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King Yudhishthira performed the Ashvamedha Yajna(horse-sacrifice) under the guidance of Maharishi Vyasa. There is a wonderful story of a blue-eyed mongoose which came at the conclusion of the Asvhamedha of king Yudhishthira, and spoke words of criticism, in a human voice. Later on, it became clear that the mongoose was infact a celestial being who was under a curse.

Who was the blue-eyed mongoose and who had cursed that mongoose?

What are the details of this story?

  • @Sarvabhouma It was Dharma who was cursed by prairies. Confirmed from GITA PRESS version also. – SwiftPushkar Jun 11 '18 at 7:18
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    @SwiftPushkar No, Dharma was not cursed. It was Jamadagni. Jamadagni was cursed by Pitris because he did not curse dharma who spoiled the milk which was meant for their worship. "He" in the last passage is not Anger. It was Jamadagni. I checked other sources too. It is Jamadagni. – Sarvabhouma Jun 11 '18 at 7:23
  • @Sarvabhouma - Check this -chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/45087064#45087064 – SwiftPushkar Jun 11 '18 at 7:27
  • There is no mention in MK Ganguli translation that it's Dharma who was cursed. I think you are adding your emphasis that it is Dharma who was cursed. There is only "He" which can be Kamadagni or Dharma. Ancient translators translated it as Jamadagni. I also heard from a scholar of MB as Jamadagni. If it was Dharma, how can the mongoose turn gold due to water given to the Brahmin (who was Dharma) and scent of the air immediately? Dharma was not cursed by then by Pitris. This happened later. Can you answer this? Add @ before the name. Adding comments on own post will not notify me. – Sarvabhouma Jun 11 '18 at 12:00
  • Yes, I read it but the line says "he became a mongoose" . It is not mentioned that it's Dharma. But you didn't say how he can be present as mongoose and Brahmin guest at the same time. Don't put hyphen beside @ . – Sarvabhouma Jun 11 '18 at 14:32
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The story of Blue-Eyed Mongoose at Yudhisthira's Ashwamedha Sacrifice is told in detail in Mahabharata - Book 14-Anugita Parva -Chapter 90 . Here the Mongoose is telling us the story of how half of his body turned Golden , just by eating a tiny bit of grain which was given in charity by a kurukshetra Brahmin , but this does not happen in this sacrifice. Thus he wanted to tell the Brahmanas and other people gathered there that " not only mere grand sacrifices and gifts and all grand sacrificial procession can give you the desired merit but a charitable gift of small powder of Barley is also sufficient . Many thousand Yogis and Rishis attained divine lokas by their "Tapas" alone , and not by sacrificial ceremonies alone.

Here is Brief Story as told in Mahabharata.- A blue eyed mongoose who's half body consists of gold enters at the site of Ashwamedha Yajna of yudhisthira and tells the assembled people there thus.

Vaisampayana said, 'Hear, O chief of kings of a most wonderful incident that occurred, O puissant monarch, at the conclusion of that great horse-sacrifice. After all the foremost of Brahmanas and all the kinsmen and relatives and friends, and all the poor, the blind, and the helpless ones had been gratified, O chief of Bharata's race, when the gifts made in profusion were being spoken of on all sides, indeed, when flowers were rained down on the head of king Yudhishthira the just, a blue-eyed mongoose, O sinless one, with one side of his body changed into gold, came there and spoke in a voice that was as loud and deep as thunder. Repeatedly uttering such deep sounds and thereby frightening all animals and birds, that proud denizen of a hole, with large body, spoke in a human voice and said, 'Ye kings, this great sacrifice is not equal to a prastha of powdered barley given away by a liberal Brahmana of Kurukshetra who was observing the Unccha vow.' Hearing these words of the mongoose, O king, all those foremost of Brahmanas became filled with wonder. Approaching the mongoose, they then asked him, saying,

Then the Brahmins assembled at Ashwamedha Sacrifice were surprised asked that blue eyed Mangoose questions about Who is he & his authority to say bad words about this Yajna , his knowledge of scriptures . Then they told the Mangoose that they have conducted the yajna according to injunctions , every rule was followed correctly and with according to justice . A whole lot of gifts were distributed to all of the people , ancestors are satisfied through Shradha here. And inspite this flawless procedure what you have seen in here that you are saying that "this great sacrifice is not equal to a prastha of powdered barley given away by a liberal Brahmana " And upon enquiring thus the blue eyed mangoose told the story of Kurukshetra Brahmana gaining excellent fruit of a very little measure (of powdered barley) obtained by lawful means and by observance of what is called the "Unccha vow."

The story told by Mongoose is below.

Once, a great and dreadful famine occurred in Kurukshetra. Brahmanas engaged in Tapas some how managed to pass time of that difficult famine. One day that Brahmana , after the sixth division of food came, succeeded in obtaining a prastha of barley which then he powered , which called "Satu" . Then they sat down to eat that barley , meantime there came unto their abode a guest Brahman . That Brahman who was observing Unccha vow gave his share of food to that guest , but the guest was not satisfied by mere few grains powdered . Upon seening this that Brahman also offered his wife's share to the guest. And then the Guest Brahmana was extremely satisfied with that Brahman observing Unccha vow. Actually the guest Brahman was "Dharma" himself in the form of guest . And Dharma blessed the Brahma with gift of Swarga. While offering the powered Satu to Dharma in the form of Brahman , few drops of that fell on the ground and this Blue eyed Mongoose ate that , and because that food ,earned by righteous manner , with purest intention to satisfy the hungry guest even in case of famine , and due to high Tapas of Brahmanas , the head and half body of Mongoose turned golden. He came to Ashwamedha Yajna of Yudhisthira with high hope that his half remaining body will also turn golden in this Yajna . but it wont. Mongoose is telling us the high fruits of Brahmana who was firm in truth, and his penances, half of this my ample body has become golden. Ye regenerate ones, for converting the rest of my body into gold I repeatedly repair, with a cheerful heart, to the retreats of ascetics and the sacrifices performed by kings. Hearing of this sacrifice of the Kuru king endued with great wisdom, I came hither with high hopes. I have not, however, been made gold. Ye foremost of Brahmanas, it was for this that I uttered those words, viz., that this sacrifice can by no means compare with (the gift of) that prastha of powdered barley. With the grains of that prastha of powdered barley, I was made golden on that occasion. This great sacrifice however, is not equal to those grains. Even this is my opinion.' Having said those words unto all those foremost of Brahmanas, the mongoose disappeared from their sight. Those Brahmanas then returned to their respective homes.'

Here are the excerpts.

P. 156 "The Mongoose continued, 'Ye regenerate ones, I shall presently tell you what the excellent fruit was of the gift, made by a Brahmana, of a very little measure (of powdered barley) obtained by lawful means. On that righteous spot of ground known by the name of Kurukshetra, which is the abode of many righteous persons, there lived a Brahmana in the observance of what is called the Unccha vow. That mode of living is like unto that of the pigeon.


P. 157 On one occasion, ye Brahmanas, there occurred a dreadful famine in the land. During that time there was nothing stored in the abode of that righteous Brahmana. The herbs and plants were all dried up and the whole realm became void of foodstore. When the accustomed hours came for eating, the Brahmana had nothing to eat. This occurred day after day. All the members of his family were afflicted with hunger but were obliged to pass the days as best they could. One day, in the month of Jaishtha, while the Sun was in the meridian, the Brahmana was engaged in picking up grains of corn. Afflicted by heat and hunger, he was practising even this penance. Unable to obtain grains of corn, the Brahmana soon became worn out with hunger and toil. Indeed, with all the members of his family, he had no food to eat. That best of Brahmanas passed the days in great suffering. One day, after the sixth division came, he succeeded in obtaining a prastha of barley. That barley was then reduced by those ascetics to powder for making what is called Saktu of it. Having finished their silent recitations and other daily rites, and having duly poured libations on the sacred fire, those ascetics divided that little measure of powdered barley amongst themselves so that the share of each came up to the measure of a Kudava. 2 As they were about to sit down for eating, there came unto their abode a guest. Beholding the person who came as a guest, all of them became exceedingly glad. Indeed, seeing him, they saluted him and made the usual enquiries of welfare.
p. 160 Having said so unto her, the Brahmana took her share of the barley and gave it unto his guest. At this the guest became gratified with the high-souled Brahmana endued with great piety. With gratified soul, that first of regenerate person, possessed of great eloquence, who was none else than the deity of Righteousness in a human form, then addressed that foremost of Brahmanas and said, 'O best of regenerate ones, I am exceedingly gratified with this pure gift of thine, this gift of what was acquired by lawful means by thee, and which thou didst freely part with, agreeably to the rules of righteousness. Verily, this gift of thine is being bruited about in Heaven by the denizens of that happy region. Behold, flowers have been rained down from the firmament on the Earth. After the deity of Righteousness had said these words, that Brahmana, with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, proceeded to Heaven. After that learned Brahmana, conversant with all duties, had thus ascended to Heaven with his son, daughter-in-law, and wife numbering the fourth, I came out of my hole. There with the scent of that powdered barley, with the mire caused by the water (which the Brahmana had given to his guest), with the contact (of my body) with the celestial flowers that had been rained down, with the particles of the barley-powder which that good man had given away, and the penances of that Brahmana, my head became gold, Behold, in consequence of the gift of that
P 162 . Brahmana who was firm in truth, and his penances, half of this my ample body has become golden. Ye regenerate ones, for converting the rest of my body into gold I repeatedly repair, with a cheerful heart, to the retreats of ascetics and the sacrifices performed by kings. Hearing of this sacrifice of the Kuru king endued with great wisdom, I came hither with high hopes. I have not, however, been made gold. Ye foremost of Brahmanas, it was for this that I uttered those words, viz., that this sacrifice can by no means compare with (the gift of) that prastha of powdered barley. With the grains of that prastha of powdered barley, I was made gold on that occasion. This great sacrifice however, is not equal to those grains. Even this is my opinion.' Having said those words unto all those foremost of Brahmanas, the mongoose disappeared from their sight. Those Brahmanas then returned to their respective homes.'

In this story the Mongoose is telling us that not all great arrangements of rituals offer us the great merits , but a small offering with Nishkama karma ,observed with good Tapas and good and Dharmic miind are also capable of good merits like obtaining swarga and in some cases the great and grand sacrifices fail to deliver what simple offering of few grains of food with keeping high righteous in mind can bring about .

curse given to Dharma by Pitris

"Janamejaya said, 'Who was that mongoose with a golden head, that said all those words in a human voice? Asked by me, do thou tell me this.'

The Dharma which came there as guest as Brahmana was cursed By Pitris to become mongoose .

Once the Dharma wanted to test Rishi Jamadagni ,who was performing Shraddha of Pitris . The Dharma in the form of anger touched the milk kept away by rishi , by touching it and this polluting it. Rishi Jamadagni did not say anything to Dharma, but due to this deed of polluting their offerings ,Pitris cursed Dharma to become a mongoose .

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thou didst not ask me before and, therefore, I did not tell thee. Hear as I tell thee who that mongoose was and why he could assume a human voice. In former times, the Rishi Jamadagni proposed to perform a Sraddha. His Homa cow came to him and the Rishi milked her himself. He then placed the milk in a vessel that was new, durable and pure. The deity Dharma, assuming the form of Anger, entered that vessel of milk. Indeed, Dharma was desirous of ascertaining what that foremost of Rishis.

would do when seeing some injury done to him. Having reflected thus, Dharma spoiled that milk. Knowing that the spoiler of his milk was Anger, the ascetic was not at all enraged with him. Anger, then, assuming the form of a Brahmana lady, showed himself to the Rishi. Indeed, Anger, finding that he had been conquered by that foremost one of Bhrigu's race, addressed him, saying, 'O chief of Bhrigu's race, I have been conquered by thee. There is a saying among men that the Bhrigus are very wrathful. I now find that that saying is false, since I have been subdued by thee. Thou art possessed of a mighty soul. Thou art endued with forgiveness. I stand here today, owning thy sway. I fear thy penances, O righteous one. Do thou, O puissant Rishi, show me favour.'

"Jamadagni said, 'I have seen thee, O Anger, in thy embodied form. Go thou whithersoever thou likest, without any anxiety. Thou hast not done me any injury today. I have no grudge against thee. Those for whom I had kept this milk are the highly blessed Pitris. Present thyself before them and ascertain their intentions.' Thus addressed, penetrated with fear, Anger vanished from the sight of the Rishi. Through the curse of the Pitris he became a mongoose. He then began to gratify the Pitris in order to bring about an end of his curse. By them he was told these words, 'By speaking disrespectfully of Dharma thou shalt attain to the end of thy curse.' Thus addressed by them he wandered over places where sacrifices were performed and over other sacred places, employed in censuring great sacrifices. It was he that came to the great sacrifice of king Yudhishthira. Dispraising the son of Dharma by a reference to the prastha of powdered barley, Anger became freed from his curse, for Yudhishthira (as Dharma's son) was Dharma's self. Even this is what occurred in the sacrifice of that high-souled king. Mongoose disappeared there in our very sight.'

SECTION XCII

  • @UdayKrishna Yes very thanks for letting me know , updated the answer,with excerpts of curse of Dharma. Thanks Again . – SwiftPushkar Jun 11 '18 at 6:40
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    So was it anger or Jamdagani am still confused :) – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Aug 20 '18 at 11:28
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Full story : Ashwamedha parva section 90

A brahmana family, following uncha-vritthi (a vow where they only collect grains of food fallen on ground, so as to not even hurt the plant while harvesting, just like a pigeon does), is suffering from starving during famine.

Finally one day, they happen to get some grains. They divide it up into 4 measures, and when they are about to eat, a athithi (guest) comes to their home.

Since it's duty to serve guests before eating, the brahmana gives him his share of the grains. Sometimes, a little amount of food is worse than no food, because it stirs up the hunger. Same seems to happen with guest. So the wife offers her share as well. The brahmana refuses initially, in order to save his wife's life, but being conversant with duties, both husband and wife decide to give her share to the guest.

Still he is hungry, so the brahmana's son offers his share. Again, brahamana refuses but son convinces. Even after eating this share, guest is still hungry. Now the daughter-in-law offers her share. Again, brahmana refuses but she convinces him.

Now the guest is satisfied, and turns out to be Dharma Raja himself. He blesses that the family will attain heaven. At that time, a mongoose comes and walks over the remnants of the food in the leaves, and half its body turns into gold. It then tries to convert its other half also into gold by rolling around in the remnants of Yudhistira's feast at ashvamedha yagna, but nothing happens. Hence it narrates above story to Yudhistira.

The mongoose in the story is Jamadagni. He changed to that form due to curse on him by his ancestors. Oce upon a time, sage Jamadagni has decided to perform a shraddha. He prepared all the materials required. His Homa cow came to him and the Rishi milked her himself. He then placed the milk in a vessel that was new, durable and pure. Lord Dharma intended to test the patience of sage Jamadagni. Hence, assuming the form of anger, he entered the vessel and spoiled the milk. He waited what the sage would do. Knowing that the milk is spoiled, sage was not prone to anger. He conquered anger and was peaceful. Knowing this, the anger assumed the form of a Brahmana lady and spoke that his misconception that the Bhrigus are prone to anger has been proven false. He ask for forgiveness of the sage.

Sage Jamadagni said to visit his ancestors and ask their permission because the milk was prepared for their oblation. Hence, he let go anger. Sage Jamadagni has overcome his anger but his ancestors pitris were not satisfied with his act of forgiving anger. They cursed him to become a mongoose. Then the sage began to gratify the pitris. Then they gave a way to get rid of the curse

By them he was told these words, 'By speaking disrespectfully of Dharma thou shalt attain to the end of thy curse.' Thus addressed by them he wandered over places where sacrifices were performed and over other sacred places, employed in censuring great sacrifices.

After that incident, Jamadagni started visiting various sacrifices and talking bad about Dharma. Hence, he also reached the place where Yudhishtira's Ahswamedha sacrifice was happening and reviles Dharma.

This story is in the last chapter of Ashwamedha Parva. After this story, the Parva concludes.

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    Yes, it is Jamadagni who is cursed. I wrote the story and added chapter. Hope there is no problem. – Sarvabhouma Jun 11 '18 at 7:10
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    I triple checked the translation by Yerrana, a great poet from 14th century who translated Vyasa Mahabharata into Telugu and its English Translation . It is Jamadagni who was cursed. What you have read on some websites was not wrong. – Sarvabhouma Jun 11 '18 at 12:09
  • @Sarvabhouma, thx.. so, jamadagni was cursed because he did not curse ? in other words, krodha is not wrong by itself, it should only be controlled not destroyed. in fact, if u don't use krodha to punish a wrong-doing, that itself is bad... seems to be the moral of the story right ? – ram Jun 11 '18 at 14:23
  • Yes. We can take like that. He took the curse due to respect on his ancestors. That message can also be taken from this. – Sarvabhouma Jun 11 '18 at 14:30

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