by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words
This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...
The brahmins said:
2. O leading sages, listen at the outset of the race of Purū even as I relate it in detail and in due order.
5-8. Raudrāśva had ten sons and ten daughters. The sons were—Daśārṇeyu, Kṛkaṇeyu, Kakṣeyu, Sthaṇḍileyu, Sannateyu, Ṛceyu, Jaleyu, Sthaleyu, Dhaneyu, and Vaneyu. The daughters were Bhadrā, Śūdrā, Madrā, Śaladā, Maladā, Khaladā, Naladā, Surasā, Gocapalā and Strīratnakūṭā. Sage Prabhākara of the family of Atri was their husband.
9-14. When the sun was eclipsed by Rāhu and he seemed to be falling down from the firmament to the Earth, the whole world was enveloped in darkness. Then it was his sage who caused light. At this utterance of the sage, ‘Hail to Thee’, the sun who was about to fall did not fall to the Earth from the firmament. This sage of great penance founded the excellent spiritual lines after Atri. In sacrifices Devas offered him the same power as were bestowed on Atri. He begot of Bhadra a son named Soma. In all he had ten sons of great merit who were engaged in severe penance. O brahmins, they established their spiritual lines. They were masters of the Vedas. They were known as Svastyātreyas. They were devoid of three types of worldly wealth, viz. gold, cattle and land.
Kakṣeyu had three sons of great might and heroism.
18. He was recognized by Devas and his fame was established all over the Earth. The son of Mahāśāla named Mahāmanas was virtuous.
19. Mahāmanas was a born hero; he was honoured by Devas too. O brahmins, Mahāmanas begot two sons.
Uśīnara had five wives, daughters of king Vṛṣa as a result of great penance. They were Nṛgā, Kṛmi, Navā, Darvā and Dṛṣadvatī. Uśinara begot of them five sons who perpetuated his line. Nṛga was born of Nṛgā, Kṛmi of Kṛmi; Nava of Navā and Suvrata of Darvā, Śibi of Dṛṣadvatī.
24-29. O brahmins, the realm of Śibi is known as the Śibis, that of Nṛga as the Yaudheyas; that of Nava as the Navarāṣṭra, the city of Kṛmila belonged to Kṛmi. The realm of Ambaṣṭhas belonged to Suvrata.
Understand the sons of Śibi. The four sons of Śibi are known as the Śibis. They were—Vṛṣadarbha, Suvīra, Kaikeya and Madraka. Their realms were very flourishing by the names of Vṛṣadarbhas, Suvīras, Kaikeyas and Madrakas.
O brahmins, Titikṣu became a king in the Eastern region. He had many sons. Uṣadratha of great vigour was prominent among them. His son was Phena. Sutapas was born of Phena. Bali was the son of Sutapas. His quiver was golden. He was a great Yogin and a king.
30-36. He procreated five sons who continued his lineage on the Earth. Aṅga was born at the outset. Then were born Vaṅga, Suhma, Puṇḍra and Kaliṅga. The Kṣatriya descendants of Bali are known as Bāleya Kṣatras. There were brahminical descendants of Bali too. They too established their family on the earth.
O brahmins, a boon had been granted to Bali by Brahmā who was pleased with him. Thereby he acquired the following attributes:
He was a great Yogin. His span of life extended to that of a Kalpa. He was unequalled in strength. He had a deep insight in the principles and topics of Dharma. He was unconquerable in battle. He held an important position in the matter of deciding what Dharma was. He had a clear vision of three worlds. He was accorded prominence at the sacrifice of Prasava(?). When this was said to him by the lord, viz “you will establish the four castes duly” he attained mental peace. O brahmins, after a great deal of time, he went to the heavenly abode.
Now the descendants of Aṅga are related.
44. Then Ṛṣyaśṛṅga made the excellent vehicle, the elephant of Indra descend to the Earth by means of Mantras.
46-48. Bṛhaddarbha was his son and Bṛhanmanas was born to him. The leading king Bṛhanmanas begot Jayadratha. King Dṛḍharatha was born to him. Dṛḍharatha’s successor was Janamejaya the conqueror of the universe. His son was Vikarṇa. Vaikarṇa was his son. He had a hundred sons who made the family of the Aṅgas flourish.
49. Thus, all the kings born of the family of Aṅga have been glorified by me. They were noble souls pledged to truthfulness. They were mighty warriors and they procreated children.
50. O brahmins, O excellent sages, listen. I shall mention the family of king Ṛceyu the son of Raudrāśva.
51-53. Ṛceyu’s son was king Matināra who ruled over the whole Earth. Matināra had three extremely virtuous sons—Vasurodha, Pratiratha and the righteous Subāhu. All of them were conversant with the Vedas, truthful in speech and favourable to the brahmins. O excellent sages, his daughter Ilā was an expounder of the Brahman. Taṃsu married her.
54-55. Taṃsu’s valorous son was the pious king Dharmanetra. He was an expounder of Brahman and an assailer of foes. His wife was Upadānavī, who bore four splendid sons to him viz Duṣyanta, Suṣmanta, Pravīra and Anagha.
56-61. Duṣyanta’s valorous heir was Bharata. His original name was Sarvadamana. He had the strength of ten thousand elephants. The son of Duṣyanta, the great soul was a great Emperor. Bharata was born of Śakuntalā and this country is named Bhārata after him. The sons of king Bharata perished through the fury of Mātṛs (Mothers). This story had been told by me previously. Thereupon, the great brahminical sage Bharadvāja the son of Bṛhaspati, the descendant of Aṅgiras performed great sacrifices. Due to the effort of Bharadvāja, a son was born to Bharata who was so named because the birth of the previous sons had been futile. After the birth of Vitatha, Bharata had passed away. After crowning Vitatha, Bharadvāja returned to his hermitage.
66-67. The scholarly Bhīmaratha was the son of Ketumān. The son of Bhīmaratha became the ruler of Vārāṇasī. He was well known as Divodāsa and he destroyed all Kṣatriya kings. The heroic king Pratardana was the son of Divodāsa.
69-70. The king seized the hereditary property of Haihaya. The ancestral property forcibly seized by Divodāsa was taken back by irrepressible son of Bhadraśreṇya, the noble Durdama. He had been formerly let off mercifully by Divodāsa thinking that he was a mere boy.
71-72. The king Aṣṭaratha was the son of Bhīmaratha. O brahmins, that boy was struck by this Kṣatriya son desirous of putting a stop to the enmity, O excellent sages.
Alarka, king of Kāśi, was truthful in speech and favourable to the brahmins.
73. This scion and the uplifter of the family of Kāśi kings was a youth endowed with handsome features who ruled for sixty-six (thousand) years.
74-75. It was to the grace of Lopāmudrā that he attained the maximum span of life. O excellent sages, towards the end of his life the king killed the Rākṣasa Kṣemaka and re-established the beautiful city of Vārāṇasī. Alarka’s successor was king Kṣemaka.
78. This son of great refulgence became an extremely virtuous king. Vatsabhūmi was the son of Vatsa and Bhargabhūmi was born of Bhārgava.
80-87. There is another line of kings viz. Ajamīḍha. O excellent brahmins, may it be listened to. Bṛhat was the son of Suhotra. Bṛhat had three sons viz. Ajamīḍha, Dvimīḍha and the powerful Purumīḍha. Ajamīḍha had three wives endowed with fame viz.—Nīlī, Keśinī and Dhūminī. All of them were excellent ladies. The valorous Jahnu was born of Keśinī and Ajamīḍha. He performed a sacrifice of long duration called Sarva Medhāmakha. Eager to have him as her husband Gaṅgā approached him like a humble lady. As he declined the proposal Gaṅgā flooded his sacrificial hall. O brahmins, on seeing the sacrificial chamber thus flooded all round king Jahnu became infuriated. He said to Gaṅgā—“O Gaṅgā, ere long, reap the fruits of this arrogance of thine. I shall condense your water flourishing in the three worlds and drink it up.”
On seeing Gaṅgā drunk up, the highly blessed great sages of noble souls bought her back as Jāhnavī his daughter.
88-91. The valorous beloved son of Jahnu was Ajaka. Ajaka’s successor was king Balākāśva who was fond of hunting. Kuśika was his son. This king was murdered by wild foresters along with the Pahlavas. Kuśika performed a penance resolving to himself—“I shall obtain a lordly son equal to Indra.” Indra approached him out of fear and understood his purpose. Indra himself became the son of Kuśika. He was king Gādhi. Viśvāmitra was the son of Gādhi and Aṣṭaka was born of Viśvāmitra.
 (O brahmins, Viśvabādhi, Śvajit and Satyavatī (also) were born. Jamadagni was born of Satyavatī and Ṛcīka. Devarāta aad others were the sons of Viśvāmitra. They became famous in three worlds. O brahmins, listen to their names. They were Devarāta, Kati, Hiraṇyākṣa and Reṇu. The descendants of Kati were Kātyāyanas. Hiraṇyākṣa was born of Śālavatī. Reṇukā was the daughter of Reṇu. The spiritual lines of noble Kauśikas are known as Sāṃkṛtyas, Gālavas, Maudgalyas, Paṇins, Babhrus, Dhyānajapyas, Pārthivas, Devarātas, Śālaṅkāyanas, Sauśravas, Lohitas, Yamadūtas, Kārīṣis, and Saindhavāyanas. O brahmins, there and other descendants of Kuśika are well known in the world. Many descendants of Kuśika are those who could have marriage alliances with other sages. O excellent sages, in this family there is thus the admixture of brahmins and Kṣatriyas due to the connection of Paurava and the brahminical sage Kauśika. Sunaḥśepha was the eldest of the sons of Viśvāmitra. That leading sage was originally a Bhārgava (descendant of Bhṛgu). Later on, he attained the state of being a descendant of Kuśika. Devarāta and others were also the sons of Viśvāmitra. Dṛṣadvatī’s son Aṣṭaka was born of Viśvāmitra).
92-97. Aṣṭaka’s son was Lauhi. Thus descendants of Jahnu have been mentioned by me. May another line pertaining to Ajamīḍha be heard, O excellent sages. Suśānti was born of Nīlinī and Ajamīḍha. Purujāti was the son of Suśānti. Bāhyāśva was born of Purujāti. Bāhyāśva had five sons comparable to the immortals. They were—Mudgala, Sṛñjaya, king Bṛhadaśva, Yavīnara the valorous and Kṛmilāśva the fifth one. These five kings are known as Pañcālas because they were competent to protect the five realms. Their five realms were flourishing. Hence they got the designation Pañcālas. Mudgala’s successor of very great fame was Maudgalya. Indrasenā bore Vadhnyaśva to him.
Śantanu who had gone a-hunting took them up and brought them up. The boy was known as Kṛpa, the girl Gautamī was known as Kṛpī. These are said to be Śāradvatas. These are known as Gautamas too. Henceforth, I shall mention the line of succession of Divodāsa. Divodāsa’s successor was king Mitrayu (who became a) brahminical sage. Mitrayu’s son was Soma. Therefore they are known as Maitreyas. These too though born of Kṣatriya family entered the spiritual line of Bhṛgu)
99-101. Sahadeva of great fame was the successor of Somadatta. Sahadeva’s son Somaka was well known. Ajamīḍha of great power was the son of Gṛtsamatī. When the family declined in prosperity Ajamīḍha’s son Somaka was born. Jantu was the son of Somaka. His hundred sons shone brilliantly. The youngest of them Lord Pṛṣata was the father of Drupada. These noble Somakas are known as Ajamīḍhas.
102-105. Dhūminī the crowned queen of Ajamīḍha longed for a son. O excellent sages, she was highly blessed, chaste and noble. Desiring a son she performed holy rites. For ten thousand years she performed a difficult penance. She conducted sacrifices duly. The pious lady ate very little. O excellent sages, she lay down only on the Kuśa of Agnihotra. Ajamīḍha had sexual union with the gentle lady Dhūminī and procreated Ṛkṣa who was smoke-coloured and handsome in appearance.
107. That spot is holy, beautiful and frequented by pious persons. His family is extensive and his descendants are known as Kauravas.
 (The intelligent Suhotra was the successor of Sudhanvan. His Son was king Cyavana who was an expert on virtue and wealth. Kṛtayajña was born of Cyavana. This knower of Dharma performed sacrifices and begot the heroic Caidyoparivara as his son. He was a well known king who became a friend of Indra. He was known as Vasu too and he could traverse the skies.
Girikā bore to Caidyoparivara seven manly sons. They were Bṛhadratha who was a mighty warrior and king of Magadha; Pratyagratha, Kratha whom they call Maṇivāhana, Sakala, Juhu, Matsya and Kāli the seventh. Bṛhadratha’s successor Kuśāgra was well known. Kuśāgra’s scholarly and valorous son was Ṛṣabha. Now, I shall mention the family of Juhu. It is endowed with all good qualities. Juhu begot a son Suratha who became a king.
110. All these were highly blessed, valorous and mighty. The intelligent Suratha was the son of Janamejaya.
111. The valorous Vidūratha was born as the son of Suratha. Ṛkṣa of great might was the successor of Vidūratha.
112. His second son was born through the favour of Bharadvāja and he became well known by that name. In this lunar race there were two Ṛkṣas and two Parikṣits.
115. O excellent brahmins, Śantanu was a king of this race. Now listen to the race of Bāhlika the saintly king.
117. Sage Devāpi became the preceptor of Devas. Cyavana’s son Kṛtaka was a chum of this noble sage.
118. Śantanu the foremost among the descendants of Kuru became a king. I shall mention the family of Śantanu well known in the three worlds.
124. Pāṅkṣita (Abhimanyu) begot two sons of Kāśī, viz. the king Candrāpīḍa and Sūryāpīḍa the knowers of Brahman.
125. Candrāpīḍa begot hundred sons who were excellent bowmen. They are known as the Kṣatriya descendants of Janamejaya.
126. The mighty Satyakarṇa was the eldest among them. In the city of Hastināpura he performed a sacrifice in which much wealth was distributed as gift.
127. Satyakarṇa’s successor was the valorous Śvetakarṇa. That righteous king was issueless and he entered a penance-grove.
128. His beautiful wife Mālini, daughter of Subāhu, (otherwise known as) Grahamālinī, and a descendant of Yadu became pregnant in the forest.
129. When the conception had taken place, king Śvetakarṇa continued his journey as he had done previously.
130. On seeing her beloved husband going, the chaste lady Mālinī the lotus-eyed daughter of Subāhu followed him to the forest.
131. On the way the youthful maiden gave birth to a tender son. Leaving the son there she followed the king to the forest.
133-136. Taking pity on that noble boy, clouds appeared in the sky. The two sons of Śraviṣṭhā, Paippalādi and Kauśika saw him. They took pity on him, took him up and washed him with water. His sides drenched in blood were scraped on the rock. When his sides were carefully scraped the boy became dark-complexioned like a goat. Hence, the two brahmins named him Ajapārśva. The boy was brought up by the two brahmins in the chamber of Romaka.
137. The wife of Romaka adopted him as her son and brought him up. The boy became the son of Romaki and the two brahmins became her attendants.
138. Such is the race of Purū. The family of the Pāṇḍavas was established there. Their sons and grandsons had their spans of life simultaneously.
139-140. In this context the following verse had been sung by Yayāti the son of Nahuṣa. That intelligent king was highly pleased when old age was transferred to his son. This Earth may be devoid of sun, moon and planets. But the Earth will never be devoid of descendants of Purū.
141. This well known dynasty of Purū has been mentioned to you by me. I shall now mention the dynasties of Turvasu, Druhyu, Anu and Yadu.
143-144. Karandhama was the son of Traiśānu and his son was Marutta. Another Marutta, the son of Avikṣita has already been mentioned by me. This king had been issueless. He performed sacrifice where much wealth was gifted in charity. A daughter named Saṃyatā was born to the king.
145. She was given to the noble Saṃvarta as gift. She obtained a pious son Duṣyanta, descendant of Purū.
146. Thus, O excellent brahmins, the race of Turvasu merged into the family of Purū as a result of the curse of Yayāti in the context of transferring his old age.
147-148. Duṣyanta’s successor was king Karūroma. Āhrīda was born of Karūroma. He had four sons. They were called:—Pāṇḍya, Kerala, Kola and king Cola. Their flourishing realms are Pāṇḍyas, Colas and Keralas.
O king! Babhrusetu was Druhyu’s son.
149-151. Aṅgārasetu was his son. He is called the lord of winds. This mighty king was killed with difficulty in the course of battle with Yauvanāśva. A tremendous battle ensued that lasted for ten months. The king Gandhāra was the successor of Aṅgārasetu. The great country of Gandhāra was named after him. The horses hailing from Gandhāra are the most excellent of all horses.
153-154. Sucetas was the son of Pracetas His sons have been mentioned by me.
156. Kārta was the son of Dharmanetra. His son was Sāhañja. The city Sāhañjanī was founded by Sāhañja.
157. The valorous Bhadraśreṇya was the son of Mahiṣmān. The successor of Bhadraśreṇya was named Durdama.
158. The son of Durdama was Kanaka. The forebears of Kanaka were well known in the world.
160. Endowed with a thousand hands he became the lord of the Earth consisting of seven continents. All alone, he conquered the Earth with a chariot that had the brilliance of the sun.
162-164. Datta granted him four boons of inordinate glamour:—(1) the full complement of a thousand arms. (2) the ability to retain knowledge even in sinful atmosphere (3) After conquering the Earth with fierce ruthlessness, acquiring an ability to reconcile and propitiate the subjects through righteousness, and (4) having won in many battles and having killed thousands of enemies in battle, death at the hands of one superior to him in battle.
165. O brahmins, he acquired a thousand arms only when he was engaged in fighting. They manifested themselves as if by the power of Yoga in the case of a Master of Yogic feats.
166. This entire earth consisting of seven continents and oceans, towns and cities was conquered by him by a ruthless and fierce process.
167. O excellent sages, it is heard that seven hundred sacrifices were duly performed by him in the seven continents.
168-169. O excellent sages, hundreds and thousands of gold pieces were distributed as gifts; in each of these there were golden sacrificial altars. All of them were made splendid by Devas, Gandharvas and celestial maidens stationed in their aerial chariots and fully bedecked in ornaments.
171. Other kings will certainly never emulate Kārttavīrya in performing sacrifices, offering charitable gifts, practising austerities, possessing valour or learning.
172. That Yogin was seen moving about in the seven continents in his chariot, wielding his leathern shield, sword and bow.
173. Due to the power of that great king who protected the subjects righteously there was neither grief nor bewildered flutter among the subjects. No money or valuable article was lost by them.
174. He became an emperor endowed with the enjoyment of all jewels. He alone was the guardian of the cattle. He alone was the guardian of fields.
175-181. That Arjuna who could create showers because he was a Yogin was the lord of clouds. With his thousand arms the skin whereof had become hardened because the bowstring had frequently struck it, he shone like the sun in Autumn with his thousand rays. That brilliant king defeated Nāgas, sons of Karkoṭaka and established them in his city Māhiṣmatī. That lotuseyed king playfully restrained the onward rush of the ocean with his arms during the rainy season and made it flow back. The river Narmadā abounding in crocodiles was rolled up by him when he sported in its waters. With its thousand waves moving to and fro it appeared as though the river approached him hesitatingly. When the great ocean was agitated by his thousand arms, the mighty Asuras residing in the netherworlds hid themselves in fright. With his thousand arms the king agitated the ocean scattering the great waves into sprays, making the fishes and huge whales move about in flutter and flurry, causing the gusts of wind split the foams and stirring up the eddies.
182-185. Thus, he agitated the ocean like the Mandara mountain that had been churned formerly by Devas and Asuras and that stirred up the milk ocean.
Great serpents were frightened by stirring up the ocean. They were suspicious that Garuḍa was about to swoop down on them. In their fear they jumped up. On seeing the terrible excellent king they bowed down with their hoods motionless. They appeared like the stumps of plantain trees swayed by the wind in the evening. By the exercise of his bowstrings he bound the haughty king of Laṅkā (Rāvaṇa) after making him faint with five arrows. He defeated his army in the battle of Laṅkā. Capturing and bringing him under his control forcibly he imprisoned him in his city of Māhiṣmatī.
186. On hearing that his grandson Rāvaṇa had been imprisoned by Sahasrārjuna, sage Pulastya went to Māhīṣmatī and met Sahasrārjuna.
187-193. On being requested by Pulastya he released Rāvaṇa the grandson of Pulastya.
The loud twanging report of his bowstring made on his thousand arms resembled that of the thunderbolt of the throbbing cloud at the close of Yogas.
Indeed, the vain and vigour of Bhārgava was very wonderful since he cut off the thousand arms of that king, the arms that resembled the golden cluster of palm trees.
Once, thirsty fire-god begged of him for enough material to quench his thirst. Accordingly the heroic Sahasrārjuna granted the fire-god his request for alms, the seven continents, cities, villages, cowherd colonies—nay the whole of his realm. Due to the power of Sahasrārjuna all these blazed along with the eagerness of fire-god to burn more. He burned the mountains and forests of Kārttavīrya. Though accompanied by the fìregod he was extremely frightened when he burned the vacant but beautiful hermitage of Vasiṣṭha the son of Varuṇa. Formerly, Varuṇa had begot this brilliant excellent son who became a seer.
194-201. That sage Vasiṣṭha became famous as Āpava. The saintly lord Āpava cursed Arjuna—“A great misdeed has been perpetrated by you, O Haihaya, in not having spared this forest of mine. A powerful man will kill you. The mighty and valorous son of Jamadagni named Rāma will chop off your thousand arms. The powerful resplendent brahmin the descendant of Bhṛgu will thrash you and kill you.”
No doubt, the king had secured the boon whereby the subjects obtained prosperity and did not come to grief. (No doubt) he suppressed his foes. The prosperity of his subjects could be retained only as long as he protected them righteously.
But, due to the curse of the sage, he acted unrighteously and had to court death. In fact, O brahmins, a boon to that effect (i.e. death at the hands of his superior alone) had been chosen by himself. The noble king had a hundred sons, but only five of them survived. These were heroic, mighty and righteous. They were trained in the right use of missiles. They were famous. They were Śūrasena, Śūra, Vṛṣaṇa, Madhupadhvaja and Jayadhvaja.
This Jayadhvaja was a king of Avanti. Kārttavīrya’s sons were mighty and vigorous.
203-204. O excellent sages! many groups of valorous kings are well known among the noble descendants of Haihaya. They were—the Vītihotras, Suvratas, Bhojas, Avantis, Tauṇḍikeras, Tālajaṅghas, Bharatas and Sujātas. They had not been recounted in detail because they are too numerous.
205. O brahmins, Vṛṣa and others were the descendants of Yadu (Because of Yadu they are called Yādavas). They were meritorious in their activities. Vṛṣa was the founder of a separate line. Madhu was his son.
207-209. The Haihayas are called Yādavas after Yadu.
He who daily repeats the story of Kārttavīrya will never incur the loss of wealth. He will regain what is lost.
O excellent brahmins, the lines of the five sons of Yayāti have been glorified thus. They were heroes (wellknown all over the world. O excellent sages, just as the five elements sustain the mobile and immobile beings, they support the worlds.
210-213. On hearing the five lines of kings a king will become an expert on virtue and wealth. He will have self-control. He will have five sons. He will get five rare and excellent things in the world—longevity, fame, sons, prowess and prosperity by retaining five groups in memory. Even as I relate, O excellent sages, listen to the line of kings descending from Kroṣṭṛ who perpetuated the line of Yadu, who performed sacrifices and who was meritorious in his activities. One is liberated from all sins on listening to the line of Kroṣṭṛ since in his family was born god Viṣṇu himself. He uplifted the family of Vṛṣṇi.
Footnotes and references:
Kālaṭjara (a mountain). It is one of the twenty mountains spread on the four sides of mount Mahāmeru.
There is some confusion here. Śāntā was the daughter of king Daśaratha. Lomapāda had adopted her as his daughter. She was married to sage Ṛṣyaśṛṅga. Lompāda was not identical with Daśaratha.
The text puts these verses within brackets without number.
Draupadī had followed Yudhiṣṭhira to the forest.
Māhiṣmatī—identified with the modem Maheśvara on Narmadā, but this seems to be untenable, for Maheśvara lies within the ancient Avanti. Probably the city can be identified with Oṃkāra Māndhātā or such some place near there.
Rāvaṇa—grandson of Pulastya and son of Viśravas. He had two brothers Kumbhakarṇa and Vibhīṣaṇa and a sister Śūrpaṇakhā. He had also a step-brother, Kubera who being the eldest among brothers became the king of Laṅkā. But Rāvaṇa drove him out and himself became a king. Well-versed In the Vedas and the performer of penance and sacrifices Rāvaṇa was called a Rākṣasa because he and his mighty team of warriors protected the country’s coast. The Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, which contains the oldest record of his activities derives the term Rākṣasa from rakṣ to protect. Because of his immoral activities the term lost its original meaning and came to be used in derogatory sense.