(Astika Parva continued)
"Sauti said. 'Jaratkaru, hearing all this, became excessively dejected. And from sorrow he spoke unto those Pitris in words obstructed by tears.' And Jaratkaru said, 'Ye are even my fathers and grand-fathers gone before. Therefore, tell me what I must do for your welfare. I am that sinful son of yours, Jaratkaru! Punish me for my sinful deeds, a wretch that I am.'
"The Pitris replied, saying, 'O son, by good luck hast thou arrived at this spot in course of thy rambles. O Brahmana, why hast thou not taken a wife?'
"Jaratkaru said. 'Ye Pitris, this desire hath always existed in my heart that I would, with vital seed drawn up, carry this body to the other world. My mind hath been possessed with the idea that I would not take a wife. But ye grandsires, having seen you hanging like birds, I have diverted my mind from the Brahmacharya mode of life. I will truly do what you like. I will certainly marry, if ever I meet with a maiden of my own name. I shall accept her who, bestowing herself of her own accord, will be as aims unto me, and whom I shall not have to maintain. I shall marry if I get such a one; otherwise, I shall not. This is the truth, ye grandsires! And the offspring that will be begot upon her shall be your salvation. And ye Pitris of mine, ye shall live for ever in blessedness and without fear.'
'Sauti continued, 'The Muni, having said so unto the Pitris, wandered over the earth again. And, O Saunaka, being old, he obtained no wife. And he grieved much that he was not successful. But directed (as before) by his ancestors, he continued the search. And going into the forest, he wept loudly in great grief. And having gone into the forest, the wise one, moved by the desire of doing good to his ancestors, said, 'I will ask for a bride,' distinctly repeating these words thrice. And he said, 'Whatever creatures are here, mobile and immobile, so whoever there be that are invisible, O, hear my words! My ancestors, afflicted with grief, have directed me that am engaged in the most severe penances, saying, 'Marry thou for (the acquisition of) a son.' 'O ye, being directed by my ancestors, I am roaming in poverty and sorrow, over the wide world for wedding a maiden that I may obtain as alms. Let that creature, amongst those I have addressed, who hath a daughter, bestow on me that am roaming far and near. Such a bride as is of same name with me, to be bestowed on me as alms, and whom, besides, I shall not maintain, O bestow on me!' Then those snakes that had been set upon Jaratkaru track, ascertaining his inclination, gave information to Vasuki. And the king of the snakes, hearing their words, took with him that maiden decked with ornaments, and went into the forest unto that Rishi. And, O Brahmana, Vasuki, the king of the snakes, having gone there, offered that maiden as alms unto that high-souled Rishi. But the Rishi did not at once accept her. And the Rishi, thinking her not to be of the same name with himself, and seeing that the question of her maintenance also was unsettled, reflected for a few moments, hesitating to accept her. And then, O son of Bhrigu, he asked Vasuki the maiden's name, and also said unto him, 'I shall not maintain her.'"