In our last article, we saw Bhima explaining to Yudhisthira how Draupadi would not agree to be left behind. Bhima said, “Since Arjuna has gone to the heavens you have not been at peace. When you are so eager to meet Arjuna, what would you say of Draupadi, Sahdeva and me? Let all our retinue of Brahmins, the cooks and the servants return from here but we will come with you. The forest ahead is full of dangerous demons I do not want you to go on without me.”
Draupadi said, “O king, do not worry about me. I shall walk with you.”
Rishi Lomesh said, “We will be able to climb the Gandhamadana Mountain only with the strength of our austerities. So let all of us become meditative and start the journey.”
The next morning all of them started on the long and difficult journey to Gandhamadana. After a day’s walk, they came to the beautiful land of the king called Subahu. They spent the night there and left there whole retinue in care of the king.
Yudhisthira said, “O Bhimasen, Man has to fulfil his karma in some form or the other. This forest is the most difficult of all terrains, normally impossible to traverse, but the hope that we will soon see Arjuna is pushing us ahead. Ahead is Gandhamadana, the mountain which is guarded by the astral beings called Yakshas. There near a huge bel tree, we will see the beautiful ashram of the ancient rishis, Nara and Narayana. The rishis say Arjuna is the reincarnation of Nara and Sri Krishna of Narayana. The king of the Yakshas and the one who holds the treasure of the gods, Kuber, lives on this mountain. We will go to a beautiful lake that adjoins his abode and which is guarded by hordes of demons. O Bhima, no vehicles are allowed here, if our minds are not balanced and we harbour thoughts of cunningness or greed, we will not be able to go further. So control the wavering mind and let us move ahead.”
As they walked ahead they saw a huge white hill and while the four Pandavas and Draupadi were wondering what it was, Rishi Lomesh spoke. “This huge white mountain you see is made of the bones of the demon called Narakasura. Lord Vishnu had killed this demon here. Narakasura had done tremendous tapas for over ten thousand years. He became so powerful that Lord Indra felt he would take away his position as king of the gods. Indra did pooja of the mighty Vishnu who came and told him not to worry. Vishnu battled with Narakasura and killed him, leaving the heap of his bones over here.”
Lomesh continued, “Another great feat of Vishnu was also performed here. Long ago, the Earth was totally drowned in the ocean and was slowly sinking to its bottom. The great Lord Vishnu took the form of a Wild Boar and lifted the Earth out of the water with his two horns.”
Yudhisthira said, “O great rishi please tell us the story of how the lord Vishnu performed this great feat.”