Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous 


"Bhishma said, 'The Rakshasa king then caused a funeral pyre to be made for that prince of cranes and adorned it with jewels and gems, and perfumes,

p. 379

and costly robes. Setting fire to it with the body of that prince of birds, the mighty chief of the Rakshasas caused the obsequial rites of his friend to be performed according to the ordinance. At that time, the auspicious goddess Surabhi, the daughter of Daksha, appeared in the sky above the place where the pyre had been set up. Her breasts were full of milk. 1 From her mouth, O sinless monarch, froth mixed with milk fell upon the funeral pyre of Rajadharman. At this, the prince of cranes became revived. Rising up, he approached his friend Virupaksha, the king of the Rakshasas. At this time, the chief of the celestials himself came to the city of Virupaksha. Addressing the Rakshasa king, Indra said, 'By good luck, thou hast revived the prince of cranes.' The chief of the deities further recited to Virupaksha the old story of the curse denounced by the Grandsire upon that best of birds named Rajadharman. Addressing; the king he said, 'Once on a time, O monarch, this prince of cranes absented himself from the region of Brahman (when his presence was expected). In wrath the Grandsire said unto this prince of birds, 'Since this vile crane hath not presented himself today in my assembly, therefore, that wicked-souled one shall not soon die (so as to be able to leave the earth).' In consequence of these words of the Grandsire, the prince of cranes, though slain by Gautama, has come back to life, through the virtue of the nectar with which his body was drenched.' After Indra had become silent, Rajadharman, having bowed unto the chief of the celestials, said 'O first of gods, if thy heart be inclined towards me for grace, then let my dear friend Gautama be restored to life!' Hearing these words of his, Vasava, O foremost of men, sprinkled nectar over the Brahmana Gautama and restored him to life. The prince of cranes, approaching his friend Gautama, who still bore on his shoulders the load of gold (that he had got from the king of the Rakshasas) embraced him and felt great joy. Rajadharman, that prince of cranes, dismissing Gautama of sinful deeds, together with his wealth, returned to his own abode. At the due hour he repaired (the next day) to the Grandsire's region. The latter honoured the high-souled bird with such attentions as are shown to a guest. Gautama also, returning to his home in the village of the hunters, begot many sinful children upon his Sudra wife. A heavy curse was denounced upon him by the gods to the effect that having begotten, within a few years, 2 upon the body of his remarried wife many children that ungrateful sinner should sink into a terrible hell for many years. All this, O Bharata, was recited to me formerly by Narada. Recollecting the incidents of this grave story, O bull of Bharata's race, I have recited to thee all its details duly. Whence can an ungrateful person derive fame? Where is his place? Whence can he have happiness? An ungrateful person does not deserve to be trusted. One that is ungrateful can never escape. No person should injure a friend. He that injures a friend sinks into terrible and everlasting hell. Every one should be grateful and every one should seek to benefit his friends. Everything may be obtained from a friend. Honours may

p. 380

be obtained from friends. 1 In consequence of friends one may enjoy various objects of enjoyment. Through the exertions of friends, one may escape from various kinds of danger and distress. He that is wise would honour his friend with his best attentions. An ungrateful, shameless, and sinful wight should be shunned by those that are wise. One that injures his friends is a wretch of his race. Such a sinful wight is the vilest of men. I have thus told thee, O foremost of all virtuous men, what the characteristics are of that sinful wretch who is stained by ingratitude and who injures his friend. What else dost thou wish to hear?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words spoken by the high-souled Bhishma, Yudhishthira, O Janamejaya, became highly gratified.'


379:1 Surabhi is the celestial cow sprung from the sage Daksha.

379:2 Whether the word is chirat or achirat is difficult to make out.

380:1 In Sanskrit the ablative has sometimes the sense of 'through'. Here, mitrat means both from and through. What is said is that wealth, honours, etc., may be acquired through friends, i.e., the latter may give wealth or be instrumental in its acquisition, etc.