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Amrita - The Apple of Eris
by Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya Bookmark and Share
 

Image (c) Gettyimages.com

(This is the first of the Introductions to the Mahabharata Katha Series of Padma Shri Professor P.Lal published by Writers Workshop, Kolkata. Pages 120-178, Sections 15-34 of The Complete Adi Parva)

The Astika sub-parva in the first of the Mahabharata’s eighteen books has Vyasa at his best as the weaver of tales: stories spring from within one another in delightful succession until the parva becomes a veritable Chinese box of unending surprises. Vyasa keeps himself completely in the background, using Sauti the raconteur to weave the magic web spellbinding his audience. In some 48 shlokas, while reeling off the story of the wandering ascetic Jaratkaru, the birth of Astika and his ending the snake-sacrifice, he deftly slips in a reference (shloka 1, section 15) to the snakes being cursed by their mother to be consumed in Janamejaya’s sacrifice. Shaunaka confesses that his appetite has been whetted (shloka 1, section 16). By now, he has understood that the easiest way to cut short the suspense and have the storyteller satisfy his curiosity is some blandishment. And Prof. Lal's rendering beautifully conveys the nuances of the gentle wheedling (shlokas 2-3, section 16). Thereby, Shaunaka wipes out whatever slight Sauti suffered when, at their first encounter, he had voiced implicitly some doubts about his mastery of the Puranas compared to his father (Pauloma parva 5.1-2). After all, what could move a raconteur more than an appeal that praised his delivery and equated him with his father, the famous Lomaharshana, he who made the very hairs of the body stand on end with delight! 

Thus motivated, Sauti narrates the birth of Garuda and his snake-brothers in just twenty shlokas and proceeds to the wager between Vinata and Kadru over the divine horse Uchchhaishravas, “born from the ocean churned for amrita”. Here is yet another irresistible bait dangled before Shaunaka, but slipped in with such artful artlessness that the reader passes it by till he is brought up short by Shaunaka’s abrupt and inevitable interruption (shloka 4, section 17) to know more. Sauti responds with a long and brilliant account of this pivotal episode of Indian mythology, going on to concentrate exclusively on the story of Garuda with only two digressions: the wrath of the Sun-god and the story of Vibhavasu and Supratika. Incidentally, we also get to know why snakes have forked tongues. Garuda is the only hero who can shrug off Indra’s infallible vajra, consider himself the equal of Vishnu and gain immortality free from old age and disease without partaking of the ambrosia he is carrying. Amritamanthana, Garuda-Naga strife and the bringing-of-nectar are recurring motifs in the Puranas and the epics, with parallels in the Vedas which the Mahabharata claims to paraphrase.

Sauti’s narrative interweaves, characteristically, AmritamanthanaDevasura war and Garuda’s story (sections 15-34). Sauti begins with the birth of the Nagas and of Aruna and Garuda, whose internecine strife is pre¬figured in the rivalry between their mothers, Kadru and Vinata. Offered a boon each by their husband Kashyapa, the progenitor of all living beings, their choice parallels the Gandhari-Kunti episode much later. Vinata, out of impatience and jealousy (like Gandhari), breaks one of her own eggs to find a half-formed child who curses her to be a slave and rises to the sky to become the charioteer of the sun. Like the children of Kadru and Vinata, the Pandavas and the Kauravas are born enemies.

Section 17 shows us how skilfully Sauti whets the curiosity of his audience. He could have stopped short after mentioning that Kadru and Vinata saw Uchchhaishravas, the celestial horse, and decided on a wager. But he prefers deliberately to draw attention to the steed by devoting two shlokas to it, mentioning that it was “born from the ocean churned for amrita”. Naturally, we find Shaunaka promptly rising to the bait and wanting to know why this happened (17.4).

Thus, we are brought to Amritamanthana, with Sauti immediately panning away from the Garuda story to a breathtaking view of Meru (17.5). This is a deliberate device to take the narrative on to a completely different and much higher plane, far above such matters as Jaratkaru’s sorrowing manes hanging upside-down from grass ropes and ladies concerned over the delayed hatching of eggs they have laid. The narration is taken outside mundane time and place. For, it is on Mount Meru, which “mind cannot conceive of”, that the gods meet in search of Amrita (17.9-10). In shloka 11 Narayana specifically describes the ocean as kalasah, i.e. “jar of curd”, a very important clue to understanding this myth in Vedic terms: here is Vyasa’s popularised version of the Vedic mystery of Soma-extraction. 1

Strangely enough, Shaunaka never asks Sauti the obvious question: why were the gods confabulating so anxiously about obtaining Amrita? It is in the Vishnu Puranathat we find the reason. The sage Durvasa had presented Indra a divinely scented garland that he placed on the head of his elephant, Airavata. The rutting elephant threw down the garland and trampled on it. The incensed sage cursed Indra with loss of prosperity. Thereupon, the gods sought Vishnu’s advice and he counselled them to churn the milky ocean to recover Lakshmi.

The order in which the ocean throws up various products and their number differs from Purana to Purana and from epic to epic. There is also a difference concerning the base on which Mount Mandara pivots.2 The entire account can be interpreted as a mythological analogue of the basic Creation Myth where creation is said to begin with a lotus-stem (Mandara mountain) growing out of Vishnu’s navel as he lies immersed in yogic quiescence on Shesha (the remainder)/Ananta (the limitless) floating on the waters of dissolution. Tortoise (Kashyapa, the father of all living things), serpent and mountain are closely linked in the creative process. The serpent, particularly, is known as a bringer of rain (shlokas 16-17) and as a fertility symbol, much as in Egyptian and Middle Eastern mythology. 

It is curious that the gods alone drink the milky waters mixed with resins and gold (shloka 27) and thereby become immortal much before Amrita is churned out. TheAsuras apparently looked on without following suit, possibly befuddled with the noxious vapours emitted from the mouth of Vasuki which they were clutching. Further, despite this immortality, the Devas (and not the Asuras, the powerful ones) get exhausted and plead with Brahma to intercede with Narayana. Brahma obliges and Vishnu infuses them with strength. The ten ‘gems’ now rise from the ocean.

The curious fact is that the churning continues even after Dhanvantari has appeared with the Amrita, which was the goal of the operation, until kalakuta, poison, emerges (shlokas 42-43). Suddenly, Shiva enters and saves creation by drinking the poison at Brahma’s request, holding it in his throat, which turns blue. It is significant that Vishnu the preserver is not the rescuer here but Maheshvara, the Great God, author of the tandava nritya heralding universal dissolution, who appropriately harnesses the destructive forces. In the Ramayana, it is the first product of the churning. The appearance of poison is another aspect of the symbol that requires the churning to be carried out jointly by the gods and the anti-gods. The Devassattvika-rajasika in nature, require the help of the tamasika-rajasika Asuras for churning out the secret of life from the waters of creation. It is this indispensable coming together of opposites which is again symbolised in the poison appearing after or before the Amrita. Here is the force of destruction that is as necessary for evolution as the elixir of immortality, because without change (destruction) no evolution can take place. This is beautifully fused into a single composite symbol in the figure of the great deity Maheshvara, who is at once Shiva the benevolent and Rudra the destroyer.

We now come to a unique episode: Vishnu, assumes the form of a bewitching woman, Mohini, to entrance the anti-gods into placing the Amrita in her hands. The titans successfully seized the nectar shouting “Ours” (shloka 40) the moment it arose from the ocean. There is some confusion in the way the shlokas are arranged at this point. Shloka 45 has the Asuras full of despair on seeing Shiva’s feat and most of the churned-out products going to the Suras. Thereupon, they fight with the gods for Lakshmi and Amrita. Yet, shloka 46 has the titans voluntarily handing over the Amritato Mohini. Again, the next shloka, which starts off section 19, describes the titans attacking the gods in full armour, while shlokas 2-3 have the gods drinking Amritafrom Vishnu’s hands. 

To resolve this, the Bhandarkar edition omits shloka 45—along with shlokas 41-44 relating to Airavata, poison and Shiva—and brings us straight from the appearance ofAmrita to the Mohini-murti. But this does not explain why the Asuras should suddenly attack the gods in the very next shloka (19.1). From the point of view of the narrative, inclusion of a shloka available in the Bengal recension, with which section 18 ends, smoothens the transition. It runs:

“Then this maya-manifestation of Narayana took the receptacle brimful with Amritaand made the Daityas and Danavas sit in a queue with the Devas; but she gaveAmrita only to the Devas to drink, which infuriated the Daityas.” 

Now shloka1 of the next section comes as a natural corollary, as the Asuras rush towards the gods with uplifted weapons.

The second shloka of section 19 cryptically mentions Nara, with whose help Vishnu succeeds in depriving the Asuras of Amrita which the gods drink quickly in the prevailing confusion. This is the first reference to the Nara-Narayana combination that is represented later in the invincible Krishna-Arjuna pair. The Puranas do not give any account of their origin except that they are born of Dharma and Ahimsa and term the pair rishis, seers. They not always synonymous with Vishnu. Of them, Narayana is usually the centre of action. In the early Vamana Purana he produces the loveliest ofApsaras Urvashi from his thigh by rubbing a flower on it, to display his prowess to the nymphs sent by Indra to tempt him. According to the late Kalika Purana, the two were born when Shiva in his Sharabha form split apart Narasimha, Nara being born from the human part and Narayana from the lion portion. We also come across Narada’s account of his meeting these mighty rishis at Badarika hermitage in the course of his peregrinations, when they show him how to meet the Supreme Purusha at Shvetadvipa, (Shanti parva, sections 343-6).

The Mohini-murti episode, occupying just two shlokas in the Mahabharata, has been elaborated by Kashiram Das in his Bengali re-telling of the epic into one of the most amusing and meaningful incidents of this kavya. All beholders fall unconscious on seeing the incompar able beauty. Shiva, regaining consciousness, runs after her with outstretched arms, begging for an embrace. She rejects his advances with a meticulous description of his old age, filthy, stinking body and laughs at his lack of self-control. Shiva threatens suicide and promises to leave family, fruits of penance, everything for her sake. After this abject surrender, Mohini embraces him and theArdhanarishvara (hermaphrodite) manifestation results. It is a lovely myth depicting the union of Purusha and Prakriti (for Yogamaya resides within Vishnu). In another myth, Hanuman is a product of this union.

Before the Devasura war breaks out, there is the Rahu incident, another mini-myth, serving to explain the eclipses of the sun and the moon. With the slaying of Rahu, Vishnu abandons his Mohini disguise and slaughters the titans en masse. He is identified with the god Narayana in shloka 20 and we find Nara using the divine bow, seeing which Vishnu summons the discus Sudarshana, paralleling Krishna with his discus and Arjuna with Gandiva. Finally, the routed Asuras flee into the nether regions and Amrita is handed over to ‘the diamed god’ (Indra) for safe keeping, whence we will find Garuda spiriting it away. 

There is a reference to Indra as the ‘slayer of Vala’ in this last shloka, an allusion to the Vedic myth of Indra destroying Vala to release the pent-up waters of creation or the herds of light. The epithet takes us back to the Rig Veda 1.33 where we have the battle of Indra and his human allies against the Dasyus. The parallels are too close to be accidental. There we have Indra searching out the fleeing Dasyus and striking off their heads, casting them out of heaven and earth, cleaving the mountains with hisvajra to release the celestial waters. Here it is Nara who shatters the mountains flung by the titans with gold-tipped arrows. Just as the Dasyus were unable to escape Indra because he had set the Sun’s rays to spy them out, so Narayana’s resplendent discus (an obvious sun-image) annihilates the titans, driving some into the bowels of the earth and others into the depths of the salt sea. The allusion to the Danavas fleeing to the salt sea is not a poetic commonplace. It recurs in the Vana parva section 105, where Agastya is approached by the gods to drink the ocean dry in order to expose the Kalakeya Asuras

Section 20 of the Astika sub-parva abruptly brings us back to Shaunaka’s query in section 15, shloka 4, about Amritamanthana and the birth of the celestial horse. From the empyrean heights, Sauti zooms down to two wives laying a wager over the colour of this horse. The etymology of Kadru is uncertain, but the prefix has a pejorative meaning and indicates that she was deformed in some manner. According to the Suparnadhyaya she is blind in one eye (III-5-4) having lost it from the smoke of offerings (1-2-2). It is therefore natural for her to resort to deceit in order to win a wager depending on sharpness of eyesight and equally inevitable on part of Vinata to be so confident of her better eyes as to suggest a bet, confident that she will win. Just as the Dhartarashtras deprive the Pandavas of their birthright through deceit, degrading them to slaves and finally forcing them into exile, similarly Kadru and her snake-sons trick Vinata and Garuda into slavery. Again, like Garuda, it is the Pandavas who achieve victory finally: the biter is bit. The minute details that Vyasa provides to characterise his characters deserve attention. Kadru, for instance, is characterised as “swift” (23.1) and speed is her basic feature:she wants a quick reply to her query about the colour of the horse (20.2) and with Durvasa-like impatience curses her own children. 

Garuda’s mother is named Suparni in the Suparnadhyaya and is identified with the Heaven (Dyauh) while Kadru is the Earth, and they are said to compete over their looks. The Taittiriya Samhita (VI-1-6-1) states that Kadru defeated Suparni in the contest and bade her bring Soma from the third heaven as the price of her freedom. This passage specifically identi fies the one with Earth, the other with the heavens and the metres (chhanda) with sauparneyas (children of Suparni). The two older offspring, Jagati and Trishtubh metres, fail; but the youngest, Gayatri, successfully brings the Soma taking “two pressings in her feet and one in the beak,” just as Garuda carries the tortoise and the elephant in his claws and the tree-branch in his beak.

Kadru, in order to win the wager and avoid becoming Vinata’s slave, commands her snake progeny to cover the horse’s tail so that it appears black. Those who refuse to be a party to the deceit are cursed by Kadru to be burnt alive in Janamejaya’s yajna. Thus, the narrative once again skilfully links up with the beginnings of the epic recital. However, Kadru’s curse becomes effective only when Brahma, noticing the vast numbers of the snakes and desiring the welfare of other creatures, concurs. Again, when Indra offers to grant Garuda a boon and he asks that the snakes should become his food, it has to be sanctioned by Vishnu (34.11-15). This is quite extraordinary, because nowhere else in the epics or Puranas do we come across such soliciting for ratification by higher authorities. Possibly, the fate of the snakes was of paramount concern to the trinity since two of them, Shiva and Vishnu, are intimately linked with them. We find a confir mation of this in the Udyoga parva, sections 103-105, where Vishnu intervenes to save the Naga prince Sumukha from Garuda, drastically humiliating him when he rebels. 

Garuda is born (“without any help from his mother”—a sarcastic dig at Vinata, recalling her disastrous ‘helping out’ of Aruna) and immediately identified with Agni because of his dazzling splendour. In the paean of praise (23.16-28) that follows, the identification with Agni is extended to include the Sun, and we get the familiar image-structure common to most mythology: Sun-Fire-Eagle-Cloud-Serpent. Garuda, made to carry the snakes on his back, rises towards the sun scorching them, whereupon Indra sends clouds and rain, at Kadru’s prayer, to save the Nagas (Naga is a synonym for clouds as well). Later, he protects Takshaka during the Khandava conflagration and the snake-holocaust. There are fascinating parallels with Kukulkan, the Mayan Demiurge (a winged-serpent), the Assyrian Asshur (a winged solar disc), and the Aztec war-god Huitzilopochtli with an eagle’s beak and a tattoo of two eagles destroying a serpent on his chest.

Section 26 again has an enthusiastic description of a storm at sea. It is clear that the poet who composed sections 20-26 in particular stands apart in his love for the ocean in its more rough moods. Nowhere else in the epics do we come across such lovingly detailed descriptions of the movement of the waters in the sea, not even in theRamayana where the sea is being bridged. Sauti now dangles the bait once more, making the bare statement that Garuda took Aruna on his back and flew with him to the east, depositing him there “for the Sun had determined to burn the worlds with his fierce rays.??

The inevitable query follows, but this time it gives us a terrific jolt, for the questioner is not Shaunaka but Ruru. What has happened? It is the narrator’s shrewd technique to wake up drowsy listeners, or those whose attention has been wandering. We have to go right back to the end of section 12 where the entire story of Astika is enquired of Pramati by his son Ruru, which Sauti is retelling. The myth related now is directly linked to the Amritamanthana episode of Rahu’s beheading at the instance of Surya.

Sections 27-30 build up Garuda, concentrating on appeasing his hunger. Vinata designates the Nishadas, fisher-folk, as Garuda’s food, giving no reason for the peculiar decision. The Skanda Purana (IV.50.64-65) provides one reason: they are cruel people who sustain themselves on others’ lives. The Padma Purana (V.44.69) urges Garuda to eat them because they pollute the sacred waters. TheSuparnadhyaya (VIII.16.2-3) explains that the Nishadas are a divided nation who do not follow the Vedas, nor perform sacrifices or offer pure food to the gods. It is significant that a Brahmin dwells among them with a Nishada wife, because, according to the Manu and Yajnavalkya Samhitas (X.8 and I.91), a Nishada is counted among the sons born of a Shudra woman and a Brahmin. In the Padma Purana we find a little more detail about the Brahmin: he refuses to come out of Garuda’s mouth unless his in-laws and his intimate friends are also allowed to escape. Kashyapa, to whom Garuda turns in distress, allows this. The destruction of the Nishadas is also a motif that recurs later in the Adi parva. Satyavati is a fisher-girl who founds a Nishada dynasty through her son Vyasa, forcing the royal daughters-in-law of Hastinapura to accept impregnation by him. Soon, however, her granddaughter-in-law Kunti supplants this by her own dynasty through Arjuna. In the process, she drugs and burns alive a Nishadi and her five sons in the house-of-lac at Varanavata. Her son Arjuna ensures that the unrivalled Nishada archer Ekalavya loses his incomparable skill by sacrificing his thumb to Drona in gruesome guru dakshina.

The sly humour of Vyasa’s delicious tongue-in-cheek Brahmin-baiting (28. 7,12) must not be lost sight of. Let us not forget that Vyasa’s Brahmin father had deserted his unwed mother after forcing himself on her, as Surya does later with adolescent Kunti.

Characteristically, Sauti slips in a new thread while holding Shaunaka spellbound with the epic rhythm of his recital. He uses Brihaspati, mentor of the gods, for introducing this new element: the birth of Garuda from the penance of the Valakhilyas, endowing him with invincibility and chameleon-potency, for chastising Indra. This story is repeated by Upamanyu to Krishna in the Anushasana parva (14. 91-92). The moment Sauti stops to take breath with shloka 52, Shaunaka eagerly interrupts with a veritable shower of queries with which section 31 begins. There is a close resemblance to the myth of Tvashta similarly creating Vritra to avenge the murder of his son Trishira by Indra (Udyoga parva, sections 9-10). The parallelism extends further when we find that Kashyapa persuades the sages to modify their intention in order to create a king of birds instead of gods. In the Vritra myth, it is a wrongly pronounced invocation that produces a creature to be killed by Indra instead of killing him. Tvashta, like Kashyapa, is also ‘Prajapati’. In the Padma Purana (Bhumi Khanda, section 23), Vritra is produced by Prajapati Kashyapa by plucking out a hair on hearing that Indra has slain his son Vala, born of Danu. In the Mahabharata, too, we find Vritra mentioned as one of the sons of Danu and Kashyapa (Sambhava parva, section 65.33). Thus, Garuda is a Vritra image, only this time a success ful one, since he does defeat Indra and is not killed by him thereafter, but a reconciliation is effected. Further, Indra gets back the Soma from Garuda, just as he liberates the celestial waters by slaying Vritra, albeit with Garuda’s permission.

Yet, again, Garuda is an Indra-image right from the incident of his birth as a second Indra, willed by the insulted Valakhilyas. Krishna, on whose flag Garuda features, is given the title “Upendra” (second Indra). In the Rig Veda (IV.26) Vamadeva takes the form of Shyena, also called Suparna, and gets Soma for Manu. This Shyena is described as a bird which foils the attempts of the guardians of Soma to snatch the nectar away, exactly as Garuda does. Further, seeing him escaping, the archer Krishanu shoots him and a feather falls (IV.27.3) which is a precise analogue of Indra hitting Garuda with the vajra, and Garuda honouring him by allowing a feather to fall. Both Garuda and Indra make the mountains tremble with their prowess. In theSuparnadhyaya Garuda is said to shatter nine times ninety fortresses of Indra to capture Soma, paralleling India’s destruction of Sambara’s forts of equal number (Rig Veda II.11; 14.6 and IV.26.3, where this is attributed to Vamadeva). Significantly, in one passage of Rig Veda (IV.30.3), the gods fight Indra presumably as he tries to seize Soma. This is again paralleled in the gods fighting Garuda for the same cause. According to Macdonell (Vedic Mythology p.151), the KathakaSamhita has Indra himself in eagle form capturing the Soma. In Teutonic myths we have Odin, the king of the gods, as an eagle. There are mythological parallels with theAvesta—where Verethraghna (the Vedic ‘Vritra-hana’, i.e. Indra) assuming the form of Varaghna, swiftest of birds, takes the Soma or mead to the gods—and with Zeus’ eagle bringing ambrosia. The deliberate parallel motifs in the Garuda account argue in favour of a careful attempt to incorporate a non-Vedic deity into the Puranik pantheon. This is further substantiated by the Suparnadhyaya (XV.30.5) where Garuda asks Indra that he may enter the Vedas, and the Brahmins meditate on him. 

The episode, then, becomes an integral part of the surprisingly large corpus of Nagamyth that occupies so important a place in the very beginning of the epic, without having any obvious link with the Pandava-Dhartarashtra story. A faint link is provided by Kunti’s maternal grandfather Aryaka being a Naga who rescues Bhima and her son Arjuna being resurrected by the Naga princess Ulupi after his son Babhruvahana has slain him. The Mahabharata bears the impression of powerful formative forces exercised both by the Bhrigu clan (of whom Shaunaka is the immediate audience) and the Nagas, in shaping the epic as we have it.

Having routed the gods, Garuda replicates another feat of Indra who destroyed nine times ninety fortresses of Dasyus. Seeing the Amrita ringed with fire, he drinks up river waters with “ninety times ninety mouths” (32.24) and quenches the flames. The next encounter is with a blazing, razor-sharp wheel—a clear sun-image. In the Rig Veda the sun and Agni are both spoken of as a bird named Garutmat and Suparna.The indication is of a solar myth, reinforced by the carrying of the Valakhilyas who reside in the sun’s chariot and the subsequent encounter with Vishnu, who is yet another solar symbol. Garuda himself recounts this encounter in the Anushasana parva, section 13.43-52. Vishnu, as usual, shrewdly manages to get the upper hand by asking Garuda to bear him, while keeping his own word by placing Garuda on his flagstaff so that he remains above the god in terms of the desired boon.

The next episode is the futile flinging of Indra’s thunderbolt, thus raising Garuda above Indra. Garuda says that he will honour the rishi from whose bones the vajrawas fashioned, to the weapon itself, and to Indra as god of hundred sacrifices and allows a feather to fall. It is the beauty of this feather that leads to his being named Suparna, the lovely-plumaged one. In section 113 of the Udyoga parva we find Garuda bereft of his wings because of Shandili’s curse, having mocked her penance, being granted even more beautiful plumage and called ‘Suparna’ by her on praying to be forgiven. 

Garuda is not the only creature to be granted immortality without hesitation. The parallel case of Hanuman comes to mind. The difference is that Garuda shrewdly asks for, and obtains, the boon that he should not grow old and should be free from disease too, thus avoiding a Tithonus-like shrivelling. Hanuman, however, does age, as we find in his encounter with Bhima in the Vana parva. 

We now find deceit countered by deceit. The snakes who had enslaved Garuda through false means are hoist with their own petard when, as they perform their ablutions, the Soma is spirited away by Indra with Garuda’s permission. In return, he grants Garuda the boon of feeding on the snakes. 

After shloka 16 there is an abrupt transition: Garuda is said to hurry to his mother, but in shloka 17 he is speaking to the snakes. Some account of the mother-son meeting after this unique feat would surely be natural. This is available in two shlokas in the Bengal recension that run as follows:

‘Humbly addressing his mother, Garuda said, “Faithful-vowed mother, I have brought this nectar from the abode of the gods. Tell me what I should do now.”

Vinata replied, “Son, I am pleased with your exploit. May you be immortal, ever youthful and beloved of the gods.”

The chicanery going hand in hand with Soma is a motif that occurs not only here but begins to appear from the very birth of Amrita when Vishnu tricks the Asuras into surrendering the nectar. There we have Rahu attempting a counter-deceit by slipping in amongst the gods while they drink the amrita and, like the Nagas, he is deprived of it when it is almost his. The gods, thereafter, rout the Asuras just as Garuda pounces on the snakes after obtaining Amrita. In the later myth of Kacha and Devayani the motif recurs in the form of sanjivani vidya (knowledge of resurrection) sought by the gods from Shukra, the Asura-preceptor. The Asuras seek to delude Devayani by repeatedly killing Kacha, but fail. He succeeds by winning the heart of Devayani but, having obtained the secret, he deludes her and returns to the gods who are now able to defeat the asuras.

Image (c) Gettyimages.com

20-Dec-2009
More by :  Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya
 
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