SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 6 CHAPTER 24

THE SIXTH BOOK

Chapter XXIV

On the description of Vikṣepa Śakti

1-5. The King Janamejaya said:

“O Bhagavān! I am not satiated with the drink of the divine sweet nectar-like words coming out of your lotus mouth.

You have described to me in detail the wonderful and variegated story of the origin of the Haihaya dynasty; but, O Muni! There has arisen in my mind a curiosity to know something more on this subject.

See the Bhagavān Viṣṇu, the Lord of Lakṣmī, the Deva of the Devas, the Ruler of this whole Universe and the Cause of the Creation, Preservation and Destruction; yet that Best of Puruṣas Śrī Bhagavān had to assume a horse form.

He is undecaying and independent, how then He came to be dependent? Clear this doubt of mine.

O Best of Munis! You are omniscient; therefore satisfy my curiosity by describing this wonderful event.’

6-16. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hear what I heard of yore from Nārada how this doubt was removed.

The mind-born son of Brahmā, Mahāṛṣi Nārada got powers to go everywhere by virtue of his Tapas, could know everything, was of a calm and quiet nature, dear to all and he was a poet.

On one occasion he went out on tour round the world, playing with his lute in time with Svar and Tān.

One day he came to my Āśrama, singing many things concerning Brihat Rāthāntara Sāma Veda and the sweet nectar-like Gāyatrī, the Giver of Liberation.

O King! There was a very sacred place of hermitage, beaming as it were with happiness and self-knowledge, named Śamyāprāsa, on the banks of the river Saraswatī. There was situated my hermitage.

Seeing the lustrous Nārada the son of the Grand Sire Brahmā, coming, I got up and offered him duly Pādya (water to wash his feet) and Argha (offerings of worship), etc., and worshipped him.

When that Muni of indomitable lustre took his seat on the Āsana, I sat beside him.

When I found Nārada, the Giver of Knowledge, at rest and quiet, I duly asked him the very same question that you have asked me just now.

O Best of Munis! What happiness is there on the beings taking their birth in this world. I never found it in any place or in any concern, this I can say positively.

Still why do the high minded persons do Karma, fascinated by the enchantments of the world.

Look! I was born in an island. Just after my birth, my mother forsook me. Helpless, I grew in the forest as my Karma allowed.

Next I performed a very severe tapasyā before Mahādeva, the Deva of the Devas, on the mountain with a desire to have a son.

17-38. As a fruit of that I got Śuka as my son, the foremost of the Gnostics, and taught him completely the essence of the Vedas from the beginning to the end.

O Devarṣī! When my son got wisdom from you, he left this world even when I became very distressed on his bereavement and wept aloud and he went away to the next world.

Very much afflicted for the parting of my son, I abandoned the great Mountain Meru.

I got very lean due to the absence of my dear son whom I loved very much; and becoming very distressed and knowing this whole world to be an illusion, I remembered my mother and went to the Kuru Jāṇgala district, as if bound up and controlled by the snares of Māyā.

When I heard that the King Śantanu had married my mother, I built my hermitage on the holy banks of the Saraswatī and remained there.

When the King Śantanu went to the next world, my chaste mother remained with two sons.

At that time Bhīśma looked after their sustenance and maintained them. The intelligent Ganga’s son Bhīśma Deva installed Chitrāngada on the throne.

A short while after this, Chitrāngada, too, looking like a second Cupid and extremely lovely, went to the jaws of death. The mother Satyavatī was drowned in the sorrows for his son Chitrāngada and began to weep for him.

O King! Knowing my mother in that sorrowful condition, I went to her. Bhīśma and I then consoled her with hopeful words.

Bhīśma Deva was averse to marrying and then becoming a King; and, therefore, he installed again the younger brother, the powerful Vichitravīrya on the throne.

O King! Bhīśma defeated by his own prowess the kings and brought the two daughters of the King Kāśīrāj and handed them over to Satyavatī, so that she might give them over to Vichitravīrya.

Then, on an auspicious day, and in an auspicious Lagna (moment) when the marriage ceremony of my brother Vichitravīrya was performed, I became glad.

My brother, a good archer, was shortly afterwards attacked with consumption and thus he died without any issue.

At this my mother became very sad and dejected. Seeing the husband dead, the two daughters of Kāśīrāj became ready to preserve their religion of chastity and said to their mother-in-law, sorrowful and weeping:

We two shall accompany our husbands and become Satī (i.e., be burnt up with our husbands).

O Devī! We will go to the Heavens with your son. We, the two sisters united, will enjoy with him in the Nandana Garden.

The mother was very much attached to them and with the permission of Bhīśma Deva, very affectionately made them desist from this great attempt.

When all the funeral obsequies of Vichitravīrya were over, my mother consulted with Bhīśma and remembered me in Hastinānagara.

As soon as she remembered me, immediately I knew her mental feelings and hurriedly came to Hastinānagara and, with my head bowed, fell prostrate before her feet, and with folded hands addressed my mother who was very much inflamed with the fire of sorrow for the death of her son, thus:

O Mother! Why have you called me here mentally? I see you are very much dejected; I am your servant; order me what I can do for you.

O Mother! You are my greatest place of pilgrimage and you are my highest deity; I am very anxious since I have come here; say what you desire.

39-44. Vyāsa said:

O Best of Munis! When I said thus and waited before her, then she looked at Bhīśma standing close by and said:

“O Child! Your brother died of consumption; therefore I am very sorrowful, lest the family becomes extinct.

O Intelligent One! For the continuance of the line, then, with the permission of the Gangā’s son, I have called you here today by the Samādhi Yoga.

O son of Parāsara! You re-establish the name of Śantanu that is going now to be well-nigh extinct.

O Vyāsa Deva! Relieve me soon from this sorrow of mine, lest this line be extinct. There are the two daughters of Kāśīrāj, honest and good and endowed with youth and beauty.

O Highly Intelligent One! Better you cohabit with them and save the family of Bharata by begetting sons. You will not be touched with any sin.”

45-55. Vyāsa said:

O Devarṣī! Hearing the mother’s words, I became very anxious and humbly told her with great shame:

“O Mother! To touch another’s wife is a very sinful act; knowing well the path of Dharma, how can I willingly and intentionally violate that?

So also, the Mahāṛṣis say:

That the wife of a younger brother is like a daughter. Studying all the Vedas, how can I do this blame-worthy and adulterous act?

To preserve a line of family by illegal ways is never to be done; for then the fathers of the sinners can never cross this ocean of world.

How can he, who is the spiritual preceptor of all, and the writer of all the Purāṇas, do this act knowingly which is awfully strange and very bad and nasty in its nature.”

My mother was very much plunged into the sea of sorrows for the bereavement of her son; so to preserve the family, She came again to me, weeping and said:

“O son of Parāsara! If you follow my word, you won’t incur any sin.

O Child! If the reasonable words of the Gurus be even faulty, one should obey them according to the tradition of the Śiṣṭas.

Therefore, O Child! Keep my word and preserve my honour; no sin will touch you.

O Child! Think very well. Your mother is very sorry and is immersed in the ocean of afflictions; therefore it is your paramount duty to make her happy by begetting child for the continuance of the family.”

Hearing my mother speaking to me thus, Bhīśma, the Gangā’s son, the expert in finding out truth in fine points with regard to Dharma, said to me:

O Dvaipāyana! You are wholly sinless; you ought not therefore to argue on this point; obey your mother as she says and be happy.

56-61. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hearing his words and my mother’s request, I decided to do this very hateful act with a fearless heart without any suspicion.

When Ambikā finished her ablutions after menstruation, I gladly cohabited with her in the night; but that young lady seeing my ugly ascetic form, was not attached to me;

I then cursed that beautiful woman thus:

As you closed your eyes at the first cohabitation with me, your son will be born blind.

O Muni! On the second day my mother enquired me when I was alone:

O Dvaipāyana! Will there be born a son of the daughter of Kāśīrāj?

I then bowed my head with shame, and told:

“Mother! The son will be born blind, through my curse.”

O Muni! The mother then rebuked me harshly:

“O Child! Why did you curse that the son of Ambikā would be born blind?”

Here ends the Twenty-fourth Chapter in the Sixth Book on the description of Vikṣepa Śaktī in the discourse between Vyāsa and Nārada in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.