The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “marutta’s exploits (concluded)” which forms the 131st 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 131 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXXXI - Marutta’s exploits (concluded)


Avīkṣit called on Marutta to spare the Nāgas, but Marutta insisting on his duty refused—Avīkṣit proposed to fight with him, and Marutta, though deprecating such combat, agreed—The ṛṣisintervened, the Nāgas restored the dead ṛṣis to life, andallparted affectionatelyMarutta’s wives and successor are named.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Now he, Avīkṣit, on seeing his son there[2] grasping his choice bow, and seeing his son’s bow and keen weapon filling all the regions of the sky with its fiery light, belching forth a great flame, illuminating all the surface of the earth, penetrating down into Pātāla, unendurable, dreadful and terrifying, and actually ready for use —he, seeing the king whose countenance was wrinkled with frowns, said,—“Be not thou wrathful, O Marutta; let thy weapon be drawn back.” More than once so said he, lofty-minded Avīkṣit, to him, the varying course of whose colour speedily vanished in pallor. Listening to bis father's speech and looking at him again and again, he, still grasping his bow, prostrated himself before his parents with veneration and replied:—

“Most grievously have the Nāgas offended me, O father. While I rule this earth, they despising my might advanced to the hermitage and bit seven youthful munis; and the fire-offerings of these ṛṣis who dwell in the hermitage have been defiled by the evil-behaved Nāgas, while I am reigning, O king. Morever every one of the tanks has in truth been defiled by them. This then is the reason; thou must say nothing in their favour, O father. I am not to be turned aside as regards the brāhman-killing Nāgas”

Avīkṣi[3] spoke:

If these Nāgas have slain brāhmans, they will go to hell when dead. Let this my word be complied with; desist from using thy weapon.

Marutta spoke:

I will not pardon these wicked offenders. I in truth shall go to hell if I strive not to curb these sinners. Turn me not back, O father!

Avīkṣi spoke:

These Nāgas have come to me for refuge. Because of the veneration due to me draw back thy weapon. Enough of thy wrath, O king!

Marutta spoke:

I will not pardon these wicked offenders. How shall I, transgressing my own righteousness, comply with thy word? By inflicting punishment on him who ought to be punished and by protecting the well-behaved, a king gains the sacred worlds and disregards the hells.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

When the son thus repeatedly forbidden by his father draws not hack the weapon, he, the father, then spoke again,—

“Thou injurest these terrified Nāgas who have come to me for refuge, although thou art forbidden; I will therefore employ a means to counteract thee. I also acquired skill in weapons; not thou alone art skilled in weapons on the earth; and how great will be thy manhood in my presence, O most ill-behaved one?”

Avīkṣi, the lordly muni, with eyes dusky-red through anger, strung his bow and grasped the weapon of fate. Next he fitted in his bow the noblest weapon of fate, which was surrounded with fiery light, which could slaughter hosts of foes, which had great vigour. Then made hot by the weapon of conflagration,[4] quaked the whole heaven and earth with the seas and mountains, O brāhman, when the weapon of fate[5] was raised aloft.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Marutta also, seeing that weapon of fate made ready by his father, spoke aloud,—

“This my weapon is raised aloft for the punishment of the wicked—not to kill thee. Why dost thou, sir, discharge the weapon of fate at me, thy son, who observe true righteousness and who have ever indeed obeyed thy command? I must protect my subjects fully, illustrious sir; why dost thou thus prepare the weapon to kill me?”

Avīkṣi spoke:

We are determined to accomplish the rescue of him who has come for refuge; thou art his assailant, thou shalt not be let go alive by me. Either slay thou me by the might of thy weapon and then slay the wicked Nāgas here; or I will slay thee with my weapon and save the great Nāgas. Fie on the life of that man that shews no favour to one in pain, who has come seeking for protection even though certainly belonging to an enemy’s party! A kṣatriya am I; these terrified Nāgas have come to me for protection; thou indeed art their injurer; why shouldest thou not be killed by me?

Marutta spoke:

Whoever tends to be an obstacle to the protection of the subjects, whether he be a friend or even a kinsman or a father or a spiritual preceptor, he must be killed by a king. I, being such a king, will fight with thee; he not thou angry, O father. I must preserve my own righteousness, I have no anger against thee.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Seeing those two determined to kill each other, Bhārgava and the other munis sprang up then and stood between them, and said,—“Thou must not discharge thy weapon against this thy father; nor must thou slay this thy son who is renowned for his deeds.”

Marutta spoke:

I must as king slay the wicked and guard the good; and these are wicked Nāgas. What is my fault in this matter, O ye twice-born?

Avīkṣi spoke:

I must rescue those who have come to me for refuge, and this my son is an offender,[6] who kills those that have come for refuge, O brāhmans.

The ṛṣis spoke:

These Nāgas whose eyes are rolling about in terror say, ‘We will bring to life again those brāhmans who were bitten by wicked Nāgas.’ Enough then of combat! Be ye both appeased, O noble kings!’ Ye both indeed, who are faithful to your promises, are well acquainted with righteousness.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Now Vīrā approaching her son said this,—“At my word this thy son has tried to kill the Nāgas. That is finished. When the brāhmans live unmolested and the dead munis also come to life again, the Nāgas may be set free, since they have sought thee for protection.”

Bhāvinī spoke:

I was formerly entreated by these denizens of Pātāla; for that reason I commissioned this my husband in this matter. Therefore has occurred this noble outcome,.splendid, in both of them, both in my husband and my son, in thy grandson and thy son.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Those Nāgas then restored those brāhmans to life both by means of various divine herbs and by drawing out the poison.

The king then bowed at his parents’ feet; and he, Avīkṣit, embracing Marutta affectionately spoke thus—

“Be thou a destroyer of thy enemies’ pride; long do thou protect the earth; be thou also merry with thy sons and grandsons; and may they not be haters of thee!”

Permitted[7] then by the brāhmans and by Vīrā to depart, the two kings mounted the chariot together; and Bhāvinī went to her own city.

Vīrā also, best of those who maintain righteousness, after performing very great austerities, gained the same world[8] as her husband, she an illustrious wife, devoted to her lord.

Marutta also protected the earth fully in righteousness, and having vanquished the six classes of enemies enjoyed enjoyments as king. And his wife was Prabhāvatī, the illustrious daughter of the king of Vidarbha; and Suvīra’s daughter Sauvīrī was also his wife; Sukeśī, daughter of the Māgadha king Ketuvīrya was his wife. Kekayī also, daughter of Sindhuvīrya king of Madra, and Kekaya’s daughter Sairandhrī, and Vapuṣmatī, daughter of the lord of Sindhu,[9] were also his wives; and Suśobhanā, daughter of the king of Cedi, was his wife. And his sons by those queens became eighteen kings, O brāhman. Chief among them and the eldest son was Nariṣyanta.

Such in valour was Marutta, a great king, great in strength. His discus was unopposed in the seven continents; equal to whom no other king ever lived or shall live. After hearing of these exploits of that royal ṛṣi, high-souled Marutta, who was endowed with goodness and prowess, and who was of boundless vigour, and of his pre-eminent birth, O brāhman, a man is freed from all offences.

Footnotes and references:


Canto cxxxii in the Calcutta edition..


Tatra of the Bombay edition is better than tasyāḥ


The text reads Avīkṣi here and in the following places. See canto cxxii, verse 2, note.


Saṃvarta; see canto cxxx, verse 6.




For aparādhyāḥ read aparādhī, as in the Poona edition


For anujñāto read anujñātau, as in the Poona edition.


For sā lokatām read sa-lokatām, as in the Poona edition.


These names seem to be confused so as to be in impossible combinations, for Sindhu, Kekaya and Madra were distinct countries, see canto lvii, verses 36 and 37. For Saurindhrī read Sairandhrī as in the Poona edition. The second line of verse 46 and the first of verse 47 would read better thus, by merely transposing the words,—

Sutā ca. Sindhu-vīryasya Sindhu-bhartur Vapuṣmatī,
Madra-rājasya Sairandhrī, Kekayasya ca Kekayī.

“Vapuṣmatī also daughter of Sindhu-vīrya lord of Sindhu, Sairandhrī daughter of the king of Madra, and Kekayī daughter of the king of Kekaya were also his wives.”

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