Yama, Yami and the Creation of Night


Yama had died. The gods tried to persuade Yami to forget him. Whenever they implored her to do so, she said, “But it is only today that he died.” Then the gods said: “Like this she will certainly never forget him; we will create night.” So the gods created night and thus there arose a morrow; thereupon she forgot him. Therefore, people say: “Without doubt day and night together let sorrow be forgotten.”



The Legend of Sunahsepha

The Birth of Harischandra’s Son

The King Haris’chandra now hearing that his father has gone to Heaven by virtue of his Tapas, began to govern his kingdom with a gladdened heart. The King of Ayodhyâ began then to live constantly with his clever wife full of youth and beauty. Thus time passed away; but the beautiful wife did not become pregnant. The King became very sorry and thoughtful. He then went to the holy hermitage of Vas’istha and bowing down informed him of his mental agony due to his getting no son. O Knower of Dharma! You are skilled in the Science of Mantrams. Especially you know everything of Daiva (Fate). So, O Giver of honour! Do for me so that I get a son. O Best of Brâhmins! There is no salvation for one who has not got any son; you are well aware of this. Then why do you overlook my case when you can remove my sorrow. Even these sparrows are blessed who nourish their offsprings. And I am so very unfortunate that, day and night, I am immersed in cares and anxieties, due to my not having any son.

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing these pitiful utterances of the King, Vas’istha thought over in his mind and spoke to him everything in particular.

Vas’istha said :– “O King! True you have spoken that in this world there is no other sorrow more painsgiving than the state of not having any issue. Therefore, O King! you worship with great care the water-god Varuna. He will crown your efforts with success. There is no other god than Varuna to grant sons. So, O Virtuous One! Worship Him and you will get success. Both Fate and Self-exertion are to be respected by men; how can success come unless efforts are made. O King! Men who realise the Highest Truth should make efforts, guided by just rules; success comes to those who work; else never one is to expect success.” Hearing these words of the Guru, of unbounded energy, the King made a fixed resolve and bowing himself down, went away to practise tapasyâ. On the banks of the Ganges, in a sacred place, seated on Padmâsan, the King became merged in the meditation of the God Varuna with noose in his hand and thus practised severe asceticism. O King! When he was doing this, the god Varuna took pity on him and gladly came before his sight. Varuna, then, spoke to the King Haris’chandra :– “O Knower of Dharma! I am glad at your tapasyâ. So ask boons from me.”

The King said :– “O God! I am without any son; give me a son, who will give me happiness and will free me from the three debts that I owe to the Devas, the Pitris and the Risis. Know that with that object I am doing this Tapasyâ.” Then the God Varuna, hearing these humble words of the sorrowful King, smiled and said.

“O King! If you get your desired well-qualified son, what will you do for me to my satisfaction? O King! If you perform a sacrifice in honour of me and fearlessly sacrifice your son there like an animal, I will then grant you your desired boon.”

The King :– “O Deva! Free me from this state of sonless-ness; O Water God! When my son will be born, I will do your sacrifice with my son as an animal in that. This I speak truly to you. O Giver of honour! There is no suffering more unbearable than this one, not to have any son; so grant me a good son so that all my sorrows be vanished.”

Varuna said :– “O King! You will get a son as you desire; go home; but see what you have spoken before be fulfilled and turned true.”

Vyâsa said :– Hearing these words from Varuna, Haris’chandra went back and told everything about his getting the boon to his wife. The King had one hundred exquisitely beautiful wives of whom, S’aivyâ was the lawful wife and queen and was very chaste. After some time, that wife became pregnant and the King became very glad to hear this and her longings in that state. The King performed all her purificatory ceremonies, and when ten months were completed, and on an auspicious Naksatra and on an auspicious day, she gave birth to a son, like that of a Deva son. On the birth of his son, the King, surrounded by the Brâhmins, performed his ablutions and first of all performed the natal ceremonies and distributed innumerable jewels and much wealth; and the King’s joy knew no bounds at that time. The liberal King gave away, in special charities, wealth, grains, and various jewels and lands and had the performance of music, dancing and other things.

The Curse of Varuna

Vyâsa said :– O King! When there was going on in the King’s palace, the grand festivities for the son’s birth ceremonies, Varuna Deva came there in the holy Brâhmin form. “Let welfare be on you.” Saying this, Varuna began to say :– “O King! Know me to be Varuna. Now hear what I say. O King! Your son is now born; therefore perform sacrifices in honor to me with your son. O King! Your defect of not having a son is now removed; so fulfil what you promised before.” Hearing these words, the King began to think “Oh! Only one lotus-faced son is born to me; how can I kill it. On the other hand, the powerful Regent (Lokapâla) of one quarter is present in Brâhmana form; and it never behoves one to show disrespect to a Deva or to a man who wishes welfare to us. Again it is very difficult to root out the affection for a son; so what am I to do now? How shall I preserve my happiness due to the birth of my son.” The King, then, with patience bowed down to him and worshipped him duly and humbly spoke to him in beautiful words, pregnant with reason.

“O Deva of the Devas! I will obey your order no doubt and I will perform your sacrifice according to the Vedic rites and with profuse Daksinâs (remuneration to priests, etc.) But, when in a sacrifice human beings are immolated as victims, both the husband and wife are entitled to the ceremony. Father becomes purified on the tenth day and mother on the expiration of one month after the son’s birth; so how can I perform the sacrifice until one month expires! You are omniscient and the master of all the beings; and you know what is Nitya Dharma. So, O Varuna Deva! I want one month time; and show mercy thus on me.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! The King Haris’chandra saying thus, Varuna Deva spoke to the King :– “O King! Welfare be unto you! Do your duties; I am now going back to my place. O King! I will come again after one month. Better finish the natal ceremonies and the Nâmakarana ceremony regularly and then perform my sacrifice.” O King! When Varuna Deva turned his back, the King began to feel happiness. Then the King gave as gifts millions of cows, yielding plenty of milk and ornamented with gold, and mountains of Til, sesamums to the Brâhmins versed in the Vedas and kept his name, with formal ceremonies as Rohitâs’va. When one month became complete, Varuna Deva came again in a Brâhmin form and frequently said :– “O King! Start the sacrifice just now!” The King, on seeing the God of Waters, at once fell into an ocean of anxieties and sorrows; he then bowed down and worshipping him as a guest, spoke to him with folded palms :– “O Deva! It is to my great fortune that you have landed your feet at my place; O Lord! My house has been sanctified to day. O Deva! I will do, no doubt, your desired sacrifice according to the rites and ceremonies. But see, the victims that have not their teeth come as yet are not fit for a sacrifice; so the versed Pundits say; so I have settled I would perform your great sacrifice, as desired by you, when the teeth will come out of my son.”

Vyâsa said :– O Lord of men! Hearing thus, Varuna spoke “Let it be so” and went away. The King Haris’chandra became glad and passed his days in enjoyments in his household. When the teeth of the child got out, Varuna knew it and came again in a Brâhmin garb in the palace and spoke “O King! Now commence my sacrifice.” Seeing the Brâhmin Varuna there, the King, too, bowed down and gave him a seat and shewing all respects to him, worshipped him. He sang hymns to him and very humbly said with his head bent low :– “O Deva! I will perform your desired sacrifice with plenty of Daks’inâs according to rites and ceremonies. But the child’s Chûdâkarana (the ceremony of tonsure) is not yet done; so the hairs that were at the birth time are still there and the child cannot be fit for sacrifice as long as those hairs exist. So I have heard from the elderly persons. O Lord of Waters! You know the S’âstric rules; kindly wait till the Chûdâkarana is over. When the child will have his head shaven, I will certainly perform your sacrifice; there is no doubt in this.” Hearing these words, Varuna spoke to him again :– “O King! Why are you deceiving me like this so often? O King! Now you have all the materials ready for the sacrifice; only for your filial affection you are deceiving me. However, if, after the ceremony of tonsure, you do not perform my sacrifice, I will be angry and I will curse you. O King! I am going for the present; but see do not tell lies, being born in the family of Iksâku.” Instantly Varuna disappeared; the King, too, felt himself happy in his household. When the ceremony of tonsure was commenced and grand festivities were held, on the occasion Varuna soon came again to the King’s palace. The queen was then sitting before the King with the child in her lap when Varuna came up there. The Brâhmin Varuna then appeared like a Flaming Fire and spoke to the King in a clear voice :– “O King! Start the sacrifice.” Seeing him, the King was confused with terror and with folded palms, quickly bowed down to him. After worshipping him duly, he very humbly said :– “O Lord! Today I will perform your sacrifice. But kindly hear with attention my saying and then do what is advisable. O Lord! If you approve of this as reasonable, I then open my heart to you. The three Varnas Brâhmanas, Ksattriyas, and Vais’yas become Dvîjas (twice-born) only when they are duly purified according to proper rules and ceremonies; without any such purifications they are certainly S’ûdras. So the Pundits versed in the Vedas declare. My child is now an infant only; so it is like a S’ûdra. When his thread ceremony (Upanayan) will be performed, he will then be fit for the sacrifice; this the Veda S’âstras declare. The Ksatttriyas are so purified in their eleventh year; the Brâhmanas in their eighth year and the Vais’yas in their twelfth year. So, O Lord of the Devas! If you feel pity for your this humble servant, then wait till the Upanayana ceremony is over, when I will perform your grand sacrifice with my son. O Bibhu! You are the Lokapâla; specially you are conversant with all the S’âstric rules and have acquired the knowledge of Dharma. If you think my saying as true, then go to your home.”

Vyâsa said :– Hearing these words, Varuna’s heart was filled with pity and so he went away instantly, saying “Let it be so.” Varuna going away, the King felt very glad and the queen, knowing the welfare of the son became glad too. Then the King gladly performed his state duties. After some time, the child grew ten years old. Consulting with the peaceful Brâhmanas as well as his ministers, he collected materials for the Upanayana ceremony befitting his position. When the eleventh year was completed by his son, the King arranged everything for the thread ceremony but when his thoughts turned to Varuna’s sacrifice, he became very sad and anxious. When the thread ceremony began to be performed, the Brâhmin Varuna came there. Seeing him, the King instantly bowed down and standing before him with clasped palms, gladly spoke to him :– O Deva! My son’s Upanayana being over, now my son is fit for the victim in the sacrifice; and by your grace, my sorrow that was within me as not having a son, has vanished. I speak truly before you that, O Knower of Virtue! after some mere time I have desired to perform your sacrifice with plenty of Daksinâs. In fact, when the Samâvartan ceremony will be over, I will do as you like. Kindly wait till then.

Varuna said :– O Intelligent One! You are very much attached to your son now and so by various reasonable plays of intellect, you are repeatedly deceiving me. However, I am going home today at your request but know certain that I will come again at the time of the Samâvartan ceremony. (N. B.:– Samâvartan means the return home especially of a pupil from his tutor’s house after finishing his course of study there.) O King! Thus saying, Varuna went away and the King became glad and began to perform duly his various duties. The prince was very intelligent; and as he used to see Varuna coming, now and then, at the time of the ceremonies, he became very anxious. He then made enquiries outside hither and thither and came to know of his own being about to be killed and he desired to quit the house instantly. He then consulted with the minister’s sons and came to a final conclusion and went out of the city to the forest. When the son had gone to the forest, the King became very much afflicted with sorrow and sent messengers in quest of him. When some time passed away, Varuna came to his house and spoke to the distressed King :– “O King! Now perform your desired Sacrifice.” The King bowed down to him and said :– “O Deva! What shall I do now? My son has become afraid and has gone away. I do not know where he has gone. O Deva! My messengers have searched for him in difficult places in mountains, in the hermitages of the Munis, in fact, in all the places; but they have not been able to find him out anywhere. My son has left his home; order now what I can do. O Deva! You know everything; so judge I have got no fault in this matter. It is certainly luck and nothing else.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing these words of the King, Varuna became very much angry and when he saw that he was deceived so many times by the King, he then cursed, saying :– “O King! As you have cheated me by your deceitful words, so you be attacked by dropsy and be severely pained by it.” Thus cursed by Varuna, the King was attacked with that disease and began to suffer much. Cursing thus, Varuna went back to his own place and the King was much afflicted with that terrible disease.

The Sacrifice of Sunahsepha

Vyâsa said :– O King! When Varuna went away, the King was very much laid down with that dropsy and daily his pains began to increase and he began to suffer extreme pains. O King! The prince, on the other hand, heard, in the forest, of the illness of his father and filled with affection, wanted to go to his father. A year had passed away and the prince desired very gladly to go to his father and see him. Knowing this, Indra came there. He came instantly in the form of a Brâhmin  and with favourable arguments desisted the prince, who was about to go to his father.

Indra said :– “O Prince! It seems you are silly; you know nothing of the difficult state policies. Therefore it is that you are ready to go, out of sheer ignorance, to your father. O Fortunate One! If you go there, your father will get his sacrifice, where a human victim is to be offered, performed by the Vedic Brâhmanas and your flesh will be offered are oblations to the blazing Fire. O Child! The souls of all the beings are very dear; it is for that reason, for the sake of soul, that sons, wife, wealth and jewels are all dear. Therefore, though you are his dear son, like his son, yet he will certainly have you killed and get Homas offered, to free himself from the disease. O Prince! You ought not to go home now; rather when your father dies, you would certainly go there and inherit your Kingdom.” O King! Thus hindered by Vâsava, the prince remained in that forest for one year more. But when the prince again heard of the severe illness of his father, he wanted again to go to his father, resolved to court the death of his ownself. Indra also came there in the form of a Brâhman and, with reasonable words, repeatedly advised him not to go there. Here, on the other hand, the King Haris’chandra became very much distressed and troubled by the disease and asked his family priest Vas’istha Deva :– “O Brâhmana! What is the sure remedy for the cure of the disease?” Vas’istha, the Brahmâ’s son, said :– “O King! Purchase one son by giving his value; then perform the sacrifice with that purchased son and you will be free from the curse. O King! The Brâhmins, versed in the Vedas, say that sons are of ten kinds, of whom the son, purchased by paying its proper value, is one of them. So buy one son. There will very probably be within your kingdom a Brâhmin who might sell out of avarice, his son. In that case Varuna Deva will certainly be pleased and grant your happiness.” Hearing these words of the high-souled Vas’istha, the King became glad and ordered his minister to look after such a son. There lived in that King’s dominion one Brâhmin, named Ajigarta, very poor; he had three sons. The minister spoke to him to purchase his son :– “I will give you one hundred cows; give one son of yours for the sacrifice. You have three sons named respectively S’unahpuchcha, S’unahs’epha and S’unolangula. Give me out of them one son and I will give you one hundred cows as his value.” Ajigarta was very much distressed for want of food; so when he heard the proposal, he expressed his desire to sell his son. He thought that his eldest son was the rightful person to perform funeral obsequies and offer Pinda and he therefore did not spare him. The youngest son, too, he did not spare also, as he considered that his own. At last, he sold his second son for the price of one hundred cows. The King then bought him and made him the victim for the sacrifice. When that boy was fastened to the sacrificial post, he began to tremble and very much distressed with sorrow began to cry. Seeing this, the Munis cried out in a very pitiful tone. When the King gave permission for the immolation of that boy, the slaughterer did not take weapons to slaughter him. He told that he would never be able to kill the boy, since he is crying in a very pitiful tone. When he thus withdrew himself from his work, the King then asked his councillors :– O Devas! What ought to be done now? S’unahs’epha then began to cry in a very pitiful voice; the people present there began to discuss and there arose a great noise on the affair. Then Ajigarta stood up in the midst of the assembly and spoke :– “O King! Be patient; I will fulfil your desire. I am desirous of wealth and if you give me double the amount, I will slay immediately the victim; and you can complete early your sacrifice.” O King! He who is hankering after money, can always entertain feelings of enmity even towards his own son. There is no doubt in this.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing those words of Ajigarta, Haris’chandra gladly spoke to him :– “I will immediately give you another hundred excellent cows.” Hearing thus, the son’s father, avaricious of wealth, immediately resolved and became ready to slay his son. All the councillors seeing the father ready to slay his son, were struck with sorrow and began to lament exclaiming “Alas! This wretch, a disgrace to his family, is now ready to kill his own son. Oh! We never saw before such a cruel vicious person. This Brâhmin must be a Demon in a Brâhmin body!

“Fie on you! O Chândâla! What a vicious work are you now going to do? What happiness do you derive by slaying the son, the jewel of jewels, only to get some wealth? O Sinner! It is stated in the Vedas that the soul takes its birth from one’s body; so how are you going to slay your soul!” When the hue and cry arose in the assembly, Vis’vâmitra, the son of Kaus’ika, went to the King and, out of pity, said :– “O King! S’unahs’epha is very piteously crying; so let him be free; and then your sacrifice will be complete and you will be free of your disease. There is no virtue like mercy and there is no vice like killing (Himsâ). What is written about killing animals in the sacrifice, is only meant for the persons inclined to sensual objects and to give them a stimulus in that direction. O King! He who wants his own welfare and who wants to preserve his own body ought not to cut another’s body. He who pities equally all the beings, gets contended with a trivial gain and subdues all his senses; God is soon pleased with him. O King! You should treat all the Jîvas like yourself and thus always spend your life, so dear to all. You desire to preserve your body by taking away the life of this boy; similarly why would he not try to preserve his own body, the receptacle of happiness and pleasures. O King! You have desired to kill this innocent Brâhmin boy; but he will never overlook this enmity of yours done in previous lives. If anybody kills another willingly, though he has got no enmity with him, then the one that is killed will certainly kill afterwards the slayer. His father, out of greed for money, is deprived of intellect and so has sold away his son. The Brâhmin is certainly very cruel and sinful. There is no doubt in this. When one goes to Gayâ or one performs an As’vamedha sacrifice or when one offers a blue bull (Nila Vrisabha), one does so on the consideration that one would desire to have many sons. Moreover the King has to suffer for one-sixth of the sins committed by anyone in his Kingdom. There is no doubt in this. Therefore the King ought certainly to prohibit any man when he wants to do a sinful act. Why then did you not prevent this man when he desired to sell his son? O King! You are the son of Tris’anku; especially you are born in the Solar line of Kings. So how have you desired, being born an Âryâ, to do an act becoming an An-Âryâ (non-aryan). If you take my word and quickly free this Brâhmin boy, you will certainly derive virtue in your body. Your father was converted into a Chândâla by a curse but I sent him in his very body to the Heavens. And you are well acquainted with this fact. Therefore, O King! Keep my word out of your love for that. This boy is very pitifully crying; so free him. I pray this from you in this your Râjasûya sacrifice and if you do not keep my word, you will incur the sin of not keeping my word. Do you not realise this? O King! You will have to give anything that a man wants from you in this sacrifice; but if you do otherwise, sin will attack you, no doubt.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing these words of Kaus’ika, the King Haris’chandra spoke thus :– O son of Gâdhi! I am suffering very much from the dropsy; I will not be able therefore to free him. You can pray for some other thing. You ought not to throw obstacles in this my sacrifice. Vis’vâmitra became very angry at this, and seeing the Brâhmin boy very distressed, became sorrowful and mourned very much.

The Saving of Sunahsepha

Vyâsa said :– O King! When Vis’vâmitra saw that the boy was crying very pitifully, he went to him with a merciful heart and said :– “O Child! I am giving you the Varuna Mantra; recollect this within your mind and if you go on repeating that Mantra silently, you will certainly fare well.” The sorrowful S’unahs’epha, hearing thus from Vis’vâmitra, began to repeat silently in his mind the above Mantra, clearly pronouncing each letter. O King! No sooner S’unahs’epha repeated that Mantra than the kind-hearted Varuna came suddenly before the boy, greatly pleased with him. Everyone in the assembly became thoroughly surprised to see Varuna Deva come there and they all became glad and chanted hymns in honour of him. The diseased Haris’chandra was also thoroughly surprised, fell to his feet, and with folded palms began to sing hymns to Varuna, standing before him.

Haris’chandra said :– “O Deva of the Devas! I am very vicious; my intellect is much defiled; I am a sinner before you; O Merciful One! Now show your mercy and sanctify this humble self. I was very much troubled on not having a son; so I had disregarded your words; now show your mercy on me; what offence can cling to him whose intellect is already out of order? A beggar does not see his own faults; I am also in want of a son; so I could not see my defects. O Lord! Being afraid of the terrors of hell, I have deceived you. Those, who are sonless, cannot find rest anywhere. Especially he is barred from the Heavens. Being terrified by this dictate of S’âstra, I have shown disregard to your words. O Lord! You are wise and I am ignorant; especially I am extremely afflicted by this terrible disease; I am also deprived of my son; so you ought not to take any notice of my faults. O Lord! I do not know where my son has gone; O merciful One! Perhaps he, being afraid of his life, has fled away to some forest. For your satisfaction, I have now commenced your sacrifice with this purchased boy; I gave an equivalent value and I have purchased this boy. O Deva of the Devas! Your sight only has taken away my infinite troubles; now if you be pleased, I can be free of my this disease dropsy and my troubles will all be over.” Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing thus the words of that diseased King, Varuna, the Deva of the Devas, took pity on him and thus spoke.

Varuna said :– “O King! S’unahs’epha is uttering hymns of praise to me; he has become very distressed; so quit him. Your sacrifice, too, is now completed; now let you be free from your present disease.” Thus saying, Varuna freed the King of his disease in the presence of all his councillors; the King became possessed of a beautiful body and got himself completely cured and shone bright before the assembly. Shouts of victory arose from the midst of the sacrificial ground when the Brâhmin boy was freed of his bonds of rope, by the mercy of the high-souled Deva Varuna. The King became very glad on his being recovered immediately from his disease and S’unahs’epha, too, became free from his anxiety and pacified when he got himself liberated from his being immolated on the sacrificial post. Then the King Haris’chandra completed his sacrifice with great modesty. Afterwards S’unahs’epha addressed the councillors with folded palms and said :– O Councillors! You know well the Dharma; O Speakers of truth! Kindly specify according to the dictates of the Vedas. O Omniscient ones! Whose son am I now? Who is my most respectful father? Please deliver your judgment and I will take his refuge.

When S’unahs’epha spoke thus, the members of the assembly began to speak to each other, “The boy must be of Ajigarta; whose else can he be? This boy is born of the limbs of Ajigarta; and he has nursed him according to his might. So he must be his son; whose else can he be?” Vâma Deva then told the people of the assembly, “The father of the boy sold his son for money; the King purchased him. So he can be said as the son of the King; or he may be called the son of Varuna, in as much as he freed him from his rope bondage. For, he who nourishes another with food, who saves one from one’s fear, who protects one by giving money, who bestows learning to anybody and he who gives birth to any of the above five classes of persons can be called his father.” O King! Thus some one turned out to be in favour of Ajigarta, some other in favour of the King; but nobody came to any definite conclusion. When matters stood in this doubtful condition, the omniscient all-respected Vas’istha Deva addressed the disputing members thus :– “O high-souled Ones! Kindly hear what the S’rutis say on this point. When the father has cut off his filial attachment and has sold his son, his fatherly connection has ceased then. No doubt this boy was purchased by the King Haris’chandra. But when the King fastened him to the sacrificial post, he cannot be called as the father. Again when this boy singing hymns in honour of Varuna, he being glad freed him of his bondage, so Varuna cannot be called his father. For whoever praises a god by the great Mantra, that Deva becomes pleased with him and gives him wealth, life, cattle, kingdom and even final emancipation. Rather Vis’vâmitra saved the boy by giving him in his critical moment the powerful great Mantra of Varuna; hence the boy can be called as the son of Vis’vâmitra and of none else.”

Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing the words of Vas’istha, all the members of the assembly gave their unanimous consent and Vis’vâmitra with his heart filled with love, exclaimed, “O Son! Come to my house.” And caught hold of his right hand. S’unahs’epha, too, accompanied him and went away. Varuna also went to his own abode with a gladdened heart. The councillors, too, departed. Freed from his disease, the King gladly began to govern his subjects. At this time his son Rohitâ heard all about Varuna and became very glad and leaving the impassable forest passes and mountains, returned home. The messengers informed the King of the arrival of the prince; the King heard and his heart overflowed with love and he gladly came there with no delay.

Seeing the father coming, Rohitâs’va became filled with love and overpowered with sorrow for long separation began to shed tears and fell prostrate at his feet. The King raised him up and embraced him gladly and smelling his head enquired of his welfare. When the King was thus asking his son, taking him on his lap, the hot tears of joy flowed from his eyes and fell on the head of the prince. The King and the prince then began to govern together his kingdom. The King described in detail all the events of the sacrifice where human victims are immolated. He started next the Râjasûya sacrifice, the best of all sacrifices, and duly worshipping the Muni Vas’istha, made him the Hotâ in that sacrifice. When this grand sacrifice was finished, the King respected the Muni Vas’istha with abundant wealth.


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.”

* * *

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.


The Legend of Vasishtha and Viswamitra

There was, in Kanyakuvja, O bull of Bharata’s race, a great king of worldwide fame named Gadhi, the son of Kusika. The virtuous Gadhi had a son named Viswamitra, that grinder of foes, possessing a large army and many animals and vehicles. And Viswamitra, accompanied by his ministers, used to roam in quest of deer through the deep woods and over picturesque marshes, killing deer and wild boars.

Once on a time, while out in quest of deer, the king became weak with exertion and thirst. The monarch arrived in that state at the asylum of Vasishtha, and the blessed and illustrious Rishi beholding him arrive, reverenced with his homage that best of men, king Viswamitra. And O Bharata, the Rishi saluted the monarch by offering him water to wash his face and feet with, and Arghya, and wild fruits, and clarified butter. For the illustrious Rishi had a cow yielding anything that was desired of her. When she was addressed, saying, ‘O give‘,–she always yielded the article that was sought. And she yielded various fruits and corn, wild or grown in gardens and fields, and milk, and many excellent nutritive viands full of six different kinds of juice (taste?) and like unto nectar itself, and various other kinds of enjoyable things, O Arjuna, of ambrosial taste for drinking and eating, and for licking and sucking, and also many precious gems and robes of various kinds. With these desirable objects in profusion the monarch was worshipped. And the king with his minister and troops became highly pleased. And the monarch wondered much, beholding that cow with six elevated limbs and the beautiful flanks and hips, and five limbs that were broad, and eyes prominent like those of the frog and beautiful in size, and high udders, and faultless make, and straight and uplifted ears, and handsome horns, and well-developed head and neck.

And, O prince, the son of Gadhi, gratified with everything and applauding the cow named Nandini, addressed the Rishi, saying, ‘O Brahmana, O great Muni, give me thy Naridini in exchange for ten thousand kine, or my kingdom. Enjoy thou my kingdom (giving me thy cow).’

Hearing these words of Viswamitra, Vasishtha said, ‘O sinless one, this cow hath been kept by me for the sake of the gods, guests, and the Pitris, as also for my sacrifices. I cannot give Nandini in exchange for even thy kingdom.’ Viswamitra replied, ‘I am a Kshatriya, but thou art a Brahmana devoted to asceticism and study. Is there any energy in Brahmanas who are peaceful and who have their souls under perfect command? When thou givest me not what I desire in exchange even for ten thousand cows, I will not abandon the practice of my order; I will take thy cow even by force!’

Vasishtha said, ‘Thou art a Kshatriya endued with might of arms. Thou art a powerful monarch. O, do in haste what thou desirest; and stop not to consider its propriety.’

Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Viswamitra, O Partha, then forcibly seized Nandini, that cow (white) like the swan or the moon, and attempted to take her away, afflicting her with stripes and persecuting her otherwise. The innocent Nandini then began, O Partha, to low piteously, and approaching the illustrious Vasishtha stood before him with uplifted face. Though persecuted very cruelly, she refused to leave the Rishi’s asylum.’

Beholding her in that plight, Vasishtha said, ‘O amiable one, thou art lowing repeatedly and I am hearing thy cries. But, O Nandini, even Viswamitra is taking thee away by force, what can I do in this matter, as I am a forgiving Brahmana?’

Then, O bull in Bharata’s race, Nandini, alarmed at the sight of Viswamitra’s troops and terrified by Viswamitra himself, approached the Rishi still closer, and said, ‘O illustrious one, why art thou so indifferent to my poor self-afflicted with the stripes of the cruel troops of Viswamitra and crying so piteously as if I were masterless?’ Hearing these words of the crying and persecuted Nandini, the great Rishi lost not his patience nor turned from his vow of forgiveness. He replied, ‘The Kshatriya’s might lies in physical strength, the Brahmana’s in forgiveness. Because I cannot give up forgiveness, go thou, O Nandini, if thou choosest.’ Nandini answered, ‘Castest thou me away, O illustrious one, that thou sayest so? If thou dost not cast me off, I cannot, O Brahmana, be taken away by force.’ Vasishtha said, ‘O blessed one, I do not cast thee off! Stay if thou canst! O, yonder is thy calf, tied with a stout cord, and even now being weakened by it!’

Then the cow of Vasishtha, hearing the word stay, raised her head and neck upward, and became terrible to behold. With eyes red with rage and lowing repeatedly, she then attacked Viswamitra’s troops on all sides. Afflicted with their stripes and running hither and thither with those red eyes of hers, her wrath increased. Blazing with rage, she soon became terrible to behold like unto the sun in his midday glory. And from her tail she began to rain showers of burning coals all around. And some moments after, from her tail she brought forth an army of Palhavas, and from her udders, an army of Dravidas and Sakas; and from her womb, an army of Yavanas, and from her dung, an army of Savaras; and from her urine, an army of Kanchis; and from her sides, an army of Savaras. And from the froth of her mouth came out hosts of Paundras and Kiratas, Yavanas and Sinhalas, and the barbarous tribes of Khasas and Chivukas and Pulindas and Chinas and Hunas with Keralas, and numerous other Mlechchhas. And that vast army of Mlechchhas in various uniforms, and armed with various weapons, as soon as it sprang into life, deploying in the very sight of Viswamitra, attacked that monarch’s soldiers. And so numerous was that Mlechchha host that each particular soldier of Viswamitra was attacked by a band of six or seven of their enemies. Assailed with a mighty shower of weapons, Viswamitra’s troops broke and fled, panic-stricken, in all directions, before his very eyes. But, O bull in Bharata’s race, the troops of Vasishtha, though excited with wrath, took not the life of any of Viswamitra’s troops. Nandini simply caused the monarch’s army to be routed and driven off.

And driven (from the asylum) twenty-seven full miles, panic-stricken, they shrieked aloud and beheld not anyone that could protect them. Viswamitra, beholding this wonderful feat that resulted from Brahmana prowess, became disgusted with Kshatriya prowess and said, ‘O, fie on Kshatriya prowess! Brahmana prowess is true prowess! In judging of strength and weakness, I see that asceticism is true strength.’ Saying this, the monarch, abandoning his large domains and regal splendour and turning his back upon all pleasures, set his mind on asceticism. Crowned with success in asceticism and filling the three worlds with the heat of his ascetic penances, he afflicted all creatures and finally became a Brahmana. The son of Kusika at last drank Soma with Indra himself (in Heaven).


The Legend of Brahmadatta

Once there was a highly righteous kingly sage who is the brainchild of Brahma, whose ascesis is of higher order, who has never flouted the rules of rituals or his vows, and who revered the knowers of virtue by name Kusha.

That great-souled Kusha begot four selfsame and mighty sons, namely Kusumba, Kushanaabha, Asuurtarajasa, or also called Adhuurtarajasa, and Vasu through the princess of Vidarbha, which princess is of noble birth and an eligible wife of Kusha. With an aspiration that his sons shall uphold the principles of Kshatriya-s, Kusha spoke to them who are brilliant, highly enthusiastic, virtue abiding, and the advocators of truth saying, ‘establish your rulership, sons, and achieve righteousness abundantly.’

On hearing the words of Kusha those four sons that are the formidable ones in the world and the best men among people initiated to build four cities. Great-resplendent Kushamba built the city named Kaushambii for his part, and for his part the virtue-souled Kushanaabha built a city named Mahodaya. Oh, Rama, noble-minded Asuurtarajasa built a city named Dharmaaranya, and king Vasu built a city in the name of Girivraja.


The virtue-souled kingly saint Kushanaabha gave birth to a hundred daughters with unexcelled beauty through a celestial female called Ghritaachi. Those girls when attained youthfulness they are lovely and on an occasion they have gone to gardens and moved there about like one lightning with a hundred streaks during rainy season, and while those girls that are decorated with select ornaments are singing, dancing and playing musical instruments, they got into a fantastic felicity. On their coming to parklands those girls whose all limbs are pretty and whose looks are unparalleled on earth, they looked like stars amid clouds within the cloudy thickets of garden bushes.

On seeing them who are flourishing with all their aspects together with comeliness and ripeness, the all-pervading Air-god, Vayu, spoke this word to them. ‘I have a desire for you all, hence leaving off the notions pertaining to human beings you all become my wives, thereby you too will acquire longevity like divinities. Teenage is always transitory, expressly in humans, but on marrying me you will achieve undiminished youthfulness and forever you can be youthful like immortal females.’ Thus Air-god said to those girls.

On hearing that proposal of Vayu, the Air-god whose strives are unimpeded, then those hundred girls spoke this sentence laughing off his proposal.  ‘We are aware that you inspirit all the living beings from inside, oh, the ablest divinity, we are also aware of your uniqueness. But, what for you are dishonouring all of us. We are the daughters of Kushanaabha, oh, best divinity, and we are all capable of displacing you from your realm, but oh, god, we are restraining ourselves in doing so only to conserve our ascetic values. That time shall never come, oh, god with sordid thinking, when we, at our liberty, may look up for our grooms overlooking our veracious father. Our father is indeed our lord and for us he is the ultimate god too. To whomever we are offered by our father in marriage he alone becomes our husband.’ So said hundred girls to Air-god.

On hearing their sentence of rejection, Vayu, the Air-god whose impact is powerful, very angrily entered into all of the limbs of those girls only to disfigure them. Those girls whom Air-god disfigured in that way have entered palace-chambers of the king, but they have entered diffidently, embarrassedly, and tearfully.

That king on seeing his dear and attractive daughters as disfigured and despondent girls he is highly perturbed and said this.

‘Oh, daughters, what all is this? Who disregarded probity? Who disfigured you all? Let it be said! Why you gesticulate saying nothing.’ asking thus that king sighed and quietened down waiting for a reply.

* * *

On hearing that sentence of scholarly Kushanaabha those hundred girls touched his feet with their foreheads and spoke to him.

‘The all-pervasive Air-god desired to dishonour us, oh, king, resorting to improper approach and overlooking virtuous conduct. Our father is there and we are not independent, you be safe, hence oh, Air-god, you may request our father to know whether he gives us to you or not.’ Thus we have told the Air-god, but… Though we all have spoken to him thus, that Air-god who is bound by venality refused to take notice of our words and he has harmed us a lot.’ Thus those girls informed their father.

On listening their words that highly virtuous and highly resplendent king spoke to the hundred girls with unsurpassed virtue.

‘Forgiving is the duty of imperturbable and you have done it. Excellent. Oh, daughters, coursing through your unity my family’s prestige is also kept up. Forgiveness is an adornment to women, as a matter of fact, even for men, and this matter called ‘forgiving’ that which is there, it is an impracticable affair. That too, in respect of divinities. And the kind of forgiveness you all possess uniformly, that is further laudable. Grace is altruism, grace is ritualism, oh, my daughters, grace is glory, grace is virtue, and this universe is verily abiding in graciousness alone for grace itself is the truth, isn’t it!’ Thus king Kushanaabha said to his daughters and sent them away.

On leaving those girls, oh, Rama, that king whose valour matches that of gods and who is an expert in thinking strategies started to think with his ministers on the topics like, as to how his daughters are to be espoused to, to which country they are to be sent, at which time marriage shall happen, and to which matching bridegroom the marriage is to be proposed, and so on.

During that time a great-resplendent sage named Cuulii is there, who is propitious in his demeanour and who holds his semen upward, and who has achieved high ascetic practise strictly according to Vedic canons. While that sage is in the practise of asceticism a celestial female served him at the place of his ascesis, safety be with you oh, Rama, she is Somada by her name, the daughter of Urmila. Even she is obedient in his respect, and dedicating herself in ministering to him she stayed there righteously. After some time that sage Cuulii has become satisfied with her service. When her service is fructified, oh, Rama, that sage benevolently spoke to her saying, ‘I am perfectly pleased with your service, let good betide you, what cherish of yours I have to fulfil.’

Perceiving that the sage is contented that female celestial Soamda who is aware of making good sentences is highly delighted and spoke with her melodious voice to that pedantic sage.

‘Vedic splendour is flourishing in you when you have become one with Brahma, oh, supreme ascetic, I may please be endowed with a righteous son whose ascetic spirituality may embody the spirituality enunciated in Veda-s. I am unmarried and nobody’s wife, safe you be, and as I took shelter under your kindness it will be apt of you to endow me a son with your faculty of asceticism.’ So said Somada to sage Cuulii.

That Brahma-sage Cuulina benignantly bestowed her with a unique and Brahma-like son who is renowned as Brahmadatta, as well as his own brainchild.

King Brahmadatta endued with superb grandeur ruled from a city called Kaampilya as with Indra ruling the heaven. The most righteous king Kushanaabha then made up his mind, oh, Rama of Kakutstha, to espouse his hundred daughters to Brahmadatta.

Inviting Brahmadatta that great-resplendent lord of the land, namely the king Kushanaabha, married his hundred daughters to him, pleasing highly in his heart of hearts. As with the tradition of marriage king Brahmadatta who vies with lord of gods, namely Indra, in succession took the palm of each of the hundred girls into his palm.

By mere touch of hand of Brahmadatta alone, their misshape and desperation are evanished, and all of those hundred maidens beamed bright as they are retouched with utmost elegance.

On seeing his daughters getting release from the effect of Air-god Kushanaabha became highly joyful, and he took great delight time and again as and when he looked at them. Later when the marriage is complete king Kushanaabha bade farewell to king Brahmadatta along with his wives, his own hundred daughters, and along with the groups of religious teachers.

Somada, the celestial female and the mother of Brahmadatta, is gladdened to see her son Brahmadatta, for the worthwhile deed done by him in removing the blemish caused by the Air-god to the girls, or in bringing those worthwhile girls as her daughter-in-laws. She is further gladdened while her feet are traditionally and repeatedly touched by a hundred daughter-in-laws in succession, coupled with her own raising of each of the daughter-in-law to embrace for a hundred times. Thus Somada has gone on caressing each of her hundred daughter-in-laws, and in doing so she is gladdened to do so over and over again, she is gladdened. She thus praised Kushanaabha for giving his gemlike daughters as her daughter-in-laws and blessed the daughter-in-laws.

* * *

When Brahmadatta has married and left, oh, Raghava, king Kushanaabha he embarked on Vedic-ritual called putra kaameSTHi in order to beget a son because is sonless. During the performance of the ritual, supremely generous Kusha, the brainchild of Brahma and the father of Kushanaabha, spoke to the king Kushanaabha. ‘Oh, son, there will be a highly virtuous and selfsame son of yours, known as Gaadhi, and through him you also will get everlasting renown in the world.’ Thus Kusha said to Kushanaabha. Saying so, oh, Rama, Kushanaabha’s father Kusa entered the sky and journeyed to the time-honoured abode of Brahma.

Then after some time that highly intellectual Kushanaabha begot a supremely righteous son known by the name Gaadhi.

RAMAYANA, 1.32-4

The Birth of Jamadagni and Viśvāmitra

Jahnu begot of Kāverī a beloved son of great virtue named Sunaha. His son was Ajaka. Ajaka’s heir Balākāśva of great fame, became a habitual hunter. Kuśa is remembered as his son. Kuśa had four sons of divine lustre and refulgence viz. Kuśāmba, Kuśa-nābha, Amūrtarayasa and Vasu.

Kuśika (Kuśanābha?) the excellent king performed a penance seeking a son. When a hundred years were completed, Indra noticed him. On seeing him performing severe penance, the thousand-eyed lord Indra, the eternal one who was himself capable of causing a son to be born unto him became his son himself. The chastiser of Pāka (i.e. Indra) became the son of Kuśika under the name Gādhi. Paurukutsī (daughter ofPurukutsa) became the wife of Gādhi. At first a splendid girl of exalted fortune was born of her known by the name of Satyavatī.

King Gādhi gave her (in marriage) to Rcīka who was desirous of a son. Being pleased with her, her husband, the delighter of the members of the family of Bhrgu, himself a descendant of Bhrgu, prepared Caru (consecrated cooked rice) for the sake of a son to himself as well as to Gādhi. Then Rcīka, the descendant of Bhrgu, spoke to his wife, “This Caru should be eaten by you, O splendid lady and that Caru by your mother. To her will be born a lustrous son, a bull among Ksatriyas, who can never be conquered by Ksatriyas in battle and who will be able to slay even prominent Ksatriya warriors. So you also, O lady of good weal, this Caru will cause the birth of a son of great courage, a great ascetic of quiescent nature, an excellent Brāhmana. After saying this to his wife, Rcīka, the delighter of the members of the family of Bhrgu who was always engaged in penance, entered the forest for penance.

At that time, in the course of his pilgrimage, Gādhi , the king, accompanied by his wife came to the hermitage of Rcīka in order to see his daughter. Taking up the two vessels of consecrated Caru of the sage, the delighted Satyavatī intimated to her mother the words of her husband quietly, without any excitement. As fate would have it them, other gave her own Caru to her daughter. Due to ignorance she swallowed her daughter’s Caru herself. Then with her bright and lustrous body Satyavatī conceived in her womb a splendid son, the future annihilator of Ksatriyas. She became terrible to behold. On seeing her and reflecting by means of his Yogic power, Rcīka the excellent Brāhmana spoke to his wife, the lady of excellent complexion: “O gentle lady, you have been deceived by your mother by the interchange of the Carus. An extremely terrible son of cruel activities will be born to you. Your mother will give birth to an ascetic of such a nature as I have mentioned before. The entire Brahminical splendour had been instilled into the Caru by me through my power of penance.”

On being told thus by her husband, Satyavatī of exalted fortune and dignity sought the favour of her husband saying— “A base Brāhmana like this should not be born as my son through you.” On being told thus, the sage said “O excellent lady, this has never been thought of by me or by you. This has never been wished for by me or by you. A son shall become ruthless in his activities usually on account of his mother or father”. On being told thus, Satyavati spoke again like this—”If you wish, O sage, you can create even worlds, why not a son ? It behoves you, O husband to give me a son of quiescent nature. If it cannot be altered, O excellent Brāhmana, of good holy rites, let our grandson be like this (i.e. terrible and ruthless).”  Thereupon, by means of the power of his penance, he made her pleased and contented saying—”Whether it is my son or my grandson, O lady of excellent complexion, I do not see any difference. It shall be as you have said, O gentle lady.”

Therefore, Satyavati gave birth to Jamadagni, a son of the Bhrgu family, of quiescent nature, having perfect control over his sense-organs and devoted to the performance of penance. Formerly, there had been an interchange of the Carus belonging to Rudra and Visnu. Since he ate (i.e. since he was born as a result of his mother eating) the fire (Caru) belonging to Visnu, he became Jamadagni.

After getting Viśvāmitra as his heir, Gādhi the son of Kuśika (or descendant of Kuśika) attained the status equal to that of a Brahminical sage. He was chosen by Brahma (as such). Satyavati of great sanctity and devoted to truthful vows and observances flowed as the great river named Kauśikī. Kauśikī the most excellent and distinguished river began to flow.

There was a king named Renuka born in the family of Iksvāku. His daughter of great fortune Renukā was otherwise known by the name of Kamalī . By means of his power of penance, fortitude and concentration of mind, Jamadagni, the son of Rcīka, begot of Renukā alias Kamalī a son of great terrific nature (named) Rāma who was very excellent, who (later) mastered all lores and the science of archery, who was to kill the Ksatriyas who resembled well-kindled blazing fire. Thus Jamadagni of lofty (noble) mind, the most excellent one among the knowers of Brahman, was born of Satyavati, due to the vigour of the penance of Rcīka, son of Aurva. Śunahśepha was the middle and Śunahpuccha was the youngest son.

Viśvāmitra of noble soul was otherwise known by the name Viśvaratha. It was through the grace of (the scion of the family of) Bhrgu that he was born as the perpetuator of the line of Kauśikas. Viśvāmitra’s son Śunahśepha was a sage. He was intended (appointed) as the sacrificial animal in the yajña of Hariścandŕa. He was given back to Viśvāmitra by the Devas. Since Sunahśepha was given back by the Devas he became Devarāta.

Among the sons of Viśvāmitra, Sunahśepha is regarded as the eldest. Madhucchanda and others, Krtadeva, Dhruva, Astaka, and Pūrana also were the sons of Viśvāmitra. The spiritual lines (Gotras) of those noble-souled Kauśikas are numerous. They are as follows: Pārthivas, Devarātas, Yājñavalkyas, Samarpanas, Udumbaras, Vātadyas, Talakāyanas, Gāndravas, Lohinīs, Renus, Kārīsus, Babhrus, Panins, Dhyāna-Japyas, Syāmāyanas, Hiranyāksas, Sānkrtas, Gālavas, Devalas, Yāmadūtas, Sālańkāyanas, Bāskalas, Lālātyas, Bādaras and others belonged to the Gotras of the intelligent Viśvāmitra. Many descendants of Kauśikas (i.e. those of the spiritual lines of Viśvāmitra) who have to enter into marriage alliance with other sages are also proclaimed. They are Kauśikas, Sauśrutas, Saindhavāyanas and others. They belong to the Gotra of the holy Brahminical sage Kauśika, the lord of Yogic practice.

Among the sons of Viśvāmitra, Śunahśepha is remembered as the eldest. Astaka was the son of Drsadvati and Viśvāmitra. Lauhi was the son of Astaka. Thus the group of Jahnu has been recounted by me.


The Marriage of Richíka and Satyavatí

The son of Jahnu was Sumantu; his son was Ajaka; his son was Valákáśwa; his son was Kuśá, who had four sons, Kuśámba, Kuśanábha, Amúrttaya, and Amávasu. Kuśámba, being desirous of a son, engaged in devout penance to obtain one who should be equal to Indra. Observing the intensity of his devotions, Indra was alarmed lest a prince of power like his own should be engendered, and determined therefore to take upon himself the character of Kuśámba’s son. He was accordingly born as Gádhi, of the race of Kuśa (Kauśika). Gádhi had a daughter named Satyavatí. Richíka, of the descendants of Bhrigu, demanded her in marriage. The king was very unwilling to give his daughter to a peevish old Brahman, and demanded of him, as the nuptial present, a thousand fleet horses, whose colour should be white, with one black ear. Richíka having propitiated Varuńa, the god of ocean, obtained from him, at the holy place called Aśwatírtha, a thousand such steeds; and giving them to the king, espoused his daughter.