Chapter XXIII

On the King Haris’chandra’s acknowledging of the slavery of the Chândâla

1-5. Vyâsa said :– O King! Speaking these harsh and cruel words to the King, the Muni took that money and went away. When Vis’vâmitra went away, the King Haris’chandra became very much perplexed with sorrows and sighed frequently. He then began to say with his face bent downwards. “Suffering from constant pain and troubles, I am now turned into a Preta; if anybody finds me serviceable, he may purchase me with value in gold as proper; but he should do this quickly before the sun sets.” Dharma, then, assuming the form of a heartless Chândâla, came there quickly to test Haris’chandra. The body of that low mean person was of a black colour, his air looking ferocious, his belly elongated, body emitting stench odours, teeth very long, and his face, covered with beards. He had one bamboo in his hand; in his neck, the bones of the dead were hanging and his chest was very distorted.

6. The Chândâla said :– “I am in urgent need of a servant; I will keep you as my slave; say, then, quickly what is your price?”

7. Vyâsa said :– O King! When the cruel, extremely ferocious and heartless Chândâla said thus, the King Haris’chandra was surprised to see his appearance and said :– “Who are you?”

8-12. The Chândâla said :– “O King! I am the famous Chândâla, Pravîra; you will have to remain always subject to me and to collect the clothes of the dead persons.” Hearing his word, the King said, “I want to be purchased by a Brâhmin or a Ksattriya. See! The sages say, that the Dharma of good people is excellent; the Dharma of the persons intermediate is middling; and the Dharma of the mean is depressing. You belong to the low and mean class. So my Dharma cannot be observed if I remain in your house.” The Chândâla said :– “O King! This is the Dharma of yours now mentioned by you; then why did you mention that anybody can purchase you; without any previous consideration, you spoke before me. He who speaks with preconsideration attains his desired object; but, O Sinless One! You did not consider and you spoke that ordinarily. However, if I take your words that you spoke first to be true, then you are no doubt, purchased by me.”

13. Haris’chandra said :– The villain that speaks untruth, goes downright to a terrible hell; so to become a Chândâla is far better for me than to use an untrue word.

14-15. Vyâsa said :– O King! When the King was speaking thus, the ascetic Vis’vâmitra arrived there out of anger and impatience; he rolled his eyes and said :– This Chândâla is come to give you your desired money; why, then, are you not giving me the remnant of my Daksinâ!

16. Haris’chandra said :– “O Kaus’ika! Nothing is unknown to you. My this body is born for the Solar Line; how then can I accept this slavery of a Chândâla!” 

17-20. Vis’vâmitra said :– If you do not sell yourself to a Chândâla, be certain that I will just now put you under my curse. Give me immediately my Daksinâ, be it whether from a Chândâla or from a Brâhmana. There is no other purchaser at present than this Chândâla. But know this as certain that I won’t go back until I get my money. O King! If you do not give me money just now, then when half the Ghatikâ of the day is remaining, I will burn you up by my fire of anger.

2l. Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing these words of Vis’vâmitra, the King became almost dead; bewildered with fear, then he clasped the feet of the Risi and said, “Be friendly, please.”

22-23. Haris’chandra said :– “O Viprarsi! I am now very humiliated and have become very afflicted and distressed. Especially I am your Bhakta, I am your servant; so be graciously pleased and free me from this painful companion of a Chândâla. O Muni! In lieu of my remnant Daksinâ, I will be your obedient slave; I will do your work and follow your commands.”

24. Visvamitra said :– “O King! You are then my slave, you will obey always my commands.” 

25-26. Vyâsa said :– O King! When Vis’vâmitra said so, the King, out of joy, thought that he regained his life and said to Kaus’ika. Always I will obey your words; now order me what work I will have to do.

27-28. Vis’vâmitra, then addressed the Chândâla and said :– “O Chândâla! Come to me and give me the price for this slave. I am now handing this slave over to you; give me the price and take him. I want money; I have no need for a servant.”

29. Vyâsa said :– O King! When Vis’vâmitra spoke thus, the Chândâla, overflowed with joy, came immediately to the Risi Vis’vâmitra and said :–

30. O Dvîja! The relief that you have given me by selling this servant, for that I will give you  the ten Yoyanas wide land of Prayâga Mandalam, covered over with jewels.

31-36. Vyâsa said :– O King! The Chândâla then gave one thousand gems, one thousand jewels, one thousand pearls and one thousand gold Mohurs and Vis’vâmitra took them. No signs of distraction nor unpleasantness were visible on the face of the King Haris’chandra. Rather he laid hold of his patience and thought within himself, “Vis’vâmitra is now my master; I will do any work that he puts me in.” At this time, the incorporeal voice, the voice of the fourth dimensional space, sounded from the Heavens :– “O Fortunate One! You are freed from the Daksinâ, the debt before that you promised to give me.” A shower of flowers fell on the head of the King from the Heavens. At this time the powerful Indra and the other hosts of the Devas praised the King, saying :– “Sâdhu! Sâdhu! Well-done, Well-done.” The heart of the King was then filled with intense joy and the King then said to Kaus’ika :–

37-38. O Intelligent One! You are a greater benefactor to me than my father, mother and friend as you have freed me in a moment from my debts. So, O mighty armed one! Your words are beneficial to me. Now order what am I to do.

39. When the King said so, Vis’vâmitra then said :– Go and observe from today the words of the Chândâla. Let good befall on you! Thus saying, the Maharsi Vis’vâmitra took the money given by the Chândâla and went away to his own place.

Here ends the Twenty-third Chapter of the Seventh Book on the King Haris’chandra’s acknowledging of the slavery of the Chândâla in the Mahâpurânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam, of 18,000 verses, by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.

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