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(Astika Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'And then the Nagas drenched by that shower, became exceedingly glad. And borne by that bird of fair feathers, they soon arrived at the island. That island had been fixed by the Creator of the Universe as the abode of the makaras. There they saw the terrible Lavana Samudra (ocean of salt). On arriving there with Garuda, they saw there a beautiful forest washed by the waters of the sea and resounding with the music of winged choirs. And there were clusters of trees all around laden with various fruits and flowers. And there were also fair mansions all around; and many tanks full of lotuses. And it was also adorned with many lakes of pure water. And it was refreshed with pure incense-breathing breezes. And it was adorned with many a tree that grew only on the hills of Malaya, and seemed by their tallness to reach the very heavens. And there were also various other trees whose flowers were scattered all around by the breeze. And that forest was charming and dear to the Gandharvas and always gave them pleasure. And it was full of bees maddened with the honey they sucked. And the sight of all this was exceedingly delightful. And in consequence of many things there, capable of charming everybody, that forest was fair, delightful, and holy. And, echoing with the notes of various birds, it delighted greatly the sons of Kadru.

"And the snakes, after arriving at that forest, began to enjoy themselves. And they commanded the lord of birds, viz., Garuda, of great energy, saying,

p. 70

[paragraph continues] 'Convey us to some other fair island with pure water. Thou ranger of the skies, thou must have seen many fair regions while coursing (through the air).' Garuda, alter reflecting for a few moments, asked his mother Vinata, saying, 'Why, mother, have I to do the bidding of the snakes?' Vinata thus questioned by him spake unto that ranger of the skies, her son, invested with every virtue, of great energy, and great strength, as follows: "Vinata said, 'O thou best of birds, I have become, from misfortune, the slave of my co-wife. The snakes, by an act of deception, caused me to lose my bet and have made me so.' When his mother had told him the reason, that ranger of the skies, dejected with grief, addressed the snakes, saying, 'Tell me, ye snakes, by bringing what thing, gaining a knowledge of what thing, or doing what act of prowess, we may be freed from this state of bondage to you.'" Sauti continued, 'The snakes, hearing him, said, 'Bring thou amrita by force. Then O bird, shall you be freed from bondage.'" And so ends the twenty-seventh section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.

Next: Section XXVIII