Biographies | Men
Raajaa Shivi is not a witness to Raamaayan or Mahaabhaarat, but he is mentioned in Mahaabhaarat when Yudhishthir goes on his Teerth Yaatraa during his sixth year of exile and he comes to the banks of the River Saraswatee where the incident of Hawk and Pigeon took place with Raajaa Shivi - MBH, G-4-Van/22. His full story comes again in MBH, G-4-Van/36, when Yudhishthir asks Maarkandeya Jee to tell him about the wealth of great royal Kshatriya. he is a very famous king of Hindu mythology and Buddhist Jaatak tales
He is the same Shivi who was the son of Raajaa Usheenar (the King of Bhoj) and Maadhavee (daughter of Raajaa Yayaati), and Raajaa Usheenar was the same king who bought Raajaa Yayaati's daughter Maadhavee in exchange of 200 horses from Muni Gaalav, (read the story of Gaalav Muni here), and later saved his Naanaa Yayaati. Raaja Shivi was a righteous King and he was born in Ikshwaaku Vansh. For kings like Shivi, life never meant anything, only Dharm was everything. He was a great king who followed justice and to fulfill his promises, he could do anything.
Who was Shivi?
MBH also says that
married Maadhavee (Yayaati's daughter) to
However the second reference of Usheenar is found in Yayaati's daughter Maadhavee's reference and then in the reference of Yayaati himself when he fell down from Swrag, he was saved by his daughter's four sons, among them one was Shibi, the son of King Usheenar. Raajaa Shivi (or Shibi) and his father Usheenar, are found in Gaalav's story mentioned in MBH. Garud brings Gaalav Muni to Yayaati (Chandra Vansh) for 800 horses which Yayaati does not have. o he gives him his daughter Maadhavee. Gaalav takes her to three kings - Haryaashwa of Ikshwaaku family (he has a son named Vasumaan from her); Divodaas, king of Kaashee (he also had a son from her named Pratardan); lastly he brings her to the king of Bhoj city Usheenar and he also had a son from her named Shivi.
--A king called Shunak gifted Usheenar a sword as per MBH, Shaanti Parv Chapter
166 verse 79.
Shivi is Tested
Once Dharm Raaj (Yam Raaj, the Devtaa of Death) and Dev Raaj Indra decided to test the strength of his character and his righteousness. Once Shivi was sitting in his court, that a dove came flying with great speed and fell in his laps and said - "O king, Please save me. I am in your shelter." The King had vowed to protect anyone who came in his shelter. In the mean time a hawk came following him and said to the King - "O King, This is my prey, so give it to me." The dove tried to hide himself in the laps of the King. The King said to the dove - "Don't fear from this hawk. You are in my shelter, he cannot touch even your one feather."
So the King said to the hawk - "I am sorry, I cannot give this bird to you, because he is in my shelter." The hawk said - "But this is my prey. I was hungry and I wanted to kill him and eat him, so please release him so that I can eat him." Raajaa considered hawk's demand genuine. Now what should he do? If he gives the dove to hawk, his vow is broken, and if he doesn't give the dove to eagle, he snatches the hawk's food.
Raajaa followed the justice and found a way so that the dove is also saved, his vow is also not broken and the hawk also gets his food. He said to the hawk - "This dove is your food. If I give you this much meat to eat, would you leave him alone?" The hawk said - "Yes, I need my food, nothing else." Raajaa asked his servants to kill some animal and bring his meat for the hawk. But the hawk said - "I wouldn't accept that food for myself which is brought to me after killing an animal specially for my food. This was my prey that is why I want to eat him but otherwise I do not want anybody else to kill anybody for my food."
Now Raajaa was in a great dilemma, how he should satisfy this hawk? He thought and thought and came to a conclusion that a pound or two flesh of his own body wouldn't hurt much to him and this hawk will also be satisfied, so he asked the hawk - "Would you be satisfied if I give you my own flesh?" The hawk said - "Yes, But there is a condition for this." "What?" The hawk said - "If even a single tear drops from your eye, I will not accept that flesh as my food." Raajaa agreed.
He got a knife and a balance to weight the flesh. On one side of the balance he put the dove and on the other side he started putting his own flesh cut from the knife. He started cutting his flesh from his right thigh. But a strange thing happened that the dove always weighed heavier than his own flesh, even if he was adding more and more to the second pan of the balance. He had kept almost his whole right leg on the second pane but the dove was still heavier than his flesh.
At this juncture a drop of a tear came into his left eye. The hawk noticed it and said - "I cannot accept this food given to me in distress. The tear in your eye shows that you are not happy, so give me my prey back to me." Raajaa said smiling - "Look hawk, This tear is not for grief, but for joy that my left body will also be used to keep my promise. If only the right part of my body could satisfy your requirement, then the left part of my body would have been deprived from the opportunity to serve you. That is why this tear in my left eye is of joy not of grief." The hawk got satisfied. The King started again putting his flesh on the balance. Even after cutting his both legs and both arms he could not provide the flesh equal to the weight of the dove. So he sat himself on the balance to equal the weight. As he sat on the balance, sky showered flowers and the hawk and the dove got disappeared and there stood Dharm Raaj and Dev Raaj Indra to bless him. Both bestowed him many boons and went to their own Lok.
This ultimate sacrifice of Raajaa Shivi is unparallel in our Hindu history. Shibi ruled for many more years.
Naarad Jee Praises Shivi
Yudhishthir again asked Maarkandeya Jee - "Hey Muni, Tell us about great good fortune of kings." Maarkandeya Jee said - "In Vishwaamitra's family there was a king named Ashtak (Ashtak was Vishwaamitra's son from Yayaati's daughter Maadhavee). Once Ashtak did Ashwamedh Yagya and many kings came in his Ashwamedh Yagya. His three brothers - Pratardan, Vasumaan and Shivi (son of Usheenar) also came. (Read the story of Gaalav Muni to know who were these kings and how they were brothers?). After the sacrifice was over Ashtak was going in his chariot with his brothers, that he saw Naarad Jee coming to him. They all greeted him and requested him to ride their chariot. Naarad Jee agreed and sat in their chariot. One of those brothers said to Naarad Jee - "O Holy One, I wish to ask you one thing." Rishi said - "Ask." He said - "All four of us are blessed with long lives, to be with every virtue, and we are permitted to go to a certain Heaven and live their for a long period. We want to know who amongst us will fall down first?" Naarad Jee said - "Ashtak will fall down first." He asked - "Why is it so?" Naarad Jee said - "Once I lived in the palace of Ashtak. One day he took me out of the town in his chariot. I saw there thousands of cows which were of many colors. Seeing those cows I asked Ashtak - "Whose cows are these?" Ashtak replied - "I have given these cows away." It showed his self-praise. So for giving me such answer he will come down first."
After that another one enquired - "Then amongst the rest of the three who will come down first?" Naarad Jee said - "It will be Pratardan." "Why Sir?" Naarad Jee said - "Once I went to Pratardan's palace and lived there for some time. Once he also took me out. On the way a Braahman said to him - "Give me a horse." Pratardan said - "After I come back, then I will give you one." The Braahman said - "It should be given to me soon." When Braahman said thus, Prataradan gave him his horse which was yoked towards his right wheel. Then came another Braahman who also wanted a horse. Pratardan gave him the horse which was yoked towards his left wheel and proceeded on his journey. Then came another Braahman who also wanted a horse. Pratardan said to him - "After I come back, then I will give you one." But the Braahman said - "It should be given to me soon." The King gave him his only horse he had. He then yoked himself in the chariot and started drawing it. When he was doing so, he said - "Now there is nothing for Braahman." Although the King gave his horses but with detraction, and for that speech, he will fall down from Heaven."
After this from the two remaining, one asked - "Now from the two of us who will fall down first?" Naarad Jee said - "It will be Vasumaan." "Why is it so?" Naarad Jee said - "Once I went to Vasumaan's place. At that time Braahman were reciting Swastivaachan for a flowery chariot. After the Braahman finished their Swastivaachan, the flowery chariot became visible to them. I praised the chariot. Hearing its praise the King said to me - "You have praised the chariot, so this chariot is yours." After this I went to Vasumaan some another time when I needed that chariot. I admired the chariot and the King again said - "It is yours." Then I went to the king for the third time and I admired the chariot again. The King showed the chariot to Braahman and said to me - "You have praised the chariot sufficiently." Thus the King said this to me but never gifted that chariot to me. And for this reason he will fall down."
And the last one among them said - "And the one who is to go with you, who will go and who will fall down?" Naarad Jee said - "Shivi will go and I will fall down." "Why is it so?" Naarad Jee said - "I am not equal to Shivi. One day a Braahman came to him for food, he said - "O King, I have come to you for food." Shivi said - "What shall I give to you, please order me." The Braahman replied - "This your son named Brihadgarbh should be killed and should be cooked for my food." I just stood there to see what happens next. Shivi took his son, killed him and cooked him properly. Placing that food in a pot he kept it on his head and brought it for Braahman, but he did not find the Braahman there so he went in search of him.
When he was searching for that Braahman, people said to him - "The Braahman you are looking for, has gone towards city and is setting fire to your abode, inner apartments, treasury stable etc." Shivi, without changing the color of his face, entered the city and said to the Braahman - "Honorable Sir, Your food is ready." Hearing this, the surprised Braahman just stood there lowering his eyes. Shivi again said to him - "O Honorable One, Please eat your food." The Braahman looked at Shivi for a moment and spoke to him - "You eat this food." Shivi said - "Let it be so." Shivi cheerfully took the food from the pot and was about to eat, that the Braahman caught his hand and said - "You have indeed conquered wrath. There is nothing you cannot give to Braahman." Saying this the Braahman praised Shivi and Shivi found his son standing like a Devtaa himself, adored with ornaments, emitting fragrance from his body. The Braahman himself showed his real form - Vidhaataa, and then he disappeared.
Counselors asked the King - "You know everything. For what did you do all this?" Shivi said - "It was not for fame, not for wealth, not for any other material benefit. I did this because it is not sinful and I do this because my heart is bent upon to do all this."
Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 03/29/13