The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "O king, then those foremost of bowmen, of immeasurable prowess, holding bows stringed at full stretch and equipped with quivers and arrows and wearing finger-caps made of the guana-skin, and with their swords on, proceeded with Panchali towards the Gandhamadana, taking with them the best of Brahmanas. And on their way they saw various lakes, and rivers and mountains and forests, and trees of wide-spreading shade on mountain summits and places abounding in trees bearing flowers and fruit in all seasons and frequented by celestials and sages. And restraining their senses within their inner self and subsisting on fruits and roots, the heroes passed through rugged regions, craggy and difficult of passage, beholding many and various kinds of beasts. Thus those high-souled ones entered the mountain inhabited by the sages, the Siddhas and the celestials, and frequented by the Kinnaras and the Apsaras. And, O lord of men, as those mighty heroes were entering the mountain Gandhamandana, there arose a violent wind, attended with a heavy shower. And owing to this, mighty clouds of dust bearing lots of dry leaves, rose, and all on a sudden covered earth, air and firmament. And when the heavens had been covered with dust nothing could be perceived, neither could they (the Pandavas) speak to one another. And with eyes enveloped with darkness and pushed by the wind carrying particles of rocks they could not see one another. And there began to arrive mighty sounds proceeding from the tree, and also from those breaking down incessantly under the force of the wind, and falling to the ground. And distracted by gusts of the wind, they thought, 'Are the heavens falling down; or the earth and the mountains being rent?' And afraid of the wind, they felt about with their hands and took shelter under the way-side tree and ant-hills and in caverns. Then holding his bow and supporting Krishna the mighty Bhimasena stood under a tree. And Yudhishthira the just with Dhaumya crept into the deep wood. And Sahedeva carrying the sacred fire with him took shelter in a rock. And Nakula together with Lomasa and other Brahmanas of great asceticism stood in fright, each under a tree. Then when the wind had abated and the dust subsided, there came down a shower in torrents. There also arose a loud rattling noise, like unto the thunder hurled; and quick-flashing
lightning began to play gracefully upon the clouds. And being helped on by the swift wind, showers of rain poured down without intermissions, filling all sides round. And, O lord of men, all around there began to flow many rivers covered with foam and turbid with mud; and these bearing volumes of water spread over the frothy rafts rushed down with tremendous roar uprooting trees. And afterwards when that sound had ceased and the air had arisen they (each of them) cautiously came out of their coverts and met together, O descendant of Bharata. And then the heroes started for the mountain Gandhamadana."
Next: Section CXLIII