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Sixth Skanda

Chapter 18: Diti Vows to Kill King Indra

(1) S’rî S’uka said: ‘From Pris’ni then, the wife of Savitâ [the fifth of the twelve sons of Aditi], there were [the three daughters] Sâvitrî, Vyâhriti and Trayî and [from them were born the sons] Agnihotra, Pas’u, Soma, Câturmâsya and the five Mahâyajñas. (2) Siddhi the wife of Bhaga [the sixth son of the twelve sons of Aditi], my dear King, bore [the sons] Mahimâ, Vibhu and Prabhu and Âs’î, a very beautiful and virtuous daughter. (3-4) Of Dhâtâ [the seventh son of Aditi] his wives Kuhû, Sinîvâlî, Râkâ and Anumati came [the sons] Sâyam, Dars’a, Prâtah and Pûrnamâsa respectively. The firegods called the Purîshyas were begotten by the next son [of Aditi: Vidhâtâ] in Kriyâ and Carshanî of Varuna [the ninth son of Aditi] was the one of whom Bhrigu took birth again. (5) Vâlmîki, the great yogi [from the semen of Varuna] was born from an anthill [hence his name] and indeed were the two sages Âgastya and Vasishthha [as their common sons] also there from Mitra [the tenth son] and Varuna. (6) Of being in the presence of Urvas’î was [by Mitra and Varuna] semen discharged in an earthen pot [and from that semen were the two sages born as common sons]. In Revatî begot Mitra [the three sons] Utsarga, Arishtha and Pippala. (7) In Paulomî [or S’acîdevî] so we heard my best, begot lord Indra three sons Jayanta, Rishabha and Midhusha as the third. (8) Of [the twelfth son] Urukrama [or Vâmana], the Lord who in the form of a dwarf had appeared from His inner potency, was of His wife Kîrti born the son Brihats’loka from whom there were many others headed by Saubhaga. (9) The activities, qualities and power of this great soul and how He from Aditi made his descend as the son of Kas’yapa, I will describe later on.

(10) Now I will tell you about how from the [demoniac] sons born to Diti from the seed of Kas’yapa [see 3.14] there were, as well as the [later members of the family, the] great and glorious devotee Prahlâda and Bali Mahârâja [who was defeated by Vâmana]. (11) The two sons from Diti who were worshiped by the Daityas and Dânavas were known by the names of Hiranyakas’ipu and Hiranyâksha. (12-13) The wife of Hiranyakas’ipu named Kayâdhu, was a daughter born from Jambha and a descendant of Danu. She indeed gave birth to four sons with Samhlâda as the first, after whom came Anuhlâda, Hlâda and Prahlâda and a sister called Simhikâ who from Vipracit received Râhu. (14) His [Râhu’s] head was severed by Lord Hari with His disc when he [along with the demigods] drank from the nectar. Kriti, the wife of Samhlâda, gave from him birth to [the son] Pañcajana. (15) Dhamani, the wife of Hlâda, gave birth to [the sons] Vâtâpi and Ilvala. The latter one was [in the form of a ram] by Vâtâpi cooked when Âgastya once visited her. (16) Of Anuhlâda’s wife Sûryâ there were [the two sons] Bâshkala and Mahisha. Virocana was to be [the son] of Prahlâda and from his wife there was Bali. (17) With Bâna as his eldest begot he [Bali] from As’anâ a hundred sons; I’ll make sure to describe the laudable of his character later on. (18) Bâna as a worshiper of Lord S’iva was by him promoted to the level of the chief associates next to him, and for that reason is the great Lord till the present day the protector of his capital. (19) The fourty-nine Maruts, also sons of Diti, had no sons themselves and were by Indra all elevated to the position of demigods.’

(20) The king said: ‘Why o guru, gave they up the atheistic mentality they were born with; performed they that holy that they therefore by Indra were turned into demigods? (21) O brahmin, these sages together with me here, are all eager to hear about this from you o great one, please explain it therefore to us’.”

(22) S’rî Sûta said: “Hearing those respectful words of the servant of Vishnu did he, the son of Vyâsa, very pleased with their value praise him briefly and gave he a reply, o S’aunaka. (23) S’rî S’uka said: ‘Diti, whose sons were killed by Lord Vishnu helping out Indra, burned with anger and thought, clouded by the grief: (24) ‘When will I, with the hard-hearted, cruel, sinful killer of these pleasure seeking brothers who caused [Vishnu] to end their lives, find satisfaction? (25) When one, designated a king, with one’s body, which is doomed to end with the worms, as stool or as ashes, nevertheless hurts others in the pursuit of one’s own happiness, is one then of real knowledge? Doesn’t such a one await the punishment of hell? (26) He, thinking that this [material covering] lasts for ever, is out of his mind; can I count on a son of mine who will fight this madness of Indra?’ (27-28) She then [Diti], charged with that intention, was constantly with all kinds of pleasing activities full of love and humility, selfrestraint and great devotion, o King, of service unto her husband [Kas’yapa] whose mind she, knowing him very well, with charming sweet words, smiles and furtive glances brought under her control. (29) Although a highly expert, learned scholar was he thus enchanted by the woman and acceded he, being under her control, therefore to her wishes; a thing not at all surprising in relating to a woman. (30) Seeing the living beings detached in the beginning of creation, has God the Father created the woman as the other half of his body and by her is the mind of men carried away. (31) Thus being served, o my best, was the mighty Kas’yapa very pleased with the smiling woman upon which he approvingly spoke to Diti.

(32) Kas’yapa said: ‘Ask for any benediction you want o my beauty, for I, o irreproachable lady, am very pleased with you; what would there for a woman of desire be difficult to obtain when her husband is well pleased? (33-34) The husband for sure is considered the certain god supreme of the woman because, situated in the heart of all, there is Vâsudeva as the husband of the Goddess of Fortune. He, conceived by the forms and names of the different divinities, is worshiped by men as the Supreme Lord, as He is also by women in the form of their husband [see also B.G. 9: 23]. (35) Therefore are consciencious women of respect for their husbands, o slim one; and when the husband is of worship and devotion is he a controller representing the Supersoul. (36) I, worshiped by you with such devotion my love, shall as such a person fullfill the desires that for the untruthful are not feasible.’

(37) Diti said: ‘If you for me are the one to give the benedictions o brahmin, do in that case, with my two sons dead, ask you for an immortal son capable of killing Indra, because he is the one responsable for the death of the two.’

(38) Hearing her words was the brahmin aggrieved and lamented he to himself: ‘Alas what great impiety has befallen me today! (39) Regrettably, I’ve grown too attached to sensual pleasures in the form of the woman present before me; from my wretched mind captivated by mâyâ will I surely land in hell. (40) What an offense it is to dance to the tune of women in this world; because I’m thus out of control with my senses, I’ll be damned alas in not knowing what is good for me. (41) Her face is like a blossoming lotus flower in autumn and her words are pleasing to the ear, but the schemes of a woman cut like a razor through the heart of him who knows. (42) The actual interest of women with their most beloved husband, son and brother, is not to hold anyone as dear as they do their own wishes; they’d even kill them or have them killed in that interest. (43) What was promised I shall give, that statement shall not prove false, but the related killing of Indra cannot be the proper course of action, for this I know something suitable.’

(44) The powerful Muni thinking thus o descendant of Kuru, got slightly angry in his self-condemnation and then spoke. (45) S’rî Kas’yapa said: ‘Your son will, as a friend of the godless, be after Indra o gentle one, if for the duration of a year you for this purpose properly keep to a vow.’

(46) Diti said: ‘I will accept that vow my dear brahmin, please tell me what I have to do and what is forbidden, as also what I must do not to break the pledge.’

(47) S’rî Kas’yapa said: ‘Harm no living entity, do not curse or speak a lie, nor cut your nails and hair and do not touch things impure. (48) Do not enter water for a bath, do not get angry nor speak with wicked people and do not wear dirty clothes or ever wear a flower garland already worn. (49) Do not eat food left over, nor food containing flesh sacrificed to Kâlî, nor must you eat food brought by a s’ûdra or food looked after by a woman in her menses, and do not drink water cupping your hands. (50) Do in the evening, after having eaten, not go out without having washed yourself, with your hair loose, without ornaments, without being grave or without being covered. (51) Do not lie down without having your dirty feet washed nor with your feet wet, with your head northward nor westward and do not lie down with other women, naked or during sunset or sunrise. (52) In clean clothes, always being washed and adorned with all auspicious things you should worship before breakfast the cows and brahmins, the Goddess of Fortune and the Infallible One. (53) Women with husband and son you must worship with presentations of garlands, sandelwood pulp and ornaments, in worship of your husband you should offer prayers and meditate, and with him in you [during intercourse or pregnancy] you should do that also. (54) Keeping without violations to this vow of pumsavana [‘of the forest person’] for a year will there be for you a son to kill Indra.’

(55) Assenting to it received Diti thus, o King, joyously the semen from Kas’yapa and performed she strictly to the vow. (56) O dear King of respect for all, Indra, who understood the intention of his mother’s sister, then, keen on his own interests, waited upon Diti to serve her for the time she stayed in an âs’rama. (57) Daily he brought her from the forest flowers, fruits, roots and wood for the sacrificial fire as also leaves, kus’a grass, sprouts, earth and water at the right time. (58) Thus, o ruler of man, with her faithful discharge of duties trying to find a fault in her allegeance to the vow, was Indra serving her in deceit like a hunter posing for a deer. (59) But he couldn’t detect a single failure of excecution and thus, o master of the world, wondered he in that desire anxiously: ‘How can there be my well-being in this world?’ (60) Once though did she, weakend of the vow, after she had eaten, not touch water and wash her feet, and went she, confused about the rules, to sleep at dusk. (61) Thereupon finding fault with her entered Indra as a master of yoga in control with the mystical power the womb of Diti who unconscious lay asleep. (62) He cut the embryo, that had a golden appearance, in seven pieces with his thunderbolt, and cut each crying piece into seven more, telling them not to cry. (63) To him they all, being pained, with folded hands said: ‘O ruler, why do you want to kill us, o Indra, we are your brothers!’

(64) To his devoted followers the Maruts he thus said: ‘You should not be afraid about this my brothers.’

(65) By the mercy of S’rînivâsa [Vishnu as the refuge of Lakshmî] did the embryo of Diti, being cut in many pieces by the thunderbolt, not die, just as you [my dear Parîkchit] didn’t from the weapon of As’vatthâmâ [see 1.8] (66-67) Once a person has worshiped the Original Person attains he to His selfsame nature and so it happened with Diti who for almost a year had worshiped the Lord [see 5.18:12]. In order to compensate for the faults made by the mother became the fourty-nine parts that Indra had created, the Maruts, the gods who by the Lord were called into existence as soma-drinkers [priests]. (68) Diti waking up saw the children along with Indra shining as bright as the god of fire. It was a view about which the goddess, purified [after her penance], was very pleased. (69) She thereupon said to Indra: ‘O dear one, calling for terror over the Âdityas executed I, desiring a son, this vow that is so difficult to keep. (70) Only one son I prayed for but fourty nine of them found their existence; how could that be? Speak to me if you know this, my dear son, and don’t tell me lies.’

(71) Indra said: ‘O mother, having understood what your vow was did I, having gotten close to you, find a fault upon which I, out of my selfinterest having lost sight of the dharma, cut up the embryo. (72) The embryo was cut in seven pieces by me and they became seven babies; and even though I cut each of them in seven as well, did none of them die. (73) Seeing that great wonder I following decided that it had to be some side-effect of your worshiping the Supreme Personality. (74) Those who without being covetous take interest in the worship of the Supreme Lord and therewith not even desire the transcendental position, one may consider experts in enlightened selfinterest [compare 2.3: 10 and B.G. 9: 22]. (75) Would an intelligent person still covet any form of material satisfaction that one even finds in hell, when he has been of the worship with which He, the Lord of the Universe and the most intimate Godhead, has given Himself to him? [see also the S’ikshâshthaka] (76) O best of women, please excuse me for being such a fool with this evil deed of mine; o mother, by your good fortune became the child I killed within you alive again.’

(77) S’rî S’uka said: ‘With her being satisfied about his good manners left, after having offered his respects to the Maruts and to her, Indra with her permission for the worlds of the Lord. (78) Thus I’ve told you all that you asked me about concerning the auspicious birth of the Maruts, what should I tell you further?’