The incident relates to a liberal Brahmana dwelling in Kurukshetra in the observance of the Unccha vow. In consequence of that incident he attained to Heaven, ye regenerate ones, along with his wife and son and daughter-in-law. And in consequence of what then happened half my body became transformed into gold."
I take thy leave. Blessings to thee. My object has been accomplished, O Naga." Chyavana performed the Samskara rites of the Brahmana and formally initiated him into the Unccha mode of life. The son of Bhrigu, O monarch, recited this history to king Janaka in his place. King Janaka, in his turn, narrated it to the celestial Rishi Narada of high soul.
But his hunger, O king, was not appeased by what he ate. The Brahmana in the observance of the Unccha vow, seeing that his guest's hunger was still unappeased, began to think of what other food he could place before him for gratifying him. Then his wife said unto him, 'Let my share be given unto him.
The unccha vow consists of subsisting upon grains of corn picked up after the manner of the pigeon from the field after the crops have been cut and removed by the owners. The day of 12 hours is divided into 8 divisions. A prastha is made up of four Kudavas. A Kudava is equal to about twelve double handfuls. This verse is rather obscure. I am not sure that I have understood it correctly.
Some rush to battle, and after laying down their lives, have attained to heaven. Some, again, attaining to success by practising the vow called Unccha, have betaken themselves to the path of heaven. Some have devoted themselves to the study of the Vedas.
Repeatedly uttering such deep sounds and thereby frightening all animals and birds, that proud denizen of a hole, with large body, spoke in a human voice and said, "Ye kings, this great sacrifice is not equal to a prastha of powdered barley given away by a liberal Brahmana of Kurukshetra who was observing the Unccha vow."
Beholding him ungratified, the Brahmana in the observance of the Unccha vow became thoughtful. His son then said unto him, 'O best of men, taking my share of the barley do thou give it to the guest. I regard this act of mine as one of great merit. Therefore, do it. Thou shouldst be always maintained by me with great care. Maintenance of the father is a duty which the good always covet.
The deity Mahadeva had been gratified by him with constant recitation of the Samhitas. He had endeavoured to accomplish those acts that lead to heaven. Through the merits of those acts he hath now attained to heaven. Without wealth and without desire of any kind, he had observed the vow called Unccha in the matter of his sustenance.
"'Bhishma said, "In this connection is cited the old narrative of a conversation between a Brahmana in the observance of the Sila and the Unccha vows, O Yudhishthira, and a Rishi crowned with ascetic success.
He is a Brahmana who has attained to heaven in consequence of his having been crowned with success in the observance of the vow called Unccha. This person had subsisted upon fruits and roots and upon the fallen leaves of trees. He had sometimes subsisted upon water, and sometimes upon air alone, passing his days with concentrated soul.