“The virtuous Yudhishthira, himself unacquainted with vice and wickedness, regarded others to be as honest as himself. The eldest son of Pritha, filled with fraternal love, going unto his mother, said, after making obeisance to her, ’O mother, hath Bhima come? O good mother, I don’t find him here. Where may he have gone? We long sought for him everywhere in the gardens and the beautiful woods; but found him nowhere. At length, we thought that the heroic Bhima preceded us all. O illustrious dame, we came hither in great anxiety. Arrived here, where hath he gone? Have you sent him anywhere? O tell me, I am full of doubts respecting the mighty Bhima. He had been asleep and hath not come. I conclude he is no more.’
“Hearing these words of the highly intelligent Yudhishthira, Kunti shrieked, in alarm, and said, ’Dear son, I have not seen Bhima. He did not come to me. O, return in haste, and with your brothers search for him.’
“Having said this in affliction to her eldest son, she summoned Vidura, and said, ’O illustrious Kshattri, Bhimasena is missing! Where has he gone? The other brothers have all come back from the gardens, only Bhima of mighty arms does not come home! Duryodhana likes him not. The Kaurava is crooked and malicious and low-minded and imprudent. He coveteth the throne openly. I am afraid he may have in a fit of anger slain my darling. This afflicts me sorely, indeed, it burns my heart.’
“Vidura replied, ’Blessed dame, say not so! Protect thy other sons with care. If the wicked Duryodhana be accused, he may slay thy remaining sons. The great sage hath said that all thy sons will be long-lived. Therefore, Bhima will surely return and gladden thy heart.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ’The wise Vidura, having said this unto Kunti, returned to his abode, while Kunti, in great anxiety, continued to stay at home with her children.
“Meanwhile, Bhimasena awoke from that slumber on the eighth day, and felt strong beyond measure in consequence of the nectar he had taken having been all digested. Seeing him awake, the Nagas began to console and cheer him, saying, ’O thou of mighty arms, the strength-giving liquor thou hast drunk will give thee the might of ten thousand elephants! No one now will be able to vanquish thee in fight. O bull of Kuru’s race, do thou bath in this holy and auspicious water and return home. Thy brothers are disconsolate because of thee.’
“Then Bhima purified himself with a bath in those waters, and decked in white robes and flowery garlands of the same hue, ate of the paramanna (rice and sugar pudding) offered to him by the Nagas. Then that oppressor of all foes, decked in celestial ornaments, received the adorations and blessings of the snakes, and saluting them in return, rose from the nether region. Bearing up the lotus-eyed Pandava from under the waters, the Nagas placed him in the selfsame gardens wherein he had been sporting, and vanished in his very sight.