Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about Vena at Wikipedia

VENA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology]

Son of Anga, and a descendant of Manu Swayambhuva. When he became king he issued this proclamation: -- "Men must not sacrifice or give gifts or present oblations. Who else but myself is the enjoyer of sacrifices? I am for ever the lord of offerings."

The sages remonstrated respectfully with him, but in vain; they admonished him in stronger terms; but when nothing availed, they slew him with blades of consecrated grass.

After his death the sages beheld clouds of dust, and on inquiry found that they arose from bands of men who had taken to plundering because the country was left without a king.

As Vena was childless, the sages, after consultation, rubbed the thigh (or, according to the Harivansa, the right arm) of the dead king to produce a son. From it there came forth "a man like a charred log, with flat face, and extremely short."

The sages told him to sit down (Nishida). He did so, and thus became a Nishada, from whom "sprang the Nishadas dwelling in the Vindhya mountains, distinguished by their wicked deeds." The Brahmans then rubbed the right hand of Vena, and from it "sprang the majestic Prithu, Vena's son, resplendent in body, glowing like the manifested Agni."

The above is the story as told, with little variation, in the Mahabharata, the Vishnu and Bhagavata Puranas, and the Harivansa.

The Padma Purana says that Vena began his reign well, but fell into the Jaina heresy. For this the sages pummeled him until the first of the Nishadas came forth from his thigh and Prithu from his right arm. Being freed from sin by the birth of the Nishada, he retired to a hermitage on the Narmada, where he engaged in penance. Vishnu was thus conciliated, and granted him the boon of becoming one with himself.

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