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p. 362


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then, O Partha, Adrisyanti, who had been residing in Vasishtha's asylum, brought forth (when the time came) a son who was the perpetuator of Saktri's race and who was a second Saktri in everything. O foremost of Bharatas, that best of Munis, the illustrious Vasishtha himself performed the usual after-birth ceremonies of his grandson. And, because the Rishi Vasishtha had resolved on self-destruction but had abstained therefrom as soon as he knew of the existence of that child, that child, when born, was called Parasara (the vivifier of the dead). The virtuous Parasara, from the day of his birth, knew Vasishtha for his father and behaved towards the Muni as such. One day, O son of Kunti, the child addressed Vasishtha, that first of Brahmana sages, as father, in the presence of his mother Adrisyanti. Adrisyanti, hearing the very intelligible sound father sweetly uttered by her son, addressed him with tearful eyes and said, 'O child, do not address this thy grandfather as father? Thy father, O son, has been devoured by a Rakshasa in a different forest. O innocent one, he is not thy father whom thou regardest so. The revered one is the father of that celebrated father of thine.' Thus addressed by his mother that best of Rishis of truthful speech, gave way to sorrow, but soon fired up and resolved to destroy the whole creation. Then that illustrious and great ascetic Vasishtha, that foremost of all persons conversant with Brahma, that son of Mitravaruna, that Rishi acquainted with positive truth, addressed his grandson who had set his heart upon the destruction of the world. Hear, O Arjuna, the arguments by which Vasishtha succeeded in driving out that resolution from his grandson's mind.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then Vasishtha said, 'There was a celebrated king of the name of Kritavirya. That bull among the kings of the earth was the disciple of the Veda-knowing Bhrigus. That king, O child, after performing the Soma sacrifice, gratified the Brahmanas with great presents of rice and wealth. After that monarch had ascended to heaven, an occasion came when his descendants were in want of wealth. And knowing that the Bhrigus were rich, those princes went unto those best of Brahmanas, in the guise of beggars. Some amongst the Bhrigus, to protect their wealth, buried it under earth; and some from fear of the Kshatriyas, began to give away their wealth unto (other) Brahmanas; while some amongst them duly gave unto the Kshatriyas whatever they wanted. It happened, however, that some Kshatriyas, in digging as they pleased at the house of particular Bhargava, came upon a large treasure. And the treasure was seen by all those bulls among Kshatriyas who had been there. Enraged at what they regarded as the deceitful behaviour of the Bhrigus, the Kshatriyas insulted the Brahmanas, though the latter asked for mercy. And those mighty bowmen

p. 363

began to slaughter the Bhrigus with their sharp arrows. And the Kshatriyas wandered over the earth, slaughtering even the embryos that were in the wombs of the women of the Bhrigu race. And while the Bhrigu race was thus being exterminated, the women of that tribe fled from fear to the inaccessible mountains of Himavat. And one amongst these women, of tapering thighs, desiring to perpetuate her husband's race, held in one of her thighs an embryo endued with great energy. A certain Brahmana woman, however, who came to know this fact, went from fear unto the Kshatriyas and reported the matter unto them. And the Kshatriyas then went to destroy that embryo. Arrived at the place, they beheld the would-be mother blazing with inborn energy, and the child that was in her thigh came out tearing up the thigh and dazzling the eyes of those Kshatriyas like the midday sun. Thus deprived of their eyes, the Kshatriyas began to wander over those inaccessible mountains. And distressed at the loss of sight, the princes were afflicted with woe, and desirous of regaining the use of their eyes they resolved to seek the protection of that faultless woman. Then those Kshatriyas, afflicted with sorrow, and from loss of sight like unto a fire that hath gone out, addressed with anxious hearts that illustrious lady, saying, 'By thy grace. O lady, we wish to be restored to sight. We shall then return to our homes all together and abstain for ever from our sinful practice. O handsome one, it behoveth thee with thy child to show us mercy. It behoveth thee to favour these kings by granting them their eye-sight.'"

Next: Section CLXXXI