The Mahabharata Home
"Salya said, 'Now then Nahusha, the king of the gods, looked at her and said, 'O thou of sweet smiles, I am the Indra of all the three worlds. O thou of beautiful thighs and fair complexion, accept me as thy lord!' That chaste goddess, thus addressed by Nahusha, was terrified and quaked like a plantain-stalk at a breezy spot. She bowed her head to Brahma, and joining her hands spoke to Nahusha, the king of the gods, of awful mien, said, 'O lord of the deities, I desire to obtain time. It is not known what hath become of Indra, or where he is. Having enquired into the truth regarding him, if, O lord, I obtain no news of him, then I shall visit thee; this tell I thee for truth.' Thus addressed by Indra's queen, Nahusha was pleased. And Nahusha said, 'Let it be so, O lady of lovely hips, even as thou art telling me. Thou wilt come, after having ascertained the news. I hope thou wilt remember thy plighted truth.' Dismissed by Nahusha, she of auspicious looks stepped out; and that famous lady went to the abode of Vrihaspati. And, O best of kings, the gods with Agni at their head, when they heard her words, deliberated, intent upon what would promote the interests of Indra. And they then joined the powerful Vishnu, the God of gods. And skilled in making speeches, the uneasy gods spoke the following words to him, 'Indra, the lord of all the gods, hath been overpowered by the sin of Brahmanicide. Thou, O lord of the gods, art the first-born, the ruler of the universe, and our refuge. Thou hadst assumed the form of Vishnu for the protection of all beings. When Vritra was killed through thy energy, Indra was overwhelmed by the sin of Brahmanicide. O best of all the gods, prescribe the means of setting him free.' Having heard these words of the gods, Vishnu said, 'Let Indra. offer sacrifice to me. Even I shall purify the holder of the thunderbolt. The chastiser of Paka, having performed the
holy horse-sacrifice, will fearlessly regain his dignity as lord of the gods. And the wicked-minded Nahusha will be led to destruction by his evil deeds. For a certain period, ye gods, ye must be patient, being vigilant at the same time.' Having heard these words of Vishnu, words that were true, and pleasant like ambrosia to their ears, the gods, with their preceptor, and with the Rishis proceeded to that spot where Indra was uneasy with fear. And there, O king, was performed a great horse-sacrifice, capable of removing the sin of Brahmanicide, for the purification of the high-minded and great Indra. And the lord of the gods,--O Yudhishthira, divided the sin of Brahmanicide among trees and rivers and mountains and the earth and women. And having distributed it thus among those beings and parted with it, Indra was free from fever. And rid of his sin, he came to himself. And at that place, the slayer of the Asura Vala, quaked when he looked at Nahusha, before whom all animated beings felt cowed, and who was unapproachable by virtue of the boon the Rishis had granted to him. And the divine husband of Sachi vanished from sight once again. And invisible to all beings, he wandered biding his time. And Indra having disappeared, Sachi fell into grief. And exceedingly miserable, she bewailed, 'Alas! O Indra, if ever I have made a gift, or made offering to the gods, or have propitiated my spiritual guides, if there is any truth in me, then I pray that my chastity may remain inviolate. I bow myself to this goddess Night,--holy, pure, running her course during this the northern journey of the sun, 1 let my desire be fulfilled.' Saying this, she, in a purified condition of body and soul, worshipped the goddess Night. And in the name of her chastity and truth she had recourse to divination. 2 And she asked, 'Show me the place where the king of the gods is. Let truth be verified by truth.' And it was thus that she addressed the goddess of Divination.'
23:1 i.e., passage of the sun from the winter to the summer solstice.
23:2 Divination was practised by reference to the stars in the night.
Next: Section XIV