|8 Chandra and Chandra Vamsha |
Maharshi Atri performed Tapasya for thousand Divya years and pushed up his virility upward in his body during that long period; that magnificent deposit got converted into eye drops and spread over all the Ten Directions. On realising this development, Brahma provided a Chariot to that unique illumination which came to materialse as Chandra and he did twenty one ‘Pradakshinas’ from Prithvi to Samudra and in the process his radiance germinated ‘Anna’(food grains), various other food and source materials presumably pulses, roots, creepers, vegetables, Auoshadhis / herbs and Vegetables and, oils etc. Besides, Brahma made Chandra as the Chief of Brahmanas. For long time Chandra continued in a highly virtuous and ideal manner, but in course of time he changed his attitude from modesty to honesty and acquired arrogance and pride which culminated in committing the worst of sins viz. enticing the wife of his own Guru Brihaspati named Devi Tara despite the interventions of Brahmanas and Maharshis, the Guru’s warnings and Brahma’s admonitions. Tara got pregnant and confessed that the child would be of Chandra’s; Deva Guru suggested that the illegal child must be born in Chandra’s residence and then only Tara would be allowed into his house without the child. Chandra named the boy as Budha, who was an outstanding Scholar of Vedas and Shastras and impressed by his erudition and virtue, Brahma appointed Budha as a ful-fledged Planet positioned right opposite Chandra and perhaps correctly so!
Budha’s son was Pururava who was a highly virtuous King and Apsara Urvashi enticed him and gave birth to Ayu, Amaavasu and six other sons. In the lineage of Amaavasu was born Jahnu who performed Sarpa Yagna; Devi Ganga approached Jahnu with a proposal to wed him and flooded the Yagna Shaala but Jahnu desired to marry Kaveri the daughter of Yavanaashva. Since Ganga insisted to marry Jahnu, he got tired of her and drank her up; the Maharshis present begged of Jahnu who agreed to revive her as his daughter and that was why the River was known as Jahnavi. Pururava’s another son was Ayu and Ayu’s eldest son was the famed Nahusha, who performed ninty nine Aswamedha Yagnas and nearly got the eligibility to Indratva. In fact, Brahma appointed Nahusha as proxy Indra, since Indra killed Vritrasura a Brahmana with the help of the backbone of Maharshi Dadhichi converted as Vajraadutha and disappeared as a fugitive in a lotus stem in Manasarovara. Nahusha gradually became arrogant and egoistic and asked Sachi Devi to serve him as his keep. Sachi Devi wanted to escape Nahusha and on his insistence asked Nahusha to come to her house by his own carrier as Iravata used to go to her by Indra and thus Nahusha also should come to her by his own distinct Carrier. Nahusha pushed aside a Palki of Maharshis and commanded Agastya Muni to lift the Palki quickly; Nahusha said Sarpa Sarpa, meaning thereby Quick Quick. Agastya Muni felt that not only Nahusha blatantly took away his Palki and even had the audacity say Sapa Sarpa to the Muni to reach Sachi Devi’s home. Agastya Muni purposively misunderstood Nahusha’s Sarpa Sarpa and converted Nahusha as an Ajagara (python) and dropped and cursed the arrogant Nahusha from Indraloka to the thick forests in Bhuloka. On praying the Muni, Nahusha got a reprieve in the next Yuga when Yudhister would provide relief to the Ajagara’. When in Dwapara Yuga Pandavas were suffering ‘Aranyavasa’ following Yudhishter’s losing fake chess game and one day in the Forest life Draupadi longed for a Saugandhika flower in a pond and asked Bhima to fetch to her; it was at that time the Ajagara coiled Bhima’s body and when Draupadi ran for Bhima’s rescue, Yudhistara gave correct replies to the difficult questions asked by the Ajagara, then Nahusha got Shapa Vimochana (Relief from Agastya’s curse). As Nahusha got his python’s form, Agastya helped Sachi Devi to search for Indra who hid himself in a lotus stem in Manasa Sarovara and brought Indra back to Swarga and sought Brahma’s exoneration of committing Brahmahatya dosha, on the ground that though by birth Vritrasura was a Brahmana, he was an unpardonable demon responsible to commit countless killings of thousands of innocent persons.
Nahusha and his wife Viraja gave birth to Yayati among four other brothers. Yayati became the famed Emperor who defeated all the Kings in the World. Shukracharya the Danava Guru gave his daughter Devayani to Yayati who also married Sharmishtha the daughter of Vrishaparva, a Rakshasa. Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu, while Sharmishtha had Druhya, Anu and Puru. Indra was pleased to have gifted a divine chariot with such powerful horses that Yayati was able to cover the whole world within six days and nights. Having conquered the Earth, he divided the Seven Dwipas into five divisions and distributed among his sons. As he got a boon that he could regain his youth if any of his sons would agree to exchange their youth against his olde age, he was tempted to get back his youth again, since he was getting old already. He approached his edest son Yadu who declined the offer and so did all other sons except Puru who readily agreed. Yayati cursed Yadu and the others and accepted Puru’s offer which enabled him to travel around and unravel the earthly pleasures for long. But finally he returned from his travels having found out that the ephemeral joys were endless like the Agni in a homakunda assuming larger proportions as per the ghee served into it, no human being could ever be satisfied with food, gold, ornaments and women and the more that a human being got lured into the whirlpool of life the worse that he would be dragged into it. Thus he realised that there could nerver be a better satisfaction than that of a spiritual life. By so confessing, he returned his youth to Puru and left for Vanaprastha / forest life in seek of Paramatma.
In the lineage of Yadu, there was on offshoot branch of Haihaya Vamsa into which the illustrious Kartaveerarjuna who too became a powerful Chakravarti having secured thousand mighty hands from Indra Deva. He proved to be an ideal ruler providing shield and contentment to his citizens that was rare in human history. His valour was such that in an encounter with Ravanasura the Epic Villian of Ramayana, he imprisoned the Asura and Maharshi Pulastya had to request him to be released! But in course of time, Kartaveerya became too vainglorious and killed Jamadagni Maharshi since he did not give away his kamadhenu. Meanwhile, Agni Deva approached Kartaveerya to let him satisfy his thirst and gift a huge forest so that he could consume it; unfortunately for Agni and Kartaveerya the Ashram of Vasistha Maharshi was burnt off too and the Maharshi gave a curse to Kartaveerya that soon enough there would be an incarnation of Vishnu as Parashurama who would not only kill Kartaveerya but also exterminate the contempory Kshatriya Kings who had become so haughty and cruel towards Rishis, Brahmanas and the Subjects in gereral. Indeed the Curse of Vasishtha became a reality and Parashurama had uprooted the Kshatriya Kings in as many as twenty seven battles!
In the centuries-long ancestry of Kuru Vamsha, King Shantanu bore the brunt of the Kaurava dynasty as its key- figure. He and Devi Ganga gave birth to Deva vrata, popularly called Bhishma Pitamaha. He was so named since took a unique vow of celibacy and against the institution of marriage to facilitate the wedding of his father’s deep desire to wed Satyavati alias ‘Matsyagandhi’ renamed by Maharshi Parashara as ‘Yojanagandhi’; ther Maharshi took fancy for her while crossing a River as she-a fisherwoman- yielded to the Maharshi’s request and he granted the boons to her that her body smell of fish would change to that of a Yojana-wide fragrance, that her virginity would be intact and that she would be the Queen a famous King. As a result of this happening, a Vishnu Swarupa was born to Satyavati and Parashara as the most reputed Maharshi Veda Vyasa who had the singular distinction of scripting Ashtaadasha Maha Puranas, countless other Scriptures and of course the Immortal Epic, Maha Bharata. It was against this background that Shantanu fell for Satyavati who insisted that in the event of her wedding to the King Shantanu, neither his elderson Devavrata nor his progeny should claim rights of Kingship to the throne of Kaurava dynasty and thus the fierce vow taken by Satyavrata which got him the renown of Bhishma. Subsequently, Shantanu’s son was named Vichitraveerya died an untimely death and as there was a threat of non- incumbency to the dynasty throne, Vyasa was invited to copulate his cousin’s wives as per the exceptionally approved Niyoga Practice in vogue then; as a result, Vichitraveerya’s widows Ambika and Ambalika begot Dhritarashtra (born blind as Ambika closed her eyes in the union out of fright of Veda Vyas) and Pandu (since Ambalika got pale out of horror at the sight of the Maharshi); both the women planned to depute their maid and normal and virtuous Vidura was born to her in the third attempt). Dhritarashtra married Gandhari and gave birth to hundred sons headed by Duryodhana and Pandu’s wife Kunti gave birth to Yudhishtara from the Amsha of Yama Dharma, Bhima from the Amsha of Vayudeva and Arjun from the Amsha of Indra while Kunti bore a child even before her marriage by the Amsha of Surya Deva but out of fear left the child in a floating basket in a water flow which was found by a childless woman called Radha and brought him up thus known as Radheya or Karna since he was born with Karna-kundalas or ear-rings. As the Kauravas and Pandavas grew up with mutual ill feelings, fanned by Dhritarashtra on one side and Shri Krishna siding the virtuous Pandavas on the other, an inevitable Maha Bharata Battle climaxed and ended with bloodbath of Good and Evil forces with Krishna Bhagavan assumed a historic role, exemplifying his assurance of :
Paritraanaaya SaadhunaamVinaashaaya Dushkrutaam,
Dharma Samsthaapanaartdhaaya Sambhavaami Yugey Yugey!
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