The Markandeya Purana

by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237

This page relates “about the auttana manvantara” which forms the 69th chapter of the English translation of the Markandeya-purana: an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with Indian history, philosophy and traditions. It consists of 137 parts narrated by sage (rishi) Markandeya: a well-known character in the ancient Puranas. Chapter 69 is included the section known as “exposition of the manvantaras”.

Canto LXIX - About the Auttāna Manvantara


King Uttama banished his queen to a forest because of her persistent unloving behaviour.—A brāhman whose wife had been carried off invokes the king’s help to recover her.—The king in searching for her reaches a muni’s hermitage, and is censured by the muni for his conduct to the queen.

Krauṣṭuki spoke:

O brāhman, thou hast described to me the Svārociṣa manvantara at length and also the eight Nidhis, whom I asked about. Thou didst tell me of the Svāyambhuva manvantara before that. Tell me of the third manvantara which is named after Uttama.[2]

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

There was a son of Uttānapāda named Uttama, son of Surucī,[3] famous, great in strength and valour, and righteous of soul, and magnanimous, a monarch rich in valour. Excelling all created beings he shone in valour like the sun. He was the same both to foe and friend, to his city and to his son, being one who understood righteousness; and he was like Tama to the wicked, and like Soma to the good, O great muni!

A knower of righteousness, Uttānapāda’s son Uttama married a maiden of Babhru’s race named Bahulā, as supreme Indra married famous Śacī. His mind was always exceedingly affectionate to her, O noble brāhman,[4] just as is the moon’s mind which has fixed its abode in Rohiṇī. Verily his mind felt no attachment to any other object; in sleep also that king’s mind rested on her. And the king at the very sight of her, who was most beautiful in every limb, was continually touching her body, and at the tonch of her body he became one with her.[5] The king’s words, although kindly, caused annoyance to her ears, and she deemed his special respect as humiliation from him. She contemned a garland when given by him, and his beautiful ornaments; and she arose as if pained in body when he drank the choice nectar of her lips; and only a moment did the king hold her by the hand when he enjoyed her. She ate very little food, O brāhman, and that with no great delight. Thus she was not favourable to the magnanimous king who was favourable to her; yet more abundant and excessive love did the king show.

Now once the king, when engaged in drinking, respectfully caused that wilful queen to hold a drinking cup which had been cleansed with wine, he being then surrounded with accomplished attendants[6] who were melodious in their singing, and who were assiduously singing and chanting while kings looked on; but she does not wish to take that cup, turning her face away from it, in the sight of the kings. Thereat the king was enraged. Breathing hard like a serpent, when set at nought by his dear queen, as if a husband not dear to her, he called the door-keeper and said,—“O door-keeper! Take this lady of evil heart to a desolate forest and abandon her forthwith! Deliberate thou not on this my command!”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Thereupon the door-keeper, deeming the king’s word was not to be questioned, mounted the beautiful-browed lady in a chariot and left her in a forest. And she, when abandoned thus by the king in the forest and being away from his sight, held he had done her the greatest favour. And king Auttānapādi, with soul and mind burning with the anguish of love for her, took no other wife. He remembered her who was beauteous in every limb, day and night bereft of ease, and ruled his kingdom, governing his people righteously.

While he ruled his people, as a father his own children, a certain brāhman suffering in mind arrived and spoke thus—

The brāhman spoke:

O Mahārāja! in grievous suffering am I; hearken while I speak. Men’s deliverance from pain comes from no where but the king! Some one carried off my wife by night while I slept, without unlocking the house door. Deign to bring her back to me.

The king spoke:

Knowest thou not, O brāhman, who carried her off or where has she been taken? With whom shall I strive in fight? or whence shall I bring her back?

The brāhman spoke:

While I slept just as I was, with the door fastened, O king, why and by whom my wife was carried off—this thou, Sir, knowest. Thou art our guardian, O king, whose due is the levy of a sixth part of our wealth.[7] Therefore men sleep at night, freed from anxiety about justice.

The king spoke:

I have not seen thy wife. Tell me what is she like in body, and what is her age; and of what disposition is the brāhman lady?

The brāhman spoke:

Sharp-eyed is she, very tall, short-armed, thin-faced, ungainly in form, O king. I defame her not by this description; very harsh in speech, and ungentle is she in disposition, O king—thus I have described my wife; she is a do-nothing, unpleasant in look, and she has slightly passed early womanhood, O king. Such is my wife in form; true is this I have spoken.

The king spoke:

Enough hast thou had of her, O brāhman. I will give thee another wife. An excellent wife tends to one’s happiness, such a one as that is verily a source of pain. Bodily beauty consists in healthfulness,[8] O brāhman, its cause is a noble disposition. She who has neither beauty nor good disposition should be abandoned for that very reason.

The brāhman spoke:

“A wife must be guarded,” O king—such is our highest divine teaching. When a wife is guarded, the offspring is guarded. For the Soul[9] is born in her’, hence she must be guarded, O king. When the offspring is guarded, the Soul is guarded. When she is not guarded, there will arise confusion among the castes; that will hurl one’s forefathers down from Svarga, O king. And I may have loss of righteousness from day today, while I remain wifeless; and that, through the destruction of the perpetual ceremonies, will tend to my downfall. And in her will be my offspring, O king. She will give thee the sixth part; she will be a cause of righteousness. For that reason I have declared this to tliee. Bring back my wife who has been carried off, my lord, since your honour is placed supreme for our protection.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

The king, on hearing him so speak, took thought, and mounted bis great chariot which was furnished with every useful requisite. Hither and thither he wandered over the earth with that brahman, and saw a fine hermitage of ascetics in a large forest; and alighting there he entered and saw a muni, seated on a silken cushion, and blazing as it were with splendour. Seeing the king arrived, he rose in haste, and welcoming him with full respect commanded his disciple to bring the arghya offering. His disciple said to him quietly —“Why should the arghya be given to him, O muni? Think well of it and command me, for I carry out thy command.” Then the brāhman being acquainted with the king’s history, with self-possession did him respect in conversation and by giving him a seat.

The ṛṣi spoke:

Why hast thou come here, Sir; and what dost thou wish to do? I know thee, O king, to be Uttānapāda’s son Uttama.

The king spoke:

A brāhman’s wife was carried off from his house by some one whose person is unknown, O muni: to seek her I have come here. Deign, adorable Sir, in compassion to tell me, who have reached thy house and am prostrate before thee, what I ask thee!

The ṛṣi spoke:

Ask me, O king, without fear what thou must ask. I will tell thee truthfully if I ought to tell it thee.

The king spoke:

Why is the arghya offering kept back, which thou wast prepaved to give me on first seeing me on my arrival at thy house, O muni?

The ṛṣi spoke:

When through agitation at the sight of thee, O king, I commanded this disciple to give it, then I was cautioned by him. Through my favour he knows the future in this world, as I know both the past and the present thoroughly. When he said, “Consider and give thy order,” then I also knew it; hence I did not give thee the arghya according to precept. Truly O king, thou art worthy of the arghya and thou belongest to the race of Svāyambhuva; nevertheless we deem thee Uttama not fit for the arghya.

The king spoke:

What then have I done, O brahman, whether wittingly or unwittingly, that arriving after a long time I am not worthy of the arghya from thee?

The ṛṣi spoke:

Hast thou forgotten, both that thou didst abandon thy wife in the forest, and that along with her thou didst abandon all thy righteousness, O king. Through neglect of religious acts a man becomes unfit to be touched by his adherents, like one on whom ordure and urine have been showered;[10] thou hast neglected an act of permanent observance. Just as a complaisant wife must bear with her husband though he be of bad disposition, so a wife although of bad disposition must be cherished by her husband, O king. Ungracious indeed was that brāhman’s wife who was carried off; nevertheless he, being a lover of righteousness, very much excels[11] thee, O king. Thou establishest other men in their proper ways of righteousness when they swerve therefrom, O king. What other person will establish thee when thou swervest from thy righteousness?

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

A gazing-stock was the king when thus addressed by the wise ṛṣi; and saying “So be it!” he enquired about the brahman’s wife who had been carried off—“Adorable Sir, who has taken away the brāhman’s wife, or where is she? Thou Sir knowest unerringly the past and the future in this world.”

The ṛṣi spoke:

A Rākṣasa named Valāka, son of Adri, has captured her, and thou shall see her now in Utpalāvataka forest, O king. Go, unite the brahman with his wife quickly. Let him not become a seat of sin as thou art day after day.

Footnotes and references:


This should be Auttoma; see canto liii, verse 7, and lxxii, verse 39. It seems to be a mistake caused by the fact that Uttama was son of Uttāna-pāda, see verse 3. It occurs in the next canto, but is corrected in canto lxxi.


Auttama would be preferable, as be was the Manu, see canto lxxii, verse 89; read then kathayauttama-sañjñitam for kathayottama-sañjñitam?


Or Su-ruci, a feminine name.


For dvija-varyā read dvija-varya?




Vāra-mukhyaiḥ; the dictionary gives only the fem., vāra-muhhyā,“ a royal courtezan.”


For ṣaḍāgādāna read ṣaḍ-bhāgādana ? See verse 39.


There is a play on words here, kalyāṇī, “an excellent (wife),’’ and kalye, “ in healthfulnees.”


Or, one’s self ; ātmā.


Vārṣikī, a noun, not given in the dictionary ; it must apparently mean “a shower.”


Ud-yāti-tarāṃ. The only meanings assigned to ud-yā in the dictionary are, “ to go up or out, to rise, originate.”

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