Thursday, January 20, 2022
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book1; Sections LXXI ~ LXXX
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch then, as he proceeded, left even his p. 152 reduced retinue at the entrance of the hermitage. And entering quite alone he saw not the Rishi (Kanwa) of rigid vows. And not seeing the Rishi and finding that the abode was empty, he called loudly, saying, 'What ho, who is here?' And the sound of his voice was echoed back. And hearing the sound of his voice, there came out of the Rishi's abode a maiden beautiful as Sri herself but dressed as an ascetic's daughter. And the black-eyed fair one, as she saw king Dushmanta, bade him welcome and received him duly. And, showing him due respect by the offer of a seat, water to wash his feet, and Arghya, she enquired about the monarch's health and peace. And having worshipped the king and asked him about his health and peace, the maiden reverentially asked, 'What must be done, O king! I await your commands.'
The king, duly worshipped by her, said unto that maiden of faultless features and sweet speech, 'I have come to worship the highly-blessed Rishi Kanwa. Tell me, O amiable and beautiful one, where has the illustrious Rishi gone?' "Sakuntala then answered, 'My illustrious father hath gone away from the asylum to fetch fruit. Wait but a moment and thou wilt see him when he arrives.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The king not seeing the Rishi and addressed thus by her, beheld that the maiden was exceedingly beautiful and endued with perfect symmetry of shape. And he saw that she was of sweet smiles. And she stood decked with the beauty of her faultless features, her ascetic penances, and her humility.
And he saw that she was in the bloom of youth. He therefore asked her, 'Who art thou? And whose daughter, O beautiful one? Why hast thou come into the woods also? O handsome one, gifted with so much beauty and such virtues, whence hast thou come? O charming one, at the very first glance hast thou stolen my heart! I desire to learn all about thee; therefore tell me all.' And thus addressed by the monarch, the maiden smilingly replied in these sweet words, 'O Dushmanta, I am the daughter of the virtuous, wise, high-souled, and illustrious ascetic Kanwa.' "Dushmanta, hearing this, replied, 'The universally-worshipped and highly-blessed Rishi is one whose seed hath been drawn up.
Even Dharma himself might fall off from his course but an ascetic of rigid vows can never fall off so. Therefore, O thou of the fairest complexion, how hast thou been born as his daughter? This great doubt of mine it behoveth thee to dispel.' Sakuntala then replied, 'Hear, O king, what I have learnt regarding all that befell me of old and how I became the daughter of the Muni. Once on a time, a Rishi came here and asked about my birth. All that the illustrious one (Kanwa) told him, hear now from me, O king! "My father Kanwa, in answer to that Rishi's enquiries, said, 'Viswamitra, of old, having been engaged in the austerest penances alarmed Indra, the chief of the celestials, who thought that the mighty ascetic of blazing energy
would, by his penances, hurl him down from his high seat in heaven.' Indra, thus alarmed, summoned Menaka and told her, 'Thou, O Menaka, art the first of celestial Apsaras. Therefore, O amiable one, do me this service. Hear what I say. This great ascetic Viswamitra like unto the Sun in splendour, is engaged in the most severe of penances. My heart is trembling with fear. Indeed, O slender-waisted Menaka, this is thy business. Thou must see that Viswamitra of soul rapt in contemplation and engaged in the austerest penances, who might hurl me down from my seat. Go and tempt him and frustrating his continued austerities accomplish my good.
Win him away from his penances, O beautiful one, by tempting him with thy beauty, youth, agreeableness, arts, smiles and speech.' Hearing all this, Menaka replied, 'The illustrious Viswamitra is endued with great energy and is a mighty ascetic. He is very shorttempered too, as is known to thee. The energy, penances, and wrath of the high-souled one have made even thee anxious. Why should I not also be anxious? He it was who made even the illustrious Vasishtha bear the pangs of witnessing the premature death of his children. He it was who, though at first born as Kshatriya, subsequently became a Brahmana by virtue of his ascetic penances. He it was who, for purposes of his ablutions, created a deep river that can with difficulty be forded, and which sacred stream is known by the name of the Kausiki. It was Viswamitra whose wife, in a season of distress, was maintained by the royal sage Matanga (Trisanku) who was then living under a father's curse as a hunter. It was Viswamitra who, on returning after the famine was over, changed the name of the stream having his asylum from Kausik into Para.
His mouth is like unto a blazing fire; the pupils of his eyes are like the Sun and the Moon; his tongue is like unto Yama himself. How shall, O chief of the celestials, a woman like me even touch him? At the thought of his prowess Yama, Soma, the great Rishis, the Saddhyas, the Viswas, Valakhilyas, are terrified! How can a woman like me gaze at him without alarm? Commanded, however, by thee, O king of the celestials, I shall somehow approach that Rishi. But, O chief of the gods, devise thou some plan whereby protected by thee, I may
safely move about that Rishi. I think that when I begin to play before the Rishi, Marut (the god of wind) had better go there and rob me of my dress, and Manmatha (the god of love) had also, at thy command, better help me then. Let also Marut on that occasion bear thither fragrance from the woods to tempt the Rishi.' Saying this and seeing that all she had spoken about had been duly provided, Menaka went to the retreat of the great Kausika.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) Kanwa continued, 'And Sakra, thus addressed by her, then commanded him who could approach every place (viz., the god of the wind) to be present with Menaka at the time she would be before the Rishi. And the timid and beautiful Menaka then entered the retreat and saw there Viswamitra who had burnt, by his penances, all his sins, and was engaged still in ascetic penances. And saluting the Rishi, she then began to sport before him. And just at that time Marut robbed her of her garments that were white as the Moon. And she thereupon ran, as if in great bashfulness, to catch hold of her attire, and as if she was exceedingly annoyed with Marut.
And she did all this before the very eyes of Viswamitra who was endued with energy like that of fire. And Viswamitra saw her in that attitude. And beholding her divested of her robes, he saw that she was of faultless feature. And that best of Munis saw that she was exceedingly handsome, with no marks of age on her person. And beholding her beauty and accomplishments that bull amongst Rishis was possessed with lust and made a sign that he desired her companionship. And he invited her accordingly, and she also of faultless features expressed her acceptance of the invitation. And they then passed a long time there in each other's company.
And sporting with each other, just as they pleased, for a long time as if it were only a single day, the Rishi begat on Menaka a daughter named Sakuntala. And Menaka (as her conception advanced) went to the banks of the river Malini coursing along a valley of the charming mountains of Himavat. And there she gave birth to that daughter. And she left the new-born infant on the bank of that river and went away. And beholding the new-born infant lying in that forest destitute of human beings but abounding with lions and tigers, a number of vultures sat around to protect it from harm. No Rakshasas or carnivorous animals took its life. Those vultures protected the daughter of Menaka. I went there to perform my ablution and beheld the infant lying in the solitude of the wilderness surrounded by vultures. Bringing her hither I have made her my daughter. Indeed, the maker of the body, the protector of life, the giver of food, are all three, fathers in their order, according to the scriptures. And because
she was surrounded in the solitude of the wilderness, by Sakuntas (birds), therefore, hath she been named by me Sakuntala (bird-protected). O Brahman, learn that it is thus that Sakuntala hath become my daughter. And the faultless Sakuntala also regards me as her father.' "This is what my father had said unto the Rishi, having been asked by him. O king of men, it is thus that thou must know I am the daughter of Kanwa. And not knowing my real father, I regard Kanwa as my father. Thus have I told thee, O king, all that hath been heard by me regarding my birth!'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana continued, 'King Dushmanta, hearing all this, said, 'Well-spoken, O princess, this that thou hast said! Be my wife, O beautiful one! What shall I do for thee? Golden garlands, robes, ear-rings of gold, white and handsome pearls, from various countries, golden coins, finest carpets, I shall present thee this very day. Let the whole of my kingdom be thine today, O beautiful one! Come to me, O timid one, wedding me, O beautiful one, according to the Gandharva form. O thou of tapering thighs, of all forms of marriage, the Gandharva one is regarded as the first.' "Sakuntala, hearing this, said, 'O king, my father hath gone away from this asylum to bring fruit. Wait but a moment; he will bestow me on thee.'
"Dushmanta replied, 'O beautiful and faultless one, I desire that thou shouldst be my life's companion. Know thou that I exist for thee, and my heart is in thee. One is certainly one's own friend, and one certainly may depend upon one's own self. Therefore, according to the ordinance, thou canst certainly bestow thyself. There are, in all, eight kinds of marriages. These are Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura, Gandharva, Rakshasa, and Paisacha, the eighth. Manu, the son of the self-create, hath spoken of the appropriateness of all these forms according to their order. Know, O faultless one, that the first four of these are fit for Brahmanas, and the first six for Kshatriyas. As regards kings, even the Rakshasa form is permissible. The Asura form is permitted to Vaisyas and Sudras. Of the first five the three are proper, the other two being improper.
The Paisacha and the Asura forms should never be practised. These are the institutes of religion, and one should act according to them. The Gandharva and the Rakshasa form are consistent with the practices of Kshatriyas. Thou needst not entertain the least fear. There is not the least doubt that either according to any one of these last-mentioned forms, or according to a union of both of them, our wedding may take place. O thou of the fairest complexion, full of desire I am, thou also in a similar mood mayst become my wife according to the Gandharva form.'
"Sakuntala, having listened to all this, answered, 'If this be the course sanctioned by religion, if, indeed, I am my own disposer, hear, O thou foremost one of Puru's race, what my terms are.
Promise truly to give me what I ask thee. The son that shall be begotten on me shall become thy heir-apparent. This, O king, is my fixed resolve. O Dushmanta, if thou grant this, then let our union take place.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The monarch, without taking time to consider at once told her, 'Let it be so. I will even take thee, O thou of agreeable smiles, with me to my capital. I tell thee truly. O beautiful one, thou deservest all this.' And so saying, that first of kings wedded the handsome Sakuntala of graceful gait, and knew her as a husband. And assuring her duly, he went away, telling her repeatedly, 'I shall send thee, for thy escort, my troops of four classes. Indeed, it is even thus that I shall take thee to my capital, O thou of sweet smiles!"
"Vaisampayana continued, 'O Janamejaya, having promised so unto her, the king went away. And as he retraced his way homewards, he began to think of Kasyapa. And he asked himself, 'What will the illustrious ascetic say, after he has known all?' Thinking of this, he entered his capital. "The moment the king had left, Kanwa arrived at his abode. But Sakuntala, from a sense of shame, did not go out to receive her father. That great ascetic, however, possessed of spiritual knowledge, knew all. Indeed beholding everything with his spiritual eye, the illustrious one was pleased, and addressing her, said, 'Amiable one, what hath been done by thee today in secret, without, having waited for me--viz., intercourse with a man--hath not been destructive of thy virtue. Indeed, union according to the Gandharva form, of a wishful woman with a man of sensual desire, without mantras of any kind, it is said, is the best for Kshatriyas.
That best of men, Dushmanta, is also high-souled and virtuous. Thou hast, O Sakuntala, accepted him for thy husband. The son that shall be born of thee shall be mighty and illustrious in this world. And he shall have sway over the sea. And the forces of that illustrious king of kings, while he goeth out against his foes shall be irresistible.' "Sakuntala then approached her fatigued father and washed his feet. And taking down the load he had with him and placing the fruits in proper order, she told him, 'It behoveth thee to give thy grace to that Dushmanta whom I have accepted for my husband, as well as his ministers!' "Kanwa replied, 'O thou of the fairest complexion, for thy sake I am inclined to bless him. But receive from me, O blessed one, the boon that thou desirest.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Sakuntala, thereupon, moved by desire of benefiting Dushmanta, asked the boon that the Paurava monarchs might ever be virtuous and never deprived of their thrones.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'After Dushmanta had left the asylum having made those promises unto Sakuntala, the latter of tapering thighs brought forth a boy of immeasurable energy. And when the child was three years old, he became in splendour like the blazing fire. And, O Janamejaya, he was possessed of beauty and magnanimity and every accomplishment. And that first of virtuous men, Kanwa, caused all the rites of religion to be performed in respect of that intelligent child thriving day by day. And the boy gifted with pearly teeth and shining locks, capable of slaying lions even then, with all auspicious signs on his palm, and broad expansive forehead, grew up in beauty and strength. And like unto a celestial child in splendour, he began to grow up rapidly.
And when he was only six years of age, endued with great strength he used to seize and bind to the trees that stood around that asylum, lions and tigers and bears and buffaloes and elephants. And he rode on some animals, and pursued others in sportive mood. The dwellers at Kanwa's asylum thereupon bestowed on him a name. And they said, because he seizes and restrains an animals however strong, let him, be called Sarvadamana (the subduer of all). And it was thus that the boy came to be named Sarvadamana, endued as he was with prowess, and energy and strength. And the Rishi seeing the boy and marking also his extraordinary acts, told Sakuntala that the time had come for his installation as the heir-apparent.
And beholding the strength of the boy, Kanwa commanded his disciples, saying, 'Bear ye without delay this Sakuntala with her son from this abode to that of her husband, blessed with every auspicious sign. Women should not live long in the houses of their paternal or maternal relations. Such residence is destructive of their reputation, their good conduct, their virtue. Therefore, delay not in bearing her hence.' These disciples of the Rishi thereupon, saying 'So be it,' went towards the city named after an elephant (Hastinapura) with Sakuntala and her son ahead of them. And then she of fair eye-brows, taking with her that boy of celestial beauty, endued with eyes like lotus petals, left the woods where she had been first known by Dushmanta.
And having approached the king, she with her boy resembling in splendour the rising sun was introduced to him. And the disciples of the Rishi having introduced her, returned to the asylum. And Sakuntala having worshipped the king according to proper form, told him, 'This is thy son, O king! Let him be installed as thy heir-apparent. O king, this child, like unto a celestial, hath been begotten by thee upon me. Therefore, O best of men, fulfil now the promise thou gavest me. Call to mind, O thou of great good fortune, the agreement thou hadst made on the occasion of thy union with me in the asylum of Kanwa.'
"The king, hearing these her words, and remembering everything said, 'I do not remember anything. Who art thou, O wicked woman in ascetic guise? I do not remember having any connection with thee in respect of Dharma, Kama and Arthas. Go or stay or do as thou pleasest.' Thus addressed by him, the faircoloured innocent one became abashed. Grief deprived her of consciousness and she stood for a time like an wooden post. Soon, however, her eyes became red like copper and her lips began to quiver. And the glances she now and then cast upon the king seemed to burn the latter. Her rising wrath however, and the fire of her asceticism, she extinguished within herself by an extraordinary effort.
Collecting her thoughts in a moment, her heart possessed with sorrow and rage, she thus addressed her lord in anger, looking at him, 'Knowing everything, O monarch, how canst thou, like an inferior person, thus say that thou knowest it not? Thy heart is a witness to the truth or falsehood of this matter. Therefore, speak truly without degrading thyself. He who being one thing representeth himself as another thing to others, is like a thief and a robber of his own self. Of what sin is he not capable? Thou thinkest that thou alone hast knowledge of thy deed. But knowest thou not that the Ancient, Omniscient one (Narayana) liveth in thy heart?
He knoweth all thy sins, and thou sinnest in His presence. He that sins thinks that none observes him. But he is observed by the gods and by Him also who is in every heart. The Sun, the Moon, the Air, the Fire, the Earth, the Sky, Water, the heart, Yama, the day, the night, both twilights, and Dharma, all witness the acts of man. Yama, the son of Surya, takes no account of the sins of him with whom Narayana the witness of all acts, is gratified. But he with whom Narayana is not gratified is tortured for his sins by Yama. Him who degradeth himself by representing his self falsely, the gods never bless. Even his own soul blesseth him not. I am a wife devoted to my husband. I have come of my own accord, it is true. But do not, on that account, treat me with disrespect. I am thy wife and, therefore, deserve to be treated respectfully.
Wilt thou not treat me so, because I have come hither of my own accord? In the presence of so many, why dost thou treat me like an ordinary woman? I am not certainly crying in the wilderness. Dost thou not hear me? But if thou refuse to do what I supplicate thee for, O Dushmanta, thy head this moment shall burst into a hundred pieces! The husband entering the womb of the wife cometh out himself in the form of the son. Therefore is the wife called by those cognisant of the Vedas as Jaya (she of whom one is born).
And the son that is so born unto persons cognisant of the Vedic Mantras rescueth the spirits of deceased ancestors. And because the son rescueth ancestors from the hell call Put, therefore, hath he been called by the Self-create himself as Puttra (the rescuer from Put). By a son one conquereth the three worlds. By a son's son, one enjoyeth eternity. And by a grandson's son great-grand-fathers enjoy everlasting happiness. She is a true wife who is skilful in household affairs.
[paragraph continues] She is a true wife who hath borne a son. She is a true wife whose heart is devoted to her lord. She is a true wife who knoweth none but her lord. The wife is a man's half. The wife is the first of friends. The wife is the root of religion, profit, and desire. The wife is the root of salvation. They that have wives can perform religious acts. They that have wives can lead domestic lives. They that have wives have the means to be cheerful. They that have wives can achieve good fortune. Sweet-speeched wives are friends on occasions of joy.
They are as fathers on occasions of religious acts. They are mothers in sickness and woe. Even in the deep woods to a traveller a wife is his refreshment and solace. He that hath a wife is trusted by all. A wife, therefore, is one's most valuable possession. Even when the husband leaving this world goeth into the region of Yama, it is the devoted wife that accompanies him thither. A wife going before waits for the husband. But if the husband goeth before, the chaste wife followeth close. For these reasons, O king, doth marriage exist. The husband enjoyth the companionship of the wife both in this and in the other worlds. It hath been said by learned persons that one is himself born as one's son.
Therefore, a man whose wife hath borne a son should look upon her as his mother. Beholding the face of the son one hath begotten upon his wife, like his own face in a mirror, one feeleth as happy as a virtuous man, on attaining to heaven. Men scorched by mental grief, or suffering under bodily pain, feel as much refreshed in the companionship of their wives as a perspiring person in a cool bath. No man, even in anger, should ever do anything that is disagreeable to his wife, seeing that happiness, joy, and virtue,--everything dependeth on the wife. A wife is the sacred field in which the husband is born himself. Even Rishis cannot create creatures without women. What happiness is greater than what the father feeleth when the son running towards him, even though his body be covered with dust, claspeth his limbs? Why then dost thou treat with indifference such a son, who hath approached thee himself and who casteth wistful glances towards thee for climbing thy knees? Even ants support their own eggs without destroying them; then why shouldst not thou, a virtuous man that thou art, support thy own child? The touch of soft sandal paste, of women, of (cool) water is not so agreeable as the touch of one's own infant son locked in one's embrace.
As a Brahmana is the foremost of all bipeds, a cow, the foremost of all quadrupeds, a protector, the foremost of all superiors, so is the son the foremost of all objects, agreeable to the touch. Let, therefore, this handsome child touch thee in embrace. There is nothing in the world more agreeable to the touch than the embrace of one's son. O chastiser of foes, I have brought forth this child, O monarch, capable of dispelling all thy sorrows after bearing him in my womb for full three years. O monarch of Puru's race, 'He shall perform a hundred horse-sacrifices'--these were the words uttered from the sky when I was in the lying-in room. Indeed, men going into
places remote from their homes take up there others' children on their laps and smelling their heads feel great happiness. Thou knowest that Brahmanas repeat these Vedic mantras on the occasion of the consecrating rites of infancy.--Thou art born, O son, of my body! Thou art sprung from my heart. Thou art myself in the form of a son. Live thou to a hundred years! My life dependeth on thee, and the continuation of my race also, on thee. Therefore, O son, live thou in great happiness to a hundred years. He hath sprung from thy body, this second being from thee! Behold thyself in thy son, as thou beholdest thy image in the clear lake.
As the sacrificial fire is kindled from the domestic one, so hath this one sprung from thee. Though one, thou hast divided thyself. In course of hunting while engaged in pursuit of the deer, I was approached by thee, O king, I who was then a virgin in the asylum of my father. Urvasi, Purvachitti, Sahajanya, Menaka, Viswachi and Ghritachi, these are the six foremost of Apsaras. Amongst them again, Menaka, born of Brahman, is the first. Descending from heaven on Earth, after intercourse with Viswamitra, she gave birth to me. That celebrated Apsara, Menaka, brought me forth in a valley of Himavat. Bereft of all affection, she went away, cast me there as if I were the child of somebody else. What sinful act did I do, of old, in some other life that I was in infancy cast away by my parents and at present am cast away by thee!
Put away by thee, I am ready to return to the refuge of my father. But it behoveth thee not to cast off this child who is thy own.' "Hearing all this, Dushmanta said, 'O Sakuntala, I do not know having begot upon thee this son. Women generally speak untruths. Who shall believe in thy words? Destitute of all affection, the lewd Menaka is thy mother, and she cast thee off on the surface of the Himavat as one throws away, after the worship is over, the flowery offering made to his gods. Thy father too of the Kshatriya race, the lustful Viswamitra, who was tempted to become a Brahmana, is destitute of all affection. However, Menaka is the first of Apsaras, and thy father also is the first of Rishis. Being their daughter, why dost thou speak like a lewd woman?
Thy words deserve no credit. Art thou not ashamed to speak them, especially before me? Go hence, O wicked woman in ascetic guise. Where is that foremost of great Rishis, where also is that Apsara Menaka? And why art thou, low as thou art, in the guise of an ascetic? Thy child too is grown up. Thou sayest he is a boy, but he is very strong. How hath he soon grown like a Sala sprout? Thy birth is low. Thou speakest like a lewd woman. Lustfully hast thou been begotten by Menaka. O woman of ascetic guise, all that thou sayest is quite unknown to me. I don't know thee. Go withersoever thou choosest.' "Sakuntala replied, 'Thou seest, O king, the fault of others, even though they be as small as a mustard seed. But seeing, thou noticest not thy own faults even though they be as large as the Vilwa fruit. Menaka is one of
the celestials. Indeed, Menaka is reckoned as the first of celestials. My birth, therefore, O Dushmanta, is far higher than thine. Thou walkest upon the Earth, O king, but I roam in the skies! Behold, the difference between ourselves is as that between (the mountain) Meru and a mustard seed! Behold my power, O king! I can repair to the abodes of Indra, Kuvera, Yama, and Varuna! The saying is true which I shall refer to before thee, O sinless one! I refer to it for example's sake and not from evil motives. Therefore, it behoveth thee to pardon me after thou hast heard it.
An ugly person considereth himself handsomer than others until he sees his own face in the mirror. But when he sees his own ugly face in the mirror, it is then that he perceiveth the difference between himself and others. He that is really handsome never taunts anybody. And he that always talketh evil becometh a reviler. And as the swine always look for dirt and filth even when in the midst of a flower-garden, so the wicked always choose the evil out of both evil and good that others speak. Those, however, that are wise, on hearing the speeches of others that are intermixed with both good and evil, accept only what is good, like geese that always extract the milk only, though it be mixed with water. As the honest are always pained at speaking ill of others, so do the wicked always rejoice in doing the same thing.
As the honest always feel pleasure in showing regard for the old, so do the wicked always take delight in aspersing the good. The honest are happy in not seeking for faults. The wicked are happy in seeking for them. The wicked ever speak ill of the honest. But the latter never injure the former, even if injured by them. What can be more ridiculous in the world than that those that are themselves wicked should represent the really honest as wicked? When even atheists are annoyed with those that have fallen off from truth and virtue and who are really like angry snakes of virulent poison, what shall I say of myself who am nurtured in faith?
He that having begotten a son who is his own image, regardeth. him not, never attaineth to the worlds he coveteth, and verily the gods destroy his good fortune and possessions. The Pitris have said that the son continueth the race and the line and is, therefore, the best of all religious acts. Therefore, none should abandon a son. Manu hath said that there are five kinds of sons; those begotten by one's self upon his own wife, those obtained (as gift) from others, those purchased for a consideration, those reared with affection and those begotten upon other women than upon wedded wives. Sons support the religion and achievements of men, enhance their joys, and rescue deceased ancestors from hell.
It behoveth thee not, therefore, O tiger among kings, to abandon a son who is such. Therefore, O lord of Earth, cherish thy own self, truth, and virtue by cherishing thy son. O lion among monarchs, it behoveth thee not to support this deceitfulness. The dedication of a tank is more meritorious than that of a hundred wells. A sacrifice again is more meritorious than the dedication of a tank. A son is more
meritorious than a sacrifice. Truth is more meritorious than a hundred sons. A hundred horse-sacrifices had once been weighed against Truth, and Truth was found heavier than a hundred horse-sacrifices. O king, Truth, I ween, may be equal to the study of, the entire Vedas and ablutions in all holy places. There is no virtue equal to Truth: there is nothing superior to Truth. O king, Truth is God himself; Truth is the highest vow. Therefore, violate not thy pledge, O monarch! Let Truth and thee be even united. If thou placest no credit in my words, I shall of my own accord go hence. Indeed, thy companionship should be avoided.
But thou, O Dushmanta, that when thou art gone, this son of mine shall rule the whole Earth surrounded by the four seas and adorned with the king of the mountains." "Vaisampayana continued, 'Sakuntala having spoken to the monarch in this wise, left his presence. But as soon as she had left, a voice from the skies, emanating from no visible shape, thus spoke unto Dushmanta as he was sitting surrounded by his occasional and household priests, his preceptors, and ministers. And the voice said, 'The mother is but the sheath of flesh; the son sprung from the father is the father himself. Therefore, O Dushmanta, cherish thy son, and insult not Sakuntala.
O best of men, the son, who is but a form of one's own seed, rescueth (ancestors) from the region of Yama. Thou art the progenitor of this boy. Sakuntala hath spoken the truth. The husband, dividing his body in twain,, is born of his wife in the form of son. Therefore, O Dushmanta, cherish, O monarch, thy son born of Sakuntala. To live by forsaking one's living son is a great, misfortune. Therefore, O thou of Puru's race, cherish thy high-souled son born of Sakuntala--And because this child is to be cherished by thee even at our word, therefore shall this thy son be known by the name of Bharata (the cherished).' Hearing these words uttered by the dwellers in heaven, the monarch of Puru's race became overjoyed and spoke as follows unto his priests and ministers, 'Hear ye these words uttered by the celestial messenger?
I myself know this one to be my son. If I had taken him as my son on the strength of Sakuntala's words alone, my people would have been suspicious and my son also would not have been regarded as pure.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The monarch, then, O thou of Bharata's race, seeing the purity of his son established by the celestial messenger, became exceedingly glad. And he took unto him that son with joy. And the king with a joyous heart then performed all those rites upon his son that a father should perform. And the king smelt his child's head and hugged him with affection. And the Brahmanas began to utter blessings upon him and the bards began to applaud him. And the monarch then experienced the great delight that one feeleth at the touch of one's son. And Dushmanta also received mat wife of his with affection. And he told her these words, pacifying her affectionately, 'O goddess, my union with the? took place privately Therefore, I was thinking of how best to establish thy purity.
My people might think that we were only lustfully united and not as husband and wife, and therefore, this son that I would have installed as my heir apparent would only have been regarded as one of impure birth. And dearest, every hard word thou hast uttered in thy anger, have I, O large-eyed one, forgiven thee. Thou art my dearest!' And the royal sage Dushmanta, having spoken thus unto his dear wife, O Bharata, received her with offerings of perfume, food, and drink. And king Dushmanta, then, bestowed the name of Bharata upon his child, and formally installed him as the heir apparent. And the famous and bright wheels of Bharata's car, invincible and like unto the wheels of the cars owned by the gods, traversed every region, filling the whole Earth with their rattle.
And the son of Dushmanta reduced to subjection all kings of the Earth. And he ruled virtuously and earned great fame. And that monarch of great prowess was known by the titles of Chakravarti and Sarvabhauma. And he performed many sacrifices like Sakra, the lord of the Maruts. And Kanwa was the chief priest at those sacrifices, in which the offerings to Brahmanas were great. And the blessed monarch performed both the cow and the horsesacrifices. And Bharata gave unto Kanwa a thousand gold coins as the sacerdotal fee.
It is that Bharata from whom have emanated so many mighty achievements. It is from him that the great race called after him in his race are called after him. And in the Bharata race there have been born many godlike monarchs gifted with great energy, and like unto Brahman himself. Their number cannot be counted. But, O thou of Bharata's race, I shall name the principal ones that were blessed with great good fortune, like unto the gods, and devoted to truth and honesty.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'Hear now, as I recite the recorded genealogy, that is sacred and subservient to religion, profit and pleasure, of these royal sages--Daksha, the lord of creation, Manu, the son of Surya, Bharata, Ruru, Puru, and Ajamidha. I shall also recite to thee, O sinless one, the genealogies of the Yadavas and of the Kurus and of the king of the Bharata line. These genealogies are sacred and their recitation is a great act of propitiation. That recitation conferreth wealth, fame and long life. And, O sinless one, all these I have named shone in their splendour and were equal unto the great Rishis in energy. "Prachetas had ten sons who were all devoted to asceticism and possessed of every virtue. They burnt, of old, by the fire emanating from their mouths, several plants of poisonous and innumerable large trees that had covered the Earth and became a source of great discomfort to man. After these ten, was born another named Daksha. It is from Daksha that all
creatures have sprung. Therefore is he, O tiger among men, called the Grandfather. Born of Prachetas the Muni Daksha, uniting himself with Virini, begat a thousand sons of rigid vows, all like himself. And Narada taught these thousand sons of Daksha the excellent philosophy of Sankhya as a means of salvation. And, O Janamejaya, the lord of creation, Daksha, then, from the desire of making creatures, begat fifty daughters. And he made all of them his appointed daughters (so that their sons might be his sons also for the performance of all religious acts). And he bestowed ten of his daughters on Dharma, and thirteen on Kasyapa.
And he gave twenty-seven to Chandra, who are all engaged in indicating time. And Kasyapa, the son of Marichi, begat on the eldest of his thirteen wives, the Adityas, the celestials endued with great energy and having Indra as their head and also Vivaswat (the Sun). And of Vivaswat was born the lord Yama. And Martanda (Vivaswat) also begat another son after Yama, gifted with great intelligence and named Manu. And Manu was endued with great wisdom and devoted to virtue. And he became the progenitor of a line. And in Manu's race have been born all human beings, who have, therefore, been called Manavas. And it is of Manu that all men including Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and others have been descended, and are, therefore, all called Manavas.
Subsequently, O monarch, the Brahmanas became united with the Kshatriyas. And those sons of Manu that were Brahmanas devoted themselves to the study of the Vedas. And Manu begat ten other children named Vena, Dhrishnu, Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshvaku, Karusha, Saryati, the eighth, a daughter named Ila, Prishadhru the ninth, and Nabhagarishta, the tenth. They all betook themselves to the practices of Kshatriyas. Besides these, Manu had fifty other sons on Earth. But we heard that they all perished, quarrelling with one another. The learned Pururavas was born of Ila. It hath been heard by us that Ila was both his mother and father. And the great Pururavas had sway over thirteen islands of the sea. And, though a human being, he was always surrounded by companions that were superhuman. And Pururavas intoxicated with power quarrelled with the Brahmanas and little caring for their anger robbed them of their wealth.
Beholding all this Sanatkumara came from the region of Brahman and gave him good counsel, which was, however, rejected by Pururavas. Then the wrath of the great Rishis was excited, and the avaricious monarch, who intoxicated with power, had lost his reason, was immediately destroyed by their curse. "It was Pururavas who first brought from the region of the Gandharvas the three kinds of fire (for sacrificial purpose). And he brought thence, the Apsara Urvasi also. And the son of Ila begat upon Urvasi six sons who were called Ayus, Dhimat, Amavasu and Dhridhayus, and Vanayus, and Satayus. And it is said that Ayus begat four sons named Nahusha, Vriddhasarman, Rajingaya, and Anenas, on the daughter of Swarbhanu. And, O monarch, Nahusha, of all the sons of Ayus, being gifted with great p. 165 intelligence and prowess ruled his extensive kingdom virtuously. And king Nahusha supported evenly the Pitris, the celestials, the Rishis, the Brahmanas, the Gandharvas, the Nagas, the Rakshasas, the Kshatriyas, and the Vaisyas.
And he suppressed all robber-gangs with a mighty hand. But he made the Rishis pay tribute and carry him on their backs like bests of burden. And, conquering the very gods by the beauty of his person, his asceticism, prowess, and energy, he ruled as if he were Indra himself. And Nahusha begat six sons, all of sweet speech, named Yati, Yayati, Sanyati, Ayati, and Dhruva. Yati betaking himself to asceticism became a Muni like unto Brahman himself. Yayati became a monarch of great prowess and virtue. He ruled the whole Earth, performed numerous sacrifices, worshipped the Pitris with great reverence, and always respected the gods. And he brought the whole world under his sway and was never vanquished by any foe. And the sons of Yayati were all great bowmen and resplendent with every virtue.
And, O king, they were begotten upon (his two wives) Devayani and Sarmishtha. And of Devayani were born Yadu and Turvasu, and of Sarmishtha were born Drahyu, Anu, and Puru. And, O king, having virtuously ruled his subjects for a long time, Yayati was attacked with a hideous decrepitude destroying his personal beauty. And attacked by decrepitude, the monarch then spoke, O Bharata, unto his sons Yadu and Puru and Turvasu and Drahyu and Anu these words, 'Ye dear sons, I wish to be a young man and to gratify my appetites in the company of young women. Do you help me therein.' To him his eldest son born of Devayani then said, 'What needest thou, O king? Dost thou want to have your youth?' Yayati then told him, 'Accept thou my decrepitude, O son! With thy youth I would enjoy myself.
During the time of a great sacrifice I have been cursed by the Muni Usanas (Sukra). O son, I would enjoy myself with your youth. Take any of you this my decrepitude and with my body rule ye my kingdom. I would enjoy myself with a renovated body. Therefore, ye my sons, take ye my decrepitude.' But none of his sons accepted his decrepitude. Then his youngest son Puru said unto him, 'O king, enjoy thyself thou once again with a renovated body and returned youth! I shall take thy decrepitude and at thy command rule thy kingdom.' Thus addressed, the royal sage, by virtue of his ascetic power then transferred his own decrepitude unto that high-souled son of his and with the youth of Puru became a youth; while with the monarch's age Puru ruled his kingdom.
"Then, after a thousand years had passed away, Yayati, that tiger among kings, remained as strong and powerful as a tiger. And he enjoyed for a long time the companionship of his two wives. And in the gardens of Chitraratha (the king of Gandharvas), the king also enjoyed the company of the Apsara Viswachi. But even after all this, the great king found his appetites unsatiated. The king, then recollected the following truths contained in the Puranas, 'Truly, one's appetites are never satiated by enjoyment.
[paragraph continues] On the other hand, like sacrificial butter poured into the fire, they flame up with indulgence. Even if one enjoyed the whole Earth with its wealth, diamonds and gold, animals and women, one may not yet be satiated. It is only when man doth not commit any sin in respect of any living thing, in thought, deed, or speech, it is then that he attaineth to purity as that of Brahman. When one feareth nothing, when one is not feared by anything, when one wisheth for nothing, when one injureth nothing, it is then that one attaineth to the purity of Brahman.'
The wise monarch seeing this and satisfied that one's appetites are never satiated, set his mind at rest by meditation, and took back from his son his own decrepitude. And giving him back his youth, though his own appetites were unsatiated, and installing him on the throne, he spoke unto Puru thus, 'Thou art my true heir, thou art my true son by whom my race is to be continued. In the world shall my race be known by thy name.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Then that tiger among kings, having installed his son Puru on the throne, went away to the mount of Bhrigu for devoting himself to asceticism. And, having acquired great ascetic merit, after long years, he succumbed to the inevitable influence of Time. He left his human body by observing the vow of fasting, and ascended to heaven with his wives.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Janamejaya said, 'O thou of the wealth of asceticism, tell me how our ancestor Yayati, who is the tenth from Prajapati, obtained for a wife the unobtainable daughter of Sukra. I desire to hear of it in detail. Tell me also, one after another, of those monarchs separately who were the founders of dynasties.' "Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch Yayati was in splendour like unto Indra himself. I will tell thee, in reply to thy question, O Janamejaya, how both Sukra and Vrishaparvan bestowed upon him, with due rites, their daughters, and how his union took place with Devayani in special. "Between the celestials and the Asuras, there happened, of yore, frequent encounters for the sovereignty of the three worlds with everything in them.
The gods, then, from desire of victory, installed the son of Angiras (Vrihaspati) as their priest to conduct their sacrifices; while their opponents installed the learned Usanas as their priest for the same purpose. And between those two Brahmanas there are always much boastful rivalry. Those Danavas assembled for encounter that were slain by the gods were all revived by the seer Sukra by the power of his knowledge. And then starting again, into life,--these fought with the gods. The Asuras also slew on the field of battle many of the celestials. But the open-minded Vrihaspati could not
revive them, because he knew not the science called Sanjivani (re-vivification) which Kavya endued with great energy knew so well. And the gods were, therefore, in great sorrow. And the gods, in great anxiety of heart and entertaining a fear of the learned Usanas, then went to Kacha, the eldest son of Vrihaspati, and spoke unto him, saying, 'We pay court to thee, be kind to us and do us a service that we regard as very great. That knowledge which resides in Sukra, that Brahmana of immeasurable prowess, make thy own as soon as thou canst.
Thou shalt find the Brahmana in the court of Vrishaparvan. He always protects the Danavas but never us, their opponents. Thou art his junior in age, and, therefore, capable of adoring him with reverence. Thou canst also adore Devayani, the favourite daughter of that high-souled Brahmana. Indeed, thou alone art capable of propitiating them both by worship. There is none else that can do so. By gratifying Devayani with thy conduct, liberality, sweetness, and general behaviour, thou canst certainly obtain that knowledge.' The son of Vrihaspati, thus solicited by the gods, said 'So be it, and went to where Vrishaparvan was. Kacha, thus sent by the gods, soon went to the capital of the chief of the Asuras, and beheld Sukra there. And beholding him, he thus spoke unto him, 'Accept me as thy disciple. I am the grandson of the Rishi Angiras and son of Vrihaspati.
By name I am known as Kacha. Thyself becoming my preceptor, I shall practise the Brahmacharya mode of life for a thousand years. Command me, then, O Brahmana!' "Sukra (hearing this) said, 'Welcome art thou, O Kacha! I accept thy speech. I will treat thee with regard; for by so doing, it is Vrihaspati who will be regarded.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Kacha commanded by Kavya or Usanas himself, called also Sukra, then said, 'So be it,' and took the vow he had spoken of. And, O Bharata, accepting the vow of which he had spoken, at the proper time, Kacha began to conciliate regardfully both his preceptor and (his daughter) Devayani. Indeed, he began to conciliate both. And as he was young, by singing and dancing and playing on different kinds of instruments, he soon gratified Devayani who was herself in her youth.
And, O Bharata, with his whole heart set upon it, he soon gratified the maiden Devayani who was then a young lady, by presents of flowers and fruits and services rendered with alacrity. And Devayani also with her songs and sweetness of manners used, while they were alone, to attend upon that youth carrying out his vow. And when five hundred years had thus passed of Kacha's vow, the Danavas came to learn his intention. And having no compunctions about slaying a Brahmana, they became very angry with him. And one day they saw Kacha in a solitary part of the woods engaged in tending (his preceptor's) kine. They then slew Kacha from their hatred of Vrihaspati and also from their desire of protecting the knowledge of reviving the dead from being conveyed by him. And having slain him, they hacked his body into pieces and gave them to be devoured by jackals and wolves.
And (when twilight came) the kine returned to the fold without him who tended them. And Devayani, seeing the kine returned from the woods without Kacha, spoke, O Bharata, unto her father thus: 'Thy evening-fire hath been kindled. The Sun also hath set, O father! The kine have returned without him who tendeth them. Kacha is, indeed, not to be seen. It is plain that Kacha hath been lost, or is dead. Truly do I say, O father, that without him I will not live.' "Sukra hearing this said, I will revive him by saying, 'Let this one come.'
Then having recourse to the science of reviving the dead, Sukra summoned Kacha. And summoned by his preceptor, Kacha appeared before him in the gladness of heart tearing by virtue of his preceptor's science the bodies of the wolves (that had devoured him). And asked about the cause of his delay, he thus spoke unto Bhargava's daughter. Indeed, asked by that Brahman's daughter, he told her, 'I was dead. O thou of pure manners, burdened with sacrificial fuel, Kusa grass, and logs of wood, I was coming towards our abode.
I sat under a banian tree. The kine also, having been brought together, were staying under the shade of that same banian tree. The Asuras, beholding me, asked 'Who art thou?' They heard me answer, 'I am the son of Vrihaspati.' As soon as I said this, the Danavas slew me, and hacking my body into pieces gave my remains to jackals and wolves. And they then went home in the gladness of heart. O amiable one, summoned by the high-souled Bhargava, I after all come before thee fully revived.'
"On another occasion, asked by Devayani, the Brahmana Kacha went into the woods. And as he was roving about for gathering flowers, the Danavas beheld him. They again slew him, and pounding him into a paste they mixed it with the water of the ocean. Finding him long still (in coming), the maiden again represented the matter unto her father. And summoned again by the Brahmana with the aid of his science, Kacha appearing before his preceptor and his daughter told everything as it had happened. Then slaying him for the third time and burning him and reducing him to ashes, the Asuras gave those ashes to the preceptor himself, mixing them with his wine.
And Devayani again spoke unto her father, saying, 'O father, Kacha was sent to gather flowers. But he is not to be seen. It is plain he hath been lost, or has died. I tell thee truly, I would not live without him.' "Sukra hearing this said, 'O daughter, the son of Vrihaspati hath gone to the region of the dead. Though revived by my science, he is thus slain frequently. What, indeed, am I to do? O Devayani, do not grieve, do not cry. One like thee should not grieve for one that is mortal. Thou art indeed, O daughter, in consequence of my prowess, worshipped thrice a day during the ordained hours of prayer, by Brahmanas, the gods with Indra, the Vasus, the Aswins, the Asuras, in fact, by the whole universe. It is impossible to keep him alive, for revived by me he is often killed.' To all this Devayani replied, 'Why shall I, O father, not grieve for him whose grandfather
is old Angiras himself, whose father is Vrihaspati who is an ocean of ascetic merit, who is the grandson of a Rishi and the son also of a Rishi? He himself too was a Brahmacharin and an ascetic; always wakeful and skilled in everything. I will starve and follow the way Kacha has gone. The handsome Kacha is, O father, dear unto me.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The great Rishi Kavya, then, afflicted by what Devayani said, cried in anger, 'Certainly, the Asuras seek to injure me, for they slay my disciple that stayeth with me.
These followers of Rudra desire to divest me of my character as a Brahmana by making me participate in their crime. Truly, this crime hath a terrible end. The crime of slaying a Brahmana would even burn Indra himself.' Having said this, the Brahmana Sukra, urged by Devayani, began to summon Kacha who had entered the jaws of Death. But Kacha, summoned with the aid of science, and afraid of the consequence to his preceptor, feebly replied from within the stomach of his preceptor, saying, 'Be graceful unto me, O lord! I am Kacha that worshippeth thee. Behave unto me as to thy own dearly-loved son.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Sukra then said, 'By what path, O Brahmana, hast thou entered my stomach, where thou stayest now?
Leaving the Asuras this very moment, I shall go over to the gods." Kacha replied, 'By thy grace, memory hath not failed me. Indeed, I do recollect everything as it hath happened. My ascetic virtues have not been destroyed. It is, therefore, that I am able to bear this almost insufferable pain. O Kavya, slain by the Asuras and burnt and reduced to powder, I have been given to thee with thy wine. When thou art present, O Brahmana, the art of the Asuras will never be able to vanquish, the science of the Brahmana.' "Hearing this, Sukra said, 'O daughter, what good can I do to thee? It is with my death that Kacha can get his life back. O Devayani, Kacha is even within me.
There is no other way of his coming out except by ripping open my stomach.' Devayani replied, 'Both evils shall, like fire, burn me! The death of Kacha and thy own death are to me the same! The death of Kacha would deprive me of life. If thou also diest, I shall not be able to bear my life.' Then Sukra said, 'O son of Vrihaspati, thou art, indeed, one already crowned with success, because Devayani regards thee so well. Accept the science that I will today impart to thee, if, indeed, thou be not Indra in the form of Kacha. None can come out of my stomach with life. A Brahmana, however, must not be slain, therefore, accept thou the science I impart to thee. Start thou into life as my son.
And possessed of the knowledge received from me, and revived by me, take care that, on coming out of my body, thou dost act gracefully.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Receiving the science imparted to him by his preceptor the handsome Kacha, ripped open his stomach, came out like the moon at evening on the fifteenth day of the bright fort-night. And beholding the remains of his preceptor lying like a heap of penances, Kacha revived him, aided by the science he had learned. Worshipping
him with regard, Kacha said unto his preceptor, 'Him who poureth the nectar of knowledge into one's ears, even as thou hast done into those of myself who was void of knowledge, him do I regard both as my father and mother. And remembering the immense service done by him, who is there so ungrateful as to injure him? They that, having acquired knowledge, injure their preceptor who is always an object of worship, who is the giver of knowledge, who is the most precious of all precious objects on Earth, come to be hated on Earth and finally go to the regions of the sinful.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The learned Sukra, having been deceived while under the influence of wine, and remembering the total loss of consciousness that is one of the terrible consequences of drink, and beholding too before him the handsome Kacha whom he had, in a state of unconsciousness, drunk with his wine, then thought of effecting a reform in the manners of Brahmanas.
The high-souled Usanas rising up from the ground in anger, then spoke as follows: "The wretched Brahmana who from this day, unable to resist the temptation, will drink wine shall be regarded as having lost his virtue, shall be reckoned to have committed the sin of slaying a Brahmana, shall be hated both in this and the other worlds. I set this limit to the conduct and dignity of Brahmanas everywhere. Let the honest, let Brahmanas, let those with regard for their superiors, let the gods, let the three worlds, listen!' Having said these words that high-souled one, that ascetic of ascetics, then summoning the Danavas who had been deprived by fate of the good sense, told them these words, Ye foolish Danavas, know ye that Kacha hath obtained his wishes.
He will henceforth dwell with me. Having obtained the valuable knowledge of reviving the dead, that Brahmana hath, indeed, become in prowess even as Brahman himself!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Bhargava having said so much cut short his speech. The Danavas were surprised and went away to their homes. Kacha, too, having stayed with his preceptor for a full thousand years, then prepared to return to the abode of the celestials, after having obtained his preceptor's permission.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'After the expiry of the period of his vow, Kacha, having obtained his preceptor's leave, was about to return to the abode of the celestials, when Devayani, addressing him, said, 'O grandson of the Rishi Angiras, in conduct and birth, in learning, asceticism and humility, thou shinest most brightly. As the celebrated Rishi Angiras is honoured and regarded by my father, so is thy father regarded and worshipped by
me. O thou of ascetic wealth, knowing this, listen to what I say. Recollect my conduct towards thee during the period of thy vow (Brahmacharya). Thy vow hath now been over. It behoveth thee to fix thy affections on me. O accept my hand duly with ordained mantras.' "Kacha replied, 'Thou art to me an object of regard and worship even as thy father! O thou of faultless features, thou art, indeed, even an object of greater reverence! Thou art dearer than life to the highsouled Bhargava, O amiable one! As the daughter of my preceptor, thou art ever worthy of my worship! As my preceptor Sukra, thy father, is ever deserving of my regards, so art thou, O Devayani! Therefore, it behoveth thee not to say so.'
Hearing this, Devayani replied, 'Thou, too, art the son of my father's preceptor's son. Therefore, O best of Brahmanas, thou art deserving of my regards and worship. O Kacha, when thou wert slain so many times by the Asuras, recollect today the affection I showed for thee. Remembering my friendship and affection for thee, and, indeed, my devoted regard also, O virtuous one, it behoveth thee not to abandon me without any fault. I am truly devoted to thee.' "Hearing all this, Kacha said, 'O thou of virtuous vows, do not urge me into such a sinful course. O thou of fair eye-brows, be gracious unto me. Beautiful one, thou art to me an object of greater regard than my preceptor. Full of virtuous resolves, O large-eyed one, of face as handsome, as moon, the place where thou hadst resided, viz., the body of Kavya, hath also been my abode.
Thou art truly my sister. Amiable one, happily have we passed the days that we have been together. There is perfect good understanding between us. I ask thy leave to return to my abode. Therefore, bless me so that my journey may be safe. I must be remembered by thee, when thou recallest me in connection with topics of conversation, as one that hath not transgressed virtue. Always attend upon my preceptor with readiness and singleness of heart.' To all this, Devaniya answered, 'Solicited, by me. if, indeed, thou truly refusest to make me thy wife, then, O Kacha, this thy knowledge shall not bear fruit.' "Hearing this, Kacha said, 'I have refused thy request only because thou art the daughter of my preceptor, and not because thou hast any fault. Nor hath my preceptor in this respect issued any command. Curse me if it please thee. I have told thee what the behaviour should be of a Rishi. I do not deserve thy curse, O Devayani.
But yet thou hast cursed me! Thou hast acted under the influence of passion and not from a sense of duty. Therefore, thy desire will not be fulfilled. No Rishi's son shall ever accept thy hand in marriage. Thou hast said that my knowledge shall not bear fruit. Let it be so. But in respect of him it shall bear fruit to whom I may impart it.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'That first of Brahmanas, Kacha, having said so unto Devayani speedily wended his way unto the abode of the chief of the celestials. Beholding him arrived, the celestials with Indra ahead,
having first worshipped him, spoke unto him as follows, 'Thou hast indeed, performed an act of great benefit for us. Wonderful hath been thy achievement! Thy fame shall never die! Thou shall be a sharer with us in sacrificial offerings.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'The dwellers in heaven became exceedingly glad in welcoming Kacha who had mastered the wonderful science. And, O bull of Bharata's race, the celestials then learnt that science from Kacha and considered their object already achieved. And assembling together, they spoke unto him of a hundred sacrifices, saying, 'The time hath come for showing prowess. Slay thy foes, O Purandara!' And thus addressed, Maghavat, then accompanied by the celestials, set out, saying, 'So be it.'
But on his way he saw a number of damsels. These maidens were sporting in a lake in the gardens of the Gandharva Chitraratha. Changing himself into wind, he soon mixed up the garments of those maidens which they had laid on the bank. A little while after, the maidens, getting up from the water, approached their garments that had, indeed, got mixed up with one another. And it so happened that from the intermingled heap, the garments of Devayani were appropriated by Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, from ignorance that it was not hers. And, O king, thereupon, between them, Devayani and Sarmishtha, then ensued a dispute. And Devayani said, 'O daughter of the Asura (chief), why dost thou take my attire, being, as thou art, my disciple?
As thou art destitute of good behaviour, nothing good can happen to thee!' Sarmishtha, however, quickly replied, 'Thy father occupying a lower seat, always adoreth with downcast looks, like a hired chanter of praises, my father, whether he sitteth at his ease or reclineth at full length! Thou art the daughter of one that chanteth the praises of others, of one that accepteth alms. I am the daughter of one who is adored, of one who bestoweth alms instead of ever accepting them! Beggar-woman as thou art, thou art free to strike thy breast, to use ill words, to vow enmity to me, to give way to thy wrath.
Acceptress of alms, thou weepest tears of anger in vain! If so minded, I can harm thee, but thou canst not. Thou desirest to quarrel. But know thou that I do not reckon thee as my equal!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, Devayani became exceedingly angry and began to pull at her clothes. Sarmishtha thereupon threw her into a well and went home. Indeed, the wicked Sarmishtha believing that Devayani was dead, bent her steps home-wards in a wrathful mood. "After Sarmishtha had left, Yayati the son of Nahusha soon came to that spot.
The king had been out a-hunting. The couple of horses harnessed to his car and the other single horse with him were all fatigued. And the king himself was thirsty. And the son of Nahusha saw a well that was by. And he saw that it was dry. But in looking down into it, he saw a maiden who in splendour was like a blazing fire. And beholding her within it, the blessed king addressed that girl of the complexion of the celestials, soothing her with sweet words. And he said, 'Who art thou, O fair one, of nails bright as burnished copper, and with ear-rings decked with celestial gems? Thou seemest to be greatly perturbed. Why dost thou weep in affliction? How, indeed, hast thou fallen into this well covered with creepers and long grass?
And, O slender-waisted girl, answer me truly whose daughter thou art. "Devayani then replied, 'I am the daughter of Sukra who brings back into life the Asuras slain by the gods. He doth not know what hath befallen me. This is my right hand, O king, with nails bright as burnished copper. Thou art well-born; I ask thee, to take and raise me up! I know thou art of good behaviour, of great prowess, and of wide fame! It behoveth thee, therefore, to raise me from this well.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'King Yayati, learning that she was a Brahmana's daughter, raised her from that well by catching hold of her right hand. And the monarch promptly raising her from the pit and squinting to her tapering thighs, sweetly and courteously returned to his capital.
"When the son of Nahusha had gone away, Devayani of faultless features, afflicted with grief, then spoke unto her maid, Ghurnika by name, who met her then. And she said, 'O Ghurnika, go thou quickly and speak to my father without loss of time of everything as it hath happened. I shall not now enter the city of Vrishaparvan.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Ghurnika, thus commanded, repaired quickly to the mansion, of the Asura chief, where she saw Kavya and spoke unto him with her perception dimmed by anger. And she said, 'I tell thee, O great Brahmana, that Devayani hath been ill-used, O fortunate one, in the forest by Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan.' And Kavya, hearing that his daughter had been ill-used by Sarmishtha speedily went out with a heavy heart, seeking her in the woods.
And when he found her in the woods, he clasped her with affection and spoke unto her with voice choked with grief, 'O daughter, the weal or woe that befalleth people is always due to their own faults. Thou hast therefore some fault, I ween, which hath been expiated thus.' Hearing this Devayani replied, 'Be it a penalty or not, listen to me with attention. O, hear that all Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, hath said unto me. Really hath she said that thou art only the hired chanter of the praises of the Asura king! Even thus hath she--that Sarmishtha, Vrishaparvan's daughter,--spoken to me, with reddened eyes, these piercing and cruel words, 'Thou art the daughter of one that ever chanteth for hire the praises of others, of one that asketh
for charities, of one that accepteth alms; whereas I am the daughter of one that receiveth adorations, of one that giveth, of one that never accepteth anything as gift!' These have been the words repeatedly spoken unto me by the proud Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, with eyes red with anger. If, O father, I am really the daughter of a hired chanter of praises, of one that accepteth gifts, I must offer my adorations in the hope of obtaining her grace! Oh, of this I have already told her!' "Sukra replied, 'Thou art, O Devayani, no daughter of a hired adorer, of one that asketh for alms and accepteth gifts. Thou art the daughter of one that adores none, but of one that is adored by all! Vrishaparvan himself knoweth it, and Indra, and king Yayati too.
That inconceivable Brahma, that unopposable Godhead, is my strength! The self-create, himself, gratified by me, hath said that I am for aye the lord of that which is in all things on Earth or in Heaven! I tell thee truly that it is I who pour rain for the good of creatures and who nourish the annual plants that sustain all living things!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'It was by such sweet words of excellent import that the father endeavoured to pacify his daughter afflicted with woe and oppressed by anger.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Sukra continued, 'Know, then, O Devayani, that he that mindeth not the evil speeches of others, conquereth everything! The wise say that he is a true charioteer who without slackening holdeth tightly the reins of his horses. He, therefore, is the true man that subdueth, without indulging in his rising wrath. Know thou, O Devayani, that by him is everything conquered, who calmly subdueth his rising anger.
He is regarded as a man who by having recourse to forgiveness, shaketh off his rising anger like a snake casting off its slough He that suppresseth his anger, he that regardeth not the evil speeches of others, he that becometh not angry, though there be cause, certainly acquireth the four objects for which we live (viz., virtue, profit, desire, and salvation) Between him that performeth without fatigue sacrifices every month for a hundred years, and him that never feeleth angry at anything, he that feeleth not wrath is certainly the higher. Boys and girls, unable to distinguish between right and wrong, quarrel with each other.
The wise never imitate them.' Devayani, on hearing this speech of her father, said, 'O father, I know, also what the difference is between anger and forgiveness as regards the power of each. But when a disciple behaveth disrespectfully, he should never be forgiven by the preceptor if the latter is really desirous of benefiting the former. Therefore, I do not desire to live any longer in a country where
evil behaviour is at a premium. The wise man desirous of good, should not dwell among those sinfully inclined men who always speak ill of good behaviour and high birth. But there should one live,--indeed, that hath been said to be the best of dwelling places,--where good behaviour and purity of birth are known and respected.
The cruel words uttered by Vrishaparvan's daughter burn my heart even as men, desirous of kindling a fire, burn the dry fuel. I do not think anything more miserable for a man in the three worlds than to adore one's enemies blessed with good fortune, himself possessing none. It hath been indeed said by the learned that for such a man even death would be better.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued) "Vaisampayana said, 'Then Kavya, the foremost of Bhrigu's line, became angry himself. And approaching Vrishaparvan where the latter was seated, began to address him without weighing his words, 'O king,' he said, 'sinful acts do not, like the Earth, bear fruit immediately! But gradually and secretly do they extirpate their doers. Such fruit visiteth either in one's own self, one's son, or one's grandson. Sins must bear their fruit. Like rich food they can never be digested. And because ye slew the Brahmana Kacha, the grandson of Angiras, who was virtuous, acquainted with the precepts of religion, and attentive to his duties, while residing in my abode, even for this act of slaughter--and for the maltreatment of my daughter too, know, O Vrishaparvan, I shall leave thee and thy relatives!
Indeed, O king, for this, I can no longer stay with thee! Dost thou, O Asura chief, think that I am a raving liar? Thou makest light of thy offence without seeking to correct it!'. "Vrishaparvan then said, 'O son of Bhrigu, never have I attributed want of virtue, of falsehood, to thee. Indeed, virtue and truth ever dwell in thee. Be kind to me! O Bhargava, if, leaving us, thou really goest hence, we shall then go into the depths of the ocean. Indeed, there is nothing else for us to do.' "Sukra then replied, 'Ye Asuras, whether ye go into the depths of the ocean or fly away to all directions. I care little. I am unable to bear my daughter's grief.
My daughter is ever dear to me. My life dependeth on her. Seek ye to please her. As Vrihaspati ever seeketh the good of Indra, so do I always seek thine by my ascetic merits.' "Vrishaparvan then said, 'O Bhargava, thou art the absolute master of whatever is possessed by the Asura chiefs in this world-their elephants, kine and horses, and even my humble self!' "Sukra then answered, 'If it is true, O great Asura, that I am the lord of all the wealth of the Asuras, then go and gratify Devayani.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'when the great Kavya was so addressed by Vrishaparvan, he then went to Devayani and told her all. Devayani, however, quickly replied, 'O Bhargava, if thou art truly the lord of the Asura king himself and of all his wealth, then let the king himself come to me and say so in my presence.'
Vrishaparvan then approached Devayani and told her, 'O Devayani of sweet smiles, whatever thou desirest I am willing to give thee, however difficult it may be to grant the same.' Devayani answered, 'I desire Sarmishtha with a thousand maids to wait on me! She must also follow me to where my father may give me away.' "Vrishaparvan then commanded a maid-servant in attendance on him, saying, 'Go and quickly bring Sarmishtha hither. Let her also accomplish what Devayani wisheth.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'The maid-servant then repaired to Sarmishtha and told her, 'O amiable Sarmishtha, rise and follow me. Accomplish the good of thy relatives. Urged by Devayani, the Brahmana (Sukra) is on the point of leaving his disciples (the Asuras).
O sinless one, thou must do what Devayani wisheth.' Sarmishtha replied, 'I shall cheerfully do what Devayani wisheth. Urged by Devayani Sukra is calling me. Both Sukra and Devayani must not leave the Asuras through my fault.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'Commanded by her father, then, Sarmishtha, accompanied by a thousand maidens, soon came, in a palanquin, out of her father's excellent mansion. And approaching Devayani she said, 'With my thousand maids, I am thy waiting-maid! And I shall follow thee where thy father may give thee away.' Devayani replied, 'I am the daughter of one who chanteth the praises of thy father, and who beggeth and accepteth alms; thou, on the other hand, art the daughter of one who is adored.
How canst thou be my waiting-maid?' "Sarmishtha answered, 'One must by all means contribute to the happiness of one's afflicted relatives. Therefore shall I follow thee wherever thy father may give thee away.' "Vaisampayana continued, 'When Sarmishtha thus promised to be Devayani's waiting-maid the latter, O king, then spoke unto her father thus, 'O best of all excellent Brahmanas, I am gratified. I shall now enter the Asura capital! I now know that thy science and power of knowledge are not futile!' "Vaisampayana continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, of great reputation, thus addressed by his daughter, then, entered the Asura capital in the gladness of his heart. And the Danavas worshipped him with great reverence.'"
~Next: The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa; Book1; Sections LXXXI ~ LXC