“Sauti continued, ’Then that bird capable of going everywhere at will, that ranger of the skies capable of calling to his aid any measure of energy, bearing Aruna on his back, wended from his father’s home and arrived at his mother’s side on the other shore of the great ocean. And he placed Aruna of great splendour in the eastern regions, just at a time when Surya had resolved to burn the worlds with his fierce rays.’
“Saunaka said, ’When did the revered Surya resolve at the time to burn the worlds? What wrong was done to him by the gods that provoked his ire?’
“Sauti said, ’O sinless one, when Rahu was drinking nectar among the gods at the time of the churning of the ocean he was pointed out to the gods by Surya and Soma, and from that time he conceived an enmity towards those deities. And upon this Rahu sought to devour his afflictor (Surya), became wroth, and thought, ’Oh, this enmity of Rahu towards me hath sprung from my desire of benefiting the gods. And this dire consequence I alone have to sustain. Indeed, at this pass help I obtain not. And before the very eyes of the denizens of heaven I am going to be devoured and they brook it quietly. Therefore, for the destruction of the worlds must I strive.’ And with this resolution he went to the mountains of the west.
“And from that place he began to radiate his heat around for the destruction of the world. And then the great Rishis, approaching the gods, spake unto them, ’Lo, in the middle of the night springeth a great heat striking terror into every heart, and destructive of the three worlds.’ Then the gods, accompanied by the Rishis, wended to the Grandsire, and said unto him, ’O what is this great heat today that causeth such panic? Surya hath not yet risen, still the destruction (of the world) is obvious. O Lord, what will happen when he doth rise?” The Grandsire replied, ’Indeed, Surya is prepared to rise today for the destruction of the world. As soon as he will appear he will burn everything into a heap of ashes. By me, however, hath the remedy been provided beforehand. The intelligent son of Kasyapa is known to all by the name of Aruna. He is huge of body and of great splendour; he shall stay in front of Surya, doing the duty of his charioteer and taking away all the energy of the former. And this will ensure the welfare of the worlds, of the Rishis, and of the dwellers in heaven.’
“Sauti continued, ’Aruna, at the behest of the Grandsire, did all that he was ordered to do. And Surya rose veiled by Aruna’s person. I have told thee now why Surya was in wrath, and how Aruna, the brother of Garuda, was appointed as his charioteer. Hear next of that other question asked by thee a little while ago.’”
And so ends the twenty-fourth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)