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Mârkandeya Purâna, Books VII. VIII   By:

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Originally scanned at sacred by John B. Hare. This eBook was produced by Chetan Jain at BharatLiterature.

Mârkandeya Purâna

Books VII and VIII.




[New Series, Volume XIII]

[London, Trübner and Company]


Scanned and edited by Christopher M. Weimer, May 2002

ART. XIII. Translation of the Mârkandeya Purâna Books VII. VIII. By the Rev. B. HALE WORTHAM.


ONCE upon earth there lived a saintly king Named Harišchandra; pure in heart and mind, In virtue eminent, he ruled the world, Guarding mankind from evil. While he reigned No famine raged, nor pain; untimely death Ne'er cut men off; nor were the citizens Of his fair city lawless. All their wealth, And power, and works of righteousness, ne'er filled Their hearts with pride; in everlasting youth And loveliness the women passed their days.

It so fell out, that while this mighty king Was hunting in the forest, that he heard The sound of female voices raised in cry Of supplication. Then he turned and said, Leaving the deer to fly unheeded: "Stop! Who art thou, full of tyranny and hate, That darest thus oppress the earth; while I, The tamer of all evil, live and rule?" Then, too, the fierce Ganeša, he who blinds The eyes, and foils the wills of men, he heard The cry, and thus within himself he thought: "This surely is the great ascetic's work, The mighty Višvâmitra; he whose acts Display the fruits of penance hard and sore. Upon the sciences he shows his power, While they, in patience, discipline of mind, And silence perfected, cry out with fear, 'What shall we do? The illustrious Kaušika Is powerful; and we, compared with him, Are feeble.' Thus they cry. What shall I do? My mind is filled with doubt. Yet stay; a thought Has come across me: Lo! this king who cries Unceasingly, 'Fear not!' meeting with him, And entering his heart, I will fulfil All my desire." Then filled with Rudra's son Inspired with rage by Vigna Raj the king Spake up and said: "What evil doer is here, Binding the fire on his garment's hem, While I, his king, in power and arms renowned, Resplendent in my glory, pass for nought? Surely the never ending sleep of death Shall overtake him, and his limbs shall fail, Smitten with darts from my far reaching bow, Whose fame this lower world may scarce contain." Hearing the prince's words, the saint was filled With wrath o'erpow'ring, and the sciences Fell blasted in a moment at his glance.

But when the king beheld the pious sage All powerful, he quaked exceedingly, And trembled like the sacred fig tree's leaves. Then Višvâmitra cried: "Stop, miscreant!" And Harišchandra, humbly falling down Before the saint, in accents low and meek: "O Lord! most holy! most adorable! Oh, blame me not! This is no fault of mine! My duty calls," he said, "I must obey." "Is it not written in the Holy Law, 'Alms must be given by a virtuous king; His people must be fought for, and be kept From every ill'?" Then Višvâmitra spoke And said: "To whom, O king, should'st thou give alms? For whom in battle should'st thou fight? and whom Should'st thou protect? Oh, tell me, nor delay, But quickly answer, if thou fearest sin." "Alms should be given to Brâhmans," said the king: "Those who are weak should be protected: foes In battle should be met and overcome."

Then Višvâmitra spoke and said: "O king! If thus indeed thou rightly dost perceive Thy royal duty, give thine alms to me; I am a holy Brâhman, and I seek A dwelling place; moreover I would gain A wife: therefore bestow on me thine alms." The king, his heart filled with exceeding joy, Felt, as it were, his youth return, and said: "Fear not! but tell me, son of Kaušika, Thy heart's desire; and be it hard to gain, Or be it easy, it shall still be thine. Say, shall I give thee gold, or wealth, or life? Or shall I give thee wife, or child, or land? Or my prosperity itself?" "O king!" The sage replied, "thy present I accept; But let thine alms, I pray, be granted first, The offering for the kingly sacrifice... Continue reading book >>

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