Markandeya Puranam

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THE SON said: – Repairing to the hermitage of Dattatreya at the words of the Rishi, Kartaviryya, the king of men, adored him with devotion. (1) By shampooing his legs and otherwise, by collecting honey, etc., by bringing for him garlands, sandal, scents, water and fruits, by arranging for his meals, and taking away the refuses, he gratified the ascetic. As the deities had been addressed by him formerly in the same way he said to him (the king) describing him as polluted by the drinking of wine: – “This woman is always beside me – and I have been contaminated by her company. You should not request me who am incapable. Do you seek another who is capable.” (2-5)

The son said: – Thus addressed by the ascetic and remembering the words of Garga, Kritaviryya’s son, Arjuna, bowing, replied. (6)

Arjuna said: – “Stationed in your own illusive energy, why do you delude me, O god? You are sinless and likewise is the goddess, the mother of all creatures.” (7) Thereat thus addressed and delighted, the god said to the great Kartaviryya, by whom the entire earth had been subjugated. (8) “Pray for a boon, since you have been able to perceive my true form, I have been greatly pleased with you, O king. (9) Encompassing their great delight I confer wives, sons and wealth upon those men who worship me along with Lakshmi with fragrant wreaths and others, with presents of wine and meals, with sweetmeats and clarified butter accompanied by the adorations of the Brahmanas, songs and the charming music of Vinâ, flute, conch and bugle. And I bring about their sudden deaths who disregard me. (10-12) May good betide you; do you pray for a desired-for boon; by your singing my secret glories I have been ready to extend ray grace to you.” (13)

Kartaviryya said: – “If thou are propitiated with me, O deity, do thou confer upon me such excellent prosperity by which I may protect my subjects and be not touched by impiety. (14) I may read the intentions of others, may have none to match me in battle and I wish to have a thousand arms and light-handedness. (15) I may go unobstructed every where -on mountains, in water, on earth, in sky and the nether region and I may meet with death from one who is mightier (than I). (16) I may point out good ways to them who always wend wrong ways and may my guests be gratified with gifts of endless riches. (17) By recollecting me let no one loose his property in my kingdom and may I have whole minded devotion in thee.” (18)

Dattatreya said: – “You will get all the boons you have begged and by my favour you will be the Lord Paramount.” (19)

The son said: – Thereupon saluting Dattatreya and summoning together all his subjects he duly received installation. (20) Then by the favour of Dattatreya, bringing all articles of installation came there all the leading Gandharvas, Apsaras, the Rishis headed by Vasishta, the mountains headed by Maru, the rivers headed by the Ganges, the oceans full of waters, Plaksha and other trees, the celestials headed by Vasava, the birds headed by Tarkshya, the citizens and villagers. The celestial Brahma and others engaged in conversation with one another. For the destruction of impiety and the protection of virtue he was installed by Narayana in the form of Dattatreya by the rivers and oceans with the sprinkling of water and by the Rishis. (21-25) Established in his kingdom and endued strength for obtaining great prosperity from Dattatreya that Haihaya made a proclamation. (26) “Whoever, save me, shall take up a weapon, from to-day and a robber and one intent upon injuring others shall be slain by me.” (27) With, the issue of the proclamation, there was no holder of weapon in that kingdom save that foremost of men gifted with great prowess. (28) He alone was the protector of villages, of beasts, of fields as well as of the twice-born. (29) He became the protector of the ascetics as well as that of traders. And that slayer of hostile heroes, as soon as he was thought of, used to release people stricken with fear of robbers, beasts of pray, fire, or weapons, those drowned in the ocean or those assailed by other calamities. (30-31) While he ruled the earth no body lost his property. He celebrated many sacrifices accompanied by profuse gifts. (32) He undertook many battles and performed hard austerities. Beholding his prosperity and intelligence the ascetic Angira said: (33) “Forsooth, kings will never be able to equal Kartaviryya in sacrifices, in gifts, in asceticism and great energy in battle.” (34) That king used to celebrate a sacrifice in honour of Dattatreya, on that day on which from him he obtained prosperity. (35) And there beholding the great prosperity of the king the subjects too, with devotion, used to celebrate sacrifices in his honour. (36) Such is the glory of the intelligent Dattatreya. The incarnations, of the great, eternal Vishnu, the preceptor of the mobile and immobile creation, incomparable and the holder of the Sranga bow, conch, mace and club, have been described in the Puranas. (37-38) The man, who meditates upon this most excellent form, becomes happy and is freed forever from worldliness. (39) Why shall not men seek refuge with him who always says: ”I am easily attainable unto the votaries of Vishnu by devotion.” (40) For the destruction of impiety and protection of virtue the deity, without beginning or end, carries on the work of creation and preservation. (41) I shall now relate to you the birth of Alarka. Dattatreya described Yoga to that high-souled royal saint Alarka devoted to his sire. (42)