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Chapter 10

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Indra said, This whole indestructible universe, O gods, hath beenpervaded by Vritra. There is nothing that can be equal to the task ofopposing him. I was capable of yore, but now I am incapable. What goodbetide you, can I do? I believe him to be unapproachable. Powerful andmagnanimous, possessing immeasurable strength in fight, he would be ableto swallow up all the three worlds with the gods, the Asuras, and themen. Therefore, hear ye dwellers of heaven, this is my resolution.Proceeding to the abode of Vishnu, in company with that high-souled Beingmust we consult, and ascertain the means of slaying this ruthless wretch.’

“Salya continued, ‘Indra having thus spoken, the gods with that host ofRishis repaired to the mighty god Vishnu to place themselves underthe-protection of that protector of all. And afflicted with the dread ofVritra, they said unto the Supreme Lord of the deities. Thou hadst informer times covered the three worlds with three steps. Thou hadstprocured the ambrosial food, O Vishnu, and destroyed the Asuras inbattle. Thou didst bind the great Asura Vali and hadst raised Indra tothe throne of heaven. Thou art the lord of the gods, and this entireuniverse is pervaded by thee. Thou art the God, the mighty Deity, salutedby all persons. Be thou the refuge of all the celestials together withIndra, O best of gods. The whole universe, O slayer of Asuras, hath beenpervaded by Vritra. And Vishnu said, ‘I am no doubt bound to do what isfor your good. I shall, therefore, tell you of a contrivance whereby hemay be annihilated. Do ye with the Rishis and the Gandharvas repair tothe place where Vritra that bearer of a universal form is and adopttowards him a conciliatory policy. You will thus succeed in overthrowinghim. By virtue of my power, victory, ye gods, will be won by Indra, for,remaining invisible, I shall enter into his thunderbolt, that best ofweapons. O foremost of gods, depart ye with the Rishis and theGandharvas. Let there be no delay in effecting a peace between Indra andVritra.’

“Salya continued, ‘When he had thus spoken, the Rishis and the celestialsplaced Indra at their head, and uniting together, went away. ApproachingIndra they behold Vritra glowing and resplendent as if scorching the tenpoints, and swallowing all the three worlds, and resembling the sun orthe moon. And then the Rishis, came up to Vritra and spoke to him inconciliatory terms, saying, ‘O thou unconquerable being, the whole ofthis universe hath been pervaded by thy energy. Thou art not able howeverto overpower Indra, O best of mighty beings. A long period hath nowelapsed since you began to fight. All beings, with the gods and theAsuras and men, are suffering from the effects of the fight. Let there beeternal friendship between thee and Indra. Thou shalt be happy and shalldwell eternally in Indra’s regions.’ And the mighty Vritra having heardthe words of the saints, bowed his head unto them. And the Asura (thus)spoke, ‘What you, O highly-gifted beings, and also all these Gandharvasare saying, I have heard. Ye stainless beings, hear also what I have gotto say. How can there be peace between us two, Indra and myself? How canthere be friendship, ye gods, between two hostile powers?’ The Rishissaid, ‘Friendship among righteous persons happens at a single meeting. Itis a desirable object. Thereafter will happen what is fated to be. Theopportunity of forming friendship with a righteous person should not besacrificed. Therefore, the friendship of the righteous should be sought.The friendship of the righteous is (like) excellent wealth, for he thatis wise would give advice when it is needed. The friendship of a goodperson is of great use; therefore, a wise person should not desire tokill a righteous one. Indra is honoured by the righteous, and is therefuge of magnanimous persons, being veracious and unblamable, and knowswhat virtue is, and is possessed of a refined judgment. Let there beeternal friendship between thee and Indra, as described above. In thisway, have faith (in him); let not thy heart be differently inclined.’

“Salya said, ‘Hearing these words of the great Rishis, the illustriousAsura spoke to them, ‘No doubt, the Rishis, endued with supernaturalpowers, are to be respected by me. Let what I am going to say, ye gods,be performed in its entirety; then I shall do everything that (these)best of Brahmanas have said to me. Ye lords of the Brahmana race, ordainso that Indra himself or the gods do not kill me by what is dry, or wet;by stone, or by wood; by a weapon fit for close fight, or by a missile;in the day time, or at night. On those terms eternal peace with Indrawould be acceptable to me,–Very good! was what the Rishis told him, Obest of Bharata race.’ Thus peace having been concluded, Vritra was verymuch pleased. And Indra also became pleased though constantly occupiedwith the thought of killing Vritra. And the chief of the deities passedhis time in search of a loophole, uneasy (in mind). And on a certain daywhen it was evening and the hour awful, Indra caught sight of the mightyAsura on the coast of the sea. And he bethought himself of the boon thatwas granted to the illustrious Asura, saying, ‘This is the awful eveningtime; it is neither day, nor night; and this Vritra, my enemy, who hathstripped me of my all, must undoubtedly be killed by me. It I do not killVritra, this great and mighty Asura of gigantic frame, even by deceit, itwill not go well with me.’ And as Indra thought of all this, bearingVishnu in mind he beheld at that instant in the sea a mass of froth aslarge as a hill. And he said, ‘This is neither dry, nor wet, nor is it aweapon; let me hurl it at Vritra. Without doubt, he will dieimmediately.’ And he threw at Vritra that mass of froth blended with thethunderbolt. And Vishnu, having entered within that froth, put an end tothe life of Vritra. And when Vritra was killed, the cardinal points werefree from gloom; and there also blew a pleasant breeze; and all beingswere much pleased. And the deities with the Gandharvas and Yakshas andRakshasas, with the great snakes and saints, glorified the mighty Indrawith various laudatory hymns. And saluted by all beings, Indra spokewords of encouragement to all. And his heart was glad as also that ofeveryone of the gods for having killed the foe. And knowing the nature ofvirtue, he worshipped Vishnu, the most praiseworthy of all objects in theworld. Now when the mighty Vritra, terrible to the gods, was killed,Indra became overpowered by falsehood, and he became exceedingly sad; andhe was also overpowered by the sin of Brahmanicide on account of havingkilled the three-headed son of Twashtri. And he betook himself to theconfines of the worlds, and became bereft of his senses andconsciousness. And overpowered by his own sins, he could not berecognised. And he lay concealed in water, just like a writhing snake.And when the lord of celestials, oppressed with the dread ofBrahmanicide, had vanished from sight, the earth looked as if a havoc hadpassed over it. And it became treeless, and its woods withered; and thecourse of rivers was interrupted; and the reservoirs lost all theirwater; and there was distress among animals on account of cessation ofrains. And the deities and all the great Rishis were in exceeding fear;and the world had no king, and was overtaken by disasters. Then thedeities and the divine saints in heaven, separated from the chief of thegods, became terrified, and wondered who was to be their king. And nobodyhad any inclination to act as the king of the gods.’

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