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The marriage of Samba.
Duryodhana had a daughter named Lakshmana, who was a very highly qualified girl, desired by many princes. Samba, the son of Jambavati, came to Lakshmana’s svayamvara, and he wanted very much to marry her, although she did not want him. Thus it came to be that Samba kidnapped Lakshmana, and as a result, all of the elderly Kurus, headed by Dhritarashtra and Bhishma, considered it a great insult to their family.
These angry Kurus said, “This ill-behaved boy has offended us, forcibly kidnapping our unmarried daughter, against her will. Arrest him but do not kill him, for after all, after being touched by him, Lakshmana cannot marry anyone else.”
What can the Vrishnis do? They are subordinate rulers of land granted by us and are less powerful. If they dare to fight, we shall teach them a lesson!”
Six great warriors went to capture Samba- Karna, Shalya, Bhishma, Bhurishrava, Yagyaketu and Duryodhana. Samba was also a maha-ratha, a very great fighter, and so he stood firm in the advance of the Kuru warriors. Indeed, Samba proceeded to afflict his opponents so severely with his arrows that they could not help but admit, “This boy is wonderful!”
Still, the six Kuru warriors were soon able to disable Samba’s chariot, killing his four horses, and they broke his bowstring so that he could not continue fighting. Then, although it was improper to fight six against one, the Kurus tied up Samba with great difficulty. After taking away Lakshmana, they entered Hastinapura triumphantly, along with their captive.
The great sage Narada immediately carried this news to the Yadus, who became very angry at how Samba had been improperly arrested by six warriors. At the urging of King Ugrasena, they quickly prepared for war against the Kurus.
However, Balarama did not like the idea of the two dynasties fighting. After pacifying the other Yadus, who had already put on their armor, He set out for Hastinapura on His chariot, in the hopes that He could persuade the Kurus to release Samba and his wife. Being accompanied by some brahmanas and family elders, Balarama shone in their midst, like the moon surrounded by all the planets.
Upon His arrival, Balarama did not enter the city, but made His camp on the outskirts and then sent Uddhava to meet the Kuru leaders. Uddhava went and offered respects to Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, Drona, Duryodhana and others, and all were overjoyed that their well-wishing friend Balarama had arrived. Taking auspicious paraphernalia for reception in their hands, they went out of the city to greet their guest. Knowing Balarama to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Kuru leaders worshiped Him and then bowed down, touching their heads to the ground.
Balarama and the Kurus inquired about one another’s welfare, and when such formality was done, the Lord addressed them in a commanding voice: “I have come here on behalf of King Ugrasena. He says, ‘Although, by irreligious means you defeated Samba, I am remaining tolerant, for the sake of peace among our families. Now, release him so that peace can be maintained.”
At this, the Kurus replied with great anger and astonishment, “The force of time is certainly insurmountable, for Your words are clearly influenced by the dawning age of Kali. Do the shoes (the Yadus) now want to climb up to where the crown (the Kurus) is worn?”
“Being bound to us by ties of marriage, we honored the Yadus as being on the same exalted royal platform, but now they want to take undue advantage of such privileges. Only because we looked the other way, could they enjoy the pair of chamaras, conch shell, white umbrella, throne and royal bed. But, no longer should the Yadus be allowed to use these royal symbols, for this has increased their false prestige, just as feeding milk to a snake increases its venom. Although they prospered by our grace, having lost all shame, they now dare to try and command us!”
Having become very arrogant and proud because of their high birth and opulence, after speaking so rudely, the Kurus turned their backs and entered Hastinapura. Balarama had patiently heard their insults, but from His appearance it was clear that He was burning with rage and thinking how to retaliate.
Indeed, Balarama was so agitated that it was difficult to look at Him. While laughing loudly, He declared, “It is clear that when one becomes too intoxicated with pride, he no longer values peace. It is useless to give good instruction to such persons. Better to teach them good manners by means of punishment, as animals are controlled by a stick.”
“Krishna sits within the Sudharma assembly hall, and He forcibly took the parijata tree from heaven. Is He not fit to sit upon the royal throne? The goddess of fortune herself worships His lotus feet, as do all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. Does He not deserve the paraphernalia of a mortal king?”
“Just see how these puffed-up Kurus are intoxicated by their so-called opulence, just like ordinary drunken men! What actual ruler with the power to command would tolerate their nasty words? Today, I shall rid the earth of the Kauravas!”
After saying this, Balarama took His plow weapon and stood up, as if to burn the whole creation to ashes. The Lord dug His plow into the ground and began dragging the entire city of Hastinapura towards the Ganga. As the whole city shook, as if there had been a great earthquake, the Kauravas quickly came to their senses. Then, as Hastinapura was on the verge of being dismantled, and was about to fall into the Ganga, the Kauravas placed Samba and Lakshmana in front, and along with their families, approached Lord Balarama for shelter.
With hands joined in supplication, the Kauravas said, “O Rama, You are the very foundation of everything! Please excuse our offense, for we were ignorant and misguided. Your anger is meant for instructing everyone- it is not a manifestation of hatred or envy. We bow down to You, O creator of this universe. Offering our obeisances, we take shelter of You.”
Balarama’s heart softened, and so He became pacified and merciful toward the Kauravas, assuring them that they no longer need be afraid. Such fighting was common at the time of kshatriya marriages, and the Kurus were actually pleased to see that Samba was a suitable match for Lakshmana. It was only to test Samba’s prowess that they fought with him while disregarding ethical conduct, and only superficially did they become angry when Balarama asked for his release, for they desired to witness the Lord’s inconceivable potency.
Thus, the whole matter was happily settled, and the marriage was conducted with great pomp. Being very affectionate toward his daughter, Duryodhana gave a large dowry consisting of 1200 sixty-year-old elephants- 120,000 horses- 6000 golden chariots- and 1000 maidservants decorated with valuable jewelry. Balarama accepted all these gifts and departed for Dvaraka.
After His arrival, Balarama met His relatives and then related to everyone all that had transpired.