|The abode of Pandavas|
|Yudhisthira with the holy sages.|
Providentially sage Vyaasa appears (In author
Kamala's version) and supports Yudhisthira by suggesting that it is too early to think of a war as Kauravas have now become stronger. He advises them that Arjuna should acquire pashupatha astra from Lord Shiva and get more astras, which were promised earlier by god Indra! He also suggests that they move back to Kamyaka, which they do.
It is already their sixth year in exile. Arjuna bids farewell to the family goes up north to the Himalayas and reaches Indrakila. Indra appears, first as a sage, (It is how it is with gods! They test you before they show up in their true form.) advises Arjuna to shed his weapons as it the abode of rishis and a place of peace.When Arjuna demurs, he reveals himself and asks Arjuna what he wants. When Arjuna explains his need for divine astras, Indra advises that he should first perform penance and please Lord Shiva and obtain pasupatha astra and that he will come later and disappears!
|Arjuna performing a penance to please lord shiva.|
Soon the many gods who were witness to the fight between Shiva and Arjuna land on Indrakila and bless Arjuna. Varuna the lord of the oceans, Kubera the lord of riches, Yama the lord of death and Indra his father, all certain that he will use them wisely, bestow their astras and bless him and vanish. Soon Matali the charioteer of Indra appears and takes him to Indralokha.
( Raghu reminded me about this bas-relief monolith at Mahabalipuram. It appears the whole world is keenly watching Arjuna's penance anticipating Shiva's arrival at any moment!)
|Arhuna's penace at Mahabaipuram. |
Photo by maremagna: courtsey http://www.panoramio.com/