BOOK 7: UTTARA KANDA
There lived for a long time a Vulture and an Owl en a mountain expending over the banks of a river, resonant with the notes of cuckoos and filled with lions, tigers and various birds, situated in a pleasant forest abounding in trees near the city of Ayodhya. Once on a time the vicious Vulture alleging that the nest of the Owl was his own, began to quarrel with him. O worshipful Sir, thereupon they both said "The lotus eyed Rama is the king of all people Let us go to him and he will decide to whom the nest belongs.
Having thus settled the vulture and the owl, being impatient with rage, quarrelling with one another, ppeared before Rama and touched his feet. Beholdng that lord of men, the Vulture said :"O preserver of humanity, thou art the foremost, of Devas and Asuras. O thou of great effulgence, thou art gifted with intelligence and learning more than Brihaspati and Sukracharya.
Thou art cognisant of the good and bad conditions of creatures, in beauty thou art like the Moon and art irrespressible like the sun. In glory thou art like Himalaya, in gravity like the ocean, in prowess like the Patriarch, in patience like the earth, and in velocity like the Wind. O Raghava, thou at he preceptor of the mobile and immobile creation, gifted with all sorts of wealth, illustrious, devoid of a revengeful spirit, unconquerable, victorious, and master of all Sastras and laws.
O foremost of men, hear. I have an application to thee. O Raghava, I had built a nest for myself; this Own is now occupying it as his own ;therefore, O king, do thou save me.
The Vulture having said this, the Owl began "True, it is, O king, that in him are the portions of the Moon, Indra, the Sun, Kubera and Yama, but there is in him also a portion of man. But thou art thyself the omnipresent deity, Narayana. Thou, impelled by thine own self, dost judge all creatures impartially; therefore, a portion of gentleness is well manifest in thee and therefore do people call thee, a portion of the Moon.
O patriarch, in anger, punishment, gift and fear, thou art our giver, destroyer and protector, it is for this that thou art called Indra. In energy thou art like fire irrepressible unto all creatures, and because thou dost spread thy lusture upon all creatures, that thou art called the Sun. Thou art the very lord of riches or art even superior to Kubera ;like Padma unto the lord of riches, Sri is always by thee.
Because thou dost discharge the functions of Kubera, thou art the giver of wealth unto us. O Raghava, thou lookest upon all creatures, mobile and immobile, with an impartial eye thou dost regard thy friends and foes with impartiality,and thou art duly protecting thy subjects. O Raghava, death pursues him with whom thou art offended and it is for this reason that thou art styled by people the highly powerful Yama.
O foremost of kings, because thou art forgiving unto all creatures and a kind king that people sing thy glories as of a man on earth The king is the strength of the weak and helpless and he is the eye of the blind and the refuge of those who have no shelter. Thou art also our king :therefore do thou listen to our petition. O king, entering into my nest, this vulture is oppressing me.
Thou only, O foremost of men, art the divine chastiser of mankind." Hearing those words, Rama sent for his councillors. The ministers of Dasaratha and Rama, Vrishthi, Yayanta, Vijaya, Siddhartha, Rashtravarddhana, Asoka, Darmapala the highly powerful Sumantra and others were well versed in laws, high minded, conversant with all the Sastras, intelligent, born in respectable families, and adepts in counsel.
Having invited then all and ascending his Pushpaka car, he went to the place in question, and, descending there, asked the Vulture, "How long has this nest been" made ?Tell me. if thou remember It." Whereto the Vulture replied "From the time when mankind were first born and spread over the four quarters of the globe have I been living in this nest.
The Owl also said "At the time when the earth was (first) adorned with trees that this nest of mine was constructed." Hearing these words, Rama said to the councillors "That assembly is not an assembly where there are no friends nor are they all men who do not dwell upon religious topics. That religion is not a religion where thereis no truthand that truth is not the truth where there is hypocrisy.
Those councillors are liars who do not give proper replies in time on the subjects they are well informed on. He who does give reply to a question under the influence of passion, anger or fear, binds himself with a thousand nooses of Varuna, and at the expiration of full one year he is released from a single sin." Hearing these words, the ministers said to Rama "O thou having a large mind, what the Owl has said is true the Vulture has not spoken the truth.
Thou art the evidence this, O great king for the king is the last refuge of all the root of the subject and the eternal religion. He who is punished by the king, is not doomed to a degraded state. He is, in truth, saved from the fear of hell and reaches a better state.
Hearing the words of the ministers, Rama said "Hear what is mentioned in the Puranas. Formerly the Sun, the Moon, the welkin with the stars, the earth with the mountains and forests the three worlds, the mobile and the immobile, were under water. At that time only Narayana existed as the second Sumeru.
In Narayana s belly was stationed the earth with Lakshmi. Having destroyed the creation and entered water, the highly effulgent Vishnu, identical with the souls of creatures, lay asleep there for many long years. Beholding Vishnu asleep after the destruction of the universe and knowing Vishnu of obstructed breath, the great ascetic Brahma entered his abdomen.
Thereupon, when a golden lotus sprang from Vishnu s navel. That great lord, ascetic Brahma, originated therefrom and was engaged in austere penances for the purpose of creating earth, air, mountains, trees, men, reptiles and all animals born from womb or egg. At that time from the ears of Narayana originated two valiant and dreadful demons under the name of Madhu and Kaitabha.
Beholding the Patriarch, thers they were greatly enraged, and pursued him. Thereat, the self born cried aloud hideously. Awakened by that sound, Narayana engaged in fighting with Madhu and Kaitabha, and slew them with his discus.
And with their gore the whole earth was deluged. Thereupon, purifying the earth again, Hari,preserver of the world, covered it with trees. And various drugs were also created.
And the earth was called Medini because it was filled with Medas marrow of Madhu and Kaitabha. It is for this that I hold, O ministers, that this house does not belong to the Vulture, but to the Owl. Therefore, this vicious Vulture should be punished for this wicked, vicious minded one, robbing another s nest, is oppressing him.
In the interval a voice was heard in the sky stating the true facts: "O Rama, do not slay the Vulture, for it has already been reduced to ashes by the force of Gautama s asceticism. O lord of men, this Vulture, in its pristine bith, was a heroic truthful and pure king by the name of Brahmadatta. Once on a time a Brahmana, by the name of Gautama, the very personiication of Kala, came to the house of Brahmadatta for food and said O king, I shall feed in thy house for more than a hundred years.
Thereupon, offering that effulgent Brahmana, with his own hands, water to wash his feet the king Brahmadatta,made arrangements for his meal. Accidentally flesh was mixed with the food of the high souled Gautama.Being enraged thereat, the ascetic imprecated him with a dreadful curse and said: O king, thou become a vulture.
The king said Be propitiated, O thou of great vows ;do not imprecate me thus. I have, out of ignorance committed this offence.O great one,O blameless one,do thou act so that this curse may ind termination.
Thereatunderstanding that this offence was committed by the king unwittingly, the ascetic said O king, in the race of Ikshwakus a king shall be born under the name of Rama O foremost of men, tbon shalt be released from the curse when he shall touch thee. Hearing the voice in the sky, Rama touched Brahmadatta. Thereupon renouncing his venture from and assuming a beautiful body smeared with celestial perfumes, he praised Rama and said "O thou conversant with piety, by thy favour have I been saved from the dreadful hell here hath ended my curse.