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(Sambhava Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'The maiden then, hearing those soft and sweet words of the smiling monarch, and remembering her promise to the Vasus, addressed the king in reply. Of faultless features, the damsel sending a thrill of pleasure into the heart by every word she uttered, said, 'O king, I shall become thy wife and obey thy commands. But, O monarch, thou must not interfere with me in anything I do, be it agreeable or disagreeable. Nor shall thou ever address me unkindly. As long as thou shalt behave

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kindly I promise to live with thee. But I shall certainly leave thee the moment thou interferest with me or speakest to me an unkind word.' The king answered, 'Be it so.' And thereupon the damsel obtaining that excellent monarch, that foremost one of the Bharata race for her husband, became highly pleased. And king Santanu also, obtaining her for his wife, enjoyed to the full the pleasure of her company. And adhering to his promise, he refrained from asking her anything. And the lord of earth, Santanu, became exceedingly gratified with her conduct, beauty, magnanimity, and attention to his comforts. And the goddess Ganga also, of three courses (celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean) assuming a human form of superior complexion and endued with celestial beauty, lived happily as the wife of Santanu, having as the fruit of her virtuous acts, obtained for her husband, that tiger among kings equal unto Indra himself in splendour. And she gratified the king by her attractiveness and affection, by her wiles and love, by her music and dance, and became herself gratified. And the monarch was so enraptured with his beautiful wife that months, seasons, and years rolled on without his being conscious of them. And the king, while thus enjoying himself with his wife, had eight children born unto him who in beauty were like the very celestials themselves. But, O Bharata, those children, one after another, as soon as they were born, were thrown into the river by Ganga who said, 'This is for thy good.' And the children sank to rise no more. The king, however, could not be pleased with such conduct. But he spoke not a word about it lest his wife should leave him. But when the eighth child was born, and when his wife as before was about to throw it smilingly into the river, the king with a sorrowful countenance and desirous of saving it from destruction, addressed her and said, 'Kill it not! Who art thou and whose? Why dost thou kill thy own children? Murderess of thy sons, the load of thy sins is great!'" His wife, thus addressed, replied, 'O thou desirous of offspring, thou hast already become the first of those that have children. I shall not destroy this child of thine. But according to our agreement, the period of my stay with thee is at an end. I am Ganga, the daughter of Jahnu. I am ever worshipped by the great sages; I have lived with thee so long for accomplishing the purposes of the celestials. The eight illustrious Vasus endued with great energy had, from Vasishtha's curse, to assume human forms. On earth, besides thee, there was none else to deserve the honour of being their begetter. There is no woman also on earth except one like me, a celestial of human form, to become their mother. I assumed a human form to bring them forth. Thou also, having become the father of the eight Vasus, hast acquired many regions of perennial bliss. It was also agreed between myself and the Vasus that I should free them from their human forms as soon as they would be born. I have thus freed them from the curse of the Rishi Apava. Blest be thou; I leave thee, O king! But rear thou this child of rigid vows. That I should live with thee so

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long was the promise I gave to the Vasus. And let this child be called Gangadatta.'"

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