The Markandeya Purana

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

This page relates “dama’s exploits” which forms the 133rd 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 133 is included the section known as “conversation between Markandeya and Kraustuki”.

Canto CXXXIII - Dama’s exploits


Nariṣyanta teas succeeded by his son Dama, an accomplished kingSumanā daughter of the king of Daśārṇa chose him as her husband at her svayamvara—Three other princes tried to take her by force, and Dama, after appealing to the assembled kings against their conduct, was left in accordance with marriage rules to assert his right by arms—He defeated those kings and married Sumanā.

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Nariṣyanta’s son was Dama,[2] the tamer of the wicked and of enemies; like Indra’s was his strength; compassion such as a muni’s was his disposition. That very famous son was horn to that king of Indrasenā, a princess descended from Babhru,[3] after abiding nine years in his mother’s womb. Because while abiding in her womb he caused his mother to acquire self-restraint, and because it was supposed, ‘this prince also will be self-restrained in disposition,’ therefore indeed his family priest, who knew the three times,[4] gave Nariṣyanta’s son the name ‘Dama.’[5]

Now prince Dama learnt the knowledge of the bow entirely from Vṛṣaparvan, king of men;[6] and he learnt the use of all kinds of weapons thoroughly from the noble Daitya Dundubhi[7] who dwelt in Tapovana;[8] and he learnt the Vedas and all the Vedāṅgas from Śakti;[9] and controlling himself he learnt the practice of religious devotion from the royal ṛṣi Ārṣṭiṣeṇa[10].

Him, who was naturally high-souled, who was accomplished in arms and was great in strength, did Sumanā, when placed[11] at the svayamvara by her father, choose as her husband, she, daughter of mighty Cārukarman[12] king of Daśārṇa,[13] while all the kings looked on, who had assembled there for her sake. Now the Madra[14] king’s son Mahānāda, who was great in strength and prowess, was also deeply enamoured of her, and so also were the son of Saṅkrandana king of Vidarbha,[15] and prince Vapuṣmat, who bore a great bow and was of lofty intellect. Now seeing that Dama, tamer of the wicked and of enemies, was chosen by her,[16] they took counsel thus with one another there, being infatuated by love,—

“We will seize this beautifully-formed maiden from him by force and go home. She shall be his among us, whom she, the maiden of beautiful hips, shall take with the intention that he shall be her husband according to the ordinance of the svayamvara—his wife she shall be, delivered over according to righteousness by our wish. Yet if that maiden of intoxicating eyes does not desire any of us, then she shall be his who shall slay Dama”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Having formed this resolve, those three princes seized that most beautifully-formed maiden, as she attended by Dama’s side. Thereupon some kings among them who were of his[17] party cried out, and other kings shouted out on the other side; some took a neutral position. Then Dama, looking at those kings all around, made this appeal with full presence of mind, O great muni.

Dama spoke:

“Ho, ye kings! Since men say a svayamvara is among the duties of righteousness, is it unrighteousness or righteousness that these hare seized her by force? If it is unrighteousness, it is no duty of mine that there shall be another wife for me; or if it is righteousness, then enough of the life which is retained in an outrage by an enemy!”

Then king Cārudharman,[18] king of Daśārṇa, making that assemblage keep silence, spoke, O great muni,—“If this which Dama has spoken depends on righteousness or unrighteousness, O kings, declare it then, so that mine and his righteousness be not violated.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Then certain kings addressed that king,—“With mutual affection the Gāndharva ceremony of marriage is ordained for kṣatriyas,[19] but it is not for vaiśyas, śūdras or twice-born brāhmans. And it has been effected by this thy daughter in that she has preferred Dama. Thus according to righteousness this thy daughter belongs to Dama, O king. He who behaves otherwise, proceeds through infatuation as one licentious in soul.”

And others, high-souled kings, who belonged to the party of the hostile kings, spoke this speech to the king of Daśārṇa, O brāhman,—

“Why say they through infatuation that this Gāndharva form is the rule of righteousness for him who is kṣatriya-born? But this is certainly not approved. There is another[20] form also, the Rākṣasa,[21] for those who live by bearing arms. Now whoever carries off this maiden by force after slaying those who beset his path, his in truth she is by the Rākṣasa marriage, O kings. Of the two forms of marriage this Rākṣasa form is esteemed the more excellent here among kṣatriyas; hence Māhānanda[22] and the other princes have acted righteously.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Then the kings, who had first addressed the assembled kings, spoke again this speech dealing with the righteousness of their caste as concerned with mutual affection;—

“It is true the Rākṣasa form also is commended as an excellent ordinance for kṣatriyas, but the maiden has approved him, Dama, as her husband under her father’s authority. Now she who is carried off by force by a man, who has killed her father or kinsman—that is declared to be the Rākṣasa ordinance—provided she is living in the possession of no one else as husband.[23] In this completion of the Gāndharva form here—‘since this maiden chose Dama in the sight of all the kings—what Rākṣasa marriage has there been here? A maiden when married certainly retains not her maidenhood, and marriage creates a bond[24] on a maiden, O kings. These particular princes, who are prepared to take her by force from Dama, let them do so then, if they are strong enough; but that is not good.”

Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Hearing that, Dama with eyes reddened with wrath strung his bow and spoke this speech,—“If my own wife is carried off by strong men before my eyes—what then is the value of the existence of an impotent man as regards his family or his two arms?[25] Fie on my weapons! fie on my valour! fie on my arrows! fie on my bow! fie on my useless birth in the family of high-souled Marutta! If these powerful princes in their infatuation take my wife and depart while I live, shame on my useless possession of a bow!”

So exclaiming, mighty Dama, the tamer of great enemies, then addressed all those other kings with Mahānanda at their head,—“Here stands the surpassingly bright maiden, pretty in form, and with intoxicating eyes; what has he to do with life, to whom this high-born maiden becomes not wife? Thinking thus, O kings, so strive ye in combat that ye may by vanquishing me proudly make her your wife.”

Having challenged them thus, he then discharged a shower of arrows there, covering the kings therewith as a storm of rain covers trees with darkness. Those heroic kings also discharged arrow’s, pikes, spears and maces, and Dama playfully clove the missiles used by them. They also clove the arrows shot by him, and Nariṣyanta’s son clove the multitudes of arrows discharged by those kings, O muni. As the fight went on then between Dama and the princes, Mahānanda penetrated with sword in hand where Dama was, Dama, seeing him advancing with sword in hand in the great fight, discharged showers of arrows as Indra pours out the rains. Mahānanda immediately then clove those his missiles, which composed meshes of arrows, with his sword and avoided others. Mahānanda, great in valour, next mounted on Dama’s chariot in fury then and fought with Dama. As Mahānanda was fighting agilely in many ways, Dama shot an arrow gleaming like the fire of fate into his heart. Mahānanda, with himself pierced as he was, pulled out the arrow that had stuck in his heart, and then hurled his glittering sword against Dama. And Dama dashed aside this torch-like sword, which was falling on him, with a pike, and cut Mahānanda’s head off with a double-edged sword.[26]

When Mahānanda was killed, the kings in a mass turned backwards, but Vapuṣmat, king of Kuṇḍina,[27] stood his ground; and full of strength, pride, and frenzy he fought with Dama. He was son of a king of the Southern country and was a habitual fighter.[28] As that prince was fighting fiercely, he, Dama, with a scymitar[29] lightly clove both his charioteer’s head and his banner in the battle. His sword being broken, that prince then seized his mace studded with many spikes, and he, Dama, hastily split that also while it was in his very hand. Whilst Vapuṣmat is taking up another choice weapon, during that interval Dama pierced him with an arrow and laid him low on the ground. That prince was laid low on the ground then, powerless in his limbs and quivering, and ceased in his mind from fighting. After gazing on him as he lay so with no more thought of fighting, Dama restraining himself[30] abandoned him, and taking Surnanā went forth with happy mind.

Then the king of Daśārṇa filled with pleasure performed the marriage of those two, of Dama and Surnanā, according to the ordinances. Dama wedded to his wife remained a short time there in the city of the king of Daśārṇa, and departed with his wife to his own abode. And the king of Daśārṇa[31] gave him elephants, horses and chariots, cattle, horses, asses and camels, and many slaves both female and male, clothing, ornaments, hows and other apparel, the choicest household utensils of his own; and sent him away, replete also with those other vessels.

Footnotes and references:


Canto cxxxiv in the Calcutta edition.


He and his descendants are given in Viṣṇu Purāṇa IV. i.


This may be Babhru or Vabhru, son of Druhyu, son of Yayāti (Hari-Vaṃśa, xxxii. 1837). There were other kings of the same name later, as Vabhru son of Devāvṛdha (Hari-Vaṃśa, xxxviii. 2010-13, and Matsya Purāṇa xliv. 56), Babhru son of Viśvagarbha (Hari-Vaṃśa, xcv. 5252), &c.


The past, the present and the future.




This would appear to be Vṛṣa-parvan, a famous king of the Dānavas (Mahā-Bhārata, Ādi-p. lxxxi. 3367-8, Sabhā-p.iii. 58-60), whose daughter Śarmiṣṭhā married Yayāti (ibid., and Ādi-p. xcv. 3760-1, Udyoga-p. cxlviii. 5042-5; Harivaṃśa., xxx. 1600-3; and Viṣṇu Purāṇa IV. x). There was a famous hermitage called Vṛṣa-parvan’s hermitage near Mount Kailāsa in the Himalayas (Mahā-Bhārata, Vana-p. clviii. 11541-3, clxxvii. 12340-44), but that Vṛṣa-parvan appears to have been contemporary with the Pāṇḍavas, according to the first of these last two passages.


I have not found a Daitya of this name elsewhere.


This means a “grove where austerities are practised”; but there appears te have been a place of this name, for Yayāti retired there (Viṣṇu Purāṇa IV. x).


This appears to be Vasiṣṭha’s son who was called Śakti (Wilson’s Viṣṇu Purāṇa—edit. F. Hall—I. p. 8, and III, iii., pp. 35 and 36) and, better, Śaktri (Mahā-Bhārata, Ādi-p.clxxvii. 6757, clxxviii. 6792-4; Śānti-p. cccli.) Ho was Parāśara’s father (loe. cit.), see canto cxxxiv. verse 32.


For Ārṣṇi-ṣeṇa read Ārṣṭi-ṣeṇa, as in the Poona edition. He is mentioned in the MahāBhārata, as having a famous hermitage near Mount Gandha-mādana in the Himalayas (Vana-p. clviii. 11626-7, Śalya-p. xli, Anuśās.-p. xxv. 1741), and he is there made a contemporary of the Pāṇḍavas. That Ārṣṭiṣena or another of the same name was son of Śala (or Laśa), who was son of Suhotra (Hari-Vaṃśa, xxix. 1518-20; see also the Vāyu, Brahma and Bhāg. Purāṇas).


Kṛtā; svayam-vare kṛte pitrā, “at the svayam-vara arranged by her father,” would seem better.


I have not found this name elsewhere.


See canto lvii, verse 53.


See p. 315, note ‡.


See canto lvii, verse 47.


For te’tha yātāvṛtaṃ read te tayā taṃ vṛtaṃ as in the Poona edition.


Tat-pakṣā, i.e., apparently “of Dama’s party.”


Or Cāru-karman in verse 9 above.


See Manu iii. 26 and 32.


For na tvaṣa śāstā nānyo hi read na tv eṣa eva śāsto ’nyo, as in the Poona edition.


See Manu iii, 26 and 33.


Or Mahānāda, aa in verse 10.


This is according to the comment., which makes nānya-bhartṛ-kare sthitā a clause qualifying the preceding words. The comment, explains hatvā pitṛ-sambandham as “severing her tie to her father.”


Sambandhaḥ; = svāmitvam, “ownership” (commentary).


For bhujāmyām read bhujābhyām, as in the Poona edition.


Vetasa-patra. See canto cxxvi verse 24.


See p. 335, note §.




For kara-bālam, which form is not in the dictionary, read kara-bālena or better kara-pālena ?


He did not give him the coup de grace. Vapuṣmat re-appears in the next canto.


For Daśārṇādhipateś cāsau read Daśārnādhiptiś cāsmai, as in the Poona edition.

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