The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana continued, "Dwelling in that best of mountains those high-souled ones observing excellent vows, felt themselves attracted (to that place), and diverted themselves, eager to behold Arjuna. And multitudes of Gandharvas and Maharshis gladly visited those energetic ones, possessing prowess, of chaste desires and being the foremost of those endued with truth and fortitude. And having arrived at that excellent mountain furnished with trees bearing blossoms, those mighty charioteers were exceedingly delighted, even as the Marutas, on arriving at the celestial regions. And experiencing great exhilaration, they lived (there), seeing the slopes and summits of that mighty mountain, filled with flowers, and resonant with the cries of peacocks and cranes. And on that beautiful mountain they beheld lakes filled with lotuses, and having their shores covered with trees, and frequented by darkness, and karandavas and swans. And the flourishing sporting-regions, graceful on account of the various flowers, and abounding in gems, was capable of captivating that king, the dispenser of wealth (Kuvera). And always ranging (there), those foremost of ascetics (the Pandavas)
were incapable of conceiving (the significance of) that Summit, furnished with mighty trees, and masses of wide-spreading clouds. And, O great hero, owing to its native splendour, and also on account of the brilliance of the annual plants, there was no difference there between night and day. And staying in the mountain, remaining in which the Sun of unrivalled energy cherisheth the mobile and immobile things, those heroes and foremost of men beheld the rising and the setting of the Sun. And having seen the rising and the setting points of the Sun and the rising and the setting mountain, and all the cardinal points, as well as the intervening spaces ever blazing with the rays of the Dispeller of darkness, those heroes, in expectation of the arrival of that mighty charioteer firm in truth, became engaged in reciting the Vedas, practising the daily rituals, chiefly discharging the religious duties, exercising sacred vows, and abiding by the truth. And saying, 'Let us even here experience delight by joining without delay Arjuna accomplished in arms,' those highly blessed Parthas became engaged in the practice of Yoga. And beholding romantic woods on that mountain, as they always thought of Kiriti, every day and night appeared unto them even as a year. From that very moment joy had taken leave of them when, with Dhaumya's permission, the high-souled Jishnu, matting his hair, departed (for the woods). So, how could they, absorbed in his contemplation, experience happiness there? They had become overwhelmed with grief ever since the moment when at the command of his brother, Yudhishthira, Jishnu of the tread of a mad elephant had departed from the Kamyaka forest. O Bharata, in this way, on that mountain those descendants of Bharata passed a month with difficulty, thinking of him of the white steeds, who had gone to Vasava's abode for learning arms. And Arjuna, having dwelt for five years in the abode of him of a thousand eyes, and having from that lord of celestials obtained all the celestial weapons,--such as those of Agni, of Varuna, of Soma, of Vayu, of Vishnu, of Indra, of Pasupati, of Brahma, of Parameshthi, of Prajapati, of Yama, of Dhata, of Savita, of Tvashta, and of Vaisravana; and having bowed down to and gone round him of a hundred sacrifices, and taken his (Indra's) permission, cheerfully came to the Gandhamadana."
Next: Section CLXIV