Pancaratra and the Ahirbudhnya Samhita, Pt. 12
BY: SUN STAFF
Lord Indra on Airavata
Tamil Nadu, c. 1820
Apr 08, 2012 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation the Pancaratra and the Ahirbudhnya Samhita.
Contents of the Ahirbudhnya Samhita (Continued)
(4) Story of Citrasekhara (49.1 fll.). There was, on the bank of the Sarasvati, a beautiful town called Bhadravati, ruled by a king called Citrashekhara. The father of the latter had once, using an aerial chariot presented to him by Indra, attacked and killed a Danava called Shankukarna, owing to which deed the son of Sharikukarna, called Amarsana, was incessantly harassing Citrashekhara and his town.
When the two armies had met for the seventeenth time before Bhadravati and returned home again after a drawn battle, Citrashekhara made up his mind to apply for divine help and set out in his aerial chariot for the Kailasa.
While he is driving over the mountains, his chariot suddenly stops short on the peak of the Mandara. He alights, and, after having walked for a while, meets, on the bank of a tank, Kubera, the god of riches, who tells him that this is the place where Mahalaksmi is living, to worship whom he had come here and that, as it was due to her that his chariot had stopped, he should therefore apply to her.
Hereupon Kubera disappears, but sends a Guhyaka who offers his services to the king and proposes that they should spend the night on the spot, which they do. Then in the morning, the Guhyaka takes the king to the palace of Mahalaksmi. The king then sings a beautiful hymn to Mahalaksmi, who is pleased and gives him a banner showing the Sudarshana diagram (yantra dhraja). The king then returns to his capital and conquers, by means of the banner, the army of the Asuras.
(5) Story of Kirtimalin (50.1 fll.). Kirtimalin, the son of king Bhadrasrnga at Visala, was a great hero. Once, during the night, when he was taking a walk outside the town, he saw a Brahmana sitting under a Sami tree, absorbed in Yoga and shining like fire. He asks him who he is, but receives no answer. He repeats his question several times and at last, his patience giving way, tries to attack him, with the result, however, that he grows stiff, unable to move (stabdha-cesta). He solicits and obtains the pardon of the Yogin, who now tells him that, travelling to Salagrama, he had been overtaken by night and had remained outside the town because the gates were closed. The king takes him into the town, and the next morning, when he is about to start again, asks him for some useful teaching. The Yogin then imparts to the king the Saudarshana Mahamantra together with the Anga Mantra, Dhyana, etc., belonging to it.
He declines the liberal daksina offered to him, asking that it be given to the Brahmins, and takes leave. Everything on earth being subject to the king, he resolves to conquer the gods, Gandharvas, Asuras, and Nagas. He begins by marching against the Nagas and conquers these by means of the Garuda Astra, forcing them to promise a tribute of jewels, etc. He then turns against the Daityas, the Yaksas, the Gandharvas, the Siddhas, and finally the Vidyadharas, and, having conquered all of these, returns to his residence.
Missing in his retinue the Devas, he sends, through the Gandharva Manojava, a message to Indra to send him immediately his elephant Airavata, his thunderbolt, the Kalpa tree, and eight Apsarases. Indra laughs and answers through the messenger that he would now send the thunderbolt and the elephant only that the king should come with these and see him; that then he would give him the other things too.
The elephant with the thunderbolt enters, without being seen, the town of the king, and silently begins to destroy his army. The king, unable to recognize the cause of the growing disaster, is at first alarmed, but then, informed by Manojava, who has meanwhile returned, he employs the Varana Astra, causing the elephant to become motionless. On learning the news from some of his retinue, Indra becomes angry beyond measure, and, by his order, the army of the gods "like the gaping ocean at the time of Pralaya" sets out for Visala. A terrible battle begins to rage and to turn in favour of the gods. Their ranks are not shaken even when the king employs the divine Astras ("Agneya, etc."); for Indra has "counter-weapons" (pratyastra) neutralizing their effect.
But then, the situation becoming desperate, the king suddenly remembers the Yogin's instruction concerning a chariot with a magical awning (vitana), has the latter made, and returns with it into the battle. Now an amazing change takes place: the Visnu Cakra sent forth by the king from his chariot causes all the Devas to fall on the ground, from which they are unable to rise again, having become motionless; whereas all the divine missiles cast by Indra, Astras as well as Shastras, simply disappear into the Visnu Cakra "like moths [disappearing] into the fire", "like streams [disappearing] into the ocean".
At last the raging Indra hurls his thunderbolt at Kirtimalin; but even the thunderbolt is absorbed by the Visnu Cakra. The highly astonished Indra now approaches the king's chariot; and Kirtimalin, having respectfully risen before the king of the gods and saluted him with friendly words, explains to him his invincibility, whereupon the two part as friends.
Introduction to the Pancaratra and the Ahirbudhnya Samhita by F. Otto Schrader, Madras, 1916
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