The Mahabharat, Book 16: Mausala Parva

Post-War Parvas


“Mausala(मौसल)” is a wooden pestle that is used to grind spices. It is a 4 to 5 feet iron rod. The Mausala Parva describes the painful end of the powerful Yadavs/Vrishnis and Andhaka’s who ruled in Dwaraka. Krishna and Balrama also die at the end of this parva. Thus the curse Gandhari uttered at the end of the war on Krishna gets fulfilled.

Meanwhile, the Vrishnis of Dwaraka had become very powerful. With no strong enemy, and pride feeling up their souls, they abandoned all austerities and instead started indulging in wine, women and many sinful activities. Once the “Saptarishis” (the great seven holy sages) were visiting Prabhas. The Vrishnis and Andhakas decided to make fun of them. They dressed up Samba (or Samva), son of Krishna via Jambavati, as a pregnant woman, went to the sages and asked them to predict the sex of the child and bless her (Samba). The sages saw through the mockery and were furious. They uttered,

This heir of Vasudeva, by name Samba, will bring forth a fierce ‘mausala’ (iron bolt) for the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. Ye wicked and cruel ones, intoxicated with pride, through that iron bolt ye will become the exterminators of your race with the exception of Ram (Balarama) and Janarddana (Krishna). The blessed hero armed with the plough will enter the ocean, casting off his body, while a hunter of the name of Jara will pierce the high-souled Krishna while lying on the ground.

This greatly frightened the Vrishnis and Andhakas around. They went to Krishna with the dilemma. Krishna saw through the fate but advised nevertheless to grind the pestle that will be born and spread the dust into the sea. Next day, indeed Samba gave birth to an iron rod/pestle which was disposed off in the manner advised.

Thirty-six years have passed since the great war. At this point Yudhishthir observed many ill signs. Winds, dry and strong, and showering gravels, blew from every side. Birds began to wheel, making circles from right to left. The great rivers ran in opposite directions. The horizon on every side seemed to be always covered with fog. Meteors, showering (blazing) coals, fell on the Earth from the sky. The Sun’s disc seemed to be always covered with dust.

The Vrishnis went to the sea shore for a picnic. The place where they were picnicking, was the same place where they had thrown away the dust of the pestle earlier. The sea shore was full of Erka grass that had grown yonder.

At this picnic were present Satyaki, who faught on the Pandava side and Kritvarma who fought on the Kaurava side. After a bout of excessive drinking, Satyaki got up and said insulted Kritvarma by calling him a coward who participated group killing of Pandava army in their sleep. Not to be outdone, Kritvarma shouted and called Satyaki a sinner of the worst kind who killed a man after he had laid down is arms (Bhurishrava). This resulted into formation of groups and a general fight. Each group attacked the other members with pots and cans.

It so happened that one person pulled out the Erka grass and it turned into an iron rod/pestle. When he struck his opposing member with the rod, he lay dead. Everyone started uprooting the Erka grass, which immediately turned into a iron pestle which the Vrishnis/Andhakas used to kill one another. Soon all lay dead, including Satyaki, Kritvarma, Pradyumna and Aniruddha.

Krishna and Balarama were watching the events unfold sadly. Balarama went away. Krishna saw that all were dead and followed Balarama’s path. At one place, he found Balrama in yogic sitting posture. He had cast off his soul. A large serpent came out of Balarama’s mouth and entered the sea. Krishna was extremely sad and he went to the nearby forest and sat down under a tree pondering. A hunter, named Jara, saw Krishna foot from the bush, mistook him for a deer and shot an arrow. The arrow pierced Krishna’s foot.

The hunter came and saw that he had shot the Lord himself. He begged his forgiveness but Krishna consoled him saying that this was destined to happen. The hunter Jara was King Vali of the Monkeys in his previous life. Lord Ram had shot and killed Vali in the previous incarnation and this was the punishment. Saying so, Krishna gave up his life and ascended to the heavens.

The news of the end of Vrishni’s reached Yudhishthir and he decided to give up the kingdom also.

(to be continued)…

Post Author: Prasanna Bhalerao

IT Professional with interest in History, Mythology and Photography. Likes to travel and see interesting places.

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