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Chapter 28

Mahabharata English - ADI PARVA

“Sauti said, ‘Garuda, thus addressed by the snakes, then said unto hismother, ‘I shall go to bring amrita, I desire to eat something in theway. Direct me to it.’ Vinata replied, ‘In a remote region in the midstof the ocean, the Nishadas have their fair home.

Having eaten thethousands of Nishadas that live there, bring thou amrita. But let not thyheart be ever set on taking the life of a Brahmana. Of all creatures aBrahmana must not be slain. He is, indeed, like fire. A Brahmana, whenangry, becomes like fire or the Sun, like poison or an edged weapon. ABrahmana, it has been said, is the master of all creatures. For these andother reasons, a Brahmana is the adored of the virtuous. O child, he isnever to be slain by thee even in anger. Hostility with Brahmanas,therefore, would not be proper under any circumstances. O sinless one,neither Agni nor Surya truly can consume so much as does a Brahmana ofrigid vows, when angry. By these various indications must thou know agood Brahmana. Indeed, a brahmana is the first-born of all creatures, theforemost of the four orders, the father and the master of all.'” Garudathen asked, ‘O mother, of what form is a Brahmana, of what behaviour, andof what prowess? Doth he shine like fire, or is he of tranquil mien? And,O mother, it behoveth thee to tell my inquiring self, those auspicioussigns by which I may recognise a Brahmana.'” Vinata replied, saying, ‘Ochild, him shouldst thou know as the best amongst Brahmanas who havingentered thy throat would torture thee as a fish-hook or burn thee asblazing charcoal. A Brahmana must never be slain by thee even in anger.’And Vinata out of affection for her son, again told him these words, ‘Himshouldst thou know as a good Brahmana who would not be digested in thystomach.’ Although she knew the incomparable strength of her son, yet sheblessed him heartily, for, deceived by the snakes, she was very muchafflicted by woe. And she said. ‘Let Marut (the god of the winds) protectthy wings, and Surya and Soma thy vertebral regions; let Agni protect thyhead, and the Vasus thy whole body. I also, O child (engaged inbeneficial ceremonies), shall sit here for your welfare. Go then, Ochild, in safety to accomplish thy purpose.’

“Sauti continued, ‘Then Garuda, having heard the words of his mother,stretched his wings and ascended the skies. And endued with greatstrength, he soon fell upon the Nishadas, hungry and like another Yama.And bent upon slaying the Nishadas, he raised a great quantity of dustthat overspread the firmament, and sucking up water from amid the ocean,shook the trees growing on the adjacent mountains. And then that lord ofbirds obstructed the principal thoroughfares of the town of the Nishadasby his mouth, increasing its orifice at will. And the Nishadas began tofly in great haste in the direction of the open mouth of the greatserpent-eater. And as birds in great affliction ascend by thousand intothe skies when the trees in a forest are shaken by the winds, so thoseNishadas blinded by the dust raised by the storm entered thewide-extending cleft of Garuda’s mouth open to receive them. And then thehungry lord of all rangers of the skies, that oppressor of enemies,endued with great strength, and moving with greatest celerity to achievehis end, closed his mouth, killing innumerable Nishadas following theoccupation of fishermen.'”

So ends the twenty-eighth section in the Astika Parva of Adi Parva.

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