’Ugrasrava Sauti, the son of Lomaharshana, versed in the Puranas, while present in the forest of Naimisha, at the twelve years’ sacrifice of Saunaka, surnamed Kulapati, stood before the Rishis in attendance. Having studied Puranas with meticulous devotion and thus being thoroughly acquainted with them, he addressed them with joined hands thus, ’I have graphically described to you the history of Utanka which is one of the causes of King Janamejaya’s Snake-sacrifice. What, revered Sirs, do ye wish to hear now? What shall I relate to you?’ The holy men replied, ’O son of Lomaharshana, we shall ask thee about what we are anxious to hear and thou wilt recount the tales one by one. Saunaka, our revered master, is at present attending the apartment of the holy fire. He is acquainted with those divine stories which relate to the gods and asuras. He adequately knoweth the histories of men, serpents, and Gandharvas. Further, O Sauti, in this sacrifice that learned Brahmana is the chief. He is able, faithful to his vows, wise, a master of the Sastras and the Aranyaka, a speaker of truth, a lover of peace, a mortifier of the flesh, and an observer of the penances according to the authoritative decrees. He is respected by us all. It behoveth us therefore to wait for him. And when he is seated on his highly respected seat, thou wilt answer what that best of Dwijas shall ask of thee.’
“Sauti said, ’Be it so. And when the high-souled master hath been seated I shall narrate, questioned by him, sacred stories on a variety of subjects.” After a while that excellent Brahmana (Saunaka) having duly finished all his duties, and having propitiated the gods with prayers and the manes with oblations of water, came back to the place of sacrifice, where with Sauti seated before was the assembly of saints of rigid vows sitting at ease. And when Saunaka was seated in the midst of the Ritwiks and Sadhyas, who were also in their seats, he spake as followeth.”
(Pauloma Parva continued)
“Saunaka said, ’Child, thy father formerly read the whole of the Puranas, O son of Lomaharshana, and the Bharata with Krishna-Dwaipayana. Hast thou also made them thy study? In those ancient records are chronicled interesting stories and the history of the first generations of the wise men, all of which we heard being rehearsed by thy sire. In the first place, I am desirous of hearing the history of the race of Bhrigu. Recount thou that history, we shall attentively listen to thee.”
“Sauti answered, ’By me hath been acquired all that was formerly studied by the high-souled Brahmanas including Vaisampayana and repeated by them; by me hath been acquired all that had been studied by my father. O descendant of the Bhrigu race, attend then to so much as relateth to the exalted race of Bhrigu, revered by Indra and all the gods, by the tribes of Rishis and Maruts (Winds). O great Muni, I shall first properly recount the story of this family, as told in the Puranas.