The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "When they had left their happy home in the beautiful mountain abounding in cascades, and having birds, and the elephants of the eight quarters, and the supernatural attendants of Kuvera (as dwellers thereof), all happiness forsook those foremost of men of Bharata's race. But afterwards on beholding Kuvera's favourite mountain, Kailasa, appearing like clouds, the delight of those pre-eminent heroes of the race of Bharata, became very great. And those foremost of heroic men, equipped with scimitars and bows, proceeded contentedly, beholding elevations and defiles, and dens of lions and craggy causeways and innumerable water-falls and lowlands, in different places, as also other great forests inhabited by countless deer and birds and elephants. And they came upon beautiful woodlands and rivers and lakes and caves and mountain caverns; and these frequently by day and night became the dwelling place of those great men. And having dwelt in all sorts of inaccessible places and crossing Kailasa of inconceivable grandeur, they reached the excellent and surpassingly beautiful hermitage of Vrishaparba. And meeting king Vrishaparba and received by him being they became free from depression and then they accurately narrated in detail to Vrishaparba the story of their sojourn in the mountains. And having pleasantly passed one night in his sacred abode frequented by gods and Maharshis, those great warriors proceeded smoothly towards the jujube tree called Visala and took up their quarters there. Then all those magnanimous men having reached the place of Narayana, continued to live there, bereft of all sorrow, at beholding Kuvera's favourite lake, frequented by gods and Siddhas. And viewing that lake, those foremost of men, the sons of Pandu traversed that place, renouncing all grief even as immaculate Brahmana rishis (do) on attaining a habitation in the Nandana gardens. Then all those warriors having in due course happily lived at Badari for one month, proceeded towards the realm of Suvahu, king of the Kiratas, by following the same track by which they had come. And crossing the difficult Himalayan regions, and the countries of China, Tukhara, Darada and all the climes of Kulinda, rich in heaps of jewels, those warlike men reached the capital of Suvahu. And hearing that those sons and grandsons of kings had all reached his kingdom, Suvahu, elated with joy, advanced (to meet them). Then the best of the Kurus welcomed him also. And meeting king Suvahu, and being joined by all their charioteers with Visoka at their head and by their attendants, Indrasena and others, and also by the superintendents and servants of the kitchen, they stayed there comfortably for one night. Then taking all the chariots and chariot-men and
dismissing Ghatotkacha together with his followers, they next repaired to the monarch of mountains in the vicinity of the Yamuna. In the midst of the mountain abounding in waterfalls and having grey and orange-coloured slopes and summits covered with a sheet of snow, those warlike men having then found the great forest of Visakhayupa like unto the forest of Chitraratha and inhabited by wild boars and various kinds of deer and birds, made it their home. Addicted to hunting as their chief occupation, the sons of Pritha peacefully dwelt in that forest for one year. There in a cavern of the mountain, Vrikodara, with a heart afflicted with distraction and grief, came across a snake of huge strength distressed with hunger and looking fierce like death itself. At this crisis Yudhishthira, the best of pious men, became the protector of Vrikodara and he, of infinite puissance, extricated Bhima whose whole body had been fast gripped by the snake with its folds. And the twelfth year of their sojourn in forests having arrived, those scions of the race of Kuru, blazing in effulgence, and engaged in asceticism, always devoted principally to the practice of archery, repaired cheerfully from that Chitraratha-like forest to the borders of the desert, and desirous of dwelling by the Saraswati they went there, and from the banks of that river they reached the lake of Dwaitabana. Then seeing them enter Dwaitabana, the dwellers of that place engaged in asceticism, religious ordinances, and self-restraining exercises and in deep and devout meditation and subsisting on things ground with stone (for want of teeth) having procured grass-mats and water-vessels, advanced to meet them. The holy fig, the rudaraksha, the rohitaka, the cane and the jujube, the catechu, the sirisha, the bel and the inguda and the karira and pilu and sami trees grew on the banks of the Saraswati. Wandering about with contentment in (the vicinity of) the Saraswati which was, as it were, the home of the celestials, and the favourite (resort) of Yakshas and Gandharvas and Maharshis, those sons of kings lived there in happiness."
Next: Section CLXXVII