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VISHNU PI R .\\A: , ...
HINDU MYTHOLOGY AND TRADITION.
FROM THE ORIGINAL SANSKRIT,
ILLUSTRATED BY NOTES
BY THE LATE
H. H. WILSON, M.A., F.R.S.,
BODEN PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD,
TRUBNER & CO., 60, PATERNOSTER ROW.
BOOK I. (continued).
The world overrun with trees: they are destroyed by the Prachetasas. Soma pacifies them, and gives them Marisha to wife: her story: the daughter of the nymph Pramlocha. Legend of Karidu. Marisha's former history. Daksha the son of the Prachetasas: his different characters: his sons: his daughters: their marriages and progeny: allusion to Prahlada, his descendant.
Whilst the Prachetasas were thus absorbed in their devotions, the trees spread, and overshadowed the unprotected earth; and the people perished. The winds could not blow; the sky was shut out by the forests; and mankind was unable to labour for ten thousand years. When the sages, coming forth from the deep, beheld this, they were angry, and, being incensed, wind and flame issued from their mouths. The strong wind tore up the trees by their roots, and left them sear and dry; and the fierce fire consumed them; and the forests were cleared away. When Soma (the moon), the sovereign of the vegetable world, beheld all except a few of the trees destroyed, he went to the patriarchs, the Prachetasas, and said: "Restrain your indignation, princes, and listen to me. I will form an alliance between you and the trees. Prescient of futurity, I have nourished, with my rays, this precious maiden, the daughter of the woods. She is called Marisha, and is, assuredly, the offspring of the trees. She shall be your bride, and the multiplier of the race of Dhruva. From a portion of your lustre and a portion of mine, 0 mighty sages, the patriarch Daksha shall be born of her, who, endowed with a part of me, and composed of your vigour, shall be as resplendent as fire, and shall multiply the human race.
"There was formerly (said Soma) a sage named Kandu, eminent in holy wisdom, who practised pious austerities on the lovely borders of the Gomati river. The king of the gods sent the nymph Pramlocha to disturb his penance; and the sweet-smiling damsel diverted the sage from his devotions. They lived together, in the valley of Mandara, for a hundred and fifty years, during which the mind of the Muni was wholly given up to enjoyment. At the expiration of this period, the nymph requested his permission to return to heaven; but the Muni, still fondly attached to her, prevailed upon her to remain for some time longer; and the graceful damsel continued to reside for another hundred years, and delight the great sage by her fascinations. Then again she preferred her suit to be allowed to return to the abodes of the gods; and again the Muni desired her to remain. At the expiration of more than a century, the nymph once more said to him, with a smiling countenance: 'Brahman, I depart.' But the Muni, detaining the fine-eyed damsel, replied: 'Nay, stay yet a little; you will go hence for a long period.' Afraid of incurring an imprecation, the graceful nymph continued with the sage for nearly two hundred years more, repeatedly asking his permission to go to the region of the king of the gods, but as often desired, by him, to remain. Dreading to be cursed by him, and excelling in amiable manners, well knowing, also, the pain that is inflicted by separation from an object of affection, she did not quit the Muni, whose mind, wholly subdued by love, became, every day, more strongly attached to her.
"On one occasion the sage was going forth from their cottage in a great hurry. The nymph asked him where he was going. 'The day', he replied, 'is drawing fast to a close. I must perform the Sandhya worship; or a duty will be neglected.' The nymph smiled mirthfully, as she rejoined: 'Why do you talk, grave sir, of this day drawing to a close? Your day is a day of many years, — a day that must be a marvel to all. Explain what this means.' The Muni said: 'Fair damsel, you came to the river-side at dawn. I beheld you then; and you then entered my hermitage. It is now the revolution of evening; and the day is gone. What is the meaning of this laughter? Tell me the truth.' Pramlocha answered: 'You say rightly, venerable Brahman, that I came hither at morning dawn. But several hundred years have passed since the time of my arrival. This is the truth.' The Muni, on hearing this, was seized with astonishment, and asked her how long he had enjoyed her society. To which the nymph replied, that they had lived together nine hundred and seven years, six months, and three days. The Muni asked her if she spoke the truth, or if she was in jest; for it appeared to him that they had spent but one day together. To which Pramlocha replied, that she