Some highlights of ‘Surya Vamsa’ Kings and their unrelenting virtues

In the current Manvantara headed by Vaivaswata Manu, quite a few illustrious Kings reigned in the lineage; Vaivaswata had seven sons, viz. Ikshvaku, Saryati, Naabhaga, Rishta, Narisyanta, Prushaghna and Dhrushta. For example, Ikshvaku’s lineage was of Vikukshi-Sasada-Puranjaya-Kakustha-Pruthu and so on; it was in this ancestry that the Epic Hero Shri Rama belonged to.From another son of Vaivaswata, viz. Saryati was born Sukanya who was wedded to Chyavana Muni; the girl visiting a garden happened to pierce the eyes of the old Muni in Tapasya covered by a bush mistaking the eyes for twinkling worms and father Saryati gave away the girl in wedlock to appease the Muni who was blinded due to the piercing, but by the grace of Aswini Kumars (the Physicians of Devas) the Muni regained his eye sight as well as youth. Nabhaga was another son of Vaivaswata and the former’s junior son also called Naabhaga was cheated by his brothers by taking away his share of the property too. The Junior Naabhaga complained to the father and the junior was advised to recite Vedic Mantras in a Yagna of Planetary heads nearby; the Devas were pleased and blessed the junior to receive considerable wealth. But, a dark person with a frightful face and an offensive tone objected to the Junior Nabhaga receiving the wealth; the junior complained to his father but the latter realised that the dark person was none else but Lord Shiva Himself! The underlining Message of the Lord was that the son should rather prefer Spiritual Wealth to material prosperity. Another son of Vaivaswata called Visishta performed Yagna for securing a son under the over-all management of Sage Mitra Varuna but due to an indiscretion of the ‘Hota’ (Manager) of the Yagna, a daughter Ila was born instead of a son. But by the mantrik powers of Matravaruna, the daughter Ila was converted as a boy called Sudyumna. As Sudyumna became a King eventually, he went out on a hunting spree and unknowingly entered the gardens of a forest which were inaccessible since Siva and Parvati were in privacy there. Siva cursed Sudyumna to become a woman, but when Sage Vasistha prayed to Lord Shiva, the latter bestowed a dispensation that the King would be a male for six months and return to womanhood as Ila for the rest of a year! During the womanhood, Ila begot Pururava from Buddha the son of Chandra. Vaivaswata Manu’s yet another son King Prashaghna who killed a cow hidden in a bush on a hunting spree mistaking it as a deer. The dead cow belonged to Rishi named Agnihotri and the latter’s son was about to curse the King but the Rishi stopped the son to do so; he said:

Kopastapo naashyati Krudhro Bhrashyantaayushuh,

kruddhasya galatey Jnaanam kruddhaascharthachha heeyathey

Na dharmah krodhasheelasya naarthamchaproti roshanah,

naalam sukhaaya kaamaaptih kopenaavishta chetasaam/

(Anger kills Tapasya; it reduces life span; wavers ‘Jnaanam’ or wisdom and ‘Artha heenata’ or ‘daridram’/poverty; angry humans can never save wealth nor fulfill their wishes)!

In the Surya Vamsa again, there was a King named Vidurath who found a huge cavity on Earth in a forest and asked a Muni nearby performing Tapasya about it. The Muni told that there was a demon of Patala called Kujrumbha who made several such cavities all over the forest visiting often to destroy what ever came in his way, especially Yagnas and noble persons. The Muni further cautioned the King that his Kingdom was in danger, especially since he had a potent weapon called Sunanda, a Mushal (Mace) which was created originally by Twashta Prajapati; however the weapon would become useless and ineffective if a woman touched it. On return to his Kingdom, Vidurath consulted his Ministers and decided to send his sons to be deputed for sending his sons Sunuta and Sumanta to locate the demon and kill him.Unfortunately, the demon imprisoned the sons and also kidnapped the Princess Mudavati, who had incidentally known about the ineffectiveness of the weapon if touched by a woman. The King announced that whoever could free the Princes and the Princess from the custody of the demon would be wedded to the Princess. An intrepid Youth called Vatsandra came forward and fought the demon, since the Princess had already touched the weapon while being kidnapped. The brave youth Vatsandra killed the demon, married Princess Mudavati and lived happily together.

Yet another King of Surya Vamsa was Vishal of Vidisa Kingdom who was blessed with an extraordarily pretty Princess named Vaishali. The King announced a ‘Swayam vara’ (bride’s own choice for marriage) and various Princes attended the function. But the son of a reputed King Karandhama named Balaaswa, who was known for his valour attended the Function; actually, the Prince’s name was popular as Aveekshit since he was not viewed by ‘Grahas’ (Planets) at malefic positions in the ‘Kundalini’ or the birth chart. He tried to take away the Princess by force after defeating one by one, but when confronted by all the suitors got defeated and imprisoned. The King advised the Princess to select any one of the rest but she said that he would like only Aveekshit. The King was reluctant to agree. Meanwhile, King Kardhama attacked Vidisa and freed his son, but Avvekshit felt humiliated and did not want to marry the Princess or anybody else. A highly disappointed Princess Vaishali too was firm that she would marry either Aveekshit or none else. She retired to a hermitage in a forest to meditate. Devas were happy with her Tapasya and blessed her to give birth to a son who would be an Emperor of ‘Sapta Dwipas’ (Seven Islands) or literally the entire Universe. The Princess wondered as to how this could be possible since she took the vow of celibacy, except when wed to Aveekshit. After some time, a demon called Dhrudhakesha sought to kidnap her when she raised alarming shouts and since Aveekshit happened to pass by, fought the demon and rescued the Princess. On mutual consent, they married as per Gandharva way and returned to King Vishal. In due course, the couple gave birth to a son Marut who indeed became the Supreme Sovereign of the Sapta Dwipas.

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Marut was not only the ‘Chakravarthi’ (literally he whose chariot wheels move forward without being interrupted by any Opponent) of Sapta Dwipas controlling the Sky, Prithvi, Patal and other Under-Sea Lokas as well as ‘Jalasthaans’or wherever water existed, but also the most reputed and virtuous Sovereign of the contemporary times. He performed thousands of Yagnas with Mahatma Samvarth, who was the son of Angirasa and the brother of Deva Guru Brihaspati as the ‘Ritvik’ or the High Conductor of the Yagnas. The Yagnas were so lavish that the ‘Yagnashalas’ or the Places of the Sacrifices glittered with gold and jewellery. Brahmanas, who were proverbially poor full of family needs and desires, were surfeit with ‘Dhana’ (Cash), Dhanya (Foodgrains), Vastu (material wealth), Vahana (chariots, horses, elephants and such other carriages) and Kanaka (Gold). Marut’s sovereignty was at such peak that virtue reigned, human desires and ambitions were absent, ‘Varnashrama’ Rules were most predominant, sins were at the lowest ebb and Peace and Contentment were the watch words. In such an idyllic situation, came the discordant note from the Royal Grandmother ‘Vira’ who sent a word of caution to the Emperor. She was no doubt satisfied with the general atmosphere but stressed that utmost vigilance was required since there had been increasing lapses of General Administration and the channels of Communication and Intelligence Wings needed to be strengthened. Vira underlined that even one drop of poison would turn a pond unuseable. She gave recent examples of killing ‘Brahmana Vidyardhis’by Nagas of Nagaloka. This information infuriated Marut and made extensive preparations to attack Nagaloka; a few culprits of the Serpent Land responsible for the mischief were rattled out of shiver and fear and instantly sought the refuge of Marut’s father Aveekshit. Marut was bent on destroying Naga Loka ‘en masse’! Aveekshit desired Marut to slow down against the Naga loka and pleaded mercy to the offending Nagas who apologised profusely for their sins of ‘Brahma hatya’. Both the son and the father took strong positions since Marut argued for ‘Raja Dharma’ and for destroying the Snake dynasty for their unpardonable killings of Brahmanas, while Aveekshit pleaded for mercy to ‘Sharanaarthis’ or those seeking pardon and shelter on the basis of ‘Ashrita Dharma’. As the trouble started with Vira the Grand Mother, she appeared and explained that it was she who informed Marut about the killings. Evenso, the postures taken by the father and son were so intense that they were ready to fight with each other in a battle! Both the Nagas and Brahmanas wondered that the principles of Rajya Dharma so vehemently followed might surely end up in mutual killings of the father and son. Thus Nagas tried to use their expertise in ‘Aoushadhis’ (Natural Medicines) and Brahmanas tried their Mantra Shakti to revive the dead Brahmana Vidyardhis and thus the controversial storm got averted!

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by
V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager,
India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India
The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in