Harivamsha Purana

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

This page is entitled “account of haihayas and kartavirya” and represents Chapter 33 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 33 - An Account of Haihayas and Kartavirya

1-3. Vaishampayana said:—Yadu had five sons equal unto the sons of the celestials. They were Sahasrada, Payoda, Kroshta, Neela and Anjika. O king, Sahasrada had three highly pious sons—Haihaya, Haya and Venuhaya. Haihaya’s son was celebrated by the name of Dharmanetra. His son was Karta whose son was Sahanja.

4-6. That king founded a city named Sahanjani. The king Mahishman was his son. By him the city of Mahishmati was founded. The powerful Bhadrasenya was Mahishman’s son. As recount ed by me before he was the ruler of Baranashi. Bhadrasenya’s son was Durdama.

7-9. Durdama’s son was Kanka who was very intelligent. Kanka had four sons well-known in the world, namely Kritavirya, Kritouja, Kritavarma and Kritagni. From Kritavirya, Arjuna was born who had a thousand arms and became the emperor of the seven insular continents. He alone, in his car effulgent like the sun, conquered the world.

10-11. Having carried on hard austerities for a million of years that royal son of Kritavirya succeeded in pleasing Atri’s son Datta who conferred on him four very powerful boons. The first of these, was that he would get one thousand arms.

12-13. The second was that the sages would prevent him from imbibing irreligious thoughts. The third was that having conquered the world with fierce Kshatriya energies he would please his subjects duly. The fourth was that when he would gain many battles and destroy thousands of enemies he would be killed in battle by a highly powerful man.

14-16. O king, when that ascetic king engaged in a battle, he, by virtue of asceticism and illusory energy, acquired thousand arms. By his dreadful prowess he conquered the earth consisting of seven insular continents, many mountains and oceans. O Janamejaya, we have heard that king duly celebrated seven hundred Yajnas in the seven insular continents.

17-19. O large-armed one, in those Yajnas thousands of presents were given away. In those Yajnas golden sacrificial posts and altars were set up. They were all adorned with gods in celestial cars, with Gandharvas and Apsaras. In his Yajnas, the Gandharvas and Narada sang hymns. Seeing his glory Baridasa was struck with wonder.

20. Narada said:—None, among the kings, will attain to the dignity of Kartavirya by celebrating Yajnas, making presents, by his prowess and knowledge of scriptures.

21. People saw him ranging in his car simultaneously, by virtue of his Yoga power, over the seven insular continents with his armour, sword and bow.

22. On account of his righteously protecting his subjects that great king lost nothing, never felt any grief nor made a mistake.

23. He was the owner of all sorts of jewels and Lord Paramount. He ruled for eighty-five thousand years.

24. He performed many Yajnas and owned extensive lands. He was like Indra on account of profuse showers and like Arjuna for his ascetic powers.

25. Like the sun shining with all its thousand rays during the autumn he shone with his thousand arms with armours on and hardened by the strokes of his bow-string.

26. Having defeated the sons of the Naga[1] Karkotaka that highly effulgent king occupied his city, by name Mahishmati, for the habitation of mankind.

27. While sporting in the water during the rains that lotus-eyed king changed the current of the ocean with his thousand arms.

28. While he sported and bathed in the water of the river Narmada engarlanded with her foam she used to approach him in fear with her thousand waves.

29. When he used to agitate the mighty deep with his thousand arms the great Asuras, living in the nether region, became inert and silent.

30-33. As the mount Mandara, when thrown off by the gods and demons, (agitated) the ocean of milk so did the king Arjuna, the son of Kritavirya, crush down the waves of the ocean, shake the fish and other huge acquatic animals, whirl the foam with air and create whirlpools of water. Awakened by the motion of the mount Mandara, terrified by the production of ambrosia and troubled all on a sudden, the huge Uragas became motionless and humble at the sight of that terrible man. They trembled before him like plantain leaves shaken by the evening breeze.

34. Having vanquished, with his might, the haughty king of Lanka, Ravana with his army and made him senseless with five arrows he bound him with his bow-string, brought him to the city of Mahishmati and kept him in chains there.

35. Hearing that his son Ravana had been kept in chains by Arjuna Pulastya went to him. Then solicited by him Kritavirya’s son Arjuna set free Pulastya’s son Ravana.

36. The twang of his bow, when drawn by his thousand arms, was like the clapping of thunder-bolts accompanied by clouds at the time of the universal dissolution.

37. But how great was the power of Bhrigu’s son (Parashurama) who sundered in battle the thousands arms of that king resembling a forest of golden palm trees.

38-40. Once on a time Citrabhanu, stricken with thirst, begged of him (something). Arjuna conferred on Vibhavasu the seven insular continents. The fire god (some time after) wished to consume his cities and villages. With the help of that foremost of men, the great Kartavirya he succeeded in destroying the mountains and forests. The effulgent Vasishtha, whom Varuna obtained as his son in the days of yore, passed by another name Apava. The fire-god, together with Kartavirya burnt down the charming hermitage of Varuna’s son. He was therefore greatly terrified. The ascetic Apava, in anger, imprecated a curse on Arjuna, saying:—"Since O Haihaya, you have not left out my hermitage, another man will destroy your work so acquired by you with difficulty. The ascetic, powerful and the mighty-armed Brahmana, Rama, the son of Jamadagni born in the Bhrigu race, will chop off your thousand arms and slay you (41-43.)"

46-47. Vaishampayana said:—O king, O subduer of enemies, on account of the imprecation of the ascetic Apava Kritavirya’s son the king Arjuna, under whose righteous rule even his subjects did not lose anything, met with his death. O descendant of Kuru, he himself prayed to Datatreya for this boon.

48-49. Amongst the hundred sons of that high-souled one only five survived him. They were all powerful, heroic, virtuous and intelligent, and were proficient in the use of weapons. They were Shurasena, Shura, Dhristokta, Krishna and Jayadhvaja, king of Avanti.

50-52. Kartavirya’s sons were all powerful, and mighty car-warriors. Jayadhvaja’s son was the highly powerful Talajangha. His sons passed by the name of Talajanghas. O king, in the race of the high-souled Haihayas, Vitihotra, Sujata, Bhoja, Avanti, the powerful Toundika, and several others were known by the name of Talajanghas.

53. It is needless to describe the descendants of Bharata and Sujata. The pious Vrisha and others, O king, were born in the Yadu race.

51-55. Vrisha was the head of the family and his son was Madhu. He had a hundred sons of whom Vrishana perpetuated the race. From Vrishana were born the Vrishnis, from Madhu the Madhavas and from Yadu the Yadavas. These were the various branches of the Haihaya family.

56-57. Shura, Shurasena and Shuravira passed by the name of Haihayas. The country, of those high-souled ones, was celebrated by the name of Shurasena. He, who in this world, recounts daily the birth of Kritavirya’s son, Arjuna, does not lose his property. And even if he loses it he acquires it again.

58. O king, thus I have described the families of the five heroic sons of Yayati, celebrated in the world. They are like the five elements preserving the mobile and immobile creation.

59-60. A king, well read in the Vedas and other religious scriptures, becomes the master of five senses and god-like and obtains the five boons which it is difficult to get in this world, if he listens to the various creations of those five kings. By listening to an account of the families of these five kings Ayu acquired renown, riches, sons, power and prosperity. Hear, O king, now of the most excellent and powerful family of the pious Krausthu, the head of the Yadu family who performed Yajnas. In his family the lord of the Vrishni race, Vishu was born as Krishna. By hearing of an account of Krausthu’s family a man is freed from all his sins (61-63.)

Footnotes and references:


The Nagas were evidently an aboriginal race amongst whom many powerful kings flourished.

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