Kosala was a kingdom in
the olden days. Sixteen years old Bhagiratha was the king of Kosala. He lost his father
when he was just a child. So his mother brought him up. She educated him. She gave him all
the training needed to make him a good king.
Bhagiratha was very intelligent. He loved his mother very much and was devoted to her.
He became not only learned but also virtuous. He realized that a man should live not for
himself, but to do good to others.
When he was sixteen years old, his mother looked for a suitable bride for him. He
married a beautiful and virtuous princess. Then Bhagiratha was also crowned as king. His
mother guided him, his wise ministers gave him good advice. So he ruled the kingdom ably
One day, as the king entered the royal court, he heard the court announcers greet him:
"Hail, Emperor of Kosala! Victory to King Bhagiratha, gem of the Sagara dynasty!
Hail, 0 Son of the great king Dilipa!"
After the royal assembly was over, the king went to his apartment with his minister.
His head was full of the two names that he had just heard - Sagara and Dilipa. King
Dilipa was, of course, his father. But who was Sagara? Unable to control his curiosity, he
asked his minister:
"Who was this Sagara?"
"My lord, a great ancestor of yours. He was so mighty that he performed the
Ashwamedha (the horse-sacrifice) a hundred times. And he had sixty thousand children. You
are a descendent of his" - so replied the minister.
The question was answered. But Bhagiratha was still not satisfied. Instead, his
curiosity increased. Thoughtful persons are seldom satisfied if they do not get a clear
answer to their questions. Bhagiratha came home and asked his mother:
"Mother, is it true that among my ancestors, Sagara was a very great king?"
"Yes, child," replied his mother
"And he had sixty thousand children?"
"It he had so many children, there should have been quite a big crowd of his
children, grandchildren and relatives. But we are so few - only three persons. Why?"
" My dear son," the mother said, "I ought to have told you about this
earlier. It is good that now you have asked me about it. I will tell you the story of your
ancestors. Let us see what you will do after listening to it."
"Please tell me, mother," entreated Bhagiratha.
His mother began: