"Bhishma said, 'After that night had passed away and that best of Brahmanas had left the house, Gautama, issuing from his abode, began to proceed towards the sea, O Bharata! On the way he beheld some merchants that used to make voyages on the sea. With that caravan of merchants he proceeded towards the ocean. It so happened however, O king, that that large caravan was assailed, while passing through a valley, by an infuriated elephant. Almost all the persons were killed. Somehow escaping from that great danger, the Brahmana fled towards the north for saving his life not knowing whither he proceeded. Separated from the caravan and led far away from that spot, he began to
wander alone in a forest, like Kimpurusha. 1 At last coming upon a road that led towards the ocean he journeyed on till he reached a delightful and heavenly forest abounding in flowering trees. It was adorned with mango trees that put forth flowers and fruits throughout the year. It resembled the very woods of Nandana (in heaven) and was inhabited by Yakshas and Kinnaras. It was also adorned with Salas and palmyras and Tamalas, with clusters of black aloes, and many large sandal trees. Upon the delightful tablelands that he saw there, fragrant with perfumes of diverse kinds, birds of the foremost species were always heard to pour forth their melodies. Other winged denizens of the air, called Bharundas, and having faces resembling those of human beings, and those called Bhulingas, and others belonging to mountainous regions and to the sea, warbled sweetly there, Gautama proceeded through that forest, listening, as he went, to those delightful and charming strains of nature's choristers. On his way he beheld a very delightful and level spot of land covered with golden sands and resembling heaven itself, O king, for its beauty. On that plot stood a large and beautiful banian with a spherical top. Possessed of many branches that corresponded with the parent tree in beauty and size, that banian looked like an umbrella set over the plain. The spot underneath that magnificent tree was drenched with water perfumed with the most fragrant sandal. Endued with great beauty and abounding in delicious flowers all around, the spot looked like the court of the Grandsire himself. Beholding that charming and unrivalled spot, abounding with flowering trees, sacred, and looking like the abode of a very celestial, Gautama became very much delighted. Arrived there, he sat himself down with a well-pleased heart. As he sat there, O son of Kunti, a delicious, charming, and auspicious breeze, bearing the perfume of many kinds of flowers, began to blow softly, cooling the limbs of Gautama and filling him with celestial pleasure, O monarch! Fanned by that perfumed breeze the Brahmana became refreshed, and in consequence of the pleasure he felt he soon fell asleep. Meanwhile the sun set behind the Asta hills. When the resplendent luminary entered his chambers in the west and the evening twilight came, a bird that was the foremost of his species, returned to that spot, which was his home, from the regions of Brahman. His name was Nadijangha and he was a dear friend of the creator. He was a prince of Cranes, possessed of great wisdom, and a son of (the sage) Kasyapa. He was also known extensively on earth by the name of Rajadharman. Indeed, he surpassed everyone on earth in fame and wisdom. The child of a celestial maiden, possessed of great beauty and learning, he resembled a celestial in splendour. Adorned with the many ornaments that he wore and that were as brilliant as the sun himself, that child of a celestial girl seemed to blaze with beauty. Beholding that bird arrived at that spot, Gautama became filled with wonder. Exhausted with hunger and thirst, the Brahmana began to cast his eyes on the bird from desire of slaying him.'
"Rajadharman said, 'Welcome, O Brahmana! By good luck have I got
thee today in my abode. The sun is set. The evening twilight is come. Having come to my abode, thou art today my dear and excellent guest. Having received my worship according to the rites laid down in the scriptures, thou mayst go whither thou wilt tomorrow morning.'"
373:1 Kimpurusha is half-man and half-horse. The body is supposed to be that of a horse, and the face that of a man.