The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “the exploits of bhananda and vatsapri” which forms the 116th 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 116 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXVI - The Exploits of Bhananda and Vatsaprī

Nābhāga declined the kingdom and Bhanandana became king—He had a son Vatsaprī—A Daitya king Kujṛmbha, who had a magic club called Sunanda, opened a great hole near king Vidūratha’s city and carried the princess Mudāvatī down to Pātāla—Her brothers failed to rescue her and were made captiveVatsaprī killed the Daitya, after she destroyed the club’s magic power, and rescued her and her brothersShe was named Sunandā after the club, and Vatsaprī married her.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

On hearing this her speech and his son’s, the king, wise in righteousness, addressed his wife and son again ,—“ Inasmuch as I relinquished the kingdom at my father’s command, I will not take it again; why dost thou, O wife, draw out my soul with vain words? Standing fast in my duties as vaiśya I will pay thee taxes, my son. Enjoy thou the whole kingdom, or relinquish it if thou wishest.”

Being addressed thus by his father, prince Bhanandana[1] then governed the kingdom in righteousness and in like wise married a wife. Unrepulsed was his discus in the earth, O brāhman, and his mind was not set upon unrighteousness. All kings were in subjection to him. He performed a sacrifice according to precept; he rules the earth well. He in sooth was the only lord; his commands pervaded the earth.

A son was born to him, namely Vatsaprī by name, who, a high-souled king, surpassed his father with the multitude of his good qualities. And his wife was Saunandā, daughter of Vidūratha, who was devoted to her husband, an illustrious woman. He gained her by his valour in slaying the Daitya king Kujṛmbha,[2] the enemy of Indra.

Krauṣṭuki spoke:

Adorable sir, bow did be gain her through the destruction of Kujṛmbha? Tell me this story with benignant mind.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

There was a king named Vidūratba[3] whose fame was celebrated in the earth. Two sons were born to him, Sunīti and Sumati. Now Vidūratha went to the forest once upon a time to hunt. He beheld a very great pit, as it were the earth’s month thrust up. On seeing it he pondered, “What is this dreadful thing? I trow it is a hole down to Pātāla: it has not belonged to the earth a long while.” While thinking thus, he saw in a lonely wood there an ascetic brahman named Suvrata approaching, and the king being astonished asked him, —“What is this? It is very deep and displays the earth’s belly which is situated within.”

The ṛṣi spoke:

“Knowest thou it not, O king? for thou art deemed by me to have spies as thine eyes.[4] A king ought to know everything that passes on the face of the earth. A very valiant fierce Dānava dwells in Itasātala; because he makes the earth to yawn,[5] he is therefore called Kujṛmblia. Whatever has been produced, whether produced on the earth or in heaven, is wrought by him, O king; how is it then that thou dost not know him, Sir? That wicked-souled demon carried off the club named Sunanda, which Tvaṣṭṛfashioned of yore; therewith he slays his enemies in battle. Hidden within Pātāla that Asura cleaves this earth with it, and makes doors of exit for all the Asuras; with that weapon, the club Sunanda, the earth has been pierced in this spot. How shalt thou, Sir, enjoy this earth unless thou conquerest him? That fierce, mighty adversary of the gods, armed with the cluh, destroys sacrifices and fattens up the Daityas. If thou slayest this foe, whose sphere is in Pātāla, thou shalt thereby become lord of all the earth, the supreme monarch. That mighty demon’s cluh is called Saunanda by men-folk; and the wise moreover speak of it[6] as partly strong and partly weak; yet when touched by a woman it loses its power on that day,[7] O king; on the following day it issues forth with its power regained. That demon of evil ways does not know then the majestic power of the cluh, nor the defect which comes at the touch of a woman’s fingers, that is, the collapse of its power.

“Thus I have declared to thee, O king, the might of that evil-souled Dānava and of his club. As I have spoken, so do thou comport thyself. This hole which he has made in the earth is near thy city, O king; why art thou foolishly[8] unconcerned about it, Sir?”

Now when that ṛṣi, had spoken thus and departed, the king went to his city and took counsel with his ministers who were skilled in counsel within his city. He made known to the ministers all that story as he had heard it, both the majestic power of the club and also the waning of its power. Now his daughter Mudāvatī, who was by his side, heard that counsel which the king was taking with his ministers.

But some days afterwards, the Daitya Kujṛmbha carried off that maiden, who was possessed of energy, from a grove, while she was accompanied by her maiden-friends. On hearing that, the king’s eyes were distraught with anger, and he said to his two sous, “Hasten quickly ye two who are well acquainted with the forests: there is a hole on the bank of the Nirvindhā;[9] go ye down thereby to Rasātala and slay him who with most evil mind has carried Mudāvatī off.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Thereupon those two sons of his, following on the steps of that demon, reached that hole and in excessive wrath fought with Kujṛmbha with the aid of their own army. Then, occurred a very terrible combat between them with maces, swords, spears, javelins, and axes and arrows without intermission. After it that Daitya, who possessed the might of illusive power, bound those two princes in battle after slaying all their soldiers.

On hearing of that, the king spoke thus to all his soldiers, “I have fallen into utter misery, now that my sons are in bonds, (O best of munis); whoever shall slay that Daitya and shall set my daughter there free, I will bestow even her, the large-eyed maiden, on him.” Even thus the desperate king made a proclamation in his city then in order to obtain the deliverance of his sons and daughter from bondage, O muni.

Bhanandana’s son Vatsaprī then heard of that promise in sooth, which was proclaimed abroad—he, possessed of strength, skilled in weapons, endowed with heroism. And arriving there he saluted this noblest of kings, and bowing with deference spoke to him who was his own father’s peerless friend;—“Command me in sooth speedily; I will deliver thy two sons and also thy daughter, after slaying that Daitya through thy very glory.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Embracing him joyfully, who ivas his dear friend’s son, the king said:

“Go thou to full success,[10] my dear son. My dear son shall stand in my place, if he performs the precept thus. Do this quickly, my dear son, if thy mind is resolute.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Then armed with scymitar and bow, having a leathern bow-guard and finger-protector bound on him, the heroic prince went in haste to Pātāla by that hole. The prince made his bow-string twang with an exceedingly vehement sound then, wherewith the whole of Pātāla was filled throughout. Hearing the sound of the bow-string, the Dānava king, Kujṛmbha came forward then in excessive wrath, attended by his army. Then occurred a battle between him and the king’s son, one with his army against the other with his army, mighty against mighty. When the Dānava had fonght with him for three days, he was filled with rage in his soul and rushed to get his club. Worshipped with perfumes, garlands and incense, it stands in the private apartments, O illustrious sir; for it had been fashioned by the Prajāpati.[11] Mudāvatī, who knew well the secret of the club’s majestic power, bowing her neck very low, touched the noble club then. Until the great demon grasps the club again, till then the beautiful maiden touched it many times under pretence of paying reverence to it. Going back then the king of the demons fought with the club. Vainly fell the blows of the club on those enemies. But inasmuch as the supreme weapon, the club Saunanda, had lost its power, O muni, the Daitya fought with his weapons and arms against his foe in the battle. With his arms and weapons the demon was not the prince’s equal, and that, his might with the club, had been dissipated by the maiden.[12] Conquering then the Dānava’s weapons and arms, the king’s son forthwith forced him from his chariot; and then the demon grasping his shield and scymitar rushed at him again. The prince felled that enemy of the lord of the thirty gods, as he rushed forwards violently incited and displaying his rage,—felled him to the earth with his weapon of fire which gleamed like the Fire that burns up the world finally. That foe of the thirty gods was wounded grievously in the heart by the fiery weapon and quitted his body. And forthwith there was high festival among the huge snakes within the confines of Rasātala.

Then fell a shower of flowers upon the king’s son; the Gandharva lords sang forth, the gods’ instruments of music sounded out. And the prince, after slaying that demon, set free the king’s two sons and the slender-shaped maiden Mudāvatī. And the king of the serpents, Ananta who is named Śeṣa, took that elnb, when that Kujṛmblia was slain; and he, Śeṣa lord of all the serpents, was satisfied with her; he rich in austerities had meditated with glee upon the course of Mudāyatī’s mind. Because the most beautiful maiden had repeatedly touched the club Sunanda, knowing the power of the touch of a woman’s palm[13] on it, therefore the serpent king in his joy gave Mudāvatī then the name Sunandā, derived from the quality of the club Saunanda, O dvija.

And the prince brought her in company with her two brothers to their father’s presence quickly, and bowing down spoke to him thus—“Here are brought thy two sons, dear father, and here is brought Mudāvatī according to thy command; what else I must do, declare thou that.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Thereat the king’s heart was filled with gladness, and he exclaimed aloud, “Well done! well done!” and “Splendid! my dear son, my dear son! I am honoured by the thirty gods, my dear son, for three reasons—in that I have both gained thee for my son-in-law, and that the foe has been stricken down, and that my children have come unharmed to me here again; therefore take her hand now on this auspicious day—I have said it; make my word true— that thou, O prince, be joined in joy with my daughter Mudāvatī, a maiden of lovely form.”

The prince spoke:

I must obey thy command, dear father; what thou sayest I will do. Thou verily knowest, dear father, that in this matter we are in truth unchanged.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Then the great king performed the series of marriage rites for them both, for his daughter Mudāvatī and Bhanandana’s son. Thereafter Vatsaprī in his early manhood sported with her in charming regions and in palaces and on hill-tops.

As time passed on, his father Bhanandana grew old and departed to the forest; Vatsaprī himself became king. He offered up sacrifices continually, while protecting his people with righteousness. How the people, being protected by that high-souled monarch as if they were his children, prospered; and in his realm there was no confusion among the castes; and no one felt any fear of robbers, rogues or villains, nor any fear of calamities, while he ruled as king.

Footnotes and references:


Or Bhalandana according to Viṣṇu Purāṇa IV. i. where his descendants are given.


The Calcutta text reads Kujumbha here and in verse 9, incorrectly; see verse 16.


The story shows that this king’s capital was near the river Nirvindhyā which was apparently in the Mālwa region (see verses 27 and 33). There were several kings of this name, but I have found none who had two sons of the names mentioned.


For vāg-arthas, which the Calcutta and Bombay editions have, read cārākṣas as in the Poona edition.




For tam read tad as in the Poona edition.


On the day on which it is touched, sparśa-dine (comment.)


For yathā read vṛthā as in the Poona edition.


Or Nirvindhyā, as in the Poona edition, which is the preferable form; see canto lvii, verse 24, note ‡.


For saṃsiddhai read saṃsiddhyai, as corrected in the Poona edition.


See verse 18.


For buddhyā rend tanvyā ns in the Poona edition.


Read yoṣit as part of the compound yoṣit-karatala-sparśa- &c., and not separately as in the Calcutta edition.

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