The Birth of the Sparrows ||2||
1Markandeya said: “There was a king of birds, by name Garuda, the son of Arishthanemi: he had a son, known as Sampati. 2He had a heroic son, Suparshwa, endued with the velocity of the wind: Suparshwa’s son was Kumbhi and Kumbhi’s son was Pralolupa. 3He had two sons, Kanka and Kandhara. 4Kanka saw on the summit of the Kailasa, a Rakshasa, having eyes like lotus petals, the follower of the go of riches, known as Vidyudrupa. 5Wearing a brilliant garland and raiment and seated with his spouse on a beautiful clean marble slab he was engaged in drinking. 6As soon as he was seen by Kanka, that Raksha, filled with anger, said: “Whence have you come here, O wretched oviparous? 7Why do you come to me who am waiting here with my wife? Such is not the procedure of the intelligent in things sacred to secrecy?”
8Kanka said: “This mountain-chief is common property, it belongs to you, me and other creatures; what special attachment have you for it?”
9Markandeya said: Being thus accosted by Kanka the Rakshasa cut him down: he looked frightful with blood gushing out; and deprived of consciousness he rolled about. 10Hearing Kanka slain, Kandhara, the king of the oviparous ones, beside himself with ire, mode up his mind for destruction of Vidyudrupa. 11-13Then repairing to the destruction of the Kailasa where Kanka lay slain, that sky-ranger (bird) performed the obsequies of his elder brother. Then with his eyes rolling in ire and indignation and sighing like a serpent he went, where the Rakshasa, the slayer of his brother, was. Then agitating the huge mountains with the mighty wind of his wings, and scattering the clouds with great vehemence, that destroyer of his enemies, with reddened eyes, in a moment, attacked the mountain with his wings. 14-15He saw there the night-ranger, engaged in drinking with countenance and eyes rendered coppery and seated on a golden sofa; having his head encircled with wreaths adorned with Hari sandal, and furnished with a countenance highly terrific with teeth resembling the inlying leaves of Ketaki. 16He saw also his wife, by name Madanika, of large eyes and gifted with the sweet notes of a male coel, seated on his left thigh.
17Thereupon having his mind filled with wrath, Kandhara said to him who was waiting in that mountain cave: “O wretch, give me battle. 18As my eldest brother, (always) confiding, has been slain by you I shall therefore despatch you, possessed by pride, to the abode of Yama.
19Being slain by me to-day you shall go to the hells designed for those who destroy the confiding, women and children”.
20Markandeya said: Being thus addressed by the king of birds in the presence of his wife the Raksha replied to the bird who was filled with anger. 21“lf I have killed your brother forsooth I have displayed my prowess: I shall also slay you, O bird, with this sword of mine.
22Wait a moment, O wretch of a bird, and you shall not go hence living.” Saying this he took up a shining sword resembling a mass of collyrum. 23There arose an unequalled encounter between the king of birds and the follower of the king of Yakshas like that between Garuda and Sakra. 24Then in great anger, taking up vehemently the sword having the hue of extinguished charcoal the Rakshasa hurled it at the king of birds. 25As Garuda (takes up) a snake, the king of birds, raising the sword a little up from the ground, took it by his beak. 26Then breaking it with beak and talons that oviparous one was broken up with anger, on the sword being thus snapped there ensued a hand to hand encounter. 27Then striking the Rakshasa on his breast the king of birds severed his entrails, feet, hands and head (from his body). 28On his being thus slain, his wife sought refuge with the bird; and being terrified a little she said: “I will be your wife”. 29Then taking her that foremost of birds went back to his own house; and by destroying Vidyudrupa, he was relieved (of sorrow consequent upon the death) of his brother. 30Going to the abode of Kandhara, that daughter of Menaka, having fair eye-brows and capable of assuming forms at will, took that of a female bird. 31He then begat on her that best of Apsaras, a daughter named Tarkshi – sullied by the imprecation of the ascetic – and the bird gave her the name of Tarkshi. 32Mandapala had four highly intelligent sons, the foremost of the twice-born, Jarita and other ending with Drona. 33The youngest of them, virtuous souled and conversant with the Vedas and its branches, espoused the fair Tarkshi, by permission of Kandhara. 34After some time Tarkshi conceived and when the conception passed over seven fortnights she went to Kurukshetra. 35The dreadful combat between the Kurus and Pandavas going on at that time, she, from the inevitable course of action, entered into the thick of battle. 36There she beheld the encounter between Bhagadatta and Kiriti, by the continued discharge of whose arrows the sky was filled as if with locusts. 37There a shaft, dark-blue like serpent, discharged from the bow of Partha and coursing vehemently, severed the skin of her abdomen. 38On the abdomen being destined to live, dropped to the earth like a mass of cotton. 39And simultaneously with their fall the huge bell fell down from the best of elephants, Supratika, having its tie cut by an arrow. 40Although it dropped down at the same time along with the eggs riving the face of the earth, (yet) the eggs of the bird were covered by it above the parts where embryos were. 41After that lord of men, the king Bhagadatta, had been slain, the battle between the armies of the Kurus and Pandavas went on for many a day. 42After the close of the battle, Dharma’s son (Yudhisthira) went to the son of Santanu (Bhisma) to hear from the high-souled (Bhisma) an exhaustive discourse on religion. 43A self-controlled ascetic, the foremost of the twice-born by name Shamika, came, in search of them where the eggs lay under the bell. 44There he heard the indistinct cries which, though they had full knowledge, the embryos were emitting on account of their infancy. 45Then the sage, filled with surprise, along with his disciples, took up the bell and saw there the young ones having no parents. 46Seeing them in that way on the ground the divine ascetic Shamika, filled with surprise, said to the twice-born who were following him. 47“Beholding the army of the Daityas assailed by the celestials, well did that foremost of the twice-born Sukra, the son of Usana say: 48‘Desist, you should not go – where do you go in fear? Wherever you may go renouncing fame and heroism you must not die. 49As you have been created by the Deity, so long he wishes you must live whether you fight or not. 50Some die in their own homes, other while flying away, and other perish while taking food or drinking water. 51Other (again), enjoying the sweets of life, possessing good health, and having their person not wounded by weapons, come under the subjection of the lord of the dead. 52Others, engaged in hard austerities, are carried away by the followers of the king of the dead; even those who practise Yoga can never attain to immortality. 53Formerly the thunder-bolt was hurled by the holder of thunder (Indra) at Samvara; he was wounded at the chest and still the Asura did not die. 54But when the time came, with the self-same thunder-bolt and by the same Indra the Daityas immediately met with destruction. 55Knowing this you should not be afraid and do you return.’ Thereupon casting all the fear of death the Daityas desisted. 56The words of Sukra have been verified by these excellent birds for they did not meet with death even in that superhuman battle. 57O Vipras, what was the fall of birds and what was the simultaneous dropping of the bell? And what again was this battle covering the earth with flesh, fat and blood? 58O Vipras, who all these (birds) may be – they are not ordinary birds; the favour of the Deity sometimes displays good luck in this world.” 59Having said this and seeing them he again spoke: “Stop, go to the hermitage taking with you these young ones of the bird. 60Keep these oviparous ones at a place where cats, rats, hawks or mongooses may not come. 61What is the use of over care, O twice-born ones? As creatures live or die by their own actions, so it will be with these young ones of the bird. 62Still a man should put forth his endeavour in all that he does; if he does not employ his energy he is censured by the good.” 63Thus commanded by the ascetic the son of the Munis, taking the birds, went to the hermitage, beatified with the presence of saints and black bees swarming round the branches of trees. 64-65Collecting, as he liked, roots, fruits, flowers, and Kusha grass, the twice-born one performed various religious rites, sanctioned by the Sruti, in honour of the holder of discus (Vishnu), Rudra (Shiva), Brahma, Indra, Yama, the god of fire, the lord of waters, the lord of speech, the god of wealth, the wind-god, Dhata, Vidhata and Vishwadeva.