over them his single garment; but they
rose in the air, carrying it away with them. As they went they cried
out mockingly in human language and said: “Know now, O foolish king,
that we are the dice. We came hither on purpose to despoil thee
utterly, for so long as thou hadst left a single garment our joy was

Thereupon Nala spoke to Damayantí in his anguish, saying: “O blameless
one, by whose anger have I been driven from my kingdom and rendered
thus unable to procure any food? Listen now to my counsel. The roads
diverge here before us, and one leads southward past the caves of holy
hermits, which are stored with food, towards the kingdom of thy royal

Anxiously did Nala point out the way and urge upon Bhima's fair
daughter to take refuge in Vidarbha ere he would enter the great forest.

Weighed down by her heavy sorrow, Damayantí made answer with
tear-choking voice: “Alas! thy words of counsel cause my heart to break
and my limbs to fail me. How can I leave thee all alone in trackless
forest when thou hast lost thy kingdom and thy riches, and whilst thou
art athirst and tortured by hunger? Rather let me comfort thee, O my
husband, when in thy grief, and, famine-stricken as thou now art, thou
dost ponder wearily over thy lost happiness, for in truth have wise
physicians said that a wife is the only balsam and the only healing
herb for her husband's sorrow.”

Said Nala: “Thou hast spoken truly. There is indeed no medicine for a
stricken man like to his wife's love. Think not that I desire to part
from thee.... Would that I could abandon myself!”

Damayantí wept and said: “If thou wouldst not leave me, why, O king,
dost thou make heavier my sorrow by pointing out the way to Vidarbha?
Thou art too noble to abandon me, yet thou dost show me the road
southward. If it is meet that I should return unto my father, come
thou with me and he will bid thee welcome, and we could dwell together
happily in his palace.”

Nala made answer sadly: “Ah! never can I return in my shame to that
city where I have appeared aforetime in pride and in splendour.”

Then, comforting Damayantí, Nala wandered on with her through the
deep forest, and they made one garment serve them both. Greatly they
suffered from hunger and from thirst, and when at length they came to a
lonely hut, they sat down on the hard ground, nor had they even a mat
to rest upon. Damayantí was overcome with weariness, and soon she sank
asleep; she lay all naked on that bare floor. But there was no rest for
Nala; he thought with pain of his lost kingdom and the friends who had
deserted him, and of the weary journey he must make in the midst of the
great forest. “Ah! were it better to die now and end all,” he mused,
“or to desert her whom I love? She is devoted unto me more deeply
than I deserve. Perchance if she were abandoned she would return to
Vidarbha. She is unable to endure my sufferings and the constant sorrow
which must be mine.”

Long he pondered thus, until Kali swayed him to desert his faithful
wife. So he severed her garment and used half of it. He turned away
from the fair princess as she lay fast asleep.

Repenting in his heart, Nala returned speedily and gazed upon fair
Damayantí with pity and with love. He wept bitterly, saying: “Ah! thou
dost sleep on the bare hard ground whom neither sun nor storm hath ever
used roughly. O my loved one, thou hast ever awakened to smile. How
wilt thou fare when thou dost discover that thy lord hath abandoned
thee in the midst of the perilous forest?... May sun and wind and the
spirits of the wood protect thee, and may thou be shielded ever by
thine own great virtue!”

Then the distracted rajah, prompted by Kali again, hastened away; but
his heart was torn by his love, which drew him back.... So time and
again he came and went, like to a swing, backward and forward, until in
the end the evil spirit conquered him, and he departed from Damayantí,
who moaned fitfully in her sleep; and he plunged into the depths of the

Ere long the fair princess awoke, and when she perceived that she was
all alone she uttered a piteous scream and cried out: “Oh! where art
thou, my king, my lord, my sole protector?... I am lost; oh! I am
undone. I am helpless and alone in the perilous wood.... Ah! now thou
art but deceiving me. Do not mock me, my lord. Art thou hidden there
among the bushes? Oh, speak!... Why dost thou not make answer?... I do
not sorrow for myself only. I cannot well endure that thou shouldst be
alone, that thou shouldst thirst and be anhungered and very weary, and
without me to give thee comfort....”

So she wailed as she searched through the forest for Nala, now casting
herself upon the ground, now sitting to pine in silence, and anon
crying out in her grief. At length she said: “Oh, may he who causeth
Nala to suffer endure even greater agony than he endureth, and may he
live for ever in darkness and in misery!”

Hither and thither she wandered, seeking her lord, and ever was she
heard crying: “Alas! O alas! my husband.”

Suddenly a great serpent rose up in its wrath and coiled itself round
her fair body....

“Oh! my guardian,” she cried, “I am now undone. The serpent hath seized
me. Why art thou not near?... Ah! who will comfort thee now in thy
sorrow, O blameless Nala?”

As she lamented thus, a passing huntsman heard her cries; he broke
through the jungle and beheld Damayantí in the coils of the serpent....
Nimbly he darted forward and with a single blow smote off the monster's
head, and thus rescued the beauteous lady from her awesome peril. Then
he washed her body and gave her food, and she was refreshed.

“Who art thou, O fair-eyed one?” he asked. “Why dost thou wander thus
alone in the perilous wood?”

Damayantí of faultless form thereupon related to the huntsman the story
of her sorrow. As she spoke, his frail heart was moved by her great
beauty, and he uttered amorous words with whining voice.... Perceiving
his evil intent, she was roused to fierce anger. Her chastity was her
sole defence, and she cursed him so that he immediately fell down dead
like to a tree that has been smitten by lightning and is suddenly

[306] The power of a curse is illustrated in Southey's _Curse of

Freed thus from the savage huntsman of wild beasts, the lotus-eyed
Damayantí wandered on through the deep forest, which resounded
everywhere with the song of the cricket. All around her were trees of
every form and name, and she beheld shady arbours, deep valleys, and
wooded hill summits, and lakes and pools, loud resounding waterfalls,
and great flowing rivers. The forest was drear and appalling: it was
full of lions and tigers, of countless birds and fierce robbers. She
saw buffaloes and wild boars feeding, and the fierce and awesome forms
that were there also—serpents and giants and terrible demons.... But,
protected by her virtue, she wandered on all alone without fear. Her
sole anxiety was for Nala, and she wept for him, crying: “Ah! where
art thou? O blameless one, remember now thy vows and thy plighted
faith. Remember the words which the gold-winged swan addressed unto
thee.... Am I not thy loved one?... Oh! why dost thou not make answer
in this dark and perilous forest? The savage beasts are gaping to
devour me. Why art thou not near to save?... I am weak and pallid and
dust-stained, and have need of thee, my protector.... Whom can I ask
for Nala? The tiger is before me, the king of the forest, and I am
not afraid. I address him, saying: ‘Oh! I am lonely, and wretched,
and sorrowful, seeking for my exiled husband. If thou hast seen him,
console me; if thou hast not seen him, devour me, and set me free from
this misery.’ ... But the tiger turns down to the river bank, and I
wander onward towards the holy mountain, the monarch of hills.

“'Hear me!' I cry. I salute thee, O Mountain.... I am a king's daughter
and the consort of a king, the illustrious lord of Nishadha, the
pious, the faultless one, who is courageous as the elephant.... Hast
thou seen my Nala, O mighty Mountain?... Ah! why dost thou not answer
me?... Comfort thou me now as if I were thine own child.... Oh! shall I
ever behold him again, and ever hear again his honey-sweet voice, like
music, saying: ‘Daughter of Vidarbha,’ while it doth soothe all my pain
with its blessed sound?...”

Having thus addressed the mountain, Damayantí turned northward and
wandered on for three days and three nights. Then she reached a holy
grove, and entered it humbly and without fear. She beheld there the
cells of hermits and their bright sacred fires. The holy men were
struck with wonder by reason of her beauty, and they bade her welcome,
saying: “Art thou a goddess of the wood, or of the mountain, or of the
river? O speak and tell.”

Damayantí made answer: “I am not a goddess of the wood, or a mountain
spirit, or yet a river nymph, but a mortal woman.”

Then she related to the holy men the story of her sorrow and her
wandering, and these seers spoke to her and said: “A time cometh soon,
a time of beauty, when thou wilt again behold Nala in splendour and
sin-released ruling over his people.”

When they had spoken thus, all the holy men vanished, and their sacred
fires vanished also. Damayantí stood a while in silent wonder, and in
her heart she said: “Have I seen a vision?...” Then she went towards
another region.

Lamenting for Nala, the fair one came to a beauteous asoka tree[307]:
its green branches were gemmed with gleaming fruit, and were melodious
with the songs of birds. “O happy tree,” she cried, “take away all my
grief.... Say, hast thou beheld my Nala, the slayer of his enemies, my
beloved lord? Oh! hast thou seen my one love, with smooth, bright skin,
wandering alone in the forest? Answer me, O blessed Asoka, so that I
may depart from thee in joy. Ah! hear and speak thou happy tree....”

[307] A (not) soka (sorrow). This beautiful tree has exquisitely
coloured and abundant blossom, varying from rich orange red to primrose
yellow. It is sacred to Siva.

So, wailing in her deep anguish, Damayantí moved round the asoka. Then
she went towards a lonelier and more fearsome region.... She passed
many a river and many mountains, and she saw numerous birds and deer
as she wandered on and on, searching for her lost lord.

At length she beheld a great caravan of merchants. Ponderous elephants
and eager camels, prancing horses and rumbling cars came through a
river. The river banks were fringed by cane and tangled undergrowth;
the curlew called aloud there, and the osprey; red geese were
clamouring; turtles were numerous, as were the fish and the serpents
likewise. All the noble animals of the caravan came splashing noisily
across the ford.

The great concourse of travellers stared with wonder on the
slender-waisted, maniac-like woman, clad in but half a garment, smeared
with dust and pale and sorrowful, her long hair all matted and miry.
Some there were who fled from her in fear. But others took pity and
said: “Who art thou, O lady, and what seekest thou in the lonely
forest? Art thou a goddess of the mountain, or of the forest, or of the
plain?... We pray for thy protection; be mindful of our welfare so that
we may prosper upon our journey.”

Then Damayantí told the story of her misfortune and sorrow, and all
the travellers gathered round about to hear—boys and young men and
grey-haired sages. “Oh! have you beheld my lord, my Nala?” she cried
unto them.

The captain of the band answered her “Nay”; and she asked him whither
the caravan was bound, whereat he said: “We are going towards the realm
of Chedi, over which Subáhu is king.” When the merchants resumed their
journey, Damayantí went with them.

Through the forest they travelled a long distance, and at eventide they
reached the green shore of a beautiful wide lake which sparkled with
bright lotus blooms.[308] The camp was pitched in the middle of a
deep grove. Gladly did the men bathe with their wearied animals in the
delicious, ice-cool waters.

[308] They are coloured red, white, and blue.

At midnight all slept.... In the deep silence a herd of wild forest
elephants, with moisture oozing from their temples,[309] came down to
drink from the gurgling stream which flowed nigh to the camp. When they
scented the tame elephants lying crouched in slumber, they trumpeted
aloud, and of a sudden charged ponderously and fell upon them like to
mountain peaks tumbling into the valleys beneath.... Trees and tents
were thrown down as they trampled through the camping ground, and the
travellers awoke panic-stricken, crying: “Oh! Alas! Ah! Oh!” Some
fled through the forest; others, blind with sleep, stood gasping with
wonder, and the elephants slew them. The camp was scattered in the
dire confusion; many animals were gored; men overthrew one another,
endeavouring to escape; many shrieked in terror, and a few climbed
trees. Voices were heard calling: “It is a fire!” and merchants
screamed, “Why fly away so speedily? Save the precious jewels, O ye

[309] Rutting elephants. The seasonal juice is odorous, and issues from
minute holes on each side of the elephant's temples.

Amidst the tumult and the slaughter Damayantí awoke, trembling with
fear, and she made swift escape, nor suffered a wound. In the deep
forest she came nigh to the few men who had found refuge, and she heard
them say one to another:

“What deed have we done to bring this misfortune upon us? Have we
forgotten to adore Manibhadra[310], the high king of the Yakshas?
Worshipped we not, ere we set forth, the dread spirits which bring
disasters? Was it doomed that all omens should be belied? How hath it
come that such a disaster hath befallen us?”

[310] Manibhadra, the demi-god, was worshipped by travellers, and
resembles Kuvera, god of wealth.

Others who had been bereft of their kindred and their wealth, and were
in misery, said: “Who was she—that ill-omened, maniac-eyed woman who
came amongst us? In truth she seemed scarcely human. Surely it is by
reason of her evil power that disaster hath befallen us. Ah! she is a
witch, or she is a sorceress, or mayhap a demon.... Without doubt she
is the cause of all our woes.... Would that we could find her—oh the
evil destroyer! Oh the curse of our host!... Let us slay the murderess
with clods and with stones, with canes and with staves, or else with
our fists....”[311]

[311] A curious glimpse of Hindu ideas regarding demi-gods or demons.

When the terrified and innocent Damayantí heard these fearsome threats,
she fled away through the trees, lamenting her fate, and wailing:
“Alas! alas! my terrible doom doth haunt me still. Misfortune dogs my
footsteps.... I have no memory of any sin of thought or deed—of any
wrong done by me to living beings. Perchance, oh, alas! I did sin in
my former life, and am now suffering due punishment.... For I suffer,
indeed. I have lost my husband; my kingdom is lost; I have lost my
kindred; my noble Nala has been taken from me, and I am far removed
from my children, and I wander alone in the wood of serpents.”

When morning broke, the sorrowful queen met with some holy Brahmans who
had escaped the night's disaster, and she went with them towards the
city of Chedi.

The people gazed with wonder on Damayantí when she walked though the
streets with her dust-smeared body and matted hair. The children danced
about her as she wandered about like to a maniac, so miserable and
weary and emaciated.

It chanced that the sorrowing woman came nigh to the royal palace. The
mother of the king looked forth from a window, and beheld her and said:
“Hasten, and bid this poor wanderer to enter. Although stricken and
half-clothed she hath, methinks, the beauty of Indra's long-eyed queen.
Let her have refuge from those staring men.”

Damayantí was then led before the queen mother, who spoke gently,
saying: “Although bowed down with grief, thou art beautiful of form.
Thou fearest not anyone. Who art thou so well protected by thine own

Bhima's daughter wept, lamenting her fate, and related all that had
befallen her, but did not reveal who she was. Then the queen mother
said: “Dwell thou here with me, and our servants shall go in quest of
thy husband.”

Damayantí said: “O mother of heroes, if I abide here with thee I
must eat not of food remnants, nor do menial service, nor can I hold
converse with any man save the holy Brahmans who promise to search for
my husband.”

The royal lady made answer: “As thou desireth, so let it be.” Then she
spake to Sunanda, her daughter, saying: “This lady will be to thee a
handmaiden and a friend. She is of thine own age and thy worthy peer.
Be happy together.”

At these words the Princess Sunanda was made glad, and she led the
strange woman unto her own abode, where sat all her virgin handmaidens.

There Damayantí dwelt for a time, waiting for her lost husband.


Nala in Exile

 Nala's Wanderings—The Magic Fire—King of Serpents Rescued—Nala
 Transformed—His Service as a Charioteer—Life in Ayodhya—The Evening
 Song of Sorrow—Search for Damayantí—How she was Discovered—Her
 Departure from Chedi—Search for Nala—A Woman's Faith—Journey to the
 Swayamvara—The Tree Wonder—Demon Leaves Nala's Body—The Coming of
 the Chariot—Damayanti's Vow.

Soon after Nala had fled into the forest depths, deserting the faithful
Damayantí, he beheld a great fire which blazed furiously. As he drew
nigh he heard a voice crying over and over again from the midst of the
sacred flames: “Hasten, Nala! Oh, hasten, Nala, and come hither!”

Now, Agni had given Nala power over fire, so crying: “Have no fear,” he
leapt through the flames.... In the space within that blazing circle
be beheld the king of serpents lying coiled up in a ring with folded
hands and unable to move.[312] “Lo! I am Karkotaka,” the serpent said,
“and am suffering this punishment because that I deceived the holy
sage Nárada, who thereupon cursed me, saying: ‘Thou wilt remain here
in the midst of the flames until Nala cometh nigh to free thee from my
curse’.... So do I lie without power to move. O mighty rajah, if thou
wilt rescue me even now, I will reward thee abundantly with my noble
friendship, and help thee to attain great happiness. Oh lift me all
speedily from out of this fiery place, thou noble rajah!”

[312] This serpent was a demi-god with human face and hands. It ruled
its kind in the underworld, and recalls the Egyptian king serpent in
the story of the shipwrecked sailor.—See _Egyptian Myth and Legend_.
It is also called Vasuka and Shesha.

When he had spoken thus, Karkotaka, king of the serpents, shrank to the
size of a man's finger, whereupon Nala uplifted and carried him safely
through the flames to a cool and refreshing space without.

The serpent then said: “Now walk on and count thy steps, so that good
fortune may be assured to thee.”

Nala walked nine steps, but ere he could take the tenth the serpent bit
him, whereat the rajah was suddenly transformed into a misshapen dwarf
with short arms.

Then Karkotaka said: “Know now that I have thus changed thy form so
that no man may know thee. My poison, too, will cause unceasing anguish
to the evil one who possesseth thy soul; he will suffer greatly until
he shall set thee free from thy sorrow. So wilt thou be delivered from
thine enemy, O blameless one.... My poison will harm thee not, and
henceforth, by reason of my power, thou wilt have no need to fear the
wild boar, or any foeman, or a Brahman, or the sages. Ever in battle
thou wilt be victorious.... Now, go thy way, and be called ‘Váhuka, the
charioteer’. Hasten thou unto the city of Ayodhya[313] and enter the
service of the royal Rajah Rituparna, the skilful in dice. Thou wilt
teach him how to subdue horses, and he will impart to thee the secret
of dice. Then wilt thou again have joy. Sorrow not, therefore, for thy
wife and thy children will be restored unto thee, and thou wilt regain
thy kingdom.”

[313] Oudh.

Then the serpent gave unto Nala a magic robe, saying: “When it is thy
desire to be as thou wert, O king, think of me and put on this garment,
and thou wilt immediately resume thy wonted form.”

Having spoken thus, the king of serpents vanished from sight. Thereupon
Nala went towards the city of Ayodhyá, and he stood in the presence of
the royal Rajah Rituparna, unto whom he spoke thus: “My name is Váhuká.
I am a tamer of steeds, nor is my equal to be found in the world; and I
have surpassing skill in cooking viands.”

The rajah welcomed him and took him into his service, saying: “Thou
shalt cause my horses to be fleet of foot. Be thou master of mine own
steed, and thy reward will be great.”

He was well pleased and gave unto Váhuka for comrades Várshneya, who
had been in Nala's service, and Jívala also. So the transformed rajah
abode a long time at Ayodhya, and every evening, sitting alone, he sang
a single verse:

    Where is she all worn but faithful, weary, thirsty, hung'ring too?
    Thinks she of her foolish husband?... Doth another man her woo?

Ever thus he sang, and his comrades heard him and wondered greatly. So
it came that one evening Jívala spoke to Nala and said: “For whom do
you sorrow thus, O Váhuka? I pray you to tell me. Who is the husband of
this lady?”

Nala answered him with sad voice and said: “Once there was a peerless
lady, and she had a husband of weakly will. And lo! as they wandered in
a forest together, he fled from her without cause, and yet he sorrowed
greatly. Ever by day and by night is he consumed by his overwhelming
grief, and brooding ever, he sings this melancholy song. He is a weary
wanderer in the wide world, and his sorrow is without end; it is never
still.... His wife wanders all forlorn in the forest. Ah! she deserved
not such a fate. Thirsting and anhungered she wanders alone because
her lord forsook her and fled; wild beasts are about her, seeking to
devour; the wood is full of perils.... It may be that she is not now

Thus did Nala sorrow in his secret heart over Damayantí during his long
sojourn at Ayodhya, while he served the renowned Rajah Rituparna.

Meanwhile King Bhima was causing search to be made for his lost
daughter and her royal husband. Abundant rewards were offered to
Bráhmans, who went through every kingdom and every city in quest of the
missing pair. It chanced that a Brahman, named Sudeva, entered Chedi
when a royal holiday was being celebrated, and he beheld Damayantí
standing beside the Princess Sunanda and the queen mother at the royal

Sudeva perceived that her loveliness had been dimmed by sorrow, and to
himself he said as he gazed upon her: “Ah! the lady with lotus eyes is
like to the moon, darkly beautiful; her splendour hath shrunken like
the crescent moon veiled in cloud—she who aforetime was beheld in
the full moonlight of her glory. Pining for her lost husband, she is
like to a darksome night when the moon is swallowed; her sorrow hath
stricken her like to a river which has become dry, like to a shrunken
pool in which lotus blooms shrivel and fade; she is, indeed, like to
withered lotus.... Doth Nala live now without the bride who thus mourns
for him?... When, oh when shall Damayantí be restored once again unto
her lord as the moon bride is restored unto the peerless moon?[314] ...
Methinks I will speak....”

[314] The moon is masculine, and the marriage occurs at a certain
phase. In Egypt the moon is male, but was identified with imported
female deities. In Norse mythology Mani is moon god; there was,
however, an earlier moon goddess, Nana. In Ireland and Scotland the
moon was not individualized—that is, not in the Gaelic language. The
words for moon in A. Saxon and German are masculine; in Gaelic they are

The Brahman then approached Damayantí and said: “I am Sudeva. Thy royal
sire and thy mother and thy children are well.... A hundred Brahmans
have been sent forth throughout the world to search for thee, O noble

Damayantí heard him and wept.

The Princess Sunanda spoke to her queen mother, saying: “Lo! our
handmaid weeps because that the Brahman hath spoken unto her.... Who
she is we shall speedily know now.”

Then the queen mother conducted the holy man to her chambers and spoke
to him, saying: “Who is she—this mysterious and noble stranger, O holy

Sudeva spoke in answer: “Her name is Damayantí, and her sire is King
Bhima, lord of Vidarbha. Her husband is Nala.... From birth she has had
a dark beauty spot like to a lotus between her fair eyebrows. Although
it is covered with dust, I perceived it, and so I knew her. By Brahma
was this spot made as the sign of his beauty-creating power.”

The queen mother bade Sudeva to remove the dust from the beauty spot
of Bhima's daughter. When this was done, it came forth like to the
unclouded moon in heaven, and the royal lady and her daughter wept
together and embraced the fair Damayantí[315].

[315] The Gaelic Diarmid had similarly a beauty spot on his forehead.
Women who saw it immediately fell in love with him.

Then the queen mother said: “Lo! thou art mine own sister's daughter,
O beauteous one. Our sire is the Rajah Sudáman who reigns at
Dasárna[316].... Once I beheld thee as a child.... Ah! ask of me
whatsoever thou desirest and it shall be thine.”

[316] Dasarna, “Ten Forts”, in the south-eastern part of Central

“Alas! I am a banished mother,” Damayantí said with fast-flowing
tears. “Permit me, therefore, to return unto my children who have been
orphaned of mother and sire.”

The queen mother said: “Be it so.”

Then Damayantí was given an army to guard her on her journey towards
her native city, and she was welcomed there by all her kindred and
friends with great rejoicing. King Bhima rewarded Sudeva with a
thousand kine, and a town's revenue for a village.[317]

[317] A Bráhman village settlement.

When Damayantí was embraced by her mother she said: “Now our chief duty
is to bring home Nala.”

The queen wept, and spoke to her husband, the royal Bhima, saying: “Our
daughter still mourns heavily for lost lord and cannot be comforted.”

Then Bhima urged the Brahmans to search for Nala, offering munificent
reward when that he should be found. Damayantí addressed these holy men
ere they departed and said unto them: “Wheresoever thou goest, speak
this my message over and over again:

 “_Whither art thou gone, O gambler, who didst sever my garment in
 twain? Thou didst leave thy loved one as she lay slumbering in the
 savage wood. Lo! she is awaiting thy return: by day and by night she
 sitteth alone, consumed by her grief. Oh hear her prayer and have
 compassion, thou noble hero, because that she ever weepeth for thee in
 the depths of her despair!_”

So the holy men went through every kingdom and every city repeating the
message of Damayantí over and over again; but when they began to return
one by one, each told with sadness that his quest had been in vain.

Then came unto Vidarbha that Brahman, the wise Parnada, who had
sojourned a time in the city of Ayodhya. He addressed the daughter of
Bhima, saying: “Unto Rituparna I spake regarding thy husband, repeating
thy message, but he answered not a word. So I went out from before him.
Thereafter there came to me his charioteer, a man with short arms and
misshapen body. His name is Váhuka, and he is skilled in driving the
swift chariot and in preparing viands. He sorrowed greatly, and with
melancholy voice spoke unto me these words:

 ‘_In the excess of her sorrow a noble woman will compose herself and
 remain constant, and so win heaven by her virtues. She is protected
 by the breastplate of her chastity, and will suffer no harm. Nor will
 she yield to anger although she be deserted by her lord, whose robe
 the birds have taken away, leaving him in sore distress. She will
 not be moved to wrath against her husband, the sorrow-stricken and
 famine-wasted, who hath been bereft of his kingdom and despoiled of

When I heard the stranger's speech I came speedily hither to repeat it
unto thee.”

Damayantí at once went and spoke to her mother privately, for she was
assured that Vahuka, the charioteer, was her royal lord. Then she gave
of her wealth to the Brahman, saying: “Thou wilt get more if Nala
returns home.” The wise Parnada was weary with travel, and he departed
to his own village.

Neither Damayantí nor her mother made known unto King Bhima their
discovery nor yet their immediate purpose. Secretly the wife of Nala
spake to Sudeva and said: “Hasten thou unto the city of Ayodhya, and
appear before the Rajah Rituparna as if thou hadst come by chance,
and say unto him: ‘_Once again is the daughter of Bhima to hold her
swayamvara. All the kings and all the sons of kings are hastening as
aforetime to Vidarbha. To-morrow at dawn she will choose for herself a
new lord, for no one knoweth whether Nala liveth or not._’”

So Sudeva went unto Ayodhya and spake as Damayantí desired of him, and
then said: “If thou wouldst win the princess, O Rituparna, thou must go
swiftly, for when the sun rises she will choose her a second husband.”

Rituparna at once sent for Vahuka, and said: “O skilled charioteer, I
must needs hasten to Vidarbha in a single day, because that the fair
Damayantí holdeth her swayamvara at dawn to-morrow.”

At these words the heart of Nala was torn with grief, and he said unto
himself: “Is this but a stratagem to deceive me? Or is she whom I
wronged estranged in mind? Hath she grown fickle of heart, she who hath
been soul-stricken by grief in the depths of despair?”

Then he spake unto Rituparna and said: “As thou desirest so will I do,
O Rituparna. I will drive thee in a single day to Vidarbha.”

Having promised thus, he went forth and selected four steeds of high
courage with the ten good marks,[318] which were as swift as the wind.
He yoked them in haste, spake to them soothingly, and then set forth
with Rituparna and Varshneya also at full speed. The rajah sat in
silent wonder as the chariot went swiftly, and to himself he said:
“Vahuka hath the god-like skill of the charioteer of heaven.... Can he
be Nala, who hath taken himself another body? If he is not Nala, he is
one who hath equal skill. Great men are wandering at times to and fro
in disguise—gods who are hidden in human form.”

[318] Ten twists or “eddies” of hair called A-vartas—one on forehead,
two on breast, one on each flank hollow, &c.

So the rajah marvelled and thought, while he rejoiced in the matchless
skill of the misshapen charioteer.

Swiftly they went. Over hills and rivers and over forests and lakes
the chariot glided like to a bird through the air.... Of a sudden the
rajah's robe was swept away, and he cried to the charioteer, saying:
“Stop at instant, so that Varshneya may hasten back and recover my

Nala paused not, and said: “Thy robe is now five miles behind us, and
we cannot wait to recover it.”

So they went on with all speed. Ere long Rituparna beheld a lofty
fruit tree, named Vibhítak, and he said to Vahuka: “Now, skilful
charioteer, thou shalt perceive my ability in numbers. No single mind
is accomplished in every kind of knowledge. On two branches of yonder
fruit tree are fifty million leaves and two thousand and ninety-five

Vahuka said: “The leaves and the fruit are invisible to me. But I will
tear off a branch and count the berries while Varshneya doth hold the

“But,” urged the rajah, “we cannot pause on our journey.”

Vahuka said: “Thou mayst stay with me, or thou canst let Varshneya
drive thee at full speed.”

Then the rajah spoke soothingly, saying: “O matchless charioteer! I
cannot go on without thee to Vidarbha. I trust in thee. If thou wilt
promise that we will reach the city ere night falls, I will do even as
you desire.”

The transformed Nala made answer: “I will indeed make haste when I have
counted the berries.”

So the horses were drawn up, and Nala tore a branch from the tree.
Having counted the berries, he found they were in number even as the
rajah had said, and he exclaimed: “Wonderful, indeed, is thy power, O
Rituparna! Fain would I know thy secret.”

Now the rajah was eager to proceed on his way, and he said: “I know the
secret of the dice, and am therefore skilled in numbers.”

“Then,” said Nala, “if thou wilt impart to me thy secret, I will give
thee knowledge in steeds.”

Rituparna made answer thereat: “So be it;” and he forthwith informed
the charioteer in the science of dice.

Now when Nala grew skilful in dice, Kali immediately passed out of his
body, and Nishadha's fallen king vomited forth the serpent poison and
was made weak with the struggle. Released from the venom, Kali resumed
his wonted form, but he was beheld by Nala alone, who sought to curse

In his terror, the evil demon folded his hands and said: “Do not injure
me, O king, and I will give thee matchless fame.... Know thou that
Damayantí cursed me heavily in her wrath when thou didst desert her in
the forest, and I have ever since endured great agony. Night and day,
too, have I been scorched by the poison of the king of serpents.... Now
I seek thy pity. I come to thee that thou mayst be my refuge. Lo! I
promise, if thou wilt not curse me, that he who henceforth faileth not
to praise thee, will have no dread of me in his heart.”

Nala's wrath subsided, and he permitted Kali to enter the cloven fruit
tree. Then he leapt into the chariot and drove on, and Kali returned
unto his own place.

The chariot flew on like a bird, and the soul of Nala was elated with
gladness. But he still retained the form of Vahuka.

At eventide the watchmen on the walls of Vidarbha proclaimed the
coming of Rituparna, and King Bhima gave permission that he should
enter by the city gate.

All that region echoed the thunder of the rumbling chariot. Nala's
horses, which Várshneya had driven from Nishadha, and were within the
city, careered and neighed aloud as if Nala were beside them once again.

Damayantí also heard the approaching chariot, and her beating heart
was like a cloud which thunders as the rain cometh on. Her soul was
thrilled by the familiar sound, and it seemed to her that Nala was
drawing nigh....[319] On the palace roofs peacocks craned their necks
and danced,[320] and elephants in their stalls, with uplifted trunks,
trumpeted aloud as if rain were about to fall.

[319] This recalls: “He came even unto them.... The driving is like
the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.”—2
_Kings_, ix, 20.

[320] The Indian peacock is sensitive to rain, and goes round “dancing”
when it is coming on.

Damayantí said: “The sound of the chariot fills my soul with ecstasy.
Surely my lord cometh. Oh, if I see not soon the moon-fair face of Nala
I will surely die, for, thinking of his virtues, my heart is rent with
sorrow. Unless he cometh now I will no longer live, but will perish by


The Homecoming of the King

 Damayantí's Suspicions—Maid Interviews the Charioteer—The Message
 Repeated—A Husband's Emotion—Wonders Performed by Nala—Wife's Final
 Test—Children Visit their Father—Interview in the Palace—Nala
 Reproaches Damayantí—Her Confession and Vindication—Message from
 the Gods—Husband and Wife Reunited—Nala Returns to Nishadha—The
 Second Gambling Match—Nala Wins back his Kingdom—Erring Brother
 Forgiven—King and Queen Once More.

With sorrowful anxiety Damayantí ascended to the roof terrace of the
lofty palace to gaze upon the chariot as it entered the middle court.
She saw Rituparna stepping down, and Varshneya, who followed him, while
Váhuka began to unyoke the foaming steeds.

King Bhima, who knew naught of his daughter's stratagem, received
the royal Rajah of Ayodhya with much courtesy, and said: “I bid thee
welcome, O king.... Why hast thou come hither?”

Now Rituparna wondered greatly that he beheld no kings or kings' sons,
or even signs that a swayamvara was about to be held, but he kept his
counsel and said: “I have come to salute thee, O Bhima.”

The royal sire of Damayantí smiled thereat and said unto himself: “He
hath not come so speedily through many cities for such a purpose. But
we shall know betimes why he hath made this journey.”

Rituparna was conducted to his chamber for rest and refreshment by a
company of royal servants, and Várshneya went with them.

Meanwhile Vahuka led his horses to the stables, and Damayantí descended
to her chamber, thinking again and again that the sound of the coming
chariot was like to the sound of Nala drawing nigh. So she called her
fair handmaid, who was named Keśiní, and said unto her: “Go forth and
speak to the misshapen charioteer with short arms, for methinks he is
Nala.... Ask thou him who he is, and be mindful of his answer.”

The handmaiden went forth and spoke unto Váhuka, saying: “Lo! the
Princess Damayantí would fain know whence ye come and for what purpose.”

Said Vahuka: “King Rituparna hath heard that the swayamvara is to be
held at dawn to-morrow, so he set forth from Ayodhya and came hither
swifter than the wind. I am his charioteer.”

Keśiní asked him: “Who is the third man who hath come?”

Said Váhuka: “Várshneya is his name. He departed unto Ayodhya when Nala
fled away.... I am skilled in taming steeds and in preparing viands.”

The handmaiden then asked: “And doth this Varshneya know whither Nala
hath fled and how he fares. Hath he told thee aught regarding him?”

Said Váhuka: “Várshneya carried away the children of Nala from
Nishadha, but he knows not aught of the rajah, O fair one. Indeed, no
man knoweth. He hath assumed a strange form, and wanders disguised
about the world.... Nala alone knoweth, nor will he reveal himself.”

Keśiní then spake, saying: “When the holy Brahman went unto the city
of Ayodhya he uttered those words of Damayantí once and once again:

 ‘_Whither art thou gone, O gambler, who didst sever my garment in
 twain? Thou didst leave thy loved one as she lay slumbering in the
 savage wood. Lo! she is awaiting thy return. By day and by night she
 sitteth alone, consumed by her grief. Oh! hear her prayer and have
 compassion, thou noble hero, because that she ever weepeth for thee in
 the depths of her despair._’

Now speak again, I pray thee, the words which thou didst utter to the
Brahman, for they gave healing to the stricken heart of Damayantí. Fain
would the princess hear that speech once more.”

Then was the soul of Nala rent with grief, hearing the message of
Damayantí, and with tearful voice he said, repeating his former

 “_In the excess of her sorrow a noble woman will compose herself and
 remain constant, and so win heaven by her virtues. She is protected
 by the breastplate of her chastity, and will suffer no harm. Nor will
 she yield to anger, although she be deserted by her lord, whose robe
 the birds have taken away, leaving him in sore distress. She will
 not be moved to wrath against her husband, the sorrow-stricken and
 famine-wasted, who hath been bereft of his kingdom and despoiled of

Nala could scarce restrain his emotion as he spoke these words. Then
the fair Keśiní hastened unto Damayantí and told all.

In her distress the princess said unto her handmaiden: “Go thou and
observe this man closely, and return betimes to inform me of all he
doeth. When he doth prepare viands for his royal master let no fire be
given unto him nor any water.”

Keśiní hastened forth to watch the charioteer, and when she returned
she said: “O princess, this man is like unto a god. When he approacheth
a low-built entrance he doth not stoop; the portal rises before him.
Much flesh was given unto him to prepare viands for Rituparna. He but
gazed on the empty vessels and they were filled with water. No fire was
lit, and he took a handful of withered grass and held it up to the sun,
whereupon it blazed instantly, and oh! the marvel, his fingers were
unscorched by the flames. Water flows at his will, and as quickly it
vanisheth. And lo! I beheld another marvel. When he lifted up flowers
that had faded they were immediately refreshed, so that they had
greater beauty and richer fragrance than before.”[321]

[321] The powers given Nala by the gods as marriage gifts are here

Damayantí was fully assured that Váhuka was no other than her husband
in altered form, and, weeping, she said softly: “Ah! go once again to
the kitchen, fair Keśiní, and obtain without his knowledge a small
portion of the food which he hath prepared.”

Ere long the handmaiden returned with a morsel of well-cooked meat, and
when Damayantí, who had ofttimes tried the food which had been cooked
by her husband, tasted thereof, she uttered a loud cry in her anguish,
and said: “Yon charioteer is Nala!”

Then she sipped water of ablution,[322] and sent her two children with
Keśiní to the kitchen. Immediately that the charioteer beheld Indrasena
and her brother he embraced them tenderly: he gazed lovingly upon the
children, who were as beautiful as the children of the gods, and his
soul was deeply moved, while tears ran down his cheeks. Seeing that the
handmaiden observed him closely, he said: “Ah! the little ones are so
like unto mine own children that I could not restrain my tears.... Let
us part now, O innocent maiden; we are in a land of strangers, and if
thou comest so often men will speak ill of thee.”

[322] A part of the ceremony of purification. The mouth was washed
after eating, drinking, expectorating, slumbering, &c.

When Damayantí was told how the charioteer had been so profoundly
moved when he saw the royal children, she sent Keśiní unto her mother,
the queen, for she was impatient to behold her husband once again.
The handmaiden spake to the queen, saying: “Lo! we have observed the
charioteer closely, and believe that he is Nala, although misshapen of
form. Damayantí is fain he would come before her, with or without the
knowledge of her sire, and that quickly.”

The queen at once went unto Bhima and told him all, and the rajah gave
permission that the charioteer should be summoned. In an instant word
was sent unto Nala, and soon he stood before Damayantí and gazed upon
her, and was moved to anguish. The princess was clad in a robe of
scarlet, and her hair was thrown into disarray and defiled with dust:
she wept and trembled with emotion.

At length Damayantí spoke, saying: “O Váhuka, hast thou ever heard of a
noble and upright man who fled away, abandoning his sleeping wife in a
forest? Innocent was she, and worn out with grief. Who was he who thus
forsook his wife but the lordly Nala?... What offence did I give unto
him that he should have deserted me while I slept? Was he not chosen
by me as mine husband even before the gods?... How could he abandon
her who loved him—the mother of his children?... Before the celestial
beings he pledged his faith. How hath he kept his vow?”

She spoke with broken voice, and her dark eyes were dewed by sorrow.

Nala made answer, gazing upon his beloved wife, and said: “My kingdom I
lost by the dice, but I was innocent of evil, because Kali possessed my
soul, and by that demon was I also swayed to desert thee, O timid one!
But thou didst smite him with thy curse when thou wert in the forest
mourning for me, yet he remained in my body until, in the end, he was
conquered by my long-suffering and devotion. Lo! now, O beauteous
one, our grief is nigh to its end. The evil one hath departed, and
through love of thee I come hither right speedily.... But how,” he
asked sternly, “may a high-born lady choose her another husband, as
thou wouldst fain do, even now, O faint heart? The heralds have gone up
and down the land saying: ‘_The daughter of Bhima will hold her second
swayamvara because such is her fancy._’ And for this reason Rituparna
made haste to come hither.”[323]

[323] According to the laws of Manu, second marriages were unlawful.
Apparently, however, they were permissible at the early period of the
poem, at least in some districts.

Damayantí shook with emotion when these hard words were spoken, and
she addressed Nala, saying: “Do not suspect me, O noble one, of such
shameful guilt. It was for thee and thee alone that the Bráhmans went
forth repeating the message which I addressed unto them. Lo! when
I learned of the words thou didst speak unto the wise Parnada, I
conceived this stratagem with purpose to bring thee hither. Faithful
of heart have I remained, nor ever have I thought evil of thee. I call
upon the wind to slay me now if I have sinned: on the sun I call also
and on the moon, which enters into every thought of living beings. Let
these three gods who govern the three worlds[324] speak now to prove my
words, or else turn against me.”

[324] Heaven, the earth, and the underworld.

Then the wind which the princess had adjured spake from without and
said: “O Nala, Damayantí hath done no evil, nor hath she thought on
evil. For three long years she hath treasured up her virtue in its
fullness. She speaketh what is true even now. Thou hast found the
daughter of Bhima: the daughter of Bhima hath found thee. Take now
thine own wife to thy bosom.”

Even as the wind was speaking, flowers fell out of heaven all around
them,[325] and the soft music of the gods floated down the wind. Nala
marvelled greatly, and gazed with love upon the innocent Damayantí.
Then he put on the holy garment and thought upon the king of serpents.
Immediately he resumed his own form, and the daughter of Bhima beheld
her lost husband once again.

[325] A sign of divine approval and favour.

Damayantí shrieked and embraced Nala, and she hid her face in his
bosom. He was again travel-worn and dust-stained as he clasped her to
his heart, and she sighed softly. Long they stood there, speaking no
words, in silent ecstasy.... The children were brought in and Nala
embraced them once more.

Then did the queen, who rejoiced greatly, inform Bhima of Nala's
return, and he said: “When he has performed his ablutions he will be
re-united to Damayantí on the morrow.”

The whole night long the happy pair sat together in the palace relating
all that had befallen them during the years that they were parted one
from another.

On the morn that followed Nala was again wedded to Damayantí, and
thereafter he paid homage to Bhima. The glad tidings of his return
spread swiftly through the city, and there was great rejoicing. Soon
all the houses were decorated with banners and garlands; the streets
were watered and strewn with flowers. The altars of the gods were also

When Rituparna came to know that his charioteer, Váhuka, was the Rajah
of Nishadha, he was well pleased, and he went into Nala's presence and
said: “May thou have joy with thy queen to whom thou art re-united.
Have I ever done aught unjustly unto thee whilst thou wert in my
palace? If so, I now seek thy forgiveness.”

Said Nala, “No injustice have I ever suffered from thee, mine old
friend and kinsman.... I give thee fully all I have—my skill in

Rituparna was grateful unto Nala for his gift. He gave in return fuller
instruction in the science of dice, and thereafter departed to his own

When a month had gone past Nala took leave of King Bhima and went
towards Nishadha with one great chariot, sixteen elephants, fifty
armed horsemen, and six hundred foot soldiers. The whole force entered
the city boldly and made the earth to shake. Nala at once went before
Pushkara and said: “I would fain throw dice with thee once again. I
have much wealth and will stake all my treasure and even Damayantí
upon the hazard. Thou, Pushkara, must stake thy kingdom. Let us stake
everything; let us play for our lives. And know, too, that, according
to ancient law, he who wins a kingdom by gambling must accept the
challenge to play the counter game.... If thou wilt not play, then let
us settle our difference in single combat.”

Pushkara restrained from smiling, for he was confident of success, so
with haughty contempt he made answer:

“It is joy to me that thou dost again possess great treasure to enable
thee to play. It is joy also to me that I can win Damayantí with
faultless limbs. Soon, indeed, will Bhima's daughter be decorated with
the treasure which I shall win; she shall stand by my side as Apsarás,
queen of heaven, stands beside Indra. Long have I waited for thee so
that I might win Damayantí and be fully satisfied.”

Nala would fain have drawn his sword, but composed himself, and, with
angry eyes and scornful smile, he said: “Cease this idle chatter and
let us play. Thereafter thou wilt have no desire to speak.”

Immediately the two brothers set to the game, and Nala won at a single
hazard all that he had lost. Then he smiled and said: “Now the whole
kingdom is mine once again. Fallen monarch! never wilt thou behold the
fair Damayantí because thou art become her slave.... Know now, that
thou didst not triumph heretofore by reason of thine own skill, but
because Kali aided thee, nor didst thou perceive this, O fool!... But
fear not that I will take vengeance.... I give thee back thy life. Thou
wilt have an estate and revenues and my friendship, because I remember,
O Pushkara, that thou art my brother.... Mayst thou live for a hundred

Then Nala embraced his brother, who did homage with hands folded,
saying: “May thy splendour endure for ever! May thou live for ten
thousand years! Thou hast given me my life and a city in which to live.”

Pushkara remained with Nala for a month, and then went his way to his
own domain.

All Nishadha rejoiced because that their rightful king had returned.
The counsellors of state did homage before Nala, and said: “There is
great joy now in city and country, and the people come to honour thee
even as Indra is honoured by all the gods.”

When the rejoicings were over, and the city of Nishadha was again
tranquil, Damayantí returned home escorted by a great army, and she
brought great treasures which her royal sire Bhima, the terrible in
strength, had conferred upon her. With the long-eyed queen came her
children also.

Thereafter Nala lived in happiness like unto the mighty Indra, being
happily restored to his kingdom, and once again the monarch among men.
He achieved great renown as a ruler, and he performed every holy rite
with munificence and devotion.


Story of Rama: How Sita was Won

 The Poet of the _Ramayana_—Brahma's Command—Two Great Kingdoms—A
 Childless Maharajah—Horse Sacrifice to Obtain Offspring—The Demon
 King of Ceylon—Gods Appeal to Vishnu for Help—Birth of Rama and
 his Brethren—Stories of Childhood—Vishwamitra takes away Rama
 and Lakshmana—Forest Battles with Rakshasas—Breaking of Shiva's
 Bow—Sita is Won—Choice of an Heir—Rama is Favoured—The Hunchback's
 Plot—Fulfilment of an Old Vow—Prince Bharata Chosen and Rama
 Banished—A Faithful Wife and Loyal Brother.

Now hear the tale of Rama and Sita, which was related unto the poet
Valmiki[326] by Narada, the renowned Rishi. Be it told that when
Valmiki came to know of the adventures and achievements of the great
prince, he went towards the river to bathe, musing the while. It
chanced that two fond herons disported on the bank, when suddenly a
passing huntsman shot the male bird, which at once fell dead in a pool
of blood. Great was the grief of the female heron, and Valmiki's heart
was so deeply moved by its cries of distress that he gave utterance to
his emotions in a stream of metrical speech. In this manner was the
_sloka_ metre invented. Then came towards the brooding poet the supreme
god Brahma, who smiled and commanded him to celebrate the story of Rama
in the poetic measure which, involuntarily, he had invented. Valmiki
prepared himself accordingly to fulfil the desire of Brahma. He sat
upon a carpet of Kusa grass, sipped holy water, and became absorbed
in thought, until visions of the story were revealed before his eyes.
Sloka by sloka and book by book, he composed the _Ramayana_; and as
long as mountains endure and rivers run towards the sea, so long will
it be repeated by the lips of mankind.

[326] _Pron._ val-mee´kee.


Valmiki sang that in days of yore there were two mighty kingdoms
in sun-bright Hindustan, and these were Ko´sala, whose King was
Dasarat´ha, father of Rama, and Mit´hila,[327] which was ruled over by
Jan´aka, the father of beauteous Sita.

[327] The kingdoms of Oudh and North Behar.

Now the capital of Kosala was Ayodhya[328], which shone in splendour
like to Indra's celestial city; it had wide streets with large
dwellings, richly decorated temples, towering like mountains, and grand
and noble palaces. In the palace gardens there were numerous birds and
flowers, shady groves of fruit trees, and lakes gemmed with bee-loved
lotuses; the soft winds were wont to beat back the white water-blooms
from the honey bees as coy maidens are withheld by the impulses of
modesty from their eager lovers. Birds disported on the gleaming lakes,
kingfishers were angered to behold themselves mirrored in the depths,
thinking they gazed upon rivals, and ruffled the waters with their
flapping wings.... The city of Ayodhya was full of prosperous and happy

[328] _Pron._ a-yõd´hya.

Maharajah Dasaratha, who was of the Solar Race, dwelt in a stately
palace; it was surrounded by strong walls, and guarded by a thousand
warriors fierce as flames of consuming fire, and ever watchful like to
mountain lions which protect their dens. Eight sage counsellors served
the monarch with devotion, and he had two family priests, Vasishtha and

But although Dasaratha was mighty and powerful, and prospered greatly,
his heart was full of sorrow because that no son had been born to him
by either of his three queens, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra....
At length he resolved to perform the Aswamedha (horse sacrifice) so
that the gods might be prevailed upon to grant him an heir who would
perpetuate his race. When his will was made known to the queens, their
faces brightened as the lotus brightens at the promise of spring.

So it came to pass that a black horse was let loose on the night of
the full moon of the month of Choitro[329]. A Brahman accompanied it,
and after wandering for a full year, the animal returned again to the

[329] Easter full moon.

[330] As we have seen, Arjuna and an army accompanied the white horse
which was sacrificed in the _Mahábhárata_.

Many rajahs attended the ceremony which took place on the north bank
of the Sarayu river. Twenty-one sacrificial posts were set up for the
birds, and beasts, and reptiles, which were to be offered up besides
the horse, and there were eighteen Homa pits. When the fire was kindled
upon the altar, Kausalya, the chief queen, slew the horse with the
sacred scimitar, while the Brahmans chanted mantras.... All night long
Kausalya and Kaikeyi, wives of the Maharajah, sat beside the horse's
body, as was needful in performance of the rite.... Portions of the
flesh were duly given to the fire, and when the ceremony was completed,
Dasaratha awarded great gifts of kine and treasure to the Brahmans.

An oblation was afterwards offered to the gods, who came to the place
of sacrifice with the music-loving Gandharvas, the Celestial saints,
the Siddhas[331], and seven Deva-rishis. Brahma came with Vishnu
and Shiva, and Indra came also with the hastening Maruts. Ere they
departed, the gods promised that four sons would be born to Dasaratha.

[331] The spirits of ancestors.

After this, Indra and the other gods[332] journeyed to the heaven of
Brahma, and spake regarding Ravana[333], the monarch of demons, who had
his dwelling in Lanká.[334]

[332] The Vedic deities.

[333] _Pron._ rah´va-na.

[334] He is called a Rakshasa king in the _Ramayana_. Ravana appears to
be the Brahmanical conception of Vritra, the ruler of the Danavas or
Asuras. Lanká is Ceylon.

Now Ravana had performed such great penances that Brahma rendered
him invulnerable to gods and demons, with the result that the demon
made Yama, god of death, his slave, and put Agni and Vayu, and the
sun and moon, under subjection; indeed, he oppressed all the gods and
obstructed sacrifices and despoiled the Brahmans. So Indra and other
minor deities entreated Brahma to deliver them from the sway of Ravana.

Brahma heard the gods, and then conducted them to Vishnu's dwelling in
the Ocean of Milk. Indra and the others honoured the Preserver, and
cried: “O Lord of the Universe, remove the afflictions which press
heavily upon us. Brahma hath blessed Ravana, nor can recall his gift.
Save us, therefore, from the oppression of the demon king.”

Vishnu spake and said: “Be not afraid, for I shall deliver you all.
Ravana entreated Brahma for protection against all beings save the
apes and men. Go therefore towards the earth, ye gods, and assume the
guise of apes, and lo! I will divide myself into four parts and be born
as the four sons of Maharajah Dasaratha. When I shall battle against
Ravana, you will hasten to mine aid.”

It came to pass that the wives of Dasaratha, who had eaten of
sacrificial food, became the mothers of sons—Kausalya of Rama,
Kaikeyi of Bharata, and Sumitra of Laksh´mana, and Satrughna. The
people of the kingdom rejoiced greatly; they danced and sang and decked
Ayodhya with streamers and flower garlands.

Of the four children Rama was the most beautiful: lying in his white
cradle he was like to a blue lotus bloom amidst the gleaming waves of
the Ganges. Vasishtha, the wise Brahman, perceived that he had all the
marks of Vishnu, and revealed his knowledge to the Maharajah, by whom
the child was well beloved. One evening the full moon rose in all its
splendour, and Rama stretched out his hands because he desired to have
it for a toy. His mother bought him jewels, but he threw them from him
and wailed and wept until his eyes were red and swollen. Many of the
women assembled round the cradle in deep concern. One said that the
child was hungry, but he refused to drink; another that the Sasti was
unpropitious, and offerings were at once made to that goddess; still
Rama wept. A third woman declared that a ghost haunted and terrified
the child, and mantras were chanted.

When the women found that they were unable to soothe Kausalya's son,
the Maharajah was called, but Rama heeded him not. In his despair
Dasaratha sent for his chief counsellor, who placed in Rama's hands a
mirror which reflected the moon. Then the little prince was comforted,
believing that he had obtained the moon; he ceased to weep, and
everyone was put at ease once again.

When the children grew older they began to lisp words, and as they were
unable to pronounce “peeta” and “mata”[335] they said “pa” and “ma”. If
Rama were asked his name, he answered “Ama”. Sometimes the Maharajah
sat among his sage counsellors with the little boy upon his knee.

[335] Father and mother.

In their third year the princes had their ears pierced, and after that
they played with other children. They made clay images of gods and put
clay offerings in their mouths, and they broke the images because they
would not eat.

Their education began when they were five years old. Vasishtha was the
preceptor, and first he worshipped Saraswati, goddess of learning, and
instructed his pupils to make offerings of flowers and fruit. They
received instruction daily, beginning with the alphabet; then they
studied grammar, and at length they mastered eighteen languages; they
were also instructed in music and dancing and painting, and in all the
sciences. From time to time the princes were examined by their royal
sire in the presence of his counsellors. Afterwards they were trained
to exercise in arms and take part in military sports, and they became
skilled archers, and elephant riders, and horsemen and charioteers.
Of all the princes Rama was the most accomplished; he rose above the
others like to a flag which flutters proudly above a high dome.

Now when the princes were sixteen years old, their royal sire began to
consider what brides should be selected for them. It chanced that while
he was discussing this matter one day with his counsellors, Vishwamitra
paid a visit to the palace. Dasaratha welcomed him with due honours,
and spake saying: “Speak and tell what is thy request so that I may
grant it speedily.”

That mighty sage, who had been a Kshatriya in former times, but
became a Brahman after practising rigid and long austerities, made
answer and said: “O Maharajah, the Rakshasas are destroying our
sacrificial offerings, and I pray you to permit Rama to return with me
to my hermitage, for he is mighty and brave and young and is able to
overpower the demons.”

Reluctantly did Dasaratha consent, but not until Vasishtha had
reassured him, and he commanded that Lakshmana should accompany Rama to
the hermitage. Then the princes took leave of their parents and went
away with Vishwamitra.

On the first night they abode in a hermitage situated where the river
Sarayu pours into the Ganges, and the sage informed the princes that on
that very spot Shiva had been wounded by the arrows of Kamadeva, god of
love, whom he angrily consumed with the fire that issued from his third

Next day the sage led the two princes towards a dark and fearsome
jungle haunted by numerous beasts of prey, in which dwelt the terrible
Rakshasa woman named Taraka, mother of Maricha;[336] she was misshapen
and horrible, and continually ravaged all that country. Rama twanged
his bow to challenge her, and she came towards the princes roaring
angrily and throwing boulders. Because she was a female, the sons of
Dasaratha were reluctant to cause her death. Rama shot arrows and cut
off both her arms, and Lakshmana deprived her of nose and ears. She
immediately changed her shape and became invisible, but by the power
of sorcery continued to cause many stones to fall in showers about the
young heroes. Vishwamitra urged Rama to slay her, and, guided by sound
alone, he shot a great arrow which caused her death. Then the sage
rejoiced greatly, and embracing Rama kissed his head.

[336] The fighting Rakshasas of the _Mahábhárata_ are all males. Here
the female—the mother of demons—is prominent, as in _Beowulf_ and
typical Scottish stories.

In the morning Vishwamitra chanted powerful mantras, which caused
Celestial weapons to appear for Rama, and the spirits of the weapons
stood before the prince with clasped hands and said: “_We are thy
servants, O nobly generous one. Good betide thee! Whatever thou dost
desire, lo! we shall accomplish for thee._”[337]

[337] A Gaelic axiom says, “Every weapon has its demon”.

Said Rama: “When I have need of you, I will think of you, and then you
will wait upon me.”

Thereafter Vishwamitra led the princes to his hermitage, which was
situated in a pleasant grove where deer disported and birds sang
sweetly. All the sages welcomed them. It chanced that when six days had
gone past, the Brahmans prepared to offer up a sacrifice. Suddenly a
band of Rakshasas, led by Maricha, son of the hag Taraka and Savahu,
rushed towards the altar to defile the offering with bones and blood.
Rama thought of his Celestial weapons, and they immediately appeared
beside him. He cast one at Maricha which drove him hundreds of miles
out to sea, and he threw a fire weapon at Savahu which consumed him;
then he attacked and slew all the other demons.... The sages rejoiced
greatly, and honoured the prince.

Next morning Vishwamitra informed Rama and Lakshmana that he and the
other sages purposed to attend a great sacrifice which was to be
offered up by Janaka, Rajah of Mithila. “You will accompany us,” he
said, “and the rajah will show you Shiva's great bow, which neither god
nor man can break.”

Now, both while they abode at the hermitage and as they journeyed
towards Mithila, the princes heard the sacred legends of Vishnu in his
dwarf incarnation, of the Churning of the Ocean, of the descent of
Ganga through Shiva's hair, and of the cursing of Indra by a sage.

At length they reached the capital of Janaka,[338] King of Mithila, who
welcomed Vishwamitra, and said: “Who are these courageous young men
with the majesty of elephants and the fearlessness of tigers? Comely
are they as the twin Aswins.”

[338] “The remains of the capital founded by Janaka, and thence termed
Janakpur, are still to be seen, according to Buchanan, on the northern
frontier at the Janeckpoor of the maps.”—Note to Professor H. H.
Wilson's translation of the _Uttara Rama Charita_.

Said the sage: “These are sons of Dasaratha; they are slayers of
Rakshasas, and desire greatly to behold Shiva's mighty bow.”

Then the monarch spake to the nobles and warriors, and said: “Bring
forth the bow.”

His command was immediately obeyed. From an inner hall many stalwart
men hauled the stupendous bow on an eight-wheeled iron chariot into the
presence of the monarch of Mithila.

“Behold the bow of Shiva!” cried the warriors.

Said Janaka: “Behold the mighty bow which has been treasured by
generations of kings. Many rajahs and warriors have endeavoured in vain
to bend it; even Rakshasas and Asuras have failed; the gods themselves
quail before it.... To the rajah who can bend this mighty weapon I will
give in marriage my daughter, the beauteous Sita.”

Rama gazed with wonder, and then said: “Permit me to lift and bend thy

Wondering greatly at these words, the monarch and many high nobles and
strong warriors gathered round about.... With smiling face, Rama lifted
the bow; then proudly he strung it, whereat those who looked on were
all amazed.... The prince put forth his strength and bent the bow with
resistless force until it snapped in the middle with a terrible noise
like to thunder; the earth shook and the mountains echoed aloud....
At the loud crash, which resembled the roar of Indra's thunderbolt,
all who were present fell down stunned and terrified save Janaka and
Vishwamitra and the two sons of Dasaratha.

Said the monarch: “Now have mine eyes beheld a great wonder. Peerless
is Rama, the noble one, and he shall be given for wife my daughter
Sita, who is dearer to me than life.... Let speedy messengers hasten
unto Dasaratha and bid him to come hither.”

When Dasaratha reached Janaka's capital, Rama and Sita were wedded
amidst great rejoicings.

Happy were the lovers together. When they arrived at Ayodhya the people
welcomed them, and Dasaratha's queens embraced and kissed the soft-eyed
bride of peerless fame.

It is told that on their honeymoon they loved to wander in the
moonlight. On a night of warmth and beauty they went to the banks of a
pond which sparkled with lotus blooms.

Said Rama: “My loved one, graceful art thou as the lotus, thy hair is
like silken moss, thine eyes like beautiful bees; fair is thy face as
the moon's soft image amidst the waters, thine arms are shapely lotus
stalks, and thy bosom is like to buds of sweet lotus, O my peerless

They plunged together into the cool, moon-swept waters, and Rama cast
at his bride many fair water blooms. Sita retreated before him until
she went beyond her depth; then she clung lovingly to Rama, twining her
arms about his neck, nor did he hasten to draw her back, so dearly he
loved to be embraced by her.

Hide-and-seek they then played amidst the floating flowers. Rama sank
down until his face only was seen, and Sita, who searched for him,
knew not whether she saw the face of Rama or a blue lotus bloom on the
surface of the pond. Bending down to smell what seemed to be a flower,
she touched her lover's lips, and he kissed her sweetly. Then Sita hid
herself, and her face was like to a lotus bloom among lotus blooms.
Rama kissed her many times ere she moved or smiled.... At length they
darted merrily from the pond in bright moonlight, their garments
dripping sparkling water drops, and then they drank cups of honey;
the heart of Sita was intoxicated, and she babbled words of love and

Rama and Sita spent happy hours together, sharing supreme joy like to
Vishnu and peerless Lakshmi in the bright Celestial regions.

The Maharajah Dasaratha was growing old, and his counsellors and the
people began to consider who should be appointed Yuvarajah (Young
Rajah), to take over the duties of sovereignty and allow the monarch
to spend his closing years in preparation for death, so that he might
secure heaven in the next life.

All the sages and chieftains favoured the choice of Rama, and the
heart of Dasaratha was filled with joy. The people rejoiced also when
it was told to them that Rama was to become their ruler, and they
raised shouts of triumph and gladness. Then Rama was sent for, and
the Maharajah blessed him and bade him to spend the night in Vishnu's
temple with his wife Sita, to prepare for the ceremony of installation
on the morrow. That night the city of Ayodhya was illuminated, and the
people prepared to decorate the streets with garlands and streamers
when the dawn came.

Now there was one who did not rejoice, because that she hated Rama, son
of the queen Kausalya. This was the old nurse of Prince Bharata, son of
the queen Kaikeyi[339]. Her name was Manthara; she had been the slave
of Kaikeyi while that queen yet abode in the palace of her sire, the
rajah Aswapati. Ugly and misshapen was Manthara; she was short-necked,
flat-breasted, and had legs like a crane; she was big-bellied and
humpbacked. When Rama was a child she had offended him and he smote
her, and ever afterwards she regarded him with fierce enmity.

[339] _Pron._ ky-kay-yee´.

It chanced that Kaikeyi was gazing idly from the palace roof on the
illuminated and bustling streets, when the hunchbacked slave approached
her, and said: “Canst thou be merry, O foolish one, on this night?
Thou art threatened by dire misfortune. Dasaratha hath deceived thee.
Thy son Bharata hath been sent to thy father's city, so that the son
of Kausalya may be installed as Yuvarajah on the morrow. Henceforth
thou wilt be the bondswoman of Kausalya, Rama's mother, and thou wilt
have to wait obediently on the commands of proud Sita. Hasten now and
prevent this dread happening.”

Said Kaikeyi: “Why do you hate Rama? He is the eldest son of the chief
queen, and Bharata could not become Yuvarajah without the consent of
Kausalya's son, who honours me as he honours his own mother.”

Manthara fumed with wonder and indignation at these words; then she
said: “What madness hath blinded thee? What folly maketh thee heedless
of the gulf of sorrow which awaiteth thee and thy son? I am older than
thou art, and have seen dark deeds committed in royal houses. Can
Bharata become the slave of Rama? Well I know that jealous Rama will
drive thy lordly son into exile and mayhap slay him.... Arise, thou
heedless queen, and save Bharata, lest he be sent to wander alone in
the fearsome jungle. Speak thy mandate to the Maharajah, whose heart
hath been captivated by thy beauty.... Any other woman but thee would
rather die than suffer a rival wife to triumph over her.”

Said Kaikeyi, whose heart began to burn with jealous anger: “How can I
prevail upon Dasaratha to exalt my son and send Rama into exile?”

Then the hunchback reminded Bharata's mother that she had been promised
two boons by her husband. In time past Dasaratha had gone to help Indra
to wage war against the demons. He was grievously wounded and would
have died, but Kaikeyi cured him. So he vowed to grant her two boons,
and she said: “When I have need of two favours, I will remind thee of
thy promise.”

Manthara spake to the queen mother of Bharata, saying: “Now go to the
mourning chamber and feign sorrow and anger. The Maharajah will seek
thee out, and when he findeth thee demand of him the two boons which he
promised aforetime.”

So it came to pass that in the mourning chamber Kaikeyi spake to
Dasaratha, and said: “Now grant me the two boons as thou didst vow to
do, or I shall die this night.”

Said the Maharajah: “Speak thy wishes, and they will be granted. May I
never achieve bliss if thy desires are not fulfilled.”

Kaikeyi said: “Let royal deeds redeem royal words. The first boon I ask
is that my son Bharata be installed as Yuvarajah; the second is that
Rama be banished for fourteen years to live in the jungle as a devotee
clad in a robe of bark.”

When Dasaratha heard these awful words he swooned and fell prone like
to a tempest-smitten tree.... At length he recovered his senses, and
opening his eyes, said: “Have I dreamed a fearsome dream? Do demons
torture me? Is my mind clouded with madness?...”

Hushed and trembling, he gazed upon Kaikeyi as a startled deer gazes
at a tigress.... He was as helpless as a serpent which hath been
mantra-charmed, and for a time he sobbed aloud.... At length wrath
possessed him, and, red-eyed and loud-voiced, he reproached her,
saying: “Traitress, wouldst thou bring ruin to my family?... Rama hath
never wronged thee; why dost thou seek to injure him? O Kaikeyi, whom I
have loved and taken to my bosom, thou hast crept into my house like a
poisonous snake to accomplish my ruin. It is death to me to part with
my brave and noble Rama, now that I am old and feeble.... Have pity on
me and ask for other boons.”

Said Kaikeyi, coldly and bitterly: “If thou wilt break thy vow now to
one who saved thy life, all men will despise thee, and I will drink
poison this very night.”

Dasaratha was made silent a time. Then he spoke with tears, and said:
“Beautiful art thou, O Kaikeyi. Thou hast taken captive my heart. How
can this evil desire dwell in thy bosom and darken it with guile?
Thou hast entrapped me with the bait of thy beauty.... Can a father
dishonour his well-loved son? Rather would I enter hell than send
Rama into exile. How can I look upon his face again? How can I suffer
to behold him parting with gentle Sita?... Oh! I have drunk of sweet
wine mingled with poison.... Have pity on me, O Kaikeyi! I fall at thy
feet.... I would that Yama would snatch me off in this hour.”

Said Kaikeyi: “If thou dost honour truth thou wilt grant the boons I
crave, but if thou wouldst rather break thine oath, let me drink poison

Dasaratha cried in his grief: “O shadow-robed Night, decked with
stars! arrest the hours that pass by, or else give my heart release.
Cover with thy darksome mantle my sorrow and my shame, and hide this
deed of crime from the knowledge of mankind. Let me perish ere the
dawn; may the sun never rise to shine upon my sin-smeared life.”

So he lamented through the night, and unto Kaikeyi he said: “I grant
the boons, but I reject thee for ever and thy son Bharata also.”

Morning dawned.... The city was decorated with streamers and flowers.
A golden throne was set up for Rama; the tiger's skin was spread for
his feet; the white umbrella waited for him. Elephants and chariot
horses were harnessed.... The preparations for the sacrifice were
completed.... The crowds began to gather in the streets waiting for the
Maharajah and noble Rama, whom all the people loved.

Towards the palace went Sumantra, the chief counsellor. He entered
the chamber in which Dasaratha had spent the night to awaken him and
conduct him to the ceremony.

Kaikeyi met the counsellor and said: “Summon Rama hither, for the
Maharajah must speak with him.”

Wondering greatly, Sumantra hastened to the prince's dwelling and spake
the royal command. Said Rama: “I will go quickly. Tarry here, O Sita,
and await my return.”

Sita followed Rama to the doorway and invoked the gods so that they
might bless and protect him.

The multitudes of people hailed the prince as he was driven in his
chariot towards the palace, and women threw flowers upon him from the
housetops.... He entered the gate, driving through the first three
courts; he dismounted and walked across the two inner courts; he then
bade his followers to remain without, and soon he stood before the
Maharajah and made humble obeisance.

Rama beheld his father sitting beside Kaikeyi; his body was bent, his
face was worn with grief. Tears fell from Dasaratha's eyes as his
son kissed his feet and the feet of Kaikeyi also; he strove to speak
while tears streamed from his eyes, but all he could utter was, “Oh!
Rama....” The sorrow of Dasaratha rose and fell in his heart like to
the waves of a stormy sea.

Said Rama: “Oh! have I offended my sire? Speak, mother, and tell.
Wherefore do tears fall from his eyes? Why is his face clouded with
grief?... I would rather die than wound his heart by word or deed.”

Kaikeyi said: “The Maharajah is not angered, nor is he grief-stricken,
but he fears to speak his purpose until thou dost promise to serve his

Said Rama: “O speak and I will obey even if I am asked to quaff poison
and die ere my time. My promise is given and my lips have never lied.”

Kaikeyi said coldly: “The Maharajah vowed to grant two boons when I
cured his wounds and saved his life, although he repents his promise
now like to a man of low caste. I have asked him to fulfil his vow, and
the boons I crave are that Bharata, whose star is bright, be installed
as Yuvarajah, and thou shouldst be banished for twice seven years....
If thou art ready to obey thy father's will and preserve his honour,
thou wilt depart this day from the city and permit Bharata to govern
the kingdom.”

Dasaratha's heart was pierced with agony at these words, but Rama heard
them unmoved; they fell upon his ears like to sparks falling into the
sea. Calmly he spake and said: “I will depart this day in fulfilment
of my father's vow. Cheerfully will I obey his command. Let Bharata be
summoned quickly from Girivrajah, and I will hasten to the jungle of

Said Kaikeyi: “So be it.... But tarry not, for thy sire will neither
wash nor eat until thou hast departed hence.”

Rama bowed before his sire who was prostrated with sorrow; he bowed
before Kaikeyi also.... All the royal attendants wept, but Rama was
unmoved as is the ocean when a pot of water is drawn from it or poured

He went towards Kausalya, his mother, who was engaged making offerings
to Vishnu on his behalf, and informed her what had taken place.

Kausalya wept and cried: “O dearly beloved, if thou hadst never been
born I would not have to suffer this calamity.... My son, I am the
chief queen, but Kaikeyi hath supplanted me, and I am disliked and
neglected by my husband.... I am old and unable to endure the loss of
thee, my son.... Hath my heart grown hard as rock that it will not
break now? Is Yama's mansions so full that I am not called away? I
have no desire to live any longer.... Can a son obey a sire in his
dotage?... Rama, Rama, the people will rise in revolt; seize thou the
throne, and if thy father remaineth hostile slay him, because he hath
become contemptible before all men, being but a woman's slave.”

Lakshmana said: “Mother, thy words are just. Who will dare oppose Rama
so long as I serve him?”

Said Kausalya: “Hear the words of thy brother, Rama. If thy sire's
command must be obeyed so must mine, and I command thee now not to
depart to the jungle. If thou wilt not obey me, I will eat no more food
and thou wilt be guilty of my death.”

Rama said: “I must obey my sire's command. Permit me, therefore, O
mother, to depart now.... O Lakshmana, I have promised my sire to obey.
Do not ask me to break my plighted word.”

Still Kausalya pleaded with Rama to remain, and he sought to comfort
her, but her grief was too heavy to be removed, for she loved her son
dearly and hated her rival Kaikeyi.

With darkened brow and saddened eyes, Rama then went unto Sita and told
her all, and said: “My mother is heartbroken, O Sita; she hath need of
thee to soothe her grief. O dearly beloved, I must now depart and leave
thee. Be ever obedient unto Bharata, nor laud me ever, for a rajah
cares not to hear another praised in his presence.”

Said Sita: “A wife must ever accompany her husband and share his
sufferings. If thou must depart to the forest, it is my duty to go
before thee and smooth the thorns in thy path. So long as I am with
thee I will be happy even in the jungle. Dearer to me than the palace
is the place where I can hold sweet converse with my husband. I will
lighten thy burden of sorrow, O Rama, but if thou wilt leave me here
alone I will surely die.”

Rama spoke of the perils of the jungle, which was full of wild beasts
and venomous reptiles, where food was scarce, and, when found, bitter
to taste, where they would find no home and would have to lie on the
bare ground, and where they would suffer greatly from heat and cold,
from tempest and rains. “O Sita,” he cried, “thou art dearer to me than
life itself. How can I permit thee to suffer for me? My love will grow
greater when I know what it is to be separated from thee.... Wait here,
O loved one, until I return again.”

Said Sita: “I know nor fear the perils and sorrows of the jungle.
Rather would I sleep with thee on the bare ground than lie here alone
on a bed of down. Without thee I have no desire to live.... Take me
with thee, O Rama, and let me share thy sorrow and thy joys. Sweeter
will be the jungle with thee beside me than the palace when thou hast

In vain Rama remonstrated with her, but she refused to be separated
from him. She fell at his feet, weeping bitterly, and at length he
consented that she should share his sufferings in the jungle.

Then Lakshmana pleaded to accompany Rama also, nor could he be
persuaded to remain behind.

Thereafter Rama and Sita and Lakshmana went together, walking
barefooted, towards the palace to bid farewell to the Maharajah and his

Rumours of what had happened were passing through the city, and the
people gazed with sorrow on Rama, his bride and his brother, and some
said: “The Maharajah is possessed by demons.” Others said: “Let us
desert the city and follow Rama. Then Bharata will have none left to
rule over.”

Rama entered the palace with his wife and brother, and stood before the
Maharajah with folded hands.

Dasaratha lamented and said: “A woman hath deceived me. She concealed
her wicked designs in her heart as a fire is concealed by ashes....
The evening is late; tarry therefore with thy mother and me until day

Said Rama: “Kaikeyi commanded me to depart this day to the jungle, and
I promised to obey.... When fourteen years have gone past we shall
return again and honour thee.”

The Maharajah and his counsellors desired to send the royal army and
the huntsmen and much grain and treasure to the jungle with Rama,
although Kaikeyi protested loudly, but Rama refused to have soldiers
and followers, and asked for the raiment of bark which he must wear,
and for the spade with which to dig roots and the basket to carry them.

The shameless Kaikeyi then went away and returned with three dresses
of bark. Rama and Lakshmana immediately cast off their royal garments
and all their ornaments, and assumed the rough attire of devotees. But
Sita, who from childhood had been clad in silk, wept and said: “How can
I wear raiment of bark? I cannot use such attire.”

All the women shed tears at these words, and Dasaratha said: “Kaikeyi's
command is binding on Rama only, and his wife and brother may assume
any garments they desire.”

So the robe of bark was taken away from Sita; it was not permitted that
she should be put to shame.

Then Rama and Sita and Lakshmana took leave of all those who were in
the palace, and, amidst lamentation and wailing, took their departure
from the palace. They were conveyed to the frontier of the kingdom in
a chariot, and many people followed them from the city, resolved to
share exile with Rama. The night was spent on the banks of the Tamasa,
and all slept save Rama alone. As soon as dawn came, he awakened Sita
and Lakshmana and the charioteer, and together they departed ere the
slumbering multitude were aware. The exiles thereafter parted with the
charioteer, and crossing the river Tamasa, journeyed on till they saw
the sacred Ganges, in which the gods are wont to bathe, and on whose
banks many sages had chosen hermitages.

When the people awoke and found that those whom they loved and honoured
had hastened away, they returned with hearts full of sorrow to the
mourning city of Ayodhya.


The Abduction of Sita

 The Maharajah's Doom—Tale of the Hermit's Son—A Curse
 Fulfilled—Death of Dasaratha—Bharata Refuses the Throne—Visit to
 Rama in Exile—Loyalty to a Dead Sire—Javala the Sceptic—Bharata
 Honours Rama's Sandals—Wanderings of the Exiles—A Love-stricken
 Rakshasa—Jesting ends in Bloodshed—A War of Vengeance—Rama's Great
 Victory—Ravana's Cunning Plot—The Magic Deer—Rama and Lakshmana
 Lured from Hermitage—Sita Taken Captive.

Now the Maharajah Dasaratha was doomed to die a sorrowful death. Be it
known that in his youth, when he loved to go a-hunting, he heard in the
jungle depths one evening a gurgling of water, and thought an elephant
or a deer had come to drink from a hidden stream. He drew his bow; he
aimed at the sound and discharged an arrow.... A human voice uttered a
cry of agony.... Breaking through the tangled jungle growth, Dasaratha
discovered that he had mortally wounded a young hermit who had come to
draw water for his aged parents. The poor victim forgave the king and
counselled him, saying: “Hasten to my sire and inform him of my fate,
lest his curse should consume thee as a fire consumes a withered tree.”
Then he expired.

Dismayed and sorrowing deeply, Dasaratha went towards the dwelling of
the boy's parents, who were blind and old. He heard the father cry:
“Ah! why hast thou lingered, my son? I am athirst, and thy mother longs
for thee.”

In broken accents the king informed the lonesome parents of their
son's death. The sire lamented aloud, and said: “Oh! lead me to my son.
Let me embrace him for the last time.”

Dasaratha conducted the weeping parents to the spot where the lad
lay lifeless and stained with blood. The sire clasped the body, and
cried: “Oh! wilt thou not speak and greet me, my son? Thou liest on
the ground; thou dost not answer me when I call. Alas! thou canst not
love me any longer.... Thy mother is here. Oh! thou who wert dutiful
and kind, speak but one tender word to her and to me.... Who will now
read to us each morning the holy books? Who will now find roots and
fruits to feed us?... Oh! tarry with us yet a little longer, my son.
Wait for us ere thou dost depart to the Kingdom of Death—stay but one
day longer, and on the morrow thy father and mother will go with thee
on the weary and darksome path of no returning.... How can we live now
that our child and protector is taken from us?”

So the blind old hermit lamented. Then he spake to the king, and said:
“I had but this one child and thou hast made me childless. Now slay
me also, because Death is blunted and unable to hurt me any more....
A father cannot feel greater agony than when he sorrows for a beloved
son. This peculiar sharp sorrow thou wilt yet know, O king. As I weep
now, and as I am hastened to death, mourning for my son, so wilt thou
suffer in like manner, sorrowing for a dearly-beloved and righteous
son. Thy death, O Dasaratha, will cleanse thee of this crime.”

Having spoken thus, the hermit built the funeral pyre for the dead boy,
and when it was lit he and his wife leapt amidst the flames and entered
the Kingdom of Death.

After Rama had departed from Ayodhya, his mother, Kausalya, reproached
Dasaratha, saying: “Thou wouldst not break thy promise to Kaikeyi, but
thou didst break thy promise made to thy counsellors that Rama should
be thy successor.”

The Maharajah was bowed down with grief, and cried: “Oh! forgive me,
Kausalya, because my heart is breaking while I mourn for my beloved
son. Oh! do not wound me again, I pray thee.”

Kausalya wept and said: “Alas! my grief hath made me speak cruelly to

In the middle of the second night after Rama had departed, Dasaratha
awoke and cried: “O Kausalya, I am dying with grief. Mine eyes have
grown blind with weeping. Take my hand in thine and speak unto me. Oh!
bitterly I grieve now that I cannot look upon Rama ere I die. Happy are
they whose eyes behold him.... My heart beats feebly”....

When he had spoken thus, Dasaratha fell back and was silent. Kausalya,
mother of Rama, and Sumitra, mother of Lakshmana, knelt beside him, and
they swooned when his spirit fled.

In the morning messengers were sent speedily to Bharata, who sojourned
in the kingdom of the Kaikeyas with his mother's sire, the rajah
Aswapati, bidding him to return without delay. Seven nights passed
while the prince journeyed towards Ayodhya. He knew not that Dasaratha
had died until he reached the palace. Then Kaikeyi, his mother,
informed him without tears. Bharata wept, and flung himself down upon
the floor and cried aloud.

Kaikeyi said: “Thou shouldst not thus give way to grief, my son.”

Said Bharata: “If the Maharajah were alive, he would have embraced and
kissed me on my return. But where is Rama, who is now as a sire unto

Then Kaikeyi told him all that had taken place, and said: “For thy
sake, my son, I have accomplished this. Sorrow not, because thou wilt
be installed as ruler here.”

Said Bharata: “I have lost my father and my elder brother. Of what good
is a kingdom unto me now? O evil-hearted woman, thou hast bereft this
house of all joy; thou hast slain my sire and banished Rama.... But I
will bring my brother back from the jungle; he shall be seated on the

Satrughna sorrowed like Bharata, and when he beheld the wicked
hunchback Manthara he threw her down and dragged her across the floor,
saying: “This hateful creature is the cause of our calamities. I will
slay her.”

Kaikeyi flew away in terror, and Bharata said: “Slay her not, because
she is a woman. I would have killed my wicked mother, but, had I done
so, Rama would ne'er have forgiven me nor have spoken to me again.
Spare this wretch, O Satrughna, lest Rama should be angry with thee.”

Kausalya, mother of Rama, then approached Bharata and said: “The raj is
now thine, O ambitious one. Thy mother hath secured it for thee.”

Bharata fell at her feet and vowed that he would never sit on the
throne, but would hasten after Rama to entreat him to return.

Then Kausalya wept and embraced him because that he was loyal to his
elder brother.

When Bharata had performed the funeral rites for the Maharajah, he left
Ayodhya with a strong army to search for Rama.

The two brothers met in the jungle of Chitra-kuta, and they embraced
one another and wept for their dead sire.

In the morning Bharata spake to Rama in the presence of the army,
saying: “This raj, which was given unto me against my will, I now gift
unto thee, mine elder brother. Accept it and remove the stain of my
mother's sin.”

Said Rama: “O Bharata, my royal sire, fulfilling his vow, banished me
to the jungle and appointed thee to the raj. A faithful son cannot
recall the mandate of his sire.”

Then Java´li, the Brahmanic counsellor of Dasaratha, spake and said:
“O Rama, why dim thine understanding with empty maxims? Thou hast
already obeyed thy sire. It is foolish to think that thou shouldst
continue this allegiance to one who is dead. A man enters the world
alone and departs alone; he owns not friendship to kindred. His parents
are to him like a wayside inn which he leaves in the morning; his
allegiance to them is temporary. He meets them like a traveller who
tarries on his journey and then goes on his way as before. In this
world we have only one life to live. If thou wilt refuse this raj thou
wilt destroy thy one life. I am sorry for those who scorn the blessings
of this world so long as they are alive in the hope that they will
reach a Paradise which does not exist. When this life is spent we are
extinguished for ever. Alas! that men should make to their ancestors
useless offerings. Can a dead man eat thereof? These offerings are a
waste of food. If the soul endures and passes into a new body how can
it benefit from food eaten by another? These practices were invented
by cunning priests with selfish motives.... There is no Hereafter.
Therefore snatch the joys of life while thou canst, O Rama, take the
raj which is offered to thee and return to Ayodhya.”

Said Rama, whose heart was filled with anger: “O Javali, thy motive is
excellent but thy doctrines are false. A good man is distinguished from
an evil man by his deeds. How can I, who have embraced a virtuous life,
turn now into the path of evildoing? The gods who read a man's heart
would curse me for my sins. Vain are thine idle words; thy reasoning is
cunning but false. Truth is our ancient path. Truth endures when all
else passes away. The venom of falsehood is more deadly than the venom
of a serpent's sting. Thou hast said that there is no Hereafter, and
that we should snatch pleasures while life endures. If that is so, why
do wise men condemn what is evil if the vicious are simply pursuing
the quest of happiness? Why do sages live austere lives, eating fruits
and roots, instead of feasting on flesh and drinking wine? There would
be no sciences if we believed only those things we behold. Inferential
proof must be permitted. Is a woman to consider herself a widow when
her husband is out of sight?... Know, all of ye, that I will be
faithful to the mandate of my sire. I will keep my promise which I
cannot recall. Let Bharata reign, for I will dwell in the jungle.”

Bharata said: “If my sire's wish must be fulfilled, let me remain in
the jungle for fourteen years so that Rama may return to Ayodhya.”

Said Rama: “Neither Bharata nor I can recall or change the commands of

Thereafter Bharata gave to Rama a pair of new sandals decked with gold,
saying: “Put these upon thy feet and they shall accomplish the good of

Rama put on the sandals and then returned them to his brother, who
said: “I will live as a devotee for fourteen years with matted hair
and in a robe of bark. These sandals, O Rama, will be placed upon the
throne which I will guard for thee. If thou dost not return when the
time of thy penance is ended, I will perish upon the pyre.”

The brethren then took leave of one another. Bharata returned to
Ayodhya, and to his counsellors spake, saying: “I will dwell outside
the city in Nandigrama until Rama returns again.”

Then he clad himself in bark and went to the jungle. There he conducted
the affairs of government, holding the royal umbrella over Rama's
sandals. All presents which were given were first presented to the
sandals, because Bharata ruled the kingdom for his elder brother. The
sandals of Rama were the symbol of royal authority.

Meanwhile Rama with Sita and Lakshmana went southward towards deeper
jungles, visiting various holy sages, and having crossed the Vindhya
mountains, they wandered together in the Deccan and Southern India. At
Panchavati[340], nigh to the sources of the river Godavari, the royal
exiles built a hut with four rooms, and lived peaceful and pious lives.
Thirteen years and a half went over their heads.

[340] Nasik. About 100 miles from Bombay.

It came to pass that one day there came to the quiet hermitage a
Rakshasa woman, named Surpa-nakha, the sister of Ravana, the demon King
of Lanka, Ceylon. She was misshapen and ugly and her voice was harsh
and unpleasant. When she beheld Rama, who was comely as a lotus, and
of lofty and loyal bearing, her heart was filled with love for him.
Made bold with this love, she resolved to assume another form so as to
induce him to leave the faithful Sita.... In time she stood before the
prince in the guise of a young and beautiful woman, and said: “Who art
thou who hast come hither with thy bride to dwell in this lone jungle
which is haunted by Rakshasas?”

_From the painting by Warwick Goble_

Said Rama: “I am Rama, the elder son of a Maharajah named Dasaratha.
I dwell here in exile in fulfilment of my sire's vow, with Sita, my
spouse, and Lakshmana, my brother. Why dost thou, O fair one, who art
as beautiful as the bride of Vishnu, wander about here all alone?”

Surpa-nakha said: “I am a Rakshasa woman, the sister of Ravana, and
have come hither because I love thee. I have chosen thee for my
husband, and thou shalt rule over my great empire. Thy Sita is pale and
deformed and unworthy of thee, but I am of surpassing beauty and have
power to assume any form at will. I must devour Sita and thy brother,
so that we may range the jungle together and visit the lofty hills.”

Said Rama: “Sita is my beloved bride, nor would I leave her. But
Lakshmana hath no consort and is a fit husband for thee.”

Surpa-nakha at once departed from Rama, and went and found Lakshmana,
who jested with her.

Then the enraged Rakshasa woman sprang towards Sita in jealous anger,
but Rama thrust her back. Like to lightning Lakshmana leapt forward
with his sword and cut off the ears and nose of the evil-hearted
Surpa-nakha, whereat she shrieked and fled away, wailing like to the
storm wind. The rocks answered back her awesome cries.

Surpa-nakha hastened to one of her brothers who was named Khara,
and when he saw her disfigured and bleeding, he cried: “None but a
Celestial could have done this deed. This day will I drink the blood of
Indra as a crane drinks milk and water.”

Then Surpa-nakha related what had taken place, and said: “Rama and
Lakshmana attacked me to protect the woman Sita, whose life-blood I
desired to drink. I entreat thee to bring her to me now.”

Khara called upon fourteen Rakshasas and commanded them to capture the
three royal hermits who dwelt in Dandaka jungle. They hastened away and
Surpa-nakha went with them, but soon she returned wailing, because Rama
had slain the Rakshasas with Celestial arrows.

Khara immediately called upon his brother Dush´ana, saying: “Assemble
an army of fourteen thousand Rakshasas, and bring my weapons and my
chariot with white horses, for, verily, this day I must kill the
hateful Rama.”

Evil were the omens as the army marched to battle. Jackals howled and
birds screamed at dawn; the sky was blood-red, and Rahu endeavoured
to swallow the sun and caused an awesome eclipse; a headless horror
appeared in mid air. The arrows of Rama emitted smoke, and he said to
Lakshmana: “Hasten with Sita to a secret cave in the mountains and
protect her there. I will battle with the demons alone.”

Lakshmana did as his brother commanded. Then Rama girt on his glowing
armour, and, armed with a Celestial bow and many arrows, he awaited
the coming of his enemies. When the Rakshasas appeared they quailed
before him, because he appeared like to Yama at a Yuga end, but Khara
drove on in his chariot, urging his followers to attack; they followed
him roaring like a tempest, and they appeared like to black tremendous
clouds rushing towards the rising sun.

Thousands of weapons were showered against Rama, who began to discharge
flaming arrows, which swept among the Rakshasas like fire in a
sun-dried forest, so that many were mangled and slain. Still Khara and
his brother continued to attack; but Rama seized a great Celestial
weapon and slew Dushana and scattered the demon army in flight. Khara
sought to avenge his brother's death, but Rama drew his bow and shot
a blazing arrow which consumed him instantly. So was the battle won,
and Sita came forth from the cave and embraced her heroic husband and
kissed him.

Of all the Rakshasa host only Surpa-nakha escaped alive. She hastened
to Lanka and informed the ten-headed King Ravana of the death of his
brothers, and said: “Thou canst not defeat Rama in battle. But he may
be overcome by guile. He hath a beautiful spouse, whose name is Sita,
and she is dearer to him than life. If thou wilt take her captive, Rama
can be slain, because he is unable to exist without her.”

Said Ravana: “I will bring Sita hither in my chariot.”

On the morrow Ravana and his brother Maricha, whom Rama had aforetime
driven far across the ocean with a Celestial weapon, went towards the
hermitage of the royal exiles in a resplendent chariot which went
through the air like a great bird; it was drawn by asses which had the
heads of Rakshasas.

Maricha assumed the shape of a golden deer with silvern spots; its
horns were tipped with sapphire and its eyes were like to blue lotus
blooms. This beautiful animal of gentle seeming grazed below the trees
until Sita beheld it with wondering eyes as she came forth to pluck
wild flowers. She called to Rama, saying: “A deer of wondrous beauty is
wandering through the grove. I long to rest at ease on its golden skin.”

Said Rama: “O Lakshmana, I must fulfil the desire of Sita. Tarry with
her until I obtain this animal for her.”

So speaking, he lifted his bow and hastened away through the trees.

Lakshmana spoke to Sita and said: “My heart is full of misgiving. Sages
have told that Rakshasas are wont to assume the forms of deer. Ofttimes
have monarchs been waylaid in the forest by artful demons who came to
lure them away.”

Rama chased the deer a long time hither and thither through the forest,
and at length he shot an arrow which pierced its heart. In his agony
Maricha sprang out of the deer's body, and cried out in imitation of
Rama's voice: “_Sita, Sita, save me! O save me, Lakshmana!_” Then
he died, and Rama perceived that he had slain the Rakshasa Maricha,
brother of Ravana.

Sita's heart was filled with alarm when she heard the voice of the
Rakshasa calling in imitation of her husband. She spake to Lakshmana,
saying: “Hasten and help my Rama; he calls for help.”

Said Lakshmana: “Do not fear for Rama, O fair one. No Rakshasa can
injure him. I must obey his command and remain beside thee. The cry
thou hast heard is an illusion wrought by demons.”

Sita was wroth; her eyes sparkled and her voice shook as she spake,
saying: “Hath thine heart grown callous? Art thou thy brother's enemy?
Rama is in peril, and yet thou dost not hasten to succour him. Hast
thou followed him to the forest desiring that he should die, so as to
obtain his widow by force? If so, thy hope is a delusion, because I
will not live one moment after he dies. It is useless, therefore, for
thee to tarry here.”

Said Lakshmana, whose eyes were filled with tears: “I do not fear for
Rama.... O Sita! thy words scald me, for thou art as a mother unto me.
I cannot answer thee. My heart is free from sin.... Alas! that fickle
women with poisonous tongues should endeavour to set brother against

Sita wept, and Lakshmana, repenting that he had spoken harshly, said:
“I will obey thee and hasten unto Rama. May the spirits of the forest
protect thee against hidden enemies. I am troubled because I behold
evil omens. When I return, may I behold Rama by thy side.”

Said Sita: “If Rama is slain I will die by drowning, or by poison, or
else by the noose. I cannot live without Rama.”

Ravana kept watch the while, and when he saw Lakshmana leaving the
hermitage, he assumed the guise of a forest sage and went towards
the lonely and sad-hearted Sita. The jungle had grown silent. Ravana
saw that Sita was beautiful as the solitary moon at midnight when it
illumines the gloomy forest. He spake, saying: “O woman of golden
beauty, O shy one in full bloom, robed in silk and adorned with
flowers, art thou Sri, or Gauri,[341] or the goddess of love, or a
nymph of the forest? Red as coral are thy lips; thy teeth shine like to
jasmine; love dwelleth in thine eyes so soft and lustrous. Slender art
thou and tall, with shapely limbs, and a bosom like to ripe fruit....
Wherefore, O fair one, with long shining tresses, dost thou linger
here in the lonesome jungle? More seemly it were if thou didst adorn
a stately palace. Choose thee a royal suitor; be the bride of a king.
What god is thy sire, O beautiful one?”

[341] Names of the wives of Vishnu and Shiva.

Sita honoured Ravana, believing that he was a Brahman. She told him
the story of Rama's exile, and said: “Rest thyself here until the
jungle-ranging brethren return to greet thee.”

Then Ravana said: “No Brahman am I, but the ruler of the vengeful
Rakshasas. I am Ravana, King of Lanka, dreaded by even the gods. Thy
beauty, O fair one, clad in yellow silk, has taken captive my heart. Be
my chief queen, O Sita, and five thousand handmaidens will wait upon
thee. Share mine empire and my fame.”

Said Sita, whose eyes flashed fiery anger: “Knowest thou Rama, the
god-like hero who is ever victorious in strife? I am his wedded wife.
Knowest thou Rama, the sinless and saintly one, who is strongly armed
and full of valour and virtue? I am his wedded wife. What madness hath
prompted thee to woo the wife of so mighty a warrior? I follow Rama
as a lioness follows a lion. Canst thou, a prowling jackal, hope to
obtain a lioness? Snatch from the jaws of a lion the calf which it is
devouring, touch the fang of a cobra when it seizeth a fallen victim,
or tear up a mountain by the roots, or seize the sun in heaven before
thou dost seek to win or capture the wife of Rama, the avenger.”

Ravana boasted his prowess, saying: “I have power to slay even Yama.
I can torture the sun and shoot arrows through the earth. Little dost
thou know of my glory and my heroism.”

Then he changed his shape and stood up in gigantic demon form with vast
body and ten heads and twenty arms.... Seizing Sita, he soared through
the air with her as Garuda carries off the queen of serpents; he placed
her in his chariot and went away swifter than the wind.

The unseen spirits of the jungle looked on, and they heard the cries
of Sita as she called in vain for Rama and Lakshmana. Jatayus[342],
Monarch of Vultures, who lay asleep on a mountain top, heard her and
awoke; he darted upon Ravana like to the thunderbolt of Indra. A fierce
battle was fought in mid air. Jatayus destroyed the chariot and killed
the Rakshasa asses, but Ravana took Sita in his arms, and, soaring
higher than the Vulture king, disabled him with his sword.

[342] _Pron._ Jata´yus.

Then Ravana continued his journey towards Lanka, floating in the air.
As he passed over the Mountain of Apes, Sita contrived to cast off her
ornaments, and they dropped through the air like falling stars.... The
five apes found them and said: “Ravana is carrying away some beautiful
woman who calls upon Rama and Lakshmana.”

When Ravana reached his palace he delivered Sita to a band of Rakshasa
women, commanding them to guard her by day and by night.

Long and loudly did Rama lament when he returned to the forest hut and
found that it was empty. He knew that Sita had been carried away, but
whither he knew not.


Rama's Mission Fulfilled

 Rama Laments for Sita—The King of Vultures—Story of the
 Demon—Revelation after Death—Rama forms an Alliance with the
 Apes—Slaying of Bali—The Rainy Season—Sita's Life in Lanka—Hanuman
 the Spy—Discovery of Sita—Battle with Giants—Building of Rama's
 Bridge—The Worship of Shiva—Invasion of Lanka—The War with
 Demons—A Serpent Noose—How the Sleeping Giant was Slain—Rama and
 Lakshmana Wounded—Hanuman carries a Mountain to Lanka—Lakshmana
 Slain and Restored to Life—Ravana seeks to kill Sita—The Fall of
 Ravana—Sita's Ordeal of Fire—Rama's Return to Ayodhya—Second Exile
 of Sita—The Horse Sacrifice—Rama's Warlike Sons—Sita Returns to the
 Earth Mother—Ascent of Rama.

Rama wept for Sita. He searched hither and thither through the forest,
and called on every mountain and tree and on every bird and every
beast, asking whither she had gone. When he found a tattered garland
which his loved one had worn, he swooned with overpowering grief.

Then Lakshmana sprinkled water drops on his face until he revived.
“Alas! my brother,” he cried, “do not sorrow thus lest death should
snatch thee away.”

Said Rama: “Sita is my heart's love. I cannot live without her. For my
sake she deserted the royal palace to wander in this fearsome jungle.
Now that she is gone, the moments seem longer than years.... How can I
live on when she is lost to me?”

Lakshmana comforted his brother: then they arose together and continued
their vain search.... Rama beheld a beauteous lotus in a clear
stream, and, blinded with tears, he deemed it was the face of Sita. “O
hard-hearted one,” he exclaimed, “art thou hiding there among the water
blooms? Seekest thou to test my love in this manner? Arise and come to
me, my sweet love, nor doubt me any longer.”

But the bloom moved not, and Lakshmana led away his grief-distracted

“Mayhap she hath returned to the hut now,” Rama cried. Then the
brethren hastened to the hermitage, but found it empty as before....
Rama wailed in the moonlight and cried to the orb of night: “O moon!
mankind welcome thy coolness, but thou dost bring to me naught but
sorrow and tears.... Thou lookest over the whole world, beholding all
living beings. Where, O tell me, where is my beloved one, my lost Sita?”

Rama wandered fitfully through the jungle: the moonbeams and the
shadows fluttered around, and it seemed as if the face of Sita were
peering from everywhere. So passed a sleepless night, full of mourning
and illusions.

On the morrow the brethren went forth again in quest of the lost one.
They came to the place where Jatayus lay dying, and that lordly bird
spake to Rama and related all that had befallen Sita and himself.

Rama sat on the ground: he embraced the dying Vulture King, and said
unto Lakshmana: “Alas! my brother, the noble Jatayus hath given up his
life to serve me. I have lost my kingdom and my sire; I have lost Sita,
and now our ally, the Rajah of Vultures, is dying.... All my friends
are passing away. If I were to sit in the shade of a tree, the tree
would fall; if I stooped to drink water from a river, verily the river
would dry up....”

Then he spake to Jatayus, saying: “Whither hath Ravana gone with my

Said the Vulture: “He went southward towards an unknown forest
fastness.... Alas! my strength fails, mine eyes grow blind, my life is
ebbing from my body.”

When he had spoken thus, Jatayus died in Rama's arms, and his soul
ascended to the heaven of Vishnu in a chariot of fire.

Thereafter the brethren went towards the south. On their way they met a
black demon of monstrous size; his head was in the middle of his body;
he had but one eye, and his teeth were numerous and long. Suddenly the
misshapen demon stretched out his two great arms, and the brethren
fought against the arms.

The demon cried: “Who are ye that dare to combat with me? I welcome ye
because I am an hungered this day, and long to feast on human flesh.”

Rama and Lakshmana fought on until they cleft both the great arms that
were coiled around them, whereat the monster fell upon the ground. Said
Rama: “We are Dasaratha's sons, who are exiles in the jungle.”

Then the demon revealed that he was Kabandha, and bade them burn his
body, so that he might be bereft of his Rakshasa form and nature;
thereafter, he promised, he would inform them regarding Sita. The
brethren dug a pit and cremated the monster, and from the fire arose
Kabandha, the Gandharva, who had been placed under spells. He spake
and said: “Ravana dwells in the island of Lanka; he is the King of
Rakshasas. If thou wouldst fain overcome him, thou must seek the aid of
the ape chief, Sugriva, King of the Vanars, who dwells on Rishyamukha

[343] Among the Nilgiri mountains.

When the brethren went towards this mountain, Hanuman, son of Vayu,
the wind god, a counsellor of the Ape King, came forth to meet them. He
conducted Rama and Lakshmana before Sugriva, to whom they related the
story of Sita's abduction.

Said Sugriva: “Some days past I beheld a woman who was borne aloft in
the arms of a flying Rakshasa; she threw down her ornaments, which we
have preserved with care.”

Then the ornaments were brought forth, and they were recognized by
Lakshmana, but Rama wept so profusely that he knew not whether he gazed
upon the jewels of Sita or not.

Sugriva, who was the son of Surya, the sun god, desired to aid Rama,
but he told that his bride and his kingdom had been taken from him by
his half-brother Bali, son of Indra, whom he feared.[344] Then Rama
promised to slay Bali and restore the kingdom to Sugriva. And as he
promised so did he do. Sugriva challenged his brother to single combat,
and Rama discharged an arrow which pierced the heart of the usurper.
All the apes rejoiced greatly when the rightful King of the Vanars was
restored to his throne.

[344] These apes are the incarnations of the Vedic deities who
sojourned on earth according to Vishnu's command.

The rainy season came on soon afterwards, and Rama and Lakshmana went
to dwell upon the mountain Malyavana, where they found a cave.

Slowly passed the days of waiting. Ofttimes did Rama grieve for
Sita. He was wont to speak to Lakshmana, saying: “Delightful is the
season of rain and tempest unto those who dwell in happy homes in the
midst of their families; it is a time of sorrow to those who suffer
separation.... Behold the great black clouds like to battling elephants
leaping and rolling in heaven. Thunder roars amidst the mountains. The
lightnings flash and sparkle; alas! their golden lustre in the darkness
of night reminds me of my lost Sita.... Now the wind falls and the
earth is bright with rain tears, and I hear the sighing of Sita as she
weeps in pain and sorrow.... The rainbow comes forth in beauty like to
Sita arrayed with jewels and ornaments.... Now the earth is refreshed:
trees are budding and flowers bloom again in beauty, but I cannot be
consoled. Lost is Sita, my dearly beloved; she writhes in the palace of
the Rakshasa king as the lightning writhes amidst the black clouds....
Ah! I abandoned my throne and kingdom with joy because Sita was with
me; now my heart is breaking because she hath been snatched away....
See how the shadows gather again; winds roar and rains pour down; as
dubious is my future, and dark as is this gloomy day of sorrow. Jatayus
hath told that Sita is concealed in a distant fastness.... How can I be
consoled? I mourn not for myself alone, but chiefly because she whom I
love sorrows and suffers in a strange land.”

Now, when Sita was dwelling in the palace of the demon king, guarded by
Rakshasa women, Ravana approached her again and again, and addressed
to her sweet speeches, praising her beauty and endeavouring to win her
love. But Sita rejected him with scorn. Although she was his prisoner,
he could not win her by force. She was strengthened by her own virtue;
she was protected by Brahma's dread decree. Be it known that once
upon a time the lustful Ravana had seized by force a nymph of Indra's
heaven, whose name was Punjikashthala. When he committed that evil
offence, Brahma spake angrily and said that Ravana's head would be
rent asunder if ever again he attempted to act in like manner towards
another female in heaven or upon earth.

Sita said unto the demon king: “Thou shalt never have me for wife
either in this world or in the next. Rather would I die than gratify
thy desire.”

Angry was Ravana, and he commanded the female Rakshasas to convey
Sita to the Asoka grove, believing that her heart would be melted by
the beauties of that fair retreat. “Thou wilt provide her with fine
raiment,” he said, “and with rich ornaments and delicious food, thou
wilt praise me before her, and anon threaten her with dire calamity if
she refuseth to become my bride.”

Sita remembered Rama in her heart by day and by night, and wept and
moaned for him, refusing to be comforted.

When the rainy season was drawing to a close, Rama fretted because
Sugriva, King of the Vanars, was making no effort to collect his forces
and prepare for the recovery of Sita. Instead, he drank wine and spent
the days in merriment among his wives. At length Lakshmana visited the
palace and threatened Sugriva with death, because he had broken his
promise, whereat the monarch summoned speedily his great armies of apes
and bears in countless numbers. Four divisions were then sent out to
the north and the south, and eastward and westward, to search for Sita.

Success attended the efforts of the army commanded by Hanuman. It
chanced that his officers discovered on a mountain summit Sampati, the
brother of Jatayus, King of the Vultures. He was wounded and helpless,
because his wings had been scorched by endeavouring to soar to the sun
so that he might fulfil a vain boast. Although stricken thus, Sampati
could still see clearly over vast distances. He had beheld Ravana
carrying away Sita across the ocean towards Lanka. This knowledge he
communicated through his son to Hanuman. When he rendered such great
service to Rama his wings began to grow, and he was enabled once again
to take flight athwart the blue heaven.

Hanuman then resolved to visit the distant island with purpose to
discover where Sita had been hidden. Assuming gigantic form, he stood
upon a mountain top and leapt seaward. The mountain shook when he
sprang from it. Over the sea went the wind god's son and that swiftly.
But demons endeavoured to arrest his progress through the air. Surasa,
mother of the Nagas, rose up with gaping jaws, and cried: “Thou must
needs pass through my mouth ere thou wilt go farther, O Hanuman.”

The heroic Ape extended his bulk, but the Naga hag opened wider and
wider her jaws to prevent him passing. Then Hanuman shrank to the size
of a man's thumb, and leapt into her mouth and out of it again and
again so as to fulfil her conditions, whereat the hag owned that she
was defeated and allowed him to pass.

Next arose the she dragon, Sinhika, who clutched the shadow of Hanuman
and held him back. Wrathfully she sprang forward to devour him, but
again the cunning Ape contracted himself, and entering her mouth,
attacked her and wounded her so that she was slain.

Leaping from her body, Hanuman resumed his journey until he arrived at
Lanka. Night had fallen but the moon shone brightly. He assumed the
form of a cat and crept stealthily through the capital, gazing on the
wonders about him. He reached the great palace of Ravana and entered
therein. It had shining crystal floors and jewelled stairways of gold
and silver. The mansion of Indra was not more beautiful than that
resplendent palace of the demon king. Hanuman crept on through the
women's chamber, and beheld fair forms “subdued in all the shapes of
sleep”; beautiful were they as lotus blooms that await the sun's first
kiss ere they open their soft eyelids, or as the lustrous stars on an
autumn night gleaming and moving in heaven; it seemed as if a wreath
of sweet human blossoms had been thrown carelessly into that perfumed
chamber of sleep.

Hanuman wandered on until he reached the Asoka grove. There he beheld
the long-lost Sita, the queen of stars. Fierce she demons surrounded
her, and some were of fearsome shape; they had dogs' heads and pigs'
heads and the faces of horses and buffaloes; some were of great bulk
and others were dwarfish; some had but one eye and others had three
eyes; the ears of some hung touching the ground; others that were hairy
were the most horrible to behold.

When morning came Ravana drew nigh to plead his love, praising the
beauty of Sita, but she rejected him, as she had ofttimes done before,
whereat the demon grew angry and threatened her with dire tortures and
even death.... Sita was like to a gentle fawn surrounded by wolves. Yet
she was without fear. Rather would she perish than be unfaithful to

Hanuman kept watch, crouching in the branches of a tree, and at length
he found it possible to approach her in secret. At first she feared
that Ravana had assumed the form of Hanuman to deceive her, but she was
reassured when the Vanar spy showed her the ring of Rama, and related
how greatly he sorrowed because she had been taken from him. Then was
her heart touched with sorrow mingled with joy. Hanuman offered to
carry her away, but in her modesty she refused to touch the body of any
male being save Rama. She took from her hair a bright jewel which she
gave to Hanuman as a token; and she said that Ravana had allowed her
but two months to live if she refused to yield to him.

Hanuman desired, ere he left the city of Ravana, to show his enmity
against the demons. Assuming his gigantic form, he uprooted trees and
destroyed fair mansions. The guards came out against him and he slew
many of them. But, at length, the mighty Indrajit, son of Ravana,
hastened forth and shot a magic serpent-shaft which enwrapped Hanuman
like a noose, and rendered him helpless. Thus was he taken prisoner,
and he was dragged before Ravana, who commanded that the Ape be put to
death. But a counsellor intervened and advised that Hanuman should be
regarded as an envoy, and treated with dishonour ere he was sent back,
so that their enemies might be terrified. Ravana consented to this
course, and an oil-soaked cloth was tied round the Ape's great tail and
set on fire. But Sita prayed that the fire should not injure Hanuman,
and her prayer was heard. The son of Vayu suddenly contracted his body
so that his bonds fell from him, and he leapt over the city, setting
fire with his flaming tail to many mansions, and so accomplishing great
destruction. Then he obtained another brief interview with Sita, and
once again leapt over the ocean; he hastened with the good tidings of
his journey to Rama, who rejoiced greatly that his loved one had been

Preparations were at once begun to rescue Sita. The Vanar armies were
marched southward, and they camped on the shore over against Lanka,
which lies sixty miles from the mainland. Here they were joined by a
new and powerful ally.

Be it known that the mighty deeds of Hanuman had stricken terror to the
heart of Ravana. The demon king summoned a council of war to consider
what should be done. All his warriors advised him to wage war, except
Bibhishana, his younger brother, who censured the monarch for the
offence which he had committed against blameless Rama. “Hear my words,”
he said, “and restore Sita to her rightful lord, or else Rama will
swoop down upon thy kingdom, O Ravana, as a falcon who seizeth his
prey. Make peace with him now, lest many perish in battle.”

Ravana was made angry, and cried: “Alas! for the love of my near
relatives, who sorrow at my fame and smile at my peril; they are
ever jealous and full of guile, because they hate me in their secret
hearts.... Evil is thy speech, O Bibishana. Depart from me, false
prince, and carry thy treason to our enemies.... If thou wert not my
brother I would slay thee even now.”

Bibhishana was thus banished from the Rakshasa kingdom, and he
immediately crossed the sea and joined the forces of Rama.

Rama performed sacrifices to propitiate the God of Ocean, so that
the Vanar forces might be enabled to pass over to Lanka, but these
proved to be unavailing. Then angrily he seized his bow and shot
Celestial weapons into the bosom of the deep. The earth and the sea
were immediately convulsed, and darkness covered the heavens; lightning
flashed and thunder bellowed aloud; the mountains began to break in
pieces. Rama next seized a fiery dart and threatened to dry up the
waters of the sea.

At that moment the King of Ocean rose serenely above the weltering
billows in all his splendour, attended by shining water snakes. He
addressed Rama with great reverence, reminding him that according to
ancient laws he must remain unfordable, but counselling him the while
to seek the aid of the Vanar chief Nala, son of Vishwakarma, the divine
artisan, so that a bridge might be constructed to enable the armies to
cross the deep. Then the King of Ocean vanished amidst the waves and
the heavens brightened again.

Nala was immediately called upon to give his aid. Assisted by his
workmen, this wonderful Vanar, whose body was green, constructed a
causeway of rocky islands between the mainland and Lanka (Ceylon), and
to this day it is called “Rama's Bridge”.[345]

[345] Also “Adam's Bridge”. The green Celtic fairies are similarly
credited with making island chains and long jutting promontories which
stretch out from opposite shores of arms of the sea.

Rama meanwhile set up the Linga symbol of the god Shiva, and worshipped
it on that holy island which hath since been called Ramisseram.

In five days the strait was spanned. Then Rama mounted on the back of
Hanuman, son of the wind god Vayu, and Lakshmana mounted the back of
Angada, son of Bali and grandson of Indra, and led the Vanar hosts
across the sea. The apes and bears which composed the great attacking
army leapt from island to island, shouting: “Victory to Rama!” “Victory
to Lakshmana!” “Victory to Sugriva!” Now the apes were of many colours;
they were white and black, green and blue, yellow and red and brown.
Sugriva shone like silver, Angada resembled a white lotus; Nila, son of
Agni, was red, and Hanuman was yellow as pure gold; Sarambha had also
a yellow body, and Nala was green, while Darvindha had a black body, a
red face, and a yellow tail. These were all leaders and great warriors
of the Vanar host.

The army landed in Lanka unopposed, and encamped on a plain fronting
the capital of the Rakshasa king.

The Rakshasas issued forth speedily to attack the apes, and the blowing
of horns and beating of drums sounded like to the mighty thunder peals
at a Yuga end. Indrajit was the Rakshasa leader. His followers rode
on elephants and lions, on camels and asses, on hogs and hyenas,
and on wolves; they were armed with bows and arrows, maces, spears,
tridents, swords, and beams, but some had also magic weapons. Roaring
and swaying, they drove forward like to long sea-rollers assaulting the

The gigantic apes wielded trees for clubs and threw great boulders, but
some depended on their sword-like nails and their long arrowy teeth.
They rushed against the demons, shouting “Rama, Rama!” and soon the
plain was covered by heaps of writhing bodies and severed limbs, while
rivers of blood streamed across it from between the battling hosts.
Rama looked on without fear. He reposed his faith on the apes, for he
knew that they were incarnations of the gods.

The apes were driven back until Sugriva flung a great tree, which
shattered the chariot of Indrajit. Then the Rakshasa leader and his
army took flight.

Indrajit obtained a new chariot by offering up in sacrifice a black
goat, and returning to the battlefield with his forces he shot arrows
at Rama and Lakshmana. Then he threw a serpent noose, which bound
the two brothers so that they were unable to move. Great was their
peril, but Vayu, god of wind, sent to their aid the great Celestial
bird Garuda, the serpent killer, and the snakes which formed the noose
fled from before it, whereat the brethren, who had meantime fallen in
a swoon, rose up again. Ravana then came forth, but Rama shot arrows
which swept the ten crowns from his ten heads, and he retired in his
shame and skulked in the city.

The Rakshasas were in desperate straits and bethought them to awaken
Kumbha-karna, the mightiest of all the demons. In former days he had
terrorized the Universe; he continually devoured human beings, and had
defeated Indra even, but Brahma intervened and decreed that he would
sleep for six months and then awaken for one day only. Each time he
awoke he devoured a great meal, after which he was again overpowered by

Thousands of men danced and shouted and blew trumpets beside the great
sleeper, but he could not be wakened; elephants were driven over his
body, yet he never moved; then beautiful women came and caressed him,
and he suddenly opened his eyes and roared like to the sea. His eyes
were red with anger, and he cried: “Why have I been awakened before my

The Rakshasas informed Kumbha-karna of the army which surrounded the
city, and they brought him much food; greedily he swallowed swine and
deer and many human beings and drank rivers of wine. Refreshed, but not
yet satisfied, he arose and said: “Where are the apes so that I may
devour them?”

He mounted his chariot and went forth to battle. The apes trembled to
behold him and fled panic-stricken.... Sugriva rallied them quickly,
and then they began to fling trees and boulders, but these were all
splintered to pieces on the limbs of the giant. He defeated Hanuman,
and seized Sugriva and carried him off in his chariot. Thousands of
apes were devoured by the mighty Rakshasa.

At length Kumbha-karna went against Rama and a fierce conflict ensued,
but in the end Rama discharged flaming arrows and severed his head from
his body. The monster staggered backward and fell into the ocean, and
great billows arose and tossed angrily in the midst of the swollen deep.

Indrajit thereafter offered up another sacrifice and secured fresh
weapons. Rendering himself invisible, he rose high in the air and
showered arrows like rain until Rama and Lakshmana, who were
grievously wounded, fell down and pretended to be dead.

When darkness came on, Hanuman and Bibhishana surveyed the battlefield
with torches and found that many apes had been wounded and slain.
Great was their sorrow, but Sushena, the ape physician, bade Hanuman
to hasten to a certain Himalayan mountain to obtain healing herbs.
The wind god's son assumed tremendous bulk, and, leaping aloft, went
speedily through the air until he reached the place where the herbs
grew. He searched for them in vain; then he tore up the mountain,
and carrying it in his hand returned again to the battlefield. The
physician soon discovered the herbs; then he gave healing to Rama and
Lakshmana and the wounded apes, who rose up at once ready and eager to
fight as before. Hanuman returned with the mountain and restored it to
its place.

When the sun rose, Ravana sent forth young heroes to battle against the
apes and bears, but they were all slain. Then Indrajit came to avenge
the fallen, but Lakshmana drew his bow and shot an arrow which Indra
had given to him. Unerring was his aim, and Indrajit was struck down;
his body rolled headless upon the plain.

Ravana lamented for the death of his son, crying: “He was the mightiest
of my heroes and the dearest to my heart. All the gods feared him, yet
by a mortal was he laid low.... O my son, thy widow wails for thee
and thy mother weeps in sore distress. Fondly I deemed that when the
frailties of old age afflicted me thou wouldst close mine eyelids in
death, but youth is taken first and I am left alone to battle against
mine enemies.”

For a time the mighty demon wept; then he arose in wrath to wreak
vengeance. First of all he hastened towards the Asoka grove to slay
Sita. But the Rakshasa dames concealed the wife of Rama, and prevailed
upon Ravana not to pollute his fame by slaying a woman. One cried to
him: “Auspicious is the last day of the waning moon. The hour of thy
vengeance is nigh. Turn thee towards the battlefield and great glory
will be thine.”

Ravana went gloomily away; he mounted his chariot to battle against his
enemies, remembering those who had already fallen. Followed by a great
army, he swept from the city like to a tempest cloud which darkens the
summer heaven. He beheld his brother Bibhishana fighting for Rama, and
angrily cast at him a great weapon, but Lakshmana flung a javelin which
shattered it in flight. Ravana smiled grimly and shouted to Lakshmana:
“Slayer of my son, I welcome thee! Thou hast protected Bibhishana; now
protect, if thou canst, thine own self.”

Having spoken thus he flung a great dart, which pierced the heart of
Lakshmana and pinned him to the earth.

Rama stooped over the fallen hero and cried: “Alas! art thou fallen,
my gallant brother? Thy weapons have dropped from thy hands; death
claims thee, but, O Lakshmana, thou wilt not die alone. I am weary of
battle and of glory, and when my task is ended, I will follow in thy
footsteps.... The love of wife or friend is easily won, but the love of
a faithful brother, equal to thine, is rarely found in this world of
illusions.... Dearest of brothers, greatest of heroes, wilt thou never
awaken from thy deathly swoon or open again thine eyes to behold me?...
Alas! the lips of Lakshmana are silent and his ears are stopped.”

In the darkness of night Hanuman again hastened northward in speedy
flight to obtain the mountain which he had aforetime carried to Lanka.
The physician found upon it the healing herbs; he pounded them and
made a paste which he placed under the nostrils of the unconscious
warrior. Then Lakshmana rose up again healed and hale and powerful.
Rama rejoiced greatly, and turned against his foes.... A night attack
was made upon the Rakshasa capital, and the Apes intercepted a
sacrifice which Ravana sought to offer up to the gods so as to compel
their aid; many fair mansions were given to the flames.

When day came Ravana went forth to battle. Surpa-nakha, his sister
who had caused the war, stood in his way, and he thrust her aside
impatiently, whereat she cursed him, saying: “For this thou wilt never
again return to the city.”

Ravana drove on in battle fury, his heart filled with hatred for his
foes and with sorrow for the fallen. Rama went against him in the
chariot of Indra, and for a time a dubious conflict was waged. The
earth trembled and the ocean shook with fear.

Suddenly Rama darted forward. He drew his bow and shot a swift arrow,
which smote off one of Ravana's ten heads, but immediately another
appeared in its place.[346] Then the hero seized the flaming weapon
which Brahma had created for the protection of the gods; with unerring
aim he discharged it in flaming splendour; it struck the demon; it
cleft in twain his heart of iron. Roaring in his fierce agony Ravana
fell ponderously upon the plain and immediately expired. So was the
enemy of gods and men put to death by peerless Rama.

[346] Like Hydra against which Hercules fought.

Celestial music was heard in heaven and flowers fell upon the plain of
victory: a voice came down the wind, saying: “_O victor of truth and
righteousness, thy task is now ended._”

The Rakshasa hosts broke in flight when Ravana fell, and Rama entered
the city in triumph. Bibhishana burned the body of his fallen brother,
and performed the funeral rites. Thereafter he was proclaimed King of

When peace was restored, Rama commanded that Sita should be brought
forth. She was carried towards the plain concealed in a litter, and
all the Apes gathered round to behold her, whereat Rama requested her
to alight and walk towards him, and she did so. With folded hands she
approached her husband and knelt at his feet, weeping tears of joy.

Clouded was the brow of Rama; he spoke sternly, and said: “Mine enemies
are slain, and thou art delivered from captivity, O Sita; but now that
my shame is removed I have no desire to behold thee. I cannot receive
thee as my wife, because that thou hast dwelt in the house of Ravana.”

Said Sita: “Chaste and innocent have I remained.... O Rama, if thou
hadst informed me of thy doubt, I would have died ere now. Better is
death than thy dark suspicion.”

Addressing Lakshmana, she then said: “Build for me a funeral pyre so
that I may end my grief amidst the flames.”

As she desired so did the brother of Rama do. He built the pyre and set
it alight. Then Sita invoked Agni:

    If in act and thought, she uttered, I am true unto my name,
    Witness of our sins and virtues, may this fire protect my fame!

    If a false and lying scandal brings a faithful woman shame,
    Witness of our sins and virtues, may this fire protect my fame!

    If in lifelong loving duty I am free from sin and blame,
    Witness of our sins and virtues, may this fire protect my fame!

        _R. C. Dutt's trans._


Fearlessly she then leapt amidst the flames and vanished, while all
lamented around her. Rama cried: “This day have I sinned, because she
is innocent.”

In that hour a great wonder was wrought. Suddenly the Deva-rishis and
Gandharvas and the gods appeared in the air. At the same time the red
flames of the mighty pyre were divided, and the god Agni came forth
with Sita, whom he delivered to Rama, saying: “_Receive thy wife who is
without sin or shame._”

Rama embraced Sita, and said: “I have never doubted her virtue; she is
without sin, and now her purity has been proved before all men.”

He wept, and Sita hid her face in his bosom and soft embrace.

The exile of Rama was now ended, and he returned speedily in the car of
Indra to Ayodhya, with Sita and Lakshmana and Hanuman.

Bharata welcomed his elder brother, and laid the sandals at his feet,
saying: “These are the symbols of thy rule, O Rama; I have guarded the
throne for thee. Now take thy crown and govern thy kingdom. I give thee
back thine own.”

Rama was crowned on the morrow amidst the rejoicings of the people, and
prosperity returned once again to the kingdom.

Time went past, but the sorrows of Sita were not ended. The people
whispered against the fair queen, doubting her virtue, because that she
had been taken away by Ravana, and they wondered Rama had received her
back. At length her husband, yielding to the wishes of his subjects,
banished the innocent queen from the kingdom. The faithful Lakshmana
conducted her towards the southern jungles, and abandoned her nigh to
the hermitage of Valmiki, counselling her with tears to take refuge
with the saintly poet.

Valmiki received her with pity, and soon afterwards she gave birth to
two sons, who were named Lava and Kusa.

Sixteen years went past, and Rama's mind was troubled because that
he had slain Ravana, who was the son of Pulastya, the Rishi. So he
resolved to perform the Aswamedha (horse sacrifice) to cleanse his soul
of sin.

The horse was sent forth to wander through the land, and when it
approached the hermitage of Valmiki, Lava and Kusa, the sons of Rama
and Sita, took possession of it. They defeated the royal army and
wounded Satrughna. Lakshmana hastened forth with another army, but he
was also grievously wounded and defeated by the young heroes. Then Rama
himself went southward to wage war and recapture the horse. When his
sons came forth against him, Rama wondered to find that they were so
like to himself in countenance and bearing; his heart was filled with
tenderness, and he asked them: “Whose children are you?”

Lava and Kusa greeted him with reverence, and said: “Sita is our
mother, but we know not the name of our sire.”

Then Rama perceived that the lads were his own sons.... Valmiki, the
sage, came towards him, and Rama said: “The people spoke evil things
against Sita, and it was necessary to prove her innocence. Now let her
be taken into my presence, for I know that these noble children are

Valmiki returned to Sita and asked her to go with him before Rama,
but for a time she refused to do so. The sage pleaded with her, and at
length she walked forth from the hermitage with downcast eyes and hands
uplifted. In the presence of Rama and the people she then invoked the
Earth, and cried:

    If unstained in thought and action I have lived from day of birth,
    Spare a daughter's shame and anguish and receive her, Mother Earth!

    If in duty and devotion I have laboured undefiled,
    Mother Earth! who bore this woman, once again receive thy child!

    If in truth unto my husband I have proved a faithful wife,
    Mother Earth! relieve thy Sita from the burden of this life!

        _R. C. Dutt's trans._

When she had spoken thus, all who heard her wept and sorrowed. And
while they gazed upon her with pity and tenderness, the earth suddenly
yawned, and from its depths arose a golden throne sparkling with gems
and supported by four great serpents, as a rose is supported by green
leaves. Then the Earth Mother appeared and hailed Sita with loving
words, and led her to the throne, on which she seated herself beside
her sinless daughter, the faithful and undefiled wife of Rama.... The
throne thereafter vanished and the earth closed over it.

So passed Sita from before the eyes of all mankind. Rama flung himself
upon the ground in an agony of sorrow. But Brahma appeared and spake to
him, saying: “Why dost thou despair, O Lord of all? Well thou knowest
that life is but a dream, a bubble of water....”

Rama, however, even after the Aswamedha had been performed, continued
to mourn until the Celestial bird Garuda came for him: then he
ascended to heaven, as Vishnu, and found Sita, who was the goddess
Lakshmi, the incomparable Sri.

So endeth the story of Rama, whose fame can never die.


 Vowel Sounds.—_ă_, almost like _u_ in _fur_; _ai_, like _i_ in
 _high_; _ä_, as in _palm_; _e_, like _a_ in _late_; _ï_, as _e_ in
 _he_; _ö_, as in _shore_; _ü_, as in _pull_; _u_, as in _sun_.

  Abhimanyu (ăb-hi-mun´yoo), son of Arjuna and Subhadra, 228;
    marries Uttara, Princess of Virata, 269;
    in great war, 286 _et seq._;
    fall of, 298, 299;
    in vision of the dead warriors, 320, 321;
    in Paradise of Indra, 327.

  Achaens (a-kē´ans), burial rites of, xxxvi;
    as pork eaters, 136.

  Achilles (a-kēl-es), contrasted with Indian hero, xlviii, 17.

  A´dad, the “hammer god”, 3.

  “Adam's Bridge”, apes construct for Rama, 418.

  Aditi (ă-dee-tee), mother of the Adityas, 32, 58, 148.

  Adityas (ä-deet´yas), early group of deities, 28;
    Mitra and, 29, 30, 32;
    Surya and, 33;
    sustained by soma, 36;
    in Varuna's heaven, 58, 59, 148.

  Africa, Garden of Eden in, xxiv.

  Afro-Eurasian languages and peoples, xxiv.

  Afro-European languages, xxiv.

  Ages (Historical), Vedic, Brahmanical Buddhist, Brahmanical Revival,

  Ages of the universe (Yugas), doctrine of and relation to castes, xxv,
    in Indian, Greek, and Irish mythologies, xliv;
    traces of in Egyptian mythology, xliv;
    Indra-Vritra conflict in Krita age, 7 _et seq._
    See _World's Ages_.

  Agni (ăg´nee), god of fire, in Vedic age, xxxi;
    tribal worship of, xxxii;
    messenger between gods and men, xxxiii;
    the Teutonic Heimdal and, xlv, 20, 21, 22;
    Brihaspati and, 10;
    harvest-offerings to, 14;
    as winner of god's race, 14, 15;
    as Indra's brother and as Brahma, 19;
    myths regarding origin of, 20 _et seq._;
    identified with Mitra, 22, 28;
    as sire of three human sons, 22;
    worshipper of like Martin Elginbrodde, 23, 24;
    as ministrant of sacrifice, 23;
    Indra's attributes absorbed by, 24;
    rain god and, 26;
    supplants Varuna in Indra's service, 28, 29;
    not a Mitanni god, 31;
    in Nala story, 31;
    in rival group of deities, 32;
    “sun has nature of”, 36;
    vows before a fire, 37;
    as “vital spark”, 37;
    why worshippers of burned their dead, 38, 39, 116;
    non-Babylonian character of, 41;
    as enemy of demons of disease, 67;
    Vishnu as a phase of, 122, 123;
    subject to Brahma, 134;
    Shiva absorbed attributes of, 148;
    as father of Kartikeya, 152;
    cursed by Daksha, the rishi, 154;
    “of the Bharatas”, 155;
    as a suitor of Damayanti, 332 _et seq._;
    appears at ordeal of Sita, 425.

  Agriculture, early Aryo-Indians had knowledge of, 76, 77.

  Ahi (ă´hee), the demon, “the confiner”, 66.

  Ahura (ă´hür´ă), signifies god in Persian.

  Ahür´a-Maz´da (Ormuzd), supreme Persian deity, xxxiii, 62.

  Ainus of Japan, xxvii.

  Airavata (ai´ra-vät-a), Indra's elephant, 18;
    origin of, 144.

  “Air of Life”, Indra source of, 19;
    spirit as, 37.

  Akhenaton (a-khen-ä´ton), Mitanni Aryans and, xxx.

  Ale, the “sura” of the early Aryo-Indians, 77.

  Algebra, the gift of ritualistic Brahmans, 83.

  Allabad. See _Varanavartha_.

  “All-tamer”, King Bharata as, 161.

  Alphabetic signs, introduced by Semites, 78.

  Alpine race, identified with Celts, xxii;
    an inconclusive theory, xxiii;
    distribution of, xxvii;
    Turki and Ugrians, xxix;
    Patriarchal customs of, xxxi;
    identified with Celts, xxxv.

  Amazons, Arjuna's experiences with, 313.

  Amba (äm´ba), Princess, captured by Bhishma, 170;
    rejected by Rajah of Sanva, 170, 171;
    her revenge, 171 _n._;
    Sikhandin, incarnation of, helps to slay Bhishma, 295.

  Ambrosia, Amrita as, 36;
    in Teutonic and Indian mythologies, 142 _et seq._
    See _Amrita_.

  Amenhotep (a-men-hō´tep) the Magnificent, Mitanni Aryans and, xxx.

  Amrita (ăm´rïta), soma as, 36;
    the Indian Ambrosia, 142;
    in “Churning of the Ocean” myth, 143 _et seq._;
    Garuda captures, 145, 146.

  Amvika (ăm´vikă), the goddess, sister of Rudra, 150.

  Ananta (ăn´anta), the serpent, 143.

  Ancestors, worship of, 61;
    the “fathers” and patriarchs, 102.
    See _Pitris_.

  Andhaka (ăn´dhăk-ă) (Darkness), the Asura, 151.

  Anglo-Saxons, Pope Gregory on pagan practices of, 135.

  Animals, domesticated, charms to protect, 86.

  Antaka (ăn´tak-a), “life-ender”, Yama is, 42.

  Apes, Solomon got from India, 84.

  Apes, demi-gods, Hanuman and Bhima meet, 106 _et seq._;
    why gods assumed forms of, 377;
    Sita drops jewels on Mountain of, 407;
    Rama and Lakshmana in kingdom of, 410;
    Rama slays Bali for Sugriva, 411, 412, 413;
    invasion of Ceylon, 418;
    colours of the chief, 418;
    battles of with Rakshasas, 419 _et seq._;
    the ordeal of Sita, 424, 425.

  Apsaras (ăp´săräs) or Apsarasas, Menaka one of the, 43;
    temptation of Vishwamitra, 159, 160;
    in Indra's heaven, 58;
    in Kuvera's heaven, 59;
    Indian fairies, 68;
    dancers and lovers, 69;
    sun maiden contrasted with, 71;
    origin of in “Sea of Milk”, 144;
    Urvasa woos and curses Arjuna, 256;
    at horse sacrifice, 316.

  Apsaras, the water nymph, 69.

  _Ăran´yäkas_, the “forest books”, 88.

  Aran´yäni, the forest nymph, 74, 75.

  Archæological Ages, xxxv.

  Arjuna (ăr´joo-na or arjoo´na), xlviii;
    Indra's affection for, 17;
    wooed by Apsara in Indra's heaven, 69;
    Gandharva's story told to, 71;
    “Divine Song” repeated by Krishna to, 125 _et seq._;
    story of wrestling of with Shiva, 146 _et seq._;
    son of Queen Pritha and Indra, 176;
    his feats of skill at the tournament, 188;
    Karna rivals, 189, 190;
    challenged to single combat, 190, 191 _et seq._;
    in battle against Drupada, 195, 196;
    the first exile, 198 _et seq._;
    wins Draupadi at swayamvara, 216, 217;
    drives back Karna, 218, 219;
    his exile from Indra-prastha, 225;
    the serpent nymph Ulupi and birth of Iravat, 226;
    marries princess of Manipur and birth of Chitrángadá, 226;
    wooing of Subhadra, sister of Krishna, 227, 228;
    expedition against Jarasandha, 229-31;
    at gambling match, 238 _et seq._;
    penance performed by, 255;
    wrestles with the god Shiva, 255, 256;
    spirit of celestial weapon appears before, 256;
    in Indra's heaven, 256;
    expedition against Danavas and Daityas, 256, 257, 258;
    rescues Duryodhana from Gandharva, 259;
    Karna vows to slay, 261;
    temporary death of, 263 _et seq._;
    as dancing and music teacher in Virata, 266;
    defeats Kauravas at Virata, 268;
    son of marries Uttara, 269;
    secures Krishna as an ally, 273;
    great war begins, 280 _et seq._;
    armed with celestial bow, 286;
    Krishna's instruction to, 287, 288;
    feats of in great war, 290 _et seq._;
    the fall of Bhishma, 295, 296;
    sorrow for Abhimanyu, 299;
    miracle on battlefield, 300;
    fights with and slays Karna, 303-5;
    performs funeral rites for Karna, 312;
    accompanies horse to be sacrificed after “great war”, 313;
    meets with Amazons, 314;
    horse becomes mare, then lion, 314;
    father and son combat, 314;
    slain by son and restored to life, 315;
    sacrifice performed, 316 _et seq._;
    rescues women from Dwaraka, 323;
    journey of towards Paradise, 324 _et seq._

  Arjuna's sons. See _Abhimanyu_, _Babhru-váhana_, _Chitrángadá_,

  Ark, Manu's, in “Story of the Deluge”, 140 _et seq._

  Armenians, Kurds contrasted with, xxii, xxvii.

  Arnold, Professor E. V., on Mitra and Varuna, 28, 29, 39 _n._, 41.

  Arrowsmith's translations of hymns, 16;
    rain-charm hymn, 37.

  Artisan, the world, Indra as, 10.

  Artisan god of Babylon, 12.

  Artisans, referred to in Vedic hymns, 77.

  Artisans (Divine), the Ribhus as, 10;
    Egyptian Khnumu and Germanic elves as, 11.

  Artisans of nature. See _Twashtri_ and _Ribhus_.

  Arya, a racial designation, xx.

  Aryaman (är´ya-man), associated with Mitra and Varuna, 28.

  Aryan problem, history of, xviii;
    the language links, xix;
    Vedic Period problem, xx;
    the racial cradle, xxi _et seq._;
    “broad heads” and “long heads”, xxii, xxvi;
    Max Müller's views, xxiii, xxiv;
    African origin of mankind, xxiv;
    racial type to-day, xxv;
    Mediterranean or “Brown race” theory, xxvii, xxxix;
    Turki tribes among, xxix;
    father and mother deities, xxxi;
    the “Aryans” of archæology, xxxv;
    the cremating people invade Europe, xxxv;
    as military aristocracies, xxxvi;
    the Palestine evidence, xxxvii;
    philological theories narrow regarding, xxxviii;
    influence of disease on race types, xli;
    Vedic and post-Vedic modes of thought, xlv;
    in Vedic Age recognize “father right”, xxx;
    conquest of Babylon, 3;
    late doctrines of transmigration and the world's ages, 103;
    invasion of the “Middle Country” by Kurus, Panchalas, and Bharatas,

  Aryan tribes, sects among, 103;
    Epic wars of, 156.

  Aryans, Hindus and, xvii;
    early influence, racial and cultural, xviii;
    late invasions of India by, xxxix;
    enter Punjab, 1;
    cattle lifters like Gauls and Scottish Highlanders, 4, 15;
    nature and ancestor worship among early, 61;
    folk movements from the Punjab, 76;
    rise of caste system, 79;
    seaward migrations of, 83.

  Aryas, Max Müller's definition of, xxiii _et seq._

  Asceticism, god of, Shiva as, 146.

  Äshur, Assyrian god, the Asura theory, 62.

  Ăsh´wa-m_e_d´´hă (horse sacrifice), 88.
    See _Horse Sacrifice_.

  Ashwattaman (ăsh-wat-thă´män), son of Drona, a worshipper of Shiva,
      147, 180;
    at the tournament, 185 _et seq._;
    sorrow of for father's death, 302;
    night-slaughter in Pandava camp, 307-9;
    great jewel of seized, 311.

  Asia Minor as Aryan racial cradle, xix;
    Aryan gods in, xxxi, 62;
    theory that Kassites came from, 155.

  Asoka tree (ă-sok´a), the holy, addressed by Damayanti, 348, 349.

  Ass, Creator assumes form of, 95;
    early Aryans had the, 76;
    the goddess Shitala rides on, 153;
    Rakshasas ride the in battle, 419.

  “Ass of the East”, domesticated horse called, xxix, 156.

  Assur-banipal (ashur-bän´ipal) of Assyria, 3.

  Assyrians, xxix;
    Mitanni Aryans overlords of, xxx, 31, 62;
    Mitra as a rain god of, 30;
    influence of on mythology of Persians, 62;
    souls as birds, 75.

  Asura, the Buffalo, Durga slayer of the, 265, 266.

  Asura (ă-shoo´ra) Andhaka (Darkness), the, 151.

  “Asura fire”, like world-fire in Teutonic mythology, 65.

  Asuras, first gods, then non-gods, 61;
    Ahuras signifies gods in Persian language, 62;
    Varuna as one of the, 62;
    enemies of the gods in epics, 63, 64;
    Kesin as leader of and conflict with Indra, 64;
    Daityas and Danavas as, 64, 65;
    Rakshasas as, 66;
    priests enable Indra to overcome, 84;
    in horse-sacrifice myth, 94;
    created by Prajapati, 101;
    Vishnu wins the universe from, 123;
    Manu as creator of, 141;
    Shiva dances on one of the, 147, 148;
    Vaka, king of, slain by Bhima, 207, 208, 209.

  Aswapati (ash´wa-pätï), King of Madra, the princess Savitri a daughter
      of, 45.

  Ä´swins, twin gods of morning, 32;
    Babylonian aspect of, 41;
    Saranyu as mother of, 149;
    Nakula and Sahadeva sons of, 176.

  _Atharvaveda_ (ăt´hăr-vă-v_e_-da), Asuras are demons in, 61;
    Agni enemy of demons of disease in, 67;
    spirits of good and evil in, 74;
    metrical charms in, 85 _et seq._;
    meaning of “Yuga” in, 104.

  Atman (ät´măn) Self, 98.
    See _Brahmă_.

  Atri (ăt´rï), the rishi, father of Durvasas, the master curser, 154;
    as eponymous ancestor of the Bharatas, 157.

  Aurora, Ushas the Indian, 34.

  Austria, aristocratic cremations in, xxxvi.

  Autumn burial customs among Buriats, xxxiv.

  Avataras (ăv-ă-tär-ăs) of Vishnu, the lion, 135;
    the boar, 135, 136;
    the horse, 137;
    the tortoise, Kurma, 143;
    Dasaratha's sons as, 377.
    See _Balarama_, _Kalki_, _Krishna_, _Parasu-rama_, _Rama_, and

  Avestan deities. See _Persian Mythology_.

  Axe, the lightning, 2.

  Ayodhya (ă-yōd´hya), in myth regarding the descent of the Ganges, 152;
    Nala as a charioteer in, 342 _et seq._;
    in the _Rámáyana_, _et seq._

  Babhru-váhana (băb-broo´-vä´´han-a), son of Arjuna and Chitrángadá,
      father and son combat, 314, 315.

  Babylon, burial customs in, xxxiii;
    Aryans influenced by, 3;
    Yama myth in, 41;
    invaded by Kassites and Aryans, 62;
    Kassites and Kasis of Benares, 155;
    horse called the “ass of the east” in, 156.

  Babylonian mythology, “hammer god” in, 3;
    story of creation in, 9, 90;
    the artisan god, 12;
    Mitra in, 29, 30;
    influence of in India, 61.

  Balarama (băl-ă-räh´mă), an Avatara of Vishnu, 125;
    an incarnation of the world serpent, 128;
    Juggernaut and, 136, 137;
    at swayamvara of Draupadi, 215 _et seq._;
    anger at Arjuna's capture of sister, 227;
    at Pandava imperial sacrifice, 232 _et seq._;
    at meeting of Pandava allies, 270 _et seq._;
    refuses to help Duryodhana, 273;
    anger of at fall of Duryodhana, 307;
    death of, 323.

  Bali (bä´lï), the demon, slain by Vishnu, 123.

  Balor (bä´lor), Irish night demon, his herd of black pigs, 136;
    Shiva compared with, 146.

  Baluchistan, Dravidians in, xxvi.

  Barbers, referred to in Vedic period, 77.

  Bargains, concluded by spitting, by using blood, and before fire, 37.

  Barley and wheat, Aryo-Indians grew, 77.

  Barnett, Professor, on Vishnu, 123.

  Basque language, xix.

  Bats, Homer's ghosts twitter like, 75.

  Bears, the, allies of apes, 418.

  Beech, the, in Aryan languages, xxi.

  Bel Merodach, slays Tiawath, 9.

  Beli (b_e_-lï), Irish god of night and death, 111.

  Beliefs, influenced by habits of life, xlv, xlvi.

  B_e_lus. See _Bel Merodach_.

  Benä´res, Kasi tribe at, xxxix, 155;
    Bhishma captures three daughters of king of, 169.

  Bengal, human sacrifices in, 88.

  _Beowulf_ (bā´ō-wulf), Agni and Scyld myth in, 21;
    the hag of like the Indian, 380 _n._

  Berbers, Brahmans resemble, xxvii;
    blonde types of, xxix.

  Berchter, Teutonic patriarch, 23.

  _Bhagavad-gita_ (bhă´gă-văd-gïtä) (Divine Song), the, 125;
    doctrines of, 125 _et seq._;
    heroic narrative interrupted by, 138, 139.

  Bháradwäja, father of Drona, 179.

  Bharata (bäh´ră-tă or bhäh´ra-ta) as son of King Dushyanta and
      Shakuntala, story of, 157 _et seq._;
    the eponymous king and patriarch, 156;
    named by the gods the “cherished”, 163.

  Bhă´rătă (of the _Rámáyana_), 378;
    hunchback and mother of plot to raise, 384;
    loyalty of to Rama, 396;
    renounces throne, 397;
    pleads with Rama to return, 398, 399;
    Rama's sandals, 400;
    welcomes Rama to Ayodhya, 425.

  Bhäratas, tribe of, xxxix;
    as “late comers”, xl;
    invasion of and change of beliefs, xliv;
    river goddess of, xl, 148, 149;
    union of with Kuru Panchalas, 155, 156;
    of “the lunar race”, 157 _et seq._;
    tribal name of given to all India, 164.

  Bhă´ratavär´´sha, Hindustan and then all India called, 164.

  Bhă´ratï, river goddess of the Bharatas, identified with Saraswati,
      148, 149, 155.

  Bhïls, the Prince of, story of, 182, 183.

  Bhima (bhee´mă), the Pandava hero, like Siegfried, Dietrich, Beowulf,
      and Finn-mac-Coul, 66, 67;
    his search for celestial lotuses, 105;
    meeting with Hanuman, 106;
    Hanuman describes the four Yugas to, 107, 108, 109;
    son of Queen Pritha and Vayu, wind god, 176;
    youthful Duryodhana attempts to kill, 178;
    receives draught of strength from Nagas, 179;
    at the tournament: combat with Duryodhana, 187;
    ridicules Karna at the tournament, 193;
    in battle against Drupada, 195, 196;
    burning of “House of Lac”, 200;
    flight of Pandavas, 201;
    wooed by Rakshasa woman, 202, 203;
    slays Hidimva, 204, 205;
    his Rakshasa bride, 206;
    his Rakshasa son, 206;
    Vaka, the Asura king, slain by, 206 _et seq._;
    combat at Draupadi's swayamvara, 218, 219;
    Draupadi at feast in potter's house, 220;
    expedition against Jarasandha, 229-31;
    at gambling match, 238 _et seq._;
    vows to slay Duhsasana and Duryodhana, 244 _et seq._;
    the helper in exile, 250;
    accuses Yudhishthira of weakness, 254, 255;
    rescues Duryodhana from Gandharvas, 259;
    scornful message of to Kauravas, 261;
    punishes rajah Jayadratha, 262, 263;
    temporary death of, 263 _et seq._;
    in Virata, 266;
    slays Kichaka, 267;
    Duryodhana taunts regarding his vows, 285;
    feats of in great war, 292 _et seq._;
    slays Duhsasana and drinks his blood, 303, 304;
    fights with and mortally wounds Duryodhana, 306-7;
    Dhritarashtra seeks to slay, 311;
    slays horse for sacrifice, 318.

  Bhima, rajah of Vidarbha, father of Damayanti, in story of Nala, 328
      _et seq._

  Bhishma (bheesh´mă), xlviii;
    the Vasus and, 17, 166, 327;
    the son of goddess Ganga and King Shantanu, 166;
    his vow of renunciation, 168;
    as regent, 168;
    capture of three daughters of King of Kasi, 169, 170;
    vow of the Princess Amba, 171 and 171 _n._;
    rears Pandu, Dhritarashtra, and Vidura, 172;
    employs Drona as preceptor of Pandavas and Kauravas, 181;
    at the tournament, 185 _et seq._;
    at division of raj, 224;
    at Pandava imperial sacrifice, 232 _et seq._;
    at the gambling match, 240 _et seq._;
    advises Duryodhana to recall Pandavas, 260, 261;
    declares Pandavas' exile has ended, 268;
    at Hastinapur conference, 274 _et seq._;
    as leader of Kaurava army, 286 _et seq._;
    fall of, 295;
    return of from Paradise, 320, 321.

  Bhrïgü, the tribal patriarch a celestial Rishi, 102;
    the priestly family of, 153;
    as sire of goddess Lakshmi, 154;
    Agni cursed by, 154.

  Bhrigus (bhree´goos), tribe of, fire brought to, 22, 23.

  Bibhishana (bib-hish´ana), the Ceylon Rakshasa, 416;
    becomes ally of Rama, 417 _et seq._;
    made King of Ceylon, 424.

  Birch tree, horses sacrificed tied to, 93.

  Birds as spirits, cuckoo and cremation rite, xxxiv;
    as messengers of death, 41;
    beliefs in Europe, Africa, and Asia, 75;
    Rishis appear as, Shakuntala nursed by, 159, 160;
    love messengers in Nala story, 329, 330;
    king of vultures (see _Jatayus_).

  Black Age, the Kali Yuga, 108, 109;
    in Greek mythology, 109, 110;
    in Celtic mythology, 110 _et seq._

  Black dwarfs, Dasyus and, 70.

  Black fairies, 70.

  Black pigs, Irish night demon's herd of, 136.

  Blessings, for houses, &c., 86 _n._

  Blonde types in Europe, xxviii;
    in Asia and Africa, xxix.

  Blood, the life, spirit identified with, 37.

  “Blood of trees”, sap as, 37.

  Bloomfield, Professor, 87 _n._

  Blue demons, 71.

  Boar, the wild, Rudra the “Howler” rides, 26.

  Boar, the, incarnation of Vishnu, 135, 136;
    treatment of in Egypt and Europe, 136.

  Body, the celestial, 57.

  Boghaz Köi, Asia Minor, Indra referred to at, xxxi, 3.

  “Bold and the Brown”, Indra's steeds, 5.

  Bopp's Comparative Grammar, xix.

  Boulder throwers, giants as, 70.

  Bow of Shiva, Rama breaks, 382, 383.

  Brahmă (brăm´hă or brăh-mă), the “World Soul”, 88, 96, 97;
    Brahmä the divine incarnation of, 100;
    the soul's being, 99;
    salvation through knowledge of, 100;
    release obtained through, 117, 118.

  Brahmä, the Creator, greater than Vedic gods, xl;
    river goddess wife of, xl;
    as “the grandsire”, 7;
    Agni as, 19;
    the two wives of, 44, 98;
    the divine incarnation of Brahmă (World Soul), 100;
    emerges from chaos egg like Egyptian Ra, 101;
    identified with Purusha, 102;
    celestial Rishis are mind-born sons of, 102;
    Kalpa, or day, of, 105;
    length of “year” of, 105;
    the sleep of, 105;
    universal destruction at end of day of, 113;
    Creator in the Trinity, 119;
    Vishnu identified with, 123;
    Indra and Agni become subject to, 134;
    as the fish in the deluge story, 139 _et seq._;
    as the chaos boar, 136;
    Manu associated with at creation, 140;
    Vedic gods appeal to, 143;
    Saraswati becomes the wife of, 149;
    Valmiki and, 374;
    at Dasaratha's horse sacrifice, 376, 377;
    Indra's appeal to, 377;
    curse of on Ravana, 412;
    appears to Rama, 427.

  Brahman, a Celtic, 111.

  Brahman Caste, 79.
    See _Caste_.

  Brähm´ănăs, the, the soul as “the man in the eye” in, 42;
    “it is sorrowful to have a daughter”, 60;
    evidence regarding Asuras in, 62, 63 _et seq._;
    ritualism of sacrifice, 81;
    expositions of Vedic hymns, 88;
    the “Ka” of, 98;
    Yugas in, 104;
    transmigration doctrine, 116;
    begun before Bharatas joined Kurus, 155;
    Vishnu's rise in, 123.

  Brahmanical Age, religious revolution in, xxxix;
    growth of ritualism and pantheism, 119, 120;
    religious revolts in, 120, 121;
    bold pantheism of, 122.

  Brahmanism, post-Buddhistic rival of, xl, 134, 135;
    during the Buddhist Age, 132, 138;
    goddesses prominent after reform of, 148.

  Bräh´mans, the “white”, xxv;
    as members of Mediterranean race, xxvii;
    rise of organized priesthood, 80;
    four periods of lives of, 81;
    as hermits, 82;
    what culture owes to, 82;
    algebra the gift of, 83;
    as “human gods”, 84;
    powers derived from penance, 85;
    ceremonies of riddance by, 86, 87;
    centre of ancient culture of, 88;
    pantheistic doctrines of, 88;
    Upanishadic doctrine of the world soul, 99;
    teaching of, 102;
    concessions by to popular opinion, 103;
    systematized religion, 116;
    the modern, 119;
    gods and men depend upon, 121;
    supremacy over Kshatriyas, 121;
    struggle with Kshatriyas, 136;
    Kuru Panchala country the centre of, 155.

  Brahmaputra, a male river, 152.

  Breath of life. See _Air of Life_.

  Bretons, Celts and, xxxv;
    Normans mix with, xxxvi.

  Brihaspati (brï-hăsh´păt-ï), “Lord of Prayer” in Vedic creation myth,

  Britain, cremation custom in, xxxvi, xxxvii;
    early people and invaders in, xxxviii;
    reversion to type in, xlii;
    folk customs of compared with Indian, xlii.

  British Isles, cremating invaders in, xxxv.

  Brittany, Alpine race in, xxvii.

  “Broad heads” in India, xxv, xxvi:
    burial customs of, xxxv;
    identified with Celts, xxxv.

  Bronze age, burial customs in Europe, xxxiii;
    European cremation rites in, xxxv _et seq._;
    late in Scandinavia, xlv;
    Aryan invasion of Punjab in, 77.

  Bronze age (mythical), in Indian, Greek, and Celtic mythologies, 107
      _et seq._

  Brown race, Mediterranean peoples of, xxviii;
    recognition of “mother right” by, xxx;
    in “Aryan blend”, xxxi, xxxix;
    Bharatas of the, xl;
    Dravidians and, xlii;
    transmigration belief in communities of, xliii, xliv;
    beliefs and habits of life, xlvi.

  Buddha (büd´hă), as an incarnation of Vishnu, 129;
    early life of, 129, 130;
    one of the world's great teachers, 130;
    his doctrines, 130 _et seq._;
    missionaries of visit other lands, 133.

  Buddhism, professors of in India, xviii;
    eastward spread of, xl;
    Upanishadic teaching and, 120;
    decline of, 122, 134;
    Vishnu prominent before rise of, 124;
    Brahmanic attitude towards, 129;
    in China, Japan, &c., 133.

  Buddhist Age, in Indian history, 119;
    Brahmanism supplanted, 120;
    Brahmanism during, 138.

  Buffalo Asura, Durga the slayer of the, 265, 266.

  Bull, Dyaus as, 13;
    Agni as, 22;
    Mithra, “corn god” as, 30;
    Shiva as, 147.

  Burial customs in Vedic Age, xxxii;
    in Babylon and Egypt, xxxiii;
    Buriat dead on horseback, xxxiv;
    cremation in Europe, xxxvi _et seq._;
    cremation in Palestine, xxxvii, xxxviii;
    “house of clay” in Varuna hymn, 38;
    why dead were cremated, 38;
    goat slain to inform gods, 91;
    transmigration doctrine and, 115 _et seq._;
    cremation of Kauravas and Pandavas after war, 312.

  Buriats, the, a Mongolian people, xxxiii;
    cremation and inhumation practised by, xxxiv, xxxix;
    horse sacrifice among, 90;
    description of, 91;
    sacrifice horse like Spartans, 93;
    birch trees at sacrifices of, 93.

  Burning of erring wives, in Egyptian and Scottish tales, xxxvii.

  Burning of widows. See _Suttee_.

  Burrows, Professor, xxxviii _n._

  Cæsar, Julius, on widow burning in Europe, xxxvii;
    on Gaulish belief in transmigration, 118.

  Cailleach (cal´yach), the Scottish, compared with Indian and Egyptian
      deities, xli.

  Caithness, man-devouring demon in, 208 _n._

  Cakes, offerings of, 14;
    early Aryo-Indians make, 77.

  Camels, Rakshasas ride in battle, 419.

  Campbell's _West Highland Tales_, reference to wife burning, xxxvii.

  Carniola, burial customs in, xxxvi.

  Carpenters, referred to in Vedic hymns, 77.

  Caste system, at present day, xvii;
    physical or mythological origin of, xxv;
    Vedic gods as Kshatriyas, 14;
    relation to occupation, 79;
    in Yajurvedic period Brahmans supreme, 84;
    Purusha doctrine of, 89;
    in the Kali Age, 113;
    Buddhism and Jainism as social revolts, 120;
    Brahmans as highest caste, 121;
    Vishwamitra raised from Kshatriya to Brahman, 154.

  Castor and Pollux, 32.

  Cat, Hanuman as a, 414.

  Cat goddess, Sasti the, 152, 153.

  Cataclysm, the universal, 141, 142.

  Cattle, charms to protect, 86.

  Cattle lifting, hymn to aid, 15, 16.

  Celestial credit, obtained by penance, 85.

  Celestial Rishis. See _Rishis, the Celestial_.

  Celtic mythology, otherworld, compared with Indian heavens, 59;
    the Fomorians of, 64;
    Tuan Mac Carell legend in, 111 _et seq._;
    transmigration of souls doctrine, 103, 116, 118;
    doctrine of world's ages, in, 110 _et seq._;
    treatment of the pig in, 136;
    Indian and Gaelic magic food pots, 249;
    the thunder horn, 258;
    demons in weapons, 381 _n._

  Celts, Aryan affinities of, xx;
    identified with “broad heads”, xxii;
    racial theory, xxiii;
    Max Müller on, xxiv;
    identified with cremating invaders, xxxv;
    customs of in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, xlii.

  Ceremonies of riddance, 85, 86.

  Ceylon, Ravana demon king of, 65;
    Rakshasas are Asuras in, 66.
    See _Lanka_.

  Chandra (chăn´dră, _ch_ as in _charge_), the moon god, 35;
    as ancestor of the Bharatas, 164.

  Chandra Shekara, the “moon crested”, Shiva as, 146.

  Chaos boar, Vishnu as, 135;
    Brahmā or Prajapati as, 136.

  Chaos egg, in Indian and Egyptian mythologies, 101.

  Chaos giant, the Indian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Teutonic, 89, 90;
    symbolism in myth of, 95, 96.

  Chaos goose, the creation egg myth, 101.

  Chaos horse myth, 94 _et seq._

  Chariots in Vedic period, 77.

  Charms against demons of disease, 67, 85, 87;
    for love, 86.

  Chedï (chay´dee), Sishupala rajah of, slain at Pandava imperial
      sacrifice, 232, 233;
    Damayanti's sojourn in, 352, 356, 357.

  Cheese, early Aryo-Indians made, 77.

  “Cherished, the”, King Bharata as, 163.

  Children, souls of dead, xliii;
    the female exposed, 60.

  China, Dravidian type in, xxvi;
    Hammer god of, 2;
    “foreign devils”, 70;
    chaos giant of, 90.

  Chitrángadá (chit-răng-ad´ä), son of Arjuna and Manipur princess, 226;
    son of slays Arjuna, 314.

  Chivalry of Indian heroes, xlvi.

  Christians, number of in India, xviii.

  Churning of the ocean, the, 142 _et seq._

  Circulating of villages, xliii.

  Clans, the Aryo-Indian, 77;
    feuds were frequent, 77.

  Cloud-compeller, Indra as, 331.

  Cloud cows, 4 _et seq._, 67.

  “Cloud rocks”, 5 _et seq._

  “Cloud shakers”, Maruts as, 5 _et seq._

  Cobras, the demoniac Nagas, 65.

  Coins called after necklets, 78.

  Colour, caste and. See _Caste_.

  Comparative philology, Bopp and, xix.

  Copper age, invasion of Europe in, xxxv.

  Corn gods, Agni and Indra as, 14, 15;
    Mithra as, 30.

  Cornwall, Dravidian-like customs in, xlii.

  Cough, charm for, 87.

  Cow, Creator assumes form of, 95, 102;
    of Vasishtha, 154.

  Creation, Hymn of, the Rigvedic, 97, 98.

  Creation myths, the Babylonian, 9;
    the Indian “World House” made by Indra, 10;
    sacrificial origin of life and the world, 89;
    the giants of, 89, 90;
    the Purusha doctrine, 89, 90;
    in Egypt, China, Babylon, &c., 90;
    horse sacrifice in, 94 _et seq._;
    first man and woman, &c., 95;
    “creative tears”, 100;
    Prajapati like Horus, 101;
    Brahma sun-egg like Egyptian Ra sun-egg, 101;
    Brahma's tree, 102;
    Markandeya's account of Yugas, 112 _et seq._;
    gods and doctrines existed before, 118;
    Narayana and Brahma, 124.

  Cremation in Vedic age, xxxii;
    not practised by Persians, Babylonians, or Egyptians, xxxiii;
    seasonal rites among Buriats, xxxiv;
    migratory peoples practised, xxxv;
    in ancient Austria, Greece, &c., xxxvi;
    evidence of Palestine, xxxvii;
    origin of, xxxviii, xxxix, 38, 39;
    practised by Agni worshippers, 116;
    ceremony of after “great war”, 312.

  Crete, cremation introduced into, xxxviii;
    reversion to type in, xlii.

  Cronus, Indra like, 13.

  Crooke, Mr., view on Aryan influence, xli.

  Crops, human sacrifices for, 89.

  Cuckoo and burial rites, xxxiv.

  Culture, wealth brings leisure and, 82.

  Curds, early Aryo-Indians made, 77.

  Curses, power of, the Rishis, 153, 154, 155;
    Damayanti kills huntsman by cursing, 346;
    Narada curses Karkotaka, 353;
    Brahman's wife cursed and rescued by Arjuna, 313;
    in tale of the hermit's son, 394, 395;
    Brahma's curse on Ravana, 413.

  Cyclops (ky´klops), the Indian. See _Vartikas_.

  Dadhicha (dad-hee´cha, _ch_ as in _chat_), the Rishi, thunderbolt
      made from bones of, 7, 8.

  Dadyak (dăd´yak), the Indian Loke, 12.

  Daeva, the Persian, cognate with Sanskrit “deva”, 62.

  Daityas (dait´yăs), in Varuna's heaven, 59;
    giants of ocean, 64;
    enemies of gods, 65;
    Arjuna's expedition against, 256-8.

  Daksha (dăk-sha), the Deva-rishi, in Sati myth, 150;
    story of quarrel with Shiva, his goat head, 153.

  Damayanti (dăm-a-yänt´ee), xlvii;
    loves Nala, 329;
    message of the swan, 330;
    gods desire, 332;
    Nala visits in secret, 333-5;
    the swayamvara and marriage, 335-7;
    demon possesses Nala, 340;
    the gambling match, 341, 342;
    exile of Nala, 342, 343;
    deserted by Nala, 344, 345;
    serpent seizes, 346;
    appeal to tiger and mountain, 347;
    appeal to asoka tree, 348;
    disaster to caravan, 349-51;
    in Chedi, 351, 352;
    discovered by Brahman, 356, 357;
    search for Nala, 358, 359;
    the second swayamvara, 360;
    Nala drives king to Rituparna, 360, 361;
    Kali ejected, 362;
    Damayanti vigil, 363;
    maid of interviews Nala, 365-8;
    Nala's interview with, 368-70;
    kingdom restored, 371-3.

  Danann (dän´an) Age, in Irish mythology, 110 _et seq._

  Danavas (dän´ăva), allies of drought demon, 7, 8;
    ocean home of, 9;
    in Varuna's heaven, 59;
    Asuras of ocean, 64;
    enemies of gods, 65;
    wives of have bird voices, 75;
    Bali one of the, Vishnu slays, 123;
    story of Prahlada and Vishnu, 135;
    Arjuna's expedition against, 256-8.

  Dance of Destruction, Kali performs the, 150.

  Dance of Shiva, 147, 148.

  Dancing girls in Indra's heaven, 69.

  Dandad´hara (dăn-däd´hara), “wielder of the rod”, Yama is, 42.

  Danu (dä´noo), mother of the Asuras, 64.

  Dăr´bas, “the tearers”, like Pisachas, 68.

  “Dark folk”, the mythological and racial, 70.

  Darwin, Charles, his theory of man's origin in Africa, xxiv.

  Dasa (dä´să), colour reference probable, 70.

  Dasaratha (dăs-ăr-ăt´hă), father of Rama, 375;
    horse sacrifice for offspring, 376;
    sons of incarnations of Vishnu, 377;
    Vishwamitra takes away Rama and Lakshmana, 379;
    at Rama's wedding, 383;
    Rama chosen as heir apparent, 384;
    plot of Kausalya and hunchback, 384 _et seq._;
    scene in the mourning chamber, 386, 387;
    Rama exiled, 388 _et seq._;
    tale of the hermit's son, 394, 395;
    death of, 396;
    Rama faithful to memory of, 398, 399.

  Dasyus (däsh´yoos), as demons, 67;
    as dark aborigines, 69, 70;
    Macdonell and Keith on, 70 _n._;
    racial theory, 71.

  Daughter, “it is sorrowful to have a”, 60.

  Dawn, goddess of, 34.

  Day fairies, 70.

  Day of Brahma, universal destruction at end of, 113.

  Dead, disposal of, cremation, inhumation, casting out, and exposure,
      xxxii _et seq._;
    services to by children, 59, 60;
    the demon Pisachas devourers of, 67;
    horses sacrificed to, 93;
    return of, Ganges' vision, 320, 321.
    See _Burial customs_.

  Dead, judge of. See _Yama_.

  Death, messengers of, 41 (see _Yama_);
    as “the man in the eye”, 42;
    as creator, 94;
    god of, as divine ancestor of Irish Milesians, 111;
    the gods fear, 121;
    Buddha's conception of, 130 _et seq._

  Deiwo, “heavenly”, 62.

  Delbrück, view on Aryan parent language, xxii.

  Deluge, the, in Irish mythology, 112;
    at end of “Day” of Brahma, 113;
    Manu and the divine fish in story of, 140 _et seq._

  Demons, in Varuna's heaven, 59;
    when called Asuras, 61;
    the Persian as Aryan gods, 62;
    Asuras completely identified with, 63 _et seq._;
    mother of, 64;
    Norse and Indian, 65;
    Rakshasas are, 66;
    Vritra, Ahi, and Kushna, 66;
    as beautiful women, 67;
    man-eating, slain by heroes, 67;
    Pisachas, Kali, Dwapara, Panis, Dasyus, the, 67;
    Vala, Darbas, Vartikas, the, 68;
    rational explanation of criticized, 70, 71;
    the red, blue, and green, 71;
    priests enable gods to overcome, 84;
    wrath and “battle fury” caused by, 85;
    overcome by sacrifice at creation, 94;
    none in the Krita Age, 107;
    Bali slain by Vishnu, 123;
    Ravana, king of, 125;
    salvation for through Vishnu, 135;
    story of Prahladha, 135;
    story of Hiranyaksha and Vishnu, 135, 136;
    epic warriors as allies of, 138;
    in “Churning of the Ocean” myth, 143 _et seq._;
    Durga's wars against, 149;
    slain by the avenging goddess Kali, 150;
    Arjuna's expedition against, 256-8;
    the allies of Duryodhana, 260;
    Kali and Dwapara in Nala story, 338 (see _Nala_);
    in weapons, 381;
    the headless, 410;
    Surasa and Sinhika, sea dragons, 414.

  Desert, the fiery, in Hades, 326.

  Destiny, belief in, 42 _et seq._

  Destroyer, the, Indra as, 16;
    Rudra as and Shiva as, 26, 119;
    Nirriti the goddess as, 67;
    Narayana as, 114, 115;
    Durga as and Kali as, 149 _et seq._

  Deussen's Philosophy of the _Upanishads_, 100.

  Deva (d_e_-vă), god in India, demon in Persia, 62;
    references in Brahmanas to, 63 _et seq._

  Deva-bratta (d_e_´vă-brăttă), name of Bhishma, 166 _n._

  Devaki (d_e_´văk-ee), father of Krishna, 128.

  Deva-rishis (d_e_´vă-ree´shees) (see _Rishis, the celestial_), Daksha
      and the Sati myth, 150;
    the most prominent, 153, 154, 155;
    Narada and Parvata in story of Nala, 331;
    at ordeal of Sita, 425.

  “Devils”, the “foreign”, 70.

  Devon, Dravidian-like customs in, xlii _et seq._

  Dharma (dhăr´mă) or Dharma-rajah, god of death and lord of justice,
      Yama is, 42;
    in story of Ruru, 43, 44;
    Vidura an incarnation of, 172;
    Yudhishthira a son of, 176;
    visits Yudhishthira, 250;
    causes temporary death of Pandavas, 263 _et seq._;
    as Yudhishthira's dog, 324, 325;
    Drona with in Paradise, 327.
    See _Yama_.

  Dhrista-dyumna (dhrïs-tă-dyum´nă), son of Drupada, miraculous birth
      of, 210;
    at the potter's house, 220;
    as leader of Pandava army, 286 _et seq._;
    slays Drona, 302;
    slain by Aswatthaman, son of Drona, 308;
    in vision of dead warriors, 321.

  Dhritarashtra (dreet´a-räsh´´tra), son of Vyasa, 172;
    becomes king: his wife Gandhari, 177;
    children of called Kamavas, 177;
    at the tournament, 186 _et seq._;
    invites Pandavas to visit Hastinapur, 223;
    divides raj with Pandavas, 224;
    at Yudhishthira's imperial sacrifice, 232 _et seq._;
    the gambling match between Pandavas and Kamavas, 239 _et seq._;
    terrified by omens, 246;
    releases Pandavas, 247;
    second match and Pandavas exiled, 248;
    attitude of before the great war, 274 _et seq._;
    Sanjaya relates incidents of great war to, 287;
    seeks to slay Bhima, 311;
    reconciled to Bhima, 311, 312;
    at horse sacrifice after great war, 316;
    retires to forest, 319;
    return of the dead, 320, 321;
    perishes in jungle fire, 322;
    as celestial king of Gandharvas, 327.

  Dhyaum´ya (dhyowm´yă), Pandava Brahman, 250, 312.

  Diana, horse sacrifice to, 93.

  Diarmid (yeer´mit), lover of burned, xxxvii.

  Dice, in early Aryo-Indian period, 77;
    the loaded used by Shakuni, 240;
    in Nala story possessed by demon, 341;
    Rituparna gives Nala secret of, 362.

  Dietrich (deet´reech: _ch_ guttural), the Indian, 66, 67;
    Arjuna like, 257 _n._

  Dionysus, Shiva as, 122.

  Dioscuri (dï-os-kö´rï), Castor and Pollux, 32, 40, 64.

  Disease, racial types and, xli;
    demons of, 85;
    destroyed by Shiva, 148;
    and by Rudra, 26.

  Diti (deet´e), mother of demons, 64;
    in Garuda story, 145.

  Divine song, the, 125.
    See _Bhagavadgita_.

  Divine years, 104, 105.
    See _World's Ages_.

  Dog, Dharma as, 324, 325.

  Dog of Indra, 17.

  Dogs, God of dead has two, 41.

  Dragon of drought, Vritra as, 6.
    See _Demons_.

  Draupadi (drow´pă-dee´´), daughter of Drupada, miraculous birth of,
    her destiny, 211;
    Pandavas journey to swayamvara of, 212, 213;
    won by Arjuna at swayamvara contest, 217, 218;
    in house of potter with Pandavas, 219;
    how she became joint wife of Pandavas, 219 _et seq._;
    agreement regarding, 225;
    receives Subhadra, wife of Arjuna, 228;
    the gambling match, 238 _et seq._;
    staked and lost by Yudhishthira, 240;
    put to shame, 241 _et seq._;
    exile of with Pandavas, 248;
    reproaches Yudhishthira during second exile, 251 _et seq._;
    Jayadratha attempts to carry off, 262, 263;
    perils in city of Virata, 266 _et seq._;
    grief for slain children, 310 _et seq._;
    horse sacrifice rites performed, 312 _et seq._;
    vision of dead warriors, 321;
    journey of to Paradise, 324 _et seq._;
    in Paradise, 326.

  Dravid´ians, type of in India, xxv;
    lower types are pre-Dravidians, xxvi;
    beliefs of, xli;
    sacrificial customs like those of Devon, &c., xlii;
    the Dasa and Dasyus theory, 70 _n._, 71;
    human sacrifice among, 88;
    earth goddess of, 89.

  “Drinking cup” burials, xxxv.

  Drona (drö´nă), miraculous birth of, 179;
    put to shame by Drupada, 180, 181;
    becomes preceptor of the Pandavas and Kauravas, 181-4;
    story of the Bhil prince, 183;
    at the tournament, 185 _et seq._;
    Pandavas overthrow Drupada for, 195, 196;
    obtains half of Panchala, 197;
    Drupada plots to destroy, 209;
    trains prince who will slay him, 210;
    at Pandava imperial sacrifice, 232 _et seq._;
    at the gambling match, 240 _et seq._;
    in great war, 287 _et seq._;
    slays Drupada, 301;
    slain by Drupada's son, 302;
    return of from paradise, 320, 321;
    with Dharma in paradise, 327.

  “Drought demon” of Hindustan, 4;
    dragon Vritra as, 5, 6;
    slain by Indra, 6;
    priests enable Indra to overcome, 84.

  Drupada (droo´pă-dă), miraculous birth of, 179;
    as rajah puts Drona to shame, 180, 181;
    defeat of, 195, 196;
    Drona obtains half of kingdom, 197;
    plots to overthrow Drona, 209, 210;
    miraculous birth of son and daughter of, 210;
    the swayamvara of daughter of, 213 _et seq._;
    welcomes Pandavas at palace, 221;
    daughter of becomes joint wife of Pandavas, 222, 223;
    at meeting of Pandava allies, 270 _et seq._;
    daughter of who became a man, 295 _n._;
    in great war, 290 _et seq._;
    slain by Drona, 301.

  Duhsasana (doo´sas´ă-nă) at gambling match, 240;
    puts Draupadi to shame, 242 _et seq._;
    Bhima vows to slay, 245;
    supports Duryodhana against the Pandavas, 280 _et seq._;
    is slain by Bhima, 303, 304.

  Durga (door´gä), the goddess, xl;
    the beautiful war goddess, 149;
    Yudhishthira invokes for help, 265, 266.

  Durvasa or Durvasas (door-väs´äs), the rishi, a master curser, 154;
    Indra cursed by, 142, 143;
    gives powerful charm to Pritha, 174.

  Duryodhana (door-yo´dhăn-ă), eldest of Kauravas, 177;
    attempts to kill youthful Bhima, 178 _et seq._;
    at the tournament, conflict with Bhima, 187;
    Karna's coming, 189 _et seq._;
    Karna becomes his ally, 193 _et seq._;
    fails to defeat Drupada, 195, 196;
    jealous of Yudhishthira, 197, 198;
    plots to destroy Pandavas, 199;
    the “house of lac”, 200;
    believes his rivals are dead, 201;
    discovers Pandavas are alive, 223;
    Arjuna captures bride-elect of, 227;
    at Pandava imperial sacrifice, 232 _et seq._;
    arranges gambling match with Pandavas, 237 _et seq._;
    Shakuni plays for with loaded dice, 240 _et seq._;
    Draupadi won for, 240 _et seq._;
    Pandavas exiled, 248;
    Bhima vows to slay, 246;
    Draupadi's anger against, 251 _et seq._;
    captured by Gandharvas, 259;
    rescued by Pandavas, 259, 260;
    demons promise to help, 260;
    the royal sacrifice of, 261;
    plots against Pandavas with Karna and Shakuni, 269;
    condemned at meeting of Pandava allies, 270 _et seq._;
    interviews with Krishna and Balarama, 273;
    elders plead with at Hastinapur, 274 _et seq._;
    defiant speech of, 280;
    plot to seize Krishna, 281;
    Karna supports, 282, 283, 284;
    the declaration of war with Pandavas, 285, 286;
    combats of in battles, 289 _et seq._;
    hides from Pandavas, 305;
    conflict with Bhima, 306;
    fall of, 306, 307;
    night slaughter plot, 307;
    death of, 309;
    in vision of dead warriors, 321.

  Dushyanta (doosh´yän-ta), king, in the Shakuntala story, 157 _et seq._

  Dutt, Romesh C., tribute to Max Müller, xx.

  Dwápara (dwä-pără), the demon in Nala story, 67, 338, 339, 341.

  Dwãpara Yuga, length of, 104;
    the Red Age, 108, 109;
    in Greek and Celtic mythologies, 109 _et seq._

  Dwáraká (dwä´răk-ä), capital of Yádharas, Krishna welcomes Arjuna to,
    a doomed city, 322;
    revolt in, 322;
    destruction of, 323.

  Dwarf form of Vishnu, 123.

  Dwarfs, the black, Dasyus and, 70.

  Dyaus (rhymes with _mouse_), the Aryan sky god, xxxi, 12;
    slain by son like Uranus, 13;
    as red bull and black steed, 13;
    harvest offering to, 14;
    flees from Agni, 20;
    Varuna and Mitra twin forms of, 28;
    Ushas (dawn), daughter of, 34.

  Eä, Babylonian artisan god, 12.

  Earth, sustained by soma, “water of life”, 36.

  Earth goddess, in India and Egypt, xxxi;
    Prithivi as, 6;
    the European and Egyptian, 13;
    the Dravidian, recent human sacrifices to, 89;
    Sri, Vishnu's wife, as, 148, 149;
    Kali as, 149, 150;
    Sita departs with, 427.

  “Easterners”, Indian tribes called, xxxix;
    traditions of in the _Rámáyana_, xlvi.

  Echo, Aranyani as, 74, 75.

  Eclipse, Rahu the Indian demon of, 144.

  Egg, myth of soul in, 102.

  Egg, the golden, Brahma emerges from, 101.

  Egg, the sun, Brahma emerges from like the Egyptian Ra, 101.

  Eggeling, Professor, 15, 42 _n._, 84 _n._

  Egypt, Mitanni Aryans and, xxx;
    sky and earth deities of, xxxi;
    early burial customs in, xxxiii;
    folk tale reference to wife burning, xxxvii;
    goddesses of compared with Indian, xli;
    reversion to type in, xlii;
    traces of ages doctrine in, xliv;
    belief in transmigration in, xliv, 116, 118;
    “Hammer god” of, 3;
    Khnûmû of, like Indian Ribhus and European elves, 11;
    earth mother of, 13;
    “husband of his mother” belief in, 14;
    Indian rajah like Pharaoh of, 74 _n._;
    chaos giant of, 90 _n._;
    Prajapati has origin like Horus, 101;
    monasticism in, 133;
    treatment of boar in contrasted with Indian, 136;
    priestly theorists of and the Indian, 139, 140;
    myth of slaughtering goddess, Indian parallel, 150;
    belief regarding “two mothers” in, 229 _n._;
    serpent king of like Indian, 353 _n._

  Eka-chakra (ekă-chak´ră, _ch_ as in _charge_), Pandavas in city of,
    story of Vaka, the Rakshasa, 207 _et seq._

  Elam, 3;
    “Maltese cross” on Neolithic pottery of, 155, 156.

  Elephant, the, in Vedic myth, 32;
    the sun and, 32;
    of Indra, 4, 17, 18, 144;
    Shiva wears skin of, 147;
    Ganesa has head of, 151.

  Elephants, Rakshasas ride in battle on, 419.

  Elf King of India, 69.

  Elginbrodde, Martin, and Agni worshipper like, 24.

  Elves, Gandharvas like, 68, 69;
    rational explanation of criticized, 70 _et seq._

  England, ancient. See _Britain_.

  Epics, the great Indian, xlvi;
    development of from hero songs, 138.
    See _Mahábhárata_ and _Rámáyana_.

  Eternal Being, 98.
    See _World Soul_.

  Europe, as racial cradle of Aryans, xx _et seq._;
    “Broad heads”, xxii;
    Neolithic burial customs in, xxxiii;
    cremation customs in, xxxv _et seq._;
    widow burning in, xxxvii;
    fairies and elves of, 70 _et seq._

  Evil, Divine One the source of, 115.

  Evil Age. See _Kali Yuga_.

  Exogamy in modern India, 60.

  Exorcism. See _Charms_.

  Exposure of female children, 60.

  Eye, the “man” in the, soul as, 42.

  “Eye of Ra”, 150.

  Fairies, rational explanation of criticized, 70 _et seq._;
    the “black” and “white”, 70;
    the Yakshas as “the good people”, 68;
    the Apsaras, 68, 69.

  Fairy queen of India, 69.

  Family life, in Vedic period, 77;
    of the Brahmans, 81, 82.

  Father, the (Pitris), adored by ancestor worshippers, 102.

  “Father”, the “Great”, Vedic Aryans worshippers of, 13;
    Brahma as “father of all”, 101.
    See _Narayana_, _Prajápati_, _Purusha_, _Shiva_, and _Vishnu_.

  “Father Right”, among Vedic Aryans, xxx, xli, 77.

  Fathers, rescued from hell by sons, 59, 60.

  Feline goddess, Sasti the, 152, 153.

  Female children, exposure of, 60.

  Fertility, Mongolian horse sacrifice to ensure, 91;
    Indian ceremonies, 92.

  Finn Mac Coul (fin´mak´´kool), wife of burned, xxxvii;
    the Indian heroic, 66, 67, 249 _n._

  Fire, worship of in Persia, xxxiii;
    as vital principle (bodily heat) in India, 37;
    vows taken before, 37;
    spirits transferred to Hades by, 38;
    Narayana as, 114;
    the everlasting, 326.
    See _Agni_ and _Cremation_.

  Firstfruits, gods' dispute regarding, 14.

  First man. See _Manu_, _Purusha_, and _Yama_.

  Fish, Manu and the, Deluge story, 140 _et seq._

  Fits, caused by demons, 85.

  Fitzgerald, Jamshid of his “Omar”, 40.

  Flowers of Paradise, 59;
    celestial lotuses, 105 _et seq._, 250, 251.

  Folk religion. In _Atharvaveda_, 85 _et seq._

  Fomorians (fo-more´eans), the Indian, 64, 65.

  Food, in Vedic hymns, 76, 77.

  Food of the gods, supplied by the priests, 84.

  “Food Vessel” burials, xxxv.

  Foreordination, belief in, 42 _et seq._

  _Forest Books_, the, hermits composed, 82, 83, 88, 102.

  Forest of Hades, 326.

  Frazer, Professor, 29 _n._;
    on Mithra, 30.

  Frogs, in Vedic rain charm, 36, 37.

  “Gad whip” in Lincolnshire and India, xlii.

  Gajasahvaya (gaj-as-ah-vä´ya), city of, in Shakuntala story, 161.

  Gambling, dice in Vedic period, 77;
    the match between Kauravas and Pandavas, 238 _et seq._;
    Nala and his brother, 341 _et seq._

  Gandär´ians, allies of Xerxes against the Greeks, 168.

  Gándhárï, Queen, wife of Dhritarashtra, 177;
    at the tournament, 187 _et seq._;
    lament of for sons, 311;
    retires to forest, 319, 320, 321;
    death of, 322.

  Gänd´härí, the tribe, 168.

  Gandharva (gänd´hăr-vă), the atmospheric deity, 69.

  Gandharva marriage, 160.

  Gandharvas, the, king of, in folk tale, 43;
    in Indra's heaven, 58;
    like elves, 68;
    celestial musicians, 69;
    tribal significance of, 70;
    story of told to Arjuna, 71;
    as invisible sentinels, 106;
    capture of Duryodhana by, 259;
    at horse sacrifice, 316;
    Dhritarashtra as celestial king of, 327;
    at ordeal of Sita, 425.

  Gane´sa (găne´sha), elephant-headed god of wisdom, 151.

  Gangá (găng´ä), goddess of Ganges, 152;
    as wife of King Shantanu, 164 _et seq._

  Ganga-bratta, name of Bhishma, 166 _n._

  Ganges river, mentioned in late Rigvedic period, 76;
    Ganges, 83;
    story of Manu and the fish and, 140 _et seq._;
    myth of the descent of, 152;
    goddess of as wife of king, 164 _et seq._;
    dead warriors rise from, 320, 321;
    the heavenly, 326.

  Gardens of Hela, in Indian myth, 59.

  Garúda (găr-ood´ă), half giant, half eagle, Amrita story of, 145;
    the vehicle of Vishnu, 146;
    in Ganesa myth, 151;
    helps Rama in Ceylon war, 419;
    carries Rama to Paradise, 428.

  Gauls, the, widow burning among, xxxvii;
    transmigration of souls belief among, xliv, 118;
    cattle lifters like Vedic Aryans, 15;
    Aryo-Indians had clan feuds like, 77;
    as pork eaters, 136.

  Gauri (gow´ree), wife of Shiva, 405.

  Gayatri (găy´ătree), the milkmaid goddess, second wife of Brahma, 44,

  Germans as Aryans, xxiv.

  Ghatotkacha (găt-ot-kătch´ä), the Rakshasa son of Bhima, 206;
    in great war, 286 _et seq._;
    avenges death of Iravat, 293, 294;
    fall of, 301;
    in vision of dead warriors, 320, 321.

  Ghosts, belief in, 38;
    birds as, 75.

  Ghosts and fire. See _Cremation_.

  Giant, the chaos, Purusha like Ymer, 89, 90;
    concealed soul of, 102;
    Vishnu as a, 123.

  Giants, in Varuna's heaven, 59;
    when called Asuras, 61, 63 _et seq._;
    Yakshas, “the good people”, as, 68;
    rational explanation of criticized, 70, 71;
    mother of, 64;
    Norse and Indian, 65;
    the struggle with gods for ambrosia, 142 _et seq._;
    slain by the avenging goddess Kali, 150.
    See _Asuras_, _Danavas_, _Daityas_, and _Rakshasas_.

  Girisha (ge-reesh´ă), mountain god, Shiva as, 146.

  Goat, early Aryans had, 76;
    slain at horse sacrifices and at burials, 91;
    creator assumes form of, 95, 102;
    the Rishi Daksha has head of, 153.

  Goblins, Shiva as lord of, 146.

  Goddesses, shadowy in Vedic Age, xxxi;
    rise of the, 148;
    sun goddess makes Shiva's trident and Vishnu's discus, 149.

  Gods, Vedic Aryans exalted, xxxi;
    dispute among and race run by, 14;
    the Indian as Persian demons, 62;
    enemies of Asuras in epic literature, 63;
    magical control of, 80;
    priests as, 84;
    none in Krita Age, 107;
    fear of death among, 121.

  “Gold Toothed”, the, Agni and Heimdal called, 21.

  Golden Age (Yellow Age), in Indian, Greek, and Celtic mythologies, 107
      _et seq._

  Goloka (go´lok-ă), paradise of Krishna, 323.

  Gomme, G. L., xlii.

  Gon´esh, 151 _n._

  Good, Divine One the source of, 115.

  “Good people”, the, Yakshas called, 68.

  Goose, the chaos, 101.

  Gopis (go´pees) (milkmaids), Krishna and the, 129;
    Gayatri of the as Brahma's wife, 149.

  Government, system of in Vedic Age, 77, 78.

  Grandsire, the, Brahma as, 7;
    myth regarding Indra's hammer, 7, 8.

  Grave, the. See _Burial customs_ and “_House of clay_”.

  Great Bear constellation, Deva-rishis form, 153.

  Great fathers. See _Father, the great_.

  “Great mother” in Egypt and Europe, xxxi.
    See _Mother, the great_.

  Greece, cremation in ancient, xxxvi, 38, 39;
    May feast of Devon in, xlii;
    doctrine of ages of the universe, xliv, 109, 110;
    the “Islands of the Blest”, 59;
    demons of compared with Indian, 64;
    horse sacrifice in, 92, 93;
    doctrine of transmigration of souls in, xliv, 103, 116, 118.

  Greeks, the, Aryan racial theory, xxiv;
    Brahman type resembles, xxvii;
    Megasthenes, ambassador of, on Vishnu, Shiva, and Krishna, 122;
    Gandarians fought with Xerxes against, 168 _n._;
    in the great war of Bharatas, 287 _n._;
    language of and Persian, 61, 62.

  Green demons, 71;
    green fairies and ape demi-gods, 418.

  Habits of life, beliefs influenced by, xlv, xlvi.

  Haddon, Dr., view on Aryans, xxix.

  Hades, the organized, xxxviii, 38;
    bird-like spirits in, 75.

  Hags, Diti and Danu, mothers of giants and demons, 64;
    the Danava women, 65;
    Rakshasas as beautiful women, 67 (see _Pisachas_);
    in Scotland, 71;
    bird-like voices of, 75;
    the Babylonian chaos, 90;
    Arjuna terrifies in underworld, 257;
    Taraka slain by Rama, 380;
    Surpa-nakha woos Rama and brother, 400 _et seq._;
    as guardians of Sita, 412;
    Surasa, ocean hag, 414;
    Sinhika, sea dragon, 414.

  Hallowe'en celebrations, xliii.

  Hallstatt civilization, cremation in Greece earlier than, xxxvi.

  “Hammer gods”, xxxi;
    Indra as, 1;
    attributes of, 2;
    of China, 2;
    of Scotland, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, Palestine, Babylon,
      &c., 3 _et seq._;
    origin of, 70.

  Hammurabi (-â´bi) Dynasty, overthrown by Kassites and Aryans, 62.

  Hanuman (hăn´u-män), ape god, describes the Yugas to Bhima, 106, 107,
      108, 109, 250, 251;
    Arjuna's standard the image of, 287;
    ape god, son of Vayu, 411;
    search of for Sita, 414;
    in Ravana's palace, 414;
    finds Sita, 415;
    conflict with Rakshasas, 416;
    escape of, 416;
    yellow as gold, 418;
    carries mountain to Ceylon, 421;
    restores Lakshmana, 422;
    death of Ravana, 423;
    accompanies Rama to Ayodhya, 425.

  Haoma, the Persian soma, 36.

  Hără, Shiva as, 147.

  Hari, the illustrious, Vishnu as, 146.

  Hari-Hara, Vishnu and Shiva as, 147 _n._

  Harris, Dr. Rendel, on twin-deities conceptions, 40.

  Harvest bride, Jagadgauri as, 149.

  Harvest moon, as ripener of crops, 35.

  Hästin, King, 164.

  Hastinapur (hăs-teen´ä-poor), city of, 164;
    Bhishma brings captured princess to, 170;
    Pandava and Kaurava princes in, 177 _et seq._;
    Pandavas return to after marriage, 223, 224.

  Hathor (hät´hor), Egyptian goddess, compared with Indian and Scottish
      deities, xli;
    goddess Kali like, 150.

  Hawes, Mr. and Mrs., xxxviii _n._

  Heaven of Indra, 58;
    like Valhal, 59;
    dancing girls in, 69;
    Pandavas and Kauravas in, 327.

  Heaven of Krishna, 323.

  Heaven of Kuvera, 59.

  Heaven of serpent worshippers, 66.

  Heaven of Varuna, 59.

  Heaven of Yama, 57;
    parents only admitted to, 59.

  Hebrews, great sacred literature of, 103.

  Hector, the Indian, xlviii.

  Heimdal (hīm´dal), Teutonic god, like Agni, xlv, 20, 21, 22.

  Hela, xliv, like Indian heavens, 59.

  Heliopolis (hē-li-op´ol-is), 139.

  Hell (see _Put_), Yama presides over, 42;
    parents only rescued from, 59;
    “threefold is the way to”, 128;
    Yudhishthira's vision of, 326 _et seq_.

  Herakles, Vishnu as, 122.

  Hermitages, as universities, 82.

  Hermits, as scholars, 82.

  Hermit's son, tale of the, 394, 395.

  Hero songs, epics developed from cycles of, 138.

  Herodotus (her-od´otus), xliii;
    transmigration beliefs, xliv, 116, 118.

  Heroines of Indian literature, xlvii.

  Hesiod, doctrine of world's ages, 109 _et seq._

  Hidimva (hed-eem´vă), the Rakshasa, slain by Bhima, 202-5.

  Hinduism, cults of, xvii;
    ancient culture basis of, 88;
    currents of thought in, 102;
    transmigration doctrine in, 117, 118;
    Vishnu and Shiva cults, 124;
    Puranic beliefs and, 135.

  Hindu-Kush, as a race-divider, xxvii.

  Hindus, number of, xvii;
    Aryans and, xxiv;
    dead cremated by, xxxii.

  Hindustan, Aryan aristocracy in, xxxvi;
    early Aryans displaced in by Kurus, Panchalas, and Bharatas, 155.

  Hiranyapura (herăn´yă-poor´´ă), flying island city of giants and
      demons, 65.

  Hittites, Aryans and, xxix;
    peace treaty with Mitanni Aryans, xxxi;
    “Hammer god” of, 3;
    Mitannian relations with, 31;
    raid on Babylon and connection of Kassites with, 155, 156.

  Hogg, Professor H. W., on Mithra problem, 30.

  Hogs, Rakshasas ride in battle, 419.

  Homeric burial customs, xxxvi, 38.

  Homer's ghosts, like bats, 75.

  Horse, Babylonian name of, xxix, 156;
    when introduced into Egypt and India, xxx;
    Aryans breeders and tamers of, 76;
    Creator assumes form of, 95, 102;
    the white (Kalki), the next incarnation of Vishnu, 137;
    Avartas of, 360.

  Horse sacrifice, Buriats' offer to dead, xxxiv;
    prevalent in early times, 88;
    symbolism of, 90;
    among Mongolians, 90;
    to ensure fertility, 91;
    as atonement for sin, 92, 312, 426, 427;
    the Roman and Greek, &c., 92, 93;
    in Upanishadic creation myth, 94 _et seq._;
    in myth of descent of Ganges, 152;
    “the horse speaks”, 317;
    in Rámáyana, Dasaratha performs for offspring, 376;
    gods attend, 376, 377.

  Horses, hymn to Indra for, 15, 16.

  Horus (ho´rus), the Egyptian, Prajapati rises from lotus like, 101.

  Hospitality, importance of in religious life, 81.

  Hotri priests, reciters, 80.

  Household fairy, Jara, the Rakshasa woman, as a, 229.

  “House of clay”, the grave as, xxxii, 115, 116.

  Hrungner (hroong´ner), Scandinavian giant, 2, 64.

  Human gods, priests as, 84.

  Human sacrifice prevalent in early times, 88;
    recent instances of, 89;
    symbolism of, 95, 96.

  Hunting period, the Aryans and, 76.

  Hura (hoo´ra), the Persian mead, 77.

  “Husband of his mother”, 14.

  Hyenas, Rakshasas ride in battle, 419.

  Iliad, the civilization of, xlvii;
    the _Mahábhárata_ book as long as and Odyssey, 129, 139, 156.

  Immortality, achieved by knowledge of Brahmă, 99, 100.

  India, reversion to type in, xli, xlii.

  Indians, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Celts, &c., and, 116 _et seq._

  Indo-European languages and peoples, xx, xxiv.

  Indo-Germanic languages and peoples, xix;
    Müller prefers Aryan, xx;
    the Celtic theory, xxiii.

  Indra (ind´ră), in Vedic age, xxxi;
    tribal aspect of, xxxii;
    brother of Agni, xxxiii, 19;
    goddess Durga rivals, xl;
    as “Hammer god”, 1;
    his thunderbolt, 2;
    in Mitanni, 3, 32;
    “thunderstone” of fashioned, 4;
    victory after birth, 4;
    attacks and slays drought demon, 5, 6;
    war song of, and hymn to, 6, 7;
    hammer of made from Rishi's bones, 7, 8;
    flight of in epic myth, 8;
    Bel Merodach and, 9;
    Pa'n Ku, Ptah, and, 9, 10;
    as world artisan, 10;
    Thor and, 11;
    Twashtri and, 11;
    a god of fertility, 12;
    parents of, 12;
    like Cronus, his father's slayer, 13;
    harvest offerings to, 14;
    as winner of god's race, 14, 15;
    as “friend of man”, 15;
    cattle-lifters' hymn to, 15, 16;
    his human qualities, 17;
    dog and elephant of, 17, 18;
    Agni a drinker like, 23;
    attributes of absorbed by Agni and Vayu, 24;
    rain god and, 26;
    contrasted with Varuna, 27, 28;
    after redistribution of deities, 31;
    as discoverer of soma, 36;
    the heaven of, 58, 59;
    god of the overlords of Assyria, 62;
    reference to myth of in _Brahmanas_, 63;
    imprisons giants, 64;
    aerial city of, 65;
    hater of demon Panis, 67;
    dancing girls in heaven of, 69;
    made strong by the priests, 84;
    at horse sacrifice, 92;
    Vishnu source of strength of, 123;
    Krishna opposed to the worship of, 129;
    subject to Brahma, 134;
    cursed by Durvasas, 142;
    at “churning of the ocean”, 143 _et seq._;
    origin of the elephant of, 144;
    battle with Garuda, 145;
    “before his mother”, 148;
    elephant of decapitated, 151;
    in myth of descent of Ganges, 152;
    Narada, the rishi, messenger of, 153;
    dread of Vishwamitra's creative power, 159, 160;
    Arjuna a son of, 176;
    guards Arjuna at the tournament, 191;
    Pandavas as five incarnations of, 222;
    heaven of attained by Kshatriyas, 230;
    welcomes Arjuna in Swarga, 256, 257;
    praises his warrior son, 258;
    adored by the Pandavas, 259;
    takes Karna's armour and ear-rings, 262;
    Karna uses weapon of, 301;
    at horse sacrifice of, 318;
    welcomes Yudhishthira to paradise and tests, 324 _et seq._;
    Pandavas and Kauravas in paradise of, 327;
    in story of Nala, 331;
    a suitor of Damayanti, 332 _et seq._;
    at Dasaratha's horse sacrifice, 376-7;
    appeal of to Brahma and Vishnu against Ravana, demon king, 377;
    becomes an ape, 377;
    Bali, ape king, son of, 411.

  Indrajit (ind-ră´jit), the Rakshasa, in Ceylon war, 419 _et seq._

  Indrani (ind-rän´ee), wife of Indra, 17.

  Indra-prastha (indră-prăst´ha), Pandavas build, 224, 225;
    Arjuna returns to, 228.

  Indus river, the sea and, 83, 84.

  Infanticide, in ancient and modern India, 60.

  Inspiration, to draw in a spirit, 85.

  “Iranian period”, a convenient term, xxxi.

  Iranian plateau as Aryan racial cradle, xix.

  Iravat (eer´ä-văt), son of Arjuna and serpent nymph Ulúpí, 226;
    in great war, 286 _et seq._;
    fall of, 293.

  Ireland, doctrine of ages of universe in, xliv, 110 _et seq._;
    transmigration of souls belief in, xliv;
    Tuan MacCarell legend in, 111 _et seq._;
    Milesians of descended from god of death, 111;
    prejudice against pork in, 136.

  Iron, early Aryo-Indians and, 77.

  Iron Age, in Indian, Greek, and Celtic mythologies, 107 _et seq._;
    the “Black Age” in India, 108, 109;
    in Greek mythology, 109, 110;
    in Celtic mythology, 110 _et seq._

  _Isaiah_, sacrifices condemned by, 132.

  Ishtar (ish´tar), 13;
    bird-like spirits in legend of, 75.

  Isis (ī´sis), festival of, xliii;
    Indian goddess Kali like, 150;
    as joint mother of Osiris, 229 _n._

  “Islands of the Blest”, 59.

  Italians, Brahmans resemble, xxvii.

  Ivory, Solomon got from India, 84.

  “Jack and Jill”, as carriers of moon mead, 36.

  Jăg´gănăth (Juggernaut), a Vishnu trinity, 136, 137;
    car of, 137.

  Jain´ism, Upanishadic teachings and, 120;
    Vishnu prominent before rise of, 124;
    origin of and doctrines of, 133, 134.

  Jamshid of Fitzgerald's _Omar_, 40.

  Janaka (jăn´ăkă), Rama breaks Shiva's bow before, 382, 383.

  Janeckpoor, 382 _n._

  Jărä, the household fairy, at birth of Jarasandha, 229.

  Jarasandha (jă-rä-sund´hă), the rajah, has two mothers like Osiris,
    the slaying of, 229-31.

  Jatayus (jătä´yus), king of vultures, attempt to rescue Sita from
      Ravana, 406, 407;
    Rama finds, 409;
    revelation and death of, 410;
    brother of helps Rama, 413.

  Jayadratha (jăy-ă-drăt´hă), the rajah, attempts to carry off Draupadi,
    Bhima makes him a slave, 263;
    in great war, 297;
    fall of, 299, 300.

  Jewel, the great, 311;
    the magic life-giving, 315.

  Jones, Sir W., views of on Aryan problem, xix.

  Jörd (yerd), mother of Thor, 13.

  Jotuns (y_ē_´toons), the Indian, 64, 65.

  Jubainville, on world ages doctrine in Greek and Celtic mythologies,
      110 _et seq._

  Juggernaut. See _Jăggănăth_.

  Jumna river, mentioned in late Rigvedic period, 76, 83;
    Krishna as babe causes miracle at, 128, 129.

  Jupiter, 3;
    the Indian, 12.

  Justice, lord of, Yama as, 57.
    See _Dharma_.

  Kä, the great unknown, 98.

  Kaegi Adolf, on Vritra and “weather”, 8;
    rain-charm hymn, 37.

  Kaikeyi (ky-kay-yee´), wife of Dasaratha, 376;
    Bharata, son of, 378;
    plot against Rama, 384 _et seq._;
    Rama exiled, 388;
    anger of Bharata, 396 _et seq._

  Kailä´să, mountain of Shiva, 146;
    Arjuna visits Shiva on, 255, 256.

  Kali (kăl´e), the demon in Nala story, 67;
    personification of Kali Yuga, 338;
    plots against Nala, 338, 339;
    enters Nala and causes ruin of, 340, 341;
    causes Nala to desert wife, 344;
    serpent poisons, 353;
    ejected by Nala, 362.

  Kali (kä´lee), the goddess, wife of Shiva, xl;
    like Egyptian and Scottish deities, xli, 150;
    as earth mother, 149;
    as slayer of enemies of gods, 149, 150.

  Kălï Yugă, the Black or Evil Age, 104, 108, 109;
    in Greek and Celtic mythologies, 109 _et seq._

  Kalkï, the white horse incarnation of Vishnu, 137.

  Kălpă, a “day” of Brahma, 105.

  Kamadeva (kä-mă-devă), the love god, in story of the sun maiden, 72;
    the love god, Shiva consumes, 146;
    son of Vishnu and Lakshmi, 151.

  Kands tribe, exogamy in, 60.

  Kănsă, King of Mathura, 128.

  Känvă, the Brahman, in the Shakuntala story, 158 _et seq._

  Kärkotáka (kärkotă´ka), Naga serpent demi-god, 65;
    the serpent king, Narada's curse, 353;
    rescued by Nala, 354.

  Kărnă, xlviii;
    Scef and Agni myths and, 21;
    the son of Surya, sun god, and Pritha, 174;
    babe set adrift in basket, 174;
    found by Radha in country of Anga, 176;
    rival of Arjuna at the tournament, 189, 190;
    challenges Arjuna, 191;
    made a rajah by Kauravas, 192;
    is put to shame by Pandavas, 193;
    the ally of Duryodhana, 194;
    rejected at Draupadi's swayamvara, 216;
    combat with Arjuna, 218, 219;
    at the gambling match, 240 _et seq._;
    advises Duryodhana to spy on exiled Pandavas, 259;
    vows to slay Arjuna, 261;
    Indra takes away celestial armour of, 262;
    plots against Pandavas, 269;
    at Hastinapur conference, 274 _et seq._;
    Krishna's interview with, 282;
    Pritha reveals secret of birth to, 283;
    refuses to desert the Kauravas, 283, 284;
    refusal to fight while Bhishma is leader of Kauravas, 286;
    comes to fight after Bhishma's fall, 296;
    slays Ghatotkacha with Indra's weapon, 301;
    becomes leader of Kauravas, 302;
    combat with Arjuna and fall of, 304, 305;
    performance of funeral rites for, 312;
    in Indra's heaven, 327.

  Kartikeya (kärtik´eyă), the war god, 152.

  Käsi, Aryan tribe, xxxix;
    association of with Benares, 155;
    identification of with Kassites, 155, 156;
    king of, three daughters of captured by Bhishma, 169.

  Kassites, their origin obscure, xxix;
    Aryans enter Babylon with, 3;
    associated with Aryans in Babylon, 62;
    identification of with Kasis of Benares, 155, 156.

  Käs´yăpă, the pole star, 145.

  Kauravas (kow´răvăs), as the Kurus, 156;
    sons of Dhritarashtra, 177;
    as youthful rivals of the Pandavas, 177 _et seq._;
    rivalries at the tournament, 185 _et seq._;
    failure of to defeat Drupada, 195, 196;
    first exile of their rivals, 198 _et seq._;
    raj divided with Pandavas, 224;
    at Pandava imperial sacrifice, 232 _et seq._;
    the gambling match with Pandavas, 237 _et seq._;
    feasted by exiled Pandavas, 260;
    attack on Virata, 267;
    Arjuna defeats, 268;
    declare Pandavas' exile not ended, 268;
    opposed to Pandavas' return after exile, 270 _et seq._;
    preparations for war, 273 _et seq._;
    conference at Hastinapur, 273 _et seq._;
    war breaks out, 285 _et seq._;
    mourning for and funeral rites, 310 _et seq._;
    return of the dead, 320, 321;
    in Indra's paradise, 325-7.

  Kausalya (kow´săl-yä), wife of Dasaratha, 376;
    Rama son of, 378;
    Rama's exile, 390 _et seq._;
    death of Dasaratha, 396;
    Bharata comforts, 397.

  Keats, John, 25.

  Keith, Dr., on Vedic burial customs, xxxii, 168 _n._

  Kesin (kay´sin), leads Asuras against Indra, 64.

  Khnumu (knoo´moo), of Egypt, Indian Ribhus like, 11;
    the Egyptian god, haos-egg myth in India and Egypt, 101.

  Khonds tribe, human sacrifice in, 88.

  Kichaka (kee-chăk´ă, _ch_ as in _change_), loves Draupadi and Bhima
      slays, 267.

  “King of the Elements”, the Gaelic, 87.

  Kings, in the Vedic Age, 78.

  “Kinsman”, the, Vishnu as, 123.

  Knowledge, salvation by, doctrine of in _Bhagavad-gita_, 126 _et seq._

  Kósälä, Eastern Aryan kingdom, xxxix;
    Dasaratha, Ramas' father, rajah of, 375.

  Kripa (kreepä), miraculous birth of, 192 _n._;
    night slaughter in Pandava camp, 307-9.

  Krishna (krish´nă), evidence of Greek ambassador, Megasthenes,
      regarding, 122;
    an avatara of Vishnu, 125;
    doctrines of his _Bhagavad-gita_ (Divine Song), 126 _et seq._;
    a son of Vasudeva, 128;
    father escapes with at birth, 128;
    the shepherd-lover of Gopis (milkmaids), 129;
    Juggernaut and, 136, 137;
    as teacher of Vaishnava faith, 138, 139;
    worship of Shiva by, 146;
    bride of an incarnation of Lakshmi, 149;
    nephew of Queen Pritha, 173;
    at swayamvara of Draupadi, 215 _et seq._;
    gifts of to Pandavas, 223;
    Arjuna visits during exile, 226;
    Arjuna weds Subhadra, sister of, 227;
    expedition against Jarasandha, 229-31;
    at Pandava imperial sacrifice, 231, 232;
    slays Sishupala, rajah of Chedi, 233, 234;
    Sishupala an incarnation of Shiva, 234 _n._;
    visits Pandavas during second exile, 251;
    at Abhimanyu's wedding, 269;
    at meeting of Pandava allies, 270 _et seq._;
    promise to be Arjuna's charioteer, 273;
    as spokesman for Pandavas, 275;
    visit to Hastinapur, 276, 277;
    pleads with Kauravas for peace, 278;
    reproves Duryodhana, 280;
    plot to seize and transformation of, 281;
    departure from Hastinapur, 282;
    prophecy regarding the great war, 286;
    instruction of to Arjuna, 287, 288;
    miracle by on battlefield, 300;
    the Arjuna-Karna combat, 304, 305;
    at horse sacrifice, 317, 318, 319;
    closing days of and death, 322 _et seq._

  Kritä Yuga, length of, 104, 107;
    the White Age, 108, 109;
    in Greek and Celtic mythologies, 109 _et seq._

  Kritänă, “the finisher”, Yama is, 42.

  Krităvăr´măn, night slaughter in Pandava camp, 307-9;
    slain by Satyaki, 322.

  Kshatriya caste. See _Caste_.

  Kshăt´riyăs, the red, xxv;
    aristocratic caste, gods as Kshatriyas, 14;
    Brahmans become greater than, 84;
    origin of caste of in Purusha myth, 89;
    Buddhism and Jainism originate among, 120, 132;
    Brahmans achieve spiritual dominion over, 121, 136;
    destroyed by Vishnu's warrior incarnation, 136;
    Vishwamitra raised to Brahman caste, 154;
    Gandharva marriage for, 160.

  Küberă, god of treasure, Bhima's journey to region of, 105;
    Bhima reaches lotus lake of, 109.
    See _Kuvera_.

  Kumbha-Karna (koom´bhă-kăr´nă), the sleeping giant, 419;
    slain by Rama, 420.

  Kurds, Armenians contrasted with, xxii;
    as descendants of Aryan raiders, xxxviii.

  Kurma (koor´mă), king of tortoises, 143.

  Kuru (koo´roo), the tribe called, united with the Panchala tribe, 155.

  Kuru, King, as son of sun maiden and rajah Samvarna, 74, 156, 164.

  Kuru-Kshetră, country of the Kurus and famous battlefield of, 155,
    Pandavas and Kauravas assemble for battle, 286.

  Kuru-Pănchälăs, kingdom of, xxxix;
    doctrinal influence of, xliv;
    late invasion of and nation of, 155;
    wars of in epic narrative, 156.

  Kurus, the Kauravas of epic fame, 156.

  Küsă, son of Rama and Sita, 426.

  Kushna (koosh´nă), the demon, “the scorcher”, 66.

  Küveră, the heaven of, 59;
    demoniac hosts of, 68;
    like the Germanic Laurin, 251;
    Pandavas behold dwelling of, 258;
    advice of to Yudhishthira, 258.
    See _Kubera_.

  Lăksh´mănă, xlviii;
    son of Duryodhana, in great war, 291, 292.

  Laksh´mana, brother of Rama, 378;
    goes against demons, 379-81;
    goes into exile with Rama, 392 _et seq._;
    story of the hag Surpa-nakha, 400 _et seq._;
    the golden deer, 404;
    rape of Sita, 405 _et seq._;
    searches with Rama for Sita, 408;
    revelation of the vulture king, 409;
    conflict with headless demon, 410;
    among the apes, 411 _et seq._;
    in the Ceylon war, 418 _et seq._;
    Sita's second banishment, 426.

  Lakshmi (lăksh´mee), an earth goddess, xl;
    origin of in sea of milk, 144;
    as love goddess and Sri, 149;
    mother of the love god, 151;
    as daughter of Daksha, the rishi, 153, 154;
    Rukmini an incarnation of, 234 _n._;
    Sita as, 427.

  Lamb, sacrifice of in Devon, &c., and India, xlii.

  Land laws, in Vedic period, 78.

  “Land of the Fathers”, paradise as, 39-41, 42 _et seq._

  Language, indication of nationality not race, xxiii.

  “Language of Birds”, significance of belief regarding, 75.

  Lănkä (Ceylon), Ravana, demon king of, 65, 66, 377 _et seq._

  Lapps, fairies and elves as, 70 _et seq._

  “Last battle”, in Teutonic and Indian lore, 65.

  Latham, Dr. Robert Gordon, views of on Indo-European problem, xx.

  Laurin (law-reen), the rose garden of, 251.

  Lăvă, son of Rama and Sita, 426.

  Leopard, Shiva wears skin of, 147.

  Life, essence of, soma as, 37;
    sanctity of in Buddhism, 132;
    “cut off”, belief regarding “the man in the eye” (soul), 42;
    air of (see _Air of life_).

  Life, water of. See _Water of life_, _Moisture of life_, _Mead of

  Life blood, spirit identified with, 37.

  Life of life, the Brahma. See _World soul_.

  Lightning, Shiva a god of, 146.
    See _Agni_, _Indra_, and _Maruts_.

  Lincolnshire, the “gad whip” in, xlii.

  Lion, horse for sacrifice becomes a, 314.

  Lioness, King Bharata suckled by a, 161.

  Lions, Bharata as tamer of, 161.

  Liquors, intoxicating, made by early Aryo-Indians, 77.

  Literature, god of, Ganesa as, 151.

  Lithuanian language, xx, xxi.

  Loke (lō´kē), Dadyak the Indian, 12, 16.

  “Long heads” in India, xxv, xxvi;
    burial customs of, xxxv.

  Lotus, Prajapati rises from like the Egyptian Horus, 101;
    Brahmă rises from, 124.

  Lotuses, the celestial, Bhima's journey for, 105 _et seq._

  Love, charms for, 86.

  Love god, consumed by Shiva, 146;
    son of Vishnu and Lakshmi, names of, 151.

  Luck, water spirits the source of, 148.

  “Lunar Race”, tribe of Bharatas as, xxxix;
    King Bharata and descendants belong to, 157 _et seq._

  Lunar worship, rebirth and, 117.

  Macalister, Professor, xxxviii _n._

  MacCulloch, Colonel, stamped out infanticide, 60.

  Macdonell, Professor, date of Aryan invasion of India, xxx;
    on Vedic burial customs, xxxii;
    on origin of transmigration theory, xliii, 116;
    on Ribhus, 11;
    on moon bowl, 12;
    on Vayu, 25;
    on “path of fathers” and “path of the gods”, 39;
    Yama hymn, 40;
    on monotheism of Mithra cult, 41, 87 _n._;
    on Upanishadic doctrines, 88;
    the Kuru and Puru tribes, 155.

  Macdonell and Keith, on Dasa and Dasyu, 70 _n._

  Macpherson, Major, infanticide custom, 60.

  Mădăn, the love god, 151.

  Măd´hyădesă. See _Middle country_.

  Măd´ră, in story of Savitri, 44.

  Madras, human sacrifices in, 88.

  Madri (măd´ree), Queen, wife of King Pandu, 173;
    purchase of, 175;
    mother of two Pandavas, 176;
    performs suttee, 177.

  Măghăd´hă, Eastern Aryan kingdom, xxxix.

  Magical control of gods and nature, 80, 84.

  Magical formulas, in _Atharvaveda_, 85;
    in Scotland, 86 _n._

  Magyar language, xix.

  Mahabharata (măhä´bhä´´rătă), the, hero songs beginning of, xlvi;
    heroes and heroines of, xlvii;
    villains of, xlviii;
    cattle harrying in, 4 _n._;
    Indra-Vritra battle in, 7 _et seq._;
    Ruru and Savitri tales from, 43 _et seq._;
    descriptions of the various heavens in, 57-9;
    religious need for a son in, 59, 60;
    Rakshasas like gorillas in, 66;
    demoniac Vartikas in, 68;
    purpose of horse sacrifices in, 92;
    smoke cleanses sins, 93;
    world's ages (yugas) in, 105;
    Markandeya's account of the yugas (world's ages) in, 112 _et seq._;
    Vishnu and Brahma in, 123;
    early myths in, 124;
    _Bhagavad-gita_ (Divine Song) in, 125 _et seq._;
    Krishna appendix to, 129;
    history of Brahmanism enshrined in, 138;
    furnishes knowledge regarding Brahma, 139;
    Markandeya's account of the Deluge in, 140 _et seq._;
    “Churning of the Ocean” in, 142;
    Shiva worshipped by Krishna in, 146;
    Shiva's gift of weapons in, 146;
    Vyasa as author of, 154;
    Kuru-Kshetra battlefield in Kuru country, 155;
    founded on tribal hero songs: heroes of, 156;
    compared with Iliad and date of origin of, 156;
    story of, 157 _et seq._;
    Pandavas favoured in, 178 _n._

  Maha deva (măhä´dayvă), Shiva as, 146.

  Maha-rishis (măhä´reesh´´es), 102.
    See _Rishis, the Celestial_.

  “Maltese cross” in Elam and Babylon, 155, 156.

  Man, the first, Purusha as, 89;
    like the Teutonic Ymer, 90;
    like Chinese P'an Ku and Egyptian Ptah, 90 _n._

  “Man in the eye”, the, soul as, 42.

  Managarm, Teutonic moon devourer, Rahu the Indian, 64, 142.

  Män´ăsă, snake goddess, 152.

  Mandapala (măndă´pălä), the childless Rishi, refused entry to heaven,

  Măndara mountain, in “Churning of the Ocean” myth, 143.

  Mani (man´ee), Germanic moon god, 36.

  Manipur, Arjuna weds princess of, 226.

  Măn´măt´´hă, the love god, 151.

  Mannus, Teutonic patriarch, 23.

  Mănt´hără, the hunchback, plots against Rama, 385 _et seq._;
    Satrughna desires to slay, 397.

  _Manu, laws of_, reincarnation in, 13;
    Narayana creation myth in, 101 _et seq._;
    celestial Rishis in, 102;
    transmigration doctrine in, 117;
    Gandharva marriage legalized in, 160;
    the Niyoga custom, 171;
    second marriages unlawful in, 369 _n._

  Manu (măn´oo), patriarch of Agni worshippers, 23;
    Yama and, 39 _n._;
    eponymous ancestor of mankind, 101;
    different forms of, 102;
    in vedas and epics, 140;
    the story of the fish and the Deluge, 140 _et seq._

  Manus, the seven and fourteen, 102;
    fourteen reign during “day of Brahmă”, 105.

  Mara, the love god, 151.

  Maricha, the Rakshasa of Ceylon, Rama drives over ocean, 381;
    as the golden deer, 403;
    Rama slays, 404, 405.

  Mărichi (mă´reech-ee, _ch_ as in _each_), the rishi, the grandfather
      of Vishnu's dwarf incarnation, 154.

  Märkăndey´ă, long-lived Indian sage, 112 _et seq._;
    visit of to Pandavas during exile, 259.

  Marriage customs, the choice of Savitri, 45, 46;
    capture, 60;
    Gandharva marriage, 160;
    Bhishma on various modes, 169;
    his capture of king's three daughters, 169, 170;
    Draupadi becomes joint wife of Pandavas, 222, 223;
    Arjuna and Ulúpí, and princess of Manipur, and Subhadra, 226-8;
    second marriages unlawful, 369 _n._

  Mars, horse sacrificed to, 92, 93.

  Maruts (măr´oots), Indra's attendants, 5;
    in battle, 5, 6;
    Vayu and, 25;
    Rudras and, 26;
    in Indra's heaven, 58;
    at Dasaratha's horse sacrifice, 377.

  Mătäli, Indra's chariot driver, 256, 258, 259.

  Maternity, Sasti goddess of, 152, 153.

  Mathematics, Brahmans and study of, 83.

  Măt´hurã, Krishna and king of, 128.

  May customs, Buriats burn house of dead, xxxiv;
    “ram feast” of Devon, xlii.

  Mead, the early Aryo-Indian, 77.

  Mead of the gods (see _Amrita_ and _Soma_), Teutonic and Hindu giants
      and, 36;
    as “water of life”, 37.

  Mediator, the, Mithra as, 30, 31.

  Mediterranean race, xxvii;
    Brahmans of, xxviii;
    the new Brahmanical Pantheon, xl.
    See also _Brown race_.

  Mediterranean racial type and customs in Britain, xlii.

  Megas´thenes, the Greek ambassador in India, evidence of regarding
      Vishnu, Shiva, and Krishna, 122.

  Memphis (mem´fis), “Hammer god” of, 3, 139.

  Menăkä, the Apsara, 43, 69, 159, 160.

  Merodach, Babylonian god, in creation myth, 90.

  Meru (may´roo), 17.
    See _Mount Meru_.

  Mesopotamia, Aryan gods in, 62.

  “Metal of heaven”, iron the, 77.

  Metaphysical thought, Brahmans and, 82.

  Metempsychosis, doctrine of. See _Transmigration of souls_.

  Mexico, ancient, 90.

  “Middle Country” (Madhyadesa) of Northern India, xxxix;
    tribal struggles and hero songs of, xlvi;
    early Aryo-Indians in, 76, 83;
    centre of Brahmanic culture, 88;
    held by Panchalas, 155.

  Milesian Age, in Irish mythology, 110 _et seq._

  Milk, Ocean of. See _Sea of Milk_.

  Milkmaids (Gopis), Krishna and the, 129.

  Milky Way, Arjuna travels by to Indra's heavens, 69, 256.

  Mimer, the “wonder smith”, Twashtri like, 4;
    well of, 37.

  Mind, identified with soul, 101.

  Miner´va, Saraswati as, 149.

  Missionaries, the Buddhist, 133.

  Mitanni (mi-tan´ee), Aryan settlement in, xxix;
    names of kings, xxx;
    kings as overlords of Assyria, xxx;
    deities of, xxxi, xxxii;
    military autocracy of, xxxvi;
    Kurds descendants of Aryans of, xxxviii, xxxix;
    Indra “hammer god” of, 3;
    Aryanized kingdom of, 31;
    Agni not a god in, 32;
    Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatya gods of, 2;
    Aryan kings as overlords of Assyria, 62.

  Mithila (mit´hilä), Janaka, father of Sita, rajah of, 375.

  Mithra, in Vedic Age, xxxi;
    in Asia Minor, xxxii, 28;
    in Babylonian and Persian mythologies, 29;
    the Assyrian “metru”, 30;
    as a “corn god”, 30;
    as the mediator, 30, 31;
    as Fitzgerald's Jamshid (Yima), 40;
    monotheism of cult of, 41.

  Mit´ră (Mithra), in Vedic Age, xxxi;
    in Asia Minor, xxxii;
    identified with Agni, 22;
    associated with Varuna, 28;
    as protector of hearth and home, 29;
    as Babylonian sun god, 29;
    Assyrian and Persian clues, 30;
    a god of Mitanni, 32;
    Surya as “the eye” of, 33;
    identified with Jamshid (Yima), 40;
    influenced by Babylonian beliefs, 40;
    plays flute in Paradise, 41;
    as an Asura, 61;
    god of the overlords of Assyria, 62.

  Mohammedans, number of in India, xviii.

  Moisture of life, saliva as, 37;
    creative tears of Prajapati, 100, 101.

  Monastic orders, the Buddhist, Egyptian, and Christian, 133.

  Money, name of coin derived from necklet, 78.

  Mongolians, in India, xxv, xxvi, xxvii, xxviii;
    Turki and Ugrian tribes, xxix;
    “Father right” among, xxxi;
    burial customs of, xxxiv;
    horse sacrifice among, 90;
    cremation ceremony described, 91.

  Monotheism, Mithra's cult and, 41.

  Moon, worship of, xl;
    doctrine of transmigration and, 117;
    standing stones visited by women at phases of, 147;
    as source of growth and moisture (water of life), 37;
    as ripener of crops, 35;
    influence of on animate and inanimate nature, 35;
    mead of Teutonic and Hindu gods in, 36, 142 _et seq._;
    horse sacrifice and phase of, 92, 313;
    race of the, King Bharata and descendants of, 157 _et seq._;
    Damayanti compared to, 356;
    gender of in Europe and Africa, 356 _n._, 357 _n._

  Moon bowl, Twashtri shapes, 12.

  Moon bride, 356.

  Moon devourer, Rahu in India, dragon in China, and the wolf in
      Teutonic lore, 64, 144.

  Moon god addressed with Rudra, 28;
    as sire of the sun, 29;
    Chandra as, 35;
    marriage of with sun maid, 37;
    Shiva as, 146.

  Morocco, blondes in, xxix.

  Mosso, A., broad heads invade Europe, xxxv.

  Mother, the great, worship of, 13;
    in India, 148;
    Lakshmi as, 149.

  Mother earth, invoked at burials, 115, 116.

  “Mother of the Vedas”, Vach as, 149.

  “Mother right”, recognized by brown (Mediterranean) race, xxx.

  Mothers, the, Agni has ten, 20;
    two of Rajah Jarasandha, 229;
    and of Osiris, 229 _n._

  Moulton, Professor, on Mithra's origin, 30, 40 _n._; 41.

  Mountain, the holy, addressed by Damayanti, 347.

  Mountain giants, theory of origin of, 71.

  Mount Meru (may´roo), Indra's heaven on, 4;
    Pandava princes journey to, 324 _et seq._

  Muir's Sanskrit texts, xxv, 39 _n._, 101 _n._;
    on Yugas, 104, 105 _n._

  Müller, Dr. Sophus, introduction into Europe of cremation rite, xxxv.

  Müller, Max, his Aryan term, xx;
    on Aryan racial cradle, xxi;
    on Aryan language and race problem, xxiii _et seq._

  Music, Narada the patron of, 153.

  Mycenæ, lords of, did not cremate dead, xxxvi.

  Myres, Professor, on military aristocracies, xxxvi.

  Mythical Ages. See _World's Ages_.

  Mythology of India, its special interest, xviii;
    distinction between religion and, 135.

  Myths, rational explanation of criticized, 70, 71.

  Nägă country, infanticide in, 60.

  Nägăs, the snake deities, in Varuna's heaven, 59, 65;
    worship of among Aryans, 66;
    none in world's first age, 107;
    Surasa mother of, 414.

  Năkülă, the Pandava, son of Madri and twin Aswins, 176;
    temporary death of, 263;
    journey of towards paradise, 324 _et seq._.

  Nălă (of the _Mahábhárata_), “world guardians” in story of, 31;
    horse sacrifice in, 91, and purpose of, 92;
    the story, 328 _et seq._;
    message of the swan, 330;
    gods desire Damayanti, 332;
    interview with Damayanti, 333-5;
    the swayamvara, 335-7;
    demon Kali plots against, 338-9;
    Kali enters, 340;
    gambling match with brother, 341, 342;
    exile of, 342, 343;
    deserts Damayanti, 344;
    the serpent Karkotaka, 353;
    is transformed, 354;
    as Vahuka, the charioteer, 355;
    Damayanti's search for, 358, 359;
    the second swayamvara, 360;
    journey to Rituparna, 360-3;
    Kali ejected, 362;
    Damayanti's maid interviews, 365-8;
    interview with Damayanti, 368-70;
    second gambling match and kingdom won back, 371-3.

  Näla (of the _Rámáyana_), the green ape artisan, 418.

  Năn´di, bull of Shiva, 147.

  Narada (nä´rădă), the Devarishi, in story of Savitri, 45;
    descriptions of various heavens by, 57-9;
    a renowned teacher and musician, 153;
    message of to Pandavas, 321, 322;
    in story of Nala, 331;
    curses Karkotaka, 353;
    in the _Rámáyana_, 374.

  Nãrãyana (när´äyănă), divine incarnation of world soul, 100;
    Brahma as, 101;
    colours of in various yugas (world's ages), 108;
    Markandeya's vision of at end of yugas, 114 _et seq._;
    Vishnu as, 124.

  Nasatya, in Asia Minor, xxxii, 32.

  Natesa (nă-t_e_sh´ă), the dancer, Shiva as, 147, 148.

  Nature, feeling for in Sanskrit literature, xlvii;
    magical control of, 80.

  Necklet, coin called after, 78.

  Nectar, of the gods, soma as, 35;
    of Nagas, 66.

  Neith (ne-ith), Egyptian “earth mother”, 13.

  Nemed's Age, in Irish mythology, 110 _et seq._

  Neolithic Age, European burial customs in, xxxiii;
    Indra as a god of, 2.

  Nepthys (nep´this), as joint mother of Osiris, 229 _n._

  New Year celebrations, xliii.

  Nifelhel (nĭfel´hel), xliv.

  Night, Ratri goddess of, 34.

  Night fairies, 70.

  Nirriti, goddess of destruction, 67;
    region of in _Brahmanas_, 81.

  Nirvänă, “eternal emancipation”, Buddha's teaching regarding, 131 _et

  Normans, xxxv, xxxvi.

  Northern fair race, xxvii, xxviii, xxix.

  Oak in Aryan languages, xxi.

  Ocean of Milk, xl;
    the churning of the, 142 _et seq._
    Also _Sea of Milk_.

  Ocean, heaven of. See _Varuna_.

  Odin (ō´din), xlv, 12, 13, 24, 36, 37.

  Odyssey, the _Mahábhárata_ compared with, 129, 156;
    the _Rámáyana_ compared with, 139.

  Offspring, religious need for, 59, 60.

  Oldenberg, Professor, on Vedic burial customs, xxxii;
    on Agni's mothers, 20;
    on Agni and Mitra, 22;
    on Vishwamitra-Vasishtha problem, 154;
    on the Puru, Kuru, and other clans, 155.

  Olympus, 4.

  _Om_, the three Vedas and the Trinity, 111;
    Vishnu as, 126.

  Omar, Fitzgerald's, 40.

  “Ord na Feinne”, the Gaelic thunder hammer, 3.

  Orkney, cremating invaders reach, xxxv.

  Ormuzd, xxxiii.

  Osiris (Ōsī´ris), xliv;
    Rajah Jarasandha has two mothers like, 229 _n._

  Ossianic (osh´e-an-ik), wife burning reference, xxxvii.

  Oudh. See _Ayodhya_.

  Owls as messengers of death, 41;
    Egyptian spirits as, 75.

  Pachomios, the first Christian monk, 133.

  Palæolithic Age, 71.

  Palestine, cremation in, xxxvii;
    “hammer god” in, 3.

  P'an Ku, China's “first man” and thunder god, 2;
    like Indra and Ptah, 9, 10;
    as chaos giant, 90 _n._, 148.

  Panchala (păn-chäl´ă—_ch_ as in _change_) tribe united with Kuru
      tribe, xxxix;
    Drupada becomes rajah of, 180;
    divided by Drona, 197;
    Drupada's son and daughter the hope of, 210;
    swayamvara of Draupadi at, 211 _et seq._;
    Draupadi becomes joint wife of Pandavas at, 222.

  Pandavas (pän´dăvăs), epic heroes, rivals of the Kauravas (Kurus),
    the sons of Pritha and Madri, 176;
    as youthful rivals of the Kauravas, 177 _et seq._;
    rivalries at the tournament, 185 _et seq._;
    defeat Drupada for Drona, 195, 196;
    conquests by, 197;
    first exile of, 198 _et seq._;
    sojourn in Eka-chakra, 206 _et seq._;
    journey of to Panchala, 211, 212;
    Draupadi to be possessed by all, 219 _et seq._;
    division of raj with Kauravas, 224;
    Arjuna's exile, 225;
    imperial sacrifice of at Indra-prastha, 228 _et seq._;
    at the gambling match with Kauravas, 237 _et seq._;
    exiled, 248 _et seq._;
    second exile of, 249 _et seq._;
    need of celestial weapons, 255;
    rescue of Duryodhana by, 259, 260;
    four brothers stricken down at holy pond by Dharma, 263 _et seq._;
    end of forest exile, 263;
    in city of Virata, 266 _et seq._;
    Kauravas declare exile of not completed, 268;
    preparations for the “great war”, 270 _et seq._;
    the Virata meeting of allies of, 270 _et seq._;
    negotiations and preparations for war, 273 _et seq._;
    war breaks out with Kauravas, 285 _et seq._;
    triumph of mingled with grief, 310 _et seq._;
    behold return of the dead warriors, 320, 321;
    gloom of last days of, 322;
    journey of five brothers and Draupadi to Indra's heaven, 323-327.

  Pandu (pan´dü), son of Vyasa, 172;
    wives of when king, 173;
    story of doom of, 175 _et seq._;
    in paradise, 327.

  Pänis, aerial demons, enemies of Indra, 67.

  Pantheism, the Upanishadic, 88.
    See _Brahmă_ and _World soul_.

  Paradise, the Indian, xlvii;
    dead walk to, or are transported to by fire, 39.
    Also see _Heaven_.

  Parashara (păräsh´ără), the Brahman, father of Vyasa, 167.

  Părăsü´-rämaă (Rama with the axe), an incarnation of Vishnu, 136.

  Parjăn´ya, rain cloud as, 26.

  Parmäda, the Brahman, discovers Nala, 359.

  Parsees, number of, xviii;
    burial custom of, xxxiii.

  Parthians, the, ancient Indians archers on horseback like, 187 _n._

  Pärth´olon's age, in Irish mythology, 110 _et seq._

  Păr´vătă, the rishi, rival of Narada, 153;
    in story of Nala, 331.

  Parvati (pär´vătee), the goddess, wife of Shiva, 150;
    mother of Ganesa, 151;
    as mother of Kartikeya, 152;
    horse for sacrifice becomes mare owing to curse of, 314.

  Pastoral life, the Aryan, 76.

  Pätälă, Indian Fomorians confined in, 64;
    “Asura fire” in, 65;
    Danavas and Daityas dwell in, 256.

  Patriarchal life in Vedic period, 77.

  Patriarchs, the tribal, Brighu as a celestial rishi, 102.

  Patroklos (pä-trōk´los), cremation of, xxxvi, xxxviii, 38.

  Peacocks, Solomon obtained from India, 84.

  Penance, power derived from, 85;
    Irish saint performs like Brahmans, 111.

  Persia, as Aryan racial cradle, xix;
    Assyrian influence in mythology of, 62;
    horse sacrificed in, 93.

  Persian Gulf, Ea, artisan god of, 12.

  Persian language compared with Sanskrit, 61, 62.

  Persian mythology, Mithra in, 29, 30;
    Haoma (soma) in, 36.

  Petrie, Professor Flinders, on monasticism in Egypt, 133.

  Pharaoh, Rajah a god among men like a, 74 _n._

  Physician of the gods, 144.

  Pig, the, treatment of in Asiatic, European, and African mythologies,

  Pigeon as a messenger of death, 41.

  Pinches, Professor, 12, 29 _n._

  Pisachas (pe-shätch´ăs), devourers of dead bodies, 67.

  Pitri´păti, “lord of the fathers” (dead) Yama is, 42.

  Pit´ris, the spirits of ancestors, xxxviii;
    Yama king of the, 57, 58;
    worship of, 61, 102.

  Pitris (Fathers), the land of, xxxii;
    childless Rishi sent back from, 59, 116.

  Pleiades, wives of Rishis as, 153.

  Pleistocene age, men of as elves and fairies, 71.

  Plough, the, used by early Aryo-Indians, 76.

  Poetry, God of, Ganesa as, 151.

  Poets, priests were, 33, 78, 79, 80.
    See _Rishi_.

  Pole Star, Brahman identified with, 145.

  Pope Gregory the Great, 135.

  Pork, prejudice against and where eaten, 136.

  Posts, sacrificial, 93.

  “Pot of Worth”, 249 _n._

  Prabhasa (pră-bhä´să), city of, Arjuna in, 226.

  Prădyum´nă, the love god, 151.

  Prăhläd´ă, the demon king's son, story of, 135.

  Prăjä´păti, the Creator, 94, 98;
    as the Chaos Boar, 136;
    divine incarnation of World Soul, 100;
    creative tears of, 100, 101;
    rises from lotus like the Egyptian Horus, 101.

  Prămădvără, in story of “The Brahman and his Bride”, 43, 44.

  Prayers, mantras as, 87.

  Predestination, belief in, 42 _et seq._

  Prehistoric monsters, bones of and giant stories, 71.

  Preserver, the, Vishnu as in Trinity, 119.

  Preserver, Vishnu as child creator, 124.

  Priesthood, rise of the, 80;
    four periods of Brahman's life, 81;
    how maintained, 82;
    as human gods, 84.
    See _Rishi_, _Hotri_, _Purohita_, _Brahman_.

  Priests, as poets and leaders, 33, 78, 79;
    caste of, 79.
      See _Caste_.

  Prishata (prish´ätă), father of Drupada, 179.

  Pritha (preet´hä), mother of Pandavas, 21;
    mother of, a nymph, 173;
    Surya, sun god, father of her son Karna, 174;
    choice of King Pandu at swayamvara, 175;
    mother of three Pandavas, 176;
    desires to perform suttee, 176, 177;
    at the tournament, 186 _et seq._;
    the coming of Karna, 189 _et seq._;
    in first exile of Pandavas, 200;
    flight of, 201;
    story of Bhima and the Rakshasas, 202 _et seq._;
    sends Bhima to slay Vaka, 207;
    journeys with sons to Panchala, 211;
    exile of Arjuna, 225;
    Draupadi and Subhadra, 228;
    interview with Krishna, 282;
    reveals to Karna she is his mother, 283;
    Karna's promise, 284;
    her sorrow for the dead after “great war”, 312;
    retires to forest, 319;
    return of the dead, 320, 321;
    perishes in jungle fire, 322;
    in Paradise, 327.

  Prithivi (prit´hi-vee), Indian earth goddess, xxxi, 6;
    as a cow, 13;
    harvest offering to, 14;
    flees from Agni, 20, 148.

  _Psalms_, burnt offerings, 121.

  Ptah (tä), as “hammer god” of Egypt, 3;
    like Indra and Pa'n Ku, &c., 9, 10;
    as a chaos giant, 90 _n._;
    emerges from chaos egg like Brahma, 101, 114 _n._, 148.

  Punjab, Aryan settlement in, xxix;
    date of invasion of, xxx;
    fire worshippers in, xxxii;
    Aryans of called “Westerners”, xxxix, 1;
    Indra in and in Mitanni, 3;
    beliefs regarding after life in, 40;
    Aryans in Babylon before entering, 62;
    Aryan folk drift from, 76.

  Punyajänas, “the good people”, Yakshas as, 68.

  Puränăs, the sacred poems, 124;
    Krishna in, 129;
    purpose of, 134, 135;
    Hinduism and, 135;
    the sacredness of, 139;
    old myths in, 140;
    the “Churning of the Ocean” in, 142.

  Pürocha´na, secret agent of Duryodhana, 200;
    death of, 201.

  Purōhită, family priest, 80;
    Vishwamitra as, 154.

  Pür´ü, tribal name of as eponymous king, 156;
    a Vedic tribe, merged in Kuru coalition, 155.

  Pürüsh´ă, the “first man”, and sacrifice of by gods, 89;
    compared with Ymer, 90;
    myth of, 95;
    Brahma identified with, 102;
    Saraswati as the female form of, 149;
    Rudra as, 150.

  Pürüsh´ă-m_e_´´dha (human sacrifice), 88.

  Push´kără, brother of Nala, wins kingdom at dice, 340, 341, 342;
    kingdom won back from, 371-3.

  Püt, the hell called, 41;
    fathers only are reserved from, 59.

  “Queen of Heaven”, the Babylonian and Assyrian, xxxi.

  Rä, Egyptian sun god, xli, xliv;
    compared with Surya, 32;
    Brahma emerges from chaos egg like, 101, 114 _n._;
    Shiva acts like, 150.

  Race run by gods, 14.

  Races, the mythical, “silver”, “golden”, “bronze”, and “iron”, 110.
    See _World's Ages_, _Lunar Race_, and _Solar Race_.

  Racial types, variety of in India, xvii, xviii;
    influence of disease on, xli.

  Rädhä´, Krishna's favourite, 129, 149.

  Ragnarok (rag´na-rok), in Teutonic mythology, xliv _n._;
    in Indian giant lore, 65.

  Rähu, swallower of sun and moon, 64;
    the rational theory, 71;
    the demon of eclipse, origin of, 144.

  Raids for wives, 60.

  Rain, frog hymn for, 36, 37;
    priests help Indra to bring, 84;
    Buriat horse sacrifice to obtain, 91;
    drum and trumpet to bring, 92, 317;
    souls turned into by the moon, 117.

  Rajah, as a divine Pharaoh, 74 _n._

  Räjăsúyă (imperial sacrifice) held by Yudhishthira, 228 _et seq._;
    Duryodhana desires to perform, 261.

  Räk´shăsăs, Agni slayer of, 22;
    in Agni hymn, 24;
    “enemies of man”, the “night prowlers”, 66;
    Yakshas sometimes like, 68;
    rational explanation of criticized, 71;
    none in world's first age, 107;
    the rishi Pulastya a slayer of, 154;
    Bhima weds a woman of, 202 _et seq._;
    Bhima's Rakshasa son, 206;
    Bhima slays Hidimva, 202-5;
    Jara as a household fairy who is worshipped, 229;
    Rama and Lakshmana wage war against, 379-81;
    unable to break Shiva's bow, 382;
    Rama battles against alone, 402, 403;
    apes battle against in Ceylon, 419 _et seq._;
    Kumbha-Karna, the sleeper, 419, 420;
    rout of in Ceylon war, 424.

  Rämă of _Rámáyana_, xlvi, xlvii, xlviii;
    an avatara of Vishnu, 125;
    in cult of Vishnu, 139;
    story of, 374 _et seq._;
    birth of and childhood, 378;
    goes to forest with Vishwamitra, 378;
    slays Rakshasa woman, 380;
    celestial weapons and spirits of, 381;
    scatters demons, 381;
    breaks Shiva's bow, 382;
    wins Sita, 383; honeymoon of, 383, 384;
    selected as heir apparent, 384;
    hunchback's plot and Kaikeyi's commands, 385, 386;
    sent into exile, 389-93;
    Sita refuses to desert, 391-2;
    dying father calls for, 396;
    Bharata faithful to, 397;
    refuses to return until exile is ended, 398;
    reproaches Javali, 399;
    wanderings of with Sita and Laksmana, 400;
    wooed by Surpa-nakha, 400, 401;
    battle with Rakshasas, 402;
    demon as a golden deer, 403;
    rape of Sita by demon king of Ceylon, 404, 405, 406, 407;
    search for Sita, 408;
    vulture king's revelation, 409;
    conflict with demon, 410;
    apes become allies of, 410, 411;
    lamentations for Sita, 411, 412;
    Hanuman discovers Sita in captivity, 413-6;
    King of Ocean's advice, 417;
    “Rama's bridge” constructed, 418;
    invasion of Ceylon, 419;
    battles with Rakshasas, 420-3;
    Ravana slain, 423;
    Sita's ordeal by fire, 424, 425;
    return to kingdom and coronation, 425;
     Sita's second exile, 426;
     meets his sons, 426;
     Sita vanishes with earth goddess, 427;
     ascends to heaven, 428.

  “Rama's bridge”, green apes construct, 418.

  “Rama with the axe” (Parasu-rama), an incarnation of Vishnu, 136.

  _Ramayana_ (räm-ay´ăn-ă or rä-my´ăn-ă), the, Aryan tribes in, xxxix;
    traditions of “easterners” in, xlvi;
    heroes and heroines of, xlvii;
    demon's grief in, xlviii;
    Ravana the Typhon of, 65;
    Rakshasas are great demons in, 66;
    purpose of horse sacrifices in, 92;
    early myths in, 124;
    hero of, an avatara of Vishnu, 125;
    history of Brahmanism enshrined in, 138;
    its religious significance, 139;
    the “churning of the ocean” in, 142;
    story of, 374 _et seq._

  “Ram feast” of Devon, xlii;
    Indian and other parallels, xlii, xliii.

  Räm´mon, 3;
    Shiva compared with, 146.

  Rän, Teutonic sea goddess and Agni's mothers, 21.

  Rat, the, Ganesa as, 151.

  Rä´trï, goddess of night, 34;
    hymn to, 35, 148.

  Ravana (rä´váná), a demon, 125;
    demon king of Ceylon, power of derived from Brahma, 377;
    plot to abduct Sita, 403;
    disguised as Brahman, 405;
    carries Sita away, 406, 407;
    Rama hears of, 409, 410;
    apes tell of, 411;
    in peril if he injures Sita, 412;
    Bibhishana deserts, 417;
    the Rama war, 418 _et seq._;
    lamentation of for son's death, 421;
    seeks to slay Sita, 421, 422;
    sister curses and Rama slays, 423.

  Razors, used in Vedic period, 77.

  Red Age, the Treta Yuga, 108, 109;
    in Greek mythology, 109, 110;
    in Celtic mythology, 110 _et seq._

  Red demons, 71.

  Red hair, dislike of, 208.

  Religion and caste, 79;
    distinction between mythology and, 135.

  Rhode, Erwin, 118 _n._

  Rib´hus, divine artisans, in Vedic creation myth, 10;
    like Khnumu of Egypt and elves of Europe, 11, 12;
    rivalry with Twashtri, 11, 12.

  Ridgeway, Professor, on cremation custom, xxxv.

  “Riding the marches”, an ancient ceremony, xliii.

  _Rigv_e_´da_, belief regarding soul in the, xliii;
    cosmology of, 10;
    Soma book of, 35;
    gods Asuras in, then Suras, 61;
    forest nymph of, 74;
    horse sacrifice in, 91;
    meaning of Yuga in, 104;
    only Veda in Krita Yuga (First and Perfect Age), 108;
    germs of transmigration theory, 116;
    Vishnu in, 122.

  Rim´mon, Naaman's worship of, 3.

  Ripley, W. Z., xxii;
    on language and race, xxiii;
    views on Mediterranean race, xxvii;
    view on cremation custom, xxxv;
    Kurds as descendants of Aryan raiders, xxxviii, xxxix.

  Rishis, gods derive powers from, 7;
    Indra's hammer made from bones of, 7, 8;
    Danavas conspire to destroy, 9;
    associated with gods, 14;
    poets and priests, 33;
    story of the childless, who is not admitted to heaven, 59;
    ascends to sun in Tapati love story, 74;
    as swans, 75;
    composers of “new songs”, 79, 80.

  Rishis, the celestial, mind-born sons of Brahma, 102;
    Manu as one of, 140;
    in story of the Deluge, 141 _et seq._;
    the various royal and celestial, 153 _n._, 154, 155.
    See _Deva-rishi_.

  Risley, views on India's races, xxv _et seq._;
    his Scythian theory, xxvii;
    on infanticide, 60.

  Ritualism of sacrifice, 80, 81 _et seq._;
    growth of in Samavedic hymns, 83.

  Ritupăr´nă, Rajah of Ayodhya, Nala takes service with, 342;
    Nala drives to sham swayamvara of Damayanti, 360 _et seq._;
    gives Nala secret of dice, 362.

  River, the boiling, in Hades, 326.

  River goddesses, 148.

  Rivers, worship of, xl;
    Shiva the source of five, 146.

  Rivers of India, all female except two, 152.

  Roads constructed in Vedic period, 78.

  Röer, Dr. E., 100 _n._

  Roman age in Britain, xxxviii.

  Romans as Aryans, xxiv;
    horse sacrifice of, 92, 93.

  Rüd´ră, storm god, as “wild huntsman” and Shiva, 26;
    appealed to against Varuna, 28;
    Shiva a development of, 123, 148;
    the goddess Amvika and, 150;
    as Mahadeva, 146;
    Shiva called, 147.

  Rudras, the, Maruts as, 26.

  Rük´mini, Krishna's capture of, 233;
    an incarnation of Lakshmi, 234 _n._

  Rürü, story of life sacrifice of, 43, 44.

  Rydberg, on Aryan origins, xxi.

  Sacrifice, Buriats offer horse to dead, xxxiv;
    of lambs in England, India, &c., xlii;
    cake offerings and first fruits, 14;
    the priests' fee for, 15;
    of life for a woman, 43, 44;
    ritualism of, 80;
    the human (purusha-medha) and the horse (aswa-medha), 88 _et seq._;
    the human in recent times, 89;
    creation the result of, 89;
    the horse among Mongolian Buriats, 91;
    epic ceremonies, 92 _et seq._;
    trees and, 93;
    chaos horse myth, 94 _et seq._;
    symbolism of human sacrifice, 95, 96;
    Isaiah and Buddha oppose, 132;
    Sati (Suttee) offers herself on pyre, 150;
    the imperial (Rajasúya) held by Yudhishthira, 228 _et seq._

  Sages, long-lived, in Indian and Irish legend, 112 _et seq._

  Săhădevă, son of Queen Madri and twin Aswins, 176;
    temporary death of, 263 _et seq._;
    journey of towards paradise, 324 _et seq._

  Sais, 139.

  Säkas, the, allies of the Kauravas, 287;
    identified with Scythians, 287 _n._

  Saliva, as moisture of life, 37.

  Salvation, release is, 82;
    by knowledge, doctrine of in _Bhagavad-gita_, 126 _et seq._

  Salya (säl´yă), Rajah of Madra, overcome by Bhima at Draupadi's
      swayamvara, 218, 219;
    in the great war, 289 _et seq._;
    as leader of Kauravas and fall of, 305.

  Salzburg, Austria, ancient cremation rites at, xxxvi.

  Săm´ănă, “the leveller”, Yama is, 42.

  _Säm´av_e_dă_, Soma hymns of, 83.

  Săm´ăvurti, “the impartial judge”, Yama is, 42.

  Săm´pati, brother of vulture king, 413, 414.

  Săm´üdră, the sea, origin of name, 83, 84.

  Sămvăr´nä, King, story of his love for sun maiden, 71 _et seq._

  Sănjäy´ä, as ambassador to the Pandavas, 274, 275;
    relates incidents of great war to Dhritarastra, 287.

  Sanskrit, xix;
    Lithuanian language and, xx;
    compared with Persian language, 62;
    alphabet has Semitic basis, 78;
    influence of Brahmanic scholarship upon, 82.

  Sanskrit poets, heroes and heroines of, xlvii;
    feeling of for nature, xlvii.

  Săn´vă, Rajah of, rejects Princess Amba after capture of by Bhishma,
      170, 171.

  Saranyu (sărăn´yoo), mother of Ribhus, 11;
    bride of the sun god and divine artisan, 149.

  Saraswati (sărăs´'wătee), a river goddess, xl;
    her rival Gayatri, 44 _n._;
    probably same as Bharati, 148;
    becomes wife of Brahma, 149;
    as “mother of the Vedas” and female form of Purusha, 149.

  Sästï, feline goddess of maternity, 152, 153.

  Satanava (sătän´ăvă), name of Bhishma, 166.

  _Satapathă Brahmana_ (sătăpät´ha), 15, 84;
    transmigration doctrine in, 116.

  Sătï (suttee), in Europe, xxxvii;
    the goddess, ideal wife, 150, 151, 312.

  Satrughna (săt-rüg´hnă), brother of Rama, 378;
    desires to slay hunchback, 397.

  Saturn, Indra like, 13;
    the planet of in Ganesa myth, 151.

  Satyaki (săt´yăkee), at meeting of Pandava allies, 270 _et seq._;
    death of, 322, 323.

  Satyavan (sat´yă-vän), “the truthful”, in Savitri story, 45 _et seq._

  Satyavati (săt´yă-vätee), the fisherman's daughter, story of King
      Shantanu's wooing of, 166 _et seq._;
    the mother of Vyasa, 167.

  Savitri (săvit´ri), assists Indra as world artisan, 10;
    the “stimulator”, as a sun god, 32;
    mantra still addressed to, 33.

  Savitri (shävit´ree), the heroine, xlvii;
    a perfect woman, xlviii;
    Sita, a perfect woman, xlviii;
    story of, 44 _et seq._

  Scandinavians, “prehistoric romance” regarding, xxiii;
    as Aryans, xxiv;
    late period of culture, xlv.

  Scandinavian thunder giant, 2.

  Scef, Agni as, 21.

  Scholars, the hermits as, 81, 82.

  Scotland, erring wives burned in, xxxvii;
    Highlanders of cattle lifters like Gauls and Aryo-Indians, 15;
    black and white fairies of, 70;
    giant theory does not apply to, 71;
    spirits as birds in, 75;
    Aryo-Indians had clans like Highlanders of, 77;
    the “upwardly man” in, 79;
    metrical charms of, 85, 86 _n._, 87;
    hatred of pork in, 136;
    hags of and the Indian, 380 _n._

  Scott, Sir Walter, on the “speech of spirits”, 75.

  Scottish goddess, compared with Egyptian and Indian deities, xli.

  Scottish “thunder ball”, the, 2;
    Finn as a thunder giant, 3.

  Scyld, Agni as, 21, 22.

  Scythians, Indian traces of, xxvii;
    horse sacrificed by the, 93;
    Sakas as, 287 _n._

  Sea, the, unknown to early Aryo-Indians, 76;
    origin of name for, 83, 84;
    trade in Age of Solomon, 84;
    in horse-sacrifice creation myth, 94;
    in Manu story, 140 _et seq._;
    Surasa hag of the, 414;
    Sinhika dragon of, 414;
    king of the, 417, 418.

  Sea of Milk, Vishnu in, 123;
    the churning of, 143 _et seq._;
    Indra visits Vishnu in, 377.

  Seed, the creation, becomes a golden egg, 101.

  Seers, priests as, 80.

  Sek´het, Egyptian goddess, compared with Indian and Scottish deities,
    Käli like, 150.

  Self, the universal, 98.
    See _World Soul_.

  Sergi on Mediterranean race, xxviii.

  Serpent, the World, Vishnu's sleep on and birth of Brahma, 124.

  Serpent demons or demigods, 65.

  Serpent goddess, 152.

  Serpent king, in Indian and Egyptian myth, 353 _n._

  Serpent worship, Aryans adopt, 66.

  Serpents, in the Garuda myth, 145;
    associated with Shiva, 147.

  Set, xliv;
    boar demon of Egypt, 136;
    red like Indian Rakshasas, 208 _n._

  Shakuni (shă-koo´nee), plots to overthrow Pandavas, 199;
    plots against Pandavas, 269;
    prince of Gandhara, plots to overthrow Pandavas, 237;
    plays dice with and cheats Yudhishthira, 240 _et seq._;
    in great war, 287;
    death of, 305.

  Shakuntala (shă-koon´tă-läh), reference to reincarnation in story of,
    the hermit maiden, story of in the _Mahábhárata_, 157 _et seq._;
    in Kalidasa's drama, 163 _n._, 164 _n._

  Shä´mash, Babylonian sun god, Mitra as, 29.

  Shän´tănu, King, 164;
    wooing of Ganga, 164 _et seq._;
    wooing of the fishermaid, 166 _et seq._;
    king, wooing of the fisherman's daughter, Satyavati, 167 _et seq._

  Sheep, early Aryans had, 76;
    charms to protect, 86.

  Shepherd, the divine, Mitra as, 41.

  She´shă, king of serpents (Nagas), 65, 66;
    as world serpent, Vishnu's sleep on, 124;
    Balarama an incarnation of, 128, 143.

  Shitala (she´tălă), goddess of smallpox, 153.

  Shiva, in Brahmanical revival age, xl;
    restrains avenging goddess like Ra of Egypt, xli;
    identified with Rudra, 26;
    the Destroyer in the trinity, 119;
    the cult of, 122;
    evidence of Greek ambassador Megasthenes regarding, 122;
    Vedic prototype, 123;
    cult of, 124;
    worshipper of plots to slay Krishna, 128;
    as Brahmā, 134;
    in epic narratives, 139;
    how he became the “blue throated”, 144;
    as a mountain god, 146;
    as “lord of all creatures”, 146;
    compared with the Irish Balor, 146;
    in form of Vishnu, 147;
    weapons of, 147;
    as destroyer of disease, 148;
    the brides of, 149 _et seq._;
    stops goddess slaughtering enemies, 150;
    trident of made by goddess, 149;
    in myth regarding origin of goddesses, 151;
    destroys the love god, 151;
    Ganesa and Kartikeya, sons of, 151, 152;
    in Draupadi story, 222;
    Sishupala, Rajah of Chedi, slain by Krishna, an incarnation of, 234;
    Arjuna wrestles with for weapons, 255, 256;
    Aswatthaman and on “night of slaughter”, 308;
    at Dasaratha's horse sacrifice, 376, 377;
    bow of, Rama breaks the, 382, 383.

  Siberia, burial customs in, xxxiv;
   horse sacrifice in, 90.

  Sid´dhăs, spirits of ancestors, at horse sacrifice, 376.

  Siegfried (seeg´freed), the Indian, 66, 67;
    bird spirits and, 75.

  Sikhandin (sikhăn´din), Drupada's daughter who became a man, 295;
    incarnation of Princess Amba, 295 _n._;
    fall of Bhishma, 295.

  Sikhs (sheeks), number of in India, xviii.

  Silver age (white age) in Indian, Greek, and Celtic mythologies, 107
      _et seq._

  Sin, creation horse-sacrifice removes, 94, 95.

  Sin-cleansing smoke, at horse sacrifice, 318.

  Sin´dre, Twashtri and, 11.

  Sin´hika, sea dragon, 414.

  Sishupala (sish-oo-päh´lă), Rajah of Chedi, at Yudhishthira's imperial
      sacrifice, 232;
    slain by Krishna, 233, 234;
    as an incarnation of Shiva, 234 _n._

  Sita (see´tä), the heroine, xlvii;
    as an incarnation of Vishnu's wife, 149;
    story of Rama and, 374 _et seq._;
    Rama wins by breaking Shiva's bow, 382;
    marriage and honeymoon, 383, 384;
    refuses to part with exiled husband, 387;
    departure of to jungle, 393;
    wanderings of with Rama and Lakshmana, 400 _et seq._;
    the golden deer, 403;
    rape of by demon king, 404-7;
    Rama's lamentations for, 411, 412;
    rejects Ravana, 412, 413;
    visited by Hanuman, 415, 416;
    return of to Rama and ordeal of fire, 424, 425;
    second exile of, 426;
    vanishes with earth goddess, 427;
    as Lakshmi in paradise, 428.

  Skull shapes, permanence of, xxii.

  Sky axe, lightning caused by, 2.

  Sky god, Dyaus-pita as, 12.
    See _Dyaus_ and _Vivasvant_.

  Slavs, as Aryans, xxiv.

  Sleep of Brahma, 105.

  Sleeping giant, Kumbha-Karna the, 419;
    slain by Rama, 420.

  Sloka metre, invented by Valmiki, 374.

  Smallpox, Shitala, goddess of, 153.

  Smith, Professor Elliot, his “brown race”, xxviii.

  Smiths, in Vedic period, 77.

  Smoke, sins cleansed by, 93, 318.

  Snake goddess, the, 152.

  Snakes, in the Garuda myth, 145.

  Social grades. See _Caste_.

  “Solar race”, eastern Indians as, xxxix;
    Dasaratha of the _Rámáyana_ is of the, 375.

  Solomon, sea trade of with India, 84.

  Soma (sō´mă), nectar of gods, 5;
    cause of Indra's victory, 7;
    Twashtri's moon bowl for, 12;
    Indra's fondness for, 15;
    juice of unknown plant, 35;
    influence of, 35, 36;
    identified with Chandra, the moon god, 35, 36;
    as moon mead, 36;
    frog hymn to as rain charm, 36, 37;
    marriage of, 37;
    the drink of immortality, 41;
    prepared by Gandharva, 69;
    drunk by early Aryo-Indians, 77;
    Sudras did not drink, 79;
    Samavedic hymns to, 83;
    gods receive from priests, 84;
    _Tarasun_, the Mongolian, 90, 91;
    in horse sacrifice, 92;
    as the moon god and ancestor of the Bharatas, 157 _et seq._

  Son, religious need for a, 59, 60.

  _Song, the Divine_, 125.
    See _Bhagavad-gita_.

  Soul, as “the man in the eye”, 42;
    of childless man in hell, 59;
    escape from body of, 85;
    salvation of through knowledge, 99, 100 (also see _Bhagavad-gita_);
    mind as, 101.

  Soul in the egg, myth of, 101, 102.

  Soul, the World. See _World Soul_.

  Souls, children's' wait for mothers, xliii;
    bound by Yama, god of death, 42;
    as birds, 75;
    reborn as tigers, fish, &c., 117;
    transmigration of, see _Transmigration of souls_.

  Spaniards, Brahmans resemble, xxviii.

  Spartans, horse sacrifice of, 93.

  “Speech of spirits”, the “language of birds”, 75.

  Spells, for disease, 85, 87;
    for love, 86.

  Spirit, the, the life breath as, 37.

  Spirits of the dead, beliefs regarding, 38;
    of day and night, 70;
    birds as in Europe, Africa, and Asia, 75;
    magical formulas to control, 85, 86, 87.

  Spirits of weapons, Arjuna beholds, 256;
    do homage to Rama, 381;
    Gaelic weapon demons, 381 _n._

  Spitting customs, significance of, 37.

  “Spitting Stones”, 37.

  Sri (sree), Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu is, 149;
    Sita as, 427.

  Standing stones, ceremonies at for offspring, xliii, xliv.

  Stars, myth of Saturn and Ganesa, 151;
    rishis as “Great Bear” and wives of as Pleiades, 153;
    Abhimanyu as one of the, 327.

  Stars, the Polar, Kas´yapa, the Brahman as, 145.

  Steeds of Indra, 4;
    names of, 5.

  Stevenson, Robert Louis, xlviii.

  Stone Age, the late, Europe in, xxii;
    people of Britain of, xlii;
    “hammer god” of, 2.

  Stones, standing, Shiva worshipped at, 147.

  Subhadra (soo-bhăd´rä), sister of Krishna and Balarama, worship of,
    Arjuna's marriage by capture with, 227;
    Draupadi receives, 228.

  Sudäs, a Vedic king, 154;
    Vishwamitra's and Vasishtha's connection with, 154;
    Purus and other tribes oppose, 155.

  Sudeva (soo-day´vü), the Brahman, discovers Damayanti, 356, 357, 358;
    visits Nala, 359, 360.

  Sudhanvan (sud-hăn´văn), Indra as, 10.

  Sudras (sud´răs), the black, xxv.
    See _Caste_.

  Sugriva (sug´rivă), the ape king, son of Surya, 410;
    Rama slays his rival Bali, 411;
    revelries of, 413;
    silver hue of, 418;
    in Ceylon war, 419 _et seq._

  Sumit´rä, wife of Dasaratha, 376;
    Lakshmana and Satrughna sons of, 378.

  Sun, “has nature of Agni”, 36;
    the “man” in the, and death as, 42;
    Rahu, the devourer of, 64, 144;
    horse sacrifice to, 92 _et seq._;
    the bride of the, 149.

  Sun, god of, Sumero-Babylonian name of Mitra, 29;
    as offspring of the moon, 29;
    Narayana as, 114;
    Vishnu as a phase of, 122, 123.

  Sun egg, in Indian and Egyptian mythologies, 101.

  Sun maiden, marriage of with moon god, 37;
    Tapati the, loved by a king, 71 _et seq._

  Sunset, Kushna fiery demon of, 66.

  Sura (soorä), an early Aryo-Indian ale or mead, 77.

  Surăs, the Indian gods called, 61.

  Suräsă, sea hag, 414.

  Surpä´-năkhä, the rape of Sita, 403 _et seq._;
    curses Ravana, 423.

  Surya (soor´yă), sun god, Savitri and, 10;
    in rival group of deities, 32;
    Aryan steeds of, 32;
    as eye of Varuna-Mitra, 32;
    daughter of loved by a king, 71 _et seq._;
    Saranyu the bride of, 149;
    as grandsire of Queen Madri's sons, 176;
    shines on Karna at the tournament, 191;
    gifts food pot to Pandavas, 249;
    his warning to Karna, 262;
    Sugriva, ape king, son of, 411.

  Suttee (sătï) in Europe, xxxvii.
    See _Sati_.

  Swan maidens, 75.

  Swans, Irish gods and Indian rishis as, 75, 153;
    the gold winged, in story of Nala, 329, 330.

  Swăr´gă, 4;
    Kauravas and Pandavas in, 327.
    See _Heaven of Indra_.

  Swăyăm´vără, Bhishma captures King of Kasi's daughters at, 169, 160;
    Draupadi's, 211, 212.

  Swine, religious treatment of in India, Egypt, and Europe, 136;
    Rakshasas ride in battle, 419.

  Tapati (tä´păti), sun maiden, story of king's love for, 71 _et seq._

  Taraka (tä´răkä), the hag, slain by Rama, 380.

  Tarku, Hittite “hammer god”, 3;
    Shiva compared with, 146.

  Teachers, Brahmans as, 82.

  Tears, the creative, Prajapati sheds, 100, 101.

  Tel-el-Amarna letters, Aryans and, xxx.

  Terra mater, the Indian, 13.

  Teutonic and Celtic treatment of boar, 136.

  Teutonic beliefs regarding soul and world's ages, xliv.

  Teutonic modes of thought, xliv _n._;
    compared with those of Vedic period, xlv.

  Teutonic mythology, doctrine of transmigration absent from, 103.

  Teutonic wonder smith, like Indian, 11, 12.

  Teutons, Aryan affinities of, xx;
    traditions of migrations of, xlv.

  Thor, Indra and, xxxi, 3;
    elfin artisans and, 11;
    like Indra, son of Earth Mother, 13;
    the “friend of man”, 15, 16;
    a slayer of giants like Indra, 64;
    Arjuna compared with, 257 _n._

  Thorns of Hades, 326.

  Thothmes III (thoth´mes), Egyptian king, Mitanni Aryans and, xxx.

  Thunder- “ball”, “bolt”, and “stone”, 2.

  Thunder gods. See _Hammer Gods_, also _Balor_, _Finn mac Coul_,
      _Hrungner_, _Indra_, _Jupiter_, _Pa'n Ku_, _Ptah_, _Rammon_,
      _Rimmon_, _Shiva_, _Tarku_, _Thor_, _Zeus_.

  Thunder horn, Arjuna receives from Indra, 258;
    Finn mac Coul has, 258 _n._

  Tiamat. See _Tiawath_.

  Tiawath of Babylonian myth, 9, 90.

  Tiger, Damayanti's appeal to the, 347.

  Tigers, demons with heads of, 71;
    Bharata as tamer of, 161.

  Titans, the Indian, 64.
    See _Danavas_.

  Tortoise incarnation of Vishnu, 143.

  Torture, in Hades, 326.

  Tournament, the, 185 _et seq._

  “Towers of Silence”, Parsees expose dead on, xxxiii.

  Trade, in Vedic period, 78;
    Solomon and Indian products, 84.

  Traders, caste of, 79.
    See _Caste_.

  Transmigration of souls, “germs of theory”, xliii, 116;
    racial aspect of doctrine, xliv, 116;
    in Egyptian, Celtic, and Greek religions, 103, 118;
    the Irish Tuan Mac Carell legend, 111 _et seq._;
    a Post-Vedic doctrine in India, 103;
    becomes orthodox, 115;
    present-day beliefs, 117, 118;
    in Buddhism, 130 _et seq._;
    Yudhishthira on, 254.

  Treasure, god of (see _Kuvera_);
    Yakshas guard the hidden, 68.

  Tree, of Paradise, 41;
    of Brahma, 102;
    of religion, of passion, 156.

  Trees, the “blood of”, 37;
    horses tied to at sacrifices, 93.

  Trétä Yuga, length of, 104;
    the Yellow Age, 108, 109;
    in Greek and Celtic mythologies, 109 _et seq._;
    Vishnu slays Bali in, 123.

  Tribes. See _Bharatas_, _Gandari_, _Kasis_, _Kosalas_, _Kurus_,
      _Panchalas_, _Purus_, _Videhas_, &c.

  Tri´gärtis, Rajah of, attack on Virata, 267;
    Pandavas defeat, 268.

  Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, 119, 124.

  Trinity of goddesses, Saraswati (white), Lakshmi (red), Par´vati
      (black), 150, 151.

  Tritsus (tree´tsus), as an Aryan tribe, 154;
    identified with the Vasishthas, 154, 155;
    priestly aristocracy of, 155.

  Trumpet of thunder god, 70.

  Turkestan, fair type in, xxix.

  Turki, a blend of Alpine and Northern stocks, xxix.

  Turkish language, xix.

  Twashtri (twăsh´tre), the divine artisan, shapes Indra's
      “thunderstone”, 4;
    in hymn of victory, 6;
    makes Indra's hammer from Rishi's bones, 8;
    father of Saranyu and grandsire of Ribhus, 11;
    gives origin to human life, 11;
    Ribhus as rivals of, 11, 12;
    Agni an incarnation of, 20;
    as father of the sun god, 32;
    as maker of heavens, 57-9.

  Twin, Yama signifies, 40.

  Twin deities. See _Mitra_ and _Varuna_, _Yama_ and _Yami_, _Yima_ and
      _Yimeh_, _Indra_ and _Agni_, _Nasatya_, _the Aswins_, _Dioskouri_,
      _Castor_ and _Pollux_.

  Tȳphōn, the Indian, 65.

  Typhoon, the, Hanuman the ape god as, 106.

  Ugrians, a blend of Alpine and Northern stocks, xxix.

  Ulúpí, the serpent nymph, Arjuna loved by and birth of Iravat, 226;
    son of in great war, 286 _et seq._;
    fall of, 293;
    Arjuna restored to life, 314, 315.

  Umä, goddess of wisdom, bride of Shiva, 150.

  Universal destruction, at end of “day” of Brahma, 113.

  Universal self, Brahmă the, 98.
    See _World Soul_.

  Universities, the ancient, forest hermitages were, 82.

  _Upănishăds_, xl;
    transmigration belief in, xliii, 117;
    evidence regarding Asura problem in, 62, 63 _et seq._, 88;
    horse sacrifice doctrines in, 93 _et seq._;
    the fruit-tree lesson of, 99;
    fundamental thought of doctrine of, 100;
    influence of, 102, 103;
    Hinduism based on, 120;
    Vedic gods and, 121;
    bold Pantheism of, 122;
    Jainism and, 133;
    present-day Hindu esteem of, 139;
    composed in the “middle country”, 155.

  Uranus, slain like Dyaus, 13.

  Urvasa (ur´väsă), the Apsara, woos and curses Arjuna, 256.

  Ushäs, goddess of dawn, 34, 148;
    Saranyu developed from, 149.

  Uttar (oot´ăr), son of Rajah of Virata, 268.

  Uttărä, Princess of Virata, married to Abhimanyu, 269.

  Ütü, Sumerian sun god, Mitra as, 29.

  Väch, the “mother of the Vedas”, Saraswati as, 149.

  Vadhar, the weather, Vritra as, 8 _n._

  Váhuka (vä´hukă), the charioteer, Nala as, 355 _et seq._

  Vaishnava (vaish´năvă) faith. See _Vishnu_.

  Vaisya caste, 79.
    See _Caste_.

  Vaisyas (vais´yăs), the yellow, xxv.

  Vaka (vä´kă), the Asura king, slain by Bhima, 207 _et seq._

  Vala (vä´lă), the demon, cloud cows in cave of, 68.

  Valhal, xliv;
    Indra's heaven like, 59;
    pork eaten in, 136.

  Valmiki (väl´meek-e), the poet, how sloka metre was invented by, 374;
    composes _Rámáyana_, 375;
    Sita takes refuge with, 426.

  Vamadeva (vä´mă-day-vă), family priest, 375.

  Vamana (väm´ănă), dwarf form of Vishnu, 123.

  Vanars (vä´nărs) (apes), Rama secures as allies, 410 _et seq._
    See _Apes_.

  Varáha (văr-ä´hă), boar incarnation of Vishnu, 135.

  Varanavartha (văr´ăn-ă-vărt´´hă), Pandavas exiled to, 199 _et seq._

  Vărnă. See _Caste_.

  Vartikas (vär´tikăs), “of one wing, one eye, one leg”, 68;
    the rational theory, 71.

  Vărună, in Vedic Age, xxxi;
    in Asia Minor, xxxii;
    his Hebraic grandeur, 26;
    the Omniscient One, worshipped with devotion, 27;
    Mitra and, 28;
    dethroned by Indra, 28;
    protector of hearth and home, 29;
    in early group of deities, 30;
    in “sea of heaven”, and as god of ocean, 31;
    a god of Mitanni, 32;
    Surya as “the eye” of, 33;
    “house of clay” (the grave) in hymn to, 38;
    in “Land of the Fathers” (Paradise), 41;
    Babylonian aspect of, 41;
    the heaven of, 58;
    Adityas his attendants, 58 _n._;
    worshipped by demons and giants, 59;
    as an Asura, 61;
    early title “wise Azura and King”, 62;
    god of the overlords of Assyria, 62;
    giants and demons controlled by, 65;
    Vishnu and, 123;
    as suitor of Damayanti, 332 _et seq._

  Văsish´thă, as rival of Vishwamitra, 154 _et seq._;
    Vasus cursed by, 164;
    in the _Rámáyana_, 375, 378.

  Vasishthas, a family of priests, 154;
    identical with the Tritsus, 154, 155;
    priestly aristocracy of, 155.

  Vasudeva (vä´sood_e_vă), father of Krishna, 128;
    brother of Queen Pritha, 173;
    at Pandava imperial sacrifice, 232 _et seq._, 323.

  Vasuka. See _Vasuki_.

  Vasuki (vä´suke), Naga serpent demigod, 65;
    as the “churning rope”, 143;
    King of Nagas, welcomes Bhima in underworld, 178;
    gives Bhima the draught of strength, 179;
    jewel of restores Arjuna to life, 314, 315.

  Vasus (vä´sus), attendants of Indra, 17;
    as children of Ganga and King Shantanu, 164 _et seq._;
    Bhishma among in Paradise, 327.

  Vä´ta. See _Vayu_.

  Vate (va´te), the Teutonic, compared with Vata (Vayu), 24.

  Vä´yu, wind god, compared with Odin, 24;
    hymns to, 25;
    in rival group of deities, 32;
    Bhima, son of, 105, 176;
    Hanuman, ape god son of, 106, 411;
    sends Garuda to help Rama, 419.

  Vedas (vay´dăs), geographical evidence of, xx;
    Indra hymns, 6, 7;
    creation myth in, 10;
    goddesses vague in, 13;
    gods of in Buddhistic Age, 120;
    still regarded sacred, 139;
    father Manu in, 140;
    the “mother” of the, 149;
    Vyasa as arrayer of, 154.

  Veddas of Ceylon, xxvi.

  Vedic Age, the, length of, xxx;
    the “Great Mother” in, xxxi;
    burial customs of, xxxii;
    eclipse of gods of, xl;
    Teutonic modes of thought in, xlv;
    the change in post Vedic times, xlv;
    glimpses of life of in epics, xlvi;
    gods are Asuras in early and Suras in late, 61;
    folk movements in, 76;
    dice and drinking in, 77;
    trade and culture in, 78;
    doctrines of transmigration and world's ages unknown in, 104;
    one of four ages, 119;
    goddesses vague in, 148.

  Vedic Aryans, “father right” recognized by, xxx.

  Vedic hymns, 15, 16;
    majority of addressed to Indra and Agni, 19;
    _Brahmanas_ and _Upanishads_ and, 62, 63 _et seq._;
    materialism of, 82.

  Videha (ve´day-hă), Eastern Aryan kingdom, xxxix.

  Vidura (ve-dür´ă), son of Kyasa, 172;
    assists Drona to prepare for tournament, 183, 184;
    at the tournament with blind king, 185 _et seq._;
    ambassador to Pandavas after marriage, 223, 224;
    at the gambling match, 240 _et seq._;
    attitude of during negotiations, 276;
    retires to forest, 319.

  Villages, life in during Vedic Age, 78.

  Vind´hyä mountain, ape god assumes proportions of, 109.

  Viräj, female form of Purusha, Saraswati as, 149.

  Virata (vir-ăt´ä), Pandavas' sojourn in, 266 _et seq._;
    Pandava allies meet at, 270, 273;
    warlike preparations, 273;
    rajah of slain by Drona, 301.

  Virchow, view on Aryan problem, xxiii.

  Vishnu (vish´noo), in Brahmanical revival age, xl;
    Vedic god of grace, assists Indra, world artisan, 10;
    the Preserver in the Trinity, 119;
    the cult of, 122;
    evidence of Greek ambassador, Megasthenes, regarding, 122;
    a god of grace in Rigveda, 122, 123;
    Brahma springs from in lotus bloom, 124;
    sleep of on World Serpent, 124;
    Avataras of, 125;
    the Buddha Avatara of, 129;
    _Puranas_ and cult of, 134;
    as Brahmä, 134;
    demons secure salvation through, 135;
    his lion incarnation, 135;
    his boar incarnation, 135, 136;
    Parasu-rama (Rama with the axe) incarnation of, 136;
    belief in the coming of on white horse (Kalki), 137;
    _Bhagavad-gita_ and cult of, 139;
    in epic narratives, 139;
    Manu and, 140;
    in “churning of the ocean” myth, 143 _et seq._;
    white steed of, gem of, and wife of rise from Sea of Milk, 144;
    Garuda the vehicle of, 146;
    in form of Shiva, 147;
    discus of made by goddess, 149;
    in Ganesa myth, 151;
    in myth regarding origin of goddesses, 151;
    father of the love god, 151;
    Ganges flows from toe of, 152;
    wife of as daughter of Daksha, the rishi, 154;
    incarnation of slays incarnation of Shiva, 234 _n._;
    at Dasaratha's horse sacrifice, 376, 377;
    Indra's appeal to, 377;
    Dasaratha's sons as incarnations of, 377;
    Rama as, 427.
    See _Krishna_ and _Rama_.

  Vishwakarman (vish´wă-kăr´´män), the divine artisan, Twashtri is, 58.

  Vishwamitra (vish´wä-meet´´ră), as rival of Vasishtha, 154;
    raised from Kshatriya to Brahman caste, 154;
    as father of Shakuntala, 159;
    Indra's dread of and temptation of, 159, 160;
    takes away Rama and Lakshmana to destroy demons, 379, 380, 381;
    breaking of Shiva's bow, 382, 383.

  Vital spark, cause of life and bodily heat, 37;
    Agni symbolizes, 19.

  Vivahvant, the Persian, 40.

  Vivăsvănt, the sky god, 40.

  Vivăsvăt, as a sun god, 32.
    See _Vivasvant_.

  Volund, 24.

  Vows, by spitting and before fires, 37.

  Vritra (vrit´rä), the drought demon, slain by Indra, 6, 7;
    as leader of Danavas, 7;
    reference to myth of in _Brahman_ as, 63;
    “the encompasser”, 66;
    captures cloud cows, 4 _et seq._, 67;
    rational explanation of, 71.

  Vulcan, the Hindu, Twashtri as, 11.

  Vultures, as protectors of the fairy babe, Shakuntala, 159, 160;
    king of, see _Jatayus_.

  Vyasa (vyäs´ă), reputed Vedic compiler and author of _Mahábhárata_,
    identified with the legendary Vasishtha, 154;
    son of Parashara and Satyavati, 167;
    father of Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura, 171, 172;
    meets Pandavas during first exile, 206;
    reveals why Draupadi must be joint wife of Pandavas, 222;
    advises Arjuna to visit Shiva, 255;
    gifts divine vision to Sanjaya, 287;
    advises horse sacrifice as atonement after war, 312;
    at horse sacrifice, 316;
    causes dead to return, 320, 321.

  Wales, hatred of pork in, 136.

  Wallis, _Cosmology of Rigveda_, 10 _n._, 11 _n._

  War of gods and giants, 70.
    See _Giants_ and _Asuras_.

  Warriors, possessed by spirits, 85;
    caste of, 79.
    See _Caste_.

  War-shell, Arjuna's a thunder horn, 258.

  Water of life, soma the, 36;
    moon as source of, 37;
    creative tears as, 100, 101.

  Water spirits, givers of boons, 148.

  Waters, the primordial, in creation myths, 100, 101 _et seq._;
    universe returns to, 105, 141, 142;
    “home” of the creator, 114;
    in the boar myth, 136.

  “Watling Street”, 24.

  Wealth and culture, 82.

  Weapons, the early Vedic, 77.

  Weather, Indian demon of, 8 _n._

  Weeping of the creator, 100.

  Well worship, 37.

  Wells, the sources of luck, 148.

  “Westerners”, Indian tribes called, xxxix.

  White Age, the Krita Yuga, 108;
    in Greek and Celtic mythologies, 109 _et seq._

  Widows, drown themselves after return of dead warriors, 321;
    burning of, see _Suttee_.

  Wiedemann, Professor, 11 _n._

  Wieland (we´land), 24.

  Wife, the ideal, goddess Sati as, 150.

  Wife hunters, 60.

  Wife of Amon, 366.

  “Wild Huntsman”, the Indian, 26.

  Williams, Sir M. Monier, 40, 40 _n._, 41, 42, 42 _n._

  Wilson, Vedic hymns, 13, 16, 105 _n._

  Winckler, Professor Hugo, reading of Indra inscription, xxxi.

  Wind, as “air of life”, 37.

  Wind god, Bhima and Hanuman sons of, 106.
    See _Vayu_.

  Winter burial customs among Buriats, xxxiv.

  Wisdom, goddess of, Uma as, 150.

  Wives, burning of as punishment in Egypt and Scotland, xxxvii;
    marriage by capture of, 60.

  Wolves, Rakshasas ride in battle, 419.

  Wonder smiths, Teutonic myth of and Indian, 11, 12.

  _Works and Days_, Hesiod's doctrine of world's ages in, 109 _et seq._

  World's ages, doctrine of the, post-Vedic conception of, 103;
    Greek evidence regarding Indian doctrine, 122;
    not in Teutonic mythology, 103;
    Tuan Mac Carell Irish legend, 111 _et seq._;
    the “day” and “night” of Brahma, 105;
    the four Yugas, 104;
    the “white”, “red”, “yellow”, and “black” in India, 108;
    Hanuman's account of to Bhima, 107, 108, 109;
    Markandeya's account of, 112 _et seq._;
    Narayana's account of, 115;
    Narayana at dawn of each Yuga, 124;
    Manu's association with Brahma, 140.
    See _Ages of the Universe_.

  World giant. See _Purusha_ and _Ptah_.

  World guardians, the four gods in Nala story, 332.

  World horse, myth of, 94 _et seq._

  World house of Vedic myth, 10.

  World mother, Lakshmi as, 149.

  World Serpent, Karoktáka as, 65;
    Vishnu sleeps on, 124;
    Balarama an incarnation of, 128;
    issues from his mouth, 323.

  World Soul, hermits and Yoga, 82;
    pantheistic conception of, 88;
    in Purusha myth, 95;
    in Rigveda hymn, 97, 98;
    the “subtile essence” is the Self, 99;
    the soul's being, 99, 100;
    Brahma, the divine incarnation of, 100;
    colours of in various Yugas (ages), 108, 109;
    Greek and Celtic conceptions, 110 _et seq._;
    men's souls merged in, 118;
    Vishnu and Shiva incarnations of, 122;
    Buddha's teaching regarding, 130 _et seq._

  World tree, in Indra creation myth, 102;
    as Brahma's, 102.

  Worlds, the three, 65.

  Xerxes, Gandarians who fought with against the Greeks, 168 _n._

  Yädăvăs, Krishna prince of, 215;
    end of power of, 323.

  _Yajurveda_ (yă-joor´vedă), exposure of female children in, 60;
    the civilization of, 84;
    the schools of thought in period of, 88;
    Vishnu in, 123;
    Mahadeva in, 146.

  Yakshas (yăk´shăs), “the good people”, 68;
    invisible sentinels, 106;
    none in world's first age, 107;
    changes sex with princess, 171;
    Kuvera king of, 258;
    Dharma as one of the unseen, 264, 265.

  Yama (yă´mă), god of the dead, as the “first man”, xxxii;
    in Nala story, 31;
    burial customs, 38;
    discoverer of “the path of the fathers”, 39, 40;
    his sister Yami and Persian parallel, 40;
    in “land of the fathers” (Paradise) with Varuna, 41;
    Babylonian aspect of, 41;
    as Judge, Lord, Finisher, Leveller, &c., 42;
    as instrument of destiny, 42 _et seq._;
    in story of Ruru, 43, 44;
    in story of Savitri, 44;
    concessions won from, 50 _et seq._;
    the heaven of described, 57;
    parents only admitted to heaven of, 59;
    journey of to “land of fathers”, 116;
    vision of in Dwaraka, 322;
    as suitor of Damayanti, 332 _et seq._

  Yămí, sister of Yama, 40;
    Babylonian aspect of, 41;

  Yăvănăs, the, allies of Kauravas, 287;
    identified with Greeks, 287 _n._

  Years, the Divine, length of, 104, 105.
    See _World's ages_.

  Yellow age, the Dwãpara Yuga, 108, 109;
    in Greek mythology, 109, 110;
    in Celtic mythology, 110 _et seq._

  Yima, the Persian Yama, 40.

  Yimeh, the Persian Yamí, 40.

  Ymer, the Teutonic chaos giant, Purusha like, 90.

  Yōgă, religious state called, 82.

  Yorkshire, burial rites in, xxxvii.

  Yudhishthira (yoo-dish´thi-ră), xlviii;
    son of Queen Pritha and god Dharma, 176;
    at the tournament, 185 _et seq._;
    made “Little Rajah”, 197;
    Duryodhana causes exile of, 198, 199;
    the “house of lac”, 200;
    escape of with brothers and mother, 201;
    Arjuna offers Draupadi to, 220;
    regrets Arjuna's exile, 225;
    imperial sacrifice held by, 228 _et seq._;
    Surya's gift to in exile, 249;
    unfolds his faith to Draupadi, 252 _et seq._;
    his sense of honour, 255;
    Kuvera's advice to, 258;
    generosity towards Duryodhana, 260;
    refuses Duryodhana's invitation, 261;
    Jayadratha attempts to carry off Draupadi, 262, 263;
    rescues his brothers from temporary death, 263 _et seq._;
    Dharma's questions, 264 _et seq._;
    in Virata, 266 _et seq._;
    at meeting of Pandavas allies at Virata, 270 _et seq._;
    negotiations with Kauravas, 274 _et seq._;
    in the great war, 285;
    secures a Kaurava prince as ally, 287;
    flight of from battlefield, 297;
    smites Bhima, 307;
    sorrows for slain children, 310;
    the great jewel, 311;
    proclaimed rajah at Hastinapur, 312;
    horse sacrifice rites performed, 312 _et seq._;
    beholds return of the dead, 320, 321;
    divides his kingdom, 323;
    departure of to Indra's heaven, 324;
    tested and approved, 324-6.

  Yugă, meaning of term changes, xliv;
    meaning of in Rigveda, 104.

  Yugas, the, colours of, 108, 109;
    in Greek and Celtic mythologies, 109 _et seq._;
    Markandeya lives through the various, 112 _et seq._;
    Manu's association with Brahma, 140.
    See _World's ages_.

  Yüyüt´sü, Kaurava prince, joins the Pandava army, 287;
    made rajah, 323.

  Zend an Aryan language, xix.

  Zeus pater, 3;
    Dyaus-pita in India, 12;
    parent of twin deities, 32;
    serpent enemy of, 65;
    in world's ages doctrine, 110.

  Zoroastrian chief god. See _Ahura-Mazda_.

_Printed and bound in Great Britain_

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

What appeared to be clear typographical errors were corrected; any
other mistakes or inconsistencies were retained.

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

Right aligned text was indented by 8 spaces

When an image was placed in the middle of a paragraph, part of the
paragraph was moved to keep the whole paragraph united.

Attributions to quotations that were on the same line as the quotation
itself were moved to a separate line.

On many of the transcriptions used in this book, an acute accent is
used when an apostrophe would be expected by most readers. This usage
was retained.

Many words are spelled inconsistently, especially Indian and
other non-English words. These were retained as published as
it is impossible to know which is the spelling originally
intended (e.g.: Gar´uda/Garuda/Garúda; Damayantí/Damayanti;
Narada/Nárada; Váhuká/Váhuka/Vahuka; Ayodhyá/Ayodhya; Oudh/Oude;
Bhagavadgita/Bhagavad-gita; demi-god/demigod; Ulúpí/Ulupi;
Dioscuri/Dioskouri; etc.)

"Aryo-Indian" appeared consistently in the Index as "Ayro-Indian". This
was corrected.

Punctuation on the index was very inconsistent and was made as
consistent as possible.

Pages indicated on the index are retained as on the published book, even
in the few cases where they may be wrong.

On page 9 there are two anchors for footnote 47. It is not clear if
this is intended or a mistake and was retained as on the published book.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Indian Myth and Legend" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.