Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Kaliya 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 Kāliya


Kaśyapa, grandson of Brahmā and son of Marīci begot of his wife Kadrū powerful nāgas like Śeṣa, Airāvata, Takṣaka, Kārkoṭaka, Kāliya, Maṇināga, Purāṇanāga etc. and from them were born all kinds of nāgas on earth. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 35). Kāliya possessed one thousand heads. (Bhāgavata, 10th Skandha).

Kāliya taok his abode in Kālindī.

Vinatā and Kadrū were wives of Kaśyapa. The former was the mother of Garuḍa and the latter of the nāgas. In a wager Vinatā was defeated and had to become the slave of Kadrū. Garuḍa brought Amṛta from Devaloka and redeemed his mother from slavery. Yet Garuḍa and the nāgas continued to be enemies, Garuḍa killing and eating nāgas whenever he got a chance for it. At last the nāgas entered into an understanding with Garuḍa agreeing to give him the havis (offering) which they got on certain days, and thus Garuḍa stopped eating the nāgas. But Kāliya did not subscribe to the above agreement; he treated Garuḍa with contempt. But, in an encounter with Garuḍa Kāliya was put to so much of hardships that he, along with his family, shifted his residence to a particular sector in Kālindī.

Admission denied to Garuḍa.

Owing to the curse of a sage called Saubhari, who was performing penance on the banks of Kālindī, that Garuḍa would die brokenheaded if he entered Kālindī, it was a prohibited area to Garuḍa.

Suppression of Kāliya.

Owing to the virulent poison of Kāliya the waters of Kālindī became poisonous and the trees on its banks dried up. Once, while Kṛṣṇa and his companions, the Gopālas came to the banks of the river grazing their cows. The Gopālas drank water from the river and fell down dead. Then Kṛṣṇa jumped into the river from the top of a tree on its bank and danced upon the hoods of Kāliya who had rushed to attack him. Kāliya vomited blood and saluted Kṛṣṇa. His wives and children also saluted the Lord. Kṛṣṇa sent all of them away to Ramaṇaka island assuring Kāliya that Garuḍa would not attack him on seeing the marks of his (Kṛṣṇa's) feet on Kāliya. Thus did Kāliya and his family shift their residence to Ramaṇaka island. (Bhāgavata, 10th Skandha).

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