(Adivansavatarana Parva continued)
"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, those thou hast named and those thou hast not named, I wish to hear of them in detail, as also of other kings by thousands. And, O thou of great good fortune, it behoveth thee to tell me in full the object for which those Maharathas, equal unto the celestials themselves, were born on earth.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'It hath been heard by us, O monarch, that what thou askest is a mystery even to the gods. I shall, however, speak of it unto thee, after bowing down (to the self-born). The son of Jamadagni (Parasurama), after twenty-one times making the earth bereft of Kshatriyas wended to that best of mountains Mahendra and there began his ascetic penances. And at that time when the earth was bereft of Kshatriyas, the Kshatriya ladies, desirous of offspring, used to come, O monarch, to the Brahmanas and Brahmanas of rigid vows had connection with them during the womanly season alone, but never, O king, lustfully and out of season. And Kshatriya ladies by thousands conceived from such connection with Brahmanas. Then, O monarch, were born many Kshatriyas of greater energy, boys and girls, so that the Kshatriya race, might thrive. And thus sprang the Kshatriya race from Kshatriya ladies by Brahmanas of ascetic penances. And the new generation, blessed with long life, began to thrive in virtue. And thus were the four orders having Brahmanas at their head re-established. And every man at that time went in unto his wife during her season and never from lust and out of season. And, O bull of the Bharata race, in the same way, other creatures also, even those born in the race of birds went in unto their wives during the season alone. And, O protector of the earth, hundreds of thousands of creatures were born, and all were virtuous and began to multiply in virtue, all being free from sorrow and disease. And, O thou of the elephant's tread, this wide earth having the ocean for her boundaries, with her mountains and woods and towns, was once more governed by the Kshatriyas. And when the earth began to be again governed virtuously by the Kshatriyas, the other orders having Brahmanas for their first were filled with great joy. And the kings giving up all vices born of lust and anger and justly awarding punishments to those that deserved them protected the earth. And he of a hundred sacrifices, possessed also of a thousand eyes, beholding that the Kshatriya monarchs ruled so virtuously, poured down vivifying showers at proper times and places and blessed all creatures. Then, O king, no one of immature years died, and none knew a woman before attaining to age. And thus, O bull of the Bharata race, the earth, to the very coasts of the ocean, became filled with men that were all long-lived. The Kshatriyas performed great sacrifices bestowing much wealth. And the Brahmanas also all studied the Vedas with their branches and the Upanishads. And, O king, no Brahmana in those days ever sold the Vedas (i.e., taught for money) or ever read aloud the Vedas in the presence of a Sudra. The Vaisyas, with the help of bullocks, caused the earth to be tilled. And they never yoked the cattle themselves. And they fed with care all cattle that were lean. And men never milked kine as long as the calves drank only the milk of their dams (without having taken to grass or any other food). And no merchant in those days ever sold his articles by false scales. And, O tiger among men, all persons, holding to the ways of virtue, did everything with eyes set upon virtue. And, O monarch, all the orders were mindful of their own respective duties. Thus, O tiger among men, virtue in those days never sustained any diminution. And, O bull of the Bharata race, both kine and women gave birth to their offspring at the proper time. And trees bore flowers and fruit duly according to the seasons. And thus, O king, the krita age having then duly set in, the whole earth was filled with numerous creatures.
"And, O bull of the Bharata race, when such was the blessed state of the terrestrial world, the Asuras, O lord of men, began to be born in kingly lines. And the sons of Diti (Daityas) being repeatedly defeated in war by the sons of Aditi (celestials) and deprived also of sovereignty and heaven, began to be incarnated on the earth. And, O king, the Asuras being possessed of great powers, and desirous of sovereignty began to be born on earth amongst various creatures, such as kine, horses, asses, camels, buffaloes, among creatures such as Rakshasas and others, and among elephants and deer. And, O protector of the earth, owing to those already born and to those that were being born, the earth became incapable of supporting herself. And amongst the sons of Diti and of Danu, cast out of heaven, some were born on the earth as kings of great pride and insolence. Possessed of great energy, they covered the earth in various shapes. Capable of oppressing all foes, they filled the earth having the ocean for its boundaries. And by their strength they began to oppress Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras and all other creatures also. Terrifying and killing all creatures, they traversed the earth, O king, in bands of hundreds and thousands. Devoid of truth and virtue, proud of their strength, and intoxicated with (the wine of) insolence, they even insulted the great Rishis in their hermitages.
"And the earth, thus oppressed by the mighty Asuras endued with great strength and energy and possessed of abundant means, began to think of waiting on Brahman. The united strength of the creatures (such as Sesha, the Tortoise, and the huge Elephant), and of many Seshas too, became capable of supporting the earth with her mountains, burdened as she was with the weight of the Danavas. And then, O king, the earth, oppressed with weight and afflicted with fear, sought the protection of the Grandsire of all creatures. And she beheld the divine Brahman--the Creator of the worlds who knoweth no deterioration--surrounded by the gods, Brahmanas, and great Rishis, of exceeding good fortune, and adored by delighted Gandharvas and Apsaras always engaged in the service of the celestials. And the Earth, desirous of protection, then represented everything to him, in the presence, O Bharata, of all the Regents of the worlds. But, O king, the Earth's object had been known beforehand to the Omniscient, Self-create, and Supreme Lord. And, O Bharata, Creator as he is of the universe, why should he not know fully what is in the minds of his creatures including the very gods and the Asuras? O king, the Lord of the Earth, the Creator of all creatures, also called Isa, Sambhu, Prajapati, then spake unto her. And Brahman said, 'O holder of wealth, for the accomplishment of the object for which thou hast approached me, I shall appoint all the dwellers in the heavens.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so unto the Earth, O king, the divine Brahman bade her farewell. And the Creator then commanded all the gods saying, 'To ease the Earth of her burden, go ye and have your births in her according to your respective parts and seek ye strife (with the Asuras already born there)'. And the Creator of all, summoning also all the tribes of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras, spake unto them these words of deep import, 'Go ye and be born amongst men according to your respective parts in forms that ye like.'
"And all the gods with Indra, on hearing these words of the Lord of the celestials--words that were true, desirable under the circumstances, and fraught with benefit,--accepted them. And they all having resolved to come down on earth in their respected parts, then went to Narayana, the slayer of all foes, at Vaikunth--the one who has the discus and the mace in his hands, who is clad in purple, who is of great splendour, who hath the lotus on his navel, who is the slayer of the foes of the gods, who is of eyes looking down upon his wide chest (in yoga attitude), who is the lord of the Prajapati himself, the sovereign of all the gods, of mighty strength, who hath the mark of the auspicious whirl on his breast, who is the mover of every one's faculties and who is adored by all the gods. Him, Indra the most exalted of persons, addressed, saying, "Be incarnate." And Hari replied,--'Let it be.'"