Mahabharata Udyoga Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CXI

"Garuda said, 'O Brahmanas, since this quarter saveth from sin, and since one attaineth to salvation here, it is for this saying (Uttarana) power that it is called the north (uttara). And, O Galava, because the abode of all the treasures of the north stretches in a line towards the east and the west, therefore is the north sometimes called the central region (madhyama). And, O bull among the twice-born, in this region that is superior to all, none can live that is unamiable, or of unbridled passions, or unrighteous. Hither, in the asylum, known by the name of Vadari, eternally dwell Krishna who is Narayana's self, and Jishnu that most exalted, of all male beings, and Brahman (the Creator). Hither, on the breast of Himavat always dwelleth Maheswara endued with the effulgence of the fire that blazeth up at the end of the Yuga. As Purusha, he sporteth here with Prakriti (the universal mother). Except by Nara and Narayana, he is incapable of being seen by the diverse classes of Munis, the gods with Vasava at their head, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, and the Siddhas. Though invested with Maya, him the eternal Vishnu alone, of a thousand heads and thousand legs, can behold. It was in this region that Chandramas (the moon) was installed into the sovereignty of the entire regenerate order. It was in this region, O thou foremost of all acquainted with Brahma, that Mahadeva first receiving her on his head, afterwards let (the sacred stream) Ganga fall from the heavens to the world of men. It was here that the Goddess (Uma) underwent her ascetic austerities from her desire of obtaining Maheswara (as her Lord). It was in this region that Kama, the wrath (of Siva), Himavat, and Uma, all together shone brilliantly. It was here, on the breast of Kailasa, O Galava, that Kuvera, was installed on the sovereignty of the Rakshasas, the Yakshas, and the Gandharvas. It is in this region that (Kuvera's gardens called) Chitraratha lie, and it is here that the asylum of (the Munis called the) Vaikhanasas is situate. It is here, O bull among the twice-born, that the celestial stream called Mandakini, and the mountain Mandara are to be seen. It is here that the gardens called Saugandhi-kanaka are always guarded by the Rakshasas. Here are many plains covered with grassy verdure, as also the plantain forest, and those celestial trees called the Sautanakas. It is in this, region, O Galava, that the Siddhas, with souls ever under control and always sporting at will, have their fit abodes, abounding with every object of enjoyment. It is here that the seven Rishis with Arundhati may be seen. It is here that the constellation Swati is to be seen, and it is here that it first rises to the view. It is in this region that the Grandsire Brahman dwelleth in the vicinity of Yajna (sacrifice embodied). It is in this quarter that the sun, the moon, and the other luminaries are seen to revolve regularly.

It is in this region, O foremost of Brahmanas, that those illustrious and truth-speaking Munis called by the name of Dharma, guard the source of the Ganges. The origin and physical features and ascetic penances of these Munis are not known to all. The thousand dishes they use for serving the food offered in hospitality and the edibles also they create at will, are all a mystery, The man, O Galava, that passeth beyond the point guarded by these Munis, is certain, O foremost of Brahmanas, to meet with destruction. None else, O bull among Brahmanas, save the divine Narayana, and the eternal Nara called also Jishnu, succeeded in passing beyond the point so guarded. It is in this region that the mountains of Kailasa lie, the abode of Ailavila (Kuvera). It is here that the ten Apsaras known by the name of Vidyutprabha had their origin. In covering, O Brahmana, the three worlds with three steps in the sacrifice of Vali (the Asura king), Vishnu had covered this whole northern region; and, accordingly, there is a spot here called Vishnupada. And it is so called after the footprint of Vishnu caused on that occasion. Here, in this quarter, at a place called Usiravija, by the side of the golden lake, king Marutta performed, O foremost of Brahmanas, a sacrifice. It is here that the brilliant and shining gold mines of Himavat exhibit themselves to the illustrious and regenerate Rishi Jimuta. And Jimuta gave away the whole of that wealth to the Brahmanas. And having given it away, that great Rishi solicited them to call it after his own name. And hence that wealth is known by the name of the Jaimuta gold. Here, in this region, O bull among Bharatas, the regents of the worlds, O Galava, every morning and evening, proclaim, 'What business of what person shall we do?' It is for these, O foremost of Brahmanas, and other incidents, that the northern region is superior to all quarters. And because this region is superior (uttara) to all, therefore, it is called the north (uttara). The four regions have thus, O sire, been, one after another described to thee in details. Towards which quarter then dost thou desire to go? I am ready, O foremost of Brahmanas, to show thee all the quarters of the earth!'"