by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes the story of sagara which is chapter 20 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the twentieth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.
Śrī Mahādeva said:
1-5. O best divine sage, hear about the very auspicious Hari-dvāra. Gaṅgā flows there (i.e. by it); and it is said to be the best holy place. There gods, sages and men dwell. (So also) there god Viṣṇu himself always takes resort (i.e. lives). O child, this great holy place came about in ancient days. On merely seeing it sin goes away. Here due to special religious merit Gaṅgā has become very holy. Due to her touching Viṣṇu’s feet she has the water of (i.e. coming from) the feet of Viṣṇu. O wise one, Bhagīratha brought her along the path. The magnanimous one (thus) emancipated his ancestors.
6-9a. O god, who is the Bhagīratha of great penance to whom you have referred, who brought the holy (water) for the good of the people? The holy place on Gaṅgā is very auspicious and destroys all sins. All people say like this that it is the best holy place. He who, even from (a distance of) hundreds of yojanas would say ‘Gaṅgā, Gaṅgā’, is freed from all sins, and goes to Viṣṇu’s world. How did he bring it? What (was his) act? Tell that, O you of a good vow.
9b-16. Who brought Gaṅgā, how he brought it at the very beautiful Gaṅgādvāra—all that I shall tell you in due order. Formerly there lived Hariścandra, (the only one) observing truth in the three worlds. He had a son, Rohita, solely devoted to Viṣṇu. He too had a son, called Vṛka, most righteous and established on a good path. In his family was born his son Subāhu. His son was Gara by name. He was extremely righteous. Some time, for (some) reason, the king became extremely unhappy due to fate. For religious reasons he was not censured in his country. Taking his family he went to Bhārgava’s hermitage. Through compassion he was then protected by Bhārgava there. O brāhmaṇa, there a son named Sagara was born to him. Looked after by Bhārgava, he then grew in the holy hermitage. He performed all (sacraments like) thread-ceremony of (i.e. befitting) a kṣatriya. He learnt (the use of) weapons and studied the Vedas.
O Śaṅkara, tell in detail the greatness of Sagara. The very powerful great king of the solar dyansty is well-known.
Due to a calamity of (i.e. befalling) Gara, his kingdom was taken away by Haihayas, Tālajaṅghas and Śakas, O Nārada. These tribes—Yavanas, Pāradas, Kāmbojas and Śakas (showed) valour. That king Gara whose kingdom was snatched, then went to a forest. The distressed one followed by his wife, died (there). His auspicious wife was pregnant and observing a vow. Formerly, he with his wife had chosen (i.e. gone to) Bhārgava with a desire for a son. She, having arranged the funeral pyre of her husband in the forest, wept. Aurva (the family preceptor) prevented Gara’s wife, O Nārada. He told her about that son (of her) most righteous, good and dear (to all).
25-28. When she was told about the son, she refrained from dying. Then after two months he rose (i.e. was born) in Aurva’s hermitage. Aurva performed his sacraments like the birth-rite. O great sage, thread-ceremony etc. took place there. Due to his contact with Aurva, he studied everything like Veda etc. Having taught him Vedas and sacred texts, he taught him (the use of) the missile of (i.e. presided over by) Agni, difficult to bear even for gods, O glorious one. He was endowed with that power of spiritual life in the battle.
29-36. Being angry, he quickly killed Haihayas with his might. He captivated them and obtained fame in the (three) worlds. Then those Śakas with Yavanas, so also Kāmbojas and Pallavas, being struck by him, sought the shelter of Vasiṣṭha. Vasiṣṭha, the very lustrous one, having made an agreement kept away king Sagara after granting them protection from fear. Sagara, keeping his pledge and the preceptor’s words, struck them righteously, and made them deformed. He half-shaved the heads of Śakas and sent them away. He completely shaved the heads of Yavanas and also of Kāmbojas. Pāradas are clean-shaved; Pallavas keep moustache. Having thus vanquished all he collected religious merit. Having conquered this earth, the all-righteous victorious king quickly prepared for (the performance of) a horse-sacrifice. His horse, moving near the southeast ocean, was taken away near the shore and was taken into the (interior of the) earth.
37-42. Then through his sons he got that region dug up everywhere. They digging there did not find the horse in the great ocean. They who were in a hurry, saw there an ancient man—the ancient man was Kapila, the lord of the worlds. The fire produced from the eyes of him getting awake, burnt sixty thousand of them; (only) four of them remained (unburnt). O brāhmaṇa, (the four) continuing his family (were:) Hṛṣīketu, Suketu, the other one Dharmaratha, and the brave Pañcajana. The revered lord Viṣṇu himself gave him five boons: (continuation of) family, salvation, good fame, ocean and son. Due to that act he got the state of ocean. He obtained that sacrificial horse from the ocean. He, of a great fame, performed a hundred horse sacrifices.