The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
Kisari Mohan Ganguli (Translator)
Part 5 out of 11
feared by anything, when one wisheth for nothing, when one injureth
nothing, it is then that one attaineth to the purity of Brahman.' The wise
monarch seeing this and satisfied that one's appetites are never satiated,
set his mind at rest by meditation, and took back from his son his own
decrepitude. And giving him back his youth, though his own appetites were
unsatiated, and installing him on the throne, he spoke unto Puru thus,
'Thou art my true heir, thou art my true son by whom my race is to be
continued. In the world shall my race be known by thy name.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then that tiger among kings, having installed
his son Puru on the throne, went away to the mount of Bhrigu for devoting
himself to asceticism. And, having acquired great ascetic merit, after
long years, he succumbed to the inevitable influence of Time. He left his
human body by observing the vow of fasting, and ascended to heaven with
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Janamejaya said, 'O thou of the wealth of asceticism, tell me how our
ancestor Yayati, who is the tenth from Prajapati, obtained for a wife the
unobtainable daughter of Sukra. I desire to hear of it in detail. Tell me
also, one after another, of those monarchs separately who were the
founders of dynasties.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'The monarch Yayati was in splendour like unto Indra
himself. I will tell thee, in reply to thy question, O Janamejaya, how
both Sukra and Vrishaparvan bestowed upon him, with due rites, their
daughters, and how his union took place with Devayani in special.
"Between the celestials and the Asuras, there happened, of yore, frequent
encounters for the sovereignty of the three worlds with everything in them.
The gods, then, from desire of victory, installed the son of Angiras
(Vrihaspati) as their priest to conduct their sacrifices; while their
opponents installed the learned Usanas as their priest for the same
purpose. And between those two Brahmanas there are always much boastful
rivalry. Those Danavas assembled for encounter that were slain by the gods
were all revived by the seer Sukra by the power of his knowledge. And then
starting again, into life,--these fought with the gods. The Asuras also
slew on the field of battle many of the celestials. But the open-minded
Vrihaspati could not revive them, because he knew not the science called
Sanjivani (re-vivification) which Kavya endued with great energy knew so
well. And the gods were, therefore, in great sorrow. And the gods, in
great anxiety of heart and entertaining a fear of the learned Usanas, then
went to Kacha, the eldest son of Vrihaspati, and spoke unto him, saying,
'We pay court to thee, be kind to us and do us a service that we regard as
very great. That knowledge which resides in Sukra, that Brahmana of
immeasurable prowess, make thy own as soon as thou canst. Thou shalt find
the Brahmana in the court of Vrishaparvan. He always protects the Danavas
but never us, their opponents. Thou art his junior in age, and, therefore,
capable of adoring him with reverence. Thou canst also adore Devayani, the
favourite daughter of that high-souled Brahmana. Indeed, thou alone art
capable of propitiating them both by worship. There is none else that can
do so. By gratifying Devayani with thy conduct, liberality, sweetness, and
general behaviour, thou canst certainly obtain that knowledge.' The son of
Vrihaspati, thus solicited by the gods, said 'So be it,' and went to where
Vrishaparvan was. Kacha, thus sent by the gods, soon went to the capital
of the chief of the Asuras, and beheld Sukra there. And beholding him, he
thus spoke unto him, 'Accept me as thy disciple. I am the grandson of the
Rishi Angiras and son of Vrihaspati. By name I am known as Kacha. Thyself
becoming my preceptor, I shall practise the Brahmacharya mode of life for
a thousand years. Command me, then, O Brahmana!'
"Sukra (hearing this) said, 'Welcome art thou, O Kacha! I accept thy
speech. I will treat thee with regard; for by so doing, it is Vrihaspati
who will be regarded.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Kacha commanded by Kavya or Usanas himself,
called also Sukra, then said, 'So be it,' and took the vow he had spoken
of. And, O Bharata, accepting the vow of which he had spoken, at the
proper time, Kacha began to conciliate regardfully both his preceptor and
(his daughter) Devayani. Indeed, he began to conciliate both. And as he
was young, by singing and dancing and playing on different kinds of
instruments, he soon gratified Devayani who was herself in her youth. And,
O Bharata, with his whole heart set upon it, he soon gratified the maiden
Devayani who was then a young lady, by presents of flowers and fruits and
services rendered with alacrity. And Devayani also with her songs and
sweetness of manners used, while they were alone, to attend upon that
youth carrying out his vow. And when five hundred years had thus passed of
Kacha's vow, the Danavas came to learn his intention. And having no
compunctions about slaying a Brahmana, they became very angry with him.
And one day they saw Kacha in a solitary part of the woods engaged in
tending (his preceptor's) kine. They then slew Kacha from their hatred of
Vrihaspati and also from their desire of protecting the knowledge of
reviving the dead from being conveyed by him. And having slain him, they
hacked his body into pieces and gave them to be devoured by jackals and
wolves. And (when twilight came) the kine returned to the fold without him
who tended them. And Devayani, seeing the kine returned from the woods
without Kacha, spoke, O Bharata, unto her father thus:
'Thy evening-fire hath been kindled. The Sun also hath set, O father! The
kine have returned without him who tendeth them. Kacha is, indeed, not to
be seen. It is plain that Kacha hath been lost, or is dead. Truly do I say,
O father, that without him I will not live.'
"Sukra hearing this said, I will revive him by saying, 'Let this one
come.' Then having recourse to the science of reviving the dead, Sukra
summoned Kacha. And summoned by his preceptor, Kacha appeared before him
in the gladness of heart tearing by virtue of his preceptor's science
the bodies of the wolves (that had devoured him). And asked about the
cause of his delay, he thus spoke unto Bhargava's daughter. Indeed,
asked by that Brahman's daughter, he told her, 'I was dead. O thou of
pure manners, burdened with sacrificial fuel, Kusa grass, and logs of
wood, I was coming towards our abode. I sat under a banian tree. The
kine also, having been brought together, were staying under the shade
of that same banian tree. The Asuras, beholding me, asked 'Who art
thou?' They heard me answer, 'I am the son of Vrihaspati.' As soon as
I said this, the Danavas slew me, and hacking my body into pieces gave
my remains to jackals and wolves. And they then went home in the
gladness of heart. O amiable one, summoned by the high-souled
Bhargava, I after all come before thee fully revived.'
"On another occasion, asked by Devayani, the Brahmana Kacha went into the
woods. And as he was roving about for gathering flowers, the Danavas
beheld him. They again slew him, and pounding him into a paste they mixed
it with the water of the ocean. Finding him long still (in coming), the
maiden again represented the matter unto her father. And summoned again by
the Brahmana with the aid of his science, Kacha appearing before his
preceptor and his daughter told everything as it had happened. Then
slaying him for the third time and burning him and reducing him to ashes,
the Asuras gave those ashes to the preceptor himself, mixing them with his
wine. And Devayani again spoke unto her father, saying, 'O father, Kacha
was sent to gather flowers. But he is not to be seen. It is plain he hath
been lost, or has died. I tell thee truly, I would not live without him.'
"Sukra hearing this said, 'O daughter, the son of Vrihaspati hath gone to
the region of the dead. Though revived by my science, he is thus slain
frequently. What, indeed, am I to do? O Devayani, do not grieve, do not
cry. One like thee should not grieve for one that is mortal. Thou art
indeed, O daughter, in consequence of my prowess, worshipped thrice a day
during the ordained hours of prayer, by Brahmanas, the gods with Indra,
the Vasus, the Aswins, the Asuras, in fact, by the whole universe. It is
impossible to keep him alive, for revived by me he is often killed.' To
all this Devayani replied, 'Why shall I, O father, not grieve for him
whose grandfather is old Angiras himself, whose father is Vrihaspati who
is an ocean of ascetic merit, who is the grandson of a Rishi and the son
also of a Rishi? He himself too was a Brahmacharin and an ascetic; always
wakeful and skilled in everything. I will starve and follow the way Kacha
has gone. The handsome Kacha is, O father, dear unto me.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The great Rishi Kavya, then, afflicted by what
Devayani said, cried in anger, 'Certainly, the Asuras seek to injure me,
for they slay my disciple that stayeth with me. These followers of Rudra
desire to divest me of my character as a Brahmana by making me participate
in their crime. Truly, this crime hath a terrible end. The crime of
slaying a Brahmana would even burn Indra himself.' Having said this, the
Brahmana Sukra, urged by Devayani, began to summon Kacha who had entered
the jaws of Death. But Kacha, summoned with the aid of science, and afraid
of the consequence to his preceptor, feebly replied from within the
stomach of his preceptor, saying, 'Be graceful unto me, O lord! I am Kacha
that worshippeth thee. Behave unto me as to thy own dearly-loved son.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Sukra then said, 'By what path, O Brahmana, hast
thou entered my stomach, where thou stayest now? Leaving the Asuras this
very moment, I shall go over to the gods.' Kacha replied, 'By thy grace,
memory hath not failed me. Indeed, I do recollect everything as it hath
happened. My ascetic virtues have not been destroyed. It is, therefore,
that I am able to bear this almost insufferable pain. O Kavya, slain by
the Asuras and burnt and reduced to powder, I have been given to thee with
thy wine. When thou art present, O Brahmana, the art of the Asuras will
never be able to vanquish, the science of the Brahmana.'
"Hearing this, Sukra said, 'O daughter, what good can I do to thee? It is
with my death that Kacha can get his life back. O Devayani, Kacha is even
within me. There is no other way of his coming out except by ripping open
my stomach.' Devayani replied, 'Both evils shall, like fire, burn me! The
death of Kacha and thy own death are to me the same! The death of Kacha
would deprive me of life. If thou also diest, I shall not be able to bear
my life.' Then Sukra said, 'O son of Vrihaspati, thou art, indeed, one
already crowned with success, because Devayani regards thee so well.
Accept the science that I will today impart to thee, if, indeed, thou be
not Indra in the form of Kacha. None can come out of my stomach with life.
A Brahmana, however, must not be slain, therefore, accept thou the science
I impart to thee. Start thou into life as my son. And possessed of the
knowledge received from me, and revived by me, take care that, on coming
out of my body, thou dost act gracefully.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Receiving the science imparted to him by his
preceptor the handsome Kacha, ripped open his stomach, came out like the
moon at evening on the fifteenth day of the bright fort-night. And
beholding the remains of his preceptor lying like a heap of penances,
Kacha revived him, aided by the science he had learned. Worshipping him
with regard, Kacha said unto his preceptor, 'Him who poureth the nectar of
knowledge into one's ears, even as thou hast done into those of myself who
was void of knowledge, him do I regard both as my father and mother. And
remembering the immense service done by him, who is there so ungrateful as
to injure him? They that, having acquired knowledge, injure their
preceptor who is always an object of worship, who is the giver of
knowledge, who is the most precious of all precious objects on Earth, come
to be hated on Earth and finally go to the regions of the sinful.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The learned Sukra, having been deceived while
under the influence of wine, and remembering the total loss of
consciousness that is one of the terrible consequences of drink, and
beholding too before him the handsome Kacha whom he had, in a state of
unconsciousness, drunk with his wine, then thought of effecting a reform
in the manners of Brahmanas. The high-souled Usanas rising up from the
ground in anger, then spoke as follows: "The wretched Brahmana who from
this day, unable to resist the temptation, will drink wine shall be
regarded as having lost his virtue, shall be reckoned to have committed
the sin of slaying a Brahmana, shall be hated both in this and the other
worlds. I set this limit to the conduct and dignity of Brahmanas
everywhere. Let the honest, let Brahmanas, let those with regard for their
superiors, let the gods, let the three worlds, listen!' Having said these
words that high-souled one, that ascetic of ascetics, then summoning the
Danavas who had been deprived by fate of the good sense, told them these
words, Ye foolish Danavas, know ye that Kacha hath obtained his wishes. He
will henceforth dwell with me. Having obtained the valuable knowledge of
reviving the dead, that Brahmana hath, indeed, become in prowess even as
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Bhargava having said so much cut short his
speech. The Danavas were surprised and went away to their homes. Kacha,
too, having stayed with his preceptor for a full thousand years, then
prepared to return to the abode of the celestials, after having obtained
his preceptor's permission.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After the expiry of the period of his vow, Kacha,
having obtained his preceptor's leave, was about to return to the abode of
the celestials, when Devayani, addressing him, said, 'O grandson of the
Rishi Angiras, in conduct and birth, in learning, asceticism and humility,
thou shinest most brightly. As the celebrated Rishi Angiras is honoured
and regarded by my father, so is thy father regarded and worshipped by me.
O thou of ascetic wealth, knowing this, listen to what I say. Recollect my
conduct towards thee during the period of thy vow (Brahmacharya). Thy vow
hath now been over. It behoveth thee to fix thy affections on me. O accept
my hand duly with ordained mantras.'
"Kacha replied, 'Thou art to me an object of regard and worship even as
thy father! O thou of faultless features, thou art, indeed, even an object
of greater reverence! Thou art dearer than life to the high-souled
Bhargava, O amiable one! As the daughter of my preceptor, thou art ever
worthy of my worship! As my preceptor Sukra, thy father, is ever deserving
of my regards, so art thou, O Devayani! Therefore, it behoveth thee not to
say so.' Hearing this, Devayani replied, 'Thou, too, art the son of my
father's preceptor's son. Therefore, O best of Brahmanas, thou art
deserving of my regards and worship. O Kacha, when thou wert slain so many
times by the Asuras, recollect today the affection I showed for thee.
Remembering my friendship and affection for thee, and, indeed, my devoted
regard also, O virtuous one, it behoveth thee not to abandon me without
any fault. I am truly devoted to thee.'
"Hearing all this, Kacha said, 'O thou of virtuous vows, do not urge me
into such a sinful course. O thou of fair eye-brows, be gracious unto me.
Beautiful one, thou art to me an object of greater regard than my
preceptor. Full of virtuous resolves, O large-eyed one, of face as
handsome, as moon, the place where thou hadst resided, viz., the body of
Kavya, hath also been my abode. Thou art truly my sister. Amiable one,
happily have we passed the days that we have been together. There is
perfect good understanding between us. I ask thy leave to return to my
abode. Therefore, bless me so that my journey may be safe. I must be
remembered by thee, when thou recallest me in connection with topics of
conversation, as one that hath not transgressed virtue. Always attend upon
my preceptor with readiness and singleness of heart.' To all this,
Devaniya answered, 'Solicited, by me, if, indeed, thou truly refusest to
make me thy wife, then, O Kacha, this thy knowledge shall not bear fruit.'
"Hearing this, Kacha said, 'I have refused thy request only because thou
art the daughter of my preceptor, and not because thou hast any fault. Nor
hath my preceptor in this respect issued any command. Curse me if it
please thee. I have told thee what the behaviour should be of a Rishi. I
do not deserve thy curse, O Devayani. But yet thou hast cursed me! Thou
hast acted under the influence of passion and not from a sense of duty.
Therefore, thy desire will not be fulfilled. No Rishi's son shall ever
accept thy hand in marriage. Thou hast said that my knowledge shall not
bear fruit. Let it be so. But in respect of him it shall bear fruit to
whom I may impart it.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'That first of Brahmanas, Kacha, having said so
unto Devayani speedily wended his way unto the abode of the chief of the
celestials. Beholding him arrived, the celestials with Indra ahead, having
first worshipped him, spoke unto him as follows, 'Thou hast indeed,
performed an act of great benefit for us. Wonderful hath been thy
achievement! Thy fame shall never die! Thou shall be a sharer with us in
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'The dwellers in heaven became exceedingly glad in
welcoming Kacha who had mastered the wonderful science. And, O bull of
Bharata's race, the celestials then learnt that science from Kacha and
considered their object already achieved. And assembling together, they
spoke unto him of a hundred sacrifices, saying, 'The time hath come for
showing prowess. Slay thy foes, O Purandara!' And thus addressed, Maghavat,
then accompanied by the celestials, set out, saying, 'So be it.' But on
his way he saw a number of damsels. These maidens were sporting in a lake
in the gardens of the Gandharva Chitraratha. Changing himself into wind,
he soon mixed up the garments of those maidens which they had laid on the
bank. A little while after, the maidens, getting up from the water,
approached their garments that had, indeed, got mixed up with one another.
And it so happened that from the intermingled heap, the garments of
Devayani were appropriated by Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan,
from ignorance that it was not hers. And, O king, thereupon, between them,
Devayani and Sarmishtha, then ensued a dispute. And Devayani said, 'O
daughter of the Asura (chief), why dost thou take my attire, being, as
thou art, my disciple? As thou art destitute of good behaviour, nothing
good can happen to thee!' Sarmishtha, however, quickly replied, 'Thy
father occupying a lower seat, always adoreth with downcast looks, like a
hired chanter of praises, my father, whether he sitteth at his ease or
reclineth at full length! Thou art the daughter of one that chanteth the
praises of others, of one that accepteth alms. I am the daughter of one
who is adored, of one who bestoweth alms instead of ever accepting them!
Beggar-woman as thou art, thou art free to strike thy breast, to use ill
words, to vow enmity to me, to give way to thy wrath. Acceptress of alms,
thou weepest tears of anger in vain! If so minded, I can harm thee, but
thou canst not. Thou desirest to quarrel. But know thou that I do not
reckon thee as my equal!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words, Devayani became exceedingly
angry and began to pull at her clothes. Sarmishtha thereupon threw her
into a well and went home. Indeed, the wicked Sarmishtha believing that
Devayani was dead, bent her steps home-wards in a wrathful mood.
"After Sarmishtha had left, Yayati the son of Nahusha soon came to that
spot. The king had been out a-hunting. The couple of horses harnessed to
his car and the other single horse with him were all fatigued. And the
king himself was thirsty. And the son of Nahusha saw a well that was by.
And he saw that it was dry. But in looking down into it, he saw a maiden
who in splendour was like a blazing fire. And beholding her within it, the
blessed king addressed that girl of the complexion of the celestials,
soothing her with sweet words. And he said, 'Who art thou, O fair one, of
nails bright as burnished copper, and with ear-rings decked with celestial
gems? Thou seemest to be greatly perturbed. Why dost thou weep in
affliction? How, indeed, hast thou fallen into this well covered with
creepers and long grass? And, O slender-waisted girl, answer me truly
whose daughter thou art.
"Devayani then replied, 'I am the daughter of Sukra who brings back into
life the Asuras slain by the gods. He doth not know what hath befallen me.
This is my right hand, O king, with nails bright as burnished copper. Thou
art well-born; I ask thee, to take and raise me up! I know thou art of
good behaviour, of great prowess, and of wide fame! It behoveth thee,
therefore, to raise me from this well.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'King Yayati, learning that she was a Brahmana's
daughter, raised her from that well by catching hold of her right hand.
And the monarch promptly raising her from the pit and squinting to her
tapering thighs, sweetly and courteously returned to his capital.
"When the son of Nahusha had gone away, Devayani of faultless features,
afflicted with grief, then spoke unto her maid, Ghurnika by name, who met
her then. And she said, 'O Ghurnika, go thou quickly and speak to my
father without loss of time of everything as it hath happened. I shall not
now enter the city of Vrishaparvan.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Ghurnika, thus commanded, repaired quickly to
the mansion, of the Asura chief, where she saw Kavya and spoke unto him
with her perception dimmed by anger. And she said, 'I tell thee, O great
Brahmana, that Devayani hath been ill-used, O fortunate one, in the forest
by Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan.' And Kavya, hearing that his
daughter had been ill-used by Sarmishtha speedily went out with a heavy
heart, seeking her in the woods. And when he found her in the woods, he
clasped her with affection and spoke unto her with voice choked with grief,
'O daughter, the weal or woe that befalleth people is always due to their
own faults. Thou hast therefore some fault, I ween, which hath been
expiated thus.' Hearing this Devayani replied, 'Be it a penalty or not,
listen to me with attention. O, hear that all Sarmishtha, the daughter of
Vrishaparvan, hath said unto me. Really hath she said that thou art only
the hired chanter of the praises of the Asura king! Even thus hath she--
that Sarmishtha, Vrishaparvan's daughter,--spoken to me, with reddened
eyes, these piercing and cruel words, 'Thou art the daughter of one that
ever chanteth for hire the praises of others, of one that asketh for
charities, of one that accepteth alms; whereas I am the daughter of one
that receiveth adorations, of one that giveth, of one that never accepteth
anything as gift!' These have been the words repeatedly spoken unto me by
the proud Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, with eyes red with
anger. If, O father, I am really the daughter of a hired chanter of
praises, of one that accepteth gifts, I must offer my adorations in the
hope of obtaining her grace! Oh, of this I have already told her!'
"Sukra replied, 'Thou art, O Devayani, no daughter of a hired adorer, of
one that asketh for alms and accepteth gifts. Thou art the daughter of one
that adores none, but of one that is adored by all! Vrishaparvan himself
knoweth it, and Indra, and king Yayati too. That inconceivable Brahma,
that unopposable Godhead, is my strength! The self-create, himself,
gratified by me, hath said that I am for aye the lord of that which is in
all things on Earth or in Heaven! I tell thee truly that it is I who pour
rain for the good of creatures and who nourish the annual plants that
sustain all living things!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'It was by such sweet words of excellent import
that the father endeavoured to pacify his daughter afflicted with woe and
oppressed by anger.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Sukra continued, 'Know, then, O Devayani, that he that mindeth not the
evil speeches of others, conquereth everything! The wise say that he is a
true charioteer who without slackening holdeth tightly the reins of his
horses. He, therefore, is the true man that subdueth, without indulging in
his rising wrath. Know thou, O Devayani, that by him is everything
conquered, who calmly subdueth his rising anger. He is regarded as a man
who by having recourse to forgiveness, shaketh off his rising anger like a
snake casting off its slough. He that suppresseth his anger, he that
regardeth not the evil speeches of others, he that becometh not angry,
though there be cause, certainly acquireth the four objects for which we
live (viz., virtue, profit, desire, and salvation). Between him that
performeth without fatigue sacrifices every month for a hundred years, and
him that never feeleth angry at anything, he that feeleth not wrath is
certainly the higher. Boys and girls, unable to distinguish between right
and wrong, quarrel with each other. The wise never imitate them.' Devayani,
on hearing this speech of her father, said, 'O father, I know, also what
the difference is between anger and forgiveness as regards the power of
each. But when a disciple behaveth disrespectfully, he should never be
forgiven by the preceptor if the latter is really desirous of benefiting
the former. Therefore, I do not desire to live any longer in a country
where evil behaviour is at a premium. The wise man desirous of good,
should not dwell among those sinfully inclined men who always speak ill of
good behaviour and high birth. But there should one live,--indeed, that
hath been said to be the best of dwelling places,--where good behaviour
and purity of birth are known and respected. The cruel words uttered by
Vrishaparvan's daughter burn my heart even as men, desirous of kindling a
fire, burn the dry fuel. I do not think anything more miserable for a man
in the three worlds than to adore one's enemies blessed with good fortune,
himself possessing none. It hath been indeed said by the learned that for
such a man even death would be better.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Kavya, the foremost of Bhrigu's line, became
angry himself. And approaching Vrishaparvan where the latter was seated,
began to address him without weighing his words, 'O king,' he said,
'sinful acts do not, like the Earth, bear fruit immediately! But gradually
and secretly do they extirpate their doers. Such fruit visiteth either in
one's own self, one's son, or one's grandson. Sins must bear their fruit.
Like rich food they can never be digested. And because ye slew the
Brahmana Kacha, the grandson of Angiras, who was virtuous, acquainted with
the precepts of religion, and attentive to his duties, while residing in
my abode, even for this act of slaughter--and for the mal-treatment of my
daughter too, know, O Vrishaparvan, I shall leave thee and thy relatives!
Indeed, O king, for this, I can no longer stay with thee! Dost thou, O
Asura chief, think that I am a raving liar? Thou makest light of thy
offence without seeking to correct it!'.
"Vrishaparvan then said, 'O son of Bhrigu, never have I attributed want of
virtue, of falsehood, to thee. Indeed, virtue and truth ever dwell in thee.
Be kind to me! O Bhargava, if, leaving us, thou really goest hence, we
shall then go into the depths of the ocean. Indeed, there is nothing else
for us to do.'
"Sukra then replied, 'Ye Asuras, whether ye go into the depths of the
ocean or fly away to all directions, I care little. I am unable to bear my
daughter's grief. My daughter is ever dear to me. My life dependeth on her.
Seek ye to please her. As Vrihaspati ever seeketh the good of Indra, so do
I always seek thine by my ascetic merits.'
"Vrishaparvan then said, 'O Bhargava, thou art the absolute master of
whatever is possessed by the Asura chiefs in this world-their elephants,
kine and horses, and even my humble self!'
"Sukra then answered, 'If it is true, O great Asura, that I am the lord of
all the wealth of the Asuras, then go and gratify Devayani.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'when the great Kavya was so addressed by
Vrishaparvan, he then went to Devayani and told her all. Devayani, however,
quickly replied, 'O Bhargava, if thou art truly the lord of the Asura king
himself and of all his wealth, then let the king himself come to me and
say so in my presence.' Vrishaparvan then approached Devayani and told her,
'O Devayani of sweet smiles, whatever thou desirest I am willing to give
thee, however difficult it may be to grant the same.' Devayani answered,
'I desire Sarmishtha with a thousand maids to wait on me! She must also
follow me to where my father may give me away.'
"Vrishaparvan then commanded a maid-servant in attendance on him, saying,
'Go and quickly bring Sarmishtha hither. Let her also accomplish what
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The maid-servant then repaired to Sarmishtha and
told her, 'O amiable Sarmishtha, rise and follow me. Accomplish the good
of thy relatives. Urged by Devayani, the Brahmana (Sukra) is on the point
of leaving his disciples (the Asuras). O sinless one, thou must do what
Devayani wisheth.' Sarmishtha replied, 'I shall cheerfully do what
Devayani wisheth. Urged by Devayani Sukra is calling me. Both Sukra and
Devayani must not leave the Asuras through my fault.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Commanded by her father, then, Sarmishtha,
accompanied by a thousand maidens, soon came, in a palanquin, out of her
father's excellent mansion. And approaching Devayani she said, 'With my
thousand maids, I am thy waiting-maid! And I shall follow thee where thy
father may give thee away.' Devayani replied, 'I am the daughter of one
who chanteth the praises of thy father, and who beggeth and accepteth alms;
thou, on the other hand, art the daughter of one who is adored. How canst
thou be my waiting-maid?'
"Sarmishtha answered, 'One must by all means contribute to the happiness
of one's afflicted relatives. Therefore shall I follow thee wherever thy
father may give thee away.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'When Sarmishtha thus promised to be Devayani's
waiting-maid the latter, O king, then spoke unto her father thus, 'O best
of all excellent Brahmanas, I am gratified. I shall now enter the Asura
capital! I now know that thy science and power of knowledge are not
"Vaisampayana continued, 'That best of Brahmanas, of great reputation,
thus addressed by his daughter, then, entered the Asura capital in the
gladness of his heart. And the Danavas worshipped him with great
(Sambhava Parva continued)
Vaisampayana said, 'After some length of time, O best of monarchs,
Devayani of the fairest complexion went into the same woods for purposes
of pleasure. And accompanied by Sarmishtha with her thousand maids she
reached the same spot and began to wander freely. And waited upon by all
those companions she felt supremely happy. And sporting with light hearts,
they began drinking the honey in flowers, eating various kinds of fruit
and biting some. And just at that time, king Yayati, the son of Nahusha,
again came there tired and thirsty, in course of his wanderings, in search
of deer. And the king saw Devayani and Sarmishtha, and those other maidens
also, all decked with celestial ornaments and full of voluptuous languor
in consequence of the flower-honey they drank. And Devayani of sweet
smiles, unrivalled for beauty and possessed of the fairest complexion
amongst them all, was reclining at her ease. And she was waited upon by
Sarmishtha who was gently kneading her feet.
"And Yayati seeing all this, said, 'O amiable ones, I would ask you both
your names and parentage. It seems that these two thousand maids wait on
you two.' Hearing the monarch, Devayani then answered, 'Listen to me, O
best of men. Know that I am the daughter of Sukra, the spiritual guide of
the Asuras. This my companion is my waiting-maid. She attendeth on me
wherever I go. She is Sarmishtha, the daughter of the Asura king
"Yayati then asked, 'I am curious to know why is this thy companion of
fair eye-brows, this maiden of the fairest complexion, the daughter of the
Asura chief thy waiting-maid!' Devayani replied, 'O best of king,
everything resulteth from Fate. Knowing this also to be the result of Fate,
wonder not at it. Thy feature and attire are both like a king's. Thy
speech also is fair and correct as that of the Vedas. Tell me thy name,
whence thou art and whose son also.'
"The monarch replied, 'During my vow of Brahmacharya, the whole Vedas
entered my ears. I am known as Yayati, a king's son and myself a king.'
Devayani then enquired, 'O king, what hast thou come here for? Is it to
gather lotuses or to angle or to hunt?' Yayati said, 'O amiable one,
thirsty from the pursuit of deer, I have come hither in search of water. I
am very much fatigued. I await but your commands to leave this spot.'
"Devayani answered, 'With my two thousand damsels and my waiting-maid
Sarmishtha, I wait but your commands. Prosperity to thee. Be thou my
friend and lord.'
"Yayati, thereupon, replied, 'Beautiful one, I do not deserve thee. Thou
art the daughter of Sukra far superior to me. Thy father cannot bestow
thee even on a great king.' To this Devayani replied, 'Brahmanas had
before this been united with the Kshatriyas, and Kshatriyas with Brahmanas.
Thou art the son of a Rishi and thyself a Rishi. Therefore, O son of
Nahusha, marry me.' Yayati, however, replied, 'O thou of the handsomest
features, the four orders have, indeed, sprung from one body. But their
duties and purity are not the same, the Brahmana being truly superior to
all.' Devayani answered, 'This hand of mine hath never been touched before
by any man save thee. Therefore, do I accept thee for my lord. How, indeed,
shall any other man touch my hand which had before been touched by thyself
who art a Rishi?' Yayati then said, 'The wise know that a Brahmana is more
to be avoided than an angry snake of virulent poison, or a blazing fire of
spreading flames.' Devayani then told the monarch, 'O bull amongst men,
why dost thou, indeed, say that Brahmana should be more avoided than an
angry snake of virulent poison or a blazing fire of spreading flames?' The
monarch answered, 'The snake killeth only one. The sharpest weapon slayeth
but a single person. The Brahmana, when angry destroyeth whole cities and
kingdoms! Therefore, O timid one, do I deem a Brahmana as more to be
avoided than either. I cannot hence wed thee, O amiable one, unless thy
father bestoweth thee on me.' Devayani then said, 'Thou art, indeed,
chosen by me. And, O king, it is understood that thou wilt accept me if
my father bestoweth me on thee. Thou needst not fear to accept my poor
self bestowed on thee. Thou dost not, indeed, ask for me.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Devayani quickly sent a maidservant
to her father. The maid represented to Sukra everything as it had happened.
And as soon as he had heard all, Bhargava came and saw Yayati. And
beholding Bhargava come, Yayati worshipped and adored that Brahmana, and
stood with joined palms in expectation of his commands.'
"And Devayani then said, 'This O father, is the son of Nahusha. He took
hold of my hand, when I was in distress. I bow to thee. Bestow me upon him.
I shall not wed any other person in the world.' Sukra exclaimed, 'O thou
of splendid courage, thou hast, indeed, been accepted as her lord by this
my dear daughter. I bestow her on thee. Therefore, O son of Nahusha,
accept her as thy wife.'
"Yayati then said, 'I solicit the boon, O Brahmana, that by so doing, the
sin of begetting a half-breed might not touch me.' Sukra, however, assured
him by saying, 'I shall absolve thee from the sin. Ask thou the boon that
thou desirest. Fear not to wed her. I grant thee absolution. Maintain
virtuously thy wife--the slender-waisted Devayani. Transports of happiness
be thine in her company. This other maiden, Vrishaparvan's daughter,
Sarmishtha should ever be regarded by thee. But thou shall not summon her
to thy bed.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Sukra, Yayati then walked
round the Brahmana. And the king then went through the auspicious ceremony
of marriage according to the rites of the scriptures. And having received
from Sukra this rich treasure of the excellent Devayani with Sarmishtha
and those two thousand maidens, and duly honoured also by Sukra himself
and the Asuras, the best of monarchs, then, commanded by the high-souled
Bhargava, returned to his capital with a joyous heart.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Yayati then, on returning to his capital which was
like unto the city of Indra, entered his inner apartments and established
there his bride Devayani. And the monarch, directed by Devayani,
established Vrishaparvan's daughter Sarmishtha in a mansion especially
erected near the artificial woods of Asokas in his gardens. And the king
surrounded Vrishaparvan's daughter Sarmishtha with a thousand maids and
honoured her by making every arrangement for her food and garments. But it
was with Devayani that the royal son of Nahusha sported like a celestial
for many years in joy and bliss. And when her season came, the fair
Devayani conceived. And she brought forth as her first child a fine boy.
And when a thousand years had passed away, Vrishaparvan's daughter
Sarmishtha having attained to puberty saw that her season had come. She
became anxious and said to herself, 'My season hath arrived. But I have
not yet chosen a husband. O, what hath happened, what should I do? How am
I to obtain the fruition of my wishes? Devayani hath become mother. My
youth is doomed to pass away in vain. Shall I choose him also for my
husband whom Devayani hath chosen? This is, indeed, my resolve: that
monarch should give me a son. Will not the virtuous one grant me a private
"Vaisampayana continued, 'While Sarmishtha was thus busy with her thoughts,
the king wandering listlessly came to that very wood of Asokas, and
beholding Sarmishtha before him, stood there in silence. Then Sarmishtha
of sweet smiles seeing the monarch before her with nobody to witness what
might pass, approached him and said with joined palms, 'O son of Nahusha,
no one can behold the ladies that dwell in the inner apartments of Soma,
of Indra, of Vishnu, of Yama, of Varuna, and of thee! Thou knowest, O king,
that I am both handsome and well-born. I solicit thee, O king! My season
hath arrived. See that it goeth not in vain.'
"Yayati answered, 'Well do I know that honour of birth is thine, born as
thou art in the proud race of the Danavas. Thou art also gifted with
beauty. I do not, indeed, see even the speck of a fault in thy feature.
But Usanas commanded me, while I was united with Devayani, that never
should Vrishaparvan's daughter he summoned to my bed.'
"Sarmishtha then said, 'It hath been said, O king, that it is not sinful
to lie on the occasion of a joke, in respect of women sought to be enjoyed,
on occasions of marriage, in peril of immediate death and of the loss of
one's whole fortune. Lying is excusable on these five occasions. O king,
it is not true that he is fallen who speaks not the truth when asked. Both
Devayani and myself have been called hither as companions to serve the
same purpose. When, therefore, thou hadst said that you wouldst confine
thyself to one only amongst as, that was a lie thou hadst spoken.' Yayati
replied, 'A king should ever be a model in the eyes of his people. That
monarch certainly meets with destruction who speaks an untruth. As for
myself, I dare not speak an untruth even if the greatest loss threatens
me!' Sarmishtha answered, 'O monarch, one may look upon her friend's
husband as her own. One's friend's marriage is the same as one's own. Thou
hast been chosen by my friend as her husband. Thou art as much my husband,
therefore.' Yayati then said, 'It is, indeed my vow always to grant what
one asketh. As thou askest me, tell me then what I am to do.' Sarmishtha
then said, 'Absolve me, O king, from sin. Protect my virtue. Becoming a
mother by thee, let me practise the highest virtue in this world. It is
said, O king, that a wife, a slave, and a son can never earn wealth for
themselves. What they earn always belongeth to him who owneth them. I am,
indeed, the slave of Devayani. Thou art Devayani's master and lord. Thou
art, therefore, O king, my master and lord as much as Devayani's! I
solicit thee! O, fulfil my wishes!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed by Sarmishtha, the monarch was
persuaded into the truth of all she spoke. He therefore, honoured
Sarmishtha by protecting her virtue. And they passed some time together.
And taking affectionate farewell of each other, they then parted, each
returning to whence he or she had come.
"And it came to pass that Sarmishtha of sweet smiles and fair eyebrows
conceived in consequence of that connection of hers with that best of
monarchs. And, O king, that lotus-eyed lady then in due course of time
brought forth a son of the splendour of a celestial child and of eyes
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'When Devayani of sweet smiles heard of the birth of
this child, she became jealous, and O Bharata, Sarmishtha became an object
of her unpleasant reflections. And Devayani, repairing to her, addressed
her thus, 'O thou of fair eye-brows, what sin is this thou hast committed
by yielding to the influence of lust?' Sarmishtha replied, 'A certain
Rishi of virtuous soul and fully conversant with the Vedas came to me.
Capable of granting boons he was solicited by me to grant my wishes that
were based on considerations of virtue. O thou of sweet smiles, I would
not seek the sinful fulfilment of my desires. I tell thee truly that this
child of mine is by that Rishi!' Devayani answered, 'It is all right if
that be the case, O timid one! But if the lineage, name, and family of
that Brahmana be known to thee, I should like to hear them.' Sarmishtha
replied, 'O thou of sweet smiles, in asceticism and energy, that Rishi is
resplendent like the Sun himself. Beholding him, I had not, any need to
make these enquiries--' Devayani then said, 'If this is true, if indeed,
thou hast obtained thy child from such a superior Brahmana, then, O
Sarmishtha, I have no cause of anger.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having thus talked and laughed with each other,
they separated, Devayani returning to the palace with the knowledge
imparted to her by Sarmishtha. And, O king, Yayati also begot on Devayani
two sons called Yadu and Turvasu, who were like Indra and Vishnu. And
Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, became through the royal sage
the mother of three sons in all, named Drahyu, Anu, and Puru.
"And, O king, it so came to pass that one day Devayani of sweet smiles,
by Yayati, went into a solitary part of the woods, (in the king's
extensive park). And there she saw three children of celestial beauty
playing with perfect trustfulness. And Devayani asked in surprise, 'Whose
children are they, O king, who are so handsome and so like unto the
children of the celestials? In splendour and beauty they are like thee, I
"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Devayani without waiting for a reply from
the king, asked the children themselves, 'Ye children, what is your
lineage? Who is your father? Answer me truly. I desire to know all.' Those
children then pointed at the king (with their forefingers) and spoke of
Sarmishtha as their mother.
"And having so said, the children approached the king to clasp his knees.
But the king dared not caress them in the presence of Devayani. The boys
then left the place, and made towards their mother, weeping in grief. And
the king, at this conduct of the boys, became very much abashed. But
Devayani, marking the affection of the children for the king learnt the
secret and addressing Sarmishtha, said, 'How hast thou dared to do me an
injury, being, as thou art, dependent on me? Dost thou not fear to have
recourse once more to that Asura custom of thine?'
"Sarmishtha said, 'O thou of sweet smiles, all that I told thee of a Rishi
is perfectly true. I have acted rightly and according to the precepts of
virtue, and therefore, do I not fear thee. When thou hadst chosen the king
for thy husband, I, too, chose him as mine. O beautiful one, a friend's
husband is, according to usage, one's own husband as well. Thou art the
daughter of a Brahmana and, therefore, deservest my worship and regard.
But dost thou not know that this royal sage is held by me in greater
"Vaisampayana said, 'Devayani then, hearing those words of hers, exclaimed,
O king, thus, 'Thou hast wronged me, O monarch! I shall not live here any
longer.' And saying this, she quickly rose, with tearful eyes, to go to
her father. And the king was grieved to see her thus, and alarmed greatly,
followed in her foot-steps, endeavouring to appease her wrath. But
Devayani, with eyes red with anger, would not desist. Speaking not a word
to the king, with eyes bathed in tears, she soon reached the side of her
father Usanas, the son of Kavi. And beholding her father, she stood before
him, after due salutations. And Yayati also, immediately after, saluted
and worshipped Bhargava.'
"And Devayani said, 'O father, virtue hath been vanquished by vice. The
low have risen, and the high have fallen. I have been offended again by
Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan. Three sons have been begotten
upon her by this king Yayati. But, O father, being luckless I have got
only two sons! O son of Bhrigu, this king is renowned for his knowledge of
the precepts of religion. But, O Kavya, I tell thee that he hath deviated
from the path of rectitude.'
"Sukra, hearing all this, said, 'O monarch, since thou hast made vice thy
beloved pursuit, though fully acquainted with the precepts of religion,
invincible decrepitude shall paralyse thee!' Yayati answered, 'Adorable
one, I was solicited by the daughter of the Danava king to fructify her
season. I did it from a sense of virtue and not from other motives. That
male person, who being solicited by a woman in her season doth not grant
her wishes, is called, O Brahmana, by those conversant with the Vedas, a
slayer of the embryo. He who, solicited in secret by a woman full of
desire and in season, goeth not in unto her, loseth virtue and is called
by the learned a killer of the embryo, O son of Bhrigu, for these reasons,
and anxious to avoid sin, I went into Sarmishtha.' Sukra then replied,
'Thou art dependent on me. Thou shouldst have awaited my command. Having
acted falsely in the matter of thy duty, O son of Nahusha, thou hast been
guilty of the sin of theft.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Yayati, the son of Nahusha, thus cursed by the
angry Usanas, was then divested of his youth and immediately overcome by
decrepitude. And Yayati said, 'O son of Bhrigu, I have not yet been
satiated with youth or with Devayani. Therefore, O Brahmana, be graceful
unto me so that decrepitude might not touch me.' Sukra then answered, 'I
never speak an untruth. Even now, O king, art thou attacked by decrepitude.
But if thou likest, thou art competent to transfer this thy decrepitude to
another.' Yayati said, 'O Brahmana, let it be commanded by thee that that
son of mine who giveth me his youth shall enjoy my kingdom, and shall
achieve both virtue and fame.' Sukra replied, 'O son of Nahusha, thinking
of me thou mayst transfer this thy decrepitude to whomsoever thou likest.
That son who shall give thee his youth shall become thy successor to the
throne. He shall also have long life, wide fame, and numerous progeny!'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'Yayati, then, overcome with decrepitude, returned to
his capital and summoning his eldest son Yadu who was also the most
accomplished, addressed him thus, 'Dear child, from the curse of Kavya
called also Usanas, decrepitude and wrinkles and whiteness of hair have
come over me. But I have not been gratified yet with the enjoyment of
youth. Do thou, O Yadu, take this my weakness along with my decrepitude. I
shall enjoy with thy youth. And when a full thousand years will have
elapsed, returning to thee thy youth, I shall take back my weakness with
"Yadu replied, 'There are innumerable inconveniences in decrepitude, in
respect of drinking and eating. Therefore, O king, I shall not take thy
decrepitude. This is, indeed, my determination. White hair on the head,
cheerlessness and relaxation of the nerves, wrinkles all over the body,
deformities, weakness of the limbs, emaciation, incapacity to work, defeat
at the hands of friends and companions--these are the consequences of
decrepitude. Therefore, O king, I desire not to take it. O king, thou hast
many sons some of whom are dearer to thee. Thou art acquainted with the
precepts of virtue. Ask some other son of thine to take thy decrepitude.
"Yayati replied, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, O son, but thou givest me
not thy youth. Therefore, thy children shall never be kings.' And he
continued, addressing another son of his, 'O Turvasu, take thou this
weakness of mine along with my decrepitude. With thy youth, O son, I like
to enjoy the pleasure of life. After the lapse of a full thousand years I
shall give back to thee thy youth, and take back from thee my weakness and
"Turvasu replied, 'I do not like decrepitude, O father, it takes away all
appetites and enjoyments, strength and beauty of person, intellect, and
even life.' Yayati said to him, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, O son! But
thou givest me not thy youth! Therefore, O Turvasu, thy race shall be
extinct. Wretch, thou shall be the king of those whose practices and
precepts are impure, amongst whom men of inferior blood procreate children
upon women of blue blood, who live on meat, who are mean, who hesitate not
to appropriate the wives of their superiors, whose practices are those of
birds and beasts, who are sinful, and non-Aryan.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Yayati, having thus cursed his son Turvasu, then,
addressed Sarmishtha's son Drahyu thus, 'O Drahyu, take thou for a
thousand years my decrepitude destructive of complexion and personal
beauty and give me thy youth. When a thousand years have passed away, I
shall return thee thy youth and take back my own weakness, and
decrepitude.' To this Drahyu replied, 'O king, one that is decrepit can
never enjoy elephants and cars and horses and women. Even his voice
becometh hoarse. Therefore, I do not desire (to take) thy decrepitude.'
Yayati said to him, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, O son! But thou
refusest to give me thy youth. Therefore, thy most cherished desires
shall never be fulfilled. Thou shalt be king only in name, of that
region where there are no roads for (the passage of) horses and cars
and elephants, and good vehicles, and asses, and goats and bullocks,
and palanquins; where there is swimming only by rafts and floats.'
Yayati next addressed Anu and said, 'O Anu, take my weakness and
decrepitude. I shall with thy youth enjoy the pleasures of life for a
thousand years.' To this Anu replied, 'Those that are decrepit always
eat like children and are always impure. They cannot pour libations
upon fire in proper times. Therefore, I do not like to take thy
decrepitude.' Yayati said to him, 'Thou art sprung from my heart, thou
givest not thy youth. Thou findest so many faults in decrepitude.
Therefore, decrepitude shall overcome thee! And, O Anu, thy progeny also
as soon as they attain to youth, shall die. And thou shalt also not be
able to perform sacrifices before fire.'
"Yayati at last turned to his youngest child, Puru, and addressing him
said, 'Thou art, O Puru, my youngest son! But thou shall be the first of
all! Decrepitude, wrinkles, and whiteness of hair have come over me in
consequence of the curse of Kavya called also Usanas. I have not yet
however, been satiated with my youth. O Puru, take thou this my weakness
and decrepitude! With thy youth I shall enjoy for some years the pleasures
of life. And when a thousand years have passed away, I shall give back to
thee thy youth and take back my own decrepitude.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the king, Puru answered with
humility, 'I shall do, O monarch, as thou bidest me. I shall take, O king,
thy weakness and decrepitude. Take thou my youth and enjoy as thou listest
the pleasures of life. Covered with thy decrepitude and becoming old, I
shall, as thou commandest, continue to live, giving thee my youth.' Yayati
then said, 'O Puru, I have been gratified with thee. And being gratified,
I tell thee that the people in thy kingdom shall have all their desires
"And having said this, the great ascetic Yayati, then thinking of Kavya,
transferred his decrepitude unto the body of the high-souled Puru.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'The excellent monarch Yayati, the son of Nahusha,
having received Puru's youth, became exceedingly gratified. And with it he
once more began to indulge in his favourite pursuits to the full extent of
his desires and to the limit of his powers, according to seasons, so as to
derive the greatest pleasure therefrom. And, O king, in nothing that he
did, he acted against the precepts of his religion as behoved him well. He
gratified the gods by his sacrifices; the pitris, by Sraddhas; the poor,
by his charities; all excellent Brahmanas, by fulfilling their desires;
all persons entitled to the rites of hospitality, with food and drink; the
Vaisyas, by protection; and the Sudras, by kindness. And the king
repressed all criminals by proper punishments. And Yayati, gratifying all
sections of his subjects, protected them virtuously like another Indra.
And the monarch possessed of the prowess of a lion, with youth and every
object of enjoyment under control, enjoyed unlimited happiness without
transgressing the precepts of religion. And the king became very happy in
thus being able to enjoy all the excellent objects of his desires. And he
was only sorry when he thought that those thousand years would come to an
end. And having obtained youth for a thousand years, the king acquainted
with the mysteries of time, and watching proper Kalas and Kashthas sported
with (the celestial damsel) Viswachi, sometimes in the beautiful garden of
Indra, sometimes in Alaka (the city of Kuvera), and sometimes on the
summit of the mountain Meru on the north. And when the virtuous monarch
saw that the thousand years were full, he summoned his son, Puru, and
addressed him thus, 'O oppressor of foes, with thy youth, O son, I have
enjoyed the pleasures of life, each according to its season to the full
extent of my desires, to the limit of my powers. Our desires, however, are
never gratified by indulgence. On the other hand, with indulgence, they
only flame up like fire with libations of sacrificial butter. If a single
person were owner of everything on Earth--all her yields of paddy and
barley, her silver, gold, and gems, her animals and women, he would not
still be content. Thirst of enjoyment, therefore, should be given up.
Indeed, true happiness belongeth to them that have cast off their thirst
for worldly objects--a thirst which is difficult to be thrown off by the
wicked and the sinful, which faileth not with the failing life, and which
is truly the fatal disease of man. My heart hath for a full thousand years
been fixed upon the objects of desires. My thirst for these, however,
increaseth day by day without abating. Therefore, I shall cast it off, and
fixing my mind on Brahma I shall pass the rest of my days with the
innocent deer in the forest peacefully and with no heart for any worldly
objects. And O Puru, I have been exceedingly gratified with thee!
Prosperity be thine! Receive back this thy youth! Receive thou also my
kingdom. Thou art, indeed, that son of mine who has done me the greatest
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Yayati, the son of Nahusha, received back
his decrepitude. And his son Puru received back his own youth. And Yayati
was desirous of installing Puru, his youngest son, on the throne. But the
four orders, with the Brahmanas at their head, then addressed the monarch
thus, 'O king, how shall thou bestow thy kingdom on Puru, passing over thy
eldest son Yadu born of Devayani, and, therefore, the grandson of the
great Sukra? Indeed, Yadu is thy eldest son; after him hath been born
Turvasu; and of Sarmishtha's sons, the first is Drahyu, then Anu and then
Puru. How doth the youngest deserve the throne, passing all his elder
brothers over? This we represent to thee! O, conform to virtuous
"Yayati then said, 'Ye four orders with Brahmanas at their head, hear my
words as to why my kingdom should not be given to my eldest son. My
commands have been disobeyed by my eldest son, Yadu. The wise say that he
is no son who disobeyeth his father. That son, however, who doth the
bidding of his parents, who seeketh their good, who is agreeable to them,
is indeed, the best of sons. I have been disregarded by Yadu and by
Turvasu, too. Much I have been disregarded by Drahyu and by Anu also. By
Puru alone hath my word been obeyed. By him have I been much regarded.
Therefore, the youngest shall be my heir. He took my decrepitude. Indeed,
Puru is my friend. He did what was so agreeable to me. It hath also been
commanded by Sukra himself, the son of Kavi, that, that son of mine who
should obey me will become king after me and bring the whole Earth under
his sway. I, therefore, beseech thee, let Puru be installed on the
"The people then said, 'True it is, O king, that, that son who is
accomplished and who seeketh the good of his parents, deserveth prosperity
even if he be the youngest. Therefore, doth Puru, who hath done the good,
deserve the crown. And as Sukra himself hath commanded it, we have nothing
to say to it.'
"Vaisampayana continued., 'The son of Nahusha, thus addressed by the
contented people, then installed his son, Puru, on the throne. And having
bestowed his kingdom on Puru, the monarch performed the initiatory
ceremonies for retiring into the woods. And soon after he left his capital,
followed by Brahmanas and ascetics.
"The sons of Yadu are known by the name of the Yadavas: while those of
Turvasu have come to be called the Yavanas. And the sons of Drahyu are the
Bhojas, while those of Anu, the Mlechchhas. The progeny of Puru, however,
are the Pauravas, amongst whom, O monarch, thou art born, in order to rule
for a thousand years with thy passions under complete control.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'King Yayati, the son of Nahusha, having thus
installed his dear son on the throne, became exceedingly happy, and
entered into the woods to lead the life of a hermit. And having lived for
some time into forest in the company of Brahmanas, observing many rigid
vows, eating fruits and roots, patiently bearing privations of all sorts,
the monarch at last ascended to heaven. And having ascended to heaven he
lived there in bliss. But soon, however, he was hurled down by Indra. And
it hath been heard by me, O king, that, though hurled from heaven, Yayati,
without reaching the surface of the Earth, stayed in the firmament. I have
heard that some time after he again entered the region of the celestials
in company with Vasuman, Ashtaka, Pratarddana, and Sivi.'
"Janamejaya said, 'I desire to hear from thee in detail why Yayati, having
first obtained admission into heaven, was hurled therefrom, and why also
he gained re-admittance. Let all this, O Brahmana, be narrated by thee in
the presence of these regenerate sages. Yayati, lord of Earth, was, indeed,
like the chief of the celestials. The progenitor of the extensive race of
the Kurus, he was of the splendour of the Sun. I desire to hear in full
the story of his life both in heaven and on Earth, as he was illustrious,
and of world-wide celebrity and of wonderful achievements.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Indeed, I shall recite to thee the excellent story of
Yayati's adventures on Earth and in heaven. That story is sacred and
destroyeth the sins of those that hear it.
"King Yayati, the son of Nahusha, having installed his youngest son, Puru,
on the throne after casting his sons with Yadu for their eldest amongst
the Mlechchhas, entered the forest to lead the life of a hermit. And the
king eating fruits and roots lived for some time in the forest. Having his
mind and passions under complete control, the king gratified by sacrifices
the Pitris and the gods. And he poured libations of clarified butter upon
the fire according to the rites prescribed for those leading the
Vanaprastha mode of life. And the illustrious one entertained guests and
strangers with the fruit of the forest and clarified butter, while he
himself supported life by gleaning scattered corn seeds. And the king led
this sort of life for a full thousand years. And observing the vow of
silence and with mind under complete control he passed one full year,
living upon air alone and without sleep. And he passed another year
practising the severest austerities in the midst of four fires around and
the Sun overhead. And, living upon air alone, he stood erect upon one leg
for six months. And the king of sacred deeds ascended to heaven, covering
heaven as well as the Earth (with the fame of his achievements).'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'While that king of kings dwelt in heaven--the home of
the celestials, he was reverenced by the gods, the Sadhyas, the Maruts,
and the Vasus. Of sacred deeds, and mind under complete control, the
monarch used to repair now and then from the abode of the celestials unto
the region of Brahman. And it hath been heard by me that he dwelt for a
long time in heaven.
"One day that best of kings, Yayati, went to Indra and there in course of
conversation the lord of Earth was asked by Indra as follows:
'What didst thou say, O king, when thy son Puru took thy decrepitude on
Earth and when thou gavest him thy kingdom?'
"Yayati answered, 'I told him that the whole country between the rivers
Ganga and Yamuna was his. That is, indeed, the central region of the Earth,
while the out-lying regions are to be the dominions of thy brothers. I
also told him that those without anger were ever superior to those under
its sway, those disposed to forgive were ever superior to the unforgiving.
Man is superior to the lower animals. Among men again the learned are
superior to the un-learned. If wronged, thou shouldst not wrong in return.
One's wrath, if disregarded, burneth one's own self; but he that regardeth
it not taketh away all the virtues of him that exhibiteh it. Never
shouldst thou pain others by cruel speeches. Never subdue thy foes by
despicable means; and never utter such scorching and sinful words as may
torture others. He that pricketh as if with thorns men by means of hard
and cruel words, thou must know, ever carrieth in his mouth the Rakshasas.
Prosperity and luck fly away at his very sight. Thou shouldst ever keep
the virtuous before thee as thy models; thou shouldst ever with
retrospective eye compare thy acts with those of the virtuous; thou
shouldst ever disregard the hard words of the wicked. Thou shouldst ever
make the conduct of the wise the model upon which thou art to act thyself.
The man hurt by the arrows of cruel speech hurled from one's lips, weepeth
day and night. Indeed, these strike at the core of the body. Therefore the
wise never fling these arrows at others. There is nothing in the three
worlds by which thou canst worship and adore the deities better than by
kindness, friendship, charity and sweet speeches unto all. Therefore,
shouldst thou always utter words that soothe, and not those that scorch.
And thou shouldst regard those that deserve, thy regards, and shouldst
always give but never beg!"'
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'After this Indra again asked Yayati, 'Thou didst
retire into the woods, O king, after accomplishing all thy duties. O
Yayati, son of Nahusha, I would ask thee to whom thou art equal in ascetic
austerities.' Yayati answered, 'O Vasava, I do not, in the matter of
ascetic austerities, behold my equal among men, the celestials, the
Gandharvas, and the great Rishis.' Indra then said, 'O monarch, because
thou disregardest those that are thy superiors, thy equals, and even thy
inferiors, without, in fact, knowing their real merits, thy virtues have
suffered diminution and thou must fall from heaven.' Yayati then said, 'O
Sakra, if, indeed, my virtues have really sustained diminution and I must
on that account fall down from heaven, I desire, O chief of the celestials,
that I may at least fall among the virtuous and the honest.' Indra replied,
'O king, thou shall fall among those that are virtuous and wise, and thou
shall acquire also much renown. And after this experience of thine, O
Yayati, never again disregard those that are thy superiors or even thy
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Upon this, Yayati fell from the region of the
celestials. And as he was falling, he was beheld by that foremost of royal
sages, viz., Ashtaka, the protector of his own religion. Ashtaka beholding
him, enquired, 'Who art thou, O youth of a beauty equal to that of Indra,
in splendour blazing as the fire, thus falling from on high? Art thou that
foremost of sky-ranging bodies--the sun--emerging from, dark masses of
clouds? Beholding thee falling from the solar course, possessed of
immeasurable energy and the splendour of fire or the sun, every one is
curious as to what it is that is so falling, and is, besides, deprived of
consciousness! Beholding thee in the path of the celestials, possessed of
energy like that of Sakra, or Surya, or Vishnu, we have approached thee to
ascertain the truth. If thou hast first asked us who we were, we would
never have been guilty of the incivility of asking thee first. We now ask
thee who thou art and why thou approachest hither. Let thy fears be
dispelled; let thy woes and afflictions cease. Thou art now in the
presence of the virtuous and the wise. Even Sakra himself--the slayer of
Vala--cannot here do thee any injury. O thou of the prowess of the chief
of the celestials, the wise and the virtuous are the support of their
brethren in grief. Here there are none but the wise and virtuous like thee
assembled together. Therefore, stay thou here in peace. Fire alone hath
power to give heat. The Earth alone hath power to infuse life into the
seed. The sun alone hath power to illuminate everything. So the guest
alone hath power to command the virtuous and the wise.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Yayati said, 'I am Yayati, the son of Nahusha and the father of Puru.
Cast off from the region of the celestials and of Siddhas and Rishis for
having disregarded every creature, I am falling down, my righteousness
having sustained diminution. In years I am older than you; therefore, I
have not saluted you first. Indeed, the Brahmanas always reverence him who
is older in years or superior in learning or in ascetic merit.'
"Ashtaka then replied, 'Thou sayest, O monarch, that he who is older in
years is worthy of regard. But it is said that he is truly worthy of
worship who is superior in learning and ascetic merit.'
"Yayati replied to this, 'It is said that sin destroyeth the merits of
four virtuous acts. Vanity containeth the element of that which leadeth to
hell. The virtuous never follow in the footsteps of the vicious. They act
in such a way that their religious merit always increaseth. I myself had
great religious merit, but all that, however, is gone. I will scarcely be
able to regain it even by my best exertions. Beholding my fate, he that is
bent upon (achieving) his own good, will certainly suppress vanity. He who
having acquired great performeth meritorious sacrifices, who having
acquired all kinds of learning remaineth humble, and who having studied
the entire Vedas devoteth himself to asceticism with a heart withdrawn
from all mundane enjoyments, goeth to heaven. None should exult in having
acquired great wealth. None should be vain of having studied the entire
Vedas. In the world men are of different dispositions. Destiny is supreme.
Both power and exertion are all fruitless. Knowing Destiny to be all-
powerful, the wise, whatever their portions may be, should neither exult
nor boast. When creatures know that their weal and woe are dependent on
Destiny and not on their own exertion or power, they should neither grieve
nor exult, remembering that Destiny is all powerful. The wise should ever
live contented, neither grieving at woe nor exulting at weal. When Destiny
is supreme, both grief and exultation are one. O Ashtaka, I never suffer
myself to be overcome by fear, nor do I ever entertain grief, knowing for
certain that I shall be in the world what the great disposer of all hath
ordained. Insects and worms, all oviparous creatures, vegetable
existences, all crawling animals, vermin, the fish in the water, stones,
grass, wood--in fact, all created things, when they are freed from the
effects of their acts, are united with the Supreme Soul. Happiness and
misery are both transient. Therefore, O Ashtaka, why should I grieve? We
can never know how we are to act in order to avoid misery. Therefore,
none should grieve for misery.'
"Possessed of every virtue, king Yayati who was the maternal grandfather
of Ashtaka, while staying in the welkin, at the conclusion of his speech,
was again questioned by Ashtaka. The latter said, 'O king of kings, tell
me, in detail, of all those regions that thou hast visited and enjoyed, as
well as the period for which thou hast enjoyed each. Thou speakest of the
precepts of religion even like the clever masters acquainted with the acts
and sayings of great beings!' Yayati replied, 'I was a great king on Earth,
owning the whole world for my dominion. Leaving it, I acquired by dint of
religious merit many high regions. There I dwelt for a full thousand years,
and then I attained to a very high region the abode of Indra, of
extraordinary beauty having a thousand gates, and extending over a hundred
yojanas all round. There too, I dwelt a full thousand years and then
attained to a higher region still. That is the region of perfect beatitude,
where decay never exists, the region, viz., that of the Creator and the
Lord of Earth, so difficult of attainment. There also I dwelt for a full
thousand years, and then attained to another very high region viz., that
of the god of gods (Vishnu) where, too, I had lived in happiness. Indeed,
I dwelt in various regions, adored by all the celestials, and possessed of
prowess and splendour equal unto those of the celestials themselves.
Capable of assuming any form at will, I lived for a million years in the
gardens of Nandana sporting with the Apsaras and beholding numberless
beautiful trees clad in flowery vesture and sending forth delicious
perfume all round. And after many, many years had elapsed, while still
residing there in enjoyment of perfect beatitude, the celestial messenger
of grim visage, one day, in a loud and deep voice, thrice shouted to me--
Ruined! Ruined! Ruined!--O lion among kings, this much do I remember. I
was then fallen from Nandana, my religious merits gone! I heard in the
skies, O king, the voices of the celestials exclaiming in grief,--Alas!
What a misfortune! Yayati, with his religious merits destroyed, though
virtuous and of sacred deeds, is falling!--And as I was falling, I asked
them loudly, 'Where, ye celestials, are those wise ones amongst whom I am
to fall?' They pointed out to me this sacred sacrificial region belonging
to you. Beholding the curls of smoke blackening the atmosphere and
smelling the perfume of clarified butter poured incessantly upon fire, and
guided thereby, I am approaching this region of yours, glad at heart that
I come amongst you.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Ashtaka said, 'Capable of assuming any form at will, thou hast lived for
a million years in the gardens of Nandana. For what cause, O foremost of
those that flourished in the Krita age, hast thou been compelled to leave
that region and come hither?' Yayati answered, 'As kinsmen, friends, and
relatives forsake, in this world, those whose wealth disappears so, in the
other world, the celestials with Indra as their chief, forsake him who
hath lost his righteousness.' Ashtaka said, 'I am extremely anxious to
know how in the other world men can lose virtue. Tell me also, O king,
what regions are attainable by what courses of action. Thou art acquainted,
I know, with the acts and sayings of great beings.'
"Yayati answered, 'O pious one, they that speak of their own merits are
doomed to suffer the hell called Bhauma. Though really emaciated and lean,
they appear to grow on Earth (in the shape of their sons and grandsons)
only to become food for vultures, dogs, and jackals. Therefore, O king,
this highly censurable and wicked vice should be repressed. I have now, O
king, told thee all. Tell me what more I shall say.'
"Ashtaka said, 'When life is destroyed with age, vultures, peacocks,
insects, and worms eat up the human body. Where doth man then reside? How
doth he also come back to life? I have never heard of any hell called
Bhauma on Earth!'
"Yayati answered, 'After the dissolution of the body, man, according to
his acts, re-entereth the womb of his mother and stayeth there in an
indistinct form, and soon after assuming a distinct and visible shape
reappeareth in the world and walketh on its surface. This is that Earth-
hell (Bhauma) where he falleth, for he beholdeth not the termination of
his existence and acteth not towards his emancipation. Some dwell for
sixty thousand years, some, for eighty thousand years in heaven, and then
they fall. And as they fall, they are attacked by certain Rakshasas in the
form of sons, grandsons, and other relatives, that withdraw their hearts
from acting for their own emancipation.'
"Ashtaka asked, 'For what sin are beings, when they fall from heaven,
attacked by these fierce and sharp-toothed Rakshasas? Why are they not
reduced to annihilation? How do they again enter the womb, furnished with
"Yayati answered, 'After falling from heaven, the being becometh a subtile
substance living in water. This water becometh the semen whence is the
seed of vitality. Thence entering the mother's womb in the womanly season,
it developeth into the embryo and next into visible life like the fruit
from the flower. Entering trees, plants, and other vegetable substances,
water, air, earth, and space, that same watery seed of life assumeth the
quadrupedal or bipedal form. This is the case with all creatures that you
"Ashtaka said, 'O tell me, I ask thee because I have my doubts. Doth a
being that hath received a human form enter the womb in its own shape or
in some other? How doth it also acquire its distinct and visible shape,
eyes and ears and consciousness as well? Questioned by me, O, explain it
all! Thou art, O father, one acquainted with the acts and sayings of great
beings.' Yayati answered, 'According to the merits of one's acts, the
being that in a subtile form co-inheres in the seed that is dropped into
the womb is attracted by the atmospheric force for purposes of re-birth.
It then developeth there in course of time; first it becomes the embryo,
and is next provided with the visible physical organism. Coming out of the
womb in due course of time, it becometh conscious of its existence as man,
and with his ears becometh sensible of sound; with his eyes, of colour and
form; with his nose, of scent; with his tongue, of taste; by his whole
body, of touch; and by his mind, of ideas. It is thus, O Ashtaka, that the
gross and visible body developeth from the subtile essence.'
"Ashtaka asked, 'After death, the body is burnt, or otherwise destroyed.
Reduced to nothing upon such dissolution, by what principle is one
revived?' Yayati said, 'O lion among kings, the person that dies assumes a
subtil form; and retaining consciousness of all his acts as in a dream, he
enters some other form with a speed quicker than that of air itself. The
virtuous attain to a superior, and the vicious to an inferior form of
existence. The vicious become worms and insects. I have nothing more to
say, O thou of great and pure soul! I have told thee how beings are born,
after development of embryonic forms, as four-footed, six-footed creatures
and others with more feet. What more wilt thou ask me?'
"Ashtaka said, 'How, O father, do men attain to those superior regions
whence there is no return to earthly life? Is it by asceticism or by
knowledge? How also can one gradually attain to felicitous regions? Asked
by me, O answer it in full.'
"Yayati answered, 'The wise say that for men there are seven gates through
which admission may be gained into Heaven. There are asceticism,
benevolence, tranquillity of mind, self-command, modesty, simplicity, and
kindness to all creatures. The wise also say that a person loseth all
these in consequence of vanity. That man who having acquired knowledge
regardeth himself as learned, and with his learning destroyed the
reputation of others, never attaineth to regions of indestructible
felicity. That knowledge also doth not make its possessor competent to
attain to Brahma. Study, taciturnity, worship before fire, and sacrifices,
these four remove all fear. When, however, these are mixed with vanity,
instead of removing it, they cause fear. The wise should never exult at
(receiving) honours nor should they grieve at insults. For it is the wise
alone that honour the wise; the wicked never act like the virtuous. I have
given away so much--I have performed so many sacrifices,--I have studied
so much,--I have observed these vows,--such vanity is the root of fear.
Therefore, thou must not indulge in such feelings. Those learned men who
accept as their support the unchangeable, inconceivable Brahma alone that
ever showereth blessings on persons virtuous like thee, enjoy perfect
peace here and hereafter.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Ashtaka said, 'Those cognisant of the Vedas differ in opinion as to how
the followers of each of the four modes of life, viz., Grihasthas,
Bhikshus, Brahmacharins, and Vanaprashthas, should conduct themselves in
order to acquire religious merit.'
"Yayati answered, 'These are what a Brahmacharin must do. While dwelling
in the abode of his preceptor, he must receive lessons only when his
preceptor summons him to do so; he must attend to the service of his
preceptor without waiting for the latter's command; he must rise from his
bed before his preceptor riseth, and go to bed after his preceptor hath
gone to bed. He must be humble, must have his passions under complete
control, must be patient, vigilant, and devoted to studies. It is then
only that he can achieve success. It hath been said in the oldest
Upanishad that a grihastha, acquiring wealth by honest means, should
perform sacrifices; he should always give something in charity, should
perform the rites of hospitality unto all arriving at his abode, and
should never use anything without giving a portion thereof to others. A
Muni, without search for woods, depending on his own vigour, should
abstain from all vicious acts, should give away something in charity,
should never inflict pain on any creature. It is then only that he can
achieve success. He, indeed, is a true Bhikshu who doth not support
himself by any manual arts, who possesseth numerous accomplishments, who
hath his passions under complete control, who is unconnected with worldly
concerns, who sleepeth not under the shelter of a householder's roof, who
is without wife, and who going a little way every day, travelleth over a
large extent of the country. A learned man should adopt the Vanaprastha
mode of life after performance of the necessary rites, when he hath been
able to control his appetites for enjoyment and desire of acquiring
valuable possessions. When one dieth in the woods while leading the
Vanaprastha mode of life, he maketh his ancestors and the successors,
numbering ten generations including himself, mix with the Divine essence.'
"Ashtaka asked, 'How many kinds of Munis are there (observers of the vow
of the silence)?'
"Yayati answered, 'He is, indeed, a Muni who, though dwelling in the woods,
hath an inhabited place near, or who, though dwelling in an inhabited
place, hath the woods near.'
"Ashtaka enquired what is meant by Muni. Yayati replied, 'A Muni
withdrawing himself from all worldly objects liveth in the woods. And
though he might never seek to surround himself with those objects that are
procurable in an inhabited place, he might yet obtain them all by virtue
of his ascetic power. He may truly be said to dwell in the woods having an
inhabited place near to himself. Again a wise man withdrawn from all
earthly objects, might live in a hamlet leading the life of a hermit. He
may never exhibit the pride of family, birth or learning. Clad in the
scantiest robes, he may yet regard himself as attired in the richest
vestments. He may rest content with food just enough for the support of
life. Such a person, though dwelling in an inhabited place, liveth yet in
"The person again, who, with passions under complete control, adopteth the
vow of silence, refraining from action and entertaining no desire,
achieveth success. Why shouldst thou not, indeed, reverence the man who
liveth on clean food, who refraineth from ever injuring others, whose
heart is ever pure, who stands in the splendour of ascetic attributes, who
is free from the leaden weight of desire, who abstaineth from injury even
when sanctioned by religion? Emaciated by austerities and reduced in flesh,
marrow and blood, such a one conquereth not only this but the highest
world. And when the Muni sits in yoga meditation, becoming indifferent to
happiness and misery, honour and insult, he then leaveth the world and
enjoyeth communion with Brahma. When the Muni taketh food like wine and
other animals, i. e., without providing for it beforehand and without any
relish (like a sleeping infant feeding on the mother's lap), then like the
all-pervading spirit he becometh identified with the whole universe and
attaineth to salvation.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Ashtaka asked, 'Who amongst these, O king, both exerting constantly like
the Sun and the Moon, first attaineth to communion with Brahma, the
ascetic or the man of knowledge?'
"Yayati answered, 'The wise, with the help of the Vedas and of Knowledge,
having ascertained the visible universe to be illusory, instantly realises
the Supreme Spirit as the sole existent independent essence. While they
that devote themselves to Yoga meditation take time to acquire the same
knowledge, for it is by practice alone that these latter divest themselves
of the consciousness of quality. Hence the wise attain to salvation first.
Then again if the person devoted to Yoga find not sufficient time in one
life to attain success, being led astray by the attractions of the world,
in his next life he is benefited by the progress already achieved, for he
devoteth himself regretfully to the pursuit of success. But the man of
knowledge ever beholdeth the indestructible unity, and, is, therefore,
though steeped in worldly enjoyments, never affected by them at heart.
Therefore, there is nothing to impede his salvation. He, however, who
faileth to attain to knowledge, should yet devote himself to piety as
dependent on action (sacrifices). But he that devoteth himself to such
piety, moved thereto by desire of salvation, can never achieve success.
His sacrifices bear no fruit and partake of the nature of cruelty. Piety
which is dependent on action that proceedeth not from the desire of fruit,
is, in case of such men Yoga itself.'
"Ashtaka said, 'O king, thou lookest like a young man; thou art handsome
and decked with a celestial garland. Thy splendour is great! Whence dost
thou come and where dost thou go? Whose messenger art thou? Art thou going
down into the Earth?'
"Yayati said, 'Fallen from heaven upon the loss of all my religious merits,
I am doomed to enter the Earth-hell. Indeed, I shall go there after I have
finished my discourse with you. Even now the regents of the points of the
universe command me to hasten thither. And, O king, I have obtained it as
a boon from Indra that though fall I must upon the earth, yet I should
fall amidst the wise and the virtuous. Ye are all wise and virtuous that
are assembled here.'
"Ashtaka said, 'Thou art acquainted with everything. I ask thee, O king,
are there any regions for myself to enjoy in heaven or in the firmament?
If there be, then, thou shalt not fall, though falling.'
"Yayati answered, 'O king, there are as many regions for thee to enjoy in
heaven even as the number of kine and horses on Earth with the animals in
the wilderness and on the hills.'
"Ashtaka said, 'If there are worlds for me to enjoy, as fruits of my
religious merits, in heaven, O king, I give them all unto thee. Therefore,
though falling, thou shalt not fall. O, take thou soon all those, wherever
they be, in heaven or in the firmament. Let thy sorrow cease.'
"Yayati answered, 'O best of kings, a Brahma-knowing Brahmana alone can
take in gift, but not one like ourselves. And, O monarch, I myself have
given away to Brahmanas as one should. Let no man who is not a Brahmana
and let not the wife of a learned Brahmana ever live in infamy by
accepting gifts. While on earth, I ever desired to perform virtuous acts.
Having never done so before, how shall I now accept a gift?'
"Pratardana who was amongst them asked, 'O thou of the handsomest form, I
am Pratardana by name. I ask thee if there are any worlds for me to enjoy
as fruits of my religious merits, in heaven or the firmament? Answer me,
thou art acquainted with everything.'
"Yayati said, 'O king, numberless worlds, full of felicity, effulgent like
the solar disc, and where woe can never dwell, await thee. If thou
dwellest in each but for seven days, they would not yet be exhausted.'
"Pratardana said, 'These then I give unto thee. Therefore, though falling,
thou must not fall. Let the worlds that are mine be thine, whether they be
in the firmament or heaven. O, soon take them. Let thy woes cease.'
"Yayati answered, 'O monarch, no king of equal energy should ever desire
to receive as gift the religious merits of another king acquired by Yoga
austerities. And no king who is afflicted with calamity through the fates
should, if wise, act in a censurable way. A king keeping his eye fixed for
ever on virtue should walk along the path of virtue like myself and,
knowing what his duties are, should not act so meanly as thou directest.
When others desirous of acquiring religious merits do not accept gifts,
how can I do what they themselves do not?' On the conclusion of this
speech, that best of kings, Yayati, was then addressed by Vasumat in the
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vasumat said, 'I am Vasumat, the son of Oshadaswa. I would ask thee, O
king, whether there are any worlds for me to enjoy as fruits of my
religious merits, in heaven or the firmament. Thou art, O high-souled one,
acquainted with all holy regions.'
"Yayati answered, 'There are as many regions for thee to enjoy in heaven
as the number of places in the firmament, the Earth and the ten points of
the universe illumined by the Sun.'
"Vasumat then said, 'I give them to thee. Let those regions that are for
me be thine. Therefore, though falling, thou shall not fall. If to accept
them as gift be improper for thee, then, O monarch, buy them for a straw?'
"Yayati answered, 'I do not remember having ever bought and sold anything
unfairly. This has never been done by other kings. How shall I therefore
"Vasumat said, 'If buying them, O king, be regarded by thee as improper,
then take them as gift from me. For myself I answer that I will never go
to those regions that are for me. Let them, therefore, be thine.'
"Sivi then addressed the king thus, I am, O king, Sivi by name, the son of
Usinara. O father, are there in the firmament or in heaven any worlds for
me to enjoy? Thou knowest every region that one may enjoy as the fruit of
his religious merit.'
"Yayati said, 'Thou hast never, by speech or in mind, disregarded the
honest and the virtuous that applied to thee. There are infinite worlds
for thee to enjoy in heaven, all blazing like lightning.' Sivi then said,
'If thou regardest their purchase as improper, I give them to thee. Take
them all, O king! I shall never take them, viz., those regions where the
wise never feel the least disquiet.'
Yayati answered, 'O Sivi, thou hast indeed, obtained for thyself,
possessed of the prowess of Indra, infinite worlds. But I do not desire to
enjoy regions given to me by others. Therefore, I accept not thy gift.'
"Ashtaka then said, 'O king, each of us has expressed his desire to give
thee worlds that each of us has acquired by his religious merits. Thou
acceptest not them. But leaving them for thee, we shall descend into the
"Yayati answered, 'Ye all are truth-loving and wise. Give me that which I
deserve. I shall not be able to do what I have never done before.'
"Ashtaka then said, 'Whose are those five golden cars that we see? Do men
that repair to these regions of everlasting bliss ride in them?'
"Yayati answered, 'Those five golden cars displayed in glory, and blazing
as fire, would indeed, carry you to regions of bliss.'
"Ashtaka said, 'O king, ride on those cars thyself and repair to heaven.
We can wait. We follow thee in time.'
"Yayati said, 'We can now all go together. Indeed, all of us have
conquered heaven. Behold, the glorious path to heaven becomes visible."
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then all those excellent monarchs riding in
those cars set out for heaven for gaining admittance into it, illuminating
the whole firmament by the glory of their virtues.'
"Then Ashtaka, breaking the silence asked, 'I had always thought that
Indra was my especial friend, and that I, of all others, should first
obtain admittance into heaven. But how is it that Usinara's son, Sivi hath
already left us behind?'
"Yayati answered, 'This Usinara's son had given all he possessed for
attaining to the region of Brahman. Therefore, is he the foremost among us.
Besides, Sivi's liberality, asceticism, truth, virtue, modesty,
forgiveness, amiability, desire of performing good acts, have been so
great that none can measure them!'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'After this, Ashtaka, impelled by curiosity,
again asked his maternal grandfather resembling Indra himself, saying, 'O
king, I ask thee, tell me truly, whence thou art, who thou art, and whose
son? Is there any other Brahmana or Kshatriya who hath done what thou
didst on earth?' Yayati answered, 'I tell thee truly, I am Yayati, the son
of Nahusha and the father of Puru. I was lord of all the Earth. Ye are my
relatives; I tell thee truly, I am the maternal grandfather of you all.
Having conquered the whole earth, I gave clothes to Brahmanas and also a
hundred handsome horses fit for sacrificial offering. For such acts of
virtue, the gods became propitious to those that perform them. I also gave
to Brahmanas this whole earth with her horses and elephants and kine and
gold all kinds of wealth, along with a hundred Arbudas of excellent milch
cows. Both the earth and the firmament exist owing to my truth and virtue;
fire yet burneth in the world of men owing to my truth and virtue. Never
hath a word spoken by me been untrue. It is for this that the wise adore
Truth. O Ashtaka, all I have told thee, Pratardana, and Vasumat, is Truth
itself. I know it for certain that the gods and the Rishis and all the
mansions of the blessed are adorable only because of Truth that
characteriseth them all. He that will without malice duly read unto good
Brahmanas his account of our ascension to heaven shall himself attain to
the same worlds with us.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'It was thus that the illustrious king Yayati of
high achievements, rescued by his collateral descendants, ascended to
heaven, leaving the earth and covering the three worlds with the fame of
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Janamejaya said, 'O adorable one, I desire to hear the histories of those
kings who were descended from Puru. O tell me of each as he was possessed
of prowess and achievements. I have, indeed, heard that in Puru's line
there was not a single one who was wanting in good behaviour and prowess,
or who was without sons. O thou of ascetic wealth, I desire to hear the
histories in detail of those famous monarchs endued with learning and all
"Vaisampayana said, 'Asked by thee, I shall tell thee all about the heroic-
kings in Puru's line, all equal unto Indra in prowess, possessing great
affluence and commanding the respect of all for their accomplishments.
"Puru had by his wife Paushti three sons, Pravira, Iswara, and Raudraswa,
all of whom were mighty car-warriors. Amongst them, Pravira was the
perpetuator of the dynasty. Pravira had by his wife Suraseni a son named
Manasyu. And the latter of eyes like lotus-petals had his sway over the
whole Earth bounded by the four seas. And Manasyu had for his wife Sauviri.
And he begat upon her three sons called Sakta, Sahana, and Vagmi. And they
were heroes in battle and mighty car-warriors. The intelligent and
virtuous Kaudraswa begat upon the Apsara Misrakesi ten sons who were all
great bowmen. And they all grew up into heroes, performing numerous
sacrifices in honour of the gods. And they all had sons, were learned in
all branches of knowledge and ever devoted to virtue. They are Richeyu,
and Kaksreyu and Vrikeyu of great prowess; Sthandileyu, and Vaneyu, and
Jaleyu of great fame; Tejeyu of great strength and intelligence; and
Satyeyu of the prowess of Indra; Dharmeyu, and Sannateyu the tenth of the
prowess of the celestials. Amongst them all, Richeyu became the sole
monarch of the whole earth and was known by the name of Anadhrishti. And
in prowess he was like unto Vasava amongst the celestials. And Anadhristi
had a son of the name of Matinara who became a famous and virtuous king
and performed the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice. And Matinara had four
sons of immeasurable prowess, viz., Tansu, Mahan, Atiratha, and Druhyu of
immeasurable glory. (Amongst them, Tansu of great prowess became the
perpetrator of Puru's line). And he subjugated the whole earth and
acquired great fame and splendour. And Tansu begat a son of great prowess
named Ilina. And he became the foremost of all conquerors and brought the
whole world under his subjection. And Ilina begat upon his wife Rathantara
five sons with Dushmanta at their head, all equal in might unto the five
elements. They were Dushmanta, Sura, Bhima, Pravasu, and Vasu. And, O
Janamejaya, the eldest of them, Dushmanta, became king. And Dushmanta had
by his wife Sakuntala an intelligent son named Bharata who became king.
And Bharata gave his name to the race of which he was the founder. And it
is from him that the fame of that dynasty hath spread so wide. And Bharata
begat upon his three wives nine sons in all. But none of them were like
their father and so Bharata was not at all pleased with them. Their
mothers, therefore, became angry and slew them all. The procreation of
children by Bharata, therefore, became vain. The monarch then performed a
great sacrifice and through the grace of Bharadwaja obtained a son named
Bhumanyu. And then Bharata, the great descendant of Puru, regarding
himself as really possessing a son, installed, O foremost one of Bharata's
race, that son as his heir-apparent. And Bhumanyu begat upon his wife,
Pushkarini six sons named Suhotra, Suhotri, Suhavih, Sujeya, Diviratha and
Kichika. The eldest of them all, Suhotra, obtained the throne and
performed many Rajasuyas and horse-sacrifices. And Suhotra brought under
his sway the whole earth surrounded by her belt of seas and full of
elephants, kine and horses, and all her wealth of gems of gold. And the
earth afflicted with the weight of numberless human beings and elephants,
horses, and cats, was, as it were, about to sink. And during the virtuous
reign of Suhotra the surface of the whole earth was dotted all over with
hundreds and thousands, of sacrificial stakes. And the lord of the earth,
Suhotra, begat, upon his wife Aikshaki three sons, viz., Ajamidha, Sumidha,
and Purumidha. The eldest of them, Ajamidha, was the perpetuator of the
royal line. And he begat six sons,--Riksha was born of the womb of Dhumini,
Dushmanta and Parameshthin, of Nili, and Jahnu, Jala and Rupina were born
in that of Kesini. All the tribes of the Panchalas are descended from
Dushmanta and Parameshthin. And the Kushikas are the sons of Jahnu of
immeasurable prowess. And Riksha who was older than both Jala and Rupina
became king. And Riksha begat Samvarana, the perpetuator of the royal line.
And, O king, it hath been heard by us that while Samvarana, the son of
Riksha, was ruling the earth, there happened a great loss of people from
famine, pestilence, drought, and disease. And the Bharata princes were
beaten by the troops of enemies. And the Panchalas setting out to invade
the whole earth with their four kinds of troops soon brought the whole
earth under their sway. And with their ten Akshauhinis the king of the
Panchalas defeated the Bharata prince. Samvarana then with his wife and
ministers, sons and relatives, fled in fear, and took shelter in the
forest on the banks of the Sindhu extending to the foot of the mountains.
There the Bharatas lived for a full thousand years, within their fort. And
after they had lived there a thousand years, one day the illustrious Rishi
Vasishtha approached the exiled Bharatas, who, on going out, saluted the
Rishi and worshipped him by the offer of Arghya. And entertaining him with
reverence, they represented everything unto that illustrious Rishi. And
after he was seated on his seat, the king himself approached the Rishi and
addressed him, saying, 'Be thou our priest, O illustrious one! We will
endeavour to regain our kingdom.' And Vasishtha answered the Bharatas by
saying, 'Om' (the sign of consent). It hath been heard by us that
Vasishtha then installed the Bharata prince in the sovereignty of all the
Kshatriyas on earth, making by virtue of his Mantras this descendant of
Puru the veritable horns of the wild bull or the tusks of the wild
elephants. And the king retook the capital that had been taken away from
him and once more made all monarchs pay tribute to him. The powerful
Samvarana, thus installed once more in the actual sovereignty of the whole
earth, performed many sacrifices at which the presents to the Brahmanas
"Samvarana begat upon his wife, Tapati, the daughter of Surya, a son named
Kuru. This Kuru was exceedingly virtuous, and therefore, he was installed
on the throne by his people. It is after his name that the field called
Kuru-jangala has become so famous in the world. Devoted to asceticism, he
made that field (Kurukshetra) sacred by practising asceticism there. And
it has been heard by us that Kuru's highly intelligent wife, Vahini,
brought forth five sons, viz., Avikshit, Bhavishyanta, Chaitraratha, Muni
and the celebrated Janamejaya. And Avikshit begat Parikshit the powerful,
Savalaswa, Adhiraja, Viraja, Salmali of great physical strength,
Uchaihsravas, Bhangakara and Jitari the eighth. In the race of these were
born, as the fruit of their pious acts seven mighty car-warriors with
Janamejaya at their head. And unto Parikshit were born sons who were all
acquainted with (the secrets of) religion and profit. And they were named
Kakshasena and Ugrasena, and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and
Indrasena and Sushena and Bhimasena. And the sons of Janamejaya were all
endued with great strength and became celebrated all over the world. And
they were Dhritarashtra who was the eldest, and Pandu and Valhika, and
Nishadha endued with great energy, and then the mighty Jamvunada, and then
Kundodara and Padati and then Vasati the eighth. And they were all
proficient in morality and profit and were kind to all creatures. Among
them Dhritarashtra became king. And Dhritarashtra had eight sons, viz.,
Kundika, Hasti, Vitarka, Kratha the fifth, Havihsravas, Indrabha, and
Bhumanyu the invincible, and Dhritarashtra had many grandsons, of whom
three only were famous. They were, O king, Pratipa, Dharmanetra, Sunetra.
Among these three, Pratipa became unrivalled on earth. And, O bull in
Bharata's race, Pratipa begat three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu, and the
mighty car-warrior Valhika. The eldest Devapi adopted the ascetic course
of life, impelled thereto by the desire of benefiting his brothers. And
the kingdom was obtained by Santanu and the mighty car-warrior Valhika.
"O monarch, besides, there were born in the race of Bharata numberless
other excellent monarchs endued with great energy and like unto the
celestial Rishis themselves in virtue and ascetic power. And so also in
the race of Manu were born many mighty car-warriors like unto the
celestials themselves, who by their number swelled the Aila dynasty into
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, I have now heard from thee this great
history of my ancestors. I had also heard from thee about the great
monarchs that were born in this line. But I have not been gratified, this
charming account being so short. Therefore, be pleased, O Brahmana, to
recite the delightful narrative just in detail commencing from Manu, the
lord of creation. Who is there that will not be charmed with such an
account, as it is sacred? The fame of these monarchs increased by their
wisdom, virtue, accomplishments, and high character, hath so swelled as to
cover the three worlds. Having listened to the history, sweet as nectar,
of their liberality, prowess, physical strength, mental vigour, energy,
and perseverance, I have not been satiated!'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Hear then, O monarch, as I recite in full the
auspicious account of thy own race just as I had heard it from Dwaipayana
"Daksha begat Aditi, and Aditi begat Vivaswat, and Vivaswat begat Manu,
and Manu begat Ha and Ha begat Pururavas. And Pururavas begat Ayus, and
Ayus begat Nahusha, and Nahusha begat Yayati. And Yayati had two wives,
viz., Devayani, the daughter of Usanas, and Sarmishtha the daughter of
Vrishaparvan. Here occurs a sloka regarding (Yayati's) descendants,
'Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu; and Vrishaparvan's daughter,
Sarmishtha gave birth to Druhyu, Anu, and Puru. And the descendants of
Yadu are the Yadavas and of Puru are the Pauravas. And Puru had a wife of
the name of Kausalya, on whom he begat a son named Janamejaya who
performed three horse-sacrifices and a sacrifice called Viswajit. And then
he entered into the woods. And Janamejaya had married Ananta, the daughter
of Madhava, and begat upon her a son called Prachinwat. And the prince was
so called because he had conquered all the eastern countries up to the
very confines of the region where the Sun rises. And Prachinwat married
Asmaki, a daughter of the Yadavas and begat upon her a son named Sanyati.
And Sanyati married Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata and begat upon
her a son named Ahayanti. And Ahayanti married Bhanumati, the daughter of
Kritavirya and begat upon her a son named Sarvabhauma. And Sarvabhauma
married Sunanda, the daughter of the Kekaya prince, having obtained her by
force. And he begat upon her a son named Jayatsena, who married Susrava,
the daughter of the Vidarbha king and begat upon her Avachina. And
Avachina also married another princess of Vidarbha, Maryada by name. And
he begat on her a son named Arihan. And Arihan married Angi and begat on
her Mahabhauma. And Mahabhauma married Suyajna, the daughter of Prasenajit.
And of her was born Ayutanayi. And he was so called because he had
performed a sacrifice at which the fat of an Ayuta (ten thousands) of male
beings was required. And Ayutanayi took for a wife Kama, the daughter of
Prithusravas. And by her was born a son named Akrodhana, who took to wife
Karambha, the daughter of the king of Kalinga. And of her was born
Devatithi, and Devatithi took for his wife Maryada, the princess of Videha.
And of her was born a son named Arihan. And Arihan took to wife Sudeva,
the princess of Anga, and upon her he begat a son named Riksha. And Riksha
married Jwala, the daughter of Takshaka, and he begat upon her a son of
the name of Matinara, who performed on the bank of Saraswati the twelve
years' sacrifice said to be so efficacious. On conclusion of the sacrifice,
Saraswati appeared in person before the king and chose him for husband.
And he begat upon her a son named Tansu. Here occurs a sloka descriptive
of Tansu's descendants.
"Tansu was born of Saraswati by Matinara. And Tansu himself begat a son
named Ilina on his wife, the princess Kalingi.
"Ilina begat on his wife Rathantari five sons, of whom Dushmanta was the
eldest. And Dushmanta took to wife Sakuntala, the daughter of Viswamitra.
And he begat on her a son named Bharata. Here occurs two slokas about
"The mother is but the sheath of flesh in which the father begets the son.
Indeed the father himself is the son. Therefore, O Dushmanta, support thy
son and insult not Sakuntala. O god among men, the father himself becoming
the son rescueth himself from hell. Sakuntala hath truly said that thou
art the author of this child's being.
"It is for this (i.e., because the king supported his child after hearing
the above speech of the celestial messenger) that Sakuntala's son came to
be called Bharata (the supported). And Bharata married Sunanda, the
daughter of Sarvasena, the king of Kasi, and begat upon her the son named
Bhumanyu. And Bhumanyu married Vijaya, the daughter of Dasarha. And he
begat upon her a son Suhotra who married Suvarna, the daughter of Ikshvaku.
To her was born a son named Hasti who founded this city, which has,
therefore, been called Hastinapura. And Hasti married Yasodhara, the
princess of Trigarta. And of her was born a son named Vikunthana who took
for a wife Sudeva, the princess of Dasarha. And by her was born a son
named Ajamidha. And Ajamidha had four wives named Raikeyi, Gandhari,
Visala and Riksha. And he begat on them two thousand and four hundred sons.
But amongst them all, Samvarana became the perpetuator of the dynasty. And
Samvarana took for his wife Tapati, the daughter of Vivaswat. And of her
was born Kuru, who married Subhangi, the princess of Dasarha. And he begat
on her a son named Viduratha, who took to wife Supriya, the daughter of
the Madhavas. And he begat upon her a son named Anaswan. And Anaswan
married Amrita, the daughter of the Madhavas. And of her was born a son
named Parikshit, who took for his wife Suvasa, the daughter of the Vahudas,
and begat upon her a son named Bhimasena. And Bhimasena married Kumari,
the princess of Kekaya and begat upon her Pratisravas whose son was
Pratipa. And Pratipa married Sunanda, the daughter of Sivi, and begat upon
her three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu and Valhika. And Devapi, while still
a boy, entered the woods as a hermit. And Santanu became king. Here occurs
a sloka in respect of Santanu.
"Those old men that were touched by this monarch not only felt an
indescribable sensation of pleasure but also became restored to youth.
Therefore, this monarch was called Santanu.
"And Santanu married Ganga, who bore him a son Devavrata who was
afterwards called Bhishma. And Bhishma, moved by the desire of doing good
to his father, got him married to Satyavati who was also called Gandhakali.
And in her maidenhood she had a son by Parasara, named Dwaipayana. And
upon her Santanu begat two other sons named Chitrangada and Vichitravirya.
And before they attained to majority, Chitrangada had been slain by the
Gandharvas. But Vichitravirya became king, and married the two daughters
of the king of Kasi, named Amvika and Amvalika. But Vichitravirya died
childless. Then Satyavati began to think as to how the dynasty of
Dushmanta might be perpetuated. Then she recollected the Rishi Dwaipayana.
The latter coming before her, asked, 'What are thy commands?' She said,
'Thy brother Vichitravirya hath gone to heaven childless. Beget virtuous
children for him.' Dwaipayana, consenting to this, begat three children,
viz., Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura. King Dhritarashtra had a hundred
sons by his wife, Gandhari in consequence of the boon granted by
Dwaipayana. And amongst those hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, four became
celebrated. They are Duryodhana, Duhsasana, Vikarna, and Chitrasena. And
Pandu had two jewels of wives, viz., Kunti, also called Pritha, and Madri.
One day Pandu, while out a-hunting, saw a deer covering its mate. That was
really a Rishi in the form of a deer. Seeing the deer in that attitude, he
killed it with his arrows, before its desire was gratified. Pierced with
the king's arrow, the deer quickly changed its form and became a Rishi,
and said unto Pandu, 'O Pandu, thou art virtuous and acquainted also with
the pleasure derived from the gratification of one's desire. My desire
unsatisfied, thou hast slain me! Therefore, thou also, when so engaged and
before thou art gratified, shalt die!' Pandu, hearing this curse, became
pale, and from that time would not go in unto his wives. And he told them
these words, 'Through my own fault, I have been cursed! But I have heard
that for the childless there are no regions hereafter.' Therefore, he
solicited Kunti to have offspring raised for him. And Kunti said, 'Let it
be.' So she raised up offspring. By Dharma she had Yudhishthira; by Maruta,
Bhima: and by Sakra, Arjuna. And Pandu, well-pleased with her, said, 'This
thy co-wife is also childless. Therefore, cause her also to bear children.'
Kunti saying, 'So be it,' imparted unto Madri the mantra of invocation.
And on Madri were raised by the twin Aswins, the twins Nakula and Sahadeva.
And (one day) Pandu, beholding Madri decked with ornaments, had his desire
kindled. And, as soon as he touched her, he died. Madri ascended the
funeral pyre with her lord. And she said unto Kunti, 'Let these twins of
mine be brought up by thee with affection.' After some time those five
Pandavas were taken by the ascetics of the woods to Hastinapura and there
introduced to Bhishma and Vidura. And after introducing them, the ascetics
disappeared in the very sight of all. And after the conclusion of the
speech of those ascetics, flowers were showered down upon the spot, and
the celestial drums also were beaten in the skies. The Pandavas were then
taken (by Bhishma). They then represented the death of their father and
performed his last honours duly. And as they were brought up there,
Duryodhana became exceedingly jealous of them. And the sinful Duryodhana
acting like Rakshasa tried various means to drive them away. But what must
be can never be frustrated. So all Duryodhana's efforts proved futile.
Then Dhritarashtra sent them, by an act of deception to Varanavata, and
they went there willingly. There an endeavour was made to burn them to
death; but it proved abortive owing to the warning counsels of Vidura.
After that the Pandavas slew Hidimva, and then they went to a town called
Ekachakra. There also they slew a Rakshasa of the name of Vaka and then
went to Panchala. And there obtaining Draupadi for a wife they returned to
Hastinapura. And there they dwelt for some time in peace and begat
children. And Yudhishthira begat Prativindhya; Bhima, Sutasoma; Arjuna,
Srutakriti; Nakula, Satanika; and Sahadeva, Srutakarman. Besides these,
Yudhishthira, having obtained for his wife Devika, the daughter of
Govasana of the Saivya tribe, in a self-choice ceremony, begat upon her a
son named Yaudheya. And Bhima also obtaining for a wife Valandhara, the
daughter of the king of Kasi, offered his own prowess as dower and begat
upon her a son named Sarvaga. And Arjuna also, repairing to Dwaravati,
brought away by force Subhadra, the sweet-speeched sister of Vasudeva, and
returned in happiness to Hastinapura. And he begat upon her a son named
Abhimanyu endued with all accomplishments and dear to Vasudeva himself.
And Nakula obtaining for his wife Karenumati, the princess of Chedi, begat
upon her a son named Niramitra. And Sahadeva also married Vijaya, the
daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra, obtaining her in a self-choice
ceremony and begat upon her a son named Suhotra. And Bhimasena had some
time before begat upon Hidimva a son named Ghatotkacha. These are the
eleven sons of the Pandavas. Amongst them all, Abhimanyu was the
perpetuator of the family. He married Uttara, the daughter of Virata, who
brought forth a dead child whom Kunti took up on her lap at the command of
Vasudeva who said, 'I will revive this child of six months.' And though
born before time, having been burnt by the fire of Aswatthaman's weapon
and, therefore, deprived of strength and energy he was revived by Vasudeva
and endued with strength, energy and prowess. And after reviving him,
Vasudeva said, 'Because this child hath been born in an extinct race,
therefore, he shall be called Parikshit.' And Parikshit married Madravati,
thy mother, O king, and thou art born to her, O Janamejaya! Thou hast also
begotten two sons on thy wife Vapushtama, named Satanika and Sankukarna.
And Satanika also hath begotten one son named Aswamedhadatta upon the
princess of Videha.
"Thus have I, O king, recited the history of the descendants of Puru and
of the Pandavas. This excellent, virtue-increasing, and sacred history
should ever be listened to by vow-observing Brahmanas, by Kshatriyas
devoted to the practices of their order and ready to protect their
subjects; by Vaisyas with attention, and by Sudras with reverence, whose
chief occupation is to wait upon the three other orders. Brahmanas
conversant in the Vedas and other persons, who with attention and
reverence recite this sacred history or listen to it when recited, conquer
the heavens and attain to the abode of the blessed. They are also always
respected and adored by the gods, Brahamanas, and other men. This holy
history of Bharata hath been composed by the sacred and illustrious Vyasa.
Veda-knowing Brahmanas and other persons who with reverence and without
malice hear it recited, earn great religious merits and conquer the
heavens. Though sinning, they are not disregarded by any one. Here occurs
a sloka, 'This (Bharata) is equal unto the Vedas: it is holy and excellent.
It bestoweth wealth, fame, and life. Therefore, it should be listened to
by men with rapt attention.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said, 'There was a king known by the name of Mahabhisha born
in the race of Ikshvaku. He was the lord of all the earth, and was
truthful (in speech) and of true prowess. By a thousand horse-sacrifices
and a hundred Rajasuyas he had gratified the chief of the celestials and
ultimately attained to heaven.
"One day the celestials had assembled together and were worshipping
Brahman. Many royal sages and king Mahabhisha also were present on the
spot. And Ganga, the queen of rivers, also came there to pay her
adorations to the Grandsire. And her garments white as the beams of the
moon was displaced by the action of the wind. And as her person became
exposed, the celestials bent down their heads. But the royal sage
Mahabhisha rudely stared at the queen of rivers. And Mahabhisha was for
this cursed by Brahman, who said, 'Wretch, as thou hast forgotten thyself
at the sight of Ganga, thou shalt be re-born on earth. But thou shall
again and again attain to these regions. And she, too, shall be born in
the world of men and shall do thee injuries. But when thy wrath shall be
provoked, thou shalt then be freed from my curse.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'King Mahabhisha then recollecting all the
monarchs and ascetics on earth, wished to be born as son to Pratipa of
great prowess. And the queen of rivers, too, seeing king Mahabhisha lose
his firmness, went away, thinking of him wishfully. And on her way, she
saw those dwellers in heaven, the Vasus, also pursuing the same path. And
the queen of rivers beholding them in the predicament, asked them, 'Why
look ye so dejected? Ye dwellers in heaven, is everything right with you?'
Those celestials, the Vasus, answered her, saying, 'O queen of rivers, we
have been cursed, for a venial fault, by the illustrious Vasishtha in
anger. The foremost of excellent Rishis, Vasishtha, had been engaged in
his twilight adorations and seated as he was, he could not be seen by us.
We crossed him in ignorance. Therefore, in wrath he hath cursed us, saying,
Be ye born among men!' It is beyond our power to frustrate what hath been
said by that utterance of Brahma. Therefore, O river, thyself becoming a
human female make us the Vasus, thy children. O amiable one, we are
unwilling to enter the womb of any human female.' Thus addressed, the
queen of rivers told them, 'Be it so and asked them, 'On earth, who is
that foremost of men whom ye will make your father?'
"The Vasus replied, 'On earth, unto Pratipa shall be born a son, Santanu,
who will be a king of world-wide fame.' Ganga then said, 'Ye celestials,
that is exactly my wish which ye sinless ones have expressed. I shall,
indeed, do good to that Santanu. That is also your desire as just
expressed.' The Vasus then said, 'It behoveth thee to throw thy children
after birth, into the water, so that, O thou of three courses (celestial,
terrestrial, and subterranean) we may be rescued soon without having to
live on earth for any length of time.' Ganga then answered, 'I shall do
what ye desire. But in order that his intercourse with me may not be
entirely fruitless, provide ye that one son at least may live.' The Vasus
then replied, 'We shall each contribute an eighth part of our respective
energies. With the sum thereof, thou shall have one son according to thy
and his wishes. But this son shall not begat any children on earth.
Therefore, that son of thine endued with great energy, shall be
"The Vasus, making this arrangement with Ganga, went away without waiting
to the place they liked.'"
(Sambhava Parva continued)
"Vaisampayana said. 'There was a king of the name of Pratipa, who was kind
to all creatures. He spent many years in ascetic penances at the source of
the river Ganga. The accomplished and lovely Ganga, one day, assuming the
form of a beautiful female, and rising from the waters, made up to the
monarch. The celestial maiden, endued with ravishing beauty, approached
the royal sage engaged in ascetic austerities, and sat upon his right
thigh that was, for manly strength, a veritable Sala tree. When the maiden
of handsome face had so sat upon his lap, the monarch said unto her, 'O
amiable one, what dost thou desire? What shall I do?' The damsel answered,
'I desire thee, O king, for my husband! O foremost one of the Kurus, be
mine! To refuse a woman coming of her own accord is never applauded by the
wise.' Pratipa answered, 'O thou of the fairest complexion, moved by lust,
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