"After this hath been recited the highly pathetic Parva called Stri, Dhritarashtra of prophetic eye, afflicted at the death of his children, and moved by enmity towards Bhima, broke into pieces a statue of hard iron deftly placed before him by Krishna (as substitute of Bhima). Then Vidura, removing the distressed Dhritarashtra's affection for worldly things by reasons pointing to final release, consoled that wise monarch. Then hath been described the wending of the distressed Dhritarashtra accompanied by the ladies of his house to the field of battle of the Kauravas. Here follow the pathetic wailings of the wives of the slain heroes. Then the wrath of Gandhari and Dhritarashtra and their loss of consciousness. Then the Kshatriya ladies saw those heroes,—their unreturning sons, brothers, and fathers,—lying dead on the field. Then the pacification by Krishna of the wrath of Gandhari distressed at the death of her sons and grandsons. Then the cremation of the bodies of the deceased Rajas with due rites by that monarch (Yudhishthira) of great wisdom and the foremost also of all virtuous men. Then upon the presentation of water of the manes of the deceased princes having commenced, the story of Kunti's acknowledgment of Karna as her son born in secret. Those have all been described by the great Rishi Vyasa in the highly pathetic eleventh Parva. Its perusal moveth every feeling heart with sorrow and even draweth tears from the eyes. The number of sections composed is twenty-seven. The number of slokas is seven hundred and seventy-five.
"Twelfth in number cometh the Santi Parva, which increaseth the understanding and in which is related the despondency of Yudhishthira on his having slain his fathers, brothers, sons, maternal uncles and matrimonial relations. In this Parva is described how from his bed of arrows Bhishma expounded various systems of duties worth the study of kings desirous of knowledge; this Parva expounded the duties relative to emergencies, with full indications of time and reasons. By understanding these, a person attaineth to consummate knowledge. The mysteries also of final emancipation have been expatiated upon. This is the twelfth Parva the favourite of the wise. It consists of three hundred and thirty-nine sections, and contains fourteen thousand, seven hundred and thirty-two slokas.
"Next in order is the excellent Anusasana Parva. In it is described how Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, was reconciled to himself on hearing the exposition of duties by Bhishma, the son of Bhagirathi. This Parva treats of rules in detail and of Dharma and Artha; then the rules of charity and its merits; then the qualifications of donees, and the supreme ride-regarding gifts. This Parva also describes the ceremonials of individual duty, the rules of conduct and the matchless merit of truth. This Parva showeth the great merit of Brahmanas and kine, and unraveleth the mysteries of duties in relation to time and place. These are embodied in the excellent Parva called Anusasana of varied incidents. In this hath been described the ascension of Bhishma to Heaven. This is the thirteenth Parva which hath laid down accurately the various duties of men. The number of sections, in this is one hundred and forty-six. The number of slokas is eight thousand.
"Then comes the fourteenth Parva Aswamedhika. In this is the excellent story of Samvarta and Marutta. Then is described the discovery (by the Pandavas) of golden treasuries; and then the birth of Parikshit who was revived by Krishna after having been burnt by the (celestial) weapon of Aswatthaman. The battles of Arjuna the son of Pandu, while following the sacrificial horse let loose, with various princes who in wrath seized it. Then is shown the great risk of Arjuna in his encounter with Vabhruvahana the son of Chitrangada (by Arjuna) the appointed daughter of the chief of Manipura. Then the story of the mongoose during the performance of the horse-sacrifice. This is the most wonderful Parva called Aswamedhika. The number of sections is one hundred and three. The number of slokas composed (in this) by Vyasa of true knowledge is three thousand, three hundred and twenty.
"Then comes the fifteenth Parva called Asramvasika. In this, Dhritarashtra, abdicating the kingdom, and accompanied by Gandhari and Vidura went to the woods. Seeing this, the virtuous Pritha also, ever engaged in cherishing her superiors, leaving the court of her sons, followed the old couple. In this is described the wonderful meeting through the kindness of Vyasa of the king (Dhritarashtra) with the spirits of his slain children, grand-children, and other princes, returned from the other world. Then the monarch abandoning his sorrows acquired with his wife the highest fruit of his meritorious actions. In this Parva, Vidura after having leaned on virtue all his life attaineth to the most meritorious state.
"The learned son of Gavalgana, Sanjaya, also of passions under full control, and the foremost of ministers, attained, in the Parva, to the blessed state. In this, Yudhishthira the just met Narada and heard from him about the extinction of the race of Vrishnis. This is the very wonderful Parva called Asramvasika. The number of sections in this is forty-two, and the number of slokas composed by Vyasa cognisant of truth is one thousand five hundred and six.
"After this, you know, comes the Maushala of painful incidents. In this, those lion-hearted heroes (of the race of Vrishni) with the scars of many a field on their bodies, oppressed with the curse of a Brahmana, while deprived of reason from drink, impelled by the fates, slew each other on the shores of the Salt Sea with the Eraka grass which (in their hands) became (invested with the fatal attributes of the) thunder. In this, both Balarama and Kesava (Krishna) after causing the extermination of their race, their hour having come, themselves did not rise superior to the sway of all-destroying Time. In this, Arjuna the foremost among men, going to Dwaravati (Dwaraka) and seeing the city destitute of the Vrishnis was much affected and became exceedingly sorry. Then after the funeral of his maternal uncle Vasudeva the foremost among the Yadus (Vrishnis), he saw the heroes of the Yadu race lying stretched in death on the spot where they had been drinking. He then caused the cremation of the bodies of the illustrious Krishna and Balarama and of the principal members of the Vrishni race. Then as he was journeying from Dwaraka with the women and children, the old and the decrepit—the remnants of the Yadu race—he was met on the way by a heavy calamity. He witnessed also the disgrace of his bow Gandiva and the unpropitiousness of his celestial weapons. Seeing all this, Arjuna became despondent and, pursuant to Vyasa's advice, went to Yudhishthira and solicited permission to adopt the Sannyasa mode of life. This is the sixteenth Parva called Maushala The number of sections is eight and the number of slokas composed by Vyasa cognisant of truth is three hundred and twenty.
"The next is Mahaprasthanika, the seventeenth Parva.
"In this, those foremost among men the Pandavas abdicating their kingdom went with Draupadi on their great journey called Mahaprasthana. In this, they came across Agni, having arrived on the shore of the sea of red waters. In this, asked by Agni himself, Arjuna worshipped him duly, returned to him the excellent celestial bow called Gandiva. In this, leaving his brothers who dropped one after another and Draupadi also, Yudhishthira went on his journey without once looking back on them. This the seventeenth Parva is called Mahaprasthanika. The number of sections in this is three. The number of slokas also composed by Vyasa cognisant of truth is three hundred and twenty.
"The Parva that comes after this, you must know, is the extraordinary one called Svarga of celestial incidents. Then seeing the celestial car come to take him, Yudhishthira moved by kindness towards the dog that accompanied him, refused to ascend it without his companion. Observing the illustrious Yudhishthira's steady adherence to virtue, Dharma (the god of justice) abandoning his canine form showed himself to the king. Then Yudhishthira ascending to heaven felt much pain. The celestial messenger showed him hell by an act of deception. Then Yudhishthira, the soul of justice, heard the heart-rending lamentations of his brothers abiding in that region under the discipline of Yama. Then Dharma and Indra showed Yudhishthira the region appointed for sinners. Then Yudhishthira, after leaving the human body by a plunge in the celestial Ganges, attained to that region which his acts merited, and began to live in joy respected by Indra and all other gods. This is the eighteenth Parva as narrated by the illustrious Vyasa. The number of slokas composed, O ascetics, by the great Rishi in this is two hundred and nine.
"The above are the contents of the Eighteen Parvas. In the appendix (Khita) are the Harivansa and the Vavishya. The number of slokas contained in the Harivansa is twelve thousand."
These are the contents of the section called Parva-sangraha. Sauti continued, "Eighteen Akshauhinis of troops came together for battle. The encounter that ensued was terrible and lasted for eighteen days. He who knows the four Vedas with all the Angas and Upanishads, but does not know this history (Bharata), cannot be regarded as wise. Vyasa of immeasurable intelligence, has spoken of the Mahabharata as a treatise on Artha, on Dharma, and on Kama. Those who have listened to his history can never bear to listen to others, as, indeed, they who have listened to the sweet voice of the male Kokila can never hear the dissonance of the crow's cawing. As the formation of the three worlds proceedeth from the five elements, so do the inspirations of all poets proceed from this excellent composition. O ye Brahman, as the four kinds of creatures (viviparous, oviparous, born of hot moisture and vegetables) are dependent on space for their existence, so the Puranas depend upon this history. As all the senses depend for their exercise upon the various modifications of the mind, so do all acts (ceremonials) and moral qualities depend upon this treatise. There is not a story current in the world but doth depend on this history, even as body upon the food it taketh. All poets cherish the Bharata even as servants desirous of preferment always attend upon masters of good lineage. Even as the blessed domestic Asrama can never be surpassed by the three other Asramas (modes of life) so no poets can surpass this poem.
"Ye ascetics, shake off all inaction. Let your hearts be fixed on virtue, for virtue is the one only friend of him that has gone to the other world. Even the most intelligent by cherishing wealth and wives can never make these their own, nor are these possessions lasting. The Bharata uttered by the lips of Dwaipayana is without a parallel; it is virtue itself and sacred. It destroyeth sin and produceth good. He that listeneth to it while it is being recited hath no need of a bath in the sacred waters of Pushkara. A Brahmana, whatever sins he may commit during the day through his senses, is freed from them all by reading the Bharata in the evening. Whatever sins he may commit also in the night by deeds, words, or mind, he is freed from them all by reading Bharata in the first twilight (morning). He that giveth a hundred kine with horns mounted with gold to a Brahmana well-posted up in the Vedas and all branches of learning, and he that daily listeneth to the sacred narrations of the Bharata, acquireth equal merit. As the wide ocean is easily passable by men having ships, so is this extensive history of great excellence and deep import with the help of this chapter called Parva sangraha."
Thus endeth the section called Parva-sangraha of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata.
Sauti said, "Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, was, with his brothers, attending his long sacrifice on the plains of Kurukshetra. His brothers were three, Srutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhimasena. And as they were sitting at the sacrifice, there arrived at the spot an offspring of Sarama (the celestial bitch). And belaboured by the brothers of Janamejaya, he ran away to his mother, crying in pain. And his mother seeing him crying exceedingly asked him, 'Why criest thou so? Who hath beaten thee? And being thus questioned, he said unto his mother, 'I have been belaboured by the brothers of Janamejaya.' And his mother replied, 'Thou hast committed some fault for which hast thou been beaten!' He answered, 'I have not committed any fault. I have not touched the sacrificial butter with my tongue, nor have I even cast a look upon it.' His mother Sarama hearing this and much distressed at the affliction of her son went to the place where Janamejaya with his brothers was at his long-extending sacrifice. And she addressed Janamejaya in anger, saying, 'This my son hath committed no fault: he hath not looked upon your sacrificial butter, nor hath he touched it with his tongue. Wherefore hath he been beaten?' They said not a word in reply; whereupon she said, 'As ye have beaten my son who hath committed no fault, therefore shall evil come upon ye, when ye least expect it.'
"Janamejaya, thus addressed by the celestial bitch, Sarama, became exceedingly alarmed and dejected. And after the sacrifice was concluded returned to Hastinapura, and began to take great pains in searching for a Purohita who could by procuring absolution for his sin, neutralise the effect of the curse.
"One day Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, while a-hunting, observed in a particular part of his dominions a hermitage where dwelt a certain Rishi of fame, Srutasrava. He had a son named Somasrava deeply engaged in ascetic devotions. Being desirous of appointing that son of the Rishi as his Purohita, Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, saluted the Rishi and addressed him, saying, 'O possessor of the six attributes, let this thy son be my purohita.' The Rishi thus addressed, answered Janamejaya, 'O Janamejaya, this my son, deep in ascetic devotions, accomplished in the study of the Vedas, and endued with the full force of my asceticism, is born of (the womb of) a she-snake that had drunk my vital fluid. He is able to absolve thee from all offences save those committed against Mahadeva. But he hath one particular habit, viz. he would grant to any Brahmana whatever might be begged of him. If thou canst put up with it, then thou take him.' Janamejaya thus addressed replied to the Rishi, 'It shall be even so.' And accepting him for his Purohita, he returned to his capital; and he then addressed his brothers saying, 'This is the person I have chosen for my spiritual master; whatsoever he may say must be complied with by you without examination.' And his brothers did as they were directed. And giving these directions to his brothers, the king marched towards Takshyashila and brought that country under his authority.
"About this time there was a Rishi, Ayoda-Dhaumya by name. And Ayoda-Dhaumya had three disciples, Upamanyu, Aruni, and Veda. And the Rishi bade one of these disciples, Aruni of Panchala, to go and stop up a breach in the water-course of a certain field. And Aruni of Panchala, thus ordered by his preceptor, repaired to the spot. And having gone there he saw that he could not stop up the breach in the water-course by ordinary means. And he was distressed because he could not do his preceptor's bidding. But at length he saw a way and said, 'Well, I will do it in this way.' He then went down into the breach and lay down himself there. And the water was thus confined.
"And some time after, the preceptor Ayoda-Dhaumya asked his other disciples where Aruni of Panchala was. And they answered, 'Sir, he hath been sent by yourself saying, 'Go, stop up the breach in the water-course of the field,' Thus reminded, Dhaumya, addressing his pupils, said, 'Then let us all go to the place where he is.'
"And having arrived there, he shouted, 'Ho Aruni of Panchala! Where art thou? Come hither, my child.' And Aruni hearing the voice of his preceptor speedily came out of the water-course and stood before his preceptor. And addressing the latter, Aruni said, 'Here I am in the breach of the water-course. Not having been able to devise any other means, I entered myself for the purpose of preventing the water running out. It is only upon hearing thy voice that, having left it and allowed the waters to escape, I have stood before thee. I salute thee, Master; tell me what I have to do.'
"The preceptor, thus addressed, replied, 'Because in getting up from the ditch thou hast opened the water-course, thenceforth shalt thou be called Uddalaka as a mark of thy preceptor's favour. And because my words have been obeyed by thee, thou shalt obtain good fortune. And all the Vedas shall shine in thee and all the Dharmasastras also.' And Aruni, thus addressed by his preceptor, went to the country after his heart.
"The name of another of Ayoda-Dhaumya's disciples was Upamanyu. And Dhaumya appointed him saying, 'Go, my child, Upamanyu, look after the kine.' And according to his preceptor's orders, he went to tend the kine. And having watched them all day, he returned in the evening to his preceptor's house and standing before him he saluted him respectfully. And his preceptor seeing him in good condition of body asked him, 'Upamanyu, my child, upon what dost thou support thyself? Thou art exceedingly plump.' And he answered, 'Sir, I support myself by begging'. And his preceptor said, 'What is obtained in alms should not be used by thee without offering it to me.' And Upamanyu, thus told, went away. And having obtained alms, he offered the same to his preceptor. And his preceptor took from him even the whole. And Upamanyu, thus treated, went to attend the cattle. And having watched them all day, he returned in the evening to his preceptor's abode. And he stood before his preceptor and saluted him with respect. And his preceptor perceiving that he still continued to be of good condition of body said unto him, 'Upamanyu, my child, I take from thee even the whole of what thou obtainest in alms, without leaving anything for thee. How then dost thou, at present, contrive to support thyself?' And Upamanyu said unto his preceptor, 'Sir, having made over to you all that I obtain in alms, I go a-begging a second time for supporting myself.' And his preceptor then replied, 'This is not the way in which thou shouldst obey the preceptor. By this thou art diminishing the support of others that live by begging. Truly having supported thyself so, thou hast proved thyself covetous.' And Upamanyu, having signified his assent to all that his preceptor said, went away to attend the cattle. And having watched them all day, he returned to his preceptor's house. And he stood before his preceptor and saluted him respectfully. And his preceptor observing that he was still fat, said again unto him, 'Upamanyu, my child, I take from thee all thou obtainest in alms and thou dost not go a-begging a second time, and yet art thou in healthy condition. How dost thou support thyself?' And Upamanyu, thus questioned, answered, 'Sir, I now live upon the milk of these cows.' And his preceptor thereupon told him, 'It is not lawful for thee to appropriate the milk without having first obtained my consent.' And Upamanyu having assented to the justice of these observations, went away to tend the kine. And when he returned to his preceptor's abode, he stood before him and saluted him as usual. And his preceptor seeing that he was still fat, said, 'Upamanyu, my child, thou eatest no longer of alms, nor dost thou go a-begging a second time, not even drinkest of the milk; yet art thou fat. By what means dost thou contrive to live now? And Upamanyu replied, 'Sir, I now sip the froth that these calves throw out, while sucking their mother's teats.' And the preceptor said, 'These generous calves, I suppose, out of compassion for thee, throw out large quantities of froth. Wouldst thou stand in the way of their full meals by acting as thou hast done? Know that it is unlawful for thee to drink the froth.' And Upamanyu, having signified his assent to this, went as before to tend the cows. And restrained by his preceptor, he feedeth not on alms, nor hath he anything else to eat; he drinketh not of the milk, nor tasteth he of the froth!
"And Upamanyu, one day, oppressed by hunger, when in a forest, ate of the leaves of the Arka (Asclepias gigantea). And his eyes being affected by the pungent, acrimonious, crude, and saline properties of the leaves which he had eaten, he became blind. And as he was crawling about, he fell into a pit. And upon his not returning that day when the sun was sinking down behind the summit of the western mountains, the preceptor observed to his disciples that Upamanyu was not yet come. And they told him that he had gone out with the cattle.
"The preceptor then said, 'Upamanyu being restrained by me from the use of everything, is, of course, and therefore, doth not come home until it be late. Let us then go in search of him.' And having said this, he went with his disciples into the forest and began to shout, saying, 'Ho Upamanyu, where art thou?' And Upamanyu hearing his preceptor's voice answered in a loud tone, 'Here I am at the bottom of a well.' And his preceptor asked him how he happened to be there. And Upamanyu replied, 'Having eaten of the leaves of the Arka plant I became blind, and so have I fallen into this well.' And his preceptor thereupon told him, 'Glorify the twin Aswins, the joint physicians of the gods, and they will restore thee thy sight.' And Upamanyu thus directed by his preceptor began to glorify the twin Aswins, in the following words of the Rig Veda:
'Ye have existed before the creation! Ye first-born beings, ye are displayed in this wondrous universe of five elements! I desire to obtain you by the help of the knowledge derived from hearing, and of meditation, for ye are Infinite! Ye are the course itself of Nature and intelligent Soul that pervades that course! Ye are birds of beauteous feathers perched on the body that is like to a tree! Ye are without the three common attributes of every soul! Ye are incomparable! Ye, through your spirit in every created thing, pervade the Universe!
"Ye are golden Eagles! Ye are the essence into which all things disappear! Ye are free from error and know no deterioration! Ye are of beauteous beaks that would not unjustly strike and are victorious in every encounter! Ye certainly prevail over time! Having created the sun, ye weave the wondrous cloth of the year by means of the white thread of the day and the black thread of the night! And with the cloth so woven, ye have established two courses of action appertaining respectively to the Devas and the Pitris. The bird of Life seized by Time which represents the strength of the Infinite soul, ye set free for delivering her unto great happiness! They that are in deep ignorance, as long as they are under delusions of their senses, suppose you, who are independent of the attributes of matter, to be gifted with form! Three hundred and sixty cows represented by three hundred and sixty days produce one calf between them which is the year. That calf is the creator and destroyer of all. Seekers of truth following different routes, draw the milk of true knowledge with its help. Ye Aswins, ye are the creators of that calf!
"The year is but the nave of a wheel to which is attached seven hundred and twenty spokes representing as many days and nights. The circumference of this wheel represented by twelve months is without end. This wheel is full of delusions and knows no deterioration. It affects all creatures whether to this or of the other worlds. Ye Aswins, this wheel of time is set in motion by you!
"The wheel of Time as represented by the year has a nave represented by the six seasons. The number of spokes attached to that nave is twelve as represented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This wheel of Time manifests the fruits of the acts of all things. The presiding deities of Time abide in that wheel. Subject as I am to its distressful influence, ye Aswins, liberate me from that wheel of Time. Ye Aswins, ye are this universe of five elements! Ye are the objects that are enjoyed in this and in the other world! Make me independent of the five elements! And though ye are the Supreme Brahma, yet ye move over the Earth in forms enjoying the delights that the senses afford.
"In the beginning, ye created the ten points of the universe! Then have ye placed the Sun and the Sky above! The Rishis, according to the course of the same Sun, perform their sacrifices, and the gods and men, according to what hath been appointed for them, perform their sacrifices also enjoying the fruits of those acts!
"Mixing the three colours, ye have produced all the objects of sight! It is from these objects that the Universe hath sprung whereon the gods and men are engaged in their respective occupations, and, indeed, all creatures endued with life!
"Ye Aswins, I adore you! I also adore the Sky which is your handiwork! Ye are the ordainers of the fruits of all acts from which even the gods are not free! Ye are yourselves free from the fruits of your acts!
"Ye are the parents of all! As males and females it is ye that swallow the food which subsequently develops into the life creating fluid and blood! The new-born infant sucks the teat of its mother. Indeed it is ye that take the shape of the infant! Ye Aswins, grant me my sight to protect my life!"
The twin Aswins, thus invoked, appeared and said, 'We are satisfied. Here is a cake for thee. Take and eat it.' And Upamanyu thus addressed, replied, 'Your words, O Aswins, have never proved untrue. But without first offering this cake to my preceptor I dare not take it.' And the Aswins thereupon told him, 'Formerly, thy preceptor had invoked us. We thereupon gave him a cake like this; and he took it without offering it to his master. Do thou do that which thy preceptor did.' Thus addressed, Upamanyu again said unto them, 'O Aswins, I crave your pardon. Without offering it to my preceptor I dare not apply this cake.' The Aswins then said, 'O, we are pleased with this devotion of thine to thy preceptor. Thy master's teeth are of black iron. Thine shall be of gold. Thou shall be restored to sight and shall have good fortune.'
"Thus spoken to by the Aswins he recovered his sight, and having gone to his preceptor's presence he saluted him and told him all. And his preceptor was well-pleased with him and said unto him, 'Thou shalt obtain prosperity even as the Aswins have said. All the Vedas shall shine in thee and all the Dharma-sastras.' And this was the trial of Upamanyu.
"Then Veda the other disciple of Ayoda-Dhaumya was called. His preceptor once addressed him, saying, 'Veda, my child, tarry some time in my house and serve thy preceptor. It shall be to thy profit.' And Veda having signified his assent tarried long in the family of his preceptor mindful of serving him. Like an ox under the burthens of his master, he bore heat and cold, hunger and thirst, at all times without a murmur. And it was not long before his preceptor was satisfied. And as a consequence of that satisfaction, Veda obtained good fortune and universal knowledge. And this was the trial of Veda.
"And Veda, having received permission from his preceptor, and leaving the latter's residence after the completion of his studies, entered the domestic mode of life. And while living in his own house, he got three pupils. And he never told them to perform any work or to obey implicitly his own behests; for having himself experienced much woe while abiding in the family of his preceptor, he liked not to treat them with severity.
"After a certain time, Janamejaya and Paushya, both of the order of Kshatriyas, arriving at his residence appointed the Brahman. Veda, as their spiritual guide (Upadhyaya). And one day while about to depart upon some business related to a sacrifice, he employed one of his disciples, Utanka, to take charge of his household. 'Utanka', said he, 'whatsoever should have to be done in my house, let it be done by thee without neglect.' And having given these orders to Utanka, he went on his journey.
"So Utanka always mindful of the injunction of his preceptor took up his abode in the latter's house. And while Utanka was residing there, the females of his preceptor's house having assembled addressed him and said, 'O Utanka, thy mistress is in that season when connubial connection might be fruitful. The preceptor is absent; then stand thou in his place and do the needful.' And Utanka, thus addressed, said unto those women, 'It is not proper for me to do this at the bidding of women. I have not been enjoined by my preceptor to do aught that is improper.'
"After a while, his preceptor returned from his journey. And his preceptor having learnt all that had happened, became well-pleased and, addressing Utanka, said, 'Utanka, my child, what favour shall I bestow on thee? I have been served by thee duly; therefore hath our friendship for each other increased. I therefore grant thee leave to depart. Go thou, and let thy wishes be accomplished!'
"Utanka, thus addressed, replied, saying, "Let me do something that you wish, for it hath been said, 'He who bestoweth instruction contrary to usage and he who receiveth it contrary to usage, one of the two dieth, and enmity springeth up between the two.—I, therefore, who have received thy leave to depart, am desirous of bringing thee some honorarium due to a preceptor. His master, upon hearing this, replied, 'Utanka, my child, wait a while.' Sometime after, Utanka again addressed his preceptor, saying, 'Command me to bring that for honorarium, which you desire.' And his preceptor then said, 'My dear Utanka, thou hast often told me of your desire to bring something by way of acknowledgment for the instruction thou hast received. Go then in and ask thy mistress what thou art to bring. And bring thou that which she directs.' And thus directed by his preceptor Utanka addressed his preceptress, saying, 'Madam, I have obtained my master's leave to go home, and I am desirous of bringing something agreeable to thee as honorarium for the instruction I have received, in order that I may not depart as his debtor. Therefore, please command me what I am to bring.' Thus addressed, his preceptress replied, 'Go unto King Paushya and beg of him the pair of ear-rings worn by his Queen, and bring them hither. The fourth day hence is a sacred day when I wish to appear before the Brahmanas (who may dine at my house) decked with these ear-rings. Then accomplish this, O Utanka! If thou shouldst succeed, good fortune shall attend thee; if not, what good canst thou expect?'
"Utanka thus commanded, took his departure. And as he was passing along the road he saw a bull of extraordinary size and a man of uncommon stature mounted thereon. And that man addressed Utanka and said, 'Eat thou of the dung of this bull.' Utanka, however, was unwilling to comply. The man said again, 'O Utanka, eat of it without scrutiny. Thy master ate of it before.' And Utanka signified his assent and ate of the dung and drank of the urine of that bull, and rose respectfully, and washing his hands and mouth went to where King Paushya was.
'On arriving at the palace, Utanka saw Paushya seated (on his throne). And approaching him Utanka saluted the monarch by pronouncing blessings and said, 'I am come as a petitioner to thee.' And King Paushya, having returned Utanka's salutations, said, 'Sir, what shall I do for thee?' And Utanka said, 'I came to beg of thee a pair of ear-rings as a present to my preceptor. It behoveth thee to give me the ear-rings worn by the Queen.'
"King Paushya replied, 'Go, Utanka, into the female apartments where the Queen is and demand them of her.' And Utanka went into the women's apartments. But as he could not discover the Queen, he again addressed the king, saying, 'It is not proper that I should be treated by thee with deceit. Thy Queen is not in the private apartments, for I could not find her.' The king thus addressed, considered for a while and replied, 'Recollect, Sir, with attention whether thou art not in a state of defilement in consequence of contact with the impurities of a repast. My Queen is a chaste wife and cannot be seen by any one who is impure owing to contact with the leavings of a repast. Nor doth she herself appear in sight of any one who is defiled.'
"Utanka, thus informed, reflected for a while and then said, 'Yes, it must be so. Having been in a hurry I performed my ablutions (after meal) in a standing posture.' King Paushya then said, 'Here is a transgression, purification is not properly effected by one in a standing posture, not by one while he is going along.' And Utanka having agreed to this, sat down with his face towards the east, and washed his face, hands, and feet thoroughly. And he then, without a noise, sipped thrice of water free from scum and froth, and not warm, and just sufficient to reach his stomach and wiped his face twice. And he then touched with water the apertures of his organs (eyes, ears, etc.). And having done all this, he once more entered the apartments of the women. And this time he saw the Queen. And as the Queen perceived him, she saluted him respectfully and said, 'Welcome, Sir, command me what I have to do.' And Utanka said unto her, 'It behoveth thee to give me those ear-rings of thine. I beg them as a present for my preceptor.' And the Queen having been highly pleased with Utanka's conduct and, considering that Utanka as an object of charity could not be passed over, took off her ear-rings and gave them to him. And she said, 'These ear-rings are very much sought after by Takshaka, the King of the serpents. Therefore shouldst thou carry them with the greatest care.'
"And Utanka being told this, said unto the Queen, 'Lady, be under no apprehension. Takshaka, Chief of the serpents, is not able to overtake me.' And having said this, and taking leave of the Queen, he went back into the presence of Paushya, and said, 'Paushya, I am gratified.' Then Paushya said to Utanka, 'A fit object of charity can only be had at long intervals. Thou art a qualified guest, therefore do I desire to perform a sraddha. Tarry thou a little. And Utanka replied, 'Yes, I will tarry, and beg that the clean provisions that are ready may be soon brought in.' And the king having signified his assent, entertained Utanka duly. And Utanka seeing that the food placed before him had hair in it, and also that it was cold, thought it unclean. And he said unto Paushya, 'Thou givest me food that is unclean, therefore shalt thou lose thy sight.' And Paushya in answer said, 'And because dost thou impute uncleanliness to food that is clean, therefore shalt thou be without issue.' And Utanka thereupon rejoined, 'It behoveth thee not, after having offered me unclean food, to curse me in return. Satisfy thyself by ocular proof.'
"And Paushya seeing the food alleged to be unclean satisfied himself of its uncleanliness. And Paushya having ascertained that the food was truly unclean, being cold and mixed with hair, prepared as it was by a woman with unbraided hair, began to pacify the Rishi Utanka, saying, 'Sir, the food placed before thee is cold, and doth contain hair, having been prepared without sufficient care. Therefore I pray thee pardon me. Let me not become blind.' And Utanka answered, 'What I say must come to pass. Having become blind, thou mayst, however, recover the sight before long. Grant that thy curse also doth not take effect on me.' And Paushya said unto him, 'I am unable to revoke my curse. For my wrath even now hath not been appeased. But thou knowest not this. For a Brahmana's heart is soft as new-churned butter, even though his words bear a sharp-edged razor. It is otherwise in respect of these with the Kshatriya. His words are soft as new-churned butter, but his heart is like a sharp-edged tool, such being the case, I am unable, because of the hardness of my heart, to neutralise my curse. Then go thou thy own way.' To this Utanka made answer, "I showed thee the uncleanliness of the food offered to me, and I was even now pacified by thee. Besides, saidst thou at first that because I imputed uncleanliness to food that was clean I should be without issue. But the food truly unclean, thy curse cannot affect me. Of this I am sure.' And Utanka having said this departed with the ear-rings.
"On the road Utanka perceived coming towards him a naked idle beggar sometimes coming in view and sometimes disappearing. And Utanka put the ear-rings on the ground and went for water. In the meantime the beggar came quickly to the spot and taking up the ear-rings ran away. And Utanka having completed his ablutions in water and purified himself and having also reverently bowed down to the gods and his spiritual masters pursued the thief with the utmost speed. And having with great difficulty overtaken him, he seized him by force. But at that instant the person seized, quitting the form of a beggar and assuming his real form, viz., that of Takshaka, speedily entered a large hole open in the ground. And having got in, Takshaka proceeded to his own abode, the region of the serpents.
"Now, Utanka, recollecting the words of the Queen, pursued the Serpent, and began to dig open the hole with a stick but was unable to make much progress. And Indra beholding his distress sent his thunder-bolt (Vajra) to his assistance. Then the thunder-bolt entering that stick enlarged that hole. And Utanka began to enter the hole after the thunder-bolt. And having entered it, he beheld the region of the serpents infinite in extent, filled with hundreds of palaces and elegant mansions with turrets and domes and gate-ways, abounding with wonderful places for various games and entertainments. And Utanka then glorified the serpents by the following slokas:
"Ye Serpents, subjects of King Airavata, splendid in battle and showering weapons in the field like lightning-charged clouds driven by the winds! Handsome and of various forms and decked with many coloured ear-rings, ye children of Airavata, ye shine like the Sun in the firmament! On the northern banks of the Ganges are many habitations of serpents. There I constantly adore the great serpents. Who except Airavata would desire to move in the burning rays of the Sun? When Dhritarashtra (Airavata's brother) goes out, twenty-eight thousand and eight serpents follow him as his attendants. Ye who move near him and ye who stay at a distance from him, I adore all of you that have Airavata for your elder brother.
"I adore thee also, to obtain the ear-rings, O Takshaka, who formerly dwelt in Kurukshetra and the forest of Khandava! Takshaka and Aswasena, ye are constant companions who dwell in Kurukshetra on the banks of the Ikshumati! I also adore the illustrious Srutasena, the younger brother of Takshaka, who resided at the holy place called Mahadyumna with a view to obtaining the chiefship of the serpents.
"The Brahmana Rishi Utanka having saluted the chief serpents in this manner, obtained not, however, the ear-rings. And he thereupon became very thoughtful. And when he saw that he obtained not the ear-rings even though he had adored the serpents, he then looked about him and beheld two women at a loom weaving a piece of cloth with a fine shuttle; and in the loom were black and white threads. And he likewise saw a wheel, with twelve spokes, turned by six boys. And he also saw a man with a handsome horse. And he began to address them the following mantras:
"This wheel whose circumference is marked by twenty-four divisions representing as many lunar changes is furnished with three hundred spokes! It is set in continual motion by six boys (the seasons)! These damsels representing universal nature are weaving without intermission a cloth with threads black and white, and thereby ushering into existence the manifold worlds and the beings that inhabit them! Thou wielder of the thunder, the protector of the universe, the slayer of Vritra and Namuchi, thou illustrious one who wearest the black cloth and displayest truth and untruth in the universe, thou who ownest for thy carrier the horse which was received from the depths of the ocean, and which is but another form of Agni (the god of fire), I bow to thee, thou supreme Lord, thou Lord of the three worlds, O Purandara!'
"Then the man with the horse said unto Utanka, 'I am gratified by this thy adoration. What good shall I do to thee?' And Utanka replied, 'Even let the serpents be brought under my control.' Then the man rejoined, 'Blow into this horse.' And Utanka blew into that horse. And from the horse thus blown into, there issued, from every aperture of his body, flames of fire with smoke by which the region of the Nagas was about to be consumed. And Takshaka, surprised beyond measure and terrified by the heat of the fire, hastily came out of his abode taking the ear-rings with him, and said unto Utanka, 'Pray, Sir, take back the ear-rings.' And Utanka took them back.
"But Utanka having recovered his ear-rings thought, 'O, this is that sacred day of my preceptress. I am at a distance. How can I, therefore, show my regard for her? And when Utanka was anxious about this, the man addressed him and said, 'Ride this horse, Utanka, and he will in a moment carry thee to thy master's abode.' And Utanka having signified his assent, mounted the horse and presently reached his preceptor's house.
"And his preceptress that morning after having bathed was dressing her hair sitting, thinking of uttering a curse on Utanka if he should not return within time. But, in the meantime, Utanka entered his preceptor's abode and paid his respects to his preceptress and presented her the ear-rings. 'Utanka', said she, 'thou hast arrived at the proper time at the proper place. Welcome, my child; thou art innocent and therefore I do not curse thee! Good fortune is even before thee. Let thy wishes be crowned with success!'
"Then Utanka waited on his preceptor. And his preceptor said, 'Thou art welcome! What hath occasioned thy long absence?' And Utanka replied to his preceptor, 'Sir, in the execution of this my business obstruction was offered by Takshaka, the King of serpents. Therefore I had to go to the region of the Nagas. There I saw two damsels sitting at a loom, weaving a fabric with black and white threads. Pray, what is that? There likewise I beheld a wheel with twelve spokes ceaselessly turned by six boys. What too doth that import? Who is also the man that I saw? And what the horse of extraordinary size likewise beheld by me? And when I was on the road I also saw a bull with a man mounted thereon, by whom I was endearingly accosted thus, 'Utanka, eat of the dung of this bull, which was also eaten by thy master?' So I ate of the dung of that bull according to his words. Who also is he? Therefore, enlightened by thee, I desire to hear all about them.'
"And his preceptor thus addressed said unto him, 'The two damsels thou hast seen are Dhata and Vidhata; the black and white threads denote night and day; the wheel of twelve spokes turned by the six boys signified the year comprising six seasons. The man is Parjanya, the deity of rain, and the horse is Agni, the god of fire. The bull that thou hast seen on the road is Airavata, the king of elephants; the man mounted thereon is Indra; and the dung of the bull which was eaten by thee was Amrita. It was certainly for this (last) that thou hast not met with death in the region of the Nagas; and Indra who is my friend having been mercifully inclined showed thee favour. It is for this that thou returnest safe, with the ear-rings about thee. Then, O thou amiable one, I give thee leave to depart. Thou shall obtain good fortune.'
"And Utanka, having obtained his master's leave, moved by anger and resolved to avenge himself on Takshaka, proceeded towards Hastinapura. That excellent Brahmana soon reached Hastinapura. And Utanka then waited upon King Janamejaya who had some time before returned victorious from Takshashila. And Utanka saw the victorious monarch surrounded on all sides by his ministers. And he pronounced benedictions on him in a proper form. And Utanka addressed the monarch at the proper moment in speech of correct accent and melodious sounds, saying, 'O thou the best of monarchs! How is it that thou spendest thy time like a child when there is another matter that urgently demandeth thy attention?'"
"Sauti said, 'The monarch Janamejaya, thus addressed, saluting that excellent Brahmana replied unto him, 'In cherishing these my subjects I do discharge the duties of my noble tribe. Say, what is that business to be done by me and which hath brought thee hither.'
"The foremost of Brahmanas and distinguished beyond all for good deeds, thus addressed by the excellent monarch of large heart, replied unto him, 'O King! the business is thy own that demandeth thy attention; therefore do it, please. O thou King of kings! Thy father was deprived of life by Takshaka; therefore do thou avenge thy father's death on that vile serpent. The time hath come, I think, for the act of vengeance ordained by the Fates. Go then avenge the death of thy magnanimous father who, being bitten without cause by that vile serpent, was reduced to five elements even like a tree stricken by thunder. The wicked Takshaka, vilest of the serpent race, intoxicated with power committed an unnecessary act when he bit the King, that god-like father, the protector of the race of royal saints. Wicked in his deeds, he even caused Kasyapa (the prince of physicians) to run back when he was coming for the relief of thy father. It behoveth thee to burn the wicked wretch in the blazing fire of a snake-sacrifice. O King! Give instant orders for the sacrifice. It is thus thou canst avenge the death of thy father. And a very great favour shall have also been shown to me. For by that malignant wretch, O virtuous Prince, my business also was, on one occasion, obstructed, while proceeding on account of my preceptor."
"Sauti continued, The monarch, having heard these words, was enraged with Takshaka. By the speech of Utanka was inflamed the prince, even as the sacrificial fire with clarified butter. Moved by grief also, in the presence of Utanka, the prince asked his ministers the particulars of his father's journey to the regions of the blessed. And when he heard all about the circumstances of his father's death from the lips of Utanka, he was overcome with pain and sorrow.
And thus endeth the section called Paushya of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata."
'UGRASRAVA SAUTI, the son of Lomaharshana, versed in the Puranas, while present in the forest of Naimisha, at the twelve years' sacrifice of Saunaka, surnamed Kulapati, stood before the Rishis in attendance. Having studied Puranas with meticulous devotion and thus being thoroughly acquainted with them, he addressed them with joined hands thus, 'I have graphically described to you the history of Utanka which is one of the causes of King Janamejaya's Snake-sacrifice. What, revered Sirs, do ye wish to hear now? What shall I relate to you?' The holy men replied, 'O son of Lomaharshana, we shall ask thee about what we are anxious to hear and thou wilt recount the tales one by one. Saunaka, our revered master, is at present attending the apartment of the holy fire. He is acquainted with those divine stories which relate to the gods and asuras. He adequately knoweth the histories of men, serpents, and Gandharvas. Further, O Sauti, in this sacrifice that learned Brahmana is the chief. He is able, faithful to his vows, wise, a master of the Sastras and the Aranyaka, a speaker of truth, a lover of peace, a mortifier of the flesh, and an observer of the penances according to the authoritative decrees. He is respected by us all. It behoveth us therefore to wait for him. And when he is seated on his highly respected seat, thou wilt answer what that best of Dwijas shall ask of thee.'
"Sauti said, 'Be it so. And when the high-souled master hath been seated I shall narrate, questioned by him, sacred stories on a variety of subjects." After a while that excellent Brahmana (Saunaka) having duly finished all his duties, and having propitiated the gods with prayers and the manes with oblations of water, came back to the place of sacrifice, where with Sauti seated before was the assembly of saints of rigid vows sitting at ease. And when Saunaka was seated in the midst of the Ritwiks and Sadhyas, who were also in their seats, he spake as followeth."
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Saunaka said, 'Child, thy father formerly read the whole of the Puranas, O son of Lomaharshana, and the Bharata with Krishna-Dwaipayana. Hast thou also made them thy study? In those ancient records are chronicled interesting stories and the history of the first generations of the wise men, all of which we heard being rehearsed by thy sire. In the first place, I am desirous of hearing the history of the race of Bhrigu. Recount thou that history, we shall attentively listen to thee."
"Sauti answered, 'By me hath been acquired all that was formerly studied by the high-souled Brahmanas including Vaisampayana and repeated by them; by me hath been acquired all that had been studied by my father. O descendant of the Bhrigu race, attend then to so much as relateth to the exalted race of Bhrigu, revered by Indra and all the gods, by the tribes of Rishis and Maruts (Winds). O great Muni, I shall first properly recount the story of this family, as told in the Puranas.
"The great and blessed saint Bhrigu, we are informed, was produced by the self-existing Brahma from the fire at the sacrifice of Varuna. And Bhrigu had a son, named Chyavana, whom he dearly loved. And to Chyavana was born a virtuous son called Pramati. And Pramati had a son named Ruru by Ghritachi (the celestial dancer). And to Ruru also by his wife Pramadvara, was born a son, whose name was Sunaka. He was, O Saunaka, thy great ancestor exceedingly virtuous in his ways. He was devoted to asceticism, of great reputation, proficient in law, and eminent among those having a knowledge of the Vedas. He was virtuous, truthful, and of well-regulated fare.'
"Saunaka said, 'O son of Suta, I ask thee why the illustrious son of Bhrigu was named Chyavana. Do tell me all.'
"Sauti replied, 'Bhrigu had a wife named Puloma whom he dearly loved. She became big with child by Bhrigu. And one day while the virtuous continent Puloma was in that condition, Bhrigu, great among those that are true to their religion, leaving her at home went out to perform his ablutions. It was then that the Rakshasa called Puloma came to Bhrigu's abode. And entering the Rishi's abode, the Rakshasa saw the wife of Bhrigu, irreproachable in everything. And seeing her he became filled with lust and lost his senses. The beautiful Puloma entertained the Rakshasa thus arrived, with roots and fruits of the forest. And the Rakshasa who burnt with desire upon seeing her, became very much delighted and resolved, O good sage, to carry her away who was so blameless in every respect.
'My design is accomplished,' said the Rakshasa, and so seizing that beautiful matron he carried her away. And, indeed, she of agreeable smiles, had been betrothed by her father himself, to him, although the former subsequently bestowed her, according to due rites, on Bhrigu. O thou of the Bhrigu race, this wound rankled deep in the Rakshasa's mind and he thought the present moment very opportune for carrying the lady away.
"And the Rakshasa saw the apartment in which the sacrificial fire was kept burning brightly. The Rakshasa then asked the flaming element 'Tell me, O Agni, whose wife this woman rightfully is. Thou art the mouth of gods; therefore thou art bound to answer my question. This lady of superior complexion had been first accepted by me as wife, but her father subsequently bestowed her on the false Bhrigu. Tell me truly if this fair one can be regarded as the wife of Bhrigu, for having found her alone, I have resolved to take her away by force from the hermitage. My heart burneth with rage when I reflect that Bhrigu hath got possession of this woman of slender waist, first betrothed to me.'"
"Sauti continued, 'In this manner the Rakshasa asked the flaming god of fire again and again whether the lady was Bhrigu's wife. And the god was afraid to return an answer. 'Thou, O god of fire,' said he, residest constantly within every creature, as witness of her or his merits and demerits. O thou respected one, then answer my question truly. Has not Bhrigu appropriated her who was chosen by me as my wife? Thou shouldst declare truly whether, therefore, she is my wife by first choice. After thy answer as to whether she is the wife of Bhrigu, I will bear her away from this hermitage even in sight of thee. Therefore answer thou truly.'"
"Sauti continued, 'The Seven flamed god having heard these words of the Rakshasa became exceedingly distressed, being afraid of telling a falsehood and equally afraid of Bhrigu's curse. And the god at length made answer in words that came out slowly. 'This Puloma was, indeed, first chosen by thee, O Rakshasa, but she was not taken by thee with holy rites and invocations. But this far-famed lady was bestowed by her father on Bhrigu as a gift from desire of blessing. She was not bestowed on thee O Rakshasa, this lady was duly made by the Rishi Bhrigu his wife with Vedic rites in my presence. This is she—I know her. I dare not speak a falsehood. O thou best of the Rakshasas, falsehood is never respected in this world.'"
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'O Brahmana, having heard these words from the god of fire, the Rakshasa assumed the form of a boar, and seizing the lady carried her away with the speed of the wind—even of thought. Then the child of Bhrigu lying in her body enraged at such violence, dropped from his mother's womb, for which he obtained the name of Chyavana. And the Rakshasa perceiving the infant drop from the mother's womb, shining like the sun, quitted his grasp of the woman, fell down and was instantly converted into ashes. And the beautiful Pauloma, distracted with grief, O Brahmana of the Bhrigu race, took up her offspring Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu and walked away. And Brahma, the Grandfather of all, himself saw her, the faultless wife of his son, weeping. And the Grandfather of all comforted her who was attached to her son. And the drops of tears which rolled down her eyes formed a great river. And that river began to follow the foot-steps of the wife of the great ascetic Bhrigu. And the Grandfather of the worlds seeing that river follow the path of his son's wife gave it a name himself, and he called it Vadhusara. And it passeth by the hermitage of Chyavana. And in this manner was born Chyavana of great ascetic power, the son of Bhrigu.
"And Bhrigu saw his child Chyavana and its beautiful mother. And the Rishi in a rage asked her, 'By whom wast thou made known to that Rakshasa who resolved to carry thee away? O thou of agreeable smiles, the Rakshasa could not know thee as my wile. Therefore tell me who it was that told the Rakshasa so, in order that I may curse him through anger.' And Pauloma replied, 'O possessor of the six attributes! I was identified to the Rakshasa by Agni (the god of fire). And he (the Rakshasa) bore me away, who cried like the Kurari (female osprey). And it was only by the ardent splendour of this thy son that I was rescued, for the Rakshasa (seeing this infant) let me go and himself falling to the ground was turned into ashes.'
"Sauti continued, 'Bhrigu, upon hearing this account from Pauloma, became exceedingly enraged. And in excess of passion the Rishi cursed Agni, saying, 'Thou shalt eat of all things.'"
So ends the sixth section called "the curse on Agni" in the Adi Parva.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'the god of fire enraged at the curse of Bhrigu, thus addressed the Rishi, 'What meaneth this rashness, O Brahmana, that thou hast displayed towards me? What transgression can be imputed to me who was labouring to do justice and speak the truth impartially? Being asked I gave the true answer. A witness who when interrogated about a fact of which he hath knowledge, representeth otherwise than it is, ruineth his ancestors and descendants both to the seventh generation. He, too, who, being fully cognisant of all the particulars of an affair, doth not disclose what he knoweth, when asked, is undoubtedly stained with guilt. I can also curse thee, but Brahmanas are held by me in high respect. Although these are known to thee, O Brahmana, I will yet speak of them, so please attend! Having, by ascetic power, multiplied myself, I am present in various forms, in places of the daily homa, at sacrifices extending for years, in places where holy rites are performed (such as marriage, etc.), and at other sacrifices. With the butter that is poured upon my flame according to the injunctions prescribed in the Vedas, the Devas and the Pitris are appeased. The Devas are the waters; the Pitris are also the waters. The Devas have with the Pitris an equal right to the sacrifices called Darshas and Purnamasas. The Devas therefore are the Pitris and the Pitris, the Devas. They are identical beings, worshipped together and also separately at the changes of the moon. The Devas and the Pitris eat what is poured upon me. I am therefore called the mouth of the Devas and the Pitris. At the new moon the Pitris, and at the full moon the Devas, are fed through my mouth, eating of the clarified butter that is poured on me. Being, as I am, their mouth, how am I to be an eater of all things (clean and unclean)?
"Then Agni, alter reflecting for a while, withdrew himself from all places; from places of the daily homa of the Brahmanas, from all long-extending sacrifices, from places of holy rites, and from other ceremonies. Without their Oms and Vashats, and deprived of their Swadhas and Swahas (sacrificial mantras during offerings), the whole body of creatures became much distressed at the loss of their (sacrificial) fire. The Rishis in great anxiety went to the gods and addressed them thus, 'Ye immaculate beings! The three regions of the universe are confounded at the cessation of their sacrifices and ceremonies in consequence of the loss of fire! Ordain what is to be done in tins matter, so that there may be no loss of time.' Then the Rishis and the gods went together to the presence of Brahma. And they represented to him all about the curse on Agni and the consequent interruption of all ceremonies. And they said, 'O thou greatly fortunate! Once Agni hath been cursed by Bhrigu for some reason. Indeed, being the mouth of the gods and also the first who eateth of what is offered in sacrifices, the eater also of the sacrificial butter, how will Agni be reduced to the condition of one who eateth of all things promiscuously?' And the creator of the universe hearing these words of theirs summoned Agni to his presence. And Brahma addressed Agni, the creator of all and eternal as himself, in these gentle words, 'Thou art the creator of the worlds and thou art their destroyer! Thou preserves! the three worlds and thou art the promoter of all sacrifices and ceremonies! Therefore behave thyself so that ceremonies be not interrupted. And, O thou eater of the sacrificial butter, why dost thou act so foolishly, being, as thou art, the Lord of all? Thou alone art always pure in the universe and thou art its stay! Thou shall not, with all thy body, be reduced to the state of one who eateth of all things promiscuously. O thou of flames, the flame that is in thy viler parts shall alone eat of all things alike. The body of thine which eateth of flesh (being in the stomach of all carnivorous animals) shall also eat of all things promiscuously. And as every thing touched by the sun's rays becometh pure, so shall everything be pure that shall be burnt by thy flames. Thou art, O fire, the supreme energy born of thy own power. Then, O Lord, by that power of thine make the Rishi's curse come true. Continue to 'receive thy own portion and that of the gods, offered at thy mouth.'
'Sauti continued, 'Then Agni replied to the Grandfather, 'So be it.' And he then went away to obey the command of the supreme Lord. The gods and the Rishis also returned in delight to the place whence they had come. And the Rishis began to perform as before their ceremonies and sacrifices. And the gods in heaven and all creatures of the world rejoiced exceedingly. And Agni too rejoiced in that he was free from the prospect of sin.
"Thus, O possessor of the six attributes, had Agni been cursed in the days of yore by Bhrigu. And such is the ancient history connected with the destruction of the Rakshasa, Pauloma and the birth of Chyavana.'"
Thus endeth the seventh section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'O Brahmana, Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu, begot a son in the womb of his wife Sukanya. And that son was the illustrious Pramati of resplendent energy. And Pramati begot in the womb of Ghritachi a son called Ruru. And Ruru begot on his wife Pramadvara a son called Sunaka. And I shall relate to you in detail, O Brahmana, the entire history of Ruru of abundant energy. O listen to it then in full!
"Formerly there was a great Rishi called Sthulakesa possessed of ascetic power and learning and kindly disposed towards all creatures. At that time, O Brahmana sage, Viswavasu, the King of the Gandharvas, it is said, had intimacy with Menaka, the celestial dancing-girl. And the Apsara, Menaka, O thou of the Bhrigu race, when her time was come, brought forth an infant near the hermitage of Sthulakesa. And dropping the newborn infant on the banks of the river, O Brahmana, Menaka, the Apsara, being destitute of pity and shame, went away. And the Rishi, Sthulakesa, of great ascetic power, discovered the infant lying forsaken in a lonely part of the river-side. And he perceived that it was a female child, bright as the offspring of an Immortal and blazing, as it were, with beauty: And the great Brahmana, Sthulakesa, the first of Munis, seeing that female child, and filled with compassion, took it up and reared it. And the lovely child grew up in his holy habitation, the noble-minded and blessed Rishi Sthulakesa performing in due succession all the ceremonies beginning with that at birth as ordained by the divine law. And because she surpassed all of her sex in goodness, beauty, and every quality, the great Rishi called her by the name of Pramadvara. And the pious Ruru having seen Pramadvara in the hermitage of Sthulakesa became one whose heart was pierced by the god of love. And Ruru by means of his companions made his father Pramati, the son of Bhrigu, acquainted with his passion. And Pramati demanded her of the far-famed Sthulakesa for his son. And her foster-father betrothed the virgin Pramadvara to Ruru, fixing the nuptials for the day when the star Varga-Daivata (Purva-phalguni) would be ascendant.
"Then within a few days of the time fixed for the nuptials, the beautiful virgin while at play with companions of her own sex, her time having come, impelled by fate, trod upon a serpent which she did not perceive as it lay in coil. And the reptile, urged to execute the will of Fate, violently darted its envenomed fangs into the body of the heedless maiden. And stung by that serpent, she instantly dropped senseless on the ground, her colour faded and all the graces of her person went off. And with dishevelled hair she became a spectacle of woe to her companions and friends. And she who was so agreeable to behold became on her death what was too painful to look at. And the girl of slender waist lying on the ground like one asleep—being overcome with the poison of the snake-once more became more beautiful than in life. And her foster-father and the other holy ascetics who were there, all saw her lying motionless upon the ground with the splendour of a lotus. And then there came many noted Brahmanas filled with compassion, and they sat around her. And Swastyatreya, Mahajana, Kushika, Sankhamekhala, Uddalaka, Katha, and Sweta of great renown, Bharadwaja, Kaunakutsya, Arshtishena, Gautama, Pramati, and Pramati's son Ruru, and other inhabitants of the forest, came there. And when they saw that maiden lying dead on the ground overcome with the poison of the reptile that had bitten her, they all wept filled with compassion. But Ruru, mortified beyond measure, retired from the scene.'"
So ends the eighth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'While those illustrious Brahmanas were sitting around the dead body of Pramadvara, Ruru, sorely afflicted, retired into a deep wood and wept aloud. And overwhelmed with grief he indulged in much piteous lamentation. And, remembering his beloved Pramadvara, he gave vent to his sorrow in the following words, 'Alas! The delicate fair one that increaseth my affliction lieth upon the bare ground. What can be more deplorable to us, her friends? If I have been charitable, if I have performed acts of penance, if I have ever revered my superiors, let the merit of these arts restore to life my beloved one! If from my birth I have been controlling my passions, adhered to my vows, let the fair Pramadvara rise from the ground.
"And while Ruru was indulging in these lamentations for the loss of his bride, a messenger from heaven came to him in the forest and addressed him thus, 'The words thou utterest, O Ruru, in thy affliction are certainly ineffectual. For, O pious man, one belonging to this world whose days have run out can never come back to life. This poor child of a Gandharva and Apsara has had her days run out! Therefore, O child, thou shouldst not consign thy heart to sorrow. The great gods, however, have provided beforehand a means of her restoration to life. And if thou compliest with it, thou mayest receive back thy Pramadvara.'
"And Ruru replied, O messenger of heaven! What is that which the gods have ordained. Tell me in full so that (on hearing) I may comply with it. It behoveth thee to deliver me from grief!' And the celestial messenger said unto Ruru, 'Resign half of thy own life to thy bride, and then, O Ruru of the race of Bhrigu, thy Pramadvara shall rise from the ground.' 'O best of celestial messengers, I most willingly offer a moiety of my own life in favour of my bride. Then let my beloved one rise up once more in her dress and lovable form.'
"Sauti said, 'Then the king of Gandharvas (the father of Pramadvara) and the celestial messenger, both of excellent qualities, went to the god Dharma (the Judge of the dead) and addressed him, saying, 'If it be thy will, O Dharmaraja, let the amiable Pramadvara, the betrothed wife of Ruru, now lying dead, rise up with a moiety of Ruru's life.' And Dharmaraja answered, 'O messenger of the gods, if it be thy wish, let Pramadvara, the betrothed wife of Ruru, rise up endued with a moiety of Ruru's life.'
"Sauti continued, 'And when Dharmaraja had said so, that maiden of superior complexion, Pramadvara, endued with a moiety of Ruru's life, rose as from her slumber. This bestowal by Ruru of a moiety of his own span of life to resuscitate his bride afterwards led, as it would be seen, to a curtailment of Ruru's life.
"And on an auspicious day their fathers gladly married them with due rites. And the couple passed their days, devoted to each other. And Ruru having obtained such a wife, as is hard to be found, beautiful and bright as the filaments of the lotus, made a vow for the destruction of the serpent-race. And whenever he saw a serpent he became filled with great wrath and always killed it with a weapon.
"One day, O Brahmana, Ruru entered an extensive forest. And there he saw an old serpent of the Dundubha species lying stretched on the ground. And Ruru thereupon lifted up in anger his staff, even like to the staff of Death, for the purpose of killing it. Then the Dundubha, addressing Ruru, said, 'I have done thee no harm, O Brahmana! Then wherefore wilt thou slay me in anger?'"
So ends the ninth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
Sauti said, 'And Ruru, on hearing those words, replied, 'My wife, dear to me as life, was bit by a snake; upon which, I took, O snake, a dreadful vow, viz., that I would kill every snake that I might come across. Therefore shall I smite thee and thou shalt be deprived of life.'
"And the Dundubha replied, 'O Brahmana, the snakes that bite man are quite different in type. It behoveth thee not to slay Dundubhas who are serpents only in name. Subject like other serpents to the same calamities but not sharing their good fortune, in woe the same but in joy different, the Dundubhas should not be slain by thee under any misconception.'
"Sauti continued, 'And the Rishi Ruru hearing these words of the serpent, and seeing that it was bewildered with fear, albeit a snake of the Dundubha species, killed it not. And Ruru, the possessor of the six attributes, comforting the snake addressed it, saying, 'Tell me fully, O snake, who art thou thus metamorphosed?' And the Dundubha replied, 'O Ruru! I was formerly a Rishi by name Sahasrapat. And it is by the curse of a Brahmana that I have been transformed into a snake. And Ruru asked, 'O thou best of snakes, for what wast thou cursed by a Brahmana in wrath? And how long also will thy form continue so?'"
And so ends the tenth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Sauti continued 'The Dundubha then said, 'In former times, I had a friend Khagama by name. He was impetuous in his speech and possessed of spiritual power by virtue of his austerities. And one day when he was engaged in the Agni-hotra (Fire-sacrifice), I made a mock snake of blades of grass, and in a frolic attempted to frighten him with it. And anon he fell into a swoon. On recovering his senses, that truth-telling and vow-observing ascetic, burning with wrath, exclaimed, 'Since thou hast made a powerless mock snake to frighten me, thou shalt be turned even into a venomless serpent thyself by my curse.' O ascetic, I well knew the power of his penances; therefore with an agitated heart, I addressed him thus, bending low with joined hands, 'Friend, I did this by way of a joke, to excite thy laughter. It behoveth thee to forgive me and revoke thy curse.' And seeing me sorely troubled, the ascetic was moved, and he replied, breathing hot and hard. 'What I have said must come to pass. Listen to what I say and lay it to thy heart. O pious one! when Ruru the pure son of Pramati, will appear, thou shall be delivered from the curse the moment thou seest him. Thou art the very Ruru and the son of Pramati. On regaining my native form, I will tell thee something for thy good.
"And that illustrious man and the best of Brahmanas then left his snake-body, and attained his own form and original brightness. He then addressed the following words to Ruru of incomparable power, 'O thou first of created beings, verily the highest virtue of man is sparing the life of others. Therefore a Brahmana should never take the life of any creature. A Brahmana should ever be mild. This is the most sacred injunction of the Vedas. A Brahmana should be versed in the Vedas and Vedangas, and should inspire all creatures with belief in God. He should be benevolent to all creatures, truthful, and forgiving, even as it is his paramount duty to retain the Vedas in his memory. The duties of the Kshatriya are not thine. To be stern, to wield the sceptre and to rule the subjects properly are the duties of the Kshatriya. Listen, O Ruru, to the account of the destruction of snakes at the sacrifice of Janamejaya in days of yore, and the deliverance of the terrified reptiles by that best of Dwijas, Astika, profound in Vedic lore and might in spiritual energy.'"
And so ends the eleventh section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Sauti continued, 'Ruru then asked, 'O best of Dwijas, why was king Janamejaya bent upon destroying the serpents?—And why and how were they saved by the wise Astika? I am anxious to hear all this in detail.'
"The Rishi replied, 'O Ruru, the important history of Astika you will learn from the lips of Brahmanas.' Saying this, he vanished.
"Sauti continued, 'Ruru ran about in search of the missing Rishi, and having failed to find him in all the woods, fell down on the ground, fatigued. And revolving in his mind the words of the Rishi, he was greatly confounded and seemed to be deprived of his senses. Regaining consciousness, he came home and asked his father to relate the history in question. Thus asked, his father related all about the story.'"
So ends the twelfth section in the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.
"Saunaka said, 'For what reason did that tiger among kings, the royal Janamejaya, determine to take the lives of the snakes by means of a sacrifice? O Sauti, tell us in full the true story. Tell us also why Astika, that best of regenerate ones, that foremost of ascetics, rescued the snakes from the blazing fire. Whose son was that monarch who celebrated the snake-sacrifice? And whose son also was that best of regenerate ones?'
"Sauti said, 'O best of speakers, this story of Astika is long. I will duly relate it in full, O listen!'
"Saunaka said, 'I am desirous of hearing at length the charming story of that Rishi, that illustrious Brahmana named Astika.'
"Sauti said, 'This history (first) recited by Krishna-Dwaipayana, is called a Purana by the Brahmanas. It was formerly narrated by my wise father, Lomaharshana, the disciple of Vyasa, before the dwellers of the Naimisha forest, at their request. I was present at the recital, and, O Saunaka, since thou askest me, I shall narrate the history of Astika exactly as I heard it. O listen, as I recite in full that sin-destroying story.
"The father of Astika was powerful like Prajapati. He was a Brahma-charin, always engaged in austere devotions. He ate sparingly, was a great ascetic, and had his lust under complete control. And he was known by the name of Jaratkaru. That foremost one among the Yayavaras, virtuous and of rigid vows, highly blessed and endued with great ascetic power, once undertook a journey over the world. He visited diverse places, bathed in diverse sacred waters, and rested where night overtook him. Endued with great energy, he practised religious austerities, hard to be practised by men of unrestrained souls. The sage lived upon air only, and renounced sleep for ever. Thus going about like a blazing fire, one day he happened to see his ancestors, hanging heads down in a great hole, their feet pointing upwards. On seeing them, Jaratkaru addressed them, saying:
'Who are you thus hanging heads down in this hole by a rope of virana fibres that is again secretly eaten into on all sides by a rat living here?'
"The ancestors said, 'We are Rishis of rigid vows, called Yayavaras. We are sinking low into the earth for want of offspring. We have a son named Jaratkaru. Woe to us! That wretch hath entered upon a life of austerities only! The fool doth not think of raising offspring by marriage! It is for that reason, viz., the fear of extinction of our race, that we are suspended in this hole. Possessed of means, we fare like unfortunates that have none! O excellent one, who art thou that thus sorrowest as a friend on our account? We desire to learn, O Brahmana, who thou art that standest by us, and why, O best of men, thou sorrowest for us that are so unfortunate.'
"Jaratkaru said, 'Ye are even my sires and grandsires I am that Jaratkaru! O, tell me, how I may serve you.'
"The fathers then answered, 'Try thy best, O child, to beget a son to extend our line. Thou wilt then, O excellent one, have done a meritorious art for both thyself and us. Not by the fruits of virtue, not by ascetic penances well hoarded up, acquireth the merit which one doth by becoming a father. Therefore, O child, by our command, set thy heart upon marriage and offspring. Even this is our highest good.'
"Jaratkaru replied, 'I shall not marry for my sake, nor shall I earn wealth for enjoyment, but I shall do so for your welfare only. According to this understanding, I shall, agreeably to the Sastric ordinance, take a wife for attaining the end. I shall not act otherwise. If a bride may be had of the same name with me, whose friends would, besides, willingly give her to me as a gift in charity, I shall wed her duly. But who will give his daughter to a poor man like me for wife. I shall, however, accept any daughter given to me as alms. I shall endeavour, ye sires, even thus to wed a girl! Having given my word, I will not act otherwise. Upon her I will raise offspring for your redemption, so that, ye fathers, ye may attain to eternal regions (of bliss) and may rejoice as ye like.'"
So ends the thirteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'That Brahmana of rigid vows then wandered over the earth for a wife but a wife found he not. One day he went into the forest, and recollecting the words of his ancestors, he thrice prayed in a faint voice for a bride. Thereupon Vasuki rose and offered his sister for the Rishi's acceptance. But the Brahmana hesitated to accept her, thinking her not to be of the same name with himself. The high-souled Jaratkaru thought within himself, 'I will take none for wife who is not of the same name with myself.' Then that Rishi of great wisdom and austere penances asked him, saying, 'Tell me truly what is the name of this thy sister, O snake.'
"Vasuki replied, 'O Jaratkaru, this my younger sister is called Jaratkaru. Given away by me, accept this slender-waisted damsel for thy spouse. O best of Brahmanas, for thee I reserved her. Therefore, take her.' Saying this, he offered his beautiful sister to Jaratkaru who then espoused her with ordained rites.'"
So ends the thirteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'O foremost of persons acquainted with Brahma, the mother of the snakes had cursed them of old, saying, 'He that hath the Wind for his charioteer (viz., Agni) shall burn you all in Janamejaya's sacrifice!' It was to neutralise that curse that the chief of the snakes married his sister to that high-souled Rishi of excellent vows. The Rishi wedded her according to the rites ordained (in the scriptures), and from them was born a high-souled son called Astika. An illustrious ascetic; versed in the Vedas and their branches, he regarded all with an even eye, and removed the fears of both his parents.
"Then, after a long space of time, a king descending from the Pandava line celebrated a great sacrifice known as the Snake-sacrifice, After that sacrifice had commenced for the destruction of the snakes, Astika delivered the Nagas, viz., his brothers and maternal uncles and other snakes (from a fiery death). And he delivered his fathers also by begetting offspring. And by his austerities, O Brahmana, and various vows and study of the Vedas, he freed himself from all his debts. By sacrifices, at which various kinds of offerings were made, he propitiated the gods. By practising the Brahmacharya mode of life he conciliated the Rishis; and by begetting offspring he gratified his ancestors.
"Thus Jaratkaru of rigid vows discharged the heavy debt he owed to his sires who being thus relieved from bondage ascended to heaven. Thus having acquired great religious merit, Jaratkaru, after a long course of years, went to heaven, leaving Astika behind. There is the story of Astika that I have related duly Now, tell me, O tiger of Bhrigu's race, what else I shall narrate."
So ends the fifteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
"Saunaka said, 'O Sauti, relate once more in detail this history of the learned and virtuous Astika. Our curiosity for hearing it is great. O amiable one, thou speakest sweetly, with proper accent and emphasis; and we are well-pleased with thy speech. Thou speakest even as thy father. Thy sire was ever ready to please us. Tell us now the story as thy father had related it.'
"Sauti said, 'O thou that art blest with longevity, I shall narrate the history of Astika as I heard it from my father. O Brahmana, in the golden age, Prajapati had two daughters. O sinless one, the sisters were endowed with wonderful beauty. Named Kadru and Vinata, they became the wives of Kasyapa. Kasyapa derived great pleasure from his two wedded wives and being gratified he, resembling Prajapati himself, offered to give each of them a boon. Hearing that their lord was willing to confer on them their choice blessings, those excellent ladies felt transports of joy. Kadru wished to have for sons a thousand snakes all of equal splendour. And Vinata wished to bring forth two sons surpassing the thousand offsprings of Kadru in strength, energy, size of body, and prowess. Unto Kadru her lord gave that boon about a multitude of offspring. And unto Vinata also, Kasyapa said, 'Be it so!' Then Vinata, having; obtained her prayer, rejoiced greatly. Obtaining two sons of superior prowess, she regarded her boon fulfilled. Kadru also obtained her thousand sons of equal splendour. 'Bear the embryos carefully,' said Kasyapa, and then he went into the forest, leaving his two wives pleased with his blessings.'
"Sauti continued, 'O best of regenerate ones, after a long time, Kadru brought forth a thousand eggs, and Vinata two. Their maid-servants deposited the eggs separately in warm vessels. Five hundred years passed away, and the thousand eggs produced by Kadru burst and out came the progeny. But the twins of Vinata did not appear. Vinata was jealous, and therefore she broke one of the eggs and found in it an embryo with the upper part developed but the lower one undeveloped. At this, the child in the egg became angry and cursed his mother, saying. 'Since thou hast prematurely broken this egg, thou shall serve as a slave. Shouldst thou wait five hundred years and not destroy, or render the other egg half-developed, by breaking it through impatience, then the illustrious child within it will deliver thee from slavery! And if thou wouldst have the child strong, thou must take tender care of the egg for all this time!' Thus cursing his mother, the child rose to the sky. O Brahmana, even he is the charioteer of Surya, always seen in the hour of morning!
"Then at the expiration of the five hundred years, bursting open the other egg, out came Garuda, the serpent-eater. O tiger of Bhrigu's race, immediately on seeing the light, that son of Vinata left his mother. And the lord of birds, feeling hungry, took wing in quest of the food assigned to him by the Great Ordainer of all.".
So ends the sixteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'O ascetic, about this time the two sisters saw approaching near, that steed of complacent appearance named Uchchaihsravas who was worshipped by the gods, that gem of steeds, who arose at the churning of the Ocean for nectar. Divine, graceful, perpetually young, creation's master-piece, and of irresistible vigour, it was blest with every auspicious mark.'
"Saunaka asked, 'Why did the gods churn the Ocean for nectar, and under what circumstances and when as you say, did that best of steeds so powerful and resplendent spring?'
"Sauti said, 'There is a mountain named Meru, of blazing appearance, and looking like a heap of effulgence. The rays of the Sun falling on its peaks of golden lustre are dispersed by them. Decked with gold and exceedingly beautiful, that mountain is the haunt of the gods and the Gandharvas. It is immeasurable and unapproachable by men of manifold sins. Dreadful beasts of prey wander over its breasts, and it is illuminated by many divine life-giving herbs. It stands kissing the heavens by its height and is the first of mountains. Ordinary people cannot even think of ascending it. It is graced with trees and streams, and resounds with the charming melody of winged choirs. Once the celestials sat on its begemmed peak—in conclave. They who had practised penances and observed excellent vows for amrita now seemed to be eager seekers alter amrita (celestial ambrosia). Seeing the celestial assembly in anxious mood Nara-yana said to Brahman, 'Do thou churn the Ocean with the gods and the Asuras. By doing so, amrita will be obtained as also all drugs and gems. O ye gods, chum the Ocean, ye will discover amrita.'"
So ends the seventeenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'There is a mountain called Mandara adorned with cloud-like peaks. It is the best of mountains, and is covered all over with intertwining herbs. There countless birds pour forth their melodies, and beasts of prey roam about. The gods, the Apsaras and the Kinnaras visit the place. Upwards it rises eleven thousand yojanas, and descends downwards as much. The gods wanted to tear it up and use it as a churning rod but failing to do so same to Vishnu and Brahman who were sitting together, and said unto them, 'Devise some efficient scheme, consider, ye gods, how Mandara may be dislodged for our good.'
"Sauti continued, 'O son of Bhrigu! Vishnu with Brahman assented to it. And the lotus-eyed one (Vishnu) laid the hard task on the mighty Ananta, the prince of snakes. The powerful Ananta, directed thereto both by Brahman and Narayana, O Brahmana, tore up the mountain with the woods thereon and with the denizens of those woods. And the gods came to the shore of the Ocean with Ananta and addressed the Ocean, saying, 'O Ocean; we have come to churn thy waters for obtaining nectar.' And the Ocean replied, 'Be it so, as I shall not go without a share of it. I am able to bear the prodigious agitation of my waters set up by the mountain.' The gods then went to the king of tortoises and said to him, 'O Tortoise-king, thou wilt have to hold the mountain on thy back!' The Tortoise-king agreed, and Indra contrived to place the mountain on the former's back.
"And the gods and the Asuras made of Mandara a churning staff and Vasuki the cord, and set about churning the deep for amrita. The Asuras held Vasuki by the hood and the gods held him by the tail. And Ananta, who was on the side of the gods, at intervals raised the snake's hood and suddenly lowered it. And in consequence of the stretch Vasuki received at the hands of the gods and the Asuras, black vapours with flames issued from his mouth. These, turned into clouds charged with lightning, poured showers that refreshed the tired gods. And flowers that also fell on all sides of the celestials from the trees on the whirling Mandara, refreshed them.
"Then, O Brahmana, out of the deep came a tremendous roar like unto the roar of the clouds at the Universal Dissolution. Diverse aquatic animals being crushed by the great mountain gave up the ghost in the salt waters. And many denizens of the lower regions and the world of Varuna were killed. Large trees with birds on the whirling Mandara were torn up by the roots and fell into the water. The mutual friction of those trees also produced fires that blazed up frequently. The mountain thus looked like a mass of dark clouds charged with lightning. O Brahmana, the fire spread, and consumed the lions, elephants and other creatures that were on the mountain. Then Indra extinguished that fire by pouring down heavy showers.
"After the churning, O Brahmana, had gone on for some time, gummy exudations of various trees and herbs vested with the properties of amrita mingled with the waters of the Ocean. And the celestials attained to immortality by drinking of the water mixed with those gums and with the liquid extract of gold. By degrees, the milky water of the agitated deep turned into clarified butter by virtue of those gums and juices. But nectar did not appear even then. The gods came before the boon-granting Brahman seated on his seat and said, 'Sire, we are spent up, we have no strength left to churn further. Nectar hath not yet arisen so that now we have no resource save Narayana.'
"On hearing them, Brahman said to Narayana, 'O Lord, condescend to grant the gods strength to churn the deep afresh.'
"Then Narayana agreeing to grant their various prayers, said, 'Ye wise ones, I grant you sufficient strength. Go, put the mountain in position again and churn the water.'
'Re-established thus in strength, the gods recommenced churning. After a while, the mild Moon of a thousand rays emerged from the Ocean. Thereafter sprung forth Lakshmi dressed in white, then Soma, then the White Steed, and then the celestial gem Kaustubha which graces the breast of Narayana. Then Lakshmi, Soma and the Steed, fleet as the mind, all came before the gods on high. Then arose the divine Dhanwantari himself with the white vessel of nectar in his hand. And seeing him, the Asuras set up a loud cry, saying, 'It be ours.'
"And at length rose the great elephant, Airavata, of huge body and with two pair of white tusks. And him took Indra the wielder of the thunderbolt. But with the churning still going on, the poison Kalakuta appeared at last. Engulfing the Earth it suddenly blazed up like a fire attended with fumes. And by the scent of the fearful Kalakuta, the three worlds were stupefied. And then Siva, being solicited by Brahman, swallowed that poison for the safety of the creation. The divine Maheswara held it in his throat, and it is said that from that time he is called Nilakantha (blue-throated). Seeing all these wondrous things, the Asuras were filled with despair, and got themselves prepared for entering into hostilities with the gods for the possession of Lakshmi and Amrita. Thereupon Narayana called his bewitching Maya (illusive power) to his aid, and assuming the form of an enticing female, coquetted with the Danavas. The Danavas and the Daityas charmed with her exquisite beauty and grace lost their reason and unanimously placed the Amrita in the hands of that fair damsel.'"
So ends the eighteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'Then the Daityas and the Danauas equipped with first-class armours and various weapons attacked the gods. In the meantime the valiant Lord Vishnu in the form of an enchantress accompanied by Nara deceived the mighty Danavas and took away the Amrita from their hands.
"And all the gods at that time of great fright drank the Amrita with delight, receiving it from Vishnu. And while the gods were partaking of it, after which they had so much hankered, a Danava named Rahu was also drinking it among them in the guise of a god. And when the Amrita had reached Rahu's throat only, Surya and Soma (recognised him and) intimated the fact to the gods. And Narayana instantly cut off with his discus the well-adorned head of the Danava who was drinking the Amrita without permission. And the huge head of the Danava, cut off by the discus and resembling a mountain peak, then rose up to the sky and began to utter dreadful cries. And the Danava's headless trunk, falling upon the ground and rolling thereon, made the Earth tremble with her mountains, forests and islands. And from that time there is a long-standing quarrel between Rahu's head and Surya and Soma. And to this day it swalloweth Surya and Soma (during solar and lunar eclipses).
"Then Narayana quitting his enchanting female form and hurling many terrible weapons at the Danavas, made them tremble. And thus on the shores of the salt-water sea, commenced the dreadful battle of the gods and the Asuras. And sharp-pointed javelins and lances and various weapons by thousands began to be discharged on all sides. And mangled with the discus and wounded with swords, darts and maces, the Asuras in large numbers vomited blood and lay prostrate on the earth. Cut off from the trunks with sharp double-edged swords, heads adorned with bright gold, fell continually on the field of battle. Their bodies drenched in gore, the great Asuras lay dead everywhere. It seemed as if red-dyed mountain peaks lay scattered all around. And when the Sun rose in his splendour, thousands of warriors struck one another with weapons. And cries of distress were heard everywhere. The warriors fighting at a distance from one another brought one another down by sharp iron missiles, and those fighting at close quarters slew one another with blows of their fists. And the air was filled with shrieks of distress. Everywhere were heard the alarming sounds,—'cut', 'pierce', 'at them', 'hurl down', 'advance'.
'And when the battle was raging fiercely, Nara and Narayana entered the field. And Narayana seeing the celestial bow in the hand of Nara, called to mind his own weapon, the Danava-destroying discus. And lo! the discus, Sudarsana, destroyer of enemies, like to Agni in effulgence and dreadful in battle, came from the sky as soon as thought of. And when it came, Narayana of fierce energy, possessing arms like the trunk of an elephant, hurled with great force that weapon of extraordinary lustre, effulgent as blazing fire, dreadful and capable of destroying hostile towns. And that discus blazing like the fire that consumeth all things at the end of Yuga, hurled with force from the hands of Narayana, and falling constantly everywhere, destroyed the Daityas and the Danavas by thousands. Sometimes it blazed like fire and consumed them all; sometimes it struck them down as it coursed through the sky; and sometimes, falling on the earth, it drank their life-blood like a goblin.
"On the other hand, the Danavas, white as the clouds from which the rain hath dropped, possessing great strength and bold hearts, ascended the sky, and by hurling down thousands of mountains, continually harassed the gods. And those dreadful mountains, like masses of clouds, with their trees and flat tops, falling from the sky, collided with one another and produced a tremendous roar. And when thousands of warriors shouted without intermission in the field of battle and mountains with the woods thereon began to fall around, the earth with her forests trembled. Then the divine Nara appeared at the scene of the dreadful conflict between the Asuras and the Ganas (the followers of Rudra), and reducing to dust those rocks by means of his gold-headed arrows, he covered the heavens with dust. Thus discomfited by the gods, and seeing the furious discus scouring the fields of heaven like a blazing flame, the mighty Danavas entered the bowels of the earth, while others plunged into the sea of salt-waters.
"And having gained the victory, the gods offered due respect to Mandara and placed him again on his own base. And the nectar-bearing gods made the heavens resound with their shouts, and went to their own abodes. And the gods, on returning to the heavens, rejoiced greatly, and Indra and the other deities made over to Narayana the vessel of Amrita for careful keeping.'"
And so ends the nineteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
(Astika Parva continued)
"Sauti said, 'Thus have I recited to you the whole story of how Amrita was churned out of the Ocean, and the occasion on which the horse Uchchaihsravas of great beauty and incomparable prowess was obtained. It was this horse about which Kadru asked Vinata, saying, 'Tell me, amiable sister, without taking much time, of what colour Uchchaishravas is.' And Vinata answered, 'That prince of steeds is certainly white. What dost thou think, sister? Say thou what is its colour. Let us lay a wager upon it.' Kadru replied, then, 'O thou of sweet smiles. I think that horse is black in its tail. Beauteous one, bet with me that she who loseth will become the other's slave.'
'Sauti continued, 'Thus wagering with each other about menial service as a slave, the sisters went home, and resolved to satisfy themselves by examining the horse next day. And Kadru, bent upon practising a deception, ordered her thousand sons to transform themselves into black hair and speedily cover the horse's tail in order that she might not become a slave. But her sons, the snakes, refusing to do her bidding, she cursed them, saying, 'During the snake-sacrifice of the wise king Janamejaya of the Pandava race, Agni shall consume you all.' And the Grandsire (Brahman) himself heard this exceedingly cruel curse pronounced by Kadru, impelled by the fates. And seeing that the snakes had multiplied exceedingly, the Grandsire, moved by kind consideration for his creatures, sanctioned with all the gods this curse of Kadru. Indeed, as the snakes were of virulent poison, great prowess and excess of strength, and ever bent on biting other creatures, their mother's conduct towards them—those persecutors of all creatures,—was very proper for the good of all creatures. Fate always inflicts punishment of death on those who seek the death of other creatures. The gods, having exchanged such sentiments with one another, supported Kadru's action (and went away). And Brahman, calling Kasyapa to him, spake unto him these words, 'O thou pure one who overcomest all enemies, these snakes begotten by you, who are of virulent poison and huge bodies, and ever intent on biting other creatures, have been cursed by their mother. O son, do not grieve for it in the least. The destruction of the snakes in the sacrifice hath, indeed, been ordained long ago' Saying this, the divine Creator of the Universe comforted Kasyapa and imparted to that illustrious one the knowledge of neutralising poison."