Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Babhruvahana 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 Babhruvāhana

A son of Arjuna.


When the Pāṇḍavas were residing in Indraprastha after marrying Pāñcālī, Nārada went to see them once. With a view to avoiding any quarrel between the Pāṇḍavas over the one wife they jointly possessed, Nārada suggested that each should take Pāñcālī for a year in turn and he who violated the arrangement should go to the forest for a year. Once Arjuna went to the house of Yudhiṣṭhira who was with Pāñcāli and for thus violating the arrangement Arjuna had to go to the forest for a year. During this exile while he was staying at Gaṅgādvāra he married the serpent girl, Ulūpi and got a son called Irāvān of her.

After that he went to a country called Maṇalūr. At that time that country was being ruled by a king called Citrāṅgada. Prabhañjana one of the forefathers of Citrāṅgada had, by hard penance for a progeny, acquired from Śiva a boon and each of his successors got a son each to maintain the line. But when it came to Citrāṅgada to his surprise he got a girl instead of a son. But he got her up as a son and named her Citrāṅgada. It was when she was ready for marriage that Arjuna went there. The king received Arjuna with respect and after enquiring about his welfare requested him to marry his daughter. Arjuna married her and stayed there for three months. Leaving that place Arjuna went to Pañcatīrtha and there he gave salvation to the celestial maidens who were lying in the tīrthas as crocodiles. When he went back to Maṇalūr Citrāṅgadā had delivered a son whom he named Babhruvāhana. Promising them that he would take them later to Hastināpura, he left the place.

His fate to kill his own father.

It was by a ruse that Arjuna made Bhīṣma fall. Arjuna put Śikhaṇḍī before his chariot and Bhīṣma refused to take arms against a eunuch and accepted defeat. But Gaṅgādevī witnessing the battle between Bhīṣma, her son, and Arjuna from above could not bear this foul play and so cursed that Arjuna would die at the hands of his son. Ulūpi the serpent wife of Arjuna heard this curse and went to her father Kauravya who in turn went to Gaṅgā and begged for a relief from the curse. Gaṅgādevī then said that Arjuna would be killed by Babhruvāhana but would be brought to life by Ulūpi by placing the Mṛtasañjīvanī stone on the dead man’s breast.

The killing of Arjuna.

The Mahābhārata battle was over. When Yudhiṣṭhira was performing the Aśvamedha yāga Arjuna conducted a victory march with the yāga horse. On his way he reached Maṇalūr. At once Ulūpi called Babhruvāhana and asked him to challenge Arjuna. Babhruvāhana with his bow and arrows attacked Arjuna and in the grim battle that followed Arjuna fell dead. Seeing this Citrāṅgadā came to the place of battle weeping and abused Ulūpi for persuading Babhruvāhana to kill his own father. Ulūpi immediately went to the serpent world and brought the Mṛtasañjīvanī stone and as she placed it on Arjuna’s breast he came to life as if waking up from a sleep. When he saw Citrāṅgadā, Babhruvāhana and Ulūpī he smiled and asked them why they had all come there. Ulūpī then explained to him the story of the curse and extremely pleased over the end of the curse Arjuna took them all to Hastināpura. (Chapters 218 to 210 of Ādi Parva and Chapters 79 to 82 of Aśvamedha Parva, Mahābhārata).

Other details.

(1) On reaching Hastināpura Śrī Kṛṣṇa gave Babhruvāhana as a present a chariot drawn by divine horses. (Śloka 6, Chapter 88, Aśvamedha Parva, Mahābhārata).

(2) The different names given to him in the Purāṇas are as follows: Citrāṅgadāsuta, Maṇippūrpati, Dhanañjayasuta and Maṇipureśvara.

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