Vaisampayana continued, "O son of the Kuru race, while Dhaumya was speaking thus, there arrived at the spot the Rishi Lomasa of great energy. And the king, who was the eldest of Pandu's sons, with his followers and those Brahmanas sat round the highly righteous one, like celestials in heaven sitting round Sakra. And having received him duly, Yudhishthira the just enquired after the reason of his arrival, and the object also of his wanderings. Thus asked by Pandu's son, the illustrious ascetic, well-pleased, replied in sweet words delighting the Pandavas, 'Travelling at will, O Kaunteya, over all the regions, I came to Sakra's abode, and saw there the lord of the celestials. There, I saw thy heroic brother capable of wielding the bow with his left hand, seated on the same seat with Sakra. And beholding Partha on that seat I was greatly astonished, O tiger among men! And the lord of the celestials then said unto me, 'Go thou unto the sons of Pandu.' At the request, therefore, of Indra as also of the high-souled son of Pritha have I come hither with speed, desiring to see thee with thy younger brothers. O child, I will relate what will please thee highly, O son of Pandu! Do thou listen to it, O king, with Krishna and the Rishis that are with thee. O bull of the Bharata race, Partha hath obtained from Rudra that incomparable weapon for the acquisition of which thou hadst sent him to heaven. That fierce weapon, known by the name of Brahma-sira which arose after Amrita, and which Rudra had obtained by means of ascetic austerities, hath been acquired by Arjuna together with the Mantras for hurling and withdrawing it, and the rites of expiation and revival. And, O Yudhishthira, Arjuna of immeasurable prowess hath also acquired Vajras and Dandas and other celestial weapons from Yama and Kuvera and Varuna and Indra, O son of the Kuru race! And he hath also thoroughly learnt music, both vocal and instrumental, and dancing and proper recitation of the Saman (Veda) from Vishwavasu's son. And having thus acquired weapons and mastered the Gandharva Veda, thy third brother Vibhatsu liveth happily (in heaven). Listen to me, O Yudhishthira, for I shall now deliver to thee the message of that foremost of celestials. He hath commanded me saying, "Thou wilt, no doubt, go to the world of men. O best of Brahmanas, tell thou Yudhishthira these words of mine. Soon will thy brother Arjuna come to thee, having acquired arms and accomplished a great deed for the celestials that is incapable of being accomplished by themselves. Do thou meanwhile devote thyself to ascetic austerities, with thy brothers. There is nothing superior to asceticism, and it is by asceticism that a person achieveth great results. And, O bull of the Bharata race, well do I know that Karna is endued with great ardour and energy and
strength and prowess that is incapable of being baffled. Well do I know that, skilled in fierce conflict, he hath not his rival in battle; that he is a mighty bowman, a hero deft in the use of fierce weapons and cased in the best of mail. Well do I know that that exalted son of Aditya resembleth the son of Maheswara himself. Well do I also know the high natural prowess of the broad-shouldered Arjuna. In battle Karna is not equal unto even a sixteenth part of Pritha's son. And as for the fear of Karna which is in thy heart, O repressor of foes, I shall dispel when Savyasachin will have left heaven. And as regards thy purpose, O hero, to set out on a pilgrimage to tirthas, the great Rishi Lomasa will, without doubt, speak unto thee. And whatever that regenerate Rishi will relate unto thee touching the merits of asceticism and tirthas, thou shouldst receive with respect and not otherwise!'"