Thursday, January 20, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa;* Book 1; SECTIONS XXI ~XXX
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said. 'Then when the night had passed away and the sun had risen in the morning, O thou whose wealth is asceticism, the two sisters Kadru and Vinata, having laid a wager about slavery, went with haste and impatience to view the steed Uchchaishravas from a near point. On their way they saw the Ocean, that receptacle of waters, vast and deep, rolling and tremendously roaring, full of fishes large enough to swallow the whale, and abounding with huge makaras and creatures of various forms by thousands, and rendered inaccessible by the presence of other terrible, monster-shaped, dark, and fierce aquatic animals, abounding with tortoises and crocodiles, the mine of all kinds of gems, the home of Varuna (the water-God), the excellent and beautiful residence of the Nagas, the lord of all rivers, the abode of the subterranean fire, the friend (or asylum) of the Asuras, the terror of all creatures, the grand reservoir of water, and ever immutable.
It is holy, beneficial to the gods, and is the great source of nectar; without limits, inconceivable, sacred, and highly wonderful. It is dark, terrible with the sound of aquatic creatures, tremendously roaring, and full of deep whirl-pools. It is an object of terror to all creatures. Moved by the winds blowing from its shores and heaving high, agitated and disturbed, it seems to dance everywhere with uplifted hands represented by its surges. Full of swelling billows caused by the waxing and waning of the moon the parent of Vasudeva's great conch called Panchajanya, the great mine of gems, its waters were formerly disturbed in consequence of the agitation caused within them by the Lord Govinda of immeasurable prowess when he had assumed the form of a wild boar for raising the (submerged) Earth.
Its bottom, lower than the nether regions, the vow observing regenerate Rishi Atri could not fathom after (toiling for) a hundred years. It becomes the bed of the lotus-naveled Vishnu when at the termination of every Yuga that deity of immeasurable power enjoys yoga-nidra, the deep sleep under the spell of spiritual meditation. It is the refuge of Mainaka fearful of falling thunder, and the retreat of the Asuras overcome in fierce encounters. It offers water as sacrificial butter to the blazing fire issuing from the mouth of Varava (the Ocean-mare). It is fathomless and without limits, vast and immeasurable, and the lord of rivers. "And they saw that unto it rushed mighty rivers by thousands with proud gait, like amorous competitors, each eager for meeting it, forestalling the others. And they saw that it was always full, and always dancing in its waves. And they saw that it was deep and abounding with fierce whales and makaras. And it resounded constantly with the terrible sounds of aquatic creatures. And they saw that it was vast, and wide as the expanse of space, unfathomable, and limitless, and the grand reservoir of water.'" And so ends the twenty-first section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'The Nagas after consultation arrived at the conclusion that they should do their mother's bidding, for if she failed in obtaining her desire she might withdraw her affection and burn them all. If, on the other hand, she were graciously inclined, she might free them from her curse. They said, 'We will certainly render the horse's tail black.' And it is said that they then went and became hairs in the horse's tail. "Now the two co-wives had laid the wager. And having laid the wager, O best of Brahmanas, the two sisters Kadru and Vinata, the daughters of Daksha, proceeded in great delight along the sky to see the other side of the Ocean.
And on their way they saw the Ocean, that receptacle of waters, incapable of being easily disturbed, mightily agitated all of a sudden by the wind, and roaring tremendously; abounding with fishes capable of swallowing the whale and full of makaras; containing also creatures of diverse forms counted by thousands; frightful from the presence of horrible monsters, inaccessible, deep, and terrible, the mine of all kinds of gems, the home of Varuna (the water-god), the wonderful habitations of the Nagas, the lord of rivers, the abode of the subterranean fire; the residence of the Asuras and of many dreadful creatures; the reservoir of water, not subject to decay, aromatic, and wonderful, the great source of the amrita of the celestials; immeasurable and inconceivable, containing waters that are holy, filled to the brim by many thousands of great rivers, dancing as it were in waves. Such was the Ocean, full of rolling waves, vast as the expanse of the sky, deep, of body lighted with the flames of subterranean fire, and roaring, which the sisters quickly passed over.'" And so ends the twenty-second section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'Having crossed the Ocean, Kadru of swift speed, accompanied by Vinata, soon alighted near the horse. They then both beheld that foremost of steeds of great speed, with body white as the rays of the moon but having black hairs (in the tail). And observing many black hairs in the tail, Kadru put Vinata, who was deeply dejected, into slavery. And thus Vinata having lost the wager, entered into a state of slavery and became exceedingly sorry.
"In the meantime, when his time came, burst forth from the egg without (the help of his) mother, Garuda of great splendour, enkindling all the points of the universe, that mighty being endued with strength, that bird capable of assuming at will any form, of going at will everywhere, and of calling to his aid at will any measure of energy. Effulgent like a heap of fire, he shone terribly. Of lustre equal to that of the fire at the end of the Yuga, his eyes were bright like the lightning-flash. And soon after birth, that bird grew in size and increasing his body ascended the skies. Fierce and vehemently roaring, he looked as terrible as second Ocean-fire. And all the deities seeing him, sought the protection of Vibhavasu (Agni). And they bowed down to that deity of manifold forms seated on his seat and spake unto him these words, 'O Agni, extend not thy body! Wilt thou consume us? Lo, this huge heap of thy flames is spreading wide!' And Agni replied, 'O, ye persecutors of the Asuras, it is not as ye imagine. This is Garuda of great strength and equal to me in splendour, endued with great energy, and born to promote the joy of Vinata. Even the sight of this heap of effulgence hath caused this delusion in you. He is the mighty son of Kasyapa, the destroyer of the Nagas, engaged in the well-being of the gods, and the foe of the Daityas and the Rakshasas. Be not afraid of it in the least. Come with me and see.' Thus addressed, the gods from a distance. "The gods said, 'Thou art a Rishi (i.e., one cognisant of all mantras), share of the largest portion in sacrifices, ever resplendent, the controller along with the Rishi wended their way towards Garuda and adored him of birds, the presiding spirit of the animate and the inanimate universe. Thou art the destroyer of all, the creator of all; thou art the very Hiranyagarbha; thou art the progenitor of creation in the form of Daksha and the other Prajapatis; thou art Indra (the king of the gods), thou art Hayagriva the steed necked incarnation of Vishnu; thou art the arrow (Vishnu himself, as he became such in the hands of Mahadeva at the burning of Tripura); thou art the lord of the universe; thou art the mouth of Vishnu; thou art the four-faced Padmaja; thou art the Brahmana (i.e., wise), thou art Agni, Pavana, etc. (i.e., the presiding deity of every object in the universe). Thou art knowledge, thou art the illusion to which we are all subject; thou art the all-pervading spirit; thou art the lord of the gods; thou art the great Truth; thou art fearless; thou art ever unchanged; thou art Brahma without attributes; thou art the energy of the Sun; thou art the intellectual functions; thou art our great protector; thou art the ocean of holiness; thou art purity; thou art bereft of the attributes of darkness; thou art the possessor of the six high attributes; thou art he who cannot be withstood in contest. From thee have emanated all things; thou art of excellent deeds; thou art all that hath not been and all that hath been. Thou art pure knowledge; thou displayest to us, as Surya does by his rays, this animate and inanimate universe; thou darkenest
the splendour of Surya at every moment, and thou art the destroyer of all; thou art all that is perishable and all that is imperishable. O thou resplendent as Agni, thou burnest all even as Surya in his anger burneth all creatures. O terrible one, thou resistest even as the fire that destroys everything at the time of the Universal Dissolution. O mighty Garuda who movest in the skies, we seek thy protection. O lord of birds thy energy is extraordinary, thy splendour is that of fire, thy brightness is like that of the lightning that no darkness can approach.
Thou reachest the very clouds, and art both the cause and the effect; the dispenser of boons and invincible in prowess. O Lord, this whole universe is rendered hot by thy splendour, bright as the lustre of heated gold. Protect these high-souled gods, who overcome by thee and terrified withal, are flying along the heavens in different directions on their celestial cars. O thou best of birds, thou Lord of all, thou art the son of the merciful and high-souled Rishi Kasyapa; therefore, be not wroth but have mercy on the universe. Thou art Supreme. O pacify thy anger and preserve us.
At thy voice, loud as the roar of the thunder, the ten points, the skies, the heavens, the Earth and our hearts, O bird, thou art continuously shaking. O, diminish this thy body resembling Agni. At the sight of the splendour resembling that of Yama when in wrath, our hearts lose all equanimity and quake. O thou lord of birds, be propitious to us who solicit thy mercy! O illustrious one, bestow on us good fortune and joy.' And that bird of fair feathers, thus adored by the deities and diverse sections of Rishis, reduced his own energy and splendour.'" And thus ends the twenty-third section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'Then hearing of and beholding his own body, that bird of beautiful feathers diminished its size.' "And Garuda said, 'Let no creature be afraid; as ye are in a fright at the sight of my terrible form, I shall diminish my energy.' "Sauti continued, 'Then that bird capable of going everywhere at will, that ranger of the skies capable of calling to his aid any measure of energy, bearing Aruna on his back, wended from his father's home and arrived at his mother's side on the other shore of the great ocean. And he placed Aruna of great splendour in the eastern regions, just at a time when Surya had resolved to burn the worlds with his fierce rays.' "Saunaka said, 'When did the revered Surya resolve at the time to burn the worlds? What wrong was done to him by the gods that provoked his ire?'
"Sauti said, 'O sinless one, when Rahu was drinking nectar among the gods at the time of the churning of the ocean he was pointed out to the gods by Surya and Soma, and from that time he conceived an enmity towards those deities. And upon this Rahu sought to devour his afflictor (Surya), became wroth, and thought, 'Oh, this enmity of Rahu towards me hath sprung from my desire of benefiting the gods. And this dire consequence I alone have to sustain. Indeed, at this pass help I obtain not. And before the very eyes of the denizens of heaven I am going to be devoured and they brook it quietly. Therefore, for the destruction of the worlds must I strive.'
And with this resolution he went to the mountains of the west. "And from that place he began to radiate his heat around for the destruction of the world. And then the great Rishis, approaching the gods, spake unto them, 'Lo, in the middle of the night springeth a great heat striking terror into every heart, and destructive of the three worlds.' Then the gods, accompanied by the Rishis, wended to the Grandsire, and said unto him, 'O what is this great heat today that causeth such panic? Surya hath not yet risen, still the destruction (of the world) is obvious. O Lord, what will happen when he doth rise?" The Grandsire replied, 'Indeed, Surya is prepared to rise today for the destruction of the world. As soon as he will appear he will burn everything into a heap of ashes. By me, however, hath the remedy been provided beforehand. The intelligent son of Kasyapa is known to all by the name of Aruna.
He is huge of body and of great splendour; he shall stay in front of Surya, doing the duty of his charioteer and taking away all the energy of the former. And this will ensure the welfare of the worlds, of the Rishis, and of the dwellers in heaven.' "Sauti continued, 'Aruna, at the behest of the Grandsire, did all that he was ordered to do. And Surya rose veiled by Aruna's person. I have told thee now why Surya was in wrath, and how Aruna, the brother of Garuda, was appointed as his charioteer. Hear next of that other question asked by thee a little while ago.'" And so ends the twenty-fourth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'Then that bird of great strength and energy and capable of going at will to every place repaired to his mother's side on the other shore of the great ocean. Thither lived Vinata in affliction, defeated in wager and put into a state of slavery. Once Kadru calling Vinata who had prostrated herself before the former, addressed her these words in the presence p. 68 of her son, 'O gentle Vinata, there is in the midst of the ocean, in a remote quarter, a delightful and fair region inhabited by the Nagas. Bear me thither!' At this that mother of the bird of fair feathers bore (on her shoulders) the mother of the snakes. And Garuda also, directed by his mother's words, carried (on his back) the snakes. And that ranger of the skies born of Vinata began to ascend towards the Sun. And thereupon the snakes, scorched by the rays of the Sun, swooned away.
And Kadru seeing her sons in that state prayed to Indra, saying, 'I bow to thee, thou Lord of all the gods! I bow to thee, thou slayer of Vritra! I bow to thee, thou slayer of Namuchi! O thou of a thousand eyes, consort of Sachi! By thy showers, be thou the protector of the snakes scorched by the Sun. O thou best of the deities, thou art our great protector. O Purandara, thou art able to grant rain in torrents. Thou art Vayu (the air), the clouds, fire, and the lightning of the skies. Thou art the propeller of the clouds, and hast been called the great cloud (i.e., that which will darken the universe at the end of Yuga). Thou art the fierce and incomparable thunder, and the roaring clouds. Thou art the Creator of the worlds and their Destroyer. Thou art unconquered. Thou art the light of all creatures, Aditya, Vibhavasu, and the wonderful elements. Thou art the ruler of all the gods. Thou art Vishnu. Thou hast a thousand eyes. Thou art a god, and the final resource.
Thou art, O deity, all amrita, and the most adored Soma. Thou art the moment, the lunar day, the bala (minute), thou art the kshana (4 minutes). Thou art the lighted fortnight, and also the dark fortnight. Thou art kala, thou kashtha, and thou Truti. 1 Thou art the year, the seasons, the months, the nights, and the days. Thou art the fair Earth with her mountains and forests. Thou art also the firmament, resplendent with the Sun. Thou art the great Ocean with heaving billows and abounding with whales, swallowers of whales, and makaras, and various fishes. Thou art of great renown, always adored by the wise and by the great Rishis with minds rapt in contemplation. Thou drinkest, for the good of all creatures, the Soma juice in sacrifices and the clarified butter offered with sacred invocation. Thou art always worshipped at sacrifices by Brahmanas moved by desire of fruit. O thou of incomparable mass of strength, thou art sung in the Vedas and Vedangas. It is for that reason that learned Brahmanas bent upon performing sacrifices, study the Vedas with every care.'" And so ends the twenty-fifth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'And then Indra, the king of gods, having the best of horses for his bearer, thus adored by Kadru, covered the entire firmament with masses of blue clouds. And he commanded the clouds, saying, Pour ye, your vivifying and blessed drops!' And those clouds, luminous with lightning, and incessantly roaring against each other in the welkin, poured abundant water. And the sky, in consequence of those wonderful and terribly-roaring clouds that were incessantly begetting vast quantities of water, looked as if the end of Yuga had come. And in consequence of the myriads of waves caused in the falling torrents, the deep roar of the clouds, the flashes of lightning, the violence of the wind, and the general agitation, the sky looked as if dancing in madness.
The sky became overcast, and the rays of the Sun and the Moon totally disappeared in consequence of that incessant downpour. "And upon Indra's causing that downpour, the Nagas became exceedingly delighted. And the Earth was filled with water all around. And the cool, clear water reached even the nether regions. And there were countless waves of water all over the Earth. And the snakes with their mother reached (in safety) the island called Ramaniyaka." And so ends the twenty-sixth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'And then the Nagas drenched by that shower, became exceedingly glad. And borne by that bird of fair feathers, they soon arrived at the island. That island had been fixed by the Creator of the Universe as the abode of the makaras. There they saw the terrible Lavana Samudra (ocean of salt). On arriving there with Garuda, they saw there a beautiful forest washed by the waters of the sea and resounding with the music of winged choirs. And there were clusters of trees all around laden with various fruits and flowers. And there were also fair mansions all around; and many tanks full of lotuses. And it was also adorned with many lakes of pure water. And if was refreshed with pure incense-breathing breezes.
And it was adorned with many a tree that grew only on the hills of Malaya, and seemed by their tallness to reach the very heavens. And there were also various other trees whose flowers were scattered all around by the breeze. And that forest was charming and dear to the Gandharvas and always gave them pleasure. And it was full of bees maddened with the honey they sucked. And the sight of all this was exceedingly delightful. And in consequence of many things there, capable of charming everybody, that forest was fair, delightful, and holy. And, echoing with the notes of various birds, it delighted greatly the sons of Kadru. "And the snakes, after arriving at that forest, began to enjoy themselves. And they commanded the lord of birds, viz., Garuda, of great energy, saying, 'Convey us to some other fair island with pure water.
Thou ranger of the skies, thou must have seen many fair regions while coursing (through the air).' Garuda, alter reflecting for a few moments, asked his mother Vinata, saying, 'Why, mother, have I to do the bidding of the snakes?' Vinata thus questioned by him spake unto that ranger of the skies, her son, invested with every virtue, of great energy, and great strength, as follows: "Vinata said, 'O thou best of birds, I have become, from misfortune, the slave of my co-wife. The snakes, by an act of deception, caused me to lose my bet and have made me so.'
When his mother had told him the reason, that ranger of the skies, dejected with grief, addressed the snakes, saying, 'Tell me, ye snakes, by bringing what thing, gaining a knowledge of what thing, or doing what act of prowess, we may be freed from this state of bondage to you.'" Sauti continued, 'The snakes, hearing him, said, 'Bring thou amrita by force. Then O bird, shall you be freed from bondage.'" And so ends the twenty-seventh section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'Garuda, thus addressed by the snakes, then said unto his mother, 'I shall go to bring amrita, I desire to eat something in the way. Direct me to it.' Vinata replied, 'In a remote region in the midst of the ocean, the Nishadas have their fair home. Having eaten the thousands of Nishadas that live there, bring thou amrita. But let not thy heart be ever set on taking the life of a Brahmana. Of all creatures a Brahmana must not be slain. He is, indeed, like fire. A Brahmana, when angry, becomes like fire or the Sun, like poison or an edged weapon. A Brahmana, it has been said, is the master of all creatures. For these and other reasons, a Brahmana is the adored of the virtuous. O child, he is never to be slain by thee even in anger.
Hostility with Brahmanas, therefore, would not be proper under any circumstances. O sinless one, neither Agni nor Surya truly can consume so much as does a Brahmana of rigid vows, when angry. By these various indications must thou know a good Brahmana. Indeed, a brahmana is the first-born of all creatures, the foremost of the four orders, the father and the master of all.'" Garuda then asked, 'O mother, of what form is a Brahmana, of what behaviour, and of what prowess? Doth he shine like fire, or is he of tranquil mien? And, O mother, it behoveth thee to tell my inquiring self, those auspicious signs by which I may recognise a Brahmana.'" Vinata replied, saying, 'O child, him shouldst thou know as the best amongst Brahmanas who having entered thy throat would torture thee as a fish-hook or burn thee as blazing charcoal.
A Brahmana must never be slain by thee even in anger.' And Vinata out of affection for her son, again told him these words, 'Him shouldst thou know as a good Brahmana who would not be digested in thy stomach.' Although she knew the incomparable strength of her son, yet she blessed him heartily, for, deceived by the snakes, she was very much afflicted by woe. And she said. 'Let Marut (the god of the winds) protect thy wings, and Surya and Soma thy vertebral regions; let Agni protect thy head, and the Vasus thy whole body. I also, O child (engaged in beneficial ceremonies), shall sit here for your welfare. Go then, O child, in safety to accomplish thy purpose.' "Sauti continued, 'Then Garuda, having heard the words of his mother, stretched his wings and ascended the skies.
And endued with great strength, he soon fell upon the Nishadas, hungry and like another Yama. And bent upon slaying the Nishadas, he raised a great quantity of dust that overspread the firmament, and sucking up water from amid the ocean, shook the trees growing on the adjacent mountains. And then that lord of birds obstructed the principal thoroughfares of the town of the Nishadas by his mouth, increasing its orifice at will. And the Nishadas began to fly in great haste in the direction of the open mouth of the great serpent-eater. And as birds in great affliction ascend by thousand into the skies when the trees in a forest are shaken by the winds, so those Nishadas blinded by the dust raised by the storm entered the wide-extending cleft of Garuda's mouth open to receive them. And then the hungry lord of all rangers of the skies, that oppressor of enemies, endued with great strength, and moving with greatest celerity to achieve his end, closed his mouth, killing innumerable Nishadas following the occupation of fishermen.'" So ends the twenty-eighth section in the Astika Parva of Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti continued, 'A certain Brahmana with his wife had entered the throat of that ranger of the skies. The former began to burn the bird's throat like a piece of flaming charcoal. Him Garuda addressed, saying, 'O best of Brahmanas, come out soon from my mouth which I open for thee. A Brahmana must never be slain by me, although he may be always engaged in sinful practices.' Unto Garuda who had thus addressed him that Brahmana said, 'O, let this woman of the Nishada caste, who is my wife, also come out with me.' And Garuda said, 'Taking the woman also of the Nishada caste with thee, come out soon. Save thyself without delay since thou hast not yet been digested by the heat of my stomach.'
"Sauti continued, 'And then that Brahmana, accompanied by his wife of the Nishada caste, came out, and praising Garuda wended whatever way he liked. And when that Brahmana had come out with his wife, that lord of birds, fleet as the mind, stretching his wings ascended the skies. He then saw his father, and, hailed by him, Garuda, of incomparable prowess made proper answers. And the great Rishi (Kasyapa) then asked him, 'O child, is it well with thee? Dost thou get sufficient food every day? Is there food in plenty for thee in the world of men?' "Garuda replied, 'My mother is ever well. And so is my brother, and so am I. But, father, I do not always obtain plenty of food, for which my peace is incomplete. I am sent by the snakes to fetch the excellent amrita. Indeed, I shall fetch it today for emancipating my mother from her bondage.
My mother command me, saying, 'Eat thou the Nishadas.' I have eaten them by thousands, but my hunger is not appeased. Therefore, O worshipful one, point out to me some other food, by eating which, O master, I may be strong enough to bring away amrita by force. Thou shouldst indicate some food wherewith I may appease my hunger and thirst.' "Kasyapa replied, 'This lake thou seest is sacred. It hath been heard, of even in the heavens. There is an elephant, with face downwards, who continually draggeth a tortoise, his elder brother. I shall speak to you in detail of their hostility in former life. Just listen as I tell you why they are here. "There was of old a great Rishi of the name of Vibhavasu. He was exceedingly wrathful. He had a younger brother of the name of Supritika. The latter was averse to keeping his wealth jointly with his brother's.
And Supritika would always speak of partition. After some time his brother Vibhavasu told Supritika, 'It is from great foolishness that persons blinded by love of wealth always desire to make a partition of their patrimony. After effecting a partition they fight with each other, deluded by wealth. Then again, enemies in the guise of friends cause estrangements between ignorant and selfish men alter they become separated in wealth, and pointing out faults confirm their quarrels, so that the latter soon fall one by one. Absolute ruin very soon overtakes the separated.
For these reasons the wise never speak approvingly of partition amongst brothers who, when divided, do not regard the most authoritative Sastras and live always in fear of each other. But as thou, Supritika, without regarding my advice impelled by desire of separation, always wishest to make an arrangement about your property, thou shall become an elephant.' Supritika, thus cursed, then spake unto Vibhavasu, 'Thou also shall become a tortoise moving in the midst of the waters.' "And thus on account of wealth those two fools, Supritika and Vibhavasu, from each other's curse, have become an elephant and a tortoise respectively. Owing to their wrath, they have both become inferior animals. And they are engaged in hostilities with each other, proud of their excessive
strength and the weight of their bodies. And in this lake those two beings of huge bodies are engaged in acts according to their former hostility. Look here, one amongst them, the handsome elephant of huge body, is even now approaching. Hearing his roar, the tortoise also of huge body, living within the waters, cometh out, agitating the lake violently. And seeing him the elephant, curling his trunk, rusheth into the water. And endued with great energy, with motion of his tusks and fore-part of his trunk and tail and feet, he agitates the water of the lake abounding with fishes. And the tortoise also of great strength, with upraised head, cometh forward for an encounter. And the elephant is six yojanas in height and twice that measure in circumference.
And the height of the tortoise also is three yojanas and his circumference ten. Eat thou up both of them that are madly engaged in the encounter and bent upon slaying each other, and then accomplish the task that thou desirest. Eating that fierce elephant which looketh like a huge mountain and resembleth a mass of dark clouds, bring thou amrita.' "Sauti continued, 'Having said so unto Garuda, he (Kasyapa) blessed him, saying, 'Blest be thou when thou art in combat with the gods. Let water pitchers filled to the brim, Brahmanas, kine, and other auspicious objects, bless thee, thou oviparous one. And, O thou of great strength, when thou art engaged with the gods in combat, let the Riks, the Yajus, the Samas, the sacred sacrificial butter, all the mysteries (Upanishads), constitute thy strength.' "Garuda, thus addressed by his father, wended to the side of that lake.
He saw that expanse of clear water with birds of various kinds all around. And remembering the words of his father, that ranger of the skies possessed of great swiftness of motion, seized the elephant and the tortoise, one in each claw. And that bird then soared high into the air. And he came upon a sacred place called Alamva and saw many divine trees. And struck by the wind raised by his wings, those trees began to shake with fear. And those divine trees having golden boughs feared that they would break. And the ranger of the skies seeing that those trees capable of granting every wish were quaking with fear, went to other trees of incomparable appearance. And those gigantic trees were adorned with fruits of gold and silver and branches of precious gems.
And they were washed with the water of the sea. And there was a large banian among them, which had grown into gigantic proportions, that spoke unto that lord of bird coursing towards it with the fleetness of the mind, 'Sit thou on this large branch of mine extending a hundred yojanas and eat the elephant and the tortoise.' When that best of birds, of great swiftness and of body resembling a mountain, quickly alighted upon a bough of that banian tree, the resort of thousands of winged creatures that bough also full of leaves shook and broke down.'" So ends the twenty-ninth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued) "Sauti said, 'At the very touch by Garuda of great might with his feet, the branch of the tree broke as it was caught by Garuda. Casting his eyes around in wonder he saw Valakhilya Rishis hanging therefrom with heads downwards and engaged in ascetic penances. Reflecting that if that bough fell down, the Rishis would be slain, the mighty one held the elephant and the tortoise still more firmly with his claws. And from fear of slaying the Rishis and desire of saving them, held that bough in his beaks, and rose on his wings. The great Rishis were struck with wonder at the sight of that act of his which was beyond even the power of the gods, and gave that mighty bird a name. And they said, 'As this ranger of the skies rises on its wings bearing a heavy burden, let this foremost of birds having snakes for his food be called Garuda (bearer of heavy weight).' "And shaking the mountains by his wings, Garuda leisurely coursed through the skies.
And as he soared with the elephant and the tortoise (in his claws), he beheld various regions underneath. Desiring as he did to save the Valakhilyas, he saw not a spot whereon to sit. At last he went to that foremost of mountains called Gandhamadana. There he saw his father Kasyapa engaged in ascetic devotions. Kasyapa also saw his son, that ranger of the skies, of divine form, possessed of great splendour, and energy and strength, and endued with the speed of the wind or the mind, huge as a mountain peak, a ready smiter like the curse of a Brahmana, inconceivable, indescribable, frightful to all creatures, possessed of great prowess, terrible, of the splendour of Agni himself, and incapable of being overcome by the deities, Danavas, and invincible Rakshasas, capable of splitting mountain summits and sucking the ocean itself and destroying the three worlds, fierce, and looking like Yama himself.
The illustrious Kasyapa, seeing him approach and knowing also his motive, spoke unto him these words: "Kasyapa said, 'O child, do not commit a rash act, for then thou wouldst have to suffer pain. The Valakhilyas, supporting themselves by drinking the rays of the sun, might, if angry, blast thee.' "Sauti continued, 'Kasyapa then propitiated, for the sake of his son, the Valakhilyas of exceeding good fortune and whose sins had been destroyed by ascetic penances.' And Kasyapa said, 'Ye whose wealth is asceticism, the essay of Garuda is for the good of all creatures. The task is great that he is striving to accomplish. It behoveth you to accord him your permission.' "Sauti continued, 'Those ascetics thus addressed by the illustrious Kasyapa, abandoned that bough and went to the sacred mountain of Himavat for purposes of ascetic penances. After those Rishis had gone away, the
son of Vinata, with voice obstructed by the bough in his beaks, asked his father Kasyapa saying, 'O illustrious one, where shall I throw this arm of the tree? O illustrious one, indicate to me some region without human beings.' Then Kasyapa spoke of a mountain without human beings with caves and dales always covered with snow and incapable of approach by ordinary creatures even in thought. And the great bird bearing that branch, that elephant, and that tortoise, proceeded with great speed towards that mountain. The great arm of the tree with which that bird of huge body flew away could not be girt round with a cord made of a hundred (cow) hides. Garuda, the lord of birds, then flew away for hundreds of thousand of yojanas within--the shortest time.
And going according to the directions of his father to that mountain almost in a moment, that ranger of the skies let fall the gigantic bough. And it fell with a great noise. And that Prince of mountains shook, struck with the storm raised by Garuda's wings. And the trees thereon dropped showers of flowers. And the peaks decked with gems and gold adorning that great mountain itself, were loosened and tell down on all sides. And the falling bough struck down numerous trees which, with golden flowers amid dark foliage, shone there like clouds charged with lightning. And those trees, bright as gold, falling down upon the ground and, dyed with mountain metals, shone as if they were bathed in the rays of the sun. "Then that best of birds, Garuda, perching on the summit of that mountain, ate both the elephant and the tortoise, rose on his wings with great speed from the top of the mountain.
"And various omens began to appear among the gods foreboding fear. Indra's favourite thunderbolt blazed up in a fright. Meteors with flames and smoke, loosened from the welkin, shot down during the day. And the weapons of the Vasus, the Rudras, the Adityas, the Sabhyas, the Maruts, and other gods, began to spend their force against one another. Such a thing had never happened even during the war between the gods and the Asuras. And the winds blew accompanied with thunder, and meteors fell by thousands. And the sky, though cloudless, roared tremendously. And even he who was the god of gods shed showers of blood.
And the flowery garlands on the necks of the gods faded and their prowess suffered diminution. And terrible masses of clouds dropped thick showers of blood. And the dust raised by the winds darkened the splendour of the very coronets of the gods. And He of a thousand sacrifices (Indra), with the other gods, perplexed with fear at the sight of those dark forebodings spoke unto Vrihaspati thus, 'Why, O worshipful one, have these natural disturbances suddenly arisen? No foe do I behold who would oppress us in war.' Vrihaspati answered, 'O chief of the gods, O thou of a thousand sacrifices, it is from thy fault and carelessness, and owing also to the ascetic penance of the high-souled great Rishis, the Valakhilyas, that the son of Kasyapa and Vinata, a ranger of the skies endued with great strength and possessing
the capacity of assuming at will any form, is approaching to take away the Soma. And that bird, foremost among all endued with great strength, is able to rob you of the Soma. Everything is possible with him; the unachievable he can achieve.' "Sauti continued, 'Indra, having heard these words, then spoke unto those that guarded the amrita, saying, 'A bird endued with great strength and energy has set his heart on taking away the amrita.
I warn you beforehand so that he may not succeed in taking it away by force. Vrihaspati has told me that his strength is immeasurable.' And the gods hearing of it were amazed and took precautions. And they stood surrounding the amrita and Indra also of great prowess, the wielder of the thunder, stood with them. And the gods wore curious breastplates of gold, of great value, and set with gems, and bright leathern armour of great toughness. And the mighty deities wielded various sharp-edged weapons of terrible shapes, countless in number, emitting, even all of them, sparks of fire with smoke.
And they were also armed with many a discus and iron mace furnished with spikes, and trident, battle-axe, and various kinds of sharp-pointed missiles and polished swords and maces of terrible form, all befitting their respective bodies. And decked with celestial ornaments and resplendent with those bright arms, the gods waited there, their fears allayed. And the gods, of incomparable strength, energy, and splendour, resolved to protect the amrita. Capable of splitting the towns of the Asuras, all displayed themselves in forms resplendent as the fire. And in consequence of the gods standing there, that (would be) battle-field, owing to hundreds of thousands of maces furnished with iron spikes, shone like another firmament illumined by the rays of the Sun.'" So ends the thirtieth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva
~next; Book 1; SECTIONS XXX- L