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In the Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma gives advice to Yudishthira and the Pandavas concerning how to be a good king and how to be good person, while he's lying on a bed of arrows after the end of the Kurukshetra war. In this chapter, Bhishma tells Yudhishthira about the importance of giving respect to Brahmanas. He recounts a number of occasions where Brahmanas used their magical powers to defeat Kshatriyas in battle:

The energy and might of those Kshatriyas who scorch everything with their energy and might become neutralised when they encounter the Brahmanas. The Bhrigus conquered the Talajanghas. The son of Angiras conquered the Nipas. Bharadwaja conquered the Vitahavyas as also the Ailas. O chief of Bharata's race. Although all these Kshatriyas were capable of using diverse kinds of arms, yet the Brahmanas named, owning only black deer skins for their emblems, succeeded in conquering them effectually.

My question is, what are the stories of all these incidents alluded to by Bhishma?

The Bhrigus defeating Talajanghas is clearly a reference to Vishnu's incarnation Parashurama, who was a Brahmana descended from Bhrigu and who defeated the king Kartavirya Arjuna and his Haihaiya army. (The Talajanghas are a tribe of the Haihaiyas.) And the sage Bharadwaja defeating the Vitahivyas is a reference to the story of how Bharadwaja went into the body of the prince Pratardana in order to fight the Vitahavyas, described in an earlier chapter of the Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata.

But when did the sage Bharadwaja fight the Ailas? For those who don'f know, Ailas are more commonly known as the kings of the Lunar dynasty, who are called Ailas because they are descended from Ila, grandson of Chandra the moon god. It seems strange that Bharadwaja would fight them, considering that he was raised by the Lunar dynasty king Bharata (after whom India was named) and was the ancestor of a lot of Lunar dynasty kings, as I discuss here. And when did the son of the sage Angiras fight the Nepas?

  • The son of Angiras is Brhaspati. So is there any account of Brhaspati fighting the Nipas? Also, is Sage Bharadvaja the same as Vitatha Bharadvaja, the adopted son of Bharata? Because I know Vitatha is the son of Mamata and Brhaspati, but Wikipedia says that even Sage Bharadvaja was Brhaspati's son. Yet I think its unlikely that Sage Bharadvaja was the same as Vitatha, because Vitatha became a Kshatriya, and ruled the Kuru Kingdom. – Surya Apr 18 '16 at 10:00
  • @Surya Yes, Vithatha is the same as the famous sage Bharadwaja. Bharadwaja was raised as a prince in Bharata's court, and then later on he became a rishi. And I don't know of an account of anyone fighting the Nipas. – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 18 '16 at 14:50

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