sábado, 17 de abril de 2010


Contenido - Contents

Fotos de ART OF KRISHNA del álbum Fotos del muro

Dedicated to Romapada swami
"Most artwork courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. www.krishna.com"

Añadida el 19 de abril

Añadida el 19 de abril

Rohan Shanti Shukla - Konark Temple

Añadida el 16 de julio ·

Añadida el 16 de julio

Añadida el 16 de julio

Añadida el 16 de julio

Añadida el 16 de julio

Añadida el 16 de julio


Akarma: (sáns. vaiëòava). la no ejecución de actividades auspiciosas o de deberes prescritos.

Akarma: (sáns. vaiëòava). the non-performance of auspicious activities or prescribed duties.

1 - Adi Parva AP78 - AP98

AP 78

Sri Vaisampayana said:

O Bharata, hearing that her unmarried girlfriend had given birth to a male child, the sweet-smiling Devayani, not knowing the father's identity, began to worry and was filled with grief over Sarmistha's situation. Approaching Sarmistha, Devayani said, "O Subhruup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn A lady with lovely eyebrows., how could such a disaster take place out of lust for romance?"

Sarmistha said:

Some saintly person passed by here, a most religious man who had mastered all the Vedas. He offered me a boon, and I begged him to fulfill my desire to beget a religious child. My desire was proper. And I did not satisfy it in an illicit way, O sweet-smiling one. Thus my child is born of that sage, and I am telling you the truth.

Devayani said:

It would be quite nice, modest lady, if this brahmana were someone familiar to us. I want to known the lineage, the name, and the parents of this sage.

Sarmistha said:

He was blazing with strength and potency, like the fiery sun, and seeing him before me I had no power to question him on all these matters, O sweet-smiling lady.

Devayani said:

If that is the case, Sarmistha, if in fact you obtained this child from the best and most senior of the twice-born, then I am not angry.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

When Sarmistha had relieved Devayani's anxiety with her story, the two old friends began to talk together, joking and laughing with one another for some time. Then the daughter of the learned Sukra returned to her palace, convinced that everything was proper.

King Yayati begot two sons in Devayani, Yadu and Turvasu, who were like a second Indra and Visnu. And by the saintly King Yayati, Sarmistha, daughter of Vrsaparva, gave birth to three boys named Druhyu, Anu, and Puru.

Then one day, O king , sweet-smiling Devayani went out with Yayati to the deep forest, and there she saw three young boys, as beautiful as gods, playing without any cares. Amazed by this, she said, "Whose children are these, O king , these splendid boys who are sons of the gods? Their brightness and beauty remind me of you."

After thus questioning the king, she began to inquire from the boys, "My dear sons, what is the family name of your brahmana father? Explain to me truthfully. I want to hear it from you."

With their forefingers, the boys kept pointing to that best of kings, Yayati, and they explained that their mother was Sarmistha. Having spoken, they all came up to the king, but the king would not receive them in front of Devayani, and the little boys then ran crying to their mother, Sarmistha.

Seeing how much love the boys showed toward the king and understanding what had actually happened, the goddess Devayani then spoke to Sarmistha: "You are meant to serve me! Why did you do that which displeases me? You are fixed in the ways of the Asuras. Have you no fear?"

Sarmistha said:

O beautiful smiling woman, what I told you about the sage was true. I do what is right and religious, so I do not fear you. When you chose the king, I also chose him. By the principles of dharma, fair lady, the husband of a girl's best friend becomes her husband. I honor and respect you because you are older and better than I, being a brahmani, but even more than you, I am to respect and honor my saintly king. Don't you know this?

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Hearing her words, Devayani then said, "O king , I will not live here any longer, for you have treated me most unkindly."

Devayani suddenly rose up with tears in her eyes and quickly departed for the house of her father, Sukra. Seeing this, the king became quite disturbed and followed her, trying to pacify her. But her eyes were red with fury and she would not turn back. Without speaking a single word to the king, the lady of lovely eyes quickly arrived in the presence of the learned Sukra. Upon seeing her father, she respectfully greeted him, standing directly before him. Immediately thereafter, Yayati also paid his respects to the descendant of Bhrgu.

Devayani said:

Irreligion has conquered religion, and there is chaos in the world. The natural order has been overturned, for once again Sarmistha, the daughter of Vrsaparva, has offended me. Dear father, I tell you she has given birth to three sons with King Yayati, but to me he has given only two sons!

O learned one of the Bhrgu dynasty, this king is celebrated as a knower of religious principles, but I tell you he has transgressed all morality.

Sri Sukra said:

Knowing well the religious principles involved here, you have broken those principles for your pleasure! Therefore I curse you that invincible old age will immediately take hold of you.

King Yayati said:

My lord, the daughter of the Asura king begged me for a child in her proper season. I had no other motive in my mind, and I acted in accord with religious principles. O brahmana, it is clearly stated in scripture by the brahmanas themselves, that a man who does not give a child to a worthy woman who begs him for it commits the sin of killing the embryo. When an eligible woman yearning for a child begs a man in a private place and he does not approach her according to the sacred rules, then according to the learned he is killing the embryo. O lord of the Bhrgu line, I was afraid of committing an irreligious act and therefore, after carefully considering all these reasons, I agreed to approach Sarmistha.

Sri Sukra said:

Still, O king, you are subordinate to me, and since I gave you a specific instruction in this regard I should have been consulted if you wanted to act otherwise. When a person behaves falsely in matters of religion, it is nothing but thievery, O son of Nahusa.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Cursed by the angry Sukra, Yayati, the son of Nahusa, then and there gave up his youthful age and suddenly became a very old man.

King Yayati said:

O brahmana, my youthful desires to enjoy with Devayani have not been satisfied. Be merciful! Don't let this old age overcome me!

Sri Sukra said:

I do not speak falsely, and thus old age has already come to you, O king . However, if you so desire, you may transfer your old age to someone else.

King Yayati said:

O brahmana, please grant me that if one of my sons gives me his youth, he will inherit the kingdom and receive all the rewards of piety and fame.

Sri Sukra said:

I shall transfer your old age as you wish, O son of Nahusa. Always remember me and my command, and you will not suffer any further sin. Whichever of your sons gives you his youth, he will be king. And long life, glory, and many fine children shall all be his.

AP 79

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having become an old man and returned to his city, King Yayati called his oldest and most celebrated son, Yadu, and said to him, "Yadu, by the curse of the learned Sukra, old age, wrinkles, and white hair have imposed themselves on me even though I did not have my fill of youth. [How shall I thus gain liberation from this world if I do not sate these desires?]

"You, dear Yadu, should take upon yourself my sin and old age, and with your youth I will be able to finish enjoying material sense objects. At the end of one thousand years I will give you back your youth, and I shall take back my sin and my old age.

Yadu said:

With old age, one's head and beard turn white, and the body turns wretched and slack. And it is covered with wrinkles, thin, weak, and unpleasant to see. An old person has no strength to do his work, and younger people, the very ones he maintained with his labor, take advantage of him. I do not hanker for such old age.

King Yayati said:

Though you are born of my heart, you will not offer me your youth. Therefore, beloved son, I also regret to say that your children will not receive a kingdom.

Turvasu, my dear son, please take upon yourself my sin, along with the old age, and with your youth I will be able to finish enjoying the material sense objects. At the end of one thousand years, I will give you back your youth, and I shall take back my sin and my old age.

Turvasu said:

I do not want to be old, father, for old age ruins one's pleasure and enjoyment of life. It destroys one's strength and beauty and devastates one's intelligence and stamina.

King Yayati said:

Though you are born of my heart, you will not offer me your youth. Therefore, Turvasu, your children will be cut off from the noble Vedic culture. Foolish one, you will be king of a people whose behavior and laws are utterly confused, whose way of living runs counter to the culture of the twice-born, and who are the lowest of mankind, feeding themselves on flesh. They will lust after the wives of their own gurus and degrade themselves to the species of lower life. There you will be king-- among the sinful killers of animals who follow the customs of beasts.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having thus cursed his son Turvasu, Yayati called Sarmistha's son Druhyu and said to him, "Druhyu, you must give me your own youth for a thousand years, and accept my old age, even though it destroys strength and beauty. After a full thousand years, however, I shall give you back your youth, and I shall take again my own sin and decrepitude.

Druhyu said:

An old man cannot enjoy riding on elephants or chariots or on horseback, nor can he know the pleasures of women. Even his voice quivers and cracks. I do not hanker for such a life of old age.

King Yayati said:

Though you are born of my heart, you will not offer me your youth. Therefore, Druhyu, you will never achieve what you most desire. You will not be called king, but rather you and your followers will be known as Bhojas, and you will dwell where there is scarcity of roads and traveling is by ferry and boat.

My son Anu, you must take upon yourself my sin and old age, so that I may live for a thousand years with your youth.

Anu said:

An old man takes his food like a baby, unclean, drooling, and at irregular times. Nor can he offer sacrifice into the fire at the proper times. I am not eager to accept old age.

King Yayati said:

Though you are born of my heart, you will not offer me your youth. Therefore you will have to accept the very problems of old age you have just mentioned. Your children will perish upon attaining their full youth, and you yourself will slip and fall before the sacrificial fire.

Puru, you are my beloved son, and you will be the best. Dear child, old age, wrinkles, and white hair have come upon me by the curse of the learned Sukra, but I could not yet satisfy my youthful desires. Puru, you must accept my sin and decrepitude, so that for some time I may enjoy material sense objects with your youthful vigor. After a full thousand years, however, I will give you back your youth, and I myself shall accept my own sin and old age.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus addressed, Puru replied to his father without hestiation, "Maharaja, I shall carry out your words just as you have spoken them. I shall accept, O king, your sin and old age, and you please take my youth from me and fulfill your desires as you like. Covered by your old age and bearing your withered form, having given to you, sir, my youth, I shall pass my life as you have instructed me."

King Yayati said:

Puru, you actually love me, my child, and with my love I offer you this: your children will be endowed with all they desire, and they will have the kingdom.

AP 80

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Endowed with the youth of his son Puru, King Yayati, son of Nahusa, was quite satisfied, and the greatest of kings began to enjoy, according to Vedic principles, all that his senses desired. As a prominent king, he did not violate the religious principles or enjoy what he should not, but following his enthusiasm, he enjoyed whatever and whenever he desired, according to his taste and pleasure. He satisfied the gods with sacrifices, and he pleased the forefathers with sraddha ceremonies for their benefit. To the downtrodde, he mercifully granted their desires, and to the exalted members of the twice-born community he gave whatever they needed.

He gratified unexpected guests with food and drink, and he encouraged the mercantile community by providing social and political security. He treated the laboring class with kind consideration, and the criminals with stern repression. Ultimately the king pleased all the citizens of the land by his strict adherence to the sacred law, and he ruled and protected the people like a new Indra incarnate. Strong and bold as a lion with his youthful body, the king could again appreciate the sense objects, and without transgressing religious law, he experienced the greatest material joy.

Having attained all the good things he desired, the monarch grew sated and weary of wordly enjoyments. Remembering that his youth was supposed to end in a thousand years, and well conscious of time, the mighty king counted the days and hours and realized that the time was up. He therefore said to his son Puru, "With your youtful vigor, my son, I have experienced the sense objects as much as I desired, following my enthusiasm at suitable times and places. My dear Puru, I am so pleased with you, and may God bless you. Take now your youth, and take the kingdom also, for you are the son who most pleased me."

King Yayati, son of Nahusa, then accepted his old age, and Puru took back his own youth. Seeing that the king desired to consecrate his youngest son, Puru, as the next ruler, members of the four social divisions, headed by the brahmanas, then spoke out to the king. "O lord, how can you pass over Yadu, the grandson of Sukra and the eldest son of Devayani, and instead award the kingdom to Puru? Yadu took birth as your eldest son, and he was followed by Turvasu. Next came Sarmistha's son Druhyu, then Anu, and only then Puru. How can the youngest son deserve to pass over his older brothers and accept the kingdom? We bring this to your attention, for you must always preserve the principles of justice.

King Yayati said:

O citizens of all the social classes, headed by the brahmanas, all of you please hear my words. My eldest son, Yadu, did not carry out my command, and that is why I can in no way give him the kingdom. One who is against the father is not considered by saintly authorities to be a true son. A son who acts on the words of his mother and father, always desiring their welfare, is a son on the proper path. A son who abides by his father and mother is worthy to be called a son. I was insulted by Yadu and similarly by Turvasu, Druhyu, and even by Anu. All of them showed me great disrespect. It is Puru who obeyed my command and treated me with special consideration. My youngest son will inherit my kingdom, for it is he who bore my old age! Puru acted as a true son and fulfilled his father's wish.

The learned Sukra himself gave me a boon that whatever son of mine faithfully followed his father would become the next king and ruler of the earth. Therefore I humbly entreat you good people, let Puru be consecrated as your king!

The people said:

The son who demonstrates good qualities, always acting for the good of his mother and father, deserves all good fortune, my lord, though he be the youngest. Puru deserves this kingdom, for he is the son who has pleased you, and considering the boon given by Sukra, nothing further need be said.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Inspired by the words of the citizens, the son of Nahusa then consecrated his son Puru as the new ruler of his kingdom. After giving over the kingdom to Puru, he took religious intiation into the next phase of his life, and accompanied by brahmanas and ascetics, the king departed his city to dwell in the forest as a renunciant.

From Yadu were born the Yadavas; the sons of Turvasu were the Yavanas; Druhyu's sons were called the Bhojas; and Anu begot sons of the mleccha class. From Puru came the Paurava dynasty, in which you were born, O king. Control of the state is now in your hands, and you are to rule this kingdom for one thousand years.

AP 81

Sri Vaisampayana said:

King Yayati, son of Nahusa, having thus installed his beloved son on the royal throne, was filled with joy. He then adopted the third stage of life.

[In the first stage of his life as a young student, he had lived as an austere and celibate brahmacari. Then he married and entered the second stage of his life, that of a king, husband, and father. Now he adopted the third stage of life, called vanaprastha, in which the husband and wife give up all family affairs and go to a sacred forest or hermitage to revive their pure spiritual consciousness. Fortunately, King Yayati was happy to come to this third stage of life.]

Dwelling in the forest, he resided in a hermitage with saintly brahmanas, taming his senses and eating only the fruits and roots that grew in the forest. So serious was the king in his religious practice, that he was promoted at the time of death to the heavenly planets. Yayati went to the abode of the gods and joyfully dwelled in that happy land, but after a relatively short time, Lord Indra caused him to fall again to the earth. I have heard from authorities that when King Yayati was cast out of heaven and was falling downward, he did not reach the surface of the earth but remained positioned in space. Thereafter, it is said, the mighty king again reached the heavenly planets after having met with kings Vasumata, Astaka, Pratardana, and Sibi.

King Janamejaya said:

By what act did that earthly ruler again achieve the heavenly abode? I desire to hear all this, O saintly scholar, here in the presence of so many saints and sages, just as it happened, with nothing omitted. King Yayati ruled the wide earth and caused the Kuru dynasty to flourish. He was equal to Lord Indra, king of the gods, and he was as brilliant as the shining sun. His fame has spread wide and his glory is based on fact. He was indeed a great soul, and I want to hear all about his activities in heaven and on earth.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Yes, I shall explain to you the later history of Yayati in heaven, as well as on the earth, for it is a pious story that vanquishes all the woes of sin.

After consecrating his youngest son as king, King Yayati, the son of Nahusa, joyfully departed for the forest. Having sent away his other sons, headed by Yadu, to the far corners of the earth, the king resided for a long time in the forest and subsisted on forest fruits and roots. Strictly regulated, his anger subdued, satisfying the forefathers and demigods with religious rites, and making regulated sacrificial offerings into the sacred fire, he carefully practiced the renounced life of vanaprastha.

That powerful man honored all his guests with forest fare that had first been offered to the Lord, and he lived off whatever he could glean from his austere environment, humbly eating the remnants of others. The king lived in this way for a full thousand years. For thirty autumns the king lived on water and strictly controlled his speech and mind. Then for one year, with his mind fully alert, the king ate only air, and for another year he performed the gruelling austerity of "five-fires" [lighting fires on all four sides and exposing himself to the blazing sun overhead throughout the heat of summer]. For six months the king stood on one foot and consumed only air, determined to conquer the demands of the body as he had once conquered hostile kings. It was thus that he acquired a pious fame, and moving beyond the earth and outer space, he went to the heavenly abode.

AP 82

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Having gone to the heavenly planets and dwelling thus in the abode of the gods, that best of kings was honored by the celestial denizens such as the Sadhyas, the Maruts, and the Vasus. Self-controlled, ever doing good, the former king of the earth went from Devaloka, the planet of the administrative gods, to Brahmaloka, the planet of the cosmic creator, and authorities say that he resided there for a long time.

Once Lord Indra happened to arrive in that place, and after some discussion with Yayati, he questioned the king.

Indra asked:

"What did you say to Puru when you awarded the kingdom to him and released him from the burden of old age. Tell me the truth."

King Yayati said:

I told him, "All the land between the Ganga and Yamuna rivers is under your jurisdiction. You are the king of the middle portion of the earth, while your brothers will be the rulers of uncivilized men who dwell in the far lands.

"One who is free of anger surpasses the angry. And one who tolerates is better than an intolerant person. Above the nonhuman creatures stand the humankind, and he who is wise will ever stand above one who lacks wisdom."

"When we are abused, we should not abuse others; but when a tolerant person is finally moved to wrath, his anger burns up the abuser, and the tolerant one, even in his wrath, enjoys the fruits of piety.

"Do not torment others or speak cruelly or sieze the little that a wretched person has or utter those words that so disturb another, words that wound, and words that take the speaker to the world of sin.

"A man who injures others with his harsh speech, tearing at them with his thorny tongue-- know him to be the most unfortunate of all people, for he bears evil calamity tightly bound to his mouth.

"A person who seeks progress on the spiritual path should act in such a way that he is honored to his face by the devotees of the Lord. Those same devotees will protect him from behind. Thus a civilized person must follow the example of the Lord's devotees and always tolerate the insulting words of materialistic people.

"Words that are like arrows fly from one's mouth, and whomever they strike begins to grieve day and night. Thus a wise person, a pandita, never shoots those words that fall like arrows into the very heart of another soul.

"In all the three worlds there is no better way to win the hearts of others than to be a true friend to all creatures, to be giving, and to speak sweet and gentle words. Thus one should always speak comforting words, and never words that cut and wound. One should honor the honorable, give to others, and never beg at any time.

AP 83

Lord Indra said:

Having finished all your family and kingly duties and having renounced your home, you went to the forest. Therefore I frankly ask you, Yayati, O son of Nahusa, who is equal to you in the performance of austerity?

King Yayati said:

Lord Indra, I do not see anyone among the gods, the human beings, the Gandharvas, or even among the great sages who is equal to me in the performance of austerity.

Lord Indra replied,

O king, because you show disdain for persons who are actually equal to or better than you, and even for those who may be more sinful than you, without actually understanding the real strength and quality of any of them, these higher planets must therefore come to an end for you. By your arrogance you have exhausted your piety, and today you will fall.

King Yayati said:

O king of the gods, if by my offenses to the gods, sages, Gandharvas, and humans, I have actually lost my residence on the upper planets, then grant me this one desire: let he who is now bereft of the heavenly abode fall into the midst of saintly devotees of the Lord.

Lord Indra said:

O king, you will fall as you desire into the midst of saintly devotees of the Lord, and thus even having fallen you will again regain your position. Knowing all this, Yayati, never again show disdain for those who are your equals and superiors.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereupon, king Yayati gave up the pious planets enjoyed by the king of the immortals, and as he was falling, a saintly king named Astaka, who protected the principles of devotional service to the Lord, saw Yayati coming down and said to him, "Who are you, as young and beautiful as Indra? By your own potency you are as luminous as fire, and you seem to fly as you fall, like the best of sky-goers, the glowing sun, as he emerges from shifting masses of darkening clouds. Seeing you fall from the sun's path, all of us are confused, and we wonder and guess-- who is this immeasureable being, as radiant as the sun or fire, falling into our midst?

"Observing your power, which resembles that of Indra, the sun, or Lord Visnu Himself, and seeing you descend the very road that leads to the gods, all of us rise up at once to receive you, for we eagerly desire to know the truth of your fall. We assume you to be in a superior position and would not dare to question you first. But since you do not ask us who we are, we shall therefore inquire first from you who have such enviable form and beauty. Who is your leader, and why have you come here?

"Let all your fear be done! And give up all sorrow and confusion, you whose beauty equals that of the king of the gods. Know with certainty that you are in the company of the Lord's servants, and no one, not even Lord Indra, the slayer of Bala, can bother you here.

"For the Lord's servants who have fallen from their happy life, association with the Lord's devotees is the basis for regaining that happy life. For when the saintly devotees unite, they are the natural leaders of all moving and unmoving creatures. Now you are properly situated, for you are among persons who like yourself are devoted to the eternal path.

"As fire is the lord of heat and warming, as earth is the lord of planting, as the sun is the lord of illumination, so for the Lord's servants, a guest who arrives is their lord."

AP 84

King Yayati said:

I am Yayati, the son of Nahusa and the father of Puru. Because of my disdain for all other creatures, I was expelled from the planets of the gods and perfected sages. Now, having deviated, and with little pious credit, I am falling straight down. It is only because I am senior to you gentlemen in age that I did not first offer you a respectful greeting. The twice-born always honor a person who is senior in knowledge, in austerity, or in age, and I waited for you to greet me in deference to their rule.

King Astaka said:

Although you said, O king, that one who is senior in years is to be honored, and that therefore you did not greet us in any way, it is also a fact that for the twice-born a more learned person is considered older and worthy of honor. Thus we accept you not only as older in age, but in wisdom as well.

King Yayati replied,

Authorities say that sin is undesirable because it goes against the progress of our activities and gradually leads us to a life of evil and suffering. Therefore, the saintly do not follow the sinful path of materialistic persons but rather listen to the Lord within the heart, who always speaks that which is favorable and desireable for the soul.

Great and abundant wealth was certainly mine, and I shall not have it again soon, however I might endeavor. But one who resolves to act for the benefit of the soul and not just the body, and keeps to his determination, can realize spiritual knowledge even while living in this world.

There are many different states of existence in this world of conditioned souls, and all conditions of life depend on the sanction of divine providence, for the soul in this world has lost his freedom to do whatever he likes. Therefore, remembering that the soul is different from the body and that the body is placed in certain conditions by very strong destiny, a sober person is not overwhelmed in any condition of life.

A living being should not burn with grief or rejoice over the material conditions of life, for whether one enjoys material happiness or distress, both depend on divine providence and are not within our personal power.

One should not grieve when there is trouble or rejoice over material success, but rather a sober person should always remain equal in both. Remembering that destiny is very strong, one should never burn with grief or rejoice for temporary things.

My dear King Astaka, I am never bewildered by danger, nor do I experience any suffering in my mind, for I remember that I will undoubtedly achieve that which the creator ordains for me in this world. All creatures-- the insects born of sweat, the egg-born, the vegetables, the crawling things, the worms, the fish in the sea, the stones, the stalks of grass, the woody tree-- all must face their destined destruction. Only their original spiritual nature remains.

My dear Astaka, considering the impermanence of joy and sorrow, why should I accept material suffering [as real]? Why should I endeavor [to get material happiness]? How can I avoid suffering? Rather, I try to be alert to my spiritual progress and free myself of all anxiety over my temporary condition.

King Astaka said:

Formerly you were a great king of the earth. Then you experienced many other planets. Please tell me, O king, of the most important worlds you visited, and how long you remained in each. Explain everything exactly as it happened. I am eager to hear from you, for you speak on religious principles like a self-realized soul dwelling within the field of the body.

King Yayati said:

I was a king in this world; indeed, I ruled the entire earth. After that life, I attained to the great planets and dwelled there for a thousand years. From there I was able to approach a higher planet and enter the charming city of Lord Indra, with its thousand gateways and its eight hundred-mile diameter, and there I lived well for a thousand years. Thereupon I approached a superior planet that so few attain: the dazzling, unaging world of the Prajapati, the cosmic lord. I dwelled there for a thousand years, and from there I approached a higher planet.

Thus winning admission into the worlds of one demigod after another, I attained to all the planets and dwelled in each as long and as well as I desired. All the gods honored me, and in power and splendor I was not less than the controllers of the universe. Thus able to change my form at will, I dwelled for countless centuries with the celestial pleasure maidens in the paradise called Nandana, where there are groves of the most gorgeous trees with flowers of pure, sublime fragrance.

I remained there, attached to those godly pleasures, and a long time passed, time beyond reckoning, until one day an official messenger of the gods appeared in a frightening form and in a deep voice called out to me, "Go down! Go down! Go down!"

That is as much as I know, O lionlike king. I exhausted my pious merit and fell from the material paradise called Nandana. As I fell through inner space, O noble kings, I heard the voices of the gods, who out of their compassion lamented my fate: "How painful it is that Yayati has exhausted his pious merit, and that now, even though he performed so many pious deeds and had such pious fame, he is falling."

I said to them, even as I fell, "Tell me how I can fall into the midst of saintly persons!"

They pointed out to me your sacrificial ground, and upon seeing it I quickly came here, guided and reassured by the aroma of pure butter being offered into the fire, and the curling smoke of holy sacrifice.

AP 85

King Astaka said:

Having lived in the paradise of Nandana for centuries beyond reckoning, and assuming any form at will, how could you forsake it and come again to the earth, you who were king in the Age of Truth?

King Yayati said:

Just as on earth people abandon kith and kin and dearest friends whose wealth is spent, so it is in material heaven. A human being may reach that realm, but as soon as his piety is spent, all the cosmic rulers and the hosts of gods immediately reject him.

King Astaka said:

How do people exhaust their piety in that realm? My mind is extremely confused on this point. And what sort of qualifications enable one to go to which planets? Speak on these points, for I believe you are a self-realized soul within the field of the body.

King Yayati said:

Wailing in utter grief, their piety spent, O king, they all fall back down to this earthly hell and flourish in different species to serve as food for herons, jackels, and crows. That is the sum and substance of going to material heaven. Therefore people in this world should avoid the abominable process of promoting oneself to that realm, a process contaminated by lust and greed and personal ambition. Now that I have explained that, dear king, tell me what else I should tell you.

King Astaka said:

When the vultures, flies, and white-necked birds of prey have thus ripped up the body, how does the soul then live and how does he return? Before this, I had not heard the earth described as "another hell."

King Yayati said:

The soul rises from its deceased body and clearly returns to the earth, impelled by his flagrant attempts to enjoy the material world. He falls to this earthly hell and does not reckon the countless years that pass.

But there are other miseries. When souls begin their fall from the higher planets, they fall in space for sixty thousand years-- others for eighty thousand years-- and horrible man-eating Raksasas of heart-stopping visage who dwell in the earthly hell beat and harass them as they descend.

King Astaka said:

Since horrible earthly Raksasas of heart-stopping visage beat and harass the sinful as they fall, how do those poor souls continue to exist, and how do they arise in new bodies? What type of existence do they have, and how do they again enter the womb of a mother?

King Yayati said:

Coming to earth within a tearlike drop of rain, the soul is absorbed into a flowering or fruit-bearing plant, and when the plant is eaten by a man, the soul enters his semen, which is then released by the man and enters into a woman at the time of her passionate season. Thus the soul again develops an embryonic body to ready himself for rebirth.

The soul may also assume the form of a lordly tree, or that of an herb. Or he may reside in water, in air, or beneath the surface of the earth, or he may remain in the sky. The soul takes on various bodies as a quadraped or biped, for he may enter all the species of life. Thus he exists and enters the womb of a mother.

King Astaka said:

Does the soul in the womb directly furnish himself another body, or, as the soul enters a human womb, is his desire sufficient to cause the body to grow? I am asking this out of doubt, so please explain to me.

How does the soul attain full development of his body, with all its limbs and organs? How does he acquire physical eyes and ears, and full consciousness? Please explain the truth of all that we ask you, for we all consider you to be a knower of the soul within the field of the body.

King Yayati said:

Mixed in the juice of flowering plants, which are then consumed, the soul enters within the semen, and the system of subtle airs within in the body then draws the semen well up into the female womb. There, according to the specific size and nature of the womb, the same system of bodily airs expands the embryo step by step.

Grabbing onto the human body, which fosters full development of the five senses and mind, the soul is born and perceives sound with his ears, and learns to recognize all forms with his eyes. He perceives aroma with his nose, flavor with the tongue, touch with his sense of touch, and moods and feelings with the mind. Astaka, you should know this to be the aggregate of faculties found within the material body of that great being called the soul, who bears in this world a mortal covering.

King Astaka said:

When a person dies, his body is burned or buried, or is simply worn away by the elements. Apparently the person has perished and no longer exists, so how does he again awaken to consciousness?

King Yayati said:

Having given up his material body with loud cries and groans, the soul enters a state resembling sleep. All of his good and evil deeds are then placed before him, and following the pathway opened by the subtle airs he enters another womb. Having given up one body, he accepts another, O lionlike king. Those who have performed good deeds enter a good womb, and those who lived sinfully enter a sinful womb. The sinful take birth as worms and flies, but I do not want to speak more of that, O great soul.

Living beings appear in bodies of four legs, two legs, six legs, etc., entering the womb of a mother and accepting a particular body. I have explained everything to you fully, O lionlike king. What else would you ask?

King Astaka said:

My dear teacher, what can a mortal do to achieve the very best planets? Is it by austerity or by serious study? Being questioned by me, please explain all this precisely; that is, how can a person gradually achieve the exalted planets of the righteous?

King Yayati said:

One should practice austerity, charity, tranquility, self-control, humility, honesty, and compassion toward all creatures. But the saintly say that these qualities will all be ruined and defeated by darkness if one is taken over by pride.

For example, if a person devotes himself to study but then proudly thinks himself learned and uses his erudition to defeat and humiliate others, then even if he achieves the higher planets he will fall down, and his study of higher knowledge will bear no fruit.

Four activities-- sacrifice, austerity, learning, and worship-- free us from all danger, but when performed proudly the same four activities create danger for the performer. Do not take pleasure when you are honored in this world, and do not grieve when you are insulted. Rather, try to satisfy the saintly persons, for the saintly recognize and honor the saintly, and materialistic persons cannot understand the value of a servant of the Lord.

"One should give charity as I have! People should worship as I do! They should study like me! Look at my vow!" Such a proud mentality is most dangerous for our spiritual life and must always be avoided. By carefully avoiding false pride, thoughtful sages recognize that their true shelter is in the primeval Lord, and they take pride in Him, their minds devoted to Him. Departing from this world, they achieve an effulgent form full of spiritual bliss and attain the supreme state of peace.

AP 86

King Astaka said:

How can people who live as householders reach the worlds of the demigods? How do a mendicant and a student who is always serving his acaryaup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn acarya: the venerable teacher, or spiritual master.attain to the gods? Does a vanaprastha, settled on the spiritual path, achieve the higher worlds? Nowadays there are many answers given to this question.

King Yayati said:

Let us go in order, beginning with the student. A student should recite his lessons when called upon by his teacher, and should be eager to serve his teacher, without being reminded. He should get up before his teacher and lie down after him. A student should be gentle, self-controlled, and determined, and never crazy or negligent, and he must always be inclined to study. In this way, a brahmacari, or student, becomes perfect.

Next is the life of a married man. Having acquired money by virtuous means, a householder should perform religious sacrifice, give in charity, and feed any guests who happen to visit his home, having first offered the food to the Supreme Lord and his representatives, the demigods. He should not take from others what they do not offer him. This is the ancient teaching for those living at home in family life.

Those who have retired from household life and gone to the forest, the vana prasthas, should live by their own effort, always avoiding deceit, giving to others, and never causing others pain or suffering. Thus dwelling in the forest and strictly regulating their eating and other activites, they live just like sages and thus achieve the highest perfection.

A mendicant in the stage of full renunciation must not maintain himself by any craft, nor does he ever own a home or dwelling. He carefully controls his senses, freed from any type of material attachment, moving about without dependence on material arrangements, and with very few possessions. He goes to different countries and lands, traveling a short distance at a time.

Although such spiritual practices seem like darkness itself for the materialists, it is precisely in that so-called darkness that the higher planets are attained, the greatest happiness is realized, and one's desires are fulfilled. Therefore, an intelligent person who has gone to the forest should seriously endeavor to learn self-control during the so-called night of self-realization. One who thus dwells in the forest and eventually leaves his body in the forest provides the rewards of piety not only for himself, but to ten generations of his family before him and to ten generations that come after him.

King Astaka said:

How many types of renounced sages are there, and how many different kinds of austerities do they perform? Please explain this, for we are eager to hear.

King Yayati said:

One who turns his back on the village when living in the forest and turns away from the forest while living in the village is called a muni, O ruler of men.

King Astaka said:

How does one living in the forest turn his back on the village? And how does one dwelling in the village turn his back on the forest?

King Yayati said:

The forest sage must not use anything from the village while living in the forest, and thus he turns his back on the village and becomes a muni. And while living in the village, a sage turns his back on the forest and becomes a muni when he gives up the use of fire, has no dwelling, takes no support from his family, and desires only loincloth and rags to cover his body, with only enough food to maintain his life.

One who gives up all desires for sense gratification, as well as all activities aimed at material gain, and who controls his bodily senses becomes a muni, or a most thoughtful man. By remaining fixed in austerity, one will achieve perfection in this world.

If a person cleans his teeth, cuts his nails, bathes, dresses appropriately, and despite a low background now acts like a pure soul, who will not honor and accept him? Thin from austerity, emaciated, and weak in flesh, bone, and blood, when a muni finally transcends the duality of this world, completely fixed in self-control, then, having conquered this world, he goes on to conquer the planets beyond the earth. When a muni feels no anxiety for his maintenance and looks for his food like a cow, with innocent assurance, he regains his original world and becomes eligible for immortal life.

AP 87

King Astaka said:

Some sages live in a village and some go to the forest. Both run steadily in their path, like the sun and the moon. Of the two types of sage, which will be first to attain equal status with the gods?

King Yayati said:

One who lives among householders but has no house, who lives among people working to fulfill their material desires but remains self-controlled--- that is, a mendicant who can live in the village and still remain pure will first achieve the godly life.

Before one has lived a long life, if the body grows weak or diseased one should try to continue one's practice of austerity. But if it is too difficult or painful, then one may practice some other austerity, for one is never to practice that which is tantamount to cruelty. Authorities say that we are not to follow a path that leads to cruelty [to oneself or others]. Rather, O king, if one devotedly follows the laws of God, without thinking of profit, though one be penniless and positionless--- then such a devoted life is the true honesty, it is the real meditation, and it is actual nobility.

King Astaka said:

Who has sent you today as their messenger, O king? You are young and handsome and radiant, and you bear a beautiful garland. Whence have you come, and in which direction lies your royal capital?

King Yayati said:

My piety spent, thrown from the heavens to come once more to earth, I must now continue my fall to this earthly hell, for even as I speak to all of you, the planetary rulers and priests are rushing me down. Yet I chose to fall into the midst of saintly persons: all of you qualified men who are gathered below. Just as I was about to fall to the earth, I obtained that benediction from Lord Indra, O best of kings.

King Astaka said:

I request you, do not keep falling! O king, if I have earned the right to any higher worlds in the middle sky or in heaven, [then take those planets to break your fall], for I deem you to be a knower of the field of spiritual principles.

King Yayati said:

O lion and leader of kings, you should know that as many cows and horses as the creator has put on the earth, and also as many forests, animals, and mountains, that many planets await you in heaven and are yours.

King Astaka said:

I give those planets to you--- all the worlds that are mine in heaven! O best of kings, whether they be in heaven or middle space, take them immediately, O valiant one, but do not keep falling!

King Yayati said:

O leader of kings, although I have knowledge of Brahman, the Absolute Truth, persons like me are not brahmanas, and therefore we do not accept charity. Charity is always to be given to the twice-born brahmanas, as I used to give it myself. One who is not a brahmana should not be wretched and live by begging. Not even a brahmana's wife should do so. Therefore, I must not do what noble kings never did before. What benefit could I hope to achieve, O saintly one?

King Pratardana said:

O handsome one, I also would like to inquire from you if I, Pratardana, have earned any higher worlds either in the sky or heaven, for I too deem you to be a knower of this field of spiritual principles.

King Yayati said:

O king, many higher planets await you. In fact, if each of those planets--- dripping with honey, full of purest butter and free of sorrow--- if each were to receive you for but seven days, those worlds would last you forever.

King Pratardana said:

I give those planets to you. Do not keep falling! Let all those worlds be yours, be they in heaven or middle space. Take them immediately, without hesitation!

King Yayati said:

A king of equal prowess, O king, cannot desire the pious rewards of another, nor can he beg his maintenance. When a learned king comes to misfortune by the order of divine providence, he will never try to flee his plight by inflicting cruelty on others. Fully conscious of the glorious religious path, a king should focus clearly on the spiritual principles and follow them. A person like me who is ever mindful of virtue and fully aware of the sacred law cannot perform the miserly act you have proposed. I must not do what noble kings have never done before. What benefit could I hope to achieve, O saintly one?

As King Yayati was thus speaking, the illustrious ruler Vasumana then addressed him.

AP 88

King Vasumana said:

I, Vasumana, known as Rausadasvi, request you [to take my future worlds], O best of kings, if I have earned a higher planet, either in the middle sky or in heaven. For I too deem you, great soul, to be a knower of the field of spiritual principles.

King Yayati said:

As many worlds as there are, wherever the sun shines-- in the sky, on earth, or in all directions-- that many are destined for your pleasure in heaven, and those superior planets will host you unendingly.

King Vasumana said:

I give you my rights to those planets, but do not keep falling! Let all the worlds be yours! O king, purchase them from me with a piece of straw, if charity is completely repulsive to you.

King Yayati said:

Since childhood, I hestiated to accept anything falsely acquired, and I do not remember ever making an unfair purchase. I must not do what noble kings never did before. What benefit could I hope to achieve, O saintly one?

King Vasumana said:

O king, please accept my rights to those planets. If the purchase I proposed is not desireable, then I will simply give them to you. I shall not go to the worlds, O best of kings, for they must all be yours.

King Sibi said:

I Sibi, known as Ausinara, ask you, dear king, if I have earned the right to enter any higher worlds, in middle space or heaven, for I too deem you to be a knower of the field of spiritual principles.

King Yayati said:

O best of kings, not by words, nor within your heart, did you ever demean or refuse those who came to you seeking help and charity. Thus you have earned admission to great celestial worlds that are as bright and beautiful as lightning and are alive with song.

King Sibi said:

O king, please accept my rights to those planets. If a sale is not desireable, then I shall simply give them to you. I shall not journey to those worlds, having given them to you. Go to those planets, and there worship the Supreme.

King Yayati said:

O lord of men, just as you are equal to Indra in your strength and influence and have thus earned an unending residence in the higher planets, so I must earn my own progress. I cannot enjoy in a world that was earned and then given by another. Thus, dear Sibi, I cannot welcome such a gift.

King Astaka said:

Dear king, if you do not welcome our gifts of the higher planets when each of us offers them, then all of us together shall present you our merit, and we shall go to hell, so that a greater man be saved.

King Yayati said:

You are all saintly men, devoted to truth and full of compassion, but kindly give your gift to a truly worthy person, for I dare not do what I have never done before.

King Astaka said:

Look! There are five golden chariots! Whose are they? They are tall and full of light, shining forth like tall flames of fire.

King Yayati said:

These five golden chariots, tall and full of light, shining forth like long flames of fire, have come to carry all of you.

King Astaka said:

Please get on this chariot, O king, and go courageously through the celestial skyways. We shall follow you when the time comes.

King Yayati said:

All of us must go now, together, for it is together that we have gained admission to heaven. Look! There is the pure path leading to the abode of God.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thereupon those great and devoted kings all boarded the chariots, and as they ascended the heavens, their shining devotion to sacred law covered the earth and sky.

King Astaka said:

I thought that I alone would be first to go to heaven, since Indra, the great soul, is my friend in every way. How then is Sibi passing our horses at such a terrific speed?

King Yayati said:

Sibi, son of Usinara, gave all his acquired wealth to the Lord's mission, and therefore Sibi is the best of all of us. Charity, austerity, truthfulness, justice, humility, beauty, forgiveness, tolerance-- all these qualities, O gentle king, are to be found in the incomparable King Sibi, whose mind never knew a malicious thought. Because this is his nature, and because he is embarassed to hear us glorify him, he has gone ahead in his chariot.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Then King Astaka again turned with intense curiosity to King Yayati, who shone like Indra and who was actually his maternal grandfather, and asked him, "I ask you, O king-- and tell me the truth-- where have you come from, whom do you serve, and whose son are you? Certainly no other king or brahmana in this world could accomplish what you have done."

King Yayati said:

I am Yayati, son of Nahusa and father of Puru, and I once ruled all the earth. I am speaking confidential knowledge to my own people, for I now reveal myself as your maternal grandfather. Having conquered the entire earth, I captured a hunred beautiful sacrificial horses on the plains and gave them to the brahmanas, whom I serve. The gods too received their share of my religious gifts.

I gave this full and wide earth to the brahmanas in its entirety, with horses, cows, gold, and the greatest treasures. I gave hundreds and millions of cows alone. In truth I say that both heaven and earth were mine, and the fire of sacrifice was ever blazing among the humankind. These words of mine are not falsely spoken, for all saintly and religious people ever honor the truth. And in truth I say that all the godly beings, the sages, and their saintly abodes are worthy of my worship. That is my conclusion.

I declare that whoever, without envy, explains our ascent to heaven to qualified brahmanas will receive from us the right to dwell on the very same godly planet.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Thus that most exalted soul and king, against whom no foe could stand, was saved by the sons of his daughter, and giving up the earth he went to the heavenly planets. He acted with extraordinary nobility, and his fame has filled the earth.

AP 89

King Janamejaya said:

My lord, I would like to hear about the kings who expanded the Puru dynasty, of their heroic strength and their qualities, of their numbers and conquests. In this dynasty there never was a monarch who lacked good character, nor was there a weak or cowardly king, nor one bereft of worthy children. O ascetic sage, whose wealth is austerity, I want to hear at length about the deeds of those kings, for their lives were glorious, and so was their wisdom.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Yes, I shall explain to you, as you requested, about the heroic kings who sustained the House of Puru with power equal to that of Indra.

King Puru, founder of the dynasty, begot in his wife Pausti three sons, Pravira, Isvara, and Raudrasva, all of whom were Maharathas, warriors of the highest category. Of these, Pravira continued the dynasty, begetting in his wife Syeni a heroic and masterful son, the lotus-eyed Manasyu, who protected the four corners of the earth. Subhru, Sanhanana, and Vagmi were the three sons of Manasyu and his wife Sauviri, and all were heroes and Maharatha warriors.

Raudrasva begot ten sons in an Apsara goddess, and all ten were devoted to sacrifice, heroic, highly educated, and blessed with good children. All ten had expert knowledge in all kinds of weapons, and they were all fully committed to the sacred law. Their names were Rcepu, Kaksepu, the powerful Krkanepu, Standilepu, Vanepu, Sthalepu the Maharatha, the mighty Tejepu, the learned Satyepu, who was as daring as Indra, Dharmepu, and the tenth, Sannitepu, who was as daring as the gods. Anadhrsti was the mother of these ten sons, all of whom performed the great Rajasuya and Asvamedha sacrifices.

King Matinara, the learned son of Rcepu, had four sons, O king, each of unfathomable prowess. They were Tamsu, Maha, Atiratha, and the incomparably effulgent Druhyu. Of the four, the mighty Tamsu, the official head of the dynasty, won a brilliant reputation by conquering the earth. The heroic Tamsu begot Ilina as his son, and Ilina was victorious over the entire world, being the best warrior of his day.

Ilina begot in his wife Rathantari five sons who were as solid as the five great elements: earth, water, fire, air, and sky. Their names were Duhsanta, Sura, Bhima, Prapurva, and Vasu. The eldest amoung them, Duhsanta, became the king, O Janamejaya.

From Duhsanta and his wife Sakuntala, the learned King Bharata was born, and he spread far and wide the great fame of the Bharata dynasty. Bharata begot nine sons in three women, but the king did not rejoice in his sons, for he did not consider them worthy to carry on his work. Bharata then worshiped the Lord with great sacrifices and obtained from sage Bharadvaj a son named Bhumanyu, O Bharata. King Bharata, the beloved descendent of Puru, then considered himself to be blessed with a worthy son, and he consecrated Bhumanyu as the successor to the throne. O best of the Bharatas, this lord of the earth, having obtained a son from the sage, then himself begot a son named Vitatha, and Vitatha was raised as the son of Bhumanyu.

With his wife Puskarini, Bhumanyu, also known as Rcika, had four sons, named Suhotra, Suhota, Suhavi, and Suyaj. Suhotra, eldest of the princes, inherited the kingdom, and he worshiped the Supreme Lord with many sacrifices, such as the Raja-suya and the Asvamedha. Suhotra held sway over the entire ocean-skirted earth, with its plenitude of elephants, cattle, and horses, and its abundance of multicolored jewels.

The earth seemed to sink under the heavy burden of her own abundance, for when Suhotra was king the land was full of elephants, horses, chariots, and prospering throngs of humankind. Under his virtuous administration hunreds and thousands of religious shrines and sacrificial pillars decorated the land. As the people and their agriculture flourished, the earth goddess shone in the company of her fellow gods.

With her husband, Suhotra, who was lord of the earth, Aiksvaki gave birth to Ajamidha, Sumidha, and Purumidha, O Bharata. Ajamidha was senior among them, and he sustained the dynasty, himself begetting six sons in three women, O Bharata. Dhumini gave birth to Rksa, Nili to Duhsanta and Paramesthi, and Kesini to Jahnu, Jana, and Rupina. All the great heroes who came to be known as the Pancalas descend from Duhsanta and Paramesthi, O king, and the lineage of the Kusikas springs from Jahnu, of immeasurable prowess.

Older than Jana and Rupina, Rksa was declared to be the king, and from Rksa was born Samvarana, who is a pillar of your dynasty, O king. When Samvarana, son of Rksa, was ruling the abundant earth, a terrible devastation took place among the citizens. We hear from authorities that the kingdom was shattered by various kinds of calamities. Severe drought brought on famine and death, diseases spread rampantly, and the Bharata warriors were stunned by the armies of their enemies. Shaking the earth with powerful elephants, cavalry, infantry, and chariots, the Pancala king, having quickly conquered the rest of the earth, marched against King Samvarana with ten full armies and defeated the Bharata king in battle.

Because of the great danger, King Samvarana fled from his city with his wife, ministers, children, and close friends. He made his dwelling in the groves beside the large Sindhu River, near an adjacent mountain. There the Bharatas lived in hardship for many long years.

When they had been living there for a thousand years, the exalted sage Vasistha approached them. Seeing the sage, who had gone to some endeavor to journey there, all the Bharatas immediately arose, greeted him respectfully, brought him gifts, and respectfully told the resplendent seer all that happened to them.

Vasistha lived with them for eight years, and then the king chose him to be their priest and adviser.

"Good sir, you must become our royal priest, for I am now going to try to regain my kingdom."

Vasistha uttered the sacred syllable Om, by which he accepted the cause of the descendants of Bharata. We have heard that Vasistha then performed the sacred royal bathing cremony, declaring the Paurava king Samvarana to be the rightful emperor of every king upon the wide surface of the earth. Under the tutelage of Vasistha, King Samvarana again occupied the excellent city that was the former seat of King Bharata himself, and again all the kings of the earth were made to bring tribute. Having regained the earth, the mighty son of Ajamidha again offered sacrifice to the Lord with many great ceremonies in which generous gifts were distributed to all the people.

Then Samvarana's austere wife Sauri gave birth to Kuru, and all the citizens chose the prince as successor to the throne. "He knows well the principles of justice," they said. It is by his name that the land of Kurujangala has become so famous throughout the world, and on the strength of his austerities that great ascetic king made Kuruksetra a holy land. We have heard that Kuru's learned wife Vahini bore him five sons, Asvavan, Abhisvan, Citraratha, Muni, and the well-known Janamejaya.

Abhisvan's sons were Pariksit, the heroic Sabalasva, Abhiraja, Viraja, mighty Salmala, Uccaihsrava, Bhadrakara, and the eighth, Jitari. Among their descendants are many famous leaders, whose qualities manifested in their works and brought them glory. In that same line, there were seven other mighty sons, headed by Janamejaya.

All of the sons of Pariksit were expert in the principles of religion and government. Their names are Kaksasena, Ugrasena, the mighty Citrasena, Indrasena, Susena, and Bhimasena.

The powerful sons of Janamejaya were celebrated throughout the world. The first-born was Dhrtarastra, followed by Pandu, Bahlika, the very splendid Nisadha, the mighty Jambunada, Kundodara, Padati, and the eighth, Vasati. Each of them was expert in the principles of religion and government, and each was dedicated to the welfare of all creatures.

Dhrtarastra became the king, and his sons were Kundika, Hasti, Vitarka, Kratha, Kundala, Havihsrava, who resembled Indra, and the invincible Sumanyu.

[From Bhimasena, the great archer Pratipa took birth,] and from Pratipa three sons were born, O noble Bharata. Their names were Devapi, Santanu, and Bahlika, the Maharatha. Although Devapi, as the oldest son, was heir to the throne, he was anxious for self-realization and so he renounced his kingdom and went to the forest. Santanu and the Maharatha Bahlika then received the kingdom.

In the Bharata line, O king, many exalted monarchs arose. They were powerful Maharatha warriors, and at the same time they were as spiritually-minded as godly sages. Similarly, in the line of Manu other invincible godlike warriors took birth, and they caused the dynasty of Ila to flourish.

AP 90

King Janamejaya said:

I have heard from you, O learned one, of the glorious beginnings of our family, and I have carefully listened to you describe the generous and broad-minded kings of this dynasty. But I am not satisfied by such a brief telling of this truly enjoyable story. Please, sir, kindly tell me again at greater length this brilliant account, from the Prajapati Manu onward.

This history of saintly people creates enthusiasm for a godly life. The splendid fame of these kings and their wives is not fiction, but rather is inspired by their true greatness, for they seriously dedicated their lives to the eternal and universal laws of God. By such devotion they developed truly exceptional qualities, and they are worthy of the highest praise. By hearing about them, people will be encouraged to lead a godly life, and this will purify the atmosphere of the entire world. Therefore, who would not be glad to hear of these saintly, powerful men?

I have not heard enough of these heroes who possessed purity, power, heroism, stamina, goodness, and daring. Indeed, to discuss them is to savor a celestial ambrosia.

Sri Vaisampayana said:

Formerly, O king, I heard this topic fully from Srila Vyasa, who completely explained the auspicious origins of your dynasty. Now hear it from me.

From Daksa came Aditi; from Aditi came Vivasvan; from Vivasvan, Manu; from Manu, Ila; from Ila, Pururava; from Pururava, Ayu; from Ayu, Nahusa; from Nahusa, Yayati. Yayati had two wives, Devayani, the daughter of Sukra, and Sarmistha, the daughter of Vrsaparva. The lineage coming down from these two ladies is as follows:

Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu; Sarmistha, daughter of Vrsaparva, gave birth to Druhyu, Anu, and Puru. The descendents of Yadu are the Yadavas, and those of Puru are the Pauravas. The wife of Puru was named Kausalya, and from her was born Janamejaya, who performed three horse sacrifices. Having also worshipped the Lord by the grand Visvajita rite, he retired to the forest.

It is well known that Janamejaya married Ananta of the Yadu dynasty, and from her Pracinvan was born. This son conquered the east up to the point where the sun rises, and therefore he was named Pracinvan, the "owner of the East."

Pracinvan then married Asmaki and begot in her a son named Samyati. Samyati married the beautiful daugher of Drsadvan named Varangi, and Ahampati was born as their son.

Ahampati married the daughter of Krtavirya, named Bhanumati, and Sarvabhauma took birth as their son. Sarvabhauma carried away the Kaikeyi princess Sunanda, and Jayatsena was born as their son. Jayatsena then married the Vaidarbha princess named Susuva, and from her Aracina was born. Aracina married another Vaidarbha princess named Maryada, and from her Mahabhauma was born. Mahabhauma in turn married the daughter of Prasenajit named Suyajna, and from her Ayutanayi was born. Because he brought ten thousand men to sacrifice, he is called Ayutanayi. Ayutanayi married the daughter of Prthusrava named Bhasa, and Akrodhana was born as their son.

Akrodhana married the Kalinga princess named Karandu, and from her Devatithi took birth. Devatithi then married a princess of Videha named Maryada, and Rca took birth as their son. Rca married Sudeva of Anga and begot in her a son named Rksa. Rksa then married the daughter of Taksaka named Jvala and begot in her a son named Matinara.

Matinara performed a twelve-year sacrifice on the bank of the sacred Sarasvati River, and when the sacrifice was finished Sarasvati herself, the goddess of the river, approached him and selected him as her husband. He then begot in her a son named Tamsu. The lineage that descends from this noble couple is as follows:

Sarasvati gave birth to a son named Tamsu by Matinara, and Tamsu begot in Kalindi a son named Ilina. Ilina begot in Rathantari five sons headed by Duhsanta. Duhsanta, of course, married Sakuntala, the daughter of Visvamitra, and from her Bharata took birth. There are two well-known verses from the story of Duhsanta and Sakuntala:

"The mother is the container in which the father begets his son. The son cannot be separated from the father, for he is of his father. Care for your son, Duhsanta! Do not be unkind to Sakuntala."

"The son who bears the father's seed will lift up his father from the abode of the lord of death. It is you, O king, who planted the seed of this child. Sakuntala has spoken the truth."

A celestial voice commanded King Duhsanta: bharasva putram, "Care for your son!" hence the child was called Bharata.

Bharata then married King Sarvasena's daughter, a Kasi princess named Sunanda, and from her Bhumanyu took his birth. Bhumanyu married a Dasarha princess named Jaya, and from her Suhotra was born.

Suhotra married the daughter of Iksvaku named Suvarna, and from her arose Hasti, who arranged to build the city of Hastinapura, which was subsequently named after him. Hasti married a princess of Trigarta named Yasodhara, and she bore him a son named Vikunthana. Vikunthana married a Dasarha princess named Sudeva, and from her Ajamidha was born. Ajamidha begot 2,400 sons in a Kaikeyi princess, a Naga princess, and a Gandhara princess, and in Vimala and Rksa, and each of the sons became a king who founded a royal lineage. Among them the principal dynasty was preserved by Samvarana.

Samvarana married a princess in the line of Vivasvan named Tapati, and from her Kuru was born. Kuru then married a Dasarha princess named Subhangi, and from her Viduratha was born. Viduratha married a princess of Magadha named Sampriya, and they begot a son named Arugvan. Arugvan also married a Magadha princess named Amrta, and from her Pariksit was born. Pariksit then married the daughter of Bahuda named Suyasa, and from her Bhimasena took birth.

Bhimasena in turn married a Kaikeyi princess named Sukumari, and from her was born Paryasrava, who was also called Pratipa. Pratipa then married a princess in the line of Sibi named Sunanda, and he begot in her three sons named Devapi, Santanu, and Bahlika. While still a boy Devapi retired to the forest for spiritual life, and therefore Santanu became the ruler of the earth, and from him descends another branch of the family tree.

Whatever aged person Santanu touched with his two hands would regain his youth and enjoy a happy life. Thus the king was called Santanu, for he brought well-being to the bodies of the aged. Santanu married Ganga, the goddess of the sacred Ganges River, and from her was born Devavrata, who came to be known as Bhisma. In order to please his father Bhisma brought him the maiden Satyavati, also known as Gandhakali, and honored her as his mother.

While Satyavati was still a virgin girl the sage Parasara begot in her an exalted child, Srila Vyasadeva. She had two other sons by Santanu, Citrangada and Vicitravirya. Of the two, Citrangada became king, but he was slain in his youth by a Gandharva also named Citrangada. Then Vicitravirya became the king. Vicitravirya married Ambika and Ambalika, the two daughters of the Kasi king begotten in his wife Kausalya, but despite this marriage, Vicitrivirya left this world childless.

Satyavati worried: "The dynasty of Duhsanta will be severed and lost." She thought of the sage Vyasadeva, and he at once stood before her and said, "What shall I do for you?" She told him, "Your brother Vicitravirya has gone to heaven childless. Be kind and beget a child on his behalf."

"So be it," he replied and fathered three children, Dhrtarastra, Pandu, and Vidura. Of these, Dhrtarastra had one hunred sons by Gandhari, who had received a boon to that effect from Vyasadeva. Among Dhrtarastra's hunred sons, the most prominent were Duryodhana, Duhsasana, Vikarna, and Citrasena.

Pandu had two wives, Kunti and Madri, who were both jewels among women. Once while hunting, Pandu saw a sage disguised as a deer and mating with a doe (who was actually his ascetic wife). When the deer, who had not yet tasted the pleasure of union, happened to come near, Pandu struck him down with his arrows.

Struck by the arrows, the sage said to Pandu, "You know well that I was engaged in lawful activities, and yet you struck me down. Before I could even taste the pleasure of union, you have slain me. Therefore you also will undergo this same experience, and before you can taste the pleasure of union, you will suddenly die!"

Pandu, pale of complexion, always avoided the curse and thus did not approach his two wives. Finally he said to his spouse Kunti, "Because of my whimsical act I have now come to this. I hear from authorities that a childless man can not achieve the higher planets. For my sake you yourself must find a way to beget chilren."

Thereafter, Kunti gave birth to Yudhisthira by the demigod Dharma, to Bhimasena by the Wind, and to Arjuna by Indra. Pandu was joyous and said to her, "Here is your co-wife, who is childless; be kind and help her to also have progeny."

"So be it," said Kunti.

Then Madri conceived Nakula and Sahadeva with the twin Asvinis.

Once Pandu saw Madri beautifully dressed, and his heart went out to her. But upon touching her he lost his life. Madri insisted on following him and mounted his funeral pyre after saying to Kunti, "You, O noble woman, should carefully raise my twin sons." The forest sages then brought Pandu's five sons and Kunti to the royal city of Hastinapura and entrusted them to Bhisma and Vidura.

A plot was devised to burn them to death in a house of lacquer, but they escaped with the help of Vidura. After fleeing and then killing the demon Hidimba, they went to the city of Eka-cakra, and while there Bhima killed the Raksasa named Baka. Thereupon they all went to the capital of the Pancalas, where they won Draupadi as their wife. Regaining their fortune, they returned to their own country. The five Pandava brothers all begot sons in Draupadi. Yudhisthira begot Prativindhya; Bhima begot Sutasoma; Arjuna, Srutakirti; Nakula, Satanika; and Sahadeva begot Srutakarma.

Yudhisthira also married Devika, the daughter of the Saibya King Govasana, and begot in her a son known as Yaudheya. Bhima married a Kasi princess named Baladhara, after heroically fighting for her hand, and begot in her a son named Sarvaga.

Having gone to Lord Krsna's city of Dvaraka, Arjuna married the Lord's sister Subhadra and begot in her a son named Abhimanyu.

Nakula married a Cedi princess named Karenuvati and begot in her a son named Niramitra. Obtaining a wife from his mother's country, Sahadeva married a Madri princess named Vijaya, whom he won in a Svayamvara ceremony, and begot in her a son named Suhotra. Previous to that, Bhimasena had begotten in the Raksasa woman Hidimba a son named Ghatotkaca. These then are the eleven sons of the Pandavas.

Abhimanyu married Uttara, the daughter of King Virata, and a lifeless child was prematurely born to them. Then, instructed by Lord Krsna, Kunti took the dead child on her lap and the Lord said, "I shall give life to this six-month-old embryo." Reviving the infant, the Lord told him "Because this child took birth when the Kuru dynasty was facing extinction (pariksine), his name will be Pariksit."

Pariksit eventually married Madravati, and their son was Janamejaya. Janamejaya begot in Vapustama two sons named Satanika and Sanku. Satanika, of course, married a princess of Videha, who bore him a son named Asvamedha-datta.

Thus the Puru and Pandava dynasty has been described, and one who faithfully hears of the lineage that began with Puru is freed of all the reactions to sin.

AP 91

Vaisampayana said:

Once in the dynasty of Iksvaku, there was born a king named Mahabhisa who ruled the earth. He always spoke the truth, and his heroic deeds brought justice to the world. [But like many great kings Mahabhisa was not satisfied with the pleasures of this world. He desired to experience life on higher planets, where the inhabitants are far more advanced than the human beings of earth, and so he collaborated with the Vedic scientists, the wise brahmanas.]

Thus by the performance of a thousand Asvamedha rites and a hundred Vajapeya sacrifices, he satisfied Lord Indra, and on the strength of his piety, attained the heavenly abode.

[By carefully following Vedic science, King Mahabhisa left the planet earth and traveled to the planet of Indra, where he experienced the celestial enjoyment of the higher beings who reside there.]

On one occasion Indra and his followers went to an even higher world, that of Brahma, the primeval creator of this universe. [Even Brahma is not the Supreme God, but he is certainly the greatest being in this universe.] On that occasion, many saintly kings were present, and Mahabhisa also was in attendance. The greatest of river goddesses, the celestial Ganges, had also come to worship the venerable Brahma.

Ganga, as she is known, wore garments as luminous as the moon, but when she entered the assembly a celestial wind shook those garments and raised them up, exposing her flawless beauty. Immediately the hosts of gods turned their faces down at the embarrassing scene, but Mahabhisa alone stared boldly at the lovely goddess, even in the presence of holy Brahma, who frowned at Mahabhisa's lack of modesty and chided him: "Mahabhisa, you will have to take birth again among the mortal beings of the earth, and after that you will again achieve the higher planets."

[Though cursed to take birth on the earth, Mahabhisa was given the right to select his own parents.] He began to consider all the different earthly kings whom he might accept as his father. "King Pratipa is the best," he said to himself. "He is a brilliant monarch who is thoroughly religious, the best choice to be my father."up6 \chftn rootnote rs18up6 \chftn Mahabhisa had achieved the higher planets by sacrifice and virtue, and he wanted a father who was similarly dedicated to the Vedic culture, so that he could easily return to the celestial planets.

The lovely Ganga saw that her beauty had caused a great king to lose his self-control and fall from heaven, and pondering his plight, the holiest of river goddesses departed. Then as Ganga was going down a celestial pathyway, she saw the eight Vasus, but their bodies looked battered, and some sort of impurity had robbed them of their normal effulgence. Indeed they seemed to be thoroughly dejected. Seeing such important gods in that condition the supreme river goddess inquired, "My dear Vasus, why are you so pale and forlorn? Are you all right?"

The godly Vasus replied, "Dear Ganga, the great saint Vasistha Muni became angry with us for a small offense and has cursed us. Somehow we all became bewildered and crossed him while he was sitting concealed at his twilight rites. Vasistha grew furious and cursed us: `[Leave heaven!] All of you take birth in a [human] womb!'

"There is no way to counteract Vasistha's curse, for he is a realized speaker of the Absolute Truth. Therefore, dear Ganga, please come to earth as a human lady and become our mother, for we cannot enter the womb of an ordinary human woman."

Thus addressed, Ganga said to the Vasus: "So be it!" and she added, "[I want to know who my husband will be.] Tell me, therefore, what noble man will be your father?"

The Vasus replied:

A most virtuous soul named Santanu will appear in this world as the son of King Pratipa, and that Santanu will be our father.

Ganga said:

O sinless Vasus, I was thinking the same way. Yes, I agree, just as you have stated it. I shall give pleasure to Santanu and also grant what you godly Vasus desire.

The Vasus said:

Ganga Devi, you travel throughout the three worlds [and thus you know how miserable is the earth compared to heaven]. As soon as we are born as your sons, you must throw us into the river waters, so that we can quickly atone for our offense.

[We want to drown and be free of these miserable human bodies. Vasistha simply said that we had to take birth down there; he did not say we had to stay there. We do not wish to live on the earth. The moment we take birth the curse is finished, and we can return at once to our real home in the higher planets.]

Ganga said:

I shall do what you ask, but Santanu should have at least one son who lives. His union with me should not go completely in vain.

The Vasus said:

Each of us shall contribute an eighth of our potency, and with that combined prowess, Santanu will have from you the son he desires. But no lineage will arise from him among the mortal beings. Therefore your powerful son will be sonless.

Vaisampayana said:

When the Vasus completed this agreement with Ganga, their minds were filled with joy, and they quickly went on their way, as they wished.

AP 92

Vaisampayana said:

King Pratipa worked for the welfare of all living beings, and for his spiritual advancement he once sat on the banks of the holy Ganges and for many years chanted the Vedic hymns which describe and glorify the Absolute Truth.

One day the lovely Ganga herself, the goddess of that sacred river, appeared before the king. As Ganga came out of the water, her most desirable body glowed with celestial beauty, as if she were the Goddess of Fortune Herself.

[Ganga knew that Pratipa was to be her future father-in-law, and she wanted to test his spiritual purity. She also wanted from him his future son, Santanu.]

Thus with an innocent and lovely countenance, and in all her celestial beauty, the clever goddess went directly up to the saintly king as he studied the Vedas, and she sat down on his right thigh, which was as wide and powerful as a Sala tree.

Seeing the thoughtful young lady sitting on his lap, King Pratipa said to her, "My good woman, what can I do for you? What is it you desire?"

She said:

It is you I desire, O king. Take me, O best of the Kurus, for to reject women who are eager and in need is forbidden by the saintly.

Pratipa said:

I cannot approach another woman for sex, O fair one, nor one who is not of my warrior race. Good woman, please understand that I've taken strict religious vows [and therefore I can only enjoy my own wife].

The woman said:

I am not an impure or improper woman who is not to be approached. Indeed, you will find no fault in me, and I will never bring you misfortune. O king, accept me, even as I am accepting you, for I am an eligible virgin girl.

Pratipa said:

You urge me to engage in a pleasureable act, but one that would violate my religious vow. Were I to surrender to your proposal, that transgression of Law would surely destroy me.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn Ganga knew well that Pratipa spoke the truth. After all, Mahabhisa had fallen from the higher planets for his improper conduct in the presence of Brahma, and the Vasus had similarly fallen because they offended the great sage Vasista.

Moreover, fine woman, you chose to sit on my right thigh, which is a seat for one's child or daughter-in-law. You should know, O shy one, that the left thigh is meant as a seat for one's lover, but you rejected it. Therefore I will not make love to you, fine woman. Rather, my good woman, become my daughter-in-law, for I accept you on behalf of my future son.

[Since you seem to be a goddess, you will not grow old like human beings, and you may thus wait until my son is born and reaches the proper age for marriage.]

O lovely one, after all, you approached me and sat on my right thigh, which is the seat of a daughter-in-law.

The woman said:

O virtuous king, let it be so! I shall unite with your son. Actually, it is because of your sincere devotion to God that I shall agree to enter your dynasty, the illustrious House of Kuru. Certainly all earthly kings find shelter in you Kuru monarchs, for the saintliness of your dynasty is beyond compare, and I could not describe the outstanding qualities of your family even in one hundred years. And yet your son must not investigate my own noble lineage, nor should he ever try to judge all that I may do. If I may thus live with your son, I shall ever increase his joy, and he will have with me beloved and pious sons, and by these sons he will attain to the heavenly abode.

Vaisampayana said:

"So be it!" he said, and she vanished on that very spot. The king then awaited the birth of his son, and within his heart he held firm to his promise. O Kuru child, at that time, Pratipa, the best of royal warriors, joined by his wife, performed austerities to obtain a worthy son, and when the couple was in their latter years, Mahabhisa was born to them. He took birth to extend the lineage of a peaceful father, and thus he became Santanu.

Santanu remembered well the indestructible worlds he had conquered by his former work, and thus, O noble Kuru, he devoted himself to pious acts. And when Santanu reached the maturity of his youth, King Pratipa instructed his son as follows: "Once in the past, Santanu (before you were born), a woman approached me, seeking your good. She was a goddess from heaven, endowed with exquisite beauty. If that fair-skinned lady comes to you in a secluded place, my son, desiring you as her husband, and desiring to have a son by you, then you must never question her. Never say, `Who are you? Who is your authority, fair woman?' Even if she does something that you feel should not be done, do not examine her, my innocent child. My dear son, if that woman accepts you as her husband, then by my order you must accept her." Having thus instructed his son, Santanu, and annointed him as king of the realm, King Pratipa entered the forest to prepare himself for the next life.

Santanu ruled his kingdom wisely and his fame spread around the world. He was an accomplished archer and was always seen in the forests, for he was accustomed to hunt. He was the best of kings, and as he hunted stags and wild buffalo, he wandered alone along the banks of the Ganges, which are frequented by perfected mystics and Caranas.

Once, as the king wandered alone on the river bank, he saw an extraordinary woman who glowed intensely as if she were the Goddess of Fortune herself. Each of her limbs was faultless, and she was adorned with celestial jewels. She wore the finest garments, and her skin was lustrous and fair like the bright whorl of a lotus.

Seeing the perfection of her beauty, the king was astonished, and his hairs stood on end. He drank up her beauty with his eyes, but his thirst could not be quenched. And simply by seeing that effulgent king walking there, she felt a strong affection for him, as if he were her dearest friend. That splendid, playful goddess continued to glance at him, but she too could not satisfy her eyes.

Then the king spoke to her with a kind and comforting voice. "Whether you are a goddess or a lady of the Danavas or the Gandharvas; whether you are an Apsara, a Yaksi, a Pannagi, or an earthly woman; whatever you may be, O thin-wisted maiden, you appear to be a child of the gods, for you are beautiful and good. Please become my wife."

Hearing the king's kind and gentle voice and seeing his smiling face, and remembering too her own promise to the Vasus, the blameless Ganga approached the king and gladdened his mind with the following words: "O earthly ruler, I shall become your obedient queen. But please hear my words. Whatever I may do, whether it be good or bad, you must not try to stop me, or criticize me with unkind words. As long as you act in that way, I will stay with you, O king. But if you should restrain me or speak unkindly to me, then I shall most certainly leave you at once."

"So be it!" the king told her, and Ganga felt the greatest joy, for she had obtained the best of kings as her husband. Santanu came to his queen and enjoyed loving affairs with her, and was controlled by his desire for her. "She is not to be questioned!" These words of warning stayed in his mind, and thus he spoke not a single word against her. And Ganga behaved so well; she was so lovely, generous, and noble, and so eager to please her husband. To be alone with him, that the king of the world was satisfied. The beauty of her form was celestial, for she was the goddess of the sacred river that travels throughout the universe. But now, that fairest of women had accepted a beautiful humanlike body, and she behaved just like a most submissive wife to Santanu, that lion among kings, who shone like the king of the gods. And all of Santanu's fortunes now depended on his ardent desire for Ganga.

Ganga pleased her husband in many ways. She was expert in conjugal affairs and knew how to make her husband feel loved. She would allure him with coquettish gestures and charm him with romantic dancing. And as the king enjoyed his heavenly wife, so Ganga delighted as much in Santanu.

Santanu was overwhelmed by her supreme feminine qualities and became so attached to their loving affairs that he failed to notice that the many months, seasons, and years were passing by. As he enjoyed life with his wife, fulfilling all his desires, the powerful king begot eight sons in Ganga's womb, and all of them shone like the immortal gods. But as soon as each son was born, Ganga would immediately carry him to the river and throw him into the water, saying, "I do as you wish," and thus drown her son in the waves of the Ganges.

The king was very unhappy with this, but he did not say a word, fearing that his wife would leave him. Then his eighth son was born, and his wife seemed to be laughing. The king finally spoke out to her, for by this time he was filled with grief, and longed to have a son. "Don't kill this boy!" he cried, "Who are you? Who has taught you these things? Why do you kill your own sons? You child-killer! Don't commit this greatest of sins! Stop, you wretched woman!"

The woman said:

You desire a son and actually you are an ideal father. I will not kill this boy, but my time with you has now expired, according to our agreement. I am Ganga Devi, the daughter of Jahnu, and I am served by all the great sages. In order to perform a duty for the gods, I have lived with you as your wife.

Our eight sons are the powerful demigods known as the Vasus. These exalted beings were cursed by Vasista Muni and were thus forced to take human births. They did not want anyone but you to be their father on the earth. There was no human mother who could properly give birth to them, and so at their request I accepted that duty, and therefore I accepted a human life.

Dear Santanu, because you became the father of the eight godly Vasus and loved them as your sons, you will return to the imperishable planets to live with the celestial beings.

[I knew how much you desired to go back to the higher planets, and I sincerely wanted to help you. Now your desire will be fulfilled.]

Dear Santanu, know that I promised the godly Vasus that as soon as they were born I would liberate them from their human birth. By my actions they are now freed from the curse of the great soul Vasista. [Only this one Vasu, your eighth son, will remain on the earth.]

I wish the best for you, but I must leave. Please protect your son, for he will live to carry out the greatest of vows. By my agreement with the Vasus, my time on earth is over. But our son will remain. Dear Santanu, always remember that I, Ganga, have given you this child.

AP 93

Santanu said:

You referred to the sage who cursed the Vasus as "Apava." Who indeed is that Apava? And what did the godly Vasus do wrong, so that by his curse they all came to have human bodies? And this child you have given me, Ganga, what did he do? What deed has caused him to stay and live in human society?

The Vasus are lords of the entire world. How could they take birth among human beings? O Jahnavi, please explain this to me.

Vaisampayanaa said:

When thus addressed, the goddess Ganga, known as Jahnavi, spoke these words to her husband, King Santanu, who was the best of men: "O noble Bharata, Vasista Muni is the son of Varuna, the lord of the water. Therefore Vasista is also known as Apava, "son of the water."up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn from apah, "the waters."

"On the slopes of Meru, the lord of mountains, is an as rama filled with gentle birds and animals and the flowers of all seasons. There, in a region of forests rich in tasty fruits, vegetables, and roots, the most pious of sages, Vasistha, son of Varuna, performed his austeries.

"Now, it so happened that Daksa's powerful daughter named Surabhi, along with her husband Kasyapa, created a wonderful cow that gave not only milk but everything its owner desired. The great soul Vasista desired to use that cow, not for any selfish purpose, but to do good to the world, and that extraordinary cow came under his care.

"Vasista's desire-cow lived peacefully with its master in that sacred forest where sages purified their lives through disciplined penances. The inhabitants of that forest were happy to follow the laws of God, and the desire-cow grazed peacefully without any fear.

"One day the eight godly Vasus, headed by Prthu, came to that forest, which was a favorite spot even for the gods and godly seers. The Vasus came with their wives and strolled all about the forest enjoying the charming hills and groves.

"At that time, the lovely wife of one of the Vasus was wandering in the forest and she saw the amazing desire-cow of Vasista Muni. The Vasu's wife was struck with wonder by the perfect behavior of the cow and the opulence it provided. Fetching her husband, she showed him the attractive desire-cow and pointed out its full, rich udder and handsome tail. Indeed, the cow was endowed with all desirable qualities, and its behavior was excellent.

"Her husband, who was the Vasu named Dyau, commented on the beauty and fine features of the cow, but then informed his celestial wife as follows: "`Dear goddess, this excellent cow belongs to Vasista Muni, the son of Varuna. In fact, my beautiful one, this entire celestial forest belongs to that sage. Vasista's desire-cow is quite famous. I've heard that even an ordinary human being who drinks the sweet milk of this cow will live for ten thousand years without losing his youth.'

"Hearing her husband's words, the slender-waisted goddess, who was exceptionally attractive, spoke to her powerful husband as follows: "`My darling, I have a girlfriend in human society who is a king's daughter. Her name is Jinavati and she's so lovely and youthful. Her father, whose name is Usinara, is a saintly king known for his honesty and wisdom. Jinavati is well known among human beings for her exquisite beauty.

"`My powerful husband, it is for her that I so much want this desire-cow and her calf. O best of the gods, you always do good to others. Quickly take this cow away for me so that my girlfriend can drink its milk. Then she alone among humankind will be free of old age and disease.

"`My dear faultless husband, you are so powerful. You must do this for me. I want that cow more than anything else in the world!"'

"Hearing these words from his celestial wife and desiring to please her, the Vasu Dyau, along with his brothers headed by Prthu, took away the cow. Dyau was so much swayed by his lotus-eyed wife that he did not even stop to consider that the cow's owner, Vasista, had acquired frightening power through his severe austerities in yoga, nor did Dyau forsee his own falldown as a result of stealing the sage's cow.

"When the son of Varuna returned to his as rama and began gathering up fruits, he did not see his cow and her calf in the celestial forest. He therefore began searching throughout the forest, but the great-minded one could not find his cow. He soon understood, however, by his divine vision, that the cow had been led away by the Vasus. Suddenly rage overwhelmed him, and he cursed the eight Vasus: "`Since the Vasus have dared to steal that wonderful cow, they shall certainly fall from the higher planets and take birth among mankind.' Thus the lordly Vasistha, son of Varuna, and a noble thinker, came fully under the sway of his wrath and cursed the Vasus.

Vasista is an ascetic who has gathered a great wealth of austerity. Consequently he is very powerful, and when that seer of the Absolute was roused to fury, he cursed even the gods. Having cursed the eight Vasus, he again set his mind on the practice of austerity.

"Knowing they had been cursed, the Vasus returned to the hermitage of that great soul and approached the seer. They tried to appease Vasista so that he might withdraw his curse, but the sage refused to grant their request. He had come to his own conclusion about what was best for the offenders, for he was expert in matters of justice and religion. Accordingly he told the Vasus, "`The seven Vasus, headed by Dhara will be free from my curse within a single year. But this Vasu, Dyau, for whose sake the others have been cursed, will remain on the earth. Since it is Dyau who stole the cow, he will live a long life on the earth.

"`Even though I spoke to you in anger, I will not make my words false by changing them. But I will grant the following to the Vasu Dyau: He will take birth as a great-minded man, learned in all the books of knowledge, and always devoted to dharma, the path of virtue. For his father's sake, he will renounce the pleasure of women and thus beget no offspring on earth.'

"Having thus spoken to the eight Vasus, the powerful sage departed, and the Vasus then approached me and begged me for a boon, which of course I granted them.

"`O Ganga,' they said, `as soon as each of us is born, you must throw us into the water so that we can come home to the higher planets.' Therefore, O saintly king, to save the poor Vasus from the pain of earthly life I acted as I did. Indeed, I acted properly.

"My dear Santanu, only this Vasu named Dyau, now born as our child, will remain for a long time in this world due to Vasista's curse. [I will take him now and train him, and later he will return to live with you as your son.]"

Having explained all this to the king, the goddess Ganga vanished from his sight; taking the child with her, she went her way as she desired. Her celestial child would become famous as Deva-vrata, "one who has taken a Godly vow." People would also called him Gangeya, the son of Ganga. Thus the son of Santanu, who surpassed his father in good qualities, received two glorious names. And Santanu himself, burning with grief at the loss of his wife, returned alone to his city.

Now I shall describe the greatness of Santanu, whose qualities were beyond measure. He was an exalted Bharata king, and the central story of this history begins with him.

AP 94

Vaisampayana said:

Santanu was universally admired, by gods, kings, and sages, as an enlightened ruler of keen intelligence. His honesty and religious devotion were legendary. Indeed, qualities such as self-control, charitableness, wisdom, modesty, determination, and exceptional power were ever present in that very best of men. Born in the Bharata line, Santanu clearly possessed all the excellent qualities of the Bharata kings. Expert both in religious affairs and practical action, the king carefully protected the law-abiding citizens and faithfully guarded the fabled Bharata dynasty.

The king's shoulders were large and broad, and his handsome neck was marked with three attractive lines like a well-formed conch. When challenged, Santanu moved with the ferocity of a maddened elephant, yet he always placed justice and virtue above his personal pleasure or gain. Such extraordinary qualities were present in the great soul named Santanu.

There was no other king on earth equal to him in virtue, and thus even as he peacefully engaged in his own duties, the other world leaders annointed him as their king, to guard the earthly realm, for they knew him to be the wisest and most fair-minded leader.

Under Santanu's leadership, the kings of the earth remained free of distress, fear, and harassment, and always awoke refreshed after sleeping peacefully at night. Thus King Santanu preserved the glory and stature of the Bharata race.

The world was secure and safe under the protection of saintly kings, headed by Santanu, and teachers, warriors, merchants, and laborers all performed their duties with care as an offering to God. The brahmanas automatically commanded the people's respect, and thus all mankind progressed on the spiritual path.

The ruling kings and princes served the self-realized teachers, while merchants and farmers gladly followed the rulers. The laborers were loyal to their teachers and rulers, and worked honestly to assist the merchants and farmers. Amid this most auspicious social climate, King Santanu dwelt in the charming capital city of Hastinapura and ruled this ocean-bounded earth.

The king gave generously in charity but restricted his personal sense gratification, and thus by God's grace he was blessed with supreme opulence. Yet even with his unlimited wealth he remained simple and straightforward, honest, and wise.

King Santanu was as handsome to see as the shining moon; it gave the people great pleasure to see him; and he neither envied nor unduly favored anyone. As fiery as the sun, as swift as the wind, and as frightening as death when aroused to anger, the king was nevertheless as tolerant as the earth itself. Moreover, when Santanu ruled the earth no one could whimsically kill a bird or beast, or any other creature, simply for sport or out of malice.

Santanu was steady in his submission to the laws of God, and thus his entire kingdom bowed down as one to the Creator's will. Casting off selfish desire, Santanu ruled all creatures equally. And to satisfy the demigods, sages, and the Supreme Lord Himself (who is the enjoyer of all sacrifices), the king initiated grand religious ceremonies and brought them to completion.

In that kingdom not a single creature met an unfair death, and if anyone was unhappy or lost without shelter, the king himself took him under his wing. Whether man or animal, all of God's creatures found a kind and caring father in the king. When the best of Kuru lords ruled this world as the king of kings, speech was devoted to truth, and thinking directed toward charity and virtue.

After enjoying the pleasure of women for thirty-six years, King Santanu found himself alone, and so he left his opulent capital city and went to live in the forest.

In the meantime, Santanu's only son, Devavrata, had grown under his mother's care into an extraordinary child, as strikingly handsome as Santanu himself. In fact, he equalled his father in every way-- in his excellent behavior, practical ability, and sincere devotion to spiritual knowledge. The son of Ganga was actually one of the celestial Vasus appearing in a human form, and he easily learned the military science by mastering both earthly and celestial weapons. He had great strength, great stamina and courage, and he possessed great skill in the battle of chariots.

One day King Santanu was walking along the Ganges, hunting game, when he noticed there was very little water in the great river. Santanu wondered why the water had suddenly stopped flowing in the holy Ganges, and looking about for the cause, the wise king saw a beautiful young boy, quite large for his age, with a powerful physique. The boy was employing celestial weapons as if he were Indra himself and was blocking the entire Ganges River with his powerful arrows.

Seeing this boy completely block the great river with sharp and perfectly placed arrows, the king was struck with wonder, for it was a superhuman feat worthy of Indra himself. Of course the lad was Santanu's own son, but since the wise king had seen him only once, and that just moments after his birth, he remembered too little of his son to recognize him now.

Upon seeing his father, the boy bewildered him with mystic power and quickly vanished from that place. This extraordinary event made King Santanu begin to suspect that the boy was actually his own son, and thus he cried out to Ganga Devi, "Please let me see him!"

Ganga then revealed herself to the king in a most beautiful form, taking her well-dressed boy in her right hand. Ganga was exquisitely adorned with jewels and spotless raiments. Although the king had known her before, she appeared in such a way that the king could not recognize her. She then spoke to him as follows:

Ganga said:

O king, here is the eighth son whom you previously begot in me. O tiger among men, kindly take him with you. Your powerful son, taught by Vasistaup6 \chftn rootnote rs18up6 \chftn The same Vasista who cursed Dyau had now knowingly instructed Dyau, who had taken birth as Deva-vrata.

himself, has now mastered the Vedas and their supplements. He is perfect in the use of arms and a master archer, equal to Lord Indra in battle and deeply respected by the gods as well as the demons.

The great sage Sukra has mastered many Vedic scriptures, but your son knows all of those scriptures in full. The son of Angira is honored by gods and demons alike, but whatever Vedic science is known to that child, your great and mighty-armed son has fully understood in all its subtleties. The fierce sage named Parasurama is so deadly in battle that no one can approach him, but whatever weapons that sage has mastered are firmly in the grasp of this boy. He is your own son, O king, whom I place in your hands. He is an extraordinary fighter, but he is also wise in the moral and practical affairs of kings. O heroic Santanu, take this young hero to your home.

Vaisampayana said:

When the goddess Ganga thus entreated the king, he took his child, who shone like the sun, and departed for his own city. When he reached that city, which was equal in splendor to the city of Indra, King Santanu felt that all his desires had been richly fulfilled. Before all the members of the royal family, he proceeded to install his son as the heir to the Kuru throne.

Santanu's son quickly grew in fame, and by his acts he delighted the royal family, the residents of the capital, his own father, and the entire kingdom. Deva-vrata, the son of Santanu, displayed excellent behavior and strictly followed the spiritual principles of life. In fact, he surpassed his own father in good qualities and displayed perfect knowledge of earthly weapons and extraterrestrial arms as well. He was all that a king could desire in a son.

Four more years passed as the powerful King Santanu enjoyed life with his son. Then one day as the king walked along the bank of the Yamuna River, he smelled an extraordinary, almost indescribeable fragrance. Searching for its source the king wandered all about, until he saw a young girl who was reared by fishermen. That simple maiden was as lovely as a goddess in heaven.

"May I ask who you are, young lady," said the king to the lotus-eyed girl, "and to what family you belong? What are you doing here?"

"I am a fisherman's daughter," she replied. "Actually my father is the king of the fishermen. He's a very good man, and by his order my duty is to steer this boat and take passengers across the Yamuna River."

Observing the beauty, sweetness, and fragrance of the fisherman's daughter, whose body seemed to be divine, King Santanu strongly desired her. He went at once to her father and requested him to give his daughter in marriage.

"The day my daughter was born," replied the leader of the fishermen, "I knew that some day I would give this lovely girl to a suitable husband. However, I do have a certain desire in my heart, dear king, and if you've actually fallen in love with my daughter and want her hand in religious marriage, then please let me tell you what my desire is. You're a saintly king who always speaks the truth, and I believe your word. If you grant me what I want, then on those terms I shall certainly give you my daughter, since I shall never find another man as good as you."

Santanu said:

Dear fisherman, when I hear what you want, I may accept it or not. If it is proper to give, I shall give it, but I will never grant you that which should not be given.

The fisherman said:

Dear king, my daughter's son, and no one else, will be installed after you as ruler of the earth.

Vaisampayana said:

Though his body burned with desire, Santanu would not bestow such a boon upon the fisherman.

[He had already promised the throne to his son, Devavrata. Santanu could somehow bear the loneliness and pain of being without a wife, but he could not break his word, and certainly not to his beloved son, Devavrata.]

Thinking only of the fisherman's daughter, that lord of the earth headed back to Hastinapura, his mind torn by grief. After this incident, Devavrata saw that King Santanu continually lamented and was always meditating on something, and so he approached his father and spoke these words:

"Dear king, you have provided all kinds of prosperity and comfort to all the world's leaders and their citizens. Why are you unhappy and always lamenting? It seems you are always pondering something, O king; why don't you ever talk about it?"

Thus addressed by his son, Santanu replied: "Without doubt, I am always brooding, just as you say I am. The problem is that in our great Bharata dynasty you are my only son and heir. Therefore, dear boy, I am grieving over the ephemeral nature of this mortal world.

"O son of Ganga, somehow or other our family must not come to misfortune. You alone are undoubtedly better than a hundred ordinary sons, and I would not dare to accept another wife for nothing. Bless you, son; I only want that our great family not perish from this earth. Those who know the principles of dharma, divine law, say that to have but one son is like having no son at all. Indeed, even the performance of agni-hotra, study of the three Vedas, and the offering of sacrifices with generous remuneration-- all of these together do not hold even a sixteenth of the merit of having a good son. I have no doubt on this point, that it is most important for mankind to have good children, and it is even so for all creatures. This is the everlasting message of the three Vedas, gleaned from the greatest of the sacred histories.

"My son, you are courageous by nature and always intolerant of insult, and your duty is to constantly bear arms. [At any time, day or night, the people can come to you for protection, and you must give them shelter against all aggressors.] Therefore, my sinless son, your death cannot come otherwise but by battle of arms. And that is why my mind is torn by doubt. If and when you pass away, how will this family go on? Now, my beloved child, I have revealed to you the real reason for my unhappiness."

Devavrata was very intelligent, and he took leave of his father to think deeply on the matter. Hastily approaching a senior government minister who was a sincere friend to his father, Devavrata asked him to explain the actual cause of his father's grief.

The trusted minister then explained to the noble Kuru prince what had actually happened. He told him how his father had begged for the hand of a fisherman's daughter and how the fisherman king had placed a condition on the marriage. Then Devavrata, accompanied by a group of senior warriors, went to personally request the fisherman's daughter for his father, King Santanu.

The fisherman welcomed the Kuru prince, and after properly honoring him, addressed Devavrata as he sat in the assembly of kings. "You are indeed a lord and a worthy representative of your father, Santanu. You are a fine man, Devavrata, and an ideal son for any father. What can I say to you? It would be most desirable and very prestigious for anyone to marry into your great family. Even Indra himself would regret missing such an opportunity.

"Of course this child, Satyavati, is actually the daughter of a great king who is equal to you people in his fine qualities. It was from his seed that my respectable daughter was born. [We fishermen have simply raised her.] Her real father, the great King Vasu, many times praised your father, Santanu. He would say `Among all the rulers of the world, Santanu deserves to marry my daughter.' [I took King Vasu's words very seriously.] So even when the celestial sage Asita requested to marry my daughter, I turned down that exalted sage.

"And yet as the girl's father there is something I should tell you. To have a strong rival in this world is a bad thing. That's how I see it. You are a fierce warrior, Devavrata, and whoever gets you as his rival, even if he's a Gandharva or an Asura, what to speak of a human being, can never live in peace once you get angry with him. My lord, that and nothing else is the problem with this proposed marriage. I only desire the best for you, but please understand that I must also consider the welfare of my daughter's son before I give my daughter in marriage."

The son of Ganga could only think of his father's happiness, and addressed thus by the fisherman king he replied at once, as the other Kuru warriors sat and listened.

"You are an honest man," he told the fisherman, "and you should believe what I am about to tell you. There is no king, living or dead, who would dare to make this vow. I now declare that the son born to your daughter will become our lord and king. I hereby renounce my father's throne. You say that your daughter's son should have no rival, and so it shall be!"

Hearing these grave words, the fisherman was still not satisfied. Struggling to secure the kingdom for his grandson, he again spoke to Devavrata.

"You are indeed our lord, Devavrata, being the worthy representative of your father, Santanu, who is a monarch of unfathomed splendor. You are a just and religious man, and indeed you know what is fair in this matter. You have all power to decide how my daughter should be given. But please hear from me the following words, which I speak only out of a father's duty to his beloved daughter. My gentle prince, there is yet something more to be done.

"I know that you are sworn to virtue and truth, and the vow you have taken in order to obtain my daughter Satyavati is indeed consistent with your exalted character. And yet, dear prince, I have but one doubt and no other: you may yet have a son. That is my greatest worry. When your powerful son is born, there will be no peace for my daughter's child."

Devavrata was determined to please his father, and his life was sworn to honestly carry out his religious principles. Thus, when he understood the fisherman's decision, he made the following vow:

Devavrata said:

O fisherman king, most respectable monarch, hear now my words, which I speak for my father's sake in the presence of all these kings. I have already renounced my father's kingdom in favor of your grandson, and I have now decided the following in regard to my descendants. From this day on, O fisherman, I accept brahmacarya, the difficult vow of celibacy. I shall have no wife or children on this earth, but rather I shall attain the immortal worlds of the spiritual sky."

Vaisampayana said:

When the honest fisherman heard these words, he was filled with joy and his hairs stood on end. "Yes I will now give you my daughter!" he said to Devavrata.

In the space between heaven and earth the celestial pleasure-maidens and the gods themselves, along with the great sages, showered down flowers and cried out, "This man is Bhisma!" for bhisma means awesome, and Santanu's son had given up everything that a young prince could desire, out of love for his father.

"Bhisma! Bhisma!" they cried in wonder. And Bhisma himself, as Devavrata would henceforth be known, turned to the celebrated Satyavati and said, "My dear mother, please mount my chariot, for my father is waiting and we must go to our home." Having thus spoken, Bhisma lifted the beautiful woman onto his chariot and departed. Arriving in Hastinapura, he explained everything to King Santanu. The kings who had accompanied him glorified his deeds, which were so difficult to perform. Indeed, whether assembled together or speaking privately, the Kuru warriors glorified Santanu's son, repeating the words of the gods, "This man is Bhisma!"

Santanu was so satisfied upon seeing the difficult act Bhisma performed on his behalf that he awarded his son this blessing: Bhisma's death could only come at a moment of his own choosing.


Vaisampayana continued:

When the royal wedding was over, King Santanu settled his beautiful virgin bride in her personal quarters, and some time after, an intelligent and heroic son with superhuman prowess was born to Santanu and Satyavati, and they named him Citrangada.

Several years later, the mighty Santanu begot in his wife another warrior son, and the new-born prince was named Vicitravirya. However, before this child reached adolescence King Santanu passed away by the inexorable force of time. When Santanu had thus returned to the heavenly worlds, Bhisma, with the approval of Satyavati, established Citrangada on the royal throne.

Citrangada wanted to reaffirm the sovereignty of the Kuru dynasty, and with great courage he subdued all the other kings of the earth. Many simply accepted his authority, and those who challenged him were defeated in battle. The Kuru monarch boldly asserted that no man on earth could equal him, and so powerful was Citrangada that he could challenge even the gods and demons.

There was a powerful king of the Gandharvas, who was also named Citrangada. [The Gandharvas are generally far stronger than human beings, and the Gandharva king was angry to hear that a mere human king was using his name.] He came and challenged the son of Satyavati, and a terrible fight ensued on the field of Kuruksetra between the Gandharva chief and the leader of the proud Kuru dynasty. There on the bank of the Hiranvati River they fought for a full three years.

In that tumultuous and crushing battle, showers of deadly weapons crowded the sky. The Gandharva king finally managed to employ his superior mystic strength and cut down the noble king of the Kurus. Having ended the life of Citrangada, the Kuru chief who was so skillful with arrows and bow, the leader of the Gandharvas went back to his own luminous planet.

When that most brilliant tiger of a king was struck down in battle, Bhisma, son of Santanu, arranged for the funeral rites. Then mighty-armed Bhisma installed on the Kuru throne the child Vicitravirya, who had not even reached physical maturity. Vicitravirya simply followed the instructions of Bhisma, and thus he ruled the kingdom of his forefathers. Even in his youth he was learned in the books of wisdom and carefully followed their injunctions. Thus he properly honored Bhisma, son of Santanu, and Bhisma in turn carefully protected the young prince.

AP 96

Vaisampayana continued:

O sinless king, Citrangada was dead and his brother still a child, so Bhisma with the approval of Satyavati managed the affairs of the Kuru dynasty. When he saw that his younger brother had reached his mature youth, and was outstanding even among the intelligent, Bhisma began to think about Vicitravirya's marriage. He then heard that the three daughters of the Kasi king, who were all as lovely as Apsara goddesses, would be choosing their husbands at a svayamvara ceremony.

Bhisma was the best of chariot fighters, and with the approval of Satyavati he clad himself in armor and went with a single chariot to Varanasi city, capital of the Kasi kingdom. There the son of Santanu saw kings everywhere. They had come with high spirits to compete for the princesses, and Bhisma also observed the three lovely young sisters, who were the objects of the kings' desire.

While the names of the kings were being announced by the thousands, those most exquisite princesses observed Bhisma, the elderly son of Santanu, who had come alone, and all three sisters, seeing his advanced age, were disturbed and moved away from him. There were ill-mannered kings who also derided Bhisma. "He has grey hair and wrinkles," they declared to one another. "He's an old man, completely devoted to his religious principles. For what reason would that Bharata leader come here and shamelessly compete for young girls? He falsely promised the world that he would not marry," they said, laughing with disdain. "What will he say now? We wrongly praised him for his so-called vow of celibacy."

Vaisampayana said:

O Bharata, hearing these words from the warriors, Bhisma grew wroth. He was in full control of the situation, being the greatest of the Bharatas, and he had already decided to take the girls. O king, Bhisma, that pre-eminent fighter, simply placed the girls on his chariot and then turned to address the assembled kings with a voice as deep as thunder rumbling in the clouds.

"The learned enjoin that a gift of eligible maidens is to be offered to good and qualified men called for that occasion. Indeed, the maidens are to be adorned as nicely as can be done, and they are offered with rich doweries. Some parents offer their daughter with a gift of a fine cow and bull, or with offerings of money, while other parents offer their daughter to a powerful man who can properly defend her. Some men directly approach a beautiful woman without even speaking to the parents, and scholars even cite cases where men have obtained their desired women by secretly embracing them while they were sleeping, intoxicated, or disordered in mind.

"Kings and princes, however, generally reserve their praises for the svayamvara marriage, as we witness here today, and they much enjoy attending such ceremonies. Those who know the science of statecraft have said that a monarch obtains a most desireable wife when he defeats all other kings at a free and open svayamvara and thus takes away the woman he desires.

"Therefore, O rulers of the earth, I shall now carry these young ladies away by force. After all, they attended this ceremony prepared to accept the most powerful of earthly kings, and I claim to be that man. Try your best to stop me, if you like, and we shall see whether you succeed or not. I am ready to fight, O earthly kings, and I shall not turn back."

Having thus spoken to the assembled warriors, including the girls' own father (the king of Kasi), mighty Bhisma of the Kuru dynasty secured the three lovely princesses on his chariot. Greeting them with kind words and sheltering them on the chariot, he quickly departed.

At once the kings leaped up in rage from their seats. With unimaginable fury they struck their arms and ground their teeth and lips. Casting off their priceless ceremonial ornaments, they hurriedly put on their armor, while utter confusion filled the arena. Shining and bejeweled armor crashed like colliding stars, as warriors rushed about in all directions, grabbing their lustrous and decorated shields. As they tensed for battle, their brows were furrowed with indignation, and their eyes turned red with rage.

These spirited kings, equipped with all types of weapons, mounted their beautiful chariots, quickly yoked by their drivers with pure-bred horses that lifted the chariots in their eagerness for battle. Brandishing weapons, they pursued the Kuru lord as he departed alone on a single chariot, and within moments a tumultuous, hair-raising battle took place between the many kings and Bhisma, who stood alone.

The attacking kings simultaneously fired off ten thousand arrows at Bhisma, but he immediately cut the deadly darts to pieces before a single arrow could find its mark. All the kings then surrounded Bhisma and showered relentless torrents of arrows down on him, like rain clouds tirelessly buffeting a mountain. But Bhisma again checked all the enemy arrows with his own.

Santanu's son then went on the attack, striking each of the thousands of enemy kings with three arrows. Seeing Bhisma's superhuman feat, his speed of hand and skill in self-defense, the other chariot warriors, though enemies, could not help but praise him, for Bhisma was a military master. Himself uninjured, he began to exact a heavy toll of enemy kings, and soon they admitted defeat. Having conquered the kings in battle, Bhisma once more departed with the virgin princesses toward the ancient city of the Bharatas.

As the chariot rolled along, the young king of Salva, considered a master chariot fighter, suddenly rushed up from behind to attack the son of Santanu. He charged like a maddened bull elephant striking another bull in the thighs with his tusks in the heat of passion over a female.

"Stop! Stop you woman-hunter!" cried the mighty king, trembling with indignation.

Bhisma was like a tiger in human frame, and he could crush his enemy when aroused. Hearing the insulting words of Salva-raja, he burned with anger like a smokeless fire. "This will be settled by the warrior code," he thought, devoid of fear or confusion. In a cold rage, the glorious chariot fighter turned his chariot back toward Salva.

All of the opposing kings had already begun to leave, but when Salva suddenly challenged Bhisma, and Bhisma turned back his chariot, the assembled kings rushed back to the spot and became eager spectators to the impending fight. Bhisma and Salva both roared like maddened bulls fighting to the death for a prized female. Both were fiercely strong in battle, and each immediately attacked the other.

Salva-raja, greatly admired among men, quickly covered Santanu's divine son with hundreds and thousands of arrows. And seeing that Bhisma was the first to be put in distress, the assembled kings were amazed and cried out in praise of Salva's fighting skill. To witness his speed of hand in battle thrilled the kings, and they showered Salva with praise.

Bhisma was accustomed to victory, however, and when he heard the kings shouting Salva's praises, the angry son of Santanu cried out to his enemy, "Stand there! Stand there and we shall see!"

"Take me where that king is standing," Bhisma told his chariot driver, "and I shall strike him down like mighty Garuda thrashing a lowly snake."

At once the Kuru lord expertly fired the Varuna weapon, and Salva's four celestial horses were immediately put into trouble. When Salva attempted a counterattack, the Kuru prince drove back his weapons and then dealt a death blow to Salva's charioteer. Bhisma, that tiger among kings, then struck down Salva's four fighting horses with a single weapon.

Thus Bhisma, son of Santanu, defeated the younger Salva in the battle for the royal maidens. Bhisma decided to spare his life, and Salva, a leader kings, returned to his own capital city. All the rulers who had come to see the svayamvara ceremony also returned to their kingdoms.

Bhisma had shown himself to be the best of warriors, and the young girls would now marry into the great House of Kuru. Once again he departed for the Kuru capital, Hastinapura, where the Kuru king awaited him. He traveled without delay, crossing over charming rivers forests, and mountains covered with variegated trees.

Uninjured himself, Bhisma had punished his enemies in battle, for as a celestial Vasu in human form, born from the womb of Ganga, his strength was immeasurable. Having thus exhibited his superhuman prowess, he dutifully brought home the beautiful princesses of Kasi.

Bhisma was a man of impeccable virtue. As his chariot moved steadily on toward the fabled land of the Kurus, he treated the young ladies like his daughters-in-law, or like his younger sisters, and at times like his own daughters. The women were all exceptionally qualified, and Bhisma had taken them with great courage. Arriving at Hastinapura, he formally presented the three sisters to his younger brother Vicitravirya.

Bhisma carefully followed the rules of dharma, the moral and spiritual principles prescribed for civilized persons. In accordance with dharma, he had performed a superhuman feat for his brother Vicitravirya. Together with his stepmother, Satyavati, the learned Bhisma was all set to arrange his brother's marriage with the daughters of the Kasi king when the oldest daughter, the chaste Amba, spoke the following words:

"Previously," she said, "within my mind I had already accepted King Salva as my husband, and he had also accepted me. My father also wanted us to marry. I was supposed to formally choose Salva as my husband in the svayamvara ceremony. Bhisma, you know the principles of dharma, and now that you know my situation, please do what is fair and proper."

The Kasi princess thus addressed Bhisma as he sat in an assembly of learned brahmanas, and Bhisma began to analyze the problem, thinking, "Although I took the three girls according to the warrior code, this eldest princess is already attached to another man. By word and thought she was already given to another man."

Bhisma knew the principles of dharma, and after consulting with brahmanas learned in the Vedas, he gave permission to Amba, the oldest daughter of the Kasi king, to return to the man she desired. He then presented the two younger sisters, Ambika and Ambalika, to his younger brother Vicitravirya and had them wed according to Vedic principles.

Proud of his strength and beauty, Vicitravirya took their hands in sacred marriage, and he who had always devoted himself to virtue, now became devoted to the pleasures of women. Indeed, his two young wives were of dark-golden complexion, with statuesque figures and silken, curling hair. Their deep red fingernails were long and graceful, and their hips and breasts were shapely and full. Convinced that they had married a worthy husband, they worshiped the gentle Vicitravirya. Indeed, the Kuru king was as handsome as the heavenly Asvins, and he carried himself with godly strength and bearing. So attractive was Vicitravirya that virtually all women who saw him were struck by romantic desires.

But in the seventh year of their marriage Vicitravirya was suddenly struck down in the flower of his youth by deadly tuberculosis. His loving relatives and friends fought desperately to save him and brought in the most highly qualified and trusted physicians. But like the inexorably setting sun, Vicitravirya steadily faded till he passed on to the abode of Yama, the lord of death.

Assisted by the best of the Kuru priests, and in consultation with Satyavati, the heartbroken son of Ganga carefully arranged for all the rites celebrated for the departed.

AP 97

Vaisampayana continued:

Grieving piteously for her lost sons, Satyavati joined with her two daughters-in-law to perform the religious rites for Vicitravirya. Yet even in her wretched grief, that thoughtful lady deeply deliberated on the dynastic line of her father and of Santanu, and she reflected on how the religious principles would best be preserved.

[As a Kuru queen, Satyavati had lived her adult life at the side of the world's leader. Protecting justice and religious freedom for all mankind were daily duties for the Kuru elders, and the prosperity and happiness of the world was their constant meditation. So deeply did the Kurus imbibe these grave duties, that the dynasty's collapse was unthinkable for them. And now there was no ruler. Again and again Satyavati turned the matter over in her anguished mind. Only Bhisma remained; there was no one else].

Satyavati therefore approached the son of Ganga and spoke these words: "Your illustrious father, King Santanu, was always faithful to the religious principles, and in his absence you have the responsibility to maintain the memorial offerings, the good name, and the unbroken lineage of your father's House.

"As surely as one goes to the higher planets by performing good deeds, and as surely as honesty leads to a long life, so it is certain that dharma, real virtue, will be found in you. You know what is right and wrong, for you understand dharma fully and its technical details as well. You have studied so many authorized scriptures, and thus you comprehend the Vedas completely. I can see practically that in your determination to follow the laws of God, in your willingness to help your family, and in your ability to act in times of trouble, you are just like the celestial sages Sukra and Angira.

"Since all our hope now centers on you, most virtuous one, I wish to engage you in a most important duty. After hearing from me, please do what I ask. My poor son Vicitravirya was your own brother. He was a powerful man and he was very dear to you. Now, though still practically a child and with no children of his own, he has gone to the heavenly planets. His two queens, the chaste daughters of the Kasi king, are still young and beautiful and both desire sons. O Bhisma! Please give them both a child so that our family will survive after us. O great soul! Take my instruction and do what is right. Let us install you on the royal throne. Only you can rule the Bharata dynasty. Accept these two ladies according to the religious principles. Do not bring your forefathers to ruin."

Not only Satyavati, the powerful queen-mother, but all of Bhisma's intimate friends and advisors urged him to accept the Kuru throne and beget progeny to preserve the Kuru line. After patiently hearing their statements, the godly Bhisma replied: "My dear mother, what you have spoken is undoubtedly a most important religious principle, but you know that I have given my word not to beget children. You are also aware that it was because of you that I made the promise. I had to satisfy your father so that he would give you in marriage, as you also desired. And now, Satyavati, I repeat to you that same promise.

"One may renounce the entire universe or a kingdom among the gods or whatever is beyond even these things, but one can never give up his word of honor once it has been freely given. The earth may renounce its fragrance, water its taste, light its power to make us see, and the air its power to make us feel what we touch. The sun may stop shining, and the moon give up its cooling rays. The king of the gods may give up his courage, and the king of dharma may even give up dharma itself, but I cannot bring myself, by any means, to give up my true promise."

Thus addressed by powerful Bhisma, who was like her own son, Satyavati replied at once: "I know of your great determination to keep your word. Your determination is so strong that if you so desired you could indeed create another universe with upper, middle, and lower planets! I also know that it was for my sake that you made your promise. But you also have to understand that there are special rules in times of emergency. You must carry the burden of your family! You must see to it that your forefathers's dynasty and virtue itself are not ruined. You should act in a way that will bring joy to your dearest friends."

Grieving piteously for her lost sons, Satyavati in her anguish thus tried to convince Bhisma to renege his sacred vow. Finally, Bhisma spoke to her as follows:

"Dear Queen, try to understand--- you would destroy all our sacred principles. It is not very commendable for a man of the royal order, a ksatriya, to fall down from his religious principles. Rather, I shall explain to you how we can preserve the line of Santanu unbroken on earth, by following the actual religious principles for the royal order. My dear queen, thus considering the actual ways of this world, please hear and carry out these ancient principles with the help of learned priests who know how to achieve both material and spiritual welfare in times of emergency.

AP 98

Bhisma said:

O illustrious lady, Jamadagni's son, Lord Parasurama, was outraged by the murder of his father, and in His terrible fury, He slew the lord of the Haihayas and sliced off the ten hundred arms of Arjuna.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn This Arjuna is Karta-viryarjuna, different from the Arjuna who is a friend of Lord Krsna. And again taking up his bow, he coursed the earth on his conquering chariot, firing awesome weapons that consumed the royal order.

[Twenty-one times the cruel monarchs rose to oppress the earth.] And twenty-one times the great soul Parasurama released his full range of arms, until at last there was not a single ksatriya king on the face of the earth.

Thereafter (to rejuvenate the royal order) all the ksatriya ladies, from all over the world, united with strict, self-controlled brahmanas, and children were born of their union. The Vedas conclude that a son belongs to the father who originally took the hand of the mother in marriage. [Thus the sons begotten by brahmana fathers still belonged to the royal class, being technically the sons of their slain warrior fathers.] So the royal ladies, fixing the sacred law within their minds, approached the brahmanas, and by their faithful compliance with duty, the royal order was reborn before the eyes of the world.

Also there was a very learned sage known as Utathya, whose wife was the highly respected Mamata. Once Utathya's younger brother, Brhaspati, the greatly powerful priest of the gods, became attracted to Mamata, but when he approached her, she said to her most eloquent brother-in-law, "I am already pregnant by your older brother, so you must desist. Utathya's son is already in my womb, O noble Brhaspati, and even there, he has studied the Veda with its six divisions. You must not waste your semen, and in view of the situation you must certainly desist at once."

Even when thus properly advised by Mamata, the mighty Brhaspati, who had already succumbed to desire, was unable to pull back his senses, and he joined with his unwilling sister-in-law, driven by desire. As he discharged his semen, the child in the womb addresed him and said: "My dear little uncle, I tell you that there is no room in here for two. Your semen is never to be spent in vain, but I came here first."

At this, the mighty sage Brhaspati was furious, and he cursed the young son of Utathya who was still in the womb.

"Because at such a moment, which is longed for by all creatures, you spoke to me thus, you will therefore enter into a long period of darkness."

By the curse of the illustrious seer Brhaspati, the sage was born blind, and received the name Dirghatama, "Long Darkness," but he was equal to Brhaspati in strength, and he acquired an excellent reputation. Then, to expand the lineage of his father, saintly Dirghatama begot several sons, headed by Gautama. But these sons were overcome by greed and illusion, and they tossed their poor father onto a raft and sent him floating down the Ganges River. "What is the use of this blind old man who lives at our expense?" said the merciless sons, and they calmly went back to their house.

Dirghatama, blind from birth, floated down the endless river through many towns and villages, until finally a wise and religious king named Bali, who had gone for his morning ablutions, saw him just as the waves brought poor Dirghatama very close to the shore. The pious King Bali, who was always devoted to truth, rescued Dirghatama from the river.

King Bali was anxious to beget good children who could one day protect the citizens. When he understood that the blind, old man was actually the great sage Dirghatama, he realized the sage could help him beget extraordinary children. "Most fortunate one," said Bali, "Kindly beget in my wives excellent children who are expert in both material and spiritual affairs?"

Thus addressed by the king, the potent sage agreed. Bali then ordered his wife named Sudesna to approach the sage, but when Sudesna learned that Dirghatama was blind and elderly, she refused to go to him. Rather, she sent one of her handmaidens to the elderly seer.

The pious sage begot eleven sons, headed by Kaksivat, in the womb of that servant woman. One day, when the powerful king saw the eleven boys dutifully studying their lessons, he asked the sage: "Are these boys my sons?"

"No," said the great sage, "they are mine. I begot all these boys, headed by Kaksivat, with a servant woman. Unfortunately, Queen Sudesna, thinking that I was a blind old man, felt it beneath herself to approach me, and therefore she sent me one of her handmaids."

Once again King Bali begged that excellent sage to give him an extraordinary son. When Dirghatama agreed, Bali again ordered Sudesna to approach him. This time, Dirghatama merely touched her limbs and then told her: `You will have a powerful son that always speaks the truth.' Thereafter Sudesna gave birth to an extraordinary child who grew to be a saintly king. This child was called Anga, "Limb," because the saint begot him simply by touching the limbs of his mother.

There are other such examples in this world of warriors, born by brahmana fathers, who became great archers, supremely learned in the laws of God, rulers who were mighty and courageous. Dear mother, having heard this, it is you who must act so that you achieve what you desire.

Fuentes - Fonts


bai_____.ttf - 46 KB
babi____.ttf - 47 KB
bab_____.ttf - 45 KB

inbenr11.ttf - 64 KB
inbeno11.ttf - 12 KB
inbeni11.ttf - 12 KB
inbenb11.ttf - 66 KB
balaram_.ttf - 45 KB
indevr20.ttf - 53 KB

free counters

Disculpen las Molestias
Conceptos Hinduistas (1428)SC

Conceptos Hinduistas (2919)SK · (2592)SK
Aa-Ag · Ah-Am · Ana-Anc · And-Anu · Ap-Ar · As-Ax · Ay-Az · Baa-Baq · Bar-Baz · Be-Bhak · Bhal-Bhy · Bo-Bu · Bra · Brh-Bry · Bu-Bz · Caa-Caq · Car-Cay · Ce-Cha · Che-Chi · Cho-Chu · Ci-Cn · Co-Cy · Daa-Dan · Dar-Day · De · Dha-Dny · Do-Dy · Ea-Eo · Ep-Ez · Faa-Fy · Gaa-Gaq · Gar-Gaz · Ge-Gn · Go · Gra-Gy · Haa-Haq · Har-Haz · He-Hindk · Hindu-Histo · Ho-Hy · Ia-Iq · Ir-Is · It-Iy · Jaa-Jaq · Jar-Jay · Je-Jn · Jo-Jy · Kaa-Kaq · Kar-Kaz · Ke-Kh · Ko · Kr · Ku - Kz · Laa-Laq · Lar-Lay · Le-Ln · Lo-Ly · Maa-Mag · Mah · Mai-Maj · Mak-Maq · Mar-Maz · Mb-Mn · Mo-Mz · Naa-Naq · Nar-Naz · Nb-Nn · No-Nz · Oa-Oz · Paa-Paq · Par-Paz · Pe-Ph · Po-Py · Raa-Raq · Rar-Raz · Re-Rn · Ro-Ry · Saa-Sam · San-Sar · Sas-Sg · Sha-Shy · Sia-Sil · Sim-Sn · So - Sq · Sr - St · Su-Sz · Taa-Taq · Tar-Tay · Te-Tn · To-Ty · Ua-Uq · Ur-Us · Vaa-Vaq · Var-Vaz · Ve · Vi-Vn · Vo-Vy · Waa-Wi · Wo-Wy · Yaa-Yav · Ye-Yiy · Yo-Yu · Zaa-Zy


No hay comentarios:

Correo Vaishnava

Mi foto
Correo Devocional

Archivo del blog