The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "And the city of Indra which Arjuna saw was delightful and was the resort of Siddhas and Charanas. And it was adorned with the flowers of every season, and with sacred trees of all kinds. And he beheld also celestial gardens called Nandana--the favourite resort of Apsaras. And fanned by the fragrant breezes charged with the farina of sweet-scented flowers, the trees with their lord of celestial blossoms seemed to welcome him amongst them. And the region was such that none could behold it who had not gone through ascetic austerities, or who had not poured libations on fire. It was a region for the virtuous alone, and not for those who had turned their back on the field of battle. And none were competent to see it who had not performed sacrifices or observed rigid vows, or who were without a knowledge of the Vedas, or who had not bathed in sacred waters, or who were not distinguished for sacrifices and gifts. And none were competent to see it who were disturbers of sacrifices, or who were low, or who drank intoxicating liquors, or who were violators of their preceptors' bed, or who were eaters of (unsanctified) meat, or who were wicked. And having beheld those celestial gardens resounding with celestial music, the strong-armed son of Pandu entered the favourite city of Indra. And he beheld there celestial cars by thousands, capable of going everywhere at will, stationed in proper places. And he saw tens of thousands of such cars moving in every direction. And fanned by pleasant breezes charged with the perfumes of flowers, the son of Pandu was praised by Apsaras and Gandharvas. And the celestials then, accompanied by the Gandharvas and Siddhas and great Rishis, cheerfully reverenced Pritha's son of white deeds. Benedictions were poured upon him, accompanied by the sounds of celestial music. The strong-armed son of Pritha then heard around him the music of conchs and drums. And praised all around, the son of Pritha then went, at the command of Indra, to that large and extensive starry way called by the name of Suravithi. There he met with the Sadhyas, the Viswas, the Marutas, the twin Aswins, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Brahmarshis of the great splendour, and numerous royal sages with Dilipa at their head, and Tumvura and Narada, and that couple of Gandharvas known by the names of Haha and Huhu. And the Kuru prince--that chastiser of foes--having met and duly saluted them, last of all beheld the chief of the celestials--the god of a hundred sacrifices. Then the strong-armed son of Pritha, alighting from the car approached the lord himself of the gods--his father--that chastiser of Paka. And a beautiful white umbrella furnished with a golden staff was held over the chief of the celestials. And he was fanned with a
[paragraph continues] Chamara perfumed with celestial scents. And he was eulogised by many Gandharvas headed by Viswavasu and others, by bards and singers, and by foremost Brahmanas chanting Rik and Yajus hymns. And the mighty son of Kunti, approaching Indra, saluted him by bending his head to the ground. And Indra thereupon embraced him with his round and plump arms. And taking his hand, Sakra made him sit by him on a portion of his own seat, that sacred seat which was worshipped by gods and Rishis. And the lord of the celestials-that slayer of hostile heroes--smelt the head of Arjuna bending in humility, and even took him upon his lap. Seated on Sakra's seat at the command of that god of a thousand eyes, Pritha's son of immeasurable energy began to blaze in splendour like a second Indra. And moved by affection, the slayer of Vritra, consoling Arjuna, touched his beautiful face with his own perfumed hands. And the wielder of the thunderbolt, patting and rubbing gently again and again with his own hands which bore the marks of the thunderbolt the handsome and huge arms of Arjuna which resembled a couple of golden columns and which were hard in consequence of drawing the bowstring and son enhanced the beauty of the assembly, like the sun and moon god of a thousand eyes--eyeing his son of curly locks smilingly and with eyes expanded with delight, seemed scarcely to be gratified. The more he gazed, the more he liked to gaze on. And seated on one seat, the father and son enhanced the beauty of the assembly, like the sun and moon beautifying the firmament together on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight. And a band of Gandharvas headed by Tumvuru skilled in music sacred and profane, sang many verses in melodious notes. And Ghritachi and Menaka and Rambha and Purvachitti and Swayamprabha and Urvasi and Misrakesi and Dandagauri and Varuthini and Gopali and Sahajanya and Kumbhayoni and Prajagara and Chitrasena and Chitralekha and Saha and Madhuraswana, these and others by thousands, possessed of eyes like lotus leaves, who were employed in enticing the hearts of persons practising rigid austerities, danced there. And possessing slim waists and fair large hips, they began to perform various evolutions, shaking their deep bosoms, and casting their glances around, and exhibiting other attractive attitude capable of stealing the hearts and resolutions and minds of the spectators."
Next: Section XLIV