The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “dama’s exploits (continued)” which forms the 134th 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 134 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXXXIV - Dama’s exploits (continued)


Dama returned home triumphant—Nariṣyanta transferred the kingdom to him and retired with his queen Indrasenā to the forestThe defeated prince Vapuṣmat met him there, and in revenge killed himIndrasenā sent tidings to Dama that he should punish the murderer.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Thus the prince gained her, Sumanā, as his wife, O most great muni, and prostrated himself[2] at his father's and mother’s feet; and she, beautiful-browed Sumanā, bowed then before her parents-in-law. And they were both welcomed then with blessings by them both. And a great festival was held in Nariṣyanta’s city itself, since Dama had both married a wife and arrived from the city of the king of Daśārṇa. On hearing that he was thus connected by marriage with the lord of Daśārṇa and that the kings were defeated, king Nariṣyanta rejoiced with his son. And Dama, son of the great king, sported with Sumanā amidst choice gardens and woodland spots, in palaces and on the summits of hills.

Now after a long time Sumanā, daughter of the king of Daśārṇa, while sporting with Dama conceived a child. And king Nariṣyanta, who had enjoyed enjoyments as lord of the earth, reached his declining years, and anointing Dama to the kingdom departed to the forest; and his wife Indrasenā also went as a female ascetic. He dwelt there according to the ordinance of vānaprasthas.[3]

Saṅkrandana’s son Vapuṣmat, king of the Southern region, most evil in conduct, went to the forest to kill deer, with a small body of followers. He saw Nariṣyanta as an ascetic dirty and mud-covered, and his wife Indrasenā most extremely weakened by austerities, and asked,—“Who art thou, a brāhman, or a forest-wandering kṣatriya, or a vaiśya who has reached the vānaprastha stage?[4] Tell me!” The king, being under a rule of silence, gave him no answer at all then: and Indrasenā told him all that truly.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

And on knowing that that Nariṣyanta was his enemy’s father, Vapuṣmat exclaiming “I have got him!” both seized him angrily by his matted lochs and, while Indrasena bewailed “Alas! Alas!” with sobbing voice, drew forth his sword angrily and spoke this word,—

“I will seize the father of that Dama, who defeated me in battle and who carried Snmanā off from me; let Dama protect him! I will kill the father of that evil-minded man, who cast off all the princes that had assembled for the maiden’s sake. Let that Dama, who evil-souled naturally domineers in battles, prevent it; such as I am here, I kill that foe’s father.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

So saying that king Vapuṣmat, evil in conduct, cut off his head also, while Indrasenā cried out. The muni folk and other forest-dwellers then said to him, “Shame! Shame!” And after looking at him he, Vapuṣmat, went from the forest to his own city.

When that Vapuṣmat had gone, she, Indrasenā, sighing deeply despatched a śūdra ascetic to her son’s presence, saying —

“Go thou quickly and tell my son Dama my word. Thou verily knowest what tidings of my husband are told here; nevertheless thou must tell my son, what I say in my very sore affliction after having seen such an outrage[5] as this fallen on the king;—‘Thou art king, appointed by my lord—a protector of the four stages of life. Is it fit that thou dost not safeguard the ascetics?[6] My lord Nariṣyanta was engaged in the austerities of an ascetic; and there is no such lord for me who bewaū, while thou art such a lord[7] Vapuṣmat dragged him by the hair with violence and then killed him for no fault; thus thy king has attained to glory. In these circumstances do thou that whereby righteousness may not be violated—so do thou! I must not[8] say more than this, for I am an ascetic. And thy father was an aged ascetic unvitiated by any offence. Do thou determine what should be done to that man who killed him. Thou hast heroic ministers who can expound the meaning of all the scriptures. Consider with them and do what ought to be done in these circumstances. We ascetics have no authority in this matter, O king. “Do thou this”—“do thou so”—such is a king’s speech.[9] As Vidūratha’s[10] father was slain by the Yavana, so has this king, the father of thee, my son, been slain; thereby thy family has been destroyed. The father of the Asura king Janabba was bitten by Nāgas, and that king also destroyed the Nāgas who inhabited the whole of Pātāla. Parāśara,[11] when he heard that his father Śakti[12] had been smitten by a Rākṣasa, cast the whole race of Rākṣasas into the fire. Moreover a kṣatriya cannot verily endure the outrage which any other person makes against his lineage; how much less will he endure the murder of his father? It is not this thy father who is slain, it is not on him that the weapon has been made to fall; it is thou who hast been slain here I deem, it is on thee that the weapon has been made to fall. Who indeed fears this foe, that has laid his weapon on simple forest-dwellers; let him not fear thee, my son, as king, or let him fear thee.[13] Since this outrage has been directed against thee, do thou take thorough measures therefore against this Vapuṣmat with his dependants, kinsmen and friends.’”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Dismissing him, Indradāsa, to whom this message had been communicated, the noble-spirited lady embracing her lord’s body entered the funeral pyre.

Footnotes and references:


Canto cxxxv in the Calcutta edition,


Praṇamya set is the reading, but praṇanāma would be better.


For vāṇaprastha rend cānaprastha.


For vāṇaprastham read vānaprasthyam


Laṅghanā; this word in the feminine gender is not in the dictionary. It occurs again in verses 33 and 36.


For mad-bharttādhikṛto read mad-bhartrādhikṛto; for ki yuktaṃ read kiṃ yuktaṃ; and for yan nirīkṣasi read yan na rakṣasi, as in the Poona edition.


This is according to the comment., with the Poona reading nāthe instead of nāsti.


For ca naiva read cara na as in the Poona edition.


The Poona edition reads bhūyo ’pi bhāṣitum for bhūpati-bhāṣitam, ‘We ascetics have no authority here, O king, to say thus “Do thou this,” or even further “Do thou so.”’


This may be the Vidūratha mentioned above in canto cxvi, verse 10. There were other kings of the same name, but all later in time, and it does not appear any of them were killed by a Yavana; as Vidūratha son of Kuru, of the Paurava race (Mahā-Bhārata, Ādi-p. xcv. 3791-5, Śānti-p. xlix. 1790-97, and Uari-V., xxxii. 1816), Vidūratha son of Bhajamāna (Hari-Vaṃśa, xxxix. 2032, and Matsya Purāṇa xliv. 77), and another later Vidūratha (Hari-Vaṃśa, xcii. 5015-8, and xcix. 5493-5504).


Parāśara was a famous ṛṣi, son of Śaktri or Śakti, sec canto cxxxiii, verse 7. He was father by Satya-vatī of Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana (Mahā-Bhārata, Ādi-p. lx. 2209, xcv. 3801-2, and Śānti-p. cccli). But he is wholly out of time in this story.


For pitari Śaktau read pitaraṃ Śaktiṃ as in the Poona edition.


This is the Poona and Bombay reading, patrasya mā bibhetu for viprasya mārite tu; but both seem corrupt.

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