Markandeya Puranam

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THE SON said: – Some time after Kritavirrya had gone to heaven, the citizens together with the councillors and priests called his son Arjuna with a view to install him on the throne and he then said: – “I shall not govern my kingdom, O ministers, which leads to hell. If that for which a king takes revenues is not done it goes for nothing. (1-2) By giving over to the king a twelfth of their proceeds the merchants can go along roads protected by the police from the robbers. (3) The cow-herds give a sixth part of the clarified butter, whey or whatever they get and the cultivator also a sixth. If they give more than the share and if the king accepts it from traders, it leads to the destruction of Ishtha and Purtha acts and that king acts like a thief. (4-5) If they, having paid their revenue, are protected by others, the king, receiving the sixth part of the outturn as revenue, certainly goes to hell. (6) This has been fixed by the former sages as the remuneration of the king for protecting them; if be fails to protect them he becomes guilty of theft. (7) If therefore by practising hard austerities I can attain to the state of a Yogi which I wish, I shall be the one king of the earth endued with the power of protecting the world; (8) bearing arms, honoured by all and gifted with prosperity. I shall not make me a shares in sin.”


The son said: – Learning his decision, the highly intelligent and elderly ascetic by name Garga, seated in the midst of the ministers, said: (10) “If for governing your kingdom well, you wish to do this, O prince, then listen to my words and act according to them. (11) Worship, O king, the great Dattatreya, a refuge unto all, who living in the valley of the Sahya mountain, protects the three worlds; immersed in Yoga, noble, impartial towards all, a portion of Vishnu, incarnated on earth for releasing the world; adoring whom the thousand-eyed Deity (Indra) regained his own station robbed by the wicked-souled Daityas and slew the sons of Diti.” (12¬


ARJUNA said: – “How did the celestials adore the powerful Dattatreya? How did Vasava regain the dignity of Indra which had been robbed (by the Daityas)?” (15)

GARGA said: – “There arose a dreadful battle between the celestials and the Danavas; the lord of the Daityas was Jambha and that of the celestials the husband of Sachi (Indra). (16) While they were fighting a celestial year passed away and then the celestials were defeated and the Daityas came off victorious. (17) Then defeated by the Danavas and depressed on account of the success of the enemies the celestials headed by Viprachitti addressed themselves for flying. (18) Desirous of routing the demoniac host Vrihaspati came there and began to consult with those Rishis called Valikhilyas. (19)

VRIHASPATI said: – “You should with devotion gratify the great ascetic Dattatreya, the high-souled son of Atri of uncommon ways. (20) A giver of boons as he is, he will confer one for the destruction of the Daityas and then the deities all assembled will slay the Daityas and Danavas.” (21)

Garga said: – Thus addressed the celestials then repaired to the hermitage of Dattatreya and saw the high-souled (ascetic) in company with Lakshmi hymned by the Gandharvas and engaged in drinking wine. Going there they bowing prayed to him for effecting what ought to be done. (22-23) They sang his praises and provided meats, drinks and garlands for him. The celestials waited when he waited and moved when he moved. And when he sat on the cushion they worshipped him, having seated themselves below. (24) Dattatreya then said to the celestials who bowed to him: “What do you expect of me that you are serving me thus?”


The deities said: – “O foremost of ascetics, by the demons headed by Jambha invading the three worlds we have been deprived of Bhur, Bhuva &c, and of all our shafes in sacrifices.

(26) We pray for your grace; concert some plan, O god, for their destruction and our safety so that we may regain the celestial region.” (27)

Dattatreya said: – “I am addicted to drink and am impure – I am not master of myself. Why do you, O celestials, expect from me a defeat of you enemies?” (28)

The deities said: – “O sinless one, thou art the lord of one universe – no impurity can attach to thee whose mind has been washed and purified by learning resplendent with the rays of knowledge. (29)

Dattatreya said: – “True it is, O celestials, that I, looking upon all things with impartiality, have knowledge – but associating with this woman I have been sullied. (30) The association with a woman being bent on enjoyment leads to inquity.” Thus addressed the deities again said: (31) “O foremost of the twice-born, this sinless mother of the universe is never polluted like the rays of the sun equally touching a twice-born one and a Chandala.” (32)

Garga said: – Thereupon being thus addressed by the deities Dattatreya, smiling, said to the celestials:- “If this be your opinion, O celestials, then inviting all the Daityas to battle speedily bring them within the range of my vision. (33-34) Being seen by me and having their strength and energy enfeebled by the fire of my looks they all, numberless as they are, will meet with destruction.” (35) Hearing his words the mighty Daityas where challenged to fight by the celestials and in anger rushed against them. (36) Being slain by those Daityas, the celestials, stricken with fear, all speedily went to the hermitage of Dattatreya seeking his protection. (37) Slaying this celestials the Daityas too entered there and saw the greatly powerful and high-souled Dattatreya; (38) with his wife seated at the left, the welfare and the wished-for of the entire universe, beautiful of all limbs -Lakshmi, having a moon-like countenance; (39) with beautiful eyes like the petals of a blue-lotus, with graceful hips and breast, speaking in sweet words and endued with all the accomplishments of a female. (40) Beholding her before them the Daityas had their minds stricken with desire; and thus assailed they could not with a patient mind bear the rising (desire). (41) Leaving off the celestials, they having their energy enfeebled, became desirous of stealing that damsel; assailed (by desire) and overwhelmed by sin, they thus said: -(42) “If we can secure this jewel of a damsel, the essence of the three worlds, we shall then be crowned with success – even this is our conviction. (43) Then placing her on a palanquin, O you the repressors of the celestials, let us all go to our habitations – this is our determination.” (44) Possessed by desire they thus spoke amongst themselves. Then placing the chaste damsel on a palanquin and carrying it on their heads the Daityas and Danavas, assailed by lust, proceeded towards their habitations. (45-46) Then smiling Dattatreya said to the celestials: – “Fortunately you will prosper; since Lakshmi, passing by the seven other places, has got on the heads of those Daityas, she will seek a new man.” (47)

The deities said: – “Tell us, O lord of the Universe, stationed in what places she confers what fruits upon men or brings about their destruction.” (48)

Dattatreya said: – “When placed on the foot of a man she confers upon him a house; when on the thigh she gives clothes and diverse riches. (49) When placed at the organ of excretion she gives wife and when on the lap she gives offspring; and when in the heart she gratifies the desires of men. (50) When the best Lakshmi is placed on the throat of those endued with prosperity she gives an ornament of the throat, union with beloved friends and wives living in foreign countries, cultured words, grace and makes his commands always carried out. When she, sprung from the ocean, is placed on the mouth she gives the power of a poet. (51-52) When she is placed on the head she forsakes (the man) and seeks refuge elsewhere. She is now on their heads and will immediately renounce them. (53) Do you all take up your weapons and strike those enemies of the celestials. These should not be greatly feared by you for they have been robbed of their energy by me. By ravishing another’s wife all their pieties have been consumed and their prowess has been destroyed. (54) Therefore those enemies of the gods should be killed with various weapons. While Lakshmi has occupied their heads they will meet with destruction. This has been heard by us.” (55) Then eulogized by the celestials who were all filled with delight in consequence of the destruction of the Daityas, Lakshmi leaped down (therefrom) and went to the great ascetic Dattatreya. (56) Thereupon saluting the intelligent Dattatreya, the deities, freed from anxiety as before, repaired to the celestial region. (57) If, O foremost of kings, you wish to have your desired-for, matchless wealth, do you speedily worship him.