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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2 by Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

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And that lord of all things, that fire, blazing forth in effulgence
consumeth this universe with gods and _Asuras_ and _Gandharvas_ and
_Yakshas_ and _Snakes_ and _Rakshasas_. And there rise in the sky deep
masses of clouds, looking like herds of elephants and decked with
wreaths of lightning that are wonderful to behold. And some of those
clouds are of the hue of the blue lotus; and some are of the hue of the
water-lily; and some resemble in tint the filaments of the lotus and
some are purple and some are yellow as turmeric and some of the hue of
the crows' egg. And some are bright as the petals of the lotus and some
red as vermillion. And some resemble palatial cities in shape and some
herds of elephants. And some are of the form of lizards and some of
crocodiles and sharks. And, O king, the clouds that gather in the sky on
the occasion are terrible to behold and wreathed with lightnings, roar
frightfully. And those vapoury masses, charged with rain, soon cover the
entire welkin. And, O king, those masses of vapour then flood with water
the whole earth with her mountains and forests and mines. And, O bull
among men, urged by the Supreme Lord those clouds roaring frightfully,
soon flood over the entire surface of the earth. And pouring in a great
quantity of water and filling the whole earth, they quench that terrible
inauspicious fire (of which I have already spoken to thee). And urged by
the illustrious Lord those clouds filling the earth with their downpour
shower incessantly for twelve years. And then, O Bharata, the Ocean
oversteps his continents, the mountains sunder in fragments, and the
Earth sinks under the increasing flood. And then moved on a sudden by
the impetus of the wind, those clouds wander along the entire expanse of
the firmament and disappear from the view. And then, O ruler of men, the
Self-create Lord--the first Cause of everything--having his abode in the
lotus, drinketh those terrible winds and goeth to sleep, O Bharata!

"'And then when the universe become one dead expanse of water, when all
mobile and immobile creatures have been destroyed, when the _gods_ and
the _Asuras_ cease to be, when the _Yakshas_ and the _Rakshasas_ are no
more, when man is not, when trees and beasts of prey have disappeared,
when the firmament itself has ceased to exist, I alone, O lord of the
earth, wander in affliction. And, O best of kings, wandering over that
dreadful expanse of water, my heart becometh afflicted in consequence of
my not beholding any creature! And, O king, wandering without cessation,
through that flood, I become fatigued, but I obtain no resting place!
And some time after I behold in that expanse of accumulated waters a
vast and wide-extending banian tree, O lord of earth! And I then behold,
O Bharata, seated on a conch, O king, overlaid with a celestial bed and
attached to a far-extended bough of that banian, a boy, O great king, of
face fair as the lotus or the moon, and of eyes, O ruler of men, large
as petals of a full blown lotus! And at this sight, O lord of earth,
wonder filled my heart. And I asked myself, "How doth this boy alone sit
here when the world itself hath been destroyed?" And, O king, although I
have full knowledge of the Past, the Present, and the Future, still I
failed to learn anything of this by means of even ascetic meditation.
Endued with the lustre of the _Atasi_ flower, and decked with the mark
of _Sreevatsa_, he seemed to me to be like the abode of _Lakshmi_,
herself. And that boy, of eyes like the petals of the lotus, having the
mark of _Sreevatsa_, and possessed of blazing effulgence, then addressed
me in words highly pleasant to the ear, saying, "O sire, I know thee to
be fatigued and desirous of rest. O Markandeya of Bhrigu's race, rest
thou here as long as thou wishest. O best of _Munis_, entering within my
body, rest thou there. That hath been the abode assigned to thee by me.
I have been pleased with thee." Thus addressed by that boy, a sense of
total disregard possessed me in respect both of my long life and state
of manhood. Then that boy suddenly opened his mouth, and as fate would
have it, I entered his mouth deprived of the power of motion. But O
king, having suddenly entered into the stomach of that boy, I behold
there the whole earth teeming with cities and kingdoms. And, O best of
men, while wandering through the stomach of that illustrious one, I
behold the Ganga, the Satudru, the Sita, the Yamuna, and the Kausiki;
the Charmanwati, the Vetravati; the Chandrabhaga, the Saraswati, the
Sindhu, the Vipasa, and the Godavari; the Vaswokasara, the Nalini and
the Narmada; the Tamra, and the Venna also of delightful current and
sacred waters; the Suvenna, the Krishna-venna, the Irama, and the
Mahanadi; the Vitasti, O great king, and that large river, the Cavery;
the one also, O tiger among men, the Visalya, and the Kimpuna also. I
beheld all these and many other rivers that are on the earth! And, O
slayer of foes, I also beheld there the ocean inhabited by alligators
and sharks, that mine of gems, that excellent abode of waters. And I
beheld there the firmament also, decked with the Sun and the Moon,
blazing with effulgence, and possessed of lustre of fire of the Sun. And
I beheld there, O king, the earth also, graced with woods and forests.
And, O monarch, I beheld there many Brahmanas also, engaged in various
sacrifices; and the Kshatriyas engaged in doing good to all the orders;
and the Vaisyas employed in pursuits in agriculture; and the Sudras
devoted to the service of the regenerate classes. And, O king, while
wandering through the stomach of that high-souled one, I also beheld the
Himavat and the mountains of Hemakuta. And I also saw Nishada, and the
mountains of Sweta abounding in silver. And, O king, I saw there the
mountain Gandhamadana, and, O tiger among men, also Mandara and the huge
mountains of Nila. And, O great king, I saw there the golden mountains
of Meru and also Mahendra and those excellent mountains called the
Vindhyas. And I beheld there the mountains of Malaya and of Paripatra
also. These and many other mountains that are on earth were all seen by
me in his stomach. And all these were decked with jewels and gems. And,
O monarch, while wandering through his stomach, I also beheld lions and
tigers and boars and, indeed, all other animals that are on earth, O
great king! O tiger among men, having entered his stomach, as I wandered
around, I also beheld the whole tribe of the _gods_ with their chief
Sakra, the _Sadhyas_, the _Rudras_, the _Adityas_, the _Guhyakas_, the
_Pitris_, the _Snakes_ and the _Nagas_, the feathery tribes, the
_Vasus_, the _Aswins_, the _Gandharvas_, the _Apsaras_, the _Yakshas_,
the _Rishis_, the hordes of the _Daityas_ and the _Danavas_, and the
_Nagas_ also, O king, and the sons of _Singhika_ and all the other
enemies of the gods; indeed what else of mobile and immobile creatures
may be seen on earth, were all seen by me, O monarch, within the stomach
of that high-souled one. And, O lord, living upon fruits I dwelt within
his body for many centuries wandering over the entire universe that is
there. Never did I yet, O king, behold the limits of his body. And when,
O lord of earth, I failed to measure the limits of that high-souled
one's body, even though I wandered within him continuously in great
anxiety of mind, I then, in thought and deed sought the protection of
that boon-giving and pre-eminent Deity, duly acknowledging his
superiority. And when I had done this, O king, I was suddenly projected
(from within his body) through that high-souled one's open mouth by
means, O chief of men, of a gust of wind. And, O king, I then beheld
seated on the branch of that very banian that same Being of immeasurable
energy, in the form of a boy with the mark of _Sreevatsa_ (on his
breast) having, O tiger among men, swallowed up the whole universe. And
that boy of blazing effulgence and bearing the mark of _Sreevatsa_ and
attired in yellow robes, gratified with me, smilingly addressed me,
saying, "O Markandeya, O best of _Munis_, having dwelt for some time
within my body, thou hast been fatigued! I shall however speak unto
thee." And as he said this to me, at that very moment I acquired a new
sight, so to speak, in consequence of which I beheld myself to be
possessed of true knowledge and emancipated from the illusions of the
world. And, O child, having witnessed the inexhaustible power of that
Being of immeasurable energy, I then worshipped his revered and
well-shaped feet with soles bright as burnished copper and well-decked
with toes of mild red hue, having placed them carefully on my head and
joining my palms in humility and approaching him with reverence. I
beheld that Divine Being who is the soul of all things and whose eyes
are like the petals of the lotus. And having bowed unto him with joined
hands I addressed him saying, "I wish to know thee, O Divine Being, as
also this high and wonderful illusion of thine! O illustrious one,
having entered into thy body through thy mouth, I have beheld the entire
universe in thy stomach! O Divine Being, the gods, the _Danavas_ and the
_Rakshasas_, the _Yakshas_, the _Gandharvas_, and the _Nagas_, indeed,
the whole universe mobile and immobile, are all within thy body! And
though I have ceaselessly wandered through thy body at a quick pace,
through thy grace, O God, my memory faileth me not. And, O great lord, I
have come out of thy body at thy desire but not of mine! O thou of eyes
like lotus leaves, I desire to know thee who art free from all faults!
Why dost thou stay here in the form of a boy having swallowed up the
entire universe? It behoveth thee to explain all this to me. Why, O
sinless one, is the entire universe within thy body? How long also, O
chastiser of foes, wilt thou stay here? Urged by a curiosity that is not
improper for Brahmanas, I desire, O Lord of all the gods, to hear all
this from thee, O thou of eyes like lotus leaves, with every detail and
exactly as it all happens, for all I have seen, O Lord, is wonderful and
inconceivable!" And thus addressed by me, that deity of deities, of
blazing effulgence and great beauty, that foremost of all speakers
consoling me properly, spoke unto me these words.'"


"Markandeya continued, 'The Deity then said, "O Brahmana, the gods even
do not know me truly! As however, I have been gratified with thee, I
will tell thee how I created the universe! O regenerate _Rishi_, thou
art devoted to thy ancestors and hast also sought my protection! Thou
hast also beheld me with thy eyes, and thy ascetic merit also is great!
In ancient times I called the waters by the name of _Nara_; and because
the waters have ever been my _ayana_ or home, therefore have I been
called _Narayana_ (the _water-homed_). O best of regenerate ones, I am
_Narayana_, the Source of all things, the Eternal, the Unchangeable. I
am the Creator of all things, and the Destroyer also of all. I am
Vishnu, I am Brahma and I am Sakra, the chief of the gods. I am king
Vaisravana, and I am Yama, the lord of the deceased spirits. I am Siva,
I am Soma, and I am Kasyapa the lord of the created things. And, O best
of regenerate ones, I am he called _Dhatri_, and he also that is called
_Vidhatri_, and I am Sacrifice embodied. Fire is my mouth, the earth my
feet, and the Sun and the Moon are my eyes; the Heaven is the crown of
my head, the firmament and the cardinal points are my ears; the waters
are born of my sweat. Space with the cardinal points are my body, and
the Air is my mind. I have performed many hundreds of sacrifices with
gifts in profusion. I am always present in the sacrifices of the gods;
and they that are cognisant of the _Vedas_ and officiate therein, make
their offerings to me. On earth the Kshatriya chiefs that rule over men,
in performing their sacrifices from desire of obtaining heaven, and the
Vaisyas also in performing theirs from desire of winning those happy
regions, all worship me at such times and by those ceremonials. It is I
who, assuming the form of Sesha support (on my head) this earth bounded
by the four seas and decked by Meru and Mandara. And O regenerate one,
it is I who, assuming the form of a boar, had raised in days of yore
this earth sunk in water. And, O best of Brahmanas, it is I who,
becoming the fire that issues out of the _Equine mouth_, drink up the
waters (of the ocean) and create them again. In consequence of my energy
from my mouth, my arms, my thighs, and my feet gradually sprang
Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras. It is from me that the
_Rik_, the _Sama_, the _Yajus_, and the _Atharvan_ Vedas spring, and it
is in me that they all enter when the time cometh. Brahmanas devoted to
asceticism, they that value Peace as the highest attribute, they that
have their souls under complete control, they that are desirous of
knowledge, they that are freed from lust and wrath and envy, they that
are unwedded to things of the earth, they that have their sins
completely washed away, they that are possessed of gentleness and
virtue, and are divested of pride, they that have a full knowledge of
the Soul, all worship me with profound meditation. I am the flame known
as _Samvartaka_, I am the Wind called by that name, I am the Sun wearing
that appellation, and I am the fire that hath that designation. And, O
best of Brahmanas, those things that are seen in the firmament as stars,
know them to be the pores of my skin. The ocean--those mines of gems and
the four cardinal points, know, O Brahmana, are my robes, my bed, and my
home. By me have they been distributed for serving the purposes of the
gods. And, O best of men, know also that lust, wrath, joy, fear, and the
over-clouding of the intellect, are all different forms of myself. And,
O Brahmana, whatever is obtained by men by the practice of truth,
charity, ascetic austerities, and peace and harmlessness towards all
creatures, and such other handsome deeds, is obtained because of my
arrangements. Governed by my ordinance, men wander within my body, their
senses overwhelmed by me. They move not according to their will but as
they are moved by me. Regenerate Brahmanas that have thoroughly studied
the _Vedas_, that have tranquillity in their souls, they that have
subdued their wrath, obtain a high reward by means of their numerous
sacrifices. That reward, however, is unattainable by men that are wicked
in their deeds, overwhelmed by covetousness, mean and disreputable with
souls unblessed and impure. Therefore, must thou know, O Brahmana that
this reward which is obtained by persons having their souls under
control and which is unobtainable by the ignorant and the foolish,--this
which is attainable by asceticism alone,--is productive of high merit.
And, O best of men, at those times when virtue and morality decrease and
sin and immorality increase, I create myself in new forms. And, O
_Muni_, when fierce and malicious _Daityas_ and _Rakshasas_ that are
incapable of being slain by even the foremost of the gods, are born on
earth, I then take my birth in the families of virtuous men, and
assuming human body restore tranquillity by exterminating all evils.
Moved by my own _maya_, I create gods and men, and _Gandharvas_ and
_Rakshasas_, and all immobile things and then destroy them all myself
(when the time cometh). For the preservation of rectitude and morality I
assume a human form, and when the season for action cometh, I again
assume forms that are inconceivable. In the _Krita_ age I become white,
in the _Treta_ age I become yellow, in the _Dwapara_ I have become red
and in the _Kali_ age I become dark in hue. In the _Kali_ age, the
proportion of immorality becometh three-fourths, (a fourth only being
that of morality). And when the end of the _Yuga_ cometh, assuming the
fierce form of Death, alone I destroy all the three worlds with their
mobile and immobile existences. With three steps, I cover the whole
Universe; I am the Soul of the universe; I am the source of all
happiness; I am the humbler of all pride; I am omnipresent; I am
infinite; I am the Lord of the senses; and my prowess is great. O
Brahmana, alone do I set a-going the wheel of Time; I am formless; I am
the Destroyer of all creatures; and I am the cause of all efforts of all
my creatures. O best of _Munis_, my soul completely pervadeth all my
creatures, but, O foremost of all regenerate ones, no one knoweth me. It
is me that the pious and the devoted worship in all the worlds. O
regenerate one, whatever of pain thou hast felt within my stomach, know,
O sinless one, that all that is for thy happiness and good fortune. And
whatever of mobile and immobile objects thou hast seen in the world,
everything hath been ordained by my Soul which is the Spring of all
existence. The grandsire of all creatures is half my body; I am called
Narayana, and I am bearer of the conch-shell, the discus and the mace. O
regenerate _Rishi_, for a period measured by a thousand times the length
of the _Yugas_, I who am the Universal Soul sleep overwhelming all
creatures in insensibility. And, O best of regenerate _Rishis_, I stay
here thus for all time, in the form of a boy though I am old, until
Brahma waketh up. O foremost of Brahmanas, gratified with thee, I who am
_Brahma_ have repeatedly granted thee boons, O thou who art worshipped
by regenerate _Rishis_! Beholding one vast expanse of water and seeing
that all mobile and immobile creatures have been destroyed, thou wert
afflicted with melancholy. I know this, and it is for this that I showed
thee the universe (within my stomach). And while thou wert within my
body, beholding the entire universe, thou wert filled with wonder and
deprived of thy senses. O regenerate _Rishi_, it is for this that thou
wert speedily brought out by me through my mouth. I have (now) told thee
of that Soul which is incapable of being comprehended by the gods and
the _Asuras_. And as long as that great ascetic, the holy Brahma, doth
not awake, thou, O regenerate _Rishi_, canst happily and trustfully
dwell here. And when that Grandsire of all creatures awaketh up, I will
then, O best of Brahmanas, alone create all creatures endued with
bodies, the firmament, the earth, light, the atmosphere, water, and
indeed all else of mobile and immobile creatures (that thou mayst have
seen) on the earth!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Having said so unto me that wonderful Deity
vanished, O son, from my sight! I then beheld this varied and wondrous
creation start into life. O king, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, I
witnessed all this, so wonderful, O thou foremost of all virtuous men,
at the end of the _Yuga_! And the Deity, of eyes large as lotus leaves,
seen by me, in days of yore is this tiger among men, this Janardana who
hath become thy relative! It is in consequence of the boon granted to me
by this one that memory doth not fail me, that the period of my life, O
son of Kunti, is so long and death itself is under my control. This is
that ancient and supreme Lord Hari of inconceivable soul who hath taken
his birth as Krishna of the Vrishni race, and who endued with mighty
arms, seemeth to sport in this world! This one is _Dhatri_ and
_Vidhatri_, the Destroyer of all the Eternal, the bearer of the
_Sreevatsa_ mark on his breast, the Lord of the lord of all creatures,
the highest of the high, called also Govinda! Beholding this foremost of
all gods, this ever-victorious Being, attired in yellow robes, this
chief of the Vrishni race, my recollection cometh back to me! This
Madhava is the father and mother of all creatures! Ye bulls of the Kuru
race, seek ye the refuge of this Protector!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, the sons of Pritha and those
bulls among men--the twins, along with Draupadi, all bowed down unto
Janardana. And that tiger among men deserving of every respect thus
revered by the sons of Pandu, then consoled them all with words of great


Vaisampayana said "Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, once more asked the
great _Muni_ Markandeya about the future course of the government of the

"And Yudhishthira said, 'O thou foremost of all speakers, O _Muni_ of
Bhrigu's race, that which we have heard from thee about the destruction
and re-birth of all things at the end of the _Yuga_, is, indeed, full of
wonder! I am filled with curiosity, however, in respect of what may
happen in the _Kali_ age. When morality and virtue will be at an end,
what will remain there! What will be the prowess of men in that age,
what their food, and what their amusements? What will be the period of
life at the end of the _Yuga_? What also is the limit, having attained
which the _Krita_ age will begin anew? Tell me all in detail, O _Muni_,
for all that thou narratest is varied and delightful.'

"Thus addressed, that foremost of _Munis_ began his discourse again,
delighting that tiger of the Vrishni race and the sons of Pandu as well.
And Markandeya said, 'Listen, O monarch, to all that hath been seen and
heard by me, and to all, O king of kings, that hath been known to me by
intuition from the grace of the God of gods! O bull of the Bharata race,
listen to me as I narrate the future history of the world during the
sinful age. O bull of the Bharata race, in the _Krita_ age, everything
was free from deceit and guile and avarice and covetousness; and
morality like a bull was among men, with all the four legs complete. In
the _Treta_ age sin took away one of these legs and morality had three
legs. In the _Dwapara_, sin and morality are mixed half and half; and
accordingly morality is said to have two legs only. In the dark age (_of
Kali_), O thou best of the Bharata race, morality mixed with three parts
of sin liveth by the side of men. Accordingly morality then is said to
wait on men, with only a fourth part of itself remaining. Know, O
Yudhishthira, that the period of life, the energy, intellect and the
physical strength of men decrease in every _Yuga_! O Pandava, the
Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras, (in the _Kali_ age)
will practise morality and virtue deceitfully and men in general will
deceive their fellows by spreading the net of virtue. And men with false
reputation of learning will, by their acts, cause Truth to be contracted
and concealed. And in consequence of the shortness of their lives they
will not be able to acquire much knowledge. And in consequence of the
littleness of their knowledge, they will have no wisdom. And for this,
covetousness and avarice will overwhelm them all. And wedded to avarice
and wrath and ignorance and lust men will entertain animosities towards
one another, desiring to take one another's lives. And Brahmanas and
Kshatriyas and Vaisyas with their virtue contracted and divested of
asceticism and truth will all be reduced to an equality with the Sudras.
And the lowest orders of men will rise to the position of the
intermediate ones, and those in intermediate stations will, without
doubt, descend to the level of the lowest ones. Even such, O
Yudhishthira, will become the state of the world at the end of the
_Yuga_. Of robes those will be regarded the best that are made of flax,
and of grain the _Paspalum frumentacea_[5] will be regarded the best.
Towards this period men will regard their wives as their (only) friends.
And men will live on fish and milk, goats and sheep, for cows will be
extinct. And towards that period, even they that are always observant of
vows, will become covetous. And opposed to one another, men will, at
such a time, seek one another's lives; and divested of _Yuga_, people
will become atheists and thieves. And they will even dig the banks of
streams with their spades and sow grains thereon. And even those places
will prove barren for them at such a time. And those men who are devoted
to ceremonial rites in honour of the deceased and of the gods, will be
avaricious and will also appropriate and enjoy what belongs to others.
The father will enjoy what belongs to the son; and the son, what belongs
to the father. And those things will also be enjoyed by men in such
times, the enjoyment of which hath been forbidden in the scriptures. And
the Brahmanas, speaking disrespectfully of the Vedas, will not practise
vows, and their understanding clouded by the science of disputation,
they will no longer perform sacrifices and the _Homa_. And deceived by
the false science of reasons, they will direct their hearts towards
everything mean and low. And men will till low lands for cultivation and
employ cows and calves that are one year old, in drawing the plough and
carrying burthens. And sons having slain their sires, and sires having
slain their sons will incur no opprobrium. And they will frequently save
themselves from anxiety by such deeds, and even glory in them. And the
whole world will be filled with _mleccha_ behaviour and notions and
ceremonies, and sacrifices will cease and joy will be nowhere and
general rejoicing will disappear. And men will rob the possession of
helpless persons, of those that are friendless and of wisdoms also. And,
possessed of small energy and strength, without knowledge and given to
avarice and folly and sinful practices men will accept with joy the
gifts made by wicked people with words of contempt. And, O son of Kunti,
the kings of the earth, with hearts wedded to sin without knowledge and
always boastful of their wisdom, will challenge one another from desire
of taking one another's life. And the Kshatriyas also towards the end of
such a period will become the thorns of the earth. And filled with
avarice and swelling with pride and vanity and, unable and unwilling to
protect (their subjects), they will take pleasure in inflicting
punishments only. And attacking and repeating their attacks upon the
good and the honest, and feeling no pity for the latter, even when they
will cry in grief, the Kshatriyas will, O Bharata, rob these of their
wives and wealth. And no one will ask for a girl (for purposes of
marriage) and no one will give away a girl (for such purposes), but the
girls will themselves choose their lords, when the end of the _Yuga_
comes. And the kings of the earth with souls steeped in ignorance, and
discontented with what they have, will at such a time, rob their
subjects by every means in their power. And without doubt the whole
world will be _mlecchified_.[6] And when the end of the _Yuga_ comes,
the right hand will deceive the left; and the left, the right. And men
with false reputation of learning will contract Truth and the old will
betray the senselessness of the young, and the young will betray the
dotage of the old. And cowards will have the reputation of bravery and
the brave will be cheerless like cowards. And towards the end of the
_Yuga_ men will cease to trust one another. And full of avarice and
folly the whole world will have but one kind of food. And sin will
increase and prosper, while virtue will fade and cease to flourish. And
Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas will disappear, leaving, O king, no
remnants of their orders. And all men towards the end of the Yuga will
become members of one common order, without distinction of any kind. And
sires will not forgive sons, and sons will not forgive sires. And when
the end approaches, wives will not wait upon and serve their husbands.
And at such a time men will seek those countries where wheat and barley
form the staple food. And, O monarch, both men and women will become
perfectly free in their behaviour and will not tolerate one another's
acts. And, O Yudhishthira, the whole world will be _mlecchified_. And
men will cease to gratify the gods by offerings of _Sraddhas_. And no
one will listen to the words of others and no one will be regarded as a
preceptor by another. And, O ruler of men, intellectual darkness will
envelop the whole earth, and the life of man will then be measured by
sixteen years, on attaining to which age death will ensue. And girls of
five or six years of age will bring forth children and boys of seven or
eight years of age will become fathers. And, O tiger among kings, when
the end of the _Yuga_ will come, the wife will never be content with her
husband, nor the husband with his wife. And the possessions of men will
never be much, and people will falsely bear the marks of religion, and
jealousy and malice will fill the world. And no one will, at that time,
be a giver (of wealth or anything else) in respect to any one else. And
the inhabited regions of the earth will be afflicted with dearth and
famine, and the highways will be filled with lustful men and women of
evil repute. And, at such a time, the women will also entertain an
aversion towards their husbands. And without doubt all men will adopt
the behaviour of the _mlecchas_, become omnivorous without distinction,
and cruel in all their acts, when the end of the _Yuga_ will come. And,
O thou foremost of the Bharatas, urged by avarice, men will, at that
time, deceive one another when they sell and purchase. And without a
knowledge of the ordinance, men will perform ceremonies and rites, and,
indeed, behave as listeth them, when the end of the _Yuga_ comes. And
when the end of the _Yuga_ comes, urged by their very dispositions, men
will act cruelly, and speak ill of one another. And people will, without
compunction, destroy trees and gardens. And men will be filled with
anxiety as regards the means of living. And, O king, overwhelmed with
covetousness, men will kill Brahmanas and appropriate and enjoy the
possessions of their victims. And the regenerate ones, oppressed by
Sudras, and afflicted with fear, and crying _Oh_ and _Alas_, will wander
over the earth without anybody to protect them. And when men will begin
to slay one another, and become wicked and fierce and without any
respect for animal life, then will the _Yuga_ come to an end. And, O
king, even the foremost of the regenerate ones, afflicted by robbers,
will, like crows, fly in terror and with speed, and seek refuge, O
perpetuator of the Kuru race, in rivers and mountains and inaccessible
regions. And always oppressed by bad rulers with burthens of taxes, the
foremost of the regenerate classes, O lord of the earth, will, in those
terrible times, take leave of all patience and do improper acts by
becoming even the servants of the Sudras. And Sudras will expound the
scriptures, and Brahmanas will wait upon and listen to them, and settle
their course of duty accepting such interpretations as their guides. And
the low will become the high, and the course of things will look
contrary. And renouncing the gods, men will worship bones and other
relics deposited within walls. And, at the end of the _Yuga_, the Sudras
will cease to wait upon and serve the Brahmanas. And in the asylums of
great _Rishis_, and the teaching institutions of Brahmanas, and in
places sacred to the gods and sacrificial compounds, and in sacred
tanks, the earth will be disfigured with tombs and pillars containing
bony relics and not graced with temples dedicated to the gods. All this
will take place at the end of the _Yuga_, and know that these are the
signs of the end of the _Yuga_. And when men become fierce and destitute
of virtue and carnivorous and addicted to intoxicating drinks, then doth
the _Yuga_ come to an end. And, O monarch, when flowers will be begot
within flowers, and fruits within fruits, then will the _Yuga_ come to
an end. And the clouds will pour rain unseasonably when the end of the
_Yuga_ approaches. And, at that time, ceremonial rites of men will not
follow one another in due order, and the Sudras will quarrel with the
Brahmanas. And the earth will soon be full of _mlecchas_, and the
Brahmanas will fly in all directions for fear of the burthen of taxes.
And all distinctions between men will cease as regards conduct and
behaviour, and afflicted with honorary tasks and offices, people will
fly to woody retreats, subsisting on fruits and roots. And the world
will be so afflicted, that rectitude of conduct will cease to be
exhibited anywhere. And disciples will set at naught the instructions of
preceptors, and seek even to injure them. And preceptors impoverished
will be disregarded by men. And friends and relatives and kinsmen will
perform friendly offices for the sake of the wealth only that is
possessed by a person. And when the end of the _Yuga_ comes, everybody
will be in want. And all the points of the horizon will be ablaze, and
the stars and stellar groups will be destitute of brilliancy, and the
planets and planetary conjunctions will be inauspicious. And the course
of the winds will be confused and agitated, and innumerable meteors will
flash through the sky, foreboding evil. And the Sun will appear with six
others of the same kind. And all around there will be din and uproar,
and everywhere there will be conflagrations. And the Sun, from the hour
of his rising to that of setting, will be enveloped by Rahu. And the
deity of a thousand eyes will shower rain unseasonably. And when the end
of the _Yuga_ comes, crops will not grow in abundance. And the women
will always be sharp in speech and pitiless and fond of weeping. And
they will never abide by the commands of their husbands. And when the
end of the _Yuga_ comes, sons will slay fathers and mothers. And women,
living uncontrolled, will slay their husbands and sons. And, O king,
when the end of the _Yuga_ comes, _Rahu_ will swallow the Sun
unseasonably. And fires will blaze up on all sides. And travellers
unable to obtain food and drink and shelter even when they ask for
these, will lie down on the wayside refraining from urging their
solicitations. And when the end of the _Yuga_ comes, crows and snakes
and vultures and kites and other animals and birds will utter frightful
and dissonant cries. And when the end of the _Yuga_ comes, men will cast
away and neglect their friends and relatives and attendants. And, O
monarch, when the end of the _Yuga_ comes, men abandoning the countries
and directions and towns and cities of their occupation, will seek for
new ones, one after another. And people will wander over the earth,
uttering, "_O father, O son_", and such other frightful and rending

[5] The word in the text is _Kora-dushakas_, supposed by Wilson
to be the _Paspalum frumentacea_ (_vide_ Dict.).

[6] The word in the text is _mlecchibhutam_. The Sanskrit
grammar affords a great facility for the formation of verbs from
substantives. _Mlecchify_ may be hybrid, but it correctly and
shortly signifies the Sanskrit word.

"'And when those terrible times will be over, the creation will begin
anew. And men will again be created and distributed into the four orders
beginning with Brahmanas. And about that time, in order that men may
increase, Providence, according to its pleasure, will once more become
propitious. And then when the Sun, the Moon, and Vrihaspati will, with
the constellation _Pushya_[7], enter the same sign, the _Krita_ age will
begin again. And the clouds will commence to shower seasonably, and the
stars and stellar conjunctions will become auspicious. And the planets,
duly revolving in their orbits, will become exceedingly propitious. And
all around, there will be prosperity and abundance and health and peace.
And commissioned by Time, a Brahmana of the name of _Kalki_ will take
his birth. And he will glorify Vishnu and possess great energy, great
intelligence, and great prowess. And he will take his birth in a town of
the name of _Sambhala_ in an auspicious Brahmana family. And vehicles
and weapons, and warriors and arms, and coats of mail will be at his
disposal as soon as he will think of them. And he will be the king of
kings, and ever victorious with the strength of virtue. And he will
restore order and peace in this world crowded with creatures and
contradictory in its course. And that blazing Brahmana of mighty
intellect, having appeared, will destroy all things. And he will be the
Destroyer of all, and will inaugurate a new _Yuga_. And surrounded by
the Brahmanas, that Brahmana will exterminate all the _mlecchas_
wherever those low and despicable persons may take refuge.'"

[7] _Pushya_ is the eighth lunar asterism consisting of three
stars, of which one is, the Cancer. (Vide Wilson's Diet.).


"Markandeya continued, 'Having exterminated the thieves and robbers,
_Kalki_ will, at a great Horse-sacrifice, duly give away this earth to
the Brahmanas, and having established anew the blessed rectitude
ordained by the Self-create, _Kalki_, of sacred deeds and illustrious
reputation, will enter a delightful forest, and the people of this earth
will imitate his conduct, and when the Brahmanas will have exterminated
the thieves and robbers, there will be prosperity everywhere (on earth).
And as the countries of the earth will one after another be subjugated,
that tiger among Brahmanas, _Kalki_, having placed deer skins and lances
and tridents there, will roam over the earth, adored by foremost
Brahmanas and showing his regard for them and engaged all the while in
slaughtering thieves and robbers. And he will exterminate the thieves
and robbers amid heart-rending cries of "_Oh, father--Oh, mother!--O
son!_" and the like, and O Bharata, when sin will thus have been rooted
out and virtue will flourish on arrival of the _Krita_ age, men will
once more betake themselves to the practice of religious rites. And in
the age that will set in, viz., the _Krita_, well-planted gardens and
sacrificial compounds and large tanks and educational centres for the
cultivation of Brahmanic lore and ponds and temples will re-appear
everywhere. And the ceremonies and rites of sacrifices will also begin
to be performed. And the Brahmanas will become good and honest, and the
regenerate ones, devoted to ascetic austerities, will become _Munis_ and
the asylums of ascetics, which had before been filled with wretches will
once more be homes of men devoted to truth, and men in general will
begin to honour and practise truth. And all seeds, sown on earth, will
grow, and, O monarch, every kind of crop will grow in every season. And
men will devotedly practise charity and vows and observances, and the
Brahmanas devoted to meditation and sacrifices will be of virtuous soul
and always cheerful, and the rulers of the earth will govern their
kingdoms virtuously, and in the _Krita_ age, the Vaisyas will be devoted
to the practices of their order. And the Brahmanas will be devoted to
their six-fold duties (of study, teaching, performance of sacrifices on
their own account, officiating at sacrifices performed by others,
charity and acceptance of gifts), and the Kshatriyas will be devoted to
feats of prowess. And Sudras will be devoted to service of the three
(high) orders.

"'These, O Yudhishthira, are the courses of the _Krita_, the _Treta_,
the _Dwapara_ and the succeeding age. I have now narrated to thee
everything. I have also told thee, O son of Pandu, the periods embraced
by the several _Yugas_ as generally known. I have now told thee
everything appertaining to both the past and the future as narrated by
_Vayu_ in the _Parana_ (which goes by his name and) which is adored by
the _Rishis_. Being immortal I have many a time beheld and otherwise
ascertained the courses of the world. Indeed, all I have seen and felt I
have now told thee. And, O thou of unfading glory, listen now with thy
brothers to something else I will presently tell thee for clearing thy
doubts about religion! O thou foremost of virtuous men, thou shouldst
always fix thy soul on virtue, for, O monarch, a person of virtuous soul
obtaineth bliss both here and hereafter. And, O sinless one, listen to
the auspicious words that I will now speak to thee. _Never do thou
humiliate a Brahmana, for a Brahmana, if angry, may by his vow destroy
the three worlds._'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing these words of Markandeya, the royal
head of the Kurus, endued with intelligence and possessed of great
lustre, spoke these words of great wisdom, 'O _muni_, if I am to protect
my subjects, to what course of conduct should I adhere? And how should I
behave so that I may not fall away from the duties of my order?'

"Markandeya, hearing this, answered, 'Be merciful to all creatures, and
devoted to their good. Love all creatures, scorning none. Be truthful in
speech, humble, with passions under complete control, and always devoted
to the protection of thy people. Practise virtue and renounce sin, and
worship thou the manes and the god and whatever thou mayst have done
from ignorance or carelessness, wash them off and expiate them by
charity. Renouncing pride and vanity, be thou possessed to humility and
good behaviour. And subjugating the whole earth, rejoice thou and let
happiness be thine. This is the course of conduct that accords with
virtue. I have recited to thee all that was and all that will be
regarded as virtuous. There is nothing appertaining to the past or the
future that is unknown to thee. Therefore, O son, take not to heart this
present calamity of thine. They that are wise are never overwhelmed when
they are persecuted by _Time_. O thou of mighty arms, the very dwellers
of heaven cannot rise superior to Time. Time afflicts all creatures. O
sinless one, let not doubt cross thy mind regarding the truth of what I
have told thee, for, if thou sufferest doubt to enter thy heart, thy
virtue will suffer diminution! O bull of the Bharata race, thou art born
in the celebrated family of the Kurus. Thou shouldst practise that which
I have told thee, in thought, word and deed.'

"Yudhishthira answered, 'O thou foremost of the regenerate ones, at thy
command I will certainly act according to all the instructions thou hast
given me, and which, O lord, are all so sweet to the ear. O foremost of
Brahmanas, avarice and lust I have none, and neither fear nor pride nor
vanity. I shall, therefore, O lord, follow all that thou hast told me.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Having listened to the words of the intelligent
Markandeya, the sons of Pandu, O king, along with the wielder of the bow
called _Saranga_, and all those bulls among Brahmanas, and all others
that were there, became filled with joy. And having heard those blessed
words appertaining to olden time, from Markandeya gifted with wisdom,
their hearts were filled with wonder."


Janamejaya said, "It behoveth thee to narrate to me in full the
greatness of the Brahmanas even as the mighty ascetic Markandeya had
expounded it to the sons of Pandu."

Vaisampayana said, "The eldest son of Pandu had asked Markandeya saying,
'It behoveth thee to expound to me the greatness of Brahmanas.'
Markandeya answered him saying, 'Hear, O king, about the behaviour of
Brahmanas in days of old.'

"And Markandeya continued, 'There was a king, by name Parikshit in
Ayodhya and belonging to the race of Ikshvaku. And once upon a time
Parikshit went a-hunting. And as he was riding alone on a horse chasing
deer, the animal led him to a great distance (from the habitations of
men). And fatigued by the distance he had ridden and afflicted with
hunger and thirst he beheld in that part of the country whither he had
been led, a dark and dense forest, and the king, beholding that forest,
entered it and seeing a delightful tank within the forest, both the
rider and the horse bathed in it, and refreshed by the bath and placing
before his horse some stalks and fibres of the lotus, the king sat by
the side of the tank. And while he was lying by the side of the tank, he
heard certain sweet strains of music, and hearing those strains, he
reflected, "I do not see here the foot-prints of men. Whose and whence
then these strains?" And the king soon beheld a maiden of great beauty
gathering flowers singing all the while, and the maiden soon came before
the king, and the king thereupon asked her, "Blessed one, who art thou
and whose?" And she replied, "I am a maiden." And the king said, "I ask
thee to be mine." And the maiden answered, "Give me a pledge, for then
only I can be thine, else not." And the king then asked about the pledge
and the girl answered, "Thou wilt never make me cast my eyes on water",
and the king saying, "So be it," married her, and king Parikshit having
married her sported (with her) in great joy, and sat with her in
silence, and while the king was staying there, his troops reached the
spot, and those troops beholding the monarch stood surrounding him, and
cheered by the presence of troops, the king entered a handsome vehicle
accompanied by his (newly) wedded wife. And having arrived at his
capital he began to live with her in privacy. And persons that were even
near enough to the king could not obtain any interview with him and the
minister-in-chief enquired of those females that waited upon the king,
asking, "What do ye do here?" And those women replied, "We behold here a
female of unrivalled beauty. And the king sporteth with her, having
married her with a pledge that he would never show her water." And
hearing those words, the minister-in-chief caused an artificial forest
to be created, consisting of many trees with abundant flowers and
fruits, and he caused to be excavated within that forest and towards one
of its sides a large tank, placed in a secluded spot and full of water
that was sweet as _Amrita_. The tank was well covered with a net of
pearls. Approaching the king one day in private, he addressed the king
saying, "This is a fine forest without water. Sport thou here joyfully!"
And the king at those words of his minister entered that forest with
that adorable wife of his, and the king sported with her in that
delightful forest, and afflicted with hunger and thirst and fatigued and
spent, the king beheld a bower of Madhavi creepers[8] and entering that
bower with his dear one, the king beheld a tank full of water that was
transparent and bright as nectar, and beholding that tank, the king sat
on its bank with her and the king told his adorable wife, "Cheerfully do
thou plunge into this water!" And she, hearing those words plunged into
the tank. But having plunged into the water she appeared not above the
surface, and as the king searched, he failed to discover any trace of
her. And the king ordered the waters of the tank to be baled out, and
thereupon he beheld a frog sitting at the mouth of a hole, and the king
was enraged at this and promulgated an order saying, "Let frogs be
slaughtered everywhere in my dominions! Whoever wishes to have an
interview with me must come before me with a tribute of dead frogs." And
accordingly when frogs began to be terribly slaughtered, the affrighted
frogs represented all that had happened unto their king, and the king of
the frogs assuming the garb of an ascetic came before the king
Parikshit, and having approached the monarch, he said, "O king, give not
thyself up to wrath! Be inclined to grace. It behoveth thee not to slay
the innocent frogs." Here occurs a couple of _Slokas_. (They are
these):--"O thou of unfading glory, slay not the frogs! Pacify thy
wrath! The prosperity and ascetic merits of those that have their souls
steeped in ignorance suffer diminution! Pledge thyself not to be angry
with the frogs! What need hast thou to commit such sin! What purpose
will be served by slaying the frogs!" Then king Parikshit whose soul was
filled with woe on account of the death of her that was dear to him,
answered the chief of the frogs who had spoken to him thus, "I will not
forgive the frogs. On the other hand, I will slay them. By these wicked
wretches hath my dear one been swallowed up. The frogs, therefore,
always deserve to be killed by me. It behoveth thee not, O learned one,
to intercede on their behalf." And hearing these words of Parikshit, the
king of the frogs with his senses and mind much pained said, "Be
inclined to grace, O king! I am the king of the frogs by name Ayu. She
who was thy wife is my daughter of the name of Susobhana. This, indeed,
is an instance of her bad conduct. Before this, many kings were deceived
by her." The king thereupon said to him, "I desire to have her. Let her
be granted to me by thee!" The king of the frogs thereupon bestowed his
daughter upon Parikshit, and addressing her said, "Wait upon and serve
the king." And having spoken these words to his daughter, he also
addressed her in wrath saying, "Since thou hast deceived many Kings for
this untruthful behaviour of thine, thy offspring will prove
disrespectful to Brahmanas!" But having obtained her, the king became
deeply enamoured of her in consequence of her companionable virtues, and
feeling that he had, as it were, obtained the sovereignty of the three
worlds, he bowed down to the king of the frogs and reverenced him in due
form and then with utterance choked in joy and tears said, "I have been
favoured indeed!" And the king of the frogs obtaining the leave of his
daughter, returned to the place from which he had come and some time
after the king begot three sons upon her and those sons were named Sala
and Dala and Vala, and some time after, their father, installing the
eldest of them of all on the throne and setting his heart on asceticism,
retired into the forest. One day Sala while out a-hunting, beheld a deer
and pursued it, on his car, and the prince said to his charioteer,
"Drive thou fast." And the charioteer, thus addressed, replied unto the
king, saying, "Do not entertain such a purpose. This deer is incapable
of being caught by thee. If indeed _Vami_ horses had been yoked to thy
car, then couldst thou have taken it." Thereupon the king addressed his
charioteer, saying, "Tell me all about _Vami_ horses, otherwise I will
slay thee." Thus addressed the charioteer became dreadfully alarmed and
he was afraid of the king and also of Vamadeva's curse and told not the
king anything and the king then lifting up his scimitar said to him,
"Tell me soon, else I will slay thee." At last afraid of the king, the
charioteer said, "The _Vami_ horses are those belonging to Vamadeva;
they are fleet as the mind." And unto his charioteer who had said so,
the king said, "Repair thou to the asylum of Vamadeva." And reaching the
asylum of Vamadeva the king said unto that _Rishi_, "O holy one, a deer
struck by me is flying away. It behoveth thee to make it capable of
being seized by me by granting me thy pair of _Vami_ horses." The
_Rishi_ then answered him saying, "I give thee my pair of _Vami_ horses.
But after accomplishing thy object, my _Vami_ pair you should soon
return." The king then taking those steeds and obtaining the leave of
the _Rishi_ pursued the deer, having yoked the _Vami_ pair unto his car,
and after he had left the asylum he spoke unto his charioteer saying,
"These jewels of steeds the Brahmanas do not deserve to possess. These
should not be returned to Vamadeva." Having said this and seized the
deer he returned to his capital and placed those steeds within the inner
apartments of the palace.

[8] An Indian creeper of the order of _Goertnera racemosa_. It
bears large white flowers of much fragrance.

"'Meanwhile the _Rishi_ reflected, "The prince is young. Having obtained
an excellent pair of animals, he is sporting with it in joy without
returning it to me. Alas, what a pity it is!" And reflecting in this
strain, the _Rishi_ said unto a disciple of his, after the expiration of
a month, "Go, O Atreya, and say to the king that if he has done with the
_Vami_ steeds, he should return them unto thy preceptor." And the
disciple Atreya, thereupon, repairing to the king, spoke unto him as
instructed, and the king replied saying, "This pair of steeds deserves
to be owned by kings. The Brahmanas do not deserve to possess jewels of
such value. What business have Brahmanas with horses? Return thou
contentedly!" And Atreya, thus addressed by the king, returned and told
his preceptor all that had happened, and hearing this sad intelligence,
Vamadeva's heart was filled with wrath, and repairing in person to the
king he asked him for his steeds, and the king refused to give the
_Rishi_ what the latter asked, and Vamadeva said, "O lord of earth, give
me thou my _Vami_ horses. By them hast thou accomplished a task which
was almost incapable of being accomplished by thee. By transgressing the
practices of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, subject not thyself, O king, to
death by means of the terrible noose of Varuna." And hearing this, the
king answered, "O Vamadeva, this couple of excellent well-trained, and
docile bulls are fit animals for Brahmanas. O great _Rishi_, (take them
and) go with them wherever thou likest. Indeed, the very _Vedas_ carry
persons like thee." Then Vamadeva said, "O king, the _Vedas_ do, indeed,
carry persons like us. But that is in the world hereafter. In this
world, however, O king, animals like these carry me and persons like me
as also all others." At this the king answered, "Let four asses carry
thee, or four mules of the best kind, or even four steeds endued with
the speed of the wind. Go thou with these. This pair of _Vami_ horses,
however, deserves to be owned by Kshatriyas. Know thou, therefore, that
these are not thine." At this, Vamadeva said, "O king, terrible vows
have been ordained for the Brahmanas. If I have lived in their
observance, let four fierce and mighty Rakshasas of terrible mien and
iron bodies, commanded by me, pursue thee with desire of slaying, and
carry thee on their sharp lances, having cut up thy body into four
parts." Hearing this, the king said, "Let those, O Vamadeva, that know
thee as a Brahmana that in thought, word, and deed, is desirous of
taking life, at my command, armed with bright lances and swords
prostrate thee with thy disciples before me." Then Vamadeva answered, "O
king, having obtained these my _Vami_ steeds, thou hadst said, '_I will
return them_.' Therefore, give me back my _Vami_ steeds, so thou mayst
be able to protect thy life." Hearing this, the king said, "Pursuit of
deer hath not been ordained for the Brahmanas. I do punish thee,
however, for thy untruthfulness. From this day, too, obeying all thy
commands I will, O Brahmana, attain to regions of bliss." Vamadeva then
said, "A Brahmana cannot be punished in thought, word or deed. That
learned person who by ascetic austerities succeedeth in knowing a
Brahmana to be so, faileth not to attain to prominence in this world."'

"Markandeya continued, 'After Vamadeva had said this, there arose, O
king, (four) _Rakshasas_ of terrible mien, and as they, with lances in
their hands, approached the king for slaying him, the latter cried
aloud, saying, "If, O Brahmana, all the descendants of Ikshvaku's race,
if (my brother) Dala, if all these Vaisyas acknowledge my sway, then I
will not yield up the _Vami_ steeds to Vamadeva, for these men can never
be virtuous." And while he was uttering those words, those _Rakshasas_
slew him, and the lord of earth was soon prostrated on the ground. And
the Ikshvakus, learning that their king had been slain, installed Dala
on the throne, and the Brahmana Vamadeva thereupon going to the kingdom
(of the Ikshvakus), addressed the new monarch, saying, "O king, it hath
been declared in all the sacred books that persons should give away unto
Brahmanas. If thou fearest sin, O king, give me now the _Vami_ steeds
without delay." And hearing these words of Vamadeva, the king in anger
spoke unto his charioteer, saying, "Bring me an arrow from those I have
kept, which is handsome to behold and tempered with poison, so that
pierced by it Vamadeva may lie prostrate in pain, torn by the dogs."
Hearing this, Vamadeva answered, "I know, O king, that thou hast a son
of ten years of age, called Senajita, begotten upon thy queen. Urged by
my word, slay thou that dear boy of thine without delay by means of thy
frightful arrows!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'At these words of Vamadeva, O king, that arrow
of fierce energy, shot by the monarch, slew the prince in the inner
apartments, and hearing this, Dala said there and then, "Ye people of
Ikshvaku's race, I will do ye good. I shall slay this Brahmana today,
grinding him with force. Bring me another arrow of fierce energy. Ye
lords of earth, behold my prowess now." And at these words of Dala,
Vamadeva said, "This arrow of terrible mien and tempered with poison,
that thou aimest at me, thou shall not, O ruler of men, be able to aim
nor even to shoot." And thereupon the king said, "Ye men of Ikshvaku's
race, behold me incapable of shooting the arrow that hath been taken up
by me. I fail to compass the death of this Brahmana. Let Vamadeva who is
blessed with a long life live." Then Vamadeva said, "Touching thy queen
with this arrow, thou mayst purge thyself of the sin (of attempting to
take the life of a Brahmana)." And king Dala did as he was directed and
the queen then addressed the _Muni_, and said, "O Vamadeva, let me be
able to duly instruct this wretched husband of mine from day to day,
imparting unto him words of happy import; and let me always wait upon
and serve the Brahmanas, and by this acquire, O Brahmana, the sacred
regions hereafter." And hearing these words of the queen, Vamadeva said,
"O thou of beautiful eyes, thou hast saved this royal race. Beg thou an
incomparable boon. I will grant thee whatever thou mayst ask. And, O
thou faultless one, rule thou, O princess, these thy kinsmen and this
great kingdom of the Ikshvakus!" And hearing these words of Vamadeva the
princess said, "This, O holy one, is the boon I seek, viz., that my
husband may now be freed from his sin, and that thou mayst be employed
in thinking of the weal of his son and kinsmen. This is the boon that I
ask, O thou foremost of Brahmanas!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Hearing these words of the queen, that _Muni_, O
thou foremost of the Kuru race, said, "So be it." And thereupon king
Dala became highly glad and gave unto the _Muni_ his _Vami_ steeds,
having bowed down unto him with reverence!'"


Vaisampayana said, "The _Rishis_, the Brahmanas, and Yudhishthira then
asked Markandeya, saying, 'How did the _Rishi_ Vaka become so long

"Thus asked by them, Markandeya answered, 'The royal sage Vaka is a
great ascetic and endowed with long life. Ye need not enquire into the
reason of this.'

"Hearing this, O Bharata, the son of Kunti, king Yudhishthira the just,
along with his brothers, then asked Markandeya saying, 'It hath been
heard by us that both Vaka and Dalvya are of great souls and endowed
with immortality and that those _Rishis_, held in universal reverence,
are the friends of the chief of the gods. O Holy One, I desire to listen
to the (history of the) meeting of Vaka and Indra that is full of both
joy and woe. Narrate thou that history unto us succinctly.'

"Markandeya said, 'When that horrible conflict between the gods and the
_Asuras_ was over, Indra became the ruler of the three worlds. The
clouds showered rain copiously. And the dwellers of the world had
abundance of harvests, and were excellent in disposition. And devoted to
virtue, they always practised morality and enjoyed peace. And all
persons, devoted to the duties of their respective orders, were
perfectly happy and cheerful, and the slayer of Vala, beholding all the
creatures of the world happy and cheerful, became himself filled with
joy. And he of a hundred sacrifices, the chief of the _gods_ seated on
the back of his elephant Airavata, surveyed his happy subjects, and he
cast his eyes on delightful asylums of _Rishis_, on various auspicious
rivers, towns full of prosperity, and villages and rural regions in the
enjoyment of plenty. And he also cast his eyes upon kings devoted to the
practice of virtue and well-skilled in ruling their subjects. And he
also looked upon tanks and reservoirs and wells and lakes and smaller
lakes all full of water and adored by best of Brahmanas in the
observance, besides, of various excellent vows, and then descending on
the delightful earth, O king, the god of a hundred sacrifices, proceeded
towards a blessed asylum teeming with animals and birds, situated by the
side of the sea, in the delightful and auspicious regions of the East on
a spot overgrown with abundance of vegetation. And the chief of the gods
beheld Vaka in that asylum, and Vaka also, beholding the ruler of the
Immortals, became highly glad, and he worshipped Indra by presenting him
with water to wash his feet, a carpet to sit upon, the usual offering of
the _Arghya_, and fruit and roots. And the boon-giving slayer of Vala,
the divine ruler of those that know not old age, being seated at his
ease, asked Vaka the following question, "O sinless _Muni_, thou hast
lived for a hundred years! Tell me, O Brahmana, what the sorrows are of
those that are immortal!"'

"Markandeya continued, 'Hearing this, Vaka answered, saying, "Life with
persons that are disagreeable, separation from those that are agreeable
and beloved, companionship with the wicked, these are the evils which
they that are immortal have to bear. The death of sons and wives, of
kinsmen and friends, and the pain of dependence on others, are some of
the greatest of evils. (These may all be noticed in a deathless life).
There is no more pitiable sight in the world, as I conceive, than that
of men destitute of wealth being insulted by others. The acquisition of
family dignity by those that have it not, the loss of family dignity by
those that have it, unions and disunions,--these all are noticeable by
those that lead deathless lives. How they that have no family dignity
but have prosperity, win what they have not--all this, O god of a
hundred sacrifices, is before thy very eyes! What can be more pitiable
than the calamities and reverses sustained by the gods, the _Asuras_,
the _Gandharvas_, men, the snakes, and the _Rakshasas_! They that have
been of good families suffer afflictions in consequence of their
subjection to persons that are ill-born and the poor are insulted by the
rich. What can be more pitiable than these? Innumerable examples of such
contradictory dispensations are seen in the world. The foolish and the
ignorant are cheerful and happy while the learned and the wise suffer
misery! Plentiful instances of misery and woe are seen among men in this
world! (They that lead deathless lives are destined to behold all these
and suffer on that account.)"

"'Indra then said, "O thou of great good fortune, tell me again, what
the joys are of those persons that lead deathless lives,--joys that are
adored by gods and _Rishis_!"

"'Vaka answered, "If without having to associate with a wicked friend, a
man cooks scanty vegetables in his own house at the eight or the twelfth
part of the day, there can be nothing happier than that.[9] He in whose
case the day is not counted is not called voracious. And, O Maghavan,
happiness is even his own whose scanty vegetables are cooked. Earned by
his own efforts, without having to depend upon any one, he that eateth
even fruits and vegetables in his own house is entitled to respect. He
that eateth in another's house the food given to him in contempt, even
if that food be rich and sweet, doth what is despicable. This,
therefore, is the opinion of the wise that fie on the food of that mean
wretch who like a dog or a _Rakshasa_ eateth at another's house. If
after treating guests and servants and offering food to the manes a good
Brahmana eateth what remains, there can be nothing happier than that.
There is nothing sweeter or more sacred, O thou of a hundred sacrifices,
than that food which such a person takes after serving the guest with
the first portion thereof. Each mouthful (of rice) that the Brahmana
eats after having served the guest, produces merit equal to what
attaches to the gift of a thousand kine. And whatever sins such a one
may have committed in his youth are all washed away of a certainty. The
water in the hands of the Brahmana that hath been fed and honoured with
a pecuniary gift (after the feeding is over) when touched with water
(sprinkled by him that feeds), instantly purges off all the sins of the

[9] They, therefore, that lead deathless lives can enjoy this
bliss from day to day for ever.

"'Speaking of these and various other things with Vaka, the chief of the
gods went away to heaven.'"[10]

[10] It is difficult to understand how all that Vaka says can be
an answer to Indra's question. The chief of the gods enquires:
What are the joys of those that lead deathless lives? Vaka
breaks away unto a confused rigmarole about the merits of
independence and the religious merit of entertaining guests and
servants. All the printed editions have the passage as rendered


Vaisampayana said, "Then the sons of Pandu again addressed Markandeya
saying, 'Thou hast told us of greatness of Brahmanas. We desire now to
hear of the greatness of the royal Kshatriyas!" Thus addressed by them,
the great _Rishi_ Markandeya spoke, 'Listen now to the greatness of the
royal Kshatriyas. A certain king of the name of Suhotra belonging to the
Kuru race went on a visit to the great _Rishis_. And as he was returning
from that visit, he beheld king Sivi the son of Usinara, seated on his
car, and as each came before the other, each saluted the other as best
befitted his age and each regarding himself as the equal of the other in
respect of qualities, refused to give the way to the other. And at this
juncture Narada appeared there, and beholding what had happened, the
celestial _Rishi_ asked, "Why is it that ye both stand here blocking
each other's way?" And thus questioned both of them spoke to Narada
saying, "O holy one, do not speak so. The sages of old have declared
that the way should be given to one who is superior or to him that is
abler. We, however, that stand blocking each other's way are equal to
each other in every respect. Judged properly there is no superiority
amongst us." Thus addressed by them, Narada recited three _slokas_.
(They are these), "O thou of the Kuru race, he that is wicked behaveth
wickedly even unto him that is humble; he also that is humble behaveth
with humility and honestly unto him that is wicked! He that is honest
behaveth honestly even towards the dishonest. Why should he not behave
honestly towards him that is honest? He that is honest regardeth the
service that is done to him, as if it were a hundred times greater than
it is. Is this not current amongst the gods themselves? Certainly it is
the royal son of Usinara who is possessed of goodness that is greater
than thine. One should conquer the mean by charity; the untruthful by
truth, the man of wicked deeds by forgiveness; and the dishonest by
honesty. Both of you are large-hearted. Let one amongst you stand aside,
according to the indication of the above _slokas_." And having said so
Narada became silent, and hearing what Narada had said the king of the
Kuru race walking round _Sivi_, and praising his numerous achievements,
gave him the way and went on in his course. It was even thus that Narada
had described the high blessedness of the royal Kshatriyas.'"


"Markandeya continued, 'Listen now to another story. One day as king
Yayati, the son of Nahusha, was sitting on his throne, surrounded by the
citizens, there came unto him a Brahmana desirous of soliciting wealth
for his preceptor, and approaching the king, the Brahmana said, "O king,
I beg of thee wealth for my preceptor according to my covenant." And the
king said, "O Holy One, tell me what thy covenant is." And thereupon the
Brahmana said, "O king, in this world when men are asked for alms, they
entertain contempt for him that asketh it. I therefore, ask thee, O
king, with what feelings thou wilt give me what I ask and upon which I
have set my heart." And the king replied saying, "Having given away a
thing, I never boast of it. I never also listen to solicitations for
things that cannot be given. I listen, however, to prayers for things
that can be given and giving them away I always become happy. I will
give thee a thousand kine. The Brahmana that asks me for a gift is
always dear to me. I am never angry with the person that begs of me and
I am never sorry for having given away a thing!" And the Brahmana then
obtained from the king a thousand kine and went away.'"


Vaisampayana said, "The son of Pandu again addressed the _Rishi_ and
said, 'Speak thou unto us of the high fortune of royal Kshatriyas!' And
Markandeya said, 'There were two kings of the name of Vrishadarbha and
Seduka and both of them were conversant with morals and with weapons of
attack and defence. And Seduka knew that Vrishadarbha had from his
boyhood an unuttered vow that he would give no other metal unto
Brahmanas save gold and silver. And once on a time a Brahmana having
completed his study of the _Vedas_ came unto Seduka and uttering a
benediction upon him begged of him wealth for his preceptor, saying,
"Give me a thousand steeds." And thus addressed, Seduka said unto him,
"It is not possible for me to give thee this for thy preceptor.
Therefore, go thou unto king Vrishadarbha, for, O Brahmana, he is a
highly virtuous king. Go and beg of him. He will grant thy request. Even
this is his unuttered vow." Hearing these words that Brahmana went to
Vrishadarbha and begged of him a thousand steeds, and the king thus
solicited, struck the Brahmana with a whip and thereupon the Brahmana
said, "Innocent as I am, why dost thou attack me thus?" And the Brahmana
was on the point of cursing the king, when the latter said, "O Brahmana,
dost thou curse him that doth not give thee what thou askest? Or, is
this behaviour proper for a Brahmana?" And the Brahmana said, "O king of
kings, sent unto thee by Seduka, I come before thee for this." The king
said, "I will give thee now whatever tribute may come to me before the
morning expire. How indeed, can I send away the man empty-handed who
hath been whipped by me." And having said this the king gave unto that
Brahmana the entire proceeds of that day and that was more than the
value of a thousand horses.'"


"Markandeya said, 'One day it was resolved by the gods that they should
descend on the earth and try the goodness and virtue of king Sivi, the
son of Usinara. And addressing each other,--"_Well_"--Agni and Indra
came to the earth. And Agni took the form of a pigeon flying away from
Indra who pursued him in the form of a hawk, and that pigeon fell upon
the lap of king Sivi who was seated on an excellent seat. And the priest
thereupon addressing the king said, "Afraid of the hawk and desirous of
saving its life, this pigeon hath come to thee for safety. The learned
have said that the falling of a pigeon upon one's body forebodeth a
great danger. Let the king that understands omens give away wealth for
saving himself from the danger indicated." And the pigeon also addressed
the king and said, "Afraid of the hawk and desirous of saving my life I
have come to thee for protection. I am a _Muni_. Having assumed the form
of a pigeon, I come to thee as a seeker of thy protection. Indeed, I
seek thee as my life. Know me as one possessed of Vedic lore, as one
leading the _Brahmacharya_ mode of life, as one possessed also of
self-control and ascetic virtues. And know me further as one that has
never spoken disagreeably unto his preceptor, as one possessed of every
virtue indeed, as one that is sinless. I repeat the Vedas, I know their
prosody; indeed, I have studied all the Vedas letter by letter. I am not
a pigeon. Oh, do not yield me up to the hawk. The giving up of a learned
and pure Brahmana can never be a good gift." And after the pigeon said
so, the hawk addressed the king, and said, "Creatures do not come into
the world in the same particular order. In the order of creation, thou
mayst, in a former birth, have been begotten by this pigeon. It is not
proper for thee, O king, to interfere with my food by protecting this
pigeon (even though he might have been thy father)." And thus addressed,
the king said, "Hath any one, before this, seen birds thus speak the
pure speech of man? Knowing what this pigeon sayeth, and this hawk also,
how can we act to-day according to virtue? He that giveth up an
affrighted creature seeking protection, unto its foe, doth not obtain
protection when he is in need of it himself. Indeed, the very clouds do
not shower rain seasonably for him, and the seeds though scattered do
not grow for him. He that giveth up an afflicted creature seeking
protection unto its foe, hath to see his offspring die in childhood. The
ancestor of such a person can never dwell in heaven; indeed, the very
gods decline to accept the libations of clarified butter poured by him
into the fire. He that giveth up an affrighted creature seeking
protection, unto its foe, is struck with the thunder-bolt by the gods
with Indra at their head. The food that he eateth is unsanctified, and
he, of a narrow soul, falleth from heaven very soon. O hawk, let the
people of the Sivi tribe place before thee a bull cooked with rice
instead of this pigeon. And let them also carry to the place where thou
livest in joy, meat in abundance." And hearing this, the hawk said, "O
king, I do not ask for a bull, nor, indeed, any other meat, nor meat
more in quantity than that of this pigeon. It hath been given to me by
the gods. The creature, therefore, is my food today in consequence of
its death that hath been ordained. Therefore, O monarch, give it up to
me." Thus addressed by the hawk, the king said, "Let my men see and
carefully carry the bull to thee with every limb entire. Let that bull
be the ransom of this creature afflicted with fright and let it be
carried to thee before my eyes. Oh, slay not this pigeon! I will yield
up my very life, yet I would not give up this pigeon. Dost thou not
know, O hawk, that this creature looketh like a sacrifice with the
_Soma_ juice? O blessed one, cease to take so much trouble for it. I
cannot, by any means, yield up the pigeon to thee. Or, O hawk, if it
pleases thee, command me to do some such thing which I may do for thee,
which may be agreeable to thee, and upon doing which the men of the Sivi
tribe may yet in joy bless me in terms of applause. I promise thee that
I will do what thou mayst did me do." And at this appeal of the king,
the hawk said, "O king, if thou givest me as much flesh as would be
equal to the weight of the pigeon, cutting it off thy right thigh; then
can the pigeon be properly saved by thee; then wouldst thou do what
would be agreeable to me and what the men of the Sivi tribe would speak
of in terms of praise." And the king agreed to this and he cut off a
piece of flesh from his right thigh and weighed it against the pigeon.
But the pigeon weighed heavier. And thereupon the king cut off another
piece of his flesh, but the pigeon still weighed heavier, and then the
king cut off pieces of flesh from all parts of his body and placed them
on the scale. But the pigeon still weighed heavier, and then the king
himself ascended the scale and he felt no grief at this and beholding
this, the hawk disappeared there saying--(The pigeon hath been)
_Saved_,--And the king asked the pigeon saying, "O pigeon, let the Sivis
know who the hawk is. None but the lord of the universe could do as he
did. O Holy One, answer thou this question of mine!" And the pigeon then
said, "I am the smoke-bannered Agni called also Vaiswanara. The hawk is
none other than Sachi's lord armed with the thunder-bolt. O son of
Suratha, thou art a bull among men. We came to try thee. These pieces of
flesh, O king, that thou hast cut off with thy sword from thy body for
saving me have caused gashes in thy body. I will make these marks
auspicious and handsome and they will be of the colour of gold and emit
a sweet perfume, and earning great fame and respected by the gods and
the _Rishis_ thou shall long rule these subjects of thine, and a son
will spring from thy flank who shall be called _Kapataroman_. O king,
thou shalt obtain this son of the name of _Kapataroman_ from out of thy
own body and thou wilt behold him become the foremost of the
_Saurathas_, blazing with renown, possessed of bravery and great
personal beauty!"'"


Vaisampayana said, "And the son of Pandu once more addressed Markandeya,
saying, 'Tell us again of the great good fortune of kings.' And
Markandeya said, 'There came unto the horse-sacrifice of king Ashtaka of
Viswamitra's race, many kings. And there came unto that sacrifice the
three brothers also of that king, viz., Pratardana, Vasumanas, and Sivi,
the son of Usinara. And after the sacrifice was completed, Ashtaka was
proceeding on his car along with his brothers when they all beheld
Narada coming that way and they saluted the celestial _Rishi_ and said
unto him, "Ride thou on this car with us." And Narada, saying, _So be
it_, mounted on the car, and one among those kings having gratified the
holy and celestial _Rishi_ Narada, said, "O Holy One, I desire, to ask
thee something." And the _Rishi_ said, "Ask." And the person, thus
permitted, said, "All four of us are blessed with long lives and have
indeed every virtue. We shall, therefore, be permitted to go to a
certain heaven and dwell there for a long period. Who amongst us,
however, O king, shall fall down first?" Thus questioned the _Rishi_
said, "This Ashtaka shall first come down." And thereupon the enquirer
asked, "For what cause?" And the _Rishi_ answered, "I lived for a few
days in the abode of Ashtaka. He carried me (one day) on his car out of
the town and there I beheld thousands of kine distinguished from one
another by difference of hue. And beholding those kine I asked Ashtaka
whose they were and Ashtaka answered me, saying, '_I have given away
these kine.' By this answer_ he gave expression to his own praise. It is
for this answer of his that Ashtaka shall have to come down." And after
Narada had said so, one of them again enquired, saying, "Three of us
then will stay in heaven. Amongst us three, who shall fall down first?"
And the _Rishi_ answered, "Pratardana." And the enquirer asked, "For
what cause?" And the _Rishi_ answered, "I lived for some days in the
abode of Pratardana also. And he carried me on his car one day. And
while doing so, a Brahmana asked him saying, '_Give me a horse_!' And
Pratardana replied, '_After returning, I will give thee one_!' And
thereupon the Brahmana said, '_Let it be given to me soon_.' And as the
Brahmana spoke those words, the king gave unto him the steed that had
been yoked on the right-hand wheel of the car. And there came unto him
another Brahmana desirous of obtaining a steed. And the king having
spoken to him in the same way, gave him the steed that had been yoked on
the left wheel of his car. And having given away the horse unto him, the
king proceeded on his journey. And then there came unto the king another
Brahmana desirous of obtaining a horse. And the king soon gave him the
horse on the left front of his car, unyoking the animal. And having done
so, the king proceeded on his journey. And then there came unto the king
another Brahmana desirous of obtaining a horse. And the king said unto
him, '_Returning, I will give thee a horse_.' But the Brahmana said,
'_Let the steed be given to me soon_.' And the king gave him the only
horse he had. And seizing the yoke of the car himself, the king began to
draw it. And as he did so, he said, '_There is now nothing for the
Brahmanas_.' The king had given away, it is true, but he had done so
with detraction. And for that speech of his, he shall have to fall down
from heaven." And after the _Rishi_ had said so, of the two that
remained, one asked, "Who amongst us two shall fall down?" And the
_Rishi_ answered, "Vasumanas." And the enquirer asked, "For what
reason?" And Narada said, "In course of my wanderings I arrived at the
abode of Vasumanas. And at that time the Brahmanas were performing the
ceremony of _Swastivachana_ for the sake of a flowery car.[11] And I
approached the king's presence. And after the Brahmanas had completed
the ceremony, the flowery car became visible to them. And I praised that
car, and thereupon the king told me, '_Holy one, by thee hath this car
been praised. Let this car, therefore, be thine_.' And after this I went
to Vasumanas another time when I was in need of a (flowery) car. And I
admired the car, and the king said, '_It is thine_.' And I went to the
king a third time and admired the car again. And even then the king
exhibiting the flowery car to the Brahmanas, cast his eyes on me, and
said, '_O holy one, thou hast praised the flowery car sufficiently_."
And the king only said these words, without making me a gift of that
car. And for this he will fall down from heaven."

[11] The ceremony of _Swastivachana_ is described to be "a
religious rite, preparatory to any important observance, in
which the Brahmanas strew boiled rice on the ground, and invoke
the blessings of the gods on the ceremony about to commence"
(_Vide_ Wilson's Diet).

A flowery car was, probably, one of celestial make that the
kings procured from heaven by performing costly rites and
ceremonies. These were sometimes exhibited to the people, and
prior to these exhibitions, the ceremony of _Swastivachana_ was

"'And one among them said, "Of the one who is to go with thee, who will
go and who will fall down?" And Narada answered, saying, "Sivi will go,
but I will fall down." "For what reason?" asked the enquirer. And Narada
said, "I am not the equal of Sivi. For one day a Brahmana came unto Sivi
and addressing him, said, 'O Sivi, I came to thee for food.' And Sivi
replied unto him, saying. 'What shall I do? Let me have thy orders.' And
the Brahmana answered, 'This thy son known by the name of Vrihadgarbha
should be killed. And, O king, cook him for my food.' And hearing this,
I waited to see what would follow. And Sivi then killed his son and
cooking him duly and placing that food in a vessel and taking it upon
his head, he went out in search of the Brahmana and while Sivi was thus
seeking, for the Brahmana, some one told him, 'The Brahmana thou
seekest, having entered thy city, is setting fire to thy abode and he is
also setting fire, in wrath, to thy treasury, thy arsenal, the
apartments of the females and thy stables for horses and elephants.' And
Sivi heard all this, without change of colour, and entering his city
spoke unto the Brahmana, 'O holy one, the food has been cooked.' And the
Brahmana hearing this spoke not a word and from surprise he stood with
downcast looks. And Sivi with a view to gratifying the Brahmana said, 'O
holy one, eat thou this.' And the Brahmana looking at Sivi for a moment
said, 'Eat it thyself.' And thereupon Sivi said, 'Let it be so.' And
Sivi cheerfully taking the vessel from his head desired to eat it and
thereupon the Brahmana caught hold of Sivi's hand and addressing him
said, 'Thou hast conquered wrath. There is nothing that thou canst not
give unto the Brahmanas.' And saying this, that Brahmana adored Sivi,
and then as Sivi cast his eyes before him, he beheld his son standing
like a child of the _gods_, decked in ornaments and yielding a fragrance
from his body and the Brahmana, having accomplished all this, made
himself visible and it was _Vidhatri_ himself who had thus come in that
guise to try that royal sage, and after _Vidhatri_ had disappeared, the
counsellors addressed the king, saying, 'Thou knowest everything. For
what didst thou do all this?' And Sivi answered, 'It was not for fame,
nor for wealth, nor from desire of acquiring objects of enjoyment that I
did all this. This course is not sinful. It is for this that I do all
this. The path which is trodden by the virtuous is laudable. My heart
always inclineth towards such a course. This high instance of Sivi's
blessedness I know, and I have, therefore, narrated it duly!'"'"


Vaisampayana said, "The sons of Pandu and those _Rishis_ then asked
Markandeya, 'Is there anybody that is blessed with longer life than
thou?' And Markandeya answered them, saying, 'There is without doubt, a
royal sage of the name of Indradyumna and his virtue having diminished,
he fell from heaven, crying, "My achievements are lost!" And he came
unto me and asked, "Dost thou know me?" And I answered him, saying,
"From our anxiety to acquire religious merit we do not confine ourselves
to any home. We live but for a night in the same village or town. A
person like us, therefore, cannot possibly know thy pursuits. The fasts
and vows we observe render us weak in body and unable to follow any
worldly pursuits on our own behalf. Hence, one like us cannot possibly
know thee." He then asked me, "Is there any one who is longer lived than
thou?" I answered him, saying, "There liveth on the Himavat an owl of
the name of Pravarakarna. He is older than I. He may know thee. The part
of the Himavat where he dwelleth is far off from here." And at this
Indradyumna became a horse and carried me to where that owl lived and
the king asked the owl, saying, "Dost thou know me?" And the owl seemed
to reflect for a moment and then said unto the king, "I do not know
thee." And the royal sage Indradyumna thereupon asked the owl, "Is there
any one who is older than thou?" And thus asked the owl answered,
saying, "There is a lake of the name of Indradyumna. In that lake
dwelleth a crane of the name of Nadijangha. He is older than we. Ask
thou him." And at this king Indradyumna taking both myself and the owl
went to that lake where the crane Nadijangha dwelt. And that crane was
asked by us, "Dost thou know the king Indradyumna?" And the crane
thereupon seemed to reflect a little and then said, "I do not know king
Indradyumna." And the crane was asked by us, "Is there any one who is
older than thou?" And he answered us, saying, "There dwelleth in this
very lake a tortoise of the name of Akupara. He is older than I. He may
know something of this king. Therefore, enquire ye of Akupara." And then
that crane gave information to the tortoise, saying, "It is intended by
us to ask thee something. Please come to us." And hearing this the
tortoise came out of the lake to that part of the bank where we all were
and as he came there we asked him, saying, "Dost thou know this king
Indradyumna?" And the tortoise reflected for a moment. And his eyes were
filled with tears and his heart was much moved and he trembled all over
and was nearly deprived of his senses. And he said with joined hands,
"Alas, do I not know this one? He had planted the sacrificial stake a
thousand times at the time of kindling the sacrificial fire. This lake
was excavated by the feet of the cows given away by this king unto the
Brahmanas on the completion of the sacrifice. I have lived here ever
since." And after the tortoise had said all this, there came from the
celestial regions a car. And an aerial voice was heard which said,
addressing Indradyumna, "Come thou and obtain the place thou deservest
in heaven! Thy achievements are great! Come thou cheerfully to thy
place! Here also are certain _slokas_: The report of virtuous deeds
spreadeth over the earth and ascendeth to heaven. As long as that report
lasts, so long is the doer said to be in heaven. The man whose evil
deeds are bruited about, is said to fall down and live, as long as that
evil report lasts in the lower regions. Therefore should man be virtuous
in his acts if he is to gain Heaven. And he should seek refuge in
virtue, abandoning a sinful heart."

"'"And hearing these words, the king said, 'Let the car stay here as
long as I do not take these old persons to the places whence I brought
them.' And having brought me and the owl Pravarakarna to our respective
places, he went away, riding on that car, to the place that was fit for
him. Being longlived, I witness all this."'"

Vaisampayana continued, "It was thus that Markandeya narrated all this
unto the son of Pandu. And after Markandeya finished, the sons of Pandu
said, 'Blessed be thou! Thou hadst acted properly in causing king
Indradyumna who had fallen from Heaven to regain his sphere!' And
Markandeya answered them, saying, 'Devaki's son, Krishna, also had thus
raised the royal sage Nriga who had sunk in hell and caused him to
regain Heaven!'"


Vaisampayana said, "King Yudhishthira, hearing from the illustrious
Markandeya the story of the royal sage Indradyumna's regaining of
Heaven, again asked the _Muni_, saying, 'O great _Muni_, tell me in what
condition should a man practise charity in order to gain admission into
the regions of Indra? Is it by practising charity while leading a
domestic mode of life, or in boyhood, or in youth, or in old age? O,
tell me about the respective merits reaped from the practice of charity
in these different stages of life.'

"Markandeya said, 'Life that is futile is of four kinds. Charity also
that is futile is of sixteen kinds. His life is vain who hath no son;
and his also who is out of pale of virtue: and his too who liveth on the
food of other; and, lastly, his who cooketh for himself without giving
therefrom unto the _Pitris_, the gods, and the guests, and who eateth of
it before these all. The gift to one that has fallen away from the
practice of virtuous vows, as also the gift of wealth that has been
earned wrongly, are both in vain. The gift to a fallen Brahmana, that to
a thief, that also to a preceptor that is false, is in vain. The gift to
an untruthful man, to a person that is sinful, to one that is
ungrateful, to one that officiates at sacrifices performed by all
classes of people residing in a village, to one that sells the
_Vedas_,[12] to a Brahmana that cooks for Sudra, to one that too by
birth is a Brahmana but who is destitute of the occupations of his
order, is in vain. The gift to one that has married a girl after the
accession of puberty, to females, to one that sports with snakes, and to
one that is employed in menial offices, is also in vain. These sixteen
kinds of gifts are productive of no merits. That man who with mind
clouded with darkness giveth away from fear or anger, enjoyeth the merit
of such gift while he is in the womb of his mother. The man who (under
other circumstances) maketh gifts unto the Brahmanas, enjoyeth the fruit
thereof while he is in old age. Therefore, O king, the man who wishes to
win the way of heaven, should under all conditions, make gifts unto
Brahmanas of everything that he wishes to give away.'

[12] A man is said to sell the Vedas who lectures on the Vedas
taking fees from the hearers.

"Yudhishthira said, 'By what means do Brahmanas, who accept gifts from
all the four orders, save others as well as themselves?"

"Markandeya said, 'By _Japa_,[13] and _Mantras_,[14] and _Homa_[15] and
the study of the _Vedas_, the Brahmanas construct a _Vedic_ boat[16]
wherewith they save both others and themselves. The gods themselves are
pleased with that man who gratifieth the Brahmanas. Indeed, a man may
attain heaven at the command of a Brahmana. Thou wilt, O king, without
doubt ascend to regions of everlasting bliss, in consequence of thy
worship of the _Pitris_ and the gods, and thy reverence for the
Brahmanas, even though thy body is filled with phlegmatic humours and
withal so dull and inert! He that desires virtue and heaven should adore
the Brahmanas. One should feed Brahmanas with care on occasions of
_Sraddhas_, although those among them that are cursed or fallen should
be excluded. They also should be carefully excluded that are either
excessively fair or excessively black, that have diseased nails, that
are lepers, that are deceitful, that are born in bastardy of widows or
of women having husbands alive; and they also that support themselves by
the profession of arms. That _Sraddha_ which is censurable, consumeth
the performer thereof like fire consuming fuel. If they that are to be
employed in _Sraddhas_ happen to be dumb, blind, or deaf, care should be
taken to employ them along with Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas. O
Yudhishthira, listen now unto whom thou shouldst give. He that knoweth
all the _Vedas_ should give only to that able Brahmana who is competent
to rescue both the giver and himself, for he, indeed, is to be regarded
as able who can rescue both the giver and himself. O son of Pritha, the
sacred fires do not receive such gratification from libations of
clarified butter, from offerings of flowers and sandal and other
perfumed pastes as from the entertainment of guests. Therefore, do thou
strive to entertain guests, O son of Pandu! O king, they that give unto
guests water to wash their feet, butter to rub over their (tired) legs,
light during the hours of darkness, food, and shelter, have not to go
before Yama. The removal (after worship) of the flowery offerings unto
the gods, the removal of the remnants of a Brahmana's feast, waiting
(upon a Brahmana) with perfumed pastes, and the massaging of a
Brahmana's limbs, are, each of them, O foremost of kings, productive of
greater merit than the gift of kine. A person, without doubt, rescueth
himself by the gift of a _Kapila_ cow. Therefore, should one give away a
_Kapila_ cow decked with ornaments unto Brahmanas. O thou of the Bharata
race, one should give unto a person of good lineage and conversant with
the Vedas; unto a person that is poor; unto one leading a domestic mode
of life but burdened with wife and children; unto one that daily adoreth
the sacred fire; and unto one that hath done thee no service. Thou
shouldst always give unto such persons but not to them that are in
affluence. What merit is there, O thou foremost of the Bharata race, by
giving unto one that is affluent? One cow must be given unto one
Brahmana. A single cow must not be given unto many. For if the cow so
given away (unto many) be sold, the giver's family is lost for three
generations. Such a gift would not assuredly rescue the giver nor the
Brahmana that takes it. He who giveth eighty _Ratis_ of pure gold,
earneth the merit of giving away a hundred pieces of gold for ever. He
that giveth away a strong bull capable also of drawing the plough, is
certainly rescued from all difficulties and finally goeth to heaven. He
that giveth away land unto a learned Brahmana, hath all his desires
fulfilled. The tired traveller, with weakened limbs and feet besmeared
with dust, asks for the name of him that may give him food. There are
men who answer him by telling him the name. That wise man who informs
these toil-worn ones of the name of the person who may give them food,
is, without doubt, regarded as equal in merit unto the giver himself of
food. Therefore, abstaining from other kinds of gift, give thou food.
There is no merit (arising out of gifts) that is so great as that of
giving food. The man that according to the measure of his might gives
well-cooked and pure food unto the Brahmanas, acquires, by that act of
his, the companionship of Prajapati (_Brahma_). There is nothing
superior to food. Therefore, food is regarded as the first and foremost
of all things (to be given away). It hath been said that food itself is
_Prajapati_. And _Prajapati_ is regarded as the Year. And the Year is
sacrifice. And everything is established in sacrifice, for it is from
sacrifice that all creatures, mobile and immobile, take their origin.
For this reason, it hath been heard by us, food is the foremost of all
things. They that give away lakes and large pieces of water, and tanks
and wells, and shelter and food and they that have sweet words for all,
have not to hear the admonitions of Yama. With him who gives rice, and
wealth earned by his labour, unto Brahmana of good behaviour, the earth
is satisfied. And she poureth upon him showers of wealth. The giver of
food walketh first, after him the speaker of truth and he that giveth
unto persons that do not solicit. But the three go to the same place.'"

[13] _Japa_ is the silent recitation of particular _Mantras_.

[14] _Mantras_ are particular formulae of worship. They are for
the most part rhythmic compositions, believed to be of great

[15] The _Homa_ is that sacrificial rite which consists of
pouring libations of clarified butter into fire.

[16] _Vedamayi nou_. Lit, a boat made of the Vedas.

Vaisampayana continued, "Hearing all this, Yudhishthira, along with his
younger brothers, impelled by curiosity, again addressed the high-souled
Markandeya, saying, 'O great _Muni_, what is the distance of Yama's
region from that of men? What is its measurement? How also do men pass
it over? And by what means? O, tell me all this!'

"Markandeya said, 'O king, O them foremost of virtuous men, this
question of thine appertains to a great mystery. It is sacred and much
applauded by the _Rishis_. Appertaining as it also does to virtue, I
will speak of it to thee. The distance of Yama's region from the abode
of men is, O king, eighty-six thousand _Yojanas_! The way is over space,
without water, and very terrible to behold; Nowhere on that road is the
shade of a tree, nowhere any water, and nowhere any resting place in
which the traveller, when fatigued, may rest for some moments. And men
and women and all on earth that have life, are forcibly led along this
way by the messengers of Yama. Those creatures that obey the mandates of
the grim king, and they, O king, that have given horses and other good
conveyances unto Brahmanas, proceed along this way on those animals and
vehicles. And they that have given umbrellas proceed along this way with
umbrellas warding off the sun's rays. And they that have given food,
proceed without hunger, while they that have not given food proceed
afflicted with hunger. And they that have given robes, proceed along
this way attired in robes while they that have given none, proceed
naked. And they that have given gold, proceed in happiness, themselves
decked in ornaments. And they that have given land, proceed with every
desire completely gratified. And they that have given grain, proceed
without being afflicted with any want. And they that have given houses,
proceed happily on cars. And those men that have given something to
drink, proceed with cheerful hearts unafflicted with thirst. And they
that have given lights, proceed happily lighting the way before them.
And they that have given kine, proceed along the way happily, freed from
all their sins. And they that have fasted for a month, proceed on cars
drawn by swans. And they who have fasted for six nights, proceed on cars
drawn by peacocks. And, O son of Pandu, he that fasteth three nights
upon only one meal without a second during this period goeth into a
region free from disease and anxiety. And water hath this excellent
property that it produceth happiness in the region of Yama. And they
that give water find for themselves a river there of the name of
Pushpodaka. And the givers of water on the earth drink cool and
ambrosial draughts from that stream. And they that are of evil deeds
have pus ordained for them. Thus, O great king, that river serveth all
purposes. Therefore, O king, adore thou duly these Brahmanas (that are
with thee). Weak in limbs owing to the way he has walked, and besmeared
with the dust of the high-road, the traveller enquireth for the name of
him who giveth food, and cometh in hope to his house. Adore thou him
with reverent attention, for he indeed is a guest, and he is a Brahmana.
The gods with Indra at their head follow him as he proceedeth. And if he
is adored, the gods with Indra become gratified, and if he is not
adored, the celestials with their chief become cheerless. Therefore, O
thou foremost of kings, worship thou these Brahmanas duly. I have thus
spoken to thee upon a hundred subjects. What dost thou desire to hear
from me again?'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O master, conversant thou art with virtue and
morality, and so I desire to repeatedly listen to thee as thou speakest
on sacred subjects appertaining to virtue and morals.'

"Markandeya said, 'O king, I will now speak on another sacred subject
appertaining to eternal interests and capable of washing off all sins.
Listen thou with rapt attention. O thou foremost of the Bharatas, the
merit equal to that of giving away a _Kapila_ cow in (the _tirtha_
called) _Jyeshtha-Pushkara_ arises from washing the feet of Brahmanas.
As long as the earth remains wet with water which a Brahmana hath
touched with his feet, so long do _Pitris_ drink water of cups made of
lotus-leaves. If the guest is welcomed (with enquiries about his
welfare), the deities of fire become glad; and if he is offered a seat,
it is the god of a hundred sacrifices, who is gratified. If his feet are
washed, it is the _Pitris_ who are delighted; and if he is fed it is
_Prajapati_ that is pleased. One should with collected soul, give a cow
when (during her throes) the feet and head of her calf are visible,
before her delivery is complete. A cow with her calf in the air in
course of falling from the uterus to the earth, is to be regarded as
equal to the earth herself. He, therefore, that giveth away such a cow,
reapeth the merit of giving away the earth. And he that giveth away such
a cow, is adored in heaven for as many thousands of _Yugas_ as there are
bristles on the bodies of the animal and her young one together. And, O
Bharata, he that having accepted a thing in gift giveth it away
immediately unto a person that is virtuous and honest, reapeth very
great merit. Without doubt, he reapeth the fruit of giving away the
whole earth to her utmost limits and with her oceans and seas and caves,
her mountains and forests and woods. That Brahmana who eateth in silence
from a plate, keeping his hands between his knees, succeedeth in
rescuing others. And those Brahmanas that abstain from drink and who are
never spoken of by others as having any faults and who daily read the
_Samhitas_, are capable of rescuing others. Libations of butter and
edible offerings should all be presented to a Brahmana who is learned in
the _Vedas_. And as libations of clarified butter poured into fire never
go in vain, so gift to virtuous Brahmanas learned in the _Vedas_ can
never go in vain. The Brahmanas have anger for their weapon; they never
fight with arms of iron and steel. Indeed the Brahmanas slay with anger
like Indra slaying the Asuras with his thunder-bolt. Thus prelection
appertaining to virtue and morality is now over. Hearing this, the
_Munis_ of the forest of _Naimisha_ were filled with delight. And those
ascetics were also freed from grief and anger by listening to it. And
they were also purged of all their sins in consequence of this. And, O
king, those human beings that listen to it become freed from the
obligation of rebirth.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O thou of great wisdom, what purification is there
by which a Brahmana may always keep himself pure? I desire to hear of it
from thee, O thou foremost of all virtuous men!'

"Markandeya answered, 'There are three kinds of purity, viz., purity in
speech, purity in deed, and purity achieved by use of water. He that has
recourse to these three different kinds of purity, attains, without
doubt, to heaven. That Brahmana who adoreth the goddess _Sandhya_ in the
morning and the evening, and who recites meditatively the sacred goddess
_Gayairi_ who is the mother of the _Vedas_, sanctified by the latter, is
freed from all his sins. Even if he accepts in gift the entire earth
with her oceans, he doth not, on that account, suffer the least
unhappiness. And those heavenly bodies in the sky including the sun that
may be inauspicious and hostile towards him soon become auspicious and
favourable towards him in consequence of these acts of his, while those
stars that are auspicious and favourable become more auspicious and more
favourable in consequence of such conduct of his. And terrible Rakshasas
subsisting on animal food, of gigantic and fierce mien, all become
unable to prevail over a Brahmana who practiseth these purifications.
The Brahmanas are even like blazing fires. They incur no fault in
consequence of teaching, of officiating at sacrifices, and of accepting
gifts from others. Whether the Brahmana be cognisant of the _Vedas_ or
ignorant of them, whether they be pure or impure, they should never be
insulted, for Brahmanas are like fires. As the fire that blazeth up in
the place set apart for the cremation of the dead is never regarded
impure on that account, so the Brahmana, be he learned or ignorant, is
always pure. He is great and a very god! Cities that are adorned with
walls and gates and palaces one after another, lose their beauty if they
are bereft of Brahmanas. That, indeed, O king, is a city where Brahmanas
accomplished in the _Vedas_, duly observing the duties of their order
and possessed of learning and ascetic merit, reside. O son of Pritha,
that spot, be it a wood or pasture land, where learned Brahmanas reside,
hath been called a city. And that place, O king, becometh a _tirtha_
also. By approaching a king that offereth protection, as also a Brahmana
possessed of ascetic merit, and by offering worship unto both, a man may
purge off his sins immediately. The learned have said that ablutions in
the sacred _tirthas_, recitation of the names of holy ones, and converse
with the good and virtuous, are all acts worthy of applause. They that
are virtuous and honest always regard themselves as sanctified by the
holy companionship of persons like themselves and by the water of pure
and sacred converse. The carrying of three staffs, the vow of silence,
matted hair on head, the shaving of the crown, covering one's person
with barks and deerskins, the practice of vows, ablutions, the worship
of fire, abode in the woods, emaciating the body, all these are useless
if the heart be not pure. The indulgence of the six senses is easy, if
purity be not sought in the object of enjoyment. Abstinence, however,
which of itself is difficult, is scarcely easy without purity of the
objects of enjoyment. O king of kings, among the six senses, the mind
alone that is easily moved is the most dangerous! Those high-souled
persons that do not commit sins in word, deed, heart and soul, are said
to undergo ascetic austerities, and not they that suffer their bodies to
be wasted by fasts and penances. He that hath no feeling of kindness for
relatives cannot be free from sin even if his body be pure. That
hard-heartedness of his is the enemy of his asceticism. Asceticism,
again, is not mere abstinence from the pleasures of the world. He that
is always pure and decked with virtue, he that practises kindness all
his life, is a _Muni_ even though he may lead a domestic life. Such a
man is purged of all his sins. Fasts and other penances cannot destroy
sins, however much they may weaken and dry up the body that is made of
flesh and blood. The man whose heart is without holiness, suffers
torture only by undergoing penances in ignorance of their meaning. He is
never freed from sins of such acts. The fire he worshippeth doth not
consume his sins. It is in consequence of holiness and virtue alone that
men attain to regions of blessedness, and fasts and vows become
efficacious. Subsistence on fruits and roots, the vow of silence, living
upon air, the shaving of the crown, abandonment of a fixed home, the
wearing of matted locks on the head, lying under the canopy of heaven,
daily fasts, the worship of fire, immersion in water, and lying on the
bare ground,--these alone cannot produce such a result. They only that
are possessed of holiness succeed, by knowledge and deeds, to conquer
disease, decrepitude and death, and acquire a high status. As seeds that
have been scorched by fire do not sprout forth, so the pains that have
been burnt by knowledge cannot effect the soul. This inert body that is
only like a block of wood when destitute of souls, is, without doubt,
short lived like froth in the ocean. He that obtaineth a view of his
soul, the soul that resideth in every body, by help of one or half of a
rhythmic line (of the _Vedas_), hath no more need for anything. Some
obtaining a knowledge of identity with the Supreme Soul from but two
letters (of the _Vedas_) and some from hundreds and thousands of
rhythmic lines, acquire salvation, for the knowledge of one's identity
with the Supreme Soul is the sure indication of salvation. The men of
old, distinguished for their knowledge, have said, neither this world
nor that hereafter nor bliss can be his who is disturbed by doubts. And
belief of one's identity with the Supreme Soul is the indication of
salvation. He that knoweth the true meaning of the Vedas, understandeth
their true use. Such a man is affrighted at the Vedic ritual like a man
at sight of a forest conflagration. Giving up dry disputation, have
recourse to _Sruti_ and _Smriti_, and seek thou, with the aid of thy
reason, the knowledge of the Undecaying One that is without a second.
One's search (after this knowledge) becometh futile from defect of
means. Therefore, should one carefully strive to obtain that knowledge
by aid of the _Vedas_. The _Vedas_ are the Supreme Soul; they are His
body; they are the Truth. The soul that is bounded by the animal
organism is incompetent to know Him in whom all the _Vedas_ merge. That
Supreme Soul, however, is capable of being known by the pure intellect.
The existence of the _gods_ as stated in the _Vedas_, the efficacy of
acts, and the capacity for action of being furnished with bodies, are
noticeable in every _Yuga_. Independence of these and annihilation are
to be sought from purity of the senses. Therefore, the suspension of the
function of the senses is the true fasting. One may attain to heaven by
asceticism, one may obtain objects of enjoyment by the practice of
charity and may have his sins purged off by ablutions in _tirthas_. But
complete emancipation cannot be had except by knowledge.'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed, O great king, by the _Rishi_,
Yudhishthira of great fame then said, 'O holy one, I desire to listen to
the rules about that charity which is meritorious.'

"Markandeya said, 'O great king, O Yudhishthira, the rules about charity
which thou wishest to hear from me are always highly regarded by me.
Listen now to the mysteries of charity as expounded in the _sruti_ and
the _smritis_! A man that performs a _sraddha_ in the conjunction called
_Gajacchaya_ at a place that is fanned by the leaves of the _Aswattha_
tree enjoys the fruits thereof, O Yudhishthira, for a hundred thousand
_kalpas_. O king, he that foundeth a _dharmasala_ and established there
a person to look after all comers, is crowned with the merits of all the
sacrifices. He that giveth away a horse at a _tirtha_ where the current
of the river runneth in a direction opposite to its general course,
reapeth merit that is inexhaustible. The guest that comes to one's house
for food is none other than Indra himself. If he is entertained with
food, Indra himself conferreth on the best merit that is inexhaustible.
As men cross seas by vessels, so are the givers mentioned above are
saved from all their sins. So what is given unto Brahmanas produceth,
like gift of curds, inexhaustible merits. A gift on particular lunations
produceth merit that is twice as much as a gift on other days. That in a
particular season produceth merit ten times greater that in other
seasons. That in a particular year produceth merit a hundred times
greater than in other years. And lastly, a gift on the last day of the
last month of the year produceth merit that is inexhaustible. A gift
also that is made while the Sun is on the solstitial points, one again
that is made on the last day of the Sun's path through Libra, Aries,
Gemini, Virgo, and Pisces, a gift again during eclipses of the Moon and
the Sun, produce merit that is inexhaustible. The learned have also said
that gifts made during the seasons produce merit that is ten times,
those made during the change of seasons, a hundred times--and those made
during the days when _Rahu_ is visible, a thousand times--greater than
what is produced by gifts at other time; while a gift made on the last
day of the Sun's course through Libra and Aries produces merit that
knows no diminution. O king, no one can enjoy landed possessions unless
he giveth away land, and no one can go on cars and vehicles unless he
giveth away these. Indeed a person on rebirth obtaineth the fruition of
whatever objects he hath in view at the time of making a gift to a
Brahmana. Gold hath sprung from Fire; the Earth from Vishnu; and the
cows from the Sun. He, therefore, that giveth away gold, land, and kine
attaineth all the regions of Agni, Vishnu, and the Sun. There is nothing
so eternal as a gift. Where, therefore, in the three worlds is anything
that is more auspicious? It is for this, O king, that they who have
great intelligence say that there is nothing higher and greater in the
three worlds than gift!'"


Vaisampayana said, "Having, O great king, heard from the illustrious
Markandeya the history of the attainment of heaven by the royal sage
Indradyumna, Yudhishthira, that bull of the Bharata race, once more
asked that sinless _Muni_ endued with great ascetic merit and long life,
saying, 'Thou knowest, O virtuous one, the entire host of the gods, the
_Danavas_, and the _Rakshasas_. Thou art acquainted also with various
royal genealogies and many eternal lines of _Rishis_! O best of
Brahmanas, there is nothing in this world that thou dost not know! Thou
knowest also, O _Muni_, many delightful stories about _men, Snakes_ and
_Rakshasas_; about gods, _Gandharvas_, and _Yakshas_, and about
_Kinnaras_ and _Apsaras_! I desire now to hear from thee, O best of
Brahmanas, as to why Kuvalaswa--that unvanquished king of Ikshavaku's
race changed his name, assuming another, viz., _Dhundhumara_. O thou
best of Bhrigu's line, I desire to know in detail why the name of
Kuvalaswa of great intelligence underwent such a change!'"

Vaisampayana continued, "Thus addressed by Yudhishthira, the great
_Muni_ Markandeya, O Bharata, then began the history of Dhundhumara!"

"Markandeya said, 'O royal Yudhishthira, listen to me, I will tell thee
all! The story of Dhundhumara is a moral one. Listen to it then! Listen
now, O king, to the story of how the royal Kuvalaswa of Ikshvaku's race
came to be known as Dhundhumara. O son, O Bharata, there was a
celebrated _Rishi_ of the name of Utanka and, O thou of the Kuru race,
Utanka had his hermitage in a delightful wilderness. And, O great king,
the _Rishi_ Utanka underwent ascetic austerities of the severest kind
and the lord Utanka underwent those penances for numberless years with
the object of obtaining the favours of Vishnu, and gratified with his
penances that illustrious Lord presented himself before Utanka. And
beholding the Deity, the _Rishi_ in all humility began to gratify him
with many hymns, and Utanka said, "O thou of great effulgence all
creatures with the gods, _Asuras_ and human beings, all things that are
mobile or immobile, even _Brahma_ himself, the Vedas, and all things
that are capable of being known, have, O lord, been created by thee! The
firmament is thy head, O god, and the sun and the moon are thy eyes!
And, O Unfading One, the winds are thy breath and fire thy energy! The
directions of the horizon constitute thy arms and the great ocean thy
stomach! And, O god, the hills and mountains constitute thy thigh and
the sky thy hips, O slayer of Madhu! The earth constitutes thy feet, and
the plants the bristles on thy body. And, O lord, Indra and Soma and
Agni and Varuna, indeed all the gods, the _Asuras_ and the great Snakes
all wait upon thee with humility, adoring thee with various hymns! O
Lord of the Universe, created things are pervaded by thee. The great
_Rishis_ of high energy and ever plunged in ascetic meditation, always
adore thee. When thou art gratified, the universe is in peace. And when
thou art angry, terror pervadeth every soul. Thou art, O Lord, the great
dispeller of all terrors and thou art the One Supreme Male Being! Thou
art the cause of happiness of both gods and human beings! And, O Lord,
by three steps of thine thou didst cover the three worlds! And it was by
thee that the _Asuras_ in the height of their power were destroyed! It
is owing to thy prowess, O God, that the celestials obtained peace and
happiness and, O thou of great effulgence, it was the anger that
destroyed hundred great _Daitya_ chiefs. Thou art the Creator and
destroyer of all creatures in the world. It is by adoring thee that the
gods have obtained happiness." It was thus, O Yudhishthira, that the
high-souled Utanka praised the Lord of the senses. And Vishnu,
therefore, said unto Utanka, "I am gratified with thee. Ask thou the
boon that thou desirest." And Utanka said, "This indeed hath been a
great boon to me, in that I have been able to behold Hari, that eternal
Being, that divine Creator, that Lord of the universe!" Thus addressed
Vishnu said, "I am gratified with this absence of all desires on thy
part and with thy devotion, O thou best of men! But, O Brahmanas, O
regenerate one, thou shouldst of a certainty accept some boon from me!"
Thus requested by Hari to accept a boon Utanka then, O thou best of
Bharatas, with joined hands begged a boon saying, "O illustrious one, O
thou of eyes like lotus leaves, if thou hast been gratified with me,
then let my heart always rest on virtue, truth, and self-content. And, O
Lord, let my heart always turn to thee in devotion." And hearing these
words of Utanka, the holy one said, "O regenerate one, all this shall
happen to thee through my grace. And there will also appear in thee a
_yoga_ power endued with which thou shalt achieve a great thing for the
dwellers of Heaven, as also for the triple world. Even now a great
_Asura_ of the name of Dhundhu is undergoing ascetic penances of fierce
austerity with the object of destroying the triple world. Hear now as to
who will slay that _Asura_. O son, there will appear a king of
invincible energy and great prowess and he will be born in the race of
Ikshvaku and will be known by the name of Vrihadaswa who will have a son
of the name of Kuvalaswa endued with great holiness and self-control and
celebrity. And that best of kings will be furnished with _yoga_ power
springing from me and urged and commended by thee, O regenerate _Rishi_,
that king will be the slayer of the Asura Dhundhu." And having said
these words unto that Brahmana, Vishnu disappeared there and then.'"


"Markandeya said, 'O king, after the death of Ikshvaku, a highly
virtuous king of the name of _Sasada_, ascending the throne of Ayodhya
ruled this earth. And from _Sasada_ was descended Kakutstha of great
energy. And Kakutshta had a son of name Anenas. And Anenas had a son
named Prithu and Prithu had a son named Viswagaswa and from Viswagaswa
sprang Adri and from Adri sprang Yuvanaswa and from Yuvanaswa sprang
Sravastha and it was by this Sravastha that the city called _Sravasthi_
was built and from Sravastha was descended Vrihadaswa and from
Vrihadaswa sprang Kuvalaswa and Kuvalaswa had twentyone thousand sons
and all these sons were fierce and powerful and skilled in learning. And
Kuvalaswa excelled his father in every quality. And when the time came,
his father Vrihadaswa installed him--the brave and highly virtuous
Kuvalaswa--on the throne. And having thus made over the royal dignity to
his son, that slayer of foes--king Vrihadaswa of great intelligence--
retired into the woods for asceticism.'

"Markandeya continued, 'O king, when the royal sage Vrihadaswa was about
to retire into the woods, that best of Brahmanas, Utanka heard of it.
And Utanka who was possessed of great energy and immeasurable soul,
approached that foremost of all wielders of weapons and best of men. And
approaching him, the _Rishis_ began to persuade him to give up
asceticism. And Utanka said, "O king, to protect (the people) is thy
duty. It behoveth thee to do that duty of thine. Let us be free from all
anxiety through thy grace. Possessed as thou art of a great soul,
protected by thee, the earth will be freed from all dangers. Therefore,
it behoveth thee, not to retire into the woods. Great merit attaches to
the act of protecting people in this world. Such merit can never be
acquired in the woods. Let not thy heart, therefore, turn to this
course. The merit, great king, that was acquired in days of old by great
royal sages by protecting their subjects was so great that nothing equal
to it could be seen. The king should always protect his subjects. It
behoveth thee, therefore, to protect thy people. O lord of the earth, I
cannot (at present) perform my ascetic devotions peacefully. Close to my
asylum there is a sea of sands known by the name of _Ujjalaka._ And it
occupies a level country and is without any water. And it extends many
_yojanas_ in length and breadth and in that desert dwells a chief of the
_Danavas_ called Dhundhu by name. And Dhundhu is the son of Madhu and
Kaitabha, and is fierce and terrible and possessed of great prowess. And
endued with immeasurable energy, that _Danava_, O king, dwelleth under
the ground, and, O king, it behoveth thee to retire into the woods,
having first slain that _Asura_. That _Asura_ is now lying still in the
observance of an ascetic penance of great austerity and, O king, the
object he hath in view is sovereignty over the celestials as also of the
three worlds. And, O king, having obtained a boon from the Grandsire of
all creatures, that _Asura_ hath become incapable of being slain by the
gods and _Daityas_ and _Rakshasas_ and _Gandharvas_. Slay though him, O
king, and blessed be thou and let not thy heart turn to any other
course. By slaying him thou wilt without doubt, achieve a great thing
and thou wilt also obtain eternal and undying fame. And O king, when at
the end of every year that wicked _Asura_ lying covered with sands,
wakes up and begins to breathe, then the whole earth with her mountains,
forests and woods begins to tremble. And his breath raiseth up clouds of
sands, and shroudeth the very sun, and for seven days continually the
earth tremble all over, and sparks and flames of fire mixed with smoke
spread far around and for all this, O king, I cannot rest in peace in my
asylum. Slay thou him, O king, for the good of the world. Indeed, when
that _Asura_ is slain the triple world will be in peace and happiness.
That thou art competent, O king, to slay that _Asura_, I fully believe.
Thy energy will be enhanced by Vishnu with the addition of his own. In
days of old, O king, Vishnu gave this boon that the king who should slay
this fierce and great _Asura_ would be pervaded by the invincible energy
of Vishnu himself. Bearing that invincible _Vaishnava_ energy in
thyself, slay thou, O great king, that _Daitya_ of fierce prowess.
Possessed as Dhundhu is of mighty energy, no one, O king, that is endued
with small energy himself will be capable of consuming him, even if he
were to strive for a hundred years."'"


"Markandeya said, 'Thus addressed by Utanka, that unvanquished royal
sage, with joined hands, O thou foremost of the Kuru race, replied unto
Utanka, saying, "This visit of thine, O Brahmana, will not be in vain.
This my son, O holy one, known by the name of Kuvalaswa is endued with
steadiness and activity. In prowess also he is unequaled on earth.
Without doubt he will accomplish all this that is agreeable to thee,
aided by all his brave sons endued with arms like unto iron maces. Give
me leave to retire, O Brahmana, for I have now given up my weapons."
Thus addressed by the king, that _Muni_ of immeasurable energy replied
unto him, saying, "So be it." And the royal sage Vrihadaswa then, having
commended his son to obey the behest of the high-souled Utanka saying,
"Let it be done by thee," himself retired into an excellent forest.'

"Yudhishthira said, 'O holy one, O thou possessed of the wealth of
asceticism, who was this _Daitya_ of great energy? Whose son and whose
grandson was he? I desire to know all this; O thou possessed of the
wealth of asceticism I never heard of this mighty _Daitya_ before. I
desire to know all this truly, O holy one, and with all particulars in
detail, O thou of great wisdom and ascetic wealth!'

"Markandeya said, 'O monarch, know everything as it happened, O ruler of
men, as I narrate the particulars truly, O thou of great wisdom! When
the world became one broad expanse of water and creatures mobile and
immobile were destroyed, when, O bull of the Bharata race, the entire
creation came to its end. He who is the Source and Creator of the
Universe, viz., the Eternal and unfading Vishnu, He who is called by
_Munis_ crowned with ascetic success as the Supreme Lord of the
Universe, that Being of great holiness, then lay in _Yoga_ sleep on the
wide hood of the Snake Sesha of immeasurable energy, and the Creator of
the Universe, that highly-blessed and holy Hari, knowing no
deterioration, lay on the hood of that Snake encircling the whole Earth
and as the Deity lay asleep on that bed, a lotus, endued with great
beauty and effulgence equal unto that of the Sun, sprang from his navel.
And from that lotus possessed of effulgence like unto the Sun's, sprang
the Grandsire _Brahma_, that lord of the worlds who is the four _Vedas_,
who hath four forms and four faces, who is invincible in consequence of
his own energy and who is endued with mighty strength and great prowess
and as the Lord Hari of wondrous frame, possessed of great lustre and
decked with a crown and the _Kaustubha_ gem and attired in purple silk,
lay stretched for many a _yojana_ on that excellent bed furnished by the
hood of the snake itself extending far and wide, blazing, O king, in his
beauty and the lustre of his own body like a thousand Suns concentrated
in one mass. He was beheld some time after by two _Danavas_ of great
prowess named Madhu and Kaitabha and beholding Hari (in that posture)
and the Grandsire with eyes like lotus-leaves seated on that lotus, both
Madhu and Kaitabha wandered much and they began to terrify and alarm
Brahma of immeasurable prowess, and the illustrious Brahma alarmed by
their continued exertions trembled on his seat, and at his trembling the
stalk of the lotus on which he was seated began to tremble and when the
lotus-stalk trembled, Kesava awoke. And awakened from his slumber,
Govinda beheld those _Danavas_ of mighty energy, and beholding them the
Deity said unto them, "Welcome, ye mighty ones! I am gratified with you!
Therefore, I will grant you excellent boons!" And thereupon both those
proud and mighty _Danavas_, O king, laughingly replied unto Hrishikesa,
saying, "Ask boons of us, O Divine one! O thou that art the Supreme
Deity, we are disposed to grant thee a boon. Indeed, we will grant thee
a boon! Therefore, ask thou of us anything that cometh to thy mind."
Thus addressed by them the holy one spoke, "Ye brave ones, I will accept
a boon from you. There is a boon that I desire. Both of you are
possessed of mighty energy. There is no male person like unto any of
you. O ye of unbaffled prowess, submit ye to be slain by me. Even that
is what I desire to accomplish for the good of the world." Hearing these
words of the Deity, both Madhu and Kaitabha said, "We have never before
spoken an untruth; no, not even in jest; what shall we say of other
occasions! O thou foremost of male Beings, know that we have ever been
firm in truth and morality. In strength, in forms, in beauty, in virtue,
in asceticism, in charity, in behaviour, in goodness, in self control,
there is no one equal unto either of us. A great danger, O Kesava, hath
approached us. Accomplish thou, therefore, what thou hast said. No one
can prevail over Time. But, O Lord, there is one thing that we desire to
be done by thee. O thou best and foremost of all Deities, thou must slay
us at a spot that is absolutely uncovered. And, O thou of excellent
eyes, we also desire to become thy sons. This is the boon that we
desire, know then, O chief of the gods! Let not that, O Deity, be false
which thou hadst at first promised to us." The Holy One then replied
unto them saying, "Yes, I will do as ye desire. Everything will be as ye

"Markandeya continued, 'Then Govinda began to reflect but uncovered
space found he none and when he could not discover any spot that was
uncovered on earth or in the sky, that foremost Deity then beheld his
thighs to be absolutely uncovered. And there, O king, the illustrious
Deity cut off the heads of Madhu and Kaitabha with his keenedged


"Markandeya said, 'The illustrious Dhundhu, O king, was the son of Madhu
and Kaitabha, and possessed of great energy and prowess, he underwent
ascetic penances of great austerity and he stood erect on one leg and
reduced his body to a mass of only veins and arteries, and Brahma,
gratified with him, gave him a boon. And the boon he had asked of the
lord Prajapati was in these words, "Let no one among the gods, the
_Danavas_, the _Rakshas_, the Snakes, the _Gandharvas_ and the
_Rakshasas_ be capable of slaying me. Even this is the boon that I ask
of thee." And the Grandsire replied unto him saying, "Let it be as thou
wishest. Go thy way." And thus addressed by the Grandsire, the _Danava_
placed the feet of the Deity on his head and having thus touched with
reverence the Deity's feet he went away and possessed of mighty energy
and prowess. Dhundhu, having obtained the boon hastily approached Vishnu
remembering the death of his father at the hands of that Deity, and the
wrathful Dhundhu having vanquished the gods with the _Gandharvas_ began
to distress all the celestials with Vishnu at their head. And at last O
bull of the Bharata race, that wicked souled _Asura_ arriving at a sea
of sands known by the name of Ujjalaka, began to distress to the utmost

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