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Mahaabhish and Gangaa

[1-96] Vaishampaayan Jee said - "There was a king named Mahaabhish, born in Ikshwaaku Vansh. He performed 1,000 Ashwamedh Ygya and 100 Raajsooya Yagya and gratified Indra. Once Indra and other Devtaa were worshipping Brahmaa Jee, Mahaabhish was also sitting in Indra's court, Gangaa also came there to pay respect to Brahmaa Jee. By chance her cloth was displaced by wind and her body was exposed, so the celestials sitting there bent their heads, but Mahaabhish kept staring at her. Seeing this Brahmaa Jee cursed him - "You have forgotten yourself seeing Gangaa, so you will be reborn on Earth but will come back here. She will also be born on Earth and will do injuries to you. But when you will be angry at her, you will be free from my curse."

So King Mahaabhish decided to be born as the son of Prateep, and Gangaa also went away from there thinking about him. On her way she met celestial Vasu who were also going from the same path. She found them sad, so she asked the reason of their sadness. They said - "We are cursed by Vashishth. He was sitting for his evening worship, we could not see him and crossed him, so he cursed us to be born on Earth. Since you are also cursed by Brahmaa Jee to be born on Prithvi, you be our mother, because we do not want to be born from any human female." Gangaa said - "So be it, but whom you would like to be your father on Earth?"

Vasu said - "King Prateep will have a son Shaantanu." Gangaa said - "That was exactly what I was thinking." Vasu again said - "You may throw your children in your water as soon as they are born, so that we won't have to live there for long time." Gangaa said - "That is fine. I myself was thinking so, but my living with him should not be completely fruitless, so one of you should live there." At this Vasu said - "We each will give 1/8th part of our energy to your one son and he will live there according to your and his wish. But this son will not have any child on Earth." After this Vasu went away.

Note - We don't see Mahaabhish's name anywhere wherever Ikshwaaku or Soorya Vansh has been described. (see Soorya Vansh in Padm Puraan, and Ikshwaaku Vansh in Bhaagvat Puraan, 9/1. Was he born in some other Kalp?)

Prateep and Gangaa

[1-97] Vaishampaayan Jee said - "There was a king named Prateep. He spent many years doing austere Tap at the source of Gangaa. Then one day Gangaa appeared before him in person and sat upon his right thigh. The King asked her - "What do you wish for?" Gangaa said - "I wish you as my husband. Wise people do not refuse to a woman who has come to them of her own." Prateep said - "I do not go to women who are not of my order just because of lust. This is my vow." Gangaa said - "I am not inauspicious or ugly. I am celestial maiden of rare beauty." Prateep said - "If I leave my course, I will be a sinner. You have embraced me sitting on my right thigh; this is place for daughters and daughters-in-law. The left lap is for wife, but you did not sit on that, that is why I accept you for my son." Gangaa said - "Since I respect you, I will have the honor of being the wife of a Kuru king. I cannot count all the virtues of this race even in hundred years. And I tell you that your son will not be able to understand the reason of my actions. Living like this, I will do good and give happiness to your son. He will go to Heaven because of the sons I will get from him."

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Gangaa then disappeared from there and Prateep waited for his son to be born to fulfill his promise. When they grew old, a son was born to them (it was Mahaabhish himself). He was called Shaantanu because he was born at the time Prateep had controlled his passions through Tap. When Shaantanu became a youth, Prateep said to him - "Some time ago a celestial maiden came to me for your good. If she meets you sometime and asks for you for children, marry her. Do not ask her of any of her actions, who she is, where has she come from, just marry her at my command." After telling him this he installed him on the throne, and went away to forest.

One day when Shaantanu was on a hunting trip, he came across a place which was frequently visited by Siddh and Chaaran He saw a beautiful maiden, like another Lakshmee, sitting there. He was instantly attracted to her, and in turn she also got attracted to him. Shaantanu said to her - "Whoever you are, a Daanav, Devtaa, or an Apsaraa, I wish to marry you."

[1-98] Vaishampaayan Jee said - "The woman thought about Vasu and spoke to him in a sweet voice - "I will become your wife, and I will obey you but you must not interfere whatever I do - agreeable or disagreeable to you. As long as you will keep your promise I will live with you, but as you will break it, I will leave you." Shaantanu agreed for this and brought her home. He lived with her happily and Gangaa also kept him satisfied with her beauty and love. Many years passed thus in enjoyment. During this period they had eight children. Gangaa threw them one by one in Gangaa River. The King could not speak anything to her as per his promise, but was not happy with her actions. Gangaa said "It is good for you." But when the eighth child was born, and Gangaa was taking him to throw him in Gangaa River, the King said - "Please do not kill him. Who are you? Why do you kill your own children? This is a great sin."

Gangaa said - "You are the first who has children. I will not kill this child of yours, but as you have broken your vow, the period of my stay with you has come to an end now. I am Gangaa, the daughter of Jahnu. I have lived with you to accomplish a purpose of the celestials. The eight Vasu had to be born on Prithvi because of Vashishth's Shaap. There was nobody else than you who could have the honor of being their father. We, Vasu and I, had an agreement that as soon as they will be born on this Earth I will free them from human form. Thus I have freed them from the curse of Rishi Apav (Vashishth). But I will bring up your child with care. His name will be Gangaadatt."

Why Were Vasu Cursed?

[1-99] Shaantanu asked - "What was the fault of Vasu? Who was this Apav? And by whose curse they had to born on Prithvi? and why this child Gangaadatt has to live on Prithvi? Tell me everything." Vaishampaayan Jee said - "Hearing this Gangaa said - "Varun has a son named Vashishth. Later he was known as Apav. Once he was went on Meru Parvat and started doing penance at a convenient spot. Daksh had a daughter named Surabhi who gave birth to a daughter named Nandinee in the form of a cow. Nandinee was the cow of plenty - capable of granting every desire. So Vashishth Jee got Nandinee for the fulfillment of his Yagya needs and he used to live with her there.

One day Vasu came there along with Prithu and wandered there along with their wives. One of the Vasu's wife saw Nandinee there and and seeing her qualities showed her to her husband Dyu. Dyu said - "This cow belongs to Vashishth Jee. Whoever mortal drinks its milk remains young for 10,000 years." Dyu's wife said - "There is a friend of mine on Earth named Jitavatee, the daughter of King Usheenar. I wish to have this cow with her calf for my that friend. Please bring that cow to me so that my friend can drink its milk and remain young for ever." So Dyu, just in humor, stole that cow aided by his brother Prithu and the others. He didn't think about the sin of stealing the Rishi's cow. When Vashishth Jee came back, he didn't see his cow. He came to see [with his Yog power] that Vasu had stolen his cow, he immediately got angry and gave Shaap to them, "since they have stolen my cow they will certainly have to be born on Earth."

After cursing them he sat down for his Tap. When Vasu came to know about it, they prayed him to pacify him, but failed to get his grace. Then Vashishth Jee said - "O Dhava and others, listen, You have been cursed by me, but you will be free from that Yoni within a year of your birth. I do not lie. Dyu, You will be born on Earth but you will not have any children. However you will be conversant with scriptures, but will not have the pleasure of women there." Then Vasu came to me and requested me to be their mother and begged me a boon that I shall throw them in water as soon as they are born. I did as they wished to free them from human form. Thus according to Rishi's curse, this Dyu has to live on Earth for some time."

Vaishampaayan Jee said - "After telling this Gangaa disappeared then and there. Gangaadatt, who was Gaangeya and Devavrat also did good to his father. Shaantanu came back to his capital with a heavy heart.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 09/24/13