- 101) Having listened to these words of Dhritharashtra, Akrura said to himself “His mind is spoilt”. He then told Dhritharashtra “Your children won’t survive” and left for his hometown Madhura, taking along Bhima, Arjuna and also Sahadeva.
- 102) Bhima and Arjuna stayed in Madhura, receiving excellent knowledge about the essence of paramatma from Lord Krishna Himself. The two of them, possessing excellent qualities, always engaged in good activities, and were worshipped by Yadavas.
गुरुराजाष्टाक्षरं स्यात् महापातकनाशनम् |
एकैकमक्षरं चात्र सर्वकाम्यार्थसिद्धिदम् || १ ||
रकारोच्चारमात्रेण रोगहानिर्न संशयः |
घकारेणात्र बलं पुष्टिः आयुः तेजश्च वर्धते || २ ||
वकारेणात्र लभते वाञ्छितार्थान्न संशयः |
द्रकारेणाघराशिस्तु द्राव्यते द्रुतमेव हि || ३ ||
यकारेण यमाद्भादो वार्यते नात्र संशयः |
नकारेण नरेन्द्राणां पदमाप्नोति मानवः || ४ ||
मकारेणैव माहेन्द्रमैश्वर्यं याति मानवः |
गुरोर्नाम्नश्च माहात्म्यं अपूर्वं परमाद्भुतम् || ५ ||
तन्नामस्मरणादेव सर्वाभीष्टं प्रसिध्यति |
तस्मान्नित्यं पठेद्भक्त्या गुरुपादरतस्सदा || ६ ||
श्री राघवेन्द्राय नमः इत्यष्टाक्षरमन्त्रतः |
सर्वान्कामानवाप्नोति नात्र कार्या विचारणा || ७ ||
अष्टोत्तरशतावृत्तिं स्तोत्रस्यास्य करोति यः |
तस्य सर्वार्थसिद्धिस्स्यात् गुरुराजप्रसादतः || ८ ||
एतदष्टाक्षरस्यात्र माहात्म्यं वेत्ति कः पुमान् |
पठनादेव सर्वार्थसिद्धिर्भवति नान्यथा || ९ ||
स्वामिना राघवेन्द्राख्यगुरुपादाब्जसेविना |
कृतमष्टाक्षरस्तोत्रं गुरुप्रीतिकरं शुभम् || १० ||
|| इति श्रीगुरुजगन्नाथदासार्यविरचित श्रीराघवेन्द्राष्टाक्षरस्तोत्रं संपूर्णम् ||
|| श्री कृष्णार्पणमस्तु ||
- 81) “The vipras are declaring this Bhima to be naturally dear to Lord Vishnu. That surely is turning out to be true. Otherwise such natural strength would never be present (in him). Therefore, we must destroy him along with Hari. That is our aim”.
- 82) “That Hari has taken birth as Krishna amongst the Yadavas and He is the refuge for this Bhima. Therefore, oppose Him in all possible ways” – having discussed thus, the most evil princes started causing opposition to Lord Krishna as well.
- 83) Having been inspired by Duryodhana and his brothers, those princes, along with their fathers, got together with Jarasandha and went to war 18 times with Lord Krishna. They came back with their strength, pride and ego having been smashed by Lord Krishna.
- 84) All of them lost their chariots, horses and elephants due to Lord Krishna. Their bodies got damaged greatly due to the weapons of Lord Krishna. All of them returned spouting blood. They had lost their weapons, armour, flags, horses and charioteers. Their dresses had slipped. Their hair was dishevelled.
- 85) In this way, Jarasandha used to return to his city every time after getting stuck in a pitiable and sad condition. Lord Krishna, the One with complete strength and valour, used to defeat him completely and let him off, saying “go – live”, after leaving only his breath with him.
- 86) In this way, after all the Kings were made to return with their heads bowing many times, the victorious Lord Krishna, the Lord of Lakshmi, the One whose strength can never be comprehended, returned to His city of Madhura and, along with Balarama and the other Yadavas, enjoyed His time there.
- 87) In this way, the mindless princes who were bent on making fruitless attempts, got together with Duryodhana and repeatedly tried to kill Bhima. The powerful Bhima rendered all those attempts futile and focused on winning the various directions (i.e. Kingdoms on all sides).
- 88) First, he won over the eastern direction. After that he was victorious in the western, southern and the remaining northern directions. He then won against Shishupala and Dantavakra, who were his Aunt’s sons and Ravana and Kumbhakarna in their previous lives.
- 89) Amongst them, the son of Damaghosha was born first. The kings used to call him Shishupala. Another of his aunt’s son was the son of King Karoosha and he was known as Dantavakra.
- 90) After winning over the two of them, Bhima won his battle against Paundraka, the son of Vasudeva. After that he won the battle against Rugmi, who was born as the son of Bheeshmaka. Rugmi was a daitya by name Ilvala in his previous birth. He was now the Lord of Kundini desha.
- 91) Rugmi had an amsha of Shuchi, an agni-putra. His father Bheeshmaka was the amsha of Mitra, an Aditya. He also had the amsha of Rahu. His brothers Kratha and Kaishika had the amshas of Pavamana and Shundhi, the sons of Agni.
- 92) In order to test the strength of his relative, King Shalya fought with Bhima and lost to him. After that, Bhima won the battle with the brave Ekalavya. In the same way, many other Kings were defeated by him.
- 93) Arjuna, who was safe due to the strength of Bhima’s shoulders, then won over the remaining Kings with ease. Bhima then defeated Salva and Hamsa-Dibika and returned to Hastinapura along with Arjuna.
- 94) Having seen the strength of the two, Dharmaraja, along with Nakula, Sahadeva, Bhishma and Vidura felt very pleased. In the same way other noble people, the residents of the city and the country also felt joyed. Hearing this news, all the Yadavas also felt extremely happy.
- 95) Lord Krishna, the Parameshwara, knowing that Dhritharasthtra was being attacked by Duryodhana and his other sons and was under their control, wanted to stop his bad activities. He therefore went to Akrura’s house and ordered him to go to Hastinapura.
- 96) Akrura went to Hastinapura and was well received and felicitated by Dhritharashtra, along with Bhishma and all the Kauravas. In order to understand the mindset of the Kaurvas with regard to the Pandavas, Akrura spent a few months there.
- 97) From the words of Kunti and Vidura and his own experience there, he understood who were the friends, enemies and neutral ones with regard to the Pandavas. He also understood Dhritharashtra was seized by his sons. Being a wise man, he used a mix of bheda and saama to advise him well.
- 98) “O Excellent King! If you treat your own sons and Pandavas equally, you will obtain fame, excellent dharma and also wealth and all desires. (If you do so) Lord Krishna along with all the Yadavas and indeed all the Devatas will shower special affection on you”
- 99) “With the pleasure of Lord Krishna, you will obtain Dharma, Artha, Kama and special Mukti certainly. On the other hand, if you do the opposite, you will certainly accrue the opposite results. Whatever I have told you is Lord Krishna’s words!”
- 100) Having been told these words in the midst of all Kauravas, Dhritharashtra, who was completely under the control of his sons said thus – “Everything is subject to the control of the Lord. We are not independent. Hasn’t he taken birth specifically for reducing the burden of (mother) Earth?”
- 61) The Pandavas, along with the Kauravas and other princes, obtained maha astras from Kripacharya. All of them were engaged in a lot of tantrums and playing. However, all of them used to get defeated by Bhima.
- 62) The princes used to climb trees to pluck big, ripe, ready to eat fruits. Seeing them on top of the trees, Bhima used to kick the trunk of the trees causing all of them to fall. Bhima then used to eat the fruits.
- 63) In all competitions including fights, duels, running, jumping and swimming, it was Bhima, the one who always did pious activities and had the complete blessings of Lord Vishnu, who would win against the princes.
- 64) Bhima, the one who was complete and had great valor, used get hold of all of them and drown them in Ganga. When they got tired, he used to release them and laugh at them. On other occasions, he used to carry them across the overflowing Ganga.
- 65) Without developing hatred against Lord Hari and Vayu, the ayogyas never obtain tamas. Therefore, the two of them took avatara on Earth and did things that led to the ayogyas developing hatred against them. This is always the work of the two excellent and valorous devatas (Lord Hari and Vayu).
- 66) Noting the limitless activities that Bhima, the son of Vayu, was engaging in, and realizing his limitless strength, the hatred of the princes kept increasing. They got together and secretly devised a plan.
- 67) Those amongst the princes who were amshas of devatas, all of them developed great affection for Bhima. The others in the royal lineage were daityas born as princes and they colluded and decided to kill (Bhima).
- 68) “If Bhima dies, then all others are as good as dead. It is not possible to kill this powerful Bhima by strength. Let us eliminate him through deceit, kill Arjuna through valour and keep the rest in captivity”
- 69) “If we do this, the Kingdom of Duryodhana will be rid of problems. Otherwise it is not possible. Bhima must be killed. Arjuna must die. Then the others will become servants of Duryodhana”
- 70) Having thought this way, they gave Bhima the poison called Kaalakoota – the poison which was terrible, the one which came about during the samudra manthana, the one which was obtained by Shukracharya from Shiva and which was then obtained by Shakuni from Shukracharya after a lot of pleading.
- 71) Having discussed with the other princes, the Kauravas, through their cook, poisoned all the sweets and other dishes with the Kalakoota. Yuyutsu informed Bhima of the same. The powerful Bhima, having known of the poisoning himself as well, was able to digest the entire poison due to the grace of Lord Vishnu.
- 72) Having realized Bhima was able to digest the poison, the evil minded Kauravas were distraught and they then built a mansion on the Ganga very quickly. Bhimasena got to know of the same through Yuyutsu and went and slept there with the Kauravas on his own.
- 73) In order to show the defects in the Kauravas, Bhima, the best amongst men, slept there in the mansion. The Kauravas tied him up with iron ropes on which spells were cast, and they dropped him into the Ganga.
- 74) Bhima, who had entered the water which was a crore yojanas in depth, was able to break the shackles by merely shaking his body. Bhima, whose mind is always at the feet of Lord Vishnu, the One with infinite attributes, came out of the water and stood along with the sajjanas, giving great joy to them.
- 75) Seeing Bhima escape from death once again, the Kauravas’ mind became even more poisoned. They had discussions once again and brought to their city eight great Nagas (serpents) using the mantras given to them by Shukracharya. They kept the snakes in secure cells and handed them over to their charioteer.
- 76) The charioteer of Duryodhana picked up those snakes which were obtained by Duryodhana through mantra-bala and released them on the broad chest of the sleeping Bhima. As soon as they bit him, all their teeth were broken.
- 77) After that Bhimasena picked up the snakes belonging to the 8 groups of nagas and threw them far away. He crushed many other snakes with his fists and killed them. Using only his forearm, he killed (Duryodhana’s) charioteer. And then he slept on the bed just like before.
- 78) The princes saw the incomparable natural strength of Bhima and felt extremely grieved. “Even those snakes, whose mere breath and bite are enough to burn down the lokas, proved to be futile in Bhima’s case”.
- 79) “Even though the snakes bit Bhima with a lot of effort, they could not cause any distortion in him. We had never heard of anyone this strong earlier; Naturally there is no question of having seen any such person. Even Hiranyakashipu’s son did not have such capability”
- 80) “For his protection, Prahlada had made special prayers to Sri Hari and hence was rescued. It wasn’t his natural strength. Were not the attendants of his father forcefully taking him away? On the other hand, this Bhima’s strength is natural”
While it is true that the foundation of sanatana dharma is built on the infallibility and universal applicability of shrutis, it is equally true that the shrutis themselves offer great flexibility in how it is interpreted and applied based on various factors.
This truth is reflected in the various smritis and shastras which draw completely from the shrutis (and therefore serve as valid pramanas for dharma nirnaya).
Unlike the abrahamic faiths which mandate that their core texts are interpretable only one way, and therefore must be adhered to IN LETTER, irrespective of the time, place or occasion, our shastra has allowed a great amount of flexibility in this area.
Thus, various smritis touch upon the topic of *applicability* and give clear guidelines on what constitutes dharma. Let us look at the two aspects of this – viz applicability from a desha (region) point of view and kala (time) point of view i.e. desha dharma and kala dharma.
The unequivocal and clear message from our smritis is that the the place, its culture and law play an important role in determining what is dharma. A blind interpretation or application of any rule is disallowed.
brihaspati smriti says:
देशजातिकुलानां च ये धर्मास्तत् प्रवर्तिताः |
तथैव ते पालनीयाः प्रजा प्रक्षुभ्यतेsन्यथा ||
“desha dharma, kala dharma and jaati dharma are different at different places. these dharmas must be adhered to, and practised, as is. If done otherwise (imposing other dharma), there shall be great kshobha (deprivation)”
devala smriti explains this further:
येषु देशेषु ये वेदाः येषु देशेषु ये द्विजाः |
येषु देशेषु यत् तोयं या च तत्रैव मृत्तिका ||
येषु स्थानेषु यच्छौचं धर्माचारश्च यादृशः |
तत्र तान् नावमन्येत धर्मस्तत्रैव तादृशः ||
यस्मिन् देशे पुरे ग्रामे त्रैविद्ये नगरेsपि वा |
या यत्र विहितो धर्मस्थं धर्मं न विचालयेत् ||
“In every (different) place, whatever is the knowledge, whoever are the knowledgeable, whatever is the appropriate water and soil, whatever constitutes cleanliness, whatever constitutes the right practice – these must never be rejected. They alone are dharma in those places. Whatever is acceptable as dharma to the knowledgeable (of that place), those alone must be practised as dharma – be it a country, town or a village”
Not just in smritis but even in our ancient works on astrology, a similar approach has been indicated with respect to applicability of dharma.
mihiracharya has this to say:
देशाचारस्तावदादौ विचिन्त्यो देशे देशे या स्थिथिः सैव कार्या |
लोकद्विष्टं पण्डिता वर्जयन्ति दैवज्ञोsतो लोकमार्गेण ||
“One must examine the ways of the land very deeply. After that, whatever is the most appropriate dharma to follow, those must be adhered to. The knowledgeable, and indeed the daivajnas (astrologers), always stay away from that which is against the dharma of the land”
Thus, we can see that our scriptures give us great flexibility, and practical outlook, towards appropriateness of a practice, ritual or rule in a particular place.
This same line of thinking has been conveyed by our rishis with regard to applicability of dharma shastra from a temporal point of view. Thus, even though the smritis were composed as books of law, the rishis made it clear in those works themselves, that applicability was subject to the yuga (or generation).
parashara smriti says this:
कृते तु मानवा धर्माः त्रेतायां गौतमाः स्मृताः |
द्वापरे शङ्खलिखिताः कलौ पाराशराः स्मृताः ||
“In the kruta (satya) yuga, it is manu smriti that is applicable while gautama smriti is the one for treta yuga. In the dvapara yuga, shankhalikhita smriti must be adhered to, while the parashara smriti is the book for kali yuga”
The definition of sin itself was subject to kala dharma. Knowing fully well that kali yuga propagates evil, our shastras have been kind enough to provide the proverbial long-rope to sinners in this age.
parashara smriti says this about what constitutes sin:
कृते सम्भाषणादेव त्रेतायां स्पर्शनेन च |
द्वापरे त्वन्नमादाय कलौ पतति कर्मणा ||
“In the kruta yuga, one acquires sin merely by talking to a sinner. In the treta yuga, coming in contact with a sinner accrues sin. In the dvapara yuga, one accumulates sin by eating the food of a fallen while in the kali yuga sin accrues only by the actual act (of killing, hurting, etc)”
The Mahabharata provides beautiful guidance on this topic. It describes how the nature of various objects themselves vary over time and hence how they must be kept in mind while deciding on dharma.
In the aranya parva, it is said:
भूमिर्नद्यो नगाः शैलाः सिद्धा देवर्षयस्थथा |
कालं समनुवर्तन्ते तथा भावा युगे युगे ||
“Be it the soil, rivers, trees, hills, the siddhas, devatas or rishis – all of them are according to kala. Their dharma and nature varies according to time”
Thus, we see how our most knowledgeable rishis have foreseen the varying guNa of all matter, and lives, according to desha and kala and recommended that these factors be fully accomodated before deciding what is right or wrong or appropriate. Of course, it goes without saying that the decision of what is right or wrong MUST BE taken by knowledgeable people who have both scriptural and practical *jnAna*.
The flexibility our shastra offers, as highlighted above, is also one of the important reasons why sanatana dharma has survived from time immemorial.
- smriti muktAvali – by shrI krishnAchArya, shishya of shrI guru rAghavEndra swAmiji
- Various smritis.
- 41) Lord Krishna then made Pradyumna re-enter His body again. With a flood of arrows, He destroyed the entire army of Jarasandha. Lord Krishna, the One who always does excellent work, the One who does not have a material body, the One whose valour never decreases, let Jarasandha go without killing him so he can bring more of his armies.
- 42) Jarasandha bowed his head down with shame and his face lost all its lustre. Jarasandha, who had foolishly crowned his daughter’s son as the leader of the Bhojas, made him lead the return to his city and followed him.
- 43) Brahma, Rudra and all the other devatas praised Lord Krishna, the One who defeated the very powerful Jarasandha, and showered flower petals on Him. Sri Krishna, along with Balarama and others, entered his city quickly thereafter and enjoyed His time there, all the while being woshipped by sajjanas (in the city).
- 44) The Pandavas, on the other hand, were growing up well, and on one day, the 14th year janma nakshatra of Arjuna, the son of Indra, came about. At that time, Kunti, who was well versed in dharma, was engrossed in serving a large group of saints, and in other related work.
- 45) At the same time, Pandu was in a forest full of nightingales, along with Madri. The scent of the air in Vasanta rutu caused Pandu to be taken over by lust instantly.
- 46-47) He copulated with Madri at that very moment. Immediately he passed away and reached yama loka. He had caused (in his moola roopa) disturbance to Indra and Shachi’s intimacy. Therefore, he met this fate. It shows mistakes done towards superiors, especially devatas, become very costly.
- 48) Seeing her husband dead, Madri started crying loudly. Kunti and the sons of Pandu heard the same. All of them started rushing towards Madri. However, based upon the words of Madri, Kunti stopped the Pandavas and went there alone.
- 49) Kunti saw the dead body of her husband. She got to know the reason from Madri and felt extremely dejected in her heart. She berated Madri and decided to end her life. The Pandavas heard the sounds of the crying (of Kunti and Madri).
- 50) When the Pandavas reached there, the sounds of crying increased even more. The excellent rishis who were around heard the same and a few of them, the most compassionate ones, came there. Both the wives (of Pandu) started quarrelling amongst themselves on who would end their life with Pandu.
- 51) The rishis, who were well versed in the excellent bhAgavata dharma, stopped Kunti. They noticed the mistake of Madri, and also listened to her repeated pleas for permission and allowed her to commit saha-gamana.
- 52) Even though higher than self, she had invited Ashwini devatas for having children knowing that they were lower in hierarchy than her husband. Therefore, she became the reason for her husband’s death. Even though she was a lady of excellent character, due to this reason, she ended up not getting enough recognition in the world.
- 53) The sons of Pandu got together with the munis there and performed the pitru shraddha rituals as per shastras. Along with him (Pandu), Madri also sacrificed her body in the fire and lost all the maha-paapa she had committed and reached her husband’s abode.
- 54) Being the direct son of sri veda vyasa, and also being a devotee of His feet, Pandu obtained the lokas which was well respected by elders, due to the guNas of his sons and also his own. Since he was always immersed in thinking of the Lord’s feet, this was not a surprise.
- 55) After that, the sons of Pandu, along with their mother Kunti left the Narayana ashrama with the great sages and quickly reached their city. Over there, the great sages narrated all the incidents, along with the news of his brother’s death, in front of Dhritarashtra.
- 56) King Dhritharashtra and Bhishma remained silent. Vidura felt extremely happy (at the arrival of Pandavas). Duryodhana and his brothers, who were extreme sinners, got together with Shakuni, and said “Pandu had died long ago; Where did he have sons?”
- 57) “Even though they were born to the wife, if the niyoga wasn’t obtained from relatives under proper procedure, after the death of the husband, such children cannot qualify to be sons” – as soon as they said thus, Vayu spoke (through ashareera vaani) to the group of Kauravas.
- 58) “These (children) were born from Yamadharma, Vayu, Indra and Ashwini devatas, even as Pandu was alive. They are extremely righteous. It will be impossible for you to give up on these people, who are always protected by Lord Narayana”
- 59) Even has the Kauravas started doubting the words of the invisible Vayu, Sage Vyasa, who is Lord Himself, who has all auspicious attributes as His body, and One who is the same as the lotus-born Padmanabha, appeared there. He gathered the Pandavas and went to the house of Pandu.
- 60) As soon as He accepted them, Bhishma, along with others, got together with Dhritharashtra and accepted them and Kunti with a lot of respect. The Kauravas, along with Shakuni, went through a lot of agony.