Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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PARASARA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A Vedic Rishi to whom some hymns of the Rigveda are attributed. He was a disciple of Kapila, and he received the Vishnu Purana from Pulastya and taught it to Maitreya. He was also a writer on Dharmasastra, and texts of his are often cited in books on law. Speculations as to his era differ widely, from 575 B.C. to 1391 B.C., and cannot be trusted.

By an amour with Satyavati he was father of Krishna Dwaipayana, the Vyasa or arranger of the Vedas.

According to the Nirukta, he was son of Vasishtha, but the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana make him the son of Saktri and grandson of Vashishtha.

The legend of his birth, as given in the Mahabharata, is that King Kalmashapada met with Saktri in a narrow path, and desired him to get out of the way. The sage refused, and the Raja struck him with his whip. Thereupon the sage cursed the Raja so that he became a man-eating Rakshasa. In this state he ate up Saktri, whose wife, Adrisyanti, afterwards gave birth to Parasara. When this child grew up and heard the particulars of his father's death, he instituted a sacrifice for the destruction of all the Rakshasas, but was dissuaded from its completion by Vasishtha and other sages. As he desisted, he scattered the remaining sacrificial fire upon the northern face of the Himalaya, where it still blazes forth at the phases of the moon, consuming Rakshasas, forests, and mountains.

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