The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “the offspring of duhsaha” which forms the 51st 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 51 is included the section known as “exposition of the manvantaras”.

Canto LI - The Offspring of Duḥsaha

Duḥsaha had eight sons and eight daughters—their names are mentioned—The evil functions of the several sons and daughters are described, and the remedies against them—Their offspring are mentioned, and their evil actions described.

These beings are almost all personifications of physical injuries, moral vices and social offences.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Duḥsaha had a wife named Nirmāṣṭi[1]; now she was begotten in Kali’s wife when she saw a caṇḍāla at the time of her menstruation. They had sixteen children, who pervade the world, eight sons and eight daughters, all very terrible. Dantākṛṣṭi and Ukti, and Parivarta the next, Angadhṛṣ and Śakuni and Gaṇḍaprāntarati, Garbhahan and the last Sasyahan were their male children. And they had eight daughters besides; hear their names from me. The first was Niyojikā, and the second Virodhinī, and Svayaṃhārakarī, Bhrāmaṇī, Ṛtuhārikā, and two other very terrible daughters Smṛtiharā and Vījaharā; and the eighth daughter was named Vidveṣaṇī who causes terror to mankind.

I will describe what the several functions of the eight sons are, and what are the remedies against the evils which they work; hearken to me, O brāhman.

Dantākṛṣṭi[2] taking his station in the teeth of newly born children produces intense wind,[3] with the desire of effecting an attack from Duḥsaha, The remedy against him is to be applied by men by means of white mustard cast upon the bed and upon the teeth of the sleeping child; and by bathing it with medicinal herbs of great splendour, by reciting good scriptures,[4] and by supporting[5] it on a camel, a thorn, a sword, a hone, or a linen cloth.

Now the second son assigns good and bad fortune to men, while he says repeatedly, “let it be so! hence he is called Ukti,[6] and that is his precise function. Hence wise men must always say, “May fate be auspicious!” And when anything bad is heard or spoken, let praise be offered to Śiva, and to Brahmā, the spiritual preceptor of all that exists both moveable and immoveable, and to each person’s own particular family-deity.

The son who finds delight in always interchanging the foetus between one womb and another, and in interchanging the words in the mouth of a speaker, is called Parivartaka[7]; a wise man should preserve himself against him by means of white mustard and the prayers and spells that destroy Rākṣasas.

And another son[8] like the wind announces good and bad fortune as indicated by throbbings in men’s bodies; and the remedy against him is to strike the side of the body with kūsa grass.

Another son Śakun[9] stationed on a crow or some other bird, announces weal or woe by means of food or birds.[10] With regard thereto, however, the Prajāpati has said, “In an evil matter delay and the abandonment of the undertaking are best; in a good matter one should act very speedily.”

Another son[11] stationed in the borders of the cheeks for half a muhūrta, O brāhman, consumes every undertaking, and eulogium, and sincerity. By addresses to brāhmans, by praise to the gods, and by extracting roots, O brāhman, by ablutions with cows’ urine and mustard seed, so also by worship paid to the constellations and planets, and also by the observance of righteousness and the Upaniṣads, by repeatedly looking at weapons, and by contempt for birth Gaṇḍaprāntarati succumbs.

Another most terrible son,[12] moreover, destroys the fruit of pregnant women. Women should always secure protection against him by constant personal purification, by writing out famous spells, by wearing auspicious garlands and other decorations, by dwelling in well-cleaned houses, and by abstaining from over-exertion, O brāhman.

The other son Sasyaha[13] moreover is he who destroys the growth of the crops. Against him indeed one should secure protection by wearing worn-out shoes, and by walking on the left side, and by causing a caṇḍāla to enter the field, and by offering the bali outside, and by eulogizing the soma juice.

And Niyojikā[14] is the daughter who incites some men to seize and otherwise molest other men’s wives and other men’s goods. Immunity from her comes by reciting purifying prayers, by refraining from anger, covetousness and other passions, and by resistance with the thought ‘She is inciting me to these acts.’ When one is railed against or beaten by another, one should wisely think ‘she is inciting him,’ and should not fall into subjection to her. In this mundane existence, where there are other men’s wives and other alluring objects, the wise man should consider, ‘She is inciting my mind and my soul here.’

And the next daughter who causes opposition between a loving married couple, among relatives and friends, between parents and children, and among fellow-caste-people[15]she is Virodhinī.[16] One should secure protection from her by offering the bali, by enduring outrageous language, and by observing the śāstras and Virtuous Custom.

Another daughter destroys grain from granaries and houses, the milk from cows, and ghee, and the produce from prolific things. She is called Svayamhārikā[17]; she is ever addicted to concealment. She consumes the half-cooked food out of the kitchen, and whatever is kept in the store-house; and she always consumes whatever food is being served up[18] along with the person who eats it. She takes the remains of food from men and also their food. She is hard to be restrained.[19] She takes the success which men have accomplished from their business offices and from their abodes, O brāhman. She is constantly taking the fluid and the milk out of cows’ udders and women’s breasts, the ghee out of curdled milk, the oil out of sesamum seed, and the spirituous liquor out of the liquor-stores, the colour out of saffron[20] and other coloured objects, and the thread out of cotton clothes. She is rightly named Svayaṃhārikā, for she is perpetually taking things away, O brāhman. For the sake of protection against her one should make a pair of peacocks and an artificial woman; and prophylactic marks[21] should be drawn[22] on the house, and allowing the house to be littered with fragments of food[23] should be avoided, and vessels in which milk and other things have been kept should certainly be cleaned with the ashes of the incense offered to the gods in the sacrificial fire. All that is well-known to be a preservative.

Now the other daughter, who produces perturbation in a man who dwells in one place, is called Bhrāmaṇī[24] Now a man should secure protection against her by scattering white mustard seed on his seat, on his bed, and on the ground where he sits; and a man should reflect, ‘This wicked, evil-minded creature causes me to go astray’; he should mutter the ‘Bhuvas’ hymn repeatedly, with composed mind.

Another daughter robs women of their monthly courses, when they have begun and before they have begun[25]; she is known as Ṛtuhārikā,[26] the daughter of Duḥsaha. One should cause one’s women-folk to bathe at places of pilgrimage, at temples, beside sacred public objects,[27] on mountain tops, at the confluence of rivers, and in excavated places in order to subdue her. And one who knows the spells and knows the principles of action should cause them to bathe at the four changes of the moon and at dawn,[28] O brāhman; and a physician[29] who is skilled in medicine should cause them to lathe with choice herbs combined together.

And Smṛtihārikā[30] is another daughter who deprives women of their memory. And she may be overcome by observing places distinguished separately.

And Vījāpahāriṇī[31] is another daughter very terrible, who robs man and woman of their seed. And she may be overcome by eating clean food and by bathing.

And the eighth daughter named Dveṣam,[32] who causes terror among mankind, is she who renders a man, or even a woman, newly hated. Now in order to vanquish her, one should offer an oblation[33] of sesamum seed moistened with honey, milk and ghee; and one should also perform a sacrifice which will procure friends in order to vanquish her.

Now these sons and daughters have thirty-eight children, O brāhman; hear from me their names.

Vijalpā (Chatterer) was Dantākṛṣṭi’s daughter, and Kalahā (Quarreller) also. Vijalpā indulges in contemptuous, false and corrupt talk. In order to vanquish her, let the wise house-holder ponder on her and preserve his self-control. Kalahā is always creating disturbances in men’s houses; she is the cause why families perish. Hearken how she may he subdued. One should throw blades of durbā grass smeared with honey, ghee, and milk in the bali ceremony, and offer a sacrifice to fire, and extol one’s friends, for the performance of a propitiatory rite to avert evil from all living beings, and boys along with their mothers, and the sciences, and penances,[34] religious vows and the great moral duties.[35] In the cultivation of land and in the profits of trade let men always pacify me. And let the Kusḥmāṇḍas and the Yātudhānas[36] and whatever other beings are named according to their classes, let these, when duly adored, always become pacified. By the favour of Mahadeva,[37] and by the counsel of Maheśvara[38] let all these soon become satisfied with regard to men. When pleased let them cast aside every evil deed and evil work, and every result that springs from the great sins, and whatever else causes obstacles. By their favour indeed let obstacles wholly perish. And in all marriages and in ceremonies performed for increase of prosperity, in meritorious undertakings and in religious devotion, and in the worship of spiritual teachers and the gods, in the rites of prayer and sacrifice, and in the fourteen pilgrimages, in the pleasures enjoyable in bodily health, and in happiness, liberality and wealth, and among the aged, children and the sick, let them always pacify me.

Ukti had sons Somapā, Ambupā, and Ambhodhi, and Savitṛ, Anila and Anala[39]; and he had also a son Kālajihva[40] who resides in the palms.[41] He torments those bad men in whose mothers he abides.

Now Parivarta had two sons, Virūpa[42] and Vikṛtī,[43] O brāhman; and they both inhabit the tops of trees, ditches, ramparts and the sea. They both interchange the foetus from one pregnant woman to another, if she walks about among trees and the other places which they frequent, O Krauṣṭuki. In truth, a pregnant woman should not approach a tree, nor a mountain, nor a rampart, nor the sea, nor a ditch.

Angadhṛṣ begat a son, by name Piśuna. If he enters the marrow inside men’s bones, he consumes the energy of even invincible men.

Śakuni begat five sons, Śyena (Hawk), Kāka (Crow), and Kapota (Pigeon) Gṛdhra (Vulture) and Ulūka (Owl).[44] The gods and the demons took them. And Mṛtyu (Death) took Śyena; Kāla (Destiny) took Kāka; and Nirṛti (Destruction) took Ulūka who causes great terror; Vyādhi (Sickness) took Gṛdhra and was his lord; and Yama himself took Kapota.

And the evil beings which sprang from them are indeed said to produce sin. Hence he, on whose head a hawk and the other birds should alight, should take effectual pacificatory measures for his safety, O brāhman. If they are born inside a house or if likewise water should settle in a house, a man should abandon that house and also a house on the top of which pigeons alight. When a hawk, a pigeon, and a vulture, a crow, and an owl have entered a house, O brāhman, one should prophesy the end of the residents in that dwelling. A wise man should abandon such a house and should employ pacificatory measures. Even in sleep indeed it is unlucky to see a pigeon.

And the offspring of Gaṇḍaprāntarati are said to be six in number. They dwell in women’s menses. Hear from me also their peculiar periods. Of his offspring one takes possession of the first four days after menstruation and the thirteenth day; and another is powerful on the eleventh day; another at dawn; and two others on occasions of śrāddhas and alms-giving; and another at festivals; hence these days should be shunned by the wise in sexual intercourse.

Garbhahantṛ had a son Nighna[45] and a daughter Mohanī.[46] The former enters within and eats the foetus; and after he has eaten it, the latter beguiles[47] it. Through her beguiling, the offspring are born as snakes, frogs, tortoises, and reptiles also, or yet again as ordure. The son may enter into the six-months pregnant woman who in waywardness eats flesh[48]; or into the woman, who seeks the shade of a tree by night or at a place where three or four roads meet, who stands in a burning-ground or any place pervaded by strong smells, who leaves ofi her upper garment, or who weeps at midnight.

And Sasyahantṛ had one son named Kṣudraka (Puny). He is constantly injuring the growth of the crops, when he has gained a weak place. Listen thereto. And he, who sows highly pleased at the beginning of an inauspicious day, provides an entrance behind him for this sprite into the fields which touch other fields along their boundaries.[49] Hence it is the proper practice that a man should worship the moon, and then carry out his undertaking and sow his seed in gladness and contentment, with a companion.

Niyojikā, who was Duḥsaha’s daughter as I have said, gave birth to four daughters who bear the names Pracodikā (Instigator), Mattā (Intoxicated), Unmattā (Frantic) and Pramattā (Wanton). Now they are always entering into young women in order to destroy them, and incite them here vehemently towards unrighteousness with the appearance of righteousness, and to love which bears no appearance of love, and to that which is not wealth with the appearance of wealth, and to a final emancipation from existence which bears no appearance of final emancipation. Evilly disposed without purity they lead young women to gaze at strange men; those angry sprites[50] cause strange men to wander near women for the sake of philandering. Those female sprites enter into a house and into clothing when they are reddened by sunset,[51] and wherever the bali is not offered to Dhāṭri and Vidhātṛ at the proper time. They make a sudden[52] attack upon men and women[53] among those people who eat or drink with drops of water clinging to them.

Virodhinī had three sons, Codaka (Instigator)[54] and Grāhaka (Seizer) and the other Tamaḥpracchādaka (Gloom-enveloper). Hear their characters from me. Where the pestle and mortar, and where a woman’s shoes and her upper and lower garments are befouled by contact with burning oil, and are disdained; and where people use. a seat, after first drawing it to them with a winnowing basket or a hatchet or other implement or with their foot; and where pastime is held in a house without respecting the place which has been smeared and cleaned; where fire is taken up and carried elsewhere in the bowl of a spoon—there Virodhinī’s sons are impelled and display their activity. One dwells in men’s and women’s tongues and utters falsehood as truth; he is called Codaka; he works calumny in the house. And another who acts with care dwells in the ears and is exceedingly evil-minded; he takes hold of people’s words; so he is called Grāhaka. The third is he who, with evil mind, attacks men’s minds and enveloping them with darkness arouses anger; so he is called Tamaḥpracchādaka.

How Svayamhārī gave birth to three sons by Caurya (Theft), Sarvahārī,[55] Arddhahārī,[56] and also Vīryahārī.[57] In the houses of those who do not rinse their mouths out after meals, and in the houses of those who observe bad customs, and among those who enter the kitchen with unwashed feet, and in granaries and cattle-pens and houses where perfidy prevails—in such places all these sprites fittingly sport and have their pleasure.

Now Bhrāmaṇī had one son; he is known as Kākajaṅgha (Crow-leg). No one possessed by him can get pleasure in the town. He enters into the man, who while eating sings to a friend, and who sings and laughs at the same time, and who indulges in sexual intercourse during the twilight, O brāhman.

The daughter Ṛtuhāriṇī gave birth to three daughters; the first daughter was Kucaharā,[58] the next Vyañjanahārikā,[59] and the third daughter was called Jātahāriṇī.[60] The first robs of both breasts the maiden, all whose marriage rites are not performed duly, or are performed after the prescribed time. And the second robs of her signs of puberty the married maiden, who has been married without duly offering the śrāddha, and without paying due reverence to her mother. When the lying-in chamber is destitute of fire and water, and is devoid of incense, when it has no lamp or weapon or pestle, when it is destitute of ashes[61] and mustard-seeed, the third daughter enters in, and bringing about immediate delivery snatches away the new-born child, and castes the child away in that very place, O brāhman; she is called Jātahāriṇī; very terrible is she, she feeds on flesh. Hence one should strenuously guard against her in the lying-in chamber.

And she, who destroys the memory of men destitute of self-control through inhabiting empty abodes, had a son, by name Pracaṇḍa (Impetuous). From his son’s sons were born the Likas[62] in hundreds and thousands and eight tribes of Caṇḍālas, very terrible with staves and nooses. Then the Likas and those tribes of Caṇḍālas were possessed by hunger, and ran at one another, desirous of eating one another. But Pracaṇḍa restrained the several tribes of Caṇḍālas, and established them with such and such ordinances: hear what those are. Hearafter from today whoever shall give a dwelling to the Likas, I will assuredly cause an unparalleled punishment to fall on him. The female Līka who shall give birth to offspring in the dwelling of a Caṇḍāla,[63] her child shall die first and she also shall perish at once.

Now Vījahāriṇī, who robs man and woman of their seed, gives birth to two daughters, Vātarūpā[64] and Arūpā.[65] I will tell thee of her method of attack. The man or the wife, to whom Yātarūpā casts a son at the end of the impregnation, suffers from the seminal secretion becoming dried up through disorder of the wind within the body.[66] Similarly both the man who eats without first bathing, and the man who eats flesh,[67] are deprived of their seed at once by Arūpā. A man or a woman, if he or she neglects personal cleanliness, lapses into sterility.[68]

Now the daughter called Vidveṣaṇī has a countenance rugged with frowns. She had two sons, Apakāra[69] and Prakāśaka.[70] These two sons come to a man, who delights in calumny, who is inconstant, and who uses impure water, and who hates mankind, and stay with him permanently. Hated by mother, by brother, by beloved friends, by kinsmen, by strangers, a man perishes from righteousness or wealth. Now one son, working sin, divulges[71] men’s peculiar qualities in the world; and the second plucks away[72] one’s good qualities and the friendship that exists among people.

All these are the offspring of Duḥsaha, in the pedigree of that goblin[73]; they are notorious as observers of wicked customs; it is they who have overspread the whole world.

Footnotes and references:


Prof. Sir M. Monier-Williama gives the name as Nirmārṣṭi (Unoleaned) which seems preferable.


Teeth-attracter, Lock-jaw?


Saṃ-harṣa; or bristling of the hair of the body.


For sacchvāstra read sacchāstra.


Vidhāraṇa; not in the dictionary.


The Word of Fate.


The Interchanger.


Anga-dhṛṣ, the Assailer of the body.


Śakuni, a Bird (in general). The word kuśalaiḥ in the text is not supported by the MSS. and seems wrong. They read Sakuniḥ (which I have adopted) or śakunam, “an omen.”


Khaga-tas, this seems the best meaning ; but it might also be read kha-gatas as an adjective to Śakuniḥ.


Gaṇḍa-prānta-rati, the Reveller in the borders of the cheeks.


Garbha-han, the Fœtus-destroyer.


The Crop-destroyer.


The Inciter.


Sāvarṇika; in this sense not in the dictionary


The Strife-maker.


The Voluntary thief.


For pari-viśyamāṇaṃ read pari-viṣyamāṇaṃ. This half-line has nine syllables by poetic license.


The MSS. read dur-dharā instead of the text dur-harā. I have adopted the former; the latter might mean “a confirmed thief.”


For kusambhuka read kusumbhaka? This would be the same as kusumbha, but is not in the dictionary.




For lakhyā road lekhyā.


For casoṣmatā another reading is cocchiṣṭatā which I have adopted as preferable.


The Bewilderer.


For atha pravṛttaṃ another reading is tathāpravṛttaṃ which I have adopted as preferable. A third reading is athāpavṛttiḥ.


The Stealer of the Menses.


Caitya; the primary meaning, “a funeral pile,” seems inappropriate here.


For parvamūṣasi read parvasūṣasi.


For vedyaḥ read vaidyaḥ.


The Stealer of the Memory.


The Stealer of seed.


The Hater.


Homayet; verb from homa? Not in the dictionary.


For tapasāś read tapisaṃ ?


Saṃyamasya yamasya ca.


Two classes of evil-spirits.






That is, Soma-drinker, Water-drinker, Ocean, Sun, Wind and Fire. This line, however, seems incongruous.




For tāla-niketanaḥ read tālu-niketanaḥ, who resides in the palate?






For gṛdhrolūkaiś read gṛdhrolūkāu?


Nighna means “dependant” ; but here it rather seems to mean “ slayer.”






For gurviṇī-māṃsam read gurvinīm māṃsam.


Antopasangiṣū. Upa-sangin, a word not in the dictionary.


For tābhir aṣṭābhiḥ read tābhī ruṣṭābhiḥ.


The text violates sandhi and seems obscure. I have adopted a different reading, sandhyā-rahte hy-athāmbare instead of sandhyarkṣeṣu udumbare,


For āsv read āśv?


For nava-nārīṣu read nara-nārīṣu.


For Codaka-grāhakas read codako grāhakas?


He who steals the whole.


He who steals half.


He who steals one’s vigour.


She who steals the breasts.


She who steals the signs of puberty


She who steals new-born children.




A class of evil spirits.


Caṇḍāla-yonyo’vasathe seem wrong; read caṇḍāla-yony-avasathe instead?


She who has the form of wind.




Vāta-śukra-tvam; such is said to be the meaning of this word.


Viyoginaḥ in the text seems wrong. I have adopted another reading, yo vai tathaiva piśitāśanaḥ for yo’sau tathā cāpi viyoginaḥ.


This sentence is made the first line of verse 118 in the text, and is clearly out of place there. I have placed it after verse 116 which is the natural context.


Apa-karṣa, which must be the real name of the son (see verse 121) is preferable to Apa-kāra, for neither son has anything to do with injuries; but all the MSS. read apalāra, and I have not ventured to alter it.


That is, Divulger.






For yakṣaṇaḥ read yakṣasya?

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