Chapter 57

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, “Beholding the king, who had become so, of frightfulmien, wearing a long beard smeared with the blood of human beings, theBrahmana Utanka, O king, did not become agitated. That monarch of greatenergy, inspiring terror in every breast and looking like a second Yama,rising up, addressed Utanka, saying,–‘By good luck, O best of Brahmanas,thou hast come to me at the sixth hour of the day when I am in search offood.’

“Utanka said, ‘O king, know that I have come hither in course of mywanderings for the sake of my preceptor. The wise have said that I whileone is employed for the sake of one’s preceptor, one should not beinjured.’

“The king said, ‘O best of Brahmanas, food has been ordained for me atthe sixth hour of the day. I am hungry. I cannot, therefore, allow theeto escape today.’

“Utanka said, ‘Let it be so, O king. Let this compact be made with me.After I have ceased to wander for my preceptor, I shall once more comeand place myself within thy power. It has been heard by me, O best ofkings, that the object I seek for my preceptor is under thy control, Omonarch. Therefore, O ruler of men, I solicit thee for it. Thou dailygivest many foremost of gems unto superior Brahmanas. Thou art a giver, Ochief of men, from whom gifts may be accepted, know that I too am aworthy object of charity present before thee, O best of kings. Havingaccepted from thee in gift that object for my preceptor which is underthy control, I shall, O king, in consequence of my compact, once morecome back to thee and place myself under thy power. I assure thee trulyof this. There is no falsehood in this. Never before have I spokenanything untrue, no, not even in jest. What shall I say then of otheroccasions?’

“Saudasa said, ‘If the object thou seekest for thy preceptor is capableof being placed in thy hands by me, if I be regarded as one from whom agift may be accepted, do thou then say what that object is.’

“Utanka said, ‘O foremost of men, O Saudasa, in my estimation thou art aworthy person from whom gifts may be accepted. I have, therefore, come tothee for begging of thee the jewelled ear-rings (worn by thy queen).’

“Saudasa said, ‘Those jewelled ear-rings, O learned and regenerate Rishi,belong to my wife. They should be asked from her. Do thou, therefore,solicit some other thing from me. I shall give it to thee, O thou ofexcellent vows.’

“Utanka said, ‘If we be regarded as any authority, do thou cease then tourge this pretext. Do thou give those jewelled ear-rings to me. Be thoutruthful in speech, O king.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed, the king once more addressedUtanka and said unto him, ‘Do thou, at my word, go to my venerable queen,O best of men, and ask her, saying,–Give!–She of pure vows, thussolicited by thee, will certainly, at my command, give thee, O foremostof regenerate persons, those jewelled ear-rings of hers without doubt.’

“Utanka said, ‘Whither, O ruler of men, shall I be able to meet thyqueen? Why dost thou not thyself go to her?’

“Saudasa said, ‘Thou wilt find her today in the vicinity of a foremostfountain. I cannot see her today as the sixth hour of the day has come.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Thus addressed, Utanka, O chief of Bharata’srace, then left that spot. Beholding Madayanti, he informed her of hisobject. Hearing the command of Saudasa, that lady of large eyes repliedunto the highly intelligent Utanka, O Janamejaya, in these words: ‘It iseven so, O regenerate one. Thou shouldst, however, O sinless one, assureme that thou dost not say what is untrue. It behoves thee to bring mesome sign from my husband. These celestial ear-rings of mine, made ofcostly gems, are such that the deities and Yakshas and great Rishisalways watch for opportunities for bearing them away. If placed at anytime on the Earth, this costly article would then be stolen by the Nagas.If worn by one who is impure in consequence of eating, it would then betaken away by the Yakshas. If the wearer falls asleep (without takingcare of these precious ear-rings) the deities would then take them away.O best of Brahmanas, these ear-rings are capable of being taken away,when such opportunities present themselves, by deities and Rakshasas andNagas, if worn by a heedless person. O best of regenerate ones, theseear-rings, day and night, always produce gold. At night, they shinebrightly, attracting the rays of stars and constellations. O holy one, ifworn by any one, he would be freed from hunger and thirst and fear ofevery kind. The wearer of these ear-rings is freed also from the fear ofpoison and fire and every kind of danger. If worn by one of shortstature, these become short. If worn by one of tall stature, these growin size. Even of such virtues are these ear-rings of mine. They arepraised and honoured everywhere. Indeed, they are known over the threeworlds. Do thou, therefore, bring me some sign (from my husband).'”

Chapter 58
Chapter 56
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