Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Aurva included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Aurva

(Ūrva, Ūrūja). A fierce saint of the line of Bhṛgu Maharṣi.


Descending in order from Viṣṇu, Brahmā, Bhṛgu, Cyavana, Aurva.

Cyavana Maharṣi married Āruṣī, daughter of Manu. Aurva was her child who was the grandfather of Jamadagni and the great grandfather of Paraśurāma.


The Preceptors of the Bhṛgu dynasty were the hereditary gurus of the Kings of Hehaya. Kṛtavīrya a famous King of the Hehaya dynasty and father of Kārtavīryārjuna had his education from a Bhṛgu ṛṣi living in his āśrama. On competing his education the king paid lavishly and the Bhṛgus became rich thereafter. Kṛtavīrya died and his sons did not very much like the Bhārgavas (Bhṛgus) becoming rich by the wealth of their ancestors. Knowing this the Bhṛgus started burying their wealth under the earth. Once a Kṣatriya king forcibly dug out from the house of a Bhṛgu the wealth he had safely buried and from that day onwards the Kṣatriyas and the Bhārgavas became enemies. The Bhṛgus were hunted down by the Kṣatriya kings and the Bhārgavas frightened by this move left their abode and went and hid in Caves in mountains far away. Among those who thus fled was Āruṣī, wife of Cyavana. Āruṣī was pregnant at that time and she hid her 'Garbha' in her thighs while fleeing. A brahmin woman who saw this went and informed the Kṣatriyas and they immediately went and caught hold of her. Then the thigh broke and a boy came out of it. Because he was born from the thighs the boy was named Aurva. (Ūrū= Thigh and so, born of a thigh). (Chapter 179, Ādi Parva, Mahābhārata).

The effulgence of Aurva.

Aurva was born with fiery radiance and the sudden effulgence made the Kṣatriya Kings blind. Frightened they craved for pardon and praised him. They got back their eyesight then.

Aurva and Baḍavāgni.

Aurva bore a deep grudge against the Kṣatriyas who had massacred his forefathers. Aurva started doing rigorous penance and by the force of his austerities the world started to burn. At that stage the Pitṛs appeared before him and persuaded him to withdraw from his penance. Aurva then told them thus: "Pitṛs, while I was lying in the thigh-womb of my mother I heard hideous groans from outside and they were of our mothers when they saw the heads of our fathers being cut off by the swords of the Kṣatriyas. Even from the womb itself I nurtured a fierce hatred towards the Kṣatriyas. No helping hand was raised before the pitiable wails of our mothers".

The Pitṛs were astounded at the firmness of the vow of Aurva and horrified at the thought of what would happen if the penance was continued. They pleaded again to cease his austerities and then submitting to their request Aurva withdrew the fire of his penance and forced it down into the sea. It is now believed that this fire taking the shape of a horse-head is still living underneath the sea vomiting heat at all times. This fire is called Baḍavāgni. More about this can be had under the head Baḍavāgni. (Chapter 180, Ādi Parva, Mahābhārata).

Aurva and the birth of Sagara.

Ayodhyā was once ruled by a celebrated King of Ikṣvāku dynasty named Subāhu. He had as his wife Yādavī a good natured and well behaved woman who was a gem among queens. One day Tālajaṃgha a King of the Hehaya line of rulers who was then the King of Māhiṣmatī defeated Subāhu in a battle. Yādavī was then pregnant. Jealous co-wives poisoned her; Yādavī did not die but the poison affected the child in the womb.

After the defeat, Subāhu and Yādavī went and stayed with Aurva in his āśrama. For seven years they lived there and then Subāhu died. Grief-stricken Yādavī was about to jump into the funeral pyre and end her life when Aurva stopped her from the act pointing out that she was soon to deliver a child. After a few months she delivered a son and Aurva called him 'Sagara' meaning one with 'gara' (poison) in him. (Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Chapters 16, 17).

Aurva and the sister of Garuḍa.

Garuḍa, son of Vinatā, had a sister named Sumati. Upamanyu, a sage, wanted to marry her but neither she nor her relatives liked it. Enraged at this the sage cursed Sumati saying that the brahmin who married her would have his head burst. The marriage of Sumati thus remained a problem for her parents. There was a friend of Vinatā, a sannyāsinī, living in a forest and to find a way to escape from the curse Vinatā sent Garuḍa to her. The sannyāsinī advised Garuḍa to approach Aurva to find a solution for the problem and Aurva was therefore approached for advice.

It was at this time that the people of Ayodhyā came in search of Subāhu and Yādavī who had left them years before. When they knew of Subāhu’s death they were plunged in sorrow but were glad to know a son of Subāhu, Sagara, had grown up to be a successor to Subāhu. When Garuḍa made Aurva acquainted with the pitiable tale of his sister Aurva decreed that Sumati should marry a Kṣatriya instead of a brahmin and thus tide over the curse. He then asked Sagara to marry Sumati and blessed them saying that Sagara would one day become an emperor and perform an Aśvamedha yāga. Aurva then sent Sagara along with the people to Ayodhyā where Sagara after defeating all his enemies became the emperor of Bhāratavarṣa. (Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Chapters 18-21).

Sagara’s sons and how Aurva helped in getting them.

Sagara ruled the land for three thousand years. He had besides Sumati another wife, Keśinī. Both of them bore no sons for Sagara. Dejected he entrusted the administration of the state with his ministers and left for the āśrama of Aurva. Aurva blessed them and prophesied that Keśinī would deliver a son to continue the dynasty and that Sumati would deliver sixty thousand sons of no great use at all. Sagara and his wives, returned to the palace and very soon both his wives became pregnant. In due time Keśinī delivered a son who was named Asamañjas. But Sumati gave birth to a lump of flesh. Greatly pained the King was about to throw it away when Aurva appeared there and stopped him from doing that. He directed him to cut the piece of flesh into sixty thousand pieces and put one piece each in a jar of ghee. Every year one prince would be born from one of them. Thus Sumati got sixty thousand sons. (Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Chapter 92).

Teaching of Aurva.

In the evening of his life Sagara went and stayed in the āśrama of Aurva. Aurva gave him instructions on many a divine subject. He taught him about the importance of the four āśramas, the rituals to be practised by the different castes of Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra and many such other things. Finally Aurva gave Sagara Brahmajñāna. (Chapter 8, Aṃśam 3, Viṣṇu Purāṇa).


All the Bhārgava ṛṣis together once stayed in the āśrama of Aurva. Paraśurāma visited the āśrama one day during that time and paid respects to Bhṛgu, Khyāti, wife of Bhṛgu, Cyavana, son of Bhṛgu and Aurva, son of Cyavana. (Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Chaptre 63).

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