Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Dadhica 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 Dadhīca



A famous hermit. Mention is made in Mahābhārata, Śalya Parva, Chapter 51, Stanza 83, that this hermit was the son of the great hermit Bhṛgu, and that he was made of the essences of the world, with a huge body.

The birth of the hermit Sārasvata.

Dadhīca erected his hermitage on the bank of the river Sarasvatī and began to do penance. The power of penance increased daily. Seeing this Indra was flurried. So he sent the celestial maid Alaṃbuṣā to break the penance of Dadhīca somehow or other. Alaṃbuṣā came to the hermitage of Dadhīca and began to dance and sing. When the hermit saw her he grew lustful and seminal discharge occurred to him. The semen fell in the river Sarasvatī, who became pregnant and in due course gave birth to a child. She took the child to the hermit Dadhīca and told him the story of the child. The hermit was much pleased. He took the child and embraced it and blessed the river Sarasvatī thus:—

"Brahmā, the gods and the celestial maids will be pleased if your water is offered as oblation."

Dadhīci then said that the child should be named Sārasvata. He also added that when there was a drought continuously for twelve years, Sārasvata would have the power to bring rain. Then Sarasvatī took the child to her abode and brought it up.

How he destroyed the asuras with the head of a horse.

Once Dadhīci went to the world of the devas (gods). From there he looked down and saw the earth filled with the asuras. Indra went to destroy them. But he could not. So he made a search for anything left behind by Dadhīca. He understood that Dadhīca had with him the head of a horse. It was found in a lake in the country of Śaraṇya. With the bones taken from that head Indra and Dadhīca destroyed a large number of asuras. (Ṛgveda, Maṇḍala 1, Anuvāka 13, Sūkta 84).

The weapon

(Vajra) of Indra was made from a bone. A story occurs in the Mahābhārata, which says that the Diamond-weapon of Indra was made of a bone of Dadhīci. The asuras went to fight with Indra under the leadership of Vṛttrāsura. Indra tried his utmost to kill Vṛttrāsura, but he could not. At last Indra approached Brahmā, who told Indra that if a bone of the hermit, called Dadhīca was obtained it could effectively be used against Vṛtra. Accordingly Indra went with Nara and Nārāyaṇa to the banks of the river Sarasvatī and entered the hermitage and bowed before the shining hermit Dadhīca and informed him of their errand. The hermit replied that he had no objection in giving his bone to save the gods. Saying thus the hermit discarded his life. Indra took the bone of Dadhīci and made his weapon of Diamond (Vajra) with which he killed Vṛtra and his followers. (Mahābhārata, Chapter 100).

Other information

(1) At the sacrifice of Dakṣa, Dadhīci got angry because Śiva was not given his dues of the sacrifice. (Mahābhārata Śānti Parva, Chapter 284).

(2) Once Dadhīci talked to a Brāhmin called Karuṇa about the importance of the ashes dedicated to Śiva. (Padma Purāṇa, Chapter 101).

(3) See Dhanañjaya V to know how this hermit gave absolution from curse to a fly.

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