Harivamsha Purana

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

This page is entitled “the fight between madhu and vishnu” and represents Chapter 24 of the third book (Bhavishya 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 24 - The Fight between Madhu and Vishnu

1. Vaishampayana said:—That powerful Daitya Madhu of dreadful prowess bound Mahendra on that mountain with a sharpened noose[1].

2-4. According to the words of Pralhada and on the wane of true understanding Madhu, desirous of possessing the future dignity of Indra, bound him all on a sudden with invincible iron nooses; and issuing out for battle at the head of his army he invited the fierce Vishnu for fight, as if urged on by death himself.

5-11. Having divided themselves into divisions Kashyapa’s sons subjected themselves to Madhu’s control. And taking up huge clubs they ran out for battle. The Gandharvas and Kinnaras, expert in the art of singing and dancing, sang and danced on all sides. With the sweet music of stringed instruments they pleased the fighting Madhu and made him absent-minded. When the Danavas and Devas came within each other’s view Madhu, shouting up, fixed his mind on singing. As fire lives secretly in wood, so Vishnu, with his Yoga eyes, drew Madhu’s mind into the objects of senses and disappeared in the mount Mandara. Having their minds pained a little the Rishis, of burning intelligence, placed the Grandfather before them and disappeared within a moment.

12. Worked up with anger, Madhu, having eyes rolling in intoxication, struck Vishnu on the forehead with his hands. But he did not lose a single step for it.

13-16. Vishnu too struck with the tip of his finger the Daitya Madhu on the breast. Thereat vomitting blood he dropped down on earth. Awating for the the hour of wrestling Vishnu, of inconcievable prowess, expert in fighting, did not strike the Daitya when he fell down. Thereupon touching the ground with his knee-joints the Daitya Madhu rose up like Indra’s flag-staff. And having his mind filled with anger he, as if, consumed all the quarters with his eyes. Afterwards roaring with harsh words and desirous of killing one another they engaged in wrestling.

17-19. They were both endued with the strength of arms, expert in fighting, great ascetics and truthful. Those two great heroes began to assail each other. It appeared that two mountains, with rocky wings, were fighting with each other. Infuriated with fighting they wrestled with one another on the ground. And as two elephants strike each other with their tusks so they struck each other with their nails.

29-29. Thereupon as after the termination of the summer season and in the beginning of the rainy season gold, mixed with other mineral substances, comes out of the mountains so blood gushed out profusely from the wounds. Covered with gushing blood they began to tear the surface of the earth with their feet. Striking each other in many ways those two heroes fought as the two birds, desirous of eating flesh, fight with each other with their wings. Thereupon creatures heard the Siddhas sing the glories of Vishnu identical with truth and all spiritual powers in the sky over Pushkara. With the elements of fire, water and earth this body is formed. And consciousness is then set to that body. United with the body and senses as consciousness the great Brahman is called Jiva. When the subtle cause is destroyed all the primary elements exist in it, and that subtle substance again appears in many forms. The subtle soul, although disassociated from the body, pervades all objects of the three worlds as consciousness and enjoys them. For the suppression of the wicked and protection of the pious. Isvara, identical with Yoga and the protector of Dyuloka, assumes the form of a man, Shesha, tortoise and others and upholds Ananta who holds up the earth and the four Vedas identical with himself. The Lord exists in the Brahmanas as the Vedas, in the Kshatriyas as warfare, as trade in the Vaishyas and as service in the Sudras.

30. Living in the kine the Lord is distributing amongst you milk and sustaining you. Stationed in sacrificial ingredients he is protecting you with fruits, the departed manes with the smoke of Havi and the gods with a portion of Havi.

31. With four elements and seven sorts of food the Lord, along with the departed manes, is protecting the three worlds.

32. The form of those seven kinds of food is the sun and the moon, which becomes manifest and unmanifest through their own energy.

33. Mind, words and vital breaths—these three continually increase the sun; and with the remaining four the moon increases in his own disc.

34. The three classes of Pitris spoil the balls of food offered to them and the remaining four classes accept them.

35. As gold is converted into an ear-drop so you are hidden in the five senses: you dost live in egoism and other principles; you hast emanated from the Eternal and Undecaying Brahman.

36. The fire and air draw energy from you: because they draw their energies from you you are called Aditya.

37. When the end of the cycle sets in, you dost as if scorch the universe with your rays and devour it: and therefore you dost attain to the highest spiritual power.

38. In Amavashya (the night in which the moon is not at all visible) and the full-moon night you dost range secretly with the Rishis sprung from the sun, moon and the Vasus.

39-40. You dost celebrate sacrifices which yield nourishment, grant heaven and do not bring about the deterioration of virtue. During Amavasya and Purnima you dost appear in trees, herbs and the earth as the moon. And for being born again you dost take birth every fortnight.

41. O lord of elements, whatever exists on the surface of the earth for the nourishment of creatures who have gone away and who will come again is identical with you.

42. All the daily obligatory rites that are extant on earth are identical with you. You are at one with Yajna, Karma, Mantra, words and atman.

43. There are two ways leading to heaven, the sun and the clear moon. The latter is the way to the region of the departed manes and the former is to that of the celestials.

44-48. In the shape of creatures and guided by mortal regulations you dost range in the universe only; destroying the senses in your own form you are living invisible to all. You are born alone; you are the ancient universal Purusha: you are undecaying and incomparable: you are self-controlled and yet you dost play. In energy you are like fire, and you are ranging assuming the form of air: and you are always enveloped with five subtle elements. In the work of the control of mind and external senses you dost exist as Jiva; in the work of emancipation you are the Pure Intelligence; and in the work of daily destruction you are in the form of Rudra. You dost protect the universe as Vishnu. The various orders and castes are identical with you: you are the consciousness of the eye and senses. The self-controlled and sinless Munis, who have attained the Great Brahman through their works, who consider the friend and foe as equal, always serve you.

49-58. Thus eulogised by the various Siddhas and Munis the great Vishnu thought of the form of Hayashira. While the Lord assumed the form identical with the Vedas and the body identical with all the gods Siva remained on his head and Brahma in his heart. The rays of the sun remained on his Kundalas and the moon and the sun on his two eyes. The Vasus remained on his two Janghas and all the Siddhas and gods on his joints. The Vedas remained in his words, the Maruts and Varuna on his knee-joints. Having thus assumed a huge form, highly wonderful even unto the gods the Lord Hari, with his eyes reddened in anger, began to assail the Asura the very personification of stupefaction. Like unto a youthful damsel clad in a white cloth the earth was filled with Madhu’s fat and flesh.

59. Therefore, O king, the earth is called Medini and perhaps for thousands of Asuras she has obtained the appellation of Dharani.

Footnotes and references:


The esoteric meaning of the passage is that Madhu the spirit of stupefaction which is a demonaic emotion, binds (Mohendra) the soul within the body.

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