The Brahmanda Purana

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

This page describes the narrative of bhargava parashurama (b) which is Chapter 38 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 38 - The narrative of Bhārgava Paraśurāma (b)

Vasiṣṭha said:

1. “When Kṛṣṇa vanished, Rāma of very great fame considered himself enhanced in power, due to Kṛṣṇa’s majestic lustre.

2. Blazing like a well-kindled fire, (Rāma) the scion of the family of Bhṭgu accompanied by Akṛtavraṇa, came to the city of Māhiṣmatī.[1]

3. It is the place where the sacred Narmadā, the dispeller of sins, the most excellent among the rivers, sanctifies by means of its mere vision even the sinful living beings.

4. It is the place where formerly, O ruler of the Earth endeavour was made for the destruction of the Tripuras b y the noble-souled Hara who entered it.

5-8a. How can the merit of men thereof, who had the form of the Devas, be adequately described?

After seeing Narmadā, O king, Bhārgava, the delighter of his family, became highly pleased. Eager to contain his enemies, he made his obeisance.

“Obeisance be to you, O Narmadā, born of the body of Hara. Destroy my enemies quickly. O splendid one, be a bestower of boon on me.”

After offering obeisance thus to Narmada, the destroyer of sins, he despatched a messenger to Kārttavīryārjuna.

8b-12a. “O sinless messenger, what I am going to tell you should be conveyed to the king by you. No suspicion need be entertained by you. Nowhere is a messenger bound.

“What is your strength or army depending on. which O deluded king, you have insulted sage Jamadagni? His son has come to fight, O dull-witted one, come out quickly and fight Rāma in return. Coming into clash with Bhārgava, go speedily to the other world.”

“After conveying this message to the king, listen to his words in reply. Return soon. Welfare unto you. No delay is advisable in this matter.”

12b-14a. On being told thus by him, the messenger went to the king of Haihayas and conveyed to him in the assembly everything mentioned by Rāma.

That king of great strength and exploit, a devotee of Ātreya (Datta) became angry on hearing that statement. He conveyed his reply to the messenger.

Kārttavīrya replied:

14b-16. “It was by the prowess of my arms, granted by Datta, that the Earth was conquered by me after binding the kings by force and bringing them to my city. That prowess may still be in me. I shall fight you now.”

After saying this, the king of Haihayas dismissed the messenger immediately. The king, the most excellent among the eloquent speakers, called the commander-in-chief and said:

17. “Get my army, O highly fortunate one, honoured by heroes. I will fight with Rāma of the family of Bhṛgu. Let there be ṅo delay”.

18. On being told thus, the commander-in-chief, of great exploits, got the army consisting of four constituents ready and informed him.

19. On hearing that the army was ready, O lord of the subjects, king Kārttavīrya joyously climbed on to his chariot brought by his charioteer.

20. All round that king, his vassals and the rulers of the various zones stationed themselves along with many Akṣauhiṇīs (big divisions of armies consisting of all the four sections viz. foot-soldiers, horses, elephants and chariots) and were ready to serve him.

21. In that army resembling an ocean, there were crores of elephants, horses, chariots and foot-soldiers. They were innumerable.

22-27a. Kings born of different families, were seen there. They were great warriors of huge bodies. They were experts in different kinds of warfares. They were clever in wielding different kinds of weapons and missiles. The kings were seated on various kinds of vehicles.

The innumerable elephants were in their rut embellished with ichor. They were equipped with various ornaments. They were directed by the conductors of elephants. Thus shone the elephants in many ways.

Horses that had been born of different breeds, that had the speed of the wind and that had been well-trained by the horsemen, O king, appear very splendid galloping about.

The chariots were pretty long ones with swift horses yoked to them. As their wheels rumble, they were comparable with the clouds in the rainy season.

The foot-soldiers holding swords and shields, O king, shone as they vied with one another saying “I shall go ahead first, I shall go ahead first.”

27b-30a. When the army of Kārttavīryārjuna moved on, the sky and the ten quarters were covered with dust.

The entire atmosphere, O king, was filled with the sounds of different kinds of musical instruments, the neighing sounds of the horses and the trumpeting sounds of the elephants.

The leading king, O ruler of the Earth, saw on his way omens adverse to him and indicating to him the message of Death.[2]

30b-34. He saw a woman who had dishevelled hair, whose nose was cut off, who was almost naked except for a black loincloth and who was weeping.

He saw a man with grief-stricken mind whose clothes were in rags, who was fallen and broken, who was almost naked except for an ochre-coloured strip of a cloth and who was devoid of certain liṃbs.

He saw an iguana, a rabbit, hedgehog, an empty pot, a reptile, cotton, a tortoise, oil, salt, a piece of bone, a fox producing a terrible howl to his right side, a sick Pukkasa (a man of very low and mixed caste) a bull, a vulture and a hare.

Even after seeing these he went ahead in order to fight, because he was forcibly dragged by. the noose of the god of death with which he was bound.

35-36. Rāma was seated in the shade of a banyan tree on the banks of the river Narmada, accompanied by Akṛtavraṇa. He saw the excellent king Kārttavīrya coming accompanied by a hundred crores of kings and a thousand Akṣauhiṇīs (big regiments). On seeing him he became delighted.

37. “On this day has been realized my task cherished for a long time, because the wretched king Kārttavīrya has come within my vision.”

38. He rose up after saying this. Seizing his weapon, the axe, he stood up to his full height ready for the destruction of his enemies just like an infuriated lion.

39. On seeing Rāma in readiness for the destruction of the soldiers, all embodied beings trembled excessively (afraid of) death as it were.

40. Wherever the infuriated scion of the family of Bhṛgu moved about with the velocity of the wind and hurled his axe, the elephants, horses and the heroic warriors fell down with their arms, thighs and necks cut off.

41. Just as a big elephant in its rut runs all round and: tramples down the cluster of reeds, so also Rāma of the speed and prowess of the mind and the wind, destroyed the army of the king.

42-43. On seeing Rāma, the most excellent among the wielders of weapons, striking with all his might in the battle, the king of Matsya country climbed on to a great chariot, lifted up his bow, strung it well, and drew it mightily. Showering volleys of arrows as powerful as fire, he came to Bhārgava.

On seeing him coining, the noble-souled Rāma took up his huge and terrible bow. Overwhelmed with anger that he was, he warded off the heavy down-pour of king Maṅgala’s arrows and discharged his own missile with wind-god for its deity.

44-46. That intelligent king of great potentiality discharged the Parvatāstra (Missile with mountains for its deities) at Rāma. That king who was an expert in discharging missiles and arrows arrested the powerful missile with wind-god for its deity by means of his own Parvatāstra.

Coming to understand that the king of Matsya land was really very powerful and was sending volleys after volleys of different kinds of excellent missiles, Rama, violently released Nārāyaṇa missile duly charged with the requisite Mantras.

O king! when the Nārāyaṇa missile was discharged by Rāma, the scion of the family of Bhṛgu, for slaying the king, all the quarters dazzled exceedingly with its brilliance. The king of Matsya-land trembled.

47-48. On observing his tremulousness, Rāma killed his horses with four arrows. The noble-souled Rāma cut off his banner-staff with a single arrow and his bow with two arrows. He toppled, down to the ground the charioteer with another arrow, despatched with great force. With three other arrows he hit the chariot.

49-51. Maṅgala (the king of Matsya land) abandoned the chariot and came down to the ground. With his axe Rāma struck him on his head. When his head was broken he shed blood copiously. He became unconscious and died instantaneously.

His army was burnt down by the missile. It was destroyed and reduced to ashes in a trice.

When Maṅgala, the most excellent king, born of the lunar race, fell down and died, Rāma was delighted.

Footnotes and references:


Māhiṣmatī—mod. Maheśvara or Mahesh, on the right bank of Narmadā, 40 miles to the south of Indore.


VV. 30-34 enumerate omens predicting death. Belief in omens is a characteristic of primitive societies. These beliefs were later formulated in a ‘science of omens’ (Nimitta-Śāstra) and treatises by Brahmanical writers like Garga and Jain writers like Bhadrabāhu, Dharasena were composed in the early centuries of this era. The common interpretations of omens by Brahmanical and Jain writers show that the Indian society inherited these beliefs from their common primitive forebears.

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