The Mahabharata Home
"Arjuna continued, 'Then at places eulogised by the Maharshis, I (proceeded, and at length) beheld the ocean--that inexhaustible lord of waters. And like unto flowing cliffs were seen on it heaving billows, now meeting together and now rolling away. And there (were seen) all around barks by thousands filled with gems. And there were seen timingilas and tortoises and makaras like unto rock submerged in water. And on all sides round thousands of shells sunk in water appeared like star in the night covered by light clouds. And thousands upon thousands of gem were floating in heaps and a violent wind was blowing about in whirls--and this was wonderful to behold. And having beheld that excellent lord of all waters with powerful tides, I saw at a short distance the city of the demons filled with the Danavas. And even there, eftsoons entering underneath the earth, Matali skilled in guiding the car, sitting fast on the chariot drove it with force; and he dashed on, frightening that city with the rattling of his chariot. And hearing that rattling of the chariot like unto the rumbling of the clouds in the sky, the Danavas, thinking me to be the lord of the celestials, became agitated. And thereupon they all, frightened at heart, stood holding in their hands bows and arrows and swords and javelins and axes and maces and clubs. Then having made arrangements for the defence of the city, the Danavas, with minds alarmed, shut the gates, so that nothing could be discovered. Thereupon taking my shell, Devadatta, of tremendous roars, I again and again winded it with exceeding cheerfulness. And filling all the firmament, those sounds produced echoes. Thereat mighty beings
were terrified and they hid (themselves). And then, O Bharata, all of them adorned with ornaments, those offsprings of Diti--the Nivata-Kavachas--made their appearance by thousands, donning diverse mail and taking in their hands various weapons and equipped with mighty iron javelins and maces and clubs and hatchets and sabres and discs and sataghnis and bhusundis and variegated and ornamented swords. Then, after deliberating much as to the course of the car, Matali began to guide the steeds on a (piece of) level ground, O foremost of the Bharatas. And owing to the swiftness of those fleet coursers conducted by him, I could see nothing--and this was strange. Then the Danavas there began to sound thousands of musical instruments, dissonant and of odd shapes. And at those sounds, fishes by hundreds and by thousands, like unto hills, having their senses bewildered by that noise, fled suddenly. And mighty force flew at me, the demons discharging sharpened shafts by hundreds and by thousands. And then, O Bharata, there ensued a dreadful conflict between me and the demons, calculated to extinguish the Nivata-Kavachas. And there came to the mighty battle the Devarshis and the Danavarshis and the Brahmarshis and the Siddhas. And desirous of victory, the Munis eulogised me with the same sweet-speeches that (they had eulogised) Indra with, at the war, (which took place) for the sake of Tara.'"
Next: Section CLXIX