Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Dundubhi 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 Dundubhi

A terrible asura, son of Maya and brother of Māyāvī.


Dānavas were the offsprings of Kaśyapa, grandson of Brahmā and son of Marīci by his wife Danu, daughter of Dakṣaprajāpati. Maya, chief among the Dānavas earned great reputation as a unique archi tect. Once Maya attended a dance programme in devaloka where he fell in love with Hemā dancing with the deva-women. When the dance was over Maya told Hemā about his love for her. Hemā too had fallen in love with Maya. And they left the place in secret and reached the southern slope of the Himālayas where they built a beautiful city called Hemapura and they lived there. Ere long they-had two sons, Dundubhi and Māyāvī, both of them equally distinguished in prowess. Uttararāmāyaṇa).

Dundubhi’s relati nship with Rāvaṇa.

Maya did tapas for a daughter in the western plains of Mount Kailāsa. One of those days Pārvatī went out of Kailāsa to feed brahmins in celebration of the birthday of Subrahmaṇya. In the absence of Pārvatī a deva woman called Madhurā who had observed the Somavāravrata came to Kailāsa to salute Mahādeva (Śiva) who enjoyed her for some time. On her return to Śiva Pārvatī noticed ashes worn by him transferred to the breasts of Madhurā. Drawing the natural inference from this Pārvatī got angry and cursed Madhurā to be transformed into a frog. Then Śiva blessed her that she would regain her former self after twelve years and have a heroic husband. Madhurā who was thus turned into a frog fell into a well close to where Maya was engaged in tapas. And, after twelve years, the frog regained its former form and became Madhurā again. Maya, who saw her adopted her as daughter and brought her up as such calling her Mandodarī. Mandodarī became Rāvaṇa' wife and thus Dundubhi became the brother-in-law of Rāvaṇa.

Dundubhi grew up.

The following is told about Dundubhi in Canto 11, Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa of Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa.

As beautiful and majestic as the peak of Mount Kailāsa, the heroic Dundubhi possessed the form of the buffalo. And, he had the strength of a thousand elephants. Proud and haughty over his own prowess and losing his head over the boon he had received from God, Dundubhi went to fight with the ocean, the lord of rivers. (It was Śiva who gave him boons. See Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 11).

Fight with Bāli and death.

Haughty almost to madness over the unrivalled strength and prowess he got as the result of the boon, Dundubhi went about challenging whomsoever he met for a fight. But none dared to accept the challenge. Then he went to the sea-shore and challenged Varuṇa, who, appearing on the crest of the waves said: "I am not strong and powerful enough to fight with you. Only Himavān can do that. So, please go north."

Accordingly Dundubhi went north to Himavān and challenged him in great rage. Himavān clad in his neat and white apparel appeared and spoke in humble tones: "Oh mighty Dānava: I am not accustomed to fighting war. My job is only to arrange necessary convenience to saints and sages. But, there is in southern India a very powerful monkey called Bāli, who is the King of Kiṣkindhā, and Bāli alone can combat with you.

And, Dundubhi accordingly went southward to Kiṣkindhā and challenged Bāli. Terrible as the dark clouds in the sky the dānava who possessed the body and horns of the buffalo—began roaring like hell at the tower gates of Kiṣkindhā, uprooting trees with his horn and tearing the earth with his hoofs. Disturbed by the noise Bāli along with his wife Tārā came out of the palace, and said to Dundubhi: "Look here, please, I am only a King of the monkeys. Why should you, who are so very strong smash my tower?" but, these soft words of Bāli only kindled Dundubhi’s anger all the more and his challenges became the fiercer. Then did Bāli, wearing the golden chain given by Indra, rush forth to engage Dundubhi in mortal duel in which the former began gaining more and more strength while the latter got weaker and weaker. Dundubhi took to flight in the skies to save his life. But, the moon dawned then and in the moonlight Bāli and his brother Sugrīva followed Dundubhi, who entered a terrible cave covered by something like a forest of grass. After stationing Sugrīva at the opening of the cave Bāli followed Dundubhi into the cave. Sugrīva waited there one year for the return of Bāli from the cave when one day he witnessed foaming blood flow out of the mouth of the cave, and mistakenly believing that Bāli was dead he closed the mouth of the cave with a huge stone and returned home. But, Bāli, who had by then killed Dundubhi kicked off the stone and came out of the cave and followed Sugrīva in a rage. From that day onwards Śugrīva lived at the Ṛṣyamūka mountain where Bāli had no admission. (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa, Cantos 9, 11, 46).

Curse on Bāli due to the blood of Dundubhi.

During Bāli’s duel with Dundubhi blood from the body of the latter spurted out to the skies, and it also fell in the hermitage of Mataṅga at Ṛṣyamūka where the sage Mataṅga was performing tapas. Angered at this the sage cursed him whoever he might be, who was responsible for blood falling in his āśrama, with death by his head getting broken if he mounted Ṛṣyamūka. Sugrīva took shelter there because of this curse on Bāli. (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa, Canto 11)

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