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Chapter 4

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘Listen truly in detail, O son of Pritha, how in oldentimes Viswamitra attained to the status of a Brahmana Rishi. There was, Oforemost of Bharata’s descendants, in the race of Bharata, a king of thename of Ajamida, who performed many sacrifices and was the best of allvirtuous men. His son was the great king named Jahnu. Ganga was thedaughter of this high-minded prince. The farfamed and equally virtuousSindhudwipa was the son of this prince. From Sindhudwipa sprung the greatroyal sage Valakaswa. His son was named Vallabha who was like a secondDharma in embodied form. His son again was Kusika who was refulgent withglory like unto the thousand-eyed Indra. Kusika’s son was the illustriousKing Gadhi who, being childless and desiring to have a son born unto him,repaired to the forest. Whilst living there, a daughter was born untohim. She was called Satyavati by name, and in beauty of appearance shehad no equal on Earth. The illustrious son of Chyavana, celebrated by thename of Richika, of the race of Bhrigu, endued with austere penances,sought the hand of this lady. Gadhi, the destroyer of his enemies,thinking him to be poor, did not bestow her in marriage upon thehigh-souled Richika. But when the latter, thus dismissed, was going away,the excellent king, addressing him said,–‘If thou givest me a marriagedower thou shalt have my daughter for thy wife.’

“Richika said, ‘What dower, O king, shall I offer thee for the hand ofthy daughter? Tell me truly, without feeling any hesitation in thematter. Gadhi said,–‘O descendant of Bhrigu, do thou give me a thousandhorses fleet as the wind, and possessing the hue of moon-beams, and eachhaving one ear black.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Then that mighty son of Chyavana who was the foremost ofBhrigu’s race, besought the deity Varuna, the son of Aditi, who was thelord of all the waters.–O best of gods, I pray to thee to give me athousand horses, all endued with the speed of the wind and withcomplexion as effulgent as the moon’s, but each having one ear black. Thegod Varuna, the son of Aditi, said to that excellent scion of Bhrigu’srace,–Be it so. Wheresoever thou shalt seek, the horses shalt arise (inthy presence).–As soon as Richika thought of them, there arose from thewaters of Ganga thousand high-mettled horses, as lustrous in complexionas the moon. Not far from Kanyakubja, the sacred bank of Ganga is stillfamous among men as Aswatirtha in consequence of the appearance of thosehorses at that place. Then Richika, that best of ascetics, pleased inmind, gave those thousand excellent horses unto Gadhi as themarriage-dower. King Gadhi, filled with wonder and fearing to be cursed,gave his daughter, bedecked with jewels, unto that son of Bhrigu. Thatforemost of regenerate Rishis accepted her hand in marriage according tothe prescribed rites. The princess too was well-pleased at findingherself the wife of that Brahmana. That foremost of regenerate Rishis, OBharata, was well pleased with her conduct and expressed a wish to granther boon. The princess, O excellent king, related this to her mother. Themother addressed the daughter that stood before her with down-cast eyes,saving,–It behoves thee, O my daughter, to secure a favour for me alsofrom thy husband. That sage of austere penances is capable of granting aboon to me, the boon, viz. of the birth of a son to me.–Then, O king,returning quickly to her husband Richika, the princess related to him allthat had been desired by her mother. Richika said,–By my favour, Oblessed one, she will soon give birth to a son possessed of every virtue.May thy request be fulfilled. Of thee too shall be born a mighty andglorious son who, endued with virtue, shall perpetuate my race. Truly doI say this unto thee! When you two shall bathe in your season, she shallembrace a peepul tree, and thou, O excellent lady, shalt likewise embracea fig tree, and by so doing shall ye attain the object of your desire. Osweetly-smiling lady, both she and you shall have to partake of these twosacrificial offerings (charu)[8]rated with hymns, and then shall yeobtain sons (as desired).–At this, Satyavati, delighted at heart, toldher mother all that had been said by Richika as also of the two balls ofcharu. Then the mother, addressing her daughter Satyavati, said:–Odaughter, as I am deserving of greater consideration from thee than thyhusband, do thou obey my words. The charu, duly consecrated with hymns,which thy husband has given to thee, do thou give unto me and thyselftake the one that has been prescribed for me. O sweetly-smiling one ofblameless character, if thou hast any respect for my word, let us changethe trees respectively designed for us. Every one desires to possess anexcellent and stainless being for his own son. The glorious Richika toomust have acted from a similar motive in this matter, as will appear inthe end. For this reason, O beautiful girl, my heart inclines towards thycharu, and thy tree, and thou too shouldst consider how to secure anexcellent brother for thyself.–The mother and the daughter Satyavatihaving acted in this way, they both, O Yudhishthira, became big withchild. And that great Rishi, the excellent descendant of Bhrigu, findinghis wife quick with child, was pleased at heart, and addressing her,said,–O excellent lady, thou hast not done well in exchanging the charuas will soon become apparent. It is also clear that thou hast changed thetrees. I had placed the entire accumulated energy of Brahma in thy charuand Kshatriya energy in the charu of thy mother. I had so ordered thatthou wouldst give birth to a Brahmana whose virtues would be famousthroughout the three worlds, and that she (thy mother) would give birthto an excellent Kshatriya. But now, O excellent lady, that thou hastreversed the order (of the charu) so, thy mother will give birth to anexcellent Brahmana and thou too, O excellent lady, will give birth to aKshatriya terrible in action. Thou hast not done will, O lady, by actingthus out of affection for thy mother.–Hearing this, O king the excellentlady Satyavati, struck with sorrow, fell upon the ground like a beautifulcreeper cut in twain. Regaining her senses and bowing unto her lord withhead (bent), the daughter of Gadhi said to her husband, that foremost oneof Bhrigu’s race,–O regenerate Rishi, O thou that art foremost amongstthose versed in Brahma, do thou take pity on me, thy wife, who is thusappeasing thee and so order that a Kshatriya son may not be born unto me.Let my grandson be such a one as will be famous for his terribleachievements, if it be thy desire, but not my son, O Brahmana. Do thouconfer this favour on me.–Be it so,–said that man of austere penancesto his wife and then, O king, she gave birth to a blessed son namedJamadagni. The celebrated wife of Gadhi too gave birth to the regenerateRishi Viswamitra versed in the knowledge of Brahma, by favour of thatRishi. The highly devout Viswamitra, though a Kshatriya, attained to thestate of a Brahmana and became the founder of a race of Brahmanas. Hissons became high-souled progenitors of many races of Brahmanas who weredevoted to austere penances, learned in the Vedas, and founders, of manyclans. The adorable Madhuchcchanda and the mighty Devrat, Akshina,Sakunta, Vabhru, Kalapatha, the celebrated Yajnavalkya, Sthula of highvows, Uluka, Mudgala, and the sage Saindhavayana, the illustriousValgujangha and the great Rishi Galeva, Ruchi, the celebrated Vajra, asalso Salankayana, Liladhya and Narada, the one known as Kurchamuka, andVahuli, Mushala, as also Vakshogriva, Anghrika, Naikadrik, Silayupa,Sita, Suchi, Chakraka, Marrutantavya, Vataghna, Aswalayana, andSyamayana, Gargya, and Javali, as also Susruta, Karishi, Sangsrutya, andPara Paurava, and Tantu, the great sage Kapila, Tarakayana, Upagahana,Asurayani, Margama, Hiranyksha, Janghari, Bhavravayani, and Suti,Bibhuti, Suta, Surakrit, Arani, Nachika, Champeya, Ujjayana, Navatantu,Vakanakha, Sayanya, Yati, Ambhoruha, Amatsyasin, Srishin, GardhaviUrjjayoni, Rudapekahin, and the great Rishi Naradin,–these Munis wereall sons of Viswamitra and were versed in the knowledge of Brahma. O kingYudhishthira, the highly austere and devout Viswamitra, although aKshatriya (by descent), became a Brahmana for Richika having placed theenergy of supreme Brahma (in the charu), O foremost prince of Bharata’srace, I have now related to you, with all details, the story of the birthof Viswamitra who was possessed of energy of the sun, the moon, and thefire-god. O best of kings, if thou hast any doubt with regard to anyother matter, do thou let me know it, so that I may remove it.'”

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