Mahabharata – Adi Parva – Paulama Parva – 4-12
– 4 –
Introduction of the story
1Lomharshana’s son Ugrasrava Souti, well-read in the Puranas, being present at the twelve years’ sacrifice of Kulapati Saunaka in the forest of Naimisha, stood before the Rishis in attendance.
2Having read the Puranas with great pains he was very learned in them. Now with joined hands he addressed them thus, “What, Reverend Sirs, do you wish to hear? What am I to relate?”
3The Rishis replied, “O son of Lomharshana, we shall ask you, and you will relate to us, who are anxious to hear, some excellent stories.
4But noble Kulapati Saunaka is now engaged in the room of the holy fire.
5He knows the divine stories relating to the Devas and Asuras. He also knows the stories relating to men, Nagas and Gandharvas.
6O Souti, that Kulapati Brahmana is the chief in this sacrifice; he is able, faithful to his vows, wise, and a master of the Sastras and Aranyakas.
7He is truthful, a lover of peace, a Rishi of hard austerities, and an observer of the ordained penances.
8He is respected by all of us and we should, therefore, wait for him.
9When he will sit on the highly honoured scat for the preceptor, you will reply to what that best of the twice-born will ask you.
10Souti said: So be it. When the noble Rishi will be seated, I shall relate sacred stones relating to variety of subjects as I shall be asked by him.
11The best of Brahmanas (Saunaka), after having performed all his duties, – having adored the divinities with prayers and the Pitris by offering water, —came back to the place of sacrifice where Souti was seated before the assembly of Rishis of rigid vows.
12When Saunaka was seated in the midst of Ritwikas and Sadasyas who also had come to their places, Souti spoke as follows.