Harivamsha Purana

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

This page is entitled “the asuras obstructing a yajna” and represents Chapter 84 of the second book (‘Vishnu 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 84 - The Asuras Obstructing a yajna

1-3. Vaishampayana said:—At that time, O king, in the city of Shatpura on the sacred bank of the good river Avarta, resorted to by the Munis, a Vajasaneyi Brahmana, by name Brahmadatta, a disciple of Yajnawalka, well-read in the four Vedas and six Angas and endued with morality, was initiated into a Yajna extending over a year.

4-5. O kingly discendant of Kuru, as Sakra (the king of gods) protects (their preceptor) Vrihaspati so when that foremost of the twice-born went to Shatpura for carrying on Yajna Vasudeva, with Devaki, repaired there for protecting him, for he was a class friend and preceptor of Anakadundubhi (Vasudeva).

6-11. In that Yajna of Brahmadatta, abounding in profuse food and presents were present Vyasa, Yajnawalka, Sumantu, Jaimini, Dhritiman, Jajali, Devala and other great and leading Munis of firm devotion. And I too had gone there. In that Yajna, by the grace of Vasudeva, the creator of the universe incarnated on earth, the pious Devaki distributed amongst the beggars various articles they wanted proportionate to the wealth of the intelligent Vasudeva. After the commencement of that Yajna, the inhabitants of Shatpura, Nikumbha and other Daityas, proud of their boon, assembled there and said:—"Give us our share in the Yajna. We will drink Soma and Brahmadatta must give us his daughters. We have heard that this great man has many beautiful daughters. So he must send for them and give them over to us.

12. He should also give us the most valuable jems which he has got in his possession. If he transgresses this order we will not allow him to celebrate this Yajna. This is our order".

13-16. Hearing this Brahmadatta said to the great Asuras:—"O you leading Asuras, no portion of sacrificial offerings has been laid down for you in the Vedas. How can I then allow you to drink Soma in this Yajna? If you do not believe my words you may ask these great Munis well-read in the Vedas and their commentaries. The daughters whom I shall give away in marriage I shall confer upon proper bridegrooms following the same Vedas with me; this is my resolution. If you however come to terms I may give you the entire collection of my jewels. If you show your force I will not give that even for Devaki’s son is my supporter". Hearing those words the wicked Danavas of Shatpura, Nikumbha and others began to scatter the articles of Yajna and carry away his daughters. Beholding the sacrificial articles robbed by the Asuras Anakadundubhi thought of the great Krishna, Balabhadra and Gada. As soon as he was thought of Krishna came to know of every thing and said to Pradyumna:—"Proceed, O my son, and save the maidens by virtue of your illusive powers. O powerful hero, I myself too will soon go to Shatpura with the Yadava army."

17-23. Hearing it the intelligent, highly powerful and heroic Pradyumna, ever obedient to his sire, went to Shatpura within a moment and took away the maidens by virtue of his illusive power. Creating their figures by his illusive power the pious son of Rukshmini kept them before the Daityas and said to Devaki "Be not afraid". O king, leaving aside Brahmadatta’s daughter the irrepressible Daityas carried away the illusory maidens and entered their city with satisfaction.

24-28. Thereupon, O king, that great and glorious Yajna was being celebrated according to proper rites. O descendant of Bharata, all the kings, invited by the intelligent Brahmadatta, arrived at the sacrificial ground. Jarasandha, Shisupala, Dantavakra, the Pandavas, the sons of Dhritarashtra, the Malava and Tangana kings, Rukshmi, Ahvriti, Neela, Narmada, Vinda, Anuvinda, Avantya, Shalya, Shakuni and other heroic, noble and warrior kings encamped near Shatpura.

29-30. Seeing this the beautiful Narada thought:—"At this Yajna all the Kshatryas and Yadavas have assembled. Surely this will lead to a conflict. I shall therefore try to bring it about." Thinking this he repaired to Nikumbha’s house.

31-32. He was worshipped there by Nikumbha and other Danavas. Thereupon taking his seat the pious-souled Rishi said to Nikumbha:—"Having caused a dissension with the Yadavas how are you sitting here at ease? Do you not know that Brahmadatta is the friend of Krishna’s father?

33-38. The five hundred wives of the intelligent Brahmadatta have been brought at the sacrificial ground for satisfying Vasudeva’s son: of them two hundred are of Brahmana origin, one hundred of Kshatrya origin, one hundred of Vaishya and another hundred of Sudra origin. O King, they had all worshipped the learned and pious Rishi Durvasa who had conferred on them all a boon saying 'You will all, one by one, get a son and a daughter.' O heroic Asura, by virtue of this boon and on account of their intercourse with their husband they have all given birth to fair daughters. They are of matchless beauty, tender, ever youthful and chaste. From their body comes out the fragrance of all flowers.

39. O Daitya, by virtue of the boon of that intelligent Rishi, they know the arts of singing and dancing, the accomplishments of the Apsaras; and they are all well accomplished.

40. The sons, in their order, are observant of the duties attached to their respective orders. They are clever in interpreting the the sacred texts and are beautiful.

41-42. O hero, the intelligent Brahmadatta had conferred almost all of those daughters on the leading Bhaimas. And for the remaining hundred whom you have stolen the Yadavas will fight to their very best. Therefore O hero, you invite in proper order the help of other kings.

43-44. O Asuras, if you wish to keep in your possession Brahmadatta’s daughters pray for the help of the highly powerful kings, giving them various jewels and treat all the kings who will come here as your guests." Thus addressed by Narada the Asuras, with great delight, carried out his orders.

45-48. Having obtained various jewels and five hundred devoted maidens the kings divided them duly amongst themselves. Returning in a moment on the other hand the great Narada prevented the heroic sons of Pandu and so they did not take any share in the distribution. Thereupon the leading kings, delighted, said to the Asuras:—"Formerly the Kshatriyas had been adored many times by celestial heroes like yourselves, capable of coursing in the sky and possessed of all the objects of pleasure. And even now they have been duly honored by you. What will they now give you in return"?

41-51. Hearing it Nikumbha, the enemy of the celestials, was filled with joy. Describing the greatness and truthfulness of the Kshatriyas he said to them:—"O you leading kings, we shall have to fight with our enemies to-day. We wish you may help us to the best of your power." O lord, hearing the words of Nikumbha all the sinful Kshatriyas, save the heroic sons of Pandu, who had learnt the truth from Narada, said "So be it".

52-56. O king, on the other side, recollecting the words of Mahadeva in his mind, the powerful Krishna set out with his army for Shatpura leaving Ahuka at Dvaraka. Having arrived at Shatpura with that army the Lord Vasudeva, according to Vasudeva’s orders, encamped at an advantageous site near the sacrificial ground for the well-being of the citizens. Making that encampment difficult of access with bushes the powerful and beautiful Krishna engaged Pradyumna in the work of patrolling.

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