Vaisampayana said,–“Having said these words unto Dhritarashtra, Vyasatook his departure. And Dhritarashtra also, having heard those words,began to reflect in silence. And having reflected for only a short spaceof time, he began to sigh repeatedly. And, soon, O bull of Bharata’srace, the king asked Sanjaya of soul worthy of praise,–saying,–‘OSanjaya, these kings, these lords of earth, so brave and taking delightin battle, are for smiting one another with weapons of diverse kinds,being prepared to lay down their very lives for the sake of earth.Incapable of being restrained, they are, indeed, smiting one another forincreasing the population of Yama’s domain. Desirous of prosperityconnected with the possession of earth they are incapable of bearing oneanother. I, therefore, think that earth must be possessed of manyattributes. Tell me all these, O Sanjaya, Many thousands, many millions,many tens of millions, many hundreds of millions, heroic men have cometogether at Kurujangala. I desire to hear, O Sanjaya, with accuratedetails, about the situation and dimensions of those countries and citiesfrom which they have come. Through the potency of that regenerate RishiVyasa of immeasurable energy, thou art endued with the lamp of celestialperception and the eye of knowledge.
“Sanjaya said,–‘O thou of great wisdom, I will recount to thee themerits of earth according to my knowledge. Behold them with thy eye ofwisdom. I bow to thee, O bull of Bharata’s race. Creatures in this worldare of two kinds, mobile and immobile. Mobile creatures are of threekinds according to their birth, viz., oviparous, viviparous, and thoseengendered by heat and damp. Of mobile creatures, O king, the foremostare certainly those called viviparous. Of viviparous creatures theforemost are men and animals. Animals, O king, of diverse forms, are offourteen species. Seven have their abodes in the woods, and seven ofthese are domestic. Lions, tigers, boars, buffaloes, and elephants asalso bears and apes, are, O king, regarded as wild. Kine, goats, sheep,men, horses, mules, and asses,–these seven amongst animals are reckonedas domestic by the learned. These fourteen, O king, complete the tale ofdomestic and wild animals, mentioned, O lord of earth, in the Vedas, andon which the sacrifices rest. Of creatures that are domestic, men areforemost, while lions are the foremost of those that have their abode inthe woods. All creatures support their life by living upon one another.Vegetables are said to be immobile, and they are of four species viz.,trees, shrubs, creepers, creeping plants existing for only a year, andall stemless plants of the grass species. Of mobile and immobilecreatures, there are thus one less twenty; and as regards their universalconstituents, there are five. Twenty-four in all, these are described asGayatri (Brahma) as is well-known to all. He who knows these truly tobe the sacred Gayatri possessed of every virtue, is not liable, O best ofthe Bharatas, to destruction in this world. Everything springeth from theearth and everything, when destroyed, mergeth into the Earth. The Earthis the stay and refuge of all creatures, and the Earth is eternal. Hethat hath the Earth, hath the entire universe with its mobile andimmobile population. It is for this that longing for (the possession ofthe) Earth, kings slay one another.'”