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Adi Parva

Section XVI

"Saunaka said, 'O Sauti, relate once more in detail this history of the learned and virtuous Astika. Our curiosity for hearing it is great. O amiable one, thou speakest sweetly, with proper accent and emphasis; and we are well-pleased with thy speech. Thou speakest even as thy father. Thy sire was ever ready to please us. Tell us now the story as thy father had related it.'

"Sauti said, 'O thou that art blest with longevity, I shall narrate the history of Astika as I heard it from my father.

O Brahmana, in the golden age, Prajapati had two daughters. O sinless one, the sisters were endowed with wonderful beauty. Named Kadru and Vinata, they became the wives of Kasyapa. Kasyapa derived great pleasure from his two wedded wives and being gratified he, resembling Prajapati himself, offered to give each of them a boon.

Hearing that their lord was willing to confer on them their choice blessings, those excellent ladies felt transports of joy. Kadru wished to have for sons a thousand snakes all of equal splendour. And Vinata wished to bring forth two sons surpassing the thousand offsprings [Page 57] of Kadru in strength, energy, size of body, and prowess. Unto Kadru her lord gave that boon about a multitude of offspring.

And unto Vinata also, Kasyapa said,

'Be it so!'

Then Vinata, having; obtained her prayer, rejoiced greatly. Obtaining two sons of superior prowess, she regarded her boon fulfilled. Kadru also obtained her thousand sons of equal splendour.

'Bear the embryos carefully,'

said Kasyapa, and then he went into the forest, leaving his two wives pleased with his blessings.'

"Sauti continued, 'O best of regenerate ones, after a long time, Kadru brought forth a thousand eggs, and Vinata two. Their maid-servants deposited the eggs separately in warm vessels. Five hundred years passed away, and the thousand eggs produced by Kadru burst and out came the progeny. But the twins of Vinata did not appear. Vinata was jealous, and therefore she broke one of the eggs and found in it an embryo with the upper part developed but the lower one undeveloped.

At this, the child in the egg became angry and cursed his mother, saying.

'Since thou hast prematurely broken this egg, thou shall serve as a slave. Shouldst thou wait five hundred years and not destroy, or render the other egg half-developed, by breaking it through impatience, then the illustrious child within it will deliver thee from slavery! And if thou wouldst have the child strong, thou must take tender care of the egg for all this time!'

Thus cursing his mother, the child rose to the sky. O Brahmana, even he is the charioteer of Surya, always seen in the hour of morning!

"Then at the expiration of the five hundred years, bursting open the other egg, out came Garuda, the serpent-eater. O tiger of Bhrigu's race, immediately on seeing the light, that son of Vinata left his mother. And the lord of birds, feeling hungry, took wing in quest of the food assigned to him by the Great Ordainer of all.".

So ends the sixteenth section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.

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