Puranjana (in English)

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Prachina Barhishad — Story of Puranjana 01

Vijitashva became the emperor of the world, and he appointed his four younger brothers as governors of the different directions. At the time when Indra had invisibly stolen King Prithu’s sacrificial horse, Vijitashva had seen this but had refrained from attacking him out of respect for such a great personality. Indra very much appreciated this, and so he gave him the mystic power of appearing and disappearing at will, and for this reason, the eldest son of King Prithu also became known as Antardhana.

Through his wife, Shikhandini, Maharaja Antardhana begot three sons- Pavaka, Pavamana, and Suchi, who were formerly fire-gods that had to take birth as human beings due to Vasishtha’s curse. After attaining perfection in mystic yoga, these three sons of Vijitashva became reinstated in their original positions. By another wife, named Nabhasvati, Maharaja Antardhana begot a fourth son named Havirdhana.

Because Maharaja Antardhana was unwilling to exact taxes or punish the citizens, he retired from his royal duties at an early age, on the plea of wanting to perform various sacrifices. Although the king engaged in these fruitive activities, since he was a self-realized devotee, he simultaneously executed the process of pure devotional service by hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord. In this way, he very easily attained the ultimate goal of life by going home, back to Godhead.

Through his wife, Havirdhani, King Havirdhana begot six sons, named Barhishat, Gaya, Shukla, Krishna, Satya and Jitavrata. The powerful Maharaja Barhishat, who was also called Prachinabarhi, was very expert in performing various kinds of fruitive sacrifices, as well as the mystic yoga system, and thus he became posted as one of the prajapatis. By the order of Lord Brahma, Prachinabarhi married the daughter of the Ocean, named Shatadruti, who was very young and exquisitely beautiful.

After being very gorgeously dressed and ornamented, when Shatadruti entered the marriage arena and began circumambulating the sacrificial fire, Agni became very attracted to her, just as he had formerly desired to enjoy the company of Suki. Indeed, all of the demigods, demons and great sages that were present there became captivated simply by hearing the tinkling of Shatadruti’s ankle-bells.

Thereafter, King Prachinabarhi begot ten sons in the womb of his wife, and they became known as the Prachetas. It being Satya-yuga, when their father ordered them to marry and beget children, the Prachetas first of all left home to engage in the performance of austerities for 10,000 years. While traveling, the Prachetas came to a great lake that was very calm and quiet, like the mind of a great soul, and even the aquatics living within the water appeared to be very peaceful and happy. Lotus flowers of various colors grew in the water, and on the shore could be seen numerous swans, chakravakas, karandavas and other water birds. Flowering trees bordered the lake, and the humming sound of maddened bumblebees filled the air.

While appreciating this heavenly atmosphere, the Prachetas were also surprised to hear the sounds of various drums and other musical instruments, as if coming from somewhere nearby. Suddenly, Lord Shiva emerged from the water, along with his associates, including numerous musicians that were engaged in glorifying him. Lord Shiva’s bodily luster was like molten gold, although his throat was bluish, and he had three eyes that mercifully glanced at his devotees. Upon seeing Lord Shiva before them, the astonished Prachetas offered their obeisances by falling down at his lotus feet.

Lord Shiva was very pleased with the princes, and while smiling graciously, he spoke to them as follows:
“O sons of Prachinabarhi, I wish all good fortune for you. I know your purpose in coming here, and thus I have appeared before you just to show you mercy. You should know that anyone who is a surrendered soul unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, is very dear to me.”
“One who properly executes his duties in the varnashram system becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahma, and after becoming still more qualified, he can approach me. However, anyone who directly engages in the unalloyed devotional service of Lord Vishnu is immediately promoted to the spiritual world. You are all devotees of the Supreme Lord, and so please listen very carefully and attentively as I chant a mantra that is the best prayer for anyone who aspires to attain the ultimate goal of life.”


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This is a section of the book “A Sidelong Glance”.

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