The Bhagavata Purana

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

This page describes Battle between Gods and Asuras which is chapter 10 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 tenth chapter of the Eighth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 10 - A Battle between Gods and Asuras

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Śuka continued:

1. In this way, Oh King, though Dānavas and the Daityas were careful and put in their best of efforts (in churning the ocean), they did not obtain the nectar because they had turned away their face from Lord Vāsudeva.

2. Having accomplished the production of ambrosia and having made his votaries, the gods, to drink of it, the Lord rode on the back of Gaṛuḍa and flew away while all beings were simply looking on (agape).

3. Seeing the best luck (in succeeding to drink the nectar) of their enemies and being unable to tolerate it (out of jealousy), the sons of Diti (Daityas) attacked gods with their weapons uplifted.

4. With their power increased by drinking of nectar and depending on the feet of Lord Nārāyaṇa as their asylum, all the gods retaliated unanimously with their weapons.

5. There, on the shore (of the Milky Sea) was fought the fiercest and the most bloody battle called (after the belligerents as) the Devāsura battle (the report or sight of) which made the hair stand on end, Oh King!

6. There (on the sea-shore) the enemies with their minds full of wrath clashed (against each other) on the battle field and struck one another with swords, arrows and various other weapons.

7. Terrific was the noise caused by the blasting of conchs and trumpets, beating of tabors, drums and Ḍamarus and of the trumpeting elephants, neighing horses, rattling chariots and shouting soldiers.

8. In that battle, warriors in chariots clashed with carwarriors, foot-soldiers with foot-soldiers, horses with horses and elephants with elephants.

9. Some soldiers fought riding camels, some on elephants while others on donkeys, some on white-faced bears, while others on tigers and monkeys.

10. Some fought (while sitting) on the back of Kites, vultures, cranes, on hawks and bhāsas (a kind of bird), whales (Timiṅgalas) and Śarabhas (eightfooted animal capable of killing a lion), bisons, rhinoceros, bulls, buffalos and Aruṇas.

11. Some fought (riding) on the backs of jackals, rats, chameleons, hares and men; some others on goats and sheep, deer and swans, while others on hogs.

12. Some fought riding birds of land and of water and others on animals of deformed shape. Warriors on both the sides penetrated more deeply and further still.

13. 15. Like two oceans swarming with sea-monsters shone the two (warring) armies of Deva and Dānava warriors with their ranks of fighters distinguished by their flags of different colours, by their spotlessly white umbrellas with highly precious handles studded with diamonds, diamond handled fans made of feathers of peacock tails and chowries; with their upper garments and turbans waved up by winds and with their burnished armours and ornaments glittering brightly and their sharp weapons sparkling in the rays of the sun.

16-17. In this battle the commander-in-chief of the Asura force was Bali, the son of Virocana whose aerial car was called Vaihāyasa. It was manufactured by Maya and was capable of flying to any place at the occupant’s will. It was equipped with all war-materials and weapons. Oh King, it was full of wonder that it surpassed all imagination and description (or could not be accurately located due to its unpredictable and quick movements); sometimes it was visible and sometimes invisible.

18. Surrounded by the commanders of Asura forces, Bali occupied that foremost aerial car. With chowries being waved on either side and with a white umbrella, he shone like a rising moon.

19-22 On all sides around him, in their respective aerial cars, attended various squadron-leaders of Asuras such as Namuci, Śambara, Bāṇa, Vipracitti, Ayomukha, Dvimūrdha (A two-headed demon), Kālanābha, Praheti, Heti, Ilvala, Śakuni, Bhūtasantāpa (the tormentor of all beings), Vajradaṃṣṭra, Virocana, Hayagrīva, Śaṅku-Śiras, Kapila, Meghadundubhi, Tāraka, Cakradṛk, Śumbha, Niśumbha, Jambha, Utkala, Ariṣṭa, Ariṣṭanemi, Maya, the Lord of the three flying cities and other demon (tribes) such as Pauloma, Kāleya, Nivāta-Kavaca and others.

23. Without receiving any share in the soma or nectar, they had only to undergo hardships and exertions (for churning out the nectar). All of them had mostly vanquished the gods, just at the beginning of the battle.

24. Roaring loudly like lions, they blasted their loud- sounding conchs. Perceiving his foes so proud (and confident of their strength), Indra, the killer of the demon Bala, became extremely enraged.

25. The king of heaven (Indra) who rode Airāvata, the elephant supporting the eastern direction, shone like the sun. (the Lord of the day) rising on the eastern mountains with cascades (of water) gushing down.

26. Around Indra stood gods in their respective vehicles, with flags and wielding various weapons. There were the guardians of the world like Vāyu (the Wind-god), Agni (the fire-god), Varuṇa (the Lord of waters) and others along with their followers.

27. Assaulting each other violently and reviling one another in biting terms, cutting to the quick, they rushed forward challenging each other and engaged in duels.

28. Bali fought with Indra, Guha conflicted with Kārtti- keya; Varuṇa contended with Heti, and the Sun-god with Praheti, Oh King.

29. Yama on his part combated with Kālanābha, Viśvakarmā verily gave battle with Maya; Śambara battled with Tvaṣṭṛ and Virocana with Savitṛ.

30. Namuci took up arms against Aparājita, the pair of Aśvinī-Kumāras against Vṛṣaparvā, the Sun-god alone against the hundred sons of Bali of whom Bāṇa was the eldest.

31. Soma (the Moon-god) gave battle with Rāhu; Anil [Anila?] (the wind-god) with Puloman; the mighty goddess Bhadrakālī with Niśumbha and Śumbha.

32. Vṛṣākapi combated with Jambha, Vibhāvasu with the demon Mahiṣa, Ilvala along with Vātāpi with the sons of god Brahmā (such as Marīci and others), Oh Vanquisher of enemies.

33. Durmarṣa fought with Kāmadeva (the god of Love), Utkala with (seven) Mother-goddesses; Bṛhaspati fought with Śukra, and Śanaiścara (the presiding deity of the planet Saturn) with Naraka.

34. Maruts contended with Nivāta-Kavaca demons, the Vasu-gods with the Kāleya-tribe of Daityas, (gods called) Viśvedevas with the sons of Puloman and the (eleven) Rudra- gods with Krodhavaśa serpents.

35. In this way, in the battle wherein Asuras (demons) as well a leaders of gods were fighting in duels and collectively in as body, approached one another and with the desire of gaining victory, violently struck one another with sharp arrows, swords and iron clubs and javelins.

36. They chopped off the heads of each other with (weapons called) bhuśuṇḍi (a fire-arm), discuses, maces, lances, battle axes, Śaktis, Ulmukas (fire-brands) prāsas (a barbed missile) Bhallakas, (long swords), parighas (iron bars), mudgaras (hammer-shaped weapons), and bhindipālas (small javelins).

37. Elephants and horses (along with their riders), warriors riding chariots and foot-soldiers, riders of various animals and conveyances were cut down to pieces, their arms, thighs, necks and legs were hacked and hewn; their flags, bows, coats of armour and ornaments were torn and tattered.

38. Heavy dust that was raised by trampling and pounding under feel the battle-ground, and the dashing of the wheels of the chariot against it, enveloped the quarters, the sky, and the sun, but settled down to the ground by profuse flood of spouts of blood (of the wounded warriors—the spouts of blood reaching up to heaven drenching the clouds of dust).

39. That battle-field appeared bright as it was thickly strewn with heads from which the diadems and ear-rings were forcibly shaken off (and fallen), with eyes blood-shot with wrath, and tightly closed lips bitten with anger, long and stout arms decorated with ornaments and still clasping the weapons and thighs shapely like elephant’s trunk.

40. The headless trunks of the warriors sprang to their feet and (as if) perceiving through the eyes of their fallen heads, rushed on the battle-field onwards the opposing warriors with their arms uplifted in their powerful arms.

41. Bali discharged at Indra ten arrows, three at the elephant Airāvata, four (one arrow each) at the four guards of Airāvata, and one at the conductor of the elephant.

42. Just with a smile, the prompt and valorous Indra cut them in the transit with equal number of sharp Bhalla arrows, even before they could reach him.

43. Observing his excellent skill (in archery) Bali, being intolerant, took in his hand a Śakti (a dart-like missile) dazzling like a big meteor. But Indra cut it while it was in the hands of Bali.

44. Then in a serial order Bali took up a Śūla (a spear), a prāsa (a barbed missile), a tomara (an iron club) and ṛṣṭi (a double-edged sword). But whatever weapon Bali took, the mighty Indra cut it all.

45. The Asura (Bali) then disappeared and created his demonic illusion. Oh King! there appeared a mountain over the head of the celestial army.

46. From the mountain fell down the trees burning with forest-conflagration, and rocks with chisel-pointed ends descended therefrom crushing the hostile forces to powder.

47. From that mountain rushed forth large serpents, cobras, scorpions, lions and tigers and boars crushing down big elephants.

48. Loudly shouting ‘cut down’, ‘Break asunder’ hundreds of naked female Rākṣasīs (ogresses), armed with pikes, appeared along with multitudes of Rākṣasas. Oh King.

49. Large roaring clouds with deep, terrific thunder and blown by stormy wind, rained live coals of fire.

50. A wide spread formidable fire driven by powerful gales and most terrible like the fire at the end of the universe, was created (with his black magic) by the demon (Bali) and it began to burn the army of goḍs.

51. Then there appeared all around them an ocean transgressing all its limits and looked terrible on account of the waves and whirlpools tossed by strong gales.

52. While such terrific illusions were being conjured up by Daityas, powerful in black magic, and dangerous because of their invisible movements, the celestial soldiers stood appalled and despondent.

53. Oh King! Indra and other gods did not know how to counteract this illusion when the glorious Lord, the creator of the universe was contemplated and he manifested himself.

54. With his feet tender as young leaves, placed across the shoulders of Garuḍa (of beautiful wings), he appeared clad in yellow silken garments, with his eyes like a pair of budding lotuses. He wielded eight weapons in his hands. He wore the resplendent Śrī (Śrīvatsa mark) on his bosom, and the Kaustubha gems round his neck, an invaluable crown and a pair of priceless ear-rings as well.

55. Hardly did he enter the battle-fields the illusion conjured up by the (black magic) tricks of the Asuras disappeared by the greatness of the destroyer of all types of māyās just as a dream breaks up on the return of wakefulness, the very recollection (remembrance) of Hari, put an end to difficulties.

56. Perceiving that Hari arrived on the battle-field on his Garuḍa, Kālanemi who was riding a lion, whirled his javelin aloft and hurled it at him. Playfully seizing it as it was about to fall on the head of Garuḍa, he killed the enemy (Kālanemi) along with his animal with that very weapon.

57. Assaulting the Lord by whose discus the over-powerful Mālī and Sumālī fell down with their head severed on the battle-field. Mālyavān (another Asura General) was about to strike Garuḍa on the head with his heavy mace when Hari, the Supreme-most person, lopped off the head of the enemy who was roaring loudly.

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