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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.
themselves, deprived of life, began to fall into the mouth of Agni (god of fire), struck down as it were by death itself.  On the banks of rivers or on uneven plains or on crematoriums, go where they did, the creatures (dwelling in Khandava) found no ease, for wherever they sought shelter there they were afflicted by the heat.  And hosts of creatures roared in pain, and elephants and deer and wolves set up cries of affliction.  At that sound the fishes of the Ganges and the sea, and the various tribes of Vidyadharas dwelling in that forest all became frightened.  O thou of mighty arms, let alone battling with them, no one, could even gaze at Arjuna and Janardana of dark hue.  Hari slew with his discus those Rakshasas and Danavas and Nagas that rushed at him in bands.  Of huge bodies, their heads and trunks were cut off by the swift motion of the discus, and deprived of life they fell down into the blazing fire.  Gratified with large quantities of flesh, blood, and fat, the flames rose up to a great height without a curling wreath of smoke.  Hutasana (fire-god) with blazing and coppery eyes, and flaming tongue and large mouth, and the hair on the crown of his head all fiery, drinking, with the help of Krishna and Arjuna, that nectar-like stream of animal fat, became filled with joy.  Gratified greatly, Agni derived much happiness.

“And it so happened that the slayer of Madhu suddenly beheld an Asura of the name of Maya escaping from the abode of Takshaka.  Agni having Vayu for his car-driver, assuming a body with matted locks on head, and roaring like the clouds, pursued the Asura, desirous of consuming him.  Beholding the Asura, Vasudeva stood with his weapon upraised, ready to smite him down, seeing the discus uplifted and Agni pursuing from behind to burn him, Maya said ‘Run to me, O Arjuna, and protect me!’ Hearing his affrighted voice Arjuna said, ‘Fear not!’ That voice of Arjuna, O Bharata, seemed to give Maya his life.  As the merciful son of Pritha said unto Maya that there was nothing to fear, he of the Dasarha race no longer desired to slay Maya who was the brother of Namuchi, and Agni also burned him not.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Protected from Indra by Krishna and Partha, Agni gifted with great intelligence, burned that forest for five and ten days.  And while the forest burned Agni spared only six of its dwellers, viz., Aswasena, Maya, and four birds called Sarngakas.’”

SECTION CCXXXI

(Khandava-daha Parva continued)

“Janamejaya said, ’O Brahmana, tell me why and when that forest burnt in that way, Agni consumed not the birds called Sarngakas?  Thou hast, O Brahmana, recited (to us) the cause of Aswasena and the Danava Maya not having been consumed.  But thou hast not as yet said what the cause was of the escape of the Sarngakas?  The escape of those birds, O Brahmana, appeareth to me to be wonderful.  Tell us why they were not destroyed in that dreadful conflagration.’

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