The Kuru dynasty is extremely complex and vast.
Tracing back to Sri Brahma, the original father of mortal beings, the Kuru Dynasty has seen a considerable, recorded number of 53 kings.
Many are famous and many unheard.
But, the objective of this family tree is to highlight the great kings and their offspring.
Roots of the Kuru Dynasty
Sri Brahma, the beginning of creation, gave rise to the Saptarishis.
Among them, Marichi is the most notable rishi, who is a common forefather to both the Raghu and the Kuru Dynasty.
From the loins of Marichi and Kala, came the great Rsi Kashyapa.
Rsi Kashyapa’s Family Tree consists of the Devatas, Asuras, Birds, reptiles, etc.
Among his Devata sons, one of the 12 Adityas, known as Vivaswaan further expanded the lineage by giving rise to Shraddha Deva (Vaivaswat Manu).
Then, there is an interesting anecdote following the Sex transformation of Sharaddhadev Manu’s daughter Ila.
Her transformation occurs at two stages, from woman (at birth), to man and then again to a woman!
There is an interesting story behind this unique event!
After that Ila (woman) marries Buddh, the planet.
The couple gave rise to the valiant King Pururava.
Pururava married the celestial nymph Urvashi.
This ends the first 7 ancestors of the Kuru Dynasty:
Sri Brahma – Marichi – Kashyapa – Vivaswan – Shraddhdeva Manu – Ila&Buddh – Pururava
Most Prominent Forefathers
Pururava – Ayu – Nahusha
King Nahusha’s story is also a tragic one, including all elements like pride, lust, and curses.
He becomes a snake in the latter part of his life!
Nahusha marries Ashokasundari.
They have a son named Yayati.
King Yayati is the most glorious and notable king of this prestigious dynasty.
Yayati has his own long story, which gives rise to two separate dynasties-
1. The Kuru Dynasty which is an offshoot (after 25 generations) of King Puru, (son of Yayati and Sharmistha)
2. The Yadu Dynasty, named after king Yadu, son of Yayati (son of Yayati and Devyani)
After Puru, other notable kings ascended the throne.
Some of them were: Janamejaya I, Ahamyati, Sarvabhauma, Jayatsen, Arbachin, etc.
After many generations, from the loins of Ilina and Rathantari, King Dushyantha was born.
Dushyant married Shakunthala and King Bharatha was born.
King Bharatha was known to be the first king who established ideal democracy.
His reign was unlike any other king and the democracy was unlike today’s pseudo-democratic nations.
He was the first king who highlighted that a king must be crowned not based on his race, but ability.
Not by Janma (Birth), but by Karma (Actions).
From King Bharath to Kuru
Bharatha married Sunanda and had 2 other wives.
He had 9 sons, but none could match his dynamism and rulership capabilities.
So, he performed a Yajna under the able guidance of Sage Bharadvaja.
Thus, he begot his successor Bhumanyu.
Again, many generations passed by.
During this period many kings like Suhotra, Hasti, Vikunthana, Ajmeed, etc ruled.
After some generations, the father of this Dynasty was born.
King Kuru was the son of King Samvarna and Queen Tapati.
He was the 25th king after king Puru.
Again there were many kings after him, both powerful and weak.
Main Tree: From Shantanu to Janamejaya
But, the dynasty again got one of its most able, powerful, and divine Kings, Shantanu.
He was the father of Devavrata (who later became famous as Bheeshma) and the husband of Devi Ganga.
He was the son of King Pratip and Queen Sunanda III.
Then, Shantanu married Matsyaganda Satyavati, who bore 2 sons, Chitrangadha and Vichitravirya.
However, both died before announcing their successors.
They died tragically, before the ripe age.
So, Satyavati called upon her eldest son, Veda Vyasa, the son of Parashara.
Sage Vyasa blessed the 2 wives of King Vichitravirya with sons, Drithrashra and Pandu.
The first wife Ambika, birthed Dhritarashtra while the 2nd wife Ambalika, King Pandu.
The family tree from here expands enormously but is soon put to an abrupt end, following the mighty war of Kurukshetra.
The members of the same dynasty fight with each other.
Both the older and newer generations were affected.
However, the lineage of Arjuna survived after the blessings of Sri Krishna.
So, King Pandu and Queen Kunti begot Arjuna from the blessings of Lord Indra.
Arjuna married Subhadra and had a valiant son named Abhimanyu.
He played a crucial role in the Mahabharatha war.
However, he died at a young age.
Abhimanyu married Uttara the Princess of Matsya Kingdom.
From her, the Kuru dynasty got its future King, Parikshit Maharaj.
And, it is Parikshi Maharaj II and Madravati’s son who conducted the Mass Fire sacrifice, King Janamejaya II.
Janamejaya conducts the Snake Sacrifice.
The great serpent Takshaka, put an end to Maharaja Parikshit’s life, following the curse of Rsi Shringi.
Annoyed by such an end to his father’s life, Janamejaya decided to destroy the whole snake species.
So, he performed a great serpent Yajna.
All snakes from different corners of the world fell into the sacrificial fire.
But the Great Snake sacrifice was unsuccessful in summoning Takshaka, the chief serpent responsible for Janamejaya’s father’s death.
In the meantime, Takshaka approached his friend Indra, for help.
Indra, out of compassion, tied his snake friend, Takshaka, to his celestial chariot.
Now, in the spot of the great snake sacrifice Janamejaya questions the Rsis:
“We see so many snakes coming and falling into the sacrificial fire.
But, none of my efforts bear the desired results. The great serpent Takshaka has yet not arrived.
What is the reason?”
So, the Rsis chanted stronger mantras.
By the power of the potent mantras, soon, the great chariot of Indra along with Takshaka arrived at the Yajna spot.
Sages rescue the snakes
By that time sages such as Vyasa Deva arrived at the scene and addressed Janamejaya.
These enlightened sages said: “King Janamejaya, you are a mighty emperor.
Such a mass sacrifice to kill the serpent species does not befit a king like you.
Just because one snake bit your father, putting an end to millions of snakes was a sin.” highlighted the sages.
The sages reminded Janamejaya about the status of his own father Parikshit.
He too was a powerful ruler. However, he would never take such an approach.
King Pariskshit acted intelligently and attained the highest celestial abode, Vaikuntha, just by listening to the Bhagavatha Katha.
For a span of 7 days without wasting his time, without even trying to extend his life beyond the stipulated 7 day time frame, he engaged his senses in the remembrance of Sri Narayana.
He accepted the curse and worked his way towards liberating himself.
“So, there was no reason at all to get perturbed over the event and come to such harsh actions.” warned the sages.
The sages highlighted the fact that it was a matter of foolishness to hold somebody responsible for someone’s birth or death.
All these activities happen by the instructions of time.
Hence, Sage Vyasa immediately issued orders to dismiss the snake sacrifice.
On account of great respect towards the sages, Janamejaya immediately stopped the snake sacrifice.
Janamejaya attained knowledge about his forefathers from his chief advisor, sage Vaisampayana.
King Janamejaya Son and Family
King Janamejaya married Bapustama and had a son, Shatanik.
Shatanik married Vaidehi and had a son called Ashwamedhdutt.
After him, there seems to be no official records in the scriptures, marking a decline of the Kuru Dynasty.
Kuru Dynasty References
The Mahabharata Itihasa discusses in detail the family tree of the Kuru Dynasty.
Lord Sri Krishna is the first cousin of the Pandavas and belongs to the Vrishni Dynasty.
The Hari Vamsa, discusses in detail, the Family Tree of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, Sri Hari.
The discussion about the dynasties is happening between the 60,000 rishis in Naimisharanya, headed by Shaunaka rishi and Suta Goswami who are seated under a giant banyan tree.
There is a discussion between two characters of Mahabharata namely the current family priest of the Kuru dynasty namely Vaisampayana and emperor Janamejaya.
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