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mahAbhAratam
tasya khila bhAho

harivamsham

harivamsha parva
ch 39

akrUra charitam
legend of akrUra -
legend of syamantaka–jewel [contd]

 

--o)0(o--

vaishampAyana uvAcha : vaishampAyana continued:

yat tat satrAjite kR^iShNo maNi-ratnaM syamantakam |
adAt tat dhArayAmAsa babhrur vai  shatadhanvanA || 1-39-1
yadA hi prArthayAmAsa satyabhAmAm aninditAm |
akrUro antaram anvichChan maNiM chaiva syamantakam || 1-39-2
satrAjitaM tato hatvA shata-dhanvA mahAbalaH |
rAtrau tat maNim AdAya tato akrUrAya dattavAn || 1-39-3

King akrUra of babhru family had a long time desire to possess syamantaka-jewel, for which purpose, he asked satrA-jit for the hand of the virtuous lady satya-bhAma... but when he found that the jewel had been stolen by kR^iShNa he is mortified, and when kR^iShNa returned it to satrA-jit, his desire is freshened... but now satyabhama is not there with satrAjit to seek in marriage... hence he conspired with shata-dhanva, the son of hR^idIka, another bhoja, to ‘somehow’ bring the jewel, but shatadhanva ignobly murdered satrAjit in the mid of night, stole the jewel, and trusted it over to king akrUra...

In other readings akrUra did not say to shatadhanva to murder satAjit in the mid of the night like a coward. But shatadhanva did so out of his devilish greed, and he brings the jewel to akrUra requesting him to hide it, which akrUra refuses in the first instance, and accepts at a later stage.

In fact there are three who tried to gain satyabhAma, as well as the jewel... they are akrUra, kR^ita-varma, and this shata-dhanva; all the three felt underrated when bhAma and jewel are given to kR^iShNa, hence the revenge. This has got parallels with rukmiNi-kalyANa legend.

akrUraH tu tato ratnam AdAya bharatarShabha |
samayaM kArayAM chakre na a-vedyo ahaM tvaya iti uta || 1-39-4
vayam abhyupayAsyAmaH kR^iShNena tvAm abhidrutam |
mama adya dvArakA sarvA vashe tiShThati asaMshayam || 1-39-5

Taking that jewel from shatadhanva, akrUra made a pact with him saying, “If kR^iShNa attacks you, we both will have to counter-attack him, because we both are sailing in the same boat close to the wind called kR^iShNa... hence, I wish you’d not divulge that the jewel is with me now... forsooth, the whole of dvArka is now under my control, no doubt about it...” saying so akrUra left for the city kAshi...

hate pitari duHkha ArtA satyabhAmA yashasvinI |
prayayau ratham Aruhya nagaraM vAraNAvatam || 1-39-6
satyabhAmA tu tat vR^ittaM bhojasya shatadhanvanaH |
bhartur nivedya duHkha ArtA pArshvastha ashrUn nyavartayat || 1-39-7
pANDavAnAM tu dagdhAnAM hariH kR^itva udaka kriyAm |
kulya arthe chApi pANDUnAM nyayojayata sAtyakim || 1-39-8
tataH tvaritam Agatya dvArakAM madhusUdanaH |

When her father king satrAjit is murdered, the illustrious satyabhAma is perturbed and repaired to the city of vAraNAvata on a chariot, where kR^iShNa is attending the funeral rites of pANDavA-s that are by then burnt in the lac house built by duryodhana... reaching there she clung to her husband in anguish, and tearfully informed him what shatadhanva of the bhoja race had perpetrated...

Then madhusUdana assigned the duty of attending the funeral rites of pANDavA-s to sAtyaki and reached dvAraka post-haste...

pArshvastha= in the flank, clung to; kulya arthe= funeral rite, for the purpose of – for continuing.

pUrvajaM halinaM shrImAn idaM vachanam abravIt || 1-39-9
hataH prasenaH siMhena satrAjit shatadhanvanA |
syamantakaH sa mat gAmI tasya prabhuH ahaM vibho || 1-39-10
tat Aroha rathaM shIghraM bhojaM hatvA mahAbalam |
syamantako mahAbAho hi asmAkaM sa bhaviShyati || 1-39-11

On reaching dvAraka kR^iShNa spoke like this to his elder brother bala-rAma, the plough-wielder: “as to how a lion killed prasena-jit, shatadhanvana killed satrA-jit... feral avid coups...  somehow, that jewel syamantaka is advancing towards me, and hence I shall be its freeholder... therefore, 0 mighty armed hero, let us go to eliminate that highly powerful shatadhanva... let us enchariot immediately to begin the foray... then make that syamantaka-jewel as ours...

tataH pravavR^ite yuddhaM tumulaM bhoja kR^iShNayoH |
shatadhanvA tato.akrUram avaikShat sarvato disham || 1-39-12
saMrabdhau tau ubhau dR^iShTvA tatra bhoja janArdanau |
shakto.api shAThyAt hArdikyam akrUro na abhyapadyata || 1-39-13

There ensued a terrible battle between shatadhanva of bhojA-s and kR^iShNa, in which shatadhanva, unable to fight with both janArdanA-s, kR^iShNa and bala-rAma, looked ahead to the help from akrUra, but in vain... though akrUra is capable, somehow, he has not come to the succour of the demoralised shatadhanva, the son of hR^dIka...

apa-yAne tato buddhiM bhojaH chakre bhaya-arditaH |
yojanAnAM shataM sa agraM hayayA pratyapadyata || 1-39-14
vikhyAtA hR^idayA nAma shata-yojana-gAminI |
bhojasya vaDavA rAjan yayA kR^iShNam ayodhayat || 1-39-15
kShINAM javena cha hayAm adhvanaH shata-yojane |
dR^iShTvA rathasya tAM vR^iddhiM shatadhanvAnamArdayat || 1-39-16
tataH tasyA hayAyAH tu shramAt khedAt cha bhArata |
kham utpetur atha prANAH kR^iShNo rAmam athAbravIt || 1-39-17

Thereat stricken with fear shatadhanwa thought of fleeing, and suddenly galloped a distance of a hundred yojanA-s in fright, because he has a horse called hR^idaya which can zip for a maximum of hundred yojanA-s in a single scoot... yet, kR^iShNa’s chariot chased him with twice that speed, as it were, because the horses yoked to his chariot, namely sainya, sugrIva, megha-puShpa, valAhaka, are more horsepowered in mpm, [miles per minute] speed... seeing the pace of the chasing chariot of kR^iShNa, shatadhanva charged his horse to quickly cover more distance, but it collapsed since it is overcharged, and the lives of that horse galloped skyward,... dismounting the dead horse then shatadhanva started to run on foot...

tiShThasva iha mahAbAho dR^iShTa-doShA hayA mayA |
padbhyAM gatvA hariShyAmi manI-ratnaM syamantakam || 1-39-18

Then kR^iShNa said to his brother bala-rAama: "O mighty armed brother, please stay here for a while... there appears a drawback with our horses- dR^iShTa-doShA hayA... they need rest... that desperado took to his feet... so, I too will chase him on foot and expropriate - hariShyAmi - that syamantaka-jewel...” then bala-rAma stayed behind and kR^iShNa ran after shatadhanva...

Or

 Then kR^iShNa said to his brother bala-rAama: "O mighty armed brother, please stay here for a while... there appears a drawback with his horse... it is put to rest - dR^iShTa-doShA hayA – that desperado took to his feet... so, I too will chase him on foot and help myself to - hariShyAmi - that syamantaka-jewel...” then bala-rAma stayed behind and kR^iShNa ran after shatadhanva...

padbhyAm eva tato gatvA shatadhanvAnam achyutaH |
mithilAm abhito rAjan jaghAna parama astra vit || 1-39-19
syamantakaM cha na apashyat hatvA bojaM mahAbalam |
nivR^ittaM cha abravIt kR^iShNaM ratnaM dehi iti lA~NgalI || 1-39-20
na asti iti kR^iShNaHcha uvAcha tato rAmo ruShAnvitaH |

Thereupon, o king janamejaya, going on foot, achyuta aka kR^iShNa, highly skilled in the use of arms, killed shatadhanwa almost near at mithila province... though kR^iShNa slew the highly powerful bhoja king shatadhanva, he did not find syamantaka-jewel on his body, and he cheerlessly got back to his brother... seeing kR^iShNa’s return from his pursuit balarAma asked him "where is that jewel... give it me..." “It is not there with him... my effort is bootless...” said kR^iShNa to balarAma...

dhik shabdam asakR^it kR^itvA prati uvAcha janArdanam || 1-39-21
bhrAtR^itvAt marShayAmi eSha svasti te astu vrajAmi aham  |
kR^ityaM na me dvArakayA na tvayA na cha vR^iShNibhiH  || 1-39-22

Thereat bala-rAma is enraged repeatedly exclaiming “Fie, fie upon you..." and he said to janArdana, "so far, I have been countenancing your hoaxes and humbugs because you are my brother... no more of it... now, I have nothing to do with you or with vR^iShNi-s, or with dvAraka... let me break our bonds asunder... fare thee well, for I must leave thee...”

pravivesha tato rAmo mithilAm ari-mardanaH |
sarva kAmaiH upachitaiH maithilena abhipUjitaH || 1-39-23

bala-rAma thus parting with kR^iShNa went to mithila city where the king of mithila received him reverently, providing all meetly comforts... and bala-rAma stayed there for sometime...

etasmin eva kAle tu babhrur matimatAM varaH |
nAnA rUpAn kratUn sarvAn AjahAra nirargalAn || 1-39-24
dIkShAm ayaM sa kavachaM rakSha arthaM pravivesha ha |
syamantaka-kR^ite prAj~no gAndI-putro mahAyashAH || 1-39-25
atha ratnAni cha agryANi dravyANi vividhAni cha |
ShaShTiM varShANi dharmAtmA yaj~neShu viniyojayat || 1-39-26
akrUra yaj~nA iti te khyAtAH tasya mahAtmanaH |
bahu anna dakShiNAH sarve sarva kAma pradAyinaH || 1-39-27

In the meanwhile the most intelligent akrUra, the dynast of babhru, collecting various articles at the beneficence of syamantaka-jewel, which procuration is otherwise not-so-easy affair, embarked to perform numerous vedic rituals; that highly illustrious son of lady gAndini, namely akrUra, entering into the initiatory rites of vedic rituals, which served him like an armour – dIksha kavacham - he employed most excellent jewels, numerous other articles, and distributed a variety foodstuffs and donations, free-for-all in those rituals; thus he continued to perform vedic rituals for sixty years, whereby those vedic rituals of that high-souled akrUra, have been denominated for their lavish performing as ‘akrUra yaj~nA-s’, vedic rituals of akrUra...

atha duryodhano rAjA gatvA tu mithilAM prabhuH |
gadA-shikShAM tato divyAM balabhadrAt avAptavAn || 1-39-28

During the period of balarAma’s stay at mithila city, duryodhana of kauravA-s went to mithila and learned the intricacies of mace-fight from balarAma...

prasAdya tu tato rAmo vR^iShNi andhaka mahArathaiH |
AnIto dvArakAm eva kR^iShNena cha mahAtmanA || 1-39-29

Later, kR^iShNa, along with other chariot-warriors of vR^iShNi and andhaka dynasties like ugrasena et al. went to mithila and propitiated balarAma to come home establishing that syamantaka jewel is not in his custody, and when balarAma became flexile, then they led him forth to dvAraka...

akrUraH tu andhakaiH sArdham atha AyAt bharatarShabha |
hatvA satrAjitaM yuddhe saha bandhuM mahAbalam || 1-39-30
 j~nAti bheda bhayAt kR^iShnaH tam upekShitavAn atha |

Much later to the murder of satrAjit by shatadhanva, and later to akrUra’s performance of vedic rituals etc, there occurred a tussle among yAdava clansmen and one yAdava killed another yAdava, named shatrughna... akrUra took the side of killed yAdava, and there ensued a skirmish, in which akrUra’s side is defeated and he fled along with fleeing andhaka kinsmen... noticing further infighting among his own clansmen, kR^iShNa remained unflappable...

This verse is a kliShTAnvayi – cumbersome to parse. Where is akrUra in all these days, in kAshi, mathura or in dvAraka... performing huge vedic rituals without the knowledge of kR^iShNa... etc, etc questions will pop up, with this and next verses...

apa-yAte tatha akrUre na avarShat pAkashAsanaH || 1-39-31
anAvR^iSTyA yadA rAjyam abhavat bahudhA kR^isham |
tataH prasAdayAmAsur akrUraM kukura andhakAH || 1-39-32
punaH dvAravatIM prApte tasmin dAnapatau tataH |
pravavarShe sahasrAkShaH kachChe jala-nidheH tadA || 1-39-33

When akrUra went away indra did not cause rain... and when the country is cripplingly devastated with famine, then kukurA-s and andhakA-s began to assuage akrUra...and when the liberal akrUra returned to dvAraka the thousand-eyed indra began to discharge showers on the sea coast where dvAraka is situated...

kachChe= sa+jale; tiira pradeshe; hence, the name Kutch, in Rann of Kutch, near at gujarAt.

kanyAM cha vAsudevAyA svasAraM shIla-saMmatAm |
akrUraH pradadau dhImAn prItyarthaM kurunandana  || 1-39-34

“O, janamejaya, the dynast of kuru-s... besides, the intelligent akrUra gave his chastely sister to kR^iShNa in order to please him...

atha vij~nAya yogena kR^iShNo babhru gataM maNim |
sabhA-madhye gataM prAha tam akrUraM janArdanaH || 1-39-35
yat tat ratnaM maNi-varaM tava hasta gataM vibho |
tat prayachChasva mAnArhaM mayi mA an-AryakaM kR^ithAH || 1-39-36
ShaShTi varShe gate kAle yat roSho abhUt mama anagha |
sa saMrUDho asakR^it prAptaH tataH kAla atyayo mahAn || 1-39-37

Guessing by his riches and liberality so far shown by akrUra, kR^iShNa  concluded that the syamantaka jewel must be with him alone... then janArdana said to him in the midst of an assembly,  "cede that syamantaka-jewel that is in thy possession so far, O king akrUra, to me... let  honour be with you... no swindling please... the wrath raked in me by a series of arraignments levelled at me, just owing to that jewel, has not subsided for the last sixty years... much is the time that lapsed in this hide-and-seek... so, show it up...

tataH kR^iShNasya vachanAt sarva sAttvata saMsadi |
pradadau taM maNiM babhrur akleshena mahAmatiH || 1-39-38
tataH tam Arjava-prAptaM babhror hastAt ariMdamaH |
dadau hR^iShTa-manAH kR^IShNaH taM maNiM babhrave punaH  || 1-39-39
sa kR^iShNa hastAt saMprAptaM maNiratnaM syamantakam |
Abadhya gAndhinI putro virarAja aMshumAn iva || 1-39-40

Thereupon at the counsel of kR^iShNa the high-minded akrUra unexcitedly, took off his upper cloth, untied a parcel tied at its end, took out a golden casket, opened it and exposed syanataka-jewel whereby the whole assembly became fulgent... then akrUra gave the jewel to kR^iShNa in the midst of the assembled sAtwatA-s, aka yAdavA-s... receiving the jewel from akrUra who gave it away with all simplicity, hari, the repressor of enemies, trifled with it for some time, and returned it to akrUra, as a restitution, with a delighted heart... on receiving the jewel from kR^iShNa 's hands akrUra, the son of lady gAndini, without concealing it anymore, now hung it loose on his chest whereby he appeared dazzling like the sun...

kR^iShNa toyed with that jewel for sometime pondering as to who should possess it. There are only three people to have it; firstly, it is lady bhAma who should have it; but her brusqueness does not warrant it; then comes tAla-dhvaja, aka bala-rAma, named so because his ensign is palm-tree; but he is a happy-go-lucky personality least bothered for making much of rituals etc, but much bothered for wine-and-dine affairs; next comes kR^iShNa himself; he cannot go on sitting to peacefully perform rituals and patiently go on giving charities, leaving other works. So, it is akrUra who remained as the best of bad lot to have the jewel.
 

These celestial items like jewels, chariots, bows etc, obtained needlessly, will not stay in someone’s house without calamities, if that householder is unscrupulous about them. This syamantaka jewel is a giver. It gives loads and loads of gold etc whenever requisitioned. At the same time, it insists on the circulation of wealth it has given, through philanthropy. Neither satrAjit, nor prasena-jit, nor shatadhanva are givers in take-and-give syndrome. So, they ceased to exist, one by one. Hence, kR^iShNa chicaned balarAma out of it. Ultimately, because kR^iShNa is also not a laissez-aller-giver, he thought that it is better akrUra have this jewel because he already opened some free-distribution centres of all sorts.

yaH tu evaM shR^iNuyAt nityaM shuchir bhUtvA samAhitaH |
sukhAnAM sakalAnAM cha phala bhAgi iha jAyate || 1-39-41
A-brahma  bhuvanAt chApi yashaH khyAtiH na saMshayaH |
bhaviShyati nR^ipashreShTha satyam etat bravImi te || 1-39-42

He who listens to this episode of syamantaka-jewel collectedly with a spiritual-mind will acquire all the desired fruits in this world and his renown ascends even up to the abode of brahma... I tell this truly...

--o)0(o--

iti shrImanmahAbhArate khileShu harivaMshe  harivaMshaparvaNi – akrUra charitam nAma -
ekonachatvAriMsho.adhyAyaH

Thus, this is the thirty-ninth chapter of first canto called harivamsha-parva, in harivamsha-purANa, the sequel of mahAbhArata, narrating the legend of akrUra, along with the legend of syamantaka–jewel.

--o)0(o-- 

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E&OE - content is subject to revision : dated 12-2-08