Dynasties of kings. Origin of the solar dynasty from Brahma. Sons of the Manu Vaivaswata. Transformations of Ila or Sudyumna. Descendants of the sons of Vaivaswat; those of Nedishtha. Greatness of Marutta. Kings of Vaisali. Descendants of saryati. Legend of Raivata; his daughter Revati married to Balarama.
Maitreya. Venerable preceptor, you have explained to me the perpetual and occasional ceremonies which are to be performed by those righteous individuals who are diligent in their devotions; and you have also described to me the duties which devolve upon the several castes, and on the different orders of the human race. I have now to request you will relate to me the dynasties of the kings who have ruled over the earth 1.
Parasara. I will repeat to you, Maitreya, an account of the family of Manu, commencing with Brahma, and graced by a number of religious, magnanimous, and heroic princes. Of which it is said, "The lineage of him shall never be extinct, who daily calls to mind the race of
[paragraph continues] Manu, originating with Brahma 2." Listen therefore, Maitreya, to the entire series of the princes of this family, by which all sin shall be effaced.
Before the evolution of the mundane egg, existed Brahma, who was Hiranyagarbha, the form of that supreme Brahma which consists of Vishnu as identical with the Rig, Yajur, and Sama Vedas; the primeval, uncreated cause of all worlds. From the right thumb of Brahma was born the patriarch Daksha 3; his daughter was Aditi, who was the mother of the sun. The Manu Vaivaswata was the son of the celestial luminary; and his sons were Ikshwaku, Nriga, Dhrishta, saryati, Narishyanta, Pransu, Nabhaga, Nedishta, Karusha, and Prishadhra 4.
[paragraph continues] Before their birth, the Manu being desirous of sons, offered a sacrifice for that purpose to Mitra and Varuna; but the rite being deranged, through an irregularity of the ministering priest, a daughter, Ila, was produced 5. Through the favour of the two divinities, however, her sex
was changed, and she became a man, named Sudyumna. At a subsequent period, in consequence of becoming subject to the effects of a malediction once pronounced by siva, Sudyumna was again transformed to a woman in the vicinity of the hermitage of Budha, the son of the deity of the moon. Budha saw and espoused her, and had by her a son named Pururavas. After his birth, the illustrious Rishis, desirous of restoring Sudyumna to his sex, prayed to the mighty Vishnu, who is the essence of the four Vedas, of mind, of every thing, and of nothing; and who is in the form of the sacrificial male; and through his favour Ila once more became Sudyumna, in which character he had three sons, Utkala, Gaya, and Vinata 6.
In consequence of his having been formerly a female, Sudyumna was excluded from any share in his paternal dominions; but his father, at the suggestion of Vasishtha, bestowed upon him the city Pratishthana 7, and he gave it to Pururavas.
Of the other sons of the Manu, Prishadhra, in consequence of the crime of killing a cow, was degraded to the condition of a sudra 8. From Karusha descended the mighty warriors termed Karushas (the sovereigns of the north 9). The son of Nedishtha, named Nabhaga, became
a Vaisya 10: his son was Bhalandana 11; whose son was the celebrated Vatsapri 12: his son was Pransu; whose son was Prajani 13; whose son was Khanitra 14; whose son was the very valiant Chakshupa 15; whose son was Vinsa 16; whose son was Vivinsati 17; whose son was Khaninetra; whose son was the powerful, wealthy, and valiant Karandhama 18; whose son was Avikshi (or Avikshit 19); whose son was the mighty Marutta, of whom this well known verse is recited; "There never was beheld on earth a sacrifice equal to the sacrifice of Marutta: all the implements
and utensils were made of gold. Indra was intoxicated with the libations of Soma juice, and the Brahmans were enraptured with the magnificent donations they received. The winds of heaven encompassed the rite as guards, and the assembled gods attended to behold it 20." Marutta was a Chakravartti, or universal monarch: he had a son named Narishyanta 21; his son was Dama 22; his son was Rajyavarddhana; his son was Sudhriti; his son was Nara; his son was Kevala; his son was Bandhumat; his son was Vegavat; his son was Budha 23; his son was Trinavindu, who had a daughter named Ilavila 24. The celestial nymph Alambusha becoming enamoured of Trinavindu, bore him a son named Visala, by whom the city Vaisali was founded 25.
The son of the first king of Vaisali was Hemachandra; his son was Suchandra; his son was Dhumraswa; his son was Srinjaya 26; his son was Sahadeva 27; his son was Krisaswa; his son was Somadatta, who celebrated ten times the sacrifice of a horse; his son was Janamejaya; and his son was Sumati 28. These were the kings of Vaisali; of whom it is said, "By the favour of Trinavindu all the monarchs of Vaisali were long lived, magnanimous, equitable, and valiant."
saryati, the fourth son of the Manu, had a daughter named Sukanya, who was married to the holy sage Chyavana 29: he had also a righteous son, called anartta. The son of the latter was Revata 30, who ruled over
the country called after his father anartta, and dwelt at the capital denominated Kusasthali 31. The son of this prince was Raivata or Kakudmin, the eldest of a hundred brethren. He had a very lovely daughter, and not finding any one worthy of her hand, he repaired with her to the region of Brahma to consult the god where a fit bridegroom was to be met with. When he arrived, the quiristers Haha, Huhu, and others, were singing before Brahma; and Raivata, waiting till they had finished, imagined the ages that elapsed during their performance to be but as a moment. At the end of their singing, Raivata prostrated himself before Brahma, and explained his errand. "Whom should you wish for a son in law?" demanded Brahma; and the king mentioned to him various persons with whom he could be well pleased. Nodding his head gently, and graciously smiling, Brahma said to him, "Of those whom you have named the third or fourth generation no longer survives, for many successions of ages have passed away whilst you were listening to our songsters: now upon earth the twenty eighth great age of the present Manu is nearly finished, and the Kali period is at hand. You must therefore bestow this virgin gem upon some other husband, for you are now alone, and your friends, your ministers, servants, wife, kinsmen, armies, and treasures, have long since been swept away by the hand of time." Overcome with astonishment and alarm, the Raja then said to Brahma, "Since I am thus circumstanced, do thou,
d, tell me unto whom the maiden shall be given:" and the creator of the world, whose throne is the lotus, thus benignantly replied to the prince, as he stood bowed and humble before him: "The being of whose commencement, course, and termination, we are ignorant; the unborn and omnipresent essence of all things; he whose real and infinite nature and essence we do not know is the supreme Vishnu. He is time, made up of moments and hours and years; whose influence is the source of perpetual change. He is the universal form of all things, from birth to death. He is
eternal, without name or shape. Through the favour of that imperishable being am I the agent of his power in creation: through his anger is Rudra the destroyer of the world: and the cause of preservation, Purusha, proceeds also from him. The unborn having assumed my person creates the world; in his own essence he provides for its duration; in the form of Rudra he devours all things; and with the body of Ananta he upholds them. Impersonated as Indra and the other gods he is the guardian of mankind; and as the sun and moon he disperses darkness. Taking upon himself the nature of fire he bestows warmth and maturity; and in the condition of the earth nourishes all beings. As one with air he gives activity to existence; and as one with water he satisfies all wants: whilst in the state of ether, associated with universal aggregation, he furnishes space for all objects. He is at once the creator, and that which is created; the preserver, and that which is preserved; the destroyer, and, as one with all things, that which is destroyed; and, as the indestructible, he is distinct from these three vicissitudes. In him is the world; he is the world; and he, the primeval self born, is again present in the world. That mighty Vishnu, who is paramount over all beings, is now in a portion of himself upon the earth. That city Kusasthali which was formerly your capital, and rivalled the city of the immortals, is now known as Dwaraka 32, and there reigns a portion of that divine being in the
son of Baladeva; to him, who appears as a man, present her as a wife: he is a worthy bridegroom for this excellent damsel, and she is a suitable bride for him."
Being thus instructed by the lotus born divinity, Raivata returned with his daughter to earth, where he found the race of men dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect. Repairing to the city of Kusasthali, which he found much altered, the wise monarch bestowed his unequalled daughter on the wielder of the ploughshare, whose breast was as fair and radiant as crystal. Beholding the damsel
of excessively lofty height, the chief, whose banner is a palm tree, shortened her with the end of his ploughshare, and she became his wife. Balarama having espoused, agreeably to the ritual, Revati, the daughter of Raivata, the king retired to the mountain Himalaya, and ended his days in devout austerities 33.