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(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Saying this, Tapati of faultless features, ascended the skies. The monarch thereupon again fell down on the earth. His ministers and followers searching for him throughout the forest at length came upon him lying on that solitary spot, and beholding that excellent king, that mighty bowman, thus lying forsaken on the ground like a rainbow dropped from the firmament, his minister-in-chief became like one burnt by a flame of fire. Advancing hastily with affection and respect, the minister raised that best of monarchs lying prostrate on the ground and deprived of his senses by desire. Old in wisdom as in age, old in achievements as in policy, the minister, after having raised the prostrate monarch, became easy (in mind). Addressing the king in sweet words that were also for his good, he said, 'Blest be thou, O sinless one! Fear not, O tiger among

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kings!' The minister thought that the monarch, that great feller of hostile ranks in battle, had been lying on the ground overcome with hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The old man then sprinkled over the crownless head of the monarch water that was cold and rendered fragrant with lotus-petals. Slowly regaining his consciousness, the mighty monarch sent away all his attendants with the exception of his minister only. After those attendants had retired at his command, the king sat upon the mountain-breast. Having purified himself duly, the king sat upon that chief of mountains, and began, with joined palms and upturned face, to worship Surya. King Samvarana, that smiter of all foes, thought also of his chief priest Vasishtha, that best of Rishis. The king continued to sit there day and night without intermission. The Brahmana sage Vasishtha came there on the twelfth day: that great Rishi of soul under perfect command knew at once by his ascetic power that the monarch had lost his senses in consequence of Tapati. And that virtuous and best of Munis, as soon as he knew this, desirous of benefiting the monarch who was ever observant of vows, addressed him and gave him every assurance. The illustrious Rishi, in the very sight of that monarch, ascended upward to interview Surya, himself possessed of the splendour of that luminary. The Brahmana then approached with joined hands the god of a thousand rays and introduced himself cheerfully unto him, saying, 'I am Vasishtha.' Then Vivaswat of great energy said unto that best of Rishis, 'Welcome art thou, O great Rishi! Tell me what is in thy mind. O thou of great good fortune, whatever thou demandest of me, O foremost of eloquent men, I will confer on thee, however difficult it may be for me!' Thus addressed by Surya, the Rishi of great ascetic merit, bowing unto the god of light, replied, saying, 'O Vibhavasu, this thy daughter, Tapati, the younger sister of Savitri, I ask of thee for Samvarana! That monarch is of mighty achievements, conversant with virtue, and of high soul. O firmament-ranger, Samvarana will make a worthy husband for thy daughter.' Thus addressed by the Rishi Vibhakara, resolved upon bestowing his daughter upon Samvarana, saluted the Rishi, and replied unto him, saying, 'Oh, Samvarana is the best of monarchs, thou art the best of Rishis, Tapati is the best of women. What should we do, therefore, but bestow her on Samvarana?' With these words, the god Tapana, made over his daughter, Tapati, of every feature perfectly faultless, unto the illustrious Vasishtha to bestow her upon Samvarana. And the great Rishi then accepted the girl, Tapati, and taking leave of Surya, came back to the spot, where that bull amongst the Kurus, of celestial achievements, was. King Samvarana, possessed by love and with his heart fixed on Tapati, beholding that celestial maiden of sweet smiles led by Vasishtha, became exceedingly glad. And Tapati of fair eyebrows came down from the firmament like lightning from the clouds, dazzling the ten points of the heavens. And the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha of pure soul approached the monarch after the latter's twelve nights' vow was over. It was thus that king Samvarana obtained a wife after having worshipped with

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like the full moon. And that mighty bowman, that foremost one in Kuru's race having his curiosity greatly excited by what he heard of Vasishtha's ascetic power, asked the Gandharva, saying, 'I desire to hear of the Rishi whom thou hast mentioned as Vasishtha. O, tell me in full about him! O chief of the Gandharvas, tell me who this illustrious Rishi was that was the priest of our forefathers.' The Gandharva replied, 'Vasishtha is Brahma's spiritual (lit, mind-born) son and Arundhati's husband. Ever difficult of being conquered by the very immortals, Desire and Wrath, conquered by Vasishtha's ascetic penances, used to shampoo his feet. Though his wrath was excited by Viswamitra's offence, that high-souled Rishi did not yet exterminate Kusikas (the tribe whose king Viswamitra was). Afflicted at the loss of his sons, he did not, as though powerless, though really otherwise, do any dreadful act destructive of Viswamitra, Like the ocean transgressing not its continents, Vasishtha transgressed not (the laws of) Yama by bringing back his children from the domains of the king of the dead. It was by obtaining that illustrious one who had conquered his own self that Ikshvaku and other great monarchs acquired the whole earth. And, O prince of Kuru's race, it was by obtaining Vasishtha, that best of Rishis as their priest, that those monarchs performed many grand sacrifices. And, O best of the Pandavas, that regenerate Rishi assisted these monarchs in the performance of their sacrifices like Vrihaspati assisting the immortals. Therefore, look ye for some accomplished and desirable Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and in whose heart virtue prevails, to appoint as your priest. A Kshatriya of good lineage, desirous of extending his dominions by conquering the earth, should, O Partha, first appoint a priest. He who is desirous of conquering the earth should have a Brahmana before him. Therefore, O Arjuna, let some accomplished and learned Brahmana, who has his senses under complete control and who is conversant with religion, profit and pleasure, be your priest.'"

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