Mahabharata Udyoga Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CX

"Garuda said, 'This quarter is the favourite one of king Varuna, the ruler of the ocean. Indeed, the lord of the waters had his origin here, and it is hither that sovereignty lieth. And since it is here that towards the day's end (paschat) the sun dismisseth his rays that this quarter, O best of the twice-born ones, is called the west (paschima). For ruling over all aquatic creatures and for the protection of the water themselves, illustrious and divine Kasyapa installed Varuna here (as the king of this region). Quaffing all the six juices of Varuna, the moon, the dispeller of darkness, becometh young again in the beginning of the fortnight. It was in the quarter, O Brahmana, that the Daityas were routed and bound fast by the wind-god. And afflicted by a mighty tempest, and breathing hard (as they fled), they at last laid themselves down in this region to sleep (the sleep that knows no waking). Hither is that mountain called Asta which is the cause of the evening twilight, and which (daily) receiveth the sun lovingly turning towards it. It is from this quarter that both Night and Sleep, issuing out at the close of day, spread themselves, as if, for robbing all living creatures of half their allotted periods of life. It was here that Sakra, beholding (his stepmother) the goddess Diti lying asleep in a state of pregnancy, cut off the foetus (into forty-nine parts), whence sprang the (forty-nine) Maruts. It is towards this direction that the roots of Himavat stretch towards the eternal Mandara (sunk in the ocean). By journeying for even a thousand years one cannot attain to the end of those roots. It is in this region that Surabhi (the mother of cows), repairing to the shores of the extensive lake, adorned with golden lotuses, poureth forth her milk. Here in the midst of the ocean is seen the headless trunk of the illustrious Swarbhanu (Rahu) who is always bent upon devouring both sun and the moon. Here is heard the loud chanting of the Vedas by Suvarnasiras, who is invincible and of immeasurable energy, and whose hair is eternally green. It is in this region that the daughter of Muni Harimedhas remained transfixed in the welkin in consequence of Surya's injunction couched in the words--Stop, Stop. Here, O Galava, wind, and fire, and earth, and water, are all free, both day and night, from their painful sensations. It is from this region that the sun's course begins to deviate from the straight path, and it is in this direction that all the luminous bodies (the constellations) enter the solar sphere. And having moved for twenty-eight nights with the sun, they come out of the sun's course to move in accompaniment with the moon. It is in this region that the rivers which always feed the ocean have their sources. Here, in the abode of Varuna, are the waters of the three worlds. In this region is situate the abode of Anarta, the prince of snakes. And here is the unrivalled abode also of Vishnu, who is without beginning and without end. In this region is also situate the abode of the great Rishi Kasyapa, the son of Maricha. The western quarter is thus narrated to thee in course of telling thee of the different points. Tell me now, O Galava, towards which side, O best of regenerate persons, shall we go?'"