Origin of Chandra,wedding, Shaapa, re-emergence and Stories of his Vamsha

Maharshi Atri performed Tapasya for thousand Divya years and pushed up his virility and the magnificent deposit in the form of drops from his eyes spread out outstanding illumination in all over the ten directions. Realising the unique development, Brahma facilitated the emergence of Chandra Swarupa and provided to him a Chariot to traverses across the entire Universe.Chandra made twenty one full circles from Prithvi to Great Samudra and in the process transmitted extreme luminosity which when it touched Bhumi created ‘Anna’ or Foodgrains and derivatives like seeds, herbs, Aoushadhis and so on. Brahma made  him in-charge of Brahmanas and their activities. He organised an unprecedented Rajasuya Yagna which was attended by a galaxy of Devas and Maharshis, besides lakhs of Brahmanas who were showered with gifts and ‘Dakshinas’ or cash money. Nine illustrious women like Sini, Kuhu, Dyuti, Pushti, Prabha, Kirti, Dhriti and so on. At the time of his Avabhruta Snaana or Sacred Bathing to mark the Grand Finale of the Yagna, Chandra was like a personification of humility and honesty. But soon Chandra changed his attitude due to conceit and power; he committed the ‘Mahapataka’ or a great Sin of enticing Devi Tara, the wife of Deva Guru. Brihaspati, other Devas and Brahma himself chided his nasty and immoral acivity to no avail. Shukracharya the Asura Guru espoused the cause of Chandra and Tara and a fight broke out  between Asuras and Devas as Deva Guru headed the Deva  Sena (Army). In course of time, Tara was conceived and Brihaspati insisted that the delivery should not be in his residence til Tara’s delivery and that she could join him after  delivery.

Then Budha was born and he grew as an extraordinarily learned Vidwan of Veda-Vedanga-Shastras. Brahma was impressed with Budha and thus appointed him as a fulfledged Graha or Planet. Budha performed great Tapasya to atone the sin of his parents. Brahma  considering Chandra’s arrogance and selfishness, made Budha’s  placement in the firmament right opposite to that of his father’s but Budha was friendly with Ravi and Shukra. Budha fell in love with Ila, a beautiful young woman, little realising that she was actually the King Sudyumna a pious ruler of his Subjects. The King entered into a forest not knowing that it was a forbidden place as Shiva and Parvati spent their privacy and the ban was that any male entering there would become a female. Thus the King became a beautiful woman but due to shyness did not return to his kingdom. Sage Vasishta who was the Raja Guru of King Sudyumna came to know of the curse and performed severe Tapasya to Maha Deva. Meanwhile, Budha met Ila per chance and married her and begot a child called Pururava. By then Vasishta was fortunate to secure Maha Deva Shiva’s ‘darshan’ and requested that his King be returned to manhood. Shiva granted a partial dispensation that Sudyumna would become a male for half a year and during the second half continue as Ila Devi.

Pururava after Sudyumana’s retirement proved to be a model King administering the Kingdom on the strict principles of Virtue as prescribed in Veda-Shastras. Meanwhile, Apsarasa Urvasi, a Celestial Damsel received a curse that she would have to leave to Earth for a fixed term and since she had the knowledge of  youthful Kings in Bharata Desha she seduced Pururava and expressed her consent to marry him on three conditions  viz. she would consume only ghee or classified butter, that she would not view her bare body except in bed and that he should take ample care of two sheep brought by her from Gandharva Loka. Mesmerised by her charm Pururava observed the conditions totally. But in course of time, her hold over him got somewhat diluted due to the urgent demands of governance. Also the tenure of the Sage’s curse was over; Indra’s men stole her sheep and the King did not pay much attention. He chased a few thieves in his Palace and he himself  ran to chase them almost unclad and the celestial ‘thieves’ outsmarted him.Urvasi got terribly upset as Pururava broke the contract on all the three counts and left him to return to Heaven. Pururava was fustrated as the pangs of seperation were so severe that in distress wandered aimlessly. By chance he saw Urvashi at Kurukshetra again and she explained to him that her wedding with him was of purely temporary nature and that he would have to get over his infatuation.

Jahnu was in the lineage of Pururava whom Devi Ganga desired to marry; despite his disinterst as he wanted to marry Kaverti, she changed her course and flowed upto an Yagna Shaala where King Jahnu was performing a SarpaYagna. Jahnu was annoyed and drank her up. The Maharshis begged of Jahnu to release her as his daughter and the released Ganga thus secured the encomium as Jahnavi.

Nahusha who was also in the lineage of Pururava had the distinction of peforming ninety nine Ashwamedha Yagnas and was nearly qualified to become Indra who should have executed hundred Yagnas. Meanwhile there was a temoporary vacancy of Indratwa since Indra fled away since he killed Vritrasura with the help of the Vajrayudha made out of Sage Dadhichis’s backbone; Vritrasura who was a Brahmana by birth and Brahma Hatya Sin chased Indra. Brahma thus appointed Nahusha as temporary Indra. Nahusha who was originally a King of Great Virtue bacame arrogant and power-mongering as he became Indra and claimed all the privileges belonging to Indra like Vajrayudha, Iravata the Elephant and even Indra’s wife Sachi Devi. Nahusha insisted that Sachi Devi be his keep! Sachi Devi was non-plussed at this proposal. As advised by Deva Guru Brihaspati, she asked  Nahusha to come to her residence but he should do so just as Indra was in the habit of arriving at her residence by a Palki (Palanquin) which actually was carried by Maharshis. Nahusha was excited to reach her Palace quickly and having got into the palanquin commanded Agastya Muni to reach him to Sachi Devi’s Place at once;  he said  ‘Sarpa Sarpa’ meaning ‘Quick, Quick’ and in the process gave a kick to the Muni to go fast. Asgastya purposively misunderstood the word and converted the arrogant Nahusha as an Ajagara (Python) and dropped the latter to the depths of Bhuloka into thick forests. As a repentant Nahusha begged of clemency, the Maharshi granted a reprieve that  the ‘Shaapa Vimochana’ would be possible only when  Pandavas reached the forest for twelve long years before  their ‘Ajnaata Vasa’ or  Unknown Destiny having lost a bet in the ‘Maya Juda’ or wilful game of chess. As Draupadi desired to secure a Sugandhika Flower Bheema got into a  pond and the Ajagara caught him and agreed to release him only if he gave correct replies to the Serpent’s queries. Yudhishtara had to arrive and release Bhima and Nahusha alike. Meanwhile Brihaspati and Agastya found that Indra was hiding in a lotus stem in Mana Sarovara Lake and brought him back and prayed to Brahma who exonerated Nahusha from the Brahma Hatya Sin on the ground that Vitra was no boubt a Brahmana but committed sins of killing  several virtuous and innocent persons.

Yayati, the son of Nahusha and his wife Viraja, was a famed Emperor who defeated all the Kings of the World and married Devayani the daughter of Asura Guru Shukracharya, besides Sharmishtha the daughter of Vishvaparva, a Rakshasa King. Indra was pleased to gift Yayati a Divine Chariot with seven powerful  horses with which he traversed the world and divided his Empire into seven divisions to distribute it among five of his sons. A Maharshi gave a boon that if any of his sons could agree to exchange their youth to his old age then he could secure a fresh lease of youth. His eldest son Yadu from Devayani refused and so did others excepting Sharmishtha’s son Puru who readily agreed. Yayati took over Puru’s youth and enabled him travel around to unravel earthly pleasures for long. But finally returned discovering that the ephemeral joys of the world were endless like Agni in a Homa kunda assuming larger and larger proportions as long as ghee is served and no human would be satisfied with food, gold, ornaments or women. By so realising, he returned his youth to Puru  and took to Vanaprastha or retirement.

Kartaveeryarjuna in the Haihava Vamsha from the lineage of Yadu was an illustrious and powerful Chakravarti who pleased Indra and obtained thousand mighty hands. The origin of Haihava Vamsha was interesting: Once Surya Deva’s son Revanta rode on the Celestial Horse named ‘Ucchaishwara’ which was manifested in the course of ‘Kshira Samudra Mathana’ or the churning of the Ocean of Milk. As Revanta reached Vaikuntha, Devi Lakshmi recognised the co-born horse and was engrossed in her thoughts even as she was in intimate conversation with Lord Vishnu. The latter did not like the interference and her thoughts and hence gave a ‘shaap’ (curse) that she would become a mare as she was lost in indifference to him. Lakshmi Devi requested her companion Parvati to persuade Vishnu to become a horse. The animal forms of Lakshmi and Vishnu gave birth to a male child in the forest and the boy was picked up by King Yayati’s son Turvasu (Hari Varma) who was performing Tapasya for several years for a son of celebrity; that boy was named Eka Vira who later became the King. Eka Vira fell in love with Princess Ekavali the daughter of King Raibhya but a demon Kalaketu kidnapped her and taken away to Patala; the companion of the Princess called Yasovati however knew a Seed Mantra which she learnt from Dattareya by means of which Eka Vira reached Patala, killed Kalaketu and married the Princess. The son of Eka Vira and Ekavali was Kartaveeryarjuna who became the famed and undisputed Chakravarti eventually.His valour was such that  in an encounter with Ravanasura the villian of Ramayana subdued and arrested the latter’s Ten-Heads  under his mighty arms and released him only when Maharshi Pulastya made an appeal for mercy! The Chakravarti was no doubt famed universally as he ruled with Dharma as his cardinal principle but in due course of time, he became too vainglorious and over-domineering. Once he gifted a huge forest to Agni Deva and the latter comsumed it to satisfy his pleasure; but unfortunately for Agni and the Chakravarti, Maharshi Vasishta’s Ashram too was burnt off and the Maharshi gave a ‘shaap’to Karta-veeryarjuna that soon enough Vishnu’s incarnation as Parashurama would appear and the over-inflated Chakravati would be destroyed , especially because the latter came to ill-treat and even torment Rishis, Brahmanas and the majority of his Subjects. Indeed the curse took shape and Parashurama was born. On one occasion, Kartaveerya visited the Ashram of Maharshi Jamadagni the father of Paraush Rama when the latter was away in Tapasya. As the King and his army landed at the Ashram, Jamadagni provided hospitality an served nice food to the King and the Army, thanks to the Celestial Cow Kamadhenu was present there in the Ashram serving food to the students of Jamadagni. The King claimed the Cow as the Ashram was in the control of the Kingdom. As an altercation between the Maharshi and the King followed, the King went back but sent his army to overpower the Maharshi and the Kamadhenu and in the encounted that followeed, Jamadagni was killed and the Celestial Cow flew off to Swarga. On return from Tapasya., Parashurama learnt of his father’s cold-blooded murder and in extreme anguish and anger attacked Kartaveerya and killed him. Not satisfied still, Parashurama invaded the Kings of the nook and corner of Bharat in as many as tewnty one battles and uprooted the entire clan of Kshatriyas who all by that time earned the disrepute and hatred of the   virtuous Subjects of the respective Kingdoms.

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 [email protected]