by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237
This page relates “aviksita’s exploits (continued)” which forms the 124th 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 124 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.
Avīkṣita’s mother Vīrā roused up his father and allied kings to rescue Avīkṣita, and they defeated Viśāla and Ms confederates—Avīkṣita was set free, hut refused to marry the princess as she had seen him overpowered, although she praised him and his father entreated him—She vowed to marry no one else, and departed to the forest and wore herself away with austerities—The gods in compassion sent a messenger to her and promised that she should have a son who should he a universal monarch—She then regained her health.
Karandhama heard then that his son had been captured; and his wife Vīrā and other kings also heard it. On hearing that his son had been captured unrighteously, the king pondered a long time in company with the neighbouring kings, O great muni. Some of the kings said,—“All those kings should be slain, who handing themselves all together captured him singlehanded unrighteously in fight.” “Let the army be made ready; why sit the others still? Let wicked Viśāla be slain!” said others who were assembled there. And others said,—“Righteousness was first discarded in this affair by Avīkṣit, who acting unjustly forcibly seized the princess who did not desire him. In all svayamvaras then he has reduced all the princes to ruin at once; when they combined, he was subdued.”
On hearing this their speech Vīrā, mother of a hero, daughter of a race of heroes, and wife of a hero, rejoiced and spoke in view of her husband and of the other kings,—“A noble deed, O kings, has my son who feasts on noble deeds done, in that vanquishing all the kings he seized the maiden by force. While fighting for that object singlehanded he was captured unrighteously. Even that I reckon entails no deterioration on my son in battle. For this in truth is manliness, that a man under the influence of passion recks not so of good policy, just as a lion when attacking recks not. Many maidens presented for their svayamvara have been seized by my son in full sight of exceedingly proud kings. What comparison is there between birth in a kṣatriya family and entreaty which is used by the feeble? By force verily a kṣatriya takes things to himself in the presence of the mighty. On the other hand do not weaklings, being bound with iron chains, pass into subjection? Do kings imbued with righteousness, who do daring deeds, pass thereinto? Away then with weak-mindedness! Praiseworthy in sooth is his captivity! Let there be the down-rush of your weapons among bodies and heads! After ye have actually taken from the kings their territory, sons and other wealth, then the objects aimed at by your valour, even their wives, have become matters of importance. Hasten then quickly to battle; mount ye the chariots; make ready the elephants and horses without delay, and also the charioteers. What think ye of battling with many kings? Deeds have occurred, indeed, enough to satisfy a warrior in a small battle. Who finds not strength when amongst petty kings and other petty men that inspire no fear? For in sooth, O muni, the man who, after prevailing so as to slay my son’s foes which have all pervaded the world, is self-controlled, he shines forth a hero, just as the sun after prevailing over the darknesses.”
Thus was king Karandhama aroused to boldness by this his wife. He set his army in array to slay his son’s foes, O muni. Then occurred a conflict between him whose son had been captured and all those kings and Viśāla, O great muni. Three days lasted the battle then between king Karandhama and the kings who followed Viśāla’s lead. When all that confederacy of kings was almost defeated, Viśāla with arghya offering in hand approached Karandhama then. And that king highly honoured Karandhama with kindly feeling. On his son being set free, he abode there that night in happiness. And when Viśāla taking the maiden came near, Avīkṣit spoke before bis father touching the marriage, O brāhman ṛṣi:—
“O king, I will not take this maiden, nor any other woman, in whose very sight I have been vanquished by adversaries in fight. Bestow her on some one else, and let her choose some one else, who is unsoathed in fame and valour and has not been subjected to indignity by adversaries. Since I have been vanquished by adversaries just as this weak girl might he, what manhood have I here? there is no difference between her and me. Self-reliance is the quality of men; a girl is always dependant on others. Of what kind is the manhood of that man who is even dependant on others? How shall I, who am such, show her again the face which she has often seen, I who have been worsted to the ground in her presence by adverse kings ?”
When he had thus spoken, the king spoke to the maiden,— “Thou hast heard, dear child, the speech of this high-souled prince as he has been speaking. Choose another as thy husband in whom thy mind delights, O beauteous one. We bestow perfume on whomsoever thou dost honour. Adopt one of these two very courses, O sweet-faced one!”
The maiden spoke:
Vanquished he has been by many together, yet they dealt not absolutely honourably in the fight which brought loss to his fame -and valour, O king. Since he set himself singlehanded to battle with many, like a lion with elephants, he has manifested thereby the highest heroism. It is not only that he stood fast in the battle, hut also that they were all defeated. He displayed prowess also abundantly by his efforts. All the kings have by unrighteousness conquered him, who is endued with heroism and prowess and who observed righteous combat; what fame īs there herein? And it is certainly not for mere beauty that. I have become desirous of him, O father! His heroism, prowess and fortitude captivate my mind. What need then of much speaking? Do thou make entreaty to this most excellent king on my behalf; no other shall be my husband.
O prince! my daughter has pronounced this splendid declaration, and there lives not on the earth a royal youth, who is thus indeed thy peer. Thy heroism cannot be gainsaid, and thy prowess is surpassing; purify my family, O warrior, by marrying my daughter!
The prince spoke:
I will not take her nor any other woman, O king, for in my inmost self my intellect is womanish, O lord of men.
Then spoke Karandhama,—“O son, take thou this beauteous-browed daughter of Viśāla; she is deeply enamoured of thee.”
The prince spoke:
No infringement of thy command have I ever committed before, O lord; command me in such wise, dear father, as I may obey thy command.
Since the prince was so exceedingly determined in his sentiments, Viśāla also troubled in mind spoke to his daughter.—“Turn back thy mind, my daughter, even from this object; choose some other as thy husband; there are many princes here.”
The maiden spoke:
A boon I choose, dear father! If this ‘prince wants me not, no other than a course of religious austerities shall be my husband in this life!
Then king Karandhama stayed there three days joyously with Viśāla and returned to his own city. Avīkṣita also, after being soothed by his own father and the other kings and by precepts of ancient times, returned to his city.
That maiden also went to the forest, being set free by her relatives, and practised austerities, abstaining from food and adhering to utter passionlessness. Now when abstaining from food she had dwelt there three months, she reached the deepest distress, being emaciated, in the lowest condition and prostrated. The maiden was weakened in energy, extremely thin in body, even ready to die. The prinoess then made up her mind to quit the body. Thereupon the gods, perceiving that she had made up her mind to abandon herself, assembled and despatched the gods’ messenger to her. Approaching the maiden he said:—
“I am a messenger, O princess, sent to thee by the thirty gods; hearken to what must be done! Thou, O lady, must not forsake thy body which is exceedingly difficult to he obtained. Thou, O fortunate one, shalt become the mother of a universal monarch; and along with thy son, who shall have slain his foes and whose command shall be unresisted, thou, O illustrious lady, shalt long enjoy the earth and its seven continents. He must kill the enemy Tarujit in the presence of the gods, and Aya and cruel Śaṅku, and then establish the people in righteousness. All the four castes must be fully safeguarded according to their respective rules of righteousness; he must slay the robbers, the mlecchas and others who work wickedness. He must sacrifice with manifold sacrifices replete with gifts and largesse, and with horse-sacrifices and other sacrifices six thousand in number, O noble lady.”
Seeing that messenger of the gods, stationed in the air, adorned with heavenly garlands and unguents, the weakened princess then said this,—“Truly thou hast come from Svarga, a messenger of the gods without doubt; nevertheless how shall I have such a son without a husband? ‘No one but Avīkṣita shall he my husband in this life,’—this I vowed in my father’s presence. And me he wants not, though he was admonished by my father and Ms sire Karandhama, and though he was entreated by me also in seemly wise.”
The gods’ messenger spoke:
What need of this further speaking, O illustrious lady! A son shall be born to thee. Abandon not thyself unrighteously! Remain in this very forest and nourish up thy emaciated body. Through the power of austerities all this shall be well for thee.
After speaking thus, the messenger of the gods went aivay as he had come. And the beautiful-browed lady nourished up her body day by day.
Footnotes and references:
Canto cxxv in the Calcutta edition.
For samastaīḥ, read samantaīḥ, with the Bombay edition.
For mahīkṣitaiḥ, the Bombay edition reads āhavikṣitā; the correct reading seems to be avīkṣitā and this I have adopted.
For yuddha read baddha with the Bombay edition.
Āmarṣa-vaśān in the Bombay edition is better than adharma-vaśān.
Both editions read kanyakā; but the plural kanyakāḥ, is required by the adject, bahvyo.
For bhāryācārya-nimittāni read bhāryā vīrya-nimtītāni as in the Bombay edition.
Or, “the objects of your wives and spiritnal guides then attained to importance.” The Bombay edition reads differently in verse 15 and the first half of verse 16; — “For yon also, who, by accomplishing the slaughter of your foes and by taking away in sooth the territory, sons and other wealth of the kings, stood foremost, a wife became then of exceeding importance as being the sum of the objects of your valour.” But neither text seems satisfactory, and the future appears to be intended rather than the past.
For sa-sārathim read sa-sārathi as in the Poona edition (corrigenda).
The Bombay edition reads differently, thus,—“Who finds not strength when amongst petty kings and other petty men, that inspire no fear in one who has really displayed his prowess against foes? For in sooth the man who, after prevailing over all those men which have pervaded the world, was self-controlled, shone forth, &c.”
Vyarocata + iti. The past tense does not seem happy, and the iti is wrong. Virocate ca is the reading of the Poona edition (corrigenda), and is preferable.
For parājaya-prāyaṃ read parājita-prāyaṃ as in the Poona edition (corrigenda.
For viyukte read vimukte as in the Poona edition (corrigenda).
Vāsam ; or “a dwelling,” or “clothing.”
For ādṛtāḥ rend ādṛtiḥ with the Bombay edition s ādṛti is not in the dictionary. The Poona edition reads yasmiṃs te hy ādṛtam manas with the same sense.
For yat tena read yatnena, as in the Bombay edition.
For satām read sutām.
Kṛśādhama-nisantatā; ni-san-tata om ni-san-tan, not in the dictionary.