Harivamsha Purana

by Manmatha Nath Dutt | 1897 | 293,872 words | ISBN-10: 8178542188 | ISBN-13: 9788178542188

This page is entitled “the fight between the gods and demons” and represents Chapter 45 of the first book (‘Adi Parva’) of the Harivamsa (English translation in Prose). The Harivamsha Purana narrates the lineage and life-story of Krishna (Hari). Although not officially mentioned in the list of Puranas, this book includes topics such as geology, creation theory, time (manvantaras), ancient historical legends and accounts of royal dynasties.

Chapter 45 - The Fight between the Gods and Demons

1. Thereupon there took place a terrible encounter between the armies of the gods and demons desirous of vanquishing each other.

2. Armed with various weapons the Danavas fought with the gods as if the mountains were fighting with the mountains.

3. Thus there took place a wonderful encounter between the gods and demons, with fairness and unfairness, humility and pride.

4-6. Then there fell on all sides from the sky cars drawn by quick-coursing horses, and soldiers with swords in their hands. Maces were scattered all over. With these and arrows, full drawn bows and clubs that war, of the gods and demons, grew exceedingly terrible. It created terror all over the world and assumed a dreadful form like the whirling clouds at the hour of the universal dissolution.

7. Throwing with their hands Parighas and stones the Danavas began to assail Indra and the other gods in battle.

8. In that great encounter the gods were greatly assailed by the highly powerful Danavas with whom appeared all the signs of success and their (faces) grew pale. They were grinded by the network of weapons of Diti’s sons; their heads were cut off by their Parighas, their bodies were mutilated and the wounds made copious discharges of blood.

10. Being fettered by the nooses of the Danavas, wounded by their arrows and possessed by the illusions of their women the gods stood motionless.

11. They were stupified and showed no signs of life. The Asuras made the celestial army inert so that they could not use their weapons.

12. Throwing away the nooses of illusion of the Danavas, withstanding and cutting off their arrows with his thunder-bolt the thousand-eyed king of gods entered into the dreadful army of the Danavas.

13-16. Having slain all the Daityas who were stationed in front with his dark weapons he covered the entire demon-army with darkness. Being thus enshrouded with darkness through the energy of the king of gods they could not make any distinction between the gods and demons. Thereupon being freed from the nooses of illusion and being very careful the gods began to slay the Danavas who were overpowered with darkness. Thereat being assailed, bereft of consciousness and dark-hued on account of the darkness, the Danavas began to fall down like mountains having their wings cut off.

17. Then the palace, of the king of Danavas, consisting of cloud-like demons and resembling an ocean stricken with darkness, appeared as the very form of darkness itself.

18-19. Thereupon consuming that illusion of darkness the Danava Maya created a highly dreadful illusion of forest-fire resembling the fire of dissolution. When that illusion, created by Maya, destroyed all darkness, the Daityas, assuming forms, effulgent like the sun, again appeared in that battle-field.

20-22. Being consumed by the illusory forest-fire the gods appeared before Soma lying on the dews. Having their lustre destroyed by the forest-fire and been consumed thereby the gods, stricken with grief and seeking refuge, communicated it to their king the holder of thunder-bolt. When the celestial soldiers were assailed by the illusion of Maya and consumed by the Danavas, Varuna, commanded by the king of gods, thus said.

23-24. Varuna said:—O king of gods, in the days of yore, the energetic Urva, the son of the Brahmana saint Bhrigu, adorned with accomplishments like those of Brahma, practised hard austerities. Like the eternal sun he assailed the whole world with his penances. The Brahmana saints, with the gods and ascetics, appeared before him.

25. The Danava-king Hiranyakasipu communicated it to that highly energetic Rishi.

26-27. The Brahmana saints then addressed to him the following sacred words; "This family, of the Rishis, is about to be extinct now, since, you, being alone and having no issue, are not thinking of perpetuating your race. Adopting a life of celibacy you are practising these hard penances.

28. Many familes of self-controlled Rishis, are on the verge of extinction on account of the absence of of any offspring. Only one body exists.

29. If all these families disappear for want of descendants there is no chance of their being multiplied. You are the foremost of ascetics and are effulgent like Brahma.

30. Therefore think of multiplying your race and you yourself multiply yourself. Devote your great energy and produce your second body."

31. Thus addressed by the Rishis and having his mind agitated that self-controlled ascetic blamed them and said.

32. "This had been laid down in the days of yore as the eternal duty of the Munis living in the forest on roots and following the religion of the Aryans.

33-34. The well-practised vow of celibacy of the Brahmanas, born from Brahma, agitated even Brahma himself. To officiate as priests, to teach and to accept fees are the three-fold duties of the Brahmanas living as house-holders. To live in the forest is our duty who, (observing the vow of celibacy) live in hermitage.

35-96. Practising hard penances and giving preference to chastity in thought, words and deeds, the Munis, living on water, those living on air, the Dantolukhalikas,[1] Ashmakuttas,[2] Dashanapas,[3] and Pancatapas,[4] attain to the most excellent state.

37. Through this chastity in thought, words and deeds the Brahmanas attain to their Brahmanahood. The Brahmavadins, living in the most excellent region, have recorded this.

38. "Patience resides in Brahmacaryya,[5] asceticism exists in Brahmacaryya and those Brahmanas, who practise it, attain to the celestial region.

39. Without Siddhi,[6] there is no yoga, and without yoga there is no fame. There is no other glorious asceticism in this world than Brahmacaryya.

40. Having subdued the five elements and five organs of sense one should practise Brahmacaryya. What other greater Tapas is there than Brahmacaryya?

41. The shaving of the hairs in the absence of yoga which the Sanyasins are bound to practise, the observance of the difficult (Candrayana) vow (for pleasing the people) in the absence of determination (to go to the next world), the practice of religion in the absence of Brahmacaryya—these three are designated as Dambha[7] .

42. When Brahma created his mind-begotten progeny where had he his wife and where was his co-habitation and where was the agitation of his mind?

43. You, self-controlled Rishis, have a great ascetic energy. Therefore create your mind-born progeny by your patriarchal works.

44. The ascetics should procreate progeny through their mind-born source. They should not marry and beget children on their wives.

45. What you have said, being yourselves all pious men, about the different religious practices, appears to me as thoroughly immoral.

46. By this my effulgent body consisting of soul and identical with mind, I shall pro-create a son, begotten of my body, without espousing a wife.

47. By the forest, regulations[8] I shall create, out of this body of mine, a second body capable of consuming the creatures."

48-49. Thereupon being engaged in Tapas and placing his thigh into the fire Urva began to churn an Arani,[9] capable of giving a son, with a Darbha.[10] Thereupon all on a sudden enveloped with flames there came out the fire in the shape of a son desirous of consuming the universe.

50. Riving the thigh of Urva there came into being the all-ending and the wrathful fire Aurva as if desirous of consuming the three worlds.

51. As soon as he was born, he said to his father in burning words:—"O father, I am stricken with hunger. Leave me, I shall eat up the whole world".

52. At that time yawning with flames that had gone up to the celestial region the all-ending fire completely consumed the ten quarters and all the elements and thus increased itself.

53. In the meantime the Lord Brahma, the master of all creatures, went where that Muni begat that most excellent son.

54. He saw there the worlds along with the Rishis blazing up with the thigh-begotten fiery son of Urva and assailed by Aurva’s fire of anger.

55. Thereupon honouring the Rishi Urva Brahma said to him:—"Bear this energy of your son out of compassion for the world.

56. O Vipra, I shall confer upon this son of yours the most excellent virtue of patience. And I shall bestow on him the best of habitations and nectarine food. Hear these my truthful words, O foremost of speakers".

57. Urva said:—"Blessed I am. I have received a great favour since the Lord has conferred a great grace on my child and given him this inclination.

58-59. How will this my son, when he will attain to the desirable youth, acquire happiness on being honoured with Havyas? Where will be his house and what will be his food? What sort of food will you arrange for this highly powerful one commensurate with his strength."

60. Brahma said:—This boy will live in the mouth of the ocean resembling that of a mare. O Vipra, I am born of water, so his body will be made of water.

61. Always living on watery food I live in the water. I shall give your son this food. Let him bring it.

62. O you of firm vows, at the time of the termination of a yuga this fire will consume all the worlds. United with him I shall repeatedly eat up the worlds.

63. This fire has been made by me to live upon the water of dissolution. He will consume all the creatures with the gods, Asuras and Rakshasas.

64. Saying "So be it," and casting off his effulgence before his father Aurva, enveloped with consecrated flames of fire, entered into the mouth of the ocean.

65. Thereupon Brahma and other great Rishis returned to their respective habitations. And being informed of the power of Aurva fire they resorted to their respective courses.

66. Beholding the wondrous affair Hiranyakasipu, placing all his limbs on the ground, worshipped Urva and said the following words "

67. O Reverend Sir, wonderful is this affair that has been witnessed by all the worlds. O foremost of Munis, the grand-father has been pleased with your penances.

68. O you of great vows, if I am worthy of being praised for my actions know me as your and your son’s servant.

69. Behold me as engaged in worshipping you. If I meet with discomfiture, O foremost of Munis, it will be your defeat."

70. Urva said:—"I have been also blessed and honored since you have accepted me as your preceptor. O you of firm vows, you have no longer any fear of ascetic observances.

71. Do you take this fiery illusion which even the fires, without fuels that have been created my son, cannot easily touch.

72. This illusion will help you in killing the enemies of your family; it will protect your own army and consume the enemies".

73. Saying 'may it be so’ and saluting that foremost of Munis Hiranyakasipu, the king of Danavas, was pleased and returned to the celestial region.

74. Varuna said:—This is that illusion, which the deities cannot bear, and that had been created in the days of yore by Urva’s son Aurva.

75. With the death of that Daitya it has undoubtedly been shorn of its power. It had been imprecated with a curse in the days of yore by him who had created it

76. If we can strike against this illusion the king of gods will be happy. Give me, O Sakra, my friend Nishakara (the moon) who is born of water.

77. Being united with him and Yados[11] and controlling my senses, I shall by your favour, undoubtedly destroy this illusion.

Footnotes and references:


One who eats grain without its having been threshed, anchorite.


Breaking or bruising anything with a stone.


Those who practise penances on the peak of a mountain.


Those who practise penances in the midst of fire.


Chastity in thought, words and deeds.


The consummation of the Yoga practices and the attainment of the object thereof.


It means here hypocrisy.


Regulations observed by Rishis living in the forest.


Wood for kindling a fire exciting it by attrition.


Kusa or sacrificial grass.


Aquatic animals.

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