Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Putana 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 Pūtanā

A demoness who was killed by Kṛṣṇa at Ambāḍi. Her previous birth, her relationship with Kaṃsa and such other details are found differently in different Purāṇas.

Kaṃsa and Pūtanā.

(i) Pūtanā was the daughter of a demoness called Kaitavī and was the servant maid of the wife of Kaṃsa. She had a younger sister called Vṛkodarī. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 18).

(ii) Pūtanā was the dhātrī (foster-mother) of Kaṃsa. She entered Gokula in the form of a bird. (Harivaṃśa, Chapter 2, Verse 6).

(iii) Pūtanā was the sister of Kaṃsa and the wife of Ghaṭodara. (Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa).

Pūrvajanma (previour birth).

(i) Pūtanā in her previous birth was born as the daughter of Mahābali bearing the name Ratnamālā. When Vāmana appeared before Mahābali during the time of the latter’s Yajña, Ratnamālā mentally desired thus:—"Oh if only this Vāmana became my child! I could have then breast-fed him." Vāmana, the omniscient, understood the desire of Ratnamālā. So during the incarnation as Kṛṣṇa, Ratnamālā was born as Pūtanā and Kṛṣṇa gave her salvation by drinking her breast-milk. (Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa, Chapters 4 and 10).

(ii) Once when the sage Kālabhīru and his daughter Cārumatī were travelling together they saw the sage Kakṣīvān doing penance on the shores of the river Sarasvatī. Kālabhīru saw in Kakṣīvān a suitable husband for his daughter and so gave Cārumatī in marriage to him. They were thus living happily together when once Kakṣīvān had to go on a pilgrimage alone leaving Cārumatī in his āśrama. Taking advantage of her loneliness a Śūdra made her his concubine and when Kakṣīvān returned he found out the deceit and cursed her to be born as a demoness. She begged for relief and the sage said she would get relief when Viṣṇu incarnated as Kṛṣṇa. Pūtanā was the cursed form of Cārumatī. (Chapter 18, Ādi Parva).

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