The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “khanitra’s exploits concluded” which forms the 118th 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 118 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXVIII - Khanitra’s exploits concluded


Khanitra, on hearing of the destruction of the family priests, lamented and took the blame on himself—He resigned the kingdom to his son Kṣupa, departed to the forest, and died there in sanctity.

Thereupon there was great dismay in all the world, inasmuch as those purohitas dwelling in separate cities perished at the same time. Khanitra heard then that his brothers’ purohitas had reached their death, and that his brother’s minister Viśyavedin also had been burnt up. Khanitra the great king was extremely surprised, wondering “What is this?” O best of munis; and knew not the cause. Then the king asked Vasiṣṭha who had come to his palace, what the reason was why those, the minister and purohitas of his brothers, had perished. When questioned by him the great muni related then how it had happened, what Śauri’s minister had said and what Śauri had replied to him, and what he, that evil minister, had performed as a means of producing dissension among the brothers and what the purohitas had done; for what reason they, the purohitas who were absolutely compassionate even to an enemy, had perished, while injuring that sinless king. On hearing that, the king reproached himself exceedingly then, exclaiming, “Alas! I am sore stricken!” in Vasiṣṭha’s presence, O dvija.

The king spoke:

“Fie on me, who am of unholy composition, of scanty good-fortune, destitute of splendour! Sin which is utterly contemned by all the worlds has been committed by me through the fault of fate. That is the reason why those four brāhmans have perished: what other man besides me will there be more sinful on the earth? If I were not a man here on the earth, they, my brothers’ purohitas, would not have perished then. Fie on the kingdom! fie too on my birth in the family of great kings—I who have become the cause of the destruction of the brāhmans! They, my brothers’ sacrificing priests, met their end while working at their masters’ object; no wicked men were they; I am wicked in causing their destruction. What am I to do? Where am I to go? No one verily is a sinner on the earth but I who have become the cause of the brāhmans’ destruction.”

Thus grieving in heart, king Khanitra being desirous of departing to the forest anointed his son to the throne. After anointing his son who was named Kṣupa to the kingdom, the king departed to the forest, along with his three wives, to perform austerities. Going there he, best of kings, being well-versed in the ordinances concerning vānaprasthas, performed austerities three hundred and fifty years. Now, when his body had become emaciated through austerities, the noble king, having restrained all the organs of sense, quitted his life while dwelling in the forest, O chief of brāhmans. He went then to the sacred worlds which yield every desire and are undecaying, which are to be gained by kings by means of horse-sacrifices and other sacrifices. And those his three wives quitted their life at the very same time with him, and gained the same world[2] along with him indeed, their most high-souled lord.

This is the story of Khanitra’s exploits; when heard, it destroys stains; and it destroys the stains of those who read it, illustrious sir. Hear next about Kṣupa.

Footnotes and references:


Canto cxix in the Calcutta edition,


For vāpuḥ, samālokyaṃ rend avāpuḥ, sālokyam as in the Poona edition.

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