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Chapter 111

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Lomasa said, ‘O descendant of Bharata! she in order to compass theobject of the king, prepared a floating hermitage, both because the kinghad ordered so, and also because it exactly accorded with her plan. Andthe floating hermitage, containing artificial trees adorned with variousflowers and fruits, and surrounded by diverse shrubs and creeping plantsand capable of furnishing choice and delicious fruits, was exceedinglydelightful, and nice, and pleasing, and looked as if it had been createdby magic. Then she moored the vessel at no great distance from thehermitage of Kasyapa’s son, and sent emissaries to survey the place wherethat same saint habitually went about. And then she saw an opportunity;and having conceived a plan in her mind, sent forward her daughter acourtesan by trade and of smart sense. And that clever woman went to thevicinity of the religious man and arriving at the hermitage beheld theson of the saint.'”

“The courtesan said, ‘I hope, O saint! that is all well with thereligious devotees. And I hope that thou hast a plentiful store of fruitsand roots and that thou takest delight in this hermitage. Verily I comehere now to pay thee a visit. I hope the practice of austerities amongthe saints is on the increase. I hope that thy father’s spirit hath notslackened and that he is well pleased with thee. O Rishyasringa of thepriestly caste! I hope thou prosecutest the studies proper for thee.'”

Rishyasringa said, ‘Thou art shining with lustre, as if thou wert a(mass) of light. And I deem thee worthy of obeisance. Verily I shall givethee water for washing thy feet and such fruits and roots also as may beliked by thee, for this is what my religion hath prescribed to me. Bethou pleased to take at thy pleasure thy seat on a mat made of the sacredgrass, covered over with a black deer-skin and made pleasant andcomfortable to sit upon. And where is thy hermitage? O Brahmana! thouresemblest a god in thy mien. What is the name of this particularreligious vow, which thou seemest to be observing now?’

“The courtesan said, O son of Kasyapa! on the other side of yonder hill,which covers the space of three Yojanas, is my hermitage–a delightfulplace. There, not to receive obeisance is the rule of my faith nor do Itouch water for washing my feet. I am not worthy of obeisance frompersons like thee; but I must make obeisance to thee. O Brahmana! This isthe religious observance to be practised by me, namely, that thou must beclasped in my arms.'”

“Rishyasringa said, ‘Let me give thee ripe fruits, such as gallnuts,myrobalans, Karushas, Ingudas from sandy tracts and Indian fig. May itplease thee to take a delight in them!'”

Lomasa said, “She, however, threw aside all those edible things and thengave him unsuitable things for food. And these were exceedingly nice andbeautiful to see and were very much acceptable to Rishyasringa. And shegave him garlands of an exceedingly fragrant scent and beautiful andshining garments to wear and first-rate drinks; and then played andlaughed and enjoyed herself. And she at his sight played with a ball andwhile thus employed, looked like a creeping plant broken in two. And shetouched his body with her own and repeatedly clasped Rishyasringa in herarms. Then she bent and break the flowery twigs from trees, such as theSala, the Asoka and the Tilaka. And overpowered with intoxication,assuming a bashful look, she went on tempting the great saint’s son. Andwhen she saw that the heart of Rishyasringa had been touched, sherepeatedly pressed his body with her own and casting glances, slowly wentaway under the pretext that she was going to make offerings on the fire.On her departure, Rishyasringa became over-powered with love and lost hissense. His mind turned constantly to her and felt itself vacant. And hebegan to sigh and seemed to be in great distress. At that moment appearedVibhandaka, Kasyapa’s son, he whose eyes were tawny like those of a lion,whose body was covered with hair down to the tip of the nails, who wasdevoted to studies proper for his caste, and whose life was pure and waspassed in religious meditation. He came up and saw that his son wasseated alone, pensive and sad, his mind upset and sighing again and againwith upturned eyes. And Vibhandaka spake to his distressed son, saying,’My boy! why is it that thou art not hewing the logs for fuel. I hopethou hast performed the ceremony of burnt offering today. I hope thouhast polished the sacrificial ladles and spoons and brought the calf tothe milch cow whose milk furnisheth materials for making offerings on thefire. Verily thou art not in thy wonted state, O son! Thou seemest to bepensive, and to have lost thy sense. Why art thou so sad today? Let meask thee, who hath been to this place today?'”

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