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Chapter 53

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing of the origin of Death and her strange acts, kingYudhishthira, humbly addressing Vyasa, once more said these words untohim.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Many kings there were in blessed countries, ofrighteous deeds and of prowess equal to that of Indra himself. They wereroyal sages, O regenerate one, that were sinless and truth-speaking. Oncemore, address me in words of grave import, and console me with (accountsof) the feats of those royal sages of ancient times. What was the measureof the sacrificial gifts made by them? Who were those high-souled royalsages of righteous deeds that made them? Tell me all this, O illustriousone!’

“Vyasa said, ‘There was a king of the name of Switya. He had a son whowas called Srinjaya. The Rishis Narada and Parvata were his friends. Oneday, the two ascetics, for paying Srinjaya a visit, came to his palace.Duly worshipped by Srinjaya, they became pleased with him, and continuedto live with him happily. Once on a time as Srinjaya was seated at hiscase with the two ascetics, his beautiful daughter of sweet smiles cameto him. Saluted with reverence by his daughter, Srinjaya delighted thatgirl standing by his side with proper benedictions of the kind shedesired. Beholding that maiden, Parvata smilingly asked Srinjaya, saying,’Whose daughter is this damsel of restless glances and possessed of everyauspicious mark? Is she the splendour of Surya, or the flame of Agni? Or,is she any of these, viz., Sri, Hri, Kirti, Dhriti, Pushti, Siddhi, andthe splendour of Soma?’ After the celestial Rishi (Parvata) said thesewords, king Srinjaya answered, saying, ‘O illustrious one, this girl ismy daughter. She beggeth my blessings.’ Then Narada addressed kingSrinjaya and said. ‘If, O monarch, thou wishest for great good (tothyself), then give this daughter of thine unto me for a wife.’ Delighted(with the Rishi’s proposal), Srinjaya addressed Narada, saying, ‘I giveher unto thee.’ At this, the other Rishi, viz., Parvata, indignantlyaddressed Narada, saying, ‘Chosen before this by me, within my heart,thou hast taken this damsel as thy wife. And since thou hast done this,thou, O Brahmana, shalt not go to heaven as thy will.’ Thus addressed byhim, Narada answered him, saying, ‘The husband’s heart and speech(directed thereto), (the giver’s) consent, the speeches (of both), theactual gift made by sprinkling water, and the (recital of the mantras)ordained for the seizure of the (bride’s hand),–these have been declaredto be indications by which one is constituted a husband. Even thisceremonial is not all. That which (above all) is essential is the walkfor seven paces (by the bride in circumambulating the bridegroom).[88]Without these thy purpose (about marriage) have been unaccomplished. Thouhast cursed. Therefore, thou also shalt not go to heaven without me.’Having cursed each other those two Rishis continued to live there.Meanwhile, king Srinjaya, desirous of (obtaining) a son, began, withcleansed soul, to carefully entertain the Brahmanas, to the utmost of hispower, with food and robes. After a certain time, those foremost ofBrahmanas devoted to the study of the Vedas and fully conversant withthose scriptures and their branches became gratified with that monarch,desirous of getting a son. Together they came to Narada and said untohim, ‘Give this king a son of the kind he desires.’–Thus addressed bythe Brahmanas, Narada replied unto them, saying, ‘So be it.’–and thenthe celestial Rishi addressed Srinjaya saying, ‘O royal sage, theBrahmanas have been pleased and they wish thee a son! Solicit thou theboon, blessed be thou, about the kind of son thou desirest.’ Thusaddressed by him, the king, with joined hands, asked for a son possessedof every accomplishment, famous, of glorious feats, of great energy, andcapable of chastising all foes. And he further asked that the urine, theexcreta, the phlegm and the sweat of that child should be gold. And indue time the king had a son born unto him, who came to be namedSuvarnashthivin[89] on earth. And in consequence of the boon, that childbegan to increase (his father’s) wealth beyond all limits. And kingSrinjaya caused all desirable things of his to be made of gold. And hishouses and walls and forts, and the houses of all Brahmanas (within hisdominions), and his beds, vehicles, and plates, and all manners of potsand cups, and palace that he owned, and all implements and utensils,domestic and otherwise were made of gold. And in time his stockincreased. Then certain robbers hearing of the prince and seeing him tobe such, assembled together and sought to injure the king. And someamongst them said, ‘We will seize the king’s son himself. He is hisfather’s mine of gold. Towards that end, therefore, we should strive.’Then those robbers inspired with avarice, penetrating into the king’spalace, forcibly took away prince Suvarnashthivin. Having seized andtaken him to the woods, those senseless idiots, inspired with avarice butignorant of what to do with him, slew him there and cut his body infragments. They saw not, however, any gold in him. After the prince wasslain, all the gold, obtained in consequence of the Rishi’s boon,disappeared. The ignorant and senseless robbers struck one another. Andstriking one another thus, they perished and with them that wonderfulprince on the earth. And those men of wicked deeds sank in anunimaginable and awful hell. Seeing that son of his, obtained through theRishi’s boon thus slain, that great ascetic, viz., king Srinjaya,afflicted with deep sorrow, began to lament in piteous accents. Beholdingthe king afflicted with grief on account of his son, and thus weeping,the celestial Rishi Narada showed himself in his presence. Listen, OYudhishthira, to what Narada said unto Srinjaya, having approached thatking, who afflicted with grief and deprived of his senses, was indulgingin piteous lamentations. Narada said, ‘Srinjaya, with thy desiresunfulfilled, thou shalt have to die, although we utterers of Brahma, livein thy house. Avikshit’s son Marutta even, O Srinjaya, we hear, had todie. Piqued with Vrihaspati, he had caused Samvatta[90] himself toofficiate at his great sacrifices! Unto that royal sage the illustriouslord (Mahadeva) himself had given wealth in the shape of a golden plateauof Himavat. (With that wealth) king Marutta had performed diversesacrifices. Unto him, after the completion of his sacrifices diversetribes of celestials, those creators of the universe, with Indra himselfin their company and with Vrihaspati at their head, used to come. All thecarpets and furnitures of his sacrificial compound were of gold. Theregenerate classes, desirous of food, all ate as they pleased, at hissacrifices, food that was clean and agreeable to their desires. And inall his sacrifices, milk and cards and clarified butter and honey, andother kinds of food and edibles, all of the best order, and robes andornaments covetable for their costliness, gratified Brahmanas, thoroughlyconversant with the Vedas. The very gods used to become distributors offood in king Marutta’s palace. The Viswedevas were the courtiers of thatroyal sage, the son of Avikshit. By him were gratified the denizens ofheaven with libations of clarified butter. And gratified (therewith),these, in their turn, increased that powerful ruler’s wealth of cropswith copious showers of rain. He always contributed to the gratificationof the Rishis, the Pitris, and the gods, and thereby made them happy, bypractising Brahmacharya, study of the Vedas, obsequial rites, and allkinds of gifts. And his beds and carpets and vehicles, and his vaststores of gold difficult to be given away, in fact, all that untoldwealth of his, was given away voluntarily unto the Brahmanas, Sakrahimself used to wish him well. His subjects were made happy (by him),Acting always with piety, he (ultimately) repaired to those eternalregions of bliss, acquired by his religious merit. With his children andcounsellors and wives and descendants and kinsmen, king Marutta, in hisyouth, ruled his kingdom for a thousand years. When such a king, OSrinjaya, died who was superior to thee, in respect of the four cardinalvirtues (viz., ascetic penances, truth, compassion, and liberality), andwho, superior to thee, was much superior to thy son, do not grieve saying’O Swaitya, for thy son who performed no sacrifice and gave nosacrificial present.'”



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