Chapter 48

Mahabharata English - SHALYA PARVA

Vaishampayana said, “Rama (as already said) then proceeded to the tirthacalled Vadarapachana where dwelt many ascetics and Siddhas. There thedaughter of Bharadwaja, unrivalled on earth for beauty, named Sruvavati,practised severe austerities. She was a maiden who led the life of aBrahmacharini. That beautiful damsel, observing diverse kinds of vows,practised the austerest of penances, moved by the desire of obtaining theLord of the celestials for her husband. Many years passed away, Operpetuator of Kuru’s race, during which that damsel continually observedthose diverse vows exceedingly difficult of being practised by women. Theadorable chastiser of Paka at last became gratified with her inconsequence of that conduct and those penances of hers and that highregard she showed for him. The puissant Lord of the celestials then cameto that hermitage, having assumed the form of the high-souled andregenerate Rishi Vasishtha. Beholding that foremost of ascetics,Vasishtha, of the austerest penances, she worshipped him, O Bharataaccording to the rites observed by ascetics. Conversant with vows, theauspicious and sweet-speeched damsel addressed him, saying, ‘O adorableone, O tiger among ascetics, tell me thy commands, O lord! O thou ofexcellent vows, I shall serve thee according to the measure of my might!I will not, however, give thee my hand, in consequence of my regard forShakra! I am seeking to please Shakra, the lord of the three worlds, withvows and rigid observances and ascetic penances!’ Thus addressed by her,the illustrious god, smiling as he cast his eyes on her, and knowing herobservances, addressed her sweetly, O Bharata, saying, ‘Thou practisestpenances of the austerest kind! This is known to me, O thou of excellentvows! That object also, cherished in thy heart, for the attainment ofwhich thou strivest, O auspicious one, shall, O thou of beautiful face,be accomplished for thee! Everything is attainable by penances.Everything rests on penances. All those regions of blessedness, O thou ofbeautiful face, that belong to the gods can be obtained by penances.Penances are the root of great happiness. Those men that cast off theirbodies after having practised austere penances, obtain the status ofgods, O auspicious one! Bear in mind these words of mine! Do thou now, Oblessed damsel, boil these five jujubes, O thou of excellent vows!’Having said these words, the adorable slayer of Vala went away, takingleave, to mentally recite certain mantras at an excellent tirtha not farfrom that hermitage. That tirtha came to be known in the three worldsafter the name of Indra, O giver of honours! Indeed, it was for thepurpose of testing the damsel’s devotion that the Lord of the celestialsacted in that way for obstructing the boiling of the jujubes. The damsel,O king, having cleansed herself, began her task; restraining speech andwith attention fixed on it, she sat to her task without feeling anyfatigue. Even thus that damsel of high vows, O tiger among kings, beganto boil those jujubes. As she sat employed in her task, O bull among men,day was about to wane, but yet those jujubes showed no signs of havingbeen softened. The fuel she had there was all consumed. Seeing the fireabout to die away owing to want of fuel, she began to burn her own limbs.The beautiful maiden first thrust her feet into the fire. The sinlessdamsel sat still while her feet began to be consumed. The faultless girldid not at all mind her burning feet. Difficult of accomplishment, shedid it from desire of doing good to the Rishi (that had been her guest).Her face did not at all change under that painful process, nor did shefeel any cheerlessness on that account. Having thrust her limbs into thefire, she felt as much joy as if she had dipped them into cool water. Thewords of the Rishi, ‘Cook these jujubes well’ were borne in her mind, OBharata! The auspicious damsel, bearing those words of the great Rishi inher mind, began to cook those jujubes although the latter, O king, showedno signs of softening. The adorable Agni himself consumed her feet. Forthis, however, the maiden did not feel the slightest pain. Beholding thisact of hers, the Lord of the three worlds became highly satisfied. Hethen showed himself in his own proper form to the damsel. The chief ofthe celestials then addressed that maiden of very austere vows saying, ‘Iam pleased at thy devotion, thy penances, and thy vows! The wish,therefore, O auspicious one, that thou cherishest shall be accomplished!Casting off thy body, O blessed one, thou shalt in heaven live with me!This hermitage, again, shall become the foremost of tirthas in the world,capable of cleansing from every sin, O thou of fair eye-brows, and shallbe known by the name of Vadarapachana. It shall be celebrated in thethree worlds and shall be praised by great Rishis. In this very tirtha, Oauspicious, sinless, and highly blessed one, the seven Rishis had, on oneoccasion, left Arundhati, (the wife of one of them), when they went toHimavat. Those highly blessed ones of very rigid vows, had gone there forgathering fruits and roots for their sustenance. While they thus lived ina forest of Himavat for procuring their sustenance, a drought occurredextending for twelve years. Those ascetics, having made an asylum forthemselves, continued to live there. Meanwhile Arundhati devoted herselfto ascetic penances (at the spot where she had been left). BeholdingArundhati devoted to the austerest of vows, the boon-giving andthree-eyed deity (Mahadeva) highly pleased, came there. The greatMahadeva, assuming the form of a Brahmana, came to her and said, ‘Idesire alms, O auspicious one!’ The beautiful Arundhati said unto him,’Our store of food hath been exhausted, O Brahmana! Do thou eat jujubes!’Mahadeva replied, ‘Cook these jujubes, O thou of excellent vows!’ Afterthese words, she began to cook those jujubes for doing what was agreeableto that Brahmana. Placing those jujubes on the fire, the celebratedArundhati listened to diverse excellent and charming and sacreddiscourses (from the lips of Mahadeva). That twelve years’ drought thenpassed away (as if it were a single day). Without food, and employed incooking and listening to those auspicious discourses, that terribleperiod passed away, as if it were a single day to her. Then the sevenRishis, having procured fruits from the mountain, returned to that spot.The adorable Mahadeva, highly pleased with Arundhati, said unto her,’Approach, as formerly, these Rishis, O righteous one! I have beengratified with thy penances and vows!’ The adorable Hara then stoodconfessed in his own form. Gratified, he spoke unto them about the nobleconduct of Arundhati (in these words) ‘The ascetic merit, ye regenerateones, that this lady hath earned, is, I think, much greater than what yehave earned on the breast of Himavat! The penances practised by this ladyhave been exceedingly austere, for she passed twelve years in cooking,herself fasting all the while!’ The divine Mahadeva then, addressingArundhati, said unto her, ‘Solicit thou the boon, O auspicious dame,which is in thy heart!’ Then that lady of large eyes that were of areddish hue addressed that god in the midst of the seven Rishis, saying,’If, O divine one thou art gratified with me, then let this spot be anexcellent tirtha! Let it be known by the name of Vadarapachana and let itbe the favourite resort of Siddhas and celestial Rishis. So also, O godof gods, let him who observes a fast here and resides for three nightsafter having cleansed himself, obtain the fruit of a twelve years’ fast!’The god answered her, saying, ‘Let it be so!’ Praised by the sevenRishis, the god then repaired to heaven. Indeed the Rishis had beenfilled with wonder at the sight of the god and upon beholding the chasteArundhati herself unspent and still possessed of the hue of health and socapable of bearing hunger and thirst. Even thus the pure-souledArundhati, in days of old, obtained the highest success, like thee, Ohighly blessed lady, for my sake, O damsel of rigid vows! Thou, however,O amiable maiden, hast practised severer penances! Gratified with thyvows, I shall also grant thee this special boon, O auspicious one, a boonthat is superior to what was granted to Arundhati. Through the power ofthe high-souled god who had granted that boon to Arundhati and throughthe energy of thyself, O amiable one, I shall duly grant thee anotherboon now, that the person who will reside in this tirtha for only onenight and bathe here with soul fixed (on meditation), will, after castingoff his body obtain many regions of blessedness that are difficult ofacquisition (by other means)! Having said these words unto the cleansedSruvavati, the thousand-eyed Shakra of great energy then went back toheaven. After the wielder of the thunderbolt, O king, had departed, ashower of celestial flowers of sweet fragrance fell there, O chief ofBharata’s race! Celestial kettle-drums also, of loud sound, were beatenthere. Auspicious and perfumed breezes also blew there, O monarch! Theauspicious Sruvavati then, casting off her body, became the spouse ofIndra. Obtaining the status through austere penances, she began to passher time, sporting with him for ever and ever.”

Janamejaya said, “Who was the mother of Sruvavati, and how was that fairdamsel reared? I desire to hear this, O Brahmana, for the curiosity Ifeel is great.”

Vaishampayana said, “The vital seed of the regenerate and high-souledRishi Bharadwaja fell, upon beholding the large-eyed Apsara Ghritachi asthe latter was passing at one time. That foremost of ascetics thereuponheld it in his hand. It was then kept in a cup made of the leaves of atree. In that cup was born the girl Sruvavati. Having performed the usualpost-genital rites, the great ascetic Bharadwaja, endued with wealth ofpenances, gave her a name. The name the righteous-souled Rishi gave herin the presence of the gods and Rishis was Sruvavati. Keeping the girl inhis hermitage, Bharadwaja repaired to the forests of Himavat. Thatforemost one among the Yadus, Baladeva of great dignity, having bathed inthat tirtha and given away much wealth unto many foremost of Brahmanas,then proceeded, with soul well-fixed on meditation, to the tirtha ofSakta.”

Chapter 47
Chapter 49
🙏 धर्म और आध्यात्म को जन-जन तक पहुँचाने में हमारा साथ दें| 🙏