the great deity worshipped the celestial Rishi with
those rites and ceremonies which have been laid down
in the scriptures by himself. Narada also gave
due honours to the ancient Rishi Narayana. After
such honours had been mutually given and received,
the son of Parameshthi departed from that spot.
Endued with high Yoga-puissance, Narada suddenly soared
into the firmament and reached the summit of the mountains
of Meru. Proceeding to a retired spot on that
summit, the great ascetic took rest for a short while.
He than cast his eyes towards the north western direction
and beheld an exceedingly wonderful sight. Towards
the north, in the ocean of milk, there is a large
island named the White Island. The learned say
that its distance from the mountains of Meru is greater
than two and thirty thousand Yojanas. The denizens
of that realm have no senses. They live without
taking food of any kind. Their eyes are winkless.
They always emit excellent perfumes. Their complexions
are white. They are cleansed from every sin.
They blast the eyes of those sinners that look at them.
Their bones and bodies are as hard as thunder.
They regard honour and dishonour in the same light.
They all look as if they are of celestial origin.
Besides, all of them are endued, with auspicious marks
and great strength. Their heads seem to be like
umbrellas. Their voices are deep like that of
the clouds. Each of them has four Mushkas.
The soles of their feet are marked by hundreds of
lines. They have sixty teeth all of which are
white (and large), and eight smaller ones. They
have many tongues. With those tongues they seem
to lick the very Sun whose face is turned towards
every direction. Indeed, they seem to be capable
of devouring that deity from whom hath sprung the
entire universe, the Vedas, the deities, and the Munis
wedded to the attribute of tranquillity.
“Yudhishthira said,—’O grandsire,
thou hast said that those beings have no senses, that
they do not eat anything for supporting their lives;
that their eyes are winkless; and that they always
emit excellent perfumes. I ask, how were they
born? What also is the superior end to which they
attain? O chief of Bharata’s race, are the
indications of those men that become emancipate the
same as those by which the denizens of the White Island
are distinguished? Do thou dispel my doubts?
The curiosity I feel is very great. Thou art
the repository of all histories and discourses.
As regards ourselves, we entirely depend on thee for
knowledge and instruction!
“Bhishma continued,—’This narrative,
O monarch, which I have heard from my sire, is extensive.
I shall now recite it to thee. Indeed, it is
regarded as the essence of all narratives. There
was, in times past, a king on Earth of the name of
Uparichara. He was known to be the friend of
Indra, the chief of the celestials. He was devoted
to Narayana known also by the name of Hari. He
was observant of all the duties laid down in the scriptures.