"Narada then said, 'This one is the charioteer of the name of Matali. He is besides a dear friend of Sakra. Pure in conduct, he hath an excellent disposition and possesses numerous virtues. Endued with strength of mind, he hath great energy and great might. He is the friend, counsellor, and charioteer of Sakra. It has been seen in every battle that small is the difference that exists between him and Vasava as regards prowess and strength. In all the battles between the gods and Asuras, it is this Matali that driveth, by his mind alone, that ever-victorious and best of cars belonging to Indra, which is drawn by thousand steeds. Vanquished by his management of the steeds, the enemies of the gods are subjugated by Vasava by the use of his hands. Defeated before-hand by Matali, the Asuras are subsequently slain by Indra. Matali hath an excellent daughter, who in beauty is unrivalled in the world. Truthful and possessed of every accomplishment, she is known by the name of Gunakesi. He was searching the three worlds for an eligible bridegroom. O thou that art possessed of the splendour of a celestial, thy grandson, Sumukha, hath become acceptable to him as a husband for his daughter. If O best of serpents, his proposal be acceptable to thee, quickly make up thy mind, O Aryaka, to take his daughter in gift for thy grandson. As Lakshmi in Vishnu's house, or Swaha in that of Agni so let the slender-waisted Gunakesi be a wife in thy race. Let Gunakesi, therefore
be accepted by thee for thy grandson, like Sachi for Vasava who deserveth her. Although this youth hath lost his father, yet we choose him for his virtues, and for the respectability of Airavata and thy own. Indeed, it is in consequence of Sumukha's merits, his disposition, purity, self-restraint and other qualifications that Matali hath become himself desirous of giving away his daughter unto him. It behoveth thee, therefore, to honour Matali.'
"Kanwa continued, 'Thus addressed by Narada, Aryaka beholding his grandson elected as a bridegroom and remembering the death of his son was filled with delight and sorrow at the same time. And he then addressed Narada and said, 'How, O celestial Rishi, can I desire Gunakesi for a daughter-in-law'! It cannot be, O great Rishi, that thy words are not highly honoured by me, for who is there that would not desire an alliance with the friend of Indra? I hesitate, however, O great Muni, in consequence of the instability of the very cause that would not make that alliance lasting. O thou of great effulgence, the author of this youth, viz., my son, hath been devoured by Garuda. We are afflicted with sorrow on that account. But worse still, O lord, Vinata's son, at the time of leaving these regions, said, 'After a month I will devour this Sumukha also. Surely, it will happen as he hath said, for we know with whom we have to deal. At these words, therefore, of Suparna we have become cheerless!'
"Kanwa continued, 'Matali then said unto Aryaka, 'I have formed a plan. This thy grandson is elected by me as my son-in-law. Let this Naga then, proceeding with me and Narada, come to the Lord of heaven the chief of the celestials, O best of Nagas. I shall then endeavour to place obstacles in the way of Suparna, and as a last resource, we will ascertain the period of life that hath been vouchsafed to Sumukha. Blessed be thou, O Naga, let Sumukha, therefore, come with me to the presence of the Lord of the celestials.' Saying this, they took Sumukha with them, and all the four, endued with great splendour, coming to heaven beheld Sakra the chief of the gods seated in all his glory. And it so happened that the illustrious Vishnu of four arms was also present there. Narada then represented the whole story about Matali and his choice.'
"Kanwa continued, 'Hearing all that Narada said, Vishnu directed Purandara, the Lord of the universe, saying, 'Let Amrita be given to this youth, and let him be made immortal like gods themselves. Let Matali, and Narada, and Sumukha, O Vasava, all attain their cherished wish through thy grace.' Purandara, however, reflecting on the prowess of Vinata's son, said unto Vishnu, 'Let Amrita be given unto him by thee.' Thus addressed, Vishnu said, 'Thou art the Lord of all mobile and immobile creatures. Who is there, O lord, that would refuse a gift that may be made by thee'?' At these words Sakra gave unto that Naga length of days. The slayer of Vala and Vritra did not make him a drinker of
[paragraph continues] Amrita. Sumukha, having obtained that boon, became Sumukha 1 (in reality) for his face was suffused with marks of joy. And having married Matali's daughter, he cheerfully returned home. And Narada and Aryaka also filled with delight at the success of their object, went away, after having worshipped the glorious chief of the celestials.'"
212:1 Literally, one that hath a beautiful or excellent face.