(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Bowing down in the first place to my preceptor with the eight parts of my body touching the ground, with devotion and reverence, and with all my heart, worshipping the whole assembly of Brahmanas and other learned persons, I shall recite in full what I have heard from the high-souled and great Rishi Vyasa, the first of intelligent men in the three worlds. And having got it within thy reach, O monarch, thou also art a fit person to hear the composition called Bharata. Encouraged by the command of my preceptor my heart feeleth no fear.
"Hear, O monarch, why that disunion occurred between the Kurus and the Pandavas, and why also that exile into the woods immediately proceeding from the game at dice prompted by the desire (of the Kurus) for rule. I shall relate all to thee who askest it thou best of the Bharata race!
"On the death of their father those heroes (the Pandavas) came to their own home. And within a short time they became well-versed in archery. And the Kurus beholding the Pandavas gifted with physical strength, energy, and power of mind, popular also with the citizens, and blessed with good fortune, became very jealous. Then the crookedminded Duryodhana, and Karna, with (the former's uncle) the son of Suvala began to persecute them and devise means for their exile. Then the wicked Duryodhana, guided by the counsels of Sakuni (his maternal uncle), persecuted the Pandavas in various ways for the acquirement of undisputed sovereignty. The wicked son of Dhritarashtra gave poison to Bhima, but Bhima of the stomach of the wolf digested the poison with the food. Then the wretch again tied the sleeping Bhima on the margin of the Ganges and, casting him into the water, went away. But when Bhimasena of strong arms, the son of Kunti woke, he tore the strings with which he had been tied and came up, his pains all gone. And while asleep and in the water black snakes of virulent poison bit him in every part of his body. But that slayer of foes did not still perish. And in all those persecutions of the Pandavas by their cousins, the Kurus, the high-minded Vidura attentively engaged himself neutralising those evil designs and rescuing the persecuted ones. And as Sakra from the heavens keeps in happiness the world of men, so did Vidura always keep the Pandavas from evil.
"When Duryodhana, with various means, both secret and open, found himself incapable of destroying the Pandavas who were protected by the fates and kept alive for grave future purposes (such as the extermination of the Kuru race), then called together his counsellors consisting of Vrisha (Karna), Duhsasana and others, and with the knowledge of Dhritarashtra caused a house of lac to be constructed. And king Dhritarashtra, from affection for his children, and prompted by the desire of sovereignty, sent the Pandavas tactfully into Varanavata. And the Pandavas then went away with their mother from Hastinapura. And when they were leaving the city, Vidura gave them some idea of impending danger and how they could come out of it.
'The sons of Kunti reached the town of Varanavata and lived there with their mother. And, agreeably to the command of Dhritarashtra, those illustrious slayers of all enemies lived in the palace of lac, while in that town. And they lived in that place for one year, protecting themselves from Purochana very wakefully. And causing a subterranean passage to be constructed, acting according to the directions of Vidura, they set fire to that house of lac and burnt Purochana (their enemy and the spy of Duryodhana) to death. Those slayers of all enemies, anxious with fear, then fled with their mother. In the woods beside a fountain they saw a Rakshasa. But, alarmed at the risk they ran of exposure by such an act the Pandavas fled in the darkness, out of fear from the sons of Dhritarashtra. It was here that Bhima gained Hidimva (the sister of the Rakshasa he slew) for a wife, and it was of her that Ghatotkacha was born. Then the Pandavas, of rigid vows, and conversant with the Vedas wended to a town of the name of Ekachakra and dwelt there in the guise of Brahmacharins. And those bulls among men dwelt in that town in the house of a Brahmana for some time, with temperance and abstinence. And it was here that Bhima of mighty arms came upon a hungry and mighty and man-eating Rakshasa of the name of Vaka. And Bhima, the son of Pandu, that tiger among men, slew him speedily with the strength of his arms and made the citizens safe and free from fear. Then they heard of Krishna (the princess of Panchala) having become disposed to select a husband from among the assembled princes. And, hearing of it, they went to Panchala, and there they obtained the maiden. And having obtained Draupadi (as their common wife) they then dwelt there for a year. And after they became known, those chastisers of all enemies went back to Hastinapura. And they were then told by king Dhritarashtra and the son of Santanu (Bhishma) as follows: 'In order, O dear ones, dissensions may not take place between you and your cousins, we have settled that Khandavaprastha should be your abode. Therefore, go ye, casting off all jealousy, to Khandavaprastha which contains many towns served by many broad roads, for dwelling there.' And accordingly the Pandavas went, with all their friends and followers, to Khandavaprastha taking with them many jewels and precious stones. And the sons of Pritha dwelt there for many years. And they brought, by force of arms, many a prince under their subjection. And thus, setting their hearts on virtue and firmly adhering to truth, unruffled by affluence, calm in deportment, and putting down numerous evils, the Pandavas gradually rose to power. And Bhima of great reputation subjugated the East, the heroic Arjuna, the North, Nakula, the West; Sahadeva that slayer of all hostile heroes, the South. And this having been done, their domination was spread over the whole world. And with the five Pandavas, each like unto the Sun, the Earth looked as if she had six Suns.
"Then, for some reason, Yudhishthira the just, gifted with great energy and prowess, sent his brother Arjuna who was capable of drawing the bow with the left hand, dearer unto him than life itself, into the woods. And Arjuna, that tiger among men, of firm soul, and gifted with every virtue, lived in the woods for eleven years and months. And during this period, on a certain occasion, Arjuna went to Krishna in Dwaravati. And Vibhatsu (Arjuna) there obtained for a wife the lotus-eyed and sweet-speeched younger sister of Vasudeva, Subhadra by name. And she became united, in gladness, with Arjuna, the son of Pandu, like Sachi with the great Indra, or Sri with Krishna himself. And then, O best of monarchs, Arjuna, the son of Kunti, with Vasudeva, gratified Agni; the carrier of the sacrificial butter, in the forest of Khandava (by burning the medicinal plants in that woods to cure Agni of his indigestion). And to Arjuna, assisted as he was by Kesava, the task did not at all appear heavy even as nothing is heavy to Vishnu with immense design and resources in the matter of destroying his enemies. And Agni gave unto the son of Pritha the excellent bow Gandiva and a quiver that was inexhaustible, and a war-chariot bearing the figure of Garuda on its standard. And it was on this occasion that Arjuna relieved the great Asura (Maya) from fear (of being consumed in the fire). And Maya, in gratitude, built (for the Pandavas) a celestial palace decked with every sort of jewels and precious stones. And the wicked Duryodhana, beholding that building, was tempted with the desire of possessing it. And deceiving Yudhishthira by means of the dice played through the hands of the son of Suvala, Duryodhana sent the Pandavas into the woods for twelve years and one additional year to be passed in concealment, thus making the period full thirteen.
"And the fourteenth year, O monarch, when the Pandavas returned and claimed their property, they did not obtain it. And thereupon war was declared, and the Pandavas, after exterminating the whole race of Kshatriyas and slaying king Duryodhana, obtained back their devastated kingdom.
"This is the history of the Pandavas who never acted under the influence of evil passions; and this the account, O first of victorious monarchs of the disunion that ended in the loss of their kingdom by the Kurus and the victory of the Pandavas.'"