Agrasen is known as icon of non-violence , messenger of Peace, Maharaja
Agrasen was an embodiment of Sacrifice, Compassion, Non-Violence, Peace,
Prosperity and a True Socialist. Emperor Agrasen was born to King
Ballabh of Pratapnagar. He was the eldest son. According to the
Mahalakshmi Vrath, the age then was the last stages of Dvaapar Yug.
According to current calendar the birth of Maharaj Agrasen took place
about 5185 years ago. King Ballabh was a Suryavamshi ( lineage from the
Sun). Even when he was very young, Prince Agrasen was very well known
for his compassion. He never discriminated against anyone and the
subjects were very pleased with the way he conducted himself.
When Agrasen became a young man, he attended the Swyamvara of the
daughter of the King Nagaraj, Princess Madhavi . Many kings from around
the world attended including Indra, the King of the Devas. In the
swayamvara, Princess Madhavi selected Prince Agrasen, by putting the
garland on him. This marriage caused a coming together of two different
family cultures, 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 get married to her.
However, now that he had been unable to marry her, he became very
jealous and angry with Agrasen. To get revenge against Agrasen, Indra -
as he was also the Lord of Rain, made sure that Pratap Nagar did not
receive any rainfall. As a result, a frightening 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 to flight. Faced with this situation, Indra approached
Narada ( the celestial sage) for mediation between him and Emperor
Agrasen. Narada, then mediated a peace between them. Agrasen started a
severe penance to propitiate Lord Shiva in the city of Kashi. Pleased
with the penance of Agrasen, Lord Shiva appeared and advised him to
propitiate Goddess Mahalakshmi. Maharaj Agrasen again started meditating
on Goddess Mahalakshmi, who appeared before him. Goddess Mahalakshmi
then blessed Agrasen and suggested that he take up the Vaishya tradition
of business for the sake of prosperity of his people. She then asked
him to found a new kingdom and promised that she would bless his
descendants with prosperity. So he gave up his Kshatriya tradition.
Maharaj Agrasen, performed many Yagnas (sacrifice) 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. Seeing this Maharaj Agrasen was filled with pity
and then thought as to what prosperity can be achieved by sacrificing
mute animals. The idea of Ahimsa grabbed Maharaj Agrasen's mind. The
King then discussed it with his ministers. The ministers then said if
Maharaj Agrasen turned towards ahimsa, the neighbouring kingdoms might
consider it a sign of weakness and feel brave enough to attack Agroha.
At this, Maharaj Agrasen mentioned that putting an end to violence and
injustice does not mean weakness. He then proclaimed that there should
be no violence and killing of animals in his kingdom.
Maharaj Agrasen proceeded to conduct 18 Maha Yagnas. He then divided his
kingdom among his 18 children and established the 18 gotras after the
guru's of each of his children. These same 18 gotras today are like the
eighteen chapters of the Bhagavadgita, even though they are different
from each other, 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 the Vanaprasth Ashram.