The Bhagavata Purana

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

This page describes The Lord’s Manifestation as Mohini (The Enchantress) which is chapter 8 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 eighth chapter of the Eighth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 8 - The Lord’s Manifestation as Mohinī (The Enchantress)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Śuka said:

1. When the (Kālakūṭa) poison was drunk up by god Śiva (whose emblem is the bull), these celestials and demons felt (relieved and) delighted, and began to churn the sea with (redoubled) force. Out of that churning emerged Surabhi (the wish-yielding cow).

2. The sages, the expounders of the Vedas (who devote themselves to sacrifices) accepted it (Surabhi which supplied materials like milk, ghee, useful for sacrifices) for (obtaining) sacred oblations in sacrificial performances which constitutes the path of gods (leading to the region of Brahman).

3. After this came out a horse named Uccaiḥśravas which was radiantly white like the moon. Bali expressed his desire for it (and took possession of it) but not Indra, as per instructions given by the Lord.

4. Next sprang forth the majestic (moon-white) elephant called Airāvata which, by its four tusks (huge like peaks of mountains) eclipsed the splendour and beauty of the white (snowy) mountain, Kailāsa, (the abode) of the glorious god Śiva.

5. Out of the (churned) ocean, came out a jewel called Kaustubha, a precious stone of ruby type. Hari expressed his desire to have that jewel as an adornment for his chest.

6. Thereafter, arose the (celestial tree) Pārijāta the ornament of the heavenly region,—a tree capable of conferring eternally all the objects desired by the supplicants just as your honour (Parīkṣit) does on the earth.

7. Next to that came out (celestial nymphs) adorned with gold necklaces (and other ornaments), clad in excellent raiments, who delight the denizens of heaven with their charming gait, sportive movements and bewitching glances.

8. And thereafter was manifested goddess Lakṣmī, the very embodiment of Affluence (Śrī), the delight of Lord Hari (Ramā), who is (absolutely) devoted to the glorious Lord. She illumined with her splendour all the quarters (making people residing therein desirous to have affluence), even as the flash of lightening does against the crystalline reflector like mountain Sudāmā.

9. With their minds agitated by the excellence of her glorious beauty, graceful mobility, youthful age and brilliant complexion, all of them including gods, demons and human beings, cherished a desire for her (in the form of affluence as they know her to be the mother of the three worlds).

10. The great Indra offered her a highly wonderful seat, while principal rivers, in their personal form, brought sacred waters in gold pitchers (for her ablutions).

11. The earth supplied all the herbs and plants required for her ablutions: cows, the five sacred articles (such as milk, curd, ghee constituting the pañcagavya) and the spring, all kinds of fruits and flowers produced in the vernal months of Caitra and Vaiśākha.

12. (With these articles) the seers laid down the procedure of Śāstric rites for her ablutions; while the Gandharvas began to sing auspicious song (in mellifluous notes), and celestial damsels well-versed in dancing, danced and sang.

13. The (presiding deities of) clouds poured forth the sounds of musical instruments like mṛdaṅga, paṇava, muraja, ānaka and gomukha (various kinds of drums, kettle drums etc.) and produced notes of conchs, flutes, string instruments like vīṇā in a loud fan-fare.

14. Thereafter, while Vedic hymns were being chanted by Brāhmaṇas, elephants supporting the four quarters, bathed with gold pots filled with sacred waters, the virtuous (sacred) goddess Śrī who was holding a lotus in her hand.

15. (When her bath was over) the ocean presented her two pieces of yellow silk raiments (one for the lower part of the body and one for the upper). Varuṇa offered her the garland Vaijayantī—by sucking honey from which the blackbees got intoxicated.

16. Viśvakarmā, the progenitor, presented her with various wonderful ornaments; Sarasvatī. a necklace of pearls; and Brahmā, a lotus and serpents, a pair of ear-rings.

17. Thereafter, when the auspicious mantras for averting evils were chanted and the benedictions were given (by Brāhmaṇas)[1], the goddess Śrī took in her hand a garland of (blue) lotuses with a swarm of black bees loudly humming about it. Her exceedingly beautiful countenance beaming with a bashful smile and with the dangling of ear-rings pressed against her lovely cheeks, she set out (in search of her Lord).

18. With a pair of symmetrical, big breasts (closely touching each other) pasted with sandal and saffron, and a beautifully slender waist, she shone like a moving creeper of gold while she moved through the big assembly, making sweet jingling sound of her anklets.

19. She (The goddess Śrī) the embodiment of Affluence was looking out for a resort (viz. a husband) absolutely faultless, eternal and endowed with everlasting excellences, but she could not get one among the gandharvas, yakṣas, demons, siddhas, cāraṇas, celestials and others (in that assembly).

20. (The goddess Lakṣmī[2] in the form of Affluence says to herself.)

“Verily a person possessing asceticism has no control over his anger (e.g. the sage Durvāsas); (similarly) someone is endowed with wisdom but is not above attachment (e.g. Bṛhaspati or Śukra—the preceptors of gods and demons); some possess greatness but have no control over libidinousness (e.g. god Brahmā or Soma); how can a person (like Indra) who depends for his protection on others (or who is deprived of his position by others i.e. enemies) can be a ruler?

21. Righteousness is found in some but they lack compassion for other beings (e.g. Paraśurāma); some others have liberality but that is not conducive to Final Liberation (e.g. King Śibi); some are endowed with virility and prowess, which are subject to the ravages of Time; while the other who is (like Sage Sanaka completely free from attachment to guṇas, will have no place for (i.e. will have nothing to do with; the other person (even his wife, as he is always absorbed in meditation).

22. In some person there is a long life but they are not of amiable nature (liked by women, as, like Mārkaṇḍeya, they are always self-controlled); even that virtue is found in some but the duration of their life is unknown; in some (e.g. god Śiva) there is both (longevity and amiability) but even he is inauspicious (as he stays in funeral grounds). And he who is exceedingly auspicious (as well as long living and lovable) but he (being self-satisfied) does not care for me”.

23. Coming to this conclusion (after deliberation), she elected as her spouse, Lord Viṣṇu (Mukunda) who was most worthy due to his everlasting excellences, absolute independence and desirelessness, who is transcendental to the guṇas of Prakṛti find was sought by all spiritual powers and (hence) was coveted by her even though he is disinterested in all.[3]

24. She placed on his shoulders (round his neck) the beautiful garland of blooming lotuses, resounding with the hum of intoxicated black bees. She stood by him silently waiting (for his grace). She indicated through her eyes blooming with a bashful smile that she attained to his bosom, her permanent resting place.

25. Lord Hari, the Father of the Three worlds offered his bosom as the permanent abode to Śrī (the celebrated consort and beloved of Hari), the mother of the three worlds who was the very embodiment of affluence and fortune or the source of all prosperity and riches. Being thus established (permanently and cosily), she promoted the welfare of all her creatures, the three worlds along with their rulers, by her compassionate and benign glances.

26. There was a loud chorus of the music and melodious notes issuing from the singing and dancing of the Gandharvas (lit. the followers of celestials) along with their wives (celestial damsels) and of the musical instruments such as conchs, trumpets, and drums (which were being played in its accompaniment).

27. Showering flowers on him, all progenitors of the worlds headed by Brahmā, Rudra, and Aṅgiras began to chant the glories of the All-pervading Lord in sacred hymns descriptive of his excellences and of appropriate import.

28. Being looked upon (with Grace) by Śrī, the gods, progenitors of the worlds along with their creation, became endowed with virtuous nature and other excellences, and attained the supreme-most felicity.

29. When the Daityas and Dānavas were disregarded by the goddess Lakṣmī, they became dispirited, voluptuous, indolent and devoid of the sense of shame, Oh king.

30. Thereupon, arose the presiding deity of wine, Vāruṇī by name, in the form of a girl with lotus-eyes. The Asuras verily took hold of her, by the consent of Lord Hari.

31. As the sea was being churned by the sons of sage Kāśyapa (viz. gods and demons) with a desire to get the nectar there appeared a highly wonderful personage.

32. His (pair of) arms were long and muscular (stout); his neck was adorned with three lines as on a conch; his eyes were reddish: complexion bluish (like a cloud); youthful in age; wearing a wreath and adorned with all ornaments.

33. Clad in yellow garment, the broad-chested person was adorned with ear-rings of highly polished jewels; his hair were soft, glossy and curly even to their ends; that charming person walked with a lion-like gait.

34. Adorned with bracelets and bearing (in his hands) a jar full of nectar, he was indeed a direct manifestation of a minute portion of a ray of the most glorious Lord Viṣṇu.

35-37 He was the well-known Dhanvantari, the Father (or revealer) of the Science of Medicine (lit. Science of life) who is a recipient of a special share in sacrificial offerings. Beholding him and the jar brimming with nectar (in his hands), all the demons, being covetous of appropriating all the products (of the churned ocean) to themselves, forcibly snatched away the jar (from him). As the jar containing nectar was thus being forcibly taken away by the Asuras, the gods, being dejected at heart sought refuge with lord Hari. Observing their pitiable condition described above, the glorious Lord who confers the desired objects to his servants (votaries), consoled them (thus): “Do not feel dejected. Both by sowing dissensions among the Asuras and by assuming the form of Mohinī (a charming damsel) through my deluding Yogic power, I shall accomplish your object”

38. With their hearts burning with the desire of grabbing the nectar, there arose a quarrel among them, each clamorously saying, “I must get it first”, “my priority first”, “Not you”, “Not you”.

39. “Gods too, who contributed their labour (efforts) to achieve this (production of nectar) deserve their due share in this (nectar) just as in a Satra-yāga all the performers of the sacrifice participate equally in the merit accruing from it). This is the eternal Law.”

40. Oh king! In this way the weaker demons who got jealous of the stronger ones who usurped the jar (of nectar) constantly protested to them.

41. In the meanwhile, the Supreme Ruler Viṣṇu who knows all expedients, assumed an extremely wonderful form of a young damsel (charming) beyond the power of words.

42. The form (of the damsel) was attractive to the eyes. It was blue like a lotus, in complexion, beautiful in every limb. Its ears were symmetrical and adorned with earrings. Its countenance had beautiful cheeks and a shapely nose.

43. Its waist was slender due to the heavy breasts developed by blooming youth. Its eyes looked frightened (as if) by the humming of the black-bees attracted by the fragrance of its mouth.

44. It wore on its profuse mass (locks) of hair a wreath of blooming Mallikā (a kind of jasmine) flowers. Its shapely neck was beautified by a necklace and her beautiful arms were decked with armlets.

45. It appeared enchanting due to her girdle enhancing the beauty of islet-like big hips covered with shining (spotless) cloth. A pair of anklets making a jingling sound while walking decorated its feet.

46. By its bashful smiles, dancing eye-brows and amorous glances, it constantly provoked passion in the hearts of the Daitya generals.[4]

Footnotes and references:


Kṛta-svastyayana—The commentator note the pun on Svastyayana: Śrī who has her permanent abode (ayana) on the auspicious bosom of Lord Viṣṇu (Svasti).


Bhāvārtha-dīpikā-prakāśa explains that a great goddess like Lakṣmī possessed the knowledge of the past, present and the future. Hence she rejects persons though not present in the assembly.


Bhāvāratha Dīpikā adds: Lakṣmī thought that though Viṣṇu is not interested in others due to His immersion in eternal spiritual bliss, He would not neglect her after marriage, as He entertains the Siddhis. She would consider herself blessed in His service. There is no propriety in marrying ordinary persons.


Padaratnāvalī’s text continues this chapter to the end of the next one. Thus Bhāvāratha Dīpikā’s 9th chapter corresponds to Padaratnāvalī’s 8th chapter.

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