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p. 189


(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Alter this Indra again asked Yayati, 'Thou didst retire into the woods, O king, after accomplishing all thy duties. O Yayati, son of Nahusha, I would ask thee to whom thou art equal in ascetic austerities.' Yayati answered, 'O Vasava, I do not, in the matter of ascetic austerities, behold my equal among men, the celestials, the Gandharvas, and the great Rishis.' Indra then said, 'O monarch, because thou disregardest those that are thy superiors, thy equals, and even thy inferiors, without, in fact, knowing their real merits, thy virtues have suffered diminution and thou must fall from heaven.' Yayati then said, 'O Sakra, if, indeed, my virtues have really sustained diminution and I must on that account fall down from heaven, I desire, O chief of the celestials, that I may at least fall among the virtuous and the honest.' Indra replied, 'O king, thou shall fall among those that are virtuous and wise, and thou shall acquire also much renown. And after this experience of thine, O Yayati, never again disregard those that are thy superiors or even thy equals.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon this, Yayati fell from the region of the celestials. And as he was falling, he was beheld by that foremost of royal sages, viz., Ashtaka, the protector of his own religion. Ashtaka beholding him, enquired, 'Who art thou, O youth of a beauty equal to that of Indra, in splendour blazing as the fire, thus falling from on high? Art thou that foremost of sky-ranging bodies--the sun--emerging from, dark masses of clouds? Beholding thee falling from the solar course, possessed of immeasurable energy and the splendour of fire or the sun, every one is curious as to what it is that is so falling, and is, besides, deprived of consciousness! Beholding thee in the path of the celestials, possessed of energy like that of Sakra, or Surya, or Vishnu, we have approached thee to ascertain the truth. If thou hast first asked us who we were, we would never have been guilty of the incivility of asking thee first. We now ask thee who thou art and why thou approachest hither. Let thy fears be dispelled; let thy woes and afflictions cease. Thou art now in the presence of the virtuous and the wise. Even Sakra himself--the slayer of Vala--cannot here do thee any injury. O thou of the prowess of the chief of the celestials, the wise and the virtuous are the support of their brethren in grief. Here there are none but the wise and virtuous like thee assembled together. Therefore, stay thou here in peace. Fire alone hath power to give heat. The Earth alone hath power to infuse life into the seed. The sun alone hath power to illuminate everything. So the guest alone hath power to command the virtuous and the wise.'"

Next: Section LXXXIX