The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “the guide to the genealogies” which forms the 111th 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 111 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXI - The guide to the genealogies

Manu had seven sons, whose names are mentioned—and also a child, who was born as a daughter named Ilā, and afterwards became a man by name Sudyumna—This child as Ilā had a son Purūravas, who reigned at Pratiṣṭhāna, and as Sudyumna had three sons.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Such power has the adorable Sun, who is without beginning and without end, concerning whose majesty thou, O Krauṣṭuki, dost ask me in faith. He is the Supreme Soul among religious devotees who meditate deeply on the dissolution of their intellects;[1] he is the Conscious Soul among those who apply the Sāṅkhya doctrine to the knowledge of spirit; and he is the Lord of sacrifice among those who are sacrificers:[2] while Viṣṇu, Śiva and B'rahmā each supports the Sun’s supremacy.

Manu was his son, a solver of doubts in all matters, the ruler of a manvantara, whose is the seventh period, O brahman.

Ikṣvāku, Nābhaga and Riṣṭa—who were great in strength and prowess—and Nariṣyanta, Nābhāga, Pūṣadhra and Dhṛṣṭa;[3] these were that Manu’s sons, each the guardian of a separate kingdom. All were celebrated in fame, all had the utmost skill in arms and weapons.

Seeking yet again for a son who should he more distinguished, Manu, best of the skilful ones, offered a sacrifice to Mitra and Varuṇa; in which sacrifice moreover when the offering was perversely made through the improper conduct[4] of the priest, O great muni, a daughter was born to Manu named Ilā, slender of waist. On seeing that daughter born there, Manu offered praise to Mitra and Varuṇa then and spoke this word, —“When I made made the sacrifice with the prayer, ‘Through your favour may I obtain a distinguished son,’ a daughter was born to me who am wise. If ye being gracious grant me a boon, then let this my daughter, through the favour of you both, become a son endowed with surpassing virtues!” And when these two gods in sooth said, “Be it so!” that same daughter Ilā became forthwith a son famed by the name Sudyumna.

And afterwards that wise son of Manu, while roving the forest a-hunting, was turned into a woman through the wrath of the god;[5] in which condition Soma’s son Budha begat of her a son named Pururavas,[6] who was a mighty universal monarch. When that son was born, Sudyumna again performed a great horse-sacrifice and regained a man’s nature and became a king.

Sudyumna during his manhood had three sons, Utkala,[7] Vinaya[8] and Gaya,[9] who were most valiant, given to sacrificing, great in bodily strength. Now those three sons, who were born to him during his manhood, enjoyed this earth[10] while governing their minds in righteousness.

But Purūravas, who was horn of that monarch Sudyumna 18 during his womanhood, got no share of the earth, because he was Budhās son. Thereupon at Vasiṣṭha’s word Pratiṣṭhāna,[11] an excellent city, was given to him; he became king in that exceedingly charming city.

Footnotes and references:


This is the best meaning that I can get out of the text— Paramātmā sa yogīnāṃ yuñjatāṃ cetasāṃ layam, which is the reading in the Calcutta, Bombay, and Poona editions, though the last in its corrigenda alters it to yogānāṃ, and then sa yogānām must be read as one word sa-yogānām. But the text is no doubt corrupt; yogīnām should be yoginām, and yuñjatām should perhaps be yuñjānānām, though both Parasmai-pada and Ātmane-pada have the meaning “to meditate deeply.” Mahāmahopādhyāya Hara Prasād Śāstrī suggests also that layaḥ would be better than layam and would translate thus, “He is the Supreme Soul to those who are successful in meditation [i.e., the Vedāntists]; he is that in which the minds of those who are engaged in meditation, tat who are not yet successful, are absorbed” [i.e., the Saguṇa Brahman of the Vedāntists].


Yajñeśo yajvinām. api; but yajvanām must be read for yajvinām, and Mahāmahopādhyāya Hara Prasad Śāstrī gives it the meaning “to those who consider sacrifices to be the means leading to beatitude” [i.e., the Mīmāṃsists].”


Only seven sons are mentioned here. The number is generally given as ten. There is much diversity regarding the names of all of them except Ikṣvāku, Nariṣyanta, and Dhṛṣṭa. Other names omitted are Śaryāti, Karūṣa, Vena, and Prāṃśu. See Wilson’s Viṣṇu Purāṇa, book IV, chapter i, notes. The second and third names Nābhaga and Riṣṭa are sometimes given as a single name, Nābhāgadiṣṭa in the Veda and Nābhānediṣṭha in the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa; and the last-named book says—he was given to sacred study, his brothers deprived him of his share in the paternal property, and referred him to their father, and by his father’s advice he helped the Aṅgirasas in their sacrificial session and obtained great wealth (V. ii. 14).


For cāpahṛte read cāpahute, as in the Poona edition. The verb apa-hu is not in the dictionary. The Poona commentary explains apahute apacārāt by viparīta-havane vyatyayāt.


The Harivaṃśa narrates only one change, namely, from womanhood (after she had given birth to Purūravas) to manhood (x. 615-37).


Properly Purūravas, as in verse 17.


From whom were descended the Utkalas, see note * on canto lvii, verse 43, and also verse 53, pp. 327 and 341 ante; all the authorities agree about this.


He is also called Vinata, Vinatāśva, and Haritāsva by different authorities. He was king of the East according to the Matsya Purāṇa., and king of the West according to the Harivaṃśa (x. 631-2) and Vāyu Purāṇa.


He gave his name to the city Gayā, as all the authorities agree; and he was king of the East as the Harivaṃśa says (x. 631-2).


The Bhāgavata Purāṇa says wrongly all three sons were rulers of the South, Dukṣiṇāpatha.


Manu gave this city to Sudyumna who was excluded from the paternal dominions because he had been a female, and Sudyumna gave it to Purūravas. It was situated on the north bank of the Ganges at its junction with the Yamunā (Hari-Vaṃśa, xxvi. 1371 and 1411-2).