Most people have only heard of the lunar dynasty king Yayati, who was cursed with old age by Sukracharya (guru of the Asuras) and temporarily regained his youth by giving his old age to his youngest son Puru. Puru, along with Yayati's eldest son Yadu, started two of the most famous royal families, the Pauravas (which include both the Pandavas and Kauravas) and the Yadavas (which include Krishna). Less famous, however, is Yayati's father Nahusha. As I discuss in this question, Nahusha was such a good king on Earth that when Indra temporarily abandoned his post, the gods chose Nahusha to serve as the new king of the three worlds. But Nahusha was soon corrupted by his power, so the sage Agastya cursed him to become a large snake. Nahusha was only freed from the curse when he had a conversation with the Pandava Yudishthira about the proper way he should have lived his life, as described in the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata.

In any case, before he got corrupted, Nahusha was such a religious person that he was able to engage in Tapasya (deep meditation) and get Vedic verses directly from the gods. As you can see in the Rig Veda Anukramani compiled in my answer here, Nahusha was the one who heard verses 7-9 of Rig Veda Book 9 Hymn 101 (which you can read here) from the gods.

But my question is, why is Nahusha listed as "Nahusha Manava"? The term "Manava" is nowadays used to mean human, but here it's being used as a patronymic, i.e. it means "patrilineal descendant of Manu". But the thing is, as far as I can tell Nahusha wasn't a patrilineal descendant of Manu. Nahusha was the son of the king Ayu, who was the son of the king Puruavas. Puruavas' parents were Budha, god of the planet Mercury and son of Chandra the moon god, and Ila. Now Ila was an individual who kept changing between being a man and being a woman, but either way Ila was the child of Vaivasvata Manu.

So why would Nahusha have the patronymic Manava, if only his paternal grandmother was a descendant of Vaivasvata Manu? Shouldn't Nahusha's patronymic be related to his patrilineal ancestors like Ayu, Budha, Chandra, and Chandra's father Atri? The only source I found which addresses Nahusha's patronymic is this book, which says "Nahusha is said to be the son of the King Manu Samvarana".

So is this Manu Samvarana? Is he different from Vaivasvata Manu? Is it another name for the king Ayu?


3 Answers 3


According to this section of Adi Parva of MahaBharat, Nahusha had connection with Vaivasvat Manu from paternal side.

Vaisampayana said, 'Hear then, O monarch, as I recite in full the auspicious account of thy own race just as I had heard it from Dwaipayana before.

"Daksha begat Aditi, and Aditi begat Vivaswat, and Vivaswat begat Manu, and Manu begat Ha and Ha begat Pururavas. And Pururavas begat Ayus, and Ayus begat Nahusha, and Nahusha begat Yayati.

Now I'am not sure who is this son of Manu called 'Ha' here. Probably its Ila, Manu's Daughter. As described here in this section of Adi Parva.

Manu begat ten other children named Vena, Dhrishnu, Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshvaku, Karusha, Saryati, the eighth, a daughter named Ila, Prishadhru the ninth, and Nabhagarishta, the tenth

The learned Pururavas was born of Ila. It hath been heard by us that Ila was both his mother and father.

So here it looks like Budha was not the father of Pururava. But Bhagavatam decribes Budha as his father in this chapter of Ninth Canto.

In the womb of Tārā, Soma begot a son named Budha, who later begot in the womb of Ilā a son named Aila, or Purūravā.

As long as 'Samvarna' is concerned, only Samvarna that i know is mentioned here

O thou of Kuru's race, Vivaswat then resolved to bestow his daughter on that best of kings, viz., Samvarana, the scion of a race of world-wide fame.

So at least this Samvarna is not Vaivasvat Manu.Nor does it look like another Name of Ayu because Ayus father was Pururava where as father of Samvarna was Riksha.


As per chapter 1 of Part 4 of Vishnu Purana:

With a desire for a son Manu organised a Yagya to please the deities Mitra and Varuna. But during the Yagya because of a wrong resolution of oblator, a daughter named Ila (इला) was born to them. But by the grace of Mitra-Varuna, she got masculine appearance and a name Sudyumna. In later course by the wrath of Lord Shiva, Sudyumna was converted into a woman. In woman form when Sudyumna was roaming near the hermitage of Buddha, the son of Chandrama.

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Her beauty infatuated Budha. As a result of their union, a son Pururava was born. Even after the birth of Pururava, Sudyumna could not give up his temptation to be a man again. Hence, learned sages organised a Yagya for Sudyumna and got him converted into a man again. In masculine form, Sudyumna produced three sons- Utkal, Gaya and Vinat. Manu had presented a town named Prathishtha to Sudyumna, which he later on presented to Pururava.

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  • As Ila got converted into Sudyumna that means Pururava must have called him as father only and not mother. Also, Pururava got kingdom from Sudyumna. So logically Pururava was also son of Sudyumna (Manu's son) and due to this reason he was came to be known as Manava (descendant of Manu).
  • Pururava's mother was a descendant of Vaivasvata Manu. So by maternal side Pururava was Manava. This is also a strong reason because this was one of the main reasons due to which Ravana came to be known as Rakshasa.

And if Pururava can be called Manava then his descendants also can be called Manava. That is the very reason his descendants Nahusha, Yayati, Yadu (and his descendants Yadavas) and Puru (and his descendants Pauravas: Kauravas & Pandavas) are called Manava.


The story where Ila (इला) became man named Sudyumna is found in other Puranas too. As a man (i.e. Sudyumna), he had other sons too. Sudyumna's sons were Utkala, Gaya and Vinatashva. Utkala ruled in Orissa, Gaya in the region that is also called Gaya, and Vinatashva in the west.

There are other similar stories too. For example, as per Uttar Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, mother of Bali (or Vali) and Sugriva later came to be known as their father Riksharaja (from Vanras, the fathers from Devas were Indra and Surya respectively).


According to the Vedas, Manu Vaivasvata was the unanimous father of human race. According to Satapatha Brahmana, after the great deluge, only Manu survived and desirous of offspring he obtained Ila by sacrifice. Then, by Ila's assistance Manu obtained his descendants by ritual and sacrifice. The account of Puranas appear legendary at several ocassions as it is with the case of Soma and his son Budha. Further, if Manu was the only one surviving the flood, a second patriach in the form of Atri & Som during Manu's time is contradictory. It is most likely therefore that the Puranic accounts are faulty. In my opinion, Pururavas and his descendants must be direct patrilineal descendants of Manu Vaivasvata. The descendants of Nahusha, the 5 tribes of Yayati are also proudly referred as descendants of Manu in the Rigveda.

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