The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said,--"Then Maya Danava addressed Arjuna, that foremost of successful warriors, saying,--'I now go with thy leave, but shall come back soon. On the north of the Kailasa peak near the mountains of Mainaka, while the Danavas were engaged in a sacrifice on the banks of Vindu lake, I gathered a huge quantity of delightful and variegated vanda (a kind of rough materials) composed of jewels and gems. This was placed in the mansion of Vrishaparva ever devoted to truth. If it be yet existing, I shall come back, O Bharata, with it. I shall then commence the construction of the delightful palace of the Pandavas, which is to be adorned with every kind of gems and celebrated all over the world. There is also, I think, O thou of the Kuru race, a fierce club placed in the lake Vindu by the King (of the Danavas) after slaughtering therewith all his foes in battle. Besides being heavy and strong and variegated with golden knobs, it is capable of bearing great weight, and of slaying all foes, and is equal in strength unto an hundred thousand clubs. It is a fit weapon for Bhima, even as the Gandiva is for thee. There is also (in that lake) a large conch-shell called Devadatta of loud sound, that came from Varuna. I shall no doubt give all these to thee. Having spoken thus unto Partha, the Asura went away in a north-easterly direction. On the north of Kailasa in the mountains of Mainaka, there is a huge peak of gems and jewels called Hiranya-sringa. Near that peak is a delightful lake of the name of Vindu. There, on its banks, previously dwelt king Bhagiratha for many years, desiring to behold the goddess Ganga, since called Bhagirathee after that king's name. And there, on its banks, O thou best of the Bharatas, Indra the illustrious lord of every created thing, performed
one hundred great sacrifices. There, for the sake of beauty, though not according to the dictates of the ordinance, were placed sacrificial stakes made of gems and altars of gold. There, after performing those sacrifices, the thousand-eyed lord of Sachi became crowned with success. There the fierce Mahadeva, the eternal lord of every creature, has taken up his abode after having created all the worlds and there he dwelleth, worshipped with reverence by thousands of spirits. There Nara and Narayana, Brahma and Yama and Sthanu the fifth, perform their sacrifices at the expiration of a thousand yugas. There, for the establishment of virtue and religion, Vasudeva, with pious devotion, performed his sacrifices extending for many, many long years. There were placed by Keshava thousands and tens of thousands of sacrificial stakes adorned with golden garlands and altars of great splendour. Going thither, O Bharata, Maya brought back the club and the conch-shell and the various crystalline articles that had belonged to king Vrishaparva. And the great Asura, Maya, having gone thither, possessed himself of the whole of the great wealth which was guarded by Yakshas and Rakshasas. Bringing them, the Asura constructed therewith a peerless palace, which was of great beauty and of celestial make, composed entirely of gems and precious stones, and celebrated throughout the three worlds. He gave unto Bhimasena that best of clubs, and unto Arjuna the most excellent conch-shell at whose sound all creatures trembled in awe. And the palace that Maya built consisted of columns of gold, and occupied, O monarch, an area of five thousand cubits. The palace, possessing an exceedingly beautiful form, like unto that of Agni or Suryya, or Soma, shone in great splendour, and by its brilliance seemed to darken even the bright rays of the sun. And with the effulgence it exhibited, which was a mixture of both celestial and terrestrial light, it looked as if it was on fire. Like unto a mass of new clouds conspicuous in the sky, the palace rose up coming into view of all. Indeed, the palace that the dexterous Maya built was so wide, delightful, and refreshing, and composed of such excellent materials, and furnished with such golden walls and archways, and adorned with so many varied pictures, and was withal so rich and well-built, that in beauty it far surpassed Sudharma of the Dasarha race, or the mansion of Brahma himself. And eight thousand Rakshasas called Kinkaras, fierce, huge-bodied and endued with great strength, of red coppery eyes and arrowy ears, well-armed and capable of ranging through the air, used to guard and protect that palace. Within that palace Maya placed a peerless tank, and in that tank were lotuses with leaves of dark-coloured gems and stalks of bright jewels, and other flowers also of golden leaves. And aquatic fowls of various species sported on its bosom. Itself variegated with full-blown lotuses and stocked with fishes and tortoises of golden hue, its bottom was without mud and its water transparent. There was a flight of crystal stairs leading from the banks to the edge of the water. The gentle breezes that swept along
its bosom softly shook the flowers that studded it. The banks of that tank were overlaid with slabs of costly marble set with pearls. And beholding that tank thus adorned all around with jewels and precious stones, many kings that came there mistook it for land and fell into it with eyes open. Many tall trees of various kinds were planted all around the palace. Of green foliage and cool shade, and ever blossoming, they were all very charming to behold. Artificial woods were laid around, always emitting a delicious fragrance. And there were many tanks also that were adorned with swans and Karandavas and Chakravakas (Brahminy ducks) in the grounds lying about the mansion. And the breeze bearing the fragrance of lotuses growing in water and (of those growing on land) ministered unto the pleasure and happiness of the Pandavas. And Maya having constructed such a palatial hall within fourteen months, reported its completion unto Yudhishthira."
Next: Section IV