Friday, February 22, 2008

Adi Parva - Sambhava Parva 08

Kanwa continued, 'And Sakra, thus addressed by her, then commanded him
who could approach every place (viz., the god of the wind) to be present
with Menaka at the time she would be before the Rishi. And the timid and
beautiful Menaka then entered the retreat and saw there Viswamitra who
had burnt, by his penances, all his sins, and was engaged still in
ascetic penances. And saluting the Rishi, she then began to sport before
him. And just at that time Marut robbed her of her garments that were
white as the Moon. And she thereupon ran, as if in great bashfulness, to
catch hold of her attire, and as if she was exceedingly annoyed with
Marut. And she did all this before the very eyes of Viswamitra who was
endued with energy like that of fire. And Viswamitra saw her in that
attitude. And beholding her divested of her robes, he saw that she was of
faultless feature. And that best of Munis saw that she was exceedingly
handsome, with no marks of age on her person. And beholding her beauty
and accomplishments that bull amongst Rishis was possessed with lust and
made a sign that he desired her companionship. And he invited her
accordingly, and she also of faultless features expressed her acceptance
of the invitation. And they then passed a long time there in each other's
company. And sporting with each other, just as they pleased, for a long
time as if it were only a single day, the Rishi begat on Menaka a
daughter named Sakuntala. And Menaka (as her conception advanced) went to
the banks of the river Malini coursing along a valley of the charming
mountains of Himavat. And there she gave birth to that daughter. And she
left the new-born infant on the bank of that river and went away. And
beholding the new-born infant lying in that forest destitute of human
beings but abounding with lions and tigers, a number of vultures sat
around to protect it from harm. No Rakshasas or carnivorous animals took
its life. Those vultures protected the daughter of Menaka. I went there
to perform my ablution and beheld the infant lying in the solitude of the
wilderness surrounded by vultures. Bringing her hither I have made her my
daughter. Indeed, the maker of the body, the protector of life, the giver
of food, are all three, fathers in their order, according to the
scriptures. And because she was surrounded in the solitude of the
wilderness, by Sakuntas (birds), therefore, hath she been named by me
Sakuntala (bird-protected). O Brahman, learn that it is thus that
Sakuntala hath become my daughter. And the faultless Sakuntala also
regards me as her father.'

"This is what my father had said unto the Rishi, having been asked by
him. O king of men, it is thus that thou must know I am the daughter of
Kanwa. And not knowing my real father, I regard Kanwa as my father. Thus
have I told thee, O king, all that hath been heard by me regarding my

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