The story-teller UgraSravasu continued to tell the story to Saint Sounaka and other saints. King Yayaati nstalled his son Pooru on the throne and performed the coronation ceremony. Pooru was ruling the people to heir utmost satisfaction. Pooru’s son was JanamEjaya. JanamEjaya’s son was Praachinvanta. Praacinvanta’s on was Samyaathi. Samyaathi’s son was Ahamyaathi. Ahamyaathi’s son was Saarvabhouma. arvabhouma’s son was JayathsEna. JayatsEnaa’s son was Avaachina. Avaachina’s son was Ariha.

Ariha’s son asMahabhouma.Mahaabhouma’s son was Yuthaaneeka. Yuthaaneeka’s son was AkrOdhana.AkrOdhana’sson was DEvaathidhi. DEvaathidhi’s son was Rucheeka. Rucheekaa’s son wasRukshu. Rukshu’s son was Mathinaara.

The said Matinaaraa performed Satrayaaga for a period of twelve years on the banks of River Sarasvathi. River Sarasvathi fell in love with Ruceeka and married him.Thrasa was born to both of them. Thrasa’s son was Ilina. Ilinaa’s son was King Dushyanta. Since his childhood Dushyanta was of mighty personality. He used to wander in the forests, catch lions and tigersandwas playing with them.

After he came to throne, he ruled the people with utmost dharma and thepeople were living peacefully. One day, King Dushyanta went to forest for hunting. He saw one Aashram where the sages and saints were performing penance. It was Kanvaasramam. Saint Kanva alongwithhis sishyas was living in that aashram. In that Ashram, the born enemies like lions and elepahants,tigers and deers, were living happily forgetting their enemity. They dine and sleep together.Dushyanta felt happy on seeing that peaceful atmosphere.

He told his ministers and soldiers “I will goto Kanvaasramam and take his blessings. You wait here”. So sayng he went to kanvaaSramam by walk.Near that aashrmam, he saw one beautiful girl. Her name was Sakuntala. Sakuntala also saw the handsome and manly guy Dushyanta. Sakuntala invited Dushyanta to the aashramam. She honoured him with Arghyam and paadyam.

“My name is Dushyanta. I am the King of this empire. I have come forhunting. I came here to have the Darshan of Saint Kanva.” Said Dushyanta. “Saint Kanva just went toforest for fetching fruits and flowers. He will come withinn a short time. Kindly wait” Sakuntala requestedDushyanta. “Who are you? Who are your parents? Why are you staying here?” asked Dushyanta.

“I am the daughter of saint Kanva.” replied Sakuntala. Dushyanta was in doubt. He was told that Saint Kanva was a life long bachelor. How he got a daughter? Anyhow, he wanted to clear his doubt.“Sakuntalaa, I know that Saint Kanva was a bachelor. How you happened to be his daughter? askedDushyanta. “O king Dushyanta! I also do not know about it. Once, saint Kanva was telling to another saint about my birth, I overheard it. I will narrate the same to you.

Once, Raajarshi Visvaamitra was performing great Tapassu. (Raajarshi means one who was originally a kshatriya king later transformedintoa saint). Indra was frightened about his tapassu. He wanted to break that Tapassu. He calledimmediately one Apsara (divine beauty) called Menaka. “Menaka! Saint Visvaamitra is doing greatTapassu. You have to lure him and seduce him and make him to fall in love with you and disturb hisTapassu”. said Devendra. Menaka shivered on hearing this. “O DevEndraa! Everybody including you willbe frightened even to go before him. But you are asking me to break his Tapassu. Is it proper for you?Anyhow, I will try my level best to disturb his Tapassu”.

So saying, Menaka, along with her beautiful maids, went to the place where Visvaamitra was doing tapassu. She saw Visvamitra, in deepmeditation. She bowed before him. She began to wander before him as if she was picking the flowers.Visvaamitra saw her and her beautiful body. She smiled. Visvamitra fell in the trap. His mind wasshaking. He could not contrl. He wound up his tapassu. He went behind Menaka. They enjoyed sexual pleasures happily.

As a result, Menaka gave birth to a female child. The mission was over. Menaka went back to Devaloka. Visvaamitra went back to a lonely place for continuing hisTapassu. The newborn child was lying on the sand bed near the banks of the river. The birds flying there stretched theirwings and made some shade for the child and protected the child from the sunlight. At that time, Saint Kanva who was going to the river along with Sishyas, for bathing, saw the child and brought her to theAshramam.

As the child was found proected by “sakuntas” (birds), the child was named as “Sakuntala”. I am the same Sakuntala. I was brought up in this ashramam as the daughter of Saint Kanva. Since mychildhood, I was treating Saint Kanva as my beloved father. In that way, I am the daughter of SaintKanva” Sakuntala replied to Dushyanta. Soon after he heard that Sakuntala was the daughter ofVisvamitra, a daughter of a Kshatriya,

Dushyanta fell in love with her. “O beautiful lady! Sakuntala! you area stunning beauty. You are so smart. You are not suppose to live in this Aashram, wearing this kind ofcoarse clothes. You have to live in beautiful a palace fit for kings and emperors. I fell in love with you. I will marry you in the manner of Gaandharva, which is fit for Kshatriyas”. Said Dushyanta. (Marriages are ofeight kinds: (1) Brahma, (2)Daiva (3)Aarsha (4)Gaandharva (5)Aasura (6)Raakhasa (7)Praajaapatya(8)Paisaacika).

“O King Dushyant! my father, Kanva is not in Aashramam. Soon after hecomes, you propose the same to him. He will make “kanyaa daana”. Then you can take me” replied Sakuntala. “O Sakuntala! my love! for Gandharva, there is no need to take the permission of elders.There is no need to perform the rituals like Kanyaadaana etc. The marriage which will be performedsecretely will be called Gaandharva. Therefore, we can marry now” Dushyanta pressurized andmade her to accept his offer.

But, Sakuntala put a condition for the marriage. “If I marry you, the son who will be born to both of us will be the future king of this vast universe. Then only I will agree for thismarriage” Sakuntala replied. Dushyantaa gladly agreed for the same. King Dushyantaa married Sakuntalain Gaandharva type marriage. They both enjoyed sexual pleasures as man and wife. Then Dushyantatold her “Sakuntala, my ministers are waiting for me. I have to go. Soon after I go to my capital, I will send my ministers and purohits to your father, Kanva, to bring you to my capital with due honours fit for the Queen of an Emperor.”

So saying, Dushyanta went away. Sakuntala was frightened. If her father, Kanva, knows about this, he may curse her. After some time, Saint Kanva returned toAashramam. He found some difference in the behaviour of Sakuntala. He sat in meditation. He found everything with his divine vision. “Sakuntalaa, come near my child. Don’t be afraid. Gaandhrva is an acceptable marriage ritual. You selected a fit person to be your husband. You are now pregnant. The son to be born to both of you will be the future Emperor of this Universe and will be the “Vamsa Karta”.Long Live Sakuntala” Saint Kanva blessed Sakuntala. Sakuntala was very happy. “Sakuntala, choose some thing which you like. I will give you” Saint Kanva showered parental affection on her. “Oh my beloved father! please bless me that my mind should always be attached to Dharma and bless my son with longlife, good health, wealth, energy and eternal fame.” Saint Kanva blessed her as per her wish.

Later a son was born to her. His name was Bharat. (In his name only now our Country is now called “Bharat”). Like his father, he was a mighty personality. He also used to catch wild animals like lions, tigers, elephants and ride on them. As he wastaming all wild animals, the saints in the aashram called him as “sarva damana”.

One day, Saint Kanva came near Sakuntala and told her “See my child Sakuntala, after marriage, the daughter shall not remain in the parental house for a long time. Her abode is her in-laws house. It is dharma. Hence, you have to join your husband.” So saying, he sent Sakuntala to Dushyanta. Some of the saints also followed her.

All of them went to Dushyanta. She, along with her son Bharata, entered the Royal Court whereDushyanta, his ministers, his courtiers and other dignatories assembled. Dushyanta did not recognize her. The love, affection, showered on her at the time of gaandharva type marriage did not appear in his face. He pretended as if he did not see them at all . On observing the attitude of Dushyanta, Sakuntala entertained several doubts. “Whether Dushyanta really does not recognize her or is he pretending like that? If so, what is the reson?

Whether, he forgets her in view of his day to day politicalactivities or whether he is pretending as if he does not know them. Or whether he forgets that he married her in Gandharva type. If any one really forgets, he can be reminded about it but if he pretends as if he does not know anything, even Brahma cannot remind him about what had happened. Having come al lthe way from KanvaaSramam to Hastinaapuraa, it is not proper to go back with empty hands. I will tell him,remind him, about the marriage and I will show Bharata to him and tell him that he is his son born out of the wedlock.” She decided to tackle the situation bravely.

She stood before the Emperor Dushyanta with her son before her. She raised her voice “O Emperor Dushyanta, on that day, you came to the forest for hunting. To see my father, Kanva, you came to our Ashram. You saw me. You loved me. You promised that you will make our son as future Emperor. You married me in Gandharva type marriage.You enjoyed me. You made me pregnant. Here is our son, Bharata.”

Sakuntala showed Bharata toDushyanta. Dushyantaa heard what all she said. He knows every thing. But he pretended as if he does notknow anything. “I do not know who you are.I have not seen you previously. You go away to the place from where you have come” Dushyanta replied.

Sakuntala was in deep sorrow. Tears were flowing out of her eyes. “O Emperor Dushyanta, you know everything. Why are you pretending like this? Can you tell lies because there were no witnesses for our marriage? Is it just and proper for you? There may be no witnesses physically for our marriage. But, the Sun, the Moon, Pancha bhootaas, our conscious, Yama and day and night are always watching all of us. Who ever deserts his wife will be deprived of all the pleasures either on earth or in heaven. To beget male children, wife is a must. Either to attain Dharma, Ardha,kaama and Moksha, or to enjoy pleasures either on earth or heaven, wife is a must.

One who respectshis wife and children does not feel any hardship. Besides that, wife occupies half of a man. If wife predeceases husband, she will wait for him in heaven. If husband predeceases wife, she accompanies herhusband to heaven by observing”sati”. Such a wife cannot be deserted or humiliated. Man enters the bodyof his wife and takes birth as her son. Hence, wife identifies her husband in her son. Even father also feels happy on seeing his son who is a replica of himself. Son uplifts his parents from Punnaama Naraka (ahell where issueless remains).

As one light is lighting another light, your son is born from your body. Here is your son. You accept him as your son. Have you forgotten the word given to me at the time of our marriage? Is it just and proper on your part to reject your son? There is no other virtuous deed in thisworld except telling truth. Telling truth is equivalent to performing thousand Asvamedha Yaagaas. I am the daughter of Menaka and Visvamitra. I will never tell falsehood. Kindly remember what you told me in KanvaaSram and accept me and our son.”

So saying Sakuntala stood before Dushyantaa with foldedhands.Still, Dushyanta did not accept her plea. “I am a King and Emperor. You are after all an ordinary woman living in an Aashram. You have proved the saying that “ladies generally tell lies”. You are telling that this mighty body is my son. I cannot accept such lies. Please go back to your Aashram.”

So saying,Dushyanta once again rejected Sakuntala. “O king Dushyanta, this kind of rejection and desertion is not new to me. Soon I was born, my parents deserted me. Now me and my son are rejected by you. More than this, nothing will happen. God only will save me and my son”. Sakuntala turned back along with her son and was about to leave that place.

At this juncture, a divine voice was heardfrom heaven: “O King Dushyanta, What all Sakuntala said is true. Sakuntala is your wife. This boy Bharata was born to you and Sakuntala. Accept them as your wife and son”. Dushyanta rose to his feet and addressed his ministers and othercourtiers. “On that day, when I went to forest for hunting, I saw Sakuntala in Kanvaasram and I married her in Ghardharva method. That was known to me and Sakuntala alone, as there were none present at that time. Now, if I say that Sakuntala is my wife, nobody will accept it. Hence I pretended as if I do not know them. Now the divine voice made all of you know that Sakuntala is my wife and Bharata is my son. Now I gladly accept them as my wife and son”

Dushyanta walked down to Sakuntala. Hugged her and Bharata and took them to the throne. He made
Bharata to sit on the throne as per the word given to Sakuntala at the time of marriage. After ruling the country for pretty long time, Dushyanta coronated Bharata as the King and Emperor and went to forests for penance.

Bharata also ruled the country to the satisfaction of one and all. In his name, “Bharata Vamsa”was started. He became the “Vamsa Karta”. Bhumanya was born to Bharata. Suhotra was born to Bhumanyu. Hasti was the son of Suhotra. In his name the capital “Hastinaapura” was built. That was the capital of Kouravas. (Even today Hastinaapura (Delhi) is our capital). VikunThana was the son of Hasti.AjaameeDha was the son of VikunThana. 124 sons were born to AhameeDha.

Out of them, SavarNamarried Tapati, son of Soorya. Kuru was born to them. He was the root for the Kuru Vamsa. He was “Kuru Vamsa Karta”. In his name only, the place where the great battle between Pandavas andKouravas was held, was called as “Kurukshetra”. Vidooradha was the son of Kuru. AnaSva was the son of Vidooradha. Pareekshit was the son of AnaSva. Bheemasena was the son of Pareekshit. Pradeepawasthe son of Bheemasena.

Prateepa was the son of Pradeepa. King Santana was born toPrateepa. Devavrata, also called Bheeshma, was born to Santana and Ganga. Santana married Yojanagandhi (Satyavati) and begot Chitrangada and Vicitraveerya as sons. Here, Janamejayastopped Vaisampayana “O Saint Vaisampaayana, how King Santana married Ganga and how Bheeshma was born to them. Kindly tell us in detail about the birth of Pandavas and Kouravas.” herequested.

Saint Vaisampaayana continued to say: In the Ikshvaaku Vamsa, there was a king calledMahaabhisha. He performed one thousand Asvamedha Yaagaas and one hundred RaajasooyaYaagaas, and went to Brahma Loka and was serving Brahma along with great sages and saintsand other heavenly bodies.

One day, Ganga Devi visited Brahma lOka. At that time there was a heavywind. The saree of Gangaa Devi was lifted by the wind and her naked thighs were visible to those whoassembled there. All turned their heads. But Mahaabhisha stared at her with passionate looks. Lord Brahma observed this. He grew angry. “Mahaabhishaa, you will take birth as human being” cursed Brahma. Mahaabhishaa realized his wrong. “O lord Brahma! There is a great and virtuous King called Prateepa on earth. Please permit me to take birth as his son”. Lord Brahma accepted his request.Gangaa Devi also observed Mahaabhishaa looking at her with passionate looks. She also fell in love with him.

While she was returning to earth, she met Ashta Vasuvus (eight vasuvus). They were coming with sorrowful faces. Ganga Devi asked them what had happened. “O Gangaa, Saint Vasishta gavecursed all of us to take birth on earth as human beings. We are going in search of a virtuous lady to takebirth. By grace of god, we met you. We will be born to you as sons.”. Ashta vasuvus requested Ganga.“How it will happen?” Ganga questioned them.

“Mahaabhisha will be born as the son of Prateepa. He will be called Santana. You and Santana will meet together. We eight will be born to you as sons”. Gangaadevi also gladly accepted for this proposal as she also fell in love with Mahabhisha. But Ashta vasuvus put a condition. “O mother gangaa, soon after we were born, you have to drop all of us in water and kill us and liberate us from this human body. Even Saint Vasishta also permitted us to do like that”.said Ashta Vasuvus.

Gangaa Devi was in dilemmaa. “What you said is correct. But I want a son with long life and eternal fame. How will it happen?” Ganga asked Ashta vasuvus. “Oh mother Ganga! it isnot a problem. As per the word of Saint VasishTa, the eighth vasuvu, Prabhaasa, will be born as your last son and he will remain on earth for pretty long time with long life and eternal fame”.

Ganga and Ashta vasuvus agreed for this proposal and went away. King Prateepa, after enjoying the sensual pleasures, went tothe banks of ganga and was doing penance. One day, Gangaa, in the human form, appeared before him.She sat on his right thigh. King Prateepa amazed. “Who are you? Why did you sit on my right thigh? AskedPrateepa.“O King! I am the daughterof Saint Jahnu. I am Jaahnavi. I want to become your wife. Please receive me” asked Jaahnavi.

Prateepa smiled and said “O Jaahnavi, I am already married. I never thinkof any other woman except my wife. That too, a virtuous woman like you should not ask like this.Besides that, ladies generally sit on the left thigh of the husband. Sons and daughters sit on the right thigh of their father. As you sat on my right thigh, you are equivalent to my daughter. You better love and marry my son”. Then Jaahnavi (ganga) went away.

Later, as per the wish of Brahma, Mahaabhisha was born toPrateepa and his wife Sunanda. His name was Santana. After attaining age, Prateepa enthroned him. While leaving to Vaanaprastha, Prateepa told his son Santana “O my son, one day on the banks of ganges, I saw one girl. I asked her to become the wife of my son. She agreed for that. Hence you marry her. Don’t ask any of her details. Just fulful her desire.” Said Prateepa.

Then Prateepa went to forest along with his wife.Santana was ruling the country in a righteous manner. One day Santana went for hunting. On the banks of River Gnges he saw a very very beautiful girl. Santana ws very much impressed with her beauty.“Who are you? Why are you wandering here?”asked Santana. “O king! if you have a desire to make me your wife, don’t ask me anything. You should not say ‘no’ to whatever I do. You should not hurt myfeelings. Then only I will become your wife and fulful your desires.”said Ganga.

Santana remembered thewords of his father, Prateepa. Santana was very much impressed with her beauty and her passionate looks.He had no other thought. He agreed to all her conditions. Santana married ganga. They enjoyed sensual pleasures happily. Ashta Vasuvus were born to them one by one. Soon after each son was born,Ganga was dropping the new born child into river ganges. Like that, Ganga had thrown seven children in Ganges. Santana was very much unhappy. His mind was very much disturbed. He could not tolerate this kind of killing of new born children. Still he was abide by the word given to her at the time of marriage.

Eigth son was born. Ganga took the child and was proceedinmg to Ganges to throw the child in the river.Santana obstructed her. “No-- I do not allow you to kill this child.” Said Santana. Ganga smiled“Santana! you have gone back on your word. I am leaving you. Santana, I am river Ganga in human form.These children are Ashta Vasuvus. As per their wish, I have given birth to them on earth. Soon after they are born, I have relieved them from humanbirth by dropping them in river waters. Now this child is the eighth vasuvu. As per the Saapa of VasishTa, he will live on this earth for a long time and get eternal fame.

“O my dear Gangaa, I heard that Vasuvus are divine bodies. They know no wrong. How Saint VasishTa cursed them? How was this eighth Vasuvu destined to live on the earth for long time? What is the reason? Please tell me in detail.” Santana asked. Ganga began to tell Santana:

“O King Santana! Saint Vasishta was doing Tapassu in the caves of Mountain Meru. In his Ashram, there was a divine cow,called Nandini. Nandini was supplying all the daily needs to Saint VasishTa. One day, Ashta Vasuvusvisited the Ashram of Saint Vasishta. They all saw the divine cow. They were very much astonished on seeing the miracles of the cow. The wife of the eighth vasuvu put a step further and told herhusband “O dear! I heard that by consuming the milk of this cow, people are living without decease or death. I want to present this cow to my dearest friend, Jitavati.” She murmured.

The other vasuvus also supported her. Prabhaasa, the eighth vasuvu, snatched the cow, and drove it away. Saint Vasishtaobserved all this through his divine vision. He grew angry “You all take birth on earth” SaintVasishTacursed them. All the vasuvus fell on the feet of Vasishta and prayed for mercy. “My word willbe carried out. But you wont remain on earth for a long time. But the real culprit is Prabhasa, the eightvasuvu. He will live on earth for a long time, with eternal fame but will remain as issueless”. Theremainingstory is well known to you. As per the request of Vasuvus, I gave birth to all the vasuvus andimmediately liberated them from this earth. This eighth child is Prabhasa, the eighth vasuvu. He will remainon earth for long time. I name him as Devavrata. Devavrata will remain with me till he attain the age.

”So saying, Ganga along with Devavrata went away. Santana returned to his capital. One day, Santanawent to forest for hunting. While he was walking on the banks of River Ganga, at one plalce, hefoundthe flow of river was very thin. He wanted to know the reason. He walked along the banks of river.He found one youth practicing archery. He stopped the flow of river with his arrows. He is no other than Devavrata, son of Ganga and Santana. But Santana did not recognize him.

River Ganga came there.“King Santana! this youth is our son, Devavrata. He learnt all Vedas and sciences with Vasishta. Helearnt Dharma Sastra from Sukraachaarya. He learnt archery equivalent to Parasuraama. Now you cantake him along with you”. So saying, Ganga handedover Devavrata to Santana and went away. Santanaalong with Devavrata returned to Capital. Santana enthroned Devavrata as Yuvaraajaa for thekingdom.

One day, Santana went to River Yamuna for a stroll. He got a pleasant fragrance from a distance. He saw one beautiful girl. She was Satyvati. He was very much impressed with the beauty of Satyavati.“Who are you? Who are your parents? Why you are here?” Santana asked. “O King, my name is yojanagandhi (Satyavati). I am the daughter of Daasa raajaa. I am rowing the boat as per the wish ofmy father. ” Santana wanted to marry her. He immediately went to Daasarajaa and expressed his desire tomarry Satyavati.

“O King! soon after the female child was born, it was the duty of parents to give her to a fit person in marriage. It is the custom. I have no objection to give my daughter in marriage to a person like you. But I have a wish”said Dasaraja. “What is that?” asked Santana. “My daughter’s sons should be the future kings of this kingdom”.

Santana did not agree for this. He does not want to give the kingdom to anybody other thanhis son, Devavrata. “You choose some other thing other than kingdom.” said Santana. “I do not like anyother thing except kingdom” replied Dasaraajaa. Santana returned to capital. He was in deep distress. He loved Satyvati very much.

He could not forget her. He could not concentrate on day to day administration.Gangeya observed this. “O my father! what is your mental agony? Can I help you? Gangeyaasked. “O my son Gangeya! according to Dharma Sastra, a person with one son is equivalent to a person without any children. Besides you, I wanted to have some more sons. That apart, you are a great archer and warrior.You are so cruel to your enemies. You are a daredevil personality. Danger is always by your side. It is not known how long you will live. Hence I want to have more sons” Santana expressed his desire for re- marriage in a circuitous way.

Gangeya understood his desire for remarriage. He called his Ministers and consulted them. He came to know that his father fell in love with Satyavati and desired to remarry her.. He went to Dasaraja. “My father desires to marry your daughter Satyavti. Give her in marriage to my father” Gangeya asked Dasaraja. “I am very happy that a son is requesting for a girl in marriage to his father. But my daughter is not an ordinary girl. She was born from outof the sperm of a great king “Uparicara Vasuvu”. He himself ordered that she should be given in marriage to King Santana. Hence I refused to give her to Devala also. But the sons to be born to Satyavati will be the step sons. Please remove that difficulty” asked Dasaraja cleverly.

Gangeya could read his mind. He assembled his Ministers and courtiers. In the presence of one and all, Gangeya announced“Kindly listen to me. I am relinquishing all my rights to the throne. The sons to be born to the“would be wife” of my beloved father, would be the successors of this kingdom” Gangeya said. Dasaraja still expressed another doubt. “Gangeya, you are so great. I will agree. But, there is one difficulty.You have relinquished your right to the Kingdom. But what about your wife and sons.Will they keep quiet? Will they abide by your word?” said Dasaraja.

Gangeya decided once and for all. “You all kindly listen. I am taking an oath in the presence of Pancha Bhootas, I will never marry in my life. From todayonwards, I will remain as a staunch bachelor throughout my life”. The Devatas from heaven showered blessings and flowers on Devavrata. All those who assembled there praised him for hisdetermination. That moment remained in the history as “Bheeshma Pratijna” and Gangeya was called as “Bheeshma”

. Dasaraja gladly agreed to give his daughter Satyavati in marriage to Santana. Santana marriedSatyavati. Santana was very much pleased as his son has sacrificed his married life and enjoyment for his sake. He blessed his son with long life. “My son, Devavrata! I bless you with “Svaccanda Maranam”You will die at your own will.” Said Santana. (Though Bheeshma was seriously wounded in the war during Dakshina Ayana,he was on Ampa Sayya (bed of arrows) till Uttara Ayana enters. Then only he left his body onBheeshma Ekaadasi. That was the power of the word of Santana.).

Santana got two sons throughSatyavati. They are Chitraangada and Vicitra Veerya. While they were young, Santana died.Bheeshma brought them up. Bheeshma enthroned Chitrangada to the kingdom. Chitrangada was aproudking. He picked up quarrels with each and everybody. Once he fought with one Gandharva and hedied.

Then Bheeshma made Vicitra Veerya as the King of the Kingdom. The King of Kasi (now BenaresorVaranasi, the abode of Lord Siva) held Svayamvara to his three daughters Amba, Ambika,Ambaalika.. “Svayamvara” was in vogue in those days. In Svayamvara, all those who wanted tomarry the girl, will assemble in the Court Hall.

The Princess, along with her maids will have a look at all the Princes and Kings assembled there. The maids ccompanying her will explain about them and their details.The princess will garland the Prince according to her wish and volition. Thus it is clear that in thosedays also, the marriages were performed only out of free will and volition of the bride.) Bheeeshma went to that Svayamvara alone. He snatched all the three daughers of Kasi King forcibly and putthem on the chariot.

Addressing the kings who have come for Svayamvara, Bheeshmasaid: “O Kings ofdifferent kingdoms, I am taking these girls only to get them married to my brother, Vicitraveerya. If you areable to obstruct me, you can do so. As you all know, out of the eight methods of marriage, gandharvamu and raakshasamu are fit for Kshatriyas. Besides that, I am taking these girls after defeating all ofyou. It is dharma.”

So saying, Bheeshma, drove the chariot. The kings who assembled there obstructed Bheeshma but failed in their attempt. But one King Salva, followed Bheeshma and fought with him.There was a big fight between them. King Salva could not win. King Salva returned with defeat.Bheeshma reached Hastinapura along with the daughters of Kasiraaja.

He made arrangements for marriage of the three daughters of King of Kasi viz., Amba, Ambika and Aambalika, with Vichitra veerya.At that juncture, the eldest daughter, Amba, told Bheeshma: “O Bheeshma! the mighty warrior! My father decided to give me in marriage to King Salva. I also fell in love with Salva. But you brought me forcibly. Now it is for you to decide according to dharma, whether I have to marry King Salva or your brother, Vicitraveerya.”

Immediately, Bheeshma called some Brahmins. He sent Amba, along withBrahmins, to King Salva. As there was no resistance from the other two daughters, they were married toVicitra veerya. After marriage, Vicitraveera was spending most of his time with his beautiful wives and forgot to attend the daily administration of the kingdom. As he was enjoying sexual pleasures, day and night, his health deteriorated and at last he died. Now the kingdom was without king. Bheeshma was looking after the administration.

One day, Satyavati called his son Bheeshma “O My son! Bheeshma!nowthere are no successors for this Bharata Kingdom. You are only the fit person to ascend the throne. Hence, you marry immediately and beget children who will succeed to this Kingdom. Satyavati requested Bheeshma with strong tone. “O my mother Satyavati! I have taken an oath that I will neve rmarry in my life. I will abide by my word. I will never leave Brahmacharya. But, I know well about the present position. I will tell one Kshatriya Dharma which wasadopted by our ancestors. You think about it with Brahmins and Ministers and take a decision.

In the past, when Parasuraama killed all the kings ruthlessly, all the kingdoms remained without kings. At that juncture, the widows of the deceased kings, begot children through virtuous Brahmins and continued theirVamsas. There is yet one other incident. Utadhya and Bruhaspati are brothers. The wife of Utadhya was Mamata. She was pregnant. One day, Bruhaspati visited his brother Utadhya. He saw Mamata. According to Devara Nyaaya, he wanted to enjoy sexual pleasure with his brother’s wife, Mamata. But the boy who was in the womb of Mamata objected. He raised hue and cry that it was Adharma and should not be allowed. Bruhaspati grew angry. He cursed the boy to become blind.

That boy was called Deerghatama. Though he was blind, he learnt all Vedaas and Sastras very well. He married one girl called PradvEshiNi and many children were born to them. But, PradvEshiNi had no loveand affection towards her husband Deerghatama as he was blind.

When Deerghatama asked his wife about it, she replied“You know that husband means a man who can lookafter his wife well. But I am looking after you all these days. How long have I to bear you? I cannot. You better go away.” On hearing these words from his wife, he grew angry. He cursed the entire women community “hereinafter, all the widows, whoever they may be, shall be without the holy thread and ornaments and shall live a pitiable life”. PradvEshiNi called her sons “Take this old man to anywhere and leave him alone” ordered them. The sons of Dheerghatama, tied him with threads and threw him in a river

.Dheergatama was floating in the river, chanting Vedas. King Bali saw him. He was very much astonished that even while floating in river, he was chanting Vedas. King Bali removed the threads and brought him to his house. “O saint! I donot know who you are . But you are a virtuous Brahmin and very much learned. I have no issues. Please bless me with sons” requested Bali. Deerghatama agreed for that.

King Bali asked his wife SudhEshNa to share bed with Deerghatama and beget children. Sudheshna did not like this. Instead of herself going to Deerghatama, she sent her servant maid in her attire. Through Deerghatama, the servantmaid got eleven sons. One day, King Bali asked Deerghatama “Are these my sons?” “No” replied Deerghatama. “They are the sons of your servant maid. They cannot succeed you”. Again King Bali,requested his wife and sent his wife Sudheshna to Deerghatama. Unwillingly, Sudheshnashared bed with Deerghatama. She got a son called Angaraja.

Therefore, what I mean to say is,that in such inevitable circumstances, begetting children through virtuous Brahmins is not against any existingdharma. It is a long standing custom and practice prevailing in Kings. Now we have to bring onevirtuous Brahmin to fulfil this task” concluded Bheeshma. On hearing this, Satyavati recollected her memory. She remembered about Vyasa who was born to her through Saint Parasara. “Bheeshmaa, there is a great saint and virtuous Brahmin called Vyasa. He was born to me and Saint Parasara without spoiling my chastity. He knows all Dharmas. As per Devara Nyaya, My daughters may get children through him” said Satyavati.

Bheeshma was very happy. He and Satyavati wholeheartedly desiredVyasa to appear before them. As per the word given to his mother Satyavati, Saint Vyasa appeared before them and bowed before his mother. On seeing her son, after a long time, Satyavati hugged him with motherly affection. Bheeshma did all guestly honours to Vyasa. Then Satyavati told Vyasa“O my son! he is my son Bheeshma, the successor of this kingdom. But as per the word given to my father, he remained unmarried. As my two sons died, this Kingdom is now without King. You have come to our rescue. As per Devara nyaya, you have to beget children through the widows of my son,Vicitraveerya and save this Kingdom”.

Vyasa agreed for it and said: “Oh my mother! I will bless the wives of Vicitra veerya with sons but they have to remain with purified minds for one year and give birth to virtuous children.” Satyavati agreed for it. (Devara Nyaya means, if any king has no sons or dies issueless,his wife, with the permission of elders, may share bed with a virtuous brahmin and begetchildren).Accordingly,

Satyavati first sent Ambika, the elder daugher-in-law, to Vyaasa. On seeing Vyasa and his ugly appearance, she was frightened and closed her eyes throughout. Vyasa blessed her with a son and told his mother Satyavati that “Ambika will beget a son but as she closed her eyes throughout, he will be blind by birth.” Satyavati sent his second daughter-in-law Ambalika to Vyasa. On seeing Vyasa and his ugly appearance, she fainted and became pale throughout. Vyasa blessed Ambalika also with a son but said that due to the mistake committed by Ambalika, he will be with white skin. So saying, Vyasa went away.

As per the blessings of Vyasa, both Ambika and Ambalika gave birth to each one son. AsAmbika gave birth to a blind son, Satyavati was very much depressed. She again remembered Vyasa.Vyasa appeared before his mother. Satyavati again requested Vyasa to bless Ambika with another son. Vyasa agreed for it. Satyavati requested Ambika to meet Vyasa once again to beget a son.

Ambika did not like to meet Vyasa again. Shesent her servant maid, in her royal dress, to Vyaasa. The servant maid did not feel anything. She was neither frightened nor fainted while she met Vyaasa. She enjoyed sexual pleasures with Vyaasa. Yama DharmaRaja, in view of the Saapa given to him by Saint Mandavya, was born to her as Vidura.

Vidurawas a virtuous personality, with great wisdom and good hahits. Now Janamejaya entertained a doubt.“Why Saint Mandavya gave Saapa to Yamadharmaraaja.?” Asked Janamejaya. Saint Vaisampaayana continued to say: Mandavya was a great saint. He was living in the outskirts of a village and was doing penance.

One day, there was a decoity in the king’s palace. The soldiers chased the decoits.The decoits entered the Ashramam and hid inside. The soldiers entered the Ashram. They asked Mandavya whether any decoits came that side. As Mandvya was in mouna-vrata, he did not speak anything. Then soldiers entered inside the Ashram and found the decoits hidden there. They thought that Mandavya also colluded with decoits and hence he did not speak about them. The soldiers arrested decoits and Mandavya and produced them before the King.

The king imposed sentence of death forthe decoits. As the King thought that Mandavya only abetted the crime, lesser punishment was imposed on Mandavya. He was made to sit on a sharp-edged spear. As Mandavya was a realized soul, he was not frightened about the sentence. He was meditating god even though he was sitting on a spear. At mid night,some saints, in the form of birds, came there and saw Saint Mandaya in meditation. “O Saint! you are a great saint. Who made you to suffer like this?” Mandavya smiled and said“I am undergoing the punishment for my past sins. Why should I blame others.”

This conversation was overheard by the soldiers keeping watch there. They intimated the same to the King. King realized his mistake. He immediately came there and directed the soldiers to release Mandavya from the spear. But some part of the spear remained in the body of Mandavya. Hence he was called as “Ani Mandavya”Ma.ndavya returned to his Ashram and continued his penance. Later,

Mandavya visited Yamadharmaraja once. “O Samavarti(Yama)! To my knowledge, I never committed any sin throughout my life. Why did you make me to suffer such a severe punishment?” asked Mandavya. “O Saint Mandavya, while you were young, say about 10 years, you caught butterflies and poked needles into their bodies and enojoyed it. Hence, you suffered such a punishment at the hands of the King.”Yama replied.

Mandavya grew angry. “That was done while I was too young without knowing whether I was doing right or wrong. Hence Ideclare that “from now onwards, any mistake committed by children below 14 years, will not be construed as wrong or sin and they should not be punished for that. But if anybody does any wrong towards children below 14 years, it will be a great sin and such wrong doers will be punished severely. This is my ruling.” (Even today, the above ruling of Mandaya is in vogue in the form of Juvenile Law in our country)But, Oh Yama, as you made me to undergo severe punishment for a smallest wrong unknowingly done by me while I was young, I am giving a Saapa to you. You will born to a Sudra woman on earth.” Cursed Mandavya. . In view of that Saapa given by Mandavya, Yama Dharmaraja was born as Vidura to a Sudra Woman.” “Maha Bharat – Aadi Parva – Chaturdhaasvaasa (Fourth Chapter)concluded.Om tatsat