[…] After the Lokopalas had gone away, Arjuna — that slayer of all foes — began to think, O monarch, of the car of Indra! And as Gudakeca gifted with great intelligence was thinking of it, the car endued with great effulgence and guided by Matali, came dividing the clouds and illuminating the firmament and filling the entire welkin with its rattle deep as the roar of mighty masses of clouds. Swords, and miscrias of terrible forms, and maces of frightful description, and winged darts of celestial splendor, and lightnings of the brightest effulgence, and thunderbolts, and Tutagudas furnished with wheels and worked with atmospheric expansion and producing sounds, loud as the roar of great masses of clouds, were on that car. And there were also on that car fierce and huge-bodies Nagas with fiery mouths, and heaps of stones white as the fleecy clouds. And the car was drawn by tenthousand horses of golden hue, endued with the speed of the wind. And furnished with prowess of illusion, the car was drawn with such speed that the eye could hardly mark its progress. And Arjuna saw on that car the flag-staff called Vaijayanta, of blazing effulgence, resembling in hue the emerald or the dark blue lotus, and decked with golden ornaments, and straight as the bamboo. And beholding a charioteer decked in gold seated on that car, the mighty-armed son of Pritha regarded it as belonging to the celestials. […] Matali the charioteer of Cakra, hearing these words of Arjuna, soon mounted the car and controlled the horses. […] Arjuna, blazing like the sun itself, ascended the celestial car. And the Kuru prince, gifted with great intelligence, with a glad heart, coursed through the firmament on that celestial car effulgent as the sun and of extraordinary achievements. And after he had become invisible to the mortals of the earth, he behold thousends of cars of extraordinary beauty. And in that region there was no sun or moon or fire to give light, but it blazed in light of its own, generated by virtue and ascetic merit. And those brilliant regions that are seen from the earth in form of stars, like lamps (in the sky) — so small in consequence of their distance, though very large — were beheld by the son of Pandu, stationed in their respective places, full of beauty and effulgence and blazing with splendor all their own. […] ‘These, O son of Pritha, are virtous persons, stationed in their respective places. It is these whom thou hast seen, O exalted one, as stars from the earth!’ — The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, published by Pratap Chandra Roy, Calcutta 1886-1890
The quotation above comes from The Mahabharata and may lead to many possible interpretations …
The Mahabharata and Ramayana are the national epics of India. They are probably the longest poems in any language. The Mahabharata, attributed to the sage Vyasa, was written down from 540 to 300 B.C. It tells the legends of the Bharatas, one of the Aryan tribal groups. The Mahabharata was written down a long time ago, before the technology which is described in some parts of it, was (re)invented in our time. Even at the time of the complete literal and close English translation, in the years 1886-1890 (by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, published by Pratap Chandra Roy), no aircraft ever flew and the first combustion engine was just invented a few month earlier.
Get your own copy of this fascinating book: Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (4 Volume Set) by KISARI MOHAN GANGULY (This is still the only complete translation of the Mahabharata.)
Mahabharata (The Condensed Version of the World’s Greatest Epic) by Krishna Dharma (Editor), Krishna Dharma (Editor)