Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 4 - Chapter 20

Chapter XX

Descendants of Kuru. Devāpi abdicates the throne: assumed by Śāntanu: he is confirmed by the Brahmans: Bhīṣma his son by Gangā: his other sons. Birth of Dhritarāṣṭra, Pāṇḍu, and Vidura. The hundred sons of Dhritarāṣṭra. The five sons of Pāṇḍu: married to Draupadī: their posterity. Parīkṣit, the grandson of Arjuna, the reigning king.

PARĪKṢIT, the son of Kuru, had four sons, Janamejaya, Śrutasena, Ugrasena, and Bhīmasena.

The son of Jahnu was Suratha; his son was Vidūratha; his son was Sārvabhauma; his son was Jayasena Ārāvin; his son was Ayutāyus; his son was Akrodhana;

one of his sons was Devatithi, and another was called Rikṣa; his son was Dilīp; his son was Pratīpa, who had three sons, Devāpi, Śāntanu, and Bāhlīka.

The first adopted in childhood a forest life, and Śāntanu became king. Of him this verse is spread through the earth:

"Śāntanu is his name, because if he lays his hands upon an old man, he restores him to youth, and by him men obtain tranquillity (śānti)."

In the kingdom over which Śāntanu ruled there was no rain for twelve years.

Apprehensive that the country would become a desert, the king assembled the Brahmans, and asked them why no rain fell, and what fault he had committed.

They told him that he was as it were a younger brother married before an elder, for he was in the enjoyment of the earth, which was the right of his elder brother Devāpi. "

What then am I to do?" said the Rājā:

to which they replied, "Until the gods shall be displeased with Devāpi, by his declining from the path of righteousness, the kingdom is his, and to him therefore you should resign it."

When the minister of the king, Asmarisārin, heard this, he collected a number of ascetics who taught doctrines opposed to those of the Vedas, and sent them into the forest; where meeting with Devāpi, they perverted the understanding of the simple-minded prince, and led him to adopt heretical notions.

In the meantime, Śāntanu being much distressed to think that he had been guilty of the offence intimated by the Brahmans, sent them before him into the woods, and then proceeded thither himself, to restore the kingdom to his elder brother.

When the Brahmans arrived at the hermitage of Devāpi, they informed him that, according to the doctrines of the Vedas, succession to a kingdom was the right of the elder brother:

but he entered into discussion with them, and in various ways advanced arguments which had the defect of being contrary to the precepts of the Vedas.

When the Brahmans heard this, they turned to Śāntanu, and said:

"Come hither, Rājā; you need to give yourself no further trouble in this matter; the dearth is at an end: this man is fallen from his state, for he has uttered words of disrespect to the authority of the eternal, untreated Veda; and when the elder brother is degraded, there is no sin in the prior espousals of his junior."

Śāntanu thereupon returned to his capital, and administered the government as before; and his elder brother Devāpi being degraded from his caste by repeating doctrines contrary to the Vedas, Indra poured down abundant rain, which was followed by plentiful harvests.

The son of Bāhlīka was Somadatta, who had three sons, Bhūri, Bhūriśravas, and Śala.

The son of Śāntanu was the illustrious and learned Bhīṣma, who was born to him by the holy river-goddess, Gangā; and he had by his wife Satyavatī two sons, Chitrāngada and Vichitravīrya.

Chitrāngada, whilst yet a youth, was killed in a conflict with a Gandharva, also called Chitrāngada. Vichitravīrya married Ambā and Ambālikā, the daughters of the king of Kāśī; and indulging too freely in connubial rites, fell into a consumption, of which he died.

By command of Satyavatī, my son Kṛṣṇa-Dvaipāyana, ever obedient to his mother's wishes, begot upon the widows of his brother the princes Dhritarāṣṭra and Pāṇḍu, and upon a female servant, Vidura.

Dhritarāṣṭra had Duryodhana, Duhśāsana, and other sons, a hundred altogether.

Pāṇḍu having incurred the curse of a deer, whose mate he had killed in the chase, was deterred from procreating children;

and his wife Kuntī, bare to him in consequence three sons, who were begotten by the deities Dharma, Vāyu, and Indra; namely, Yudhisṭhīra, Bhīma, and Arjuna:

and his wife Mādri had two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva, by the celestial sons of Aśvinī. These had each a son by Draupadī.

The son of Yudhisṭhīra was Prativindhya; of Bhīma, Śrutasoma; of Arjuna, Śrutakīrtti; of Nakula, Śatānīka; and of Sahadeva, Śrutakarman. The Pāṇḍavas had also other sons. By his wife Yaudheyī, Yudhisṭhīra had Devaka.

The son of Bhīma by Hiḍimbā was Ghaṭotkacha, and he had also Sarvatraga by his wife Kāśī.

The son of Sahadeva by Vijayā was Suhotra; and Niramitra was the son of Nakula by Kareṇumatī.

Arjuna had Irāvat by the serpent-nymph Ulupī; Babhruvāhana, who was adopted as the son of his maternal grandfather, by the daughter of the king of Maṇipura;

and, by his wife Subhadrā Abhimanyu, who even in extreme youth was renowned for his valour and his strength, and crushed the chariots of his foes in fight.

The son of Abhimanyu by his wife Uttarā was Parīkṣit, who, after the Kurus were all destroyed, was killed in his mother's womb by the magic Brāhma weapon, hurled by Asvatthāman:

he was however restored to life by the clemency of that being whose feet receive the homage of all the demons and the gods, and who for his own pleasure had assumed a human shape (Kṛṣṇa).

This prince, Parīkṣit, now reigns over the whole world with undivided sway.