Markandeya Puranam

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THE SON said: – There was a highly energetic king in the days of yore, by name Shatrujit in whose sacrifice drinking Soma Purandara was gratified. (1) His son became greatly energetic and capable of smiting his enemies and in intelligence, prowess and grace, was equal to the preceptor Sukra or Aswini. (2) The prince was always encircled by other princes of equal age, intelligence, energy, prowess and exertion. (3) They sometimes used to engage themselves in scriptural discussions, sometimes in the criticism of poems, dramas and music, sometimes in the pleasurable game at dice, sometimes in learning the use of arms and the art of warfare and sometimes in riding elephants, horses, or in driving cars. (4-5) Thus did the prince, filled with delight, sported day and night in the company of other princes. (6) While they sported there many sons of the Brahmanas, Kshatryas and Vaisyas of the same age delightedly joined them. (7) After some time two Naga princes, sons of Ashwatara, came to the earth from the region of the Nagas. (8) These two youthful and beautiful (Naga) disguised as Brahmanas, remained there, sporting delightedly in diverse ways with those princes and other Brahmana boys. All those princes, the sons of the Brahmanas, Kshatryas, Vaisyas, and the sons of the Naga used to bathe together, rub their bodies, put on their clothes, paste their bodies with unguents and take their meals. (9-11) Out of love for the prince those two Naga princes used to come there delightedly every day. (12) With various sports, merriment and conversation the prince too attained to great satisfaction from them. (13) Without them he could not take his food, bathe, or drink honey; nor could he enjoy or read scriptures for the Improvement of his own self. (14) And without that high-souled one they too used to spend night in the nether region sighing heavily and used to come away every day. (15) After a long time the father asked the two sons: – “To whom in the region of mortals are you so attached, O my sons? (16) You two, beautiful as you are, have not been seen by me for many days during the day time in the nether region, I see you only in the night.” (17)

THE SON said: – Thus addressed by their sire and bowing with folded palms those two great sons of the king of serpents replied: (18) “O father, there is a son of Shatrujit celebrated by the name of Hritadhwaja, endued with beauty and simplicity, heroic, honourable and sweet speeched; he does not speak uncalled for, is an expert in speaking, learned friendly and a mine of accomplishments; he honours the honourable, is intelligent, modest and has humility for ornament; our minds have been pilfered by his good behaviour and love and we have no attachment, O father, either for the region of Nagas or the region Bhuva. (19-21) In his separation even the nether region does not appear cool but produces affliction from heat, in his company even the rays of the sun give delight.” (22)

The father said: – “Blessed is that son of a pious man whose accomplishments are being sung even in his absence by accomplished beings like yourselves. (23) Persons, well-read in scriptures, (sometimes) behave themselves bad (whereas) there are ignorant men who behave well; O my sons, I consider him more blessed who has a good character as well as a knowledge of scriptures. (24) His father has a true son whose friends speak of his qualities as a friend and whose enemies speak highly of his prowess. (25) For the satisfaction of the mind of that your benefactor, have you ever accomplished his desired for objects? (26) He is blessed and blessed is his life and Birth from whom persons, expecting something, do not go

away disappointed and who is never weak in doing good to him whatever he likes of gold, jewels, conveyances and seats that are in my house. (28) Cursed is the life of that man, who, without returning the benefit of friends doing good, thinks, “I am living”. (29) People desire for the perpetual advancement of that wise man, who, like a cloud, showers benefits upon his friends and injuries on enemies.” (30)

The sons said: – “What can we do for him who always does what should be done and in whose house persons are always united with their desired-for objects. (31) Where are in the nether region those jewels, seats, conveyances, dresses and ornaments that are in his house? (32) The knowledge that exists in him is not to be seen elsewhere. O father, he is the foremost of those who sever the doubts of the wise. (33) There is one thing to be done by him which it is impossible for us to accomplish – only Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara and others can do it.” (34)

The father said: – “Whether it is within my power or not I wish to hear of that excellent work of his. What is there which the learned cannot do? (35) Those who have a firm perseverance can get by all they desire – the dignity of a god, that of the king of immortals or that which event they worship. (36) For the energetic men who have controlled their minds and senses there is nothing unknownable, unapproachable and unattainable either in this world or in the celestial region. (37) While moving on an ant goes to the length of a thousand yoyanas and if he does not like to go, Garuda even cannot stir out a footstep. (38) There is nowhere to go or not to go for inactive men. Where is the earth and the region of Dhruva, which the king Uttanapada’s son Druva attained to although living on earth. (39) Tell me, O sons, therefore what you can do for the great prince by which you may be freed from his debt.” (40)

The sons said: – “What had befallen that one of good conduct in his boyhood was described by that high-souled one, O father. (41) Once came to the king Satrujit a leading and prosperous twice-born one by name Galava, taking an excellent horse. (42)

He said to the king: – “Coming to my hermitage, O king, a sinful wretch of a demon is devastating it. (43) Assuming the forms of a lion, elephant and of other small wild animals day and night he uselessly so obstructs me who am immersed in concentration and meditation and am observant of the vow of silence, that my mind is agitated. (44-45) I am capable of consuming him immediately with the fire of anger, but I do not like to waste, O king, my hard earned austerities. (46) O king, once on a time, being distressed by him, while I was sighing heavily with a depressed heart on seeing that demon, this horse was immediately dropped down from the sky and words were uttered not by bodily beings. Hear them: (47-48) “To you is given this most excellent horse, which, without exertion, is capable of going round the circumference of the entire earth along with the sun. (49) It shall have its course unobstructed in the nether region, in the firmament or in the water and its motion shall not be broken even while going to all the quarters or the mountains. (50) Since it is capable of going round the circumference of the earth without any exertion it shall be known on earth by the name of Kuvalaya. (51) O foremost of the twice-born, riding on this horse Hritadwaja, the son of the king Satrujit, shall destroy that sinful wretch of a demon who is distressing you day and night. And obtaining this gem of a horse he will be well-known through it.” (53-53) For this I have come to you; subdue him, O king, who throws impediments in the way of asceticism. A king too is entitled to a due share of ascetic merit. (54) I dedicate, O king, this gem of a horse to you. Do you order your son so that virtue may not disappear.” (55) At his words the virtuous-souled king, placing his son Hritadwaja on that gem of a horse and performing benedictory rites, despatched him with Galava. Taking him the ascetic too repaired to his exalted hermitage. (56-57)