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Chapter 115

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The protector of the earth spent there a singlenight, and with his brothers, paid the highest honours to the religiousmen. And Lomasa made him acquainted with the names of all of them, suchas the Bhrigus, the Angiras, the Vasishthas, and the Kasyapas. And theroyal saint paid visit to them all and made obeisance to them with joinedpalms. And then he asked the valiant Akritavrana, who was a follower ofParasurama, when will the revered Parasurama show himself to thereligious men here? It is desired on that occasion to obtain a sight ofthe descendant of Bhrigu.’

“Akritavrana said, ‘Thy journey to this spot is already known to Rama,whose soul spontaneously knows everything. And he is in every waywell-pleased with thee, and he will show himself readily to thee. And thesaints who practise penances here, are permitted to see him on thefourteenth and the eighth day of the lunar course. On the morrow at theend of this very night there will set in the fourteenth day of the lunarcourse. On that occasion thou wilt have a sight of him, clad in a sabledeerskin, and wearing his hair in the form of a matted mass.”

“Yudhishthira said, Thou hast been a follower of the mighty Rama,Jamadagni’s son; thou must, therefore, have been the eye-witness of allthe deeds achieved by him in former days. I, therefore, request thee tonarrate to me how the members of the military caste were vanquished byRama on the field of battle, and what the original cause of thoseconflicts was.’

“Akritavrana said, ‘With pleasure shall I recite to thee that excellentstory, O Bharata’s son, O chief of kings, the story of the godlike deedsof Rama, the son of Jamadagni, who traced his origin to Bhrigu’s race. Ishall also relate the achievements of the great ruler of the Haihayatribe. That king, Arjuna by name, the mighty lord of the Haihaya tribewas killed by Rama. He, O Pandu’s son, was endued with a thousand arms;and by the favour of Dattatreya he likewise had a celestial car made ofgold. And, O protector of the earth, his rule extended over the entireanimated world, wheresoever located on this earth. And the car of thatmighty monarch could proceed everywhere in an unobstructed course. Andgrown resistless by the virtue of a granted boon, he ever mounted on thatcar, trampled upon gods and Yakshas and saints on all sides round. Andall the born beings wheresoever placed, were harassed by him. Then thecelestials and the saints of a rigidly virtuous life, met together, andthus spake to Vishnu, the god of gods, the slayer of demons, andpossessed of prowess that never failed, saying. ‘O blessed and reveredlord, for the purpose of preserving all the born beings, it is necessarythat Arjuna should be killed by thee.’ And the mighty ruler of theHaihaya tribe placing himself on his celestial car, affronted Indra,while that deity was enjoying himself with Sachi, his queen. Then, OBharata’s son, the blessed and the revered god (Vishhnu) held aconsultation with Indra, with a view to destroying Kartavirya’s son. Andon that occasion, all that was for the good of the world of beings, wascommunicated by the lord of gods; and the blessed god worshipped by theworld, to do all that was necessary, went to the delightful Vadari woodwhich was his own chosen retreat for practising penances. And at thisvery time there lived on the earth a mighty monarch in the land ofKanyakuvja, a sovereign whose military force was exceedingly great. Andhis name of Gadhi was famous in the world. He, however, betook himself toa forest-life. And while he was dwelling in the midst of the wood, therewas born to him a daughter beautiful as a nymph of heaven. And Richika,the son of Bhrigu, asked for her to be united with himself in marriage.And then Gadhi spake to that Brahmana, who led a rigidly austere life,saying. There is a certain family custom in our race; it hath beenfounded by my ancestors of a bygone age. And, O most excellent of thesacerdotal caste, be it known to thee that the intending bridegroom mustoffer a dowry consisting of a thousand fleet steeds, whose colour must bebrown and every one of whom must possess a single sable car. But, OBhrigu’s son, a reverend saint like thee cannot be asked to offer thesame. Nor can my daughter be refused to a magnanimous saint of thy(exalted) rank.’ Thereupon Richika said, ‘I will give thee a thousandfleet steeds, brown in hue and possessing a single sable car; let thydaughter be given in marriage to me.’

“Akritavrana said. Thus having given his word, O king, he went and saidto Varuna, ‘Give me a thousand fleet steeds brown in colour, and eachwith one black ear. I want the same as dowry for my marriage.’ To himVaruna forthwith gave a thousand steeds. Those steeds had issued out ofthe river Ganga; hence the spot hath been named: The horse’s landingplace. And in the city of Kanyakuvja, the daughter of Gadhi, Satyavati byname, was given in marriage; and the gods themselves were of the party ofthe bride. Richika, the most excellent of the sacerdotal caste, thusprocured a thousand steeds, and had a sight of the dwellers of heaven andwon a wife in the proper form. And he enjoyed himself with the girl ofslender waist, and thus gratified all the wishes and desire that he everhad. And when the marriage had been celebrated, O king, his father Bhrigucame on a visit to see him and his wife; and he was glad to see hispraiseworthy son. And the husband and wife together paid their bestrespects to him, who was worshipped by all the gods. And when he hadseated himself, they both with joined palms, stood near him, in orderthat they might to his bidding. And then the revered saint, Bhrigu, gladat heart, thus spoke to his daughter-in-law, saying, ‘O lovely daughter,as for a boon I am ready to grant thee any object of thy wish.’ And thereupon she asked for his favour in this, that a son might be born to bothherself and her mother. And he vouchsafed the favour thus asked for.’

“Bhrigu said, ‘During the days that your season lasts, thou and thymother must take a bath, with the ceremony for bringing forth a malechild. And ye two must then separately embrace two different trees–she apeepal tree, and thou a fig tree. And, O dutiful girl, here are two potsof rice and milk, prepared by me with the utmost care. I having ransackedthe whole universe to find the drugs, the essence whereof hath beenblended with this milk and rice. It must be taken as food with thegreatest care.’ And saying this, he vanished from sight. The two ladies,however, made an interchange both in the matter of the pots of rice, andlikewise as regards the trees (to be embraced by each). Then after thelapse of very many days, the revered saint, once more came. And he cameknowing (what had happened) by his attribute of divine knowledge. ThenBhrigu possessed of mighty strength, spake to Satyavati, hisdaughter-in-law, saying, ‘O dutiful girl! O my daughter of a lovely brow,the wrong pot of rice thou tookest as food. And it was the wrong treewhich was embraced by thee. It was thy mother who deluded thee. A sonwill be born of thee, who, though of the priestly caste, will be of acharacter fit for the military order; while a mighty son will be born ofthy mother, who, though by birth a Kshatriya will assume a life suitableto the sacerdotal order. And his power will be great, and he will walk onthe path trodden by righteous men.’ Then she entreated her father-in-lawagain and again, saying, ‘Let not my son be of this character; but let mygrandson be such.’ And, O Pandu’s son, he replied, ‘So let it be!’ Andthus he was pleased to grant her prayer. Then she brought forth on theexpected day a son by name Jamadagni. And this son of Bhrigu was endowedwith both splendour and grace. And he grew in years and in strength, andexcelled he other saints in the proficiency of his Vaidik lore. Ochieftain of Bharata’s race, to him, rivalling in lustre the author oflight (the sun), came spontaneously and without instruction the knowledgeof the entire military art and of the fourfold missile arms.'”

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