(Last Updated on : 24/09/2009)
In the epic Mahabharata, Pratarddana is said to be the son of Divodasa who was the king Benaras.
Immediately after the birth of Pratarddana, he grew up like a boy of full three and ten years and quickly mastered the entire Vedas and the whole of arms. Bharadwaja, by his Yoga powers, of great intelligence entered into the prince. Indeed, collecting all the energy that occurs in the object of the universe, Bharadwaja put them together in the body of prince Pratarddana. Put on shining mail on his person and armed with the bow, Pratarddana, his praises sung by bards and the celestial Rishis, shone resplendent like the risen star of day. Pratarddana riding on his car and with the scimitar tied to his belt, he shone like a blazing fire.
Pratarddana carrying his scimitar and shield and rotating his shield as he went advanced to the presence of his sire. Beholding the prince, the son of Sudeva, king Divodasa, became filled with joy. The old king, Divodasa thought that the son of his enemy Vitahavya was already killed. Divodasa then established his son Pratarddana as Yuvraj or Prince, and regarding himself crowned with success became very happy.
After this, the old king commanded that chastiser of foes, the prince Pratarddana to march against the sons of Vitahavya and slay them in battle. Pratarddana speedily crossed Ganga on his chariot and proceeded against the city of the Vitahavya. Hearing the clatter produced by the wheels of his car, the sons of Vitahavya, riding on their own cars that looked like fortified citadels and that were capable of destroying hostile vehicles threw them out of their city.
The sons of Vitahavya, who were all expert warriors cased rushed with uplifted weapons towards Pratarddana, covering him with showers of arrows. Encompassing him with innumerable cars, Yudhisthira, the Vitahavyas poured upon Pratarddana showers of weapons of various kinds like clouds pouring torrents of rain on the breast of Himavat.
Prince Pratarddana endowed with magical powers killed the followers and sons of them Vitahavya with his shafts that resembled the lighting fire of Indra. Vitahavya was very afraid when he saw all his warriors with hundreds and thousands of broad-headed arrows fell down with blood-dyed bodies like Kinsuka trees felled by woodmen with their axes on every side. After all his warriors and sons had fallen in battle, king Vitahavya fled away from his capital to the retreat of Bhrigu. Indeed, arrived there, the royal fugitive sought the protection of Bhrigu.
Pratarddana followed in the footsteps of Vitahavya. Arrived at the Rishi's retreat, Pratarddana said in a loud voice that he wanted to meet Vitahavya. Recognizing that it was Pratarddana who had come, the Rishi Bhrigu himself came out of his retreat and worshipped that best of kings according to due rites. Addressing him then, the Rishi asked Pratarddana what he wanted. The king, at this, informed the Rishi of the reason of his presence, that he wanted Vitahavya. He wanted to kill Vitahavya because he had slaughtered the whole race of Pratarddana. The Vitahavyas had damaged and ruined the territories and the wealth of the kingdom of Kasi.
Pratarddana was proud and satisfied to kill the hundred sons of Vitahavya. And finally by killing Vitahavya he can pay back the debt he owed to his father, Divodasa. Rishi Bhrigu reacted compassionately and said that in his hermitage there was no Kshatriya in this retreat and only Brahmans are present. Hearing these words of Bhrigu that must accord he thought with truth, Pratarddana touched the Rishi's feet slowly and, filled with delight, said that he is very grateful for his powers and that the sage must pray for his welfare.
Dismissed by the Rishi Bhrigu, king Pratarddana then departed from that retreat, having even as a snake vomits forth its real poison and repaired to the place he had come from. Meanwhile, king Vitahavya attained to the status of a Brahmana sage by virtue of the words only of Bhrigu. And he acquired also a complete mastery over all the Vedas through the same cause.
Vitahavya had a son named Gritsamada who in beauty of person was a second Indra. Once on a time the Daityas troubled him much, believing him to be none else than Indra. Gritsamada become a regenerate Rishi in the observance of Brahmacharya. Gritsamada had a regenerated son, of the name of Sutejas.