Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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GRITSAMADA [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] The reputed Rishi of many hymns in the second Mandala of the Rigveda. According to the Vishnu Purana he was a Kshatriya and son of Sunahotra, being descended from Pururavas of the Lunar race. From him sprang Saunaka, the eminent sage versed in the Rigveda "who originated the system of four castes." The Vayu Purana makes Sunaka to be the son of Gritsamada, and Saunaka the son of Sunaka: this seems probable. "It is related of him by Sayana that he was first a member of the family of Angiras, being the son of Sunahotra. He was carried off by the Asuras whilst performing a sacrifice, but was rescued by Indra, under whose authority he was henceforth designated as Gritsamada, the son of Sunaka or Saunaka of the race of Bhrigu. Thus the Anukramanika says of him: He who was an Angirasa, the son of Sunahotra, became Saunaka of the race of Bhrigu." According to the Mahabharata, he was son of Vitahavya, a king of the Haihayas, a Kshatriya, who became of Brahman. (See Vitahavya.) The Mahabharata alludes to a legend of his having assumed the semblance of Indra, and so enabled that deity to escape from the Asuras, who were lying in wait to destroy him. There are several versions of the story, but they all agree that after Indra had escaped Gritsamada saved himself by reciting a hymn in which he showed that Indra was a different person.

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