(1) The son of Vyâsa said: 'The Supreme Lord Hari, the Original Cause of the cosmic manifestation, after thus having instructed Indra then disappeared from before the eyes of the devoted. (2) When the son of Atharvâ [Dadhîci], the saint, as was told was beseeched by the godly, the great personality, slightly amused, with a smile said the following oh son of Bharata. (3) 'Oh souls of God, don't you know that all embodied beings when they die have to suffer an unbearable, intense pain that takes away their consciousness? (4) All souls struggle to remain alive and the body they desired in this world is very dear to them. Who would be willing to give away his body, even to Lord Vishnu if He asked for it?'
(5) The gods said: 'What would there be too difficult oh brahmin, for persons as great as your holiness, whose virtues are sung by all and who are of mercy towards all? (6) People running after their self-interest do not know what trouble they cause to other people. If they would know they wouldn't make their demands. But if one [knows about the misery of others and] is capable of giving, one won't say no but comply.'
(7) The honorable saint said: 'Just to hear from you what would be the dharma [in this matter], I was opposing you. I will give up this dear body for you [though]. I sooner or later have to give it up anyway. (8) Anyone who with the impermanence of the body oh Lords, not full of mercy for each and all endeavors for honorability and religious principles, is a person pitiable even to the immobile creatures [like the tolerant trees, see also the S'rî S'rî Shadgosvâmî-ashthaka]! (9) By the meritorious ones of renown this much is recognized as the imperishable dharma: dharmic is the soul who laments over the distress of other living beings and feels happy upon their happiness. (10) Away with the misery, away with the difficulty! Because a physical body can perish any moment and be eaten by the jackals it wouldn't help [to hold on to it], it is not there for myself - a mortal is there with his body [in order to give his life] for that what is his own [for what he stands for] and for the ones he knows [his relatives and friends, see also S.B. 10.22: 35].'
(11) The son of Vyâsa said: 'Thus decided on the right course of action Dadhîci, the son of Atharvâ, gave up his body in sacrifice for the Supreme, the supreme Brahman, the Supreme Personality [compare 1.13: 55]. (12) He as a seer of the truth with his senses, life air, mind and intelligence under control, absorbed in trance being situated in the Supreme, was liberated from his bondage and left the world no longer taking notice of his material body [see also B.G. 8: 5]. (13-14) King Indra thereafter took up the thunderbolt that was created by Vis'vakarmâ, empowered by the great sage [Dadhîci] and suffused with the spiritual strength of the Supreme Lord. Together riding out with all the other gods while the munis offered prayers, he gloriously sat on the back of Gajendra [his elephant] to the apparent pleasure of all the three worlds. (15) Vritrâsura surrounded by the asura chiefs and commanders was with great force attacked as the enemy oh King, just like it happened when Rudra angrily attacked Antaka [Yamarâja]. (16) What followed was a great and most ferocious battle between the sura, the divine, and the asura, the demoniac hordes, which took place at the bank of the [celestial] Narmadâ river at the onset of the first millennium [the Vaivasvata-manvantara] of Tretâ-yuga. (17-18) Oh King, when the demons headed by Vritrâsura were confronted with the resplendent opulence of Indra the Heavenly King with the thunderbolt and the Rudras, Vasus, Âdityas, As'vins, Pitâs, Vahnis, Maruts, Ribhus, Sâdhyas and Vis'vadevas, they couldn't bear the sight. (19-22) Namuci, S'ambara, Anarvâ, Dvimûrdhâ, Rishabha, Asura, Hayagrîva, S'ankus'irâ, Vipracitti, Ayomukha, Pulomâ, Vrishaparvâ, Praheti, Heti and Utkala and the hundreds and thousands of other Daityas, Danavas, Yakshas, Râkshasas and others headed by Sumâli and Mâli who were all dressed up with golden ornaments, drove back the front of Indra's army that even for death itself was difficult to approach. Fearlessly the Asuras furiously roaring like lions thereupon pained their opponents with clubs, iron studded bludgeons, arrows, barbed missiles, mallets and lances. (23) The chiefs of the divine forces were from all sides covered by a shower of arrows, spears, axes, swords, s'ataghnîs and bhus'undis [different types of spiked weapons]. (24) Like stars in the sky covered by clouds, they couldn't be discerned any longer, completely covered as they were by the downpour of projectiles that from all sides in waves fell upon them. (25) But the showers of arrows and other weapons didn't reach the armies of the enlightened ones because the demigods quickly cut them midair into thousands of pieces. (26) Thereupon running out of arrows and weapons they showered a rain of mountain peaks, trees and stones upon them that, as before, were fragmented by the sura forces. (27) When the troops led by Vritrâsura saw that their enemy fared quite well under the load of weapons and mantras and that none of them was harmed by the trees, the stones and the different mountain peaks either, they became very afraid of Indra's soldiers. (28) All the daitya endeavors of time and again waging against the demigods who enjoyed the favor of Krishna were in vain, just as the rough words are of little men when they abuse the great ones. (29) They who were not of devotion unto the Lord, upon seeing their endeavors fruitless, left defeated in their pride as fighters the battlefield and gave up the fight that had just begun. They whose power had been nullified abandoned the commander [Vritrâsura] who had inspired them.
(30) Vritra seeing how the demons that followed him fled away and how his army was broken and scared away, spoke as a broad-minded hero with a big grin as follows. (31) Befitting time and circumstances the hero of heroes expressed himself in words that were even attractive to the greatest minds: 'Oh Vipracitti, Namuci and Pulomâ! Oh Maya, Anarvâ and S'ambara! Please listen to me. (32) All who are born inevitably have to face death, wherever they might exist in the universe. There is no way to counter that in this world which offers someone the opportunity to reach a better world and be glorious. Considering this indeed to be the case, who wouldn't accept a suitable way to die? (33) There are two approved ways to die with honor in this world, and both are very rare. One is to be allowed to leave the body when one engaged in yoga controlling the mind and senses concentrates on Brahman [Paramâtma and Bhagavân], and the other is to take the lead on the battlefield and never turn one's back.'