Chapter 169

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘After that night had passed away and that best ofBrahmanas had left the house, Gautama, issuing from his abode, began toproceed towards the sea, O Bharata!On the way he beheld some merchantsthat used to make voyages on the sea. With that caravan of merchants heproceeded towards the ocean. It so happened however, O king, that thatlarge caravan was assailed, while passing through a valley, by aninfuriated elephant. Almost all the persons were killed. Somehow escapingfrom that great danger, the Brahmana fled towards the north for savinghis life not knowing whither he proceeded. Separated from the caravan andled far away from that spot, he began to wander alone in a forest, likeKimpurusha.[493] At last coming upon a road that led towards the ocean hejourneyed on till he reached a delightful and heavenly forest aboundingin flowering trees. It was adorned with mango trees that put forthflowers and fruits throughout the year. It resembled the very woods ofNandana (in heaven) and was inhabited by Yakshas and Kinnaras. It wasalso adorned with Salas and palmyras and Tamalas, with clusters of blackaloes, and many large sandal trees. Upon the delightful tablelands thathe saw there, fragrant with perfumes of diverse kinds, birds of theforemost species were always heard to pour forth their melodies. Otherwinged denizens of the air, called Bharundas, and having faces resemblingthose of human beings, and those called Bhulingas, and others belongingto mountainous regions and to the sea, warbled sweetly there, Gautamaproceeded through that forest, listening, as he went, to those delightfuland charming strains of nature’s choristers. On his way he beheld a verydelightful and level spot of land covered with golden sands andresembling heaven itself, O king, for its beauty. On that plot stood alarge and beautiful banian with a spherical top. Possessed of manybranches that corresponded with the parent tree in beauty and size, thatbanian looked like an umbrella set over the plain. The spot underneaththat magnificent tree was drenched with water perfumed with the mostfragrant sandal. Endued with great beauty and abounding in deliciousflowers all around, the spot looked like the court of the Grandsirehimself. Beholding that charming and unrivalled spot, abounding withflowering trees, sacred, and looking like the abode of a very celestial,Gautama became very much delighted. Arrived there, he sat himself downwith a well-pleased heart. As he sat there, O son of Kunti, a delicious,charming, and auspicious breeze, bearing the perfume of many kinds offlowers, began to blow softly, cooling the limbs of Gautama and fillinghim with celestial pleasure, O monarch! Fanned by that perfumed breezethe Brahmana became refreshed, and in consequence of the pleasure he felthe soon fell asleep. Meanwhile the sun set behind the Asta hills. Whenthe resplendent luminary entered his chambers in the west and the eveningtwilight came, a bird that was the foremost of his species, returned tothat spot, which was his home, from the regions of Brahman. His name wasNadijangha and he was a dear friend of the creator. He was a prince ofCranes, possessed of great wisdom, and a son of (the sage) Kasyapa. Hewas also known extensively on earth by the name of Rajadharman. Indeed,he surpassed everyone on earth in fame and wisdom. The child of acelestial maiden, possessed of great beauty and learning, he resembled acelestial in splendour. Adorned with the many ornaments that he wore andthat were as brilliant as the sun himself, that child of a celestial girlseemed to blaze with beauty. Beholding that bird arrived at that spot,Gautama became filled with wonder. Exhausted with hunger and thirst, theBrahmana began to cast his eyes on the bird from desire of slaying him.’

“Rajadharman said, ‘Welcome, O Brahmana! By good luck have I got theetoday in my abode. The sun is set. The evening twilight is come. Havingcome to my abode, thou art today my dear and excellent guest. Havingreceived my worship according to the rites laid down in the scriptures,thou mayst go whither thou wilt tomorrow morning.'”

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