The Mahabharata Home
"Kunti said, 'O holy one, thou art my father-in-law and therefore, my deity of deities. Verily, thou art my god of gods. Hear my words of truth.
[paragraph continues] An ascetic named Durvasas, who is of the regenerate order and who is full of wrath, came to my father's house for eleemosynary charity. I succeeded in gratifying him by the purity of my external behaviour and of my mind, as also by refusing to notice the many wrongs he did. I did not give way to wrath although there was much in his behaviour quite capable of exciting that passion. Served with care, the great ascetic became highly pleased with me and disposed to grant me a boon. 'Thou must accept the boon I shall give,' were his words to me. Fearing his curse, I answered him, saying,--'So be it.' The regenerate Rishi once more said unto me,--'O blessed damsel, O thou of beautiful face, thou wilt become the mother of Dharma. Those deities whom thou wilt summon will be obedient to thee.' Having said those words, the regenerate one vanished away from my sight. I became filled with wonder. The mantra, however, which the Rishi gave has dwelt in my memory at all times. One day, sitting within my chamber I beheld the sun rising. Desiring to bring the maker of day before me, I recollected the words of the Rishi. Without any consciousness of the fault I committed, I summoned the deity from mere girlishness. The deity, however, of a thousand rays, (summoned by me) came to my presence. He divided himself in twain. With one portion he was in the firmament, and with the other he stood on the Earth before me. With one he heated the worlds and with another he came to me. He told me, while I was trembling at his sight, these words,--'Do thou ask a boon of me.' Bowing unto him with my head, I asked him to leave me. He replied unto me, saying,--'I cannot bear the idea of coming to thee fruitlessly. I shall consume thee as also that Brahmana who gave thee the Mantra as a boon.' The Brahmana who had done no evil--I wished to protect from Surya's curse. I therefore, said--'Let me have a son like thee, O god.' The deity of thousand rays then penetrated me with his energy and stupefied me completely. He then said unto me,--'Thou wilt have a son,' and then went back to the firmament. I continued to live in the inner apartments and desirous of saying the honour of my sire, I cast into the waters my infant son named Karna who thus came into the world secretly. Without doubt, through the grace of that god, I once more became a virgin, O regenerate one, even as the Rishi Durvasas had said unto me. Foolish that I am, although he knew me for his mother when he grew up, I yet made no effort to acknowledge him. This burns me, O regenerate Rishi, as is well-known to thee. Whether it is sinful or not so, I have told thee truth. It behoveth thee, O holy one, to gratify the craving I feel for beholding that son of mine. O foremost of ascetics, let this king also, O sinless one, obtain the fruition today of that wish of his which he cherishes in his bosom and which has become known to thee.' Thus addressed by Kunti, Vyasa, that foremost of all persons, said unto her in reply,--'Blessed be thou; all that thou hast said unto me will happen. (As regards the birth of Karna) no fault is ascribable to thee. Thou wert restored to virginity. The deities are possessed of (Yoga) puissance. They are able to penetrate human bodies. 1 There are
deities. They beget (offspring) by thought alone. By word, by sight, by touch, and by sexual union, also, they beget children. These are the five methods. Thou belongest to the order of humanity. Thou hast no fault (in what happened). Know this. O Kunti. Let the fever of thy heart be dispelled. For those that are mighty, everything is becoming. 'For those that are mighty, everything is pure. For those that are mighty, everything is meritorious. For those that are mighty, everything is their own.'"
47:1 The puissance here referred to is that of Anima, Laghima, etc. i.e., the capacity of becoming minute and subtile, etc.
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