A tale from Srimadbhagavata Mahapurana
Probable birth of sons of sage Kasyap caused uproar and panic among gods because they were aware of Kasyapa’s curse and its dangerous effects. Diti (sage’s wife) was equally worried since sage did not agree to neurotic thoughts and passions she nursed at the time of union, and never wanted to give birth to sons, who were destined to create horror and anarchism in the celestial world and therefore, kept sage’s seed in womb for many years. Nevertheless, curse proved true despite unwillingness of Diti. Brahma, the supreme Creator never annoyed devotees. If a devotee or a monk said anything out of love, compassion and anger, he expected Brahma to fulfill subtle designs. Assured of safety, all gods returned to heaven.
Diti was apprehensive about birth of sons and terrible exploits of sons in future and therefore, was nervous and scared of sufferings sons were to cause to gods of heaven. She faced a delicate situation. No one, not even Supreme Lord was strong enough to nullify impact of curse. However, a positive aspect in the lives of yet to be born sons raised hopes and encouraging certainty. She was happy that death of demons (daityas) was destined to materialize at the hands of Supreme Lord. Until then, she was prepared to face truths and realities with equanimity.
After one hundred years, Diti gave birth to twins in the hermitage of sage Kasyapa. Many portentous and fearsome events took place in the three worlds at the time of birth. Sage’s words proved correct as the earth, the sky and the heaven experienced colossal upheavals. Lethal calamities became certainties as predicted. Space between earth and heaven was disturbed and witnessed anarchic situations everywhere. Deaths, destruction, killings and calamities worried and tortured people without hope of peace. Living beings were fearful, the entire earth trembled, and the mountains, four directions seemed to be on fire. At many places, meteors, comets and thunderbolts instilled fears, created terrible noise, and nerve-shaking premonitions signaled painful times ahead.
Sage Kasyapa and pious Ditti failed to hide what was destined to happen. Diti knew that gods and goddesses would undergo immense and inevitable sufferings sans remedy. Failure to avert disastrous situation drove Ditti to feelings of guilt and sin. Intense passions disturbed Ditti and she sought sage’s love but never waited for an auspicious moment Kasyapa preferred, and therefore, shattering, heartrending and chaotic conditions visited gods and the three worlds.
None can avoid writ of Supreme lord people believe. He decides and fulfills dictates of truth. Gods and created beings obey she realized. Dreadful strong winds created fearful hissing sounds, fiendish strength uprooted trees and destroyed everything as if a huge army of strong winds and clouds of dust had attacked. Darkness, times of ironic laugh and forewarnings of evil times, infused terror. Horrifying times greeted birth of twins. Nothing appeared unruffled. Roaring waves of vast oceans howled and wailed around as grief and sorrow overpowered. Rivers and lakes were disturbed, and living beings of water residing in innards ran about in fright and panic.
Threatening signs cause uncertainty, conflict and violent situation
Misty nimbuses around the sun, the moon and various radiant heavenly objects appeared to eclipse planets and caused darkness. Sea cried in pain as living beings of water felt choked like deeply suffering men. An awful scenario distressed as foxes and owls howled, roared and instilled fears. At times, flames of raging fire emerged out of the mouths of foxes. Dogs wept, sang and danced and portents of evil times created upsetting firmness. Incidents unheard took place. Birds, animals and men lost moorings, behaved oddly and looked hideous.
Times were dangerous and doubtful. Birds flying out of nests told of awful life ahead as asses bayed and brayed scarily while cows and bulls urinated out of fears. Blood dripped out of udders of cows out of fear, and rain of pus and muck baffled everybody. Figurines of gods and goddesses wept and tears flowed incessantly. Ominous Mars and Saturn appeared terrifying, eager to defeat and render ineffective benign nature of Mercury and Jupiter, and Venus adopted a retrograde and uncongenial path causing bitter and deadly conflict.
Strange and inauspicious times created fears of death and annihilation. Brahma assigned time and age for giving birth to mighty sons of sage Kasyapa and Diti. The age was destined to witness the effect of a terrific curse when it was to materialize. It was a period of upheavals and destruction. It was also an epoch of extinction and resurrection. It was a word of prophesy and it was a truth of birth and death. All livings beings and sons of Supreme lord were unaware. Only Supreme Lord, sage Sanaka, brother-monks and some celestial souls noticed fall of Jaya and Vijaya (porters of lord Vishnu) from Vaikuntha, and the rebirth as sons of Diti but they showed ignorance even at the sad and ominous dissolution of universe.
Powerful sons of Diti revealed terrible prowess of strong bodies, and soon grew into mountain -like huge size. When they wore crowns on heads, the crests touched sky. Bodies were large and huge and shadowed four directions completely. Strong and huge arms adorned with golden bracelets dazzled eyes. Each step they put forward created tremours and the whole earth shivered as if in earthquake. When they observed brilliance of bracelet of waists, it eclipsed even sheen of sun. Ditti and sage Kasyap gave slightly different names to legendary sons Hirayankasyap and Hirayanyaksa, and thus, they were the earliest daityas on earth.
Hirayanyaksa launches victory expedition, causes panic and uncertainty and takes control of heaven
Supreme Brahma blessed Hirayankasyap when he meditated on the lord for ages. Deep penance and devotion delighted Supreme Lord, who blessed daitya Hirayankasyap with a boon of immortality. Now, he was immortal. Free from fears of death, he felt immensely flattered. Ego, hunger for more and self-pride did not allow him to sit. He decided and very soon with frightening power and army brought the three worlds, all regions, the other worlds and directions under control of a vast empire. He governed the earth, the heaven and the subterranean regions. He loved younger Hirayanyaksa tremendously and so younger was always ready to obey and please elder brother Hirayankasyap. Hirayanyaksa was very fond of war and enjoyed fighting. Once, he went up to heaven with a mighty mace in search of a powerful rival.
He advanced toward the land of gods with terrible speed, force, army and noisy roars, and it was hard for anyone to defy. Awful march of a ferocious foe disturbed everybody. Huge golden anklets tinkling around and tremour creating feet instilled fears. A glittering garland Vaijayanti adorned demon’s neck and chest. A sign of pre-decided victory it was. To instill fears in the heart of enemy, he held a massive mace on broad shoulders. Strength of body and mind and grant of immortality increased ego and pride and therefore, he felt puffed up, mad, did not fear anyone, found no opponent and therefore, a dreadful march of army with drumbeats appeared strident. As years rolled, he was more unrestrained and drunk with wild skill.
Noisy and earthshaking march of ghastly daitya Hirayanyaksa, a son of Ditti, filled gods with fear and panic. They ran and hid at a safe place like snakes rushing to holes on seeing Garuda. Gods vanished as if before Hirayanyaksa demonstrated might. He was furious, roared and thundered, for he did not find gods and the lord of gods Indra anywhere near battlefield. Pride, ego and arrogance raised ambitions and he was blind to reasons and justice. He returned victorious without a war and like a hysterically angry elephant with a huge army, dived deep into the stormy, roaring and thundering waves of sea. As soon as he entered Deep Ocean, aquatic creatures constituting soldiers of Varuna, the lord of water were terrified and puzzled as they noticed an unknown enemy. Aquatic creatures realized fierce grandeur and authority of Hirayanyaksa and ran away out of fear and dismay.
He continued to wander around the ocean for thousands of years but did not get a suitable adversary to confront and fight. He was mad and agitated and in desperation, Hirayanyaksa smote massive waves with a dreadful mace that tossed about as strong winds gained strength menacingly and moved ahead with velocity for many years before reaching Vibhavari. He saw Varuna, the lord and guardian of underworld (the abode of demons, a subterranean world) and the lord of the aquatic region. He laughed cynically and later on, fell at the feet of Varuna, smiled and said, “O lord, I beg, and as alms you offer war.” A strange and preposterous thought bewildered Varuna.
Hirayanyaksa stopped for a while and said, “O Supreme lord, you are a mighty protector, a king of the whole region and a ruler of great renown. You vanquished demons and evil spirits in the world, established authority and performed a yajna.” He eulogized but demon’s praise was false and ironic.
He spoke of greatness of Varuna but Varuna realized that respect was ironical and outlandish. Varuna was infuriated at disdainful words of a demon, who he knew spoke out of ego, conceit and pride, still Varuna apparently kept cool. He thought, looked at him and said softly, “Dear brother, I do not like war… no interest in violent acts and so, wish to live in peace and I resist temptation of battle. What do you get in a fight?” He tried to pacify. For a long time, Varuna impressed upon demon to realize futility of war but the demon appeared unconvinced.
Lord Varuna argues and tells daitya Hirayanyaksa of the futility of war
Varuna was conscious of evil intents of a terrific warrior. He said, “I do not see any one else equal to you in prowess and might other than the ancient Supreme Person (lord Vishnu). Only he can offer a strong fight and I understand you will get satisfaction, for Supreme can give a decent fight. Therefore, O mighty warrior, you go to Vishnu a great warrior and he will fulfill your long cherished desire. You reach Vaikuntha and your conceit and immodesty will meet good burial, and so, you sleep eternally as dogs surround you. He destroys the wicked and arrogant, and protects virtuous and thereafter, blesses noble souls, who spread principles of dharma.”
Varuna cajoled and tried to open Hirayanyaksa’s eyes to act of superciliousness and iniquity. He also warned as he spoke of perfect munificence of lord’s supreme power.
Hirayanyaksa listened to pleasing counsel of Varuna, the water lord, and was immensely delighted but failed to recognize lord’s hidden wisdom. Demon’s haughty and conceited temper only enhanced ego, and therefore, eagerly wanted to challenge Supreme Lord. Varuna’s advice did not affect and therefore, death and destruction waited for demon and deliberately, he kept away from truth. He learnt about the abode of Sri Hari, from sage Narada and at once, speedily started fierce march with a huge army to the depths of ocean. Soon, he noticed the conqueror of universe lord Varaha (the divine Boar), who lifted and carried the whole earth on ends of mighty tusks and went up. It looked as if he deprived great Hirayanyaksa of daze and luster of His reddish eyes.
Hirayanyaksa was an inveterate egoist, wild, unwise and ferocious. He did not recognize Almighty in the guise of Varah (divine Boar). He looked at a gigantic Varah (Boar the divine power), burst into a hearty laugh and said, “O an amphibious beast, it is unusual. How did you come?”
He thought and said again, “You fool, come to me and leave earth. Supreme Creator of universe entrusted safety of inhabitants of the underworld (Rasatala), O vile god in the guise of a Boar. You exercise delusory power and take different forms, then subjugate and kill demons. It appears gods of heavens and enemies of daityas specially delegated to you powers so that you finish immortal rakasasas. You nurse yogamaya (delusion and deception) attained through yogic practice. You are deceptive and remain invisible. It is not a correct way to kill. Today, I shall fight and destroy you, and afterward, protect relations, and liberate living beings from sufferings, grief and sorrows. A terrible strike of mace will break skull into fragments and you will die. Sages and gods, who worship you, will fall like rootless trees. I will defeat you, and thereafter, created beings will worship me and obey what I say. ” He reiterated.
Hirayanyaksa’s offensive utterances pierced body of holy Boar (the lord), who bore weight of earth and suffered pain, and was aware of fears and dread stalking the world he held on pointed corners of strong teeth. Earth was scared but soon he emerged out of the depth of water like a strong elephant, and at that moment, an alligator attacked its female cohorts furiously. Divine Boar did not think right to answer a difficult demon and so, came out. Terrible daitya (demon) of yellow hair and razor-sharp jaws gave a chase to the lord, who roared, thundered and hunted like an alligator for the elephant. He said loudly, “O big animal, are you not ashamed of running away? You do not wish to fight it appears. True, you, an unabashed wretched find no reproving work.” Hirayanyaksa said violently and tried hard to provoke.
Supreme Lord is ready to confront Hirayanyaksa
Supreme Lord positioned great earth on the surface of water and then, transferred power and energy so that earth supports itself on the surface of water, and as the divine Boar installed earth properly, Supreme Brahma, the Creator of the world, extolled lord’s divine virtues and praised gods. All showered buckets of flowers on divine Boar. Hiryanyaksa looked at everything happening before eyes. Profuse acclaim, praise and eulogies not only made jealous but also filled him with hatred and animosity, because mighty Boar, who he wanted to annihilate stood fit and ready to fight. Lord Hari observed what terrible demon did. Sri Hari lifted a huge mace and looked back at Hiryanyaksa. Armoured, bejeweled and wearing gold ornaments, mighty Daitya uttered harsh repulsive words, hurt and chased the lord ceaselessly.
Awful anger filled but still the lord smiled and said, “O, poor wretch, you are correct. Indeed, we are beasts of a jungle constantly in look out of dogs (you). O evil spirit, warriors do not notice ill-fated beings in the grip of strong cords of death but look vain and arrogant. Yes, I agree. I was afraid of your powerful mace. After stealing a heritage of Rasatala, earth and casting away shame, I reached here. I do not have courage and strength to oppose a strong man like you. I cannot fight a war. Even then, I stand before you, for I know I cannot go if you are angry. I cannot afford enmity with a great adversary. Where can I go?” Divine Boar (the lord) just offered adequate grounds to daitya to get angry. Lord was satirical and still feared and so threw a subtle challenge to a reckless and foolish demon.
He again said, “O, lord of the foot soldiers, give up hitch or reservation if any and overpower. Wipe out tears of relations after you defeat and slaughter us, because O warrior, he does not deserve a seat in a gathering of noble people, who fails to redeem a pledge.”
Supreme Lord taunted and ridiculed faintly and at last, gave ample hints to Hirayanyaksa to get up and fight if he wanted to make people happy. Now, the lord was angry and wanted daitya to make a move. It was an opportunity to seek amnesty. Nevertheless, Hirayanyaksa did not grasp lord’s understated designs. Hirayanyaksa waxed and enlarged fiercely like a serpent, fondly wanting to dance and play on the soft or deafening sounds of rhythmical tunes.
In utter irritation and terrific frenzy, mighty demon heaved, sighed deep and long and then scoffed as unrestrained fury squeezed nerves and shattered patience, and so without waste of time, sprang upon the lord and dealt a severe blow with mace. Lord leaned aside a little and avoided brutal strike of a strong mace as if a yogi had evaded a lethal attack. Sri Hari was now enraged and realized that earlier wise and warm counsel was an absolute waste.
Hirayanyaksa was mad as power turned him arrogant and so, was sure to meet death. Sri Hari was ready to strike. Demon as usual brandished mace and bit lips in anger and fury. They mortally struck each other with huge maces, sustained injuries, and grew more furious and deadly with each deadly deafening strike of maces. In excitement to vanquish, each endeavoured hard to employ lethal strategy, and maneuvering continued to defeat each other.
In beastly exhibit of wildness, blood spilled out as armies clashed. Brahma and many sages arrived to witness ferocity of clashing armies. A great war between Hiranyaksa and Supreme Spirit was devastating where the Creator in the guise of boar of deluding potency wanted to finish brutal rule of Hirayanyaksa. Real cause of war was a fanatical desire for possession of Earth safely situated on the surface of water and so, Supreme Lord wanted to protect. Hirayanyaksa was unbeatable, Supreme Creator observed, who returned deadly strikes of Lord with equally gruesome strength and wildness. Lord came near and spoke to the great Lord, the first Boar.
Calm and gentle Supreme Spirit (Brahma) said, “Hirayanyaksa underwent penance (tapa) for a long time and secured a boon from me and therefore, he causes frustration and disturbance, and transgresses limits of grace. He not only instills fears in the hearts and minds of gods and goddesses, brahmins, cows and living beings, who seek refuge but inflicts wounds unjustified to celestial souls. Hirayanyaksa, out of frenzy, ego and inflated pride went around the three worlds in search of an opponent equally aggressive, adept and skilled for a fight but nobody confronted, for he enjoys my blessings and boon.” Supreme Creator was clear it was right time to put an end to Hirayanyaksa.
Brahma plea before the Supreme Lord (Boar)
Supreme Brahma further told that it was an opportune time and therefore, Supreme Lord (Boar) should teach demon a lesson. It was inessential to play as if a child, who often played with snakes, was skilful, wicked and brutal in conjuring up tricks. He pleaded that daitya no longer deserved mercy, and before he grew up and turned into a formidable force on arrival of a good moment, Lord must finish him with power of maya (deluding divine powers). Boar listened to Brahma and realized gods’ sufferings.
He told Sri Hari, “O lord, a disastrous and frightful hour of nightfall approaches. It will bring ruin if you let demon fight unimpeded.”
Brahma was aware of imminent catastrophe. He said, “O Soul of universe, please bless living beings. Before calamity arrives, bring victory to panic-stricken gods and created beings. It is auspicious time (Abhijit). For the good of gods, goddesses and living beings, right time would finish soon that started at noontime. Therefore, O lord, created beings pray. Please get rid of a formidable enemy just now. It is the right hour. We are fortunate that Hirayanyaksa turned up in search of an enemy, (you) a symbol of death. You ordained demon’s death and therefore, exhibit divine strength and bring peace.”
Brahma exhorted Boar, the divine power and the lord understood miseries and sufferings of noble souls (men, animals, birds, nature, animate and inanimate beings, sages, gods and goddesses) and therefore, resolved to put an end to the brutal dance of devastation of Hirayanyaksa, a symbol of negative forces (demoniac energies) that work against peace, harmony and prosperity of created beings. Perhaps, man today witnesses abundance of devils on earth sans scope for growth of noble forces.
Lord (Boar) listened to nectar-like and modest request of Supreme Creator. Refrain was clear, sweet and gentle. Lord smiled heartily, agreed, and threw a blissful divine glance. Without wasting time, divine boar (who took birth from the nose of Brahma) pounced quickly and struck at chin of a mighty and fearless demon wandering around the world with an awesome divine mace. Mace of lord slipped out and fell down swirling and dazzling. However, demon behaved indifferently. He refused to hit back at a vulnerable enemy. It appeared quite amazing and miraculous. Demon got an opportunity to strike but he respected laws of warfare. Universal Lord stood unarmed and looked on.
Gods, goddesses and various helpless created beings cried and created terrific noise and panic as the lord heartily acknowledged demon’s thoughts on dharma and righteousness. He thought, invoked divine disc and it began to spin in Lord’s hand. Lord knew the truth of demon, a ferocious enemy, who was none other than an iniquitous son of Ditti. He was also a personal attendant (a porter) of Vishnu many ages back. Strange and wonderful are the ways of god. He knows the right time and place where to kill and exterminate evil. His justice is supreme. None can move a finger. Gods, goddesses, sages and many devotees witnessed a horrible scene of combat as strong enemies clashed fiercely. They said loudly, “May victory bless. O lord, do not play, kill.”
A violent war begins
Brutal war began again. Demon did not accept defeat so soon and therefore, hit unrelentingly and frequently the lord asked him to hit back and thus, he continued to play with the demon. He smiled and kept infuriating a low-witted and egoistic fellow. A lighthearted and blithe warfare spirit of lord proved disastrous for the demon. He felt humiliated as the lord frustrated attempts to hurt and defeat. Demon held trident with a glow of raging fire and rapacity as anger grew but failed to harm yajna-personified lord. He released the divine disc and tore demon’s trident into little fragments. Demon was vastly angry and again a furious fight began. Frustration and acrimony of demon grew and intense battle gained perilous scope.
Fierce winds blew and darkness spread as dust covered everything. Hurling of stones from various directions appeared terrific. The entire sky appeared overcast with thick dark clouds and hostile lightning and noise. Dirty and hideous rain of pus, muck, filth, blood, faeces, wastewater, urine, bones and deadly omens created more terror, fear and frightening ugliness. People and celestial beings had never witnessed a bitter and violent war earlier. Huge mountains holding lethal weapons struck even as naked and ghastly-armed female demons attacked with tridents. Many soldiers on foot or on horses and elephants, and still more on chariots marched ahead, raised savage and raucous slogans and created terror. Yakasas and rakasasas assisted and thus, the war took deadly form.
To dispel and destroy mayajal (delusory powers) of demons, the lord released divine Disc and it dispersed magical and delusory forces of demons. An abrupt shudder ran through the holy heart of Diti, mother of HIranyaksa. Anguish of a mother was obvious. She experienced intense pain amidst eternal joy and pleasure. She considered it a matter of pleasure as liberation of a devil from evils appeared imminent. It was a tragedy also, for it was a death of a son.
She recalled each word of sage husband Kashyap as blood began to flow from breasts. Lord destroyed delusory and magic spells created around. Daitya Hirayanyaksa rushed to crush him and took lord in arms but failed to encircle. Then, it was time for the final deadly strikes. Lord hit Hirayanyaksa furiously. His body started swinging and eyeballs bulged out of sockets, and immediately, he fell dead like a gigantic tree, and everyone observed arms, legs, hair and limbs of body in tiny pieces scattered around the battlefield.
Supreme Creator Brahma, gods, sages and virtuous souls landed up at the battleground and observed glow and brilliance of demon. Looking at demon’s body in splinters, Brahma said, “Who could meet a blessed death?” Brahma knew reality and truth of demons Hirayankasyap and Hirayanyaksa, who attained an accursed life because of a severe curse of sages in the land of lord Vishnu.
Supreme Creator recalled past of demons and said, “They would take birth in different yonis, die and take birth and finally, return to the divine abode (Vaikuntha) where they served as porters in earlier birth.” Thus, Supreme Lord assumed form of a boar and rescued earth from the clutches of a fearsome demon. Ultimately, truth and dharma vanquished forces of untruth, violence and sin, and spread peace, love and harmony.