Markandeya Puranam

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The sons said: – Then after a considerable time the king again addressed his son: “Go now and wander over the world for the deliverance of the Brahmanas. (1) Mounting on this horse, in the morning you should, every day, be intent upon ever seeing that the leading Brahmanas may not meet with obstacles. (2) There are hundreds of wicked Danavas born from sinful sources. Do you so act that the ascetics may not meet with hindrances from them. (3) Then the prince did as he was commanded by his father day after day the king’s son, at the early part of the day, ranged over the entire earth and then saluted the feet of his sire; and the remaining portion of the day he passed merrily with the dainty-waisted damsel. (4-5) It so happened that once on a time while he was passing along the banks of the Yamuna he espied Patalaketu’s younger brother Talaketu, who was living in a hermitage at that place. (6) That Danava, of illusive powers, remained there assuming the form of an ascetic. Remembering former enemity he said to the prince: (7) “O prince, if you wish, do what I tell you; O you of truthful vows, you should not disregard the prayer of one. (8) For acquiring virtue I shall celebrate a sacrifice and shall also perform the Ishtis. For this I shall have to make necessary fires but I have no sacrificial presents to give. (9) Therefore for my gold, give me, O heroe, the ornament that is around your neck, and protect my hermitage so long I do not come back speedily, after having, under water, propitiated the deity Varuna, the lord of aquatic animals, with Vedic formulae relating to Varuna conducive to the well-being of the creatures.” When he had said this the prince saluting conferred upon him his own ornament.


He said to him: “Go you with a heart free from anxiety and I shall remain near your hermitage as commanded by you until your return. Myself remaining here no one will present any obstacle. Confiding in me, O Brahman, carry-out your desire.” (13-14) Thus addressed by him he entered into the water of the river and he too protected his asylum created by illusion. (15) Then going from the water to Madalasa Talaketu said to her in the presence of others: – (16) “While protecting the ascetics near my asylum, the heroic Kuvalayashwa, fighting to the best of his power and destroying in battle the enemies of the Brahmanas, was struck on his breast with a dart by a wicked Daitya resorting to the power of illusion. (17-18) While dying he gave this neck ornament to me. He has been cremated in the forest by the Sudra ascetics. While his horse, terrified and with tears in its eyes, was neighing distressfully it was carried off by that wicked Danava. (20) This has been witnessed by me, heartless and wicked as I am. After this you should do what ought to be done at this juncture. (21) Do you also take this neck ornament capable of giving solace to your heart. What shall we ascetics do with gold?” (22)

The sons continued: – Saying this and throwing the ornament on the earth he went away as he had come. And then all, filled with grief and possessed by trance, fell down on earth. (23) And immediately regaining consciousness all the females of the king’s seraglio, the queen and the king, stricken heavily with grief, began to bewail. (24) Beholding that neck ornament and hearing of the death of her husband, Madalasa at once renounced her life. (25) And there arose a great noise of lamentations in the houses of the citizens and in the palace. (26) Beholding Madalasa dead from the separation of her husband, the king, gaining his mental equilibrium by his judgment, said to all the people: – (27) “You should not mourn. I perceive the unreality of all, of myself and of all connected with me. (28) Should I mourn for my daughter¬in-law? To consider it properly none of them should be mourned for they have done their duties. (29) Having engaged himself in the protection of the Brahmanas in pursuance of my command my son met with his death. Why should (therefore) that intelligent one be mourned? (30) While he has sacrificed his body, a body which must go, on behalf of the twice-born, it will forsooth lead to his well-being. (31) This one born in a noble family has followed her husband. Why should she be mourned? A woman has no other god but husband. (32) If she had survived her husband she would have been an object of pity to ourselves, our friends and to other compassionate people. (33) Hearing of the destruction of her husband this lady immediately followed him. Why should she be mourned by the wise? (34) Those women who suffer from the loss of their husbands should be mourned and not they who die with them. This grateful lady had not to suffer the loss of her husband. (35) How can a woman consider her husband as a man who is the dispenser of happiness of both the worlds, here

and hereafter? (36) Thereupon neither he, nor this lady, nor I, nor his mother should be mourned. Having given his life for the interest of the Brahmanas he has saved us all. (37) Having given up his half nourished (youthful) body my noble son has liberated himself from his debts to the Brahmanas, to virtue and to myself. (38) Having cast off his life in battle for the protection of the twice-born he has vindicated his own heroism, his mother’s chastity and the purity of my race.” (39)

The Son said: -Hearing of her son’s destruction and beholding her husband, Kuvalayashwa’s mother followed her husband. (40)

Saying: – “O king, neither my mother nor my sister experienced such a joy as I have done on hearing of the destruction of my son for the protection of the ascetics. (41) In vain did their mothers bear them who die, assailed by diseases and sighing sorrowfully before their friends. (42) But those, who while fighting fearlessly for the protection of the kine and the twice-born are wounded and die, are really men on earth. (43) The father, of a man who does not turn away from suitors, friends and enemies, has indeed a son in him and his mother has borne a hero. (44) When her son is either victorious in battle or slain in battle the mother then considers the misery of carrying a child crowned with good result.” (45)

The sons said: – The king then performed the funeral obsequies of his daughter-in-law; then issuing out he bathed and offered water to his son. (46) Talaketu, too coming out of the water of the Yamuna, said to the prince the following sweet words in love: (47) “Go, O prince, I have got the accomplishment of my object through you. You having waited here steadfastly I have been able to accomplish my long cherished work, (48) the sacrifice of Varuna, the high-souled king of waters. All this which I had desired has been carried out.” (49) Then saluting him the king mounted his steed gifted with the vigour of Suparna or the wind and repaired to the city of his father. (50)