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Chapter 156

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Thus addressed, Arjuna remained silent. The god of windonce more addressed him, saying, ‘Hear me, O foremost one of theHaihayas, as I narrate to thee the achievement of the high-souled Atri.Once on a time as the gods and Danavas were fighting each other in thedark, Rahu pierced both Surya and Soma with his arrows. The gods,overwhelmed by darkness, began to fall before the mighty Danavas, Oforemost of kings! Repeatedly struck by the Asuras, the denizens ofheaven began to lose their strength. They then beheld the learnedBrahmana Atri, endued with wealth of penances, engaged in the observanceof austerities. Addressing that Rishi who had conquered all his sensesand in whom wrath had been extinguished, they said ‘Behold, O Rishi,these two, viz., Soma and Surya, who have both been pierced by the Asuraswith their arrows! In consequence of this, darkness has overtaken us, andwe are being struck down by the foe. We do not see the end of ourtroubles! Do thou, O lord of great puissance, rescue us from this greatfear.’

“The Rishi said, ‘How, indeed, shall I protect you? They answered,saying, ‘Do thou thyself become Chandramas. Do thou also become the sun,and do thou begin to slay these robbers!’ Thus solicited by them, Atriassumed the form of the darkness-destroying Soma. Indeed, in consequenceof his agreeable disposition, he began to look as handsome and delightfulas Soma himself. Beholding that the real Soma and the real Surya hadbecome darkened by the shafts of the foe, Atri, assuming the forms ofthose luminaries, began to shine forth in splendour over the field ofbattle, aided by the puissance of his penances. Verily Atri made theuniverse blaze forth in light, dispelling all its darkness. By puttingforth his puissance, he also subjugated the vast multitudes of thoseenemies of the deities. Beholding those great Asuras burnt by Atri, thegods also, protected by Atri’s energy, began to despatch them quickly.Putting forth his prowess and mastering all his energy, it was even inthis way that Atri illumined the god of day, rescued the deities, andslew the Asuras! Even this was the feat that regenerate one, aided by hissacred fire,–that silent reciter of Mantras, that one clad indeer-skins,–accomplished! Behold, O royal sage, that act achieved bythat Rishi who subsisted upon fruits only! I have thus narrated to thee,in detail, the feat of the high-souled Atri. Shall I go on! Or, will yousay anything? Is there a Kshatriya that is superior to this regenerateRishi?’

“Thus addressed, Arjuna remained silent. The god of wind once more spakeunto him, ‘Hear, O king, the feat achieved by the high-souled Chyavana(in days of old). Having passed his promise to the twin Aswins, Chyavanaaddressed the chastiser of Paka, saying, ‘Do thou make the Aswinsdrinkers of Soma with all other deities!’

“Indra said, ‘The Aswins have been cast away by us. How then, can they beadmitted into the sacrificial circle for drinking Soma with the others?They are not numbered with the deities. Do not, therefore, tell us so! Othou of great vows, we do not wish to drink Soma in the company of the Aswins. Whatever other behest thou mayst be pleased to utter, O learnedBrahmana, we are ready to accomplish.’

“Chyavana said, ‘The twin Aswins shall drink Soma with all of you! Bothof them are gods, O chief of the deities, for they are the sons of Surya.Let the gods do what I have said. By acting according to those words, thegods will reap great advantage. By acting otherwise, evil will overtakethem.’

“Indra said, ‘I shall not, O foremost of regenerate persons, drink Somawith the Aswins! Let others drink with them as they please! As regardsmyself, I dare not do it.’

“Chyavana said, ‘If, O slayer of Vala, thou wilt not obey my words, thoushalt, this very day, drink Soma with them in sacrifice, compelled by me!

“The god of wind said, ‘Then Chyavana, taking the Aswins with him,commenced a great religious rite for their benefit. The gods all becamestupefied by Chyavana with his Mantras. Beholding that feat commenced byChyavana, Indra became incensed with wrath. Taking up a huge mountain heran against that Rishi. The chief of the deities was also armed with thethunderbolt. Then the illustrious Chyavana, endued with penances, cast anangry glance upon Indra as he advanced. Throwing a little water at him,he paralysed the chief of the deities with his thunderbolt and mountain.As the result of the religious rite he had commenced, he created aterrible Asura hostile to Indra. Made of the libations he had poured onthe sacred fire, that Asura was called Mada, of mouth gaping wide. Evensuch was the Asura that the great ascetic created with the aid ofMantras. There were a thousand teeth in his mouth, extending for ahundred yojanas. Of terrible mien, his fangs were two hundred yojanas inlength. One of his cheeks rested on the earth and the other touched theheavens. Indeed, all the gods with Vasava seemed to stand at the root ofthat great Asura’s tongue, even as fishes when they enter into the wideopen mouth of a leviathan. While standing within the mouth of Mada, thegods held a quick consultation and then addressing Indra, said, ‘Do thousoon bend thy head in reverence unto this regenerate personage! Freedfrom every scruple, we shall drink Soma with the Aswins in our company!Then Sakra, bowing down his head unto Chyavana, obeyed his behest. Eventhus did Chyavana make the Aswins drinkers of Soma with the other gods.Calling back Mada, the Rishi then assigned him the acts he was to do.That Mada was commanded to take up his residence in dice, in hunting, indrinking, and in women. Hence, O king, those men that betake themselvesto these, meet with destruction, without doubt. Hence, one should alwayscast off these faults to a great distance. Thus, O king, I have narratedto thee the feat achieved by Chyavana. Shall I go on? Or, will you sayanything in reply? Is there a Kshatriya that is higher than the BrahmanaChyavana?'”

Chapter 155
Chapter 157
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