The Mahabharata Home
(Pauloma Parva continued)
"Sauti continued 'The Dundubha then said, 'In former times, I had a friend Khagama by name. He was impetuous in his speech and possessed of spiritual power by virtue of his austerities. And one day when he was engaged in the Agni-hotra (Fire-sacrifice), I made a mock snake of blades of grass, and in a frolic attempted to frighten him with it. And anon he fell into a swoon. On recovering his senses, that truth-telling and vow-observing ascetic, burning with wrath, exclaimed, 'Since thou hast made a powerless mock snake to frighten me, thou shalt be turned even into a venomless serpent thyself by my curse.' O ascetic, I well knew the power of his penances; therefore with an agitated heart, I addressed him thus, bending low with joined hands, 'Friend, I did this by way of a joke, to excite thy laughter. It behoveth thee to forgive me and revoke thy curse.' And seeing me sorely troubled, the ascetic was moved, and
he replied, breathing hot and hard. 'What I have said must come to pass. Listen to what I say and lay it to thy heart. O pious one! when Ruru the pure son of Pramati, will appear, thou shall be delivered from the curse the moment thou seest him. Thou art the very Ruru and the son of Pramati. On regaining my native form, I will tell thee something for thy good.
"And that illustrious man and the best of Brahmanas then left his snake-body, and attained his own form and original brightness. He then addressed the following words to Ruru of incomparable power, 'O thou first of created beings, verily the highest virtue of man is sparing the life of others. Therefore a Brahmana should never take the life of any creature. A Brahmana should ever be mild. This is the most sacred injunction of the Vedas. A Brahmana should be versed in the Vedas and Vedangas, and should inspire all creatures with belief in God. He should be benevolent to all creatures, truthful, and forgiving, even as it is his paramount duty to retain the Vedas in his memory. The duties of the Kshatriya are not thine. To be stern, to wield the sceptre and to rule the subjects properly are the duties of the Kshatriya. Listen, O Ruru, to the account of the destruction of snakes at the sacrifice of Janamejaya in days of yore, and the deliverance of the terrified reptiles by that best of Dwijas, Astika, profound in Vedic lore and might in spiritual energy.'"
And so ends the eleventh section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva.
Next: Section XII