The Mahabharata Home
"Narada said, 'That best of monarchs, king Haryyaswa, after reflecting for a long while and breathing a long and hot sigh about the birth of a
son, at last said, 'Those six limbs 1 that ought to be high are high in this maiden. Those seven, again, that ought to be slender are slender in her. Those three, again, which ought to be deep are deep in her. And lastly, those five that ought to be red are red in her. It seems that she is worth being looked at by even the gods and the Asuras, and is accomplished in all the arts and sciences. Possessed of all auspicious signs, she will certainly bring forth many children. She is even capable of bringing forth a son who may become an emperor. Having regard to my wealth, tell me, O foremost of Brahmanas, what should be her dower.' Galava said, 'Give me eight hundred steeds, born in a good country, of lunar whiteness, and each with one ear black in hue. This auspicious and large-eyed maiden will then become the mother of thy sons, like the fire-stick becoming the genetrix of fire.'"
"Narada continued, 'Hearing these words, that royal sage, king Haryyaswa, filled with sorrow, but blinded by lust, addressed Galava, that foremost of Rishis, saying, 'I have only two hundred steeds about me of the kind wanted by thee, although of other kinds all worthy of sacrifice, I have many thousand moving about (in my dominions), O Galava, I desire to beget only one son upon this damsel. Kindly grant this request of mine.' Hearing these words of the king, that damsel said unto Galava, 'A reciter of Brahma granted me a boon that I would after each delivery, be a maiden again. Give me away, therefore, to this king, accepting his excellent steeds. In this way, full eight hundred steeds may be obtained by thee from four kings in succession, and I also may have four sons. Collect thou the wealth intended for thy preceptor, in this way. Even this is what I think. It depends, however, oil thee, O Brahmana, as to how thou shouldst act.' Thus addressed by that maiden, the Muni Galava said these words unto king Haryyaswa, 'O Haryyaswa, O best of men, accept this damsel for a fourth part of the dower that I have settled, and beget only one son upon her.' Taking then that maiden and worshipping Galava, the king in due time and place had by her a son of the kind wished for. And the son so born came to be called by the name of Vasumanas. Richer than all the wealthy kings of the earth, and resembling one of the Vasus themselves he became a king and giver of great wealth.
'After some time, intelligent Galava came back and approaching the
delighted Haryyaswa, said unto him, 'Thou hast, O king obtained a son. Indeed, this child is like the sun himself in splendour. The time hath come, O foremost of men, for me to go to some other king for alms.' Hearing these words, Haryyaswa who was even truthful in speech and steady in acts of manliness, and remembering that the balance of six hundred steeds could not be made up by him, gave Madhavi back to Galava. And Madhavi also, abandoning that blazing, kingly prosperity, and once more becoming a maiden, followed the footsteps of Galava. And Galava too, saying, 'Let the steeds remain with thee' then went, accompanied by the maiden, to king Divodasa.'"
228:1 The limbs that should be 'prominent' or 'elevated' in order to constitute an indication of beauty or auspiciousness are variously mentioned. The general opinion seems to be that these six only, viz., the back of each palm, the two dorsa, and the two bosoms should be elevated. Another opinion would seem to indicate that the two bosoms, the two hips, and the two eyes should be so. The seven that should be delicate or slender are unanimously mentioned as the skin, the hair, the teeth, the fingers of the hands, the fingers of the feet, the waist, and the neck. The three that should be deep are the navel, the voice, and the understanding. The five that should be red are the two palms, the two outer corners of the eyes, the tongue, the nether and the upper-lips, and the palate. These five also, are variously given.
Next: Section CXVII