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(Vaka-vadha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'On hearing these words of her afflicted parents, the daughter was filled with grief, and she addressed them, saying, 'Why are you so afflicted and why do you so weep, as if you have none to look after you? O, listen to me and do what may be proper. There is little doubt that you are bound in duty to abandon me at a certain time. Sure to abandon me once, O, abandon me now and save every thing at the expense of me alone. Men desire to have children, thinking that children would save them (in this world as well as in the region hereafter). O, cross the stream of your difficulties by means of my poor self, as if I were a raft. A child rescueth his parents in this and the other regions; therefore is the child called by the learned Putra (rescuer). The ancestors desire daughter's sons from me (as a special means of salvation). But (without waiting for my children) I myself will rescue them by protecting the life of my father. This my brother is of tender years, so there is little doubt that he will perish if thou diest now. If thou, my father, diest and my brother followeth thee, the funeral cake of the Pitris will be suspended and they will be greatly injured. Left behind by my father and brother, and by my mother also (for she will not survive her husband and son) I shall be plunged deeper and deeper in woe and ultimately perish in great distress. There can be little doubt that if thou escape from this danger as also my mother and infant brother, then thy race and the (ancestral) cake will be perpetuated. The son is one's own self; the wife is one's friend; the daughter, however, is the source of trouble. Do thou save thyself, therefore, by removing that source of trouble, and do thou thereby set me in the path of virtue. As I am a girl, O father, destitute of thee, I shall be helpless and plunged in woe, and shall have to go everywhere. It is therefore that I am resolved to rescue my father's race and share the merit of that act by accomplishing this difficult task. If thou, O best of Brahmanas, goest thither (unto the Rakshasa), leaving me here, then I shall be very much pained. Therefore, O father, be kind to me. O thou best of men, for our sake, for that of virtue and also thy race, save thyself, abandoning me, whom at one time thou shall be constrained to part from. There need be no delay, O father, in doing that which is inevitable. What can be more painful than that, when thou hast ascended to heaven, we shall have to go about begging our food, like dogs, from strangers. But if thou art rescued with thy relations from these difficulties, I shall then live happily in the region of the celestials. It hath been heard by us that if after bestowing thy daughter in this way, thou offerest oblations to the gods and the celestials, they will certainly be propitious.'

p. 331

"Vaisampayana continued, 'The Brahmana and his wife, hearing these various lamentations of their daughter, became sadder than before and the three began to weep together. Their son, then, of tender years, beholding them and their daughter thus weeping together, lisped these words in a sweet tone, his eyes having dilated with delight, 'Weep not, O father, nor thou, O mother, nor thou O sister!' And smilingly did the child approach each of them, and at last taking up a blade of grass said in glee, 'With this will I slay the Rakshasa who eateth human beings!' Although all of them had been plunged in woe, yet hearing what the child lisped so sweetly, joy appeared on their faces. Then Kunti thinking that to be the proper opportunity, approached the group and said these words. Indeed, her words revived them as nectar reviveth a person that is dead.'"

Next: Section CLXII