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Chapter 40: A Gandharva called Angaraparna

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One day, during collecting water from a lake, the Pandavas were beat by a Gandharva called Angaraparna. He alleged that the lake belonged to him. A violent fight followed during which Arjuna was forced to discharge his arrow charged with the power of Agni, the fire-god. The arrow put the Gandharva’s chariot on fire and Angaraparna became unconscious. Suddenly the gandharva’s wife, Kumbhinasi came and begged Arjuna to release him. Yudhishtira then said Arjuna to release the gandharva. Arjuna released him and asked why he fought and restricted them from using the Ganga. Angaraparna replied that he is censuring them as he knew that they were pandavas of Kuru clan. He then said that he knew the knowledge and power of pandavas acquired from their teacher Drona. Still with that knowledge and power, pandavas are wandering in forest. Angaraparna added that the main reason for their destiny is that they don’t have any priest to guide them through the path of virtue. Also they have not taken a wife for mode their life.

Gandharava then addressed Arjuna as 'Tapatya'. Arjuna became curious on why he is called as Tapatya, as he is son of Kunti and should be called as Kaunteya. Gandharva king Angaraparna then winds him the story of Tapati (river), daughter of Surya and Chhaya (goddess of shadow). One time, there was a king named Samvarana ruled the Puru Dynasty. Once when he was on a hunting voyage, he saw the daughter of Sun god, Tapati, in a stunning golden light. He immediately falls in love with that beauty and requests her to marry him. She says, only her father, Surya can determine who has to be her husband. Samvarana then prayed the chief priest Vashishta, who ascends to the world and appeared before him. Samvarana expressed his desire of marrying Tapati to the Sage Vashishta. Vashishta requested Surya to marry Tapati to Samvarana. Surya accepted and marries off his daughter tapati to Samvarana. They have a famous son by name Kuru, on whose dynasty, Kauravas and Pandavas descended.

On Hearing this story Arjuna wanted to know more about Sage Vashishta.

Gandharva then tells about Sage Vashishta, "Vashishta is the foremost among sages. He is the manasa putra (mind-born son) of the creator Brahma. His wife is Arundhati. He has fully conquered all the six enemies of any person, viz Kama (unreasonable desires), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachment and delusion), madha (pride) and matsarya (jealousy). He is aware in all Vedas. King Vishwamitra, to spite Vashishta has killed all his sons. Even then Vashishta did not retaliate, and exterminate the race of Kusikas, to which Vishwamitra belongs. Instead he forgave him. He could have brought back his children from the world of death, through his ascetic power. Even that he did not do, as he does not want to interfere in natural order of things. He has helped many Kings, by being their priest, in putting them on the path of virtue. So, Gandharava mentioned Arjuna as “O Tapatya” and he told him to appoint a good priest for his fortune.

He also told them many other stories.

One of another stories, Angaraparna told the Pandavas was that of Sakti, son of Rishi Vashistha. One day, a king called Kalmashpada blocked Sakti’s way through a narrow bridge. The king refused to give him the way to pass the bridge. The angry Sakti cursed the king to become a demon. The curse came into effect immediately, but it ended up hurting sakti the most. The king who now turned into a demon ate the sage sakti due to his hunger. On learning his son’s death, Vashistha who fall in sorrow tried to kill himself by jumping into fire and also into a river. But all the time, he was saved as neither the fire nor the water wanted to harm Vashistha. They advised Vashistha to live for his grandson who lies unborn in sakti’s wife womb.  In due course, Vashistha’s daughter-in-law gave birth to a son who is later named Parasara.

When Parasara grew up, he decided to revenge for his father’s death. The sage Parasara then started a yagna, which has the power to destroy all man eating demons in the world including his father’s killer, Kalmashpada. But Vashistha stopped the yagna and taught him about the value of Forgiveness. He convinced Parasara that his father’s anger made him to curse the king, which resulted in hurting none other than him. In the same way, Parasara’s vengeance will result in spiral of revenge. He then told Parasara to forgive demons so that he can live in peace. Parasara saw sense in these words of his grandfather and dropped the yagna. This Parasara was the father of Vyasa, who later became the biological father of Pandu, Dhritarashtra and Vidura.

Pandavas now relaxed by hearing the tale of their ancestors from Gandharva, told their miseries to Gandharva. They even told everything from their father’s death to their uncle’s treachery. Gandharva then advised Pandavas to shed the anger and to create a fortune instead. Later Gandharva gifted his horses to Pandavas and told them not to forget to find a priest and also to search a wife, and then to establish a kingdom of their own.

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