The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,273 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.

“Vaisampayana said, ’O slayer of all foes, I shall tell thee all as to why Agni did not burn up those birds during the conflagration.  There was, O king, a great Rishi known by the name of Mandapala, conversant with all the shastras, of rigid vows, devoted to asceticism, and the foremost of all virtuous persons.  Following in the wake of Rishis that had drawn up their virile fluid, that ascetic, O monarch, with every sense under complete control, devoted himself to study and virtue.  Having reached the opposite shores of asceticism, O Bharata, he left his human form and went to the region of the Pitris.  But going thither he failed to obtain the (expected) fruit of his acts.  He asked the celestials that sat around the king of the dead as to the cause of his treatment, saying, ’Why have these regions become unattainable by me,—­regions that I had thought had been acquired by me by my ascetic devotions?  Have I not performed those acts whose fruits are these regions?  Ye inhabitants of heaven, tell me why these regions are shut against me!  I will do that which will give me the fruit of my ascetic penances.’

“The celestials answered, ’Hear, O Brahmana, of those acts and things on account of which men are born debtors.  Without doubt, it is for religious rites, studies according to the ordinance, and progeny, that men are born debtors.  These debts are all discharged by sacrifices, asceticism, and offspring.  Thou art an ascetic and hast also performed sacrifices; but thou hast no offspring.  These regions are shut against thee only for want of children.  Beget children, therefore!  Thou shalt then enjoy multifarious regions of felicity.  The Vedas declared that the son rescueth the father from a hell called Put.  Then, O best of Brahmanas, strive to beget offspring.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Mandapala, having heard these words of the dwellers in heaven, reflected how best he could obtain the largest number of offspring within the shortest period of time.  The Rishi, after reflection, understood that of all creatures birds alone were blest with fecundity.  Assuming the form of a Sarngaka the Rishi had connection with a female bird of the same species called by the name of Jarita.  And he begat upon her four sons who were all reciters of the Vedas.  Leaving all those sons of his with their mother in that forest, while they were still within eggs, the ascetic went to (another wife called by the name of) Lapita.  And, O Bharata, when the exalted sage went away for the company of Lapita, moved by affection for her offspring, Jarita became very thoughtful.  Though forsaken by their father in the forest of Khandava, Jarita, anxious in her affection for them, could not forsake her offspring, those infant Rishis encased in eggs.  Moved by parental affection, she brought up these children born of her, herself following the pursuits proper to her own species.  Some time after, the Rishi, in wandering over that forest in the company of Lapita,

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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