(Khandava-daha Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana, said, 'Thus addressed by Arjuna, the smoke-bannered Hutasana, desirous of an interview with Varuna, recollected that son of Aditi,--that deity protecting one of the points of the heavens and having his home in the water and ruling that element. Varuna, knowing that he was thought of by Pavaka, immediately appeared before that deity. The smoke-bannered celestial welcoming with reverence the ruler of the waters, that fourth of the Lokapalas, said unto that eternal god of gods, 'Give me without loss of time that bow and quiver, and that ape-bannered car also, which were obtained from king Soma. Partha will achieve a great task with Gandiva, and Vasudeva also with the discus! Give both, therefore, unto me today.' Hearing these words, Varuna replied unto Pavaka, saying, 'Well, I am giving them.' He then gave that wonderful jewel of a bow that was endued with great energy. That bow was the enhancer of fame and achievements, and was incapable of being injured by any weapon. It was the chief of all weapons, and the grinder of them all. And it was the smiter of hostile armies and was alone equal to a hundred thousand bows. It was the multiplier of kingdoms, and was variegated with excellent colours. It was well-adorned, and beautiful to behold, and without a mark of weakness or injury anywhere. And it was always worshipped both by the celestials and the Gandharvas. Varuna also gave two inexhaustible quivers, and he also gave a car furnished with celestial weapons and whose banner bore a large ape. Yoked unto that car were steeds white as silver of the fleecy clouds, and born in the region of the Gandharvas, and decked with golden harness, and resembling in fleetness the wind or the mind. And it was equipped with implement of war, and was incapable of being vanquished by the celestials or the Asuras. Its splendour was great and the sounds of its wheels was tremendous. It delighted the heart of every creature that looked at it. It
had been made by Viswakarman, the architect of the universe and one of the lords of creation, after severe ascetic meditation. Its splendour, like that of the sun, was so great that no one could gaze at it. It was the very car from which the lord Soma had vanquished the Danavas. Resplendent with beauty, it looked like an evening cloud reflecting the effulgence of the setting sun. It was furnished with an excellent flag-staff of golden colour and great beauty. And there sat upon that flag-staff a celestial ape of form fierce like that of a lion or a tiger. Stationed on high, the ape seemed bent upon burning everything it beheld. And upon the (other) flags were various creatures of large size, whose roars and yells caused the enemy's soldiers to faint. Then Arjuna, accoutred in mail and armed with the sword, and his fingers cased in leathern gloves, walking round that excellent car adorned with numerous flags and bowing unto the gods, ascended it like a virtuous man riding in the celestial car that bears him to heaven. And taking up that celestial and first of bows created by Brahman of old and called Gandiva, Arjuna was filled with joy. And bowing unto Hutasana, Partha endued with great energy, took up the bow and strung it forcibly. Those who heard the noise that was made while the mighty Pandava strung that bow, quaked with fear. And having obtained that car and that bow, and the two inexhaustible quivers, the son of Kunti became glad and thought himself competent to assist at the task. And Pavaka then gave unto Krishna a discus with an iron pole attached to a hole in the centre. And it was a fiery weapon and became his favourite. Having obtained that weapon, Krishna also became equal to the task. Pavaka then, addressing Krishna, said, 'With this, O slayer of Madhu, thou shalt be able without doubt to vanquish in battle even foes that are not human. With this weapon, without doubt, thou shalt be superior in battle to men and gods, and Rakshasas and Pisachas, and Daityas and Nagas. And thou shalt certainly be able with this to smite all. And, O Madhava, hurled by thee in battle at thy foes, this weapon will irresistibly slay the enemy and again come back into thy hands.' And the lord Varuna, after this, gave unto Krishna a mace, of name Kaumodaki, capable of slaying every Daitya and producing, when hurled, a roar like that of the thunder. Then Arjuna and Achyuta, filled with joy said unto Pavaka, 'O exalted one, furnished with weapons and knowing their use, possessed of cars with flags and flagstaffs, we are now able to fight with even all the celestials and the Asuras (together), let alone the wielder of the thunderbolt desirous of fighting for the sake of the Naga (his friend Takshaka).' Arjuna also said, 'O Pavaka, while Hrishikesa, endued with abundant energy, moves on the field of battle with this discus in hand, there is nothing in the three worlds that he will not be able to consume by hurling this weapon. Having obtained the bow Gandiva and this couple of inexhaustible quivers I also am ready to conquer in battle the three worlds. Therefore, O lord, blaze thou forth as thou likest, surrounding this large forest on every side. We are quite able
to help thee.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed both by Dasarha and Arjuna, the illustrious god then put forth his most energetic form, and prepared to consume the forest. Surrounding it on all sides with his seven flames, he began to consume the forest of Khandava, exhibiting his all-consuming form like that at the end of the Yuga (cycle). And, O bull of Bharata's race, surrounding that forest and catching it from all sides with a roar like that of the clouds, Agni made every creature within it tremble. And, O Bharata, that burning forest then looked resplendent like the king of mountains, Meru, blazing with the rays of the sun fallen thereupon.'"