by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246
This page describes the narrative of bhargava parashurama (k) which is Chapter 47 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.
1. “Thereafter, Rāma captured alive twelve thousand kings who had unmeasured splendour and who were duly coronated.
2. That sage of great splendour took these thousands of kings along with the sages to the pilgrimage centre Kurukṣetra which is full of penance (i.e. sages performing penance).
3. The leading member of the family of Bhṛgu caused five lakes to be dug there. All around them, he got built holy bathing ghats of comfortable access.
4. Bhārgava killed the kings there. With the blood flowing out of their bodies he filled those five lakes.
5. The valorous son of Jamadagni duly bathed in them and performed the rite of offering libations to the manes in accordance with the scriptures carefully.
7. Surmounting all unfavourable circumstances thus, he stayed in the holy centre of Kurukṣetra abounding in austerities. He was alertly engaged in the worship of Pitṛs.
8. Thenceforward, the holy spot created by the son of Jamadagni in the penance grove of Kurukṣetra became the most excellent of all excellent sacred places.
9. The place where the most excellent one among the members of the family of Bhṛgu caused the everlasting satisfaction to the manes has come to be known as Syamantapañcaka or Samantapañcaka. It is well known in all the three worlds.
10. It is the place where all his Pitṛs were fully propitiated by him by means of holy baths, charitable gifts, penance[,] Homas, feeding of the Brāhmaṇas and offerings of libations.
11-13a. The Pitṛs obtained everlasting satisfaction and the eternal world of the Pitṛs. The holy centre named Samantapañcaka is well known in the world as destructive of all sins and developed by means of great merit. All the sins of men who go there are removed even from a great distance like a dry leaf in a strong wind.
13b-l5a. The opportunity to go to that pilgrim centre is never obtained by bad men, O great king, even after hundreds of births.
The sacred spot Samantapañcaka in Kurukṣetra is extremely sanctifying. A man who takes his holy bath there is (on a par with) a man who bathes in all holy rivers and tanks.
15b-17a. Having fulfilled all his religious acts very well, Rāma felt completely satisfied in regard to his desires. The highly intelligent sage stayed there for some time with great self-restraint.
Then, at the end of a year, the son of Jamaḍagni of great self control, went to Gayā accompanied by the Brāhmaṇas in order to offer the balls of rice to the Pitṛs.
17b-20a. After going there, the suppressor of enemies propitiated the Brāhmaṇas, greeted and honoured on behalf of the Pitṛs in the Śrāddha in accordance with the scriptures.
The Pitṛs who are worshipped there by persons belonging to their families, even to the slightest extent in accordance with their capacity, will attain everlasting access to their goal through the offerings of balls of rice and similar objects.
20b-23a. When the Brāhmaṇas had been fully propitiated on behalf of the Pitṛs Rāma who had devotion into the Pitṛs duly offered the ball of rice.
Thereupon, all the Pitṛs beginning with Jamadagni came from the Pitṛloka and accepted the reverent worship performed by him.
Delighted in their minds they approached the delighter of the members of the family of Bhṛgu (i.e. Paraśurāma). All those Pitṛs remained invisible in the sky and addressed him:
The Pitṛs said:
23b-26a. “O heroic one, a great deed has been accomplished by you which is difficult for others to do. You have duly and very well propitiated us. But still you have not given us everlasting pleasure; since it was after massacred Kṣatriyas that you have achieved your aim.
Due to the potentiality of this holy centre as well as to your own devotion, we have been met by you and worshipped. But we have not enjoyed everlasting benefits.
26b-28. Hence, for the sake of destroying the sin of slaughter of heroes as well as other sins you should perform the due expiatory rites and perpetual Dharma. Henceforth, desist from killing the Kṣatriyas.
They are not directly responsible for the offence against your father since the universe is not uncontrolled. It was on account of that, that the murder of your father was committed formerly.
29. Who is competent to kill whom? Who is competent to save whom in this world? In these two affairs everyone can at best be the instrumental cause alone in regard to everyone else.
30-31. Certainly every one acts in accordance with his previous Karman. There is no doubt in this regard that the people became powerful befitting the proper time.
Without (the intercession) of the fate, no living being on the Earth is capable of oppressing other living beings, dear one, because every one does his own action in accordance with his ability.
32. Hence, give up your furious anger towards the Kṣatriyas. With a desire to do what is pleasing to us, regain quietism (restraint of passions). That indeed is our great strength. Welfare unto you”.
33. After telling this to Bhārgava alt the Pitṛs vanished. He too respectfully accepted their proposals.
34. Accompanied by Akṛtavraṇa, Rāma joyfully went from that place to Siddhavanāśrama.
35. After staying there along with the Brāhmaṇas, O king, the noble-minded most excellent scion of the family of Bhṛgu, resolved to perform penance.
36. He sent off Sahasāha along with his chariot, the bows and other necessary requisites after making him agree to come again (if and when necessary).
37-38. Going all over the world, he took holy plunges in all pilgrim-spots and performed the worship of Pitṛs, Devas and others.
In this manner, O leading king, the delighter of the family of Bhṭgu went round the Earth three times, following the popular convention.
39. Then once again, O king, he went to Mahendra, the excellent mountain in order to perform penance. He was surrounded by the Brāhmaṇas then.
40. Conversant with Dharma, he made there a permanent abode for himself, O king, as it was a place inhabited by Sages and Siddhas.
41. Sages living in all the holy centres, the expounders of the Brahman with perfect Self-Control, came there desirous of seeing him as he performed penance.
42. Those groups of sages saw him with his mind attached to austerities like a fire that had become calm after burning down a forest of dead trees in the form of Kṣatriya completely.
43. On seeing those divine sages full of the power of penance come, Bhārgava honoured and welcomed them by means of conventional requisites such as Arghya etc.
44. After enquiries about their mutual welfare (they themselves) engaged in fascinating stories and anecdotes that were meritorious and leading to great advancement and prosperity.
45. Then, with the approval of these sages of purified souls, he began preparations for performing a horse-sacrifice, the greatest of all sacrifices.
46-47. He collected the necessary requisites (for the sacrifice). He was accompanied by (sages like) Aurva, Viśvāmitra, Bharadvāja, Mārkaṇḍeya and others. With their approval, he made Kāśyapa as his preceptor and performed the great sacrifice called horse-sacrifice, Oking.
Accompanied by his sons, disciples and disciples of his disciples and assisted by other sages, O king, the holy Bhṛgu performed the work of Sadasya (i.e. Sadasaspati, the President of the sacrificial assembly).
The leading scion of the family of Bhṛgu (i.e. Paraśurāma) concluded all rites along with these sages and duly worshipped Brahmā along with his preceptor.
52b-54. A beautiful girl was duly adorned with ornaments to represent the Earth. The leading member of the family of Bhṛgu invoked the Earth consisting of hundreds of cities and villages, having oceans for its garments and garlands, and including mountains, forests and parks and granted the same to Kāśyapa except the excellent mountain (Mahendra). Rāma reserved it for his own residence thereafter, O leading king.
55-56. He worshipped Kāśyapa in accordance with the injunctions of the sacred texts, by means of gold, gems, jewels, garments, horses, elephants, food and other things. He concluded the sacrifice (Yajñā). At the end of the Yajña he had his ceremonial bath called Avabhṛtha. Then with the sage’s permission, he performed the rite of Abandonment of wealth (by distribution of monetary gifts).
57. After giving the promise of freedom from fear to all living beings, the delighter of the family of Bhṛgu began to perform penance there itself on the excellent mountain.
59. After they had gone, the holy lord (Rāma) began the performance of a great penance and lived happily there itself in the company of Akṛtavrāṇa.
60-61. The Earth belonging to Kāśyapa and having many rulers over it performed the holy observance called Dīpapratiṣṭhā (Establishment of lamps), with the permission of Mārīca (i.e. Kāśyapa) for the suppression of all miseries. The rite had been recounted by Viṣṇu himself. Dharaṇī (The Earth-goddess) became perfectly rid of all miseries.
62. Thus the appearance of the son of Jamadagni has been narrated. On hearing this story, a man is rid of all sins.
63. In the course of the story, the prowess of Kārttavīrya whose splendour had become renowned in the world, had been duly narrated without being too brief or too prolix.
64. That king Kārttavīrya had such great potentiality and influence on the Earth that there will never be a man like him in future. A man like him has never been heard of in the past.
68. The senior Tālajaṅgha lived for a long time in the middle of Himalayan forests along with his sons Vītihotra and others as well as Haihaya and other kings.
69. Formerly, when he was fleeing, Tālajaṅgha was hit on his back by an arrow of Rāma. With an excruciating pain he fell senseless on the ground.
70 By chance, Vītihotra who was also fleeing saw him. Taking him in his chariot, he fled speedily.
71. All of them lived on the Himalayas, afflicted by great fear. They had a lot of sufferings and they had only greens, roots and fruits for food.
72. Thereafter, when Rāma calmed ḍown with his mind engrossed in penances, Tālajaṅgha along with his sons regained his kingdom.
73. The excellent king, the suppressor of his enemies, established the city once again as before, stayed there and protected his own kingdom.
74. Recollecting the previous enmity, O great king, Tālajaṅgha attacked your city along with his sons, followers and armies.
75. Accompanied by his army consisting of four units, that king approached the city of Ayodhyā, making the Earth tremble as it were and yelled loudly.
76. Your father, even though of futile authority, came out of the city. Although he was very old, he fought like a young man with all those kings.
77-78. Though the old king killed many elephants, horses and soldiers, and destroyed many chariots, he was defeated by his enemies. Hence he decided to flee.
Abandoning his city and kingdom along with the treasury, army and vehicles, he entered the forest accompanied by your mother who was pregnant.
79-80. He was staying on the outskirts of the hermitage of Aurva. He had been weighed down by oìd age and was overwhelmed with grief and fury. He was looked at helplessly by your mother with her throat choked with tears. Thus like a helpless person, O leading king, he passed away to the heavenly world from this world.
81. Your mother, O king, was full of misery and grief. Weeping and crying she placed the corpse of her husband on the funeral pyre.
82. She had become emaciated due to starvation and other miseries, over and above it, she was now agitated over the demise of her husband. Hence, she firmly resolved to immolate herself and to enter into the funeral.
83. On hearing about all these, Aurva, the great sage, himself came out of the hermitage. Restraining her from self-immolation he said thus:—
84. “You must not die now, O queen. There lies in your womb a son who will be the most excellent one among all Emperors”.
85-86. On hearing these words of his, your mother of great fortitude, abstained from death. The sage took her to his hermitage. Desirous of seeing your lotus-like face, she curbed her miseries and stayed comfortably within the bounds of his hermitage. At the proper time, she gave birth to you in the hermitage of Aurva.
87. That sage performed all the post-natal holy rites for you. You have been brought up in the hermitage of Aurva. He took pity on you.
88-89. The story beyond this is already known to you. O suppressor of enemies.
King Kārttavīrya of such potentiality and power ruled over this Earth. Due to the power of observance of this holy vow, he became famous in all the worlds. Your father was defeated by his descendants and he fled to the forest.
90. All details connected with him have been recounted to you by me.
This holy rite too which is the most excellent one among all holy rites, has been fully recounted to you.
91-92. This holy rite has been recounted along with its Mantras and Tantras. It yields the benefit of all the worlds. To a person who performs this holy rite, O king, there is no desire among the fourfold aims of a man that is difficult of accomplishment in all the three worlds.
The holy rite of king Haihaya and the story of sage Jāmadagnya has been succinctly recounted by me. What else shall I tell you?”
93-94. “Thereupon, king Sagara said to the sage with palms joined in reverence—“O holy lord, I wish to perform this holy rite. Instruct me well in this connection and grant me permission for undertaking the same.
95-97a. By means of this holy rite, O Brahmanical sage, I shall undoubtedly be blessed.”
On being requested thus by the king, the great sage said “So be it”. He initiated the king along the path mentioned in scriptural texts.
On being initiated by Vasiṣṭha, Sagara, the excellent king, gathered together all the materials and duly performed the splendid holy rite.
97b-100. Following those injunctions, the king worshipped the lord of the Universe. Getting the permission of the preceptor, he concluded the same in a befitting manner.
The king of great intellect then took the vow—“I shall perform this excellent holy rite strenuously for the whole of my life.”
After taking leave of the king and making him return when he followed, the holy sage Vasiṣṭha went back to his hermitage.
Footnotes and references:
One is surprised to find how Paraśurāma who was never anointed as a king nor was married at any time became eligible to perform Aśvamedha. For Āpastamba (XX. 1.1) and Lāṭyāyana (IX.10.17) Śrauta Sūtras have specifically prescribed this for a crowned king. Out of the four queens required of a king, one must be a crowned queen (Lāṭyāyana Śrauta Sūtra 10.1-2).
The wives of the kings are to go round the horse when killed. The crowned queen is to unite with the dead horse under the cover of a mantle (Āpastamba XXII. 11.3-4). Was this Aśvamedha episode introduced to explain why Paraśurāma gave all the conquered Land to Kaśyapa?
The rise of the power of Haihayas (Tālajaṅghas) after the retirement of Paraśurāma from active life, shows the temporary effect of Paraśurāma’s conquests. Tālajaṅghas not only recovered their kingdom but establishing their dominance on the Indo-gangetic plain, they drove out the ruler of Ayodhyā who, due to blood relation with Jamadagni, was an ally of Paraśurāma.