Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Dharmavyadha 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 Dharmavyādha

Though he was born in the caste of foresters he became a saint by following the path of duty and righteousness. In his previous birth he was a Brahmin. He was a friend of a king who was an adept in archery. Once both went on hunting expedition to the forest. The brahmin sent an arrow at a wild animal but the arrow went and struck a sage who was doing penance under a tree. When the sage was rolling on the arrow he said: "Oh, evil-natured Brāhmaṇa, may you be born as a hunter selling flesh in your next life." The Brahmin went and apologised to the sage and craved for pardon. Taking pity on him the sage consoled him by saying that though he would be born as such, he would be a great scholar and attain mokṣa by doing his duty without even once wavering from it.

The Brahmin was born a hunter in the country of Mithilā He took to looking after his parents as a vow and soon became a top-ranking righteous man. He did his duty to which he was born. He sold meat and earned a living. He never killed or butchered an animal. One day a Brahmin named Kauśika was doing penance sitting under a tree when a crane perched on the top of its branches defiled the Brahmin’s head with its droppings. The Brahmin in rage looked up and his powerful stare burnt the crane and it fell down dead. Leaving that place some time later he went to a house to beg. The house-wife informed him that he would be given alms only after attending to her husband. The Brahmin was not pleased with her reply. Seeing that she added "Please do not look at me like that. I am no crane. To me my husband is supreme."

The Brahmin was taken aback when he heard the lady mention the incident of the crane. The lady explained to him that all her powers were due to her devotion to her husband and advised the Brahmin to go and meet Dharmavyādha of Mithilā to remove the egoism in him. Obeying her instructions Kauśika went and accepted Dharmavyādha as his guru. The learned hunter then spoke to Kauśika about Varṇadharmas, Śiṣṭācāras, hiṃsā and ahiṃsā, Mīmāṃsā relating to dharma and karma, the importance and glory of Brahmavidyā, the significance of the control of the senses, Triguṇas, Prāṇavāyu, service to father and mother and many such other things. The egoism of Kauśika was removed and he returned home. Devoted to his parents he attained heaven. (Chapters 27 to 33, Vana Parva).