Markandeya Puranam

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MARKANDEYA said: – Then having saluted the great Muni, be got upon his own chariot, and by it he went to that forest known as Utpalavatam. (1) The lord of men then saw that wife of the twice-born one of the same description as related by her husband, eating bael fruits. (2) He asked, “Why, O good one, hast thou come to this forest, tell me distinctly; art thou the wife of Susharma the son of Bishala?” (3)

The Brahmani said: – I am the daughter of the twice-born one, Atiratra, who lives in the forest; and the wife of the son of Bishala whose name has been mentioned by thee. (4) That am I who has been brought away by the Rakshasa Valaka of evil spirit, when I was asleep in my house, and have thus been separated from my brother and mother. (5) May that Rakshasa be reduced to ashes by whom I am separated from mother, brother and others and am placed here in great misery. (6) Brought by him I have been left in this dense forest; I do not know the reason, why he neither enjoys nor eats me up? (7)

The king said: – Dost thou know where the Rakshasa has gone after leaving thee here? O thou daughter of twice-born parents, I have been sent here by thy husband. (8)

The Brahmani said: – That rover in the night exists even in the borders of this forest: enter and see him, if thou art not afraid of him. (9)

Markandeya said: – Then he entered from there, by the road pointed out by her, and saw the Rakshasa surrounded by his family. (10) Then immediately on seeing him that Rakshasa made haste to touch the ground with his head from a distance, and went near his feet. (11)

The Rakshasa said: – By thee coming here to my house has great favour been done to me. Be gracious, tell me what may I do for thee, I live in thy kingdom. (12) Accept this offering, take this seat, we are servants, thou the lord, order me firmly. (13)

The King said: – By thee have all the rites due to a guest been fully performed. Why has the wife of the Brahman been brought by thee, O thou rover in the night? This one is not beautiful, of excellent limbs, that she has been stolen by thee for making her thy wife. If brought for eating why has not she been eaten by thee, tell me this. (14-15)

The Rakshasa said: – We are not cannibals, O king, they are other Rakshasas. We eat that, O king, which is the fruit of our merit. (16) We eat the character of men and women when insulted or honoured (by them), but are not eaters of animals. (17) Therefore when men’s power of forbearance is eaten by us they become subject to anger; and on their bad disposition being eaten up, they become full of good qualities. (18) We have females who please us, O king, equal in beauty to Apsaras, and when these Raksasis exist what cause is there for our becoming attached to women? (19)

The King said: – If this woman, O thou night-walker, is is not meant for enjoyment nor for food then why has she been stolen by thee, entering into the Brahman’s house? (20)

The Rakshasa said: – O king, that superior person, among the twice-born, is well versed in spells; and by reading spells for the destruction of Rakshasas he expels me from every sacrifice where I go. (21) We suffer from hunger by his reading the spells for the expulsion (of the Rakshasas); where shall we go, that twice-born one becomes the priest in all the

sacrifices. (22) Therefore has this disqualification of him been worked by us; in the absence of their wives, men become unfitted for the performance of sacrificial rites. (23)

Markandeya said: – Then that king, on the fact of the disqualification of the high-souled Brahman, being related (to him) became exceedingly sad. (24) By speaking of the disqualification of the Brahmana, he is condemning even me; that most superior Muni also said that I was not competent to receive offering due to a guest (of my position). (25) The disqualification of that Brahmana, as also of mine, is spoken of by the Rakshasa. Such am I, who owing to want of wife, have come to this great difficulty. (26)

Markandeya said: – O Muni! to the king thus meditating, the Rakshasa, saluting low, and with his hands joined said once more. (27)

The Rakshasa said: – O lord of men, by ordering me as to what I should do, favour me, who am thy servant, and obedient to thee, and who live in thy kingdom. (28)

The King said: – This which has been spoken by thee, O thou night-walker, – that we eat the characters of men, – even that do we desire (of thee), hear from me of the work by which thou mayst (fulfil my wishes). (29) By thee to-day is the bad character of this Brahmani to be eaten; so that with her bad character eaten up by thee, she may become mild of disposition.

(30) And by thee, should she be taken to his house, O thou night-walker, whose wife she is. On thy doing this, every thing (needful) will be done to me who have come (as a guest) to thy house. (31)

Markandeya said: – Then that Rakshasa, by force of his own occult powers having entered into that woman, ate up her evil disposition by his own powers, in accordance with the command of the king. (32) That wife, of that twice-born one thus relieved of her exceedingly fierce evil disposition, told that lord of the world. (33) “By virtue of my own works have I been separated from that great-souled one, my lord, this Rakshasa was only an instrument (in the hands of Providence). (34) This is not the fault of this one (i.e. the Rakshasa); nor of him, my high-souled husband; it is my fault, not of others. People always enjoy the fruits of their actions. (35) In a previous birth separation of some woman (from her husband) had been worked by me. That has come to me also. What fault is there (for this) of this high-souled one. (36)

The Rakshasa said: – Lord, I shall, in accordance with thy command, take this (woman) to the house of her lord. Command me, O king, what also is to be done by me. (37)

The King said: – O thou rover in the night, on thy doing this everything will be done to me. Thou, O brave one, wilt come to me, whenever, I may remember thee, for the performance of any work. (38)

Markandeya said: – Then, “So be it” – saying this, that Rakshasa taking that twice-born woman, who had become pure through removal of her evil disposition, conveyed her to her husband’s house. (39)