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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.
were scattered trees pulled down by the wind caused by the thighs of that hero endued with the speed of the wind as he rushed after the deer.  And proceeding, guided by those marks, to a spot filled with dry winds and abounding in leafless vegetables, brackish and devoid of water, covered with thorny plants and scattered over with gravel, stumps and shrubs and difficult of access and uneven and dangerous, he saw in a mountain cavern his younger brother motionless, caught in the folds of that foremost of snakes.”

SECTION CLXXIX

Vaisampayana continued, “Yudhishthira, finding his beloved brother coiled by the body of the serpent, said these words:  ’O son of Kunti, how hast thou come by this misfortune!  And who is this best of serpents having a body like unto a mountain mass?’ Bhimasena said, ’O worshipful one, this mighty being hath caught me for food.  He is the royal sage Nahusha living in the form of a serpent.’  Yudhishthira said, ’O longlived one, do thou free my brother of immeasurable prowess; we will give thee some other food which will appease thy hunger.’  The serpent said, ’I have got for diet even this son of a king, come to my mouth of himself.  Do thou go away.  Thou shouldst not stay here. (If thou remainest here) thou too shall be my fare to-morrow.  O mighty-armed one, this is ordained in respect of me, that he that cometh unto my place, becometh my food and thou too art in my quarter.  After a long time have I got thy younger brother as my food; I will not let him off; neither do I like to have any other food.’  Thereat Yudhishthira said, ’O serpent, whether thou art a god, or a demon, or an Uraga, do thou tell me truly, it is Yudhishthira that asketh thee, wherefore, O snake, hast thou taken Bhimasena?  By obtaining which, or by knowing what wilt thou receive satisfaction, O snake, and what food shall I give thee?  And how mayst thou free him.’  The serpent said, ’O sinless one, I was thy ancestor, the son of Ayu and fifth in descent from the Moon.  And I was a king celebrated under the name of Nahusha.  And by sacrifices and asceticism and study of the Vedas and self-restraint and prowess I had acquired a permanent dominion over the three worlds.  And when I had obtained such dominion, haughtiness possessed me.  And thousands of Brahmanas were engaged in carrying my chair.  And intoxicated by supremacy, I insulted those Brahmanas.  And, O lord of the earth, by Agastya have I been reduced to this pass!  Yet, O Pandava, to this day the memory (of my former birth) hath not forsaken me!  And, O king, even by the favour of that high-souled Agastya, during the sixth division of the day have I got for meal thy younger brother.  Neither will I set him free, nor do I wish for any other food.  But if to-day thou answerest the questions put by me, then, I shall deliver Vrikodara!” At this Yudhishthira said, ’O serpent, ask whatever thou listest!  I shall, if I can, answer thy questions with the view of gratifying thee, O snake!  Thou knowest fully what should be known by Brahmanas.  Therefore, O king of snakes, hearing (thee) I shall answer thy queries!’

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