Visvamitra In Vedic And Post Vedic Literature (A Rare Book)

Visvamitra In Vedic And Post Vedic Literature (A Rare Book)

$22.50  $30   (25% off)
Item Code: NAC092
Author: Dr. B.B. Chaubey
Publisher: Vishveshvaranand Vishva Bandhu Institute (Punjab University)
Edition: 1987
Pages: 151
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 10.0 inch X 6.5 inch
Weight 390 gm

This Monograph on sage Visvamitra should adorn the world of Indology and Sanskrit. Visvamitra’s name ranks high amongst Indian seers. His contribution to Vedic Literature religion and culture is both rich and varied. He authored the famous source of solace and inspiration to mankind. Born a ksatriya he earned Brahmanhood and the exalted rank of a Rsi by virtue of his enlightened faculties and regiorous austerity. Almost the entire third book of Rgveda the oldest literary monument available in the world is traditionally ascribed to his rare divine genius.

Inspired by Visvamitra’s great achievements Acharya Vishva Bandhu Founder Director of V.V.B.I.S & I.S desired to have his statue installed in the institute to perpetuate the sacred memory of this monument of unageing intellect. A seven feet red stone statue made by a reputed sculptor was installed and ceremoniously unveiled on 30th March 1978.

Need was felt to explore sage Visvamitra’s multi faceted personality and contributions to various fields I am happy to note that the faculty of the institute has prepared a monograph on the basis of existing literary data from Rgveda and classical Sanskrit Literature. Eminent Scholars have traced his personality in four successive stages of Sanskrit literature in this monograph.

It is indeed gratifying that the monograph is being brought out in book form under the title Panjab University Indological Series number 32 I do hope the publication will be well received by researches savants of Sanskrit and other branches of indology and become a source of inspiration to coming generations.



Visvamitra is one of the most important and dynamic personalities of Indian antiquity and culture. He has been depicted, almost, in all branches of Indian literature beginning from the Vedicera to the present age. 'With a view to presenting a comprehensive study of the personality of Visvamitra in this monograph entitled Visvamitra in Vedic and Post Vedic Literature, the whole Sanskrit literature has been classified into four groups, viz., (i) Early Vedic literature, (ii) Later Vedic literature, (iii) Epics and Puranas, and(iv) Classical Sanskrit literature. On the basis of literary material found under these four groups of Indian literature an attempt has been made here in four papers to present the multifarious personality of Visvamitra through the ages.

The first paper presents a very sublime personality of Visvamitra as a man of high caliber, endowed with the vision of a seer-poet, the talent of a singer, the knowledge of the priest craft whereby he could produce miracles, and above all, the qualities of a dynamic leader on account of which the kings of the age always sought his help to lead them to victory, or to bestow upon them the goodwill of gods. To sum up the Rgvedic references :

1. Visvamitra is a seer of a large number of hymns of the RV. The attributes such as karu, jaritr, vipra, rsi, devajah, devajutah. nrcaksah, and so on, have been used for him depicting his august position.

2. Visvamitra has been referred to in the RV both in singular and plural. The singular forms denote the seer and the plural forms the members of his family.

3. RV, Ill. 33 describes an event of Visvamitra’s life, viz., the crossing of the rivers Vipat (Bias) and Sutudri (Satluj) along with the Bharatas. This incident took place when he was the Purohita of Sudas. The making of the two rivers fordable by the power of his mantras reveals that he was sagacious in composing mantras yielding miraculous results.

4. Visvamitra belonged to the Kusika family. The members of his family have been referred to as jysujasaha and they have been described as rsayah, vuoragm brcajsasgm the epithets also applied to Visvamitra himself. jahnu has also been mentioned as his ancestor.

5, ln the RV, though the use of the word Visvamitra in plural, no doubt, refers to the sons of Visvamitra, we do not find any direct reference to the names of his sons. From the inclusion of the hymns of Utkila, Kata, Devasrava, Devavata and Prajapati in the Vaisvamitra Mandala we can only surmise that they are somehow related to Visvamitra. Otherwise their hymns could not have been included in that Mandala. But what relations Visvamitra had with them are not mentioned in any of the Rks of the Mandala. Madhuchandas, Jeta, Aghamarsana, Renu and Astaka are nowhere referred to as his sons. In a verse (RV, X. 89.17) only Renu calls himself a Vaisvamitra, though he uses this word in plural.

6. In RV III. 53. 15•l6 Visvamitra eulogizes Jamadagni who gave him a mantra called Sasarpari which dispelled his amatim, i.e., the state of loss of power of reciting mantras. From this it is obvious that once Visvamitra had lost his power of reciting mantras, and Jamadagni rescued him from that catastrophe by giving him the knowledge of .Sasarpari, which was no other than the Gayatri mantra.

7. In BV, III. 53. 21-23 a curse against the enemy has been inflicted. However, it has nothing to do with the Visvamitra—Vasistha rivalry, though the later commentators took these verses as containing definite reference to the rivalry between the two families of the seers.

8. In the seventh Mandala Sudas has been shown as conquering the confederacy of the ten kings under the leadership of Vasistha. It appears that Visvamitra was the priest of Sudas before the Dasarajna war. Later on Sudas appointed Vasistha as his chief priest. This super cession, most probably, might have been the cause of rivalry between Visvamitra and Vasistha.

Succinctly this much we know about the personality of Visvamitra from the Rgvedic references.

The second paper of the monograph presents the personality of; Visvamitra on the basis of references gathered in the later Vedic literature. Here. There are two types of material, one having direct or indirect bearing on the Rgvedic data and the other being new developments having no connection with previous Rgvedic references. To Sum up these later Vedic References:

1. Visvamitra, as the seer of the third Mandala, is known only from the later Vedic literature, not from the RV itself.

2. Visvamitra was the son of Gathin is known only from the later Vedic literature which gives his genealogy as: Istratha•-Kusika-Gathin-Visvamitra-Rsabha, Kata, Ut-kila, Madhuchandas, and so on.

3. Before Visvamitra his family was known as Kusikas. But after him the same family inter-alia began to be known as Visvamitras. In the Baudhss (Pravaradhyaya, 31) he has been shown as a gotra-pravmtaka Rsi.

4. The RV does not mention anywhere the names of the seven seers together among whom Visvamitra is one. The SB (XIV. 5.2.6) gives the list of the seven seers and puts Visvamitra together with Jamadagni. This statement of the $`.B corroborates the Rgvedic reference where in these two seers have been shown together in a copulative compound. The close relationship between Visvamitra and Jamadagni, as referred to in the RV, continued to be mentioned in later Vedic literature.

5. The RV nowhere refers to Visvamitra as the original author of RV, IV. 19; 22:23. The AB (IV. 18) calls these three hymns as the Sampata hymns. They were originally seen by Visvamitra, but later on Vamadeva appropriated them as his own. After these hymns having been appropriated by Vamadeva, Visvamitra saw other hymns. This statement of the AB makes it obvious that Visvamitra was a prolific seer endowed with the power of seeing mantras in spontaneity. He did not quarrel with Vamadeva when the latter appropriated his (Visvamitra’s)hymns as his own.

6. The AB (VII. 13-18) and the Sankhss (XV. 17-27) explaining the context of the Rgvedic hymns I. 24-30, relate the story of Visvamitra and Sunahsepa in detail. Here it is mentioned that the arrangements were made for the sacrifice of king Harscandara in which Sunahsepa was to he offered. Visvamitra was the hot priest and three other famous sages, viz, Vasistha Jamadagni and Ayasya were functioning as the other three principal preists. When sunahsepa was released by Varuna out of compassion Visvamitra adopted him as his own son and gave him supreme place among his sons.

7. The Later Vedic Literature gives the explanation of the context of the river crossing by Visvamitra. The TMB (XIV, 3.11-13) mentions Visvamitra as winning wagers against the people called adanti on the bank of a river with the help of his tow oxen. JB III 183 gives another version of the same story. According to it, Visvamitra in the company of the wagon train of the Bharatas encountered the mahavrsas who made a wager with him. Visvamitra won the wager. The TMB and the JB unanimously mention that Visvamitra won the wager by reciting two Rohitakultya Samans. This description may be regarded as a new version of the old river crossing incident referred to in the RV.




  Foreword iii
  Acknowledgements iv
  Editor’s Introductions ix
  I. Visvamitra In Early Vedic Literature (by Dr. B.B. Chaubey) 1-32
0 Introductory 1
1 Visvamitra as a seer of Vedic Mantras 1
2 Divekar’s View on Visvamitra’s Seeship 7
3 Divkar’s View rejected 10
4 Visvamitra and the Gayatri mantra 10
5 Visvamitra’s seership of the mantras of other Samhitas 12
6 Personla history of Visvamitra as found in the hymns 13
7 Visvamitra and his family 23
8 Visvamitra and the Kusikas 24
9 Vivamitra and Sudas 29
10 Visvamitra and the Vasisthas 30
11 Visvamitra and the Jamadagnis 31
12 Place of Visvamitra among the seven seers 31
13 Conclusion 32
  II. Visvamitra In Later Vedic Literature (by Dr. Deepak Bhattacharya) 33-48
0 Introductory 33
1 Authorship of the third Mandala and genealogy 33
2 Other references to the Rgvedic events 35
3 Rivalry between Vasistha and Visvamitra 36
4 Relation with Jamadagni 45
5 Position of authority 45
6 Concluding remarks 48
  Visvamitra in the epics and Puranas (by. Dr. K.V. Sarma) 49-79
1 Continuity of Vedic tradition 49
2 Epic and Puranic sources 49
3 Upabrmhana in the Puranic legends 50
4 Variations in the Puranic Accounts 50
5 Visvamitra the man 50
6 Different Visvamittras 51
7 Genealogy 51
8 Brahmatejas of Visvamitra accounted for 52
9 Visvamitra’s affection for his sister 53
10 King Visvamitra’s defeat as the hands of sage Vasistha 53
11 Visvamitra’s resolve to win Brahmanahood 54
12 Visvamitra becomes a royal sage 55
13 The Plight of Visvamitra’s wife 55
14 Satyavrata becomes Trisanku 56
15 Visvamitra’s Privations 56
16 Visvamitra’s raises Trisanku to heaven 58
17 Another version of the Trisanku episode 59
18 Sunahsepa protected by Visvamitra 61
19 Visvamitra adopts Sunahsepa 62
20 Vasistha’s boast to Visvamitra 64
21 Viles of Visvamitra 64
22 Visvamitra and Hariscandra 65
  (i) Hariscandar prevents Visvamitra’s penance 65
  (ii) Visvamitra sends a wild hog 65
  (iii) Hariscandra gives away everything 66
  (iv) Visvamitra resolves to keep his words 66
  (v) Hariscandra sells his wife and child 67
  (vi) Visvamitra sells himself 67
  (vii) Hariscandra meets his wife over the dead body of their son 68
  (viii) Vindication of Hariscandra 68
23 Visvamitra Challenged for deceiving Hariscandra 69
24 Visvamitra turns river Sarasvati red 69
25 Visvamitra and Kalmasapada 70
26 The Menaka episode 70
27 Another version of the Menaka episode 71
28 Visvamitra becomes a Maharsi 72
29 Visvamitra’s curse on Rambha 72
30 Visvamitra becomes a Brahmarsi 74
31 Another version of Visvamitra attaining Brhamanhood 74
32 Visvamitra dear to Skanda 75
33 Stray episodes relating to Visvamitra 76
  Sage Durvasas tests Visvamitra 76
34 Sacred places established by Visvamitra 77
  (i) Visvamitra Kunda 77
  (ii) Visvamitra tirtha 78
  (iii) Apsaroyugasangama Tirtha 78
  (iv) Dhanayaksa Tirtha 79
  Visvamitra in classical Literature (by. S.P. Bhardwaj) 80-111
0 Introductory 80
1 Visvamitra as Depicted in poems 80
  Kalidasa 80
  Asvaghosa 81
  Kumaradasa 83
  Bhatti 84
  Kaviraja 84
  Ksemendra 85
  Sriharsa 85
2 Visvamitra as depicted in prose writings 86
  Banabhatta 86
3 Visvamitra as depicted in Campu literature 86
  Bhoja 86
4 Visvamitra in Sanskrit dramas 91
  Kalidsa 91
  Bhavabhuti 92
  Murari 98
  Jayadeva 101
  Ksemisvara 105
  Bibliography on Visvamitra (Research works) 112-114
  General Index 115-125

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