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Chapter 364

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“The Brahmana said, ‘Without doubt, this is very wonderful, O Naga, Ihave been highly gratified by listening to thee. By these words of thinethat are fraught with subtile meaning, thou hast shown me the way I am tofollow. Blessed be thou, I desire to depart hence O best of Nagas, thoushouldst recollect me now and then and enquire after me by sending thyservant.’

“The Naga said, ‘The object that brought thee higher is still in thybreast, for thou hast not as yet disclosed it to me. Where then wilt thougo? Tell me, O regenerate one, what should be done by me, and what thatobject is which brought thee hither. After the accomplishment of thybusiness, whatever it is, expressed or unexpressed in speech, thou maystdepart, O foremost of regenerate persons, saluting me and dismissed by mecheerfully, O thou of excellent vows. Thou hast conceived a friendshipfor me. O regenerate Rishi, it behoveth thee not to depart from thisplace after having only seen me, thyself sitting under the shade of thistree. Thou hast become dear to me and I have become dear to thee, withoutdoubt. All the persons in this city are thine. What objection then isthere, O sinless one, to pass some time in my house?–‘

“The Brahmana said, ‘It is even so, O thou of great wisdom, O Naga thathast acquired a knowledge of the soul. It is very true that the deitiesare not superior to thee in any respect. He that is thyself, is verilymyself, as he that is myself is truly thyself. Myself, thyself, and allother creatures, shall all have to enter into the Supreme Soul. Doubtpenetrated my mind, O chief of Nagas, in the matter of the best means forwinning righteousness or merit. That doubt has been dispelled by thydiscourse, for I have learnt the value of the Unccha vow. I shall hencefollow that which is so very efficacious in the matter of beneficialconsequences. That, O blessed one, has become my certain conclusion now,based on excellent reasons. I take thy leave. Blessings to thee. Myobject has been accomplished, O Naga.'”

“Bhishma said, ‘Having saluted that foremost of Nagas in this way, theBrahmana (named Dharmaranya), firmly resolved to follow the Unccha modeof life, proceeded to the presence, O king, of Chyavana of Bhrigu’s race,from desire of being formally instructed and initiated in that vow.[1942]Chyavana performed the Samskara rites of the Brahmana and formallyinitiated him into the Unccha mode of life. The son of Bhrigu, O monarch,recited this history to king Janaka in his place. King Janaka, in histurn, narrated it to the celestial Rishi Narada of high soul. Thecelestial Rishi Narada too, of stainless acts, repairing on one occasionto the abode of Indra, the chief of the deities, gave to Indra thishistory upon being asked by him. The chief of the celestials, havingobtained it thus from Narada, recited this blessed history to a conclaveconsisting of all the foremost Brahmanas, O monarch. On the occasion,again, of my dreadful encounter with Rama of Bhrigu’s race (on the fieldof Kurukshetra), the celestial Vasus, O king, recited this history tome.[1943] Asked by thee, O foremost of righteous men, I have recited thishistory that is excellent and sacred and fraught with great merit. Thouhadst asked me about that constitutes the highest duty, O king. Thishistory is my answer to thy query. A brave man he was, O monarch, thatbetook himself to the practice of the Unccha vow in this way, withoutexpectation of any fruit. Firmly resolved, that Brahmana, instructed, bythe chief of Nagas in this way about his duty, betook himself to thepractice of Yama and Niyama, and subsisting the while upon such food aswas allowed by the Unccha vow, proceeded to another forest.'”

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