The Mahabharata Home
Vaishampayana said, "Listen now to the large bands of the mothers, those slayers of foes, O hero, that became the companions of Kumara, as I mention their names. Listen, O Bharata, to the names of those illustrious mothers. The mobile and immobile universe is pervaded by those auspicious ones. They are Prabhavati, Vishalakshi, Palita, Gonasi, Shrimati, Bahula, Bahuputrika, Apsujata, Gopali, Brihadambalika, Jayavati, Malatika, Dhruvaratna, Bhayankari, Vasudama, Sudama, Vishoka, Nandini, Ekacuda, Mahacuda, Cakranemi, Uttejani, Jayatsena, Kamalakshi, Shobhana, Shatrunjaya, Shalabhi, Khari, Madhavi, Shubhavaktra, Tirthanemi, Gitapriya, Kalyani, Kadrula, Amitashana, Meghasvana, Bhogavati, Subhru, Kanakavati, Alatakshi, Viryavati, Vidyujjihva, Padmavati, Sunakshatra, Kandara, Bahuyojana, Santanika, Kamala, Mahabala, Sudama, Bahudama, Suprabha, Yashasvini, Nrityapriya, Shatolukhalamekhala, Shataghanta, Shatananda, Bhagananda, Bhamini, Vapushmati, Candrashita, Bhadrakali, Samkarika, Nishkutika, Bhrama, Catvaravasini, Sumangala, Svastimati, Vriddhikama, Jayapriya, Dhanada, Suprasada, Bhavada, Jaleshvari, Edi, Bhedi, Samedi, Vetalajanani, Kanduti, Kalika, Devamitra, Lambasi, Ketaki, Citrasena, Bala, Kukkutika, Shankhanika, Jarjarika, Kundarika, Kokalika, Kandara, Shatodari, Utkrathini, Jarena, Mahavega, Kankana, Manojava, Kantakini, Praghasa, Putana, Khashaya, Curvyuti, Vama, Kroshanatha, Taditprabha, Mandodari, Tunda, Kotara, Meghavasini, Subhaga, Lambini, Lamba, Vasucuda, Vikatthani, Urdhvavenidhara, Pingakshi, Lohamekhala, Prithuvaktra, Madhurika, Madhukumbha, Pakshalika, Manthanika, Jarayu, Jarjaranana, Khyata, Dahadaha, Dhamadhama, Khandakhanda, Pushana, Manikundala, Amogha, Lambapayodhara, Venuvinadhara, Pingakshi, Lohamekhala, Shasholukamukhi, Krishna, Kharajangha, Mahajava, Shishumaramukhi, Shveta, Lohitakshi, Vibhishana, Jatalika, Kamacari, Dirghajihva, Balotkata, Kaledika, Vamanika, Mukuta, Lohitakshi, Mahakaya, Haripindi, Ekakshara, Sukusuma, Krishnakarni, Kshurakarni, Catushkarni, Karnapravarana, Catushpathaniketa, Gokarni, Mahishanana, Kharakarni, Mahakarni, Bherisvanamahasvana, Shankhakumbhasvana, Bhangada, Gana, Sugana, Bhiti, Kamada, Catushpatharata, Bhutirtha, Anyagocara, Pashuda, Vittada, Sukhada, Mahayasha, Payoda, Gomahishada, Suvishana, Pratishtha, Supratishtha, Rocamana, Surocana, Naukarni, Mukhakarni, Sasira, Stherika, Ekacakra, Megharava, Meghamala, and Virocana.
These and many other mothers, O bull of Bharata's race, numbering by thousands, of diverse forms, became the followers of Kartikeya. Their nails were long, their teeth were large and their lips also, O Bharata, were protruding. Of straight forms and sweet features, all of them, endowed with youth, were decked with ornaments. Possessed of ascetic merit, they were capable of assuming any form at will. Having not much flesh on their limbs, they were of fair complexions and endued with splendour like that of gold. Some amongst them were dark and looked like clouds in hue and some were of the colour of smoke, O bull of Bharata's race. And some were endued with the splendour of the morning sun and were highly blessed. Possessed of long tresses, they were clad in robes of white. The braids of some were tied upwards, and the eyes of some were tawny, and some had girdles that were very long. Some had long stomachs, some had long ears, and some had long breasts. Some had coppery eyes and coppery complexion, and the eyes of some were green.
Capable of granting boons and of travelling at will, they were always cheerful. Possessed of great strength, some amongst them partook of the nature of Yama, some of Rudra, some of Soma, some of Kuvera, some of Varuna, some of Indra, and some of Agni, O scorcher of foes. And some partook of the nature of Vayu, some of Kumara, some of Brahma, O bull of Bharata's race, and some of Vishnu and some of Surya, and some of Varaha.
Of charming and delightful features, they were beautiful like the asuras. In voice they resembled the kokila and in prosperity they resembled the Lord of Treasures. In battle, their energy resembled that of Shakra. In splendour they resembled fire. In battle they always inspired their foes with terror. Capable of assuming any form at will, in fleetness they resembled the very wind. Of inconceivable might and energy, their prowess also was inconceivable.
They have their abodes on trees and open spots and crossings of four roads. They live also in caves and crematoriums, mountains and springs. Adorned with diverse kinds of ornaments, they wear diverse kinds of attire, and speak diverse languages. These and many other tribes (of the mothers), all capable of inspiring foes with dread, followed the high-souled Kartikeya at the command of the chief of the celestials.
The adorable chastiser of Paka, O tiger among kings, gave unto Guha (Kartikeya) a dart for the destruction of the enemies of the gods. That dart produces a loud whiz and is adorned with many large bells. Possessed of great splendour, it seemed to blaze with light. And Indra also gave him a banner effulgent as the morning sun. Shiva gave him a large army, exceedingly fierce and armed with diverse kinds of weapons, and endued with great energy begotten of ascetic penances. Invincible and possessing all the qualities of a good army, that force was known by the name of dhananjaya. It was protected by thirty 30,000 warriors each of whom was possessed of might equal to that of Rudra himself. That force knew not how to fly from battle. Vishnu gave him a triumphal garland that enhances the might of the wearer. Uma gave him two pieces of cloth of effulgence like that of the Sun. With great pleasure Ganga gave unto Kumara a celestial water-pot, begotten of amrita, and Brihaspati gave him a sacred stick. Garuda gave him his favourite son, a peacock of beautiful feathers. Aruna gave him a cock of sharp talons. The royal Varuna gave him a snake of great energy and might. The lord Brahma gave unto that god devoted to Brahman a black deer-skin. And the Creator of all the worlds also gave him victory in all battles.
Having obtained the command of the celestial forces, Skanda looked resplendent like a blazing fire of bright flames. Accompanied by those companions and the mothers, he proceeded for the destruction of the daityas, gladdening all the foremost of the gods. The terrible host of celestials, furnished with standards adorned with bells, and equipped with drums and conchs and cymbals, and armed with weapons, and decked with many banners, looked beautiful like the autumnal firmament bespangled with planets and stars.
Then that vast assemblage of celestials and diverse kinds of creatures began cheerfully to beat their drums and blow their conchs numbering thousands. And they also played on their patahas and jharjharas and krikacas and cow-horns and adambaras and gomukhas and dindimas of loud sound. All the gods, with Vasava at their head, praised Kumara. The celestials and the gandharvas sang and the apsaras danced.
Well-pleased (with these attentions) Skanda granted a boon unto all the gods, saying, 'I shall slay all your foes,' then, that is, that desire to slay you. Having obtained this boon from that best of gods, the illustrious celestials regarded their foes to be already slain. After Skanda had granted that boon, a loud sound arose from all those creatures inspired with joy, filling the three worlds.
Accompanied by that vast host, Skanda then set out for the destruction of the daityas and the protection of the denizens of heaven. Exertion, and Victory, and Righteousness, and Success, and Prosperity, and Courage, and the Scriptures (in their embodied forms) proceeded in the van of Kartikeya's army, O king! With that terrible force, which was armed with lances, mallets, blazing brands, maces, heavy clubs, arrows, darts and spears, and which was decked with beautiful ornaments and armour, and which uttered roars like those of a proud lion, the divine Guha set out.
Beholding him, all the daityas, rakshasas and danavas, anxious with fear, fled away on all sides. Armed with diverse weapons, the celestials pursued them. Seeing (the foe flying away), Skanda, endued with energy and might, became inflamed with wrath. He repeatedly hurled his terrible weapon, the dart (he had received from Agni). The energy that he then displayed resembled a fire fed with libations of clarified butter. While the dart was repeatedly hurled by Skanda of immeasurable energy, meteoric flashes, O king, fell upon the Earth. Thunderbolts also, with tremendous noise, fell upon the earth. Everything became as frightful O king, as it becomes on the day of universal destruction. When that terrible dart was once hurled by the son of Agni, millions of darts issued from it, O bull of Bharata's race.
The puissant and adorable Skanda, filled with joy, at last slew Taraka, the chief of the daityas, endued with great might and prowess, and surrounded (in that battle) by a 100,000 heroic and mighty daityas. He then, in that battle, slew Mahisha who was surrounded by eight padmas of daityas. He next slew Tripada who was surrounded by a 1,000 ajutas of daityas. The puissant Skanda then slew Hradodara, who was surrounded by ten nikharvas of daityas, with all his followers armed with diverse weapons. Filling the ten points of the compass, the followers of Kumara, O king, made a loud noise while those daityas were being slain, and danced and jumped and laughed in joy.
Thousands of daityas, O king, were burnt with the flames that issued from Skanda's dart, while others breathed their last, terrified by the roars of Skanda. The three worlds were frightened at the yawns of Skanda's soldiers. The foes were consumed with flames produced by Skanda. Many were slain by his roars alone. Some amongst the foes of the gods, struck with banners, were slain. Some, frightened by the sounds of bells, fell down on the surface of the Earth. Some, mangled with weapons, fell down, deprived of life. In this way the heroic and mighty Kartikeya slew innumerable foes of the gods possessed of great strength that came to fight with him.
Then Bali's son Vana of great might, getting upon the Kraunca mountain, battled with the celestial host. Possessed of great intelligence, the great generalissimo Skanda rushed against that foe of the gods. From fear of Kartikeya, he took shelter within the Kraunca mountain. Inflamed with rage, the adorable Kartikeya then pierced that mountain with that dart given him by Agni. The mountain was called Kraunca (crane) because of the sound it always produced resembled the cry of a crane. That mountain was variegated with shala trees. The apes and elephants on it were affrighted. The birds that had their abode on it rose up and wheeled around in the welkin. The snakes began to dart down its sides. It resounded also with the cries of leopards and bears in large numbers that ran hither and thither in fear. Other forests on it rang with the cries of hundreds upon hundreds of animals. Sharabhas and lions suddenly ran out. In consequence of all this that mountain, though it was reduced to a very pitiable plight, still assumed a very beautiful aspect. The vidyadharas dwelling on its summits soared into the air. The kinnaras also became very anxious, distracted by the fear caused by the fall of Skanda's dart. The daityas then, by hundreds and thousands, came out of that blazing mountain, all clad in beautiful ornaments and garlands.
The followers of Kumara, prevailing over them in battle, slew them all. The adorable Skanda, inflamed with rage, quickly slew the son of daitya chief (Bali) along with his younger brother, even as Indra had slain Vritra (in days before). The slayer of hostile heroes, Agni's son, pierced with his dart the Kraunca mountain, dividing his own self sometimes into many and sometimes uniting all his portions into one. Repeatedly hurled from his hand, the dart repeatedly came back to him. Even such was the might and glory of the adorable son of Agni. With redoubled heroism, and energy and fame and success, the god pierced the mountain and slew hundreds of daityas. The adorable god, having thus slain the enemies of the celestials, was worshipped and honoured by the latter and obtained great joy.
After the Kraunca mountain had been pierced and after the son of Canda had been slain, drums were beaten, O king, and conchs were blown. The celestial ladies rained floral showers in succession upon that divine lord of yogis. Auspicious breezes began to blow, bearing celestial perfumes. The gandharvas hymned his praises, as also great rishis always engaged in the performance of sacrifices. Some speak of him as the puissant son of the Grandsire, Sanat-kumara, the eldest of all the sons of Brahma. Some speak of him as the son of Maheshvara, and some as that of Agni. Some again describe him as the son of Uma or of the Krittikas or of Ganga. Hundreds and thousands of people speak of that Lord of yogis of blazing form and great might, as the son of one of those, or of either of two of those, or of any one of four of those.
I have thus told thee, O king, everything about the installation of Kartikeya. Listen now to the history of the sacredness of that foremost of tirthas on the Sarasvati. That foremost of tirthas, O monarch, after the enemies of the gods had been slain, became a second heaven. The puissant son of Agni gave unto each of the foremost ones among the celestials diverse kinds of dominion and affluence and at last the sovereignty of the three worlds. Even thus, O monarch, was that adorable exterminator of the daityas installed by the gods as their generalissimo. That other tirtha, O bull of Bharata's race, where in days of yore Varuna the lord of waters had been installed by the celestials, is known by the name of Taijasa. Having bathed in that tirtha and adored Skanda, Rama gave unto the brahmanas gold and clothes and ornaments and other things. Passing one night there, that slayer of hostile heroes, Madhava, praising that foremost of tirthas and touching its water, became cheerful and happy. I have now told thee everything about which thou hadst enquired, how the divine Skanda was installed by the assembled gods!"
Next: Section 47