Chapter 175

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“The Gandharva continued, ‘Saying this, Tapati of faultless features,ascended the skies. The monarch thereupon again fell down on the earth.

His ministers and followers searching for him throughout the forest atlength came upon him lying on that solitary spot, and beholding thatexcellent king, that mighty bowman, thus lying forsaken on the groundlike a rainbow dropped from the firmament, his minister-in-chief becamelike one burnt by a flame of fire. Advancing hastily with affection andrespect, the minister raised that best of monarchs lying prostrate on theground and deprived of his senses by desire. Old in wisdom as in age, oldin achievements as in policy, the minister, after having raised theprostrate monarch, became easy (in mind). Addressing the king in sweetwords that were also for his good, he said, ‘Blest be thou, O sinlessone! Fear not, O tiger among kings!’ The minister thought that themonarch, that great feller of hostile ranks in battle, had been lying onthe ground overcome with hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The old man thensprinkled over the crownless head of the monarch water that was cold andrendered fragrant with lotus-petals. Slowly regaining his consciousness,the mighty monarch sent away all his attendants with the exception of hisminister only. After those attendants had retired at his command, theking sat upon the mountain-breast. Having purified himself duly, the kingsat upon that chief of mountains, and began, with joined palms andupturned face, to worship Surya. King Samvarana, that smiter of all foes,thought also of his chief priest Vasishtha, that best of Rishis. The kingcontinued to sit there day and night without intermission. The Brahmanasage Vasishtha came there on the twelfth day: that great Rishi of soulunder perfect command knew at once by his ascetic power that the monarchhad lost his senses in consequence of Tapati. And that virtuous and bestof Munis, as soon as he knew this, desirous of benefiting the monarch whowas ever observant of vows, addressed him and gave him every assurance.The illustrious Rishi, in the very sight of that monarch, ascended upwardto interview Surya, himself possessed of the splendour of that luminary.The Brahmana then approached with joined hands the god of a thousand raysand introduced himself cheerfully unto him, saying, ‘I am Vasishtha.’Then Vivaswat of great energy said unto that best of Rishis, ‘Welcome artthou, O great Rishi! Tell me what is in thy mind. O thou of great goodfortune, whatever thou demandest of me, O foremost of eloquent men, Iwill confer on thee, however difficult it may be for me!’ Thus addressedby Surya, the Rishi of great ascetic merit, bowing unto the god of light,replied, saying, ‘O Vibhavasu, this thy daughter, Tapati, the youngersister of Savitri, I ask of thee for Samvarana! That monarch is of mightyachievements, conversant with virtue, and of high soul. Ofirmament-ranger, Samvarana will make a worthy husband for thy daughter.’Thus addressed by the Rishi Vibhakara, resolved upon bestowing hisdaughter upon Samvarana, saluted the Rishi, and replied unto him, saying,’Oh, Samvarana is the best of monarchs, thou art the best of Rishis,Tapati is the best of women. What should we do, therefore, but bestow heron Samvarana?’ With these words, the god Tapana, made over his daughter,Tapati, of every feature perfectly faultless, unto the illustriousVasishtha to bestow her upon Samvarana. And the great Rishi then acceptedthe girl, Tapati, and taking leave of Surya, came back to the spot, wherethat bull amongst the Kurus, of celestial achievements, was. KingSamvarana, possessed by love and with his heart fixed on Tapati,beholding that celestial maiden of sweet smiles led by Vasishtha, becameexceedingly glad. And Tapati of fair eyebrows came down from thefirmament like lightning from the clouds, dazzling the ten points of theheavens. And the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha of pure soul approached themonarch after the latter’s twelve nights’ vow was over. It was thus thatking Samvarana obtained a wife after having worshipped with like the fullmoon. And that mighty bowman, that foremost one in Kuru’s race having hiscuriosity greatly excited by what he heard of Vasishtha’s ascetic power,asked the Gandharva, saying, ‘I desire to hear of the Rishi whom thouhast mentioned as Vasishtha. O, tell me in full about him! O chief of theGandharvas, tell me who this illustrious Rishi was that was the priest ofour forefathers.’ The Gandharva replied, ‘Vasishtha is Brahma’s spiritual(lit, mind-born) son and Arundhati’s husband. Ever difficult of beingconquered by the very immortals, Desire and Wrath, conquered byVasishtha’s ascetic penances, used to shampoo his feet. Though his wrathwas excited by Viswamitra’s offence, that high-souled Rishi did not yetexterminate Kusikas (the tribe whose king Viswamitra was). Afflicted atthe loss of his sons, he did not, as though powerless, though reallyotherwise, do any dreadful act destructive of Viswamitra, Like the oceantransgressing not its continents, Vasishtha transgressed not (the lawsof) Yama by bringing back his children from the domains of the king ofthe dead. It was by obtaining that illustrious one who had conquered hisown self that Ikshvaku and other great monarchs acquired the whole earth.And, O prince of Kuru’s race, it was by obtaining Vasishtha, that best ofRishis as their priest, that those monarchs performed many grandsacrifices. And, O best of the Pandavas, that regenerate Rishi assistedthese monarchs in the performance of their sacrifices like Vrihaspatiassisting the immortals. Therefore, look ye for some accomplished anddesirable Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and in whose heart virtueprevails, to appoint as your priest. A Kshatriya of good lineage,desirous of extending his dominions by conquering the earth, should, OPartha, first appoint a priest. He who is desirous of conquering theearth should have a Brahmana before him. Therefore, O Arjuna, let someaccomplished and learned Brahmana, who has his senses under completecontrol and who is conversant with religion, profit and pleasure, be yourpriest.'”

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