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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
“But Utanka having recovered his ear-rings thought, ‘O, this is that sacred day of my preceptress. I am at a distance. How can I, therefore, show my regard for her? And when Utanka was anxious about this, the man addressed him and said, ‘Ride this horse, Utanka, and he will in a moment carry thee to thy master’s abode.’ And Utanka having signified his assent, mounted the horse and presently reached his preceptor’s house.
“Then Utanka waited on his preceptor. And his preceptor said, ‘Thou art welcome! What hath occasioned thy long absence?’ And Utanka replied to his preceptor, ‘Sir, in the execution of this my business obstruction was offered by Takshaka, the King of serpents. Therefore I had to go to the region of the Nagas.
There I saw two damsels sitting at a loom, weaving a fabric with black and white threads. Pray, what is that? There likewise I beheld a wheel with twelve spokes ceaselessly turned by six boys. What too doth that import? Who is also the man that I saw? And what the horse of extraordinary size likewise beheld by me? And when I was on the road I also saw a bull with a man mounted thereon, by whom I was endearingly accosted thus, ‘Utanka, eat of the dung of this bull, which was also eaten by thy master?’ So I ate of the dung of that bull according to his words. Who also is he? Therefore, enlightened by thee, I desire to hear all about them.’
“And his preceptor thus addressed said unto him, ‘The two damsels thou hast seen are Dhata and Vidhata; the black and white threads denote night and day; the wheel of twelve spokes turned by the six boys signified the year comprising six seasons. The man is Parjanya, the deity of rain, and the horse is Agni, the god of fire. The bull that thou hast seen on the road is Airavata, the king of elephants; the man mounted thereon is Indra; and the dung of the bull which was eaten by thee was Amrita. It was certainly for this (last) that thou hast not met with death in the region of the Nagas; and Indra who is my friend having been mercifully inclined showed thee favour. It is for this that thou returnest safe, with the ear-rings about thee. Then, O thou amiable one, I give thee leave to depart. Thou shall obtain good fortune.’
“And Utanka, having obtained his master’s leave, moved by anger and resolved to avenge himself on Takshaka, proceeded towards Hastinapura. That excellent Brahmana soon reached Hastinapura. And Utanka then waited upon King Janamejaya who had some time before returned victorious from Takshashila. And Utanka saw the victorious monarch surrounded on all sides by his ministers. And he pronounced benedictions on him in a proper form. And Utanka addressed the monarch at the proper moment in speech of correct accent and melodious sounds, saying, ‘O thou the best of monarchs! How is it that thou spendest thy time like a child when there is another matter that urgently demandeth thy attention?’”
“Sauti said, ‘The monarch Janamejaya, thus addressed, saluting that excellent Brahmana replied unto him, ‘In cherishing these my subjects I do discharge the duties of my noble tribe. Say, what is that business to be done by me and which hath brought thee hither.’
“The foremost of Brahmanas and distinguished beyond all for good deeds, thus addressed by the excellent monarch of large heart, replied unto him, ‘O King! the business is thy own that demandeth thy attention; therefore do it, please. O thou King of kings! Thy father was deprived of life by Takshaka; therefore do thou avenge thy father’s death on that vile serpent. The time hath come, I think, for the act of vengeance ordained by the Fates. Go then avenge the death of thy magnanimous father who, being bitten without cause by that vile serpent, was reduced to five elements even like a tree stricken by thunder.
The wicked Takshaka, vilest of the serpent race, intoxicated with power committed an unnecessary act when he bit the King, that god-like father, the protector of the race of royal saints. Wicked in his deeds, he even caused Kasyapa (the prince of physicians) to run back when he was coming for the relief of thy father. It behoveth thee to burn the wicked wretch in the blazing fire of a snake-sacrifice. O King! Give instant orders for the sacrifice. It is thus thou canst avenge the death of thy father. And a very great favour shall have also been shown to me. For by that malignant wretch, O virtuous Prince, my business also was, on one occasion, obstructed, while proceeding on account of my preceptor.”
“Sauti continued, The monarch, having heard these words, was enraged with Takshaka. By the speech of Utanka was inflamed the prince, even as the sacrificial fire with clarified butter.
Moved by grief also, in the presence of Utanka, the prince asked his ministers the particulars of his father’s journey to the regions of the blessed. And when he heard all about the circumstances of his father’s death from the lips of Utanka, he was overcome with pain and sorrow.And thus endeth the section called Paushya of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata.”