Mahabharata – Vana Parva – Indralokagamana Parva – 42-51
Indralokagamana Parva – 42
Seeing of Shakra city
1Vaishampayana said: O king of kings, after the Lokapalas had gone away, Partha, the repressor of enemies, began to think of the chariot of the king of celestials.
2While the intelligent (Arjuna) of controlled senses was thinking, the highly-effulgent car having Matali as its charioteer came there.
3Making the sky devastated of darkness, dividing the clouds and filling the quarters with a sound resembling that of huge clouds.
4-5Dreadful swords and missiles, terrible- looking maces, Prasas of celestials prowess and highly effulgent lightning. Thunder-bolts, Tulagudas (canon) furnished with wheels and worked with atmospheric expansion and emitting sounds resembling that of huge clouds were on the car.
6There (were) huge-bodied and fierce Nagas having fiery mouths heaps of stones white as the fleecy clouds.
7Ten thousand horses of golden colour gifted with the speed of wind drew that celestials car full of illusion (with such velocity) that hardly could the eye see it.
8There he saw the greatly effulgent and blue flag-staff called Vaijayanta resembling the dark blue lotus and adorned with gold and straight as bamboo.
9Beholding seated on that car a charioteer adorned with burning gold, the mighty-armed son of Pritha, considered it as belonging to the celestials.
10Thereupon while Falguni was thus thinking about the car, Matali, descending and bending himself low, said to Arjuna.
11Matali said: O lucky one, O son of Shakra, Shakra wants to see you, ascend speedily this car sent by Indra.
12-13Your father, the foremost of the immortals and the performer of a thousand sacrifices said to me, “Bring the son of Kunti here and let the celestials see him.” Shakra encircled by the celestials and Rishis, Gandharvas and Apsaras, is waiting to see you.
14By the command of the chastiser of Paka ascend with me from this region to that of the celestials and having obtained the weapon return therefrom.
15Arjuna said: O Matali, go soon and make me ascend this best of cars that cannot be obtained even by a hundred Rajasuya and horse-sacrifices.
16Even kings, rendered illustrious by scarifies accompanied with proper gifts, celestials of Danavas are not capable of riding this excellent car.
17He who has not acquired ascetic merit is not capable of seeing and touching this excellent car far from riding it.
18O sage, after you have mounted it, after horses have become quiet, I will mount it like a pious man following the road of honesty.
19Vaishampayana said: Hearing his words, Matali, Shakra charioteer, speedily mounted the chariot and controlled the steeds with reins.
20Thereupon Arjuna, the descendant of Kuru and the son of Kunti bathing in the Ganges and becoming purified and with a contented mind, duly repeated his customary prayers.
21Thereupon duly and according to the ordinances offering oblation to the manes he began to invoke Mandara the king of mountains.
22“O you mountain, you are always the refuge of the pious and god-charactered sages seek in heaven.
23By your favour, O mountain, the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas attain to heaven and rid of afflictions sport with the celestials.
240 king of mountains, 0 great mountain, O you that contain sages and sacred shrines, I lived happily on you; I go today bidding you farewell.
25Many a time and often have I seen your table-lands and bowers, your springs and rivulets and your sacred shrines.
26-27aI have eaten you savoury fruits and have satisfied my thirst with draughts of perfumed water coming out from your body. I have drunk the water of your spring tasting like nectar.
27b-28aO mountain, As a child happily lives on the lap of his sire, so I have sported on your lap.
28b-29aO king of mountains, on your lap filled with Apsaras and resounding with the recitations of the Vedas. I always lived happily on your table-lands.
29b30aHaving thus welcomed and said to the mountain, Arjuna, the slayer of hostile heroes, blazing like the sun, ascended the celestials car.
30b-31And that intelligent descendant of Kuru, with a delighted heart coursed through the welkin in that car of wonderful deeds resembling the sun in its form. And coming within the view of pious mortals.
32He espied thousands of chariots of wondrous make. There did not shine the sun, the moon or the tire.
33-35But it blazed in its own light begotten of virtue and ascetic merit. And those brilliant regions that are seen from the earth in the form of stars. Like lamps, too small on account of the distance, though very large, were seen in their own spheres, by the son of Pandu full of beauty and brilliance and shinning in their native splendour. (There he saw) royal sages of accomplished piety, heroes who had been slain in battle.
36-37And those who had obtained heaven by their devout penances, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Gandharvas shinning in effulgence like the sun and also Guhyakas, Rishis and various Apsaras. Beholding those self-effulgent regions, Falguni, stricken with wonder.
38-39aAccosted Matali, who gladly replied, saying, “These are pious persons, O son of Pritha, stationed in their respective spheres, whom, you have seen, O lord, from the earth in the form of stars.”
39b-41Then he saw standing at the gate, the white and ever victorious elephant, Airavata, having four tusks resembling the mount Kailasa with its summits. And passing along the path of the Siddhas that foremost of Kurus and Pandavas shone like Mandhata, the best of kings in the days of yore. And he, having lotus eyes, passed through (various) regions set apart for the kings.
42Having thus passed through the celestials regions, the highly illustrious (Arjuna) at last beheld India’s city Amaravati.