Poem to one of the plots of the “Mahabharata”
During the stay of the Pandava brothers in the twelve-year forest exile, their common wife Draupadi once rebuked the eldest brother among the brothers – Yudhisthira in inaction, indecision, indulgence to the kauravas, and urged them to attack them immediately. A second brother, Bhima, agreed with Draupadi, but Yudhisthira rejects their reproaches and insists, in the name of virtue and loyalty to this word, on compliance with the kauravas. The sage Dwapayana, who came to visit the pandavas, supports Yudhishthira, but warns that when the expulsion period expires, the Pandavas are expected not by peace, but by battle, and it must be prepared beforehand. He advises the third of the brothers – Arjuna to become an ascetic to enlist the help of the king of the gods of Indra and to receive from him an indisputable weapon.
A certain yakshas, the mountain spirit, the demigod, takes Arjuna to the Himalayas and points to the mountain Indraqilu shining like gold, where Arjuna begins to perform his ascetic feat. Indra is pleased with Arjuna’s dedication, but decides to subject him to an additional test. He sends to Indrakila heavenly singers – gandharvas, divine virgins – apsaras, goddesses of six seasons of the year, who have assumed the appearance of beautiful women. Around Arjuna there is always a stirring, sweet music, naked apsars bathe in his eyes in a stream, shower him with fragrant flowers, try to embarrass him with passionate appeals and caresses. But Arjuna does not lend temptation and remains unmoved. Then Indra resorts to another trick. Dressed as an old hermit, he appears before Arjuna and, praising him for the firmness of the spirit, persuades to remain an ascetic... and to abandon plans for revenge on the enemies. Arjuna responds that he thinks about revenge not for revenge and not for himself and his resentment, but only for the fulfillment of his duty of eradicating evil in this world, Indra is pleased with Arjuna’s response, approves his intentions and advises now to propitiate by penance the formidable ascetic god Shiva.
Arjuna is even more ardently devoted to asceticism. It is so frightening for demons living nearby that one of them, Muka, taking the form of a boar, tries to interrupt him, attacking Arjuna. Arjuna lets an arrow from the bow into Muku, and at the same time sends another deadly arrow to the demon Shiva, who appeared there in the guise of a kirat, a mountaineer-hunter. Between Arjuna and Shiva, a quarrel broke out over the right to a dead boar. Ghana, the suite of Shiva, also disguised as hunters, rush to Arjuna from all sides, but Arjuna disperses them with their arrows. Then Shiva himself summons Arjuna to a duel. Arjuna is throwing spears, darts, arrows at Shiva, but they fly by; tries to hit him with the sword, but Shiva splits the sword in two; throws stones and trees at him; enters into a melee confrontation with him, but can not overcome his divine adversary in any way.
Arjuna speaks in praise of Shiva the laudatory anthem and asks to give him the means to defeat the enemies. In response, Shiva gives him his magic bow, teaches him to possess it, and then other gods led by Indra give Arjuna their weapons. Blessing Arjuna for the upcoming military feats, Shiva withdraws with the rest of the gods, and Arjuna returns to his brothers and Draupadi.