Sauti said, “Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, was, with his brothers,attending his long sacrifice on the plains of Kurukshetra. His brotherswere three, Srutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhimasena. And as they were sittingat the sacrifice, there arrived at the spot an offspring of Sarama (thecelestial bitch). And belaboured by the brothers of Janamejaya, he ranaway to his mother, crying in pain.
And his mother seeing him cryingexceedingly asked him, ‘Why criest thou so? Who hath beaten thee? Andbeing thus questioned, he said unto his mother, ‘I have been belabouredby the brothers of Janamejaya.’ And his mother replied, ‘Thou hastcommitted some fault for which hast thou been beaten!’ He answered, ‘Ihave not committed any fault. I have not touched the sacrificial butterwith my tongue, nor have I even cast a look upon it.’ His mother Saramahearing this and much distressed at the affliction of her son went to theplace where Janamejaya with his brothers was at his long-extendingsacrifice. And she addressed Janamejaya in anger, saying, ‘This my sonhath committed no fault: he hath not looked upon your sacrificial butter,nor hath he touched it with his tongue. Wherefore hath he been beaten?’They said not a word in reply; whereupon she said, ‘As ye have beaten myson who hath committed no fault, therefore shall evil come upon ye, whenye least expect it.’
“Janamejaya, thus addressed by the celestial bitch, Sarama, becameexceedingly alarmed and dejected. And after the sacrifice was concludedreturned to Hastinapura, and began to take great pains in searching for aPurohita who could by procuring absolution for his sin, neutralise theeffect of the curse.
“One day Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, while a-hunting, observed in aparticular part of his dominions a hermitage where dwelt a certain Rishiof fame, Srutasrava. He had a son named Somasrava deeply engaged inascetic devotions. Being desirous of appointing that son of the Rishi ashis Purohita, Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, saluted the Rishi andaddressed him, saying, ‘O possessor of the six attributes, let this thyson be my purohita.’ The Rishi thus addressed, answered Janamejaya, ‘OJanamejaya, this my son, deep in ascetic devotions, accomplished in thestudy of the Vedas, and endued with the full force of my asceticism, isborn of (the womb of) a she-snake that had drunk my vital fluid. He isable to absolve thee from all offences save those committed againstMahadeva. But he hath one particular habit, viz. he would grant to anyBrahmana whatever might be begged of him. If thou canst put up with it,then thou take him.’ Janamejaya thus addressed replied to the Rishi, ‘Itshall be even so.’ And accepting him for his Purohita, he returned to hiscapital; and he then addressed his brothers saying, ‘This is the person Ihave chosen for my spiritual master; whatsoever he may say must becomplied with by you without examination.’ And his brothers did as theywere directed. And giving these directions to his brothers, the kingmarched towards Takshyashila and brought that country under his authority.
“About this time there was a Rishi, Ayoda-Dhaumya by name. AndAyoda-Dhaumya had three disciples, Upamanyu, Aruni, and Veda. And theRishi bade one of these disciples, Aruni of Panchala, to go and stop up abreach in the water-course of a certain field. And Aruni of Panchala,thus ordered by his preceptor, repaired to the spot. And having gonethere he saw that he could not stop up the breach in the water-course byordinary means. And he was distressed because he could not do hispreceptor’s bidding. But at length he saw a way and said, ‘Well, I willdo it in this way.’ He then went down into the breach and lay downhimself there. And the water was thus confined.
“And some time after, the preceptor Ayoda-Dhaumya asked his otherdisciples where Aruni of Panchala was. And they answered, ‘Sir, he hathbeen sent by yourself saying, ‘Go, stop up the breach in the water-courseof the field,’ Thus reminded, Dhaumya, addressing his pupils, said, ‘Thenlet us all go to the place where he is.’
“And having arrived there, he shouted, ‘Ho Aruni of Panchala! Where artthou? Come hither, my child.’ And Aruni hearing the voice of hispreceptor speedily came out of the water-course and stood before hispreceptor. And addressing the latter, Aruni said, ‘Here I am in thebreach of the water-course. Not having been able to devise any othermeans, I entered myself for the purpose of preventing the water runningout. It is only upon hearing thy voice that, having left it and allowedthe waters to escape, I have stood before thee. I salute thee, Master;tell me what I have to do.’
“The preceptor, thus addressed, replied, ‘Because in getting up from theditch thou hast opened the water-course, thenceforth shalt thou be calledUddalaka as a mark of thy preceptor’s favour. And because my words havebeen obeyed by thee, thou shalt obtain good fortune. And all the Vedasshall shine in thee and all the Dharmasastras also.’ And Aruni, thusaddressed by his preceptor, went to the country after his heart.
“The name of another of Ayoda-Dhaumya’s disciples was Upamanyu. AndDhaumya appointed him saying, ‘Go, my child, Upamanyu, look after thekine.’ And according to his preceptor’s orders, he went to tend the kine.And having watched them all day, he returned in the evening to hispreceptor’s house and standing before him he saluted him respectfully.And his preceptor seeing him in good condition of body asked him,’Upamanyu, my child, upon what dost thou support thyself? Thou artexceedingly plump.’ And he answered, ‘Sir, I support myself by begging’.And his preceptor said, ‘What is obtained in alms should not be used bythee without offering it to me.’ And Upamanyu, thus told, went away. Andhaving obtained alms, he offered the same to his preceptor. And hispreceptor took from him even the whole. And Upamanyu, thus treated, wentto attend the cattle. And having watched them all day, he returned in theevening to his preceptor’s abode. And he stood before his preceptor andsaluted him with respect. And his preceptor perceiving that he stillcontinued to be of good condition of body said unto him, ‘Upamanyu, mychild, I take from thee even the whole of what thou obtainest in alms,without leaving anything for thee. How then dost thou, at present,contrive to support thyself?’ And Upamanyu said unto his preceptor, ‘Sir,having made over to you all that I obtain in alms, I go a-begging asecond time for supporting myself.’ And his preceptor then replied, ‘Thisis not the way in which thou shouldst obey the preceptor. By this thouart diminishing the support of others that live by begging. Truly havingsupported thyself so, thou hast proved thyself covetous.’ And Upamanyu,having signified his assent to all that his preceptor said, went away toattend the cattle. And having watched them all day, he returned to hispreceptor’s house. And he stood before his preceptor and saluted himrespectfully. And his preceptor observing that he was still fat, saidagain unto him, ‘Upamanyu, my child, I take from thee all thou obtainestin alms and thou dost not go a-begging a second time, and yet art thou inhealthy condition. How dost thou support thyself?’ And Upamanyu, thusquestioned, answered, ‘Sir, I now live upon the milk of these cows.’ Andhis preceptor thereupon told him, ‘It is not lawful for thee toappropriate the milk without having first obtained my consent.’ AndUpamanyu having assented to the justice of these observations, went awayto tend the kine. And when he returned to his preceptor’s abode, he stoodbefore him and saluted him as usual. And his preceptor seeing that he wasstill fat, said, ‘Upamanyu, my child, thou eatest no longer of alms, nordost thou go a-begging a second time, not even drinkest of the milk; yetart thou fat. By what means dost thou contrive to live now? And Upamanyureplied, ‘Sir, I now sip the froth that these calves throw out, whilesucking their mother’s teats.’ And the preceptor said, ‘These generouscalves, I suppose, out of compassion for thee, throw out large quantitiesof froth. Wouldst thou stand in the way of their full meals by acting asthou hast done? Know that it is unlawful for thee to drink the froth.’And Upamanyu, having signified his assent to this, went as before to tendthe cows. And restrained by his preceptor, he feedeth not on alms, norhath he anything else to eat; he drinketh not of the milk, nor tasteth heof the froth!
“And Upamanyu, one day, oppressed by hunger, when in a forest, ate of theleaves of the Arka (Asclepias gigantea). And his eyes being affected bythe pungent, acrimonious, crude, and saline properties of the leaveswhich he had eaten, he became blind. And as he was crawling about, hefell into a pit. And upon his not returning that day when the sun wassinking down behind the summit of the western mountains, the preceptorobserved to his disciples that Upamanyu was not yet come. And they toldhim that he had gone out with the cattle.
“The preceptor then said, ‘Upamanyu being restrained by me from the useof everything, is, of course, and therefore, doth not come home until itbe late. Let us then go in search of him.’ And having said this, he wentwith his disciples into the forest and began to shout, saying, ‘HoUpamanyu, where art thou?’ And Upamanyu hearing his preceptor’s voiceanswered in a loud tone, ‘Here I am at the bottom of a well.’ And hispreceptor asked him how he happened to be there. And Upamanyu replied,’Having eaten of the leaves of the Arka plant I became blind, and so haveI fallen into this well.’ And his preceptor thereupon told him, ‘Glorifythe twin Aswins, the joint physicians of the gods, and they will restorethee thy sight.’ And Upamanyu thus directed by his preceptor began toglorify the twin Aswins, in the following words of the Rig Veda:
‘Ye have existed before the creation! Ye first-born beings, ye aredisplayed in this wondrous universe of five elements! I desire to obtainyou by the help of the knowledge derived from hearing, and of meditation,for ye are Infinite! Ye are the course itself of Nature and intelligentSoul that pervades that course! Ye are birds of beauteous feathersperched on the body that is like to a tree! Ye are without the threecommon attributes of every soul! Ye are incomparable! Ye, through yourspirit in every created thing, pervade the Universe!
“Ye are golden Eagles! Ye are the essence into which all thingsdisappear! Ye are free from error and know no deterioration! Ye are ofbeauteous beaks that would not unjustly strike and are victorious inevery encounter! Ye certainly prevail over time! Having created the sun,ye weave the wondrous cloth of the year by means of the white thread ofthe day and the black thread of the night! And with the cloth so woven,ye have established two courses of action appertaining respectively tothe Devas and the Pitris. The bird of Life seized by Time whichrepresents the strength of the Infinite soul, ye set free for deliveringher unto great happiness! They that are in deep ignorance, as long asthey are under delusions of their senses, suppose you, who areindependent of the attributes of matter, to be gifted with form! Threehundred and sixty cows represented by three hundred and sixty daysproduce one calf between them which is the year. That calf is the creatorand destroyer of all. Seekers of truth following different routes, drawthe milk of true knowledge with its help. Ye Aswins, ye are the creatorsof that calf!
“The year is but the nave of a wheel to which is attached seven hundredand twenty spokes representing as many days and nights. The circumferenceof this wheel represented by twelve months is without end. This wheel isfull of delusions and knows no deterioration. It affects all creatureswhether to this or of the other worlds. Ye Aswins, this wheel of time isset in motion by you!
“The wheel of Time as represented by the year has a nave represented bythe six seasons. The number of spokes attached to that nave is twelve asrepresented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This wheel of Timemanifests the fruits of the acts of all things. The presiding deities ofTime abide in that wheel. Subject as I am to its distressful influence,ye Aswins, liberate me from that wheel of Time. Ye Aswins, ye are thisuniverse of five elements! Ye are the objects that are enjoyed in thisand in the other world! Make me independent of the five elements! Andthough ye are the Supreme Brahma, yet ye move over the Earth in formsenjoying the delights that the senses afford.
“In the beginning, ye created the ten points of the universe! Then haveye placed the Sun and the Sky above! The Rishis, according to the courseof the same Sun, perform their sacrifices, and the gods and men,according to what hath been appointed for them, perform their sacrificesalso enjoying the fruits of those acts!
“Mixing the three colours, ye have produced all the objects of sight! Itis from these objects that the Universe hath sprung whereon the gods andmen are engaged in their respective occupations, and, indeed, allcreatures endued with life!
“Ye Aswins, I adore you! I also adore the Sky which is your handiwork! Yeare the ordainers of the fruits of all acts from which even the gods arenot free! Ye are yourselves free from the fruits of your acts!
“Ye are the parents of all! As males and females it is ye that swallowthe food which subsequently develops into the life creating fluid andblood! The new-born infant sucks the teat of its mother. Indeed it is yethat take the shape of the infant! Ye Aswins, grant me my sight toprotect my life!”
The twin Aswins, thus invoked, appeared and said, ‘We are satisfied. Hereis a cake for thee. Take and eat it.’ And Upamanyu thus addressed,replied, ‘Your words, O Aswins, have never proved untrue. But withoutfirst offering this cake to my preceptor I dare not take it.’ And theAswins thereupon told him, ‘Formerly, thy preceptor had invoked us. Wethereupon gave him a cake like this; and he took it without offering itto his master. Do thou do that which thy preceptor did.’ Thus addressed,Upamanyu again said unto them, ‘O Aswins, I crave your pardon. Withoutoffering it to my preceptor I dare not apply this cake.’ The Aswins thensaid, ‘O, we are pleased with this devotion of thine to thy preceptor.Thy master’s teeth are of black iron. Thine shall be of gold. Thou shallbe restored to sight and shall have good fortune.’
“Thus spoken to by the Aswins he recovered his sight, and having gone tohis preceptor’s presence he saluted him and told him all. And hispreceptor was well-pleased with him and said unto him, ‘Thou shalt obtainprosperity even as the Aswins have said. All the Vedas shall shine inthee and all the Dharma-sastras.’ And this was the trial of Upamanyu.
“Then Veda the other disciple of Ayoda-Dhaumya was called. His preceptoronce addressed him, saying, ‘Veda, my child, tarry some time in my houseand serve thy preceptor. It shall be to thy profit.’ And Veda havingsignified his assent tarried long in the family of his preceptor mindfulof serving him. Like an ox under the burthens of his master, he bore heatand cold, hunger and thirst, at all times without a murmur. And it wasnot long before his preceptor was satisfied. And as a consequence of thatsatisfaction, Veda obtained good fortune and universal knowledge. Andthis was the trial of Veda.
“And Veda, having received permission from his preceptor, and leaving thelatter’s residence after the completion of his studies, entered thedomestic mode of life. And while living in his own house, he got threepupils. And he never told them to perform any work or to obey implicitlyhis own behests; for having himself experienced much woe while abiding inthe family of his preceptor, he liked not to treat them with severity.
“After a certain time, Janamejaya and Paushya, both of the order ofKshatriyas, arriving at his residence appointed the Brahman. Veda, astheir spiritual guide (Upadhyaya). And one day while about to depart uponsome business related to a sacrifice, he employed one of his disciples,Utanka, to take charge of his household. ‘Utanka’, said he, ‘whatsoevershould have to be done in my house, let it be done by thee withoutneglect.’ And having given these orders to Utanka, he went on his journey.
“So Utanka always mindful of the injunction of his preceptor took up hisabode in the latter’s house. And while Utanka was residing there, thefemales of his preceptor’s house having assembled addressed him and said,’O Utanka, thy mistress is in that season when connubial connection mightbe fruitful. The preceptor is absent; then stand thou in his place and dothe needful.’ And Utanka, thus addressed, said unto those women, ‘It isnot proper for me to do this at the bidding of women. I have not beenenjoined by my preceptor to do aught that is improper.’
“After a while, his preceptor returned from his journey. And hispreceptor having learnt all that had happened, became well-pleased and,addressing Utanka, said, ‘Utanka, my child, what favour shall I bestow onthee? I have been served by thee duly; therefore hath our friendship foreach other increased. I therefore grant thee leave to depart. Go thou,and let thy wishes be accomplished!’
“Utanka, thus addressed, replied, saying, “Let me do something that youwish, for it hath been said, ‘He who bestoweth instruction contrary tousage and he who receiveth it contrary to usage, one of the two dieth,and enmity springeth up between the two.–I, therefore, who have receivedthy leave to depart, am desirous of bringing thee some honorarium due toa preceptor. His master, upon hearing this, replied, ‘Utanka, my child,wait a while.’ Sometime after, Utanka again addressed his preceptor,saying, ‘Command me to bring that for honorarium, which you desire.’ Andhis preceptor then said, ‘My dear Utanka, thou hast often told me of yourdesire to bring something by way of acknowledgment for the instructionthou hast received. Go then in and ask thy mistress what thou art tobring. And bring thou that which she directs.’ And thus directed by hispreceptor Utanka addressed his preceptress, saying, ‘Madam, I haveobtained my master’s leave to go home, and I am desirous of bringingsomething agreeable to thee as honorarium for the instruction I havereceived, in order that I may not depart as his debtor. Therefore, pleasecommand me what I am to bring.’ Thus addressed, his preceptress replied,’Go unto King Paushya and beg of him the pair of ear-rings worn by hisQueen, and bring them hither. The fourth day hence is a sacred day when Iwish to appear before the Brahmanas (who may dine at my house) deckedwith these ear-rings. Then accomplish this, O Utanka! If thou shouldstsucceed, good fortune shall attend thee; if not, what good canst thouexpect?’
“Utanka thus commanded, took his departure. And as he was passing alongthe road he saw a bull of extraordinary size and a man of uncommonstature mounted thereon. And that man addressed Utanka and said, ‘Eatthou of the dung of this bull.’ Utanka, however, was unwilling to comply.The man said again, ‘O Utanka, eat of it without scrutiny. Thy master ateof it before.’ And Utanka signified his assent and ate of the dung anddrank of the urine of that bull, and rose respectfully, and washing hishands and mouth went to where King Paushya was.
‘On arriving at the palace, Utanka saw Paushya seated (on his throne).And approaching him Utanka saluted the monarch by pronouncing blessingsand said, ‘I am come as a petitioner to thee.’ And King Paushya, havingreturned Utanka’s salutations, said, ‘Sir, what shall I do for thee?’ AndUtanka said, ‘I came to beg of thee a pair of ear-rings as a present tomy preceptor. It behoveth thee to give me the ear-rings worn by theQueen.’
“King Paushya replied, ‘Go, Utanka, into the female apartments where theQueen is and demand them of her.’ And Utanka went into the women’sapartments. But as he could not discover the Queen, he again addressedthe king, saying, ‘It is not proper that I should be treated by thee withdeceit. Thy Queen is not in the private apartments, for I could not findher.’ The king thus addressed, considered for a while and replied,’Recollect, Sir, with attention whether thou art not in a state ofdefilement in consequence of contact with the impurities of a repast. MyQueen is a chaste wife and cannot be seen by any one who is impure owingto contact with the leavings of a repast. Nor doth she herself appear insight of any one who is defiled.’
“Utanka, thus informed, reflected for a while and then said, ‘Yes, itmust be so. Having been in a hurry I performed my ablutions (after meal)in a standing posture.’ King Paushya then said, ‘Here is a transgression,purification is not properly effected by one in a standing posture, notby one while he is going along.’ And Utanka having agreed to this, satdown with his face towards the east, and washed his face, hands, and feetthoroughly. And he then, without a noise, sipped thrice of water freefrom scum and froth, and not warm, and just sufficient to reach hisstomach and wiped his face twice. And he then touched with water theapertures of his organs (eyes, ears, etc.). And having done all this, heonce more entered the apartments of the women. And this time he saw theQueen. And as the Queen perceived him, she saluted him respectfully andsaid, ‘Welcome, Sir, command me what I have to do.’ And Utanka said untoher, ‘It behoveth thee to give me those ear-rings of thine. I beg them asa present for my preceptor.’ And the Queen having been highly pleasedwith Utanka’s conduct and, considering that Utanka as an object ofcharity could not be passed over, took off her ear-rings and gave them tohim. And she said, ‘These ear-rings are very much sought after byTakshaka, the King of the serpents. Therefore shouldst thou carry themwith the greatest care.’
“And Utanka being told this, said unto the Queen, ‘Lady, be under noapprehension. Takshaka, Chief of the serpents, is not able to overtakeme.’ And having said this, and taking leave of the Queen, he went backinto the presence of Paushya, and said, ‘Paushya, I am gratified.’ ThenPaushya said to Utanka, ‘A fit object of charity can only be had at longintervals. Thou art a qualified guest, therefore do I desire to perform asraddha. Tarry thou a little. And Utanka replied, ‘Yes, I will tarry, andbeg that the clean provisions that are ready may be soon brought in.’ Andthe king having signified his assent, entertained Utanka duly. And Utankaseeing that the food placed before him had hair in it, and also that itwas cold, thought it unclean. And he said unto Paushya, ‘Thou givest mefood that is unclean, therefore shalt thou lose thy sight.’ And Paushyain answer said, ‘And because dost thou impute uncleanliness to food thatis clean, therefore shalt thou be without issue.’ And Utanka thereuponrejoined, ‘It behoveth thee not, after having offered me unclean food, tocurse me in return. Satisfy thyself by ocular proof.’
“And Paushya seeing the food alleged to be unclean satisfied himself ofits uncleanliness. And Paushya having ascertained that the food was trulyunclean, being cold and mixed with hair, prepared as it was by a womanwith unbraided hair, began to pacify the Rishi Utanka, saying, ‘Sir, thefood placed before thee is cold, and doth contain hair, having beenprepared without sufficient care. Therefore I pray thee pardon me. Let menot become blind.’ And Utanka answered, ‘What I say must come to pass.Having become blind, thou mayst, however, recover the sight before long.Grant that thy curse also doth not take effect on me.’ And Paushya saidunto him, ‘I am unable to revoke my curse. For my wrath even now hath notbeen appeased. But thou knowest not this. For a Brahmana’s heart is softas new-churned butter, even though his words bear a sharp-edged razor. Itis otherwise in respect of these with the Kshatriya. His words are softas new-churned butter, but his heart is like a sharp-edged tool, suchbeing the case, I am unable, because of the hardness of my heart, toneutralise my curse. Then go thou thy own way.’ To this Utanka madeanswer, “I showed thee the uncleanliness of the food offered to me, and Iwas even now pacified by thee. Besides, saidst thou at first that becauseI imputed uncleanliness to food that was clean I should be without issue.But the food truly unclean, thy curse cannot affect me. Of this I amsure.’ And Utanka having said this departed with the ear-rings.
“On the road Utanka perceived coming towards him a naked idle beggarsometimes coming in view and sometimes disappearing. And Utanka put theear-rings on the ground and went for water. In the meantime the beggarcame quickly to the spot and taking up the ear-rings ran away. And Utankahaving completed his ablutions in water and purified himself and havingalso reverently bowed down to the gods and his spiritual masters pursuedthe thief with the utmost speed. And having with great difficultyovertaken him, he seized him by force. But at that instant the personseized, quitting the form of a beggar and assuming his real form, viz.,that of Takshaka, speedily entered a large hole open in the ground. Andhaving got in, Takshaka proceeded to his own abode, the region of theserpents.
“Now, Utanka, recollecting the words of the Queen, pursued the Serpent,and began to dig open the hole with a stick but was unable to make muchprogress. And Indra beholding his distress sent his thunder-bolt (Vajra)to his assistance. Then the thunder-bolt entering that stick enlargedthat hole. And Utanka began to enter the hole after the thunder-bolt. Andhaving entered it, he beheld the region of the serpents infinite inextent, filled with hundreds of palaces and elegant mansions with turretsand domes and gate-ways, abounding with wonderful places for variousgames and entertainments. And Utanka then glorified the serpents by thefollowing slokas:
“Ye Serpents, subjects of King Airavata, splendid in battle and showeringweapons in the field like lightning-charged clouds driven by the winds!Handsome and of various forms and decked with many coloured ear-rings, yechildren of Airavata, ye shine like the Sun in the firmament! On thenorthern banks of the Ganges are many habitations of serpents. There Iconstantly adore the great serpents. Who except Airavata would desire tomove in the burning rays of the Sun? When Dhritarashtra (Airavata’sbrother) goes out, twenty-eight thousand and eight serpents follow him ashis attendants. Ye who move near him and ye who stay at a distance fromhim, I adore all of you that have Airavata for your elder brother.
“I adore thee also, to obtain the ear-rings, O Takshaka, who formerlydwelt in Kurukshetra and the forest of Khandava! Takshaka and Aswasena,ye are constant companions who dwell in Kurukshetra on the banks of theIkshumati! I also adore the illustrious Srutasena, the younger brother ofTakshaka, who resided at the holy place called Mahadyumna with a view toobtaining the chiefship of the serpents.
“The Brahmana Rishi Utanka having saluted the chief serpents in thismanner, obtained not, however, the ear-rings. And he thereupon becamevery thoughtful. And when he saw that he obtained not the ear-rings eventhough he had adored the serpents, he then looked about him and beheldtwo women at a loom weaving a piece of cloth with a fine shuttle; and inthe loom were black and white threads. And he likewise saw a wheel, withtwelve spokes, turned by six boys. And he also saw a man with a handsomehorse. And he began to address them the following mantras:
“This wheel whose circumference is marked by twenty-four divisionsrepresenting as many lunar changes is furnished with three hundredspokes! It is set in continual motion by six boys (the seasons)! Thesedamsels representing universal nature are weaving without intermission acloth with threads black and white, and thereby ushering into existencethe manifold worlds and the beings that inhabit them! Thou wielder of thethunder, the protector of the universe, the slayer of Vritra and Namuchi,thou illustrious one who wearest the black cloth and displayest truth anduntruth in the universe, thou who ownest for thy carrier the horse whichwas received from the depths of the ocean, and which is but another formof Agni (the god of fire), I bow to thee, thou supreme Lord, thou Lord ofthe three worlds, O Purandara!’
“Then the man with the horse said unto Utanka, ‘I am gratified by thisthy adoration. What good shall I do to thee?’ And Utanka replied, ‘Evenlet the serpents be brought under my control.’ Then the man rejoined,’Blow into this horse.’ And Utanka blew into that horse. And from thehorse thus blown into, there issued, from every aperture of his body,flames of fire with smoke by which the region of the Nagas was about tobe consumed. And Takshaka, surprised beyond measure and terrified by theheat of the fire, hastily came out of his abode taking the ear-rings withhim, and said unto Utanka, ‘Pray, Sir, take back the ear-rings.’ AndUtanka took them back.
“But Utanka having recovered his ear-rings thought, ‘O, this is thatsacred day of my preceptress. I am at a distance. How can I, therefore,show my regard for her? And when Utanka was anxious about this, the manaddressed him and said, ‘Ride this horse, Utanka, and he will in a momentcarry thee to thy master’s abode.’ And Utanka having signified hisassent, mounted the horse and presently reached his preceptor’s house.
“And his preceptress that morning after having bathed was dressing herhair sitting, thinking of uttering a curse on Utanka if he should notreturn within time. But, in the meantime, Utanka entered his preceptor’sabode and paid his respects to his preceptress and presented her theear-rings. ‘Utanka’, said she, ‘thou hast arrived at the proper time atthe proper place. Welcome, my child; thou art innocent and therefore I donot curse thee! Good fortune is even before thee. Let thy wishes becrowned with success!’
“Then Utanka waited on his preceptor. And his preceptor said, ‘Thou artwelcome! What hath occasioned thy long absence?’ And Utanka replied tohis preceptor, ‘Sir, in the execution of this my business obstruction wasoffered by Takshaka, the King of serpents. Therefore I had to go to theregion of the Nagas. There I saw two damsels sitting at a loom, weaving afabric with black and white threads. Pray, what is that? There likewise Ibeheld a wheel with twelve spokes ceaselessly turned by six boys. Whattoo doth that import? Who is also the man that I saw? And what the horseof extraordinary size likewise beheld by me? And when I was on the road Ialso saw a bull with a man mounted thereon, by whom I was endearinglyaccosted thus, ‘Utanka, eat of the dung of this bull, which was alsoeaten by thy master?’ So I ate of the dung of that bull according to hiswords. Who also is he? Therefore, enlightened by thee, I desire to hearall about them.’
“And his preceptor thus addressed said unto him, ‘The two damsels thouhast seen are Dhata and Vidhata; the black and white threads denote nightand day; the wheel of twelve spokes turned by the six boys signified theyear comprising six seasons. The man is Parjanya, the deity of rain, andthe horse is Agni, the god of fire. The bull that thou hast seen on theroad is Airavata, the king of elephants; the man mounted thereon isIndra; and the dung of the bull which was eaten by thee was Amrita. Itwas certainly for this (last) that thou hast not met with death in theregion of the Nagas; and Indra who is my friend having been mercifullyinclined showed thee favour. It is for this that thou returnest safe,with the ear-rings about thee. Then, O thou amiable one, I give theeleave to depart. Thou shall obtain good fortune.’
“And Utanka, having obtained his master’s leave, moved by anger andresolved to avenge himself on Takshaka, proceeded towards Hastinapura.That excellent Brahmana soon reached Hastinapura. And Utanka then waitedupon King Janamejaya who had some time before returned victorious fromTakshashila. And Utanka saw the victorious monarch surrounded on allsides by his ministers. And he pronounced benedictions on him in a properform. And Utanka addressed the monarch at the proper moment in speech ofcorrect accent and melodious sounds, saying, ‘O thou the best ofmonarchs! How is it that thou spendest thy time like a child when thereis another matter that urgently demandeth thy attention?'”
“Sauti said, ‘The monarch Janamejaya, thus addressed, saluting thatexcellent Brahmana replied unto him, ‘In cherishing these my subjects Ido discharge the duties of my noble tribe. Say, what is that business tobe done by me and which hath brought thee hither.’
“The foremost of Brahmanas and distinguished beyond all for good deeds,thus addressed by the excellent monarch of large heart, replied unto him,’O King! the business is thy own that demandeth thy attention; thereforedo it, please. O thou King of kings! Thy father was deprived of life byTakshaka; therefore do thou avenge thy father’s death on that vileserpent. The time hath come, I think, for the act of vengeance ordainedby the Fates. Go then avenge the death of thy magnanimous father who,being bitten without cause by that vile serpent, was reduced to fiveelements even like a tree stricken by thunder. The wicked Takshaka,vilest of the serpent race, intoxicated with power committed anunnecessary act when he bit the King, that god-like father, the protectorof the race of royal saints. Wicked in his deeds, he even caused Kasyapa(the prince of physicians) to run back when he was coming for the reliefof thy father. It behoveth thee to burn the wicked wretch in the blazingfire of a snake-sacrifice. O King! Give instant orders for the sacrifice.It is thus thou canst avenge the death of thy father. And a very greatfavour shall have also been shown to me. For by that malignant wretch, Ovirtuous Prince, my business also was, on one occasion, obstructed, whileproceeding on account of my preceptor.”
“Sauti continued, The monarch, having heard these words, was enraged withTakshaka. By the speech of Utanka was inflamed the prince, even as thesacrificial fire with clarified butter. Moved by grief also, in thepresence of Utanka, the prince asked his ministers the particulars of hisfather’s journey to the regions of the blessed. And when he heard allabout the circumstances of his father’s death from the lips of Utanka, hewas overcome with pain and sorrow.
And thus endeth the section called Paushya of the Adi Parva of theblessed Mahabharata.”