The Mahabharata Home
"Narada said,--Listen to me, O child, as I tell thee of the assembly house of the Grandsire, that house which none can describe, saying it is such. In the Krita (golden) age of old, O king, the exalted deity Aditya (once) came down from heaven into the world of men. Having seen before the assembly-house of Brahma the Self-created, Aditya was cheerfully wandering over the Earth in human form, desirous of beholding what could be seen here. It was on that occasion, O son of Pandu, that the god of day spoke unto me, O bull of the Bharata race, of that celestial Sabha (assembly) of the Grandsire, immeasurable and immaterial and indescribable, as regards form and shape, and capable of delighting the heart of every creature by its splendour. Hearing, O bull of the Bharata race, of the merits of that Sabha, I became, O king, desirous of beholding it. I then asked Aditya, saying,--O exalted one, I desire to behold the sacred Sabha of the Grandsire. O lord of light, tell me, O exalted one, by what ascetic penances, or by what acts, or by what charms or by what rites, I may be enabled to behold that excellent sin-cleaning Sabha."--Hearing these words of mine, Aditya the god of day, the deity of a thousand rays, answered me, O chief of the Bharata race, thus: Observe thou, with mind rapt in meditation, the Brahma vow extending for a thousand years. Repairing then to the breast of the Himavat, I commenced that great vow, and after I had completed it the exalted and sinless deity Surya endued with great energy, and knowing no fatigue, took me with him to the Sabha of the Grandsire. O king, it is impossible to describe that Sabha, saying--it is such, for within a moment it assumes a different form that language fails to paint. O Bharata, it is impossible to indicate its dimensions or shape. I never saw anything like it before. Ever contributing to the happiness of those within it, its atmosphere is neither cold nor warm. Hunger and thirst or any kind of uneasiness disappear as soon as one goeth thither. It seems to be made up of brilliant gems of many kinds. It doth not seem to be supported on columns, it knoweth no deterioration, being eternal. That self effulgent mansion, by its numerous blazing, celestial indications of unrivalled splendour, seems to surpass the moon, the sun and the fire in splendour. Stationed in heaven, it blazes forth, censuring as it were the maker of the day. In that mansion O king, the Supreme Deity, the Grand-sire of all created things, having himself created everything by virtue of
his creative illusion, stayeth ever. And Daksha, Prachetas, Pulaha, Marichi, the master Kasyapa, Bhrigu, Atri, and Vasistha and Gautama, and also Angiras, and Pulastya, Kraut, Prahlada, and Kardama, these Prajapatis, and Angirasa of the Atharvan Veda, the Valikhilyas, the Marichipas; Intelligence, Space, Knowledge, Air, Heat, Water, Earth, Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, Scent; Nature, and the Modes (of Nature), and the elemental and prime causes of the world,--all stay in that mansion beside the lord Brahma. And Agastya of great energy, and Markandeya, of great ascetic power, and Jamadagni and Bharadwaja, and Samvarta, and Chyavana, and exalted Durvasa, and the virtuous Rishyasringa, the illustrious Sanatkumara of great ascetic merit and the preceptor in all matters affecting Yoga; Asita and Devala, and Jaigishavya acquainted with truth; Rishava, Ajitasatru, and Mani of great energy; and the Science of healing with its eight branches--all in their personified forms, O Bharata; the moon with all the stars and the stellar conjunctions; Aditya with all his rays; the winds; the Sacrifices, the Declarations of purpose (in sacrifices), the Vital principles,--these illustrious and vow-observing beings in their personified forms, and many others too numerous to mention, attend all upon Brahma in that mansion. Wealth and Religion and Desire, and Joy, and Aversion, and Asceticism and Tranquillity--all wait together upon the Supreme Deity in that palace. The twenty tribes of the Gandharvas and Apsaras, as also their seven other tribes, and all the Lokapalas (chief protectors of several regions), and Sukra, and Vrihaspati, and Vudha, and Angaraka (Mangala), Sani, Rahu, and the other planets; the Mantras (of the Sama Veda), the special Mantras (of the same Veda); (the rites of) Harimat and Vasumat, the Adityas with Indra, the two Agnis mentioned by name (viz. Agnisoma and Indragni), the Marutas, Viswakarman, and the Vasus, O Bharata; the Pitris, and all kinds of sacrificial libations, the four Vedas. viz., Rig, Sama, Yajuh, and Atharva; all Sciences and branches of learning; Histories and all minor branches of learning; the several branches of the Vedas; the planets, the Sacrifices, the Soma, all the deities; Savitri (Gayatri), the seven kinds of rhyme; Understanding, Patience, Memory, Wisdom, Intelligence, Fame, Forgiveness; the Hymns of the Sama Veda; the Science of hymns in general, and various kinds of Verses and Songs; various Commentaries with arguments;--all in their personified forms, O king, and various Dramas and Poems and Stories and abridged Glosses--these also, and many others wait upon the Supreme Deity in that Sabha, Kshanas, Lavas, Muhurtas, Day, Night, Fortnights, Months, the six Seasons, O Bharata, Years, Yugas, the four kinds of Days and Nights (viz., appearing to man, to the Pitris, to the gods, and to Brahma) and that eternal, indestructible, undeteriorating, excellent Wheel of Time and also the Wheel of Virtue,--these always wait there. O Yudhishthira; and Aditi, Diti, Danu, Surasa, Vinata, Ira, Kalika, Suravi, Devi, Sarama, Gautami and the goddesses Pradha, and Kadru;--these mothers of the celestials, and
[paragraph continues] Rudrani, Sree, Lakshmi, Bhadra, Shashthi, the Earth, Ganga, Hri, Swaha, Kriti, the goddess Sura, Sachi Pushti, Arundhati, Samvritti, Asa, Niyati, Srishti, Rati,--these and many other goddesses wait upon the Creator of all. The Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Marutas, Aswinas, the Viswadevas Sadhyas, and the Pitris gifted with the speed of the mind; these all wait there upon the Grandsire. And, O bull amongst men, know thou that there are seven classes of Pitris, of which four classes have embodied forms and the remaining three without embodied forms. It is well known that the illustrious Vairajas and Agniswattas and Garhapattyas (three classes of Pitris) range in heaven. And those amongst the Pitris that are called the Somapas, the Ekasringras, the Chaturvedas, and the Kalas, are ever worshipped amongst the four orders of men. Gratified with the Soma (juice), first, these gratify Soma afterwards. All these tribes of Pitris wait upon the Lord of the creation and cheerfully worship the Supreme Deity of immeasurable energy. And Rakshasas, Pisachas, the Danavas and Guhyakas; Nagas, Birds, and various animals; and all mobile and immobile great beings;--all worship the Grandsire. And Purandara the chief of the celestials, and Varuna and Kuvera and Yama, and Mahadeva accompanied by Uma, always repair thither. And, O king of kings, Mahasena (Kartikeya) also adoreth there the Grandsire. Narayana himself, and the celestial Rishis, and those Rishis called Valakhillyas, and all beings born of females and all those not born of females, and whatever else is seen in the three worlds--both mobile and immobile, were all seen by me there, know O king. And eighty thousand Rishis with vital seed drawn up, and O Pandu, fifty thousand Rishis having sons, were all seen by me there. And all the dwellers in heaven repairing thither behold the Supreme Deity when they please, and worshipping him with a bow of their head return whence they came. And, O king of men, the Grandsire of all created beings, the Soul of the universe, the Self create Brahma of immeasurable intelligence and glory, equally kind unto all creatures, honoureth as they deserve, and gratifieth with sweet speech and gift of wealth and other enjoyable articles, the gods, the Daityas, the Nagas, the Brahmanas, the Yakshas, the Birds, the Kaleyas, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras, and all other exalted beings that came to him as his guests. And that delicious Sabha, O child, is always crowded with persons coming and going. Filled with every kind of energy, and worshipped by Brahmarshis, that celestial Sabha blazes forth with the graceful possessions of Brahma and looks extremely handsome, O tiger among kings as this Sabha of yours is unrivalled in the world of men, so is that Sabha of Brahma, seen by me unrivalled in all the worlds. I have seen these Sabhas, O Bharata, in regions of the celestials. This thy Sabha is unquestionably the foremost in the world of men!"
Next: Section XII