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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.
That face of mine which is turned towards the west is agreeable and auspicious.  With it I ordain the happiness of all creatures.  That face of mine which is turned towards the south is terrible.  With it I destroy all creatures.  I live as a Brahmacharin with matted locks on my head, impelled by the desire of doing good to all creatures.  The bow Pinaka is always in my hand for accomplishing the purposes of the deities.  In days of yore, Indra, desirous of acquiring my prosperity, had hurled his thunderbolt at me.  With that weapon my throat was scorched.  For this reason I have become blue-throated.’

“Uma said, ’When, O foremost of all creatures, there are so many excellent vehicles endued with great beauty, why is it that thou hast selected a bovine bull for thy vehicle?’

“Maheswara said, ’In the days of yore, the Grandsire Brahma created the celestial cow Surabhi yielding abundant milk.  After her creation there sprang from her a large number of kine all of which yielded copious quantities of milk sweet as nectar.  Once on a time a quantity of froth fell from the mouth of one of her calves on my body.  I was enraged at this and my wrath scorched all the kine which thereupon became diversified in hue.  I was then pacified by the Master of all the worlds, viz., Brahma, conversant with all topics.  It was he who gave me this bull both as a vehicle for bearing me and as a device on my banner.’

“Uma said, ’Thou hast many abodes in heaven, of diverse forms and possessed of every comfort and luxury.  Why, O holy one, dost thou reside in the crematorium, abandoning all those delightful mansions?  The crematorium is full of the hair and bones (of the dead), abounds with vulture and jackals, and is strewn with hundreds of funeral pyres.  Full of carrion and muddy with fat and blood, with entrails and bones strewn all over it, and always echoing with the howls of jackals, it is certainly an unclean place.’

“Maheswara said, ’I always wander over the whole earth in search of a sacred spot.  I do not, however, see any spot that is more sacred than the crematorium.  Hence, of all abodes, the crematorium pleases my heart most, shaded that it generally is by branches of the banian and adorned with torn garlands of flowers.  O thou of sweet smiles, the multitudes of ghostly beings that are my companions love to reside in such spots.  I do not like, O goddess, to reside anywhere without those ghostly creatures being by my side.  Hence, the crematorium is a sacred abode to me.  Indeed, O auspicious lady, it seems to me to be the very heaven.  Highly sacred and possessed of great merit, the crematorium is much applauded by persons desirous of having holy abodes.’

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