Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 9 Chapter 7:16-27

Book 9: Chapter 7

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 9: Chapter 7: Verses 16-27
The story of the King Hariscandra

Having come to know of the aforesaid sacrifice intended to be performed by his father (Hariscandra), Rohita (who had now grown in years as well as in understanding) betook himself to the woods) bow in hand, anxious to save his life. Hearing that, visited by (angry) Varuna (the god of water), his father had developed the disease of dropsy, Rohita was about to return to his home when Indra stopped him (saying that he would certainly be sacrificed to Varuna if he returned home). Indra (further) counselled Rohita to undertake a holy tour over the earth by visiting sacred lakes and rivers and other places of pilgrimage (in order to atone for the offence of his father against Varuna and thereby rid him of his malady) and Rohita too (accordingly) tarried in the forest for a year (going from place to place as advised by Indra). Likewise during the second, third, fourth and fifth years as well indra (the slayer of the demon Vrtra) came to him, disguised as an aged Brahmana, and repeated the same advice. Having roamed about in the woods during the sixth year (as well), Rohita purchased from Ajigarta (a descendant of the celebrated sage Bhrgu) his middle (second) son, Sunahsepa (by name), while returning to the city (in order to see his father); and, handing him over to Hariscandra (his own father) as a (prospective) victim (to be sacrificed to Varuna) bowed low to him (his father). Thereupon the highly-renowned Hariscandra, whose stories were sung by the great, propitiated Varuna (the god of water) and the other gods by means of a human sacrifice and was (consequently) relieved of his dropsy (stomach disease). At that sacrifice the sage Viswamitra officiated as the Hota; the sage Jamadagni, who had (duly) controlled his mind, as the Adhwaryu; the sage Vasistha as the Brahma and the sage Agastya as the Udgata* (the chanter of Samaveda). Pleased with him, Indra give him a chariot of gold. The glory of Sunahsepa (who was not eventually sacrificed but attained liberation during his very lifetime) will be recounted later (in connection with the story of Viswamitra's son)t And highly gratified to perceive (on another occasion) the firmness of the king (Hariscandra) as well as of his wife (Saibya)$--firmness which derived its strength from his veracity-the sage Viswamitra vouchsafed to him (as a boon) unobstructed knowledge (of the Self). (Mentally) merging his mind (which is said to be a modification of the foods that one takes) in earth (the source of all food), he identified the earth with water, water with fire and the latter [1] [2] [3] with the air; and (again) merging the air in ether, the latter in the Tamasika aspect of the Ego and the said Tamasika Ego in the Mahat-tattva (the principle of cosmic intelligence), and laying aside its objective character, he contemplated its knowledge aspect as his very self and through such contemplation he finally and thoroughly burnt his ignorance (that veiled the nature of the Self). (Again,) giving up that contemplation (too) through consciousness consisting of unmixed bliss, and with (all) his bondage (in the shape of self-identification with the body and so on) shaken off he stood in his essential character, which is beyond the range of description and reasoning.

Thus ends the seventh discourse, entitled the "Story of Hariscandra,"

in Book Nine of the great and glorious Bhagavata-Purana,

otherwise known as the Paramahamsa-Samhita.


  1. For the respective function of these priests vide foot-note below Lv.19. t Vide discoures XIV below.
  2. Vide foot-note below verse 7 above.
  3. The Sruti says:---'

Related Articles