The Padma Purana

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

This page describes war between gods and demons which is chapter 5 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 fifth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 5 - War Between Gods and Demons

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

1. Who is the paternal uncle of the Ocean’s son? What happened to him in the war? How did the demon fight? O Nārada, tell me that.

Nārada said:

2-5. O best king, listen. The Milky Ocean is the paternal uncle of Jālandhara. After the gods and the demons had churned from him Lakṣmī, the Moon, the elephant (called Airāvata), the horse (named Uccaiḥśravas) the gods snatched the wealth. Hearing that the demon Jālandhara fought with the gods. Once the mighty one, having instructed his messenger what to speak, sent him, Durvāraṇa (by name), to the residence of the lord of gods. Then, getting into a chariot, Durvāraṇa went to heaven. Desiring to enter the residence, he was prohibited by the door-keepers.

The messenger said:

6-11. I am Jālandhara’s messenger. I have come to Indra. Please go there and respectfully inform (Indra) about me (i.e. my arrival).

Then a door-keeper, having heard his words, just then went to (Indra), the lord of Śacī. Having saluted him, he said: “O lord, a messenger from the earth has come.” To him Indra said: “Bring (in) the messenger.” He, holding the hand of the messenger, brought him near Indra. Durvāraṇa entered the assembly of the gods. He saw Indra who was surrounded by thirty-three crore gods, (who was seated upon) a divine, golden throne, who was waited upon with the breezes (produced) by chowries, whose one thousand eyes resembling fully bloomed lotuses were full of the feeling of love for Śacī. Then Durvāraṇa, seeing the lord of gods along with Bṛhaspati, (and) laughing at the beauty of his eyes, saluted him.

12-20. That messenger of Jālandhara occupied the seat that was pointed out. Indra said to him: “To whom do you belong? On what mission have you come?” He said to Indra: “I am Jālandhara’s envoy. He is the king of all worlds. From my mouth listen to his order: ‘Why did you, by employing the Mandara mountain (as the churning rod) churn my uncle, the Milky Ocean? You took away the treasure, the great wealth like Lakṣmī, the Moon, the elephant (viz. Airāvata), the horse (called Uccaiḥśravas), gems like corals. Give (back) all that. So also, O Indra, quickly leave the heaven. By my words, quickly do everything that is proper. If you desire to live, apologise to the king.” Then Indra laughed and spoke to Durvāraṇa: “O messenger, hear in brief the reason for churning the Ocean. Formerly my enemy Maināka, the son of Himālaya, was held by the foolish Ocean in his side, and the wicked Ocean also held (i.e. supported) the Fire in the form of a horse, who had burnt the mobile and the immobile. This lord is the place of refuge of the demons, the haters of Dharma. He always gives curd, ghee, milk to the demons.

21-24. O Durvāraṇa, therefore, he was churned by us; and he, with his wealth lost, was punished by the ancient gods. O messenger, listen. He was dried up by the brāhmaṇa (Agastya) born from a pitcher, due to his (i.e. Agastya’s) association with me. Moreover, he is tormented due to his bad company. (If) he also, surrounded by his entire army, will come to fight with us, he will just then meet with destruction.” Speaking like this, (Indra) the killer of Vṛtra, ceased (speaking). He loudly praised the messenger of the Ocean’s son. (The messenger), having come (back) to the son of the Ocean, told him everything from the beginning that the lord of gods had said.

Nārada said:

25-34a. Having heard Indra’s words (i.e. message) from the mouth of his messenger, the Ocean’s son became angry and called his entire army. Then by (Jālandhara’s) order the demons who lived in the lower world, so also those who lived on the earth came there with their armies to Jālandhara. He set out on a march. Due to the roars of the army of the Ocean’s son, O king, the sky, the nether world and all the quarters burst. (Demons) fearful with faces like those of horses, elephants, camels, cats, (so also those) having faces like those of tigers, lions, rats, having eyes like the lightning, (and) some having serpent-like hair, large bodies, some with sword-like nails, and others also ran and roared with the sound (like that) of the clouds. O king, that entire army, full of chariots, elephants, horses and foot-soldiers, and fearful due to the multitudes of amusements in the war shone at that time. Having got into the aeroplane which was a hundred yojanas extensive, to which crores of swans were yoked, which had a stream of a thousand grandeurs, which was filled with all things, Jālandhara quickly went (out). On the first day, he, with his armies, reached Mandara at mid-day. It was broken (into portions) by palanquin carriers and divided by many elephants. On the second day he, along with his army, reached Meru. That great army remained on the peak (called) Ilāvṛta.

34b-40a. Then the chief demons destroyed the Khāṇḍava, Nandana forest. The best demons shattered the peaks of Meru. The best demons, after having tied the couch-like swings to the santāna trees, dallied with siddha women. The river on Meru was filled with saffron on the breasts, tāmbūlas, sandal, agaru (sandal) ornaments, and flowers dropped from the hair. The eastern side of that good Meru was shaken by his elephants. The chariots moved to the south and the warriors to the north and west. Then the demon Jālandhara made the demons set out. Others also, along with the sounds of drums, went to the Mahendra peak. Having destroyed the city of the king of kings, and of Yama and Varuṇa, so also (the cities) of other regents of quarters, they came to Amarāvatī.

40b-42. Then divine portents, so also portents in the sky, the earth and the atmosphere appeared. Much dust fell (down); mass of darkness spread (out). Then the thunderbolt, being lustreless, fell down from Indra’s hand. Seeing fearful omens, Indra said to Bṛhaspati: “What should we do, and whose refuge should we seek? See, the war is imminent.”

43-45. Then Bṛhaspati spoke these words to the king of heaven: “Approach the feet of Viṣṇu living in Vaikuṇṭha.” Indra, thus told by Bṛhaspati, went along with the gods to (Viṣṇu’s) abode—Vaikuṇṭha—and quickly sought the refuge of (Viṣṇu) the enemy of Kaiṭabha. Vijayā, the doorkeeper, informed Viṣṇu (of his arrival). All gods, trembling through fear of Jālandhara, came (there).

Śrī said:

46-49. You who are fighting for gods, should not kill him, my brother. He, O god, should only be cursed and not be killed.

Hearing these words of Lakṣmī, Viṣṇu the protector of the three worlds, mounted upon Garuḍa that covered the sky (just) by the flapping of his wings. Hari quickly moved out of his Vaikuṇṭha abode and saw the gods trembling through the fear of Jālandhara and with their lustre lost. All the gods saw Viṣṇu resembling a dense cloud, and with his four hands adorned with the Śārṅga (bow), the conch, the mace and the lotus.

50-56a. Having recited a hymn of praise in front of (Viṣṇu) Indra said: “O god, Jālandhara, the son of the lord of the rivers has devastated the heaven.” Hearing these words (of Indra) and having granted safety to the residents of heaven (i.e. the gods), (Viṣṇu) the destroyer of the demons, shone along with the gods to conquer the demon. Then Indra, holding the thunderbolt and getting into the chariot brought by Mātalin, went before Viṣṇu. All the gods were on the left side. He came from the left. (Agni) to whom the oblations are dear, seated on a ram, was on the southern side. Indra’s son, Jayanta, mounted upon the elephant Airāvata, and Indra mounted upon (the horse) Uccaiḥśravas, and both (remained) in front of the lord. (There were) Dhātṛ, Aryaman, Mitra, Varuṇa, Aṃśa, Bhaga, Indra, Vivasvat, Pūṣan, and the tenth was said to be Parjanya. Then Tvaṣṭṛ shone, so also Viṣṇu, the younger brother (of Indra).

56b-60. Thus these twelve Ādityas stood before Indra. Vīrabhadra, Śambhu, and the very glorious Giriśa, Ajaikapād, Ahirbudhnya, Pinākin who was (never) defeated, Bhuvanādhīśvara, Kapālin, Sthāṇu, and Bhaga, and Bhagavat, are said to be the eleven Rudras, O king, before him (also stood) the eight Maruts, viz. Śvasana, Sparśana, Vāyu, Anila, so also Māruta, Prāṇa, Apāna and Sajīva. Vivasvat also went among them with his ten forms. At that time Dhanada (i.e. Kubera), the lord of kinnaras, having got into a palanquin (also) went there.

61-67. The Rudras mounted on bulls, so also Māruta, being carried by a deer and having the weapons like tridents and iron clubs, went in front of the army. Gandharvas, cāraṇas, yakṣas, piśācas, snakes, guhyakas holding all weapons went in front of the army. The soldiers also crossed the eastern and western oceans. In it Hari, with the body (i.e. in the form) of a boar moved with a desire to kill the army of the demons, after he had speedily come from the heaven. The northern part of the Sumeru mountain was covered by the army of the gods. Having resorted quickly to the southern peak of the golden mountain, the wonderful huge army of Jālandhara remained. The battlefield remained day and night in the region of Ilāvṛta where it was arranged between Meru and Mandara (mountains). The demons, full of joy, quickly went to that region described as bringing victory by Śukra, so also the gods went to that region described (like that) by Bṛhaspati.

68-71. It was surrounded by excellent chariots, surges of elephants giving out the streams of rut resembling clouds. The land causing (the armies) move shone with innumerable horses and foot-soldiers walking in front of Garuḍa. Then there was the great sound of the musical instruments of both the armies; so also the tumu1t of the warriors roaring at one another. Then a great war, causing fear, took place between the demons and the gods. There was the friction of the entire army like the destruction of the three worlds. Śruti (the sacred text) overpowered with fear, and much fatigued wept again and again. The battlefield was at that time filled with arrows concealing the forms of the chariots.

72-75. The Sky also, tossing the garment of dust, was horripilated. She (i.e. the Sky) was as it were crying through fear with the loud notes of the birds. Then Indra ordered the clouds like Saṃvartaka. They, mounting upon tall elephants fought in the war. Gandharvas and kinnaras became the drivers of the horses of gods. Sādhyas and siddhas (became) chariot-fighters. Yakṣas and cāraṇas (became) elephant-riders. Serpents eating (i.e. living upon) air, so also kinnaras (became) the foot-soldiers. O king, the leader Yama (became) the chief of the diseases, viz. consumption.

76-81a. A fierce battle took place there between the demons and the diseases. The demons (struck by) diseases like acute pain and fever fell and rolled on the ground. The diseases struck by the demons dropped on the battlefield. Certain diseases fled to the mountains. There were natural herbs which rendered them free from trouble. With them the servants of Yama rendered (the soldiers) in the armies free from trouble. The groups of foot-soldiers among the demons killed all the foot-soldiers (among the army of the gods) with arrows, mallets and spears with sharp edges, sharp swords, and hatchets. Crores (of the warriors) with their bodies tawny due to blood killed one another. The quick, horses threw up in the sky the horse-riders at that time. With their bodies tawny due to blood, they clung to one another, and struck one another.

81b-86. The fierce mass of the fighters from chariots covered the earth with streams of chariots. They pierced with sharp arrows discharged from the bows the great fighters from chariots. The elephants, with their temples emaciated due to rut, and being angry, knocked down the elephants after binding their trunks with their own trunks. Some demon lifting a chariot with his arms went to the sky. He knocked down on the ground the horse-riders, horses and elephants. Taking them on his shoulder he quickly went to Jālandhara. Someone, taking two elephants on his two sides, a third one on his belly and a fourth one on his head, runs (i.e. ran) on the battlefield. A demon, taking out his sword from the sheath and shaking the clear sky, went after knocking down thousands of gods on the battlefield.

87-88. A semi-divine female able to fly, of stout breasts, lustful, slim-bodied, quickly came from the sky and took away a demon from the battlefield. She kissed his face fixed with sharp arrows. Then Kālanemi, having bound the army of the gods, danced.

89-93. Then angry Viṣṇu went out to (attack) Kālanemi; Yama (went against) the hero Durvāraṇa, and Rāhu (against) the Moon and the Sun. God Vaiśvānara (went out to attack) Ketu, and Bṛhaspati went (out to fight with) Śukra. The restrained Aśvins went (out to attack) the demon Aṅgāraparṇaka. (Jayanta) Indra’s son (went to attack) Saṃhrāda, and Kubera went (to attack) Nihrāda. Rudras surrounded Niśumbha and Vasus surrounded Śumbha in the war. Viśvedevas went (out to attack) Jāmbha who stood in the form of a cloud. Vāyus (went out to attack) Vajraroman, and Mṛtyu went (out to attack) Maya. Vāsava with the Śakti-missile in his hand, ran to Namuci who was distracted. The other gods also surrounded the demons matching them in valour.

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