The Mahabharata Home
Janamejaya said, "This history, O regenerate one, that I have heard from thee is exceedingly wonderful, this narration, in detail, of the installation, according to due rites, of Skanda. O thou possessed of wealth of asceticism, I deem myself cleansed by having listened to this account. My hair stands on end and my mind hath become cheerful. Having heard the history of the installation of Kumara and the destruction of the Daityas, great hath been my joy. I feel a curiosity, however, in respect of another matter. How was the Lord of the waters installed by the celestials in that tirtha in days of yore? O best of men, tell me that, for thou art possessed of great wisdom and art skilled in narration!"
Vaishampayana said, "Listen, O king, to this wonderful history of what transpired truly in a former Kalpa! In days of yore, in the Krita age, O king, all celestials, duly approaching Varuna, said unto him these words, 'As Shakra, the Lord of the celestials, always protects us from every fear, similarly be thou the Lord of all the rivers! Thou always residest, O god, in the Ocean, that home of makaras! This Ocean, the lord of rivers, will then be under thy dominion! Thou shalt then wax and wane with Soma!' (Thus addressed) Varuna answered them, saying, 'Let it be so!' All the celestials then, assembling together, made Varuna having his abode in the ocean the Lord of all the waters, according to the rites laid down in the scriptures. Having installed Varuna as the Lord of all aquatic creatures and worshipping him duly, the celestials returned to their respective abodes. Installed by the celestials, the illustrious Varuna began to duly protect seas and lakes and rivers and other reservoirs of water as Shakra protects the gods. Bathing in that tirtha also and giving away diverse kinds of gifts, Baladeva, the slayer of Pralamva, possessed of great wisdom, then proceeded to Agnitirtha, that spot where the eater of clarified butter, disappearing from the view, became concealed within the entrails of the Sami wood. When the light of all the worlds thus disappeared, O sinless one, the gods then repaired to the Grandsire of the universe. And they said, 'The adorable Agni has disappeared. We do not know the reason. Let not all creatures be destroyed. Create fire, O puissant Lord!'"
Janamejaya said, "For what reason did Agni, the Creator of all the worlds, disappear? How also was he discovered by the gods? Tell me all this in detail."
Vaishampayana said, "Agni of great energy became very much frightened at the curse of Bhrigu. Concealing himself within the entrails of the Sami wood, that adorable god disappeared from the view. Upon the disappearance of Agni, all the gods, with Vasava at their head, in great affliction, searched for the missing god. Finding Agni then, they saw that god lying within the entrails of the Sami wood. The celestials, O tiger among king, with Brihaspati at their head, having succeeded in finding out the god, became very glad with Vasava amongst them. They then returned to the places they had come from. Agni also, from Bhrigu's curse, became an eater of everything, as Bhrigu, that utterer of Brahma, had said. The intelligent Balarama, having bathed there, then proceeded to Brahmayoni where the adorable Grandsire of all the worlds had exercised his functions of creations. In days of yore, the Lord Brahman, along with all the gods, bathed in that tirtha, according to due rites for the celestials. Bathing there and giving away diverse kinds of gifts, Valadeva then proceeded to the tirtha called Kauvera where the puissant Ailavila, having practised severe austerities, obtained, O king, the Lordship over all treasures. While he dwelt there (engaged in austerities), all kinds of wealth, and all the precious gems came to him of their own accord. Baladeva having repaired to that tirtha and bathed in its waters duly gave much wealth unto the Brahamanas. Rama beheld at that spot the excellent woods of Kuvera. In days of yore, the high-souled Kuvera, the chief of the Yakshas, having practised the severest austerities there, obtained many boons. There were the lordship of all treasures, the friendship of Rudra possessed of immeasurable energy, the status of a god, the regency over a particular point of the compass (the north), and a son named Nakakuvera. These the chief of the Yakshas speedily obtained there, O thou of mighty arms! The Maruts, coming there, installed him duly (in his sovereignty). He also obtained for a vehicle a well-equipped and celestial car, fleet as thought, as also all the affluence of a god. Bathing in that tirtha and giving away much wealth, Vala using white unguents thence proceeded quickly to another tirtha. Populous with all kinds of creatures, that tirtha is known by the name Vadarapachana. There the fruits of every season are always to be found and flowers and fruits of every kind are always abundant."
Next: Section 48