The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the rise of the lotus and the war between gods & demons which is chapter 41 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the forty-first chapter of the Srishti-khanda (section on creation) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 41 - The Rise of the Lotus and the War between Gods & Demons

Pulastya said:

1. The Ādityas, the Vasus, the two mighty Aśvins got ready for battle with their troops and followers in due order.

2. The thousand-eyed Indra, the guardian of the worlds and the leader of gods mounted on an excellent elephant.

3-6a. To his right stood the chariot, which had the best bird (i.e. Garuḍa) as its banner; which moved on very fine wheels; which was adorned with a golden umbrella; which was followed by the multitudes of gods, Gandharvas and Yakṣas in thousands; which was eulogised by brahmanic brilliant sages living in heaven; having mounted upon which chariot, furnished with multitudes of clouds having the lustre of lightning and rain-bow risen due to the vibration of the thunderbolt, and resembling mountains moving according to their will, the lord moves in the entire world.

6b-7. The brāhmaṇas remaining at the front of a sacrifice sing at the (time of the) presentation of oblations. Hundreds of groups of celestial nymphs dance by him accompanied by Indra when the sounds of the trumpets of gods were (heard) at the heavenly battle.

8-9. The best chariot which was at that time occupied by Mātalin, to which a thousand horses, having the speed of the mind and the wind, were yoked, shone, like the Sun, with the banner of the lord of serpents; (it shone) like the Meru mountain which is fully covered with the Sun’s lustre.

10. And Yama, raising his staff and his fatal mallet and displaying them to the demons, stood in the army of gods.

11-14. Varuṇa, who held the nooses, who was accompanied by four oceans and the repeatedly licking snakes, who had put on ornaments of conches and pearls, who possessed a watery body, who had held together his fatal nooses, who wore excellent white garments and coral ornaments, who had an excellent body brown with gems, who indulged in thousands of sports with his horses of a watery appearance and resembling the moon and being impelled by the wind, remained in the gods’ army, desiring (i.e. waiting for) the time to fight, (looking) like the ocean that had broken the coast.

15-16. Dhanada (i.e. Kubera), accompanied by the army of Yakṣas and demons, and by the hosts of Guhyakas, endowed with a conch and a lotus, who was the lord of treasures, and king of kings, possessed of prosperity and holding a mace in his hand, and fighting by remaining in an aeroplane, was seen there seated in the Puṣpaka.

17a. He i.e. Kubera, the king of kings, the lord of Yakṣas, shone (there).

17b-18a. Indra remained in the eastern wing, Yama in the southern, Varuṇa in the western and Kubera in the northern wing (of the army).

18b-19a. The very mighty four regents of quarters remaining in the four wings moved in their respective regions of that army of gods.

19b-20. The Sun, moving in a chariot to which seven horses were yoked, which was moving like the wind, which was resplendent with beauty, and which was shining with rays, and which went to the skirt of Meru, rose and set (i.e. went up and down).

21-22a. The Sun, of twelve forms, heating the unchangeable world with heat by means of the orb at the gate of the heaven which had a thousand rays and which had illuminating lustre, moved among the gods.

22b-23a. Soma (i.e. the Moon), of white horses, having cool rays, delighting the world with lustre full of cool water, shines (i.e. shone) in his chariot.

23b-26a. The demons saw that Soma, who was accompanied by Stars, whose rays were cool, who was the lord of brāhmaṇas, whose form was marked with the shadow of a hare, who removed the nocturnal darkness, who was the lord of the Stars in the sky, who gave nectar, who was the immutable lord, who was the store of pure herbs and of nectar, who was the great lot of the world, who was agreeable, who was full of nectar, who had the snow-weapon, and who remained (in his chariot).

26b-30a. The Wind,[1] that is the life of the beings, and has divided himself into five in men (i.e. remains in five forms in the bodies of men), who went along seven tracts, who supports and has fashioned the three worlds, whom they call Agni, the creator of the worlds, and the lord, the source of all, whose origin, found in the seven notes (of the gamut), is proclaimed by words, whom they describe as a moving element and as one having no body, whom they call as moving in the sky, as quick moving, and as being produced from the source of sound, who is the life of all beings, who was stirred up by his own lustre, blew, with clouds, in a hostile manner and troubled the Daityas.

30b-31a. The Wind, along with the gods, Gandharvas, and hosts of Vidyādharas, sported with the rays white like serpents that had lately cast their skins.

31b-32a. Lords of serpents, producing strong poison of wrath, being thin and turning themselves into arrows and with their mouths wide open moved (there).

32b-33a. The mountains also stood with their rocky peaks and trees having hundred branches, by the gods in order to strike the army of the demons.

33b-35. He, god Hṛṣīkeśa, Padmanābha, Trivikrama[2], who is the fire at the end of the yuga, who is the lord of the entire world, who is the source of all, who killed (the demon) Madhu, who enjoys the oblations, who is the soul of the elements like earth, water and ether, who is dark, who brings about peace, who kills the enemies, who holds the mace and the disc, getting well-settled, caused absence of danger among the gods and others.

36-37. The very powerful lord, having the enemy of the serpents (i.e. Garuḍa) as his banner, held, in his right hand, the great mace, destroying all weapons, fatal in nature and bringing destruction to the enemies, and held in his other bright hands, the multitudes of other weapons like (his bow) Śārṅga etc.

38-44a. On the battlefield, the lord, having mounted upon the best bird (i.e. Garuḍa)[3], who was the offspring of Kaśyapa, who was the younger brother of Aruṇa, who had serpents as his food, who shone with the lord of serpents put into his mouth, who was (formerly) connected with the activity of (carrying) nectar, who was lofty like Mandara, whose valour was many times seen in the war between gods and demons, who was used like the thunderbolt for (securing) the nectar by Indra, who had put on a garment in the form of variegated wings, who was like a mountain full of minerals, who was, in the sky, covered beautifully with the brightest gem with its lustre like the moon and (as it were) a prop of increased wrath, adhering to the hood of a serpent, and with two wings having charming feathers, like the sky being covered with two clouds with the rainbow, at the time of the destruction of the world, who was adorned with dark and reddish banners, whose wings were golden (was ready to fight).

44b-45a. All the hosts of gods and sages, calm in mind, followed him and praised the mace-holder with words couching great sacred texts.

45b-47. That mighty army of Viṣṇu, who was victorious, who was tolerant and bright, (the army) which was joined by Kubera, led by Yama, encircled by Varuṇa, adorned by the lord of gods, in which great sound was made by Vāyu, which was blazing with Agni was arranged for the battle.

48. Bṛhaspati said: “Well-being to the gods.” Uśanas (i.e. Śukra) said these words: “Well-being to the demons”.

49. Then a fierce battle took place between the two armies of gods and demons who were desirous of conquering each other.

50. The demons, with many weapons raised, went to fight with the gods, like mountains with mountains.

51. That was a very wonderful fight between the gods and the demons, charged with piety and impiety and pride and politeness.

52-54. Then with the very speedy horses, and with elephants that were goaded, and with warriors having swords in their hands and jumping, with pestles being thrown, with falling arrows, with stretched bows, and with very fearful missiles being dropped, that battle, in which gods and demons had crowded, and which produced fear to the world and which resembled the fire of destruction, took place.

55. The demons struck the gods led by Indra in the battle with iron bars, mallets and rocks.

56. The gods, who were being killed by the strong demons behaving like conquerors, whose faces were dejected, were very much afflicted in the war..

57-58. They, crushed down by missiles and spears, and with their heads broken with iron bars, with their chests pierced by the sons of Diti (i.e. the demons), and bleeding profusely, were killed with volleys of arrows; their exertion was rendered useless, and getting (caught) into the illusion of the demons, they were unable to move.

59. The exertion of the army of the gods which as it were appeared to be arrested by the demons and which was (almost) lifeless, was rendered useless by the demons.

60. Indra, of many (i.e. a thousand) eyes, cutting off the terrible arrows discharged from the bows of the demons, entered the fierce army of the demons.

61. He, having killed all important demons rendered the army of the demons covered with darkness by a multitude of darkening missiles.

62. They, overpowered by darkness due to the prowess of Indra, did not recognize one another nor the vehicles of demons.

63. The gods, freed from the nooses of illusion, exerted, and felled (on the ground) the heads of the hosts of demons which were (covered with) darkness.

64. The wretched demons, who became unconscious due to the darkness of a black colour, instantly fell down like mountains with their wings cut off.

65. There (i.e. on the battlefield) the body of the lord of demons, who was overcome (with darkness) was, as it were, full of internal darkness.

66. Maya, burning the illusion (produced by gods) produced a great illusion like the one at the time of the destruction of the world produced by the Aurva[4] fire.

67. That illusion produced by Maya burnt the illusion created by Indra; and the demons instantly rose (taking up) the forms ofgods in the battle.

68. Reaching (i.e. being covered by) the Aurvī illusion, the gods being burnt (by the fire produced by it) resorted to the pond of water cool (with) the rays of the moon on the region of tbe moon.

69. The gods, being burnt by that Aurva fire and being insensible and afflicted, seeking the refuge of Indra, praised him.

70. When the army (of gods) was (thus) distressed and was being killed by the demons, Varuṇa, impelled by the lord of gods, said (these) words:

Varuṇa said:

71. O Indra, formerly, Urva the son of a brāhmaṇic sage, and bright due to qualities similar to those of Brahman, practised a very severe penance.

72. Hosts of sages and gods with divine sages approached him, who was as it were tormenting the world with his penance, like the sun.

73. The demon, Hiraṇyakaśipu, the lord of demons, also formerly requested that sage (Urva) of a great lustre.

74-75. The brāhmaṇic sages spoke words conforming to dharma: “O revered sir, this family has its root cut off among the families of sages. You are all alone, without a child. There is on one else (to continue) the family. Practising the vow of abstinence you are following (i.e. suffering from) affliction only.”

76-77a. “Many brāhmaṇa families, those of sages of purified souls remain all alone and secluded and without progeny. When all of them are like that, I have nothing to do with sons.”

77b-78. “You are the best among ascetics and are bright like the creator. Therefore proceed to continue your family and multiply your self by yourself. Put together your mighty lustre and make your body a second (i.e. generate a son)”.

79. The sage thus addressed by the sages being hurt in the mind censured all those and said these words to them:

80-81. “As the eternal duty of the sages, it was laid down formerly that the only duty approved by seers, of a brāhmaṇa who eats (i.e. subsists on) wild roots and fruits, and who is born in a brāhmaṇa family and who lives by himself, (is celibacy). If celibacy is well-practised it would even move Brahmā.

82-83. There are three courses of conduct of people: (One is that of those) who live as householders; (there is another) of those like us who live in the forest; and those who live in hermitages, eating (i.e. drinking) water, eating (i.e. living on) air, using their teeth as the mortar (i.e. the anchorites) and those who break things on stones, and there is the one of those who practise penance with five fires.[5]

84. These remaining in penance, and giving importance to celibacy (by performing) vows very difficult to perform, desire the highest position.

85. The brāhmaṇa-hood of a brāhmaṇa is occasioned by (i.e. is due to) his celibacy. This is what people knowing (the importance of) celibacy say in the other world.

86. Piety resides in celibacy; penance resides in celibacy. Those brāhmaṇas who remain in celibacy, reside in heaven.

87. Perfection is not possible without yoga (deep and abstract meditation); glory is not possible without yoga. O you tormentor of the enemies in this world, there is no better means of glory than austerity (in the form of) celibacy.

88. For him, who restrains the group of the organs of sense and the group of the five elements, and concentrates on celibacy what greater penance than that is there?

89. Having (i.e. growing) hair without yoga (a deep and abstract meditation), performing a vow without (proper) volition and religious mendicant’s life without celibacy—these three are called religious hypocrisy.

90. Where is (the need of) a wife and of union (with her)? Where again is the need of the perverse (i.e. unnatural) condition (viz. that of a householder etc.)? Indeed these mind-born offsprings were created by Brahmā with his mind.

91. If you, who are self-subdued, have the power of penance then by the act like that of Brahmā, create mind-born sons.

92. The ascetics should have mentally produced offspring. There is no union with a wife, no (depositing of) seed (i.e. semen)—this is said to be a vow of the ascetics.

93. What you, the good and fearless persons have said here, is indeed like that which is very much liked by bad persons.

94. This I, making by body blazing with the soul, will produce a mind (-born) son without copulation with a wife.

95. Thus, with the act like that of the creator my soul (i.e. I) will produce another self (i.e. a son), as itwere desiring to burn the beings”.

Varuṇa said:

96. (Then) Urva engrossed in penance, put his thigh into the fire, and shook with one darbha the fire-producing wooden stick (for) generating a son.

97. Suddenly breaking his thigh, an excellent fire came up. The son—the fire, became desirous of burning the world.

98. Breaking open the thigh of Urva a destructive fire called Aurva, very angry and as it were desiring to burn the three worlds, was produced.

99. While being produced he said to his father in piteous words: “O father, hunger is oppressing me; I shall swallow the world; leave me.”

100. He, resembling Yama, spreading in the ten quarters with his flames going up to the heaven, and consuming all beings, grew.

101-102. In the meanwhile, Brahmā came to the sage Urva, and said (to him): “(Please) ward off your son; show pity for the world. O brāhmaṇa, I shall give excellent help to this your son. O you son, O you best among the speakers, listen to these true words of me.”

Aurva said:

103. I am blessed, I am favoured that you, revered sir, O highest soul, are giving this idea to this child (viz. me).

104. When the morning time has arrived, and when his association is to be desired, revered sir, satisfied with what oblations would my son obtain happiness?

105. Where will be his residence? What will be the nature of the mighty food of him of great lustre that the lord will give?

Brahma said:

106. His residence will be in the mare’s mouth in the ocean. O brāhmaṇa, my source is water that is immeasurable. Let him go there.

107. There he will certainly live, drinking the oblation of the form of water. I am giving him that residence, viz. that expanse of water (i.e. the ocean).

108. Then, O son, he and I removing things of the past will move together at the end of the Yuga.

109. This fire, who is made by me to eat (i.e. subsist on) water, will, at the time of the deluge, burn all being along with the demons and goblins.

110. Saying, “Let it be so”, that fire, having suppressed the circle of flames, entered the mouth of the ocean and not his father, the lord, viz. Urva.

111. Then Brahmā returned, and also the great sages. Knowing the prowess of the fire Aurva they took their respective courses.

112. Then, seeing that great wonder, Hiraṇyakaśipu, saluting Urva by touching the ground with all the limbs of his body (i.e. prostrating himself before Urva), said these words (to him):

113. “O revered sir, this wonder has taken place in the presence of the world. O greatest sage, the grandsire is quite pleased with your penance.

114. O you of a great vow, I should be looked upon as the servant of your son and you. You are fit to be praised due to (your having done) this deed.

115. Then see me to be distressed and engaged in propitiating you. If, O greatest sage, I sink into distress, that would be your defeat.”

Urva said:

116. I am blessed, I am favoured since you have looked upon me as your preceptor. O you of good vow, you have no fear due to this penance.

117. Accept that illusion only, which is created by my son, which is fuel-less and full of fire, which is difficult to be touched even by fires.

118. While subduing the enemy it will be under the control of you and (the members) of your family. It will protect your side and will burn (i.e. destroy) the enemy.

Varuṇa said:

119. This illusion unassailable even by gods, was formerely created by Aurva, the fire, the son of Urva.

120. When the demon was afflicted it would become powerless; there was no doubt about it. That was the curse given by him who had created it with his lustre.

121. O Śakra, if this (illusion) is to be set aside and the lord is to be made happy, then give me, as my companion, the Moon, born of water (of the ocean).

122. There is no doubt that united with him and surrounded by the aquatic animals, I shall destroy this illusion through your favour.

123. Śakra, who helped the gods to prosper, being delighted, said, “Let it be so,” and ordered Soma, having cold weapons, to fight at the head (of the army):

124. “O Soma, help Varuṇa for the destruction of the demons and the victory of the gods.

125. You are regarded as being of matchless prowess[6] and the lord of the luminaries. Those well-versed in the Vedas know that all juices are full of you.

126. None like you having cold weapons is (to be found) in the world. Your waning and waxing are uncreated in the ocean as well as in the sky.

127. Deluding the world you cause the time through day and night. Your characteristic is reflected in the world and the spot on you is of the form of a hare.

128. O Soma, those who are not born of kṣatriya wombs do not know your illusory power. You remain above the course of the Sun, and above the luminaries.

129. Driving away darkness suddenly, you illumine the entire world. You are cool-rayed, snow-bodies, the lord of the luminaries and have the form of the hare on your body.

130-133a. You are also of the nature of destiny; you are fit to be offered a sacrifice to; you are the sacrifice; and you are the unmanifest one; you are the lord of the herbs; you are the source of rites; also of water and you are cool-rayed; your rays are cool; you are the prop of nectar; you are smart and have a white vehicle; you are the loveliness of the lovely bodies; you are the Soma of those who drink Soma. You are agreeable to all beings; you destroy the darkness; you are the lord of the constellations. Therefore, O you commander of a large army, go with Varuṇa, wearing an armour. Put an end to the demonish illusion, by which we are being burnt.”

Soma said:

133b-134. Since, O king of gods, O giver of boons, you tell me to fight I shall shower hoarfrost which would remove the demonish illusion. See these my cool and tormenting rays, covered with snow.

135. So the snow-showers discharged by the Moon, with nooes (of Varuṇa) surrounded the demons as the wind surrounds the multitudes of clouds.

136. The two mighty (heroes), Varuṇa and Indu (i.e. the Moon). holding nooses and cool rays, killed the demons by sending down snow and nooses.

137. The two lords of water—the two warriors fighting with nooses and snow moved with water in the army like two agitated great oceans.

138. The entire great army of the demons was filled, as the entire world is covered by the showering destructive clouds (at the time of deluge).

139. The two lords of water, viz. Soma and Varuṇa, getting ready, destroyed that illusion created by the lord of demons.

140. Consumed by the multitudes of the cool rays, and assailed by (Varuṇa’s) nooses, the demons could not move in the battle like topless mountains.

141. All the demons struck down by Soma, were destroyed. Their bodies were flooded with snow like fires that were not hot (i.e. that were extinguished).

142. The variegated and auspicious heavenly cars of those demons fell down. They fell down and again came up.

143. Maya, the demon skilled in magic, saw,in the heaven, the demons bound by the groups of nooses and covered over with the lunar rays.

144-146. He released the celebrated, mountainous illusion with a group of mountains, with swords and sharp-edged spears, with heaps of trees standing at the top, crowded with groups of lions and tigers when the hosts of gods were making noise, crowded with herds of wolves, with trees shaken by wind; it was created by his own son, it was warbling and it moved freely in the heaven everywhere.

147. The demons struck the gods with showers of rocks accompanied by sounds of swords and with falling trees (i.e. trees that fell) and did not allow them to live.[7]

148. The two illusions—that of the demons and that of Varuṇa—then disappeared. Movement on the earth became fearful as it were with mountains (everywhere).

149-150. No god was seen as (each one) was screened by multitudes of trees. Except the Mace-holder (i.e. Viṣṇu) all other (soldiers in) the army of gods had their bows destroyed, had become loathsome due to the weapons being broken, and had discontinued their exertion. That majestic lord, who had entered the war, did not tremble at all.

151-152. The lord of the world, Hari, who resembled the (dark) destructive cloud, who knew the occasion, and who realized (imminent) death in the war, who desired to witness the fight between gods and demons, did not get angry because of his forbearance. Then the lord ordered Fire and Wind to fight.

153-155. Impelled by the words of Viṣṇu they drew the illusion. That mountainous illusion perished (when) it was burnt by the two, who had been roaming about and had commenced to exert themselves. That Wind accompanied by Fire and that Fire in the company of Wind, augmented as it were at the time of deluge, burnt the army of demons. Wind became speedy there; and then Agni also became like that due to Māruta (i.e. Wind).

156-166a. Fire and Wind who were amusing themselves, moved in the army of the demons. Then the beings were (being) reduced to ashes and they were rising and falling. Everywhere the aeroplanes of the demons were falling. The branches (of trees) were being thrown off by Wind, and Fire was doing his duty. The killing by Māyā (i.e, illusion) was going on; the Mace-holder (i.e. Viṣṇu) was being praised; the exertion ofthe demons had stopped; the three worlds were free from bondage; gods were pleased. Good people said: ‘Well (done), well(done).’ The thousand-eyed one (i.e. Indra) achieved victory, and the demons were defeated. All the directions were pure; the righteous began to increase. The course of the Moon was uncovered, and the Sun remained steady in his own place. Beings were taking an active part in worldly affairs; people were endowed with good character; the bonds of death were unaffected. Oblations were offered into fire; gods shone with sacrifices and they showed the path to heaven. All the regents of the quarters supported their quarters; the perfect ones remained in penance; the sinful ones did not exist. The side of the gods was glad and the side of the demons was dejected. Righteousness had the three feet, and unrighteousness had just one foot (i.e. righteousness was very much predominant). The great gate (to righteousness etc.) was open, and good path existed; people were inclined to piety, and the hermitages proceeded with their activity uninterruptedly (i.e. the hermits led a peaceful life). Kings were engaged in protecting their subjects and shone; the worlds were calm (and) the dark demon was subdued.

166b-172. When that (great) deed of Agni and Vāyu took place in the war, all worlds were wholly interested in them, were bright and performed acts (celebrating) their victory. Hearing about the great fear caused to the demons by Agni and Vāyu, the well-known demon Kālanemi took notice (of what was happening). He was having a crown of the shape of the sun, and tinkling ornaments and armlets. He resembled the Mandara mountain. He was covered with great pearl-ornaments, and looking fearful due to having hundreds of weapons, a hundred arms and a hundred faces, and a hundred heads. He stood like a majestic mountain having a hundred peaks and augmented in the great side, (looking) like fire in the summer. He had smoky hair, ruddy moustache, projected teeth, and a hideous face. He had a large body expanding in the three worlds, lifting up the sky with his arms, and throw ing off the mountains with his two feet, and setting in motion showering clouds with his breaths.

173-177. All gods, with their eyes afflicted with fear, saw Kālanemi, whose broad red eyes were (looking) obliquely, whose exalted lustre was like (the) Mandara (mountain), who was, while approaching the groups of gods, as it were desiring to burn them in the battle, who was threatening the hosts of gods, and covering the ten quarters, who was seen like Death risen and delighted at the time of deluge, and who said to the demons, struck by gods, ‘Wait, wait!’ with his strong right hand lifted up, which had a raised nice palm, the fingers of which had large joints, which was long and full of ornaments, which did not move at all.

178. Beings observed that Kālanemi destroying (the gods), like another Trivikrama Nārāyaṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu) overcoming e verything.

179. That demon, having shaken the sky with wind, and rising again, came and started to fight causing fear to all gods.

180-181. That demon Kālanemi, while moving (on the battlefield), being encircled by Indra, came near him, and shone like Mandara with Viṣṇu. Seeing Kālanemi, like another death, coming to them, all the gods, led by Indra were very much frightened.

182. That great demon, desiring to do what was agreeable to the demons, and of great lustre, increased (in size) like a cloud at the end of the summer.

183. The lordly demons, seeing him to have entered the three worlds, stood up unfatigued (i.e. enthusiastically) as if after having drunk the excellent nectar.

184. The demons, desiring to fight, free from fear and alarm, led by Maya and Tāra, behaving like conquerors in the Tārakāmaya war, and going (out) to fight, shone.

185. They who were repeating (magic) formulas, who were running through the army became glad when they saw the demon Kālanemi.

186. All those chief (soldiers) of Maya, who were leaders in the battle, gave up their fear (and) stood (near him) to fight.

187-195. These successful demons, knowing the (art of the use of) missiles, well-settled in penance, viz. Maya, Tāra, Varāha, Hayagrīva, Vipracitti’s son Śveta, both Khara and Lamba, Bali’s son Ariṣṭa, so also the one known as Kiśora, and the great demon Surbhānu, famous like gods and as (an expert) fighter in a circular military array, went to Kālanemi, with (i.e. taking with them) very heavy maces, discs, chariots, hatchets, pestles resembling death, slings, mallets, stones like missiles, so also terrible rocks, sharp-edged weapons, small javelins and bars of excellent iron, heavy destructive śataghnī missiles, pairs of fetters, so also ploughs that struck fiercely when discharged, with long arms, nooses and (weapons) like iron-bars, with arrows having the licking and spreading mouths of serpents, with destructive weapons and shining iron-clubs, with sharp unsheathed swords, with sharp and bright lances, and with bright demons holding bows.

196. That army of the demons, excellent on account of shining weapons, then led by Kālanemi, shone in the battle.

197. The army of the gods, which was closed (i.e. encircled) on all sides by them (i.e. the demons) like a thicket of trees at the time of the advent of the clouds, also became glad (as) it was protected by Indra.

198-202a. That great shining (divine) army, which was endowed with cold and hot lustre (respectively) of the Moon and the Sun, which was speedy like the wind, which was agreeable, which was having the banners of stars, which had put on the garments of clouds, which was smiling with the planets and constellations, which was protected by Yama, Indra, Kubera, and also by intelligent Varuṇa, which was having (in it) blazing fire and wind, which was devoted to Nārāyaṇa, and which resembled a current in the ocean, which had missiles which are fearful and had (in it) Yakṣas and Gandharvas, shone. At that time, the encounter between the two armies took place like the union of the heaven and earth at the time of the expiration of a Yuga.

202b-204a. That war in which gods and demons had thronged, in which forgiveness and valour were excessive, which had arrogance, politeness and speed, was fierce. The gods and demons set out with terrible armies like the excited clouds from the eastern and the western oceans.

204b-205. The gods and demons were delighted with the two armies, as the mountains with the blossomed thickets on them. They beat the drums and blew the conches repeatedly.

206-207. The sound of the stroke of the bow-string on the fore-arm, filling the universe, the earth and the directions, so also the twangs of the bows and the sound of the drums obscured the cries of the demons. Making each other go forward and backward, they (i.e. the gods and demons) assailed one another.

208-210. Others desiring hand-to-hand fight, broke (the arms of their enemies) with their own arms. The demons discharged terrible thunderbolts, iron bars, excellent missiles[8], swords and heavy maces on the gods, in the battle. Some, with their bodies broken by the fall of the maces, and shattered to pieces (i.e. excessively wounded) repeatedly fell down, while others struck again. In the battle, those who were much excited, angrily encountered one another, with chariots, horses, aeroplanes and elephants etc.

211-213. Moving in the battle (i.e. on the battlefield), biting their lips (literally, having faces the lips of which were bitten), those (who were seated in) the chariots fought with (those who also were seated in) the chariots, and the foot-soldiers fought with foot-soldiers. The great sound of those noisy chariots resounded in the sky as by the thundering of the clouds in the rainy season. Some broke the (enemy’s) chariots (while) some were crushed under chariots.

214. Others were distressed; the chariots could not move on. Some lifting up their enemies with their hands in the fight were bitten (by the enemies).

215. Those strong ones, having swords and being covered with hides struck (the enemies) with joy. Others. pierced with missiles and struck (with weapons) in the battle vomitted blood.

216. Some, resembling clouds dripping water, came (there). Due to their showering of arrows on one another, the day of the fight appeared to be a rainy day.

217. In the meanwhile that demon Kālanemi grew like a cloud being filled with the ocean-floods.

218. Due to his limbs resembling elephants and mountains, clouds, having chaplets of lightning, and showering blazing fire, fell down.

219. Far extended flames with fire-sparks went out from his mouth, who was showering sweat and knitting the eyebrows, when he was hissing with anger.

220. His arms grew obliquely and upwards in the sky like serpents with five mouths coming out from a mountain.

221. He screened the divine sky with multitudes of missiles of many kinds, with bows and with iron-bars as with lofty mountains.

222. He desiring to fight and with his garments tossed by wind[9] remained there actually like Meru mountain with its rocks scorched by the evening sun.

223. He struck down the hosts of gods with peaked mountains and tops of trees, hurled with great speed, (as Indra struck down) the great mountains with (his) thunderbolt.

224. The gods struck by Kālanemi in the battle, with the hair on their heads cut off and removed, with his arms having swords, could not move.

225. Some Yakṣas, Gandharvas, birds and Kinnaras with great serpents were struck with fists and some were split into two parts.

226. The gods, who were frightened in the battle by that Kālanemi, and who were perplexed, were unable to exert themselves.

227. He rivetted the thousand-eyed Śakra with arrows thrown round him, and stopped all his exertion in the war.

228. In the battle he made Varuṇa like a cloud without water, like a waterless ocean and nooseless and motionless.

229. He, of the form of death, surrounded Kubera in the war. Dhanada (i.e. Kubera), the lord of the regents of quarters was made actionless by him in the battle.

230. On account of that the frightened Yama, who snatches all, whose weapon is deadly, gave up his state of Yama hood in the battle and entered his own (i. e. the southern) direction.

231. Having driven away the Guardians of the Quarters and assumed their protection duties he divided his body into four parts corresponding to the four directions.

232. Having gone to the divine path of the luminaries indicated by the divine Sun, he took away Soma’s grandeur and all his great domain.

233. He drove away Bhāskara (i.e. the Sun) of bright rays by means of Dharma and snatched his rule, his domain and his daily activity.

234. Having conquered Agni, the gods’ mouth, he made him resort to his own mouth; and having speedily conquered Vāyu, he brought him under his own control.

235. Forcibly bringing (back) the great rivers from the ocean he made them, the embodied ones, give him comfort and power[10].

236. Having brought under his control the water in the heaven and on the earth, he covered the earth well-protected by the mountains.

237. The great demon, occupying all the worlds, and causing fear to all the worlds, appeared like the self-born one, the lord of the gross elements (or of the great beings).

238. The demon, having the body of the regents of quarters, having the soul of the Moon and the Sun, born of Fire and Wind, shone in the battle.

239. The demons praised him, who remained at the position of the highest god, resembling the creator of the worlds, as the gods praised the grandsire.

240. Due to his perverse deeds (these) five, viz. Vedas, Righteousness, Forbearance, Truth, and Śrī, who had resorted to Nārāyaṇa, did not go to him.

241. That lord of demons, getting angry because the five did not approach him, went to the place of Viṣṇu where the god remained.

242. (There) he saw (Viṣṇu) who was seated on Garuḍa, who held a conch, a discus and a mace, and who whirled round the auspicious mace to destroy the demons.

243-244. That demon (viz. Kālanemi), with his mind agitated, seeing Viṣṇu, who resembled a cloud containing water, whose garments were like lightning, who had mounted upon the bird, Kaśyapa’s son, of golden wings, and moving in the sky (i.e. upon Garuḍa) and who as it were, remained in the sky, and who was unperturbed, and was ready to destroy the demons said:

245. “This is our enemy who destroyed our ancestors and also Madhu and Kaiṭabha who lived in the ocean.

246. This is our enemy who is indeed described to be matchless. In many battles he killed many demons.

247. This is the one who is cruel in the world and is impudent to women and children. He uncovered the parted hair of (i.e. behaved impolitely with) the wives of demons.

248-249. He is the Viṣṇu or Vaikuṇṭha of the gods, the residents of heaven; among the serpents he is Ananta; he is the self-born of the self-born (i.e. superior to him); this is the lord of the gods who will be wronged by us. Getting (i.e. inviting his anger) Hiraṇyakaśipu was killed.

250. Gods, having resorted to his shadow (i.e. having sought his protection), remain at the mouth of the sacrifice and eat the clarified butter offered in three ways by the great sages.

251. He (alone) is the cause of the death of all the enemies of gods. In the war all our families entered his discus (i.e. were destroyed by his disc).

252. He is said to have given up (i.e. offered) his life for gods. He, the lord, discharged the disc endowed with lustre on the enemies.

253. When I, who am death, remain here, he has become the death to the demons. Keśava will get the fruit of the time that has gone by.

254. Luckily (for me) now this Viṣṇu has come before me. Crushed with my arm[11] in the battle by me, he will perish.

255. I shall luckily pay homage to the former demons, by killing, in the battle, this Viṣṇu causing fear to the demons.

256. In the battle I shall quickly destroy the hosts of gods. Even though he has gone (i.e. has taken up) another existence, he torments the demons in battle.

257. He was formerly (called) Ananta and also well-known as Padmanābha. In the terrible single ocean he killed both Madhu and Kaiṭabha.

258. Dividing his body into two halves—one half of lion and another of man—he (all) alone formerly killed my father, Hiraṇyakaśipu.

259. Aditi, the origin (i.e. the mother) of gods conceived him as an auspicious embryo. Walking three steps he alone had the three worlds (under his control).

260. Now that god, when he has encountered me, when this Tārakāmaya battle has come up, will perish.”

261. Speaking like this in many ways, he quickly caused Nārāyaṇa to like (i.e. made Nārāyaṇa) to fight by (saying) ugly words to him in the battle.

262. The Mace-holder (i.e. Viṣṇu), being (thus) abused by the lord of demons did not get angry. With great power of forbearance and with a smile, he said:

263. “O demon, the power of arrogance is small, (while) the power of (i.e. due to) the suppression of anger is steady. You, who, forsaking forbearance, talk (like this), are doomed by (i.e. as a result of) faults due to pride.

264. I look upon you as mean; fie upon your might of words! Which men would remain there where women shout?

265. O demon, I shall see that you go along the same path as your predecessors have gone. Who would be prosperous by giving up (i.e. violating) the rule laid down by the creator?

266. Today I shall kill you who destroy the operation of gods; and I shall (re-)place the deities in their own respective positions.”

267. When, in the battle (i.e. on the battlefield) Viṣṇu was speaking like this, the demon laughed, and made his hands endowed with weapons (i.e. took weapons in his hands).

268. He, with his eyes doubly red due to anger, raised his hundred hands, and dropped all the multitudes of weapons on the chest of Viṣṇu in the battle.

269. The demons too, led by Maya and Tāra in the battle, and with their weapons and swords raised, attacked Viṣṇu in the war.

270. He, being struck by the very mighty demons, with all their weapons raised, did not move from there (i.e. from that place) like an unmoving mountain.

271-272. Kālanemi, the great demon, encountered by Garuḍa, got excited, and raising with his arms his terrible, blazing mace, released it on Garuḍa, with all his life (i.e. with all his might). Viṣṇu was amazed by that deed of the demon.

273-274. Then he (again) hit the mace on Garuḍa’s head. Seeing Garuḍa afflicted, and his own body unhurt, Vaikuṇṭha (i.e. Viṣṇu) with eyes red due to anger, took his disc; and with Suparṇa, the lord speedily grew up.

275-277a. His arms, pervading the ten quarters, also grew. He, as it were desiring to occupy all the worlds with his prowess, filling the intermediate directions, and the sky and the earth as well, grew (in size).The sages with Gandharvas praised Madhusūdana, growing (in size) for the victory of the gods.

277b-283a. He scratching (i.e. touching) the sky with his crown and shining head, having pervaded the earth with his two feet and having covered the directions with his arms wetted with fat, blood and marrow of the demons, held his discus, which resembled the sun in lustre, which had a thousand spokes which destroyed the enemy, which was like a blazing fire, which was fierce (yet) beautiful to look at, which had golden particles stuck to its circumference, which caused fear, which was matchless, the circular edge of which was razor-like, which was filled with wreaths, garlands and chaplets, which moved according to its desire, which took up any form it liked, which was fashioned by the Self-born himself, which caused fear to all enemies, which was full of wrath, and arrogant in the war, by the discharge of which the worlds, along with the immobile and the mobile, got bewildered, and the ghosts eating raw flesh were satisfied in the great war.

283b-285a. The Mace-holder (i.e. Viṣṇu), blazing with anger, having raised his discus of a matchless action, and resembling the sun in brilliance, and destroying the demon’s lustre with his own lustre, cut off with that (discus) only the arms of Kālanemi in the battle.

285b-286a. Hari forcibly destroyed with that discus the discus (of Kālanemi) which had a hundred points, and which was (as it were) laughing loudly due to fire-powder (i.e. splinters of fire).

286b-288a. That demon, with his arms cut off and without a head, did not move. With his headless trunk firm he stood in the battle like a branchless tree. Garuḍa, spreading out his two wings, and having speed like that of the wind, struck Kālanemi with his chest.

288b-289a. He (i.e. Kālanemi) facing Garuḍa’s body, and having no arms, whirling from the sky, fell down leaving (i.e. from) the sky, and shaking the earth.

289b-29la. When the demon fell down, gods along with hosts of sages, (saying) ‘Well (done), well (done)’, together honoured Vaikuṇṭha (i.e. Viṣṇu). Other demons whose valour was seen in the battle, were all pervaded by (his) arms and could not move in the battle.

291b-293a. He seized some with their hair; pressed the throats of some; cut off the face of someone; and held someone by his waist. They, who were consumed by the mace and the discus, who had lost their energy, and life, tumbling with all their bodies (i.e. fully) from the sky, dropped down on the earth.

293b-295. When all the demons were killed, Puruṣottama (i.e. Viṣṇu), having performed that (feat) dear to Indra, was successful. When in the Tārakāmaya battle that destruction took place, Brahmā, the grandsire of all the worlds, came to that region with all brāhmaṇic sages and hosts of Gandharvas and celestial nymphs.

296-297a. The god (i.e. Brahmā) honouring Hari, the god of gods, said: “O god, you have done a great job; you have taken out the dart in the form of the demons; and we are pleased by the death of the demons.

297b-300. O Viṣṇu, there is none else except you who would have controlled that great demon, Kālanemi, whom you killed. He, insulting the gods and the movable and immovable worlds, having destroyed the sages, even opposed me. So, I am pleased with this your deed, viz. that you struck down Kālanemi, resembling death. So come on, well-being to you; let us go to the excellent heaven.

301. There the brāhmaṇic sages, sitting in the assembly are waiting for you. O you best among those who have boons, which boon shall I grant to you?

302-304. You grant boons to the gods when they are in their positions. You have delivered these big three worlds (by) killing the troublesome fellow. O Viṣṇu, in this very war (you have helped that) great-souled Indra.”

Thus addressed by revered Brahman, the immutable Viṣṇu spoke in auspicious words to all gods led by Indra:

Viṣṇu said;

Let all the gods that have come here listen:

305-307a. Led by Indra, all of us with Garuḍa have killed in the battle demons led by Kālanemi and endowed with valour and superior even to Indra. In this great war only two have escaped: the demon Virocana and the very mighty Svarabhānu.

307b-308. Let Indra resort (i.e. go) to his own direction; so also let (Varuṇa go to his own direction); let Yama look after his (i.e. southern direction), and Kubera the northern direction. Let Candramas (i.e. the Moon) be always united with the constellations.

309-311. Let this Sun go to (i.e. be united with) the first day of the season with the equinoctial and solstitial points. Let the portions of clarified butter, presented with respect by the members (of the sacrifice) proceed. Let oblations be offered into fire by Brāhmaṇas according to rites mentioned in the Vedas. Let gods be pleased with offerings in the sacrifices, great sages with the Vedic studies, and the dead ancestors with śrāddha, as they like. Let Vāyu, taking his course, move (i.e. blow). Let Agni blaze in three ways.

312-314a. Let the (first) three castes please the three worlds by their own virtues. Let sacrifices be performed by brāhmaṇas fit to be initiated. Let the sacrificing priests receive presents separately. Let the Sun, the Moon and Vāyu, proceed by gratifying cows, fluids and life in beings (respectively) by their pleasing deeds.

314b-315a. Let all the big rivers, the mothers of the three worlds, rising from Mahendra and Malaya, go one by one to the sea as before.

315b. O gods, give up the fear of the demons and be calm. Well-being to you.

316-31 7. I shall go to the eternal world of Brahmā. Do not ever fearlessly (i.e. without proper caution) go to your own house or to heaven, and especially to the battle (-field); for the demons are mean. They strike at the weak points. Their position is fixed.

318a. Let you who are good and remain in (i.e. behave according to) your own nature, have your mind in honesty.

318b-320. Speaking thus to the hosts of gods, that very successful Viṣṇu, the revered lord, of a true (i.e. unfailing) valour, went with Brahmā, to Brahmā’s world, after having created great affection for him in (the minds of) gods. This was the wonder in the Tārakāmaya battle between the demons and Viṣṇu about which you have asked me.

Footnotes and references:


Prāṇa of five kinds: Prāṇa, Vyāna, Apāna, Udāna, Samāna.


Trivikrama—Viṣṇu in his fifth or dwarf (Vāmana) incarnation. He was born as a dwarf to humble the demon Bali.


Garuḍa—Son of Kaśyapa and Vinatā.


Orva—It should be Aurva.


Pañcāgnitapas—A kind of penance practised with five fires: four fires in the four directions around the person practising the penance; and the fifth fire is the sun, above the head.


Prativīrya—should in fact be ‘aprativīrya’.


Stanzas like this are not quite intelligble.


Uttamāyuyudhān—The correct word appears to be Uttamāyudhān.


Anilodbhūta—should be aniloddhūta.


Abhisukha Vīrya—the expressions are not very happy.


Bahunā—should be bāhunā.

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