The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “marutta’s exploits (continued)” which forms the 130th 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 130 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXXX - Marutta’s exploits (continued)


Marutta visited his grandmother’s hermitage and set the Nāgas’ world on fire—They implored his mother Bhāvinī’s protection according to her old promise—She and Avīkṣit accepted their entreaties and went to Marutta.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

On tearing this speech from the ascetic, the king became covered with shame. Exclaming, “Fie on me, who am blind because I have no spies,” he sighed and took his bow. He went hastily then towards Aurva’s hermitage and made obeisance to his father’s mother Vīrā with his head, and to the ascetics as was proper; and they landed him with blessings. And seeing the seven sons,[2] the ascetics, bitten by the Nāgas on the ground, the king reproached himself repeatedly in front of them, and said thus,—

“What I do now unto the wicked Nāgas, who despise my valour and who hate the brahmans, let all the world with the gods, demons and mankind see that!”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

So saying the king took his weapon Samvartaka[3] in anger, in order to destroy all the Nāgas that roamed in Pātāla and on the earth. The Nāgas’ world burst into flame then suddenly all around; while it was being burnt by the glowing power of the great weapon[4], he hemmed it in. ‘Ah! Ah! dear father’—‘Ah! mother!’—‘Ah! Ah! dear child’—such cries arose then among the Nāgas in that confusion caused by the weapon. Some with the ends of their tails burning, other Nāgas with their hoods burning, both seized their children and and wives, and abandoned their ornaments and clothing. Quitting Patāla they went for protection to Marutta’s mother Bhavinī, who had formerly given them a promise of safety then.[5] Approaching her all the Nāgas, sick with terror, prostrated themselves and spoke thus in broken accents,—

“Let that be remembered which was formerly declared by thee to us. What we entreated[6] formerly after prostrating ourselves in Rasātala, the time for that has here arrived; save us, O mother of the hero! Let thy son be turned aside, O queen; let us retain[7] our lives. All the world of the Nāgas is being burnt by the fire from his weapon. For ns, who are being thus utterly burnt up by thy son, there is no other refuge but thou; have mercy on us, O renowned lady!”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Hearing this their speech and remembering what she had said at first, the good lady spoke this speech to her husband with agitation,—

“I related to thee before indeed, what the Nāgas in Pātāla after making petition said to me with reference to my son. They are these who have come in terror; they are being burnt by his splendour; these sought refuge with me before and I gave them a promise of safety. Those who have come to me for refuge have approached thee for refuge, for I do not observe a righteousness separate from thine. I have come to thee for refuge. Therefore do thou turn aside our son Marutta by thy word; when besought by me also, he will assuredly proceed[8] to quietness.”

The king spoke:

Marutta has given way to wrath which has become fixed in a great crime. It will be hard, I think, to turn away the wrath of him, thy son.

The Nāgas spoke:

We have sought thy protection; shew us favour, O king; weapons are borne in order to save from pain him who is wounded.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

On hearing that speech of the Nāgas who had become suppliants for protection, and being entreated by his wife, most famous Avīkṣi[9] spoke,—

“I go, lady, and will with haste speak to that thy son in order to deliver the Nāgas: those who have come for protection must not be forsaken. If he, the king, does not draw back his weapon at my word, then I will parry the weapon of that thy son with my own weapons.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Thereupon Avīkṣi, noblest of kṣatriyas, took up his bow and accompanied by his wife went in haste to Bhārgava’s hermitage.

Footnotes and references:


Canto cxxxi in the Calcutta edition.


For sutān read mṛtān, “the seven dead ascetics”?


Saṃvartoka, “the fire that will destroy every thing at the end of the world.” The Calcutta edition reads Sad-vartaka.


For mahāṃs tu tejasā the Poona edition reads mahāstra-tejasā, which I have followed.


The promise was given in canto cxxvi, verses 42-44. For the text yayā dattaṃ tadābhayam a better reading would be yathā dattaṃ tayābhayam, “since she had formerly given themapromise of safety.” See verse 17.


For abhyarcitam read abhyarthitam, as in the Poona edition.


Sāyojyam; a word not in the dictionary. Sāyujyam is given there, and this is the reading of the Poona edition.


Abhy-upa-yāsyati; this verb is not in the dictionary.


Here and in verse 25 the text shortens the name to Avīkṣi. So also in canto cxxxi, verses 9, 11, and 17. See canto cxxii, verse 2, note.

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