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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2 by Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

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And when the Lokapalas went away Matali said unto me, "O thou of mighty
splendour, the lord of the celestials is desirous of seeing thee. And O
mighty-armed one, do thou acquire competence and then perform thy task.
Come and behold the regions, attainable by merit and come unto heaven
even in this frame. O Bharata, the thousand-eyed lord of the celestials
wisheth to see thee." Thus addressed by Matali, I, taking leave of the
mountain Himalaya and having gone round it ascended that excellent car.
And then the exceedingly generous Matali, versed in equine lore, drove
the steeds, gifted with the speed of thought or the wind. And when the
chariot began to move that charioteer looking at my face as I was seated
steadily, wondered and said these words, "Today this appeareth unto me
strange and unprecedented that being seated in this celestial car, thou
hast not been jerked ever so little. O foremost of Bharata race, I have
ever remarked that at the first pull by the steeds even the lord of the
celestials himself getteth jerked. But all the while that the car had
moved, thou hast been sitting unshaken. This appeareth unto me as
transcending even the power of _Sakra_."

"'Having said this, O Bharata, Matali soared in the sky and showed me
the abodes of the celestials and their palaces. Then the chariot yoked
with steeds coursed upwards. And the celestials and the sages began to
worship (that car), O prime of men. And I saw the regions, moving
anywhere at will, and the splendour also of the highly energetic
_Gandharvas, Apsaras_, and the celestial sages. And _Sakra's_
charioteer, Matali, at once showed me _Nandana_ and other gardens and
groves belonging to the celestials. Next I beheld Indra's abode,
_Amaravati_, adorned with jewels and trees yielding any sort of fruit
that is desired. There the Sun doth not shed heat; nor doth heat or cold
or fatigue there affect (one), O king. And, O great monarch, the
celestials feel neither sorrow nor poverty of spirit, nor weakness, nor
lassitude, O grinder of foes. And, O ruler of men, the celestials and
the others have neither anger nor covetousness. And, O king, in the
abodes of the celestials, the beings are ever contented. And there the
trees ever bear verdant foliage, and fruits, and flowers; and the
various lakes are embalmed with the fragrance of lotuses. And there the
breeze is cool, and delicious, and fragrant, and pure, and inspiring.
And the ground is variegated with all kinds of gems, and adorned with
blossoms. And there were seen innumerable beautiful beasts and in the
air innumerable rangers of the sky. Then I saw the _Vasus_, and the
_Rudras_, and the _Sadhyas_ with the _Marutas_, and the _Adityas_, and
the two _Aswins_ and worshipped them. And they conferred their benison
on me, granting me strength and prowess, and energy, and celebrity, and
(skill in) arms, and victory in battle. Then, entering that romantic
city adored by the _Gandharvas_ and the celestials, with joined hands, I
stood before the thousand-eyed lord of the celestials. Thereupon, that
best of bestowers gladly offered unto me half of his seat; and _Vasava_
also with regard touched my person. And, O Bharata, with the view of
acquiring arms and learning weapons, I began to dwell in heaven,
together with the gods and the _Gandharvas_ of generous souls. And
_Viswavana's_ son, _Chitrasena_ became my friend. And he, O king,
imparted unto me the entire _Gandharva_ (science). And, O monarch, I
happily lived in _Sakra's_ abode, well cared for having all my desires
gratified, learning weapons, listening to the notes of songs, and the
clear sounds of musical instruments, and beholding the foremost of
_Apsaras_ dance. And without neglecting to study the arts, which I
learnt properly, my attention was specially fixed on the acquisition of
arms. And that lord of a thousand eyes was pleased with that purpose of
mine. Living thus in heaven, O king, I passed this period.

"'And when I had acquired proficiency in weapons, and gained his
confidence that one having for his vehicle the horse (_Uchchaisrava_),
(Indra), patting me on the head with his hand, said these words, "Now
even the celestials themselves cannot conquer thee,--what shall I say of
imperfect mortals residing on earth? Thou hast become invulnerable in
strength, irrepressible, and incomparable in fight." Then with the hair
of his body standing on end, he again accosted me saying, "O hero, in
fighting with weapons none is equal unto thee. And, O perpetuator of the
Kuru race, thou art even watchful, and dexterous, and truthful, and of
subdued senses, and the protector of the _Brahmanas_ and adept in
weapons, and warlike. And, O Partha, together with (a knowledge of) the
five modes, using (them), thou hast obtained five and ten weapons and,
therefore, there existeth none, who is thy peer. And thou hast perfectly
learnt the discharge (of those weapons) and (their) withdrawal, and
(their) re-discharge and re-withdrawal, and the _Prayaschitta_ connected
(with them), and also their revival, in case of their being baffled.
Now, O represser of foes, the time hath arrived for thy paying the
preceptor's fee. Do thou promise to pay the fee; then I shall unfold
unto thee what thou wilt have to perform." Thereat, O king, I said unto
the ruler of the celestials, "If it be in my power to do the work, do
thou consider it as already accomplished by me." O king, when I had said
these words, Indra with a smile said unto me "Nothing is there in the
three worlds that is not in thy power (to achieve). My enemies, those
_Danavas_, named _Nivata-Kavachas_, dwell in the womb of the ocean. And
they number thirty million and are notorious, and all of equal forms and
strength and splendour. Do thou slay them there, O Kunti's son; and that
will be thy preceptor's fee."

"'Saying this he gave unto me the highly resplendent celestial car,
conducted by Matali, furnished with hair resembling the down of
peacocks. And on my head he set this excellent diadem. And he gave me
ornaments for my body, like unto his own. And he granted unto me the
impenetrable mail--the best of its kind, and easy to the touch; and
fastened unto the _Gandiva_ this durable string. Then I set out,
ascending that splendid chariot riding on which in days of yore, the
lord of the celestials and vanquished _Vali_--that son of _Virochana_.
And, O ruler of men, startled by the rattling of the car, all the
celestials, approached (there), taking me to be the king of the
celestials. And seeing me, they asked, "O Phalguna, what art thou going
to do?" And I told them as it had fallen out,--and said, "I shall even
do this in battle. Ye that are highly fortunate, know that I have set
out desirous of slaying the _Nivata-Kavachas_. O sinless ones, do ye
bless me." Thereupon, they began to eulogise me even as they (eulogise)
the god, _Purandara_. And they said, "Riding on this car, _Maghavan_
conquered in battle _Samvara_, and _Namuchi_, and _Vala_, and _Vritra_,
and _Prahrada_, and _Naraka_. And mounted on this car also Maghavan, had
conquered in battle many thousands and millions and hundreds of millions
of _Daityas_. And, O _Kaunteya_, thou also, riding on this car, by thy
prowess shalt conquer the _Nivata-Kavachas_ in conflict, even as did the
self-possessed Maghavan in days of yore. And here is the best of shells;
by this also thou shalt defeat the _Danavas_. And by this it is that the
high souled _Sakra_ conquered the words." Saying this, the gods offered
(unto me) this shell, _Devadatta_, sprung in the deep; and I accepted it
for the sake of victory. And at this moment, the gods fell extolling me.
And in order to be engaged in action, I proceeded to the dreadful abode
of the _Danavas_, furnished with the shell, the mail, and arrows, and
taking my bow.'"


"Arjuna continued, 'Then at places eulogised by the _Maharshis_, I
(proceeded, and at length) beheld the ocean--that inexhaustible lord of
waters. And like unto flowing cliffs were seen on it heaving billows,
now meeting together and now rolling away. And there (were seen) all
around barks by thousands filled with gems. And there were seen
_timingilas_ and tortoises and _makaras_ like unto rock submerged in
water. And on all sides round thousands of shells sunk in water appeared
like stars in the night covered by light clouds. And thousands upon
thousands of gems were floating in heaps and a violent wind was blowing
about in whirls--and this was wonderful to behold. And having beheld
that excellent lord of all waters with powerful tides, I saw at a short
distance the city of the demons filled with the _Danavas_. And even
there, entering underneath the earth, Matali skilled in guiding the car,
sitting fast on the chariot drove it with force; and he dashed on,
frightening that city with the rattling of his chariot. And hearing that
rattling of the chariot like unto the rumbling of the clouds in the sky,
the _Danavas_, thinking me to be the lord of the celestials, became
agitated. And thereupon they all, frightened at heart, stood holding in
their hands bows and arrows and swords and javelins and axes and maces
and clubs. Then having made arrangements for the defence of the city,
the _Danavas_, with minds alarmed, shut the gates, so that nothing could
be discovered. Thereupon taking my shell, _Devadatta_, of tremendous
roars, I again and again winded it with exceeding cheerfulness. And
filling all the firmament, those sounds produced echoes. Thereat mighty
beings were terrified and they hid (themselves). And then, O Bharata,
all of them adorned with ornaments, those offsprings of _Diti_--the
_Nivata-Kavachas_--made their appearance by thousands, donning diverse
mail and taking in their hands various weapons and equipped with mighty
iron javelins and maces and clubs and hatchets and sabres and discs and
_sataghnis_ and _bhusundis_ and variegated and ornamented swords. Then,
after deliberating much as to the course of the car, Matali began to
guide the steeds on a (piece of) level ground, O foremost of the
Bharatas. And owing to the swiftness of those fleet coursers conducted
by him, I could see nothing--and this was strange. Then the _Danavas_
there began to sound thousands of musical instruments, dissonant and of
odd shapes. And at those sounds, fishes by hundreds and by thousands,
like unto hills, having their senses bewildered by that noise, fled
suddenly. And mighty force flew at me, the demons discharging sharpened
shafts by hundreds and by thousands. And then, O Bharata, there ensued a
dreadful conflict between me and the demons, calculated to extinguish
the _Nivata Kavachas_. And there came to the mighty battle the
_Devarshis_ and the _Danavarshis_ and the _Brahmarshis_ and the
_Siddhas_. And desirous of victory, the _Munis eulogised_ me with the
same sweet-speeches that (they had eulogised) Indra with, at the war,
(which took place) for the sake of _Tara_.'"


"Arjuna continued, 'Then, O Bharata, vehemently rushed at me in battle
in a body the _Nivata-Kavachas_, equipped with arms. And obstructing the
course of the car, and shouting loudly, those mighty charioteers,
hemming me in on all sides, covered me with showers of shafts. Then
other demons of mighty prowess, with darts and hatchets in their hands,
began to throw at me spears and axes. And that mighty discharge of
darts, with numerous maces and clubs incessantly hurled fell upon my
car. And other dreadful and grim-visaged smiters among the
_Nivata-Kavachas_, furnished with bows and sharpened weapons, ran at me
in fight. And in the conflict, shooting from the _Gandiva_ sundry swift
arrows coursing straight, I pierced each of them with ten. And they were
driven back by those stone-whetted shafts of mine. Then on my steeds
being swiftly driven by Matali, they began to display various movements
with the speed of the wind. And being skilfully guided by Matali, they
began to trample upon the sons of _Diti_. And although the steeds yoked
unto that mighty chariot numbered hundreds upon hundreds, yet being
deftly conducted by Matali, they began to move, as if they were only a
few. And by their tread, and by the rattling of the chariot wheels and
by the volleys of my shafts, the _Danavas_ began to fall by hundreds.
And others accoutred in bows, being deprived of life, and having their
charioteers slain, were carried about by the horses. Then, covering all
sides and directions, all (the _Danavas_) skilled in striking entered
into the contest with various weapons, and thereat my mind became
afflicted. And I witnessed (this instance of) the marvellous prowess of
Matali, viz., that he guided those fiery steeds with ease. Then, O king,
in the conflict, with diverse fleet weapons I pierced by hundreds and by
thousands (demons) bearing arms. And, O slayer of foes, seeing me thus
range the field putting forth every exertion, the heroic charioteer of
_Sakra_ was well-pleased. And oppressed by those steeds and that car,
some (of them) met with annihilation; and others desisted from fight;
while (other) _Nivata-Kavachas_, challenged by us in battle and being
harassed with shafts offered opposition unto me, by (discharging) mighty
showers of arrows. Thereupon, with hundreds and thousands of sundry
fleet weapons inspired with the _mantras_ relating to _Brahma's_
weapons, I swiftly began to burn them. And being sore pressed by me,
those mighty _asuras_ waxing wroth afflicted me together, by pouring
torrents of clubs and darts and swords. Then, O Bharata, I took up that
favourite weapon of the lord of the celestials, Maghavan by name, prime
and of fiery energy and by the energy of that weapon I cut into a
thousand pieces the _Tomaras_, together with the swords and the tridents
hurled by them. And having cut off their arms I in ire pierced them each
with ten shafts. And in the field arrows were shot from the _Gandiva_
like unto rows of black-bees; and this Matali admired. And their shafts
also showered upon me; but those powerful (arrows) I cut off with my
shafts. Then on being struck the _Nivata-Kavachas_ again covered me on
all sides with a mighty shower of arrows. And having neutralised the
force of the arrows by excellent swift and flaming weapons capable of
baffling arms, I pierced them by thousands. And blood began to flow from
their torn frames, even as in the rainy season waters run down from the
summits of mountains. And on being wounded by my fleet and
straight-coursing shafts of the touch of Indra's thunder-bolt, they
became greatly agitated. And their bodies were pierced at hundreds of
places; and the force of their arms diminished. Then the
_Nivata-Kavachas_ fought me by (the help of) illusion.'"


"Arjuna said, 'Then with rocks of the proportions of trees, there
commenced a mighty shower of crags; and this exercised me exceedingly.
And in that high encounter, I crushed (those crags) by swift-speeding
showers of arrows, issuing from Mahendra's weapon, like unto the
thunder-bolt itself. And when the rocks had been reduced to powder,
there was generated fire; and the rocky dust fell like unto masses of
flames. And when the showers of crags had been repelled, there happened
near me a mightier shower of water, having currents of the proportions
of an axle. And falling from the welkin, those thousands of powerful
torrents covered the entire firmament and the directions and the
cardinal points. And on account of the pouring of the shower, and of the
blowing of the wind, and of roaring of the _Daityas_, nothing could be
perceived. And touching heaven and the entire earth, and incessantly
falling on the ground, the showers bewildered me. Thereupon, I
discharged that celestial weapon which I had learnt from Indra--even the
dreadful and flaming _Visoshana_: and by that the water was dried up.
And, O Bharata, when the rocky shower had been destroyed, and the watery
shower had been dried up, the _Danavas_ began to spread illusions of
fire and wind. Then by aqueous appliances I extinguished the flames; and
by a mighty rock-issuing arm, resisted the fury of the winds. And when
these had been repelled, the _Danavas_, irrepressible in battle, O
Bharata, simultaneously created various illusions. And there happened a
tremendous horrifying shower of rocks and dreadful weapons of fire and
wind. And that illusory downpour afflicted me in fight. And then on all
sides there appeared a dense and thick darkness. And when the world had
been enveloped in deep and dense darkness, the steeds turned away,
Matali fell off, and from his hand the golden lash fell to the earth.
And, O foremost of the Bharatas, being frightened, he again and again
cried, "Where art thou?" And when he had been stupefied, a terrible fear
possessed me. And then in a hurry, he spake unto me, saying, "O Partha,
for the sake of nectar, there had taken place a mighty conflict between
the gods and the demons. I had seen that (encounter), O sinless one. And
on the occasion of the destruction of Samvara, there had occurred a
dreadful and mighty contest. Nevertheless I had acted as charioteer to
the lord of the celestials. In the same way, on the occasion of the
slaying of _Vritra_, the steeds had been conducted by me. And I had also
beheld the high and terrific encounter with _Virochana's_ son, and, O
Pandava, with _Vala_, and with _Prahrada_ and with others also. In these
exceedingly dreadful battles, I was present; but, O Pandu's son, never
(before) had I lost my senses. Surely the Greatfather hath ordained the
destruction of all creatures; for this battle cannot be for any other
purpose than destruction of the universe." Having heard these words of
his, "pacifying my perturbation by my own effort, I will destroy the
mighty energy of the illusion spread by the _Danavas_" quoth I unto the
terrified Matali. "Behold the might of my arms, and the power of my
weapons and of the bow, _Gandiva_. To-day even by (the help of)
illusion-creating arms, will I dispel this deep gloom and also this
horrible illusion of theirs. Do not fear, O charioteer. Pacify thyself."
Having said this, O lord of men, I created for the good of the
celestials, an illusion of arms capable of bewildering all beings. And
when (their) illusion had been dispelled, some of the foremost amongst
the _Asuras_, of unrivalled prowess, again spread diverse kinds of
illusion. Thereupon, now (the world) displayed itself, and now it was
devoured by darkness; and now the world disappeared from view and now it
was submerged under water. And when it had brightened up, Matali,
sitting in front of the car, with the wellconducted steeds, began to
range that hair-erecting field. Then the fierce _Nivata-Kavachas_
assailed me. And finding my opportunity, I began to send them to the
mansion of Yama. Thereupon, in that conflict then raging, calculated to
annihilate the _Nivata-Kavachas_ on a sudden, I could not see the
_Danavas_ concealed by illusion.'"


"Arjuna continued, 'Remaining invisible the _Daityas_ began to fight
with the help of illusion. And I too fought with them, resorting to the
energy of visible weapons. And the shafts duly discharged from the
_Gandiva_, began to sever their heads at those different places where
they were respectively stationed. And thus assailed by me in the
conflict, the _Nivata-Kavachas_, all on a sudden withdrawing the
illusion, entered into their own city. And when the _Daityas_ had fled,
and when all had become visible, I there discovered hundreds and
thousands of the slain. And there I saw by hundreds their shivered
weapons, ornaments, limbs, and mail. And the horses could not find room
for moving from one place to another; and on a sudden with a bound, they
fell to coursing in the sky. Then remaining invisible, the
_Nivata-Kavachas_ covered the entire welkin with masses of crags. And, O
Bharata, other dreadful _Danavas_, entering into the entrails of the
earth, took up horses' legs and chariot-wheels. And as I was fighting,
they, hard besetting my horses with rocks, attacked me together with
(my) car. And with the crags that had fallen and with others that were
falling, the place where I was, seemed to be a mountain cavern. And on
myself being covered with crags and on the horses being hard pressed, I
became sore distressed and this was marked by Matali. And on seeing me
afraid, he said unto me, "O Arjuna, Arjuna! be thou not afraid; send
that weapon, the thunder-bolt, O lord of men." Hearing those words of
his, I then discharged the favourite weapon of the king of the
celestials--the dreadful thunderbolt. And inspiring the Gandiva with
_mantras_, I, aiming at the locality of the crags, shot sharpened iron
shafts of the touch of the thunder-bolt. And sent by the thunder, those
adamantine arrows entered into all those illusions and into the midst of
those _Nivata-Kavachas_. And slaughtered by the vehemence of the
thunder, those _Danavas_ resembling cliffs, fell to the earth together
in masses. And entering amongst those _Danavas_ that had carried away
the steeds of the car into the interior of the earth, the shafts sent
them into the mansion of _Yama_. And that quarter was completely covered
with the _Nivata-Kavachas_ that had been killed or baffled, comparable
unto cliffs and lying scattered like crags. And then no injury appeared
to have been sustained either by the horses, or by the car, or by
Matali, or by me, and this seemed strange. Then, O king, Matali
addressed me smiling, "Not in the celestials themselves, O Arjuna, is
seen the prowess that is seen in thee." And when the _Danava_ hosts had
been destroyed, all their females began to bewail in that city, like
unto cranes in autumn. Then with Matali I entered that city, terrifying
with the rattling of my car the wives of the _Nivata-Kavachas_.
Thereupon, seeing those ten thousand horses like unto peacocks (in hue),
and also that chariot resembling the sun, the women fled in swarms. And
like unto (the sounds of) rocks falling on a mountain, sounds arose of
the (falling) ornaments of the terrified dames. (At length), the
panic-stricken wives of the _Daityas_ entered into their respective
golden places variegated with innumerable jewels. Beholding that
excellent city, superior to the city of the celestials themselves, I
asked Matali, saying, "Why do not the celestials reside in such (a
place)? Surely, this appeareth superior to the city of Purandara."
Thereat, Matali said, "In days of yore, O Partha, even this was the city
of our lord of the celestials. Afterwards the celestials were driven
from hence by the _Nivata-Kavachas_. Having performed the most rigid
austerities, they had gratified the Grand-father and had asked (and
obtained) the boons--namely, that they might reside here, and that they
might be free from danger in wars with the gods." Then _Sakra_ addressed
the self-create lord saying, "Do thou, O lord, desirous of our own
welfare do what is proper." Thereupon, O Bharata, in this matter the
Lord commanded (Indra), saying, "O slayer of foes, in another body, even
thou shalt be (the destroyer of the _Danavas_)." Then, in order to
slaughter them, _Sakra_ rendered unto thee those weapons. The gods had
been unable to slay these, who have been slain by thee. O Bharata, in
the fullness of time, hadst thou come hither, in order to destroy them
and thou hast done so. O foremost of men, with the object that the
demons might be killed, Mahendra had conferred on thee the excellent
prime energy of these weapons.'

"Arjuna continued, 'After having destroyed the _Danavas_, and also
subdued that city, with Matali I again went to that abode of the


"Arjuna continued, 'Then while returning, I happened to descry a mighty
unearthly city, moving at will, and having the effulgence of fire or the
sun. And that city contained various trees composed of gems, and
sweet-voiced feathered ones. And furnished with four gates, and
gate-ways, and towers, that impregnable (city) was inhabited by the
_Paulamas_ and _Kalakanjas_. And it was made of all sorts of jewels and
was unearthly, and of wonderful appearance. And it was covered with
trees of all kinds of gems, bearing fruits and flowers. And it contained
exceedingly beautiful unearthly birds. And it always swarmed throughout
with cheerful _Asuras_, wearing garlands, and bearing in their hands
darts, two edged swords, maces, bows, and clubs. And, O king, on seeing
this wonderful city of the Daityas, I asked Matali saying, "What is this
that looketh so wonderful?" Thereat, Matali replied, "Once on a time a
_Daitya's_ daughter, named _Pulama_ and a mighty female of the _Asura_
order, _Kalaka_ by name, practised severe austerities for a thousand
celestial years. And at the end of their austerities, the self-create
conferred on them boons. And, O king of kings, they received these
boons,--that their offspring might never suffer misfortune; that they
might be incapable of being destroyed even by the gods, the _Rakshasas_
and the _Pannagas_; and that they might obtain a highly effulgent and
surpassingly fair aerial city, furnished with all manner of gems and
invincible even by the celestials, the _Maharshis_, the _Yakshas_, the
_Gandharvas_, the _Pannagas_, the _Asuras_ and the _Rakshasas_. O best
of the Bharatas, this is that unearthly aerial city devoid of the
celestials, which is moving about, having been created for the
_Kalakeyas_, by _Brahma_ himself. And this city is furnished with all
desirable objects, and is unknown of grief or disease. And, O hero,
celebrated under the name of _Hiranyapura_, this mighty city is
inhabited by the _Paulamas_ and the _Kalakanjas_; and it is also guarded
by those mighty _Asuras_. And, O king, unslayed by any of the gods,
there they dwell cheerfully, free from anxiety and having all their
desires gratified, O foremost of kings. Formerly, _Brahma_ had destined
destruction at the hands of mortals. Do thou, O Partha, in fight,
compass with that weapon--the thunder-bolt--the destruction of the
mighty and irrepressible _Kalakanjas_."'

"Arjuna continued, 'O lord of men, learning that they were incapable of
being destroyed by the celestials and the _Asuras_, I cheerfully said
unto Matali, "Do thou speedily repair into yonder city. With weapons
will I compass the annihilation of the haters of the lord of the
celestials. Surely, there exist no wicked haters of the gods who ought
not to be slain by me." Thereupon Matali took me to the vicinity of
_Hiranyapura_ on the celestial chariot yoked with steeds. And seeing me,
those sons of Diti, wearing various kinds of attire and ornament and
accoutred in mail, flew at me with a mighty rush. And those foremost of
the _Danavas_, of exceeding prowess, in wrath attacked me with arrows
and _bhallas_ and clubs and two-edged swords, and _tomaras_. Thereat, O
king, resorting to my strength of lore, I resisted that great volley of
weapons by a mighty shower of shafts; and also confounded them in
conflict by ranging around in my car. And being bewildered, the
_Danavas_ began to push each other down. And having been confounded,
they rushed at one another. And with flaming arrows, I severed their
heads by hundreds. And hard pressed by me, the offspring of Diti, taking
shelter within (their) city, soared with it to the firmament, resorting
to the illusion proper to the _Danavas_. Thereupon, O son of the Kurus,
covering the way of the _Daityas_, with a mighty discharge of shafts I
obstructed their course. Then by virtue of the bestowal of the boon, the
_Daityas_ supported themselves easily on that sky-ranging unearthly
aerial city, going anywhere at will and like unto the sun. And now (the
city) entered unto the earth and now it rose upwards; and at one time it
went in a crooked way and at another time it submerged into water. At
this, O represser of foes, I assailed that mighty city, going anywhere
at will, and resembling _Amaravati_. And, O best of the Bharatas, I
attacked the city containing those sons of Diti, with multitudes of
shafts, displaying celestial weapons. And battered and broken by the
straight-coursing iron shafts, shot by me, the city of the _Asuras_, O
king, fell to the earth. And they also, wounded by my iron arrows having
the speed of the thunder, began, O monarch, to go about, being urged by
destiny. Then ascending to the sky, Matali, as if falling in front,
swiftly descended to the earth, on that chariot of solar resplendence.
Then, O Bharata, environed me sixty thousand cars belonging to those
wrathful ones eager to battle with me. And with sharpened shafts graced
with feathers of the vulture, I destroyed those (cars). At this,
thinking, "These our hosts are incapable of being vanquished by
mortals," they became engaged in the conflict, like unto the surges of
the sea. Thereupon I gradually began to fix (on the string) unearthly
weapons. At this, thousands of weapons (shot) by those wonderfully
warring charioteers, by degrees opposed my unearthly arms and in the
field I saw hundreds and thousands of mighty (demons) ranging on their
cars, in various manoeuvres. And being furnished with variegated mail
and standards and diverse ornaments, they delighted my mind. And in the
conflict I could not afflict them by showers of shafts, but they did not
afflict me. And being afflicted by those innumerable ones, equipped in
weapons and skilled in fight, I was pained in that mighty encounter and
a terrible fear seized me. Thereupon collecting (my energies) in fight,
I (bowed down) unto that god of gods, _Raudra_, and saying, "May welfare
attend on all beings!" I fixed that mighty weapon which, celebrated
under the name of _Raudra_, is the destroyer of all foes. Then I beheld
a male person having three heads, nine eyes, three faces, and six arms.
And his hair was flaming like fire or the sun. And, O slayer of foes,
for his dress, he had mighty serpents, putting out their tongues. And
saying, O best of the Bharatas, the dreadful and eternal _Raudra_, I
being free from fear, set it on the _Gandiva_; and, bowing unto the
three-eyed _Sarva_ of immeasurable energy, let go (the weapon), with the
object of vanquishing those foremost of the _Danavas_, O Bharata. And, O
lord of men, as soon as it had been hurled, there appeared on the scene
by thousands, forms of deer, and of lions, and of tigers, and of bears
and of buffaloes, and of serpents, and of kine, and of sarabhas, and of
elephants, and of apes in multitudes, and of bulls, and of boars, and of
cats, and of dogs, and of spectres, and of all the _Bhurundas_, and of
vultures, and of Garudas, of _chumaras_, and of all the leopards, and of
mountains, and of seas, and of celestials, and of sages, and of all the
_Gandharvas_, and of ghosts with the _Yakshas_, and of the haters of the
gods, (_Asuras_), and of the _Guhyakas_ in the field, and of the
_Nairitas_ and of elephant-mouthed sharks, and of owls, and of beings
having the forms of fishes and horses, and of beings bearing swords and
various other weapons, and of _Rakshasas_ wielding maces and clubs. And
on that weapon being hurled all the universe became filled with these as
well as many others wearing various shapes. And again and again wounded
by beings of various sights with (pieces of) flesh, fat, bones, and
marrow on their persons,--some having three heads, and some four tusks,
and some four mouths, and some four arms,--the _Danavas_ met with
destruction. And, then, O Bharata, in a moment I slew all those
_Danavas_, with other swarms of arrows composed of the quintessence of
stone, flaming like fire or the sun, and possessed of the force of the
thunder-bolt. And, seeing them hewn by the _Gandiva_, and deprived of
life, and thrown from the sky, I again bowed unto that god--the
Destroyer of _Tripura_. And, seeing those adorned with unearthly
ornaments, crushed by the weapon, the _Raudra_, the charioteer of the
celestials, experienced the greatest delight. And having witnessed the
accomplishment of that unbearable feat incapable of being achieved even
by the celestials themselves, Matali, the charioteer of Sakra, paid
homage unto me; and well-pleased, with joint hands said these words.
"The feat that hath been achieved by thee, is incapable of being borne
even by the gods, nay,--in battle, the lord of the celestials himself
cannot perform this deed. The sky-coursing mighty city incapable of
being destroyed by the gods and the Asuras hast thou, O hero, crushed by
thy own prowess and by the energy of asceticism." And when that aerial
city had been destroyed, and when the _Danavas_ also had been slain,
their wives, uttering cries of distress, like unto Kurari birds, with
hair dishevelled came out of the city. And bewailing for their sons and
brothers and fathers, they fell on the ground and cried with distressful
accents. And on being deprived for their lords, they beat their breasts,
their garlands and ornaments fallen off. And that city of _Danavas_, in
appearance like unto the city of the _Gandharvas_ filled with
lamentations and stricken with dole and distress, and bereft of grace
even like unto a lake deprived of (its) elephants, or like unto a forest
deprived of trees and (deprived of its) masters, looked no longer
beautiful--but it vanished, like a cloud-constructed city. And when I
had accomplished the task, from the field Matali took me of delighted
spirits, unto the abode of the lord of the celestials. And having slain
those mighty Asuras, and destroyed _Hiranyapura_, and having also killed
the _Nivata-Kavachas_, I came unto Indra. And, O exceedingly resplendent
one, as it had fallen out, Matali related in detail unto Devendra that
entire achievement of mine. And with the Marutas, hearing of the
destruction of _Hiranyapura_, of the neutralisation of the illusion, and
of the slaughter of the highly powerful Nivatakavachas in fight, the
prosperous thousand-eyed divine _Purandara_ was well pleased, and
exclaimed, "Well done; Well done!" And the king of the celestials
together with the celestials, cheering me again and again, said these
sweet words, "By thee hath been achieved a feat incapable of being
achieved by the gods and the Asuras. And, O Partha, by slaying my mighty
enemies, thou hast paid the preceptor's fee. And, O Dhananjaya, thus in
battle shalt thou always remain calm, and discharge the weapons
unerringly, and there shall not stand thee in fight celestials, and
_Danavas_, and _Rakshasas_, and _Yakshas_, and _Asuras_, and
_Gandharvas_ and birds and serpents. And, O Kaunteya, by conquering it
even by the might of thy arms, Kunti's son Yudhishthira, will rule the


"Arjuna continued, 'Then firmly confident, the sovereign of the
celestials considering as his own, pertinently said these words unto me
wounded by cleaving shafts, "All the celestial weapons, O Bharata, are
with thee, so no man on earth will by any means be able to over-power
thee. And, O son, when thou art in the field, Bhishma and Drona and
Kripa and Karna and Sakuni together with other Kshatriyas shall not
amount unto one-sixteenth part of thee." And the lord Maghavan granted
me this golden garland and this shell, Devadatta, of mighty roars, and
also his celestial mail impenetrable and capable of protecting the body.
And Indra himself set on my (head) this diadem. And _Sakra_ presented me
with these unearthly apparels and unearthly ornaments, elegant and rare.
In this manner, O king, (duly) honoured, I delightfully dwelt in Indra's
sacred abode with the children of the _Gandharvas_. Then, well-pleased,
_Sakra_, together with the celestials, addressed me, saying, "O Arjuna,
the time hath come for thy departure; thy brothers have thought of
thee." Thus, O Bharata, remembering the dissensions arising from that
gambling, did I, O king, pass those five years in the abode of Indra.
Then have I come and seen thee surrounded by our brothers on the summit
of this lower range of the _Gandhamadana_.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O Dhananjaya, by fortune it is that the weapons
have been obtained by thee; by fortune it is that the master of the
immortals hath been adored by thee. O repressor of foes, by fortune it
is that the divine _Sthanu_ together with the goddess had become
manifest unto thee and been gratified by thee in battle, O sinless one;
by fortune it is that thou hadst met with the Lokapalas, O best of the
Bharatas. O Partha, by fortune it is that we have prospered; and by
fortune it is that thou hast come back. To-day I consider as if the
entire earth engarlanded with cities hath already been conquered, and as
if the sons of Dhritarashtra have already been subdued. Now, O Bharata,
I am curious to behold those celestial weapons wherewith thou hadst
slain the powerful _Nivata-Kavachas_.'

"Thereat Arjuna said, 'Tomorrow in the morning thou wilt see all the
celestial weapons with which I slew the fierce _Nivata-Kavachas_.'"

Vaisampayana said, "Thus having related (the facts touching) the
arrival, Dhananjaya passed that night there, together with all his


Vaisampayana continued, "And when the night had passed, Yudhishthira the
just, arose and together with his brothers, performed the necessary
duties. He then spake unto Arjuna, that delight of his mother, saying,
'O Kaunteya, do thou show (me) those weapons with which thou vanquished
the _Danavas_.' Thereat, O king, the exceedingly powerful Dhananjaya,
the son of Pandu, duly practising extreme purity, showed those weapons,
O Bharata, which had been given unto him by the celestials. Dhananjaya
seated on the earth, as his chariot, which had the mountain for its
pole, the base of the axle and the cluster of beautiful-looking bamboo
trees for its socket-pole, looked resplendent with that celestial armour
of great lustre, took his bow _Gandiva_ and the conch-shell given to him
by the gods, commenced to exhibit those celestial weapons in order. And
as those celestial weapons had been set, the Earth being oppressed with
the feet (of Arjuna), began to tremble with (its) trees; and the rivers
and the mighty main became vexed; and the rocks were riven; and the air
was hushed. And the sun did not shine; and fire did not flame; and by no
means did the Vedas of the twice-born once shine. And, O Janamejaya, the
creatures peopling the interior of the earth, on being afflicted, rose
and surrounded the Pandava, trembling with joined hands and contorted
countenances. And being burnt by those weapons, they besought Dhananjaya
(for their lives). Then the _Brahmarshis_, and the _Siddhas_, and the
_Maharshis_ and the mobile beings--all these appeared (on the scene).
And the foremost _Devarshis_, and the celestials and the _Yakshas_ and
the _Rakshasas_ and the _Gandharvas_ and the feathered tribes and the
(other) sky-ranging beings--all these appeared (on the scene). And the
Great-sire and all the Lokapalas and the divine Mahadeva, came thither,
together with their followers. Then, O great king, bearing unearthly
variegated blossoms _Vayu_ (the Wind-god) fell to strewing them around
the Pandava. And sent by the celestials, the _Gandharvas_ chanted
various ballads; and, O monarch, hosts of the _Apsaras_ danced (there).
At such a moment, O king, sent by the celestials, Narada arrived (there)
and addressed Partha in these sweet words, 'O Arjuna, Arjuna, do thou
not discharge the celestial weapons. These should never be discharged
when there is no object (fit). And when there is an object (present),
they should also by no means be hurled, unless one is sore pressed; for,
O son of the Kurus, to discharge the weapons (without occasion), is
fraught with great evil. And, O Dhananjaya, being duly kept as thou hast
been instructed to these powerful weapons will doubtless conduce to thy
strength and happiness. But if they are not properly kept, they, O
Pandava, will become the instrument for the destruction of the three
worlds. So thou shouldst not act in this way again. O Ajatasatru, thou
too wilt behold even these weapons, when Partha will use them for
grinding (thy) enemies in battle.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having prevented Partha the immortals with
others that had come there, went to each his place, O foremost of men.
And, O Kaurava, after they had all gone, the Pandavas began to dwell
pleasantly in the same forest, together with Krishna."


Janamejaya said, "When that prime among heroes, having been accomplished
in arms, had returned from the abode of the slayer of Vritra, what did
Pritha's sons do in company with the warlike Dhananjaya?"

Vaisampayana said, "In company with that hero equal unto Indra,
Arjuna--that foremost of men, sported in the pleasure-gardens of the
lord of treasures (situated) in those woods on that romantic and
excellent mountain. And surveying those peerless and various
pleasure-grounds filled with diverse trees, that chief of men, _Kiriti_,
ever intent upon arms, ranged at large, bow in hand. And having through
the grace of king Vaisravana obtained a residence, those sons of a
sovereign cared not for the prosperity of men. And, O king, that period
of their (lives) passed peacefully. And having Partha in their company,
they spent four years there even like a single night. And as the
Pandavas lived in the wood, (these four years) and the former six,
numbering ten, passed smoothly with them.

"Then having seated themselves before the king, the vehement son of the
Wind-god, with _Jishnu_ and the heroic twins, like unto the lord of the
celestials, earnestly addressed the king in these beneficial and
pleasant words. 'It is only to render thy promise effectual and to
advance thy interests, that, O king of the Kurus, forsaking the forest,
we do not go to slay Suyodhana together with all his followers. Although
deserving of happiness, yet have we been deprived of happiness. And this
is the eleventh year that (in this state) we have been living (in the
forest). And hereafter, deluding that one of evil mind and character,
shall we easily live out the period of non-discovery. And at thy
mandate, O monarch, free from apprehension, we have been ranging the
woods, having relinquished our honour. Having been tempted by our
residence in the vicinity, they (our enemies) will not believe that we
have removed to a distant realm. And after having lived there
undiscovered for a year, and having wreaked our revenge on that wicked
wight, Suyodhana, with his followers, we shall easily root out that
meanest of men, slaying him and regaining our kingdom. Therefore, O
Dharmaraja, do thou descend unto the earth. For, O king, if we dwell in
this region like unto heaven itself, we shall forget our sorrows. In
that case, O Bharata, thy fame like, unto a fragrant flower shall vanish
from the mobile and the immobile worlds. By gaining that kingdom of the
Kuru chiefs, thou wilt be able to attain (great glory), and to perform
various sacrifices. This that thou art receiving from _Kuvera_, thou
wilt, O foremost of men, be able to attain any time. Now, O Bharata,
turn thy mind towards the punishment and destruction of foes that
committed wrongs. O king, the wielder of the thunderbolt himself is
incapable of standing thy prowess. And intent upon thy welfare, he,
having _Suparna_ for his mark (Krishna), and also the grandson of Sini
(Satyaki) never experience pain, even when engaged in encounter with the
gods, O Dharmaraja. And Arjuna is peerless in strength, and so am I too,
O best of kings. And as Krishna together with the Yadavas is intent upon
thy welfare, so am I also, O foremost of monarchs, and the heroic twins
accomplished in war. And encountering the enemy, we, having for our main
object the attainment by thee of wealth and prosperity, will destroy

Vaisampayana continued, "Then having learnt that intention of theirs,
the magnanimous and excellent son of Dharma, versed in religion and
profit, and of immeasurable prowess, went round Vaisravana's abode. And
Yudhishthira the just, after bidding adieu unto the palaces, the rivers,
the lakes, and all the _Rakshasas_, looked towards the way by which (he)
had come (there). And then looking at the mountain also, the high-souled
and pure-minded one besought that best of mountains, saying, 'O foremost
of mountains, may I together with my friends, after having finished my
task, and slain my foes, and regained my kingdom, see thee again,
carrying on austerities with subdued soul.' And this also he determined
on. And in company with his younger brothers and the _Brahmanas_, the
lord of the Kurus proceeded even along that very road. And Ghatotkacha
with his followers began to carry them over the mountain cascades. And
as they started, the great sage _Lomasa_, advising them even as a father
doth his son, with a cheerful heart, went unto the sacred abode of the
dwellers of heaven. Then advised also by Arshtishena, those first of
men, the Parthas, went alone beholding romantic _tirthas_ and
hermitages, and other mighty lakes."


Vaisampayana said, "When they had left their happy home in the beautiful
mountain abounding in cascades, and having birds, and the elephants of
the eight quarters, and the supernatural attendants of _Kuvera_ (as
dwellers thereof), all happiness forsook those foremost of men of
Bharata's race. But afterwards on beholding _Kuvera's_ favourite
mountain, _Kailasa_, appearing like clouds, the delight of those
pre-eminent heroes of the race of Bharata, became very great. And those
foremost of heroic men, equipped with scimitars and bows, proceeded
contentedly, beholding elevations and defiles, and dens of lions and
craggy causeways and innumerable water-falls and lowlands, in different
places, as also other great forests inhabited by countless deer and
birds and elephants. And they came upon beautiful woodlands and rivers
and lakes and caves and mountain caverns; and these frequently by day
and night became the dwelling place of those great men. And having dwelt
in all sorts of inaccessible places and crossing _Kailasa_ of
inconceivable grandeur, they reached the excellent and surpassingly
beautiful hermitage of _Vrishaparba_. And meeting king Vrishaparba and
received by him being they became free from depression and then they
accurately narrated in detail to Vrishaparba the story of their sojourn
in the mountains. And having pleasantly passed one night in his sacred
abode frequented by gods and _Maharshis_, those great warriors proceeded
smoothly towards the jujube tree called Visala and took up their
quarters there. Then all those magnanimous men having reached the place
of Narayana, continued to live there, bereft of all sorrow, at beholding
_Kuvera's_ favourite lake, frequented by gods and _Siddhas_. And viewing
that lake, those foremost of men, the sons of Pandu traversed that
place, renouncing all grief even as immaculate _Brahmana rishis_ (do) on
attaining a habitation in the _Nandana_ gardens. Then all those warriors
having in due course happily lived at Badari for one month, proceeded
towards the realm of Suvahu, king of the _Kiratas_, by following the
same track by which they had come. And crossing the difficult Himalayan
regions, and the countries of China, Tukhara, Darada and all the climes
of Kulinda, rich in heaps of jewels, those warlike men reached the
capital of Suvahu. And hearing that those sons and grandsons of kings
had all reached his kingdom, Suvahu, elated with joy, advanced (to meet
them). Then the best of the Kurus welcomed him also. And meeting king
Suvahu, and being joined by all their charioteers with Visoka at their
head and by their attendants, Indrasena and others, and also by the
superintendents and servants of the kitchen, they stayed there
comfortably for one night. Then taking all the chariots and chariot-men
and dismissing Ghatotkacha together with his followers, they next
repaired to the monarch of mountains in the vicinity of the _Yamuna_. In
the midst of the mountain abounding in waterfalls and having grey and
orange-coloured slopes and summits covered with a sheet of snow, those
warlike men having then found the great forest of Visakhayupa like unto
the forest of Chitraratha and inhabited by wild boars and various kinds
of deer and birds, made it their home. Addicted to hunting as their
chief occupation, the sons of Pritha peacefully dwelt in that forest for
one year. There in a cavern of the mountain, Vrikodara, with a heart
afflicted with distraction and grief, came across a snake of huge
strength distressed with hunger and looking fierce like death itself. At
this crisis Yudhishthira, the best of pious men, became the protector of
Vrikodara and he, of infinite puissance, extricated Bhima whose whole
body had been fast gripped by the snake with its folds. And the twelfth
year of their sojourn in forests having arrived, those scions of the
race of Kuru, blazing in effulgence, and engaged in asceticism, always
devoted principally to the practice of archery, repaired cheerfully from
that Chitraratha-like forest to the borders of the desert, and desirous
of dwelling by the _Saraswati_ they went there, and from the banks of
that river they reached the lake of _Dwaitabana_. Then seeing them enter
_Dwaitabana_, the dwellers of that place engaged in asceticism,
religious ordinances, and self-restraining exercises and in deep and
devout meditation and subsisting on things ground with stone (for want
of teeth) having procured grass-mats and water-vessels, advanced to meet
them. The holy fig, the rudaraksha, the rohitaka, the cane and the
jujube, the catechu, the sirisha, the bel and the inguda and the karira
and pilu and sami trees grew on the banks of the _Saraswati_. Wandering
about with contentment in (the vicinity of) the _Saraswati_ which was,
as it were, the home of the celestials, and the favourite (resort) of
_Yakshas_ and _Gandharvas_ and _Maharshis_, those sons of kings lived
there in happiness."


Janamejaya said, "How was it, O sage! that Bhima, of mighty prowess and
possessing the strength of ten thousand elephants, was stricken with
panic at (the sight of) that snake? Thou hast described him, that slayer
of his enemies, as dismayed and appalled with fear, even him, who by
fighting at the lotus lake (of Kuvera) became the destroyer of _Yakshas_
and _Rakshasas_ and who, in proud defiance, invited to a single combat,
Pulastya's son, the dispenser of all riches. I desire to hear this (from
you); great indeed is my curiosity."

Vaisampayana continued, "O king, having reached king Vrishaparva's
hermitage, while those fearful warriors were living in various wonderful
woods, Vrikodara roaming at pleasure, with bow in hand and armed with a
scimitar, found that beautiful forest, frequented by gods and
_Gandharvas_. And then he beheld (some) lovely spots in the Himalayan
mountains, frequented by _Devarshis_ and _Siddhas_ and inhabited by
hosts of _Apsaras_, resounded here and there with (the warbling of)
birds--the _chakora_, the _chakrabaka_, the _jibajibaka_ and the cuckoo
and the _Bhringaraja_, and abounding with shady trees, soft with the
touch of snow and pleasing to the eye and mind, and bearing perennial
fruits and flowers. And he beheld mountain streams with waters
glistening like the _lapis lazuli_ and with ten thousand snow-white
ducks and swans and with forests of _deodar_ trees forming (as it were)
a trap for the clouds; and with _tugna_ and _kalikaya_ forests,
interspersed with yellow sandal trees. And he of mighty strength, in the
pursuit of the chase, roamed in the level and desert tracts of the
mountain, piercing his game with unpoisoned arrows. In that forest the
famous and mighty Bhimasena, possessing the strength of a hundred
elephants, killed (many) large wild boars, with the force (of his arms).
And endowed with terrible prowess and mighty strength, and powerful as
the lion or the tiger, and capable of resisting a hundred men, and
having long arms, and possessing the strength of a hundred elephants, he
killed many antelopes and wild boars and buffaloes. And here and there,
in that forest he pulled out trees by the roots, with great violence and
broke them too, causing the earth and the woods and the (surrounding)
places to resound. And then shouting and trampling on the tops of
mountains, and causing the earth to resound with his roars, and striking
his arms, and uttering his war-cry, and slapping and clapping his hands,
Bhimasena, exempt from decay, and ever-proud and without fear, again and
again leaped about in those woods. And on hearing the shouts of
Bhimasena, powerful lions and elephants of huge strength, left their
lairs in fright. And in that same forest, he fearlessly strolled about
in search of game; and like the denizens of the woods, that most valiant
of men, the mighty Bhimasena, wandered on foot in that forest. And he
penetrated the vast forest, shouting strange whoops, and terrifying all
creatures, endowed with strength and prowess. And then being terrified,
the snakes hid (themselves) in caves, but he, overtaking them with
promptitude, pursued them slowly. Then the mighty Bhimasena, like unto
the Lord of the Celestials, saw a serpent of colossal proportions,
living in one of the mountain fastnesses and covering the (entire) cave
with its body and causing one's hair to stand on end (from fright). It
had its huge body stretched like a hillock, and it possessed gigantic
strength, and its body was speckled with spots and it had a
turmeric-like (yellow) colour and a deep copper-coloured mouth of the
form of a cave supplied with four teeth; and with glaring eyes, it was
constantly licking the corners of its mouth. And it was the terror of
all animated beings and it looked like the very image of the Destroyer
Yama; and with the hissing noise of its breath it lay as if rebuking (an
in-comer). And seeing Bhima draw so near to him, the serpent, all on a
sudden, became greatly enraged, and that goat-devouring snake violently
seized Bhimasena in his grip. Then by virtue of the boon that had been
received by the serpent, Bhimasena with his body in the serpent's grip,
instantly lost all consciousness. Unrivalled by that of others, the
might of Bhimasena's arms equaled the might of ten thousand elephants
combined. But Bhima, of great prowess, being thus vanquished by the
snake, trembled slowly, and was unable to exert himself. And that one of
mighty arms and of leonine shoulders, though possessed of strength often
thousand elephants, yet seized by the snake, and overpowered by virtue
of the boon, lost all strength. He struggled furiously to extricate
himself, but did not succeed in any wise baffling this (snake)."


Vaisampayana continued, "And the powerful Bhimasena, having thus come
under the power of the snake, thought of its mighty and wonderful
prowess; and said unto it, 'Be thou pleased to tell me, O snake, who
thou art. And, O foremost of reptiles, what wilt thou do with me? I am
Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, and next by birth to Yudhishthira the just.
And endued as I am with the strength of ten thousand elephants, how hast
thou been able to overpower me? In fight have been encountered and slain
by me innumerable lions, and tigers, and buffaloes, and elephants. And,
O best of serpents, mighty _Rakshasas_ and _Pisachas_, and _Nagas_, are
unable to stand the force of my arms. Art thou possessed of any magic,
or hast thou received any boon, that although exerting myself, I have
been overcome by thee? Now I have been convinced that the strength of
men is false, for, O serpent, by thee hath such mighty strength of men
been baffled.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "When the heroic Bhima of noble deed had said
this, the snake caught him, and coiled him all round with his body,
having thus subdued that mighty-aimed one, and freed his plump arms
alone, the serpent spake these words, 'By good fortune it is that,
myself being hungry, after long time the gods have to-day destined thee
for my food; for life is dear unto every embodied being, I should relate
unto thee the way in which I have come by this snake form. Hear, O best
of the pious, I have fallen into this plight on account of the wrath of
the _Maharshis_. Now desirous of getting rid of the curse, I will
narrate unto thee all about it. Thou hast, no doubt, heard of the royal
sage, _Nahusha_. He was the son of Ayu, and the perpetuator of the line
of thy ancestors. Even I am that one. For having affronted the
_Brahmanas_ I, by (virtue of) Agastya's malediction, have come by this
condition. Thou art my agnate, and lovely to behold.--so thou shouldst
not be slain by me,--yet I shall to-day devour thee! Do thou behold the
dispensation of Destiny! And be it a buffalo, or an elephant, none
coming within my reach at the sixth division of the day, can, O best of
men, escape. And, O best of the Kurus, thou hast not been taken by an
animal of the lower order, having strength alone,--but this (hath been
so) by reason only of the boon I have received. As I was falling rapidly
from Sakra's throne placed on the front of his palace, I spake unto that
worshipful sage (Agastya), "Do thou free me from this curse." Thereat
filled with compassion, that energetic one said unto me, "O king, thou
shall be freed after the lapse of some time." Then I fell to the earth
(as a snake); but my recollection (of former life) did not renounce me.
And although it be so ancient, I still recollect all that was said. And
the sage said unto me, "That person who conversant with the relation
subsisting between the soul and the Supreme Being, shall be able to
answer the questions put by thee, shall deliver thee. And, O king, taken
by thee, strong beings superior to thee, shall immediately lose their
strength." I heard these words of those compassionate ones, who felt
attached unto me. And then the Brahmanas vanished. Thus, O highly
effulgent one, having become a serpent, I, doing exceedingly sinful
acts, live in unclean hell, in expectation of the (appointed) time.' The
mighty-armed Bhimasena addressed the serpent, saying, 'I am not angry, O
mighty snake,--nor do I blame myself. Since in regard to happiness and
misery, men sometimes possess the power of bringing and dismissing them,
and sometimes do not. Therefore one should not fret one's mind. Who can
baffle destiny by self-exertion? I deem destiny to be supreme, and
self-exertion to be of no avail. Smitten with the stroke of destiny, the
prowess of my arms lost, behold me to-day fallen unto this condition
without palpable cause. But to-day I do not so much grieve for my own
self being slain, as I do for my brothers deprived of their kingdom, and
exiled into the forest. This Himalaya is inaccessible, and abounds with
_Yakshas_ and the _Rakshasas_. And searching about for me, they will be
distracted. And hearing that I have been killed, (my brothers) will
forego all exertion, for, firm in promise, they have hitherto been
controlled by my harsh speech, I being desirous of gaining the kingdom.
Or the intelligent Arjuna (alone), being versed in every lore, and
incapable of being overcome by gods and _Rakshasas_ and _Gandharvas_,
will not be afflicted with grief. That mighty-armed and exceedingly
powerful one is able single-handed to speedily pull down from his place
even the celestials. What shall I say of the deceitfully gambling son of
Dhritarashtra, detested of all men, and filled with haughtiness and
ignorance! And I also grieve for my poor mother, affectionate to her
sons, who is ever solicitous for our greatness in a large measure than
is attained by our enemies. O serpent, the desire that forlorn one had
in me will all be fruitless in consequence of my destruction. And gifted
with manliness, the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva, following their elder
brother (me), and always protected by the strength of my arms, will,
owing to my destruction, be depressed and deprived of their prowess, and
stricken with grief. This is what I think.' In this way Vrikodara
lamented profusely. And being bound by the body of the snake, he could
not exert himself.

"On the other hand, Kunti's son, Yudhishthira, (seeing) and reflecting
on dreadful ill omens, became alarmed. Terrified by the blaze of the
points of the horizon, jackals stationing themselves on the right of
that hermitage, set up frightful and inauspicious yells. And ugly
_Vartikas_ as of dreadful sight, having one wing, one eye, and one leg,
were seen to vomit blood, facing the sun. And the wind began to blow
dryly, and violently, attracting grits. And to the right all the beasts
and birds began to cry. And in the rear the black crows cried, 'Go!'
'Go!' And momentarily his (Yudhishthira's) right arm began to twitch,
and his chest and left leg shook (of themselves). And indicating evil
his left eye contracted spasmodically. Thereupon, O Bharata, the
intelligent Yudhishthira the just, inferring some great calamity (to be
imminent), asked Draupadi, saying, 'Where is Bhima?' Thereat Panchali
said that Vrikodara had long gone out. Hearing this, that mighty-armed
king set out with Dhaumya, after having said unto Dhananjaya, 'Thou
shouldst protect Draupadi.' And he also directed Nakula and Sahadeva to
protect the _Brahmanas_. And issuing from the hermitage that lord,
Kunti's son, following the footprints of Bhimasena, began to search for
him in that mighty forest. And on coming to the east, he found mighty
leaders of elephant-herds (slain) and saw the earth marked with Bhima's
(foot-prints). Then seeing thousands of deer and hundreds of lions lying
in the forest, the king ascertained his course. And on the way were
scattered trees pulled down by the wind caused by the thighs of that
hero endued with the speed of the wind as he rushed after the deer. And
proceeding, guided by those marks, to a spot filled with dry winds and
abounding in leafless vegetables, brackish and devoid of water, covered
with thorny plants and scattered over with gravel, stumps and shrubs and
difficult of access and uneven and dangerous, he saw in a mountain
cavern his younger brother motionless, caught in the folds of that
foremost of snakes."


Vaisampayana continued, "Yudhishthira, finding his beloved brother
coiled by the body of the serpent, said these words: 'O son of Kunti,
how hast thou come by this misfortune! And who is this best of serpents
having a body like unto a mountain mass?' Bhimasena said, 'O worshipful
one, this mighty being hath caught me for food. He is the royal sage
Nahusha living in the form of a serpent.' Yudhishthira said, 'O
longlived one, do thou free my brother of immeasurable prowess; we will
give thee some other food which will appease thy hunger.' The serpent
said, 'I have got for diet even this son of a king, come to my mouth of
himself. Do thou go away. Thou shouldst not stay here. (If thou
remainest here) thou too shall be my fare to-morrow. O mighty-armed one,
this is ordained in respect of me, that he that cometh unto my place,
becometh my food and thou too art in my quarter. After a long time have
I got thy younger brother as my food; I will not let him off; neither do
I like to have any other food.' Thereat Yudhishthira said, 'O serpent,
whether thou art a god, or a demon, or an _Uraga_, do thou tell me
truly, it is Yudhishthira that asketh thee, wherefore, O snake, hast
thou taken Bhimasena? By obtaining which, or by knowing what wilt thou
receive satisfaction, O snake, and what food shall I give thee? And how
mayst thou free him.' The serpent said, 'O sinless one, I was thy
ancestor, the son of Ayu and fifth in descent from the Moon. And I was a
king celebrated under the name of Nahusha. And by sacrifices and
asceticism and study of the Vedas and self-restraint and prowess I had
acquired a permanent dominion over the three worlds. And when I had
obtained such dominion, haughtiness possessed me. And thousands of
_Brahmanas_ were engaged in carrying my chair. And intoxicated by
supremacy, I insulted those _Brahmanas_. And, O lord of the earth, by
Agastya have I been reduced to this pass! Yet, O Pandava, to this day
the memory (of my former birth) hath not forsaken me! And, O king, even
by the favour of that high-souled Agastya, during the sixth division of
the day have I got for meal thy younger brother. Neither will I set him
free, nor do I wish for any other food. But if to-day thou answerest the
questions put by me, then, I shall deliver Vrikodara!' At this
Yudhishthira said, 'O serpent, ask whatever thou listest! I shall, if I
can, answer thy questions with the view of gratifying thee, O snake!
Thou knowest fully what should be known by _Brahmanas_. Therefore, O
king of snakes, hearing (thee) I shall answer thy queries!'

"The serpent said, 'O Yudhishthira, say--Who is a _Brahmana_ and what
should be known? By thy speech I infer thee to be highly intelligent.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O foremost of serpents, he, it is asserted by the
wise, in whom are seen truth, charity, forgiveness, good conduct,
benevolence, observance of the rites of his order and mercy is a
_Brahmana_. And, O serpent, that which should be known is even the
supreme _Brahma_, in which is neither happiness nor misery--and
attaining which beings are not affected with misery; what is thy

"The serpent said, 'O Yudhishthira, truth, charity, forgiveness,
benevolence, benignity, kindness and the _Veda_[2] which worketh the
benefit of the four orders, which is the authority in matters of
religion and which is true, are seen even in the _Sudra_. As regards the
object to be known and which thou allegest is without both happiness and
misery, I do not see any such that is devoid of these.'

[2] In as much as the rites performed by the Sudras have their
origin in the Vedas.

"Yudhishthira said, 'Those characteristics that are present in a
_Sudra_, do not exist in a _Brahmana_; nor do those that are in a
_Brahmana_ exist in a _Sudra_. And a _Sudra_ is not a _Sudra_ by birth
alone--nor a _Brahmana_ is _Brahmana_ by birth alone. He, it is said by
the wise, in whom are seen those virtues is a _Brahmana_. And people
term him a Sudra in whom those qualities do not exist, even though he be
a _Brahmana_ by birth. And again, as for thy assertion that the object
to be known (as asserted by me) doth not exist, because nothing exists
that is devoid of both (happiness and misery), such indeed is the
opinion, O serpent, that nothing exists that is without (them) both. But
as in cold, heat doth not exist, nor in heat, cold, so there cannot
exist an object in which both (happiness and misery) cannot exist?'

"The serpent said, 'O king, if thou recognise him as a Brahmana by
characteristics, then, O long-lived one, the distinction of caste
becometh futile as long as conduct doth not come into play.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'In human society, O mighty and highly intelligent
serpent, it is difficult to ascertain one's caste, because of
promiscuous intercourse among the four orders. This is my opinion. Men
belonging to all orders (promiscuously) beget offspring upon women of
all the orders. And of men, speech, sexual intercourse, birth and death
are common. And to this the Rishis have borne testimony by using as the
beginning of a sacrifice such expressions as--_of what caste so ever we
may be, we celebrate the sacrifice_. Therefore, those that are wise have
asserted that character is the chief essential requisite. The natal
ceremony of a person is performed before division of the umbilical cord.
His mother then acts as its _Savitri_ and his father officiates as
priest. He is considered as a _Sudra_ as long as he is not initiated in
the _Vedas_. Doubts having arisen on this point, O prince, of serpents,
Swayambhuba Manu has declared, that the mixed castes are to be regarded
as better than the (other) classes, if having gone through the
ceremonies of purification, the latter do not conform to the rules of
good conduct, O excellent snake! Whosoever now conforms to the rules of
pure and virtuous conduct, him have I, ere now, designated as a
_Brahmana_.' The serpent replied, 'O Yudhishthira, thou art acquainted
with all that is fit to be known and having listened to thy words, how
can I (now) eat up thy brother Vrikodara!'"


"Yudhishthira said, 'In this world, you are so learned in the _Vedas_
and _Vedangas_; tell me (then), what one should do to attain salvation?'

"The serpent replied, 'O scion of the Bharata's race, my belief is that
the man who bestows alms on proper objects, speaks kind words and tells
the truth and abstains from doing injury to any creature goes to

"Yudhishthira enquired, 'Which, O snake, is the higher of the two, truth
or alms-giving? Tell me also the greater or less importance of kind
behaviour and of doing injury to no creature.'

"The snake replied, 'The relative merits of these virtues, truth and
alms-giving, kind speech and abstention from injury to any creature, are
known (measured) by their objective gravity (utility). Truth is
(sometimes) more praiseworthy than some acts of charity; some of the
latter again are more commendable than true speech. Similarly, O mighty
king, and lord of the earth, abstention from doing injury to any
creature is seen to be important than good speech and vice-versa. Even
so it is, O king, depending on effects. And now, if thou hast anything
else to ask, say it all, I shall enlighten thee!' Yudhishthira said,
'Tell me, O snake, how the incorporal being's translation to heaven, its
perception by the senses and its enjoyment of the immutable fruits of
its actions (here below), can be comprehended.' The snake replied, 'By
his own acts, man is seen to attain to one of the three conditions of
human existence, of heavenly life, or of birth in the lower animal
kingdom. Among these, the man who is not slothful, who injures no one
and who is endowed with charity and other virtues, goes to heaven, after
leaving this world of men. By doing the very contrary, O king, people
are again born as men or as lower animals. O my son, it is particularly
said in this connection, that the man who is swayed by anger and lust
and who is given to avarice and malice falls away from his human state
and is born again as a lower animal, and the lower animals too are
ordained to be transformed into the human state; and the cow, the horse
and other animals are observed to attain to even the divine state.[3] O
my son, the sentient being, reaping the fruits of his actions, thus
transmigrates through these conditions; but the regenerate and wise man
reposes his soul in the everlasting Supreme Spirit. The embodied spirit,
enchained by destiny and reaping the fruits of its own actions, thus
undergoes birth after birth but he that has lost touch of his actions,
is conscious of the immutable destiny of all born beings.[4]'

[3] More literally, the state of the gods. It may appropriately
be remarked here that the ordinary Hindu gods, of the post-Vedic
period, like the gods of Ancient Greece and Italy, were simply a
class of superhuman beings, distinctly contra-distinguished from
the Supreme Spirit, the _Paramatman_ or _Parabrahma_. After
death, a virtuous man was supposed to be transformed into one of
these so-called gods.

[4] This is the well-known and popular doctrine of
transmigration of souls.

"Yudhishthira asked, 'O snake, tell me truly and without confusion how
that dissociated spirit becomes cognisant of sound, touch, form,
flavour, and taste. O great-minded one, dost thou not perceive them,
simultaneously by the senses? Do thou, O best of snakes, answer all
these queries!' The snake replied, 'O long-lived one, the thing called
_Atman_ (spirit), betaking itself to corporeal tenement and manifesting
itself through the organs of sense, becomes duly cognisant of
perceptible objects. O prince of Bharata's race, know that the senses,
the mind, and the intellect, assisting the soul in its perception of
objects, are called _Karanas_. O my son, the eternal spirit, going out
of its sphere, and aided by the mind, acting through the senses, the
receptacles of all perceptions, successively perceives these things
(sound, form, flavour, &c). O most valiant of men, the mind of living
creatures is the cause of all perception, and, therefore, it cannot be
cognisant of more than one thing at a time. That spirit, O foremost of
men, betaking itself to the space between the eyebrows, sends the high
and low intellect to different objects. What the _Yogins_ perceive after
the action of the intelligent principle by that is manifested the action
of the soul.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Tell me the distinguishing characteristics of the
mind and the intellect. The knowledge of it is ordained as the chief
duty of persons meditating on the Supreme Spirit.'

"The snake replied, 'Through illusion, the soul becomes subservient to
the intellect. The intellect, though known to be subservient to the
soul, becomes (then) the director of the latter. The intellect is
brought into play by acts of perception; the mind is self-existent. The
Intellect does not cause the sensation (as of pain, pleasure, &c), but
the mind does. This, my son, is the difference between the mind and the
intellect. You too are learned in this matter, what is your opinion?'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O most intelligent one, you have fine intelligence
and you know all that is fit to be known. Why do you ask me that
question? You knew all and you performed such wonderful deeds and you
lived in heaven. How could then illusion overpower you? Great is my
doubt on this point.' The snake replied, 'Prosperity intoxicates even
the wise and valiant men. Those who live in luxury, (soon) lose their
reason. So, I too, O Yudhishthira, overpowered by the infatuation of
prosperity, have fallen from my high state and having recovered my
self-consciousness, am enlightening thee thus! O victorious king, thou
hast done me a good turn. By conversing with thy pious self, my painful
curse has been expiated. In days of yore, while I used to sojourn in
heaven in a celestial chariot, reveling in my pride, I did not think of
anything else, I used to exact tribute from _Brahmarshis, Devas,
Yakshas, Gandharvas, Rakshasas, Pannagas_ and all other dwellers of the
three worlds. O lord of earth, such was the spell of my eyes, that on
whatever creature, I fixed them, I instantly destroyed his power.
Thousands of _Brahmarshis_ used to draw my chariot. The delinquency, O
king, was the cause of my fall from my high prosperity. Among them,
Agastya was one day drawing my conveyance, and my feet came in contact
with his body; Agastya then pronounced (this curse) on me, in anger,
"Ruin seize thee, do thou become a snake." So, losing my glory, I fell
down from that excellent car and while falling, I beheld myself turned
into a snake, with head downwards. I thus implored that Brahmana, "May
this curse be extinguished, O adorable one! You ought to forgive one who
has been so foolish from infatuation." Then he kindly told me this, as I
was being hurled down (from heaven), "The virtuous king Yudhishthira
will save thee from this curse, and when, O king, horrible sin of pride
will be extinguished in thee, thou shalt attain salvation." And I was
struck with wonder on seeing (this) power of his austere virtues; and
therefore, have I questioned thee about the attributes of the Supreme
Spirit and of _Brahmanas_. Truth, charity, self-restraint, penance,
abstention from doing injury to any creature, and constancy in virtue,
these, O king, and not his race of family connections, are the means, by
which a man must always secure salvation. May this brother of thine, the
mighty Bhimasena, meet with good luck and may happiness abide with thee!
I must go to Heaven again.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "So saying, that king, Nahusha, quitted his
serpentine form, and assuming his celestial shape he went back to
Heaven. The glorious and pious Yudhishthira, too, returned to his
hermitage with Dhaumya and his brother Bhima. Then the virtuous
Yudhishthira narrated all that, in detail, to the _Brahmanas_ who had
assembled (there). On hearing that, his three brothers and all the
_Brahmanas_ and the renowned Draupadi too were covered with shame. And
all those excellent _Brahmanas_ desiring the welfare of the Pandavas,
admonished Bhima for his foolhardiness, telling him not to attempt such
things again, and the Pandavas too were greatly pleased at seeing the
mighty Bhima out of danger, and continued to live there pleasantly."


(_Markandeya-Samasya Parva_)

Vaisampayana said, "While they were dwelling at that place, there set in
the season of the rains, the season that puts an end to the hot weather
and is delightful to all animated beings. Then the black clouds,
rumbling loudly, and covering the heavens and the cardinal points,
ceaselessly rained during day and night. These clouds, counted by
hundreds and by thousands, looked like domes in the rainy season. From
the earth disappeared the effulgence of the sun; its place was taken by
the stainless lustre of the lightning; the earth became delightful to
all, being overgrown with grass, with gnats and reptiles in their joy;
it was bathed with rain and possessed with calm. When the waters had
covered all, it could not be known whether the ground was at all even or
uneven;--whether there were rivers or trees or hills. At the end of the
hot season, the rivers added beauty to the woods being themselves full
of agitated waters, flowing with great force and resembling serpents in
the hissing sound they made. The boars, the stags and the birds, while
the rain was falling upon them began to utter sounds of various kinds
which could be heard within the forest tracts. The _chatakas_, the
peacocks and the host of male _Kohilas_ and the excited frogs, all ran
about in joy. Thus while the Pandavas were roaming about in the deserts
and sandy tracts, the happy season of rain, so various in aspect and
resounding with clouds passed away. Then set in the season of autumn,
thronged with ganders and cranes and full of joy; then the forest tracts
were overrun with grass; the river turned limpid; the firmament and
stars shone brightly., And the autumn, thronged with beasts and birds,
was joyous and pleasant for the magnanimous sons of Pandu. Then were
seen nights, that were free from dust and cool with clouds and
beautified by myriads of planets and stars and the moon. And they beheld
rivers and ponds, adorned with lilies and white lotuses, full of cool
and pleasant water. And while roving by the river _Saraswati_ whose
banks resembled the firmament itself and were overgrown with canes, and
as such abounded in sacred baths, their joy was great. And those heroes
who wielded powerful bows, were specially glad to see the pleasant river
_Saraswati_, with its limpid waters full to the brim. And, O Janamejaya,
the holiest night, that of the full moon in the month of _Kartika_ in
the season of autumn, was spent by them while dwelling there! And the
sons of Pandu, the best of the descendants of Bharata, spent that
auspicious juncture with righteous and magnanimous saints devoted to
penance. And as soon as the dark fortnight set in immediately after, the
sons of Pandu entered the forest named the Kamyaka, accompanied by
Dhananjaya and their charioteers and cooks."


Vaisampayana said, "O son of Kuru, they, Yudhishthira and others, having
reached the forest of _Kamyaka_, were hospitably received by hosts of
saints and they lived together with Krishna. And while the sons of Pandu
were dwelling in security in that place, many _Brahmanas_ came to wait
upon them. And a certain _Brahmana_ said, 'He the beloved friend of
Arjuna, of powerful arms and possessed of self control, descendant of
_Sura_, of a lofty intellect, will come, for, O ye foremost of the
descendants of Kuru, Hari knows that ye have arrived here. For, Hari has
always a longing for your sight and always seeks your welfare. And
Markandeya, who lived very many years devoted to great austerities,
given to study and penance, will erelong come and meet you.' And the
very moment that he was uttering these words, there was beheld Krishna,
coming thitherward upon a car unto which were yoked the horses Saivya
and Sugriva,--he the best of those that ride on cars, accompanied by
Satyabhama, is like Indra by Sachi, the daughter of Pulaman. And the son
of Devaki came, desirous to see those most righteous of the descendants
of Kuru. And the sagacious Krishna, having alighted from the car,
prostrated himself, with pleasure in his heart, before the virtuous
king, in the prescribed way, and also before Bhima, that foremost of
powerful men. And he paid his respects to Dhaumya, while the twin
brothers prostrated themselves to him. And he embraced Arjuna of the
curly hair; and spoke words of solace to the daughter of Drupada. And
the descendant of the chief of the Dasaraha tribe, that chastiser of
foes, when he saw the beloved Arjuna come near him, having seen him
after a length of time, clasped him again and again. And so too
Satyabhama also, the beloved consort of Krishna, embraced the daughter
of Drupada, the beloved wife of the sons of Pandu. Then these sons of
Pandu, accompanied by their wife and priests, paid their respects to
Krishna, whose eyes resembled the white lotus and surrounded him on all
sides. And Krishna, when united with Arjuna, the son of Pritha, the
winner of riches and the terror of the demons assumed a beauty
comparable to that of _Siva_, the magnanimous lord of all created
beings, when he, the mighty lord, is united with Kartikeya (his son).
And Arjuna, who bore a circlet of crowns on his head, gave an account of
what had happened to him in the forest to Krishna, the elder brother of
Gada. And Arjuna asked, saying, 'How is Subhadra, and her son
Abhimanyu?' And Krishna, the slayer of Madhu, having paid his respects
in the prescribed form to the son of Pritha, and to the priest, and
seating himself with them there, spoke to king Yudhishthira, in words of
praise. And he said, 'O king, Virtue is preferable to the winning of
kingdoms; it is, in fact, practice of austerities! By you who have
obeyed with truth and candour what your duty prescribed, have been won
both this world and that to come! First you have studied, while
performing religious duties; having acquired in a suitable way the whole
science of arms, having won wealth by pursuing the methods prescribed
for the military caste, you have celebrated all the time-honoured
sacrificial rites. You take no delight in sensual pleasures; you do not
act, O lord of men, from motives of enjoyment, nor do you swerve from
virtue from greed of riches; it is for this, you have been named the
Virtuous King, O son of Pritha! Having won kingdoms and riches and means
of enjoyment, your best delight has been charity and truth and practice
of austerities, O King, and faith and meditation and forbearance and
patience! When the population of Kuru-jangala beheld Krishna outraged in
the assembly hall, who but yourself could brook that conduct, O Pandu's
son, which was so repugnant both to virtue and usage? No doubt, you
will, before long, rule over men in a praiseworthy way, all your desires
being fulfilled. Here are we prepared to chastise the Kurus, as soon as
the stipulation made by you is fully performed!' And Krishna, the
foremost of the _Dasarha_ tribe, then said to Dhaumya and Bhima and
Yudhishthira, and the twins and Krishna, 'How fortunate that by your
blessing Arjuna the bearer of the coronet, has arrived after having
acquired the science of arms!' And Krishna, the leader of the _Dasarha_
tribe, accompanied by friends, likewise spoke to Krishna, the daughter
of Yajnasena, saying, 'How fortunate that you are united, safe and
secure, with Arjuna, the winner of riches!' And Krishna also said, 'O
Krishna, O daughter of Yajnasena, those sons of yours, are devoted to
the study of the science of arms, are well-behaved and conduct
themselves on the pattern, O Krishna, of their righteous friends. Your
father and your uterine brothers proffer them a kingdom and territories;
but the boys find no joy in the house of Drupada, or in that of their
maternal uncles. Safely proceeding to the land of the Anartas, they take
the greatest delight in the study of the science of arms. Your sons
enter the town of the _Vrishnis_ and take an immediate liking to the
people there. And as you would direct them to conduct themselves, or as
the respected Kunti would do, so does Subhadra direct them in a watchful
way. Perhaps, she is still more careful of them. And, O Krishna, as
Rukmini's son is the preceptor of Aniruddha, of Abhimanyu, of Sunitha,
and of Bhanu; so he is the preceptor and the refuge of your sons also!
And a good preceptor, would unceasingly give them lessons in the
wielding of maces and swords and bucklers, in missiles and in the arts
of driving cars and of riding horses, being valiant. And he, the son of
Rukmini, having bestowed a very good training upon them, and having
taught them the art of using various weapons in a proper way, takes
satisfaction at the valorous deeds of your sons, and of Abhimanyu, O
daughter of Drupada! And when your son goes out, in pursuit of
(out-door) sports, each one of them is followed thither by cars and
horses and vehicles and elephants.' And Krishna said to the virtuous
king, Yudhishthira, 'The fighting men of the _Dasarha_ tribe, and the
_Kukuras_, and the _Andhakas_--let these, O king, place themselves at
thy command--let them perform what thou desirest them. O lord of men,
let the army of the tribe of Madhus, (resistless) like the wind, with
their bows and led by Balarama whose weapon is the plough--let that
army, equipped (for war), consisting of horsemen and foot soldiers and
horses and cars and elephants, prepare to do your bidding. O son of
Pandu! Drive Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, the vilest of sinful
men, together with his followers and his hosts of friends to the path
betaken by the lord of Saubha, the son of the Earth! You, O ruler of
men, are welcome to stick to that stipulation which was made in the
assembly-hall--but let the city of Hastina be made ready for you, when
the hostile force has been slain by the soldiers of the _Dasarha_ tribe!
Having roamed at your pleasure in all those places where you may desire
to go, having got rid of your grief and freed from all your sins--you
will reach the city of Hastina--the well-known city situated in the
midst of a fine territory!'--Then the magnanimous king having been
acquainted with the view, thus clearly set forth by Krishna that best of
men, and, having applauded the same, and having deliberated, thus spoke
with joined palms unto Kesava, 'O Kesava, no doubt, thou art the refuge
of the sons of Pandu; for the sons of Pandu have their protector in
thee! When the time will come, there is no doubt that thou wilt do all
the work just mentioned by thee; and even more than the same! As
promised by us, we have spent all the twelve years in lonely forests. O
Kesava, having in the prescribed way completed the period for living
unrecognised, the sons of Pandu will take refuge in thee. This should be
the intention of those that associate with thee, O Krishna! The sons of
Pandu swerve not from the path of truth, for the sons of Pritha with
their charity and their piety with their people and their wives and with
their relations have their protector in thee!'"

Vaisampayana said, "O descendant of Bharata, while Krishna, the
descendant of the _Vrishnis_ and the virtuous king, were thus talking,
there appeared then the saint Markandeya, grown grey in the practise of
penances. And he had seen many thousand years of life, was of a pious
soul, and devoted to great austerities. Signs of old age he had none;
and deathless he was, and endued with beauty and generous and many good
qualities. And he looked like one only twenty-five years old. And when
the aged saint, who had seen many thousand years of life, came, all the
_Brahmanas_ paid their respects to him and so did Krishna together with
Pandu's son. And when that wisest saint, thus honoured, took his seat in
a friendly way, Krishna addressed him, in accordance with the views of
the _Brahmanas_ and of Pandu's sons, thus,--

"'The sons of Pandu, and the _Brahmanas_ assembled here, and the
daughter of Drupada, and Satyabhama, likewise myself, are all anxious to
hear your most excellent words, O Markandeya! Propound to us the holy
stories of events of bygone times, and the eternal rules of righteous
conduct by which are guided kings and women and saints!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "When they had all taken their seats, Narada
also, the divine saint, of purified soul, came on a visit to Pandu's
sons. Him also, then, of great soul, all those foremost men of superior
intellect, honoured in the prescribed form, by offering water to wash
his feet, and the well-known oblation called the _Arghya_. Then the
godlike saint, Narada, learning that they were about to hear the speech
of Markandeya, expressed his assent to the arrangement. And he, the
deathless, knowing what would be opportune, said smilingly, 'O saint of
the _Brahmana_ caste, speak what you were about to say unto the sons of
Pandu!' Thus addressed, Markandeya, devoted to great austerities,
replied, 'Wait a moment. A great deal will be narrated.' Thus addressed,
the sons of Pandu, together with those twice-born ones, waited a moment,
looking at that great saint, (bright) as the mid-day sun."

Vaisampayana continued, "Pandu's son, the king of the Kuru tribe, having
observed that the great saint as willing to speak, questioned him with a
view to suggesting topics to speak upon, saying, 'You who are ancient
(in years), know the deeds of gods and demons, and illustrious saints,
and of all the royal ones. We consider you as worthy of being worshipped
and honoured; and we have long yearned after your company. And here is
this son of Devaki, Krishna, who has come to us on a visit. Verily, when
I look at myself, fallen away from happiness, and when I contemplate the
sons of Dhritarashtra, of evil life, flourishing in every way, the idea
arises in me that it is _man_ who does all acts, good or bad, and that
it is _he_ that enjoys the fruit the acts bring forth. How then is god
the agent? And, O best of those that are proficient in the knowledge of
God, how is it that men's actions follow them? Is it in this world? Or
is it in some subsequent existence? And, O best of righteous men among
the twice-born, in what way is an embodied animated being joined by his
good and evil deeds that seek him out? Is it after death? Or is it in
this world? And, O descendant of Bhrigu, is what we experience in this
world the result of the acts of this very life? Or will the acts of this
life bear fruit in the world to come? And where do the actions of an
animated being who is dead find their resting place?'

"Markandeya said, 'O best of those that can speak, this question befits
thee, and is just what it should be. Thou knowest all that there is to
know. But thou art asking this question, simply for the sake of form.
Here I shall answer thee: listen to me with an attentive mind, as to how
in this world and in that to come, a man experienceth happiness and
misery. The lord of born beings, himself sprung first of all, created,
for all embodied beings, bodies which were stainless, pure, and obedient
to virtuous impulses, O wisest of the descendants of Kuru! The ancient
men had all their desires fulfilled, were given to praiseworthy courses
of life, were speakers of truth, godly and pure. All were equal to the
gods, could ascend to the sky at their pleasure, and could come back
again; and all went about at their pleasure. And they had their death
and their life also under their own control; and they had few
sufferings; had no fear; and had their wishes fulfilled; and they were
free from trouble; could visit the gods and the magnanimous saints; knew
by heart all righteous rules; were self-controlled and free from envy.
And they lived many thousand years; and had many thousand sons. Then in
course of time they came to be restricted to walking solely on the
surface of the earth, overpowered by lust and wrath, dependent for
subsistence upon falsehood and trick, overwhelmed by greed and
senselessness. Then those wicked men, when disembodied, on account of
their unrighteous and unblessed deeds, went to hell in a crooked way.
Again and again, they were grilled, and, again and again they began to
drag their miserable existence in this wonderful world. And their
desires were unfulfilled, the objects unaccomplished, and their
knowledge became unavailing. And their senses were paralysed and they
became apprehensive of everything and the cause of other people's
sufferings. And they were generally marked by wicked deeds, and born in
low families; they became wicked and afflicted with diseases, and the
terror of others. And they became short-lived and sinful and they reaped
the fruit of their terrible deeds. And coveting everything, they became
godless and indifferent in mind, O son of Kunti! The destiny of every
creature after death is determined by his acts in this world. Thou hast
asked me where this treasure of acts of the sage and the ignorant
remain, and where they enjoy the fruit of their good and evil deeds! Do
thou listen to the regulations on this subject! Man with his subtle
original body created by God lays up a great store of virtue and vice.
After death he quits his frail (outer) body and is immediately born
again in another order of beings. He never remains non-existent for a
single moment. In his new life his actions follow him invariably as
shadow and, fructifying, makes his destiny happy or miserable. The wise
man, by his spiritual insight, knows all creatures to be bound to an
immutable destiny by the destroyer and incapable of resisting the
fruition of his actions in good or evil fortune. This, O Yudhishthira,
is the doom of all creatures steeped in spiritual ignorance. Do thou now
hear of the perfect way attained by men of high spiritual perception!
Such men are of high ascetic virtue and are versed in all profane and
holy writ, diligent in performing their religious obligations and
devoted to truth. And they pay due homage to their preceptors and
superiors and practise Yoga, are forgiving, continent and energetic and
pious and are generally endowed with every virtue. By the conquest of
the passions, they are subdued in mind; by practising _yoga_ they become
free from disease, fear and sorrow; they are not troubled (in mind). In
course of birth, mature or immature, or while ensconced in the womb, in
every condition, they with spiritual eyes recognize the relation of
their soul to the supreme Spirit. Those great-minded _Rishis_ of
positive and intuitive knowledge passing through this arena of actions,
return again to the abode of the celestials. Men, O king, attain what
they have in consequence of the grace of the gods of Destiny or of their
own actions. Do thou not think otherwise. O Yudhishthira, I regard that
as the highest good which is regarded so in this world. Some attain
happiness in this world, but not in the next; others do so in the next,
but not in this. Some, again, attain happiness in this as well as in the
next world; and others neither here nor in the next world. Those that
have immense wealth, shine every day with well-decorated persons. O
slayer of mighty foes, being addicted to carnal pleasures, they enjoy
happiness only in this world, but not in the next. But those who are
engaged in spiritual meditations and the study of the Vedas, who are
diligent in asceticism, and who impair the vigour of their bodies by
performing their duties, who have subdued their passions, and who
refrain from killing any animated being, those men, O slayer of thy
enemies, attain happiness in the next world, but not in this! Those who
first live a pious life, and virtuously acquire wealth in due time and
then marry and perform sacrifices, attain bliss both in this and the
next world. Those foolish men again who do not acquire knowledge, nor
are engaged in asceticism or charity or increasing their species; or in
encompassing the pleasures and enjoyments of this world, attain bliss
neither in this nor in the next world. But all of you are proficient in
knowledge and possessed of great power and strength and celestial
vigour. For the extermination (of the wicked) and for serving the
purposes of the gods, ye have come from the other world and have taken
your birth in this! Ye, who are so valiant, and engaged in asceticism,
self-restraining exercises, and religious ordinances, and fond of
exertion, after having performed great deeds and gratified the gods and
_Rishis_ and the _Pitris_, ye will at last in due course attain by your
own acts the supreme region--the abode of all virtuous men! O ornament
of Kuru's race, may no doubts cross thy mind on account of these thy
sufferings, for this affliction is for thy good!'"


Vaisampayana continued,--"The sons of Pandu said to the high-souled
Markandeya, 'We long to hear of the greatness of the _Brahmanas_. Do
thou tell us of it!' Thus asked, the revered Markandeya, of austere
virtue and high spiritual energy, and proficient in all departments of
knowledge, replied, 'A strong-limbed, handsome young prince of the race
of the Haihayas, a conqueror of hostile cities, (once) went out hunting.
And (while) roaming in the wilderness of big trees and thickets of
grass, he saw, at no great distance from him, a _Muni_ with the skin of
a black antelope for his upper garment, and killed him for a deer.
Pained at what he had done, and his senses paralysed with grief, he
repaired to the presence of the more distinguished of the _Haihaya_
chiefs. The lotus-eyed prince related to them the particulars. On
hearing the account, O my son, and beholding the body of the _Muni_ who
had subsisted on fruits and roots, they were sorely afflicted in mind.
And they all set out enquiring here and there as they proceeded, as to
whose son the _Muni_ might be. And they soon after reached the hermitage
of Arishtanemi, son of Kasyapa. And saluting that great _Muni_, so
constant in austerity, they all remained standing, while the _Muni_, on
his part, busied himself about their reception. And they said unto the
illustrious _Muni_, "By a freak of destiny, we have ceased to merit thy
welcome: indeed, we have killed a Brahmana!" And the regenerate _Rishi_
said to them, "How hath a Brahmana come to be killed by you, and say
where may be he? Do ye all witness the power of my ascetic practices!"
And they, having related everything to him as it had happened went back,
but found not the body of the dead _Rishi_ on the spot (where they had
left it). And having searched for him, they returned, ashamed and bereft
of all perception, as in a dream. And then, O thou conqueror of hostile
cities, the _Muni_ Tarkshya, addressed them, saying, "Ye princes, can
this be the Brahmana of your killing? This Brahmana, endowed with occult
gifts from spiritual exercises, is, indeed, my son!" Seeing that
_Rishi_, O lord of the earth, they were struck with bewilderment. And
they said, "What a marvel! How hath the dead come to life again? Is it
the power of his austere virtue by which he hath revived again? We long
to hear this, O Brahmana, if, indeed, it can be divulged?" To them, he
replied, "Death, O lords of men, hath no power over us! I shall tell ye
the reason briefly and intelligibly. We perform our own sacred duties;
therefore, have we no fear of death; we speak well of _Brahmanas_ but
never think any ill of them; therefore hath death no terror for us.
Entertaining our guests with food and drink, and our dependants with
plenty of food, we ourselves (then) partake of what is left; therefore
we are not afraid of death. We are peaceful and austere and charitable
and forbearing and fond of visiting sacred shrines, and we live in
sacred places; therefore we have no fear of death. And we live in places
inhabited by men who have great spiritual power; therefore hath death no
terror for us. I have briefly told ye all! Return ye now all together,
cured of all worldly vanity. Ye have no fear of sin!" Saying _amen_, O
foremost scion of Bharata's race, and saluting the great _Muni_, all
those princes joyously returned to their country.'"


"Markandeya continued, 'Do ye again hear from me the glory of the
_Brahmanas_! It is said that a royal sage of the name of _Vainya_ was
once engaged in performing the horse-sacrifice and that Atri desired to
go to him for alms. But Atri subsequently gave up his desire of wealth,
from religious scruples. After much thought he, of great power, became
desirous of living in the woods, and, calling his wife and sons
together, addressed them thus, "Let us attain the highly tranquil and
complete fruition of our desires. May it, therefore, be agreeable to you
to repair quickly to the forest for a life of great merit." His wife,
arguing from motives of virtue also then said to him, "Hie thee to the
illustrious prince Vainya, and beg of him vast riches! Asked by thee,
that royal sage, engaged in sacrifice will give thee wealth. Having gone
there, O regenerate _Rishi_, and received from him vast wealth, thou
canst distribute it among thy sons and servants and then thou canst go
whithersoever thou pleasest. This, indeed, is the higher virtue as
instanced by men conversant with religion." Atri replied, "I am
informed, O virtuous one, by the high-souled Gautama, that Vainya is a
pious prince, devoted to the cause of truth; but there are _Brahmanas_
(about his persons) who are jealous of me; and as Gautama hath told me
this, I do not venture to go there, for (while) there, if I were to
advise what is good and calculated to secure piety and the fulfilment of
one's desires, they would contradict me with words unproductive of any
good. But I approve of any counsel and will go there; Vainya will give
me kine and hoards of riches."'

"Markandeya continued, 'So saying, he, of great ascetic merit, hastened
to Vainya's sacrifice and reaching the sacrificial altar and making his
obeisance to the king and praising him with well-meaning speeches, he
spoke these words, "Blessed art thou, O king! Ruling over the earth,
thou art the foremost of sovereigns! The _Munis_ praise thee, and
besides thee there is none so versed in religious lore!" To him the
_Rishi_ Gautama, of great ascetic merit, then indignantly replied
saying, "Atri, do not repeat this nonsense. (It seems) thou art not in
thy proper senses. In this world of ours, Mahendra the lord of all
created beings (alone) is the foremost of all sovereigns!" Then, O,
great prince, Atri said to Gautama, "As Indra, the lord of all
creatures, ruleth over our destinies, so doth this king! Thou art
mistaken. It is thou who hast lost thine senses from want of spiritual
perception!" Gautama replied, "I know I am not mistaken; it is thou who
art labouring under a misconception in this matter. To secure the king's
countenance, thou art flattering him in (this) assembly of the people.
Thou dost not know what the highest virtue, nor dost thou feel the need
for it. Thou art like a child steeped in ignorance, for what then hast
thou become (so) old in years?"'

"Markandeya continued, 'While those two men were thus disputing in the
presence of the _Munis_, who were engaged in Vainya's sacrifice the
latter enquired, "What is the matter with them, that maketh them talk so
vociferously?" Then the very pious Kasyapa learned in all religious
lore, approaching the disputants asked them what was the matter. And
then Gautama, addressing that assembly of great _Munis_ said, "Listen, O
great _Brahmanas_, to the point in dispute between us. Atri hath said
that Vainya is the ruler of our destinies; great is our doubt on this

"Markandeya continued, 'On hearing this, the great-mind _Munis_ went
instantly to Sanatkumara who was well versed in religion to clear their
doubt. And then he of great ascetic merit, having heard the particulars
from them addressed them these words full of religious meaning. And
Sanatkumara said, "As fire assisted by the wind burneth down forests, so
a Brahmana's energy in union with a Kshatriya's or a Kshatriya's joined
with a Brahmana's destroyeth all enemies. The sovereign is the
distinguished giver of laws and the protector of his subjects. He is (a
protector of created beings) like Indra, (a propounder of morals) like
Sukra, (a counsellor) like Vrihaspati and (hence he is also called) the
ruler of men's destinies. Who does not think it proper to worship the
individual of whom such terms as 'preserver of created beings,' 'royal,'
'emperor,' 'Kshatriya' (or saviour of the earth), 'lord of earth,'
'ruler of men,' are applied in praise? The king is (also) styled the
prime cause (of social order, as being the promulgator of laws), 'the
virtuous in wars,' (and therefore, preserver after peace), 'the
watchman,' 'the contented,' 'the lord,' 'the guide to salvation,' 'the
easily victorious,' 'the Vishnu like,' 'of effective wrath,' 'the winner
of battles' and 'the cherisher of the true religion.' The _Rishis_,
fearful of sin, entrusted (the temporal) power to the Kshatriyas. As
among the gods in heaven the Sun dispelleth darkness by his effulgence,
so doth the king completely root out sin from this earth. Therefore is
the king's greatness reduced from the evidences of the sacred books, and
we are bound to pronounce for that side which hath spoken in favour of
the king."'

"Markandeya continued, 'Then that illustrious prince, highly pleased
with the victorious party, joyfully said to Atri, who had praised him
erewhile. "O regenerate _Rishi_, thou hast made and styled me the
greatest and most excellent of men here, and compared me to the gods;
therefore, shall I give thee vast and various sorts of wealth. My
impression is that thou art omniscient. I give thee, O well-dressed and
well-adorned one, a hundred millions of gold coins and also ten _bharas_
of gold." Then Atri, of high austere virtues and great spiritual powers,
thus welcomed (by the king), accepted all the gifts without any breach
of propriety, and returned home. And then giving his wealth to his sons
and subduing his self, he cheerfully repaired to the forest with the
object of performing penances.'"


"Markandeya continued, 'O thou conqueror of hostile cities, in this
connection Saraswati too, when interrogated by that intelligent _Muni_
Tarkshya, had said (this). Do thou listen to her words! Tarkshya had
asked, saying, "Excellent lady, what is the best thing for a man to do
here below, and how must he act so that he may not deviate from (the
path of) virtue. Tell me all this, O beautiful lady, so that instructed
by thee, I may not fall away from the path of virtue! When and how must
one offer oblations to the (sacred) fire and when must he worship so
that virtue may not be compromised? Tell me all this, O excellent lady,
so that I may live without any passions, craving, or desire, in this

"Markandeya continued, 'Thus questioned by that cheerful _Muni_ and
seeing him eager to learn and endued with high intelligence, Saraswati
addressed these pious and beneficial words to the Brahmana, Tarkshya.'

"'Saraswati said, "He who is engaged in the study of the _Vedas_, and
with sanctity and equanimity perceives the supreme Godhead in his proper
sphere, ascends the celestial regions and attains supreme beatitude with
the Immortals. Many large, beautiful, pellucid and sacred lakes are
there, abounding with fish, flowers, and golden lilies. They are like
shrines and their very sight is calculated to assuage grief. Pious men,
distinctively worshipped by virtuous well-adorned golden-complexioned
_Apsaras_, dwell in contentment on the shores of those lakes. He who
giveth cows (to Brahmanas) attaineth the highest regions; by giving
bullocks he reacheth the solar regions, by giving clothes he getteth to
the lunar world, and by giving gold he attaineth to the state of the
Immortals. He who giveth a beautiful cow with a fine calf, and which is
easily milked and which doth not run away, is (destined) to live for as
many years in the celestial regions as there are hairs on the body of
that animal. He who giveth a fine, strong, powerful, young bullock,
capable of drawing the plough and bearing burdens, reacheth the regions
attained by men who give ten cows. When a man bestoweth a
well-caparisoned _kapila_ cow with a brazen milk-pail and with money
given afterwards, that cow becoming, by its own distinguished qualities,
a giver of everything reacheth the side of the man who gave her away. He
who giveth away cows, reapeth innumerable fruits of his action, measured
by the hairs on the body of that animal. He also saveth (from perdition)
in the next world his sons and grandsons and ancestors to the seventh
generation. He who presenteth to a Brahmana, sesamum made up in the form
of a cow, having horns made of gold, with money besides, and a brazen
milk-pail, subsequently attaineth easily to the regions of the _Vasus_.
By his own acts man descends into the darksome lower regions, infested
by evil spirits (of his own passions) like a ship tossed by the storm in
the high seas; but the gift of kine to Brahmanas saves him in the next
world. He who giveth his daughter in marriage, in the _Brahma_ form, who
bestoweth gifts of land on Brahmanas and who duly maketh other presents,
attaineth to the regions of Purandara. O Tarkshya, the virtuous man who
is constant in presenting oblations to the sacred fire for seven years,
sanctifieth by his own action seven generations up and down."

"'Tarkshya said, "O beautiful lady, explain to me who ask thee, the
rules for the maintenance of the sacred fire as inculcated in the
_Vedas_. I shall now learn from thee the time-honoured rules for
perpetually keeping up the sacred fire."'"


"Then Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, said to the Brahmana, Markandeya,
'Do thou now narrate the history of Vaivaswata Manu.'

"Markandeya replied, 'O king, O foremost of men, there was a powerful
and great _Rishi_ of the name of Manu. He was the son of Vivaswan and
was equal unto _Brahma_ in glory. And he far excelled his father and
grandfather in strength, in power, in fortune, as also in religious
austerities. And standing on one leg and with uplifted hand, that lord
of men did severe penance in the jujube forest called Visala. And there
with head downwards and with steadfast eyes he practised the rigid and
severe penance for ten thousand years. And one day, whilst he was
practising austerities there with wet clothes on and matted hair on
head, a fish approaching the banks of the Chirini, addressed him thus,
"Worshipful sir, I am a helpless little fish, I am afraid of the large
ones; therefore, do thou, O great devotee, think it worth thy while to
protect me from them; especially as this fixed custom is well
established amongst us that the strong fish always preys upon the weak
ones. Therefore do thou think it fit to save me from being drowned in
this sea of terrors! I shall requite thee for thy good offices." On
hearing these words from the fish, Vaivaswata Manu was overpowered with
pity and he took out the fish from the water with his own hands. And the
fish which had a body glistening like the rays of the moon when taken
out of the water was put back in an earthen water-vessel. And thus
reared that fish O king, grew up in size and Manu tended it carefully
like a child. And after a long while, it became so large in size, that
there was no room for it in that vessel. And then seeing Manu (one day),
it again addressed these words to him, "Worshipful sir, do thou appoint
some better habitation for me." And then the adorable Manu, the
conqueror of hostile cities, took it out of that vessel and carried it
to a large tank and placed it there. And there again the fish grew for
many a long year. And although the tank was two _yojanas_ in length and
one _yojana_ in width, even there, O lotus-eyed son of Kunti and ruler
of men, was no room for the fish to play about! And beholding Manu it
said again, "O pious and adorable father, take me to the Ganga, the
favourite spouse of the Ocean so that I may live there; or do as thou
listest. O sinless one, as I have grown to this great bulk by thy favour
I shall do thy bidding cheerfully." Thus asked the upright and continent
and worshipful Manu took the fish to the river Ganga and he put it into
the river with his own hands. And there, O conqueror of thy enemies, the
fish again grew for some little time and then beholding Manu, it said
again, "O lord, I am unable to move about in the Ganga on account of my
great body; therefore, worshipful sir, do thou please take me quickly to
the sea!" O son of Pritha, Manu then taking it out of the Ganga, carried
it to the sea and consigned it there. And despite its great bulk, Manu
transported it easily and its touch and smell were also pleasant to him.
And when it was thrown into the sea by Manu, it said these words to him
with a smile, "O adorable being, thou hast protected me with special
care; do thou now listen to me as to what thou shouldst do in the
fulness of time! O fortunate and worshipful sir, the dissolution of all
this mobile and immobile world is nigh at hand. The time for the purging
of this world is now ripe. Therefore do I now explain what is good for
thee! The mobile and immobile divisions of the creation, those that have
the power of locomotion, and those that have it not, of all these the
terrible doom hath now approached. Thou shall build a strong massive ark
and have it furnished with a long rope. On that must thou ascend, O
great _Muni_, with the seven _Rishis_ and take with thee all the
different seeds which were enumerated by regenerate Brahmanas in days of
yore, and separately and carefully must thou preserve them therein. And
whilst there, O beloved of the _Munis_, thou shall wait for me, and I
shall appear to thee like a horned animal, and thus, O ascetic, shall
thou recognise me! And I shall now depart, and thou shall act according
to my instructions, for, without my assistance, thou canst not save
thyself from that fearful flood." Then Manu said unto the fish, "I do
not doubt all that thou hast said, O great one! Even so shall I act!"
And giving instructions to each other, they both went away. And Manu
then, O great and powerful king and conqueror of thy enemies, procured
all the different seeds as directed by the fish, and set sail in an
excellent vessel on the surging sea. And then, O lord of the earth, he
bethought himself of that fish. And the fish too, O conqueror of thy
enemies and foremost scion of Bharata's race, knowing his mind, appeared
there with horns on his head. And then, O tiger among men, beholding in
the ocean that horned fish emerging like a rock in the form of which he
had been before appraised, he lowered the ropy noose on its head. And
fastened by the noose, the fish, O king and conqueror of hostile cities,
towed the ark with great force through the salt waters. And it conveyed
them in that vessel on the roaring and billow beaten sea. And, O
conqueror of thy enemies and hostile cities, tossed by the tempest on
the great ocean, the vessel reeled about like a drunken harlot. And
neither land nor the four cardinal points of the compass, could be
distinguished. And there was water every where and the waters covered
the heaven and the firmament also. And, O bull of Bharata's race, when
the world was thus flooded, none but Manu, the seven _Rishis_ and the
fish could be seen. And, O king, the fish diligently dragged the boat
through the flood for many a long year and then, O descendant of Kuru
and ornament of Bharata's race, it towed the vessel towards the highest
peak of the Himavat. And, O Bharata, the fish then told those on the
vessel to tie it to the peak of the Himavat. And hearing the words of
the fish they immediately tied the boat on that peak of the mountain
and, O son of Kunti and ornament of Bharata's race, know that that high
peak of the Himavat is still called by the name of _Naubandhana_ (the
harbour). Then the fish addressing the associated _Rishis_ told them
these words, "I am Brahma, the Lord of all creatures; there is none
greater than myself. Assuming the shape of a fish, I have saved you from
this cataclysm. Manu will create (again) all beings--gods, _Asuras_ and
men, all those divisions of creation which have the power of locomotion
and which have it not. By practicing severe austerities he will acquire
this power, and with my blessing, illusion will have no power over him."

"'So saying the fish vanished instantly. And Vaivaswata Manu himself
became desirous of creating the world. In this work of creation illusion
overtook him and he, therefore, practised great asceticism. And endowed
with ascetic merit, Manu, O ornament of Bharata's race, again set about
his work of creating all beings in proper and exact order. This story
which I have narrated to thee and the hearing of which destroyeth all
sin, is celebrated as the Legend of the Fish. And the man who listeneth
every day to this primeval history of Manu, attaineth happiness and all
other objects of desire and goeth to heaven.'"


"Then the virtuous king Yudhishthira in all humility again enquired of
the illustrious Markandeya, saying, 'O great _Muni_, thou hast seen many
thousands of ages pass away. In this world there is none so longlived as
thou! O best of those that have attained the knowledge of Supreme
Spirit, there is none equal to thee in years except the great-minded
_Brahma_ living in the most exalted place. Thou, O Brahmana, worshippest
_Brahma_ at the time of the great dissolution of the universe, when this
world is without sky and without the gods and _Danavas_. And when that
cataclysm ceaseth and the Grandsire awaketh, thou alone, O regenerate
_Rishi_, beholdest _Brahma_ duly re-create the four orders of beings
after having filled the cardinal points with air and consigned the
waters to their proper place. Thou, O great Brahmana, hast worshipped in
his presence the great Lord and Grandsire of all creatures with soul
rapt in meditation and entirely swallowed up in Him! And, O Brahmana,
thou hast many a time witnessed with thy eyes, the primeval acts of
creation, and, plunged in severe ascetic austerities, thou hast also
surpassed the _Prajapatis_ themselves! Thou art esteemed as one who is
nearest to Narayana, in the next world. Many a time in days of yore hast
thou beheld the Supreme Creator of the universe with eyes of spiritual
abstraction and renunciation, having first opened thy pure and
lotus-like heart--the only place where the multiform Vishnu of universal
knowledge may be seen! It is for this, O learned _Rishi_, by the grace
of God neither all-destroying Death, nor dotage that causeth the decay
of the body, hath any power over thee! When neither the sun, nor the
moon, nor fire, nor earth, nor air, nor sky remains, when all the world
being destroyed looketh like one vast ocean, when the _Gods_ and
_Asuras_ and the great _Uragas_ are annihilated, and when the
great-minded _Brahma_, the Lord of all creatures, taking his seat on a
lotus flower, sleepeth there, then thou alone remainest to worship him!
And, O best of Brahman as thou hast seen all this that occurred before,
with thy own eyes. And thou alone hast witnessed many things by the
senses, and never in all the worlds hath there been any thing unknown to
thee! Therefore do I long to hear any discourse explaining the causes of

"Markandeya replied, 'Indeed, I shall explain all, after having bowed
down to that Self-existent, Primordial Being, who is eternal and
undeteriorating and inconceivable, and who is at once vested with and
divested of attributes. O tiger among men, this Janardana attired in
yellow robes is the grand Mover and Creator of all, the Soul and Framer
of all things, and the lord of all! He is also called the Great, the
Incomprehensible, the Wonderful and the Immaculate. He is without
beginning and without end, pervades all the world, is Unchangeable and
Undeteriorating. He is the Creator of all, but is himself uncreate and
is the Cause of all power. His knowledge is greater than that of all the
gods together. O best of kings and pre-eminent of men, after the
dissolution of the universe, all this wonderful creation again comes
into life. Four thousand years have been said to constitute the _Krita
Yuga_. Its dawn also, as well as its eve, hath been said to comprise
four hundred years. The _Treta-Yuga_ is said to comprise three thousand
years, and its dawn, as well as its eve, is said to comprise three
hundred years. The _Yuga_ that comes next is called _Dwapara_, and it
hath been computed to consist of two thousand years. Its dawn, as well
as its eve, is said to comprise two hundred years. The next _Yuga_,
called _Kali_, is said to comprise one thousand years and its dawn, as
well as eve, is said to comprise one hundred years. Know, O king, that
the duration of the dawn is the same as that of the eve of a _Yuga_. And
after the _Kali Yuga_ is over, the _Krita Yuga_ comes again. A cycle of
the _Yugas_ thus comprised a period of twelve thousand years. A full
thousand of such cycles would constitute a _day of Brahma_. O tiger
among men, when all this universe is withdrawn and ensconced within its
home--the Creator himself--that disappearance of all things is called by
the learned to be Universal Destruction. O bull of the Bharata race,
towards the end of the last mentioned period of one thousand years,
i.e., when the period wanted to complete a cycle is short, men generally
become addicted to falsehood in speech. O son of Pritha, then sacrifices
and gifts and vows, instead of being performed by principals are
suffered to be performed by representatives! Brahmanas then perform acts
that are reserved for the _Sudras_, and the _Sudras_ betake themselves
to the acquisition of wealth. Then Kshatriyas also betake themselves to
the practice of religious acts. In the _Kali_ age, the Brahmanas also
abstain from sacrifices and the study of the Vedas, are divested of
their staff and deer-skin, and in respect of food become omnivorous.
And, O son, the Brahmanas in that age also abstain from prayers and
meditation while the Sudras betake themselves to these! The course of
the world looketh contrary, and indeed, these are the signs that
foreshadow the Universal Destruction. And, O lord of men, numerous
_Mleccha_ kings then rule over the earth! And those sinful monarchs,
addicted to false speech, govern their subjects on principles that are
false. The _Andhhas_, the _Sakas_, the _Pulindas_, the _Yavanas_, the
_Kamvojas_, the _Valhikas_ and the _Abhiras_, then become, O best of
men, possessed of bravery and the sovereignty of the earth. This, O
tiger among men, becometh the state of the world during the eve, O
Bharata, of the _Kali_ age! Not a single Brahmana then adhereth to the
duties of his order. And the Kshatriyas and the Vaisyas also, O monarch,
follow practices contrary to those that are proper for their own orders.
And men become short-lived, weak in strength, energy, and prowess; and
endued with small might and diminutive bodies, they become scarcely
truthful in speech. And the human population dwindles away over large
tracts of country, and the regions of the earth, North and South, and
East and West, become crowded with animals and beasts of prey. And
during this period, they also that utter _Brahma_, do so in vain. The
_Sudras_ address _Brahmanas_, saying, _Bho_, while the Brahmanas address
Sudras, saying _Respected Sir_. And, O tiger among men, at the end of
the _Yuga_, animals increase enormously. And, O king, odours and
perfumes do not then become so agreeable to our sense of scent, and, O
tiger among men, the very tastes of things do not then so well accord
with our organs of taste as at other periods! And, O king, women then
become mothers of numerous progeny, endued with low statures, and
destitute of good behaviour and good manners. And they also make their
very mouths serve the purposes of the organ of procreation. And famine
ravages the habitations of men, and the highways are infested by women
of ill fame, while females in general, O king, become at such periods
hostile to their lords and destitute of modesty! And, O king, the very
kine at such periods yield little milk, while the trees, sat over with
swarms of crows, do not produce many flowers and fruits. And, O lord of
the earth, regenerate classes, tainted with the sin of slaying
Brahmanas, accept gifts from monarchs that are addicted to falsehood in
speech. And filled with covetousness and ignorance, and bearing on their
persons the outward symbols of religion, they set out on eleemosynary
rounds, afflicting the people of the Earth. And people leading domestic
lives, afraid of the burden of taxes, become deceivers, while Brahmanas,
falsely assuming the garb of ascetics, earn wealth by trade, with nails
and hair unpared and uncut. And, O tiger among men, many of the
twice-born classes become, from avarice of wealth, religious mendicants
of the _Brahmacharin_ order. And, O monarch, men at such periods behave
contrary to the _modes_ of life to which they betake themselves, and
addicted to intoxicating drinks and capable of violating the beds of
their preceptors, their desires are all of this world, pursuing matters
ministering to the flesh and the blood. And O tiger among men, at such
period the asylums of ascetics become full of sinful and audacious
wretches ever applauding lives of dependence. And the illustrious
chastiser of Paka never showers rain according to the seasons and the
seeds also that are scattered on earth, do not, O Bharata, all sprout
forth. And men, unholy in deed and thought, take pleasure in envy and
malice. And, O sinless one, the earth then becometh full of sin and
immorality. And, O lord of the earth, he that becometh virtuous at such
periods doth not live long. Indeed, the earth becometh reft of virtue in
every shape. And, O tiger among men, the merchants and traders then full
of guile, sell large quantities of articles with false weights and
measures. And they that are virtuous do not prosper; while they that are
sinful proper exceedingly. And virtue loseth her strength while sin
becometh all powerful. And men that are devoted to virtue become poor
and short-lived; while they that are sinful become long-lived and win
prosperity. And in such times, people behave sinfully even in places of
public amusements in cities and towns. And men always seek the
accomplishment of their ends by means that are sinful. And having earned
fortunes that are really small they become intoxicated with the pride of
wealth. And O monarch, many men at such periods strive to rob the wealth
that hath from trust been deposited with them in secrecy. And wedded to
sinful practices, they shamelessly declare--_there is nothing in
deposit_. And beasts of prey and other animals and fowl may be seen to
lie down in places of public amusement in cities and towns, as well as
in sacred edifices. And, O king girls of seven or eight years of age do
then conceive, while boys of ten or twelve years beget offspring. And in
their sixteenth year, men are overtaken with decrepitude and decay and
the period of life itself is soon outrun. And O king, when men become so
short-lived, more youths act like the aged; while all that is observable
in youth may be noticed in the old. And women given to impropriety of
conduct and marked by evil manners, deceive even the best of husbands
and forget themselves with menials and slaves and even with animals. And
O king, even women that are wives of heroes seek the companionship of
other men and forget themselves with these during the life-time of their

"'O king, towards the end of those thousands of years constituting the
four _Yugas_ and when the lives of men become so short, a drought occurs
extending for many years. And then, O lord of the earth, men and
creatures endued with small strength and vitality, becoming hungry die
by thousands. And then, O lord of men, seven blazing Suns, appearing in
the firmament, drink up all the waters of the Earth that are in rivers
or seas. And, O bull of the Bharata race, then also everything of the
nature of wood and grass that is wet to dry, is consumed and reduced to
ashes. And then, O Bharata, the fire called _Samvartaka_ impelled by the
winds appeareth on the earth that hath already been dried to cinders by
the seven Suns. And then that fire, penetrating through the Earth and
making its appearance, in the nether regions also, begetteth great
terror in the hearts of the _gods_, the _Danavas_ and the _Yakshas_.
And, O lord of the earth, consuming the nether regions as also
everything upon this Earth that fire destroyeth all things in a moment.
And that fire called _Samvartaka_ aided by that inauspicious wind,
consumeth this world extending for hundreds and thousands of _yojanas_.

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