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Chapter 30

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard this great narrative, O perpetuator ofKuru’s race. Thou, O foremost of eloquent men, hast said that the statusof a Brahmana is exceedingly difficult of acquisition. It is heard,however, that in former times the status of a Brahmana had been acquiredby Viswamitra. Thou, however, O best of men, tellest us that status isincapable of being acquired. I have also heard that king Vitahavya inancient times succeeded in obtaining the status of a Brahmana. I desireto hear, O puissant son of Ganga, the story of Vitahavya’s promotion. Bywhat acts did that best of kings succeed in acquiring the status of aBrahmana? Was it through some boon (obtained from some one of greatpuissance) or was it through the virtue of penances? It behoveth thee totell me everything.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Hear, O monarch, how the royal sage Vitahavya of greatcelebrity succeeded in ancient times in acquiring the status of aBrahmana that is so difficult to attain and that is held in such highreverence by all the world. While the high-souled Manu in days of yorewas employed in righteously ruling his subjects, he obtained a son ofrighteous soul who became celebrated under the name of Saryati. InSaryati’s, race, O monarch, two kings took their birth, viz., Haihaya andTalajangha. Both of them were sons of Vatsa, O foremost of victoriouskings. Haihaya, O monarch, had ten wives. Upon them he begot, O Bharata,a century of sons all of whom were highly inclined to fighting. All ofthem resembled one another in features and prowess. All of them wereendued with great strength and all of them were possessed of great skillin battle. They all studied the Vedas and the science of weaponsthoroughly. In Kasi also, O monarch, there was a king who was thegrandfather of Divodasa. The foremost of victorious men, he was known bythe name of Haryyaswa. The sons of king Haihaya, O chief of men (who wasotherwise known by the name of Vitahavya), invaded the kingdom of Kasiand advancing to the country that lies between the rivers Ganga andYamuna, fought a battle with king Haryyaswa and also slew him in it.Having slain king Haryyaswa in this way, the sons of Haihaya, those greatcar-warriors, fearlessly went back to their own delightful city in thecountry of the Vatsas. Meanwhile Haryyaswa’s son Sudeva, who looked likea deity in splendour and who was a second god of righteousness, wasinstalled on the throne of Kasi as its ruler. The delighter of Kasi, thatrighteous-souled prince ruled his kingdom for sometime, when the hundredsons of Vitahavya once more invaded his dominions and defeated him inbattle. Having vanquished king Sudeva thus, the victors returned to theirown city. After that Divodasa, the son of Sudeva, became installed on thethrone of Kasi as its ruler. Realising the prowess of those high-souledprinces, viz., the sons of Vitahavya, king Divodasa, endued with greatenergy, rebuilt and fortified the city of Baranasi at the command ofIndra. The territories of Divodasa were full of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas,and abounded with Vaisyas and Sudras. And they teemed with articles andprovisions of every kind, and were adorned with shops and marts swellingwith prosperity. Those territories, O best of kings, stretched northwardsfrom the banks of Ganga to the southern banks of Gomati, and resembled asecond Amravati (the city of Indra). The Haihayas once again, O Bharata,attacked that tiger among kings, as he ruled his kingdom. The mighty kingDivodasa endued with great splendour, issuing out of his capital, gavethem battle. The engagement between the two parties proved so fierce asto resemble the encounter in days of old between the deities and theAsuras. King Divodasa fought the enemy for a thousand days at the end ofwhich, having lost a number of followers and animals, he becameexceedingly distressed.[250] King Divodasa, O monarch, having lost hisarmy and seeing his treasury exhausted, left his capital and fled away.Repairing to the delightful retreat of Bhardwaja endued with great wisdomthe king, O chastiser of foes joining his hands in reverence, sought theRishi’s protection. Beholding King Divodasa before him, the eldest son ofVrihaspati, viz., Bharadwaja of excellent conduct, who was the monarch’spriest, said unto him, What is the reason of thy coming here? Tell meeverything, O king. I shall do that which is agreeable to thee, withoutany scruple.’

“The king said, ‘O holy one, the sons of Vitahavya have slain all thechildren and men of my house. I only have escaped with life, totallydiscomfited by the foe. I seek thy protection. It behoveth thee, O holyone, to protect me with such affection as thou hast for a disciple. Thoseprinces of sinful deeds have slaughtered my whole race, leaving myselfonly alive.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Unto him who pleaded so piteously, Bharadwaja ofgreat energy said, Do not fear! Do not fear! O son of Sudeva, let thyfears be dispelled. I shall perform a sacrifice, O monarch, in order thatthou mayst have a son through whom thou shalt be able to smite thousandsupon thousands of Vitahavya’s party. After this, the Rishi performed asacrifice with the object of bestowing a son on Divodasa. As the resultthereof, unto Divodasa was born a son named Pratarddana. Immediately onhis birth he grew up like a boy of full three and ten years and quicklymastered the entire Vedas and the whole of arms. Aided by his Yogapowers, Bharadwaja of great intelligence had entered into the prince.Indeed, collecting all the energy that occurs in the object of theuniverse, Bharadwaja put them together in the body of prince Pratarddana.Put on shining mail on his person and armed with the bow, Pratarddana,his praises sung by bards and the celestial Rishis, shone resplendentlike the risen star of day. Mounted on his car and with the scimitar tiedto his belt, he shone like a blazing fire. With scimitar and shield andwhirling his shield as he went, he proceeded to the presence of his sire.Beholding the prince, the son of Sudeva, viz., king Divodasa, becamefilled with joy. Indeed, the old king thought the sons of his enemyVitahavya as already slain. Divodasa then installed his son Pratarddanaas Yuvaraja, and regarding himself crowned with success becameexceedingly happy. After this, the old king commanded that chastiser offoes, viz., prince Pratarddana to march against the sons of Vitahavya andslay them in battle. Endued with great powers. Pratarddana, thatsubjugator of hostile cities speedily crossed Ganga on his car andproceeded against the city of the Vitahavyas. Hearing the clatterproduced by the wheels of his car, the sons of Vitahavya, riding on theirown cars that looked like fortified citadels and that were capable ofdestroying hostile vehicles, issued out of their city. Issuing out oftheir capital, those tigers among men, viz., the sons of Vitahavya, whowere all skilful warriors cased in mail, rushed with uplifted weaponstowards Pratarddana, covering him with showers of arrows. Encompassinghim with innumerable cars, O Yudhisthira, the Vitahavyas poured uponPratarddana showers of weapons of various kinds like clouds pouringtorrents of rain on the breast of Himavat. Baffling their weapons withhis own, prince Pratarddana endued with mighty energy slew them all withhis shafts that resembled the lighting fire of Indra. Their heads struckoff, O king, with hundreds and thousands of broad-headed arrows, thewarriors of Vitahavya fell down with blood-dyed bodies like Kinsuka treesfelled by woodmen with their axes on every side. After all his warriorsand sons had fallen in battle, king Vitahavya fled away from his capitalto the retreat of Bhrigu. Indeed, arrived there, the royal fugitivesought the protection of Bhrigu. The Rishi Bhrigu, O monarch, assured thedefeated king of his protection. Pratarddana followed in the footsteps ofVitahavya. Arrived at the Rishi’s retreat, the son of Divodasa said in aloud voice.–Ho, listen ye disciples of the high souled Bhrigu that mayhappen to be present, I wish to see the sage. Go and inform him of this.Recognising that it was Pratarddana who had come, the Rishi Bhriguhimself came out of his retreat and worshipped that best of kingsaccording to due rites. Addressing him then, the Rishi said,–Tell me, Oking, what is thy business. The king, at this, informed the Rishi of thereason of his presence.’

“The king said, ‘King Vitahavya has come here, O Brahmana. Do thou givehim up. His sons, O Brahmana, had destroyed my race. They had laid wastethe territories and the wealth of the kingdom of Kasi. Hundred sons,however, of this king proud of his might, have all been slain by me. Byslaying that king himself I shall today pay off the debt I owe to myfather. Unto him that foremost of righteous men, viz., the Rishi Bhrigu,penetrated with compassion, replied by saying,–There is no Kshatriya inthis retreat. They that are here are all Brahmanas. Hearing these wordsof Bhrigu that must accord he thought with truth, Pratarddana touched theRishi’s feet slowly and, filled with delight, said,–By this, O holy one,I am without doubt, crowned with success, since this king becomesabandoned by the very order of his birth in consequence of my prowess.Give me thy permission, O Brahmana, to leave thee, and let me solicitthee to pray for my welfare. This king, O founder of the race that goesby the name, has been compelled to leave of the very community of hisbirth, in consequence of my might. Dismissed by the Rishi Bhrigu, kingPratarddana then departed from that retreat, having even as a snakevomits forth its real poison and repaired to the place he had come from.Meanwhile, king Vitahavya attained to the status of a Brahmana sage byvirtue of the words only of Bhrigu. And he acquired also a completemastery over all the Vedas through the same cause. Vitahavya had a sonnamed Gritsamada who in beauty of person was a second Indra. Once on atime the Daityas afflicted him much, believing him to be none else thanIndra. With regard to that high-souled Rishi, one foremost of Srutis inthe Richs goes like this viz., He with whom Gritsamada stays, O Brahmana,is held in high respect by all Brahmanas. Endued with great intelligence,Gritsamada become a regenerate Rishi in the observance of Brahmacharyya.Gritsamada had a regenerate son of the name of Sutejas. Sutejas had a sonof the name of Varchas, and the son of Varchas was known by the name ofVihavya. Vihavya had a son of his loins who was named Vitatya and Vitatyahad a son of name Satya. Satya had a son of name Santa. Santa had a son,viz., the Rishi Sravas. Sravas begot a son named Tama. Tama begot a sonnamed Prakasa, who was a very superior Brahmana. Prakasa had a son namedVagindra who was the foremost of all silent reciters of sacred Mantras.Vagindra begot a son named Pramati who was a complete master of all theVedas and their branches. Pramati begot upon the Apsara Ghritachi a sonwho was named Ruru. Ruru begot a son upon his spouse Pramadvara. That sonwas the regenerate Rishi Sunaka. Sunaka begot a son who is named Saunaka.It was even thus, O foremost of monarchs, that king Vitahavya, though aKshatriya by the order of his birth, obtained the status of a Brahmana, Ochief of Kshatriyas, through the grace of Bhrigu. I have also told theethe genealogy of the race that sprung from Gritsamada. What else wouldstthou ask?’

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