Harivamsha Purana

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

This page is entitled “account of kashi kings” and represents Chapter 29 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 29 - An Account of Kashi Kings

1. Vaishampayana said:—Rambha had no issue. I shall describe the progeny of Anena. His son was the highly illustrious king Pratikshatra.

2. His son passed by the name of Srinjaya whose son was Jaya and his son was Vijaya.

3-5. His son was Kriti whose son was Haryasvan. His son was the powerful king Sahadeva. Sahadeva’s son was the virtuous-souled Nadina whose son was Jagatsena whose son was Satkriti. Satkriti’s son was the pious-souled and highly illustrious Kshatravriddha ever satisfying the duties of a Kshatrya. I have thus described the progeny of Anena. Hear now of the descendants of Kshatravriddha.

6-10. Kshatravriddha’s son was the highly illustrious Sunahotra. He had three highly pious sons whose names were Kasha, Shala and Gritsamada. Gritsamada’s son was Shunaka, whose offspring, the Saunakas, were Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. Shala’s son was Arshnisena whose son was Sutapa. O king, Kasha’s sons were Kashya and Dirghatapa. The latter’s son was the learned Dhanvantari. At the termination of the rigid penances of the intelligent old king Dirghatapa Dhanvantari arose from the ocean and took his birth for the second time in this world.

11. Janamejaya said:—O lord, why was Dhanvantari born in the land of men? I wish to know this duly and truly from you. Describe it therefore.

11-13. Vaishampayana said:—O foremost of Bharatas, hear of the birth of Dhanvantari. When ambrosia was being churned out in the days of yore Dhanvantari arose from the ocean. Enveloped completely with personal grace he came out of the vessel of ambrosia. Meditating on Vishnu who grants success in business he stood up as soon as he saw Him.

14. Vishnu said to him "As you have come out of water you will be known by the name of Avja." And so he passed by the name of Avja.

15. Avja then replied:—"O lord I am your son. Confer upon me therefore, O lord of celestials, a share in the sacrificial offerings and a place in this world." Thus addressed and seeing him the Divine Lord spoke to him the truth. "

16-17. The gods, who present themselves at Yajnas, have already made apportionments of sacrificial offerings amongst themselves. The great saints too have dedicated various articles of oblation to various gods. Know therefore, I shall not be able to give you any thing however trifling it may be, that is not mentioned in the Vedas. O my son, you have been born after the gods and so you will not be able to partake of sacrificial offerings.

18. In your second birth you will gain renown in the world. While in the womb you will acquire Anima Siddhi[1].

19. With that body you will acquire the dignity of a god. The twice-born ones will worship you with Caru, Mantra, vows and Japas.

20. You will propagate Ayurveda with its eight divisions. This work, which is sure to come off, is known to you in your watery birth.

21. When the second Yuga Dvapara will set in you will undoubtedly take your birth again." Having conferred this boon on Dhanvantari Vishnu disappeared again.

22. Thereupon when the second Dvapara Yuga set in Sunohotra’s son Dirghatapa, the king of Kashi, desirous of having a son, began carrying on hard austerities affording delight to his worshipful deity saying—"

23. I shall lay myself under the protection of that god who will confer on me a son." That king worshipped the deity Avja for a son.

24. Thereupon that Divine lord, being pleased with the king, said to him "O you of good vows, I shall grant you any boon that you may choose to have".

25. The king said "O lord, if you are pleased be born unto me as my illustrious son." Then saying "Let it be so" he disappeared therefrom.

26. The deity Dhanvantari was then born in his house. He became the king of Kashi who could destroy all diseases.

27. Having acquired the kowledge of Ayurveda from Bharadvaja he divided the work of the physicians into eight classes and then conferred it upon his disciples.

28. Dhanvantari’s son was known by the name of Ketuman whose son was the heroic Bhimaratha.

29. His son was the king Divodasa. The pious-souled Divodasa became the king of Baranashi.

30. O king, at this time the Rakshasa Kshemaka, an attendant of Rudra, made the city of Baranashi divested of its inhabitants.

31. The intelligent and high-souled Nikumbha uttered a curse against Baranashi saying, "You shalt forsooth have none to live in you for one thousand years".

32. As soon as this curse was pronounced against Baranashi the king Divodasa laid out his charming capital on the bank of Gomati (near Baranashi).

33-34. Formerly Baranashi belonged to Bhadrashenya, son of Mahishman, of the Yadu race. Having slain the hundred sons of Bhadrasenya who were all most excellent bowmen Divodasa acquired that city. Thus Bhadrasenya was deprived forcibly of his kingdom by the (king Divodasa).

25. Janamejaya said:—Why did the powerful Nikumbha imprecate a curse on Baranasi? Who is the virtuous Nikumbha who pronounced a curse on that holy land?

36. Vaishampayana said:—Having acquired that prosperous city the highly powerful emperor, the royal saint Divodasa began to live there.

37. At this time, having accepted a gift the lord Siva was living at his father-in-law’s residence for pleasing the goddess (his wife Durga).

38. At the command of the god (Siva) the great saints Parshadas, born in a respectable family, in this above mentioned form and dress, were propitiating Parvati.

39. The great goddess Parvati was highly pleased thereby but not so was Menaka. She began continually villifying that god and goddess.

40. She said to Parvati:—"Your husband Mahesvara is always doing vile things in the company of Parshadas. He is always poor and his character is not good".

41. Thus spoken to by his mother the goddess became enraged as is usually the case with women. Smiling a little she came to Bhava.

42. With her countenance pale the goddess said to Mahadeva:—"O lord, I shall not live here;take me to your own house". In order to find out a house for himself Mahadeva eyed all the world. O descendant of Kuru, the highly powerful Mahesvara selected Baranashi where every body attains to the consummation of religious culture. Learning that Divodasa had occupied the city, Bhava said to Nikumbha who was by him:—"O king of Ganas, go to the city of Beneres, and make it shorn of its inhabitants by mild means for the king there is very powerful."

43-48. Thereupon going to the city of Baranasi Nikumbha appeared in a dream to a barber by name Kanduka and said to him. "O sinless one, I shall encompass your well-being. Place a faithful image of mine in the city." O king, what he commanded in a dream was all carried out.

49-50. Having duly made an announcement to the king at the gate of the city he began daily to worship him (Nikumbha) with scents, garland, incense, lamps, food, and drink. This appeared to be extremely wondrous.

51. Thus the lord of Ganas was daily worshipped. Thereupon he began to confer thousands of boons on the citizens, such as sons, gold, long life and various desired-for objects.

52. The eldest queen of the king Divodasa was celebrated by the name of Suyasha. Despatched by her husband that chaste damsel appeared there for a son.

53. Offering him a grand Puja she prayed for a son. Thus did she daily come there for a son.

54. But for some reason Nikumbha did not give her a son, thinking "If the king gets enraged I shall accomplish my object".

55-57. Thereupon after a long time the king was possessed by anger. He said "This ghost, stationed at the main gate, is delightedly conferring hundreds of boons on my citizens; why does he not confer one on me? My people in this city are always worshipping him. I requested of him for a son for my queen. Why does not that ungrateful wretch confer a son on me?

58. So this ghost does not deserve good treatment from any, especially from me. I shall therefore have the habitation of this vicious-souled one destroyed".

59. Having made this resolution that vicious-souled, wicked king sacked the house of that king of Ganas.

60. Having seen his own house destroyed Nikumbha imprecated a curse on the king saying, "I have committed no offence; and still while my house has been ruined, this city, all on a sudden, shall be shorn of its people".

61. Thereupon by his curse the city of Baranasi was divested of its people. Having pronounced that curse against the city Nikumbha went to Mahadeva.

62. The inhabitants of Baranasi suddenly fled away to different directions. The God Siva then built his own house in that city.

63. Mahadeva lived there sporting with the daughter of the Mountain-king. On account of the liberation being given even to those who did not deserve it the goddess did not like that place. She then said "I shall not live here".

64. Siva said:—"I do not live in my house. My house (body) remains always intact. I shall not go there. Go you, O goddess, to your house."

65. The three-eyed lord, the slayer of Tripura said these words with a smile. From that time that city has been spoken of as Avimukta by the god Siva himself.

66. Thus Baranasi has been described as Avimukta.

67. The pious-souled Deity Mahesvara, adored of all the gods, lived there in the company of the goddess for the three Yugas, Satwa, Treta, and Dvapara.

68. The city of that high-souled god disappeared in the Kali Yuga. When that city disappeared Mahesvara lived there invisible. Thus Baranasi was cursed and peopled again.

69. Bhadrasenya had a son by name Durdama. Having slain the hundred sons of Bhadrasenya Divodasa spared him out of mercy considering him a child.

70-71. O great king, the emperor Durdama was adopted by Haihaya as his son. In order to put an end to hostilities, Bhadrasenya’s son the high souled Kshatriya king Durdama took back again his ancestral kingdom which had been forcibly occupied by Divodasa.

72. Divodasa begat on Vrishadvati the heroic Pratardana. That boy son of his again defeated Durdama.

73. Pratardana had two sons by name Vatsa and Bhaga. Vatsa’s son was Alarka whose son was Sannati.

74. Alarka, the king of Kashi, was truthful and devoted to Brahman. The ancient sages composed the following hymn in praise of the royal saint Alarka. "

75. This foremost of the rulers of Kashi will enjoy youth and beauty for sixty thousand and sixty hundred years".

76-77. By the favour of Lopamudra he gained that longevity. That youthful and beautiful king had an extensive kingdom. After the termination of the curse that mighty-armed king slew the Rakshasa Kshemaka and laid out again the picturesque city of Baranasi. Sannati’s son was the pious Sunitha.

78. Sunitha’s son was the highly illustrious Kshemya whose son was Ketuman whose son was Suketu.

79-82. His son passed by the name of Dharmaketu, whose son was the mighty car-warrior Satya ketu. His son was the king Bibhu whose son was Avarta, and whose son was Sukumara. His son was the highly pious Dhristaketu, whose son was the king Venuhotra, and whose son was the king Bharga. The province of Vatsa belonged to Vatsa and the land of Bhrigu derived its name from Bhargava.

83-86. These sons of Angiras were born in the race of Bhrigu. He had thousands of sons amongst the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. Thus I have described to you the family of Kashi kings. I shall now describe the progeny of Nahusha.

Footnotes and references:


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