The Mahabharata Home
"Vasudeva said, 'Listen, O son of Kunti, to the story of Rama's energy and powers and birth as heard by me from great Rishis discoursing upon the subject. Listen to the story of how millions of Kshatriyas were slain by Jamadagni's son and how those that sprung again in the diverse royal. races in Bharata were again slaughtered. Jadu had a son named Rajas. Rajas had a son named Valakaswa. King Valakaswa had a son named Kusika of righteous behaviour. Resembling the thousand-eyed Indra on earth, Kusika underwent the austerest of penances from desire of attaining the chief of the three worlds for a son. Beholding him engaged in the austerest of penances and competent to beget a son, the thousand-eyed Purandara himself inspired the king (with his force). The great lord of the three worlds, the chastiser of Paka, O king, then became Kusika's son known by the name of Gadhi. Gadhi had a daughter, O monarch, of the name of Satyavati. The puissant Gadhi gave her (for wife) unto Richika, a descendant of Bhrigu. Her lord of Bhrigu's race, O delighter of the Kurus, became highly gratified with her for the purity of her behaviour. He cooked the sacrificial food consisting of milk and rice for giving unto Gadhi (her sire) a son. Calling his wife, Richika of Bhrigu's race said, 'This portion of the sanctified food should be taken by thee, and this (other) portion by thy mother. A son will be born of her that will blaze with energy and be a bull among Kshatriyas. Invincible by Kshatriyas on earth, he will be the slayer of the foremost of Kshatriyas. As regards thee, O blessed lady, this portion of the food will give thee a son of great wisdom, an embodiment of tranquillity, endued with ascetic penances, and the foremost of Brahmanas. Having said these words unto his wife, the blessed Richika of Bhrigu's race, setting his heart on penances, proceeded to the woods. About this time, king Gadhi, resolved upon a pilgrimage to the holy waters, arrived with his queen at the retreat, of Richika. Satyavati, upon this, O king, taking the two portions of the sanctified food, cheerfully and in great haste, represented the worlds of her lord unto her mother. The queen-mother, O son of Kunti, gave the portion intended for herself unto her daughter, and herself took from ignorance the portion intended for the latter. Upon this, Satyavati, her body blazing with lustre, conceived a child of terrible form intended to become the exterminator of the Kshatriyas. Beholding a Brahmana child lying within her womb, that tiger among the Bhrigus said unto his wife of celestial beauty these words: 'Thou hast been deceived by the, mother, O blessed lady, in consequence
of the substitution of the sanctified morsels. Thy son will become a person of cruel deeds and vindictive heart. Thy brother again (born of thy mother) will be a Brahmana devoted to ascetic penances. Into the sanctified food intended for thee had been placed the seed of the supreme and universal Brahma, while into that intended for thy mother had been placed the sum total of Kshatriya energy. In consequence, however, of the substitution of the two portions, O blessed lady, that which had been intended will not happen. Thy mother will obtain a Brahmana child while thou wilt obtain a son that will become a Kshatriya.' Thus addressed by her lord, the highly blessed Satyavati prostrated herself and placing her head at his feet, trembling, said, 'It behoveth thee not, O holy one, to speak such words unto me, viz., 'Thou shalt obtain a wretch among Brahmanas (for thy son).'
"Richika said, 'This was not intended by me, O blessed lady, in respect of thee. A son of fierce deeds has been conceived by thee simply in consequence of the substitution of the sanctified morsels.'
"Satyavati replied saying, 'If thou wishest, O sage, thou canst create other worlds, what need then be said of a child? It behoveth thee, O puissant one, to give me a son that shall be righteous and devoted to peace.'
"Richika said, 'Never was falsehood spoken by me before, O blessed lady, even in jest. What need then be said of (such a solemn occasion as) preparing sanctified food with the aid of Vedic formulae after igniting t. fire? It was ordained of yore by Destiny, O amiable one! I have ascertained it all by my penances. All the descendants of thy father will be possessed of Brahmanic virtues.'
"Satyavati said, 'O puissant one, let our grandson be such, but, O foremost of ascetics, let me have a son of tranquil pursuits.'
"Richika said, 'O thou of the fairest complexion, there is no distinction, I conceive, between a son and a grandson. It will be, O amiable one, as thou sayest.'
"Vasudeva continued, 'Then Satyavati brought forth a son in Bhrigu's race who was devoted to penances and characterised by tranquil pursuits, viz., Jamadagni of regulated vows. Kusika's son Gadhi begot a son named Viswamitra. Possessed of every attribute of a Brahmana, that son (though born in the Kshatriya order) was equal to a Brahmana. Richika (thus) begot Jamadagni, that ocean of penances. Jamadagni begot a son of fierce deeds. The foremost of men, that son mastered the sciences, including the science of arms. Like unto a blazing fire, that son was Rama, the exterminator of the Kshatriyas. Having gratified Mahadeva on the mountains of Gandhamadana, he begged weapons of that great god, especially the axe of fierce energy in his hands. In consequence of that unrivalled axe of fiery splendour and irresistible sharpness, he became unrivalled on earth. Meanwhile the mighty son of Kritavirya, viz., Arjuna of the Kshatriya order and ruler of the Haihayas, endued with great energy, highly virtuous in behaviour, and possessed of a thousand arms through the grace of (the great Rishi) Dattatreya, having subjugated in battle, by the might of his own arms, the whole earth with her mountains and seven islands, became a very powerful emperor and (at last)
gave away the earth unto the Brahmanas in a horse-sacrifice. On a certain occasion, solicited by the thirsty god of fire, O son of Kunti, the thousand-armed monarch of great prowess gave alms unto that deity. Springing from the point of his shafts, the god of fire, possessed of great energy, desirous of consuming (what was offered), burnt villages and towns and kingdoms and hamlets of cowherds. Through the prowess of that foremost of men, viz., Kritavirya of great energy, the god of fire burnt mountains and great forests. Assisted by the king of the Haihayas, the god of fire, caused by the wind to blaze forth with energy consumed the uninhabited but delightful retreat of the high-souled Apava. Possessed of great energy, Apava, O mighty-armed king, seeing his retreat consumed by the powerful Kshatriya, cursed that monarch in wrath, saying, 'Since, O Arjuna, without excepting these my specious woods, thou hast burnt them, therefore, Rama (of Bhrigu's race) will lop off thy (thousand) arm. The mighty Arjuna, however, of great prowess, always devoted to peace, ever regardful of Brahmanas and disposed to grant protection (unto all class), and charitable and brave, O Bharata, did not think of that curse denounced on him by that high-souled Rishis. His powerful sons, always haughty and cruel, in consequence of that course, became the indirect cause of his death. The princes, O bull of Bharata's race, seize and brought away the calf of Jamadagni's homa cow, without the knowledge of Kritavirya, the ruler of the Haihayas. For this reason a dispute took place between the high-souled Jamadagni (and the Haihayas). The puissant Rama, the son of Jamadagni, filled with wrath, lopped off the arms of Arjuna and brought back, O monarch, his sire's calf which was wandering within the inner enclosures of the king's palace. Then the foolish son of Arjuna, repairing together to the retreat of the high-souled Jamadagni, felled with the points of their lances, O king, the head of the Rishi from off his trunk while the celebrated Rama was out for fetching sacred fuel and grass. Inflamed with wrath at the death of his father and inspired with vengeance, Rama vowed to free the earth of Kshatriyas and took up arms. Then that tiger among the Bhrigus, possessed of great energy, putting forth his prowess, speedily slaughtered all the sons and grandsons of Kritavirya. Slaughtering thousands of Haihayas in rage, the descendent of Bhrigu, O king, made the earth miry with blood. Possessed of great energy, he quickly reft the earth of all Kshatriyas. Filled then with compassion, he retired into the woods. Afterwards, when some thousands of years had passed away, the puissant Rama, who was wrathful by nature, had imputations cast upon him (of cowardice). The grandson of Viswamitra and son of Raivya, possessed of great ascetic merit, named Paravasu, O monarch, began to cast imputations on Rama in public, saying, 'O Rama, were not those righteous men, viz., Pratardana and others, who were assembled at a sacrifice at the time of Yayati's fall, Kshatriyas by birth? Thou art not of true vows, O Rama! Thine is an empty boast among people. Through fear of Kshatriya heroes thou hast betaken thyself to the mountains. The descendant of Bhrigu, hearing these words of Paravasu, once more took up arms and once more strewed the earth with hundreds of Kshatriya bodies. Those Kshatriyas, however, O king, counting by hundreds, that were spared by Rama, multiplied (in time) and
became mighty monarchs on earth. Rama once more slaughtered them quickly, not sparing the very children, O king! Indeed, the earth became once more strewn with the bodies of Kshatriya children of premature birth. As soon as Kshatriya children were born, Rama slaughtered them. Some Kshatriya ladies, however, succeeded in protecting their children (from Rama's wrath). Having made the earth destitute of Kshatriyas for thrice seven times, the puissant Bhargava, at the completion of a horse-sacrifice, gave away the earth as sacrificial present unto Kasyapa. For preserving the remnant of the Kshatriyas, Kasyapa, O king, pointing with his hand that still held the sacrificial ladle, said these words, O great sage, repair to the shores of the southern ocean. It behoveth thee not, O Rama, to reside within (what is) my dominion.' At these words, Ocean suddenly created for Jamadagni's son, on his other shore, a region called Surparaka. Kasyapa also, O monarch, having accepted the earth in gift, and made a present of it unto the Brahmanas, entered the great forest. Then Sudras and Vaisyas, acting most wilfully, began to unite themselves, O bull of Bharata's race, with the wives of Brahmanas. When anarchy sets in on earth, the weak are oppressed by the strong, and no man is master of his own property. Unprotected duly by Kshatriyas observant of virtue, and oppressed by the wicked in consequence of that disorder, the earth quickly sank to the lowest depths. Beholding the earth sinking from fear, the high-souled Kasyapa held her on his lap; and since the great Rishi held her on his lap (uru) therefore is the earth known by the name of Urvi. The goddess earth, for protection's sake, gratified Kasyapa and begged of him a king.
"The Earth said, 'There are, O, regenerate one, some foremost of Kshatriyas concealed by me among women. They were born in the race of Haihayas. Let them, O sage, protect me. There is another person of Puru's race, viz., Viduratha's son, O puissant one, who has been brought up among bears in the Rikshavat mountains. Another, viz., the son of Saudasa, has been protected, through compassion, by Parasara of immeasurable energy and ever engaged in sacrifices. Though born in one of the regenerate orders, yet like a Sudra he does everything for that Rishi and has, therefore, been named Sarvakarman (servant of all work). Sivi's son of great energy, viz., Gopati by name, has been brought up in the forest among kine. Let him, O sage, protect me. Pratardana's son, named Vatsa of great might, has been brought up among calves in a cowpen. Let that one of the royal order protect me. Dadhivahana's grandson and Diviratha's son was concealed and protected on the banks of Ganga by the sage Gautama. His name is Vrihadratha. Possessed of great energy and adorned with numerous blessed qualities, that blessed prince has been protected by wolves and the mountains of Gridhrakuta. Many Kshatriyas belonging to the race of Maratta have been protected. Equal unto the lord of Maruts in energy, they have been brought up by Ocean. These children of the Kshatriya order have been heard of as existing in different places. They are living among artisans and goldsmiths. If they protect me I shall then stay unmoved. Their sires and grandsires have been slain for my sake by Rama Of great prowess. It is my duty, O great sage, to see that their funeral rites are duly performed. I do not desire that I should be protected by my present
rulers. Do thou, O sage, speedily make such arrangements that I may exist (as before).'
"Vasudeva continued, 'The sage Kasyapa then, seeking out those Kshatriyas of great energy whom the goddess had indicated, installed them duly as kings (for protecting her). Those Kshatriya races that are now extent are the progeny of those princes. That which thou hast questioned me, O son of Panda, happened in days of yore even thus.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Conversing thus with Yudhishthira, that foremost of righteous persons, the high-souled Yadava hero proceeded quickly on that car, illumining all the points of the compass like the divine Surya himself.'"
Next: Section LI