Vaishampayana said, “King Yudhishthira the just, the son of Pritha, hadnot stayed there for more than a moment when, O thou of Kurus race, allthe gods with Indra at their head came to that spot. The deity ofRighteousness in his embodied form also came to that place where the Kuruking was, for seeing that monarch. Upon the advent of those deities ofresplendent bodies and sanctified and noble deeds, the darkness that hadoverwhelmed that region immediately disappeared. The torments undergoneby beings of sinful deeds were no longer seen. The river Vaitarani, thethorny Salmali, the iron jars, and the boulders of rock, so terrible tobehold, also vanished from sight. The diverse repulsive corpses also,which the Kuru king had seen, disappeared at the same time. Then abreeze, delicious and fraught with pleasant perfumes, perfectly pure anddelightfully cool, O Bharata, began to blow on that spot in consequenceof the presence of the gods. The Maruts, with Indra, the Vasus with thetwin Ashvinis, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Adityas, and the otherdenizens of Heaven, as also the Siddhas and the great Rishis, all camethere where Dharmas royal son of great energy was.
“Then Shakra, the lord of the deities, endued with blazing prosperity,addressed Yudhishthira and comforting him, said, O Yudhishthira of mightyarms, come, come, O chief of men. These illusions have ended, O puissantone. Success has been attained by thee, O mighty-armed one, and eternalregions (of felicity) have become thine. Thou shouldst not yield towrath. Listen to these words of mine. Hell, O son, should without doubtbe beheld by every king. Of both good and bad there is abundance, O chiefof men. He who enjoys first the fruits of his good acts must afterwardsendure Hell. He, on the other hand, who first endures Hell, mustafterwards enjoy Heaven. He whose sinful acts are many enjoys Heavenfirst. It is for this, O king, that desirous of doing thee good, I causedthee to be sent for having a view of Hell. Thou hadst, by a pretence,deceived Drona in the matter of his son. Thou hast, in consequencethereof, been shown Hell by an act of deception. After the manner ofthyself, Bhima and Arjuna, and Draupadi, have all been shown the place ofsinners by an act of deception. Come, O chief of men, all of them havebeen cleansed of their sins. All those kings who had aided thee and whohave been slain in battle, have all attained to Heaven. Come and beholdthem, O foremost one of Bharatas race.
“Karna, the mighty bowman, that foremost of all wielders of weapons forwhom thou art grieving, has also attained to high success. Behold, Opuissant one, that foremost of men, viz., the son of Surya. He is in thatplace which is his own, O mighty-armed one. Kill this grief of thine, Ochief of men. Behold thy brothers and others, those kings, that is, whohad espoused thy side. They have all attained to their respective places(of felicity). Let the fever of thy heart be dispelled. Having endured alittle misery first, from this time, O son of Kurus race, do thou sportwith me in happiness, divested of grief and all thy ailments dispelled. Omighty-armed one, do thou now enjoy, O king, the rewards of all thy deedsof righteousness of those regions which thou hast acquired thyself by thypenances and of all thy gifts. Let deities and Gandharvas, and celestialApsaras, decked in pure robes and excellent ornaments, wait upon andserve thee for thy happiness. Do thou, O mighty-armed one, enjoy nowthose regions (of felicity) which have become thine through the Rajasuyasacrifice performed by thee and whose felicities have been enhanced bythe sacrificial scimitar employed by thee. Let the high fruits of thypenances be enjoyed by thee. Thy regions, O Yudhishthira, are above,those of kings. They are equal to those of Hariscandra, O son of Pritha.Come, and sport there in bliss. There where the royal sage Mandhatri is,there where king Bhagiratha is, there where Dushmantas son Bharata is,there wilt thou sport in bliss. Here is the celestial river, sacred andsanctifying the three worlds. It is called Heavenly Ganga. Plunging intoit, thou wilt go to thy own regions. Having bathed in this stream, thouwilt be divested of thy human nature. Indeed, thy grief dispelled, thyailments conquered, thou wilt be freed from all enmities.
“While, O Kuru king, the chief of the gods was saying so untoYudhishthira, the deity of Righteousness, in his embodied form, thenaddressed his own son and said, O king, I am greatly pleased, O thou ofgreat wisdom, with thee, O son, by thy devotion to me, by thytruthfulness of speech, and forgiveness, and self-restraint. This,indeed, is the third test, O king, to which I put thee. Thou artincapable, O son of Pritha, of being swerved from thy nature or reason.Before this, I had examined thee in the Dwaita woods by my questions,when thou hadst come to that lake for recovering a couple of fire sticks.Thou stoodst it well. Assuming the shape of a dog, I examined thee oncemore, O son, when thy brothers with Draupadi had fallen down. This hasbeen thy third test; thou hast expressed thy wish to stay at Hell for thesake of thy brothers. Thou hast become cleansed, O highly blessed one.Purified of sin, be thou happy.
O son of Pritha, thy brothers, O king, were not such as to deserve Hell.All this has been an illusion created by the chief of the gods. Withoutdoubt, all kings, O son, must once behold Hell. Hence hast thou for alittle while been subjected to this great affliction. O king, neitherArjuna, nor Bhima, nor any of those foremost of men, viz., the twins, norKarna, ever truthful in speech and possessed of great courage, could bedeserving of Hell for a long time. The princess Krishna too, OYudhishthira, could not be deserving of that place of sinners. Come,come, O foremost one of the Bharatas, behold Ganga who spreads hercurrent over the three worlds.
“Thus addressed, that royal sage, viz., thy grandsire, proceeded withDharma and all the other gods. Having bathed in the celestial riverGanga, sacred and sanctifying and ever adored by the Rishis, he cast offhis human body. Assuming then a celestial form, king Yudhishthira thejust, in consequence of that bath, became divested of all his enmitiesand grief. Surrounded by the deities, the Kuru king Yudhishthira thenproceeded from that spot. He was accompanied by Dharma, and the greatRishis uttered his praises. Indeed, he reached that place where thoseforemost of men, those heroes, viz., the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras,freed from (human) wrath, were enjoying each his respective status.