Markandeya Puranam

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The sons said: – Then reaching his own city hastily desirous of saluting the feet of his father and beholding Madalasa the prince saw the people filled anxiety and their faces betraying sadness. And immediately he found them overwhelmed with wonderment and their faces indicated joy. He saw some others with eyes expanded exclaiming “Luck! Luck!”; and speaking to one another in joy they said: “Long live, O you of great auspiciousness. May your enemies meet with destruction, do you gladden the hearts of your parents and free us also from anxiety.” (1-4) Saying this they encircled him on his front and rear. And experiencing instantaneous joy he entered his father’s house. (5) Embracing him his auspicious mother, father and his other relations conferred upon him blessings. (6) Saluting him and filled with surprise he asked his father: “What is this all, O father?” He too described to him every thing.

(7) Then hearing of the demise of his beloved consort Madalasa and seeing his parents before him he was sunk in a sea of shame and sorrow. (8)

He thought: – “Hearing of my death that chaste lady gave up her existence. Oh fie on my cruel heart. (9) I am heartless and ignoble. Shameless as I am, I am alive without that one of the eyes of a deer who, for me, met with death. (10) Then consoling his mind and driving away his emotion, he, stricken with grief and sighing heavily, again thought. (11) “If I resign my life because she is dead on my account, what good can I do to her? This is applauded by the females (only). (12) If I mourn poorly exclaiming again and again “Oh my dear!” this will not lead to my praise for we are men. (13) If overcome by grief and stricken with sorrow I throw away my garlands and besmear my body with dirt I shall be the object of the triumph of my enemies. (14) My duty is to subdue my enemies and serve the king, my father. My life is at his command, how can I give it up? (15) Then what again do I consider as my duty? Have I done with enjoying women? But that even will not lead to the well-being of that thin-built (lady). (16) Whether good or bad to her I should observe some pledge for her. This even is small in as much as she has given up her life for me.” (17)

The sons said: – Having thus made up his mind, he performed the ceremony of offering water and other rites. Hritadhwaja again said: -(18) “When that thin-built Madalasa is no longer my

wife, no other (woman) shall be my wife in this life. (19) Excepting that daughter of a Gandharva having the eyes of a doe I shall not sport with any other woman. This is the vow I take. (20) Leaving that my pious wife moving like a she-elephant I shall not enjoy in the company of any other woman. This is the vow I take.” (21)

The sons said: – Then, O father, giving up all enjoyments in the company of women, in her separation he began to beguile his time in disporting with companions of the same age gifted with excellent character. (22) Who is capable, O father, of accomplishing this great work for him? Even the Deity cannot with difficulty do it, what to speak of others? (23)

The (inert) son said: – Hearing those their words their father became sorry. Then deliberating over the matter, the king of Nagas, smiling, said to his sons: (24) “If by knowing things to be impossible of execution people renounce perseverance in action a great injury will be produced from the absence of perseverance. (25) Therefore without giving up manliness a man should engage in actions. The issue of an act depends upon the energy of an individual as well as on the Divinity. (26) I shall therefore so exert in this matter that I may in no time come off successful.” (27)

The (inert) son said: – Having said this the king of Nagas, repairing to the sacred spot Plakshavatarana on the mountain Himavan, engaged in hard austerities. (28) Then with his mind centered in her, restraining his food and bathing during three twilights he hymned the goddess of learning, Saraswati. (29)

Aswatara said: – “Desirous of adoring the auspicious goddess who protects the universe, I, bowing down my head, hymn Saraswati sprung from Brahma. (30) All states, real or unreal, fraught with profit or liberation, although unconnected with thee, O goddess, appear as being connected with thee. (31) O goddess, thou are the supreme letter in which all is established. And this supreme letter pervades all like an atom. (32) The letter is the great Brahman and the universe composed of water. And as fire exists in wood and as the atom pervades the earth so this Brahman as well as the entire universe exist in thee. O goddess, the letter Om, the stable and the unstable, the three measures, the existent and the non-existent are in thee. The three worlds, the three Vedas, the tree branches of learning, the three fires, the three luminous bodies, the three orders, the kinds of morality, the three principles, the three sounds, the three gods, the modes of life, the three kinds of time, the three ages, the ancestral manes, day and night – all these, O goddess, constitute the three measures which are thy form, O Saraswati. (33-37) It is by the utterance given by thee, O goddess, that the Brahmvadins can perform the seven kinds of recitations, original and eternal, assigned to Soma, Hari and Paka, laid in Brahmanas for persons of diverse creeds. There is another supreme form of thine in half measure which is not represented, which is divine, and not susceptible of changes, decay or development; this thy supreme form I cannot describe in words. It cannot be described by mouth, tongue or palate. Indras, Vasus, Brahma, the moon, the sun, and the other constellations, (are thy forms). In thee exist the abode of the universe, the form of the universe, the lord of the universe, the Great Lord, whatever has been mentioned in Sankhya and Vedanta, and has been ascertained by various branches; whatever is without beginning, middle or end, whatever is existent and non-existent, whatever is real; that which is one, that which is many, that which is the root of the difference in creation; and that which goes by the name of six attributes, four objects and which is the root of the three-fold qualities; that which is the essence of various powerful energies; that which is happiness or misery; and that which is supreme felicity is manifest in thee. (38-44) Thus thou dost, O goddess, pervade all objects, crude, or manifest. In thee exists Brahma both in His one and many forms. (45) Through thee are properly perceived all objects that are eternal, that are destructible, the gross, the subtle or supersubtle, that exists in the earth, in the sky, and at any other place. To thee are related all that has no form, all that has a form, that which is perfect, that which is partial, that which is in heaven, that which is on earth, that which is in sky and that which is at any other place. They are known only through thy vowels and consonants.” (46-47) Thus hymned by him, the goddess Saraswati, Vishnu’s tongue, replied to the high-souled Ashwatara, the king of Nagas: (48) “O brother of Kamvala, O king of Nagas, I shall confer upon you a boon. Tell me and I shall give what exists in your mind.” (49)

Ashwatara said: – “First giving me, O goddess, Kamvala as my help do thou then confer upon me a knowledge of all the musical notes.” (50)

SARASWATI said: – “O king of Nagas, there are seven notes, seven kinds of Ragas1; seven classes of songs, seven Murchanas2; forty nine measures and three Gramas3. All this shall you sing as well as Kamvala, O sinless one. (51-52) By my favour you will know many other things also, O king of serpents. And I shall confer upon you a knowledge of four Padas, three Talaa4, three Layas5, six Yatis and four Todyas. By my favour, O king of serpents, (you will have a knowledge of) all this or more that is included in this or is dependent on this and that is related to vowels and consonants. All this has been exhaustively given to you as well as to Kamvala. (53-55) O serpent, on earth and in the nether region, you two shall be the authors of all these – in the nether region, the region of gods, on earth, O you serpents.” (56)

The (inert) son said: – Having said this the lotus-eyed goddess Saraswati, the tongue of all, immediately vanished from the view of the Naga. (57) And as said both the brothers acquired all that knowledge consummate regarding Pada, measure and notes. (58) Then singing by notes to the accompaniment of time kept by stringed instruments, the Nagas, with a view to worship the Lord seated on the summit of Kailasha, the best of mountains, the destroyer of Cupid’s body with their words and senses restrained and minds concentrated, exerted themselves greatly, morning, night, noon and evening. (59-60) Then after a considerable time, the Deity, having the emblem of a bull on his banner, was greatly pleased with their songs and said: – “Pray for a boon.” (61) Then bowing to Mahadeva, the sable-throated lord of Uma, Ashwatara, along with Kamvala, said: (62) “O thou having six sorts of wealth, O god of gods, O thou having three eyes, if thou art propitiated with me then do thou confer upon us the boon we pray for. (63) O god, may Kuvalayashwa’s dead wife be born as my daughter at once, attaining to the same age. (64) May she, endued with the same beauty, and the recollection of her pristine birth, be born in my house as a Yogini and Yogamata (the mother of illusion).” (65)

Mahadeva said: – “O foremost of Pannagas, by my favour, what you have said shall all come to pass. Listen to this, O serpent. (66) At the time of her Sraddha, do you, O foremost of serpents, being pure and of controlled mind, eat the middle Pinda. (67) After you had eaten it, from your middle hood shall that auspicious damsel spring in the same form in which she died. (68) Cherishing this desire in your mind do you offer water to your departed manes; and as soon as you will sigh that one of fair eye-brows, that auspicious damsel, shall come out from your middle hood and in the same shape in which she died.” (69) Thereupon hearing this and saluting the great deity those two, filled with delight, again reached Rasatala. (70) Then the Naga, the younger brother of Kamvala, performed the Sraddha and as directed ate the middle Pinda. (71) Then cherishing that desire as soon as he drew forth a sigh there sprang from his middle hood that slender-waisted damsel in the same form as before. (72) The serpent did not disclose it to any one but secretly kept that one of fine teeth in his seraglio guarded by women. (73) Every day the two Naga princes, resembling the immortals, sported happily with Hritadwaja. (74) One day the snake-king delightedly spoke to his sons: – “Why do you not do what I had said to you before? Why, my sons, do you not bring to me that giver of honours, that prince, the benefactor of yours so that I may render some good to him?” (75-76) Thus addressed by their father affectionately they, going to the city of their friend, sported with that intelligent one. (77) Then after having talked on other matters they affectionately invited Kuvalayashwa to go to their house. (78) The prince then said to them “Forsooth this is your house – all these riches, conveyances, clothes and others are yours as they are mine.

1 Raga means the agreeable effect that is produced by a determinate succession of notes. Raga is not exactly what is understood by air for one Raga may consist of a number of airs. Ragas are six in number 2 “A term expressive of the full extent of the Hindu scale of music; and as this consits of three octaves there are consequently twenty one Murchanas.” 3 A series of notes arranged and disposed to certain laws. A grama consits of seven principal notes Sa, Ri, Ga, Pa Dha, Ni corresponding to C, D, E, F, G, A and H. 4 Musical time or measure 5 The stream of time that runs through a piece of composition from the instant of its adoption to that when it is dropped. The three kinds of Laya are Madhya normal, Pilamvita next and then drata.

(79) O sons of the twice born, if you love me, confer upon me whatever you like of those riches, gems etc. (80) I have hitherto been disappointed by the wicked destiny since you do not regard my house as your own. (81) If you wish to encompass my pleasure, if you wish to favour me then consider these my riches and house as yours. (82) What is yours is mine and what is mine is yours. Know this for certain, and you two are my life moving about outside.

(83) Never again, O best of twice-born one, speak of such a difference. For love for me be favourable. I charge you on my life.” (84) Then with their faces bathed with tears of love and somewhat enraged from affection those two Naga princes said to the king’s son: – (85-86) “O Hritadhwaja, there is no doubt in what you have said to us. Even such is our feeling. You need not fear otherwise. (87)

But our noble father repeatedly told us: “I wish to see Kuvalayashwa.” (83) Then rising up from his excellent seat Kuvalayashwa said: – “My father has said” and then bowed low to the ground.

Kuvalayashwa said: – “Blessed am I and great is my piety; who else is equal to me for my father is so eager to see me. (89) Rise up, I do not like to disregard his command even for a moment; I swear by his feet.” (90)

The inert (son) said: – Having said this the prince went away with them. And having issued out of the city they reached the holy Gomati. (91) The sons of the king and Naga went along the breast of the river. The prince thought that their house was on the other side of the river.

(92) Then they pulling him took the prince to the nether region. And there he saw the two Naga princes shining with the effulgence of the gems crowning their crest and bearing auspicious marks on their breast. (93) Beholding them of beautiful persons, the prince, with eyes expanded with wonder, said smilingly out of love: – “Well done, O foremost of the twice-born.” (94) Then they communicated it to their father, the king of serpents, the gentle Ashwatara, worshipped even of the celestials. (95) Then the prince saw the nether region to be highly charming; beautified with boys and youths, old people and serpents, daughters of Nagas bedecked with ear-rings and necklaces, sporting all around as the sky is beautified with stars, filled with songs accompanied by the music of flutes and Vinas, with the sounds of Mridangas, Pannavas and Atodyas and abounding in hundreds of beautiful houses. (96-97) Casting his looks upon the nether region, that subduer of foes, the son of Satrujit proceeded along with those two loving serpents. (98) Then they all entered the palace of the king of serpents and saw the great king seated there with excellent garlands and dress, adorned with ear-rings set with gems, bedecked with chains of transparent pearls – that great one adorned with armlets, and seated on a throne completely made of gold – whose true form had been hidden by the effulgence of rubies, sapphires and lapises. (90-102) He was then shown by them, saying, “This is our father” and then said to their father. “This is the hero Kuvalayashwa.” (103) He saluted the feet of the king of Nagas and the king of Nagas, too, taking him up, embraced him warmly. (104) Then smelling his head he said “May you live long. With your enemies slain, may you serve your father and mother. (105) Fortunate you are O my child, for even in your absence my sons speak of your extraordinary virtues. (106) For this you shall grow in mind, speech and energy. The life of an accomplished man is praiseworthy, while one, devoid of accomplishments, is dead even when alive. (107) Encompassing the satisfaction of his parents and giving pain to his enemies, a meritorious man, placing his confidence in great men, secures his own well-being. (108) Celestials, departed manes, relatives, Brahmanas, friends, suitors and maimed persons all wish for the long life of a meritorious person. (109) Blessed is the life of an accomplished man, desisting from calumny, cherishing kindness for all and giving shelter to the distressed.” (110)

The (inert) son continued: – Having said thus to the heroe, – the serpent, desirous of entertaining Kuvalayashwa, spoke to his sons: (111) “Having finished our bath and other acts duly, drunk wine, enjoyed other pleasures and taken our meals after our heart we shall, with delighted hearts, spend some time with Kuvalayashwa in conversation resembling the festivity of heart.” (112-113) Satrujit’s son silently agreed to that. And the noble of king serpents acted accordingly. (114) Then that self-controlled and the truthful king, of the powerful

serpents, in the company of his sons and the prince, ate and drank, enjoying the climax of pleasure. (115)