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Vishnu Purana – Fifth Kandha

Chapter 29

Slaughter of demon Naraka

1-12ŚAKRA, the lord of the three worlds, came mounted on his fierce elephant Airāvata to visit Śauri (Kṛṣṇa) at Dvārakā. Having entered the city, and been welcomed by Hari, he related to the hero the deeds of the demon Naraka. “By thee, Madhusūdana, lord of the gods,” said Indra, “in a mortal condition, all sufferings have been soothed. Aṛṣṭa, Dhenuka, Cāṇūra, Muṣṭika, Keśin, who sought to injure helpless man, have all been slain by thee. Kansa, Kuvalayāpīḍa, the child-destroying Putanā, have been killed by thee; and so have other oppressors of the world. By thy valour and wisdom the three worlds have been preserved, and the gods, obtaining their share of the sacrifices offered by the devout, enjoy satisfaction. But now hear the occasion on which I have come to thee, and which thou art able to remedy. The son of the earth[1], called Naraka, who rules over the city of Prāgjyotiṣa[2], inflicts a great injury upon all creatures. Carrying off the maidens of gods, saints, demons, and kings, he shuts them up in his own palace. He has taken away the umbrella of Varuṇa, impermeable to water, the jewel mountain crest of Mandara, and the celestial nectar-dropping earrings of my mother Aditī; and he now demands my elephant Airāvata. I have thus explained to you, Govinda, the tyranny of the Asura; you can best determine how it is to be prevented.”
13-15aHaving heard this account, the divine Hari gently smiled, and, rising from his throne, took Indra by the hand: then wishing for the eater of the serpents, Garuḍa immediately appeared; upon whom his master, having first seated Satyabhāmā upon his back, ascended, and flew to Prāgjyotiṣa. Indra mounted his elephant, and, in the sight of the inhabitants of Dvārakā, went to the abode of the gods.
15b-22The environs of Prāgjyotiṣa were defended by nooses, constructed by the demon Muru, the edges of which were as sharp as razors; but Hari, throwing his discus Sudarśana amongst them, cut them to pieces. Then Muni started up, but Keśava slew him, and burnt his seven thousand sons, like moths, with the flame of the edge of his discus. Having slain Mum, Hayagriva, and Pañcajana, the wise Hari rapidly reached the city of Prāgjyotiṣa: there a fierce conflict took place with the troops of Naraka, in which Govinda destroyed thousands of demons; and when Naraka came into the field, showering upon the deity all sorts of weapons, the wielder of the discus, and annihilator of the demon tribe, cut him in two with his celestial missile. Naraka being slain, Earth, bearing the two earrings of Aditī, approached the lord of the world, and said:
23-29“When, O lord, I was upheld by thee in the form of a boar, thy contact then engendered this my son. He whom thou gayest me has now been killed by thee: take therefore these two earrings, and cerish his progeny. Thou, lord, whose aspect is ever gracious, hast come to this sphere, in a portion of thyself, to lighten my burden. Thou art the eternal creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe; the origin of all worlds, and one with the universe: what praise can be worthily offered to thee? Thou art the pervader, and that which is pervaded; the act, the agent, and the effect; the universal spirit of all beings: what praise can be worthily offered to thee? Thou art the abstract soul, the sentient and the living soul of all beings, the imperishable: but since it is not possible to praise thee worthily, then why should the hopeless attempt proceed? Have compassion, O universal soul, and forgive the sins which Naraka has committed. Verily it is for the sanctification of thy son that he has been killed by thee.”
30The lord, who is the substance of all creatures, having replied to the earth, “Even so,” proceeded to redeem the various gems from the dwelling of Naraka.
31-35In the apartments of the women he found sixteen thousand and one hundred damsels[3]: he also beheld in the palace six thousand large elephants, each having four tusks; twenty-one lakhs of horses of Kāmboja and other excellent breeds: these Govinda dispatched to Dwarakā, in charge of the servants of Naraka. The umbrella of Varuṇa, the jewel mountain, which he also recovered, he placed upon Garuḍa; and mounting him himself, and taking Satyabhāmā with him, he set off to the heaven of the gods, to restore the earrings of Aditī[4].


[1] By Viṣṇu, as the Varāha Avatāra; but found and adopted by Janaka. Kālikā P.
[2] In the centre of the country of Kāmarūpa, inhabited by Kirātas; the site of the shrines of Devī, as Dikkaravāsinī and Kāmākhyā. Kālikā P.
[3] These were captive princesses, according to the Bhāgavata; Apsarasas, or celestial nymphs, according to the Kālikā P.; and these upon their rescue by Kṛṣṇa became his wives.
[4] The legend of Naraka is related in more detail in the Bhāgavata and Hari Vaṃśa, but is still more fully narrated in the Kālikā Upa-purāṇa. It may be considered as one of the various intimations that occur in the Purāṇas of hostilities between the worshippers of Viṣṇu and Śiva; Naraka being in an especial degree favoured by the latter.

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