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Chapter 107

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Lomasa said, ‘O most righteous of kings! When he heard these words(proceeding) from the sky, he had faith therein, and did all that he wasdirected to do, O chief of the men of Bharata’s race! Then the ruler ofmen took separately each of the seeds and then placed these divisions (ofthe gourd) in vessels filled with clarified butter. And intent on thepreservation of his sons, he provided a nurse for every (receptacle).Then after a long time there arose sixty thousand exceedingly powerfulsons of that same king–gifted with unmeasured strength, they were born,O ruler of earth! to that saint-like king, by Rudra’s favour. And theywere terrible; and their acts were ruthless. And they were able to ascendand roam about in the sky; and being numerous themselves, despisedeverybody, including the gods. And they would chase even the gods, theGandharvas, and the Rakshasas and all the born beings, being themselvesvaliant and addicted to fighting. Then all people, harassed by thedull-headed sons of Sagara, united with all the gods, went to Brahma astheir refuge. And then addressed the blessed grandfather of all beings(Brahma), ‘Go ye your way, ye gods, together with all these men. In a notvery long space of time, there will come about, O gods! a great andexceedingly terrible destruction of Sagara’s sons, caused by the deedperpetrated by them.’ Thus addressed, those same gods, and men, O lord ofthe sons of Manu! bade adieu to the grandfather, and went back to whencethey had come. Then, O chief of Bharata’s race! after the expiry of verymany days, the mighty king Sagara accepted the consecration forperforming the rites of a horse-sacrifice. And his horse began to roamover the world, protected by his sons. And when the horse reached thesea, waterless and frightful to behold–although the horse was guardedwith very great care–it (suddenly) vanished at the very spot (it stoodupon). Then, O respected sir! those same sons of Sagara imagined the samefine horse to have been stolen; and returning to their father, narratedhow it had been stolen out of sight. And thereupon he addressed them,saying, ‘Go ye and search for the horse in all the cardinal points.’Then, O great king! by this command of their father, they began to searchfor the horse in the cardinal points and throughout the whole surface ofthe earth. But all those sons of Sagara, all mutually united, could notfind the horse, nor the person who had stolen it. And coming back then,they with joined palms (thus addressed) their father, (standing) beforethem, ‘O Protector of men! O ruler of the earth! O king! by thy command,the whole of this world with its hills and its forest tracts, with itsseas, and its woods, and its islands, with its rivulets and rivers andcaves, hath been searched through by us. But we cannot find either thehorse, or the thief who had stolen the same.’ And hearing the words, thesame king became senseless with wrath, and then told them all, carriedaway by Destiny, ‘Go ye all, may ye never return! Search ye again for thehorse. Without that sacrificial horse, ye must never return, my boys!'”

“And those same sons of Sagara, accepted this command of their father,and once more began to search through the entire world. Now these heroessaw a rift on the surface of the earth. And having reached this pit, thesons of Sagara began to excavate it. And with spades and pickaxes theywent on digging the sea, making the utmost efforts. And that same abodeof Varuna (namely the ocean), being thus, excavated by the united sons ofSagara and rent and cut on all sides round, was placed in a condition ofthe utmost distress. And the demons and snakes and Rakshasas and various(other) animated beings began to utter distressful cries, while beingkilled by Sagara’s sons. And hundreds and thousands of animated beingswere beheld with severed heads and separated trunks and with their skinsand bones and joints rent asunder and broken. Thus they went on diggingthe ocean, which was the abode of Varuna and an exceedingly long space oftime expired in this work, but still the horse was not found. Then, Olord of earth! towards the north-eastern region of the sea, the incensedsons of Sagara dug down as far as the lower world, and there they beheldthe horse, roaming about on the surface of the ground. And they saw themagnanimous Kapila, who looked like a perfect mass of splendour. Andhaving beheld him shining with his brightness, just as the fire shinethwith its flames, they, O king! seeing the horse, were flushed withdelight. And they being incensed, sent forward by their fate, paid noheed to the presence of the magnanimous Kapila, and ran forward with aview to seizing the horse. Then, O great king! Kapila, the most righteousof saints,–he whom the great sages name as Kapila Vasudeva–assumed afiery look, and the mighty saint shot flames towards them, and therebyburnt down the dull-headed sons of Sagara. And Narada, whose practice ofausterities was very great, when he beheld them reduced to ashes, came toSagara’s side, and gave the information to him. And when the king learntthis terrible news which proceeded from the mouth of the saint, fornearly an hour he remained sad, and then he bethought himself of whatSiva had said. Then sending for Ansuman, the son of Asamanjas, and hisown grandson, he, O chief of Bharata’s race! spake the following words,’Those same sixty thousand sons of unmeasured strength having encounteredKapila’s wrath, have met their death on my account. And, O my boy ofstainless character! thy father also hath been forsaken by me, in orderto discharge my duty (as a king), and being desirous of doing good to mysubjects.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O saint, whose sole wealth consists in religiouspractices! Tell me for what reason, Sagara, the foremost of kings,abandoned his own begotten son, endued with valour–an act so difficult(for all other men).”

“Lomasa said, ‘A son was born to Sagara, known by the name of Asamanjas,he who was given birth to by the princess of Sivi. And he used to seizeby throat the feeble children of the townsmen, and threw them whilescreaming into the river. And thereupon the townsmen, overwhelmed withterror and grief, met together, and all standing with joined palms,besought Sagara in the following way, ‘O great king! Thou art ourprotector from the dreaded peril of attack from a hostile force.Therefore it is proper for thee to deliver us from the frightful danger,proceeding from Asamanjas.’ And the most righteous of the rulers of men,having heard this frightful news from his subjects, for nearly an hourremained sad and then spake to his ministers, saying, ‘This day from thecity let my son Asamanjas be driven forth. If ye wish to do what will beacceptable to me, let this be quickly done. ‘And, O protector of men!those same ministers, thus addressed by the king, performed in a hurryexactly what the king had commanded them to do. Thus have I narrated tothee how the magnanimous Sagara banished his son, with a view to thewelfare of the residents of the town. I shall now fully narrate to theewhat Ansuman of the powerful bow was told by Sagara. Listen to me!

“Sagara said, ‘O my boy! sore am I at heart for having abandoned thyfather, on account of the death of my sons, and also on beingunsuccessful in getting back the horse. Therefore, O grandson! harassedwith grief and confounded with the obstruction to my religious rites as Iam, thou must bring back the horse and deliver me from hell.’ Thusaddressed by the magnanimous Sagara, Ansuman went with sorrow to thatspot where the earth had been excavated. And by that very passage heentered into the sea, and beheld that illustrious Kapila and that samehorse. And having beheld that ancient saint, most righteous of his order,looking like a mass of light, he bowed with his head to the ground, andinformed him of the reason of his visit. Then, O great king, Kapila waspleased with Ansuman, and that saint of a virtuous soul told him to askfor a favour from him. And he in the first place prayed for the horse,for the purpose of using it in the sacrifice; in the second place heprayed for the purification of his fathers. Then the mighty chief ofsaints, Kapila spake to him, saying, ‘I shall grant thee everything thatthou desirest, O stainless (prince). May good luck be thine! In thee arefixed (the virtues of) forbearance, and truth, and righteousness. By theehath Sagara had all his desires fulfilled. Thou are (really) a son to thyfather. And by thy ability the sons of Sagara will go to heaven (i.e.,will be delivered from the consequences of their unhallowed death). Andthe son of thy son, with a view to purifying the sons of Sagara, willobtain the favour of the great god Siva, (by means of practising greatausterities), and will (thus) bring (to this world) the river thatfloweth in three (separate) streams, Ganga, O chief of men! May good luckbe thine! Take thou with thee the sacrificial horse. Finish, my lad! thesacrificial rites of the magnanimous Sagara.’ Thus addressed by theillustrious Kapila, Ansuman took the horse with him, and came back to thesacrificial yard of the mighty-minded Sagara. Then he fell prostrate atthe feet of the high-souled Sagara, who smelt him on the head andnarrated all the events to him, all that had been seen and heard by him,and likewise the destruction of Sagara’s sons. He also announced that thehorse had been brought back to the sacrificial yard. And when king Sagaraheard of this, he no more grieved on account of his sons. And he praisedand honoured Ansuman, and finished those same sacrificial rites. Hissacrifice finished, Sagara was greeted honourably by all the gods; and heconverted the sea, Varuna’s dwelling place, into a son of himself. Andthe lotus-eyed (King Sagara) having ruled his kingdom for a period ofexceeding length, placed his grandson on the throne, (full of)responsibilities and then ascended to heaven. And Ansuman likewise, Ogreat king! virtuous in soul, ruled over the world as far as the edge ofthe sea, following the foot-prints of his father’s father. His son wasnamed Dilipa, versed in virtue. Upon him placing the duties of hissovereign post, Ansuman like-wise departed this life. And then whenDilipa heard what an awful fate had overtaken his forefathers, he wassorely grieved and thought of the means of raising them. And the ruler ofmen made every great effort towards the descent of Ganga (to the mortalworld). But although trying to the utmost of his power, he could notbring about what he so much wished. And a son was born to him, known bythe name of Bhagiratha beauteous, and devoted to a virtuous life, andtruthful, and free from feelings of malice. And Dilipa appointed him asking, and betook himself to the forest life. And, O best of all thescions of Bharata’s race! that same king (Dilipa), devoted himself to asuccessful course of austerities, and at the end of (sufficient) period,from the forest departed to heaven.”

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