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Chapter 102

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Lomasa said, ‘The Kalakeyas then having recourse to that receptacle ofwaters, which is the abode of Varuna, began their operations for thedestruction of the universe. And during the darkness of the night thoseangry Daityas began to devour the Munis they found in woody retreats andsacred spots. And those wicked wretches devoured in the asylum ofVasishtha, Brahmanas to the number of a hundred and eighty, besides nineother ascetics. And, proceeding to the asylum of Chyavana that wasinhabited by many Brahmacharis, they devoured a century of Brahmanas thatlived upon fruit and roots alone. And they began to do all this duringthe darkness of the night, while they entered the depths of the sea byday. And they slew a full score of Brahmanas of subdued souls and leadinga Brahmacharya mode of life and living upon air and water alone, in theretreat 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 ofthe night, slaughtering numerous Brahmanas. And, O best of men, althoughthe Danavas behaved in this way towards the ascetics in woody retreats,yet men failed to discover anything of them. And every morning people sawthe dead bodies of Munis emaciated with frugal diet, lying on the ground.And many of those bodies were without flesh and without blood, withoutmarrow, without entrails, and with limbs separated from one another. Andhere and there lay on the ground heaps of bones like masses of conchshells. And the earth was scattered over with the (sacrificial) contentsof broken jars and shattered ladles for pouring libations of clarifiedbutter and with the sacred fires kept with care by the ascetics. And theuniverse afflicted with the terror of the Kalakeyas, being destitute ofVedic studies and vashats and sacrificial festivals and religious rites,became entirely cheerless. And, O king, when men began to perish in thisway, the survivors, afflicted with fear, fled for their lives in alldirections. And some fled to caverns and some behind mountain-streams andsprings and some through fear of death, died without much ado. And somewho were brave and mighty bowmen cheerfully went out and took greattrouble in tracking the Danavas. Unable, however, to find them out, forthe Asuras had sought refuge in the depths of the sea, these brave mencame back to their homes gratified with the search. And, O lord of men,when the universe was being thus destroyed, and when sacrificialfestivals and religious rites had been suspended, the gods became deeplyafflicted. And gathering together with Indra in their midst they began,from fear, to take counsel of one another. And repairing unto the exaltedand uncreate Narayana–that unvanquished god of Vaikuntha–the celestialssought his protection. And bowing unto the slayer of Madhu, the godsaddressed him, saying, ‘O lord, thou art the creator, the protector, andthe slayer of ourselves as well as of the universe. It is thou who hascreated this universe with its mobile and immobile creatures. O thou ofeyes like lotus leaves, it was thou who in days of yore hadst for thebenefit of all creatures raised from the sea the sunken earth, assumingalso the form of a boar. And, O best of male beings, assuming also theform of half-man and half-lion, thou hadst slain in days of yore thatancient Daitya of mighty prowess known by the name of Hiranyakasipu. Andthat other great Asura also, Vali by name, was incapable of being slainby any one. Assuming the form of a dwarf, thou exiledest him from thethree worlds. O lord, it was by thee that that wicked Asura, Jambha byname, who was a mighty bowman and who always obstructed sacrifices, wasslain. Achievements like these, which cannot be counted, are thine. Oslayer of Madhu, we who have been afflicted with fear, have thee for ourrefuge. It is for this, O god of gods, that we inform thee of our presenttroubles. Protect the worlds, the gods, and Sakra also, from a terriblefear.'”

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