Thursday, 21 August 2014

191. Saampaati tells a strange story.

       Saampaati told the vanaras "Oh, folks, at the outset I would like to tell you as to how I came to know about Maithili. Already I have told you that I fell on the peak of this Mt. Vindhya when the scorching sunrays completely burned my wings and limbs. For about six days or so I was lying senseless. When I regained my senses, and opening my eyes and looked around, I could not recognize anything. I became aghast, horrified, shocked, amazed, stunned, appalled, astonished, startled, astounded, confounded, awestruck, horror-struck, thunder-struck and whatnot. I prayed Him and  slowly I started recognizing the oceans, mountains, rivers, lakes, provinces and forests. I noticed this mountain was teeming with teams of birds, caves in its midriffs, and it is with peaks of its own kind was familiar to me. After thinking hard for sometime, I recognized it to be the Mt. Vindhya at the coast of southern ocean.
        "There was a sacred hermitage belonging to the sage of intense ascesis known as Sage Nishaakara who was reverenced even by gods. This is where I was destined to live for eight thousand years after the departure of that sage Nishakara to heaven. I claimed down, onerously and slowly, and reached the earth from the lopsided peak of Mt. Vindhya, whereat the sacred-grass-blades were thorny.
     "I very much wanted to see that sage because I and Jataayu had approached that sage for many a time earlier. I neared that place with much anguish because of the pain caused by the loss of my wings due to the scorching heat of the sun. At the proximity of his hermitage wind whiffed with a sweet-smell, and no tree was flowerless and no tree was fruitless. On nearing that sacred hermitage and sheltering myself at the base of a tree, I waited there for that godly Nishaakara to return from his morning chores.
      "Then I saw the sage coming at a distance, returning after performing his morning chores. He looked unassailable, irradiating the ambiance with his radiance. Bears, antelopes, tigers, lions, and diverse reptiles and snakes were following him at his heel. Just like the ministerial and military staff would retrace steps after the king enters his place-chambers, all the animals and other beings on noticing the sage's entry into his hermitage, retraced their steps and went away.       "The sage saw me and just smiled at me and went into his hermitage. But in a short while he came out and asked me about the objective of my visit.
     "He said 'Dear Saampaati, I did not recognize you with the deformity of your feathers. You, indeed, look so different, my gentle Saampaati. I see that these two wings of yours are severely burnt.
     " 'I have earlier seen you both eagle brothers, kingly eagles among eagles, similar in your speed to the wind-god Vayu and form-changers by your wish. You are the elder, ain't you? And Jataayu is your younger brother. You used to touch my feet in the guise of humans.
     " 'Is this damage to your wings a result of any illness? Or is it due to any scourge imposed on you?' "

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