Jan 102015


(Rajya-labha Parva continued)

“Narada continued, ‘Then the celestial Rishis, the Siddhas, and the
high-souled Rishis possessing the attributes of tranquillity and
self-restraint, beholding that act of universal slaughter, were afflicted
with great grief. With passions and senses and souls under complete
control, they then went to the abode of the Grandsire, moved by
compassion for the universe. Arrived there, they beheld the Grandsire
seated with gods, Siddhas, and Brahmarshis around him. There were present
that God of gods, viz., Mahadeva, and Agni, accompanied by Vayu, and Soma
and Surya and Sakra, and Rishis devoted to the contemplation of Brahma,
and the Vaikhanasas, the Valakhilyas, the Vanaprasthas, the Marichipas,
the Ajas, the Avimudas, and other ascetics of great energy. All those
Rishis were sitting with the Grandsire, when the celestial and other
Rishis, approaching Brahman with sorrowful hearts, represented unto him
all the acts of Sunda and Upasunda. And they told the Grandsire in detail
everything that the Asura brothers had done, and how they had done it,
and in what order. Then all the celestials and the great Rishis pressed
the matter before the Grandsire. The Grandsire, hearing everything they
said, reflected for a moment and settled in his mind what he should do.
Resolving to compass the destruction of the Asura brothers, he summoned
Viswakarman (the celestial architect). Seeing Viswakarman before him, the
Grandsire possessed of supreme ascetic merit commanded him, saying,
‘Create thou a damsel capable of captivating all hearts.’ Bowing down
unto the Grandsire and receiving his command with reverence, the great
artificer of the universe created a celestial maiden with careful
attention. Viswakrit first collected all handsome features upon the body
of the damsel he created. Indeed, the celestial maiden that he created
was almost a mass of gems. And created with great care by Viswakarman,
the damsel, in beauty, became unrivalled among the women of the three
worlds. There was not even a minute part of her body which by its wealth
of beauty could not attract the gaze of beholders. And like unto the
embodied Sri herself, that damsel of extraordinary beauty captivated the
eyes and hearts of every creature. And because she had been created with
portions of every gem taken in minute measures, the Grandsire bestowed
upon her the name of Tilottama. And as soon as he started it into life,
the damsel bowed to Brahman and with joined palms said, ‘Lord of every
created thing, what task am I to accomplish and what have I been created
for?’ The Grandsire answered, ‘Go, O Tilottama, unto the Asuras, Sunda
and Upasunda. O amiable one, tempt them with thy captivating beauty. And,
O damsel, conduct thyself there in such a way that the Asura brothers
may, in consequence of the wealth of thy beauty, quarrel with each other
as soon as they cast their eyes upon thee.’

“Narada continued, ‘Bowing unto the Grandsire and saying, ‘So be
it,’–the damsel walked round the celestial conclave. The illustrious
Brahman was then sitting with face turned eastwards, and Mahadeva with
face also towards the east, and all the celestials with faces northwards,
and the Rishis with faces towards all directions. While Tilottama walked
round the conclave of the celestials, Indra and the illustrious Sthanu
(Mahadeva) were the only ones that succeeded in preserving their
tranquillity of mind. But exceedingly desirous as Mahadeva was (of
beholding Tilottama) when the damsel (in her progress round the celestial
conclave) was at his side, another face like a full-blown lotus appeared
on the southern side of his body. And when she was behind him, another
face appeared on the west. And when the damsel was on the northern side
of the great god, a fourth face appeared on the northern side of his
body. Mahadeva (who was eager to behold the damsel) came also to have a
thousand eyes, each large and slightly reddish, before, behind and on his
flanks. And it was thus that Sthanu the great god came to have four
faces, and the slayer of Vala, a thousand eyes. And as regards the mass
of the celestials and the Rishis, they turned their faces towards all
directions as Tilottama walked round them. Except the divine Grandsire
himself, the glances of those illustrious personages, even of all of them
fell upon Tilottama’s body. And when Tilottama set out (for the city of
the Asuras) with the wealth of her beauty, all regarded the task as
already accomplished. After Tilottama had gone away, the great god who
was the First Cause of the Universe, dismissed all the celestials and the

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