Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Dirghatamas 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 Dīrghatamas

A great Muni.


Aṅgiras, the son of Brahmā, had two sons, Utathya and Bṛhaspati. One day when Utathya was away from home, Bṛhaspati approached his elder brother’s wife, Mamatā, who was pregnant at the time, and tried to have sexual union with her. But she tried to dissuade him and said—"The child in my womb, born from Utathya’s semen has already mastered Vedas and Vedāṃgas. Your semen is also equally powerful. How can my womb bear the combined force of the two semens? So please refrain from this attempt of yours." But even after hearing these words of his sister-in-law, Bṛhaspati was not able to control his passions. At the time of the intercourse, when the semen of Bṛhaspati entered the womb, the child within it cried out—"Father ! this passion is improper. Two persons have no place here. So withdraw your semen." Bṛhaspati did not heed the request. The child in the womb repelled the semen that entered the womb with his foot and it dropped on the floor. Bṛhaspati who became angry, cursed the child. As a result, the boy was born blind. He got the name "Dīrghatamas" because he was born blind. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 104).

Family Life.

In brilliance of parts, Dīrghatamas* equalled Bṛhaspati. Dīrghatamas, who was born blind, married Pradveṣi, a Brāhmaṇī. The couple had many children, chief of whom was Gautama. But after the birth of the children, Dīrghatmas fell into evil ways and became an object of hatred and contempt. The inmates of āśramas dubbed him a sinner. His wife, was disgusted with him. One day, the enraged Dīrghatamas, in his fury cursed women as a whole and Pradveṣī could not control her anger. She, with the help of Gautama and other sons made a raft and placing Dīrghatamas on it, floated it down the river Gaṅgā. The King Bali happened to see the raft floating down the river. He sent men to bring the boat to the bank. The King recognized Dīrghatamas and asked the Muni to beget brilliant and intelligent children by his queen. Dīrghatamas agreed and the King sent the queen Sudeṣṇā to him. The queen who did not find pleasure in the company of the blind and decrepit Muni sent a nurse to him. The nurse bore to him Kakṣīvān and ten other sons all of whom became great scholars. After some years the King came to know that the mother of those boys was the nurse. Then he sent Sudeṣṇā again to the Muni. Dīrghatamas, after touching her body blessed her and five sons, Aṅga, Vaṅga, Kaliṅga, Puṇḍra and Śuṅga were born to her. They founded five Kingdoms which were known by their names respectively. They are known by their modern names: Bhāgalpura, Bengāl, Āndhra, Rājasāhi and Tāmravika.

Other details.

(1) Dīrghatamas had another wife named Uśik. (Ṛgveda, 1st Maṇḍala, 16th Anuvāka, 112th Sūkta.)

(2) Dīrghatamas continues to be in the assembly of Indra offering worship to him (Indra). (Mahābhārata Śabhā Parva, Chapter 7, Verse 11).

*) The story of Brhaspati’s union with Mamatā is given in Bhāgavata Purāṇa. According to this story the child in her womb was Bharadvāja. The Mahābhārata states that the child born to Mamatā was Dīrghatamas.

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