The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Those foremost of ascetics, viz. Narada and Parvata and Devala of austere penances, came there to see king Dhritarashtra. The Island-born Vyasa with all his disciples, and other persons endued with great wisdom and crowned with ascetic success, and the royal sage Satayupa of advanced years and possessed of great merit, also came. Kunti worshipped them with due rites, O king. All those ascetics were highly gratified with the worship offered to them. Those great Rishis gladdened the high-souled king Dhritarashtra with discourses on religion and righteousness. At the conclusion of their converse, the celestial Rishi Narada, beholding all things as objects of direct perceptions, said the following words.'
"Narada said, 'There was a ruler of the Kekayas, possessed of great prosperity and perfectly fearless. His name was Sahasrachitya and he was the grandfather of this Satayupa. Resigning his kingdom to his eldest son endued with a large measure of righteousness, the virtuous king Sahasrachitya retired
into the woods. Reaching the other end of blazing penances, that lord of Earth. endued with great splendour, attained to the region of Purandara where he continued to live in his company. On many occasions, while visiting the region of Indra, O king, I saw the monarch, whose sins had all been burnt off by penances, residing in Indra's abode. After the same manner, king Sailalaya, the grandfather of Bhagadatta, attained to the region of Indra by the power alone of his penances. There was another king, O monarch, of the name of Prishadhra who resembled the wielder of the thunder-bolt himself. That king also, by his penances proceeded from the Earth to Heaven. In this very forest, O king, that lord of Earth, Purukutsa, the soil of Mandhatri, attained to high success. That foremost of rivers, viz., Narmada, became the consort of that king. Having undergone penances in this very forest, that ruler of Earth proceeded to Heaven. There was another king, highly righteous, of the name of Sasaloman. He too underwent severe austerities in this forest and then ascended to Heaven. Thou also, O monarch, having arrived at this forest, shalt, through the grace of the Island-born, attain to a goal that is very high and that is difficult of attainment. Thou also, O foremost of kings, at the end of thy penances, become endued with great prosperity and, accompanied by Gandhari, attain to the goal reached by those high-souled ones. Dwelling in the presence of the slayer of Vala, Pandu thinks of thee always. He will, O monarch, certainly assist thee in the attainment of prosperity. Through serving thee and Gandhari, this daughter-in-law of thine, possessed of great fame, will attain to residence with her husband in the other world. She is the mother of Yudhishthira who is the eternal Dharma. We behold all this, O king, with our spiritual vision. Vidura will enter into the high-souled Yudhishthira. Sanjaya also, through meditation, will ascend from this world into Heaven.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'That high-souled chief of Kuru's race, possessed of learning, having, with his wife, heard these words of Narada, praised them and worshipped Narada with unprecedented honours. The conclave of Brahmanas there present became filled with great joy, and desirous of gladdening king Dhritarashtra, O monarch, themselves worshipped Narada with profound regards. Those foremost of regenerate persons also praised the words of Narada. Then the royal sage Satayupa, addressing Narada, said, 'Thy holy self hath enhanced the devotion of the Kuru king, of all those people here, and of myself also, O thou of great splendour. I have, however, the wish to ask thee something. Listen to me as I say it. It has reference to the king Dhritarashtra, O celestial Rishi, that art worshipped by all the worlds. Thou art acquainted with the truth of every affair. Endued with celestial sight, thou beholdest, O regenerate Rishi, what the diverse goals are of human beings. Thou hast said what the goal has been of the kings mentioned by thee, viz., association with the chief of celestials. Thou hast not, however, O great Rishi, declared what those regions are that will be acquired by this king. O puissant one, I wish to hear from thee what region will be acquired by the royal Dhritarashtra. It behoveth thee to tell me truly the kind of region that will be his and the time when he will attain to it.' Thus addressed by him, Narada of celestial sight and endued with austere penances, said in the midst of the
assembly these words highly agreeable to the minds of all.'
"Narada said, 'Repairing at my will to the mansion of Sakra, I have seen Sakra the lord or Sachi; and there, O royal sage. I have beheld king Pandu. There a talk arose, O monarch, regarding this Dhritarashtra and those highly austere penances which he is performing. There I heard from the lips of Sakra himself that there are three years yet of the period of life allotted to this king. After that, king Dhritarashtra, accompanied by his wife Gandhari, will go to the regions of Kuvera and be highly honoured by that king of kings. He will go there on a car moving at his will, his person adorned with celestial ornaments. He is the son of a Rishi; he is highly blessed; he has burnt all his sins by his penances. Endued with a righteous soul, lie will rove at will through the regions of the deities, the Gandharvas, and the Rakshasas. That about which thou hast enquired is a mystery of the gods. Through my affection for you, I have declared this high truth. Ye all are possessed of the wealth of Srutis and have consumed all your sins by your penances.'
"Vaisampayana continued.. "Hearing these sweet words of the celestial Rishi, all the persons there assembled, as also king Dhritarashtra, became greatly cheered and highly pleased. Having cheered Dhritarashtra of great wisdom with such talk, they left the spot, wending away by the path that belongs to those who are crowned with success."'
Next: Section XXI