The Legend of King Satyavrata

The Banishment of Satyavrata

Vyasa said :–  O King! That King Mândhâtâ, true to his promise, conquered one after another the whole world and became the paramount sovereign of all the other emperors and got the title “Sârvabhauma” (Sovereign of all the earth). O King! What more to speak of Mândhâtâ’s influence at that time than this that all the robbers, struck with his terror, all fled to the mountain caves. For this reason, Indra gave him the title “Trasadasyu.” He married Bindumatî, the daughter of S’as’avindu. Her limbs were proportioned and perfect and so she was very beautiful. Mândhâtâ had by that wife two sons :– (1) the famous Purukutstha and (2) Muchukunda. Purukutstha had his son Anaranya; this prince was celebrated by the name of Brihadas’va. He was very religious and deeply devoted to his father. His son was Haryas’va; he was religious and knew the Highest Reality. His son was Tridhanvâ; his son was Aruna. Aruna’s son was Satyavrata; he was very avaricious, lustful, wicked and wilful. Once on an occasion that vicious prince, overpowered by lust, stole away the wife of one Brâhmin and so created an hindrance in his marriage. O King! The Brâhmins, united in a body, came to the King Aruna, bewailing and lamenting and uttered repeatedly :– Alas! We are ruined! The King addressed to the grieved subjects, the Brâhmins :– “O Brâhmins! What harm has been done to you by my son.”

Hearing thus the good words of the King, the Dvijas, versed in the Vedas, repeatedly blessed him and said :– “O King! You are the foremost of the powerful. So your son is like you. Today he has forcibly stolen away during the marriage ceremony a Brâhmin daughter already given over in marriage.”

Vyasa said :– O King! The highly religious King hearing the words of the Brâhmins, took them to be true and said to his son :– “O One of evil understanding! You have rendered to-day your name useless by perpetrating this evil act. O Vicious One! Get away from my house! O Sinner! You will never be able to live in my territory!” Seeing his father angry, Satyavrata repeatedly said :– Father! Where shall I go?  He said :– “Live with the Chandalas. You have stolen a Brâhmin’s wife and so has acted like a Chândala. Go and live with them happily. O Disgrace to your family! I don’t like to get issues through you: you have obliterated this family’s name. So, O Sinner! go wherever you like.” Hearing the the words from his angry father, Satyavrata instantly quitted the house and went to the Chândâlas. The prince, wearing his coat of armour and holding bows and arrows, began to spend away his time with the Chândâlas; but he could not get out of his breast his feeling of sympathy and mercy. When he was banished by his liberal minded angry father the Guru Vas’istha instigated the King to the above purpose. Satyavrata was therefore angry with Vas’istha, inasmuch as he, versed the Dharma S’âstras, did not dissuade the father from banishing his son. His father, then, owing to some inexplicable cause, quitted the city and, for the sake of his son, went to the forest to practise austerities. O King! Owing to that sinful act, Indra did not rain at all in his kingdom for twelve years. O King! Just then Vis’vâmitra, too, keeping his wife and children in that kingdom, began to practise severe austerities on the banks of the river Kaus’ikî. The beautiful wife of Kus’ika then fell into great trouble how she could maintain the family. All the children, pained with hunger, began to cry, begging for Nibâr rice food. The chaste wife of Kaus’ika became very much troubled seeing all this. She thought, seeing the children hungry, “Where am I to go now and from whom to beg, and what to do, inasmuch as the King was not then staying in the Kingdom. The husband is not also near; so who would protect my children? The boys are incessantly crying. Fie therefore to my life!” She thought also thus :– “My husband left me in this penniless state; we are suffering for want of money. He does not know these, though he is quite able. Save my husband, who else will support my sons? They will all die now of starvation. I  might sell one of my sons, whatever I get out of that, I can support the others; this is now my highest duty. I ought not to do otherwise and kill all my children; so I will now sell one of my sons to support the others.” Thus hardening her mind, she went out, tying the child by a rope round his neck. The Muni’s wife, for the sake of the other children, fastened the middle son by a cord and got out of her house. The prince Satyavrata saw her distressed with pain and sorrow and asked :– “O Beautiful One! What are you now going to do? Who are you? This boy is crying; Why have you tied him by a rope round his neck? O Fair One! Speak out truly to me the cause of all this.”

The wife said :– “O Prince! I am the wife of Vis’vâmitra. These are my sons. I am now going, for want of food, to sell one of these out of my own accord. O King! My husband has gone away to practise tapasyâ; I do not know where he has gone. There is no food in the house; so I will sell one to support the other sons.”

Satyavrata said :– “O Chaste One! Save your children. I will bring to you your articles of food from the forest till your husband does not come here. Daily I will fasten some food on a tree close by your Âs’rama. This I speak truly.” The wife of Vis’vâmitra, hearing these words of the prince, freed the child of the fastening and took him to her Âs’rama. The child was named afterwards as Gâlaba, due to his being fastened by the neck. He became a great Risi afterwards. The Vis’vâmitra’s wife then felt great pleasure in her home, surrounded by her children. Filled with regard, and mercy, Satyavrata duly performed his task and provided daily the family of Vis’vâmitra with their food. He used to hunt wild boars, deer, buffaloes, etc., and used to take their flesh to the place where used to dwell the wife of Vis’vâmitra and the children and tie that up to an adjoining tree. The Risi’s wife used to give those to her children. Thus getting excellent food, she felt very happy. Now when the King Aruna went for tapasyâ to the forest, the Muni Vas’istha carefully guarded the Ayodhyâ city, and the palace and the household. Satyavrata, too, used to sustain his livelihood daily by hunting, accordig to his father’s order; and abiding by Dharma, lived in the forest outside the city. Satyavrata cherished always in his heart, for some cause, a feeling of anger towards Vas’istha. When his father banished his religious son, Vas’istha did not prevent his father. This is the cause of Satyavrata’s anger. Marriage does not become valid until seven footsteps are trodden (a ceremony); so the stealing away of a girl within that period is not equivalent to stealing away a Brâhmin’s wife. The virtuous Vas’istha knew that; yet he did not prevent the King. One day the prince did not find anything for hunting; he saw in the forest the cow of Vas’istha giving milk. Very much distressed by hunger, the King killed the cow like a dacoit, partly out of anger and partly out of delusion. He fastened part of the flesh to that tree for the wife of Vis’vâmitra and the remainder he ate himself. O One of good vows! The Vis’vâmitra’s wife did not know that to be beef and thought it to be deer’s and so fed her sons with that. Now when Vas’istha came to know that his cow had been killed, he was inflamed with anger and spoke to Satyavrata “O Vicious One! What a heinous crime have you committed, like a Pis’âcha, by killing the cow? For the killing of the cow, the stealing of a Brâhmin’s wife and the fiery anger of your father, for these three crimes, let there come out on your head three S’ankus or three marks of leprosy as the signs for your crimes. From this day you will be widely known by the name of Tris’anku and you will show your Pis’âcha form to all the beings.”

Vyâsa said : — O King! The prince Satyavrata thus cursed by Vais’istha remained in that retreat and practised severe tapasyâ. But he got from a Muni’s son the excellent Mantram of the Highest auspicious Devî Bhagavatî and became merged in the contemplation of that.

Satyavrata returns to Ayodhya

Vyâsa said :– O King! Satyavrata, cursed by Vas’istha, was transformed into a demoniacal state (Pis’âchatva); but he became a great devotee of the Devî and passed away his time in that Âs’rama. One day he repeating slowly the nine-lettered Mantram of the Bhagavatî, wished to perform the Puras’charana ceremony (repeating the name of a deity attended with burnt offerings, oblations, etc.) of the said Mantra, came to the Brâhmins, bowed down to them with great devotion and purity and said :– “O venerable gods of the earth! Kindly hear me; I with my head bowed down pray to you, that you all be my priests (Ritt-vigs). You are all versed in the Vedas; so kindly do for me duly the Homa ceremony equal to one-tenth part of Japam, for my success. O Brâhmanas! My name is Satyavrata; I am a prince; you ought to do this work for me for my welfare.” Thus hearing the prince’s words the Brâhmanas said :– “O Prince! You are cursed by your Guru and you are now turned into a demoniacal state. You have now no right to the Vedas; especially you are now in the Pis’âcha state; it is blamed by all the persons; so now you are not fit to be initiated into the ceremony.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing them, the prince got very sad and dejected and thought “Fie on my life! What shall I do now in living even in the forest. My father has forsaken me; I am banished from the kingdom; again, by the Guru’s curse, I have got this Pis’âcha state; I therefore can’t decide what to do.” The prince, then, collecting fuel, prepared the funeral pile for himself, remembered the Chandikâ Devî and repeating Her Mantram, resolved to jump into the fire. Lighting the pyre in front, the prince bathed and standing, with clasped palms, began to chant the hymns to Mahâ Mâyâ before entering into the fire. At this moment, the Devî Bhagavatî, knowing that the prince was ready to burn himself, came instantly to the spot on the back of the lion, by the aerial route. She manifested Henself before him and spoke in a voice deep like a rain-cloud.

“O Virtuous One What is all this? What have you settled all these? Never throw yourself in fire; be patient. O Fortunate One! Your father is now aged; he will give you his kingdom and will go to the forest for tapasyâ; therefore, O Hero! Do leave your depression of spirits. O King! Tomorrow the ministers of your father will came to you to take you there. By My Grace, your father will install you on the throne and, in due time, he will conquer his desires and will go undoubtedly to the Brahmâ loka.”

Vyâsa said :– O Fortunate One! Thus saying, the Devî vanished at that spot; the prince, too, desisted from his purpose of entering into the fire. In the meanwhile, the highsouled Nârada went to Ayodhyâ and at once informed everything to the King. The King became very sad and began to repent very much, hearing the son’s resolve to burn himself. The virtuous King, grieved at heart, for his son, said to his ministers :– “You all are aware of the turning out of my son. I have forsaken my intelligent son Satyavrata; though he was very spiritual and worthy to get the kingdom; yet, at my command, he instantaneously went away to the forest. Void of wealth, he, practising forgiveness, passed his time in study, particularly in spiritual knowledge; but Vas’istha Deva, cursed him and made him like a Pis’âcha. Very much distressed by pain and sorow, he was ready to burn himself but the Mahâ Devî preventing him, he desisted from this purpose. So go hurriedly and, consoling my powerful eldest son, bring him at once to me. I am now calm and quiet and of a retiring disposition; so I am determined to practise tapasyâ. My son is now capable to govern the subjects; I will now install my son on the throne and retire to the forest.” So he gladly sent his ministers to his son. The ministers, too, gladly went there and consoled the prince and, with respect, brought him to the Ayodhyâ city. Seeing Satyavrata with matted hair on his head, with dirty clothes, and thin and worn out with cares, the King began to think within himself “Oh! What a cruel act have I done, though I know everything about religion, in banishing my intelligent son, quite fit to govern my kingdom.” Thus thinking, he embraced his son by his arms and consoling him, made him sit by his throne. The King, versed in politics, then began to speak gladly with suffocated feelings of love to his son sitting by the side of him.

“O Son! Your highest duty is to keep your mind always on religion and to respect the Brâhmins. Never speak falsely anywhere nor follow any bad course in any way. Rather the words of the spiritual good persons ought to be fully observed; the ascetics ought to be worshipped. Senses must be controlled and the wicked cruel robbers are certainly to be slain. O Son! For one’s success, one should consult with one’s ministers and keep that as secret by all means. Any enemy howsoever insignificant he may be, a clever King should never overlook him. The ministers, if they be attached to other masters and if they come round afterwards, don’t trust them. Spies should be kept to watch friends and foes alike. Show your living regards to the religion always, and make charitable gifts. One ought not to argue in vain and always avoid the company of the wicked. O Son! You should worship the Maharsis and perform various sacrifices. Never trust women, those who are inordinately addicted to women, and the gamblers. Never is it advisable to be addicted too much to hunting. Always shew your back to gambling, drinking, music and to the prostitutes and try to make your subjects follow the same. Early in the morning at the Brahmâ  Muhûrta everyday you should get up from your bed and bathe and perform other analogous duties. O Son! Be initiated by the Guru in the Devî Mantra, and worship with devotion the Supreme Force, the Bhagavatî. Human birth is crowned with success by worshipping Her Lotus Feet, O Son! He who performs once the great Pûjâ of the Mahâ Devî and drinks the Charanâmrita water (water with which Her feet are worshipped) has never to enter again in the womb of his mother; know this as certain. That Mahâ Devî is all that is seen and She Herself is again the Seer and Witness, of the nature of Intelligence. Filled with these ideas, rest fearless like the Universal Soul. Do your daily Naimittik (occasional) duties, go to the Brâhmin’s assembly and calling on them ask the conclusions of the Dharma S’âstras. The Brâhmins, versed in the Vedas and Vedantas, are objects of venerations and must be worshipped. Give, then, them always according to merits, cows, lands, gold, etc. Don’t worship any Brâhmin who is illiterate. Don’t give to illiterates more than their belliful wants. O Child! Never trespass Dharma, out of covetousness, and remember always not to insult ever afterwards any Brâhmanas. The Brâhmins are the cause of the Ksattriyas, the more so they are the terrestrial gods; honour them with all your care! In this never flinch from your duties. Fire comes out of water; the Ksattriyas come out of the Brâhmanas; iron comes out of stones. The powers of these flow everywhere. But if there be any clash between one thing and its source, then that clash dies away in the source. Know this as quite certain. The King who wants his own welfare and improvement must by gift and humility shew his respect especially to the Brâhmins. Follow the maxims of morality as dictated in the Dharma S’âstras. Amass wealth according to rules of justice and fill the treasury.”

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Vyâsa said :– O King! Thus giving the advice to his son, the King Tris’anku was excited with feelings of love and, in a choked voice, said to his father that he would fulfil what he had been ordered. The King then called the Brâhmins, versed in the Vedas and Mantrams, and had all the materials for installation collected quickly. He brought the waters from all the sacred places of prigrimages; he then called together with great respect all the kings. On a sacred day, the father installed his son on the throne and gave him, in accordance with due rites and ceremonies, the royal throne. The King then adopted with his wife the third Vânaprastha stage of life and practised a severe tapasyâ on the banks of the Ganges. Then in due course of time the King went to the Heavens. There he began to shine like a second Sun by the side of Indra, respected by all the gods.

Satyavrata becomes a Chandala

Vyâsa said :– Cursed by Vas’istha, Satyavrata became then and there transformed into a Pis’âcha, very ugly, violent and terrible to all; but when he worshipped the Devî with devotion, immediately the Devî gave him a beautiful divine body. By the grace of the Devî, his sins were all washed away and his Pis’âcha form vanished. Satyavrata, then, freed from his sins became very much vigorous and energetic. Vas’istha also became pleased with him, blessed thus by the Supreme Force and so was his father, too. When his father died, the virtuous Satyavrata became King, governed his subjects and performed various sacrifices and worshipped, too, the Eternal Mother of the Gods. O King! Tris’anku had a very beautiful son born to him, named Haris’chandra, endowed in all his limbs with auspicious signs. The King Tris’anku wanted to make his son Yuvarâja (the Crown prince) and then in his that very body while living, enjoy the Heavens. The King went to the Âs’rama of Vas’istha and gladly asked him, with folded palms, bowing down before him duly.

“O Ascetic! You are the son of Brahmâ , versed in all the Vaidik Mantrams; so you are exceedingly fortunate; now I beg to inform you one thing; hear it gladly. I now desire to enjoy the happiness of the Heavens and all the enjoyments of the Devas, while I am in this body. To enjoy in the Nandana Garden, to live with the Apsarâs and to hear the sweet music of the Devas and the Gandharbas, these ideas now have taken a strong hold of my heart. Therefore, O Great Muni! Engage me in such a sacrifice as will enable me, in this very body to live in the Svarloka. O Muni! You are fully competent to do this; therefore be ready for this. Have the sacrifice done and let me have quickly the Devaloka, so difficult to be obtained!”

Vas’istha said :– “O King! It is exceedingly hard to live in the Heavens while in this mortal body. The departed only live in the Heavens by their merits, this is a known fact. Therefore, O Omniscient One! Your desire is hard to be attained. I am afraid of this. O King! The living men can hardly enjoy the Apsarâs. Therefore, O Blessed One! Do the sacrifice first. Then, when you leave this body, you will go to the Heavens.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! The Maharsi Vas’istha was already angry with the King; therefore when he spoke these words, the King heard and became absent-minded. He again spoke to the Maharsi:– O Brâhmana! If you do not allow me to do the sacrifice, on account of your haughtiness, I will have the sacrifice performed now by another priest. Vas’istha became very angry at the words of the King and cursed him :– “O evilminded One! Be as soon as possible a Chândâla in this body. You have committed acts by which your path to the Heaven is obstructed. You have stolen a Brâhmini’s wife, and defiled the path of religion; you have killed the Surabhi Cow and you are a libertine. Therefore, O Sinner! Never you will go to the Heavens, even after your death.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing these harsh words from the Guru, Tris’anku became immediately Chândâla in that very body. His golden earrings became turned into iron; the sweet sandal smell over his body smelled like faeces; his beautiful yellow clothings became blue, the colour of his body became like that of an elephant, due to his curse. O King! Those who are the worshippers of the Supreme Force can produce such things when they are angry; there is not the slightest doubt in this. Therefore one ought never to insult any devotee of the Supreme Force. The Muni Vas’istha is always engaged in repeating silently the Gâyatrî of the Devî. So what wonder is there that the body of the King will be reduced to such a wretched state by his rage. The King Tris’anku became very sorry to see his ugly body; he did not go home; rather he remained in the forest in that form and poor dress. He began to think, distressed with sorrow and over-powered with misery :– “My body is now blameable to the extreme, so what to do and where to go in this wretched state! I find no remedy to exhaust all my sufferings. If I go home, my son will be, no doubt, very much pained with sorrow. My wife, when she will see my Chândâla appearance, she won’t accept me; my ministers will not regard me as they used to do before. My friends and relations, when they will come to me, will not serve me with the former care. So it is far better to die than to live, thus despised. I will drink poison or drown myself in waters or hang myself. Or I will burn myself in the funeral pyre duly or I will quit this blameable life by starvation. But, Alas! I will be guilty of suicide; so again due to this sin I will be born a Chândâla and I will be again cursed.” Thus thinking, the King again thought that at present he ought not to commit suicide by any means. “I will have to suffer for my Karma; and, after due suffering, this Karma will be exhausted. So I will suffer in this forest for my Karma in this my body. Without the enjoyment of the fruits, the past actions can never die out; therefore all actions done by me, auspicious or inauspicious, I will enjoy or suffer in this place. Always to remain close to a holy Âs’rama, to wander in holy places of pilgrimage, to remember the Devî Ambikâ, and to serve the saints will now be my duties. Thus I will no doubt exhaust all my actions, residing in this forest; then, if chance permits, and if I meet with a saintly person, all my intentions will be crowned with success.” Thus thinking, the King quitting his city went to the banks of the Ganges and repenting very much, remained there on the Ganges. The King Haris’chandra came to know the cause of his father’s curse and with a sorrowful heart sent ministers to him. Like a Chândâla, the King was respiring frequently; at this time the ministers went to him and bowing humbly, said : — O King! Your son has ordered us to come here; we have come at his command; we are the ministers of the King Haris’chandra. Know this verily, O King! Kindly hear what the Crown Prince has said:– “Go and bring my Father here without any delay.” Therefore, O King! Cast aside your mental agonies and come to the city. The ministers, the subjects all will be always at your service. We will all try our best to please Vas’istha, so that he may favour you. And that greatly illustrious Muni being pleased will certainly remove your sorrows quickly. O King! Thus your son has spoken to us many words; so now be pleased to go to your own abode.

Vyâsa said :– O King! That Chândâla-like King, hearing even their words thus, did not consent to go back to his house. Rather he told them :– “Ministers, go back, all of you to the city; and at my word, tell my son that I won’t go back to my house. Better leaving off all idleness, you better govern the Kingdom carefully. Shew your respect specially to the Brâhmins and perform various sacrifices and worship the Devas. I do not like in this blameable Chândâla form to go to the city of Ayodhyâ with the high-souled ones; so you all go back to Ayodhyâ without any further delay. Install, at my order, my powerful son Haris’chandra on the throne and do all these stately duties.” When the ministers heard thus the King ordering them, they began to cry very much, and, bowing down, they went away early out of the hermitage. On coming back to Ayodhyâ they regularly installed on a sacred day the King Haris’chandra with Abhiseka water, purified with Mantrams. Thus the powerful virtuous Haris’chandra, on being installed on the royal throne by the command of the King, remembered always his father and began to govern his Kingdom with his ministers according to the dictates of Dharma.

Satyavrata and Visvamitra

Vyâsa said :– O King! The King became gladdened in his heart to install his son on the throne and began to pass his days in that forest in the meditation of Bhagavatî Bhavânî. Thus some time passed when Vis’vâmitra, the son of Kaus’ika, completing his course of Tapasyâ with an intent mind returned to his home to see his wife and sons. On coming back to his house, the intelligent Muni found his sons and other members of the family happy and well conditioned, became very glad and when his wife came to him for his service, asked her :– O Fair-eyed One! How did you spend your time in days of famine? There was nothing whatsoever of the stock of rice, etc., in the house; how then did you nourish these boys? Please speak to me. O Fair One! I was very busy with my austerities, I could not therefore come to you and see my boys; how then, O Beloved, and what measures did you resort to for their maintenance? O good and auspicious One! When I heard of the dire famine, I thought then “I have no wealth; so what shall I do if I go there?” Thus thinking I did not come then. O Beautiful One! At that time, one day I was very hungry and being very much tired I entered into the house of a Chândâla, with the object of stealing. On entering the house I found the Chândâla sleeping; then being extremely distressed with hunger, I entered into his kitchen if I could find anything there. When the dishes were sought and turned, and when I was going to take cooked dog’s flesh I immediately fell into the sight of that Chândâla. He asked me very affectionately “Who are you? Why have you entered here at this hour of night? Why are your looking after the dishes? Speak what you want.” O Beautiful One! When the Chândâla asked me these questions, I was very much pressed by hunger and I spoke out my wants in a tremulous voice :– O Fortunate One! I am an ascetic Brâhmin very much pained by hunger; I have entered your house stealthily and am looking out for some eatables from your cooking pots. O Intelligent One! I am now your guest in the form of a thief; I am now specially very hungry; so I will now eat your cooked meat; kindly permit me. Hearing these words, the Chândâla spoke to me in words authorised by the S’âstras :– O One of the Superior Varna! Know this to be the house of a Chândâla; so never eat that flesh. The human birth is very rare in this world; then again to be born a Dvîja is more difficult; and to get Brâhmanhood again in the Dvîjas is exceedingly difficult. Are you not aware of this? They ought never to eat the defiled food who desire to attain to the Heavens; owing to Karma, the Maharsi Manu has denominated the seventh caste as Antyaja and has discarded them altogether. So, O Brâhmin! I am now by my actions turned into a Chândâla and so forsaken by all; there is no doubt in this. I am forbidding you so that this fault of Varna S’ankara may not suddenly attack you. Vis’vâmitra said :– “O Knower of Dharma! What you are speaking is quite true; though a Chândâla, your intelligence is very clear; hear, I will now speak to you the subtleties of the Dharma in times of danger. O Giver of respect! Always and by all means it is advisable to keep up the body if sin be thereby incurred, one ought to perform Prâyas’chitta (penance) for its purification when the time of danger is over. But if one commits sin when the time is not one of danger, one gets degraded; not so in the time of danger. The man that dies out of hunger, goes to hell, no doubt. Therefore every man seeking for his welfare must satisfy his hunger. Therefore I intend to steal for preserving my body. O Chândâla See! The sin, incurred in stealing during famine, which the Pundits have declared, goes to the God of rains until he does not pour forth rain.” O Beloved! Just when I spoke these words, the God of Rains began to pour forth rain. O Beloved! Just when I spoke these words, the God of Rains began to pour forth rain so desired by all, like that coming out of the elephant’s trunk. When the clouds thus poured forth rains with the glitterings of the lightnings, I felt very glad and left the house of the Chândâla. O Beautiful One! Now speak out to me, how did you behave in that famine time, so terrible to all the beings.

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing the above words of the husband, the sweet speaking lady spoke :– Hear, how I passed my time in times of famine. O Muni! After you had gone to practise Tapasyâ, the dire famine raged; and my sons, exhausted of hunger, became very anxious for food. I became very anxious to see the sons hungry; I then went out to the forest in quest of wild rice; and I got some fruits. Thus I spent some months by collecting the rice growing wildly in the forest; then in times these also could not be got and I became again anxious. The Nibâra rice, too, is now not available and nothing is obtained also by begging; there are no fruits on the trees and no roots are found under the earth. The sons are crying in agony of hunger. What to do? And where to go? What am I to say now to the hungry boys? Oh God! Thus thinking on various ways, I at last came to this conclusion that I would sell one of my sons to a rich man and whatever price I can fetch, with that I will preserve the lives of the other sons. O Dear! Thus thinking, I became ready and went out. O Fortunate One! Then this boy began to cry aloud and became very distressed; yet I was so shameless that I took the crying boy and got out of my Âs’rama. At this time one Râjarsi Satyavrata seeing me very distressed, asked me “O One of good vows! Why is this boy weeping?” O Muni! I spoke to him “Today I am going to sell this boy.” The King’s heart became overfilled with pity, and spoke to me :– “Take back to your Âs’rama this boy. Daily I will supply you with meat for the food of your boys until the Muni returns home.” O Muni! The King from that time used to bring, with great pity, daily the flesh of deer and boar killed by him in the forest and he used to tie that on this tree. O Beloved! Thus I could protect my sons in that fearful ocean of crisis; but that King was cursed by Vas’istha only for my sake. One day that King did not get any meat in the forest; so he slaughtered the Kâma Dhenu (the cow giving all desires) of Vas’istha and the Muni became therefore very angry with him. The high-souled Muni, angry on account of the killing of his cow, called the King by the name of Tris’anku and made him a Chândâla. O Kaus’ika! The prince turned into a Chândâla because he came forward to do good to me, so I am very sorry for his sake. So it is your urgent duty to save the King from his terrible position by any means or by the influence of your powerful Tapasyâ.

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing these words from his wife the Muni Kaus’ika consoled her and said :– O Lotus-eyed One! I will free the King of his curse, who saved you at that critical moment; what more than this that I promise to you that I will remove his sufferings whether it be by my learning or it be by my Tapas. Thus consoling his wife at that moment, Kaus’ika, the Knower of the Highest Reality, began to think how he could destroy the pains and miseries of the King. Thus thinking, the Muni went to the King Tris’anku, who was staying at that time very humbly in a village of the Chândâlas, in the garb of a Chândâla. Seeing the Muni coming, the King was greatly astonished and instantly threw himself before his feet like a piece of stick. Kaus’ika raised the fallen King and consoling him said :– O King! You are cursed, on my account, by the Muni Vas’istha. I will, therefore, fulfil your desires. Now speak what I am to do.

The King said :– With a view to perform a sacrifice I prayed to Vas’istha that I would perform a sacrifice, kindly do this for me. O Muni! Do that sacrifice, by which I can go to the Heavens in this my present body.” Vas’istha became angry and said :– “O Villain! How can you go and live in the Heavens in this your human body?” I was very anxious to go to the Svarga (Heaven) so I again spoke to him :– “O Sinless One! I will then have the excellent sacrifice done by another priest.” Hearing this, Vas’istha Deva cursed me, saying “Be a Chândâla.” O Muni! Thus I have described to you all about my curse. You are the one quite able to remove now my grievances. Distressed in pain and agony, the King informed him and became quiet. Vis’vâmitra, too, thought how he could free him of his curse.

Satyavrata goes to Heavens

Vyâsa said :– O King! Settling in his mind what to do, the great ascetic Vis’vâmitra collected all the materials necessary for the sacrifice and invited all the Munis. Thus invited by Vis’vâmitra, the Munis became informed all about the Sacrifice; but, owing to the fact that the Muni Vas’istha prevented them, none of them went to the sacrifice. When Vis’vâmitra, the son of Gâdhi, came to know this, he became very anxious and very sad and came to the King Tris’anku and sat. The Maharsi Kaus’ika then became angry and said :– “O King! Vas’istha preventing the Brâhmins have all refused to come to the sacrifice. But, O King! See my power of tapasyâ; I will immediately fulfil your desires; I will instantly send you to the Heavens, the abode of the Gods.” Thus saying, that Muni took water in his hand and repeated the Gâyatrî Mantram. He gave to the King all the Punyams (merits) that he collected for himself up to then. Giving him thus all the Punyams, he spoke to the King :– “O King! Throw away all idleness and go to the abode of the Gods you wanted to go. O King of Kings! Gladly go to the Heavens by the power of all the merits collected by me for a long time and let you fare well there.”

Vyâsa spoke :– O King! When the King of the Vipras, Vis’vâmitra, spoke thus, the King Tris’anku, by virtue of the Muni’s Tapas, got high up in the air without any delay like a quick flying bird. Thus getting up and up, when the King reached the abode of Indra, the Devas, seeing the terrible Chândâla-like appearance of Tris’anku, spoke out to Indra :– “Who is this person coming like a Deva with a violent speed in the air? Why does he look like a Chândâla and is so fierce-looking?” Hearing thus, Indra got up at once and saw that one, the meanest of the human beings and knowing him to be Tris’anku, reproachingly said to him :– You are a Chândâla, quite unfit for the Devaloka; so where are you going? You ought not to remain here; so go immediately back to the earth. O Destroyer of the enemies! Indra speaking thus, the King dropped from the Heavens and, like a Deva whose merits had been exhausted, fell down immediately. Tris’anku then cried out frequently “O Vis’vâmitra! O Vis’vâmitra! Being displaced from the Heavens I am now falling very violently; so save me from this trouble.” O King! Hearing his cry and seeing him getting down, Vis’vâmitra said :– “Wait, wait.” Though displaced from Heaven, the King by virtue of the Muni’s Tapas, remained stationed at that place in the middle of the air. Vis’vâmitra then began to do Âchaman (sip water) and commenced his great Sacrifice to create another new creation and a second Svargaloka (Heaven). Seeing his resolve, the Lord of S’achî became very anxious and eagerly came to the son of Gâdhi without the least delay and said :– “O Brâhmana! What are you going to do? O Saint! Why are you so very angry? O Muni! There is no necessity to create another new creation. Order now what I am to do.”

Vis’vâmitra said :– “O Lord of the Devas! The King Tris’anku has become very miserable to have a fall from the Heavens. Therefore this is now my intention that you gladly take him to your own abode.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! Indra was thoroughly aware of his determined resolve and very powerful asceticism; so he accepted to do according to his word, out of terror. The Lord Indra then gave the King a bright and divine body and made him take his seat in an excellent car and taking leave of Kaus’ika went with the King to his own abode. Vis’vâmitra became glad to see Tris’anku go to the Heavens with Indra and remained happy in his own Âs’rama.

DEVI BHAGAVATA, 7.10-14

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