The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'When that night passed away, the high-souled king Kusika awoke and went through his morning rites. Accompanied by his wife he then proceeded towards that wood which the Rishi had selected for his residence. Arrived there, the monarch saw a palatial mansion made entirely of gold. Possessed of a thousand columns each of which was made of gems and precious stones, it looked like an edifice belonging to the Gandharvas. 1 Kusika beheld in every part of that structure evidences of celestial design. And he beheld hills with delightful valleys, and lakes with lotuses on their bosom; and mansions full of costly and curious articles, and gateways and arches, O Bharata. And the king saw many open glades and open spots carpeted with grassy verdure, and resembling level fields of gold. And he saw many Sahakaras adorned with blossoms, and Ketakas and Uddalakas, and Dhavas and Asokas, and blossoming Kundas, and Atimuktas. And he saw there many Champakas and Tilakas and Bhavyas and Panasas and Vanjulas and Karnikaras adorned with flowers. And the king beheld many Varanapushpas and the creepers called Ashtapadika all clipped properly and beautifully. 2 And
the king beheld trees on which lotuses of all varieties bloomed in all their beauty, and some of which bore flowers of every season. And he noticed also many mansions that looked like celestial cars or like beautiful mountains. And at some places, O Bharata, there were tanks and lakes full of cool water and at others were those that were full of warm or hot water. And there were diverse kinds of excellent seats and costly beds, and bedsteads made of gold and gems and overlaid with cloths and carpets of great beauty and value. Of comestible there were enormous quantities, well-dressed and ready for use. And there were talking parrots and she-parrots and Bhringarajas and Kokilas and Catapatras with Koyashtikas and Kukkubhas, and peacocks and cocks and Datyuhas and Jivajivakas and Chakoras and monkeys and swans and Sarasas and Chakravakas. 1 Here and there he beheld bevies of rejoicing Apsaras and conclaves of happy Gandharvas, O monarch. And he beheld other Gandharvas at other places rejoicing with their dear spouses. The king sometimes beheld these sights and sometimes could not see them (for they seemed to disappear from before his eyes). The monarch heard also melodious strains of vocal music and the agreeable voices of preceptors engaged in lecturing to their disciples on the Vedas and the scriptures. And the monarch also heard the harmonious cackle of the geese sporting in the lakes. Beholding such exceedingly wonderful sights, the king began to reflect inwardly, saying, 'Is this a dream? Or is all this due to an aberration of my mind? Or, is it all real? O, I have, without casting off my earthly tenement, attained to the beatitude of heaven! This land is either the sacred country of the Uttara-Kurus, or the abode, called Amaravati, of the chief of the celestials! O, what are these wonderful sights that I behold!' Reflecting in this strain, the monarch at last saw that foremost of Rishis. In that palace of gold (endued) with columns (made) of jewels and gems, lay the son of Bhrigu stretched on a costly and excellent bed. With his wife by his side the king approached with a delighted heart the Rishi as he lay on that bed. Chyavana, however, quickly disappeared at this, with the bed itself upon which he lay. The king then beheld the Rishi at another part of those woods seated on a mat made of Kusa grass, and engaged in mentally reciting some high Mantras. By his Yoga-power, even thus did that Brahmana stupefy the king. In a moment that delightful wood, those bevies of Apsaras, those bands of Gandharvas, those beautiful trees,--all disappeared. The bank of the Ganga became as silent as
usual, and presented the old aspect of its being covered with Kusa grass and ant-hills. King Kusika with his wife having beheld that highly wonderful sight and its quick disappearance also, became filled with amazement. With a delighted heart, the monarch addressed his wife and said unto her, 'Behold, O amiable one, the various agreeable scenes and sights, occurring nowhere else, which we two have just witnessed! All this is due to the grace of Bhrigu's son and the puissance of his penances. By penances all that becomes attainable which one cherishes in one's imagination. Penances are superior to even the sovereignty over the three worlds. By penances well-performed, emancipation itself may be achieved. Behold, the puissance of the high-souled and celestial Rishi Chyavana derived from his penances. He can, at his pleasure, create even other worlds (than those which exist). Only Brahmanas are born in this world to attain to speech and understanding and acts that are sacred. Who else than Chyavana could do all this? Sovereignty may be acquired with ease. But the status of a Brahmana is not so attainable. It was through the puissance of a Brahmana that we were harnessed to a car like well-broken animals!' These reflections that passed through the king's brain became known to Chyavana. Ascertaining the king's thoughts, the Rishi addressed him and said, 'Come hither quickly!' Thus addressed, the king and the queen approached the great ascetic, and, bending their heads, they worshipped him who deserved worship. Uttering a benediction upon the monarch, the Rishi, possessed of great intelligence, O chief of men, comforted the king and said, 'Sit down on that seat!' After this, O monarch, the son of Bhrigu, without guile or insincerity of any kind, gratified the king with many soft words, and then said, 'O king, thou hast completely subjugated the five organs of action and the five organs of knowledge with the mind as their sixth. Thou hast for this come out unscathed from the fiery ordeal I had prepared for thee. I have been properly honoured and adored, O son, by thee, O foremost of all persons possessed of speech. Thou hast no sin, not even a minute one, in thee! Give me leave, O king, for I shall now proceed to the place I came from. I have been exceedingly pleased with thee, O monarch! Do thou accept the boon I am ready to give.'
"Kusika said, 'In thy presence, O holy one, I have stayed like one staying in the midst of a fire. That I have not yet, O chief of Bhrigu's race been consumed, is sufficient! Even this is the highest boon that has been obtained, O delighter of Bhrigu! That thou hast been gratified by me, O Brahmana, and that I have succeeded in rescuing my race from destruction, O sinless one, constitute in my case the best boons. This I regard, O learned Brahmana, as a distinct evidence of thy grace. The end of my life has been accomplished. Even this is what I regard the very end of my sovereignty. Even this is the highest fruit of my penances! 1 If, O learned Brahmana, thou hast been pleased with me, O delighter of Bhrigu, then do thou expound some doubts which are in my mind!'
49:1 The ever-changing beautiful masses of afternoon or evening clouds, presenting diverse kinds of forms almost every minute, are regarded as the abodes or mansions of the Gandharvas.
49:2 Some of these trees and creepers are identifiable. Sahakara is Mangifera Indica, Linn. Ketaka is a variety of Pandanus Odoratissimus, Linn. Uddalaka is otherwise called Vahuvara and sometimes Selu. It is the Cordia Myxa, Linn. It may be a misreading for Uddanaka, which is the well-known Cirisha or the Mimosa Sirisca of Roxburgh. Dhava is Conocarpus latifolia, Roxb. Asoka is Saraca Indica, Linn., syn, Jonesia Asoka, Roxb. Kunda is Jasminum pubescens, Linn. Atimukta is otherwise called Madhavi. It is Gaertinera racemosa, Roxb. Champaka is Michelia Champaca, Linn. Tilaka sometimes stands for Lodhra, i.e., Symplocos racemosa, Roxb. The word is sometimes used for the Aswattha or Ficus religiosa, Linn. Bhavya is Dillenia Indica, Linn. Panasa is Artocarpus integrifolia, Linn. The Indian Jack-tree. Vyanjula stands for the Asoka, also Vetasa (Indian cane), and also for Vakula, i.e., Mimusops Elengi, Linn. Karnikara is Pterospermum accrifolium, Linn. Cyam#a is sometimes used for p. 50 the Pilu, i.e., Salvadora Persica, Linn. Varanapushpa or Nagapushpa or Punnaga is Colophyllum inophyllum, Linn. Astapadika or padika is otherwise called Bhardravalli. It is the Vallaris dichotoma, Wall., Syn., Echites dichotoma, Roxb.
50:1 Bhringaraja is the Lanius Malabaricus. Kokila is the well-known Indian Koel or cuckoo. Catapatra is the wood-pecker. Koyashtika is the Lapwing. Kukkubhas are wild-cocks (Phasinus gallus). Datyuhas are a variety of Chatakas or Gallinules. Their cry resembles the words (phatikjal). Jivajivaka is a species of partridges. Chakora is the Greek partridge. Sarasa is the Indian crane. Chakravaka is the Brahmini duck or goose.
51:1 In verse 39 and 40 for asmi and tapacchaitat read asi and tapasaccha.
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