वसुदेवसुतं देवं कंसचाणूरमर्दनम् ।
देवकी परमानन्दं कृष्णं वन्दे जगद्गुरुम् ॥
|| The Death of Pandu ||
ONE day King Pandu was out hunting. A sage and his wife were also sporting in the forest in the guise of deer. Pandu shot the male with an arrow, in ignorance of the fact that it was a sage in disguise. Stricken to death the rishi thus cursed Pandu:
“Sinner, you will meet with death the moment you taste the pleasures of the bed.”
Pandu was heartbroken at this curse and retreated to the forest with his wives after entrusting his kingdom to Bhishma and Vidura and lived there a life of perfect abstinence. Seeing that Pandu was desirous of offspring, which the rishi’s curse had denied him, Kunti confided to him the story of the mantra she had received from Durvasa. He urged Kunti and Madri to use the mantra and thus it was that the five Pandavas were born of the gods to Kunti and Madri. They were born and brought up in the forest among ascetics. King Pandu lived for many years in the forest with his wives and children. It was springtime. And one day Pandu and Madri forgot their sorrows in the rapture of sympathy with the throbbing life around them, the happy flowers, creepers, birds and other creatures of the forest.
In spite of Madri’s earnest and repeated protests Pandu’s resolution broke down under the exhilarating influence of the season, and at once the curse of the sage took effect and Pandu fell, dead. Madri could not contain her sorrow. Since she felt that she was responsible for the death of the king. She burnt herself on the pyre of her husband entreating Kunti to remain and be a mother to her doubly orphaned children. The sages of the forest took the bereaved and grief-stricken Kunti and the Pandavas to Hastinapura and entrusted them to Bhishma. Yudhishthira was but sixteen years old at that time. When the sages came to Hastinapura and reported the death of Pandu in the forest, the whole kingdom was plunged in sorrow. Vidura, Bhishma, Vyasa, Dhritarashtra and others performed the funeral rites.
All the people in the kingdom lamented as at a personal loss. Vyasa said to Satyavati, the grandmother: “The past has gone by pleasantly, but the future has many sorrows in store. The world has passed its youth like a happy dream and it is now entering on disillusionment, sin, sorrow and suffering. Time is inexorable. You need not wait to see the miseries and misfortunes that will befall this race. It will be good for you to leave the city and spend the rest of your days in a hermitage in the forest.” Satyavati agreed and went to the forest with Ambika and Ambalika.
These three aged queens passed through holy asceticism to the higher regions of bliss and spared themselves the sorrows of their children.
|| Vyasa and Ganesha ||
Bhagavan Vyasa, the celebrated compiler of the Vedas, was the son of the great sage Parasara. It was he who gave to the world the divine epic of the Mahabharata.
Having conceived the Mahabharata he thought of the means of giving the sacred story to the world. He meditated on Brahma, the Creator, who manifested himself before him. Vyasa saluted him with bowed head and folded hands and prayed:
“Lord, I have conceived an excellent work, but cannot think of one who can take it down to my dictation.”
Brahma extolled Vyasa and said: “O sage, invoke Ganapati and beg him to be your amanuensis.” Having said these words he disappeared. The sage Vyasa meditated on Ganapati who appeared before him. Vyasa received him with due respect and sought his aid. “Lord Ganapati, I shall dictate the story of the Mahabharata and I pray you to be graciously pleased to write it down.” Ganapati replied: “Very well. I shall do as you wish. But my pen must not stop while I am writing. So you must dictate without pause or hesitation. I can only write on this condition?” Vyasa agreed, guarding himself, however, with a counter stipulation: “Be it so, but you must first grasp the meaning of what I dictate before you write it down.” Ganapati smiled and agreed to the condition. Then the sage began to sing the story of the Mahabharata. He would occasionally compose some complex stanzas which would make Ganapati pause a while to get at the meaning and Vyasa would avail himself of this interval to compose many stanzas in his mind. Thus the Mahabharata came to be written by Ganapati to the dictation of Vyasa.