The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the slaying of kalakeya which is chapter 65 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 sixty-fifth 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 65 - The Slaying of Kālakeya

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:

1. He, who would worship the lord of the Gaṇas in the Nāndimukha[1], has everyone under his control, and his merit becomes inexhaustible.

2. A man obtains all (kinds of) prosperity in all sacrifices by means of (the recital of) the hymns ‘Gaṇānām tvā’ and would obtain heaven and salvation.

3. A wise man should draw the figure of Gaṇeśa on a clay idol, or in a picture (carved out) of stone or on the wood of the door, or in a pot.

4-5. A wise man, who, after having installed the idol of Gaṇeśa, even in any other place which would always be visible, would worship Gaṇeśa according to his capacity, fully gets his desired objects fulfilled. He has no difficulty and he would bring the three worlds under his control.

6. A student obtains knowledge from the Vedas and sacred texts, and also other knowledge (like that) of the fine arts, which is successful and which would give (i.e. lead) him (to) heaven.

7. A man longing for wealth, gets ample wealth and a good charming daughter, grandeur that is lawfully obtained, and a son giving (taking) the members of the family (to) salvation.

8. He is never troubled by diseases, or planets or evil spirits, horned animals, demons, lightning or robbers in a forest.

9. The king is not angry with him; plague does not occur in his house; he does not feel the dearth (of anything); he does not suffer from weakness after (i.e. due to his) having worshipped Gaṇeśa.

10. “(My) salutation to the chief of the Gaṇas, who removes all difficulties, who was worshipped even by gods for accomplishing their desired objects.”

11-12. The sacred formula is: “Om, salutation to Gaṇapati.” He, who would worship the protector of the Gaṇas, with flowers dear to Viṣṇu, and other fragrant flowers, with modakas, fruits, roots and other seasonal things, with curds and milk, pleasing musical instruments, and with incense and (other) fragrant (objects) obtains success in all undertakings.

13. He who especially offers money and materials of worship dear to him and cloth on his (i.e. Gaṇeśa’s) idol, has it (as reward) a lakh times.

14. In the proximity of the east, in the country of Bhāratavarṣa, on the southern bank of the Lauhitya (river), Vināyaka (i.e. Gaṇeśa remains) in the form of an idol.

15. For bringing about peace to all worlds, and removing obstacles he has stayed (there) by the order of Śiva and Pārvatī and with the consent of gods.

16. (A man) who has mastered the meaning of Vedas and sacred books, having worshipped that deity according to his capacity with collection of materials, becomes (identical with) Vināyaka.

17. A man having gone (i.e. who goes) round (Gaṇeśa’s idol even) once, having seen (i.e. who sees) or having touched (i.e. who touches) his idol, obtains heaven eternally, and is always honoured by gods.

18. There is Śambhu Vināyaka for leading those who have been in contact with the mlecchas, who are good ascetics and for (granting) sons to all the people.

19. He, who, having bathed in the Lauhitya (river). would touch (the idol of) Gaṇeśa, becomes free from sins committed during seven births; there is no doubt about this.

20. (A woman) would not suffer from widowhood, one would not be reduced to poverty, nor would one have grief or jealousy for birth after birth after having reached Gaṇeśa.

21. There is no doubt that a man would repeatedly get success, enjoyments, fame and power by worshipping Gaṇeśa.

22. All desired objects perish by not worshipping him. All gods like Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva are pleased (if one performs his worship).

23-30. When Indra had not worshipped the bountiful Gaṇeśa, he was conquered by Hiraṇyākṣa in the battle with great demons led by Hiraṇyākṣa. Then, in the olden days, the gods remained powerless for a hundred years; and in the war between the gods and the demons, the gods were defeated. Then the gods told (this) to Śiva, the god of gods: “O sir, our kingdom has been conquered by the demons; our sacrifices are lost.” In the meanwhile, Śiva said (these) words to the gods: “By Umā, who was pleased, and by me a boon is granted to Gaṇeśa: ‘May gods attain great success by worshipping you. A man, who, through delusion, disregards (you), during great festival, would not attain success and would be defeated in a battle.’ In the great sacrifice, you did not through disrespect and delusion, worship Gaṇeśa; therefore you have been defeated. Go quickly; offer an auspicious worship to the great Gaṇeśa, O you, who are conversant with the moral law, you will soon meet with success.”

31. Then, having heard from Śiva’s mouth, beneficial and wholesome words, the gods became glad, and all of them stood before Gaṇeśa.

The gods said:

32. O lord of the Gaṇas, O only guardian of all gods, O granter of heaven and enjoyments, our salutation to you; O Heramba, we bow to you with love.

33. O Heramba, we bow to you, who give (i.e. bring about) victory in all wars, who give success in all undertakings, who have great divine power and whose body is great.

34. We bow to Heramba, having one tusk, a prolonged mouth (i.e. a trunk), the highly intelligent god of great sages, gods and Indra.

35a. Forgive us (our fault viz.) that we did not formerly worship you at the sacrifice.

35b-37. Having heard the words of the gods, Gaṇeśa said (these) words: “O gods, choose from me the boon of your liking.” Then all gods like Indra, led by Bṛhaspati, said to Gaṇeśa: “Let victory be ours (i.e. Let us be victorious).” Hearing the words of the gods, Gaṇeśa said (these) words:

38-40. “O best gods, all right; may you have victory quickly.” Then all the hosts of gods, with their minds full of joy, worshipped Gaṇeśa with sandal, ornaments, divine incense fine garments, flowers like Pārijāta growing in (the) Nandana (garden), and other divine and attractive flowers. The lord of Gaṇas, worshipped by gods, said to the best gods:

41. “O gods, go to Viṣṇu, having a wonderful courage. Then, O gods, he will bring about your desired object.”

42. Then they, getting into their own respective chariots, went to the immutable Viṣṇu. The hosts of gods, having saluted him, who had put on a yellow garment (i.e. Viṣṇu), joyfully said to him:

43. “O great-souled Viṣṇu, having gone to Gaṇeśa, and having worshipped him, we have today come to you.”

44. Having heard these words of the gods, the imperishable Viṣṇu, spoke precisely: “I shall kill the preeminent demons.”

45. Having heard the nectar in the form of (these) words the gods being pleased and full of great joy worshipped him with the desired materials.

46-47. Viṣṇu again said to the gods led by Indra: “Collecting your own army, be ready without any distress. I shall vanquish the wicked ones as well as their army on all sides. Gathering the group of missiles, you remain fearless.”

48. All the best gods, having divine missiles, after having heard the words of Viṣṇu, got into (their) aeroplanes, and left.

49. The words of gods, uttered with joy, were heard by the spies of the demons. They reported the same to the very mighty Hiraṇyākṣa, (their) king.

50. The very powerful lord of the demons, having heard the words (as reported by his spies) got angry. The angry one called his ministers and said to them:

51-56. “Now all the wicked-minded gods like Indra, desiring to have Viṣṇu (as their leader), told everything to Śiva: ‘How shall we get victory, when the army of the demons is so fierce?’ Śiva said these words: ‘O gods, worship Gaṇeśa. By worshipping him you will (be able to) conquer the demons.’ Then the hosts of gods, who were delighted, worshipped the chief of the Gaṇas. The lord of the Gaṇas, being pleased, granted them a great (but) cruel boon: ‘Today you will conquer all demons.’ Then the gods, being (very) joyful, and desiring to kill us, told this to Viṣṇu. Having heard (the words) ‘all right’, from Viṣṇu, the fearless gods, seated in (their) chariots, and with weapons in their hands, stood (ready) for fighting with me. He who has whatever capacity to vanquish the gods should (now) speak out fully.”

57-59. Then, hearing the words of the king, Madhu said (these) words: “O king, I shall conquer Viṣṇu. Give me an assistant. When god Viṣṇu is conquered, all gods will certainly be frightened. Therefore, Viṣṇu, the conquerer of the enemies’ cities, will be our portion (i.e. we shall vanquish him). O king, we, with Dhundhu, Sunda, and the very mighty Kālakeya as assistants, will conquer Viṣṇu.”

60. In the entire army of the demons (these) four (viz. Madhu, Dhundhu, Sunda and Kālakeya) were very brave heroes resembling Death and had mastered the science of (employing) all weapons.

61. Bala then said (these) words: “I shall vanquish that Viṣṇu due to whom victory (of gods) is coming about. O king, this is my strong pledge.”

62. The two brothers, Namuci and Muci, proud of their might, said to the king: “We too, the mighty ones will conquer (the gods) with force.”

63. Jambha said these words: “I shall conquer Indra and (other gods) led by Indra. There is no doubt about it. O demons, give up your worry.”

64a. And Tripura said (these) words: “I shall conquer Vināyaka.”

64b-65a. Then, the mighty general Maya, the destroyer of gods, said: “With (the help of) the demons I shall (conquer) Kubera and all Hiraṇyakas.”

65b-67a. In the meanwhile, the best sage Nārada went and said to Hiraṇyākṣa: “I have come as a messenger of Viṣṇu. By our (i.e. my) words (i.e. order) abandon your kingdom, if you have interest in your life. Otherwise fight with me and go to the nether world.”

67b-69a. Then angrily he spoke these words to the best sage Nārada: “O brāhmaṇa, you are not to be killed. Quickly go (away) from my presence. See in front of you (i.e. under your very nose) the disaster and destruction of the gods. O brāhmaṇa, (see that) Viṣṇu, Śiva and others will, in a moment, meet with death.”

69b-70a. Saying so the lord of demons said to the General of his army: “Making the entire army ready, quickly bring all the chariots.”

70b-7la. Hearing the words of the king of demons the General of the army suddenly summoned the army. (The soldiers) getting frightened, came (there) quickly.

71b-72. The army (consisted of) thousands of crores (of soldiers) and of akṣauhiṇīs[2]. Each one of the brave soldiers had large vehicles, wonderful chariots, and elephants, camels and donkeys also.

73-74. Mounting on lions, tigers and buffaloes they proceeded. They filled the quarters with all musical instruments and many frightening roars like lions. The sea-coast, mountains, earth, and all the worlds were frightened. The oceans also were agitated.

75-76. Drums beaten by all gods gave out sounds. All the people and the residents of the three worlds were frightened by various other musical instruments of a deep sound (after they were) filled with air. Their desires were frustrated. They went to wage the great, fierce, bright war.

77. In the war they struck one another with iron bars, nooses, lances, swords, sticks, hatchets and sharp fierce arrows.

78-80. All the quarters were full with the weapons and missiles hurled in various ways. Their fight took place in big houses, on the ground, on mountains, in water, in temples, in the sky, on tops of mountains and on their peaks, in thickets, and in a great forest. Missiles in hundreds and thousands fell on the armies as the water of showers from clouds like Puṣkala[3] would fall in streams.

81. Some fell on the ground with their bodies pierced with arrows. Others (fell on the ground with their bodies struck with) missiles like śakti, pestles and lances and hatchets.

82. The brave, dauntless warriors, fighting justly in the war for their lord, fell (just) before their enemies (i.e. they did not run away from the battle-field) and went to the abodes of gods.

83. Others, who were timid and sinful, and who struck those running away from the battle-field, and who fought unjustly went to Yama’s abode.

84. The gods mounted upon elephants and on horses struck the enemies. Those brave (soldiers) desiring to fight and occupying chariots struck those (enemies) who had occupied chariots, and the foot-soldiers struck the foot-soldiers (in the enemy’s army).

85-89a. They were glad, were full of energy, were most dutiful and full of power. The arms of some were cut off. The hair, heads and garments of some whose heads were broken with pestles, fell on the ground. (Some) very mighty (soldiers), with their waists pierced and broken, fell on the ground. The brave ones, decorated with divine ornaments, whose bodies received cuts and were pierced due to the falls of swords and with fierce hatchets, fell on the ground. The region became bright with heroes, elephants, horses, chariots, fallen ornaments, banners and flags.

89b-92a. At that time the whole earth with mountains, forests and groves was flooded with blood, during the war between the gods and the demons. The collection of materials there was eaten by many goblins. Demons and wolves drank ample blood. So also other hosts (of demons etc.) and of jackals and vultures gladly drank blood mixed with water.

92b-93. In the meanwhile, the learned Bṛhaspati, honoured by gods, muttered for gods, the lore that brings the dead back to life, which removed troubles, which was a divine and very powerful lore of Brahmā.I. 308

94. Then Dhanvantari, the physician of gods, gladly moved on the battle-field with the speed of mind (carrying) medicines with him and employing them.

95. Then the gods that were dead in the great war, again came back to life, were without any wound, endowed with power, and again fought very much.

96. Thus, a hundred thousand haughty (fighters of the) army of the demons, with their necks cut off with arrows fell down due to the merit (of the gods).

97. Then Siddhas, Cāraṇas, sages, semi-divine beings and hosts of celestial nymphs greeted (the gods) with cries of victory.

98a. Gandharvas sang songs and great sages praised (the gods).

98b-100. Then the very mighty and powerful foremost demon, the General of the demon-king, Kālakeya by name, seated in a chariot took his bow there (i.e. in the chariot) only, and the very mighty one killed groups of gods and made them dance on the ground. At that time the sky was screened with a continuous flow (i.e. volley) of arrows.

101. Arrows in thousands of crores fell on the army (of the gods). Then gods, not returning (i.e. not fleeing) from the battle fell (there).

102. All the Siddhas and Gandharvas ejected blood. Gods injured by the arrows dropped on the ground.

103. Certain prominent and very mighty gods who (had participated) in the war, pierced with hundreds and thousands and myriads of arrows fell on the ground.

104. All gods who remained in the chariots were vexed. Being tormented by the arrows they could not stand before (the demons).

105. He (i.e. Kalakeya) plunged into the (gods’) army, as an elephant would plunge into a lake. Gods were hurt by his arrows strong like the thunderbolt and fire.

106-107. They could not stand in the battle-field, and then went to Indra. A god, known as Citraratha, best among the soldiers, and an archer, went to fight, after having got into a chariot; and he said (these) words to the great demon, the General (of the demons’) army:

108-109. “Since, O you very brave (demon), you, full of joy, are killing the army of the gods, you deserve to be praised; you are brave and are liked by gods. You have now executed a mission dear to Hiraṇyākṣa; and now (pierced) by my arrows go to Yama’s abode.”

110-112a. Then Kālakeya smiled and said (these) words: “Formerly I have easily vanquished the entire host of gods. Now also (I shall) easily (conquer) the (gods’) army that is standing (before me) in the battle. O best of gods, if you love death, then by (piercing you) with these sharp arrows, I shall take you to Yama’s abode.”

112b. Saying these words, he, who was extremely angry, struck (i.e. discharged) an arrow (at Citraratha).

113-114a. The hero (i.e. Citraratha) cut it off in the sky (itself, i.e. before it struck him), with three arrows. Angrily he again quickly employed arrows in the battle, and with dexterity killed many demons.

114b-115a. Then, in the battle, the best among archers speedily struck each other on the ground with sharp arrows resembling the destructive fire at the end of the world.

115b-116. That fight between the god and the demon was (fought) much justly. Sages, gods and divine serpents desiring to see (that fight) went there. Thus hundreds of thousands of arrows were directed (by them towards each other).

117-118. The two heroes shone (there) to conquer each other in the battle. Then the angry and very lustrous lord of the Gandharvas (i.e. Citraratha) pierced (Kālakeya) in his forehead with three arrows, in his chest with five arrows, in his belly and navel with seven arrows, and in his abdomen with five arrows.

119. The demon struck down with the arrows became confused and depressed in spirits. With his bow loosened, he, the powerful one, regained consciousness after a long time.

120. The god pierced the best demon, named Madhu, with three arrows. He cut off his bow (even) while the demon-king was observing it (i.e. under his very nose).

121. The best among gods, the powerful one (i.e. Citraratha) pierced (the body of) the demon-lion (i.e. the brave demon) with thousands of arrows, bright like god of death.

122. The lord of the Daityas, the demon, with his heart depressed, profusely bleeding, agitated and struck by many arrows, took up a spear.

123. He (i.e. Citraratha) struck and overthrew the horses of him who had (held) the spear in his hand, with four arrows, and his charioteer with three (arrows).

124. Then, remaining on the ground, he (i.e. Kālakeya) struck the best of the Gandharvas (with) the spear. The powerful Citraratha cut off the spear with three arrows.

125. The mighty (demon), seeing his spear destroyed, and resembling a serpent bereft of his hood, took up a mallet and rushed at the god.

126-127. Citraratha hastily cut off, with an arrow with a crescent-shaped head[4], the head from the body of the lord of demons who approached him. He dropped on the ground, and the earth quaked. Then all the hosts of demons, with their faces turned away, fled.

Footnotes and references:


Nāndīmukha—A śrāddha ceremony performed in memory of manes, preliminary to any festive occasion such as marriage etc.


Akṣauhiṇī—A large army consisting of 21870 chariots, as many elephants, 65610 horses, and 108350 foot-soldiers.


Puṣkala—An epithet of a class of clouds said to be the cause of drought or famine.


Ardhacandra—An arrow with a crescent-shaped head.

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