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Chapter 140

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Then Narada, that holy Rishi, that friend of Narayana,recited the following narrative of the discourse between Sankara and hisspouse Uma.’

“Narada said, ‘Once on a time the righteous-souled lord of all thedeities, viz., Mahadeva with the bull for his device, practised severepenances on the sacred mountains of Himavat that are the resort ofSiddhas and Charanas. Those delightful mountains are overgrown withdiverse kinds of herbs and adorned with various species of flowers. Atthat time they were peopled by the different tribes of Apsaras and crowdsof ghostly beings. There the great god sat, filled with joy, andsurrounded by hundreds of ghostly beings who presented diverse aspects tothe eye of the beholder. Some of them were ugly and awkward, some were ofvery handsome features, and some presented the most wonderfulappearances. Some had faces like the lion’s, some like the tiger’s andsome like the elephant’s. In fact, the faces of those ghostly creaturespresented every variety of animal faces. Some had faces resembling thatof the jackal, some whose faces resembled the pard’s; some like theape’s, some like the bull’s. Some of them had faces like the owl’s; somelike the hawk’s; some had faces like those of deer of diverse varieties.The great god was also surrounded by Kinnaras and Yakshas and Gandharvasand Rakshasas and diverse other created beings. The retreat to whichMahadeva had betaken himself also abounded with celestial flowers andblazed with celestial rays of light. It was perfumed with celestialsandal, and celestial incense was burnt on every side. And it echoed withthe sounds of celestial instruments. Indeed, it resounded with the beatof Mridangas and Panavas, the blare of conchs, and the sound of drums. Itteemed with ghostly beings of diverse tribes that danced in joy and withpeacocks also that danced with plumes outspread. Forming as it did theresort of the celestial Rishis, the Apsaras danced there in joy. Theplace was exceedingly agreeable to the sight. It was exceedinglybeautiful, resembling Heaven itself. Its entire aspect was wonderful and,indeed, it is indescribable in respect of its beauty and sweetness.Verily, with the penances of that great deity who sleeps on mountainbreasts, that prince of mountains shone with great beauty. It resoundedwith the chant of the Vedas uttered by learned Brahmanas devoted to Vedicrecitation. Echoing with the hum of bees, O Madhava, the mountain becameincomparable in beauty. The ascetics, beholding the great deity who isendued with a fierce form and who looks like a great festival, becamefilled, O Janardana, with great joy. All the highly blessed ascetics, theSiddhas who have drawn in their vital seed, the Maruts, the Vasus, theSadhyas, the Viswedevas, Vasava himself, the Yakshas, the Nagas, thePisachas, the Regents of the world, the several sacred Fires, the Winds,and all the great creatures dwelt on that mountain with mindsconcentrated in Yoga. All the Seasons were present there and scatteredthose regions with all kinds of wonderful flowers. Diverse kinds ofblazing herbs illuminated the woods and forests on that mountain. Variousspecies of birds, filled with joy, hopped about and sang merrily on thedelightful beast of that mountain. Those birds were exceedingly lovablein consequence of the notes they uttered. The high-souled Mahadeva sat,displayed in beauty, on one of the peaks that was adorned with excellentminerals, as if it served the purposes of a fine bedstead. Round hisloins was a tiger-skin, and a lion-skin formed his upper garments. Hissacred thread consisted of a snake. His arms were decked with a pair ofred Angadas, His beard was green. He had matted locks on his head. Ofterrible features, he it is that inspires with fear the hearts of all theenemies of the gods. It is he, again, that assures all creatures bydispelling their fears. He is adored by his worshippers as the deityhaving the bovine bull for his device. The great Rishis, beholdingMahadeva, bowed to him by touching the ground with their heads. Enduedwith forgiving souls, they all became (in consequence of the sight theyhad obtained of the great deity) freed from every sin and thoroughlycleansed. The retreat of that lord of all creatures with many terribleforms, shone with a peculiar beauty. Abounding with many large snakes, itbecame unapproachable and unbearable (by ordinary beings). Within thetwinkling of the eye. O slayer of Madhu, everything there becameexceedingly wonderful. Indeed, the abode of that great deity having thebovine bull for his device began to blaze with a terrible beauty. UntoMahadeva seated there, came his spouse, the daughter of Himavat,surrounded by the wives of the ghostly beings who are the companions ofthe great deity. Her attire was like that of her lord and the vows sheobserved were like those of his. She held a jar on her loins that wasfilled with the waters of every Tirtha, and was accompanied by thepresiding deities (of her own sex) of all the mountain streams. Thoseauspicious ladies walked in her train. The goddess approached rainingflowers on every side and diverse kinds of sweet perfumes. She who lovedto reside on the breast of Himavat advanced in this guise towards hergreat lord. The beautiful Uma, with smiling lips and desirous of playinga jest, covered from behind, with her two beautiful hands, the eyes ofMahadeva. As soon as Mahadeva’s eyes were thus covered, all the regionsbecame dark and life seemed to be extinct everywhere in the universe. TheHoma rites ceased. The universe became suddenly deprived of the sacredVashat also. All living creatures became cheerless and filled with fear.Indeed, when the eyes of the lord of all creatures were thus closed, theuniverse seemed to become sunless. Soon, however, that overspreadingdarkness disappeared. A mighty and blazing flame of fire emanated fromMahadeva’s forehead. A third eye, resembling another sun, appeared (onit). That eye began to blaze forth like the Yuga-fire and began toconsume that mountain. The large-eyed daughter of Himavat, beholding whatoccurred, bowed her head unto Mahadeva endued with that third eye whichresembled a blazing fire. She stood there with gaze fixed on her lord.When the mountain forests burned on every side, with their Was and othertrees of straight Trunks, and their delightful sandals and diverseexcellent medicinal herbs, herds of deer and other animals, filled withfright, came with great speed to the place where Hara sat and sought hisprotection. With those creatures almost filling it, the retreat of thegreat deity blazed forth with a kind of peculiar beauty. Meanwhile, thatfire, swelling wildly, soared up to the very heavens and endued with thesplendour and unsteadiness of lightning and looking like a dozen suns inmight and effulgence, covered every side like the all-destroyingYuga-fire. In a moment, the Himavat mountains were consumed, with theirminerals and summits and blazing herbs. Beholding Himavat crushed andconsumed, the daughter of that prince of mountains sought the protectionof the great deity and stood before him her hands joined in reverence.Then Sarva, seeing Uma overcome by an accession of womanly mildness andfinding that she was unwilling to behold her father Himavat reduced tothat pitiable plight, cast benignant looks upon the mountain. In a momentthe whole of Himavat was restored to his former condition and became asbeautiful to look at as ever. Indeed, the mountain put forth a cheerfulaspect. All its trees became adorned with flowers. Beholding Himavat tohis natural condition, the goddess Uma, divested of every fault,addressed her lord, that master of all creatures, the divine Maheswara,in these words.’

“Uma said, ‘O holy one, O lord of all creatures, O deity that art armedwith the trident, O thou of high vows, a great doubt has filled my mind.It behoveth thee to resolve that doubt for me. For what reason has thisthird eye appeared in thy forehead? Why also was the mountain consumedwith the woods and all that belonged to it? Why also, O illustriousdeity, hast thou restored the mountain to its former condition? Indeed,having burnt it once, why hast thou again caused it to be covered withtrees?’

“Maheswara said, ‘O goddess without any fault, in consequence of thyhaving covered my eyes through an act of indiscretion the universe becamein a moment devoid of light. When the universe became sunless and,therefore, all became dark, O daughter of the prince of mountains, Icreated the third eye desirous of protecting all creatures. The highenergy of that eye crushed and consumed this ‘mountain. For pleasingthee, however, O goddess, I once more made Himavat what he was byrepairing the injury.’

“Uma said, ‘O holy one, why are those faces of thine which are on theeast, the north, and the west, so handsome and so agreeable to look atlike the very moon? And why is that face of thine which is on the southso terrible? Why are thy matted locks tawny in hue and so erect? Why isthy throat blue after the manner of the peacock’s plumes? Why, Oillustrious deity, is the Pinaka always in thy hand? Why art thou alwaysa Brahmacharin with matted locks? O lord, it behoves thee to explain allthese to me. I am thy spouse who seeks to follow the same duties withthee. Further, I am thy devoted worshipper, O deity, having the bull forthy mark!’

“Narada continued, ‘Thus addressed by the daughter of the prince ofmountains, the illustrious wielder of Pinaka, the puissant Mahadeva,became highly gratified with her. The great god then addressed hersaying, ‘O blessed lady, listen to me as I explain, with the reasonsthereof, why my forms are so.'”

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