About Maharaja Agrasen JI

The icon of non-violence, a messenger of Peace, Emperor Agrasen was the eldest son of King Ballabh of Pratapnagar. King Ballabh was a Suryavanshi ( lineage from God Sun).  According to the current calendar, the birth of Maharaj Agrasen took place about 5185 years ago (Dwapar Yuga). Even when he was very young, Prince Agrasen was well known for his compassion. He never discriminated against anyone and the subjects were very pleased with the way he conducted himself.

When Agrasen attained youth, he attended the Swyamvara of Princess Madhavi, the daughter of the King Nagaraj. Many kings from around the world attended the same including Indra, the King of the Devas. In the Swayamvara, Princess Madhavi chose Prince Agrasen by garlanding him. This marriage merged two different family cultures because Prince Agrasen was a Suryavanshi and Princess Madhavi was a Naagavanshi.

Indra, the King of the Devas had been smitten by the beauty of Princess Madhavi and had planned to marry her. Hence he became very jealous and angry with Agrasen for ruining his plans. To take revenge Indra also known as the Lord of Rain made sure that Pratap Nagar did not receive any rainfall thus famine struck the Pratap Nagar kingdom. Emperor Agrasen then waged war against Indra and because he had dharma on his side, his army vanquished Indra’s forces and put them on run. Faced with this situation, Indra approached Narada (the celestial sage) for mediation between him and Emperor Agrasen. Narada was able to negotiate peace between them.

Agrasen became concerned with maintaining a long-lasting peace to end the enmity. So Agrasen went to the city of Kashi and started penance to propitiate Lord Shiva. Pleased with the severe penance of Agrasen, Lord Shiva appeared and advised him to propitiate Goddess Mahalakshmi accordingly Maharaja Agrasen began meditating on Goddess Mahalakshmi. Goddess Mahalakshmi thus became pleased and blessed Agrasenji.  Further, she suggested him to embrace the Vaishya tradition of business for sake of prosperity of his people and to give up his Kshatriya tradition. Additionally, she advised that he should establish a new kingdom so that she could stay eternally with his descendants.

With the blessings of Goddess Mahalakshmi, King Agrasen toured all of Bharat (India). During his travels, he found a few tiger and wolf cubs playing together. To King Agrasen and Queen Madhavi, this was an auspicious indication that the area was Veerabhoomi (land of the brave) and they decided to found their new kingdom at that location. The new kingdom was named Agroha. In due course, Agroha became prosperous and the influence of King Agrasen was felt in all neighboring areas as well. Trade, agriculture and industry flourished and the fame of King Agrasen spread far and wide.

Maharaj Agrasen performed many yagnas (sacrifices) for the prosperity of his people. In those days, performing a yagna was a symbol of prosperity. During one such yagna, Maharaj Agrasen noticed that a horse that had been brought to be sacrificed was trying hard to get away from the sacrificial altar. Maharaj Agrasen was filled with pity and thought about what prosperity can be achieved by sacrificing mute animals. The idea of Ahimsa came into Maharaj Agrasen’s mind and the King discussed it with his ministers. The ministers advised Maharaj Agrasen that Ahimsa could be considered by neighboring kingdoms as a sign of weakness and could encourage them to attack Agroha. But Maharaja Agrasen felt that putting an end to violence and injustice didn’t show weakness. Thus, he proclaimed that there would be no violence and killing of animals in his kingdom.

Maharaj Agrasen proceeded to conduct 18 Maha Yagnas. He divided his kingdom amongst his 18 children and established 18 gotras. These said 18 gotras are like the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavadgita. Although they differ, they are still related to each other to form the whole. Under this arrangement, Agroha prospered very well and flourished. In the latter part of his life, Maharaj Agrasen nominated his eldest son Vibhu to the throne and took up Vanaprastha.

The neighboring kings were envious of Agroha because of its prosperity, thus they frequently attacked it. Because of these aggressions, Agroha faced numerous plights. In due course a huge fire engulfed the city, causing the citizens to flee and disperse into various areas of Bharat. Today, these people are known as Aggarwals. They still have the same 18 gotras that were given to them by their gurus, and they carry on the fame of Maharaj Agrasen. Carrying forward Maharaj Agrasen’s lineage, the Aggarwals are in the forefront of social service to date also.

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