Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Surasa 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 Surasā

Mother of nāgas (serpents).


Ten daughters were born to Kaśyapaprajāpati by his wife Krodhavaśā, daughter of Dakṣa including Surasā. From Surasā were born all the nāgas. (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Araṇyakāṇḍa, Canto 14).

Nāgas and Uragas are two sects of serpents. From Surasā were born Nāgas and from Kadrū, Uragas. (Vālmiki Rāmāyaṇa, Araṇya Kāṇḍa, Canto 14, Verse 28).

Surasā was born from the wrath of Krodhavaśā and the former had three daughters called Analā, Ruhā and Vīrudhā. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 66, Verse 61).

Obstructed the passage of Hanūmān.

To test whether Hanūmān, who jumped into Laṅkā to seek out Sītā, possessed power enough for the purpose, Devagandharvas backoned Surasā to them and told her as follows: "You mother of nāgas, do please assume a terrible form like a big mountain and appear before Hanūmān and obstruct his passage. As soon as she heard the injunction, she jumped before Hanūmān and attempted to devour him. In spite of Hanūmān’s earnest pleadings she stood before him with her mouth opened wide. Hanūmān then, by his power of illusion, grew ten yojanas in size. Then Surasā opened her mouth twenty yojanas wide. Hanūmān then grew thirty yojanas in size and Surasā opened her mouth forty yojanas wide. In this competition ultimately when Surasā opened her mouth hundred yojanas wide, Hanūmān reduced his size to that of a finger, entered Surasā’s mouth and came out through her ear. Surasā was pleased and blessed Hanūmān. (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Sundara Kāṇḍa, Canto 1).

Other information.

(i) Surasā lives in the court of Brahmā worshipping him. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 11, Verse 39).

(ii) Rohiṇī, mother of Balabhadrarāma, was an incarnation of Surasā. (Devī Bhāgavata, Skandha 4).

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