Mahabharata V


(Sambhava Parva continued)

Kanwa continued, ‘And Sakra, thus addressed by her, then commanded him

who could approach every place (viz., the god of the wind) to be present

with Menaka at the time she would be before the Rishi. And the timid and

beautiful Menaka then entered the retreat and saw there Viswamitra who

had burnt, by his penances, all his sins, and was engaged still in

ascetic penances. And saluting the Rishi, she then began to sport before

him. And just at that time Marut robbed her of her garments that were

white as the Moon. And she thereupon ran, as if in great bashfulness, to

catch hold of her attire, and as if she was exceedingly annoyed with

Marut. And she did all this before the very eyes of Viswamitra who was

endued with energy like that of fire. And Viswamitra saw her in that

attitude. And beholding her divested of her robes, he saw that she was of

faultless feature. And that best of Munis saw that she was exceedingly

handsome, with no marks of age on her person. And beholding her beauty

and accomplishments that bull amongst Rishis was possessed with lust and

made a sign that he desired her companionship. And he invited her

accordingly, and she also of faultless features expressed her acceptance

of the invitation. And they then passed a long time there in each other’s

company. And sporting with each other, just as they pleased, for a long

time as if it were only a single day, the Rishi begat on Menaka a

daughter named Sakuntala. And Menaka (as her conception advanced) went to

the banks of the river Malini coursing along a valley of the charming

mountains of Himavat. And there she gave birth to that daughter. And she

left the new-born infant on the bank of that river and went away. And

beholding the new-born infant lying in that forest destitute of human

beings but abounding with lions and tigers, a number of vultures sat

around to protect it from harm. No Rakshasas or carnivorous animals took

its life. Those vultures protected the daughter of Menaka. I went there

to perform my ablution and beheld the infant lying in the solitude of the

wilderness surrounded by vultures. Bringing her hither I have made her my

daughter. Indeed, the maker of the body, the protector of life, the giver

of food, are all three, fathers in their order, according to the

scriptures. And because she was surrounded in the solitude of the

wilderness, by Sakuntas (birds), therefore, hath she been named by me

Sakuntala (bird-protected). O Brahman, learn that it is thus that

Sakuntala hath become my daughter. And the faultless Sakuntala also

regards me as her father.’

“This is what my father had said unto the Rishi, having been asked by

him. O king of men, it is thus that thou must know I am the daughter of

Kanwa. And not knowing my real father, I regard Kanwa as my father. Thus

have I told thee, O king, all that hath been heard by me regarding my



(Sambhava Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘King Dushmanta, hearing all this, said,

‘Well-spoken, O princess, this that thou hast said! Be my wife, O

beautiful one! What shall I do for thee? Golden garlands, robes,

ear-rings of gold, white and handsome pearls, from various countries,

golden coins, finest carpets, I shall present thee this very day. Let the

whole of my kingdom be thine today, O beautiful one! Come to me, O timid

one, wedding me, O beautiful one, according to the Gandharva form. O thou

of tapering thighs, of all forms of marriage, the Gandharva one is

regarded as the first.’

“Sakuntala, hearing this, said, ‘O king, my father hath gone away from

this asylum to bring fruit. Wait but a moment; he will bestow me on thee.’

“Dushmanta replied, ‘O beautiful and faultless one, I desire that thou

shouldst be my life’s companion. Know thou that I exist for thee, and my

heart is in thee. One is certainly one’s own friend, and one certainly

may depend upon one’s own self. Therefore, according to the ordinance,

thou canst certainly bestow thyself. There are, in all, eight kinds of

marriages. These are Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura, Gandharva,

Rakshasa, and Paisacha, the eighth. Manu, the son of the self-create,

hath spoken of the appropriateness of all these forms according to their

order. Know, O faultless one, that the first four of these are fit for

Brahmanas, and the first six for Kshatriyas. As regards kings, even the

Rakshasa form is permissible. The Asura form is permitted to Vaisyas and

Sudras. Of the first five the three are proper, the other two being

improper. The Paisacha and the Asura forms should never be practised.

These are the institutes of religion, and one should act according to

them. The Gandharva and the Rakshasa form are consistent with the

practices of Kshatriyas. Thou needst not entertain the least fear. There

is not the least doubt that either according to any one of these

last-mentioned forms, or according to a union of both of them, our

wedding may take place. O thou of the fairest complexion, full of desire

I am, thou also in a similar mood mayst become my wife according to the

Gandharva form.’

“Sakuntala, having listened to all this, answered, ‘If this be the course

sanctioned by religion, if, indeed, I am my own disposer, hear, O thou

foremost one of Puru’s race, what my terms are. Promise truly to give me

what I ask thee. The son that shall be begotten on me shall become thy

heir-apparent. This, O king, is my fixed resolve. O Dushmanta, if thou

grant this, then let our union take place.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The monarch, without taking time to consider at

once told her, ‘Let it be so. I will even take thee, O thou of agreeable

smiles, with me to my capital. I tell thee truly. O beautiful one, thou

deservest all this.’ And so saying, that first of kings wedded the

handsome Sakuntala of graceful gait, and knew her as a husband. And

assuring her duly, he went away, telling her repeatedly, ‘I shall send

thee, for thy escort, my troops of four classes. Indeed, it is even thus

that I shall take thee to my capital, O thou of sweet smiles!”

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘O Janamejaya, having promised so unto her, the

king went away. And as he retraced his way homewards, he began to think

of Kasyapa. And he asked himself, ‘What will the illustrious ascetic say,

after he has known all?’ Thinking of this, he entered his capital.

“The moment the king had left, Kanwa arrived at his abode. But Sakuntala,

from a sense of shame, did not go out to receive her father. That great

ascetic, however, possessed of spiritual knowledge, knew all. Indeed

beholding everything with his spiritual eye, the illustrious one was

pleased, and addressing her, said, ‘Amiable one, what hath been done by

thee today in secret, without, having waited for me–viz., intercourse

with a man–hath not been destructive of thy virtue. Indeed, union

according to the Gandharva form, of a wishful woman with a man of sensual

desire, without mantras of any kind, it is said, is the best for

Kshatriyas. That best of men, Dushmanta, is also high-souled and

virtuous. Thou hast, O Sakuntala, accepted him for thy husband. The son

that shall be born of thee shall be mighty and illustrious in this world.

And he shall have sway over the sea. And the forces of that illustrious

king of kings, while he goeth out against his foes shall be irresistible.’

“Sakuntala then approached her fatigued father and washed his feet. And

taking down the load he had with him and placing the fruits in proper

order, she told him, ‘It behoveth thee to give thy grace to that

Dushmanta whom I have accepted for my husband, as well as his ministers!’

“Kanwa replied, ‘O thou of the fairest complexion, for thy sake I am

inclined to bless him. But receive from me, O blessed one, the boon that

thou desirest.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Sakuntala, thereupon, moved by desire of

benefiting Dushmanta, asked the boon that the Paurava monarchs might ever

be virtuous and never deprived of their thrones.'”


(Sambhava Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘After Dushmanta had left the asylum having made

those promises unto Sakuntala, the latter of tapering thighs brought

forth a boy of immeasurable energy. And when the child was three years

old, he became in splendour like the blazing fire. And, O Janamejaya, he

was possessed of beauty and magnanimity and every accomplishment. And

that first of virtuous men, Kanwa, caused all the rites of religion to be

performed in respect of that intelligent child thriving day by day. And

the boy gifted with pearly teeth and shining locks, capable of slaying

lions even then, with all auspicious signs on his palm, and broad

expansive forehead, grew up in beauty and strength. And like unto a

celestial child in splendour, he began to grow up rapidly. And when he

was only six years of age, endued with great strength he used to seize

and bind to the trees that stood around that asylum, lions and tigers and

bears and buffaloes and elephants. And he rode on some animals, and

pursued others in sportive mood. The dwellers at Kanwa’s asylum thereupon

bestowed on him a name. And they said, because he seizes and restrains an

animals however strong, let him, be called Sarvadamana (the subduer of

all). And it was thus that the boy came to be named Sarvadamana, endued

as he was with prowess, and energy and strength. And the Rishi seeing the

boy and marking also his extraordinary acts, told Sakuntala that the time

had come for his installation as the heir-apparent. And beholding the

strength of the boy, Kanwa commanded his disciples, saying, ‘Bear ye

without delay this Sakuntala with her son from this abode to that of her

husband, blessed with every auspicious sign. Women should not live long

in the houses of their paternal or maternal relations. Such residence is

destructive of their reputation, their good conduct, their virtue.

Therefore, delay not in bearing her hence.’ These disciples of the Rishi

thereupon, saying ‘So be it,’ went towards the city named after an

elephant (Hastinapura) with Sakuntala and her son ahead of them. And then

she of fair eye-brows, taking with her that boy of celestial beauty,

endued with eyes like lotus petals, left the woods where she had been

first known by Dushmanta. And having approached the king, she with her

boy resembling in splendour the rising sun was introduced to him. And the

disciples of the Rishi having introduced her, returned to the asylum. And

Sakuntala having worshipped the king according to proper form, told him,

‘This is thy son, O king! Let him be installed as thy heir-apparent. O

king, this child, like unto a celestial, hath been begotten by thee upon

me. Therefore, O best of men, fulfil now the promise thou gavest me. Call

to mind, O thou of great good fortune, the agreement thou hadst made on

the occasion of thy union with me in the asylum of Kanwa.’

“The king, hearing these her words, and remembering everything said, ‘I

do not remember anything. Who art thou, O wicked woman in ascetic guise?

I do not remember having any connection with thee in respect of Dharma,

Kama and Arthas. Go or stay or do as thou pleasest.’ Thus addressed by

him, the fair-coloured innocent one became abashed. Grief deprived her of

consciousness and she stood for a time like an wooden post. Soon,

however, her eyes became red like copper and her lips began to quiver.

And the glances she now and then cast upon the king seemed to burn the

latter. Her rising wrath however, and the fire of her asceticism, she

extinguished within herself by an extraordinary effort. Collecting her

thoughts in a moment, her heart possessed with sorrow and rage, she thus

addressed her lord in anger, looking at him, ‘Knowing everything, O

monarch, how canst thou, like an inferior person, thus say that thou

knowest it not? Thy heart is a witness to the truth or falsehood of this

matter. Therefore, speak truly without degrading thyself. He who being

one thing representeth himself as another thing to others, is like a

thief and a robber of his own self. Of what sin is he not capable? Thou

thinkest that thou alone hast knowledge of thy deed. But knowest thou not

that the Ancient, Omniscient one (Narayana) liveth in thy heart? He

knoweth all thy sins, and thou sinnest in His presence. He that sins

thinks that none observes him. But he is observed by the gods and by Him

also who is in every heart. The Sun, the Moon, the Air, the Fire, the

Earth, the Sky, Water, the heart, Yama, the day, the night, both

twilights, and Dharma, all witness the acts of man. Yama, the son of

Surya, takes no account of the sins of him with whom Narayana the witness

of all acts, is gratified. But he with whom Narayana is not gratified is

tortured for his sins by Yama. Him who degradeth himself by representing

his self falsely, the gods never bless. Even his own soul blesseth him

not. I am a wife devoted to my husband. I have come of my own accord, it

is true. But do not, on that account, treat me with disrespect. I am thy

wife and, therefore, deserve to be treated respectfully. Wilt thou not

treat me so, because I have come hither of my own accord? In the presence

of so many, why dost thou treat me like an ordinary woman? I am not

certainly crying in the wilderness. Dost thou not hear me? But if thou

refuse to do what I supplicate thee for, O Dushmanta, thy head this

moment shall burst into a hundred pieces! The husband entering the womb

of the wife cometh out himself in the form of the son. Therefore is the

wife called by those cognisant of the Vedas as Jaya (she of whom one is

born). And the son that is so born unto persons cognisant of the Vedic

Mantras rescueth the spirits of deceased ancestors. And because the son

rescueth ancestors from the hell call Put, therefore, hath he been called

by the Self-create himself as Puttra (the rescuer from Put). By a son one

conquereth the three worlds. By a son’s son, one enjoyeth eternity. And

by a grandson’s son great-grand-fathers enjoy everlasting happiness. She

is a true wife who is skilful in household affairs. She is a true wife

who hath borne a son. She is a true wife whose heart is devoted to her

lord. She is a true wife who knoweth none but her lord. The wife is a

man’s half. The wife is the first of friends. The wife is the root of

religion, profit, and desire. The wife is the root of salvation. They

that have wives can perform religious acts. They that have wives can lead

domestic lives. They that have wives have the means to be cheerful. They

that have wives can achieve good fortune. Sweet-speeched wives are

friends on occasions of joy. They are as fathers on occasions of

religious acts. They are mothers in sickness and woe. Even in the deep

woods to a traveller a wife is his refreshment and solace. He that hath a

wife is trusted by all. A wife, therefore, is one’s most valuable

possession. Even when the husband leaving this world goeth into the

region of Yama, it is the devoted wife that accompanies him thither. A

wife going before waits for the husband. But if the husband goeth before,

the chaste wife followeth close. For these reasons, O king, doth marriage

exist. The husband enjoyth the companionship of the wife both in this and

in the other worlds. It hath been said by learned persons that one is

himself born as one’s son. Therefore, a man whose wife hath borne a son

should look upon her as his mother. Beholding the face of the son one

hath begotten upon his wife, like his own face in a mirror, one feeleth

as happy as a virtuous man, on attaining to heaven. Men scorched by

mental grief, or suffering under bodily pain, feel as much refreshed in

the companionship of their wives as a perspiring person in a cool bath.

No man, even in anger, should ever do anything that is disagreeable to

his wife, seeing that happiness, joy, and virtue,–everything dependeth

on the wife. A wife is the sacred field in which the husband is born

himself. Even Rishis cannot create creatures without women. What

happiness is greater than what the father feeleth when the son running

towards him, even though his body be covered with dust, claspeth his

limbs? Why then dost thou treat with indifference such a son, who hath

approached thee himself and who casteth wistful glances towards thee for

climbing thy knees? Even ants support their own eggs without destroying

them; then why shouldst not thou, a virtuous man that thou art, support

thy own child? The touch of soft sandal paste, of women, of (cool) water

is not so agreeable as the touch of one’s own infant son locked in one’s

embrace. As a Brahmana is the foremost of all bipeds, a cow, the foremost

of all quadrupeds, a protector, the foremost of all superiors, so is the

son the foremost of all objects, agreeable to the touch. Let, therefore,

this handsome child touch thee in embrace. There is nothing in the world

more agreeable to the touch than the embrace of one’s son. O chastiser of

foes, I have brought forth this child, O monarch, capable of dispelling

all thy sorrows after bearing him in my womb for full three years. O

monarch of Puru’s race, ‘He shall perform a hundred

horse-sacrifices’–these were the words uttered from the sky when I was

in the lying-in room. Indeed, men going into places remote from their

homes take up there others’ children on their laps and smelling their

heads feel great happiness. Thou knowest that Brahmanas repeat these

Vedic mantras on the occasion of the consecrating rites of infancy.–Thou

art born, O son, of my body! Thou art sprung from my heart. Thou art

myself in the form of a son. Live thou to a hundred years! My life

dependeth on thee, and the continuation of my race also, on thee.

Therefore, O son, live thou in great happiness to a hundred years. He

hath sprung from thy body, this second being from thee! Behold thyself in

thy son, as thou beholdest thy image in the clear lake. As the

sacrificial fire is kindled from the domestic one, so hath this one

sprung from thee. Though one, thou hast divided thyself. In course of

hunting while engaged in pursuit of the deer, I was approached by thee, O

king, I who was then a virgin in the asylum of my father. Urvasi,

Purvachitti, Sahajanya, Menaka, Viswachi and Ghritachi, these are the six

foremost of Apsaras. Amongst them again, Menaka, born of Brahman, is the

first. Descending from heaven on Earth, after intercourse with

Viswamitra, she gave birth to me. That celebrated Apsara, Menaka, brought

me forth in a valley of Himavat. Bereft of all affection, she went away,

cast me there as if I were the child of somebody else. What sinful act

did I do, of old, in some other life that I was in infancy cast away by

my parents and at present am cast away by thee! Put away by thee, I am

ready to return to the refuge of my father. But it behoveth thee not to

cast off this child who is thy own.’

“Hearing all this, Dushmanta said, ‘O Sakuntala, I do not know having

begot upon thee this son. Women generally speak untruths. Who shall

believe in thy words? Destitute of all affection, the lewd Menaka is thy

mother, and she cast thee off on the surface of the Himavat as one throws

away, after the worship is over, the flowery offering made to his gods.

Thy father too of the Kshatriya race, the lustful Viswamitra, who was

tempted to become a Brahmana, is destitute of all affection. However,

Menaka is the first of Apsaras, and thy father also is the first of

Rishis. Being their daughter, why dost thou speak like a lewd woman? Thy

words deserve no credit. Art thou not ashamed to speak them, especially

before me? Go hence, O wicked woman in ascetic guise. Where is that

foremost of great Rishis, where also is that Apsara Menaka? And why art

thou, low as thou art, in the guise of an ascetic? Thy child too is grown

up. Thou sayest he is a boy, but he is very strong. How hath he soon

grown like a Sala sprout? Thy birth is low. Thou speakest like a lewd

woman. Lustfully hast thou been begotten by Menaka. O woman of ascetic

guise, all that thou sayest is quite unknown to me. I don’t know thee. Go

withersoever thou choosest.’

“Sakuntala replied, ‘Thou seest, O king, the fault of others, even though

they be as small as a mustard seed. But seeing, thou noticest not thy own

faults even though they be as large as the Vilwa fruit. Menaka is one of

the celestials. Indeed, Menaka is reckoned as the first of celestials. My

birth, therefore, O Dushmanta, is far higher than thine. Thou walkest

upon the Earth, O king, but I roam in the skies! Behold, the difference

between ourselves is as that between (the mountain) Meru and a mustard

seed! Behold my power, O king! I can repair to the abodes of Indra,

Kuvera, Yama, and Varuna! The saying is true which I shall refer to

before thee, O sinless one! I refer to it for example’s sake and not from

evil motives. Therefore, it behoveth thee to pardon me after thou hast

heard it. An ugly person considereth himself handsomer than others until

he sees his own face in the mirror. But when he sees his own ugly face in

the mirror, it is then that he perceiveth the difference between himself

and others. He that is really handsome never taunts anybody. And he that

always talketh evil becometh a reviler. And as the swine always look for

dirt and filth even when in the midst of a flower-garden, so the wicked

always choose the evil out of both evil and good that others speak.

Those, however, that are wise, on hearing the speeches of others that are

intermixed with both good and evil, accept only what is good, like geese

that always extract the milk only, though it be mixed with water. As the

honest are always pained at speaking ill of others, so do the wicked

always rejoice in doing the same thing. As the honest always feel

pleasure in showing regard for the old, so do the wicked always take

delight in aspersing the good. The honest are happy in not seeking for

faults. The wicked are happy in seeking for them. The wicked ever speak

ill of the honest. But the latter never injure the former, even if

injured by them. What can be more ridiculous in the world than that those

that are themselves wicked should represent the really honest as wicked?

When even atheists are annoyed with those that have fallen off from truth

and virtue and who are really like angry snakes of virulent poison, what

shall I say of myself who am nurtured in faith? He that having begotten a

son who is his own image, regardeth him not, never attaineth to the

worlds he coveteth, and verily the gods destroy his good fortune and

possessions. The Pitris have said that the son continueth the race and

the line and is, therefore, the best of all religious acts. Therefore,

none should abandon a son. Manu hath said that there are five kinds of

sons; those begotten by one’s self upon his own wife, those obtained (as

gift) from others, those purchased for a consideration, those reared with

affection and those begotten upon other women than upon wedded wives.

Sons support the religion and achievements of men, enhance their joys,

and rescue deceased ancestors from hell. It behoveth thee not, therefore,

O tiger among kings, to abandon a son who is such. Therefore, O lord of

Earth, cherish thy own self, truth, and virtue by cherishing thy son. O

lion among monarchs, it behoveth thee not to support this deceitfulness.

The dedication of a tank is more meritorious than that of a hundred

wells. A sacrifice again is more meritorious than the dedication of a

tank. A son is more meritorious than a sacrifice. Truth is more

meritorious than a hundred sons. A hundred horse-sacrifices had once been

weighed against Truth, and Truth was found heavier than a hundred

horse-sacrifices. O king, Truth, I ween, may be equal to the study of,

the entire Vedas and ablutions in all holy places. There is no virtue

equal to Truth: there is nothing superior to Truth. O king, Truth is God

himself; Truth is the highest vow. Therefore, violate not thy pledge, O

monarch! Let Truth and thee be even united. If thou placest no credit in

my words, I shall of my own accord go hence. Indeed, thy companionship

should be avoided. But thou, O Dushmanta, that when thou art gone, this

son of mine shall rule the whole Earth surrounded by the four seas and

adorned with the king of the mountains.”

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Sakuntala having spoken to the monarch in this

wise, left his presence. But as soon as she had left, a voice from the

skies, emanating from no visible shape, thus spoke unto Dushmanta as he

was sitting surrounded by his occasional and household priests, his

preceptors, and ministers. And the voice said, ‘The mother is but the

sheath of flesh; the son sprung from the father is the father himself.

Therefore, O Dushmanta, cherish thy son, and insult not Sakuntala. O best

of men, the son, who is but a form of one’s own seed, rescueth

(ancestors) from the region of Yama. Thou art the progenitor of this boy.

Sakuntala hath spoken the truth. The husband, dividing his body in twain,

is born of his wife in the form of son. Therefore, O Dushmanta, cherish,

O monarch, thy son born of Sakuntala. To live by forsaking one’s living

son is a great, misfortune. Therefore, O thou of Puru’s race, cherish thy

high-souled son born of Sakuntala–And because this child is to be

cherished by thee even at our word, therefore shall this thy son be known

by the name of Bharata (the cherished).’ Hearing these words uttered by

the dwellers in heaven, the monarch of Puru’s race became overjoyed and

spoke as follows unto his priests and ministers, ‘Hear ye these words

uttered by the celestial messenger? I myself know this one to be my son.

If I had taken him as my son on the strength of Sakuntala’s words alone,

my people would have been suspicious and my son also would not have been

regarded as pure.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘The monarch, then, O thou of Bharata’s race,

seeing the purity of his son established by the celestial messenger,

became exceedingly glad. And he took unto him that son with joy. And the

king with a joyous heart then performed all those rites upon his son that

a father should perform. And the king smelt his child’s head and hugged

him with affection. And the Brahmanas began to utter blessings upon him

and the bards began to applaud him. And the monarch then experienced the

great delight that one feeleth at the touch of one’s son. And Dushmanta

also received mat wife of his with affection. And he told her these

words, pacifying her affectionately, ‘O goddess, my union with the? took

place privately Therefore, I was thinking of how best to establish thy

purity. My people might think that we were only lustfully united and not

as husband and wife, and therefore, this son that I would have installed

as my heir apparent would only have been regarded as one of impure birth.

And dearest, every hard word thou hast uttered in thy anger, have I, O

large-eyed one, forgiven thee. Thou art my dearest!’ And the royal sage

Dushmanta, having spoken thus unto his dear wife, O Bharata, received her

with offerings of perfume, food, and drink. And king Dushmanta, then,

bestowed the name of Bharata upon his child, and formally installed him

as the heir apparent. And the famous and bright wheels of Bharata’s car,

invincible and like unto the wheels of the cars owned by the gods,

traversed every region, filling the whole Earth with their rattle. And

the son of Dushmanta reduced to subjection all kings of the Earth. And he

ruled virtuously and earned great fame. And that monarch of great prowess

was known by the titles of Chakravarti and Sarvabhauma. And he performed

many sacrifices like Sakra, the lord of the Maruts. And Kanwa was the

chief priest at those sacrifices, in which the offerings to Brahmanas

were great. And the blessed monarch performed both the cow and the

horse-sacrifices. And Bharata gave unto Kanwa a thousand gold coins as

the sacerdotal fee. It is that Bharata from whom have emanated so many

mighty achievements. It is from him that the great race called after him

in his race are called after him. And in the Bharata race there have been

born many godlike monarchs gifted with great energy, and like unto

Brahman himself. Their number cannot be counted. But, O thou of Bharata’s

race, I shall name the principal ones that were blessed with great good

fortune, like unto the gods, and devoted to truth and honesty.'”


(Sambhava Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hear now, as I recite the recorded genealogy, that

is sacred and subservient to religion, profit and pleasure, of these

royal sages–Daksha, the lord of creation, Manu, the son of Surya,

Bharata, Ruru, Puru, and Ajamidha. I shall also recite to thee, O sinless

one, the genealogies of the Yadavas and of the Kurus and of the king of

the Bharata line. These genealogies are sacred and their recitation is a

great act of propitiation. That recitation conferreth wealth, fame and

long life. And, O sinless one, all these I have named shone in their

splendour and were equal unto the great Rishis in energy.

“Prachetas had ten sons who were all devoted to asceticism and possessed

of every virtue. They burnt, of old, by the fire emanating from their

mouths, several plants of poisonous and innumerable large trees that had

covered the Earth and became a source of great discomfort to man. After

these ten, was born another named Daksha. It is from Daksha that all

creatures have sprung. Therefore is he, O tiger among men, called the

Grandfather. Born of Prachetas the Muni Daksha, uniting himself with

Virini, begat a thousand sons of rigid vows, all like himself. And Narada

taught these thousand sons of Daksha the excellent philosophy of Sankhya

as a means of salvation. And, O Janamejaya, the lord of creation, Daksha,

then, from the desire of making creatures, begat fifty daughters. And he

made all of them his appointed daughters (so that their sons might be his

sons also for the performance of all religious acts). And he bestowed ten

of his daughters on Dharma, and thirteen on Kasyapa. And he gave

twenty-seven to Chandra, who are all engaged in indicating time. And

Kasyapa, the son of Marichi, begat on the eldest of his thirteen wives,

the Adityas, the celestials endued with great energy and having Indra as

their head and also Vivaswat (the Sun). And of Vivaswat was born the lord

Yama. And Martanda (Vivaswat) also begat another son after Yama, gifted

with great intelligence and named Manu. And Manu was endued with great

wisdom and devoted to virtue. And he became the progenitor of a line. And

in Manu’s race have been born all human beings, who have, therefore, been

called Manavas. And it is of Manu that all men including Brahmanas,

Kshatriyas, and others have been descended, and are, therefore, all

called Manavas. Subsequently, O monarch, the Brahmanas became united with

the Kshatriyas. And those sons of Manu that were Brahmanas devoted

themselves to the study of the Vedas. And Manu begat ten other children

named Vena, Dhrishnu, Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshvaku, Karusha, Saryati, the

eighth, a daughter named Ila, Prishadhru the ninth, and Nabhagarishta,

the tenth. They all betook themselves to the practices of Kshatriyas.

Besides these, Manu had fifty other sons on Earth. But we heard that they

all perished, quarrelling with one another. The learned Pururavas was

born of Ila. It hath been heard by us that Ila was both his mother and

father. And the great Pururavas had sway over thirteen islands of the

sea. And, though a human being, he was always surrounded by companions

that were superhuman. And Pururavas intoxicated with power quarrelled

with the Brahmanas and little caring for their anger robbed them of their

wealth. Beholding all this Sanatkumara came from the region of Brahman

and gave him good counsel, which was, however, rejected by Pururavas.

Then the wrath of the great Rishis was excited, and the avaricious

monarch, who intoxicated with power, had lost his reason, was immediately

destroyed by their curse.

“It was Pururavas who first brought from the region of the Gandharvas the

three kinds of fire (for sacrificial purpose). And he brought thence, the

Apsara Urvasi also. And the son of Ila begat upon Urvasi six sons who

were called Ayus, Dhimat, Amavasu and Dhridhayus, and Vanayus, and

Satayus. And it is said that Ayus begat four sons named Nahusha,

Vriddhasarman, Rajingaya, and Anenas, on the daughter of Swarbhanu. And,

O monarch, Nahusha, of all the sons of Ayus, being gifted with great

intelligence and prowess ruled his extensive kingdom virtuously. And king

Nahusha supported evenly the Pitris, the celestials, the Rishis, the

Brahmanas, the Gandharvas, the Nagas, the Rakshasas, the Kshatriyas, and

the Vaisyas. And he suppressed all robber-gangs with a mighty hand. But

he made the Rishis pay tribute and carry him on their backs like bests of

burden. And, conquering the very gods by the beauty of his person, his

asceticism, prowess, and energy, he ruled as if he were Indra himself.

And Nahusha begat six sons, all of sweet speech, named Yati, Yayati,

Sanyati, Ayati, and Dhruva. Yati betaking himself to asceticism became a

Muni like unto Brahman himself. Yayati became a monarch of great prowess

and virtue. He ruled the whole Earth, performed numerous sacrifices,

worshipped the Pitris with great reverence, and always respected the

gods. And he brought the whole world under his sway and was never

vanquished by any foe. And the sons of Yayati were all great bowmen and

resplendent with every virtue. And, O king, they were begotten upon (his

two wives) Devayani and Sarmishtha. And of Devayani were born Yadu and

Turvasu, and of Sarmishtha were born Drahyu, Anu, and Puru. And, O king,

having virtuously ruled his subjects for a long time, Yayati was attacked

with a hideous decrepitude destroying his personal beauty. And attacked

by decrepitude, the monarch then spoke, O Bharata, unto his sons Yadu and

Puru and Turvasu and Drahyu and Anu these words, ‘Ye dear sons, I wish to

be a young man and to gratify my appetites in the company of young women.

Do you help me therein.’ To him his eldest son born of Devayani then

said, ‘What needest thou, O king? Dost thou want to have your youth?’

Yayati then told him, ‘Accept thou my decrepitude, O son! With thy youth

I would enjoy myself. During the time of a great sacrifice I have been

cursed by the Muni Usanas (Sukra). O son, I would enjoy myself with your

youth. Take any of you this my decrepitude and with my body rule ye my

kingdom. I would enjoy myself with a renovated body. Therefore, ye my

sons, take ye my decrepitude.’ But none of his sons accepted his

decrepitude. Then his youngest son Puru said unto him, ‘O king, enjoy

thyself thou once again with a renovated body and returned youth! I shall

take thy decrepitude and at thy command rule thy kingdom.’ Thus

addressed, the royal sage, by virtue of his ascetic power then

transferred his own decrepitude unto that high-souled son of his and with

the youth of Puru became a youth; while with the monarch’s age Puru ruled

his kingdom.

“Then, after a thousand years had passed away, Yayati, that tiger among

kings, remained as strong and powerful as a tiger. And he enjoyed for a

long time the companionship of his two wives. And in the gardens of

Chitraratha (the king of Gandharvas), the king also enjoyed the company

of the Apsara Viswachi. But even after all this, the great king found his

appetites unsatiated. The king, then recollected the following truths

contained in the Puranas, ‘Truly, one’s appetites are never satiated by

enjoyment. On the other hand, like sacrificial butter poured into the

fire, they flame up with indulgence. Even if one enjoyed the whole Earth

with its wealth, diamonds and gold, animals and women, one may not yet be

satiated. It is only when man doth not commit any sin in respect of any

living thing, in thought, deed, or speech, it is then that he attaineth

to purity as that of Brahman. When one feareth nothing, when one is not

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

his wives.'”


(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 Brahman himself!’

“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

sacrificial offerings.'”


(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


“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

Devayani wisheth.’

“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 interview?’

“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,

accompanied 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 should think.’

“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 esteem still?’

“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

this decrepitude!’

“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


“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 decrepitude.’

“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 fulfilled.’

“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



(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


“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


“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, ‘Alter 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 equals.’

“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



(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 wealth 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 grieve. 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 unbecoming. 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


“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 see.’

“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 woods.

“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

&c.). 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


“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


“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

following words.'”


(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

do it?’

“Vasumat said, ‘If buying them, O king, be regarded by thee as improper,

then take them as gilt 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

his deeds.'”


(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 accomplishments.’

“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


“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 were


“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

gigantic proportions.'”


(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

(Dushmanta’s) descendants.

“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


“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, I never go in unto others’ wives or women that

are not of my order. This, indeed, is my virtuous vow.’ The maiden

rejoined, ‘I am not inauspicious or ugly. I am every way worthy of being

enjoyed. I am a celestial maiden of rare beauty; I desire thee for my

husband. Refuse me not, O king.’ To this Pratipa answered, ‘I am, ‘O

damsel, abstaining from that course to which thou wouldst incite me. If I

break my vow, sin will overwhelm and kill me. O thou of the fairest

complexion, thou hast embraced me, sitting on my right thigh. But, O

timid one, know that this is the seat for daughters and daughters-in-law.

The left lap is for the wife, but thou hast not accepted that. Therefore,

O best of women, I cannot enjoy thee as an object of desire. Be my

daughter-in-law. I accept thee for my son!’

“The damsel then said, ‘O virtuous one, let it be as thou sayest. Let me

be united with thy son. From my respect for thee, I shall be a wife of

the celebrated Bharata race. Ye (of the Bharata race) are the refuge of

all the monarchs on earth! I am incapable of numbering the virtues of

this race even within a hundred years. The greatness and goodness of many

celebrated monarchs of this race are limitless. O lord of all, let it be

understood now that when I become thy daughter-in-law, thy son shall not

be able to judge of the propriety of my acts. Living thus with thy son, I

shall do good to him and increase his happiness. And he shall finally

attain to heaven in consequence of the sons I shall bear him, and of his

virtues and good conduct.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘O king, having said so, the celestial damsel

disappeared then and there. And the king, too, waited for the birth of

his son in order to fulfil his promise.’

“About this time Pratipa, that light of the Kuru race, that bull amongst

Kshatriyas, was engaged, along with his wife, in austerities from desire

of offspring. And when they had grown old, a son was born unto them. This

was no other than Mahabhisha. And the child was called Santanu because he

was born when his father had controlled his passions by ascetic penances.

And the best of Kurus, Santanu, knowing that region of indestructible

bliss can be acquired by one’s deeds alone, became devoted to virtue.

When Santanu grew up into a youth, Pratipa addressed him and said, ‘Some

time ago, O Santanu, a celestial damsel came to me for thy good. If thou

meetest that fair-complexioned one in secret and if she solicit thee for

children, accept her as thy wife. And, O sinless one, judge not of the

propriety or impropriety of her action and ask not who she is, or whose

or whence, but accept her as thy wife at my command!'” Vaisampayana

continued, ‘Pratipa, having thus commanded his son Santanu and installed

him on his throne, retired into the woods. And king Santanu endued with

great intelligence and equal unto Indra himself in splendour, became

addicted to hunting and passed much of his time in the woods. And the

best of monarchs always slew deer and buffaloes. And one day, as he was

wandering along the bank of the Ganges, he came upon a region frequented

by Siddhas and Charanas. And there he saw a lovely maiden of blazing

beauty and like unto another Sri herself; of faultless and pearly teeth

and decked with celestial ornaments, and attired in garments of fine

texture that resembled in splendour the filaments of the lotus. And the

monarch, on beholding that damsel, became surprised, and his raptures

produced instant horripilation. With steadfast gaze he seemed to be

drinking her charms, but repeated draughts failed to quench his thirst.

The damsel also beholding the monarch of blazing splendour moving about

in great agitation, was moved herself and experienced an affection for

him. She gazed and gazed and longed to gaze on him evermore. The monarch

then in soft words addressed her and said, ‘O slender-waisted one, be

thou a goddess or the daughter of a Danava, be thou of the race of the

Gandharvas, or Apsaras, be thou of the Yakshas or the Nagas, or be thou

of human origin, O thou of celestial beauty, I solicit thee to be my



(Sambhava Parva continued)

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The maiden then, hearing those soft and sweet words

of the smiling monarch, and remembering her promise to the Vasus,

addressed the king in reply. Of faultless features, the damsel sending a

thrill of pleasure into the heart by every word she uttered, said, ‘O

king, I shall become thy wife and obey thy commands. But, O monarch, thou

must not interfere with me in anything I do, be it agreeable or

disagreeable. Nor shall thou ever address me unkindly. As long as thou

shalt behave kindly I promise to live with thee. But I shall certainly

leave thee the moment thou interferest with me or speakest to me an

unkind word.’ The king answered, ‘Be it so.’ And thereupon the damsel

obtaining that excellent monarch, that foremost one of the Bharata race

for her husband, became highly pleased. And king Santanu also, obtaining

her for his wife, enjoyed to the full the pleasure of her company. And

adhering to his promise, he refrained from asking her anything. And the

lord of earth, Santanu, became exceedingly gratified with her conduct,

beauty, magnanimity, and attention to his comforts. And the goddess Ganga

also, of three courses (celestial, terrestrial, and subterranean)

assuming a human form of superior complexion and endued with celestial

beauty, lived happily as the wife of Santanu, having as the fruit of her

virtuous acts, obtained for her husband, that tiger among kings equal

unto Indra himself in splendour. And she gratified the king by her

attractiveness and affection, by her wiles and love, by her music and

dance, and became herself gratified. And the monarch was so enraptured

with his beautiful wife that months, seasons, and years rolled on without

his being conscious of them. And the king, while thus enjoying himself

with his wife, had eight children born unto him who in beauty were like

the very celestials themselves. But, O Bharata, those children, one after

another, as soon as they were born, were thrown into the river by Ganga

who said, ‘This is for thy good.’ And the children sank to rise no more.

The king, however, could not be pleased with such conduct. But he spoke

not a word about it lest his wife should leave him. But when the eighth

child was born, and when his wife as before was about to throw it

smilingly into the river, the king with a sorrowful countenance and

desirous of saving it from destruction, addressed her and said, ‘Kill it

not! Who art thou and whose? Why dost thou kill thy own children?

Murderess of thy sons, the load of thy sins is great!'” His wife, thus

addressed, replied, ‘O thou desirous of offspring, thou hast already

become the first of those that have children. I shall not destroy this

child of thine. But according to our agreement, the period of my stay

with thee is at an end. I am Ganga, the daughter of Jahnu. I am ever

worshipped by the great sages; I have lived with thee so long for

accomplishing the purposes of the celestials. The eight illustrious Vasus

endued with great energy had, from Vasishtha’s curse, to assume human

forms. On earth, besides thee, there was none else to deserve the honour

of being their begetter. There is no woman also on earth except one like

me, a celestial of human form, to become their mother. I assumed a human

form to bring them forth. Thou also, having become the father of the

eight Vasus, hast acquired many regions of perennial bliss. It was also

agreed between myself and the Vasus that I should free them from their

human forms as soon as they would be born. I have thus freed them from

the curse of the Rishi Apava. Blest be thou; I leave thee, O king! But

rear thou this child of rigid vows. That I should live with thee so long

was the promise I gave to the Vasus. And let this child be called




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