Vinata and Kadru cross the great ocean to see Uchchaihsravas

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Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: The Bet Between Vinata and Kadru

Note: In the previous post, we read about Vinata and Kadru placing a bet on the color of the celestial horse’s tail. The wager was that the loser would become enslaved to the winner.

In this post, we will read about what the sisters saw as they crossed the great ocean to reach the other side where the celestial horse – Uchchaihsravas – stayed.

The great ocean represents the ocean of the illusory senses and everything that is attributed to the great ocean in this post is allegorical in nature. They represent various spiritual concepts.

After having placed a bet involving slavery, both the sisters were impatient to verify the color of Uchchaishravas’ tail. The next day, after the sun arose, Vinata and Kadru hastened to see the celestial horse from a closer distance.

On the way, they saw the vast and deep ocean that rolled with waves and roared with a tremendous sound. It was filled with massive fishes that could swallow an entire whale. It also had huge crocodiles and tortoises and thousands of water creatures of different forms. There were also large, dark, and fierce monster-shaped creatures that made crossing the ocean a scary endeavor.

The ocean was the water god, Varuna’s, home. It was also a mine of beautiful gems. 

This ocean was the lord of all rivers because every river ultimately went into the ocean. This great ocean was the residence of Nagas, an abode for the subterranean fire, and a safe place for asuras.

This ever-immutable body of water was holy, beneficial to the gods, and a great source of nectar.

They saw that this dark ocean which resounded with the terrible sound of water animals. Filled with deep whirlpools, it was a terror to all creatures, but it was also without limits, inconceivable, sacred, and immensely wonderful.

In former times, the great Govinda of immeasurable power had taken the form of a wild boar to raise the submerged earth. This had caused an immense disturbance in the ocean, whose mine of gems had also yielded Vasudeva’s great conch called Panchajanya.

It is impossible to find the bottom of this great ocean. Once Rishi Atri tried, for a hundred years, to find its bottom, but failed to do so.

When a Yuga ends, the great lotus-navaled Vishnu lays on this ocean, which becomes his bed, as he enters the state of deep sleep of spiritual meditation, called yoga nidra.

The asuras retreat into the ocean to rest after they are defeated in fierce battles, and Maunaka, afraid of the falling thunder, also takes refuge in the ocean. 

 It offers water as sacrificial butter to the blazing fire issuing from the mouth of Varava (the Ocean-mare). It is fathomless and without limits, vast and immeasurable, and the lord of rivers.

Vinata and Kadru saw that thousands of mighty rivers rushed into the ocean, and as they rushed with a proud flowing motion, it seemed like they competed with each other to enter the ocean first. 

They also noticed that this ocean was always full and it felt like it danced with its waves. They saw that the ocean was deep and was filled with fierce whales and crocodiles and resounded with the terrible sound of its creatures. They saw that this ocean – the grand reservoir of water – was vast, wide, limitless, and unfathomable like the space that fills the universe.

Note: In the next post, we will find out the color of Uchchaihsravas‘ tail and the result of the bet.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

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