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Chapter 99

Mahabharata English - UDYOGA PARAVA

“Narada continued, ‘Here in the very centre of the world of the Nagas issituated the city known by the name of Patalam. Celebrated over all theuniverse, it is worshipped by the Daityas and the Danavas. Creaturesinhabiting the earth, if brought hither by force of the water’s current,shriek loudly, afflicted with fear. Here the fire known by the name ofthe Asura-fire[8] and which is fed by water, continually blazeth forth.Held fast by the flat of the celestials, it moveth not, regarding itselfas bound and confined. It was here that’ the gods, having firstvanquished and slain their foes, quaffed the Amrita and deposited theresidue. It is from this place that the waning and waxing of the moon areseen. It is here that son of Aditi, the Horse-headed (Vishnu), on therecurrence of every auspicious occasion, riseth, filling at such timesthe universe, otherwise called Suvarna,[9] with the sound of Vedic hymnsand Mantras. And because all watery forms such as the Moon and othersshower their water on the region, therefore hath this excellent regionbeen called Patala.[10] It is from here that the celestial elephantAiravata, for the benefit of the universe, taketh up cool water in orderto impart it to the clouds, and it is that water which Indra poureth downas rain. Here dwell diverse kinds of aquatic animals, of various shapessuch as the Timi and others, which subsist on the rays of the moon. Ocharioteer, here are many kinds of creatures that die during the day,being pierced by the rays of the sun, but all of whom revive in thenight, the reason being that the moon, rising here every day, layingthose deceased creatures with Amrita by means of rays, that constitutehis arms, resuscitate them by that touch. Deprived of their prosperity byVasava, it is here that many sinful Danavas live confined, defeated byhim and afflicted by Time. It was here that the Lord of creatures–thatgreat Master of all created things–Mahadeva–had practised the severestof ascetic austerities for the benefit of all creatures. Here dwell manyregenerate and great Rishis observant of vows called ‘Go’ and emaciatedwith the recitation and study of the Vedas, and who, having suspended thevital air called Prana, have attained to heaven by force of theirausterities. A man is said to adopt the vow called Go, when he sleepethwherever he listeth, and when he subsisteth on anything that others placebefore him, and is clad with robes that others may supply. Here in therace of the celebrated elephant Supratika were born those best ofelephants known by the names of Airavata, Vamana, Kumuda and Anjana, thefirst being the king of his tribe. Look, O Matali, if there be anybridegroom here, that is distinguished by the possession of superiormerits, for then I will go to him for respectfully soliciting him toaccept thy daughter. Behold, here lieth an egg in these waters, blazingwith beauty. From the commencement of the creation it is here. It movethnot, nor doth it burst. I have never heard any body speaking of its birthor nature. Nobody knoweth who its father or mother is. It is said, OMatali, that when the end of the world cometh, mighty fire burst forthfrom within it, and spreading consumeth the three worlds with all theirmobile and immobile objects.’ Hearing those words of Narada, Matalianswered him, saying, ‘No one here seems to me to be eligible. Let us gohence, therefore, without delay!'”

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