The Mahabharata Home
Vaisampayana said, "The royal son of Pandu then addressed Narada, saying, 'O holy one, I desire to hear of the birth of the child whose excreta were gold.' Thus addressed by king Yudhishthira the just, the sage Narada began to narrate to him all that had occurred in connection with that child of golden excreta.
"Narada said, 'It is even so, O thou of mighty arms, as Kesava here hath said. Asked by thee I shall now recite the portion that remains of this story. Myself, and my sister's son, the great ascetic Parvata, came (on one occasion) unto Srinjaya that foremost of all victorious kings, for dwelling with him. Honoured by him with due rites, and with every wish of ours gratified, we took up our residence in his abode. After the season of rains had gone, and when the time came for our own departure, Parvata said unto me those words of grave import suitable to the hour: 'We have, O Brahmana, dwelt in the abode of this king for some time, highly honoured by him. Think of what return we should make.' I then, O monarch, addressed Parvata of blessed aspect, saying, 'O nephew, this becomes thee, and, O thou of great power, all this depends upon thyself. Through thy boons let the king be made happy and let him obtain his wishes. Or, if thou choosest, let him be crowned with success through the ascetic merits of both of us.' After this, Parvata having called king Srinjaya, that foremost of victorious persons, said unto him these words O bull of Kuru's race, 'We have been exceedingly gratified, O king, with thy hospitable attentions given to us with every sincerity. With our permission, O foremost of men, think of the boon thou shouldst solicit. Let the boon, however, be such that it may not imply enmity to the gods or destruction to men! Accept then, O king, a boon, for thou deservest one as we think.' Hearing these words, Srinjaya replied, 'If ye have been gratified with me, my object then has been gained, for that of itself has been my greatest gain and that is regarded by me as the fruition of all my desire.' Unto Srinjaya who said so, Parvata again said, 'Solicit, O king, the fruition of that wish which thou art cherishing in thy heart, for a long time.' Srinjaya answered, 'I desire a son that shall be heroic and possessed of great energy, firm in his vows and of long life, highly blessed and possessed of splendour equal to that of the Chief himself of the deities.' At this, Parvata said, 'This thy desire shall be fulfilled. Thy child, however, shall not be long-lived, for thy wish for such a son is even for prevailing over the Chief of the gods. Thy son shall be known by the name of Suvarnashthivin. He shall be possessed of splendour like that of the Chief of the gods but take care to protect him always from that deity.' Hearing these
words of the high-souled Parvata, Srinjaya began to beseech that saint for ordaining otherwise, saying, 'Let my son be long-lived, O Muni, through thy ascetic merit.' Parvata, however, said nothing, through partiality for Indra. Beholding the king very cheerless, I said unto him, 'Think of me, O king, (in thy distress), and I shall promise to come when thought of by thee. Do not grieve, O lord of earth! I will give thee back thy beloved child, even if he be dead, in his living form.' Having said so unto that monarch, both of us left his presence for coming to where we wished, and Srinjaya returned to his abode as he pleased. After some time had elapsed, the royal sage Srinjaya had born unto him a son of great prowess and blazing forth with energy. The child grew up like a large lotus in a lake, and became Suvarnashthivin in reality as in name. This extraordinary fact, O best of the Kurus, soon became widely known over the world. The Chief of the gods also came to know it as the result of Parvata's boon. Fearing humiliation (at the hands of the child when he would grow up), the slayer of Vala and Vritra began to watch for the laches of the prince. He commanded his celestial weapon Thunder, standing before him in embodied shape, saying, 'Go, O puissant one, and assuming the form of a tiger slay this prince. When grown up, this child of Srinjaya may, by his achievements, humiliate me, O Thunder, as Parvata said.' Thus addressed by Sakra, the celestial weapon Thunder, that subjugator of hostile towns, began from that day to continually watch for the laches of the prince. Srinjaya, meanwhile, having obtained that child whose splendour resembled that of Indra himself, became filled with joy. The king, accompanied by his wives, and the other ladies of his household, took up his residence in the midst of a forest. One day, on the shores of the Bhagirathi, the boy, accompanied by his nurse, ran hither and thither in play. Though only five years of age, his prowess, even then, resembled that of a mighty elephant. While thus employed, the child met a powerful tiger that came upon him suddenly. The infant prince trembled violently as he was being crushed by the tiger and soon fell down lifeless on the earth. At this sight the nurse uttered loud cries of grief. Having slain the prince, the tiger, through Indra's powers of delusion, vanished there and then. Hearing the voice of the crying nurse, the king, in great anxiety, ran to the spot. He beheld his son there, his blood quaffed off, and lying lifeless on the ground like the moon dropped from the firmament. Taking up on his lap the boy covered with blood, the king, with heart stricken by grief, began to lament piteously. The royal ladies then, afflicted with grief and crying, quickly ran to the spot where king Srinjaya was. In that situation the king thought of me with concentrated attention. Knowing that the king was thinking of me I appeared before him. Stricken with grief as the king was, I recited to him all those stories, O monarch, that hero of Yadu's race has already recited to thee. I brought Srinjaya's child back to life, with Indra's permission. That which is ordained must occur. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. After this, prince Suvarnashthivin of great fame and energy began to delight the hearts of his parents. Of great prowess, he ascended the throne of his father after the latter had repaired to heaven, and ruled for a period of one thousand and one hundred years. He worshipped
the gods in many great sacrifices characterised by profuse presents. Possessed of great splendour, he gratified the gods and the Pitris. Having procreated many sons, all of whom by their issues multiplied the race, he went the way of all nature, O king, after many years. Do thou, O foremost of kings dispel this grief born in thy heart, even as Kesava has counselled thee, as also Vyasa of austere penances. Rise up, O king, and bear the burthen of this thy ancestral kingdom, and perform high and great sacrifices so that thou mayst obtain (hereafter) whatever regions may be desired by thee!'"
Next: Section XXXII