The story of Dirghatama

On the death of Vichitravirya the lineage of the line of Kauravas ended. Vichitravirya’s mother Satyavati now realised that the only way to continue the line was to ask Bhishma to marry the two young wives of Vichitravirya and beget sons. This was an impossible task as Bhishma was bound by his vow of not getting married. When she speaks her mind to Bhishma, he refuses and tells her this story.

Bhishma says that in days of yore there lived a famous and intelligent rishi called Uttathaya. He had a beautiful wife called Mamata. He also had a younger brother called Brihaspati, who was the guru and preceptor of the gods and was very lustrous. One day Brihaspati was full of passion and because his brother had gone out he goes to his wife Mamata and asks her to have sex with him. She tells him that she is already pregnant with her husband’s child, who within her womb has been studying the Vedas. She says there is no place in her womb for two foetuses and that he should be calm or go elsewhere with his desire. But the great rishi Brihaspati could not control his passion and so he forced Mamata to have sex with him. As his sperm was building up to be released the child which was in Mamata’s womb cried out to him, “ Oh uncle, please calm yourself, there is very little space in this womb and two children cannot fit in here. I have come here first and so go somewhere else. Your sperm is very powerful and it will burn me and it is not right that you trouble me in this way. “ Brihaspati did not listen to the still unborn child and released his sperm into Mamata’s womb. Seeing the sperm coming in the child blocked its path with his foot and instead of going into the womb it fell on the ground. This angered the great rishi and he cursed the still unborn child. He said your act has ruined an important event and for that you will suffer a long spell of darkness. Thus the child was blind and called Dirghatama meaning long darkness, after he was born.

Dirghatama became a lustrous rishi learned in all the Vedas. He married a beautiful Brahmin girl called Pradvesi. With her he had five children. From another rishi Dirghatama learned the deep tantric art of ‘sex with the light body’. This is the art of going deep into ones unconscious mind and fulfilling unfulfilled desires, thus freeing ones consciousness of them.

As he was blind Dirghatama had to be supported by his wife and children and because of which after some time they started despising him. When he asked his wife why have you started hating me? She replied “A wife is called Bharya because her husband lifts her weight or bhar and so he is called bharta or one who lifts the weight. A husband is also called a pati because he does palan or nourishes his wife. You are doing neither and so are not fit to live. I have no desire to feed you any longer.” She then told her sons to bind the father and throw him into the river Ganges. The sons who were also blinded by desire and greed tied the father to a big piece of wood and threw him into the river. They also thought that why should we keep on looking after this blind old man.

Dirghatama was caught in the flow of the river and passed through many lands before he was saved. A benevolent and generous king Bali was having a bath in the river when he saw this rishi caught in the flow, he dived in and brought Dirghatama out. After saving him the king heard the rishis story and was very pleased. He felt that that providence had brought to him one who knew the secrets of sex through the light body. The king told the rishi that to continue his line he wanted to have great children. He said that the rishis seed was of the highest quality and he would be very grateful if he would impregnate his wife with his seed. To this Dirghatama replied “so be it”.

The king then went to his queen whose name was Sudeshna and told her to go to the rishi at the time her monthly cycle was ripe. Seeing the rishi as a blind old man the queen was repulsed and she sent her maid instead. With the maid the rishi had eleven children. One day seeing the eleven children studying the king asked the rishi, “are these my children” and the rishi replied that they were not and they have been born from a maid of lower caste. He told the king all that happened. Seeing that I was old and blind your queen has insulted me. In her foolishness she sent this maid of lower caste to me.

The king asked the rishis forgiveness and again requested him to give him sons. The rishi agreed and so the king sent Sudeshna to him. When she went to him he touched her body and said you will have children whose lustre and intelligence will match the suns’. Their names will be Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra and Suhaba. They will all be great kings and their countries will bear their names.

Bhishma then finishes the story he was telling Satyavati. He tells her that in the past great kings were born from the seed of Brahmins and that she should call a learned and lustrous brain to put his seed in the two widowed queens of Vichitravirya.

In our next episode we will go into the mystery of this story.