The Mahabharata Home
"Galava said, 'O Garuda, O slayer of foremost snakes, O thou of beautiful feathers, O son of Vinata, carry me, O Tarkhya, to the east where the two eyes of Dharma are first opened. O, take me to the east which thou hast first described, and whither, thou hast said, the gods are always present. Thou hast said that thither both truth and virtue reside. I desire to meet all the gods. Therefore, O younger brother of Aruna, take me thither, so that I may behold the gods.'
"Narada continued, 'Thus addressed, the son of Vinata replied unto that Brahmana saying, 'Mount thou on my back.' And thereupon, the
[paragraph continues] Muni Galava rode on the back of Garuda. And Galava said, 'Thy beauty, O devourer of snakes, as thou proceedest, seemeth to be like that of the sun himself in the morning, that maker of the day endued with a thousand rays. And, O ranger of the skies, thy speed is so great that the very trees, broken by the storm caused by the flapping of thy wings, seem to pursue thee in the course. Thou seemest, O tenant of the welkin, to drag by the storm caused by the wings, the very Earth with all the waters of her oceans, and with all her mountains, woods and forests. Indeed, the tempest caused by the motion of thy wings seems to continually raise into mid air the waters of the sea, with all their fishes and snakes and crocodiles. I see fishes possessed of similar faces, and Timis and Timingilas and snakes endued with human faces, all crushed by the tempest raised by thy wings. My ears are deafened by the roar of the deep. So stunned am I that I can neither hear nor see anything. Indeed, I have forgotten my own purpose. Slacken thy speed, O ranger of the sky, remembering the risk to a Brahmana's life. O sire, neither the sun, nor the cardinal points, nor the welkin itself, is any longer perceptible to me. I see only a thick gloom around me. The body is no longer visible to me. I see only thy two eyes, O oviparous being, resembling two radiant gems. I cannot see either thy body or my own. At every step, I behold sparks of fire emitted from thy frame. Stop without delay these sparks of fire and extinguish the dazzling radiance of thy eyes. O son of Vinata, slacken this exceeding speed of thy course. O devourer of snakes, I have no business to go with thee. Desist, O blessed one, I am unable to bear this speed of thine. I have promised to give my preceptor eight hundred white steeds of lunar effulgence, each having one ear black in hue. I see no way, O oviparous being, of fulfilling my pledge. There is but one way that I can see, and that is to lay down my own life. I have no wealth of my own, nor any wealthy friend, nor can wealth, however immense, procure the accomplishment of my object.'
"Narada continued, 'Unto Galava uttering these and many other words of entreaty and sorrow, the son of Vinata, without slackening his speed, laughingly replied, saying, 'Thou hast little wisdom, O regenerate Rishi, since thou wishest to put an end to thy own life. Death can never be brought about by one's effort. Indeed, Death is God himself. Why didst thou not, before this, inform me of thy purpose? There are excellent means by which all this may be accomplished. Here is this mountain called Rishabha on the seaside. Resting here for some time and refreshing ourselves with food, I will, O Galava, return.'"
Next: Section CXIII