Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Pushpaka 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 Puṣpaka

A divine Aerial Chariot.


Viśvakarmā had a daughter named Saṃjñā. She was married to Sūrya. But Saṃjñā could not live with Sūrya for long because of the terrible heat and so she came back and told her father about it. At once Viśvakarmā ordered Sūrya to come to him and the former then tried to reduce his brightness by rubbing him on a grindstone. However much he tried he was not able to reduce even an eighth of his brightness. The brightness of the Sun which was rubbed out spread in the atmosphere as suspended lustrous particles. Viśvakarmā collected that lustrous dust and from it created four brilliant things. The Cakrāyudha of Mahāviṣṇu is one, the Triśūla of Śiva is another, and the third is Puṣpakavimāna (Puṣpaka Aerial chariot). The fourth is Śakti, a weapon of Subrahmaṇya. Viśvakarmā gave them all as presents to Brahmā. (Chapter 2, Aṃ a 2, Viṣṇu Purāṇa).

How Kubera got the Puṣpaka.

Vaiśravaṇa alias Kubera was the son born to Viśravas of his wife Devavarṇinī, daughter of sage Bharadvāja. Viśravas did penance to please Brahmā to get a son and Vaiśravaṇa was born by the blessing of Brahmā. Kubera also, even while he was a boy, went to the valley of Himavān and did penance there. Kubera did penance for ten thousand years with his head downwards in cold water and another ten thousand years in Pañcāgni standing on one leg. At that time Brahmā appeared in person and asked what boon he wanted. He said he wanted to be one of the lokapālakas (guardians of the universe). Granting Kubera that, Brahmā gave him two treasures named Śaṅkhanidhi and Padmanidhi and also the Puṣpakavimāna. After that Kubera built a city named Laṅkā on the mountain of Trikūṭa in the southern ocean and started living there.

How Rāvaṇa got the Puṣpaka.

Viśravas had three more sons named Rāvaṇa, Kumbhakarṇa and Vibhīsaṇa. They did penance and acquired divine powers. Rāvaṇa then went to Laṅkā and after defeating Kubera and sending him north captured Laṅkā and made it his capital. He also took by force the Puṣpaka from Kubera.

All the victory marches of Rāvaṇa were in this Puṣpaka. Once Rāvaṇa was going in his Puṣpaka with a Yakṣa beauty kidnapped from Alakāpurī when the girl cried loudly attracting the attention of Sampāti, a vulture King. Sampāti attacked Rāvaṇa with his fierce beak and powerful claws. Rāvaṇa’s weapons proved futile against Sampāti and the bird broke the Puṣpaka into pieces. But the Vimāna was a divine one and it regained the original shape and utility soon. All the weapons of Rāvaṇa were destroyed, the great weapon Candrahāsa was thrown away. The crown of Rāvaṇa was struck down and trampled upon. With his sharp beak and piercing claws Sampāti made bruises on the face of Rāvaṇa. Unable to bear the attack of the mighty bird Rāvaṇa begged for peace. Sampāti asked Rāvaṇa to release the Yakṣa girl which Rāvaṇa did at once. Rāvaṇa then returned to Laṅkā in the Puṣpaka (Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa, Kamba Rāmāyaṇa). It was in this Puṣpaka plane that Rāvaṇa kidnapped Sītā. In the battle that followed, Rāvaṇa was killed and the Puṣpaka Vimāna came into the possession of Vibhīṣaṇa who gave it as a gift to Śrī Rāma. Śrī Rāma sent it back to its original owner, Kubera. But Śrī Rāma used it again for once.

A śūdra named Śambūka started performing penance in Rāmarājya as a consequence of which there started a series of infant deaths in the country. Śrī Rāma knew the cause and he got down by meditation the Puṣpaka Vimāna from Kubera. When the plane came from Kubera Śrī Rāma got into it and flew to the place where Śambūka was doing penance and on reaching there killed the Śūdra and saved the country from a calamity. The Vimāna was then sent back to Kubera. (Uttara Rāmāyaṇa).

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