The deep, silent night was broken only by the half hearted cries of crickets. There were other sounds in the forest. Unknown sounds. Only the very foolish or the very brave would venture out into the forest on such a night.
The half starved creatures movng around the fire burning like a deep red eye in the darkness looked human. They were human. Some were chanting , mumbling slokas. The others, the novices had little idea what was going on. They wondered about their decision. But they knew they had no choice. This was destiny at work.
Then they saw the lonely man, weak from walking, tired from lack of food, and sick with the burden in his soul, moving like a shade, towards their camp. His name was Ugra-Sravas, the son of Lomaharshan, the keeper of horses .
Anything was welcome in the stillness of the forest. The monotony is hard to believe. Any visitor was almost a hero to be worshipped. So they welcomed him, like a hero, and bade him take his seat on a heap of grass, for they kept nothing to sit on or sleep on.
And once he was rested and fed, they asked him "Where are you coming from? What have you seen. What stories do you bring us?"
And then Ugra-Sravas began his story.