The Markandeya Purana

by Frederick Eden Pargiter | 1904 | 247,181 words | ISBN-10: 8171102237

This page relates “kuvalayasva’s marriage with madalasa” which forms the 21st chapter of the English translation of the Markandeya-purana: an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with Indian history, philosophy and traditions. It consists of 137 parts narrated by sage (rishi) Markandeya: a well-known character in the ancient Puranas. Chapter 21 is included the section known as “conversation between Sumati (Jada) and his father”.

Canto XXI - Kuvalayāśva’s marriage with Madālasā

Ṛtadhvaja, called also Kuvalayāśva, wounds and pursues the Daitya Pātālaketu.—In the pursuit he falls through a chasm into Pātāla and reaches the city Purandarapura—There he meets Madālasā, (daughter of the Gandharva king Visvāvasu,) whom Pātālaketu had carried off—He marries her with the help of her companion Kuṇḍalā, who then admonishes them on the blessings of marriageHe kills the Daityas who oppose him, and brings her home to his father, who praises and blesses him.

The father spoke:

“Relate my sons what the king’s son did after he departed in company with Gālava; your story is a surprising one.”

The sons spoke:

“The king’s son, residing in Grālava’s pleasant hermitage, subdued every obstacle to the reciters of the Veda.

“The base Dānava, infected with frenzy and arrogance, did not know the prince Kuvalayāśva who was dwelling in Grālava’s hermitage. Then assuming the form of a hog, he approached to outrage the brāhman Gālava, who was busied in the evening service. On an out-cry by the Muni’s disciples, the king’s son hastily mounting the horse pursued the boar, shooting arrows at him; and drawing his mighty bow, that was decorated with pretty designs, he struck the boar with an arrow shaped like the half-moon. Wounded by the iron arrow, the wild beast, intent on its own speedy escape, set off for the large forest dense with mountain trees. The horse followed him impetuously, swift as thought, being urged on by the king’s son who was obeying his father’s command. After traversing thousands of yojanas with speed the quickpaced boar fell into an open chasm in the earth. Immediately after him, the king’s son also, on his horse, fell into the great chasm, which was enveloped in crass darkness. Then the beast was lost to the sight of the king’s son therein; and he saw Pātāla clearly there, but not that animal.

“Next he saw the city called Purandarapura filled with hundreds of golden palaces, embellished with ramparts. Entering it, he beheld no man there in the city, and as he wandered about he next saw there a woman hastening along. He questioned her, the slender-limbed, ‘Why or on whose account are you proceeding?’ The noble lady replied not a word and ascended into the palace. And the king’s son fastening up his horse on one side followed her indeed, being wide-eyed with amazement but fearless.

“Then he saw reclining on a very spacious couch, all made of gold, a solitary maiden, full of love, as it were Rati;—her face like the clear moon, her eye-brows beautiful, large-hipped and full-breasted, scarlet-lipped,[1] slender-bodied, her eyes like the blue water-lily, her nails red-tipped, black-complexioned, soft-skinned, her hands and feet copper-coloured, her thighs round and tapering, her teeth beautiful, her locks dark-blue fine and strong.

“On seeing her, lovely in every limb, as it were a creeper on the body of the god of Love, the king’s son thought her the deity of Rasātala. And the beauteous maiden immediately she saw him, with his dark blue wavy hair, and well-developed thighs shoulders and arms, deemed him the god of Love. And she rose up, the noble lady, feeling an agitation in her mind. The slender one was overcome at once by bashfulness, astonishment and dejection. ‘Who is this that has come? Is he a god, or a Yakṣa, or a Gandharva, or a Nāga, or a Vidyādhara, or a man accomplished in virtuous deeds and love?’ Thinking thus, and sighing often, she seated herself on the ground and then the fascinating-eyed lady swooned away. The king’s son, being also smitten by the arrow of Love, revived her, saying ‘Do not fear.’ And then that maiden, whom the high-souled prince saw before, being distressed took a fan and fanned her. After reviving her, the maiden, on being questioned by him, somewhat bashfully made known the cause of her friend’s fainting. And the noble lady related to the king’s son in detail all the cause of the fainting, which occurred at the sight of him; and also her story as the other lady had told it.

“The lady spoke:

‘The king of the Gandharvas is named Visvāvasu, and this is his beautiful-browed daughter called Madālasś. The son of Vajraketu, a fierce Dānava, the cleaver of his foes, was named Pātālaketu, a dweller within Pātāla. He, raising an illusion of darkness, carried off this maiden when she was in her garden, unattended by me, and brought her here, the villain. On the coming thirteenth day of the lunar fortnight, it was foretold, an Asura shall carry her off; but he does not deserve the lovely-limbed maiden, any more than a śūdra deserves to hear the Veda. And when the day was over, Surabhi said to the maiden who was ready to kill herself,

“This base Dānava shall not get thee. He who shall pierce him, when he[2] reaches the world of mortals, with arrows, that one, O noble lady, shall shortly be thy husband.” And I am her prudent companion, Kuṇḍalā by name, the daughter of Vindhyavān, and the wife of Puṣkaramālin, O warrior. My husband having been killed by Śumbha, I am wandering, in fulfilment of a vow, from one place of pilgrimage to another by a divine course, ready for another world. Pātālaketu, evil-souled, when he had assumed a wild boar’s form was pierced by some one with an arrow, to secure the deliverance of the Munis. And I having really followed him, have returned in haste: it is indeed true, the base Dānava has been smitten by some one.

‘And this lady fell into a swoon: hear what is the cause. The maiden is full of affection for thee even at first sight, O pride-inspirer! who resemblest the sons of the Devas, distinguished for gracious speech and other virtues. And she is allotted as wife to the other, who has wounded the Dānava. For this reason she fell into the deep swoon, and all her life the slender-limbed maiden will indeed experience suffering. On thee is fixed her heart, O enamoured hero; and she will have no other[3] husband all her life long. Hence is her suffering. Even so was Surabhi’s prophecy. But I have come here, my lord, through affection for her, experiencing grief; for there is in truth no difference between one’s friend’s body and one’s own. If this lovely lady gets an approved hero for her husband, then assuredly may I engage in austerities with a mind at ease. But who art thou? and wherefore hast thou come here, O high-minded hero? Art thou a Deva, or Daitya, Gandharva, Nāga, or Kinnara? For not here can men come, nor is human body such as thine. Declare thou that, even as I have spoken truthfully.’

“Kuvalayāśva spoke:

‘What thou askest me, O lady skilled in holy law, who I am and why I have come, hear that, O lady bright of understanding! I tell it thee from the beginning. Son of king Śatrujit, I was despatched by my father, O beauteous one! I reached Gālava’s hermitage for the purpose of protecting the Muni. And while I was affording protection to the Munis who observe the holy law, there came one, disguised in hog-like form, to hamper them. Pierced by me with an arrow, shaped like the half-moon, he rushed away with great speed: mounted on horseback I pursued him. Suddenly I fell as in play into a chasm, and my horse also. Thus mounted on horseback, wandering alone in darkness, I met with light, and saw thee lady; and when questioned, thou gavest me no answer whatever. And following thee I entered this splendid palace. Thus I have related this truly. No Deva am I, or Dānava, nor Nāga, nor Gandharva or Kinnara, O sweet-smiling one! The Devas and the rest are all objects of veneration to me, O Kuṇḍalā. I am a man; thou must not be afraid of this at any time.’

The sons spoke:

“Gladdened thereby, the noble maiden, gazing dully through bashfulness on the noble countenance of her friend, uttered no word. And again the friend, being gladdened, answered him, after saying to her, ‘Truly has he related it, O maiden obedient to Surabhi’s word!’

“Kuṇḍalā spoke:

‘O hero, unvarnished truth is the word thou hast spoken; and her heart, perceiving it no otherwise, will gain composure. Surpassing beauty indeed clothes the moon, and light clothes the sun: prosperity attends the happy man, fortitude the resolute man, and patience the great man. Thou indeed hast assuredly slain that wicked base Dānava: how shall Surabhi, the mother of cattle, speak falsely? Therefore happy verily is this maiden and blessed with good fortune, in gaining union with thee. Perform, O hero, the needful ceremony, celebrated according to rule.’

The sons spoke:

“‘I am ready to comply,’ thus spoke the king’s son to her, O father. And she thought of him, the large-thighed[4] hero, the chief of his race. And he taking fuel and kūsa grass, accepted her immediately, through affection for Madālasā and through respect for Kuṇḍalā. Kindling fire, he sacrificed, being conversant with the mantras, and caused the blessed maiden to take part in the marriage ceremony. And as he had come, he departed then, being a wise man, to his own hermitage-abode for the purpose of practising austerities.

“And the companion[5] said to the maiden ‘My wishes are fulfilled, O lovely-faced one. Now that I have seen thee, resplendent in beauty, wedded to this husband, I will perform matchless austerities, with a mind at ease; and, having my sins washed away in the waters of the sacred pilgrimage-places, I shall not again become such as I am now.”

“And then bending courteously she addressed the king’s son, being desirous to go, yet shaken in her speech through love for her friend.

“Kuṇḍalā spoke:

‘No counsel should be given even by men to such as thou art, O man of boundless understanding! and much less therefore by women; hence I offer thee no counsel. But yet thou hast caused me also to confide in thee with a mind drawn by love towards this slender-waisted one: I will remind thee, O foe-queller. Verily a husband must ever cheṛṣ and protect his wife. A wife is her husband’s help-meet unto the complete attainment of religion, wealth and love. When both wife and husband are controlled by each other, then all the three combine, religion, wealth and love. How without a wife does a man attain to religion or wealth or love, my lord? In her the three are set. So also without a husband a wife is powerless to fulfil religion and the other duties. This threefold group resides in wedded life. Men cannot perform the worship of the gods, pitṛs and dependants and of guests, without a wife, O prince! And riches, although acquired by men, although brought to their own home, waste away without a wife, or even where a worthless wife dwells. But there is indeed no love for him without a wife,—this is clearly evident. By community of the wedded pair in their duties he may attain to the three duties. A man satisfies the pitṛs with children; and guests with preparations of food; likewise the immortal gods with worship; as a man he satisfies a virtuous wife. Moreover for a woman there is no religion, love, wealth or offspring without a husband. Hence this threefold group rests upon wedded life. This have I spoken to you both; and I go as I have wished. Prosper thou with her in riches, children, happiness and long life.’

The sons spoke:

“Having spoken thus, she embraced her friend and bowed to the prince; and she departed by a divine course according to her own purpose.

“And Śatrujit’s son, being desirous to depart from Pātāla, mounted her on the horse but was perceived by Danu’s offspring. Thereon they suddenly shouted out, ‘She is being carried off, she is being carried far away, the pearl among maidens, whom Pātālaketu brought from heaven. Besides he has won the might of the Dānavas, the iron-staff, the sword, the club, the spear, the bow, together with Pātālaketu.’ ‘Stand, stand!’ thus exclaiming, the Dānava chiefs then rained[6] a shower of arrows and spears on the king’s son. And Śatrujit’s son, excelling in valour, split their weapons with a multitude of arrows, laughing as if in sport. In a moment the surface of Pātāla was covered with the swords, lances, spears and arrows, which were split by the multitudes of Ṛtadhvaja’s arrows. Then taking up Tvaṣṭṛ’s weapon he hurled it against the Dānavas; thereby all those Dānavas together with Pātālaketu were turned into heaps of bones bursting with the excessive heat from blazing rings of fire, just as the oceans were burnt up when the fire of Kapila fell on them.

“Then the prince, seated on horseback, after slaying the chiefs of the Asuras, came to his father’s city with that pearl of women; and prostrating himself he recounted everything to his father, both the visit to Pātāla, and the meeting with Kuṇḍalā, and the meeting with Madālasā, and the conflict with the Dānavas, and their slaughter with the weapon, and the return.

“His father, having thus heard the exploits of Ms graceful-minded son, was both filled with affection and embracing his son spoke thus—‘I have been delivered by thee, O son, worthy, magnanimous, who hast saved from their fears the Munis who follow true religion. The fame handed down by my ancestors has been further augmented by me: thou, O son, mighty in valour, hast multiplied it. Now he, who does not diminish the glory, wealth or heroism which his father has acquired, is known as an ordinary man. But whoever strikes out by his own might fresh heroism still, exceeding his father’s heroism, the wise call him great among men. Whoever lessens the wealth and heroism and glory acquired by his father, the wise call him base among men. I then bad accomplished even as thou hast the brāhman’s deliverance. And the visit to Pātāla that thou madest, and the destruction of the Asuras that thou didst effect, even this, my child, is in excess, hence thou art great among men. Therefore thou art fortunate, my boy. I indeed in getting thee, such a son as this, excelling in virtues, am to be praised even by righteous men. That man does not, I hold, gain the affection of adopted sons, who does not surpass his son in wisdom, liberality and valour. Fie on the birth of him who is known in the world through his father! He who attains fame through a son, his birth is the birth of a nobly born man. The fortunate man is known by reason of himself; the ordinary man by reason of his father and grandfather; the base man attains distinction through his mother’s relations and his mother. Therefore, my son, prosper thou in riches and heroism and in happiness. And never let this daughter of the Gandharva be parted from thee.’

“Thus he was addressed by his father kindly again and again in various sort; and after an embrace he was permitted to depart with his wife to his own residence. He lived there joyfully in the society of his wife in his father’s city, and also elsewhere in gardens, woods, and mountain-tops. And she, the lovely, the beautiful-waisted, having prostrated herself before the feet of her parents-in-law, thereafter morning hy morning enjoyed herself in companionship with him.”

Footnotes and references:


Vimba-lipped. The Vimba, Cephalandra indica (Momordica monadelpha, Roxb.) bears a bright scarlet berry, 2 inches long, and 1 in diameter. It is a climber, common everywhere (Hooker, vol. II, p. 621; Roxb. p. 696).


The Dānava.


For cānyo read nānyo.


For tumbūrum read tumborum, “whose thighs are like the tnmba,” a kind of long gourd, Lagenarīa vulgaris (Cucurbita lagenaria, Roxb.) It appears to be a wild variety. The common plant is the Sanskrit alāvu, the modern kadu or lāu. It bears a large, thick, membranous or almost woody fruit, often 1½ foot long, usually bottle- or dumb-bell-shaped (Hooker, vol. II, p. 613 ; Roxb., p. 700).


For sakhīm read sakhī ?


For vavarṣur read vavṛṣur?

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