Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 5 - Chapter 35

Chapter XXXV

Śāmba carries off the daughter of Duryodhana, but is taken prisoner. Balarāma comes to Hastināpur, and demands his liberation: it is refused: in his wrath he drags the city towards him, to throw it into the river. The Kuru chiefs give up Śāmba and his wife.


I have a great desire to hear, excellent Brahman, some further account of the exploits of Balarāma: You have related to me his dragging the Yamunā, and other mighty deeds, but you can tell me, venerable sir, some other of his acts.


Attend, Maitreya, to the achievements performed by Rāma, who is the eternal, illimitable Śeṣa, the upholder of the earth:

At the choice of a husband by the daughter of Duryodhana, the princess was carried off by the hero Śāmba, the son of Jāmbavatī.

Being pursued by Duryodhana, Karṇa, Bhīṣma, Droṇa, and other celebrated chiefs, who were incensed at his audacity, he was defeated, and taken prisoner.

When the Yādavas heard of the occurrence, their wrath was kindled against Duryodhana and his associates, and they prepared to take up arms against them;

but Baladeva, in accents interrupted by the effects of intoxication, forbade them, and said:

"I will go alone to the sons of Kuru; they will liberate Śāmba at my request."

Accordingly he went to the elephant-styled city (Hastināpur), but took up his abode in a grove outside the town, which he did not enter.

When Duryodhana and the rest heard that he had arrived there, they sent him a cow, a present of fruits and flowers, and water.

Bala received the offering in the customary form, and said to the Kaurāvas:

"Ugrasena commands you to liberate Śāmba."

When Duryodhana, Karṇa, Bhīṣma, Droṇa, and the others, heard this, they were very angry; and Bāhlīka and other friends of the Kaurāvas, who looked upon the Yadu race as not entitled to regal dignity, said to the wielder of the club:

"What is this, Balabhadra, which thou hast uttered? What Yādava shall give orders to the chiefs of the family of Kuru? If Ugrasena issues his mandates to the Kaurāvas, then we must take away the white umbrella that he has usurped, and which is fit only for kings.

Depart therefore, Balarāma; you are entitled to our respect; but Śāmba has been guilty of improper conduct, and we will not liberate him either at Ugrasena's commands or yours.

The homage that is due to us, their superiors, by the Kukkura and Andhaka tribes, may not be paid by them; but who ever heard of a command issued by a servant to his master?

Elevation to an equal seat has rendered you arrogant. We have committed a great mistake in neglecting, through our friendship for you, the policy (that teaches the danger of treating the abject with deference).

We sent you today a respectful present as an intimation of (personal) regard, which was neither fit for our race to have proffered, nor for yours to have expected."

Having thus spoken, the Kuru chiefs, unanimously refusing to set the son of Hari at large, immediately returned into the city.

Bala, rolling about with intoxication, and the wrath which their contemptuous language had excited, struck the ground furiously with his heel, so that it burst to pieces with a loud sound that reverberated through the regions of space.

His eyes reddened with rage, and his brow was curved with frowns, as he exclaimed:

"What arrogance is this, in such vile and pithless creatures!

The sovereignty of the Kaurāvas, as well as our own, is the work of fate, whose decree it also is that they now disrespect or disobey the commands of Ugrasena. Indra may of right give his orders to the gods; and Ugrasena exercises equal authority with the lord of Śachī.

Fie upon the pride that boasts a throne, the leavings of a hundred mortals!

Is not he the sovereign of the earth, the wives of whose servants adorn themselves with the blossoms of the Pārijāta tree?

Ugrasena shall be the undisputed king of kings; for I will not return to his capital until I have rid the world wholly of the sons of Kuru.

I will destroy Karṇa, Duryodhana, Droṇa, Bhīṣma, Bāhlīka, Duhśāsana, Bhūrisravas, Somadatta, Śalya, Bhīma, Arjuna, Yudhisṭhīra, the twins, and all the other vile descendants of Kuru, with their horses, elephants, and chariots.

I will rescue the hero Śāmba from captivity, and carry him, along with his wife, to Dvārakā, where I shall again behold Ugrasena and the rest of my kin.

Or, authorized by the king of the gods to remove the burdens of the earth, I will take this capital of the Kaurāvas, with all the sons of Kuru, and cast the city of the elephant into the Bhāgīrathī."

So saying, the wielder of the club, Baladeva, his eyes red with rage, plunged the blade of his ploughshare downwards, beneath the ramparts of the city, and drew them towards him.

When the Kaurāvas beheld Hastināpura tottering, they were much alarmed, and called loudly on Rāma, saying:

"Rāma, Rāma! Hold, hold! Suppress your wrath! Have mercy upon us! Here is Śāmba, and his wife also, delivered up to thee. Forgive our sins, committed in ignorance of thy wondrous power."

Accordingly, issuing hurriedly from the city, the Kaurāvas delivered Śāmba and his bride to the mighty Balarāma, who, bowing to Bhīṣma, Droṇa, and Kṛipa, who addressed him in conciliatory language, said: "I am satisfied;" and so desisted.

The city bears the marks of the shock it received, even to the present day--such was the might of Rāma--proving both his strength and prowess.

The Kaurāvas then offering homage to Śāmba and to Bala, dismissed the former with his wife and a bridal portion.