"Janamejaya said, 'Interminably wedded to evil, blinded by avarice, addicted to wicked courses, resolved upon bringing destruction on his head, inspiring grief in the hearts of kinsmen, enhancing the woes of friends, afflicting all his well-wishers, augmenting the joys of foes, and treading the wrong path, why did not his friends seek to restrain him, and why also did not that great friend (of Kuru's race), the holy One; with tranquil soul, or the Grandsire tell him anything from affection?'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Yes, the holy one did speak. Bhishma also spoke what was beneficial. And Narada too said much. Listen to all that these said.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Narada said, 'Persons that listen to the counsels of friends are rare. Friends again are rare that offer beneficial counsels, for a friend (in need of counsel) is never there where a friend (offering counsel) is. O son of Kuru's race, I think, the word of friends ought to be listened to. Obstinacy ought to be avoided; for it is fraught with great evil. In this connection is cited an old story regarding Galava's having met with disgrace through obstinacy. In ancient times, in order to test Viswamitra, who was then engaged in ascetic austerities Dharma personally came to him, having assumed the form of the Rishi, Vasishtha. Thus assuming, O Bharata, the form of the one of the seven Rishis, and feigning himself hungry and desirous of eating, he came, O king, to the hermitage of Kausika. Thereupon, Viswamitra struck with
awe, began to cook Charu (which was a preparation of rice and milk). And in consequence of the care he took in preparing that excellent food, he could not properly wait upon his guest. And it was not till after the guest had dined on the food offered by the other hermits that Viswamitra succeeded in approaching him with the Charu he had cooked and which was still steaming. 'I have already dined; wait here,'--were the words that the holy one said. And having said that the holy one went away. And thereupon, the illustrious Viswamitra, O king, waited there. And bearing that food on his head and holding it with his arms, that ascetic of rigid vow stood in his hermitage, still as a post, subsisting on air. And as he stood there, an ascetic of the name of Galava, from motives of respect and reverence and from affection and desire of doing what was agreeable, began to wait upon him. And after a hundred years had passed away, Dharma, again assuming the form of Vasishtha, came to Kausika from desire of eating. And beholding the great Rishi Viswamitra, who was endued with high wisdom, standing there with that food on his head, himself subsisting all the while on air, Dharma accepted that food which was still warm and fresh. And having eaten that food, the god said,--Gratified am I, O regenerate Rishi. And saying this, he went away. And at those words of Dharma, Viswamitra divested of Kshatriyahood because endued with the status of a Brahmana and was filled with delight 1. And pleased as he was with the services and devotion of his discipline, the ascetic Galava, Viswamitra, addressed him and said, 'With my leave, O Galava, go whithersoever thou mayest wish.' Thus commanded by his preceptor, Galava, highly pleased, said in a sweet voice unto Viswamitra of great effulgence, What final gift shall I make thee in consequence of thy services as preceptor? O giver of honours, it is in consequence of the (final) present that a sacrifice becometh successful. The giver of such gifts obtains emancipation. Indeed, these gifts
constitute the fruit (that one enjoys in heaven). They are regarded as peace and tranquillity personified. What, therefore, shall I procure for my preceptor? Oh, let that be said. 'The illustrious Viswamitra knew that he had really been conquered by Galava by means of the latter's services, and the Rishi, therefore, sought to dismiss him by repeatedly saying, 'Go, Go.' But thou repeatedly commanded by Viswamitra to go away, Galava still addressed him saying, 'What shall I give?' And seeing this obstinacy on the part of ascetic Galava, Viswamitra felt a slight rise of anger and at last said, 'Give me eight hundred steeds, every one of which should be as white as the rays of the moon, and every one of which should have one ear black. Go now, O Galava, and tarry not.'"
215:1 The story of Viswamitra's promotion to the status of a Brahmana is highly characteristic. Engaged in a dispute with the Brahmana Rishi Vasishtha, Viswamitra who was a Kshatriya king (the son of Kusika) found, by bitter experience, that Kshatriya energy and might backed by the whole science of arms, availed nothing against a Brahmana's might, for Vasishtha by his ascetic powers created myriads and myriads of fierce troops who inflicted a signal defeat on the great Kshatriya king. Baffled thus, Viswamitra retired to the breast of Himavat and paid court to Siva. The great God appeared and Viswamitra begged him for the mastery of the whole science of weapons. The god granted his prayer. Viswamitra then came back and sought an encounter with Vasishtha, but the latter by the aid only of his Brahmanical (bamboo) stick baffled the fiercest weapons of Viswamitra, of even celestial efficacy. Humiliated and disgraced, Viswamitra set his heart on becoming a Brahmana. He gave up his kingdom and retiring into the woods with his queen began to practise to severest austerities. After the expiration of ten thousand years, the Creator Brahma appeared before him and addressed him as a royal Rishi. Dispirited at this, he devoted himself to still severer austerities. At last, at Dharma's command (as here referred to) the great Kshatriya king became a Brahmana. This, in the Hindu scriptures, is the sole instance of a person belonging to a lower order becoming a Brahmana by ascetic austerities.