"'"This truthful description (of the tirthas) one should recite only unto the regenerate ones, unto those that are pious, unto one's son and friends and disciples and dependents. This narrative, without a rival, is blessed and holy and leadeth to heaven. Holy and entertaining and sanctifying, it is productive of merit and high worth. Destructive of every sin, it is a mystery that the great Rishis cherish with care. By reciting it in the midst of Brahmanas, one is cleansed of every sin, and ascends to heaven. This description of tirthas is auspicious and heaven-giving and sacred; ever blessed as it is, it destroys one's enemies; foremost of all accounts, it sharpens the intellect. By reading this narrative the sonless obtains sons, the destitute obtains riches, a person of the royal order conquereth the whole earth, the Vaisya cometh by wealth, the Sudra obtaineth all his desires, and the Brahmana crosseth the ocean (of the world). Purifying himself, he that listens daily to the merits of the different tirthas, recollects the incidents of many previous births and rejoices in heaven. Of the tirthas that have been recited here, some are easily accessible, while others are difficult of access. But he that is inspired with the desire of beholding all tirthas, should visit them even in imagination. Desirous of obtaining merit, the Vasus, and the Sadhyas, the Adityas, the Maruts, the Aswins, and the Rishis equal unto celestials, all bathed in these tirthas. Do thou also, O thou of the Kuru race, observing the ordinance as explained by me, visit, with subdued senses, these tirthas, increasing thy merit, O thou of excellent vows. Men of piety and learning are able to visit these tirthas, by reason of their purified senses, their belief in Godhead, and their acquaintance with the Vedas. He that doth not observe vows, he that hath not his soul under control, he that is impure, he that is a thief, and he that is of crooked mind, doth not, O Kauravya, bathe in tirthas. Thou art ever observant of virtue, and art of pure character. By thy virtue, O virtuous one, thou hast always gratified thy father and thy grand-father, and great-grand-fathers, and the gods with Brahma at their head, and the Rishis also, O thou versed in virtue! Thou who resemblest Vasava, thou wilt, O Bhishma, attain to the region of the Vasus, and also eternal fame on earth!"'
"Narada continued, 'Having cheerfully spoken thus, the illustrious Rishi Pulastya, well-pleased, bidding Bhishma farewell, disappeared there and then. And Bhishma also, O tiger among men, well understanding the true import of the Shastras, wandered over the world at the command of Pulastya. Thus, O thou blessed one, did Bhishma end at Prayaga his highly meritorious journey to the tirthas capable of destroying all sins. The man that ranges the earth in accordance with these injunctions, obtains the highest fruit of a hundred horse-sacrifices and earns salvation hereafter. Thou wilt, O son of Pritha, obtain merit consisting of the eight attributes, even like that which Bhishma, the foremost of the Kurus, had obtained of yore. And as thou wilt lead these ascetics to those tirthas, thy merit will be much greater. Those tirthas are infested by Rakshasas, and no one, save thyself, O son of Kuru race, can go there. Rising early he that reciteth this narrative by the celestial Rishis on the subject of the tirthas, becometh free from all sins. Those foremost of Rishis, Valmiki, and Kasyapa, and Atreya, and Kundajathara, and Viswamitra, and Gautama, and Asita, and Devala, and Markandeya, and Galava, and Bharadwaja, and Vasishtha, and the Muni Uddalaka, and Saunaka with his son, and Vyasa, that best of ascetics, and Durvasas, that foremost of Munis, and Javali of great austerities—all these illustrious Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, are staying in expectation of thee. With these, O mighty king, do thou meet by visiting these tirthas. And, O illustrious monarch, a great Rishi of immeasurable energy, Lomasa by name, will come to thee. Do thou follow him, and me, and by turns visit these tirthas, O thou virtuous one! By this, thou wilt acquire great fame, like king Mahabhisha! O tiger among kings, even as the virtuous Yayati and king Pururavas, dost thou blaze forth with thy own virtue. Like king Bhagiratha and the illustrious Rama, dost thou shine among kings even as the Sun himself. And thou art, O great king, celebrated (in the world) even as Muni or Ikshwaku, or the highly famous Puru or Vainya! And as in days of yore the slayer of Vritra, after burning all his foes, ruled the three worlds, his mind freed from anxiety, so wilt thou rule thy subjects, after slaying all thy enemies. And, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves, having conquered the earth according to the customs of thy order, thou wilt obtain renown by thy virtue, even like Kartaviryaryuna.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "O great king, having comforted the monarch thus, the illustrious Rishi Narada, bidding farewell to the king, disappeared there and then. And the virtuous Yudhishthira, reflecting upon the subject, began to recite unto the ascetics the merit attaching to tirthas!"
Vaisampayana continued, "Having ascertained the opinion of his brothers, and of the intelligent Narada, king Yudhishthira, addressing Dhaumya, who was like unto the Grandsire himself, said, 'I have for the acquisition of arms, sent away that tiger among men, Jishnu, whose prowess is incapable of being baffled, and who is possessed of long arms and immeasurable intelligence. O thou of ascetic wealth, that hero is devoted to me, endued with ability, and well-skilled in weapons, and like unto the exalted Vasudeva himself. I know them both, Krishna and Arjuna, those destroyers of enemies, O Brahmana, endued with prowess, even as the puissant Vyasa knoweth them. I know Vasudeva and Dhananjaya to be none else than Vishnu himself, possessed of the six attributes. And this is also what Narada knoweth, for he hath always spoken so unto me. I also know them to be Rishis, Nara and Narayana. Knowing him to possess the ability, I have sent him (on the mission). Not inferior unto Indra and fully competent (for the task), I have sent that son of a god to see the lord of the celestials and obtain weapons from him. Bhishma and Drona are Atirathas. Kripa and the son of Drona are invincible; these mighty warriors have been installed by Dhritarashtra's son in the command of his army. All these are versed in the Vedas, are heroic, and possessed of the knowledge of every weapon. Endued with great strength, these always desire to encounter Arjuna in fight. And Karna also of the Suta caste is a mighty warrior versed in celestial weapons. In respect of the impetus of his weapons, he is endued with the strength of the Wind-god. Himself like a flame of fire, the arrows (proceeding from him) constitute its tongues. The slaps of his left hand cased in leathern fence constitute the crackling of that flame. The dust of the battle-field is its smoke. Urged by the sons of Dhritarashtra even as the wind urgeth the fire, Karna like unto the all-consuming fire at the end of the Yuga that is sent by Death himself, will, without doubt, consume my troops like unto a heap of straw. Only that mighty mass of clouds called Arjuna, aided by Krishna like unto a powerful wind, with celestial weapon representing its fierce lightning, the white steeds, the rows of white cranes coursing underneath and the unbearable Gandiva, the rainbow ahead, is capable of extinguishing the blazing flame represented by Karna by means of its arrowy showers let off with unflagging steadiness. That conqueror of hostile cities, Vibhatsu, will, without doubt, succeed in obtaining from Indra himself all the celestial weapons with their fullness and life. Alone he is equal, I think, unto them all. Otherwise it is impossible (for us) to vanquish in fight all those foes, who have attained to eminent success in all their purposes. We shall behold Arjuna, that repressor of foes, fully equipped with celestial weapons, for Vibhatsu having once undertaken a task, never droopeth under its weight. Without that hero, however, that best of men, ourselves, with Krishna, cannot be at rest in Kamyaka. Therefore, do thou mention some other wood that is sacred and delightful, and abounds in food and fruits, and that is inhabited by men of pious practices:—where we may pass some time, expecting the warlike Arjuna of unbaffled prowess, like the Chataka in expectation of gathering clouds. Do thou tell us of some asylums open to the regenerate ones, and lakes and streams and beautiful mountains. O Brahmana, deprived of Arjuna, I do not like to stay in this wood of Kamyaka. We wish to go somewhere else.'"
Vaisampayana said, "Beholding the Pandavas afflicted with anxiety and depressed in spirits, Dhaumya, who resembled Vrihaspati, spake thus, comforting them, 'O bull of the Bharata race, O sinless one, listen to me as I mention certain sacred asylums and regions and tirthas and mountains that are approved of by Brahmanas. O king, listen to me as I speak, thyself with the daughter of Drupada and thy brothers, wilt, O lord of men, be relieved from grief. And, O son of Pandu, by hearing only of these places, thou wilt acquire merit. And by visiting them thou wilt obtain merit a hundred times greater, O best of men! First, O king, I will, so far as I recollect, speak of the beautiful eastern country, much regarded, O Yudhishthira, by royal Rishis. In that direction, O Bharata is a place called Naimisha which is regarded by the celestials. There in that region are several sacred tirthas belonging to the gods. There also is the sacred and beautiful Gomati which is adored by celestial Rishis and there also is the sacrificial region of the gods and the sacrificial stake of Surya. In that quarter also is that best of hills called Gaya, which is sacred and much regarded by royal ascetics. There on that hill, is the auspicious lake called Brahmasara which is adored by celestial Rishis. It is for this that the ancients say that one should wish for many sons, so that even one among them may visit Gaya, celebrate the horse-sacrifice or give away a nila bull, and thereby deliver ten generations of his race up and down. There, O monarch, is a great river, and spot called Gayasira. In Gayasira is a banian, which is called by the Brahmanas the Eternal banian, for the food that is offered there to the Pitris becometh eternal, O exalted one! The great river that floweth by the place is known by the name of Phalgu, and its waters are all sacred. And, O bull among the Bharatas, there also, in that place, is the Kausiki, whose basin abounds in various fruit and roots, and where Viswamitra endued with wealth of asceticism acquired Brahmanahood. Towards that direction also is the sacred Ganga, on whose banks Bhagiratha celebrated many sacrifices with profuse gifts (to Brahmanas). They say that in the country of Panchala, there is a wood called Utpala, where Viswamitra of Kusika's race had performed sacrifices with his son, and where beholding the relics of Viswamitra's superhuman power, Rama, the son of Jamadagni, recited the praises of his ancestry. At Kamyaka, Kusika's son had quaffed the Soma juice with Indra. Then abandoning the Kshatriya order, he began to say, I am a Brahmana. In that quarter, O hero is the sacred confluence of Ganga and Yamuna which is celebrated over the world. Holy and sin-destroying, that tirtha is much regarded by the Rishis. It is there that the soul of all things, the Grandsire, had, in olden days, performed his sacrifice, and it is for this, O chief of the Bharata race, that the place hath come to be called Prayaga. In this direction, O foremost of kings, lieth the excellent asylum of Agastya, O monarch, and the forest called Tapasa, decked by many ascetics. And there also is the great tirtha called Hiranyavinda on the Kalanjara hills, and that best of mountains called Agastya, which is beautiful, sacred and auspicious. In that quarter, O descendant of the Kuru race, is the mountain called Mahendra, sacred to the illustrious Rama of the Bhrigu race. There, O son of Kunti, the Grandsire performed sacrifices of yore. There, O Yudhishthira, the sacred Bhagiratha entereth a lake and there also, O king, is that sacred river known by the name of the merit-bestowing Brahmasara, whose banks are inhabited by persons whose sins have been washed away, and whose sight alone produceth merit. In that direction also lieth the high-souled Matanga's excellent asylum, called Kedara which is sacred and auspicious and celebrated over the world. And there also is the mountain called Kundoda, which is so delightful and abounding in fruits and roots and waters, and where the king of the Nishadhas (Nala) had slaked his thirst and rested for a while. In that quarter also is the delightful Deva-vana which is graced by ascetics. There also are the rivers Vahuda and Nanda on the mountain's crest. O mighty king, I have described unto thee all the tirthas and sacred spots in the Eastern quarter. Do thou now hear of the sacred tirthas, and rivers and mountains and holy spots in the other three quarters!'"
"Dhaumya continued, 'Listen, O Bharata, I shall now narrate to thee in detail according to my knowledge, the sacred tirthas of the south. In that quarter lieth the sacred and auspicious river Godavari, full of water abounding in groves and frequented by ascetics. In that direction also are the rivers Venna and Bhimarathi, both capable of destroying sin and fear, and abounding in birds and deer, and graced with abodes of ascetics. In that region also, O bull of the Bharata race, is the tirtha of the royal ascetic, Nriga viz., the river Payoshni, which is delightful and full of waters and visited by Brahmanas. There the illustrious Markandeya, of high ascetic merit sang the praises in verse of king Nriga's line. We have heard respecting the sacrificing king Nriga that which really took place while he was performing a sacrifice in the excellent tirtha called Varaha on the Payoshni. In that sacrifice Indra became intoxicated with quaffing the Soma, and the Brahmanas, with the gifts they received. The water of the Payoshni, taken up (in vessel), or flowing along the ground, or conveyed by the wind, can cleanse a person from whatever sins he may commit till the day of his death. Higher than heaven itself, and pure, and created and bestowed by the trident-bearing god, there in that tirtha is an image of Mahadeva beholding which a mortal goeth to the region of Siva. Placing on one scale Ganga and the other rivers with their waters, and on the other, the Payoshni, the latter, in my opinion would be superior to all the tirthas, together, in point of merit! Then, O foremost of the Bharata race, on the mountain called Varunasrotasa is the sacred and auspicious wood of Mathara abounding in fruits and roots, and containing a sacrificial stake. Then, O king, it is said that in the region on the north of the Praveni, and about the sacred asylum of Kanwa, are many woody retreats of ascetics. And, O child, in the tirtha called Surparaka are two sacrificial platforms of the illustrious Jamadagni, called Pashana and Punaschandra, O Bharata! And, O son of Kunti, in that spot is the tirtha called Asoka abounding in woody retreats of ascetics. And, O Yudhishthira, in the country of the Pandyas are the tirthas named Agastya and Varuna! And, O bull among men, there, amongst the Pandavas, is the tirtha called the Kumaris. Listen, O son of Kunti, I shall now describe Tamraparni. In that asylum the gods had undergone penances impelled by the desire of obtaining salvation. In that region also is the lake of Gokarna which is celebrated over the three worlds, hath an abundance of cool waters, and is sacred, auspicious, and capable, O child, of producing great merit. That lake is extremely difficult of access to men of unpurified souls. Near to that tirtha is the sacred asylum of Agastya's disciple, the mountain Devasabha, which abounds in trees and grass, and fruits and roots. And there also is the Vaiduryya mountain, which is delightful abounding in gems and capable of bestowing great merit. There on that mountain is the asylum of Agastya abounding in fruits and roots and water.
"'I shall now, O lord of men, describe the sacred spots, and asylums, and rivers and lakes belonging to the Surashtra country! O Yudhishthira, the Brahmanas say that on the sea-coast is the Chamasodbheda, and also Prabhasa, that tirtha which is much regarded by the gods. There also is the tirtha called Pindaraka, frequented by ascetics and capable of producing great merit. In that region is a mighty hill named Ujjayanta which conduceth to speedy success. Regarding it the celestial Rishi Narada of great intelligence hath recited an ancient sloka. Do thou listen to it, O Yudhishthira! By performing austerities on the sacred hill of Ujjayanta in Surashtra, that abounds in birds and animals, a person becometh regarded in heaven. There also is Dwaravati, producing great merit, where dwelleth the slayer of Madhu, who is the Ancient one in embodied form, and eternal virtue. Brahmanas versed in the Vedas, and persons acquainted with the philosophy of the soul say that the illustrious Krishna is eternal Virtue. Govinda is said to be the purest of all pure things, the righteous of the righteous and the auspicious of the auspicious. In all the three worlds, He of eyes like lotus-leaves is the God of gods, and is eternal. He is the pure soul and the active principle of life, is the Supreme Brahma and is the lord of all. That slayer of Madhu, Hari of inconceivable soul, dwelleth there!'"
"Dhaumya continued, 'I shall describe to thee those sacred spots capable of producing merit that lie on the west. In the country of the Anarttas, O Bharata, there flows in a westward course the sacred river Narmada, graced by Priyangu and mango trees, and engarlanded with thickest of canes. All the tirthas and sacred spots, and rivers and woods and foremost of mountains that are in the three worlds, all the gods with the Grandsire, along with the Siddhas, the Rishis and the Charanas, O best of the Kurus, always come, O Bharata, to bathe in the sacred waters of the Narmada. And it hath been heard by us that the sacred asylum of the Muni Visravas, had stood there, and that there was born the lord of treasures, Kuvera, having men for his vehicles. There also is that foremost of hills, the sacred and auspicious Vaidurya peak abounding with trees that are green and which are always graced with fruit and flowers. O lord of the earth, on the top of that mountain is a sacred tank decked with full-blown lotus and resorted to by the gods and the Gandharvas. Many are the wonders, O mighty monarch, that may be seen on that sacred mountain which is like unto heaven itself and which is visited by celestial Rishis. There, O subjugator of hostile cities, is the sacred river called Viswamitra belonging to the royal sage of that name and which abounds, O king, in many sacred tirthas. It was on the banks of this river, that Yayati, the son of Nahusha, (fell from heaven) among the virtuous, and obtained once more the eternal regions of the righteous. Here also are the well-known lake called Punya, the mountain called Mainaka, and that other mountain called Asita abounding in fruits and roots. And here also is the sacred asylum of Kakshasena, and O Yudhishthira, the asylum of Chyavana also, which is famed over every country, O son of Pandu! In that spot, O exalted one, men attain to (ascetic) success without severe austerities. Here also, O mighty king, is the region called Jamvumarga, inhabited by birds and deer, and which constitutes the retreat of ascetics with souls under control, O thou foremost of those that have subdued their senses! Next lie the exceedingly sacred Ketumala, and Medhya ever graced with ascetics, and, O lord of earth, Gangadwara, and the well-known woods of Saindhava which are sacred and inhabited by the regenerate ones. There also is the celebrated tank of the Grandsire, called Pushkara, the favourite abode of the Vaikanasas, and Siddhas and Rishis. Moved by the desire of obtaining its protection, the Creator sang this verse at Pushkara, O chief of the Kurus and foremost of virtuous men! If a person of pure soul purposes a pilgrimage to the Pushkaras in imagination even, he becometh purged from all his sins and rejoiceth in heaven!'"
"Dhaumya continued, 'O tiger among kings, I shall now describe those tirthas and sacred spots that lie to the north. Do thou, O exalted one, listen to me attentively. By hearing this narration, O hero, one acquireth a reverential frame of mind, which conduceth to much good. In that region is the highly sacred Saraswati abounding in tirthas and with banks easy of descent. There also, O son of Pandu, is the ocean-going and impetuous Yamuna, and the tirtha called Plakshavatarana, productive of high merit and prosperity. It was there that the regenerate ones having performed the Saraswata sacrifice, bathed on the completion thereof. O sinless one, is the well-known celestial tirtha called Agnisiras, which is productive of great merit. There king Sahadeva had celebrated a sacrifice measuring out the ground by a throw of the Samya. It is for this reason, O Yudhishthira, that Indra sang the praises of Sahadeva in verse. Those verses are still current in this world, being recited by the regenerate ones, e.g., on the Yamuna Sahadeva worshipped the sacrificial fire, with gifts in a hundred thousands to Brahmanas. There the illustrious king, the imperial Bharata, performed five and thirty horse-sacrifices. O child, we have heard that Sarabhanga of yore used to fully gratify the desires of the regenerate ones. There in this region is his celebrated asylum productive of great merit. In that region also, O son of Pritha, is the river Saraswati, which is ever worshipped by the god, where, in days of yore, the Valikhilyas, O great king, performed sacrifices. In that region also, O Yudhishthira, is the well-known river Drisadwati, which is productive of great merit. Then, O chief of men, are Nyagrodhakhya, and Panchalya, and Punyaka and Dalbhyaghosha, and Dalbhya, which are, O son of Kunti, the sacred asylum in the world of illustrious Anandayasas of excellent vows and great energy, and which are celebrated over the three worlds. Here also, O lord of men, the illustrious Etavarna and Avavarana versed in the Vedas, learned in Vedic lore, and proficient in the knowledge of Vedic rites, performed meritorious sacrifices, O chief of the Bharata race! There also is Visakhayupa to which, in days of yore, came the gods with Varuna and Indra, and practised ascetic austerities. And therefore is that spot so eminently sacred. Here also is Palasaka, where the great and illustrious and highly blessed Rishi Jamadagni performed sacrifices. There all the principal rivers in their embodied forms taking their respective waters stood surrounding that best of sages. And there also, O monarch, Vibhavasu (fire) himself, beholding that high-souled one's initiation, sang the following sloka: "The river coming to the illustrious Jamadagni while sacrificing unto the gods gratified the Brahmanas with offerings of honey." O Yudhishthira, the spot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost of mountains which is frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Apsaras, and inhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called Gangadwara. O king, Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by Brahmarshis, as also the tirtha Kanakhala (that is near to it), as sacred. There also is the mountain named Puru which is resorted to by great Rishis and where Pururavas was born, and Bhrigu practised ascetic austerities. For this it is, O king, that asylum hath become known as the great peak of Bhrigutunga. Near that peak is the sacred and extensive Vadari, that highly meritorious asylum, famed over the three worlds, of him, O bull of the Bharata race, who is the Present, the Past and the Future, who is called Narayana and the lord Vishnu, who is eternal and the best of male beings, and who is pre-eminently illustrious. Near Vadari, the cool current of Ganga was formerly warm, and the banks there were overspread with golden sands. There the gods and Rishis of high fortune and exceeding effulgence, approaching the divine lord Narayana, always worship him. The entire universe with all its tirthas and holy spots is there where dwelleth the divine and eternal Narayana, the Supreme soul, for he is Merit, he is the Supreme Brahma, he is tirtha, he is the ascetic retreat, he is the First, he is the foremost of gods, and he is the great Lord of all creatures. He is eternal, he is the great Creator, and he is the highest state of blessedness. Learned persons versed in the scriptures attain to great happiness by knowing him. In that spot are the celestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and, indeed, all the Rishis,—where dwelleth the slayer of Madhu, that primeval Deity and mighty Yogin! Let no doubt enter thy heart that that spot is the foremost of all holy spots. These, O lord of earth, are the tirthas and sacred spots on earth, that I have recited, O best of men! These all are visited by the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the Adityas, the Marutas, the Aswins and the illustrious Rishis resembling the celestials themselves. By journeying, O son of Kunti, to those places, with the Brahmanas and ascetics that are with thee and with thy blessed brothers, thou wilt be freed from anxiety!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "O son of the Kuru race, while Dhaumya was speaking thus, there arrived at the spot the Rishi Lomasa of great energy. And the king, who was the eldest of Pandu's sons, with his followers and those Brahmanas sat round the highly righteous one, like celestials in heaven sitting round Sakra. And having received him duly, Yudhishthira the just enquired after the reason of his arrival, and the object also of his wanderings. Thus asked by Pandu's son, the illustrious ascetic, well-pleased, replied in sweet words delighting the Pandayas, 'Travelling at will, O Kaunteya, over all the regions, I came to Sakra's abode, and saw there the lord of the celestials. There, I saw thy heroic brother capable of wielding the bow with his left hand, seated on the same seat with Sakra. And beholding Partha on that seat I was greatly astonished, O tiger among men! And the lord of the celestials then said unto me, "Go thou unto the sons of Pandu." At the request, therefore, of Indra as also of the high-souled son of Pritha have I come hither with speed, desiring to see thee with thy younger brothers. O child, I will relate what will please thee highly, O son of Pandu! Do thou listen to it, O king, with Krishna and the Rishis that are with thee. O bull of the Bharata race, Partha hath obtained from Rudra that incomparable weapon for the acquisition of which thou hadst sent him to heaven. That fierce weapon, known by the name of Brahma-sira which arose after Amrila, and which Rudra had obtained by means of ascetic austerities, hath been acquired by Arjuna together with the Mantras for hurling and withdrawing it, and the rites of expiation and revival. And, O Yudhishthira, Arjuna of immeasurable prowess hath also acquired Vajras and Dandas and other celestial weapons from Yama and Kuvera and Varuna and Indra, O son of the Kuru race! And he hath also thoroughly learnt music, both vocal and instrumental, and dancing and proper recitation of the Saman (Veda) from Vishwavasu's son. And having thus acquired weapons and mastered the Gandhama Veda, thy third brother Vibhatsu liveth happily (in heaven). Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, for I shall now deliver to thee the message of that foremost of celestials. He hath commanded me saying, "Thou wilt, no doubt, go to the world of men. O best of Brahmanas, tell thou Yudhishthira these words of mine. Soon will thy brother Arjuna come to thee, having acquired arms and accomplished a great deed for the celestials that is incapable of being accomplished by themselves. Do thou meanwhile devote thyself to ascetic austerities, with thy brothers. There is nothing superior to asceticism, and it is by asceticism that a person achieveth great results. And, O bull of the Bharata race, well do I know that Karna is endued with great ardour and energy and strength and prowess that is incapable of being baffled. Well do I know that, skilled in fierce conflict, he hath not his rival in battle; that he is a mighty bowman, a hero deft in the use of fierce weapons and cased in the best of mail. Well do I know that that exalted son of Aditya resembleth the son of Maheswara himself. Well do I also know the high natural prowess of the broad-shouldered Arjuna. In battle Karna is not equal unto even a sixteenth part of Pritha's son. And as for the fear of Karna which is in thy heart, O repressor of foes, I shall dispel when Savyasachin will have left heaven. And as regards thy purpose, O hero, to set out on a pilgrimage to tirthas, the great Rishi Lomasa will, without doubt, speak unto thee. And whatever that regenerate Rishi will relate unto thee touching the merits of asceticism and tirthas, thou shouldst receive with respect and not otherwise!"'"
"Lomasa continued, 'Listen now, O Yudhishthira, to what Dhananjaya hath said: "Cause my brother Yudhishthira to attend to the practice of virtue which leadeth to prosperity. Endued with wealth of asceticism, thou art conversant with the highest morality, with ascetic austerities of every kind, with the eternal duties of kings blessed with prosperity, and the high and sanctifying merit that men obtain from tirthas. Persuade thou the sons of Pandu to acquire the merit attaching to tirthas. Do thou with thy whole soul persuade the king to visit the tirthas and give away kine." This is what Arjuna said unto me. Indeed he also said, "Let him visit all the tirthas protected by thee. Thou wilt also protect him from Rakshasas, and watch over him in inaccessible regions and rugged mountain breasts. And as Dadhichi had protected Indra, and Angiras had protected the Sun, so do thou, O best of regenerate ones, protect the sons of Kunti from Rakshasas. Along the way are many Rakshasas, huge as mountain-cliffs. But protected by thee these will not be able to approach the sons of Kunti." Obedient to the words of Indra and at the request of Arjuna also protecting thee from dangers, I shall wander with thee. Before this, O son of the Kuru race, I have twice visited the tirthas. With thee I shall repair to them for the third time. O Yudhishthira, Manu and other royal Rishis of meritorious deeds had undertaken journeys to tirthas. Indeed, a trip to them is capable of dispelling all fear, O king! They that are crooked-minded, they that have not their souls under control, they that are illiterate and perverse, do not, O Kauravya, bathe in tirthas. But thou art ever of a virtuous disposition and conversant with morality and firm in thy promises. Thou wilt surely be able to free thyself from the world. For, O son of Pandu, thou art even as king Bhagiratha, or Gaya, or Yayati, or any one, O son of Kunti, that is like them.'
"Yudhishthira answered, 'I am so overwhelmed with delight, O Brahmana, that I cannot find words to answer thee. Who can be more fortunate than he who is remembered even by the lord of the celestials? Who can be more fortunate than he who hath been favoured with thy company, who hath Dhananjaya for a brother, and who is thought of by Vasava himself? As to thy words, O illustrious one, in respect of a trip to the tirthas, my mind had already been made up at the words of Dhaumya. O Brahmana, I shall start, at whatever hour thou mayst be pleased to appoint, on the proposed journey to tirthas. Even this is my firm resolve!'"
Vaisampayana continued, "Lomasa then said unto Yudhishthira, who had made up his mind to start on the proposed journey, 'O mighty king, be thou light as regards thy retinue, for by this thou wilt be able to go more easily!'
"Yudhishthira then said, 'Let those mendicants and Brahmanas and Yogis that are incapable of bearing hunger and thirst, the fatigues of travel and toil, and the severity of winter, desist. Let those Brahmanas also desist that live on sweetmeats, and they also that desire cooked viands and food that is sucked or drunk as well as meat. And let those also remain behind that are dependent on cooks. Let those citizens that have followed me from motives of loyalty, and whom I have hitherto kept on proper stipends, repair to king Dhritarashtra. He will give them their allowances in due time. If, however, that king refuses to grant them proper allowances, the king of the Panchalas will, for our satisfaction and welfare, give them these.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "And thereupon oppressed with grief, the citizens and the principal Brahmanas and Yatis set out for Hastinapura. And out of affection for Yudhishthira the just, the royal son of Amvika received them properly, and gratified them with proper allowances. And the royal son of Kunti, with only a small number of Brahmanas, abode for three nights at Kamyaka, cheered by Lomasa."
Vaisampayana said, "Those Brahmanas then, that had been dwelling (with him) in the woods, beholding the son of Kunti about to set out (on the pious pilgrimage), approached him, O king, and said, 'Thou art about to set out, O king, on thy journey to the sacred tirthas, along with thy brothers and accompanied by the illustrious Rishi Lomasa. O king, it behoveth thee, O son of Pandu, to take us with thee. Without thee, we shall not be able, O son of the Kuru race, to visit them at any time. Surrounded by dangers and difficult of access, they are infested by beasts of prey. Those tirthas, O lord of men, are inaccessible to persons in small parties. Foremost of all wielders of the bow, thy brothers are ever brave. Protected by your heroic selves, we also would proceed to them. Permit us to acquire, O lord of earth, through thy grace the blessed fruit of tirthas. Protected by thy energy, let us, O king, be cleansed of all our sins by visiting those tirthas and purified by baths therein. Bathing in those tirthas, thou also, O Bharata, wilt acquire without doubt the regions difficult of acquisition that Kartavirya and Ashtaka, the royal sage Lomapada and the imperial and heroic Bharata only had earned. In thy company, O king, we desire to behold Prabhasa and other tirthas, Mahendra and other hills, Ganga and other rivers, and Plaksha and other gigantic trees. If, O lord of men, thou hast any regard for the Brahmanas, do thou our bidding. Thou wilt surely have prosperity from this. O thou of mighty arms, the tirthas are infested by Rakshasas that ever obstruct ascetic penances. It behoveth thee to protect us from them. Protected by Lomasa and taking us with thee, go thou to all the tirthas spoken of by Dhaumya and the intelligent Narada, as also all those that have been spoken of by the celestial Rishi Lomasa, endued with great ascetic wealth, and be thou, by this, cleansed of all thy sins.'
"Thus addressed respectfully by them, the king—that bull amongst the sons of Pandu—surrounded by his heroic brothers headed by Bhima, with tears of joy in his eyes, said unto all those ascetics, 'Let it be so.' With the permission then of Lomasa, as also of his priest Dhaumya, that foremost of Pandu's sons with soul under complete control, resolved, along with his brothers and Drupada's daughter of faultless features, to set out. Just at this time, the blessed Vyasa, as also Parvata and Narada, all endued with high intelligence, came to Kamyaka for seeing the son of Pandu. Beholding them, king Yudhishthira worshipped them with due rites. And worshipped by the monarch thus, those blessed ones, addressing Yudhishthira, said, 'O Yudhishthira, O Bhima, and ye twins, banish all evil thoughts from your minds. Purify your hearts and then set out for the tirthas. The Brahmanas have said that the observance of regulations in respect of the body are called earthly vows, while efforts to purify the heart, so that it may be free from evil thoughts, are called spiritual vows. O king, the mind that is free from all evil thoughts is highly pure. Purifying yourselves, therefore, harbouring only friendly feelings for all, behold ye the tirthas. Observing earthly vows in respect of your bodies and purifying your minds by spiritual vows, obtain ye the fruits as recited, of pilgrimages.'
"Saying, 'So be it,' the Pandavas with Krishna, caused those celestial and human Rishis to perform the usual propitiatory ceremonies. And those heroes, having worshipped the feet of Lomasa and Dwaipayana and Narada and the celestial Rishi Parvata, O king, and accompanied by Dhaumya as also the ascetics that had been residing with them in the woods, set out on the day following the full moon of Agrahayana in which the constellation Pushya was ascendant. Dressed in barks and hides, and with matted lock on head, they were all cased in impenetrable mail and armed with swords. And O Janamejaya, the heroic sons of Pandu with quivers and arrows and scimitars and other weapons, and accompanied by Indrasena and other attendants with fourteen and one cars, a number of cooks and servants of other classes, set out with faces turned towards the east!"
"Yudhishthira said, 'O best of celestial Rishis, I do not think that I am without merits. Yet am I afflicted with so much sorrow that there never was a king like me. I think, however, that my enemies are destitute of good qualities and even destitute of morality. Yet why, O Lomasa, do they prosper in this world?'
"Lomasa said, 'Grieve not ever, O king, O son of Pritha, that sinful men should often prosper in consequence of the sins they commit. A man may be seen to prosper by his sins, obtain good therefrom and vanquish his foes. Destruction, however, overtakes him to the roots. O king, I have seen many Daityas and Danavas prosper by sin but I have also seen destruction overtake them. O exalted one, I have seen all this in the righteous age of yore. The gods practised virtue, while the Asuras abandoned it. The gods visited the tirthas, while the Asuras did not visit them. And at first the sinful Asuras were possessed with pride. And pride begat vanity and vanity begat wrath. And from wrath arose every kind of evil propensities, and from these latter sprang shamelessness. And in consequence of shamelessness, good behaviour disappeared from among them. And because they had become shameless and destitute of virtuous propensities and good conduct and virtuous vows, forgiveness and prosperity and morality forsook them in no time. And prosperity then, O king, sought the gods, while adversity sought the Asuras. And when the Daityas and the Danavas, deprived of sense by pride, were possessed by adversity, Kali also sought to possess them. And, O son of Kunti, overwhelmed with pride, and destitute of rites and sacrifices, and devoid of reason and feeling, and their hearts full of vanity, destruction overtook them soon. And covered with infamy, the Daityas were soon exterminated. The gods, however, who were virtuous in their practices, going to the seas, the rivers, the lakes and the holy spots, cleansed themselves of all sins, O son of Pandu, by means of ascetic penances and sacrifices and gifts and blessings, and obtained prosperity and the consequence. And because the gods always performed sacrifices and holy deeds abandoning every practice that was evil, and visited the tirthas, as the consequence thereof they acquired great good fortune. Guided by this, O king, do thou also, with thy brothers, bathe in tirthas, for then thou wilt obtain prosperity once more. Even this is the eternal road. And, O monarch, as king Nriga and Shivi and Ausinara and Bhagiratha and Vasumanas and Gaya and Puru and Pururavas, by practising ascetic penances and visiting tirthas and touching sacred waters and beholding illustrious ascetics, obtained fame and sanctity and merit and wealth, so wilt thou also obtain prosperity that is great. And as Ikshwaku with his sons, friends and followers, as Muchukunda and Mandhatri and king Marutta, as the gods through power of asceticism and the celestial Rishis also, had all obtained fame, so wilt thou also obtain great celebrity. The sons of Dhritarashtra, on the other hand, enslaved by sinfulness and ignorance, will, without doubt, be soon exterminated like the Daityas.'"
Vaisampayana said, "The heroic sons of Pandu, accompanied by their followers, proceeding from place to place, at last arrived at Naimisha. O king, reaching the Gomati, the Pandavas bathed in the sacred tirtha of that stream, and having performed their ablutions there, they gave away, O Bharata, both kine and wealth! And repeatedly offering oblations of water, O Bharata, to the gods, the pitris, and the Brahmanas, in the tirthas called Kanya, Aswa, and Go and staying (as directed) in Kalakoti and the Vishaprastha hills, the Kauravas then, O king, reached Vahuda and performed their ablution in that stream. Proceeding next, O lord of earth, to the sacrificial region of the gods known by the name Prayaga, they bathed in the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna and residing there practised ascetic penances of great merit. And the Pandavas, of truthful promises, bathing in the tirtha, cleansed themselves of every sin. The sons of Pandu then, O king of the Bharata race, accompanied by those Brahmanas, proceeded to the tirtha called Vedi, sacred to the Creator and adored by the ascetics. Residing there for some time and gratifying the Brahmanas with the fruit and roots of the wilderness and clarified butter, those heroes began to practise ascetic penances of great merit. They then proceeded to Mahidhara consecrated by that virtuous royal sage Gaya of unrivalled splendour. In that region is the hill called Gayasira, as well as the delightful river called Mahanadi, with fine banks graced by bushes of canes. On that celestial hill of holy peaks is a sacred tirtha called Brahmasara which is much adored by ascetics. There on the banks of that lake had dwelt of yore the eternal god himself of justice, and it was thither that the illustrious Rishi Agastya had repaired to behold that deity. It is from that lake that all the rivers take their rise and there in that tirtha, Mahadeva the wielder of the Pinaka, is present for aye. Arriving at that spot, the heroic sons of Pandu practised the vow that is known by the name of the Chaturmasya according to all the rites and ordinances of the great sacrifice called Rishiyajna. It is there that that mighty tree called the Eternal banian stands. Any sacrifice performed there produces merit that is eternal. In that sacrificial platform of the gods producing eternal merit, the Pandavas began to fast with concentrated souls. And there came unto them Brahmanas by hundreds endued with wealth of asceticism. And those Brahmanas also all performed the Chaturmasya sacrifice according to the rites inculcated by the Rishis. And there in that tirtha, those Brahmanas old in knowledge and ascetic merit and fully versed in the Vedas, that constituted the court of the illustrious sons of Pandu, talked in their presence upon various subjects of sacred import. And it was in that place that the learned vow-observing, and sacred Shamatha, leading, besides, a life of celibacy, spake unto them, O king, of Gaya, the son of Amurttaraya. And Shamatha said, 'Gaya, the son of Amurttaraya, was one of the foremost of royal sages. Listen to me, O Bharata, as I recite his meritorious deeds. It was here, O king, that Gaya had performed many sacrifices distinguished by the enormous quantities of food (that were distributed) and the profuse gifts that were given away (unto Brahmanas). Those sacrifices, O king, were distinguished by mountains in hundreds and thousands of cooked rice, lakes of clarified butter and rivers of curds in many hundreds, and streams of richly-dressed curries in thousands. Day after day were these got ready and distributed amongst all comers, while, over and above this, Brahmanas and others, O king, received food that was clean and pure. During the conclusion also (of every sacrifice) when gifts were dedicated to the Brahmanas, the chanting of the Vedas reached the heavens. And so loud, indeed, was the sound of the Vedic Mantras that nothing else, O Bharata, could be heard there. Thus sacred sounds, O king, filled the earth, the points of the horizon, the sky and heaven itself. Even these were the wonders that persons noticed on those occasions. And gratified with the excellent viands and drinks that the illustrious Gaya provided, men, O bull of the Bharata race, went about singing these verses. In Gaya's great sacrifice, who is there today, amongst creatures, that still desireth to eat? There are yet twenty-five mountains of food there after all have been fed! What the royal sage Gaya of immense splendour hath achieved in his sacrifice was never achieved by men before, nor will be by any in future. The gods have been so surfeited by Gaya with clarified butter that they are not able to take anything that anybody else may offer. As sand grains on earth, as stars in the firmament, as drops showered by rain-charged clouds, cannot ever be counted by anybody, so can none count the gifts in Gaya's sacrifice!
"'O son of the Kuru race, many times did king Gaya perform sacrifices of this description, here, by the side of this Brahmasara!'"
Vaisampayana said, "After this the royal son of Kunti who was ever distinguished for his profuse gifts unto Brahmanas, proceeded to the asylum of Agastya and took up his abode in Durjaya. It was here that that foremost of speakers, king Yudhishthira asked Lomasa as to why Agastya had slain Vatapi there. And the king also enquired after the extent of that man-destroying Daitya's prowess, and the reason also of the illustrious Agastya's wrath being excited against that Asura.
"Thus questioned, Lomasa said, 'O son of Kuru race, there was in the city called Manimati, in days of yore, a Daitya named Ilwala, whose younger brother was Vatapi. One day that son of Diti addressed the Brahmana endued with ascetic merit, saying, "O holy one, grant me a son equal unto Indra." The Brahmana, however, did not grant the Asura a son like Indra. And at this, the Asura was inflamed with wrath against the Brahmana. And from that day, O king, the Asura Ilwala became a destroyer of Brahmanas. And endued with power of illusion the angry Asura transformed his brother into a ram. And Vatapi also capable of assuming any form at will, would immediately assume the shape of a ram. And the flesh of that ram, after being properly dressed, was offered to Brahmanas as food. And after they had eaten of it, they were slain. For whomsoever Ilwala summoned with his voice, he would come back to Ilwala even if he had gone to the abode of Yama, in re-embodied form endued with life, and show himself to Ilwala. And so having transformed the Asura Vatapi into a ram and properly cooked his flesh and feeding Brahmanas therewith, he would summon Vatapi. And the mighty Asura Vatapi, that foe of Brahmanas, endued with great strength and power of illusion, hearing, O king, those sounds uttered with a loud voice by Ilwala, and ripping open the flanks of the Brahmana would come laughingly out, O lord of earth! And it was thus, O monarch, that the wicked-hearted Daitya Ilwala, having fed Brahmanas, frequently took away their lives.
"'Meanwhile, the illustrious Agastya beheld his deceased ancestors hanging in a pit with heads downwards. And he asked those personages thus suspended in that hole, saying, "What is the matter with you?" Thus questioned those utterers of Brahma replied, "It is even for offspring." And they also told him, "We are your ancestors. It is even for offspring that we stay suspended in this pit. If, O Agastya, thou canst beget us a good son, we may then be saved from this hell and thou also wilt obtain thy blessed state of those having offspring." Endued with great energy and observant of truth and morality Agastya replied, saying, "Ye Pitris, I will accomplish your desire. Let this anxiety of yours be dispelled." And the illustrious Rishi then began to think of perpetuating his race. But he saw not a wife worthy of him on whom he himself could take his birth in the form of a son. The Rishi accordingly, taking those parts that were regarded as highly beautiful, from creatures possessing them, created therewith an excellent woman. And the Muni, endued with great ascetic merit, thereupon gave that girl created for himself to the king of the Vidharbhas who was then undergoing ascetic penances for obtaining offspring. And that blessed girl of sweet face (thus disposed of) then took her birth (in Vidarbha's royal line) and, beautiful as the effulgent lightning, her limbs began to grow day by day. And as soon as that lord of earth—the ruler of the Vidarbhas—saw her ushered into life, he joyfully communicated the intelligence, O Bharata, unto the Brahmanas. And the Brahmanas thereupon, O lord of earth, blessed the girl and they bestowed upon her the name Lopamudra. And possessed of great beauty, she began, O monarch, to grow quickly like unto a lotus in the midst of water or the effulgent flame of a fire. And when the girl grew and attained to puberty, a hundred virgins decked in ornaments and a hundred maids waited in obedience upon her blessed self. And surrounded by those hundred maids and virgins, she shone in their midst, endued as she was with bright effulgence, like Rohini in the firmament amid an inferior multitude of stars. And possessed as she was of good behaviour and excellent manners, none dared ask for her hand even when she attained to puberty, through fear of her father, the king of the Vidharbhas. And Lopamudra, devoted to truth, surpassing the Apsaras even in beauty, gratified her father and relatives by means of her conduct. And her father, beholding his daughter—the princess of Vidharbha—attain to puberty, began to reflect in his mind, saying, "To whom should I give this daughter of mine?"'"
"Lomasa continued, 'When Agastya thought that girl to be competent for the duties of domesticity, he approached that lord of earth—the ruler of Vidharbhas—and addressing him, said, "I solicit thee, O king, to bestow thy daughter Lopamudra on me." Thus addressed by the Muni, the king of the Vidharbhas swooned away. And though unwilling to give the Muni his daughter, he dared not refuse. And that lord of earth then, approaching his queen, said, "This Rishi is endued with great energy. If angry, he may consume me with the fire of his curse. O thou of sweet face, tell me what is thy wish." Hearing these words of the king, she uttered not a word. And beholding the king along with the queen afflicted with sorrow, Lopamudra approached them in due time and said, "O monarch, it behoveth thee not to grieve on my account. Bestow me on Agastya, and, O father, save thyself, by giving me away." And at these words of his daughter, O monarch, the king gave away Lopamudra unto the illustrious Agastya with due rites. And obtaining her as wife, Agastya addressed Lopamudra, saying, "Cast thou away these costly robes and ornaments." And at these words of her lord, that large-eyed damsel of thighs tapering as the stem of the plantain tree cast away her handsome and costly robes of fine texture. And casting them away she dressed herself in rags and barks and deerskins, and became her husband's equal in vows and acts. And proceeding then to Gangadwara that illustrious and best of Rishis began to practise the severest penances along with his helpful wife. And Lopamudra herself, well pleased, began to serve her lord from the deep respect that she bore him. And the exalted Agastya also began to manifest great love for his wife.
"'After a considerable time, O king, the illustrious Rishi one day beheld Lopamudra, blazing in ascetic splendour come up after the bath in her season. And pleased with the girl, for her services, her purity, and self control, as also with her grace and beauty, he summoned her for marital intercourse. The girl, however, joining her hands, bashfully but lovingly addressed the Rishi, saying, "The husband, without doubt, weddeth the wife for offspring. But it behoveth thee, O Rishi, to show that love to me which I have for thee. And it behoveth thee, O regenerate one, to approach me on a bed like to that which I had in the palace of my father. I also desire that thou shouldst be decked in garlands of flowers and other ornaments, and that I should approach thee adorned in those celestial ornaments that I like. Otherwise, I cannot approach thee, dressed in these rags dyed in red. Nor, O regenerate Rishi, it is sinful to wear ornaments (on such an occasion)." Hearing these words of his wife, Agastya replied, "O blessed girl, O thou of slender waist, I have not wealth like what thy father hath, O Lopamudra!" She answered saying, "Thou who art endued with wealth of asceticism, art certainly able to bring hither within a moment, by ascetic power, everything that exists in the world of men." Agastya said, "It is even so as thou hast said. That, however, would waste my ascetic merit. O bid me do that which may not loosen my ascetic merit." Lopamudra then said, "O thou endued with wealth of asceticism, my season will not last long, I do not desire, however, to approach thee otherwise. Nor do I desire to diminish thy (ascetic) merit in any way. It behoveth thee, however, to do as I desire, without injuring thy virtue."
"'Agastya then said, "O blessed girl, if this be the resolve that thou hast settled in thy heart, I will go out in quest of wealth. Meanwhile, stay thou here as it pleaseth thee."'"
"Lomasa continued, 'Agastya then, O son of the Kuru race, went to king Srutarvan who was regarded as richer than other kings, to beg for wealth. And that monarch, learning of the arrival of the pot-born Rishi on the frontiers of his kingdoms, went out with his ministers and received the holy man with respect. And the king duly offering the Arghya in the first instance, submissively and with joined hands enquired then after the reason of the Rishi's arrival. And Agastya answered saying, "O lord of the earth, know that I have come to thee, desirous of wealth. Give me a portion according to thy ability and without doing injury to others."'
"Lomasa continued, 'The king, then, representing unto the Rishi the equality of his expenditure and income, said, "O learned one, take thou from my possessions the wealth thou pleasest." Beholding, however, the equality of that monarch's expenditure with income, the Rishi who always saw both sides with equal eyes, thought that if he took anything under the circumstances, his act would result in injury to creatures. Taking, therefore, Srutarvan with him, the Rishi went to Vradhnaswa. The latter, hearing of their arrival on his frontiers, received them duly. And Vradhnaswa also offered them the Arghyas and water to wash their feet. And the monarch, with their permission, then enquired after the reason of their coming. And Agastya said, "O lord of earth, know that we have come to thee desirous of wealth. Give us what thou canst, without doing injury to others."'
"Lomasa continued, 'That monarch then represented unto them the equality of his expenditure and income, and said, "Knowing this, take ye what ye desire." The Rishi, however, who saw both sides with equal eyes, beholding the equality of that monarch's income with expenditure, thought that if he took anything under the circumstances, his act would result in injury to all creatures. Agastya and Srutarvan, with king Vardhnaswa then went to Purokutsa's son, Trasadasyu, of enormous wealth. The high-souled Trasadasyu, learning of their arrival on the confines of his kingdom went out, O king, and received them well. And that best of monarchs in Ikshvaku's line, having worshipped all of them duly, enquired after the reason of their arrival. And Agastya answered, "O lord of earth, know that we have all come to thee, desirous of wealth. Give us what you can, without injuring others."'
"Lomasa continued, 'That monarch then, represented unto them the equality of his income with expenditure, and said, "Knowing this, take ye what ye desire." Beholding, however, the equality of that monarch's expenditure with income, the Rishi who saw both sides with equal eyes, thought that if he took anything under the circumstances, his act would result in injury to all creatures. Then, O monarch, all those kings looking at one another, together spoke unto the Rishis saying, "O Brahmana, there is a Danava of the name Ilwala who of all persons on earth, is possessed of enormous wealth. Let us all approach him to-day and beg wealth of him."'
"Lomasa continued, 'This suggestion, O king, of begging wealth of Ilwala appeared to them to be proper. And, O monarch, all of them went together to Ilwala after this!'"
"Lomasa said, 'When Ilwala learnt that those kings along with the great Rishi had arrived on the confines of his domain, he went out with his ministers and worshipped them duly. And that prince of Asuras received them hospitably, entertaining them, O son of the Kuru race, with well dressed meat supplied by his brother Vatapi (transformed into a ram). Then all those royal sages, beholding the mighty Asura Vatapi, who had been transformed into a ram thus cooked for them, became sad and cheerless and were nearly deprived of themselves. But that best of Rishis—Agastya—addressing those royal sages, said, "Yield ye not to grief, I will eat up the great Asura." And the mighty Rishi then sat himself down on an excellent seat, and the prince of Asuras, Ilwala, began to distribute the food smilingly. And Agastya ate up the whole of the meat supplied by Vatapi (transformed into a ram). And after the dinner was over, Ilwala began to summon his brother. But thereupon a quantity of air alone came out of the illustrious Rishi's stomach, with a sound that was as loud, O child, as the roar of the clouds. And Ilwala repeatedly said, "Come out, O Vatapi!" Then that best of Munis—Agastya—bursting out in laughter, said, "How can he come out? I have already digested that great Asura." And beholding his brother already digested, Ilwala became sad and cheerless and joining his hands, along with his ministers, addressing the Rishi (and his companions), said, "What for have ye come hither, and what can I do for you?" And Agastya smilingly answered Ilwala, saying, "We know thee, O Asura, to be possessed of great power and also enormous wealth. These kings are not very wealthy while my need also of wealth is great. Give us what thou canst, without injuring others." Thus addressed Ilwala saluted the Rishi and said, "If thou say what it is that I mean to give, then will I give you wealth." Hearing this Agastya said, "O great Asura, thou hast even purposed to give unto each of these kings ten thousand kine and as many gold coins. And unto me thou hast purposed to give twice as much, as also a car of gold and a couple of horses fleet as thought. If thou enquirest now, thou wilt soon learn that your car is made of gold." Thereupon, O son of Kunti, Ilwala made enquiries and learnt that the car he had intended to give away was really a golden one. And the Daitya then with a sad heart, gave away much wealth and that car, unto which were yoked two steeds called Virava and Surava. And those steeds, O Bharata, took those kings and Agastya and all that wealth to the asylum of Agastya within the twinkling of an eye. And those royal sages then obtaining Agastya's permission, went away to their respective cities. And Agastya also (with that wealth) did all that his wife Lopamudra had desired. And Lopamudra then said, "O illustrious one, thou hast now accomplished all my wishes. Beget thou a child on me that shall be possessed of great energy." And Agastya replied unto her, saying, "O blessed and beauteous one, I have been much gratified with thy conduct. Listen thou unto me as regards the proposal I make in respect of thy offspring. Wouldst thou have a thousand sons, or a century of sons each equal to ten, or ten sons equal each to an hundred, or only one son who may vanquish a thousand?" Lopamudra answered, "Let me have one son equal unto a thousand, O thou endued with wealth of asceticism! One good and learned son is preferable to many evil ones."'
"Lomasa continued, 'Saying, "So be it," that pious Muni thereupon knew his devout wife of equal behaviour. And after she had conceived, he retired into the forest. And after the Muni had gone away, the foetus began to grow for seven years. And after the seventh year had expired, there came out of the womb, the highly learned Dridhasyu, blazing, O Bharata, in his own splendour. And the great Brahmana and illustrious ascetic, endued with mighty energy, took his birth as the Rishi's son, coming out of the womb, as if repeating the Vedas with the Upanishads and the Angas. Endued with great energy while yet a child, he used to carry loads of sacrificial fuel into the asylum of his father, and was thence called Idhmavaha (carrier of sacrificial wood). And the Muni, beholding his son possessed of such virtues, became highly glad.
"'And it was thus, O Bharata, that Agastya begat an excellent son in consequence of which his ancestors, O king, obtained the regions they desired. And it is from that time that this spot hath become known on the earth as the asylum of Agastya. Indeed, O king, this is the asylum graced with numerous beauties, of that Agastya who had slain Vatapi of Prahlada's race. The sacred Bhagirathi, adored by gods and Gandharvas gently runneth by, like a breeze-shaken pennon in the welkin. Yonder also she floweth over craggy crests descending lower and lower, and looketh like an affrighted she-snake lying along the hilly slopes. Issuing out of the matted locks of Mahadeva, she passes along, flooding the southern country and benefiting it like a mother, and ultimately mingleth with the ocean as if she were his favourite bride. Bathe ye as ye like in this sacred river, ye son of Pandu! And behold there, O Yudhishthira, the tirtha of Bhrigu that is celebrated over the three worlds and adored, O king, by great Rishis. Bathing here, Rama (of Bhrigu's race) regained his might, which had been taken away from him (by Dasaratha's son). Bathing here, O son of Pandu, with thy brothers and Krishna, thou wilt certainly regain that energy of thine that hath been taken away by Duryodhana, even as Rama regained his that had been taken away by Dasaratha's son in hostile encounter.'"
Vaisampayana continued, "At these words of Lomasa, Yudhishthira bathed there with his brothers and Krishna, and offered oblations of water, O Bharata, to the gods and the Pitris. And, O bull among men, after Yudhishthira had bathed in that tirtha, his body blazed forth in brighter effulgence, and he became invisible in respect of all foes. The son of Pandu then, O king, asked Lomasa, saying, 'O illustrious one, why had Rama's energy and might been taken away? And how also did he regain it? O exalted one, I ask thee, tell me everything.'
"Lomasa said, 'Listen, O king, to the history of Rama (the son of Dasaratha) and Rama of Bhrigu's line gifted with intelligence. For the destruction of Ravana, O king, Vishnu, in his own body, took his birth as the son of illustrious Dasaratha. We saw in Ayodhya that son of Dasaratha after he had been born. It was then that Rama of Bhrigu's line, the son of Richika by Renuka, hearing of Rama the son of Dasaratha—of spotless deeds—went to Ayodhya, impelled by curiosity, and taking with him that celestial bow so fatal to the Kshatriyas, for ascertaining the prowess of Dasaratha's son. And Dasaratha, hearing that Rama of Bhrigu's race had arrived on the confines of his domains, set his own son Rama to receive the hero with respect. And beholding Dasaratha's son approach and stand before him with ready weapons, Rama of Bhrigu's line smilingly addressed him, O son of Kunti, saying, "O king, O exalted one, string, if thou canst, with all thy mighty, this bow which in my hands was made the instrument of destroying the Kshatriya race." Thus addressed, Dasaratha's son answered, "O illustrious one, it behoveth thee not to insult me thus. Nor am I, amongst the regenerate classes, deficient in the virtues of the Kshatriya order. The descendants of Ikshwaku in special never boast of the prowess of their arms." Then unto Dasaratha's son who said so, Rama of Bhrigu's line replied, "A truce to all crafty speech, O king! Take this bow." At this, Rama the son of Dasaratha, took in anger from the hands of Rama of Bhrigu's line that celestial bow that had dealt death to the foremost of Kshatriyas. And, O Bharata, the mighty hero smilingly strung that bow without the least exertion, and with its twang loud as the thunder-rattle, affrighted all creatures. And Rama, the son of Dasaratha, then, addressing Rama of Bhrigu's said, "Here, I have strung this bow. What else, O Brahmana, shall I do for thee?" Then Rama, the son of Jamadagni, gave unto the illustrious son of Dasaratha a celestial arrow and said, "Placing this on the bow-string, draw to thy ear, O hero!"'" "Lomasa continued, 'Hearing this, Dasaratha's son blazed up in wrath and said, "I have heard what thou hast said, and even pardoned thee. O son of Bhrigu's race, thou art full of vanity. Through the Grandsire's grace thou hast obtained energy that is superior to that of the Kshatriyas. And it is for this that thou insultest me. Behold me now in my native form: I give thee sight." Then Rama of Bhrigu's race beheld in the body of Dasaratha's son the Adityas with the Vasus, the Rudras, the Sadhyas with the Marutas, the Pitris, Hutasana, the stellar constellations and the planets, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas, the Yakshas, the Rivers, the tirthas, those eternal Rishis identified with Brahma and called the Valkhilyas, the celestial Rishis, the Seas and Mountains, the Vedas with the Upanishads and Vashats and the sacrifices, the Samans in their living form, the Science of weapons, O Bharata, and the Clouds with rain and lightning, O Yudhishthira! And the illustrious Vishnu then shot that shaft. And at this the earth was filled with sounds of thunder, and burning meteors, O Bharata, began to flash through the welkin. And showers of dust and rain fell upon the surface of the earth. And whirlwinds and frightful sounds convulsed everything, and the earth herself began to quake. And shot by the hand of Rama, that shaft, confounding by its energy the other Rama, came back blazing into Rama's hands. And Bhargava, who had thus been deprived of his senses, regaining consciousness and life, bowed unto Rama—that manifestation of Vishnu's power. And commanded by Vishnu, he proceeded to the mountains of Mahendra. And thenceforth that great ascetic began to dwell there, in terror and shame. And after the expiration of a year, the Pitris, beholding Rama dwelling there deprived of energy, his pride quelled, and himself sunk in affliction, said unto him, "O son, having approached Vishnu, thy behaviour towards him was not proper. He deserveth for aye worship and respect in the three worlds. Go, O son, to that sacred river which goeth by name of Vadhusara! Bathing in all the tirthas of that stream, thou wilt regain thy energy! There in that river is the tirthas called Diptoda where thy grandsire Bhrigu, O Rama, in the celestial age had practised ascetic penances of great merit." Thus addressed by them, Rama, O son of Kunti, did what the Pitris bade him, and obtained back at this tirtha, O son of Pandu, the energy he had lost. Even this O child, was what befell Rama of spotless deeds in days in of yore, after he had, O king, met Vishnu (in the form of Dasaratha's son)!'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'O best of regenerate ones, I desire again to hear of the achievements in detail of Agastya—that illustrious Rishi endued with great intelligence.'
"Lomasa said, 'Listen now, O king, to the excellent and wonderful and extraordinary history of Agastya, as also, O monarch, about the prowess of that Rishi of immeasurable energy. There were in the Krita age certain tribes of fierce Danavas that were invincible in battle. And they were known by the name of Kalakeyas and were endued with terrible prowess. Placing themselves under Vritra and arming themselves with diverse weapons they pursued the celestials with Indra at their head in all directions. The gods then all resolved upon the destruction of Vritra, and went with Indra at their head to Brahma. And beholding them standing before him with joined hands, Parameshthi addressed them all and said, "Everything is known to me, ye gods, about what ye seek. I shall indicate now the means by which ye may slay Vritra. There is a high-souled and great Rishi known by the name of Dadhicha. Go ye all together unto him and solicit of him a boon. With well-pleased heart, that Rishi of virtuous soul will even grant you the boon. Desirous as ye are of victory, go ye all together unto him and tell him, 'For the good of the three worlds, give us thy bones.' Renouncing his body, he will give you his bones. With these bones of his, make ye a fierce and powerful weapon to be called Vajra, endued with six sides and terrible roar and capable of destroying even the most powerful enemies. With that weapon will he of a hundred sacrifices slay Vritra. I have now told you all. See that all this is done speedily." Thus addressed by him, the gods with the Grandsire's leave (came away), and with Narayana at their head proceeded to the asylum of Dadhicha. That asylum was on the other bank of the river Saraswati and covered with diverse trees and creepers. And it resounded with the hum of bees as if they were reciting Samans. And it also echoed with the melodious notes of the male Kokila and the Chakora. And buffaloes and boars and deer and Chamaras wandered there at pleasure freed from the fear of tigers. And elephants with the juice trickling down from rent temples, plunging in the stream, sported with the she-elephants and made the entire region resound with their roars. And the place also echoed with the loud roars of lions and tigers, while at intervals might be seen those grisly monarchs of the forest lying stretched in caves and glens and beautifying them with their presence. And such was the asylum, like unto heaven itself, of Dadhicha, that the gods entered. And there they beheld Dadhicha looking like the sun himself in splendour and blazing in grace of person like the Grandsire himself. And the celestials saluted the feet of the Rishi and bowed unto him and begged of him the boon that the Grandsire had bade them do. Then Dadhicha, well pleased, addressing those foremost of celestials, said, "Ye celestials, I will do what is for your benefit. I will even renounce this body of mine myself." And that foremost of men with soul under control, having said this, suddenly renounced his life. The gods then took the bones of the deceased Rishi as directed. And the celestials, glad at heart, went to Twashtri (the celestial Artificer) and spake to him of the means of victory. And Twashtri, hearing those words of theirs, became filled with joy, and constructed (out of those bones) with great attention and care the fierce weapons called Vajra. And having manufactured it, he joyfully addressed Indra, saying, "With this foremost of weapons, O exalted one, reduce that fierce foe of the gods to ashes. And having slain the foe, rule thou happily the entire domain of heaven, O chief of the celestials, with those that follow thee." And thus addressed by Twashtri, Purandara took the Vajra from his hand, joyfully and with proper respect.'"
"Lomasa said, 'Armed with the Vajra then, and supported by celestials endued with great might, Indra then approached Vritra, who was then occupying the entire earth and the heaven. And he was guarded on all sides by huge-bodied Kalakeyas with upraised weapons resembling gigantic mountains with towering peaks. And the encounter that took place between the gods and the Danavas lasted for a short while and was, O chief of the Bharatas, terrific in the extreme, appalling as it did the three worlds. And loud was the clash of swords and scimitars upraised and warded off by heroic hands in course of those fierce encounters. And heads (severed from trunks) began to roll from the firmament to the earth like fruits of the palmyra palm falling upon the ground, loosened from their stalks. And the Kalakeyas armed with iron-mounted bludgeons and cased in golden mail ran against the gods, like moving mountains on conflagration. And the gods, unable to stand the shock of that impetuous and proudly advancing host, broke and fled from fear. Purandara of a thousand eyes, beholding the gods flying in fear and Vritra growing in boldness, became deeply dejected. And the foremost of gods Purandara, himself, agitated with the fear of the Kalakeyas, without losing a moment, sought the exalted Narayana's refuge. And the eternal Vishnu beholding Indra so depressed enhanced his might by imparting unto him a portion of his own energy. And when the celestials beheld that Sakra was thus protected by Vishnu, each of them imparted unto him his own energy. And the spotless Brahmarshis also imparted their energies unto the chief of the celestials. And favoured thus by Vishnu and all the gods and by the high-blessed Rishis also, Sakra became mightier than before. And when Vritra learnt that the chief of the celestials had been filled with might of others, he sent forth some terrific roars. And at these roars of his, the earth, the directions, the firmament, heaven, and the mountains all began to tremble. And the chief of the celestials, deeply agitated on hearing that fierce and loud roar, was filled with fear, and desiring to slay the Asura soon, hurled, O king, the mighty Vajra. And struck with Indra's Vajra the great Asura decked in gold and garlands fell head-long, like the great mountain Mandara hurled of yore from Vishnu's hands; and although the prince of Daityas was slain, yet Sakra in panic ran from the field, desiring to take shelter in a lake, thinking that the Vajra itself had not been hurled from his hands and regarding that Vritra himself was still alive. The celestials, however, and the great Rishis became filled with joy, and all of them began to cheerfully chant the praise of Indra. And mustering together, the celestials began to slay the Danavas, who were dejected at the death of their leader. And struck with panic at sight of the assembled celestial host, the afflicted Danavas fled to the depths of the sea. And having entered the fathomless deep, teeming with fishes and crocodiles, the Danavas assembled together and began to proudly conspire for the destruction of the three worlds. And some amongst them that were wise in inferences suggested courses of action, each according to his judgment. In course of time, however, the dreadful resolution arrived at those conspiring sons of Diti, was that they should, first of all, compass the destruction of all persons possessed of knowledge and ascetic virtue. The worlds are all supported by asceticism. Therefore, they said, "Lose no time for the destruction of asceticism. Compass ye without delay the destruction of those on earth that are possessed of ascetic virtues, that are conversant with duties and the ways of morality, and that have a knowledge of Brahma; for when these are destroyed, the universe itself will be destroyed." And all the Danavas, having arrived at this resolution for the destruction of the universe, became highly glad. And thenceforth they made the ocean—that abode of Varuna—with billows high as hills, their fort, from which to make their sallies.'"
"Lomasa said, 'The Kalakeyas then having recourse to that receptacle of waters, which is the abode of Varuna, began their operations for the destruction of the universe. And during the darkness of the night those angry Daityas began to devour the Munis they found in woody retreats and sacred spots. And those wicked wretches devoured in the asylum of Vasishtha, Brahmanas to the number of a hundred and eighty, besides nine other ascetics. And, proceeding to the asylum of Chyavana that was inhabited by many Brahmacharis, they devoured a century of Brahmanas that lived upon fruit and roots alone. And they began to do all this during the darkness of the night, while they entered the depths of the sea by day. And they slew a full score of Brahmanas of subdued souls and leading a Brahmacharya mode of life and living upon air and water alone, in the retreat of Bharadwaja. And it was thus that those Danavas the Kalakeyas, intoxicated with prowess of arms and their lives nearly run out, gradually invaded all the asylums of the Rishis during the darkness of the night, slaughtering numerous Brahmanas. And, O best of men, although the Danavas behaved in this way towards the ascetics in woody retreats, yet men failed to discover anything of them. And every morning people saw the dead bodies of Munis emaciated with frugal diet, lying on the ground. And many of those bodies were without flesh and without blood, without marrow, without entrails, and with limbs separated from one another. And here and there lay on the ground heaps of bones like masses of conch shells. And the earth was scattered over with the (sacrificial) contents of broken jars and shattered ladles for pouring libations of clarified butter and with the sacred fires kept with care by the ascetics. And the universe afflicted with the terror of the Kalakeyas, being destitute of Vedic studies and vashats and sacrificial festivals and religious rites, became entirely cheerless. And, O king, when men began to perish in this way, the survivors, afflicted with fear, fled for their lives in all directions. And some fled to caverns and some behind mountain-streams and springs and some through fear of death, died without much ado. And some who were brave and mighty bowmen cheerfully went out and took great trouble in tracking the Danavas. Unable, however, to find them out, for the Asuras had sought refuge in the depths of the sea, these brave men came back to their homes gratified with the search. And, O lord of men, when the universe was being thus destroyed, and when sacrificial festivals and religious rites had been suspended, the gods became deeply afflicted. And gathering together with Indra in their midst they began, from fear, to take counsel of one another. And repairing unto the exalted and uncreate Narayana—that unvanquished god of Vaikuntha—the celestials sought his protection. And bowing unto the slayer of Madhu, the gods addressed him, saying, "O lord, thou art the creator, the protector, and the slayer of ourselves as well as of the universe. It is thou who has created this universe with its mobile and immobile creatures. O thou of eyes like lotus leaves, it was thou who in days of yore hadst for the benefit of all creatures raised from the sea the sunken earth, assuming also the form of a boar. And, O best of male beings, assuming also the form of half-man and half-lion, thou hadst slain in days of yore that ancient Daitya of mighty prowess known by the name of Hiranyakasipu. And that other great Asura also, Vali by name, was incapable of being slain by any one. Assuming the form of a dwarf, thou exiledest him from the three worlds. O lord, it was by thee that that wicked Asura, Jambha by name, who was a mighty bowman and who always obstructed sacrifices, was slain. Achievements like these, which cannot be counted, are thine. O slayer of Madhu, we who have been afflicted with fear, have thee for our refuge. It is for this, O god of gods, that we inform thee of our present troubles. Protect the worlds, the gods, and Sakra also, from a terrible fear."'"
"'The celestials said, "Through thy favour it is that all born beings of the four kinds increase. And they being created, propitiate the dwellers of heaven by offerings made to the gods and the names of departed forefathers. Thus it is that people, protected by thee and free from trouble live depending on one another, and (so) increase. Now this peril hath befallen the people. We do not know by whom are Brahmanas being killed during the night. If the Brahmanas are destroyed, the earth itself will meet with destruction, and if the earth cometh to an end, heaven also will cease to exist. O mighty-armed one, O lord of the universe! we beseech thee (to act so) that all the worlds, protected by thee, may not come to an end, so it may please thee."
"'Vishnu said, "Ye gods! To me is known the reason of the destruction of the born beings, I shall speak of it to you; listen with minds free from tribulation. There exists an exceedingly fierce host, known by the name of Kalakeyas. They, under the lead of Vritra, were devastating the whole universe. And when they saw that Vritra was slain by the sagacious Indra endued with a thousand eyes, they, to preserve their lives, entered into the ocean, that abode of Varuna. And having entered the ocean, abounding with sharks and crocodiles, they at night killed the saints at this spot with the view of exterminating the people. But they cannot be slain, as they have taken shelter within the sea. Ye should, therefore, think of some expedient to dry up the ocean. Who save Agastya is capable of drying up the sea. And without drying up the ocean, these (demons) cannot be assailed by any other means." Hearing these words of Vishnu, the gods took the permission of Brahma, who lives at the best of all regions, and went to the hermitage of Agastya. Then they beheld the high-souled Agastya, the son of Varuna, of resplendent mien, and waited upon by saints, even as Brahma is waited upon by celestials. And approaching him, they addressed the son of Mitra and Varuna at the hermitage, magnanimous and unswerving, and looking like an embodiment of pious works piled together, and glorified him by reciting his deeds. The deities said, "Thou wert formerly the refuge of the gods when they were oppressed by Nahusha. Thorn of the world that he was, he was thrown down from his throne of heaven—from the celestial regions. Vindhya, the foremost of all mountains, suddenly began to increase his height, from a wrathful competition with the sun (i.e., to rival him in altitude). But he hath ceased to increase, as he was unable to disobey thy command. And when darkness hath covered the world, the born beings were harassed by death, but having obtained thee for a protector, they attained the utmost security. Whenever we are beset by perils, thy reverence is always our refuge; for this reason it is that we solicit a boon from thee; as thou ever grantest the boon solicited (of thee)."'"
"Yudhishthira said, 'O great saint! I am desirous of hearing in detail why it was that Vindhya, made senseless with wrath, suddenly began to increase his bulk.'
"Lomasa said, 'The sun between his rising and setting used to revolve round that monarch of mountains—the great Meru of golden lustre. And seeing this the mountain Vindhya spake to Surya saying, "As thou every day goest round Meru and honourest him by thy circumambulations, do thou even the same by me, O maker of light!" Thus addressed, the sun replied to the great mountain, saying, "I do not of my own will honour this mountain by my circumambulations. By those who have built this universe hath that path been assigned to me." Thus addressed the mountain suddenly began to increase from wrath, desirous, O chastiser of foes, of obstructing the path of the Sun and the Moon. And all the assembled gods came to Vindhya, the mighty king of mountains, and tried to dissuade him from his course. But he heeded not what they said. And then all the assembled gods went to the saint, living in the hermitage, engaged in the practice of austerities, and the very best of persons devoted to virtue; and stated all that happened to Agastya, possessed of exceeding marvellous power.
"'The gods said, "This king of hills, Vindhya, giving way to wrath, is stopping the path of the Sun and the Moon, and also the course of the stars. O foremost of Brahmanas! O thou great in gifts! excepting thyself, there is none who can prevent him; therefore do thou make him desist." Hearing these words of the gods the Brahmana came to the mountain. And he with his wife, having arrived there, came near Vindhya and spake to him, saying, "O thou best of mountains! I wish to have a path given to me by thee, as, for some purpose, I shall have to go to the southern region. Until my return, do thou wait for me. And when I have returned, O king of mountains, thou mayst increase in bulk as much as thou pleasest." And, O slayer of foes! having made this compact with Vindhya up to the present day Varuna's son doth not return from the southern region. Thus have I, asked by thee, narrated to thee why Vindhya doth not increase in bulk, by reason of the power of Agastya. Now, O king! hear how the Kalakeyas were killed by the gods, after they had obtained their prayer from Agastya.
"'Having heard the words of the gods, Agastya, the son of Mitra, and Varuna, said, "Wherefore are ye come? What boon do ye solicit from me?" Thus addressed by him, the deities then spake to the saint, saying, "This deed we ask thee to achieve, viz., to drink up the great ocean, O magnanimous (saint)! Then we shall be able to slay those enemies of the gods, known by the name of Kalakeyas, together with all their adherents." Having heard the words of the gods, the saint said, "Let it be so—I shall do even what ye desire, and that which will conduce to the great happiness of men." Having said this, he then proceeded to the ocean—the lord of rivers,—accompanied by sages, ripe in the practice of penances, and also by the deities, O thou who leadest an excellent life! And men and snakes, celestial choristers, Yakshas and Kinnaras followed the magnanimous saints,—desirous of witnessing that wonderful event. Then they came up all together near to the sea, of awful roar, dancing, as it were, with its billows, bounding with the breeze, and laughing with masses of froth, and stumbling at the caves, and thronged with diverse kinds of sharks, and frequented by flocks of various birds. And the deities accompanied by Agastya and celestial choristers and huge snakes and highly-gifted saints, approached the immense watery waste.'"
"Lomasa said, 'That blessed saint, the son of Varuna, having reached the sea spake unto the assembled gods, and the saints gathered together, saying "I surely am going to drink up the ocean—that abode of the god of waters. Be ye quickly ready with those preparations which it devolves upon you to make." Having spoken these few words, the unswerving offspring of Mitra and Varuna, full of wrath, began to drink up the sea, while all the worlds stood observing (the deed). Then the gods, together with Indra, seeing how the sea was being drunk up, were struck with mighty amazement, and glorified him with laudatory words, saying, "Thou art our protector, and the Providence itself for men,—and also the creator of the worlds. By thy favour the universe with its gods may possibly be saved from havoc." And the magnanimous one, glorified by the gods—while the musical instruments of celestial choristers were playing all round, and while celestial blossoms were showered upon him—rendered waterless the wide ocean. And seeing the wide ocean rendered devoid of water, the host of gods was exceedingly glad; and taking up choice weapons of celestial forge, fell to slaying the demons with courageous hearts,—And they, assailed by the magnanimous gods, of great strength, and swift of speed, and roaring loudly, were unable to withstand the onset of their fleet and valorous (foes)—those residents of the heavenly regions, O descendant of Bharata! And those demons, attacked by the gods, bellowing loudly, for a moment carried on terrible conflict. They had been in the first instance burnt by the force of penances performed by the saints, who had matured their selves; therefore, the demons, though they tried to the utmost, were at last slaughtered by the gods. And decked with brooches of gold, and bearing on their persons ear-rings and armlets, the demons, when slain, looked beautiful indeed, like palasa trees when full of blossoms. Then, O best of men! a few—the remnant of those that were killed of the Kalakeya race, having rent asunder the goddess Earth, took refuge at the bottom of the nether regions. And the gods, when they saw that the demons were slain, with diverse speeches, glorified the mighty saint, and spake the following words. "O thou of mighty arms, by thy favour men have attained a mighty blessing, and the Kalakeyas, of ruthless strength have been killed by thy power, O creator of beings! Fill the sea (now), O mighty-armed one; give up again the water drunk up by thee." Thus addressed, the blessed and mighty saint replied, "That water in sooth hath been digested by me. Some other expedient, therefore, must be thought of by you, if ye desire to make endeavour to fill the ocean." Hearing this speech of that saint of matured soul, the assembled gods were struck with both wonder and sadness, O great king! And thereupon, having bidden adieu to each other, and bowed to the mighty saint all the born beings went their way. And the gods with Vishnu, came to Brahma. And having held consultation again, with the view of filling up the sea, they, with joined hands, spake about replenishing it.'"
"Lomasa said, 'Then gathered together, Brahma, the grandfather of men (thus) addressed, "Go ye, O gods! whither your pleasure may lead you, or your desire conduct you. It will take a long course of time for the ocean to resume its wonted state; the occasion will be furnished by the agnates of the great king Bhagiratha." Hearing the words of the (universal) grandfather (Brahma), all the foremost gods went their way biding the day (when the ocean was to be filled again).'
"Yudhishthira said, 'What was that occasion, O Saint? And how did the agnates of (Bhagiratha furnish the same)? And how was the ocean refilled by the interference of Bhagiratha? O Saint, who deemest thy religious practices as thy only treasure, O thou of the priestly class! I wish to hear the account of the achievements of the king, narrated in detail by thyself.'"
Vaisampayana said, "Thus addressed by the magnanimous and virtuous king, he, the chief of men of the priestly class, narrated the achievements of the high-souled (king) Sagara.
"Lomasa said, 'There was born in the family of the Ikshaku tribe, a ruler of the earth named Sagara, endued with beauty, and strength. And that same (king) of a dreaded name was sonless, O descendant of Bharata! And he carried havoc through the tribes of the Haihayas and the Talajanghas; brought under subjection the whole of the military caste; (and so) ruled over his own kingdom. And, O most praiseworthy of the descendants of Bharata! O chief of the Bharata race! he had two wives proud of their beauty and of their youth,—one a princess of the Vidarbha race, and the other of the royal line of Sivi. And, O chief of kings, that same ruler of men, betook himself to the mountain Kailasa, accompanied by both his wives, and with the desire of having a son became engaged in the practice of exceeding austere penances. And being engaged in the practice of rigid austerities, and (also) employed in the contemplation known by the name of Yoga, he obtained the sight of the magnanimous god with three eyes—the slayer of the demon called Tripura; the worker of blessings (for all beings); the (eternally) existent one; the ruling Being, the holder of the Pinaka bow; carrying in his hand his (well-known weapon)—the trident; the god of three eyes; the repository of (eternal) peace; the ruler of all those that are fierce; capable of assuming very many forms; and the lord of the goddess Uma. And that same ruler of men, of mighty arms, as soon as he beheld the god—that giver of boons—fell down at his feet, with both his queens, and proffered a prayer to have a son. And the god Siva, well pleased with him, spake (thus) to that most righteous of the rulers of men, attended by his two wives, saying, "O lord of men! considering the (astrological) moment at which thou hast proffered thy prayer to me, sixty thousand sons, O foremost of choice men valorous and characterised by exceeding pride, will be born in one of thy two wives (here). But they all, O ruler of the earth, shall perish together. In the other wife, (however), will be born a single valiant son, who will perpetuate thy race." Having said this to him, the god Rudra (Siva) vanished from sight at that very spot, and that same king Sagara now came (back) to his own abode accompanied by his two wives, exceedingly delighted at heart (for what had happened) then. And, O most praiseworthy of the sons of Manu! (i.e., men), there the two lotus-eyed wives of him—the princess of Vidarbha and the princess of Sivi—came (erelong) to be with child. And afterwards, on the due day, the princess of Vidarbha brought forth (something) of the shape of a gourd and the princess of Sivi gave birth to a boy as beautiful as a god. Then the ruler of the earth made up his mind to throw away the gourd,—when he heard (proceeding) from the sky a speech (uttered) in a grave and solemn voice, "O king! do thou not be guilty of this hasty act; thou shouldst not abandon thy sons. Take out the seeds from the gourd and let them be preserved with care in steaming vessels partly filled with clarified butter. Then thou wilt get, O scion of Bharata's race! sixty thousand sons. O ruler of men! the great god (Siva) hath spoken that thy sons are to be born in this manner. Let not therefore thy mind be turned away therefrom."'"
"Lomasa said, 'O most righteous of kings! When he heard these words (proceeding) from the sky, he had faith therein, and did all that he was directed to do, O chief of the men of Bharata's race! Then the ruler of men took separately each of the seeds and then placed these divisions (of the gourd) in vessels filled with clarified butter. And intent on the preservation of his sons, he provided a nurse for every (receptacle). Then after a long time there arose sixty thousand exceedingly powerful sons of that same king—gifted with unmeasured strength, they were born, O ruler of earth! to that saint-like king, by Rudra's favour. And they were terrible; and their acts were ruthless. And they were able to ascend and roam about in the sky; and being numerous themselves, despised everybody, including the gods. And they would chase even the gods, the Gandharvas, and the Rakshasas and all the born beings, being themselves valiant and addicted to fighting. Then all people, harassed by the dull-headed sons of Sagara, united with all the gods, went to Brahma as their refuge. And then addressed the blessed grandfather of all beings (Brahma), "Go ye your way, ye gods, together with all these men. In a not very long space of time, there will come about, O gods! a great and exceedingly terrible destruction of Sagara's sons, caused by the deed perpetrated by them." Thus addressed, those same gods, and men, O lord of the sons of Manu! bade adieu to the grandfather, and went back to whence they had come. Then, O chief of Bharata's race! after the expiry of very many days, the mighty king Sagara accepted the consecration for performing the rites of a horse-sacrifice. And his horse began to roam over the world, protected by his sons. And when the horse reached the sea, waterless and frightful to behold—although the horse was guarded with very great care—it (suddenly) vanished at the very spot (it stood upon). Then, O respected sir! those same sons of Sagara imagined the same fine horse to have been stolen; and returning to their father, narrated how it had been stolen out of sight. And thereupon he addressed them, saying, "Go ye and search for the horse in all the cardinal points." Then, O great king, by this command of their father, they began to search for the horse in the cardinal points and throughout the whole surface of the earth. But all those sons of Sagara, all mutually united, could not find the horse, nor the person who had stolen it. And coming back then, they with joined palms thus addressed their father, (standing) before them, "O Protector of men! O ruler of the earth! O king! by thy command, the whole of this world with its hills and its forest tracts, with its seas, and its woods, and its islands, with its rivulets and rivers and caves, hath been searched through by us. But we cannot find either the horse, or the thief who had stolen the same." And hearing the words, the same king became senseless with wrath, and then told them all, carried away by Destiny, "Go ye all, may ye never return! Search ye again for the horse. Without that sacrificial horse, ye must never return, my boys!"