Harivamsha Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1897 | 293,872 words | ISBN-10: 8178542188 | ISBN-13: 9788178542188

This page is entitled “account of the sun’s offspring” and represents Chapter 9 of the first book (‘Adi Parva’) of the Harivamsa (English translation in Prose). The Harivamsha Purana narrates the lineage and life-story of Krishna (Hari). Although not officially mentioned in the list of Puranas, this book includes topics such as geology, creation theory, time (manvantaras), ancient historical legends and accounts of royal dynasties.

Chapter 9 - Account of the Sun’s Offspring

1. Vaishampayana said:—O subduer of foes, Kashyapa begat Vivasvan on Aditi, the daughter of Daksha. He espoused the goddess Sajna.

2-4. That beautiful damsel was celebrated over the three worlds by the name of Surenu. The wife, of that high-souled, divine Martanda (sun) gifted with beauty and youth (as she was) was, not satisfied with the beauty of her husband. Amongst females on this earth Sajna was gifted with great ascetic powers. Having her body scorched by the rays of the sun she did not look beautiful.

5. Kashyapa affectionately said (to Aditi) who was ignorant "your embryo[1] is not dead" and so he is called Martanda.

6. The rays of the sun are always very powerful, O my child, and the son of Kashyapa oppresses the three worlds therewith.

7. Q foremost of Kouravas, that best of luminous bodies, Aditya begat on Sajna three children, one daughter and two sons who became patriarchs.

8. First was born Manu Vaivasvata and then the patriarch Sraddhadeva, then Yama and Yamuna were born as twins.

9. Thereupon beholding the pale countenance of Vivasvan and unable to bear her own form she created Savarna out of her own shadow.

10. Sajna was an adept in illusion and so, O king, her shadow at once sprang up and bowing with folded hands said to her.

11. She said:—"O you of pure smiles, tell me what I am to do. Command me, O fair one, I am at your service".

12. Sajna said:—"May good betide you, I shall now go to my father’s house. Do you now live in this my house without any anxiety.

13. You should look after these my boys and my youthful daughter. Never give out this secret to the Divine (Sun)".

14. The shadow said:—"I shall not give out your secret so long the sun does not hold me by the hair or imprecate a curse on me. Go now at your pleasure, O goddess".

15. Vaishampayana said:—Having said carefully "so be it". to Sarvana, the ascetic Sajna went to Twasta as if in shame.

16. When she met her father he remonstrated with her repeatedly and asked her to go to her husband again.

17. Then hiding her beauty and assuming the form of a mare, that faultless (damsel) repaired to the (province of) Uttarakuru and began to graze there.

18. Then taking the second Sajna for the (real) one, Aditya begat a son on her after his own self.

19. This lord was like the first-born Manu and people designate him as Manu Savarni.

20. He became Manu Savarni. Her second son was known by the name of Sani.

21. O child, the immitation Sajna did not show that affection towards the first-born children which she did towards her own son.

22. Manu forgave her for that but Yama could not do so. Out of childishness, anger and future glory, Vivasvata’s son Yama threatened Sajna with a stroke of his foot.

23. O king, greatly stricken with sorrow Savarni’s mother (accordingly) cursed him in anger, saying "your foot shall drop".

24. Then worked up with anxiety on account of the imprecation and assailed by Sajna’s words, Yama, with folded hands, communicated everything unto his sire.

25. He said to his father:—"Do you so arrange as to withdraw the curse. It is the duty of a mother to show affection equally towards all her sons.

26. Disregarding us she always loves the youngest son. So I did lift up my foot but it did not fall on her body.

27-29. You should forgive me for the offence that I have committed out of childishness or ignorance; since I have insulted her, being a son, who is worthy of my respect, forsooth shall my foot drop off. A son may prove a bad son, but never does the mother. O foremost of luminous bodies, O lord of the worked, I have been cursed by my mother. Let not my foot drop by your favour".

30. Vivasvat said:—"Undoubtedly, my son, there must be a mighty cause for it, since anger has possessed you who are truthful and pious.

31-32. I shall not be able to make otherwise your mother’s words; taking flesh from your foot the worms shall fall on the surface at the earth, O highly wise one, and you will, accordingly attain to happiness. This being done the words of your mother shall prove true.

33-34. And you will also be saved from the effect of the imprecation". Aditya then said to Sajna:—"Equal affection should be shown towards all children. Why are you then again and again showing partiality towards one?" In order to evade it she made no reply to the sun.

35-36. Then having concentrated his own self by virtue of Yoga, he found out the truth. O descendant of Kuru, then to imprecate a curse of destruction on her the lord sun held her by the hair. The terms of contract being thus transgressed she communicated the truth unto Vivasvan.

37. Hearing all Vivasvan got enraged and approached Twasta. He too, having eulogized him (the sun) properly who was bent upon consuming him, pacified his anger.

38. Twasta said:—"This your highly effulgent form does not look graceful. Unable to bear your lustre Sajna is wandering in the yellow forest.

39. To-day will you behold your wife of pure conduct, who is daily engaged in hard austerities under the guise of a mare.

40-41. Living on leaves, and a life of a female anchorite, she has grown emaciated and poorly; her hairs have grown into matted locks and she has been agitated like a lotus crushed by the trunk of an elephant. O lord of rays, if you accept my view, I may, for that praiseworthy damsel endued with ascetic power, resorting to Yoga, O king of gods, convert this form of yours into a beautiful one, O slayer of enemies."

42. The rays of the sun were crooked and extended above. Gifted with such a celestial form the sun was not of a gentle look.

43. So the Patriarch (sun) attached great importance to Twasta’s words and gave order to the celestial Architect for beautifying his own form.

44. Thereupon Twasta approached the effulgent Martanda. And then placing him on a chisel, O descendant of Bharata, he cut lose his lustre.

45. When his effulgence was thus reduced and he appeared in his new form he looked superbly beautiful and more than it.

46-47. The beautiful form of that lord of rays was thus easily formed. Since then the countenance of the deity, sun, is red. The twelve Adityas, originated from his mouth, sprang from the portions of his effulgence dropped from the countenance of Martanda when the act of chiselling was performed;they were Dhata, Aryama, Mitra, Varuna, Amsha, Bhaga, Indra, Vivasvan, Pusha, the tenth Parjanya, the eleventh Twasta and the youngest Vishnu.

48-53. Thereupon beholding the Adityas begotten of his own body he attained delight. Then Twasta worshipped him with scents, flowers, ornaments and a brilliant crown and said to him:—"O god, go to your own wife in Uttarakuru, who, assuming the form of a mare, is grazing in the forest of green grass." Thereupon assuming sportively a similar form, he, by virtue of his Yoga power, espied his own wife in the form of a mare. O king, assuming the form of a mare she was fearlessly wandering there and no one could distress her on account of her energy and pious observances. Then the powerful sun, in his horse form, knew her by his mouth.

54-56. Taking him for another man the mare did not yeild to his desire. Then from his nostril the two Asvinis, the foremost of the physicians, were born. They were the sons of the eighth Patriarch Martanda. Aditya begat the two Asvinis on Sajna in the guise of a mare and he then appeared before his wife in his beautiful form.

57-60. O Janamejaya, beholding her husband she (Sajna) was greatly delighted. Yama, greatly sorry at heart on account of his own mis-deed, began to please his subjects with his pious rule and he was accordingly called Dharmaraj. By his holy act of pleasing his subjects he was appointed the regent of the ancestral manes and elevated to the dignity of a patriarch. The ascetic Savarni Manu was a patriarch and in the future Savarni Manvantara he will be the Manu. The all-powerful Manu, even now, is carrying on penances on the summit of the mount Meru.

61. His brother Shanischara has attained to the status of a planet. Those, who were known as Asvinis, became the physicians of the celestial region.

62. O king, Sevata too became the physician of the horses. Twasta, with that effulgence, created the discus of Vishnu.

63-64. With a view to destroy the Danavas that discus is never baffled in a warfare. Their illustrious twin sister Yamuna became the foremost of rivers of that name purifying the world. Manu was known as Savarni Manu in the world.

65. His second son, Manu’s brother Sanischara attained to the status of a planet, worshipped of all the worlds.

66. He, who listens to this story of the birth of gods or meditates on it, is freed from all calamities and attains great renown.

Footnotes and references:


The allusion is:—When Aditi was enciente Budha went to her for alms. For her condition she was late in complying with his request and Budha imprecated a curse on her saying "the child will be dead." At this she grew pale, and Kashyapa, knowing all this by his ascetic power, preserved the child.

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