Mahabharata – Vana Parva – Kirmira Vadha Parva – 11
Kirmira Vadha Parva – 11
The words of Vidura
1Dhritarashtra said: O Khattva, I desire to hear (the account) of the destruction of Kirmira. Tell me how the encounter between Bhimasena and the Rakshasa (Kirmira) took place.
2Vidura said: Hear that feat of Bhimasena of superhuman deeds. I have heard of it in my conversation with them.
3O king of kings, having been defeated at dice, the Pandavas departed from this place. Travelling for three days and three nights, they arrived at a forest, called Kamyaka.
4-5O king, after the dreadful hours of midnight were passed and when all nature fell asleep, then man-eating Rakshasass of fearful deeds began to wander. (Therefore) the ascetics, the cowherds and other rangers of forest used to shun that forest for the fear of the cannibals.
6O descendant of Bharata, as they (the Pandavas) were entering that forest, a fearful Rakshasas with flaming eyes stood before them with a lighted brand and obstructed their path.
7With out-stretched arms and terrible face he stood obstructing the way on which those perpetuators of the Kuru race (the Pandavas) were proceeding.
8With his eight teeth stretching out, with his copper-coloured eyes, with the hair of his head blazing and standing erect, he looked like a mass of clouds, mingled with the rays of the sun, charged with lightning and adorned with a flock of cranes (flying underneath those clouds).
9Uttering fearful yells and roaring like clouds charged with rain, he spread the Rakshasas illusion.
10Being terrified by his yells, birds along with other creatures that live on land or in water utterring cries of fear dropped down in all directions.
11In consequence of the deers, the leopards and the buffaloes and the bears flying in all directions, it appeared as if the forest itself was in motion.
12Blown by the wind raised by his thighs, creepers growing at a great distance from that place seemed to embrace in alarm the tree of coppery leaves.
13At that time a violent wind began to blow and the sky became darkened with the dust that covered it.
14As grief is the greatest enemy of the objects of the five senses, so that unknown foe appeared to the five Pandavas.
15Seeing from a distance the Pandavas clad in black deer skin, he obstructed their path through the forest like the Mainaka mountain.
16At the sight of that fearful creature never seen by her before, the lotus-eyed Krishna (Draupadi), being much terrified, closed her eyes.
17She whose hair was dishevelled by the hand of Dushashana stood in the midst of the Pandavas like an agitated river amid five hills.
18Seeing her overwhelmed with fear, the five Pandavas supported her, as the (five) senses influenced by desire are supported by the worldly objects.
19-21(Thereupon) the greatly powerful Dhaumya destroyed in the presence of the sons of Pandu, the fearful Rakshasas illusion by applying various Mantras calculated to destroy the Rakshasass. Seeing his illusion destroyed, that Rakshasas of crooked ways, who was capable of assuming any form at will, expanded his eyes in anger and he appeared like Death himself. Then the greatly intelligent Yudhishthira thus spoke to him.
22“Who and whose are you? Say what we shall do. “That Rakshasas thus replied to Dharmaraja Yudhishthira.
23I am the brother of Baka and I am known by the name of Kirmira. I live in this uninhabited Kamyaka forest in comfort and ease.
24Defeating men in battle I always eat them. Who are you that have come before me as my food? Defeating you all in battle, I shall eat you in comfort.
25Vaishampayana said: O descendant of Bharata, having heard the words of that wretch, Yudhishthira told him his name and lineage.
26-27Yudhishthira said: I am the son of Pandu, Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira); you may have heard of me. Deprived of my kingdom, I with my brothers, Bhima, Arjuna and others have come in my wanderings to this fearful forest which is your dominion. I desire to pass the period of my exile here.
28-29Vidura said: Kirmira replied, “By good luck, Fate has accomplished today my long cherished desire. With weapons upraised, I have been continually wandering over the earth with the object of killing Bhima. But I did not find him.
30-31By good luck that slayer of my brother (Baka) whom I have been seeking so long has come before me. O king, it is he who, in the disguise of a Brahmana, killed my beloved brother Baka in the Vetrakeja forest. Through his knowledge of skill only. He has no strength of arms.
32My friend Hidimba, who lived in the forest. Was formerly killed by this wretch; and he then took possession of his sister.
33That fool has now come to my this deep forest. At a time when the night is half-spent and when we wander about.
34I shall today kill him; and (I shall now) wreak my vengeance on my old enemy. I shall gratify (the manes) of Baka with plentiful blood of his (body).
35I shall today be freed from my debts which I owe to my friend and brother. I shall obtain great peace by killing today this enemy of the Rakshasas.
36If Bhima was formerly allowed to escape from the hands of Baka. O Yudhishthira, I shall today devour him in your presence.
37Killing this huge bodied Vrikodara (Bhima) today. I shall eat him up and digest him as Agasta did the great Asura (Vatapi).
38Having been thus addressed, the virtuous- minded and stead-fast in his pledges, Yudhishthira, saying “It cannot be,” rebuked the Rakshasas in anger.
39Thereupon the mighty armed Bhima soon tore up a tree. Of the length of ten Vyamas and stripped it of its leaves.
40Within a twinkle of an eye the ever victorious Arjuna stringed the Gandiva (bow) of the force of the thunder.
41Making Vishnu (Arjuna) desist, Bhima said to that Rakshasas in a voice as that of the roaring louds “Stay, Stay.”
42-44Saying this, the Pandava Bhima tightened the cloth round his waist in anger. Rubbing his palms and biting his nether lips, the heroic Bhima, armed with the tree, rushed towards him. As Maghavata (Indra) hurls his thunderbolt, so he (Bhima) made it (the tree), which was like the mace of Yama, descend with force on his (Kirmira’s) head. The Rakshasas was seen to stand in the battle unmoved.
45-48aHe hurled his lighted brand (at Bhima) which was as flaming as the lightning. But that foremost of all warriors (Bhima) turned it off with his left foot and it then went back towards Rakshasas. Kirmira also, suddenly tearing up a tree, himself angrily rushed to fight with the Pandava (Bhima) like mace bearing Yama. That battle, so destructive to the trees, looked like that of the old one which was fought for the sake of a woman between Bali and Sugriva.
48b-49aThe trees, struck at the heads (of the two combatants), were broken into minute pieces, like lotus-stalks thrown on the temples of mad elephants.
49b-50In that great forest innumerable trees, crushed like reeds, lay scattered like rags. O best of the Bharata race, that fight with trees between that foremost of Rakshasass (Kirmira) and that best of men (Bhima) lasted but for a moment.
51Thereupon the angry Rakshasas hurled a stone at Bhima standing in the fight, but Bhima did not waver.
52Thereupon as Rahu goes to devour the sun, shadowing his rays without-stretched arms, so did the Rakshasas rush upon Bhima who had remained firm under the blow that was inflicted by the (Rakshasass) with the stone.
53Grappling and dragging each other in various ways, they appeared like two infuriated bulls struggling with each other.
54Or like two mighty tigers armed with teeth and claws. The fight between them was fierce and hard.
55Vrikodara (Bhima), being proud of his strength of arms and conscious of Krishna’s (Draupadi’s) looking at him and remembering their disgrace at the hand of Duryodhana, began to swell in vigour.
56-57Inflamed with wrath, Bhima seized the Rakshasas by his arms as one elephant in rut seizes another. The mighty Rakshasas also in his turn seized his adversary, but that foremost of all warriors Bhimasena threw the cannibal down with violence.
58-59The sounds that rose from those mighty combatants pressing each other’s hands were fearful. They resembled the sounds of splittering bamboo’s. Hurling the Rakshasas down. Vrikodar seized him forcibly by the waist and he then began to shake him, as trees are shaken by the wind.
60Having been thus seized by the mighty Bhima, he became weakened in the fight with that strong man. But thus being shaken he still pressed the Pandava (Bhima) with all his strength.
61Finding him (the Rakshasas) fatigued, Vrikodara (Bhima) twined his own arm round the body of the enemy, as one binds a beast with a eord.
62The monster then roared fearfully like a trumpet out of order. But the hero (Bhima) whirled him for a long time, till he became insensible.
63Finding the Rakshasas exhausted the son of Pandu, (Bhima) took him up on his arms without loss of time and he then killed him like a beast.
64Placing his knees on the breast of that wretch of Rakshasass and seizing his throat, Vrikodara (Bhima) began to press his neck.
65Then dragging along on the earth the bruised body of the Rakshasas whose eye-lids were about to close, Bhima spoke thus.
66“O sinful wretch, you will no more have to wine away the tears of Hidimba and Baka, for you too are going to the abode of Yama.”
67Having said this and seeing the Rakshasas destitute of clothes and ornaments and insensible, that foremost of men, his heart filled with wrath left him dead.
68When that cloud-coloured Rakshasas was killed, the son of the great king (Pandu i.e. Yudhishthira) praised Bhima for his many qualities. And then placing Krishna (Draupadi) in their front, they set out for the forest of Daitya.
69O ruler of men, O descendant of Kuru, it was thus that Kirmira was killed by Bhima at the command of Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira).
70Having made the forest free from its pest, the invincible and virtuous man (Yudhishthira) lived with Draupadi there in their abode.
71Comforting Draupadi, those foremost of heroes of the Bharata race with glad hearts praised Vrikodara cheerfully.
72After the Rakshasas had been killed by the strength of arms of Bhima, the heroes (the Pandavas) entered that peaceful forest (now) being free from its pest.
73Passing through that great forest, I saw the body of the wicked and fearful Rakshasas lying killed by Bhima’c prowess.
74O descendant of Bharata, I heard there (in the forest) of this great deed of Bhima from the Brahmanas who had assembled there (round the Pandavas).
75Vaishampayana said: Having thus heard of the account of the destruction of that foremost of Rakshasas, Kirmira, the king (Dhritarashtra) sighed in sorrow and became absorbed in thought.