Vaisampayana continued, “On that Rakshasa having been slain, that lord,the royal son of Kunti, returned to the hermitage of Narayana and beganto dwell there. And once on a time, remembering his brother Jaya(Arjuna), Yudhishthira summoned all his brothers, together with Draupadiand said these words, ‘We have passed these four years peacefully rangingthe woods. It hath been appointed by Vibhatsu that about the fifth yearhe will come to that monarch of mountains, the excellent cliff Sweta,ever graced with festivities held by blooming plants and maddened Kokilasand black bees, and peacocks, and chatakas and inhabited by tigers, andboars and buffaloes, and gavayas, and deer, and ferocious beasts; andsacred; and lovely with blown lotuses of a hundred and a thousand petals,and blooming lilies and blue lilies and frequented by the celestials andthe Asuras. And we also, eagerly anxious of meeting him on his arrivalhave made up our minds to repair thither. Partha of unrivalled prowesshath appointed with me, saying, ‘I shall remain abroad for five years,with the object of learning military science.’ In the place like unto theregion of the gods, shall we behold the wielder of Gandiva, arrive afterhaving obtained the weapons.’ Having said this, the Pandava summoned theBrahmanas, and the sons of Pritha having gone round the ascetics of rigidausterities and thereby pleased them, informed them of the mattermentioned above. Thereupon the Brahmanas gave their assent, saying, ‘Thisshall be attended by prosperity and welfare. O foremost of the Bharatas,these troubles shall result in happiness. O pious one, gaining the earthby the Kshatriya virtue, thou shall govern it.’ Then in obedience tothese words of the ascetics, that represser of foes, Yudhishthira, setout with his brothers and those Brahmanas, followed by the Rakshasa andprotected by Lomasa. And that one of mighty energy, and of staunch vows,with his brothers, at places went on foot and at others were carried bythe Rakshasas. Then king Yudhishthira, apprehending many troubles,proceeded towards the north abounding in lions and tigers and elephants.And beholding on the way the mountain Mainaka and the base of theGandhamadana and that rocky mass Sweta and many a crystal rivulet higherand higher up the mountain, he reached on the seventeenth day the sacredslopes of the Himalayas. And, O king, not far from the Gandhamadana,Pandu’s son beheld on the sacred slopes of the Himavan covered withvarious trees and creepers the holy hermitage of Vrishaparva surroundedby blossoming trees growing near the cascades. And when those repressersof foes, the sons of Pandu, had recovered from fatigue, they went to theroyal sage, the pious Vrishaparva and greeted him. And that royal sagereceived with affection those foremost of Bharatas, even as his own sons.And those repressers of foes passed there seven nights, duly regarded.And when the eighth day came, taking the permission of that sagecelebrated over the worlds, they prepared to start on their journey. Andhaving one by one introduced unto Vrishaparva those Brahmanas, who, dulyhonoured, remained in his charge as friends; and having also entrustedthe highsouled Vrishaparva with their remaining robes, the sons of Pandu,O king, left in the hermitage of Vrishaparva their sacrificial vesselstogether with their ornaments and jewels. And wise and pious and versedin every duty and having a knowledge of the past as well as the future,that one gave instructions unto those best of the Bharatas, as unto hisown sons. Then taking his permission those high-souled ones set outtowards the north. And as they set out the magnanimous Vrishaparvafollowed them to a certain distance. Then having entrusted the Pandavasunto the care of the Brahmanas and instructed and blessed them and givendirections concerning their course, Vrishaparva of mighty energy retracedhis steps.
“Then Kunti’s son, Yudhishthira of unfailing prowess, together with hisbrothers, began to proceed on foot along the mountain path, inhabited byvarious kinds of beasts. And having dwelt at the mountain slopes, denselyovergrown with trees, Pandu’s son on the fourth day reached the Swetamountain, like unto a mighty mass of clouds, abounding in streams andconsisting of a mass of gold and gems. And taking the way directed byVrishaparva, they reached one by one the intended places, beholdingvarious mountains. And over and over they passed with ease manyinaccessible rocks and exceedingly impassable caves of the mountain. AndDhaumya and Krishna and the Parthas and the mighty sage Lomasa went on ina body and none grew tired. And those highly fortunate ones arrived atthe sacred and mighty mountain resounding with the cries of birds andbeasts and covered with various trees and creepers and inhabited bymonkeys, and romantic and furnished with many lotus-lakes and havingmarshes and extensive forests. And then with their down standing erect,they saw the mountain Gandhamadana, the abode of Kimpurushas, frequentedby Siddhas and Charanas and ranged by Vidyadharis and Kinnaris andinhabited by herds of elephants and thronged with lions and tigers andresounding with the roars of Sarabhas and attended by various beasts. Andthe war-like sons of Pandu gradually entered into the forest of theGandhamadana, like unto the Nandana gardens, delightful to the mind andheart and worthy of being inhabited and having beautiful groves. And asthose heroes entered with Draupadi and the high-souled Brahmanas, theyheard notes uttered by the mouths of birds, exceedingly sweet andgraceful to the ear and causing delight and dulcet and broken by reasonof excess of animal spirits. And they saw various trees bending under theweight of fruits in all seasons, and ever bright with flowers–such asmangoes and hog-plums and bhavyas and pomegranates, citrons and jacks andlakuchas and plantains and aquatic reeds and parvatas and champakas andlovely kadamvas and vilwas, wood-apples and rose-apples and kasmaris andjujbes and figs and glomerous figs and banians and aswatthas and khirikasand bhall atakas and amalkas and bibhitakas and ingudas and karamardasand tindukas of large fruits–these and many others on the slopes of theGandhamadana, clustered with sweet and nectarine fruits. And besidesthese, they beheld champakas and asokas and ketakas and vakulas andpunnagas and saptaparnas and karnikaras, and patals, and beautifulkutajas and mandaras, and lotuses, and parijatas, and kovidaras anddevadarus, and salas, and palmyra palms, and tamalas, and pippalas, andsalmalis and kinsukas, and singsapas, and saralas and these wereinhabited by Chakoras, and wood-peckers and chatakas, and various otherbirds, singing in sweet tones pleasing to the ear. And they saw lakesbeautiful on all sides with aquatic birds, and covered all around withkumudas, and pundarikas, and kokanadas, and utpalas, and kalharas, andkamalas and thronged on all sides with drakes and ruddy geese, andospreys, and gulls and karandavas, and plavas, and swans, and cranes, andshags, and other aquatic birds. And those foremost of men saw thoselotus-lakes beautified with assemblages of lotuses, and ringing with thesweet hum of bees, glad, and drowsy on account of having drunk theintoxicating honey of lotuses, and reddened with the farina falling fromthe lotuscups. And in the groves they beheld with their hens peacocksmaddened with desire caused by the notes of cloud-trumpets; and thosewoods-loving glad peacocks drowsy with desire, were dancing, spreading indalliance their gorgeous tails, and were crying in melodious notes. Andsome of the peacocks were sporting with their mates on kutaja treescovered with creepers. And some sat on the boughs of the kutajas,spreading their gorgeous tails, and looking like crowns worn by thetrees. And in the glades they beheld the graceful sindhuvaras like untothe darts of Cupid. And on the summits of the mountain, they saw bloomingkarnikaras bearing blossoms of a golden hue, appearing like ear-rings ofexcellent make. And in the forest they saw blossoming kuruvakas, likeunto the shafts of Cupid, which smiteth one with desire and maketh himuneasy. And they saw tilakas appearing like unto beauty-spots painted onthe forehead of the forest. And they saw mango trees graced with blossomshummed over by black bees, and serving the purpose of Cupid’s shafts. Andon the slopes of the mountain there were diverse blossoming trees,looking lovely, some bearing flowers of a golden hue, and some, of thehue of the forest-conflagration, and some, red and some sable, and somegreen like unto lapises. And besides these, there were ranges of salasand tamalas and patalas and vakula trees, like unto garlands put on bythe summits of mountain. Thus gradually beholding on the slopes of themountain many lakes, looking transparent like crystal, and having swansof white plumage and resounding with cries of cranes, and filled withlotuses and lilies, and furnished with waters of delicious feel; and alsobeholding fragrant flowers, and luscious fruits, and romantic lakes, andcaptivating trees, the Pandavas penetrated into the forest with eyesexpanded with wonder. And (as they proceeded) they were fanned by thebreeze of balmy feel, and perfumed by kamalas and utpalas and kalharasand pundarikas. Then Yudhishthira pleasantly spake unto Bhima saying,’Ah! O Bhima, beautiful is this forest of the Gandhamadana. In thisromantic forest there are various heavenly blossoming wild trees andcreepers, bedecked with foliage and fruit, nor are there any trees thatdo not flower. On these slopes of the Gandhamadana, all the trees are ofsleek foliage and fruit. And behold how these lotus-lakes with fullblownlotuses, and ringing with the hum of black bees, are being agitated byelephants with their mates. Behold another lotus-lake girt with lines oflotuses, like unto a second Sree in an embodied form wearing garlands.And in this excellent forest there are beautiful ranges of woods, richwith the aroma of various blossoms, and hummed over by the black bees.And, O Bhima, behold on all sides the excellent sporting ground of thecelestials. By coming here, we have attained extra-human state, and beenblessed. O Partha, on these slopes of the Gandhamadana, yon beautifulblossoming trees, being embraced by creepers with blossoms at their tops,look lovely. And, O Bhima, hark unto the notes of the peacocks cryingwith their hens on the mountain slopes. And birds such as chakoras, andsatapatras, and maddened kokilas, and parrots, are alighting on theseexcellent flowering trees. And sitting on the twigs, myriads ofjivajivakas of scarlet, yellow and red hues, are looking at one another.And the cranes are seen near the spots covered with green and reddishgrass, and also by the side of the cascades. And those birds,bhringarajas, and upachakras, and herons are pouring forth their notescharming to all creatures. And, lo! with their mates, these elephantsfurnished with four tusks, and white as lotuses, are agitating that largelake of the hue of lapises. And from many cascades, torrents high asseveral palmyra palms (placed one upon another) are rushing down from thecliffs. And many argent minerals splendid, and of the effulgence of thesun, and like unto autumnal clouds, are beautifying this mighty mountain.And in some places there are minerals of the hue of the collyrium, and insome those like unto gold, in some, yellow orpiment and in some,vermilion, and in some, caves of red arsenic like unto the evening cloudsand in some, red chalk of the hue of the rabit, and in some, mineralslike unto white and sable clouds; and in some, those effulgent as therising sun, these minerals of great lustre beautify the mountain. OPartha, as was said by Vrishaparva, the Gandharvas and the Kimpurushas,in company with their loves, are visible on the summits of the mountain.And, O Bhima, there are heard various songs of appropriate measures, andalso Vedic hymns, charming to all creatures. Do thou behold the sacredand graceful celestial river Mahaganga, with swans, resorted to by sagesand Kinnaras. And, O represser of foes, see this mountain havingminerals, rivulets, and beautiful woods and beasts, and snakes of diverseshapes and a hundred heads and Kinnaras, Gandharvas and Apsaras.'”
Vaisampayana said, “Having attained excellent state, those valiant andwarlike repressers of foes with Draupadi and the high-souled Brahmanaswere exceedingly delighted at heart, and they were not satiated bybeholding that monarch of mountains. Thereafter they saw the hermitage ofthe royal sage Arshtishena, furnished with flowers and trees bearingfruits. Then they went to Arshtishena versed in all duties of rigidausterities, skeleton-like, and having muscles bare.”