HotFreeBooks.com
Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 1
by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

"'And those same sons of Sagara, accepted this command of their father, and once more began to search through the entire world. Now these heroes saw a rift on the surface of the earth. And having reached this pit, the sons of Sagara began to excavate it. And with spades and pickaxes they went on digging the sea, making the utmost efforts. And that same abode of Varuna (namely the ocean), being thus, excavated by the united sons of Sagara and rent and cut on all sides round, was placed in a condition of the utmost distress. And the demons and snakes and Rakshasas and various (other) animated beings began to utter distressful cries, while being killed by Sagara's sons. And hundreds and thousands of animated beings were beheld with severed heads and separated trunks and with their skins and bones and joints rent asunder and broken. Thus they went on digging the ocean, which was the abode of Varuna and an exceedingly long space of time expired in this work, but still the horse was not found. Then, O lord of earth! towards the north-eastern region of the sea, the incensed sons of Sagara dug down as far as the lower world, and there they beheld the horse, roaming about on the surface of the ground. And they saw the magnanimous Kapila, who looked like a perfect mass of splendour. And having beheld him shining with his brightness, just as the fire shineth with its flames, they, O king! seeing the horse, were flushed with delight. And they being incensed, sent forward by their fate, paid no heed to the presence of the magnanimous Kapila, and ran forward with a view to seizing the horse. Then, O great king! Kapila, the most righteous of saints,—he whom the great sages name as Kapila Vasudeva—assumed a fiery look, and the mighty saint shot flames towards them, and thereby burnt down the dull-headed sons of Sagara. And Narada, whose practice of austerities was very great, when he beheld them reduced to ashes, came to Sagara's side, and gave the information to him. And when the king learnt this terrible news which proceeded from the mouth of the saint, for nearly an hour he remained sad, and then he bethought himself of what Siva had said. Then sending for Ansuman, the son of Asamanjas, and his own grandson, he, O chief of Bharata's race! spake the following words, "Those same sixty thousand sons of unmeasured strength having encountered Kapila's wrath, have met their death on my account. And, O my boy of stainless character! thy father also hath been forsaken by me, in order to discharge my duty (as a king), and being desirous of doing good to my subjects."'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O saint, whose sole wealth consists in religious practices! Tell me for what reason, Sagara, the foremost of kings, abandoned his own begotten son, endued with valour—an act so difficult (for all other men).'

"Lomasa said, 'A son was born to Sagara, known by the name of Asamanjas, he who was given birth to by the princess of Sivi. And he used to seize by throat the feeble children of the townsmen, and threw them while screaming into the river. And thereupon the townsmen, overwhelmed with terror and grief, met together, and all standing with joined palms, besought Sagara in the following way, "O great king! Thou art our protector from the dreaded peril of attack from a hostile force. Therefore it is proper for thee to deliver us from the frightful danger, proceeding from Asamanjas." And the most righteous of the rulers of men, having heard this frightful news from his subjects, for nearly an hour remained sad and then spake to his ministers, saying, "This day from the city let my son Asamanjas be driven forth. If ye wish to do what will be acceptable to me, let this be quickly done." And, O protector of men! those same ministers, thus addressed by the king, performed in a hurry exactly what the king had commanded them to do. Thus have I narrated to thee how the magnanimous Sagara banished his son, with a view to the welfare of the residents of the town. I shall now fully narrate to thee what Ansuman of the powerful bow was told by Sagara. Listen to me!

"'Sagara said, "O my boy! sore am I at heart for having abandoned thy father, on account of the death of my sons, and also on being unsuccessful in getting back the horse. Therefore, O grandson! harassed with grief and confounded with the obstruction to my religious rites as I am, thou must bring back the horse and deliver me from hell." Thus addressed by the magnanimous Sagara, Ansuman went with sorrow to that spot where the earth had been excavated. And by that very passage he entered into the sea, and beheld that illustrious Kapila and that same horse. And having beheld that ancient saint, most righteous of his order, looking like a mass of light, he bowed with his head to the ground, and informed him of the reason of his visit. Then, O great king, Kapila was pleased with Ansuman, and that saint of a virtuous soul told him to ask for a favour from him. And he in the first place prayed for the horse, for the purpose of using it in the sacrifice; in the second place he prayed for the purification of his fathers. Then the mighty chief of saints, Kapila spake to him, saying, "I shall grant thee everything that thou desirest, O stainless (prince). May good luck be thine! In thee are fixed (the virtues of) forbearance, and truth, and righteousness. By thee hath Sagara had all his desires fulfilled. Thou are (really) a son to thy father. And by thy ability the sons of Sagara will go to heaven (i.e., will be delivered from the consequences of their unhallowed death). And the son of thy son, with a view to purifying the sons of Sagara, will obtain the favour of the great god Siva, (by means of practising great austerities), and will (thus) bring (to this world) the river that floweth in three (separate) streams, Ganga, O chief of men! May good luck be thine! Take thou with thee the sacrificial horse. Finish, my lad! the sacrificial rites of the magnanimous Sagara." Thus addressed by the illustrious Kapila, Ansuman took the horse with him, and came back to the sacrificial yard of the mighty-minded Sagara. Then he fell prostrate at the feet of the high-souled Sagara, who smelt him on the head and narrated all the events to him, all that had been seen and heard by him, and likewise the destruction of Sagara's sons. He also announced that the horse had been brought back to the sacrificial yard. And when king Sagara heard of this, he no more grieved on account of his sons. And he praised and honoured Ansuman, and finished those same sacrificial rites. His sacrifice finished, Sagara was greeted honourably by all the gods; and he converted the sea, Varuna's dwelling place, into a son of himself. And the lotus-eyed (King Sagara) having ruled his kingdom for a period of exceeding length, placed his grandson on the throne, (full of) responsibilities and then ascended to heaven. And Ansuman likewise, O great king! virtuous in soul, ruled over the world as far as the edge of the sea, following the foot-prints of his father's father. His son was named Dilipa, versed in virtue. Upon him placing the duties of his sovereign post, Ansuman likewise departed this life. And then when Dilipa heard what an awful fate had overtaken his forefathers, he was sorely grieved and thought of the means of raising them. And the ruler of men made every great effort towards the descent of Ganga (to the mortal world). But although trying to the utmost of his power, he could not bring about what he so much wished. And a son was born to him, known by the name of Bhagiratha, beauteous, and devoted to a virtuous life, and truthful, and free from feelings of malice. And Dilipa appointed him as king, and betook himself to the forest life. And, O best of all the scions of Bharata's race! that same king (Dilipa), devoted himself to a successful course of austerities, and at the end of (sufficient) period, from the forest departed to heaven.'"

SECTION CVIII

"Lomasa said, 'That same king, of a powerful bow, standing at the head of the surrounding, (i.e., the occupant of an imperial throne) of a powerful car, (i.e., possessing every great fighting power) became the delight of the eyes and the soul of all the world. And he of the powerful arm came to learn how his forefathers had met an awful end from Kapila of mighty soul, and how they had been unable to attain the region of gods. And he with a sorrowful heart made over his kingly duties to his minister, and, O lord of men! for practising austerities, went to the side of the snowy Mountain (the Himalayas). And, O most praiseworthy of men, desirous of extinguishing his sins by leading an austere life, and (thereby) obtaining the favour of the (goddess) Ganga, he visited that foremost of mountains—Himalaya. And he beheld it adorned with peaks of diverse forms full of mineral earth; besprinkled on all sides with drops from clouds which were resting themselves upon the breeze; beautiful with rivers and groves and rocky spurs, looking like (so many) palaces (in a city); attended upon by lions and tigers that had concealed themselves in its caves and pits; and also inhabited by birds of checkered forms, which were uttering diverse sounds, such as the Bhringarajas, and ganders, and Datyuhas, and water-cocks, and peacocks and birds with a hundred feathers, and Jivanjivakas, and black birds, and Chakoras of eyes furnished with black corners, and the birds that love their young. And he saw the mountain abounding in lotus plants growing in delightful reservoirs of water. And the cranes rendered it charming with their sounds; and the Kinnaras and the celestial nymphs were seated on its stony slabs. And the elephants occupying the cardinal points had everywhere robbed its trees with the end of their tusks; and the demi-gods of the Vidyadhara class frequented the hill. And it was full of various gems, and was also infested by snakes bearing terrible poison and of glowing tongues. And the mountain at places looked like (massive) gold, and elsewhere it resembled a silvery (pile), and at some places it was like a (sable) heap of collyrium. Such was the snowy hill where the king now found himself. And that most praiseworthy of men at that spot betook himself to an awful austere course of life. And for one thousand years his subsistence was nothing but water, fruit and roots. When, however, a thousand years according to the calculation of gods had elapsed, then the great river Ganga having assumed a material form, manifested to him her (divine) self.

"'Ganga said. "O great king! what dost thou desire of me? And what must I bestow on thee? Tell me the same, O most praiseworthy of men! I shall do as thou mayst ask me." Thus addressed, the king then made his reply to Ganga, the daughter of the snowy Hill, saying, "O grantress of boons! O great river! my father's fathers, while searching for the horse, were sent by Kapila to the abode of the god of death. And those same sixty thousand sons of Sagara of mighty soul, having met with the majestic Kapila, perished, (to a soul) in an instant of time. Having thus perished, there hath been no place for them in the region of heaven. O great river! So long as thou dost not besprinkle those same bodies with thy water, there is no salvation for these same Sagara's sons. O blessed goddess! carry thou my forefathers, Sagara's sons, to the region of heaven. O great river! on their account am I beseeching thee forsooth."'

"Lomasa said, 'Ganga, the goddess saluted by the world, having heard these words of the king, was well pleased, and spake to Bhagiratha the following words: "O great king! I am prepared to do what thou dost ask me; there is no doubt therein. But when I shall descend from the sky to the earth, the force of my fall will be difficult to sustain, O protector of men! In the three worlds there exists none who is able to sustain the same, excepting Siva, the most praiseworthy of gods, the great Lord with the throat of sable blue. O (prince) of a powerful arm! Obtain the favour, by practising austerities, of that same Siva—giver of boons. That same god will sustain my descent upon his head. Thy desire he will fulfill, the desire, namely, to be of service to thy fathers, O king!" Then the great king Bhagiratha having heard the same, went to the Kailasa hill, and betaking himself to a severe course of penances, at the expiration of a certain length of time obtained the favour of that worker of blessings (Siva). And, O protector of men! that same best of men, in order that his forefathers might have a place in heaven secured to them, received from that very Siva the fulfilment of his wish, namely the wish that the descending Ganga might be sustained.'"

SECTION CIX

"Lomasa said, 'The blessed God having heard what Bhagiratha had said, and with a view to doing what was agreeable to the residents of heaven, replied to the king, saying, "So let it be. O most righteous of the protectors of men, O (prince) of a powerful arm! For thy sake I shall sustain the river of the gods, when she will take her descent from the sky, she who is pure and blessed and divine, O (king) of a mighty arm!" Saying this, he came to the snowy mountain, surrounded by his attendants, of awful mien, and with uplifted weapons of diverse forms. And standing there, he said to Bhagiratha, the most praiseworthy of men, "O (prince) of a powerful arm! do thou pray to the river, the daughter of the king of mountains. I shall sustain that most praiseworthy of rivers when she falls down from the third region of the world (heaven)." Having heard these words uttered by Siva, the king became devout (in heart), made obesiance and directed his thoughts towards Ganga. Then the delightful (river), of pure water in being so thought of by the king, and seeing that the great lord (Siva) was standing (to receive her fall), came down all of a sudden from the sky. And seeing that she had taken her leap from the sky, the gods, together with the mighty saints, the Gandharvas, the snakes, and the Yakshas, assembled there as spectators. Then came down from the sky Ganga, the daughter of the snowy mountain. And her whirlpools were raging, and she was teeming with fishes and sharks. O king! she directing her course towards the sea, separated herself, into three streams; and her water was bestrewn with piles of froth, which looked like so many rows of (white) ganders. And crooked and tortuous in the movement of her body, at places; and at others stumbling as it were; and covered with foam as with a robe: she went forward like a woman drunk. And elsewhere, by virtue of the roar of her waters, she uttered loud sounds. Thus assuming very many different aspects, when she fell from the sky, and reached the surface of the earth, she said to Bhagiratha, "O great king! show me the path that I shall have to take. O lord of the earth! for thy sake have I descended to the earth." Having heard these words, king Bhagiratha directed his course towards the spot where lay those bodies of mighty Sagara's sons, in order that, O most praiseworthy of men, the holy water might flood (the same). Having achieved the task of sustaining Ganga, Siva, saluted by men, went to Kailasa the most praiseworthy of mountains, accompanied by the celestials. And the protector of men (Bhagiratha) accompanied by Ganga reached the sea; and the sea, the abode of Varuna, was quickly filled. And the king adopted Ganga as a daughter of himself, and at that spot offered libations of water to the names of his forefathers; thus was his heart's wish fulfilled. Thus asked by thee, I have narrated the whole story how Ganga running in three streams, was brought down to the earth for filling the sea; how the mighty saint had drunk up the sea for a particular reason, and how, O lord! Vatapi, the slayer of Brahmanas, was destroyed by Agastya.'"

SECTION CX

Vaisampayana said, "O chief of the Bharata race! then the son of Kunti went at a slow pace to the two rivers Nanda and Aparananda, which had the virtue of destroying the dread of sin. And the protector of men having reached the healthy hill Hemakuta, beheld there very many strange and inconceivable sights. There the very utterance of words caused the gathering of clouds, and a thousand volleys of stones. And people at its sight were struck sad, and were unable to ascend the hill. There the winds blew for aye, and the heavens always poured down rains; and likewise the sounds of the recitation of the sacred writ were heard, yet nobody was seen. In the evening and in the morning would be seen the blessed fire that carries offerings to the gods and there flies would bite and interrupt the practice of austerities. And there a sadness would overtake the soul, and people would become sick. The son of Pandu, having observed very many strange circumstances of this character again addressed his questions to Lomasa with reference to these wonderful things.

"Lomasa said, 'O slayer of foes! O king! I am going to tell thee as we heard it before; do thou attend to the same with intent mind. In this peak of Rishava, there was once a saint known by that name. And his life had lasted for many hundred years. And he was devoted to penances and was greatly wrathful. And he, forsooth, for having been spoken to by others, from wrath addressed the hill thus, "Whoever should utter any words here, thou must throw stones at him, and thou must call up the winds to prevent him from making any noise." This was what the saint said. And so at this place, as soon as a man utters any words, he is forbidden by a roaring cloud. O king! thus these deeds were performed by that great saint, and from wrath he also forbade other acts. O king! tradition says that when the gods of yore had come to the Nanda, suddenly came over (there) a number of men to look at the celestials. Those same gods at whose head stood Indra did not, however, like to be seen; and so they rendered this spot inaccessible, by raising obstructions in the form of hills. And from that day forward, O Kunti's son! men could not cast their eyes at any time on what looked like a hill, far less could they ascend the same. This big mountain is incapable of being seen by one who hath not led an austere life, nor can such a one ascend it. Therefore, O son of Kunti! keep thou thy tongue under control. Here at that time all those gods performed the best sacrificial rites. O Bharata's son! Even up to this day these marks thereof may be seen. This grass here hath the form of the sacred kusa grass: the ground here seemeth to be overspread with the sacred grass; and, O lord of men! many of these trees here look like the spots for tying the sacrificial beasts. O Bharata's son! still the Gods and saints have residence here; and their sacred fire is observed in the morning and in the evening. Here if one bathes, his sin is forthwith destroyed, O Kunti's son! O most praiseworthy of the race of Kuru! do thou, therefore, perform thy ablutions, together with thy younger brothers. Then after having washed thyself in the Nanda, thou wilt repair to the river Kausiki, the spot where the most excellent and severest form of penances was practised by Viswamitra.' Then the king with his attendants, having washed his body there, proceeded to the river Kausiki, which was pure and delightful and pleasant with cool water.

"Lomasa said, 'This is the pure divine river by name Kausiki. O chief of Bharata's race! and this is the delightful hermitage of Viswamitra, conspicuous here. And this is a hermitage, with a holy name, belonging to Kasyapa of mighty soul; whose son was Rishyasringa, devoted to penances, and of passions under control. He by force of his penances caused Indra to rain; and that god, the slayer of the demons Vala and Vritra, dreading him, poured down rain during a drought. That powerful and mighty son of Kasyapa was born of a hind. He worked a great marvel in the territory of Lomapada. And when the crops had been restored, king Lomapada gave his daughter Santa in marriage to him, as the sun gave in marriage his daughter Savitri.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'How was the son of Kasyapa, Rishyasringa, born of a hind? And how was he endowed with holiness, being the issue of a reprehensible sexual connexion? And for what reason was Indra, the slayer of the demons Vala and Vritra, afraid of that same sagacious boy, and poured down rain during a period of drought? And how beautiful was that princess Santa, pure in life, she who allured the heart of him when he had turned himself into a stag? And since the royal saint Lomapada is said to have been of a virtuous disposition, why was it that in his territory, Indra, the chastiser of the demon Paka, had withheld rain? O holy saint! all this in detail, exactly as it happened, thou wilt be pleased to narrate to me, for I am desirous of hearing the deeds of Rishyasringa's life.'

"Lomasa said, 'Hear how Rishyasringa, of dreaded name, was born as a son to Vibhandaka, who was a saint of the Brahmana caste, who had cultured his soul by means of religious austerities, whose seed never failed in causing generation, and who was learned and bright like the Lord of beings. And the father was highly honoured, and the son was possessed of a mighty spirit, and, though a boy, was respected by aged men. And that son of Kasyapa, Vibhandaka, having proceeded to a big lake, devoted himself to the practice of penances. And that same saint, comparable to a god, laboured for a long period. And once while he was washing his mouth in the waters, he beheld the celestial nymph Urvasi—whereupon came out his seminal fluid. And, O king! a hind at that time lapped it up along with the water that she was drinking, being athirst; and from this cause she became with child. That same hind had really been a daughter of the gods, and had been told of yore by the holy Brahma, the creator of the worlds, "Thou shall be a hind; and when in that form, thou shall give birth to a saint; thou shalt then be freed." As Destiny would have it, and as the word of the creator would not be untrue, in that same hind was born his (Vibhandaka's) son a mighty saint. And Rishyasringa, devoted to penances, always passed his days in the forest. O king! there was a horn on the head of that magnanimous saint and for this reason did he come to be known at the time by the name of Rishyasringa. And barring his father, not a man had ever before been seen by him; therefore his mind, O protector of men! was entirely devoted to the duties of a continent life. At this very period there was a ruler of the land of Anga known by the name of Lomapada who was a friend of Dasaratha. We have heard that he from love of pleasure had been guilty of a falsehood towards a Brahmana. And that same ruler of the world had at that time been shunned by all persons of the priestly class. And he was without a ministering priest (to assist him in his religious rites). And the god of a thousand eyes (Indra) suddenly abstained from giving rain in his territory; so that his people began to suffer and O lord of the earth! he questioned a number of Brahmanas, devoted to penances, of cultivated minds, and possessed of capabilities with reference to the matter of rain being granted by the lord of gods, saying, "How may the heavens grant us the rain? Think of an expedient (for this purpose)." And those same cultured men, being thus questioned, gave expression to their respective views. And one among them—the best of saints—spake to that same king, saying, "O lord of kings! the Brahmanas are angry with thee. Do some act (therefore) for appeasing them. O ruler of the earth! send for Rishyasringa, the son of a saint, resident of the forest knowing nothing of the female sex, and always taking delight in simplicity. O king! if he, great in the practice of penances, should show himself in thy territory, forthwith rain would be granted by the heavens, herein I have no doubt at all." And, O king! having heard these words Lomapada made atonement for his sins. And he went away; and when the Brahmanas had been appeased, he returned again, and seeing the king returned, the people were again glad at heart. Then the king of Anga convened a meeting of his ministers, proficient in giving counsel. And he took great pains in order to settle some plan for securing a visit from Rishyasringa. And, O unswerving (prince)! with those ministers, who were versed in all branches of knowledge, and exceedingly proficient in worldly matters, and had a thorough training in practical affairs, he at last settled a plan (for gaining his object). And then he sent for a number of courtesans, women of the town, clever in everything. And when they came, that same ruler of the earth spake to them, saying, "Ye lovely women! Ye must find some means to allure, and obtain the confidence of the son of the saint—Rishyasringa, whom ye must bring over to my territory." And those same women, on the one hand afraid of the anger of the king and on the other, dreading a curse from the saint, became sad and confounded, and declared the business to be beyond their power. One, however, among them—a hoary woman, thus spake to the king, "O great king! him whose wealth solely consists in penances, I shall try to bring over here. Thou wilt, however, have to procure for me certain things, in connection with the plan. In that case, I may be able to bring over the son of the saint—Rishyasringa." Thereupon the king gave an order that all that she might ask for should be procured. And he also gave a good deal of wealth and jewels of various kinds. And then, O Lord of the earth, she took with herself a number of women endowed with beauty and youth, and went to the forest without delay.'"

SECTION CXI

"Lomasa said, 'O descendant of Bharata! she in order to compass the object of the king, prepared a floating hermitage, both because the king had ordered so, and also because it exactly accorded with her plan. And the floating hermitage, containing artificial trees adorned with various flowers and fruits, and surrounded by diverse shrubs and creeping plants and capable of furnishing choice and delicious fruits, was exceedingly delightful, and nice, and pleasing, and looked as if it had been created by magic. Then she moored the vessel at no great distance from the hermitage of Kasyapa's son, and sent emissaries to survey the place where that same saint habitually went about. And then she saw an opportunity; and having conceived a plan in her mind, sent forward her daughter, a courtesan by trade and of smart sense. And that clever woman went to the vicinity of the religious man and arriving at the hermitage beheld the son of the saint.

"'The courtesan said, "I hope, O saint! that is all well with the religious devotees. And I hope that thou hast a plentiful store of fruits and roots and that thou takest delight in this hermitage. Verily I come here now to pay thee a visit. I hope the practice of austerities among the saints is on the increase. I hope that thy father's spirit hath not slackened and that he is well pleased with thee. O Rishyasringa of the priestly caste! I hope thou prosecutest the studies proper for thee."

"'Rishyasringa said, "Thou art shining with lustre, as if thou wert a (mass) of light. And I deem thee worthy of obeisance. Verily I shall give thee water for washing thy feet and such fruits and roots also as may be liked by thee, for this is what my religion hath prescribed to me. Be thou pleased to take at thy pleasure thy seat on a mat made of the sacred grass, covered over with a black deer-skin and made pleasant and comfortable to sit upon. And where is thy hermitage? O Brahmana! thou resemblest a god in thy mien. What is the name of this particular religious vow, which thou seemest to be observing now?"

"'The courtesan said, "O son of Kasyapa! on the other side of yonder hill, which covers the space of three Yojanas, is my hermitage—a delightful place. There, not to receive obeisance is the rule of my faith nor do I touch water for washing my feet. I am not worthy of obeisance from persons like thee; but I must make obeisance to thee. O Brahmana! This is the religious observance to be practised by me, namely, that thou must be clasped in my arms."

"'Rishyasringa said, "Let me give thee ripe fruits, such as gallnuts, myrobalans, Karushas, Ingudas from sandy tracts and Indian fig. May it please thee to take a delight in them!"'

"Lomasa said, 'She, however, threw aside all those edible things and then gave him unsuitable things for food. And these were exceedingly nice and beautiful to see and were very much acceptable to Rishyasringa. And she gave him garlands of an exceedingly fragrant scent and beautiful and shining garments to wear and first-rate drinks; and then played and laughed and enjoyed herself. And she at his sight played with a ball and while thus employed, looked like a creeping plant broken in two. And she touched his body with her own and repeatedly clasped Rishyasringa in her arms. Then she bent and broke the flowery twigs from trees, such as the Sala, the Asoka and the Tilaka. And overpowered with intoxication, assuming a bashful look, she went on tempting the great saint's son. And when she saw that the heart of Rishyasringa had been touched, she repeatedly pressed his body with her own and casting glances, slowly went away under the pretext that she was going to make offerings on the fire. On her departure, Rishyasringa became over-powered with love and lost his sense. His mind turned constantly to her and felt itself vacant. And he began to sigh and seemed to be in great distress. At that moment appeared Vibhandaka, Kasyapa's son, he whose eyes were tawny like those of a lion, whose body was covered with hair down to the tip of the nails, who was devoted to studies proper for his caste, and whose life was pure and was passed in religious meditation. He came up and saw that his son was seated alone, pensive and sad, his mind upset and sighing again and again with upturned eyes. And Vibhandaka spake to his distressed son, saying, "My boy! why is it that thou art not hewing the logs for fuel. I hope thou hast performed the ceremony of burnt offering today. I hope thou hast polished the sacrificial ladles and spoons and brought the calf to the milch cow whose milk furnisheth materials for making offerings on the fire. Verily thou art not in thy wonted state, O son! Thou seemest to be pensive, and to have lost thy sense. Why art thou so sad today? Let me ask thee, who hath been to this place today?"'"

SECTION CXII

"'Rishyasringa said, "Here came to-day a religious student with a mass of hair on his head. And he was neither short nor tall. And he was of a spirited look and a golden complexion, and endued with eye large as lotuses; and he was shining and graceful as a god. And rich was his beauty blazing like the Sun; and he was exceedingly fair with eyes graceful and black. And his twisted hair was blue-black and neat and long and of a fragrant scent and tied up with strings of gold. A beautiful ornament was shining on his neck which looked like lightning in the sky. And under the throat he had two balls of flesh without a single hair upon them and of an exceedingly beautiful form. And his waist was slender to a degree and his navel neat; and smooth also was the region about his ribs. Then again there shone a golden string from under his cloth, just like this waist-string of mine. And there was something on his feet of a wonderful shape which give forth a jingling sound. Upon his wrists likewise was tied a pair of ornaments that made a similar sound and looked just like this rosary here. And when he walked, his ornaments uttered a jingling sound like those uttered by delighted ganders upon a sheet of water. And he had on his person garments of a wonderful make; these clothes of mine are by no means beautiful like those. And his face was wonderful to behold; and his voice was calculated to gladden the heart; and his speech was pleasant like the song of the male blackbird. And while listening to the same I felt touched to my inmost soul. And as a forest in the midst of the vernal season, assumes a grace only when it is swept over by the breeze, so, O father! he of an excellent and pure smell looks beautiful when fanned by the air. And his mass of hair is neatly tied up and remains adhering to the head and forehead evenly sundered in two. And his two eyes seemed to be covered with wonderful Chakravaka birds of an exceedingly beautiful form. And he carried upon his right palm a wonderful globur fruit, which reaches the ground and again and again leaps up to the sky in a strange way. And he beats it and turns himself round and whirls like a tree moved by the breeze. And when I looked at him, O father! he seemed to be a son of the celestials, and my joy was extreme, and my pleasure unbounded. And he clasped my body, took hold of my matted hair, and bent down my mouth, and, mingling his mouth with my own, uttered a sound that was exceedingly pleasant. And he doth not care for water for washing his feet, nor for those fruits offered by me; and he told me that such was the religious observance practised by him. And he gave unto me a number of fruits. Those fruits were tasteful unto me: these here are not equal to them in taste. They have not got any rind nor any stone within them, like these. And he of a noble form gave me to drink water of an exceedingly fine flavour; and having drunk it, I experienced great pleasure; and the ground seemed to be moving under my feet. And these are the garlands beautiful and fragrant and twined with silken threads that belong to him. And he, bright with fervent piety, having scattered these garlands here, went back to his own hermitage. His departure hath saddened my heart; and my frame seems to be in a burning sensation! And my desire is to go to him as soon as I can, and to have him every day walk about here. O father, let me this very moment go to him. Pray, what is that religious observance which is being practised by him. As he of a noble piety is practising penances, so I am desirous to live the same life with him. My heart is yearning after similar observances. My soul will be in torment if I see him not."'"

SECTION CXIII

"'Vibhandaka said, "Those are, O son! Rakshasas. They walk about in that wonderfully beautiful form. Their strength is unrivalled and their beauty great. And they always meditate obstruction to the practice of penances. And, O my boy, they assume lovely forms and try to allure by diverse means. And those fierce beings hurled the saints, the dwellers of the woods, from blessed regions (won by their pious deeds). And the saint who hath control over his soul, and who is desirous of obtaining the regions where go the righteous, ought to have nothing to do with them. And their acts are vile and their delight is in causing obstruction to those who practise penance; (therefore) a pious man should never look at them. And, O son! those were drinks unworthy to be drunk, being as they were spirituous liquors consumed by unrighteous men. And these garlands, also, bright and fragrant and of various hues, are not intended for saints." Having thus forbidden his son by saying that those were wicked demons, Vibhandaka went in quest of her. And when by three day's search he was unable to trace where she was he then came back to his own hermitage. In the meanwhile, when the son of Kasyapa had gone out to gather fruits, then that very courtesan came again to tempt Rishyasringa in the manner described above. And as soon as Rishyasringa had her in sight, he was glad and hurriedly rushing towards him said, "Let us go to thy hermitage before the return of my father." Then, O king! those same courtesans by contrivances made the only son of Kasyapa enter their bark, and unmoored the vessel. And by various means they went on delighting him and at length came to the side of Anga's king. And leaving then that floating vessel of an exceedingly white tint upon the water, and having placed it within sight of the hermitage, he similarly prepared a beautiful forest known by the name of the Floating Hermitage. The king, however, kept that only son of Vibhandaka within that part of the palace destined for the females when of a sudden he beheld that rain was poured by the heavens and that the world began to be flooded with water. And Lomapada, the desire of his heart fulfilled, bestowed his daughter Santa on Rishyasringa in marriage. And with a view to appease the wrath of his father, he ordered kine to be placed, and fields to be ploughed, by the road that Vibhandaka was to take, in order to come to his son. And the king also placed plentiful cattle and stout cowherds, and gave the latter the following order:

"'"When the great saint Vibhandaka should enquire of you about his son, ye must join your palms and say to him that these cattle, and these ploughed fields belong to his son and that ye are his slaves, and that ye are ready to obey him in all that he might bid." Now the saint, whose wrath was fierce, came to his hermitage, having gathered fruits and roots and searched for his son. But not finding him he became exceedingly wroth. And he was tortured with anger and suspected it to be the doing of the king. And therefore, he directed his course towards the city of Champa having made up his mind to burn the king, his city, and his whole territory. And on the way he was fatigued and hungry, when he reached those same settlements of cowherds, rich with cattle. And he was honoured in a suitable way by those cowherds and then spent the night in a manner befitting a king. And having received very great hospitality from them, he asked them, saying, "To whom, O cowherds, do ye belong?" Then they all came up to him and said, "All this wealth hath been provided for thy son." At different places he was thus honoured by that best of men, and saw his son who looked like the god Indra in heaven. And he also beheld there his daughter-in-law, Santa, looking like lightning issuing from a (cloud). And having seen the hamlets and the cowpens provided for his son and having also beheld Santa, his great resentment was appeased. And O king of men! Vibhandaka expressed great satisfaction with the very ruler of the earth. And the great saint, whose power rivalled that of the sun and the god of fire, placed there his son, and thus spake, "As soon as a son is born to thee, and having performed all that is agreeable to the king, to the forest must thou come without fail." And Rishyasringa did exactly as his father said, and went back to the place where his father was. And, O king of men! Santa obediently waited upon him as in the firmament the star Rohind waits upon the Moon, or as the fortunate Arundhati waits upon Vasishtha, or as Lopamudra waits upon Agastya. And as Damayanti was an obedient wife to Nala, or as Sachi is to the god who holdeth the thunderbolt in his hand or as Indrasena, Narayana's daughter, was always obedient to Mudgala, so did Santa wait affectionately upon Rishyasringa, when he lived in the wood. This is the holy hermitage which belonged to him. Beautifying the great lake here, it bears holy fame. Here perform thy ablutions and have thy desire fulfilled. And having purified thyself, direct thy course towards other holy spots.'"

SECTION CXIV

Vaisampayana said, "Then, O Janamejaya, the son of Pandu started from the river Kausiki and repaired in succession to all the sacred shrines. And, O protector of men, he came to the sea where the river Ganga falls into it; and there in the centre of five hundred rivers, he performed the holy ceremony of a plunge. Then, O ruler of the earth, accompanied by his brothers, the valiant prince proceeded by the shore of the sea towards the land where the Kalinga tribes dwell.

"Lomasa said, 'There is the land, O Kunti's son, where the Kalinga tribes dwell. Through it passeth the river Vaitarani, on the banks whereof even the god of virtue performed religious rites, having first placed himself under the protection of the celestials. Verily, this is the northern bank, inhabited by saints, suitable for the performance of religious rites beautified by a hill, and frequented by persons of the regenerate caste. This spot (in holiness) rivals the path whereby a virtuous man, fit for going to heaven, repairs to the region inhabited by gods. And verily at this spot in former times, other saints likewise worshipped the immortals by the performance of religious rites. And at the very spot it was that the god Rudra, O king of kings, seized the sacrificial beast and exclaimed, "This is my share!" O chief of the descendants of Bharata, then when the beast was carried away by Siva, the gods spake to him saying, "Cast not a covetous glance at the property of others, disregarding all the righteous rules." Then they addressed words of glorification of a pleasing kind to the god Rudra. And they satisfied him by offering a sacrifice, and paid him suitable honours. Thereupon he gave up the beast, and went by the path trodden by the gods. Thereupon what happened to Rudra, learn from me, O Yudhishthira! Influenced by the dread of Rudra, the gods set apart for evermore, the best allotment out of all shares, such as was fresh and not stale (to be appropriated by the god). Whosoever performs his ablutions at this spot, while reciting this ancient story, beholds with his mortal eyes the path that leads to the region of the gods."

Vaisampayana said, "Then all the sons of Pandu and likewise the daughter of Drupada—all of whom were the favoured of Fate—descended to the river Vaitarani, and made libations to the names of their fathers.

"Yudhishthira said, 'O Lomasa, how great must be the force of a pious deed! Having taken my bath at this spot in a proper form, I seem to touch no more the region inhabited by mortal men! O saint of a virtuous life, I am beholding all the regions. And this is the noise of the magnanimous dwellers of the wood, who are reciting their audible prayers.'

"Lomasa said, 'O Yudhishthira, the place whence this noise comes and reaches thy ears is at the distance of three hundred thousand yojanas, to be sure. O lord of men, rest thou quiet and utter no word. O king, this is the divine forest of the Self-existent One, which hath now come to our view. There, O king, Viswakarma of a dreaded name performed religious rites. On the mighty occasion of that sacrifice, the Self-existent One made a gift of this entire earth with all its hilly and forest tracts, to Kasyapa, by way of gratuity, for ministering as a priest. And then, O Kuru's son, as soon as that goddess Earth was giving away, she became sad at heart, and wrathfully spake the following words to that great lord, the ruler of the worlds, "O mighty god, it is unworthy of thee to give me away to an ordinary mortal. And this act of gift on thy part will come to nothing; (for) here am I going to descend into the bottom of the nether world." Then when the blessed saint Kasyapa beheld the goddess Earth, despondent and sad, he, O protector of men, performed a propitiatory act calculated to appease her wrath. And then, O Pandu's son, the Earth was pleased with his pious deed. And she uprose again from within the waters, and showed herself in the form of a sacred altar. This, O king, is the spot which distinctly manifests the form of an altar. O great monarch, ascend over it, and thou wilt gain valour and strength. And, O king, this is the very altar which reaches as far as the sea, and rests itself upon its bosom. May good luck be thine, do thou mount hereupon, and of thyself cross the sea. And while thou this day mountest upon it, I shall administer the ceremony for averting all evil from thee; for this altar here, as soon as it gets a mortal's touch, at once enters into the sea. Salutation to the god who protects the universe! Salutation to thee that art beyond the universe! O Lord of gods, vouchsafe thy presence in this sea. O Pandu's son, thou must recite the following words of truth, and while so reciting, thou must quickly ascend this altar, "The god of fire, and the sun, and the organ of generation, and water, and goddess and the seed of Vishnu, and the navel of nectar. The god of fire is the organ that generated the (ocean); the earth is thy body; Vishnu deposited the seed that caused thy being and thou art the navel of nectar." Thus, O Pandu's son, the words of truth must be audibly recited, and while so reciting, one must plunge into the lord of rivers. O most praiseworthy of Kunti's son, otherwise this lord of waters of divine birth, this best storehouse of the waters (of the earth), should not be touched, O son of Kunti, even with the end of a sacred grass.'"

Vaisampayana said, "Then when the ceremony for averting evil had been completed in his behalf, the magnanimous Yudhishthira went into the sea, and having performed all that the saint had bid, repaired to the skirts of the Mahendra hill, and spent the night at that spot."

SECTION CXV

Vaisampayana said, "The protector of the earth spent there a single night, and with his brothers, paid the highest honours to the religious men. And Lomasa made him acquainted with the names of all of them, such as the Bhrigus, the Angiras, the Vasishthas, and the Kasyapas. And the royal saint paid visit to them all and made obeisance to them with joined palms. And then he asked the valiant Akritavrana, who was a follower of Parasurama, 'when will the revered Parasurama show himself to the religious men here? It is desired on that occasion to obtain a sight of the descendant of Bhrigu.'

"Akritavrana said, 'Thy journey to this spot is already known to Rama, whose soul spontaneously knows everything. And he is in every way well-pleased with thee, and he will show himself readily to thee. And the saints who practise penances here, are permitted to see him on the fourteenth and the eighth day of the lunar course. On the morrow at the end of this very night there will set in the fourteenth day of the lunar course. On that occasion thou wilt have a sight of him, clad in a sable deerskin, and wearing his hair in the form of a matted mass.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast been a follower of the mighty Rama, Jamadagni's son; thou must, therefore, have been the eye-witness of all the deeds achieved by him in former days. I, therefore, request thee to narrate to me how the members of the military caste were vanquished by Rama on the field of battle, and what the original cause of those conflicts was.'

"Akritavrana said, 'With pleasure shall I recite to thee that excellent story, O Bharata's son, O chief of kings, the story of the godlike deeds of Rama, the son of Jamadagni, who traced his origin to Bhrigu's race. I shall also relate the achievements of the great ruler of the Haihaya tribe. That king, Arjuna by name, the mighty lord of the Haihaya tribe was killed by Rama. He, O Pandu's son, was endued with a thousand arms; and by the favour of Dattatreya he likewise had a celestial car made of gold. And, O protector of the earth, his rule extended over the entire animated world, wheresoever located on this earth. And the car of that mighty monarch could proceed everywhere in an unobstructed course. And grown resistless by the virtue of a granted boon, he ever mounted on that car, trampled upon gods and Yakshas and saints on all sides round. And all the born beings wheresoever placed, were harassed by him. Then the celestials and the saints of a rigidly virtuous life, met together, and thus spake to Vishnu, the god of gods, the slayer of demons, and possessed of prowess that never failed, saying. "O blessed and revered lord, for the purpose of preserving all the born beings, it is necessary that Arjuna should be killed by thee." And the mighty ruler of the Haihaya tribe placing himself on his celestial car, affronted Indra, while that deity was enjoying himself with Sachi, his queen. Then, O Bharata's son, the blessed and the revered god (Vishnu) held a consultation with Indra, with a view to destroying Kartavirya's son. And on that occasion, all that was for the good of the world of beings, was communicated by the lord of gods; and the blessed god worshipped by the world, to do all that was necessary, went to the delightful Vadari wood which was his own chosen retreat for practising penances. And at this very time there lived on the earth a mighty monarch in the land of Kanyakuvja, a sovereign whose military force was exceedingly great. And his name of Gadhi was famous in the world. He, however, betook himself to a forest-life. And while he was dwelling in the midst of the wood, there was born to him a daughter beautiful as a nymph of heaven. And Richika, the son of Bhrigu, asked for her to be united with himself in marriage. And then Gadhi spake to that Brahmana, who led a rigidly austere life, saying, "There is a certain family custom in our race; it hath been founded by my ancestors of a bygone age. And, O most excellent of the sacerdotal caste, be it known to thee that the intending bridegroom must offer a dowry consisting of a thousand fleet steeds, whose colour must be brown and every one of whom must possess a single sable car. But, O Bhrigu's son, a reverend saint like thee cannot be asked to offer the same. Nor can my daughter be refused to a magnanimous saint of thy (exalted) rank." Thereupon Richika said, "I will give thee a thousand fleet steeds, brown in hue and possessing a single sable car; let thy daughter be given in marriage to me."'

"Akritavrana said, 'Thus having given his word, O king, he went and said to Varuna, "Give me a thousand fleet steeds brown in colour, and each with one black ear. I want the same as dowry for my marriage." To him Varuna forthwith gave a thousand steeds. Those steeds had issued out of the river Ganga; hence the spot hath been named, The horse's landing place. And in the city of Kanyakuvja, the daughter of Gadhi, Satyavati by name, was given in marriage; and the gods themselves were of the party of the bride. Richika, the most excellent of the sacerdotal caste, thus procured a thousand steeds, and had a sight of the dwellers of heaven and won a wife in the proper form. And he enjoyed himself with the girl of slender waist, and thus gratified all the wishes and desire that he ever had. And when the marriage had been celebrated, O king, his father Bhrigu came on a visit to see him and his wife; and he was glad to see his praiseworthy son. And the husband and wife together paid their best respects to him, who was worshipped by all the gods. And when he had seated himself, they both with joined palms, stood near him, in order that they might do his bidding. And then the revered saint, Bhrigu, glad at heart, thus spoke to his daughter-in-law, saying, "O lovely daughter, as for a boon I am ready to grant thee any object of thy wish." And there upon she asked for his favour in this, that a son might be born to both herself and her mother. And he vouchsafed the favour thus asked for.

"'Bhrigu said, "During the days that your season lasts, thou and thy mother must take a bath, with the ceremony for bringing forth a male child. And ye two must then separately embrace two different trees—she a peepal tree, and thou a fig tree. And, O dutiful girl, here are two pots of rice and milk, prepared by me with the utmost care. I having ransacked the whole universe to find the drugs, the essence whereof hath been blended with this milk and rice. It must be taken as food with the greatest care." And saying this, he vanished from sight. The two ladies, however, made an interchange both in the matter of the pots of rice, and likewise as regards the trees (to be embraced by each). Then after the lapse of very many days, the revered saint, once more came. And he came knowing (what had happened) by his attribute of divine knowledge. Then Bhrigu possessed of mighty strength, spake to Satyavati, his daughter-in-law, saying, "O dutiful girl! O my daughter of a lovely brow, the wrong pot of rice thou tookest as food. And it was the wrong tree which was embraced by thee. It was thy mother who deluded thee. A son will be born of thee, who, though of the priestly caste, will be of a character fit for the military order; while a mighty son will be born of thy mother, who, though by birth a Kshatriya will assume a life suitable to the sacerdotal order. And his power will be great, and he will walk on the path trodden by righteous men." Then she entreated her father-in-law again and again, saying, "Let not my son be of this character; but let my grandson be such." And, O Pandu's son, he replied, "So let it be!" And thus he was pleased to grant her prayer. Then she brought forth on the expected day a son by name Jamadagni. And this son of Bhrigu was endowed with both splendour and grace. And he grew in years and in strength, and excelled the other saints in the proficiency of his Vaidik lore. O chieftain of Bharata's race, to him, rivalling in lustre the author of light (the sun), came spontaneously and without instruction the knowledge of the entire military art and of the fourfold missile arms.'"

SECTION CXVI

"Akritavrana said, 'Jamadagni devoted himself to the study of the Veda and the practice of sacred penances, and became famous for his great austerities. Then he pursued a methodical course of study and obtained a mastery over the entire Veda. And, O king, he paid a visit to Prasenajit and solicited the hand of Renuka in marriage. And this prayer was granted by the king. And the delight of Bhrigu's race having thus obtained Renuka for his wife, took his residence with her in a hermitage, and began to practice penances, being assisted by her. And four boys were born of her, with Rama for the fifth. And although the youngest, Rama was superior to all in merit. Now once upon a time, when her sons had gone out for the purpose of gathering fruits, Renuka who had a pure and austere life, went out to bathe. And, O king, while returning home, she happened to cast her glance towards the king of Martikavata, known by the name of Chitraratha. The king was in the water with his wives, and wearing on his breast a lotus wreath, was engaged in sport. And beholding his magnificent form, Renuka was inspired with desire. And this unlawful desire she could not control, but became polluted within the water, and came back to the hermitage frightened at heart. Her husband readily perceived what state she was in. And mighty and powerful and of a wrathful turn of mind, when he beheld that she had been giddy and that the lustre of chastity had abandoned her, he reproached her by crying out "Fie!" At that very moment came in the eldest of Jamadagni's sons, Rumanvan; and then, Sushena, and then, Vasu, and likewise, Viswavasu. And the mighty saint directed them all one by one to put an end to the life of their mother. They, however, were quite confounded and lost heart. And they could not utter a single word. Then he in ire cursed them. And on being cursed they lost their sense and suddenly became like inanimate objects, and comparable in conduct to beasts and birds. And then Rama, the slayer of hostile heroes, came to the hermitage, last of all. Him the mighty-armed Jamadagni, of great austerities, addressed, saying, "Kill this wicked mother of thine, without compunction, O my son." Thereupon Rama immediately took up an axe and therewith severed his mother's head. Then, O great king, the wrath of Jamadagni of mighty soul, was at once appeased; and well-pleased, he spake the following words, "Thou hast, my boy, performed at my bidding this difficult task, being versed in virtue. Therefore, whatsoever wishes there may be in thy heart, I am ready to grant them all. Do thou ask me." Thereupon Rama solicited that his mother might be restored to life, and that he might not be haunted by the remembrance of this cruel deed and that he might not be affected by any sin, and that his brothers might recover their former state, and that he might be unrivalled on the field of battle, and that he might obtain long life. And, O Bharata's son, Jamadagni, whose penances were the most rigid, granted all those desires of his son. Once, however, O lord, when his sons had gone out as before, the valourous son of Kartavirya, the lord of the country near the shore of the sea, came up to the hermitage. And when he arrived at that hermitage, the wife of the saint received him hospitably. He, however, intoxicated with a warrior's pride, was not at all pleased with the reception accorded to him, and by force and in defiance of all resistance, seized and carried off from that hermitage the chief of the cows whose milk supplied the sacred butter, not heeding the loud lowing of the cow. And he wantonly pulled down the large trees of the wood. When Rama came home, his father himself told him all that had happened. Then when Rama saw how the cow was lowing for its calf, resentment arose in his heart. And he rushed towards Kartavirya's son, whose last moments had drawn nigh. Then the descendant of Bhrigu, the exterminator of hostile heroes, put forth his valour on the field of battle, and with sharpened arrows with flattened tips, which were shot from a beautiful bow, cut down Arjuna's arms, which numbered a thousand, and were massive like (wooden) bolts for barring the door. He, already touched by the hand of death, was overpowered by Rama, his foe. Then the kinsmen of Arjuna, their wrath excited against Rama, rushed at Jamadagni in his hermitage, while Rama was away. And they slew him there; for although his strength was great, yet being at the time engaged in penances, he would not fight. And while thus attacked by his foes, he repeatedly shouted the name of Rama in a helpless and piteous way. And, O Yudhishthira, the sons of Kartavirya shot Jamadagni, with their arrows, and having thus chastised their foe, went their way. And when they had gone away, and when Jamadagni had breathed his last, Rama, the delight of Bhrigu's race, returned to the hermitage, bearing in his arms, fuel for religious rites. And the hero beheld his father who had been put to death. And grieved exceedingly he began to bewail the unworthy fate that had laid his father low.'"

SECTION CXVII

"'Rama said, "The blame is mine, O father, that like a stag in the wood, thou hast been shot dead with arrows, by those mean and stupid wretches—the sons of Kartavirya. And O father, virtuous and unswerving from the path of righteousness and inoffensive to all animated beings as thou wert, how came it to be permitted by Fate that thou shouldst die in this way? What an awful sin must have been committed by them, who have killed thee with hundreds of sharpened shafts, although thou wert an aged man, and engaged in penances at the time and absolutely averse to fighting with them. With what face will those shameless persons speak of this deed of theirs to their friends and servants, viz., that they have slain an unassisted and unresisting virtuous man?"—O protector of men, thus he, great in penance, bewailed much in a piteous manner, and then performed the obsequies of his departed sire. And Rama, the conqueror of hostile cities, cremated his father on the funeral pyre, and vowed, O scion of Bharata's race, the slaughter of the entire military caste, and of exceeding strength in the field of battle, and possessed of valour suited to a heroic soul, and comparable to the god of death himself, he took up his weapon in wrathful mood, and singlehanded put Kartavirya's sons to death. And, O chieftain of the military caste, Rama, the leader of all capable of beating their foes, thrice smote down all the Kshatriya followers of Kartavirya's sons. And seven times did that powerful lord exterminate the military tribes of the earth. In the tract of land, called Samantapanchaka five lakes of blood were made by him. There the mightiest scion of Bhrigu's race offered libations to his forefathers—the Bhrigus, and Richika appeared to him in a visible form, and spake to him words of counsel. Then the son of Jamadagni of dreaded name, performed a mighty sacrifice and gratified the lord of the celestials, and bestowed the earth to the ministering priests. And, O protector of human beings, he raised an altar made of gold, ten Vyamas in breadth and nine in height, and made a gift of the same to the magnanimous Kasyapa. Then at Kasyapa's bidding the Brahmanas divided the altar into a number of shares, and thus they became reputed as the Khandavayamas (share takers). And the exterminator of the military race possessed of immense strength, bestowed the earth upon the high-souled Kasyapa, and then became engaged in penance of an exceedingly severe form. He now dwells in this Mahendra, monarch of hills. Thus did hostilities arise between him and the members of the military caste,—all of them who dwell on this earth; and Rama, endowed with immense strength, in this way subdued the entire world.'"

Vaisampayana said, "Then on the fourteenth day of the moon, the mighty-souled Rama at the proper hour showed himself to those members of the priestly caste and also to the virtuous king (Yudhishthira) and his younger brothers. And, O king of kings, the lord together with his brothers, worshipped Rama, and, O most righteous of the rulers of men, the very highest honours were paid by him to all those members of the twice-born class. And after worshipping Jamadagni's son and having received words of praise from him, at his direction he spent the night on the Mahendra hill, and then started on his journey towards the southern regions."

SECTION CXVIII

Vaisampayana said, "The magnanimous monarch pursued his journey, and at different spots on the shore of the sea visited the various bathing places, all sacred and pleasant and frequented by men of the sacerdotal caste. And O son of Parikshit! He in proper form took his bath in them together with his younger brothers and then went to an excellent river, the holiest of all. There also the magnanimous king, took his plunge, and offered libations to his forefathers and the gods, and distributed riches to the leaders of the twice-born class. Then he went to the Godavari, a river that falls directly into the sea. There he was freed from his sins. And he reached the sea in the Dravida land, and visited the holy spot passing under Agastya's name, which was exceedingly sacred and exceptionally pure. And the valiant king visited the feminine sacred spots. Here he listened to the story of that well-known feat which was achieved by Arjuna, chief of all wielders of the bow, and which was beyond the power of human beings to perform. And here he was praised by the highest members of the saintly class, and the son of Pandu experienced the greatest delight. And, O protector of the earth! the ruler of the world, accompanied by Krishna bathed in those holy spots, and speaking of Arjuna's valour in laudatory terms delightfully spent his time in the place. Then he gave away thousands of cows at those holy spots on the coast of the sea; and with his brothers narrated well pleased how Arjuna had made a gift of kine. And he, O king! visited one by one those holy places on the coast of the sea and many other sacred spots, and thus fulfilled his heart's desire, till he came to the holiest of all known by the name of Suparaka. Then having crossed a certain tract on the coast of the sea, he reached a forest celebrated on earth. There the deities had practised asceticism in former days, and likewise virtuous rulers of men had performed sacrificial rites. There he, possessed of long and lusty arms, beheld the celebrated altar of Richika's son, who was the foremost of all wielders of the bow. And the altar was girt round by hosts of ascetics, and was fit to be worshipped by persons of a virtuous life. Then the king beheld the holy and delightful shrines of all the gods and of the Vasus, and of the hosts of wind and of the two celestial physicians and of Yatna, son of the sun and of the lord of riches, and of Indra, and of Vishnu, and of the lord Creator and of Siva, and of the moon, and of the author of day, and of the lord of waters, and of the host of Sadhyas, and of Brahma, and of the forefathers, and of Rudra together with all his followers, and of the goddess of learning, and of the host of Siddhas, and of many immortal holy gods besides. And in those shrines the king observed various fasts, and gave away large quantities of gems. He plunged his body in all the holy spots, and then came again to Surparaka. And he by the same landing-place of the sea again proceeded with his uterine brothers and came over to the holy spot Prabhasa, whereof fame hath been spread by mighty Brahmanas throughout the world. There he, possessed of a pair of large red eyes, washed himself with all his younger brothers, and offered libations to the forefathers and the celestial hosts; and so did Krishna and all those Brahmanas together with Lomasa. For twelve days he subsisted upon air and water. And he performed ablutions for days and nights and surrounded himself with fires kindled on all sides. Thus that greatest of all virtuous men engaged himself in asceticism. While he was acting thus, information reached both Valarama and Krishna that the king was practising penances of a most austere form and these two leaders of the entire Vrishni tribe accompanied with troops came to Yudhishthira of Ajamidha's race. And when the Vrishnis beheld that the sons of Pandu lay down on the ground, their bodies besmeared all over with dirt and when they beheld the daughter of Drupada in a sad state, their grief was great and they could not refrain from breaking out in loud lamentations. Then the king, whose courage was such that misfortune never could cast him down, cordially met Rama and Krishna and Samva, Krishna's son, and the grand-son of Sini and other Vrishnis, and paid honour to them in a suitable form. And they also in return paid honour to all the sons of Pritha, and were similarly honoured by Pandu's sons. And they seated themselves round about Yudhishthira, as round Indra, O king! are seated the celestial hosts. And highly pleased, he recounted to them all the machinations of his adversaries, and how also he had resided in the forest, and how Arjuna had gone to Indra's abode in order to learn the science of arms—all this he related with a gladdened heart. And they were happy to learn all this news from him; but when they saw the Pandavas so exceedingly lean, the majestic and magnanimous Vrishnis could not forbear shedding tears, which spontaneously gushed from their eyes on account of the agony they felt."

SECTION CXIX

Janamejaya said, "O thou of ascetic wealth! when the sons of Pandu and the Vrishnis reached the holy spot Prabhasa, what did they do and what conversation was held there by them, for all of them were of mighty souls, proficient in all the branches of science and both the Vrishnis and the sons of Pandu held one another in friendly estimation."

Vaisampayana said, "When the Vrishnis reached the holy spot Prabhasa, the sacred landing-place on the coast of the sea, they surrounded the sons of Pandu and waited upon them. Then Valarama, resembling in hue the milk of the cow and the Kunda flower and the moon and the silver and the lotus root and who wore a wreath made of wild flowers and who had the ploughshare for his arms, spake to the lotuseyed one, saying, 'O Krishna, I do not see that the practice of virtue leads to any good or that unrighteous practices can cause evil, since the magnanimous Yudhishthira is in this miserable state, with matted hair, a resident of the wood, and for his garment wearing the bark of trees. And Duryodhana is now ruling the earth, and the ground doth not yet swallow him up. From this, a person of limited sense would believe a vicious course of life is preferable to a virtuous one. When Duryodhana is in a flourishing state and Yudhishthira, robbed of his throne, is suffering thus, what should people do in such a matter?—This is the doubt that is now perplexing all men. Here is the lord of men sprung from the god of virtue, holding fast to a righteous path, strictly truthful and of a liberal heart. This son of Pritha would give up his kingdom and his pleasure but would not swerve from the righteous path, in order to thrive. How is it that Bhishma and Kripa and the Brahmana Drona and the aged king, the senior member of the house, are living happily, after having banished the sons of Pritha? Fie upon the vicious-minded leaders of Bharata's race! What will that sinner, the chieftain of the earth, say to the departed forefathers of his race, when the wretch will meet them in the world to come? Having hurled from the throne his in-offensive sons, will he be able to declare that he had treated them in a blameless way? He doth not now see with his mind's eye how he hath become so sightless, and on account of what act he hath grown blind among the kings of this entire earth. Is it not because he hath banished Kunti's son from his kingdom? I have no doubt that Vichitravirya's son, when he with his sons perpetrated this inhuman act, beheld on the spot where dead bodies are burnt, flowering trees of a golden hue. Verily he must have asked them, when those stood before him with their shoulders projected forward towards him, and with their large red eyes staring at him, and he must have listened to their evil advice, since he fearlessly sent away Yudhishthira to the forest, who had all his weapons of war with him and was borne company by his younger brothers. This Bhima here, whose voracious appetite is like that of a wolf, is able to destroy with the sole strength of his powerful arms, and without the help of any weapons of war, a formidable array of hostile troops. The forces in the field of battle were utterly unmanned on hearing his war-cry. And now the strong one is suffering from hunger and thirst, and is emaciated with toilsome journeys. But when he will take up in his hand arrows and diverse other weapons of war, and meet his foes in the field of battle, he will then remember the sufferings of his exceedingly miserable forest-life, and kill his enemies to a man: of a certainty do I anticipate this. There is not throughout the whole world a single soul who can boast of strength and prowess equal to his. And his body, alas! is emaciated with cold, and heat and winds. But when he will stand up for fight, he will not leave a single man out of his foes. This powerful hero, who is a very great warrior when mounted on a car—this Bhima, of appetite rivalling a wolf's conquered single-handed all the rulers of men in the east, together with, those who followed them in battle; and he returned from those wars safe and uninjured. And that same Bhima, miserably dressed in the bark of trees, is now leading a wretched life in the woods. This powerful Sahadeva vanquished all the kings in the south; those lords of men who had gathered on the coast of the sea,—look at him now in an anchorite's dress. Valiant in battle Nakula vanquished single-handed the kings who ruled the regions towards the west,—and he now walks about the wood, subsisting on fruit and roots, with a matted mass of hair on the head, and his body besmeared all over with dirt. This daughter of a king, who is a great soldier when mounted on a car, took her rise from beneath the altar, during the pomp of sacrificial rites. She hath been always accustomed to a life of happiness; how is she now enduring this exceedingly miserable life in this wood! And the son of the god of virtue,—virtue which stands at the head of all the three pursuits of life—and the son of the wind-god and also the son of the lord of celestials, and those two sons of the celestial physicians,—being the sons of all those gods and always accustomed to a life of happiness, how are they living in this wood, deprived of all comforts? When the son of Virtue met with defeat and when his wife, his brothers, his followers, and himself were all driven forth, and Duryodhana began to flourish, why did not the earth subside with all its hills?'"

SECTION CXX

"Satyaki said, 'O Rama! this is not the time of lamentation; let us do that which is proper and suited to the present occasion, although Yudhishthira doth not speak a single word. Those who have persons to look after their welfare do not undertake anything of themselves; they have others to do their work, as Saivya and others did for Yayati. Likewise, O Rama! those who have appointed functionaries to undertake their work on their own responsibility, as the leaders of men, they may be said to have real patrons, and they meet with no difficulty, like helpless beings. How is it that when the sons of Pritha have for their patrons these two men, Rama and Krishna, and the two others, Pradyumna and Samva, together with myself,—these patrons being able to protect all the three worlds,—how is it that the son of Pritha is living in the wood with his brothers? It is fit that this very day the army of the Dasarhas should march out, variously armed and with checkered mails. Let Dhritarashtra's sons be overwhelmed with the forces of the Vrishnis and let them go with their friends to the abode of the god of death. Let him alone who wields the bow made of the horn (Krishna), thou alone, if roused, wouldst be able to surround even the whole of this earth. I ask thee to kill Dhritarashtra's son with all his men, as the great Indra, the lord of the gods killed Vritra. Arjuna, the son of Pritha, is my brother, and also my friend, and also my preceptor, and is like the second self of Krishna. It is for this that men desire for a worthy son, and that preceptor seeks a pupil who would contradict him not. It is for this that the time is come for that excellent work, which is the best of all tasks and difficult to perform. I shall baffle Duryodhana's volleys of arms by my own excellent weapons. I shall overpower all in the field of battle. I shall in my wrath cut off his head with my excellent shafts, little inferior to snakes and poison and fire. And with the keen edge of my sword, I shall forcibly sever his head from the trunk, in the field of battle; then I shall kill his followers, and Duryodhana, and all of Kuru's race. O son of Rohini! let the followers of Bhima look at me with joy at their heart, when I shall keep up the weapons of war in the field of battle, and when I shall go on slaying all the best fighting men on the side of the Kurus, as at the end of time fire will burn vast heaps of straw. Kripa and Drona and Vikarna and Karna are not able to bear the keen arrows shot by Pradyumna. I know the power of Arjuna's son—he conducts himself like the son of Krishna in the field of battle. Let Samva chastise by the force of his arms Dussasana; let him destroy by force Dussasana and his charioteer and his car. In the field of battle when the son of Jamvavati becomes irresistible in fight, there is nothing which can withstand his force. The army of the demon Samvara was speedily routed by him when only a boy. By him was killed in fight Asvachakra, whose thighs were round, and whose muscular arms were of exceeding length. Who is there that would be able to go forward to the car of Samva, who is great in fight, when mounted on a car? As a mortal coming under the clutches of death can never escape; so who is there that once coming under his clutches in the field of battle, is able to return with his life? The son of Vasudeva will burn down by the volleys of his fiery shafts all the hostile troops, and those two warriors, Bhishma and Drona,—who are great on a car, and Somadatta surrounded by all his sons. What is there in all the world including the gods, which Krishna cannot encounter on an equal footing, when he takes up the weapons of war, wields in his hands excellent arrows, arms himself with his dice, and thus becomes unrivalled in fight? Then let Aniruddha also take up in his hand his buckler and sword, and let him cover the surface of the earth with Dhritarashtra's sons, their heads separated from their trunks, their bodies devoid of all consciousness as in a sacrificial rite the altar is overspread with sacred grass placed upon the same. And Gada and Uluka, and Vahuka and Bhanu and Nitha and the young Nishatha valiant in battle and Sarana, and Charudeshna, irresistible in war, let them perform feats befitting their race. Let the united army of the Satwatas and Suras, together with the best soldiers of the Vrishnis, the Bhojas, and the Andhakas, kill those sons of Dhritarashtra in the field of battle and let them swell their expanded fame throughout the world. Then let Abhimanyu rule the world so long as this most excellent of virtuous men, the magnanimous Yudhishthira, may be engaged in fulfilling his vow,—the vow that was accepted and declared by him, the most righteous of Kuru's race, on the occasion of the famous play at dice. Afterwards the virtuous king will protect the earth, all his foes defeated in battle by shafts which will be discharged by us. Then there will remain no sons of Dhritarashtra on earth,—nor the son of the charioteer (Karna). This is the most important work for us to do, and this will surely lead to fame.'

"Krishna said, 'O scion of the race of Madhu! no doubt what thou sayest is true; we accept thy words, O thou of courage that is never weak! But this bull of the Kuru race (Yudhishthira) would never accept the sovereignty of the earth, unless it were won by the prowess of his own arms. Neither for the sake of pleasure, nor from fear, nor from covetousness, would Yudhishthira ever renounce the rules of the caste; nor would these two heroes, who are mighty, when mounted on a car—Bhima and Arjuna; nor the twin brothers, nor Krishna, the daughter of Drupada. He possessing the appetite of a wolf (Bhima), and the winner of riches (Arjuna), are both unrivalled in fight throughout the world. And why should not this king rule over the entire world when he hath the two sons of Madri to espouse his cause? The high-souled ruler of Panchala together with the Kekaya king, and we also should put forth our united strength, and then would the enemies of Yudhishthira be annihilated.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'It is not strange that thou shouldst speak thus, O scion of Madhu's race! but to me truth seems to be the first consideration, above that of my sovereign power itself. But it is Krishna alone who precisely knoweth what I am; and it is I alone who precisely know what Krishna (really) is. O thou endued with valour! O scion of Madhu's race! as soon as he will perceive that the time is come for feats of bravery, then, O most valiant of Sini's race, he also of beautiful hair (Krishna) will defeat Suyodhana. Let the brave men of the Dasarha race go back today. They are my patrons; and the foremost of human beings, they have visited me here. O ye of immeasurable strength! never fall off from the path of virtue. I shall see you again, when ye will be happily gathered together.'

"Then after mutual greeting and obeisance to seniors, and having embraced the youthful, those valiant men of the Yadu race and the sons of Pandu separated. And the Yadus reunited to their home; and the Pandavas continued their journey to the sacred spots. Then having parted with Krishna, the virtuous king, accompanied by his brothers and servants, and also by Lomasa, went to the sacred river Payosini. Its fine landing place was constructed by the king of Vidarbha. And he began to dwell on the banks of the Payosini, whose waters were mingled with the distilled Soma juice. There the high-souled Yudhishthira was greeted with excellent laudatory terms by numerous leaders of the twice-born class, who were delighted to see him there."

SECTION CXXI

"Lomasa said, 'O king! when the Nriga performed a sacrifice here, he gratified Indra, the demolisher of hostile cities, by offering the Soma juice. And Indra was refreshed and was very much pleased. Here the gods together with Indra, and the protectors of all born beings, celebrated sacrifices of various kinds on a large scale, and paid abundant gratuities to the ministering priests. Here king Amurtarayasa, the lord of the world, satisfied Indra, the holder of the thunderbolt, by the offer of the Soma juice, when seven horse-sacrifices were performed by that king. The articles which in other sacrificial rites are uniformly made of the timber, wood and of earth, were all made of gold in the seven sacrifices performed by him. And it is said that in all those rites, seven sets of stakes, rings for the sacrificial stakes, spots, ladles, utensils, spoons were prepared by him. On each sacrificial stake, seven rings were fastened at the top. And, O Yudhishthira! the celestials together with Indra, themselves erected the sacrificial stakes of shining gold which had been prepared for his sacred rites. In all those magnificent sacrifices instituted by Gaya, the protector of the earth, Indra, was delighted by drinking the Soma juice, and the ministering priests were gratified with the gratuities paid to them. And the priests obtained untold wealth counted out to them. And as the sand-grains of the earth, or as the stars in the sky, or as the rain-drops when it raineth, cannot be counted by anyone, so the wealth Gaya gave away was incapable of being counted by figures. So untold was the wealth, O great king! that was given to the ministering priests in all those seven sacrifices that even the above-mentioned objects might be counted by figures, but the gratuities bestowed by him whose largeness exceeded all that was known before were not capable of being counted by figures. And images of the goddess of speech were made of gold by the sculptor of the gods;—and the king gratified the members of the sacerdotal caste, who had arrived from all the cardinal points, by making presents to them of those images, of gold. O protector of men! when the high-souled Gaya performed his sacrificial rites, he erected sacrificial piles at so many different spots that but little space was left on the surface of the earth. And, O scion of Bharata's race! he by that sacred act attained the regions of Indra. Whoever should bathe in the river, Payosini, would go to the regions attained by Gaya. Therefore, O lord of kings! O unswerving prince! thou and thy brothers should bathe in this river; then, O protector of the earth, thou wilt be freed from all these sins.'"

Vaisampayana said, "O most praiseworthy of men! Yudhishthira with his brothers performed ablutions in the Payosini river. Then, O sinless prince! the powerful monarch together with his brothers, journeyed to the hill of sapphires and the great river Narmada. The blessed saint Lomasa there named to him all the delightful holy spots and all the sacred shrines of the celestials. Then he with his brothers visited those places, according to his desire and convenience. And at various places Brahmanas by thousands received gifts from him.

"Lomasa said, 'O son of Kunti! one who visits the sapphire Hill and plunges his body in the river Narmada attains the regions inhabited by the celestials and kings. O most praiseworthy of men! this period is the junction between the Treta and the Kali age, O Kunti's son! This is the period when a person gets rid of all his sins. O respected sir! this is the spot where Saryati performed sacrificial rites, wherein Indra appeared in a visible form and drank the Soma juice, with the two celestial physicians. And Bhrigu's son of severe austerities conceived anger towards the great Indra; and the mighty Chyavana paralysed Indra, and for his wife obtained the princess, Sukanya.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'How was the chastiser of the demon Paka, the god possessed of the six attributes, paralysed by Chyavana? And for what reason did the mighty saint conceive wrath towards Indra? And how, O Brahmana! did he raise the celestial physicians to the rank of the drinkers of Soma? All this, precisely as it happened, thy venerable self will be pleased to recount to me.'"

SECTION CXXII

"Lomasa said, 'A son was born to the great saint Bhrigu, Chyavana by name. And he, of an exceedingly resplendent form, began to practise austerities by the side of yonder lake. And, O Pandu's son! O protector of men! he of mighty energy assumed the posture called Vira, quiet and still like an inanimate post, and for a long period, remained at the same spot of ground. And he was turned into an anthill covered over with creepers. And after the lapse of a long period, swarms of ants enveloped him. And covered all over with ants, the sagacious saint looked exactly like a heap of earth. And he went on practising austerities, enveloped on all sides with that ant-hill. Now after the lapse of a long space of time, that ruler of earth, Saryati by name, for amusement visited this pleasant and excellent lake. With him were four thousand females, espoused by him, O son of Bharata's race! there was also his only daughter endued with beautiful brows, named Sukanya. She surrounded by her maids, and decked out with jewels fit for the celestials, while walking about, approached the anthill where Bhrigu's son was seated. And surrounded by her maids, she began to amuse herself there, viewing the beautiful scenery, and looking at the lofty trees of the wood. And she was handsome and in the prime of her youth; and she was amorous and bent on frolicking. And she began to break the twigs of the forest trees bearing blossoms. And Bhrigu's son endued with intelligence beheld her wandering like lightning, without her maids, and wearing a single piece of cloth and decked with ornaments. And seeing her in the lone forest, that ascetic of exceeding effulgence was inspired with desire. And that regenerate Rishi possessing ascetic energy, who had a low voice, called the auspicious one,—but she heard him not. Then seeing the eyes of Bhrigu's son from the ant-hill, Sukanya from curiosity and losing her sense, said, "What is this?"—and with thorns pierced the eyes (of the Rishi). And as his eyes being pierced by her, he felt exceeding pain and became wroth. And (from anger) he obstructed the calls of nature of Saryati's forces. And on their calls of nature being obstructed, the men were greatly afflicted. And seeing this state of things, the king asked. "Who is it that hath done wrong to the illustrious son of Bhrigu, old and ever engaged in austerities and of wrathful temper? Tell me quick if ye know it." The soldiers (thereupon) answered him saying, "We do not know whether any one hath done wrong to the Rishi. Do thou, as thou list, make a searching enquiry into the matter." Thereupon that ruler of earth, using (as he saw occasion) both menace and conciliation, asked his friends (about the circumstance). But they too did not know anything. Seeing that the army was distressed owing to the obstruction of the calls of nature, and also finding her father aggrieved, Sukanya said, "Roving in the forest, I lighted in the ant-hill here upon some brilliant substance. Thereupon taking it for a glow-worm I neared it, and pierced it (with thorns)." Hearing this Saryati immediately came to the ant-hill, and there saw Bhrigu's son, old both in years and austerities. Then the lord of earth with joined hands, besought (the ascetic) saying, "It behoveth thee to forgive what my daughter through ignorance and greenness, hath done unto thee." Chyavana the son of Bhrigu, addressed the monarch saying, "Disregarding me, this one, filled with pride hath pierced my eyes. Even her, O king, endued with beauty and who was bereft of her senses by ignorance and temptation—even thy daughter would I have for my bride, I tell thee truly, on this condition alone will I forgive thee."'

"Lomasa said, 'Hearing the words of the sage, Saryati, without pausing, bestowed his daughter on the high-souled Chyavana. Having received the hand of that girl, the holy one was pleased with the king. And having won the Rishi's grace, the king went to his city, accompanied by his troops. And the faultless Sukanya also having obtained that ascetic for her husband, began to tend him, practising penances, and observing the ordinance. And that one of a graceful countenance, and void of guile worshipped Chyavana, and also ministered unto guests, and the sacred fire.'"

SECTION CXXIII

"Lomasa said, 'Once on a time, O king, those celestials, namely the twin Aswins, happened to behold Sukanya, when she had (just) bathed, and when her person was bare. And seeing that one of excellent limbs, and like unto the daughter of the lord of celestials, the nose-born Aswins neared her, and addressed her, saying, "O thou of shapely thighs, whose daughter art thou? And what doest thou in this wood? O auspicious one, O thou of excellent grace, we desire to know this, do thou therefore tell us." Thereupon she replied bashfully unto those foremost of celestials, "Know me as Saryati's daughter, and Chyavana's wife." Thereat the Aswins again spake unto her, smiling. "What for, O fortunate one, hath thy father bestowed thee on a person who is verging on death? Surely, O timid girl, thou shinest in this wood like lightning. Not in the regions of the celestials themselves, O girl, have our eyes lighted on thy like. O damsel, unadorned and without gay robes as thou art, thou beautifiest this wood exceedingly. Still, O thou of faultless limbs, thou canst not look so beautiful, when (as at present) thou art soiled with mud and dirt, as thou couldst, if decked with every ornament and wearing gorgeous apparel. Why, O excellent girl in such plight servest thou a decrepit old husband, and one that hath become incapable of realising pleasure and also of maintaining thee, O thou of luminous smiles? O divinely beautiful damsel, do thou, forsaking Chyavana accept one of us for husband. It behoveth thee not to spend thy youth fruitlessly."

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10     Next Part
Home - Random Browse