Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Virata 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 Virāṭa

General information.

The King of Matsya country. During the pseudonymity of the Pāṇḍavas this King sheltered them. At the end of the pseudonymity of one year, the Kauravas had stolen the cows of Virāṭa. In the fight which ensued Arjuna entered the battlefield with Uttara, the son of King Virāṭa, and defeated the Kauravas and proclaimed that the life of pseudonymity was over. After that Abhimanyu married Uttarā the daughter of Virāṭa. (Mahābhārata Virāṭa Parva).

Other details.

(i) This Virāṭa, the King of Matsya was born from a portion of the Marudgaṇas. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 67, Stanza 82).

(ii) King Virāṭa had two sons named Uttara and Śaṅkha. It was with these sons that he attended the Svayaṃvara marriage of Draupadī. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 185, Stanza 8).

(iii) In the regional conquest conducted by Sahadeva, before the Imperial consecration-sacrifice of the Pāṇḍavas, Virāṭa fought with him and was defeated. (Mahābhārata Sabhā Parva, Chapter 31, Stanza 2).

(iv) King Virāṭa attended the Rājasūya (sacrifice of imperial consecration) of Yudhiṣṭhira. (Mahābhārata Sabhā Parva, Chapter 44, Stanza 20).

(v) Virāṭa gave as a gift to Yudhiṣṭhira two thousand tuskers adorned with gold chains. (Mahābhārata Sabhā Parva, Chapter 52, Stanza 26).

(vi) The name of the wife of King Virāṭa was Sudeṣṇā. (Mahābhārata Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 9, Stanza 6).

(vii) During the incognito-life of the Pāṇḍavas, King Virāṭa sheltered them in his palace. He took Yudhiṣṭhira as a court-favourite, Bhīmasena as the over-seer of his dining hall, Arjuna as the dancing master, Nakula as the head of the stables, and Sahadeva as the head of the cow-herds. (Mahābhārata Virāṭa Parva, Chapters 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12).

(viii) The first wife of King Virāṭa was Surathā, the princess of Kosala. A son named Śveta was born to Virāṭa by Surathā. After the death of Surathā, he married Sudeṣṇā the daughter of Sūta, King of Kekaya. To Sudeṣṇā two sons named Śaṅkha and Uttara and as the youngest, a daughter named Uttarā were born. (Mahābhārata Virāṭa Parva, Dākṣiṇātya Pāṭha, Chapter 16).

(ix) It is stated in Mahābhārata, Virāṭa Parva, Dākṣiṇātyapāṭha, Chapter 26, that King Virāṭa had ten brothers.

(x) Virāṭa had two brothers named Śatānīka and Madirākṣa. Sūryadatta is another name of Śatānīka. He was the commander of the army of Virāṭa. Madirākṣa was also called Viśālākṣa. (Mahābhārata Virāṭa Parva, Chapters 31 and 32).

(xi) At the time of the theft of the cows, King Virāṭa engaged in combat with Suśarmā. (Mahābhārata Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 32, Stanza 28).

(xii) Suśarmā caught hold of Virāṭa alive. (Mahābhārata Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 33, Stanza 7).

(xiii) Virāṭa was one of the seven prominent commanders of the army of Yudhiṣṭhira. (Mahābhārata Udyoga Parva, Chapter 157, Stanza 11).

(xiv) On the first day of the battle of Bhārata there was a combat between Virāṭa and Bhagadatta. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 45, Stanza 49).

(xv) Virāṭa attacked Bhīṣma. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 73, Stanza 1).

(xvi) In the fight between Virāṭa and Droṇa, Śaṅkha was killed. With that Virāṭa ran away. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 82, Stanza 14).

(xvii) There was a combat between Virāṭa and Aśvatthāmā. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 110, Stanza 16).

(xviii) Virāṭa combatted with Jayadratha. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 116, Stanza 42).

(xix) Virāṭa fought with Vinda and Anuvinda. (Mahābhārata Droṇa Parva, Chapter 25, Stanza 20).

(xx) In the fight with Śalya, Virāṭa fell down unconscious. (Mahābhārata Droṇa Parva, Chapter 167, Stanza 34).

(xxi) In the battle which followed, Droṇācārya killed Virāṭa. (Mahābhārata Karṇa Parva, Chapter 6, Stanza 6).

(xxii) Mention is made in Mahābhārata, Strī Parva, Chapter 26, Stanza 33, that the funeral ceremony of Virāṭa was conducted in a befitting manner and in Mahābhārata, Śānti Parva, Chapter 42, Stanza 4, that Yudhiṣṭhira performed offering to the Manes for him.

(xxiii) After death, Virāṭa entered heaven and joined the Marudgaṇas. (Mahābhārata Svargārohaṇa Parva, Chapter 5, Stanza 15).

(xxiv) The synonyms used in Mahābhārata for Virāṭa are, Matsya, Matsyapati, Matsyarāṭ, Matsyarāja etc.

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