The Mahabharata Home
"Salya said, 'Then all the Rishis and the superior gods said, "Let the handsome Nahusha be crowned as king of the gods. He is powerful and renowned, and devoted to virtue ever more.' And they all went and said to him, 'O lord of the earth, be thou our king.' And Nahusha intent on his welfare, spoke to those gods and saints accompanied by the progenitors (of mankind), 'I am feeble; I am not capable of protecting you; it is a powerful person who should be your king; it is Indra who hath always been possessed of strength.' And all the gods, led by the saints, spoke again to him, 'Aided by the virtue of our austerities, rule thou the kingdom of heaven. There is no doubt that we have all our respective fears. Be crowned, O lord of monarchs, as the king of heaven. Whatever being may stand within thy sight, whether he be a god, an Asura, a Yaksha, a saint, a Pitri, or a Gandharva, thou shalt absorb his power and (thereby) wax strong. Always placing virtue before (all other things), be thou the ruler of the worlds. Protect also the Brahmarsis (Brahmana saints) and the gods in heaven.' Then, O lord of monarchs, Nahusha was crowned king in heaven. And placing virtue before (everything else), he became the ruler of all the worlds. And though always of a virtuous disposition, yet when he obtained that precious boon and the kingdom of heaven, Nahusha assumed a sensual turn of mind. And when Nahusha became the king of the gods, he surrounded himself with celestial nymphs, and with damsels of celestial birth, and took to enjoyments of various kinds, in the Nandana groves, on mount Kailasa, on the crest of Himavat, on Mandara. the White hill Sahya, Mahendra and Malaya, as, also upon
seas and rivers. And he listened to various divine narratives that captivated both the ear and the heart, and to the play of musical instruments of different sorts, and to sweet vocal strains. And Viswavasu and Narada and bevies of celestial nymphs and bands of Gandharvas and the six seasons in living shapes, attended upon the king of the gods. And fragrant breezes, refreshingly cool, blew round him. And while that wretch was thus enjoying himself, on one occasion the goddess who was the favourite queen of Indra came in his sight. And that vicious soul, having looked at her, said to the courtiers, 'Why doth not this goddess, the queen of Indra, attend upon me? I am the monarch of the gods, and also the ruler of the worlds. Let Sachi make haste and visit me at my house.' Saddened at hearing this, the goddess said to Vrihaspati, 'Protect me, O Brahmana, from this Nahusha. I come to you as my refuge. You always say, O Brahmana, that I have got on my person all the auspicious marks, being the favourite of the divine king; that I am chaste, devoted to my lord, and destined never to become a widow. All this about me you have said before. Let your words be made true. O possessor of great powers, O lord, you never spoke words that were vain. Therefore, O best of Brahmanas, this that you have said ought to be true.' Then Vrihaspati said to the queen of Indra who was beside herself through fear, 'What thou hast been told by me will come to be true, be sure, O goddess. Thou shalt see Indra, the lord of the gods, who will soon come back here. I tell thee truly, thou hast no fear from Nahusha; I shall soon unite thee with Indra.' Now Nahusha came to hear that Indra's queen had taken refuge with Vrihaspati, the son of Angiras. And at this, the king became highly enraged.'
Next: Section XII