One day, the Pandavas encountered a Brahmin who was actually the god Fire. Fire explained that he wanted to satisfy his hunger by burning the Khandava Forest. Unfortunately, this forest was under the protection of the god Indra, who sent heavenly rains to protect the forest, its creatures, and his friend Taksaka, king of the serpents.
So Fire asked Varuna, god of waters, to give Arjuna and Krishna special weapons to defeat Indra. Then Fire began consuming the forest—thousands of creatures perished in the flames. Indra tried to quench the fire with rain, but Arjuna and Krishna deflected the rain with their weapons. There was a mighty battle for the Khandava Forest: Arjuna and Krishna vs. Indra and his friends. Ultimately, Arjuna and Krishna won, and the forest was consumed by Fire.
Fortunately, a few creatures survived: Taksaka (king of serpents), the god Maya, and four sarugaka birds. After the battle was over, everyone became friends again—Krishna, Arjuna, and Indra. Indra even gave Arjuna celestial weapons. Book 1 of The Mahabharata ends with Arjuna, Krishna, and Maya sitting together on the bank of a river.
|The Burning of the Khandava Forest.|