“Dhritarashtra said, Tell me in detail everything about the ways of thatintelligence by which this wilderness of duties may be safely covered.
“Vidura said, Having bowed down to the Self-create, I will obey thybehest by telling thee how the great sages speak of the wilderness oflife. A certain brahmana, living in the great world, found himself on oneoccasion in a large inaccessible forest teeming with beasts of prey. Itabounded on every side with lions and other animals looking likeelephants, all of which were engaged in roaring aloud. Such was theaspect of that forest that Yama himself would take fright at it.Beholding the forest, the heart of the brahmana became exceedinglyagitated. His hair stood on end, and other signs of fear manifestedthemselves, O scorcher of foes! Entering it, he began to run hither andthither, casting his eyes on every point of the compass for finding outsomebody whose shelter he might seek. Wishing to avoid those terriblecreatures, he ran in fright. He could not succeed, however, in distancingthem or freeing himself from their presence. He then saw that thatterrible forest was surrounded with a net, and that a frightful womanstood there, stretching her arms. That large forest was also encompassedby many five-headed snakes of dreadful forms, tall as cliffs and touchingthe very heavens. Within it was a pit whose mouth was covered with manyhard and unyielding creepers and herbs. The brahmana, in course of hiswanderings, fell into that invisible pit. He became entangled in thoseclusters of creepers that were interwoven with one another, like thelarge fruit of a jack tree hanging by its stalk. He continued to hangthere, feet upwards and head downwards. While he was in that posture,diverse other calamities overtook him. He beheld a large and mighty snakewithin the pit. He also saw a gigantic elephant near its mouth. Thatelephant, dark in complexion, had six faces and twelve feet. And theanimal gradually approached that pit covered with creepers and trees.About the twigs of the tree (that stood at the mouth of the pit), rovedmany bees of frightful forms, employed from before in drinking the honeygathered in their comb about which they swarmed in large numbers.Repeatedly they desired, O bull of Bharatas race, to taste that honeywhich though sweet to all creatures could, however, attract childrenonly. The honey (collected in the comb) fell in many jets below. Theperson who was hanging in the pit continually drank those jets. Employed,in such a distressful situation, in drinking that honey, his thirst,however, could not be appeased. Unsatiated with repeated draughts, theperson desired for more. Even then, O king, he did not become indifferentto life. Even there, the man continued to hope for existence. A number ofblack and white rats were eating away the roots of that tree. There wasfear from the beasts of prey, from that fierce woman on the outskirts ofthat forest, from that snake at the bottom of the well, from thatelephant near its top, from the fall of the tree through the action ofthe rats, and lastly from those bees flying about for tasting the honey.In that plight he continued to dwell, deprived of his senses, in thatwilderness, never losing at any time the hope of prolonging his life.”