The Pilgrimage to Mandara

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Prayag

Life in the forest was not always idyllic. Often the cold, the animals, and other natural phenomena made it hard, especially in winter, when the delicate Draupadi suffered the most. In addition to all this, the lack of Arjuna was also felt and in that period the pressures of Bhima and Draupadi, their complaints and their accusations increased and became more and more bitter.

Yudhisthira tried to calm them down, and although outwardly he always appeared calm and controlled, in reality the anxieties of his brother and his wife touched his heart and increased in him the remorse of having put them in those conditions of suffering.

Fortunately, the arrival of Brihadashva eased the tension somewhat.

 Among other things, during that time, the eldest of the Pandavas, thanks to the help of the Rishi, was able to study the science of dice games.

However, Yudhisthira was not the only one to learn new things. In fact, Brihadashva gave lectures on various topics to all present.

The time spent like that seemed to fly by. But the pleasant surprises were not over yet: a few days later Narada also arrived, who was aware of the fears of some of them.

“Standing still in one place for a long time can be very tiring for some people,” the sage then said. “Maybe you better get moving. Surely a tirtha-yatra will do you good. In cases like this, a pilgrimage distracts from negative thoughts and purifies the mind and the heart.”

 Dhaumya agreed, but an expert guide in the numerous holy places of Bharata-varsha would be needed.

Destiny wanted that in those days, coming from the celestial planets, Lomasa arrived, who told of the latest developments of Arjuna’s journey and of Indra’s message. Immensely happy and reassured at the news that their brother had succeeded in his intent, as soon as they heard that Indra was also recommending a trip to them, they asked Lomasa to guide them. The sage gladly accepted.

 

A few days later, the Pandavas left.

First they visited Naimisha, the region where the sacred Gomati flows, then they saw the holiest place, Prayaga, where the golden waters of the Ganges join the blue ones of the Yamuna. In those days that place was called Triveni Sangama. Continuing in this way they visited numerous places among the most blessed and beautiful in India, and wherever they were, Lomasa had wonderful stories to tell of fantastic men who had lived there.

Then they headed west, and upon reaching Dvaraka they spent wonderful days in the company of Krishna, Balarama, and the other Vrishni.

Resuming their journey, they headed north.

They wanted to linger on the banks of the Sarasvati, the place where Shibi showed Indra his greatness. And then to Mainaka, and to Kailasha, where you can admire the source of the Ganges. In that paradisiacal atmosphere, even Bhima forgot his hatred and his sufferings.

 

This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 1”.

To buy the complete book, click above

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