Harivamsha Purana

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

This page is entitled “account of the seven brahmanas” and represents Chapter 21 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 21 - An Account of the Seven Brahmanas

1. Markandeya said:—The people perform Sradha and even the Yogins do the same. So I shall describe to you its most excellent fruit.

2. O descendant of Bharata, religious knowledge gradually evolved from what Brahmadatta had obtained in his seventh birth.

3. O you of great intellect shorn of sins, hear what in the days of yore the Brahmanas obtained by performing Sradhas to the neglect of religion.

4. O my son, I saw with my celestial vision at the field of Kurukshetra the seven impious Brahmanas engaged in performing religious rites for ancestral manes as pointed out by Sanatkumar.

5-6. Vagdustha, Krodhana, Hingsra, Pishuna, Kavi, Khasrima and Pitrivarti—these seven Brahmanas, by name and action, were the sons of Kaushika and the disciples of Garga. When after imprecating a curse their father left the house, they, taking the vow of celibacy, began to live in the house of Garga.

7. Once on a time at the command of their preceptor they all went to the forest to tend the milch-cow Kapila with its calf that had been obtained fairly.

8. O descendant of Bharata, being stricken with hunger on the way they cherished the sinful desire of killing the cow.

9. Kavi and Khasrima, however, did not wish it then and they two could not prevent the other Brahmanas.

10. Of these the Brahmana Pitrivarti, who used to perform daily Sradha and other evening rites and abide by virtuous ways, said in anger to his brothers:—"

11. If you are all bent upon slaying this cow then we all, with our minds controlled, dedicate it to the ancestral manes.

12. By this, even this cow will acquire virtue no doubt. And if we perform a pious rite for our ancestral manes we shall not commit an iniquity."

13. Thereupon, O descendant of Bharata, they all, having agreed to this, killed the cow and having dedicated it to the ancestral manes, took its meat.

14. Having taken the meat of the cow they all said to their preceptor:—"The cow has been killed by a tiger and here is her calf".

15. Out of simplicity the Brahmana took the calf. Having imposed on their preceptor by a false story all those Brahmanas, on the expiration of their lease of life, met with death.

16-18. On account of their that sinful conduct towards their preceptor and for the destruction of the cow, they, possessed by envy, ruthlessness and anger, were born as the sons of a hunter. They were all strong and liberal-minded. On account of their duly worshipping the ancestral manes and killing the cow they carried with them the knowledge of their pristine birth and actions. Those learned seven Brahmanas were born as hunters in the province of Dasharna.

19. They were all intent upon performing their own duties, were truthful and shorn of avarice. They used to work only for the time that was necessary to keep their body and soul together.

20-22. The rest of the time they used to spend in meditation. Their names, O king, were respectively Nirvaira, Nivirta, Kshanta, Nirmangu, Kriti, Vaighasa and Matrivarti. They were all very highly pious hunters.

22. Thus living and performing the duties of a hunter they worshipped and satisfied their old parents.

23. When in time their parents died, they, leaving aside their bows and arrows, renounced their lives in the forest.

24-25. By those pious actions they, in the next birth, became deer carrying with them the recollection of their pristine birth. Because they used to strike terror and slay (the deer) they, filled with fear, were born in the beautiful Kalanjara mountain as deer, named Unmakha, Nityavitrasta, Stabdhakarna, Vilocana, Pandit, Ghasmar and Nadi.

26-27. Recollecting their former birth and species they used to roam in the forest. They were all of subdued minds, peaceful, unmarried and used to perform good works and observe the same religious rites. Adopting the life of a Yogin they used to live there.

28. Leading the life of ascetics and taking a small quantity of food they gave up their lives in a desert. O king, O descendant of Bharata, even now in the desert attached to the Kalanjara mountain their footsteps are seen.

29. By those pious actions, O my son, they were divested of all evils—and they were born in a more auspicious species, namely that of Cakravakas.

30. Leading a life of celibacy those pious ascetics were born in the holy island of Shara as seven water-fowls.

31. Their names were Nispriha, Nirmama, Kshanta, Nirdanda, Nisparigraha, Nivritti and Nivrita.

32. Those pious Cakravakas were all Brahmacarins. Abstaining from food and carrying on hard austerities they died on the bank of a river.

33. Those seven brothers have become these ganders ranging at will. These are the seven intelligent Brahmacarins carrying the recollection of their pristine birth.

34. Because born as Brahmanas they, by false words, imposed on their preceptor, they are now born as birds moving about in the world.

35. And because though for their selfish ends they worshipped their ancestral manes they have obtained a knowledge of their previous birth.

36. These ganders are respectively named Sumana, Suchivak, Sudha, Pancama, Chinnadarshana, Sunetra and Swatantra.

37. Of them the fifth came by the name of Pancika in his seventh birth, the sixth by that of Pandarika, and the seventh by that of Brahmadatta.

38-39. On account of the hard austerities performed by them in seven births, of the Yoga practices carried on by them and of their good Karma they listened to the recitation of the Vedic hymns in their first birth in the house of their preceptor. In consequence thereof their inclination remained pure though they lived in the world,.

40. All these Brahmacarins had the knowledge of Brahman; and having been engaged in meditation they lived there.

41-42. While all those birds were living together there, the highly prosperous, all-powerful and the effulgent king Vibhraja, the head of Neepas, born in the race of Puru, along with the females of his house, came to that forest.

43. Beholding that prosperous king the bird Swatantra was possessed by envy and wished to become so.

44. (He thought):—"If I have done any good deed and practised Tapas, forsooth I shall become such a king. I have been greatly emaciated by hard-austerities yielding no fruits nor happiness."

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