Chapter 24

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “After they had departed, Yudhishthira the virtuousson of Kunti, unwavering in his promises, addressed all his brothers,saying, ‘We shall have to dwell in the solitary forest for these twelveyears. Search ye, therefore, in this mighty forest for some spotabounding in birds and deer and flowers and fruits, beautiful to behold,and auspicious, and inhabited by virtuous persons and where we may dwellpleasantly for all these years!’ Thus addressed by Yudhishthira,Dhananjaya replied unto the son of Dharma, after reverencing theillustrious king as if he were his spiritual preceptor. And Arjuna said,’Thou hast respectfully waited upon all the great and old Rishis. Thereis nothing unknown to thee in the world of men. And O bull of the Bharatarace, thou hast always waited with reverence upon Brahmanas includingDwaipayana and others, and Narada of great ascetic merit, who with sensesunder control, ever goeth to the gates of all the world from the world ofthe gods unto that of Brahma, including that of the Gandharvas andApsaras! And thou knowest, without doubt, the opinions of the Brahmanas,and, O king, their prowess also! And O monarch, thou knowest what iscalculated to do us good! And O great king, we will live wherever thoulikest! Here is this lake, full of sacred water, called Dwaitavana,abounding with flowers, and delightful to look at, and inhabited by manyspecies of birds. If, O king, it pleaseth thee, here should we like todwell these twelve years! Thinkest thou otherwise?’ Yudhishthira replied,’O Partha, what thou hast said recommendeth itself to me! Let us go thatsacred and celebrated and large lake called Dwaitavana!”

“Vaisampayana continued, “Then the virtuous son of Pandu, accompanied bynumerous Brahmanas, all went to the sacred lake called Dwaitavana. AndYudhishthira was surrounded by numerous Brahmanas some of whom sacrificedwith fire and some without it and some of whom, devoted to the study ofthe Vedas, lived upon alms or were of the class called Vanaprasthas. Andthe king was also surrounded by hundreds of Mahatmas crowned with asceticsuccess and of rigid vows. And those bulls of the Bharata race, the sonsof Pandu setting out with those numerous Brahmanas, entered the sacredand delightful woods of Dwaita. And the king saw that mighty forestcovered on the close of summer with Salas, and palms, and mangoes, andMadhukas, and Nipas and Kadamvas and Sarjjas and Arjunas, and Karnikars,many of them covered with flowers. And flocks of peacocks and Datyuhasand Chakoras and Varhins and Kokilas, seated on the tops of the tallesttrees of that forest were pouring forth their mellifluous notes. And theking also saw in that forest mighty herds of gigantic elephants huge asthe hills, with temporal juice trickling down in the season of rut,accompanied by herds of she-elephants. And approaching the beautifulBhogavati (Saraswati), the king saw many ascetics crowned with success inthe habitations in that forest, and virtuous men of sanctified souls cladin barks of trees and bearing matted locks on their heads. And descendingfrom their cars, the king that foremost of virtuous men with his brothersand followers entered that forest like Indra of immeasurable energyentering heaven. And crowds of Charanas and Siddhas, desirous ofbeholding the monarch devoted to truth, came towards him. And thedwellers of that forest stood surrounding that lion among king possessedof great intelligence. And saluting all the Siddhas, and saluted by themin return as a king or a god should be, that foremost of virtuous menentered the forest with joined hands accompanied by all those foremost ofregenerate ones. And the illustrious and virtuous king, saluted in returnby those virtuous ascetics that had approached him, sat down in theirmidst at the foot of a mighty tree decked with flowers, like his father(Pandu) in days before. And those chiefs of the Bharata race viz., Bhimaand Dhananjaya and the twins and Krishna and their followers, allfatigued, leaving their vehicles, sat themselves down around that best ofkings. And that mighty tree bent down with the weight of creepers, withthose five illustrious bowmen who had come there for rest sitting underit, looked like a mountain with (five) huge elephants resting on itsside.”

Chapter 23
Chapter 55