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Chapter 107

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Janamejaya said, ‘What did the god of justice do for which he wascursed? And who was the Brahmana ascetic from whose curse the god had tobe born in the Sudra caste?’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘There was a Brahmana known by the name of Mandavya.He was conversant with all duties and was devoted to religion, truth andasceticism. The great ascetic used to sit at the entrance of hishermitage at the foot of a tree, with his arms upraised in the observanceof the vow of silence. And as he sat there for years together, one daythere came into his asylum a number of robbers laden with spoil. And, Obull in Bharata’s race, those robbers were then being pursued by asuperior body as guardians of the peace. The thieves, on entering thatasylum, hid their booty there, and in fear concealed themselvesthereabout before the guards came. But scarcely had they thus concealedthemselves when the constables in pursuit came to the spot. The latter,observing the Rishi sitting under the tree, questioned him, O king,saying, ‘O best of Brahmanas, which way have the thieves taken? Point itout to us so that we may follow it without loss of time.’ Thus questionedby the guardians of peace the ascetic, O king, said not a word, good orotherwise, in reply. The officers of the king, however, on searching thatasylum soon discovered the thieves concealed thereabout together with theplunder. Upon this, their suspicion fell upon the Muni, and accordinglythey seized him with the thieves and brought him before the king. Theking sentenced him to be executed along with his supposed associates. Andthe officers, acting in ignorance, carried out the sentence by impalingthe celebrated Rishi. And having impaled him, they went to the king withthe booty they had recovered. But the virtuous Rishi, though impaled andkept without food, remained in that state for a long time without dying.And the Rishi by his ascetic power not only preserved his life butsummoned other Rishi to the scene. And they came there in the night inthe forms of birds, and beholding him engaged in ascetic meditationthough fixed on that stake, became plunged into grief. And telling thatbest of Brahmanas who they were, they asked him saying, ‘O Brahmana, wedesire to know what hath been thy sin for which thou hast thus been madeto suffer the tortures of impalement!'”

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