Chapter 172

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Arjuna continued, ‘Then while returning, I happened to descry a mightyunearthly city, moving at will, and having the effulgence of fire or thesun. And that city contained various trees composed of gems, andsweet-voiced feathered ones. And furnished with four gates, andgate-ways, and towers, that impregnable (city) was inhabited by thePaulamas and Kalakanjas. And it was made of all sorts of jewels and wasunearthly, and of wonderful appearance. And it was covered with trees ofall kinds of gems, bearing fruits and flowers. And it containedexceedingly beautiful unearthly birds. And it always swarmed throughoutwith cheerful Asuras, wearing garlands, and bearing in their hands darts,two edged swords, maces, bows, and clubs. And, O king, on seeing thiswonderful city of the Daityas, I asked Matali saying, ‘What is this thatlooketh so wonderful?’ Thereat, Matali replied, ‘Once on a time aDaitya’s daughter, named Pulama and a mighty female of the Asura order,Kalaka by name, practised severe austerities for a thousand celestialyears. And at the end of their austerities, the self-create conferred onthem boons. And, O king of kings, they received these boons,–that theiroffspring might never suffer misfortune; that they might be incapable ofbeing destroyed even by the gods, the Rakshasas and the Pannagas; andthat they might obtain a highly effulgent and surpassingly fair aerialcity, furnished with all manner of gems and invincible even by thecelestials, the Maharshis, the Yakshas, the Gandharvas, the Pannagas, theAsuras and the Rakshasas. O best of the Bharatas, this is that unearthlyaerial city devoid of the celestials, which is moving about, having beencreated for the Kalakeyas, by Brahma himself. And this city is furnishedwith all desirable objects, and is unknown of grief or disease. And, Ohero, celebrated under the name of Hiranyapura, this mighty city isinhabited by the Paulamas and the Kalakanjas; and it is also guarded bythose mighty Asuras. And, O king, unslayed by any of the gods, there theydwell cheerfully, free from anxiety and having all their desiresgratified, O foremost of kings. Formerly, Brahma had destined destructionat the hands of mortals. Do thou, O Partha, in fight, compass with thatweapon–the thunder-bolt–the destruction of the mighty and irrepressibleKalakanjas.’

“Arjuna continued, ‘O lord of men, learning that they were incapable ofbeing destroyed by the celestials and the Asuras, I cheerfully said untoMatali, ‘Do thou speedily repair into yonder city. With weapons will Icompass the annihilation of the haters of the lord of the celestials.Surely, there exist no wicked haters of the gods who ought not to beslain by me.’ Thereupon Matali took me to the vicinity of Hiranyapura onthe celestial chariot yoked with steeds. And seeing me, those sons ofDiti, wearing various kinds of attire and ornament and accoutred in mail,flew at me with a mighty rush. And those foremost of the Danavas, ofexceeding prowess, in wrath attacked me with arrows and bhallas and clubsand two-edged swords, and tomaras. Thereat, O king, resorting to mystrength of lore, I resisted that great volley of weapons by a mightyshower of shafts; and also confounded them in conflict by ranging aroundin my car. And being bewildered, the Danavas began to push each otherdown. And having been confounded, they rushed at one another. And withflaming arrows, I severed their heads by hundreds. And hard pressed byme, the offspring of Diti, taking shelter within (their) city, soaredwith it to the firmament, resorting to the illusion proper to theDanavas. Thereupon, O son of the Kurus, covering the way of the Daityas,with a mighty discharge of shafts I obstructed their course. Then byvirtue of the bestowal of the boon, the Daityas supported themselveseasily on that sky-ranging unearthly aerial city, going anywhere at willand like unto the sun. And now (the city) entered unto the earth and nowit rose upwards; and at one time it went in a crooked way and at anothertime it submerged into water. At this, O represser of foes, I assailedthat mighty city, going anywhere at will, and resembling Amaravati. And,O best of the Bharatas, I attacked the city containing those sons ofDiti, with multitudes of shafts, displaying celestial weapons. Andbattered and broken by the straight-coursing iron shafts, shot by me, thecity of the Asuras, O king, fell to the earth. And they also, wounded bymy iron arrows having the speed of the thunder, began, O monarch, to goabout, being urged by destiny. Then ascending to the sky, Matali, as iffalling in front, swiftly descended to the earth, on that chariot ofsolar resplendence. Then, O Bharata, environed me sixty thousand carsbelonging to those wrathful ones eager to battle with me. And withsharpened shafts graced with feathers of the vulture, I destroyed those(cars). At this, thinking, ‘These our hosts are incapable of beingvanquished by mortals, they became engaged in the conflict, like unto thesurges of the sea.’ Thereupon I gradually began to fix (on the string)unearthly weapons. At this, thousands of weapons (shot) by thosewonderfully warring charioteers, by degrees opposed my unearthly arms andin the field I saw hundreds and thousands of mighty (demons) ranging ontheir cars, in various manoeuvres. And being furnished with variegatedmail and standards and diverse ornaments, they delighted my mind. And inthe conflict I could not afflict them by showers of shafts, but they didnot afflict me. And being afflicted by those innumerable ones, equippedin weapons and skilled in fight, I was pained in that mighty encounterand a terrible fear seized me. Thereupon collecting (my energies) infight, I (bowed down) unto that god of gods, Raudra, and saying, ‘Maywelfare attend on all beings!’ I fixed that mighty weapon which,celebrated under the name of Raudra, is the destroyer of all foes. Then Ibeheld a male person having three heads, nine eyes, three faces, and sixarms. And his hair was flaming like fire or the sun. And, O slayer offoes, for his dress, he had mighty serpents, putting out their tongues.And saying, O best of the Bharatas, the dreadful and eternal Raudra, Ibeing free from fear, set it on the Gandiva; and, bowing unto thethree-eyed Sarva of immeasurable energy, let go (the weapon), with theobject of vanquishing those foremost of the Danavas, O Bharata. And, Olord of men, as soon as it had been hurled, there appeared on the sceneby thousands, forms of deer, and of lions, and of tigers, and of bearsand of buffaloes, and of serpents, and of kine, and of sarabhas, and ofelephants, and of apes in multitudes, and of bulls, and of boars, and ofcats, and of dogs, and of spectres, and of all the Bhurundas, and ofvultures, and of Garudas, of chamaras, and of all the leopards, and ofmountains, and of seas, and of celestials, and of sages, and of all theGandharvas, and of ghosts with the Yakshas, and of the haters of thegods, (Asuras), and of the Guhyakas in the field, and of the Nairitas andof elephant-mouthed sharks, and of owls, and of beings having the formsof fishes and horses, and of beings bearing swords and various otherweapons, and of Rakshasas wielding maces and clubs. And on that weaponbeing hurled all the universe became filled with these as well as manyothers wearing various shapes. And again and again wounded by beings ofvarious sights with (pieces of) flesh, fat, bones, and marrow on theirpersons,–some having three heads, and some four tusks, and some fourmouths, and some four arms,–the Danavas met with destruction. And, then,O Bharata, in a moment I slew all those Danavas, with other swarms ofarrows composed of the quintessence of stone, flaming like fire or thesun, and possessed of the force of the thunder-bolt. And, seeing themhewn by the Gandiva, and deprived of life, and thrown from the sky, Iagain bowed unto that god–the Destroyer of Tripura. And, seeing thoseadorned with unearthly ornaments, crushed by the weapon, the Raudra, thecharioteer of the celestials, experienced the greatest delight. Andhaving witnessed the accomplishment of that unbearable feat incapable ofbeing achieved even by the celestials themselves, Matali, the charioteerof Sakra, paid homage unto me; and well-pleased, with joint hands saidthese words. ‘The feat that hath been achieved by thee, is incapable ofbeing borne even by the gods, nay,–in battle, the lord of the celestialshimself cannot perform this deed. The sky-coursing mighty city incapableof being destroyed by the gods and the Asuras hast thou, O hero, crushedby thy own prowess and by the energy of asceticism. And when that aerialcity had been destroyed, and when the Danavas also had been slain, theirwives, uttering cries of distress, like unto Kurari birds, with hairdishevelled came out of the city. And bewailing for their sons andbrothers and fathers, they fell on the ground and cried with distressfulaccents. And on being deprived for their lords, they beat their breasts,their garlands and ornaments fallen off. And that city of Danavas, inappearance like unto the city of the Gandharvas filled with lamentationsand stricken with dole and distress, and bereft of grace even like unto alake deprived of (its) elephants, or like unto a forest deprived of treesand (deprived of its) masters, looked no longer beautiful–but itvanished, like a cloud-constructed city. And when I had accomplished thetask, eftsoons from the field Matali took me of delighted spirits, untothe abode of the lord of the celestials. And having slain those mightyAsuras, and destroyed Hiranyapura, and having also killed theNivata-Kavachas, I came unto Indra. And, O exceedingly resplendent one,as it had fallen out, Matali related in detail unto Devendra that entireachievement of mine. And with the Marutas, hearing of the destruction ofHiranyapura, of the neutralisation of the illusion, and of the slaughterof the highly powerful Nivatakavachas in fight, the prosperousthousand-eyed divine Purandara was well pleased, and exclaimed, ‘Welldone; Well done!’ And the king of the celestials together with thecelestials, cheering me again and again, said these sweet words, ‘By theehath been achieved a feat incapable of being achieved by the gods and theAsuras. And, O Partha, by slaying my mighty enemies, thou hast paid thepreceptor’s fee. And, O Dhananjaya, thus in battle shalt thou alwaysremain calm, and discharge the weapons unerringly, and there shall notstand thee in fight celestials, and Danavas, and Rakshasas, and Yakshas,and Asuras, and Gandharvas and birds and serpents. And, O Kaunteya, byconquering it even by the might of thy arms, Kunti’s son Yudhishthira,will rule the earth.'”

Chapter 171
Chapter 173
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