AsIt dharmasya goptA vai pUrvam atri samaH prabhuH |
atri vaMsha samutpannaH tu a~Ngo nAma prajApatiH ||1-5-1
Once there was a prajApati named anga, who emerged in the dynasty of sage atri and who is a protector of dharma. That anga is a co-equal of sage atri in virtue.
tasya putro.abhavat veno na-atyarthaM dharma-kovidaH |
jAto mR^ityu sutAyAM vai sunIthAyAM prajApatiH ||1-5-2
There emerged a son to this anga prajApati, named vena, who is a selfmade philistine in the matters of dharma... this king vena took birth from the daughter of Death, namely lady sunItha, and prajApati anga...
saH mAtA-maha doSheNa venaH kAla-Atmaja-AtmajaH |
sva dharmaM pR^iShThataH kR^itvA kAma-lobheShu-avartata ||1-5-3
Relegating his own dharma rearwards king vena indulged in acquisitiveness and tight-fistedness, owing to his deriving adversarial qualities of his maternal grandfather, namely the Death, because vena is the son of the daughter of Timegod, namely yama...
maryAdAM sthApayAmAsa dharma upetAM sa pArthivaH |
veda dharmAn atikramya saH adharma-nirat.abhavat ||1-5-4
niH-svAdhyAya vaShaTkArAH tasmin rAjani shAsati |
pravR^ittaM na papuH somaM hutaM yaj~neShu devatAH ||1-5-5
na yaShTavyaM na hotavyam iti tasya prajApateH |
AsIt pratij~nA krUreyaM vinAshe pratyupasthite ||1-5-6
aham ijyaH ca yaShTA ca yaj~naH ca iti kurUdvaha |
mayi yaj~no vidhAtavyo mayi hotavyam iti api ||1-5-7
tamatikrAntamaryAdamAdadAnamasAmpratam | -yadvA-
tam ati krAnta maryAdam AdadAnam asAmpratam
Ucur maharShayaH sarve marIci pramukhAH tadA ||1-5-8
When that king vena transgressed the integrity of virtue, indulged in iniquity by overstepping Vedic dharma, when he deprived the gods of the audibility of vedic-chantings and vaShaT-kAra-s chanted in Vedic rituals, whereof the gods are not coming forward to partake the soma juice oblated in rituals during vena's regime, and when he made a ruthless order while his own perdition loomed large on him, proclaiming that "none should perform vedic rituals, nor offer oblations in vedic fire-altars...", furthermore when he started saying that "I am that yajna, performer of that yajna, enjoyer of that yajna - kratu-kartA-bhoktA ahamasmi - hence yajna-s should be unto me as all offertories shall belong to me..." and in this way when he flouted all the norms and started looting people by way of taxes etc., then all the prominent sages, like sage mariachi et al, spoke this to him.
vayaM dIkShAM pravekShyAmaH saMvatsara gaNAn bahUn |
adharmaM kuru mA vena na eSha dharmaH sanAtanaH ||1-5-9
nidhane.atra prasUtastvaM prajApatiH a-saMshayam |
prajAH ca pAlayiShye.ahamiti te samayaH kR^itaH ||1-5-10
"Oh, vena, no doubt, you have emerged in this dynasty of prajApati-s after the demise of atri, and you promised to rule the people righteously... and we for ourselves have entered a ritual vow that lasts for many long years... so, please do not embark on this Endeavour of altering the existing practice of vedic rituals aimed at gods... please do not change the age-old practice... " So said sages to king vena.
tAM tadA bruvataH sarvAn maharShIn abravIt tadA |
venaH prahasya durbuddhiH imam artham a-nartha vit ||1-5-11
Laughing at those great sages who are speaking thus, then the evil-minded vena spoke this to them, without knowing the meaning and fatality contained in the saying of sages.
sraShTA dharmasya kaH ca anyaH shrotavyaM kasya vai mayA |
shruta vIrya tapaH satyaiH mayA vA kaH samo bhuvi ||1-5-12
"Who on earth can fare better than me in dharma? Why should I listen to someone? Where is someone who is a coequal of mine in the matters of scholarship, valour, or veracity, on this earth...
prabhavaM sarva bhUtAnAM dharmANAM ca visheShataH |
saMmUDhA na viduH nUnaM bhavanto mAm a-cetasaH ||1-5-13
"For all the living beings, as a matter of fact, for dharma itself I am the provenance... but, you sages are fatuous to know this owing to your half-wittedness...
ichchhan daheyaM pR^ithivIM plAvayeyaM tathA jalaiH |
khaM bhuvaM caiva rundheyaM nAtra kAryA vicAraNA ||1-5-14
"If I have a fancy, I will burn the earth, or deluge it in waters... or, immobilize earth and heaven... you need not treat it cavalierly..." So said vena to sages.
yadA na shakyate mohAt avalepAt cha pArthivaH |
anunetuM tadA venaH tataH kruddhA maharShayaH ||1-5-15
nigR^ihya taM mahAtmAnaH visphurantaM mahAbalam |
tataH asya savyam UruM te mamanthur jAta manyavaH ||1-5-16
When they are not able to divert that king vena who is besmirched with euphoria, then the sages became wrathful, and those great souls having controlled that mighty vena who is jumping on everyone, they coming in fury have started giving to his left thigh.
Some texts say that the sages have punished him to death, and on realising that the king has no posterity to safeguard the kingdom, then the sages started rubbing his thigh to generate offspring. nigR^ihya = jIvantyA api pAtayitvA.
tasmin tu mathyamAne vai rAj~na Urau prajaj~nivAn |
hrasvaH ati-mAtraH puruShaH kR^iShNaH ca ati babhUva ha ||1-5-17
While the great sages are giving friction to the thighs of that king vena, then there emerged a blackish stocky male dwarf.
saH bhItaH prA~njaliH bhUtvA sthitavAn janamejaya |
tam atriH vihvalaM dR^iShTvA niShIda iti abravIt tadA ||1-5-18
Then that dwarf stood aside with folded palms as he is panicked, and seeing him whose eyes are blank and fidgety, sage atri said to him, "sit back..."
niShIda means squat down, or hunker down, or crouch down. This has become the generic name of tribals who squat or crouch with the haunches nearly touching the heels, esp. for shelter or concealment in bushes and shrubs before pouncing / attacking their targets, say animals of prey.
niShAda vaMsha karta asau babhUva vadatAM varAH|
dhI varAn asR^ijat cAtha veNa kalmaSha sambhavAn || 1-5-19
And that dwarifish person has become the initiator of the line of niShAdA-s, the putative tribals, and he begot highly courageous offspring, just emerged out of the blemish of vena's enormity.
dhI varAn= nAvikAn - who can navigate through the thick of jungles, not necessarily seafaring people.
ye ca anye vindhya nilayAH tushArAH tumburAH tathA |
adharma rucayo ye ca viddhi tAn vana sambhavAn || 1-5-20
And you may know that others called tuShArA-s, tumburA-s, who took delight in adharma and whose abode is vindhya range, have also emerged as the posterity of vena.
tuShArA tumburAH ca prAntya deshIyA - mlecCha visheShAH; vindhya nilayAH - 'goNda' iti 'kola' iti ca prasiddhAH; madhya deshIyAH. - nk. These are being called variously as koya-s, bhils, niShAdA-s in these days.
tataH punar mahAtmAnaH pANiM veNasya dakShiNam|
araNIm iva saMrabdhA mamanthuH te maharSayaH ||1-5-21
Then those highminded sages still becoming furious again gave friction to the right hand of vena as if it is a stick of araNi, wooden sticks used to generate ritual fire.
pR^ithuH tasmAt samuttasthau karAt jvalana saMnibhaH |
dIpyamAnaH sva-vapuShA sAkShAt agniH iva jvalan ||1-5-22
From that right hand of vena there emerged the highly resplendent pR^ithu, where his physique blazed like the blaze of ritual fire.
sa dhanvI kavachI jAtaH pR^ithureva mahAyashAH |
Adyam AjagavaM nAma dhanur gR^ihya mahAravam |
sharAMshca divyAn rakSha-arthaM kavacaM ca mahAprabham ||1-5-23
That highly renowned pR^ithu emerged with bow and armour, where his bow called Ajagava is highly twanging, and the armour is highly lustrous, and the divine arrows are highly protective.
tasmi~n jAte atha bhUtAni samprahR^iShTAni sarvashaH |
samApetur mahArAja venaH cha tridivaM gataH ||1-5-24
Oh, king janamejaya, when pR^ithu took birth all the beings are highly rejoiced and came rushing towards him... and in the meanwhile king vena went to heaven.
samutpannena kauravya sat-putreNa mahAtmanA
trAtaH sa puruShavyAghra puM nAmno narakAt tadA ||1-5-25
As soon as he got a perfect and worthy son, namely pR^ithu, then king vena is rescued from falling into a hell called punnAma-nararaka, to where sonless fathers are destined, and went to heaven.
taM samudrAH ca nadyaH ca ratnAni AdAya sarvashaH |
toyAni ca abhiSheka-arthaM sarva eva upatasthire ||1-5-26
pitAmahaH ca bhagavAn devaiH A~NgirasaiH saha |
sthAvarANi ca bhUtAni ja~NgamAni tathA eva cha ||1-5-27
samAgamya tadA vainyam abhyaShi~ncan narAdhipam |
mahatA rAjarAjyena prajApAlaM mahAdyutim ||1-5-28
When all the oceans and rivers have fetched and readied gems and waters from all over to anoint pR^ithu as emperor, then brahma came there along with sages, gods, and all sessile and mobile beings, and anointed that vena's son pR^ithu as the king of kings to administer kingship.
angIrasA-s is upalakshaNa - denotative for other sages available around brahma.
saH abhiShiktaH mahAtejA vidhivat dharma-kovidaiH |
Adi rAjye tadA rAj~nAM pR^ithuH vainyaH pratApavAn ||1-5-29
pitra apa-ra~njitAH tasya prajAH tena anura~njitAH |
anurAgAt tataH tasya nAma rAjA iti ajAyata ||1-5-30
And he who is anointed thus by the experts in dharma had made his subjects delighted, which delight is usurped by his father vena, as such the name 'rAja' to the ruler has come to stay according to its definition, say, anu ra~njante asmin prajA iti raja padam; in whom people take delight for his delightful ruling - he is rA+ja.
ApaH tastambhire chAsya samudram abhiyAsyataH |
parvatAH hca daduH mArgaM dhvaja-bha~NgaH ca na-abhavat ||1-5-31
akR^iShTa pacyA pR^ithivI sidhyanti annAni chintayA |
sarva kAma-dughA gAvaH puTake puTake madhu ||1-5-32
When he sailed on sea water remained quiet, mountains gave him passable ways, slouching trees are not knocking his flag down, earth gave yield though uncultivated, provisions available within arms reach, cows milked every desire, and the sap of every leaf is like honey.
Uncultivated earth gave yield - soil is so rich; cintanAt annAni sidhyanti is not by wish food is available, but food is at hand to commoners. Milk and milk products yielded returns with which the desires are fulfilled. And puTake pupTake = on leaf, on leaf - on every leaf sap is honey like - all culminating into good governance.
etasmin eva kAle tu yaj~ne paitAmahe shubhe |
sUtaH sUtyAM samutpannaH sautye ahani mahAmatiH ||1-5-33
During this time when an auspicious vedic ritual aiming at brahma is being conducted, there arose highminded sUta, at the time of sUti, i.e., during the time when soma creeper is pressed for juice - soma abhiShava kAle; on the day of sauti i.e., a nominated day for pressing soma juice during the period of vedic ritual.
tasmin eva mahA-yaj~ne jaj~ne prAj~no.atha mAgadhaH |
pR^ithoH stava-arthaM tau tatra samAhUtau surarShibhiH ||1-5-34
tAu Ucur R^iShayaH sarve stUyatAm eSha pArthivaH |
karmaiH tat anurUpaM vAM pAtraM ca ayaM narAdhipaH ||1-5-35
During that period of ritual itself learned mAgadhA has also emerged, and the sages have invited those two, sauti and mAgadha. Assigning the duty of eulogising pR^ithu, sages said this to both of them, "you two shall sing the praise of this king... that activity will be appropriate for you... and this king too is a befitting personality for it..."
tAu UcatuH tadA sarvAn tAn R^iShIn sUta-mAgadhau |
AvAM devAn R^iShIM caiva prINayAvaH sva-karmabhiH ||1-5-36
na ca asya vidmo vai karma na tathA lakShaNaM yashaH |
stotraM yena asya kuryAva rAj~naH tejasvino dvijAH ||1-5-37
Then those two, sUta and mAgadha, spoke to the sages in this way, "we will definitely please the gods and sages with our activity... but, we are unaware of this king's achievements, let alone his profile or renown, without which, oh sages, how can we sing the praise of this radiant one..."
R^iShibhiH tau niyuktau cha bhaviShyaiH stUyatAm iti |
yAni karmANi kR^itavAn pR^ithuH pashcAt mahAbalaH ||1-5-38
Sages said to those eulogists, "sing the glory of his future acts..." and pR^ithu's future acts remained just as sung by those two eulogists. The sages said this about pR^ithu's future as below:
satya vAka dAnashIlo ayam satyasa.ndho nareshvaraH |
shrImAn jaitraH kshamAshIlo vikrAnto duShTa shAsanaH || 1-5-39
dharmaj~naH ca kR^itaj~naH ca dayAvAn priya bhAShaNaH |
mAnyo mAnayitA yajvA brahmaNyaH satya sa.mgaraH || 1-5-40
shamaH shAntaH ca nirato vyvahAra sthito nR^ipaH | 1-5.41 a
"This king would be truthful to his word, bountiful by his will, forthright and forbearing, prosperous and victorious, conqueror as well as chastener of evildoers, diligent and scrupulous, benignant and amicable, honoured and honouring, vedic ritualist and upholder of brahma, an epitome of truth itself, calm and collective, and that king will always be engaged in his kingly activities..." So said sages to eulogists foreseeing the future of pR^ithu.
tataH prabhR^iti vai loke staveShu janamejaya| 1-5.41 b
AshIrvAdAH prayujyante sUta mAgadha vandibhiH || 1-5-41
From then onwards, oh, janamejaya, whenever such praises of legitimization are to be heard, or blessings needed to be showered, then the eulogies sUtA-s and mAgadhA-s have come into vogue.
Later, they have become heavily worded praise songs minus any achievements.
tayoH stavaiH tasyaiH suprItaH pR^ithuH prAdAt prajeshvaraH|
anUpa deshaM sUtAya magadhaM mAgadhAya ca || 1-5-42
And pR^ithu pleased with their eulogies bequeathed the province called anUpa to eulogist sUta, and a province called mAgadha to eulogist mAgadha.
taM dR^iShTvA parama-prItAH prajAH praAhuH maharSayaH |
vR^ittInAm eSha vaH dAtA bhaviShyati janeshvaraH ||1-5-43
tataH vainyaM mahArAja prajAH samabhidudruvuH |
tvaM naH vR^ittiM vidhatsva iti maharShi vacanAt tadA ||1-5-44
On observing pR^ithu, the great sages have said to the people, "this king will allocate respective occupations to you all..." and then according to the saying of the sages, people rushed to pR^ithu and said, "be pleased to allocate our duties and functions ..."
saH abhidrutaH prajAbhiH tu prajA hita cikIrShayA|
dhanur gR^ihya pR^iShatkAMsh ca pR^ithivIm Adravat balI || 1-5=45
The, pR^ithu who is interested in the welfare of people took his bow and ran after Mother Earth.
Here we find the narration jumpy. Other texts say that he ran after earth when a famine broke out and when gods and earth were unyielding to prayers.
ato vaiNya bhaya trastA gaur bhUtvA prAdravan mahI|
tAM pR^ithur dhanur AdAya dravantIm anvadhAvata || 1-5-46
sA lokAn brahma loka AdIn gatvA vaiNya bhayAt tadA|
pradadarsha agrato vaiNyaM pragR^ihIta shara Asanam || 1-5-47
jvaladbhir nishitair bANair dIpta tejasam achyutam|
mahAyogaM mahAtmAnaM durdharSham amarair api || 1-5-48
alabhantI tu sA trANaM vaiNyam eva anvapadyata|
On seeing pR^ithu running after her with bow in hand, Mother Earth took the form of a cow and fled in scare to all of the abodes of gods, like brahma loka etc., and as none in any world could stall pR^ithu for his radiance, fierce and glowing arrows, and for his unassailability even for gods, and thus Mother Earth not getting a haven anywhere, had to return to pR^ithu alone for refuge.
kR^itA~njali puTA bhUtvA pUjyA lokaiH tribhiH tadA ||
uvAca vaiNyaM na adharmyaM strI vadhe paripashyasi [kim?]|
kathaM dhArayitA ca asi prajA rAjan vinA mayA || 1=5=50
mayi lokAH sthitA rAjan mayi idaM dhAryate jagat|
mat vinAshe vinashyeyuH prajAH pArthiva viddhi tat || 1-5-51
na tvam arhasi mAm hantuM shreyaH cet tvaM cikIrShasi|
And she who is adorable to all the three worlds, that Mother Earth stood nearby him with adjoined palms and said to pR^ithu, "won't you anticipate sin in killing a female... oh, king, how do you sustain people without me... you should know that the perish of kings and people is included in my perish... hence, you are not supposed to eliminate me if you desire welfare of your subjects...
prajAnAM pR^ithivIpAla shR^iNu ca idaM vacaH mama || 1-5-52
upAyataH samArabdhAH sarve sidhyanti upakramAH|
upAyaM pashya yena tvaM dhArayethAH prajAm imAm || 1-5-53
hatvA api mAM na shaktaH tvaM prajAnAM poShaNe nR^ipa|
anubhUtA bhaviShyAmi yat cha kopaM mahAfyute ||1-5-54
avadhyAH ca striyaM prAhuH tiryak yoni gateShu api|
sattveSu pR^ithivIpAla na dharmaM tyaktum arhasi || 1-5-55
"Oh, king, listen to my words, everything is achievable if you make haste upon your endeavour... hence, firstly seek out an idea with which you can sustain these people... I will be obliging if you leave off your fury ... killing even mammalian females is a sin... even if it is so, it will not be apt of you to forsake dharma in killing a harmless cow like me..." So said the cow-like Mother Earth to king pR^ithu.
evaM bahu vidhaM vAkyaM shrutvA rAjA mahAmanAH|
kopaM nigR^ihya dharmAtmA vasudhAm idam abravIt || 1-5-56
On listening to various arguments of Mother Earth in the form of cow, that highminded pR^ithu restrained his anger and spoke to her in this way.
iti shrImahAbhArate khilabhAge harivaMshe harivaMshaparvaNi pR^ithUpAkhyAne pa~nchamo.adhyAyaH || 5
Thus, this is the fifth chapter of first canto called harivamsha-parva, in harivamsha-purANa, the sequel of mahAbhArata, narrating the legend of emperor pR^ithu and his father vena.
|Prev ch 4 : Emergence of pR^ithu||contents||Next ch 6 : Legend of emperor pR^ithu|
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|E&OE - content is subject to revision : dated 7-10-07|