by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 2,566,952 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933
The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...
"Bhishma said, 'Listen truly in detail, O son of Pritha, how in olden times Visvamitra attained to the status of a Brahmana Rishi. There was, O foremost of Bharata’s descendants, in the race of Bharata, a king of the name of Ajamida, who performed many sacrifices and was the best of all virtuous men. His son was the great king named Jahnu. Ganga was the daughter of this high-minded prince. The farfamed and equally virtuous Sindhudvipa was the son of this prince. From Sindhudvipa sprung the great royal sage Valakasva. His son was named Vallabha who was like a second Dharma in embodied form. His son again was Kusika who was refulgent with glory like unto the thousand-eyed Indra. Kusika’s son was the illustrious King Gadhi who, being childless and desiring to have a son born unto him, repaired to the forest. Whilst living there, a daughter was born unto him. She was called Satyavati by name, and in beauty of appearance she had no equal on Earth. The illustrious son of Cyavana, celebrated by the name of Ricika, of the race of Bhrigu, endued with austere penances, sought the hand of this lady. Gadhi, the destroyer of his enemies, thinking him to be poor, did not bestow her in marriage upon the high-souled Ricika. But when the latter, thus dismissed, was going away, the excellent king, addressing him said,—'If you givest me a marriage dower you shalt have my daughter for your wife.'
"Ricika said, 'What dower, O king, shall I offer you for the hand of your daughter? Tell me truly, without feeling any hesitation in the matter. Gadhi said,—'O descendant of Bhrigu, do you give me a thousand horses fleet as the wind, and possessing the hue of moon-beams, and each having one ear black.'
"Bhishma said, 'Then that mighty son of Cyavana who was the foremost of Bhrigu’s race, besought the deity Varuna, the son of Aditi, who was the lord of all the waters.—O best of gods, I pray to you to give me a thousand horses, all endued with the speed of the wind and with complexion as effulgent as the moon’s, but each having one ear black. The god Varuna, the son of Aditi, said to that excellent scion of Bhrigu’s race,—Be it so. Wheresoever you shalt seek, the horses shalt arise (in your presence).—As soon as Ricika thought of them, there arose from the waters of Ganga thousand high-mettled horses, as lustrous in complexion as the moon. Not far from Kanyakubja, the sacred bank of Ganga is still famous among men as Asvatirtha in consequence of the appearance of those horses at that place. Then Ricika, that best of ascetics, pleased in mind, gave those thousand excellent horses unto Gadhi as the marriage-dower. King Gadhi, filled with wonder and fearing to be cursed, gave his daughter, bedecked with jewels, unto that son of Bhrigu. That foremost of regenerate Rishis accepted her hand in marriage according to the prescribed rites. The princess too was well-pleased at finding herself the wife of that Brahmana. That foremost of regenerate Rishis, O Bharata, was well pleased with her conduct and expressed a wish to grant her boon. The princess, O excellent king, related this to her mother. The mother addressed the daughter that stood before her with down-cast eyes, saving,—It behoves you, O my daughter, to secure a favour for me also from your husband. That sage of austere penances is capable of granting a boon to me, the boon, viz. of the birth of a son to me.—Then, O king, returning quickly to her husband Ricika, the princess related to him all that had been desired by her mother. Ricika said,—By my favour, O blessed one, she will soon give birth to a son possessed of every virtue. May your request be fulfilled. Of you too shall be born a mighty and glorious son who, endued with virtue, shall perpetuate my race. Truly do I say this unto you! When you two shall bathe in your season, she shall embrace a peepul tree, and you, O excellent lady, shalt likewise embrace a fig tree, and by so doing shall you attain the object of your desire. O sweetly-smiling lady, both she and you shall have to partake of these two sacrificial offerings (caru)rated with hymns, and then shall you obtain sons (as desired).—At this, Satyavati, delighted at heart, told her mother all that had been said by Ricika as also of the two balls of caru. Then the mother, addressing her daughter Satyavati, said:—O daughter, as I am deserving of greater consideration from you than your husband, do you obey my words. The caru, duly consecrated with hymns, which your husband has given to you, do you give unto me and thyself take the one that has been prescribed for me. O sweetly-smiling one of blameless character, if you have any respect for my word, let us change the trees respectively designed for us. Every one desires to possess an excellent and stainless being for his own son. The glorious Ricika too must have acted from a similar motive in this matter, as will appear in the end. For this reason, O beautiful girl, my heart inclines towards your caru, and your tree, and you too should consider how to secure an excellent brother for thyself.—The mother and the daughter Satyavati having acted in this way, they both, O Yudhishthira, became big with child. And that great Rishi, the excellent descendant of Bhrigu, finding his wife quick with child, was pleased at heart, and addressing her, said,—O excellent lady, you have not done well in exchanging the caru as will soon become apparent. It is also clear that you have changed the trees. I had placed the entire accumulated energy of Brahma in your caru and Kshatriya energy in the caru of your mother. I had so ordered that you wouldst give birth to a Brahmana whose virtues would be famous throughout the three worlds, and that she (your mother) would give birth to an excellent Kshatriya. But now, O excellent lady, that you have reversed the order (of the caru) so, your mother will give birth to an excellent Brahmana and you too, O excellent lady, will give birth to a Kshatriya terrible in action. You have not done will, O lady, by acting thus out of affection for your mother.—Hearing this, O king the excellent lady Satyavati, struck with sorrow, fell upon the ground like a beautiful creeper cut in twain. Regaining her senses and bowing unto her lord with head (bent), the daughter of Gadhi said to her husband, that foremost one of Bhrigu’s race,—O regenerate Rishi, O you that art foremost amongst those versed in Brahma, do you take pity on me, your wife, who is thus appeasing you and so order that a Kshatriya son may not be born unto me. Let my grandson be such a one as will be famous for his terrible achievements, if it be your desire, but not my son, O Brahmana. Do you confer this favour on me.—Be it so,—said that man of austere penances to his wife and then, O king, she gave birth to a blessed son named Jamadagni. The celebrated wife of Gadhi too gave birth to the regenerate Rishi Visvamitra versed in the knowledge of Brahma, by favour of that Rishi. The highly devout Visvamitra, though a Kshatriya, attained to the state of a Brahmana and became the founder of a race of Brahmanas. His sons became high-souled progenitors of many races of Brahmanas who were devoted to austere penances, learned in the Vedas, and founders, of many clans. The adorable Madhuchccanda and the mighty Devrat, Akshina, Sakunta, Vabhru, Kalapatha, the celebrated Yajnavalkya, Sthula of high vows, Uluka, Mudgala, and the sage Saindhavayana, the illustrious Valgujangha and the great Rishi Galeva, Ruci, the celebrated Vajra, as also Salankayana, Liladhya and Narada, the one known as Kurchamuka, and Vahuli, Mushala, as also Vakshogriva, Anghrika, Naikadrik, Silayupa, Sita, Suchi, Cakraka, Marrutantavya, Vataghna, Asvalayana, and Syamayana, Gargya, and Javali, as also Susruta, Karishi, Sangsrutya, and Para Paurava, and Tantu, the great sage Kapila, Tarakayana, Upagahana, Asurayani, Margama, Hiranyksha, Janghari, Bhavravayani, and Suti, Bibhuti, Suta, Surakrit, Arani, Nacika, Champeya, Ujjayana, Navatantu, Vakanakha, Sayanya, Yati, Ambhoruha, Amatsyasin, Srishin, Gardhavi Urjjayoni, Rudapekahin, and the great Rishi Naradin,—these Munis were all sons of Visvamitra and were versed in the knowledge of Brahma. O king Yudhishthira, the highly austere and devout Visvamitra, although a Kshatriya (by descent), became a Brahmana for Ricika having placed the energy of supreme Brahma (in the caru), O foremost prince of Bharata’s race, I have now related to you, with all details, the story of the birth of Visvamitra who was possessed of energy of the sun, the moon, and the fire-god. O best of kings, if you have any doubt with regard to any other matter, do you let me know it, so that I may remove it.'"
Footnotes and references:
Caru is properly an oblation of rice, barley, and pulse, boiled with butter and milk, for presentation to the gods in a sacrifice or ordinary worship.
This concludes Section IV of Book 13 (Anushasana Parva) of the Mahabharata, of which an English translation is presented on this page. This book is famous as one of the Itihasa, similair in content to the eighteen Puranas. Book 13 is one of the eighteen books comprising roughly 100,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.