Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

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

This page describes durmada and kuranda slain which is Chapter 22 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 22 - Durmada and Kuraṇḍa slain

1-2. The sound of the Dundubhi (the great war-drum) of the leading Asuras that rose up then, became a proud response of sound to that produced by the war-drums of the army of Śrīlalitā. The three worlds shook and trembled on account of that sound that deafened the worlds, suppressed the cardinal points, and stirred up the bowels of the ocean.

3. The sound of the war-drums of the Daityas suppressed the cardinal points, pierced the caves of mountains and overwhelmed the extensive firmament.

4. The Jhallarī (a kind of drum[1]) of the demons produced a loud, harsh and discordant sound resembling the proud roar of infuriated Huṃkāra of the great Man-lion (Viṣṇu).

5. Thereupon, crores of Daityas producing reverberating chattering noise furiously prepared themselves (to fight) against Parameśvarī (Lalitā).

6. One of them covered himself with a coat of mail wonderfully studded with gems and jewels of various kinds and colours. He shone like a mobile lofty Rohaṇa mountain (Adam’s peak in Ceylon).

7. A certain soldier shook and waved an extremely bright and glistening sword that was terrible like the Kālarātri (Night of destruction) and that had been preserved well by the weapon maker.

8. Stroking the tip of his spear by means of his fingers, a certain soldier mounted on a horse displayed different kinds of movement in the street.

9. Some soldiers rode on elephants of huge-sized bodies as though on mountains propelled and tossed about by the violent gusts of winds of portentous phenomena.

10-19a. Crores of Daityas were fully equipped with coats of mail and had the following weapons and missiles in their hands.[2] viz.: Paṭṭiśas (a spear with a sharp edge), Mudgaras (a hammer-like weapon), Bhiduras (Thunderbolts), Bhindipālas (a short javelin thrown with hand), Druhaṇas, Drughaṇas (Mallets, wooden maces), Bhuśuṇḍis (fire arms MW) Kuṭhāras (daggers), Musalas (Pestles, clubs), Gadās (Maces), Śataghnīs (bombarding instruments), Triśikhas (Three-pronged arrows), Viśikhas (Iron-tipped arrows), Ardhacakras (Arrows with crescent-shaped tips), Mahācakras (great discuses), Vakrāṅgas (arrows of crooked shapes), Uragānanas (serpent-faced arrows), Phaṇiśīrṣaprabhedas (different kinds of missiles shaped like hoods of serpents), different kinds of bows made of horns etc., batons, Kṣepaṇikaśastras (Different kinds of slings and similar devices for discharging missiles), Vajrabāṇas (adamantine arrows), Dṛṣadvaras (excellent rocks and pebbles for hurling), missiles of various sorts and shapes such as Tavamadhyas, Muṣṭimadhyas, Valalas and Khaṇḍalas, daggers of hundreds of varieties-with angular middles, fang-shaped, tips etc., nooses of diverse varieties Pāśatuṇḍas (snout-like nooses) Kākatuṇḍas (weapons-shaped like the beaks of crows), and thousands of similar weapons and missiles very dreadful and capable of destroying living beings. They rode on various animals and birds such as horses, elephants, donkeys, camels, wolves, hounds, crows etc., vultures, herons, tigers, and others on hons etc. Some rode on Śarabhas (eight-footed fabulous animals), Bheruṇḍas (a species of birds), Boars, Vyālas (savage beasts, snakes), ghosts etc. Thus seated on various vehicles they marched against Lalitā with violent fury filling up their minds.

19b. Bhaṇḍa sent the crooked and fraudulent Dānava the chief of an army division, named Durmada, against Lalitā, along with ten Akṣauhiṇīs.

20. Accompanied by those exceedingly mighty soldiers of leonine strength, who appeared to be desirous of burning the entire universe, that general proceeded towards Lalitā.

21. Splitting and piercing the fourteen worlds by means of loud sounds of big war-drums and shoutṃg and howling along with boisterous laughs, Durmada went in her direction.

22. Thereafter, on being commanded by Bhaṇḍāsura, Kuṭilākṣa of great strength deployed Tālajaṅgha along with ten Akṣauhiṇīs at the Eastern entrance to the city of Śūnyaka for the sake of its protection.

23. At the southern entrance to the city, he empolyed a Daitya named Tālabhuja accompanied by ten Akṣauhiṇīs, for its protection.

24. At the western entrance to the city, he appointed the Daitya named Tālagrīva along with ten Akṣauhiṇīs for its protection.

25. He directed Tālaketu, the exceedingly powerful (Daitya), to be at the northern entrance to the city along with ten Akṣauhiṇīs, for the sake of its protection.

26. He directed ten Akṣauhiṇīs to stay in a circle along the rampart wall in the cubicles and bunks over the copings.

27. Thus, by means of fifty Akṣauhiṇīs of soldiers, he made due arrangements for the defence of the city of Śūnyaka and reported it to his master.

Kuṭilākṣa reported:

28. “O Lord, at the behest of your Majesty, armies have been deployed for the defence of the city. At the outset Durmada has already been despatched towards that wicked Lalitā.

29. That frail woman can easily be made frustrated merely by means of our domestic servants, yet the royal convention is that proper arrangement for the defence of the city should be made.”

30. After saying thus to Bhaṇḍa, the ruler of the Daityas, the excessively haughty Kuṭilākṣa, accompanied by the commanding officers of different divisions of the army kept the entire army on the alert and ready to act.

31. A Dānava had previously been sent as a messenger1 by Kuṭilākṣa. In the company of an army, with tumultuous uproar, he had encircled the army of Lalitā.

32. With a great clatter and clutter, thousands of Daitya soldiers waved their swords and fell on the soldiers of Śakti.

33. Those dreadful Śaktis with boisterous laughters and shouts, fought with the Dānavas with their swords gleaming brightly.

1. For dūta N. reads yastu ‘The Dānava who was despatched previously’.

34. In the course of that war between Śaktis and Dānavas, the three worlds became exceedingly agitated and heavy dust spread throughout the sky.

35. Intensified in the shafts of the chariots, amplified by the trumpets of elephants and scattered by the deep breaths of the horses, the dust columns rose up in the sky.

36. On seeing him rushing in accompanied by ten Akṣauhiṇīs, Sampatsarasvatī furiously ran towards him in the battlefield.

37. Horses and elephants in their rut occupied (and guided) by the Śaktis equal (in strength) to Sampatkarī thrashed and smashed the army of Dānavas.

38-41. When the noisy mutual fight gathered intensity with clattering and cluttering melee, war-drums were sounded loudly and dust columns were raised profusely. Great streams of blood of thousands of Dānavas struck down by the Śaktis began to flow here and there. Torn and cut off by the arrows, the banners rolled and wallowed scattering their emblems along with scores of umbrellas. The myriads of umbrellas that had fallen on the battle ground red with blood could be compared to the moon in the midst of red clouds at dusk.

42. Like the mass of flames of the Kalpa fire that envelops the fine ocean, the soldiers of Daityas surrounded the army of Śaktis.

43. Heaps of heads of the Dānavas rolled down on the battle-field when the necks (of Dānavas) had been chopped off by the sharp edges of the brilliant weapons of the army of Śaktis.

44. The battle-ground became entirely filled with heads with lips bitten (and firmly pressed by the teeth), terrible with knitted eyebrows and with eyes turned red due to fury.

45. When the battle that terrified all worlds thus began, Śaktis who became excessively furious thrashed and smashed the army of the Daityas.

46. Struck down by the weapons of Śaktis and hit by the armies of goddess Sampaddevī in this manner, the Dānavas fell down senseless here and there and died there (on the battlefield).

47. Thereupon, Durmada the suppressor of enemies encouraged his army that had been utterly vanquished and routed, mounted a camel immediately and rushed against the army (of Śaktis).

48. Goaded furiously and occupied by Durmada, the longnecked camel vehicle with elevated back moved ahead (quickly).

49. (The Daityas) with fury in their minds followed that vicious (Durmada) who was seated on a camel. Desirous of fighting with Śaktis, he consoled the frightened Dānavas.

50. Like the cloud that showers the forest with water, he showered the circular military array of Sampatkarī’s forces in all quarters with arrows with their points dazzling brilliantly.

51. Struck and hit with many arrows by that Daitya of unbearable inherent strength, in the course of battle, the army of Sampatkarī became as though stunned and stupefied for a moment.

52. With her eyes reddened on account of anger, Sampadambikā rode on the elephant Raṇakolāhala and fought with him.

53-55. Her hand that appeared more beautiful when the tinkling bangles moved to and fro, drew the bowstring in the course of battle upto her ear.

Due to the dexterity and quickness with which her hand moved, no one saw the drawing (of the string) or the discharge (of the arrows). The bow was seen in a circular form only when the arrows were fixed.

The arrows discharged forth from the bow of Sampatkarī, came rapidly into contact with the sun’s (rays) in the sky and their tips shone clearly. The arrows then burned the enemies.

56. The fight between her (i.e. goddess) and Durmada was excessively intensified. Flames issued forth when the arrows came into clash with one another.

57. Darkness was caused by the arrows of Sampaddevī and the demon, discharged and scattered by them at the outset as they concealed the sun.

58. In the meantime, sparks and flames were ignited by the rapid clash of the arrows and they had the appearance of eddies and whirlpools.

59. The elephant Raṇakolāhala mounted by that lady of excellent hips (i.e. Sampadambikā) exhibited many kinds of valorous feats in the course of battle.

60-62. He (the elephant) thrashed a few Daityas with his trunk; some by kicking them with his feet; other Dānavas by hitting them with his raised up tusks as powerful as ironclubs, others with lashing blows of his tail as tough as stems of trees; other enemies with shrieks and howls, still others with the heavy pressures of his huge body; others by piercing them with h is nails and some Daityas by butting upon them with his huge head. Thus the elephant of Sampaddevī displayed various feats of cleverness and bravery.

63. With his face reddened with wrath, Durmada hit and removed a precious gem from the crown of Sampatkarī, with a powerful and tough arrow.

64. Thereat, her eyes became red with anger. Durmada was hit with arrows discharged by her. Wounded by them on the chest, he gave up his ghost instantaneously.

65. Thereupon, the excellent soldiers in the army of Śaktis shouted uproariously. Many other excellent Dānavas, the foremost among the soldiers of Durmada were killed by them.

66. Those who survived death among Daityas were vanquished completely. They fled from battle-field and took refuge in the city of Śūnyaka.

67-68. On hearing that news, the lord of Dānavas became furious as though he blazed forth within himself, due to his own intrinsic mighty power. Surveying (all round) with savage eyes, he placed his hand on his sword and spoke to the chief commander of the armies, Kuṭilākṣa who was near him.

69-71. “How did that wicked woman strike down the mighty Durmada in the fight? Mischievous and grievous indeed is the way of fate. Neither among the Suras nor among the Yakṣas nor among the leading Uragas (serpents) was his powerful attack ever withstood. Even that Durmada has been killed by a feeble woman. Do indeed despatch the general named Kuraṇḍa who is proud of taking part in battles, in order to defeat that wicked woman and drag her by plaited hair violently”.

72. On being sent forth thus by him, Kuṭilākṣa called upon Kuraṇḍa of great strength with brawny arms, to present himself in front of the lord.

73-74. Kuraṇḍa came there and made obeisance to his master. Kuṭilākṣa said to him: “Go and ask the soldiers to be ready.

You are an adept in the employment of Māyā, O Soldier, skilful in diverse wonderful tactics in war. You are equally skilful in treacherous battle. Thrash and defeat that woman.”

75. Thus directed by Kuṭilākṣa in the presence of his lord, king Kuraṇḍa of fierce exploits set out immediately from the city.

76. The dreadful Kuraṇḍa, the elder brother of Durmada, went to the battle surrounded by twenty Akṣauhiṇīs of soldiers. By means of his elephants, horses and foot-soldiers he appeared to pound and suppress the sphere of earth.

77. Though he was haunted by the evil spirit of grief and anger, he was steady and bold in his mind. Seated on his horse of great velocity he galloped on enveloping the extremities of cardinal points by means of dust columns.

78. He took up his horn-made bow and made a dreadful twanging sound. With continuous discharge of arrows, he showered the great army of Sampatkarī.

79-83. He taunted and threatened goddess Sampatkarī thus:

“O sinful woman, you have killed my younger brother Durmada who was justifiably proud of his ability in war. In vain do you possess a great haughtiness with only an iota of real valour. Look. With these iron arrows, I shall now and here despatch you to the city of Antaka (god of death). My Raṇapūtanās (Evil demonesses of battle) drink the exceedingly tasty and heartening spate of female blood of extraordinary nature gushing out from the crevasses (open wounds) of your body.

O vile woman, you will now reap the fruit of sin arising out of the slaughter of the younger brother. See the prowess of my arms”.

After threatening Sampatkarī seated on an excellent elephant, he encouraged his army to attack and subjugate the army of Śaktis.

84. Thereupon, Caṇḍī who prepared herself to thrash and smash the army of Kuraṇḍa of great might encouraged her own army.

85. Getting interested in an unusually delightful battle,, she (Caṇḍī) came there riding on her horse and spoke these affectionate words to her (Sampatkarī).

86. “Dear friend, Sampatkarī, may my words be listened to with love. Hand over the fight with this fellow to be pursued by me, resulting in good benefits.

87. Forbear awhile. This fellow will be engaged by me in fight. You have been requested in the capacity of a friend. Do not have any hesitation in this regard.”

88. On hearing these words of hers, Sampaddevī of pleasant smiles, turned away her army that was about to face Kuraṇḍa.

89-90. Horses equal in velocity to the wind and appearing like the billows of the ocean of the army, were mounted by the Śaktis having a lustre similar to that of the rising sun. With their hard hoofs they frequently scraped the ground. They rushed against the army of Kuraṇḍa in a single file.

91-93. The Dānavas of haughty nature were encouraged by Kuraṇḍa. They fought with Śaktis in the army of Ambikā seated on a horse. These Śaktis were conversant with the workings of minds of horses in the course of the battle. They were skilful in the different manipulations of the bridle in order to make the horses turn back, spring etc. They could encourage the horses through signs from the tips of fingers or toes. They were equally good at guiding the horses in their different movements, in treading with their hoofs and five types-of trots and paces.

94. When the fight between Śaktis and demons went on like thus, (the goddess) mounted a speedy horse named Aparājita. Riding the horse, she rushed against Kuraṇḍaka of evil conduct.

95-96, Goddess Turagānanā (Horse-faced) who appeared delicate and greceful with the braid of hair moving to and fro, who was as dazzling as the digit of the autumnal moon, whose face was as beautiful as the sphere of the moon that is red at dusk, smilingly took up her jewel-set bow and showered Kuraṇḍa with series of arrows.

97. Arrows fitted with golden feathers were discharged by the goddess seated on the horse spread over the extremities of quarters. They pervaded ten directions.

98. Kuraṇḍa of fierce exploits, the elder brother of Durmada, furiously showered the goddess mounted on the horse by means of arrows issuing forth from the Śārṅga bow.

99. Even the horse of the goddess seated on the horse, speedily split and hit the army with its hard and dreadful hoofs. It thrashed and smashed Dānavas.

100. Many of the armies of that enemy fainted and swooned from far at the neighing sound of that horse whose sound resembled the portentous roar of the ocean at the time of ultimate dissolution (of the universe).

101. The Hayāsanā (Horse-seated goddess) moving about here and there among the troops of Daityas, released her divine weapon Pāśa (noose) of blazing appearance.

102. From that Pāśa crores of other Pāśas as terrible as serpents issued forth. They bound the entire army and overpowered them.

103. Thereupon, Kuraṇḍaka who had become furious on account of the fact that his soldiers had been bound, cut off with a single arrow the string of her jewel-set bow.

104. Abandoning the bow when the string had been cut off, Hayāsanā who had become very furious struck at the chest of that vicious fellow with her goad.

105. The life-blood of Kuraṇḍaka was quaffed by that blazing goad. Thereupon he fell down on the ground like a tree hit by thunderbolt.

106. Some dreadful Pūtanās issuing forth from that goad devoured the entire army along with the blood oozing out of the noose and vanished thereafter.

107. When Kuraṇḍa the leader of twenty Akṣauhiṇīs was killed thus, the Daityas who survived death fled quickly.

108. On hearing that Kuraṇḍa was struck down in the battle along with his younger brother by the armies of Śaktis, the lord of Śūnyaka heaved a deep sigh like a hissing serpent.

Footnotes and references:


MW p. 429A.


VV. 10-19a give a list of weapons used in mediaeval India. The varieties of arrows, use of fire-arms and projectiles are note-worthy.

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