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

p. 457


Descendants of Kuru. Devápi abdicates the throne: assumed by Śántanu: he is confirmed by the Brahmans: Bhíshma his son by Gangá: his other sons. Birth of Dhritarásht́ra, Páńd́u, and Vidura. The hundred sons of Dhritarásht́ra. The five sons of Páńd́u: married to Draupadí: their posterity. Paríkshit, the grandson of Arjuna, the reigning king.

PARÍKSHIT, the son of Kuru, had four sons, Janamejaya, Śrutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhímasena 1. The son of Jahnu was Suratha; his son was Vidúratha; his son was Sárvabhauma; his son was Jayasena Árávin; his son was Ayutáyus; his son was Akrodhana; one of his sons was Devatithi, and another was called Riksha; his son was Dilípa; his son was Pratípa, who had three sons, Devápi, Śántanu, and Báhlíka. The first adopted in childhood a forest life, and Śántanu became king. Of him this verse is spread through the earth; "Śántanu is his name, because if he lays his hands upon an old man, he restores him to youth, and by him men obtain tranquillity (śánti)."

p. 458

In the kingdom over which Śántanu ruled there was no rain for twelve years. Apprehensive that the country would become a desert, the king assembled the Brahmans, and asked them why no rain fell, and what fault he had committed. They told him that he was as it were a younger brother married before an elder, for he was in the enjoyment of the earth, which was the right of his elder brother Devápi. "What then am I to do?" said the Rájá: to which they replied, "Until the gods shall be displeased with Devápi, by his declining from the path of righteousness, the kingdom is his, and to him therefore you should resign it." When the minister of the king, Asmarisárin, heard this, he collected a number of ascetics who taught doctrines opposed to those of the Vedas, and sent them into the forest; where meeting with Devápi, they perverted the understanding of the simple-minded prince, and led him to adopt heretical notions. In the meantime, Śántanu being much distressed to think that he had been guilty of the offence intimated by the Brahmans, sent them before him into the woods, and then proceeded thither himself, to restore the kingdom to his elder brother. When the Brahmans arrived at the hermitage of Devápi, they informed him, that, according to the doctrines of the Vedas, succession to a kingdom was the right of the elder brother: but he entered into discussion with them, and in various ways advanced arguments which had the defect of being contrary to the precepts of the Vedas. When the Brahmans heard this, they turned to Śántanu, and said, "Come hither, Rájá; you need give yourself no further trouble in this matter; the dearth is at an end: this man is fallen from his state, for he has uttered words of disrespect to the authority of the eternal, untreated Veda; and when the elder brother is degraded, there is no sin in the prior espousals of his junior." Śántanu thereupon returned to his capital, and administered the government as before; and his elder brother Devápi being degraded from his caste by repeating doctrines contrary to the Vedas, Indra poured down abundant rain, which was followed by plentiful harvests 2.

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The son of Báhlíka was Somadatta, who had three sons, Bhúri, Bhúriśravas, and Śala 3.

The son of Śántanu was the illustrious and learned Bhíshma, who was born to him by the holy river-goddess, Gangá; and he had by his wife Satyavatí two sons, Chitrángada and Vichitravíryya. Chitrángada, whilst yet a youth, was killed in a conflict with a Gandharba, also called Chitrángada. Vichitravíryya married Ambá and Ambaliká, the daughters of the king of Káśí; and indulging too freely in connubial rites, fell into a consumption, of which he died. By command of Satyavatí, my son Krishńa-dwaipáyana, ever obedient to his mother's wishes 4, begot upon the widows of his brother the princes Dhritarásht́ra and Páńd́u, and upon a female servant, Vidura. Dhritarásht́ra had Duryodhana, Duhsáśana, and other sons, to the cumber of a hundred. Páńd́u having incurred the curse of a deer, whose mate he had killed in the chase, was deterred from procreating children; and his wife Kuntí, bare to him in consequence three sons, who were begotten by the deities Dharma, Váyu, and Indra; namely, Yudhisht́hira, Bhíma, and Arjuna: and his wife Mádrí had two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva, by the celestial sons of Aświní. These had each a son by Draupadí. The son of Yudhisht́hira was Prativindhya; of Bhíma, Śrutasoma; of Arjuna, Śrutakírtti; of Nakula, Śatáníka; and of Sahadeva, Śrutakarman. The Páńd́avas had also other sons 5. By his wife Yaudheyí, Yudhisht́hira had Devaka.

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[paragraph continues] The son of Bhíma by Hid́imbá was Ghat́otkacha, and he had also Sarvatraga by his wife Káśí. The son of Sahadeva by Vijayá was Suhotra; and Niramitra was the son of Nakula by Kareńumatí. Arjuna had Irávat by the serpent-nymph Ulupí; Babhruváhana, who was adopted as the son of his maternal grandfather, by the daughter of the king of Manipura; and, by his wife Subhadrá Abhimanyu, who even in extreme youth was renowned for his valour and his strength, and crushed the chariots of his foes in fight. The son of Abhimanyu by his wife Uttará was Paríkshit, who, after the Kurus were all destroyed, was killed in his mother's womb by the magic Bráhma weapon, hurled by Aswattháman: he was however restored to life by the clemency of that being whose feet receive the homage of all the demons and the gods, and who for his own pleasure had assumed a human shape (Krishńa). This prince, Paríkshit, now reigns over the whole world with undivided sway 6.


457:1 This, although it occurs in other authorities, appears to be an error, for these are the sons of a subsequent Paríkshit (see the next chapter, p. 461). The Matsya omits Paríkshit here, and the Bhágavata states that he had no children. In most of the Puráńas, however, the line of Paríkshit is continued, but there is very great confusion in the lineage. According to the Váyu, Janamejaya was the son of Paríkshit, whose son was Śrutasena, whose son was Bhímasena. Janamejaya had also a son named Suratha; but Suratha was also the name of the son of Jahnu, from whom the line continues as in the text. The Bráhma P. and Hari V. also make Suratha the son both of Janamejaya and of Jahnu; and they observe that there are two Rikshas, two Paríkshits, three Bhímasenas, and two Janamejayas, in the lunar race. Some of the confusion probably originates with the Mahábhárata, which, as before noticed, gives two lists from Puru to Śántanu, differing from one another and from all the lists of the Puráńas. In the first of these lists such collateral names have been retained as appear to have furnished our text and that of other Puráńas with distinct persons: thus making the members of one fraternity so many descents. Of the two lists, however, the second is probably to be regarded as the more recent, if not more correct; for Vaiśámpáyana repeats it at Janamejaya's request, because the latter is not satisfied with the summary account which the former had first communicated to him. Mahábh. vol. I, p. 136 and p. 138.

458:2 The Mahábhárata merely states that Devápi retired to a religious life. The story of his heresy is narrated, much as in the text, in the Bhágavata, Váyu, &c. The Matsya adds, that he was also leprous; on which account his subjects contemned him. p. 459 He was probably set aside in favour of his younger brother, either on that account or on that of his heresy; such a disposition being conformable to Hindu law. According to the Bhágavata and Matsya he is still alive at a place called Kalápa gráma, where, in the Krita age of the next Maháyuga, he will be the restorer of the Kshatriya race.

459:3 The Matsya says that Báhlíka had a hundred sons or lords of the Bahlíkas.

459:4 Before her marriage to Śántanu, Satyavatí had a son, Krishńa-dwaipáyana or Vyása, by Paráśara: he was therefore the half brother of Vichitravíryya, and legally qualified to raise up offspring to him by his widow. This law is abrogated in the present age. The whole story of the sons of Śántanu is told at length in the Mahábhárata.

459:5 The Mahábhárata names some of them rather differently, and adds some particulars. Thus Yaudheya was the son of Yudhisht́hira by his wife Deviká, daughter of Govásana of the Śaivya tribe. The son of Bhímasena was Sarvaga, by Balandhará, princess of Káśí; he had also Ghat́okkacha by Hid́imbá. Abhimanyu was the p. 460 son of Arjuna by Subhadrá. The wives and sons of the other two are the same, but Kareńumatí is termed a princess of Chedí, and Vijayá of Madra.

460:6 In the details immediately preceding, the Puráńas generally concur, deriving them probably from the same source, the Ádi Parvan of the Mahábhárata, and employing very frequently the same words. The period at which the chapter closes is supposed to be that at which the Vyása, who arranged or compiled the Puráńas, is believed to have flourished. Paríkshit died of the bite of a snake, according to the Mahábhárata, Ádi P. The Bhágavata is supposed to have been narrated to him in the interval between the bite and its fatal effect.

Next: Chapter XXI