Essence Of
Vamana Purana


17    The background of King Pururava

After praying Bhagavan Shankara at Kedaranatha and Vishnu in the Swarupa as Hrishikesha near Badarikashrama, Bhakta Prahlada recalled the Legend of Pururava as recounted by Pulastya Maharshi to Brahmarshi Narada. During Tretayuga, there was a Shaakala Nagari in Madra Desha where there was a rich Vyapari or businessman called Sudharma who was proceeding to Surashtra and on way had to stay back for a night near a cremation ground under a Shami Vriksha. As he was too tired fell asleep and found that he was looted by thieves and started moving about helplessly when he sighted a few Prethaatmas (Apparitions) and the Chief of the Pretas enquired of the Vanika’s whereabouts. The Vyapari conveyed his helplessness as he was looted and he was hungry and thirsty and cursed his fate. The Chief of Pretas provided the much needed solace to the Vyapari and asked his colleagues to treat the Vyapari as their special guest and gave him good bath and bhojan even in that god-forsaken jungle. The Vyapati was moved by the hospitality and asked the Preta Chief about their background. The Chief gave his account: ‘ I was a Brahmana named Somasharma in Shalaka Nagar whose neighbour was a rich Vanika named Somashrava who was a great Vishnu Bhakta and virtuous person. But I was evil minded and avaricious not used to Pujas and Danaas. On one auspicious Shravana Ekadashi, I obsereved a day long Upavasa and on the subsequent Dwadashi,  many of the Nagara Vaasis took bath in Sacred River Iravati and I too had a dip there and for once gave charities of umbella, footwear, Jalapatra, Mrishtaanna bhojan, curd , sweets etc. to well studied and reputed Brahmanas . That was one only one singular occasion when I gave a daana in my seventy years of mean and wasteful life; after my death, I became a ‘Pretatma’but the umbrella which I gave as charity turned out to be this Shami Vriksha, the pair of footwear that I gave in charity became my Vahana or my carrier, and the tasty and sumptuous meal has been shared by my follower Pretatmas also at noon daily-since they never did a charity in their lives’. Having narrated the story of the Preta Chief, he requested the Vyapari Sudharma to visit Gaya Tirtha and after taking bath perform Pinda Daana in the name of the Preta Chief to redeem his soul; the Vyapari did exactly the same and redeemed his soul on Bhadrapada Shukla Shravana Nakshathta at Gaya Kshetra and in his next birth became the famed King Pururava. 

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