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Adi Parva 9

The Mahabharata

Book 1: Adi Parva

Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.

[1883-1896]

SECTION IX

(Pauloma Parva continued)

"Sauti said, 'While those illustrious Brahmanas were sitting around the dead body of Pramadvara, Ruru, sorely afflicted, retired into a deep wood and wept aloud. And overwhelmed with grief he indulged in much piteous lamentation. And, remembering his beloved Pramadvara, he gave vent to his sorrow in the following words, 'Alas! The delicate fair one that increaseth my affliction lieth upon the bare ground. What can be more deplorable to us, her friends? If I have been charitable, if I have performed acts of penance, if I have ever revered my superiors, let the merit of these arts restore to life my beloved one! If from my birth I have been controlling my passions, adhered to my vows, let the fair Pramadvara rise from the ground.

"And while Ruru was indulging in these lamentations for the loss of his bride, a messenger from heaven came to him in the forest and addressed him thus, 'The words thou utterest, O Ruru, in thy affliction are certainly ineffectual. For, O pious man, one belonging to this world whose days have run out can never come back to life. This poor child of a Gandharva and Apsara has had her days run out! Therefore, O child, thou shouldst not consign thy heart to sorrow. The great gods, however, have provided beforehand a means of her restoration to life. And if thou compliest with it, thou mayest receive back thy Pramadvara.'

"And Ruru replied, O messenger of heaven! What is that which the gods have ordained. Tell me in full so that (on hearing) I may comply with it. It behoveth thee to deliver me from grief!' And the celestial messenger said unto Ruru, 'Resign half of thy own life to thy bride, and then, O Ruru of the race of Bhrigu, thy Pramadvara shall rise from the ground.' 'O best of celestial messengers, I most willingly offer a moiety of my own life in favour of my bride. Then let my beloved one rise up once more in her dress and lovable form.'

"Sauti said, 'Then the king of Gandharvas (the father of Pramadvara) and the celestial messenger, both of excellent qualities, went to the god Dharma (the Judge of the dead) and addressed him, saying, 'If it be thy will, O Dharmaraja, let the amiable Pramadvara, the betrothed wife of Ruru, now lying dead, rise up with a moiety of Ruru's life.' And Dharmaraja answered, 'O messenger of the gods, if it be thy wish, let Pramadvara, the betrothed wife of Ruru, rise up endued with a moiety of Ruru's life.'

"Sauti continued, 'And when Dharmaraja had said so, that maiden of superior complexion, Pramadvara, endued with a moiety of Ruru's life, rose as from her slumber. This bestowal by Ruru of a moiety of his own span of life to resuscitate his bride afterwards led, as it would be seen, to a curtailment of Ruru's life.

"And on an auspicious day their fathers gladly married them with due rites. And the couple passed their days, devoted to each other. And Ruru having obtained such a wife, as is hard to be found, beautiful and bright as the filaments of the lotus, made a vow for the destruction of the serpent-race. And whenever he saw a serpent he became filled with great wrath and always killed it with a weapon.

"One day, O Brahmana, Ruru entered an extensive forest. And there he saw an old serpent of the Dundubha species lying stretched on the ground. And Ruru thereupon lifted up in anger his staff, even like to the staff of Death, for the purpose of killing it. Then the Dundubha, addressing Ruru, said, 'I have done thee no harm, O Brahmana! Then wherefore wilt thou slay me in anger?'"

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

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