The Mahabharata Home
"Narada said, 'Garuda then, that foremost of winged beings, addressed the cheerless Galava and said, 'Because it is created by Agni, in the bowels of the earth and augmented by Vayu, and because also the earth itself is said to be Hiranmaya, therefore, is wealth called Hiranya. And because wealth supports the world and sustains life, therefore, is it called Dhana. It is for serving these ends that Dhana (wealth) exists from the beginning in the three worlds. On that Friday, when either of the two constellations--the Purvabhadra or the Uttarabhadra--is ascendant, Agni, creating wealth by a fiat of his will, bestoweth it on mankind for the increase of Kuvera's stock. The wealth that is embowelled in the Earth is guarded by the deities called the Ajaikapats and the Ahivradnas, and also by Kuvera. Exceedingly difficult of attainment, that wealth, therefore, O bull among Brahmanas, is rarely attained. Without wealth there is no chance of thy acquisition of the promised steeds. Beg thou, therefore, of some king born in the race of some royal sage, who may, without oppressing his subjects, crown our suit with success. There is a king born in the lunar race, that is my friend. We shall go to him, for he, amongst all on Earth, hath great wealth. That royal sage is known by the name of Yayati, and he is the son of Nahusha. His prowess is incapable of being baffled. Solicited by thee in person, and urged by me, he will give what we seek, for he hath immense wealth, equal unto what belongeth to Kuvera, the lord of treasures. Even thus, by accepting a gift, O learned one, pay off thy debt to thy preceptor.' Talking thus, and thinking upon what was best to be done, Garuda and Galava together went to king Yayati, who was then in his capital called
[paragraph continues] Pratisthana. The king received them hospitably and gave them excellent Arghya and water to wash their feet. And the king then asked them the cause of their advent. And thereupon Garuda answered, saying, 'O son of Nahusha, this ocean of asceticism, called Galava, is my friend. He had been, O monarch, a disciple of Viswamitra for many thousand years. This holy Brahmana, when commanded by Viswamitra to go away whithersoever he chose, addressed his preceptor at that time, saying,--I desire to give something as preceptor's fee. Knowing this one's resources to be poor, Viswamitra did not ask for anything. But when he was repeatedly addressed by this Brahmana on the subject of the tutorial fee, the preceptor, under a slight accession of wrath, said, 'Give me eight hundred white steeds of good pedigree and of lunar radiance, and each having one ear black in hue. If, O Galava, thou desirest to give anything to thy preceptor, let this then be given!' It was thus that Viswamitra endued with wealth of asceticism said unto him in anger. And this bull among Brahmanas is on that account smarting with great grief. Unable to fulfil that command (of his preceptor), he hath now come to take thy shelter. O tiger among men, accepting this as alms from thee, and filled once more with cheerfulness, he will, after paying his preceptor's debt, devote himself again to serve ascetic penances. A royal Rishi as thou art, and, therefore, endued with wealth of asceticism of thy own, this Brahmana, by giving thee a portion of his wealth of asceticism, will make thee richer in wealth of that kind. As many hairs, O lord of men, as there are on a horse's body, so many regions of bliss, O ruler of Earth, are attained by him that giveth away a horse in gift. This one is as fit to accept a gift as thou art to make a gift. Let therefore, thy gift in this instance be like milk deposited in a conch-shell.'"
Next: Section CXV