The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the birth of kumara and the death of tararka which is chapter 44 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-fourth 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 44 - The Birth of Kumāra and the Death of Tārarka

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śarva (i.e. Śiva) said:

1-2. O you of slender body, joined with my white body, you will shine like a black female-serpent clung to a white sandal tree or like night covered with reddish garment touched by moonlight.

3. Thus addressed by him, the Mountain’s daughter, with her eyes red due to anger, and her face changed due to (the knitting of) the eye-brows, loudly spoke.

The goddess said:

4-5. Every person grieves due to the foolish acts done by him; O you, having the moon as your decoration, a suppliant certainly meets with a rebuff. You are certainly, at every step, insulting me, who sought you by means of penance practised for a long time.

6. O Śarva, I am not crooked, nor am I, O Dhūrjaṭī, rough. (On the contrary) you are known in the world to be possessing poison and a shelter to the mines of faults (i.e. those who commit faults).

7. You snatched away the teeth (of Pūṣan) and destroyed Bhaga’s eyes.[1] The twelve-fold Sun knows you well.

8. Insulting me by (pointing out my) defects, you are causing headache to me. You who called me ‘black’, are well known to be very black (Mahākāla).

9-10. I shall go to a mountain to give up my life through penance. Humiliated by a rogue (like you)—a mean skull-carrier, always living in a crematory, with your body smeared with ashes, and moving among the divine mothers[2]—I do not want to live.

11. Hearing her words, harsh due to anger, Hara, confused by this unwelcome (reply) and with the moon on his head shaking, said:

Śarva said:

12. O Girijā, you are the daughter of a Mountain; I do not mean to find fault with you. With a desire to utter flattering words, I resorted to this (apparent) madness.

13-14. O Mountain’s daughter, in the regular course there is (really) no suspicion (about you) in my firm heart. O you timid one, if you are angry like this, I shall not speak in joke to you. O you of bright smile, give up your anger. I, bowing my head, have joined my palms in obeisance to you.

15. (Only) a low person gets excited by an insult or a censure. Indeed a man (would) not (use) poignant (words) towards the bad or the good.

16-17. The goddess, struck to the core, (though) advised by the god with many sweet words, did not give up her severe anger. The Mountain’s daughter, pulling off her garment clasped by Śaṅkara with his hand, and with her hair dishevelled, desired to go at once.

18-19. When she was (thus) going angrily, the destroyer of Tripura again spoke: “Really with all your limbs you behave like your father. Your mind is overpowered with turbidness like the mass of clouds on the peak of the Himālaya mountain. Your heart is unfathomable like that mountain.

20-22a. (You have received) hardness from (things) like stones, and thickness from the thickets; (you have taken) crookedness from rivers, and are difficult to be employed like snow. All this has been transferred to you from the Himālaya mountain, O you of slender body.” Thus addressed, the Mountain’s daughter, with her head trembling through anger, and her lips throbbing, spoke again.

Umā said:

22b-24. By blaming and censuring a virtuous person strongly one might get everything. Due to your contact with the wicked, every (bad) thing has been transferred to you: From serpents you have received many tongues (i.e. saying contradictory things); from the ashes you have got want of oiliness (i.e. affections); the wickedness of your heart has sprung up from the moon, and severe torment from poison. What is the use of prolixity in this matter? Enough of exerting myself in talking about you.

25. You are fearless on account of your stay in the crematory; you have no sense of shame because you are naked your cruelty is due to your being a skull-holder; compassion has left you long back.

26. Saying so the daughter of the Himālaya mountain went out of that dwelling. When she was leaving the attendants (of Śiva) made a sound (i.e. cried in grief).

27. “O mother, where are you going?” Saying so, they, weeping, again ran to her. Vīraka, clasping the feet of the goddess, said with a voice faltering due to tears:

28. “O mother, what indeed is this? Afflicted and angry, where are you going? I shall follow you going without any affection.

29. Otherwise, I, abandoned by you, will fall (i.e. throw myself down) from the peak of this mountain.”

30-31. The goddess, the mother, raising his face with her right hand said: “O son, do not grieve. It is not proper for you either to fall from the mountain-top or to accompany me; O son, hear about the undertaking for which I am going. Hara addressed me as ‘Kṛṣṇā’ (i.e. black); he suppressed and insulted me.

32-33. That I (i.e. I who was treated like this) shall practise penance by which I shall have fair complexion. This god is lustful; after I leave you have to keep guard at the door and always be watchful about the weak point so that no woman will approach Hara.

34. O son, when you see another woman, inform me; then I shall quickly do what is proper.”

35-36a. Vīraka said to the great goddess: “Let it be so”. With his body sprinkled with the food of nectar in the form of his mother’s command, and with his affliction removed, he, having saluted his mother, went to look after the guard.

36b-38a. The goddess also saw her mother’s friend, the deity of the mountain, Kusumāmohinī by name, who was well-adorned, coming (to her). That deity too, seeing the Mountain’s daughter, and with her mind overcome with affection, embraced her (i.e. Umā) and said aloud: “O daughter, where are you going?”

38b-39a. She (i.e. Umā) told her all that that caused her anger due to Śiva’s (humiliating her). The Mountain’s daughter again spoke to her, who was like her mother.

Umā said:

39b-41. You are for ever the mountain’s deity, O you, who are never censured (i.e. who are praiseworthy). Your presence is everywhere. At heart you are very affectionate. Therefore, O mother, I shall tell you what should be done by you. With great care you have to s top the entry of another woman (into Śiva’s mansion). Secretly and with care you have always to wait upon him on the mountain.

42-44. O you sinless one, you should inform me if some other woman enters Śiva’s (mansion); then I shall do what is proper.” The auspicious (deity) thus addressed, said, “All right” and went to the (Himālaya) mountain. Umā, the Mountain’s daughter too, went to her father’s wonderful garden, that had entered the sky and the brightness of which was darkened by the row of clouds. Then she cast off her ornaments and put on the garments of the barks of trees.

45-46a. In the summer she was tormented by five fires.[3] In the rainy season she remained in water. She subsisted on food growing in forest; (sometimes) she did not eat anything; she lay on dry heap of clods. Thus she settled there practising penance.

46b-48. In the meanwhile, coming to know that the Mountain’s daughter had left, the demon, Āḍi by name, the son of Andhaka, was delighted. Remembering his father’s murder, he, the brother of Baka, and mighty in battles, the enemy of (Śiva) the destroyer of Tripura, always observing the weak point of the god with crescent-moon on his head, came to the city (of Śiva) after having conquered all gods in a battle.

49. Having come there he saw Vīraka stationed at the door. He also thought about the boon given by the Lotus-born (god, i.e. Brahmā).

50-52a. When the demon Andhaka was killed by Śiva, the enemy of the demon, Āḍi practised a very severe and ample penance. Brahmā, being fully pleased, came there and said: “O Āḍi, the greatest among the demons, what do you desire to obtain by means of penance?” The demon said (i.e. replied) to Brahmā: “I seek immortality”.

Brahmā said:

52b-53a. In this worldly existence, since it is not possible for those that are born to be without death, therefore, O lord of demons, those that are living shall meet with death.

53b-54. The mighty demon, thus addressed, said to the lotus-born (god): “O you Lotus-born (god), let death come to me when there is a change in my form; otherwise I shall remain immortal.”

55-58a. Thus addressed, the very mighty son of the demon (Andhaka), regarded himself as immortal. At that time not remembering (i.e. forgetting) the means of his murder, not being within the range of sight of Vīraka, the counter-striker, the fearful demon, difficult to conquer, entered (Śiva’s mansion) in the form of a serpent after avoiding the range of the sight of the lord of attendants.

58b-60a. Then the foolish great demon, giving up the serpents’ form, and entering another form unnoticed by the lord of the attendants, took the form of Umā to please Śiva.

60b-62. The demon, taking up a charming, unconceivable, illusory form, complete with all limbs, nourished (i.e. accomplished) with all signs of recognition, and keeping a strong adamantine tusk with a sharp point in the pudanum muliebre, was ready to strike Śiva through delusion. The sinful demon, taking up the charming form of Umā, and having put on variegated ornaments and garments, approached Śiva.

63-65. Seeing him, and taking him to be Umā having all limbs (i.e. complete in all limbs), Giriśa became glad, and having embraced asked her (i.e. said to her): “O Mountain’s daughter, since you, of an excellent complexion have come here after knowing my intention (I think) your devotion (to me) is natural and not artificial. My abode, the three worlds, are a void to me without you.

66-67a. O you of a pleasing face, you have come here. Such (a gesture) is (quite) proper for you!” The lord of demons, thus addressed, gently spoke to him with a smile; he too had recognized the destroyer of Tripura by means of signs of recognition, and (then) spoke to him (i.e. Śiva).

The demon said:

67b-68a. I had gone to the Himālaya mountain, with a desire to (practise) penance to obtain a boon. I was not happy there; therefore, I have (again) come to you.

68b-70a. Thus addressed, God Śiva, of a smiling face, entertaining a doubt in his mind, thought: ‘She was angry; is it that she, who is natural l y of a firm vow, has come back without having her desire fulfilled, knowing me to be angry (i.e. after having come to know that I am angry)?’

70b-72. Thinking thus and reflecting on her token of recognition, the lord did not see the sign of lotus caused by the eddy (i.e. lock) of hair on her left side. Then the Trident-holder knowing it to be illusion created by the demons, concealed the expression of his face, and taking the missile of penis-like tusk, kill ed the demon.

73-75a. Vīraka, the door-keeper, did not know this account. Kusumāmohinī, seeing that lord of demons in a feminine form, immediately informed the daughter of the Himālaya Mountain (of it) through the messenger in the form of Vāyu. Hearing it (i.e. the news) from Vāyu, her eyes red and turbid due to anger, she saw her son Vīraka with a painful heart.

The goddess said:

75b-77a. Since, abandoning me, your mother, overcome with affection you gave Śaṅkara an opportunity to have a private (sexual) affair with a woman, therefore I curse you that a dull, heartless stone resembling the form of the lord of attendants will be your mother in the human world.

77b-78a. This apparent cause about Vīraka’s (birth) is well-known, through respect for the son (?) This is known to be the doubtful peculiar statement about Vīraka’s birth and course (of conduct).

78b-79a. When thus the Mountain’s daughter had pronounced a curse, very mighty wrath in the form of a lion went out of her mouth.

79b-80. The lion’s mouth was fearful. His neck had mane. He had raised his tail. The cavity of his face was furious on account of the fangs. His mouth was wide open; his tongue was long; he was thin in the waist and in the (other parts of his) body.

81-82. Then the goddess settled to remain in his mouth. Knowing her intention, the four-faced god (i.e. Brahmā), came to the hermitage, the receptacle of good fortune. The lord of gods, having arrived there, spoke to the Mountain’s daughter in dear words:

Brahmā said:

83. What do you want to have again? What is not obtainable to you? I shall give that to you. By my order desist from this penance causing great suffering.

84. The Mountain’s daughter, hearing the sire’s words, restrained with dignity and having the desirable expression of words spoken by him of an enticing speech, said:

The goddess said:

85-86. With a penance difficult to practise, I obtained Śiva as my husband. Many times he called me ‘dark-complexioned’ in private. Therefore let me have a complexion resembling gold and let me be connected with that name, and the body of my husband, the lord of beings, should be free from poison.

87. Hearing those words of (i.e. uttered by) her, the lord of the world said: “You be like this and also occupy half the portion of your husband’s body.”.

88-89a. Then she cast off that dark skin like a blooming blue lotus. That skin also turned into a fearful (goddess), having a bell in her hand, having three eyes, full of (i.e. having) many ornaments and wearing a yellow silken garment.

89b-93a. Then Brahmā said to that goddess having lustre like a blue lotus: “O Niśā (i.e. night), due to the contact with the body of the Mountain’s daughter, you have, through my order, done what was to be done. Now you are complete before (me). O you goddess of an excellent face, let the very mighty lion that rose from the anger of the goddess (viz. Umā) be your carrier. Let him also remain on your banner. Go to the Vindhya mountain; there you will carry out the mission of gods. O goddess, this Yakṣa, Pañcāla by name, and followed by the steps of lakhs of Yakṣas and endowed with hundreds of tricks, is given as a servant to you by me.”

93b-95a. Goddess Kauṣikī, thus addressed, went to the Vindhya mountain. Umā too, who had fulfilled her desire went to Śiva; but Vīraka, who had held a golden staff, turned her away from the door and stopped her who was entering (Śiva’s mansion).

95b-100a. Angrily he said to her whose form was changed: “You have no business here; go (away) till you are not eaten up. A demon, taking up the form of goddess (Umā) had come to deceive the lord; he entered without being noticed (by me), and was killed by the lord. When he was killed, Śiva who was angry ordered me: 'Since you are not attentive at the door (since you are not attentively guarding the door), you will not be my doorkeeper for many multitudes of years.’ Therefore, I am not allowing you to enter here; leave quickly. O you lotuseyed one, except my mother, the affectionate daughter of the Mountain, none else will get an entry here.”

100b-102. Thus addressed, the goddess then thought to herself: ‘The one of whom Vāyu informed me was that demon, and not a woman. In vain did I, overcome with grief, curse Vīraka. Generally fools, full of anger, do what ought not to be done. Fame perishes on account of anger; anger destroys steady prosperity.

103. I, without properly ascertaining the truth, cursed my son. Calamities easily come to those whose intellect is perverse.’

104. The face of the Mountain’s daughter thinking like this, which had lotus-like lustre, changed due to the sense of shame.

The goddess said:

105-108. O Vīraka, I am your mother; let there be no confusion in your mind. I am the beloved of Śiva, and the daughter of the Himalaya mountain. O son, do not entertain a doubt because of the change in the complexion of my body. This fairness (in my complexion) is granted to me by the Lotus-born one, who was pleased. Coming to know about the entry of a woman when Śaṅkara remained in a lonely place, and not knowing the account of the demon, I cursed you. It is not possible to withdraw the curse; but I tell you that you will soon come back from the human world, after having satisfied all your desires.

109. Having saluted, with all his heart, the chaste (lady), his mother, and the daughter of the Himālaya mountain, having the lustre of the full moon, bowing down his head, he said:

Vīraka said:

110. O you (goddess), having toes the fearful nails of which have excellent charm due to the shining gems on the heads of the gods and demons bending (before you), O you Mountain’s daughter, O you who are affectionate to those who seek your shelter, O you who destroy (i.e. remove) the affliction of those who bow down to you, my salutations to you.

111. O you whose neck is adorned with the ring of suns, O you who snatch away the lustre of the expansive golden mountain, O you daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain, I, frightened by the crookedly moving serpents, resort to you.

112. Who else, but you, has, in this world, quickly given success as desired by one who bends before (the deity)? In the world, to whom but you would Śaṅkara, the sustainer of the worlds, salute and (to whom would) the sages (bow)?

113. O you difficult to conquer and born at an auspicious combination of stars, you are coiled with the fine body of the great lord; you are joined with him who crushed the relatives of Andhaka; you were first praised by the best of gods.

114-115. You have your neck raised to the white mass of matted hair (of Śiva); you sit on the impetuous great lion. You are described as Caṇḍikā by the worlds; O mother, you are the destroyer of Śumbha and Niṣumbha; be the giver of what is desired by one who has bowed down to you. On the earth you have vigorously shown the only interest in putting down the demons.

116. O you unvanquished, matchless goddess, O you who

created the worlds, O you who are dear to Śiva, I salute that body (i.e. form) of you which is (seen) in the sky, the path of the wind, on the earth overcome with fire.

117. The oceans, with their waves sportively rising, the fire, that has consumed, with its brilliance, the mobile and the immobile, the serpents having thousands of hoods—you will set these forth as not causing fear to me.

118. O you revered (goddess), you are the resort of firm devotees; I have come to seek the shelter of your feet. Let all my senses be, today, the abode of the pleasurable experiences of your playful activities.

119. Then the goddess, the Mountain’s daughter, pleased when thus praised by Vīraka entered the auspicious mansion of her husband.

120. Vīraka too, remaining at the door, respectfully sent home the gods who had desired to see śiva.

121. “O gods, there is no opportunity (for you to see Śiva). Vṛṣākapi (i.e. Śiva) is sporting in private with the goddess.”

122. Thus addressed, they went as they had come. When a thousand years passed, gods with swift minds (i.e. thoughts), urged Agni to find out the movements of Śiva.

123. Hutāśana (i.e. Agni), taking the form of a parrot, entered (Śiva’s chamber) through the hole meant for birds, and saw all (the love-sport of Śiva) with the Mountain’s daughter on their bed.

124. The lord of gods also saw Agni who had taken the form of a parrot. To him, the great god, who was a little angry said:

Śiva said:

125-126a. O you Agni, who have taken up the form of a parrot, I have deposited half (the portion of my) semen into the goddess (Umā). Through sense of shame its (flow) has stopped. You (now) drink the (remaining) half. It is proper for you (to drink it) since the obstacle was due to (i.e. caused by) you.

l26b-129a. Thus addressed Agni drank the semen deposited (by Śiva). Since gods have Agni as their mouths, they were flooded with that (semen). Then that semen of the great god (Śiva), which resembled heated gold, having torn asunder their bellies, came out (and spread) in the extensive hermitage (i.e. dwelling) of Śiva. There a great, pure lake came up. It (spread over) many yojanas; it had blooming golden lotuses and it resounded with the notes of many birds.

129b-130a. Goddess (Umā) having come to know that that lake with big golden lotuses had come up, being full of curiosity, went to that lake of golden lotuses.

130b-J3la. Having sported in its water, and having put a chaplet of its lotuses on her head, she sat, surrounded by her friends, on its bank.

131b-132. Desiring to drink its water, sweet and with spotless lotuses, she saw six Kṛttikās[4], resembling the lustre of the sun, who had proceeded home, after having taken its water in (a cup made of) a lotus-leaf.

133a. Through joy she said: “I shall drink the water remaining (i.e. put) in (the cup of) the lotus-leaf.”

133b. Then the Kṛittikās said to the daughter of the Himālaya mountain.

Kṛttikās said:

134-135a. We shall give you (the water), O dear lady (if) the son that would be born in (i.e. from) your womb will be an active son of ours, well-known in all the three worlds, O you of an auspicious face.

135b-136a. Thus addressed, the Mountain’s daughter said: “How is it that the son with all his limbs generated from my limbs, will be a son (born) from (i.e. of) you?”

136b-137a. Then the Kṛttikās said to her: “If this (i.e. what we say) will take place (i.e. be accepted by you) then we shall place best heads (on the body—the trunk—of the boy)”.

137b. Thus told, the Mountain’s daughter said: “O you blameless ones, let it be so.”

138. Then, full of joy, they gave her the water (put) in (the cup made of) a lotus-leaf. She too gradually drank that water.

139-140. The moment the water was drunk (by her), an excellent, wonderful boy, removing diseases and griefs, rising from the right side of the goddess, after having torn it, came out. The lord resembled the heap of a variety of the masses of the sun’s rays.

141. Having taken a spotless spear, a spike and a goad, he, the fire of a golden colour, rose to kill the demons.

142. For this reason only he too became (i.e. came to be called) Kumāra. The child again came out by tearing the left side of the goddess.

143. (He was) also (called) Skanda on account of his having come from Agni’s bright mouth (where Śiva’s semen was deposited). The killer of enemies was also called Ṣaḍvadana (i.e. having six faces). He was born from the water given by the Kṛttikās, particularly with (many) hands.

144. Hands are said to be auspicious. They extended over his six faces. Therefore Ṣaṇmukha (i.e. the six-faced one) came to be called as Viśākha in the world.

145-147a. He is (thus) known as Skanda, Viśākha, Ṣaḍvaktra and Kārttikeya. The two, resembling the sun, were born (from the two sides of Umā) on the fifteenth day of the dark half of Caitra, in the extensive thicket of canes. These two i.e. Agni and Vāyu joined them into one for the good (of the world) on the evening of the fifth day of the bright half (of Vaiśākha).

147b-149. On the same sixth day, the six-faced lord i.e. Guha (or Kārttikeya) was consecrated with due rite (as the general of the Gods’ army) by all the hosts of gods including Brahmā, Upendra, Indra and Bhāskara (i.e. the Sun) with sandal, flowers, auspicious incense, and also with toys, umbrellas, group of chowries, ornaments and unguents.

150-154a. Indra gave him as his wife his (own) daughter known as Devasenā. The lord of gods, Viṣṇu, also gave him a weapon. The lord of wealth (i.e. Kubera) gave him ten lakh Yakṣas. Agni gave him lustre and Vāyu gave him a vehicle. Tvaṣṭṛ gave him a toy, viz. a cock changing form at will. Thus all the gods, with their minds pleased, gave an endless retinue to Skanda, resembling the sun in lustre. The hosts of gods, the principal gods, having knelt on the ground, praised Saṇmukha with the (following) hymn of praise:

The gods said:

154b-156a. (Our) salutation to Kumāra of a great lustre; to Skanda who destroyed the demons. O you whose prowess is like the orb of the new (i.e. morning) sun, (our) salutation to you, Guhya (the secret one) and Guha. (Our) salutation to you who remove the fear of the worlds; to you who are given to (doing) favour to the people. (Our) salutation to you having large and lotus-like eyes; (our) salutation to Viśākha of a great vow.

156b-157. (Our) salutation to you who are fearful in the battle; (our) salutation to you having a bright vehicle, viz. the peacock. (Our) salutation to you who wear the armlets, to you who hold aloft a banner. (Our) salutation to you, who are saluted due to your prowess; our salutation to the holder of the bell having courage.

Kumāra said:

158. Being reposed, tell me which desire of you should I give (i.e. satisfy). A deed, which you have thought of for a long time, must be done even if it is not easily accomplished.

159. Thus addressed by him, all the gods, with their minds delighted, and with their heads bent down, spoke to the magnanimous Guha:

160. “The lord of the demons by name Tāraka would destroy the entire race of gods; he is mighty, difficult to conquer, sharp, of wicked deeds and very wrathful.

161-163a. Just kill that fearful demon, destroyer of all. The remaining part of the undertaking which causes fear to us is: Hiraṇyakaśipu, who is fierce, cannot be killed by the hosts of gods. He destroys the sacrifices, his deeds are sinful and he has tormented even Brahmā. Conquer these two. You (alone) have that great might.”

163b-164. Thus addressed, he, who was followed by all gods, and he, the lord of the world, who was praised by lords of gods, said ‘All right’ and proceeded to kill Tāraka, the fellow troubling the worlds.

165-166a. Then Indra, resorting to secret (strategy) sent a messenger, saying harsh words, to the lord of demons. He, being fearless, went to the demon of a fearful appearance, and said to him:

The messenger said:

166b-168a. O demon, Indra, the lord of gods and of heaven says to you: “O demon Tāraka, encounter his might as you please. I am the king in the three worlds, who will destroy the sin that you have committed and that is blazing like a fire to the world.”

168b-169a. Hearing these amazing words, the wicked demon, with his eyes red due to wrath, and with his might almost vanished, said to the messenger:

Tāraka said:

169b-170a. O Śakra, in a great war your power has been observed (by us) a hundred times. O Indra, of a wicked mind, you have no peace because of your shamelessness.

170b-1 71. When the messenger, who was told like this, had left, the demon thought: ‘Indra, without having received a support, would not talk like this. From the fact that Śakra has a support it is known that Skanda is born.’

172-174. Then he saw a number of evil omens indicating (his) destruction. (He saw) shower of dust and fall of blood from the sky to the earth. He mentally saw (i.e. he thought) that his left eye was throbbing, and his mouth was parching. He also saw that the lotus-like faces of his kinsmen were fading. He also saw wicked and terrible beings talking ill. Without even bringing it before his mind, the son of Diti became dejected in a moment.

175-179a. For the demon, remaining in his palace saw the army of the residents of heaven (i.e. the gods), which was terrible on account of the deep sounds of the troops of elephants, which was adorned with the energetic neighing of the groups of horses, which was shining with divisions and lofty excellent flags, which was shining with aeroplanes of wonderful shapes and moving chowries, which had put on ornaments, which was resounding with the loud singing of Kinnaras, which had worn many chaplets of full-blown flowers of the desire-yielding trees, which looked bright due to the large shields and the missiles causing great grief, which was bright due to being nourished by lightning, and which was resounding with many musical instruments.

179b-180a. With his mind a little confused, he thought: ‘This must be an extraordinary warrior who has not been vanquished by me.’

180b-c. Then the demon, overcome with anxiety, heard these words, fearful to the heart, and containing harsh syllables, loudly proclaimed by the semi-divine bards:

181. “Be victorious, O you of matchless power, O you aviary of rays, O you stronger with mighty arms, O you, who quickly cause to bloom the face-lotuses of the gods, O you of playful eyes, O you excellent youth.

182. Be victorious, O you submarine fire to the great ocean of the family of the demons, O you having a charming chariot of a peacock, O you whose sprout-like nails have been bent by the tips of the crowns of gods (when they salute you), you commander of a great army.

183-184. Be victorious, O you whose charming mass of hair is unsteady, O you, who are charming like a fresh, spotless, lotus-stalk, O you, who are the unbearable wild fire to the family (also, bamboos in the form of the members) of the lord of demons. Be victorious, O Viśākha, O lord; be victorious, O you destroyer of the foremost sons of Diti (i.e. the demons) in all the worlds, O Skanda”.

185. Hearing all this proclaimed by the bards of gods, Tāraka remembered the words of Brahmā (which indicated) that his death was imminent.

186. Remembering them, he, the destroyer of a stream of good deeds, always followed by warriors, with his mind stricken with grief, quickly went out of his mansion.

187. Demons led by Kālanemi, being frightened, and with their minds confused and disconcerted with hurry then (remained) in their own houses.

188-190a. Hiraṇyakaśipu, the leader of the demons, said: “Running away from this child would be shameful to me. If I go to (i.e. attack) him, he too is supported by glory (i.e. is powerful); and if I kill this child, I shall unnecessarily be (looked upon as) ‘unfit for touch’. Come, run, seize, bring together the army.”

190b-192a. On seeing Kumāra (i.e. Kārttikeya), Tāraka, (the demon) of a fierce figure said: “O boy, why do you want to fight? Play with a ball, since you have been set free in the sun, O you good fighter and speaker; and your mind is like this—seeing only insignificant things—because of your being a child.”

192b-195a. Kumāra too, spoke to him who was most glad: “O Tāraka, listen, the meaning of sacred precepts is being explained here only. Ends are not seen (i.e. cannot be gained) on the battle-field which is excessively fearful. Do not belittle my childhood. A child is a troublesome serpent. As the young sun is difficult to look at, I am a child difficult to be conquered. O demon, is a magic formula, having few syllables, not seen to be throbbing (i.e. powerful)?”

195b-197. When Kumāra was thus speaking, the demon hurled his mallet. Kumāra destroyed it with his disc of unfailing power. Then the lord of demons threw an iron javeline. Kārttikeya, the killer of the enemies of gods, seized it with his hand. Getting up he cast a mace, making a sharp sound, at the demon.

198. The demon, struck by it, shook like a lofty moving mountain. Then the demon found the boy to be invincible and irresistible.

199-200a. He thought in his mind (i.e. to himself) that his death had undoubtedly come near. Seeing (the demon) shaking, all the lordly demons, led by Kālanemi, struck Kumāra, fierce in battle.

200b-201. (Though) hit by those strokes and troubled by the mighty (demons), that boy of great lustre fought with them with great speed in the battle. The lordly mighty demons, skilled in fighting, and a nuisance to the gods, again struck Kumāra with arrows.

202-203. Though struck by the missiles of the demons, Kumāra did not have any pain. The fight with the demons proved to be fatal to the gods. Seeing the gods harassed (by demons) Kumāra became angry.

204. Then he tore asunder, with missiles, the army of the demons. The (demons) troubling the gods, were struck with the missiles which could not be repulsed.

205-206. All (demons) led by Kālanemi, remained with their faces turned away from the battle. When the demons, that were struck ran helter-skelter on all sides, he, with his mind fixed in laughter (i.e. being very much rejoiced) by the loud songs of Kinnaras, struck Kumāra with a mace shining like heated gold.

207-208. He made him turn away from the battle (by) discharging various arrows. The god Kumāra, who had turned away his face from the battle, seeing his own vehicle (i.e. the peacock) bleeding, took a spotless missile, adorned with gold, with (i.e. in) his hand, shining with a golden armlet.

209-210a. Then Mahāsena (i.e. Kārttikeya) spoke to Tāraka, the lord of the demons: “O you of a wicked mind, stop, stop; you (will) see the world of Yama. O demon, you are (now) killed by me with (my) missile; (now) remember your (evil) deeds.”

210b-211. Saying so, he discharged his missile towards the demon. That (missile) discharged by the hand of Kumāra and imitating the sound of his armlet, broke (i.e. pierced) the heart of the demon who was like the thunderbolt or a lordly mountain.

212. With his crown and turban dishevelled, and with all his ornaments slipped off, he fell dead on the ground like a mountain at the time of universal destruction.

213. When that demon, the leader of the demons, was killed, nobody—not even a sinner in hell—was sorry.

214-215. Gods, with smile (on their faces) praised Kumāra, and amused themselves. Being eager they went to their respective abodes, leaving their seats. All gods, being pleased, as they had accomplished all their ends, with Siddhas, the treasures of penance, gave a boon to Kumāra.

Gods said:

216-218. That man of great intellect, who recites this story about Skanda or who listens to it or causes others to listen to it (i.e. tells it to others), will be famous. He will have a long life, he will be fortunate, wealthy, famous, handsome, and will have no fear from beings and will be free from trouble. He, who, having offered the first (i.e. morning) prayer, recites the account of Skanda, will be united with Kinnaras and be the lord of great wealth.

Footnotes and references:


Bhagasya netrahantā—At the time of the destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice, Śiva knocked out Pūṣan’s teeth and destroyed Bhaga’s eyes. See 33.156 above.


Mātṛ—An epithet of the divine mothers, said to attend on Śiva, but usually on Skanda. They are generally said to be eight; but according to some they are seven; some increase the number to sixteen.


Pañcāgni—See note on 41.82 above.


Kṛttikā—The six stars represented as nymphs acting as nurses to Kārttikeya.

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