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Puranic Encyclopedia




A  The first letter (Vowel) of all Indian languages According to the Nanartharatnamala this letter has thi following meanings:-Brahma, Visnu., Siva, tortoise courtyard, battle, harem, jewellery, sea, Parvati and bow string.


ABALA is one of the fifteen devas who were the sons o Pancajanya. (M.B. Vana Parva, Chapter 22, Verse 11)


ABHAYA was one of the sons of Dhrtarastra. He war killed by Bhimasena. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 67 Verse 104; Drona Parva, Chapter 127, Verse 62).


ABHAYAM. King Idhmajihva divided his kingdom Plaksadvipa into seven parts and gave them to hi seven sons. Abhayam is one of the parts. The other sip parts are:-Sivarir, Yamasam, Subhadrarh, Santarh Ksemam and Amrtarir. See "Idhmajihva". (Bhagavata 5th Skandha, Chapter 20, Verse 2). It is ,seen (from M.B. Sabha Parva, Chapter 30, Verse 9) that the territory known as Abhayam was conquered b5 Bhimasena. (See Foot-note)


ABHIBHU. He was a King, the son of the King of Kas and a relative of the Pandavas. He was killed by the son of King Vasudana. He had a most wonderful horse. (M.B. Udyoga Parva, Chapter 151, Verse 63 Karna Parva, Chapter 6, Verses 23-24; Drona Parva. Verses 26-27).


ABHIMANYU I. He was the heroic son of Arjuna the cen tral figure of the Mahabharata, by his wife Subhadra. 1) Genealogy. He was descended from Visnu in this order Brahma-Atri-Candra-Budha-Pururavas -* Ayus - Nahusa Yayati-Puru janamejaya- Pracinva - Pravira - NamasyuVitabhaya-Sundu-Bahuvidha-Sariryati-Rahovadi - Raudrasva-Matinara-Santurodha-Dusyanta - Bharata - Brhatksatra-Hasti- Ajamidha-Rksa-Sadrvararra -Kuru jahnuSuratha - Viduratha-Sarvabhauma -Jayatsena - Raviya -Bhavuka-Cakroddhata-Devatithi - Rksa-Bhima – Pratipa S` antanu-Vyasa-Pandu-Arjuna-Abhimanyu.


2) Purvajanma (Previous Birth)., There is a story about Abhimanyu's Purvajanma in the Mahabharata. It was Varcas, son of Candra, who incarnated as Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna. A conference took place between the Devas and Candra about the incarnation of the Devas in the world for the destruction of the wicked people. Candra told the Devas: "I do not like to send Varcas, whom I love more than my life, to the earth. Still, I think it is not right to stand in the way of the plans of the gods. You must agree to one condition if I am to send my son. Let him, be born as the son of Arjuna. I am unable to be separated from him for more than sixteen years. My son will enter into the Cakra Vyuha of the enemies to be killed by them and return to me in the sixteenth year." The devas (gods) accepted this condition. That is why- Abhimanyu was killed in his sixteenth year. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 67).


3) Military Training and War. Abhimanyu received his training in arms from his father Arjuna. Later, he went with his mother Subhadra to Dvaraka and lived for some time with his uncle Sri Krsna. There he is said to have received training in arms From Pradyurnna, son of Sri Krsna. After the incognito life of the Pandavas, Abhimanyu married Uttara, daughter of the King of Virdta. War broke out between Kauravas and Pandavas. On the first day itself Abhimanyu entered into a duel with Brhatbala, King of Kosala. In the terrible conflict with Bhisma, Abhimanyu broke Bhisma's flagstaff. After that he assisted his father Arjuna to fight against Bhisma. Verses 8-13 of' Chapter 55 of Bhisma Parva of the Mahabharata describe Abhimanyu's fight with Laksmana in the second day's battle. Then he took his place in the Ardha Candra Vydha (semi-cit-ular phalanx) formed by Arjuna. He fought fiercely with the Gandharas. He attacked Salya and killed jayatsena, King of Magadha, along with his elephant. We find Abhimanyu assisting Bhimasena in M.B. Bhisma Parva, Chapters 63, 64, 69 and 94. After that Abhimanyu defeated Laksnrana in battle. Then he defeated Vikarna, Citrasena and others also. Later he took his position in the Srngataka Vyuha created by Dhrstadyumna. He started fighting with Bhagadatta. He defeated Arhbastha and Alarhbusa. Next he fbught a duel with Sudisna. After that he encountered Duryodhana, Brhatbala and others. M.B. Drona Parva, Chapter 10, Verses 47-52 are a description of Abhimanyu's heroism by Dhrtarastra. He snatched Paurava's weapon and threw it on the ground. Next lie fought with jayadratha and Salya. Then he was caught in the Cakra Vyuha (circular phalanx) of they enemies. There he inflicted great losses upon the enemy forces. Salya was stunned and his brother was killed by Abhimanyu. M.B. Drona Parva, Chapter 38, Verses 23 and 24 describe the flight of the Kauravas in fear. At this stage, even Dronacarya praised Abhimanyu's valour. Dt3ssasana fainted during his fight with Abhimanyu. Karna was defeated. Vrsasena, Satyasravas and Salya's son, Rugmaratha were slain. Duryodhana fled. Laksmana was killed. Vrndaraka, Asvatthama, Karna and others were amazed by this terrible valour of Abhimanyu. Six ministers of Karna were slain. Next, Asvaketu, son of the King of_ Magadha was killed. King Bhoja was also killed. Salya was again defeated. Satrufijaya, Candraketu, Meghavega, Suvarcas, Suryabhasa-who were all kings--were beheaded by Abhimanyu. Sakuni was wounded by Abhimanyu's arrow. Kalakeya, son of Subala was slain. M.B. Drona Parva, Chapter 40, Verses 13 and 14 say that at this stage, Prince Dussasana beat Abhimanyu to death with his mace.


4) After Death. M.B. Drona Parva, Chapter 71, Verses 12-16 say that after death Abhimanyu attained the immortal world of the Munis (Saints). King Pariksit was the son of Abhimanyu. In M.B. Svargarohana Parva, Chapter 5, Verses 18-20, we find that after his death, Abhimanyu entered the moon in his former form of Varcas.


5) Other names of Abhimanyu. In the Mahabharata Abhimanyu has been referred to by several other names, such as ARJUNI, Saubhadra, Karsni, Arjunatmaja, Sukratmajatmaja, Arjunapara and Phalguni.


6) Other -details. King Pariksit was the son of Abhimanyu. Janamejaya was born as his son. It was janame- There seems to be some difference of opinion regarding the number of. parts into which King Idhmajihva divided Plaksadvipa. In the Bhagavata the number mentioned is seven; but in the Malayalam version of the Bhagavata (By Ramanujan Eluttacchan) the number is eight. The original Bhagavata says; "`~ivath Yamasarh, Subhadrarh, ggantari,, Ksematn, Amrtarir Abhayam it Varsani tesu girayo nadya'sca saptaivabhijizatah". In the 'Malayalam Bhagavata arr, eighth division called ~ivadata is seen, jaya who performed Sarp4satra. (A yaga) Satanika was the son of Janamejaya. Satanika had a son named Sahasranika. King Udayana, the jewel of the Candra Vamsa (Lunar dynasty) was born to Sahasranika by the goddess Mrgavati (See `Udayana', stories about this Udayana are very famous. Kalidasa has mentioned in his "Meghaduta" about the old rustics who thronged the country-sides to tell and listen to Udayana stories). (Kathasaritsagara, Madana Kancukalarizbaka, 4th Taranga ).


ABHIMANYU II. One"of the sons of Mann. The ten sons born to Mann by Nadvala were: Kuru, Puru, Satadyumna, Tapasvi, Satyavan, Suci, Agnistoma, Adhiratra, Sudyumna and Abhimanyu. (Visnu Purina, Section 1, Chapter 13) .


ABHIMANYU VADHA PARVA. A part (branch) of Drona Parva. (See "Mahabharata").


ABHINAYA. In Agni Purina, Chapter 342, Abhinaya has been defined as follows: Abhinaya is the art of presenting before the people the ideas that are to be communicated. to them. There are four divisions of this art known as Sattvika, Vacika, Angika and Aharya depending on Sattva, Vak, Anga and Aharya. Besides these, another division known as Abhimanika (Abhimanottha) may also be mentioned. This signifies the expression of rasas like Srngara. There are two kinds of Srngara known as Sambhoga and Vipralambha. Four varieties of Vipralambha called Purvanuraga Vipralambha, Mana Vipralambha, Pravasa Vipralambha and Karuna Vipralamb.ha are mentioned. The union after Vipralambha is Sarhbhoga-Srngara. All Sattvika bhavas are included in Srngara. All these have to be expressed through Abhinaya.


ABHTRU. A Rajarsi who was born of the sixth Kalakeya. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 53).


ABHISAKAM. A Janapada (Village) of ancient India. The warriors of this Janapada were called Abhisakas. (M.B. Bhisma Parva, Chapter 18, Verse 12; Chapter 93, Verse 2) .


ABHISARAM. A Janapada of ancient India. (M.B. Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 94).


ABHISARI. Arjuna conquered this city, which was one of the ancient cities of India, in the course of his Digvijaya (conquest of the world).


ABHISYANTA. A son born to Maharaja Kuru by Vihini. Ile had three brothers named Caitraratha, Muni and Janamejaya. Abhisyanta was the younger brother of Asvavin and elder brother of Caitraratha. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 94, Verses 50-51).


ACALA I. 1) General. Acala was the son of Subala, a King of' Gandhara. He was gakuni's brother and a heroic Charioteer on the side of the Kauravas. (M.B. Udyoga Parva, Chapter 168, Verse 1).


2) Acala had also taken part in Yudhisthira's Rajasuya. (A very expensive sacrifice-yaga-performed by an emperor.) (M.B. Sabhi Parva, Chapter 34, Verse 7) . 3) Acala had a brother named Vrsaka. In the battle between the Kauravas and Pandavas, Arjuna killed Acala and Vrsaka. (M.B. Drona Parva, Chapter 30, Verse 11).


4) One night Vyasa summoned the departed holy souls and Acala also was among them. (M.B. Asvamedhika Parva, Chapter 32, Verse 12).


ACALA II. Name of a bull. Among the parsadas of Skanda we see the bull named Acala. (MA Salya Parva, Chapter 85, Verse 74).


ACALA III. An epithet of Mahivisnu. Among the thousand names of Mahavisnu we see the name Acala also. (M.B. Anusasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 92).


ACALA. Subrahmanya, who was born from Siva's semen which fell into the fire, was made Commanderin-Chief (Generalissimo) by the gods to kill Tarakasura. A large number of warriors and mothers were assigned to assist him. A woman named Acala was included among those mothers. (M.B. Salya Parva, Chapter 40, Verse 14).


ACCHODA. A spiritual daughter of the Pitrs. (For further details see "Amavasu").


ACCHODASARAS. A river, who was the daughter of the Pitrs called Agnisvattas. (Hari Varhsa, Chapter 18, Verse 26).


ACYUTA. (See Visnu).


ACYUTAYU. He was a heroic warrior on the Kaurava side. Srutayu was the brother of Acvutayu. Both of them were killed by Arjuna in the Kaurava-Pandava battle. These heroes attacked Arjuna and Sri krsna furiously with their arrows and Arjuna had some difficulty in killing them. (M.B. Drona Parva, Chapter 93, Verses 7-42) .


ACYUTA STHALA. This is an ancient village in India. In ancient times Sudras of mixed castes inhabited this region. (M.B. Vana Parva, Chapter 129, Verse 9).


ADHARMA. A description of the lineage of Adharma is found in Agni Purina. Himsa (violence) is the consort of Adharma. The couple procreated two children, Anr to and Nikrti, and from them sprang up Bhaya (fear), Naraka (Hell), Maya (illusion), Vedana (pain) etc, And, out of them Maya brought forth Death, the destroyer of (all) objects. Vedana, in its turn produced Sorrow and Grief out of Raurava. From Death were born Disease, Senility, Sorrow, Intense desire and Anger. (Agni Purina, Chapter 20).


ADHARMA. Adharma is a person who is an embodiment of Adharmas. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 66, Verse 53) . Adharma's wife Nirrti delivered 3 children; Bhaya, Mahabhaya and Mrtyu. Adharma had another son, Darpa (conceit) born of Wealth. (M.B. Sand Parva,h Chapter 90, Verse 27).


ADHASIRAS I was a great sage. Sri Krsna is said to have met the sage on his way to Hastinapura. (M.B. Udyo~-''a Parva, Chapter 33, Verse 64).


ADHASIRAS 11. There is a reference in Visnu Purana to a hell called Adhassiras. (Visnu Purina, Part 2, Chapter 6).


ADHIRA. A King; also a great devotee of Lord Siva. Once he decreed death penalty on an innocent woman. He also destroyed with his own hands a temple of Siva. As a consequence of those two sinful deeds he became a devil after death. Ultimately by the grace of Siva he cast off the devil's form and became an attendant of Siva. (Padma Purina, Patala Khanda, Chapter 111).


ADHIRAJYA. A Kingdom in ancient India, described in Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 44. Today this place is known as Rewa.


ADHIRATHA. Foster father of Karna.


1) Lineage. Descended from Vistiu thus : Brahma-AtriCandra-PururavassAyus - Nahusa - Yayati - Anudruhyu- Sadanara-Ralanara-Srnjaya-Titiksa- Krsadratha-HomaSutapas - Bali - Anga - Dadhivahana - DravirathaDharmaratha - Citraratha - Satyaratha - RomapadaCaturanga-Prthu - Camba - Haryamga - BhadrarathaBrhadratha-Brhanmanas jayadratha - Dhrtavrta - Satyakarma-Adhiratha-Karna (foster son).


2) Foster father of karna. Sage Durvasas had taught Kunti some mantras to get children, and Kunti, then unmarried, tested the first mantra with the Sun-god as her object. The Sun-god appeared before Kunti and from his power she conceived and duly delivered a child, Karna. Fearing obloquy Kunti concealed the child in a box and floated it on the river, Ganges. At the time Adhiratha, a great comrade of Dhrtarastra came to the river for a bath. His wife was one grieving over not having a child of her own. So, when Adhiratha found a child in the floating box, he took it home, and himself and his wife Radha brought up the child with pleasure. The child was named Vasusena, and the child grew up to become the famous Karna and favourite friend of Duryodhana. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapters 67 and 130; Vana Parva, Chapter 309; Devibhagavata, Skandha 2).


3) Some particulars. Adhiratha was King of Anga. He was a Suta (charioteer) and Karna grew up as his son. Karna was sent to Hastinapura to be trained in the use of weapons, and it was here that Duryodhana 'and Karna developed their friendship and alliance. (M.B. Adi Parva, Chapter 147, Verse 3). Sri Mahadevibhagavata, in Chapter 3 relates the following incident : "Thus lamenting Kunti sent the box concealing Karna, by the nurse, to be floated in the river, and after bath, food etc. she spent the hours in the normal way within the inner apartment. Raja Adhiratha bathing in the river saw the box floating in the river". These facts prove that Adhiratha was not only the King of Anga but a good charioteer as well, and further a very good friend of Dhrtarastra.


4) We come across Adhiratha on the occasion of the trial of skill in the use of arms between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. When Karna entered the lists the Pandavas questioned his nobility of birth. Seeing Karna's great humiliation and discomfiture Duryodhana enthroned him immediately as King of Anga. Vyasa, who witnessed the scene has given a picturesque description of it.


ADHOKSAJA. A synonym of Maha Visnu. (Kamsariradhoksajah-Amarakosa) .


ADHRIGU. A great sage (Maharsi) who lived during the Rgvedic period. (Rgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 16, Sukta 112) .


ADHRSYA. A river. (M.B. Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 24).


ADHYAPAYANA. A disciple of the great preceptor of Atharvaveda, Sumantu. He divided Atharvaveda into two parts and gave one to Utatthya and the other to Vedadarsana. (Bhagavata, Skandha 12).


ADITI. 1) Genealogy. Ka~yapa, grandson of Brahma and son of Marici married Aditi, daughter of Daksaprajapati. Aditi had twelve sisters: Diti, Kala, Danayus, Danu, Simhika, Krodha, Prtha, Visva, Vinata, Kapila, Muni and Kadru. (Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 12). Devas are sons born to Kasyapa by Aditi and hence they are known as Aditeyas also. Kasyapa married all the thirteen sisters including Aditi, and all living beings owe their origin to them. (See Kasyapa) .


2) Descendants. 33 sons were born to Aditi. 12 of thei are called Dvddasadityas, viz. Dhata, Aryama, Mitr, Sakra, Varuna, Ariisa, Bhaga, Vivasvan, Pusa, Savit,' Tvasta and Visnu. Amongst the other 21 sons are tl 11 Rudras and 8 Vasus. (See M.B. Adi Parw Chapter 65, Verse 15).


3) Main incidents. 1. How Mahdvisnu was born as tI son of Aditi. The Mahabharata and the Ramayan refer to a story about the birth of Mahavisnu as th son of Aditi. Visnu entered the womb of Aditi


Vamana (Dwarf). This story was related by the sag Visvamitra to the boys Rama and Laksmana whi: they were accompanying the sage in the forest. Whe they entered Siddhasrama Visvamitra pointed to tl latter that the Asrama was sacred, because Mahavisn had stayed there for long as Vamana. The Dev induced Mahavisnu to obstruct the sacrifice (yaga being performed by Emperor Mahabali, son Virocana. At that time Aditi, the wife of Kasyal was doing penance so that Mahavisnu might be born as her son, and accordingly he entered her womb 1000 years later she gave birth to Visnu, and that chi] was known as Vamana. (See Vamana; also M.l Vana Parva, Chapter 272, Verse 62, Anusasana Parv; Chapter 83, Verses 25 and 26, as also Valmiki Ram' yana, Canto 29) .


2. Rebirth of Aditi. Once Kasyapa made all arrange ments to perform a sacrifice (yaga). Having failed t get the suitable cow for it, he stole Varuna's cow an conducted the yaga. Not only that, Kasyapa refuse to return the cow even after the yaga was ove Varuna in hot anger rushed to Kasyapa's hermitag~ Ka~yapa was absent, and his wives, Aditi and Suras did not treat Varuna with due respect. The enrage Varuna cursed them to be born in Gokula. He al: complained about the matter to Brahma. Brahma to] Kasyapa : "Since you, a learned person, have stole the cow, may you along with your wives be born i Gokula and tend cows". Accordingly Kasyapa an his wives, Aditi and Surasa, were born respectively


Vasudeva, Devaki and Robin! in Gokula in the 28t Dvapara yuga. (This story has been told by Vya: to Raja janamejaya). (Devibhagavata, Skandha 4).


3. Aditi in prison. Devaki is Aditi reborn. There w~ reason for Devaki being imprisoned on the orders


Kariisa. When Kasyapa was living in an Asrama wii Aditi and Diti he was so much pleased with tl services of Aditi that he asked her to beg for ar boon she wished. Accordingly she prayed for a ideal' son. The boon was readily granted, and Inch was the son thus born to her. The birth of Inch engendered jealousy in Diti towards Aditi, and sl also demanded a son equal to Indra. Kasyapa oblige Diti also. As Diti advanced in pregnancy and he beauty also increased Aditi got jealous of the .form and she called her son Indra and told him that unle something seas done in time, Diti would deliver child equal to him (Indra) thus relegating him pr( bably to the place of second Deva. Thus admonishe by his mother the artful Indra approached Diti an told her: "Mother, I have come to serve you". Di was greatly pleased. Indra's services drove Diti t sleep very quickly, and Indra used the opportunit to enter the womb of Diti and cut into 49 pieces the child with his weapon, the Vajra. The child in the womb bean crying on receiving cuts with Vajra when Indra asked it not to cry. (Ma ruda, don't cry) and so the child got out of Diti's womb as 49 Marutas (winds). Then did Diti wake up and cursed Aditi as follows : "Your son did treacherously kill my offspring in the womb itself. So he will forfeit the three worlds. You were responsible for the murder of my child. You will, therefore, have to spend days in prison grieving over your children. Your children also will be annihilated". Because of this curse of Diti, Indra once lost Devaloka and had to live elsewhere, and Nahusa functioned, for a time as Indra. (See Nahusa). In the 28th Dvapara yuga Aditi transformed as Devaki had to be a captive of Karnsa, and Kainsa killed her children by dashing them on the ground. (Devibhagavata, Skandha 4).


4. Narakdsura stole the earrings of Aditi. Narakasura, who turned out to be a curse and menace to the three worlds consequent on the boon he got from Visnu, attacked Devaloka once, and carried off Indra's royal umbrella and Aditi's earrings. Mahavisnu incarnated himself as Sri Krsna, killed Narakasura in battle and got back the earrings etc. (M.B. Udyoga Parva, Chapter 48, Verse 80; Sablla Parva, Chapter 38, Verse 29; Bhagavata Dasama Skandha).


5. Mahdai snu became seven tunes son to Aditi. Once, desirous of having children Aditi cooked food (rice) sitting herself in the entrails of Mount Mynaka (M.B. Aranya Parva, Chapter 135, Verse 3; . Dharmaputra, in the course of singing the glories of Lord Krsna after the great war refers to Visnu having taken birth seven times in the womb of Aditi. (M.B. Santi Parva, Chapter 43, Verse 6).


6. Budha cursed Aditi. A story in the Mahabharata refers to Budha's once cursing Aditi. The ever increasing power of Asuras made the Devas anxious. Aditi, the mother of the Devas decided to send them all to annihilate the Asuras. She had finished cooking food for her sons, and to ! there appeared before her Budha and asked for food. Aditi asked him to wait pending her sons taking their food hoping that there would be some food lift after that. This caused Budha to lose his temper and he cursed her that (Aditi) she would become the mother of Vivasvan in his second birth as Anda, when she would suffer pain in her abdomen. (M.13. Santi Parva, Chapter 34, Verses 96-98).


7. Former birth of Aditi. Du-ring the former years (period) of Svayambhuva Manu the Prajapati called Sutapas, along with his wife Prsni did Tapas for 12000 years. Then Mahavisnu appeared before them, and Prsni prayed for a son like Vis.,iu himself, and Mahavisnu was born as her son named Prsnigarbha. This story is related by Sri Krsna to his mother on his birth as the son of Vasudeva. (Bhagavata, Dasama Skandha, Chapter 3) .


She, who became the wife of Prajapati as Prsni before Svayambhuva Mann, and was born again as Devaki, the wife of Vasudeva is one and the same person.


ADRA. A King of the Solar dynasty. (See Surya Varimsa) .


ADRI was a King, the son of Visvagasva and father of Yavanasva. (M.B. Vana Parva, Chapter 202, Verse 3).


ADRIKA. A nymph (devastri). There is a story in Devibhagavata about her being cursed by a Brahmin and turned into a fish.


ADRSTABHAYA is the curse put on King Janamejaya by Sarama, the dog of the Devas. While Janamejaya, son of Pariksit was conducting, along with his brothers, a yaga of long duration at Kuruksetra the son of Sarama went to the place and was thrashed by the brothers of Janamejaya. Seeing her weeping child Sarama naturally got angry. She cursed the king thus : "My son did not commit any offence; he did not even look at the havis (oblations), nor did he lick it. For having thrashed the innocent child you will experience Adrstabhaya. When the yaga was over Janamejaya got rid of the curse by getting sage Somasravas do certain proper rites.


ADRSYANTI, wife of sage Sakti, the son of Vasistha and mother of sage Parasara.


Kalinasapada, a king of the Iksvaku dynasty reached the hermitage of Vasistha during a hunting expedition when Sakti, eldest of the hundred sons of Vasistha came walking towards him. False pride prevented either of them from giving way to the other. The King got angry and whipped Sakti. Sakti cursed the king and he was converted into a demon. This happened at a period when sages Vasistha and Vi4avamitra were at logger-heads. Visvamitra got admitted into the body of King Kalmasapada a demon called Kirnkara, and the king set out to take revenge upon Sakti, the son of Vasistha. The King was further promised all support by Vi"svamitra. Kalmasapada ate up all the hundred sons of Vasistha. Overcome with grief Vasistha attempted suicide many a time. But the spirit (Atman) did not quit the body. Thus sunken in grief Vasistha lived in his hermitage with Adrsyanti, wife of Sakti. One day Vasistha heard distinct sounds of the chanting of the Vedas and Adrsyanti told him that a child of his son, Sakti, was developing in her womb and that the vedic sounds heard were sounds produced by that son chanting the vedic hymns. Vasistha thus was happy to hear that the dynasty will not become extinct and, so, gave up all ideas of suicide. Another day Kalnrasapada in the guise of the demon hurriedly came to devour Adrsyanti and Vasistha gave him redemption from the curse. He was restored to his old state and form. Adrsyanti duly gave birth to a son, and the child grew up to become Parasara, father of Vyasa.


While the Pandavas, in the course of their forest life, were passing the banks of river Ganga at midnight, a Gandharva named Ariigaraparna enjoying in the river-water clashed with Arjuna, and he was defeated. The story of Adrsyanti is one of the many stories told by Arng5raparna to the Pandavas. (M ~B. Adi Parva, Chapters 175-178).




1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in this order


2) Birth. A story occurs in Uttara-Rama-Carita about the birth of Agastya. Nimi was the son of Iksvaku of the Surya dynasty. When he ascended the throne he decided to celebrate a sacrifice of long duration. He invited Vasistha to perform the sacrifice. But Vasistha, who had to participate in the sacrifice of Indra, could not accept the invitation and Nimi had to return disappointed. At this he got angry, sought the help of Satananda, the son of the great hermit Gautama and the sacrifice was begun. Vasistha did not like this. He cursed Nimi that life might be separated from his body. Nimi retorted with the same curse. Vasistha's spirit separated itself from his body and began to roam about in the sky. At .last he requested Brahma to provide him with a body. Brahma granted his wish and said that he would be born again from Mitra and Varuna.


When the spirit of Vasistha returned to the earth it was Mitra and Varuna moving about, having only one body for both. Vasistha's spirit entered into that body. One day Mitra-Varuna happened to see the celestial beauty, Urvasi on the seashore. They embraced Urvasi and immediately the spirit of Vasistha entered the body of Urvasi.


After this Mitra and Varuna separated themselves from one another and assumed two different bodies. Varuna approached Urvasi with lustful desire, but rejecting him Urvasi accepted Mitra. Varuna had seminal flow and this semen was taken and kept in a pot. At the sight of this, remorse and passion arose in Urvasi and the semen of Mitra already received in her womb oozed out and fell on the ground. This also was. collected and kept in the same pot along with that of Varuna. After a few days the pot broke open by itself and two babies came out. One was Agastya and the other Vasistha. As these two were born of the semen of Mitra and Varuna, they came to be known as Maitravarunis later. This story partly occurs in ganti Parva of Mahabharata, Verse 343 of Chapter 88.


3) Education. Very little is mentioned in the Puranas about the education of Agastya. Still there are ample proofs that he was well-versed in the Vedas and sciences and well skilled in the uses of diverse weapons. In Verse 9, Chapter 139 of Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Drona says to Arjuna as follows:


"Agnivesa, my teacher was the disciple of Agastya, in the art of using bows and arrows and I am his disciple".


When it is said that even Agnivesa the teacher of Drona was a disciple of Agastya, his proficiency in the art of using weapons could easily be discerned.


4) Marriage. There is an interesting story behind the marriage of such an austere man as Agastya, who had brought all the passions under control. As the hermit Agastya was walking along the forest, he saw his ancestors (Pitrs) hanging head downwards in a canyon. He wanted to know the reason and they replied


"Child; we would be allowed to enter heaven only if sons are born to you. So get married as soon as possible'". The necessity of marriage occurred to him only then. But will there be any woman who could be patient enough to become the wife of this bearded dwarfish hermit ? Agastya did not lose heart. .At that time the obtain a


King of Vidarbha was doing penance to son. Agastya collected the quintessence of all living beings, with which he created an extremely beautiful lady and named her Lopamudra. Agastya gave Lopamudra as daughter to the King of Vidarbha. The King who was delighted at getting such a daughter, employed hundreds of maids to look after the child, who soon grew up to be a young lady. Agastya once approached the King of Vidarbha


and expressed his wish to have Lopamudra as his wife. The King was in a dilemma. On the one hand he did not like his beautiful daughter having the brightness of fire, to be given as wife to the hermit, clad in the bark of trees and wearing tufts of matted hair. On the other hand he was afraid of the curse of the hermit Agastya. As the King was trying hard to find a solution, Lopamudra herself came to the King and said "Father, I am happy to say that I shall willingly become the wife of the hermit Agastya." At last her: father consented and discarding royal garments and ornaments, Lopamudra accompanied Agastya. It is mentioned in Vana Parva, Chapter 130, Verse 5, that they were married at Mahasindhutirtha. After their marriage they went to Garigadvara. (Mahabharata; Vana Parva, Chapter 96 ) .


5 ) The story of horn Agastya ate Patdl4i. While Agastya was doing severe penance, Lopamudra attained puberty and had menstruation. Longing for a child, she went and stood beside Agastya. She expressed her wish to lead a family life. Her demands did not stop there. During conjugation, Agastya should wear flower garlands and ornaments, and she must be provided with divine ornaments. Agastya was surprised at the enormity of her demands. Poor, penniless Agastya ! Leaving Lopamudra in the hermitage he went in search of money. He at first approached King Srutarva, who produced accounts of his income and expenditure and convinced Agastya that he was having no balance at all. Agastya, accompanied by Srutarva, then proceeded to King Bradhnasva. He also produced accounts and refused to help A~gastya, who then followed by Srutarva and Bradhnasva went on to the wealthy King Trasadasyu, who also producing his accounts refused to reorder any help to Agastya. Finally Agastya accompanied by the three Kings, went to the house of Ilvala, a noble asura of immense wealth.


This asura Ilvala lived in Manimatpattana with his younger brother Vatapi. Once Ilvala approached a hermit Brahmin and requested that his wish for a son, having the power and status of Indra, be granted. The Brahmin refused to grant such a boon. Since then ilvala and Vatapi considered Brahmins as their enemies. The elder brother converted the younger one (Vatapi) into a goat and whenever a Brahmin visited his house, he would kill the goat, prepare mutton dishes and set them before his guest. When he had finished eating, Ilvala would call aloud. "Vatapi, come out". Breaking the stomach of the,guest open, Vatapi would come oat. In this way Ilvala had killed a good number of Brahmins. It was at this j ancture that Agastya and the Kings came to beg money of him.


Ilvala welcomed the guests with hospitality and as usual killed the goat, prepared food with it and served the food before Agastya. When Agastya had finished eating, Ilvala called Vatapi loudly. But Agastya slowly said, "Vatapi, jirno bhava" (Let Vatapi be digested) and immediately Vatapi was digested in the stomach of Agastya. The awe-stricken asura Ilvala gave each Brahmin ten thousand cows and as much gold and to Agastya he doubled the quantity of alms. Over and above this, he presented Agastya with a chariot hitched with two fine horses called Viravan and not extricate himself from the hold of the snake, who eventually informed Bhima of its previous history. When Bhima understood that the serpent was none other than Nahusa, a King of the Surya dynasty (Solar), he felt sorry for him. Dharmaputra, who came there in search of Bhima, talked with Nahusa, who immediately regained his original form and went to heaven. (Mahabharata, Chapter 17 of Udyoga Parva; Chapter 179 of Vana Parva; Chapter 342 of Santi Parva).


9) How Agastya drank up the ocean. Indra ruthlessly killed Vrttrasura, who had been harassing the Gods, with the help of the Kalakeyas. The frightened Kalakeyas got into the ocean and hid themselves at the bottom. From that hideout they decided to destroy the three worlds. At night they came out on the earth and ate a good deal of Brahmins, and caused much damage to the hermitages of Vasistba and Cyavana. All the Brahmins on the earth were terribly afraid of the Kalakeyas. The gods went to Visnu and prayed for protection. Visnu informed them that the Kalakeyas could not be caught unless the ocean was dried up, and this task could be performed only by Agastya. So the Gods approached Agastya and told him what Visnu had informed them. With pleasure Agastya accepted the job. Accompanied by the Gods and hermits he neared the swaying and surging ocean. While all were watching unwinkingly Agastya brought the great ocean into his palm and drank it up very easily and subsequently the Kalakeyas were killed. Now the Gods again approached Visnu and made representation about the loss of the ocean. Visnu told them that by the penance of Bhagiratha the divine Ganga would fall into the earth and then the ocean will be filled. In this way the earth regained its lost ocean. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapters 101 to 105).


10) Agastya cursing Kubera and his companion. In the course of their sojourn in forest, the Pandavas visited several holy places and reached the proximity of the Himalayas. Leaving his brothers behind, Aijuna went up the Mahameru to worship Siva. Years passed by. At last his brothers also started for the Mahameru in search of Arjuna and with the help of the hermits Vrsaparva and Arstisena, they reached Kuberapuri (the capital of Kubera). There Bhima destroyed the army of Kubera and killed Maniman, his friend and favourite. Dharmaputra, repenting of his younger brother's iniquity bowed before Kubera and asked hint with politeness, why the power of Gods gave way to the power of man. Kubera replied that it was due to the curse of Agastya and began to depict the event thus : Once my friend Maniman and myself were going, in a chariot, to be present at the singing and chanting just begun at Kusa'Vati. At that time Agastya was standing in his hermitage on the bank of Kalindi, performing Sun worship. When Maniman saw this from the sky, he spat on the head of Agastya, who instantly getting wild cursed me. "Lo, Kubera, your friend Maniman spat on my head in your sight. So this Maniman and your army will meet with death at a man's hand. When they die you should not feel sorry for them. If it becomes possible for you to meet the man who killed Maniman you will be liberated from the curse."


It is this curse that brought about the death of Maniman and the army. When Kubera saw Bhima face 'to face his curse was - revoked. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 160).


11) Agastya cursing Maraca and Tddakd. The boys Rama and Laksmana went to the forest with ViAvamitra for protecting sacrifice. When they entered the Tadaka forest Visvamitra told them the story of Tadaka thus :-


Tadaka is the daughter of Suketu, a semi god of the tribe Yaksa. Being childless for a long time Suketu was miserable and began to do penance before Brahma, who blessed him and granted his wish and a daughter was born to him. This daughter was named Tadaka. Brahma blessed her, giving her the strength of one thousand elephants. Tadaka grew up and became a young woman. Suketu gave her in marriage to Sunda, son of Iharjha. Tadaka gave birth to a son called Marica. When Sunda was killed, Tadaka got wild and ran into the hermitage of Agastya causing much havoc there. At this Agastya got angry and cursed her to become a Raksasi (giantess) and instantly the bodies of Tadaka and Marica were deformed. Tadaka could not control her anger and she demolished the hermitage of Agastya. (Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda).


12) The story of the theft of lotus. Once Bhrgu, Vasistha and other hermits went on a pilgrimage, with Indra as their leader. On the way they reached Brahmasaras, in tire holy place of Kausiki. Agastya had grown some lotus flowers there. The pilgrims plucked stealthily all the lotus flowers nurtured by Agastya and ate them. The furious Agastya got into the midst of the hermits in search of the culprit. None admitted the theft. Finally he caught hold of Indra, as the thief. Indra said "O, Lord, had it not been for my eagerness to hear discourses on duty from your face, I would not have stolen your lotus flowers." Saying thus Indra returned the lotus flowers. Agastya was pleased and let Indra and the hermits depart in peace. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 94).


13) How Agastya burned the Asuras (demons). (This story occurs in the Mahabharata as, having been told by the God Vayu to Bhisma as a discourse on the greatness of Agastya, and Bhisma reiterating it to Arjuna) .


Once the God:, had to accept defeat at the hands of the Asuras (Demons) and they approached Agastya and said thus : Oh, hermit, since we have been defeated by the Asuras, our prosperity is at an end. There is none to help us but you." Hearing this Agastya became angry and began to burn the Asuras to death, by the merits of his penance. Many of them fell down on the earth and some fell into Patala (the nether world). The asuras who thus fell were not killed by Agastya. Thus the menace of the Asuras in heaven was warded off, and the Gods lived in peace and prosperity. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 155, Verses 1 to 13).


14) Indra's conflict with Agastya. Once Agastya commenced a sacrifice of twelve years' duration. Many hermits participated in this sacrifice. No sooner had the hermit begun the sacrifice, than Indra, (the God of Thunder and Rain) stopped rain in the world. Crops could not be raised. But Agastya provided everybody who took part in the sacrifice, with sumptuous meals. The hermits wondered how Agastya could do this. Some of the hermits feared that the sacrifice would have to be stopped before the stipulated time, if the drought continued. Agastya told them not to fear, and that if Indra refused to send rain, he himself would become Indra and protect the subjects. Indra was horrified, when he heard this and he began to send rain regularly. (Malzabharata, Asvamedhika Parva, Chapter 92).


1:5 ) Story of Gajendramoksa (The redemption of an elephant) .


In the Bharata a story occurs, as to how Agastya cursed King Indradyumna, and turned him to an elephant. While Indradyumna, the King of Pandya was absorbed in deep meditation on Visnu, Agastya reached the palace. Being immersed in meditation the King failed to notice the arrival of the great hermit, who getting angry with the King, cursed him to become an elephant, for one thousand years. Instantly the King was deformed into a big tusker and quitting the palace it went to a big forest and lived there happily with the she-elephants there. At that time a hermit named Devala was doing penance in that forest. One day Huhu, a gandharva (a class of semi-gods) enjoying the company of some celestial maids came to the place where Devala had put up his hermitage. The hermit saw the Gandharva and the maids playing and bathing in the pond in front of his hermitage in complete nudity. Getting angry Devala cursed Hahn and he was deformed into a crocodile. This pond which was in the Trikuta Mountain was thus under the suzerainty of the crocodile. The tusker (Indradyumna) entered the pond to drink water. The crocodile caught hold of the leg of the elephant. Each tried to pull the other with equal force. This fight is said to have lasted for a thousand years. When both were tired, godly feelings began to dawn in their minds. Then, riding on an eagle Mahavisnu appeared before them, cut them asunder with his Cakrayudha (the wheel-weapon) and both were given deliverance. (Bhagavata, 8th Skandha, Chapter 2).


16) Agastya teaching Sri Rrdma the Jditya-hrdaya Mantra (A hymn in praise of the Sun). When Sri Rama was fighting with Ravana in Lanka, dejection befell bim, his heart being weighed down with faintness, for a little while. Ravana made the best use of this opportunity and began to advance. The gods had gathered in the sky above to witness the fight. Agastya, at that particular moment, taught Sri Rama the Adytya-hrdaya Mantra, a hymn in praise of the Sun-god and when gri Rama chanted that mantra, he resumed fight with Vigour and Ravana was defeated and slain. (Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda, Sarga 107 )


17) How the slant of the earth was rectified 6y seating Agas ya. The matrimonial ceremony of gri Paramevara and Parvati was held in the Himalayas. On that auspicious occasion all the living beings of the world were present, and as a result the Himalayan region sank down and the earth slanted to that side. To keep the equilibrium of the earth, Siva sent Agastya to the south. Accordingly Agastya reached Kuttalam, where there was a temple dedicated to the worship of Visnu. Agastya had besmeared his forehead with ashes and so admission to the temple was denied to him, by the devotees there who were Vaisnavites. By his own power Agastya turned himself into a vaisnavite and got into the temple, and immediately the image of Visnu in the temple changed by itself into a givalinga(idol representing giva). Since then the temple at Kuttalam has remained a temple of diva. Agastya proceeded to the southernmost point of the earth and sat there and because of his weight the earth regained its normal position. (Skanda Purana).


18) Agastya and the Kraunca Mountain. When Agastya passed the Vindhya mountain and proceeded to the South a Raksasa (giant) called Kraunca hindered his way. By his power the Raksasa caused to fall everywhere a very heavy rain. Agastya sprinkled a few drops of water from his waterpot on Kraufica, who instantly became a mountain. Telling him that he would get deliverance from the curse when the weapon of Subrahmanya struck him, Agastya continued his journey to the South. (Skanda Purdna. ).


19) Agastya and the River Kaveri. Once Surapadma, an Asura (demon) drove the Gods out from heaven. Indra came to Siyali a place in the district of Tanjavur (T anjore) and began to do penance to please diva. Rain was completely stopped. Agastya had compressed the river Kaveri and held the water in his waterpot. Ganapati having come to know of this, came in the form of a crow and toppled the waterpot. Agastya got angry and ran after the crow, which immediately assumed the form of a boy. Agastya caught hold of him. The boy instantly revealed himself as Subrahmanya and granted Agastya a boon. "Your waterpot will always be full". Since then there had never been shortage of water in the Kaveri. (Skanda Purana).


20) Agastya in the palace of Bhadrdsva. Once Agastya lived in the palace of Bhadrasva as his guest for seven days. Agastya praised Kantimati the queen on several occasions. The King wanted to know the reason. Agastya said : During her previous birth Kantimati was the handmaid of a rich man. On one occasion of dvadasi (twelfth night after full moon) in the month of Tula (second half of October and first half of November) the rich man had asked his handmaid to see that the lights in a certain temple did not go out and she did so, in consequence of which, during her current birth she has become your queen, bearing the name Kantimati. The King and the queen were much pleased at this explanation of Agastya and thenceforward they began to observe dvadasi as a day of fasting. (Vayu Purana).


21) Agastya cursing Urvasi, Yayanta and Ndrada. Once Agastya went to the realm of the Gods, as a guest of Indra. On that day a performance of dance by Urvasi was held in honour of Agastya. In the midst of the dance Urvasi's eyes fell on Jayanta and she fell in love with him; her steps went out of beat. Narada also went wrong slightly in playing on his famous lute called Mahati. Agastya got angry and cursed Urvasi, Jayanta and Narada. According to the curse Jayanta became a bud. Urvasi was born in the earth as a woman called Madhavi and `Mahati' the lute of Narada became the lute of the people of the earth.


22) Agastya cursing DusPanya. Dupanya was the last son of the King of Pataliputra. The wicked Duspanya had slain a large number of babies, and the King therefore expelled him from the palace. Duspanya went into the forest, where he caught hold of the child of Ugraravas and killed it by putting it under water. Ugraravas cursed him and accordingly he fell into water and died and his spirit became a ghost and wandered about tormented with pain and anguish. At last the spirit approached Agastya, who called his disciple Sutisna and asked him to gc and bathe in the Agnitirtha (a bath) in the Gandhamadana mountain and bring some water from the tirtha and sprinkle it on the spirit of Duspanya. Sutisna acted accordingly and immediately the spirit of Duspanya received divine figure and entered heaven. (Seta Mahatmya ) .


23) Hors Agastya got golden Bangle. Once Agastya entered a forest of about a hundred yojanas wide. The forest was devoid of life. When he had walked a few more steps some Gandharvas (semi-gods) and celestial maids came there singing and dancing. From among them a noble male being came forward to the bank of a lake in the forest and ate without any hesitation, the corpse of a man that was lying there. After that he walked round Agastya and made obeisance to him. Agastya asked him why he had eaten the corpse of a man. The noble man told Agastya thus: "In treta yuga (the third age) there lived a King named Vidarbha. I am his son and my name is 8veta. After having ruled. over my kingdom for a long time, I came to the bank of this lake and began to do penance. After that discarding my body I entered heaven. Though I attained heaven my hunger was not appeased. I asked Brahma how, I, a dweller of heaven, got this hunger. Brahma said that when I was King I had given nothing to anybody and so I got this hunger even after entering heaven- As a remedy Brahma suggested that I should come here everyday and eat ,corpse and when I had completed ten thousand days the hermit Agastya would come here and that when I offered him a golden bangle my sin would be washed away." Saying thus Sveta offered to Agastya the golden bangle given by Brahma and then he vanished and the corpse also disappeared. Sveta went to heaven. (Uttara Ramayana).


24) Other informations concerning Agastya.


(1) Agastya had a brother called Suds a. (Agnipurana, Chapter 7) .


(2) Sutisna was Agastya's disciple too. (Seta Mahatmya ) .


(3 ) Ilvala. and Vatapi were the sons of the giantess Ajamukh~ In the valley of a mountain Ajamukhi prayed to Durvasas for love and thus Ilvala and Vatapi were born from Durvasas. These two sons demanded that Durvasas should impart to them all his merits of penance. Getting angry Durvasas cursed them that they would meet with death at the hands of Agastya. (Skandapurana, Asura Kanda).


(4) Agastya had been the priest of the King Khela. (Rgveda, 112th Sukta).


(5) When Sri Rama returned to Ayodhya: with Sita from Lanka, hermits from various parts visited him, among whom, Dattatreya, Namuci, Pramuci, Sri Valmiki, Soma, Kandu, Agastya and their disciples were from the South. ( Uttara Ramayana).




( 6 ) Agastya gave Sri Rama an arrow, which, when shot at an asura (demon) would pierce his heart, pass on to the other side, fly to the sea and bathe in the sea-water and return to the quiver, it is said. (Uttara Ramayana ) .


( 7) Once Agastya visited the hermitage of Apastamba. He asked Agastya, who, of Brahma, Visnu and diva, was the Supreme deity. Agastya replied: "These three are only three different manifestations of the one supreme Being". ( Brahmapurana ) .


(8) For the story of how Agastya cursed the sons of Manibhadra and transformed them to seven palms, see the word `Saptasala'.


(9 ) There was a hermit called Sutisna, to whom Sri Rama and Laksmana paid a visit when they were wandering in the forest. This Sutisna is the younger brother of Agastya. (fee the word Sutisna).


(10) Agastya cursed Suka and deformed him into a Raksasa. ( See the word guka ii.).


25) Conclusion. It is believed that the great hermit Agastya, who had performed such wonderful deeds by the merits of his penance, is still doing penance in the Agastya Kuta hills. Agastya who had travelled throughout the length and breadth of Bharata had several hermitages. In the Valmiki Ramayana, Aranyakanda, Sarga 11, a description is given, of a beautiful hermitage of Agastya, and the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed in and around it. Agastya had presented to Sri Rama a bow got from Visnu, when the brothers visited his hermitage. Agastya had accompanied Sri Rama and his followers on his return journey to Ayodhya from Lanka, with Situ after killing Ravana. There is a legend in the Tamilnad that Agastya was a member of the first two `Sanghas' (groups) of the "three Sanghas", mentioned in Tamil literature. As Agastya was dwarfish he is mentioned as Kurumuni, (short hermit) in Tamil works. He has written a Tamil grammar on music, literature and drama. But this work is not available now. The Tamil Grammar `Tolkapyam', which is considered to be the oldest grammar, was written by Tolkapyar, one of the twelve disciples of Agastya. Even today in certain temples in the Tamilnad, Agastya-worship is carried on. Kambar, has mentioned about Agastya m his Ramayana. A great Tamil author Villiputturan says that the Tamil language is the beautiful maiden presented by Agastya.


It is believed that the following works have been composed by Agastya:


1) Agastya Gita ; in the Varahapurana, Palupalopakhyana.


2 ) Agastya Sarnhita; in Pancaratra.


3) Agastya Samhita, in the Skandapurana. 4) Siva Sariihita, in Bhaskara Samhita.


5) Dvaidha-nirnaya Tantra.


AGASTYA KLTTA. This is the sacred mount where the sage, Agastya, sat and did penance during his sojourn in the southern parts of India. In the Kiskindha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana we find King Sugriva commanding that all .his soldiers going in search of Sita should pay homage to the sage Agastya.


AGASTYA PARVATA. This is a mountain in South India believed to belong to the K-alanjara mountain range. Agastya Kuta is in this mountain.


AGASTYA SARAS. This is another name for Agastya tirtha.


AGASTYA-ASRAMA. The Puranas make mention of several asramas connected with sage Agastya. The Pandavas during their exile visited an asrama of this name. This is situated near Paficavati twentyfour miles to the south-east of Nasik. It is known as Agastya-giri now. (9loka 20, Chapter 80; and gloka 1, Chapter 96 of Vana Parva, M.B.).


The Mahabharata mentions another Agastya Asrama near Prayaga. Dharmaputra along with Saint Lomasa stayed here for some time. Valmiki describes an a'rania of this name which Rama and Laksmana visited during their exile in the forests. (Chapter 11, Aranya Kanda of the Ramayana).


AGASTYA TIRTHA. This is one of the five tirthas or sacred places of worship lying scattered in the southern. ocean. The other four are the following: (1) The Saubhadra tirtha (2) The Pauloma tirtha (3) The Karandhama tirtha and (4) the Atipavana tirtha. These five were known as Pafica tirthas and many saints used to live there. There laved in each of these tirthas one huge and fierce crocodile and all the saints living there, afraid of these crocodiles, deserted their places one by one. (Ref : Sloka 3, Chapter 220 of Adi Parva, M.B. For more details see under Pafica tirtha) .


AGASTYA VATA. This is a sacred shrine in the neighbourhood of the Himalayas. Arjuna paid a visit to this place while he was living with his brothers in the forests during their period of exile. (Sloka 2, Chapter 214 of Adi Parva, M.B. ).


AGATI. A city. Two sons Taksaka and Chattraketu were born to Laksmana (tire brother of Sri Rama) by his wife Urmila. The court of the eldest prince T-aksaka was situated in the city of Agati. Formerly this place was known as Kanakhala and was occupied by forest tribes. Exterminating these forest tribes, Laksmana built a city there and apportioned it to his eldest son Taksaka. (Uttara Ramayana).


AGHA. The name of an asura. This asura was one of the followers of Kamsa. According to the instructions of Karnsa, Agha once set out to Gokula to kill Sri Krsna. At that time Sri Krsna was playing on the-is of the river Kdfind! with'o*ther cowherds. Agha-ansura watched the games of the children from the sky above. Thep he transformed himself into a colossal serpent and lay with his mouth wide open; his open mouth looked like an immense cave. The foul smell coming from his mouth soon spread over the whole place. Sri Krsna and the other children did not know anything about this. In the course of their games they walked into the cave-like mouth of Agha and were soon trapped in his belly. Agha then closed his mouth and all the boys including Sri Krsna were now imprisoned inside his body. Some of the boys died. Realizing the situation Sri Krsna now enlarged his body. His body grew larger and larger until at last it burst open the body of the serpent (Agha). Thus Agha was killed. Sri Krsna then restored the dead boys to life by his divine looks (Kataksa). This Aghasura was the brother of Bakasura and Putana. (Bhagavata, Skandha 10, Chapter 12).


AGHAMARSANA. He was a great hermit of austerity, who had observed the duties pertaining to Vanaprastha (the third of the four stages of life-forest hermit). (M.B., Santi Parva, Chapter 244, Stanza 16).


*Manas=Mind. Putra=Son. Manasa-putras are sons created from


AGHAMARSANA SLTKTA. This is a hymn in the Rgveda. It is said that all sins will be eliminated, if this hymn is recited three times, standing in water.




AGHASVA. A King hermit (Rajarsi) named Pedu. (Rgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 17, Sukta 116).




1) Genealogy. Agni was descended from Visnu in this order : Visnu-Brahma-Angiras-Brhaspati-Agni.


2) Birth. We come across several contradictory statements in the Puranas regarding the birth of Agni. There is some real difficulty, therefore, in tracing correctly the true, genealogy of Agni. The one given above is based on statements in Bhagavata and Mahabharata. Angiras is one of the six mind-born sons of Brahma.


Angiras married Sraddha and got four daughters and two sons. Brhaspati was one of the sons and Utatthya was the other. The daughters were Sinivali, Kuhu, Raka and Anumati. (There is a mention of a third son named Sarirvarta in the Bhagavata by Eluthassan though the original quoted below does not say so)


Utatthyo bhagavan saksat Brahmisthasca Brhaspatih. Brhaspati married Candramasi and got six divine sons. (r)f these Sariryu, the eldest, married Satya and Agni was born to Samyu of Satya. (Slokas 1 to 4, Chapter 219, Aranya Kanda of Malayalam Mahabharata).


3) Agni-One of the Asta-dikpalakas. (Asta=eight, dik=zone, palaka=guardian). The Devi Bhagavata states in its eighth chapter that Agni is one of the eight guards posted at the eight different zones to protect the universe. Indra guards the east; Agni, the southeast; Yama the south; Nirrti, the south-west; Varuna, the west; Vayu, the north-west; Kubera, the North and Siva, the north-east. The place where Agni sits on guard is known as tejovati.


4) Agni-One of the five elements. The universe is believed to be composed of five elements of which Agni is one. The other four are Water, Earth, Ether and Air.


5) 7hestory of how Agna gave a M4yd Sitd (Phantom Sftd) to grf Rdma. During their exile in the forests Rama and Laksmana were for some time living in an asrama built on the shores of the ocean. One day Agni disguised as a Brahmin approached them and said °`O, Sri Rama, thou art born to kill the demon Ravana and save the world from his atrocities. Sita is going to be a cause for that. Time is not far for you to finish this duty of yours. Ravana is soon to come and kidnap your wife, Sita. You must, therefore, allow me to play a trick on Ravana. Entrust Sita with me and I shall keep her safe. In her place here you can keep a Maya Sita (Phantom Sita) which will be a live replica of your real wife. In the end when you take back Sita after killing Ravana you will be compelled to throw your wife into the fire to test her chastity. At the mind of Brahma, 81oka ro, Chapter 65, Adi Parva, M.B.

That time I will take back the replica and give you back your real wife". Sri Rama was very much pleased to hear this. Agni then, by his yogic powers created a Phantom Sita and gave her to him. Rama kept this as a secret even from Laksmana. In the great Rama-Ravana battle Ravana was killed and Sri Rama took back Sita to his kingdom. Then respecting public opinion and wishing to establish in public the purity of his' queen King Sri Rama put her into the fire. At that moment Agni took back the replica and gave back the real Sita to Sri Rama. Sad thus came out from the fire unscathed. Later, on the advice of Rama and Agni, the Phantom Sita went to the sacred place Puskara and started doing tapas (penance) there. After doing tapas for a long period of three lakhs of divine years this Phantom Sita became known as Svargalaksmi. It was this Svargalaksmi that later on in the Dvapara yuga came out from the yajna kunda of King Pancala as Pancali and became the consort of the Par:davas. Vedavati, daughter of Kusadhvaja in Krtayuga, Sita, daughter of janaka in the Tret4 yuga, and Pancali, daughter of Drupada in Dvapara yuga are one and the same person. On account of this she is known as trihayani also. (Chapter 9 of Devi Bhagavata).


6) The story of how Agni got indigestion. In olden times there was a bold and mighty King called gvetaki. He conducted several different types of yajna. Afflicted by the unending dense smoke in the yajfia hall all the ascetics left the place and went their way. Undaunted by this, gvetaki started another twelve-year sacrifice in which not a single sage took part. The sages rebuked him and said if he wanted to conduct a sacrifice again he could invite sudras to help him. (Sudras belong to the lowest caste among Hindus and are not allowed to participate in sacrifices generally.) Enraged by this insult Svetaki went to Kailasa and did fierce penance. Lord Siva appeared before him and gave him Durvasas as a priest for his yajfia. For twelve years sage Durvasas performed the yajna pouring into the mouth of Agni through the sacrificial pit unlimited materials of food. Agni was overfed and he got indigestion. He lost all appetite for food, became weak and the Brilliance of his face faded. (Chapter 235, Adi Parva, M.B.).


7) The story of how Agni burnt the big forest, Khandava.


When the indigestion continued without abate for some time Agni approached Brahma and asked for a cure. Brahma declared that his indigestion would be cured if Agni could burn the huge forest, Khandava, the abode of the enemies of the Devas. Agni immediately started consuming the forest. But the inhabitants of the forest soon quenched the fire. Disappointed Agni went to Brahma again and the latter advised him to wait for some time till the advent of Nara-Narayanas to that forest. They would then help Agni to burn the forest. Agni waited for the time to come. At that time the Pandavas were living in Indraprastha with Sri Krsna. When the heat became unbearable there Arjuna and Krsna came to the banks of river Yamuna. Hearing about the arrival of Krsna and Arjuna who were none but the incarnations of Sarayana and Nara, Agni disguised as a brahmin approached them and requested them to help him to burn the Khandava forest. Agni added that any attempt of his to burn the forest was always foiled by Indra who would send a heavy downpour of rain to quench the fire because Taksaka, an intimate friend of Indra, was living there.


To gain his end Agni gave Arjuna an arrow-case which would never be empty, a chariot bearing a monkey flag, four white horses adorned with gold chains and also the famous Gandiva bow. To Sri Krsna he gave the cakrayudha or the divine wheel-weapon. (All these military equipments were once given to Agni by Varuna.) When all these were given to them Krsna and Arjuna got ready to help Agni to burn the forest. Agni started burning the forest; Indra at once sent a heavy downpour of rain and Arjuna created a canopy of arrows above the forest preventing the rains from falling on the forest. Agni carried on his work undisturbed, the forest was burnt and Agni was cured of his indigestion. (Slokas 233 to 239, Adi Parva, M.B.).


8) Agni falls in love. As an inaugural procedure to the great Rajasuya which Dharmaputra performed at Indraprastha his four brothers Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva conducted a victory march to the four different sides of the kingdom. Sahadeva who turned south conquered many kings including Dantavaktra and Bhismaka and reached a country called Mahimatipura. There he had to encounter a powerful* king called Nila. Before long there broke a fire in his camp. Disheartened, Sahadeva prayed to the God, Agni, for help. It was then that Sahadeva came to know about the ties between Agni and Nila.


King Nila had a beautiful daughter named Sudarsana. Once when she was talking to her father after having entered the Agni-hotra Agni fell in love with her. From that day onwards Agni became dreamy about the beautiful lips of Sudarsana. It reached a stage when Agni would burn only if it was blown by the lips of Sudarsana. This ended in Agni marrying Sudargana. After the marriage Agni lived in the palace of his father-in-law, King Nila, as a useful ally. It was at this time that Sahadeva came to conquer Nila. But Agni knew that for the proper conduct of the Rajasuya of Dharmaputra his father-in-law had to surrender to Sahadeva and so advised his father-in-law to do so. What appeared to be a difficult problem was thus easily solved. (Chapter 31, Sabha Parva, M.B.).


9) How Emperor gibz was tested by Agni. Once Agni and Indra thought of testing how strong and deep was the sense of charity in Emperor gibi. Indra took the shape of a hawk and Agni that. of a dove and the dove flew and dropped down into the lap of the Emperor who was at that time doing a yaga. The hungry hawk came chasing its prey and finding the dove in the lap of the Emperor said : "O King, as it proper on your part to withhold my food from me, and keep it in your lap ?" Hearing this gibi replied: "This dove has sought refuge in me. It is my duty to give it protection. If it is only food you want I shall give you food." 8ibi then offered many things including his kingdom to the hawk in return for the dove. But the hawk refused them all and finally agreed to accept an equal weight of flesh from the body of the Emperor. gibi without any hesitation cut a portion of his thigh and weighed it against the dove in a scale. The dove weighed more and the Emperor started putting more and more flesh from his body to make the weight equal. But the dove always weighed more and at last the Emperor said lie would weigh himself against the dove. As the weak and fleshless Emperor was about to get into the an of the scale Agni and Indra emerged from the bodies of the dove and hawk and appeared before the Emperor. They blessed him and immediately took him to heaven. (Chapter 131, Vana Parva, M.B.) .


10) Agni and the testicles of a goat,. The occasion is when sage Visvamitra is taking Rama and Laksmana to the forests to give protection to the sages against the demons. They reached the place where Ahalya lay as a stone cursed by Gautama. Vi4vamitra told them the story: "It was here that the great sage, Gautama, lived with his beautiful consort, Ahalya. Once Indra had an intercourse with her privately and Gautama coming to know of the misdeed cursed her and turned her into stone. By the curse of the same sage Indra lost his testicles. Greatly aggrieved by this loss Indra prayed to god Agni for help and on the advice of Agni the devas removed the deformity by placing a goat's testicles instead." (9lokas 48 & 49, Bala Kanda, Valmiki Ramayana).


11) How sage Bhrgu cursed Agui. Sage Bhrgu was living with his wife Puloma in his a'srama. Puloma became pregnant. One day when Bhrgu wanted to go out for a bath in the river he asked Agni to keep a watch over his pregnant wife. There was. a demon by name Puloina who was once in love with Puloma. On this particular day Puloma entered the asrama to see his former love. When he entered the asrama Puloma saw Agni there burning with a brilliant flame in the fire-pit. Puloma said : "O God of fire, if I ask you a question you must give me an impartial reply. I was in love with this Pulomd and I had accepted her as my wife spiritually. But, then, her father gave her to Bhrgu. Who, then, is the true owner of Puloma ?" Agni was afraid of Bhrgu. Yet he explained the position honestly. "It is true that Puloma has married Bhrgu. But he has not married her according to Hindu rites." Hearing this the demon changed himself into the shape of a swine and carried away Puloma. On the way Puloma delivered a male babe and it fell on the ground. The boy was named Cyavana. It was this boy that became later on the famous Cyavana Maharsi. Even at birth the boy was brilliant as the Sun to look at and Puloma, the demon, noticing the unusual brilliance of the child left the mother and child on the way and fled frightened. Puloma returned to the asrama carrying the child weeping profusely all the way and creating a lanchrymal river called Vadhusaras. As soon as she entered the asrama the angry sage asked "Who told Puloma that you are my wife ?" Puloma then told her husband all that happened there and Bhrgu called Agni and cursed him thus : "May you be a consumer of all things on this Earth". Greatly aggrieved Agni went away and hid himself. The absence of Agni created chaos in all the three worlds; Heaven, Earth and the Nether-world. A deputation of all the afflicted people waited upon Brahma and Brahma. modified the curse and declared that all that Agni touched would become pure. Agni was consoled and he started his work as usual.


12) How Agni cursed frogs, birds and elephants. Many in portaut events took place while Agni was underground cursed by Bhrgu. It was during that time that Parvati cursed all the Devas and the Devas were defeated by the asuras (demons). The necessity of a warrior capable of defeating the asuras arose then. The idea of creating Lord Subrahmanya came up and Brahma said that only Agni could help them in this matter since Agni was the only one who escaped from the curse of Parvati, being underground at the time of the curse. The Devas started a vigilant search but Agni was not to be found. Agni was then hiding inside the ocean. The ocean was getting hot and the animals living there found their life unbearable. Frogs went to the devas and told them where Agni was hiding. Enraged at this Agni cursed the frogs saying that they would never be able to find the taste of anything. Frogs went weeping to the devas who in turn blessed the frogs saying that they would acquire the ability to move about easily in any darkness. Agni changed his place of hiding and went and hid in a big banyan tree. An elephant going by that way found him out and informed the devas; knowing this Agni cursed the elephants saying that its tongue would go deep inside. But the devas blessed the elephants saying that the position of the tongue would never be a hindrance to free eating and that elephants would be able to eat anything and everything. Agni left the banyan tree and hid himself in the hollow of a ~ami tree. A little bird living in that tree gave information to the devas and the devas found him out before he got time to leave the place. Agni cursed the bird saying that its tongue would always be curved inside and the devas blessed it saying that the curvature would help it to sing beautiful songs. Since Agni was found out from gain! tree this tree became sacred. Since this finding out of Agni after a long absence is like a re-birth of Agni the Puranas mention that Agni was born from the Sam! tree. The Devas then requested Agni to help them to create a son capable of conquering the demons.* (Chapter 85, Anusasana Parva, M.B.)-


13) Birth of Subrahmanya.At that time Varunaperformed a yaga. All the dikpalakas (zone guardians of the universe) including Siva participated in the yaga. Seeing the beautiful wives of the sages giva had emission. Taking the semen in his hand he put it into the fire. Agni carried it to Ganga and requested her to take it for-conception. Though she at first refused she took it, became pregnant and finally delivered a male child whom she threw into the forest Saravana. It was this child who became known as Karttikeya or Subrahmanya later on. (Chapter 85, Anusasana Parva, M.B.)14) How Agni blessed Nala. While Nala was going to the wedding of Damayanti Indra, Agni, Varuna and KAla accosted him on his way and asked him to go as a messenger of theirs and advise Damayanti to marry one


*Kathasaritsagara gives another version of why Agni went and hid himself under the ocean. When Kama, the God of Love, was burnt to death by Siva, Parvati, giva's wife, did not find a way to get a child for her from her husband. At last Brahma approached giva and told him that the absence of Kama was making creation difficult. giva then declared that thereafter Kama would find a place in the minds of all living beings including himself. Parvati and giva immediately commenced a sexual life which went on incessantly for a hundred years without reaching the climax. The world was agitated and the universe stood on the verge of ruin. The I)evas decided to send Agni to intervene But Agni was afraid of Siva and so went and hid himself under the ocean. (Chapter &, Lavanakalambaka of Kathasaritsagara).

Nala did so but Damayanti was adamant and said she would marry none other than Nala. So all the four gods appeared as Nala in the wedding hall. Damayanti who was confused prayed that she should be shown the real Nala. The gods then changed into their original forms and blessed Nala. Agni said he would come and help him the moment he wanted him. Thus Nala became a good cook and Nala Pacakam (Pacakarir=cooking) became famous. Even now it is a synonym for good cooking. (Chapter 57, Vana Parva, M.B)


15) Agni and Raritbhd. There was once a danava called Danu. He had two sons named Rarhbha and Karambha. They had no children and tormented by this they went to Pancanada and started doing penance. Rarimbha sat in the centre of Pancagni (five fires) and Karambha in water to do penance. Indra afraid of the severe and powerful tapas of the two took the form of a crocodile and killed Kararizbha who was doing penance in water by dragging him down to the water. Bereaved Rariibha started to commit suicide by jumping into the fire. God Agni appeared before him then and asked him what he wanted. Rambha then said that he should get a son who would be famous as a warrior in all the three worlds. Agni agreed. Rarizbha on his way back saw a voluptuous she-buffalo and married her at yaksa kavata. They lived a happy married life and one day a he-buffalo envious of their life attacked Rarnbha and killed him. Grief-stricken Ramblra's wife jumped into the funeral pyre and committed suicide. Then from the fire arose a demon named Mahisasura (Mahisa =Buffalo. Asura=Demon). This buffalodemon became a terror to all in the three worlds later on. (Chapter 5, Devi Bhagavata).


16) Difference of opinion between Agni and Arigiras. Bhagavan Angiras did penance in his own asrama and became more brilliant than Agni. The whole world was submerged in his brilliance. Agni felt a bit depressed at this. Agni argued that it was not proper on the part of Brahma to give anybody else more brilliance than himself. So as a protest against this Agni disappeared from the world. Even Angiras was annoyed at Agni's disappearance and so he went and consoled Agni and took him to Brahma. Brahma declared that henceforth the world would recognize Agni as the father and Angiras as his son. Thus Agni got the first place in effulgence. This is a story told by sage Markandeya to Dharmaputra. (Chapter 217, Vana Parva, M.B.). 17) Agni and Mahabali. On their way to the forest sage Visvamitra took Rama and Laksmana to Siddhasrama. The sage explained to the princes the importance of that asrama. He said: "Mahavisnu lived in this asrama for a number of years. It was at that time that the Emperor of the asuras (demons), Mahabali, son of Virocana, was ruling the world conquering even the devas. After having conquered all the three worlds Mahabali decided to conduct a yaga. A deputation of the Devas headed by Agni then waited upon Mahavignu and Agni said: "O Lord, Mahabali has commenced a yaga and before it is finished you should go to him and do something for the benefit of the devas". It was at this request of Agni that Mahavisnu took the form of Vamana and sent Mahabali to the nether-world. (Chapter 29, Balakanda, Valmiki Ramayana).


18) Agni and Nahusa. Repenting for his act of killing Vrtra Indra unknown to anybody went and hid in a lotus in the Manasa Saras (Lake Manasa). Perplexec by the disappearance of their leader the devas brought Nahusa from the Earth and made him their leader Nahusa became very proud and arrogant of his neh position and tried to make Indrani his wife. Indrari went to Brhaspati for help. Brhaspati commandec Agni to go and find out Indra. Agni searched for hin in forests, rivers and oceans. At last he went tc Manasa Saras and searched among the lotuses. Therf he found Indra hiding in a lotus and Brhaspati was duly informed. Then Brhaspati gave Indrani some clever directions to kill Nahusa and Nahusa was killed. (See Agastya). There is a story in Santi Parva, Chapter 28, of how Agni took for himself a quarter of the sin which Indra acquired because of his killing Vrtra, a brahmin by birth. (Chapter 14, Udyoga Parva, M.B.).


19) Agni Deva and Karttaviryarjuna. After the great Kuruksetra battle the Pandavas went again to Kuruksetra along with Sri krsna_ On their way Krsna showed them the Para suramahradas and narrated tc them several stories of Rama. Reference to Agni comes when Krsna explains the reason why Parasurama cut off the thousand hands of Karttaviryarjuna. It was at the time when Karttaviryarjuna was ruling the three worlds by his might that Agni went and asked for alms from him. Karttavirya gave Agni mountains and forests for his food which Agni burnt and ate. In one of the forests was the asrama of sage Apava and that also was burnt. Enraged at this the sage cursed Karttavirya saying that his thousand hands would be cut off by Parasurama. Though the curse was not seriously minded by the King then, it so happened that before long Karttavirya had to encounter Parasurama in a battle when the children of the King stole a sacrificial cow belonging to Jamadagni, father of Parasurama. In the battle all the thousand hands of Karttaviryarjuna were cut off by Parasurama. (Chapter 43, Santi Parva, M.B. ).


20) How Agni was duped. Once the wives of the Saptarsis (seven Saints) attended a yaga where Agni was also present. Agni fell in love with- them but knowing it to be futile to make any attempt to fulfil his desire he went to the forests dejected. Svaliadevi, daughter of Daksa was for a long time craving to marry Agni and she decided to take advantage, of the opportunity thus offered. Disguising herself as the wife of Angiras, one of the seven saints, she approached Agni and said : "O Lord, I am Siva, wife of Angiras. We were all excited when you darted cupids' arrows against us and they have now selected me to come to you for fulfilling your desire". Agni believed her and took her as his consort. (Chapters 223 to 227 of Vana Parva, M.B.).


21) How Agni became a doctor. There was once a sage called Dattatreya who had a son called Nimi. Nim! had a son and he died after thousand years. The bereaved sage performed a Sraddha which was attended by all devas. The feast was so sumptuous that the devas got indigestion after that. Consulting Brahma Agni prescribed a remedy for their indigestion. He said: "whenever you take any food make me also a participant in that. If you do so you will never get indigestion". That is why a very small portion of any cooked food is first thrown into the fire before given for eating. This story is part of Bhisma's oration to Dharmaputra on the origin of sraddha (The ceremony conducted on the anniversary of the death of a person by his son). (Chapter 92, Anusasana Parva, M.B.).


22) How Agni became a horse. There was once a preceptor named Aveda. He got a disciple named Uttanga. One day Aveda left his asrama for a distant place leaving his disciple in charge of the management of the asrama. The preceptor was absent for along time and his wife started making love to Uttanga. The dutiful disciple strongly objected to this. When Uttanga completed his course of study under Aveda he enquired what he should give to his preceptor. The preceptor directed him to his wife. The wife who bore a grudge against Uttanga resolved to tease him and said that he shoul go to King Pausya and beg of him the earrings worn by his wife. Uttanga started immediately and getting the earrings was coming back when on the way Taksakawrested the ornament from him and went and hid in the nether-world. Uttanga followed Taksaka and there Agni in the form of a horse appeared before him and asked Uttanga what he wanted. He replied that he wanted to subdue all the serpents in the nether-world. Agni then advised him to blow thro' the nostrils of the horse. As he did so flames burst forth from all the openings of the horse making the netherworld hot and smoky. Taksaka was frightened and he at once gave back the earrings to Uttanga. Uttanga was again worried for he had very little time to carry the earrings to the preceptor in time. Here again Agni helped him by carrying him swiftly on his back to the asrama. When the preceptor and his wife found that Uttanga had carried out their wish they blessed him. (Chapter 3, Adi Parva, M.B. ).


23) Agni becomes a messenger. Once there arose a misunderstanding between Brhaspati and Samvarttaka, sons of Angiras. Brhaspati went to devaloka as priest while the other remained in the world as a mad saint. At that time a King called Marutta invited Brhaspati to officiate as priest for a yajfia of his. But Brhaspati refused to accept it. Narada saw Marutta in despair and told him thus: "You go to K5.Si (Benares) and there at Puradvara place a dead body and wait there. Saxhvarttaka, Brhaspati's brother will come and reprimand you. Without minding his scoldings follow him and request him to become the chief priest for your yaga. He will then ask you who advised you to do like this. Tell him that Narada did so and if he asks where he could find Narada do tell him that Narada is hiding inside Agni". Hearing this Marutta went to Kasi and did all as directed. Samvartta agreed to become the priest but wanted Marutta to bring some gold from Kailasa before that. Marutta brought that also and the yajna started. Brhaspati when he came to know of all these developments became sorry for his refusal first and decided to become the priest of Marutta for his yaga. It was Agni who carried this message of consent to King Marutta. Thus Marutta's yajna was performed in a grand way. (Chapter 9, Asvamedha Parva, M.B.). 24) Agni takes back the Gdndiaa. At the time of Khandava dahana (burning of Khandava forest) Agni gave Arjuna the famous Gandiva bow which Varuna had given him. After the great Mahabharata battle Agni took back this bow from Arjuna. The Pandavas at the fag end of their life started on a pilgrimage to the south with their consort Pancali. Marching along slowly they reached the shores of Aruna Samudra (Aruna Ocean). Arjuna had with him then the Gandiva and also the arrow-case which never becomes empty. When they reached the shores of the ocean Agni blocked their way standing before them in the form of a huge mountain and said, "O Arjuna I am god Agni. It was I who gave this famous Gandiva bow to you. The bow belongs to Varuna. So please throw it into the ocean and proceed on your way". On hearing this Arjuna threw both the bow and the arrow-case into the ocean and continued the march. (9lokas 33 to 43, Chapter 1, Mahaprasthanika Parva, M.B.).


25) Additional information about Agni, _the God of fire.


1) Svahadevi, wife of Agni, gave birth to three sons, named Daksinam, Garhapatyam and Ahavaniyam. (Chapter 9, Devi Bh5gavata).


2) Agni, the God of fire, got three sons by his wife Svahadevi named Pavaka, Pavam5na and Suci. These three sons had all together fortyfive sons. These fortyfive grandsons, three sons and Agni himself constitute the fortynine Fires mentioned in the puranas (Angirasarfi).


3) Nila, the monkey, is born of Agni. (Sarga 41, Chapter Kiskindha, Ramayana).


4) Dhrstadyumna, the great archer, was born of Agni. (Sloka 126, Chapter 67, Adi Parva, M.B.).


5) Subrahmanya was born as the son of Agni. (Chapter 225, Vana Parva, M.B.).


6) Agni, the God of fire, loved all prajapatis like his sons. (Chapter 85, Anusasana Parva, M.B.).


7) The sage, Bhrgu, was born from Agni. (9loka 8, Chapter 5, Adi Parva, M.B.).


8) All Devatas are Agni himself. (9loka 109, Chapter 85, Anusasana Parva, M.B.).


9) God Agni loved God Skanda more than anybody else. (Chapter 226, Vana Parva, M.B.).


10) At the time when gri Rama after killing Ravana was putting Sita to a purity test by throwing her into the fire, Agni witnessed that Sita had done no wrong and was pure and chaste as before. (9loka 28, Chapter 201, Vana Parva, M.B.).


11) In the beginning Brahma created the universe. There was no death then and the Earth became overcrowded. Brahma got worried and he sent fire from his body to burn all beings. The world was on the verge of extinction when Lord Siva intervened and requested Brahma to withdraw Agni and create the god of Death. (Chapter 52, Drona Parva. M.B.).


12) Agni is one of the Asta Vasus which are eight in number. The others are: Apa, Dhruva, Soma, Dharma, Anila, Pratyusa and Prabhasa. (Chapter 15, Vignu Purana).


13) Suci, son of Agni, born of Svahadevi is Badavagni himself. (Chapter 20, Agni Purana).


14) The God, Agni, uses a spear as his weapon and the vehicle he uses is a goat. (Chapter 51; Agni Purana). 15) The sage, Agastya, converted the Visnu idol at the Kuttalam temple into one of S`iva and when people around started an agitation Agastya sent forth flames of fire through his eyes. (Asura Kanda of Skarida Purana).


16) Agni was born to Pururavas as a son named Jatavedas. (Chapter 14, Navama Skandha of Bhagavata).


17) The Devas wanted help to clean their hands when oblated materials stuck to their hands and Agni created from water three sons named Ekata, Dvita and Trita for this purpose. Of these Trita fell into a well while drawing water. Seeing him fall the demons closed the well but Trita broke the top and came out. (Sukta 52, Anuvaka 10, Mandala I of 9gveda).


18) Once the earth looked like heaven because of the innumerable celestial beings who came to earth in search of Agni. (Sukta 65, Anuvaka 12, Mandala 1 of Rgveda).


19) The Sun hands over his effulgence to Agni in the evening and takes it back from him in the morning. (A fact from 8ruti-Sukta 71, Anuvaka 12, Mandala 1 of Rgveda) .


20) For making fire for the sacrificial ceremony the sages use two Arani sticks (These are two pieces of wood, one upper and another lower, and fire is produced by attrition) . It is believed that the sages get the strength to produce fire from it through Vyana, one of the forms of Vayu (air). So Rgveda describes Agni as the son of Vayu. (Sukta 112, Anuvaka 16, Mandala 1) .


21) In the times of the hgveda Agni was worshipped as a God. (Sukta 1, Anuvaka 1, Mandala 1, Rgveda). 22) Lord Siva entered into an elaborate and long conjugal play for creating Subrahmanya. Hundred years went by and still the preliminaries never ended. The universe was on the verge of a collapse and so the devas decided to send Agni to put a stop to this libidinal play of 8iva. But Agni was afraid of 8iva and therefore absconded and hid himself in the ocean. The ocean became hot and the water-animals unable to bear the increasing heat went and informed the devas of Agni's hiding place. Agni cursed them all saying that all of them would go dumb. He then went to the Mandara mountain in the shape of an owl and hid there. But the devas went there also and picked him up. Agni then by his terrible heat stimulated biva into action. 8iva threw his semen into Agni and Agni poured it into GangA and Ganga delivered a child which later on became Subrahmanya. (Taranga 6, Lavanakalariibaka of Kathasaritsagara) .


26) Conclusion. Agni stands next to Indra in importance in the Vedas. Because Agni was indispensable for yagas the care of Agni became very important. According to the Rgveda the birth of Agni is different. Born of the clouds Agni reaches the earth as lightning. Then Agni forsakes its form and becomes invisible. It was Matarisva who gave form to Agni and gave him to the Bhrgu family. From that day onwards it became possible to produce fire and the Rgveda describes how Agrli is produced by sages by the use of Arani sticks. The main job of Agni is to receive the oblations from devas when they conduct yagas.


27) Synonyms of Agni.




The synonyms:


1) Agni, Vaisvanarah,Vahnih, Vitihotra, Dhananjaya, Krpitayoni, Jvalana, Jatavedas, Tanunapat, Barhis, Susma, Krsnavartma, Sociske~a, Usarbhudha, Asrayasa, Brhadbhanu, Krsanu, Pavaka, Anala, Rohitasva, Vayusakha, Sikhavan, Asu'suksani, Hiranyaretas, Hutabhuk, Dahana, Havyavahana, Saptarcis, Damuna, Sukra, Citrabhanu, Vibhavasu, Suci; Appitta.


2) Badavagni : Aurva, Badava, Badavanala.


3) Agnijvala: Jvala, Kila, Arcis, Heti, Sikha. (Flame) 4) Sparks : Sphulinga, Agnikana.


5) Heat : Santapa, Sajvara.


6) Firebrand : Ulka.


7) Ashes: Bhuti, Bhasita, Bhasma, Ksara, Raksa. 8) Wild-fire : Dava, Dava, Vanahutasana.


AGNIBAHU. A son of the first Manu.


AGNIDATTA. See under the word Devadatta.




AGNIDHARA TIRTHA. This is the name of a sacred place near Gautamavana. (See Sloka 146, Chapter 84, Vana Parva, M.B.).




1. Genealogy. Descended from Visnu thus : VisnuBrahma-Marici-Kasyapa- Vivasvan - VaivasvatamanuPriyavrata-Agnidhra.


2. Birth. Priyavrata, son of Vaivasvatamanu, married Barhismati, daughter of Visvakarma. Agnidhra was one of their ten sons. The other nine sons were : Idhmajihva, Yajfiabahu, Mahavira, Hiranyaretas, Ghrtaprstha, Sava, Medhatithi, _Vitihotra and Kavi. A daughter also was born to Priyavrata and Barhismati named Urjjasvati. Sukra married her and Devayani was their daughter.


3) Married life. A,gnidhra married a nymph named Purvacitti. They had nine children : Nabhi, Kirhpurusa, Hari, Ilavrata, Ramyaka, Hirancaya, Kuru, Bhadrasva, and Ketumala. It was from this Kuru that the Kuru Varhsa began.


4) Other incidents. (1) Agnidhra ruled over Jambudvipa for a long time. (Devi Bhagavata, Skandha 8).


(2) While he was the ruler of Jambudvipa Agnidhra once went into a cave and did hard tapas there without eating any food. Brahma then sent a beautiful nymph (Apsard maiden) to him to tempt him and thwart his tapas. Agnidhra fell a victim to the temptation. His penance was shaken by that nymph named Vipracitti. He married her. (Bhagavata, Skandha 5, Chapter 2) .


AGNIHOTRA (M ). This is a sacrifice offered to Ag nideva. This has two parts, nitya and Kamya.


AGNIKETU. A demon (Raksasa) who was a close friend and supporter of Ravana. Rama killed him in the course of his battle with Ravana.


AGNIKUMARA. An epithet of Lord Subrahmanya.


AGNILOKA. One of the devalokas situated on the summit of Mount Mahameru. There are a few other devalokas on the same mountain. They are : Indraloka, Yamaloka, $ivaloka or Kailasa, Satyaloka and Vaikuntha. (Devi Bhagavata).


AGNIMAN. Name of one Agni.


AGNIMITRA. The hero of Kalidasa's play, Malavikagnimitra. He was a King of the Sunga dynasty and the son of Pusyamitra. Kalidasa's play deals with the marriage of Malavika and Agnimitra.




1. Genealogy. He was descended from Visnu in this order: Visnu - Brahma - Marici - Kasyapa - Surapadma Agnimukha.


2. Birth. krapadma married Maya's daughter and Agnimukha was born as their son. In the battle between the devas and asuras, the latter were defeated and one of them sought shelter in Patala (the lower world). Kasyapa married his daughter, Surasa. They had six children; they were : S`urapadma, Siriihika, Simhavaktra, Tarakasura, Gomukha, and Ajamukhi. Surapadma married Maya's daughter. Agnimukha was one of their four sons, the other three being Bhanugopa, Vajrabahu and Hiranya. (Skanda Purana, Asurakanda). In the Skanda Purana there is a vivid descrip~ tion of the valiant way in which Agnimukha fought in the battle between the devas and asuras.


AGNIPA. Son of a Brahmin named Vedanidhi. Once five gandharva maidens named Prarnodini, Susila, SusvarA, Sutara and Candrika fell in love with. him and requested him to marry them. Being a strict Brahmacarin Agnipa was offended by this request and so he cursed them and turned them into fiends. Vedanidhi pitied them and sought the advice of sage Lomassa as to how those unfortunate maidens could be redeemed from the curse. According to Lomasa's advice the five maidens bathed in the holy lake of Prayagatirtha and regained their original forms. Then obeying the instructions of sage Lomasa Agnipa married all these five gandharva maidens. (Chapters 128 and 129, Uttarakhanda, Padma Purana).


AGNIPRAVESA(M). Entering fire. In the YuddhaKanda of the Ramayana, Valmiki has described Sita's entering and standing in fire (Agnipravesam) as a test of her purity. Though Rama recovered Sita from Ra.Vana, he wanted to accept her as his wife only after her purity had been tested and proved. So he decided to test her by fire (Agnihariksana). Sita shed tears at the thought that her husband doubted her chastity. Laksmana, at Rama's bidding, made a pyre. Sita jumped into it after praying to the gods. She remained unscorched by the fire and Rama gladly received her once more as his wife.


AGNIPURA(M). A sacred place (Punya tirtha)in Indore on the banks of the river Narmada. Many scholars identify this with the place Mahesvaram. (8loka 43, Chapter 15, Anusasana Parva, M.B.).




1) General information. This is one of the eighteen Puranas ascribed to Vyasa. It is believed that this Purana was originally given orally (as advice) by Agni-


deva to many sages, devas and Sage Vasistha. It is a vast comprehensive work dealing with every subject of importance. To give a copy of this book to a good Brahmin on the Full Moon day in the month of Marga Sirsa is supposed to be a highly virtuous and meritorious deed.


'2) Contents. This large Purana consists of about 420 chapters. It deals in detail with the following subjects: The Da~avataras of Mahavisnu ; Ramayana ; Mahabharata; rules and injunctions relating to the worship of various gods (devapujavidhis) ; installation of idols in temples (devatapratistha); Svapnamantras ; astrology ; architecture and sculpture; Ayurveda ; Visavaidya (treatment of poisons from Snakebite etc.) ; the principles of the drama (Nataka) and other allied arts ; figures of speech and all alamkaras in general ; and physiology of the human body. All these subjects are treated in a detailed and scientific manner.


AGNIPURNA. A King of the Solar dynasty (Suryavarisa).


1) Genealogy. Agnipurna was descended from Visnu in the following order : Brahma - Marici - KasyapaVivasvan - Vaivasvatamanu - Iksvaku-Vikuksi - SasadaPuranjaya-Kakutstha-Anenas - Prthulasvan-PrasenaJitYuvana'svan - Mandhata - Purukutsa - TrasadasyuAnaranya - Aryasva-Vasumanas-Sutanva-TraiyyarunaSatyavrata - Trig anku-Hariscandra - Rohitasva-HaritaCuncu - Sudeva-Bharuka-Bahuka - Sagara - AsamanjasAdisuman-Dilipa - Bhagiratha-Srutanada-SindhudvipaAyutayus-Rtuparna - Sarvakama - Sudasana - Mitrasakha.Kalm5sapada - Asmaka - Mulaka-KhatvangaDirghabahu-Raghu-Aja - Dag aratha - Sri Rama-Ku-~aAditi-Nisadha-Nabhas-Pundarika-Ksemadhanva -Devanika - Rksa - Pariyatra - Bala-Vindorala - VajranabhaKhagana - Vidhrti - Hiranyanabha - Pusya- Dhruva -Sudarsana - Agnipurna. Agnipurna had two descendants-Sighra and Maru and with them the Suryavama came to an end.


AGNISAMBHAVA. A King of the Solar dynasty.


Genealogy. Visnu-Brahma-Marici-Ka~yapa-Vivasvan -Vaivasvatamanu - Iksvaku - Nimi-Janaka - Nandivardliana-Suketu-Devarata-Brhaddhrta - Mahavira-DhrtiKetu-Haryasva-Maru-Pratisvaka - Kraturatha - Devamidha-Vidhrta-Mahadhrti-Krtirata-Maharoma-Svarnaromaprastharoma - Siradhvaja - Kurudhvaja - Dharmadhvaja - Krtadhvaja - Bhanumdn - gakradyumna-SuciVanadhvaja - Urjjaketu - Aja - Kurujit - AristanemiK,rtayus-Suparsvaka-Citraratha-Ksemapi - HomarathaSatyaratha-Gurunandana-Upagupta-Agnisarrbhava.


There are no other references to this King of the Solar dynasty in the Puraas.




AGNISIKHA. Father of Vararuci. He is also known by the name Somadatta. (Kathasaritsagara-Kathapithalambaka-Taranga 1. See also the word GUNAVARA).


AGNISIRATTRTHA. A holy place on the plains of the river, Yamuna. Arjuna's brother, Sahadeva, performed a yaga at this place. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 90) .


AGNISOMA. A deity born of the union of two devas, Agnideva and Somadeva. He is one of the devas who receive the havis (oblations) poured into the sacrificial fire in a homa.


AGNISOMA(S). Agni and Soma. Agni had two sons by his third wife Bhanu (also called Nisa). They were Agni and Soma. These two sons were collectively called Agnisomas.


AGNISAUCA(M). A cloak with magical properties given to Nala by the serpent, Karkotaka. After separating himself from Damayanti, Nala was wandering in the forest. Then he was bitten by the poisonous serpent, Karkotaka. This deformed Nala beyond recognition. Then the serpent gave him this shawl (Agnisauca)


Anybody who wore that cloak would regain his original form and colour.. (Kathasaritsagara-Alankaravati-lambaka-Taranga 6;. .~-,




AGNISTHAMBHA(M) A mantra that will reduce the burning power of Agni.






1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in this order:Visnu-Svayambhuvamanu - Uttanapada-Dhruva-SrstiRipu-Caksusamanu-Agnistu.


2) Birth. Ten good sons were born to Manu by his wife, Nadvala and Agnistu was one of them. The other nine sons were: Cru, Puru, Satadyumna, Tapasvi, Satyavak, Kavi, Atiratra, Sudyumna and Atimanyu. (Agni Purana, Chapter 18) .


AGNISVATTA. One of the seven Pitrs. The other six Pitrs are : Vairaja, Garhapatya, Somapa, Ekasrnga, Caturveda and Kala. (M.B., Sabha Parva., Chapter 11, Verses 44, 45 and 46) .


AGNIVESA. A Sage. He was the preceptor of Drona and Drupada. It is believed that he learned archery and the military arts from Sage Agastya. Drona had the greatest respect for this guru, Agnivesa. He was a master in the use of all weapons. There are references to this in Chapter 139, Adi Parva of the Mahabharata.


AGRAHA. The name of an Agni, a son of the Agni named Bhanu. Bhanu married Supraja, daughter of the sun and Agraha was one of the six children born to them. In the Caturmasikayajna Agraha receives eight kinds of havis (Oblations). (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 221) .


AGRANI. The name of an Agni. He was the fifth son of the Agni named Bhanu and his wife, Nisadevi. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 221, 9lokas 15 to 22).


AGRASANDHANI. The name of the book which Yama (the God of Death-Kala) keeps in which all the virtuous and sinful actions of men.are recorded.


AGRAYAI\TI. One of the hundred sons of Dhrtarastra. He is also known by the name, Anuyayi. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 116, Verse 11).


AHA I. One of the astavasus. His father was Dharma and mother, Ratidevi. (M.B., Adi Parva, 9lokas 17 to 20, Chapter 66) .


AHA II (AHAH). A sacred pond. If one bathes in it he will go to the land of the Sun. (M.B., Vana Parva, 9loka 100, Chapter 83) .


AHA III. One born of the dynasty of demons (asuraVamsa). (See under Heti, the genealogy chart of the demon dynasty).


AHARA. A son born of Danu to Kasyapa. (M.B., Adi Parva, Sloka 25, Chapter 65).


AHALYA. Turned into stone by the curse of her husband, Gautama. Ahalya was a princess of the Puru dynasty.




1) Genealogy. Descended in order from Visnu as follow: Brahma Atri-Candra-Budha - Pururavas-Ayus-Nahus~ Yayati-Paru janamejaya - Pracinva - Pravira-Namasyi Vitabhaya - Sundu - Bahuvidha - Sarizyati - Rahovadi Raudrasva-Matinara-Santurodha - Dusyanta - Bharat~ Brhatksetra-Hasti-Ajamidha-Nila-Santi-Susanti-Puruj~ Arka-Bharmyasva-Pancala-Mudgala-Ahalya.


2) How Ahalyd got a curse and became a stone. The stor of how Ahalya was cursed by her husband, Gautam; and was turned into a stone is told in different versior in different puranas. The following is the version in tk Valmiki Ramayana. When Visvamitra was taking bac Rama and Laksmana from the forest to the palace c Tanaka they came across an asrama on their way. Givin details about that asrama Visvamitra told the prince thus : "This is the asrama where the sage, Gautama, w: living with his wife, Ahalya. Indra fell in love with tt beautiful Ahalya and while the sage was out fbr bathin Indra entered the drama in the disguise of the sa£ himself and took bed with her. But before Indra coul get out Gautama himself came to the Erama and er raged at what he saw, cursed them both. Indra was t lose his testicles and Ahalya was to turn into a ston, But taking pity on her the sage declared that she won] take her original form the moment R4ma of treta yup came to that place and touched the stone by his foo Testicleless Indra went to devaloka and there his frienc feeling sorry for him, substituted a goat's testicle an got him to normal." While Vigvamitra was talking t the princes, Sri Rama's foot touched the stone and Ahaly stood up in all beauty. Ahalya and Gautama lived i the same asrama again for another long period.


In Kathasaritsagara this story is told in a slightly diffe rent yet more interesting way. As soon as Gautam entered the asrama Indra turned himself into a ca Angrily the sage questioned Ahalya, "who was standin here when I carne in ?" Ahalya replied, "Eso thiyo kb majjara" (Esah sthitah khalu marjjarah). It was a cz which was standing there. Here Ahalya used a pun o the word `majjara' and tried to be honest. `Majjara'


the Prakrit form of the word `marjjarah' which means ca But `majjara' has another meaning also. (ma=min jara=lover i.e. majjara=my lover). So Ahalya did n< lie to her husband. (Kathasaritsagara, Lavanakalarr baka). '


3) How Ahalya happened to bring up the mighty monkeys, Ba and Sugriva. Once Aruna, the charioteer of Surya (tt Sun) went to devaloka to see the dance of the celesti< maidens there. Since there was no admission to the danc for men Aruna disguised himself as Arunidevi and sougl admission; seeing the beautiful form of Arunidevf Indr fell in love with her and that night a child was born t Indra by her. On the advice of Indra Arunidevi took tb child to Ahalya before daybreak and left it there to b looked after by her. It was this child which later o became the famous Bali.


Aruna went a bit late that morning to his master, tb Sun. The latter wanted an explanation and Aruna tol him what had happened. The Sun then asked Aruna t become Arunidevi again and seeing the enchanting figu~ the Sun also got a child of her. This child also was take to Ahalya and it was this child that later on became th famous Sugriva.


AHALYAHRADA (M). A sacred pond in the tapovar (precincts of an asrama) of Gautama Rsi. It is believedAINDAVA. (See paragraph 13 under the wordthat one would go. to heaven if one bathes in it.BRAHMA).


AHARA. A son born of Danu to Kasyapa. (M.B., Adi AIRAVATA I. A large elephant, son of Iravati.

Parva, Sloka 25, Chapter 65).

1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu


AHICCHATRA. This was the capital of the state Ahicchatra which Drona got from Drupada, the King of Paricala.


AHICCHATRA (M). A state under the sovereignty of  King Pancala. On the completion of his studies under  Drona Arjuna brought before his preceptor King Dru  pada as a captive in discharge of the duty he owed to  him as his master. Drupada then gave the state- of  Ahicchatra to Drona and got his release. (M.B., di  Parva, 9lokas 73 to 76, Chapter 137).


AHIIVISA. Non-injury. There are opinions both in favourof and against Ahirnsa in the puranas. Sukracarya ex  tols the importance of Ahiriisa to the asuras (demons)  thus


"Oh, foes of the devas, I shall tell you the truth which is good for you. Non-injury to any living being is the most  righteous thing. Do not molest even those who come to  kill you. Even that act would be `hirhsa' (injury). It  was those brahmrns who were attached to worldly plea  sures and addicted to overeating that enjoined in the  Vedas that hirhsa is permissible for yagas." (Devi Bhaga  vata, Skanda 4) . Markandeya Muni (sage) says thus  "Why should I mind the innumerable killings going on  unnoticed in this world full of life. People of old speak  very sacredly about Ahirhsa. But O best of brahmins, who can live in this world without injury to another life ?" (M.B., Aranya Parva, Slokas 32 & 33, Chapter 208):


AHIRATHA. A King of the Puru dynasty. (See under Patuvarirsa).


AHIRBUDHNYA. One of the sons of Visvakarma. Five sons and one daughter were born to Visvakarmaof his  wifeSurabhi. They were Ajaikapat, Ahirbudhnya,  Tvasla, Rudra, Barhismati and Sarhjna. (See under  genealogy of Visvakarma).


AHITA. Axiver of ancient Bharata. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, sloka 21, Chapter 9). 


AHORATRA(M). (See under Kaiamana).


AHOVIRA. A sage who adhered strictly to the injunctions  associated with the Vanaprastha stage of life. (M.B.,  9anti Parva, 9loka 17, Chapter 144).


AIKSVAKI. Wife of Suhotra who was a son of Emperor,  Bhumanyu. Suhotra had three sons by Aiksvaki. They  were Ajamidha, Sumidha and Purumidha. (See Chapter  94 of Adi Parva of the M.B.).


AILA I. Son of Ila; Purdravas. (See under Ila).


AILA II. A member of the court of Yamaraja. (See 9loka 16, Chapter 8, Sabha Parva, M.B.). In 8loka 65, Chapter 115 of Anusasana Parva, it is said that he never ate non-vegetarian food in his life, diphthong means a female sage (yogini) to the Agni Purana (Chapter 348 of Agni)


Visnu - Brahma - Kasyapa - Bhadramata-Iravati-Airavata. Kasyapa married Daksa's daughter, Krodhavasa who bore him ten daughters. They were : Mrgi, Mrgamanda, Hari, Bhadramata, Matangi, kdrdfill, Sveta, Surabhi, Sarasa and Kadru. Of these Bhadramata had a daughter named Iravau and Airavata was her son. Airavata was not human in shape; he was a large elephant. (See Sarga 14, Aranyakarda, Ramayana).


2 ) Indra's Pahana. Indra made Airavata his conveyance (vahana ) . Indra was Kasyapa's son by Aditi. Airavata also was descended from Kasyapa. So Indra took Airavata as his vahana.


3 ) Airavata caused the churning of the ocean of Milk. There is a story of how Airavata was responsible for the churning of the milk-ocean (Ksirabdhi-mathanam). Once some maidens of devaloka presented a garland of flowers to sage Durvasas. When Durvasas visited Indra's court he gave that garland to Indra. Indra put it on the tusks of his vahana, Airavata. The fragrance of the flowers attracted a swarm of bees which became an intolerable nuisance to Airavata. So Airavata tore the garland off his tusks and hurled it away. When DurvAsas heard this, he took it as an insult. In his anger he cursed all the gods-the curse was that all gods should become subject to old age and the decrepitude and infirmities of old age. But though Durvasas cursed the gods, he also prescribed a remedy. The gods could redeem themselves from the curse by drinking Amrtam obtained from the ocean of Milk (Mahavisnu lies on the serpent, S`esa on this ocean). The curse began to operate and the gods lost their perennial youth. The gods then befriended the Asuras and with their help they churned the ocean of Milk. They got the nectar (Amrtam), drank it and regained them youth. (See under the word AMRTAM).


4) There is another story about Airavata-A story of how he also rose out of the ocean of Milk. It is said that when the devas and asuras churned the ocean of Milk, Airavata also came up along with the other good things. This story is narrated in the 18th Chapter of Adi Parva of the Mahabharata. The explanation given is that when Durvasas cursed the gods, Airavata was oppressed with a sense of guilt because he was responsible for the curse. So he took refuge in the ocean of Milk and there started propitiating Mahavisnu. There is however no warrant for such an explanation in the puranas. But the explanation sounds- plausible because it explains the absence of Airavata during the interval between Durvasas's curse and the churning of the sea. Airavata is represented as a white elephant. It is probable that he became white after his long residence in the ocean of Milk. This lends some additional plausibility to the above explanation.


5 ) Airavata, the Lord of the elephant.- In the Visnu Purana we are told how Airavata was made the chief of all elephants. When the Maharsis had crowned Prthu as the sovereign King, Brahma gave new posts of honour to many of the devas. He made SOMA (Moon) the lord of the Stars and Planets, of Brahmins, Yajnas and herbs. Kubera was made the overlord of all kings; Varuria was made the master of the seas and all water; Visnu, the, lord of the Adityas and Pavaka (Fire) the lord of


AIRAVATA the Vasus. Along with these Brahma made Airavata the lord of all elephants. (Chapter 22, Visnu Purana).


6) The breaking ofAirdvata's tusks. There is a story of how the tusks of Airavata were broken narrated in the Asurakanda of Skanda Purana. Once an asura (demon) named Surapadma attacked devaloka. A fierce battle ensued between the gods and asuras. In the course of this battle, Jayanta, Indra's son, was hit by an arrow and at once he fell dead. Enraged by this Airavata rushed at 9urapadma's chariot and shattered it to pieces. Airavata then attacked gurapadma who broke his tusks and hurled him down to the earth. Airavata lay paralysed for a long time; then he got up, retired to a forest and, prayed to Lord Siva. With the grace of Siva Airavata regained his lost tusks and was able to return to devaloka.


7) Other details about Airavata. (1) There is a belief that Airavata is one of the eight elephants guarding the eight zones of the universe. These eight elephants are called the Astadiggajas. Airavata is supposed to guard the eastern zone. (Chapter 66, Adi Parva, Mahabharata).


(2) Airavata and three other diggajas are supposed to reside in Puskara Island. (Chapter 12, Bhisma Parva, M.B.).


AIRAVATA II. Name of a serpent born to Kasyapa and his wife Kadru. This is mentioned in 9loka 5, Chapter 35, Adi Parva of the Mahabharata. Arjuna's father-inlaw and Ulupi's father, Kauravya belonged to the family of this serpent. (See 9loka 18, Chapter 213, Adi Parva ) .


AIRAVATA. An asura who was killed by Sri Krsna. (See Chapter 38, Sabha Parva, Mahabharata ).


AIRAVATAGHATTA. Name of a place near the seashore, lying to the north of the mountain, gfngavan. (See Sloka 37, Chapter 6, Bhisma Parva).


AISIKAM. Name of a small division of a parva of the NIahabharata. (See under Mahabharata).


AITAREYA I. A great scholar with profound knowledge of the Vedas. Being -a non-Brahmin he was not able to learn the Vedas from a guru. In spite of this handicap he acquired considerable scholarship and wrote a learned commentary on the Rgveda. This commentary ranks high among the various commentaries on the Vedas.


AITAREYA II. Son of Sage, Manduki by his first wife, Itara. Being the son of Itara he came to be called Aitareya. As a boy he was very pious and used to chant the mantra "Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya" frequently. But he was a shy and silent boy and his father mistook his silence to be a sign of stupidity. Dissatisfied with him and being desirous of having learned sons, Manduki married another woman named Pinga and had four sons by her who all became very learned. Once Itara called her son and told him that his father regarded him as an unworthy son and .was. often twitting her using insulting words for having given birth to so unworthy a son. She then told him of her resolve to sacrifice her life. Aitareya then made an enlightening discourse to her and dissuaded her from her determination to commit suicide. Some time later Lord Visnu appeared before them anal blessed the mother and son. On the advice of Visnu Aitareya participated in the yajna conducted by Hari-


medhya at Kotitirtha and there he made a learned speech on the Vedas. Harimedhya was so pleased with him that he gave his daughter in marriage to, him. (Set Skanda Purana, Chapters 1, 2 and 42))AJA I. A king of the Solar dynasty.


1) Genealogy. From Visnu were descended in order: Brahma, Marici-Kasyapa-Vivasvan - Vaivasvata - Iksvaku-Vikuksi - Saga& - Puranjaya - Kukutstha -AnenasPrthulagva - Prasenajit - Yuvanasva - Mandhata - Purukutsa-Trasadasyu - Anaranya - Aryasva - VasumanasSudhanva - Traiyaruna - Satyavrata - Trisariku - Hariscandra - Rohitasva - Harita - Cuncu - Sudeva - BharukaBahuka - Sagara - Asamanjas - Ariisuman - Dilipa -Bhagiratha - grutanabha - Sindhudvipa - Ayutayus -Rtuparna - Sarvakama - Sudasana - Mitrasakha - Kalmasapada - Asmaka - Mulaka - Dilipa - Dirghabahu -Raghu - Aja - Aja's son Dasaratha-Dasaratha's son, Sri Rama.

M.B., Anuaasana Parva, Chapter 115, Verse 75 says that Aja never used to take meat.


AJA II. Among the different kinds of Rsis mentioned by Yudhisthira, we find a class of Rsis called Ajas. (M.B.,Santi Parva, Chapter 26). These Ajas had attained Heaven by Svadhyaya (self discipline) alone.


AJA III. King Jahnu had a son named Aja. Usika was the son of this Aja. King Usika prayed to Indra for a son. Indra himself was born as the son of Usika assuming the name Gadhi. Satyavati was born as the daughter of Gadhi. She was married to Rcika. Para€urama's father, ,Jamadagni was the son of Rcika. (M.B., Sand Parva, Chapter 49).


AJA IV. By the grace of diva Surabhi was able to purify herself by penance. She then gave birth to Aja, Ekapat, Ahirbudhnya, Tvasta and Rudra. (Agni Purana, Chapter 18).


AJA V. In the first Manvantara* Svayambhuva, in the second Manvantara Svarocisa and in the third Manvantara Uttama, were Manus. To the third Manu, Uttama, were born as sons Aja, Parasu, Dipta and others: (Visnu Purana, Part 3, Chapter 1).


Besides the above, the term Aja has been used to mean Surya, Siva, Brahma, Visnu, Sri Krsna and Bija (seed).


AJAGAVA. Ajagava is a bow made of the horns of a goat and a cow. Brahmins tormented the right hand of the King Vena. From it the brilliant Prthu who shone brightly like the God Agni, appeared as the son of Vena. At that time the very first Ajagava bow, divine arrows and armours dropped from the sky. (Visnu Purana, Part I, Chapter 13 ) .


AJAIKAPAT I. He was one of the eleven Rudras, who were born to Sthanudeva, the son of Brahma. The eleven Rudras are:-


1. Mrgavyadha 2. Niirti


3. Ahirbudhnya 4. Pinaki 5. Sarpa 6. Ajaikapat


(M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 66, Verse 2 ).


AJAIKAPAT II. Among the sons of Visvakarma, we find one Ajaikapat. Brahma created Visvakarma. Visvakarma had four sons-Ajaikapat, Ahirbudhnya,


W One Manvantara is a period equal to ¢,g2o,oao human years or equal to z/4th day of Brahma.


** The names of the Eleven Rudras given in the Visnu Purana, Part I, Chapter g are : Hara, Bahurupa, Tryambaka, Apafajita V;qakapi, $ambhu, Kapardi, Raivata, M;gavyadha, larva, Kapali. t1 total number of ioo Rudras are mentioned is the Puiasas.

7. Dahana 8. Isvara 9. Kapali 10. Bharga 11. Sthanu.


AJAKA Tvasta and Rudra. (Visnu Purana, Part I, Chapter 15). This Ajaikapat is one of those who are in-charge of preserving all the gold in this world. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 114, Verse 4).


AJAKA. An Asura.


Birth. Kasyapa was born the son of Marici, son of Brahma. Kasyapa married Danu, one of the daughters of Daksa and had two sons by her. They were Ajaka and Vrsaparva. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 24; Chapter 67, Verse 16).


AJAKASVA. A king of the Puru Vamsa. The mighty Jahnu was born to Ajamidha by his wife Kesini. Two sons, Ajakasva and Balakasva were born to Jahnu. Kusika is the son of Balakasva. Kusika, is the grandfather of Visvamitra. For genealogy see Puru Varirsa. (Agni Purana, Chapter 278).


AJAMIDHA I. A famous king of the Puru Varhsa.


1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in this order: Brahma - Atri - Candra - Budha - Pururavas - Ayus -Nahusa - Yayati - Puru - Janamejaya - Pracinva-Manasyu - Vltabhaya - Sundu - Bahuvidha - Sarizyati - Rahovadr - Bhadr asva - Matinara - Santurodha - Dusyanta -Bharata-Brhatksetr a-Hasti-Ajamidha.


2) Birth. Several dynasties like Yadu Va;rhsa, Puru Varii-~a etc. take their origin from Yayati. Dusyanta belongs to that dynasty. King Bharata was born as Dusyanta's son by Sakuntala. Suhotra - Suhota - Gaya -Gardda-Suketu and Brhatksetra were Bharata's sons. Brhatksetra had four children, who were : Nara, Mahavira, Garga and Hasti. Of them Hasti had three sons: Purumidha, Ajamidha and Dvimldha.


3) Other details. Ajamidlra had three queens-Dhumini, Nil! and Kesini. Of them, Dhumin! had a son, Rksa and Nili's son was Dusyanta (This was not ~akuntala's husband, Dusyanta) and Kesini's sons were Jahnu, Praja and Rupina. Paramest! was another name of Kesinl. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 94„ Verses 30-32; Anusasana Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 2).


AJAMIDHA II. We.come across another Ajamidha also in the Lunar Dynasty. He married Sudeva, daughter of Vikantha a King of the Lunar Dynasty. This Ajamldha had 2400 children by his four wives, Kaikey i, Gandhari, Visala and Rksa. Of them Sarirvarana married Tapati, the daughter of Vivasvan. See Tapati Sarirvarana. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 95, Verses 35=37) .


AJAMILA. Ajamila's story is given in the Bhagavata as an example to illustrate that even the most wicked person can attain Visnupada (Salvation).


Ajamila was a Brahmin who was once sent by his father to the jungle to fetch samit (leaves and twigs to make the sacrificial fire). Ajamila met there a beautiful Sudra woman. Forgetting everything, the Brahmin made her his wife and children were born to them. When that Brahmin, who was the very embodiment of all vices, reached the age of eightyseven, the time came for him to die. Yamadutas (Agents of Yama-the god of death) had arrived. The frightened Ajamila shouted loudly the name of his eldest son, `Narayana'. Hearing the repeated call of his name `Narayana', Mahavisnu appeared there and dismissed the agents of Yama. From that day Ajamila became a devotee of Visnu and did penance on the bank of the Ganges and after some years attained salvation. (Bhagavata, Asta,ma Skandha, Chapter 1)..


AJAMUKHA (AJAVAKTRA). He was one of the soldiers in Skanda's army. (M.B., Salya Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 75). In the battle between Skanda and the Asuras, Ajamukha killed the Asura, Madhu. (Skanda Purana, Yuddha Kanda).




1. Genealogy. Descended from Visnu thus : BrahmaMarici-Kasyapa-Ajamukhi.


2) Birth Long ago in the battle between Devas and Asuras one of the routed Asuras had fled to P4tala (Hell) . Surasa was his daughter. Brahma's grandson, Kasyapa married Surasa. She gave birth to six children-8urapadma, Sirhhika, Sirhhavaktra, Tarakasura, Ajamukhi and Gomukha. The Asura woman Ajamukhi is one of them. 3) Chief events. (1) Marriage with Durvdsas. Once Surapadrna called his two brothers, Sirhhavaktra and Tarakasura and ordered them to set up two cities, one to the north and the other to the south, of Mahameru. In obedience to his elder brother, Tirakdsura started with one half of the army and set up a city to the south of Mahameru. That city was named Mayapura. Sirirhavaktra lived in the city on the northern side of Mahameru. Their sister Ajamukh! went about enticing men to satisfy her lustful passion. Once, in the course of her wanderings, she met Durvasas in the Himalayan valley. They fell in love and even married. The two Asuras, Ilvala and Vatapi were born from their union. They insisted on sharing their father's achievements between them. Durvasas cursed them that they would die at the hands of Agastya. (Skanda Purana, Asura Kanda).


(2) The cutting off of Ajimukhi's hands. While wandering with her lustful passion, Ajamukh! once went to the giva temple at Kasi. There she happened to meet Indra's wife, !;acidevi. In order to give her to her brother, 8urapadma, Ajamukh! caught hold of 9acidevl. 8ac!devi screamed aloud. Suddenly giva appeared there with His sword. Even then Ajamukh! refused to release Sacidevi. giva rescued Indrani (Sacidevi) by cutting off Ajamukhi's hands. Hearing this, 9urapadma sent his army and imprisoned the Devas. The imprisoend Brahma at the instance of Purapadma, restored Ajamukhi's hands. Purapadma's son, Bhanugopa fought against theremaining Devas and defeated them. (Skanda Purana, Asura Kanda).




AJANABHA. A mountain. A reference to this is seen in the M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 165, Verse 32. Another name, Ajanabha Varsa for the territory ruled over by Ajanablra, is also found in Bhagavata, Fifth Skandha, Chapter 1.


AJARA. Tapantaka, the minister of King Vatsa, told him the story of a man named Ajara to illustrate the law that all people will have to suffer the consequences of their actions in a previous birth. The story is given below:-


Once upon a time, there lived a King named-Vinayasila in Vilasapura, in the city of rikanthanagari. After some years, the King was affected by wrinkles of old age. A physician named Tarunacandra came to the palace to cure the King of his wrinkles. "The King should remain alone in the interior of the earth for full eight months. He has to use a medicine while remaining there. It should not even be seen by anyone else. I myself am to administer the medicine"-This was the physician's


prescription. The King agreed. Accordingly the King




and the physician spent six months in the interior of the earth. After, that the physician, after a search, found a man who exactly resembled the King and brought him to the interior of the earth. After two more months, the physician murdered the King and came out with the new man. The people welcomed him with honour as the King who was cured of his wrinkles. This man was Ajara. After some time, the physician approached Ajara for his reward. Ajara said: "It is by my Karmaphala (consequence of my actions in my previous birth) that I have become King. In my previous birth I renounced my body after doing penance. According to the boon which God gave me on that occasion, I have become King in my present birth". The physician returned empty-handed. (Kathasaritsagar2, Ratnaprabhalarnbaka, 6th Taratiga) .


AJAVINDU. He was a King, born in the dynasty of the Suviras. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 74, Verse 14).


AJEYA. He was a King in ancient Bharata. Ajeya's name is found among the names of the Kings mentioned by Safijaya to Dhrtarastra. All these Kings were mighty and generous rulers who were the recipients of divine arrows. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 234).


AJI:GARTA (RCIKA). He was a greedy Brahmin. (See RCIKA I


King Hariscandra who was distressed by having no children, propitiated god Varuna. Varuna blessed him saying that a son would be born to him. But the condition was that the child should be sacrificed to Varuna. When the child was born, Hariscandra did not like to sacrifice the boy. The sage Visvamitra suggested that instead of sacrificing his own son it would be enough if he bought another boy and sacrificed him. Accordingly, Hariscandra sent his minister to find out and purchase a Brahmin boy for the sacrifice. At that time there lived in Ayodhya a greedy Brahmin named Ajigarta. He had three sons. In the course of~his search, the minister came across this needy Brahmin and asked him whether he was willing to sell one of his three sons. He continued: "Why should you be in this wretched state of poverty and misery ? Sell one of your sons and you will get 100 cows as the price". The minister's words and the price offered for the son made a deep impression on the Brahmin's mind. He thought:


"It is impossible for me to earn 100 cows. Even if it were possible how long would it take? If I sell him I shall


get hundred cows at once. What a lucky chance ! The loss of a son is nothing." So thinking, he sold his son S`unaVepha. (For the rest of the story, see the word "gunassepha" Devi Bhagavata, Skandhas 7, 8).


AJINA. 1) Genealogy From Visnu, Brahma, Mariei, Kasyapa; Vaivasvata,-Uttanapada, Dhruva, 8,rsti, Ripu, Caksusa, Mann, Urn, Arhga, Vena, Prthu, Antardhana, I3avirdhana and Ajina.


2) Birth. Prthu had two sons, Antardhana and Vadi. Antardhana had a son, Havirdhana, by gikhandini. Dhisana, who was born in the Agnikula became Iiavir= dhana's wife. Six sons were born to them, Pracinabarhis, Sukra, Gaya, Krsna, Vraja and Ajina. (Visrru Purana, Part I, Chapter 14).


AJISAKA. (See the word (~AKAVARSA).


AJODARA. There was an individual called Ajodara in Skanda's army. (M.B., galya Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 60 ).


AKAMPANA. (A mighty warrior among the demons). 1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in the following order: Visnu - Brahma - Heti - Vidyukesa - Sukesa Sumali-Akampana.


2) Other details. Sumali married Ketumati and got fourteen children. They were 1) Prahasta 2) Akampana 3) Vikata 4) Kalakamukha 5) Dhumraksa 6) Danda 7) Supar,,va 8) Sariihrada 9) Prakvata 10) Bhasakarna. 11) Veka 12) Puspotkata 13) Kaikasi and 14) Kumbhinadi. Of these the last four are daughters. Prahasta was one of the ministers of Ravana. The thirteenth child Kaikasi was married to Visravas, son of Pulastya. Visravas got three sons and a daughter. They were Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhisana and krpanakha. It was Akampana who informed Ravana that Rama and Laksmana had killed his three allies, Khara; Dusana and Trisiras (Aranya Kanda, Valmiki Ramayana).


3) Death. Akampana fought a fierce battle with Hanuman and in the end Hanuman plucked a big tree and hit Akampana on the head with it and killed him. (Sarga 56, Yuddha Kanda of Ramayana)


AKAMPANA II. He was a king who lived in the Krtayuga. He had a son named Hari who was a fierce fighter. He was killed in a battle and the King became much depressed. Narada consoled him with other stories and Vyasa told this story to Dharmaputra when he found the latter greatly dejected and gloomy after the great battle was over. (Chapter 52, Drona Parva of M.B. also makes mention of Akampana).


AKARKKARA. A serpent, son of Kadru.


1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in this order Brahma-Marici-Kasyapa-Akarkkara.


2) Birth. Kasyapa married the eight daughters of Daksa named Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kalika, Tamra, Krodhava,a, Manu and Anala. Krodhavaa got ten sons. One of them is Kadru. Ananta and Akarkkara were born of Kadru. (Sloka 16, Chapter 35, Adi Parva, M.B.).


AKRODHA. A King of the Puru dynasty. He was born to King `Ayutanayi' and his Queen, Kama. Kama, mother of Akrodha, was the daughter of Prthu...rava.


(sloka 21, Chapter 95, Adi Parva, M.B.).


AKRTASRAMA. He is one of the few sannyasins whc have gone to heaven after completing the fourth arama of life namely, Sannyasa. The Kaurava-Pandava battle was over. As the eldest, Dharmaputra performer obsequies to all those of his kith and kin dead in the war He was then met by many sages including Vyasa anc Narada who comforted him in his bereavement. Wher Dharmaputra later met Bhisma the latter among man) other stories told him the story of Akrtasrama also


(Sloka 17, Chapter 244, Santi Parva, 1VI.B. ).




1) General information. Akrtavrana was a great sage o erudition and was a disciple of Parasurama. He is ex tolled in the Puranas and it is said that Suta who recite( first the story of Mahabharata to an assembly of sages it the forest of Naimisa was a disciple of Akrtavrana


(Skandha 12 of Bhagavata).


2) Horn he became a disciple of Parasurima. Para uram: was returning after obtaining arrows from Lord Siv, after pleasing him by fierce penance. He was walkin; briskly through the dense forests anxious to be at the std of his preceptors to get their blessings. As he passed


grea t cave he heard a moan and on getting to the sit of the sound found a brahmin boy being attacked by


tiger. The tiger immediately fell dead by an arrow fror




Parasurama. Lo ! the tiger turned into a gandharva freed now from a curse because of which he was for years living as a tiger. The gandharva bowed down respectfully and thanked the sage for giving him relief and left the place. The Brahmin boy fell down at the feet of Para::urama and said, "Great ford, because of you I hav. now become Akrtavrana meaning one who has not received any wound., (Akita=not having secured, Vrana =wound). I shall, therefore, be your disciple forever hereafter". From that day onwards he never left Para.vurama but followed him as his disciple.


3 ) Other details. (1) In the story of Mahabharata we find Akrtavrana in several different contexts appearing on behalf of Parasurama. It was Akrtavrana who told Dharmaputra the life and exploits of farasurama during the exile of the Pandavas in tire forests. (Chapters I 15 to 117, Vana Parva, M.B.),


(2) In Chapter 83 of Udyoga Parva we read about tlkrtavrana meeting Sri Krsna while the latter was going to Hastinapura.


(3) In Chapter 173 of Udyoga Parva`we read about Akt^tavrana detailing the history of the Kaurava dynasty to Duryodhana.


(4) Akrtavrana has played a very important role in the story of Amba, daughter of the King of Kasi. Amba along with her two sisters, Ambika, and Ambalika; were brought down to Hastixxapura by Bhisma for his brother Vicitravirya to xrtarry. But on knowing that Amba, had mentally chosen Salva as her husband, Bhisma allowed her to go back to Sdlva. But on her return to Salva he refused to accept her and she came back to Hastinapura. Bh9sma then requested Vicitravirya to accept her as his wife which, unfortunately, Vicitravirya also refused to do. Amba then turned to Bhisma and besought him to marry her which, much to his regret, he could not do because of his vow of celibacy. Thus forsaken by all, all her sweetness turned into bitter hatred towards Bhisma and she remained alive thereafter only to kill Bhisma. But even the foremost of warriors were not willing to antagonise Bhisma and so her appeal to help was not heeded by any. It was then that Hotra>vaha her grandfather on the maternal side met her and directed her to ParMurama. When she went to Parasurama it was Akrtavrana who received her and on hearing her sorrowful tale encouraged her to seek vengeance on Bhisma. Again it was he who persuaded Parw'urama to champion her cause and go for a fight against Bhisma. During the fight Akrtavrana acted as charioteer to Para:,uram.a. (9loka 9, Chapter 179, Udyoga Parva,


(5) Akrtavrana was one of the manysages who were lying on a bed ~of arrows during the great Kuruksetra battle. (9laka 8, Chapter 26, Anusasana Parva, M.B.). AKRCRA.


1)  Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in the following order : Brahma-Atri-Candra-Budha - Pururavas - AyusNahusa-Yayati-Yadu (Chapter XII of Agni Purana). Descending from Yadu in order were Sahasrajit-gatajitHehaya-Dharma-Kunti-Bhadrasena-Dhanaka-Krtavirya Karttaviryarjuna - Madhu - Vrsni (Chapter XXIII of Navama Skandha,

 Bhagavata ) . The Vrsni dynasty begins and from Vrsni in order descended Yudhajit-giniSatyaka-Satyaki Jaya-Kuni-Anamitra-Prsni-Svaphalka -Akrura. (Chapter XXIV of Navama Skandha,Bhagavata ) -


2 ) Birth. Svaphalka of the Vrsni dynasty married Nandini, daughter, a£ the King of Kasi and Akrura was born to there. Akrura was an uncle of Sri Krsna but is respected more as a worshipper of Krsna.


3) Other details. (P )He became famous as a commander of the Yadava army. (Chapter 220 o£Adi Parva, M.B. ). (2 ) Akrura was also present for the gvayaxnvara (wedding) o£Pancali. (Sloka 18, Chapter 185 of Adi Parva,


( 3 ) At the time of Arjuna's eloping with Subhadra, a grand festival was going on in the Raivata mountain and Akrura'was partaking in the same. (Slaka. 10, Chapter 218, Adi Parva, M.B.).


(4) Akrura accompanied Krsna with the dowry intended for Subhadra. (Sloka 29, Chapter 220, Adi Parva,


( 5 ) Akrura came to the country called Upaplavya for attending the marriage of Abhixnanyu. (Sloka 22, Chapter 72, Virata Parva, M.B.).


(6) Akxura and Ahuka always quarrelled with each other both alleging ~t,hat the other sided with the opposite camp of Krsna. (~Iokas 9~ to 11, Chapter 81, anti Parva, M.B.).


(7 ) Karnsa planning to kill Balabhadrarama and Sri Krsna conducted a festival called Capapuja (worship of the bow). It was Akrura whom Kamsa sent to bring Balabhadra and Krsna for the festival. Akrura understood the plot, informed Krsna about it and also advised Krsna to kill Karixsa. (Davama. Skandha, Bhagavata). (8) Akrura fought against Jarasandha on the side of Krsna. (Dasama Skandha).


(9) (r)n another occasion Kisna, Balabhadra and Uddhava sent Akrura to Hastinapura to get tidings about Kunti arid the Pandavas. Akrura met his sister Kunti and talked to her for a long time and also met Dhrtarastra and talked to him after which he returned to Dvaraka. (Da,~:ama Slcandita).


10 ) Akrura went to Hastinapura as a messenger from ~ri Krsna. (Refer sub-para 3 of para 13 under Krsna). 4) Domestic Life. Akrura married Sutanu, daughterof Ahuka and got two sons named Devaka and Upadevaka. (Navama Skandha).


5 ) Syamantaka and Akr ura. Refer para 2 under the word Krtavarma.


AKSA I. (Aksakurnara).


1) Genealogy. Descended follows: Brahma - Pulastya -(Uttararamayana ) .


2 ) Birth. Three sons were born to Ravana, King of the demons, by his wife Mandadari. They were Meghanada, Atikaya and Aksakumara. Aksakumara was a redoubtable hero and a fierce fighter but was killed by Haniaman in Laxika. (Sarga 47, Sundara Kanda, Valmiki Ramayana )


AKSA II. We find another warrior of this name among the soldiers who came to help Skanda in the KauravaPandava battle. (8loka 58, Chapter 45, galya Parva,


AKSAHRDAYA. A sacred chant or mantra. When Nala was roaming about in the forests after his separation from Damayanti he happened to save the cobra, Karkotaka, from a wild fire. But in return the snake bit him and made 'him as black as clouds. He then advised Nala to go to the palace of King Ittuparna where the in order from Visnu as Visravas - Ravana - Aksa. Cobra said, Nala would be taught the secret mantra of Aksahrdaya by the King.


One who knows this sacred chant can find out all secrets of a game of dice and can count within rap time the number of leaves, fruits and flowers on a tree. Nala went to Rtuparna and stayed with him. While living there a brahmin named Sudeva came to Rtuparna and informed him that Damayanti was going to marry again. IZ tuparna immediately started for Vidarbha taking Nala as his charioteer. The chariot driven by Nala flew like a wind and on the way when Rtuparna's handkerchief fell down and he requested Nala to stop the chariot. Nala informed him that by the time the request was made they had travelled already one yojana. As they proceeded they saw a huge tree full of leaves and fruits. Rtuparna at a glance told Nala that the tree contained five crores of leaves and two thousand nine hundred and five fruits. Nala was surprised. Then they understood that Nala was able to drive the chariot so quickly because of his knowledge of the sacred chant Asvahrdaya and that Rtuparna was able to count the leaves and fruits because of his knowledge of the chant Aksahrdaya. They taught each other the sacred mantras. Because of this Aksahrdaya Nala was able to win the game of dice the second time and regain his kingdom. (Chapter 72, Vana Parva).


AKSAMALA (ARUNDHATI). See under Arundhati.


AKSAPRAPATANA. A particular place in the country of Anartta. At this place Sri Krsna killed -two demons named Gopati and Talaketu. (Sloka 29, Chapter 38, Sabha Parva, M.B.).


AKSARAPURUSA. When all was set for the Kuruksetra battle Arjuna showed signs of weakness and hesitated to proceed for a fight. Sri Krs:na then through the famous Gita enunciated a philosophy of life during the course of which he speaks about the two purusas, Ksara and Aksara. All that we see in this world and enjoy are Ksara and the power behind all of them is Aksara. God is one who transcends the aspects Ksara and Aksara and stands as the root cause of all life. (Slokas 16 to 19, Chapter 39, Bhisma Parva, M.B. )


AKSARCTRA. She was the wife of the sage Apastamba. She was a very chaste woman. (See under Apastamba).


AKSAUHINT. A big division of an army. It is described in the Verses 19 to 26 in the 2nd Chapter of Adi Parva of the Malayalam Mahabharata. It says thus One chariot, one elephant, three horses and five soldiers constitute what is termed a Patti. Three such pattis make one Senamukha and three such senamukhas make- one Gulma. Three gulmas make one Gana and three such ganas make one Vahini. Three such vahinis make one Prtana. An Ak~auhinl contains 21870 chariots, an equal number of elephants, 65160 horses and 109350 soldiers.


AKSAYAPATRA. This is a copper vessel given to Dharmaputra by Surya (Sun). To destroy the Pandavas, Duryodhana kept them in a palace made of lac. They escaped from there and passing through dense forests crossed the river Ganges and reached the Kingdom of PdACala where they married the King's daughter, Krsna (Pancali). On their way they killed two demons called Hidimba and Baka. When they were living happily at Indraprastha the jealous Duryodhana defeated them in a game of dice by foul play and sent them for a period of twelve years to the forests. The Pandavas found it impossible to feed the innumerable subjects who


faithfully followed them to the forest. Dharmaputra then prayed to the God, S&rya and he appeared before him and gave him this Aksaya Patra (Aksaya =never getting empty, Patra=pot). Everyday this pot never got empty till the meals of I'allcali were over. (Chapter 3, Vana Parva, M.B. ). See also under Duryodhana, Para 12.


AKSAYAVATA. A sacred lake. When the Pandavas during their exile went to Pulastyarama sage Puiastya gave a description of alb the sacred lakes in India. He says, "After reaching M5rkandeya lake you should visit the meeting place of the rivers Gafiga and Gomati. Then when you reach Gaya you will find there a lake called Aksayavata. If you bathe. in that lake you will get salvation". In the Navama Skandha of Devi BhEgavata you find the following about Aksayavata: "Pu:pabhadra is one of the famous sacred rivers in India. This river starts from the Himalayas with the name 8aravati and flowing for 500 yojanas (One yojaram is equal to about 8 miles) on the left side of river Gomati reaches the western ocean. There is an Erama called Ak;ayavata on the shores of this beautiful river which afwavs carries crystal clear water. The a•'rama got that name because of a big banyan tree standing near it. Kapila, the great sage, did penance sitting here for a long time. Lord Siva, Bhadrakali and Skanda used to come and sit underneath this banyan tree.


AKSINA. He was the son of Visvamitra. (81oka 50, chapter 14, Anusasana Parva. For more details see under Visvamitra).




1) General information. There is a lake in the Himalayas called Indradyumna. Akupara is a tortoise living in it.- There is also a statement that this is the AdiKurma (second of the ten incarnations of Goc ). A description of Akupara is found in Chapter 199 of Vana Parva in Mahabharata..


2) Ciranjiv (One who has no death). When the Pandavas were in exile in the forests sage Uarkandeya tells many stories to Dharmaputra to console him in his sad plight. The Pandavas asked Markandeya whether he knew of anybody living before him. Then the sage said, "In times of old Indradyumna an ascetic King (Rajarsi ) fell down from heaven when he fell short of his accumulated `Punya'. Sorrowfully he came to me and asked me whether I knew him. I replied in the negative adding that perhaps Pravirakarna an owl living on the top of the Himalayas might know him since he was older than me. At once Indradyumna became a horse and taking rare on its back approached the owl living in the Himalayas. The owl also could not remember Indradyurnna but directed him to a stork named Nadijarhgha who was older than the owl. The Ascetic king took me then to the Indradyumna lake where the stork lived. The stork also could not find the identity of Indradyumna. Perhaps he said that a tortoise of name Akupara living in that same lake might know him. We then approached the tortoise and enquired whether he knew Indradyumna. The tortoise sat in meditation for some time and then weeping profusely and shaking like a leaf stood bowing respectfully and said, "How can I remain without knowing him ? There are several monuments of the useful work done by him here. This very lake is of his making. This came into existence by the march of the cows he gave away to the people". The moment




the tortoise finished speaking a chariot appeared from  heaven to take the King away. The King after leaving  me and the owl in their proper places ascended to heaven  in the chariot.


ALAGHU. A son born to Vasistha by IJrjja. Raja(Rajas) Gdtra, Urdhvabahu, Savana, Sukra and Parva,Chapter 109, Stanzas 22 to 33).


Sutapas, who were great hermits, were brothers of ALAMBUSA II. Another king on the side of the Kaura-Alaghu, who has another name `Alagha'. (Agni Purana, vas. Satyaki killed this king. (Mahabharata, Drona, Chapter 20). Parva, Chapter 140, Stanza 13).


ALAKA. The city of Kubera. ALAMBUSA 111. A king of'the Rdksasas. It is seen that


ALAKANANDA. River Gariga of devaloka. The river this Alambusa was defeated and driven aw fr h

 gaftgd ofthe earth when it flows through devaloka is  called Alakanandi and is called Vaitarani when it flows  through PitrJoka (nether world). Kr~i~advaipdyana  (Vydsa) deciares that Deva Gaflgd with crystal pure  water flowing in devaloka under the name Alakanandd  aad Vaitarani of the nether World, a terror to sinners,  are the same as the Gafigd of the earth. (~lokas 21 and  22, Chapter 170, Bha-sd Bhdrata, A.P.).  Starting from Visnupdda Alakanandd flows through  Devaydna which bia'zes with the splendour of a crore of  beautiful many-storeyed buildings. Flowing from there  to Candramandala (moon) and flooding it completely  ' brahmaloka. From there it divides into  flows down to  four rivulets and flows to the four different sides with  the nanies Sitd, Caksus, Alakanandd and Bhadrd. Of  these Slid falls on the thicklywooded mountain tops of  Mahdmeru and flowing from there through Gandha  mddana by the side of Bhadrdgvavarsa falls down in the  eastern ocean. Caksus falls on the top of Mdlyavdn  mountain and flowing through Ketumdla falls down in  the western ocean. The most sacred of the group,  Alakanandd, falls on the mountain of Hemakfita and  from there flows through Bhdratavarsa and falls down  in the southern ocean. The fourth, Bhadrd, failing on  the top of the Mountain, Srflgavdn flows to the northern  ocean. Of these the most sacred is Alakanandd which  flows through Bhdratavarsa and it is believed that even  those who think of taking a bath in that will acquire the  benefit of performing ydgas like AAvamedha aud Rdja  sdya. (Eighth Skandha of ~r! Mahddevibhdgavata)  XLAMBALA. A giant who used to cat human flesh.  This cannibal was the son of Jatdsura. This asura  (Alambala) fought on the side of tl~e Kauravas in the  Kuruksetra battle because Bhimasena had killed his  father, JatAstua- In the battle, Ghatotkaca cut off the  head of this mighty warrior and magician and threw his  head into the war-chariot of Duryodhana. (M.B., Droi~a  Parva, Chapter 149).


A.LAMBATTRTHA. A holy place where there was a  sacred bath. Garuda, when he went to devaloka (the  realm of the gods) to bring Amrtam (ambrosia) took  rest in this holy place. (See und'er the word Garuqa.  Also M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 39, Stanza 39).


ALAMBUSA 1. Son of the giant 1~*yasrfiga. He had  fought on the side of the Kauravas. (M.B., Udyoga Parva,  Chapter 167, Stanza 33). There was a combat between.  Alambusa and Ghatotkaea, on the first day of the battle  of Kuruksetra.  "Alambusa shot ninety sharpened pointed arrows at the  son of Bhlmasena (Ghatotkaca), cut his body in several  places. Though he was full of wounds, he fought all the  more fiercely". (Bhdsd Bhdrata, Bhlsma Parva, Chapter 45, Stanzas 43, 44)'.


Alambusa had engaged Ablumanyu, Sdtyaki, Ghatotkaca, kuntibhoja and Bhlmasena all mighty men of arms, in single combat, in the Kaurava battle. It is seen that he has got another name, SAlakatarhka. He was killed by Ghatotkaca in the battle. (M.B. Drona ay cm t. e batle-field by Arjuna. (Dror,,a Parva, Chapter 167, Stanzas 37 to 47).


ALAMBUSA IV. A giant, the son of Jatasura. Ghatotkaca killed this giant in the battle.


ALAMBUSA. A celestial woman born to Kasyapa by his wife Pradha.


1) Genealogy. Begins from Visnu in the following order: Brahma-Kasyapa-Alambusa.


2 ) How she enticed the hermit Dctdhica. In days of yore there was an ascetic named Dadhica. He began. doing tapas on the bank of the river Sarasvati. Indra was in consternation. Indra .sent.this celestial maid Alambusa to entice the .hermit. When the ascetic got down to the river, Alambusa approached him with enticing actions and expressions. When the hermit saw her he became passionate and he had seminal flow. The sperm fell into the river. The river became pregnant and delivered a child in due course. He was called Sarasvata.


Alambusa brought the child before Dadhica, who blessed the child and said that there would be a drought in the country continuously for twelve years and that at that juncture Sarasvata would recite passages from the Scripture to the .Brahmins who had forgotten them. The much pleased Sarasvati and Sarasvata went back.


At that time Indra lost his Vajrayudha (weapon of thunderbolt) somewhere. The Asuras (enemies of Gods) made an onslaught on the gods and their realm. Indra knew that with a weapon made by the bone of Dadhica the Asuras could be destroyed. Indra asked the Gods to bring the bone. They came down to the earth and requested Dadhica to give them a bone. Dadhica giving his bone died and attained heaven. With his bones Indra made a good deal of weapons such as the Vajrayudha, wheel weapons, maces and sticks and with them Indra slew all the Daityas (Asuras ) .


After this there was a great famine in the country. As there was no rain, .crops failed and lands became dry and the .Brahmins left the country. Sarasvata alone remained with his mother. After twelve yeas°s the famine and starvation came to an end. By then the Brahmins had forgotten the hymns and mantras of the Vedas. They approached the boy Sarasvata and renewed their memory. (Mahabharata, galya Parva, Chapter 51).


3 ) Punarjanma (Rebirth). Long ago Indra went to Brahma. There was one Vasu called Vidhuma also with Indra. When these two were standing near Brahma, Alambusa also came there to pay homage to Brahma. The garments she had on were displaced by wind. Vidhuma saw the dazzling beauty of her body and was overpowered by libido. Alambusa who understood this, was filled with passion for him. Brahma who saw the changes in them looked at Indra with displeasure. Indra knowing the mind of Brahma cursed them: "Both of you who have lost meekness shall become human beings and then your desire will be fulfilled". Owing to the curse Vidhuma was born as Sahasranika, the illustrious King of Candra vamsa (Lunar dynasty) and Alambusa took birth as Mrgavati, the daughter of King Krtavarma and his wife kalavati. (Kathasaritsagara, Kathamukhalambaka, Taranga 1).


4) The curse of Tilottamd. Sahasranika the incarnation of Vidhuma and Mrgavati the incarnation of Alambusa fell in love with each other on the earth also. Before the wedding took place Devendra once invited Sahasranika to heaven. He lived there for a time as the guest of the Gods. After having defeated the Asuras it was time for him toreturn. Indra sent Tilottama to keep company. The charioteer was driving. Sahasranika immersed in the thought of Mrgavati was sitting silent. Tilottama said something which the King did not hear. Tilottama cursed him that he would be separated for fourteen years from the object about which he was thinking. He was not even aware of the curse.


The _period of se,paration. The King returned to Kau'sambi his capital city. Without much delay the wedding ceremony also was conducted. She became pregnant. One day she told her lover-husband that she had a desire to dip in a blood pond. The King made a pond and filled it with a solution of Laksa (wax, when dissolved in water, the water will look like blood) and such other substances. Mrgavati was dipping and splashing in it when an eagle taking her to be a piece of flesh took her away. At the loss of his wife Sahasranika lost his senses and fell down unconscious. Immediately Matali, Indra's charioteer, came down from the realm of Gods and brought the King back to consciousness, and then informing him of the curse of Tilottama he returned. Without paying any heed to the consolatory words of his ministers or other inmates of the palace the King went on lamenting and moaning, "ha, my love Mrgavati ! Where are you now ?" and waited for the end of the period of the curse, execrating Tilottama. Casting Mrgavati on the Mountain of the Rising Sun the great bird flew away. The horror-stricken queen, thinking of hez present condition cried aloud. A very large mountain snake began to draw near to swallow her. A divine person saved her from that situation and vanished. The unprotected Mrgavati decided to commit suicide. It was a forest which abounded in lions, tigers, bears and such other ferocious animals. But none of them came near her; over and above the exertion of carrying, she had to bear the difficulties of her forlorn condition, and she grew weary and worn and became unconscious. Then a hermit boy came there and questioned her who was now lean and ill-dressed, about her condition and consoling her guided her to the hermitage of the great hermit Jamadagni. When she saw the hermit who was as radiant as the Sun, she bowed low before him. "My daughter ! Don't fear. You will get a heroic son here who will continue your family. You will be reunited to your husband." Said the great and noble hermit, who could foresee the future. Somewhat pacified Mrgavati lived in that hermitage waiting for reunion with her husband. After some days she gave birth to a son who had all the symptoms of greatness. At the birth of the child Mrgavati heard an unknown voice saying, "This boy would become the great and renowned King Udayana. His son would get the leadership of the Vidyadharas (the musicians of the Gods)". At this the queen was immensely pleased. The boy Udayana grew up in the hermitage, an incarnation of all good qualities. The hermit to whom the past, the present and the future were not obscure, performed the necessary rites and rituals becoming a Ksatriya boy (Ruling caste) and taught him everything including the Dhanurveda (the Science of Archery). As a token of her intense love for the son, she put a bangle with the name of Sahasranika inscribed on the arm of Udayana. One day when Udayana was tramping the forest, he. saw a snake-charmer catching a snake. Seeing the beauty of the snake he asked the snake-charmer to let the snake free. But the snake-charmer replied, " Oh Prince, this is my daily bread. I earn my livelihood by exhibiting snakes. My previous snake was dead and it was with the help of a good deal of herbs and spells and incantations that I caught this one".


When he heard this Udayana felt pity for him and gave the bangle to the snake-charmer and let the snake free. When the snake-charmer had gone with the bangle, the snake beaming with joy said to Udayana: "I am Vasunemi, the elder brother of Vasuki. I am grateful to you forgiving me freedom. I give you this lute producing exquisite notes of music, betels and some tricks to prepare never fading garlands and paste to make marks on the forehead. Receive them as my presents". Udayana accepted the presents with gladness and returned more luminous than before to the hermitage of Jamadzgni. The snake-charmer took the bangle, given by Udayana to the bazar for sale. The police caught him and took him before the King, because they saw the name of the King inscribed on the bangle. The King asked him how he got the bangle and the snake-charmer told the King the story from the catching of the snake till he got the bangle. "This is the bangle that I put on the arm of my wife. The boy who gave this bangle to this snake-charmer must be my son." The King was thinking with sadness, when the King heard a voice from above say, "O King! the period of the curse is over. Your wife and son are in the Mountain of the Rising Sun". At these words the King felt extreme joy. Somehow or other he spent the rest of the day. Early the next morning the King followed by his army, went to the Mountain of the Rising Sun to bring back his wife and son. They took the snakecharmer to show them the way.


In due course the King and his train reached the holy hermitage of the eminent hermit Jamadagni. The place was always vibrant with sounds of the repeating and recitation of the Holy scriptures and covered with smoke mingled with the fragrance of burning herbs and other oblations burned in the sacrificial fire. The various wild animals which are born enemies of each other got on amicably there. The hermit who was an incarnation of the higher aspirations greeted the King who was the protector of the ascetics, with the hospitality becoming his status. The King who saw Mrgavati with their son was overcome with gladness. Their reunion caused a shower of Ambrosia (Amrta). The King stood before the hermit with folded arms and bowed head for permission to depart. To the King the hermit Jamadagni said : "Oh, King, you are welcome to this hermitage. To those such as you who are of the `Rajogunapradhana' caste (Ruling race) the peaceful atmosphere of our hermitage may not be appealing to the heart. But a Holy hermitage is more respectable than the palace of' an Emperor. There is no place for unhappiness here. You




might have known that the reason for your separation is a curse. When you were returning from heaven with Tilottama, you were so much engrossed in the thought of Mrgavati that you did not pay any heed to the conversation of Tilottama. She was displeased with your behaviour and cursed you. In future, if ever you happen to get into a position which will cause you mental trouble you can be assured of the presence of this Jamadagni." The King said; "I am extremely grateful to your Eminence for this great boon. I am fully aware of the fact that the presence of the holy hermits who have under their control the eightfold prosperities, is always a harbinger of peace and prosperity. I am very sorry to say that the exigency of my presence at the capital due to the pressure of work in connection with the ruling of the country compels me to cut short my visit to this holy hermitage. I shall be looking forwat d with pleasure to occasions which will enable me to pay visits to this Holy abode."


Much pleased at the speech of the King the hermit said to Mrgavati: "My daughter ! Not only myself, but all the inmates of this hermitage are highly pleased at having got you in our midst for so long. We are sorry to part from you. Now look ! the animals of the hermitage are standing round you and shedding tears. Still we are consoled at your reunion with your husband. Naturally you are of a very good character and your life in this hermitage has given you a nice training and so there is no need for any more advice from me at this time."


Saying this he drew Udayana to his side, kissed him on his head and 'said to the King again: "This son is a decoration to your dynasty. This handsome boy has been taught everything becoming a royal prince. Let him be a costly gem to you".


Thus blessing the boy the hermit led him to the King. The joy at her reunion with husband, her shyness at being near him, her sorrow at having to depart from the hermitage and the surging feeling in her mind-a1l these made her dumb and so being unable to say anything she expressed her love and regard for the hermit whom she loved as her father, by some motions of her body and took leave of him with her son. The blessed King and his train, looking at the men, beasts and birds which accompanied them for a while, took leave of them and proceeded to the capital city. On reaching' there the King anointed his son Udayana as King. Sahasranika then went to the Himd1ayas to practise ascesis with his wife. (Kathasaritsagara, Kathamukhalambaka, Taranga 2) .


(b) Enticing Trnabindu. A story is seen in the Bhagavata of how Alambusa enticed the King T,rnabintlu: Ire married Alambusd and a daughter named Idavida (Ilabil a) was born to them. This Ilabila was married to Visravas, to whom a son named Kubera (the Lord of wealth) was born By Alambusd Trnabindu had three sons called Visala, 8unyabandhu and Dhumraketu.


"He who is the sea t of all laudable qualities (Trnabindu ) was honoured by Alambusd (as husband). Idavida their daughter was given in marriage to Visravas and to them was born Dhanada (Kubera). His father who was a great hermit taught him everything requircd. Three sons Vi'sala, Sunyabandhu and Dhumraketu, were born to them. ViAala who was the founder of the Dynasty, built a city called Vaisali." (Bhagavatam, Navama Skandham, Chapter 2, Stanzas 31-33).


Alambusd took part in the birthday celebration of Arjuna.


(Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Stanza 49) (See Footnote)


ALASIKARAGRANTHA. (A book on rhetorics and figures of speech). See the word Pattu.


ALAMARAVATI. Wife of King Naravahanadatta. It is seen in the Kathasaritsagara where a Vidyadhara woman tells the story of Alankaravati to the King.


Once a vidyadhara named Alankarasila ruled over a city called gri Sundarapura in the Himd1ayas. His wife was called Kancanaprabha. A son was born to them. They named him Dharma•.'.ila because Devi Katyayani told them in a dream that the son would become Dharmapara (who performs duties well). To the prince, knowledge in every branch of studies was imparted and then he was anointed heir to the throne. He executed regal functions to perfection and ruled his subjects better than his father. Kancanaprabha, wife of Alankarasila, gave birth to a daughter. At the time of her birth a heavenly voice said that she would become the wife of Naravahanadatta the emperor of the Vidyadharas. They named her Alankaravati. She grew into a very beautiful maiden. She learned arts and sciences from her father. She went on a pilgrimage to the 8iva temples far and' wide. One day she heard a celestial voice: "Go to the Svayambhu temple in Kasmira and worship there and you will get as your husband Naravahanadatta." Finally Naravahanadatta the emperor of Vidyadharas married her. (Kathasaritsagara, Lambaka 9, Taranga 1).


ALOLUPA. A son of Dhrtarastra.


ALPAKALA (M) . A short time.. (Alga =short and Kala =time). In the Bhagavata the following definition is given of alpakala : "Take two tender leaves of a lotus and place one on the other. Let a strong man take a sharp needle and thrust it hard at the leaves. The time taken for the needle to pierce one leaf and reach the other is alpakala". [Bhagavata (Malayalam version), Skandha 3] .


ALARKA (M) I. The name of an insect. It was in the form of this insect that Indra went and bore a hole on the leg of Karna while Parar,urama was sleeping on his lap. The blood that flowed from Karna's foot wetted the body of the preceptor.


ALARKA II. A king of the states of Kai! and Karusa. He was a very honest man. Forsaking all riches and his kingdom he accepted Dharmamarga. (Sloka 64, Chapter 115, Anusasana Parva, M.B.). He was a member of


*Alambuga was the mother of the Celestial maid "avat3. See the word Thinlha, Karala.




the council of yama. He attained salvation by yoga and meditation. (18th Sloka, Chapter 8, Sabha Parva, M.B.). Once Alarka decided to overcome the five senses. To control them he sent arrows at the mind, nose, tongue, ear, eye, skin and intelligence. But the senses never surrendered to them. Then Alarka by sheer dhyana and yoga brought them under control. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 30) .


Alarka once told a blind brahrpin boy to ask for any boon from him. The boy demanded the eyes of Alarka. To keep his promise Alarka scooped out his eyes and gave them to the blind boy. (Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda, Sarga 12, S'loka 43).


ALATAKS I. A woman in the service of Skanda. (M.B., f;alya Parva, Chapter 43, Stanza 8).


ALAYUDHA. A giant. He was the brother of Bakasura. He fought on the side of the Kauravas. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 95, Stanza 46 and Chapter 176, Stanza 6). Alayudha combated with Bhimasena and Ghatotkaca and was killed by Ghatotkaca,


AMARAPARVATA. An ancient place in Bharata. Nakula had conquered this place. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 32,Verse 11).


AMARAVATI. It is the city of India, the King of the Dcvas. Its location is described in Devi Bhagavata as follows-: "Brahma's world extends over 10,000 yojanas,


on the Mahameru mountain. There are eight citieseach 2,500 square yojanas in extent-of the Astadikpalakas in eight parts of this Brahmapuri. Thus there are nine cities on the top of the Maha Meru. They are the following:-


1. In the centre is Brahma's city, Manovati.


2. To the east of Manovati, India's city, Amaravati.


3. In the south-east corner, Agni's city, Tejovati.


4. On the southern side, Yama's city, Sariiyamani.


5. In the south-west corner, Nirrti's city, Krsnanjana. 6. In the west, Varuna's city, graddhavati.


7. In the north-west corner, Vayu's city, Gandhavati. 8. In the north, Kubera's city Mahodaya.


9. In the north-east corner, diva's city, Ya:,ovati.


AMADHYA. A synonym of Sri Krsna. (M.B., anti (Devi Bhagavata, Astama Skandha).

Parva, Chapter 342, Verse 90). AMARDANA. See the word "PARCATANTRA".


AMAHATHA. A serpent. It was burnt up in the fire at AMAVAST. In Amarako~a we read about Amavasi: the Sarpa satra of Janamejaya. (M.B., Adi Parva, "Amavasya tvamavasya darsah suryendusariigamah".

Chapter 57, Verse 16). Amavasi means New Moon. "Ama" means "Saha".


AMANTHU. A king of the family of Priyavrata. So Amavasi is the Union of Sun and Moon in the same


Genealogy: From Visnu descended in this order

 Brahma-Svayambhuvaanu - Priyavrata - Agindhra  Nabhi-Rsabha - Bharata - Sumati - Devatajit - Deva  dyumna - Paramesti - Pratiha - Pratiharta - Bhuma -  Sita - Prastoka - Vibhu - Prthusena - Nakta - Gaya -  Citraratha - Samrat - Marici - Vinduman -Madhu -  Viravrata - Amanthu. Viravrata had two sons, Manthu  and Amanthu.


AMARACANDRA. A Sanskrit poet. It is believed that

 he lived in the 13th Cent. A.D. Bala Bharata was his  work. Amaracandra was a Jaina priest. It is said that  he was a courtier of Visaladeva, the son of King Vira  dhavala who ruled over Gujarat from 1243 to 1262.


AMARAGUPTA. He was the minister of King Vikrama  siriihawho ruled over Avanti in olden times. (Katha  saritsagara, Madana Man cuka lambaka, First Tarariga) . 


AMARAHRADA. A place of holy bath. One who takes  his bath here will attain Svarga. (M.B., Vana Parva,  Chapter 83, Verse 106).


AMARAKANTAKA. A mountain. It was on this  mountain that some parts of Tripura, which was burnt  by diva fell, From that time it became a holy place. In  Padma Purana, Adi Khanda,Chapter 15, we see the  following passage about the benefits obtained by visit  ing this holy place. "One who goes to Amarakanlaka  mountain-will enjoy the fourteen worlds for thirtyseven  thousand crores of years. Afterwards he will be born on  earth as King and reign as supreme emperor. A visit to  Amarakantaka has ten times the value of an Awamedha.  If one has Siva's darsana there, one will attain Svarga.  At the time of eclipse, all kinds of holy things converge  towards Amarakarrtaka. Those who take their bath in  Jvalesvara in Amarakantaka will enter Svarga. The  dead will have no rebirth. Those who renounce their  lives at Jvalesvara will live in Rudraloka till the time of  great Deluge. In the valley of Amarakantaka and in the  Tirtha live Devas known as Amaras and numerous Rsis.  Amarakantaka Ksetra has a circumference of one yojana.  (about eight miles).

Once Bhrgu Maharsi cursed Agni. At that time Agni explained the importance of Amavasi. The oblations which at a offered as homa into the fire become the food o£ the Devas and Pitrs. Substances offered as homa on Purnamasi become food of the Devas and those offered on Amavasi become food of the Pitrs. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 7 ) .


AMAVASU I. Sor of Pururavas by Urvasi. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chaf> ver 75, Verse 24 ) .


Genealogy. From Visnu, Brahma=Atri-Candra-BudhaPurfrravas-Amavasu.


AMAVASL? II. One of the Pitrs. Once Acchoda was fascinated by the physical charm of this Amavasu and made advances, of love to him. Amavasu repelled her advances. On account of this impropriety o£ Acchoda, who was a spiritual daughter of the Pitrs, she was degraded and in her next birth was born as Kali or Satyavati. (Padma Purana,. Srsti Khanda).


AMBA. Dauter of a King of Kasi.


1) Amba and Tlicitravirya. Amba is an ill-starred character in the story of the Mahabharata. She had two younger sisters named Ambika and Ambalika. Bhisma;who had taken a vow to remain a bachelor for life, had once taken Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, the three daughters of the King of Kaki, to Hastinapura. The circumstances in which this happened, are descried in Devi Bhagavata, Prathama Skandha as follows


;;antanu, a King of the Candra Vam-a, had two wives, Gariga and Satyavati. Bhisma was the son of Gariga and Citrairgada and Vicitravirya were the sons of Satyavati. Soon after Bhfsma's birth, Ganga vanished. After a long period of reign, $antanu also died. Satyavati and. the three sons were left behind in the palace. According to a vow he had taken long ago, Bhisrna, instead of succeeding to his father's throne, left it to his brother Citraxigada. Once Citrangada went for hunting in the forest. There he came across a Gandharva named Citrarigada. The Gandharva did not like another man with his own name to be living in this world. So he killed the king. After that Vicitravirya became king. Bh1sma had to take up the task of arranging a suitable marriage for Vicitravirya.


2) The Svayarizvara. It was at this time that Bhisma came to know that the King of Kasi was arranging the Svayamvara of his three daughters, Amba, Ambikd and Ambalika. Bhisma went there and in the presence of a1l the kings who had assembled there, took the three princesses with him to Hastinapura. There he made all preparations for the marriage. But as the time for the ceremony approached, the eldest and most beautiful of the princesses, Amba went to Bhisma and said : "I had already made up my mind long ago to marry Salva, the King. Besides, we are deeply in love with each other. Therefore, please consider whether it is proper on the part of a great man like you to force me into another marriage."


On hearing this, Bhisma allowed her to do as she liked. Amba then went to king Salva and made an appeal to him to accept her as his wife since they were mutually in love.


3) Sdlva's rejection. To her words Salva replied: "What you have said about our mutual love is true. But it is not right for a man to accept a woman who has been accepted by another. I saw Bhisma taking you by hand and helping you into his chariot. Therefore go at once to Bhisma himself and ask him to accept you." Stunned by his words, she turned away, to go to the forest to do penance.


4) Revenge on Bhisma. In the Mahabharata, Udyoga

 Parva, Chapter 17, we find that Amba had cherished a  secret desire to wreak vengeance on Bhi:sma. She went to  the Asrama of 8aikhavatya Muni in the forest and stayed  there for the night. Her wish to do penance was approv  ed by the Muni. On the next day, Aruba's maternal  grandfather, Hotravahana (Sr came that way.  Hotravahana came to know of all her misfortunes. He  advised her to inform Parasurama of all her grievances.  Just at that moment Akrtavrana, a follower of Parasu  r4ma happened to come there. H(r)travahana introduced  Amba to Akrtavrana. Both Akrtavrana and Srfijaya  explained all her affairs to Parasurama. Parasurama  undertook to persuade Bhisrna to accept Amba (as his  wife). But Para;urama's proposal was turned down by  Bhisma. A terrible duel took place between them at  Kuruksetra. When the fight reached a critical stage,  Narada and the gods induced Parasurama to withdraw  from the duel. Thus the fight ended with equal victory  to both. Finding that it was not possible to achieve her  object through Parasurama's mediation, Amba re  nounced food, sleep etc. and went to the Yamuna valley  to do penance for six years. (M.B., Udyoga Parva,  Chapter 188). After that for one year she went on a  fast, lying under the water in the river Yamuna. Again  for another year she did penance, standing on the tip of  the toes and eating only dry leaves. Next, she reduced  the sky and earth to flames by doing penance. The  goddess Gafiga appeared to her and when she under  stood her plight, she told Amba that it was not possible  to kill Bhisma. In her agony and despair, without even  drinking water, she wandered about here and there.  The goddess Gariga cursed her to become a river in the  Vatsa country. As a result of the curse, a part of her was  turned into the river known as Amba.


5) giva's Boon. The remaining part of her engaged itself in penance. Siva appeared to her and told her that in the next birth she would attain masculinity. He added that she would be born in the Drupada dynasty as a great archer under the name of Citrayodhi and kill Bhisma. Pleased with this prophecy, she took a vow that 'she would kill Bhisma and making a pyre, burnt herself to death.


6) Rebirth. King Drupada's queen had been in great distress for a long time because she had no children. Drupada propitiated Siva by worshipping him for an issue. Siva blessed him and said that a girl would be born to him, but she would be transformed into a boy. In due course, the queen gave birth to a girl, but it was announced that it was a boy. Therefore the child had to be brought up, dressed like a boy. The child became famous under the name of Sikhandi. When Sikhandi attained youth, Drupada decided to look for a wife for him (her ?). Still he was greatly perplexed as to how to find a wife for gikhandi who was already a youthful virgin ! But his wife assured Drupada that Sikhandi would become a man, according to Siva's blessing- So, Drupada made a proposal for $ikhandi's marriage with the daughter of the King of Daarna.


7) Sikhandi's Marriage. Hiranyavarna, the King of Da-larna, gave his daughter in marriage to Sikhandi. The couple arrived at Kambalyapura. By this time the wife came to know that the "husband" was a woman. She disclosed the secret to her Ladies-in-waiting. They in turn communicated it to the king. Enraged at this, Hiranyavarna sent a messenger to King Drupada to ascertain the truth of the matter. He even began to make preparations for waging a war against Drupada, King of Paficala. Drupada and his queen were in a fix. At this stage the distressed Sikhandi proceeded to the forest, determined to commit suicide. People were afraid of entering that forest because a Yaksa named Sthunakarna lived there. Sikhandi went to the premises of the Yaksa and performed certain rites for a number of days. The Yaksa appeared to her. 8ikhandi explained the whole matter to him. They entered into a contract. According to it, they exchanged their, sexes--Sikhandi receiving the male sex of the Yaksa and the Yaksa receiving the female sex of Sikhandi. Sikhandi returned home as a man. Drupada repeated with greater force his old plea that his child was a man. Hiranyavarna made a thorough examinwtion of Sikhandi and convinced himself of the truth. Many years after, Hiranyavarna died. 8) Kubera's Arrival. At that time, in the course of his world tour Xubera arrived at the residence of Sthunakarna. The, Yaksa who was in female form, did not come out to receive Kubera. In his anger, Kubera pronounced a curse that the female sex of Sthunakarna and the male sex of 8ikhandi would continue for ever. The Yaksa prayed for the lifting of the curse. Kubera released him from the curse by saying that after the death of 8ikhandi, the Yaksa would be restored to his own male sex.


According to the previous agreement, Sikhandi went to Sthunakarna's place after the death of Hiranyavarna. But coming to know of all that had happened, he returned home. Thus 8ikhandi became a man permanently. Sikhand! had received his training in arms under Dronacdrya. In the great Kaurava-Pandava battle, he became a charioteer.




9) Sikhandi's Revenge. The Mahabharata, Bhisma Parva, Chapter 108, describes Bhisma's encounter with 8ikhandi during the Kaurava-Pandava battle. The Pandavas started the day's battle by keeping Sikhandi in the ,vanguard. Bhima, Arjuna, Abhimanyu and other warriors were giving him support. It was Bhisma who led the Kaurava forces. Arrows began to fly from both sides. It was the tenth day of the battle and Sikhandi shot three arrows aimed at Bhisma's breast. Bhisma with a smile of contempt said to ~ikhandi, "Sikhandi ! Brahma created you as a woman. You may do as you like". Hearing this taunt, Sikhandi became more infuriated. Arjuna ins,pired him with greater courage. After that, keeping Sikhandi in front, Arjuna began to fight with Bhisma. Sikhandi also showered his arrows on him. Ten of these arrows of 8ikhandi hit .Bhisma's breast. Bhisma disregarded even those arrows. At last he said: "I cannot kill the Panda'vas because they are invulnerable (avadhyah). I cannot kill Sikhandi because he is really a woman and not man. Though I am also invulnerable and cannot be killed in battle, yet today I have to die; the time has come for me to die." Meanwhile Sikhandi and Arjuna were discharging a continuous and heavy shower of arrows at Bhisma. At last Bhis-na fell down. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 173) .


AMBAJANMA. It is a place of sacred bath where the sage Narada usually resides. Those who die here will attain salvation (Moksa) by Narada's blessing, according to M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 83, Verse 81.


AMBALIKA. (1) The youngest of the three daughters of the King of Kasi--Amba, Ambika and Ambalika. Vicitravirya, son of' Santanu married Ambika and Ambalika. The mother of this princess was Kausalya.


2) Pandu's Mother. Vrcitravirya died before children were born to his wives. To avoid the extinction of the family, Satyavati, mother of Vicitravirya summoned Vyasa, her other son and asked him to beget a son for Ambika. Vyasa obeyed his mother half-heartedly. Ambika did not like the dark-complexioned, crudely attired Vyasa. Still owing to the Mother's pressure, she passively submitted to the act. As a result of their union was born Dhrtarastra, who was blind from his birth. The grief-stricken mother called Vyasa again and asked him to have union with Ambalika this time. As Ambalika's face was pale at the time of their union, a child with pale complexion was born to her. He was named Pandu. Having thus failed in both attempts, Satyavati asked Ambika to go to Vyasa again. At night Ambika secretly disguised her waiting-maid and sent her in her own place, to Vyasa. The-waiting-maid experienced exquisite pleasure in Vyasa's company and as a result a most intelligent son was born to her. It was lie who became the renowned Vidura. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 106).


AMBARISA I. A King of the Iksvaku dynasty.


1) Genealogy and Birth. From Visnu was born in the following order : Brahma-Marici-Kasyapa. - VivasvanVaivasvatamanu-Iksvaku-Vikuksi - Sasada - PuranjayaKukutstha-Anenas-Prthulasva-Prasenajit - Yuvan4svaMandhata=Ambarisa. Mandhata had three sons: Ambarisa, Mucukunda and Purukutsa and fifty daughters.


The Muni (Sage) Saubhari married the daughters. 2) Ambarisa's Yaga (sacrifice) . In Valmlki Ramayana there is a story of Devendra's theft of the sacrificial cow from Ambarisa's yagasala. Devendra could not bear the thought of King Ambarisa winning worldrenown and glory by performing yagas. Therefore Indra stole the sacrificial cow and took it away. The Upadhyaya (Chief Priest) was alarmed at the disappearance of the cow and expressed his opinion to the King that it would be enough to sacrifice a human being instead of the cow. The King searched for the cow in all countries, cities and forests. At last he reached the peak of Bhrgutufiga where the sage Rcika lived with his wife and children. The King explained to the sage the whole story. He requested him to sell one of his sons in exchange for 100,000 cows. Rcika had three sons. The eldest was his father's favourite and the youngest was the mother's pet. In the end, Rcika sold the second son, Sunassepha in return for 100 `000 cows.


On his return journey with 8una~Sepha the king rested for a while at Puskara Tirtha. There Sunas:`.epha happened to meet his uncle Visvamitra and complained to him about his sad plight. Sunasgepha's wish was that the king's yaga should be performed and at the same time his own life-span should be extended. Visvamitra promised to save ~unassepha. He called Madhuechandas and his other sons and said to them: "One of you must take the place of Ambarisa's sacrificial cow and save the life of Sunassepha. God will bless you."


But none of the sons of Visvamitra was prepared to become the sacrificial cow. V isvamitra uttered a curse on his sons that they would have to spend a thousand years on earth, eating dog-flesh. Then he turned to Sunassepha and told him that if he prayed to the gods at the time of Ambarisa's yajna, they would save him.


So gunassepha went to Ambarisa's yagasala. As ordered by the assembled guests, Ambarisa bound ~unasgepha and had him dressed in blood-red robes, ready for the sacrifice. Sunassepha began to praise and pray to the gods. Soon Indra appeared and blessed him with longevity. He also rewarded Ambarisa for his yaga. Thus Sunaggepha was saved. * (Valmiki Ramayana Bala Kanda, Sarga 61) .


3) Ambarfsa and Duraasas. In Bhagavata we see a story which describes how the Sudarsana Cakra which emerged from Ambarisa's forehead chased DurVSSas in all the three worlds. Ambarisa was a devout worshipper of Visnu. From the very beginning of his reign, peace and prosperity spread all over the country. Mabavisnu who was pleased with the deep piety and devotion of Ambarisa appeared to him and bestowed on him the control of his (Visnu's) Sudarsana Cakra. After that Ambarisa started the observance of Ekadasi vrata. The rigour of the observance alarmed even Indra. He decided to obstruct the observance somehow or other. At that time, Durvasas arrived in devaloka. Indra instigated Durvasas to spoil the Ekadasi observance of Ambarisa.


Durvasas went to Ambarisa's palace. There the King received him with due respect and sent him to the river Kalindi for his bath and morning rites. DurvAsas went


* The story of gunags'sepha may be seen with slight variations in the Devi Bhagavata and other Puranas. In those versions, guna'sgepha has been described as the sacrificial cow at Hariscandra's yaga, and moreover, Ajigarta is referred to as the father of $unas'sepha. (Brahmanda Puraria, Chapter 58 gives the same story as in Valmiki Ramayana).




for his bath and deliberately stayed away till the conclusion of Ambarisa's Ekadasi observance. At the end of the observance, after feeding the gods with his offerings, Ambarisa kept the remaining portion for Durvasas. After his bath etc., Durvasas returned, but lie was furious when he was offered the leavings of the food of the gods and refused to take any food. In his anger he advanced towards Ambarisa. A terrib1e monster Krtya emanated from the Maharsi and was about to destroy Ambarisa. Ambarisa at once called upon Sudarsana Cakra, which appeared instantly and after cutting the throat of Krtya, turned against Durvasas. Terrified by it, Durvasas began to flee for 1ife. The Cakra pursued him at his heels. Durvasaswent to Indra and sought refuge with him. But the Cakra followed him there. Indra pleaded helplessness. Then the Maharsi went to Brahma and sued for his help. There also the Cakra pursued him. Brahma sent him to Siva. Siva was also unable to give him shelter. Sudarsana continued to chase him. Durvasas then sought shelter with Mahavisnu. Visnu told him plainly that there was no alternative but to go and sue for mercy to Ambarisa himself and advised him to do so. At last Durvasas returned to Ambari sa and begged his pardon. Ambarisa saved him from Sudarsana Cakra and described to him the glory resulting from the observance of Ekadasi vrata. (Bhagavata, Navama Skandha).


4) Other Details (1) Ambarisa performed a yaga in the Yamuna valley. (M.B.,Adi Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 277; Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 6; Vana Parva, Chapter 129, Verse 2).


(2) Maharsi Durvasas recalled Ambarisa's power. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 263, Verse 33).


(3) The Sage Vyasa once told Dharmaputra that Ambarisa was one of the 16 great kings who lived in ancient times. The 16 reputed Kings were : Marutta, Suhotra, Paurava, gibi, gri Rama, Bhagiratha, Dilipa, Mandhata, Yayati, Ambarisa, S`a'sabindu, Gaya, Rantideva, Bharata, Prthu and Parasurama. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 64).


(4) Ambarisa fought single-handed against thousands of Kings. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 64).


(5) He performed one hundred yfigas. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 64) .


(6) Ambaxisa once questioned Indra about his (Ambarisa's) army Chief Sudeva becoming more mighty than himself. (M.B., ganti Parva, Chapter 98, Verses 6-11) .


(7) Amhbarisa gave 110 crores of cows to the Brahmins. (M.B., Jfinti Parva, Chapter 234, Verse 23) .


(8) Ambarisa was also among the Munis who committed theft of Agastya's lotuses. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 94, Verse 24) .


(9) Besides giving cows to Brahmins, Ambarisa gave them the country also. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 137, Verse 8).


AMBARISA II. When Balabhadrarama entered the lower world (Pfitala) after death, among the Nagas who welcomed him, there was one called "Ambarisa". (M.B., Mausala Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 16).


AMBASTHA I. King Srutayu, who belonged to the party of the Kauravas was the ruler of Ambastha land and so he was called Ambastha. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 96, Verses 39-40) . He. was killed in the fight with Arjuna. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 93, Verses



AMBASTHA II. There was a hero called Ambastha among the warriors on the side of the Pandavas. ( M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 25, Verse 50). He fought against King Cedi who was on the side of the Kauravas and in the fight King Cedi fell.


AMBASTHA III. See the word "VARNA".


AMBASTHAM. A region in ancient India. It is believed that it was to the north of Sindha (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 37, Verse 7) .


AMBHORUHA. A son of Sage Visvamitra. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 59).


AMBIKA I. Elder sister of Ambalika. ( See AMBALIKA).


AMBIKA II. Another name of Pfirvati. (Agni Purana, Chapter 12) .


AMBUMATI. A river. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 83, Verse 56).


AMBUVAHINI. A river. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 27) . Praising this river at dawn and dusk will bring divine grace. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 165, Verse 20).


AMBUVICA. One of the Kings of Magadha. He had a minister named Mahfikarni. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 203, Verses 17-19).


AIVIHU. An Asura in the period of the Rgveda. This Asura had been doing much harm to the hermits. Purukutsa was the hermit whom he tormented most. Indra vanquished this Asura and destroyed seven of his cities. (Rgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 11, Sukta 63, Khanda 7) .


AMITADHVAJA. A Raksasa. ( M.B., anti Parva, Chapter 227, Verse 50).


AMITAUJ~. A mighty Ksatriya King of the Pfincfila kingdom. He was born from the element of a Raksasa named Ketuman. Before the Pandavas went to war, they had sent an invitation to him. He was one of the distinguished royal allies of the Pandavas. ( M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 12; Udyoga Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 12; Udyoga Parva, Chapter 71, Verse 11).


AMITRAJI'T. A King. In his country there were innumerable diva temples. Narada Muni who was delighted by this sight, went to the Palace and said to Amitrajit: "In the cii"y of Campakfivati there is a Gandharva virgin named Malayagandhini. She has been abducted by Kaiikalaketu, a Raksasa. She has promised to marry the person who will rescue her from him. Therefore please save her from the Rfiksasa." As suggested by Narada Amitrajit killed Kaiikfilaketu in battle and recovered Malayagandhini and married her. Vira was their son. (Skanda Purana ) .


AMOGHA I. A Yaksa who accompanied diva when the latter once went on a journey to Bhadravata. ( M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 231, Verse 35).


AMOGHA II. This name has been used as a synonym of Skanda. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 232, Verse 5) .


A MOGHA III. A synonym of diva. (M.B., Anusfisana Parva, Chapter 17, Verse 114) .


AMOGHA IV. A synonym of Visnu. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 25) .


AMOGHA (M). An Agni which originated from Brhaspati's family. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 222, Verse 24).


AMOGHA. Santanu Maharsi's wife. Once Brahma visited Santanu Maharsi's Asrama. As the Maharsi was not at home, it was Amogha who received the guest with due reverence. Fascinated by the irresistible charm of Amogha, Brahma had an involuntary emission of seminal fluid. He felt ashamed of his own weakness and left the Asrama immediate1y. The Maharsi who returned to the Asrama soon after, came to know from his wife whose semen it was. He asked Amogha to accept Brahma Deva's precious semen and not to let it be wasted. Being a devoted wife, she accepted it, but unable to hear the divine pregnancy, she deposited it in the water lying in the valley of the Yugandhara mountain. From that time, it became a place of holy bath, known as Lohita. It was by bathing in this holy water that Parasurama washed away his sin of annihilating the Ksatriyas. (Padma Purana, Srsti Khanda, 55) .


AMPITTA. A name for barbers. `Ampitta' is derived from the Sanskrit word "Ambisthah". The word Ambisthah means Physician. In olden days barbers were physicians also. Going about from house to house, they could easily practise both these professions. Since barbers practised physic also they were called Ambisthas. Ampitta is a corrupted form-of Ambistha. (Dravidian Philology).


Barbers sometimes style themselves as "Pandits". It is on the basis of this that we have today, "All Kerala Pandit Sabha" and other similar names. There is a iegend on the basis of which this community has assumed the title of "Pandit".


Long ago when gri Buddha was about to go to the forest for performing Tapas, thousands of people flocked together to have his darsana. Buddha wished to continue his journey after shaving his head. Buddha asked loudly whether anyone in the crowd was prepared to shave his head. Only a single man came forward cheerfully to do that work. Buddha turned to him and said: "My dear friend, you are the only Pandit in this crowd. You have the wisdom to understand that there is nothing disgraceful in shaving one's head."


He shaved Buddha's head. From that day his descendants came to be known as "Pandits".


AMRTA. Daughter of a King of Magadha. She was the wife of Anasva and other of Pariksit. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 95, Verse-41).




AMRTAM. A delicious and precious food obtained from the ocean of Milk when the Devas and Asuras churned it. In Chapter 152 of Agni Purana, the word "Mrtam" is defined as wealth received by begging and "Amrtam" as wealth received without begging, and "Pramrtam" as another kind of wealth obtained without begging.


1) Cause of K~frdbdhi-mathanam. (Churning of the Sea of Milk)-Once when Maharsi Durvasas was travelling through a forest, he met the Apsara woman, Menaka, with a garland of Kalpaka flowers in her hand. The fragrance of the flowers filled the whole forest. Durvasas approached Menaka and requested her to give the garland to him. The Vidyadhari (Apsara woman) prostrated before the Maharsi with reverence and presented the garland to him. Wearing that garland on his hair, Durvasas went to devaloka.


There he saw Indra riding on his elephant, Airavata, accompanied by his retinue of Devas. The Maharsi took the rare garland from his head and presented it to Indra, the King of Devas. Indra received the garland and placed it on Airavata's head. The elephant was attracted by the fragrance of the garland and took it in its trunk, examined it by smelling it and then threw it on the ground.


Durvasas, who became angry at the way in which his garland was slighted by Indra said to him: "Since you have treated my garland with disrespect, the glory and prosperity of devaloka will perish !" On hearing the curse, Indra alighted from the elephant, frightened. He begged pardon of the Maharsi. The furious Muni continued: "I am not soft-hearted; nor am I of a forgiving nature. Other Munis may forgive. Remember, I am Durvasas. You have become so haughty because other Munis like Vasistha and Gautama have been flattering you too much." Having said this Durvasas went his way. Indra returned to Amaravati.


From that day the glory of devaloka began to decline. The three worlds became dull. Even the plants and shrubs began to wither. The performance of yagas came to an end. The Devas began to be affected by the infirmities of old age. Taking advantage of this situation, the Asuras started preparations for opposing the Devas. Under the oppression of the Asuras, the Devas groaned in distress. Led by Agni Deva they sought refuge under Brahma. Brahma led them to Mahavisnu. They all joined in praising Visnu who appeared and told them like this: "O Gods! I shall enhance your glory. Do as I tell you. Along with the Asuras bring all kinds of medicinal herbs and deposit them in the ocean of Milk. Obtain Amrtam from it by churning it with Mahameru as the churning staff and Vasuki as the rope. The Amrtam (Amrta) which will be produced by churning the Milk sea, will make you strong and deathless. I shall see that the Asuras will share in your troubles but not in enjoying Amrtam."


2) Churning of the Milk Sea. After Visnu had vanished, the Devas made a treaty with the Asuras and began to work for getting Amrtam. All of them joined together in bringing various kinds of medicinal herbs and after putting them in the Milk sea which was as clear as the cloudless sky, began to churn it, using Manthara Mountain as the churning staff and snake Vasuki as the rope. The party of Devas was posted at the tail-end of Vasuki while the Asuras took their stand at the head. The Asuras became enervated by the fiery breath coming out of Vasuki's mouth. The clouds which were blown by that breath invigorated the Devas.


Mahavisnu transformed himself into a tortoise, and sitting in the middle of the Milk Sea served as the foundation for the Manthara Mountain, the churning staff. Assuming another form, invisible both to Devas and Asuras, Mahavisnu pressed down the Manthara Mountain from above.


While churning the Milk Sea like this, the first object that rose to the surface was Kamadhenu. Both Devas and Asuras were strongly attracted towards Kamadhenu While all were standing spellbound, Varunidevi with her enchanting dreamy eyes next appeared on the surface. Parijatam was the third to appear. Fourth, a group of Apsara women of marvellous beauty floated up. The Moon appeared as the fifth. giva received the Moon. The venom which came out of the Milk Sea as the sixth item, was absorbed by Nagas. After that arose Bhagavan Dhanvantari, dressed in pure white robes and carrying a Kamandalu in his hand filled with Amrtam. All were delighted at this sight. Next Mahzlaksmi made her appearance in all her glory with a lotus in her hand and seated in an open lotus flower. Gandharvas sang celestial songs in her presence ; ApsarA women danced. For her bath, the Ganges river arrived there with her tributaries. The Milk Sea itself took on physical form and offered her a garland of everfresh lotus flowers. Brahma bedecked her with ornaments. After that Lakst~iidevi, fully adorned in all her magnificent jewels, in the presence of all Devas, joined the bosom of Mahavisnu. The Asuras were displeased at it. They snatched the pot of Amrtam from Dhanvantari and fled away.


3) Hour Am rtam was recovered. With the loss of Amrtam, the Devas were in a fix. They began to consider how the pot of Amrtam could be recovered. Accordingly Mahavisnu transformed himself into a celestial virgin, Mohini, of extraordinary beauty. She approached the Asuras as a shy girl. The Asuras were enchanted by her surpassing beauty. They asked her, "Who are you?" Looking down on the ground, Mohini replied: "I am the little sister of Dhanvantari. By the time I came out of the Milk Sea, the Devas and Asuras had already gone. Being lonely I am going about in search of a suitable mate."


On hearing her words, the Asuras began to make friends with her one by one, determined not to waste this opportunity. They told her that she should distribute Amrtam to all of them and in the end she should marry one of them. Mohini agreed, but added : "All of you should close your eyes. I shall serve Amrtam to all. He who opens his eyes last, must serve Amrtam to me and he will marry me".


All of them accepted this condition. They sat in front of Mohini with closed eyes. In a moment Mohini left the place with the pot of Amrtam and went to devaloka.


41 Rdhu's neck is cut. When the Asuras opened their eyes, Mohini was not to be seen. Finding that they were betrayed, they were in great perplexity. All of' them pursued Mohini to devaloka. Devas had put the Sun and Moon gods on guard duty at the gates of devaloka. At the instance of the Asuras, Rahu in disguise entered the divine assembly chamber. The Sun and Moon gods detected him and Visnu with his weapon, Sudarsana Cakra cut open his neck. Swearing that he would wreak vengeance on the Sun and Moon Rahu returned. In the 8th Skandha of Bhagavata it is said that even now from time to time Rahu swallows the Sun and Moon, but they escape through the open gash in his neck and this is known as solar eclipse and lunar eclipse.


5) Defeat of the Asuras. Indra and all other gods took Amrtam. The enraged Asuras attacked the gods, who had gained strength and vigour by taking Amrtam. The Asuras were driven away in all directions. All the three worlds began to enjoy glory and prosperity again. 6) Kalakuta. The story of how the deadly poison, K1lakuta arose at the churning of the ocean of Milk, is given in M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 18, Verses 42-45, as follows : After many, precious things had come up Kalakuta poison with fumes and flames, appeared on the surface of the ocean. Its strong smell caused a stupor in all the three worlds. Fearing that the world will perish, Brahma requested Siva to swallow that poison. Siva gulped it down, but stopped it in his throat. From that day he became "Nilakantha".


7) The story of Airaaata. Indra's tusker Airavata we responsible for the churning of the ocean of Milk. Bu in the Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 18, Verse 4 it is said that a white elephant with four tusks aros during the churning of the ocean of Milk and tha Devendra caught and tamed it. This is an obviot contradiction. Besides, in ValmSki Ramayana, Aranye kanda, 14th Sarga, the wounded Jatayu describing h family history to Sri Rama, gives the fo1lowing accour about the origin of Airavata


Kasyapa, one of the Prajapatis, married the eigl daughters of Daksa. One of them named Krodhavas had ten daughters by Kasyapa. They were: Mrgi, Mrgz mada, Hari, Bhadramada, Matangi, Sarduli, Svetl Surabhi, Surasa and Kadru. Of' them Bhadramad gave birth to a daughter, Iravati. The tusker Airavat is Iravati's son.


An explanation for this discrepancy may be seen i Visnu Purana, 3rd Section, Chapter 1. Now si Manvantaras have passed (See `MANVANTARA') This is the seventh Manvantara. Each Manvantar has a new Indra. According to this, different Indra have their own Airavatas. This is the only explanation for this apparent contradiction.


8) Am rtam and Garuda. There is another story abou Amrtam which says that Garuda once went to deva loka and brought Amrtam from there to be given t the Nagas, but Devendra came down and took it baclf This story is given in Mahabharata from Chapter 2 onwards. Vinat'd, a wife of Kasyapa gave birth t Garuda and Kadru and her sister gave birth to th Nagas. Once there was a dispute between Vinata any Kadru. Vinata said that the hairs on the tail of Uccai sravas, Devendra's horse, were white but Kadri asserted that they were black. To settle the dispute they made a bet. The condition was that the loser mus become the servant maid of the winner. As instructei by Kadru, some of the Nagas went in advance an( hung down from the tail of Uccaissravas, thus giving the false appearance of a tail with black hairs. By this tricl Vinata lost the bet and had to become Kadru's servan maid. As a result of it, the task of looking after Kadru' children became Garuda's duty. Kadru told him tha if he fetched Amrtam from devaloka and gave it to th~ Nagas, she was prepared to release him from the bond age. So Garuda flew up to devaloka, fought with th~ gods and defeated them. He returned with the pot o Amrtam and gave it to the Nagas. The Nagas wen to take their bath after placing the pot on darbha Bras spread on the floor. Just then Devendra swooped down and carried away the pot of Amrtam to devaloka When the Nagas returned after their purifying bath the pot was not to be seen. In their greed they began to lick the darbha grass on which the pot vas placed The sharp edge of the grass cut their tongues into two This is why the Nagas (snakes) came to have forkec tongues.


Amrtam which has been thus recovered after mangy such adventures; is still preserved carefully in devaloka [ (1) M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 17. (2) M.B., Ad Parva, Chapter 27, verse 16. (3) M.B. Ad! Parva Chapter 30, Verse 2. (4) Valmiki Rdmayana, Aran


Kanda, 35th Sarga. (5) Visnu Purana, Section 1. Chapter 9. (6) Agni Purana, Chapter 152. (7) Bhaga~ vata, 8th Skandha. (8) Uttara Ramayana.]


 ASITA. A sage of the family of Marici.


1) Genealogy. He was descended from Visnu through Brahma, Marici and Kayapa.


2) Birth. Marici was one of the six sons, all rsis, of Brahma. These six sons, born parthogenetically of Brahma, were: Marici, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha and Kratu. Marici had a son named Kasyapa. Kasyapa married the thirteen daughters of Daksa. The eldest of them, Aditi, gave birth to twelve sons I)hat5, Aryaman, Mitra, Sakra, Varuna, Amsa, Bhaga, Vivasvan, Pusan, Savita, Tvasta and Visnu. Amsa is one of these twelve sons who have been called the twelve Adityas. (See Chapter 65 of Adi Parva of the Mahabharata) -


3) Events. The Mahabharatasays (9loka 66, Chapter 123) that Amsa was present at the time of Arjuna's birth when several devas had come there to see the infant. In Sloka 34, Chapter 45 of galya Parva it is said that Arimsa was present on the occasion of the Abhiseka of Skandadeva. Amsa is said to have presented to Skandadeva five good warriors: Parigha, Vata, Bhima, Dahana and Dahati.


AMSAPAYA. Name of a priest (Rtvik) qualified to officiate at a sacrifice. This priest officiated at the sacrifice (yajna) performed by Brahma at Pugkaraksetra. (See Chapter 34 of Padma Purana) .


AMSAVATARA. The incarnation of God on earth is called avatara. When the incarnation is only partial, that is, when only some of the divine elements incarnate, it is called ariisavatara (Amsa=part). Chapters 54 to 64 of Adi Parva of the Mahabharata give us a list of the gods who have incarnated partially. The following list of devas and their amsavataras is based upon the account given in the fourth Skandha of $ri Mahadevi Bhagavata.


Name of the god 1. Kasyapa 2. Adisesa 3. Narayanarsi 4. Yamadharma 5. Asvinidevas 6. Dharma 7. giva 8. Gandharvaraja 9. Astavasu 10. Marudgana 11. Aditi 12. Nararsi 13. Vayu 14. Surya 15. Brhaspati 16. Varuna 17. Marut 18. Hamsa 19. Dvapara 20. Pavaka 21. Kali 22. Raksasa 23. Varuna 24. Visvedevas 25. Dhrti 26. Vipracitti 27. Hayagriva 28. Baskala 29. Lamba 30. Sanatkumara


Name of the ariisavatara Vasudeva Balabhadra Sri Krsna Xudhisthira Nakula and Sahadeva Vidura Asvatthma Devaka Bhisma Krpa ; Krtavarma Devaki Arjuna Bhimasena Karna Drona gantanu Virata Dhrtaragtra S`akuni Dhrstadyumna Duryodhana gikhandi Drupada Sons of Pancali M7; .dri Jarasandha Kesi Bhagadatta Pralamba Pradyumna


Name of the god Name of the arnsavatara


31. Laksmi Pancali


32. Siddhi. Kunti


33. Mad Gandhari


34. Jaya Hiranyaksa


35. ViJaya Hiranyakasipu


36. Hiranyaksa Ravana


37. Hiranyakasipu Kumbhakarna


38. Ravana gisupala


39. Kumbhakarna Dandavaktra


40. Prahlada Salya


41. Kalanemi Kamsa


42. Anuhlada Dhrstaketu


43. Khara Dhenuka.


(For more details see under the word, AVATARA).


AMSUDHANAPATTANA. Name of an ancient town in North India. Bharata passed through this town while going to Ayodhya from Kekaya after DaSaratha's death. Valmiki has described this town in the Ramayana in this context.


AMSUMAN. Name of a King belonging to the Solar dynasty rSurya Vamsa).


1) Genealogy. Amsuman was descended from Visnu through Brahma-Marici-Kasyapa-Vivasvan-Vaivasvatamanu-Iksvaku-Vikuksi-Sagada-Puranjaya - Kakutstha -Anenas-P,rthulasva-Prasenajit - Yuvanasva - MandhataPurukutsa-Trasadasyu-Anaranya - Aryasvan - Vasumanas-Sudhanva-Traiyyaruna-Satyavrata-Trisanku-Hariscandra-Rohitasva - Harita - Cuncu - Sudeva - BharukaBahuka-Sagara:Asamanj as-Arns uman.


2) Birth. Sagara, a king of the Surya Vamsa, (mentioned above) had two wives, Sumati ( Vaidarbhi) and Kqsini (Saiba) by name. Kesini gave birth to a son named Asamanjas. Amsuman was the son of Asamanja: and the father of the famous Bhagiratha. ( See under the title, BHAGIRATHA).


3 ) Some other details. Amsuman was one of the King who attended the Svayarimara of Pancali. ( Vide Sloka 11, Chapter 185 of Adi Parva of the Mahabharata) .


AMSUMAN II. There is a reference to one Axiisuman in the course of the description of the Vi'svedevas.


AMSUMAN III. King of Bhuja who was killed b5 Drona in the war at Kuruksetra (Vide ~loka 14, Chapter 6 of Karna .Parva).


AMSUMATI. The daughter of the Gandharva Kind named Dramila. Her story is narrated in the ~ivz Purana to illustrate the benefits of performing the Pra dosa-Vrata. Suta expatiates on the importance anc advantages of Pradoga-Vrata to a number of sage; in Naitnisaranya. King Satyaratha was a scrupulous observer of Pradosa-Vrata. Unfortunately he defaultec in his observance of the Vrata owing to unavoidabh circumstances and, after his death, was born again a the King of Vidarbha. He was killed in a battle by thf King of Salva and his wife, pregnant at that time, flec to a forest. She gave birth to a son on the bank of < river. Then, when she stepped into the river to drinl some water, she was carried away by a crocodile. Pre sently a Brahmin woman named Usa happened to pas that way with her son named gucivrata. Seeing a new born infant there, that Brahmin woman took him, gav, him the name, Dharinagupta and brought him up a her own son. According to the advice of a pious Brah min named 9andilya, both Sucivrata and Dharmagupt; started performing Pradosa-Vrata. Lord Siva was pleased with them and gave them much wealth. Dharmagupta happened to meet Amsumati, daughter of the Gandharva King, Dramila, one day in a forest and they fell in love with each other. Dramila came to know of their love and so gave his daughter in marriage to Dharmagupta. As a result of the wealth and power which he had acquired by observing strictly PradosaVrata Dharmagupta was able to return to Vidarbha, defeat King Salva and regain his kingdom from him.


AMIGRTARAYAS. He was a renowned King of ancient Bh.rata and the father of King Gaya. Amiirtarayas received a sword from Puru. (M.B., Sand Parva, Chapter 166, Verse 75) .


ANADIPAKA. (See Pancatantra).


ANADHRSTI I. A King of the Puru dynasty.


1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu thus : VisnuBrahma-Atri-Candra-Budha-Pururavas-Ayus - Nahusa -Yayati-Puru janamejaya - Prdcinvan - Namasyu - Vitabhaya-gundu-Bahuvidha-Samyati-Rahovadi - Raudrasvan-Anadhrsti.


Anadhrsti is a son born to Raudrasva by Misrakesi, an Apsar woman. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 94, Verses 8-12) . Anadhrsti has two synonyms, Rceyu and Anvagbhanu.


ANADHRSTI II. Verse 58, Chapter 14 of Sabha Parva mentions seven great YadavaS. One Anadhl'sti is named amongst the seven. This Anadhrsli was present at the marriage of Abhimanyu at Ipaplavanagara. (M.B., Virata Parva, Chapter 72, Verse 22) . There was one Anadhrsti also amongst the warriors who encompassed Arjuna and Krsna at the battle-field of Kuruksetra. (M;B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 151, Verse 67) . He was the son of King . V,rddhaksema. Hence he was called Varddhaksemi' also.


ANADHRSYA. One of the Kauravas. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 105) .




ANAGHA I. Son of Vasisxha. He had seven .sons, by his wife Grja. They were: Rajas, Gotra, Crdhvabahu, Savana, Anagha, Sutapas and Sukra. Holy characters, they became the saptarsis of the age of the third Manu. (Manvantara).


ANAGHA II. was a Gandharva. He participated in the birthday celebrations of Arjuna. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 122, Verse 55) .


ANAGHA III. A king called Anagha is referred to in Verse 22, Chapter 8 of M.B.


ANAGHA IV. Skanda has a synonym, Anagha as well. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 232, Verse 5) .


ANAGHA V. A bird named A-nagha is mentioned amw;,g the children of Garuda. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 101, Verse 12) .


ANAGHA VI. Used as a synonym of Siva. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 17, Verse 38) .


ANAGHA VII. A synonym of Visnu. (M.B., Anuiasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 29) .


ANAGRAM. A place in. ancient India. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 30, Verse 9) .


ANAGNI (S) . They are Pitrs. Pits like Agnisvattas, Barhisads, Anagnis, Sagnis were offsprings of Brahma: Two damsels, Mend and Dharini were born to them of Svadha. (Agni Purdna, Chapter 20) .


ANALAILA daughter of Daksa. Some of the other daughters are Aditi, Did, Danu, Kalika, Tamra, Krodhavasa, Manu and Ariala. These daughters were


married to Kasyapa, son of Marici. Trees, creepers etc. owe their origin to Anald. (Valmiki. Ramayana, Aranya kdnda, Canto 14).


ANALA II. Another Anala is referred to in Verse 7I, Chapter 66 of Adi Parva, in M.B. This Anala was the wife of Kasyapa and a great granddaughter of Krodhavasa, the daughter of Daksa. Krodhavasa begot Sveta, and she Surabhi ; Rohini was the daughter of Surabhi and Anala was Rohini's daughter.


ANALA III. Daughter of Malyavdn born of Sundari. She was married. to Visvavasu. Kumbhinasi was her daughter. (Valmiki Ramayana, Uttarakanda).


ANALAMBA. A sacred pool. A bath in the pool is as efficacious as the Purusamedha yajna. (M.B., Anugasana Parva, Chapter 25, Verse 32) .


ANAMITRA I. A king of the Solar dynasty. The Atmapurana refers to him as the son of Nighna.


ANAMITRA II. Anamitra, son of Dhrsta is referred to as a king of the Yadavas in Atmapurana.


ANAMITRA III. One Anamitra, son of Vrsni is referred to in Matsyapurana. He was the father of Mini.


ANAMITRA IV. A son born to King Krosta and his wife Madri.


ANAMITRA. Father of Caksusa, the Manu of the 6th Manvantara and son of sage Anamitra. ( See Ananda) .


ANANATA. A sage. (Rgveda, Mandala 4, Sukta 175) .


ANANGA I. Son of Kardamaprajapati, and a king reputed for his love of the people and unparallelled integrity. He had a son called Atibala. (M.B., anti Parva, Chapter 59, Verse 91) .


ANANGA II. (See Kamadeva).


ANANGA. A river in ancient India. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 35) .




1) Genealogy. Mahavisnu begot Brahma and he the Prajapatis and Ananta (Adisesa) is one of the Prajapatis. (Valmiki Rdmayana, Aranyakanda, Canto 14, Verse 7) . Ananta is also referred to as the son of Kasyapa, one of the Prajapatis born of Kadru. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 105, Verse 41). Also Balabhadrarama, elder brother of Sri Krsna was a partial incarnation of Ananta.


2) Differences with mother. Vinata and Kadru were two wives 8f Kasyapa prajapati. Garuda was born as Vinata'sson andnumerous serpents like Ananta, Vasuki, Taksaka, Karkkotaka were sons of Kadru. Once a controversy developed between Vinata and Kadru; the latter saying that there were a few black hairs on the tail of Airavata and the former denying it. It was agreed that she who proved wrong in the argument would become the slave of the other. To prove herself to be right Kadru, the same night, asked her sons to go and stay suspended in the hairs of Airavata's tail. Some of the sons agreed to do so, while her other (prominent) sons like Ananta expressed their disincli nation to do such an unethical act. Kadru cursed these disobedient children of hers to die at the serpent yajna of Janamejaya, whereupon Ananta and his supporters departed m sorrow. ( M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 65) .


3) Ananta's new engagement. Departing thus from his mother Ananta visited sacred centres like Gandhamadana, Badari and practised austerities. And, Brahma appeared before Ananta and asked him not to worry, but to go to the nether world and support the world on his hoods. Brahma also told him that Garuda would render him all help in the new task. Blessed thus by Brahma, Ananta gladly took up the new job. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 36, Verse 24).


4) Ananta has another abode in the pa1ace of Varuna in the west. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 110, Verse 18).


5) Ananta's prowess. About Ananta's prowess Visnu Purana has the following to say : At the bottom of Paula there is a base (Tamasic) form of Visnu called Adisesa. Even the Danavas and the Daityas are not able to describe the attributes of that form. The Siddhas call this Adisesa Ananta who is worshipped by Devas and rsis. Ananta has 1000 heads and the Svastika mark which is clearly visible is his ornament. The 1000 gems in his head illuminate all regions, and he renders the Asuras powerless for the good of all the worlds. Adisesa whose eyes ever rotate due to the overflow of his prowess, and who wears blue apparel and garlands of white gems shines forth like another Mount Kailasa beautified with garlands of clouds and by the flow of the Ganga, Sri Devi and Varuni Devi serve Ananta who holds in one hand a larngala and in the other a mace (mizsala). As the deluge (end of a yuga Kalpanta) approaches Rudra emanates from the faces of Ananta and consumes the three worlds. Adisesa dwells in the nether world wearing the whole earth as a crown. Even the Devas cannot gauge his nature, shape, prowess etc. When he yawns the earth and waters shake and shiver. The Gandharvas, Nagas, Caranas, etc. fail to understand the real extent of his attributes, and that is why this strange being is called Ananta (endless). It was by worshipping Ananta and by his grace that sage Garga was able to master the sciences of astronomy and causation (nimitta). (Vignu Purina, Part 2,Chapter 5) .


6) The land of Ananta. Patala is Ananta's world, and at its bottom there is a spot called Ananta. That spot is 30000 yojanas in extent, and here lives Ananta. He is known as. Sankarsana also. He bears the whole nether world as though it were a mustard seed. And, when he thinks of destroying the entire world the Rudra called Sankarsana will appear with other Rudras and weapons like tridents (Trisula). Other serpents bow at the feet of Ananta, who is supremely beautiful with divine lustre. (Devi Bhagavata, Skandha 8) .


ANANTA II. A synonym of the Sun God. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 3, Verse 24) .


ANANTA III. A synonym of Sri Krsna. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 70, Verse 14) .


ANANTA IV. One of the military captains of Skanda. (M.B., galya Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 57) .


ANANTA V. A synonym of Visnu. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 83)~


ANANTA VI. A synonym of Siva. (M.B., Anusisana Parva, Chapter 17, Verse 135) .


ANANTA. Wife of Janamejaya, son of King Puru.


ANANTA. The abode of Ananta in the nether regions. (Devi Bhagavata, Canto 8). (There are certain indications that Ananta refers to Trivandrum, Capital city of the Kerala State. Explanations of words like Svarga, Bhumi, Pitdla, Ananta, Deva, Asura, throw much light on this inference).


ANANTAVIJAYAM. The conch of Dharmaputra. It was blown during the great war. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 25, Verse 15) .


ANAPAYACOLA. A King of the Cola country, 1063. 1112. The Tamil poet Sekhilar who composed the twelfth song of the great Saiva religious book callec Tirumurayil was a minister of this King.


ANARAKATIRTHA. A sacred pool. Brahma, alon€ with Visnu and others bathe daily in dais sacred pool Therefore, it is said that the sins of all those who bath< in the pool will be washed off.


ANARANYA (ANARANYA). A King of the Iksvikt: dynasty. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 236)


For genealogy, see IKSVAKU. Anaranya was a vegetarian. (M.B., Anusisana Parva, Chapter 115, Verse 59) Rivana once attacked his country whom he challengec to a duel. In the duel Anaranya died. Before dying ha cursed Rivana that he would be killed by Rama, soy of King Dasaratha. (Brahminda Purina, Chapter 45) .




ANARKA(M). A king born in King Kaipla's dynasty (Agni Purina, Chapter 278).


ANASA (ASAIVIGA). A brother of Akrura. (Bhagavata Dasama Skandha).


ANASIYA. Wife of Sage Atri, son of Brahma. (Visor Purina, Part 1, Chapter 10) .


1) Genealogy. From Mahivisnu were born in order Brahma, Sviyambhuva Manu, Devahuti, Anasuya. T< Sviyambhuva, son of Brahma, was born by his wife Satarupa five children : Uttinapida, Priyavrata, Ahuti Devahl'tti and Prasuti and Devahuti was married tc Kardama, son of Brahma. They begot two daughters Kala and Anasuyi. Marici married Kali and Atr married Anasuyi. (Bhigavata, Skandha 1, Chapter 4) 2) The Tapafdcakti of Ancasuya. Once upon a time, rain having failed for ten years the whole world sweated it agony and river Ganga got dried up. Famine stalked the world. In this dire contingency it was the tapassakti o Anasuyi that made trees bear fruits and Garigi to flov again. Also, she converted ten days into nights on the request of the Devas.


During their forest life Rama and Siti reach,:d the her mitage of sage Atri, and the sage and Anasuya treatei the guests sumptuously. The above story about th, tapassakti of Anasuyi was told then by Atri. The stor^ helped to increase Rama's respect for Anasuyi. Anasuy gave Sita all proper advice. She taught Siti that abso lute service to husband is the greatest tapas ordainei to women. Anasuyi gave to Siti a very sacred garlani and a sublime gem. And, after that Rama and Siti let the hermitage. ( Vilmiki Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda Cantos 117 and 118.) .


3) Sons of Anasuyd. She had three sons: Dattatreya Durvisas and Candra. (Visnu Purina, Part 1, Chapte 10) . (The reason for Mahavisnu being born as Dattai reya, Siva as Durvisas and Brahma as Candra t Anasuyi is given under Atri) .


ANAUPAMYA. Wife of $inisura. Once she develope an amorous interest in Narada, which led to som domestic quarrels. (Padma Purina, Adikanda, Chapte 14) .


ANAVADYA. Wife of Kasyapa, this Apsara woma participated in the birthday celebrations of Arjuna (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 122, Verse 62).


ANDA. * Suta, the disciple of Vyisa said to the Mun~ at-the Naimisiranya about the creation of the Universe In the beginning in the heavy universal darkness, the first seed of life (anda) appeared. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 28).


ANIDAKATAHA. The entire universe consisting of the fourteen worlds, which are : Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Maharloka, Janarloka, Tapoloka, Satyaloka, Patala, Rasatala, Mahatala, Talatala, Sutala, Vitala, Atala.


ANDHA I. An offspring of Kasyapa by his wife Kadru. (1N/I.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 103, Verse 16) .


ANDHA II. There is a story in M.B., about a huntsman, Vataka killing one Andha, an evil being. Andha whose form and shape were that of an animal, by doing tapas, became recipient of .a boon for destroying everything. Brahma rendered him blind lest the world perish, and that animal began to be known as Andha. When Andha began his programme of complete destruction many people rushed up to Visvamitra in, his abode in the forest. Andha followed them. But, Visvamitra, in the interests of self-protection pointed out the refugees to Andha. As punishment for this sin Visvamitra had once to go to hell. This story was related by Krsna to Arjuna during the great war at Kuruksetra, and the reason for telling the storywas this: During the fight Arjuna hesitated to aim arrows against Karna. Enraged by this attitude of Arjuna Dharmaputra asked him to hand over his famous bow, Gandiva to Sri Krsna. Feeling insulted at this demand Arjuna, all on a sudden, drew his sword to do away with Dharmaputra. Sri Krsna, prevented Arjuna from attacking his noble brother, and in this context related the above story to prove the truth that sins committed even unwittingly will lead one, as in the ,case of ViSvdmitra to hell. (M.B., Karna Parva, Chapter 69) .


ANDHA III. Upamanyu, the excellent disciple of Dhaumya, consumed the leaves of a tree which made him blind. (See Ayodhadhaumya) (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 3) .


ANDHAKA I. There was a very renowned king called Andhaka in the Yadu dynasty. All kings belonging to this dynasty used to be called Andhakas.


ANDHAKA II. Verse 12, Chapter 4 of M.B., Udyoga Parva refers to another King called Andhaka. The Pandavas had, sent to him a messenger soliciting military help.




1) Birth. This Asura was the foster son of Hiranyaksa. Siva was really his father. While once Siva was immersed in yoga his daughter closed his eyes playfully with her hands, and to ! a darkness rose and enveloped the whole place. From that darkness, with a sound as that of thunderbolt, appeared a Raksasa. He got the name Andhaka as,he was born from darkness. At that time Hiranyaksa was doing tapas for a son. Siva appeared before him and bestowing on him Andhaka as a foster son said as follows: "If he (Andhaka) earns the hatred of the world or desires even the mother of the three worlds or kills brahmins I will myself burn him to ashes". After saying this Siva disappeared. (Vamana Purana, Chapter 63) .


2) Andhaka desires Pdrvati with lust. One day overcome by erotic passion Andhaka said to his henchmen. as follows : "He is my true friend who brings Siva's consort, Parvati to me. Ye4, he is my brother; nay, father even." Hearing these ravings of Andhaka, Prahlada went to him and convinced him that PBrvati,


in fact was his mother. But Andhaka was not quietened. Then Prahlada explained to him the gravity of the sin of desiring other people's wives. Even this had no effect on Andhaka. He sent gambarasura to Siva to ask for and bring Parvati to him. Siva sent word to Andhaka that if the latter would defeat him in the game of dice Parvati would be sent to him. Andhaka got enraged and rushed to mount Mandara and began a fight with Siva.


3) Death. Defeated in the encounter, Andhaka craved for Siva's pardon. He admitted that Parvati was his mother. He also prayed for Siva's blessings for removal of his Asurahood. Siva granted him the prayers. The sins and Asurahood of Andhaka were thus ended. Siva made him the head of the Asuras, named Bhrngi. (Vamana Purana, Chapter 63 etc.) .


ANDHAKA (M) . A sacred pool. A dip in this pool will bring all the benefits of a Purusamedha yajfia. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 25, Verses 32, 33) .


ANDHAKARAKA (M). A place in the island of Kraurica. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 12, Verse 18) .


ANDHAKARAM. A mountain in the island of Kraufica. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 12, Verse 22) .


ANDHAKCPA (M). In the Devi Bhagavata Mahavisnu describes 28 hells to Narada, and Andhakupam is one of them. (see Naraka). Andhakupa is reserved for those who kill either Brahmins or devotees of God or Sannyasins (holy people). This hell abounds in cruel beasts like the bear and leopard, evil birds like the eagle,, reptiles like the snake and scorpion and dirty insects like bugs and mosquitos. The sinner will have to put up with all these sufferings in hell till the period of his punishment expires. (Devi Bhagavata, Astama Skandha).


ANDHATAMISRA. One of the 28 hells. (See Naraka). This hell is destined for wives who cheat their husbands and consume food and for husbands who cheat their wives and eat food. Agents of Yama get hold of such sinners and push them into the Andhat4misra. As the cords of the agents with which they bind the sinners get tighter around their bodies they faint and fall down owing to unbearable pain. When they regain consciousness and try to run away and escape, the Agents of Yama again bind them with the cord. (Devi Bhagavata, Astama Skandha).


ANDHRA (ANDHRA). This is the Andhra Pradesh in modern India. It has to be surmised that this place was very famous during the period of the composition of the Mahabhfirata. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 49).


ANDHRA. Warriors from Andhra were called Andhras. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 8).


ANDHRAKA I. Verse ,24, Chapter 4 of Sabha Parva, describes this king of Andhra Desa as having sat in the assembly hall of the palace constructed by Maya at Indraprastha for the Pandavas. He was also present at the Rajasuya Yajfia performed by Yudhisthira. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 34, Verse 11)-


ANDHRAKA II. The warriors of Andhra Desa were called Andhrakas also. (M.B., Karna Parva, Chapter 20, Verses 10 and 11) . In the Bharata war the King of Pandya defeated those warriors. Krsna incited Arjuna to kill the Andhras and the Pulindas. (M.B., Karna Parva, Chapter 73, Verses 19 to 21)..


ANDHRAKA III. Andhrakas are classed with Mlechas (lowest caste of people) in Verse 42, Chapter 207 of qdnti Parva.


ANENAS I. A king of the Lunar dynasty (Candra Varhsa).


1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in tine following order: Brahma - Atri - Candra - Budha - Pururavasayus-Anenas.


2) Birth. Pururavas had by his wife Urvasi six sons named Ayus, Srutayus, Satyavus, Raya, Vijaya and Jaya. Of them, Ayus, the eldest, had five sons named Nahusa, Ksatravrddha, Raji, Rambha and Anenas. Nahusa had a son named Yayati to whom were born the sons Puru, Yadu and others. The two dynasties of Yadu and Puru (Yaduvarhsa and Parruvariisa) originate from them. To Anenas brother of Nahusa, a son named Suddha was born. Buddha begot Suci who begot Trikakup and a son named 8aritarayas was born to Trikakup.


ANENAS II. A Maharaja of the Iksvaku dynasty.


Genealogy. From Visnu descended thus: KasyapaVaivasvata Manu - Iksvaku-~asada-Kakutstha-Anenas.


ANGA. A King belonging to the Candra varhsa. (Lunar dynasty).


1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in the following order: Brahma - Atri - Caiidra-Budha-Pururavas-AyusNahusa - Yayati - Anudruhyu - Sabhanara - KalanaraSrnj aya-Ti tiksa-Kus adhrta-Homa-Sutapas-Bali-Anga.


2)- Birth. Anga, Kaliriga, Suhma, Kandra, Vanga, Adrupa and Anagabhu are the seven sons born to Bali, the son of Sutapas; by his wife Sutesna, and the King Afiga is one of them. There is a story about the birth of these sons.


Once there lived a hermit named Utatthya. He was the elder brother of Brhaspati. One day when Mamata, Utatthya's wife, was pregnant, Brhaspati approached her with carnal desires. In spite of her efforts to dissuade her brother-in-law from his attempts she could not prevail upon him. He forced her and satisfied his desire. The child in her womb protested and kicked the sperm of Brhaspati out into the floor. Brhaspati got angry and cursed the child in the womb: "May you fall in perpetual darkness". So the child was born "blind and remained blind throughout his life. Hence he got the name °Dirghatamas'. Dirghatamas married Pradvesi. A son named Gautama was born to them. The duty of supporting Dirghatamas fell upon the wife and the son, who put him on a raft and pushed him astray into the River Ganges. King Bali, who was bathing in the river saw this. He rescued the hermit and took him to the palace and pleasing him by hospitality, requested him to beget children in his-wife Sutesna, who detesting the idea sent a Sudra woman Dhatrey-1 in her stead and eleven children were born to them. By and by Dirghatamas came to know of the deceit played by Sutesna on him and he became very angry. But the King pacified him and pleased him again and Dirghatamas begot five sons by Sutesna. They were Anga, Vafiga, Kaliriga, Paundra and Suhma. Dirghatamas blessed them that they would become very famous. Afiga, Vanga, Kalinga, Paundra and Suhma were the five kingdoms ruled by Anga, Vafiga, Kalifiga, Paundra and Suhma respectively. These five are the famous Kings of the Bali family. (Mahabharata, Adi Parva Chapter 1.04)


oblations. Holy seers said that the Gods refused to accept the oblations offered by the King because he was childless. So he performed the sacrifice called Putrakamesti (Sacrifice to get a son) and from the sacrificial fire arose a divine person with a golden flask of pudding, which he offered to the King and his queen. The King and the queen Sunitha ate. the pudding, as a result of which a son was born to them. He was named Vena. This son was wicked. Because of his wickedness the King became so miserable drat he left leis kingdom and went on a pilgrimage. Since there was no other means the people enthroned Vena, who tortured his subjects beyond limit. (Bhagavata, 4th Skandha, Chapters Band 14 ) .


ANGADA I. A son of Bali. 1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in the following order : Brahma-Kasyapa-India-Bali-Aiigada. 2) Birth. Aiigada was the son of Bali ( the son of India) born of his wife Ta,ra. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 82, Stanza 28). a ) Aiigada was a member of the group of monkey: sent by Sugriva to find out Sita. (Valmiki Ramayana Aranyakanda). b) He was the foremost among the group o£monkey; who entered Madhuvana and ate the berries in the garden, on their return after the search for SM. c) Aiigada was sent to the court of Ravana as a messenger by Sri Rama. (Ramayana, Yuddhakancla). d) In the battle between Rama and Ravana Aiigada combated with Indrajit. (Ramayana, Yuddhakanrla). e) After his combat with Indrajit, Angada and hi; followers led an attack on the army of Ravana. (Ramayana, Yuddhakanda ) . f) After the battle, Sri Rama anointed Aiigada as the heir-apparent to the Kingdom of Kiskindha. The necklace which Bali had given on his death to Sugriva, was returned to Aiagada. (Uttara Ramayana). g) Sri Rama returned to Ayodhya after his forest life and celebrated a horse sacrifice. The sacrificial horse was caught and detained by King Suratha. Coming to know of this Satrughna sent Aiigada to dteal with Suratha, who said that the horse was detained with the intention of meeting with Sri Rama personally. Aiigada returned and told $atrughna what Suratha had said to him. ( Padma Purana, Patala Khanda).


ANGADA II. There was a prince called Aiagada among the mighty men-of-arms on the side of the Kauravas. He got into action on the battle-field on the twelfth day of the battle. ( M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 25, Stanza 38).


ANGADA III. grutakirti the wedded wife of gatrughna, brother of Sri Rama, had two sons called Aiigada and Chandraketu. (Uttara Ramayana ) .


ANGADA IV. In the Bhagavata we see another Aaigada who was the son of Gada, the brother of Krsna by his wife, Brhati.


ANGAKARMA. Actions on the stage are of two kinds. One is to express by the major organs of the body. The other is to express by the minor organs of the body. Head etc. are major organs and eyebrow etc. are minor organs. Actions expressed by major organs are called Angakarma and those by minor organs are called Prat-


3) How Afiga got children. Once Afiga performed a yaiiga Karma. (Agni Purana, Chapter 341).


horse sacrifice. But the gods did not appear to receive ANGALAIVLMA. She is the wife of Virabhadra, a servant of Siva. She has a rope in her left hand, with which she hauls up the spirits of the dead.


ANGA (M) . The kingdom ruled by King Anga. Other details


1) The Dynasty. The first King of the Anga dynasty was Afiga the son of Bali. Anagabhu, Draviratha, Dharmaratha, Romapada (Lomapada), Caturanga, Prthulaksa, Brhadratha, Brhanmanas, Jayadratha, Vijaya, Drdhavrata, Satyakarma, Atiratha, Karna, Vrsasena and others were kings of this dynasty. Karna was the adopted son of Atiratha. During the period of the Mahabharata, Kings of the Atiratha family were under the sway of the Candra variasa (Lunar dynasty) kings such as Dhrtarastra and Pandu. (For further informations see the word Atiratha) .


2) How Karna became the king of Ariga. A contest in archery and the wielding of other weapons was going on in Hastinapura, the competitors being the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The status of Karna, who appeared on the side of the Kauravas, was questioned by the Pandavas on the occasion and Duryodhana, who always stood on his dignity, anointed Karna as the King of Anga, on the spot. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 136) .


3) Drought in the kingdom of Ariga. Lomapada (Romapada) the king of Anga once deceived a hermit Brahmin. So all the Brahmins quitted the country and thereafter there was no rainfall in the country for several years. The sages of the county began to think on the means of bringing about rain. One day they approached the King and told him that the only way to get rain was to bring the great hermit Rsyasrziga to the country.


Once Kasyapa happened to see Urvasi and he had seminal flow. The sperm fell in a river. A deer swallowed it along with the water it drank. It gave birth to a human child with horns on the head. This child was called Rsya'srnga. It was brought up by a hermit called Vibhandaka in his hut. Rsyasrnga had never seen women and by virtue of this, there occurred rainfall wherever he went. The King Lomapada sent some courtesans to the forest to attract Rsyagrnga, who following them arrived at the court of Lomapada the King of Afiga and the King gave Rsyasrnga, as a gift, his daughter Santa. Thus the country got rain. This Lomapada was a friend of Dagaratha. (Mahabharata, Aran ya Parva, Chapters 110 to 113).


4) How the.Ak'ingdom got the name Ariga. One opinion is that the Kingdom got its name from the King Afiga who ruled over it. Another opinion is that the king got his name from the country he ruled. However there is a story revealing how the country came to be called Anga.


In the realm of God, preliminary steps were being taken for making Sri Paramesvara wed Parvad. According to the instructions of Devendra, Kamadeva (the Lord of Love-Cupid) was trying to break the meditation of Siva and when Siva opened his third eye, fire emitted from it and Ananga (Kamadeva) was burned to ashes. It was in the country of Afiga that the ashes of the `anga' (Body) of Kamadeva fell and from that day onwards the country came to be called Afiga and Kamadeva, `Ananga' (without body). (Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, Sarga 26) .


5) Other informations.


(1) It is mentioned in the Hindi Dictionary, `Sabda Sagara' that the kingdom of Afiga embracing Bhagatpur


and Mudiger in Bihar had its capital at Campapuri an that the country had often stretched from Vaidy~ n-5athanama to Bhuvanesvar.


(2) Arjuna bad visited the Kingdom of Anga also durin his pilgrimage. (M.B., A,di Parva, Chapter 2 1 9, Stanz, 9).


(3) The King of Afiga was present at the sacrifice o Rajasuyx (Royal consecration) celebrated by Dharma putra, when the Pandavas were living at Indraprastha (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 52, Stanza 16) .


(4) On one occasion Sri Krsna defeated the Angas in a battle. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 11, Stanza 15).


(5) Parasurama had defeated the Angas once. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 7, Stanza 12).


(6) In the battle of Kurukgetra between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, on the sixteenth day of the battle, the heroes of Anga made an onslaught on Arjuna. (M.B., Karna Parva, Chapter 17, Stanza 12) .


(7) The Angas attacked the armies of Dhrstadyumna and the King of Pancala. (M.B., Karna Parva, Chapter 22, Stanza 2) .


(8) A low caste man from Anga attacked Bhima, who killed the man and his elephant. (Mahabharata, Drona Parva, Chapter 26, Stanzas 14 to 17). General Information. (,1) This was a country in ancient Bharata. (Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Stanza 50).


(2) Visvamitra had taken to the forest from Ayodhya Rama and Laksmana to protect the hermits and their yagas. On the way they entered the Tataka forest. Visvamitra told the boys in answer to their questions thus : "In olden days this place was a countryside known as Angamalaja or Malada or .Karusa. There is a reason for calling the country by that name. Indra killed Vrtra and thereby incurred the sin of Brahmahatya and so he came away to this country and lived here for a while. The Gods found him out here. They poured water on the head of the unclean Indra and the dirt, hunger, excreta and Karusa having been separated from his body fell on the soil of this place and was mingled with it. Indra's body became pure. As excreta, Karusa etc. were mingled with the soil of this country, it came to be called Angamalaja, Malada or Karusa from that day onwards. One part of the country was called Malada and the other part Karusa. Indra, having been purified by washing in water returned to heaven with the gods. After that this country became uninhabited for a long time. The horrible Tataka lives in this forest now". (Va1miki Ramayana, Balakanda, Sarga 24).


ANAPRADAKSINA. Rolling behind a chariot round the temple as a vow.


ANGARA. A king of ancient India. He was defeated by Mlndhdta in a battle. (Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Chapter 29, Stanza 88).


ANGARAJAVAMSA. (THE DYNASTY OF A&GA KINGS). Descended from Visnu in the following order: Brahma - Atri-Candra-Budha-Pururavas-Ayus - NahusaYay4ti. Yadu, Turvasu, Druhyu and Anudruhyu were the four sons of Yayati. The Afiga dynasty starts from Turvasu, one of the four. The following are the descendants of Turvasu. Varga was the son of Turvasu, Gobhanu, the son of Varga, Traigani the son of Gobhanu, Karandhama, the son of Traisani, Marutta, the son of Karandhama, Dusyanta, the son of Marutta, Varutha, the son of Dusyanta, Gan dira the son of Varutha, and Gandara the son of Gandira. The five powerful peoples, the Gandharas, the Colas, the Keralas, the Pandyas and the Kolas have descended from Gandhara.


Two sons, Druhyu and Babhrusetu were born to Gandhara. Babhrusetu begot Purovasu; Purovasu begot Gandhari. From Gandhdri Gharma was born, from Gharma Ghrta was born, from Ghrta Vidusa was born, and from Vidu sa Pracetas was born. Pracetas got a hundred children of whom the prominent were Anidra, Sabhanara, Caksusa and Paramesu. To Sabhanara was born Kalanala and Srfxjaya to kalanala, Puranjaya to SrnjayaandJanamejaya to Purafijaya. Mahasala was the son of Janamejaya; Mahamanas the son of Mahasala, and U'sinara the son of Mahamanas. To Usinara were born Nrga, Nara, Krmi, Suvrata and gibi by his wives Nrga, Nara, Krmi, Dasa and Drsadvatf respectively. To Sibi were born four sons called Prthudarbha, Viraka, Kaikaya and Bhadraka. Four separate kingdoms arose in the names of them. U4inara had another son called Titiksu. From Titiksu was born Rusadratha; from Rusadratha was born Paila, from Paila was born Sutapas and from Sutapas was born the great hermit Bali. From Bali, Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra, Baleya and Balayogi were born. To Anga was born Dadhivahana. The King Draviratha was the son of Dadhivahana, Dharmaratha the son of Draviratha, Citraratha the son of Dharmaratha, and Satyaratha was the son of Citraratha. To Satyaratha was born Lomapada; to Lomapada was born Caturanga; to Caturanga, was born Prthulaksa, to Prthulaksa was born Campa; to Campa was born Haryanga, to Haryanga was born Bhadraratha, to Bhadraratha was born Brhatkarma, to Brhatkarma was born Brhadbhanu, to i3rhadbhanu was born Brhadatma, to Brhadatma was born Jayadratha, to Jayacfratha was born Brhadratha and to Brhadratha was born Visvajit. After that Karna became the King of Ariga. The son of Karna was Vrsasena and the son of Vrsasena was Prthusena. These are the kings of the Anga dynasty. (Agni Purana, Chapter 277. )


ANGARAKA I. An Asura who took the form of a pig. The story of how this Asura was killed by his daughter Angaravati, is given below.


Long ago there was an emperor named Mahendravarma in UJayini. His son Mahasena did penance for a long time to get a wife and a sword. At last Devi appeared and granted the boon: "My son! take this extraordinary sword. So long as you have this sword, your enemies will not prevail against you. Angaravati, the renowned beauty of the three worlds, who is the daughter of the Asura AAgaraka, will become your wife in due course. As you do horrible deeds, you will be called Candamahasena". He was given the sword and a tusker called Nadagiri. One day Mahasena went to the forest for hunting. He saw a very large pig. The King used his arrows. But they did little harm to the pig. Moreover it turned the chariot of the King over to one side and ran to a cave. The King followed it with fury. On the way he sat on the bank of a lake with wonder, for a lady of exquisite beauty was walking along the mossy turf in the midst of some maids. Slowly she approached the King and talked with him. The young lady had entirely captured the heart of the King, who told her everything. She began to weep. "Who are you? Why do you weep?" The King asked


her. She replied with a deep sigh. "The pig you saw, is my father Aixgarakasura. His body is as hard a: diamond and not vulnerable to any sort of weapon These maids have been caught by him from various royal houses and brought here for my help. My name is Axigaravati. My father was changed to a giant by


curse, Now he is asleep discarding the form of pig When he wakes up, filled with hunger and thirst, he will do you harm. My tears flowed out in the form o: heated life-breaths, when I thought of these things."


The King said, "Go and sit by him and cry when he wakes up. He will ask the reason. Then tell him that you had been crying, when you thought how forlorn you would be without a mate, in case your father was killed by somebody". Angaravati did as she was told, Hearing her words Angaraka said, "My daughter ! No body can kill me. My body is made of diamond. There is only one vulnerable point in my body which is on my left forearm and it is always covered with my bow."


The king hid himself closely and heard everything. He fought with the Asura and hitting at the vulnerable point killed him. The king married Angaravati and took her to his palace. Two sons were born to him. They were called Gopalaka and Palaka. By the grace of Indra a daughter also was born to him by her and she was Vasavadatta, the wife of the famous L7dayana. (Kathasaritsagara, Kathamukhalambaka, Tarariga 3) .


ANGARAKA II. A prince named Axigaraka is seen to have been the descendant of Jayadratha, the King of Sauvira. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 265, Stanza 10).


ANGARAKA III. A planet named Maixgala which is a satellite of Brahma is seen to have been called by the name Aixgaraka also. ( Mahabharata, Sabha Parva, Chapter 11, Stanza 29) .


ANGARAKA IV. We see one Angaraka among the one hundred and' eight sons of the Sun. ( Mahabharata., Vana Parva, Chapter 3, Stanza 10) .




I ) Genealogy. Descended in the following order from Visnu. Brahma-Marici-Kasyapa-Axigaraka.


2 ) Birth. In the battle between the Gods and the Asuras, most of the Asuras were killed and one Asura fled from the clutches of death to Patala (the nether world). Surasa was the daughter of that Asura. Kasyapa married Surasa. To them were born the two daughters, Aixgaraka (Sixixhika) and Ajamukhi, and four sons, called Surapadma, Sixixhavaktra, Tarakasura and Gomukha. Thus SixiZhika is the sister of Tarakasura. ( Skanda Purana, Asura Kanda).


Other details. This giantess Aixgaraka had a clash once, with Hanuman. Sugriva had sent a large number of monkeys under the leadership of Hanurnan to search for Sita. He gave Hanuman certain instructions regarding the route he had to follow. Sugriva said, "There is a giantess in the middle of that Southern Sea. Her name is Aixgara. She pulls the shadow towards her and feeds on the object of the shadow."


From this it is clear that she was a giantess who lived in the sea between Lanka and South India. She knew the art of bringing to her side, anybody who passed over the sea, by pulling at his shadow. When Hanuman jumped to Lanka from the mountain of Mahendra the giantess attacked Hanuman. It is seen that the name Sirhhika also is used for Angaraka. Hanuman who was subjected to the excessive attraction of Simhika, felt a great storm raging round him. Finally he found her out, a monster with such an uncouth face and a mouth as wide as the hole of Patala (the nether world). There was a terrible fight between IIanuman and the monster, in which Simhika, fell on the ground beaten. After the fight Hanuman resumed his journey. (Valmiki Ramayang, Sundarakanda, Sarga 1, Stanzas 178 to 186) .


ANGARA (M) . A countryside in ancient India. (Mahabharata, Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Stanza 60).


ANGARAPARNA. (Citraratha) See the word CITRARATHA I.




ANGAVAHA. A king of immense fame, belonging to the dynasty of Vrsni. Angavaha attended, with Balabbadrarama, the sacrifice of Rajasuya (Royal consecration) celebrated by Yudhisthira. (Mahabharata, Sabha Parva, Chapter 34, Stanza 16).




1) Birth. He is a hermit born from the mind of Brahma. Sax mind-born sons (Manasa-Putras) were born to Brahma, known as Marici, Atigiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, and Kratu. All the six of them became great hermits. (Mahabharata, Adi


Stanza 10) *. 2) Important events.


(1) The,failure of Afgiras. There was a King named Citraketu in the kingdom of krasena. Once Afigiras reached his palace when the King was in a miserable state as he was childless. The King informed Afigiras of his sorrow. He pacified the King and said that a son would be born to him. He and his wife Krtadyuti were filled with joy. The other wives of the King did not like this. They feared that when a son was born to K,rtadyuti the King might overlook them. To the king a son. was born of Krtadyuti and the other wives poisoned the child and killed him. While the parents were weeping over the dead child Afigiras and Narada arrived there and wiped their tears. Afigiras agreed to bring the child back to life. He instantly called the spirit of the dead child to him and asked it to become the son of Citraketu. The spirit replied that it had a large number of parents in several previous births and that it was not possible for it to become the son of Citraketu, and then it vanished. Angiras and Narada went on their way. Citraketu became a devotee of Visnu and by the curse of Parvati, was born again as Vrtrasura. (Bhagavata, Skandha 6, Chapter 14).


(2 ) How Angiras cursed Sudargana and transmuted him to a serpent. While Sudargana, a vidyadhara (a class of semigods) was travelling lustfully with a group of beautiful girls he came across Arigiras and some other hermits. He teased Angiras calling him `durbhaga' (unlucky) and Angiras cursed him and changed him to a big serpent and he was promised liberation from the curse, when, during the dvapara yuga (one of the four ages) MahavisVu would incarnate as Sri Krsna and would tread upon him and then he would regain his former form. From that day onwards Sudarsana lived on the banks of the river Kalindi in the form of a serpent. It was the time when Sri Krsna was having his game of love with the Gopa women. On one night one serpent big Nanda the foster father of Sri Krsna. The cowherds or gopas hit at the snake with burned wood. But it was of no use. Sri Krsna came there and thrashed the serpent, which instantly took the form of Sudarsana Vidyadhara and praising Sri Krsna entered heaven. (4agavata, Skandha 10, Chapter 34).


(3) Ar'agiras a Prajafiati. Brahma had created sixteen prajapatis, for effecting the creation of the universe. Afigiras is one of them. Their names are given below


1) Kardama 2) Vikrita 3) Mesa 4 ) Sarizsraya 5) Sthanu 6) Marici 7) Atri 8 ) Kratu 9 ) Pulastya 10) Aiigiras 11) Pracetas 12 ) Pulaha 13 ) Daksa 14) Vivasvan 15) Aristanemi 16) Kasyapa (Valmiki Ramayana, Aranyakanda, Sarga 14). ( 4) The wives and children of An iras. Afigiras had several wives such as Subha, Smrti, ~raddha, Devasena and Vasudha. The names of the sons of Afigiras are given below


1) Brhatkirti 2) Brhatjyoti 6) Brhadbhasa 3) Brhadbrahma 7) Brhaspati. 4 )  Brhadmana 5) Brhadmantra


The names of the eight daughters of Afigiras are given below 1) Bhanumati 2 ) Raga 3) Sinivali 4) Arcismati 5) Havismati 6) Mahismati 7 ) Mahamati 8) Kuhu.


Besides these sons and daughters, other sons such as Sudhanva and Karttikeya were born to Afigiras by his other wives. ( Mahabharata, Vana Parva, five chapters from 218) .


(5) The clash between Afigiras and Prahlada. D&sasana stripped Paticali of her clothes in the Palace hall, in the presence of the Pandavas who had been defeated in the game of dice. Before this Pancali had asked Duryodhana one question, "Have you won yourself or myself ?" One husband was not authorised to stake his wife Pancali who was the wife of five husbands. Moreover according to the Sastras (sciences) the deeds executed by a King, who was miserable due to hunting, drinking, playing dice and hankering after a woman, were not legally binding. Hence how could the Kauravas own Pancali?" Vidura said that the witnesses in the hall had to give an impartial answer to this question, and that the -punishment of falsehood would come upon the doer himself. As an instance he gave the following old story: Virocana was the son of Prahlada; Sudhanva the son of Afigiras and Virocana fell in love with the same woman once. There arose a contention between these two as to who was greater. They staked their lives on the issue. Then both of them together approached Prahlada and requested him to give a decision as to which of them was the elder. Thinking that Prahlada might side with Virocana his son, Sudhanva said to him, "Sir,


sacrifice celebrated by Rudra, seminal flow occurred to Brahma who happened to see some celestial maids and was overpowered by passionate feelings. Brahma put the sperm in the fire. From that fire appeared Atigtras along with Marici, Bhrgu and others. This deva (the shining one-the God) was called Afigiras because his origin was from AitBara or Cinder. you should not utter words of falsehood, nor should you abstain from speaking the truth. If you do so your head will be cut into a hundred pieces by Indra with his Vajrayudha (the weapon of thunderbolt)". Hesitating to take a decision, because of the words of Sudhanva, Prahlada went to Kasyapa to clear his doubts, and asked: "Lord, do you know which are the future worlds destined for those who utter words of falsehood or abstain from giving out the truth?" Ka'syapa said, -On him, who abstains from speaking truth knowingly a thousand cords of death will fall. He who tells falsehood will have to perform many a deed of duty to attain heaven."


Having heard the words of Kasyapa, Prahlada said to Virocana, "Virocana, Sudhanva is greater than you. Afigiras is greater than me. Likewise the mother of Sudhanva is nobler than your mother. So according to your bet you owe your life to Sudhanva." Pleased at the righteousness of Prahlada, Sudhanva gave Virocana a boon to live a hundred years more. (Mahabharata, Sabha Parva, Chapter 63) .


(6) How Angiras became the first .son of Agni (Fire God) .


Once Afigiras was blazing out as a furious being. All the worlds were illuminated by that flame-fire. As Angiras was performing the functions of Agni (fire), peoples of the worlds discarded Agni, who being sad at the derision sho~vn towards him by the worlds went to a forest and hid himself there. The living beings were in trouble owing to lack of fire. When he became aware of this Angiras went to the forest and pacified Agin. From that day onwards Angiras agreed to become the first son of Agni, who resumed his duties as usual. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 217).


(7) How Afigiras got the name Atharvarigiras. After the slaughter of Vrtrasura, Indra went to the lake known as Amrtasaras and hid himself there in a lotus flower. At this time the Gods anointed Nahusa as Indra. Agastya cursed him and turned him to a serpent and sent him to the earth. When Indra returned to heaven many persons gathered there to greet him. Angiras also was one among them who did obeisance to Indra. He paid his homage by reciting the hymns of Atharvaveda. Indra who was greatly pleased at this, said to Angiras, "Hereafter you shall be known as Atharvangiras". Afigiras who got this boon from Indra, returned with gratitude. (Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva, Chapter 18, Stanzas 5 to 7).


(8) Angiras and Drona. In the battle of Kuruksetra, between the Pandavas and the Kauravas the great teacher, Drona began to release his divine darts towards


his enemies in all directions. Immediately Afigiras with many other hermits came to Drona and told him, "You have burned to death innumerable men with your Brahmastra (The most powerful of all missiles). Your end is very near. So put your weapons down and stop your fight." Drona seems to have paid no heed at all to the advice of the hermits. He did not stop fighting too.


(9) The sermon of Arigiras on the merits of Tzrthas or holy ,places (Baths). Dharmaputra once asked Bhisma about the importance of holy ghats or tirthas (Baths). Bhisma told Dharmaputra, what Angiras had once told Gautama about the merits obtained by going on pilgrimage to holy tirthas or Baths. Afigiras had described the holy nature and character of holy Baths in Bharata such as Puskara, Prabhasa, Naimisa, Sagarodaka, Indramarga,


Devika, Svarnabindu, Hiranyabindu, Indratoya, and such other numerous tirthas. (Mahabharata, Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 25, Stanzas 7-71 )


3) Other details:


( 1 ) Daksa gave his two daughters in marriage to Arigiras. (Devi Bhagavata, Skandha 7) .


(2) Afigiras once saved the Sun. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 92, Stanza 6) .


(3) While the Pandavas were in exile in forest, Afigiras had been chanting and meditating in Alakananda in the region of the mount Gandhamadana. (Maha.bharata, Aranya Parva, Chapter 142, Stanza 6).


(4) When. the hermits had stolen the lotus flowers of Agastya, Angiras gave some hints about the culprits. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 94, Stanza 20: See Agastya).


(5) Afigiras once ga-,e a discourse on fasting and the merits of fasting. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 106, Stanzas 11 to 16).


(6) Afigiras on another occasion delivered lectures on the secrets of duties. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Farva, Chapter 127, Stanza 8) .


(7) Once Angiras drank the water in the ocean to the last drop. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 153, Stanza 3) .


(8) When his thirst was not quenched, even though he had drunk the entire water available in the world, he created new springs of water again and drank them dry. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 153, Stanza 3).


(9) Once Agni failed to show respect to Angiras, who cursed Agni and thenceforward smoke came out from fire. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Chapter 153, Stanza 8).


(10) Afigiras conducted many of the important sacrifices of King Aviksit. (Mahabharata, Asvamedhika Parva, Chapter 4, Stanza 22).


(I 1) Indra once gave Afigiras a boon. (Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva, Chapter 18, Stanzas 5 to 7) .


(12) Angiras blessed Dhruva who had been doing penance. (Visnu Purana, Amsa 1, Chapter 11).


(13) The daughters named Sinivali, Kuhu, RBka, Anumati were born to Afigiras by his wife Smrti. (Agni Purana, Chapter 20) .


14) Afigiras is the first of the Agni devas (Fire-Gods) and a hermit. He had a son called Hiranya-Stupa, who also was a hermit (Rgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 7, Sukta 31) .


(15) The Hermit Afigiras began to invoke the Gods to get a son equal to Indra. Then Indra, thinking that nobody should be born as his equal, took birth as the son of A6giras. He was called Savya. (Rgveda. Mandala 1, Anuvaka 10, Sukta 51).


(16) Indra sent Sarama, the bitch of the Gods, to find out the place where the cows had been hidden ; Indra acted according to the advice of Angiras. At first the bitch did not consent to go. But when Devendra promised to feeds her young one with milk she agreed. Sarama found out the place where the cows were hidden and informed Indra of it. (Rgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 11, Sukta 62).


17) Rbhus are the sons of Sudhanva. (Son ofAngiras). The hermit Kutsa also is descended from Angiras. (Rgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 16, Sukta 10)


(18) Aiigiras was the son of Brahma in the Svayambhuva Manvantara (See Manvantara), but in the Vaivasvata Manvantara he was born from Agni.


(19) Once Vayu (the Wind-God) had to run away from Angiras and hide himself as he had caused some displeasure to Angiras. On another occasion Angiras taught philosophy and sacred doctrines to the hermit ,taught (Muridakopanisad).


ANGIRAS II. In the family of Marici, son of Brahma, another King of the name of Angiras is seen.


Genealogy. Descended from Visnu in the following order : Brahma, Marici, Kasyapa, Vaivasvata Mann, Uttanapada, Dhruva, Sisti, Ripu, Caksusa Mann, Uru, Afigiras. (About this Xitgiras, no other information is available in the Puranas. Visnu Purina, Arilsa 1, Chapter 13; Agni Purina., Chapter 18).


ANGIROBHAVA. A hermit named Kaksivan. (Rg veda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 17, S6kta 120).


ANIKAVIDARANA. A brother of Jayadratha, a King of the kingdom of Sindhu. Arjuna killed him. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 265, Verse 12).


ANIKETA. A Yaksa, one of the attendants of Kubera. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 10, Verse 18) . He was a king of the Anga dynasty. (Agni Purina, Chapter 277).


ANIKINI. A division of the army. (See under AKSAUHINI).


ANILA I. One of the Asta (8) Vasus. His father was Dharma and mother Svasa. Anila married Siva and had two sons, Manojava and Avijnati. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 66, Verses 17-25).


ANILA II. Garuda had a son called Anila. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 101, Verse 9) .


ANILA III. A word used as a synonym of diva. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 100) .


ANILA IV. A word used as a synonym of Visnu. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 38).


ANILA V. A Ksatriya King. His father, Vrsadarbhi presented him as Daksina to the Saptarsis (7 sages) at a yajna performed by him (father). The King expired soon after this. There was then a famine in the country. The Saptarsis, tortured by hunger and thirst got ready to prepare food with the corpse of the King. But the corpse retained its form and they could not cook food with it. (M.B.,,Anusasana Parva, Chapter 96)


ANILA. A famous serpent. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 35, Verse 7) .




1) General. How he got the name Animandavya. Once there was a famous Brahmin n~ med IVlandavya. He did Tapas (penance) for many years standing silent in front of his Asrama, under a tree, raising his hands in prayer. At that time some thieves happened to pass by that place, with stolen property be1onging to the King. Finding that the King's men were pursuing them, the thieves fled away after .leaving their stolen property in Mandavya's A'srama. The King's men seized Mdndavya with the king's property. Even prolonged and repeated questionings did not bring out a single word from Mandavya. At last the thieves were caught. Mistaking him as one of the thieves, the King's men produced Mandavya also along with the thieves before the King. The .thieves were all condemned to death. The royal executioners took all. of there to the place of execution and stuck them up at the, tip of a trident (Sula). The thieves died, but even after a long time Mdtt<lavya did


not die. In Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Verses 4651, it is said that at this stage Siva appeared and blessed him with longevity and then vanished. Several Munis in the shape of birds came near Mandavya who was lying on the trident and made enquiries about him. The King came to know of all these stories. Full of repentance, he went and begged pardon of Mandavya. The attempt to pull out the trident from Mandavya's body failed. At last it was removed by cutting it off. Since the tip (Ani) of the trident was left behind in his body he was thereafter known as "Ani Mandavya". (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 107) .


2) Curse on Dharma. After going about in the world for many years with the tip of the trident in his body, Ani Mandavya once asked Dharma : "Oh ! Lord, why is it that an innocent man like me is afflicted with the trident ?". Dharma answered: "In your boyhood you once caught small birds and pierced them with a grass reed. It is a result of that sin that you have been pierced with the trident." Mandavya replied : "The Sastras ordain that there shall be no punishment for sins committed till the age of twelve. Therefore the punishment inflicted on me is wrong. As the murder of a Brahmin is a greater sin than any other murder, may you be born as a man in the 'Sudra Caste'."


By the above curse of Mandavya, Dharma was born a son of a Sudra woman. It was this child who later on became the renowned Vidura of the Mahabharata. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 107) .


3) The story of how the Sun did not rise. When Ani Mandavya lay on the tip of the trident another event happened. Atri Muni's son Ugrasravas was the husband of .Silavati. No other woman had so far surpassed Silavati in her fidelity to her husband. Once Ugrasravas happened to fall ill. He expressed his desire to visit a prostitute's house. As he was too weak he could. not walk. The devoted wife Silavati carried him on her own shoulders and took him to the prostitute's house. They were passing near the place where Ani Mandavya was lying on the trident. Coming to know of the matter, Mdndavya pronounced a curse that UgraSravas should die ~`efore sunrise. Silavati shuddered on hearing this. Fearing that she would be widowed by the death of Ugrasravas, she, in her turn, pronounced a curse that the Sun should not rise again.


Next day the sun did not rise. All activities came to a standstill. At last the gods approached Atri Muni. They inluced Anasuya, Atri's wife to persuade Silavati to withdraw her curse. Then the sun rose again and Ugra'sravas died. (Brahmanda Purina, Chapter 42) .


4) Other details. When the Pandavas were living in Hastinapura, Sri Krsna once paid a visit to them. On his way he met with certain munis. Among them was Ani Mandavya also. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 83 ). 5) Once the King of Videha told Mandavya that the world is transient and advised him to strive for spiritual peace. Ant Mandavya who was pleased with the King's advice attained moksa (salvation) at once. (M.B., Santi Parva, Chapter 276, Verses 3-14).


ANIMISA. Verse 10, Chapter 101 of Udyoga Parva refers to one Aninnsa' son of Garuda. Also the word is used as a synonym of Siva (I M.B., Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 17, Verse 14) and of Visnu. (M.B., Anu°sasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 36) .


ANIRUDDHA. Grandson of Sri Krsna. 1) Genealogy. From Visnu was born in this order


Brahma, Atri, Candra, Budha, Pururavas, Ayus, Nahusa, Yayati, Yadu, Sahasrajit, Satajit, Hehaya, Dharma, Kunti, Bhadrasena, Krtavirya, Karttaviryarjuna, Jayadhvaja, Talajarhgha, Vitihotra, Ananta, Durjaya, Yudhajit, Sini, Satyaka, Satyaki, Jaya, Kuni, Anamitra, Pr'sni, Citraratha, Viduratha, Sura, Sini, Bhoja, Hrdika, Surasena, Vasudeva, Sri Krsna, Pradyumna, Aniruddha.


2) Birth. Sri Krsna ha from Rukmini was bo dyumna, Aniruddha. 3) Kidnapped by Usa.

 d  16008 wives. Out of the 16008 rn Pradyumna and from Pra-  One of the stories about this  handsome prince refers to his being kidnapped by Usa  daughter of Banasura. Banasura, chief among the 100  sons of emperor Mahabali had 1000 hands. Siva pleased  by the sacrificial devotion of Banasura granted, as  requested by him, the boon that he himself (Siva) and  Parvati would guard the fort of the Asura, of course  with some reluctance. Now, none had the prowess to  attack this valiant Asura. Overflowing with conceit at

 this he challenged Siva to a fight. Siva foretold that  the flagstaff of Bana would one day be broken and  then a powerful antagonist would defeat him. Bana  impatiently awaited the threatened day.


One day Usa happened to witness the scene of Siva and Parvati engaged in love-making. Excited by the sight Usa too desired to enact such a scene witha lover, and she intimated her desire to Parvati. Parvati told her that Usa would, within three days, see in a dream a handsome prince with whom she might make love. Accordingly, dressed herself in all glory with choicest ornaments Usa awaited the happy day. On the third day a handsome prince appeared before her in her dream. Waking up, she began crying. Seeing Usa crying Citralekha, her companion, and daughter of her father's minister, assured her (U sa) that whoever might be the prince who appeared in tier dream shall be brought down with the power of Mantra. Citralekha drew the pictures of all princes. known to her and showed them to Usa. The pictures represented all handsome men from Devas to men. `No, this is not my prince charming' was Usa's reply. Then Citralekha drew the picture of Sri Krsna of Pradyumna, and then of Aniruddha. When Usa saw Aniruddha's picture she stretched her hands to embrace that. It was this prince who had appeared before her in the dream.


Next night Citralekhv, by the power of her Mantra, brought into Usa's room from Dvaraka Aniruddha, who was then in his sleep. While Usa and Aniruddha were thus together in the room her father, Bana, got scent of it and took Aniruddha into custody.


The disappearance of Aniruddha led to much commotion in Dvaraka. Then Narada reached Dvaraka and gave details about the Aniruddha incident. Sri Krsna and Pradyumna, in all rage, hurried to Bana's palace •and encircled his palace with a strong army. Then did Bana's flagstaff break into two and fell down. The fierce fight that ensued ended in the defeat of Bana. Aniruddha married Usa and the elated couple started for Dvaraka. Vajra was the son of Aniruddha. (Bhagavata, Dasama Skandha, Chapters 61, 62 and 63) .


4) More information. (1) It was at the feet of Arjuna that Aniruddha mastered the Dhanurveda ( Science


of warfare). (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 3(i) .


(2) Aniruddha is also conceived in the forms of Visnu and Brahma. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 65, Verses 69and70).


(3) Brahma was born from the abdominal centre of Aniruddha when the latter had taken the form of Visnu. (M.B., Santi Parva, Chapter 341, Verses 15-17).


(4) The word Aniruddha is also used as a synonym of Visnu. (M.B., Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 149, Verse 33) .


ANIRUDDHA II. The Mahabharata refers to another Aniruddha who belonged to the Vrsni dynasty. Both the Aniruddhas were present at the wedding of Pancali. ( M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 185,. Verses 17-20 ) .


ANIRUDDHA III. The Mahabharata mentions yet another King Aniruddha. He did not eat flesh. ( M.B., Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 115, Verse 15) .


ANJALIKASRAMA. This is a sacred place. One who lives at this Tirtha for some time, gets the benefit of visiting the sacred tirtha at Kanyakumari ten times. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 25, Verse 52).


ANJALIKAVEDHA(M). This is an art by which an elephant could be made to stand submissively. BhTmasena had mastered this art. (M.B., Drona Parva, _Chapter 26, Verse. 23 ).


ANJANA. 1) Mother of Hanuman-Wife of Kesari, the noble monkey and daughter of Kunjara, the monkey leader. She was the mother of Hanuman. Once while Siva and Parvati were gamboling in the guise of monkeys, rambling through the woods, Parvati became pregnant, That pregnancy was given to Vayu. At that time Anjana was doing penance for an issue. Vayu transferred the pregnancy he had received from Parvati to Anjana. Thus Anjana gave birth to Hanuman. ( Valmiki Ramayana, Kiskindha Kanda, Sarga 66) .


Anjana gave birth to Hanuman in the woods in a valley on the southern side of Mahameru. She was frightened at the sight of the child shining like the sun. Hanuman began to cry for mother's milk. Anjana said to Hanuman : "Monkeys are fond of red ripe fruits. Therefore eat whatever you find in red colour." Saying this Anjana transformed herself into a goddess and went to Heaven.


2) Puraajanma ( Previous Birth ) . In her previous birth Anjana was a goddess named Punjikastala (Managarva) . As a result of a curse, this goddess was born as a she-monkey in the Himalaya region. With the birth of Hanuman, the curse was lifted. (Uttara Ramayana). _For more details see "Punjikastala".


ANJANA. This is an elephant belonging to the Asuras. His origin is in the family of Supratika. The other three elephants born in this family are : Airavata, and Kumuda. (This Airavata was not the of Devendra ) . There are references Vamana Airavata to

 Raksasas coming to the battle-field on the back of  elephants. There is another mention of Anjana the  elephant standing in the battle-field. ( M.B., Udyoga  Parva, Chapter 99, Verse 15; Bhisma Parva, Chapter 64,  _Verse 57; Drona Parva, Chapter 112, Verse 32).


ANJANA(M). This is the name of a mountain. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 98, Verse 15).


ANJANA PARVAN. He was the son of Ghatotkaca and grandson of Bhimasena. For genealogy, see BHIMASENA. ( M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 194, Verse 20) .




Asvattlrama, the son of Drorra, killed Anjanaparva. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 196, Verse 89) .


ANKTA- Son born to Hirnsa by Adharma. (Visnu Purana )


ANRTAM (ASATYA). Hirhsa, the wife of Adharma, gave birth to daughters, Anrta and Nikrti, and from them were born Bhaya, Naraka, Maya and Vedana. And, Maya begot Mrtyu, the killer of all living beings. Frorn Vedana was born sorrow. And from Mrtyu were born disease (vyddhi), Jara (wrinkles), Soka (grief), Trsria(desire) and Krodha (anger). (Agnl Purana, Chapter 20).


ANTASARA(M). A place in ancient India. (M.B., Blrisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 681.


ANTAKA I. Once the Devas, under the auspices of emperor Prthu, turned goddess earth into a cow and milked her. The result was twelve yamas, and Antaka was one of the twelve. (See Prthu). (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 69, Verse 26) .


ANTAKA II. The $gveda makes mention of one Rajarsi, Antaka. (IZgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 16, Sukta 112) .




ANTARDHAMA. Son of King Arirsa of the Manu dynasty. He had a son called Havirdlrama. (M.B., Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 147, Verse 23). And for genealogy see Manuvarh9sa.


ANTARDHANA. A King, the son of Prthu. (For genealogy see Prthu). (Visnu Purana, Part 1, Chapter 11) .


ANTARDHANA (M) . A weapon of Kubera. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 41, Verse 38).


ANTARDHI. A son of emperor Prthu. (Agni Purana, Chapter 18) . For genealogy see Prthu.


ANTARGIRI. A place in between the Himalaya ranges. (M.B., Bhlsma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 49). Arjuna conquered this place. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 27, Verse 3) .


ANTARIKSA I. One of the seven sons of Murasura, the other six being Tamra, Sravana, Vasu, Vibhavasu, Nabhasvan and Aruna. After the death of their father they quarrelled with Sri Krsna aad were killed by him. (Bhaigavata, Da'sama Skandha, Chapter 59, Verse 19).


ANTARIKSA II. A Raja named Antariksa is mentioned in the Bhagavata.


Genealogy. Visnu, Brahma, Svayambhuva, Priyavrata, Agnidhra, Nabhi, Rsabha, Antariksa. Svayambhuva Mann had two sons, Uttanapada and Priyavrata. Dhruva was the son of Uttanapada. Priyavrata-married Barhismati, and they had eleven children including Agnidhra. Agnidhra married Purvacitti, a Deva woman, and they becarne parents to nine sons, viz. Nabhi, Kimpurusa, Hari, Ilavrta, Ramyaka, Hiranmaya, Kuru, Bhadra'sva and Ketumala. Nabhi wedded Merudevi, and to them were born 100 sons. The eldest son was Bharata, after whorn this country (India) is named, i.e., Bharata. Bharata had 9 younger brothers, namely Kusavarta, Ilavarta, Brahmavarta, Malaya, Ketu, Bhadrasena, Indrasprk, Vidarbha and Kikata.


These brothers had nine younger brothers who were all highly evolved yogis. They were Kavi, Hari, Antariksa, Prabuddha, Pippalayana Avirhotra, Dram;da, Camasa arid Karabhajana. (Bhagavata, Paficama Skandha, Chapters 1-4) .



ANTARVASA. A place in ancient India. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 59, Verse 17).




AN-U. The Prince named Anu was the son-in-law of Suka Brahmarsi, son of Vyasa. Suka Brahmarsi married the beautiful Pivari, the daughter of the Pitrs. Sukadeva and Pivari had four sons: Krsna, Gauraprabha, Bhuri and Devasruta and a daughter named Kirti. Kirti was married to Prince Ann the son of Digbhraja. (Devi Bhagavata, Pratbama ~kandha).


ANUCAKRA. One of the two attendants deputed by Tvasta (a Prajapati) to help Skanda in war, the other being Cakra. (M.B., Salya Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 40).


ANUCANA. A nymph. This Devastri, along with other nymphs came down on earth at the time of the birth, of Arjuna and danced. (Adi Parva, Chapter 122, Verse 61) .


ANUDATTA. One of the five sons created by Paficajanya for the Pitrs. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 220, Verse 10) .


ANUDATTA (M) . The fire (Agni) called Pancaja.nya created the elements named Anudattas. Pancajanya generated these elements from his two hands with the help of his spiritual strength (tapassakti). (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 220, Verse 10) .


ANUDARA. One of the hundred sons of Dhrtaraslra. (See Kauravas) .


ANUDRUHYU. Son of Yayati.


1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu thus: Brahma, Atri, Candra, Budha, Pururavas, Ayus, Naliusa, Yayati, Anudruhyu.


2) Birth. Yayati had two sons, Yadu and Turvasu, by Devayani, and three sons, Druhyu, Anudruhyu and Puru by garmislha. (Agni Purana, Chapter 12) .


ANUDYUTAPARVA. An inner parva of Sabha Parva. In this parva is told the story of the game of dice played between Duryodhana and Dharmaputra.


ANUGITAPARVA. A sub-section of~Asvamedha Parva. (See M.B.).


ANUGOPTA. A Visvadeva. (M.B., Anuisasana Parva, Chapter 91, Verse 37).


ANUHA. King in ancient India. ( M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter l,Verse 232).


ANUHLADA. Brother of Prahlada.


1) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu thus: Visnu, Brahma, Ka'syapa Hiranyakasipu, Anuhlada.


2)Birth. Kasyapa married Diti, daughter of Daska. Diti was a younger sister of Aditi. The sons of Aditi became devas and the sons of Diti became asuras. Diti gave birth to two sons named Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu and a daughter Sirhhika. Sirhhika was given in marriage to Vipracitti. They had two sons, Rahu and Ketu. Five sons were born to Hiranyaksa and four sons were born to Hiranyakasipu. These four sons were


Anuhlada, Hlada, Prahlada and Sarirhlada. (Visnu Purana, Arhsa 1. Chapter 15 and Agni Purana, Chapter 19).


ANUKARMA. A Vi'svadeva. (M.B., Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 9l , Verse 39) .


ANUKRAMANIKA PARVA. The Mahablrarata is divided into 18 parvans. The first of them is called Adi Parva and the first of its rrrany sub-divisions is named


*Ramanuja's Bhagavata (Malayalam) morrtions one Ncyavarta also as Bharata's younger brother, But the name does not occur in the original. (See Bhagavata, Chapter q, Verse Anukramanika Parva. And, in this parva (Chapter) Ugra'sravas (Sutanandana) son of Lomahar sana begins telling the Bharata story at,the yajfia (of 12 years' duration) held by Kulapati Saunaka at the forest of Naimisa. Vyasa composing the Mahabharata, the creation of the world, the greatness of the Mahabharata, Vyasa teaching his disciples the Mahabhdrata--all this comes in this narration. (See Mahabharata) .


ANUMATI. Daughter of Arigiras, son of Brahma. Angiras had two wives, Smrti and Khyati, and four daughters, Anumati, Raka, Kuhu and Sinivali by Smrti, and three sons, Ucatthya, Brhaspati, Sarhvarta by Khyati. (Visnu Purana, Part 1, Chapter 10).


ANUMLOCA. An apsaras. (Harivamsa 326) .


ANUPAKA. A warrior from Anupa(m).


ANUPA (M) . A famous place in ancient India. Some scholars hold the view that Anupa is near river Narmada. (Sabha Parva, Chapter~51, Verse 24).


ANUPAT I. A synonym of Karttavirya. (Vana Parva, Chapter 116, Verse 19) .


ANUPAVRTTA. A place in ancient India. (M.B., BhiEsma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 48).


ANUSASANA PARVA. One of the Parvans of the Mahabharata. (See Bharata) .


ANUSNA. A river in ancient India. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 24).


ANUSRUTASRAVAS. Son of Somali (Visnu Purana).


ANUSTUR One of the seven horses of the Sun God, the other six being, Gayatri, Brhati, Usnik, Jagati, Tristup and Pafikti. (Visnu Purana, Part ii, Chapter 8).


ANUVINDA I. One of the 100 sons of Dhrtarastra. There is a story in the Mahabharata about his being imprisoned along with Duryodhana. Knowing that the Pandavas were living in the forest in all comfort and happiness Duryodhana and others went in prccession to them. Anuvinda also was in the procession. While Duryodhana and party were staying in a tent in the forest, a Gandharva named Citrasena appeared on the scene and imprisoned them. Anuvinda too was imprisoned. (See Citrasena). (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 242, Verse 8) . He was killed in war by Bhimasena. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 127, Verse 66) .


ANUVINDA II. The puranas refer to one Anuvinda, a prince of Avanti. (1) He had a brother called Vinda. (2) He was defeated by Sahadeva who set forth to subjugate the kings of the south just before the Rajasuya yajfia of Dharmaputra. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 31, Verse 10) . (3) An Aksauhini (division of army) was despatched by Anuvtnda to help Duryodhana. (M.B., Udyoga Parva; Chapter 19, Verses 24, 25) . (4) On the first day of the war Vinda and Anuvinda fought duels with Kuntibhoja. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 45, Verses 72-75). (5) Iravan, son of Arjuna defeated both Vinda and Anuvinda in the battle. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 83, Verse, 18-22) . (6) They fought with Bhima, Arjuna and the king of Virata. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 25, Verses 20). (7) Anuvinda was killed by Arjuna. (M.B., Drona parva, Chapter 399, Verses 27-29 ). (8) Vinda and Anuvinda had a sister called Mitravinda. The three of them were the children of Rajadhidevi, sister of Sri Krsna's father. Sri Krsna married Mitravinda, which her brother did not like. This was their reason for quitting the Pandava camp


and fighting on the side of the Kauravas. (Bhagavata, Da'sama Skandha, Chapter 58, Verses 30, 31).


ANUVINDA III. The MahAbharata refers to another prince Anuvinda also. He was the son of a Kekayaraja. He also fought against the Pandavas and was killed by Satyaki. (M.B., Karna Parva, Chapter 13, Verse 21).


ANUVINDA. A wife of Sri Krsna. (Padma Purana).


ANUYAYI. One of the 100 sons of Dhrtarastra. lie is called Agrayayi_also; he was killed in battle by BhImasena. (MR, Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 102; Chapter 116, Verse 11 and Drona Parva, Chapter 157, Verses 17-20).


ANVAGBHANU. A. King of the Puru dynasty. (For genealogy see Puru dynasty). Puru had tl:rec sons, Isvara, Raudrasva and Pravira. He had also another son Manasyu by Saraseni, another wife. Anvagbhanu is the son born to Manasyu and his apsara wife, Mitrake'si. Anvagbhanu is known as IZceyu and Anadhrsti also.- (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 94, Verses 8-12).


APALA. A daughter of the great sage, Atri. Suffering from leprosy and hence forsaken by her husband Apala stayed with her father and started tapas to please Indra. One day, on her way home from the river, Apala tasted the Soma which was meant to be offered to Indra and hearing the sound produced then Devendra appeared before Apala. She gave the Soma to Indra, who was so pleased with her that he cured her of her leprosy. (Rgveda, 8-91).


APANTARATAMAS. 1) General. A Maharsi (Great Sage). He was born out of the sound `bhu' uttered by Mahavisnu. The sage is also known as Sarasvata and Apantaratamas. Because he was absolutely free from inner darkness or ignorance he was called Apantaratamas. The sage, who was cognizant of the past, the present and the future divided and systematized the Vedas as ordered by Visnu.


2) Vyasa was Apantaratamas reborn. Mahavisnu ordained that in the Dvapara age he be born as the son of Parasara and once again divide and systematize the Vedas, and so was he born as Vyasa. (Sri Sankara's Mundakopanisad and Brahrnasutra Bhasya).


APANTARATAMA. (Sarasvata). This is another name ofApantaratamas. (See Apantaratamas) .


APARABRAHMA. (See Parabrahma).


APARAJITA I. One of the serpents born to Kasyapa of Kadru. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 35, Verse 13) .


APARAJITA II. A King born out of a part of one of the eight Asuras, who were known the Kalakeyas. (M. B., Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 49) . The Pandavas had irivited this King before they went to war. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 21 ).


APARAJITA III. A son of Dhrtarastra. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 101) . Bhimasena killed him. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 21, Verse 22).


APARAJITA IV. A King of the Kuruvam'sa. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 94, Verse 54) .


APARAJITA V. One of the eleven Rudras, the other ten being Hara, Bahurupa, Tryambaka, Vrsakapi, Sambhu, Kapardi, Raivata, Mrgavyadha, Sarpa and Kapali. (Agni Purana, Chapter 18) .


APARAJITA VI. Used as a synonym of Mahavisnu. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, ChApter 149, Verse 89).


APARAKASI. A place in ancient India. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 42).


APARAKUNTI. A place in ancient India. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 43 ).


APARAMLECCHA(M). A place in ancient India. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 65).


APARANANDA.. A river. Arjuna once crossed it. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 214, Verses 6 and 7). Aparananda is counted among the prominent holy rivers. (M.B., Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 165, Verse 28) .


APARANTA I. A city on the west coast of ancient South India. (M.B., Bhisma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 67).


APARANTA II. Another name of the Surparaka temple. (M.B., Santi Parva, Chapter 4 9, Verse 67) .


APARASEKA(M). A place in ancient India. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 31, Verse 9).


APARAVALLAVA (M) . A place in ancient India. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 62 ).


APARAVIDYA. Knowledge is of two categories or types. Viz.


1) Paraaidya. That science or knowledge, which helps us to know or realise Him (Brahma) who is without either beginning or end, who could neither be seen with the eyes nor perceived by any of the senses.


(2) Apardvidya. This includes knowledge of the four Vedas Rg, Yajus, Sama and Atharva, the six Vedairgas (sub-divisions of the Vedas ) $iksa, Kalpa, Nirukta, Chandas, Vyakarana, Apidhana, Mimamsa, Dharmasastra and the puranas, as also, Nyaya Sastra (Logic), Vaidya 8astra (medicine) Gandharva kstra, Dhanurveda and Artha Sastra (economics).


APODADHAUMYA. (See Ayodhadhaumya).


APPAYYADIKSITA. A reputed Rhetorician in Sanskrit, who thrived in the 16th Century A.D. He wrote two treatises on rhetoric, the Kuvalayananda and Citramimarhsa. The former is an interpretation of chapter 5 of Jayadeva's Candraloka and is very populari n South India.


APRACI. A hell. (See Naraka). (Visnu Purana, Part 2, Chapter 6)


APRATISTHA(M). A hell. (See Naraka).


APSARAS. * An Apsaras is a nymph (devastri). These apsara women were born at the churning of the ocean of Milk. (Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, Chapter 45, Verse 32 and Visnu Purana, Part I, Chapter 9 and Agni Purana, Chapter 3) . There are thousands of Apsaras. (Details given against the names of Apsaras).


APSUHOMYA." A great sage (Maharsi) who adorned the assembly of Yudhisthira. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 12) .


ARA (ARAJAS). Daughter of Sukra maharsi. Iksvaku begot three sons, Danda, Vikuksi and Nimi. After his father's death Dander became king of the country between the Vindhya and the Himalayas. In the course of a hunting expedition once Danda saw and was immediately attracted by the charms of Ara, daughter of Sukra maharsi. He committed rape on her and she told her father about the attack by Dander. The Maharsi asked his daughter to do tapers, and further told


her that he would burn Dander's kingdom by a rain of fire. Ara did tapers, and at the behest of the Maharsi Indra destroyed Dander's kingdom by a downpour of a rain of fire. Afterwards this place became a terrible forest where neither birds nor animals lived, and came to be known as Dandakaranya. (Uttara Ramayana).


ARAKKILLAM. (Palace of wax). Both the Kaurava and the * Pandava princes lived in Hastinapura. The Pandavas became experts in archery, and their exemplary character and conduct made them, so to say, the apple of their eyes to the people. This evoked great jealousy in Duryodhana who made up his mind to completely ruin the Pandavas somehow or other. Duryndhana, with Dhrtarastra's consent, built a new palace at Varanavata. Though many others did not know that the palace was made of wax the Pandavas, from secret information knew the fact. But, they only pretended ignorance. Duryodhana and his minister Purocana, saw to it that the Pandavas shifted their residence to the waxen palace. Duryodhana had planned to set fire to the palace and burn to death the Pandavas. But, the shrewd Vidura through his messenger Kanaka gave notice of the conspiracy to the Pandavas just in time. One night Purocana set fire to the waxen palace, but the Pandavas escaped by a secret passage, which the architect of the palace had made while constructing it, and about which the Pandavas had previous knowledge. The same night a huntsman, with his five children, was also staying in the palace. As they were unconscious with heavy dosage of liquor they could not escape the fire. Those six people, and accidentally Purocana too were burnt to death. Peoples who gathered at the spot, thus saw seven corpses, and the news was broadcast that the Pandavas, including their wife Pancali and their mother had been burnt to death. This incident took place one year after the Pandavas had shifted their residence to the waxen palace. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapters 141-151).


ARALI. One of 'the sons who were Brahmavadins, of Visvamitra. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 58).


ARANTUKA. A guard posted at a boundary line of Kuurksetra. ( M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 83, Verse 52) .


ARANTUKA. A sacred spot in ancient India, in river Sarasvati. A bath there is as beneficial as performing the Agnistoma yajna. ( M.B., Salya Parva, Chapter 53, Verse 24) ~


ARANYA. A King of the Iksvaku dynasty. (See Iksvaku dynasty) .


ARANYA PARVA. A sub Parva in the Mahabharata. (See Mahabharata).


ARATTA( M) . A place in ancient India. After Drona was killed in the great war, Krtavarma ran away with the warriors of Aratta. (M.B., Drona Parva, Chapter 193, Verse 13.).


*Aristha, a wife of Kasyapa, delivered thirteen Apsatas. They were : Alambusa, Misrakesi, Vidyutparna, Tilottama, Raksita, Rambha, Manorama, Kesini, Subahu, Suraja, Surata and Supriya. Aristha gave birth also to four Gandharvas, Haha, Huhu, Atibahu and Tumburu as mentioned in the following verse.


ARAYANNAM. The swan (Harirsa).


1) General. A bird (Haxirsa) in Devaloka. The prefix `ara' denotes royalty, sublimity, greatness etc. Many puranas describe Arayannam as a bird of the Devas. Manasasaras at the heights of the Himalayas is the permanent abode of these divine birds. They do not like the rainy season. So they come down to the earth when rain begins at the Manasasaras, and go back to the Saras, when rain begins on the earth. This phenomenon explains Cerusseri's (Malayalam poet) statement in his Krsnagatha that `when rain set in harirsas -Arayannams-began flying away'.


2) Origin. Kasyapa, the son of Brahma, married the eight daughters of Daksa, Tamra being one of them. Tamra bore five daughters Kraufrci, Bhasi, Syeni, Dhrtarastri and Suki. ~yeni gave birth to the kite, Dhrtarastri, the Hamsa and the Koka and Suki the Lukas ( doves ) . Koka or the Cakravaki bird is the sister of Harirsa. This is how the Arayanna and the Cakravaka got Devatva (divinity). (Valmilci Ramay•ana, Aranyakanda, Canto 14) .


3) Bha_sma and the Arayanna. Si'supala, before his death, blabbered a lot of unbecoming things about Bhisma, who was partial to his ( gi'supala's) enemies. And, he related the story of an Arayanna to elaborate the stand taken by the aged Bhisma.. An aged Harirsa(Arayanna) which once dwelt- on the sea-coast preached to all tire other birds much about ethical actions. The birds felt great respect for the Arayanna. They flew across the sea in search of prey after entrusting their eggs to the Arayanna. The old Arayanna grew fat on those eggs. There was one intelligent bird among the lot, end when it looked for the eggs they were not to be found. That bird informed its colleagues about the treacherous conduct of the Arayanna. The birds organised themselves and attacked the Arayanna to death. Oh ! Bhisma, the same will be your end also. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 41, Verses 30-41).


4), JVala and Arayanna. While Nala, the prince of the Nrsadha kingdom was resting in a garden he saw an Arayanna in a tank there. Out of curious pleasure Nala caught it, but seeing its mental tremor he let it free. Out of gratitude for this generous act, the 'Arayanna played the role of the messenger for Nala to get as his wife Damayanti, the very beautiful daughter of the King of Vidarbha.


5) How the Arayanna (Ha»zsa) got the white colour. Once king Marutta was conducting the Mahesvara Satra ( a yaga) and Devas like Indra carne down to receive their share of the Havis ( oblations in the sacrificial fire). And, this was the time when Ravana with his attendants vas on his triumphal tour. Hearing that the Devas were at the Asrama of Marutta, Ravana also went there, and Indra and the other Devas, trembling with fear, assumed different disguises and hid themselves away. Indra assumed the guise of the peacock, Yams of the crow, Kubera of the chameleon and Varuna of the Arayanna. Thus beguiled Ravana went his own way. The Devas, who thus escaped blessed the family of those birds whose forms they assumed. Indra shaped the blue feathers of the peacock with mixed colours and eyes like his own. Moreover, he blessed them that they would never be affected with any disease, and that they would dance with their feathers spread when rain set in. Yamadharma blessed the crows that they would get the offerings made on earth by men to their departed ancestors. And Bhagavar Varuna told the Raja-Harirsas : "I escaped the clutches of Ravana byassumingyour-shape and form. Therefore be thee, who are now black and white, in future a: purely white as milk". Kubera blessed the Chameleor with capacity to change colour as and how it pleased. and also for its cheeks to appear golden in colour to the onlookers. After thus blessing the birds the Devas dis. appeared. (Uttara Ramavana).


ARBUDA. An Asura. Indra killed this A'sura. (Rgveda 1Vandala 1, Anuvaka 10, Sirkta 51).


ARBUTDA I. A nags (serpent) living in mountains (Sabha Parva, Chapter 21, Stanza 9).


ARBUDA II. The mountain Abu. (Mahabharata; Vans Parva, Chapter 82, Stanza 55).


ARCANANAS. A muni born in the Atreyagotra of th< dynasty of Atri. He desired to marry Rathaviti. But her father had decided to give her in marriage onh to a Maharsi, and, therefore Arcananas became < Maharsi with the help of the Marutta and weddec Rathaviti. Maharsi Syavasva was their son.


ARCISMATI. The fourth daughter of Maharsi Angiras (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 216, Verse 6).


ARCIS. Prthu and the Arcis were born from the arm! of Vena. (Bhagavata, 4th Skandha, Chapter 15). Prthr did tapas in forest and gave up his physical body it fire and attained Vaikunlha (the abode of Visnu) witl the Arcis. (Bhagavata, 4th Skandha). For details sec Prthu.


ARCISIVIAT. A sect of Pitrs. (M.B., anti Parva Chapter 236, Verse 15).


ARDHADEVAS (SEMI-GODS). In temples hermits; ancestors, serpents, celestial maids and such others als< are worshipped. Among these there are Vasus, Nagas Asuras, Parsacas, Vetalas and many other classes These are the semi-gods. (See Page 27 of Namva. narigum Daivangal).


ARDHAKILATIRTHA. A holy ghat or bath bui1t b) the hermit Darbhi. ( Mahabharata~, Vana Parva Chapter 83, Stanza 153).


ARDHASADHAKA. A minister of King Da'saratha. He had eight ministers.


"The great king had eight ministers who were pure and famous and experts in dealing with matters of their concern : Jayanta, Dhrsti, Vijaya, Siddha, Ardha~ sadhaka, Asoka, Mantrapala and Sumantra were they". (Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, Sarga 7 Stanzas 2 and 3 : Vallathol Translation)


ARGHABHIHANAPARVA. A parva in the Malrabharata.. ( See M.B.).


ARIHA. A King of the lunar dynasty. He was a son born to Arvacina (a king of the Puru dynasty) and Maryada, a princess of Vidari>ha. Ariha had a son; Mahabhauma, born of his wife, a princess of Anga ( M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 19, Verses 18-19) .


ARIMEJAYA. A Raja of the Puru dynasty. (See Puru dynasty). (Agni Purana, Chapter 278).


ARISTA. Wife of Kasyapa. The Gandharvas were born of her. (Agni Purana, Chapter 19, M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 83) .


ARISTA (ARISTAKA). An asura, a servant of Karirsa. Once, at the instance of Kamsa he went to Gokula disguised as an ox to kill Sri Krsna. The ox instilled terror in people by tearing to pieces hills and mountaisn with its horns and bellowing like hell. But Sri Krsna faced the beast, and rained blows on him and it was thrown hundred yojanas away and it died. At the time of death it regained its fromer from as Asura. (Bhagavata, Dassama, Skandha, Chapter 37) .




ARISTANEMI I. One of the six sons of Vinata.


1) Genealogy. Visnu, Brahma, Kasyapa and Aristanemi. Kasyapa married Dhrtarastri, daughter of Daksa. Suki was their daughter, Suki had a daughter Nata and she a daughter,. Vinata. Aristanemi, Tarksya, Aruna, Garuda, Para, runi and Sri Varuni were the children of Vinata. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 40).


2) Tabassakti of Aristanemi. Aristanemi with his son was once performing tapas in the forest. The son was immersed in meditation clad in the skin of a deer thus looking like a deer. Parapuranjaya, the King ofHehaya who happened at the time to be hunting in the forest discharged his arrow against the son of Aristanemi taking him for a deer. When the king found out the real fact he felt extremely sorry, 'and he craved pardon of the boy's father for unwittingly killing his son. Then Aristanemi pointing out his son who was standing alive asked the King, "Is this the boy whom you killed ?" The King was naturally wonder-struck. But Aristanerni told the King that there was nothing to wonder at in the case as nobody would be able to kill them because their Tapassakti was so great. The King felt so happy at this, and returned to his palace after prostrating at the feet of the sage. (M.B., Aranya Parva, Chapter 184) .


3) Some other details. (1) Sumati, wife of King Sagara of the Solar dynasty, was the daughter of Aristanemi. (Ramayana, Balakanda, Canto 38, Verse 4 ). (2) Kasyapa had the synonym Aristanemi also. (Valmiki Ramayana, Kiskindhakanda, Canto 66, Verse 4 ; Devi Bhagavata, Saptama Skandha). (3) Aristanemi's wives delivered sixteen children. (Agni Purana, Chapter 19) . (4) Aristanemi has spoken a lot about the greatness of Brahmins. (M.B., Aranya Parva, Chapter 184, Verses 17-22). (5) Aristanemi once gave much spiritual advice to Kin., Sagara of the Surya Varnsa. (M.B., Santi Parva, Chapter 288, Verses 5-46) .


ARISTANEMI 11. Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Chapter 208, Verse 8 refers to one Aristanemi, the second son of Ka'syapa.


ARIS7'ANEMI 111. A Raja called Aristanemi occupied a place in the council of Yama. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 8, Verse 9).


ARISTANEMI IV. A false name assumed by Sahadeva while the Pandavas lived incognito in the Virata kingdom. (M.B., ,rata Parva, Chapter 10, Verse : )


ARISTANEMI V. A synonym of Sri Krsna. (N'I.B., Uuyoga Parva, Chapter 71, Verse 5) .


ARISTANEMI VI. A King. Realising the transient nature of worldly life, he gave up his kingdom and went to and did tapas at Mount Gandharnadana. Indra who was very much pleased at this sent a messenger with a vimana (aeroplane) to conduct the King to Svarga (heaven). When he was told that there was in Svarga also the states of being high or low, and fall happened when the effect of good actions decreased, the King gave up his desire for Svarga and sent back Indra's messenger. Then Indra sent the King with a messenger to the Asrama of Valmiki so that he might gain spiritual knowledge. Valmiki consoled the King with the advice that the telling, hearing and pondering over the story of the Ramayana alone would be enough to get eternal salvation. (Yogavasistham).


ARJUNA. The third of the Pandavas.


1 ) Genealogy. Descended from Visnu thus : Brahma, Atri, Candra, Budha, Pururavas, Ayus, Nahusa, Yayati, Puru, Janamejaya, Pracinvan, Pravira, Namasyu, Vitabhaya, Sunclu, Bahuvidha, Sariiyati, Rahovadi, Raudrasvan, Matinara, Santurodha, Dusyanta, Bharata, Suhotra, Suhota, Gala, Gardda, Suketu, Brhatksetra, Hasti, Ajamidha, Rksa, Sarhvarana, Kuru, Jahnu, Suratha, Viduratha, Sarvabhauma, fayatsena, Ravyaya, Bhavuka, Cakroddhata, Devatithi, Rksa, Bhima, Pratica, Santanu, Vyasa, Pandu, Arjuna.


2) Previous birth. Arjuna and Sri Krsna are often referred to as Naranarayanas (Nara and * Narayana). In their previous life they were two Rsis called Nara and Narayana, and from that time onwards they lived as inseparable companions and sons of the same parents. They entered Mahasamadhi at Badaryasrama in the Himalayas. Of the two Narayanarsi was a partial incarnation of Visnu. About the Nararsi the Devi Bhagavata has the Ibllowing to say : "Dharma had his origin in the heart of Brahma, and he earned great reputation for truthfulness and adherence to Vedic dharma. He married the daughters of Daksa. Dharma had four sons, Hari, Krsha, Nara and Narayana. Of the four sons Hari and Krsna became great yogis, and Nara and Narayana, great tapasvins. Nara and Narayana did tapas, worshipping BrahmA for 1000 years at the holy Badaryasrama in the plains of the Himalayas. Nara was born in the next birth as Arjuna. (Devi Bhagavata, 4th Skandha) . See Nara.


3) Birth. To Vicitravirya son of Santanu was born Dhrtarastra by Ambika, and Pandu by Ambalika. Pandu had two wives, Kunt! and Madri. The curse of a Muni made physical contacts with his wives impossible for Pandu. (See Pandu). Kunti, before her marriage had attended on Maharsi Durvasas who pleased with her service made a gift of five mantras to her. The effect of the mantras was that Kunt! would become mother of a son from him about whom she was thinking while she repeated the mantra. As soon as she got the mantras she retired to a solitary place and thinking of the SunGod repeated the first mantra. At once Suryadeva appeared and Karna was born to her by him. After assuring her that the incident would not affect her chastity Surya disappeared. Kunt! abandoned the child to float in the river Gatiga, and stayed with Pandu keeping the other four mantras to herself. Since Pandu could not contact the body of his wives, with his permission Kunt! began practising the other four mantras one by one. By three mantras she got three sons, Dharmaputra from Kala, Arjuna from Indra and Bhimasena from the wind God (Vayu). The remaining one mantra Kunt! gave to Madri. She repeated it thinking of the Asvini Devas, and two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva were born to her. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 63 onwards).


4) Festival of birth. At the birth of Arjuna Kunt! heard a heavenly voice declare as follows : "Oh ! Kunt! ! your son will be equal to Siva in prowess and unconquerable just as Indra is. After defeating all the Kings he will perform the A'svamedha thrice. He will please Siva and get the great weapon called Pasupata from him. On the orders of Indra he will kill Nivatakavacas. Hearing the above prophecy the Devas played ecstatic music and flowers were showered from the sky. The Saptarsis, Prajapatis and other sages arrayed themselves in the sky. Thus, all animate and inanimate objects celebrated the birth of Arjuna.


5) Naming. Sages from the top of the gatassnga mountain came together to perform the christening ceremony of Arjuna. While enumerating the various names of Arjuna, it is said in the Virata Parva that Krsna was the name Pandu gave to his son. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 123, Verse 20).


6) Childhood. The Pandavas spent their childhood at Hastinapura with the kauravas. Then Arjuna studied the art and science of using weapons, dance, music etc. along with the other boys. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 129, Verse 1). Kasyapa, the high priest of Vasudeva did for Arjuna the usual Samskaras like Upanayana (wearing of the holy thread) etc. Arjuna was taught the first lessons in Dhanurveda (Science of archery) by Rajarsi ~uka. Afterwards, Krpacarya became the preceptor of the Pandavas in Dhanurveda, and it was then that Dronacarya came. There is a particular story about Dronacarya becoming the guru. (See Drona).


7) Special favour of Drona. Arjuna showed very great interest in the science of the use of weapons. Drona, the master, wanted to teach Asvatthama, his son, certain special things, and he began sending all his disciples to fetch water. A'svatthama used to be the first to return with the water, and before the others returned Drona began teaching A'svatthama the special lessons. Arjuna came to understand this programme and he began returning with water along with Asvatthania. Then the guru began teaching the special things to both Asvatthama and Arjuna. Drona instructed the cook not to serve Arjuna food in the darkness. While Arjuna was once taking his food, wind blew out the burning lamp, and Arjuna alone continued eating. Because of constant practice Arjuna was quite sure about the position of the hand and the mouth in the process of eating, and Arjuna surmised from this that archery also could be practised in darkness. He began practising them. The guru came to know of it, and witnessing Arjuna's performance praised Arjuna as a unique archer. (Bharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 132).


8) Ekalavvya's finger was cut. Ekalavya, son of Hiranyadhanus; King of the Nisadas (a tribe of hunters, forestmen) approached Drona to 1earn the science of the use of weapons. Drona, the Brahmin, refused the prayer of this prince of the forest tribe. Ekalavya, after prostrating at the feet of Drona returned to the woods, made an image of Drona with earth and meditating upon it as guru began practising the use of weapons.


The Kauravas and the Pandavas went hunting in the forest. Seeing there Ekalavya with his matted hair and clad in deer skin the hunting dogs began barking at him. Ekalavya shot into the mouth of the dog seven arrows at one and the same moment. With the arrows thrust in the mouth the dogs ran back to the Pandavas, and they found out the culprit, Ekalavya, who claimed himself to be a disciple of Drona. Grief-stricken at this claim Arjuna hurried up to Drona and said: "You had pronounced me to be your foremost disciple without an equal. But, today Ekalavya, another disciple of vours


has relegated me to the second place". Thereupon Drona went and saw Ekalavya in the forest. Ekalavya, in all devotion stood up and saluted the guru. And the guru said as fol1ows : "Oh ! Ekalavya if thou art my disciple give me the daksina (fee) due to the guru, and I desire to get the thumb of your right hand as my fee". At once Ekalavya cut his thumb and gave it to Drona. Henceforth Arjuna became Drona's unequalled disciple. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 132).


9) Arjuna got BrahmaSirastra. When once Drona and his disciples were bathing in the river Ganga, a whale caught hold of the leg of the guru. The combined efforts of the disciples failed to extricate the leg from the grip of the whale. Ultimately Arjuna shot an arrow and released the guru's leg. Greatly pleased at this Drona imparted to Arjuna knowledge about Brahmasirastra, and Arjuna was enjoined not to use the astra against men, but to use it only when confronting higher beings than men. [Bharata (Malayalam), Adi Parva, Chapter 133].


10) Competition in arms. When the training of the princes was almost over DhT'tarastra decided to have a rehearsal of their attainments, and the scene for it also was set, The princes with bows and arrows appeared on the scene. Yudhisthira and others first exhibited their skill in shooting arrows in the order of their seniority. Every scene was explained to Dhrtarastra by Vidura and to Gandhari by Sanjaya. Duryodhana and Bhima clashed with each other. Asvatthama pacified them and kept them apart. And, then Arjuna and Karna appeared on the scene, and the onlookers declared them to be equal in skill in archery. When their shooting exhibition was over, Karna who got angry again rushed to the stage. Arjuna also got ready. Arjuna challenged Karna's eligibility on the ground that he was low-born and not a Ksatriya. At once Duryodhana proclaimed him as the King of Anga. Though this pacified the scene, this competition in archery served much to make the Kauravas and the Pandavas the bitterest of enemies. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapters, 136, 137) .


11) Arjuna's gurudaksind (Offering of fee to the preceptor) .


At the starting of training the princes Drona told them: "I have one thing in mind, and you must do it for me when you have completed the course of training. All the disciples except Arjuna kept silent at this, but Arjuna promised to fulfil the guru's wish at the proper time


The training was over., and it was time for gurudaksina. Drona asked to be brought bound before him Drupada, King of PdACala. (For Drona's enmity towards Drupada see Drupada). Thereupon the Pandavas marched to Pancala, and in a fierce battle Arjuna defeated Drupada. Though Bhima tried to kill Drupada Arjuna did not permit it, but took him bound to Drona. This ended Drona's hatred towards Drupada, who now gifted half his kingdom to Drona. Drona was very much pleased with Arjuna for the above act, and advised him to fight even him (Drona) if the latter opposed him (Arjuna). To this Arjuna replied 'Yes'. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 139, Verse 14) . With this promise to fight even the guru in case the guru attacked him Arjuna became the most reputed archer in Bharata.

 12) Jealousy cf Dhrtarastra. After the gurudaksina Arjuna marcherd against the neighaouring kingdom. He deCcated very easily in war the King of Yavana and the Ki;lgs Sauvira, Vipula and Sumitra. These victories of A2ijurta made the Kauravas very anxious; Dhrtarastra brooded over it. (M.B., AdiParva, Chapter 138, Verses 2: -23) .


13) Escape from the waxen palace. Duryodhana made up his mind to destroy the Pandavas somehow or other. He got the P,4ndavas to shift their residence to a palace made of wax at Varanavata, and one year after this the palace was set fire to. The I'andavas escaped death by fife through a tunnel and entered the forest, the next day. (See llrakkillam).


14) Arjuna on the banks of river The Pandavas walked much through the terrible forest, and after midnight reached the batiks of the Gaiiga. At that time Ariigaraparna (Citraratha), the Gandharva was enjoying his time tit the river with some r\psara women. The presence of men at the scene, the Gandharva did not relish. Arjuna and the Gandharva crossed in words, which led to a duel. In the duel the Gandharva was defeated. As the wife of the Gandharva prayed with tears in her eyes A rjuna spared him his life. The grateful Gandharva told the Pandavas many interesting stories. He also made a present of divine horses and imparted to them the esoteric knowledge called Caksusividy"". The Gandharva finally told the andavas that they were attacked because they came withoutAgni and Ahuti in their front. He also explained this fact that Arjuna could subjugate him on account of his (_? rjuna's) genuine celibacy. (See Citraratha) .


15) P~ir:caltsz~aya~;iz~ara. Citraratha, during his talks with the a davas had pointed out to them the need to have a priest to lead and guide them in all matters, and accordingly they visited Dhaumyasrama-and installed the :lvlaharsi (Dhaumya) as their priest.


And, rrcantime seeing thousands of people on their way to attend the Svayamvara (marrid ge by open choice of husband by the girl) of Krsna (Pancali) daughter of the King of ancala, the Pandavas also followed the crowd. Veda Vyasa, whom the ~-'andavas met on their way blessed thean. King Drupada wished to give his daughter Krsna in marriage to Arjuna. The news that the rda as were burned to death in the palace of waxgrieved Drupada.Yethehad made arrangementsfor a trial of strength by Heroes at the Svayarhvara. A tremendous bow was got ready and installed on the ground, and a machine constructed which was kept suspended in the air. The target was placed inside the machine. And then Drupada spoke thus: "My daughter shall be married to him who will bend the bow and with the first arrow hit the target placed inside the machine". (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 155, Verse 11 )., Great warriors like Duryodhana, Karna, Sisupala, Sirizum,-ira took their seats in the marriage hall. ~11 the kings failed even to lift the bow up. Ultimately ~rjuna lifted the bow and hit the target very easily. Pancali put the wedding garland on Arjuna's neck. When the 1-5.ndavas returned to their mother with F" ncali in the evening the mother from inside her room said: "What you have got today, my sons, you enjoy among, yourselves." Kunt! said this under the impression that what her sons had got was some Bhiksa. At any rate, in obedience to the above injunction of the mother Paftcali became wife to the five 1'andavas. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapters 190, 191 ).


16) Arjuna at Indraprastha. The svayariZvara of Pancali broadcast news about the whereabouts of the Pandavas. Dhrtarastra brought them back to Indraprastha, and installed them in a new palace built at the place called Khandavaprastha. (Indraprastha). Dharmaputra ruled a part of the country with Indraprastha as capital. Narada went there once and advised the Pandavas to guard themselves against mutual quarrels as the five of them claimed one and the same woman as wife. Thenceforth it was set forth that Pancali would live with each husband in turn for one year. It was also settled that during a particular year if any other husband than the one whose turn it was to live with Pancali saw her the intruder was to go on a pilgrimage for one year.


Once a brahmin came to the palace complaining that his cows were stolen by thieves, and Arjuna promised to help him. Arjuna did so without remembering that all his weapons were stored in Dharmaputra's palace. That year i-aneali was living with Dharmaputra. Forgetting the' fact Arjuna went to Dharmaputra's palace, got his weapons and helped the brahmin. For thus breaking the rule Arj una left his palace on a pilgrimage for one year.


17A) Ariuna married Ulupika and Citrangada. Arjuna with his bow and arrows went into the forest. Many brahmins followed him. Arjuna reached the banks of Gaftga and entered the waters for a bath. Here Arjuna was attracted by Ulupika, daughter of the Naga. King and he married her. A son was born to them called Iravan. After visiting places like Agastyavatam, Vasisthagiri Ai,juna reached Manalur. He married Citratigada, daughter of Citraftgada, King of Manalur. After a stay of three months there he went southwards. Citraftgada gave birth to a son named Babbruvahana-


17B ) The mark an Arjuna's flag is Hanilmdrz, and the following story is attached to it. Arjuna, once during a tour of the country was much surprised to see the Dam constructed by gri Rama from Ramesvara to Laftka. He also felt that it was not at all proper on the part of Sri Rama to have sought the help of monkeys to construct the dam. f;ri Rama could have made a dam with arrows. Arjuna put this question to a great scholar (Pandit) who was sitting nearby reading the, Ramayana. Neither the Pandit nor the other brahmins gathered there could give a convincing answer to Arjuna's doubts. Then a monkey child went up to Atjuna and told him with pride that a dam made of arrows would have broken when the monkeys walked on it. Arjuna said then, "no, no; no monkey will be able to break the dam built with Rama's arrows; which monkey will break a dam of arrows made even by me ?" And, a debate began about the subject. The monkey and Arjuna agreed to a. bet that if a monkey broke the dam made by Arjuna he would end his life by jumping into fire, and if the monkey could not break the (jam it would for ever be Arjuna's slave. Arjuna constructed a dam with arrows. And, as soon as the monkey set foot on it it was broken. Arjuna tried again. Though now it caused some efforts on the part of the monkey the dam broke this time also. Ariuna was thus left with no alternative but to die by jumping into fire and a fire was accordingly lit. Before Arjuna jumped into the fire a brahmin boy, who was bathing in the river ran upto Arjuna and told him that his attempt at self annihilation was not justified as the bet was made without an arbiter. When Arjuna who was wedded so much to truth brushed aside this argument and got ready to end his life the boy said : "If you are so very insistent about it you (Arjuna and the monkey) compete once again with m.: as arbiter. This suggestion of the boy was accepted. The monkey child tried its best to break the dam, but it failed. It developed its body to the size of a mountain and jumped on the dam. Even then it did not break. Then he ran up to the boy who was acting as arbiter and prostrated at his feet crying `R:-macandra'. At the same moment Aijuna also prostrated before the boy crying `Sri KT~sna, slave to devotees'. The boy asked both of them to get up, and after admonishing them for their conceit gave them good advice. He also asked the monkey child to keep his word by remaining as the emblem of Arjuna's flag. (The monkey boy was actually Hanuman and the brahmin boy Sri Krsna).


17 C) Arjuna married Subhadra. Arjuna went to the holy place called Saubhadratirtha and redeemed the woman named Varg .~ from the curse she was labouring under. (See Varga). Arjuna continued his journey and reached Gokarna and Prabhasa tirtha, where he met Gada, brother of Sri Krsxta. Gada described to Arjuna the great beauty of his sister, Subhadra. Arjuna went to Dvaraka and paid his respects to Sri KT'Sna. A few days later the yadavas cele! gated a great festive 1 at mount Raivataka. Arjuna went there disguised as a Sannyasin and forcibly took away Subhadrd with him with the permission of Sri Kcsna. Though the yadavas got ready for a fight they were ultimately p.icified, and Subhadra was married to Arjuna. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter, 218-224).


17D) Brahmin boy saved. When once Arjuna was in Dvaraka with Sri Krsna a brahmin appeared on the scene lamenting that his child died as soon as it was born. Nobody paid any heed to this, and then Arjuna rose up and assured protection to the next child to be born to the brahmin and asked him to return home in peace. Arjuna also vowed that he would end his life by jumping into fire if he failed to protect the next child of the brahmin.


As the time for the delivery of' his wife approached the brahmin took Arjuna home. Arjuna made the house secure by making an enclosure with his arrows. Yet the child died; not only that, at the time of birth itself its body disappeared. And, the brahmin heaped insults on Arjuna, who looked very foolish. Rendered thus an object of ridicule Arjuna began to make a fire for him to jump into. At this Sri Krsna appeared before Arjuna and prevented him from jumping into fire. And then both Krsna and Arjuna went to Visnuloka and submitted the case of the brahmin to him. Visnu told them : "Oh! Krsna and Arjuna, it was I who took away the brahmin boys for the pleasure of seeing you both here. You may immediately return with the brahmin boys. And, Krsna and Arjuna returned with the boys to the brahmin, who now felt very happy. (Bhagavata, Dasama Skandha Chapter 89) .


17E) Burning of Klhandaaa forest. While Krsna and Arjuna were spending their days on the banks of river Yamuna in the summer season Agni Bhagavan (the fire-god) requested them to give the Khandava forest as food to him. (See Khandavadaha). Arjuna agreed to oblig Agni Bhagavan, who presented to Arj una the boi called Gandiva, a white horse and isiany other power fur arrows. When Agni began burning the forest, lncfn sent a heavy shower of rain. By creating a tent will arrows Arjuna saved the forest from the rain. Arjum killed Taksaka's wife, cursed the N ga called A•.',vasew and saved Maya, the architect of the A:,uras who wa put up in the forest. Indra was pleased arid gifted mane divine arrows to Atj una. Maya gave the fairious conch Devadattain to Arjuna. By now the one year of th< pilgrimage of AKjuna was over and he returned tc Indraprastha. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapters 233-239) .


17P) Fight between Arjuna and Sri Krsra. (See Galava para 4) .


18) Again to the forest. Maya, who escaped death it Khardava forest, in his great gratitude, went to Indraprastha, and with the permission of Dharmaputra built for the - Pandavas ail exceptionally beautiful palace. And then the Pandavas made the conquest of all the earth, and after killing enemy kings like Jaritsandha, the Kimpurusas, the Hadakas, Sisupwla, Kurundlla ant Bliagadatta returned to Idraprastha and performed the Rajasuya yajfia. The Kauravas who got jealous at this went on a visit to Indraprastha. When they entcred the palace built by Maya they were put info tnauy a ludicrous situation. (See Sabhaprave:;a). Insulted and humiliated they returned to Iqastinapura and challenged the Pandavas to a game of dice, and :n the game the Pandavas lost not only their kingdom and other riches, but Pancali as well. Dussasana dragged Pancali and stripped her of her clothes in tLe royal assembly and thus mercilessly insulted her. According to the terms and condition agreed to with reference to the game of dice, the Pandavas had to lead f,rest life for twelve years and live for one year incogniito. The Pandavas again started for the forest. (M.B., Sablia Parva) .

19) Pandaaas in Kanzyaka forest. A number of brahmins also accompanied the f-andavas to the forest. The noble br ahmin, Saunaka consoled the aggrieved Dharmaputra in the Dvaitavana- Dharmaputra felt worried that he could not feed the brahmins who acco;..panicd him into the forest. Paiicali prayed to the Sun-God, and he gave the Aksayap,~tra to her. (Sec Aksyapatra) . And, after this the Pandavas, along with the brahtnins, entered the Kamyaka forest. (M.B:, Aranya Parva, Chapter 36) .


26) Ariuna secured divine arrows. Dharmapuita asked Atjuna, to do tapas in the Himlilayas and thus secure divine arrows. AccordinglyArjuna went south and saw Indra in the Indrakila mountain. Indra gave him boons. There Arjuna killed MEtk «sura. And, then Arjuna went to Mount Kailasa and prayerfully concentrated his mind on Siva. Siva appealed in the guise of a forest dweller. (See _Fasupatastra). After that lie got the Dandastra from Yarna, Pa•';,sira from Varutia and Antardhanastra from Kubera. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapters 37-41).


21) Aijuna in Indraloka. India, who was so very pleased that Arjuna got so many divine arrows depttted his charioteer, Mjtali, to bring Ar juna to Dcvaloka arid at Devaloka he learned murc about archr:-y aa~-: music. The Apsara women forgot themselves when trey saw the exceptionally handsome Arjuna. Urvasi, mad with love, sent her messenger Citrasena to Indra. Being told about Urvasi's love Arjuna closed both his ears with hands, and reminded the messenger of Urva'si's maternal position with reference to him. Urvasi cursed and turned Arjuna into an eunuch. Indra consoled Arjuna by assuring him that Urva'si's curse will turn out to be of great benefit to him. Afterwards Arjuna stayed in Devaloka for a few days with Citrasena, and during the period he killed Nivatakavaca and Kalakeya.


Arjuna became a friend of Maharsi Lomasa, who had gone to Devaloka to see Indra. Promising Arjuna that he would protect Dharmaputra Loma'sa returned to the earth. Arjuna left the Kamyaka forest and returned to his brothers after an absence for five years. He met the brothers at Mount Gandhamadana. (M.B.; Vana Parva, Chapters 42-47) .


22) Procession. At last a witty and humorous brahmin went to Dhrtarastra and dilated upon the hardships being suffered by the Pandavas, and Duryodhana and others were extremely pleased and happy to hear it. Yet, they shed crocodile tears. But, Duryodhana was in a mighty hurry to see with his own eyes the pitiable plight of the Pandavas. On the pretext of going out for hunting Duryodhana and others with the permission of Dhrtarastra, started for the forest with a number of attendants. 8,000 chariots, 30,000 elephants, thousands of infantry soldiers; 9,000 horses, merchants, ornaments, courtesans and thousands of hunters formed this procession into the forest. Just like roaring winds during the rainy season. the procession caused thunderous noise. Duryodhana approached the pool in the Dvaita forest and waited at a distance. (M.B., Aranya Parva, Chapter 239, Verses 25-29).


Duryodhana and attendants put up tents in the forest. The Gandharvas obstructed Duryodhana, and he and the Gandharva called Citrasena clashed with each other. Duryodhana was made a prisoner. Ariuna came on the scene and released him. And, thus humiliated Duryodhana returned to Hastinapura with the attendants. (M.B., Aranya Parva, Chapters 239-253).


23) Arjuna lost consciousness. While once Paficali was alone King Jayadratha forcibly took her away. Within seconds the Pandavas confronted Jayadratha and regained Pancali. Jayadratha and his men were killed. The Padavas, who were very weary and tired walking in the' forest felt extremely thirsty. Nakula, at the instance of Dharmaputra climbed a tree and looked around and sighted a pool of clear water. When Nakula went to the pool and began to draw water a voice from above was heard saying as follows : "Do not be so very daring. This is my ancestral wealth. If you answer my questions you may not only drink the water but also take some with you". Without paying any heed to this warning Nakula drank water from the pool, and to tie fell down unconscious immediately. Sahadeva who went to the pool in search of Nakula and drank water from the pool also met with the same fate as Nakula. Arjuna and Bhima also had the same fate at the pool. Lastly Dharmaputra went to the pool and understanding what happened to his brothers requested permission to drink water. At once a Yaksa appeared and brought the brothers of Dharmaputra back to consciousness. In fact, the Yaksa was none other than Yamadharmadeva. (For questions and answers of the Yaksa see Dharmaputra.) (M.B., Aranya Parva, Chapters j 12-315).


24) Life incognito. Now the twelve years of forest life being over the Pandavas decided to spend the one year of life incognito in the Virata palace. Arjuna disguised himself and deposited his clothes and weapons in the hollow of a Sami tree in the forest. And the Pandavas in various disguises reached the Virata palace. They assumed false names : Dharmaputra as Kaiiku, Bhima as Valala, Arjuna as Brhannala, Nakula as Granthika and Sahadeva as Aristanemi and Draupadl as Malini.


When the life incognito of the Pandavas for one year was about to expire a rumour reached the Kauravas that the Pandavas were at the Virata capital, and the Kauravas thought that the Pandavas will appear on the scene if a war was fought against King Virata. The Kauravas, with this object in view, lifted the cows of Virata and that led to war. Uttara, the prince of Virata boasted that lie would fight provided he had a good charioteer. Brhannala (Arjuna) agreed to act as such and they started for the warfield. At the sight of the massive army of the Kauravas Uttara got frightened and tried to run away from the field. But Brhannala tightly bound Uttara to the chariot, drove it very fast to the forest, took back from the hollow of the ~ami tree his weapons and returned to the battle-field. The Kauravas were absolutely defeated in the war and they took to their heels. They understood that the very clever and terrible warrior in disguise was Arjuna himself. But, by the time the period of the Pandavas life incognito was over. The king of Virata, greatly pleased over this victory in war gave his daughter, Uttara in marriage to Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna. (M.B., Virata Parva).


25) Preparations for war. After the forest life and life incognito the Pandavas returned. The Kauravas refused to give them Half the Kingdom. Sri Krsna, on behalf of the Pandavas, implored that half the kingdom or five districts or five houses or at least one house be given to them. But, the Kauravas took the stand that not even an iota of land would be given to the Pandavas. And, war was perforce decided upon. Duryodhana went to Krsna at Dvaraka to request for support in war. Krsna, who favoured the Pandavas lay in false sleep as he did not want to fight against them. Duryodhana sat at the head of Krsna. Arjuna, who came after some time sat at the feet of Krsna and remained there standing. Awakening from sleep, it was Arjuna whom Kz'sna saw first. After the greetings were over with Arjuna, Krsna saw Duryodhana also. Between Krsria without any arms and the armed forces of Krsna, Arjuna chose Krsna and Duryodhana his armed forces to help each side in the impending war. (Udyoga Parva).


26) War. Both the Parties were encamped in KurukKtra ready for war. gri Krsna acted as Charioteer to Arjuna. He stopped the chariot in between the opposing armies. Arjuna felt deep anguish to find his own people arrayed on the opposite side for war. Reluctant to kill relations, elders, friends and preceptors Arjuna laid down his arms in the chariot. Then did Ki sna instruct him in Karmayoga (the philosophy of action). That instruction and advice of Krsna is the world-famous Bhagavad Gita. The Gita cleared off Arjuna's illusions and he praised the Lord, gri Krsna, who revealed his all comprehensive form (Vi°svarupa) to Arjuna.


On the first day of the war Arjuna fought a duel with Bhisma, and the second day he fought the Kaurava forces with exceptional prowess. And then Arjuna prevented Krsna from killing Bhisma. But, the Kaurava (42) Alambusa, King of Raksasas killed.

Army faced defeat that day. On the third day Arjuna (43) Dandadhara killed with his elephant. defeated Bhisma, Asvatthama, Trigartta, Bhagadatta (44) Arjuna killed the six brothers of Susarm  and others. Thereupon a really fierce fight began. The Satyasena, Candrasena, Mitrasena, Srut~  war lasted for 18 days. The important incidents during Sausruti and Mitradharma  the 18 days can be summarised as follows : (45) Difference of opinion arose between Dharm


(1) Fierce fight between Arjuna and Bhisma. and Arjuna about the failure to kill Karna


(2) Fight between Arjuna and A'svatthama. in the heat of excitement Arjuna called hi;


(3) Arjuna destroyed the Kaurava army. brother 'thou'.


(4) Iravan, son of Arjuna, was killed. (46) Immediately repenting Arjuna drew sword t


(5) Arjuna fought against Drona and Su'sarma. himself. But, regained mental peace by be


(6) Took the vow to kill Bhi sma. pardon of the brother.


(7) Sikhandi prompted to kill Bhisma. (47) Killed Visasena, son of Karna,


(8) On the appearance of Sikhandi the Kaurava army, (48) Karna brought down Krsna's crown by his


took fright and fled in great disarray. resembling the face of the serpent. Enraged


(9) Arjuna fought a duel with Dusgsasana. Arjuna killed Karna.


(10) Duel with Bhagadatta. (49) Killed Satyakarma, Satyestha and others.


(11) Duel again with Bhisma. (50) After bowing to Vyasa, Arjuna withdrew a


(12) Bhisma fainted and fell on the ground. (M.B., Bhisma, Drona, Karna, Salya and Sau


(13) Duel again with Dussasana. Parvas).


(14) With gikhandi in the front made an attack on 27) After the war. In the great war the Kaurava Bhisma. to the very last man, was annihilated. The Pan(


(15) Arjuna discharged three arrows to serve as pillow assembled together. Thoughts about the future cam to Bhisma who, dislodged from the chariot, was Sri Krsna consoled the sorrowing Dharmaputr


lying on a bed of arrows. desired by Vyasa, Kfsna, Dharmaputra and o


(16) Cool water sprinkled on the face of Bhisma with returned to Hastinapura and took up the rei


the aid of divine arrows. governing the country, and the idea of performin


(17) Fought against Drona and defeated his forces. Asvamedha Yaga was seriously mooted. A King


(18) Satyajit deputed to remain with Dharmaputra to Marutta agreed to give money needed for the help him. Arjuna defeated all enemy kings. (M.B., Santi Par)


(19) Sudhanva killed. 28) Death and rebirth of Arjuna. On his way


(20) Again fought with Bhagadatta. after digvijaya Arjuna was killed by the arrows c


(21) Supratika, the elephant of Bhagadatta killed. son, Babhruvahana. Immediately did Ulupi, Arji


(22) And after that, Bhagadatta also killed. wife bring back to life her husband by Mrtasanji


(23) Vrsaka and Acala killed by Arjuna. mantra. Then Arjuna questioned Ulupi about


(24) Sakuni defeated. reason for his son killing him, and also as to how


(25) Arjuna killed the three brothers of Karna and con- happened to be present at the time. Ulupi fronted Karna. the story of a curse in answer to Arjuna's quc


(26) Abhimanyu, son of Arjuua, killed. (M.B., Asvamedha Parva, Chapter 79).


(27) Hearing about the death of Abhimanyu, Arjuna fell


29) The story of the curse. Ulupi said : You shall down unconscious. get angry. Yes, all is for the best. In war you k


(28) Awakened, Arjuna vowed to kill Jayadratha. Bhisma by unrighteous means, viz. with the hel


(29) Arjuna performed Siva Puja. gikhandi. On his death, the Astavasus and Ganga 1


(30) Arjuna dreamt that night to have paid homage to cursed you with hell. I told about this curse to Siva along with Krsna and that Siva gave him father, who begged the Vasus for redemption, and


divine arrows like Pasupata. said that you would be redeemed from the curse


(31) Marched forth routing the elephant regiment of your son, Babhruvahana, killed you. Accordingl;


Durmarsana. has been brought here to kill you.


(32) Routed bussasana in fight. The above story pleased Arjuna. (Asvamedha Pa


(33) Again fought Drona, Krtavarml, Srutayudha, Chapter 81) .


Sudaksina, King of kamboja. 30) Asvamedham. Arjuna again defeated Meghasan


(34) Sudaksina killed in fight. the King of Magadha, gakuniputra and others


(35) 8rutayu, Acyutayu, Niyutayu, Ambastha and the returned to Hastinapura, where the Asvamedha y


Mlecchas' army killed. was performed. The Yadava dynasty was extingui


(36) Vinda and Anuvinda killed. before long. Arjuna did all the rites due to them


(37) Warfield converted into a house of arrows, on death. He grieved over the departure of Sri KT


account of the great collection of arrows. (Bhagavata, Skandha 11, Chapter 31) . And then


(38) Arjuna defeated Duryodhana. went to Indraprastha with the consorts of Krsna.


(39) Fought the nine great warriors on the Kaurava the way dacoits overcame Arjuna and snatched a


side. some of the females. Arjuna felt very sad. Then V


(40) Arjuna cut off the right hand of Bhurisravas at appeared and told him that he would be strong


the instance of Krsna. powerful only in the presence of Krsna. (Agni Par


(41) Cut off the head of Jayadratha with arrows. The Chapter 15) .


head and the arrows were thrown on the lap of 31) Pdndavas' journey to the other world.

It was at this juncture that the Yadava dynasty ended and Sri Krsna was killed, and some of Kx'sna's consorts were abducted. Arjuna could not save them, and they jumped into the river and died. Arjuna, who lost all his power began the great journey with his brothers. On their way Agnideva advised him to deposit reputed bow, Gandiva in the sea, and Arjuna did so. (Mahaprasthana Parva, Chapter 1, Verses 1-42). The Pandavas continued their journey, Yudhisthira leading them. They reached the Himalayas, and there Pancali expired. To Bhima's querry as to why Pallcafi expired first, Yudhisthira replied that it was due to her having been more partial to Arjuna. The others continued their journey and then Sahadeva died. Yudhisthira explained that Sahadeva died second due to his arrogance and conceit. And, the others continued going forward. An emaciated dog was already with the Pandavas during their journey. Nakula was the third to die, and Yudhisthira attributed it to his (Nakula) extreme conceit about his beauty. And, Arjuna's death next, Yudhisthira said, was due to his having not kept his vow, once made, to kill the whole lot of enemies in a day. After proceeding a short distance further Bhima also fell dead, and Yudhisthira thought to himself that it was due to Bhima's voracious eating. And, then Devendra came in his chariot of gold and welcomed Yudhisthira to Svarga. But, he refused the offer saying that he would not do go alone, leaving his brothers behind. When Indra assured him that his brothers were already there, in Svarga, Yudhisthira got into the chariot and reached Svarga, and he was elated to find his brothers there happy with I'aficali. (Mahaprasthana Parva and Svargdrohana) . 32) The meanings of the word, Arjuna. (1) White.


 (2) The plant called virataru. Nadisarjo virataru-Rindradruh kakubhor'rjunah. (Do)


(3) Glass. Saspam balatynarii ghaso yavasam trnamarjunam. (4) Indra. (Rgveda, Chapter 1, Anuvaka 7, Sukta 112) .


Synonyms used in the Mahabhdrata of Arjuna. Aindti, Bharata, Bhimanuja, Bhimasenanuja, Bibhatsu, Brhannala, Sakhamrgadhvaja, 8akraja, 4ranandana, Sakrasunu, Sakratmaja, gakrasuta, :;vetasva, gvetahaya, Svetavaha, Devendratanaya, Dhananjaya, Gandivabhrt, Gandivadhanvd, Gandivadhari, Gandivi, Gudakesa, Indrarupa, Indrasuta, Indratmaja, Indravaraja, Jaya, Jisnu, Kapidhvaja, Kapiketana, Kapipravara, Kapivaradhvaja, Kaunteya, Kaurava, Kaurava'sregtha, Kauravya, Kiritamali, Kauraveya, Kiritabhr't, Kiritavan, Kiriti, Kr'sna, Ki'snasarathi, Kuntiputra, Mahendrasunu, Mahendratmaja, Nara, Pakasasani, Pandava, Pandaveya, Pandunandana, Partha, Paurava, Phaiguna, Prabhanjanasutanuja, Savyasaci, Tapatya, Tridase'svaratmaja, Vanaradhvaja, Vaxiaraketana, Vanaraketu, Vanaravaryaketana, Vasavaja, Va.savanandana, Vasavatmaja, Vasavi, Vijaya.


34) Origin of certain words. Towards the close of his life incognito, Arjuna went to the Sami tree to take out Gandiva kept in its hollow. Uttara also was with Arjuna. Then Arjuna revealed himself to Uttara, and also elaborated the meaning of his various names -as follows :-


I shall tell you my ten names. Arjuna, Phalguna, Jisnu, Kiriti, gvetavahana, Bhibhatsu, Vijaya, Krsna, Savya-saci and Dhananjaya . I am called Dhananjaya,because even after having conquered all the lands and amassed wealth I stand in the centre of righteousness . . . .I am called Vijaya because in fights with haughty opponents I always succeed. >.... I am called gvetavahana because white horses are harnessed in war to my chariot decked with golden ornaments  I am called Phalguna because I was born in the month of Phalguna and under the star, Phalguna ... .I am kiriti because during my fight with the Daityas I put on my head crown glowing as Sun... I am called Bibhatsu by men and Devas because I never resort to revolting means during war... Devas and men call me Savyasaci because both my hands are adept in using the bow, Gandiva . . . .I am Arjuna because, in the world people are rare who possess such fair colour as I do, and moreover I do only white ( just and ethical) acts . . . .I am called Jisnu, because I am unassailable and unconquerable, and I subjugate and conquer, and also because I am the son of Indra.. . My father gave me the tenth name of Krsna because I was very attractive (Krsna=attractive). [Mahabharata (Malayalam)~. 35 ) Wives of Arjuna. (1) Paficali (2) UlupS (3) Citrangada ( 4 ) Subhadra. 36 ) Sons of Arjuna. Srtakiriti, Iravan, Babhruvahana, Abhimanyu.


ARJUNA II. A son of Emperor, Nimi. son of emperor Nimi, got philosophical Muni named Asita (Brahmandapurana,


One Arjuna, advice from a Chapter 47) .


ARJUIVA III. ( See Karttaviryarjuna).


(Amarakosa) ARJUNA IV. A member of Yama's assembly. The other members are : Kapotaroma, Trnaka, Sahadeva, Visva, Sa°sva, Krsasva, Sasabindu and Mahi'svara. ( M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 8, Verse 17 ).


ARJUNABHIGAMANAPARVA. A sub Parva in Mahabharata. (See Mahabharata).


ARJUNAKA. A hunter. Dharmaputra was called to his side by Bhisma his body torn by arrows in fight and he felt very sad and sorry to see Bhisma in that state. To console Dharmaputra Bhisma related a story and this hunter was one of the characters in the story. The story may be summarised as follows:-


Once, the son of an old Brahmin woman Gautami, died on account of snake-bite. A hunter caught and brought before Gautami the snake. His object was to kill it immediately. But the serpent proved its innocence by pleading that it bit the boy impelled and prompted by Death. At once death ( mrtyu ) appeared on the scene and explained that it was prompted by the God of Death. And, it was the child who was responsible for the cause of death, and Gautami was the cause for the birth of the child. Ultimately Gautami herself assumed responsibility for the sin. Bhisma consoled Dharmaputra by telling that as in the case of Gautami in the story, the cause for every effect was the chain of Karma. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 1).


ARJUNAVANAVASAPARVA. A sub parva in Maha.bharata. (See Mahabharata).


ARKKA 1. A synonym of the Sun. (See SORYA) .


ARKKA II. A king of olden days. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 236).


ARKKA 111. The royal sage Rsika was Arkka, the Asura, reborn. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 67, Verses 32, 33) .


ARKKAPARNA. Kasyapa's son by his wife Muni. He was a Devagandharva. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 43) .


ARTHAM. From the forehead of Mahavisnu a golden lotus grew up from which Sri Devi was born. Dharmarthas (Dharma=righteousness and artha wealth) also were born from Sri. "From the forehead of Visnu, sprung up a golden lotus and His wise spouse Sri arose there from and oh, Pandava, righteousness and wealth came into being from Sri". (Bhasabharata, Sand Parva, Chapter 59, Stanzas 130 & 131) .


ARUJAM. A sect among the Raksasas. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 285, Verse 2) .


ARULMOLITHEVAR. The Saiva text of the south is called Tirumura, and it contains twelc•e songs. The first seven of those songs were composed by Tirujfianasambandha, Tirunavukkarsar and Sundaramurti. The twelfth song is called Periyapurana composed by Arulmolithevar. He is also called Selkhilar. Tevar was prime minister (A.D. 1063-1112) of Cola. (Some great lives).




1) Birth. Son of Kasyapa by Vinata. Kasyapa, son of Brahma, married Vinata and Kadru, and being so much pleased by their services he gave them boons. Kadru got the boon to have 1000 naga (serpent) sons, and Vinata to have two sons more powerful and vital than the sons of Kadru. After this Kasyapa went into the forest again for Tapas. After a period, Kadru gave birth to 1000 eggs and Vinata to two. Both the mothers kept their eggs in pots so that they were in the right temperature. After 500 years the pot broke up and Kadru had her 1000 sons. Vinata felt pained at this and opened one of her pots. A child only half-developed emerged from the egg and he was Aruna. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 16, Verses 5-7) . After another 500 years the other egg of Vinata hatched itself and a glowing son emerged. He was Garuda.


2) Genealogy. While Rama and Laksmana wandered in the forest searching for Sita they saw the wounded and disabled Jatayu. Jatdyu described his genealogy as follows : "Kasyapa, son of Brahma, married the daughters of Daksa. Of the two wives, Vinata delivered two sons, Garuda and Aruna. Sampan was Aruna's elder son and he (Jatayu) the younger. (Valmlki Rarnayana, Aranyakanda, Canto 14) . Agni Purana, Chapter 19 also refers to Garuda and Aruna as the sons of Vinata.


3) Aruna curses his mother. The fact of Vinata forcing open one of her eggs prematurely and Aruna emerging out of it with only a half-developed body has been mentioned above. Aruna got angry at the haste of his mother and cursed her to live as slave of Kadru for 500 years, and then Garuda would redeem her from slavery. He also asked her to wait for 500 years so that the birth of another physically deficient son like himself might be avoided. After pronouncing this curse Aruna


-rose to the sky. This curse was the reason for Vinata's becoming a slave of Kadru. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 16, Verses 18-23) .


4) Aruna became charioteer of Sun. The Sun and the Moon betrayed to the Devas Rahu, who waited at the entrance of Devaloka to snatch off the Nectar (Amrtam) got at the churning of the sea of milk (Ksh-abdhi). Thenceforth Rdhu does often swallow the Sun and the Moon. That phenomenon is called the eclipse (of the Sun or Moon. Surya-grahanaand Candra-grahana). Enraged by these frequent attacks of Rahu, the Sun-God began once to burn like anything. Murmuring that everyone would cooperate when there was something to be achieved, but would go on their own way when the object was achieved, the Sun-God began burning so virulently as to destroy al1 living forms, and the Devas were frightened by this and took refuge in Brahma. Brahma called Aruna and asked him to stand as charioteer in front of the Sun-God everyday so that the Sun's intensity might be reduced. From that day onwards Aruna has been functioning as the charioteer of the Sun. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 24, Verses 15-20) .


5) Birth of sons. 9yeni, wife of Aruna delivered two sons, Sampati and Jatayu. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 68, Verse 71) .


6) Aruna assumed female form. kavati, the chaste woman, once did naked Tapas to redeem her husband, Ugratapas from the consequences of a curse. The object of her tapas was to prevent the next dawn (Sunrise). Owing to the intensity of her tapas the Sun ceased to rise, and this gave his charioteer Aruna somc rest. Then it was that A-runa came to know of a programme of naked dance by the women in Devaloka. Women alone were admitted to the dance hall. Aruna, therefore, assumed female form and sat among the Deva women, and the beautiful `female' kindled erotic sentiments in Indra and he enjoyed a night with `her'. Also, a son was born to them. And, before the day dawned Aruna, at the instance of Indra entrusted the child to Ahalyadevi and returned to join duty as the Sun-God's charioteer. (Aruna, while he acted as Indra's wife was called Arunidevi). Aruna was a bit late to report for duty, and when questioned by Sun he detailed the happenings during the last night. This evoked the desire in the Sun to see Aruna in female form. Aruna did so, and the Sun enjoyed her. This also resulted in the birth of a son, who too was, at the instance of tl.e Sun, entrusted to Ahalyadevi. Ahalyadevi brought both the children with tender love, which Gautama muni, her husband did not like. He cursed them and turned them into monkeys. After some time Indra went to Ahalya to see his child and he was told the story of Gautama's curse. Indra searched out both the monkeys. In view of the elder one having a long tail he was 'ca1led Bali (Vali) and the neck of the second one being very beautiful, he was named Sugriva, At that time, Rksaraja, the monkey King of Kiskindha was very unhappy because he had no sons. He came tc know of Bali and Sugriva, and requested Indra to give both the monkeys to him as sons. Indra gladly obligee him. Indra blessed Bali to the effect that half the strength of anybody who attacked him would be addec


to his own natural power. Indra then sent him anc Sugriva to Kiskindha.


7) Synonyms. Surasuta, Aniaru, Aruna, Ka4yapi, Garu dagraja.


ARUNA II. A king of the solar dynasty, and father of Trisanku. (Devi Bhagavata, Saptama Skandha) .


ARUNA III. A sage in ancient India. A community of lZsis was denoted by this name. Those Rsis were called Arunas. The Ajas, Prsnis, Sikatas, Ketus and Arunasthey attained Svarga by self study. (M.B., 9anti Parva, Chapter 26, Verse 7) .


ARUNA lV. A serpent. Karkkotaka, Vasuki, Taksaka, Prthusravas, Aruna,Kufijara, Mitra, Sarizkha, Kumuda, Pundarika, and the chief of serpents, Dhrtarastra. (M.B., Mausala Parva, Chapter 4, Verse 15).


ARUNA V. A Rsi. Taittariya Aranyaka refers to him as born from the flesh of Brahma at the time of creation.


ARUINA VI. A Danava (Asura) born in the dynasty of Vipracitti. He did tapas for long years repeating the Gayatri mantra, and got from Brahma the boon not to die in war. Becoming very arrogant on account of this boon he left Patala (nether region) for the earth and deputed a messenger to challenge Indra for war. At that time a heavenly voice called out that as long as Aruna did not give up the Gdyatri he could not be worsted in war. Then the Devas sent Brhaspati to Aruna to make him give up Gayatri. Aruna questioned Brhaspati as to why he of the enemy camp had come to him (Aruna). B: haspati replied : "You and I are not different; both of us are worshippers of Gayatri Devi. Being told so Aruna gave up worship of Gayatri Devi, and she felt offended at this and sent thousands of beetles against him. Thus, without fighting Aruna and his army were extinguished. (Devi Bhdgavata).


ARUNA VII. A son of Narakasura. When Narakasura was killed Aruna along with his six brothers fought against Sri Krsna and was killed.


ARUNA I. An Apsara woman born of Pradha, wife of Kasyapa. Pradha and Kasyapa had the following children. Alambusa, Misrakesi, Vidyutparna, Tilottamd, Raksita, Rambha and Manorama. (M B., Adi Pa:°va, Chapter 65, Verses 50, 51) .


ARUNA 11. A tributary of the river Sarasvati. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 83, Verse 15) .


ARUNASAIVIGAMAM. The place where Aruna falls into Sarasvati. (M.B., galya Parva, Chapter 43, Verses 30-45 ).


ARUNDHATI I. Wife of Sage Vasistha.


(1) Birth. She was born as the daughter of Karddama Prajapati and Devahuti. (See Vasistha).


(2) Other information. (1) Once Arundhati got suspicious about the character of Vasistha and as a result of misunderstanding her chaste husband her beauty suffered a set-back. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 232, Verses 27-29) .


(2) Arundhati shone forth in Brahma's assembly with other Devis like, Prthvi, Hri, Svahakirti, Surd and Sac!. (M.B., Sabha Parva, Chapter 11, Verse 41).


(3) She outshone all other chaste women in devotion to her husband. She owed her great power to her chastity and service of her husband. (M.B., Aranya Parva, Chapter 225, Verse 15) .


(4) The seven great Rsis once offered her an honourable seat. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 226, Verse 8) .


(5) There is a story in the Mahabharata of how Siva once blessed Arundhati. While the seven great Rsis were staying at the Himalayas it did not rain consecutively for twelve years, and the Munis suffered much without either roots or fruits to eat. Then Arundhati


began a rigorous tapas, and Siva appeared before her disguised as a brahmin. Since, due to the failure of rains, Arundhati had no food with her. She cooked food with some cheap roots and served the guest with it, and with that it rained profusely all over the land. Siva then assumed his own form and blessed Arundhati, and from that day onwards it became a sacred spot. (M.B., Salya Parva, Chapter 48, Verses 38-54) .


(6) Arundhati once pointed out to Vi'sdarbhi the evils of receiving remuneration (fee) . (M.B., Anus'asana Parva, Chapter 10, Verse 45).


(7) On another occasion she spoke about the secret principles of ethics among others. (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 130, Verses 3-11) .


(8) Once all the Devas eulogized Arundhati and Brahma blessed her. (M.B., Anu'sasana Parva, Chapter 130, Verses 12 and 13) .


(9) Arundhati and Vasistha did tapas at the sacred Sarasvati tirtha and entered into Samadhi. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 130, Verse 17).


ARUNDHATI 11. A wife of Kala (God of death). Arundhati, Vasu, Yam!, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Sarizkalpa, Muhurta, Sadhya and Visva are the ten wives of Kala. (Visnu Purana, Part 1, Chapter 15) .


ARUNDHATIVATAM. A holy place. If one takes one's bath during three days in the Samudraka tir tha nearby and also starves one will get the results of Asvamedha yaga. (M.B., Vana Parva, Chapter 84, Verse 41).


ARUNT. Name given to Aruna when he attended Indra's assembly disguised as female. (See Aruna).


ARUNODA. A river flowing through the island of Plaksa, one of the seven islands of ancient times. The wind around ten yojanas of Plaksa is very fragrant because it carries the divine fragrance being emitted always from the bodies of Parvat! and her attendants, who drink water from river Arunoda. (Devil Bh5gavata, Astama Skandha).


ARIJPA. One of Daksa's daughters. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 46) .


ARUPATTIMIJVAR. (The sixty-three's) .' In ancient times there were sixty-three devotees of diva in the south. They were called Nayanaras and they have composed many famous sacred songs. Prominent among them were Tiruifianasambandha, Tirunavukkarasa and Sundaramurti


ARVA. The son of Ripurhjaya. (Visnu Purana).


ARVAVASU. An ancient Ascetic who had been a luminary in the Durbar hall of King Yudhfsthira. There is a story in the Mahabhdrata showing the merits of penance of Arvavasu. This story was told by the hermit Lomasa to the Pdndavas, when they arrived at the holy bath Madhugilasamanga, during their exile in the forest. `Long ago two ascetics Raibhya and Bharadvaja had built their hermitages and lived here. A son named Yavakrita was born to Bharadvaja. To Raibhya, two sons called Arvavasu and Paravasu were born. Raibhya and his sons were learned men. Bharadvdja and Yavakrita became ascetics. Yavakrita started doing penance with a view to get the boon of learning coming to him automatically without getting it directly from Brahmins. When his penance became severe Indra appeared and told him that the boon he asked for was an impossibility and tried to dissuade him from his attempt. Yavakrita was not willing to give up penance. Later Indra came in the guise of a Brahmin to the Banks of the Ganges and began to build a dam with sand particles. Yavakrita said that it was an impossible task. Indra said that the desire of Yavakrita also was as impossible as that. Still Yavakrita did not show any intention of drawing back. Finally Indra granted him the boon.


Yavakrita returned to the hermitage. Full of arrogance he hankered after the daughter-in-law of Raibhya. Raibhya plucked a tuft of hair from his head and put it as oblation in fire and created a giant who killed Yavakrita. Bharadvaja felt sad and cursed Raibhya that he would be killed by his son. Then with Yavakrita he jumped into the fire and died.


At that time Brhaddyumna, a Brahmin performed a sacrifice. He invited Arvavasu and Paravasu as helpers. As Paravasu was going along the forest he saw his father covered with the hide of a deer and shot at him thinking him to be a deer. He stealthily informed the matter to Arvavasu. Arvavasu went to the forest completed the funeral rites of his father and returned. Paravasu spread the rumour everywhere that Arvavasu had murdered his father. In the innocence of Arvavasu, nobody believed. Everyone avoided him. He became sad and forlorn and went to the forest and did penance to the Sun. The Sun appeared before him and blessed him. He returned and brought Yavakrita, Bharadvaja and Raibhya to life again.


All these occurrences happened in this bath called Madhubilasamgama. (Mahabharata, Aranya Parva, Chapters 135, 136, 137, 138).


The report of a conversation between this hermit, and Sri Krsna who had been on his way to Hastinapura, is given in the Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Chapter 336, Stanza 7. Arvavasu also is counted among the hermits who possessed the Brightness of Brahma like Rudra.


"Hermit Vasistha ! Now I shall give their names in order. Yavakrita, Raibhya, Arvavasu, Paravasu, Kaksivan, Aursija, Bala, Angiras, Rsimedha, Tithisuta, Kanva, these are the Bright hermits, having the brightness of Brahma, lauded by the world and as bright a3 Rudra, Fire and Vasu". (M.B., Anusasana Parva, Chapter 150, Stanzas 30, 31 & 32) .


Arvavasu did penance to' the Sun for getting children. The Sun-God came down from his way in the sky and gave him through Aruna directions mentioned in the Kalpa (one of the six 8astras or Sciences) regarding Saptami rituals. Arvavasu observed them strictly and as a result he got children and wealth. This story is given in Bhavisya Purana Brahma Parva).


ARYAMA. One of the twelve Adityas born to Kasyapa and Aditi. (Adityas=sons of Aditi). Tire twelve Adityas are, Dhata, Aryama, Mitra, gakra, Varuna, Arhsa, Bhaga Vivasvan, Pusa, Savita, Tvasta and Visnu. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Stanza 15). Ariisa is sometimes called AMS`U.


ARYASVA. A King of the Surya varhsa (Solar dynasty). See the word VAM9AVALI (Genealogy).


ASAMARJASA (ASAMANJA). A King of the Solar dynasty born to Sagara. For genealogy see under SAGARA.


1) Birth. There is a story about his birth in the Ramayana. Once there was a king called Sagara in Ayodhya. He married two women named Kesini and Sumati. For


a long time they had no sons and so they went to the Himalayas and started penance there in the mount of Bhrguprasravana. After a hundred years Bhy gumaharsi appeared before them and pleased them thus : "Your elder wife KeSini will give birth to a son who will continue your dynasty and your second wife will give birth to sixty thousand children". After a few years Kegini gave birth to Asamanjas and Sumati to a big ball of flesh. That ball broke and sixty thousand babes came out from it. (Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, Sarga 83) .


2) Character of Asamanjas. He was a very cruel man always tormenting people. He used to throw little children into the Sarayu river and stand on the banks of the river enjoying the sight of the children dying drowning. People hated him. His father, therefore, drove him out of his palace. To this bad man was born Afguman, a King who became the favourite of the people. (Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda, Sarga 38).




ASANI. A holy hermit. While gri Krsna was going to Hastinapura this hermit met him on the way. (M.B., Udyoga Parva, Chapter 83) .


ASIDDHARTHA. A minister of Da'saratha. (Valmiki Ramayana, Sloka 3, Sarga 7, Balakanda).


ASIKNI I. A river flowing through the Punjab in India. This is called Candrabhaga and also Cinab (Cina). The Rgveda also mentions about this. (M.B., Bhisma Parva).


ASIKNI II. A wife of Daksa. Daksaprajapati, son of Brahma, commenced creation with his own mind. When he found that it was not conducive to the propagation of the species he pondered over the subject once more and decided to effect it by the sexual union of the male and the female. He, therefore, married Asikni daughter of Viranaprajapati. There is a version in the seventh Skandha of Devi Bhagavata that Virani was born of the left thumb of Brahma.* Then the virile Daksaprajapati begot by Asikni five thousand Haryasvas with a view to propagating his species and the Harya~vas also evinced great desire to increase their number. Knowing this devarsi Narada of enchanting words approached them and said "Oh, Haryasvas, I understand you, energetic young men, are going to continue creation. Phew ! You are children who have not cared to understand the ins and outs or ups and downs of this earth and then how do you think you can create people ? You are all endowed with the power to move about on all sides without any obstruction and you are only fools if you do not attempt so find out the limits of this earth". Hearing this they started on a tour to different sides of the earth to find out its boundaries. Just like worms fallen into the ocean the Haryasvas have never returned so far.


When he found that the Haryasvas were lost the mighty Daksa begot in the daughter of Virarii a thousand sons called SabalMvas. They were also desirous of propagation but were also persuaded by the words of Narada to follow the footsteps of their elder brothers. They discussed it among themselves and said "The words of the Maharsi are right. We must also follow the course taken by our brothers. It is wise to commence creation after


'"It was Mahavisnu who gave Dakga his wife, Asikni, when Daksa was doing penance in Vindhya. (Santa Skandha, Bhagavata).

knowing the size of the earth." They also went to different sides and never returned just like rivers falling into the ocean. The loss of the Sabalasvas infuriated Daksa and he cursed Narada.


Again to commence creation Daksa got of Asikni sixty girls. Of these ten he gave to Dharmadeva, thirteen to Kasyapa, twentyseven to Soma and four to Aristanemi. Two were given to Bahuputra, two to Afigiras and two to the scholar Krsasva. Dharmadeva's wives were Arundhati, Vasu, Yami, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvat!, Safikalpa, Muhurta, Sadhya and Visva. Of ViSvd were born Visvedevas. Sadhya delivered the Sadhyas, Marutva, the Marutvans and Vasu, Vasus. Bhanus were born of Blianu. From Muhurta came Muhurtabhimanis and from Lamba, Ghosa and from Yam!, Nagavithi. (Chapter 15, Anusasana Parva, 1; Visriu Purana and Skandha 6, Bhagavata).


ASIKRSNA. Son of Asvamedhas, a King of the Lunar dynasty. (Bhagavata, 9th Skandha).