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Chapter 118

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “The magnanimous monarch pursued his journey, and atdifferent spots on the shore of the sea visited the various bathingplaces, all sacred and pleasant and frequented by men of the sacerdotalcaste. And O son of Parikshit! He in proper form took his bath in themtogether with his younger brothers and then went to an excellent river,the holiest of all. There also the magnanimous king, took his plunge, andoffered libations to his forefathers and the gods, and distributed richesto the leaders of the twice-born class. Then he went to the Godavari, ariver that falls directly into the sea. There he was freed from his sins.And he reached the sea in the Dravida land, and visited the holy spotpassing under Agastya’s name, which was exceedingly sacred andexceptionally pure. And the valiant king visited the feminine sacredspots. Here he listened to the story of that well-known feat which wasachieved by Arjuna, chief of all wielders of the bow, and which wasbeyond the power of human beings to perform. And here he was praised bythe highest members of the saintly class, and the son of Panduexperienced the greatest delight. And, O protector of the earth! theruler of the world, accompanied by Krishna bathed in those holy spots,and speaking of Arjuna’s valour in laudatory terms delightfully spent histime in the place. Then he gave away thousands of cows at those holyspots on the coast of the sea; and with his brothers narrated wellpleased how Arjuna had made a gift of kine. And he, O king! visited oneby one those holy places on the coast of the sea and many other sacredspots, and thus fulfilled his heart’s desire, till he came to the holiestof all known by the name of Suparaka. Then having crossed a certain tracton the coast of the sea, he reached a forest celebrated on earth. Therethe deities had practised asceticism in former days, and likewisevirtuous rulers of men had performed sacrificial rites. There he,possessed of long and lusty arms, beheld the celebrated altar ofRichika’s son, who was the foremost of all wielders of the bow. And thealtar was girt round by hosts of ascetics, and was fit to be worshippedby persons of a virtuous life. Then the king beheld the holy anddelightful shrines of all the gods and of the Vasus, and of the hosts ofwind and of the two celestial physicians and of Yama, son of the sun andof the lord of riches, and of Indra, and of Vishnu, and of the lordCreator and of Siva, and of the moon, and of the author of day, and ofthe lord of waters, and of the host of Sadhyas, and of Brahma, and of theforefathers, and of Rudra together with all his followers, and of thegoddess of learning, and of the host of Siddhas, and of many immortalholy gods besides. And in those shrines the king observed various fasts,and gave away large quantities of gems. He plunged his body in all theholy spots, and then came again to Surparaka. And he by the samelanding-place of the sea again proceeded with his uterine brothers andcame over to the holy spot Prabhasa, whereof fame hath been spread bymighty Brahmanas throughout the world. There he, possessed of a pair oflarge red eyes, washed himself with all his younger brothers, and offeredlibations to the forefathers and the celestial hosts; and so did Krishnaand all those Brahmanas together with Lomasa. For twelve days hesubsisted upon air and water. And he performed ablutions for days andnights and surrounded himself with fires kindled on all sides. Thus thatgreatest of all virtuous men engaged himself in asceticism. While he wasacting thus, information reached both Valarama and Krishna that the kingwas practising penances of a most austere form and these two leaders ofthe entire Vrishni tribe accompanied with troops came to Yudhishthira ofAjamidha’s race. And when the Vrishnis beheld that the sons of Pandu laydown on the ground, their bodies besmeared all over with dirt and whenthey beheld the daughter of Drupada in a sad state, their grief was greatand they could not refrain from breaking out in loud lamentations. Thenthe king, whose courage was such that misfortune never could cast himdown, cordially met Rama and Krishna and Samva, Krishna’s son, and thegrand-son of Sini and other Vrishnis, and paid honour to them in asuitable form. And they also in return paid honour to all the sons ofPritha, and were similarly honoured by Pandu’s sons. And they seatedthemselves round about Yudhishthira, as round Indra, O king! are seatedthe celestial hosts. And highly pleased, he recounted to them all themachinations of his adversaries, and how also he had resided in theforest, and how Arjuna had gone to Indra’s abode in order to learn thescience of arms–all this he related with a gladdened heart. And theywere happy to learn all this news from him; but when they saw thePandavas so exceedingly lean, the majestic and magnanimous Vrishnis couldnot forbear shedding tears, which spontaneously gushed from their eyes onaccount of the agony they felt.”

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