SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 7 CHAPTER 2

THE SEVENTH BOOK

Chapter II

On the piercing of the eyes of Chyavana Muni

1. Janamejaya said:

“O Highly Fortunate One! Kindly narrate in detail the spread of the families of those kings in the Solar line who were born and who were especially endowed with the knowledge of Dharma. ”

2-8. Vyāsa said:

O Bhārata! I now speak to you exactly what I heard of yore, from Nārada, the best of the Riṣis, how the Solar race spread.

Once, on an occasion, the Muni Śrīmān Nārada, on his tour, came at his will to my holy hermitage on the beautiful banks of the Saraswati river.

On seeing him I bowed down at his feet and then remained standing before him. I then gave him a seat and worshipped him with great esteem.

I then said to him:

“O Best of Munis! You are worshipped by the whole universe; my retreat is sanctified by your coming.

O All-knowing One! Kindly narrate the histories of the Kings that were famous in the family of the seventh Manu; they were unequalled as far as their origin was concerned and their powers as well were wonderful.

Therefore I am very eager to know, in detail, the history of the Solar race. O Muni! Describe shortly or in detail as the circumstances may require.”

O King! When I made this question, Nārada, the knower of the Highest Reality, gladly smiled, and, addressing me, began to describe the history of the Solar race.

9-26. Nārada said:

O son of Satyavatī! The history of the royal families is very holy and pleasant to hear; the more so when they are heard, one acquires Dharma and wisdom; therefore let you hear.

In ancient times, Brahmā sprang from the navel-lotus of Viṣṇu and created the world. This is well known in every Purāṇa.

That self-born, all-powerful, all-knowing, the Doer of all, the Universal Soul practised Tapas in ancient times for Ajuta (ten thousand) years. By virtue of that Tapas, He got special powers to create the world.

He meditated on the Auspicious Mother, and getting from Her the excellent powers, He created first the mind-born sons, all endowed with auspicious signs.

Of them, Marīchi became well known in this act of creation. His son Kaśyapa was respected by all and he was of great celebrity. He had thirteen wives, all daughters of Dakṣa Prajāpati.

The Devas, Daityas, Yakṣas, Pannagas, beasts and birds all sprang from him. Therefore this creation is called the Kaśyapi creation.

Amongst the Devas, the Sun is especially famous; his other name is Vivasvān. His son was named Vaivasvata Manu; he was a famous king.

Besides, Manu had nine more sons. Ikṣvāku was the eldest. Their names are:

(1) Nābhāga, (2) Dhriṣṭa, (3) Śaryāti, (4) Nariṣyanta, (5) Prānśu, (6) Nriga, (7) Diṣṭa, (8) Karūṣa, and (9) Ṛiṣadhra.

Ikṣvāku, the son of Manu was born first. He had one hundred sons, and Vikukṣi was the wise and the eldest of these.

I am now narrating how the nine sons, born afterwards of Manu, spread their families:

 Ambariṣa was the son of Nābhāga; he was very truthful, powerful, and religious. He always governed his subjects justly.

Dhārṣṭaka was the son of Dhriṣṭa; though he was a Kṣattriya, he attained to Brāhminhood. He was naturally weak in fighting; always he was engaged in the works related to the Brāhmaṇas.

Ānarta was the well-known son and Sukanyā was the beautiful daughter of Śaryāti.

The King Śaryāti gave his beautiful daughter in marriage to the blind Chyavana Ṛiṣi; but the Ṛiṣi, though blind, got his beautiful eyes again by the good character of the daughter. We heard that the Aśvīns, the Twins, the sons of the Sun, gave him back his eyesight.

27-29. Janamejaya said:

“O Brāhmaṇs! How is it that the King Śaryāti married his lovely-eyed daughter Sukanyā to the blind Chyavana Muni? I have got a great doubt on this point.

The King gives his daughter in marriage to a blind person, if she be deformed, ill-qualified or void of female signs. But the daughter, in this case, was beautiful.

How then Śaryāti, the Chief of Kings, gave over his daughter, knowing that the Ṛiṣi was blind?

O Brāhmaṇa! I am always an object of favour to you; so explain to me the cause of it.”

30. Sūta said:

Glad to hear these words of Janamejaya, the Muni Dvaipāyana smilingly said:

31-50. Śaryāti, the son of Vaivasvata, had four thousand married wives. All of them were endowed with auspicious signs and beautiful, all of them were daughters of kings. They all were very obliging and dear to their husbands.

But, out of all of these, the King had only one daughter exceptionally lovely and beautiful. The father and all the mothers loved exceedingly that sweet-smiling daughter.

Not very far off the city, there was a beautiful lake of clear waters, like the Mānasarovara lake. A Ghāṭ way (steps) made of stones descended into the lake.

Swans Kāraṇḍavas, Chakravākas, Datyūhas, Sārasas and other birds used to play on its waters.

Five varieties of lotuses were there in full bloom, bees were humming there all around.

Various trees, Sāl, Tamāla, Sarala, Punnāga, Aśoka, Banyans, Peepul, Kadamba, rows of banana trees, Jambīrs, Dates, Panasa, Betel-nut trees, coconut trees, Ketakas, Kānchanas, and other various beautiful trees encircled round the lake.

Within these, the white Yūthikās, Mallikās, and other creepers and shrubs were seen beautifying the scenery.

Especially there were, amongst them, Jack trees, Mango trees, tamarind trees, Karanjas, Kuṭakas, Palāśas, Neem trees, Khadiras, Bel trees, and Āmalakī trees; and peacocks were sounding their notes, cuckoos were cooing their beautiful voices.

Close to that place, there was, in a sacred grove covered over by trees, staying Chyavana Muni, the Bhrigu's son, of a tranquil mind, and the chief of the ascetics.

Thinking the place lovely and free from any obstacles, the Muni took his firm seat there and, collecting all his thoughts within himself, took the vow of non-speaking and controlling his breath became engaged in practising tapasyā.

Restraining his senses and foregoing eating and drinking, that Muni constantly meditated on Bhagavatī of the nature of Sat, Chit and Ananda, O King!

While he was thus meditating, the anthill grew up round and covered his body and nice creepers covered that also all round.

O King! Long intervals passed away and it was covered over with ants; so much so that that intelligent Muni was covered entirely and looked like a heap of earth.

O King! Once the King Śaryāti wanted to play in an artificial wilderness and came there to the lake with his wives.

Śaryāti became at once deeply engaged in playing on the clear waters of the lake, surrounded by the beautiful females.

On the other hand, the quick beautiful daughter Sukanyā, picking up flowers here and there with her companions also began to play.

Dressed in ornaments, Sukanyā, walked to and fro; her anklets making a beautiful tinkling sound, till she came to the ant-hill of Chyavana Ṛiṣi.

She sportingly sat close to that anthill and instantly saw a shining substance inside through that, like fireflies. “What is this?” - She thought and wishing to take it, took a thorn and became very eager to prick it up.

51-59. Slowly she went close to it and no sooner she got ready to pick it, than the Muni saw the beautiful, good-haired daughter as if to one's liking.

The ascetic Bhārgava, seeing that auspicious nice lady with nice teeth, spoke out in a feeble voice:

“What are you doing? O thin-bellied One! I am an ascetic; better go away from here. You have got such big-eyes, yet you do not see me. I therefore forbid you in your this attempt; do not pierce the anthill with thorn.”

Though prevented, the daughter could not hear his words and asking: “What was that?” pierced his two-eyes with thorns.

Thus impelled by Fate, the princess sportingly pierced his eyes; but she suspected and thought: “What have I done?” Thus becoming afraid she returned from that spot.

His two eyes being pricked, the great Muni exceedingly pained, became very wrathful he incessantly gave vent to sorrows and remorse, being restless with pain.

At that instant it happened that the king, ministers, soldiers, elephants, horses, camels, so much so that all the beings that were there, had all their evacuations (passing their urines and faeces) stopped.

Seeing thus happened all on a sudden, the King Śaryāti was very much pained and became very anxious. All the soldiers came to the King and informed him of the stoppage of their evacuations.

The King thought over the cause why this had happened.

60-65. Cogitating thus, the King returned home.

Becoming very much troubled with cares and anxieties, He asked his soldiers and kinsmen:

 “Who amongst you has done such an heinous act?

On the west side of the lake the Mahāṛṣi Chyavana is practising the great tapasyā in the midst of the forest; I think someone has done mischief to that king of ascetics, blazing like a fire; and therefore we are overcome with this disease.

The high-souled aged son of Bhrigu has become especially proficient in his asceticism and has become supreme; I think someone must have injured him.

Though I do not know who that mischievous person that has shown him contempt is or like that, this our state at present clearly shows that this is the fit punishment of that.”

Hearing this, the soldiers said:

None of us has committed any mischief by word, mind or body; we know this very well.

Here ends the Second Chapter of the Seventh Book on the piercing of the eyes of Chyavana Muni in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam the Mahā Purāṇam, of 18,000 verses, Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.