(Hidimva-vadha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Bhima, beholding Hidimva following them, addressed her, saying, 'Rakshasas revenge themselves on their enemies by adopting deceptions that are incapable of being penetrated. Therefore, O Hidimva, go thou the way on which thy brother hath gone.' Then Yudhishthira beholding Bhima in rage, said, 'O Bhima, O tiger among men, however enraged, do not slay a woman. O Pandava, the observance of virtue is a higher duty than the protection of life. Hidimva, who had come with the object of slaying us, thou hast already slain. This woman is the sister of that Rakshasa, what can she do to us even if she were angry?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Hidimva reverentially saluting Kunti and her son Yudhishthira also, said, with joined palms, 'O revered lady, thou knowest the pangs that women are made to feel at the hands of the deity of love. Blessed dame, these pangs, of which Bhimasena hath been the cause, are torturing me. I had hitherto borne these insufferable pangs, waiting for the time (when thy son could assuage them). That time is now come, when I expected I would be made happy. Casting off my friends and relations and the usage of my race, I have, O blessed lady, chosen this son of thine, this tiger among men, as my husband. I tell thee truly, O illustrious lady, that if I am cast off by that hero or by thee either, I will no longer bear this life of mine. Therefore, O thou of the fairest complexion, it behoveth thee to show me mercy, thinking me either as very silly or thy obedient slave. O illustrious dame, unite me with this thy son, my husband. Endued as he is with the form of a celestial, let me go taking him with me wherever I like. Trust me, O blessed lady, I will again bring him back unto you all. When you think of me I will come to you immediately and convey you whithersoever ye may command. I will rescue you from all dangers and carry you across inaccessible and uneven regions. I will carry you on my back whenever ye desire to proceed with swiftness. O, be gracious unto me and make Bhima accept me. It hath been said that in a season of distress one should protect one's life by any means. He, that seeketh to discharge that duty should not scruple about the means. He, that in a season of distress keepeth his virtue, is the foremost of virtuous men. Indeed, distress is the greatest danger to virtue and virtuous men. It is virtue that protecteth life; therefore is virtue called the giver of life. Hence the means by which virtue or the observance of a duty is secured can never be censurable.'
"Hearing these words of Hidimva, Yudhishthira said. 'It is even so, O Hidimva, as thou sayest. There is no doubt of it. But, O thou of slender waist, thou must act even as thou hast said. Bhima will, after he hath washed himself and said his prayers and performed the usual propitiatory rites, pay his attentions to thee till the sun sets. Sport thou with him as thou
likest during the day, O thou that art endued with the speed of the mind! But thou must bring back Bhimasena hither every day at nightfall.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Bhima, expressing his assent to all that Yudhishthira said, addressed Hidimva, saying, 'Listen to me, O Rakshasa woman! Truly do I make this engagement with thee that I will stay with thee, O thou of slender waist, until thou obtainest a son.' Then Hidimva, saying, 'So be it,' took Bhima upon her body and sped through the sides. On mountain peaks of picturesque scenery and regions sacred to the gods, abounding with dappled herds and echoing with the melodies of feathered tribes, herself assuming the handsomest form decked with every ornament and pouring forth at times mellifluous strains. Hidimva sported with the Pandava and studied to make him happy. So also, in inaccessible regions of forests, and on mountain-breasts overgrown with blossoming trees on lakes resplendent with lotuses and lilies, islands of rivers and their pebbly banks, on sylvan streams with beautiful banks and mountain-currents, in picturesque woods with blossoming trees and creepers in Himalayan bowers, and various caves, on crystal pools smiling with lotuses, on sea-shores shining with gold and pearls, in beautiful towns and fine gardens, in woods sacred to the gods and on hill-sides, in the regions of Guhyakas and ascetics, on the banks of Manasarovara abounding with fruits and flowers of every season Hidimva, assuming the handsomest form, sported with Bhima and studied to make him happy. Endued with the speed of the mind, she sported with Bhima in all these regions, till in time, she conceived and brought forth a mighty son begotten upon her by the Pandava. Of terrible eyes and large mouth and straight arrowy ears, the child was terrible to behold. Of lips brown as copper and sharp teeth and loud roar, of mighty arms and great strength and excessive prowess, this child became a mighty bowman. Of long nose, broad chest, frightfully swelling calves, celerity of motion and excessive strength, he had nothing human in his countenance, though born of man. And he excelled (in strength and prowess) all Pisachas and kindred tribes as well as all Rakshasas. And, O monarch, though a little child, he grew up a youth the very hour he was born. The mighty hero soon acquired high proficiency in the use of all weapons. The Rakshasa women bring forth the very day they conceive, and capable of assuming any forms at will, they always change their forms. And the bald-headed child, that mighty bowman, soon after his birth, bowing down to his mother, touched her feet and the feet also of his father. His parents then bestowed upon him a name. His mother having remarked that his head was (bald) like unto a Ghata (water-pot), both his parents thereupon called him Ghatotkacha (the pot-headed). And Ghatotkacha who was exceedingly devoted to the Pandavas, became a great favourite with them, indeed almost one of them.
"Then Hidimva, knowing that the period of her stay (with her husband) had come to an end, saluted the Pandavas and making a new appointment with them went away whithersoever she liked. And Ghatotkacha
also--that foremost of Rakshasas--promising unto his father that he would come when wanted on business, saluted them and went away northward. Indeed, it was the illustrious Indra who created (by lending a portion of himself) the mighty car-warrior Ghatotkacha as a fit antagonist of Karna of unrivalled energy, in consequence of the dart he had given unto Karna (and which was sure to kill the person against whom it would be hurled).'"