Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 7 Chapter 19



Chapter XIX

On the taking away of Hariśchandra Kingdom

1-12. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hearing thus the words of the King Harischandra, the Mahāṛṣi Kauśika smilingly said:

“O King! This Tīrath is very sacred; if one bathes here, one is cleansed of one’s sins and virtue springs up. So, highly fortunate One! Bathe in this and do peace-offerings (Tarpaṇam) to your fathers.

O King! This time is very auspicious and highly meritorious; so take a bath in this sacred Punya Tīrtha and make charities as far as it lies in your power.

Svāyambhūva Manu says:

He, who arriving at a tīrtha capable to give high merits (Puṇya), does not bathe and make charities, deceives himself; so he is the slayer of his soul, no doubt.

So, O King! Do meritorious acts as best as you can in this excellent tīrtha. Then I will show you the way and you will go to Ayodhyā. O Kākutstha! Today I will be pleased with your gifts and I will accompany you to show you the way; this I have decided.”

Hearing the deceitful words of the Mahāṛṣi, the King took off his upper garments and tying the horse on to a tree, went towards the river to bathe according to due rites.

O King! The accidental combination, that was to have been so (sure to come), so enchanted the King by the Muni’s words, that he got himself entirely under the control of the Muni.

He duly completed his bath and offered peace offerings to the Devas and the Pitris and then spoke to Viśvāmitra:

“O Lord! I am now making gifts to you. O Fortunate One! Cows, lands, jewels, elephants, horses, chariots or horses, etc., anything that you like I will give you just now.

There is nothing that I cannot give. When I performed previously the Rājasūya sacrifice, I took, then, before all the Munis, this vow.

So, O Muni! You are also present at this principal Tīrtha (place of pilgrimage); so express what you desire; I will give you your desired object.”

13-15. Viśvāmitra said:

“O King! Your glory is spread far and wide in this world; especially I have already heard that there is no second man charitable like you.

The Muni Vaṣiṣṭha has said:

The King of the solar dynasty, the Triśanku’s son, Hariśchandra is foremost and first amongst the kings in this world and there is no one so liberal-minded as he is; such a king there never was nor ever there will be.

So, O King! Now the marriage time of my son has arrived; so I pray before you today, that you give me wealth to celebrate this marriage.”

16. The King said:

“O Brāhmin! Yes! Celebrate the marriage ceremony; I will give you your desired wealth. What more can be said as this that whatever wealth you would want, I will give that abundantly. There is no doubt in this.”

17-22. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hearing these words of the King, the Muni Kauśika became ready to deceive him and originating the Gandharvī Māyā, created a beautiful youth and one daughter aged ten years and showing them to the King, said:

“The marriage of these two is to be celebrated today. O King! To marry the boys and the girls in the household is to earn more merits than the Rājasūya sacrifice. So today you will get that desired fruit if you make charities for the marriage of this Brāhmin Youth.”

The King was much enchanted by his Māyā; so no sooner he heard those words, he immediately promised:

“That will be done,” he did not raise any objection whatsoever.

Viśvāmitra then showed the way and the King went to his city. Viśvāmitra, too, thus deceiving the King, went back to his Āśrama.

When the King was staying in Agniśālā (cook-room), Viśvāmitra Muni went to him and said:

“O King! The marriage rites have been finished; so today give me what I desire in this sacrificial hall. ”

23-24. The King said:

“O Brāhmin! Speak out what you want; now I like to get fame. So if there be anything in the world, that is not to be given by me, if you want, I will give that even to you, no doubt.

The mortal, possessing all wealth, if he does not earn good name and fame, capable to give happiness to him in his next world, passes his life in vain.”

25. Viśvāmitra said:

“O King! Give to this bridegroom, while within this sacred sacrificial altar, your entire kingdom with the royal umbrella and Chāmara for fanning the king and elephants, horses, chariots, infantry and all the gems and jewels.”

26-33. Vyāsa said:

O King! The King Hariśchandra was deluded by his Māyā; so no sooner he heard the Muni’s words, he willingly said without the slightest consideration:

“O Muni! I give as you pray my vast dominion to you.”

The very cruel Viśvāmitra then said:

“O King! I have accepted your offer; but O Intelligent One! Give now the requisite Dakṣiṇā to complete your gift. Manu says gift without Dakṣiṇā is fruitless; so to get the fruit of your gift give Dakṣiṇā as duly fixed.”

The King was exceedingly surprised to hear this and said:

“O Lord! Kindly say what amount of wealth am I to give to you as Dakṣiṇā. O Saint! Say the value of your Dakṣiṇā. O Ascetic! Don’t be impatient; I will give you the Dakṣiṇā to that amount, no doubt.”

Hearing this, Viśvāmitra told to the King:

“At present give me two and a half loads of gold as Dakṣiṇā.’’

The King Hariśchandra became greatly amazed and promised:

“I will give you that,”

He then anxiously mounted on his horseback and became ready to go quickly.

At this time, his soldiers who lost their road in quest of their king, came to him. They were very glad to see him; but, seeing him anxious, they began to praise him in great haste.

34-47. Vyāsa said:

O King! Hearing their words, the King did not say anything, good or bad; but thinking on his own doing entered into contemplation:

Oh! What have I promised to give? I have made a gift of all that I have; I am cheated in this matter by the Muni like one robbed by a thief in a wilderness.

My whole dominion including my dress I have promised to give to him. Moreover I will have to pay besides two and a half loads of gold. My brain seems to have been completely destroyed. What to do now?

I did not know the cunningness of the Muni. Therefore I am cheated by this deceitful Brāhmin. It is next to impossible to understand the work of Daiva.

Oh! My Fate! What will happen to me now? Very much bewildered the King entered in the interior of the palace. The queen seeing her husband immersed in cares, enquired into the cause, thus:

“O Lord Why have you become so absent-minded? Kindly say what you are thinking now? O King! The son has come back from the forest before you completed your Rājasūya sacrifice; why then are you in grief now?

Kindly speak out the cause of your sorrow. Nowhere is your enemy, strong or weak; only Varuṇa was angry with you; now he is also very satisfied. So there is nothing further for you to do to think.

O King! Owing to cares, this body gets weaker and weaker day by day. So nothing is like cares to lead one to death.”

When his dear wife said so, the King expressed to her somewhat the cause of his cares, good or bad. But the King was much absorbed with his cares so that he could not eat nor sleep though his bedding was perfectly white and clear.

Early in the next morning, when, getting up from his bed, he was doing anxiously his morning duties, Viśvāmitra came up there. When the sentinel informed the King of the arrival of Viśvāmitra, he gave order for him to enter.

Viśvāmitra, the Looter of his all and everything, came before him and told the King who repeatedly bowed down to him:

“O King! Now leave your kingdom and give me the gold that you promised as Dakṣiṇā and prove that you are truthful.”

48-63. Hariśchandra said:

“O Lord! I have given you this vast dominion of mine; so my Kingdom has now become yours; I am leaving this Kingdom and going to somewhere else.

O Kauśika! You need not think a bit for this. O Brāhmaṇa! You have taken my all according to the technical rule; so now I am unable to give you Dakṣiṇā. If, in time, wealth comes to me, I will at once give you your Dakṣiṇā.”

Saying him thus, the King told his wife Śaivyā, and his son Rohitā:

“In this Agnihotra room I say that I have given my vast dominion to the Muni Viśvāmitra. Elephants, horses, chariots, gold and jewels all I have given to him along with my kingdom. What more than this that save us three, everything else I have given to him.

O Mahāṛṣi! Take fully this prosperous dominion; we are going somewhere else to a forest or a mountain cave.”

The exceedingly virtuous Hariśchandra spoke thus to his wife and son, and, paying respects to the Muni, went out from his house.

Seeing the King going thus away, his wife and son, afflicted with cares, followed him with their sad faces. Seeing thus, all the inhabitants of Ayodhyā cried aloud, and great consternation and uproar arose in the city.

O King! What is this act that you have done? How has this suffering come to you! O King! The great Fate, without any consideration, has certainly deceived you.

The Brāhmaṇas, Kṣattriyas, Vaiśyas and Śudras, all the four Varṇas gave vent to their sorrows, when they saw the King going away with his wife and son.

The Brāhmins and the other inhabitants of the city, all were afflicted with sorrows and began to abuse the vicious Brāhmaṇa saying that:

“He is a cheat, etc.”

O King! Give the gold for Dakṣiṇā and then go; or say that you will not be able to give and I will then not take the Dakṣiṇā. Or if you entertain within yourself any greed, then take back all your Kingdom.

O King! If you think that you have really made this gift, then give what you have promised.

The son of Gādhi was saying so, when the King Hariśchandra very humbly bowed down to him with folded palms and said to him:

Here ends the Nineteenth Chapter of the Seventh Book on the taking away of Hariśchandra’s Kingdom in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses, by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.