Chapter 162

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

‘Kunti said, ‘I desire to learn from you the cause of this grief, for Iwill remove it, if possible.’

“The Brahmana replied, ‘O thou of ascetic wealth, thy speech is, indeedworthy of thee. But this grief is incapable of being removed by any humanbeing. Not far from this town, there liveth a Rakshasa of the name ofVaka, which cannibal is the lord of this country and town. Thriving onhuman flesh, that wretched Rakshasa endued with great strength ruleththis country. He being the chief of the Asuras, this town and the countryin which it is situate are protected by his might. We have no fear fromthe machinations of any enemy, or indeed from any living soul. The fee,however, fixed for that cannibal is his food, which consists of acart-load of rice, two buffaloes, and a human being who conveyeth themunto him. One after another, the house-holders have to send him thisfood. The turn, however, cometh to a particular family at intervals ofmany long years. If there are any that seek to avoid it, the Rakshasaslayeth them with their children and wives and devoureth them all. Thereis, in this country, a city called Vetrakiya, where liveth the king ofthese territories. He is ignorant of the science of government, andpossessed of little intelligence, he adopts not with care any measure bywhich these territories may be rendered safe for all time to come. But wecertainly deserve it all, inasmuch as we live within the dominion of thatwretched and weak monarch in perpetual anxiety. Brahmanas can never bemade to dwell permanently within the dominions of any one, for they aredependent on nobody, they live rather like birds ranging all countries inperfect freedom. It hath been said that one must secure a (good) king,then a wife, and then wealth. It is by the acquisition of these threethat one can rescue his relatives and sons. But as regards theacquisition of these three, the course of my actions hath been thereverse. Hence, plunged into a sea of danger, am suffering sorely. Thatturn, destructive of one’s family, hath now devolved upon me. I shallhave to give unto the Rakshasa as his fee the food of the aforesaiddescription and one human being to boot. I have no wealth to buy a manwith. I cannot by any means consent to part with any one of my family,nor do I see any way of escape from (the clutches of) that Rakshasa. I amnow sunk in an ocean of grief from which there is no escape. I shall goto that Rakshasa today, attended by all my family in order that thatwretch might devour us all at once'”

Chapter 163
Chapter 161
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