The Tale of Manu and Ida

In the morning they brought to Manu water for washing, just as now also they (are wont to) bring (water) for washing the hands. When he was washing himself, a fish came into his hands.

It spake to him the word, ‘Rear me, I will save thee!’

‘Wherefrom wilt thou save me?’

‘A flood will carry away all these creatures: from that I will save thee!’

‘How am I to rear thee?’

It said, ‘As long as we are small, there is great destruction for us: fish devours fish. Thou wilt first keep me in a jar. When I outgrow that, thou wilt dig a pit and keep me in it. When I outgrow that, thou wilt take me down to the sea, for then I shall be beyond destruction.’

It soon became a ghasha (a large fish); for that grows largest (of all fish).

Thereupon it said, ‘In such and such a year that flood will come. Thou shalt then attend to me (i.e. to my advice) by preparing a ship; and when the flood has risen thou shalt enter into the ship, and I will save thee from it.’

After he had reared it in this way, he took it down to the sea. And in the same year which the fish had indicated to him, he attended to (the advice of the fish) by preparing a ship; and when the flood had risen, he entered into the ship. The fish then swam up to him, and to its horn he tied the rope of the ship, and by that means he passed swiftly up to yonder northern mountain.

It then said, ‘I have saved thee. Fasten the ship to a tree; but let not the water cut thee off, whilst thou art on the mountain. As the water subsides, thou mayest gradually descend!’

Accordingly he gradually descended, and hence that (slope) of the northern mountain is called ‘Manu’s descent.’ The flood then swept away all these creatures, and Manu alone remained here.

Being desirous of offspring, he engaged in worshipping and austerities. During this time he also performed a pâka-sacrifice: he offered up in the waters clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds. Thence a woman was produced in a year: becoming quite solid she rose; clarified butter gathered in her footprint. Mitra and Varuna met her.

They said to her, ‘Who art thou?’

‘Manu’s daughter,’ she replied.

‘Say (thou art) ours,’ they said.

‘No,’ she said, ‘I am (the daughter) of him who begat me.’

They desired to have a share in her. She either agreed or did not agree, but passed by them. She came to Manu.

Manu said to her, ‘Who art thou?’

‘Thy daughter,’ she replied.

‘How, illustrious one, (art thou) my daughter?’ he asked.

She replied, ‘Those offerings (of) clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds, which thou madest in the waters, with them thou hast begotten me. I am the blessing (benediction): make use of me at the sacrifice! If thou wilt make use of me at the sacrifice, thou wilt become rich in offspring and cattle. Whatever blessing thou shalt invoke through me, all that shall be granted to thee!’

He accordingly made use of her (as the benediction) in the middle of the sacrifice; for what is intermediate between the fore-offerings and the after-offerings, is the middle of the sacrifice. With her he went on worshipping and performing austerities, wishing for offspring. Through her he generated this race, which is this race of Manu; and whatever blessing he invoked through her, all that was granted to him.

Now this (daughter of Manu) is essentially the same as the Idâ; and whosoever, knowing this, performs with (the) Idâ, he propagates this race which Manu generated; and whatever blessing he invokes through it (or her), all that is granted to him. It (the idâ) consists of a fivefold cutting; for the idâ, doubtless, means cattle, and cattle consist of five parts: for this reason it (the idâ) consists of a fivefold cutting.

SATAPATHA BRAHMANA, 8.1

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The Legend of Udayana (Buddhist Version)

Birth and youthful career of Udena

Once upon a time King Allakappa ruled over the kingdom of Allakappa and King Vethadipaka ruled over the kingdom of Vethadipaka. They had been intimate friends since their boyhood-days and had received their education in the house of the same teacher. On the death of their fathers they raised the royal parasol and became rulers of kingdoms, each of which was ten leagues in extent.

As they met from time to time, and stood and sat and lay down to sleep together, and watched the multitudes being born into the world and dying again, they came to the conclusion, “When a man goes to the world beyond he can take nothing with him; he must leave everything behind him when he goes thither; even his own body does not follow him; of what use to us is the life of the householder. Let us retire from the world.”

Accordingly they resigned their kingdoms to son and wife, retired from the world, adopted the life of ascetics, and took up their residence in the Himalaya country. And they took counsel together, saying, “Although we have renounced our kingdoms and retired from the world, we shall encounter no difficulty in gaining a living; but if we reside together in the same place, our life will be quite unlike the life of ascetics; therefore let us live apart. You live on this mountain;

I will live on that. Every fortnight, on fast-day, we will meet together.” Then this thought occurred to them, “Under this arrangement neither of us will be in regular communication with the other; but in order that each of us may know whether the other is living or not, you light a fire on your mountain, and I will light a fire on mine.” And this they did.

After a time the ascetic Vethadipaka died and was reborn as a prince of deities of mighty power. A fortnight later Allakappa saw no fire on the mountain and knew that his comrade was dead. As soon as ever Vethadipaka was reborn, he surveyed his own heavenly glory, considered the deeds of his former existence, reviewed the austerities he had performed from the day when he retired from the world, and said to himself, “I will go see my comrade.” Accordingly he laid aside his form as a deity, disguised himself as a wayfarer, went to Allakappa, paid obeisance to him, and stood respectfully on one side.

Allakappa said to him, “Whence have you come?” “I am a wayfarer, Reverend Sir; I have come a long distance. But, Reverend Sir, does your honor reside entirely alone in this place? Is there no one else here?” “I have a single comrade.” “Where is he?” “He resides on that mountain; but as he failed to light a fire on fast-day, I know he must be dead.” “Is that so, Reverend Sir?” “That is so, brother.” “I am he, Reverend Sir.” “Where were you reborn?” “Reverend Sir, I was reborn in the World of the Gods as a prince of deities of mighty power. I have returned to see your honor. Does your honorable self reside in this place undisturbed, or are you subject to some annoyance?” “Yes, brother, I am bothered to death by the elephants.” “Reverend Sir, what do the elephants do to trouble you?” “They drop dung on the ground I have swept clean, and they stamp with their feet and kick up the dust. What with removing the dung and smoothing the ground, I am all worn out.” “Well, would you like to keep them away?” “Yes, brother.” “Well then, I will provide you with means whereby you can keep them away.”

Accordingly Vethadipaka gave Allakappa a lute to charm elephants with and likewise taught him spells for charming elephants. Now as he presented the lute to him, he showed him three strings and taught him three spells. “Strike this string,” said he, “and utter this spell, and the elephants will turn and run away without so much as daring even to look at you; strike this string and utter this spell, and they will turn and run away, eyeing you at every step; strike this string and utter this spell, and the leader of the herd will come up and offer you his back. Now do as you like.” With these words he departed.

Thereafter the ascetic lived in peace, driving the elephants away by uttering the proper spell and striking the proper string.

At this time Parantapa was king of Kosambi. One day he was sitting out in the open air basking himself in the rays of the newly risen sun, and beside him sat his queen, great with child. The queen was wearing the king’s cloak, a crimson blanket worth a hundred thousand pieces of money; and as she sat there conversing with the king she removed from the king’s finger the royal signet, worth a hundred thousand pieces of money, and slipped it on her own.

Just at that moment a monster bird with a bill as big as an elephant’s trunk came soaring through the air. Seeing the queen and mistaking her for a piece of meat, he spread his wings and swooped down. When the king heard the bird swoop down, he sprang to his feet and entered the royal palace. But the queen, because she was great with child and because she was of a timid nature, was unable to make haste. The bird pounced upon her, caught her up in the cage of his talons, and soared away with her into the air. (These birds are said to possess the strength of five elephants; they are therefore able to convey their victims through the air, settle wherever they wish, and devour their flesh.)

As the queen was being carried away by the bird, terrified though she was with the fear of death, she preserved her presence of mind and thought to herself, “Animals stand in great fear of the human voice. Therefore if I cry out, this bird will drop me the instant he hears the sound of my voice. But in that case I should accomplish only my own destruction and that of my unborn child. If, however, I wait until he settles somewhere and begins to eat, then I can make a noise and frighten him away.” Through her own wisdom, therefore, she kept patience and endured.

Now there stood at that time in the Himalaya country a banyan-tree which, although of brief growth, had attained great size and was like a pavilion in form; and to this tree that bird was accustomed to convey the carcasses of wild animals and eat them. To this very tree, therefore, the bird conveyed the queen, lodged her in a fork of the tree, and watched the path leading to the tree. (It is the nature of these birds, we are told, to watch the path leading to their tree.) At that moment the queen, thinking to herself, “Now is the time to frighten him away,” raised both her hands, clapped them together and shouted, and frightened the bird away.

At sunset the pains of travail came upon her, and at the same time from all the four quarters of heaven arose a great storm. The delicate queen, half dead with suffering, with no one beside her to say to her, “Fear not, lady,” slept not at all throughout the night. As the night grew bright, the clouds scattered, the dawn came, and her child was born at one and the same moment. Because the child was born at the time (utu) of a storm, at the time when she was upon a mountain, and at the time when the sun rose, she named her son Udena.

Not far from that tree was the place of residence of the ascetic Allakappa. Now on rainy days it was the custom of the ascetic not to go into the forest for fruits and berries, for fear of the cold. Instead he used to go to the foot of the tree and gather up the bones from which the birds had picked the flesh; then he would pound the bones, make broth of them, and drink the broth. On that very day, therefore, he went there to get bones. As he was picking up bones at the foot of the tree, he heard the voice of a child in the branches above.

Looking up, he saw the queen. “Who are you?” said he. “I am a woman.” “How did you get there?” “A monster bird brought me here.” “Come down,” said he. “Your honor, I am afraid to come down on account of difference of caste.” “Of what caste are you?” “Of the Warrior caste.” “I am also of the Warrior caste.” “Well then, give me the password of the Warrior caste.” He did so. “Well then, climb up and set down my boy.” Finding a way to climb the tree on one side, he climbed up and took the boy in his arms; obeying the queen’s behest not to touch her with his hand, he set the boy down; then the queen herself came down.

The ascetic conducted the queen along the path to his hermitage and cared for her tenderly without in any way violating his vow of chastity. He brought honey free from flies and gave it to her; he brought rice grown in his own field and prepared broth and gave it to her. Thus did he minister to her needs.

After a time she thought to herself, “For my part I know neither the way to come nor the way to go, nor can I repose absolute confidence even in this ascetic. Now if he were to leave us and go elsewhere, we should both perish right here. I must by some means seduce him to violate his vow of chastity, so that he will not abandon us. Accordingly she displayed herself before him with under and upper garments in disarray, and thus seduced him to violate his vow of chastity; thenceforth the two lived together.

One day, as the ascetic was observing a conjunction of a constellation with one of the lunar mansions, he saw the occultation of Parantapa’s star. “My lady,” said he, “Parantapa, king of Kosambi, is dead.” “Noble sir, wliy do you spealc tiius? Why do you bear ill-will against him.?” “I bear him no ill-will, my lady. I say this because I have just seen the occultation of his star.” She burst into tears. “Why do you weep?” he aslied. Then she told him that Parantapa was her own husband. The ascetic replied, “Weep not, my lady; whoever is born is certain to die.” “I know that, noble sir.” “Then why do you weep?” “I weep, noble sir, because it pains me to think, ‘To my son belongs the sovereignty by right of succession; had he been there, he would have raised the white parasol; now he has become one of the common herd.’“ “Never mind, my lady; be not disturbed. If you desire that he shall receive the sovereignty, I will devise some means by which he shall receive it.” Accordingly the ascetic gave the boy the lute to charm elephants with and likewise taught him the spells for charming elephants.

Now at that time many thousands of elephants came and sat at the foot of the banyan-tree. So the ascetic said to the boy, “Climb the tree before the elephants come, and when they come, utter this spell and strike this string, and they will all turn and run away, without even so much as daring to look at you; then descend and come to me.” The boy did as he was told, and then went and told the ascetic. On the second day the ascetic said to him, “To-day utter this spell and strike this string, if you please, and they will turn and run away, eyeing you at every step.” On that day also the boy did as he was told, and then went and told the ascetic.

Then the ascetic addressed the mother, saying, “My lady, give your son his message and he will go hence and become king.” So she addressed her son, saying, “You must say, ‘I am the son of King Parantapa of Kosambi; a monster bird carried me off.’ Then you must utter the names of the commander-in-chief and the other generals. If they still refuse to believe you, you must show them this blanket which was your father’s cloak and this signet-ring which he wore on his finger.” With these words she dismissed him.

The boy said to the ascetic, “Now what shall I do.?” The ascetic replied, “Seat yourself on the lowest branch of the tree, utter this spell and strike this string, and the leader of the elephants will approach and offer you his back. Seat yourself on his back, go to your kingdom, and take the sovereignty.” The boy did reverence to his parents, and following the instructions of the ascetic, seated himself on the back of the elephant and whispered in his ear, “I am the son of King Parantapa of Kosambi. Get me and give me the sovereignty which I have inherited from my father.” When the elephant heard that, he trumpeted, “Let many thousands of elephants assemble;” and many thousands of elephants assembled. Again a second time he trumpeted, “Let the old, weak elephants retire;” and the old, weak elephants retired. The third time he trumpeted, “Let those that are very young retire;” and they also retired.

So the boy went forth, surrounded by many thousands of warrior-elephants, and reaching a village on the frontier, proclaimed, “I am the son of the king; let those who desire worldly prosperity come with me.” Levying forces as he proceeded, he invested the city and sent the following message to the citizens, “Give me battle or the kingdom.” The citizens answered, “We will give neither. Our queen was carried off by a monster bird when she was great with child, and we know not whether she is alive or dead. So long as we hear no news of her, we will give neither battle nor the kingdom.” (At that time, we are told, the kingdom was handed down from father to son.) Thereupon the boy said, “I am her son.” So saying, he uttered the names of the commander-in-chief and the other generals, and when they still refused to believe him, showed the blanket and the ring. They recognized the blanket and the ring, opened the gates, and sprinkled him king.

Winning of Vasuladatta by Udena

Yet another of Udena’s queen-consorts was Vasuladatta, daughter of Canda Pajjota, king of Ujjeni. One day, as Canda Pajjota was returning from his pleasure-garden, he surveyed his own splendor and asked, “Is there any other soever possessed of splendor like mine?” “Splendor such as it is, King Udena of Kosambi possesses exceeding great splendor.” “Very well, let us take him captive.” “It is impossible to capture him.” “By employing some means or other, let us capture him all the same.” “It is impossible, your majesty.” “Why?” “He understands the art of charming elephants. By reciting spells and playing his elephant-charming lute, he either drives elephants away or captures them at his pleasure. No one possesses so many riding-elephants as he.” “I suppose it is impossible for me to capture him.” “If you are bent on doing it, have a wooden elephant made and turned loose near him. Let him hear of a good mount, be it elephant or horse, and he will go a long way for it. When he is close by, you can capture him.” “A stratagem indeed!” exclaimed the king.

So the king had a mechanical elephant made of wood, wrapped about with strips of cloth and deftly painted, and turned it loose on the bank of a certain lake near the country of his enemy. Within the belly of the elephant sixty men walked back and forth; every now and then they loaded their shovels with elephant dung and dumped it out. A certain woodman saw the elephant, and thinking to himself, “Just the thing for our king!” went and told the king, “Your majesty, I saw a noble elephant, pure white even as the peak of Kelasa, just the sort of elephant your majesty would like.”

Udena mounted his elephant and set out, taking the woodman along as a guide and accompanied by his retinue. His approach was observed by spies, who went and informed Canda Pajjota. The latter straightway dispatched armies on both flanks of his enemy, allowing the space between them to remain open. Udena, unaware of his enemy’s approach, continued to pursue the elephant. He recited his spell and played his lute, but all to no purpose. The wooden elephant, driven with great speed by the men concealed within its belly, made as if it failed to hear the charm and continued its flight. The king, unable to overtake the elephant, mounted his horse. On and on sped the horse, galloping so rapidly that by degrees the army of the king was left far behind and the king was quite alone. Then Canda Pajjota’s men, who were posted on both flanks, captured Udena and turned him over to their king. Udena’s army, perceiving that their leader had fallen into the hands of the enemy, built a stockade just outside of Ujjeni and remained there.

Canda Pajjota, having thus captured Udena alive, clapped him into prison behind closed doors and kept wassail for three days. On the third day Udena asked his keepers, “Friends, where’s your king?” “Carousing, for, says he, ‘I’ve landed my enemy.’” “What does your king mean by acting like a woman? He has captured a royal adversary and surely ought either to release him or to kill him. He has brought humiliation upon us and is ‘carousing’ indeed!” The keepers went and reported the incident to the king. The king came and asked, “Is it true that you said thus and thus?” “Yes, your majesty.” “Very well, I will release you. They say you have such and such a charm; will you give it to me?” “Certainly I will give it to you; but when you receive it, will you pay me homage?” “I pay you homage? I’ll not pay you homage.” “Then I’ll not give it to you.” “In that case I will have you executed.” “Do so; you are lord of my body, not of my mind.”

When the king heard Udena’s defiant answer, he thought to himself, “How in the world can I get the charm. I have it. I’ll have my daughter learn it from him, and then I’ll learn it from her. It would never do to let anyone else learn a charm like this.” So he said to Udena, “Will you divulge the charm to another, if the other will pay you homage?” “Yes, your majesty.” “Well then, we have in our house a hunchbacked woman. She will sit behind a curtain; you remain outside and have her repeat the charm.” “Be she hunchback or cripple, I will teach her the charm, provided she will pay me homage.”

Then the king went to his daughter Vasuladatta and said, “Dear daughter, there is a certain leper who knows a priceless charm. You sit behind a curtain, and he will remain outside and repeat it to you. You get it from him, for it would never do to let anyone else learn it, and then I will get it from you.” After this sort, for fear of their making love, did Canda Pajjota feign that his daughter was a hunchback and Udena a leper. So Vasuladatta seated herself behind a curtain, and Udena remained outside and caused her to repeat the charm.

One day Udena repeated the words of the charm over and over again to Vasuladatta, but the latter was unable to reproduce it correctly. Thereupon Udena cried out, “Dunce of a hunchback, your lips are too thick and your cheeks too pudgy! I’ve a mind to beat your face in! Say it this way!” Vasuladatta replied in anger, “Villain of a leper, what do you mean by those words? Do you call such as I ‘hunchback’?” Udena lifted the fringe of the curtain and asked, “Who are you?” Said the maiden, “I am Vasuladatta, daughter of the king.” “When your father spoke to me, he described you as a hunchback.” “When he spoke to me, he made you out a leper.” Both said, “He must have said it for fear of our making love.” Then and there within the curtain they made love, and from that time on there was no learning charms or getting lessons. The king regularly asked his daughter, “Daughter, are you learning your lessons?” “Yes, father.”

Now one day Udena said to Vasuladatta, “My dear, a husband can do that which neither father nor mother nor brothers nor sisters can do. If you will save my life, I will give you a retinue of five hundred women and make you my chief consort.” “If you will carry out your promise without fail, I will save your life.” “My dear, I will do so without fail.” “Very well, husband.” So she went to her father, saluted him, and stood respectfully on one side. Her father asked her, “Daughter, is your task completed?” “Not quite completed, father.” “What do you require, daughter?” “We must have at our disposal a door and a mount, father.” “Why this request?” “Father, this is what my teacher says: ‘In order to work the charm, a certain medicinal herb is necessary, and this must be obtained at night at a time indicated by the stars.’ Therefore whenever we are obliged to go out, whether it be early or late, we must have a door and a mount at our disposal.” “Very well,” said the king, giving his consent. They secured permission to use a certain door at any time they pleased.

Now the king was possessed of the five conveyances: a female elephant named Bhaddavati, which could travel fifty leagues a day; a slave named Kaka, who could travel sixty leagues a day; two mares, Celakanthi and Munjakesi, which could travel a hundred leagues a day; and an elephant named Nalagiri, which could travel a hundred and twenty leagues a day.

Now one day the king went out to amuse himself in the garden. “Now’s the time to flee,” thought Udena. So he filled several big leather sacks with gold and silver coins, placed the sacks on the back of the female elephant, assisted Vasuladatta to mount, and away they went. The harem guards saw what was happening and went and told the king. The king sent out a force in pursuit. “Go quickly,” said he. When Udena perceived that a force had set out in pursuit, he’ opened a sack of gold and scattered the coins -along the way. His pursuers stopped to pick up the coins and then hurried along. Then he opened a sack of silver and scattered the coins along the way. While his pursuers delayed because of their greed for silver, Udena reached his own stockade built without the city. When his men saw him coming, they surrounded him and escorted him back to Kosambi. When he arrived there, he sprinkled Vasuladatta and raised her to the rank of chief consort.

The Legend of Susunago (Buddhist Version)

Who is this statesman named Susunago ? By whom was he brought up? He was tho son of a certain Licchavi raja of Vesali. He was conceived by a courtesan (“Nagarasobhini” literally “a beauty of the town”) and brought up by an officer of state. The foregoing is recorded in the Atthakatha of the priests of the Uttaravihara (of Anuradhapura). Such being the case, and as there is no want of accordance between our respective authorities, I shall proceed to give a brief sketch of his history.

Upon a certain occasion, the Licchavi rajas consulted together, and came to the resolution, that it would be prejudicial to the prosperity of their capital, if they did not keep up the office of ” Nagarasobhini tharantaran” (chief of courtesans). Under this persuasion, they appointed to that office a lady of unexceptionable rank. One of these rajas, receiving her into his own palace, and having lived with her, there, for seven days, sent her away. She had then conceived unto him. Returning to her residence, she was delivered, after the ordinary term of pregnancy. The issue proved to be an abortion. Deeply afflicted, and overwhelmed with shame and fear, causing it to be thrown into a basket, carefully covered with its lid, and consigning it to the care of a female slave, she had it placed, early in the morning, at the Sankharatanan (where all the rubbish and sweepings of a town are collected). The instant it was deposited there (by the slave), a certain nagaraja, the tutelar of the city, observing it, encircling it in its folds and sheltering it with its hood, assumed a conspicuous position. The people who congregated there, seeing (the snake), made the noise “su”, “su” (to frighten it away); and it disappeared. Thereupon a person who had approached the spot, opening (the basket) and examining it, beheld the abortion matured into male child, endowed with the most perfect indications of greatness. On making this discovery, great joy was evinced. A certain chief who participated in this exultation, taking charge of the infant removed him to his house; and on the occasion of conferring a name on him, in reference to the shouts of “su”, “su” above described, and to his having been protected by the nagaraja, conferred on him the name of “Susunago”.

From that time protected by him (the chief), and in due course attaining the wisdom of the age of discretion, he became an accomplished acharayo; and among the inhabitants of the capital, from his superior qualifications, he was regarded the most eminent person among them. From this circumstance, when the populace becoming infuriated against the raja Nagadasako deposed him, he was inaugurated monarch, by the title of Susunago raja.

MAHAVAMSA COMMENTARY

The Legend of the Nandas (Buddhist Version)

Subsequent to Kalasoko, who patronised those who held the second convocation, the royal line is stated to have consisted of twelve monarchs to the reign of Dhammasoko, when they (the priests) held the third convocation. Kalasoko’s own sons were ten brothers. Their names are specified in the Atthakatha. The appellation of “the nine Nandos” originates in nine of them bearing that patronymic title.

The Atthakatha of the Uttaravihara priests sets forth that the eldest of these was of an extraction (maternally) not allied (inferior) to the royal family; and that he dwelt in one of the provinces: it gives also the history of the other nine. I also will give their history succinctly, but without prejudice to its perspicuity.

In aforetime, during the conjoint administration of the (nine) sons of Kalasoko, a certain provincial person appeared in the character of a marauder, and raising a considerable force, was laying the country waste by pillage. His people, who committed these depredations on towns, whenever a town might be sacked, seized and compelled its own inhabitants to carry the spoil to a wilderness, and there securing the plunder, drove them away. On a certain day, the banditti who were leading this predatory life having employed a daring, powerful, and enterprising individual to commit a robbery, were retreating to the wilderness, making him carry the plunder. He who was thus associated with them, inquired: “By what means do you find your livelihood?” “Thou slave,” (they replied) “we are not men who submit to the toils of tillage, or cattle tending. By a proceeding precisely like the present one, pillaging towns and villages, and laying up stores of riches and grain, and providing ourselves with fish and flesh, toddy and other beverage, we pass our life jovially in feasting and drinking.” On being told this, he thought: “This mode of life of these thieves is surely excellent: shall I, also, joining them, lead a similar life?” and then said, “I also will join you, I will become a confederate of your’s. Admitting me among you, take me (in your marauding excursions).” They replying “sadhu,” received him among them.

On a subsequent occasion, they attacked a town which was defended by well armed and vigilant inhabitants. As soon as they entered the town the people rose upon and surrounded them, and seizing their leader, and hewing him with a sword, put him to death. The robbers dispersing in all directions repaired to, and reassembled in, the wilderness. Discovering that he (their leader) had been slain; and saying, “In his death the extinction of our prosperity is evident: having been deprived of him, under whose control can the sacking of villages be carried on? even to remain here is imprudent: thus our disunion and destruction are inevitable:” they resigned themselves to desponding grief. The individual above mentioned, approaching them, asked: “What are ye weeping for?” On being answered by them, “We are lamenting the want of a valiant leader, to direct us in the hour of attack and retreat in our village sacks;” “In that case, my friends (said he) ye need not make yourselves unhappy; if there be no other person able to undertake that post, I can myself perform it for you; from henceforth give not a thought about the matter.” This and more he said to them. They, relieved from their perplexity by this speech, joyfully replied “sadhu;” and conferred on him the post of chief.

From that period proclaiming himself to be Nando, and adopting the course followed formerly (by his predecessor), he wandered about, pillaging the country. Having induced his brothers also to co-operate with him, by them also he was supported in his marauding excursions. Subsequently assembling his gang, he thus addressed them: “My men ! this is not a career in which valiant men should be engaged; it is not worthy of such as we are: this course is only befitting base wretches. What advantage is there in persevering in this career, let us aim at supreme sovereignty?” They assented. On having received their acquiescence, attended by his troops and equipped for war, he attacked a provincial town, calling upon (its inhabitants) either to acknowledge him sovereign, or to give him battle. They on receiving this demand, all assembled and having duly weighed the message, by sending an appropriate answer, formed a treaty of alliance with them. By this means reducing under his authority the people of Jambudipo in great numbers, he finally attacked Patiliputta (the capital of the Indian empire), and usurping the sovereignty, died there a short time afterwards, while governing the empire.

His brothers next succeeded to the empire in the order of their seniority. They altogether reigned twenty two years. It was on this account that (in the Mahavamsa) it is stated that there were nine Nandos.

Their ninth youngest brother was called Dhana-nando, from his being addicted to hoarding treasure. As soon as he was inaugurated, induced by miserly desires the most inveterate, he resolved within himself: “It is proper that I should devote myself to hiding treasure;” and collecting riches to the amount of eighty kotis, and superintending the transport thereof himself and repairing to the banks of the Ganges,—by means of a barrier constructed of branches and leaves interrupting the flow of the main stream, and forming a canal, he diverted its waters into a different channel; and in a rock in the bed of the river having caused a great excavation to be made, he buried the treasure there. Over this cave he laid a layer of stones to prevent the admission of water, poured molten lead on it. Over that again he laid another layer of stones, and poured a stream of molten lead (over it), which made it like a solid rock, he restored the river to its former course. Levying taxes among other articles, even on skins, gums, trees, and stones, he amassed further treasures, which he disposed of similarly. It is stated that he did so repeatedly. On this account we call this ninth brother of theirs, as he personally devoted himself to the hoarding of treasure, “Dhana-nando.”

MAHAVAMSA COMMENTARY

The Legend of Chanakya and Chandragupta (Buddhist Version)

It is proper that, in this place, a sketch of these two characters should be given. Of these, if I am asked in the first place, Where did this Chanakya dwell? Whose son was he? I answer. He lived at the city of Taksasila. He was the son of a certain brahman at that place, and a man who had achieved the knowledge of the three vedas; could rehearse the mantras; skilful in stratagems; and dexterous in intrigue as well as policy. At the period of his father’s death he was already well known as the dutiful maintainer of his mother, and as a highly gifted individual worthy of swaying the chhatra.

On a certain occasion approaching his mother, who was weeping, he inquired: “My dear mother! why dost thou weep?” On being answered by her: “My child, thou art gifted to sway a chhatra. Do not, my boy, endeavour, by raising the chhatra, to become a sovereign. Princes everywhere are unstable in their attachments. Thou, also, my child, wilt forget the affection thou owest me. In that case, I should be reduced to the deepest distress. I weep under these apprehensions.” He exclaimed: “My mother, what is that gift that I possess? On what part of my person is it indicated?” and on her replying, “My dear, on thy teeth,” smashing his own teeth, and becoming “Kandhadatto” (a tooth-broken-man) he devoted himself to the protection of his mother. Thus it was that he became celebrated as the filial protector of his mother. He was not only a tooth-broken-man, but he was disfigured by a disgusting complexion, and by deformity of legs and other members, prejudicial to manly comeliness. (Hence his name “Kautilya” in the Hindu authorities)

In his quest of disputation, repairing to Puspapura, the capital of the monarch Dhana-nando,—who, abandoning his passion for hoarding, becoming imbued with the desire of giving alms, relinquishing also his miserly habits, and delighting in bearing the fruits that resulted from benevolence, had built a hall of alms-offerings in the midst of his palace, and was making an offering to the chief of the brahmans worth a hundred kotis, and to the most junior brahman an offering worth a lac,—this brahman (Chanakya) entered the said apartment, and taking possession of the seat of the chief brahman, sat himself down in that alms-hall.

At that instant Dhana-nando himself.—decked in regal attire, and attended by many thousands of “siwaka” (state palanquins) glittering with their various ornaments, and escorted by a suite of a hundred royal personages, with their martial array of the four hosts, of cavalry, elephants, chariots, and infantry, and accompanied by dancing girls, lovely as the attendants on the devas; himself a personification of majesty, and bearing the white parasol of dominion, having a golden staff and golden tassels,—with this superb retinue, repairing thither, and entering the hall of alms-offerings beheld the brahman Chanakya seated. On seeing him, this thought occurred to him (Nando): “Surely it cannot be proper that he should assume the seat of the chief brahman.” Becoming displeased with him, he thus evinced his displeasure. He inquired: “Who art thou, that thou hast taken the seat of the chief Brahman?” and being answered (simply), “It is I;” “Cast from hence this cripple brahman; allow him not to be seated,” exclaimed (Nando) and although the courtiers again and again implored of him, saying, “Deva! let it not be so done by a person prepared to make offerings as thou art; extend thy forgiveness to this brahman;” he insisted upon his ejection. On the courtiers approaching (Chanakya) and saying, “Achariyo! we come, by the command of the raja, to remove thee from hence; but incapable of uttering the words ‘Achariyo depart hence,’ we now stand before thee abashed;” enraged against him (Nando), rising from his seat to depart, he snapt asunder his brahmanical cord, and dashed down his jug on the threshold: and thus invoking malediction, “Kings are impious: may this whole earth, bounded by the four oceans, withhold its gifts from Nando;” he departed. On his sallying out, the officers reported this proceeding to the raja. The king, furious with indignation, toured, “Catch, catch the slave.” The fugitive stripping himself naked, and assuming the character of an ajivika, and running into the centre of the palace, concealed himself in an unfrequented place, at the Sankharathnan. The pursuers not having discovered him, returned and reported that he was not to be found.

In the night he repaired to a more frequented part of the palace, and meeting some of the suite of the royal prince Parvata, admitted them into his confidence. By their assistance, he had an interview with the prince. Gaining him over by holding out hopes of securing the sovereignty for him, and attaching him by that expedient, he began to search the means of getting out of the palace. Discovering that in a certain place there was a ladder leading to a secret passage, he consulted with the prince, and sent a message to his (the prince’s) mother for the key of the passage. Opening the door with the utmost secrecy, and escaping with the prince out of that passage, they fled to the wilderness of Vindhya.

While dwelling there, with the view of raising resources, he converted (by recoining) each kahapanan into eight, and amassed eighty kotis of kahapana. Having buried this treasure, he commenced to search for a second individual entitled (by birth) to be raised to sovereign power, and met with the aforesaid prince of the Moriyan dynasty called Chandragupta.

His (Chandragupta’s) mother, the queen consort of the monarch of Moriya-nagara, the city before mentioned, was pregnant at the time that a certain powerful provincial raja conquered that kingdom, and put the Moriyan king to death. In her anxiety to preserve the child in her womb, departing for the capital of Puspapura, under the protection of her elder brothers and under disguise, she dwelt there. At the completion of the ordinary term of pregnancy, giving birth to a son, and relinquishing him to the protection of the devas, she placed him in a vase, and deposited him at the door of a cattle pen. A bull named Chando stationed himself by him, to protect him; in the same manner that prince Ghoso, by the interposition of the devata, was watched over by a bull. In the same manner, also, that the herdsman in the instance of that prince Ghoso repaired to the spot where that bull planted himself, a herdsman, on observing this prince, moved by affection, like that borne to his own child, took charge of and tenderly reared him; and in giving him a name, in reference to his having been watched by the bull Chando, he called him “Chandragupta” and brought him up. When he had attained an age to be able to tend cattle, a certain wild huntsman, a friend of the herdsman, becoming acquainted with, and attached to him, taking him from (the herdsman) to his own dwelling, established him here. He continued to dwell in that village.

Subsequently, on a certain occasion, while tending cattle with other children in the village, he joined them in a game, called “the game of royalty”. He himself was named raja; to others he gave the offices of sub-king, &c. Some being appointed judges, were placed in a judgment hall; some he made officers of the king’s household; and others, outlaws or robbers. Having thus constituted a court of Justice, he sat in judgment. On culprits being brought up, regularly impeaching and trying them, on their guilt being clearly proved to his satisfaction, according to the sentence awarded by his judicial ministers, he ordered the officers of the court to chop off their hands and feet. On their replying, “Deva! we have no axes,” he answered “It is the order of Chandragupta that ye should chop off their hands and feet, making axes with the horns of goats for blades, and sticks for handles. They acting accordingly, on striking with the axe, the hands and feet were lopt off. On the same person commanding, “Let them be re-united,” the hands and feet were restored to their former condition.

Chanakya happening to come to that spot, was amazed at the proceeding he beheld. Accompanying (the boy) to the village, and presenting the huntsman with a thousand kahapana, he applied for him, saying, “I will teach your son every accomplishment; consign him to me.” Accordingly conducting him to his own dwelling, he encircled his neck with a single fold of a woollen cord, twisted with gold thread, worth a lac.

The discovery of this person is thus stated (in the former works): “He discovered this prince descended from the Moriyan line.”

He (Chanakya) invested prince Parvata, also, with a similar woollen cord. While these youths were living with him, each had a dream which they separately imparted to him. As soon as he heard each (dream), he knew that of these prince Parvata would not attain royalty; and that Chandragupta would, without loss of time, become paramount monarch in Jambudipo. Although he made this discovery, he disclosed nothing to them.

On a certain occasion having partaken of some milk-rice prepared in butter, which had been received as an offering at a brahmanical disputation, retiring from the main road, and lying down in a shady place protected by the deep foliage of trees, they fell asleep. Among them the Achariyo awaking first, rose, and, for the purpose of putting prince Parvata’s qualifications to the test, giving him a sword, and telling him: “Bring me the woollen thread on Chandragupta’s neck, without either cutting or untying it,” sent him off. Starting on the mission, and failing to accomplish it, he returned. On a subsequent day, he sent Chandragupta on a similar mission. He repairing to the spot where Parvata was sleeping, and considering how it was to be effected, decided: “There is no other way of doing it; it can only be got possession of, by cutting his head off.” Accordingly chopping his head off, and bringing away the woollen thread, presented himself to the brahman, who received him in profound silence. Pleased with him, however, on account of this (exploit), he rendered him in the course of six or seven years highly accomplished, and profoundly learned.

Thereafter, on his attaining manhood, deciding: “From henceforth this individual is capable of forming and controlling an army,” and repairing to the spot where his treasure was buried, and taking possession of, and employing it; and enlisting forces from all quarters, and distributing money among them, and having thus formed a powerful army, he entrusted it to him. From that time throwing off all disguise, and invading the inhabited parts of the country, he commenced his campaign by attacking towns and villages. In the course of their (Chanakya and Chandragupta’s) warfare, the population rose en masse, and surrounding them, and hewing their army with their weapons, vanquished them. Dispersing, they re-united in the wilderness; and consulting together, they thus decided: “As yet no advantage has resulted from war; relinquishing military operations, let us acquire a knowledge of the sentiments of the people.” Thenceforth, in disguise, they travelled about the country. While thus roaming about, after sunset retiring to some town or other, they were in the habit of attending to the conversation of the inhabitants of those places.

In one of these villages, a woman having baked some “appulapawa” (pancakes) was giving them to her child, who leaving the edges would only eat the centre. On his asking for another cake, she remarked “This boy’s conduct is like Chandragupta’s in his attempt to take possession of the kingdom.” On his inquiring, “Mother, why, what am I doing; and what has Chandragupta done?” “Thou, my boy, (said she) throwing away the outside of the cake, eat the middle only. Chandragupta also, in his ambition to be a monarch, without subduing the frontiers, before he attacked the towns, invaded the heart of the country, and laid towns waste. On that account, both the inhabitants of the town and others, rising, closed in upon him, from the frontiers to the centre, and destroyed his army. That was his folly.”

They, on hearing this story of hers, taking due notice thereof, from that time, again raised an army. On resuming their attack on the provinces and towns, commencing from the frontiers, reducing towns, and stationing troops in the intervals, they preceded in their invasion. After a respite, adopting the same system, and marshalling a great army, and in regular course reducing each kingdom and province, then assailing Pataliputra and putting Dhana-nando to death, they seized that sovereignty.

Although this had been brought about, Chanakya did not at once raise Chandragupta to the throne; but for the purpose of discovering Dhana-nando’s hidden treasure, sent for a certain fisherman (of the river) and deluding him with the promise of raising the chhatra for him, and having secured the hidden treasure; within a month from that date, putting him also to death, inaugurated Chandragupta monarch.

MAHAVAMSA COMMENTARY

The Destruction of Daksha’s Sacrifice

Daksha’s Sacrifice Ruined

When S’iva heard from Nârada about the death of Satî because of the impudence shown by the Prajâpati and that the soldiers of his associates had been driven away by the Ribhus produced from Daksha’s sacrificial fire, his anger knew no bounds. Angrily clenching his lips with his teeth he snatched from a cluster of hair on his head one hair that blazed terribly like an electric fire. Briskly standing up Rudra laughed with a deep sound and dashed the hair on the ground. Next a great black man appeared with a sky-high body that had a thousand arms upholding several kinds of weapons. He radiated as bright as three suns combined, had fearful teeth, a garland of skulls around his neck and hair on his head that looked like a burning fire. Upon asking him, the great Lord, with folded hands: ‘What can I do for you, o Lord of the Ghosts?’, the Lord told him: ‘You as the chief of my associates, Rudra, expert of combat born from my body, go and put an end to Daksha and his sacrifice!’

Thus being ordered he, as the anger of the anger of the god of gods, circumambulated the mighty S’iva. Invested with the unopposable power of the most powerful one he considered himself to be the mightiest, and thus capable of coping with any force. With bangles on his ankles that made a loud sound and carrying a frightening trident that could even kill death, he with a loud roar hurried away, followed by S’iva’s soldiers roaring [along] with a tumultuous sound. At that moment the priests, Daksha the leader of the Yajña and all the persons assembled saw the darkness of a dust storm emerging from the north, upon which the brahmins and their wives began to speculate about where this dust came from: ‘The winds don’t blow, it can’t be plunderers since old King Barhi is still alive to punish them and the cows aren’t herded either; so from where is this dust coming? Does this mean that the world is about to end?’

The women of Daksha headed by Prasûti most afraid said: ‘This is indeed the danger resulting from the sin of Daksha who, being  Satî’s Lord and creator, has insulted his completely innocent daughter in the presence of her sisters. Or would it be he who at the time of dissolution dances with his weapons raised like flags in his hands and with the bunch of his hair scattered, while he pierces the rulers with his pointed trident and sends his loud laughter in all directions like a clap of thunder? How can one ever find happiness when one as the one who arranges everything raises the fury of him who with an unbearable effulgence full of anger now darkens the luminaries with the unbearable sight of his fearful teeth and the movement of his eyebrows?’

While the people [assembled at the sacrifice] of Daksha all were talking like this they, looking around nervously, could everywhere and repeatedly observe the countless fearful omens in the sky and on the earth [as a result of the anger] of the great Lordship. Quickly the arena of sacrifice was surrounded by the followers of Rudra who with all kinds of raised weapons were running all around with their short, blackish and yellowish, shark-like bodies and faces.

Some pulled down the pillars of the pandal while others invaded the quarters of the women, the sacrificial arena, the residence of the priests and the place where one was cooking. Some shattered the pots used for the sacrifice, some extinguished the fires burning for the sacrifice, some tore down the boundary lines demarcating the arena and some urinated there. Others blocked the sages their way and some threatened the women and arrested the godly ones sitting nearby who wanted to get away. Manimân got hold of Bhrigu Muni, Vîrabhadra [the great one] caught Prajâpati Daksha, Candes’a arrested Pûshâ and Nandîs’vara arrested the demigod Bhaga. Suffering a hail of stones all the priests, godly ones and other members of the sacrifice who saw all of this happening, utterly agonized spread in all directions. S’iva’s mighty appearance [Vîrabhadra] in the midst of the assembly tore off the mustache of Bhrigu Muni who had held the sacrificial ladle for doing oblations, for he with his [proud] mustache had dared to laugh at S’iva. Bhaga’s eyes were by the  great warlord, who in great fury had thrust him to the ground, plucked out in the presence of the Vis’vasriks, because he with the movement of his eyebrows had encouraged the cursing of S’iva. Like Baladeva did with the king of Kalinga [during the gambling match at the marriage ceremony of Aniruddha], he knocked out the teeth of Pûshâ who had shown his teeth as he smiled during the cursing of S’iva. But when he with his foot on Daksha’s chest with a sharp blade tried to sever his head from his body, the three eyed giant couldn’t manage to get it done. Nor with weapons, nor with the help of mantras being able to even scratch his skin, Vîrabhadra was struck with wonder and had to think deeply. Then he spotted the device used for killing the sacrificial animals and managed therewith to sever the head from the body of Daksha, the lord ruling the sacrifice, who now was an animal of sacrifice himself.

All the Bhûtas, Pretas and Pis’âcas of S’iva joyfully cheered the very moment they saw him doing that, while the followers of Daksha suffered the opposite. Out of his great anger with Daksha, Vîrabhadra threw the head as an oblation in the southern sacrificial fire and set ablaze all the arrangements for the sacrifice of the godly. Then they departed for their master’s abode [‘where the Guhyakas reside’ or Kailâsa].

Brahma satisfies Siva

After all the demigods by the soldiers of Rudra were defeated with tridents, spears, swords, bludgeons and hammers, they with all their limbs injured together with all the priests and other members of the assembly in great fear offered Lord Brahmâ their obeisances and reported the events to him in detail. Knowing beforehand of the certainty of these events, the Lord born from the lotus flower [Brahmâ] and Nârâyana, the Supersoul of the entire universe [Vishnu] had not attended the sacrifice of Daksha.

Hearing what had happened Brahmâ said: ‘A great personality has been offended and that is, given the wish to live in agreement, generally not conducive to your happiness. Despite of having committed these offenses in denying S’iva his share in the offerings, you will all quickly find his mercy if you without any mental reservations satisfy him by taking to the shelter of his lotus feet. You cannot expect to be able to continue with the sacrifice if you do not forthwith beg for the pardon of the god of all worlds and their controllers whom you have angered; being deprived of his wife, his heart was most upset by the unkind words [spoken to him]. Neither I, nor Indra, nor all of you and others who have a material body, nor even the sages who know the real extent of his strength and power, have an inkling of what it means to dare a thing like that with him, he who relies on the soul only.’

After thus having instructed the godly ones Brahmâ went away with in his wake the forefathers and the leaders of the people whom he took from his own place to the abode of S’iva, Kailâsa, the best of all mountains that is so dear to the master. [The place] enjoyed by Kinnaras, Gandharvas, and Apsaras [the residents and singers of heaven and their wives] is populated by the perfected ones [or Siddhas] who differ from other people [or are gifted] by birth, by austerity, by their use of herbs or by practicing mantras in yoga. The mountain range home to a diversity of deer is replete with all kinds of precious stones and is grown by trees, creepers and a diversity of other plants. The mountain peaks with their crystal clear waterfalls have various caves that accommodate the mystics who sport there with their loving wives. Resounding with the cries of peacocks and the humming of bees blind of intoxication, there is the continuous song of cuckoos and chirping of other birds. With the elephants moving the mountain itself seems to be moving, with the sounds of the waterfalls the mountain itself seems to resound and with the trees that yield to all desires the mountain itself seems to be stretching its arms calling for the birds. The mountain is further beautified by mandâra, pârijâta, sarala (pine) and tamâla trees, s’âla and tâla, kovidâra, âsana and arjuna trees, cûtas (mango), kadambas, dhûli-kadambas and nâgas, punnâgas and campakas and one also sees there trees like pâthalas, as’okas, bakulas, kundas and kurabakas. And it is also adorned with golden colored lotuses, the cinnamon tree and the mâlatî, kubja, mallikâ and mâdhavî. With kata, jackfruit, julara and banyan trees, plakshas, nyagrodhas and trees producing asafoetida, there are also betelnut trees, pûgas, râjapûgas and jambus [black berries and greenery alike]. Offering a variety of trees like kharjûras, âmrâtakas, âmras and such and others like priyâlas, madhukas and ingudas, it is as well rich with venu-kîcakaih and kîcaka [different sorts of bamboo]. Kumuda, utpala, kahlâra and s’atapatra lotuses cover the lakes of the forests which, filled with the sweet whispers of flocks of birds, harbor deer, monkeys, boars, cats, bears, s’alyakas, forest cows and asses, tigers, smaller deer and buffaloes and such. It is enjoyed by different types of deer like the karnântras, ekapadas, as’vâsyas, vrikas and kastûrîs and has groups of banana trees near the sandy banks of the beautiful hillside lakes filled with lotuses. The devoted ones saw the waters of lake Alakanandâ carrying the flavor of Satî who bathed there and they were struck with wonder about that mountain of the Lord of Ghosts. There at Alakâ [‘uncommonly beautiful’] they saw the region with the forest named Saugandhika [‘full of fragrance’], which carried that name because of the species of lotus flowers one finds there. And the two rivers the Nandâ and Alakanandâ flowing close to the abode of the feet of the master were even holier because of the dust of the lotus feet. In both the rivers the celestial damsels descended coming from their dwellings after their lovemaking in order to play there with their husbands and splatter each other with the water. The two streams having turned yellow because of the kunkum powder [that washed from their breasts] make the elephants and their females who take a bath there drink from the water, even though they aren’t thirsty. The heavenly homes enjoyed by the wives of the virtuous ones were bedecked with countless valuable jewels, pearls and gold which made them look like clouds in the sky brightened by the flashes of lightening.

Passing through the Saugandhika forest that was so attractive with its variety of trees yielding to all desires with its flowers, fruits and leaves, they reached the abode of the Lord of the Yakshas. There they saw the beauty of many birds with red necks whose sounds mixed with the humming of bees as also lakes with groups of swans and most precious lotus flowers. The breeze of the sandalwood trees made the wild elephants flock together and stimulated the minds of the wives of the virtuous ones over and over. The staircases leading to the bathing places full of lotuses, used by the ones faithful to the divine personality [the Kimpurushas], were made of vaidûrya stone and as soon as they saw them they spotted a banyan tree nearby. At a height of thousands of feet it spread out its branches over a quarter of the foot of the mountain, casting a fine cooling shadow. It had no birds nesting in it. Underneath the tree the godly ones saw S’iva, the shelter of many a great sage desiring liberation, sitting there as grave as eternal time in having given up his wrath. Saintly liberated souls like the Kumâras headed by Sanandana and Kuvera, the master of the Guhyakas and Râkshasas, sat there in praise around the solemn and serene Lord. They saw him there as the master of the senses, the knowledge of austerity and the path of yoga, as the friend of the whole world who with his complete love is the blessing for all. He could be recognized as the one desired by the ascetics: with ashes, a staff, matted hair, seated on an antelope skin, the reddish hue of his body and the crescent moon on his head. With a mattress of darbha straw below him he before an audience of all sages conversed with Nârada about eternality and the Absolute Truth. He had placed his left foot over his right thigh and with his right hand resting on his knee holding his prayer beads, he gesticulated in argument. With his knee thus fixed leaning and absorbed in the trance of spiritual bliss he as the first thinker among the wise received there the respects of the other sages and rulers of the different worlds who had folded their hands. But when Lord S’iva saw that the self-born one,  Brahmâ,  had arrived accompanied by the best of the enlightened and unenlightened, he whose feet were worshiped stood up and bowed his head just like Vishnu did when He as Vâmanadeva welcomed Kas’yapa. And so the other perfected ones and great rishis did who from all sides followed the example of their Lord in offering obeisances. After that demonstration of respect for S’iva, Brahmâ addressed him with a smile.

Brahmâ said: ‘I know you as the controller of the entire manifestation of the cosmic creation, as the potency of both the seed [of the father] and the  womb [of the mother] and as the one auspicious and supreme who is immaterial and free from change. The way a spider manages its web o Fortunate One, you with the embodiment of your auspicious energy create, maintain and destroy this universe. In order to protect the benefits of dharma and artha [religion and economy] you empowered Daksha to realize [the system of] sacrifices and settle the respect for that what binds the people [the varnâs’rama system] and to which the brahmins are vowed with the highest regard. O auspicious one, the deeds of him who strives to do good lead to the higher worlds, the heavens and the transcendental realm while someone who is of inaupicious deeds awaits a ghastly hell. How can it be that for some these results are the exact opposite? With devotees who in full surrender at your feet perfectly recognize you as present in all kinds of living beings and who from the Supreme position make no difference between living beings, practically never the anger is found that one finds with animalistic types of people. Those who have given up on the heart, look for results and think that everything is different, can’t stand it when others are faring well  and are always angry with others and hurt with harsh words. They do not need to be killed by you because they are killed by providence already. When materialists at some places bewildered by the insurmountable, illusory energy of the Great Blue One [the Lord as Pushkaranâbha] see matters [of right and wrong] differently, saintly persons out of their compassion will never use their prowess [against them] but be merciful instead, for everything is arranged by fate. O your Lordship, since the intelligence of you, the seer and knower of all, is never affected by that great potency of the Supreme Person His material energy [or mâyâ], you should in this case strive to be of mercy with those who are bewildered at heart because of that same illusory energy that attracts them to karmic activities. S’iva, you who would partake in the result of Daksha’s now unfinished sacrifice, did what you had to do in putting an end to the sacrificial ceremony of his bad priests and destroyed everything. Because they didn’t grant you, who bestow the results, your share of the sacrifice, you have the right to take what’s yours. Let the performer Daksha get his life back, let Bhagadeva get his eyes back, let Bhrigu grow his mustache back and let Pûsâ have his row of teeth as before. Let the God-conscious whose limbs were broken and the priests who suffered from the weapons and stones, this very moment by your grace o angered one, recover from their injuries. O Rudra, let the portion of whatever is left of this sacrifice be yours my dear Lord, so that the sacrificial ceremony today may find its completeness, destroyer of the yajña.’

The Sacrifice performed by Daksha

S’iva thus being pacified by Lord Brahmâ fully satisfied spoke with a smile. Mahâdeva said: ‘I do not take offense at those whom I regard as children, I don’t mind o Lord of the created beings, I have [just] chastised the ones who were deluded by the external energy of God. Let there for the Prajâpati whose head was burned to ashes be the head of a goat and let Bhaga look at his share of the sacrifice through the eyes of Mitra. Pûshâ who led the sacrifice will have to eat chickpea dough or food chewed for him, but the godly ones who did grant me a share of the sacrifice will fully recover.  The two arms of the As’vins [the twin protectors of medicine] and the hands of Pûshâ are there for those who have to miss those limbs and Bhrigu and the other priests may have the beard of the goat.’

All who at that moment heard what the best of the benedictors said, were innerly satisfied and said: ‘Well spoken, well spoken!’ Next Lord S’iva was invited by the godly ones and the sages headed by Bhrigu and together they with the Liberal One [S’iva] and the Lord of the Veda [Brahmâ] for the second time headed for the sacrifice they wanted to perform for God. After having performed all that Lord Bhava had told them to do, they joined the head of the animal of sacrifice with the body of Daksha. Proceeding thus King Daksha was under the supervision of Rudra with that head reawakened from his apparent state of unconsciousness, so that he saw the compassionate Lord standing before him. The very moment the Prajâpati saw the Lord who rides the bull, his by hatred polluted heart became as clean as a lake [filled by the rains] in autumn. Although decided to pray to Bhava he, with his eyes full of tears because of the great surge of feelings upon remembering the death of his daughter, couldn’t do so. After he with great effort managed to pacify his because of love and affection bewildered mind, the Prajâpati who had come to his senses prayed to the Lord with praise and straightforward feelings.

Daksha said: ‘What a great favor you have done me by punishing me. Despite of the fact that you defeated me, you, nor Vishnu, o Fortunate One, ever deny an unqualified brahmin [like me], so why would he who keeps to his vows [and performs sacrifices, suffer want]? O great one, the brahmins were first created from the mouth of Brahmâ in order to disseminate the teachings of self-realization, the vows and the austerity. Therefore you with a stick in your hand protect them every time they are in danger, just like someone who protects his herd. You who by me unaware of your reality was insulted in the assembly with the arrows of [my] unkind words, do not really take heed of that. Seeing me sliding down to hell because I defamed the most respectable one, you saved me out of compassion. I wish you to be pleased about that what you did out of your own mercy, your Lordship.’

Daksha thus being forgiven by S’iva, with the permission of Brahmâ resumed the performance of the sacrifice together with the priests, the ones of learning and the others. In order to be purified from having been in touch with Vîrabhadra and his men and to perform the sacrifice meant for Vishnu, the best among the brahmins settled for three kinds of offerings [belonging to] the oblation called purodâs’a. The moment the leader of the Yajña [Daksha] thus sanctified in meditation offered the clarified butter with the hymns from the Yajur Veda, Hari appeared, the Supreme Personality. The effulgence of all present there was at that moment overshadowed by the brightness [spreading] in all the ten directions of Him who was carried by the enormous wings of Garuda [or Stotra]. With a dark complexion, garments  yellow as gold, a helmet dazzling like the sun, curling hair bluish like black bees, a face decorated with earrings, with a conch shell, a lotus flower, a disc and arrows, a bow, a club, a sword and shield in His hands and with His many golden ornaments, He looked like a blossoming tree. Garlanded with forest flowers He had His consort [Lakshmî] on His chest and only a small glimpse of His magnanimous smiling glance was enough to please the entire world. At His side yak-tail fans looking like swans were being waved and above Him one saw a beautiful, moonlike white royal canopy. After they saw Him arriving, all the demigods and the others led by Brahmâ, Indra and the three-eyed S’iva, immediately stood up from their seats and offered their obeisances. They all outshone by the luster of His glaring effulgence fell silent and filled with awe they touched their heads bowing down to pray to Adhokshaja, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even though His glory is beyond the comprehension of even the powerful ones of the soul, they now by His grace seeing His transcendental form, could offer their prayers according to their different capacities. Daksha seeking shelter was accepted with his honorable oblations of sacrifice for the master of all sacrifices, the supreme preceptor of all progenitors of mankind who is attended by Nanda and Sunanda [the most important servants of Nârâyana in Vaikunthha]. With great pleasure, a subdued mind and with folded hands he then offered Him his prayers.

Daksha said: ‘You Lordship now fully present here have returned from the purity of Your heavenly abode in a perfect transcendence above all mental speculation. You are the one without a second, the fearless controller of all matter, who seemingly impure are engaged with her [with Mâyâ] as the overseer and self-sufficient One.’

The priests said: ‘All of us, not conversant with the truth of Your Lordship who are free from the influence of the material world, we who are of an intelligence that because of S’iva’s curse is of too great an attachment to fruitive activities o Lord, now know about Your name [Yajña] that stands for the arrangement of religious sacrificing moving in the three departments [of the three Vedas] for the sake of which we are engaged in the worship of demigods [like the divinity of the sun and the moon].’

The members of the assembly said: ‘On the path of repeated birth and death we have no place to take shelter. We are greatly troubled by being bound to this formidable fort of time that is infested by ugly snakes and in which the mirage of the material happiness of having a home and a body constitutes a heavy burden. When we have to live by the double ditch of distress and so-called happiness, the fear for wild animals, the forest fire of lamentation over the interest of the ignorant ones and are afflicted with all sorts of desire, we, with You who gives shelter, enjoy the protection of Your lotus feet.’

Rudra said: ‘O supreme benefactor, when I, desiring fulfillment in the material world, have fixed my mind on Your precious lotus feet that are cherished and worshiped by the liberated sages, I, with a compassion like that of Yours, attach no value to it when ignorant people speak against me.’

Bhrigu said: ‘From Brahmâ down to every other embodied being, all who, under the influence of the insurmountable material energy, are bereft of the knowledge of their original self, are submerged in the darkness of illusion. They not seeing You as situated in the self cannot understand Your situation as the absolute of reality. O Lord, You, as the friend of the surrendered soul, be kind to us.’

Brahmâ said: ‘When one tries to see Your person, this original form of Yours cannot be perceived with the help of the different [sensual] virtues of respect for acquiring knowledge, for You who constitute the basis of the knowledge and objectivity of the material qualities must be regarded as differing from that what is made of material energy.’

Indra said: ‘This transcendental form o Infallible One, which is there for the welfare of the universe, is a cause of pleasure to the mind and eye, for You, possessing the eight weapons held up by Your arms, punish those who are hostile towards Your devotees.’

The wives of the attendants of the sacrifice said: ‘This worshiping in sacrifice as arranged by Brahmâ was devastated by S’iva. May today the beauty of Your lotuslike vision o Lord of sacrifice, sanctify the sacrifice that by the anger against Daksha became as still as the dead bodies of the sacrificial animals.’

The sages said: ‘How wonderful o Supreme Lord, are Your activities to which You, in the exercise of Your potencies, are never attached. Nor is Your Lordship attached to the mercy of Your obedient servant, the Goddess of Fortune Lakshmî, for the grace of whom one is of worship.’

The perfected ones prayed: ‘The elephant of the mind that scorched by the forest fire of [sensual] afflictions is thirsty, having plunged in the river of the pure nectar of Your pastimes no longer remembers that misery and never wishes to come out, just like someone who merged with the Absolute.’

The wife of Daksha said: ‘Be pleased my Lord with my respects for Your auspicious appearance o abode of the Goddess. With Lakshmî as Your wife You protect us. Our arena knows no beauty without Your arms o controller, just like a headless person doesn’t look good with only a trunk.’

The local rulers said: ‘We doubt whether we can see You with our material senses. You, revealing Your eternal form, we regard as the inner witness by whose grace the entire illusory world can be seen o possessor of all, for You appear with the elements as the sixth one to the five of the senses.’

The great ones of yoga said: ‘They who deeming no one as dear as You, see themselves as existing in You and not as separate from You, the Supersoul of all beings o master, are very dear to You. And how much more You don’t value absolutely the faith of those souls o Lord, who devoted therewith are of worship o loving parent? We offer our obeisances to Him who by His personal appearance by means of His material potency determined the fate of each living entity depending his specific inclinations, He who appeared differently with the many material qualities for the sake of the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the material world and who in His absolute state turned away from the interaction of the modes of matter.’

The Vedas in person declared: ‘Our respects unto You transcendental to the modes of nature who are the shelter of the quality of goodness and the source of the austerity and penance in all religions. I nor anyone else really knows You or Your situation.’

Agni, the fire god said: ‘By Your effulgence I am as luminous as the greatest fire and may accept in sacrifice the five kinds of offerings mixed with butter; I offer my obeisances to Yajña, the protector of the sacrifices, worshiped by means of the five kinds of hymns of the Veda.’

The godly ones said: ‘Formerly at the time of the devastation of the era [kalpa] when You as the Original Personality rested in the water and lied down on the snake bed Ananta S’esha, You withdrew into Your abdomen that what You had created and was estranged from You. You upon whom the liberated souls in their hearts meditate in philosophical speculations, we now see present here before our two eyes moving on the path of the protection of us Your servants.’

The denizens of heaven said: ‘Marîci and the great sages under the direction of Brahmâ and Indra and the divinity led by S’iva, are to be seen as parts and parcels of Your body o God; may we unto the Supreme Almighty One for whom this whole creation is just a plaything o Lord, always be of respect and offer You our obeisances.’

The Vidyâdharas [lovers of knowledge] said: ‘After with Your external potency having obtained the human body and with dwelling in the body, thinking in terms of ‘I ‘and ‘mine’, having misidentified himself with it, the ignorant person who takes the body for himself and is distracted by material possessions, also follows the wrong roads of seeking happiness in sense objects, but relishing the nectar of Your topics he can be delivered, even when he drifted far away from that position.’

The brahmins said: ‘You are the sacrifice, the offering of the clarified butter, the fire in person; You are the mantras, the fuel, the kus’a grass [to sit on] and the pots; You are the members of the assembly, the priests, the leader of the Yajña and his wife, the demigods and the sacred fire ceremony, the offering to the forefathers, the soma plant, the clarified butter itself and the sacrificial animal. In the past it was You who as the great boar incarnation from within the waters lifted the world up on Your tusks the way an elephant picks up a lotus. Very easily the vibration was caught by great sages like Sanaka as an offering of prayers in the form of a sacrifice o knowledge of the Vedas in person. You as that same person we ask to be pleased with us who failing in performing the sacrifices are awaiting Your audience. When one sings Your holy names o Lord of Sacrifice, one manages to overcome obstacles. Unto You our respectful obeisances.’

With Hrishîkes’a [Vishnu as the Lord of the senses], the protector of sacrifices, thus being glorified, Daksha, having learned, arranged to resume the sacrifice that was devastated by Vîrabhadra. O sinless one, Vishnu, the Supersoul of all beings and enjoyer of all sacrifices having received His share, was satisfied and then addressed Daksha. The Supreme Lord [Vishnu] said: ‘I, Brahmâ and also S’iva, do not differ [essentially] in being the supreme cause and Supersoul, the witness and the self-sufficient one of the material manifestation. I, having entered my own external energy that is composed of the modes of nature o twice-born one, [thus] create, maintain and annihilate the cosmic manifestation and assume a name appropriate to My activities. Someone not conversant with this thinks that Brahmâ, S’iva and the living beings exist in separation and departs [impersonally in disregard of Me] from the notion of the one Supreme Self, the Supreme Brahman that is without a second. The way a person never supposes that his head, hands and other parts of his body would have a separate existence, My devotee neither supposes that the living beings would exist separately. He who does not consider the three [of Us] who constitute the one nature of the Supersoul of all living beings as separate [entities] o brahmin, achieves peace.’

The foremost of all progenitors [Daksha] thus being addressed by the Supreme Lord Hari, after worshiping Him with due ceremony next worshiped the demigods [Brahmâ and S’iva] individually. After with a concentrated mind having granted S’iva his share of the sacrifice and he together with the priests in order to round it off also had paid respect to the God-conscious and the other ones assembled there, he took the concluding [avabhritha] bath. When he thus on the basis of his own belief had achieved the perfection of religious dutifulness, those three servants of God who thus had inspired with intelligence, left for their heavenly abodes. Satî, Daksha’s daughter was, after formerly having given up her body, born from the wife of Menâ [or Menakâ] who lives in the Himalayas, so I’ve heard. As S’iva’s beloved one, Ambikâ [Durgâ or Satî], who felt no attraction for another man, was sure to accept him again as her husband. For her he was the one goal, the original masculinity of the person that lies dormant in the external, feminine energy [of matter].

BHAGAVATA, 4.5-7

The Life and Death of Sati

The Birth and Marriage of Sati

Then, on a certain time, the Goddess Bhagavatî, the Fiery Nature of the Supreme Power, took her birth in the house of the Prajâpati Daksa. Everywhere in the three worlds, great festivities were held. All the gods became glad and showered flowers. The drums of the gods were sounded by the hands and made very grave sounds. The pure-minded saints were gladdened; the Sun’s rays looked purer and cleaner; the rivers were elated with joy and began to flow in their channels. When the World-auspicious Goddess, the Destroyer of the birth and death of the souls took her birth, everything looked propitious. The wise Munis named her “Satî” as she was of the nature of Supreme Godhead and Truth herself. The Prajâpati Daksa handed over the Goddess, who was before the S’akti of Mahâdeva [S’iva], to that Deva of the Devas, Mahâdeva.

DEVI BHAGAVATA, 7.30

Daksha curses Siva

Once in the past at a sacrifice held by the Prajâpati (Daksha), the immortal ones of creation, the great sages along with  the philosophers, the demigods and the gods of the sacrificial fire together with all their followers had assembled. When he arrived at that great assembly the sages could see him as someone who, free from the darkness of ignorance, shone like the sun. They, the members of the assembly along with the ones taking care of the fire, impressed by his luster all with the exception of Brahmâ and S’iva, stood up from their seats. Daksha, the one of all opulence who was properly welcomed by the leaders of the assembly, made his obeisances towards the one unborn, the master of the world, and sat down upon his order. Before he took his seat though he felt insulted by S’iva who showed no sign of respect, and losing his temper he with an angry look in his eyes said the following.

‘Listen to me, o wise among the brahmins, o godly ones, o fire gods, how I speak to you about the manners of the gentle ones, and this I do not out of ignorance or jealousy. He [S’iva] lacking in manners, has shamelessly spoilt the fame of the rulers of the universe and polluted the path followed by the gentle ones. He, acting like an honest man, [as a son of mine] has accepted to be of a lower position in taking the hand of my daughter in the presence of fire and brahmins. He with accepting the hand of her who has eyes like that of a deer cub, himself having the eyes of a monkey, has not as it should with a word of welcome honored me by standing up from his seat. Contrary to what I want I have given my daughter to him who with no respect for the rules and regulations,  impure and proud has broken with the code of civility; it is as if I gave the message of the Vedas to a s’ûdra! Accompanied by ghosts and demons he wanders around at the burial places where corpses are burnt, and laughs and cries there like a madman, with scattered hair smearing himself with the ashes of the funeral pyre. He has a garland of skulls and is ornamented with dead man’s bones; only in name he is S’iva (auspicious). He is in fact inauspicious, crazy and dear to the crazy, he is their leader and Lord engrossed in the mode of ignorance. To him, the Lord of Ghosts void of all cleanliness and with a heart full of nasty matters, I alas, upon the request of the supreme teacher [Brahmâ], have given away Satî.’

After thus having abused S’iva who remained without hostility, Daksha next rinsed his hands and mouth with water and began to curse him angrily: ‘The portion of the sacrifice for God that the demigods along with Indra, Upendra [Vishnu] and others are entitled to, is there not for the lowest of the demigods.’ Even though the members of the assembly urged him not to, Daksha, having cursed S’iva, left the place and went home, for he had gotten very angry. Understanding that S’iva had been cursed, one of his principal associates Nandis’vara, turned red and blind with anger he harshly cursed Daksha and the brahmins who had allowed that the cursing happened.

‘May he who in the physical presence of him, the non-envious Lord S’iva, bears envy and thus is stupefied by a dual vision, lose all his grip on reality. He who is attracted to a householder’s life of pretentious religiosity and in a desire for material happiness performs fruitive activities, will see his intelligence concerning the Vedic word fail. Let him who, with the intelligence of taking the body for one’s self, has forgotten the knowledge of Vishnu and as an animal is attached to his sex life, that excessive Daksha, soon have the head of a goat! May those who follow Daksha in his insults and dulled in the ignorance of their fruitive activities have lost their intelligence and knowledge, time and again end up here in the ocean of material suffering. Let those who are so envious with S’iva and whose minds have grown slow because of the enchanting flowery words of the Vedas that are so pervaded with the scent of honey, for ever be stupefied. Let those brahmins, who have taken to education, austerity and vows for the purpose of acquiring money and satisfying their physical senses, as beggars wander from door to door, eating whatever!’

When Bhrigu heard the words of this curse against the class of the twice-born, he in response pronounced an insurmountable curse in accord with the brahminical way of chastising:  ‘May anyone who takes a vow to please S’iva and follows such principles, become an atheist straying away from the scriptural injunctions. Let those who took initiation to worship S’iva and abandoned cleanliness, foolishly have their hairs long, wear bones and are covered by ashes, find their destiny in intoxication. Because you blaspheme the Vedas and the brahmins in support of the established rules of society, you have therefore sought your refuge in atheism. In the Vedas, which in the past have always been rigidly followed for being the auspicious, eternal path for all people, one finds the evidence of Janârdana [the Lord as the well-wisher of all]. Blaspheming that supreme and pure spirit which is the eternal path of the truthful, you are doomed to end up in atheism wherein the Lord of matter and death [S’iva as Bhûtapati] is your deity!’

After S’iva thus was mentioned in the curse of Bhrigu, the Supreme One, somewhat downcast, left the place together with his followers. And so the fathers of mankind for a thousand years settled for the sacrifice in which the chief of all gods is Hari. After purifying their hearts by taking their ceremonial, concluding bath where the Ganges meets the Yamunâ, they all left from there to return to their own places.’

The Argument between Siva and Sati

Thus the heartily enmity that existed between the son-in-law and father-in-law, continued for a very long time. When Daksha was appointed the chief of all the progenitors of mankind by Brahmâ, the supreme teacher, he became very puffed up with pride. Neglecting S’iva and his followers he, after first performing a Vâjapeya sacrifice [‘the drink of strength or battle’], began the best of all sacrifices called the Brihaspati-sava sacrifice [the initiatory sacrifice to the honor of the chief offerer of prayers and sacrifice]. To that occasion all the God-conscious and learned ones of wisdom, the ancestors and the demigods including the nicely decorated wives who accompanied their husbands, assembled. Satî, the daughter of Daksha and wife of S’iva, heard the denizens of heaven talk in the sky about the great festival to be performed by her father, and when she saw near her residence the beautiful wives of the godly ones with glittering eyes from all directions, in nice dresses with golden earrings and ornaments around their necks, in their heavenly vehicles move about along with their husbands to go there, she highly anxious addressed her husband, the Lord and master of the Bhûtas [the ones of matter and the dead].

Satî said: ‘Your father-in-law, Daksha, has started a great sacrifice where all the God-conscious ones are going and where we surely thus also may go to my dearest, if you like to. Surely my sisters together with their husbands will also be going there, eager to see their relatives. I would like to attend that gathering together with you and all the ornaments given to me. Do you consent? I will surely meet my sisters there with their husbands as well as my sweet aunts and my mother. I’ve been waiting for a long time to see them as also the sacrificial flags raised by the great sages, o merciful one. Unto you o unborn one, this manifestation of His external energy that was created as an interaction of the three modes, appears so wonderful. But I am but your poor woman not conversant with the truth who would like to see her place of birth o Bhava [S’iva as the Lord of existence]. O immaterial, blue-throated one, the other women, ornamented and with their husbands and friends, are flocking in large numbers going there standing beautifully out against the sky with their white swans carrying them high. How can I be emotionally unaffected o best of the demigods, when I as a daughter hear about the festival that takes place in the house of my father? Even when one is not invited one can go to the house of a friend, one’s husband, one’s father or one’s spiritual master, isn’t it? Be therefore so kind unto me o immortal one, and fulfill my desire O you honorable, compassionate Lord with your unlimited vision. See me as the [full] other half of your body, please be so gracious to answer my request.’

The deliverer from mount Kailâsa [S’iva] thus addressed by his dearest, amiable to his relatives as he was, replied with a smile, meanwhile remembering the heart-piercing, malicious words that Daksha had spoken in the presence of the guardians of creation. The great Lord said: ‘What you said my dear beauty, is perfectly true; one may, even uninvited, visit friends, provided they are not finding fault with you or, more important, when they are not of any anger in being proud of their material achievements. Those who are arrogant are blinded in their pride over the six qualities of pious education, austerity, wealth, beauty, youth and heritage. Not of respect for the glories of the great souls they to the contrary get entangled in untruth and lose their sense of reality. One should not go to the house of relatives and friends who in their suppositions don’t see matters as they are and thus offer their guests a cold reception in regarding them with raised eyebrows and anger in their eyes. One is not hurt as much by the arrows of an enemy as one is grieved in the core of one’s heart by the deceitful, harsh words of relatives, for such grief makes the one hurt suffer day and night. It is clear that you with your pretty face and good behavior are the darling of the daughters of the Prajâpati [Daksha], yet you will because of being connected to me, meet with pain because your father doesn’t honor me. Someone upset with a burning heart is not directly able to rise to merely the standard of the exemplary pious behavior of those whose minds are always turned to the Original Person, as much as demons envious of the Lord cannot act piously. My dear young wife, the intent to rise to our feet and welcome one another with obeisances is proper, but the wise, being intelligent unto the Supreme, direct themselves to the Original Person who resides within the body and certainly not to the one who identifies himself with the body. The pure consciousness known as Vasudeva [God’s goodness] is revealed there [within the heart] because the person is in goodness in that position and not covered [by darkness]. The Supreme Lord as such I always respect by the name of Vâsudeva [the ‘God of the Soul’] because He is the transcendence. Therefore we should not go and see your father Daksha and his Vis’vasrik followers present at the sacrifice. Even though he gave you your body O Satî, [remember that] he with cruel words enviously has insulted me who was innocent. And if you decide to go there in neglect of my words, things will not turn out good for you. When you being so most respectable are insulted by your relative, that insult will be equal to dying on the spot.’

Sati Quits Her Body

After saying this much about the [possible] end of his wife’s physical existence, S’iva fell silent. Since she from S’iva understood that she had the choice between being anxious to see her relatives and being afraid to meet her relatives, she was in doubt whether she should go or not. Denied in her desire to see her relatives she felt very sorry and shed tears in her affliction. Trembling she angrily looked at her Bhava, the unequaled one, as if she wanted to burn him. Breathing heavily she walked away from him, the saintly one so dear to her to whom she had given half of her body. Being upset because of her grief and anger and with her intelligence clouded by her female nature, she out of love for her father’s embodiment then headed for his house.

Rapidly leaving all alone Satî was quickly followed by the thousands of associates and Yaksha’s of the three eyed one [S’iva] who were headed by Manimân and Mada. Not afraid [to leave S’iva alone] they had put the bull Nandî in front. Having placed her on the decorated bull, her pet bird, ball, mirror, lotus flower, white umbrella, mosquito net, garlands and other stuff were taken along, accompanied by the music of drums, conch shells and flutes. She [thus] entered the sacrificial arena where with the help of sacrificial animals, pots, clay, wood, iron, gold and grass and skins to sit upon, the sacrifice, brightened by the sounds of Vedic hymns, was held that on all sides was attended by the great sages and authorities. But arriving there she out of fear for the performer of the sacrifice [Daksha] was not respected by anyone with a welcome, save of course for her own sisters and mother who embraced her with reverence, gladdened faces and throats choked by tears of affection.

But Satî, not being welcomed by her father, did not respond to the reverence shown with the greetings of her sisters, mother and aunts who with due respect properly informed her and offered her gifts and a seat. Realizing that her father with no oblations for S’iva out of contempt for the godhead had not invited the mighty one for the assembly of the sacrifice, Satî got very angry and looked incensed as if she wanted to burn the fourteen worlds with her eyes. The goddess [next] for everyone present to hear began to condemn with words filled with anger the opponents of S’iva who were so proud of their troublesome sacrifices, meanwhile ordering his Bhûtas who stood prepared to attack, to hold back.

The blessed one said: ‘He [S’iva] has no one in this world as his rival, no one is his enemy nor is anyone embodied dear to him. Who in the world but you would be envious with him, the most beloved being in the universe free from all enmity? Unlike you, O twice born one, he doesn’t find fault in the qualities of the seekers of truth, he rather greatly magnifies any little good he finds in others. And now you are with him, the greatest of all persons, finding fault!  It is not so surprising, this deriding of glorious persons by those who take the transient body for the true self. It is an ugly evil to be envious with great personalities, an evil that perfectly serves the purpose of bringing themselves down by the dust of the holy feet. Persons who only once from their heart pronounce the two syllables of his name, see their sinful activities immediately defeated; that S’iva, whose order is never neglected and who is of an impeccable renown, you now strangely envy. Engaged at his lotus feet the higher personalities exercise their bee-like minds aspiring the nectar of transcendental bliss and for the common man he is the one sought who fulfills all desires. That you of all people now have to be against him, the friend of all living entities in all the three worlds! Do you really think that others than you, like Brahmâ and his brahmins, are not familiar with the inauspicious call of him who is associated with the demons and who with his scattered, matted hair is garlanded with skulls and is smeared with the ashes of the crematorium? They still take on their heads the flowers that fell from the feet of him who is called S’iva or auspicious! When one is confronted with people who irresponsibly blaspheme the controller of the religion, one should block one’s ears and walk away, if nothing else can be done. But if one can do something, one should by force cut out the tongue of the vilifying blasphemer and next give up one’s own life. That’s the way to deal with such matters! Therefore I shall no longer bear this body I received from you who blasphemed God. To purify oneself from mistakenly having eaten poisonous food it is best to vomit, so one says. Elevated transcendentalists who enjoy their lives do not always follow the rules and regulations of the Vedas, the ways of the gods differ from those of man. Therefore a man  should not criticize another man [like S’va] by the standard of his own unique sense of duty. In truth the Vedas distinguish between activities performed in attachment and activities performed in detachment [pravritti and nivritti dharma], and thus one has on the basis of these two characteristics of dharma two choices. To be of both at the same time is contradictory and  thus it can be so that none of these activities are to the satisfaction of the one of transcendence. O father, the ways we follow are not your ways, they are not recommended by those who satisfied by the food of the sacrifice follow the ritual path and thus get their fill. They are of those complete forsakers who follow the non-manifest form of sacrificing. With your offenses against S’iva and denial of this body that was produced from your body, I say enough is enough! I am ashamed to have taken this contemptible birth. O what a shame it is to be related by birth to a bad person, to someone who is an offender of great personalities. Because of the family tie I have with you it makes me very sad when my great Lord S’iva calls me ‘daughter of Daksha’. All my joy and smiles vanish immediately when he does so. Therefore I will give up this bag of bones that was produced from your body.’

Speaking thus to Daksha in the arena of sacrifice, she sat down in silence on the ground with her face to the north. After touching water she, dressed in saffron garments, then closed her eyes to find absorption in the process of yoga. Balancing the inward and outward going breath she, the blameless one, in the control of her yogic posture with intelligence directed her life air upward. She raised it gradually up from the navel cakra to the heart, from the heart to the windpipe and from the throat to the place between her eyebrows. In her desire to give it up because of her anger towards Daksha, she who time and again full of respect sat on the lap of the most worshipful one of all saints, thus by the exercise of her own will focussed on the air and fire within her body. When she right there within her mind saw nothing but the nectarean lotus feet of her husband, the supreme spiritual teacher of the universe and was freed from all impurities, soon the body of Satî was ablaze because of the fire that originated from her absorption.

From the side of those who witnessed it a loudly in the sky and on the earth reverberating, wondrous tumult originated: ‘Ohhh…, alas Satî the beloved goddess of the most respectable demigod, has given up her life in her anger about Daksha. Oh, just see the great soullessness of him, the Prajâpati from whom all the generations sprang. Because of his disrespect she voluntarily gave up her body, she, his own daughter Satî worthy of our repeated respect. He so hard-hearted and not worthy the brahminical status, will gain extensive ill fame in the world because he in his offenses as an enemy of S’iva couldn’t keep his own daughter from preparing herself for death!’

While the people were thus talking among themselves after having witnessed the wondrous death of Satî, the attendants of S’iva stood up with their weapons lifted in order to kill Daksha. But as soon as he saw them approaching Bhrigu quickly offered oblations in the southern fire and recited hymns from the Yajur Veda to ward off the destroyers of a sacrifice. From the oblations being offered by Bhrigu, by the thousands the demigods manifested named the Ribhus who by dint of the moon [Soma] and by penance had achieved great strength. And all the ghosts and Guhyakas [guardians of S’iva] being attacked by them with pieces of firewood from the fire, thus, [haunted] by the glow of sheer brahminical power, fled in all directions.

BHAGAVATA, 4.2-4