Chapter 114

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then, O Janamejaya, the son of Pandu started fromthe river Kausiki and repaired in succession to all the sacred shrines.And, O protector of men, he came to the sea where the river Ganga fallsinto it; and there in the centre of five hundred rivers, he performed theholy ceremony of a plunge. Then, O ruler of the earth, accompanied by hisbrothers, the valiant prince proceeded by the shore of the sea towardsthe land where the Kalinga tribes dwell.”

“Lomasa said, ‘There is the land, O Kunti’s son, where the Kalinga tribesdwell. Through it passeth the river Vaitarani, on the banks whereof eventhe god of virtue performed religious river, having first placed himselfunder the protection of the celestials. Verily, this is the northernbank, inhabited by saints, suitable for the performance of religiousrites beautified by a hill, and frequented by persons of the regeneratecaste. This spot (in holiness) rivals the path whereby a virtuous man,fit for going to heaven, repairs to the region inhabited by gods. Andverily at this spot in former times, other saints likewise worshipped theimmortals by the performance of religious rites. And at the very spot itwas that the god Rudra, O king of kings, seized the sacrificial beast andexclaimed, ‘This is my share!’ O chief of the descendants of Bharata,then when the beast was carried away by Siva, the gods spake to himsaying, ‘Cast not a covetous glance at the property of others,disregarding all the righteous rules.’ Then they addressed words ofglorification of a pleasing kind to the god Rudra. And they satisfied himby offering a sacrifice, and paid him suitable honours. Thereupon he gaveup the beast, and went by the path trodden by the gods. Thereupon whathappened to Rudra, learn from me, O Yudhishthira! Influenced by the dreadof Rudra, the gods set apart for evermore, the best allotment out of allshares, such as was fresh and not stale (to be appropriated by the god).Whosoever performs his ablutions at this spot, while reciting thisancient story, beholds with his mortal eyes the path that leads to theregion of the gods.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then all the sons of Pandu and likewise the daughterof Drupada–all of whom were the favoured of Fate–descended to the riverVaitarani, and made libations to the names of their fathers.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O Lomasa, how great must be the force of a piousdeed! Having taken my bath at this spot in a proper form, I seem to touchno more the region inhabited by mortal men! O saint of a virtuous life, Iam beholding all the regions. And this is the noise of the magnanimousdwellers of the wood, who are reciting their audible prayers.’

“Lomasa said, ‘O Yudhishthira, the place whence this noise comes andreaches thy ears is at the distance of three hundred thousand yojanas, tobe sure. O lord of men, rest thou quiet and utter no word. O king, thisis the divine forest of the Self-existent One, which hath now come to ourview. There, O king, Viswakarma of a dreaded name performed religiousrites. On the mighty occasion of that sacrifice, the Self-existent Onemade a gift of this entire earth with all its hilly and forest tracts, toKasyapa, by way of gratuity, for ministering as a priest. And then, OKuru’s son, as soon as that goddess Earth was giving away, she became sadat heart, and wrathfully spake the following words to that great lord,the ruler of the worlds, ‘O mighty god, it is unworthy of thee to give meaway to an ordinary mortal. And this act of gift on thy part will come tonothing; (for) here am I going to descend into the bottom of the netherworld.’ Then when the blessed saint Kasyapa beheld the goddess Earth,despondent and sad, he, O protector of men, performed a propitiatory actcalculated to appease her wrath. And then, O Pandu’s son, the Earth waspleased with his pious deed. And she uprose again from within the waters,and showed herself in the form of a sacred altar. This, O king, is thespot which distinctly manifests the form of an altar. O great monarch,ascend over it, and thou wilt gain valour and strength. And, O king, thisis the very altar which reaches as far as the sea, and rests itself uponits bosom. May good luck be thine, do thou mount hereupon, and of thyselfcross the sea. And while thou this day mountest upon it, I shalladminister the ceremony for averting all evil from thee; for this altarhere, as soon as it gets a mortal’s touch, at once enters into the sea.Salutation to the god who protects the universe! Salutation to thee thatart beyond the universe! O Lord of gods, vouchsafe thy presence in thissea. O Pandu’s son, thou must recite the following words of truth, andwhile so reciting, thou must quickly ascend this altar, ‘The god of fire,and the sun, and the organ of generation, and water, and goddess and theseed of Vishnu, and the navel of nectar. The god of fire is the organthat generated the (ocean); the earth is thy body; Vishnu deposited theseed that caused thy being and thou art the navel of nectar.’ Thus, OPandu’s son, the words of truth must be audibly recited, and while soreciting, one must plunge into the lord of rivers. O most praiseworthy ofKunti’s son, otherwise this lord of waters of divine birth, this beststorehouse of the waters (of the earth), should not be touched, O son ofKunti, even with the end of a sacred grass.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then when the ceremony for averting evil had beencompleted in his behalf, the magnanimous Yudhishthira went into the sea,and having performed all that the saint had bid, repaired to the skirtsof the Mahendra hill, and spent the night at that spot.'”

Chapter 135
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