(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After Vyasa had gone away, those bulls among men, the Pandavas, saluted the Brahmana and bade him farewell, and proceeded (towards Panchala) with joyous hearts and with their mother walking before them. Those slayers of all foes, in order to reach their destination, proceeded in a due northerly direction, walking day and night till they reached a sacred shrine of Siva with the crescent mark on his brow. Then those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, arrived at the banks of the Ganga. Dhananjaya, that mighty car-warrior, walking before them, torch in hand, for showing the way and guarding them (against wild animals). And it so happened that at that time the proud king of the Gandharvas, with his wives, was sporting in that solitary region in the delightful waters of the Ganga. The king of the Gandharvas heard the tread of the Pandavas as they approached the river. On hearing the sounds of their foot-steps, the mighty Gandharvas were inflamed with wrath, and beholding those chastisers of foes, the Pandavas, approach towards him with their mother, he drew his frightful bow to a circle and said, 'It is known that excepting the first forty seconds the grey twilight preceding nightfall hath been appointed for the wandering of the Yakshas, the Gandharvas and the Rakshasas, all of whom are capable of going everywhere at will. The rest of the time hath been appointed for man to do his work. If therefore, men, wandering during those moments from greed of gain, come near us, both we and the Rakshasas slay those fools. Therefore, persons acquainted with the Vedas never applaud those men--not even kings at the head of their troops--who approach any pools of water at such a time. Stay ye at a distance, and approach me not. Know ye not that I am bathing in the waters of the Bhagirathi? Know that I am Angaraparna the Gandharva, ever relying on my own strength! I am proud and haughty and am the friend of Kuvera. This my forest on the banks of the Ganga, where I sport to gratify all my senses, is called Angaraparna after my own name. Here neither gods, nor Kapalikas, nor Gandharvas nor Yakshas, can come. How dare ye approach me who am the brightest jewel on the diadem of Kuvera?'
"Hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'Blockhead, whether it be day, night, or twilight, who can bar others from the ocean, the sides of the Himalayas, and this river? O ranger of the skies, whether the stomach be empty or full, whether it is night or day, there is no special time for anybody to come to the Ganga--that foremost of all rivers. As regards ourselves endued with might, we care not when we disturb thee. Wicked being, those who are weak in fighting worship thee. This Ganga, issuing out of the golden peaks of Himavat, falleth into the waters of the ocean, being distributed into seven streams. They who drink the waters of these seven streams, viz., Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Vitashtha, Sarayu, Gomati, and Gandaki, are, cleansed of all their sins. O Gandharva, this sacred Ganga again, flowing through the celestial region is called there the Alakananda, It hath again in the region of the Pitris become the Vaitarani, difficult of being crossed by sinners, and, Krishna-Dwaipayana himself hath said so. The auspicious and celestial river, capable of leading to heaven (them that touch its waters), is free from all dangers. Why dost thou then desire to bar us from it? This act of thine is not in consonance with eternal virtue. Disregarding thy words, why shall we not touch the sacred waters of the Bhagirathi free from all dangers and from which none can bar us?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, Angaraparna became inflamed with wrath and drawing his bow to a circle began to shoot his arrows like venomous snakes at the Pandavas. Then Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu, wielding a good shield and the torch he held in his hand, warded off all those arrows and addressing the Gandharva again said, 'O Gandharva, seek not to terrify those that are skilled in weapons, for weapons hurled at them vanish like froth. I think, O Gandharva, that ye are superior (in prowess) to men; therefore shall I fight with thee, using celestial weapons and not with any crooked means. This fiery weapon (that I shall hurl at thee), Vrihaspati the revered preceptor of Indra, gave unto Bharadwaja, from whom it was obtained by Agnivesya, and from Agnivesya by my preceptor, that foremost of Brahmanas, Drona, who gave it away to me.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying these words, the Pandava wrathfully hurled at the Gandharva that blazing weapon made of fire which burnt the Gandharva's chariot in a trice. Deprived of consciousness by the force of that weapon, the mighty Gandharva was falling, head downward, from his chariot. Dhananjaya seized him by the hair of his head adorned with garlands of flowers and thus dragged the unconscious Gandharva towards his brothers. Beholding this, that Gandharva's wife Kumbhinasi, desirous of saving her husband, ran towards Yudhishthira and sought his protection. The Gandharvi said, 'O exalted one, extend to me thy protection! O, set my husband free! O lord, I am Kumbhinasi by name, the wife of this Gandharva, who seeketh thy protection!' Beholding her (so afflicted), the mighty Yudhishthira addressed Arjuna and said, 'O slayer of foes, O child, who would slay a foe who hath been vanquished in fight, who hath been deprived of fame, who is protected by a woman, and who hath no prowess?' Arjuna replied, saying, 'Keep thou thy life, O Gandharva! Go hence, and grieve not I Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, commandeth me to show thee mercy.'
"The Gandharva replied, 'I have been vanquished by thee, I shall, therefore, abandon my former name Angaraparna (the blazing vehicle). In name alone, O friend, I should not be boastful when my pride in my strength hath been overcome: I have been fortunate in that I have obtained thee; O Arjuna, that wielder of celestial weapons! I like to impart to thee the power of (producing) illusions which Gandharvas alone have. My excellent and variegated chariot hath been burnt by means of thy fiery weapon. I who had formerly been called after my excellent chariot should now be called after my burnt chariot. The science of producing illusions that I have spoken of was formerly obtained by me by ascetic penances. That science I will today impart to the giver of my life-thy illustrious self! What good luck doth he not deserve who, after overcoming a foe by his might, giveth him life when that foe asketh for it? This science is called Chakshushi. It was communicated by Manu unto Soma and by Soma unto Viswavasu, and lastly by Viswavasu unto me. Communicated by my preceptor, that science, having come unto me who am without energy, is gradually becoming fruitless. I have spoken to thee about its origin and transmission. Listen now to its power! One may see (by its aid) whatever one wisheth to see, and in whatever way he liketh (generally or particularly). One can acquire this science only after standing on one leg for six months. I shall however, communicate to thee this science without thyself being obliged to observe any rigid vow. O king, it is for this knowledge that we are superior to men. And as we are capable of seeing everything by spiritual sight, we are equal to the gods. O best of men, I intend to give thee and each of thy brothers a hundred steeds born in the country of the Gandharvas. Of celestial colour and endued with the speed of the mind, those horses are employed in bearing the celestial, and the Gandharvas. They may be lean-fleshed but they tire not, nor doth their speed suffer on that account. In days of yore the thunderbolt was created for the chief of the celestials in order that he might slay (the Asura) Vritra with it. But hurled at Vritra's head it broke in a thousand pieces. The celestials worship with reverence those fragments of the thunderbolt. That which is known in the three worlds as glory is but a portion of the thunderbolt. The hand of the Brahmana with which he poureth libations on the sacrificial fire, the chariot upon which the Kshatriya fighteth, the charity of the Vaisya, and the service of the Sudra rendered unto the three other classes, are all fragments of the thunderbolt. It hath been said that horses, forming as they do a portion of the Kshatriya's chariot, are, on that account, unslayable. Again horses which form a portion of the Kshatriya's chariot, are the offspring of Vadava. Those amongst them that are born in the region of the Gandharvas can go everywhere and assume any hue and speed at the will of their owners. These horses of mine that I give thee will always gratify thy wishes."
"On hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'O Gandharva, if from satisfaction for having obtained thy life at my hands in a situation of danger, thou givest me thy science, and these horses, I would not accept thy gift.' The Gandharva replied, saying, 'A meeting with an illustrious person is ever a source of gratification; besides thou hast given me my life. Gratified with thee, I will give thee my science. That the obligation, however, may not all be on one side, I will take from thee, O Vibhatsu, O bull in Bharata's race, thy excellent and eternal weapon of fire!'
"Arjuna said, 'I would accept thy horses in exchange for my weapon. Let our friendship last for ever. O friend, tell us for what we human beings have to stand in fear of the Gandharvas. Chastisers of foes that we are and virtuous and conversant with the Vedas, tell us, O Gandharva, why in travelling in the night-time we have been censured by thee.'
"The Gandharva said, 'Ye are without wives (though ye have completed the period of study). Ye are without a particular Asrama (mode of life). Lastly, ye are out without a Brahmana walking before, therefore, ye sons of Pandu, ye have been censured by me. The Yakshas, Rakshasas, Gandharvas, Pisachas, Uragas and Danavas, are possessed of wisdom and intelligence, and acquainted with the history of the Kuru race. O hero, I have heard too from Narada and other celestial Rishis about the good deeds of your wise ancestors. I myself, too, while roaming over the whole earth bounded by her belt of seas, have witnessed the prowess of thy great race. O Arjuna, I have personal knowledge of thy preceptor, the illustrious son of Bharadwaja, celebrated throughout the three worlds for his knowledge of the Vedas and the science of arms. O tiger in Kuru's race, O son of Pritha, I also know Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, the twin Aswins, and Pandu,--these six perpetuators of Kuru race,--these excellent celestials and human progenitors of you all. I also know that you five brothers are learned and high-souled, that ye are foremost of all wielders of weapons, that ye are brave and virtuous and observant of vows. Knowing that your understanding and hearts are excellent and your behaviour faultless, I have yet censured you. For, O thou of Kuru's race, it behoveth no man endued with might of arms to bear with patience any ill usage in the sight of his wife. Especially as, O son of Kunti, our might increaseth during the hours of darkness, accompanied by my wife I was filled with wrath. O best of vow-observing men, I have, however, been vanquished by thee in battle. Listen to me as I tell thee the reasons that have led to my discomfiture. The Brahmacharya is a very superior mode of life, and as thou art in that mode now, it is for this, O Partha, that I have been defeated by thee in battle. O chastiser of foes, if any married Kshatriya fight with us at night, he can never escape, with life. But, O Partha, a married Kshatriya, who is sanctified with Brahma, and who hath assigned the cares of his State to a priest, might vanquish! all wanderers in the night. O child of Tapati, men should therefore, ever employ learned priests possessing self-command for the acquisition of every good luck they desire. That Brahmana is worthy of being the king's priest who is learned in the Vedas and the six branches thereof, who is pure and truthful, who is of virtuous soul and possessed of self-command. The monarch becometh ever victorious and finally earneth heaven who hath for his priest a Brahmana conversant with the rules of morality, who is a master of words, and is pure and of good behaviour. The king should always select an accomplished priest in order to acquire what he hath not and protect what he hath. He who desireth his own prosperity should ever be guided by his priest, for he may then obtain ever the whole earth surrounded by her belt of seas. O son of Tapati, a king, who is without a Brahmana, can never acquire any land by his bravery or glory of birth alone. Know, therefore, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, that the kingdom lasteth for ever in which Brahmanas have power.'"