The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Sahasrarjuna Killed which is chapter 67 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.

Chapter 67 - Sahasrārjuna Killed

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-2. In the meantime Rāma came there to the hermitage accompanied by his brothers carrying fruits, roots and bulbous roots.

He saw the hermitage damaged and surrounded by a large number of Pulindas and the cow grievously hurt with stones and sticks.

3-5. He asked: “How has this catastrephe [catastrophe?] happened? The penance grove is surrounded by Ābhiras and Pulindas. By whom has this cow of mine been beaten and wounded? Why do these ascetic men and women weep? Where is my old father? Where is my mother fond of her sons? Why does she not approach me lovingly as before?”

6. Thereupon all those ascetics utterly grief-stricken narrated to him all the events in detail, all the acts of misdemeanour of Sahasrārjuna as witnessed by them.

7-8. All the brothers heard the stunning words that smote them like thunderbolt. On hearing it and seeing their father cut with weapons and their mother too grief-stricken with all the limbs injured, but somehow breathing alive, they began to cry in despair but not the all-powerful Rāma.

9. After crying for a long time and lamenting repeatedly, they performed the obsequies in accordance with the injunctions in the Vedas.

10. After the cremation, all the others except Rāma, made a befitting deep pit and offered libations to their father along with gingelly seeds.

11. The other ascetics asked Rāma, the most excellent one among wielders of weapons: “Why don’t you offer handfuls of libation to your dead father?”

12. This son of Jamadagni was asked thus many times even as he was engaged in counting the number of wounds inflicted by sharp weapons on the body of his mother.

13-17. Then Rāma heaved a sigh and spoke to those leading sages: “You may now be pleased to hear why I refused to offer water libations. My father was killed by a Kṣatriya without any fault on his part. There are twenty-one wounds on the body of my mother. Hence, O Brāhmaṇas, if I do not exterminate Kṣatriyas from the earth as many times as there are wounds (on my mother’s body) I will incur all sins. In addition to the murder of my father and mother that sinful base Kṣatriya has perpetrated other foul deeds.

Therefore I shall fill this pit with his blood as well as that of other wicked-souled Kṣatriyas, though it is usually filled with libations of water. I shall propitiate my father with libations of blood, not of water.”

Sūta said:

18. On hearing his dreadful vow, the excellent ascetics were struck with awe and were mystified. They did not say anything further.

19. Then, after the days of pollution (due to death) were over, the furious Rāma, seized his axe and proceeded in the direction of Māhiṣmatī.

20. He was accompanied by all those tribal people, the Pulindas and the Medakas. They had fastened their arms with alligator skin to prevent injury. They had similar finger protections too. They had excellent arrows and bows.

21-22. On hearing that the scion of the family of Bhṛgu was advancing accompanied by a great army after taking a vow, Arjuna was delighted. He too set out facing him for fighting, along with different kinds of warriors who could be compared to Devas and Asuras.

23. Thereafter, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, a great battle ensued between the Pulindas and the warriors of the king of Haihaya, who could be compared to Devas and Asuras.

24. Then all the followers of Haihaya were killed with arrows on a par with poison-breathing serpents, by the tribals who were repeatedly roaring while fighting.

25. Due to the sin arising from Brāhmaṇa-slaughter all of them were lustreless and fell on the ground.

26. No one was competent to show valour. As they fled, all of them were killed with sharp arrows.

27. On seeing his army broken up, the Lord of Haihayas became furious. Hurriedly he desired to string his bow, but could not do so although he tried the utmost.

28. Then he wanted to draw out the clean sword from its sheath; but he failed to do so. He felt a great discomfiture.

29. His club too fell down on to the ground in an instant. It was the club with which the terrible Rāvaṇa, who used to make people cry in despair, was defeated.

30. These were the very hands which once used to restrain the flooding current of Narmadā. All his splendid hands numbering a thousand became agitated with great tremor.

31. As ill luck would have it, they were too weak to life the weapons at all. Further all the Mantras of the divine missiles became forgotten.

32. In the meantime Rāma came there with his fury at its zenith. He lifted up his axe and said to him these harsh words:

33. “O sinner, king of Haihayas, quickly show me those hands with which my father was killed by you.”

34. He too, already struck down by the Brāhmaṇical splendour did not say anything by way of reply though harshly taunted thus. He remained like one painted in a picture.

35. Then Rāma, the most excellent one among those who wield arms, rebuked him repeatedly and slowly cut off the row of his hands.

36. Then the scion of the family of Bhṛgu cut off his head with his axe. Assiduously he himself collected the blood from the wounds, O Brāhmaṇas.

37. He filled big pots and handed them over to the hunters. Then he respectfully spoke to the barbarians and the fowlers (hunters):

38-40. “A big pit has been dug by my brothers in the holy spot of Hāṭakeśvara. It was filled with water for the purpose of propitiating the Pitṛs. At my behest go there quickly and unhesitatingly pour therein the large quantity of blood of my sinful enemy. Thereby I shall devoutly propitiate my father in accordance with the injunctions. Thereby I shall be liberated from indebtedness to my father.”

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