Wednesday, October 8, 2008

PDE Mahabharata: The Cattle Raid

Reading Guide. When Duryodhana and his allies attack King Virata and steal his cattle, the Pandavas will come to his defense — much to the surprise of the king and of his son, Prince Uttara. Be careful with the names here: Uttara ("Uttaruh") is the masculine form of the name, and Uttarā ("Uttarah") is the feminine form. Virata has a son name Uttara, and his daughter is named Uttarā. You will see them both involved in this episode.

Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [400 words]

Kichaka | 53. The Cattle RaidWar

Soon afterwards the Rajah of Trigartis, hearing that mighty Kichaka was dead, plotted with the Kauravas at Indraprastha 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 before he was allowed to return to his own city.

Meanwhile the Kauravas had advanced from the south. Uttara, 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.

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 before 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 Uttara to take possession of their royal attire. Then the great archer of the Pandavas returned to the city with the rajah's son.

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 honored them.

Kichaka | The Cattle Raid | War

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