Friday, February 22, 2008

Adi Parva - Sambhava Parva 35

"Santanu asked, 'What was the fault of the Vasus and who was Apava,
through whose curse the Vasus had to be born among men? What also hath
this child of thine, Gangadatta, done for which he shall have to live
among men? Why also were the Vasus, the lords of the three worlds,
condemned to be born amongst men? O daughter of Jahnu, tell me all.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the celestial daughter of
Jahnu, Ganga, then replied unto the monarch, her husband, that bull
amongst men, saying, 'O best of Bharata's race, he who was obtained as
son by Varuna was called Vasishtha, the Muni who afterwards came to be
known as Apava. He had his asylum on the breast of the king of mountains
called Meru. The spot was sacred and abounded with birds and beasts. And
there bloomed at all times of the year flowers of every season. And, O
best of Bharata's race, that foremost of virtuous men, the son of Varuna,
practised his ascetic penances in those woods abounding with sweet roots
and water.

"Daksha had a daughter known by the name of Surabhi, who, O bull of
Bharata's race, for benefiting the world, brought forth, by her
connection with Kasyapa, a daughter (Nandini) in the form of a cow. That
foremost of all kine, Nandini, was the cow of plenty (capable of granting
every desire). The virtuous son of Varuna obtained Nandini for his Homa
rites. And Nandini, dwelling in that hermitage which was adored by Munis,
roamed about fearlessly in those sacred and delightful woods.

"One day, O bull of Bharata's race, there came into those woods adored by
the gods and celestial Rishis, the Vasus with Prithu at their head. And
wandering there with their wives, they enjoyed themselves in those
delightful woods and mountains. And as they wandered there, the
slender-waisted wife of one of the Vasus, O thou of the prowess of Indra,
saw in those woods Nandini, the cow of plenty. And seeing that cow
possessing the wealth of all accomplishments, large eyes, full udders,
fine tail, beautiful hoofs, and every other auspicious sign, and yielding
much milk, she showed the animal to her husband Dyu. O thou of the
prowess of the first of elephants, when Dyu was shown that cow, he began
to admire her several qualities and addressing his wife, said, 'O
black-eyed girl of fair thighs, this excellent cow belongeth to that
Rishi whose is this delightful asylum. O slender-waisted one, that mortal
who drinketh the sweet milk of this cow remaineth in unchanged youth for
ten thousand years.' O best of monarchs, hearing this, the
slender-waisted goddess of faultless features then addressed her lord of
blazing splendour and said, 'There is on earth a friend of mine, Jitavati
by name, possessed of great beauty and youth. She is the daughter of that
god among men, the royal sage Usinara, endued with intelligence and
devoted to truth. I desire to have this cow, O illustrious one, with her
calf for that friend of mine. Therefore, O best of celestials, bring that
cow so that my friend drinking of her milk may alone become on earth free
from disease and decrepitude. O illustrious and blameless one, it
behoveth thee to grant me this desire of mine. There is nothing that
would be more agreeable to me.' On hearing these words of his wife, Dyu,
moved by the desire of humouring her, stole that cow, aided by his
brothers Prithu and the others. Indeed, Dyu, commanded by his lotus-eyed
wife, did her bidding, forgetting at the moment the high ascetic merits
of the Rishi who owned her. He did not think at the time that he was
going to fall by committing the sin of stealing the cow.

"When the son of Varuna returned to his asylum in the evening with fruits
he had collected, he beheld not the cow with her calf there. He began to
search for them in the woods, but when the great ascetic of superior
intelligence found not his cow on search, he saw by his ascetic vision
that she had been stolen by the Vasus. His wrath was instantly kindled
and he cursed the Vasus, saying, 'Because the Vasus have stolen my cow of
sweet milk and handsome tail, therefore, shall they certainly be born on

"O thou bull of Bharata's race, the illustrious Rishi Apava thus cursed
the Vasus in wrath. And having cursed them, the illustrious one set his
heart once more on ascetic meditation. And after that Brahmarshi of great
power and ascetic wealth had thus in wrath cursed the Vasus, the latter,
O king, coming to know of it, speedily came into his asylum. And
addressing the Rishi, O bull among kings, they endeavoured to pacify him.
But they failed, O tiger among men, to obtain grace from Apava--that
Rishi conversant, with all rules of virtue. The virtuous Apava, however,
said, 'Ye Vasus, with Dhava and others, ye have been cursed by me. But ye
shall be freed from my curse within a year of your birth among men. But
he for whose deed ye have been cursed by me he, viz., Dyu, shall for his
sinful act, have to dwell on earth for a length of time. I shall not make
futile the words I have uttered in wrath. Dyu, though dwelling on Earth,
shall not beget children. He shall, however, be virtuous and conversant
with the scriptures. He shall be an obedient son to his father, but he
shall have to abstain from the pleasure of female companionship.'

"Thus addressing the Vasus, the great Rishi went away. The Vasus then
together came to me. And, O king, the begged of me the boon that as soon
as they would be born, I should throw them into the water. And, O best of
kings, I did as they desired, in order to free them from their earthly
life. And O best of kings, from the Rishi's curse, this one only, viz.,
Dyu, himself, is to live on earth for some time.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this, the goddess disappeared then
and there. And taking with her the child, she went away to the region she
chose. And that child of Santanu was named both Gangeya and Devavrata and
excelled his father in all accomplishments.

"Santanu, after the disappearance of his wife, returned to his capital
with a sorrowful heart. I shall now recount to thee the many virtues and
the great good fortune of the illustrious king Santanu of the Bharata
race. Indeed, it is this splendid history that is called the

No comments: