The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes nrisimha incarnation and race of hiranyakashipu which is Chapter 5 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.

Chapter 5 - Nṛsiṃha incarnation and race of Hiraṇyakaśipu

Summary: Nṛsiṃha Incarnation: Hiraṇyakaśipu Killed: Race of Hiraṇyakaśipu: Birth of Maruts.

The Sages requested:

1-2. “Please explain to us in detail the origin and death of Daityas, Dānavas, Gandharvas, serpents, Rākṣasas, cobras, ghosts, vampires, Vasus, birds and creepers.” On being asked thus, Sūta replied to the excellent sage:

Sūta said:

3. “Two sons and a very powerful daughter were born to Diti. Those two sons of Kaśyapa are remembered as the. eldest of all.

4-5. On the day of Sautya (i.e. the day on which the juice of Soma is to be extracted), when the sacrifice Atirātra was to be performed, Kaśyapa was seated in a separate seat well known as Hiraṇyakaśipu at the time of Aśvamedha (Horse sacrifice). The son came out of Diti’s Garbha (womb) and sat (near Kaśyapa’s golden seat) in different places all round.[1] Due to this activity, he is remembered as Hiraṇyakaśipu.”

The Sages said:

6. “O holy lord, narrate in detail the name, nativity and prowess of the noble-souled Daitya Hiraṇyakaśipu.”

Sūta said:

7. In the holy place of pilgrimage named Puṣkara, Kaśyapa performed a horse-sacrifice. It had been adorned by their presence by the sages, Devas, and Gandharvas,

8. When the horse was duly let loose for roaming about, when the rites of Ākhyāna (Narration) etc were to be duly performed, five golden seats were kept ready.

9-12. Three of them were Kulāspadāni (the basic emblems of his family[2]), the other two were the Kūrca (bundle of Darbha grass) and Phalaka (wooden plank). Among these four one was set apart for the chief Ṛtvik. A seat made of gold was separately kept ready for the Hotṛ. That womb (the newly born child) occupied that gold chair meant for the Hotṛ. He recited the narration (Ākhyāna). Seeing this the sages gave him an additional name (?). He was remembered as Hiraṇyakaśipu, on account of that activity.[3] Hiraṇyākṣa was his younger brother and Siṃhikā was his younger sister.

13-15. That gentle lady was the wife of Vipracitti and the mother of Rāhu.

Hiraṇyakaśipu, the son of Diti, performed very great penance for a hundred thousand years without taking in food and keeping his head downwards. When Brahmā was pleased he sought the following boons: Viz. Sarvāmaratva (the state of being or assuming the form of all the Devas and non-destruction from all living beings). He conquered Devas by means of his yogic power and assumed Sarva-Devatva (the state of being all the Devas).

16-17. He said:—“I shall be endowed with strength and virility and I shall carry out the activities of Īśvaras (Devas). Let Dānavas, Asuras and Devas become subject to my control along with Cāraṇas. They must be near me (i.e. wait on me) and they must take food only after me. I must not be killed with any weapon wet or dry. I must not be killed during daytime or at night.”

On being told thus, Brahmā granted the boon with all his heart.

Brahmā said:

18-20. “O dear one, O son of Diti, the boon sought by you is very great. Gome on. The promise shall now be thus alone.”

After granting him what he wished for, he vanished there itself.

“The son of Diti pervaded the entire universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings by means of his greatness. The conqueror of foes he could assume many forms.

He used to assume the form of the moon and the sun and blazed in the sky.

21. He alone became the wind and blew continuously all over the world. He alone was the cowherd, shepherd and farmer.

22. He was the knower in all the worlds. He was the expositor of the Mantras. He was the leader, the protector. He was (he person who kept other persons in protective hiding. He was the initiated person and also the performer of sacrifices.

23. All the Devas and Asuras became the imbibers of the Soma juice through him. This Daitya had such a power. Learn further about him.

24. All made obeisance to him. He alone was the person, worthy of being worshipped. Formerly, this verse was sung by the Daityas about Hiraṇyakaśipu.

25. ‘The Devas along with the great sages made obeisance to that quarter to which king Hiraṇyakaśipu looked at.

26-27a. It was Viṣṇu (in the form of) Narasiṃha (man-lion) who brought about the death of that (Daitya) formerly. Since the lord had the form of Nara (man), he is being sung about as Narasiṃha by those who expound the Vedas.

27b. The lord stood aloft by means of his penance on the shore of the sea. The body of that lord was that of all the Devas. That mighty deity was famous by the name Sudarśana.

28. That infuriated lord split that leader of the Daityas of great strength by means of his nails (claws) in the course of his hand-to-hand fight. For, the nails are neither wet nor dry.

29-31. The sons of Hiraṇyākṣa were five. They were very strong and valorous. They were Sambara, Śakuni, Kālanābha, Mahānābha and Surasantāpana who was extremely valorous. These sons of Hiraṇyākṣa were unassailable even to the Devas.

32. Their sons and grandsons along with their clans are remembered as Daityas. Hundreds and thousands of those Daityas were killed in the Tārakāmaya (i.e. the fight against Tārakāsura).

33-34. Hiraṇyakaśipu had four sons of very great strength viz. Prahlāda the eldest among them, then Anuhrāda, Saṃhrāda and Hrāda. Understand that Hrāda had two sons Sunda and Nisunḍa.

35. Those two great heroic demons were destroyers of Brāhmaṇas. Mūka too was a heir and successor of Hrāda. Mārīca, son of Sunda, was born to Tāḍakā.

36. He was killed in the Daṇḍaka forest by Rāghava the powerful (king of Ayodhyā). Mūka was killed by Savyasācī (i.e. Arjuna) at the time of his encounter with Kirāta (the hunter in whose guise Śiva came before him).

37-39. Nivātakavacas were born in the family of Saṃhrāda, the Daitya. They were themselves sanctified by means of great penance. They were the enemies of the gods. There were four leaders of Daityas viz. Jambha, Śatadundubhi, Dakṣa the Asura, and Caṇḍa. These were the sons of Bāṣkala. Listen to the names of the sons of Kālanemi. They were Brahmajit, Kratujit, Devāntaka and Narāntaka.

40-41. These were the sons of Kālanemi. Listen to the progeny of Śambhu. King Aja and Goma are glorified as the sons of Śambhu.

Virocana had an only valorous son, Bali. Hundred sons were born to Bali. All of them were kings.

42-44. Four of them were very prominent, valorous and very powerful viz. the thousand-armed Bāṇa, the valorous king was the eldest (or the most excellent one) Kumbhāgarta who was merciless and Bhoja. There were others also such as Kuñci etc. Śakunī and Pūtanā are remembered as the two daughters of Bali. Bali’s sons and grandsons were hundreds and thousands. They are well known by the name of Bāleyas. They were a clan of demons whose manliness and valour are well known.

45-46. Indradhanvan (the son) of Bāṇa was born of Lohinī.

Diti whose sons were killed (by the Devas) propitiated Kaśyapa. On being propitiated very well, Kaśyapa was delighted in his mind and he made her choose a boon as she pleased.[4] She thereupon chose the boon.

47-48. On being requested again the holy lord granted her the boon. When the boon was verbally conferred, Diti was pleased and so she spoke to him. The gentle lady spoke to her husband Kaśyapa, the son of Marīci with palms joined in reverence

“O holy lord, my sons have been killed by Ādityas, your sons.

49. I wish for a son who will kill Śakra (Indra) and who will be obtained by me due to long penance. I shall perform the severe penance. It behoves you to make me pregnant.

50-51. It behoves you to grant me a son capable of slaying Indra.”

On hearing her words, Kaśyapa the son of Marīci, of great splendour replied to Diti. He was extremely grief-stricken.

“O gentle lady, let it be so, but remain pure and clean during your pregnancy, O lady of rich penance.

52-54. If you remain pure for a full period of thousand years, you will give birth to a son who will kill Śakra in battle. You will give birth to a son beautiful like Manmatha (the god of love), the most excellent one in the three worlds.” After saying thus the (sage) of great splendour remained (ready to receive her). After embracing her the holy sage went to his abode. When the husband had gone, Diti, the gentle lady who was delighted much, went to Kuśaplavana and performed a very severe penance.

55-59. Lord Śakra had heard about their conversation. He went over to Kuśaplavana and spoke these words to Diti:—

“I shall carry out your behest and serve you. It behoves you to grant me permission. I shall bring sacrificial twigs, flowers and fruits.”1

On hearing his words Diti said:—

“O dear one, be engaged in serving me as you think. Be clever and diligent in all the holy rites and perform what is conducive to your own welfare.”

On hearing these excellent words of his mother, Śakra became delighted. With a fraudulent intention in his inner mind, he became engaged in. serving her. Śakra became devotedly attached to her always.

60-61. Śakra was steady in his resolve. He used to bring fruits, flowers and sacrificial twigs. At the time of alleviating weariness, he used to message her limbs. Śakra rendered service to Diti on all occasions. When the period of her holy rites was almost over and the balance remained but a little, that delighted noble lady said to Śakra:—

62. “I am pleased with you, O excellent one among the Suras. O dear son, only ten more years remain, welfare unto you. Thereafter, you will see your brother.

63. I shall place him at your service even as he is desirous of victory on your behalf. You will enjoy the conquest of the three worlds along with him, O my son.

64-65. Do not I know, O my son, that your mind is eagerly devoted to me?”

After saying this to Śakra, the noble lady was overpowered by slumber when the sun reached the middle (of the sky). Placing her head over her knees and the tresses of her hair over her feet that noble lady went to sleep.

66. Everything that is below the navel is remembered as unclean. Hence, considering her to be unclean, he thought that to be the befitting occasion (for his own action).

67. Having considered the whole reason, this thought struck him that a defect was seen in the noble lady (giving him an opportunity) to destroy the child in the womb.

68-70. Then Vṛṣan (Indra) entered the belly of Diti through her vaginal passage. After entering, Indra saw the child of great prowess in the womb. He became afraid and so split that foetus, his own enemy. On being split by the thunderbolt of a hundred spikes, the foetus trembled again and again and squealed in a deep and awful note.

Śakra then spoke to the foetus:—“Do not cry, Do not Cry (Mā roda).[5]

71. Indra split the foetus into seven parts and each of them into seven more parts by means of his thunderbolt. At that time Diti woke up.

72. Diti said thus—“He (the child in the womb) should not be killed. He should not be killed.” Thereupon, Indra jumped out, out of deference to his mother’s words.

73-74. With the palms joined in reverence along with the thunderbolt, Śakra spoke to Diti:—O noble lady, you were sleeping unclean with the tresses of your hair spreading over your feet. Seizing that opportunity I reached the foetus that was to be my slayer in the fight and split it into many parts. It behoves you to forgive me.”

75. When that foetus became fruitless, Diti was extremely distressed. She thereupon spoke to the invincible thousandeyed lord Indra in a pacifying note:—

76. “If it was due to my default that this foetus was rendered ineffective by you, it is not your fault, O lord of the Devas, O son of great strength.

77-78. There is no fault in killing an enemy. You need not be afraid, O lord. I wish that something pleasing (conducive to the happiness) is done. Otherwise whence is the felicity unto my child in the womb. Let there be seven abodes of my sons in the heaven. Let my sons traverse these seven Vātaskandhas[6] (pathways of wind).

79-81. They will be well known as Maruts. They will be seven groups of seven each (7 x 7 = 49). The first Skandha should be known as being present on the earth, the second in the sun, the third should be known in the moon, the fourth in the group of luminaries, the fifth in the planets and the sixth in the zone of seven sages (the Great Bear), the seventh in Dhruva (Pole star). Let my sons traverse these seven Vātaskandhas on different occasions.

82-89. Let my sons be the lords of Vātaskandhas and traverse these paths. The first Vātaskandha is on the earth. It extends upto the clouds It is Āvaha (by name). Let my seven sons belonging to the first set traverse this first path.

The second Vātaskandha is above the clouds upto the sun. It is Pravaha by name. Let the second set of my sons traverse this second path.

The third Vātaskandha is above the sun and beneath the moon. It is remembered as Udvaha. Let the third set of my sons traverse this third path.

The fourth Vātaskandha is above the moon and beneath the stars. It is Saṃvaha. Let the fourth set of my sons, O lord, traverse the fourth path.

The fifth Vātaskandha is above the stars and it extends upto planets. It is called Vivaha. Let the fifth set of my sons traverse this path.

The sixth Vātaskandha is above planets and extends upto the seven sages. It is Anuvaha. Let the sixth set of my sons traverse this path.

The seventh Vātaskandha is above the sages. It extends upto the abode of Dhruva. The pole star is glorified as Parivaha. Let my sons stay there. Let my sons traverse all these paths at different occasions.

90-92. Let these be Maruts, that name having been given by you. Understand the names of my sons, O Śatakratu separately, as befitting their activities of that nature.

The first set of Maruts is as following:—1) Śakrajyoti 2) Satya 3) Satyajyoti 4) Citrajyoti 5) Jyotiṣmān 6) Sutapas 7) Caitya.

Understand the second group:

93-99. (Partially defective text) 1) Ṛtajit 2) Satyajit 3) Suṣeṇa 4) Senajit 5) Sutamitra 6) Amitra 7) Suramitra. This is the second group. Understand the third set: They are:—1) Dhātṛ 2) Dhanada 3) Ugra 4) Bhīma 5) Varuṇa 6) Abhiyuktākṣika 7) Sāhvāya. Understand the third class mentioned by me:[7]

The fifth set is as follows:—1) Idṛk [Īdṛk?] 2) Anyādṛk 3) Sarit 4) Druma 5) Vṛkṣaka 6) Mita 7) Samita.

The sixth class is as follows:—1) Īdṛk 2) Puruṣa 3) Nānyadṛk 4) Samacetana 5) Sammita 6) Samavṛtti 7) Pratihartṛ.[8]

All other men and subjects performed Yajñas and eulogised. Thus these seven sets of seven Daityas-cum-Devas have been mentioned.

Thus the forty-nine Maruts are remembered by their names (?). They were enumerated by the two i.e. by Diti and Śakra.

100. After giving these names, Diti said to Indra, Let these brothers, my sons, traverse these Vātaskandhas.

101-102. Welfare unto you. Let my sons traverse (these paths) along with the Devas.”

On hearing these words, the thousand-eyed Purandara spoke with palms joined in reverence—“O mother, let it be so. There is no doubt about this that everything will happen as spoken by you.

103. By becoming as said by you, these noble-souled bachelors (?) will be honoured by the world. Along with the Devas they will participate (have their share in the oblations) in the Yajñas.

104. Hence, these Maruts are Devas. All of them were excellent younger brothers of Indra. All those powerful and speedy sons, of Diti should be known as immortal ones.”

105. Those two, the son and the mother came to this agreement in the hermitage. They went to the heaven delighted. Śakra became freed of all worries and pains.

106. He who listens to the auspicious birth of the Maruts or he who reads this, shall attain victory in argument. He shall regain his lost soul.

Footnotes and references:


This is strange. Vā. P. 67.58 tells us that the child from Diti’s womb occupied the gold seat meant for the sacrifice.


Vā.P. 67.55 reads Kuśa-Pūtāni “sanctified by Kuśa grass.”


A popular etymology of Hiraṇyakaśipu. It is endorsed only in Vā. P. 67.51.


VV. 45-81 tell the story of the birth of Maruts when Indra during the impure state of Diti entered her womb and split his prospective killer foetus into 49 parts. Cf VP. I. 21.32-41, Mt. P. Chapter 7.

This is however a Purāṇic development of a Vedic concept where the seven Maruts are the seven Prāṇas (Śat. Br. Indra is the main Prāṇa controlling the Maruts.


This popular etymology of Marut is emdorsed by other purāṇas also e.g. V.P. 1.21-39; Mt. P. 8.62.


This purāṇic classification of seven strata or levels of the higher atmosphere or space and the assignment of the Marut-gods to each is psuedo—scientific but is found in other purāṇas also.


The fourth division of Maruts is not enumerated.


The names of the Maruts belonging to the seventh set are not mentioned.

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