The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “from satyavrata to sagara” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 38 - From Satyavrata to Sagara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. By his devotion to Viśvāmitra his compassionate nature and his vow, Satyavrata nurtured and looked after Viśvāmitra’s wife.

2. O sage, he killed deer, boars and buffaloes of the forest and he cast off their flesh near the hermitage of Viśvāmitra.

3. In virtue of his being the priest and the teacher the sage Vasiṣṭha looked after the holy centres, cows, clans and the harem.

4. Vasiṣṭha nursed more and more grudge against Satyavrata forced by the gravity of what was destined to happen.

5. Vasiṣṭha had not prevented the father from exiling the son from the kingdom because there was sufficient cause for the same.

6. When the seventh step is taken (round the fire in the altar) the marriage becomes valid. But Satyavrata did not understand this secret.

7. Only for the satisfaction of his father did he do the same thinking that the family customs should remain unviolated.

8. When he was abandoned by his father Vasiṣṭha did not interfere on his behalf. The sage proclaimed that he would never install him in this kingdom.

9-12. During the twelve years of famine and drought Satyavrata observed his vow. When there was no meat available the prince saw the wish-yielding cow of Vasiṣṭha. O sage, the king who observed the ten tenets[1] of Dharma killed the cow either due to anger or greed or exhaustion or hunger. The meat of the same he utilised to feed Viśvāmitra’s son. On hearing of it the sage Vasiṣṭha became angry and said.

Vasiṣṭha said

13. If the two iron stakes thrust by me fail I shall fix another cruel one.

14. Your transgression is threefold. You have displeased your father, killed the cow of your preceptor and used things unsprinkled with holy water.

15-16. He called him Triśaṅku and ever since he is known as Triśaṅku. When Viśvāmitra returned he was pleased with Triśaṅku for having maintained his family during his absence. When pressed to choose a boon the prince chose it.

17. When there was drought for twelve years he had helped his family, therefore the sage anointed him in the kingdom of his father and officiated as priest in his coronation.

18. Ever as the gods and Vasiṣṭha were watching, the saintly lord Viśvāmitra made him ascend heaven in his physical body.

19. His wife Satyarathā, hailing from the family of Kekayas[2] bore him a son who was named Hariścandra.

20. That king Hariścandra is known as Traiśaṅkava. He is famous as the performer of the Rājasūya sacrifice and as an Emperor.

21. Hariścandra’s son Rohita was famous. Rohita’s son was Vṛka and Bāhu was born of Tṛka.

22. Haihayas and Tālajaṅghas removed that king. O brahmin, he was very virtuous.

23. Bāhu begot a son. Sagara was born with poison. Reaching the hermitage of Aurva, he was saved by Bhārgava.

24. Securing fiery missiles from Bhārgava king Sagara conquered the earth after killing Tālajaṅghas[3] and Haihayas.[4]

25. He defeated Śakas,[5] Bahūdakas, Pāradas[6], Tagaṇas[7] and Khaśas.[8] He established a good religious cult and ruled over the earth virtuously.

Śaunaka Said:—

26. How was he born with poison? How did he conquer the Kṣatriyas? O son of Sūta, please narrate this in detail.

Sūta said:—

27. O sage, listen with attention. I shall narrate what Vaiśampāyana said on being asked by Janamejaya, son of Pārīkṣita.

Pārīkṣita said:—

28. O sage, how was the king born with poison? How did he kill the kings? Please narrate this.

Vaiśampāyana said:—

29. O dear, O lord of the subjects, the kingdom of Bāhu who indulged in vices was captured by Haihayas and Tālajaṅghas and the Śakas.

30. Five groups of Rākṣasas are mentioned, viz.—Yavanas,[9] Pāradas,[10] Kāmbojas,[11] Pahlavas[12] and Bahūdakas.[13]

31. O king, these five groups of Rākṣasas pursuing activities of exploit on behalf of the Haihayas seized the kingdom of Bāhu and gave it to the Haihayas.

32. Having lost the kingdom, Bāhu went to the forest along with his wife. Distressed that he was he abandoned his life.

33. One of his wives belonging to the house of Yadu followed him in pregnancy. Due to jealousy as a result of her expected son before her, the co-wife administered poison to her.

34. She made the funeral pyre of her husband ready and was about to enter the fire, Aurva Bhārgava mercifully prevented her.

35. The queen stayed in his hermitage for the sake of her child in the womb. She served the sage, mentally remembering Śiva.

36. Once when the Muhūrta and the Lagna were good when the five planets were ascendant the child was born along with the poison administered to the queen.

37. In that auspicious Lagna, O excellent sage, the king Sagara, of mighty arms, was born.

38. Aurva performed the postnatal rites of that prince. He taught him Vedas and Śāstras and instructed him in the use of missiles.

39. The blessed Sagara, earnestly learnt the lore of the fiery missile, in accordance with the rules of procedure, the missile that is unbearable even to the gods.

40. The infuriated Sagaras, equipped with this miraculous and other weapons and with his own natural strength, killed the Haihayas.

41. This Sagara became foremost among the famous, earned fame in all the worlds and established piety on the earth.

42. Then the Śakas, Yavanas, Kāmbojas and Pahlavas, being destroyed sought refuge in Vasiṣṭha.

43. After deceitfully compelling them to enter into an agreement, Vasiṣṭha of great brilliance offered them freedom from fear and brought them to king Sagara.

44. At the instance of his priest Sagara maintained his vow by destroying their mode of worship and effecting alterations in their hair style.

45. He released the Śakas after shaving off half of their heads. Complete tonsure was assigned to Yavanas and Kambojas.

46. Pāradas were given close hair-cut and Pahlavas were asked to grow beard and moustache. All of them were deprived of the right of the Vedic study and the use of Vaṣaṭkāra.

47. All those Kṣatriyas who had been deprived of virtue were re-instated in piety. The entire earth was conquered by him virtuously.

48. Thus conquering the earth virtuously the king instituted a horse-sacrifice.

49. O sage, the sacrificial horse was let loose, followed by his sixty thousand sons. It reached the shore of the ocean in the south-eastern region.

50. It was stealthily removed by Indra, king of the gods, for his selfish ends near the sea-shore and taken underground.

51. In order to search out the horse, king Sagara caused the country around dug up through his sons.

52. While it was being dug near the ocean, they met the sage Kapila, the primordial Puruṣa of cosmic form.

53. As he woke up from trance all but four of the sixty thousand sons were burnt by the fire from his eyes.

54. The four who were spared were Harṣaketu, Suketu, Dharmaratha and Pañcajana. They became the kings establishing his line.

55. Lord Viṣṇu granted him five boons, viz. flourishing family, intelligence, fame, the ocean as son and wealth.

56. By that virtue he attained the fatherhood of ocean. He regained the sacrificial horse from the ocean.

57. He performed a hundred horse-sacrifices and became famous. He acquired wealth bestowed by Śiva. He propitiated the deities by performing the sacred rites.

Footnotes and references:


Cp. Manu. VI.91 [or 92]

dhṛtiḥ kṣamā damo'steyaṃ śaucamindriyanigrahaḥ |
dhīrvidyā satyamakrodho daśakaṃ dharmalakṣaṇam ||


Kekayas lived between the Jhelum and the Beas and had their capital at Girivraja (Girijak or Jalālpur) on the Jhelum.


These constituted one of the five clans of Haihayas, the other four being Vītihotra, Bhoja, Avanti and Tuṇḍikera.


Haihayas formed a branch of the Yādavas who ruled at Māhiṣmatī (Mod. Māndhātā in the Nimar District, M.P.) on the Narmada river.


The original home of the Śakas was the Valleys of the Jaxartes and Oxus. But they had settled in India after they had conquered the country.


Pāradas are identical with the Pārthians who lived in the Khorasam region.


The Tagaṇas or Taṅgaṇas had their headquarters at Taṅgaṇāpura near Jyotirmaṭha in Garhwal (Ep. Ind. Vol. XXXI. P. 286).


According to Al-Biruni, the Khasas were a Himalayan tribe now represented by the Khakkas of Kashmir.


Yavanas are identical with the Indo-Greeks who settled in the northwestern part of India and adjoining lands.


See No. 35 above.


Kāmbojas lived in the land between the Rajauri Valley in Kashmir and the Hindukush mountains. Some scholars locate the tribe near Badakhshan beyond the Hindukush.


Pahlavas or the Pahlavis are identical with the Persians.


Bahūdakas remain unidentified.

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