The Linga Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1951 | 265,005 words | ISBN-10: 812080340X | ISBN-13: 9788120803404

This page describes The narrative of Yayati which is chapter 66 of the English translation of the Linga Purana, traditionally authored by Vyasa in roughly 11,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with Shaiva pilosophy, the Linga (symbol of Shiva), Cosmology, Yugas, Manvantaras, Creation theories, mythology, Astronomy, Yoga, Geography, Sacred pilgrimage guides (i.e., Tirthas) and Ethics. The Lingapurana is an important text in Shaivism but also contains stories on Vishnu and Brahma.

Chapter 66 - The narrative of Yayāti

Sūta said:

1-2. By the grace of the lord of Devas as well as of Taṇḍin, Tridhanvan attained assiduously the benefit of a thousand horse-sacrifices. Thereafter he gained the lordship of Śiva’s attendants. He was bowed to by all Devas. The scholarly king Trayyāruṇa was the successor to Tridhanvan.

3-4. He had an extremely powerful son named Satyavrata. He killed the king of Vidarbha[1] of unmeasured prowess[2] and abducted his wife before the mantras of the wedding celebrations were brought to a close. The king Trayyāruṇa abandoned him because he was defiled by that evil.

5. When abandoned, he said to his father “Where shall I go?” O brahmins, the father replied to him “Go and live among the Cāṇḍālas.

6-11. On being ordered thus, he went out of the city. At the instance of his father, the intelligent Satyavrata went to the Cāṇḍāla colony. On being abandoned by his father thus he stayed near the slum while his father went to the forest. The valiant (son) and meritorious king Satyavrata became famous in all the worlds under the name Triśaṅku. Once Vasiṣṭha pronounced on him a curse. Viśvāmitra of great splendour granted him boons and crowned him king in the hereditary kingdom. The sage performed a sacrifice on his behalf. Even as Devas and Vasiṣṭha were watching, the holy lord Viśvāmitra raised him up to heaven in his human form.[3] His wife, Satyavratā born of the Kekaya family[4] gave birth to a spotless son Hariścandra. Hariścandra’s son Rohita was very powerful.

12. Harita was the son of Rohita. Dhundhu was the son of Harita. Vijaya and Sutejas were the sons of Dhundhu.

13. Vijaya was so called because he conquered the kings of the Kṣatriyavarṇa, His son Rucaka was a righteous king.

14. Vṛka was the son of Rucaka. From him was born Bāhu. Sagara, an extremely virtuous king was his son.

15. Sagara had two wives, Prabhā and Bhānumatī. The fiery sage Aurva[5] was propitiated by both of them, with a desire for sons.

16-17. The delighted Aurva asked them to choose a boon of their liking out of the two, viz. one would have sixty thousand sons and the other a single son, who would continue the family line. Prabhā chose to have many sons and Bhānumatī one son who was Asamañjasa.

18. Thereafter Prabhā gave birth to sixty thousand sons. While digging the earth, they were burned by the angry outbursts of Viṣṇu[6] in the guise of Kapila as if through arrows.

19-20. Asamañjasa’s son is well known as Aṃśumān. His son was Dilīpa. From Dilīpa was born Bhagīratha who performed penance and brought the Ganges to the earth. So it is called Bhāgīrathi. Bhagīratha’s son was Śruta.

21. Nābhāga was his successor. He was a valorous devotee of Śiva. His son was Ambarīṣa, from whom was born Sindhudvīpa.

22. The earth, ruled over by Nābhāga Ambarīṣa with the power of his arms became entirely devoid of the three-fold distress.

23. The valorous son of Sindhudvīpa was Ayutāyus. Ṛtuparṇa of great fame was the son of Ayutāyus.

24-25. This powerful king was a friend of Nala. He was conversant with the secret of dice. In the Purāṇas, two Nalas of stable holy rites are well known. One was the son of Vīrasena and the other born in the family of Ikṣvāku. Sārvabhauma the lord of the subjects was the son of Ṛtuparṇa.

26. King Sudās was his son. He was equal to Indra. King Saudāsa was the son of Sudās.

27-28. His actual name was Mitrasaha but he was more famous as Kalmāṣapāda.[7] Vasiṣṭha of great splendour begot of the wife of Kalmāṣapāda the son Aśmaka who continued the line of Ikṣvāku. Mūlaka was the son of Aśmaka and Uttarā (his wife).

29-30. That king was always surrounded by women due to his fear of Paraśurāma. Desirous of protection he had recourse to the excellent shield in the form of women. The virtuous king Śataratha was the son of Mūlaka. The powerful king Ilabila [Ilavila] was born of Śataratha.

31. The valorous Vṛddha Śarmā was the son of Ilabila [Ailavili?—āsīt tvailaviliḥ śrīmān vṛddhaśarmā]. The daughter of the Pitṛs bore him the son Viśvasaha.

32-33. Dilīpa was his son. He was famous by the name Khaṭvāṅga. He obtained a life for the duration of a Muhūrta. From heaven he came to this world for this period and conquered the three fires and the three worlds by means of his intellect and truthfulness. His son was Dīrghabāhu and Raghu was born of him.

34. The powerful and valiant Aja was born of Raghu. From him was born the glorious Daśaratha, the sustainer of the family of Ikṣvāku.

35. The heroic Rāma who was conversant with Dharma and who was well known in all the worlds was born of Daśaratha. So also were Bharata, Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna.

36-38. Rāma, the best among them, had great splendour and excellent valour. After killing Rāvaṇa in battle and performing sacrifices Rāma who was conversant with Dharma ruled over the kingdom for ten thousand years. A son well known as Kuśa was born to Rāma. His other son Lava was highly blessed, truthful and intelligent. Atithi was born to Kuśa and his son was Niṣadha.

39. Nala was born of Niṣadha and Nabhas was his son. A son called Puṇḍarīka was born to Nabhas, and Kṣema Dhanvan was his son.

40-41. His son was the heroic and valorous Devānīka. Ahīnara was his son and thereafter was Sahasrāśva. From him were born Candrāvaloka and Tārāpīḍa. His son was Candragiri. Bhānucandra was his son.

42. His son was Śrutāyu who was also known as Bṛhadbala. This powerful king was killed by Saubhadra (son of Subhadrā i.e. Abhimanyu) in the Bhārata war.

43. These are the successor kings of Ikṣvāku. In general only the more important ones in the dynasty are mentioned here in order of their importance.

44-45. All of them had realized Śiva. In accordance with their knowledge[8] they had worshipped the lord and performed sacrifices according to the rules. The noble souls had all attained heaven. Some of them were liberated souls and yogins. As the result of the curse of a brahmin, Nṛga attained the state of a chameleon.

46. Dhṛṣṭa had three virtuous sons, viz., Dhṛṣṭaketu, Yamabāla and Raṇadhṛṣṭa.

47. Śaryāti had a son Ānarta and a daughter Sukanyā. Ānarta’s son was Rocamāna.

48-49a. Rocamāna had a son Reva. From Reva were born Raivata and Kakudmin. Reva was the eldest of a hundred sons. His daughter Revatī was the wife of Balarāma.

49b. Nariṣyanta’s son was Jitātman.

50-51a From Nābhāga was born. Ambarīṣa, the devotee of Viṣṇu. Ṛta was his glorious son. He was the best among those conversant with Dharma. Kṛta was his virtuous son also known as Pṛṣita.

51a. The sons of Karūṣa were known as Kārūṣas.

52. Pṛṣita incurred great sin by killing the cow of his preceptor.[9] It is well known that he was degraded as a Śūdra due to the curse of Cyavana, his preceptor.

53. Diṣṭa’s son was Nābhāga and from him was born Bhalandana. His son Ajavāhana was a king of great exploits.

54. Thus (the successors of) the mighty sons of Manu are told briefly and the dynasty of Ikṣvāku (in some detail). Now I shall recount to you the dynasty of Aila.

Sūta said:

55-56. O brahmins, Purūravas a valorous son of Ilā and a devotee of Rudra, held an unhindered sway in the holy land Prayāga[10] which is. situated on the northern bank of the Yamunā[11] frequented by sages. He was the glorious lord of Pratiṣṭhāna[12] (Prayāga), and well established there.

57-58. He had six powerful glorious sons, well known in the region, of the Gandharvas and devoted to Śiva. All of them were divine, being the sons of Urvaśī.[13] They were:—Āyu, Māyu, Amāyu, Viśvāyu, Śrutāyu and Śatāyu.

59. Āyu had five sons of great power. They were kings born of Prabhā the daughter of Svarbhānu.

60. Nahuṣa the first among them was known in all the worlds and conversant with Dharma. Nahuṣa’s successors were six and they were comparable to Indra in splendour.

61-62. Those (kings) of great power were born of Virajā the daughter of the Pitṛs. They were Yati, Yayāti, Saṃyāti, Āyāti, Andhaka and Vijāti. All these six were well renowned. Yati was the eldest of them and Yayāti was junior to him.

63. The eldest royal son Yati seeking salvation, was united with Brahman. Among the other five Yayāti was the strongest and most valorous.

64. He married Devayānī the daughter of Śukra. She became the demoness Śarmiṣṭhā the daughter of Vṛṣaparvan.

65. Devayānī gave birth to two sons Yadu and Turvasu. Both of them performed sacrificial rites. They were highly spoken and were experts in all lores.

66-67. Śarmiṣṭhā the daughter of Vṛṣaparvan gave birth to Druhyu, Anu and Pūru. Propitiated by Yayāti, Śukra,the leading brahmin gave him a shining well-built golden car and two everlasting great quivers.

68. The chariot was yoked to horses as quick as the mind. It was in this chariot that he brought home his bride. With that excellent chariot he conquered the earth within six months.

69-71. Yayāti was invincible to Devas, Dānavas and mortals. He was a devotee of Śiva, a meritorious soul abiding by Dharma. He performed sacrifices. He conquered anger. He was sympathetic to all living beings. That excellent chariot was inherited by all the descendants of Kuru until Janamejaya the son of Parīkṣit the king in. the line of Pūru. As a result of the curse of the sage Garga[14] that chariot was destroyed.

72-76. The king Janamejaya harassed the son of Garga, the boy Akrūra, and hence attained the sin of brahmin slaughter. The king began to emit the odour of rusting iron. He ran about helterskelter. Since he was boycotted by the citizens and the people of the land he did not obtain happiness. Dejected, he did not even have perfect knowledge anywhere. In his anguish he went to sage Śaunaka and sought refuge in him. The liberal-minded sage who was known as Indreti performed sacrifice on his behalf. O excellent brahmins, for the sake of purification he made the king Janamejaya perform a horse sacrifice.

77-79. That king of great renown was relieved of the bad odour of iron as well as of his sin. In the middle of the Avabhṛtha ablution the divine and splendid chariot vanished. Lost from that family it was given to Vasu king of Cedi[15] by the delighted Indra. From him Bṛhadratha acquired the chariot. Thereafter, killing Jarāsandha (a successor of Bṛhadratha) Bhīma, the scion of the family of Kurus, gave that excellent chariot to Śrīkṛṣṇa out of love.

Sūta said:

80-83. King Yayāti son of Nahuṣa crowned his son Pūru (as king). O excellent brahmins, it was by that Pūru alone that he had been helped before. People of all castes including the leading brahmins spoke to the king who was desirous of crowning his youngest son:—O lord, how does the youngest son deserve the kingdom after overlooking the claims of the eldest son Yadu, the son of Devayānī and the grandson of Śukra? We are addressing you to keep up the traditional Dharma.”

Footnotes and references:


Vidarbha—i.e. the king of Vidarbha, mod. Berar, now placed under the administration of Mahārāṣṭra province.


Amitaujas—according to Śivatoṣiṇī. it is the name of a king.


For detail, Dawson: Hindu Mythology, pp. 288-289.


Kekaya—Kekayas lived between the Jhelum and the Beas and had their capital at Girivraja (Girijak modern Jalālpur) on the Jhelum river.


Aurvo agniḥ—agnisaḍṛśaḥ aurvo ṛṣiḥ Śivatoṣiṇī. the fiery sage Aurva, the son of Urva and the grandson of the famous sage Bhṛgu.


Viṣṇu—i.e. the sage Kapila who destroyed the sons of king Sagara by uttering “huṃ”. For detail, see Śp. (Umāsaṃhitā, p. 1610). Also H.M. pp. 271-272.


Kalmāṣapādaḥ—the same as Mitrasaha, a king of Ikṣvāku dynasty. For detail, Dawson pp. 144-145.


pāśupataṃ jñānam—yogic practices as enjoined in Śaiva cult. Cf. p. 135 note 242.


Pṛṣata killed, in ignorance, the cow of his preceptor: Cyavana, mistaking it for a tiger in the darkness of night.


Prayāga—this is a celebrated place of pilgrimage at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumnā in the Naimiṣa forest Vs.1.4). It is situated on the northern bank of the Ganges (Skandapurāṇa II.ii.12.36). The name Prayāga is recorded by Huen Tsang in the seventh century and is as old as the reign of Aśoka who set up the stone pillar about 235 B.G. The Gupta emperors regarded the place as the capital of Madhyadeśa.


Yamunā—this river rises in the Himālaya mountains among the Jumnotri peaks, flows for 860 miles on the plains before it joins the Ganges at Prayāga.


Pratiṣṭhāna—The Purāṇas are not agreed upon its locus. Some place it on the north and some on the east side of the Ganges. Others place it on the north bank of the Yamunā.


Urvaśī—a celebrated celstial nymph.


śāpād gargasya—by the curse of the sage Garga. The legend is not traceable.


Cedi-pateḥ—of the king of Cedi tribe or dan. Haimakoṣa identifies Cedinagarī with Tripur I (modern Tewar), situated on the Narmadā river near Jabalpur.

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