Chapter 177

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Janamejaya said, “How was it, O sage! that Bhima, of mighty prowess andpossessing the strength of ten thousand elephants, was stricken withpanic at (the sight of) that snake? Thou hast described him, that slayerof his enemies, as dismayed and appalled with fear, even him, who byfighting at the lotus lake (of Kuvera) became the destroyer of Yakshasand Rakshasas and who, in proud defiance, invited to a single combat,Pulastya’s son, the dispenser of all riches. I desire to hear this (fromyou); great indeed is my curiosity.”

Vaisampayana continued, “O king, having reached king Vrishaparva’shermitage, while those fearful warriors were living in various wonderfulwoods, Vrikodara roaming at pleasure, with bow in hand and armed with ascimitar, found that beautiful forest, frequented by gods and Gandharvas.And then he beheld (some) lovely spots in the Himalayan mountains,frequented by Devarshis and Siddhas and inhabited by hosts of Apsaras,resounded here and there with (the warbling of) birds–the chakora, thechakrabaka, the jibajibaka and the cuckoo and the Bhringaraja, andabounding with shady trees, soft with the touch of snow and pleasing tothe eye and mind, and bearing perennial fruits and flowers. And he beheldmountain streams with waters glistening like the lapis lazuli and withten thousand snow-white ducks and swans and with forests of deodar treesforming (as it were) a trap for the clouds; and with tugna and kalikayaforests, interspersed with yellow sandal trees. And he of mightystrength, in the pursuit of the chase, roamed in the level and deserttracts of the mountain, piercing his game with unpoisoned arrows. In thatforest the famous and mighty Bhimasena, possessing the strength of ahundred elephants, killed (many) large wild boars, with the force (of hisarms). And endowed with terrible prowess and mighty strength, andpowerful as the lion or the tiger, and capable of resisting a hundredmen, and having long arms, and possessing the strength of a hundredelephants, he killed many antelopes and wild boars and buffaloes. Andhere and there, in that forest he pulled out trees by the roots, withgreat violence and broke them too, causing the earth and the woods andthe (surrounding) places to resound. And then shouting and trampling onthe tops of mountains, and causing the earth to resound with his roars,and striking his arms, and uttering his war-cry, and slapping andclapping his hands, Bhimasena, exempt from decay, and ever-proud andwithout fear, again and again leaped about in those woods. And on hearingthe shouts of Bhimasena, powerful lions and elephants of huge strength,left their lairs in fright. And in that same forest, he fearlesslystrolled about in search of game; and like the denizens of the woods,that most valiant of men, the mighty Bhimasena, wandered on foot in thatforest. And he penetrated the vast forest, shouting strange whoopos, andterrifying all creatures, endowed with strength and prowess. And thenbeing terrified, the snakes hid (themselves) in caves, but he, overtakingthem with promptitude, pursued them slowly. Then the mighty Bhimasena,like unto the Lord of the Celestials, saw a serpent of colossalproportions, living in one of the mountain fastnesses and covering the(entire) cave with its body and causing one’s hair to stand on end (fromfright). It had its huge body stretched like a hillock, and it possessedgigantic strength, and its body was speckled with spots and it had aturmeric-like (yellow) colour and a deep copper-coloured mouth of theform of a cave supplied with four teeth; and with glaring eyes, it wasconstantly licking the corners of its mouth. And it was the terror of allanimated beings and it looked like the very image of the Destroyer Yama;and with the hissing noise of its breath it lay as if rebuking (anin-comer). And seeing Bhima draw so near to him, the serpent, all on asudden, became greatly enraged, and that goat-devouring snake violentlyseized Bhimasena in his grip. Then by virtue of the boon that had beenreceived by the serpent, Bhimasena with his body in the serpent’s grip,instantly lost all consciousness. Unrivalled by that of others, the mightof Bhimasena’s arms equalled the might of ten thousand elephantscombined. But Bhima, of great prowess, being thus vanquished by thesnake, trembled slowly, and was unable to exert himself. And that one ofmighty arms and of leonine shoulders, though possessed of strength oftenthousand elephants, yet seized by the snake, and overpowered by virtue ofthe boon, lost all strength. He struggled furiously to extricate himself,but did not succeed in any wise baffling this (snake).”

Chapter 176
Chapter 178
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