The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Andhaka Blessed which is chapter 48 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 forty-eighth chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 48 - Andhaka Blessed

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Uttānapāda said:

1-6. O Lord, in which place did that Andhaka, the great Daitya, stay? After conquering all the Devas which place did he resort to?

Śrī Maheśa said:

O king, I shall tell you the place which the Dānava resorted to after reaching Pātāla. He began to ravish girls, Keśava came to know that the Dānava was staying there. He took up the bow and discharged an Agni missile, intending, ‘Let him (Andhaka) be burned.’

When he was scorched by fire, he (Andhaka) discharged a Vāruṇa missile. The Āgneya missile was subdued by the great Vāruṇa missile.

Then he began to think, ‘By whom has this arrow been discharged? Whose is this manly power? Who will (hence) go to the abode of Yama?’

Thereupon the demon Andhaka, infuriated in the battle, set out along the path of the arrow and saw Janārdana with the bow kept ready in his hand.

Andhaka said:

7-14. You will not be happy any more, that you have been seen by me. Just as an elephant cannot escape from the sight of a tiger, so you too cannot go. When a mouse falls a prey to a cat, it cannot get away. You are in a similar plight in front of me.

I am going to send you along the terrible path of Yama. I have been searching for you and was about to proceed1 towards your abode. But, O Keśava, you have been brought into a straight fight with me by Kāla. All those many Dānavas who were defeated earlier by you were not men, they were only women, O Keśava. But I will not fight with you by means of any weapon.

Even as the great Dānava spoke thus, Keśava did not become angry. On seeing him not caring to fight, the Dānava thought thus: ‘I shall have a (wrestling) duel with him,’ After resolving thus, O king, he fought. He was kicked down to the ground by Kṛṣṇa with his foot.

Within a short while he composed himself and got up. Realizing that he was incompetent for a full-fledged duel, he began to employ the expedient of Sāman (peaceful overtures). He brought together the palms with pure intentions aṇd prostrated himself with eight limbs touching the ground.

Andhaka said:

15-24. Be victorious; obeisance to Kṛṣṇa, Hari, Viṣṇu, the victorious. Be victorious, O Hṛṣīkeśa. Obeisance to the creator of the universe, to the noble-souled Acyuta. Obeisance to the lotus-navelled one. Obeisance to the Lord having lotus garlands, to Śrīśa (Lord of Śrī), to Janārdana, to the yellow-robed one. O Śrīpati, be victorious. Perpetual obeisance to Govinda. Obeisance to the Lord lying down in the ocean. Obeisance to the roaring Narasiṃha of a hideous face. Obeisance to Śārṅgin, of dark complexion, holding the conch, discus and club. Obeisance to you, the Lord in the form of Vāmana, to the Lord in the form of Yajña. Obeisance to the Lord in the form of Varāha; to the Lord who measured the three worlds with (three) steps. Obeisance, obeisance to Keśava who has pervaded all the quarters. O Vāsudeva, obeisance to you. Obeisance to the destroyer of Kaiṭabha. Obeisance to you, O most excellent one among Suras, O leader of Suras, O resort of Lakṣmī. I bow unto all those who pay respects to Viṣṇu, the Lord of Devas, to Prajāpati, the creator of the universe. I bow unto all those who make obeisance to the intelligent Vāsudeva, the Lord of the entire range of living beings. I bow unto all those who make obeisance to Viṣṇu of immeasurable brilliance, the Yajṅavarāha (the boar of sacrificial features). Again and again I make obeisance unto you, the storehouse of all Guṇas. O Lord, O ocean of mercy, O Lord fond of all devotees and all forms of devotion!

Śrī Bhagavān said:

25-28. O great Dānava, I am pleased with you. Choose any boon as desired. I shall grant you a boon even if it be something rare in all the three worlds.

Andhaka said:

O Lord, if you are pleased with me and are willing to grant me a desired boon, O Lord, then do grant me the favour of a fight with you that is extremely splendid. Thereupon, sanctified by your hands, I shall go to splendid worlds.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

How can I fight with you now that I have been propitiated by you? My anger cannot be aroused against you, O Andhaka. How will I then fight? You are undoubtedly inclined towards combat. If so, do go to fight with Lord Maheśvara.

Andhaka said:

29-36. There my objective is not achieved.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

Son, go and shake the peak (of Kailāsa) with all your might. When the peak is shaken the Lord of Devas shall become terribly infuriated. O Dānava, the enraged Śaṅkara shall grant you the favour of a terrible fight.

At the instance of Viṣṇu, the sinful Dānava went to the place where Maheśvara was present. After reaching the Kailāsa peak, he shook it frequently. When the peak was shaken, all the three worlds too shook. The many summits of the peaks shook and fell down. O king, soon the four oceans became one. Meteors fell and many trees tumbled down. In the company of Umā, the Lord became surprised. Goddess Girijā closely embraced the Lord and spoke these words: “O Lord, why does this mountain shake? Why does this earth quake? Why do the serpent Śeṣa, the mortal world and the nether worlds shake? Is this the utter annihilation of the Yuga? It behoves you to narrate it to me.”

Īśvara said:

37-44. Whose mind has become wicked? Who has put his hand into the mouth of the serpent? On whose forehead Varman[1] (coat of mail?) has been put? He will go to the abode of Yama. I have been asleep after resorting to Kailāsa. Undoubtedly if anyone wakes me up and comes face to face with me I will kill him.

The Lord of Devas further thought, ‘There is no doubt about this that this is Andhaka.’ Thereafter he considered the means whereby he could be easily killed in an instant.

All the Suras headed by Brahmā came along with the Vasus. He made a chariot consisting of all the Devas.[2] Some of the Devas stationed themselves in the wheel; some at the tip and the sides of the snout. Some of the Devas stationed themselves on the navel and some on the Dhuryas (forepart of the poles of the chariot). Some remained steady on the Dhuris (foremost part on the chariot) and some on the Yūpas. Some of them were the supporting pillars of the Syandana (chariot). Some were Syandanaveṣṭakas (serving as cover of the chariot). Others stationed themselves on Āmalasāraka (a part of the chariot) and still others stationed themselves on its pot-like dome. Thus the divine chariot rendered splendid by the banners, garlands etc., became terrifying to the enemies. After making this chariot consisting of the Devas, Maheśvara, the preceptor of the universe, ascended it. With anger the Lord set out to the place where the Dānava was present.

45-58. He said, “Stop! Stop! O evil-minded one, where do you go?” Taking up the bow in his hand, he discharged arrows at the Dānava. When the Dānava stood firm in the battle, the Lord cut off his arrows. Andhaka was then covered (with a volley of arrows). Neither the sun nor the sky, nor the moon were to be seen there. The Dānava then discharged the Āgneya (pertaining to the Fire-god) missile on Śiva. All the Devas trembled with fear on being scorched by the smouldering charcoals dropping from the arrows. (They cried:) “O Mahādeva, save us, save us. We are being burnt by the Dānava.”

Thereupon the Lord of Devas fitted a Vāruṇa missile on his bow. Within a moment the Āgneya missile was destroyed by the Vāruṇa missile. Thereupon in the battlefield a Vāyavya (pertaining to the Wind) missile was discharged by the Dānava. O dear one, the Vāruṇa missile vanished on being destroyed by the Vāyavya missile. With infuriated mind the Lord then discharged a Sārpa (serpentine) missile. Undoubtedly the Māruta (Vāyavya) missile was destroyed by the serpentine arrows. Thereat a Gāruḍa missile was sportingly discharged by the Dānava. On seeing the Gāruḍa missile the Sārpa missile disappeared. Thereupon a Nārasiṃha missile was discharged by the Lord of Devas. The Gāruḍa missile was destroyed by the Nārasiṃha missile. Thus one missile was suppressed by another missile. They did not affect either of them. O dear one, the great war became equally terrifying unto the Suras and the Asuras. Various weapons were employed such as discus, dart, arrow, Tomara, sword, Mudgara, Bhalla and the splendid Karṇikāra. Yet the Dānava could not be killed by those diverse kinds of weapons. Then swords, darts and Tomaras, all terrible with flames issuing forth were discharged by the Bull-emblemed Lord in the battle against the Dānava. But like a Gauḍa maiden the missile never touched the body (of the Dānava).

Thereupon Śiva and Andhaka abandoned the weapons and engaged themselves in hand-to-hand fight (wrestling). They caught hold of each other’s hands and began to hit with fists. Thus Śiva and Andhaka fought employing all the means of a regular war.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

59-65. The Lord of Devas began to think about the means of restraining Andhaka. “There is no doubt that I will kill the evil-minded one.” O excellent king, when he was hurled by Śiva the Dānava fell on the ground face down and hands lifted up. Then the enemy of Devas became furious. The Lord of Devas was kept in the armpit, pressed and afflicted. Lord Maheśvara became motionless and he swooned. On seeing him senseless the Dānava thought thus: ‘Alas, an evil action has been perpetrated by me, a sinner. What shall I do? Where can I get rid of the Karma?’

He carried the Lord in his arms (in the particular position called Utsaṅga) and went to the Kailāsa mountain. The king of Daityas placed Śaṅkara on the bed and went out. The Lord who fell on the bed began to feel the pain. He saw himself in his own abode.

66-74. “How was this discomfiture brought down upon me by that evil-minded wretch?” Saying this he was overwhelmed with anger and he rushed against the Dānava after seizing an iron bar weighing a thousand Bhāras. On seeing the Dānava, the Lord hurled it on to the head of the Dānava.

Then the Dānava laughingly cut it with his sword. Thereupon in the great battle the missile named Kaucchera was recollected by the Lord. Even as it blazed, it was hurled hitting the Dānava in his chest instantly. On being hit with that, the Dānava vomited blood. He fell face-down and was pierced with the trident. Again he was split into two by the Lord of Devas with his trident. Fixed at the tip of the trident the sinful wretch was whirled like a wheel. Every drop of blood that fell on the ground from his body gave rise to Dānavas with weapons in their hands. Thereupon the Lord became utterly afflicted on account of the energetic Dānava.

At that time Durgā, Cāmuṇḍā of terrifying countenance, was remembered by the Lord. Presently she came on the scene shining with different kinds of weapons and striking terror with her very appearance. She had long curved fangs, a huge body, tawny-coloured eyes and the earlobes hanging loose. She said, “O Lord, may the command be given. Who is to go to the abode of Yama?”

Īśvara said:

75-85. O fair lady, drink the blood of this Dānava as much as you please. O Durgā, lap up the blood that drops on to the ground. Do not delay. O fair lady, extend a helping hand so that I can kill the Dānava.

On being told thus, that Goddess Durgā drank the blood. All the Dānavas numbering many thousands were killed by the Lord of Devas. On seeing those Dānavas brought down to the ground Andhaka eulogized Maheśvara, the Lord of Devas:

Andhaka said:

Be victorious, O Lord of the chiefs of Devas having half of Umā’s body as part of your own body. Obeisance to you, O Lord of the chiefs of Devas. Obeisance to Śarva, possessing three Guṇas within him.

O Lord seated on the bull! O Lord with the moon for your crest jewel! Be victorious, O Lord with the Khaṭvāṅga in the hand. Obeisance to you, O Gaṅgādhara.

Obeisance to you holding Ḍamaru in the hand. Obeisance to the Lord having the garland of skulls. Obeisance to Maheśa, the destroyer of Smara’s body. Obeisance to you, to Maheśa.

Obeisance to the Lord who shattered the teeth of Pūṣan. Obeisance to you, the Lord of Gaṇas. Be victorious, O Lord with a handsome body. Obeisance to the Lord without form, to the multi-formed Lord.

O Śaṅkara, obeisance to the destroyer of the head of Viriñci. Obeisance to you, the Lord who reside in the cremation ground and have terrifying forms.

You are omnipresent. You are the creator. You are the destroyer. No one else. You are the earth. You are the quarters. You are Guru (Jupiter) and Bhārgava (Venus). O Lord of the chiefs of Devas, you are Sauri (Saturn) and also the son of the Earth (Mars). All those visible things, the stars, the planets etc., are you yourself.

After eulogizing the Lord thus, the Dānava bowed down to Maheśvara with palms joined together.

Īśvara said:

86-90. Well! Well! O Dānava of great intrinsic strength, request for a boon. I am the donor and you are the suppliant. I shall grant whatever is desired.

Andhaka said:

O Lord of Devas, if you are pleased, if a boon is to be granted to me, then I should be made one on a par with yourself. No other boon. I shall be Bhasmī (one smeared with ash), Jaṭī (one having matted hairs), Trinetrī (having three eyes), Triśūlī (having a trident), Caturbhuja (having four arms), having a tiger hide as the upper garment and serpents for Yajñopavīta. O Maheśvara, if you are pleased, I shall desire these.

Īśvara said:

I shall grant you the boon as requested by you, O sinless one. Dear son, stationed among my Gaṇas you shall become Bhṛṅgīśa.

Footnotes and references:


Probably ‘Karman’ as Va (व) and Ka (क) are similar in Devanāgarī script. If emended thus it means ‘On whose forehead is this act imprinted (i.e. to whom has this act been allotted by Destiny)?’


An echo of the chariot prepared for killing Tripurāsura. Here the names of gods so employed are not given.

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