The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, , at sacred-texts.com
Kings of Mithilá. Legend of Nimi, the son of Ikshwáku. Birth of Janaka. Sacrifice of Síradhwaja. Origin of Sítá. Descendants of Kuśadhwaja. Kriti the last of the Maithila princes.
THE son of Ikshwáku, who was named Nimi 1, instituted a sacrifice that was to endure for a thousand years, and applied to Vaśisht́ha to offer the oblations. Vaśisht́ha in answer said, that he had been preengaged by Indra for five hundred years, but that if the Rájá, would wait for some time, he would come and officiate as superintending priest. The king made no answer, and Vaśisht́ha went away, supposing that he had assented. When the sage had completed the performance of the ceremonies he had conducted for Indra, he returned with all speed to Nimi, purposing to render him the like office. When he arrived, however, and found that Nimi had retained Gautama and other priests to minister at his sacrifice, he was much displeased, and pronounced upon the king, who was then asleep, a curse to this effect, that since he had not intimated his intention, but transferred to Gautama the duty he had first entrusted to himself, Vaśisht́ha, Nimi should thenceforth cease to exist in a corporeal form. When Nimi woke, and knew what had happened, he in return denounced as an imprecation upon his unjust preceptor, that he also should lose his bodily existence, as the punishment of uttering a curse upon him without previously communicating with him. Nimi then abandoned his bodily condition. The spirit of Vaśisht́ha also leaving his body, was united with the spirits of Mitra and Varuńa for a season, until, through their passion for the nymph Urvaśí, the sage was born again in a different shape. The corpse of Nimi was preserved from decay by being embalmed with fragrant oils and resins, and it remained as entire as if it were immortal 2. When the sacrifice
was concluded, the priests applied to the gods, who had come to receive their portions, that they would confer a blessing upon the author of the sacrifice. The gods were willing to restore him to bodily life, but Nimi declined its acceptance, saying, "O deities, who are the alleviators of all worldly suffering, there is not in the world a deeper cause of distress than the separation of soul and body: it is therefore my wish to dwell in the eyes of all beings, but never more to resume a corporeal shape!" To this desire the gods assented, and Nimi was placed by them in the eyes of all living creatures; in consequence of which their eyelids are ever opening and shutting.
As Nimi left no successor, the Munis, apprehensive of the consequences of the earth being without a ruler, agitated the body of the prince, and produced from it a prince who was called Janaka, from being born without a progenitor. In consequence of his father being without a body (videha), he was termed also Vaideha, 'the son of the bodiless;' and the further received the name of Mithi, from having been produced by agitation (mathana) 3. The son of Janaka was Udávasu;
his son was Nandivarddhana; his son was Suketu; his son was Devaráta; his son was Vrihaduktha; his son was Mahávírya; his son was Satyadhriti; his son was Dhrisht́aketu; his son was Haryyaśwa; his son was Maru; his son was Pratibandhaka; his son was Kritaratha; his son was Krita; his son was Vibudha; his son was Mahádhriti; his son was Kritiráta; his son was Mahároman; his son was Suvarńaroman; his son was Hraswaroman; his son was Síradhwaja.
Síradhwaja ploughing the ground, to prepare it for a sacrifice which he instituted in order to obtain progeny, there sprang up in the furrow a damsel, who became his daughter Sítá 4. The brother of Síradhwaja was Kuśadhwaja, who was king of Káśí 5; he had a son also, named Bhánumat 6. The son of Bhánumat was Satadyumna; his son was Śuchi; his son was Úrjjaváha; his son was Śatyadhwaja; his son was Kuni 7; his son was Anjana; his son was Ritujit; his son was Arisht́anemi 8; his son was Śrutáyus; his son was Supárśwa; his son was Sanjaya 9; his son was Kshemári 10; his son was Anenas 11; his son was Mínaratha 12; his son was Satyaratha; his son was Sátyarathi 13; his son was Upagu 14; his son was Śruta 15; his son was Sáswata 16; his son was Sudhanwan; his son was Subhása; his son was Suśruta 17; his son was Jaya; his son was Vijaya; his son was Rita; his son was Sunaya 18; his son was Vítahavya;
his son was Dhriti; his son was Bahuláśwa; his son was Kriti, with whom terminated the family of Janaka. These are the kings of Mithilá, who for the most part will be 19 proficient in spiritual knowledge 20.
388:1 None of the authorities, except the Váyu and Bhágavata, contain the series of kings noticed in this chapter.
388:2 This shews that the Hindus were not unacquainted with the Egyptian art of embalming dead bodies. In the Káśí Khańd́a, s. 30, an account is given of a Brahman who carries his mother's bones, p. 389 or rather her corpse, from Setuhandha or Rámeśwara to Káśí. For this purpose he first washes it with the five excretions of a cow, and the five pure fluids, or milk, curds, ghee, honey, and sugar. He then embalms it with Yakshakarddama, a composition of Agallochum, camphor, musk, saffron, sandal, and a resin called Kakkola; and envelopes it severally with Netra vastra, flowered muslin; Pat́t́amvara, silk; Surasa vastra, coarse cotton; Mánjisht́ha, cloth dyed with madder; and Nepala Kambala, nepal blanketing. He then covers it with pure clay, and puts the whole into a coffin of copper, Támra samput́a. These practices are not only unknown, but would be thought impure in the present day.
389:3 These legends are intended to explain, and were probably suggested by, the terms Vaideha and Mithilá, applied to the country upon the Gandak and Kai rivers, the modern Tirhut. The Rámáyańa places a prince named Mithi between Nimi and Janaka, whence comes the name Mithilá. In other respects the list of kings of Mithilá agrees, except in a few names. Janaka the successor of Nimi is different from Janaka who is celebrated as the father of Síta. One of them, which, does not appear, is also renowned as a philosopher, and patron of philosophical teachers. Mahábhárata, Moksha Dharma. According to the Váyu P., Nimi founded a city called Jayantapur, near the Áśrama of Gautama. The remains of a city called Janakpur, on the northern skirts of the district, are supposed to indicate the site of a city founded by one of the princes so named.
390:4 This identifies Síradhwaja with the second Janaka, the father-in-law of Ráma. The story of Sítá's birth, or rather discovery, is narrated in the Aránya Khańd́a of the Rámáyańa, the Vana Parva of the Mahábhárata, and in the Váyu, Brahma Vaivartta, Káliká, and other Puráńas.
390:5 The Rámáyańa says, 'of Sankaśya,' which is no doubt the correct reading. Fa Hian found the kingdom of Sang-kia-shi in the Doab, about Mainpuri. Account of the Foe-kuë-ki. The Bhágavata makes Kuśadhwaja the son of Síradwaja.
390:6 The Bhágavata differs from our authority here considerably, by inserting several princes between Kúsadhwaja and Bhánumat; or, Dharmadhwaja, who has two sons, Kritadhwaja and Kháńd́ikya; the former is the father of Keśidhwaja, the latter of Bhánumat. See the last book of the Vishńu.
390:7 Śakuni, and the last of the series, according to the Váyu,
390:8 Between this prince and Śuchi the series of the Bhágavata is Sanadhwaja, Urddhwaketu, Aja, Purujit. The following variations are from the same authority.
390:17 Yuyudhána, Subháshańa, Śruta.
391:19 ### is the reading of all the copies; but why the future verb, 'will be,' is used does not appear.
391:20 Descendants of two of the other sons of the Manu are noticed in the Bhágavata; from Nriga, it is said, proceeded Sumati, Bhútajyotish, Vasu, Pratíka, Oghavat, and his sister Oghavatí, married to Sudarśana. The Linga gives three sons to Nriga, Vrisha, Dhrisht́aka, and Rańadhrisht́a, and alludes to a legend of his having been changed to a lizard by the curse of a Brahman. Narishyanta's descendants were Chitrasena, Daksha, Madhwat, Púrva, Indrasena, Vítihotra, Satyaśrava, Uruśravas, Devadatta, Agniveśya, also called Játukarńa, a form of Agni, and progenitor of the Ágniveśya Brahmans. In the Bráhma P. and Hari V. the sons of Narishyat, whom the commentator on the latter considers as the same with Narishyanta, are termed Sacas, Sacæ or Scythians; whilst, again, it is said that the son of Narishyanta was Dama, or, as differently read, Yams. As this latter affiliation is stated in the authorities, it would appear as if this Narishyanta was one of the sons of the Manu; but this is only a proof of the carelessness of the compilation, for in the Vishńu, Váyu, and Márkańd́eya Puráńas, Narishyanta, the father of Dama, is the son of Marutta, the fourteenth of the posterity of Disht́a or Nedisht́a.