Chapter 21

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me why had that lady no fear of Ashtavakra’scurse although Ashtavakra was endued with great energy? How also didAshtavakra succeed in coming back from that place?'”

“Bhishma said, ‘Ashtavakra asked her, saying,–How dost thou succeed inaltering thy form so? Thou shouldst not say anything that is untrue. Iwish to know this. Speakest thou truly before a Brahmana.’

“The lady said, ‘O best of Brahmana, wherever thou mayst reside in heavenor on Earth, this desire of union between the sexes is to be observed. Othou of infallible prowess, listen, with concentrated attention, to thisall. This trial was devised by me. O sinless one, for testing theearight. O thou of infallible prowess, thou hast subjugated all the worldsfor not foregoing your previous resolution. Know that I am the embodimentof the Northern point of the compass. Thou hast seen the lightness of thefemale character. Even women that are aged are tortured by the desire ofsexual union. The Grandsire himself and all the deities with Indra havebeen pleased with thee. The object for which thy illustrious self hascome here (is known to me). O foremost of regenerate persons, thou hastbeen despatched higher by the Rishi Vadanya–the father of thy bride–inorder that I may instruct thee. Agreeably to the wishes of that Rishi Ihave already instructed thee. Thou wilt return home in safety. Thyjourney back will not be toilsome. Thou wilt obtain for wife and girlthou hast chosen. She will bear thee a son. Through desire I hadsolicited thee, thou madest me the very best answer. The desire forsexual union is incapable of being transcended in the three worlds. Goback to thy quarters, having achieved such merit. What else is there thatthou wishest to hear from me? I shall discourse on it, O Ashtavakra, inaccordance with the truth. I was gratified by the Rishi Vadanya in thefirst instance for thy sake, O regenerate ascetic For the sake ofhonouring him, I have said all this to thee.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of hers, the regenerateAshtavakra joined his hands in a reverential attitude. He then solicitedthe lady for her permission to go back. Obtaining the permission he cameback to his own asylum. Resting himself for some time at home andobtaining the permission of his kinsmen and friends, he then in a properway, proceeded, O delighter of the Kurus, to the Brahmana Vadanya.Welcomed with the usual enquiries by Vadanya, the Rishi Ashtavakra, witha well-pleased heart, narrated all that he had seen (in course of hissojourn to the North). He said,–Commanded by thee I proceeded to themountains of Gandhamadana. In the regions lying to the north of thesemountains I beheld a very superior goddess. I was received by her withcourtesy. She named you in my hearing and also instructed me in variousmatters. Having listened to her I have come back, O lord. Unto him thatsaid so, the learned Vadanya said,–Take my daughter’s hand according todue rites and under the proper constellations. Thou art the fittestbridegroom I can select for the girl.’

‘Bhishma continued, ‘Ashtavakra said,–So be it and took the hand of thegirl. Indeed, the highly righteous Rishi, having espoused the girl,became filled with joy. Having taken as his wife that beautiful damsel,the Rishi continued to dwell in his own asylum, freed from (mental) feverof every kind.'”

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