The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 8 - Kings of the Lunar Race

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

1. O excellent sages, Budha’s son Purūravas was learned and brilliant. He was liberal and he performed sacrifices distributing gifts extensively.

2. The king was an expounder of Brahman. When attacked by the enemy in battle he was irrepressible. He performed Agnihotra and other sacrifices.

3. He was truthful in speech and pious in mind. He indulged in sexual intercourse very secretly. He was perpetually unrivalled in renown.

4. The entire Vedic lore was present in him due to his penance. The famous celestial damsel Urvaśī set aside prestige and wooed him.

5-6. O brahmins, the king spent periods of ten, five, five, six, seven and eight years staying with Urvaśī in the charming garden Caitraratha, on the banks of Gaṅgā, in Alakā[1], in Viśālā and in the excellent park Nandana.

7. He stayed in the Northern Kurus which abounded in charming fruit trees, in the foothills of Gandhamādana[2] and in the top of the Meru.

8. In these excellent and important sylvan regions usually frequented by Devas, the king dallied in the company of Urvaśī[3] with great joy.

9. He sported about in extremely holy lands praised by sages. He administered his kingdom from Prayāga.[4]

10. The royal son of Ilā, the most excellent among men, wielded power. He earned fame at Pratiṣṭhāna on the northern bank of Gaṅgā.

11-12. The seven sons of Aila Purūravas were on a par with the sons of Devas. Those noble princes born in celestial regions were Āyu, Amāvasu, Viśvāyu, Śrutāyu, Dṛḍhāyu, Vanāyu, Bahvāyu. These were the sons of Urvaśī.

13. Amāvasu’s successor was Bhīma, an imperial king. The glorious Kañcanaprabha was the king who succeeded Bhīma.

14. Kañcana’s successor was the mighty and learned Suhotra. Jahnu was the son of Suhotra. He was born of the womb of Keśinī.

15-21. He performed a great sacrifice of long duration. Greedily seeking a husband Gaṅgā wooed him as her husband. Since he dissented, Gaṅgā flooded his sacrificial hall. O excellent brahmins, on seeing his sacrificial hall thus flooded the infuriated son of Suhotra, king Jahnu[5] cursed her. He proclaimed—“See, I shall drink up your waters and make your effort futile. O Gaṅgā, ere long reap the fruit of your arrogance.” Thereafter, on seeing Gaṅgā drunk up by the saintly king the sages brought her back. Thereafter, she came to be known Jāhnavī the daughter of Jahnu. Jahnu married Kāverī the daughter of Yuvanāśva. Due to the curse of Yuvanāśva Gaṅgā flowed into two halves flanking Kāverī the most excellent of rivers, the uncensured wife of Jahnu. Jahnu begot his beloved and righteous son Sunandā, of Kāverī. Ajaka was his son.

22. Ajaka’s successor, king Balākāśva was a habitual hunter. Kuśa was his son.

23-27. Kuśa had four sons of divine brilliance: Kuśika, Kuśanābha, Kuśāmba and Mūrtimān. This king Kuśika was ousted from power by the Pahlavas and he roamed in the forest. Resolving “I shall obtain a lordly son equal to Indra” he performed a penance. Indra in his fear approached him and understood his purpose. When full thousand years had passed, Indra met him. On realising that he was competent to procreate a son, after seeing the sage of severe penance the thousand-eyed Indra agreed to become his son.

Most excellent of Devas Lord Indra resolved to become his son. King Gādhi was Maghavan himself born as the son of Kuśika.

28. Paurukutsānī (Daughter of Purukutsa) was his wife and Gādhi was born of her. Gādhi’s daughter was the blessed splendid lady Satyavatī.

29. Lord Gādhi gave her in marriage to Ṛcīka the son of Kāvya. Her husband the descendant of Bhṛgu, the delighter of the members of the family of Bhṛgu, was pleased with her.

30. He prepared two Cams for securing sons for her and Gādhi too. Ṛcīka the descendant of Bhṛgu called her and said:

31-32. One part of Caru should be used by you, and the other part should be used by your mother. A brilliant son, the leader of Kṣatriyas will be born to her. He will not be conquered by the Kṣatriyas in the world. He will slay the leading Kṣatriyas. O auspicious lady, this Cam will secure for you a calm and courageous son who will be the most excellent brahmin with austerity as his asset.”

33-36. After saying this to his wife, Ṛcīka the scion of the family of Bhṛgu, perpetually devoted to penance, entered the forest. At that time in the context of his pilgrimage to holy places the king. Gādhi came to the hermitage of Ṛcīka accompanied by his wife in order to see his daughter. Carefully handling the Cams, Satyavatī approached her mother and told her about their efficacy. As they looked alike, the mother in her ignorance gave to her daughter her own Cam and swallowed the daughter’s Cam instead of her own.

37-40. Then Satyavatī conceived a foetus that was destined to destroy the Kṣatriyas. Her body became bright and resplendent. She assumed a fearful look. Ṛcīka saw her and understood the fact by his Yogic power. The most excellent brahmin said to his fair-complexioned wife—“By changing the Carus, O gentle lady, you have been deceived by your mother. An extremely fearful son of ruthless activities will be born to you. You will have a brother, an ascetic who will realise the Brahman.

41-47. The entire Vedic lore had been instilled (into the Caru) by me with my penance.”

Thus warned by her husband, the highly blessed Satyavatī propitiated her husband—“Let not a base brahmin like this be born as a son unto me begotten by you.”

When requested thus, the sage said—“O gentle lady, this is not my desire. I did not imagine that it should be thus. But the son is destined to be ruthless in activities on account of his father and mother.”

Thus addressed, Satyavatī said: “O sage, if you wish you can create even worlds. What then about a mere son? It behoves you to grant me a straightforward son of subdued nature. O my lord, well may such a grandson be born to us if this cannot be altered otherwise, O excellent brahmin.”

Then, he blessed her through the power of his penance. He said “O gentle lady of fair complexion, whether it be the son or grandson I don’t feel any difference. Everything shall take place in accordance with what you desire.”

48. Thereafter, Satyavrata gave birth to a son named Jamadagni. He was tranquil and devoted to penance. (As a descendant of Bhṛgu) he was also known as Bhārgava.

49-54. It was due to the change of Caru pertaining to Indra and Viṣṇu given by Bhṛgu. Jamadagni was born due to the sacrifice performed in the half pertaining to Viṣṇu. The holy-natured Satyavatī devoted to truthful virtue flowed as a great river named Kauśikī[6].

There was a king in the family of Ikṣvāku named Reṇu. His blessed daughter was Kāmali known also as Reṇukā. The son of Ṛcīka endowed with penance and learning begot the terrible Jāmadagnya Rāma of Kāmali, daughter of Reṇu. He was an excellent master of the science of archery as well as all lores. He shone like the blazing fire. Thus Jamadagni the most excellent among the knowers of Brahman was born as the extremely famous son of Satyavatī due to the potency of penance of Ṛcīka son of Aurva. (The middle son was Śunaḥśepha and the youngest was Śunaḥpuccha.

55-60. Gādhi, the son of Kuśika begot Viśvāmitra as his son and successor. He was subdued in mind due to his penance and learning. Viśvāmitra the righteous soul attained equality with the brahminical sage (Vasiṣṭha) and later became a brahminical sage. He is remembered by the name Viśvaratha too. Due to the grace of Bhṛgu he was born of Kauśika and perpetuated the race of Kauśika. Devarāta and others are known as the sons of Viśvāmitra. They are famous in the three worlds. Their names are Devarāta, Kati, Hiraṇyākṣa, Reṇu, Reṇukā, Saṃkṛti, Gālava, Mudgala, Madhucchandas, Jaya, Devala, Aṣṭaka, Kacchapa, and Hariya, The Kātyāyanas are the descendants of Kati. Hiraṇyākṣa, Reṇu and Reṇuka were born of Śālavatī.

61-63. The spiritual lines of the noble Kauśikas are famous. They are: Prāṇins, Babhrus, Dhyānajapyas, Pārthivas, Devarātas, Śālaṅkāyanas, Bāṣkalas, Lohitas, Yamadūtas, Kārūṣakas, Sauśravas, Kauśikas, Saindhavāynas, Devalas, Reṇus, Marṣaṇas from Yājñavalkya, Audumbaras, Ambubhiṣṇāvas, Tārakāyaṇas, Cuñculas, Śālavatyas, Hiraṇyākṣas, Sāihkṛtyas, Gālavas, Nārāyaṇis. The Kauśikas are numerous and their lines are merged with many other sages. O excellent sages, in this race there is that admixture of brahmins and Kṣatriyas[7] as evidenced by that of the descendants of Puru and the brahminical sage Kauśika.

64. Śunaḥśepha is known as the eldest of the sons of Viśvāmitra. That excellent sage changes his spiritual line from that of Bhārgava to that of Kauśika.

65-68. Śunaḥśepha, the son of Viśvāmitra was employed as the sacrificial animal in the sacrifice of Hariścandra. Śunaḥśepha was handed over to Viśvāmitra by Devas. Since he was handed over by Devas he came to be known as Devarāta. Seven sons beginning with Devarāta were born to Viśvāmitra. Aṣṭaka, the son of Viśvāmitra, was born of Dṛṣadvatī. Aṣṭaka’s son was Lauhī. Thus the group of descendants of Jahnu has been mentioned by me. Henceforth, I shall mention the family of Āyu the noble soul.

Footnotes and references:


Alakā: the capital of Kubera, situated on a peak of the Himālayas inhabited also by Śiva.


Gandhamādana: S. M. Ali (the Geography of the Purāṇas, pp. 58, 59) remarks: the Gandhamādana is the range the location of which is highly controversial. There is a confusion in the Purāṇas about the ranges which immediately surround or flank Meru. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa states Mem is confined between the mountains Nila and Niṣadha (on the North and South). The Gandhamādana is also mentioned in some Purāṇas. It is also spoken of as one of the Southern Buttresses of Meru (Matsya), as one of the filament mountains on the west, as a range of boundary mountain on the south, and a Varṣa mountain of Ketumāla (Vāyu). The Bhāgavata gives different names to different parts of Gandhamādana. For instance, the buttress is called Merumandara, the filament mountain the Haṃsa, Gandhamādana is restricted to the eastern range. But according to S. M. Ali, Gandhamādana means the northern ridge of the Hindukush arch with its northern extension the Khwaja Mohammad range, the Hindukush consists of two parallel ranges which come clover to each other at the apex of the arch, south of the Pamirs (Meru). These ridges are well-defined in Afghanistan, less so in Kashmir and reappear again on the east. The Purāṇas called the northern ridge Gandhamādana. The contradictory statements in the Purāṇas that Gandhamādana is in the south, east or west are reconciled if we keep in mind the correct alignment of the northern range of Hindukush. This range touches the Pamirs in the south and falls away from it towards southwest and southeast.


Urvaśī: A heavenly nymph. For details P.E.


Prayāga—a holy city in Uttara Pradeśa, situated at the meeting-point of Gaṅgā and Yamunā.


Jahnu—A sage. There is a legend that once Gaṅgā which flowed through the earth submerged the hermitage of Jahnu who became angry at her haughtiness and drank up the river. But at the entreaty of Bhagīratha he pushed Gaṅgā through his ear. Since that event Gaṅgā got the name Jāhnavī.


Kauśikī—the hermitage of sage Viśvāmitra stood on its bank. It has been identified with Gomatī (P.E.) The modem name of this river is. Kosi which flows through Bihar.


This shows that the caste was not rigid during this period.

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