Sons of Satwata. Bhoja princes of Mrittikavati. Surya the friend of Satrajit: appears to him in a bodily form: gives him the Syamantaka gem: its brilliance and marvellous properties. Satrajit gives it to Prasena, who is killed by a lion: the lion killed by the bear Jambavat. Krishna suspected of killing Prasena, goes to look for him in the forests: traces the bear to his cave: fights with him for the jewel: the contest prolonged: supposed by his companions to be slain: he overthrows Jambavat, and marries his daughter Jambavati: returns with her and the jewel to Dwaraka: restores the jewel to Satrajit, and marries his daughter Satyabhama. Satrajit murdered by satadhanwan: avenged by Krishna. Quarrel between Krishna and Balarama. Akrura possessed of the jewel: leaves Dwaraka. Public calamities. Meeting of the Yadavas. Story of Akrura s birth: he is invited to return: accused by Krishna of having the Syamantaka jewel: produces it in full assembly: it remains in his charge: Krishna acquitted of having purloined it.
THE sons of Satwata were Bhajina, Bhajamana, Divya, Andhaka, Devavriddha, Mahabhoja, and Vrishni 1. Bhajamana had three sons, Nimi 2, Krikana 3, and Vrishni 4, by one wife, and as many by another, satajit, Sahasrajit, and Ayutajit 5. The son of Devavriddha was Babhru of whom this verse is recited; "We hear when afar, and we behold when nigh, that Babhru is the first of men, and Devavriddha is equal to the gods: sixty six persons following the precepts of one, and six thousand and eight who were disciples of the other, obtained immortality." Mahabhoja was a pious prince; his descendants were the Bhojas, the princes of Mrittikavati 6, thence called Marttikavatas 7. Vrishni had two sons, Sumitra and Yudhajit 8; from the former Anamitra and sini were
born 9. The son of Anamitra was Nighna, who had two sons, Prasena and Satrajit. The divine aditya, the sun, was the friend of the latter.
On one occasion Satrajit, whilst walking along the sea shore, addressed his mind to Surya, and hymned his praises; on which the divinity appeared and stood before him. Beholding him in an indistinct shape, Satrajit said to the sun, "I have beheld thee, lord, in the heavens as a globe of fire: now do thou shew favour unto me, that I may see thee in thy proper form." On this the sun taking the jewel called Syamantaka from off his neck, placed it apart, and Satrajit beheld him of a dwarfish stature, with a body like burnished copper, and with slightly reddish eyes. Having offered his adorations, the sun desired him to demand a boon, and he requested that the jewel might become his. The sun presented it to him, and then resumed his place in the sky. Having obtained the spotless gem of gems, Satrajit wore it on his neck, and becoming as brilliant thereby as the sun himself, irradiating all the region with his splendour, he returned to Dwaraka. The inhabitants of that city, beholding him approach, repaired to the eternal male, Purushottama, who, to sustain the burden of the earth, had assumed a mortal form (as Krishna), and said to him, Lord", assuredly the divine sun is coming to visit you." But Krishna smiled, and said, "It is not the divine sun, but Satrajit, to whom aditya has presented the Syamantaka gem, and he now wears it: go and behold him without apprehension." Accordingly they departed. Satrajit having gone to his house, there deposited the jewel, which yielded daily
ght loads of gold, and through its marvellous virtue dispelled all fear of portents, wild beasts, fire, robbers, and famine.
Achyuta was of opinion that this wonderful gem should be in the possession of Ugrasena; but although he had the power of taking it from Satrajit, he did not deprive him of it, that he might not occasion ally disagreement amongst the family. Satrajit, on the other hand, fearing that Krishna would ask him for the jewel, transferred it to his brother Prasena. Now it was the peculiar property of this jewel, that although it was an inexhaustible source of good to a virtuous person, yet when worn by a man of bad character it was the cause of his death. Prasena having taken the gem, and hung it round his neck, mounted his horse, and went to the woods to hunt. In the chase he was killed by a lion. The lion, taking the jewel in his mouth, was about to depart, when he was observed and killed by Jambavat, the king of the bears, who carrying off the gem retired into his cave, and gave it to his son Sukumara to play with. When some time had elapsed, and Prasena did not appear, the Yadavas began to whisper one to another, and to say, "This is Krishna s doing: desirous of the jewel, and not obtaining it, he has perpetrated the murder of Prasena in order to get it into his possession."
When these calumnious rumours came to the knowledge of Krishna, he collected a number of the Yadavas, and accompanied by them pursued the course of Prasena by the impressions of his horse s hoofs. Ascertaining by this means that he and his horse had been killed by a lion, he was acquitted by all the people of any share in his death. Desirous of recovering the gem, he thence followed the steps of the lion, and at no great distance came to the place where the lion had been killed by the bear. Following the footmarks of the latter, he arrived at the foot of a mountain, where he desired the Yadavas to await him, whilst he continued the track. Still guided by the marks of the feet, he discovered a cavern, and had scarcely entered it when he heard the nurse of Sukumara saying to him, "The lion killed Prasena; the lion has been killed by Jambavat: weep not, Sukumara, the Syamantaka is your own." Thus assured of his object, Krishna advanced into the cavern, and saw the brilliant jewel in the hands of the nurse, who was giving it as a plaything to Sukumara. The nurse soon descried his
approach, and marking his eyes fixed upon the gem with eager desire, called loudly for help. Hearing her cries, Jambavat, full of anger, came to the cave, and a conflict ensued between him and Achyuta, which lasted twenty one days. The Yadavas who had accompanied the latter waited seven or eight days in expectation of his return, but as the foe of Madhu still came not forth, they concluded that he must have met his death in the cavern. "It could not have required so many days," they thought, "to overcome an enemy;" and accordingly they departed, and returned to Dwaraka, and announced that Krishna had been killed.
When the relations of Achyuta heard this intelligence, they performed all the obsequial rites suited to the occasion. The food and water thus offered to Krishna in the celebration of his sraddha served to support his life, and invigorate his strength in the combat in which he was engaged; whilst his adversary, wearied by daily conflict with a powerful foe, bruised and battered in every limb by heavy blows, and enfeebled by want of food, became unable longer to resist him. Overcome by his mighty antagonist, Jambavat cast himself before him and said, "Thou, mighty being, art surely invincible by all the demons, and by the spirits of heaven, earth, or hell; much less art thou to be vanquished by mean and powerless creatures in a human shape; and still less by such as we are, who are born of brute origin. Undoubtedly thou art a portion of my sovereign lord Narayana, the defender of the universe." Thus addressed by Jambavat, Krishna explained to him fully that he had descended to take upon himself the burden of the earth, and kindly alleviated the bodily pain which the bear suffered from the fight, by touching him with his hand. Jambavat again prostrated himself before Krishna, and presented to him his daughter Jambavati, as an offering suitable to a guest. He also delivered to his visitor the Syamantaka jewel. Although a gift from such an individual was not fit for his acceptance, yet Krishna took the gem for the purpose of clearing his reputation. He then returned along with
s bride Jambavati to Dwaraka..
When the people of Dwaraka beheld Krishna alive and returned, they were filled with delight, so that those who were bowed down with
years recovered youthful vigour; and all the Yadavas, men and women, assembled round anakadundubhi, the father of the hero, and congratulated him. Krishna related to the whole assembly of the Yadavas all that had happened, exactly as it had befallen, and restoring the Syamantaka jewel to Satrajit was exonerated from the crime of which he had been falsely accused. He then led Jambavati into the inner apartments.
When Satrajit reflected that he had been the cause of the aspersions upon Krishna s character, he felt alarmed, and to conciliate the prince he gave him to wife his daughter Satyabhama. The maiden had been previously sought in marriage by several of the most distinguished Yadavas, as Akrura, Kritavarman and satadhanwan, who were highly incensed at her being wedded to another, and leagued in enmity against Satrajit. The chief amongst them, with Akrura and Kritavarman, said to satadhanwan, "This caitiff Satrajit has offered a gross insult to you, as well as to us who solicited his daughter, by giving her to Krishna: let him not live: why do you not kill him, and take the jewel? Should Achyuta therefore enter into feud with you, we will take your part." Upon this promise satadhanwan undertook to slay Satrajit.
When news arrived that the sons of Pandu had been burned in the house of wax 10, Krishna, who knew the real truth, set off for Baranavata to allay the animosity of Duryodhana, and to perform the duties his relationship required. satadhanwan taking advantage of his absence, killed Satrajit in his sleep, and took possession of the gem. Upon this coming to the knowledge of Satyabhama, she immediately mounted her chariot, and, filled with fury at her father s murder, repaired to Baranavata, and told her husband how Satrajit had been killed by satadhanwan in resentment of her having been married to another, and how he had carried off the jewel; and she implored him to take prompt measures to avenge such heinous wrong. Krishna, who is ever internally placid, being informed of these transactions, said to Satyabhama, as his eyes flashed with indignation, "These are indeed
audacious injuries, but I will not submit to them from so vile a wretch. They must assail the tree, who would kill the birds that there have built their nests. Dismiss excessive sorrow; it needs not your lamentations to excite any wrath." Returning forthwith to Dwaraka, Krishna took Baladeva apart, and said to him, "A lion slew Prasena, hunting in the forests; and now Satrajit has been murdered by satadhanwan. As both these are removed, the jewel which belonged to them is our common right. Up then, ascend your car, and put satadhanwan to death."
Being thus excited by his brother, Balarama engaged resolutely in the enterprise; but satadhanwan, being aware of their hostile designs, repaired to Kritavarman, and required his assistance. Kritavarman, however, declined to assist him, pleading his inability to engage in a conflict with both Baladeva and Krishna. satadhanwan thus disappointed, applied to Akrura; but he said, "You must have recourse to some other protector. How should I be able to defend you? There is no one even amongst the immortals, whose praises are celebrated throughout the universe, who is capable of contending with the wielder of the discus, at the stamp of whose foot the three worlds tremble; whose hand makes the wives of the Asuras widows, whose weapons no host, however mighty, can resist: no one is capable of encountering the wielder of the ploughshare, who annihilates the prowess of his enemies by the glances of his eyes, that roll with the joys of wine; and whose vast ploughshare manifests his might, by seizing and exterminating the most formidable foes." "Since this is the case," replied satadhanwan, "and you are unable to assist me, at least accept and take care of this jewel." "I will do so," answered Akrura, "if you promise that even in the last extremity you will not divulge its being in my possession." To this satadhanwan agreed, and Akrura took the jewel; and the former mounting a very swift mare, one that could travel a hundred leagues a day, fled from Dwaraka.
When Krishna heard of satadhanwan s flight, he harnessed his four horses, saivya, Sugriva, Meghapushpa, and Balahaka, to his car, and, accompanied by Balarama, set off in pursuit. The mare held her speed,
and accomplished her hundred leagues; but when she reached the country of Mithila, her strength was exhausted, and she dropped down and died. satadhanwan 11 dismounting, continued his flight on foot. When his pursuers came to the place where the mare had perished, Krishna said to Balarama, "Do you remain in the car, whilst I follow the villain on foot, and put him to death; the ground here is bad; and the horses will not be able to drag the chariot across it." Balarama accordingly stayed with the car, and Krishna followed satadhanwan on foot: when he had chased him for two kos, he discharged his discus, and, although satadhanwan was at a considerable distance, the weapon struck off his head. Krishna then coining up, searched his body and his dress for the Syamantaka jewel, but found it not. He then returned to Balabhadra, and told him that they had effected the death of satadhanwan to no purpose, for the precious gem, the quintessence of all worlds, was not upon his person. When Balabhadra heard this, he flew into a violent rage, and said to Vasudeva, Shame" light upon you, to be thus greedy of wealth! I acknowledge no brotherhood with you. Here lies my path. Go whither you please; I have done with Dwaraka, with you, with all our house. It is of no use to seek to impose upon me with thy perjuries." Thus reviling his brother, who fruitlessly endeavoured to appease him, Balabhadra went to the city of Videha, where Janaka 12 received him hospitably, and there he remained.
eva returned to Dwaraka. It was during his stay in the dwelling of Janaka that Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra, learned from Balabhadra the art of fighting with the mace. At the expiration of three years, Ugrasena and other chiefs of the Yadavas, being satisfied that Krishna had not the jewel, went to Videha, and removed Balabhadra s suspicions, and brought him home.
Akrura, carefully considering the treasures which the precious jewel secured to him, constantly celebrated religious rites, and, purified with holy prayers 13, lived in affluence for fifty two years; and through the
virtue of that gem there was no dearth nor pestilence in the whole country 14. At the end of that period, satrughna, the great grandson of Satwata, was killed by the Bhojas, and as they were in bonds of alliance with Akrura, he accompanied them in their flight from Dwaraka. From the moment of his departure various calamities, portents, snakes, dearth, plague, and the like, began to prevail; so that he whose emblem is Garuda called together the Yadavas, with Balabhadra and Ugrasena, and recommended them to consider how it was that so many prodigies should have occurred at the same time. On this Andhaka, one of the elders of the Yadu race, thus spake: "Wherever swaphalka, the father of Akrura, dwelt, there famine, plague, dearth, and other visitations were unknown. Once when there was want of rain in the kingdom of Kasiraja, swaphalka was brought there, and immediately there fell rain from the heavens. It happened also that the queen of Kasiraja conceived, and was quick with a daughter; but when the time of delivery arrived, the child issued not from the womb. Twelve years passed away, and still the girl was unborn. Then Kasiraja spake to the child, and said, Daughter, why is your birth thus delayed? come forth; I desire to behold you, why do you inflict this protracted suffering upon your mother? Thus addressed, the infant answered, If, father, you will present a cow every day to the Brahmans, I shall at the end of three years more be born. The king accordingly presented
daily a cow to the Brahmans, and at the end of three years the damsel came into the world. Her father called her Gandini, and he subsequently gave her to swaphalka, when he came to his palace for his benefit. Gandini, as long as she lived, gave a cow to the Brahmans every day. Akrura was her
son by swaphalka, and his birth therefore proceeds from a combination of uncommon excellence. When a person such as he is, is absent from us, is it likely that famine, pestilence, and prodigies should fail to occur? Let him then he invited to return: the faults of men of exalted worth must not be too severely scrutinized."
Agreeably to the advice of Audhaka the elder, the Yadavas sent a mission, headed by Kesava, Ugrasena, and Balabhadra, to assure Akrura that no notice would be taken of any irregularity committed by him; and having satisfied him that he was in no danger, they brought him back to Dwaraka. Immediately on his arrival, in consequence of the properties of the jewel, the plague, dearth, famine, and every other calamity and portent, ceased. Krishna, observing this, reflected 15 that the descent of Akrura from Gandini and swaphalka was a cause wholly disproportionate to such an effect, and that some more powerful influence must be exerted to arrest pestilence and famine. "Of a surety," said he to himself, "the great Syamantaka jewel is in his keeping, for such I have heard are amongst its properties. This Akrura too has been lately celebrating sacrifice after sacrifice; his own means are insufficient for such expenses; it is beyond a doubt that he has the jewel." Having come to this conclusion, he called a meeting of all the Yadavas at his house, under the pretext of some festive celebration. When they were all seated, and the. purport of their assembling had been explained, and the business accomplished, Krishna entered into conversation with Akrura, and, after laughing and joking, said to him, Kinsman", you are a very prince in your liberality; but we know very well that the precious jewel which was stolen by Sudhanwan was delivered by him to you, and is now in your possession, to
the great benefit of this kingdom. So let it remain; we all derive advantage from its virtues.
[paragraph continues] But Balabhadra suspects that I have it, and therefore, out of kindness to me, shew it to the assembly." When Akrura, who had the jewel with him, was thus taxed, he hesitated what he should do. "If I deny that I have the jewel," thought he, "they will search my person, and find the gem hidden amongst my clothes. I cannot submit to a search." So reflecting, Akrura said to Narayana, the cause of the whole world, "It is true that the Syamantaka jewel was entrusted to me by satadhanwan, when he went from hence. I expected every day that you would ask me for it, and with much inconvenience therefore I have kept it until now. The charge of it has subjected me to so much anxiety, that I have been incapable of enjoying any pleasure, and have never known a moment s ease. Afraid that you would think me unfit to retain possession of a jewel so essential to the welfare of the kingdom, I forbore to mention to you its being in my hands; but now take it yourself, and give the care of it to whom you please." Having thus spoken, Akrura drew forth from his garments a small gold box, and took from it the jewel. On displaying it to the assembly of the Yadavas, the whole chamber where they sat was illuminated by its radiance. "This," said Akrura, "is the Syamantaka gem, which was consigned to me by satadhanwan: let him to whom it belongs now take it."
When the Yadavas beheld the jewel, they were filled with astonishment, and loudly expressed their delight. Balabhadra immediately claimed the jewel as his property jointly with Achyuta, as formerly agreed upon; whilst Satyabhama, demanded it as her right, as it had originally belonged to her father. Between these two Krishna considered himself as an ox between the two wheels of a cart, and thus spake to Akrura in the presence of all the Yadavas: "This jewel has been exhibited to the assembly in order to clear my reputation; it is the joint right of Balabhadra and myself, and is the patrimonial inheritance of Satyabhama. But this jewel, to be of advantage to the whole kingdom, should be taken charge of by a person who leads a life of perpetual continence: if worn by an impure individual, it will be the cause of his death. Now as I have sixteen thousand wives, I am not qualified to have the care of it. It is not likely that Satyabhama will agree to the
conditions that would entitle her to the possession of the jewel; and as to Balabhadra, he is too much addicted to wine and the pleasures of sense to lead a life of self denial. We are therefore out of the question, and all the Yadavas, Balabhadra, Satyabhama, and myself, request you, most bountiful Akrura, to retain the care of the jewel, as you have done hitherto, for the general good; for you are qualified to have the keeping of it, and in your hands it has been productive of benefit to the country. You must not decline compliance with our request." Akrura, thus urged, accepted the jewel, and thenceforth wore it publicly round his neck, where it shone with dazzling brightness; and Akrura moved about like the sun, wearing a garland of light.
He who calls to mind the vindication of the character of Krishna from false aspersions, shall never become the subject of unfounded accusation in the least degree, and living in the full exercise of his senses shall be cleansed from every sin 16.