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p. 63


(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said. 'Then when the night had passed away and the sun had risen in the morning, O thou whose wealth is asceticism, the two sisters Kadru and Vinata, having laid a wager about slavery, went with haste and impatience to view the steed Uchchaishravas from a near point. On their way they saw the Ocean, that receptacle of waters, vast and deep, rolling and tremendously roaring, full of fishes large enough to swallow the whale, and abounding with huge makaras and creatures of various forms by thousands, and rendered inaccessible by the presence of other terrible, monster-shaped, dark, and fierce aquatic animals, abounding with tortoises and crocodiles, the mine of all kinds of gems, the home of Varuna (the water-God), the excellent and beautiful residence of the Nagas, the lord of all rivers, the abode of the subterranean fire, the friend (or asylum) of the Asuras, the terror of all creatures, the grand reservoir of water, and ever immutable. It is holy, beneficial to the gods, and is the great source of nectar; without limits, inconceivable, sacred, and highly wonderful. It is dark, terrible with the sound of aquatic creatures, tremendously roaring, and full of deep whirl-pools. It is an object of terror to all creatures. Moved by the winds blowing from its shores and heaving high, agitated and disturbed, it seems to dance everywhere with uplifted hands represented by its surges. Full of swelling billows caused by the waxing and waning of the moon the parent of Vasudeva's great conch called Panchajanya, the great mine of gems, its waters were formerly disturbed in consequence of the agitation caused within them by the Lord Govinda of immeasurable prowess when he had assumed the form of a wild boar for raising the (submerged) Earth. Its bottom, lower than the nether regions, the vow observing regenerate Rishi Atri could not fathom after (toiling for) a hundred years. It becomes the bed of the lotus-naveled Vishnu when at the termination of every Yuga that deity of immeasurable power enjoys yoga-nidra, the deep sleep under the spell of spiritual meditation. It is the refuge of Mainaka fearful of falling thunder, and the retreat of the Asuras overcome in fierce encounters. It offers water as sacrificial butter to the blazing fire issuing from the mouth of Varava (the Ocean-mare). It is fathomless and without limits, vast and immeasurable, and the lord of rivers.

"And they saw that unto it rushed mighty rivers by thousands with proud gait, like amorous competitors, each eager for meeting it, forestalling the others. And they saw that it was always full, and always dancing in its waves. And they saw that it was deep and abounding with fierce whales and makaras. And it resounded constantly with the terrible sounds of aquatic creatures. And they saw that it was vast, and wide as the expanse

p. 64

of space, unfathomable, and limitless, and the grand reservoir of water.'"

And so ends the twenty-first section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.

Next: Section XXII