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Chapter 93

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Those Brahmanas then, that had been dwelling (withhim) in the woods, beholding the son of Kunti about to set out (on thepious pilgrimage), approached him, O king, and said, ‘Thou art about toset out, O king, on thy journey to the sacred tirthas, along with thybrothers and accompanied by the illustrious Rishi Lomasa. O king, itbehoveth thee, O son of Pandu, to take us with thee. Without thee, weshall not be able, O son of the Kuru race, to visit them at any time.Surrounded by dangers and difficult of access, they are infested bybeasts of prey. Those tirthas, O lord of men, are inaccessible to personsin small parties. Foremost of all wielders of the bow, thy brothers areever brave. Protected by your heroic selves, we also would proceed tothem. Permit us to acquire, O lord of earth, through thy grace theblessed fruit of tirthas. Protected by thy energy, let us, O king, becleansed of all our sins by visiting those tirthas and purified by bathstherein. Bathing in those tirthas, thou also, O Bharata, wilt acquirewithout doubt the regions difficult of acquisition that Kartavirya andAshtaka, the royal sage Lomapada and the imperial and heroic Bharata onlyhad earned. In thy company, O king, we desire to behold Prabhasa andother tirthas, Mahendra and other hills, Ganga and other rivers, andPlaksha and other gigantic trees. If, O lord of men, thou hast any regardfor the Brahmanas, do thou our bidding. Thou wilt surely have prosperityfrom this. O thou of mighty arms, the tirthas are infested by Rakshasasthat ever obstruct ascetic penances. It behoveth thee to protect us fromthem. Protected by Lomasa and taking us with thee, go thou to all thetirthas spoken of by Dhaumya and the intelligent Narada, as also allthose that have been spoken of by the celestial Rishi Lomasa, endued withgreat ascetic wealth, and be thou, by this, cleansed of all thy sins.”

“Thus addressed respectfully by them, the king–that bull amongst thesons of Pandu–surrounded by his heroic brothers headed by Bhima, withtears of joy in his eyes, said unto all those ascetics, ‘Let it be so.’With the permission then of Lomasa, as also of his priest Dhaumya, thatforemost of Pandu’s sons with soul under complete control, resolved,along with his brothers and Drupada’s daughter of faultless features, toset out. Just at this time, the blessed Vyasa, as also Parvata andNarada, all endued with high intelligence, came to Kamyaka for seeing theson of Pandu. Beholding them, king Yudhishthira worshipped them with duerites. And worshipped by the monarch thus, those blessed ones, addressingYudhishthira, said, ‘O Yudhishthira, O Bhima, and ye twins, banish allevil thoughts from your minds. Purify your hearts and then set out forthe tirthas. The Brahmanas have said that the observance of regulationsin respect of the body are called earthly vows, while efforts to purifythe heart, so that it may be free from evil thoughts, are calledspiritual vows. O king, the mind that is free from all evil thoughts ishighly pure. Purifying yourselves, therefore, harbouring only friendlyfeelings for all, behold ye the tirthas. Observing earthly vows inrespect of your bodies and purifying your minds by spiritual vows, obtainye the fruits as recited, of pilgrimages.”

“Saying, ‘So be it,’ the Pandavas with Krishna, caused those celestialand human Rishis to perform the usual propitiatory ceremonies. And thoseheroes, having worshipped the feet of Lomasa and Dwaipayana and Naradaand the celestial Rishi Parvata, O king, and accompanied by Dhaumya asalso the ascetics that had been residing with them in the woods, set outon the day following the full moon of Agrahayana in which theconstellation Pushya was ascendant. Dressed in barks and hides, and withmatted lock on head, they were all cased in impenetrable mail and armedwith swords. And O Janamejaya, the heroic sons of Pandu with quivers andarrows and scimitars and other weapons, and accompanied by Indrasena andother attendants with fourteen and one cars, a number of cooks andservants of other classes, set out with faces turned towards the east!”

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