Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Kapila - Sage Who Burned 60,000 men


The great sage Kapila had chosen the netherworld to perform a terrible penance. At this time, the king Sagara had been performing the Ashwamedha (horse) sacrifice, but the sacrifical horse had wandered away. As the horse had strayed near the hermitage of sage Kapila, the 60,000 sons of Sagara came there in search of it. The din caused by the arrival disturbed the sage, but he still did not open his eyes. When the sons of Sagara saw that the horse was there, they mistakenly assumed that Kapila was responsible for its theft. They started insulting the sage. At last, the sage could not bear it any longer. He opened his in wrath. Such was the potency of his gaze, that all the sons of Sagara were burned to ashes on the spot. (Some accounts say that a few of them escaped.)

Since they had died in sin, and in an inaccesible place, the funeral rites were not performed for them. This meant that they could not attain salvation. Much later, Bhageeratha, their descendant liberated their souls by bringing the heavenly Ganga from the heaven to the earth, to wash away their sins.

Last Modified At: Sat Nov 6 23:21:43 2004