Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 4 - Chapter 7

Chapter VII

Sons of Pururavā. Descendants of Amāvasu. Indra born as Gādhi. Legend of Richika and Satyavatī. Birth of Jamadagni and Viśvāmitra. Paraśurāma the son of the former. (Legend of Paraśurāma.) Śunahśepha and others the sons of Viśvāmitra, forming the Kauśika race.

PURURAVĀ had six sons, Āyus, Dhīmat, Amāvasu, Viśvāvasu, Śatāyus, and Śrutāyus.

The son of Amāvasu was Bhīma; his son was Kānchana; his son was Suhotra, whose son was Jahnu.

This prince, whilst performing a sacrifice, saw the whole of the place overflowed by the waters of the Ganges. Highly offended at this intrusion, his eyes red with anger, he united the spirit of sacrifice with himself, by the power of his devotion, and drank up the river.

The gods and sages upon this came to him, and appeased his indignation, and re-obtained Gangā from him, in the capacity of his daughter (whence she is called Jāhnavī).

The son of Jahnu was Sumantu; his son was Ajaka; his son was Valākāśva; his son was Kuśā, who had four sons, Kuśāmba, Kuśanābha, Amūrttaya, and Amāvasu.

Kuśāmba, being desirous of a son, engaged in devout penance to obtain one who should be equal to Indra:

Observing the intensity of his devotions, Indra was alarmed lest a prince of power like his own should be engendered, and determined therefore to take upon himself the character of Kuśāmba's son.

He was accordingly born as Gādhi, of the race of Kuśa (Kauśika). Gādhi had a daughter named Satyavatī. Richīka, of the descendants of Bhrigu, demanded her in marriage.

The king was very unwilling to give his daughter to a peevish old Brahman, and demanded of him, as the wedding present, a thousand fleet horses, whose colour should be white, with one black ear.

Richīka having propitiated Varuṇa, the god of ocean, obtained from him, at the holy place called Aśvatīrtha, a thousand such steeds; and giving them to the king, espoused his daughter.

In order to effect the birth of a son, Richīka prepared a dish of rice, barley, and pulse, with butter and milk, for his wife to eat; and at her request he consecrated a similar mixture for her mother, by partaking of which she should give birth to a prince of martial prowess.

Leaving both dishes with his wife, after describing particularly which was intended for her, and which for her mother, the sage went forth to the forests.

When the time arrived for the food to be eaten, the queen said to Satyavatī:

"Daughter, all persons wish their children to be possessed of excellent qualities, and would be mortified to see them surpassed by the merits of their mother's brother.

It will be desirable for you, therefore, to give me the mess your husband has set apart for you, and to eat of that intended for me:

for the son which it is to procure me is destined to be the monarch of the whole world, whilst that which your dish would give you must be a Brahman, alike devoid of affluence, valour, and power."

Satyavatī agreed to her mother's proposal, and they exchanged messes.

When Richīka returned home, and beheld Satyavatī, he said to her:

"Sinful woman, what hast thou done! I see thy body of a fearful appearance. Of a surety thou hast eaten the consecrated food which was prepared for thy mother: thou hast done wrong:

In that food I had infused the properties of power and strength and heroism; in thine, the qualities suited to a Brahman, gentleness, knowledge, and resignation.

In consequence of having reversed my plans, thy son shall follow a warrior's propensities, and use weapons, and fight, and slay. Thy mother's son shall be born with the inclinations of a Brahman, and be addicted to peace and piety."

Satyavatī, hearing this, fell at her husband's feet, and said:

"My lord, I have done this thing through ignorance; have compassion on me; let me not have a son such as thou hast foretold: if such there must be, let it be my grandson, not my son."

The Muni, relenting at her distress, replied: "So let it be." Accordingly in due season she gave birth to Jamadagni; and her mother brought forth Viśvāmitra.

Satyavatī afterwards became the Kauśikī river. Jamadagni married Reṇukā, the daughter of Reṇū, of the family of Ikṣvāku, and had by her the destroyer of the Kṣatriya race, Paraśurāma, who was a portion of Nārāyaṇa, the spiritual guide of the universe.