by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Vishnu Fights with Daityas which is chapter 20 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the twentieth chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1. On seeing him, all the Dānavas became infuriated. Like bees hovering around wine distilled from grapes all of them were surrounded by their own respective armies. They obstructed (the path) from all sides.
2-3. Nimi was seated on a terrible elephant resembling a mountain. With ichor oozing (from its temples) it was irrepressible. There were white banners of various sizes over it. Its cheeks were slightly broken. It had a golden colour and so the elephant appeared like a mountain covered by forest fire. The strong Daitya, Nimi, mounted that elephant in the course of the battle and marched against Hari.
4. Twenty-seven crores of terrible Dānavas, shining with crowns and coats of mail were the protectors of that elephant.
6-7. Śuṃbha marched riding on a ram twelve Yojanas long. The other leading Dānavas too got ready with various weapons in their hands. They were enraged against Viṣṇu who was unwearied (i.e. indefatiguable) in action.
9-1la. They hit Nārāyaṇa with all these weapons. The remaining ones hit him with arrows that could split vital parts. Those missiles discharged (by them) entered Puruṣottama like the instructions of a preceptor repeated many times entering a good disciple.
11b-14. He pierced Nimi with twenty arrows having fiery splendour; Mathana with ten; Śuṃbha with five. The infuriated Mādhava pierced Mahiṣa in the chest with a hundred arrows; Jaṃbha with twelve sharp arrows; and all the others with eight arrows each.
On seeing his agility and dexterity, the Dānavas became excessively infuriated. They exerted themselves much, covering Hari with arrows- Dānava Nimi cut off his bowstring with a Bhalla (‘crescent-shaped arrow’).
16. Śuṃbha pierced his arms with ten thousand arrows. Thereupon, Mādhava, surprised in mind, seized a mace.
17-18. He despatched it with great velocity towards Mathana in the course of the great battle. Even before it reached him, Nimi struck it with thousands of arrows resembling a threshing rod. He caused it to fall down and roared like a black cloud. Thereupon, the Bhūtas (‘Spirits’) began to shout “HĀ, HĀ (Alas)”.
19-20. Obviously never was such power manifested whereby that iṇace was shattered to smithereens. On seeing it fallen down like a prayer to a wrong person, Hari seized a mallet of very terrible nature, adorned with divine gems and jewels. With great force he hurled it aiming it at Dānava Nimi.
21-23. As it was coming, three Daityas warded it off in the firmament itself. Daitya Jaṃbha curbed it with an iron club, Grasana with a sharp-edged spear and Daitya Mahiṣa with a javelin. All of them roared very loudly. On seeing it destroyed completely like a good man by wicked persons, he took up a very fierce Śakti having the loud sound of a hundred bells. In the course of the terrific battle, he discharged it aiming ît at Jaṃbha.
24-25. On seeing it coming, Jaṃbha hurriedly jumped from his chariot and sportingly caught hold of it in the same manner as a lover catching hold of his beloved. That powerful Daitya laughed and struck Garuḍa on his head with the same (Śakti). Then he went back to his chariot, took up a bow and began to engage himself (in fighting).
26-28. On being hurt and pained by the Śakti in the course of the battle, Garuḍa became unconscious. Then, O descendant of Bharata, Viṣṇu laughed and said: “Well-done! Well-done!” With a stroke of his hand he revived the son of Vihatā from his state of unconsciousness and consoled him with (gentle) words. Just as everything planned by a man who has a wicked and vile wife, becomes futile, so also the Śakti became futile. Thereupon, he fixed another great bowstring of high durability (to his bow).
29. After making a twanging sound by slapping his palms, he released a Raudra missile (with Rudra as its presiding deity). On account of the refulgence of the missile, the entire firmament became invisible.
30-31. The earth, the cardinal points and the intervening spaces shone as though they were full of arrows.
On seeing the great power of that missile, Asura Grasana, the Commander-in-chief, immediately discharged a Brahma-missile that could oust and ward off (and quell) all the other missiles. On account of that, the Rudra-missile that had been terrible unto all the worlds became subsided.
32. When that missile had been repelled, Viṣṇu, the slayer of Dānavas, discharged Kāladaṇḍāstra that terrified all the worlds.
33. When that missile was being fixed (invoked) and discharged, a tempestuous wind began to blow. Goddess Earth quaked and the oceans were split asunder.
34. On seeing the fierceness of that missile, Dānavas became very ferocious in the battle. They made use of various kinds of divine missiles in the course of the battle.
35. Grasana made use of Nārāyaṇa missile. Nimi discharged the excellent missile of Tvaṣṭṛ. Jaṃbha made use of Aiṣika missile for the purpose of fighting and repelling the Daṇḍa missile (i.e. Kāladaṇḍa).
36. By the time the missiles of Nārāyaṇa etc. were being fixed and were ready to be discharged for the purpose of repelling (that missile), the Kāladaṇḍa had killed in a moment, a crore of leading Daityas.
37-38. Afterwards on account of the clash with the missiles of Daityas, the missile of Kāladaṇḍa had its fearful nature subsided. On seeing his own missile subdued, Hari out of anger, assumed a form of the deadly fire (at end of world). He took up his discus which had the lustre of ten thousand blazing suns. Its spokes were very fierce. It appeared like his second self. It was ablaze (with fiery flames). The Four-armed Lord gripped it well and hurled it against the Commander-in-chief in the course of the fight.
39. On seeing that discus advancing, the excellent Daityas tried to ward off that extremely terrific discus completely in every respect by means of their own prowess, but they could not (do so) in the same manner as the fierce destiny due to the accumulation of past Karmas cannot be dispelled.
40. That discus which was like the fresh blazing rays of the sun and the movement of which could not be comprehended, fell on the neck of Grasana. Its terrible nave became red by the flowing stream of blood of that (Daitya). Then once again it returned to the hand of the enemy of Mura.
41. In the course of that battle, the Dānava was struck down by the discus. He fell on the ground and died. The remaining Daityas became excessively sad and angry. Some of them struck (their arms) and wrung their hands.
42. Thereupon, when Grasana, the Daitya-Chief of the army, was killed the (other) Dānavas fought with Hari without any check or restraint.
43. They fought with sharp-edged spears, threshing rods, barbed missiles, maces and iron lances and bars. They fought with arrows of very sharp points, discuses and javelins.
44. With arrows comparable to the flames of fire, Janārdana who took perfect aim split into a hundred pieces each one of those volleys of missiles discharged by them.
45. The infuriated Janārdana killed crores and crores of them. Thereupon (they all gathered together) suddenly and fell upon Keśava.
46. Some of them seized Garuḍa by both the feet. Hundreds of Asuras hung suspended from his wings. Others hung down from his beak.
47. The great Daityas roared frequently and hung down from the bow of Keśava, his two arms and his head.
49. Hari shook them off and caused them to fall on the ground, like an enlightened man shaking off all the blemishes arising from the worldly existence.
50. Viṣṇu drew out his excellent sword Nandaka from its scabbard and took up the stainless shining shield as well. He rushed after them on foot.
51. Within a Muhūrta (=48 minutes) Keśava cut off on the way, one thousand billions of excellent Daityas after moving about many times (on the battlefield).
52. Then the excellent Asuras Nimi and others roared. Those great warriors rushed at Keśava who was coming on foot.
53-54. Garuḍa too came there quickly. Hari climbed on to its back. In that tumultuous battle he said to Garuḍa: “O Tārkṣya, if you are not tired, proceed towards Mathana. If you are tired go away from the battlefield for a short while.”
55-59. O Lord of the worlds, I am not at all fatigued because I remember (with regret) something, viz. the fact that Tāraka has made my sons his vehicle.
Saying this he went towards Daitya Mathana.
On seeing the Lord holding the conch, discus and the iron club, face to face, he struck him on his chest with a Bhiṇḍipāla (i.e. a small javelin hurled from a sling) that had very sharp edges.
Without minding that blow at all in the course of that great battle, Viṣṇu struck him with five arrows that could pierce through even lordly mountains.
On being hit in the chest with ten arrows drawn as far as the ear he swooned. But Mathana regained consciousness within a short while. He took up a Parigha (‘iron bar’) anḍ.Mt Janārdana on his head.
60. On account of that blow Viṣṇu reeled a bit. Thereupon, rolling his eyes in anger, Mādhava seized the iron club.
61. With that he hit Mathana forcefully on the chest. With his limbs shattered to pieces, he fell on the ground and died.
62. When Mathana fell on the ground after being utterly thrashed, all those Daityas became utterly tired, exhausted and dejected on the battlefield.
63. When those Dānavas of great honour and prestige became spiritless and despondent, Mahiṣa, the Lord of the Dānavas, became angry with his eyes turned red.
64. That terrible Mahiṣa who rushed at Hari depending solely on the strength of his arms attacked Hari with a keen-edged lance.
65-70. The hero forcefully struck Garuḍa on the chest with his Śakti. Thereupon the Daitya opened his mouth which resembled a cave in a big mountain. In the course of that battle he wished to swallow Acyuta along with Garuḍa.
On coming to know the intention of the Dāṇava, the highly powerful lord filled his mouth with divine weapons. On being injured and struck by those (missile-charged) arrows, Mahiṣa who resembled a mountain, fell down and died. Half of his body rolled down.
On seeing Mahiṣa fallen down, Hari resuscitated his life and said to Mahiṣa: “O Dānava, you do not deserve death from me. You are to be killed by a woman as mentioned by the Lotus-born Lord himself. Get up. You have been released by me. Go quickly from this great battle.” On being told thus by Hari, the Asura went away from that spot.
71-72, When Daitya Mahiṣa was turned away, Dānava Śuṃbha bit his lips sternly and knitted his eyebrows making the whole face (appear) crooked. He thrashed one of the hands with the other and took up a terrible bow. Stringing the bow (and drawing) he released hundreds of very terrible arrows.
73-76. He fought in a wonderfully diverse manner. He hit hard with his fists. Then the Daitya hit Viṣṇu and Garuḍa with many arrows resembling the flames of blazing fires, discharged without any obstacle.
On being afflicted much by the arrows of the leading Daitya, Viṣṇu took up a Bhuśuṇḍi missile resembling the Lord of Death. With that he pounded to powder the shoulder bone of Śuṃbha in the course of the battle, the collar bone that shone like a mountain. He smashed his face also.
With arrows drawn as far as the ear and having the colour and refulgence of fire and the sun, he hit them. With three arrows, he hit Śuṃbha’s arm, the head of the charioteer with sixty-two arrows and with ten arrows he hit the flagstaff of the Daitya.
On being hit by them and frustrated by them, the leading Daitya was smeared with the blood that flowed (from his body). He appeared to be losing his courage. Then the Lord with a conch, lotus and Śārṅga bow in his hands spoke to him:
77. “O inauspicious Śuṃbha, you are destined to be easily killed in a very few days by a woman. You do not deserve to be killed by me, O deluded one. It is futile.”
Thereupon that Dānava Śuṃbha went away.
78. On hearing those words from Viṣṇu’s mouth Jaṃbha roared loudly like a lion.
Shaking the world with his loud boisterous laughter in the course of the battle, he spoke the (following) words sportively:
79-81. “O resider in waters, what have you to do with these Daityas deficient in exploits. Come to me in the course of this battle, if you have (any) manliness left anywhere. It was because Jaṃbha was not present then that Hiraṇyākṣa and other Daityas could be killed by you formerly. See me standing ready now. O Hari, have a look at these arms of mine resembling palm trees or the excessively hard chest resembling the thunderbolt. Strike me; that will be a pleasure.”
82. On being told thus by him Keśava licked the corners of his mouth angrily and hurled a terrible iron bar that could split even mountains.
83. Then, immediately thereafter Viṣṇu hurled a hard mallet which was made of iron and which appeared like a second mountain.
84. On seeing those two weapons, Jaṃbha placed his bow on the chariot. He jumped down and seized the (coming) iron bar. With that he hit Garuḍa.
85. After that he took up a second weapon, a mallet. Roaring in the course of the battle and using all his vital airs and force he hit Govinda on the head.
86. On account of those two severe blows, both of them, Garuḍa and Keśava, fell into a swoon. They were unconscious and were almost like dead.
87. On seeing that great wonderful feat, the excellent Daityas roared. This universe did not brook them as they were swayed with delight and pride.
88. They encouraged Jaṃbha with leonine roars, sounds of the slapping and clapping of the hands, the twangs of the bowstrings and the sounds of the arrows. They waved their clothes.
89-90. They filled the conchs (with blowing sounds) and hurled the Devatās.
Hari regained consciousness in the course of the great battle. Along with Vainateya, he embraced Jaṃbha. Then he turned his face away from the unavoidable fight and rapidly fled.