observant of Brahmacharya vows, that Brahmana had
been a dear friend of Gautama and belonged to that
part of the country from which Gautama had emigrated.
In course of his wanderings, as already said, the
Brahmana came to that robber village where Gautama
had taken up his abode. He never accepted any
food if given by a Sudra and, therefore, began to
search for the house of a Brahmana there (for accepting
the duties of hospitality). Accordingly he wandered
in every direction in that village teeming with robber-families.
At last that foremost of Brahmanas came to the house
owned by Gautama. It so happened that just at
that time Gautama also, returning from the woods,
was entering his abode. The two friends met.
Armed with bow and sword, he bore on shoulders a load
of slaughtered cranes, and his body was smeared with
the blood that trickled down from the bag on his shoulders.
Beholding that man who then resembled a cannibal and
who had fallen away from the pure practices of the
order of his birth, entering his house, the newly-arrived
guest, recognising him, O king, said these words:
’What is this that thou art doing here through
folly? Thou art a Brahmana, and the perpetuator
of a Brahmana family. Born in a respectable family
belonging to the Middle country, how is it that thou
becomest like a robber in thy practices? Recollect,
O regenerate one, thy famous kinsmen of former times,
all of whom were well-versed in the Vedas. Born
in their race, alas, thou hast become a stigma to it.
Awake thyself by thy own exertions. Recollecting
the energy, the behaviour, the learning, the self-restraint,
the compassion (that are thine by the order of thy
birth), leave this thy present abode, O regenerate
one!’ Thus addressed by that well-meaning friend
of his, O king, Gautama answered him in great affliction
of heart, saying, O foremost of regenerate ones, I
am poor. I am destitute also of a knowledge of
the Vedas. Know, O best of Brahmanas, that I
have taken up my abode here for the sake of wealth
alone. At thy sight, however, I am blest today.
We shall together set out of this place tomorrow.
Do thou pass the night here with me. Thus addressed,
the newly-arrived Brahmana, full of compassion as
he was, passed the night there, refraining to touch
anything. Indeed, though hungry and requested
repeatedly the guest refused to touch any food in that
“Bhishma said, ’After that night had passed
away and that best of Brahmanas had left the house,
Gautama, issuing from his abode, began to proceed
towards the sea, O Bharata! On the way he beheld
some merchants that used to make voyages on the sea.
With that caravan of merchants he proceeded towards
the ocean. It so happened however, O king, that
that large caravan was assailed, while passing through
a valley, by an infuriated elephant. Almost all
the persons were killed. Somehow escaping from
that great danger, the Brahmana fled towards the north