(1) S'rî S'aunaka said: "What did the great sage Vyâsadeva do after having heard from Nârada Muni what he wanted?"
(2) Sûta replied: "At the riverbank of the Sarasvatî where sages meditate there is at S'amyâprâsa an âs'rama for the sake of transcendental activities. (3) There, in his own place sat Vyâsadeva surrounded by berrytrees concentrating his mind after his oblations of water. (4) His mind aligning in the devotion of yoga, being perfectly fixed without material concerns, he saw the purusha and the external energy in perfect control. (5) The living entities conditioned to the modes of nature take in spite of the transcendental the unwanted for granted and undergo the reactions thereof. (6) By means of devotional service in yoga one can find in transcendence the mitigation of the unwanted. For the masses unaware of this Vyâsadeva compiled the vedic literatures relating to this truth. (7) Simply attending to the literatures about the supreme personality of Krishna will make the devotional sprout that takes away lamentation, illusion and fear. (8) Having achieved that vedic literature and revising it, he taught it to his son S'ukadeva Gosvâmî, the wise engaged in selfrealization
(9) S'aunaka asked: "Why should he, fully on the path of self-realization, being contented within in divine indifference, undergo this vast study?"
10) Sûta said: "Such are His wonderful qualities that in spite of taking pleasure in the soul, as well the common people as the sages freed from all material bondage do pure devotional service to the Urukrama. (11) S'uka, as the son of Vyâsa, with the quality of being absorbed in the thought of the Supreme Lord, was beloved with the devotees in taking up the regular study of this great narration. (12) Thus I shall tell you the stories of Krishna about the birth, activities and deliverance of king Parîkchit, the rishi among the kings, as well as of the renunciation of the sons of Pându.
(13-14)When on the battlefield of Kurukshetra the warriors of the Pândavas and the Kauravas had found their heroic fate and the son of King Dhritarâshthra was lamenting his broken spine due to being beaten by the club of Bhîma, the son of Dronâcârya [As'vatthâmâ] thought to please his master Duryodhana by delivering the heads of the sleeping sons of Draupadî as a prize - but the master disapproved of this heinous act. (15) The mother of the children [of the Pândavas], hearing of the massacre cried bitter tears in lamentation. Arjuna [who headed the Pândavas], trying to pacify her said: (16)'I can only take the tears from your eyes away o gentle lady, when the head of that fallen learned aggressor is shot of by the arrows of my bow Gândiva. I will present it to you to stand on for taking your bath, after I have burnt the bodies of your sons.'(17) Satisfying her by these words got Arjuna, he who is guided by the Infallible One, being armed and equipped on his chariot to persecute As'vatthâmâ, the son of his martial teacher. (18) Seeing him approaching furiously from a distance, the murderer of the princes panicked and fled in great speed on his chariot to save his life, like Sûrya did fleeing from S'iva [*]. (19) Seeing himself unprotected when his horses got tired, the son of the twice-born [As'vatthâmâ] resorted, only thinking of himself, to the ultimate weapon [the brahmâstra]. (20) Thereto touching water and concentrating on reciting the mantras, he put life in great danger, not knowing how to stop the process. (21) A glaring light spread in all directions that fierce, that seeing the life threat Arjuna turned to the Lord [who drove his chariot] and said: (22)'O, Krishna, Krishna, You are the Almighty that takes away the fears of the devotees, You alone are the path of liberation for those suffering in the midst of material miseries. (23) You are by transcendence the original enjoyer and direct controller of the material energy; You are the one who by His own internal potency in the bliss and knowledge of Your own Self casts off the material illusion. (24) From that position are You, in the heart of the ones materially entangled, by Your influence executing the ultimate good of the four principles that characterize the liberation [truth, cleanliness, austerity and compassion]. (25) Thus You incarnate to remove the burden of the material world for the satisfaction and remembrance of Your friends and pure devotees. (26) O Lord of Lords, I don't know where this highly dangerous, dazzling light spreading all around originates from.'(27) The Supreme Lord said: 'Take it from Me that it is of the son of Drona, who threw the weapon of mantras, not even knowing how to retract it facing the imminence of his death. (28) Nothing else can counter this weapon but another one; in fact you will have to subdue this immense glare by means of the dazzle of your own martial expertise'."
(29) Sûta said: "After hearing what the Supreme Lord said, Arjuna in the opposition of battle, touched water himself circumambulating the Lord and took up the supreme weapon. (30) Thereupon of the combined glare of the two weapons the whole firmament and outer space was covered by an expanding ball of fire as bright as the sun. (31) Seeing the heat of both of them affecting all the inhabitants of the three worlds, reminded of the fire of annihilation at the end of time [sâmvartaka]. (32) Realizing this disturbance of the people in general and of their places, Arjuna by the command of Vâsudeva, retracted both the weapons. (33) Then Arjuna, angered with eyes red like copper, arrested the son of Gautamî, binding him skillfully with ropes as if it concerned an animal. (34) Having bound up the enemy and bringing him by force to the military camp, the Supreme Lord looking on with lotus eyes said to the angered Arjuna: (35)'Never let this relative of the learned go for he has killed innocent boys in their sleep. (36) One who knows the principles of religion is afraid to kill an enemy who is careless, intoxicated, insane, asleep, of tender age, a woman, foolish, a surrendered soul or someone who lost his chariot. (37) One who thinks he can properly maintain his own life at the cost of the lives of others by shameless and wretched killing, can certainly be killed for his own good for he will bring himself down by his own fault. (38) I personally heard you promised the daughter of the King of Pâñcâla the head of him who you consider to be the killer of your sons. (39) He, being not more than the burnt ashes of his family, an offending sinner who is responsible for the murdering of your sons and one who displeased his own master, will therefore be killed'."
(40) Sûta said: "Although Arjuna, being examined by Krishna concerning the matter of his duty, was encouraged to do so, He didn't like to kill the son of his teacher, although it was the heinous murderer of his sons. (41) Thereafter having reached his own camp, along with his dear friend Govinda [He who enlivens the senses] and charioteer, he entrusted the assassin to his dear wife who was lamenting over her murdered sons. (42) Upon seeing the criminal thus brought in like an animal tied in ropes and being silent from his heinous act, Draupadî, of the beauty of her nature out of compassion showed the son of the teacher due respect. (43) It was unbearable for her having him brought being bound and she said: 'Release him, for he is a learned one [a brâhmana], our teacher'. (44) By his [Drona's] mercy you yourself have received the confidential knowledge of the martial arts and the release and control of all kinds of weapons. (45) The lordship of Drona for certain still exists in the form of his son, as his other half Kripî [his wife] is still living having him present. (46) Therefore, o most fortunate one of the principles of religion, by the good of your self do honor to the family by not causing grief to him, as he was always of worship and respect. (47) Do not make his mother, Drona's wife, cry the way I do in my chastity shedding tears constantly in distress over a lost child. (48) If the noble administration knows no restrictions relating to the order of the learned, that rule will burn up in no time and will, together with its family members, be put in grief'."
(49) Sûta said: "o learned ones, the king [of the Pândavas, Yudhishthhira] supported the statements of the queen as they were in accord with the principles of religion, of justice, merciful, without duplicity and glorious in equity. (50) Nakula and Sahadeva [the younger brothers of the King] and also Sâtyaki, Arjuna, the Supreme Lord - son of Devakî, as well as the ladies and others were with him. (51) Thereupon said Bhîma indignantly: 'To his for no reason, nor for himself nor for his master, having killed sleeping children, is death declared to be the reward.' (52) The four-armed one [Lord Krishna], after hearing the words spoken by Bhîma and Draupadî and having seen the face of His friend [Arjuna], said as if smiling: (53-54) 'The relative of a learned one is not to be killed, although one kills an aggressor - this both is by Me certainly prescribed to be carried out abiding by the rules. You have to keep to the truth as promised by pacifying your wife and also act to the satisfaction of as well Bhîma as of Me'."
(55) Sûta said: "Just then understanding the Lord His motives, by his sword he separated the jewel from the head of the twice born along with his hair. (56) After releasing him from the ropes, he [As'vatthâmâ], next to the loss of his bodily luster because of the infanticide, also lost strength being deprived of his jewel and was driven out of the camp. (57) Cutting the hair, taking the wealth and banishment are there for the relatives of the learned, and not any other method of killing concerning the matters of the body. (58) After that, the sons of Pându together with Draupadî, overtaken by grief, performed the duties that are needed to be done for the dead."
*: When the sungod chased the demon Vidyunmâlî, darted Lord S'iva in anger against him with his trident. The sugod fleeing toppled at Kâs'î, where he became known as Lolârka.