The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Invasion of Candavega—The Episode of Kalakanya which is chapter 27 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the twenty-seventh chapter of the Fourth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 27 - Invasion of Caṇḍavega—The Episode of Kālakanyā

[Note: This chapter describes the general course of saṃsāra with Purañjana as the representative jīva.]

Nārada said:

1. In this way, bringing Purañjana under her complete control by her womanly charms, Purañjanī (the queen of Purañjana) enjoyed her life, giving delight to her husband, Oh great king.

2. When the queen who took her full bath and beautified herself with auspicious decorations, approached the king fully satisfied and with bright countenance, he hailed her with joy, Oh king (Prācīnabarhis).

3. Embraced by her, he threw his arms about her neck. He lost his reasoning capacity by the amorous sweet words of the queen in privacy. As he was thus possessed by the young lady day and night, he did not grasp the inexorably rapid course of time.

4. The magnanimous prince, being overwhelmed with lustful passion, lay on a very costly couch with the queen’s arm as a pillow. He regarded her as the supreme objective in life (puruṣārtha) and he did not think of his real transcendental self[1] (or Brahman) as he was over-powered with Tamas (ignorance).

5. Oh king of kings! While he was enjoying pleasures thus with his mind clouded with passion, his youth passed away as if it were half a minute.

6.[2] The emperor Purañjana begot through (empress) Purañjanī eleven hundred sons. But he lost half of his life then.

7. Oh Lord of creatures! He (also) begot eleven hundred and ten daughters called Paurañjanīs. They brought glory to their parents and were endowed with qualities like good character and generosity.

8.[3] That king of Pañcālas (Purañjana) got his sons, (all) capable of continuing the race of their forefathers, married to suitable brides and his daughters to proper bridegrooms.

9. And his son had each a hundred sons who have verily propagated the race of Purañjana in the Pañcāla country.

10. By the formation of a strong attachment (lit. sense of mineness) to (sons and grandsons), the shareholders in his property, house treasures and dependants (e.g. ministers, servants), he became firmly attached to the sense-objects.

11. Being prompted by various desires he became consecrated for sacrifices and worshipped gods, manes (pitṛs), Lord of the goblins with sacrifices terrible on account of slaughter of beasts, as your honour has done.

12. In this way, he remained remiss about his duties (spiritually) beneficial to him, and had his mind strongly attached to his family. Verily there came the period of life (old age) which is repellent to persons addicted to women.

13. Oh King Prācīnabarhis! There was a King of Gandharvas, known as Caṇḍavega (signifying the complete year). The powerful king had a force of three hundred sixty Gandharvas (Gandharvas standing for days).

14. Paired to (i.e. wedded to) them were similar (equal number of) Gandharva women (i.e. nights) some dark, some fair or white (according to the fortnights). By their rotational raids, they plundered the city furnished with all desired objects, since its creation.

15. When those attendants of Caṇḍavega began to plunder the city of Purañjana, Prajāgara, the serpent-guard resisted them there.

16. That powerful presiding deity of the city of Purañjana, single-handedly fought with seven hundred and twenty Gandharvas (male and female) for one hundred years (which is the duration of man’s life).

17. When his relative—the guardian-serpent—began to lose strength by his single-handed fight with many, Purañjana, along with kingdom, capital and relations felt very much distressed with great anxiety.

18. In the capital city of Pañcāla he indulged in drinking and was under the thumb of women, while he used to receive taxes collected by his retainers, he was not aware of the danger.

19. Oh king Barhiṣad (Prācīnabarhis)! There was a certain daughter of Kāla[4] (the Time-spirit) who, being desirous of having a husband, toured over the three worlds. But nobody welcomed her.

20. Due to her misfortune she was well-known over the world as Durbhagā (the unfortunate). She was (once) sought after by the royal-sage, Puru, to whom she gave a boon.[5]

21. One day while she was wandering, she met me when I descended from Brahmā’s region (satyaloka) to the earth. Being infatuated with passion, she sought me even though she knew that I had taken a vow of lifelong celibacy.

22. Getting enraged (at my refusal), she gave me an extremely unbearable curse; ‘Oh Sage, as you have set your face against my importunity, you will never stay at one place.’

23. The girl whose desire was so frustrated then followed my advice and approached the king of Yavanas,[6] by name Bhaya (Fear or Death), and courted him as a husband.

24. “Oh brave warrior! I woo you, the leader of the Yavanas, as my coveted husband. The hope entertained by the creatures in you is never falsified.[7]

25. Good people feel regret for those two (types of) foolish and perverse natured people who neither give nor accept what is offered without any request and which is worth giving or receiving according to custom or Vedic precept.

26. Therefore, Oh good Sir, accept me who am offering myself to you. Please be gracious to me. It is the bounden duty of man to be compassionate with the afflicted.”

27. Having heard the speech uttered by Kāla-kanyā (the daughter of Kāla), the lord of Yavanas, who desired to carry out the secret work of gods (viz., to bring about the death of living beings)[8] spoke to her with a smile.

28. “With the help of my Yogic vision born of my power of meditation, I have foreseen and selected a husband for you (even if) this world does not welcome you as you are both disagreeable (undesirable) and inauspicious.

29. Adopting unmanifest and imperceptible way of movement, you enjoy (each and every being in) the world created by karma. You go in company of my army (of diseases and anxieties) and you will bring about the destruction of all living beings.

30. This Prajvāra (Fatal fever created by Viṣṇu) is my brother. You be my sister. Accompanied by both of you and my formidable soldiers (physical and mental ailments) I shall range this world imperceptibly.”

Footnotes and references:


Or alternatively he did not know what was his and what was another’s.


Here ‘eleven’ signifies the ten sense organs and the mind. ‘Hundreds’ means innumerable activities of senses.

Daughters are the mental activities.


Jīva, the Lord of five senses, married his sons i.e. sense-activities to suitable brides, i.e. thoughts about what is beneficial or otherwise. His daughters i.e. mental activities were associated with virtues like modesty or proper objectives of pleasure.


Kālakanyā= Old age.


This refers to Puru’s acceptance of the old-age of his father Yayāti to himself in exchange of his youth. Yayāti returned his youth to his son and made him the sovereign king after him.—P.I. 2,374.


Yavanas signify physical pains and mental anguish.


VC. takes bhūta as ‘the devotee of god’ and interprets:

‘The purpose of the devotees of the Lord is never frustrated’. Nārada intended that the ‘Fear’ (Bhaya) should grew old and weak by the marriage of Kālakanyā with him. His purpose should be achieved by my marrying you.

(ii) As Bhaya means Kāla (Death or Time) Bhāvārtha-dīpikā-prakāśa adopts the second meaning ‘Time’ and explains: “A plan or determination made at the opportune (auspicious) time always bears fruit. I court you as you are the giver of fruit (success in undertaking) to all.”


Death is kept secret by gods, lest people should renunciate the world.—Bhāvāratha Dīpikā

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