321) Hearing the sounds of Arjuna’s conch, and the twang of the Gandiva, the Nivatakavacha Asuras, who were most valorous, came to face him.
322) Those three crore Danavas had bloated egos due to the boon of Brahma. Together, they showered numerous weapons on Partha.
323) Arjuna, who was well decked with a crown and garlands, countered their weapons with great astras powered by his knowledge of divine weapons, discharged excellent arrows from his Gandiva to stop those astras, and chopped their heads off.
324) Those Rakshasas were all killed by that great chariot-warrior Arjuna. After that, he went after sixty thousand great warriors who were known as Pauloma-gana and Kaleya-gana.
325) Even as they were showering astras and other weapons, Arjuna burnt all of them with the Pashupata astra. He returned to Indra loka where Shakra embraced him with great affection.
326) All of those Asuras, who were haters of the Devatas, reached Andhantamas. Later Arjuna obtained the permission of his father and returned to his brothers, seated in the shining chariot of the bearer of the Vajra.
327) Seeing the arrival of Arjuna, the brothers felt great joy. Enjoying their time, they spent a further four years on that mountain.
328) The Pandavas, whose minds were always fixed upon Sri Hari, spent their time happily by listening to stories of Sri Vishnu, and by meditating upon, and worshipping him.
329) “Without destroying enemies, without earning great fame and without following Sri Hari’s orders, Kings will never attain their primary goal”.
330) “For those belonging to other Varnas, forgiving enemies is an important Dharma. For all the Varnas, the primary Dharma is to follow Sri Hari’s orders”.
331) Hearing these words of Bhima, Yudhishthira once again climbed the shoulders of the Rakshasas along with Draupadi and his brothers and left.
332) When the Pandavas were staying on the lower hills of the Himalayas, Bhimasena, the son of Vayu, once went deer hunting with his bow, and came near Nahusha who was in the form of a large python.
333) Earlier, due to the killing of Vrutrasura, Indra, the husband of Shachi, had himself in the stem of a lotus. All the Devatas then conferred amongst themselves and made Nahusha, the son of Ayu, as the lord of the three worlds, after granting him a boon that he would receive the tapas and strength of all those whom he stared at.
Note: Indra hid in the stem of a lotus in Lake Manasa Sarovara, in order to hide from the Brahma Hatya Dosha for having killed Vrutrasura.
334) That Nahusha obtained every day, a large amount of tapas and strength of all the Suras and best of Brahmanas, and grew immensely. Swelling with pride, he then desired to obtain Shachi too.
335) As per the instructions of Indra, Shachi, in order to cheat him, asked Nahusha to sit in a vehicle carried by a group of great Rishis. Nahusha made the Rishis carry his vehicle.
336) The great Sage Agastya, in order to ensure Nahusha does not force himself upon Shachi, asked him a question about the pramanya of the Vedas. His mind being clouded, he replied that the Vedas were not a pramana. When Sage Agastya argued otherwise, he kicked the head of the Rishi.
337) At that moment, Brahma entered inside of Sage Bhrigu, who was all the while hiding inside the matted locks of Sage Agastya and had never been sighted by Nahusha, and cursed him – “O sinner! May you immediately become a python”.
338) “During the sixth part of the day, even those more powerful than you shall come under your grasp. When it becomes impossible to kill such a man, and if that man refuses to release himself even though he is capable, then all the excess tapas and strength you possess shall go to that man”.
339) “The entire tapas belonging to all the Devatas and the best Sages that is presently in you shall go to that man completely. Let there be no dispute about this”.
340) “Whenever a person answers all your questions, you will give up the body of the python and reach Swarga. Due to my grace, you will retain memory of your previous birth always”.
341) When Nahusha was thus cursed by Brahma, who was inside of Sage Bhrigu, he instantly fell down on Earth as a python.
342) Indra too worshipped Sri Vishnu and cleansed his sins and obtained his position again. For Indra, the sin due to the killing of Vrutra became an instrument for increasing punya.
343) How can the killing of Vrutrasura, and consequent protection of the world, be a sin for Indra, the ruler of the three worlds? Isn’t there a Veda-vakya that says Indra gained immense punya by killing Vrutra?
344) Sometimes it is clear sins too become an instrument for increase of punya. Just like the killing of Vrutra became a reason for increase of Indra’s punya.
345) This happens only for Devatas or Sages. For humans, it is never so. For them, paapa is paapa and punya remains punya. Similarly, the punya earned by Asuras sometimes becomes responsible for increase of their sins. So says the Skanda Purana. Therefore, it did not become sin for the husband of Shachi.
346) It is an excellent vrata of Devatas to not occupy the position of another (Devata). Therefore, even though they were capable, they seated Nahusha in the position of Indra.
347) In this way, due to the curse of Brahma, Nahusha fell down to Earth and, in the twenty-eighth Mahayuga, Bhimasena recognized Nahusha and knowingly came to him in order to take away his tapas.
348) In order to take away all of his tapas, that originally belonged to the Devatas and Munis, Bhima willingly came under his grasp.
349) When Devatas incarnate as humans, only a part of their strength manifests. However, for Sri Vayu alone, it manifests fully as per his desire. It is not so for the others.
350) It is the purport of Shastras that for Sri Vishnu alone all his qualities manifest fully at all times. Similarly, for humans and others, the rest of the qualities too manifest similarly (in decreased amounts).
351) When Devatas take Avatara as humans, if they do not express their true capabilities in spite of being able to do so, their punya increases and Sri Keshava becomes especially pleased.
352) Therefore, when his humane strength was blocked by the boon of Brahma, Bhimasena did not manifest his divine strength, although he was fully capable of doing so.
353-354) Even though he was extremely capable, Bhima did not answer the questions (of Nahusha). It is not Dharma for even Brahmanas to sustain themselves through (the trading of) education. Therefore, is there a need to say that the same cannot be done by Kshatriyas? Hence, Bhima, although he was knowledgeable, did not desire to free himself by answering the questions of Nahusha.
355) Even though Bhima did not make any explicit attempt, and although the snake was filled with the strength of the entire world, Nahusha could not even move Bhima. He only circled and held him, but could not do anything more.
356) Out of love for his brothers and mother, although Bhima wanted to get freed quickly, he did not make any attempts towards it.
357-359) In order to accept the tapas of all the Devatas and the best amongst Sages towards himself, Bhimasena remained that way, although he knew that he should not stay there for long due to the affection over his brothers and others. He thought that the strength of the python would decrease very soon, due to the orders of Sri Hari and the ruggedness of his own body.
360) At that moment, as per the words of Brahma stated earlier, and as per the orders of Sri Hari, the entire strength and tapas of the Devatas got into Vrikodara.