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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.
not ascertain the points of the compass.  Indeed, afflicted with thirst, he began to wander hither and thither.  He then beheld a lake that was exceedingly beautiful and was full of transparent water.  Alighting from his steed, and plunging into the lake, he caused his animal to drink.  Tying his horse then, whose thirst had been slaked, to a tree, the king plunged into the lake again for performing his ablutions.  To his amazement he found that he was changed, by virtue of the waters, into a woman.  Beholding himself thus transformed in respect of sex itself, the king became overpowered with shame.  With his senses and mind completely agitated, he began to reflect with his whole heart in this strain:—­Alas, how shall I ride my steed?  How shall I return to my capital?  In consequence of the Agnishtuta sacrifice I have got a hundred sons all endued with great might, and all children of my own loins.  Alas, thus transformed, what shall I say unto them?  What shall I say unto my spouses, my relatives and well-wishers, and my subjects of the city and the provinces?  Rishis conversant with the truths of duty and religion and other matters say that mildness and softness and liability to extreme agitation are the attributes of women, and that activity, hardness, and energy are the attributes of men.  Alas, my manliness has disappeared.  For what reason has femininity come over me?  In consequence of this transformation of sex, how shall I succeed in mounting my horse again?—­Having indulged in these sad thoughts, the monarch, with great exertion, mounted his steed and came back to his capital, transformed though he had been into a woman.  His sons and spouses and servants, and his subjects of the city and the provinces, beholding that extraordinary transformation, became exceedingly amazed.  Then that royal sage, that foremost of eloquent men, addressing them all, said,—­I had gone out on a hunting expedition, accompanied by a large force.  Losing all knowledge of the points of the compass, I entered a thick and terrible forest, impelled by the fates.  In that terrible forest, I became afflicted with thirst and lost my senses.  I then beheld a beautiful lake abounding with fowl of every description.  Plunging into that stream for performing my ablutions, I was transformed into a woman!—­Summoning then his spouses and counsellors, and all his sons by their names, that best of monarchs transformed into a woman said unto them these words:—­Do ye enjoy this kingdom in happiness.  As regards myself, I shall repair to the woods, ye sons.—­Having said so unto his children, the monarch proceeded to the forest.  Arrived there, she came upon an asylum inhabited by an ascetic.  By that ascetic the transformed monarch gave birth to a century of sons.  Taking all those children of hers, she repaired to where her former children were, and addressing the latter, said,—­Ye are the children of my loins while I was a man.  These are my children brought forth by me in this state of transformation. 
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