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|Note: In the previous post, we read about how Narayana prevented Rahu from drinking the amrit. In this post, we will learn about the battle that ensued between the devas and asuras after the Churning of the Ocean and how the devas won the battle.
Those of you who enjoy suspense stories might have noticed a literary quality of the Mahabharata — which is, we always know what’s going to happen, however, the anticipation is in finding out how it happened and how it aligns with the thread of subtle dharma.
Soon after that, Narayana left his enchanting female form and returned to his normal form and hurled weapons at the asuras, which made them tremble. Thus, a frightening battle between the devas and the asuras began on the shores of the salt-water ocean, filling every direction with various kinds of weapons like javelins and lances.
The asuras were wounded and mangled with swords, darts, maces, and the discus. Some had their head cut off with double-edged swords, while some lay there vomiting blood, while others lay prostrate on the ground. The battleground became filled with the heads of the asuras with their golden adornments making that place look as if it was scattered with red-dyed mountain peaks.
The next day, when the Sun rose in its splendor, the battle restarted and the devas fought the asuras with bare hands, maces, and iron missiles. Cries and alarming sounds of ‘cut’, ‘pierce’, ‘hurl down’, etc were heard from everywhere.
Nara and Narayana entered the battlefield when the battle was already raging fiercely. Nara had in his hands, the celestial bow. Seeing him, Narayana invoked his own weapon – the Sudarshan Chakra (discus) which came to him from from the skies as soon as Narayana had thought about it Thousands of asuras were devoured by Narayana’s discus – that dreadful weapon capable of destroying hostile cities.
However, even though they were assaulted with such force, the asuras were brave and strong. They withstood the attack and used their powers to rise into the sky, and from there, they threw mountains upon the devas.
Nara took his celestial bow and released gold-tipped arrows onto those mountains splitting and reducing them to dust before they could fall on the earth.
The onslaught of Nara’s arrows, Narayana’s discus, and the devas’ weapons overwhelmed the asuras. Many of them dived deep into the earth while others plunged into the depths of the ocean.
Thus, after a fierce battle, the devas finally obtained victory over the asuras. They offered proper respect to Mount Mandara and placed him once again on his base. With the nectar in their hands, the devas returned to the heavens making it resound with their shouts of victory. The devas rejoiced upon entering heaven and Indra, as well as the other deities, gave the pot of nectar to Narayana for safe-keeping.
|Note: In the last few posts, we have discussed the Churning of the Ocean (Samudra Manthan) and the events after it. I want to take this opportunity to remind you that we got into this discussion because, a few posts back, Sauti had started narrating the story of Sage Kasyapa’s wives: Kadru and Vinata, and their children (a thousand snakes of Kadru and two sons of Vinata). Sauti mentioned that Kadru and Vinata saw the celestial horse (Uchchaihsravas) soon after Garuda’s birth. When the ascetics of Naimisha forest heard about Uchchaihsravas, they wanted to know how that celestial horse came into being. That’s why Sauti took a diversion into the story of Samudra Manthan because Uchchaihsravas was one of the beings that emerged when the ocean was churned.
Now that we know how Uchchaihsravas came into being, we will go back to the story of Kadru and Vinata in the next post. You might remember that Vinata had been cursed by her first son because she broke open the egg before his body was fully formed. He cursed that she would become a slave and that her second son would bring her freedom. In the next post, we will read about a bet that Kadru had with Vinata.
Next Post: The Bet Between Vinata and Kadru