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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,884 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1.
thou shalt be crooked in eight parts of the body.’  The child was accordingly born crooked, and the great sage was ever after known by the name of Ashtavakra.  Now, he had an uncle named Swetaketu who was the same age with himself.  Afflicted by the growth of the child in the womb, Sujata, desirous of riches, conciliating her husband who had no wealth told him in private:  ’How shall I manage, O great sage, the tenth month of my pregnancy having come?  Thou hast no substance whereby I may extricate myself from the exigencies, after I have been delivered.”  Thus addressed by his wife, Kahoda went unto king Janaka for riches.  He was there defeated in a controversy by Vandin, well versed in the science of arguments, and (in consequence) was immersed into water.  And hearing that his son-in-law had been defeated in a controversy by Vandin and caused to be drowned by him, Uddalaka spake unto his daughter Sujata, saying, ’Thou shall keep it a secret from Ashtavakra.’  She accordingly kept her counsel—­so that Ashtavakra, when born, had heard nothing about the matter.  And he regarded Uddalaka as his father and Swetaketu as his brother.  And when Ashtavakra was in his twelfth year, Swetaketu one day saw the former seated on his father’s lap.  And thereat he pulled him by the hand, and on Ashtavakra’s beginning to cry, he told him, ’It is not the lap of thy father.’  This cruel communication went direct into Ashtavakra’s heart and it pained him sorely.  And he went home and asked his mother saying, ‘Where is my father?’ Thereupon Sujata who was greatly afflicted (by his question), and apprehending a curse told him all that had happened.  And having heard all, the Brahmana at night said unto his uncle Swetaketu, ’Let us go unto the sacrifice of king Janaka, wherein many wonderful things are to be seen.  There we shall listen to the controversy between the Brahmanas and shall partake of excellent food.  Our knowledge also will increase.  The recitation of the sacred Vedas is sweet to hear and is fraught with blessings.’  Then they both—­uncle and nephew—­went unto the splendid sacrifice of king Janaka.  And on being driven from the entrance, Ashtavakra met the king and addressed him in the following words.”

SECTION CXXXIII

“Ashtavakra said, ’When no Brahmana is met with on the way, the way belongeth to the blind, the deaf, the women, carriers of burden, and the king respectively.  But when a Brahmana is met with on the way, it belongeth to him alone.’  Thereupon the king said, ’I give the privilege to enter.  Do thou, therefore, go in by whatever way thou likest.  No fire ever so small is to be slighted.  Even Indra himself boweth unto the Brahmanas.’  At this Ashtavakra said, ’We have come, O ruler of men, to witness thy sacrificial ceremony and our curiosity, O king, is very great.  And we have come here as guests.  We want the permission of thy order (to enter).  And, O son of Indradyumna,

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