The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes description of amavasu dynasty (vamsha) which is Chapter 66 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.

Chapter 66 - Description of Amāvasu dynasty (vaṃśa)

Sūta said:—

1 -3. Budha was the son of the Moon and Budha’s son was Pururavas. He was brilliant and liberal in charitable gifts. He used to perform sacrifices distributing much wealth as monetary gifts. He was an expounder of Brahman. Possessing valorous exploits, he was invincible to the enemies in battle. This king regularly performed Agnihotra and many (other) Yajñas. He was truthful in speed and righteous in mind. He was very lustrous. His sexual indulgence was only in secret. In handsomeness he was perfectly unrivalled in all the three worlds.

4. Setting aside her personal prestige, Urvaśī, the reputed (celestial damsel), chose as her husband that expounder of Brahman who had complete control of his sense organs, was conversant with dharma, and truthful in speech.

5-7. That vigorous king stayed with her for a period of ten years, eight years, seven years, six years, seven years, eight years, ten years and eight years at the Caitraratha forest, the beautiful bank of the Mandākinī, Alakā (Capital city of Kubera), Viśālā, Nandana, the excellent park, the feet (foothills) of mount Gandhamādana, the peak of the excellentmost mount Meru, Northern Kurus and the village Kalāpi (respectively).

8. The king of great vigour accompanied by Urvaśī sported with excessive joy in these important parks and forests frequented by the Suras.

The sages enquired:—

9. Tell us the misdemeanour of the king for which the Gandharva divine lady Urvaśī left off the king of human birth and came back to heaven.

Sūta said:—

10. Overwhelmed with the curse of a Brāhmaṇa (or of Brahmā), she came to the world of human beings. For the sake of getting herself released from the curse, she stipulated certain conditions.

11-13. (Defective text). “Not seeing him naked, sexual intercourse without passion (?) and she would keep two goats near her bed.[1] (She then said)—“My sole diet shall be ghee and that too once a day, O king. If these conditions are agreed to, O king, and as long as you closely adhere to this stipulation, I shall continue to stay with you. This is our mutual agreement.” The king strictly adhered to her stipulation.

14-15. Thus she stayed with the son of Ilā and had intercourse with him. Deluded by the curse and on account of her devotion to him, she stayed for sixty four years.

Urvaśī came to the mortal world. Hence the Gandharvas became worried.

The Gandharvas said

O fortunate ones, think about the ways and means whereby that excellent lady Urvaśī, the ornament of Heaven, may come back once again to the Devas.

16-19. Then a Gandharva of very great intellect named Viśvāvasu removed the two young kids belonging to her. After that, she left for heaven. The king began to wander (here and there) on account of separation from her and saw her at Kurukṣetra. He had a talk with her. She told him... “Rush up to the Gandharvas”. He did so. Then they gave him a pot of fire. The king of great martial competency (literally—of great chariot) went to Heaven with it. Originally there was only one fire. But the son of Ilā made it three.

20-21. The son of Ilā, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, was a king of such ability and potentiality. The king of great fame established his kingdom at Prayāga on the northen bank of Yamunā in the city of Pratiṣṭhāna (modern Jhusi, near Allahabad) in a holy realm adorned by great sages.

22-23. Six sons were born to him. They had their splendour comparable to that of Indra. They are well-known in the world of Gandharvas viz.—Āyus, Dhīmān, Āmāvasu, Viśvāvasu, Śrutāyus and Ghṛtāyus. These were the sons of Urvaśī.

The formidable king Bhīma, the conqueror of the Universe, was born of Amāvasu.[2]

24. The glorious king Kāñcanaprabha was the heir of Bhīma. The learned Suhotra of great strength was the son of Kāñcana (i.e. Kāñcanaprabha).

25-27a. Jahnu, born of the womb of Keśinī was the son of Suhotra.

While his elaborate sacrificial rite was going on, the river Gaṅgā turned her course and flooded that territory on account of the vision of inevitable future.

On seeing the sacrificial chamber entirely flooded with (the waters of) the Gaṅgā, the infuriated son of Suhotra, the king, drank up the Gaṅgā.

27b-28. On seeing the Gaṅgā drunk up by the saintly king, the celestial sages brought out the highly fortunate river (Gaṅgā) as his daughter (and known as) Jāhnavī. Jahnu married Kāverī the grand-daughter of Yauvanāśva.

29. Through the curse of Yuvanāśva, Gaṅgā gave birth from half of her part to Kāverī the praise-worthy wife of Jahnu, the most excellent of all rivers.

30. Jahnu begot of Kāverī a beloved son of great virtue named Sunaha. His son was Ajaka.

31. Ajaka’s heir Balākāśva of great fame, became a habitual hunter. Kuśa is remembered as his son.

32. Kuśa had four sons of divine lustre and refulgence viz. Kuśāmba, Kuśanābha, Amūrtarayasa and Vasu.

33. Kuśika (? Kuśanābha) the excellent king performed a penance seeking a son. When a hundred years were completed, Indra noticed him.

34-35. On seeing him performing severe penance, the thousand-eyed lord Indra, the eternal one who was himself capable of causing a son to be born unto him became his son himself. The chastiser of Pāka (i.e. Indra) became the son of Kuśika under the name Gādhi.

36. Paurukutsī (daughter of Purukutsa) became the wife of Gādhi. At first a splendid girl of exalted fortune was born of her known by the name of Satyavatī.[3]

37-38. King Gādhi gave her (in marriage) to Ṛcīka who was desirous of a son. Being pleased with her, her husband, the delighter of the members of the family of Bhṛgu, himself a descendant of Bhṛgu, prepared Garu (consecrated cooked rice) for the sake of a son to himself as well as to Gādhi.

Then Ṛcīka, the descendant of Bhṛgu, spoke to his wife.

39-42a. This Caru should be eaten by you, O splendid lady and that Caru by your mother. To her will be born a lustrous son. a bull among Kṣatriyas, who can never be conquered by Kṣatriyas in battle and who will be able to slay even prominent Kṣatriya warriors. So you also, O lady of good weal, this Caru will cause the birth of a son of great courage, a great ascetic of quiescent nature, an excellent Brāhmaṇa.

After saying this to his wife, Ṛcīka, the delighter of the members of the family of Bhṛgu who was always engaged in penance, entered the forest for penance.

42b-45a. At that time, in the course of his pilgrimage, Gādhi, the king, accompanied by his wife came to the hermitage of Ṛcīka in order to see his daughter. Taking up the two vessels of consecrated Caru of the sage, the delighted Satyavatī intimated to her mother the words of her husband quietly, without any excitement.

As fate would have it, the mother gave her own Caru to her daughter. Due to ignorance she swallowed her daughter’s Caru herself.[4]

45b-50. Then with her bright and lustrous body Satya-vatī conceived in her womb a splendid son, the future annihilator of Kṣatriyas. She became terrible to behold. On seeing her and reflecting by means of his Yogic power, Ṛcīka the excellent Brāhmaṇa spoke to his wife, the lady of excellent complexion:—

“O gentle lady, you have been deceived by your mother by the inter-change of the Carus. An extremely terrible son of cruel activities will be born to you. Your mother will give birth to an ascetic of such a nature as I have mentioned before. The entire Brahminical splendour had been instilled into the the Caru by me through my power of penance”.

On being told thus by her husband, Satyavatī of exalted fortune and dignity sought the favour of her husband saying—“A base Brāhmaṇa like this should not be born as my son through you”.

51. On being told thus, the sage said “O excellent lady, this has never been thought of by me or by you. This has never been wished for by me or by you. A son shall become ruthless in his activities usually on account of his mother or father”.

52-55. On being told thus, Satyavatī spoke again like this—“If you wish, O sage, you can create even worlds, why not a son? It behoves you, O husband to give me a son of quiescent nature. If it cannot be altered, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, of good holy rites, let our grandson be like this (i.e. terrible and ruthless)”.

Thereupon, by means of the power of his penance, he made her pleased and contented saying—“Whether it is my son or my grandson, O lady of excellent complexion, I do not see any difference. It shall be as you have said, O gentle lady”.

56. Therefore, Satyavatī gave birth to Jamadagni, a son of the Bhṛgu family, of quiescent nature, having perfect control over his sense-organs and devoted to the performance of penance.

57. Formerly, there had been an interchange of the Carus belonging to Rudra and Viṣṇu. Since he ate (i.e. since he was born as a result of his mother eating) the fire (Cam) belonging to Viṣṇu, he became Jamadagni

58. After getting Viśvāmitra as his heir, Gādhi the son of Kuśika (or descendant of Kuśika) attained the status equal to that of a Brahminical sage. He was chosen by Brahmā (as such).

59-60a. Satyavatī of great sanctity and devoted to truthful vows and observances flowed as the great river named Kauśikī. Kauśikī the most excellent and distinguished river began to flow.

60b-64. There was a king named Reṇuka born in the family of Ikṣvāku. His daughter of great fortune Reṇukā was otherwise known by the name of Kamalī. By means of his power of penance, fortitude and concentration of mind, Jamadagni, the son of Ṛcīka, begot of Reṇukā alias Kamalī a son of great terrific nature (named) Rāma who was very excellent, who (later) mastered all lores and the science of archery, who was to kill the Kṣatriyas who resembled well-kindled blazing fire.

Thus Jamadagni of lofty (noble) mind, the most excellent one among the knowers of Brahman, was born of Satyavatī, due to the vigour of the penance of Ṛcīka, son of Aurva. Śunaḥśepha was the middle and Śunaḥpuccha was the youngest son[5].

65. Viśvāmitra of noble soul was otherwise known by the name Viśvaratha. It was through the grace of (the scion of the family of) Bhṛgu that he was born as the perpetuator of the line of Kauśikas.

66-67. Viśvāmitra’s son Śunaḥśepha was a sage.[6] He was intended (appointed) as the sacrificial animal in the Yajña of Hariścandra. He was given back to Viśvāmitra by the Devas. Since Śunaḥśepha was given back by the Devas he became Devarāta.

68-69. Among the sons of Viśvāmitra,[7] Śunaḥśepha is regarded as the eldest. Madhucchanda and others, Kṛtadeva, Dhruva, Aṣṭaka, and Pūraṇa also were the sons of Viśvāmitra. The spiritual lines (Gotras) of those noble-souled Kauśikas are numerous.

70-73. They are as follows:—

Pārthivas, Devarātas, Yājñavalkyas, Samarpaṇas, Udumbaras, Vātadyas, Talakāyanas, Cāndravas, Lohinīs, Reṇus, Kārīṣus, Babhrus, Paṇins, Dhyāna-Japyas, Śyāmāyanas, Hiraṇyākṣas, Sāṅkṛtas, Gālavas, Devalas, Yāmadūtas, Śālaṅkāyanas, Bāṣkalas, Lālāṭyas, Bādaras and others belonged to the Gotras of the intelligent Viśvāmitra.

Many descendants ofKauśikas (i.e. those of the spiritual lines of Viśvāmitra) who have to enter into marriage alliance with other sages are also proclaimed.

74-75. They are Kauśikas, Sauśrutas, Saindhavāyanas and others. They belong to the Gotra of the holy Brahminical sage Kauśika, the lord of Yogic practice.

Among the sons of Viśvāmitra, Śunaḥśepha is remembered as the eldest. Aṣṭaka was the son of Dṛṣadvatī and Viśvāmitra. Lauhi was the son of Aṣṭaka. Thus the group of Jahnu has been recounted by me.

The sages enquired:—

76-78. The status of Brāhmaṇas has been acquired by Viśvāmitra and other kings. What is the nature of Dharma (virtue, piety), penance or learning through which they acquired this? Under what names did the Kṣatriyas attain the status of a Brāhmaṇa? We wish to know the difference through penance or charitable gifts.

On being asked thus, he spoke these meaningful words.

79. A rich man desirous of religious merit and virtue may invite excellent Brāhmaṇas and perform Yajñas with wealth acquired by unjust means. But he does not attain the benefit of the righteous act.

80-82. A person overwhelmed by passion and delusion, who had been always without any check or restraint due to covetousness for wealth, may in the end desire to sanctify himself and for this purpose he may perform Japa (chanting of Mantras etc.) intensely and distribute gifts also. But the charitable gifts made by him may become fruitless. That wicked: man prone to violence may be inclined to perforin meritorious deeds. After acquiring wealth thus (by unjust means), he may distribute charitable gifts and perform Yajñas out of delusion. The tarnished gift of that wicked soul does not stand in. good stead.

83-85a. If a man gives to the deserving persons wealth accumulated through just means, if a person worships and distributes gifts without cherishing desires in his mind, he acquires the fruit of those charitable gifts. That gift results in pleasure and happiness. One attains worldly pleasures through charitable gifts. One goes to heaven through truthfulness. One pervades the worlds and stands eternally by means of penance performed duly.

85b. Truthfulness is more conducive to welfare than penance. Knowledge is remembered weightier, more efficacious than that.

86a-90. It is reported that the twice-born castes who were born as Kṣatriyaṣ achieved (Brahminhood) through penance. (For example) king Viśvāmitra, Māndhātṛ, Saṅkṛti, Kapi, Kāśya, Purukutsa, Śala, lord Gṛtsamada, Ārṣṭiṣeṇa, Ajamīḍha, Bhargavyoma, Kakṣīvān, Auśija king Śiśira, Rathāntara, Śaunaka, Viṣṇuvṛddha and other kings had been Kṣatriyas, but these are remembered to have attained the status of sages by means of penance.[8] All these saintly kings had attained great Siddhis (spiritual accomplishments).

Henceforth, I shall recount the line of the noble-souled Āyus.

Footnotes and references:


Urvaśī as her name implies was a resident of Ur, an ancient town in the middle east. It appears that fashionable ladies of B.C. 3300 of Ur used to keep a pair of rams as pets: A.J. Karandikar in his (marathi) Background of the Mahābhārata (Mahābhāratācī Pārśvabhūmī, Poona 1980. quotes from sir Leonard Wooley’s excavations at Ur. Among the finds in a queen’s tomb of 3300 B.C. deposited therein for the entertainment of the queen, “The strangest perhaps was a pair of rams. They were beautifully and intricately made. Their bodies were covered with fleece of shell... their heads and legs were of gold” (Intro, to Karandikar’s book p. 8). This may be the cause of importance attached to this term of contract-marriage between Pururavas and Urvaśī.


As noted by Pargiter, Amāvasu was the founder of Kānyakubja kingdom (AIHT. p. 144).


Pargiter gives Kuśāśva as the name of Kuśa’s son and Kuśika was Kuśāśva’s son (AIHT, p.144).


This exchange of caru seems an explanatory device to justify the militant nature of the Brahmin Paraśurāma and the Brahmanical transformation in the Kṣatriya Viśvāmitra.


“In Vā. P. 91.92 also Śunaḥśepa and Śunaḥpuccha are the names of Jamadagni’s brothers.


As Aitareya Brāhmaṇa notes Śunaḥśepa was adopted as a son by Viśvāmitra.


A comparison of this list with that given in Mt.P. Baudhāyana, Āśvalāyana, Āpastamba and Kātyāyana shows that our author is not exhaustive in giving the Gotras of the Kuśika clan. (videMt.P.—a Studypp. 406-409)


This is an evidence of social mobility in ancient India.

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