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Chapter 10

Mahabharata English - VIRATA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Then clad in a cowherd’s dress, and speaking thedialect of cowherds, Sahadeva came to the cowpen of Virata’s city. Andbeholding that bull among men, who was shining in splendour, the king wasstruck with amazement. And he directed his men to summon Sahadeva. Andwhen the latter came, the king addressed him, saying, ‘To whom dost thoubelong? And whence dost thou come? And what work dost thou seek? I havenever seen thee before. O bull among men, tell me truly about thee.’

‘Having come before the king that afflicter of foes, Sahadeva answered inaccents deep as the roar of the cloud, ‘I am a Vaisya, Arishtanemi byname. I was employed as a cowherd in the service of those bulls of theKuru race, the sons of Pandu. O foremost of men, I intend now to livebeside thee, for I do not know where those lions among kings, the sons ofPritha, are. I cannot live without service, and, O king, I do not like toenter into the service of anyone else save thee.’

“Hearing these words, Virata said, ‘Thou must either be a Brahmana or aKshatriya. Thou lookest as if thou wert the lord of the entire earthsurrounded by the sea. Tell me truly, O thou that mowest down thy foes.The office of a Vaisya is not fit for thee. Tell me from the dominions ofwhat king thou comest, and what thou knowest, and in what capacity thouwouldst remain with us, and also what pay thou wouldst accept.’

“Sahadeva answered, ‘Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five sons of Pandu,had one division of kine numbering eight hundred and ten thousand, andanother, ten thousand, and another, again, twenty thousand, and so on. Iwas employed in keeping those cattle. People used to call me Tantripala.I know the present, the past, and the future of all kine living withinten Yojanas, and whose tale has been taken. My merits were known to thatillustrious one, and the Kuru king Yudhishthira was well-pleased with me.I am also acquainted with the means which aid kine in multiplying withina short time, and by which they may enjoy immunity from disease. Alsothese arts are known to me. I can also single out bulls having auspiciousmarks for which they are worshipped by men, and by smelling whose urine,the barren may conceive.’

“Virata said, ‘I have a hundred thousand kine divided into distinctherds. All those together with their keepers, I place in thy charge.Henceforth my beasts will be in thy keep.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then, O king, undiscovered by that monarch,that lord of men, Sahadeva, maintained by Virata, began to live happily.Nor did anyone else (besides his brothers) recognise him.'”

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