The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,413 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.

SECTION CXXVIII

“The king said, ’I am a king called by the name of Viradyumna.  My fame has spread in all directions.  My son Bhuridyumna hath been lost.  It is in quest of him that I have come to this forest.  Ye foremost of Brahmanas, that child was my only son and, ye sinless ones, he is of very tender years.  He cannot, however, be found here.  I am wandering everywhere for finding him out.’

“Rishabha continued, ’After the king had said these words, the ascetic Tanu hung down his head.  He remained perfectly silent, without uttering a single word in answer.  In former days that Brahmana had not been much honoured by the king.  In disappointment, O monarch, he had for that reason practised austere penances for a longtime, resolving in his mind that he should never accept anything in gift from either kings or members of any other order.  And he said to himself, ’Hope agitates every man of foolish understanding.  I shall drive away hope from my mind.’  Even such had been his determination.  Viradyumna once more questioned that foremost of ascetics in these words: 

“The king said, ’What is the measure of the thinness of Hope?  What on earth is exceedingly difficult of acquisition?  Tell me this, O holy one, for thou art well conversant with morality and profit.”

“Rishabha continued, ’Himself recollecting all the past incidents (about his own disregard at the hands of the king) and calling them back to the recollection of the king also, that holy Brahmana of emaciated body addressed the king and said the following words: 

“The sage said, ’There is nothing, O king, that equals Hope in slenderness.  I had solicited many kings and found that nothing is so difficult of acquisition as an image that Hope sets before the mind.’

“The king said, ’At thy words, O Brahmana, I understand what is slender and what is not so.[383] I understand also how difficult of acquisition are the images set by Hope before the mind.  I regard these words of thine as utterances of Sruti.  O thou of great wisdom, one doubt, however, has arisen in my-mind.  It behoveth thee, O sage, to explain it in detail unto me that ask thee.  What is more slender than thy body?  Tell me this, O holy one, if, of course, O best of sages, the topic be one which may be discoursed upon without impropriety.’

“The emaciated sage said, ’A contented applicant is exceedingly difficult to meet with.  Perhaps, there is none such in the world.  Something rarer still, O sire, is the person that never disregards an applicant.  The hope that rests upon such persons as do not, after passing their promises, do good to others according to the best of their powers and according as the applicants deserve, is slenderer than even my body.[384] The hope that rests upon an ungrateful man, or upon one that is cruel, or one that is idle, or one that injures others, is slenderer than even

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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