“Janamejaya said, ‘O Brahmana (Rishi Vaishampaayana), those you have named and those you have not named, I wish to hear of them in detail, and also of other kings by thousands. O you of great good fortune (Rishi Vaishampaayana), it is your duty to tell me in full the object for which those Maharathas, equal to Devas themselves, were born on earth.’
“Vaishampaayana said, ‘O monarch (Janamejaya), it has been heard by us that what you ask is a secret even to Devas. I shall, however, speak of it to you, after bowing down to the self-born (Lord Brahma). The son of (Rishi) Jamadagni (i.e. Parasurama), after twenty-one times making the earth devoid of Kshatriyas went to that best of mountains Mahendra (modern day Mahendragiri at Gajapati, Odisha, India) and there began his severe Tapas.
“O monarch (Janamejaya), at that time when the earth was devoid of Kshatriyas, the Kshatriya ladies, desirous of offspring, used to come to Brahmanas and Brahmanas of rigid vows (Vrata in Sanskrit) had connection with them during the womanly season alone, but never, O king, lustfully and out of season (This is called Niyoga system in ancient times. In this system, a woman whose husband is incapable of fatherhood or has died without having a child would request and appoint a person for helping her bear a child. According to this tradition, the man who was appointed must be or would most likely be a respected person. The various other clauses are as follows:
1. The woman would agree to this only for the sake of rightfully having a child and not for pleasure.
2. The child, thus born would be considered the child of the husband-wife and not that of appointed man.
3. The appointed man would not seek any paternal relationship or attachment to this child in the future.
4. To avoid misuse, a man was allowed only a maximum of three times in his lifetime to be appointed in such a way.
5. The act will be seen as that of Dharma and while doing so, the man and the wife will have only Dharma in their mind and not passion or lust. The man will do it to the woman in the name of God, whereas the woman will accept it only to bear the child for herself and her husband.
In Niyoga, the bodies were to be covered with ghee – so that lust may not overtake root in the minds of the participants but the actual act may take place for conception.).
“Kshatriya ladies by thousands conceived from such connection with Brahmanas. O monarch (Janamejaya), then were born many Kshatriyas of greater energy, boys and girls, so that the Kshatriya varna, might thrive. Thus, sprang the Kshatriya race from Kshatriya ladies by Brahmanas of severe Tapas. The new generation, blessed with long life, began to thrive in Dharma. Thus were the four varnas having Brahmanas at their head re-established.
“Every man at that time went in to his wife during her season and never from kaamaa and out of season. O bull of the Bharata race, in the same way, other creatures also, even those born in the race of birds went in to their wives during the season alone. O protector of the earth (Janamejaya), hundreds of thousands of creatures were born, and all were Dharmic and began to multiply in Dharma, all being free from sorrow and disease. O you of the elephant’s walk (Janamejaya), this wide earth having the ocean for her boundaries, with her mountains, forest and towns, was once more governed by the Kshatriyas.
“When the earth began to be again governed as per Dharma by the Kshatriyas, the other varnas having Brahmanas for their first were filled with great joy. The kings giving up all evils born of kaamaa, anger (kroda in Sanskrit) and fairly awarding punishments to those that deserved them protected the earth. Shatakratu (Lord Indra), also possessed of a thousand eyes, seeing that the Kshatriya monarchs ruled so Dharmically, poured down lively showers at proper times, places and blessed all creatures.
“Then, O king (Janamejaya), no one of immature years died, and none knew a woman before attaining to age. O bull of the Bharata race (Janamejaya), thus the earth, to the very coasts of the ocean, became filled with men that were all long-lived. The Kshatriyas performed great yagnas gifting much wealth. The Brahmanas also all studied the Vedas with their branches (Vedangas) and the Upanishads. O king (Janamejaya), no Brahmana in those days ever sold the Vedas (i.e., taught for money) or ever read aloud the Vedas in the presence of a Shudra. The Vaishyas, with the help of bullocks, caused the earth to be farmed. They never attached the cattle themselves. They fed with care all cattle that were lean. Men never milked cows as long as the calves drank only the milk of their dams (without having taken to grass or any other food). No merchant in those days ever sold his articles by false scales.
“O tiger among men (Janamejaya), all persons, holding to the ways of Dharma, did everything with eyes set upon Dharma. O monarch (Janamejaya), all varnas were mindful of their own respective duties. Thus, O tiger among men, Dharma in those days never sustained any decline. O bull of the Bharata race (Janamejaya), both cows and women gave birth to their offspring at the proper time. Trees bore flowers and fruit duly according to the seasons. O king, thus the Krita yuga having then duly set in, the whole earth was filled with numerous creatures.
“O bull of the Bharata race, when such was the blessed state of the terrestrial world, the Asuras, O lord of men (Janamejaya), began to be born in kingly lines. The sons of Diti (Daityas) being repeatedly defeated in war by the sons of Aditi (Devas) and deprived also of sovereignty and heaven, began to be incarnated on the earth. O king (Janamejaya), the Asuras being possessed of great powers, and desirous of sovereignty began to be born on earth among various creatures, such as cows, horses, donkeys, camels, buffaloes, among creatures such as Raakshasaas and others, and among elephants and deer.
“O protector of the earth (Janamejaya), owing to those already born and to those that were being born, the earth became incapable of supporting herself. Among the sons of Diti (Daityas) and of Danu (Danavas), thrown out of heaven, some were born on the earth as kings of great pride and rudeness. Possessed of great energy, they covered the earth in various shapes. Capable of oppressing all enemies, they filled the earth having the ocean for its boundaries. By their strength, they began to oppress Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras and all other creatures also. O king (Janamejaya), terrifying and killing all creatures, they travelled the earth, in bands of hundreds and thousands. Devoid of truth and Dharma, proud of their strength, and intoxicated with (the wine of) rudeness, they even insulted the Maharishis in their ashramas.
“The earth, thus oppressed by the mighty Asuras provided with great strength and energy and possessed of abundant means, began to think of waiting on (Lord) Brahma. The united strength of the creatures (such as Sesha, the Tortoise, and the huge Elephant), and of many Seshas too, became capable of supporting the earth with her mountains, as she was burdened with the weight of the Daanavaas. O king, then the earth, oppressed with weight and pained with fear, sought the protection of the Pitaamaha of all creatures (Lord Brahma).
“She saw the divine Brahma – the Creator of the worlds who knows no deterioration – surrounded by Devas, Brahmanas, and Maharishis, of exceeding good fortune, and adored by delighted Gandharvas and Apsaras always engaged in the service of Devas. O Bharata (Janamejaya), the Earth, desirous of protection, then said everything to him, in the presence of all the member of the worlds. O king (Janamejaya), but the Earth’s object had been known beforehand to the Omniscient, Self-create, and Supreme Lord (Lord Brahma). O Bharata, the Creator (Lord Brahma) as He is of the universe, why should He not know fully what is in the minds of his creatures including the very Devas and Asuras? O king (Janamejaya), the Lord of the Earth, the Creator of all creatures, also called Isha, Shambhu, Prajapati, then spoke to her.
“(Lord) Brahma said, ‘O holder of wealth (Earth), for the accomplishment of the object for which you have approached me, I shall appoint all the dwellers in the heavens.’
“Vaishampaayana continued, ‘O king (Janamejaya), having said so to the Earth, the Lord Brahma gave her farewell. The Creator (Lord Brahma) then commanded all Devas saying, ‘To ease the Earth of her burden, you go and have your births in her according to your respective parts and you seek conflict (with the Asuras already born there)’.
“The Creator of all (Lord Brahma), also summoning all the tribes of Gandharvas and Apsaras, spoke to them these words of deep meaning, ‘You go and be born among men according to your respective parts in forms that you like.’
“All Devas with (Lord) Indra, on hearing these words of the Lord of Devas (Lord Brahma)– words that were true, desirable under the circumstances, and filled with benefit — accepted them. They all having resolved to come down on earth in their respected parts, then went to (Lord) Narayana, the slayer of all enemies, at Vaikunta — the one who has the chakra and the mace (Gada in Hindi) in His hands, who is dressed in purple, who is of great splendour, who has the lotus on His navel, who is the slayer of the enemies of Devas, who is of eyes looking down upon His wide chest (in yoga attitude), who is the lord of the Prajapati (Lord Brahma) Himself, the sovereign of all Devas, of mighty strength, who has the mark of the auspicious chakra on His chest, who is the mover of every one’s faculties and who is adored by all Devas. Him, (Lord) Indra the most noble of persons, addressed, saying, “Be incarnate.”
“(Lord) Hari replied,–’Let it be.’“
SRIMAD MAHABHARATA > AADI PARVA > AADIVAMSHAVATARANA PARVA > CHAPTER 64 – DEVAS TO BE BORN ON EARTH
Re-establishment of the Kshatriya system destroyed by Parasurama; Asuras overburdened Earth by being excessively born on the Earth; Goddess Earth pleaded Lord Brahma to reduce her burden; All Devas inclusive of Lord Hari decided to be born on Earth to reduce her burden.