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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
There is little doubt, ye children, that ye have been robbed of your sight by that illustrious child whose wrath hath been kindled at the remembrance of the slaughter of his race. Ye children, while ye were destroying even the embryos of the Bhrigu race, this child was held by me in my thigh for a hundred years! And in order that the prosperity of Bhrigu’s race might be restored, the entire Vedas with their branches came unto this one even while he was in the womb. It is plain that this scion of the Bhrigu race, enraged at the slaughter of his fathers, desireth to slay you! It is by his celestial energy that your eyes have been scorched.
Therefore, ye children, pray ye unto this my excellent child born of my thigh. Propitiated by your homage he may restore your eye-sight.’
“Vasishtha continued, ‘Hearing those words of the Brahmana lady, all these princes addressed the thigh-born child, saying, ‘Be propitious!’ And the child became propitious unto them. And that best of Brahmana Rishis, in consequence of his having been born after tearing open his mother’s thigh, came to be known throughout the three worlds by the name of Aurva (thigh-born). And those princes regaining their eye-sight went away. But the Muni Aurva of the Bhrigu race resolved upon overcoming the whole world. And the high-souled Rishi set his heart, O child, upon the destruction of every creature in the world. And that scion of the Bhrigu race, for paying homage (as he regarded) unto his slaughtered ancestors, devoted himself to the austerest of penances with the object of destroying the whole world. And desirous of gratifying his ancestors, the Rishi afflicted by his severe asceticism the three worlds with the celestials, the Asuras and human beings. The Pitris, then, learning what the child of their race was about, all came from their own region unto the Rishi and addressing him said:
Thy power hath been witnessed by us. Be propitious unto the three worlds. O, control thy wrath. O child, it was not from incapacity that the Bhrigus of souls under complete control were, all of them, indifferent to their own destruction at the hands of the murderous Kshatriyas. O child, when we grew weary of the long periods of life alloted to us, it was then that we desired our own destruction through the instrumentality of the Kshatriyas. The wealth that the Bhrigus had placed in their house underground had been placed only with the object of enraging the Kshatriyas and picking a quarrel with them. O thou best of Brahmanas, as we were desirous of heaven, of what use could wealth be to us? The treasurer of heaven (Kuvera) had kept a large treasure for us. When we found that death could not, by any means, overtake us all, it was then, O child, that we regarded this as the best means (of compassing our desire).
They who commit suicide never attain to regions that are blessed. Reflecting upon this, we abstained from self-destruction. That which, therefore thou desirest to do is not agreeable to us. Restrain thy mind, therefore, from the sinful act of destroying the whole world. O child, destroy not the Kshatriyas nor the seven worlds. O, kill this wrath of thine that staineth thy ascetic energy.’”
The wrath that kings desirous of subjugating the whole earth exhibit, is not without its uses. It serveth to restrain the wicked and to protect the honest. While lying unborn within my mother’s thigh, I heard the doleful cries of my mother and other women of the Bhrigu race who were then being exterminated by the Kshatriyas. Ye Pitris, when those wretches of Kshatriyas began to exterminate the Bhrigus together with unborn children of their race, it was then that wrath filled my soul. My mother and the other women of our race, each in an advanced state of pregnancy, and my father, while terribly alarmed, found not in all the worlds a single protector.
Then when the Bhrigu women found not a single protector, my mother held me in one of her thighs. If there be a punisher of crimes in the worlds no one in all the worlds would dare commit a crime; if he findeth not a punisher, the number of sinners becometh large. The man who having the power to prevent or punish sin doth not do so knowing that a sin hath been committed, is himself defiled by that sin.
When kings and others, capable of protecting my fathers, protect them not, postponing that duty preferring the pleasures of life, I have just cause to be enraged with them. I am the lord of the creation, capable of punishing its iniquity. I am incapable of obeying your command. Capable of punishing this crime, if I abstain from so doing, men will once more have to undergo a similar persecution. The fire of my wrath too that is ready to consume the worlds, if repressed, will certainly consume by its own energy my own self. Ye masters, I know that ye ever seek the good of the worlds: direct me, therefore, as to what may benefit both myself and the worlds.’
“Vasishtha continued, ‘The Pitris replied saying, O, throw this fire that is born of thy wrath and that desireth to consume the worlds, into the waters. That will do thee good. The worlds, indeed, are all dependent on water (as their elementary cause). Every juicy substance containeth water, indeed the whole universe is made of water. Therefore, O thou best of Brahmanas, cast thou this fire of thy wrath into the waters. If, therefore, thou desirest it, O Brahmana, let this fire born of thy wrath abide in the great ocean, consuming the waters thereof, for it hath been said that the worlds are made of water. In this way, O thou sinless one, thy word will be rendered true, and the worlds with the gods will not be destroyed.’
“Vasishtha continued, ‘Then, O child, Aurva cast the fire of his wrath into the abode of Varuna. And that fire which consumeth the waters of the great ocean, became like unto a large horse’s head which persons conversant with the Vedas call by the name of Vadavamukha. And emitting itself from that mouth it consumeth the waters of the mighty ocean. Blest be thou! It behoveth not thee, therefore, to destroy the worlds. O thou Parasara, who art acquainted with the higher regions, thou foremost of wise men!’”