The deeds of supreme and immensely fortunate kings.
- King Prithu
- King Sagara
- King Shibi
- King Bharata
- King Rama
- King Bhagiratha
- King Dilipa
- King Yayati
- King Marutta
- King Suhotra
- King Vrihadratha
- King Mandhata
- King Ambarisha
- King Shashabindu
- King Gaya
- King Rantideva
King Prithu, the son of Vena. The maharshis consecrated him in the great forest. He was known as Prithu because he would extend the world. Someone who saves from injuries is said to be a kshatriya. On seeing Prithu, the son of Vena, the subjects said, “We are attached to him.” Because of that affection, he came to known as a raja. The earth yielded crops without being ploughed. There was honey in every hole. When Vena’s son ruled, all the cows yielded a bucket of milk. All the men were without disease, were successful in all their objectives and were free from fear. As they wished, they dwelt in their fields or their homes. On his instructions, the waters of the ocean were solidified. The rivers did not swell up and obstruct the advance of his standard. In a great horse sacrifice, the king gave brahmanas twenty-one mountains of gold and each of these was three nalas high.
King Sagara, the tiger among men was descended from the Ikshvaku lineage and was superhuman in his valour. Sixty thousand sons followed him at the rear. They were like a large number of stellar bodies in a sky without clouds and at the end of the rain, surrounding the lord of the stars. In earlier times, the earth bowed down before him and was under a single umbrella. He satisfied the gods with one thousand horse sacrifices. He gave deserving brahmanas palaces that were completely made out of gold, with golden pillars. They were full of beds and women with eyes like lotuses. The brahmanas got whatever they desired, superior and inferior, and on his instructions, divided this up among themselves. Because of his anger, the earth was dug out and came to be marked with the ocean. It is after his name that the ocean came to be known as Saagara.
Shibi, the son of Ushinara. Like a skin, he covered the entire earth. The earth resounded with the mighty roar of his chariot. On a single chariot, he brought the entire earth under a single umbrella. At his sacrifice, Shibi, the son of Ushinara, gave away all the cattle, horses and wild animals that he possessed. Prajapati thought that amongst all the kings, from the past and from the future, there would be no one else who would be able to bear such a burden, other than rajarshi Shibi, the son of Ushinara. He surpassed Indra is his valour.
Bharata, the son of Duhshanta and Shakuntala. He was a great archer and possessed abundant riches and energy. Along the banks of the Yamuna, he tied thirty horses for the gods, twenty along the Sarasvati and fourteen along the banks of the Ganga. He performed one thousand horse sacrifices and one hundred royal sacrifices. Duhshanta’s immensely energetic son, Bharata, performed these in earlier times. Among all the kings on earth, no one else could replicate Bharata’s great deed, just as mortals cannot fly with the use of their arms. He tied down more than one thousand horses at sacrificial altars. Bharata gave away many treasures to Kanva.
Rama, Dasharatha’s son. He was always compassionate towards the subjects, as if they were his own sons. In his kingdom, there were no widows, nor those without protectors. When he ruled over the kingdom, he was like a father to everyone. Rain showered down at the right time and the crops were succulent. When Rama ruled over the kingdom, there was always plenty of food. Beings did not drown in the water. Nor did fires burn unnecessarily. When Rama ruled over the kingdom, there was no fear from predatory beasts.
When Rama ruled over the kingdom, the subjects lived for thousands of years and had thousands of sons. They were without disease and were successful in all their objectives. The women did not quarrel with each other, not to speak of men. When Rama ruled over the kingdom, the subjects always followed dharma.
Without any calamity, the trees always bore flowers and fruit. When Rama ruled over the kingdom, each cow yielded a bucket of milk. The immensely ascetic one roamed around in the forest for fourteen years. He then performed ten horse sacrifices, at which a lot of gifts were given, with no bars on entry. He was dark and handsome, with red eyes. He was like a mad elephant in his valour. Rama ruled over the kingdom for ten thousand years.
King Bhagiratha, At his sacrifice, Indra drank soma and became extremely intoxicated. The illustrious chastiser of Paka, supreme among the gods, was invincible in the strength of his arms and defeated many thousands of asuras.
In his sacrifice, he gave away a million maidens, with ornaments of gold. Each maiden was on a chariot and each chariot was drawn by four horses. With each chariot, there were one hundred excellent elephants with golden harnesses. A thousand horses followed each elephant from the rear.
A thousand cows followed each horse and there were one thousand goats and sheep behind each cow. When he dwelt in the mountainous regions earlier, Ganga Bhagirathi was seated on his lap and came to be known as Urvashi. Bhagiratha, descended from the Ikshvaku lineage, performed sacrifices at which a lot of donations were given. Ganga, with three flows, agreed to become his daughter.
King Dilipa, the son of Ilavila. The brahmanas recount his numerous deeds. In a great sacrifice, the lord of the earth willingly gave away the earth, with all its riches, to brahmanas. In each sacrifice that he performed, the officiating priest received one thousand golden elephants as a gift. For his sacrifices, there was a great and radiant sacrificial stake made out of gold. With Shakra as the foremost, the gods performed their tasks and sought refuge with him.
The ring on top of the sacrificial stake was also made out of gold and six thousand divine gandharvas danced around it. In their midst, Vishvavasu himself played the seven notes of the veena and every being there thought, “He is playing for me.” No other king could replicate King Dilipa in this. Ornamented in gold, intoxicated women lay down on the road. King Dilipa was truthful and fierce in wielding the bow. Any man who saw the great-souled one went to heaven. There were three sounds that never flagged in Dilipa’s residence— the chant of studying, the twang of the bowstring and the words, “I give”.
King Yayati, the son of Nahusha. He also died. He conquered the entire earth, with its oceans. O king! He travelled through the earth, throwing a shami stick and performing a sacred sacrifice wherever the stick landed, thus dotting it with sacrificial altars. He performed one thousand sacrifices and one hundred horse sacrifices. He satisfied Indra of the gods with three mountains of gold. In the battle between the gods and the asuras, Yayati, son of Nahusha, slew daityas and danavas and divided up the entire earth. He abandoned his other sons, with Yadu and Druhyu as the foremost, and instated Puru in the kingdom. With his wives, he then left for the forest.
King Marutta, the son of Avikshit. The gods, with Indra and Varuna, with Brihaspati at the forefront, came to the sacrifice where the great-souled king offered everything. He wished to rival Shakra Shatakratu, the king of the gods. Wishing to ensure pleasure to Shakra, the learned Brihaspati refused to be the officiating priest at his sacrifice. However, for the sake of spiting Brihaspati, Samvarta agreed. When that virtuous king ruled, the earth yielded grain, even when it had not been ploughed and was radiant with garlands of holy sanctuaries. At the sacrifice of Avikshit’s son, the Vishvadevas were the courtiers, the Maruts were the attendants and the great-souled Sadhyas were also present. Large numbers of Maruts drank Marutta’s soma. The gifts made surpassed those of gods, men and gandharvas.
King Suhotra, the son of Vitithi. Maghavan showered gold on him for an entire year. Having obtained him as a lord of men, Vasumati’s name became appropriate. When he was the lord of the countries, the rivers flowed with gold. When he was honoured by the worlds, Maghavan showered down tortoises, crabs, crocodiles, makaras and dolphins into the rivers. When he saw hundreds and thousands of fish, makaras and tortoises raining down, Vitithi’s son was astounded. He collected the gold that was strewn around and, performing a sacrifice in Kurujangala, gave it all away to brahmanas at the sacrifice.
King Vrihadratha of Anga. He died, after giving away a million white horses. In the sacrifice that he performed, as donations, he gave away a million maidens with golden ornaments. As donations, he also gave away a million bulls with golden harnesses, followed by thousands of cows. When the king of Anga performed his sacrifice on Mount Vishnupada, Indra was intoxicated with soma and the brahmanas with the gifts. The Indra among kings performed hundreds of other sacrifices too. The gifts given surpassed that of gods, men and gandharvas. No other man has been born, or will be born, who has given away as much of wealth in the seven soma sacrifices.
King Mandhata, Yuvanashva’s son. The gods, the Maruts, extracted the foetus from his father’s flank. The great-souled one developed in Yuvanashva’s stomach, having earlier been generated from the water. The handsome king would later conquer the three worlds. On seeing him lying down on his father’s lap, with the form of a god, the gods asked each other, “Who will suckle him?” Indra approached and said, “He will be suckled by me.” Thus, Shatakratu gave him the name of Mandhata. For the sake of sustaining the great-souled one, a stream of milk issued forth from Indra’s hand, into the mouth of Yuvanashva’s son. O king! He drunk from Indra’s hand and grew and in twelve days, was like one who was twelve years old. In a single day, the entire earth came under the subjugation of that great-souled one. He had dharma in his soul and, in battle, was as brave as Indra.
In battle, Mandhata defeated King Angara, Marutta, Asita, Gaya and Brihadratha from Anga. When Yuvanashva’s son fought against Angara in the battle, the gods thought that the stretching of his bow was shattering the firmament. From where the sun rises to where it sets, all of that was said to be the field of Mandhata, Yuvanashva’s son. He performed one hundred horse sacrifices and one hundred royal sacrifices. The lord of the earth gave brahmanas rohita fish made out of gold and each of these was ten yojanas long and one yojana wide. What was left over was shared out among people who were not brahmanas.
King Ambarisha, the son of Nabagha. O supreme among kings! The subjects chose him as their sacred protector. He attentively performed sacrifices and gave brahmanas a million kings who had themselves performed sacrifices. No one had ever performed a task like this earlier, nor will anyone do so in future. Thus did Ambarisha, the son of Nabagha, delight them with dakshina. A hundred thousand kings and another ten thousand kings followed him in his horse sacrifices and went along the southern path.
King Shashabindu, the son of Chitrasena. The great-souled one had one hundred thousand wives. Shashabindu had a million sons who were excellent archers. All of them were clad in golden armour. Each of those princes married one hundred maidens, who followed him. One hundred elephants followed each maiden and one hundred chariots followed each elephant. One hundred horses, born in the country and adorned with golden harnesses, followed each chariot. One hundred cows followed each horse and one hundred sheep and goats followed each cow. O great king! In a great horse sacrifice, Shashabindu instructed that all these riches should be given away to brahmanas.
King Gaya, the son of Amurtarayas. For one hundred years, that king subsisted on what was left over from oblations. Agni wished to give him a boon. Gaya said, “O bearer of oblations! Through your favours, grant me the boons that even when I give, my riches are inexhaustible, my faith in dharma grows and my mind delights in the truth.” We have heard that he obtained all these wishes from the fire god.
Whenever it was the new moon, whenever it was the full moon and at each interval of four months, the immensely energetic one repeatedly performed sacrifices and this continued for one thousand years. For a thousand years, when he awoke in the morning, he gave away a hundred thousand cows and ten thousand horses.
The bull among men satisfied the gods with soma, the brahmanas with riches, the ancestors with svadha and his wives with sensual pleasures. He covered a part of the earth with gold. This was ten cubits wide and twenty cubits long, and in a great horse sacrifice the king gave this away as dakshina. O king! O bull among men! Gaya, the son of Amurtarayas, gave away as many cows as there are grains of sand in the Ganga.
Rantideva, the son of Sankriti. The immensely illustrious one satisfied Shakra properly and obtained a boon from him. “Let us have an abundance of food and guests. Let my faith never diminish and let me never have to ask anything from anyone.” The illustrious Rantideva was extremely rigid in his vows and of their own accord, domestic and wild animals presented themselves before the great-souled one, so as to be sacrificed. Because of the discharge from this mass of hides, a great river was created and this great river became famous as Charmanvati. When the king singled out brahmanas and proceeded to give them one golden coin each, they protested. So he gave each brahmana one thousand.
There were vessels and implements used in the intelligent Rantideva’s sacrifices—pots, plates, frying pans, bowls and cups. There was not a single one that was not made out of gold. Whenever someone spent a night in the house of Rantideva, the son of Sankriti, twenty thousand and one hundred cows were sacrificed. But even then, adorned in bejewelled and excellent earrings, the cooks exclaimed, “There is plenty of broth. Take as much as you want. But now, there is no longer as much meat as there used to be earlier.”
Above Kings were wonderful in their purport, like a fragrant garland. These rajarshis were great-souled and meritorious in their deeds.
Deepak Kumar Jha (A Learner)