Friday, 5 October 2012

The 'pestle' chapter. (Mausala parva) Mahabharata 203

Thirty-six years after the Mahabharata war there was another big calamity! One day, rishis Vishwamitra and Kanva along with Narada  visit Dwaraka.  Sarana and a few other yadavas play a prank for fun with the visiting rishis.  They dress up a man, Sambha, as a woman and go to the rishis. 'She is Babru's wife, and he wants a son. We desire to know if she will give birth to a boy, you would know as you are rishis!'

This prank angers the rishis and with their eyes turning red and large, predict 'Sambha, cousin of Vasudeva will give birth to an iron pestle which will be the cause of destruction of both vrishnis and andhakas. You will all become wicked and cruel and except Balarama and Krishna, you will fight amongst yourselves in anger and with demoniacal frenzy and will be totally eradicated.' This prediction stuns the fun seekers and they leave quietly. Krishna hears about this and just says 'Alright! This was as expected!' 

The next day an iron pestle comes out of Sambha's stomach. The very scared  king of yadavas gets the pestle powdered and and scattered in the sea. He also forbids anyone in the city from producing wine and other spirits and prohibits its drinking! Also proclaims that anyone breaking this rule will be impaled at the stakes.

After a while, strange things begin to happen. In the houses of vrishnis a scary, black and red colored, bald headed and ugly creature in human form is seen. It evades a thousand arrows easily as it appears and vanishes at will. Heavy winds blow, the screeching of birds is heard from every house. Cranes sound like owls and goats like fox. Red legged pigeons are seen everywhere. Rats and bandicoots are fearless and bite hairs and nails of people who are sleeping.

Vrishnis begin to indulge in evil acts without hesitation and insult elders and gurus; show disrespect to gods and brahmins. Men and women become uninhibited and wanton. Looking at this national calamity Krishna understands that Gandhaari's curse has begun to take effect and advises his people to go on  a pilgrimage to the seacoast.

Vrishni, Andhaka families of the yadava clan, as advised, leave for the seashores on elephants and horses with their women. They carry food, meat and alcohol with them and stop at Prabhasa theertha. Uddhava, a close friend of Krishna, none too happy leaves. In no time people get active, there is dancing and music. Balarama, Kruthavarma, Satyaki, Babru and everyone except Krishna begin to drink alcohol.

Soon Satyaki is drunk and starts criticizing Krutavarma, 'Who else but you would kill people who were sleeping soundly. Friend, your action will not be approved by any yadava, it is despicable!'  Pradyumna speaks supporting this criticism. Kruthavarma is angered, he pokes Satyaki's face and says, 'Oh yes! You are a great hero! One who killed Bhurisravas without mercy when he was down with both his hands cut.' This taunt angers Krishna, he stares at Kruthavarma showing his displeasure.Then Satyaki rakes up the story of Syamantakamani, wherein Krishna was suspected to have killed to gain possession of the jewel. This upsets Satyabhama and she starts crying. This makes Krishna even angrier. 

Suddenly Satyaki gets up and declares, 'Listen, I am about to avenge the deaths of Draupadi's children, Dhristadhuymna and Shikandi and then go where they are now. The time has come now for this criminal who joined Ashwatthama and killed those who were asleep.' And attacks Kruthavaram in great fury and severs his head. As Satyaki continues to attack others, Krishna gets up to stop him. But Bhojas and Andhakas converge on Satyaki and bash him with utensils and plates and kill him. Pradyumna who tries to stop them is also killed. Krishna is unable to bear the loss of his son and brother-in-law. He pulls out a bunch of straw and it turns into a pestle in his hand. He pounds all those who were responsible. Pushed by destiny, Bhojas, Vrishnis and Andhakas all pull out straws from the ground and the straws turn into iron pestles in their hands. They start fighting as if they are possessed, die and fall like grasshoppers. No one has the sense to run from this madness. Krishna who stands still for a while, is angered when he sees the bodies of Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Sambha, joins the frenzy and starts killing mindlessly.

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