Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 103,924 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes boasting of bhandasura which is Chapter 21 of the Lalitopakhyana (or Lalita-Mahatmya), an important scripture within Shaktism embedded as the final part in the Brahmanda-Purana. It is presented in the form of a dialogue between sage Agastya and Hayagriva, which is incarnation of Vishnu and also includes the Lalita Sahasranama.

Chapter 21 - Boasting of Bhaṇḍāsura

Hayagrīva continued:

1. On hearing the loud noise of the march of goddess Lalitā on her campaign (against Bhaṇḍāsura), those who resided in the city of Bhaṇḍāsura, became exceedingly agitated.

2-3. The city of the wicked and evil-minded Daitya Bhaṇḍa which was on the shore of the great ocean near the mountain Mahendra had been notorious in the three worlds by the name of Śūnyaka.[1] It was the permanent residence of the elder brother of Viṣaṅga.

4. In that very same city extending over a hundred Yojanas, the Asuras became afraid due to their nervousness (on hearing about) the invasion (lit. coming) of Śrīdevī.

5. That entire city of the Asuras extending over a hundred Yojanas became frequently enveloped in smoke, as it were caused by portentous phenomena indicating a great calamity.[2]

6. The walls in the city of that Daitya underwent untimely cracks. Great meteors hovered round the city and fell down from the sky.

7. Earthquake, the first and foremost among portentous phenomena occurred there in the city af Śūnyaka. The entire earth blazed forth.

8-13a. The dwellers in the city of that Daitya experienced an untimely tremor in their hearts. Herons, vultures, cranes and other birds perched themselves on the tops of flagstaffs and looking at the disc of the sun, they hooted and crowed loudly. Many devils and goblins that could not be seen with the eyes, seemed to speak out harshly through ethereal voices.

In all quarters banners appeared soiled and dirty. Being smoky, they caused perplexity and bewilderment among Daityas and Rākṣasas.

Garlands and ornaments of the womenfolk of the Daityas dropped down at inopportune moments. Crying and lamenting bitterly “Alas! Alas!”, they shed profuse tears.

Mirrors, armours, flags, swords, jewels, robes and other assets became unclean and soiled frequently.

13b-17. Everywhere harsh and loud sounds of goblins and evil spirits were heard—on mansions, terraces, sport-halls, upper apartments, cowpens, market places, assemblies, oblong, ponds, quadrangles, crossways, small terraces near the gateway painted turrets, army camps, fortified abodes, in Nandyāvarta houses (i.e. buildings with no gates on the west), in Vicchandakas (Multi-storeyed buildings) that had been agitated, in the frontiers and boundaries of inner apartments for the exclusive use of ladies, in Svastikas (mansions of a peculiar nature), in lying-in-chambers, on minarets and sloping roofs, in windows, rooms, abodes and barns—everywhere loud and harsh utterances of devils and goblins were heard by the crowds of people residing in the city of Daitya.

18-20. Everything became loose and scattered and dreadful. Looking at the sun, the crows began to crow in a harsh note. While they were crying shrilly like this, crores of skulls fell on the earth. Drops of blood fell down in the midst of altars. Bunches of hairs, smoke-coloured and grey, fell down all round.

On seeing these portentous phenomena on the earth, sky and heaven, the residents of the city reported to Bhaṇḍa of renowned prowess about the same.

2ī. Although the series of those portentous phenomena were intense and dreadful, Bhaṇḍa did not lose his courage. He went to the chamber of consultation and deliberation.

22. The leader of Daityas occupied an excellent throne that had been wonderfully studded with many gems and that appeared to be a piece of the body of Meru (i.e. golden.)

23. With the thick cluster of rays of the gems and jewels fitted into his shining crown, the lord of Dānavas brightened the limits of cardinal points and himself shone brilliantly.

24-25. The chamber hall-dais was a large one extending to a Yojana. As he was seated on the elevated throne, his younger brothers Viśukra and Viṣaṅga served him. Their valour, heroism and physical might was formidable. They were dreadful with their powerful arms, the thorns for the three worlds.

26. They never disobeyed the commands of their elder brother. They enhanced his great reputation acquired by conquering the three worlds.

27. With their bent down heads, they pressed his footrest. After joining the palms together in reverence, they sat on the ground.

28. When that excellent one among the enemies of the Devas was present in the chamber of audience, all the vassal kings of Daityas came to see him.

29. Each of them had countless armies. Declaring their own respective names, they bowed down to Bhaṇḍa, the lord.

30. He honoured all those Asuras with benign look with steady pupils and remained thus for a while.

31. Viśukra said to his elder brother, the lord of Dānavas. His voice was like the sound of great ocean while it was being churned or that of the billows.

32-33. “O lord, the sinful evil-natured base Suras have been defeated by you. Their strength and bravery have heen destroyed by your mighty arms. They could not get any person anywhere to seek refuge. Being despondent (and desperate), they ruined themselves by falling into the fire full of blazing flames.

34. From that god of fire, a certain woman has cropped up. She is proud of her strength. The Devas themselves beginning with Vāsava, have created her.

35-37. It is reported that a large number of women attendants equipped with different kinds of weapons have been, encouraged to exhibit their exploits by those over-enthusiastic Devas again. Alas! the butchery of adverse fate. If a group of feeble women were to conquer us in spite of our being powerful, it can also be conjectured that a stone is split by means of sprouts. Of course this guess can only produce contemptuous joke.

38. Is this not ridiculous? Is this not shameful? They must be afraid of even those soldiers who will fight from the front line of our forces.

39. Heaven-dwellers beginning with Śakra have become cowards. The bodies of Brahmā and others have become emaciated with grief, due to my power and weapons.

40. What need one say of Viṣṇu? That Maheśvara too has become frightened. There is nothing to be mentioned of others. All those guardians of quarters have fled.

41. The proud and conceited Devas have been hit by our sharp and invisible arrows that have fallen on their limbs. Their coats of mail have been hit and pierced.

42. Despite the fact that we are endowed with such great valour and such powerful arms, a mere woman is rushing against us to conquer us.

43. Although she is merely a woman, she should never be thought of lightly. Even an insignificant enemy should not be condemned by those who are desirous of victory and confident of themselves.

44. Hence, servants should be despatched to drive her out. That proud and puffed up woman should be brought dragging her by her tresses.

45. O Lord, that wicked woman shall after sometime take up the work of a slave unto the fawn-eyed ladies staying in your harem.

46. Our enemies are afraid of each and every individual soldier in our armies. Indeed, the three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings 'are frightened.

47. Further, the mind of your majesty is the ultimate authority”.

The Dānava (Viśukra) submitted thus and by doing so enchanced the fury of the Daitya Bhaṇḍa.

48. The exceedingly powerful Viṣaṅga who was efficient, thoughtful and prudent spoke thus to the great Daitya, his haughty elder brother.

49. “O Lord, O suppressor of enemies, you alone know everything that should be done. In the matter of policies there is nothing that should be mentioned to you.

50. Every action should be carried out after due deliberation. Careful thought is the ultimate course. If any work is pursued without thought, it will destroy one at the very root.

51. Spies should be carefully sent to the enemy-camp and their strong and weak positions should be understood by one who wishes to achieve victory.

52-53. A king shall have spies as his eyes. He should be of steady intellect. He should be suspicious and always cautious but behave outwardly as though he had no suspicion at all. He should keep his exchange of ideas and counsel as a secret confined to himself and his ṃinisters. He should employ the six expedients of stratagem. Such a king attains victory and honoured position everywhere. A rasḥ and inconsiderate fellow will ruin himself quickly.

54. An undertaking without proper reasoning and deliberation causes loss and ruin. That carried out after due deliberation is conducive to pre-eminent victory.

55. Indifference or disregard in the case of enemies should not be indulged in by kings thinking them to be mere animals or women or insignificant one. It is sure that power exists in everyone.

56. Hiraṇyakaśipu, the lord of all living beings, was killed by a certain spirit that had assumed a body partially of a man and partially of an animal and that had manifested himself out of a pillar.

57. Formerly, a woman Caṇḍikā, a manifestation of Māyā, had killed Mahiṣa, Śumbha and Niśumbha in the battlefield.

58. In that battle many Daityas had been destroyed by her. Hence, I say that no indifference should be shown in the case of any woman.

59. It is Śakti (power) that is the cause of glory of victory everywhere. But we have no fear of anyone whether woman or man who might have become that seat of power.

60. It is the natural characteristic of the world that Śakti manifests itself everywhere. But let the activity of that evil-minded woman be found out and understood by you.

61. Who is she? From where did she originate? What is her habit and practice? What is her basic support? What is the extent of her strength? What is the source of assistance for her? O Lord, let this be thought over by you.”

62-63. On being told thus by Viṣaṅga (Bhaṇḍa spoke thus):—“Where is (the need for) deliberation in the case of exceedingly powerful heroes? In our army there are hundreds of generals of great inherent strength commanding Akṣauhiṇīs. They can quaff off seas and oceans. They are competent to burn down the three worlds. O (foolish fellow) indulging in tidings of misfortune, why are you needlessly afraid of women?

64-69. Everything connected with her has been observed by me through spies. A certain woman having the name Lalitā originated from fire. True to her name she is soft and delicate in features like a flower. There is no intrinsic strength, no vigour and experience or wisdom in affairs connected with war. She is indiscreet in carrying out her tasks, but" she depends much on Māyā. Did she not create from herself a group of women really non-existent, due to the power of her Māyā? It is on account of this, that she exerts himself like this.

Or, as you say, we shall grant that there is a great army. But, by whom can Bhaṇḍa whose greatness surpasses that of the three worlds be defeated? Even now the heaven-dwellers are incompetent even to breathe because they are perplexed and bewildered due to the pressure of my powerful arms.

70-72. Some have hidden themselves deep in the cavities of netherworlds, some in the waters of the sea, some in the corners of the cardinal points and some among the bushes on the tops of mountains. They are excessively frightened. They have abandoned their wives, children and their assets. Those brutes have dropped down from the positions of authority. Now they are moving about in disguise. This frail woman, who is born not very long ago, does not know that I have such valour and power of arms. That is why she is haughty.

73. Foolish ladies do not know anything. In vain do they imagine that they are bold and adventurous. Confused in regard to right and wrong actions, they become victims of ruin.

74-75. Or, if, after keeping her at the head, the heaven-dwellers, great serpents, Siddhas, Sādhyas vainly proud of war, Brahmā, Padmanābha (Viṣṇu), Rudra, lord of the Suras (i.e. Indra) or other guardians of the quarters, do come,

I am competent enough to smash and crush them.

76. Or the generals in my armies who are proud and confident of their ability in war will pound and smash the enemies as though they were ripe cucumbers.

77-90. The following sons of mine are extremely mighty:—Kuṭilākṣa, Kuraṇḍa, Karaṅka, Kālavāśita, Vajradanta, Vajramukha, Vajraloma, Balāhaka, Sūcīmukha, Phalamukha, Vikaṭa, Vikaṭānana, Karālākṣa, Karkaṭa, Maḍana, Dīrghajihva, Humbaka, Halamulluñca,Karkāśa, Kalkivāhana, Pulkasa, Puṇḍraketu, Caṇḍabāhu, Kukkura, Jambukākṣa, Jṛmbhaṇa, Tīkṣṇaśṛṅga, Trikaṇṭaka, Caturgupta, Caturbāhu, Cakorākṣa, Catuḥśiras, Vajraghoṣa, Ūrdhvakeśa, Mahāmāya, Mahāhanu, Makhaśatru Makhaskandī, Siṃhaghoṣa, Śirālaka, Andhaka, Sindhunetra, Kūpaka, Kapilocana, Guhākṣa, Gaṇḍagalla, Caṇḍadharmā, Yamāntaka, Laḍuna, Paṭṭasena, Purajit, Pūrvamāraka, Śvargaśatru, Svargabala, Durgākhya (Durga), Svargakaṇṭaka, Atimāya, Bṛhanmāya, Upamāya, Ulūkajit, Puruṣeṇa, Viṣeṇa, Kuntiṣena, Parūṣaka, Malaka, Kaśūra, Maṅgala, Draghaṇa, Kollāṭa, Kujilāśva, Dāsera, Babhruvāhana, Dṛṣṭahāsa, Dṛṣṭaketu, Parikṣeptā, Apakañcuka, Mahāmaha, Mahādaṃṣṭṛa, Durgati, Svargamejaya, Ṣaṭketu, Sadvasu, Ṣaḍḍanta, Ṣaṭpriya, Duḥśaṭha, Durvinīta, Chinnakarṇa, Mūṣaka, Aṭṭahāsī, Mahāśī, Mahāśīrṣa, Madotkaṭa, Kumbhotkaca, Kumbhanāsa, Kumbhagrīva, Ghaṭodara, Aśvamedhra, Mahāṇḍa, Kumbhāṇḍa, Pūtināsika, Pūtidanta, Pūticakṣus, Pūtyāsya, Pūtimehana and others like them. They are on a par with Hiraṇyakaśipu, in bravery and Hiraṇyākṣa in great strength.

91-92. Hundreds of heroic sons have been born to each of them.

My generals are all proud and aggressive. When they are followed by my sons they will destroy all haughty and vile Devas in the battle. If anyone were to be angry even if they have thousands of excellent Akṣauhiṇīs, they will surely be reduced to ashes in the battle. What then, alas! in regard to a feeble woman?

93. All of them in her battle-field exhibit their magical illusory power of Māyā. But our soldiers take delight in Mahāmāyā (greater Māyā). They will make their army reduced to ashes.

94-95. Hence, let not your mind be dejected by baseless and needless doubts and fears”.

After saying thus, the leading Daitya got up from the throne and said to Kuṭilākṣa, his general of very great strength:

“I say, get up. Prepare and mobilise the entire army (for battle).

96. Post the soldiers at all the entrances all round the city of Śūnyaka. Fortify all the fortresses. Make arrangements for fixing hundreds of Kṣepaṇikās (slings and similar instruments to discharge missiles).

97. Arrangements should be made by ministers and priests for evil rites of Black magic. Equip yourself fully with weapons and missiles. The war is imminent.

98. Send ahead someone from the commanders of the armies along with many divisions of soldiers. Let him be formidable and dreadful to look at.

99-101. Drag that foolish woman conceited on account of the strength of the Devas, by means of her tresses after she has been defeated by that general in the course of the battle.” After speaking thus to Kuṭilākṣa of great strength, the commander of the army in charge of three thousand soldiers, he himself went to the harem.

Then the sounds of the drums of march of victory of Śrīdevī who was rushing on as the soldiers passed over, were heard by the leading Daityas. They caused excessive earache for them.

Footnotes and references:


The location is imagined to be in Orissa. There is no coasted town in Orissa which can be even linguistically connected with Śūnyaka.


VV. 5-20 describe the evil portents in the city of Śūnyaka, Brahmanical and Jain works agree with majority of these portents and their implications, e.g. Thānāṅga Sutta 405.8, 608 for 8 Mahānimittas. Ancient Jain teachers like Bhadrabāhu Dharasena were experts in interpreting omens.

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