The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'Having accomplished his preceptor's behest, Vipula practised the most severe penances. Possessed of great energy, he at last regarded himself as endued with sufficient ascetic merit, Priding himself upon the feat he had achieved, he wandered fearlessly and contentedly over the earth, O monarch, regarded by all as one possessed of great fame for what he had done. The puissant Bhargava regarded that he had conquered both the worlds by that feat of his as also by his severe penances. After some time had passed away, O delighter of the Kurus, the occasion came for a ceremony of gifts to take place with respect to the sister of Ruchi. Abundant wealth and corn were to be given away in it. 1 Meanwhile, a certain celestial damsel endued with great beauty, was journeying through the skies. From her body as she coursed through the welkin, some flowers dropped down on the earth. Those flowers possessed of celestial fragrance fell on a spot not far from the retreat of Ruchi's husband. As the flowers lay scattered on the ground, they were picked up by Ruchi of beautiful eyes. Soon after an invitation came to Ruchi from the country of the Angas. The sister, referred to above, of Ruchi, named Prabhavati, was the spouse of Chitraratha, the ruler of the Angas. Ruchi, of very superior complexion, having attached those flowers to her hair, went to the palace of the king of the Angas in answer to the invitation she had received. Beholding those flowers on her hair the queen of the Angas, possessed of beautiful eyes, urged her sister to obtain some for her. Ruchi, of beautiful face, speedily informed her husband of that request of her sister. The Rishi accepted the prayer of his sister-in-law.
[paragraph continues] Summoning Vipula into his presence Devasarman of severe penances commanded his disciple to bring him some flowers of the same kind, saying, 'Go, go!' Accepting without hesitation the behest of his preceptor, the great ascetic Vipula, O king, answered, 'So be it!' and then proceeded to that spot whence the lady Ruchi had picked up the flowers that were coveted by her sister. Arrived at that spot where the flowers (picked up by Ruchi) had fallen from the welkin, Vipula saw some others still lying scattered. They were all as fresh as if they had been newly plucked from the plants whereon they had grown. None of them had drooped in the least. He took up those celestial flowers of great beauty. Possessed of celestial fragrance, O Bharata, Vipula got them there as the result of his severe penances. The accomplisher of his preceptor's behest, having obtained them, he felt great delight and set out speedily for the city of Champa adorned with festoons of Champaka flowers. As he proceeded, he saw on his way a human couple moving in a circle hand in hand. One of them made a rapid step and thereby destroyed the cadence of the movement. For this reason, O king, a dispute arose between them. Indeed, one of them charged the other, saying, 'Thou hast made a quicker step!' The other answered, 'No, verily', as each maintained his own opinion obstinately, each, O king, asserted what the other denied, and denied what the other asserted. While thus disputing with each other with great assurance, an oath was then heard among them. Indeed, each of them suddenly named Vipula in what they uttered. The oath each of them took was even this, 'That one amongst us two who speaketh falsely, shall in the next world, meet with the end which will be the regenerate Vipula's!' Hearing these words of theirs, Vipula's face became very cheerless. He began to reflect, saying unto himself, 'I have undergone severe penances. The dispute between this couple is hot. To me, again, it is painful. What is the sin of which I have been guilty that both these persons should refer to my end in the next world as the most painful one among those reserved for all creatures?' Thinking in this strain, Vipula, O best of monarchs, hung down his head, and with a cheerless mind began to recollect what sin he had done. Proceeding a little way he beheld six other men playing with dice made of gold and silver. Engaged in play, those individuals seemed to him to be so excited that the hair on their bodies stood on end. They also (upon a dispute having arisen among them) were heard by Vipula to take the same oath that he had already heard the first couple to take. Indeed, their words had reference in the same way to Vipula, 'He amongst us who, led by cupidity, will act in an improper way, shall meet with that end which is reserved for Vipula in the next world!' Hearing these words, however, Vipula, although he strove earnestly to recollect failed to remember any transgression of his from even his earliest years, O thou of Kuru's race. Verily he began to burn like a fire placed in the midst of another fire. Hearing that curse, his mind burnt with grief. In this state of anxiety a long time elapsed. At last he recollected the manner in which he had acted in protecting his preceptor's wife from the
machinations of Indra. 'I had penetrated the body of that lady, placing limb within limb, face within face, Although I had acted in this way, I did not yet tell my preceptor the truth!' Even this was the transgression. O thou of Kuru's race which Vipula recollected in himself. Indeed, O blessed monarch, without doubt that was the transgression which he had actually committed. Coming to the city of Champa, he gave the flowers to his preceptor. Devoted to superiors and seniors, he worshipped his preceptor in due form.'"
13:1 The adana ceremony was a rite in course of which friends and kinsmen had to make presents unto the person performing the ceremony. The investiture with the sacred-thread, marriage, the rite performed in the sixth and the ninth month of pregnancy, are all ceremonies of this kind.
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