induced by my request, will, without doubt, give thee
as much wealth as thou desirest.’ Thus
addressed, O king, Gautama cheerfully set out from
that place, eating on the way, to his fill, fruits
sweet as ambrosia. Beholding the sandal and aloe
and birch trees that stood along the road, and enjoying
their refreshing shade, the Brahmana proceeded quickly.
He then reached the city known by the name of Meruvraja.
It had large porches made of stone, and high walls
of the same material. It was also surrounded
on every side with a trench, and large pieces of rock
and engines of many kinds were kept ready on the ramparts.
He soon became known to the Rakshasa chief of great
intelligence, O king, as a dear guest sent unto him
by the chief’s friend (the crane). The chief
received Gautama very gladly. The king of the
Rakshasas then, O Yudhishthira, commanded his attendants,
saying, ’Let Gautama be soon brought hither
from the gate.’ At the command of the king,
certain persons, quick as hawks, issued from the splendid
palace of their ruler, and proceeding to the gate
accosted Gautama. The royal messengers, O monarch,
said unto that Brahmana, ’Come quickly, the
king desires to see thee. Thou mayst have heard
of the king of the Rakshasas, Virupaksha, by name,
possessed of great courage. Even he is impatient
of seeing thee. Come quickly and tarry not.’
Thus addressed, the Brahmana, forgetting his toil in
his surprise, ran with the messengers. Beholding
the great affluence of the city, he became filled
with wonder. Soon he entered the king’s
palace in the company of the messengers solicitous
of obtaining a sight of the king of the Rakshasas.’”
“Bhishma said, ’Led into a spacious apartment,
Gautama was introduced to the king of the Rakshasas.
Worshipped by the latter (with the usual offerings),
he took his seat on an excellent seat. The king
asked him about the race of his birth and his practices,
his study of the Vedas and his observance of the Brahmacharya
vow. The Brahmana, however, without answering
the other queries, only stated his name and race.
The king having ascertained only the name and the
race of his guest, and seeing that he was destitute
of Brahmanic splendour and Vedic studies, next enquired
about the country of his residence.’
“The Rakshasa said, ’Where is thy residence,
O blessed one, and to what race does thy wife belong?
Tell us truly, do not fear. Trust us without
“Gautama said, ’I belong by birth to the
Middle country. I live in a village of hunters.
I have married a Sudra spouse who had been a widow.
All this that I tell you is the truth.’