The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "When Vyasa of wonderful achievements had concluded his speech to the king, the highly-puissant son of Vasudeva (Krishna) also addressed him. Knowing the king, the son of Pritha, afflicted in mind, and bereft of his relatives and kinsmen slain in battle, and appearing crest-fallen like the sun darkened eclipse, or fire smothered by smoke, that prop of the Vrishni race (Krishna), comforting the son of Dharma, essayed to address him thus."
Vasudeva said, "All crookedness of heart leads to destruction (perdition?) and all rectitude leads to Brahman (spiritual excellence). If this and this only is the aim and object of all true wisdom, then what can mental distraction do (to one who understands this)? Thy Karma has not yet been annihilated, nor have thy enemies been subjugated, for thou dost not yet know the enemies that are still lurking within thine own flesh. I shall (therefore) relate to thee truly as I have heard it, the story of the war of Indra with Vritra as it took place. In ancient times the Prithivi (earth), O king, was encompassed by Vritra, and by this abstraction of earthly matter, the seat of all odour, there arose bad odours on all sides, and the Performer of a hundred sacrifices (Indra), being much enraged by this act, hurled his thunderbolt at Vritra. And being deeply wounded by the thunderbolt of mighty Indra, Vritra entered into the (waters), and by doing so he destroyed their property. The waters being seized by Vritra, their liquid property left them. At this Indra became highly enraged and again smote him with his thunderbolt. And he (Vritra) smitten by the thunderbolt by the most powerful Indra betook himself to the Jyoti (luminous matter) and abstracted its inherent property. The luminous matter being overwhelmed by Vritra and its property, colour and form being thereby lost, the wrathful Indra again hurled his thunderbolt at him. And thus wounded again by Indra of immeasurable power, Vritra entered all on a sudden into the Vayu (gaseous matter). and thereafter made away with its inherent property. And this matter being overpowered by Vritra and its property, viz., touch being lost, Indra became again filled with wrath and flung his thunderbolt at him. And wounded therein by the mighty (Indra), he overwhelmed the Akasa (ether), and took away its inherent property, and the Akasa being overwhelmed by Vritra, and its property, sound being destroyed, the god of a hundred sacrifices highly incensed, again smote him with his thunderbolt. And thus smitten by the mighty Indra, he suddenly entered into his (Sakra's) body, and took away its essential attributes. And
overtaken by Vritra, he was filled with great illusion. And, O venerable sir, the mightiest of Bharata's race, we have heard that Vasistha comforted Indra (when he was thus afflicted) and that the god of a hundred sacrifices slew Vritra in his body by means of his invisible thunderbolt, and know, O prince, that this religious mystery was recited by Sakra to the great sages, and they in turn told it to me."
Next: Section XII