Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 4 - Chapter 24

Chapter XXIV

 Future kings of Magadhā. Five princes of the line of Pradyota. Ten Śaiśunāgas. Nine Nandas. Ten Mauryas. Ten Śungas. Four Kaṇwas. Thirty Āndhrabhrityas. Kings of various tribes and castes, and periods of their rule. Ascendancy of barbarians. Different races in different regions. Period of universal iniquity and decay. Coming of Viṣṇu as Kalki. Destruction of the wicked, and restoration of the practices of the Vedas. End of the Kāli, and return of the Krita, age. Duration of the Kāli. Verses chanted by Earth, and communicated by Asita to Janaka. End of the fourth book.

THE last of the Brihadratha dynasty, Ripunjaya, will have a minister named Sunika, who having killed his sovereign will place his son Pradyota upon the throne:

his son will be Pālaka; his son will be Viśākhayūpa; his son will be Janaka; and his son will be Nandivarddhana. These five kings of the house of Pradyota will reign over the earth for a hundred and thirty-eight years.

The next prince will be Śiśunaga; his son will be Kākavarṇa; his son will be Kṣemadharman; his son will be Kṣatraujas; his son will be Vidmisāra; his son will be Ājātaśatru; his son will be Dharbaka; his son will be Udayāśva; his son will also be Nandivarddhana; and his son will be Mahānandi.

These ten Śaiśunāgas will be kings of the earth for three hundred and sixty-two years.

The son of Mahānanda will be born of a woman of the Śūdra or servile class; his name will be Nanda, called Mahāpadma, for he will be exceedingly avaricious.

Like another Paraśurāma, he will be the annihilator of the Kṣatriya race; for after him the kings of the earth will be Śūdras:

He will bring the whole earth under one umbrella: he will have eight sons, Sumālya and others, who will reign after Mahāpadma; and he and his sons will govern for a hundred years.

The Brahman Kauṭilya will root out the nine Nandas.

Upon the cessation of the race of Nanda, the Mauryas will possess the earth, for Kauṭilya will place Chandragupta on the throne:

his son will be Vindusāra; his son will be Aśokavarddhana; his son will be Suyaśas; his son will be Daśaratha; his son will be Sangata; his son will be Śāliśūka; his son will be Somaśarmman; his son will be Saśadharman; and his successor will be Vrihadratha. -

These are the ten Mauryas, who will reign over the earth for a hundred and thirty-seven years.

The dynasty of the Śungas will next become possessed of the sovereignty; for Puṣpamitra, the general of the last Maurya prince, will put his master to death, and ascend the throne:

his son will be Agnimitra; his son will be Sujyeṣṭha; his son will be Vasumitra; his son will be Ārdraka; his son will be Pulindaka; his son will be Ghoṣavasu; his son will be Vajramitra; his son will be Bhāgavata; his son will be Devabhūti.

These are the ten Śungas, who will govern the kingdom for a hundred and twelve years.

Devabhūti, the last Śunga prince, being addicted to, immoral indulgences, and his minister, the Kaṇwa named Vāsudeva will murder him, and usurp the kingdom: his son will be Bhūmimitra; his son will be Nārāyaṇa; his son will be Suśarman.

These four Kāṇwas will be kings of the earth for forty-five years.

Suśarman the Kāṇwa will be killed by a powerful servant named Śipraka, of the Āndhra tribe, who will become king, and found the Āndhrabhritya dynasty:

he will be succeeded by his brother Kṛṣṇa; his son will be Śrī Śātakarṇi; his son will be Pūrnotsanga; his son will be Śātakarṇi (2nd); his son will be Lambodara; his son will be Ivīlaka; his son will be Meghasvāti; his son will be Patumat;

his son will be Aṛṣṭakarman; his son will be Hāla; his son will be Tālaka; his son will be Pravilasena; his son will be Sundara, named Śātakarṇi; his son will be Chakora Śātakarṇi;

his son will be Śivasvāti; his son will be Gomatiputra; his son will be Pulimat; his son will be Śivaśrī Śātakarṇi; his son will be Śivaskandha; his son will be Yajnaśrī; his son will be Vijaya; his son will be Chandraśrī; his son will be Pulomārchish.

These thirty Andhrabhritya kings will reign four hundred and fifty-six years.

After these, various races will reign, as seven Ābhīras, ten Garddhabas, sixteen Śakas, eight Yavanas, fourteen Tuṣāras, thirteen Muṇḍas, eleven Maunas,

altogether seventy-nine princes, who will be sovereigns of the earth for one thousand three hundred and ninety years; and then eleven Pauras will be kings for three hundred years.

When they are destroyed, the Kailakila Yavanas will be kings; the chief of whom will be Vindhyaśakti; his son will be Puranjaya; his son will be Rāmachandra;

his son will be Adharma, from whom will be Varānga, Kritanandana, Śudhinandi, Nandiyaśas, Śiśuka, and Pravīra; these will rule for a hundred and six years.

From them will proceed thirteen sons; then three Bāhlīkas, and Puṣpamitra, and Paṭumitra, and others, to the number of thirteen, will rule over Mekala. There will be nine kings in the seven Koalas, and there will be as many Naiṣadha princes.

In Magadhā a sovereign named Viśvasphaṭika will establish other tribes; he will extirpate the Kṣatriya or martial race, and elevate fishermen, barbarians, and Brahmans, and other castes, to power.

The nine Nāgas will reign in Padmāvati, Kāntipuri, and Mathurā; and the Guptas of Magadhā along the Ganges to Prayāga.

A prince named Devarakṣita will reign, in a city on the sea shore, over the Kośalas, Oḍras, Puṇḍras, and Tāmraliptas.

The Guhas will possess Kālinga, Māhihaka, and the mountains of Mahendra. The race of Maṇidhanu will occupy the countries of the Niṣādas, Naimishikas, and Kālatoyas.

The people called Kanakas will possess the Amazon country, and that called Mūṣika.

Men of the three tribes, but degraded, and Ābhīras and Śūdras, will occupy Śaurāṣṭra, Avanti, Śūra, Arbuda, and Marubhūmi: and Śūdras, outcastes, and barbarians will be masters of the banks of the Indus, Dārvika, the Chandrabhāgā, and Kāṣmir.

These will all be contemporary monarchs, reigning over the earth; kings of churlish spirit, violent temper, and ever addicted to falsehood and wickedness.

They will inflict death on women, children, and cows; they will seize upon the property of their subjects; they will be of limited power, and will for the most part rapidly rise and fall; their lives will be short, their desires insatiable, and they will display but little piety.

The people of the various countries intermingling with them will follow their example, and the barbarians being powerful in the patronage of the princes, whilst purer tribes are neglected, the people will perish.

Wealth and piety will decrease day by day, until the world will be wholly depraved:

Then property alone will confer rank; wealth will be the only source of devotion; passion will be the sole bond of union between the sexes; falsehood will be the only means of success in litigation; and women will be objects merely of sensual gratification.

Earth will be venerated but for its mineral treasures; the Brāhmanic thread will constitute a Brahman; external types (as the staff and red garb) will be the only distinctions of the several orders of life;

dishonesty will be the universal means of subsistence; weakness will be the cause of dependence; menace and presumption will be substituted for learning;

liberality will be devotion; simple ablution will be purification; mutual assent will be marriage; fine clothes will be dignity; and water afar off will be esteemed a holy spring.


Amidst all castes he who is the strongest will reign over a principality thus vitiated by many faults.

The people, unable to bear the heavy burdens imposed upon them by their avaricious sovereigns, will take refuge amongst the valleys of the mountains,

and will be glad to feed upon wild honey, herbs, roots, fruits, flowers, and leaves: their only covering will be the bark of trees, and they will be exposed to the cold, and wind, and sun, and rain. No man's life will exceed three and twenty years.

Thus in the Kāli age shall decay constantly proceed, until the human race approaches its annihilation.

When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law shall nearly have ceased, and the close of the Kāli age shall be nigh,

a portion of that divine being who exists of his own spiritual nature in the character of Brahma, and who is the beginning and the end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon earth:

he will be born in the family of Viṣṇuyaśas, an eminent Brahman of Śambala village, as Kalki, endowed with the eight superhuman faculties. By his irresistible might he will destroy all the Mlechchas and thieves, and all whose minds are devoted to iniquity.

He will then re-establish righteousness upon earth; and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kāli age shall be awakened, and shall be as pellucid as crystal.

The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita age, or age of purity.

As it is said: "When the sun and moon, and the lunar star Tiṣya, and the planet Jupiter, are in one mansion, the Krita age shall return."

Thus, most excellent Muni, the kings who are past, who are present, and who are to be, have been enumerated. From the birth of Parīkṣit to the coronation of Nanda it is to be known that 1015 years have elapsed.

When the two first stars of the seven Ṛṣis (the great Bear) rise in the heavens, and some lunar asterism is seen at night at an equal distance between them, then the seven Ṛṣis continue stationary in that conjunction for a hundred years of men.

At the birth of Parīkṣit they were in Maghā, and the Kāli age then commenced, which consists of 1200 (divine) years.

When the portion of Viṣṇu (that had been born from Vāsudeva) returned to heaven, then the Kāli age commenced. As long as the earth was touched by his sacred feet, the Kāli age could not affect it.

As soon as the incarnation of the eternal Viṣṇu had departed, the son of Dharma, Yudhisṭhīra, with his brethren, abdicated the sovereignty. Observing unpropitious portents, consequent upon Kṛṣṇa's disappearance, he placed Parīkṣit upon the throne.

When the seven Ṛṣis are in Purvāṣāḍhā, then Nanda will begin to reign, and thenceforward the influence of the Kāli will augment.

The day that Kṛṣṇa shall have departed from the earth will be the first of the Kāli age, the duration of which you shall hear; it will continue for 360,000 years of mortals. After twelve hundred divine years shall have elapsed, the Krita age shall be renewed.

Thus age after age Brahmans, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas, and Śūdras, excellent Brahman, men of great souls, have passed away by thousands; whose names and tribes and families I have not enumerated to you, from their great number, and the repetition of appellations it would involve.

Two persons, Devāpi of the race of Puru, and Maru of the family of Ikṣvāku, through the force of devotion continue alive throughout the whole four ages, residing at the village of Kalāpa:

they will return hither in the beginning of the Krita age, and, becoming members of the family of the Manu, give origin to the Kṣatriya dynasties.

In this manner the earth is possessed through every series of the three first ages, the Krita, Tretā, and Dvāpara, by the sons of the Manu; and some remain in the Kāli age, to serve as the rudiments of renewed generations, in the same way as Devāpi and Maru are still in existence.

I have now given you a summary account of the sovereigns of the earth; to recapitulate the whole would be impossible even in a hundred lives.

These and other kings, who with perishable frames have possessed this ever-during world, and who, blinded with deceptive notions of individual occupation, have indulged the feeling that suggests: "This earth is mine--it is my son's--it belongs to my dynasty," have all passed away.

So, many who reigned before them, many who succeeded them, and many who are yet to come, have ceased, or will cease, to be. Earth laughs, as if smiling with autumnal flowers, to behold her kings unable to effect the subjugation of themselves.

I will repeat to you, Maitreya, the stanzas that were chanted by Earth, and which the Muni Asita communicated to Janaka, whose banner was virtue:

"How great is the folly of princes, who are endowed with the faculty of reason, to cherish the confidence of ambition, when they themselves are but foam upon the wave.

Before they have subdued themselves, they seek to reduce their ministers, their servants, their subjects, under their authority; they then endeavour to overcome their foes.

'Thus,' say they, 'will we conquer the ocean-circled earth;' and, intent upon their project, behold not death, which is not far off.

But what mighty matter is the subjugation of the sea-girt earth to one who can subdue himself. Emancipation from existence is the fruit of self-control.

It is through infatuation that kings desire to possess me, whom their predecessors have been forced to leave, whom their fathers have not retained. Beguiled by the selfish love of sway, fathers contend with sons, and brothers with brothers, for my possession.

Foolishness has been the character of every king who has boasted:

'All this earth is mine--everything is mine--it will be in my house forever;' for he is dead.

How is it possible that such vain desires should survive in the hearts of his descendants, who have seen their progenitor, absorbed by the thirst of dominion, compelled to relinquish me, whom he called his own, and tread the path of dissolution?

When I hear a king sending word to another by his ambassador: 'This earth is mine; immediately resign your pretensions to it;' I am moved to violent laughter at first, but it soon subsides in pity for the infatuated fool."

These were the verses, Maitreya, which Earth recited, and by listening to which ambition fades away like snow before the sun.

I have now related to you the whole account of the descendants of the Manu; amongst whom have flourished kings endowed with a portion of Viṣṇu, engaged in the preservation of the earth.

Whoever shall listen reverently and with faith to this narrative, proceeding from the posterity of Manu, shall be purified entirely from all his sins, and, with the perfect possession of his faculties, shall live in unequalled affluence, plenty, and prosperity.

He who has heard of the races of the sun and moon, of Ikṣvāku, Jahnu, Maṇḍhātri, Sāgara, and Raghu, who have all perished; of Yayāti, Nahuṣa, and their posterity, who are no more;

of kings of great might, resistless valour, and unbounded wealth, who have been overcome by still more powerful time, and are now only a tale;

he will learn wisdom, and forbear to call either children, or wife, or house, or lands, or wealth, his own.

The arduous penances that have been performed by heroic men obstructing fate for countless years, religious rites and sacrifices of great efficacy and virtue, have been made by time the subject only of narration.

The valiant Prithu traversed the universe, everywhere triumphant over his foes; yet he was blown away, like the light down of the Simmal tree, before the blast of time.

He who was Kārtavīrya subdued innumerable enemies, and conquered the seven zones of the earth; but now he is only the topic of a theme, a subject for affirmation and contradiction.

Fie upon the empire of the sons of Raghu, who triumphed over Daśānana, and extended their sway to the ends of the earth; for was it not consumed in an instant by the frown of the destroyer?

Maṇḍhātri, the emperor of the universe, is embodied only in a legend; and what pious man who hears it will ever be so unwise as to cherish the desire of possession in his soul?

Bhagīratha, Sāgara, Kākutstha, Daśānana, Rāma, Lakṣmana, Yudhisṭhīra, and others, have been. Is it so? Have they ever really existed? Where are they now? We know not!

The powerful kings who now are, or who will be, as I have related them to you, or any others who are unspecified, are all subject to the same fate, and the present and the future will perish and be forgotten, like their predecessors.

Aware of this truth, a wise man will never be influenced by the principle of individual appropriation; and regarding them as only transient and temporal possessions, he will not consider children and posterity, lands and property, or whatever else is personal, to be his own.