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Chapter 156

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having said these words unto the Salmali. thatforemost of all persons conversant with Brahma, viz., Narada, representedunto the god of the wind all that the Salmali had said about him.’

“Narada said, ‘There is a certain Salmali on the breast of Himavat,adorned with branches and leaves. His roots extend deep into the earthand his branches spread wide around. That tree, O god of the winddisregards thee. He spoke many words fraught with abuse of thyself. It isnot proper, O Wind, that I should repeat them in thy hearing. I know, OWind, that thou art the foremost of all created things. I know too thatthou art a very superior and very mighty being, and that in wrath thouresemblest the Destroyer himself.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Hearing these words of Narada, the god of wind,wending to that Salmali, addressed him in rage and said as follows.’

“The Wind-god said, ‘O Salmali, thou hast spoken in derogation of mebefore Narada. Know that I am the god of the wind. I shall certainly showthee my power and might. I know thee well. Thou art no stranger to me.The puissant Grandsire, while engaged in creating the world, had for atime rested under thee. It is in consequence of this incident that I havehitherto shown thee grace. O worst of trees, it is for this that thoustandest unharmed, and not in consequence of thy own might. Thouregardest me lightly as if I were a vulgar thing. I shall show myselfunto thee in such a way that thou mayst not again disregard me.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed, the Salmali laughed in derision andreplied, saying, ‘O god of the wind, thou art angry with me. Do notforbear showing the extent of thy might. Do thou vomit all thy wrath uponme. By giving way to thy wrath, what wilt thou do to me? Even if thymight had, been thy own (instead of being derived), I would not stillhave been afraid of thee. I am superior to thee in might. I should not beafraid of thee. They are really strong in understanding. They, on theother hand, are not to be regarded strong that are possessed of onlyphysical strength.’ Thus addressed, the Wind-god said, ‘Tomorrow I shalltest thy strength.’ After this, night came. The Salmali, concludingmentally what the extent is of the Wind’s might and beholding his ownself to be inferior to the god, began to say to himself, ‘All that I saidto Narada is false. I am certainly inferior in might to the Wind. Verity,he is strong in his strength. The Wind, as Narada said, is always mighty.Without doubt, I am weaker than other trees. But in intelligence no treeis my equal. Therefore, relying upon my intelligence I shall look at thisfear that arises from the Wind. If the other trees in the forest all relyupon the same kind of intelligence, then, verily, no injury can result tothem from the god of the Wind when he becomes angry. All of them.however, are destitute of understanding, and, therefore, they do notknow, as I know, why or how the Wind succeeds in shaking and tearing themup.'”

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