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Chapter 97

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Lomasa continued, ‘When Agastya thought that girl to be competent forthe duties of domesticity, he approached that lord of earth-the ruler ofVidharbhas-and addressing him, said, ‘I solicit thee, O king, to bestowthy daughter Lopamudra on me.’ Thus addressed by the Muni, the king ofthe Vidharbhas swooned away. And though unwilling to give the Muni hisdaughter, he dared not refuse. And that lord of earth then, approachinghis queen, said, ‘This Rishi is endued with great energy. If angry, hemay consume me with the fire of his curse. O thou of sweet face, tell mewhat is thy wish.” Hearing these words of the king, she uttered not aword. And beholding the king along with the queen afflicted with sorrow,Lopamudra approached them in due time and said, O monarch, it behoveththee not to grieve on my account. Bestow me on Agastya, and, O father,save thyself, by giving me away.’ And at these words of his daughter, Omonarch, the king gave away Lopamudra unto the illustrious Agastya withdue rites. And obtaining her as wife, Agastya addressed Lopamudra,saying, ‘Cast thou away these costly robes and ornaments.’ And at thesewords of her lord, that large-eyed damsel of thighs tapering as the stemof the plantain tree cast away her handsome and costly robes of finetexture. And casting them away she dressed herself in rags and barks anddeerskins, and became her husband’s equal in vows and acts. Andproceeding then to Gangadwara that illustrious and best of Rishis beganto practise the severest penances along with his helpful wife. AndLopamudra herself, well pleased, began to serve her lord from the deeprespect that she bore him. And the exalted Agastya also began to manifestgreat love for his wife.

“After a considerable time, O king, the illustrious Rishi one day beheldLopamudra, blazing in ascetic splendour come up after the bath in herseason. And pleased with the girl, for her services, her purity, and selfcontrol, as also with her grace and beauty, he summoned her for maritalintercourse. The girl, however, joining her hands, bashfully but lovinglyaddressed the Rishi, saying, ‘The husband, without doubt, weddeth thewife for offspring. But it behoveth thee, O Rishi, to show that love tome which I have for thee. And it behoveth thee, O regenerate one, toapproach me on a bed like to that which I had in the palace of my father.I also desire that thou shouldst be decked in garlands of flowers andother ornaments, and that I should approach thee adorned in thosecelestial ornaments that I like. Otherwise, I cannot approach thee,dressed in these rags dyed in red. Nor, O regenerate Rishi, it is sinfulto wear ornaments (on such an occasion).’ Hearing these words of hiswife, Agastya replied, ‘O blessed girl, O thou of slender waist, I havenot wealth like what thy father hath, O Lopamudra!’ She answered saying,’Thou who art endued with wealth of asceticism, art certainly able tobring hither within a moment, by ascetic power, everything that exists inthe world of men.’ Agastya said, ‘It is even so as thou hast said. That,however, would waste my ascetic merit. O bid me do that which may notloosen my ascetic merit.’ Lopamudra then said, ‘O thou endued with wealthof asceticism, my season will not last long, I do not desire, however, toapproach thee otherwise. Nor do I desire to diminish thy (ascetic) meritin any way. It behoveth thee, however, to do as I desire, withoutinjuring thy virtue.’

“‘Agastya then said, ‘O blessed girl, if this be the resolve that thouhast settled in thy heart, I will go out in quest of wealth. Meanwhile,stay thou here as it pleaseth thee.'”

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