The Mahabharata Home
"Salya said, 'Seeing Nahusha enraged, the gods led by the saints spoke unto him, 'Who was now their king of awful mien? O king of gods, quit thy wrath. When thou art in wrath, O lord, the Universe, with its Asuras and Gandharvas, its Kinnaras, and great snakes, quaketh. Quit this wrath, thou righteous being. Persons like thee do not put themselves out. That goddess is another person's wife. Be pacified, O lord of gods! Turn back thy inclination from the sin of outraging another's wife. Thou art the king of gods, prosperity to thee! Protect thy subjects in all righteousness?' So addressed, he heeded not the saying rendered senseless by lust. And the king spoke to the gods, in allusion to Indra, 'Ahalya of spotless fame, the wife of a saint, was outraged by Indra while her husband was alive. Why did ye not prevent him? Many were the deeds of inhumanity, of unrighteousness, of deceit, committed by
[paragraph continues] Indra in former times. Why did ye not prevent him? Let the goddess do my pleasure; that would be her permanent good. And so the same will ever more rebound to your safety, ye gods!'
"The gods said, 'We shall bring to thee the queen of Indra even as thou hast laid the command, 'O lord of heaven! Quit this wrath, thou valiant soul! Be pacified, O lord of gods!'
"Salya continued, 'Thus having spoken to him, the gods with the saint went to inform Vrihaspati and the queen of Indra of the said news. And they said, 'We know, O foremost of Brahmanas, that the queen of Indra hath betaken herself to thy house, for protection, and that thou hast promised her protection, O best of divine saints! But we, the gods and Gandharvas and saints, beseech thee, O thou of great lustre, to give up the queen of Indra to Nahusha. Nahusha, the king of gods, of great effulgence, is superior to Indra. Let her, that lady of choice figure and complexion, choose him as her lord!' Thus addressed, the goddess gave vent to tears; and sobbing audibly, she mourned in piteous accents. And she spoke to Vrihaspati, 'O best of divine saints, I do not desire Nahusha to be my lord. I have betaken myself to thy protection, O Brahmana! Deliver me from this great peril!'
"Vrihaspati said, 'My resolution is this, I shall not abandon one that hath sought my protection. O thou of unblamable life, I shall not abandon thee, virtuous as thou art and of a truthful disposition! I do not desire to do an improper act, specially as I am a Brahmana knowing what righteousness is, having a regard for truth, and aware also of the precepts of virtue. I shall never do it. Go your ways, ye best of gods. Hear what hath formerly been sung by Brahma with regard to the matter at hand. He that delivereth up to a foe of a person terrified and asking for protection obtaineth no protection when he himself is in need of it. His seed doth not grow at seed-time and rain doth not come to him in the season of rains. He that delivereth up to a foe a person terrified and asking for protection never succeedeth in anything that he undertaketh; senseless as he is, he droppeth paralysed from heaven; the god refuse offerings made by him. His progeny die an untimely death and his forefathers always quarrel (among themselves). The gods with Indra and their head dart the thunderbolt at him. Know it to be so, I shall not deliver up this Sachi here, the queen of Indra, famous in the world as his favourite consort. O ye best of gods, what may be for both her good and mine I ask you to do. Sachi I shall never deliver up!'
"Salya continued, 'Then the gods and the Gandharvas said these words to the preceptor of the gods, 'O Vrihaspati, deliberate upon something that may be conformable to sound policy!' Vrihaspati said, 'Let this goddess of auspicious looks ask for time from Nahusha in order to make up her mind to his proposal. This will be for the good of Indra's queen, and of us as well. Time, ye gods, may give rise to many impediments. Time will send time onward. Nahusha is proud and powerful by virtue of the boon granted to him!'
"Salya continued, 'Vrihaspati having spoken so, the gods, delighted then said, 'Well hast thou said, O Brahmana. This is for the good of all the gods. It is no doubt so. Only, let this goddess be propitiated.' Then the assembled gods led by Agni, with a view to the welfare of all the worlds, spoke to Indra's queen in a quiet way. And the gods said, 'Thou art supporting the whole universe of things mobile and immobile. Thou art chaste and true: go thou to Nahusha. That vicious being, lustful after thee, will shortly fall: and Indra, O goddess, will get the sovereignty of the gods!' Ascertaining this to be the result of that deliberation, Indra's queen, for attaining her end, went bashfully to Nahusha of awful mien. The vicious Nahusha also, rendered senseless by lust, saw how youthful and lovely she was, and became highly pleased.'
Next: Section XIII