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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

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Sons of Purúravas. Descendants of Amávasu. Indra born as Gádhí. Legend of Richíka and Satyavatí. Birth of Jamadagni and Viśwámitra. Paraśuráma the son of the former. (Legend of Paraśuráma.) Sunahśephas and others the sons of Viśwámitra, forming the Kauśika race.

PURÚRAVAS had six sons, Áyus, Dhímat, Amávasu, Viśwavasu, Śatáyus, and Śrutáyus 1. The son of Amávasu was Bhíma 2; his son was Kánchana 3; his son was Suhotra 4, whose son was Jahnu. This prince, whilst performing a sacrifice, saw the whole of the place overflowed by the waters of the Ganges. Highly offended at this intrusion, his eyes red with anger, he united the spirit of sacrifice with himself, by the power of his devotion, and drank up the river. The gods and sages upon this came to him, and appeased his indignation, and reobtained Gangá from him, in the capacity of his daughter (whence she is called Jáhnaví) 5.

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The son of Jahnu was Sumantu 6; his son was Ajaka; his son was Valákáśwa 7; his son was Kuśá 8, who had four sons, Kuśámba, Kuśanábha, Amúrttaya, and Amávasu 9. Kuśámba, being desirous of a son, engaged in devout penance to obtain one who should be equal to Indra. Observing the intensity of his devotions, Indra was alarmed lest a prince of power like his own should be engendered, and determined therefore to take upon himself the character of Kuśámba's son 10. He was accordingly born as Gádhi, of the race of Kuśa (Kauśika). Gádhi had a daughter named Satyavatí. Richíka, of the descendants of Bhrigu, demanded her in marriage. The king was very unwilling to give his daughter to a peevish old Brahman, and demanded of him, as the nuptial present, a thousand fleet horses, whose colour should be white, with one black ear. Richíka having propitiated Varuńa, the god of ocean, obtained from him, at the holy place called Aśwatírtha, a thousand such steeds; and giving them to the king, espoused his daughter 11.

In order to effect the birth of a son, Richíka 12 prepared a dish of rice, barley, and pulse, with butter and milk, for his wife to eat; and at her

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request he consecrated a similar mixture for her mother, by partaking of which she should give birth to a prince of martial prowess. Leaving both dishes with his wife, after describing particularly which was intended for her, and which for her mother, the sage went forth to the forests. When the time arrived for the food to be eaten, the queen said to Satyavatí, "Daughter, all persons wish their children to be possessed of excellent qualities, and would be mortified to see them surpassed by the merits of their mother's brother. It will be desirable for you, therefore, to give me the mess your husband has set apart for you, and to eat of that intended for me; for the son which it is to procure me is destined to be the monarch of the whole world, whilst that which your dish would give you must be a Brahman, alike devoid of affluence, valour, and power." Satyavatí agreed to her mother's proposal, and they exchanged messes.

When Richíka returned home, and beheld Satyavatí, he said to her, "Sinful woman, what hast thou done! I view thy body of a fearful appearance. Of a surety thou hast eaten the consecrated food which was prepared for thy mother: thou hast done wrong. In that food I had infused the properties of power and strength and heroism; in thine, the qualities suited to a Brahman, gentleness, knowledge, and resignation. In consequence of having reversed my plans, thy son shall follow a warrior's propensities, and use weapons, and fight, and slay. Thy mother's son shall be born with the inclinations of a Brahman, and be addicted to peace and piety." Satyavatí, hearing this, fell at her husband's feet, and said, "My lord, I have done this thing through ignorance; have compassion on me; let me not have a son such as thou hast foretold: if such there must be, let it be my grandson, not my son." The Muni, relenting at her distress, replied, "So let it be." Accordingly in due season she gave birth to Jamadagni; and her mother brought forth Viswamitra. Satyavatí afterwards became the Kauśikí river 13. Jamadagni married Reńuká, the daughter of Reńú, of the

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family of Ikshwáku, and had by her the destroyer of the Kshatriya race, Paraśuráma, who was a portion of Náráyańa, the spiritual guide of the universe 14.


398:1 Considerable variety prevails in these names, and the Matsya, Padma, Bráhma, and Agni enumerate eight. The lists are as follows:














































[paragraph continues] The list of the Bráhma is that of the Mahábhárata, with the addition of Śatáyus and Viśwáyus; and the Padma agrees with the Matsya.

398:2 Son of Vijaya: Bhágavata. This line of princes is followed only in our text, the Váyu, Bráhma, and Hari V., and the Bhágavata.

398:3 Kánchanaprabha: Bráhma.

398:4 Hotraka: Bhágavata.

398:5 The Bráhma P. and Hari V. add of this prince, that he was the husband of Káverí, the daughter of Yuvanáśwa, who by the imprecation of her husband became the Káverí river: another indication of the Dakshina origin of these works. The p. 399 Hari V. has another Jahnu, to whom it gives the same spouse, as we shall hereafter see.

399:6 Sunuta: Bráhma. Puru: Bhágavata.

399:7 Valaka: Bráhma. Ajaka: Bhágavata.

399:8 The Bráhma P. and Hari V. add that Kúśa was in alliance with the Pahlavas and foresters.

399:9 Our authorities differ as to these names:


Bráhma and Hari V.


Kuśáśwa or,












[paragraph continues] The Rámáyańa has Kuśámba, Kuśanábha, Amurttarayasa, and Vasu; and makes them severally the founders of Kauśámbi, of Mahodaya (which afterwards appears the same as Kanoj), Dharmárańya, and Girivraja; the latter being in the mountainous part of Magadhá. I. s. 29.

399:10 The Bráhma and Hari V. make Gádhi the son of Kuśika; the Váyu and Bhágavata, of Kuśánaba; the Rámáyańa, of Kuśanábha.

399:11 The Rámáyańa notices the marriage, but has no legend. The Mahábhárata, Vans P., has a rather more detailed narration, but much the same as in the text. According to the commentator, Aśwatírtha is in the district of Kanoj; perhaps at the confluence of the Kálanadí with the Ganges. The agency of the god of Ocean in procuring horses, is a rather curious additional coincidence between Varuńa and Neptune.

399:12 In the Mahábhárata, Bhrigu, the father of Richíka, prepares the Charu.

400:13 So the Rámáyańa, after stating that Satyavatí followed her husband in death, adds, that she became the Kauśikí river; the Cosi, which, rising in Nepal, flows through Puraniya into the Ganges, opposite nearly to Rájamahal.

401:14 The text omits the story of Paraśuráma, but as the legend makes a great figure in the Vaishńava works in general, I have inserted it from the Mahábhárata, where it is twice related, once in the Vana Parva, and once in the Rájadharma section of the Śánti Parva. It is told also at length in the ninth book of the Bhágavata, in the Padma and Agni Puráńas, &c.

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