The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the slaying of vritra which is chapter 73 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 seventy-third 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 73 - The Slaying of Vṛtra

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:

1. Then, Vṛtra, of great lustre and most distinguished of the demons, mounted upon an elephant, ran to Viṣṇu rich in (i.e. seated upon) an elephant.

2. In the great war, he, seated upon an elephant, pierced Vṛtra, coming to him, (piercing him) in all his limbs, with arrows like the destructive fire at the end of the world.

3-5. Then Vṛtra hit with an arrow the head of Indra. Due to that the mighty one shook. Then calming himself, and raising his bow, the powerful one showered with the shower of arrows (i.e. showered arrows) on the body of the demon. The very powerful one having cut them off, hit Indra, the lord of all gods, with arrows resembling serpents.

6-8. Thus with thousands of arrows they struck each other. The arrows in the battle of the two archers were of the same quality, were quick like the speed of mind, were strong like mountains, resembled the submarine fire in touch, and were moving in the sky and pierced (i.e. were capable of piercing) the spokes of the thunderbolt.

9-12. Thus, in this manner the battle lasted for days and nights. Indra struck the elephant (of the demon) with his own lance. Throwing (himself) on the ground, he quickly went to his chariot. Remaining in the chariot, he, with a śakti, quickly struck hard (the elephant called) Airāvaṇa of that lord (of gods), as (Indra would strike) a great mountain with the thunderbolt. That great elephant, with Indra (on his back), though (he was) trembling, looked splendid. Then Indra, taking a śakti, pierced (with it) the demon in his chest; (then) he (i.e. the demon) fell on the chariot.

13-14. Regaining consciousness in a moment, and roaring, he struck Indra in the battle with an arrow. He (i.e. Indra) then swooned. Regaining consciousness, Indra struck him with hundreds of arrows. Struck with arrows resembling Indra’s thunderbolt he was full of agony.

15-17. Then Vṛtra discharged a great lance on (the body of) the lord of gods. With (i.e. against) the demon’s missile of (i.e. granted by) Śiva, Indra let loose the Vaiṣṇava missile. The missiles of the two resembling mass of fire, struck each other in the sky and discharged sparks of fire. Due to the touch of the sparks of fire the warriors of both the armies could not remain comfortably, as moths cannot stand in (front of) fire.

18. Being burnt, the warriors (in the army) of the gods and demons fell on the ground and ran into all directions. The battle (-field) became vacant then.

19. Seeing that his missile was retarded, the demon, filled with anger, discharged at Indra a missile made of a group of mountains.

20. In the battle, Indra cut off (that) group of mountains with volleys of arrows. The demon sent a Śaiva missile at the very mighty Indra.

21-22a. Crores of thousands chief beings, lions, demons, bears, wolves, tigers, great elephants, serpents—such and other creatures ran to the lord of gods.

22b-23a. Indra, the killer of the heroes of his enemy, cut them off, even before they reached him, with arrows with sharp horse-shoe-shaped heads, with crescent-shaped arrows, with lances and (other) arrows.

23b-24a. Then Vṛtra of mighty arms and brave, raised his bow and struck Indra with thousands of arrows resembling the thunderbolt.

24b-25a. Indra cut them off and also cut off his bow with arrows with sharp horse-shoe-shaped heads. That moment (only) he struck down on the ground his charioteer and his horses.

25b-26a. The best demon, having worshipped a thorny mace, struck it on the head of (Indra’s) elephant. Due to swoon (caused by the stroke) the elephant dropped on the ground.

26b-27. The lord of all gods came to the ground with his mace. Then repeatedly a mace-fight took place between the two. There verily was the sound produced by the strokes of the maces of the two who were striking (each other).

28-29. Again and again they turned round and round. They (gave) very fearful strokes below and above and on (each other’s) sides. Thus the fight between the two which caused fear to the visible and invisible worlds took place. Seeing (the fight) hosts of gods, Siddhas and demons were amazed.

30-31a. The two fighting heroes were in peril of death. Heroes among gods and demons were not at all able to see it. Śiva, Brahma and others remained in the sky to see that wonder.

31b-33a. Due to ‘hum’ sound of (i.e. produced by) them and due to the sound produced by the strokes of their maces, a sound went up and up; surely such a sound is produced by the thunderbolt (only). When their maces were broken, their hands remained folded (into fists). Thus after half a watch their weapons fell down.

33b-35a. In the meanwhile, the two heroes, holding swords and shields, moved in the battle to fight against each other. Their swords, bodies and shields shone like lightning and meteors. The two were looked at with speed and wonder by all the worlds.

35b-37a. The multi-coloured shields of the two were cut off. Thus a fearful and great fight took place between the two. It was full of circular movements, use of disc and bow and dexterity. The fight between Vṛtra and Indra is like the fight of Vṛtra and Vāsava (only).

37b-40. In the battle, Indra, after jumping, rooted out Vṛtra’s hair, and quickly and suddenly cut off his head. Cry of victory of (i.e. raised by) gods was there on all sides. Gods, with their hearts expanded (i.e. rejoicing), worshipped Indra. The drums of gods were sounded, the bands of celestial nymphs danced. The Gandharvas sang songs; and the sages praised (Indra), The demons were afraid, and giving up their arms, ran in (various) directions.

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