Bhagawatam 215: Death of Vena; birth of Prithu from the arms of the dead King Vena.

Vena continued, “O exponents of Veda, henceforth worship me as I am the Supreme Lord. Apart from me in this creation there is none who is entitled to accept Yagna offerings.”

Vena was a sinner whose mind was polluted. His intellect was completely clouded by illusion. Due to treading the wrong path the merit in him was totally eroded. For this reason, despite repeated requests from the Maharishis, he did not fulfill their desire. To be truthful he paid a deaf ear to their advice. Considering himself to be a learned scholar, he boasted and insulted them.

With this the Maharishis were exceedingly incensed. They thought- “He is the worst sinner. Inherently he is wicked. He deserves to be killed. If he is allowed to live he will shortly burn down the entire empire. This wicked man is not eligible to sit on the throne. Shamelessly he condemns the Supreme Lord Srihari, who is the lord for all beings and who is the embodiment of Yagna. This sinner condemns Srihari due to whose grace he is today seated upon this throne and enjoying this power. None apart from Vena can behave in this sinful manner.”

They collectively decided that he should die. For the sin of having condemned Srihari, Vena was as good as dead. Their anger, which until then was suppressed, now broke all barricades and rushed forth in full force. Hence merely hearing the ‘humkara’ sounds made by the Maharishis, Vena died.

Maharishis then returned to their respective hermitages. Mother Suneetha however was deeply saddened at the death of her son. Through the power of mantras and through other measures she safeguarded his body from decay.

Sometime passed. One day the Maharishis bathed in the waters of River Saraswati and completed their fire rituals. Sitting by the banks of the river they were narrating the glories of the Supreme Lord. All of a sudden, many evil omens that caused fear to the world were visible.

Noticing this, the sages were greatly alarmed. They pondered whether some inauspicious disturbances had erupted in the kingdom that was devoid of a king. While they were thus discussing they saw a huge dust storm. This was created by the hundreds of dacoits who were looting and plundering the houses in all directions. The dust storm was so powerful that it enveloped everything.

With Vena’s death, the dacoits, who until then were living in anonymity, began to thrive. Chaotic conditions prevailed throughout the empire. People began to despise and torture one another. Despondency was visible in everyone. Anarchy had spread throughout the kingdom. Citizens had become weak-willed. Afraid that someone could harm them or that some calamity would befall them, they were always apprehensive.

Maharishis observed this. Although they were capable of rectifying this situation they were reluctant as it would be sinful to do so. Hence they did not kill the dacoits who were plundering. They did not directly help the citizens.

Instead they resolved, “If a peace-loving saint, who sees the Lord as pervading everywhere, keeps quiet instead of alleviating the suffering of the helpless, his penance will drain away totally just like the milk kept in a pot that has a hole. Hence it is imperative for us to solve this problem.

The lineage of saintly King Anga should not come to an end. All the kings in this lineage were heroes who had totally surrendered to Lord Srihari. Their prowess was unsurpassed. Therefore, let us re-instate this lineage”.

Having decided this, the Maharishi came to the capital city and vigorously churned the thighs of the dead Vena. A short dwarf boy emerged from the thighs. In complexion he was like a dark crow. His limbs were very short. Jaws were very wide. His eyes were red and he had a flat nose. His hair was in copper colour.

This boy humbly bowed his head and enquired, “O Maharishis, what is my duty?” Maharishis replied, “Niṣīda”, which means ‘please sit down’. For this reason he was named Niṣāda. From him came the entire lineage of hunters known as Naiṣādās who wander in forests and hills. Soon upon birth Niṣāda took over all the sins of Vena.

With this the fourteenth chapter of the fourth canto comes to an end.

Fourth Canto Chapter Fifteen

In this chapter, Prithu emerging from the arms of Vena as they are churned by the Maharishis and he being crowned the king are explained.

Maitreya Maharishi said to Vidura, “Due to absence of a king there was anarchy in the kingdom. In order to restore law and order, the Maharishis collectively churned the arms of the dead Vena. A couple emerged from these arms. Recognizing that this couple was the partial incarnation of Lord Srihari, the Maharishis were pleased.

Eṣa viṣṇor bhagavataḥ kalā bhuvana-pālinī

Iyaṁ ca lakmyā sambhūtiḥ puruṣasyānapāyinī

This man has incarnated with the aspect of Srihari for the purpose of ruling this world. Goddess Lakshmi never leaves the side of Lord Srihari, the Supreme Lord. She had incarnated as this woman. This is undoubtedly true.

This man will be the foremost amongst kings. He will be famous throughout as Prithu. This lady, with her beautiful teeth and noble qualities, will actually add beauty to the ornaments she wears. She will be famous as Arci. She will marry Prithu.

Eṣa sākṣād dharer aṁśo jāto loka-rirakṣayā

Iyaṁ ca tat-parā hi śrīr anujajñe ’napāyinī


Aniruddhāya namah

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