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Harishchandra / हरिश्चंद्र

  • Harishchandra, in Hindu religious texts was the 28th king of the Solar Dynasty.He was celebrated for his piety and liberality.
  • Harishchandra was married to Chandramati, daughter of Shibi. Besides her, he had ninety-nine other wives. But they had no children. So he performed penance to please Varun. Varun blessed him with a son and Harishchandra promised to sacrifice his son back to Varun.
  • Soon Chandramati conceived and gave birth to a son named Rohitashva. Love for his only son made Harishchandra keep postponing the promised sacrifice. Varun got angry and caused Harishchandra to suffer from dropsy.
  • The troubled king consulted his priest Vasishth, who told him to buy a son from a Brahman and sacrifice him instead.
  • A Brahman named Ajigart was found, who sold his son Shunahsheph. During the sacrifice Shunahsheph continuously repeated a Mantra to propitiate Varun, taught to him by Vishvamitra.
  • Varun, pleased, spared Shunahsheph's life and asked Harishchandra to finish his sacrifice without Shunahsheph.
  • The king was then cured of dropsy. Later the king gave up his kingdom, his wife and son, and finally himself, to satisfy the demands of Vishvamitra. After enduring incredible sufferings, Harishchandra won the pity of the gods and was raised to heaven.