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p. 175


"Vaisampayana said, 'O smiter of foes, when Devaki's son of mighty arms set out (for Hastinapura), ten mighty car-warriors, capable of slaying hostile heroes, fully armed, followed in his train. And a thousand foot-soldiers, and a thousand horsemen, and attendants by hundreds, also formed his train, carrying, O king, provisions in abundance.'

"Janamejaya said, 'How did the illustrious slayer of Madhu, of Dasarha's race, proceed on his journey? And what omens were seen when that hero set out?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Listen to me as I narrate all those natural and unnatural omens that were noticed at the time when the illustrious Krishna departed (for Hastinapura). Though there were no clouds in the sky, yet the roll of thunder accompanied by flashes of lightning was heard. And fleecy clouds in a clear sky rained incessantly in the rear! The seven large rivers including the Sindhu (Indus) though flowing eastwards then flowed in opposite directions. The very directions seemed to be reversed and nothing could be distinguished. Fires blazed up everywhere, O monarch, and the earth trembled repeatedly. The contents of wells and water-vessels by hundreds swelled up and ran out. The whole universe was enveloped in darkness. The atmosphere being filled with dust, neither the cardinal nor the subsidiary points of the horizon could, O king, be distinguished. Loud roars were heard in the sky without any being being visible from whom these could emanate. This wonderful phenomenon, O king, was noticed all over the country. A south-westerly wind, with the harsh rattle of the thunder, uprooting trees by the thousands, crushed the city of Hastinapura. In those places, however, O Bharata, through which he of Vrishni's race passed, delicious breezes blew and everything became auspicious. Showers of lotuses and fragrant flowers fell there. The very road became delightful, being free from prickly grass and thorns. At those places where he stayed, Brahmanas by thousands glorified that giver of wealth with (laudation) and worshipped him with dishes of curds, ghee, honey, and presents of wealth. The very women, coming out on the road, strewed wild flowers of great fragrance on the person of that illustrious hero, devoted to the welfare of all creatures. He then came upon a delightful spot called Salibhavana which was filled with every kind of crops, a spot that was delicious and sacred, after having, O bull of the Bharata race, seen various villages abounding in bees, and picturesque to the eye, and delightful to the heart, and after having passed through diverse cities and kingdoms. Always cheerful and of good hearts, well-protected by the Bharatas and therefore free from all anxieties on account of the designs of invaders, and unacquainted with calamities of any kind, many of the citizens of Upaplavya, coming out of their town, stood together on the way, desirous of beholding Krishna. And beholding that illustrious one

p. 176

resembling a blazing fire arrived at the spot, they worshipped him who deserved their worship with all the honours of a guest arrived in their abode. When at last that slayer of hostile heroes, Kesava, came to Vrikasthala, the sun seemed to redden the sky by his straggling rays of light. Alighting from his car, he duly went through the usual purificatory rites, and ordering the steeds to be unharnessed, he set himself to say his evening prayers. And Daruka also, setting the steeds free, tended them according to the rules of equine science, and taking off the yokes and traces, let them loose. After this was done, the slayer of Madhu said, 'Here must we pass the night for the sake of Yudhishthira's mission. Ascertaining that to be his intention, the attendants soon set a temporary abode and prepared in a trice excellent food and drink. Amongst the Brahmanas, O king, that resided in the village, they that were of noble and high descent, modest, and obedient to the injunctions of the Vedas in their conduct, approached that illustrious chastiser of foes, Hrishikesa, and honoured him with their benedictions and auspicious speeches. And having honoured him of Dasarha's race that deserveth honour from every one, they placed at the disposal of that illustrious person their houses, abounding in wealth. Saying unto them--'Enough'--the illustrious Krishna paid them proper homage, each according to his rank, and wending with them to their house, he returned in their company to his own (tent). And feeding all the Brahmanas with sweet-meats and himself taking his meals with them, Kesava passed the night happily there.'"

Next: Section LXXXV