The Legend of Shunashepa is commenced and Sage Shataananda continues this as a part of Vishvamitra’s legend. When Rama’s grandparent Ambariisha undertook a ritual, Indra impounds that ritual’s horse. Then Ambariisha had to fetch a human-animal in lieu of that lost horse. When none is available one named Shunashepa, son of Sage Riciika, and a nephew of Vishvamitra, offers himself with a barter of riches to his parents.
विश्वामित्रो महातेजाः प्रस्थितान् वीक्ष्य तान् ऋषीन् |
अब्रवीत् नरशार्दूल सर्वान् तान् वन वासिनः || १-६१-१
abraviit narashaarduula sarvaan taan vana vaasinaH || 1-61-1
“Oh, manly-tiger Rama, on giving farewell to those sages who came at his invitation and who have started to go back after the ritual of Trishanku is over, then that great-resplendent Vishvamitra spoke to all of the sages who are forest dwellers that remained with him.” Thus Shatananda continued to narrate the legend of Vishvamitra. [1-61-1].
महाविघ्नः प्रवृत्तो अयम् दक्षिणाम् आस्थितो दिशम् |
दिशम् अन्याम् प्रपत्स्यामः तत्र तप्स्यामहे तपः || १-६१-२
” ‘While depending on this southern quarter this gross hindrance has cropped up for my ascesis in the shape of Trishanku’s ascent to heaven, hence we will go to another direction, and there we continue ascesis. [1-61-2].
पश्चिमायाम् विशालायाम् पुष्करेषु महात्मनः |
सुखम् तपः चरिष्यामः परम् तत् हि तपो वनम् || १-६१-३
” ‘Oh, great-souled sages, we can conveniently undertake our ascesis in the vast of westerly direction where holy lakesides are there. That would be an august ascetical forest, isn’t it.’ Thus Vishvamitra said to fellow sages in his camp. [1-61-3].
एवम् उक्त्वा महातेजाः पुष्करेषु महामुनिः |
तप उग्रम् दुराधर्षम् तेपे मूल फल अशनः || १-६१-४
“On saying thus that most brilliant and great saint Vishvamitra performed an unhindered and rigorous ascesis subsisting only on fruits and tubers after reaching the lakeside of holy lakes. [1-61-4].
एतस्मिन् एव काले तु अयोध्या अधिपतिः महान् |
अंबरीष इति ख्यातो यष्टुम् समुपचक्रमे || १-६१-५
aMbariiSha iti khyaato yaShTum samupacakrame || 1-61-5
“In the meanwhile the great king of Ayodhya, renowned as Ambariisha, embarked on to perform a Vedic-ritual. [1-61-5].
तस्य वै यजमानस्य पशुम् इन्द्रो जहार ह |
प्रणष्टे तु पशौ विप्रो राजानम् इदम् अब्रवीत् || १-६१-६
praNaShTe tu pashau vipro raajaanam idam abraviit || 1-61-6
“But Indra impounded the animal of the principal of that ritual, namely king Ambariisha, and when that animal is really vanished, the officiant Brahman of the ritual spoke this to that king. [1-61-6].
पशुः अभ्याहृतः राजन् प्रणष्टः तव दुर्नयात् |
अरक्षितारम् राजानम् घ्नन्ति दोषा नरेश्वर || १-६१-७
” ‘Oh, king, the animal you have fetched for the ritual has gone astray owing to your incautiousness. Oh, king, unguarded items of the ritual will themselves become destructive blemishes for that king who is performing the ritual. [1-61-7].
प्रायः चित्तम् महत् हि एतत् नरम् वा पुरुषर्षभ |
आनयस्व पशुम् शीघ्रम् यावत् कर्म प्रवर्तते || १-६१-८
” ‘Oh, the best man among men, you have to make great amends for the loss of animal as that animal alone which was intended but now missing shall be used in ritual. Or, a man may be fetched as ritual-animal, and only after that the deeds of the ritual can be continued.’ Thus, the priests of the ritual said to king Ambariisha. [1-61-8].
उपाध्याय वचः श्रुत्वा स राजा पुरुषर्षभ |
अन्वियेष महाबुद्धिः पशुम् गोभिः सहस्रशः || १-६१-९
“On hearing the words of his teacher, oh, the best one among men, Rama, he that highly rule-obedient king tried for a human-ritual-animal for a barter of thousands of cows. [1-61-9].
देशान् जनपदान् तान् तान् नगराणि वनानि च |
आश्रमाणि च पुण्यानि मार्गमाणो महीपतिः || १-६१-१०
स पुत्र सहितम् तात स भार्यम् रघुनंदन |
भृगुतुंगे समासीनम् ऋचीकम् संददर्श ह || १-६१-११
aashramaaNi ca puNyaani maargamaaNo mahiipatiH || 1-61-10
sa putra sahitam taata sa bhaaryam raghunaMdana |
bhR^igutuMge samaasiinam R^iciikam saMdadarsha ha || 1-61-11
“While that king is searching those and those provinces, villages, forests, townships, and even the pious hermitages, oh, dear Rama, the legatee of Raghu’s dynasty, that king has indeed seen Sage Riciika, who is well settled on Mt. Bhrigutunga along with his sons and wife. [1-61-10, 11].
तम् उवाच महातेजाः प्रणंय अभिप्रसाद्य च |
महर्षिम् तपसा दीप्तम् राजर्षिः अमित प्रभः || १-६१-१२
पृष्ट्वा सर्वत्र कुशलम् ऋचीकम् तम् इदम् वचः |
pR^iShTvaa sarvatra kushalam R^iciikam tam idam vacaH |
“On reverencing and on obtaining the grace of ascetically brilliant great Sage Riciika, and even on asking him about his wellbeing in every aspect, that kingly sage Ambariisha, who is with great resplendence and whose brilliance is illimitable, said this word to that sage. [1-61-12, 13a].
गवाम् शत सहस्रेण विक्रीणीषे सुतम् यदि || १-६१-१३
पशोः अर्थे महाभाग कृत कृत्यो अस्मि भार्गव |
pashoH arthe mahaabhaaga kR^ita kR^ityo asmi bhaargava |
” ‘Oh, godlike sage, if you bargain your son with a hundred thousand cows for the purpose of a ritual-animal, oh, the successor Sage Bhrigu, I deem my ends are achieved. [1-61-13b, 14a].
सर्वे परिगता देशा यज्ञियम् न लभे पशुम् || १-६१-१४
दातुम् अर्हसि मूल्येन सुतम् एकम् इतो मम |
daatum ar.hhasi muulyena sutam ekam ito mama |
” ‘All the provinces are went over but unobtainable is that animal of the ritual, hence it will be apt of you to give me one son from among your sons, for a value.’ Thus, king Ambariisha bargained with the sage. [1-61-14b, 15a].
एवम् उक्तो महातेजा ऋचीकः तु अब्रवीत् वचः || १-६१-१५
न अहम् ज्येष्ठम् नर श्रेष्ठ विक्रीणीयाम् कथंचन |
na aham jyeShTham nara shreShTha vikriiNiiyaam kathaMcana |
“When that great-resplendent Sage Riciika is addressed thus, he said this word, ‘oh, best of men, I cannot possibly sell my eldest son, in anyway.’ [1-61-15b, 16a] .
ऋचीकस्य वचः श्रुत्वा तेषाम् माता महात्मनाम् || १-६१-१६
उवाच नर शार्दूलम् अंबरीषम् इदम् वचः |
uvaaca nara shaarduulam aMbariiSham idam vacaH |
“On hearing the words of Sage Riciika the mother of those great-souled sons spoke this word to the tigerly-man Ambariisha. [1-61-16b, 17a].
अविक्रेयम् सुतम् ज्येष्ठम् भगवान् आह भार्गवः || १-६१-१७
मम अपि दयितम् विद्धि कनिष्ठम् शुनकम् प्रभो |
तस्मात् कनीयसम् पुत्रम् न दास्ये तव पार्थिव || १-६१-१८
mama api dayitam viddhi kaniShTham shunakam prabho |
tasmaat kaniiyasam putram na daasye tava paarthiva || 1-61-18
“The most reverential sage and the one from Bhaargava dynasty, my husband, said that the eldest son is un-sellable. Thereof oh, lord, you must know that my youngest son, namely Shunaka, is a cherished one for me. Therefore oh, king, I will not give my youngest son to you, either. [1-61-17b, 18].
प्रायेण हि नरश्रेष्ठ ज्येष्ठाः पितृषु वल्लभाः |
मातॄणाम् च कनीयांसः तस्मात् रक्षे कनीयसम् || १-६१-१९
“Generally eldest sons are fathers’ favourites, oh, best king among men, and mothers’ favourites are the youngest, isn’t it! Therefor, I have to tend my youngest son.’ Thus, wife Sage Ruciika said to Ambariisha. [1-61-19]
The wife of the Sage Ruciika is Satyavathi, the sister of Vishvamitra whose legend was narrated by Vishvamitra in Bala Ch. 34. This longing for youngest sons by a mother is reflected in Maha Bharata, where Kunti pleads for leaving Sahadeva, the youngest Pandava, from going to forest exile, along with her in the city. In sabhaa parva she says: sabhaa parvaaNi sahadevam prati kuntii vaakyam – sahadeva nivartasva nanu tvam asi me priyaH | shariiraat api maadreya maamatyakShiiH kuputravat | – aashrama vaase dharma putram prati kuntii vaakyam – sahadeva maaraaja maa pramaadam kR^ithaa | – dk Kunti, the mother of Pandava-s says: ‘oh, Sahadeva, you refrain from going on exile as you are a dear son of mine, though Maadri gave you a bodily birth, you are my favourite…’ Also, in the period of forest exile she says to Yudhishtar: ‘oh, king, let no danger occur to Sahadeva… as he is my cherished son…’.
उक्त वाक्ये मुनौ तस्मिन् मुनि पत्न्याम् तथैव च |
शुनःशेपः स्वयम् राम मध्यमो वाक्यम् अब्रवीत् || १-६१-२०
shunaHshepaH svayam raama madhyamo vaakyam abraviit || 1-61-20
“Oh, Rama, when that sage’s sentence is so, and his wife’s sentence is also in that way only, their intermediate son, namely Shunashepa, personally spoke this sentence. [1-61-20].
पिता ज्येष्ठम् अविक्रेयम् माता च आह कनीयसम् |
विक्रेतम् मध्यमम् मन्ये राजपुत्र नयस्व माम् || १-६१-२१
” ‘Father said that the eldest son is un-sellable, mother also said the same about youngest one. Then I deem that the intermediary son is sellable. Hence, oh, prince, you may lead me forth. [1-61-21].
अथ राजा महाबाहो वाक्य अन्ते ब्रह्म वादिनः |
हिरण्यस्य सुवर्णस्य कोटिभी रत्न राशिभिः || १-६१-२२
गवाम् शत सहस्रेण शुनःशेपम् नरेश्वरः |
गृहीत्वा परम प्रीतो जगाम रघुनंदन || १-६१-२३
gavaam shata sahasreNa shunaHshepam nareshvaraH |
gR^ihiitvaa parama priito jagaama raghunaMdana || 1-61-23
“Oh, dextrous Rama, when that advocate of Veda-s, namely Shunashepa finished his speech, then the king gave gold, silver, and gemstones, each in ten million heaps, and even a hundred thousand cows, and oh, Rama, the legatee of Ragu, that king Ambariisha went away highly gladdened to take Shunashepa with him. [1-61-22, 23] .
अंबरीषः तु राजर्षी रथम् आरोप्य सत्वरः |
शुनःशेपम् महातेजा जगाम आशु महायशाः || १-६१-२४
“That great resplendent and highly renowned king Ambariisha on his part proceeded hastily after ascending Shunashepa onto the chariot that hastily.” Thus Sage Shataananda continued his narration. [1-61-24].