Wednesday, 23 May 2012

6. Legend of Vishwamitra's dynasty.

     It was dusk when they reached the river Sona.  They made a camp on the bank of the river.  After taking a refreshing bath in the river and after performing their evening chores, all, including the princes squatted before the sage Viswamitra.  Rama asked the sage "Sir, this place looks lovely!  What is this place?  Can you tell us about it, please?".
     The gist of what Viswamitra told them is as follows.
     Once upon a time there was a king by name Kusha.  He was the brain child of Lord Brahma.  Ipso facto he knew all the rules of rituals and vows which he strictly observed.  He was therefore known as a highly righteous kingly sage.  He married the princess of Vidarbha who was of noble birth and therefore a most eligible wife for Kusha.  He begot through her four mighty sons who were like him in all respects.  Their names were  Kusumba, Kushanaabha, Asuurtarajasa, (also called Adhuurtarajasa), and Vasu.  When all the sons became old enough, King Kusha called and told them "My darling sons!  Establish your rulership and achieve righteousness abundantly.  Good Luck."
     On hearing the words of Kusha, all the four able, mighty, formidable and highly competent sons and the best men among people started to build four cities.  Kushamba built the city named Kaushambii, Kushanaabha built a city named Mahodaya.  Asuurtarajasa built a city named Dharmaaranya, and Vasu built a city in the name of Girivraja.
     It is believed that the city Kaushambii is the present day Kannauj and Girivraja the present day Rajgir.
     Viswamitra continued "This land on which we are presently staying is known as the land of the most virtuous souled Vasu, surrounded by these five lofty mountains. This charming river that enters and exits Magadha province is well known as the worthy River Maagadhi, and flowing amid the five of these elevated mountains it shines forth like a garland enwreathing them."
     This river is said to be the present day River Son.
     "This Maagadhi is that river which pertains to the developmental works of king Vasu flowing towards east to its confluence with Ganga, this river garlands best farmlands and their crops on its way."
     The confluence of this river with Ganga is said as the one now available near at Patna, Bihar.
     "king Kushanaabha gave birth to a hundred daughters with unexcelled beauty through a celestial female called Ghritaachi."
     Children begotten through celestial maidens are of superior nature for further procreating a divine generation, like Shakuntala, who begot Bharata, the earliest dynastic king.
     "These most beautiful hundred sisters were playing one day in parklands.  Vayu, the Air-god, happened to pass that way.  When he saw these girls, he madly fell in love with all of them and asked them to marry him.  They declined his offer saying that they will marry only the man to whom their father offer them in marriage.
     "Vayu could not swallow this and in anger disfigured them all.  The girls had the power to retaliate, but they did not.  They went to their father and reported the matter.  The king discussed with his ministers and came to a conclusion.
     "During that time a great resplendent sage named Cuulii  was performing some practise of  asceticism.  He was being looked after by Somada, daughter of Urmila.  The sage was highly pleased with the service of Somada.  He asked her what she wanted in return.  She said that she was not married and she wanted a son through the sage.
     "That Brahma-sage Cuulii benignantly bestowed her with a unique and Brahma-like son who is renowned as Brahmadatta, as well as his own brainchild.  
     "King Kushanaabha married his hundred daughters to Brahmadatta.  When Brahmadatta took the hand of  every daughter for the marriage, their disfigure vanished.
     "After Brahmadatta left with his hundred brides,  King Kushanaabha felt lonely.  It dawned on him that he had no son.  Now that his hundred darling daughters had left, he felt he should get a son to shower all his affection.  He, therefore embarked putrakaamehtsi yaga.  As a result, he got in due course of time, a son known by the name Gaadhi.  That eminently righteous Gaadhi is my father, and since I am born in Kusha dynasty, I got the name Kaushika.
     "I have an elder sister called Satyavathi.  She was a highly pious lady.  She was married to Sage Ruchika.  She started to follow her husband to heaven with her body.  On request she coursed as a great river renowned as River Kaushiki, taking recourse to Himalayan Mountains. (The river is known today as Kosi.)
     "My sister and I are very affectionate to each other.  I was therefore, residing near her in the Himalayas.
     "Owing to my vow, I left her for a while and came to the Accomplished Hermitage and owing to your magnificence I have become accomplished in that vow of mine.  Dear Prince Rama, this is all about my dynasty, my province on which we are presently camping namely the riverbanks of Sona, and about my birth, and thus everything is narrated as you have asked me.
     "O! My dear, by telling about my ancestry I did not notice the time!  It is now past mid-night.  So let us all sleep for some time."
     All the other sages and the two princes thanked Viswamitra and then all glided into the lap of sleep.

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