Chapter 141

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Lomasa said, O sons of Pandu, ye have seen many a mountain, and riverand town and forest and beautiful tirtha; and have touched with yourhands the sacred waters. Now this way leads to the celestial mountainMandara; therefore be ye attentive and composed. Ye will now repair tothe residence of the celestials and the divine sages of meritoriousdeeds. Here, O king, flows the mighty and beautiful river (Alakananda) ofholy water adored by hosts of celestials and sages, and tracing itssource to (the site of) the jujube tree. It is frequented and worshippedby high-souled Vaihayasas, Valakhilyas and Gandharvas of mighty souls.Accustomed to sing the Sama hymns, the sages, Marichi, Pulaha, Bhrigu andAngiras, chanted them at this spot. Here the lord of celestialsperformeth with the Maruts his daily prayers. And the Sadhyas and theAswins attend on him. The sun, the moon and all the luminaries with theplanets resort to this river, alternately by day and by night. O highlyfortunate monarch, that protector of the world; Mahadeva, having a bullfor his mark, received on his head the fall of the waters of this river,at the source of the Ganga. O children, approach this goddess of the sixattributes and bow down before her with concentrated minds.’

“Hearing the words of the high-souled Lomasa, the son of Pandureverentially worshipped the river (Ganga), flowing through thefirmament. And after having adored her the pious sons of Pandu resumedtheir journey accompanied by the sages. And it came to pass that thosebest of men beheld at a distance some white object of vast proportions,even like Meru and stretching on all sides. And knowing that Pandu’s sonswere intent upon asking (him), Lomasa versed in speech said, ‘Hear, Osons of Pandu! O best of men, what ye see before you, of vast proportionslike unto a mountain and beautiful as the Kailasa cliff, is a collectionof the bones of the mighty Daitya Naraka, Being placed on a mountain, itlooketh like one. The Daitya was slain by that Supreme Soul, the eternalGod Vishnu, for the good of the lord of celestials. Aiming at thepossession of Indra’s place, by the force of austere and Vedic lore, thatmighty-minded (demon) had practised austere penances for ten thousandyears. And on account of his asceticism, as also of the force and mightof his arms he had grown invincible and always harassed (Indra). And Osinless one, knowing his strength and austerities and observance ofreligious vows, Indra became agitated and was overwhelmed with fear. Andmentally he thought of the eternal deity, Vishnu. And thereat thegraceful lord of the universe, who is present everywhere, appeared andstood before him manifest. And the sages and celestials began topropitiate Vishnu with prayers. And in his presence even Agni of the sixattributes and of blazing beauty being overpowered by his effulgence,became shorn of radiance and seeing before him the God Vishnu, the chiefof the celestials who wields the thunder-bolt, bowing with head downreadily apprised Vishnu of the source of his fear. Thereupon Vishnu said,’I know, O Sakra, that thy fear proceedeth from Naraka, that lord of theDaityas. By the merit of his successful ascetic acts he aimeth at Indra’sposition. Therefore, for pleasing thee, I shall certainly sever his soulfrom his body, although he hath achieved success in asceticism. Do thou,lord of celestials, wait for a moment.’ Then the exceedingly powerfulVishnu deprived (Naraka) of his senses (by striking him) with his hand.And he fell down on the earth even like the monarch of mountains struckby (thunder). He was thus slain by a miracle and his bones lie gatheredat this spot. Here also is manifest another deed of Vishnu’s. Once thewhole earth having been lost and sunk into the nether regions she waslifted up by him in the shape of a boar having a single tusk.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O worshipful one, relate in particular how Vishnu,the lord of the celestials, raised up the earth sunk a hundred yojanas?In what manner also was that support of all created things–the goddessEarth of high fortune–who dispenseth blessings and bringeth forth allsorts of corn rendered stable? Through whose power had she sunk anhundred yojanas below, and under what circumstances was exhibited thisgreatest exploit of the Supreme Being? O chief of the twice-born race, Iwish to hear all about it in detail as it happened. Certainly, it isknown to thee.’

“Lomasa said, ‘O Yudhishthira, listen to all at length as I relate thestory, which thou hast asked me (to narrate). O child, in days of yore,there was (once) a terrible time in the Krita Yuga when the eternal andprimeval Deity assumed the duties of Yama. And, O thou that never fallestoff, when the God of gods began to perform the functions of Yama, theredied not a creature while the births were as usual. Then there began tomultiply birds and beasts and kine, and sheep, and deer and all kinds ofcarnivorous animals. O tiger among men and vanquisher of foes, then thehuman race also increased by thousands even like unto a current of water.And, O my son, when the increase of population had been so frightful, theEarth oppressed with the excessive burden, sank down for a hundredyojanas. And suffering pain in all her limbs, and being deprived of hersenses by excessive pressure, the earth in distress sought the protectionof Narayana, the foremost of the gods. The earth spake saying, ‘It is bythy favour, O possessor of the six attributes, that I had been able toremain so long in my position. But I have been overcome with burden andnow I cannot hold myself any longer. It behoveth thee, O adorable one, torelieve this load of mine. I have sought thy protection. O lord; and dothou, therefore, extend unto me thy favour.’ Hearing these words of hers,the eternal lord, possessor of the six attributes, complaisantly said, inwords uttered in distinct letters. Vishnu said, ‘Thou need not fear, Oafflicted Earth, the bearer of all treasures. I shall act so that thoumayst be made light.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Having thus dismissed the Earth, who hath the mountainsfor her ear-rings, he suddenly became turned into a boar with one tusk,and of exceeding effulgence. Causing terror with his glowing red eyes andemitting fumes from his blazing lustre, he began to swell in magnitude inthat region. O hero, then holding the earth with his single radiant tuskthat being who pervadeth the Vedas, raised her up a hundred yojanas. Andwhile she was being thus raised, there ensued a mighty agitation and allthe celestials, together with the sages of ascetic wealth becameagitated. And heaven, and the firmament, and also the Earth were filledwith exclamations of Oh! and Alas! and neither the celestials nor mencould rest in peace. Then countless celestials together with the sageswent to Brahma, who was seated burning as it were in his (own) lustre.Then approaching Brahma, the lord of celestials, and the witness of theacts of all beings, they with folded hands spake the following words, ‘Olord of the celestials, all created beings have become agitated and themobile and immobile creatures are restless. O lord of the celestials,even the oceans are found to be agitated and this whole earth hath gonedown a hundred yojanas. What is the matter? And by whose influence is itthat the whole universe is in ferment? May it please thee to explain itunto us without delay, for we are all bewildered.’ Thereupon Brahmareplied, ‘Ye immortals! do ye not entertain fear for the Asuras, in anymatter or place. Hearken, ye celestials, to the reason to which all thiscommotion is owing! This agitation in the heavens hath been produced bythe influence of the illustrious Being who is omnipresent, eternal andthe never-perishing Soul. That Supreme soul, Vishnu hath lifted up theEarth, who had entirely sunk down hundred yojanas. This commotion hathtaken place in consequence of the earth being raised up. Know ye this anddispel your doubts.’ The celestials said, ‘Where is that Being who withpleasure raiseth up the Earth? O possessor of the six attributes, mentionunto us the place. Thither shall we repair.’ Brahma said ‘Go ye. May goodhappen to you! Ye will find him resting in the Nandana (gardens). Yonderis visible the glorious worshipful Suparna (Garuda). After having raisedthe Earth, the Supreme Being from whom the world become manifest, flametheven in the shape of a boar, like unto the all-consuming fire at theuniversal dissolution. And on his beast is really to be seen the gemSrivatsa. (Go) and behold that Being knowing no deterioration.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Then the celestials, placing the grandsire at their head,came to that infinite Soul, and having listened to his praise, bade himadieu and went back to whence they had come.'”

Vaisampayana said, “O Janamejaya, having heard this story, all thePandavas without delay and with alacrity, began to proceed by the waypointed out by Lomasa.”

Chapter 140
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