The Skanda Purana
by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Story of Matangi and Karnataka which is chapter 18 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 eighteenth chapter of the Dharmaranya-khanda of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Chapter 18 - The Story of Mātaṅgī and Karṇāṭaka
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
1-5. Listen, O Skanda of excellent intellect, to a wonderful deed of mine. There was a very wicked Daitya in Dharmāraṇya named Karṇāṭaka. He used to interrupt couples quietly and hinder their activities. All the people were terror-stricken on seeing him. They used to flee.
Merchants, religious students and others forsook their abodes. O son, Śrīmātā assumed the form of a Mātaṅgī (tribal woman, huntress) and killed Karṇāṭaka, a Brāhmaṇa-slayer. Thereupon, all the Brāhmaṇas were delighted because of that deed. The traders too eulogized and adored Śrīmātā with great devotion. Every year they perform the worship of Śrīmātā.
6. In all auspicious rites one should at the very outset worship her. O dear son, there will never be any obstacle from then onwards.
7. Who is this great wicked Daitya? In which family was he born? O virtuous one, describe (to me) all the various crimes perpetrated by him.
8-9. Listen, O king, I shall narrate the heinous deeds of Karṇāṭaka. He was haughty on account of his might and valour which could not be endured by Devas and Dānavas. His activities were atrocious; his conduct was bad. He had strong arms and big curved teeth. He conquered all the worlds. He could move about in all the three worlds.
10. The great Asura used to go wherever Devas and sages were present. O king, he used to create trouble by trick or by force.
11. Vedic study had been discontinued in the world because people were afraid of him. Neither Brāhmaṇas nor Devas performed Sandhyā Prayer.
12-15. No sacrifice and no worship of gods could be performed in the different countries, villages and cities. The Asura put up difficulties and obstacles in every holy spot. But he was unable to enter Dharmāraṇya. Due to the fear of Śakti and Śrīmātā, the Dānava was bewildered and helpless. He used to ponder, ‘By what means, can I enter that spot? How can I create difficulties and obstacles for the noble-souled Brāhmaṇas, those who regularly study the Vedas and carry out the rites of sacrifice?’
16-18. On hearing the sound of Vedic recitation even from a distance, that Dānava experienced great pain, O king, like an elephant smitten with thunderbolt. He heaved forth sighs of fury and gnashed his teeth together. Biting his lips, he pressed and wrung the hands together. He used to move about like a mad man here and there, like a man afflicted with the combined derangement of the three humours.
19. In the same manner, the Dānava of ferocious nature wandered about near Dharmāraṇya; even from a distance, he burned within himself with great terror.
20-23. At the time of the marriage celebrations of Brāhmaṇas he used to assume the form of a Brāhmaṇa and (pretended) to lead an excellent life of a householder. Then the unassailable wicked fellow, the lowliest of Asuras, flew up from the earth well into the sky. The sinner that he was, he exhibited the nature of his race and out of hatred he used to enjoy (with the womenfolk).
Thus on many occasions he had abducted couples from Dharmāraṇya and committed sinful atrocities unbearable even to Devas. In that excellent city, he thus perpetrated heinous crimes. He always created all sorts of obstacles to couples on the earth.
24. All the dejected Brāhmaṇas fled to all the ten directions. All the Brāhmaṇas abandoned that charming place and went away.
25. The Brāhmaṇas went wherever there was any holy place. (Hence) O excellent king, that time, that city became bereft of all inhabitants.
26. Neither the study of the Vedas nor the performance of Yajñas (could be had there). Afflicted with the fear of Karṇāṭaka, no man dared to stay there.
27. Then, O king, all the Brāhmaṇas and the reputed merchants assembled in one place for holding relevant discussion and mutual counsel.
28. The excellent Brāhmaṇas discussed the means of killing Karṇāṭa. While they were holding counsel together, an unembodied voice was heard suddenly.
29. “Propitiate Śrīmātā, the destroyer of all miseries, the dispeller of all types of harassment and the exterminator of all Daityas.”
30-35. On hearing it, all the Brāhmaṇas had their eyes full of joy. Taking excellent oblations and offerings they approached Śrīmātā. The Brāhmaṇas took with them Bali which consisted of honey, milk, curd, ghee, sugar, incense, light with five wicks, sandal-paste, flowers and various kinds of fruits. There were different kinds of grains. O king, cooked rice, pies soaked in ghee, gruel, Vaṭakas (baked or fried pie), milk pudding mixed with ghee, Sohālikās, Dīpikās, juicy Vaṭakas smeared with mustard and having nine holes and Maṇḍakas (flat thin cakes) resembling lunar disc were prepared. They bathed the goddess with Pañcāmṛta and scented water. They propitiated her with incense, lights and Naivedyas (food-offering).
36. Śrīmātā if propitiated by Nirājanas (lights waved and displayed), flowers, lamps and sandal-paste with camphor, O king, destroys all types of troubles.
37. Assuming three forms, viz. Śrīmātā, Jaganmātā and Brāhmī, the goddess grants boons and protects the three worlds. She is of gentle features.
38-39. O virtuous one, the goddess protects Satyamandira in the form of Trayī (the three Vedas). Those excellent Brāhmaṇas who had assembled there, had controlled their sense-organs and won over their own souls. The divine mother was adored by all of them and propitiated with sanḍalpaste etc. Mentally, verbally and physically they began the eulogy of the goddess. With full concentration of mind, they stood in front of Brahmaputrī.
The Brāhmaṇas said:
40. Obeisance unto you, O Brahmaputrī. Obeisance unto you, O Brahmacāriṇī (‘celibate one’). Obeisance to you, O mother of the worlds. Obeisance to you, the all-pervasive one, forever.
41. You are hunger, sleep, thirst etc. and you are anger, lethargy etc. You are peace; you are Rati (the spouse of Kāma); you are Jayā and Vijayā.
42. O goddess of Suras, you are resorted to by Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśa and others. You are Sāvitrī, Śrī and Umā; you have the status of Mātā (‘mother’).
43. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Sureśāna are well established through your support. O mother of the worlds, obeisance to you, O goddess in the form of Dhrṭi (fortitude) and Puṣṭi (nutrition).
44. You are in the form of Rati, Krodha (anger), Mahāmāyā, Chāyā and Jyotiḥ. You are the cause of creation, sustenance and annihilation (of the universe). You always provide the means to (a desirable) result.
45. You are the five elements, viz. Earth, Fire, Wind, Water and Ether. Obeisance to you, O Great Vidyā, O sinless one, in the form of great knowledge.
46. You are Hrīṃkārī. You have the form of the gods. O goddess of great lustre. You are Hrīṃkārī. You are the beginning, middle and end. Save us from the great danger.
47. The highly sinful, wicked-souled Daitya harasses us. You are our family deity. You are the sole protection unto us.
48. Save, save, O great goddess. Protect, protect, O great goddess. Slay, slay the wicked Dānava, the cause of obstruction to Brāhmaṇas.
49. On being eulogized thus by the Brāhmaṇas, Goddess Mahāmāyā appeared in front of them. She had been urged to slay Karṇāṭa and accord welfare to the Brāhmaṇas. She manifested herself and said, “Ask for a boon.”
50-52. O Brāhmaṇas, by whom have you been frightened? By whom have you been harassed? Enraged by him, I shall despatch him to the abode of Yama. Know that he by whom you have been oppressed, is short of life. To you, Brāhmaṇas, I shall give whatever you desire. It behoves you to speak out. Urged by your devotion, I shall undoubtedly carry out everything.
The Brāhmaṇas said:
53-54. The arrogant Dānava named Karṇāṭa of excessively terrifying features, causes everyday nuisance and hindrance to the inhabitants of Satyamandira. He hates Brāhmaṇas of truthful conduct, eager in the study of the Vedas. He hates them and is spiteful, O highly intelligent one. A hater of the Vedas, he is highly despicable and wicked. O highly splendoured goddess, slay him.
55. After fully pondering over the means of killing him (the demon) and protecting the devotees, the goddess (their family deity) laughingly said, “So it will be” (I shall kill him).
56. Then, O excellent king, Śrīmātā got extremely infuriated. In wrath she knitted her eyebrows with the eyes turning red.
57. Overcome with rage, she was emitting flames of fire from her mouth, eyes, nostrils and ears, O Bhārata.
58. Mātaṅgī who could assume any form as desired by her became manifest out of that brilliant fiery splendour. She was black in colour and hideous in face. She shone with that fiery face terrible to look at.
59. She wore red garlands and garments. Her eyes rolled and roved due to intoxication. Then Śrīmātā resorted to the vicinity of a Nyagroḍha (holy fig tree).
60. The resplendent divine mother had eighteen arms. The goddess wielded a bow and arrows and held a sword and a shield.
61. She held a battle-axe, knife, trident, drinking bowl, club, serpent, iron bar, Pināka bow and noose.
62-63a. She held a rosary of beads, O king, as well as a pitcher of liquor, Śakti (spear), fierce mallet, scissors and skull. She held Badarī (? cotton shrub) full of thorns.
63b-64. There ensued a tumultuous, horripilating fight between Mātaṅgī and Demon Karṇāṭa, O excellent king.
65. O worthy one, O virtuous one conversant with piety, how did the battle occur and how did it conclude? Who won? Mention that to me.
66. Listen, O king of kings, I shall relate to you immediately everything that happened in the battle with the Daitya formerly, exactly as it occurred.
67-69. At the beginning of the month of Caitra, O excellent king, the Brāhmaṇas and merchants who had lost their womenfolk assembled in Dharmāraṇya and celebrated the marriage of Gaurī (Goddess or a virgin of eight years). All those Brāhmaṇas had fulfilled their vows. Realizing that their own abode, the great pilgrimage centre, was excellent and splendid, those excellent Brāhmaṇas assembled there ready to celebrate the marriage. O highly intelligent one, in that great festival in Dharmāraṇya, ten million virgins had assembled. It is the truth. I am speaking the truth.
70-73. On the fourth lunar day, in the later half of the night, they settled the fire brought from within. A seat was offered to Brahmā (the priest presiding over the sacrifice) and they circumambulated the fire. The Sthālīpāka (a special rite performed by a householder) rite was performed and splendid Vedis (altars) four cubits in length were made. The Kalaśas (the sacred pitchers) and Nāgapāśa (noose of Varuṇa) were made ready. Then the Brāhmaṇas began to recite the excellent Vedic Mantras as the moving couples were seated suitably. Along with Brahmā priest, all those Brāhmaṇas in great delight chanted the Vedic Mantras in a high pitch.
74-76. With that loud sound, the entire firmament was filled. On hearing the sound of the Vedic chant uttered by the Brāhmaṇas, the terrible Dānava got up suddenly from his seat. He became devoid of sense, along with his army. All the servants rushed towards him. He spoke to (them) as well as to the others: “Let this be heard and trace wherefrom has this voice of Brāhmaṇas come up.” On hearing his words the Daityas hurried immediately.
77. Agitated and bewildered in their minds, all of them ran here and there. Some of them went to Dharmāraṇya. The Brāhmaṇas were seen there.
78. The Brāhmaṇas were seen reciting the Vedas at the time of the marriage, O king. They reported everything to the wicked-souled Karṇāṭa.
79-81. On hearing it, the Brāhmaṇa-hater’s eyes became cop-per-like red and he became furious. O illustrious king, he rushed to the place where the couples were present. Resorting to the firmament, that demon made use of the Māyā (deception) of Daityas and abducted the couples bedecked in all ornaments. Thereupon all the Brāhmaṇas congregated together and made the hue and cry of “Buṃbā” supplicating the goddess of the universe and cried, “Save (us), save (us).”
82. On hearing it, Mātaṅgī, the mother of the universe, the goddess of the worlds, took up her excellent trident (and rushed in) roaring like a lion.
83-85. Then a battle began between the goddess and Karṇāṭa even as the sages, Brāhmaṇas and merchants stood watching. The fight was tumultuous, raising the hairs (on their ends). With her weapons and missiles, Mātaṅgī cut and wounded the enemy intoxicated with arrogance. The Daitya too pierced the chest of the goddess with an arrow. He too was wounded with the trident and he became dejected in spirits and mentally depressed.
86. The Asura struck the goddess with his fists, but immediately he was bound by Nāgapāśa (serpentine noose) by the goddess.
87. Garuḍa missile was used by the Daitya and Nārāyaṇa missile was fitted in by her, causing the discharge of the arrow.
88-89. Thus they came into mutual clash in the fighting, aiming at victory. Then the leading Daitya took up an iron bludgeon and ferociously struck at Mātaṅgī. He professed to be a slayer of enemies. The infuriated goddess smashed the Dānava to smithereens with the fists.
90-91. At the fist blow, the Dānava fainted and fell. Then he suddenly got up and took up the Śakti in his hand. He hurled the Śataghnī (‘hundred-killer’) weapon at her. The splendid-faced goddess Mātaṅgī cut down the Śakti.
92-94. Adamantine in nature, that lady of excellent eyebrows, laughed loudly (and split) the Śataghnī. Thus, hitting and tormenting each other with each other’s arms (the two fought on). Then struck by the trident in the heart, the demon fell down. Regaining consciousness and getting revived from the swoon the Daitya made use of demoniac Māyā. The great Asura became invisible even as everyone watched him. Then the goddess with red eyes drank the beverage and laughed.
95-98. While he had gone somewhere in the three worlds consisting of mobile and immobile beings, the goddess says, “Where will you go? Now, O highly wicked Karṇāṭaka, come back quickly. Let us fight.” Then a terrible battle ensued frightening everyone. For slaying him the mighty goddess drank liquor. The infuriated Mātaṅgī squeezed the Dānava into her mouth. The terrific demon thereafter came out through her nostrils.
99. That Daitya Karṇāṭaka became intoxicated and fought again. Thereupon Goddess Mātaṅgī too became intoxicated with liquor.
100-103. Hurting with her teeth and masticating him again and again she stuffed the Asura who was practically dead into her stomach along with bones, marrow, fat, flesh, nails and hairs. She closed her mouth with a hand and the nose with another hand. Thereupon the extremely powerful Daitya came out through the auditory cavity. At that, his name was fixed by the great goddess. (Thus) he who came out of the ear-cavity was known to the wise men as Karṇāṭa. The Daitya, arrogant due to his prowess, came to fight once again.
104-107. Wielding his weapon, the Asura roared and stood ready for battle. On seeing the unbearable Daitya, Mātaṅgī pondered over the means of killing him, O descendant of Bharata. While she pondered over it her intoxication increased. Karṇāṭa assumed a magical form of a fair-complexioned young man (resembling) Kāmadeva (the Flower-arrowed One) aged sixteen and lotus-eyed. He approached the goddess and said, “O splendid lady, woo me.”
108-113. O king of Daityas, well said, certainly. In all the three worlds there is no one else like you. A vow has been taken by me before. Have you heard it, O excellent Asura? My younger sister Śyāmā is eager to marry. O Daitya, she has been appointed (here) for protecting the Brāhmaṇas. The only thing is that she is dark in complexion. But she is beneficial to all the worlds. ‘No one will woo (a dark-complexioned) girl’, thinking thus and saying so, she has been placed there (by our father). Say quickly. On hearing your reply, I shall do something good for you. O leading Daitya, my sister Śyāmalā is not yet married. She has been reserved for you, O heroic one. Marry her at the outset. O great warrior, our father will give that splendid girl to you. Go. Let Śyāmalā, the angry one, be wooed.”
114. Then the infuriated Karṇāṭaka seized the powerful Śakti. The wicked one rushed forth desirous of slaying Śyāmalā.
115. Seeing the Asura come (apparently) for marriage, Śyāmalā of very generous mind, came to know the intention of that wicked-minded one.
116. Thereafter, O king, a great fight ensued between Śyāmalā and the great Asura for three months. A great confusion was created all over the earth.
117. O king, in that great battle in Dharmāraṇya, the demon named Karṇāṭa was smitten down at midday on the third lunar day, in the dark half of the month of Māgha.
118. Karṇāṭa fell down where he was smitten by the goddess. His excellent head resembling the peak of a mountain, fell down.
119. The entire earth along with the seas and continents quaked. Then the delighted Brāhmaṇas shouted, “Victory to Mother.”
120-121. The leading Gandharvas sang. The celestial damsels danced. They had great festivities with auspicious songs and dances. Milk puddings, Vaṭakas and sweets were offered as Naivedyas. In that excellent spot Moṭeraka, they eulogized with splendid words.
122. When worshipped, Śrīmatī (? Śrīmātā) grants sons, happiness and wealth. At the advent of a great festival, the worship of Mātaṅgī is beneficial.
123. Those who worship her after installing her for the acquisition of wealth, sons etc., shall attain happiness, fame, longevity, renown and merit.
124. Ailments are removed. The Sun and other Planets become auspicious. Evil spirits, vampires, Śākinīs, Jaṃbhās etc. do not cause any trouble.
125. So also no ghosts etc. afflict. Thereupon the delighted Brāhmaṇas began to eulogize.
126. They eulogized Śrīmātā, Śakti and Mātaṅgī as well as the great Goddess Śyāmalā with great delight.
The Brāhmaṇas said;
127. O mother, thus you be our protectress in this Sthāna (spot) for the benefit of couples, so that the Brāhmaṇas do not become afflicted.
128. O illustrious Brāhmaṇas, I am pleased with these hymns of yours. Choose as boon whatever you have desired in mind.
The Brāhmaṇas said:
129. O goddess, we shall give oblations of whatever you may think of. Stay on here for the protection of our couples.
The goddess said:
130-133. Let all the Brāhmaṇas be healthy. There shall be no affliction. When I am present presiding over everything, none of these shall afflict you: the irrepressible Daityas, Rākṣasas, Śākinīs, evil spirits, ghosts, Jambhās etc., evil Planets, Śākinī and other malignant beings, serpents, tigers etc.
When the marriage celebration is about to take place, there should be great festivities. For the benefit of the couples, the devotee should always worship me. Undoubtedly I shall remove all his troubles.
134. He shall not have mental anguish, physical ailments and pain or bewilderment. He obtains great happiness, so also fame, merit and perpetual wealth. He will not meet with premature death. He will have no gastric trouble or biliousness.
The Brāhmaṇas said:
135. What is the procedure for worship? Of what sort shall the Naivedya be? What shall be the nature of the incense, O mother? How should one proceed with your worship?
136. Let my words be heard, O Brāhmaṇas. On a gold plate, the devotee shall engrave the goddess. If she is worshipped, the couples shall enjoy long life.
137. Or the figure can be engraved on a silver plate or a brass plate. The goddess has eighteen arms. She is smeared with sandal-paste.
138-140. The goddess of the worlds (Bhuvaneśvarī) has these eighteen weapons (in hands): a winnowing-basket with arrows, a dog, an excellent lotus, Kartarī (scissors), a quiver and bow, a shield, a noose, a mallet, a cymbal, an iron javelin, a conch-shell, a discus, an excellent mace, a splendid iron bar, a Khaṭvāṅga, Badarī and a charming goad.
141-143. The devotee shall draw (engrave) the figure of the goddess with ear-rings and bedecked in armlets and anklets. Bracelets and pearls and lotuses adorn her. There is also the garland of heads (skulls). The letters of the alphabet should surrounded her. She wears a ring too. After drawing the figure of Bhuvaneśvarī brilliant with different ornaments, well-known as Mātaṅgī for the purpose of installation, O Brāhmaṇas, the devoted should worship her with delighting (fragrant) sandal-paste and flowers.
144. The intelligent devotee should worship Mātaṅgī with Yakṣakardama (mixture of saffron, musk etc.). A lamp filled with ghee and containing seven wicks should be lighted.
145. Fumigation should be conducted with fragrant Guggalu (aromatic resin) smeared with ghee. The couple should offer Argha with excellent coconut.
146-147. They should perform four circumambulations. The couple should cover themselves with a silken cloth and go ahead. After sprinkling water over Mātaṅgī the excellent Mādhvīka (honey that intoxicates) should be taken. The intelligent devotee should worship Mātaṅgī with vocal and instrumental music.
148. He shall also worship Suvāsinīs (married woman with husband alive and enjoying Saubhāgya) thinking that they are born of Mātaṅgī. For the quelling of all troubles, the couples shall perform dance too.
149-153. The Naivedya (food-offering) should be splendid and of eighteen types consisting of different kinds of cooked rice. They shall be Vaṭaka, excellent Apūpikās, milk with sugar, excellent Ballākara, Yūpā, Kṣiptakulmāṣaka (gruel), Sohālikā, Bhinnavaṭā, Lāpsikā, Padmacūrṇaka, Śaiveyā without impurity, Parpaṭas, Śālakās etc. The Pūraṇa shall be made with Māsa (? blackgram) (or Māṃsa—meat) in an excellent and charming manner. The couple should prepare Rājamāṣa in profuse quantities. They shall make Pheṇikās and Ropikās of charming nature. These eighteen foodstuffs should be with ghee and sugar as well as vegetable dishes.
154. They should keep awake at night and should worship a Suvāsinī. The couple should see the reflection of their faces in ghee.
155. This should be done mutually for the sake of quelling Utpātas (phenomena foreboding calamities). Thus the splendid adoration of Mātaṅgī has been described by me.
156-157. She creates obstacles for a foolish one who does not worship. He will have to witness death of the couple, destruction of wealth, great fear, pain, sickness and incidents of arson. For this reason, O Brāhmaṇas, an intelligent devotee should worship Mātaṅgī.
158. In the administration of all the Brāhmaṇas and merchants, the great goddess makes everything free from obstacles for the couples.
159-163. When they assented saying “So be it”, she spoke once again: “Let this be heard, O Brāhmaṇas. The festivals of marriage etc. should be performed in accordance with my instruction. When the time for the celebration of the marriage arrives, the following should be followed for the happiness of the couples, and absence of obstacles, along with the servants. Collyrium should be applied to the eyes of all the relatives. A Tilaka-mark should be made in the middle of the eyebrows. It shall be crescent-shaped. O Brāhmaṇas, a charming dot also shall be put. If it is done thus, O Brāhmaṇas, there shall be peace, not otherwise. This Tilaka of crescent shape is conducive to the increase of sons; it removes all obstacles and is destructive of all uneasiness and ailments.”
164-167. Thereupon, with the grace of Goddess Mātaṅgī at Satyamandira in Dharmāraṇya, all the subjects became calm and peaceful, O king. The Brāhmaṇas worshipped the daughter of Brahmā with delighted heart. It was decided that the worship of Mātaṅgī should be continued every year by means of foodstuffs and feeding on the third lunar day in the dark half of Māgha.
The demon Karṇāṭa was reborn on the earth in the form of Yakṣman (consumptive disease). Because of fear he left that spot and went southwards. While going, the Daitya in the form of Yakṣman spoke:
168-174. “Let this be heard, all ye Brāhmaṇas, the inhabitants of Dharmāraṇya and all merchants. Let my instruction be carried out. In the month of Māgha, for my propitiation and for absence of hindrance on the earth forever, men should perform this rite with three-leaved grain and Mūlaka (radish in particular) or with gingelly oil with due observance of vows. For the perpetual propitiation of Yakṣmā, he takes only one meal (a day).
This excellent Vrata (rite) of Yakṣman should be practised every year by everyone, a child, a youth or an old man.
All the menfolk in every household should be called (to observe the vow). They shall always adhere to the vow of a single meal. For the sake of the son, the mother performs the excellent Vrata. The father or brother on whose behalf the Vrata is observed need not have any fear anywhere—no sickness, no bondage. A woman can perform the rite on behalf of the husband. If she is unable the other one (i.e. the husband) should perform it.”
175. Instructing thus on the eve of his leaving Satyamandira, he proceeded towards the South on the excellent shore of the ocean.
176. Karṇāṭa took up a huge body and established an excellent state with his own name.
177-179. In that state all the objects, wealth and grain were available in plenty. He hovered round that Karṇāṭa state for a long time.
O excellent one among men, if people listen to the meritorious story of Dharmāraṇya repeatedly and the greatness of Śrīmātā, nothing untoward or adverse happens in their family. One who has no son obtains sons; one deficient in riches gets wealth, longevity, health and prosperity with the grace of Śrīmātā.
Footnotes and references:
This explains why the demon was called Karṇāṭa.
Procedure of Śrīdevī (Śrīmātā) worship (vv 136-155).
A fictitious derivation of the name of Karnataka State.