- Introduction by Prof.K.T.Pandurangi 

Chapter XXII 

Kirmira vadha 

Pandavas arrived at Kamyakavana. It was place of Kirmira. He was the younger brother of Bakasura and a friend of Hidimba. When he came to know that Bhima had arrived he desired to take revenge on him for killing Bakasura and Hidimba. He attacked Bhima, He was moving holding torches. Bhima fought with him and killed him. Ten thousand Yatis and eighty eight thousand Brahmanas had accompanied Pandavas. In order to provide food for them and maintain them Pandavas had to make arrangements. They meditated upon Surya Narayana and obtained Akshayapatra. This used to yield plenty of food and other requirements like Kamadhenu. Pandavas provided food and other facilities to Yatis and Brahmanas through this Akshayapatra. Dharmaraja took his food after his brothers took food. After Dharmaraja, Draupadi used to take her food. Vidura, Sri Vedavyasa and Maitreya advised Dhritarashtra to treat the Pandavas properly and give them their kingdom. However, this did not yield any result. 

Sri Krishna arrives and narrated Salva vadha 

Pandavas sent a message to Shri Krishna informing their plight in the forest. Krishna, Satyabhama and Drupada arrived. Krishna said if I were present at Indraprastha. I would not have allowed such a thing to happen. He had gone to Dwaraka to fight with Salva. When Krishna learnt that Salva has attacked Dwaraka, he sent Pradyumna to counter him. Salva preferred to fight with Pradyumna on the ground and came down from his Vimana. Pradyumna employed the special arrow to kill him. However, an aerial voice informed him not to kill Salvas as he is destined to be killed by Shri Krishna. On seeing this arrow Salva ran away. Then, I went and followed him I saw him moving in the Saubha Vimana. He used his Maya. As a result I saw a messenger coming to me. He told me that Salva has already killed Vasudeva. I saw Vasudeva being dropped from Saubha Vimana. Suddenly the entire army became invisible. The Rakshasas declared their victory. I saw all this fun or sometime and killed Salva by Chakrayudha. Narrating the episode of Salva to explain his absence, Shri Krishna consoled Draupadi, stayed in the forest for sometime and left with Satyabhama. Subhadra and Abhimanyu, Dhristadyumna also let taking the children of Draupadi with him. Dhristaketu the son of Shishupala took Devaki his sister and the wife of Dharmaraja to his Chedi Country. The king of Kashi took with him his daughter Kalidevi, the wife of Bhimasena. The wives of Nakula and Sahadeva viz Parvati and Vijaya stayed with Kunti. Draupadi's sons stayed in Panchala for sometime ad then moved to Dwaraka. 

Draupadi and Bhima advise Dharmraja 

Bhima asked Draupadi to talk to Dharmaraja and keep his spirit to fight the Kauravas after thirteen years. If he is isolated for such a long time from the thought of the harm done to us by Kauravas, he may become indifferent to the kingdom. Draupadi went to Dharmaraja and told him that tolerance is not a virtue in respect of evil persons. If the king is tolerant even with evil persons the good people will suffer. It is said that dharma protects a person if he protects dharma. But in your case dharma did not protect you. Duryodhana does not care for dharma but he is prospering. This makes me to loose the faith in the very dharma. It is true that the God manages everything. However man's effort is also necessary. If man has nothing to do with his undertakings, then, the vidhi and nishedha i.e., 'do and 'do not' prescribed in Veda will loose their meaning. Dharmaraja listened to these arguments of Draupadi and said these are empty arguments. The man is not independent in his undertakings; He is regulated by God in all matters. God is the independent agent. Every one else is under his control. Man should undertake his activities with this awareness. He should respond to Vidhi and nisheda as God's command. Then, Bhima also joined this discussion. He agreed with Dharmaraja that God is all in all. One had to realize both the facts that Jiva has to do his duties but also be aware that he is not independent. Only such a person who knows both these aspects can function better and do his duty. One should not arrogate Svatantrakartritva for himself or akartritva. Jiva functions on the basis of his Yogyata, anadikarma and prayatna. These three are under the control of God. He is independent, he is supreme. He guides the Jivas taking into account these factors. He has no partiality or cruelty. With this background Bhimasena explains Varnadharmas, particularly, Rajadharm. He concludes by saying that dice play is not a dharma. Therefore he can take back our kingdom. There is provision to consider thousand years as thousand months in Satrayuga. Applying this yard stick thirteen years may be considered as thirteen months. We have already spent twelve months. Spending another month in ajnatavasa we may go back, fight, and take back our kingdom. Dharmaraja agrees with Bhima but says we can take this action after thirteen years. However, I am worried as to how to face such strong men Bhishma and Drona. They are our elders and respectable persons. At this juncture Sri Vedavyasa arrives. Sri Vedavyasa instructed Pratismriti Mantra to Dharmaraja with instruction what he should pass it on to Arjuna. When this Mantra is recited all the deities appear and teach the respective astra mantras. Dharmaraja received the mantra from Sri Vedavyasa and taught it to Arjuna. 

The Pashupatastra 

Arjuna went to Indrakila hill and started penance. He meditated upon Vishnu present in Shiva. At this time a demon Mukasura who was planning to kill Arjuna in the form of a pig. Arjuna threw the arrows at it. At the same time Shiva also arrives with Parvati. He also threw the arrows at the pig. He said it belongs to him. He has come for hunting. Arjuna is not a hunter. A fight ensues between the two. Arjuna collapsed. He prepared a Shivalinga, worshipped it with flowers. To his surprise the flowers were seen on the head of Shiva who had come in the form of a hunter. Arjuna realized that the hunter was Shiva himself. He prostrated at his feet. Shiva gave him Pashupatastra. This astra really speaking was of Vishnu only. It got the name Pashupatastra because, Shiva acquired. Its original name is Brahmastra. This is the name of Gayatri hymn. Narayana present in Suryamandala is the deity for Gayatri hymn. When Arjuna received this hymn, Narayana appeared before him Shiva blessed him and asked him to go to Indraloka to get the astras from other deities. 

Urvasi curses Arjuna 

Arjuna went to Svarga. He was duly received. Indra taught him Vajrastra etc. HE arranged to teach him music and dance by Gandharvas. While observing the dance by Urvasi, Arjuna looked at her intently. Urvasi thought he is interested in her. She approached him He refused to oblige her. She cursed him to become a napunsaka. When Indra came to know, he restricted it to one year only during ajnatavasa. 

The episodes of Krishna worshipping Shiva, killing Paundraka Vasudeva, Mainda, Vivida Etc 

Krishna had told Shiva that he would worship him and undertake penance for him in order to mislead the ignorant. You should preach misleading Shastra declaring yourself as superior. Accordingly Krishna goes to Himalaya and undertakes penance for Shiva. When he was at Badri two Pishachas viz Ghantakarna and Karna came. They were in search of Shri Krishna on the advice of Shiva to get liberated from Pishachas form. They were moving shouting 'Om namo bhagavate Vasudevaya' Krishna touched them and they got back to their original Gandharva form. Shri Krishan went to Kailasa. He pretended to perform the penance for Shiva to mislead the ignorant. Shiva told him that when Karma was burnt down Rati asked for restoring her husband. I told her that he will be born as your son. He may be taken as a son given to you by me. When Krishna went to Kailasa Paundraka Vasudeva and Ekalavya attacked Dwaraka. Balarama, Satyaki, and other Yadavas fought with them. Paundraka used to claim that he is real Vasudeva, the chakra etc belong to him. He asked Krishna to accept this position and give chakra etc to him only. Sri Krishna killed him. Krishna killed Kashiraja and Ekalavya also. On killing Kashiraja his son Sudakshina was enraged. He performed penance for Shiva and requested to enable him to destroy Krishna. Shiva asked him to perform abichara homa. He performed the same. The abicharagni produced by it rushed towards Dwaraka and started burning the city. Krishnachakra prevented it. It went back and hit Sudakshina himself. It is the nature of abicharagni that if it cannot hit the enemy it will hit the very person who has employed it. Krishnachakra burnt the city of Varnasi. Mainda and Vivida attacked Dwaraka. Balarama killed both of them Samba the son of Jambavati took away Lakshana the daughter of Duryodhana. Kauravas were enraged by it and arrested Samba. On hearing this Yadavas wanted to fight with them However, Balarama intervened and got him released. Balarama threatened that he will drag the whole city of Hastinavati into Ganga and drown it in water. Kauravas released Samba. 


Banasura's daughter Usha saw Aniruddha in her dream. She desired to marry him. Her friend Chitralekha managed to bring him. Banasura came to know about it and arrested Aniruddha tying him with a snake. Krishna came to Shonitapura fought with Jvara and made Shiva himself motionless by Vijribhanastra. This Jvara had three heads three legs and nine eyes. He used to produce heat and torture enemies. This was known as Saiva Jvara. Krishna produced Vaisnava Jvara that created cold and warded off the effect of Shaiva Jvara. Shri Krishna returned to Dwaraka with Aniruddha, Usha and Chitralekha. 

The Saugandhika flower 

Lomasamuni advised Pandavas to undertake Teertayatra. Pandavas moved around all important piligrim centres and arrived at Badarikashrama. They worshipped Narayana offered pandas to their forefathers and moved further to inner Badri. When Bhima and Draupadi were moving in Badarikashrama a beautiful and fragrant flower was dropped near Draupadi. She desired to have these flowers and asked Bhima to bring them. Bhima proceeded in the thick forest of Himalayas killing the wild animals. On the way Hanuman was sitting. He told Bhima that ordinary men are not expected to move on this path. If you insist on going you have to lift my tail and make a way for you as I am very old. Bhima said you move your tail. Bhima was not able. He apologized to Hanuman asked him to narrate Sri Ram’s glory. Though Bhima himself was Hanuman originally, He pretended to be unable to move the tail and asked him to narrate Shri Ram’s glory for the benefit of all others. Hanuman made way. Bhima proceeded towards Gandhamadana. He saw the pond in which the Saugandhika flowers were found. This place was protected by Maniman and other Krodhavashas. They had procured Sauvastras from Shiva. They attacked Bhima and were destroyed. Bhima collected the flowers from the pond. Pandavas lived in Arshtisena ashrama at Gandhamadana. Indra asked for Gurudakshina from Arjuna for teaching him the great astras. He told him you kill Nivatakavachas who are my enemies. This is Gurudakshina. Arjuna employed Pashupatastra and killed them. 

Nahusa episode 

As a result of killing Vritasura Indra had to vacate his position. The sages put Nahusa in this position. When he took that position he desired to have Sachi. In order to bring him down Sachi told him that she would agree to his request if he makes the sages carry his chariot. Bhrigu cursed him that he should be born as snake. He further said: If a person meets you at the time of your ajagara vrita Parana you will catch him .If you are not able to kill and if he doesn’t get freed from you all your strength will go to him. Ajagara vrita is a ritual in which the observer takes his food after two and half days viz two days two nights and one day make a unit of five. The next night is sashtakala or sixth unit. It is at this time that the observer has to take his food. For this reason this vrita is also called as sashtakala Parana vrita. He also told him that you will be free from snake body when someone answers your questions. When Bhrigu cursed Nahusa he was not visible to him. He was in Jata of Agastya. These were avesha of Brahma in Bhrigu. Strictly speaking the above curse was given to Brahma only. All this was in consequence of Nahusa putting his foot on Agastya’s head and Sachi’s trick to instigate him to invoke the sages to his chariot. Bhima was caught by this snake. Bhima did not try to get freed from the snake nor did he reply to the question of Nahusa. He wanted to draw out the strength of the penance of Nahusa. He allowed the snake to get exhausted and become loose. Dharmaraja arrives and asks Nahusa to free Bhima. Dharmaraja himself answers the question .Nahusa asks I) who is Brahmana ii) what is the highest principle that should be known by a seeker iii) which are the means of liberation. Dharmaraja answered these questions. Nahusa was freed from the body of the snake. Pandavas moved to Dvaitavana. Krishna and Satyabhama arrived. Satyabhama asked Draupadi to explain stridharmas. She explained. 

Jayadratha episode 

One day Pandavas went for hunting. Draupadi alone was in ashrama. Jayadratha was going to a svayamwara by that way. He asked her to come with him. She refused. He forcibly took her in his chariot. Dhaumya followed. Pandavas arrived. Draupadi jumped put of the chariot. A companion of Jayadratha was killed. Dharmaraja asked Bhima not to kill Jayadratha as he was the son-in-law of Dhritarashtra. He ran away. 

Markandeya narrates a number of stories 

Sage Markandeya arrived. He narrated a number of stories which can be understood if we know three layers of language. Viz. dharshanabhasa, guhyabhasha and Samadhibhasha. Dharshanabhasa is again of two types viz Lokadarshana and Paradarshana. Paradarshana is also of two types viz Laukika paradarshana and Vaidika paradarshana. 


Duryodhana undertook Paundarikayaga. This was a substitute for Rajasuya yaga. As one and the same family was not eligible to perform Rajasuyayaga twice he had to go by Paundarika yaga. In order to display his wealth and the poverty of Pandavas Duryodhana organized Ghosahayatra. He proceeded to take bath in the lake at Kamukavana close to the ashrama of Pandavas. However, the Gandharva Chitrasena had already taken position of the lake. When Duryodhana tried to enter forcibly he was arrested. Duryodhana’s brothers, Shakuni etc were also dragged out. Duryodhana’s servant appealed to Pandavas to get him released. Dharmaraja was performing one day sacrifice. Therefore, he deputed Bhima and Arjuna to get Duryodhana released. He said when a third party attacks he has hundred and five brothers are one. Duryodhana felt deeply humiliated as he had to take the help of Pandavas. He started a fast unto death i.e. prayopavesha. He asked Dusyasana to take charge of the kingdom. Dusyasana appealed to him to give up the fast. Karna also appealed. Karna said when the master is in difficulty it is the duty of the servants to help him. Pandavas are your slaves. Therefore, you need not feel humiliated if they help. The Assuras also thought if Duryodhana withdraws Pandavas will become strong. They always support the God but not us. Therefore, we should put enthusiasm at the heart of Duryodhana. They managed to get Duryodhana to Patalaloka when he was asleep. They told him, he was a Vajrakaya and quite strong Therefore, he should not feel depresses. Karna took an oath that he would not refuse to give a gift when some one asked him and would wash his feet himself until he killed Arjuna. 

Karna gifts his Kundala 

Indra became alarmed. He desired to weaken Karna. He went to Karna in the form of Brahmana and asked for the gift of his karnakundalas. Karna gave even though he knew that it was a game of Indra. Karna never refused to give a gift someone asked him. In return Indra gave him Shakti ayudha; He said it would kill only one person excepting Arjuna. 

Yaksha prashna 

Sometime after the release of Duryodhana a Brahmana came and told that his arani sticks and yajnapatra are taken away by a deer. He had put them in a cloth on the branch of a tree and a deer’s horn stuck to it and it was taken by the deer. Pandavas ran after the deer. It became invisible. They sat under a banyan tree. They felt thirsty. Nakula climbed the tree and saw a pond nearby. He went to drink water. He heard the arial voice that this pond belongs to me. You should not drink the water without answering my questions. Nakula sipped the water without answering my questions. He fell on the ground. Sahadeva, Arjuna, Bhima also sipped the water without answering the questions. They all fell down one after the other. Dharmaraja came. He answered the questions. Yama had appeared in the form of Yaksha. He was pleased with the answers of Dharmaraja and asked him to ask for the revival of the life of one of his brothers. Dharmaraja asked for the revival of Nakula. Yaksha asked why he did not choose Bhima or Arjuna, Dharmaraja said he wanted at least one son of Madri to be revived. Yama was pleased and revived the life of all brothers .He told dharmaraja that he himself had taken away the arani patra assuming the form of a deer. He returned the arani patra to Dharmaraja. He gave the same to the Brahmana.