The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes The medical treatment for a serpent bite (dashta-cikitsa) which is chapter 295 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 295 - The medical treatment for a serpent bite (daṣṭa-cikitsā)

Fire-god said:

1-2. I shall describe to you the treatment of a (poisonous) bite [i.e., daṣṭa-cikitsā] by means of mystic formulas, meditation and herbs. “Oṃ, Obeisance to lord Nīlakaṇṭha[1] (Śiva)”. The repetition of this (mantra) would be an antidote for poison. Liquid cowdung with clarified butter should be drunk as a life-saving medicine. Poison is said to be of two varieties—the poison due to animals such as the serpent, rat etc. and that due to the plants such as the śṛṅga etc.

3-4. Lord Brahmā is represented by the soft vowels and those known as lohita and capable of protecting represent Lord Śiva. This (the following) is a mantra (bearing) the name of the bird Tārkṣya (eagle, vehicle of Viṣṇu) consisting of letters (sacred to it).

Oṃ! burn! A person of great intellect! is for the heart. Garuḍaviḍāla is on the head. To Garuḍa the crest-bird of heaven is for the tuft. “O Garuḍa! One who destroys the poison! One who pierces! You frighten and trample down” (is the mantra) for the armour. “One whose command none can dispute! huṃ! phaṭ” (is the mantra) for the weapon. “One who bears a dreadful appearance! One who frightens all! You frighten all! Burn. Burn them into ashes. Oblations” (is) for the eye. (In order to worship Garuḍa with the above mantra) a lotus (diagram) is contemplated in the heart. The seven constituent elements (of the body are assigned therein). The vowels are arranged in the petals pointing to the eight cardinal points. The letters are located in the filaments etc. The fire (is located) near the pericarp (of the lotus). Then the snake-charmer should mentally remember it on the palm of the left hand. The letters should then be assigned on the thumb and other (fingers). Thus the constituent parts of the mantra of the bird are distributed.

5-7. Then (Lord) Indra, the presiding deity of the earth, of yellow colour, is assigned in a quadrilateral of the form of a mace. The white-coloured (Lord) Varuṇa, the presiding deity of water, (is assigned) in a semi-circle like the half of a lotus. (Lord) Fire, the presiding deity of lustre, (is assigned) in a svastika figure (inscribed within a triangle). (Lord) Wind, (is assigned) in a circle with a dot, bearing a black garland. These are assigned respectively in the middle of the fingers beginning with the thumb in their respective places covered by golden (images of) Garuḍa.

8-10. The four letters of the mantra (should be contemplated) as having a good halo of similar radiance. They should be located in the formless ether, presided over by (Lord) Śiva of the form of the subtle principle of sound. The first letter (of the mantra) should be located on the middle fold of the little finger. The first letters of the serpents are also located as being present in their own spheres. The first letters of the earth and other elements are located on the last mark of the thumb etc. Then a wise man should locate the proximate qualities such as the subtle principles and the like on the fingers.

11-14. By the touch of this Tārkṣya (mantra) assigned on the hand all kinds of poisons would be destroyed. Then the letters of the mantra of the bird should be located in the halos in the regions of the umblicus [umbilicus?] and the joints of the body. It is excellent to have it as two fingers long. A wise man should contemplate Tārkṣa (the Eagle), who pervades the cosmic universal egg, who wears the serpent ornament known as the candra reflecting the blue hue of his dreadful beak and who has the great wings from the knee (to the navel) as golden coloured, from the navel (to the neck) as snow-coloured, from the neck (to the hair) as red like the saffron and from the ends of the hair as black. There would thus be a charm for a poison from the statement of a charmer who is pervaded by (the letters of) the Tārkṣya (mantra).

15-20a. A blow with the fist, thus charged with the Tārkṣya (mantra), would remove poison. Raising the hand charged with the Tārkṣya (mantra) and passing over (the place of bite) the five fingers, and by having a look at the person intoxicated, one would arrest the spread of the poison. One should arrest the spread of the poison by the repetition of the (following) mantra: “This bhūbīja (mantra), the lord of the five letters has descended from the sky. I shall arrest the excessive poison.” By reversing the bhūbīja, the resultant mantra, “Flood, Flood, Yama!”, well-accomplished, would remove the poison. This would raise one like a stick, by bathing him with water after repeating (this mantra) well. Similar result could be obtained by hearing the sound (produced) by a conch or bherī (war drum) after repeating (this mantra) properly. (This mantra) with the inversion of (the components of) earth and splendour would burn (the poison). This mantra with the inversion of (the components of) earth and wind would transfer the poison.

20b-24. The practitioner of this charm possessing the shape of the figure of Garuḍa, should practise this act inside his own house with the components of earth, fire, moon and water. The repetition of this (mantra) in the abodes of Garuḍa and (Lord) Varuṇa would destroy the poison. This is said to be the holy jānudaṇḍī. It would destroy all posions and ward off fever, diseases and untimely death by bathing and drinking (the water consecrated by its repetition) marked with the components of (the syllables) svadhā and śrī. “Oh! Bird! Bird! Great bird! Great bird! Vi! Vi! Oblations! Oh! Bird! Bird! Great bird! Great bird! Kṣi! Kṣi! Oblations!” These two mantras of the king of birds are capable of destroying poison by chanting. (The gāyatrī mantra of Garuḍa is): “We contemplate the king of birds. We meditate on the lord of the birds. May that Garuḍa prompt us (our minds)”. Then “Kāla and Lāṅgalī”, the (mantra) of Nīlakaṇṭha (blue-necked, an epithet of Śiva) bearing the insignia of tooth and stick should be assigned on the chest, neck, tuft etc. on the body in front of the fire after consecration. Hara! Hara! Obeisance to the heart! To the head, for Nīlakaṇṭha, to the tuft! Oblation to one who drank the poison kālakūṭa[2]! Then the armour on the neck. (Obeisance) to the three-eyed lord wearing the hide of elephants (present) in (the region of) the eye! The faces of the Lord from the east onwards (should be then contemplated) as having (the colours of) white, yellow, red and black.

25-29. The Lord should be contemplated as offering protection and boon and holding the bow and the serpent in His hands. (Goddess) Gaurī and (Lord) Rudra (are contemplated) as His presiding deity above and on the left. After having assigned the letters of the mantra on foot, knee, private organ, navel, heart, neck, face, head, hands, fingers beginning with the thumb, fore-finger and folds (on the fingers) and then all of them should be assigned on the thumb. After having contemplated thus, (they) should be bound quickly with the mudrā (formation made with the fingers), (in the shape of) a spike. The little finger should be held by the thumb. The other three are stretched out quickly. (This is that mudrā.) The left hand (is used) for destroying the poison and the right hand in other acts. “Oṃ! Obeisance to Lord Nīlakaṇṭha! Ciḥ! To the clearnecked! Ciḥ! (Obeisance) to the omniscient neck! Ciḥ! Cast down! Oṃ! Oblations! (Obeisance) to the clear-necked, bluenecked! To the destroyer of more than one or all poisons! Obeisance to (Lord) Rudra-Manyu!” The poison gets destroyed by rubbing with this (mantra) or by repeating in the ear or by (wearing) the sandal. There is no doubt. (Lord) Bluenecked, the great lord should be worshipped by following the rule laid down for the worship of Rudra. One would destroy the poison and disease by doing worship according to the rules of Rudra (worship).

Footnotes and references:


As he has drunk the deadly poison that came out of the milky ocean as it was churned.


The poison that came out from the milky ocean when it was churned.

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