Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Mahabharata  Index  Previous  Next 


"Akritavrana said, 'Jamadagni devoted himself to the study of the Veda and the practice of sacred penances, and became famous for his great austerities. Then he pursued a methodical course of study and obtained a mastery over the entire Veda. And, O king, he paid a visit to Prasenajit and solicited the hand of Renuka in marriage. And this prayer was granted by the king. And the delight of Bhrigu's race having thus obtained Renuka for his wife, took his residence with her in a hermitage, and began to practice penances, being assisted by her. And four boys were born of her, with Rama for the fifth. And although the youngest, Rama was superior to all in merit. Now once upon a time, when her sons had gone out for the purpose of gathering fruits, Renuka who had a pure and austere life, went out to bathe. And, O king, while returning home, she happened to cast her glance towards the king of Martikavata, known by the name of Chitraratha. The king was in the water with his wives, and wearing on his breast a lotus wreath, was engaged in sport. And beholding his magnificent form, Renuka was inspired with desire. And this unlawful desire she could not control, but became polluted within the water, and came back to the hermitage frightened at heart. Her husband readily perceived what state she was in. And mighty and powerful and of a wrathful turn of mind, when he beheld that she had been giddy and that the lustre of chastity had abandoned her, he reproached her by crying out 'Fie!' At that very moment came in the eldest of Jamadagni's sons, Rumanvan; and then, Sushena, and then, Vasu, and likewise, Viswavasu. And the mighty saint directed them all one by one to put an end to the life of their mother. They, however, were quite confounded and lost heart. And they could not utter a single word. Then he in ire cursed them. And on being cursed they lost their sense and suddenly became like inanimate objects, and comparable in conduct to beasts and birds. And then Rama, the slayer of hostile heroes, came to the hermitage, last of all. Him the mighty-armed Jamadagni, of great austerities, addressed, saying, 'Kill this wicked mother of thine, without compunction, O my son.' Thereupon Rama immediately took up an axe and therewith severed his mother's head.

p. 250

[paragraph continues] Then, O great king, the wrath of Jamadagni of mighty soul, was at once appeased; and well-pleased, he spake the following words, 'Thou hast, my boy, performed at my bidding this difficult task, being versed in virtue. Therefore, whatsoever wishes there may be in thy heart, I am ready to grant them all. Do thou ask me.' Thereupon Rama solicited that his mother might be restored to life, and that he might not be haunted by the remembrance of this cruel deed and that he might not be affected by any sin, and that his brothers might recover their former state, and that he might be unrivalled on the field of battle, and that he might obtain long life. And, O Bharata's son, Jamadagni, whose penances were the most rigid, granted all those desires of his son. Once, however, O lord, when his sons had gone out as before, the valourous son of Kartavirya, the lord of the country near the shore of the sea, came up to the hermitage. And when he arrived at that hermitage, the wife of the saint received him hospitably. He, however, intoxicated with a warrior's pride, was not at all pleased with the reception accorded to him, and by force and in defiance of all resistance, seized and carried off from that hermitage the chief of the cows whose milk supplied the sacred butter, not heeding the loud lowing of the cow. And he wantonly pulled down the large trees of the wood. When Rama came home, his father himself told him all that had happened. Then when Rama saw how the cow was lowing for its calf, resentment arose in his heart. And he rushed towards Kartavirya's son, whose last moments had drawn nigh. Then the descendant of Bhrigu, the exterminator of hostile heroes, put forth his valour on the field of battle, and with sharpened arrows with flattened tips, which were shot from a beautiful bow, cut down Arjuna's arms, which numbered a thousand, and were massive like (wooden) bolts for barring the door. He, already touched by the hand of death, was overpowered by Rama, his foe. Then the kinsmen of Arjuna, their wrath excited against Rama, rushed at Jamadagni in his hermitage, while Rama was away. And they slew him there; for although his strength was great, yet being at the time engaged in penances, he would not fight. And while thus attacked by his foes, he repeatedly shouted the name of Rama in a helpless and piteous way. And, O Yudhishthira, the sons of Kartavirya shot Jamadagni, with their arrows, and having thus chastised their foe, went their way. And when they had gone away, and when Jamadagni had breathed his last, Rama, the delight of Bhrigu's race, returned to the hermitage, bearing in his arms, fuel for religious rites. And the hero beheld his father who had been put to death. And grieved exceedingly he began to bewail the unworthy fate that had laid his father low."

Next: Section CXVII