Chapter 103

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“The celestials said, ‘Through thy favour it is that all born beings ofthe four kinds increase. And they being created, propitiate the dwellersof heaven by offerings made to the gods and the names of departedforefathers. Thus it is that people, protected by thee and free fromtrouble live depending on one another, and (so) increase. Now this perilhath befallen the people. We do not know by whom are Brahmanas beingkilled during the night. If the Brahmanas are destroyed, the earth itselfwill meet with destruction, and if the earth cometh to an end, heavenalso will cease to exist. O mighty-armed one, O lord of the universe! webeseech thee (to act so) that all the worlds, protected by thee, may notcome to an end, so it may please thee.’

“Vishnu said, ‘Ye gods! To me is known the reason of the destruction ofthe born beings, I shall speak of it to you; listen with minds free fromtribulation. There exists an exceedingly fierce host, known by the nameof Kalakeyas. They, under the lead of Vritra, were devastating the wholeuniverse. And when they saw that Vritra was slain by the sagacious Indraendued with a thousand eyes, they, to preserve their lives, entered intothe ocean, that abode of Varuna. And having entered the ocean, aboundingwith sharks and crocodiles, they at night killed the saints at this spotwith the view of exterminating the people. But they cannot be slain, asthey have taken shelter within the sea. Ye should, therefore, think ofsome expedient to dry up the ocean. Who save Agastya is capable of dryingup the sea. And without drying up the ocean, these (demons) cannot beassailed by any other means.’ Hearing these words of Vishnu, the godstook the permission of Brahma, who lives at the best of all regions, andwent to the hermitage of Agastya. Then they beheld the high-souledAgastya, the son of Varuna, of resplendent mien, and waited upon bysaints, even as Brahma is waited upon by celestials. And approaching him,they addressed the son of Mitra and Varuna at the hermitage, magnanimousand unswerving, and looking like an embodiment of pious works piledtogether, and glorified him by reciting his deeds. The deities said,’Thou wert formerly the refuge of the gods when they were oppressed byNahusha. Thorn of the world that he was, he was thrown down from histhrone of heaven–from the celestial regions. Vindhya, the foremost ofall mountains, suddenly began to increase his height, from a wrathfulcompetition with the sun (i. e., to rival him in altitude). But he hathceased to increase, as he was unable to disobey thy command. And whendarkness hath covered the world, the born beings were harassed by death,but having obtained thee for a protector, they attained the utmostsecurity. Whenever we are beset by perils, thy reverence is always ourrefuge; for this reason it is that we solicit a boon from thee; as thouever grantest the boon solicited (of thee).'”

Chapter 102
Chapter 104
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