The Mahabharata Home
"Garuda said, 'O Galava, commanded I have been by God, who is the cause of all knowledge. I ask thee, towards which quarter shall I first take thee to see what lie there? The eastern, the southern, the western, or the northern, towards which, O best of regenerate persons, shall I go, O Galava? That quarter towards which Surya the illuminator of the universe first riseth; where, at eve, the Sadhyas engage in their ascetic austerities; where that Intelligence, which pervades the whole universe first springeth; where the two eyes of Dharma, as well as he himself, are stationed; where the clarified butter first poured in sacrifice subsequently flowed all around; that quarter, O best of all regenerate persons, is the gate of Day and Time. There the daughters of Daksha, in primeval times, gave birth to their children. There the sons of Kasyapa first multiplied. That quarter is the source of all the prosperity of the gods, for it was there that Sakra was first anointed as the king of the celestials. It was there, O regenerate Rishi, that both Indra and the gods underwent their ascetic penances. It is for this, O Brahmana, that this quarter is called Purva (the first). And because in the earliest of times this quarter was overspread by the Suras, it is for this that it is called Purva. The gods, desirous of prosperity, performed all their religious ceremonies here. It was here that the divine Creator of the universe first sang the Vedas. It was here that the Gayatri was first preached by Surya unto the reciters of that sacred hymn. It was here, O best of Brahmanas, that the Yajurvedas
were delivered by Surya (unto Yajnavalkya). It was here that the Soma juice, sanctified by boons, was first drunk in sacrifices by Suras. It was here that the Homa-fires, (gratified by mantras), first drank articles of cognate origin. 1 It was here that Varuna first repaired to the nether regions, and attained to all his prosperity. It was here, O bull among the twice-born, that the birth, growth, and death of the ancient Vasishtha took place. Here first grew the hundred different branches of Om! 2 It was here that the smoke-eating Munis are the smoke of sacrificial fires. It was in that region that myriads of boars and other animals were killed by Sakra and offered as sacrificial portions unto the gods. It is here that the thousand-rayed sun, arising, consumeth, out of ire, all those that are wicked and ungrateful among men and the Asuras. This is the gate of the three worlds. This is the path of heaven and felicity. This quarter is called Purva (east). We will go hither, if it pleaseth thee. I shall always do what is agreeable to him who is my friend. Tell me, O Galava, if any other quarter pleaseth thee, for we will then go there. Listen now to what I say of another quarter.'"
219:1 These articles of cognate origin are clarified butter, milk, and other things used as libations in sacrifices.
219:2 i.e., the subdivisions of the Pranava, the mysterious Mantra, which is the beginning of everything, were first promulgated here. Nilakantha supposes this to refer to the origin of the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the various branches of the Srutis and the Smritis.
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