Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Candamahasena 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 Caṇḍamahāsena


A very prominent and reputed king of Ujjayini. Vāsavadattā, wife of Udayana was his daughter.

The name Caṇḍamahāsena.

His real name was Mahāsena. After ascending the throne he began doing tapas to get a noble wife and a good sword. When he cut his own flesh and made an offering of the same to the sacred fire after a long period of tapas the Devī became pleased, and offered him a sword of exceptional excellence and said that as long as he had that sword with him no enemy would defeat him. The Devī also assured him that ere long Aṅgāravatī, daughter of the asura called Aṅgāraka and the fairest damsel in the three worlds would become his wife. Since he (Mahāsena) did the most austere rites and rituals, the Devī said, he would come to be called Caṇḍamahāsena. Afterwards the sword given by the Devī and the elephant called naḍāgiri proved as successful and effective to him as were Vajrāyudha and his elephant Airāvata to Indra.


One day, during a hunting expedition a boar escaped unhurt by the king’s arrows and after turning turtle his chariot it went into a cave. The king in great anger followed the pig into the cave, and going forward some distance he saw a beautiful animal whereupon he seated himself on the side of a tank. There he saw, amidst a number of women an exceptionally beautiful woman moving about. Casting her charming eyes glistering with love the woman approached the King. During their conversation, when the king told her about himself she began crying. To the query as to the reason for her crying she answered as follows:—"The boar you saw is my father, Aṅgārakāsura. His body is harder than even diamond, and none can inflict any injury on it. The women you see around are princesses captured by my father from various palaces for my help, and my name is Aṅgāravatī. My father became a Rākṣasa as the result of a curse; he is now asleep in the assumed form of a boar. On awaking he is sure to eat you for food, and it was that thought which brought tears to my eyes". To these words of Aṅgāravatī, the king replied as follows:—"If you have any love for me you would go to your father and begin crying when he wakes up, and to his question as to why you are crying you should reply that thoughts about your future in the event of your fathers’s death brought tears in your eyes."

Aṅgāravatī agreed to the above proposal of the King. She hid the King in a safe place and went and stood by the side of her father. Everything happened as was anticipated and Aṅgāraka consoled his daughter by saying that none would be able to kill him whose body was as hard and strong as diamond, there being only one opening through which he might be struck on the left wrist which might be concealed by the bow. Caṇḍamahāsena who heard the above talk came out of his hiding place and challenged the asura to war. He raised his left hand to show the sign, "just coming, please wait", and the king then shot his arrow through the opening on his left wrist. The asura fell dead.

Birth of Vāsavadattā:

And, now Caṇḍamahāsena married Aṅgāravatī and returned to his kingdom with his wife. Two sons, Gopālaka and Pālaka were born to the royal couple, and the King celebrated an Indrotsava for the welfare and prosperity of the children. Pleased at the utsava Indra appeared to the king in sleep and blessed him saying that a daughter would be born to him and that her son would be crowned emperor of the Vidyādharas. Accordingly a daughter was born to the King, and she was called Vāsavadattā. (given by Vāsava, i.e. Indra). Udayana married Vāsavadattā. (See Udayana).

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