DEVI BHAGAVATHAM VII (7) Skandha Ch.19.

Chapter XIX

On the taking away of Haris’chandra’s Kingdom

1-12. Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing thus the words of the King Haris’chandra, the Maharsi Kaus’ika smilingly said :– “O King! This Tîrath 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 (tarpanam) to your fathers. O King! This time is very auspicious and highly meritorious; so take a bath in this sacred Punya Tîrtha and make charities as far as it lies in your power. Svâyambhuva Manu says :– He, who arriving at a tîrtha capable to give high merits (Punya), 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 tîrtha. Then I will shew you the way and you will go to Ayodhyâ. O Kâkutstha! 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 Maharsi, 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 Vis’vâmitra. “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 Râjasûya sacrifice, I took, then, before all the Munis, this vow. So, O Muni! You are also present at this principal Tîrtha (place of pilgrimage); so express what you desire; I will give you your desired object.”

13-15. Vis’vâmitra 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 Vas’istha has said :– The King of the solar dynasty, the Tris’anku’s son, Haris’chandra 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 Brâhmin! Yes! Celebrate the marriage ceremony; I will give you your desired wealth. What more can be said than this that whatever wealth you would want, I will give that abundantly. There is no doubt in this.”

17-22. Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing these words of the King, the Muni Kaus’ika became ready to deceive him and originating the Gândharbî Mâyâ, 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 house-hold is to earn more merits than the Râjasûya sacrifice. So today you will get that desired fruit if you make charities for the marriage of this Brâhmin Youth.” The King was much enchanted by his Mâyâ; so no sooner he heard those words, he immediately promised :– “That will be done,” he did not raise any objection whatsoever. Vis’vâmitra then showed the way and the King went to his city. Vis’vâmitra, too, thus deceiving the King, went back to his Âs’rama. When the King was staying in Agnis’âlâ (cook-room), Vis’vâmitra 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 Brâhmin! 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. Vis’vâmitra said :– “O King! Give to this bridegroom, while within this sacred sacrificial altar, your entire kingdom with the royal umbrella and Châmara for fanning the king and elephants, horses, chariots, infantry and all the gems and jewels.”

26-33. Vyâsa said :– O King! The King Haris’chandra was deluded by his Mâyâ; so no sooner he heard the Muni’s words, he willingly said without the slightest consideration :– “O Muni! I give as you pray, my this vast dominion to you.” The very cruel Vis’vâmitra then said :– “O King! I have accepted your offer; but O Intelligent One! Give now the requisite Daksinâ to complete your gift. Manu says gift without Daksinâ is fruitless; so to get the fruit of your gift give Daksinâ 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 Daksinâ. O Saint! Say the value of your Daksinâ. O Ascetic! Don’t be impatient; I will give you the Daksinâ to that amount, no doubt.” Hearing this, Vis’vâmitra told to the King :– “At present give me two and a half loads of gold as Daksinâ.” The King Haris’chandra 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. Vyâsa said :– O King! Hearing their words, the King did not say anything, good or bad; but thinking on his own doing entered into the zenana. 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 Brâhmin. 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 Râjasûya sacrifice; why then are you in grief now? Kindly speak out the cause of your sorrow. Nowhere is your enemy, strong or weak; only Varuna 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, Vis’vâmitra came up there. When the sentinel informed the King of the arrival of Vis’vâmitra, he gave order for him to enter. Vis’vâmitra, 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 Daksinâ and prove that you are truthful.”

48-63. Haris’chandra 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 Kaus’ika! You need not think a bit for this. O Brâhmana! You have taken my all according to the technical rule; so now I am unable to give you Daksinâ. If, in time, wealth comes to me, I will at once give you your Daksinâ.” Saying him thus, the King told his wife S’aivyâ, and his son Rohita, “In this Agnihotra room I say that I have given my vast dominion to the Muni Vis’vâmitra. 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 Maharsi! Take fully this prosperous dominion; we are going somewhere else to a forest or a mountain cave.” The exceedingly virtuous Haris’chandra 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 Ayodhyâ 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 Brâhmanas, Ks’attriyas, Vais’yas and S’ûdras, all the four Varnas gave vent to their sorrows, when they saw the King going away with his wife and son. The Brâhmins and the other inhabitants of the city, all were afflicted with sorrows and began to abuse the vicious Brâhmana saying that “He is a cheat, etc.” O King! Give the gold for Daksinâ and then go; or say that you will not  be able to give and I will then not take the Daksinâ. 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 Gâdhi was saying so, when the King Haris’chandra 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 Haris’chandra’s Kingdom in the Mahâ Purânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses, by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.

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