Essence of Brahmanda Purana


Essence Of
Brahmanda Purana


12    Highlights of Kashyapa Vamsha: display of Virtue and Evil as signified by his Wives

One of the the most illustrious examples of Bhagavan’s Creation was Kashyapa Muni the worthy son of Maharshi Marichi the Brahma Manasa Putra or the brain-born child of Brahma. As Daksha Prajapati and Prasuti gave birth to sixty daughters, ten were married to Dharma viz. Arundhati, Vasu, Lamba, Bhanu,  Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Sadhya and Vishwa. Sadhya begot Twelve Sadhyas called Jaya Devas who were considered as good as Devas. They were actually reckoned in the context of Yagnas called Darsha, Pournamasa, Brigati, Rathanta, Maah, Vithi, Vivithi, Akuti, Kuti, Vigjnatra and Vigjntata. To Dharma were also born to Vasu the ‘Ashtavasus’ viz. Dhara, Dhruva, Soma, Ayu, Anala, Anila, Pratyusha and Prabhasa;  Marutvati gavs birth to Maruts; Muhurta was born to Muhurta; Sankalpa was born to Sankalpa, Vishwey Devaas to Vishwa and so on. Besides Dharma, Daksha Prajapati also married off twenty seven to Chandra, one to Shiva and thirteen to Kashyapa.   

Kashyapa was wedded to the famed mothers of Lokas viz. Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kaashtha, Arishta, Anayuvu, Khasa, Surabhi, Vinata, Taamra, Muni, Krodhavasa, and Kadru. His sons were the Dwadashadityaas viz. Dhata, Aryama, Mitra, Varuna , Amsha, Bhaga, Indra, Vivaswanta, Pusha, Parjanya, Twashta, and Vishnu. From Surabhi, Kashyapa was blessed with Ekadasha Rudraas viz.Angaraka, Sarpa, Niruti, Sadasaspati, Ajaikapaada, Ahirbhudnya, Jwara, Buvana , Ishwara, Mrityu and Kapali. From Surabhi, there were two daughters, viz. Rohini and Gandharvi; Rohini begot four daughters named Surupa, Hamsakali, Bhadra and Kamadu: Kamadu gave birth to Cows, Hamsakali begot Mahishaas; and Gandharvi begot Ashvas or horses; Surabhi also begot a Vrishabha/ Bull which was secured as ‘ Shiva Vahana’.

From Aditi, Kashyapa Muni begot Indra and Devatas. Diti gave birth to Hiranya kashipu  as Kashyapa concluded the ‘Ati Raatra’ of the just finished Ashvamewdha Yagna; the new born was the younger brother of Hiranyaaksha. Their younger sister was Simhika the wife of Viprachit and their son was Rahu. Hiranya Kashipu performed unusual Tapasya for hundred years and secured a significant boon from Brahma that the entire Universe should be subservient to him, that he would be the highest authortity to administer one and all, Deva-Danava-Asuras must be under his control, that all the Beings in the Worlds should eat only after him, that he should not be killed by a wet or dried up weapon neither in day time nor the night. Brahma was taken aback by these demands yet granted the boon. Eversince he secured the boons, the Daitya occupied the body, thought and Soul of everything in the Creation just as Narayana would and controlled all the Lokas; he threw out Indra and Devatas from Swarga, controlled the movements of Planets, Dikpalakas and Daitya-Danavadi Beings alike to this extent that whichever direction would be viewed by him should be prostrated by every one and all including Maharshis and all the Human Beings should consider him as Bhagavan! As the dominance of the evil deeds became climactic, Bhagavan Vishnu assumed a Form of neither a man nor a lion called Narasimha and tore off the body of the Daitya with his sharp nails which were neither wet nor dry, and the time of the killing the Evil was neither day time nor night but the perfect ‘Sandhya’. Hiranyakashipu’s sons were Prahlada, Anuhrada, Samhrada and Hrada. Hiranayaksha was also terminated earlier as he sought to sink Bhumi Devi down to Rasatala by Vishnu assuming the incarnation of Varaha Deva and the progeny of Hiranyaaksha were five mighty sons especially Surasantapana who was invincible against Devas and fought along with Tarakasura who was decimated  by Skanda Deva at a later date. Daitya called Mooka of Hlada’s lineage and son of Sunda was killed in Maha Deva’s fight with Arjuna as the latter assumed the Swarupa of a Hunter of Animals. Sunda’s son as Maricha the son of Taataka who took the form of a Golden Deer to entice Devi Sita and was killed by Shri Rama of the Great Epic of Ramayana. The Grand son of Prahlada viz. Bali who  too became invincible was subdued by Vamana Deva and suppressed into Rasatala as Baleyas.

Marud Ganas: Since there were such continuous deaths of her family lineage, Diti was terribly upset as all the gallant heros of Daityas were destroyed succsessively despite the valiant acts of their intrepidity and resoluteness; she entreated Kashyapa Muni to bestow a boon to her that she must give birth to a son who could kill Indra. Kashyapa Muni too felt that the progeny of Aditi were getting too powerful enjoying Swarga while the progeny of Diti were continuously rotting in the Sub-terrain Lokas despite the fact that they were courageous and highly enterprising. Thus the Muni directed Diti to follow celibacy and fasting with concentrated Tapasya for thousand years and and worship the Supreme whereafter she should observe a ‘Vrata’. Diti sought Shukraachaarya’s direction to observe the Vrata. As Diti conceived eventually, Indra some how got the awareness of what was happening and  approached Diti with feigned feelings of affection to his mother’s own sister and made her agree to supply flowers and other materials for the Vrata and stayed with her day and night to protect her from Evil Spirits. As Diti fell asleep almost unconciously when Sun was at peak on the Sky, Indra then entered her Garbha with his ‘Vajraayudha’, saw the fully grown up boy inside and even as the child cried, Indra cajoled him saying Maaroda maaroda  (don’t cry, don’t cry) and sliced the child into seven parts and further cut the seven parts to total up to forty nine sub-parts; the fully awaken Diti Devi pleaded mercy and cried louldly saying: na hantavyah, na hantavyah! ( not to be killed, not to be killed!). Meanwhile Indra   jumped out and sought her pardon for the imprudence that he committed! The terribly distressed Diti was taken aback and got bewildered for a while and having recovered her senses said that Indra need not be afraid of her anger as she would reconcile to what had happened since after all his action was not unjustified as his position would have been at stake of the child was really born.

Having said that most magnanimously she blessed each part of the killed boy as follows:

Bhavantu mama Putraanaam Sapta Sthaanaani vai Divi,

Vaataskandhaanimaansapta charantu mama Putrakaah/

(May my sons be borne by Vayu into seven eternal places of glory and be blessed as Marut Devas with unprecedented splendour and reputation at seven parts of the Universe!)

Diti declared further:  Let the first sphere be on Earth, the second in Surya Mandala, the third in Chandra Mandala, the fourth on the Sky at the Jyotisha Mandala, the fifth among the Graha Mandala or the Planetary System, the sixth in the  Saptarishi Mandala and the seventh in Dhruva Loka. May my sons move about freely in all the Seven Places with magnificence and pride. Diti further blessed and ordained that the first batch of  Marud Ganaas or the first ‘Vaata Skantha’ or Air Pocket be called ‘Avaha’in the vicinity of Bhumi; the second batch of the Vayu Skandha would be reputed as ‘Prahava’ beyond the clouds upto the Solar Region; the third and fourth batch of Marud Ganaas moving in the Lunar Mandala and underneath the Star Constellations, the Vayu Skandha would be fabled as ‘Samvaha’; the fifth bunch of Marud ganaas reaching upto Planets would be distinguished as ‘Vivahava’; let the sixth in the series climbing upto Saptarshi Mandala be popularised as ‘Anuvaha’ and the final hike nearby Dhruva Mandala be glorigied as ‘Parivaha’. Oh Shakra! Let it be known all over the Universe that the names of my children on the basis of the deeds entrusted to each of the Ganas are: Shukra jyoti, Satya, Satya Jyoti, Chitra Jyoti, Jyotishmaan, Sutava, Chaitya; the second Gana would comprise Rutajit, Satyajit,Sushena,Sevajit, Sutamitra, Amitra, and Suramitra; the names of the third Ganaas would be Dhatu, Dhanada, Ugra, Bhima,Varuna, Abhiyuktaaksha, and Saahvya. The fifth Gana would have the names of Druk, Anadruk,  Sirat, Druma, Vrikshaka, Mita, and Samita.The Shasthagana would have the names of  Iruk, Purusha, Naanaadruk, Samachetana, Sammita, Samavrit and Prati harta. (Incidentally, Brahmanda Purana did not mention the other names). Indra assured that whatever Diti had stated would indeed be firmed up and that all the Forty Marud Ganaas would be share holders of Yagna bhaagas or the Authorised Consumers of the Sacrficial Offerings. They would also be his own brothers and the Co-Devataas!

Danavas: The children of Danu were of unimaginable strength and grit with huge tolerance power for determination. Viprachit was the leader. Their capacity to preform Tapasya was colossal and their record for securing boons was enormous. They were cruel, self-centered, evil-minded, quick to act and mastered the art of deception and trickery. At the same time, they read Scriptures to learn about Maya and were engaged in Agni homas apparently for wrong reasons. Shambara, Dundhubhi, Maya, Indrajit, Taraka, Jambha, Sarabha, Naraka, Pralamba and so on were some of the most revenguful and evil minded Danavas. Another wife of Viprachit viz. Simhika gave birth to Saimhikeyaas who were worse than Danavas and the most cruel and confirmed  killers of Brahmanas and Sages. Rahu was the eldest son of Simhika. The most notorious among them included Vatapi, Kalanabha, Ilvala, Bhouma, Namuchi and so on. It was stated that Parashurama buchered as many as ten thousand Saimhikeya Ganas. The famed King Yayati wedded Sharmishtha who was the daughter of Vrishaparva Danava and Sharmishta gave birth to the glorious King Puru. The Danavas named Poulema and Kaleya subdued Devas but eventually Arjuna of Pandavas killled them. Mayasura and Apsara Rambha gave birth to five sons and a daughter Mandodari the wife of Ravanasura. Several Danavas were by birth the instinct of being the destroyers of Yajnas, Sraddhas, Brahmanas, children and cows.

Gandharvas and Apsaras: Both Gandharvas and Apsaras were the progeny of Sages. Gandharvas were Bhimasena, Ugrasena, Suparna, Varuna, Dhritarastra, Gomanta, Suryavarchasa, Patravanta, Arkaparna, Prayuta, Bhima, Chaitraratha, Vikhyata, Sarvajit, Trayodasha, Shaalishira, Parjanya, Kali and Narada. Their younger sisters were Aruna, Anapaya, Vimanushya, Varambara, Mishrakeshi, Asiparnini, Alumbusha, Maarichi, Shuchila, Vidyutparna, Tilottama, Adrika, Lakshmana, Kshema, Divya, Rambha, Manobhava, Asita, Subahu, Supriya, Subhyuja, Pundarika, Ajagantha, Sudati, and Sutapa.Their brothers also include Haha, Huhu, Subahu and Tumbura. Additionally , there are ‘Bhulokaapraras’ too like Hamsa, Jyotishtama, Aachaara, Daaruna, Varudha, Varenya, Suruchi and Vishyavasu.Other Aprasaras were Menaka, Sahajanya, Parnini, Punjikasthala, Kritasthala, Ghritachi, Vishwachi, Purvachitti and Pramlocha. Urvashi was the daughter of Narayana.

Nagaas: Devi Kadru another wife of Kashyapa Muni was the mother of Serpents, the most well known of them being Sesha, Vaasuki and Takshaka. Other serpents of significance included Akarna, Hastikarna, Pinjara, Aryaka, Iravata, Mahapadma, Kambala, Ashwatara, Elapatra, Shankha, Karkotaka, Dhananjaya, Mahakarna, Maha Nila, Dhitarashtra, Balahaki,  Pushpadamshtra, Sumukha, Durmukha, Sunaamukha, Dadhimukha, Kaliya, Ambarisha, Akrura, Nahusha and so on. They were all capable of flying. Some of these had obnoxious features with long tongues, crooked damshtras, huge noses, elongated mouths, multihooded, blood eyed, twisted, very lengthy, broad faced,  of various colours and body designs, vengeful and highly poisonous.

Rakshasas: Khasa was another wife of Kashyapa and they had two sons, one born at dusk time and another at the dawn time. The elder had four hands and four legs. His entire body was full  of high hair growth and his limbs were disproportionate. His younger was born with three heads, three hands and three legs. Both were ferocious and grotesque with eight teethed damshtras. The younger child shouted out of hunger and said that he desired to eat up his mother. The elder son prevented his mother being eaten her up and Kasyapa Muni scenting the risk appeared at once on the spot. He named them as Rakshasaas’ and blessed them with the boon that their touch of any thing would turn fleshy and full of blood, that in the day time they might be weak and inactive but as the dusk time  they would become gradually mighty and change their bodies to those of  any species at their wish; that they could disappear as they please too; and that their food would mainly comprise the flesh of Devas, Brahmanas, human beings, animals, birds and so on. Thus fortified with the boons, Rakshasas ruled across  the Worlds in the  nights.   

The progeny of Kashyapa thus represented the high-points of Virtue and Evil as though the Worlds were on balance. Kashyapa’s wives truly characterised the facets of  the Positive and Negative Forces as reflected in their offspring and their descendants:

 Aditirdharmashila tu Balasheelaa Ditistathaa,

Tapahsheelaa tu Surabhirmaayaasheela Danustathaa/

Gandha –sheelaa Munischaiva Krodhaadhyayana shaalini/

Geetasheelahyarishtaa tu Krura sheelaa Khashaa smrutaa,

Krodhasheelaa tathaa Kadruh Krodhaacha Shuchi shaalini/

Vaahasheelaa tu Vinataa Taamraa vai ghatashalini,

Iraanagraha sheela tu hyanaayur bhakshaney rataa/

Matrustulyaabhijaatascha Kashyapaatmajaa Prabho!

(Devi Aditi  is a natural epitome of Virtue; Diti is a sign of Might and Valour; Surabhi is a Tapaswini and the mother of cows and buffalos; Danu is a Mayavati and the mother of Daanavas; Muni is a Gandha Shila; Krodha is Adhyana Sheela; Arishta is a Geeta sheela or has an aptitude for music; Khasa is a symbol of cruelty and wickedness; Kadru is the representation of anger and revenge; Krodha is a natural icon of Purity; Vinata is prone to Vahanas and thus the mother of the illustrious Garuda Deva the Vehicle of Vishnu Bhagavan and Aruna Deva the Charioteer of Surya Deva; Tamra Devi is a byword of Evil and immorality and the mother of Raakshasas; Ira is the emblem of kindness and morality; and Anayu stands for pleasure and enjoyment. These are the natural characteristics of the wives of Kashyapa Muni as truly reflected in their offspring too.)

 Indeed, Kashyapa Vamsha stood for Dharma, Kshama, Buddhi, Satpravartana and Competence on one side and Adharma, Jealousy, Ignorance, Misbehavior, Viciousness, Cruelty, and utter depravity on the other! It produced Devas, Danavas, Rakshsaas, Yakshas, Piscachaas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Sarpas, Pashu-Mriga-Pakshi-Vriksa-Lataas. Indeed all these features are amply manifested among Manavas and are deeply immersed in the whirlpool of Samsara- at times displaying virtue and at other times demonstrating viciousness as they are always targetted with the grand mix of the Satvika-Raajasica and Tamasika Gunas; they are ostensibly motivated by the Chaturvidha Purusharthaas of Dharma-Artha-Kaama-Moksha!

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