The Mahabharata Home
"Markandeya continued, 'O sinless scion of Kuru's race, I have described to thee the various branches of the race of Agni. Listen now to the story of the birth of the intelligent Kartikeya. I shall tell thee of that wonderful and famous and highly energetic son of the Adbhuta fire begotten of the wives of the Brahmarshis. In ancient times the gods and Asuras were very active in destroying one another. And the terrible Asuras always succeeded in defeating the gods. And Purandara (Indra) beholding the great slaughter of his armies by them and anxious to find out a leader for the celestial host, thought within himself, 'I must find out a mighty person who observing the ranks of the celestial army shattered by the Danavas will be able to reorganize it with vigour.' He then repaired to the Manasa mountains and was there deeply absorbed in thought of nature, when he heard the heart-rending cries of a woman to the effect, 'May some one come quick and rescue me, and either indicate a husband for me, or be my husband himself.' Purandara said to her, 'Do not be afraid, lady!' And having said these words, he saw Kesin (an Asura) adorned with a crown and mace in hand standing even like a hill of metals at a distance and holding that lady by the hand. Vasava addressed then that Asura saying, 'Why art thou bent on behaving insolently to this lady? Know that I am the god who wields the thunderbolt. Refrain thou from doing any violence to this lady.' To him Kesin replied, 'Do thou, O Sakra, leave her alone. I desire to possess her. Thinkest thou, O slayer of Paka, that thou shalt be able to return home with thy life?' With these words Kesin hurled his mace for slaying Indra. Vasava cut it up in its course with his thunderbolt. Then Kesin, furious with rage, hurled a huge mass of rock at him. Beholding that, he of a hundred sacrifices rent it asunder
with his thunderbolt, and it fell down upon the ground. And Kesin himself was wounded by that falling mass of rock. Thus sorely afflicted, he fled leaving the lady behind. And when the Asura was gone, Indra said to that lady, 'Who and whose wife art thou, O lady with a beautiful face, and what has brought thee here?'"
Next: Section CCXXIII