The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “karandhama’s exploits” which forms the 121st 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 121 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXXI - Karandhamā’s exploits


Khanīnetra propitiated Indra and obtained the gift of a son, Balāśva—King Balāśva was besieged by his rebellious vassal kings and was delivered by an army which issued from his hands that shook with distress—Hence he was named Karandhama.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Thereupon the king went to the sin-destroying river Gomatī,[2] and, practising self-restraint, gratified the god Purandara there. And assiduously practising severe austerities, subduing his voice, body and mind, and controlling himself, the king gratified Indra in order to obtain a son. The adorable Indra, lord of the gods, was gratified with his praise, austerities and faith, and said to him, O great muni,—“By reason of these austerities, faith and praise uttered by thee, I am well satisfied with thee, O king; choose a boon, sir!”

The king spoke:

May I who am son-less obtain a son, who shall be chief among all who bear arms, and always unrepulsed in his sovereignty,[3] a doer of righteousness, a knower of righteousness, and skilful.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

And when Indra said to him, “Be it so!” the king gained his desire. The king returned to his own city to protect his people. As he was performing sacrifice there, as he was duly protecting his people, a son was born to him then through Indra’s favour, O brāhman. The king, his father, gave him the name Balāśva,[4] and caused the son to acquire skill in every kind of weapon. When his father died, O brāhman, he stood as king in the supreme sovereignty.[5] Balāśva brought all kings on the earth into subjection; and the king after first taking away their choicest property,[6] made all the kings pay him tribute; and he protected his people.

Now all those kings as claimants were furious against him; and at all times they neither rose up before him nor paid him tribute. They stood up[7] then in their own countries; disregarding contentment as the chief good, those kings seized that king’s territory. That king held fast his own kingdom by force,[8] O muni, and made his stand in his own city. Many kings besieged him. Kings, very great in valour, possessing military apparatus and riches, assembled then and besieged that king in that city. Now the king was enraged at that siege of his city, but, having very little treasure and a small army, fell into the utmost distress. Beholding no succour though possessing an army, O best of dvijas, he put his hands before his face and sighed in mental suffering. Then compacted together[9] by the breath from his mouth, which issued through the interstice between his hands, there went forth[10] in hundreds warriors accompanied by chariots, elephants and horses. Thereby in a moment all that city of that king was pervaded by a host of forces, choice by reason of their extreme strength, O muni. Surrounded then by that exceeding great host of forces, the king sallied forth from that city and conquered those foes. And after vanquishing them the king, having great good fortune, brought them into subjection and made them pay tribute again as before, illustrious sir. Because from his agitated hands was produced an army which burnt up his foes, Balāśva is thence called Karandhama.[11] He was righteous of soul and great of soul; he was benevolent to all living creatures. King Karandhama was celebrated in the three worlds. And Power, which is denounced by Righteousness itself approaching the king, who had undergone intense suffering, granted him the destruction of his enemies.[12]

Footnotes and references:


Canto cxxii in the Calcutta edition.


See p. 291, note ††.


For cābhyāhataiśvaryo read cāvyāhataiśvaryo as in the Poona edition.


He was also called Suvarcas (Mahā-Bhārata, Aśvam.-p. iii. 72-79) and Balakāśva or Subalāśva; but his most famous name was Karandhama which is fancifully explained in verse 21, and in the above-mentioned passage of the MahāBhārata. A king Vibhūti or Ativibhūti is sometimes inserted between Khanīnetra and this king. This famous Karandhama must be distinguished from another king of the same name, who was fourth in descent from Yayāti’s son Turvasu (Hari-Vaṃśa, xxxii. 1829-31; and Matsya Purāṇa, xlviii. 1, 2.)


The MahāBhārata says Khanīnetra was deposed by his subjects (Āśvam.-p. iii. 70-72.)


Sāra-grahaṇa-pūrvaham; sāra = śreṣṭha-vastu (comment.)


Vyutthitāḥ. The root vy-ut-thā is given only in the causal form in the dictionary.


For pṛthivīśe balān the Poona edition reads pṛthivīśo’balān; pṛthivīśo balān appears therefore to be the correct reading.


Samāhatāḥ appears to be the reading, but hardly yields a suitable meaning; s amāhitāh, “put into order,” “arrayed” would be preferable.


For hasta-viravān read hasta-vivarān, and f or ni-jagmuḥ read nir-jagmuḥ as in the Poona edition.


The derivation given here is from karayor dhutayor, but this is insufficient ; the root dhmā would support this fanciful explanation better than dhu or dhū.


The verse seems involved. The Poona edition has been followed. it reads samprāptam paramām ārtim for samprāptasya parām ārtim, and nṛpam for nṛpāḥ ; and the commentator says balam is the subject and ari-vināśanaṃ the object.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: