by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597
This page is entitled “the story of the ascetic nishakara” and represents Chapter 60 of the Kishkindha-kanda of the Ramayana (English translation by Hari Prasad Shastri). The Ramayana narrates the legend of Rama and Sita and her abduction by Ravana, the king of Lanka. It contains 24,000 verses divided into seven sections [viz., Kishkindha-kanda].
When the vulture had offered oblations of water for the spirit of his brother and performed his ablutions, the monkey chiefs sat down on that marvellous mountain, placing him in their midst.
Then Sampati, in order to reassure them, said cheerfully to Angada, who was seated surrounded by all the monkeys who escorted him:—“Listen to me with attention and in silence, O Monkeys, and I will tell you truly how I came to know of Maithili.
“A long time ago, I fell on the summit of the Vindhya Mountain, O Irreproachable Prince, my wings scorched by the heat of the sun, which consumed them with its rays. On regaining consciousness at the end of six days, faint and bereft of strength, looking round, I was unable to distinguish anything.
Nevertheless on scanning the lakes, rocks, rivers, ponds, woods and countries, my memory returned and I reflected,
‘This mountain filled with cheerful birds, containing deep caves and innumerable ridges is certainly the Vindhya Peak on the shores of the southern sea.’
“Here lay a sacred hermitage revered by the Gods themselves, where a Sage named Nishakara, of severe austerities, dwelt; since that time, that saint conversant with virtue has ascended to heaven.
“I passed eight thousand years on this mountain. Then not having seen that ascetic, crawling slowly and painfully down from that high peak to the ground covered with sharp pointed grass, eager to see that sage, I rejoined him with great difficulty. Formerly Jatayu and I visited that sage many times.
“In that neighbourhood, soft and fragrant breezes blew and there was no tree without flowers or fruit. Approaching that sacred hermitage, desirous of seeing the blessed Nishakara, I waited at the foot of a tree. Then, at a distance, I beheld that Rishi, blazing with effulgence, who, having performed his ablutions, was returning towards the north.
“As all living beings surround a giver, so was he surrounded by bears, srimaras, tigers, lions and snakes of various kinds. And when they observed that the saint had entered his hermitage, they all went away, as when a king retires, the ministers who have escorted him withdraw.
“The Sage, on seeing me, was pleased, and retiring into his hermitage for a while, came out again and enquired as to my welfare. He said:—
‘O My Friend, on account of your discoloured plumes, I am unable to recognize you; your two wings have been scorched by fire and your frail frame is shaken by gasps. In former times, I knew two vultures resembling the wind in speed, who were brothers, able to change their shape at will. You are, I know, the elder, Sampati, and Jatayu is your younger brother. Both assuming human shape were wont to massage my feet with their hands.
“‘By what disease hast you been afflicted? From whence comes the loss of your wings? Who has inflicted this punishment on you? Do you tell me all!’”