Mahabharat Section-3

Sauti said, “Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, was, with his brothers,
attending his long sacrifice on the plains of Kurukshetra. His
brothers were three, Srutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhimasena. And as they were sitting at the sacrifice, there arrived at the spot an offspring
of Sarama (the celestial bitch). And belaboured by the brothers of Janamejaya, he ran away to his mother, crying in pain. And his
mother seeing him crying exceedingly asked him, ‘Why criest thou so ? Who hath beaten thee ?* And being thus questioned, he said unto his
mother, ‘I have been belaboured by the brothers of Janamejaya/
And his mother replied, ‘Thou hast committed some fault for which
hast thou been beaten!’ He answered, ‘I have not committed any
fault. I have not touched the sacrificial butter with my tongue, nor have I even cast a look upon it.’ His mother Sarama hearing this and
much distressed at the affliction of her son went to the place where
Janamejaya with his brothers was at his long-extending sacrifice. And she
addressed Janamejaya in anger, saying, This my son hath committed
no fault : he hath not looked upon your sacrificial butter, nor hath he
touched it with his tongue. Wherefore hath he been beaten ?’ They
said not a word in reply ; whereupon she said, ‘As ye have beaten my
son who hath committed no fault, therefore shall evil come upon ye, when ye least expect it.’ “Janamejaya, thus addressed by the celestial bitch, Sarama, became
exceedingly alarmed and dejected. And after the sacrifice was concluded returned to Hastinapura, and began to take great pains in searching
for a Purohita who could by procuring absolution for his sin, neutralise
the effect of the curse. “One day Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, while a-hunting, observed
in a particular part of his dominions a hermjtage where dwelt a certain
Rishi of fame, Srutasrava. He had a son “named Somasrava deeply
engaged in ascetic devotions. Being desirous of appointing that son of the Rishi as his Purohita, Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, saluted the
Rishi and addressed him, saying, ‘O possessor of the six attributes, let this thy son be my purohita.’ The Rishi thus addressed, answered
Janamejaya, ‘O Janamejaya, this my son, deep in ascetic devotions,
accomplished in the study of the Vedas, and endued with the full force
of my asceticism, is born of (the womb of) a she-snake that had drunk
ADI PARVA 37
my vital fluid. He is able to absolve thee from all offences save those
committed against Mahadeva. But he hath one particular habit, viz., he would grant to any Brahmana whatever might be begged of him. If thou canst put up with it, then thou take him.’ Janamejaya thus
addressed replied to the Rishi, ‘It shall be even so.
1 And accepting him
for his Purohita, he returned to his capital ; and he then addressed his
brothers saying, ‘This is the person I have chosen for my spiritual
master ; whatsoever he may say must be complied with by you without
examination.’ And his brothers did as they were directed. And giving
these directions to his brothers, the king marched towards Takshyashila
and brought that country under his authority.
“About this time there was a Rishi, Ayoda-Dhaumya by name. And Ayoda-Dhaumya had three disciples, Upamanyu, Aruni, and
Veda. And the Rishi bade one of these disciples, Aruni of Panchala, to go and stop up a breach in the water-course of a certain field. And
Aruni of Panchala, thus ordered by his preceptor, repaired to the spot.
And having gone there he saw that he could not stop up the breach in the water-course by ordinary means. And he was distressed because he
could not do his preceptor’s bidding. But at length he saw a way and
said, Well, I win do it in this way/ He then went down into the breach
and lay down himself there. And the water was thus confined.
“And some time after, the preceptor Ayoda-Dhaumya asked his other
disciples where Aruni of Panchala was. And they answered, ‘Sir, he
hath been sent by yourself saying, ‘Go, stop up the breach in the watercourse of the field.’ Thus reminded, Dhaumya, addressing his pupils,
said, ‘Then let us all go to the place where he is.’ “And having arrived there, he shouted, ‘Ho Aruni of Panchala!
Where art thou? Come hither, my child.’ And Aruni hearing the voice
of his preceptor speedily came out of the water-course and stood before
his preceptor. And addressing the latter., Aruni said, ‘Here I am in the breach of the water-course. Not having been able to devise any
other means, I entered myself for the purpose of preventing the water
running out. It is only upon hearing thy voice that, having left it and
allowed the waters to escape, I have stood before thee. I salute thee,
Master ; tell me what I have to do.’ “The preceptor, thus addressed, replied, ‘Because in getting up from
the ditch thou hast opened the water-course, thenceforth shalt thou be
called Uddalaka as a mark of thy preceptor’s favour, And because
my words have been obeyed by thee, thou shalt obtain good fortune.
And all the Vedas shall shine in thee and all the Dharmasastras also.’ And Aruni, thus addressed by his preceptor, went to the country after
his heart.
38 MAHABHAEATA
“The name of another of Ayoda-Dhaumya’s disciples was Upamanyu.
And Dhaumya appointed him saying, ‘Go, my child, Upamanyu, look
after the kine.’ And according to his preceptor’s orders, he went
to tend the kine. And having watched them all day, he returned in the evening to his preceptor’s house and standing before him he saluted
him respectfully. And his preceptor seeing him in good condition of body asked him, ‘Upamanyu, my child, upon what dost thou support
thyself ? Thou art exceedingly plump.’ And he answered, ‘Sir, I support myself by begging.’ And his preceptor said, ‘What is obtained
in alms should not be used by thee without offering it to me.’ And
Upamanyu, thus told, went away. And having obtained alms, he
offered the same to his preceptor. And his preceptor took from him
even the whole. And Upamanyu, thus treated, went to attend the
cattle. And having watched them all day, he returned in the eve’ning
to his preceptor’s abode. And he stood before his preceptor and
saluted him with respect. And his preceptor perceiving that he still continued to be of good condition of body said unto him, ‘Upamanyu,
my child, I take from thee even the whole of what thou obtainest in
alms, without leaving anything for thee. How then dost thou, at
present, contrive to support thyself ?’ And Upamanyu said unto his preceptor, ‘Sir, having made over to you all that I obtain in alms, I go a-begging a second time for supporting myself.’ And his preceptor
then replied, This is not the way in which thou shouldst obey the
preceptor. By this thou art diminishing the support of others that
live by begging. Truly having supported thyself so, thou hast proved
thyself covetous/ And Upamanyu, having signified his assent to all that his preceptor said, went away to attend the cattle. And having
watched them all day, he returned to his preceptor’s house. And he
stood before his preceptor and saluted him respectfully. And his
preceptor observing that he was still fat, said again unto him,
‘Upamanyu, my child, I take from thee all thou obtainest in alms and
thou dost not go a-begging a second time, and yet art thou in healthy
condition. How dost thou support thyself ?’ And Upamanyu, thus
questioned, answered, ‘Sir, I now live upon the milk of these cows.’ And his preceptor thereupon told him, ‘It is not lawful for thee to appropriate the milk without having first obtained my ‘consent.* And
Upamanyu having assented to the justice of these observations, went
away to tend the kine. And when he returned to his preceptor’s abode,
he stood before him and saluted him as usual. And his preceptor
seeing that he was still fat, said, ‘Upamanyu, my child, thou eatest no
longer of alms, nor dost thou go a-begging a second time, not even
drinkest of the milk ; yet art thou fat, By what means dost thou
ADI PAKVA 39
contrive to live now?’ And Upamanyu replied, ‘Sir, I now sip the
froth that these calves throw out while sucking their mother’s teats.’ And the preceptor said, These generous calves, I suppose, out of compassion for thee, throw out large quantities of froth. Wouldst thou
stand in the way of their full meals by acting as thou hast done ? Know
that it is unlawful for thee to drink the froth.’ And Upamanyu, having
signified his assent to this, went as before to tend the cows. And
restrained by his preceptor, he feedeth not on alms, nor hath he anything else to eat ; he drinketh not of the milk, nor tasteth he of the
froth ! “And\Jpamanyu, one day, oppressed by hunger, when in a forest, ate of the leaves of the Arka (Asclepias gigantea). And his eyes being
affected by the pungent, acrimonious, crude, and saline properties of the leaves which he had eaten, he became blind. And as he was crawling about, he fell into a pit. And upon his not returning that day
when the sun was sinking down behind the summit of the western
mountains, the preceptor observed to his disciples that Upamanyu
was not yet come. And they told him that he had gone out with the
cattle. “The preceptor then said, ‘Upamanyu being restrained by me from
the use of everything, is, of course, and therefore, doth not come home
until it be late. Let us then go in search of him.’ And having said this,
he went with his disciples into the forest and began to shout, saying,
‘Ho Upamanyu, where art thou ?’ And Upamanyu hearing his preceptor’s voice answered in a loud tone, ‘Here I am at the bottom of a
well.’ And his preceptor asked him how he happened to be there. And Upamanyu replied, ‘Having eaten of the leaves of the Arka plant
I became blind, and so have I fallen into this well.’ And his preceptor
thereupon told him, ‘Glorify the twin Aswins, the joint physicians of the
gods, and they will restore thee thy sight.’ And Upamanyu thus
directed by his preceptor began to glorify the twin Aswins, in the
following words of the Rig Veda : ‘Ye have existed before the creation ! Ye first- born beings, ye are
displayed, in this wondrous universe of five elements ! I desire to obtain you by the help of the knowledge derived from hearing, and of meditation, for ye are Infinite ! Ye are the course itself of Nature and
intelligent Soul that pervades that course ! Ye are birds of beauteous
feathers perched on the body that is like to a tree ! Ye are without
the three common attributes of every soul ! Ye are incomparable ! Ye, through your spirit in every created thing, pervade the
Universe ! ‘Ye are golden Eagles ! Ye are the essence into which all things
40 MAHABHAEATA
disappear ! Ye are free from error and know no deterioration ! Ye are
of beauteous beaks that would not unjustly strike and are victorious in every encounter ! Ye certainly prevail over time ! Having created
the sun, ye weave the wondrous cloth of the year by means of the
white thread of the day and the black thread of the night ! And with
the cloth so woven, ye have established two courses of action appertaining respectively to the Devas and the Pitris. The bird of Life seized
by Time which represents the strength of the Infinite soul, ye set free
for delivering her unto great happiness ! They that are in deep ignor- ance, as long as they are under the delusions of their senses, suppose you,
who are independent of the attributes of matter, to be gifted with form ! Three hundred and sixty cows represented by three hundred and sixty
days produce one calf between them which is the year. That calf is the
creator and destroyer of all. Seekers of truth following different routes,
draw the milk of true knowledge with its help. Ye Aswins, ye are the
creators of that calf !
, “The year is but the nave of a wheel to which is attached seven hundred and twenty spokes representing as many days and nights, The
circumference of this wheel represented by twelve months is without
end. This wheel is full of delusions and knows no deterioration. It affects all creatures whether of this or of the other worlds. Ye Aswins,
this wheel of time is set in motion by you ! “The wheel of Time as represented by the year has a nave
represented by the six seasons. The number of spokes attached to that nave is twelve as represented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This
wheel of Time manifests the fruits of the acts of all things. The
presiding deities of Time abide in that wheel. Subject as I am to its distressful influence, ye Aswins, liberate me from that wheel of Time.
Ye Aswins, ye are this universe of five elements ! Ye are the objects
that are enjoyed in this and in the other world ! Make me independent of the five elements ! And though ye are the Supreme Brahma,
yet ye move over the Earth in forms enjoying the delights that the
senses afford. “In the beginning, ye created the ten points of the univ erse ! Then
have ye placed the Sun and the Sky above ! The Rishis, according to the course of the same Sun, perform their sacrifices, and the gods and
men, according to what hath been appointed for them, perform their
sacrifices also enjoying the fruits of those acts ! “Mixing the three colours, ye have produced all the objects of sight ! It is from these objects that the Universe hath sprung whereon the gods
and men are engaged in their respective occupations, and, indeed, all creatures endued with life !
ADI PAEVA 41
“Ye Aswins, I adore you ! I also adore the Sky which is your handiwork ! Ye are the ordainers of the fruits of all acts from which even
the gods are not free ! Ye are yourselves free from the fruits of your
acts ! “Ye are the parents of all! As males and females it is ye that swallow
the food which subsequently develops into the life creating fluid and
blood ! The new-born infant sucks the teat of its mother. Indeed
it is ye that take the shape of the infant ! Ye Aswins, grant me my
sight to protect my life!” “The twin Aswins, thus invoked, appeared and said, ‘We are
satisfied. Here is a cake for thee. Take and eat it.’ And Upamanyu
thus addressed, replied, ‘Your words, O Aswins, have never proved
untrue But without first offering this cake to my preceptor I dare
not take it.’ And the Aswins thereupon told him, ‘Formerly, thy
preceptor had invoked us. We thereupon gave him a cake like this ; and he took it without offering it to his master. Do thou do that which
thy preceptor did.’ Thus Addressed, Upamanyu again said unto them,
‘O Aswins, I crave your pardon Without offering it to my preceptor
I dare not apply this cake.’ The Aswins then said, ‘O, we are pleased
with this devotion of thine to thy preceptor. Thy master’s teeth are of black iron. Thine shall be of gold. Thou shall be restored to sight and
shalt have good fortune.’ “Thus spoken to by the Aswins he recovered his sight, and having
gone to his preceptor’s presence he saluted him and told him all. And
his preceptor was well- pleased with him and said unto him, ‘Thou
shalt obtain prosperity even as the Aswins have said. All the Vedas
shall shine in thee and all the Dharma-sastras.’ And this was the trial of Upamanyu.
“Then Veda the other disciple of Ayoda-Dhaumya was called. His
preceptor once addressed him, saying, ‘Veda, my child, tarry some time
in my house and serve thy preceptor. It shall be to thy profit.’ And
Veda having signified his assent tarried long in the family of his preceptor mindful of serving him. Like an ox under the burthens of his
master, he bore heat and cold, hunger and thirst, at all times without
a murmur. And it was not long before his preceptor was satisfied. And
as a consequence of that satisfaction, Veda obtained good fortune and
universal knowledge. And this was the trial of Veda.
“And Veda, having received permission from his preceptor, and
leaving the latter’s residence after the completion of his studies,
entered the domestic mode of life. And while living in his own house,
he got three pupils. And he never told them to perform any work or
to obey implicitly his own behests ; for having himself experienced
6
42 MAHABHARATA
much woe while abiding in the family of his preceptor, he liked not to treat them with severity.
“After a certain time, Janamejaya and Paushya, both of the order
of Kshatriyas, arriving at his residence appointed the Brahman, Veda,
as their spiritual guide (Upadhyaya). And one day while about to depart upon some business related to a sacrifice, he employed one of
his disciples, Utanka, to take charge of his household. ‘Utanka’, said
he, ‘whatsoever should have to be done in my house, let it be done by
thee without neglect.’ And having given these orders to Utanka, he
went on his journey.
“So Utanka always mindful of the injunction of his preceptor took
up his abode in the latter’s house. And while Utanka was residing
there, the females of his preceptor’s house having assembled addressed
him and said, ‘O Utanka, thy mistress is in that season when connubial
connection might be fruitful. The preceptor is absent ; then stand thou
in his place and do the needful.’ And Utanka, thus addressed, said
unto those women, It is not proper for me to do this at the bidding of women. I have not been enjoined by my preceptor to do aught that is improper.’
“After a while, his preceptor returned from his journey. And his preceptor having learnt all that had happened, became well-pleased and,
a Jdressing Utanka, said, ‘Utanka, my child, what favour shall I bestow on thee ? I have been served by thee duly ; therefore hath our friendship for each other increased. I therefore grant thee leave to depart.
Go thou, and let thy wishes be accomplished !’ “Utanka, thus addressed, replied, saying, ”Let me do something
that you wish, for it hath been said, ‘He who bestoweth instruction
contrary to usage and he who receiveth it contrary to usage, one of
the two dieth, and enmity springeth up between the two. I, therefore,
who have received thy leave to depart, am desirous of bringing thee some honorarium due to a preceptor. His master, upon hearing this,
replied, ‘Utanka, my child, wait a while.’ Sometime after, Utanka
again addressed his preceptor, saying, ‘Command me to bring that for
honorarium which you desire.’ And his preceptor then said, ‘My dear
Utanka, thou hast often told me of your desire to bring something by
way of acknowledgment for the instruction thou hast received. Go
then in and ask thy mistress what thou art to bring. And bring thou
that which she directs.’ And thus directed by his preceptor Utanka
addressed his preceptress, saying, ‘Madam, I have obtained my master’s
leave to go home, and I am desirous of bringing something agreeable
to thee as honorarium for the instruction I have received, in order
that I may not depart as his debtor. Therefore, please command me
ADI PARVA 43
what I am to bring.’ Thus addressed, his preceptress replied, ‘Go unto
King Paushya and beg of him the pair of ear-rings worn by his Queen,
and bring them hither. The fourth day hence is a sacred day when I wish to appear before the Brahmanas (who may dine at my house)
decked with these ear-rings. Then accomplish this, O Utanka ! If thou shouldst succeed, good fortune shall attend thee ; if not, what good
canst thou expect ?’ “Utanka thus commanded, took his departure. And as he was
passing along the road he saw a bull of extraordinary size and a man
of uncommon stature mounted thereon. And that man addressed
Utanka and said, ‘Eat thou of the dung of this bull.’ Utanka, however, was unwilling to comply. The man said again, ‘O Utanka, eat of it without scrutiny. Thy master ate of it before.’ And Utanka signified
his assent and ate of the dung and drank of the urine of that bull, and
rose respectfully, and washing his hands and mouth went to where
King Paushya was.
1 On arriving at the palace, Utanka saw Paushya seated (on his throne). And approaching him Utanka saluted the monarch by pronouncing blessings and said, ‘I am come as a petitioner to thee.’ And
King Paushya, having returned Utanka’s salutations, said, ‘Sir, what
shall I do for thee ?’ And Utanka said, 1 came to beg of thee a pair of ear-rings as a present to my preceptor. It behoveth thee to give me the
ear-rings worn by the Queen.’
“King Paushya replied, ‘Go, Utanka, into the female apartments
where the Queen is and demand them of her.’ And Utanka went into
the women’s apartments. But as he could not discover the Queen, he
again addressed the king, saying, ‘It is not proper that I should be treated
by thee with deceit. Thy Queen is not in the private apartments, for
I could not find her.’ The king thus addressed, considered for a while
and replied, ‘Recollect, Sir, with attention whether thou art not in a
state of defilement in consequence of contact with the impurities of a
repast. My Queen is a chaste wife and cannot be seen by any one who
is impure owing to contact with the leavings of a repast. Nor doth she
herself appear in sight of any one who is defiled.’ “Utanka, thus informed, reflected for a while and then said, ‘Yes,
it must be so. Having been in a hurry I performed my ablutions (after
meal) in a standing posture.’ King Paushya then said, ‘Here is a transgression. Purification is not properly effected by one in a standing
posture, not by one while he is going along.’ And Utanka having
agreed to this, sat down with his face towards the east, and washed his
face, hands, and feet thoroughly. And he then, without a noise, sipped
thrice of water free from scum and froth, and not warm, and just
44 MAHABHARATA
sufficient to reach his stomach and wiped his face twice. And he then
touched with water the apertures of his organs (eyes, ears, etc.). And
having done all this, he once more entered the apartments of the women. And this time he saw the Queen. And as the Queen perceived
him, she saluted him respectfully and said, ‘Welcome, Sir, command
me what I have to do.’ And Utanka said unto her, It behoveth thee
to give me those ear-rings of thine. I beg them as a present for my
preceptor.’ And the Queen having been highly pleased with Utanka’s
conduct and, considering that Utanka as an object of charity could not
be passed over, took off her ear-rings and gave them to him. And
she said, ‘These ear-rings are very much sought after by Takshaka, the
King of the serpents. Therefore shouldst thou carry them with the
greatest care.’ “And Utanka being told this, said unto the Queen, ‘Lady, be under no apprehension. Takshaka, Chief of the serpents, is not able to overtake me.’ And having said this, and taking leave of the Queen, he
went back into the presence of Paushya, and said, ‘Paushya, I am
gratified.’ Then Paushya said to Utanka, ‘A fit object of charity can
only be had at long intervals. Thou art a qualified guest, therefore
do I desire to perform a sraddha. Tarry thou a little. And Utanka
replied, ‘Yes, I will tarry, and beg that the clean provisions that are ready may be soon brought in.’ And the king having signified his
assent, entertained Utanka duly. And Utanka seeing that the food
placed before him had hair in it, and also that it was cold, thought it unclean. And he said unto Paushya, ‘Thou givest me food that is unclean, therefore shalt thou lose thy sight.’ And Paushya in answer
said, ‘And because dost thou impute uncle^nliness to food that is clean,
therefore shalt thou be without issue.’ And Utanka thereupon rejoined,
‘It behoveth thee not, after having offered me unclean food, to curse me in return. Satisfy thyself by ocular proof.’
“And Paushya seeing the food alleged to be unclean satisfied himself
of its uncleanliness. And Paushya having ascertained that the food was truly unclean, being cold and mixed with hair, prepared as it was
by a woman with unbraided hair, began to pacify the Rishi Utanka,
saying, ‘Sir, the food placed before thee is cold, and doth contain hair,
having been prepared without sufficient care. Therefore I pray thee
pardon me. Let me not become blind.’ And Utanka answered,
‘What I say must come to pass. Having become blind, thout mayst,
however, recover the sight before long. Grant that thy curse also doth not take effect on me.’ And Paushya said unto him, 1 am unable
to revoke my curse. For my wrath even now hath not been appeased,
But thou knowest not this. For a Brahmana’s heart is soft as new-
ADI PARVA 45
churned butter, even though his words bear a sharp-edged razor. It
is otherwise in respect of these with the Kshatriya. His words are soft as new-churned butter, but his heart is like a sharp edged tool, such
being the case, I am unable, because of the hardness of my heart, to neutralise my curse. Then go thou thy own way.’ To this Utanka
made answer, 1 showed thee the uncleanliness of the food offered to me, and I was even now pacified by thee. Besides, saidst thou at first that because I imputed uncleanliness to food that was clean I should
be without issue. But the food truly unclean, thy curse cannot effect me. Of this I am sure.’ And Utanka having said this departed with
the ear-rings.
“On the road Utanka perceived coming towards him a naked idle beggar sometimes coming in view and sometimes disappearing. And
Utanka put the ear-rings on the ground and went for water. In the
meantime the beggar came quickly to the spot and taking up the earrings ran away. And Utanka having completed his ablutions in water
and purified himself and having also reverently bowed down to the
gods and his spiritual masters pursued the chief with the utmost speed.
And having with great difficulty overtaken him, he seized him by
force. But at that instant the person seized, quitting the form of a beggar and assuming his real form, viz., that of Takshaka, speedily
entered a large hole open in the ground. And having got in, Takshaka
proceeded to his own abode, the region of the serpents.
“Now, Utanka, recollecting the words of the Queen, pursued the
Serpent, and began to dig open the hole with a stick but was unable
to make much progress. And Indra beholding his distress sent his thunder- bolt (Vajra) to his assistance. Then the thunder-bolt entering
that stick enlarged that hole. And Utanka began to enter the hole
after the thunder- bolt. And having entered it, he beheld the region of the serpents infinite in extent, filled with hundres of palaces and
elegant mansions with turrets and domes and gate-ways, abounding with
wonderful places for various games and entertainments. And Utanka
then golrified the serpents by the following slokas : “Ye Serpents, subjects of King Airavata, splendid in battle and
showering weapons in the field like lightning-charged clouds driven
by the winds ! Handsome and of various forms and decked with many
coloured ear-rings, ye children of Aifavata, ye shine like the Sun in the firmament I On the northern banks of the Ganges are many
habitations of serpents. There I constantly adore the great serpents.
Who except Airavata would desire to move in the burning rays of the
Sun ? When Dhritarashtra (Airavata’s brother) goes out, twenty-eight
thousand and eight serpents follow him as his attendants. Ye who
46 MAHABHABATA
move near him and ye who stay at a distance from him, I adore all of
you that have Airavata for your elder brother.
“I adore thee also, to obtain the ear-rings, OTakshaka, who formerly
dwelt in Kurukshetra and the forest of Khandava ! Takshaka and
Aswasena, ye are constant companions who dwell in Kurukshetra on
the banks of the Ikshumati ! I also adore the illustrious Srutasena, the
younger brother of Takshaka, who resided at the holy place called
Mahadyumna with a view to obtaining the chiefship of the serpents.
“The Brahmana Rishi Utanka having saluted the chief serpents in this manner, obtained not, however, the ear-rings. And he thereupon
became very thoughtful. And when he saw that he obtained not the
ear-rings even though he had adored the serpents, he then looked about
him and beheld two women at a loom weaving a piece of cloth with a
fine shuttle ; and in the loom were black and white threads. And he
likewise saw a wheel, with twelve spokes, turned by six boys. And he
also saw a man with a handsome horse. And he began to address them
the following mantras : “This wheel whose circumference is marked by twenty-four divisions
representing as many lunar changes is furnished with three hundred
spokes ! It is set in continual motion by six boys (the seasons) ! These
damsels representing universal nature are weaving without inter- mission a cloth with threads black and white, and thereby ushering
into existence the manifold worlds and the beings that inhabit them ! Thou wielder of the thunder, the protector of the universe, the slayer
of Vritra and Namuchi, thou illustrious one who wearest the black
cloth and displayest truth and untruth in the universe, thou who
ownest for thy carrier the horse which was received from the depths
of the ocean, and which is but another form of Agni (the god of fire),
I bow to thee, thou supreme Lord, thou Lord of the three worlds, O
Purandara !’ “Then the man with the horse said unto Utanka, ‘I am gratified by
this thy adoration. What good shall I do to thee ?’ And Utanka replied,
‘Even let the serpents be brought under my control.’ Then the man
rejoined, ‘Blow into this horse.’ And Utanka blew into that horse.
And from the horse thus blown into, there issued, from every aperture
of his body, flames of fire with smoke by which the region of the Nagas
was about to be consumed. And Takshaka, surprised beyond measure and terrified by the heat of the fire, hastily came out of his abode taking
the ear-rings with him, and said unto Utanka, ‘Pray, Sir, take back the
ear-rings.’ And Utanka took them back.
“But Utanka having recovered his ear-rings thought, ‘O, this is that
sacred day of my preceptress. I am at a distance. How can I, there-
ADI PARVA 47
fore, show my regard for her ? And when Utanka was anxious about
this, the man addressed him and said, ‘Ride this horse, Utanka, and he
will in a moment carry thee to thy master’s abode.’ And Utanka having
signified his assent, mounted the horse and presently reached his
preceptor’s house.
“And his preceptress that morning after having bathed was dressing
her hair sitting, thinking of uttering a curse on Utanka if he should
not return within time. But, in the meantime, Utanka entered his preceptor’s abode and paid his respects to his preceptress and presented
her the ear-rings. ‘Utanka’, said she, ‘thou hast arrived at the proper
time at the proper place. Welcome, my child ; thou art innocent and
therefore I do not curse thee ! Good fortune is even before thee. Let
thy wishes be crowned with success !’ “Then Utanka waited on his preceptor. And his preceptor said,
Thou art welcome ! What hath occasioned thy long absence ?’ And
Utanka replied to his preceptor, ‘Sir, in the execution of this my
business obstruction was offered by Takshaka, the King of serpents.
Therefore I had to go to the region of the Nagas. There I saw two
damsels sitting at a loom, weaving a fabric with black and white threads.
Pray, what is that? There likewise I beheld awheel with twelve
spokes ceaselessly turned by six boys. What too doth that import ? Who is also the man that I saw ? And what the horse of extraordinary
size likewise beheld by me ? And when I was on the road I also saw a bull with a man mounted thereon, by whom I was endearingly accosted
thus, ‘Utanka, eat of the dung of this bull, which was also eaten by thy
master ?’ So I ate of the dung of that bull according to his words. Who
also is he ? Therefore, enlightened by thee, I desire to hear all about
them.’
“And his preceptor thus addressed said unto him, The two damsels
thou hast seen are Dhata and Vidhata ; the black and white threads
denote night and day ; the wheel of twelve spokes turned by the six boys signified the year comprising six seasons. The man is Parjanya,
the deity of rain ; and the horse is Agni, the god of fire. The bull that
thou ha t seen on the road is Airavata, the king of elephants ; the man
mounted thereon is Indra ; and the dung of the bull which was eaten by
thee was Amrita. It was certainly for this (last) that thou hast not met
with death in the region of the Nagas ; and Indra who is my friend
having been mercifully inclined showed thee favour. It is for this that
thou returnest safe, with the ear-rings about thee. Then, O thou
amiable one, I give thee leave to depart. Thou shalt obtain good
fortune.’ “And Utanka, having obtained his master’s leave, moved by anger
48 MAHABHAEATA
and resolved to avenge himself on Takshaka, proceeded towards Hastinapura That excellent Brahmana soon reached Hastinapura. And
Utanka then waited upon King Janamejaya who had some time before
returned victorious from Takshashila. And Utanka saw the victorious
monarch surrounded on all sides by his ministers. And he pronounced
benedictions on him in a proper form. And Utanka addressed the
monarch at the proper moment in speech of correct accent and melodi- ous sounds, saying, ‘O thou the best of monarchs ! How is it that thou
spendest thy time like a child when there is another matter that
urgently demandeth thy attention ?’ ” “Sauti said, ‘The monarch Janamejaya, thus addressed, saluting that
excellent Brahmana replied unto him, ‘In cherishing these my subjects I do discharge the duties of my noble tribe. Say, what is that business
to be done by me and which hath brought thee hither.’ “The foremost of Brahmanas and distinguished beyond all for good
deeds, thus addressed by the excellent monarch of large heart, replied
unto him, ‘O King ! the business is thy own that demandeth thy atten- tion ; therefore do it, please, O thou King of kings ! Thy father was
deprived of life by Takshaka ; therefore do thou avenge thy father’s death on that vile serpent. The time hath come, I think, for the act
of vengeance ordained by the Fates. Go then avenge the death of thy
magnanimous father who, being bitten without cause by that vile
serpent, was reduced to five elements even like a tree stricken by
thunder. The wicked Takshaka, vilest of the serpent race, intoxicated
with power committed an unnecessary act when he bit the King, that
god-like father, the protector of the race of royal saints. Wicked in his deeds, he even caused Kasyapa (the prince of physicians) to run
back when he was coming for the relief of thy father. It behoveth thee
to burn the wicked wretch in the blazing fire of a snake-sacrifice. O
King ! Give instant orders for the sacrifice. It is thus thou canst avenge the death of thy father. And a very great favour shall have
also been shown to me. For by that malignant wretch, O virtuous
Prince, my business also was, on one occasion, obstructed, while proceeding on account of my preceptor.”
“Sauti continued, ‘The monarch, having heard these words, was
enraged with Takshaka. By the speech of Utanka was inflamed the
prince, even as the sacrificial fire with clarified butter. Moved by grief
also, in the presence of Utanka, the prince asked his ministers the
particulars of his father’s journey to the regions of the blessed. And
when he heard all about the circumstances of his father’s death from
the lips of Utanka, he was overcome with pain and sorrow.’
And thus endeth the section called Paushya of the Adi Parva of the
blessed Mahabharata.”