The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said,--At the conclusion of Narada's words, king Yudhishthira the just worshipped him duly; and commanded by him the monarch began to reply succinctly to the questions the Rishi had asked.
"Yudhishthira said--'O holy one, the truths of religion and morality thou
hast indicated one after another, are just and proper. As regards myself, I duly observe those ordinances to the best of my power. Indeed, the acts that were properly performed by monarchs of yore are, without doubt, to be regarded as bearing proper fruit, and undertaken from solid reasons for the attainment of proper objects. O master, we desire to walk in the virtuous path of those rulers that had, besides, their souls under complete control."
"Vaisampayana continued,--"Yudhishthira, the son of Pandu, possessed of great glory, having received with reverence the words of Narada and having also answered the Rishi thus, reflected for a moment. And perceiving a proper opportunity, the monarch, seated beside the Rishi, asked Narada sitting at his ease and capable of going into every world at will, in the presence of that assembly of kings, saying,--'Possessed of the speed of mind, thou wanderest over various and many worlds created in days of yore by Brahma, beholding everything. Tell me, I ask thee, if thou hast, O Brahmana, ever beheld before anywhere an assembly room like this of mine or superior to it!' Hearing these words of Yudhishthira the just, Narada smilingly answered the son of Pandu in these sweet accents,--
"Narada said,--'O child, O king I did neither see nor hear of ever before amongst men, any assembly room built of gems and precious stones like this of thine, O Bharata. I shall, however, describe unto thee the rooms of the king of the departed (Yama), of Varuna (Neptune) of great intelligence, of Indra, the King of Gods and also of him who hath his home in Kailasha (Kuvera). I shall also describe unto thee the celestial Sabha of Brahma that dispelleth every kind of uneasiness. All these assembly rooms exhibit in their structure both celestial and human designs and present every kind of form that exists in the universe. And they are ever worshipped by the gods and the Pitris, the Sadhyas, (under-deities called Gana), by ascetics offering sacrifices, with souls under complete command, by peaceful Munis engaged without intermission in Vedic sacrifices with presents to Brahmanas. I shall describe all these to you if, O bull of the Bharata race, thou hast any inclinations to listen to me!'"
"Vaisampayana continued,--"Thus addressed by Narada, the high-souled king Yudhishthira the just, with his brothers and all those foremost of Brahmanas (seated around him), joined his hands (in entreaty). And the monarch then asked Narada, saying,--'Describe unto us all those assembly rooms. We desire to listen to thee. O Brahmana, what are the articles with which each of the Sabhas are made of? What is the area of each, and what is the length and breadth of each? Who wait upon the Grandsire in that assembly room? And who also upon Vasava, the Lord of the celestials and upon Yama, the son of Vivaswana? Who wait upon Varuna and upon Kuvera in their respective assembly rooms. O Brahmana Rishi, tell us all about these. We all together desire to hear thee describe them. Indeed, our curiosity is great.' Thus addressed by the son of Pandu, Narada replied,
saying,--'O monarch, hear ye all about those celestial assembly rooms one after another."
Next: Section VII