Reading Guide. Remember that Indra is Arjuna's father? In this next adventure, Arjuna will go to Swarga, Indra's heavenly abode, and there he will meet Urvashi. The consequences of this encounter will affect his life profoundly in the future!
Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [600 words]
Next appeared Indra, king of gods, Varuna, god of waters, Yama, king of the dead, and Kubera, lord of treasures, and they stood upon the mountain summit in all their glory; unto Arjuna they gave gifts of other celestial weapons.
Thereafter Indra transported his son to his own bright city, the celestial Swarga, where the flowers always bloom and sweet music is ever wafted on fragrant winds. There he beheld sea-born apsaras, the heavenly brides of gods and heroes, and music-loving gandharvas, who sang songs and danced merrily in their joy. And Urvashi, a fair apsara of faultless form, with bright eyes and silken hair, looked with love upon Arjuna, but she sought in vain to subdue him, whereat she spoke scornfully, saying, "Kama, god of love, hath wounded me with his arrows, yet thou dost scorn me. For this, O Arjuna, thou wilt for a season live unregarded among women as a dancer and musician."
Arjuna was troubled, but Indra said, "This curse will work out for thy good."
Arjuna abode in Indra's fair city for the space of five years. He achieved great skill in music and in dance and song. And he was trained also to wield the celestial weapons which the gods had given unto him.
Now the demons and giants who are named the daityas and danavas were the ancient enemies of Indra. Certain of them there were who had their dwellings in the lowest division of the underworld beneath the floor of ocean, which is called Patala. And a day came when Arjuna waged war with them. He rode forth in Indra's great car, which went through the air like to a bird, and Matali was the driver. When he reached the shore of the sounding sea, the billows rose against him like great mountains, and the waters were divided; he saw demon fish and giant tortoises, and vessels laden with rubies. But he paused not, for he was without fear. The mighty Arjuna was eager for battle, and he blew a mighty blast upon his war shell: the daityas and danavas heard him and quaked with terror. Then the demons smote their drums and sounded their trumpets, and amidst the dread clamor the wallowing sea monsters arose and leapt over the waves against Indra's great son. But Arjuna chanted mantras; he shot clouds of bright arrows; he fought with his bright celestial weapons, and the furies were thwarted and beaten back. Then they sent fire against him and water, and they flung rocks like to great peaks, but he fought on until in the end he triumphed, and slew all that stood against him nor could escape.
Thereafter the valiant hero rode speedily towards the city of demons and giants which is named Hiranyapura. The women came out to lure him, calling aloud, and their voices were like the voices of cranes. He heard but paused not. All these evil giant women were driven before him; in confusion they fled, terrified by the clamor of Indra's celestial car and the driving of Matali, and their earrings and their necklaces fell from their bodies like to boulders tumbling and thundering adown mountain steeps.
Arjuna reached the city of Hiranyapura and entered it, and he gazed with wonder on mighty chariots with ten thousand horses, which were many-colored like to gaily-plumaged peacocks, beautiful and stately and proud. And he wrecked the dwellings of the daityas and danavas.
Indra praised his warrior son for his valor in overcoming the demons and giants of ocean, and he gave unto him a chain of gold, a bright diadem, and the war shell which gave forth a mighty blast like to thunder.