(1500 BC? / Kalpi, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh / India)

Mahabharata, Book Ii - Journey To Panchala

Now the righteous sons of Pandu, wand'ring far from day to day,
Unto South Panchala's country glad and joyful held their way,

For when travelling with their mother, so it chanced by will of fate.
They were met by pious Brahmans bound for South Panchala's State,

And the pure and holy Brahmans hailed the youth of noble fame,
Asked, them whither they would journey, from what distant land, they came,

'From the land of Ekachakra,' good Yudhishthir answered so,
'With our ancient mother travelling unto distant lands we go.'

'Heard ye not,' the Brahmans questioned, 'in Panchala's fair domain,
Drupad, good and gracious monarch, doth a mighty feast, ordain,

To that festive land we journey, Drupad's bounteous gifts to share,
And to see the stvayantcara of Panchala's princess fair,-

Human mother never bore her, human bosom never fed,
From the Altar sprang the maiden who some noble prince will wed!

Soft her eyes like lotus-petal, sweet her tender jasmine form,
And a maiden's stainless honour doth her gentle soul inform,

And her brother, mailed and arméd with his bow and arrows dire,
Radiant as the blazing altar, sprang from Sacrificial Fire!

Fair the sister slender-waisted, dowered with beauty rich and rare,
And like fragrance of blue lotus, perfumes all the sweetened air,

She will choose from noble suitors gathered from the west and east,
Bright and fair shall be the wedding, rich and bounteous be the feast!

Kings will come from distant regions sacrificing wealth and gold,
Stainless monarchs versed in sastra, pious-hearted, mighty-souled,

Handsome youths and noble princes from each near and distant land,
Car-borne chieftains bold and skilful, brave of heart and stout of hand!

And to win the peerless princess they will scatter presents rare,
Food and milch-kine, wealth and jewels, gold and gifts and garments fair,

Noble gifts we take as Brahmans, bless the rite with gladsome heart,
Share the feast so rich and bounteous, then with joyful minds depart.

Actors, mimes, and tuneful minstrels fair Panchala's court will throng,
Famed reciters of puranas, dancers skilled and wrestlers strong,

Come with us., the wedding witness, share the banquet rich and rare,
Pleased with gifts and noble presents to your distant home repair.

Dowered ye are with princely beauty, like the radiant gods above,
Even on you the partial princess may surrender heart and love,

And this youth so tan and stalwart, mighty-arméd, strong and bold,
He may win in feats of valour rich renown and wealth untold!

'Be it so,' Yudhishthir answered, 'to Panchala we repair,
View the wedding of the princess and the royal bounty share,'

And the righteous sons of Pandu with the Brahmans took their way,
Where in South Panchala's kingdom mighty Drupad held his sway.

Now it fell, the saintly rishi, deathless bard of deathless lay,
Herald of the holy Vedas, Vyasa stood before their way.

And the princes bowed unto him and received his blessings kind,
By his mandate to Panchala went with pleased and joyful mind!

Jungle Woods and silver waters round their sylvan pathway lay,
Halting at each wayside station marched the princes day by day,

Stainless and intent on sastra, fair in speech and pure in heart,
Travelling slow they reached Panchala, saw its spacious town and mart,

Saw the fort, bazaar and city, saw the spire and shining dome,
In a potter's distant cottage made their humble unknown home,

And disguised as pious Brahmans sons of Pandu begged their food,
People knew not Kuru's princes in that dwelling poor and rude.

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