Kapalasphota, aka: Kapālasphoṭa; 1 Definition(s)


Kapalasphota means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Katha (narrative stories)

[Kapalasphota in Katha glossaries]

Kapālasphoṭa (कपालस्फोट) is a title (epithet) of Vijayadatta (son of Govindasvāmin) obtained after transforming into a Rākṣasa, as mentioned in the story of Aśokadatta and Vijayadatta, in the to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 25. Accordingly, as Kapālasphoṭa (Vijayadataa) spoke to Aśokadatta: “I am Vijayadatta, your younger brother; we are both the sons of that excellent Brāhman Govindasvāmin. And by the appointment of destiny I became a Rākṣasa such as you see, and have continued such for this long time; and I am called Kapālasphoṭa from my cleaving the skull on the funeral pyre. But now from seeing you I have remembered my former Brāhman nature, and that Rākṣasa nature of mine, that clouded my mind with delusion, has left me”.

The story of Kapālasphoṭa (Vijayadatta) and Govindasvāmin was narrated to Śaktideva by Viṣṇudatta in order to demonstrate that “divine persons become incarnate for some reason, and are born in this world of men, and possessing their native virtue and courage, attain successes which it is hard to win”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Kapālasphoṭa, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
context information

Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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