Ninth Skanda

Relating to Time and the dynasties of the sun and the moon

Chapter 1: King Sudyumna Becomes a Woman

(1) The king said: ‘I’ve listened to your descriptions of all the periods of the Manus and all the wonderful actions performed by the Lord of Eternal Heroism during those periods. (2-3) He who was known by the name of Satyavrata, the saintly king and ruler of Dravidades’a, received at the end of the previous day of Brahmâ the spiritual knowledge by rendering service to the Original Person [the purusha]. From you I heard how he indeed as a son of Vivasvân [the sungod] thus became the Manu. You have spoken about his many sons, the kings headed by Ikshvâku [8.13: 1]. (4) O brahmin, please describe each of the dynasties of those kings and what characterized them, o greatly fortunate one, for they constitute the eternal of our service unto you. (5) Please tell us about the exploits of all those pious and celebrated souls who have lived, who will live in the future and who are there around right now.’

(6) S’rî Sûta said: “Thus in the assembly of all the brahmin followers requested by Parîkchit gave the most learned in the dharma, the powerful S’uka a reply. (7) S’rî S’uka said: ‘Now listen to me about the dynasty of Manu, o subduer of the enemies, as far as possible discussed, because not even hundred years would be enough to do this extensively. (8) When the Supersoul who is the Original Transcendental Person of all higher and lower forms of life found existed at the end of the kalpa could there outside of Him nothing of this universe or whatever else be found. (9) From His navel generated a golden lotus and on that lotus, o King, was there the selfborn one with his four heads [see also 3.8]. (10) Marîci took birth from Brahmâ’s mind and from him there was Kas’yapa who thereafter in the daughter of Daksha, Aditi, begot Visvasvân as his son [see also 6.6: 38-39]. (11-12) From him appeared in Samjñâ, Manu S’râddhadeva and in his wife S’râddha he of his self-control begot ten sons that by him were named Ikshvâku, Nriga, S’aryâti, Dishtha, Dhrishtha, Karûshaka, Narishyanta and Prishadhra, and Nabhaga and the mighty Kavi. (13) At first had he, the Manu, no son but the great personality, the powerful Vasishthha, performed for the demigods Mitra and Varuna a sacrifice that would bring one. (14) But S’râddha, Manu’s wife, as prescribed with obeisances being on a payo vrata [vow of drinking only, see 8.16] approached in that sacrifice the performing priest to beg him for a daughter. (15) Thus requested executed the ritvik the ceremony, with great attention taking the ghee to commence the oblation to which the brahmin chanted the mantra vashath [‘to the Living Being’].

(16) With that transgression of the performing priest was a daughter born named Ilâ [‘the libation’] and when Manu saw her said he dissatisfied to his guru: (17) ‘O my lord, what is this, as a result of the actions of you followers of Brahmâ, is there alas this opposite result which is a painful deviation that according the mantras used never should have taken place! (18) How could, of the society of the wise and learned of you all so aware of the Absolute Truth and composed of penance, with all impurities burnt away, there be such a discrepancy, such a falsehood, with what was planned?’

(19) Hearing that been said by him, the most powerful one, the Manu, spoke, with understanding for the mistake the performing priest had made, their great-grandfather Vasishthha to the son of the sungod. (20) ‘Despite of this unexpected result as a consequence of what your priest did wrong, am I capable of assuring you a nice son!’

(21) Thus decided, o King, offered the renown powerful master Vasishthha prayers unto the Original Person to have of Ilâ a turn to manhood. (22) Pleased with him granted the Supreme Controller Hari the desired benediction of Ilâ becoming consequently a nice man called Sudyumna. (23-24) Sudyumna once on a hunting trip in the forest, o King, accompanied by a couple of associates and riding a horse from Sindhuprades’a, went north in pursuit of the animals to the occasion of which he as a hero carried his bow and arrows and wore a remarkably beautiful armor. (25) At the foot of mount Meru he entered the Sukumâra forest where the mighty Lord S’iva is enjoying with his wife Umâ. (26) Having entered there saw Sudyumna, the hero above all, himself indeed changed into a woman and his horse into a mare, o ruler of man [see also 5.17: 15]. (27) So were all of his companions transformed to the opposite sex and seeing each other like this they became very depressed.’

(28) The honorable king [Parîkchit] said: ‘How can that realm have this quality or for what reason, o mighty one, took this place, this is what I very much would like to see you deliberate about.’

(29) S’rî S’uka answered: ‘Once upon a time gathered the great saints to see the Lord of the Mountain, S’iva, there in that forest; being the very best in the vow having cleared the darkness of each direction they so arrived there. (30) Ambikâ [Durgâ] naked on her husband’s lap was very ashamed when she saw them and quickly got up covering her breasts. (31) The saints seeing the two enjoying sex desisted from proceeding further and left immediately that place for the âs’rama of Nara-Nârâyana. (32) Because of this said the mighty lord for the pleasure of his sweetheart: ‘Anyone who enters this place will consequently on the spot turn into a woman!’ (33) Ever since do in particular males not enter that forest in the vincinity of which she [Sudyumna] in the company of her associates was doomed to keep wandering. (34) With her, the most enticing woman, this way surrounded by other women loitering nearby his âs’rama, desired the powerful Budha [the son of the moon and deity of Mercury] it to enjoy her. (35) She who also longed to have him, the beautiful son of the king of the moon, for her husband and thus gave she from him birth to a son named Purûravâ. (36) This way having achieved femininity did Sudyumna, as a king born of Manu, remember Vasishthha, the preceptor of the family, so I’ve heard. (37) He upon seeing him in that condition was very aggrieved and desiring maleness began he out of his mercy to worship Lord S’ankara [S’iva]. (38-39) Pleased with him said he, o servant of rule, keeping true to his given word and to show the sage his love: ‘This disciple of your line will every other month be a female and with this settlement may Sudyumna as desired rule the world.’ (40) With this arrangement by the mercy of the âcârya having the desired maleness ruled he over the entire world even though the citizens weren’t quite happy with it. (41) Of Sudyumna there were three sons listening to the names of Utkala, Gaya and Vimala, o King; they became kings over the southern realm and were very religious. (42) Thereafter, when the time had arrived, handed the master of the kingdom who was so mighty the world over to his son Purûravâ and left he for the forest.