Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about King Śibi at the Urday website.

SIVI. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] Son of Usinara, and king of the country also called Usinara, near Gandhara. The great charity and devotion of Sivi are extolled in the Mahabharata by the sage Markandeya. Agni having assumed the form of a pigeon, was pursued by Indra in the shape of a falcon. The pigeon took refuge in the bosom of Sivi, and the falcon would accept nothing from Sivi instead of the pigeon but an equal weight of the king's own flesh. Sivi cut a piece of flesh from his right thigh and placed it in the balance, but the bird was the heavier. He cut again and again, and still the pigeon drew the scale, until the king placed his whole body in the balance. This outweighed the pigeon and the falcon flew away. On another occasion Vishnu went to Sivi in the form of a Brahman and demanded food, but would accept no food but Sivi's own son Vrihadgarbha, whom he required Sivi to kill and cook. The king did so, and placed the food before the Brahman, who then told him to eat it himself. Sivi took up the head and prepared to eat. The Brahman then stayed his hand, commended his devotion, and restoring the son to life, vanished from sight.

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