Saubhari and his wives adopt an ascetic life. Descendants of Mandhatri. Legend of Narmada and Purukutsa. Legend of Trisanku. Bahu driven from his kingdom by the Haihayas and Talajanghas. Birth of Sagara: he conquers the barbarians, imposes upon them distinguishing usages, and excludes them from offerings to fire, and the study of the Vedas.
HAVING thus communed with himself, Saubhari abandoned his children, his home, and all his splendour, and, accompanied by his wives, entered the forest, where he daily practised the observances followed by the ascetics termed Vaikhanasas (or anchorets having families), until he had cleansed himself from all sin. When his intellect had attained maturity, he concentrated in his spirit the sacramental fires 1, and became a religious mendicant. Then having consigned all his acts to the supreme, he obtained the condition of Achyuta, which knows no change, and is not subject to the vicissitudes of birth, transmigration, or death. Whoever reads, or hears, or remembers, or understands, this legend of Saubhari, and his espousal of the daughters of Mandhatri, shall never, for eight successive births, be addicted to evil thoughts, nor shall he act unrighteously, nor shall his mind dwell upon improper objects, nor shall he be influenced by selfish attachments. The line of Mandhatri is now resumed.
The son of Ambarisha, the son of Mandhatri, was Yuvanaswa; his son was Harita 2, from whom the Angirasa Haritas were descended 3.
In the regions below the earth the Gandharbas called Mauneyas (or sons of the Muni Kasyapa), who were sixty millions in number, had defeated the tribes of the Nagas, or snake gods, and seized upon their most precious jewels, and usurped their dominion. Deprived of their power by the Gandharbas, the serpent chiefs addressed the god of the gods, as he awoke from his slumbers; and the blossoms of his lotus eyes opened while listening to their hymns. They said, Lord", how shall we be delivered from this great fear?" Then replied the first of males, who is without beginning, "I will enter into the person of Purukutsa, the son of Mandhatri, the son of Yuvanaswa, and in him will I quiet these iniquitous Gandharbas." On hearing these words, the snake gods bowed and withdrew, and returning to their country dispatched Narmada to solicit the aid of Purukutsa 4.
Narmada accordingly went to Purukutsa, and conducted him to the regions below the earth, where, being filled with the might of the deity, he destroyed the Gandharbas. He then returned to his own palace; and the snake gods, in acknowledgment of Narmada s services, conferred upon her as a blessing, that whosoever should think of her, and invoke her name, should never have any dread of the venom of snakes. This is the invocation; Salutation" be to Narmada in the morning; salutation be to Narmada at night; salutation be to thee, O Narmada! defend me
from the serpent s poison." Whoever repeats this day and night, shall never be bitten by a snake in the dark nor in entering a chamber; nor shall he who calls it to mind when he eats suffer any injury from poison, though it be mixed with his food. To Purukutsa also the snake gods announced that the series of his descendants should never be cut off.
Purukutsa had a son by Narmada named Trasadasyu, whose son was Sambhuta 5, whose son was Anaranya, who was slain, by Ravana in his triumphant progress through the nations. The son of Anaranya was Prishadaswa; his son was Haryyaswa; his son was Sumanas 6; his son was Tridhanwan; his son was Trayyaruna; and his son was Satyavrata, who obtained the appellation of Trisanku, and was degraded to the condition of a Chandala, or outcast 7. During a twelve years famine Trisanku provided the flesh of deer for the nourishment of the wife and children of Viswamitra, suspending it upon a spreading fig tree on the borders of the Ganges, that he might not subject them to the indignity of receiving presents from an outcast. On this account Viswamitra, being highly pleased with him, elevated him in his living body to heaven 8.
The son of Trisanku was Harischandra 9; his son was
[paragraph continues] Rohitaswa 10; his son was Harita 11; his son was Chunchu 12, who had two sons named Vijaya and Sudeva. Ruruka 13 was the son of Vijaya, and his own son was Vrika, whose son was Bahu (or Bathuka). This prince was vanquished by the tribes of Haihayas and Talajanghas 14, anti his country was overrun by them; in consequence of which he fled into the forests with his wives. One of these was pregnant, and being an object of jealousy to a rival queen, the latter gave her poison to prevent her delivery. The poison had the effect of confining the child in the womb for seven years. Bahu, having waxed old, died in the neighbourhood of the residence of the Muni Aurva. His queen having constructed his pile, ascended it with the determination of accompanying him in death; but the sage Aurva, who knew all things, past, present, and to come, issued forth from his hermitage, and forbade her, saying, "Hold! hold! this is unrighteous; a valiant prince, the monarch of many realms, the
offerer of many sacrifices, the destroyer of his foes, a universal emperor, is in thy womb; think not of committing so desperate an act!" Accordingly, in obedience to his injunctions, she relinquished her intention. The sage then conducted, her to his abode, and after some time a very splendid boy was there born. Along with him the poison that had been given to his mother was expelled; and Aurva, after performing the ceremonies required at birth, gave him on that account the name of Sagara (from Sa, with, and Gara, poison The same holy sage celebrated his investure with the cord of his class, instructed him fully in the Vedas, and taught him the use of arms, especially those of fire, called after Bhargava.
When the boy had grown up, and was capable of reflection, he said to his mother one day, "Why are we dwelling in this hermitage? where is my father? and who is he?" His mother, in reply, related to him all that had happened. Upon hearing which he was highly incensed, and vowed to recover his patrimonial kingdom; and exterminate the Haihayas and Talajanghas, by whom it had been overrun. Accordingly when he became a man he put nearly the whole of the Haihayas to death, and would have also destroyed the sakas, the Yavanas, Kambojas, Paradas, and Pahnavas 15, but that they applied to Vasishtha, the
family priest of Sagara, for protection. Vasishtha regarding them as annihilated (or deprived of power), though living, thus spake to Sagara: "Enough, enough, my son, pursue no farther these objects of your wrath, whom you may look upon as no more. In order to fulfil your vow I have separated them from affinity to the regenerate tribes, and from the duties of their castes." Sagara, in compliance with the injunctions of his spiritual guide, contented himself therefore with imposing upon the vanquished nations peculiar distinguishing marks. He made the Yavanas 16 shave their heads entirely; the sakas he compelled to shave (the upper) half of their heads; the Paradas wore their hair long; and the Pahnavas let their beards grow, in obedience to his commands 17. Them also, and other Kshatriya races, he deprived of the established usages of oblations to fire and the study of the Vedas; and thus separated from religious rites, and abandoned by the Brahmans, these different tribes became Mlechchhas. Sagara, after the recovery of his kingdom, reigned over the seven zoned earth with undisputed dominion 18.