Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about Nahusha at the Urday website.

NAHUSHA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] Son of Ayus the eldest of Pururavas, and father of Yayati. This king is mentioned by Manu as having come into conflict with the Brahmans, and his story is repeated several times with variations in different parts of the Mahabharata as well as in the Puranas, the aim and object of it evidently being to exhibit the retribution awaiting any man who derogates from the power of Brahmans and the respect due to them.

"By sacrifices, austere fervour, sacred study, self-restraint, and valour, Nahusha acquired the undisturbed sovereignty of the three worlds.. Through want of virtuous humility the great king Nahusha was utterly ruined." - Manu.

One version of the story says that he aspired to the possession of Indrani, wife of Indra, when that god had concealed himself for having killed a Brahman. A thousand great Rishis bore the car of Nahusha through the air, and on one occasion he touched with his foot the great Agastya, who carrying him. The sage in his anger cried out, "Fall, thy serpent," and Nahusha fell from his glorious car and became a serpent.

Agastya, at the supplication of Nahusha, put a limit to the curse; and according to one version, the doomed man was released from it by the instrumentality of Yudhishthira, when he threw off "his huge reptile form, became clothed in a celestial body, and ascended to heaven."

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM