shrAddhe pratiShThito lokaH shrAddhe yogaH pravartate |
hanta te vartayiShyAmi shrAddhasya phalam uttamam || 1-21-1
brahmadattena yat prAptaM sapta-j~nAtiShu bhArata |
tata eva hi dharmasya buddhiH nirvartate shanaiH || 1-21-2
pIDayA api atha dharmasya kR^ite shrAddhe purA anagha |
yat prAptaM brAhmaNaiH pUrvaM tat nibodha mahAmate || 1-21-3
The worldly affairs like shruta, dhana, kula, putra, pashava Adi
– education, wealth, caste,
progeny, animal-cattle etc assets - are conditional on shraddha, and even yoga, i.e., moksha results
from that shraddha... as such, I will narrate to you about the results occurring from observing shrAddha... I will also narrate about the seven births of brahmadatta and his brothers; likewise, how their mind slowly deviated from righteousness; and how a cruel act, yet which is conformable to shraddha, has been done by those brAhmaNa-s... and about what bechanced on them... these topics I will narrate and you shall try to assimilate the core of these episodes...” Sage mArkaNDeya said to bhIShma once upon a time, and now bhIShma is reiterating it to dharmaja.
pIDayA = go himsayA= by the cruel act of killing a cow.
Henry David Thoreau, , has translated this episode of harivamsham as: The Transmigration of the Seven Brahmans.
tato.ahaM tAta dharmiShThAn kurukShetre pitR^i-vratAn |
sanatkumAra nirdiShTAn apashyaM sapta vai dvijAn || 1-21-4
divyena chakShuShA tena yAn uvAcha purA vibhuH |
vAgduShTaH krodhano hiMsraH pishunaH kavireva cha |
khasR^imaH pitR^ivartI cha nAmabhiH karmabhiH tathA || 1-21-5
“Then I with a divine sight have seen the seven brAhmaNa-s in kurukShetra area, who are conscientious and father-abiding, about whom godly sanatkumAra elucidated to me... their names that are true to their deeds are: vAgduShTa, krodhana, hiMsra, pishuna, kavi, kha-sR^ima, pitR^i-varti...
kaushikasya sutAH tAta shiShyA gArgyasya
pitari uparate sarve vrata-vantaH tadA abhavan || 1-21-6
These seven-brAhmaNa-s who strictly conducted themselves under their vows have taken birth as the sons of kaushika, namely vishvamitra, but they have become the disciples of sage gArgya when their father, namely vishvamitra, cursed them...
Here pitari uparate= father, when cursed. The first birth of these seven-brAhmaNa-s is to be reckoned from the bikrth as sons of bhAradwAja; bhaaradwaajakaushikavyaadhamR^iga- cakravaakahamsashrotriya daayaadatveSu parigaNana : hence their seven births are
1] sons of bhAradwAja; 2] sons of kaushika, aka vishvamitra; 3] vyaadha – as tribals; 4] mriga= as animals; 5] cakravaaka – as chakaravAka birds; 6] hamsa- as royal swans; 7] shrotriya- as scholarly brAhmaNa-s, among whom brahmadatta is one.
viniyogAt guroH tasya gAM dogdhrIM sam-akAlayan |
samAna vatsAM kapilAM sarve nyAyAgatAM tadA || 1-21-7
teShAM pathi kShudha ArtAnAM bAlyAt mohAt cha bhArata |
krUrA buddhiH samabhavat tAM gAM vai hiMsituM tadA || 1-21-8
On certain day those seven-brAhmaNa disciples have taken kapila named milking cow of their guru gArgya along with its calf to nearby woods for grazing according to their routine... but on their way back they have become awfully hungry, whereby a cruel thought occurred to some them to use up that cow as their viand in all their stupidity and heedlessness, for which they have become lawbreakers...
sam-akAlayan= moving the cow round, grazing; nyAyAgatAM= chora dravya apaharaNam;
tAn kaviH khasR^imaH chaiva yAchete na iti vai tadA |
na cha ashakyanta te tAbhyAM tadA vArayituM dvijAH || 1-21-9
However, two from them, named kavi and kha-sR^ima, entreatingly tried their best to prevent others from butchering the cow... but those two could not succeed in their effort...
pitR^ivartI tu yaH teShAM nityaM shrAddha Ahniko dvijaH |
sa sarvAn abravIt bhrAtR^In kopAt dharme samAhitaH || 1-21-10
yadi avashyaM prahantavyA pitR^In uddishya sAdhu imAM |
prakurvImahi gAM saMyak sarva eva samAhitaH || 1-21-11
evam eSaa api [evamepitR^IbhyaHShApi] gauH dharmaM prApsyate nAtra saMshayaH |
pitR^In abhyarchya dharmeNa na adharmo asmAn bhaviShyati || 1-21-12
Yet another one from them, named pitR^ivarti, who is a thoroughgoing beatifier and ritualist, spoke angrily to all of them, himself abiding by his tenets, “if it is absolutely necessary to butcher the cow, butcher it collectively, in the name of manes.... when this cow is righteously offered to manes no unrighteousness can touch us and, besides, this cow which by its own nature is a sacrificial animal, she too will meet its end as a sacrificial cow... no doubt about it...”
tatha iti uktvA cha te sarve prokShayitvA cha gAM tataH |
pitR^ibhyaH kalpayitva enAm upAyu~njata bhArata || 1-21-13
Saying ‘so be it...’ all of them have sublimated and immolated that cow as an offertory to manes, and devoured the leavings satisfying their hunger...
upAyu~njata= abhakshayan= devoured.
upayujya cha gAM sarve guroH tasya nyavedayan |
shArdUlena hatA dhenuH vatso ayaM gR^ihyatAm iti || 1-21-14
Having used up that cow for their hunger they brought the calf home and reported to their mentor saying, “a tiger killed the cow, sir, here is its...reconcile yourself to it...”
ArjavAt sa tu taM vatsaM pratijagrAha vai dvijaH |
mithya-upacharyate taM tu gurum anyAyato dvijAH |
kAlena samayujyanta sarva eva AuShaH kShaye || 1-21-15
Sage gArgya took the calf believing their lie unsuspectingly... those seven disciples departed from this world when their mortality is lessened, but carrying the blot of unjustly deceiving their teacher with them...
mithya= false; upacharya= vanchana = deceit; kAlena= by Death; sam+a+yuj+yanta= well, joined – when they verily joined with death= when dead.
te vai krUratayA hiMsrA an-AryatvAt gurau tathA |
ugrA hiMsA vihArAH cha saptA ajAyanta sodarAH || 1-21-16
lubdhakasya AtmajAH tAta balavanto manasvinaH |
Because they have undertaken a cruel act like savages in respect of teacher’s cow, they took rebirth as seven mighty and hearty sons of a huntsman...
pitR^In abhyarchya dharmeNa prokShayitvA cha gAM tadA || 1-21-17
smR^itiH pratyavamarshaH cha teShAM jAti antare.abhavat |
jAtA vyAdhA dashArNeShu sapta dharma vichakShaNAH || 1-21-18
Because they scripturally worshipped manes and firstly offered the cow to manes before their using it up, they retained the reminiscence about their last births in the present birth as hunters... thus those seven took birth as judicious huntsmen in dashArNa province...
Judicious huntsmen? Yes. Hunters should discriminate what to hunt and what not to hunt, because righteous hunters ought not to injure animals or birds that are in the state of: bAla, garbhiNi, maithuna-Asakta –younglings, pregnant, or when mating.
sva-karma-niratAH sarve lobha anR^ita vivarjitAH |
tAvat mAtraM prakurvanti yAvatA prANa-dhAraNam || 1-21-19
sheShaM dhyAna parAH kAlam anudhyAyanti karma tat |
nAmadheyAni cha api eShAm imAni Asan narAdhipa || 1-21-20
nirvairo nirvR^itiH shAnto nirmanyuH kR^itireva cha |
vaidhaso mAtR^IvartI cha vyAdhAH parama dhArmikAH || 1-21-21
Those seven huntsmen brothers are always engrossed in their activity discarding greed and falsification... they used to hunt only that much that is useful for sustenance, and used to pull through rest of the time in contemplation... these are the names of those highly righteous hunters: nir-vaira, nir-vR^iti, shAnta, nir-manyu, kR^iti, vaidhasa, mAtR^i-varti...
taiH evam uShitaiH tAta hiMsA-dhama rataiH sadA |
mAtA cha pUjitA vR^iddhA pitA cha paritoShitaH ||| 1-21-22
yadA mAtA pitA chaiva saMyuktau kAla-dharmaNA |
tadA dhanUMShi te tyaktvA vane prANAn avAsR^ijan || 1-21-23
Living out in such a birth contingent on cruelty to living beings, they charmed their aged farther and mother... when their parents have departed, they left off the living of hunting by discarding bows and arrows, and repaired to forests in order to leave off their lives after a few years of spiritual life in there...
shubhena karmaNA tena jAtA jAti-smarA mR^igAH |
trAsAn utpAdya saMvignA ramye kAla~njare girau || 1-21-24
On completing the lifespan of hunters in forests they took rebirth as seven scaring and frightening wild animals on a beautiful mountain called kAlanjara... but, by the dint of their good behaviour towards their parents and manes in their last birth, they still retained the memory about their last births...
unmukho nitya-vitrastaH stabdha-karNo vilochanaH |
paNDito ghasmaro nAdI nAmataH te.abhavat mR^igAH || 1-21-25
These seven wild animals have seven names as: unmukha, nitya-vitrasta, stabdha-karNa, vilochana, paNDita, ghasmara, nAdi...
tam eva artham anudhyAyanto jAti-smaraNa saMbhavam |
Asan vana-charAH kShAntA nir-dvandvA niSh-parigrahAH || 1-21-26
te sarve shubha-karmANaH sa-dharmANo vane-charAH |
yoga dharmam anuprAptA viharanti sma tatra ha || 1-21-27
jahuH prANAn maruM sAdhya laghu AhArAH tapasvinaH |
teShAM maruM sAdhayatAM pada-sthAnAni bhArata |
tathaiva adya api dR^ishyante girau kAla~njare nR^ipa || 1-21-28
They used to mill about on that mountain always reminiscing on their futurity, because they are endowed with knowledge of earlier births, duly observing forbearance, non-duality, placability, and equilibrating all pairs of opposites like hunger-hunting, animosity-friendliness etc; finally, reaching a dry land they took up asceticism sustaining themselves on meagre diet and water - as a kind of jala-tyAga-vrata, discarding water as a vow; and breathed their last... even today the footprints of those seven animals can be seen on that mountain kAlanjara, where they undertook asceticism without water and food... this marks the end of their rebirth as animals...
karmaNA tena te tAta shubhena ashubha varjitAH |
shubhAt shubhatarAM yoniM chakravAkatvam AgatAH || 1-21-29
Then they have attained rebirth as chakravAka birds just by the dint of their pietistic behaviour even when they are wild animals, without a trace of unholiness...
shubhe deshe shara-dvIpe sapta eva Asan jala-aukasaH |
tyaktvA saha-charI-dharmaM munayo brahma-chAriNaH || 1-21-30
niHspR^iho nir-mamaH kShAnto nir-dvandvo niSh-parigrahaH |
nirvR^ittiH nibhR^itaH chaiva shakunA nAmataH smR^itAH || 1-21-31
te tatra pakShiNaH sarve shakunA dharma-chAriNaH |
nirAhArA jahuH prANAn tapo yuktAH sarit-taTe || 1-21-32
Those seven water dwelling waterfowls, chArvAka birds, lived on a beautiful island like saints, duly leaving off pairing and mating... now, these seven have names like this: niHspR^iha, nir-mama, kShAnta, nir-dvandva, niSh-parigraha, nirvR^itti, nibhR^ita... even as birds they have undertaken asceticism forgoing sustenance, later they discarded lives as birds on the banks of a lake...
atha te sodarA jAtA haMsA mAnasa-chAriNaH |
jAti-smarAH su-saMyuktAH sapta eva brahma-chAriNaH || 1-21-33
Later, those seven brothers took birth as royal swans residing about Lake mAnasa, and they continued to live a celibate life because they have drawn memories of past life into this present life as swans...
vipra yonau yataH mohAn mithya-upacharitaH guruH |
tiryak yonau tataH jAtAH saMsAre paribabhramuH || 1-21-34
yataH cha pitR^i-vAkya arthaH kR^itaH svArthe vyavasthitaiH |
tato j~nAnaM cha jAtiM cha te hi prApur guNottarAm || 1-21-35
Even though they are brAhmaNa-s by original birth they had to take rebirth in animality owing to their committing an offence towards their teacher in all their stupidity... even then, they retained the knowledge of previous births because they have always given preference to filial duty over their own needs...
sumanAH shuchi-vAk shuddhaH pa~nchamaH cChidra-darshanaH |
su-netraH cha svatantraH cha shakunA nAmataH smR^itAH || 1-21-36
They are known by these namnes in this birth as swans: sumana, shuchi-vAk, shuddha, pa~nchama, cChidra-darshana, su-netra, svatantra...
pa~nchamaH pA~nchikaH tatra sapta jAtiShu ajAyata |
ShaShThaH tu kaNDarIko abhUt brahmadattaH tu saptamaH || 1-21-37
One from these seven brothers who happened to be the fifth son of kaushika, named as kavi,now takes rebirth as pAnchika; while thesixth son of kaushika named kha-sR^imatakes birth as kaNDarIka; further, the seventh son of kaushika named pitR^i-varti will take rebirth as brahma-datta...
teShAM tu tapasA tena sapta-jAti-kR^itena vai |
yogasya chApi nirvR^ittyA pratibhAnAt cha shobhanAt || 1-21-38
pUrva-jAtiShu yat brahma shrutaM guru-kuleShu vai |
tathaiva avasthitA buddhiH saMsAreShu api vartatAm || 1-21-39
Even if they re cycling through rebirths their knowledge of brahma has not retrograded, why because - they have learnt veda-s methodically in the past; they have followed observances – brahma-niSTha; postulations of veda – veda pratipAdanam; yogic practices – yoga-anusaraNam; philosophical outlook – tattava-cichAraNametc...
nirvR^ittyA = niShpattyhaa = by derivation –of yogic merit from previous births; pratibhAnAt= pUrva janma karma sphuraNaat= by glitter and gleaming of old knowledge.
te brahma-chAriNaH sarve viha~NgA brahma-vAdinaH |
yoga dharmam anudhyAnto viharanti sma tatra ha || 1-21-40
Even in this birth as swans those seven brothers, who are basically the adherent of brahma-theory, have conducted themselves in a similar method, i.e., following yogic practises etc, always reminiscing past events while moving there about at Lake mAnasa...
teShAM tatra viha~NgAnAM charatAM sahachAriNAm |
nIpAnAm Ishvaro rAjA vibhrAjaH paurava anvayaH || 1-21-41
vibhrAjamAno vapuShA prabhAvena samanvitaH |
shrImAn antaHpura vR^ito vanaM tat pravivesha ha || 1-21-42
At one time when these swans are moving in a cluster they saw the king of nIpa, named vibhrAja, a descendant of puru line... he arrived there clustered with the inmates of his palace-chambers, as if he is a royal swan surrounded by many such swans, while his bodily effulgence filled everywhere when he swanned around that place...
svatantraH cha viha~Ngo asau spR^ihayAmAsa taM nR^ipam |
dR^iShTvA yAntaM shriyA upetaM bhaveyam aham IdR^ishaH || 1-21-43
yadi asti sukR^itaM ki~nchit tapo vA niyamo api vA |
khinno asmi hi upavAsena tapasA niShphalena cha || 1-21-44
On seeing that king, the seventh swan named svatantra, started thinking like this, “had I acquired a little merit through my ascesis or principled way of life, I too would have taken a birth like that of this king... but, I am rendered woebegone, indeed, by these unworthy fasts and worthless ascesis...
iti shrImahAbhArate khileShu harivaMshe harivaMshaparvaNi pitR^ikalpe
[shrAddha mahatmyam nAma] ekaviMsho adhyAyaH
Thus, this is the twenty-first chapter of first canto called harivamsha-parva, in harivamsha-purANa, the sequel of mahAbhArata, narrating the efficacy of beatification in causing rebirths.
Prev ch 20 : pitR^ikalpaH -
Legend of lady bird pUjanIya, ugrAyudha
|contents||Next chapter 22 :
portrayal of chakravAka birds
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