(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Some time after, Bhishma the intelligent son of Santanu set his heart upon getting Pandu married to a second wife. Accompanied by an army composed of four kinds of force, and also by aged councillors and Brahmanas and great Rishis, he went to the capital of the king of Madra. And that bull of the Valhikas--the king of Madra--hearing that Bhishma had arrived, went out to receive him. And having received him with respect, he got him to enter his palace. Arriving there, the king of Madra offered unto Bhishma a white carpet for a seat; water to wash his feet with, and usual oblation of various ingredients indicative of respect. And when he was seated at ease, the king asked him about the reason of his visit. Then Bhishma--the supporter of the dignity of the Kurus--addressed the king of Madra and said, 'O oppressor of all foes, know that I have come for the hand of a maiden. It hath been heard by us that thou hast a sister named Madri celebrated for her beauty and endued with every virtue; I would chose her for Pandu. Thou art, O king, in every respect worthy of an alliance with us, and we also are worthy of thee. Reflecting upon all this, O king of Madra, accept us duly.' The ruler of Madra, thus addressed by Bhishma, replied, 'To my mind, there is none else than one of thy family with whom I can enter into an alliance. But there is a custom in our family observed by our ancestors, which, be it good or bad, I am incapable of transgressing. It is well-known, and therefore is known to thee as well, I doubt not. Therefore, it is not proper for thee to say to me,--Bestow thy sister. The custom to which I allude is our family custom. With us that is a virtue and worthy of observance. It is for this only, O slayer of foes, I cannot give thee any assurance in the matter of thy request.' On hearing this, Bhishma answered the king of Madra, saying, 'O king, this, no doubt,' is a virtue. The self-create himself hath said it. Thy ancestors were observant of custom. There is no fault to find with it. It is also well-known, O Salya, that this custom in respect of family dignity hath the approval of the wise and the good.' Saying this Bhishma of great energy, gave unto Salya much gold both coined and uncoined, and precious stones of various colours by thousands, and elephants and horses and cars, and much cloth and many ornaments, and gems and pearls and corals. And Salya accepting with a cheerful heart those precious gifts then gave away his sister decked in ornaments unto that bull of the Kuru race. Then the wise Bhishma, the son of the oceangoing Ganga, rejoiced at the issue of his mission, took Madri with him, and returned to the Kuru capital named after the elephant.
"Then selecting on auspicious day and moment as indicated by the wise for the ceremony, King Pandu was duly united with Madri. And after the nuptials were over, the Kuru king established his beautiful bride in handsome apartments. And, O king of kings, that best of monarchs then gave himself up to enjoyment in the company of his two wives as best he liked and to the limit of his desires. And after thirty days had elapsed, the Kuru king, O monarch, started from his capital for the conquest of the world. And after reverentially saluting and bowing to Bhishma and the other elders of the Kuru race, and with adieus to Dhritarashtra and others of the family, and obtaining their leave, he set out on his grand campaign, accompanied by a large force of elephants, horses, and cars, and well-pleased with the blessings uttered by all around and the auspicious rites performed by the citizens for his success. And Pandu, accompanied by such a strong force marched against various foes. And that tiger among men--that spreader of the fame of the Kurus--first subjugated the robber tribes of asarna. He next turned his army composed of innumerable elephants, cavalry, infantry, and charioteers, with standards of various colours against Dhirga--the ruler of the kingdom of Maghadha who was proud of his strength, and offended against numerous monarchs. And attacking him in his capital, Pandu slew him there, and took everything in his treasury and also vehicles and draught animals without number. He then marched into Mithila and subjugated the Videhas. And then, O bull among men, Pandu led his army against Kasi, Sumbha, and Pundra, and by the strength and prowess of his arms spread the fame of the Kurus. And Pandu, that oppressor of foes, like unto a mighty fire whose far-reaching flames were represented by his arrows and splendour by his weapons, began to consume all kings that came in contact with him. These with their forces, vanquished by Pandu at the head of his army, were made the vassals of the Kurus. And all kings of the world, thus vanquished by him, regarded him as the one single hero on earth even as the celestials regard Indra in heaven. And the kings of earth with joined palms bowed to him and waited on him with presents of various kinds of gems and wealth, precious stones and pearls and corals, and much gold and silver, and first-class kine and handsome horses and fine cars and elephants, and asses and camels and buffaloes, and goats and sheep, and blankets and beautiful hides, and cloths woven out of furs. And the king of Hastinapura accepting those offerings retraced his steps towards his capital, to the great delight of his subjects. And the citizens and others filled with joy, and kings and ministers, all began to say, 'O, the fame of the achievements of Santanu, that tiger among kings, and of the wise Bharata, which were about to die, hath been revived by Pandu. They who robbed before the Kurus of both territory and wealth have been subjugated by Pandu--the tiger of Hastinapura--and made to pay tribute.' And all the citizens with Bhishma at their head went out to receive the victorious king. They had not proceeded far when they saw the attendants of the king laden with much wealth, and the train of various conveyances laden with all kinds of wealth, and of elephants, horses, cars, kine, camels and other animals, was so long that they saw not its end. Then Pandu, beholding Bhishma, who was a father to him, worshipped his feet and saluted the citizens and others as each deserved. And Bhishma, too, embracing Pandu as his son who had returned victorious after grinding many hostile kingdoms, wept tears of joy. And Pandu, instilling joy into the hearts of his people with a flourish of trumpets and conchs and kettle-drums, entered his capital.'"