The rape of arajA

In the vamshAvalis of the founding fathers of my many branched clan there are many tales of confrontation with the rAjanyas. While the conflict between kArtavIryArjuna and rAma is well known, the much earlier showdown in the early career of ushanA kAvya is hardly well known. The king daNDa of the line of the ikshvAkus was a powerful king who ruled over the Aryan realms based in his capital, madhumanta. He was a contemporary of the great luminary of the bhArgavas, ushanA kAvya, the descendent of bhR^igu. kAvya’s first daughter was the very beautiful arajA. In the intoxicating month of Chaitra, the king daNDa paid a visit to the Ashrama of the bhArgavas. There he saw arajA ranging the forest with carefree abandon. Her sight greatly aroused the king daNDa and with palpitating heart he ran to her. He asked her ” O beauty with wonderous hips, breasts and face, who are you? I am afflicted severely by kAma’s darts and desire you desperately.” She courteously replied: “I am arajA bhArgavi, the daughter of the mighty atharvan, ushanA kAvya. Do not make the mistake of trying to force your self on a girl of the atharvan lineage. If you come on me against my wishes, remember that frightful consequences would envelop you without much doubt. The fury of the bhArgava can be immense.” Holding his hands in a namaskar over his head, daNDa said: “Oh arajA of beautiful breasts and loins I am just unable to control myself; my breathing is being arrested in excitement. Please come to me, I just need you.” arajA said: “king your uncontrollable passion cannot be vented, I have already warned of the consequences.” danDa said: “I am a mighty kshatriya and my sons and army stands behind me, what can your father, a mere R^ishi do to me.” So saying rushed forward at and arajA pinning her down and disrobing , raped her. Having enjoyed himself thoroughly in the process he returned to madhumanta.

arajA crying and shaking in fright and dishonor waited for her father to return. Hungry after a long journey the great physician returned home and saw his daughter in a pitiable state, stained with smears of semen. Having figured out what had happened, without pausing to eat he prepared for a deadly Atharvanic rite. He prepared samids of the kaNTaka and kaTuKa wood five finger lengths in size and dipped them in castor oil. He then cast these in to the gArhapatya fire with the formula beginning thus:

“1) Ours is what is conquered, ours what has shot up, ours the law, ours the brilliancy, ours the brahman, ours the skies, ours progeny, ours heroes. From that we exclude him yonder: daNDa of the ikshvAku lineage, son of the kosalya, who is yonder; let him not be released from the fatal fetter of the atharvans. Of him I take away the splendor, the brilliancy, breath and life; now I place him in the lap of perdition.

2) Having pierced him thrice and thrice over, and having crushed his head and having pierced his heart thrice over I place on the lap of perdition.

3) I invoke the praiSha of the devas against him, his sons and his supporters. I place him on the tusks of the god vaishvAnara. To that vaishvAnara Hail. Oh my great god indra, you who had borne my grandmother aid, when she borne away by the rakshas, shower the rain of burning particles for a 100 yojanas all around. To that indra Hail ”

The great indra, who succours his praisers, duely sent down that hail of fiery particles on the kingdom of daNDa for seven continuous days. daNDa who was making merry in his park found his skin burnt away in this blazing shower; his palace, his chariots, and sons and henchmen were all buried in the smouldering ruins known as the vailasthAna.

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