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Chapter 99

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Lomasa said, ‘When Ilwala learnt that those kings along with the greatRishi had arrived on the confines of his domain, he went out with hisministers and worshipped them duly. And that prince of Asuras receivedthem hospitably, entertaining them, O son of the Kuru race, with welldressed meat supplied by his brother Vatapi (transformed into a ram).Then all those royal sages, beholding the mighty Asura Vatapi, who hadbeen transformed into a ram thus cooked for them, became sad andcheerless and were nearly deprived of themselves. But that best ofRishis–Agastya–addressing those royal sages, said, ‘Yield ye not togrief, I will eat up the great Asura.’ And the mighty Rishi then sathimself down on an excellent seat, and the prince of Asuras, Ilwala,began to distribute the food smilingly. And Agastya ate up the whole ofthe meat supplied by Vatapi (transformed into a ram). And after thedinner was over, Ilwala began to summon his brother. But thereupon aquantity of air alone came out of the illustrious Rishi’s stomach, with asound that was as loud, O child, as the roar of the clouds. And Ilwalarepeatedly said, ‘Come out, O Vatapi!’ Then that best ofMunis–Agastya–bursting out in laughter, said, ‘How can he come out? Ihave already digested that great Asura.’ And beholding his brotheralready digested, Ilwala became sad and cheerless and joining his hands,along with his ministers, addressing the Rishi (and his companions),said, ‘What for have ye come hither, and what can I do for you?’ AndAgastya smilingly answered Ilwala, saying, ‘We know thee, O Asura, to bepossessed of great power and also enormous wealth. These kings are notvery wealthy while my need also of wealth is great. Give us what thoucanst, without injuring others.’ Thus addressed Ilwala saluted the Rishiand said, ‘If thou say what it is that I mean to give, then will I giveyou wealth.’ Hearing this Agastya said, ‘O great Asura, thou hast evenpurposed to give unto each of these kings ten thousand kine and as manygold coins. And unto me thou hast purposed to give twice as much, as alsoa car of gold and a couple of horses fleet as thought. If thou enquirestnow, thou wilt soon learn that your car is made of gold.’ Thereupon, Oson of Kunti, Ilwala made enquiries and learnt that the car he hadintended to give away was really a golden one. And the Daitya then with asad heart, gave away much wealth and that car, unto which were yoked twosteeds called Virava and Surava. And those steeds, O Bharata, took thosekings and Agastya and all that wealth to the asylum of Agastya within thetwinkling of an eye. And those royal sages then obtaining Agastya’spermission, went away to their respective cities. And Agastya also (withthat wealth) did all that his wife Lopamudra had desired. And Lopamudrathen said, ‘O illustrious one, thou hast now accomplished all my wishes.Beget thou a child on me that shall be possessed of great energy.’ AndAgastya replied unto her, saying, ‘O blessed and beauteous one, I havebeen much gratified with thy conduct. Listen thou unto me as regards theproposal I make in respect of thy offspring. Wouldst thou have a thousandsons, or a century of sons each equal to ten, or ten sons equal each toan hundred, or only one son who may vanquish a thousand?’ Lopamudraanswered, ‘Let me have one son equal unto a thousand, O thou endued withwealth of asceticism! One good and learned son is preferable to many evilones.'”

“Lomasa continued, ‘Saying, ‘So be it,’ that pious Muni thereupon knewhis devout wife of equal behaviour. And after she had conceived, heretired into the forest. And after the Muni had gone away, the foetusbegan to grow for seven years. And after the seventh year had expired,there came out of the womb, the highly learned Dridhasyu, blazing, OBharata, in his own splendour. And the great Brahmana and illustriousascetic, endued with mighty energy, took his birth as the Rishi’s son,coming out of the womb, as if repeating the Vedas with the Upanishads andthe Angas. Endued with great energy while yet a child, he used to carryloads of sacrificial fuel into the asylum of his father, and was thencecalled Idhmavaha (carrier of sacrificial wood). And the Muni, beholdinghis son possessed of such virtues, became highly glad.

“And it was thus, O Bharata, that Agastya begat an excellent son inconsequence of which his ancestors, O king, obtained the regions theydesired. And it is from that time that this spot hath become known on theearth as the asylum of Agastya. Indeed, O king, this is the asylum gracedwith numerous beauties, of that Agastya who had slain Vatapi ofPrahrada’s race. The sacred Bhagirathi, adored by gods and Gandharvasgently runneth by, like a breeze-shaken pennon in the welkin. Yonder alsoshe floweth over craggy crests descending lower and lower, and lookethlike an affrighted she-snake lying along the hilly slopes. Issuing out ofthe matted locks of Mahadeva, she passeth along, flooding the southerncountry and benefiting it like a mother, and ultimately mingleth with theocean as if she were his favourite bride. Bathe ye as ye like in thissacred river, ye son of Pandu! And behold there, O Yudhisthira, thetirtha of Bhrigu that is celebrated over the three worlds and adored, Oking, by great Rishis. Bathing here, Rama (of Bhrigu’s race) regained hismight, which had been taken away from him (by Dasaratha’s son). Bathinghere, O son of Pandu, with thy brothers and Krishna, thou wilt certainlyregain that energy of thine that hath been taken away by Duryodhana, evenas Rama regained his that had been taken away by Dasaratha’s son inhostile encounter.”

Vaisampayana continued, “At these words of Lomasa, Yudhishthira bathedthere with his brothers and Krishna, and offered oblations of water, OBharata, to the gods and the Pitris. And, O bull among men, afterYudhishthira had bathed in that tirtha, his body blazed forth in brightereffulgence, and he became invisible in respect of all foes. The son ofPandu then, O king, asked Lomasa, saying, ‘O illustrious one, why hadRama’s energy and might been taken away? And how also did he regain it? Oexalted one, I ask thee, tell me everything.'”

“Lomasa said, ‘Listen, O king, to the history of Rama (the son ofDasaratha) and Rama of Bhrigu’s line gifted with intelligence. For thedestruction of Ravana, O king, Vishnu, in his own body, took his birth asthe son of illustrious Dasaratha. We saw in Ayodhya that son of Dasarathaafter he had been born. It was then that Rama of Bhrigu’s line, the sonof Richika by Renuka, hearing of Rama the son of Dasaratha–of spotlessdeeds–went to Ayodhya, impelled by curiosity, and taking with him thatcelestial bow so fatal to the Kshatriyas, for ascertaining the prowess ofDasaratha’s son. And Dasaratha, hearing that Rama of Bhrigu’s race hadarrived on the confines of his domains, set his own son Rama to receivethe hero with respect. And beholding Dasaratha’s son approach and standbefore him with ready weapons, Rama of Bhrigu’s line smilingly addressedhim, O son of Kunti, saying, ‘O king, O exalted one, string, if thoucanst, with all thy mighty, this bow which in my hands was made theinstrument of destroying the Kshatriya race.’ Thus addressed, Dasaratha’sson answered, ‘O illustrious one, it behoveth thee not to insult me thus.Nor am I, amongst the regenerate classes, deficient in the virtues of theKshatriya order. The descendants of Ikshwaku in special never boast ofthe prowess of their arms.’ Then unto Dasaratha’s son who said so, Ramaof Bhrigu’s line replied, ‘A truce to all crafty speech, O king! Takethis bow.’ At this, Rama the son of Dasaratha, took in anger from thehands of Rama of Bhrigu’s line that celestial bow that had dealt death tothe foremost of Kshatriyas. And, O Bharata, the mighty hero smilinglystrung that bow without the least exertion, and with its twang loud asthe thunder-rattle, affrighted all creatures. And Rama, the son ofDasaratha, then, addressing Rama of Bhrigu’s said, ‘Here, I have strungthis bow. What else, O Brahmana, shall I do for thee?’ Then Rama, the sonof Jamadagni, gave unto the illustrious son of Dasaratha a celestialarrow and said, ‘Placing this on the bow-string, draw to thy ear, Ohero!’ “Lomasa continued, ‘Hearing this, Dasaratha’s son blazed up inwrath and said, ‘I have heard what thou hast said, and even pardonedthee. O son of Bhrigu’s race, thou art full of vanity. Through theGrandsire’s grace thou hast obtained energy that is superior to that ofthe Kshatriyas. And it is for this that thou insultest me. Behold me nowin my native form: I give thee sight.’ Then Rama of Bhrigu’s race beheldin the body of Dasaratha’s son the Adityas with the Vasus, the Rudras,the Sadhyas with the Marutas, the Pitris, Hutasana, the stellarconstellations and the planets, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas, theYakshas, the Rivers, the tirthas, those eternal Rishis identified withBrahma and called the Valkhilyas, the celestial Rishis, the Seas andMountains, the Vedas with the Upanishads and Vashats and the sacrifices,the Samans in their living form, the Science of weapons, O Bharata, andthe Clouds with rain and lightning, O Yudhishthira! And the illustriousVishnu then shot that shaft. And at this the earth was filled with soundsof thunder, and burning meteors. O Bharata, began to flash through thewelkin. And showers of dust and rain fell upon the surface of the earth.And whirlwinds and frightful sounds convulsed everything, and the earthherself began to quake. And shot by the hand of Rama, that shalt,confounding by its energy the other Rama, came back blazing into Rama’shands. And Bhargava, who had thus been deprived of his senses, regainingconsciousness and life, bowed unto Rama–that manifestation of Vishnu’spower. And commanded by Vishnu, he proceeded to the mountains ofMahendra. And thenceforth that great ascetic began to dwell there, interror and shame. And after the expiration of a year, the Pitris,beholding Rama dwelling there deprived of energy, his pride quelled, andhimself sunk in affliction, said unto him, ‘O son, having approachedVishnu, thy behaviour towards him was not proper. He deserveth for ayeworship and respect in the three worlds. Go, O son, to that sacred riverwhich goeth by name of Vadhusara! Bathing in all the tirthas of thatstream, thou wilt regain thy energy! There in that river is the tirthascalled Diptoda where thy grandsire Bhrigu, O Rama, in the celestial agehad practised ascetic penances of great merit.’ Thus addressed by them,Rama, O son of Kunti, did what the Pitris bade him, and obtained back atthis tirtha, O son of Pandu, the energy he had lost. Even this O child,was what befell Rama of spotless deeds in days in of yore, after he had,O king, met Vishnu (in the form of Dasaratha’s son)!'”

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