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"Bhishma said, 'Having said these words unto his dear spouse, the chief of the Nagas proceeded to that place where the Brahmana was sitting in expectation of an interview with him. As he proceeded, he thought of the Brahman and wandered as to what the business could be that had brought him to the Naga city. Arrived at his presence, O chief of men, that foremost of Nagas devoted by his nature to righteousness, addressed his guest in sweet words, saying, O Brahmana do not yield to wrath. I address thee in peace. Do not be angry. After whom hast thou come hither? What is thy object? Coming to thee, I ask thee in affection, O regenerate one whom dost thou adore in this retired spot on the banks of the Gomati!'

"The Brahmana said, 'Know that my name is Dharmaranya, and that I have come hither for obtaining a sight of the Naga Padmanabha, O foremost of all regenerate persons. With him I have some business. I have heard that he is not at home and that, therefore, I am not now near his present quarters. Like a Chataka waiting in expectation of the clouds, I am waiting for him whom I regard as dear to me. For dispelling all evil from him and bringing about what is beneficial to him, I am engaged in reciting the Vedas till he comes and am in Yoga and passing my time happily.'

"The Naga said, 'Verily, thy conduct is exceedingly good. Pious thou art and devoted to the good of all righteous persons. O highly blessed Brahmana, every praise is due to thee. Thou beholdest the Naga with eyes of affection. I am that Naga, O learned Rishi, whom thou seekest. Do thou command me, as thou wishest, in respect of what is agreeable to thee and what I should do for thee. Having heard from my spouse that thou art here, I have approached this spot, O regenerate one, for

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beholding thee. When thou hast come hither, thou art certain to return hence with thy object fulfilled. It behoveth thee, O foremost of regenerate persons, to employ me to any task with all confidence. All of us have certainly been purchased by thee with thy merits, 1 since thou, disregarding what is for thy own good, hast employed thy time in seeking the good of ourselves.'

"The Brahmana said, 'O highly blessed Naga, I have come hither, moved by the desire of obtaining a sight of thee. I have come here, ignorant as I am with all things, for asking thee about something, O Naga, relying on the Jiva-soul, I desire to attain to the Supreme Soul which is the end of the Jiva-soul. I am neither attached to, nor dissociated from, the world. 2 Thou shinest with the effulgence of thy own merits covered by pure fame,--with an effulgence that is as agreeable as that of the moon. O thou that livest on air alone, do thou first answer a question that I wish to put to thee. Afterwards I shall inform thee of the object that has brought me hither!'"


214:1 A form of expression meaning that 'we are your slaves'.

214:2 Atmanam is Brahma; atmasthah is 'relying in the Soul', i.e., withdrawn from all worldly objects; atmanogatim implies the end of the Jiva-soul, i.e., the Supreme Soul; the last is an adjective of atmanam.

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