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...

Nahusha and Yayati

Nahusha had six sons. Their names were Yati, Yayati, Samyati, Ayati, Vivyati and Kriti. Yati had no desire to be king, so Yayati became king after Nahusaha. Yayati had two wives. The first was Shukra’s daughter Devayani and the second was Vrishaparva’s daughter Sharmishtha. Devayanai’s sons were Yadu and Turnvasu. And Sharmishtha’s sons were Druhya, Anu and Puru.

Because of a curse imposed on him by Shukra, Yayati became old much before he should have been. He called his eldest son Yadu to him and said, “I have become old much before my time. I still want to enjoy material things. Please take my old age for a thousand years.” Yadu refused and Yayati cursed him that no son worthy of being a king would ever be born in the line of Yadu. Yayati asked Turvasu, Druhya and Anu. But they too refused and were given the same curse by their father. Yayati asked Puru and Puru immediately agreed to his father’s request. He took upon himself his father’s old age and gave his father his own youth.

Yayati immersed himself in material pursuits. But after having spent many such years in enjoying life, he got tired of it all. He got back his old age from Puru and returned Puru’s youth to him. Yayati made Puru the king and went off to do tapasya in the forest. Turvasu, Druhya and Anu merely received very small kingdoms that surrounded Puru’s kingdom.

In Yadu’s line was born Arjuna. This Arjuna prayed to Dattatreya and obtained several boons from him. The first boon was that Arjuna would have a thousand arms. The second was that he would fight adharma and serve the cause of dharma, fight the evil and serve the good. The third was that enemies woud not be able to defeat him. And the fourth and final boon was that Arjuna would be killed by someone who would be famous throughout the world. This Arjuna came to be known as Kartaviryarjuna. He performed ten thousand yajnas and ruled for eight-five thousand years. The name of his capital was Mahishmati. Once Ravana invaded this city and was defeated and imprisoned by Arjuna. Eventually Arjuna was killed by Parashurama. All who were descended from Yadu, were known as Yadavas.

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