NOTE: There was no section CCLXIV in the source edition.--JBH
"The Brahmana said, 'Without doubt, this is very wonderful, O Naga, I have been highly gratified by listening to thee. By these words of thine that are fraught with subtile meaning, thou hast shown me the way I am to follow. Blessed be thou, I desire to depart hence O best of Nagas, thou shouldst recollect me now and then and enquire after me by sending thy servant.'
"The Naga said, 'The object that brought thee higher is still in thy breast, for thou hast not as yet disclosed it to me. Where then wilt thou go? Tell me, O regenerate one, what should be done by me, and what that object is which brought thee hither. After the accomplishment of thy business, whatever it is, expressed or unexpressed in speech, thou mayst depart, O foremost of regenerate persons, saluting me and dismissed by me cheerfully, O thou of excellent vows. Thou hast conceived a friendship for me. O regenerate Rishi, it behoveth thee not to depart from this place after having only seen me, thyself sitting under the shade of this tree. Thou hast become dear to me and I have become dear to thee, without doubt. All the persons in this city are thine. What objection then is there, O sinless one, to pass some time in my house?--'
"The Brahmana said, 'It is even so, O thou of great wisdom, O Naga that hast acquired a knowledge of the soul. It is very true that the deities are not superior to thee in any respect. He that is thyself, is verily myself, as he that is myself is truly thyself. Myself, thyself, and all other creatures, shall all have to enter into the Supreme Soul. Doubt penetrated my mind, O chief of Nagas, in the matter of the best means for winning righteousness or merit. That doubt has been dispelled by thy discourse, for I have
learnt the value of the Unccha vow. I shall hence follow that which is so very efficacious in the matter of beneficial consequences. That, O blessed one, has become my certain conclusion now, based on excellent reasons. I take thy leave. Blessings to thee. My object has been accomplished, O Naga.'"
"Bhishma said, 'Having saluted that foremost of Nagas in this way, the Brahmana (named Dharmaranya), firmly resolved to follow the Unccha mode of life, proceeded to the presence, O king, of Chyavana of Bhrigu's race, from desire of being formally instructed and initiated in that vow. 1 Chyavana performed the Samskara rites of the Brahmana and formally initiated him into the Unccha mode of life. The son of Bhrigu, O monarch, recited this history to king Janaka in his place. King Janaka, in his turn, narrated it to the celestial Rishi Narada of high soul. The celestial Rishi Narada too, of stainless acts, repairing on one occasion to the abode of Indra, the chief of the deities, gave to Indra this history upon being asked by him. The chief of the celestials, having obtained it thus from Narada, recited this blessed history to a conclave consisting of all the foremost Brahmanas, O monarch. On the occasion, again, of my dreadful encounter with Rama of Bhrigu's race (on the field of Kurukshetra), the celestial Vasus, O king, recited this history to me. 2 Asked by thee, O foremost of righteous men, I have recited this history that is excellent and sacred and fraught with great merit. Thou hadst asked me about that constitutes the highest duty, O king. This history is my answer to thy query. A brave man he was, O monarch, that betook himself to the practice of the Unccha vow in this way, without expectation of any fruit. Firmly resolved, that Brahmana, instructed, by the chief of Nagas in this way about his duty, betook himself to the practice of Yama and Niyama, and subsisting the while upon such food as was allowed by the Unccha vow, proceeded to another forest.'"
The end of Santi Parva.
217:1 The formal initiation or diksha is a ceremony of great importance. No sacrifice or vow, no religious rite, can be performed without the diksha. The rite of diksha is performed with the assistance of a preceptor or priest. In leaving the domestic mode for the life of a forest recluse, the diksha is necessary. In following the Unccha vow, this rite is needed. Any religious act performed by one without having undergone the formal diksha, becomes sterile of results.
217:2 Bhishma abducted, with the might of his single arms, the three daughters of the king of Kasi, viz., Amva, Amvika, and Amvalika. He wished to marry the princesses to his brother Vichitravirya. The eldest princess, having previously to her abduction selected king Salwa for her lord was let off. When, however, she presented herself before her lover, the latter refused to wed her. She, therefore, applied to Rama for wreaking vengeance on Bhishma whom she regarded as the author of her wrongs. Rama took up her cause and fought with Bhishma, but was obliged to acknowledge defeat at the hands of his antagonist who was his disciple in arms. For fuller particulars, vide Amvopakhyana Parvan in Udyoga Parvan.