[Advaita-l] Shiva consuming hAlAhala - an interpolation in samudra manthana
rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Sat Aug 13 07:55:42 CDT 2016
Why should the critical edition be taken as the first level of standard?
On Thursday, August 11, 2016, D Gayatri via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Sri Krishnamoorthy gaaru
> In the critical edition of the Mahabharata (which IMO, should be taken as
> our first level of standard), there is no mention of Vishnu taking the form
> of tortoise. It is instead the king of tortoises named akUpAra who
> supports the Mandara mountain.
> On 11 August 2016 at 17:03, R Krishnamoorthy <srirudra at gmail.com
> > Dear
> > Sri Mahavishnu took Kurma avatara to balance the Manthara mountain says
> > the version I had heard in Amrutha manthanam.
> > R. Krishnamoorthy
> > On 11 Aug 2016 16:06, "D Gayatri via Advaita-l" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-
> > vedanta.org> wrote:
> >> The samudra manthana (churning of the ocean by devas and asuras) episode
> >> is
> >> famous and is told in many ancient works like the Mahabharata (Adi
> >> parvan),
> >> the Vishnu Purana, the Ramayana and the Bhagavata Purana and some other
> >> Puranas. One of the incidents that is allegedly a part of this episode
> >> the drinking of hAlAhala poison by Shiva. It is now a days almost taken
> >> for
> >> granted that in the samudra manthana story, Shiva drinks the hAlAhala
> >> poison to save the worlds. However, this incident of Shiva drinking the
> >> poison is not present in the critical edition of the Mahabharata and nor
> >> is
> >> it present in the Vishnu Purana. In this post, I will briefly touch upon
> >> the absence of the hAlAhala incident in two important works, the
> >> Mahabharata and the Vishnu purana.
> >> 1. Mahabharata (Adi parvan)
> >> First let us look at a non-critical edition of the Mahabharata, the one
> >> translated by K M Ganguly.
> >> http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01019.htm
> >> [But with the churning still going on, the poison Kalakuta appeared at
> >> last. Engulfing the Earth it suddenly blazed up like a fire attended
> >> fumes. And by the scent of the fearful Kalakuta, the three worlds were
> >> stupefied. And then Siva, being solicited by Brahman, swallowed that
> >> poison
> >> for the safety of the creation. The divine Maheswara held it in his
> >> throat,
> >> and it is said that from that time he is called Nilakantha
> >> (blue-throated).]
> >> In the above non-critical edition, Shiva drinks the poison that comes
> >> of the churning of the ocean. However, this is clearly an interpolation
> >> because the critical edition of the Mahabharata does not contain these
> >> verses.
> >> In his preface to the Adi parvan of the Mahabharata, Vishnu Sukthankar
> >> states that the hAlAhala incident is mentioned exclusively in most
> >> Southern
> >> manuscripts, but is completely absent from the Northern (that includes
> >> Eastern, Western and Northern) manuscripts. Hence this is treated as an
> >> interpolation and removed from the critical edition of the Mahabharata,
> >> prepared by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI).
> >> Here is a brief summary of the episode in the critical edition of the
> >> Mahabharata -
> >> 1. Mount Mandara is uprooted by the snake Ananta (Adi Sesha).
> >> 2. The snake Vaasuki is used for churning the ocean and the mountain
> >> on King of tortoises akUpAra during churning.
> >> 3. Puffs of smoke and fire come out from Vasuki's mouth during churning
> >> 4. The devas and asuras and snakes become weak during the churning
> >> 5. Narayana grants them strength to continue churning at Brahma's
> >> 6. Sun, Moon, Sri, Liquor, White Horse, Kaustubha come out of the ocean
> >> during churning.
> >> 7. Finally Dhanvantari comes with the Amruta.
> >> 8. Vishnu bewitches the asuras by taking female form and gives the
> >> to the gods for drinking. The asura Rahu manages to drink it by taking
> >> form of a deva.
> >> 9. A fight occurs between the devas andd asuras and Narayana and Nara
> >> the devas defeat the asuras.
> >> In this entire incident Shiva is completely absent and so is hAlAhala.
> >> 2. Vishnu Purana
> >> In the Vishnu Purana, the poison comes out of the ocean during the
> >> churning, but it is not consumed by Shiva. Instead it is taken by the
> >> snakes. Shiva is present but he just seizes the moon that comes out
> >> the churning. Here is the VP translation by Wilson -
> >> http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp044.htm
> >> [From the ocean, thus churned by the gods and Dánavas, first uprose the
> >> cow
> >> Surabhi, the fountain of milk and curds, worshipped by the divinities,
> >> beheld by them and their associates with minds disturbed, and eyes
> >> glistening with delight. Then, as the holy Siddhas in the sky wondered
> >> what
> >> this could be, appeared the goddess Váruní (the deity of wine), her eyes
> >> rolling with intoxication. Next, from the whirlpool of the deep, sprang
> >> the
> >> celestial Párijáta tree, the delight of the nymphs of heaven, perfuming
> >> the
> >> world with its blossoms. The troop of Ápsarasas, the nymphs of heaven,
> >> were
> >> then produced, of surprising loveliness, endowed with beauty and with
> >> taste. The cool-rayed moon next rose, and was seized by Mahádeva: and
> >> poison was engendered from the sea, of which the snake gods (Nágas) took
> >> possession. Dhanwantari, robed in white, and bearing in his hand the cup
> >> of
> >> Amrita, next came forth: beholding which, the sons of Diti and of Danu,
> >> well as the Munis, were filled with satisfaction and delight. Then,
> >> on a full-blown lotus, and holding a water-lily in her hand, the goddess
> >> Śrí, radiant with beauty, rose from the waves. ]
> >> In the Ramayana and Bhagavata Purana and some other Puranas however,
> >> hAlAhala comes out of the ocean during churning and is consumed by
> >> But since this incident is markedly absent from both the Mahabharata and
> >> the Vishnu Purana, it can be deemed a later interpolation.
> >> Regards
> >> Gayatri
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