Chapter 126

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘O great Brahmana, how was that tiger among kings,Mandhata, Yuvanaswa’s son, born,–even he who was the best of monarchs,and celebrated over the three worlds? And how did he of unmeasured lustreattain the very height of real power, since all the three worlds were asmuch under his subjection, as they are under that of Vishnu of mightysoul? I am desirous of hearing all this in connection with the life andachievements of that sagacious monarch. I should also like to hear howhis name of Mandhata originated, belonging as it did to him who rivalledin lustre Indra himself: and also how he of unrivalled strength was born,for thou art skilled in the art of narrating events.’

“Lomasa said, ‘Hear with attention, O king! how the name of Mandhatabelonging to that monarch of mighty soul hath come to be celebratedthroughout all the worlds. Yuvanaswa, the ruler of the earth, was sprungfrom Ikshvaku’s race. That protector of the earth performed manysacrificial rites noted for magnificent gifts. And the most excellent ofall virtuous men performed a thousand times the ceremony of sacrificing ahorse. And he also performed other sacrifices of the highest order,wherein he made abundant gifts. But that saintly king had no son. And heof mighty soul and rigid vows made over to his ministers the duties ofthe state, and became a constant resident of the woods. And he ofcultured soul devoted himself to the pursuits enjoined in the sacredwrit. And once upon a time, that protector of men, O king! had observed afast. And he was suffering from the pangs of hunger and his inner soulseemed parched with thirst. And (in this state) he entered the hermitageof Bhrigu. On that very night, O king of kings! the great saint who wasthe delight of Bhrigu’s race, had officiated in a religious ceremony,with the object that a son might be born to Saudyumni. O king of kings!at the spot stood a large jar filled with water, consecrated with therecitation of sacred hymns, and which had been previously depositedthere. And the water was endued with the virtue that the wife ofSaudyumni would by drinking the same, bring forth a god-like son. Thosemighty saints had deposited the jar on the altar and had gone to sleep,having been fatigued by keeping up the night. And as Saudyumni passedthem by, his palate was dry, and he was suffering greatly from thirst.And the king was very much in need of water to drink. And he entered thathermitage and asked for drink. And becoming fatigued, he cried in feeblevoice, proceeding from a parched throat, which resembled the weakinarticulate utterance of a bird. And his voice reached nobody’s ears.Then the king beheld the jar filled with water. And he quickly rantowards it, and having drunk the water, put the jar down. And as thewater was cool, and as the king had been suffering greatly from thirst,the draught of water relieved the sagacious monarch and appeased histhirst. Then those saints together with him of ascetic wealth, awoke fromsleep; and all of them observed that the water of the jar had gone.Thereupon they met together and began to enquire as to who might havedone it. Then Yuvanaswa truthfully admitted that it was his act. Then therevered son of Bhrigu spoke unto him, saying. ‘It was not proper. Thiswater had an occult virtue infused into it, and had been placed therewith the object that a son might be born to thee. Having performed severeausterities, I infused the virtue of my religious acts in this water,that a son might be born to thee. O saintly king of mighty valour andphysical strength! a son would have been born to thee of exceedingstrength and valour, and strengthened by austerities, and who would havesent by his bravery even Indra to the abode of the god of death. It wasin this manner, O king! that this water had been prepared by me. Bydrinking this water, O king, thou hast done what was not at all right.But it is impossible now for us to turn back the accident which hathhappened. Surely what thou hast done must have been the fiat of Fate.Since thou, O great king, being a thirst hast drunk water prepared withsacred hymns, and filled with the virtue of my religious labours, thoumust bring forth out of thy own body a son of the character describedabove. To that end we shall perform a sacrifice for thee, of wonderfuleffect so that, valorous as thou art, thou wilt bring forth a son equalto Indra. Nor with thou experience any trouble on account of the labourpains.’ Then when one hundred years had passed away, a son shining as thesun pierced the left side of the king endowed with a mighty soul, andcame forth. And the son was possessed of mighty strength. Nor didYuvanaswa die–which itself was strange. Then Indra of mighty strengthcame to pay him a visit. And the deities enquired of the great Indra,’What is to be sucked by this boy?’ Then Indra introduced his ownforefinger into his mouth. And when the wielder of the thunderbolt said,’He will suck me,’ the dwellers of heaven together with Indra christenedthe boy Mandhata, (literally, Me he shall suck). Then the boy havingtasted the forefinger extended by Indra, became possessed of mightystrength, and he grew thirteen cubits, O king. And O great king! thewhole of sacred learning together with the holy science of arms, wasacquired by that masterful boy, who gained all that knowledge by thesimple and unassisted power of his thought. And all at once, the bowcelebrated under the name of Ajagava and a number of shafts made of horn,together with an impenetrable coat of mail, came to his possession on thevery same day, O scion of Bharata’s race! And he was placed on the throneby Indra himself and he conquered the three worlds in a righteous way, asVishnu did by his three strides. And the wheel of the car of that mightyking as irresistible in its course (throughout the world). And the gems,of their own accord, came into the possession of that saintly king. Thisis the tract of land, O lord of earth, which belonged to him. It aboundsin wealth. He performed a number of sacrificial rites of various kinds,in which abundant gratuities were paid to the priests. O king! he ofmighty force and unmeasured lustre, erected sacred piles, and performedsplendid pious deeds, and attained the position of sitting at Indra’sside. That sagacious king of unswerving piety sent forth his fiat, andsimply by its virtue conquered the earth, together with the sea–thatsource of gems–and all the cities (or [of?–JBH] the earth), O greatking! The sacrificial grounds prepared by him were to be found all overthe earth on all sides round–not a single spot, but was marked with thesame. O great king! the mighty monarch is said to have given to theBrahmanas ten thousand padmas of kine. When there was a drought, whichcontinued for twelve consecutive years, the mighty king caused rain tocome down for the growth of crops, paying no heed to Indra, the wielderof the thunder-bolt, who remained staring (at him). The mighty ruler ofthe Gandhara land, born in the lunar dynasty of kings, who was terriblelike a a roaring cloud, was slain by him, who wounded him sorely with hisshafts. O king! he of cultured soul protected the four orders of people,and by him of mighty force the worlds were kept from harm, by virtue ofhis austere and righteous life. This is the spot where he, lustrous likethe sun, sacrificed to the god. Look at it! here it is, in the midst ofthe field of the Kurus, situated in a tract, the holiest of all. Opreceptor of earth! requested by thee, I have thus narrated to thee thegreat life of Mandhata, and also the way in which he was born, which wasa birth of an extraordinary kind.'”

Vaisampayana said, “O scion of Bharata’s race! Kunti’s son, thusaddressed by the mighty saint, Lomasa, immediately put fresh questions tohim, with regard to Somaka.”

Chapter 157
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