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 10 - The Narrative of Yayāti

Lomaharṣaṇa said:

1. Nahuṣa had six successors who possessed the refulgence of Indra and Viṣṇu. They were born of Virajā the daughter of Pitṛs.

2. They were—Yati, Yayāti, Śaryāti, Āyāti, Yāti and Suyāti. Among them it was Yayāti who became the king.

3. Yati was the eldest. Yayāti was junior to him. The extremely virtuous Yati married Gomatī the daughter of Kakutstha but he became a sage. He realised Brahman and attained absolution.

4-8. Yayāti, the eldest of the remaining five conquered the Earth. He married Devayānī the daughter of Uśanas and Śarmiṣṭhā the Asura lady the daughter of Vṛṣaparvan.

Devayāni gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu. Śarmiṣṭhā the daughter of Vṛṣaparvan gave birth to Druhyu, Anu and Purū. Indra who was pleased with him gave him an extremely resplendent divine chariot. It had all its parts made of gold. Excellent divine white horses as fast as the mind were fitted to it. He conducted his activities by means of this chariot. With this fine chariot the invincible Yayāti conquered the Earth in six days and defeated Devas and Asuras in battle.

9-17. That chariot belonged to the kings of Kuru race. From Janamejaya the descendant of Kuru, whose other name was Saṃvartavasu it was handed over to Emperor Parikṣita the scion of the family of Kuru. The chariot vanished due to the curse of sage Garga. King Janamejaya spoke harsh words to Garga and violently injured Garga’s son who was then a mere boy. Hence, he incurred the sin of brahmin slaughter. Emitting the bad odour of rusting iron the saintly king roamed about here and there. He was shunned by the citizens and the country-folk. He did not attain pleasure of peace of mind by any means. He was extremely miserable. He failed to get consolation from any quarter. The king then sought refuge in Śaunaka the leading brahmin. O excellent brahmins, in order to sanctify him, Śaunaka performed a horse sacrifice on behalf of king Janamejaya. When he had completed the concluding ablution of Avabhṛtha the stinking odour of rusting iron was expelled. The divine chariot was in the possession of Cedi ruler having been handed over to him by Indra who was pleased with him. From him Bṛhadratha acquired it. From him it came into the possession of king Bṛhadratha (Jarāsandha). After killing Jarāsandha, Bhīma redeemed that excellent chariot. Out of love the scion of the family of Kuru, Bhīma gave it to Vasudeva.

18. After conquering the Earth extending to the oceans and containing seven continents Yayāti, the son of Nahuṣa, divided his kingdom among his sons.

19-21. Yayāti crowned his eldest son Yadu in the Eastern quarter; Purū in the middle land; Turvasu in the South-Eastern quarter. The entire Earth with its cities and seven continents is being ruled till today by them with due deference to their respective jurisdiction. O excellent sages, I shall recount their progeny later on.

22. The king was ageing. Me set aside his bows and arrows. He entrusted the entire administration to his kinsmen including the five leading men, his sons.

23. Having deposited his arms, the king roamed over the Earth. King Yayāti was extremely delighted.

24-25. After distributing the kingdom thus, Yayāti said to Yadu—“Dear son, accept my old age. Becoming youthful once again by your handsome features and depositing my old age with you, I shall travel round the Earth on another mission. Do accept my old age”.

Yadu said:

26. O king, Alms have been promised to a brahmin by me. I have not yet handed them over to him. Without fulfilling it I shall not take up your old age.

27. There are many defects in senility caused by drink and diet. Hence, O king, I am not enthusiastic over accepting your old age.

28. O king you have many sons whom you love more than me. O knower of virtues, choose another son to take up your senility.

29. Thus repulsed by Yadu the king became furious. Yayāti, the most excellent among the eloquent said thus, rebuking his son.

Yayāti said:

30. “What other stage of life will you have? What virtue or righteousness is left for you, O wicked one, after slighting me since I am your preceptor”.

31. Sayṃg thus, O brahmins, in his anger he cursed his son thus—“O deluded one, your subjects will be undoubtedly deprived of their kingdom.

32. O excellent brahmins, Yayāti was repulsed by three of his other sons too, the king repeated the same to Druhyu, Turvasu and Anu.

33. The infuriated Yayāti, the unconquerable monarch cursed them also. O excellent brahmins, everything about him has been precisely mentioned by me.

34. After tuning the four sons elder to Purū thus, O brahmins, the king addressed the very same words to Purū also.

35. “O Purū, if you agree, I shall become youthful once again with your handsome features and shall roam about the Earth after depositing my old age with you.”

36. That valorous Purū took over the senility of his father. With the handsome features of Purū, Yayāti roamed about the Earth.

37. Seeking the ultimate satiety of lustful dalliance the lord, the most excellent of kings indulged in amorous sports in the garden Caitraratha in the company of Viśvācī.

38. When he became utterly dissatisfied and disgusted with lustful orgies and enjoyment of pleasures the king took back his senility from Purū.

39-46. In this connection, O excellent sages, the following verses were sung by Yayāti—“He who withdraws within himself all lustful passions like the tortoise that draws its limbs within itself is indeed a person who has attained yoga[1]

Never does lust and lechery subside by indulging in the enjoyment of sexual pleasures. Just as the fire blazes all the more with the ghee poured in, so also it increases at every indulgence. If one were to possess all grams of rice and barley on the Earth, if one were to possess all gold, if all were to become the master of all animals on the Earth or if one were to indulge in sexual union with all women one will find that it is not enough to quench thirst. That being so one should not be deluded by these things. When one does not have any sinful feeling towards any living being, mentally, physically and verbally one is likely to attain Brahman. When one is not afraid of others, when none is afraid of him or when one does not like or dislike others too much, one attains Brahman. Happiness befalls that person who eschews greed and covetousness which are impossible to be eschewed by the wicked, which do not become old even when one becomes old and decrepit and which is an oilment that comes to an end only when the vital airs die out. When one becomes old, one’s hair grow old; when one becomes old, one’s teeth become old; but the hope and greed for wealth and life never grow old when one grows old. The happiness that one is supposed to derive from indulgence in sexual pleasure, the great happiness that one may have in heaven—these two do not deserve even a sixteenth part of happiness one is sure to have when greed is destroyed.”

47-51. After saying this that saintly king entered the forest accompanied by his wife. He performed a great penance of long duration. That king of great fame performed penance on the peak Bhṛgutuṅga.[2] At the conclusion of penance he performed holy rite of refraining from taking food and cast off his mortal body. Accompanied by his wife he attained heaven. O excellent sages, there were born five excellent saintly kings in his family. The entire Earth is pervaded by them as if by the rays of the sun. O excellent sages, the man who listens to the story of Yayāti continuously shall become endowed with progeny, longevity and Tenown. Now listen, I shall recount the family of Yadu honoured by kings. It was in this that Nārāyaṇa, Hari was born as the uplifter of the family of Vṛṣṇis.

Footnotes and references:


The tortoise simile is very popular with the yogins. A yogi withdraws his lustful passions within himself just as the tortoise withdraws its limbs within itself.


Bhṛgutuṅga—A place made sacred by the performance of tapas by Bhṛgu. Ṛcīka had lived there with his wife and children. It has been located cither in the Himālayas or in the Vindhyas (MW).

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: