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Bharata's sons

Critical Edition

From the Mahabharata Genealogies Trees constructed by Gilles Schaufelberger):

Bharata + 3 wives
    Vitatha + 9 sons     + Bhumanyu (born from a sacrifice offered by
This is based on the Critical Edition of BORI:
01089016a duHSantAd bharato jajJe vidvAJ zAkuntalo nRpaH  
01089016c tasmAd bharatavaMzasya vipratasthe mahad yazaH  
01089017a bharatas tisRSu strISu nava putrAn ajIjanat     
01089017c nAbhyanandanta tAn rAjA nAnurUpA mamety uta     
01089018a tato mahadbhiH kratubhir IjAno bharatas tadA    
01089018c lebhe putraM bharadvAjAd bhumanyuM nAma bhArata 
01089019a tataH putriNam AtmAnaM jJAtvA pauravanandanaH   
01089019c bhumanyuM bharatazreSTha yauvarAjye 'bhyaSecayat
01089020a tatas tasya mahIndrasya vitathaH putrako 'bhavat
01089020c tataH sa vitatho nAma bhumanyor abhavat sutaH
01089021a suhotraz ca suhotA ca suhaviH suyajus tathA 

Line 01089020a out of place?


% (except K1) ins.:
01*0879_01 tatas tAn mAtaraH kruddhAH putrAn ninyur yamakSayam

Translation by J.A.B. van Buitenen (University of Chicago Press):

Bharata begot three sons on his three wives, but the king did not approve any one of them, for they were not of his stature. Thereupon Bharata offered up grand sacrifices and received a son from Bharadvaja by the name of Bhumanyu, O Bharata. The scion of the Pauravas deemed himself Bhumanyu's father and consecrated him Young King, o best of the Bharata. Then the king himself had a little son Vitatha, and this Vitatha became a son of Bhumanyu.

Bombay Edition: Nilakantha

duHSantAn  bharato jajJe vidvAn zAkuntalo nRpaH
tasmAd bharatavaMzasya vipratasthe mahad yazaH
bharatastistRSu strISu nava putrAn ajIjanat     
nAbhyanandanta tAn rAjA nAnurUpA mamety uta
tatAstAn mAtaraH kruddhAH putrAn ninyur yamakSayaM
tatastavya narendrasya vitathaM putrajanma tat     
tato mahadbhiH kratubhir IjAno bharatas tadA    
lebhe putraM bharadvAjAd bhumanyuM nAma bhArata 
tataH putriNam AtmAnaM jJAtvA pauravanandanaH   
bhumanyuM bharatazreSTha yauvarAjye 'bhyaSecayat
The Mahabharata Book 1: Adi Parva, Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.

And Dushmanta had by his wife Sakuntala an intelligent son named Bharata who became king. And Bharata gave his name to the race of which he was the founder. And it is from him that the fame of that dynasty hath spread so wide. And Bharata begat upon his three wives nine sons in all. But none of them were like their father and so Bharata was not at all pleased with them. Their mothers, therefore, became angry and slew them all. The procreation of children by Bharata, therefore, became vain. The monarch then performed a great sacrifice and through the grace of Bharadwaja obtained a son named Bhumanyu.

Vishnu Purana, Translated with Notes by H.H. Wilson

The son of Dushyanta was the emperor Bharata; a verse explanatory of his name is chaunted by the gods; "The mother is only the receptacle; it is the father by whom a son is begotten. Cherish thy son, Dushyanta; treat not Sakuntala with disrespect. Sons, who are born from the paternal loins, rescue their progenitors from the infernal regions. Thou art the parent of this boy; Sakuntala has spoken truth." From the expression 'cherish,' Bharaswa, the prince was called Bharata [1].

Bharata had by different wives nine sons, but they were put to death by their own mothers, because Bharata remarked that they bore no resemblance to him, and the women were afraid that he would therefore desert them. The birth of his sons being thus unavailing, Bharata sacrificed to the Maruts, and they gave him Bharadwaja, the son of Vrihaspati by Mamata the wife of Utathya, expelled by the kick of Dirghatamas, his half brother, before his time. This verse explains the purport of his appellation; "'Silly woman,' said Vrihaspati, 'cherish this child of two fathers' (bhara dwajam). 'No, Vrihaspati,' replied Mamata, 'do you take care of him.' So saying, they both abandoned him; but from their expressions the boy was called Bharadwaja." He was also termed Vitatha, in allusion to the unprofitable (vitatha) birth of the sons of Bharata [2]. The son of Vitatha was Bhavanmanyu; his sons were many, and amongst them the chief were Vrihatkshatra, Mahaviryya, Nara, and Garga.

[1] These two slokas are taken from the Mahabharata, Adi Parvan, p. 112, and are part of the testimony borne by a heavenly messenger to the birth of Bharata. They are repeated in the same book, in the account of the family of Puru, p. 139. They occur, with a slight variation of the order, in other Puranas, as the Vayu, &c., and shew the greater antiquity of the story of Sakuntal�, although they do not narrate it. The meaning of the name Bharata is differently explained in Sakuntala; he is said to be so called from supporting' the world: he is also there named Sarvadamana, 'the conqueror of all.'

[2]T he Brahma P. and Hari V., the latter especially, appear to have modified this legend, with the view perhaps of reconciling those circumstances which are related of Bharadwaja as a sage with his p. 450 history as a king. Whilst therefore they state that Bharadwaja was brought by the winds to Bharata, they state that he was so brought to perform a sacrifice, by which a son was born, whom Bharadwaja also inaugurated. In the Vayu, Matsya, and Agni, however, the story is much more consistently narrated; and Bharadwaja, being abandoned by his natural parent, is brought by the winds, as a child, not as a sage; and being adopted by Bharata, is one and the same with Vitatha, as our text relates. Thus in the Vayu, the Maruts bring to Bharata, already sacrificing for progeny, Bharadwaja, the son of Vrihaspati; and Bharata receiving him, says, "This Bharadwaja shall be Vitatha." The Matsya also says, the Maruts in compassion took the child, and being pleased with Bharata's worship, gave it to him, and he was named Vitatha. And the Agni tells the whole story in one verse: 'Then the son of Vrihaspati, being taken by the winds; Bharadwaja was transferred with sacrifice, and was Vitatha.' The account given in the Bhagavata is to the same purpose. The commentator on the text also makes the matter clear enough: 'The name of Bharadw�ja in the condition of son of Bharata was Vitatha.' It is clear that a new-born infant could not be the officiating priest at a sacrifice for his own adoption, whatever the compiler of the Hari Vamsa may please to assert. From Bharadwaja, a Brahman by birth, and king by adoption, descended Brahmans and Kshatriyas, the children of two fathers: The Mahabharata, in the Adi Parvan, tells the story very simply. In one place, p. 136. v. 3710, it says that Bharata, on the birth of his children proving vain, obtained from Bharadwaja, by great sacrifices, a son, Bhumanyu; and in another passage it makes Bhumanyu the son of Bharata by Sunanda, daughter of Sarvasena, king of Kasi; p. 139. v. 3785. The two are not incompatible.

Bhagavata Purana

The original translation of Swami Prabhupada and other pupils


Chapter Twenty The Dynasty of Puru

24-26. Maharaja Bharata, the son of Dusmanta, had the mark of Lord Krsna's disc on the palm of his right hand, and he had the mark of a lotus whorl on the soles of his feet. By worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead with a grand ritualistic ceremony, he became the emperor and master of the entire world. Then, under the priesthood of Mamateya, Bhrgu Muni, he performed fifty-five horse sacrifices on the bank of the Ganges, beginning from its mouth and ending at its source, and seventy-eight horse sacrifices on the bank of the Yamuna, beginning from the confluence at Prayaga and ending at the source. He established the sacrificial fire on an excellent site, and he distributed great wealth to the brahmanas. Indeed, he distributed so many cows that each of thousands of brahmanas had one badva [13,084] as his share.

27. Bharata, the son of Maharaja Dusmanta, bound thirty-three hundred horses for those sacrifices, and thus he astonished all other kings. He surpassed even the opulence of the demigods, for he achieved the supreme spiritual master, Hari.

28. When Maharaja Bharata performed the sacrifice known as Masnara [or a sacrifice in the place known as Masnara], he gave in charity fourteen lakhs of excellent elephants with white tusks and black bodies, completely covered with golden ornaments.

29. As one cannot approach the heavenly planets simply by the strength of his arms (for who can touch the heavenly planets with his hands?), one cannot imitate the wonderful activities of Maharaja Bharata. No one could perform such activities in the past, nor will anyone be able to do so in the future.

30. When Maharaja Bharata was on tour, he defeated or killed all the Kiratas, Hunas, Yavanas, Paundras, Kankas, Khasas, Sakas and the kings who were opposed to the Vedic principles of brahminical culture.

31. Formerly, after conquering the demigods, all the demons had taken shelter in the lower planetary system known as Rasatala and had brought all the wives and daughters of the demigods there also. Maharaja Bharata, however, rescued all those women, along with their associates, from the clutches of the demons, and he returned them to the demigods.

32. Maharaja Bharata provided all necessities for his subjects, both on this earth and in the heavenly planets, for twenty-seven thousand years. He circulated his orders and distributed his soldiers in all directions.

33. As the ruler of the entire universe, Emperor Bharata had the opulences of a great kingdom and unconquerable soldiers. His sons and family had seemed to him to be his entire life. But finally he thought of all this as an impediment to spiritual advancement, and therefore he ceased from enjoying it.

34. O King Pariksit, Maharaja Bharata had three pleasing wives, who were daughters of the King of Vidarbha. When all three of them bore children who did not resemble the King, these wives thought that he would consider them unfaithful queens and reject them, and therefore they killed their own sons.

35. The King, his attempt for progeny frustrated in this way, performed a sacrifice named marut-stoma to get a son. The demigods known as the Maruts, being fully satisfied with him, then presented him a son named Bharadvaja.

36. When the demigod named Brhaspati was attracted by his brother's wife, Mamata, who at that time was pregnant, he desired to have sexual relations withMamata, who at that time was pregnant, he desired to have sexual relations with her. The son within her womb forbid this, but Brhaspati cursed him and forcibly discharged semen into the womb of Mamata.

37. Mamata very much feared being forsaken by her husband for giving birth to an illegitimate son, and therefore she considered giving up the child. But then the demigods solved the problem by enunciating a name for the child.

38. Brhaspati said to Mamata, "You foolish woman, although this child was born from the wife of one man through the semen discharged by another, you should maintain him." Upon hearing this, Mamata replied, "O Brhaspati, you maintain him!" After speaking in this way, Brhaspati and Mamata both left. Thus the child was known as Bharadvaja.

39. Although encouraged by the demigods to maintain the child, Mamata considered him useless because of his illicit birth, and therefore she left him. Consequently, the demigods known as the Maruts maintained the child, and when Maharaja Bharata was disappointed for want of a child, this child was given to him as his son.

Chapter Twenty-one The Dynasty of Bharata

1. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Because Bharadvaja was delivered by the Marut demigods, he was known as Vitatha. The son of Vitatha was Manyu, and from Manyu came five sons--Brhatksatra, Jaya, Mahavirya, Nara and Garga. Of these five, the one known as Nara had a son named Sankrti.

Mahabharata Tele Series

Screenplay by Rahi Masoom Reza

Episode 1: King Bharat sows the seed of democratic thinking by appointing a commoner as his successor. Many generations later, King Shantanu risks the tradition when he marries Ganga and promising never to question her for anything she does.

Compiled by A. Harindranath, May 14, 2006.