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

p. 377


The progeny of Sagara: their wickedness: he performs an Aśwamedha: the horse stolen by Kapila: found by Sagara's sons, who are all destroyed by the sage: the horse recovered by Anśumat: his descendants. Legend of Mitrasaha or Kalmáshapáda, the son of Sudása. Legend of Khat́wánga. Birth of Ráma and the other sons of Daśaratha. Epitome of the history of Ráma: his descendants, and those of his brothers. Line of Kuśa. Vrihadbala, the last, killed in the great war.

SUMATI the daughter of Kaśyapa, and Kesiní the daughter of Rája Viderbha, were the two wives of Sagara 1. Being without progeny, the king solicited the aid of the sage Aurva with great earnestness, and the Muni pronounced this boon, that one wife should bear one son, the upholder of his race, and the other should give birth to sixty thousand sons; and he left it to them to make their election. Kesiní chose to have the single son; Sumati the multitude: and it came to pass in a short time that the former bore Asamanjas 2, a prince through whom the dynasty continued; and the daughter of Vinatá (Sumati) had sixty thousand sons. The son of Asamanjas was Anśumat.

Asamanjas was from his boyhood of very irregular conduct. His father hoped that as he grew up to manhood he would reform; but finding that he continued guilty of the same immorality, Sagara abandoned him. The sixty thousand sons of Sagara followed the example of their brother Asamanjas. The path of virtue and piety being obstructed in the world by the sons of Sagara, the gods repaired to the Muni Kapila, who was a portion of Vishńu, free from fault, and endowed with all true wisdom. Having approached him with respect, they said, "O lord, what will become of the world, if these sons of Sagara are permitted to go on in the evil ways which they have learned from Asamanjas! Do thou, then, assume a visible form, for the protection of the afflicted

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universe." "Be satisfied," replied the sage, "in a brief time the sons of Sagara shall be all destroyed."

At that period Sagara commenced the performance of the solemn sacrifice of a horse, who was guarded by his own sons: nevertheless some one stole the animal, and carried it off into a chasm in the earth, Sagara commanded his sons to search for the steed; and they, tracing him by the impressions of his hoofs, followed his course with perseverance, until coming to the chasm where he had entered, they proceeded to enlarge it, and dug downwards each for a league. Coming to Pátála, they beheld the horse wandering freely about, and at no great distance from him they saw the Rishi Kapila sitting, with his head declined in meditation, and illuminating the surrounding space with radiance as bright as the splendours of the autumnal sun, shining in an unclouded sky. Exclaiming, "This is the villain who has maliciously interrupted our sacrifice, and stolen the horse! kill him! kill him!" they ran towards him with uplifted weapons. The Muni slowly raised his eyes, and for an instant looked upon them, and they were reduced to ashes by the sacred flame that darted from his person 3.

When Sagara learned that his sons, whom he had sent in pursuit of the sacrificial steed, had been destroyed by the might of the great Rishi Kapila, he dispatched Anśumat, the son of Asamaujas, to effect the animals recovery. The youth, proceeding by the deep path which the princes had dug, arrived where Kapila was, and bowing respectfully, prayed to him, and so propitiated him, that the saint said, "Go, my

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son, deliver the horse to your grandfather; and demand a boon; thy grandson shall bring down the river of heaven on the earth." Anśumat requested as a boon that his uncles, who had perished through the sage's displeasure, might, although unworthy of it, be raised to heaven through his favour. "I have told you," replied Kapila, "that your grandson shall bring down upon earth the Ganges of the gods; and when her waters shall wash the bones and ashes of thy grandfather's sons, they shall be raised to Swarga. Such is the efficacy of the stream that flows from the toe of Vishńu, that it confers heaven upon all who bathe in it designedly, or who even become accidentally immersed in it: those even shall obtain Swarga, whose bones, skin, fibres, hair, or any other part, shall be left after death upon the earth which is contiguous to the Ganges." Having acknowledged reverentially the kindness of the sage, Anśumat returned to his grandfather, and delivered to him the horse. Sagara, on recovering the steed, completed his sacrifice; and in affectionate memory of his sons, denominated Ságara the chasm which they had dug 4.

The son of Anśumat was Dilípa 5; his son was Bhagíratha, who brought Gangá down to earth, whence she is called Bhágirathí. The son of Bhagíratha was Śruta 6; his son was Nábhága 7; his son was Ambarísha; his son was Sindhudwípa; his son was Ayutáśwa 8; his son was Rituparńa, the friend of Nala, skilled profoundly in dice 9. The

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son of Rituparńa was Sarvakáma 10; his son was Sudása; his son was Saudása, named also Mitrasaha 11.

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The son of Sudása having gone into the woods to hunt, fell in with a couple of tigers, by whom the forest had been cleared of the deer. The king slew one of these tigers with an arrow. At the moment of expiring, the form of the animal was changed, and it became that of a fiend of fearful figure, and hideous aspect. Its companion, threatening the prince with its vengeance, disappeared.

After some interval Saudása celebrated a sacrifice, which was conducted by Vaśisht́ha. At the close of the rite Vaśisht́ha went out; when the Rákshas, the fellow of the one that had been killed in the figure of a tiger, assumed the semblance of Vaśisht́ha, and came and said to the king, "Now that the sacrifice is ended, you must give me flesh to eat: let it be cooked, and I will presently return." Having said this, he withdrew, and, transforming himself into the shape of the cook, dressed some human flesh, which he brought to the king, who, receiving it on a plate of gold, awaited the reappearance of Vaśisht́ha. As soon as the Muni returned, the king offered to him the dish. Vaśisht́ha surprised at such want of propriety in the king, as his offering him meat to eat, considered what it should be that was so presented, and by the efficacy of his meditations discovered that it was human flesh. His mind being agitated with wrath, he denounced a curse upon the Rájá, saying, "Inasmuch as you have insulted all such holy men as we are, by giving me what is not to be eaten, your appetite shall henceforth be excited by similar food."

"It was yourself," replied the Rájá to the indignant sage, "who commanded this food to be prepared." "By me!" exclaimed Vaśisht́ha; "how could that have been?" and again having recourse to meditation, he detected the whole truth. Foregoing then all displeasure towards the king, he said, "The food to which I have sentenced you shall not be your sustenance for ever; it shall only be so for twelve years." The king, who had taken up water in the palms of his hands, and was prepared to curse the Muni, now considered that Vaśisht́ha was his spiritual guide, and being reminded by Madayantí his queen that it ill became him to denounce an imprecation upon a holy teacher, who was the guardian divinity of his race, abandoned his intention.

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[paragraph continues] Unwilling to cast the water upon the earth, lest it should wither up the grain, for it was impregnated with his malediction, and equally reluctant to throw it up into the air, lest it should blast the clouds, and dry up their contents, he threw it upon, his own feet. Scalded by the heat which the water had derived from his angry imprecation, the feet of the Rájá became spotted black and white, and he thence obtained the name of Kalmáshapáda, or he with the spotted (kalmásha) feet (páda).

In consequence of the curse of Vaśisht́ha, the Rájá became a cannibal every sixth watch of the day for twelve years, and in that state wandered through the forests, and devoured multitudes of men. On one occasion he beheld a holy person engaged in dalliance with his wife. As soon as they saw his terrific form, they were frightened, and endeavoured to escape; but the regal Rákshasa overtook and seized the husband. The wife of the Brahman then also desisted from flight, and earnestly entreated the savage to spare her lord, exclaiming, "Thou, Mitrasaha, art the pride of the royal house of Ikshwáku, not a malignant fiend! it is not in thy nature, who knowest the characters of women, to carry off and devour my husband." But all was in vain, and, regardless of her reiterated supplications, he ate the Brahman, as a tiger devours a deer. The Brahman's wife, furious with wrath, then addressed the Rájá, and said, "Since you have barbarously disturbed the joys of a wedded pair, and killed my husband, your death shall be the consequence of your associating with your queen." So saying, she entered the flames.

At the expiration of the period of his curse Saudása returned home. Being reminded of the imprecation of the Brahmani by his wife Madayantí, he abstained from conjugal intercourse, and was in consequence childless; but having solicited the interposition of Vaśisht́ha, Madayantí became pregnant. The child, however, was not born for seven years, when the queen, becoming impatient, divided the womb with a sharp stone, and was thereby delivered. The child was thence called Aśmaka (from Aśman, 'a stone'). The son of Aśmaka was Múlaka, who, when the warrior tribe was extirpated upon earth, was surrounded and concealed by a number of females; whence he was denominated Náríkavacha

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[paragraph continues] (having women for armour) 12. The son of Múlaka was Daśaratha; his son was Ilavila; his son was Viśwasaha; his son was Khat́wánga, called also Dilípa 13, who in a battle between the gods and the Asuras, being called by the former to their succour, killed a number of the latter. Having thus acquired the friendship of the deities in heaven, they desired him to demand a boon. He said to them, "If a boon is to be accepted by me, then tell me, as a favour, what is the duration of my life." "The length of your life is but an hour," the gods replied. On which, Khat́wánga, who was swift of motion, descended in his easy-gliding chariot to the world of mortals. Arrived there, he prayed, and said, "If my own soul has never been dearer to me than the sacred Brahmans; if I have never deviated from the discharge of my duty; if I have never regarded gods, men, animals, vegetables, all created things, as different from the imperishable; then may I, with unswerving step, attain to that divine being on whom holy sages meditate!" Having thus spoken, he was united with that supreme being, who is Vásudeva; with that elder of all the gods, who is abstract existence, and whose form cannot be described. Thus he obtained absorption, according to this stanza, which was repeated formerly by the seven Rishis; "Like unto Khat́wánga will be no one upon earth, who having come from heaven, and dwelt an hour amongst men, became united with the three worlds by his liberality and knowledge of truth 14."

The son of Khat́wánga was Dírghabáhu; his son was Raghu; his son was Aja; his son was Daśaratha 15. The god from whose navel the

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lotus springs became fourfold, as the four sons of Daśaratha, Ráma, Lakshmańa, Bharata, and Śatrughna, for the protection of the world. Ráma, whilst yet a boy, accompanied Viswámitra, to protect his sacrifice, and slew Tád́aká. He afterwards killed Máricha with his resistless shafts; and Subáhu and others fell by his arms. He removed the guilt of Ahalyá by merely looking upon her. In the palace of Janaka he broke with ease the mighty bow of Maheśwara, and received the hand of Sítá, the daughter of the king, self-born from the earth, as the prize of his prowess. He humbled the pride of Paraśuráma, who vaunted his triumphs over the race of Haihaya, and his repeated slaughters of the Kshatriya tribe. Obedient to the commands of his father, and cherishing no regret for the loss of sovereignty, he entered the forest,

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accompanied by his brother Lakshmańa and by his wife, where he killed in conflict Virádha, Kharadúshana and other Rákshasas, the headless giant Kabandha, and Báli the monkey monarch. Having built a bridge across the ocean, and destroyed the whole Rákshasa nation, he recovered his bride Sítá, whom their ten-headed king Rávańa had carried off, and returned to Ayodhyá with her, after she had been purified by the fiery ordeal from the soil contracted by her captivity, and had been honoured by the assembled gods, who bore witness to her virtue 16.

Bharata made himself master of the country of the Gandharbas, after destroying vast numbers of them; and Śatrughna having killed the Rákshasa chief Lavańa, the son of Madhu, took possession of his capital Mathurá.

Having thus, by their unequalled valour and might, rescued the whole world from the dominion of malignant fiends, Ráma, Lakshmańa, Bharata, and Śatrughna reascended to heaven, and were followed by those of the people of Kośala who were fervently devoted to these incarnate portions of the supreme Vishńu.

Ráma and his brothers had each two sons. Kuśa and Lava were the sous of Ráma; those of Lakshmańa were Angada and Chandraketu; the sons of Bharata were Taksha and Pushkara; and Subáhu and Śúrasena 17 were the sons of Śatrughna.

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The son of Kuśa was Atithi; his son was Nishadha; his son was Nala 18; his son was Nabhas; his son was Puńd́aríka; his son was Kshemadhanwan; his son was Deváníka; his son was Ahínagu 19; his son was Páripátra; his son was Dala 20; his son was Chhala 21; his son was Uktha 22; his son was Vajranábha; his son was Śankhanábha 23; his son was Abhyutthitáśwa 24; his son was Viśwasaha 25; his son was Hirańyanábha, who was a pupil of the mighty Yogí Jaimini, and communicated the knowledge of spiritual exercises to Yájnawalkya 26. The son of this

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saintly king was Pushya; his son was Dhruvasandhi 27; his son was Sudarśana; his son was Agnivarńa; his son was Śíghra; his son was Maru 28, who through the power of devotion (Yoga) is still living in the village called Kalápa, and in a future age will be the restorer of the Kshatriya race in the solar dynasty. Maru had a son named Prasuśruta; his son was Susandhi; his son was Amarsha; his son was Mahaswat 29; his son was Viśrutavat 30; and his son was Vrihadbala, who was killed in the great war by Abhimanyu, the son of Anjuna. These are the most distinguished princes in the family of Ikshwáku: whoever listens to the account of them will be purified from all his sins 31.}


377:1 So the Rámáyańa. Sumati is called the daughter of Arisht́anemi: the Mahábhárata calls her Śaivyá. The story of Sagara and his descendants is told at length in the Rámáyańa, first book, and in the Mahábhárata, Vana Parva, III. 106, et seq., as well as in most of the Puráńas.

377:2 Or Panchajana: Bráhma.

378:3 The Bhágavata has, for a Puráńa, some curious remarks on this part of the story, flatly denying its truth. 'The report is not true, that the sons of the king were scorched by the wrath of the sage; for how can the quality of darkness, made up of anger, exist in a world-purifying nature, consisting of the quality of goodness; the dust of earth, as it were, in the sky? How should mental perturbation distract that sage, who was one with the supreme, and who has promulgated that Sankhyá philosophy, which is a strong vessel, by which he who is desirous of liberation passes over the dangerous ocean of the world by the path of death?'

379:4 Ságara is still the name of the ocean, and especially of the bay of Bengal, at the mouth of the Ganges. On the shore of the island called by the same name, tradition places a Kapiláśrama, or hermitage of Kapila, which is still the scene of an annual pilgrimage. Other legends assign a very different situation for the abode of the ascetic, or the foot of the Himálaya, where the Ganges descends to the plains. There would be no incompatibility, however, in the two sites, could we imagine the tradition referred to a period when the ocean washed, as it appears once to have done, the base of the Himálaya, and Saugor (Ságara) was at Harídwar.

379:5 Or Khat́wánga: Bráhma and Hari Vanśa: but this is apparently an error. See note 14.

379:6 Omitted: Matsya and Agni. Viśruta: Linga.

379:7 Nábhin: Bhágavata.

379:8 Ayutáyus: Váyu, Linga, and Kúrma. Śrutáyus: Agni. Ayutajit: Bráhma.

379:9 'knowing the heart of the dice.' The same epithet, as well as that of 'friend of Nala,' is given him in the Váyu, Bhágavata, and Bráhma Puráńas, p. 380 and in the Hari Vanśa, and leaves no doubt of their referring to the hero of the story told in the Mahábhárata. Nara however, as we shall hereafter see, is some twenty generations later than Rituparńa in the same family; and the Váyu therefore thinks it necessary to observe that two Nalas are noticed in the Puráńas, and the one here adverted to is the son of Vírasena; whilst the other belongs to the family of Ikshwáku. The same passage occurs in the Bráhma P. and Hari V.; and the commentator on the latter observes, 'Nala the son of Nishadha is different from Nala the son of Vírasena.' It is also to be observed, that the Nala of the tale is king of Nishadha, and his friend Rituparńa is king of Ayodhya. The Nala of the race of Ikshwáku is king of Ayodhyá: he is the son of Nishadha, however, and there is evidently some confusion between the two. We do not find Vírasena or his son in any of the lists. See n. 19.

380:10 There is considerable variety in this part of the lists, but the Váyu and Bhágavata agree with our text. The Matsya and others make Kalmáshapáda the son or grandson of Rituparńa, and place Sarvakáma or Sarvakarman after him. See further on.

380:11 The Váyu, Agni, Bráhma, and Hari Vanśa read Amitrasaha, 'foe-enduring;' but the commentator on our text explains it Mitra, a name of Vaśisht́ha, Saha, 'able to bear' the imprecation of; as in the following legend, which is similarly related in the Bhágavata. It is not detailed in the Váyu. A full account occurs in the Mahábhárata, Ádi P., s. 176, but with many and important variations. Kalmáshapáda, whilst hunting, encountered Śaktri, the son of Vaśisht́ha, in the woods; and on his refusing to make way, struck the sage with his whip. Śaktri cursed the king to become a cannibal; and Viswámitra, who had a quarrel with Vaśisht́ha, seized the opportunity to direct a Rákshas to take possession of the king, that he might become the instrument of destroying the family of the rival saint. Whilst thus influenced, Mitrasaha, a Brahman, applied to Kalmáshapáda for food, and the king commanded his cook to dress human flesh, and give it to the Brahman, who, knowing what it was, repeated the curse of Śaktri, that the king should become a cannibal; which taking effect with double force, Kalmáshapáda began to eat men. One of his first victims was Śaktri, whom he slew and ate; and then killed and devoured, under the secret impulse of Viśwámitra's demon, all the other sons of Vaśisht́ha. Vaśisht́ha however liberated him from the Rákshas who possessed him, and restored him to his natural character. The imprecation of the Brahman's wife, and its consequences, are told in the Mahábhárata as in the text; but the story of the water falling on his feet appears to have grown out of the etymology of his name, which might have referred to some disease of the lower extremities, the prince's designation being at length, Mitrasaha Saudása Kalmáshapáda, or Mitrasaha, son of Sudása, with the swelled feet.

383:12 His name Múlaka, or 'the root,' refers also to his being the stem whence the Kshatriya races again proceeded. It may be doubted if the purport of his title Náríkavacha is accurately explained by the text.

383:13 This prince is confounded with an earlier Dilípa by the Bráhma P. and Hari Vanśa.

383:14 The term for his obtaining final liberation is rather unusual; 'By whom the three worlds were affected or beloved:' the three worlds being identified with their source, or the supreme. The text says of this stanza ###, and the Váyu, citing it, says ###, the legend is therefore from the Vedas.

383:15 The lists here differ very materially, as the following comparison will best shew: p. 384











































[paragraph continues] The Váyu, Bhágavata, Kúrma, and Linga agree with our text, except in the reading of a few names; as Śataratha for Daśaratha the first; Vairivíra for Ilavila; and Kritasarman, Vriddhasarman, or Vriddhakarman, for Viśwasaha. The Agni and Bráhma and Hari Vanśa agree with the second series, with similar occasional exceptions; shewing that the Puráńas admit two series, differing in name, but agreeing in number. The Rámáyańa, however, differs from both in a very extraordinary manner, and the variation is not limited to the cases specified, as it begins with Bhagíratha, as follows:























[paragraph continues] The entire Pauráńik series comprises twenty descents, and that of the Rámáyańa sixteen. Some of the last names of the poem occur amongst the first of those of the Puráńas, but there is an irreconcilable difference in much of the nomenclature. The Agni, under the particular account of the descent of Ráma, has for his immediate predecessors Raghu, Aja, Daśaratha, as in our text; and the author of the Raghu Vanśa agrees with the Puráńas from Dilípa downwards.

385:16 This is an epitome of the Rámáyańa, the heroic poem of Válmíki, on the subject of Ráma's exploits. A part of the Rámáyańa was published, with a translation by Messrs. Carey and Marshman, several years since; but a much more correct edition of the text of the two first books, with a Latin translation of the first, and part of the second, have been more recently published by Professor Schlegel; a work worthy of his illustrious name. A summary of the story may be found in Sir Wm. Jones's Works, Maurice's Hindustan, Moor's Pantheon, &c. It is also the subject of the Uttara Ráma Charitra in the Hindu Theatre, in the introduction to which an outline of the whole is given. The story is therefore, no doubt, sufficiently familiar even to English readers. It seems to be founded on historical fact; and the traditions of the south of India uniformly ascribe its civilization, the subjugation or dispersion of its forest tribes of barbarians, and the settlement of civilized Hindus, to the conquest of Lanká by Ráma.

385:17 The Váyu specifies the countries or cities over which they reigned. Anguda and Chitraketu, as the Váyu terms the latter, governed countries near the Himálaya, p. 386 the capitals of which were Ángadi and Chandravaktrá. Taksha and Pushkara were sovereigns of Gandhára, residing at Takshaśílá and Pushkaravatí. Subáhu and Śúrasena reigned at Mathurá; and in the latter we might be satisfied to find the Śúrasenas of Arrian, but that there is a subsequent origin, of perhaps greater authenticity, in the family of Yadu, as we shall hereafter see. 'Kuśa built Kuśasthalí on the brow of the Vindhya, the capital of Kośalá; and Lava reigned at Śrávastí (see p. 355. 361) in Uttara (northern) Kośalá:' &c. The Raghu Vaasa describes Kuśa as returning from Kuśavati to Ayodhyá, after his father's death; but it seems not unlikely that the extending power of the princes of the Doab, of the lunar family, compelled Ráma's posterity to retire more to the west and south.

386:18 The Bhágavata is the only Puráńa that omits this name, as if the author had been induced to correct the reading in order to avoid the necessity of recognising two Nalas. See above, n. 9.

386:19 Here again we have two distinct series of princes, independently of variations of individual names. Instead of the list of the text, with which the Váyu and Bhágavata nearly, and the Bráhma and Hari Vanśa indifferently conform, we have in the Matsya, Linga, Kúrma, and Agni the following: Ahínagu, Sahasráśwa, Sahasráya or Sahasrabala, Chandrávaloka, Tárapíd́a or Tárádhíśa, Chandragiri, Bhánúratha or Bhánumitra, and Śrútáyus, with whom the list ends, except in the Linga, which adds Báhula, killed by Abhimanyu: enumerating therefore from Deváníka but seven or eight princes to the great war, instead of twenty-three, as in the other series. The Raghu Vaasa gives much the same list as our text, ending with Agnivarńa.

386:20 Bala: Bhágavata. Nala: Hari V.

386:21 Sthala: Bhágavata. Śala: Váyu and Bráhma. Śila: Raghu Vanśa.

386:22 Omitted: Bhágavata.

386:23 Śankha: Bráhma. Khagana: Bhág.

386:24 Dúshitáśwa: Váyu. Adhyúshitáśwa: Bráhma. Vidhriti: Bhágavata.

386:25 Omitted: Bráhma and Bhágavata.

386:26 Omitted: Bráhma and Hari V.: but included with similar particulars by the Váyu, Bhágavata, and Raghu Vanśa: see also p. 283, where Kauśalya is likewise given as the synonyme of Hirańyagarbha, being, as the commentator observes, his Visheshańam, his epithet or attribute, born p. 387 in, or king of, Kośalá. The Váyu accordingly terms him ###, but in the Bhágavata the epithet Kauśalya is referred by the commentator to Yájnawalkya, the pupil of Hirańyanábha. The author of the Raghu Vanśa, not understanding the meaning of the term, has converted Kauśalya into the son of Hirańyanábha. Raghu V. 18. 27. The Bhágavata, like our text, calls the prince the pupil of Jaimini. The Váyu, more correctly, 'the pupil of the sage's grandson.' There seems to be, however, something unusual in the account given of the relation borne by the individuals named to each other. As a pupil of Jaimini, Hirańyanábha is a teacher of the Sáma-veda (see p. 283), but Yájnawalkya is the teacher of the Vájasaneyi branch of the Yajush (p. 281). Neither of them is specified by Mr. Colebrooke amongst the authorities of the Pátanjala or Yoga philosophy; nor does either appear as a disciple of Jaimini in his character of founder of the Mímánsá school. Trans. R. As. Soc. vol. I.

387:27 Arthasiddhi: Bráhma P. and Hari V.

387:28 Maruta: Bráhma P. and Hari V. These authorities omit the succeeding four names.

387:29 Sahaswat: Váyu.

387:30 Viśwasaha: Bhágavata.

387:31 The list closes here, as the author of the Puráńas, Vyása, is cotemporary with the great war. The line of Ikshwáku is resumed prophetically in the twenty-second chapter.

Next: Chapter V