Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Durmada 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 Durmada

A son of Haṃsa, the Gandharva King. Himself and Unmadā, the apsarā woman impersonated themselves and cheated Purūravas and Urvaśī (See Unmadā). Enraged at the deception Urvaśī cursed that Durmada be born as a Rākṣasa and Unmadā a princess. Also, Unmadā as princess would have to marry not the person she really loved but some one else. Both Durmada and Unmadā then begged Urvaśī for redemption from the curse and the latter said thus: "This Durmada will be born as son of Unmadā, and on seeing her son and husband die, she will end her life by burning herself, and her soul will attain Svarga".

As a result of the above curse Unmadā was born as the daughter of the King of Videha and Durmada as the son of the Rākṣasa called Dīrghajaṃgha. As Rākṣasa, Durmada was called Piṅgalākṣa. The King of Videha named Unmadā as Hariṇī.

While Hariṇī was once walking in the garden with her companions Piṅgalākṣa abducted her and flew off in the sky, and put her in a great forest. A prince called Vasumanas, who happened to come that way on his fast-riding horse Jīmūta heard the lamentations of Hariṇī, and after killing Piṅgalākṣa he took her with him to her palace. The King of Videha and his subjects, who were in great anxiety and distress at the disappearance of Hariṇī felt really happy to have her back. And, all of them opined that Hariṇī should be married to Vasumanas. Accordingly the date for her Svayaṃvara was announced. But, on the day of the svayaṃvara Bhadraśreṇya, King of Hehaya who, along with other Kings was also present on the occasion, forcibly took Hariṇī and rode off with her. According to the condition laid down by Urvaśī for redemption from her curse Durmada was born as son of Hariṇī and he was named Durmada.

Bhadraśreṇya, Hariṇī and Durmada lived very happily in the Hehaya palace. When Durmada came of age he married Citrāṅgī, his uncle’s daughter on the advice of sage Garga. Soon war broke out between Bhadraśreṇya, and Divodāsa, King of Kāṣi in which Bhadraśreṇya was killed. Hariṇī courted death by fire, regained her former life and under the name Unmadā returned to the world of the Apsaras.

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