“Saunaka said, ‘Child, thy father formerly read the whole of the Puranas,O son of Lomaharshana, and the Bharata with Krishna-Dwaipayana. Hast thoualso made them thy study? In those ancient records are chronicledinteresting stories and the history of the first generations of the wisemen, all of which we heard being rehearsed by thy sire. In the firstplace, I am desirous of hearing the history of the race of Bhrigu.Recount thou that history, we shall attentively listen to thee.”
“Sauti answered, ‘By me hath been acquired all that was formerly studiedby the high-souled Brahmanas including Vaisampayana and repeated by them;by me hath been acquired all that had been studied by my father. Odescendant of the Bhrigu race, attend then to so much as relateth to theexalted race of Bhrigu, revered by Indra and all the gods, by the tribesof Rishis and Maruts (Winds). O great Muni, I shall first properlyrecount the story of this family, as told in the Puranas.
“The great and blessed saint Bhrigu, we are informed, was produced by theself-existing Brahma from the fire at the sacrifice of Varuna. And Bhriguhad a son, named Chyavana, whom he dearly loved. And to Chyavana was borna virtuous son called Pramati. And Pramati had a son named Ruru byGhritachi (the celestial dancer). And to Ruru also by his wifePramadvara, was born a son, whose name was Sunaka. He was, O Saunaka, thygreat ancestor exceedingly virtuous in his ways. He was devoted toasceticism, of great reputation, proficient in law, and eminent amongthose having a knowledge of the Vedas. He was virtuous, truthful, and ofwell-regulated fare.’
“Saunaka said, ‘O son of Suta, I ask thee why the illustrious son ofBhrigu was named Chyavana. Do tell me all.’
“Sauti replied, ‘Bhrigu had a wife named Puloma whom he dearly loved. Shebecame big with child by Bhrigu. And one day while the virtuous continentPuloma was in that condition, Bhrigu, great among those that are true totheir religion, leaving her at home went out to perform his ablutions. Itwas then that the Rakshasa called Puloma came to Bhrigu’s abode. Andentering the Rishi’s abode, the Rakshasa saw the wife of Bhrigu,irreproachable in everything. And seeing her he became filled with lustand lost his senses. The beautiful Puloma entertained the Rakshasa thusarrived, with roots and fruits of the forest. And the Rakshasa who burntwith desire upon seeing her, became very much delighted and resolved, Ogood sage, to carry her away who was so blameless in every respect.
‘My design is accomplished,’ said the Rakshasa, and so seizing thatbeautiful matron he carried her away. And, indeed, she of agreeablesmiles, had been betrothed by her father himself, to him, although theformer subsequently bestowed her, according to due rites, on Bhrigu. Othou of the Bhrigu race, this wound rankled deep in the Rakshasa’s mindand he thought the present moment very opportune for carrying the ladyaway.
“And the Rakshasa saw the apartment in which the sacrificial fire waskept burning brightly. The Rakshasa then asked the flaming element ‘Tellme, O Agni, whose wife this woman rightfully is. Thou art the mouth ofgods; therefore thou art bound to answer my question. This lady ofsuperior complexion had been first accepted by me as wife, but her fathersubsequently bestowed her on the false Bhrigu. Tell me truly if this fairone can be regarded as the wife of Bhrigu, for having found her alone, Ihave resolved to take her away by force from the hermitage. My heartburneth with rage when I reflect that Bhrigu hath got possession of thiswoman of slender waist, first betrothed to me.'”
“Sauti continued, ‘In this manner the Rakshasa asked the flaming god offire again and again whether the lady was Bhrigu’s wife. And the god wasafraid to return an answer. ‘Thou, O god of fire,’ said he, residestconstantly within every creature, as witness of her or his merits anddemerits. O thou respected one, then answer my question truly. Has notBhrigu appropriated her who was chosen by me as my wife? Thou shouldstdeclare truly whether, therefore, she is my wife by first choice. Afterthy answer as to whether she is the wife of Bhrigu, I will bear her awayfrom this hermitage even in sight of thee. Therefore answer thou truly.'”
“Sauti continued, ‘The Seven flamed god having heard these words of theRakshasa became exceedingly distressed, being afraid of telling afalsehood and equally afraid of Bhrigu’s curse. And the god at lengthmade answer in words that came out slowly. ‘This Puloma was, indeed,first chosen by thee, O Rakshasa, but she was not taken by thee with holyrites and invocations. But this far-famed lady was bestowed by her fatheron Bhrigu as a gift from desire of blessing. She was not bestowed on theeO Rakshasa, this lady was duly made by the Rishi Bhrigu his wife withVedic rites in my presence. This is she–I know her. I dare not speak afalsehood. O thou best of the Rakshasas, falsehood is never respected inthis world.'”