Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Andhaka included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Andhaka

An Asura.


This Asura was the foster son of Hiraṇyākṣa. Śiva was really his father. While once Śiva was immersed in yoga his daughter closed his eyes playfully with her hands, and lo! a darkness rose and enveloped the whole place. From that darkness, with a sound as that of thunderbolt, appeared a Rākṣasa. He got the name Andhaka as he was born from darkness. At that time Hiraṇyākṣa was doing tapas for a son. Śiva appeared before him and bestowing on him Andhaka as a foster son said as follows: "If he (Andhaka) earns the hatred of the world or desires even the mother of the three worlds or kills brahmins I will myself burn him to ashes". After saying this Śiva disappeared. (Vāmana Purāṇa, Chapter 63).

Andhaka desires Pārvatī with lust.

One day overcome by erotic passion Andhaka said to his henchmen as follows: "He is my true friend who brings Śiva’s consort, Pārvatī to me. Yes, he is my brother, nay, father even." Hearing these ravings of Andhaka, Prahlāda went to him and convinced him that Pārvatī, in fact was his mother. But Andhaka was not quietened. Then Prahlāda explained to him the gravity of the sin of desiring other people’s wives. Even this had no effect on Andhaka. He sent Śambarāsura to Śiva to ask for and bring Pārvatī to him. Śiva sent word to Andhaka that if the latter would defeat him in the game of dice Pārvatī would be sent to him. Andhaka got enraged and rushed to mount Mandara and began a fight with Śiva.


Defeated in the encounter, Andhaka craved for Śiva’s pardon. He admitted that Pārvatī was his mother. He also prayed for Śiva’s blessings for removal of his Asurahood. Śiva granted him the prayers. The sins and Asurahood of Andhaka were thus ended. Śiva made him the head of the Asuras, named Bhṛṅgi. (Vāmana Purāṇa, Chapter 63 etc.).

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