The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Hearing these sweet words, Gautama became filled with wonder. Feeling at the same time a great curiosity, he eyed Rajadharman without being able to withdraw his gaze from him.'
"Rajadharman said, 'O Brahmana, I am the son of Kasyapa by one of the daughters of (the sage) Daksha. Possessed of great merits, thou art my guest today. Thou art welcome, O foremost of Brahmanas!'
"Bhishma continued, 'Having offered him hospitality according to the rites laid down in the scriptures, the crane made an excellent bed of the Sala flowers that lay all around. He also offered him several large fishes caught from the deep waters of the Bhagirathi. Indeed, the son of Kasyapa offered, for the acceptance of his guest Gautama a blazing fire and certain large fishes. After the Brahmana had eaten and became gratified, the bird possessing wealth of penances began to fan him with his wings for driving off his fatigue. Seeing his guest seated at his case, he asked him about his pedigree. The man answered, saying, 'I am a Brahmana known by the name of Gautama,' and then remained silent. The bird gave his guest a soft bed made of leaves and perfumed with many fragrant flowers. Gautama laid himself down on it, and felt great happiness. When Gautama had laid himself down, the eloquent son of Kasyapa, who resembled Yama himself in his knowledge of duties, asked him a bout the cause of his arrival there. Gautama answered him, saying, 'I am, O large-souled one, very poor. For earning wealth 1 I am desirous of going to the sea.' The son of Kasyapa cheerfully told him: 'It behoveth thee not to feel any anxiety. Thou shalt succeed, O foremost of Brahmanas, and shalt return home with properly. The sage Vrihaspati hath spoken of four kinds of means for the acquisition of wealth, viz., inheritance, sudden accession due to luck or the favour of the gods, acquisition by labour, and acquisition through the aid or kindness of friends. I have become thy friend. I cherish good feelings towards thee. I shall, therefore, exert myself in such a way that thou mayst succeed in acquiring wealth. The night passed away and morning came. Seeing his guest rise cheerfully from bed, the bird addressed him, saying, 'Go, O amiable one, along this very route and thou art sure to succeed. At the distance of about three Yojanas from this place, there is a mighty king of the Rakshasas. Possessed of great strength, his name is Virupaksha, and he is a friend of mine. Go to him, O foremost of Brahmanas! That chief, induced by my request, will,
without doubt, give thee as much wealth as thou desirest.' Thus addressed, O king, Gautama cheerfully set out from that place, eating on the way, to his fill, fruits sweet as ambrosia. Beholding the sandal and aloe and birch trees that stood along the road, and enjoying their refreshing shade, the Brahmana proceeded quickly. He then reached the city known by the name of Meruvraja. It had large porches made of stone, and high walls of the same material. It was also surrounded on every side with a trench, and large pieces of rock and engines of many kinds were kept ready on the ramparts. He soon became known to the Rakshasa chief of great intelligence, O king, as a dear guest sent unto him by the chief's friend (the crane). The chief received Gautama very gladly. The king of the Rakshasas then, O Yudhishthira, commanded his attendants, saying, 'Let Gautama be soon brought hither from the gate.' At the command of the king, certain persons, quick as hawks, issued from the splendid palace of their ruler, and proceeding to the gate accosted Gautama. The royal messengers, O monarch, said unto that Brahmana, 'Come quickly, the king desires to see thee. Thou mayst have heard of the king of the Rakshasas, Virupaksha, by name, possessed of great courage. Even he is impatient of seeing thee. Come quickly and tarry not.' Thus addressed, the Brahmana, forgetting his toil in his surprise, ran with the messengers. Beholding the great affluence of the city, he became filled with wonder. Soon he entered the king's palace in the company of the messengers solicitous of obtaining a sight of the king of the Rakshasas.'"
374:1 Literally, 'for obtaining goods'.
Next: Section CLXXI