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Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 1 by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

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evil hath been committed, knowingly or unknowingly, by man or woman,
impelled by human motives, is all destroyed, O Bharata, by a bath in
that _tirtha_. Bathing there one obtaineth, too, the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and heaven also. The learned have said that
_Kurukshetra_ is holy; that holier than _Kurukshetra_ is the
_Saraswati_; that holier than the Saraswati are all the _tirthas_
together, and that holier than all the _tirthas_ together is
_Prithudaka_. He that engaged in the recitation of prayers casteth off
his body at Prithudaka, which is the best of all _tirthas_, becometh an
immortal. It hath been sung by Sanatkumara and by the high-souled Vyasa,
and it is in the Vedas also, that one should, O king, go to Prithudaka,
with subdued soul. O son of Kuru race, there is no _tirtha_ which is
superior to Prithudaka. Without doubt, that _tirtha_ is purifying, holy
and sin-destroying. O best of men, it hath been said by learned persons
that men, however sinful, by bathing in Prithudaka, go to heaven. O best
of the Bharatas, there in that _tirtha_ is another called _Madhusrava_.
Bathing there, O king, one obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand
kine. One should then proceed, O king, to that celebrated and sacred
_tirtha_ where the Saraswati uniteth with the Aruna. One that batheth
there, having fasted for three nights, is cleansed of even the sin of
slaying a Brahmana, and obtaineth also merit that is superior to that of
either the _Agnishtoma_ or _Atiratra_ sacrifice, and rescueth his race
to the seventh generation up and down. There in that _tirtha_ is
another, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, that is called Ardhakila. From
compassion for the Brahmanas, that _tirtha_ was made by Darbhi in days
of old. Without doubt, by vows, by investiture of the sacred, by fasts,
by rites and by _Mantras_, one becometh a Brahmana. O bull among men, it
hath been seen, however, by learned persons of old that even one
destitute of rites and _Mantras_, by only bathing in that _tirtha_
becometh learned and endued with the merit of vows. Darbhi had also
brought hither the four oceans. O best of men, one that batheth here,
never meeteth with distress hereafter and obtaineth also the merit of
giving away four thousand kine. One should next repair, O virtuous one,
to the _tirtha_ called _Satasahasraka_. Near to this is another called
_Sahasraka_. Both are celebrated, and one that batheth in them,
obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Fasts and gifts
there multiply a thousandfold. One should next proceed, O king, to the
excellent _tirtha_ called _Renuka_. One should bathe there and worship
the _Pitris_ and the gods. By this, cleansed from every sin, he
obtaineth the merit of the _Agnishtoma_ sacrifice. Bathing next in the
_tirtha_ called _Vimochana_ with passions and senses under control, one
is cleansed from all the sins generated by the acceptance of gifts. With
senses under control and practising the Brahmacharya mode of life, one
should next repair to the woods of Panchavati. By a sojourn thither, one
earneth much virtue and becometh adored in the regions of the virtuous.
One should next go to the _tirtha_ of _Varuna_ called _Taijasa_, blazing
in effulgence of its own. There in that _tirtha_ is the lord of Yoga,
Sthanu himself, having for his vehicle the bull. He that sojourneth
there, obtaineth success by worshipping the god of gods. It was there
that the gods with Brahma at their head and Rishis endued with wealth of
asceticism, installed Guha as the generalissimo of the celestials. To
the east of that _tirtha_ is another, O perpetuator of Kuru race, that
is called Kuru _tirtha_. With senses under control and leading a
Brahmacharya mode of life, he that bathes in _Kuru-tirtha_, becometh
cleansed of all his sins and obtaineth the region of Brahma. With
subdued senses and regulated diet one should next proceed to
_Svargadwara_. Sojourning thither, one obtaineth the merit of the
_Agnishtoma_ sacrifice and goeth to the abode of Brahma. The pilgrim
should then, O king, proceed to the _tirtha_ called _Anaraka_. Bathing
there, O king, one never meeteth with distress hereafter. There, O king,
Brahma himself with the other gods having Narayana at their head, is
ever present, O tiger among men! And, O royal son of the Kuru race, the
wife also of Rudra is present there. Beholding the goddess, one never
meeteth with distress hereafter. There in that _tirtha_ O king, is also
(an image of) _Visweswara_, the lord of Uma. Beholding the god of gods
there, one is cleansed of all his sins. Beholding also (the image of)
_Narayana_ from whose navel had sprung the lotus, one blazeth forth, O
royal represser of all foes, and goeth to the abode of Vishnu. O bull
among men, he that batheth in the _tirthas_ of all the gods, is exempted
from every sorrow and blazeth forth like the Moon. The pilgrim should
next proceed, O king, to _Swastipura_. By walking around that place, one
obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Arriving next at the
_tirtha_ called _Pavana_, one should offer oblations to the _Pitris_ and
the gods. By this, he obtaineth, O Bharata, the merit of the
_Agnishtoma_ sacrifice. Near to that is _Ganga-hrada_, and another, O
Bharata, called _Kupa_. Thirty millions of _tirthas_, O king, are
present in that Kupa. Bathing there, O king, a person obtaineth heaven.
Bathing also in the _Ganga-hrada_ and adoring Maheswara, one obtaineth
the status of _Ganapatya_ and rescueth his own race. One should next
proceed to _Sthanuvata_, celebrated over the three worlds. Bathing
there, O king, one obtaineth heaven. One should then proceed to
_Vadanpachana_, the asylum of _Vasishtha_. Having fasted there for three
nights, one should eat jujubes. He that liveth on jujubes for twelve
years, and he that fasteth at the _tirtha_ for three nights, acquireth
merit that is eternal. Arriving then at _Indramarga_, O king, and
fasting there for a day and night the pilgrim becometh adored in the
abode of Indra. Arriving next at the _tirtha_ called _Ekaratra_, a
person that stayeth there for one night, with regulated vows and
refraining from untruth, becometh adored in the abode of Brahma. One
should next go, O king, to the asylum of _Aditya_--that illustrious god
who is a mass of effulgence. Bathing in that tirtha celebrated over
three worlds, and worshipping the god of light, one goeth to the region
of Aditya and rescueth his own race. The pilgrim then, O king, bathing
in the _tirtha_ of _Soma_, obtaineth, without doubt, the region of Soma.
One should next proceed, O virtuous one, to the most sacred _tirtha_ of
the illustrious _Dadhicha_, that sanctifying _tirtha_ which is
celebrated over the whole world. It was here that Angiras, that ocean of
ascetic austerities belonging to the Saraswata race, was born. Bathing
in that _tirtha_, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and
without doubt, gaineth also residence in the region of Saraswati. With
subdued senses and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life, one should next
proceed to _Kanyasrama_. Residing there for three nights, O king, with
subdued senses and regulated diet, one obtaineth a hundred celestial
damsels and goeth also to the abode of Brahma. One should next, O
virtuous one, proceed to the _tirtha_ called _Sannihati_. Sojourning
thither the gods with Brahma at their head and Rishis endued with wealth
of asceticism earn much virtue. Bathing in the Saraswati during a solar
eclipse, one obtaineth the merit of a hundred horse-sacrifices, and any
sacrifice that one may perform there produceth merit that is eternal.
Whatever _tirthas_ exist on earth or in the firmament, all the rivers,
lakes, smaller lakes, springs, tanks, large and small, and spots sacred
to particular gods, without doubt, all come, O tiger among men, month
after month, and mingle with _Sannihati_, O king of men! And it is
because that all other _tirthas_ are united together here, that this
_tirtha_ is so called. Bathing there and drinking of its water, one
becometh adored in heaven. Listen now, O king, to the merit acquired by
that mortal who performeth a _Sraddha_ on the day of the new moon during
a solar eclipse. The person that performeth a _Sraddha_ there, after
having bathed in that _tirtha_, obtaineth the merit that one earneth by
properly celebrating a thousand horse-sacrifices. Whatever sins a man or
woman committeth, are, without doubt, all destroyed as soon as one
batheth in that _tirtha_. Bathing there one also ascendeth to the abode
of Brahma on the lotus-coloured car. Bathing next in _Koti-tirtha_,
after having worshipped the Yaksha doorkeeper, Machakruka, one obtaineth
the merit of giving away gold in abundance. Near to this, O best of the
Bharatas, is a _tirtha_ called _Ganga-hrada_. One should bathe there, O
virtuous one, with subdued soul and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life.
By this, one obtaineth merit that is greater than that of a Rajasuya and
horse-sacrifices. The _tirtha_ called _Naimisha_ is productive of good
on earth. _Pushkara_ is productive of good in the regions of the
firmament; _Kurukshetra_, however, is productive of good in respect of
all the three worlds. Even the dust of Kurukshetra, carried by the wind,
leadeth sinful men to a highly blessed state. They that reside in
Kurukshetra, which lieth to the north of the Drishadwati and the south
of the Saraswati, really reside in heaven. '_I will go to Kurukshetra,'
'I will dwell in Kurukshetra_,' he that uttereth those words even once,
becometh cleansed of all sins. The sacred _Kurukshetra_ which is
worshipped by Brahmarshis, is regarded as the sacrificial altar of the
celestials. Those mortals that dwell there, have nothing to grieve for
at any time. That which lieth between Tarantuka and Arantuka and the
lakes of Rama and Machakruka is Kurukshetra. It is also called
_Samantapanchaka_ and is said to be the northern sacrificial altar of
the Grandsire."'"

SECTION LXXXIV

"'Pulastya said, "Then, O great king, one should proceed to the
excellent _tirtha_ of _Dharma_, where the illustrious god of justice had
practised highly meritorious austerities. And it is for this that he
made the spot a sacred _tirtha_ and rendered it celebrated by his own
name. Bathing there, O king, a virtuous man with concentrated soul
certainly sanctifieth his family to the seventh generation. One should
then repair, O king, to the excellent _Jnanapavana_. Sojourning thither,
one obtaineth the merit of the _Agnishtoma_ sacrifice, and goeth to the
region of the Munis. Then, O monarch, a man should repair to the
_Saugandhika-vana_. There dwell the celestials with Brahma at their
head, Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, the Siddhas, the
Charanas, the Gandharvas, the Kinnaras and the serpents. As soon as one
entereth these woods, he is cleansed of all his sins. Then, O king,
should one repair to the sacred goddess Saraswati, known there as the
goddess Plaksha, that best of streams and foremost of rivers. There
should one bathe in the water issuing from an ant-hill. (Bathing there
and) worshipping the Pitris and the gods, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice. There existeth a rare _tirtha_ called _Isanadhyushita_,
lying from the ant-hill at the distance of six throws of a heavy stick.
As seen in the Puranas, O tiger among men, bathing there a man obtaineth
the merit of giving away a thousand Kapila kine and of the
horse-sacrifice. Journeying next, O foremost of men, to _Sugandha_, and
_Satakumbha_ and _Pancha-yaksha_, a man becometh adored in heaven.
Repairing to another _tirtha_ there called _Trisulakhata_, one should
bathe and set himself to worship the Pitris and the gods. Doing so,
without doubt, one obtaineth, after death, the status of _Ganapatya_.
One should next proceed, O king, to the excellent spot of the Goddess
celebrated over the three worlds by the name of _Sakamvari_. There, for
the space of a thousand celestial years, she of excellent vows, month
after month, had subsisted upon herbs, O king of men! And attracted by
their reverence for the Goddess, many Rishis with wealth of asceticism,
came thither, O Bharata, and were entertained by her with herbs. And it
is for this that they bestowed on her the name of _Sakamvari_. O
Bharata, the man who arriveth at _Sakamvari_, with rapt attention and
leading a Brahmacharya mode of life and passeth three nights there in
purity and subsisting on herbs alone, obtaineth, at the will of the
goddess, the merit of him that liveth upon herbs for twelve years. Then
should one proceed to the _tirtha_ called _Suvarna_, famed through the
three worlds. There in days of old, Vishnu had paid his adorations to
Rudra, for his grace, and obtaineth also many boons difficult of
acquisition even by the gods. And, O Bharata, the gratified destroyer of
Tripura said, 'O Krishna, thou shalt, without doubt, be much beloved in
the world, and the foremost of everything in the universe.' Repairing
thither, O king, and worshipping the deity having the bull for his mark,
one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice as also the status of
_Ganapatya_. One should next proceed to the _tirtha_ of _Dhumavati_.
Fasting there for three nights, one obtaineth, without doubt, all the
wishes cherished by him. To the southern half of this spot of the
Goddess, there is, O king, a _tirtha_ called _Rathavarta_. One should, O
virtuous one, go up to that place, with devout heart, and having his
senses under control. By this, through the grace of Mahadeva, one
attaineth to an exalted state. After walking round the place, one
should, O bull of the Bharata race, proceed to the _tirtha_ named
_Dhara_, which, O thou of great wisdom, washeth off all sins. Bathing
there, O tiger among men, a man is freed from every sorrow. One should
then repair, O virtuous one, after bowing to the great mountain
(Himavat), to the source of the Ganges, which is, without doubt, like
the gate of heaven. There should one, with concentrated soul, bathe in
the _tirtha_ called _Koti_. By this, one obtaineth the merit of the
Pundarika sacrifice, and delivereth his race. Residing one night there,
one acquireth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. By offering
oblations of water duly to the gods and the Pitris, at _Saptaganga_,
_Triganga_ and _Sakravarta_, (which are all there), becometh adored in
the regions of the virtuous. Bathing next at _Kanakhala_, and fasting
there for three nights, a person reapeth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and goeth to heaven. Then O lord of men, the pilgrim
should repair to _Kapilavata_. Fasting for one night there, he obtaineth
the merit of giving away a thousand kine. O king, there is a _tirtha_ of
the illustrious Kapila, king of the Nagas, that is celebrated, O thou
best of Kurus, over all the worlds. Bathing there at the _Nagatirtha_
one obtaineth, O king, the merit of giving away a thousand Kapila kine.
One should next repair to the excellent _tirtha_ of _Santanu_, called
_Lalitika_. Bathing there, O king, one never sinketh into distress
(hereafter). The man that bathes at the confluence of the Ganga and the
Yamuna, obtains the merit of ten horse-sacrifices, and also rescues his
race. One should next, O king, go to _Sugandha_, celebrated over the
world. By this, cleansed of every sin, he becometh adored in the abode
of Brahma. Then, O lord of men, the pilgrim should repair to
_Rudravarta_. Bathing there, one ascendeth to heaven. Bathing at the
confluence of the Ganga and the Saraswati, a person obtaineth the merit
of the horse-sacrifice and also ascendeth to heaven. Proceeding next to
_Bhadrakarneswara_ and worshipping the gods duly, one, without sinking
into distress, becometh adored in heaven. Then, O lord of men, the
pilgrim should proceed to the _tirtha_ called _Kuvjamraka_. By this he
obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine, and heaven also.
Then, O king, the pilgrim should go to the _Arundhativata_. Proceeding
thither with concentrated soul and practising the Brahmacharya vows, one
that batheth in _Samudraka_ and fasteth for three nights, obtaineth the
merit of the horse-sacrifice and of giving away a thousand kine, and
also rescueth his race. One should next proceed to _Brahmavarta_, with
concentrated soul and practising the Brahmacharya vows. By this, one
obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and goeth to the region of
Soma. The man that proceedeth to the _Yamuna-prabhava_, (the source of
the Yamuna) and batheth there, obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and is worshipped in heaven. Arriving at
_Darvisankramana_, that _tirtha_ which is worshipped of the three
worlds, a person obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and goeth to
heaven. Repairing next to _Sindhu-prabhava_ (the source of the Indus)
which is worshipped by Siddhas and Gandharvas, and staying there for
five nights, one obtaineth the merit of giving away gold in abundance.
Proceeding next to the inaccessible _tirtha_ called _Vedi_, one
obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and ascendeth to heaven.
Then, O Bharata, should one proceed to _Rishikulya_ and _Vasishtha_. By
visiting the latter, all orders attain to Brahmanhood. Repairing to
_Rishikulya_ and bathing there, and living a month upon herbs, and
worshipping the gods and Pitris, one is cleansed of all his sins, and
obtaineth the region of the Rishis. Proceeding next to _Bhrigutunga_ a
person acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Repairing then to
_Vipramoksha_, one is freed from every sin. Proceeding then to the
_tirtha_ of _Krittika_ and _Magha_, one, O Bharata, obtaineth the merit
superior to that of the _Agnishtoma_ and _Atiratha_ sacrifices. The man
who, repairing to the excellent _tirtha_ called _Vidya_, batheth there
in the evening, obtaineth proficiency in every kind of knowledge. One
should next reside for one night at _Mahasrama_ capable of destroying
every sin, taking a single meal. By this, one obtains many auspicious
regions, and delivers ten preceding and ten succeeding generations of
his race. Dwelling next for a month of Mahalaya, and fasting there for
three nights, one's soul is cleansed of all sins and one acquires the
merit of giving away gold in abundance. Proceeding next to _Vetasika_
worshipped by the Grandsire, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and the state of Usanas. Going next to the _tirtha_
called _Sundarika_, worshipped by the Siddhas, one obtaineth personal
beauty as witnessed by the ancients. Proceeding next to Brahmani with
subdued senses and observing the Brahmacharya vow, a person ascendeth to
the region of Brahma on a lotus-hued car. One should repair next to the
sacred Naimisha, worshipped by the Siddhas. There dwelleth for aye
Brahma with the gods. By only purposing to go to Naimisha, half one's
sins are destroyed; by entering it, one is cleansed of all his sins. The
pilgrim of subdued senses should stay at Naimisha for a month; for, O
Bharata, all the _tirthas_ of the earth are at Naimisha. Bathing there,
with restrained senses and regulated fare, one obtains, O Bharata, the
merit of the cow-sacrifice, and also sanctifies, O best of the Bharatas,
his race for seven generations both upwards and downwards. He who
renounceth his life at Naimisha by fasting, enjoyeth happiness in the
heavenly regions. Even this is the opinion of the wise. O foremost of
kings, Naimisha is ever sacred and holy. Proceeding next to
_Gangod-bheda_ and fasting there for three nights, a man obtaineth the
merit of the _Vajapeya_ sacrifice, and becometh like unto Brahma
himself. Journeying to the Saraswati, one should offer oblations unto
the gods and the Pitris. By this, one certainly enjoyeth bliss in the
regions called Saraswata. Then should one wend to _Vahuda_, with subdued
soul and observing the Brahmacharya vow. Residing there for one night,
one becometh adored in heaven, and obtaineth also, O Kaurava, the merit
of the _Devasatra_ sacrifice. Then should one repair to the holy
_Kshiravati_, frequented by holier men. By worshipping the gods and the
Pitris there, one obtains the merit of the _Vajapeya sacrifice_.
Proceeding next to _Vimalasoka_, with subdued soul and observing the
Brahmacharya vow, and residing there for one night, one is adored in
heaven. One should next proceed to the excellent _Gopratra_ in the
Sarayu, whence Rama, O king, with all his attendants and animals,
renouncing his body, ascended to heaven in consequence of the efficacy
of the _tirtha_ alone. Bathing in that _tirtha_, O Bharata, one's soul,
through Rama's grace, and by virtue of his own deeds, being cleansed of
all sins, one becometh adored in heaven. O Bharata! Proceeding next, O
son of the Kuru race, to the _Rama-tirtha_ on the Gomati, and bathing
there, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and sanctifieth
also his own race. There, O bull of the Bharata race, is another
_tirtha_ called _Satasahasrika_. Bathing there, with restrained senses
and regulated diet, a person reapeth, O bull of Bharata race, the merit
of giving away a thousand kine. Then should one, O king, go to the
unrivalled _tirtha_ called _Bhartristhana_. By this, a person obtaineth
the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Bathing next in the _tirtha_ called
_Koti_, and worshipping Kartikeya, a man reapeth, O king, the merit of
giving away a thousand kine, and acquireth great energy. Proceeding next
to _Varanasi_, and worshipping the god having the bull for his mark,
after a bath in the _Kapilahrada_, one obtaineth the merit of the
Rajasuya sacrifice. Repairing then, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, to
the _tirtha_ called _Avimukta_, and beholding there the god of gods, the
pilgrim, from such sight alone, is immediately cleansed of even the sin
of slaying a Brahmana. By renouncing one's life there, one obtaineth
deliverance. Arriving next, O king, at the rare _tirtha_ called
_Markandeya_ celebrated over the world and situated at the confluence of
the Ganges, a person obtaineth the merit of _Agnishtoma_ sacrifice, and
delivereth his race. Sojourning next to _Gaya_, with subdued senses and
observing the Brahmacharya vow, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice and also rescueth his race. There in that _tirtha_ is
the _Akshaya-vata_, celebrated over the three worlds. Whatever is
offered there to the Pitris is said to become inexhaustible. Bathing
there at the _Mahanadi_, and offering oblations to the gods and the
Pitris, a man acquireth eternal regions, and also rescueth his race.
Proceeding then to _Brahma-sara_ that is adorned by the woods of Dharma,
and passing one night there, a man attaineth to the region of Brahma. In
that lake, Brahma had raised a sacrificial pillar. By walking round this
pillar, a person acquireth the merit of the _Vajapeya_ sacrifice. One
should next, O mighty monarch, go to _Denuka_ celebrated over the world.
Staying there for one night and giving away sesame and kine, one's soul
being cleansed from every sin, one ascendeth, without doubt to the
region of Soma. There, O king, on the mountains, the cow called Kapila
used to range with her calf. There is little doubt of this, O Bharata,
the hoof-marks of that cow and her calf are seen there to this day. By
bathing in those hoof-prints, O foremost of monarchs, whatever sin a man
may have incurred is, O Bharata, washed away. Then should one go to
_Gridhravata_, the spot consecrated to the trident-bearing god.
Approaching the deity having the bull for his mark one should rub
himself with ashes. If a Brahmana, he obtains the merit of observing the
twelve year's vow and if belonging to any of the other orders, he is
freed from all his sins. One should next proceed to the _Udyanta_
mountains, resounding with melodious notes. There, O bull of the Bharata
race, is still seen the foot-print of Savitri. The Brahmana of rigid
vows, who sayeth his morning, noon and evening prayers there, obtaineth
the merit of performing that service for twelve years. There, O bull of
the Bharata race, is the famous _Yonidwara_. Repairing thither, a person
becometh exempted from the pain of rebirth. The person that stayeth at
Gaya during both the dark and lighted fortnights, certainly sanctifieth,
O king, his own race up and down to the seventh generation. One should
wish for many sons so that even one may go to Gaya, or celebrate the
horse-sacrifice, or offer a _nila_ bull. Then, O king, the pilgrim
should proceed to _Phalgu_. By this, he obtains the merit of
horse-sacrifice, and acquires great success. O king, one should repair
then, with subdued soul, to _Dharmaprishta_. There, O foremost of
warriors, dwelleth Dharma for aye. Drinking of the water of a well which
is there, and purifying one's self by a bath, he that offereth oblations
to the gods and the Pitris is cleansed of all his sins and ascendeth to
heaven. There in that _tirtha_ is the hermitage of the great Rishi
Matanga of soul under complete control. By entering that beautiful
asylum capable of soothing fatigue and sorrow, one earneth the merit of
the _Gacayana_ sacrifice, and by touching (the image of) Dharma which is
there, one obtaineth the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. One should next
go, O king, to the excellent _tirtha_ called _Brahmasthana_. Approaching
Brahma, that bull among male beings, who is there, one acquireth, O
mighty monarch, the merit of the Rajasuya and horse-sacrifices. The
pilgrim should then repair to _Rajasuya_, O king of men! Bathing there,
one liveth (in heaven) as happily as (the Rishi) Kakshiyan. After
purifying himself, one should partake there of the offerings daily made
unto the Yakshini. By this, one is freed from the sin of even slaying a
Brahmana, through the Yakshini's grace. Proceeding next to _Maninaga_,
one obtains the merit of giving away a thousand kine. O Bharata, he that
eateth anything relating to the _tirtha_ of _Maninaga_, if bitten by a
venomous snake, doth not succumb to its poison. Residing there for one
night, one is cleansed of one's sins. Then should one proceed to the
favourite wood of the Brahmarshi Gautama. There bathing in the lake of
_Ahalya_, one attaineth to an exalted state. Beholding next the image of
Sree, one acquireth great prosperity. There in that _tirtha_ is a well
celebrated over the three worlds. Bathing in it, one obtaineth the merit
of the horse-sacrifice. There also existeth a well sacred to the royal
Rishi Janaka, which is worshipped by the gods. Bathing in the well, one
ascendeth to the region of Vishnu. Then should one repair to Vinasana
that destroys every sin. By a sojourn thither, one obtaineth the merit
of the _Vajapeya_ sacrifice, and goeth also to the region of Soma.
Proceeding next to _Gandaki_ which is produced by the waters of every
_tirtha_, a person acquireth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice, and
ascendeth also to the solar region. Proceeding next to the _Visala_,
that river celebrated over the three worlds, one obtaineth the merit of
the _Agnishtoma_ sacrifice and ascendeth also to heaven. Repairing then,
O virtuous one, to the woody seat of ascetics that is called
_Adhivanga_, one obtains, without doubt, great happiness amongst the
Guhyakas. Proceeding next to the river _Kampana_, visited by the
Siddhas, one obtaineth the merit of the _Pundarika_ sacrifice, and
ascendeth also to heaven. Arriving then, O lord of earth, at the stream
called _Maheswari_, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and
also rescueth his own race. Repairing next to the tank of the
celestials, one earneth immunity from misfortune, and also the merit of
the horse-sacrifice. One should next go to _Somapada_, with subdued soul
and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life. Bathing in _Maheswarapada_ that
is there, one reapeth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. There in that
_tirtha_, O bull of the Bharata race, it is well known that ten millions
of _tirthas_ exist together. A wicked Asura in the shape of a tortoise
had, O foremost of monarchs, been carrying it away when the powerful
Vishnu recovered it from him. There in that _tirtha_ should one perform
his ablutions, for by this he acquireth the merit of the _Pundarika_
sacrifice and ascendeth also to the region of Vishnu. Then, O best of
kings, should one proceed to the place of Narayana, where, O Bharata,
Narayana is ever present and dwelleth for aye. There the gods with
Brahma at their head, Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, the
Adityas, the Vasus, and the Rudras, all adore Janardana, in that
_tirtha_, and Vishnu of wonderful deeds hath become known as
_Salagrama_. Approaching the eternal Vishnu, that lord of the three
worlds, that giver of boons, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice, and goeth to the region of Vishnu. There in that place,
O virtuous one, is a well, capable of destroying every sin. The four
seas are ever present in that well. He that bathes in it, O king, will
have immunity from misfortune. Beholding (the image of) the boon-giving,
eternal, and fierce Mahadeva who is there, one shineth, O king, like the
moon emerged from the cloud. Bathing then in _Jatismara_, with pure mind
and subdued senses, one acquireth, without doubt, the recollections of
his former life. Proceeding then to _Maheswarapura_, and worshipping the
god having the bull for his mark, fasting the while, one obtaineth,
without doubt, the fruition of all his desires. Repairing then to
_Vamana_ that destroys every sin, and beholding the god Hari, one
acquireth exemption from every misfortune. One should next go to the
asylum of _Kusika_ that is capable of removing every sin. Repairing then
to the river _Kausika_ that cleanseth from even great sins, one should
bathe in it. By this one obtaineth the merit of Rajasuya sacrifice. One
should next, O foremost of kings, proceed to the excellent woods of
_Champaka_. By spending there one night, one acquireth the merit of
giving away a thousand kine. Arriving next at _Jyeshthila_, that
_tirtha_ of rare worth, and passing one night there, one reapeth the
fruit of the gift of a thousand kine. Beholding there (the image of)
Visweswara of great splendour, with his consort the goddess, a person
obtaineth, O bull among men, the region of Mitra-Varuna. By fasting
there for three nights, a man acquireth the merit of the _Agnishtoma_
sacrifice. By visiting _Kanya-samvedya_, with senses restrained and
regulated fare, one acquireth, O bull among men, the region of Manu, the
lord of creation. Rishis of rigid vows have said that he that giveth
away rice or maketh any gift at the _tirtha_ called _Kanya_, rendereth
such gift eternal. Arriving next at _Nischira_ celebrated over the three
worlds, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and goeth to the
region of Vishnu. O king, those that give away at the confluence of the
Nischira, ascend to the blessed region of Brahma. There in that _tirtha_
is the asylum of Vasishtha that is known over the three worlds. Bathing
there, one obtaineth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. Proceeding
next to _Devakuta_ that is resorted to by celestial Rishis, one
acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice, and also delivereth his
race. Then should one, O king, go to the lake of the _Muni Kausika_,
where Kusika's son, Viswamitra, obtained high success. Bathing there, a
person acquireth the merit of the Vajapeya sacrifice. There, O hero, at
Kausika, should one reside for a month, O bull of the Bharata race! By a
month's residence there, one reapeth the merit of the horse-sacrifice.
He that resideth at the best of tirthas called _Maha-hrada_, enjoys
immunity from misfortune, and also obtains the merit of giving away gold
in abundance. Beholding next Kartikeya who dwelleth at _Virasrama_, a
man certainly reapeth the fruit of the horse-sacrifice. Proceeding then
to _Agnidhara_ celebrated over the three worlds, and beholding there
after a bath the eternal and boon-giving Vishnu, that god of gods, one
obtaineth the merit of the _Agnishtoma_ sacrifice. Proceeding next to
the Grandsire's tank near the snowcapped of mountains, and bathing in
it, a man obtains the merit of the _Agnishtoma_ sacrifice. Falling from
the Grandsire's tank, is that world-sanctifying (stream), celebrated
over the three worlds, called _Kumara-Dhara_. Bathing there, one
regardeth himself as having all his purposes fulfilled. Fasting in that
tirtha for three days, one is even cleansed from the sin of slaying a
Brahmana. The pilgrim should next, O virtuous one, proceed to the peak
of the great goddess Gauri, famed over the three worlds. Ascending it, O
best of men, one should approach _Stana-Kunda_. By touching the waters
of _Stana-Kunda_, a person obtaineth the merit of the _Vajapeya_
sacrifice. Bathing in that _tirtha_ and worshipping the gods and Pitris,
one acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and also ascendeth to the
region of Indra. Arriving next at the well of _Tamraruna_, that is
frequented by the gods, one acquireth, O lord of men, the merit that
attaches to human sacrifice. Bathing next at the confluence of the
Kirtika with the Kausiki and the Aruna, and fasting there for three
nights a man of learning is cleansed of all his sins. Proceeding next to
the _tirtha_ called _Urvasi_, and then to _Somasrama_, a wise man by
bathing next at _Kumbhakarnasrama_ becometh adored in the world. The
ancients knew that by touching the waters of _Kokamukha_, with steady
vows and leading Brahmacharya mode of life, the memory of one's former
life is revived. Arriving next with speed to the river called _Nanda_ a
regenerate one becometh freed from all his sins and ascendeth with soul
under control to Indra's region. Proceeding next to the island called
_Rishabha_, that is destructive of cranes, and bathing in the Saraswati,
an individual blazeth forth in heaven. Proceeding next to the _tirtha_
called _Auddalaka_ frequented by _Munis_, and bathing there one is
cleansed of all his sins. Repairing next to the sacred _tirtha_ called
_Dharma_ that is visited by Brahmarshis, one acquireth the merit of the
_Vajapeya_ sacrifice and becometh respected in heaven. Proceeding next
to _Champa_ and bathing in the _Bhagirathi_ he that sojourneth to
_Dandaparna_, acquireth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Then
should one proceed to the sacred _Lalitika_ that is graced by the
presence of the virtuous. By this one acquireth the merit of the
Rajasuya sacrifice and is regarded in heaven."'"

SECTION LXXXV

"'Pulastya said, "Arriving next at the excellent _tirtha_ called
_Samvedya_ in the evening, and touching its waters, one surely obtaineth
knowledge. Created a _tirtha_ in days of yore by Rama's energy, he that
proceedeth to _Lauhitya_ obtaineth the merit of giving away gold in
abundance. Proceeding next to the river _Karatoya_, and fasting there
for three nights, a man acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Even
this is the injunction of the Creator himself. It hath been said by the
wise, O king, that if a person goeth to the spot where the Ganga
mingleth with the sea, he reapeth merit which is ten times that of the
horse-sacrifice. Crossing over to the opposite bank of the Ganga, he
that batheth there having resided for three nights is, O king, cleansed
from all his sins. One should next proceed to the _Vaitarani_ capable of
destroying every sin. Arriving next at the _tirtha_ named _Viraja_ one
shineth like the moon, and sanctifying his race rescueth it and is
himself cleansed of all his sins. He that bathes in _Viraja_ further
reapeth the merit of giving away a thousand kine besides sanctifying his
line. Residing with purity at the confluence of the _Sona_ and the
_Jyotirathi_, and offering oblations of water to the gods and the
Pitris, a man reapeth the merit of the _Agnishtoma_ sacrifice. Touching
next the waters of the _Vansagulma_ constituting the sources of both the
Sona and the Narmada, one obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice.
Sojourning next to the _tirtha_ called _Rishabha_ in Kosala, O lord of
men, and fasting there for three nights one earneth the merit of the
_Vajapeya_ sacrifice, and of the gift of a thousand kine, and also
delivereth his race. Arriving at Kosala, a man should bathe in the
_tirtha_ named _Kala_. By this one surely obtaineth the merit of giving
away one and ten bulls. By bathing in _Pushpavati_ and fasting there, O
king, for three nights one sanctifieth his own race, besides earning the
merit of the gift of a thousand kine. Then, O foremost of the Bharata
race, by bathing in the _tirtha_ called _Vadarika_, one obtaineth long
life, and also goeth to heaven. Arriving next at _Champa_, and bathing
in the _Bhagirathi_, and seeing _Danda_ one earneth the merit of giving
away a thousand kine. Then should one go to the sacred _Lapetika_,
graced by the presence of the pious. By so doing one reapeth the merit
of the _Vajapeya_ sacrifice and also becometh regarded by the gods.
Proceeding next to the mountain called _Mahendra_, inhabited (of yore)
by Jamadagnya, and bathing in Rama's _tirtha_, a person acquireth the
merit of the horse-sacrifice. Here is Matanga's _tirtha_ called
_Kedara_, O son of the Kuru race! Bathing in it, O foremost of the
Kurus, a man obtaineth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Going
to the mountain _Sree_, one who toucheth the waters of the stream that
is there by worshipping there the god having the bull for his mark
obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice. On the mountain Sree
dwelleth happily, the effulgent Mahadeva with the goddess, as also
Brahma with the other gods. By bathing in the lake of _Deva_, with
purity and restrained mind, one obtaineth the merit of the
horse-sacrifice, and also attaineth to the highest success.

"'"Proceeding next to the mountain _Rishabha_ in Pandya, worshipped by
the gods, one obtains the merit of the _Vajapeya_ sacrifice and rejoices
in heaven. One should next proceed to the river Kaveri, frequented by
Apsaras. Bathing there, O monarch, one obtaineth the merit of giving
away a thousand kine. Touching next the waters of the _tirtha_ called
_Kanya_ on the shores of the sea one is cleansed from every sin.
Proceeding next to _Gokarna_ celebrated over the three worlds, and which
is situate, O best of kings, in the midst of the deep, and is reverenced
by all the worlds, and where the gods headed by Brahma, and Rishis
endued with wealth of asceticism, and spirits and Yakshas and Pisachas,
and Kinnaras and the great Nagas, and Siddhas and Charanas and
Gandharvas, and men and Pannagas, and rivers, Seas and Mountains,
worship the lord of Uma, one should worship _Isana_, fasting there for
three nights. By this, one acquireth the merit of the horse-sacrifice,
and the status of _Ganapatya_. By staying there for twelve nights, one's
soul is cleansed of all sins. One should next proceed to the _tirtha_
known as _Gayatri_ celebrated over the three worlds. Staying there for
three nights, one acquireth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. A
strange phenomenon is seen to occur there in respect to Brahmanas, O
Lord of men! If a Brahmana, whether born of a Brahmani or any other
woman, reciteth the _Gayatri_ there, the recitation becomes rhythmic and
musical, while, O king, a person who is not a Brahmana cannot adequately
hymn it at all. Proceeding next to the inaccessible tank of the Brahmana
Rishi Samvarta, one acquireth personal beauty and prosperity. Repairing
next to _Vena_, he that offers oblations of water to the gods and the
Pitris, obtains a car drawn by peacocks and cranes. Going next to the
_Godavari_, ever frequented by the Siddhas, one earneth the merit of the
cow-sacrifice, and goeth to the excellent region of _Vasuki_. Bathing
next at the confluence of the _Venna_, one obtains the merit of the
_Vajapeya_ sacrifice. By a dip next at the confluence of _Varada_, one
acquireth the merit of giving away a thousand kine. Arriving next at
_Brahmasthuna_, one that stayeth there for three nights acquireth the
merit of giving away a thousand kine, and also ascendeth to heaven.
Coming next to _Kusaplavana_, with subdued soul and leading a
Brahmacharya mode of life, and staying there for three nights he that
bathes in it obtains the merit of the horse-sacrifice. Bathing next at
the romantic _Deva-hrada_ that is supplied by the waters of the
Krishna-Venna, and also in the _Jatismara-hrada_, one acquireth the
memory of one's former life. It was there that the chief of the
celestials celebrated a hundred sacrifices and ascended to heaven. By a
visit only to that spot, one acquireth the merit of the _Agnishtoma_
sacrifice. Bathing next in the _Sarvadeva-hrada_, a person obtaineth the
merit of giving away a thousand kine. Proceeding next to the highly
sacred tank called _Payoshni_, that best of waters, he that offers
oblations of water to the gods and the Pitris acquires the merit of the
gift of a thousand kine. Arriving next at the sacred forest of
_Dandaka_, a person should bathe (in the waters) there. By this, O king,
one at once obtains, O Bharata, the merit of giving away a thousand
kine. Proceeding next to the asylum of _Sarabhanga_ and that of the
illustrious Suka, one acquireth immunity from misfortune, besides
sanctifying his race. Then should one proceed to _Surparaka_, where
Jamadagni's son had formerly dwelt. Bathing in that _tirtha_ of Rama,
one acquireth the merit of giving away gold in abundance. Bathing next
in the _Saptagadavara_, with the subdued sense and regulated diet, one
earneth great merit, and goeth also to the region of the celestials.
Proceeding next to _Deva-hrada_, with subdued sense and regulated diet,
a man obtaineth the merit of the _Devasatra_ sacrifice. One should
proceed next to the forest of _Tungaka_, with subdued senses and leading
a Brahmacharya mode of life. It was here that in olden days Muni
Saraswata taught the Vedas to the ascetics. When the Vedas had been lost
(in consequence of the Munis having forgotten them), Angirasa's son,
seated at ease on the upper garments of the Munis (duly spread out),
pronounced distinctly and with emphasis the syllable _Om_. And at this,
the ascetics again recollected all that they had learnt before. It was
there that the Rishis and the gods Varuna, Agni, Prajapati, Narayana
also called Hari, Mahadeva and the illustrious Grandsire of great
splendour, appointed the resplendent Bhrigu to officiate at a sacrifice.
Gratifying Agni by libations of clarified butter poured according to the
ordinance, the illustrious Bhrigu once performed the _Agnyadhana_
sacrifice for all those Rishis, after which both they and the gods went
away to their respective homes one after another. One who enters the
forest of _Tungaka_, is, O best of kings, male or female, cleansed of
every sin. There in that _tirtha_, O hero, one should reside for a
month, with subdued senses and regulated diet. By this, O king, one
ascendeth to the region of Brahma, and delivereth also his race.
Arriving next at _Medhavika_, one should offer oblations of water to the
gods and the Pitris. By this, one acquires the merit of the _Agnishtoma_
sacrifice, and also memory and intellect. There in that _tirtha_ is the
mountain known over the whole world and called _Kalanjara_. Bathing in
the celestial lake that is there, one acquires the merit of giving away
a thousand kine. He that, O king, after a bath, offereth oblations (to
the gods and the Pitris) on the Kalanjara mountain, is, without doubt,
regarded in heaven. Proceeding next, O monarch, to the river _Mandakini_
capable of destroying all sins and which is on that best of mountains
called _Chitrakuta_, he that bathes there and worships the gods and the
Pitris, obtains the merit of the horse-sacrifice and attains to an
exalted state. One should next, O virtuous one, proceed to the excellent
_tirtha_ called _Bhartristhana_, where, O king, ever dwells the
celestial generalissimo Kartikeya. By a journey only to that spot, a
person, O foremost of kings, attaineth to success. Bathing next at the
_tirtha_ called _Koti_, one earneth the merit of giving away a thousand
kine. Having walked round Koti, one should proceed next to
_Jyeshthasthana_. Beholding Mahadeva who is there, one shineth like the
moon. There, O mighty monarch, is a celebrated well, O bull of the
Bharata race! There in that well, O foremost of warriors, are the four
seas. He that bathes there, O foremost of kings, and with subdued soul
worships the gods and the Pitris, is cleansed of all his sins and
attaineth to an exalted state. Then, O mighty king, should one proceed
to the great _Sringaverapura_, where, O foremost of kings, formerly
Rama, Dasharatha's son, had crossed (the Ganga). Bathing in that
_tirtha_, one, O mighty-armed one, is cleansed of all his sins. Bathing
with subdued senses and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life, in the
Ganga, one is cleansed of every sin, and obtains also the merit of the
_Vajapeya_ sacrifice. One should next proceed to the place called
_Mayuravala_, consecrated to Mahadeva of high intelligence. Beholding
there the god, bowing down to him and walking round the spot, one
acquireth, O Bharata, the _Ganapatya_ status. Bathing in Ganga at that
_tirtha_, one is cleansed of all his sins. Then, O king, should one
proceed to _Prayaga_, whose praises have been sung by Rishis and where
dwell the gods with Brahma at their head, the directions with their
presiding deities, the Lokapalas, the Siddhas, the Pitris adored by the
worlds, the great Rishis-Sanatkumara and others, stainless
Brahmarshis-Angiras and others,--the Nagas, the Suparnas, the Siddhas,
the Snakes, the Rivers, the Seas, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, and the
Lord Hari with Prajapati. There in that _tirtha_ are three fiery caverns
between which the Ganga, that foremost of _tirthas_, rolleth rapidly.
There in that region also the world-purifying daughter of the sun,
Yamuna, celebrated over the three worlds, uniteth with the Ganga. The
country between the Ganga and the Yamuna is regarded as the _mons
veneris_ of the world, and Prayaga as the foremost point of that region.
The _tirthas Prayaga, Pratisthana, Kamvala, Aswatara_ and _Bhogavati_
are the sacrificial platforms of the Creator. There in those places, O
foremost of warriors, the Vedas and the Sacrifices, in embodied forms,
and the Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, adore Brahma, and there
the gods and rulers of territories also celebrate their sacrifices. The
learned, however, say that of all these _tirthas_, O exalted one,
Prayaga is the most sacred, in fact, the foremost of all _tirthas_ in
the three worlds. By going to that _tirtha_, by singing its praises, or
by taking a little earth from it, one is cleansed from every sin. He
that bathes in that confluence celebrated over the world, acquires all
the merits of the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifices. This sacrificial
place is worshipped by the gods themselves. If a man giveth there ever
so little, it increaseth, O Bharata, a thousandfold. O child, let not
the texts of the Veda, nor the opinions of men dissuade thy mind from
the desire of dying at Prayaga. O son of the Kuru race, the wise say
that six hundred million and ten thousand _tirthas_ exist at Prayaga.
Bathing in the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna, one obtains the merit
that attaches to the four kinds of knowledge and the merits also of
those that are truthful. There at Prayaga is the excellent _tirtha_ of
_Vasuki_ called _Bhogavati_. He that batheth in it, obtaineth the merit
of the horse-sacrifice. There also in the Ganga is the _tirtha_ famed
over the three worlds, called _Ramaprapatana_, which conferreth the
merit of ten horse-sacrifices, O son of the Kuru race! Wherever may a
person bathe in the Ganga, he earneth merit equal to that of a trip to
Kurukshetra. An exception, however, is made in favour of _Kanakhala_,
while the merit attaching to _Prayaga_ is the greatest. Having committed
a hundred sins, he that bathes in the Ganga, hath all his sins washed
off by the waters thereof, even as fuel is consumed by fire. It hath
been said that in the _Satyayuga_ all the _tirthas_ were sacred; in the
_Treta_, Pushkara alone was such; in _Dwapara_, Kurukshetra; and in the
_Kali-yuga_, the Ganga alone is sacred. In Pushkara, one should practise
austerities; in Mahalaya, one should give away; in the Malaya mountains,
one should ascend the funeral pyre; and in Bhrigutunga, one should
renounce one's body by forgoing food. Bathing in Pushkara, in
Kurukshetra, in the Ganga and in the confluence (of the Ganga and the
Yamuna), one sanctifieth seven generations of one's race up and down. He
that reciteth the name of the Ganga is purified; while he that beholdeth
her, receiveth prosperity; while he that bathes in her and drinks of her
waters sanctifieth seven generations of his race up and down. As long, O
king, as one's bones lie in contact with the waters of the Ganga, so
long doth he live regarded in heaven, even as one liveth in heaven in
consequence of the merit he earneth by pious pilgrimages to sacred
_tirthas_ and holy spots. There is no _tirtha_ that is like unto the
Ganga, there is no god like unto Kesava, and there is none superior to
Brahmanas,--this hath been said even by the Grandsire. O great king, the
region through which the Ganga flows should be regarded as a sacred
asylum, and a spot of land that is on the Ganga's banks, should be
regarded as one favourable to the attainment of ascetic success.

"'"This truthful description (of the _tirthas_) one should recite only
unto the regenerate ones, unto those that are pious, unto one's son and
friends and disciples and dependents. This narrative, without a rival,
is blessed and holy and leadeth to heaven. Holy and entertaining and
sanctifying, it is productive of merit and high worth. Destructive of
every sin, it is a mystery that the great Rishis cherish with care. By
reciting it in the midst of Brahmanas, one is cleansed of every sin, and
ascends to heaven. This description of _tirthas_ is auspicious and
heaven-giving and sacred; ever blessed as it is, it destroys one's
enemies; foremost of all accounts, it sharpens the intellect. By reading
this narrative the sonless obtains sons, the destitute obtains riches, a
person of the royal order conquereth the whole earth, the Vaisya cometh
by wealth, the Sudra obtaineth all his desires, and the Brahmana
crosseth the ocean (of the world). Purifying himself, he that listens
daily to the merits of the different _tirthas_, recollects the incidents
of many previous births and rejoices in heaven. Of the _tirthas_ that
have been recited here, some are easily accessible, while others are
difficult of access. But he that is inspired with the desire of
beholding all _tirthas_, should visit them even in imagination. Desirous
of obtaining merit, the Vasus, and the Sadhyas, the Adityas, the Maruts,
the Aswins, and the Rishis equal unto celestials, all bathed in these
_tirthas_. Do thou also, O thou of the Kuru race, observing the
ordinance as explained by me, visit, with subdued senses, these
_tirthas_, increasing thy merit, O thou of excellent vows. Men of piety
and learning are able to visit these _tirthas_, by reason of their
purified senses, their belief in Godhead, and their acquaintance with
the Vedas. He that doth not observe vows, he that hath not his soul
under control, he that is impure, he that is a thief, and he that is of
crooked mind, doth not, O Kauravya, bathe in _tirthas_. Thou art ever
observant of virtue, and art of pure character. By thy virtue, O
virtuous one, thou hast always gratified thy father and thy
grand-father, and great-grand-fathers, and the gods with Brahma at their
head, and the _Rishis_ also, O thou versed in virtue! Thou who
resemblest Vasava, thou wilt, O Bhishma, attain to the region of the
Vasus, and also eternal fame on earth!"'

"Narada continued, 'Having cheerfully spoken thus, the illustrious Rishi
Pulastya, well-pleased, bidding Bhishma farewell, disappeared there and
then. And Bhishma also, O tiger among men, well understanding the true
import of the _Shastras_, wandered over the world at the command of
Pulastya. Thus, O thou blessed one, did Bhishma end at Prayaga his
highly meritorious journey to the _tirthas_ capable of destroying all
sins. The man that ranges the earth in accordance with these
injunctions, obtains the highest fruit of a hundred horse-sacrifices and
earns salvation hereafter. Thou wilt, O son of Pritha, obtain merit
consisting of the eight attributes, even like that which Bhishma, the
foremost of the Kurus, had obtained of yore. And as thou wilt lead these
ascetics to those _tirthas_, thy merit will be much greater. Those
_tirthas_ are infested by Rakshasas, and no one, save thyself, O son of
Kuru race, can go there. Rising early he that reciteth this narrative by
the celestial Rishis on the subject of the _tirthas_, becometh free from
all sins. Those foremost of Rishis, Valmiki, and Kasyapa, and Atreya,
and Kundajathara, and Viswamitra, and Gautama, and Asita, and Devala,
and Markandeya, and Galava, and Bharadwaja, and Vasishtha, and the
_Muni_ Uddalaka, and Saunaka with his son, and Vyasa, that best of
ascetics, and Durvasas, that foremost of _Munis_, and Javali of great
austerities--all these illustrious _Rishis_ endued with wealth of
asceticism, are staying in expectation of thee. With these, O mighty
king, do thou meet by visiting these _tirthas_. And, O illustrious
monarch, a great Rishi of immeasurable energy, Lomasa by name, will come
to thee. Do thou follow him, and me, and by turns visit these _tirthas_,
O thou virtuous one! By this, thou wilt acquire great fame, like king
Mahabhisha! O tiger among kings, even as the virtuous Yayati and king
Pururavas, dost thou blaze forth with thy own virtue. Like king
Bhagiratha and the illustrious Rama, dost thou shine among kings even as
the Sun himself. And thou art, O great king, celebrated (in the world)
even as Muni or Ikshwaku, or the highly famous Puru or Vainya! And as in
days of yore the slayer of Vritra, after burning all his foes, ruled the
three worlds, his mind freed from anxiety, so wilt thou rule thy
subjects, after slaying all thy enemies. And, O thou of eyes like lotus
leaves, having conquered the earth according to the customs of thy
order, thou wilt obtain renown by thy virtue, even like
Kartaviryaryuna.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "O great king, having comforted the monarch
thus, the illustrious Rishi Narada, bidding farewell to the king,
disappeared there and then. And the virtuous Yudhishthira, reflecting
upon the subject, began to recite unto the ascetics the merit attaching
to _tirthas_!"

SECTION LXXXVI

Vaisampayana continued, "Having ascertained the opinion of his brothers,
and of the intelligent Narada, king Yudhishthira, addressing Dhaumya,
who was like unto the Grandsire himself, said, 'I have for the
acquisition of arms, sent away that tiger among men, Jishnu, whose
prowess is incapable of being baffled, and who is possessed of long arms
and immeasurable intelligence. O thou of ascetic wealth, that hero is
devoted to me, endued with ability, and well-skilled in weapons, and
like unto the exalted Vasudeva himself. I know them both, Krishna and
Arjuna, those destroyers of enemies, O Brahmana, endued with prowess,
even as the puissant Vyasa knoweth them. I know Vasudeva and Dhananjaya
to be none else than Vishnu himself, possessed of the six attributes.
And this is also what Narada knoweth, for he hath always spoken so unto
me. I also know them to be _Rishis_, Nara and Narayana. Knowing him to
possess the ability, I have sent him (on the mission). Not inferior unto
Indra and fully competent (for the task), I have sent that son of a god
to see the lord of the celestials and obtain weapons from him. Bhishma
and Drona are _Atirathas_. Kripa and the son of Drona are invincible;
these mighty warriors have been installed by Dhritarashtra's son in the
command of his army. All these are versed in the Vedas, are heroic, and
possessed of the knowledge of every weapon. Endued with great strength,
these always desire to encounter Arjuna in fight. And Karna also of the
_Suta_ caste is a mighty warrior versed in celestial weapons. In respect
of the impetus of his weapons, he is endued with the strength of the
Wind-god. Himself like a flame of fire, the arrows (proceeding from him)
constitute its tongues. The slaps of his left hand cased in leathern
fence constitute the crackling of that flame. The dust of the
battle-field is its smoke. Urged by the sons of Dhritarashtra even as
the wind urgeth the fire, Karna like unto the all-consuming fire at the
end of the _Yuga_ that is sent by Death himself, will, without doubt,
consume my troops like unto a heap of straw. Only that mighty mass of
clouds called Arjuna, aided by Krishna like unto a powerful wind, with
celestial weapon representing its fierce lightning, the white steeds,
the rows of white cranes coursing underneath and the unbearable Gandiva,
the rainbow ahead, is capable of extinguishing the blazing flame
represented by Karna by means of its arrowy showers let off with
unflagging steadiness. That conqueror of hostile cities, Vibhatsu, will,
without doubt, succeed in obtaining from Indra himself all the celestial
weapons with their fullness and life. Alone he is equal, I think, unto
them all. Otherwise it is impossible (for us) to vanquish in fight all
those foes, who have attained to eminent success in all their purposes.
We shall behold Arjuna, that repressor of foes, fully equipped with
celestial weapons, for Vibhatsu having once undertaken a task, never
droopeth under its weight. Without that hero, however, that best of men,
ourselves, with Krishna, cannot be at rest in Kamyaka. Therefore, do
thou mention some other wood that is sacred and delightful, and abounds
in food and fruits, and that is inhabited by men of pious
practices:--where we may pass some time, expecting the warlike Arjuna of
unbaffled prowess, like the _Chataka_ in expectation of gathering
clouds. Do thou tell us of some asylums open to the regenerate ones, and
lakes and streams and beautiful mountains. O Brahmana, deprived of
Arjuna, I do not like to stay in this wood of Kamyaka. We wish to go
somewhere else.'"

SECTION LXXXVII

Vaisampayana said, "Beholding the Pandavas afflicted with anxiety and
depressed in spirits, Dhaumya, who resembled Vrihaspati, spake thus,
comforting them, 'O bull of the Bharata race, O sinless one, listen to
me as I mention certain sacred asylums and regions and _tirthas_ and
mountains that are approved of by Brahmanas. O king, listen to me as I
speak, thyself with the daughter of Drupada and thy brothers, wilt, O
lord of men, be relieved from grief. And, O son of Pandu, by hearing
only of these places, thou wilt acquire merit. And by visiting them thou
wilt obtain merit a hundred times greater, O best of men! First, O king,
I will, so far as I recollect, speak of the beautiful eastern country,
much regarded, O Yudhishthira, by royal Rishis. In that direction, O
Bharata is a place called Naimisha which is regarded by the celestials.
There in that region are several sacred tirthas belonging to the gods.
There also is the sacred and beautiful Gomati which is adored by
celestial Rishis and there also is the sacrificial region of the gods
and the sacrificial stake of Surya. In that quarter also is that best of
hills called Gaya, which is sacred and much regarded by royal ascetics.
There on that hill, is the auspicious lake called Brahmasara which is
adored by celestial Rishis. It is for this that the ancients say that
one should wish for many sons, so that even one among them may visit
Gaya, celebrate the horse-sacrifice or give away a _nila_ bull, and
thereby deliver ten generations of his race up and down. There, O
monarch, is a great river, and spot called Gayasira. In Gayasira is a
banian, which is called by the Brahmanas the _Eternal_ banian, for the
food that is offered there to the Pitris becometh eternal, O exalted
one! The great river that floweth by the place is known by the name of
Phalgu, and its waters are all sacred. And, O bull among the Bharatas,
there also, in that place, is the Kausiki, whose basin abounds in
various fruit and roots, and where Viswamitra endued with wealth of
asceticism acquired Brahmanahood. Towards that direction also is the
sacred Ganga, on whose banks Bhagiratha celebrated many sacrifices with
profuse gifts (to Brahmanas). They say that in the country of Panchala,
there is a wood called Utpala, where Viswamitra of Kusika's race had
performed sacrifices with his son, and where beholding the relics of
Viswamitra's superhuman power, Rama, the son of Jamadagni, recited the
praises of his ancestry. At Kamyaka, Kusika's son had quaffed the _Soma_
juice with Indra. Then abandoning the Kshatriya order, he began to say,
_I am a Brahmana_. In that quarter, O hero is the sacred confluence of
Ganga and Yamuna which is celebrated over the world. Holy and
sin-destroying, that _tirtha_ is much regarded by the Rishis. It is
there that the soul of all things, the Grandsire, had, in olden days,
performed his sacrifice, and it is for this, O chief of the Bharata
race, that the place hath come to be called Prayaga. In this direction,
O foremost of kings, lieth the excellent asylum of Agastya, O monarch,
and the forest called Tapasa, decked by many ascetics. And there also is
the great _tirtha_ called Hiranyavinda on the Kalanjara hills, and that
best of mountains called Agastya, which is beautiful, sacred and
auspicious. In that quarter, O descendant of the Kuru race, is the
mountain called Mahendra, sacred to the illustrious Rama of the Bhrigu
race. There, O son of Kunti, the Grandsire performed sacrifices of yore.
There, O Yudhishthira, the sacred Bhagiratha entereth a lake and there
also, O king, is that sacred river known by the name of the
merit-bestowing Brahmasara, whose banks are inhabited by persons whose
sins have been washed away, and whose sight alone produceth merit. In
that direction also lieth the high-souled Matanga's excellent asylum,
called Kedara which is sacred and auspicious and celebrated over the
world. And there also is the mountain called Kundoda, which is so
delightful and abounding in fruits and roots and waters, and where the
king of the Nishadhas (Nala) had slaked his thirst and rested for a
while. In that quarter also is the delightful Deva-vana which is graced
by ascetics. There also are the rivers Vahuda and Nanda on the
mountain's crest. O mighty king, I have described unto thee all the
_tirthas_ and sacred spots in the Eastern quarter. Do thou now hear of
the sacred _tirthas_, and rivers and mountains and holy spots in the
other three quarters!'"

SECTION LXXXVIII

"Dhaumya continued, 'Listen, O Bharata, I shall now narrate to thee in
detail according to my knowledge, the sacred _tirthas_ of the south. In
that quarter lieth the sacred and auspicious river Godavari, full of
water abounding in groves and frequented by ascetics. In that direction
also are the rivers Venna and Bhimarathi, both capable of destroying sin
and fear, and abounding in birds and deer, and graced with abodes of
ascetics. In that region also, O bull of the Bharata race, is the
_tirtha_ of the royal ascetic, Nriga _viz_., the river Payoshni, which
is delightful and full of waters and visited by Brahmanas. There the
illustrious Markandeya, of high ascetic merit sang the praises in verse
of king Nriga's line. We have heard respecting the sacrificing king
Nriga that which really took place while he was performing a sacrifice
in the excellent _tirtha_ called Varaha on the Payoshni. In that
sacrifice Indra became intoxicated with quaffing the _Soma_, and the
Brahmanas, with the gifts they received. The water of the Payoshni,
taken up (in vessel), or flowing along the ground, or conveyed by the
wind, can cleanse a person from whatever sins he may commit till the day
of his death. Higher than heaven itself, and pure, and created and
bestowed by the trident-bearing god, there in that _tirtha_ is an image
of Mahadeva beholding which a mortal goeth to the region of Siva.
Placing on one scale Ganga and the other rivers with their waters, and
on the other, the Payoshni, the latter, in my opinion would be superior
to all the _tirthas_, together, in point of merit! Then, O foremost of
the Bharata race, on the mountain called Varunasrotasa is the sacred and
auspicious wood of Mathara abounding in fruits and roots, and containing
a sacrificial stake. Then, O king, it is said that in the region on the
north of the Praveni, and about the sacred asylum of Kanwa, are many
woody retreats of ascetics. And, O child, in the _tirtha_ called
Surparaka are two sacrificial platforms of the illustrious Jamadagni,
called Pashana and Punaschandra, O Bharata! And, O son of Kunti, in that
spot is the _tirtha_ called Asoka abounding in woody retreats of
ascetics. And, O Yudhishthira, in the country of the Pandyas are the
_tirthas_ named Agastya and Varuna! And, O bull among men, there,
amongst the Pandavas, is the _tirtha_ called the Kumaris. Listen, O son
of Kunti, I shall now describe Tamraparni. In that asylum the gods had
undergone penances impelled by the desire of obtaining salvation. In
that region also is the lake of Gokarna which is celebrated over the
three worlds, hath an abundance of cool waters, and is sacred,
auspicious, and capable, O child, of producing great merit. That lake is
extremely difficult of access to men of unpurified souls. Near to that
_tirtha_ is the sacred asylum of Agastya's disciple, the mountain
Devasabha, which abounds in trees and grass, and fruits and roots. And
there also is the Vaiduryya mountain, which is delightful abounding in
gems and capable of bestowing great merit. There on that mountain is the
asylum of Agastya abounding in fruits and roots and water.

"'I shall now, O lord of men, describe the sacred spots, and asylums,
and rivers and lakes belonging to the Surashtra country! O Yudhishthira,
the Brahmanas say that on the sea-coast is the Chamasodbheda, and also
Prabhasa, that _tirtha_ which is much regarded by the gods. There also
is the _tirtha_ called Pindaraka, frequented by ascetics and capable of
producing great merit. In that region is a mighty hill named Ujjayanta
which conduceth to speedy success. Regarding it the celestial _Rishi_
Narada of great intelligence hath recited an ancient _sloka_. Do thou
listen to it, O Yudhishthira! By performing austerities on the sacred
hill of Ujjayanta in Surashtra, that abounds in birds and animals, a
person becometh regarded in heaven. There also is Dwaravati, producing
great merit, where dwelleth the slayer of Madhu, who is the Ancient one
in embodied form, and eternal virtue. Brahmanas versed in the Vedas, and
persons acquainted with the philosophy of the soul say that the
illustrious Krishna is eternal Virtue. Govinda is said to be the purest
of all pure things, the righteous of the righteous and the auspicious of
the auspicious. In all the three worlds, He of eyes like lotus-leaves is
the God of gods, and is eternal. He is the pure soul and the active
principle of life, is the Supreme _Brahma_ and is the lord of all. That
slayer of Madhu, Hari of inconceivable soul, dwelleth there!'"

SECTION LXXXIX

"Dhaumya continued, 'I shall describe to thee those sacred spots capable
of producing merit that lie on the west. In the country of the Anarttas,
O Bharata, there flows in a westward course the sacred river Narmada,
graced by _Priyangu_ and mango trees, and engarlanded with thickest of
canes. All the _tirthas_ and sacred spots, and rivers and woods and
foremost of mountains that are in the three worlds, all the gods with
the Grandsire, along with the Siddhas, the Rishis and the Charanas, O
best of the Kurus, always come, O Bharata, to bathe in the sacred waters
of the Narmada. And it hath been heard by us that the sacred asylum of
the Muni Visravas, had stood there, and that there was born the lord of
treasures, Kuvera, having men for his vehicles. There also is that
foremost of hills, the sacred and auspicious Vaidurya peak abounding
with trees that are green and which are always graced with fruit and
flowers. O lord of the earth, on the top of that mountain is a sacred
tank decked with full-blown lotus and resorted to by the gods and the
Gandharvas. Many are the wonders, O mighty monarch, that may be seen on
that sacred mountain which is like unto heaven itself and which is
visited by celestial Rishis. There, O subjugator of hostile cities, is
the sacred river called Viswamitra belonging to the royal sage of that
name and which abounds, O king, in many sacred _tirthas_. It was on the
banks of this river, that Yayati, the son of Nahusha, (fell from heaven)
among the virtuous, and obtained once more the eternal regions of the
righteous. Here also are the well-known lake called _Punya_, the
mountain called Mainaka, and that other mountain called Asita abounding
in fruits and roots. And here also is the sacred asylum of Kakshasena,
and O Yudhishthira, the asylum of Chyavana also, which is famed over
every country, O son of Pandu! In that spot, O exalted one, men attain
to (ascetic) success without severe austerities. Here also, O mighty
king, is the region called Jamvumarga, inhabited by birds and deer, and
which constitutes the retreat of ascetics with souls under control, O
thou foremost of those that have subdued their senses! Next lie the
exceedingly sacred Ketumala, and Medhya ever graced with ascetics, and,
O lord of earth, Gangadwara, and the well-known woods of Saindhava which
are sacred and inhabited by the regenerate ones. There also is the
celebrated tank of the Grandsire, called Pushkara, the favourite abode
of the Vaikanasas, and Siddhas and Rishis. Moved by the desire of
obtaining its protection, the Creator sang this verse at Pushkara, O
chief of the Kurus and foremost of virtuous men! If a person of pure
soul purposes a pilgrimage to the Pushkaras in imagination even, he
becometh purged from all his sins and rejoiceth in heaven!'"

SECTION XC

"Dhaumya continued, 'O tiger among kings, I shall now describe those
_tirthas_ and sacred spots that lie to the north. Do thou, O exalted
one, listen to me attentively. By hearing this narration, O hero, one
acquireth a reverential frame of mind, which conduceth to much good. In
that region is the highly sacred Saraswati abounding in _tirthas_ and
with banks easy of descent. There also, O son of Pandu, is the
ocean-going and impetuous Yamuna, and the _tirtha_ called
Plakshavatarana, productive of high merit and prosperity. It was there
that the regenerate ones having performed the _Saraswata_ sacrifice,
bathed on the completion thereof. O sinless one, is the well-known
celestial _tirtha_ called Agnisiras, which is productive of great merit.
There king Sahadeva had celebrated a sacrifice measuring out the ground
by a throw of the _Samya_. It is for this reason, O Yudhishthira, that
Indra sang the praises of Sahadeva in verse. Those verses are still
current in this world, being recited by the regenerate ones, e.g., _on
the Yamuna Sahadeva worshipped the sacrificial fire, with gifts in a
hundred thousands to Brahmanas_. There the illustrious king, the
imperial Bharata, performed five and thirty horse-sacrifices. O child,
we have heard that Sarabhanga of yore used to fully gratify the desires
of the regenerate ones. There in this region is his celebrated asylum
productive of great merit. In that region also, O son of Pritha, is the
river Saraswati, which is ever worshipped by the god, where, in days of
yore, the Valikhilyas, O great king, performed sacrifices. In that
region also, O Yudhishthira, is the well-known river Drisadwati, which
is productive of great merit. Then, O chief of men, are Nyagrodhakhya,
and Panchalya, and Punyaka and Dalbhyaghosha, and Dalbhya, which are, O
son of Kunti, the sacred asylum in the world of illustrious Anandayasas
of excellent vows and great energy, and which are celebrated over the
three worlds. Here also, O lord of men, the illustrious Etavarna and
Avavarana versed in the Vedas, learned in Vedic lore, and proficient in
the knowledge of Vedic rites, performed meritorious sacrifices, O chief
of the Bharata race! There also is Visakhayupa to which, in days of
yore, came the gods with Varuna and Indra, and practised ascetic
austerities. And therefore is that spot so eminently sacred. Here also
is Palasaka, where the great and illustrious and highly blessed Rishi
Jamadagni performed sacrifices. There all the principal rivers in their
embodied forms taking their respective waters stood surrounding that
best of sages. And there also, O monarch, Vibhavasu (fire) himself,
beholding that high-souled one's initiation, sang the following _sloka:
"The river coming to the illustrious Jamadagni while sacrificing unto
the gods gratified the Brahmanas with offerings of honey."_ O
Yudhishthira, the spot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost
of mountains which is frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas
and Apsaras, and inhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called
Gangadwara. O king, Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by
Brahmarshis, as also the _tirtha_ Kanakhala (that is near to it), as
sacred. There also is the mountain named Puru which is resorted to by
great Rishis and where Pururavas was born, and Bhrigu practised ascetic
austerities. For this it is, O king, that asylum hath become known as
the great peak of Bhrigutunga. Near that peak is the sacred and
extensive Vadari, that highly meritorious asylum, famed over the three
worlds, of him, O bull of the Bharata race, who is the Present, the Past
and the Future, who is called Narayana and the lord Vishnu, who is
eternal and the best of male beings, and who is pre-eminently
illustrious. Near Vadari, the cool current of Ganga was formerly warm,
and the banks there were overspread with golden sands. There the gods
and Rishis of high fortune and exceeding effulgence, approaching the
divine lord Narayana, always worship him. The entire universe with all
its _tirthas_ and holy spots is there where dwelleth the divine and
eternal Narayana, the Supreme soul, for he is Merit, he is the Supreme
_Brahma_, he is _tirtha_, he is the ascetic retreat, he is the First, he
is the foremost of gods, and he is the great Lord of all creatures. He
is eternal, he is the great Creator, and he is the highest state of
blessedness. Learned persons versed in the scriptures attain to great
happiness by knowing him. In that spot are the celestial Rishis, the
Siddhas, and, indeed, all the Rishis,--where dwelleth the slayer of
Madhu, that primeval Deity and mighty Yogin! Let no doubt enter thy
heart that that spot is the foremost of all holy spots. These, O lord of
earth, are the _tirthas_ and sacred spots on earth, that I have recited,
O best of men! These all are visited by the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the
Adityas, the Marutas, the Aswins and the illustrious Rishis resembling
the celestials themselves. By journeying, O son of Kunti, to those
places, with the Brahmanas and ascetics that are with thee and with thy
blessed brothers, thou wilt be freed from anxiety!'"

SECTION XCI

Vaisampayana continued, "O son of the Kuru race, while Dhaumya was
speaking thus, there arrived at the spot the Rishi Lomasa of great
energy. And the king, who was the eldest of Pandu's sons, with his
followers and those Brahmanas sat round the highly righteous one, like
celestials in heaven sitting round Sakra. And having received him duly,
Yudhishthira the just enquired after the reason of his arrival, and the
object also of his wanderings. Thus asked by Pandu's son, the
illustrious ascetic, well-pleased, replied in sweet words delighting the
Pandayas, 'Travelling at will, O Kaunteya, over all the regions, I came
to Sakra's abode, and saw there the lord of the celestials. There, I saw
thy heroic brother capable of wielding the bow with his left hand,
seated on the same seat with Sakra. And beholding Partha on that seat I
was greatly astonished, O tiger among men! And the lord of the
celestials then said unto me, "_Go thou unto the sons of Pandu_." At the
request, therefore, of Indra as also of the high-souled son of Pritha
have I come hither with speed, desiring to see thee with thy younger
brothers. O child, I will relate what will please thee highly, O son of
Pandu! Do thou listen to it, O king, with Krishna and the Rishis that
are with thee. O bull of the Bharata race, Partha hath obtained from
Rudra that incomparable weapon for the acquisition of which thou hadst
sent him to heaven. That fierce weapon, known by the name of
_Brahma-sira_ which arose after _Amrila_, and which Rudra had obtained
by means of ascetic austerities, hath been acquired by Arjuna together
with the _Mantras_ for hurling and withdrawing it, and the rites of
expiation and revival. And, O Yudhishthira, Arjuna of immeasurable
prowess hath also acquired Vajras and _Dandas_ and other celestial
weapons from Yama and Kuvera and Varuna and Indra, O son of the Kuru
race! And he hath also thoroughly learnt music, both vocal and
instrumental, and dancing and proper recitation of the _Saman_ (Veda)
from Vishwavasu's son. And having thus acquired weapons and mastered the
_Gandhama Veda_, thy third brother Vibhatsu liveth happily (in heaven).
Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, for I shall now deliver to thee the
message of that foremost of celestials. He hath commanded me saying,
"Thou wilt, no doubt, go to the world of men. O best of Brahmanas, tell
thou Yudhishthira these words of mine. Soon will thy brother Arjuna come
to thee, having acquired arms and accomplished a great deed for the
celestials that is incapable of being accomplished by themselves. Do
thou meanwhile devote thyself to ascetic austerities, with thy brothers.
There is nothing superior to asceticism, and it is by asceticism that a
person achieveth great results. And, O bull of the Bharata race, well do
I know that Karna is endued with great ardour and energy and strength
and prowess that is incapable of being baffled. Well do I know that,
skilled in fierce conflict, he hath not his rival in battle; that he is
a mighty bowman, a hero deft in the use of fierce weapons and cased in
the best of mail. Well do I know that that exalted son of Aditya
resembleth the son of Maheswara himself. Well do I also know the high
natural prowess of the broad-shouldered Arjuna. In battle Karna is not
equal unto even a sixteenth part of Pritha's son. And as for the fear of
Karna which is in thy heart, O repressor of foes, I shall dispel when
Savyasachin will have left heaven. And as regards thy purpose, O hero,
to set out on a pilgrimage to _tirthas_, the great Rishi Lomasa will,
without doubt, speak unto thee. And whatever that regenerate Rishi will
relate unto thee touching the merits of asceticism and _tirthas_, thou
shouldst receive with respect and not otherwise!"'"

SECTION XCII

"Lomasa continued, 'Listen now, O Yudhishthira, to what Dhananjaya hath
said: "Cause my brother Yudhishthira to attend to the practice of virtue
which leadeth to prosperity. Endued with wealth of asceticism, thou art
conversant with the highest morality, with ascetic austerities of every
kind, with the eternal duties of kings blessed with prosperity, and the
high and sanctifying merit that men obtain from _tirthas_. Persuade thou
the sons of Pandu to acquire the merit attaching to _tirthas_. Do thou
with thy whole soul persuade the king to visit the _tirthas_ and give
away kine." This is what Arjuna said unto me. Indeed he also said, "Let
him visit all the _tirthas_ protected by thee. Thou wilt also protect
him from Rakshasas, and watch over him in inaccessible regions and
rugged mountain breasts. And as Dadhichi had protected Indra, and
Angiras had protected the Sun, so do thou, O best of regenerate ones,
protect the sons of Kunti from Rakshasas. Along the way are many
Rakshasas, huge as mountain-cliffs. But protected by thee these will not
be able to approach the sons of Kunti." Obedient to the words of Indra
and at the request of Arjuna also protecting thee from dangers, I shall
wander with thee. Before this, O son of the Kuru race, I have twice
visited the _tirthas_. With thee I shall repair to them for the third
time. O Yudhishthira, Manu and other royal _Rishis_ of meritorious deeds
had undertaken journeys to _tirthas_. Indeed, a trip to them is capable
of dispelling all fear, O king! They that are crooked-minded, they that
have not their souls under control, they that are illiterate and
perverse, do not, O Kauravya, bathe in _tirthas_. But thou art ever of a
virtuous disposition and conversant with morality and firm in thy
promises. Thou wilt surely be able to free thyself from the world. For,
O son of Pandu, thou art even as king Bhagiratha, or Gaya, or Yayati, or
any one, O son of Kunti, that is like them.'

"Yudhishthira answered, 'I am so overwhelmed with delight, O Brahmana,
that I cannot find words to answer thee. Who can be more fortunate than
he who is remembered even by the lord of the celestials? Who can be more
fortunate than he who hath been favoured with thy company, who hath
Dhananjaya for a brother, and who is thought of by Vasava himself? As to
thy words, O illustrious one, in respect of a trip to the _tirthas_, my
mind had already been made up at the words of Dhaumya. O Brahmana, I
shall start, at whatever hour thou mayst be pleased to appoint, on the
proposed journey to _tirthas_. Even this is my firm resolve!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Lomasa then said unto Yudhishthira, who had
made up his mind to start on the proposed journey, 'O mighty king, be
thou light as regards thy retinue, for by this thou wilt be able to go
more easily!'

"Yudhishthira then said, 'Let those mendicants and Brahmanas and _Yogis_
that are incapable of bearing hunger and thirst, the fatigues of travel
and toil, and the severity of winter, desist. Let those Brahmanas also
desist that live on sweetmeats, and they also that desire cooked viands
and food that is sucked or drunk as well as meat. And let those also
remain behind that are dependent on cooks. Let those citizens that have
followed me from motives of loyalty, and whom I have hitherto kept on
proper stipends, repair to king Dhritarashtra. He will give them their
allowances in due time. If, however, that king refuses to grant them
proper allowances, the king of the Panchalas will, for our satisfaction
and welfare, give them these.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "And thereupon oppressed with grief, the
citizens and the principal Brahmanas and Yatis set out for Hastinapura.
And out of affection for Yudhishthira the just, the royal son of Amvika
received them properly, and gratified them with proper allowances. And
the royal son of Kunti, with only a small number of Brahmanas, abode for
three nights at Kamyaka, cheered by Lomasa."

SECTION XCIII

Vaisampayana said, "Those Brahmanas then, that had been dwelling (with
him) in the woods, beholding the son of Kunti about to set out (on the
pious pilgrimage), approached him, O king, and said, 'Thou art about to
set out, O king, on thy journey to the sacred _tirthas_, along with thy
brothers and accompanied by the illustrious Rishi Lomasa. O king, it
behoveth thee, O son of Pandu, to take us with thee. Without thee, we
shall not be able, O son of the Kuru race, to visit them at any time.
Surrounded by dangers and difficult of access, they are infested by
beasts of prey. Those _tirthas_, O lord of men, are inaccessible to
persons in small parties. Foremost of all wielders of the bow, thy
brothers are ever brave. Protected by your heroic selves, we also would
proceed to them. Permit us to acquire, O lord of earth, through thy
grace the blessed fruit of _tirthas_. Protected by thy energy, let us, O
king, be cleansed of all our sins by visiting those _tirthas_ and
purified by baths therein. Bathing in those _tirthas_, thou also, O
Bharata, wilt acquire without doubt the regions difficult of acquisition
that Kartavirya and Ashtaka, the royal sage Lomapada and the imperial
and heroic Bharata only had earned. In thy company, O king, we desire to
behold Prabhasa and other _tirthas_, Mahendra and other hills, Ganga and
other rivers, and Plaksha and other gigantic trees. If, O lord of men,
thou hast any regard for the Brahmanas, do thou our bidding. Thou wilt
surely have prosperity from this. O thou of mighty arms, the _tirthas_
are infested by Rakshasas that ever obstruct ascetic penances. It
behoveth thee to protect us from them. Protected by Lomasa and taking us
with thee, go thou to all the _tirthas_ spoken of by Dhaumya and the
intelligent Narada, as also all those that have been spoken of by the
celestial Rishi Lomasa, endued with great ascetic wealth, and be thou,
by this, cleansed of all thy sins.'

"Thus addressed respectfully by them, the king--that bull amongst the
sons of Pandu--surrounded by his heroic brothers headed by Bhima, with
tears of joy in his eyes, said unto all those ascetics, 'Let it be so.'
With the permission then of Lomasa, as also of his priest Dhaumya, that
foremost of Pandu's sons with soul under complete control, resolved,
along with his brothers and Drupada's daughter of faultless features, to
set out. Just at this time, the blessed Vyasa, as also Parvata and
Narada, all endued with high intelligence, came to Kamyaka for seeing
the son of Pandu. Beholding them, king Yudhishthira worshipped them with
due rites. And worshipped by the monarch thus, those blessed ones,
addressing Yudhishthira, said, 'O Yudhishthira, O Bhima, and ye twins,
banish all evil thoughts from your minds. Purify your hearts and then
set out for the _tirthas_. The Brahmanas have said that the observance
of regulations in respect of the body are called earthly vows, while
efforts to purify the heart, so that it may be free from evil thoughts,
are called spiritual vows. O king, the mind that is free from all evil
thoughts is highly pure. Purifying yourselves, therefore, harbouring
only friendly feelings for all, behold ye the _tirthas_. Observing
earthly vows in respect of your bodies and purifying your minds by
spiritual vows, obtain ye the fruits as recited, of pilgrimages.'

"Saying, 'So be it,' the Pandavas with Krishna, caused those celestial
and human Rishis to perform the usual propitiatory ceremonies. And those
heroes, having worshipped the feet of Lomasa and Dwaipayana and Narada
and the celestial Rishi Parvata, O king, and accompanied by Dhaumya as
also the ascetics that had been residing with them in the woods, set out
on the day following the full moon of _Agrahayana_ in which the
constellation _Pushya_ was ascendant. Dressed in barks and hides, and
with matted lock on head, they were all cased in impenetrable mail and
armed with swords. And O Janamejaya, the heroic sons of Pandu with
quivers and arrows and scimitars and other weapons, and accompanied by
Indrasena and other attendants with fourteen and one cars, a number of
cooks and servants of other classes, set out with faces turned towards
the east!"

SECTION XCIV

"Yudhishthira said, 'O best of celestial Rishis, I do not think that I
am without merits. Yet am I afflicted with so much sorrow that there
never was a king like me. I think, however, that my enemies are
destitute of good qualities and even destitute of morality. Yet why, O
Lomasa, do they prosper in this world?'

"Lomasa said, 'Grieve not ever, O king, O son of Pritha, that sinful men
should often prosper in consequence of the sins they commit. A man may
be seen to prosper by his sins, obtain good therefrom and vanquish his
foes. Destruction, however, overtakes him to the roots. O king, I have
seen many Daityas and Danavas prosper by sin but I have also seen
destruction overtake them. O exalted one, I have seen all this in the
righteous age of yore. The gods practised virtue, while the Asuras
abandoned it. The gods visited the _tirthas_, while the Asuras did not
visit them. And at first the sinful Asuras were possessed with pride.
And pride begat vanity and vanity begat wrath. And from wrath arose
every kind of evil propensities, and from these latter sprang
shamelessness. And in consequence of shamelessness, good behaviour
disappeared from among them. And because they had become shameless and
destitute of virtuous propensities and good conduct and virtuous vows,
forgiveness and prosperity and morality forsook them in no time. And
prosperity then, O king, sought the gods, while adversity sought the
Asuras. And when the Daityas and the Danavas, deprived of sense by
pride, were possessed by adversity, Kali also sought to possess them.
And, O son of Kunti, overwhelmed with pride, and destitute of rites and
sacrifices, and devoid of reason and feeling, and their hearts full of
vanity, destruction overtook them soon. And covered with infamy, the
Daityas were soon exterminated. The gods, however, who were virtuous in
their practices, going to the seas, the rivers, the lakes and the holy
spots, cleansed themselves of all sins, O son of Pandu, by means of
ascetic penances and sacrifices and gifts and blessings, and obtained
prosperity and the consequence. And because the gods always performed
sacrifices and holy deeds abandoning every practice that was evil, and
visited the _tirthas_, as the consequence thereof they acquired great
good fortune. Guided by this, O king, do thou also, with thy brothers,
bathe in _tirthas_, for then thou wilt obtain prosperity once more. Even
this is the eternal road. And, O monarch, as king Nriga and Shivi and
Ausinara and Bhagiratha and Vasumanas and Gaya and Puru and Pururavas,
by practising ascetic penances and visiting _tirthas_ and touching
sacred waters and beholding illustrious ascetics, obtained fame and
sanctity and merit and wealth, so wilt thou also obtain prosperity that
is great. And as Ikshwaku with his sons, friends and followers, as
Muchukunda and Mandhatri and king Marutta, as the gods through power of
asceticism and the celestial Rishis also, had all obtained fame, so wilt
thou also obtain great celebrity. The sons of Dhritarashtra, on the
other hand, enslaved by sinfulness and ignorance, will, without doubt,
be soon exterminated like the Daityas.'"

SECTION XCV

Vaisampayana said, "The heroic sons of Pandu, accompanied by their
followers, proceeding from place to place, at last arrived at Naimisha.
O king, reaching the Gomati, the Pandavas bathed in the sacred _tirtha_
of that stream, and having performed their ablutions there, they gave
away, O Bharata, both kine and wealth! And repeatedly offering oblations
of water, O Bharata, to the gods, the pitris, and the Brahmanas, in the
_tirthas_ called Kanya, Aswa, and Go and staying (as directed) in
Kalakoti and the Vishaprastha hills, the Kauravas then, O king, reached
Vahuda and performed their ablution in that stream. Proceeding next, O
lord of earth, to the sacrificial region of the gods known by the name
Prayaga, they bathed in the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna and residing
there practised ascetic penances of great merit. And the Pandavas, of
truthful promises, bathing in the _tirtha_, cleansed themselves of every
sin. The sons of Pandu then, O king of the Bharata race, accompanied by
those Brahmanas, proceeded to the _tirtha_ called _Vedi_, sacred to the
Creator and adored by the ascetics. Residing there for some time and
gratifying the Brahmanas with the fruit and roots of the wilderness and
clarified butter, those heroes began to practise ascetic penances of
great merit. They then proceeded to Mahidhara consecrated by that
virtuous royal sage Gaya of unrivalled splendour. In that region is the
hill called Gayasira, as well as the delightful river called Mahanadi,
with fine banks graced by bushes of canes. On that celestial hill of
holy peaks is a sacred _tirtha_ called _Brahmasara_ which is much adored
by ascetics. There on the banks of that lake had dwelt of yore the
eternal god himself of justice, and it was thither that the illustrious
Rishi Agastya had repaired to behold that deity. It is from that lake
that all the rivers take their rise and there in that _tirtha_, Mahadeva
the wielder of the _Pinaka_, is present for aye. Arriving at that spot,
the heroic sons of Pandu practised the vow that is known by the name of
the _Chaturmasya_ according to all the rites and ordinances of the great
sacrifice called _Rishiyajna_. It is there that that mighty tree called
the Eternal banian stands. Any sacrifice performed there produces merit
that is eternal. In that sacrificial platform of the gods producing
eternal merit, the Pandavas began to fast with concentrated souls. And
there came unto them Brahmanas by hundreds endued with wealth of
asceticism. And those Brahmanas also all performed the _Chaturmasya_
sacrifice according to the rites inculcated by the Rishis. And there in
that _tirtha_, those Brahmanas old in knowledge and ascetic merit and
fully versed in the Vedas, that constituted the court of the illustrious
sons of Pandu, talked in their presence upon various subjects of sacred
import. And it was in that place that the learned vow-observing, and
sacred Shamatha, leading, besides, a life of celibacy, spake unto them,
O king, of Gaya, the son of Amurttaraya. And Shamatha said, 'Gaya, the
son of Amurttaraya, was one of the foremost of royal sages. Listen to
me, O Bharata, as I recite his meritorious deeds. It was here, O king,
that Gaya had performed many sacrifices distinguished by the enormous
quantities of food (that were distributed) and the profuse gifts that
were given away (unto Brahmanas). Those sacrifices, O king, were
distinguished by mountains in hundreds and thousands of cooked rice,
lakes of clarified butter and rivers of curds in many hundreds, and
streams of richly-dressed curries in thousands. Day after day were these
got ready and distributed amongst all comers, while, over and above
this, Brahmanas and others, O king, received food that was clean and
pure. During the conclusion also (of every sacrifice) when gifts were
dedicated to the Brahmanas, the chanting of the Vedas reached the
heavens. And so loud, indeed, was the sound of the Vedic _Mantras_ that
nothing else, O Bharata, could be heard there. Thus sacred sounds, O
king, filled the earth, the points of the horizon, the sky and heaven
itself. Even these were the wonders that persons noticed on those
occasions. And gratified with the excellent viands and drinks that the
illustrious Gaya provided, men, O bull of the Bharata race, went about
singing these verses. In Gaya's great sacrifice, who is there today,
amongst creatures, that still desireth to eat? There are yet twenty-five
mountains of food there after all have been fed! What the royal sage
Gaya of immense splendour hath achieved in his sacrifice was never
achieved by men before, nor will be by any in future. The gods have been
so surfeited by Gaya with clarified butter that they are not able to
take anything that anybody else may offer. As sand grains on earth, as
stars in the firmament, as drops showered by rain-charged clouds, cannot
ever be counted by anybody, so can none count the gifts in Gaya's
sacrifice!

"'O son of the Kuru race, many times did king Gaya perform sacrifices of
this description, here, by the side of this Brahmasara!'"

SECTION XCVI

Vaisampayana said, "After this the royal son of Kunti who was ever
distinguished for his profuse gifts unto Brahmanas, proceeded to the
asylum of Agastya and took up his abode in Durjaya. It was here that
that foremost of speakers, king Yudhishthira asked Lomasa as to why
Agastya had slain Vatapi there. And the king also enquired after the
extent of that man-destroying Daitya's prowess, and the reason also of
the illustrious Agastya's wrath being excited against that Asura.

"Thus questioned, Lomasa said, 'O son of Kuru race, there was in the
city called Manimati, in days of yore, a Daitya named Ilwala, whose
younger brother was Vatapi. One day that son of Diti addressed the
Brahmana endued with ascetic merit, saying, "O holy one, grant me a son
equal unto Indra." The Brahmana, however, did not grant the Asura a son
like Indra. And at this, the Asura was inflamed with wrath against the
Brahmana. And from that day, O king, the Asura Ilwala became a destroyer
of Brahmanas. And endued with power of illusion the angry Asura
transformed his brother into a ram. And Vatapi also capable of assuming
any form at will, would immediately assume the shape of a ram. And the
flesh of that ram, after being properly dressed, was offered to
Brahmanas as food. And after they had eaten of it, they were slain. For
whomsoever Ilwala summoned with his voice, he would come back to Ilwala
even if he had gone to the abode of Yama, in re-embodied form endued
with life, and show himself to Ilwala. And so having transformed the
Asura Vatapi into a ram and properly cooked his flesh and feeding
Brahmanas therewith, he would summon Vatapi. And the mighty Asura
Vatapi, that foe of Brahmanas, endued with great strength and power of
illusion, hearing, O king, those sounds uttered with a loud voice by
Ilwala, and ripping open the flanks of the Brahmana would come
laughingly out, O lord of earth! And it was thus, O monarch, that the
wicked-hearted Daitya Ilwala, having fed Brahmanas, frequently took away
their lives.

"'Meanwhile, the illustrious Agastya beheld his deceased ancestors
hanging in a pit with heads downwards. And he asked those personages
thus suspended in that hole, saying, "_What is the matter with you?_"
Thus questioned those utterers of _Brahma_ replied, "It is even for
offspring." And they also told him, "We are your ancestors. It is even
for offspring that we stay suspended in this pit. If, O Agastya, thou
canst beget us a good son, we may then be saved from this hell and thou
also wilt obtain thy blessed state of those having offspring." Endued
with great energy and observant of truth and morality Agastya replied,
saying, "Ye Pitris, I will accomplish your desire. Let this anxiety of
yours be dispelled." And the illustrious Rishi then began to think of
perpetuating his race. But he saw not a wife worthy of him on whom he
himself could take his birth in the form of a son. The Rishi
accordingly, taking those parts that were regarded as highly beautiful,
from creatures possessing them, created therewith an excellent woman.
And the Muni, endued with great ascetic merit, thereupon gave that girl
created for himself to the king of the Vidharbhas who was then
undergoing ascetic penances for obtaining offspring. And that blessed
girl of sweet face (thus disposed of) then took her birth (in Vidarbha's
royal line) and, beautiful as the effulgent lightning, her limbs began
to grow day by day. And as soon as that lord of earth--the ruler of the
Vidarbhas--saw her ushered into life, he joyfully communicated the
intelligence, O Bharata, unto the Brahmanas. And the Brahmanas
thereupon, O lord of earth, blessed the girl and they bestowed upon her
the name Lopamudra. And possessed of great beauty, she began, O monarch,
to grow quickly like unto a lotus in the midst of water or the effulgent
flame of a fire. And when the girl grew and attained to puberty, a
hundred virgins decked in ornaments and a hundred maids waited in
obedience upon her blessed self. And surrounded by those hundred maids
and virgins, she shone in their midst, endued as she was with bright
effulgence, like Rohini in the firmament amid an inferior multitude of
stars. And possessed as she was of good behaviour and excellent manners,
none dared ask for her hand even when she attained to puberty, through
fear of her father, the king of the Vidharbhas. And Lopamudra, devoted
to truth, surpassing the Apsaras even in beauty, gratified her father
and relatives by means of her conduct. And her father, beholding his
daughter--the princess of Vidharbha--attain to puberty, began to reflect
in his mind, saying, "To whom should I give this daughter of mine?"'"

SECTION XCVII

"Lomasa continued, 'When Agastya thought that girl to be competent for
the duties of domesticity, he approached that lord of earth--the ruler
of Vidharbhas--and addressing him, said, "I solicit thee, O king, to
bestow thy daughter Lopamudra on me." Thus addressed by the Muni, the
king of the Vidharbhas swooned away. And though unwilling to give the
Muni his daughter, he dared not refuse. And that lord of earth then,
approaching his queen, said, "This Rishi is endued with great energy. If
angry, he may consume me with the fire of his curse. O thou of sweet
face, tell me what is thy wish." Hearing these words of the king, she
uttered not a word. And beholding the king along with the queen
afflicted with sorrow, Lopamudra approached them in due time and said,
"O monarch, it behoveth thee not to grieve on my account. Bestow me on
Agastya, and, O father, save thyself, by giving me away." And at these
words of his daughter, O monarch, the king gave away Lopamudra unto the
illustrious Agastya with due rites. And obtaining her as wife, Agastya
addressed Lopamudra, saying, "Cast thou away these costly robes and
ornaments." And at these words of her lord, that large-eyed damsel of
thighs tapering as the stem of the plantain tree cast away her handsome
and costly robes of fine texture. And casting them away she dressed
herself in rags and barks and deerskins, and became her husband's equal
in vows and acts. And proceeding then to Gangadwara that illustrious and
best of Rishis began to practise the severest penances along with his
helpful wife. And Lopamudra herself, well pleased, began to serve her
lord from the deep respect that she bore him. And the exalted Agastya
also began to manifest great love for his wife.

"'After a considerable time, O king, the illustrious Rishi one day
beheld Lopamudra, blazing in ascetic splendour come up after the bath in
her season. And pleased with the girl, for her services, her purity, and
self control, as also with her grace and beauty, he summoned her for
marital intercourse. The girl, however, joining her hands, bashfully but
lovingly addressed the Rishi, saying, "The husband, without doubt,
weddeth the wife for offspring. But it behoveth thee, O Rishi, to show
that love to me which I have for thee. And it behoveth thee, O
regenerate one, to approach me on a bed like to that which I had in the
palace of my father. I also desire that thou shouldst be decked in
garlands of flowers and other ornaments, and that I should approach thee
adorned in those celestial ornaments that I like. Otherwise, I cannot
approach thee, dressed in these rags dyed in red. Nor, O regenerate
Rishi, it is sinful to wear ornaments (on such an occasion)." Hearing
these words of his wife, Agastya replied, "O blessed girl, O thou of
slender waist, I have not wealth like what thy father hath, O
Lopamudra!" She answered saying, "Thou who art endued with wealth of
asceticism, art certainly able to bring hither within a moment, by
ascetic power, everything that exists in the world of men." Agastya
said, "It is even so as thou hast said. That, however, would waste my
ascetic merit. O bid me do that which may not loosen my ascetic merit."
Lopamudra then said, "O thou endued with wealth of asceticism, my season
will not last long, I do not desire, however, to approach thee
otherwise. Nor do I desire to diminish thy (ascetic) merit in any way.
It behoveth thee, however, to do as I desire, without injuring thy
virtue."

"'Agastya then said, "O blessed girl, if this be the resolve that thou
hast settled in thy heart, I will go out in quest of wealth. Meanwhile,
stay thou here as it pleaseth thee."'"

SECTION XCVIII

"Lomasa continued, 'Agastya then, O son of the Kuru race, went to king
Srutarvan who was regarded as richer than other kings, to beg for
wealth. And that monarch, learning of the arrival of the pot-born Rishi
on the frontiers of his kingdoms, went out with his ministers and
received the holy man with respect. And the king duly offering the
_Arghya_ in the first instance, submissively and with joined hands
enquired then after the reason of the Rishi's arrival. And Agastya
answered saying, "O lord of the earth, know that I have come to thee,
desirous of wealth. Give me a portion according to thy ability and
without doing injury to others."'

"Lomasa continued, 'The king, then, representing unto the Rishi the
equality of his expenditure and income, said, "O learned one, take thou
from my possessions the wealth thou pleasest." Beholding, however, the
equality of that monarch's expenditure with income, the Rishi who always
saw both sides with equal eyes, thought that if he took anything under
the circumstances, his act would result in injury to creatures. Taking,
therefore, Srutarvan with him, the Rishi went to Vradhnaswa. The latter,
hearing of their arrival on his frontiers, received them duly. And
Vradhnaswa also offered them the _Arghyas_ and water to wash their feet.
And the monarch, with their permission, then enquired after the reason
of their coming. And Agastya said, "O lord of earth, know that we have
come to thee desirous of wealth. Give us what thou canst, without doing
injury to others."'

"Lomasa continued, 'That monarch then represented unto them the equality
of his expenditure and income, and said, "Knowing this, take ye what ye
desire." The Rishi, however, who saw both sides with equal eyes,
beholding the equality of that monarch's income with expenditure,
thought that if he took anything under the circumstances, his act would
result in injury to all creatures. Agastya and Srutarvan, with king
Vardhnaswa then went to Purokutsa's son, Trasadasyu, of enormous wealth.
The high-souled Trasadasyu, learning of their arrival on the confines of
his kingdom went out, O king, and received them well. And that best of
monarchs in Ikshvaku's line, having worshipped all of them duly,
enquired after the reason of their arrival. And Agastya answered, "O
lord of earth, know that we have all come to thee, desirous of wealth.
Give us what you can, without injuring others."'

"Lomasa continued, 'That monarch then, represented unto them the
equality of his income with expenditure, and said, "Knowing this, take
ye what ye desire." Beholding, however, the equality of that monarch's
expenditure with income, the Rishi who saw both sides with equal eyes,
thought that if he took anything under the circumstances, his act would
result in injury to all creatures. Then, O monarch, all those kings
looking at one another, together spoke unto the Rishis saying, "O
Brahmana, there is a Danava of the name Ilwala who of all persons on
earth, is possessed of enormous wealth. Let us all approach him to-day
and beg wealth of him."'

"Lomasa continued, 'This suggestion, O king, of begging wealth of Ilwala
appeared to them to be proper. And, O monarch, all of them went together
to Ilwala after this!'"

SECTION XCIX

"Lomasa said, 'When Ilwala learnt that those kings along with the great
Rishi had arrived on the confines of his domain, he went out with his
ministers and worshipped them duly. And that prince of Asuras received
them hospitably, entertaining them, O son of the Kuru race, with well
dressed meat supplied by his brother Vatapi (transformed into a ram).
Then all those royal sages, beholding the mighty Asura Vatapi, who had
been transformed into a ram thus cooked for them, became sad and
cheerless and were nearly deprived of themselves. But that best of
Rishis--Agastya--addressing those royal sages, said, "Yield ye not to
grief, I will eat up the great Asura." And the mighty Rishi then sat
himself down on an excellent seat, and the prince of Asuras, Ilwala,
began to distribute the food smilingly. And Agastya ate up the whole of
the meat supplied by Vatapi (transformed into a ram). And after the
dinner was over, Ilwala began to summon his brother. But thereupon a
quantity of air alone came out of the illustrious Rishi's stomach, with
a sound that was as loud, O child, as the roar of the clouds. And Ilwala
repeatedly said, "Come out, O Vatapi!" Then that best of
Munis--Agastya--bursting out in laughter, said, "How can he come out? I
have already digested that great Asura." And beholding his brother
already digested, Ilwala became sad and cheerless and joining his hands,
along with his ministers, addressing the Rishi (and his companions),
said, "What for have ye come hither, and what can I do for you?" And
Agastya smilingly answered Ilwala, saying, "We know thee, O Asura, to be
possessed of great power and also enormous wealth. These kings are not
very wealthy while my need also of wealth is great. Give us what thou
canst, without injuring others." Thus addressed Ilwala saluted the Rishi
and said, "If thou say what it is that I mean to give, then will I give
you wealth." Hearing this Agastya said, "O great Asura, thou hast even
purposed to give unto each of these kings ten thousand kine and as many
gold coins. And unto me thou hast purposed to give twice as much, as
also a car of gold and a couple of horses fleet as thought. If thou
enquirest now, thou wilt soon learn that your car is made of gold."
Thereupon, O son of Kunti, Ilwala made enquiries and learnt that the car
he had intended to give away was really a golden one. And the Daitya
then with a sad heart, gave away much wealth and that car, unto which
were yoked two steeds called Virava and Surava. And those steeds, O
Bharata, took those kings and Agastya and all that wealth to the asylum
of Agastya within the twinkling of an eye. And those royal sages then
obtaining Agastya's permission, went away to their respective cities.
And Agastya also (with that wealth) did all that his wife Lopamudra had
desired. And Lopamudra then said, "O illustrious one, thou hast now
accomplished all my wishes. Beget thou a child on me that shall be
possessed of great energy." And Agastya replied unto her, saying, "O
blessed and beauteous one, I have been much gratified with thy conduct.
Listen thou unto me as regards the proposal I make in respect of thy
offspring. Wouldst thou have a thousand sons, or a century of sons each
equal to ten, or ten sons equal each to an hundred, or only one son who
may vanquish a thousand?" Lopamudra answered, "Let me have one son equal
unto a thousand, O thou endued with wealth of asceticism! One good and
learned son is preferable to many evil ones."'

"Lomasa continued, 'Saying, "So be it," that pious Muni thereupon knew
his devout wife of equal behaviour. And after she had conceived, he
retired into the forest. And after the Muni had gone away, the foetus
began to grow for seven years. And after the seventh year had expired,
there came out of the womb, the highly learned Dridhasyu, blazing, O
Bharata, in his own splendour. And the great Brahmana and illustrious
ascetic, endued with mighty energy, took his birth as the Rishi's son,
coming out of the womb, as if repeating the Vedas with the _Upanishads_
and the _Angas_. Endued with great energy while yet a child, he used to
carry loads of sacrificial fuel into the asylum of his father, and was
thence called _Idhmavaha_ (carrier of sacrificial wood). And the Muni,
beholding his son possessed of such virtues, became highly glad.

"'And it was thus, O Bharata, that Agastya begat an excellent son in
consequence of which his ancestors, O king, obtained the regions they
desired. And it is from that time that this spot hath become known on
the earth as the asylum of Agastya. Indeed, O king, this is the asylum
graced with numerous beauties, of that Agastya who had slain Vatapi of
Prahlada's race. The sacred Bhagirathi, adored by gods and Gandharvas
gently runneth by, like a breeze-shaken pennon in the welkin. Yonder
also she floweth over craggy crests descending lower and lower, and
looketh like an affrighted she-snake lying along the hilly slopes.
Issuing out of the matted locks of Mahadeva, she passes along, flooding
the southern country and benefiting it like a mother, and ultimately
mingleth with the ocean as if she were his favourite bride. Bathe ye as
ye like in this sacred river, ye son of Pandu! And behold there, O
Yudhishthira, the _tirtha_ of Bhrigu that is celebrated over the three
worlds and adored, O king, by great Rishis. Bathing here, Rama (of
Bhrigu's race) regained his might, which had been taken away from him
(by Dasaratha's son). Bathing here, O son of Pandu, with thy brothers
and Krishna, thou wilt certainly regain that energy of thine that hath
been taken away by Duryodhana, even as Rama regained his that had been
taken away by Dasaratha's son in hostile encounter.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "At these words of Lomasa, Yudhishthira bathed
there with his brothers and Krishna, and offered oblations of water, O
Bharata, to the gods and the Pitris. And, O bull among men, after
Yudhishthira had bathed in that _tirtha_, his body blazed forth in
brighter effulgence, and he became invisible in respect of all foes. The
son of Pandu then, O king, asked Lomasa, saying, 'O illustrious one, why
had Rama's energy and might been taken away? And how also did he regain
it? O exalted one, I ask thee, tell me everything.'

"Lomasa said, 'Listen, O king, to the history of Rama (the son of
Dasaratha) and Rama of Bhrigu's line gifted with intelligence. For the
destruction of Ravana, O king, Vishnu, in his own body, took his birth
as the son of illustrious Dasaratha. We saw in Ayodhya that son of
Dasaratha after he had been born. It was then that Rama of Bhrigu's
line, the son of Richika by Renuka, hearing of Rama the son of
Dasaratha--of spotless deeds--went to Ayodhya, impelled by curiosity,
and taking with him that celestial bow so fatal to the Kshatriyas, for
ascertaining the prowess of Dasaratha's son. And Dasaratha, hearing that
Rama of Bhrigu's race had arrived on the confines of his domains, set
his own son Rama to receive the hero with respect. And beholding
Dasaratha's son approach and stand before him with ready weapons, Rama
of Bhrigu's line smilingly addressed him, O son of Kunti, saying, "O
king, O exalted one, string, if thou canst, with all thy mighty, this
bow which in my hands was made the instrument of destroying the
Kshatriya race." Thus addressed, Dasaratha's son answered, "O
illustrious one, it behoveth thee not to insult me thus. Nor am I,
amongst the regenerate classes, deficient in the virtues of the
Kshatriya order. The descendants of Ikshwaku in special never boast of
the prowess of their arms." Then unto Dasaratha's son who said so, Rama
of Bhrigu's line replied, "A truce to all crafty speech, O king! Take
this bow." At this, Rama the son of Dasaratha, took in anger from the
hands of Rama of Bhrigu's line that celestial bow that had dealt death
to the foremost of Kshatriyas. And, O Bharata, the mighty hero smilingly
strung that bow without the least exertion, and with its twang loud as
the thunder-rattle, affrighted all creatures. And Rama, the son of
Dasaratha, then, addressing Rama of Bhrigu's said, "Here, I have strung
this bow. What else, O Brahmana, shall I do for thee?" Then Rama, the
son of Jamadagni, gave unto the illustrious son of Dasaratha a celestial
arrow and said, "Placing this on the bow-string, draw to thy ear, O
hero!"'" "Lomasa continued, 'Hearing this, Dasaratha's son blazed up in
wrath and said, "I have heard what thou hast said, and even pardoned
thee. O son of Bhrigu's race, thou art full of vanity. Through the
Grandsire's grace thou hast obtained energy that is superior to that of
the Kshatriyas. And it is for this that thou insultest me. Behold me now
in my native form: I give thee sight." Then Rama of Bhrigu's race beheld
in the body of Dasaratha's son the Adityas with the Vasus, the Rudras,
the Sadhyas with the Marutas, the Pitris, Hutasana, the stellar
constellations and the planets, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas, the
Yakshas, the Rivers, the _tirthas_, those eternal Rishis identified with
_Brahma_ and called the Valkhilyas, the celestial Rishis, the Seas and
Mountains, the Vedas with the Upanishads and _Vashats_ and the
sacrifices, the Samans in their living form, the Science of weapons, O
Bharata, and the Clouds with rain and lightning, O Yudhishthira! And the
illustrious Vishnu then shot that shaft. And at this the earth was
filled with sounds of thunder, and burning meteors, O Bharata, began to
flash through the welkin. And showers of dust and rain fell upon the
surface of the earth. And whirlwinds and frightful sounds convulsed
everything, and the earth herself began to quake. And shot by the hand
of Rama, that shaft, confounding by its energy the other Rama, came back
blazing into Rama's hands. And Bhargava, who had thus been deprived of
his senses, regaining consciousness and life, bowed unto Rama--that
manifestation of Vishnu's power. And commanded by Vishnu, he proceeded
to the mountains of Mahendra. And thenceforth that great ascetic began
to dwell there, in terror and shame. And after the expiration of a year,
the Pitris, beholding Rama dwelling there deprived of energy, his pride
quelled, and himself sunk in affliction, said unto him, "O son, having
approached Vishnu, thy behaviour towards him was not proper. He
deserveth for aye worship and respect in the three worlds. Go, O son, to
that sacred river which goeth by name of Vadhusara! Bathing in all the
_tirthas_ of that stream, thou wilt regain thy energy! There in that
river is the _tirthas_ called Diptoda where thy grandsire Bhrigu, O
Rama, in the celestial age had practised ascetic penances of great
merit." Thus addressed by them, Rama, O son of Kunti, did what the
Pitris bade him, and obtained back at this _tirtha_, O son of Pandu, the
energy he had lost. Even this O child, was what befell Rama of spotless
deeds in days in of yore, after he had, O king, met Vishnu (in the form
of Dasaratha's son)!'"

SECTION C

"Yudhishthira said, 'O best of regenerate ones, I desire again to hear
of the achievements in detail of Agastya--that illustrious Rishi endued
with great intelligence.'

"Lomasa said, 'Listen now, O king, to the excellent and wonderful and
extraordinary history of Agastya, as also, O monarch, about the prowess
of that Rishi of immeasurable energy. There were in the Krita age
certain tribes of fierce Danavas that were invincible in battle. And
they were known by the name of Kalakeyas and were endued with terrible
prowess. Placing themselves under Vritra and arming themselves with
diverse weapons they pursued the celestials with Indra at their head in
all directions. The gods then all resolved upon the destruction of
Vritra, and went with Indra at their head to Brahma. And beholding them
standing before him with joined hands, Parameshthi addressed them all
and said, "Everything is known to me, ye gods, about what ye seek. I
shall indicate now the means by which ye may slay Vritra. There is a
high-souled and great Rishi known by the name of Dadhicha. Go ye all
together unto him and solicit of him a boon. With well-pleased heart,
that Rishi of virtuous soul will even grant you the boon. Desirous as ye
are of victory, go ye all together unto him and tell him, '_For the good
of the three worlds, give us thy bones_.' Renouncing his body, he will
give you his bones. With these bones of his, make ye a fierce and
powerful weapon to be called _Vajra_, endued with six sides and terrible
roar and capable of destroying even the most powerful enemies. With that
weapon will he of a hundred sacrifices slay Vritra. I have now told you
all. See that all this is done speedily." Thus addressed by him, the
gods with the Grandsire's leave (came away), and with Narayana at their
head proceeded to the asylum of Dadhicha. That asylum was on the other
bank of the river Saraswati and covered with diverse trees and creepers.
And it resounded with the hum of bees as if they were reciting _Samans_.
And it also echoed with the melodious notes of the male _Kokila_ and the
_Chakora_. And buffaloes and boars and deer and _Chamaras_ wandered
there at pleasure freed from the fear of tigers. And elephants with the
juice trickling down from rent temples, plunging in the stream, sported
with the she-elephants and made the entire region resound with their
roars. And the place also echoed with the loud roars of lions and
tigers, while at intervals might be seen those grisly monarchs of the
forest lying stretched in caves and glens and beautifying them with
their presence. And such was the asylum, like unto heaven itself, of
Dadhicha, that the gods entered. And there they beheld Dadhicha looking
like the sun himself in splendour and blazing in grace of person like
the Grandsire himself. And the celestials saluted the feet of the Rishi
and bowed unto him and begged of him the boon that the Grandsire had
bade them do. Then Dadhicha, well pleased, addressing those foremost of
celestials, said, "Ye celestials, I will do what is for your benefit. I
will even renounce this body of mine myself." And that foremost of men
with soul under control, having said this, suddenly renounced his life.
The gods then took the bones of the deceased Rishi as directed. And the
celestials, glad at heart, went to Twashtri (the celestial Artificer)
and spake to him of the means of victory. And Twashtri, hearing those
words of theirs, became filled with joy, and constructed (out of those
bones) with great attention and care the fierce weapons called _Vajra_.
And having manufactured it, he joyfully addressed Indra, saying, "With
this foremost of weapons, O exalted one, reduce that fierce foe of the
gods to ashes. And having slain the foe, rule thou happily the entire
domain of heaven, O chief of the celestials, with those that follow
thee." And thus addressed by Twashtri, Purandara took the _Vajra_ from
his hand, joyfully and with proper respect.'"

SECTION CI

"Lomasa said, 'Armed with the _Vajra_ then, and supported by celestials
endued with great might, Indra then approached Vritra, who was then
occupying the entire earth and the heaven. And he was guarded on all
sides by huge-bodied Kalakeyas with upraised weapons resembling gigantic
mountains with towering peaks. And the encounter that took place between
the gods and the Danavas lasted for a short while and was, O chief of
the Bharatas, terrific in the extreme, appalling as it did the three
worlds. And loud was the clash of swords and scimitars upraised and
warded off by heroic hands in course of those fierce encounters. And
heads (severed from trunks) began to roll from the firmament to the
earth like fruits of the palmyra palm falling upon the ground, loosened
from their stalks. And the Kalakeyas armed with iron-mounted bludgeons
and cased in golden mail ran against the gods, like moving mountains on
conflagration. And the gods, unable to stand the shock of that impetuous
and proudly advancing host, broke and fled from fear. Purandara of a
thousand eyes, beholding the gods flying in fear and Vritra growing in
boldness, became deeply dejected. And the foremost of gods Purandara,
himself, agitated with the fear of the Kalakeyas, without losing a
moment, sought the exalted Narayana's refuge. And the eternal Vishnu
beholding Indra so depressed enhanced his might by imparting unto him a
portion of his own energy. And when the celestials beheld that Sakra was
thus protected by Vishnu, each of them imparted unto him his own energy.
And the spotless Brahmarshis also imparted their energies unto the chief
of the celestials. And favoured thus by Vishnu and all the gods and by
the high-blessed Rishis also, Sakra became mightier than before. And
when Vritra learnt that the chief of the celestials had been filled with
might of others, he sent forth some terrific roars. And at these roars
of his, the earth, the directions, the firmament, heaven, and the
mountains all began to tremble. And the chief of the celestials, deeply
agitated on hearing that fierce and loud roar, was filled with fear, and
desiring to slay the Asura soon, hurled, O king, the mighty _Vajra_. And
struck with Indra's _Vajra_ the great Asura decked in gold and garlands
fell head-long, like the great mountain Mandara hurled of yore from
Vishnu's hands; and although the prince of Daityas was slain, yet Sakra
in panic ran from the field, desiring to take shelter in a lake,
thinking that the _Vajra_ itself had not been hurled from his hands and
regarding that Vritra himself was still alive. The celestials, however,
and the great Rishis became filled with joy, and all of them began to
cheerfully chant the praise of Indra. And mustering together, the
celestials began to slay the Danavas, who were dejected at the death of
their leader. And struck with panic at sight of the assembled celestial
host, the afflicted Danavas fled to the depths of the sea. And having
entered the fathomless deep, teeming with fishes and crocodiles, the
Danavas assembled together and began to proudly conspire for the
destruction of the three worlds. And some amongst them that were wise in
inferences suggested courses of action, each according to his judgment.
In course of time, however, the dreadful resolution arrived at those
conspiring sons of Diti, was that they should, first of all, compass the
destruction of all persons possessed of knowledge and ascetic virtue.
The worlds are all supported by asceticism. Therefore, they said, "Lose
no time for the destruction of asceticism. Compass ye without delay the
destruction of those on earth that are possessed of ascetic virtues,
that are conversant with duties and the ways of morality, and that have
a knowledge of _Brahma_; for when these are destroyed, the universe
itself will be destroyed." And all the Danavas, having arrived at this
resolution for the destruction of the universe, became highly glad. And
thenceforth they made the ocean--that abode of Varuna--with billows high
as hills, their fort, from which to make their sallies.'"

SECTION CII

"Lomasa said, 'The Kalakeyas then having recourse to that receptacle of
waters, which is the abode of Varuna, began their operations for the
destruction of the universe. And during the darkness of the night those
angry Daityas began to devour the Munis they found in woody retreats and
sacred spots. And those wicked wretches devoured in the asylum of
Vasishtha, Brahmanas to the number of a hundred and eighty, besides nine
other ascetics. And, proceeding to the asylum of Chyavana that was
inhabited by many _Brahmacharis_, they devoured a century of Brahmanas
that lived upon fruit and roots alone. And they began to do all this
during the darkness of the night, while they entered the depths of the
sea by day. And they slew a full score of Brahmanas of subdued souls and
leading a Brahmacharya mode of life and living upon air and water alone,
in the retreat of Bharadwaja. And it was thus that those Danavas the
Kalakeyas, intoxicated with prowess of arms and their lives nearly run
out, gradually invaded all the asylums of the Rishis during the darkness
of the night, slaughtering numerous Brahmanas. And, O best of men,
although the Danavas behaved in this way towards the ascetics in woody
retreats, yet men failed to discover anything of them. And every morning
people saw the dead bodies of Munis emaciated with frugal diet, lying on
the ground. And many of those bodies were without flesh and without
blood, without marrow, without entrails, and with limbs separated from
one another. And here and there lay on the ground heaps of bones like
masses of conch shells. And the earth was scattered over with the
(sacrificial) contents of broken jars and shattered ladles for pouring
libations of clarified butter and with the sacred fires kept with care
by the ascetics. And the universe afflicted with the terror of the
Kalakeyas, being destitute of Vedic studies and _vashats_ and
sacrificial festivals and religious rites, became entirely cheerless.
And, O king, when men began to perish in this way, the survivors,
afflicted with fear, fled for their lives in all directions. And some
fled to caverns and some behind mountain-streams and springs and some
through fear of death, died without much ado. And some who were brave
and mighty bowmen cheerfully went out and took great trouble in tracking
the Danavas. Unable, however, to find them out, for the Asuras had
sought refuge in the depths of the sea, these brave men came back to
their homes gratified with the search. And, O lord of men, when the
universe was being thus destroyed, and when sacrificial festivals and
religious rites had been suspended, the gods became deeply afflicted.
And gathering together with Indra in their midst they began, from fear,
to take counsel of one another. And repairing unto the exalted and
uncreate Narayana--that unvanquished god of Vaikuntha--the celestials
sought his protection. And bowing unto the slayer of Madhu, the gods
addressed him, saying, "O lord, thou art the creator, the protector, and
the slayer of ourselves as well as of the universe. It is thou who has
created this universe with its mobile and immobile creatures. O thou of
eyes like lotus leaves, it was thou who in days of yore hadst for the
benefit of all creatures raised from the sea the sunken earth, assuming
also the form of a boar. And, O best of male beings, assuming also the
form of half-man and half-lion, thou hadst slain in days of yore that
ancient Daitya of mighty prowess known by the name of Hiranyakasipu. And
that other great Asura also, Vali by name, was incapable of being slain
by any one. Assuming the form of a dwarf, thou exiledest him from the
three worlds. O lord, it was by thee that that wicked Asura, Jambha by
name, who was a mighty bowman and who always obstructed sacrifices, was
slain. Achievements like these, which cannot be counted, are thine. O
slayer of Madhu, we who have been afflicted with fear, have thee for our
refuge. It is for this, O god of gods, that we inform thee of our
present troubles. Protect the worlds, the gods, and Sakra also, from a
terrible fear."'"

SECTION CIII

"'The celestials said, "Through thy favour it is that all born beings of
the four kinds increase. And they being created, propitiate the dwellers
of heaven by offerings made to the gods and the names of departed
forefathers. Thus it is that people, protected by thee and free from
trouble live depending on one another, and (so) increase. Now this peril
hath befallen the people. We do not know by whom are Brahmanas being
killed during the night. If the Brahmanas are destroyed, the earth
itself will meet with destruction, and if the earth cometh to an end,
heaven also will cease to exist. O mighty-armed one, O lord of the
universe! we beseech thee (to act so) that all the worlds, protected by
thee, may not come to an end, so it may please thee."

"'Vishnu said, "Ye gods! To me is known the reason of the destruction of
the born beings, I shall speak of it to you; listen with minds free from
tribulation. There exists an exceedingly fierce host, known by the name
of Kalakeyas. They, under the lead of Vritra, were devastating the whole
universe. And when they saw that Vritra was slain by the sagacious Indra
endued with a thousand eyes, they, to preserve their lives, entered into

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