The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, "Beholding the king, who had become so, of frightful mien, wearing a long beard smeared with the blood of human beings, the Brahmana Utanka, O king, did not become agitated. That monarch of great energy, inspiring terror in every breast and looking like a second Yama, rising up, addressed Utanka, saying,--'By good luck, O best of Brahmanas, thou hast come to me at the sixth hour of the day when I am in search of food.'
"Utanka said, 'O king, know that I have come hither in course of my wanderings for the sake of my preceptor. The wise have said that I while one is employed for the sake of one's preceptor, one should not be injured.'
"The king said, 'O best of Brahmanas, food has been ordained for me at the sixth hour of the day. I am hungry. I cannot, therefore, allow thee to escape today.'
"Utanka said, 'Let it be so, O king. Let this compact be made with me. After I have ceased to wander for my preceptor, I shall once more come and place myself within thy power. It has been heard by me, O best of kings, that the object I seek for my preceptor is under thy control, O monarch.
[paragraph continues] Therefore, O ruler of men, I solicit thee for it. Thou daily givest many foremost of gems unto superior Brahmanas. Thou art a giver, O chief of men, from whom gifts may be accepted, know that I too am a worthy object of charity present before thee, O best of kings. Having accepted from thee in gift that object for my preceptor which is under thy control, I shall, O king, in consequence of my compact, once more come back to thee and place myself under thy power. I assure thee truly of this. There is no falsehood in this. Never before have I spoken anything untrue, no, not even in jest. What shall I say then of other occasions?'
"Saudasa said, 'If the object thou seekest for thy preceptor is capable of being placed in thy hands by me, if I be regarded as one from whom a gift may be accepted, do thou then say what that object is.'
"Utanka said, 'O foremost of men, O Saudasa, in my estimation thou art a worthy person from whom gifts may be accepted. I have, therefore, come to thee for begging of thee the jewelled ear-rings (worn by thy queen).'
"Saudasa said, 'Those jewelled ear-rings, O learned and regenerate Rishi, belong to my wife. They should be asked from her. Do thou, therefore, solicit some other thing from me. I shall give it to thee, O thou of excellent vows.'
"Utanka said, 'If we be regarded as any authority, do thou cease then to urge this pretext. Do thou give those jewelled ear-rings to me. Be thou truthful in speech, O king.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the king once more addressed Utanka and said unto him, 'Do thou, at my word, go to my venerable queen, O best of men, and ask her, saying,--Give!--She of pure vows, thus solicited by thee, will certainly, at my command, give thee, O foremost of regenerate persons, those jewelled ear-rings of hers without doubt.'
"Utanka said, 'Whither, O ruler of men, shall I be able to meet thy queen? Why dost thou not thyself go to her?'
"Saudasa said, 'Thou wilt find her today in the vicinity of a foremost fountain. I cannot see her today as the sixth hour of the day has come.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, Utanka, O chief of Bharata's race, then left that spot. Beholding Madayanti, he informed her of his object. Hearing the command of Saudasa, that lady of large eyes replied unto the highly intelligent Utanka, O Janamejaya, in these words: 'It is even so, O regenerate one. Thou shouldst, however, O sinless one, assure me that thou dost not say what is untrue. It behoves thee to bring me some sign from my husband. These celestial ear-rings of mine, made of costly gems, are such that the deities and Yakshas and great Rishis always watch for opportunities for bearing them away. If placed at any time on the Earth, this costly article would then be stolen by the Nagas. If worn by one who is impure in consequence of eating, it would then be taken away by the Yakshas. If the wearer falls asleep (without taking care of these precious ear-rings) the deities would then take them away. O best of Brahmanas, these ear-rings are capable of being taken away, when such opportunities present themselves, by deities and Rakshasas and Nagas, if worn by a heedless person. O best of regenerate ones, these ear-rings, day and night, always produce gold. At night, they shine
brightly, attracting the rays of stars and constellations. O holy one, if worn by any one, he would be freed from hunger and thirst and fear of every kind. The wearer of these ear-rings is freed also from the fear of poison and fire and every kind of danger. If worn by one of short stature, these become short. If worn by one of tall stature, these grow in size. Even of such virtues are these ear-rings of mine. They are praised and honoured everywhere. Indeed, they are known over the three worlds. Do thou, therefore, bring me some sign (from my husband).'"
Next: Section LVIII