The Mahabharata Home
Vaishampayana said, "King Yudhishthira the just, the son of Pritha, had not stayed there for more than a moment when, O thou of Kurus race, all the gods with Indra at their head came to that spot. The deity of Righteousness in his embodied form also came to that place where the Kuru king was, for seeing that monarch. Upon the advent of those deities of resplendent bodies and sanctified and noble deeds, the darkness that had overwhelmed that region immediately disappeared. The torments undergone by beings of sinful deeds were no longer seen. The river Vaitarani, the thorny Salmali, the iron jars, and the boulders of rock, so terrible to behold, also vanished from sight. The diverse repulsive corpses also, which the Kuru king had seen, disappeared at the same time. Then a breeze, delicious and fraught with pleasant perfumes, perfectly pure and delightfully cool, O Bharata, began to blow on that spot in consequence of the presence of the gods. The Maruts, with Indra, the Vasus with the twin Ashvinis, the Sadhyas, the Rudras, the Adityas, and the other denizens of Heaven, as also the Siddhas and the great Rishis, all came there where Dharmas royal son of great energy was.
"Then Shakra, the lord of the deities, endued with blazing prosperity, addressed Yudhishthira and comforting him, said, O Yudhishthira of mighty arms, come, come, O chief of men. These illusions have ended, O puissant one. Success has been attained by thee, O mighty-armed one, and eternal regions (of felicity) have become thine. Thou shouldst not yield to wrath. Listen to these words of mine. Hell, O son, should without doubt be beheld by every king. Of both good and bad there is abundance, O chief of men. He who enjoys first the fruits of his good acts must afterwards endure Hell. He, on the other hand, who first endures Hell, must afterwards enjoy Heaven. He whose sinful acts are many enjoys Heaven first. It is for this, O king, that desirous of doing thee good, I caused thee to be sent for having a view of Hell. Thou hadst, by a pretence, deceived Drona in the matter of his son. Thou hast, in consequence thereof, been shown Hell by an act of deception. After the manner of thyself, Bhima and Arjuna, and Draupadi, have all been shown the place of sinners by an act of deception. Come, O chief of men, all of them have been cleansed of their sins. All those kings who had aided thee and who have been slain in battle, have all attained to Heaven. Come and behold them, O foremost one of Bharatas race.
"Karna, the mighty bowman, that foremost of all wielders of weapons for whom thou art grieving, has also attained to high success. Behold, O puissant one, that foremost of men, viz., the son of Surya. He is in that place which is his own, O mighty-armed one. Kill this grief of thine, O chief of men. Behold thy brothers and others, those kings, that is, who had espoused thy side. They have all attained to their respective places (of felicity). Let the fever of thy heart be dispelled. Having endured a little misery first, from this time, O son of Kurus race, do thou sport with me in happiness, divested of grief and all thy ailments dispelled. O mighty-armed one, do thou now enjoy, O king, the rewards of all thy deeds of righteousness of those regions which thou hast acquired thyself by thy penances and of all thy gifts. Let deities and Gandharvas, and celestial Apsaras, decked in pure robes and excellent ornaments, wait upon and serve thee for thy happiness. Do thou, O mighty-armed one, enjoy now those regions (of felicity) which have become thine through the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by thee and whose felicities have been enhanced by the sacrificial scimitar employed by thee. Let the high fruits of thy penances be enjoyed by thee. Thy regions, O Yudhishthira, are above, those of kings. They are equal to those of Hariscandra, O son of Pritha. Come, and sport there in bliss. There where the royal sage Mandhatri is, there where king Bhagiratha is, there where Dushmantas son Bharata is, there wilt thou sport in bliss. Here is the celestial river, sacred and sanctifying the three worlds. It is called Heavenly Ganga. Plunging into it, thou wilt go to thy own regions. Having bathed in this stream, thou wilt be divested of thy human nature. Indeed, thy grief dispelled, thy ailments conquered, thou wilt be freed from all enmities.
"While, O Kuru king, the chief of the gods was saying so unto Yudhishthira, the deity of Righteousness, in his embodied form, then addressed his own son and said, O king, I am greatly pleased, O thou of great wisdom, with thee, O son, by thy devotion to me, by thy truthfulness of speech, and forgiveness, and self-restraint. This, indeed, is the third test, O king, to which I put thee. Thou art incapable, O son of Pritha, of being swerved from thy nature or reason. Before this, I had examined thee in the Dwaita woods by my questions, when thou hadst come to that lake for recovering a couple of fire sticks. Thou stoodst it well. Assuming the shape of a dog, I examined thee once more, O son, when thy brothers with Draupadi had fallen down. This has been thy third test; thou hast expressed thy wish to stay at Hell for the sake of thy brothers. Thou hast become cleansed, O highly blessed one. Purified of sin, be thou happy.
O son of Pritha, thy brothers, O king, were not such as to deserve Hell. All this has been an illusion created by the chief of the gods. Without doubt, all kings, O son, must once behold Hell. Hence hast thou for a little while been subjected to this great affliction. O king, neither Arjuna, nor Bhima, nor any of those foremost of men, viz., the twins, nor Karna, ever truthful in speech and possessed of great courage, could be deserving of Hell for a long time. The princess Krishna too, O Yudhishthira, could not be deserving of that place of sinners. Come, come, O foremost one of the Bharatas, behold Ganga who spreads her current over the three worlds.
"Thus addressed, that royal sage, viz., thy grandsire, proceeded with Dharma and all the other gods. Having bathed in the celestial river Ganga, sacred and sanctifying and ever adored by the Rishis, he cast off his human body. Assuming then a celestial form, king Yudhishthira the just, in consequence of that bath, became divested of all his enmities and grief. Surrounded by the deities, the Kuru king Yudhishthira then proceeded from that spot. He was accompanied by Dharma, and the great Rishis uttered his praises. Indeed, he reached that place where those foremost of men, those heroes, viz., the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, freed from (human) wrath, were enjoying each his respective status.
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