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Chapter 20

Mahabharata English - ASRAMAVASIKA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Those foremost of ascetics, viz. Narada and Parvataand Devala of austere penances, came there to see king Dhritarashtra. TheIsland-born Vyasa with all his disciples, and other persons endued withgreat wisdom and crowned with ascetic success, and the royal sageSatayupa of advanced years and possessed of great merit, also came. Kuntiworshipped them with due rites, O king. All those ascetics were highlygratified with the worship offered to them. Those great Rishis gladdenedthe high-souled king Dhritarashtra with discourses on religion andrighteousness. At the conclusion of their converse, the celestial RishiNarada, beholding all things as objects of direct perceptions, said thefollowing words.’

“Narada said, ‘There was a ruler of the Kekayas, possessed of greatprosperity and perfectly fearless. His name was Sahasrachitya and he wasthe grandfather of this Satayupa. Resigning his kingdom to his eldest sonendued with a large measure of righteousness, the virtuous kingSahasrachitya retired into the woods. Reaching the other end of blazingpenances, that lord of Earth. endued with great splendour, attained tothe region of Purandara where he continued to live in his company. Onmany occasions, while visiting the region of Indra, O king, I saw themonarch, whose sins had all been burnt off by penances, residing inIndra’s abode. After the same manner, king Sailalaya, the grandfather ofBhagadatta, attained to the region of Indra by the power alone of hispenances. There was another king, O monarch, of the name of Prishadhrawho resembled the wielder of the thunder-bolt himself. That king also, byhis penances proceeded from the Earth to Heaven. In this very forest, Oking, that lord of Earth, Purukutsa, the soil of Mandhatri, attained tohigh success. That foremost of rivers, viz., Narmada, became the consortof that king. Having undergone penances in this very forest, that rulerof Earth proceeded to Heaven. There was another king, highly righteous,of the name of Sasaloman. He too underwent severe austerities in thisforest and then ascended to Heaven. Thou also, O monarch, having arrivedat this forest, shalt, through the grace of the Island-born, attain to agoal that is very high and that is difficult of attainment. Thou also, Oforemost of kings, at the end of thy penances, become endued with greatprosperity and, accompanied by Gandhari, attain to the goal reached bythose high-souled ones. Dwelling in the presence of the slayer of Vala,Pandu thinks of thee always. He will, O monarch, certainly assist thee inthe attainment of prosperity. Through serving thee and Gandhari, thisdaughter-in-law of thine, possessed of great fame, will attain toresidence with her husband in the other world. She is the mother ofYudhishthira who is the eternal Dharma. We behold all this, O king, withour spiritual vision. Vidura will enter into the high-souledYudhishthira. Sanjaya also, through meditation, will ascend from thisworld into Heaven.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘That high-souled chief of Kuru’s race,possessed of learning, having, with his wife, heard these words ofNarada, praised them and worshipped Narada with unprecedented honours.The conclave of Brahmanas there present became filled with great joy, anddesirous of gladdening king Dhritarashtra, O monarch, themselvesworshipped Narada with profound regards. Those foremost of regeneratepersons also praised the words of Narada. Then the royal sage Satayupa,addressing Narada, said, ‘Thy holy self hath enhanced the devotion of theKuru king, of all those people here, and of myself also, O thou of greatsplendour. I have, however, the wish to ask thee something. Listen to meas I say it. It has reference to the king Dhritarashtra, O celestialRishi, that art worshipped by all the worlds. Thou art acquainted withthe truth of every affair. Endued with celestial sight, thou beholdest, Oregenerate Rishi, what the diverse goals are of human beings. Thou hastsaid what the goal has been of the kings mentioned by thee, viz.,association with the chief of celestials. Thou hast not, however, O greatRishi, declared what those regions are that will be acquired by thisking. O puissant one, I wish to hear from thee what region will beacquired by the royal Dhritarashtra. It behoveth thee to tell me trulythe kind of region that will be his and the time when he will attain toit.’ Thus addressed by him, Narada of celestial sight and endued withaustere penances, said in the midst of the assembly these words highlyagreeable to the minds of all.’

“Narada said, ‘Repairing at my will to the mansion of Sakra, I have seenSakra the lord or Sachi; and there, O royal sage. I have beheld kingPandu. There a talk arose, O monarch, regarding this Dhritarashtra andthose highly austere penances which he is performing. There I heard fromthe lips of Sakra himself that there are three years yet of the period oflife allotted to this king. After that, king Dhritarashtra, accompaniedby his wife Gandhari, will go to the regions of Kuvera and be highlyhonoured by that king of kings. He will go there on a car moving at hiswill, his person adorned with celestial ornaments. He is the son of aRishi; he is highly blessed; he has burnt all his sins by his penances.Endued with a righteous soul, lie will rove at will through the regionsof the deities, the Gandharvas, and the Rakshasas. That about which thouhast enquired is a mystery of the gods. Through my affection for you, Ihave declared this high truth. Ye all are possessed of the wealth ofSrutis and have consumed all your sins by your penances.’

“Vaisampayana continued.. “Hearing these sweet words of the celestialRishi, all the persons there assembled, as also king Dhritarashtra,became greatly cheered and highly pleased. Having cheered Dhritarashtraof great wisdom with such talk, they left the spot, wending away by thepath that belongs to those who are crowned with success.”‘

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