Friday, February 22, 2008

Adi Parva - Sambhava Parva 18

"Vaisampayana said, 'Yayati then, on returning to his capital which was
like unto the city of Indra, entered his inner apartments and established
there his bride Devayani. And the monarch, directed by Devayani,
established Vrishaparvan's daughter Sarmishtha in a mansion especially
erected near the artificial woods of Asokas in his gardens. And the king
surrounded Vrishaparvan's daughter Sarmishtha with a thousand maids and
honoured her by making every arrangement for her food and garments. But
it was with Devayani that the royal son of Nahusha sported like a
celestial for many years in joy and bliss. And when her season came, the
fair Devayani conceived. And she brought forth as her first child a fine
boy. And when a thousand years had passed away, Vrishaparvan's daughter
Sarmishtha having attained to puberty saw that her season had come. She
became anxious and said to herself, 'My season hath arrived. But I have
not yet chosen a husband. O, what hath happened, what should I do? How am
I to obtain the fruition of my wishes? Devayani hath become mother. My
youth is doomed to pass away in vain. Shall I choose him also for my
husband whom Devayani hath chosen? This is, indeed, my resolve: that
monarch should give me a son. Will not the virtuous one grant me a
private interview?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'While Sarmishtha was thus busy with her
thoughts, the king wandering listlessly came to that very wood of Asokas,
and beholding Sarmishtha before him, stood there in silence. Then
Sarmishtha of sweet smiles seeing the monarch before her with nobody to
witness what might pass, approached him and said with joined palms, 'O
son of Nahusha, no one can behold the ladies that dwell in the inner
apartments of Soma, of Indra, of Vishnu, of Yama, of Varuna, and of thee!
Thou knowest, O king, that I am both handsome and well-born. I solicit
thee, O king! My season hath arrived. See that it goeth not in vain.'

"Yayati answered, 'Well do I know that honour of birth is thine, born as
thou art in the proud race of the Danavas. Thou art also gifted with
beauty. I do not, indeed, see even the speck of a fault in thy feature.
But Usanas commanded me, while I was united with Devayani, that never
should Vrishaparvan's daughter he summoned to my bed.'

"Sarmishtha then said, 'It hath been said, O king, that it is not sinful
to lie on the occasion of a joke, in respect of women sought to be
enjoyed, on occasions of marriage, in peril of immediate death and of the
loss of one's whole fortune. Lying is excusable on these five occasions.
O king, it is not true that he is fallen who speaks not the truth when
asked. Both Devayani and myself have been called hither as companions to
serve the same purpose. When, therefore, thou hadst said that you wouldst
confine thyself to one only amongst as, that was a lie thou hadst
spoken.' Yayati replied, 'A king should ever be a model in the eyes of
his people. That monarch certainly meets with destruction who speaks an
untruth. As for myself, I dare not speak an untruth even if the greatest
loss threatens me!' Sarmishtha answered, 'O monarch, one may look upon
her friend's husband as her own. One's friend's marriage is the same as
one's own. Thou hast been chosen by my friend as her husband. Thou art as
much my husband, therefore.' Yayati then said, 'It is, indeed my vow
always to grant what one asketh. As thou askest me, tell me then what I
am to do.' Sarmishtha then said, 'Absolve me, O king, from sin. Protect
my virtue. Becoming a mother by thee, let me practise the highest virtue
in this world. It is said, O king, that a wife, a slave, and a son can
never earn wealth for themselves. What they earn always belongeth to him
who owneth them. I am, indeed, the slave of Devayani. Thou art Devayani's
master and lord. Thou art, therefore, O king, my master and lord as much
as Devayani's! I solicit thee! O, fulfill my wishes!'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Sarmishtha, the monarch was
persuaded into the truth of all she spoke. He therefore, honoured
Sarmishtha by protecting her virtue. And they passed some time together.
And taking affectionate farewell of each other, they then parted, each
returning to whence he or she had come.

"And it came to pass that Sarmishtha of sweet smiles and fair eyebrows
conceived in consequence of that connection of hers with that best of
monarchs. And, O king, that lotus-eyed lady then in due course of time
brought forth a son of the splendour of a celestial child and of eyes

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