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Adi Parva 8

The Mahabharata

Book 1: Adi Parva

Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.

[1883-1896]

SECTION VIII

(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'O Brahmana, Chyavana, the son of Bhrigu, begot a son in the womb of his wife Sukanya. And that son was the illustrious Pramati of resplendent energy. And Pramati begot in the womb of Ghritachi a son called Ruru. And Ruru begot on his wife Pramadvara a son called Sunaka. And I shall relate to you in detail, O Brahmana, the entire history of Ruru of abundant energy. O listen to it then in full!

"Formerly there was a great Rishi called Sthulakesa possessed of ascetic power and learning and kindly disposed towards all creatures. At that time, O Brahmana sage, Viswavasu, the King of the Gandharvas, it is said, had intimacy with Menaka, the celestial dancing-girl. And the Apsara, Menaka, O thou of the Bhrigu race, when her time was come, brought forth an infant near the hermitage of Sthulakesa. And dropping the newborn infant on the banks of the river, O Brahmana, Menaka, the Apsara, being destitute of pity and shame, went away. And the Rishi, Sthulakesa, of great ascetic power, discovered the infant lying forsaken in a lonely part of the river-side. And he perceived that it was a female child, bright as the offspring of an Immortal and blazing, as it were, with beauty: And the great Brahmana, Sthulakesa, the first of Munis, seeing that female child, and filled with compassion, took it up and reared it. And the lovely child grew up in his holy habitation, the noble-minded and blessed Rishi Sthulakesa performing in due succession all the ceremonies beginning with that at birth as ordained by the divine law. And because she surpassed all of her sex in goodness, beauty, and every quality, the great Rishi called her by the name of Pramadvara. And the pious Ruru having seen Pramadvara in the hermitage of Sthulakesa became one whose heart was pierced by the god of love. And Ruru by means of his companions made his father Pramati, the son of Bhrigu, acquainted with his passion. And Pramati demanded her of the far-famed Sthulakesa for his son. And her foster-father betrothed the virgin Pramadvara to Ruru, fixing the nuptials for the day when the star Varga-Daivata (Purva-phalguni) would be ascendant.

"Then within a few days of the time fixed for the nuptials, the beautiful virgin while at play with companions of her own sex, her time having come, impelled by fate, trod upon a serpent which she did not perceive as it lay in coil. And the reptile, urged to execute the will of Fate, violently darted its envenomed fangs into the body of the heedless maiden. And stung by that serpent, she instantly dropped senseless on the ground, her colour faded and all the graces of her person went off. And with dishevelled hair she became a spectacle of woe to her companions and friends. And she who was so agreeable to behold became on her death what was too painful to look at. And the girl of slender waist lying on the ground like one asleep--being overcome with the poison of the snake-once more became more beautiful than in life. And her foster-father and the other holy ascetics who were there, all saw her lying motionless upon the ground with the splendour of a lotus. And then there came many noted Brahmanas filled with compassion, and they sat around her. And Swastyatreya, Mahajana, Kushika, Sankhamekhala, Uddalaka, Katha, and Sweta of great renown, Bharadwaja, Kaunakutsya, Arshtishena, Gautama, Pramati, and Pramati's son Ruru, and other inhabitants of the forest, came there. And when they saw that maiden lying dead on the ground overcome with the poison of the reptile that had bitten her, they all wept filled with compassion. But Ruru, mortified beyond measure, retired from the scene.'"

So ends the eighth section of the Pauloma Parva of the Adi Parva of the blessed Mahabharata.

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