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p. 52


"Chyavana said, 'Do thou accept a boon from me. Do thou also, O chief of men, tell me what the doubt is that is in thy mind. I shall certainly accomplish all thy purposes.'

"Kusika said, 'If thou hast been gratified by me, O holy one, do thou then, O son of Bhrigu, tell me thy object in residing in my palace for sometime, for I desire to hear it. What was thy object in sleeping on the bed I assigned thee for one and twenty days continuously, without changing sides? O foremost of ascetics, what also was thy object, again, in going out of the room without speaking a single word? Why didst thou, again, without any ostensible reason, make thyself invisible, and once more become visible? Why, O learned Brahmana, didst thou again, lay thyself down on the bed and sleep as before for one and twenty days? For what reason didst thou go out after thou wert rubbed by us with oil in view of thy bath? Why also, after having caused diverse kinds of food in my palace to be collected, didst thou consume them with the aid of fire? What was the cause of thy sudden journey through my city on the car? What object hadst thou in view in giving away so much wealth? What was thy motive in showing us the wonders of the forest created by the Yoga-puissance? What indeed was thy motive for showing, O great ascetic, so many palatial mansions made of gold and so many bedsteads supported on posts of jewels, and gems? Why also did all these wonders vanish from our sight? I wish to hear the cause of all this. In thinking of all these acts of thine, O perpetuator of Bhrigu's race, I became stupefied repeatedly. I fail to find what the certain motive was which influenced thee! O thou, that art endued with wealth of penances, I wish to hear the truth about all those acts of thine in detail.'

"Chyavana said, 'Listen to me as I tell thee in detail the reasons which had impelled me in all these acts of mine. Asked by thee, O monarch, I cannot refuse to enlighten thee. In days past, on one occasion, when the deities had assembled together, the Grandsire Brahman said some words I heard them, O king, and shall presently repeat them to thee.' In consequence of a contention between Brahmana and Kshatriya energy, there will occur an intermixture in my race. 1 Thy grandson, O king, will become endued with great energy and puissance. Hearing this, I came hither, resolved to exterminate thy race. Indeed, I came, O Kusika, seeking the utter extermination of thy race,--in fact, for consuming into ashes all thy descendants. Impelled by this motive I came to thy palace, O monarch, and said unto thee, 'I shall observe some vow. Do thou attend upon me and serve me dutifully. While residing, however, in thy house I failed to find any laches in thee. It is for that reason, O royal sage, that thou art still alive, for otherwise thou wouldst have by this time been numbered

p. 53

with the dead. It was with this resolution that I slept for one and twenty days in the hope that somebody would awake me before I arose of my own accord. Thou, however, with thy wife, didst not awaken me. Even then, O best of kings, I became pleased with thee. Rising from my bed I went out of the chamber without accosting any of you. I did this, O monarch, in the hope that thou wouldst ask me and thus I would have an opportunity of cursing thee. I then made myself invisible, and again showed myself in the room of thy palace, and, once more betaking myself to Yoga, slept for one and twenty days. The motive that impelled me was this. Worn out with toil and hunger you two would be angry with me and do what would be unpleasant to me. It was from this intention that I caused thyself and thy spouse to be afflicted with hunger. In thy heart however, O king, the slightest feeling of wrath or vexation did not rise. For this, O monarch, I became highly delighted with thee. When I caused diverse kinds of food to be brought and then set fire to them, I hoped that thyself with thy wife wouldst give way to wrath at the sight. Even that act however, of mine was tolerated by thee. I then ascended the car, O monarch, and addressed thee, saying, 'Do thou with thy wife bear me.' Thou didst what I bade, without the least scruple, O king! I became filled with delight at this. The gifts of wealth I made could not provoke thy anger. Pleased with thee, O king, I created with the aid of my Yoga puissance that forest which thyself with thy wife didst behold here. Listen, O monarch, to the object I had. For gratifying thee and thy queen I caused thee to have a glimpse of heaven. All those things which thou hast seen in these woods, O monarch, are a foretaste of heaven. O best of kings, for a little while I caused thee and thy spouse to behold, in even your earthly bodies, some sights of heaven. All this was done for showing the puissance of penances and the reward that is in store for righteousness. The desire that arose in thy heart, O monarch, at the sight of those delightful objects, is known to me. Thou becamest desirous of obtaining the status of a Brahmana and the merit of penances, O lord of Earth, disregarding the sovereignty of the earth, nay, the sovereignty of very heaven! That Which thou thoughtest, O king, was even this. The status of a Brahmana is exceedingly difficult to obtain; after becoming a Brahmana, it is exceedingly difficult to obtain the status of a Rishi; for even a Rishi it is difficult to become an ascetic! I tell thee that thy desire will be gratified. From thee, O Kusika, will spring a Brahmana, who shall be called after thy name. The person that will be the third in descent from thee shall attain to the status of a Brahmana. Through the energy of the Bhrigus, thy grandson, O monarch, will be an ascetic endued with the splendour of fire. He shall always strike all men, indeed, the inhabitants of the three worlds, with fear. I tell thee the truth. O royal sage, do thou accept the boon that is now in thy mind. I shall soon set out on a tour to all the sacred waters. Time is expiring.'

"Kusika said, 'Even this, O great ascetic, is a high boon, in my case, for

p. 54

thou hast been gratified by me. Let that take place which thou hast said. Let my grandson become a Brahmana, O sinless one! Indeed, let the status of Brahmanahood attach to my race, O holy one. This is the boon I ask for. I desire to once more ask thee in detail, O holy one! In what way, O delighter of Bhrigu, will the status of Brahmanahood attach to my race? Who will be my friend? Who will have my affection and respect?'" 1


52:1 The Grandsire spoke of somebody becoming a Kshatriya in Bhrigu's race, and referred to the incident as the result of a stain that would be communicated to that race from Kusika's. This is the full allusion.

54:1 The sense seems to be that Kusika wishes to know what person of Bhrigu's race will confer this high benefit upon his race.

Next: Section LVI