The Vishnu Purana (abridged)

27,616 words

The Vishnu Purana (Viṣṇu Purāṇa) is a religious Hindu text and one of the (most important) eighteen Mahapuranas. It is also known as Puranaratna ("gem of Puranas"). Presented as a dialogue between Parashara and his disciple Maitreya, the major topics discussed include creation, stories of battles fought between asuras and devas, the Avat...

Satyavati and Richika

Gadhi was descended from Jahnu. Gadhi had a daughter called Satyavati. The sage Richika wanted to marry Satyavati. But Gadhi had no desire to marry off his daughter to an old brahmana who was also very hot-tempered. So he demanded one thousand horses were to be fleet of foot and white in colour with black ears. But Richika managed to get such horses from Varuna and thus married Satyavati.

Satyavati wanted a son. So Richika performed a yajna and obtained some rice prudding as a result. But Satyavati wished that her mother might also have a son. Richika, therefore, prepared a second bowl of rice pudding. He gave the two bowls to Satyavati and said, “This is for you and this for your mother.” He then went off to the forest.

But Satyavati’s mother said to her daughter, “Usually people want good sons for themselves, they are not keen about obtaining a good brother-in-law. I therefore suspect that your rice pudding is better than mine. Let us exchange bowls. I am a queen and my son will rule the world. He has to be strong. Your son will be a brahmana. He does not have to be that powerful.” They exchanged the bowls.

Richika came back fromt he forest and heard what had happened. He was very angry. Into Satyavati’s mothers’s bowl he had put the ingredients for a son who would be brave and violent as a kshatriya should be. And into Satyavati’s bow he had put the ingredients for a son who would be peacefula and non-violent as a brahmana should be. As it was, everything had now been reversed.

On hearing this, Satyavati begged forgivness and requested that her grandson, rather than her son, should be brave and violent. This request Richika granted. Satyavati’s mother gave birth to Vishvamitra. And Satyavati gave birth to Jamadagni. Jamadagni married Renuka. Their son Parashurama killed many kshatriyas.

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