Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Bhadrakali 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 Bhadrakālī

Another form of Pārvatī.


Lord Śiva, on hearing about the selfimmolation in fire of his wife, Satī at the famous yajña conducted by Dakṣa rushed in all anger to the spot, and beat the earth with his matted hair, and there ensued two forces called Vīrabhadra and Bhadrakālī. This Bhadrakālī was really Satī or Pārvatī in another form.

Bhadrakālī and Kaṃsa.

There is a story in the Daśama-Skandha of Bhāgavata that Kaṃsa took away from the room in which Devakī had delivered Śrī Kṛṣṇa the child of Yaśodā by whom Kṛṣṇa had been replaced, and dashed the child against a rock, and that the child then escaped from his clutches and rose up to the sky. That child was Bhadrakālī in another form. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 12).

Kampa, Laṅkālakṣmī and Bhadrakālī.

Laṅkālakṣmī, who was guarding the city of Laṅkā, was the first to prevent Hanumān from entering the city. Tamil Purāṇas aver that this Laṅkālakṣmī was an incarnation of Bhadrakālī. Hanumān thrashed Laṅkālakṣmī with his left hand at which she vomitted blood and fell down unconscious. On regaining consciousness remembrance of the past occurred to her, and after thanking Hanumān, who restored her to her former form, she returned to Kailāsa. She complained to Śiva that she could not witness the Rāma-Rāvaṇa war. Then Śiva told her thus:

"You go to the Drāviḍa country and be put up in the 'Svayambhūliṅga' temple there. I shall be born there as Kampa, compose the Rāmāyaṇa in Tamil and get conducted the dolls-play. Then you would be able to enjoy the story of Śrī Rāma, especially the Rāma-Rāvaṇa war, both by hearing and seeing the same in better manner than by actually seeing the war.

Bhadrakālī acted according to this bidding of Śiva. There lived a great scholar named Saṅkaranārāyaṇa close to the temple. His wife was Ciṅkāravallī. Lord Śiva, as decided upon previously was born as the son of Ciṅkāravallī, who had become a widow while she was worshipping 'Svayambhūdeva' for the gift of a child. But, Ciṅkāravallī, who feared scandal in her, a widow, becoming a mother, forsook the child in the temple precincts and left the place. One Gaṇeśakaunta sighted the orphan child, and took it to Jayappavallan, the Kaunta chief. The Kaunta chief, who was without children brought up the orphan child as though it had been his own child. Since the child was recovered from the foot of the flagstaff it was named Kampa. Kampa, who was very intelligent even in his infancy, but lazy by nature turned out to be a great scholar and good poet in Tamil by the time he grew up to be a youth, and he became, consequently a prominent member in the 'poets' assembly' of King Cola. When to his name was added the plural suffix 'r' as a token of great respect he came to be known as Kampar.

Once King Cola asked Kampar and Oṭṭakkūtta another member of the poets' assembly to compose in Tamil poetry the story of Śrī Rāma. The King’s direction was that. Oṭṭakkūtta should compose his poem upto the incident, Setubandhana (building a bridge in the sea up to Laṅkā) and Kampar should write the story of the war in his poem. Oṭṭakkūtta completed the task allotted to him within six months. But Kampar had not attempted to write even a single line. Having been informed about the matter the King ordered that the poem, Rāmāyaṇa should be recited in the assembly the very next day itself. Kampar, who began writing his poem the same day with the object of completing it in the night itself fell asleep without writing anything at all. When Kampar awoke early in the morning he saw a divine form disappearing from his room, and exclaimed, "Oh! mother! you have slipped away". To this the divine form replies, "Oh Kampar! I have finished writing". And, then the divine form vanished completely.

When Kampar got completely out of sleep and looked about he found the Rāmāyaṇa story fully written in verse on his desk. Kampar inferred that the poem was composed by Śāradābhagavatī, the presiding deity of learning and literature, and he was wonder-struck. He recited the poem in the royal assembly, and the King and others too were wonder-struck. And, afterwards, according to the orders of the King the story of the war (Yuddhakāṇḍa Kathā) began to be exhibited as dollsplay in the presence of the idol of the Devī in the temple. Thus Śiva incarnated himself as Kampar, recited the story of the Rāma-Rāvaṇa war in the temple, and hearing it Bhadrakālī danced.

The above is the chief legend about Kampar.

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