The Mahabharata Home
"Salya said, 'Thus addressed by Sachi, the illustrious god said to her again, 'This is not the time for putting forth valour. Nahusha is stronger than I am. O beautiful lady, he hath been strengthened by the Rishis with the merits of offerings to the gods and the Pitris. I shall have recourse to policy now. Thou wilt have to carry it out, O goddess. O lady, thou must do it secretly and must not disclose it to any person. O lady of a beautiful waist, going to Nahusha in private, tell him, O lord of the Universe, thou must visit me mounted on a nice vehicle borne by Rishis. In that case I shall be pleased and shall place myself at thy disposal. This shouldst thou tell him.' And thus addressed by the
king of the gods, his lotus-eyed consort expressed her consent and went to Nahusha. And Nahusha, having seen her, smilingly addressed her, saying, 'I welcome thee, O lady of lovely thighs. What is thy pleasure, O thou of sweet smiles. Accept me, O lady of propitious looks, who am devoted to thee. What is thy will, O spirited dame. I shall do thy wish, O lady of propitious looks and slender waist. Nor needst thou be bashful, O thou of lovely hips. Have trust in me. In the name of truth I swear, O goddess, that I shall do thy bidding.'
"Sachi said, 'O lord of Universe, I wanted the time that thou hast assigned to me. Thereafter, O lord of the gods, thou shalt be my husband. I have a wish. Attend and hear, O king of the gods. What it is I shall say, O king, so that thou mayst do what I like. This is an indulgence that I ask from thy love for me. If thou grantest it, I shall be at thy disposal. Indra had horses for carrying him, and elephants, and cars. I want thee to have, O king of the gods, a novel vehicle, such as never belonged to Vishnu, or Rudra, or the Asuras, or the Rakshasas, O lord. Let a number of highly dignified Rishis, united together, bear thee in a palanquin. This is what commends itself to me. Thou shouldst not liken thyself to the Asuras or the gods. Thou absorbest the strength of all by thy own strength as soon as they look at thee. There is none so strong as to be able to stand before thee.'
"Salya continued, 'Thus addressed, Nahusha was very much pleased. And the lord of the deities said to that lady of faultless features, 'O lady of the fairest complexion, thou hast spoken of a vehicle never heard of before. I like it exceedingly, O goddess. I am in thy power, O thou of lovely face. He cannot be a feeble person who employeth Rishis for bearing him. I have practised austerities, and am mighty. I am the lord of the past, the present, and the future. The Universe would be no more if I were in rage. The whole Universe is established in me. O thou of sweet smiles, the gods, the Asuras and Gandharvas, and snakes, and Rakshasas are together unable to cope with me when I am in rage. Whomsoever I gaze upon I divest him of his energy. Therefore, thy request I shall no doubt fulfil, O goddess. The seven Rishis, and also the regenerate Rishis, shall carry me. See our greatness and splendour, O lady of lovely complexion.'
"Salya continued, 'Having thus addressed that goddess of lovely face, and having dismissed her thus, he harnessed to his heavenly car a number of saints devoted to the practice of austerities. A disregarder of Brahmanas, endued with power and intoxicated with pride, capricious, and of vicious soul, he employed those saints to carry him. Meanwhile, dismissed by Nahusha, Sachi went to Vrihaspati and said, 'But little remaineth of the term assigned by Nahusha to me. But compassionate unto me who respect thee so, and quickly find out Indra.'
"The illustrious Vrihaspati then said to her, 'Very good, thou needst not, O goddess, fear, Nahusha of vicious soul. Surely, he shall not long retain his power. The wretch, in fact, is already gone, being regardless
of virtue and because, O lovely dame, of his employing the great saints to carry him. And I shall perform a sacrifice for the destruction of this vicious wretch, and I shall find out Indra. Thou needst not fear. Fare thee well.' And Vrihaspati of great power then kindled a fire in the prescribed form, and put the very best offerings upon it in order to ascertain where the king of the gods was. And having put his offerings, O king, he said to the Fire, 'Search out Indra.' And there upon that revered god, the eater of burnt offerings, assumed of his own accord a wonderful feminine form and vanished from sight at that very spot. And endued with speed of the mind, he searched everywhere, mountains and forests, earth and sky, and came back to Vrihaspati within the twinkling of the eye. And Agni said, Vrihaspati, nowhere in these places do I find the king of the gods. The waters alone remain to be searched. I am always backward in entering the waters. I have no ingress therein. O Brahmana, what I am to do for thee.' The preceptor of the gods then said to him, 'O illustrious god, do thou enter the water.'
"Agni said, 'I cannot enter the water. Therein it is extinction that awaits me. I place myself in thy hand, O thou of great effulgence. Mayst thou fare well! Fire rose from water, the military caste rose from the priestly caste; and iron had its origin in stone. The power of these which can penetrate all other things, hath no operation upon the sources from which they spring.'"
Next: Section XVI