The progeny of Sagara: their wickedness: he performs an Aswamedha: the horse stolen by Kapila: found by Sagara s sons, who are all destroyed by the sage: the horse recovered by Ansumat: his descendants. Legend of Mitrasaha or Kalmashapada, the son of Sudasa. Legend of Khatwanga. Birth of Rama and the other sons of Dasaratha. Epitome of the history of Rama: his descendants, and those of his brothers. Line of Kusa. Vrihadbala, the last, killed in the great war.
Sumati the daughter of Kasyapa, and Kesini the daughter of Raja Viderbha, were the two wives of Sagara 1. Being without progeny, the king solicited the aid of the sage Aurva with great earnestness, and the Muni pronounced this boon, that one wife should bear one son, the upholder of his race, and the other should give birth to sixty thousand sons; and he left it to them to make their election. Kesini chose to have the single son; Sumati the multitude: and it came to pass in a short time that the former bore Asamanjas 2, a prince through whom the dynasty continued; and the daughter of Vinata Sumati() had sixty thousand sons. The son of Asamanjas was Ansumat.
Asamanjas was from his boyhood of very irregular conduct. His father hoped that as he grew up to manhood he would reform; but finding that he continued guilty of the same immorality, Sagara abandoned him. The sixty thousand sons of Sagara followed the example of their brother Asamanjas. The path of virtue and piety being obstructed in the world by the sons of Sagara, the gods repaired to the Muni Kapila, who was a portion of Vishnu, free from fault, and endowed with all true wisdom. Having approached him with respect, they said, "O lord, what will become of the world, if these sons of Sagara are permitted to go on in the evil ways which they have learned from Asamanjas! Do thou, then, assume a visible form, for the protection of the afflicted
universe." "Be satisfied," replied the sage, "in a brief time the sons of Sagara shall be all destroyed."
At that period Sagara commenced the performance of the solemn sacrifice of a horse, who was guarded by his own sons: nevertheless some one stole the animal, and carried it off into a chasm in the earth, Sagara commanded his sons to search for the steed; and they, tracing him by the impressions of his hoofs, followed his course with perseverance, until coming to the chasm where he had entered, they proceeded to enlarge it, and dug downwards each for a league. Coming to Patala, they beheld the horse wandering freely about, and at no great distance from him they saw the Rishi Kapila sitting, with his head declined in meditation, and illuminating the surrounding space with radiance as bright as the splendours of the autumnal sun, shining in an unclouded sky. Exclaiming, "This is the villain who has maliciously interrupted our sacrifice, and stolen the horse! kill him! kill him!" they ran towards him with uplifted weapons. The Muni slowly raised his eyes, and for an instant looked upon them, and they were reduced to ashes by the sacred flame that darted from his person 3.
When Sagara learned that his sons, whom he had sent in pursuit of the sacrificial steed, had been destroyed by the might of the great Rishi Kapila, he dispatched Ansumat, the son of Asamaujas, to effect the animals recovery. The youth, proceeding by the deep path which the princes had dug, arrived where Kapila was, and bowing respectfully, prayed to him, and so propitiated him, that the saint said, "Go, my
son, deliver the horse to your grandfather; and demand a boon; thy grandson shall bring down the river of heaven on the earth." Ansumat requested as a boon that his uncles, who had perished through the sage s displeasure, might, although unworthy of it, be raised to heaven through his favour. "I have told you," replied Kapila, "that your grandson shall bring down upon earth the Ganges of the gods; and when her waters shall wash the bones and ashes of thy grandfather s sons, they shall be raised to Swarga. Such is the efficacy of the stream that flows from the toe of Vishnu, that it confers heaven upon all who bathe in it designedly, or who even become accidentally immersed in it: those even shall obtain Swarga, whose bones, skin, fibres, hair, or any other part, shall be left after death upon the earth which is contiguous to the Ganges." Having acknowledged reverentially the kindness of the sage, Ansumat returned to his grandfather, and delivered to him the horse. Sagara, on recovering the steed, completed his sacrifice; and in affectionate memory of his sons, denominated Sagara the chasm which they had dug 4.
The son of Ansumat was Dilipa 5; his son was Bhagiratha, who brought Ganga down to earth, whence she is called Bhagirathi. The son of Bhagiratha was sruta 6; his son was Nabhaga 7; his son was Ambarisha; his son was Sindhudwipa; his son was Ayutaswa 8; his son was Rituparna, the friend of Nala, skilled profoundly in dice 9. The
son of Rituparna was Sarvakama 10; his son was Sudasa; his son was Saudasa, named also Mitrasaha 11.
The son of Sudasa having gone into the woods to hunt, fell in with a couple of tigers, by whom the forest had been cleared of the deer. The king slew one of these tigers with an arrow. At the moment of expiring, the form of the animal was changed, and it became that of a fiend of fearful figure, and hideous aspect. Its companion, threatening the prince with its vengeance, disappeared.
After some interval Saudasa celebrated a sacrifice, which was conducted by Vasishtha. At the close of the rite Vasishtha went out; when the Rakshas, the fellow of the one that had been killed in the figure of a tiger, assumed the semblance of Vasishtha, and came and said to the king, "Now that the sacrifice is ended, you must give me flesh to eat: let it be cooked, and I will presently return." Having said this, he withdrew, and, transforming himself into the shape of the cook, dressed some human flesh, which he brought to the king, who, receiving it on a plate of gold, awaited the reappearance of Vasishtha. As soon as the Muni returned, the king offered to him the dish. Vasishtha surprised at such want of propriety in the king, as his offering him meat to eat, considered what it should be that was so presented, and by the efficacy of his meditations discovered that it was human flesh. His mind being agitated with wrath, he denounced a curse upon the Raja, saying, "Inasmuch as you have insulted all such holy men as we are, by giving me what is not to be eaten, your appetite shall henceforth be excited by similar food."
"It was yourself," replied the Raja to the indignant sage, "who commanded this food to be prepared." "By me!" exclaimed Vasishtha; "how could that have been?" and again having recourse to meditation, he detected the whole truth. Foregoing then all displeasure towards the king, he said, "The food to which I have sentenced you shall not be your sustenance for ever; it shall only be so for twelve years." The king, who had taken up water in the palms of his hands, and was prepared to curse the Muni, now considered that Vasishtha was his spiritual guide, and being reminded by Madayanti his queen that it ill became him to denounce an imprecation upon a holy teacher, who was the guardian divinity of his race, abandoned his intention.
[paragraph continues] Unwilling to cast the water upon the earth, lest it should wither up the grain, for it was impregnated with his malediction, and equally reluctant to throw it up into the air, lest it should blast the clouds, and dry up their contents, he threw it upon, his own feet. Scalded by the heat which the water had derived from his angry imprecation, the feet of the Raja became spotted black and white, and he thence obtained the name of Kalmashapada, or he with the spotted (kalmasha) feet (pada).
In consequence of the curse of Vasishtha, the Raja became a cannibal every sixth watch of the day for twelve years, and in that state wandered through the forests, and devoured multitudes of men. On one occasion he beheld a holy person engaged in dalliance with his wife. As soon as they saw his terrific form, they were frightened, and endeavoured to escape; but the regal Rakshasa overtook and seized the husband. The wife of the Brahman then also desisted from flight, and earnestly entreated the savage to spare her lord, exclaiming, "Thou, Mitrasaha, art the pride of the royal house of Ikshwaku, not a malignant fiend! it is not in thy nature, who knowest the characters of women, to carry off and devour my husband." But all was in vain, and, regardless of her reiterated supplications, he ate the Brahman, as a tiger devours a deer. The Brahman s wife, furious with wrath, then addressed the Raja, and said, "Since you have barbarously disturbed the joys of a wedded pair, and killed my husband, your death shall be the consequence of your associating with your queen." So saying, she entered the flames.
At the expiration of the period of his curse Saudasa returned home. Being reminded of the imprecation of the Brahmani by his wife Madayanti, he abstained from conjugal intercourse, and was in consequence childless; but having solicited the interposition of Vasishtha, Madayanti became pregnant. The child, however, was not born for seven years, when the queen, becoming impatient, divided the womb with a sharp stone, and was thereby delivered. The child was thence called Asmaka (from Asman, a stone The son of Asmaka was Mulaka, who, when the warrior tribe was extirpated upon earth, was surrounded and concealed by a number of females; whence he was denominated Narikavacha
[paragraph continues] (having women for armour) 12. The son of Mulaka was Dasaratha; his son was Ilavila; his son was Viswasaha; his son was Khatwanga, called also Dilipa 13, who in a battle between the gods and the Asuras, being called by the former to their succour, killed a number of the latter. Having thus acquired the friendship of the deities in heaven, they desired him to demand a boon. He said to them, "If a boon is to be accepted by me, then tell me, as a favour, what is the duration of my life." "The length of your life is but an hour," the gods replied. On which, Khatwanga, who was swift of motion, descended in his easy gliding chariot to the world of mortals. Arrived there, he prayed, and said, "If my own soul has never been dearer to me than the sacred Brahmans; if I have never deviated from the discharge of my duty; if I have never regarded gods, men, animals, vegetables, all created things, as different from the imperishable; then may I, with unswerving step, attain to that divine being on whom holy sages meditate!" Having thus spoken, he was united with that supreme being, who is Vasudeva; with that elder of all the gods, who is abstract existence, and whose form cannot be described. Thus he obtained absorption, according to this stanza, which was repeated formerly by the seven Rishis; "Like unto Khatwanga will be no one upon earth, who having come from heaven, and dwelt an hour amongst men, became united with the three worlds by his liberality and knowledge
of truth 14."
The son of Khatwanga was Dirghabahu; his son was Raghu; his son was Aja; his son was Dasaratha 15. The god from whose navel the
lotus springs became fourfold, as the four sons of Dasaratha, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and satrughna, for the protection of the world. Rama, whilst yet a boy, accompanied Viswamitra, to protect his sacrifice, and slew Tadaka. He afterwards killed Maricha with his resistless shafts; and Subahu and others fell by his arms. He removed the guilt of Ahalya by merely looking upon her. In the palace of Janaka he broke with ease the mighty bow of Maheswara, and received the hand of Sita, the daughter of the king, self born from the earth, as the prize of his prowess. He humbled the pride of Parasurama, who vaunted his triumphs over the race of Haihaya, and his repeated slaughters of the Kshatriya tribe. Obedient to the commands of his father, and cherishing no regret for the loss of sovereignty, he entered the forest,
accompanied by his brother Lakshmana and by his wife, where he killed in conflict Viradha, Kharadushana and other Rakshasas, the headless giant Kabandha, and Bali the monkey monarch. Having built a bridge across the ocean, and destroyed the whole Rakshasa nation, he recovered his bride Sita, whom their ten headed king Ravana had carried off, and returned to Ayodhya with her, after she had been purified by the fiery ordeal from the soil contracted by her captivity, and had been honoured by the assembled gods, who bore witness to her virtue 16.
Bharata made himself master of the country of the Gandharbas, after destroying vast numbers of them; and satrughna having killed the Rakshasa chief Lavana, the son of Madhu, took possession of his capital Mathura.
Having thus, by their unequalled valour and might, rescued the whole world from the dominion of malignant fiends, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and satrughna reascended to heaven, and were followed by those of the people of Kosala who were fervently devoted to these incarnate portions of the supreme Vishnu.
Rama and his brothers had each two sons. Kusa and Lava were the sous of Rama; those of Lakshmana were Angada and Chandraketu; the sons of Bharata were Taksha and Pushkara; and Subahu and surasena 17 were the sons of satrughna.
The son of Kusa was Atithi; his son was Nishadha; his son was Nala 18; his son was Nabhas; his son was Pundarika; his son was Kshemadhanwan; his son was Devanika; his son was Ahinagu 19; his son was Paripatra; his son was Dala 20; his son was Chhala 21; his son was Uktha 22; his son was Vajranabha; his son was sankhanabha 23; his son was Abhyutthitaswa 24; his son was Viswasaha 25; his son was Hiranyanabha, who was a pupil of the mighty Yogi Jaimini, and communicated the knowledge of spiritual exercises to Yajnawalkya 26. The son of this
saintly king was Pushya; his son was Dhruvasandhi 27; his son was Sudarsana; his son was Agnivarna; his son was sighra; his son was Maru 28, who through the power of devotion Yoga() is still living in the village called Kalapa, and in a future age will be the restorer of the Kshatriya race in the solar dynasty. Maru had a son named Prasusruta; his son was Susandhi; his son was Amarsha; his son was Mahaswat 29; his son was Visrutavat 30; and his son was Vrihadbala, who was killed in the great war by Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna. These are the most distinguished princes in the family of Ikshwaku: whoever listens to the account of them will be purified from all his sins 31.}