Chapter 166

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana continued, “When Sakra had gone to his proper place,Vibhatsu together with his brothers and Krishna, paid homage unto the sonof Dharma. Then smelling the crown of the head of that Pandava, who wasthus paying homage, (Yudhishthira) in accents faltering on account ofyou, addressed Arjuna, saying ‘O Arjuna, how didst thou pass this periodin heaven? And how has thou obtained the weapons, and how also hast thougratified the lord of the celestials? And, O Pandava, has thou adequatelysecured the weapons? Have the lord of the celestials and Rudra gladlygranted thee the weapons? And how hast thou beheld the divine Sakra, andthe wielder of Pinaka? And how has thou obtained the weapons? And in whatmanner didst thou worship (them)? And what service hadst thou done untothat repressor of foes, the worshipful one of a hundred sacrifices, thathe said unto thee, ‘By thee have I been gratified? All this, O highlyeffulgent one, I wish to hear in detail. And, O sinless one, the mannerin which thou didst please Mahadeva and the king of the celestials and, Orepressor of foes, the service thou hadst done to the wielder of thethunder-bolt,–do thou, O Dhananjaya, relate all this in detail.”

“Arjuna said, ‘O mighty monarch, listen how I duly beheld him of ahundred sacrifice and the divine Sankara also. O grinder of foes, O king,having acquired that science which thou hadst directed me (to learn), Iat thy command went to the forest, for practising penances. From Kamyakarepairing to the Bhrigutunga, I spent there one night, being engaged inausterities And it came to pass that on the next I saw a certainBrahmana. And he asked me, saying, ‘O son of Kunti, whither wilt thougo?’ Thereupon, O descendant of the Kurus, I truly related unto himeverything. And, O best of kings, having heard the true account, theBrahmana became well-pleased with me, and, O king, praised me. Then theBrahmana, pleased with me, said, ‘O Bharata, be thou engaged inausterities. By performing penances, thou wilt in a short time behold thelord of the celestials.’ And according to his advice I ascended theHimavan, and, O mighty king, began to practise penances, (the first)month subsisting on fruit and roots. I spent the second month, subsistingon water. And, O Pandava, in the third month I totally abstained fromfood. And in the fourth month I remained with upraised arms. And a wonderit is that I did not lose any strength. And it came to pass that when thefirst day of the fifth month had been spent, there appeared before me abeing wearing the form of a boar, turning up the earth with his mouth,stamping the ground with his feet, rubbing the earth with his breast, andmomentarily going about in a frightful manner. And him followed a greatbeing in the guise of a hunter furnished with the bow, arrows, and thesword, and surrounded by females. Thereupon, taking my bow and the twoinexhaustible quivers, I pierced with shafts that terrible and frightfulcreature. And simultaneously (with me) that hunter also drawing a strongbow, more severely struck at (the animal), as if shaking my mind. And, Oking, he also said unto me, ‘Why hast thou, transgressing the rules ofhunting, hit the animal first hit at by me? With these sharpened shaftswill I destroy thy pride. Stay!’ Then that mighty-bodied one holding thebow rushed at me. And with volleys of mighty shafts, he covered meentirely, even as a cloud covereth a mountain with showers. Then, on mypart, I covered him with a mighty discharge of arrows. Thereupon, withsteady arrows having their points aflame, and inspired with mantras, Ipierced him even as (Indra) riveth a mountain with a thunderbolt. Thenhis person began to be multiplied a hundredfold and a thousandfold. Atthis, I pierced all this bodies with shafts. Then again all those formsbecame one, O Bharata. Thereat I struck at it. Next, he now assumed asmall body with a huge head, and now a huge body with a small head. And,O king, he then assumed his former person and approached me for fight.And, O foremost of the Bharata race, when in the encounter I failed tooverwhelm him with arrows, I fixed the mighty weapon of the Wind-god. ButI failed to discharge it at him, and this was a wonder. And when thatweapon thus failed of effect, I was struck with amazement. However, Oking, exerting myself more vigorously, I again covered that being with amighty multitude of shafts. Then taking Sthunakarna, and Varuna andSalava, and Asmavarsha weapons, I assailed him, profusely showeringshafts. But, O king, he instantly swallowed up even all these weapons ofmine. And when all those (weapons) had been swallowed up, I dischargedthe weapon presided over by Brahma. And when the blazing arrows issuingfrom that weapon were heaped upon him all around, and being thus heapedover by that mighty weapon discharged by me, he increased (in bulk). Thenall the world became oppressed with the energy begotten of the weaponhurled by me, and the firmament and all the points of the sky becameillumined. But that one of mighty energy instantly baffled even thatweapon. And, O monarch, when that weapon presided over by Brahma had beenbaffled I was possessed with terrible fear. Thereupon immediately holdingeven my bow and the two inexhaustible quivers, I shot at that being, buthe swallowed up all those weapons. And when all the weapons had beenbaffled and swallowed up, there ensued a wrestling between him andmyself. And we encountered each other first with blows and then withslaps. But incapable of overcoming that being, I fell down stupefied onthe ground. Thereupon, O mighty king, with a laugh, that wonderful beingat my sight vanished at that spot together with the woman. Havingaccomplished this, O illustrious monarch, that divine one assumed anotherand unearthly form (clad in) wonderful raiment. And renouncing the formof a hunter, that divine lord of the gods, resumed his own unearthlyappearance and that mighty god stood (there). Then appeared before mewith Uma that manifest divine one, having the bull for his mark, wieldingthe Pinaka, bearing serpents and cable of assuming many forms. And, Orepressor of foes, advancing towards me, standing even then in the fieldready for conflict, that wielder of the trident addressed me saying, I amwell-pleased with thee. Then that divine one held up my bows and thecouple of quivers furnished with inexhaustible shafts and returned themunto me saying, ‘Do thou ask some boon, O Kunti’s son. I am well-pleasedwith thee. Tell me, what I shall do for thee. And, O hero, express thedesire that dwelleth in thy heart. I will grant it. Except immortalityalone, tell me as to the desire that is in thy heart. Thereat with mymind intent on the acquisition of arms, I only bowed down unto Siva andsaid, ‘O divine one, if thou beest favourably disposed towards me, then Iwish to have this boon,–I wish to learn all the weapons that are withthy god-head.’ Then the god Tryamvaka said unto me, ‘I will give. OPandava, my own weapon Raudra shall attend upon thee.’ ThereuponMahadeva, well-pleased, granted to me the mighty weapon, Pasupata. And,having granted that eternal weapon, he also said unto me, This must neverbe hurled at mortals. If discharged at any person of small energy, itwould consume the universe. Shouldst thou (at any time) be hard pressed,thou mayst discharge it. And when all thy weapons have been completelybaffled, thou mayst hurl it.’ Then when he having the bull for his mark,had been thus gratified, there stood manifest by my side that celestialweapon, of resistless force capable of baffling all weapons anddestructive of foes and the hewer of hostile forces and unrivalled anddifficult to be borne even by the celestials, the demons and theRakshasas. Then at the command of that god, I sat me down there. And inmy very sight the god vanished from the spot.'”

Chapter 165
Chapter 167
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