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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA
“Vasumat said, ‘I am Vasumat, the son of Oshadaswa. I would ask thee, O king, whether there are any worlds for me to enjoy as fruits of my religious merits, in heaven or the firmament. Thou art, O high-souled one, acquainted with all holy regions.’
“Yayati answered, ‘There are as many regions for thee to enjoy in heaven as the number of places in the firmament, the Earth and the ten points of the universe illumined by the Sun.’
“Vasumat then said, ‘I give them to thee. Let those regions that are for me be thine. Therefore, though falling, thou shall not fall. If to accept them as gift be improper for thee, then, O monarch, buy them for a straw?’
“Yayati answered, ‘I do not remember having ever bought and sold anything unfairly. This has never been done by other kings. How shall I therefore do it?’
“Vasumat said, ‘If buying them, O king, be regarded by thee as improper, then take them as gilt from me. For myself I answer that I will never go to those regions that are for me. Let them, therefore, be thine.’
“Sivi then addressed the king thus, I am, O king, Sivi by name, the son of Usinara. O father, are there in the firmament or in heaven any worlds for me to enjoy? Thou knowest every region that one may enjoy as the fruit of his religious merit.’
“Yayati said, ‘Thou hast never, by speech or in mind, disregarded the honest and the virtuous that applied to thee. There are infinite worlds for thee to enjoy in heaven, all blazing like lightning.’ Sivi then said, ‘If thou regardest their purchase as improper, I give them to thee. Take them all, O king! I shall never take them, viz., those regions where the wise never feel the least disquiet.’Yayati answered, ‘O Sivi, thou hast indeed, obtained for thyself, possessed of the prowess of Indra, infinite worlds. But I do not desire to enjoy regions given to me by others. Therefore, I accept not thy gift.’
“Ashtaka then said, ‘O king, each of us has expressed his desire to give thee worlds that each of us has acquired by his religious merits. Thou acceptest not them. But leaving them for thee, we shall descend into the Earth-hell.’
“Yayati answered, ‘Ye all are truth-loving and wise. Give me that which I deserve. I shall not be able to do what I have never done before.’
“Ashtaka then said, ‘Whose are those five golden cars that we see? Do men that repair to these regions of everlasting bliss ride in them?’
“Yayati answered, ‘Those five golden cars displayed in glory, and blazing as fire, would indeed, carry you to regions of bliss.’
“Ashtaka said, ‘O king, ride on those cars thyself and repair to heaven. We can wait. We follow thee in time.’
“Yayati said, ‘We can now all go together. Indeed, all of us have conquered heaven. Behold, the glorious path to heaven becomes visible.”
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then all those excellent monarchs riding in those cars set out for heaven for gaining admittance into it, illuminating the whole firmament by the glory of their virtues.’
“Then Ashtaka, breaking the silence asked, ‘I had always thought that Indra was my especial friend, and that I, of all others, should first obtain admittance into heaven. But how is it that Usinara’s son, Sivi hath already left us behind?’
“Yayati answered, ‘This Usinara’s son had given all he possessed for attaining to the region of Brahman. Therefore, is he the foremost among us. Besides, Sivi’s liberality, asceticism, truth, virtue, modesty, forgiveness, amiability, desire of performing good acts, have been so great that none can measure them!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘After this, Ashtaka, impelled by curiosity, again asked his maternal grandfather resembling Indra himself, saying, ‘O king, I ask thee, tell me truly, whence thou art, who thou art, and whose son? Is there any other Brahmana or Kshatriya who hath done what thou didst on earth?’ Yayati answered, ‘I tell thee truly, I am Yayati, the son of Nahusha and the father of Puru. I was lord of all the Earth. Ye are my relatives; I tell thee truly, I am the maternal grandfather of you all. Having conquered the whole earth, I gave clothes to Brahmanas and also a hundred handsome horses fit for sacrificial offering. For such acts of virtue, the gods became propitious to those that perform them. I also gave to Brahmanas this whole earth with her horses and elephants and kine and gold all kinds of wealth, along with a hundred Arbudas of excellent milch cows. Both the earth and the firmament exist owing to my truth and virtue; fire yet burneth in the world of men owing to my truth and virtue. Never hath a word spoken by me been untrue. It is for this that the wise adore Truth. O Ashtaka, all I have told thee, Pratardana, and Vasumat, is Truth itself. I know it for certain that the gods and the Rishis and all the mansions of the blessed are adorable only because of Truth that characteriseth them all. He that will without malice duly read unto good Brahmanas his account of our ascension to heaven shall himself attain to the same worlds with us.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘It was thus that the illustrious king Yayati of high achievements, rescued by his collateral descendants, ascended to heaven, leaving the earth and covering the three worlds with the fame of his deeds.’”
“Janamejaya said, ‘O adorable one, I desire to hear the histories of those kings who were descended from Puru. O tell me of each as he was possessed of prowess and achievements. I have, indeed, heard that in Puru’s line there was not a single one who was wanting in good behaviour and prowess, or who was without sons. O thou of ascetic wealth, I desire to hear the histories in detail of those famous monarchs endued with learning and all accomplishments.’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘Asked by thee, I shall tell thee all about the heroic-kings in Puru’s line, all equal unto Indra in prowess, possessing great affluence and commanding the respect of all for their accomplishments.
“Puru had by his wife Paushti three sons, Pravira, Iswara, and Raudraswa, all of whom were mighty car-warriors. Amongst them, Pravira was the perpetuator of the dynasty. Pravira had by his wife Suraseni a son named Manasyu. And the latter of eyes like lotus-petals had his sway over the whole Earth bounded by the four seas. And Manasyu had for his wife Sauviri. And he begat upon her three sons called Sakta, Sahana, and Vagmi. And they were heroes in battle and mighty car-warriors. The intelligent and virtuous Kaudraswa begat upon the Apsara Misrakesi ten sons who were all great bowmen. And they all grew up into heroes, performing numerous sacrifices in honour of the gods. And they all had sons, were learned in all branches of knowledge and ever devoted to virtue. They are Richeyu, and Kaksreyu and Vrikeyu of great prowess; Sthandileyu, and Vaneyu, and Jaleyu of great fame; Tejeyu of great strength and intelligence; and Satyeyu of the prowess of Indra; Dharmeyu, and Sannateyu the tenth of the prowess of the celestials. Amongst them all, Richeyu became the sole monarch of the whole earth and was known by the name of Anadhrishti. And in prowess he was like unto Vasava amongst the celestials. And Anadhristi had a son of the name of Matinara who became a famous and virtuous king and performed the Rajasuya and the horse-sacrifice. And Matinara had four sons of immeasurable prowess, viz., Tansu, Mahan, Atiratha, and Druhyu of immeasurable glory. (Amongst them, Tansu of great prowess became the perpetrator of Puru’s line). And he subjugated the whole earth and acquired great fame and splendour. And Tansu begat a son of great prowess named Ilina. And he became the foremost of all conquerors and brought the whole world under his subjection.
And Ilina begat upon his wife Rathantara five sons with Dushmanta at their head, all equal in might unto the five elements. They were Dushmanta, Sura, Bhima, Pravasu, and Vasu. And, O Janamejaya, the eldest of them, Dushmanta, became king. And Dushmanta had by his wife Sakuntala an intelligent son named Bharata who became king. And Bharata gave his name to the race of which he was the founder. And it is from him that the fame of that dynasty hath spread so wide. And Bharata begat upon his three wives nine sons in all. But none of them were like their father and so Bharata was not at all pleased with them. Their mothers, therefore, became angry and slew them all. The procreation of children by Bharata, therefore, became vain. The monarch then performed a great sacrifice and through the grace of Bharadwaja obtained a son named Bhumanyu. And then Bharata, the great descendant of Puru, regarding himself as really possessing a son, installed, O foremost one of Bharata’s race, that son as his heir-apparent. And Bhumanyu begat upon his wife, Pushkarini six sons named Suhotra, Suhotri, Suhavih, Sujeya, Diviratha and Kichika. The eldest of them all, Suhotra, obtained the throne and performed many Rajasuyas and horse-sacrifices.
And Suhotra brought under his sway the whole earth surrounded by her belt of seas and full of elephants, kine and horses, and all her wealth of gems of gold. And the earth afflicted with the weight of numberless human beings and elephants, horses, and cats, was, as it were, about to sink. And during the virtuous reign of Suhotra the surface of the whole earth was dotted all over with hundreds and thousands, of sacrificial stakes. And the lord of the earth, Suhotra, begat, upon his wife Aikshaki three sons, viz., Ajamidha, Sumidha, and Purumidha. The eldest of them, Ajamidha, was the perpetuator of the royal line. And he begat six sons,–Riksha was born of the womb of Dhumini, Dushmanta and Parameshthin, of Nili, and Jahnu, Jala and Rupina were born in that of Kesini. All the tribes of the Panchalas are descended from Dushmanta and Parameshthin. And the Kushikas are the sons of Jahnu of immeasurable prowess. And Riksha who was older than both Jala and Rupina became king. And Riksha begat Samvarana, the perpetuator of the royal line. And, O king, it hath been heard by us that while Samvarana, the son of Riksha, was ruling the earth, there happened a great loss of people from famine, pestilence, drought, and disease. And the Bharata princes were beaten by the troops of enemies. And the Panchalas setting out to invade the whole earth with their four kinds of troops soon brought the whole earth under their sway. And with their ten Akshauhinis the king of the Panchalas defeated the Bharata prince. Samvarana then with his wife and ministers, sons and relatives, fled in fear, and took shelter in the forest on the banks of the Sindhu extending to the foot of the mountains.
There the Bharatas lived for a full thousand years, within their fort. And after they had lived there a thousand years, one day the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha approached the exiled Bharatas, who, on going out, saluted the Rishi and worshipped him by the offer of Arghya. And entertaining him with reverence, they represented everything unto that illustrious Rishi. And after he was seated on his seat, the king himself approached the Rishi and addressed him, saying, ‘Be thou our priest, O illustrious one! We will endeavour to regain our kingdom.’ And Vasishtha answered the Bharatas by saying, ‘Om’ (the sign of consent). It hath been heard by us that Vasishtha then installed the Bharata prince in the sovereignty of all the Kshatriyas on earth, making by virtue of his Mantras this descendant of Puru the veritable horns of the wild bull or the tusks of the wild elephants. And the king retook the capital that had been taken away from him and once more made all monarchs pay tribute to him. The powerful Samvarana, thus installed once more in the actual sovereignty of the whole earth, performed many sacrifices at which the presents to the Brahmanas were great.
“Samvarana begat upon his wife, Tapati, the daughter of Surya, a son named Kuru. This Kuru was exceedingly virtuous, and therefore, he was installed on the throne by his people. It is after his name that the field called Kuru-jangala has become so famous in the world. Devoted to asceticism, he made that field (Kurukshetra) sacred by practising asceticism there. And it has been heard by us that Kuru’s highly intelligent wife, Vahini, brought forth five sons, viz., Avikshit, Bhavishyanta, Chaitraratha, Muni and the celebrated Janamejaya. And Avikshit begat Parikshit the powerful, Savalaswa, Adhiraja, Viraja, Salmali of great physical strength, Uchaihsravas, Bhangakara and Jitari the eighth. In the race of these were born, as the fruit of their pious acts seven mighty car-warriors with Janamejaya at their head. And unto Parikshit were born sons who were all acquainted with (the secrets of) religion and profit. And they were named Kakshasena and Ugrasena, and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and Indrasena and Sushena and Bhimasena. And the sons of Janamejaya were all endued with great strength and became celebrated all over the world. And they were Dhritarashtra who was the eldest, and Pandu and Valhika, and Nishadha endued with great energy, and then the mighty Jamvunada, and then Kundodara and Padati and then Vasati the eighth.
And they were all proficient in morality and profit and were kind to all creatures. Among them Dhritarashtra became king. And Dhritarashtra had eight sons, viz., Kundika, Hasti, Vitarka, Kratha the fifth, Havihsravas, Indrabha, and Bhumanyu the invincible, and Dhritarashtra had many grandsons, of whom three only were famous. They were, O king, Pratipa, Dharmanetra, Sunetra. Among these three, Pratipa became unrivalled on earth. And, O bull in Bharata’s race, Pratipa begat three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu, and the mighty car-warrior Valhika. The eldest Devapi adopted the ascetic course of life, impelled thereto by the desire of benefiting his brothers. And the kingdom was obtained by Santanu and the mighty car-warrior Valhika.
“O monarch, besides, there were born in the race of Bharata numberless other excellent monarchs endued with great energy and like unto the celestial Rishis themselves in virtue and ascetic power. And so also in the race of Manu were born many mighty car-warriors like unto the celestials themselves, who by their number swelled the Aila dynasty into gigantic proportions.’”