The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said,--'Tell me truly, O Sanjaya, the names of all the Varshas, and of all the mountains, and also of all those that dwell on those mountains.
"Sanjaya said,--'On the south of Sweta and the north of Nishadha, is the Varsha, called Romanaka. The men that are born there are all of white complexion, of good parentage, and handsome features. And the men born there are also all without enemies. And they live, O king, for eleven thousand and five hundred years, being ever of cheerful hearts. On the south of Nishadha is the Varsha called Hiranmaya where is the river called Hiranwati. There, O king, liveth that foremost of birds named Garuda. And the people there, O monarch, are all followers of the Yakshas, wealthy, and of handsome features. And, O king, the men there are endued with great strength and have: cheerful hearts. And they live for twelve thousand and five hundred years., O king, which is the measure of their lives. The
mountains of Sringavat, 1 O ruler of men, have three beautiful summits. One of these is made of jewels and gems, another is very wonderful, being made of all kinds of gems and adorned with palatial mansions. There the self-luminous lady named Sandili always liveth. On the north of Sringavat and up to the margin of the sea, O king, the Varsha called Airavat. And because this jewelled mountain is there, therefore is this Varsha superior to all. The sun giveth no heat there and men are not subject to decay. And the moon there, with the stars, becoming the only source of light, covereth (the firmament). Possessing the radiance and complexion of the lotus, and endued with eyes that resemble lotus-petals, the men born there have the fragrance of the lotus. With winkless eyes, and agreeable scent (emanating from their bodies), they go without food and have their senses under control. They are all fallen from the region of the celestials, and are all, O king, without sin of any kind. And they live, O monarch, for thirteen thousand years, that being. O best of the Bharatas, the measure of their lives. And so on the north of the milky ocean, the Lord Hari of unlimited puissance dwelleth on his car made of gold. That vehicle is endued with eight wheels, with numerous supernatural creatures stationed on it, and having the speed of the mind. And its complexion is that of fire, and it is endued with mighty energy and adorned with Jamvunada gold. He is the Lord of all creatures, and is possessed, O bull of Bharata's race, of every kind of prosperity. In him the universe merges (when dissolution comes), and from him it again emanates (when the creative desire seizes him). He is the actor, and it is He that makes all others act. He, O monarch, is earth, water, space, air, and fire. He is Sacrifice's self unto all creatures, and fire is His mouth."
Vaisampayana continued,--"The high-souled king Dhritarashtra, thus addressed by Sanjaya, became, O monarch, absorbed in meditation about his sons. Endued with great energy, he then, having reflected, said these words: 'Without doubt, O Suta's son, it is Time that destroyeth the universe. And it is Time that again createth everything. Nothing here is eternal. It is Nara and Narayana, endued with omniscience, that destroyeth all creatures. 2 The gods speak of him as Vaikuntha (of immeasurable puissance), while men call him Vishnu (one that pervadeth the Universe)!'"
19:1 The Bombay edition reads Tasmat-sritigamatas param. The Bengal texts read Yasmat-sringamatas param. The Bengal reading is better. The Asiatic Society's edition contains a misprint. The meaning is, "Because Sringa (jewelled mountain of that name), therefore superior." I have rendered it somewhat freely.
19:2 They are but portions of the same Supreme Being.
Next: Section IX