The Mahabharata Home
"The Naga said, 'O thou of sweet smiles, for whom hast thou taken that Brahmana? Is he really a human being or is he some deity that has come hither in the disguise of a Brahmana? O thou of great fame, who is there among human beings that would be desirous of seeing me or that would be competent for the purpose? Can a human being, desiring to see me, leave such a command with thee about dispatching me to him for paying him a visit at the place where he is dwelling? Amongst the deities and Asuras and celestial Rishis, O amiable lady, the Nagas are endued with great energy. Possessed of great speed, they are endued again with excellent fragrance. They deserve to be worshipped. They are capable of granting boons. Indeed, we too deserve to be followed by others in our train. I tell thee, O lady, that we are incapable of being seen by human beings.' 2
"The spouse of the Naga chief said, 'Judging by his simplicity and candour I know that that Brahmana is not any deity who subsists on air. O thou of great wrath, I also know this, viz., that he reveres thee with all his heart. His heart is set upon the accomplishment of some object that depends upon thy aid. As the bird called Chataka, which is fond of rain, waits in earnest expectation of a shower (for slaking its thirst), even so is that Brahmana waiting in expectation of a meeting with thee. 1 Let no calamity betake him in consequence of his inability to obtain a sight of thee. No person born like thee in a respectable family can be regarded to remain respectable by neglecting a guest arrived at his house. 2 Casting off that wrath which is natural to thee, it behoveth thee to go and see that Brahmana. It behoveth thee not to suffer thyself to be consumed by disappointing that Brahmana. The king or the prince, by refusing to wipe the tears of persons that come to him from hopes of relief, incurs the sin of foeticide. By abstaining from speech one attains to wisdom. By practising gifts one acquires great fame. By adhering to truthfulness of speech, one acquires the gift of eloquence and comes to be honoured in heaven. By giving away land one attains to that high end which is ordained for Rishis leading the sacred mode of life. By earning wealth through righteous means, one succeeds in attaining to many desirable fruits. By doing in its entirety what is beneficial for oneself, one can avoid going to hell. That is what the righteous say.
"The Naga said, 'I had no arrogance due to pride. In consequence, however, of my birth, the measure of my arrogance was considerable. Of wrath, which is born of desire, O blessed lady, I have none. It has all been consumed by the fire of thy excellent instructions. I do not behold, O blessed dame, any darkness that is thicker than wrath. In consequence, however, of the Naga having excess of wrath, they have become object of reproach with all persons. 3 By succumbing to the influence of wrath, the ten-headed Ravana of great prowess, became the rival of Sakra and was for that reason slain by Rama in battle. Hearing that the Rishi Rama of Bhrigu's race had entered the inner apartments of their palace for bringing away the calf of the Homa cow of their sire, the sons of Karttaviryya, yielding to wrath, took such entry as an insult
to their royal house, and as the consequence thereof, they met with destruction at the hands of Rama. Indeed, Karttaviryya of great strength, resembling the Thousand-eyed Indra himself, in consequence of his having yielded to wrath, was slain in battle by Rama of Jamadagni's race. Verily, O amiable lady at thy words I have restrained my wrath, that foe of penances that destroyer of all that is beneficial for myself. I praise my own self greatly since, O large-eyed one, I am fortunate enough to own thee for my wife,--thee that are possessed of every virtue and that hast inexhaustible merits. I shall now proceed to that spot where the Brahmana is staying. I shall certainly address that Brahmana in proper words and he shall certainly go hence, his wishes being accomplished."
211:2 The meaning of annyayinah is that we should be followed by others, i.e., we deserve to walk at the head of others.
212:1 The Indian bird Chataka has a natural hole on the upper part of its long neck in consequence of which it is seen to always sit with beaks upturned, so that the upper part of the neck keeps the hole covered. The Chataka is incapable of slaking its thirst in a lake or river, for it cannot bend its neck down. Rain water is what it must drink. Its cry is shrill and sharp but not without sweetness. 'Phate-e-ek-jal' is supposed to be the cry uttered by it. When the Chataka cries, the hearers expect rain. Eager expectation with respect to anything is always compared to the Chataka's expectation of rain water.
212:2 The Burdwan translator erroneously renders this verse. The commentator explains that hitwa is equivalent to vina and sums up the meaning of the first line in these words, viz., twaddarsanam vina asya kopi vighnomabhut. In the second line, naprayupasate is equal to paritajya na aste.
212:3 It is a pity that even such verses have not been rendered correctly by the Burdwan translator. K. P. Singha gives the sense correctly, but the translation is not accurate.
Next: Section CCCLXI