Daitya

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

In the religion, the name Daityas[1] refer to a clan of Asura, as are the Dānavas and Anayavas, and there are other groups of Asuras[2] as well. Daityas were the children of Diti and the sage Ṛṣi Kashyapa. While some scriptures, such as the Mahābhārata[3] and the Śatapatha Brāhmana,[4] mention that the Asuras were the elder brothers of the Devas, some others mention specifically that the Daityas were elder brothers of the Ādityas.[5] They were a race of [[giant[6]|giants]] who fought against the Devas because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers. The female Daityas are described as wearing jewelry the size of boulders.[7] Manu Smriti[8] classifies Daityas as ones possessing the quality of goodness but places them at a level lower than Gods: "Hermits, ascetics, Brahmanas, the crowds of the Vaimanika deities, the lunar mansions, and the Daityas form the first and lowest rank of the existences caused by Goodness." Sometimes the Daityas are praised,[9] "tava dityas ca Daityas ca bhavantu sukhadah sada."[10]

Political influence of the Daityas

The Bahilkas are in the northwestern part and the Banas are in the southwestern part.
A map of dynasties of ancient India and surrounding areas from 600 BCE - 300 BCE.

It is believed that the Daityas, like the Danavas[11] were originally exiled from heaven in the Kṛta Yuga by the Devas and they had then taken refuge in the Vindhya mountains and by the sea.[12] The Daityas are usually associated with areas around the Vindhyas. Bali's wife's name is Vindhyavali. The Narmada River is by the Vindhyas and this is also where many Daityas had done much penance, especially for obtaining boons.[13]

The most well-known of the Daityas are Hiranyakashipu, Hiranyakṣa, Prahlada, and Bali. The Daityas had originally been given political influence from them having been descended from the great Ṛṣi Kashyapa. Daityas were of particular kingdoms and they normally fought for a particular Daitya kingdom. Their political powers increased as they were granted boons by Brahma or Śiva or when they were performed yajnas[14] such as the Aswamedha, as in the case of Bali[15] and Mahisa. The Daityas were aggressive and wanted power and so in every single case of a war between Daityas and others it was the Daityas who invaded non-Daitya kingdoms.

Areas under direct Daitya control

See also: Seven Chief Asura Realms

Ancient Greek historian Aelianus in De natura animalium depicts Pat(t)ala as a major Indian city. The Greeks had also sometimes written about it as Pattalene and as Pultda.
"Diti bore the glorious sons called the Daityas, my son. Long ago this treasure-laden Earth and all the seas and forests belonged to them." - Agastya to Shri Rama [16]

Daityas had seven main regions which they were firmly in control of. In the Brahma Purāṇa, Nārada says after returning to heaven[17] from the "nether worlds" that they are more pleasant than heaven.[18] The nether worlds Atala, Vitala, Nitala, Mahatala, Sutala, Patala, and Gabhastimata.[19] Pātala in Hindu scriptures is mentioned and associated more than any other place with Daityas and it was their main capital. In the Vāmana Purāṇa, when Prahlada had left for his spiritual adventures, he left his cousin Andhaka on the throne to govern from Pātala.[20] Multan has been associated with Daityas on some occasions and it was formerly known as Kashyapapur. It is where Prahlada reigned and built his Prahladapuri Temple dedicated to Viṣṇu. Its association with the Daityas is do strong that when Jalandhara was slain, his feet were buried in Multan. After Bana lost the city to [[Samba[21]|Samba]] in battle, the city was renamed Sambapur from Kashyapapur. The Daityas, on several occasions, being invaders of the Deva kingdoms, defeated the Devas and became in possession of their main capital Amaravati. Daityadwipa is also a place of refuge amongst the Daityas and the son of Garuda is called by the name Daityadwipa in the Mahabharata.[22] Chamba district and likely the parts of Rajasthan in and around Sambhar Salt Lake and Sambhar Lake town were ruled by Sambhara until his defeat by King Divodas. Madhuvana was the stronghold was Madhu.[23] There is generally a disagreement over where Mahishamati, the capital city of Mahisasura was, although Mahisa in Gujarat has the same name as the Daitya Mahisasura, and it is where there are temples dedicated to both Brahmā (Shri Brahmaji Temple) and Śiva (Baliya Dev Temple), the gods which granted Mahisa boons.

Some places throughout India are named after the Daityas who had ruled there. For example, the Bahlikas had named two towns in Gujarat as Bhalka and Bilkha. There are also the cities of Malada and Kalusha, which had become the playground for Tataka the Yakshini, the wife of Sunda the Daitya. Ilvala's capital[24] Manimati had become a stronghold of Daityas later.[25] Saubha was a city of King Salva,[25] who was a tyrant that had ransacked Dwaraka and it was conquered by Pradyumna after he defeated Salva. Nirmochana was another city held captive by Daityas. Pragjyotisha in Assam was the capital of Narakasura. Hiranyapur,[26] high up on hills, was always a stronghold of the Daityas and was associated with Varuṇa. Tripura were a collective of three adjacent cities ruled by Daitya brothers Tarakaksha, Kamalaksha, and Bidhyanmali. Atalantpuri was another major city ruled by Daityas. Mahendrapur was a city under Asura control.

Ancient dynasties related to the Daityas are of the Kambojas under their first king Chandravarma Kamboja of Mallas of western India under their first king Aswa.[27] Madrakara Shaungayani was the teacher of Aupamanyava Kambhoja.[28] The Mallapuram of Tamil Nadu has been associated by Brahmins with Bali. Asura Dandavakta was son of the Karusha Dynasty's Brahmin Prince Vriddha Sharma and Śrutadeva.[29] The Śivis and Bahlikas by the Indus River were Daitya dynasties. The dominion of the Bahlikas was known as Bahlika Pradesh or Bahlika-bhishak. Hemachandra wrote of them as Takhas. They were also known as the Bahlika-Uttaramadra. The Salvas consisted of Daitya rulers and there were six branches of the dynasty; Bhulingas and Saradattas, Tilakhalas, Audumbaras, and Yugandharas. There were in medieval times, other dynasties which claimed descent from Daityas, such Bali and Bana and this includes the Bana Dynasty of Tamil Nadu and the Jats of Bana gotra from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The royal family of Jaisalmer[30] claim ancestry from Vajra, the son of Usha[31] and Aniruddha.[32] Balijas of South India were royal patrons within a few kingdoms in the region, as well as leaders within Balija dynasties and today many of them claim that they are descendants of the King Bali.

Daityas are also connected with the directions in which a particular deity is said to rule. Nirrti Daitya is written to be rule the southwest.[33]

Resolving conflicts with Daityas

Power is a clear motive in the story of Madhu and Kaitaba wherein they would declare, "Give battle now, or say, I am your dāsa.[34]"[35] In some instances, the Daityas are told to abide by the customs of war. For example, Viṣṇu used the conciliatory method 'sama-purva' and reminded Madhu and Kaitaba that it is not the 'dharma' of heroes to fight with those who are tired, frightened, weaponless, fallen, or too young, recalling a similar set of rules in the Manu Smṛti.[35]

Normally, nonviolence[36] as a method is tried to prevent any wars with the Asuras. When they prove ineffective, war is fought. In one instance, the Devas had said to Brahma, "You should pacify the vighnas by the conciliatory method.[37] this method is to be applied first and secondly the offering of gifts,[38] and these proving futile one should afterwards create dissension among enemies and this too proving unsuccessful, punitive force[39] should be resorted to curb them."[40] The aggressive methods of the military tactics of the Daityas made it hard to respond to aggression with pacifism. One common tactic of the Daityas was to abduct the wife of an enemy. This is true in the cases of Hiranyakṣa who had kidnapped Bhudevi, Hiranyakṣa's son Andhaka who tried to kidnap Parvati, Jalandhara who had tried with Parvati and Sanghra who tried with Saci.[41] Diti was always furious of the influential powers of the Devas and she had taken the vow to annihilate them, the Madanadvadasi-vrata.[42] In one nonviolent method by the Devas however, Sarika[43] had blockaded the gates of the Daityas[44] to prevent Daityas from leaving to invade another place.[45]

War was always the last solution to making peace. In war, many times the Devas had chosen a Daitya to focus on fighting. "Unmattabhairavi fought with Malada. Laghusyama fought with Kusura. Svapnesi waged war with the leading Daitya named Mangala. Vagvadini clashed with Draghana in the battle. Candakali fought with the wicked Kolata." Another battle between the Daityas and Devas in the Skanda Purāṇa went this way: "Sunda, Upasanda, Tuhunda and others, Mahisasura, Ulbanas[46] Sumbha, Nisumbha, Dhumrakṣa, Kalakeya, and other Dānavas, the valiant Kalanemi, Daurhrda, Muṣaka, Yama, Nikumbha, Kumbha, Visastha, the Andhaka, Śankha, Jalandhara, Vātapi of terrific features and inordinate strength, Sarvajit, Visvahantr, Kamacarin, Halayudha[47] these and many other leading Dānavas attended upon the sinless king Bali."[48] Then in the war following the cosmic creation, the Śrimad Bhagavatam declares this of the conflict: Text* 28: O King, Maharaja Bali fought with Indra, Karttikeya with Taraka, Varuṇa with Heti and Mitra with Praheti. / Yamaraja fought with Kalanabha, Visvakarma with Maya Danava, Tvasṭa with Sambara and the sun-god with Virocana. / The demigod Aparajita fought with Namuci and the two Asvini-kumara brothers fought with Vrishaparva. The sun-god fought with the one hundred sons of Maharaja Bali, headed by Bāna and the moon-god fought with Rahu. The demigod controlling air fought with Puloma and Sumbha and Nisumbha fought the supremely powerful material energy, Durgadevi, who is called Bhadra Kāli. / O Maharaja Parikshit, suppressor of enemies [Arindama], Lord Śiva fought with Jambha and Vibhavasu fought with Mahishasura. Ilvala, along with his brother Vatapi, fought the sons of Lord Brahma. Durmarsha fought with Cupid, the demon Utkala with the Matrika demigoddesses, Bṛhaspati with Śukrācarya and Śanaiscara[49] with Narakāsura. The Maruts fought Nivatakavaca, the Vasus fought the Kalakeya demons, the Viśvedeva demigods fought the Pauloma demons and the Rudras fought the Krodhāvāsa demons who were victims of anger."[50]

Noble supporters of Daityas

While there were Daityas who fought, and many had been able to defeat the Devas, but were eventually defeated, they were either slain or they were allowed to be admitted into the Devas' assembly or mainstream politics. For example, Varuṇa has an Asura named Meghavasas in his assembly,[51] and another named Sunabha[52], and Śiva had Asuraniya,[53] Sakalasurahara and Asurahara were in Śiva's army and Daitya Nirrti was a guardian of the southwest direction.[54] Andhaka after having been defeated by Śiva agreed to work with him and become one of his Gaṇas and after Khandoba had defeated Malla and his brother Mani, they accepted his suzerainty and a statue of crowned Malla can be seen in the Khandoba temple at Jejuri, Maharashtra.)[55] Daityas had also at times, conflicted with other Asuras. For example, Narakasura had captured the daughters of fellow Daityas, and of siddhas and kings.[56] There were also Daityas that were supported by Śiva or Skanda in wars, such as the battle between Bāna[57] and Kriṣṇa and that between both Maya[58] and Namuci[59] with Agni wherein Agni spared the former.[60][61] In the Linga Purāṇa, after Varāha had slain Hiranyakṣa, Lord Śiva became Sharabha (by avatāra) to destroy Varaha, whom is accused together with his sons of having wrecked havoc on the earth. The Vaishnava version to this story is that because Bhudevi (i.e., Earth) was taken captive by Hiranyaksha, Viṣṇu through his Varāha avatara killed him, although the Śaiva version is that Varāha was in a dalliance with Bhudevi and so Śarabha slew him. In one story of Narasimha slaying Hiranyakaṣipu, Śarabha slays Narasimha after Narasimha slayed Hiranyakaśipu. There were also Daityas that had never fought with Devas, such as Nandur Nimba Daitya and Daityasena. Some Daityas, such as the Maruts, were brought to the side of the Devas, wherein Indra had entered the womb of Diti and altered the fetus to produce multiple children from her that would become his soldiers. The Darukaputra[62] was the charioteer of Pradyumna in the Mahābhārata and the conflict between the Yadus and Salvas.

Daitya integration in Indian societies

The Daityas had also mingled amongst non-Daityas and retained their Daitya identity as did some Danavas, such as Mayasura's daughter marrying Rāvaṇa.) There were some Daityas that had married Danavas, and so some persons are referred to both as a 'Daitya' and a 'Danava'. Such is the case of Jalandhara, Mahisa, and others. Virocana married Devamba of Deva ancestry. Despite the war between Bana and Krishna, Bana's daughter Usha married Krishna's grandson Aniruddha. Sunda married Tataka the Yakshini. Mayavati[63] was married to Sambara before being married to Krishna's son Pradyumna. Syama[64] had married a Yaksman Daitya[65] Further, Śukracharya married Urjjasvati[66] and Indra's daughter Jayanti, and Śukra's daughter Devyani married pious King Yayati while the Danava Sarmishtha had also later married Yayati.

The Daityas cooperated with other classes of Asuras such as Danavas and Rakshasas. For example, in one Deva-Asura War mentioned in Skanda Purāṇa, both Bali and Vrishparva were fighting in the war. Also, in the Brahmananda Purāṇa, due to Nikhumba's curse, Varanasi was uninhabited except for a Raksasa Ksemaka that lived there.[67] Asura King Dantavakra the Karusha Dynasty had even fought against Krishna to avenge his Asura friend Salva's death.[68] It was however that Daityas refused to make Raji their chief or their "Indra" because of their loyalty to Prahlada that they had lost a Deva-Asura War, because Brahma had predicted that whichever side has pious King Raji on their side will win and the Devas had agreed to accept Raji as their Indra after the war is won.

They appear to have had alliances with some Nāgas. Nāgas also, like the Daityas, had Patala as their capital. Bali's emblem was a flag with a 7-headed serpent, even when his dynasty was a war with the Devas, whom had the Nāgas as allies.[69] Gajanibhas were charioteers of Ghatotkacha, the son of Pandava Bhima.[70]

Political legacy of the Daityas

Some of the Daityas are commemorated in modern times by Hindus. For example, Bali's generosity towards his subjects in the western coast of India is celebrated in Maharashtra as Balipratipada, in Nepal as Mahā Puja amongst the Newars and singing about Bali amongst the Kiratas in Karnataka as Bali Padyami and in Kerala as Onam. Prahlada is worshiped in the Temple at Multan in the Punjab region. Talava[71] is remembered by some people of Talaja town in Gujarat, by lighting a lamp in the cave. Vrinda,[72] the wife of Jalandhara is commemorated as the Tulsi plant and the Tulsi Vivāh ceremony is performed in the name of Vrinda and Krishna. The Maruts are worshiped in the Ṛgveda and later scriptures. The Mahābhārata[73] says that Maruts had helped Indra in his war against the Daitya Paka.[74] There are some Hindus who are named after Daityas and popular names include Prahlada. There was even a 16th century army general in the Manikya Dynasty who had brought murtis of Jagannath, Balarama and Subhadra for the Jagannath Bari temple, named Daitya Nārāyan.[75]

Religious beliefs of Daityas

Adorned gods

Śiva is outright called the originator of all the beings, including classes of Asuras in some Śaiva texts. "Brahma Viṣṇu Maheshan deva danava rakshasaha Yasmat prajgyire devastam Shambhum pranamamyaham. I Salute that Lord Shambhu who created the Devas, Danavas and Asuras. The piousness of many Daityas have been recognized. Madhu and Kaitaba were called "Arya Asuras" and are said to have "never told a lie." Daityas, like most Asuras have normally been described as being devotees of Śiva.[76] His other epithets include, 'Devadevasuranamaskrta',[77] 'Devasuramahamitra',[78] 'Devasuramahesvara'[79] 'Devasuramahāsraya',[80] 'Devasureshvara'[81] and 'Asuravyaghra'[82] The Mahendravarmesvara temple of Kanchipuram established by Prince Mahendra [83] has an inscription which reads, "May Mahesvara, the refuge of all the devas and asuras, who puts and end to time and has made an end of Puru, always take up his residence." There are nine classes of lingas according to the Suprabhedamaga, and of those one is called Asura[84] and another Sura,[85] and another is the Rākṣasya[86][87] There were even a few known Daityas who were named after Lord Śiva, such as Śiva,[88] Sivi[89] as well as other Asuras such as the incarnation of Guru Bṛhaspati as an Asura King named Maheṣa.[90] Asuras had built temples in many instances. Bali had built a Śiva temple for his Ahir servant Parasna,[91] while Madhu and Kaitaba had built the temples Madhukeshwara of Banavasi and Kaitabeshwara of Kubatur, according to this tradition. It is even believed by the locals of Thrikkakkara in Kerala that the Śiva temple there was the one of King Mahabali because Śiva was his 'kuladeivam'.[92][93] It was usually Śiva however, who saved Śaiva Daitya devotees, such as Naraka and Bāna. The Daitya guru Śukracharya is also a worshiper of Śiva. Dānava Maya was rescued by Śiva's chief attendant Nandikesvara,[94] and similarly Śiva has rescued some of his Daitya devotees. Śiva rescued Andhaka to be spared from being slain by Viṣṇu.[95] Śiva and his son Skanda had taken Bāna's side when he had captured Aniruddha and Kṛṣṇa Balarāma and Pradyumna were on Aniruddha's side to defeat Bāna.[96] Even after Gaja the Śaiva was defeated, his head was preserved in Kailasa, honoring it.[90] Daksharam is the place where Taraka was slain by Skanda,[97] and so he is honored there. In one instance, Kali Devi had worshiped Śiva at Ambar city[98] in the Mahākālam for atoning the sin of slaying Ambā and Ambāsura.[99]

Brahmā was also worshiped by many Daityas and he had granted many Daityas a boon to increase their power. Daitya Virupakṣa together with the Daityas and the Vighnas, said these words, "...you who are the first progenitor[100] of the world, to whom the Devas and Daityas owe their origin."[40] Because Brahma had granted so many boons to the Asuras and this creates problems for the Devas as the Linga Purāṇa says.[101] Hence, there is a legend that Brahma is not worshiped as God anymore because he granted boons surreptitiously to Asuras.[102]

Viṣṇu was worshiped by some such Daityas as Prahlada, who was one of the dearest devotees to Viṣṇu. Prahlāda had built the Prahladpuri Temple dedicate to Viṣṇu. It was renovated by a certain King Pururava of the region. Kṛṣṇa declares (in the Bhagavad Gitā[103]) "Among the Daityas I am the devoted Prahlāda;..." The Śrimad Bhagavatam declares that all the devotees of Kṛṣṇa are called acyutātmā because they follow in the footsteps of Prahlāda Mahārāja. Acyuta refers to the infallible Lord Viṣṇu, whose heart is always infallible. Because the devotees are attached to the infallible, they are called acyutātmā.

Surya and Chandramas are originally said to have been the gods of the Asuras but then they became a part of the Devas.[104] Surya was a major god for the Asuras. The two Daityas Canda and Munda had done penance after defeating Indra and then they were granted a boon from Surya.[105] The Taittriya Brahmana states, "The Devas and Asuras were fighting. They were disputing about Aditya. [Each party claiming this divinity for itself, so the commentator explains it.] The Devas won him."[106] The Tandya Maha Brahmana states, "The Devas and Asuras disputed about Aditya. The Devas won him."[107] There is even a legend that a person named Suryakunda was made King Devasura, whose name means someone who is a Deva and an Asura.[108] Ṛṣi Agastya (in Rāmāyaṇa[109]) said to Rāmachandra, "Rāma, worship your ancestor the Sun. The Adityahṛidaya is one of the eldest of all the mantras. Worship Surya Deva with it whom the devas and the asuras both revere and you will kill Rāvaṇa today." The Mahābhārata also mentions that all Asuras and other classes of people worship Surya, "For the acquisition of prosperity, I bow down to thee, O Bhāskara,[110] blazing like unto gold or fire, who is worshiped of the gods and the Pitṛs and the Yakṣas and who is adored by the Asuras, Nisācharas and Siddhas."[3] The Ṛgveda mentions that's the "asurya" Surya is addressed as purohita[111] of the Devas.[112][113]

Spiritual scholarship and ascetic practices

Madhu, the "father of the Asura race" practiced great penances and possessed very high spiritual values.[114] Dhundhu, his son, was a great "Tapasvi" (mendicant) sage.[114] Tapasya was always highlighted amongst the stories of the Daityas. In Chāndogya Upaniṣad,[115] both Virocana and Indra, in order to go find out the true nature of the Self, go to Prajapati to learn from him. The mistake Virocana makes is that he sees the body as the true Self.

Prahlada is described in multiple scriptures, both Puranic and philosophical ones (i.e., Upanishads.) He has been associated with Rishi Kapila, the founder of the Samkhya philosophy. In the Skanda Purāṇa,[116] a Daitya named Prahlada is said to have gone to Kapila's chief disciple Āsuri for understanding the Sañkhya, and after realizing it, Prahlada becomes acharya Pancasikha and from 'Samkhyasiddhanta' (Samkhya teachings), reached Brahman. The Sage Atri had also taught the school of Logic to Prahlada, amongst others,[117] as well as Sage Dattatreya.[118] It is noteworthy that one of Asuri's chief pupils was also Asurayana, whose chief pupil in turn was Asuravasin.[119]) In the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata, Prahlada explained the Sañkhya point of view thus : "He who is acquainted with Puruṣa."

For the enlargement of their kingdoms, some Daityas performed Aswamedha and other yajnas,[120] performed penance and in many cases obtained boons from Śiva or Brahma.

Priestly associations

Apart from Shukracharya, the Daityas are known to have had a few other priests. Bhargava Brahmins were purohitas[121] to Hiranyakaṣipu, and Vasistha was his hotr[122][123] (A Bhṛgu sage was angry at Viṣṇu and had struck Viṣṇu on his chest. Another Bhṛgu had cursed Viṣṇu. Śukra being a Bhargava was a worshiper of Śiva.) When Vāmana (Viṣṇu's avatār) had arrived in Bhargavesa (modern day Somanath Temple) in order to request Bali for a wish, Brahmins in the city that were happy with Bali's rule had told Vāmana, "O Vāmana, you should always swell in the town of the Daitya chief."[124] The Mahābhārata mentions that some Brahmins out of pride became the priests of Dānavas.[125] The Mahābhārata mentions that a Sakra Ṛṣi had four children, Tashtadhara, Atri, Raudra, and Kurmi. They were the priests of Asuras and were devoted to Brahmā and the welfare of the world.[126] The priestly groups known as the Vrievats and Sandikas[127] were priests of Asuras.

There were also Brahmins amongst the Daityas, such as Talmegha (just as there are amongst Dānavas, such as Namuci and Vṛtra), and as he was slain for driving out the Devas from their regions of control, by Sesasayi, the latter incurred the sin of brahmahatyā.[105] In Devas' war against Kalanemi and his army, after Kalanemi perished, Indra continued executing Kalanemi's soldier's on the battle field, for which Vaishnava Sage Nārada had told him to stop killing the "valiant Daityas" or that Indra would incur the sin of brahmahatyā.[128][129] Rambha, another Asura and grandfather of Mahisa was a Brahmin according to the Vāmana Purāṇa.

Asura Dandavakta was son of the Karusha Dynasty's Brahmin Prince Vriddha Sharma and Srutadeva.[29] Andhaka is also recognized as a Brahmin because when he was defeated by Śiva by having been pierced by Śiva's trident, Śiva had incurred the sin of brahmahatyā and he along with the gods had tried to wipe Andhaka's blood from trident but it was difficult to get off.[105] Writer F.E. Pargiter is in the opinion that the earliest Brahmins were priests either to the Manvas or the Daityas and Dānavas.[130]

Associated temples

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga, Jamnagar, Gujarat

In Nandur Nimba Daitya village, within the Pathardi taluka in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, there is a temple dedicated to the Daitya and Śaiva vibhuti mark are visible on his forehead.

As many Daityas had worshiped Brahma, there is the Brahma Temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan. Of it the Mahabharata says, "It is there that the Devas, Daityas, and Brahmin seers mortified themselves and possessed of great merit, achieved divine yoga...In that same ford swells forever and most joyously the Grandfather by the Devas and Danavas.[131] About Pushkara, the Brahma Purāṇa reads, "There is on Puskaradvipa a banyan tree, the supreme abode of Brahma, where Brahma dwells, being worshiped by gods and asuras."[132] There is another temple nearby in Asotra village in Balotra taluka of Rajasthan's Barmer district, which is known as Kheteshwar Brahmadham Tirtha.

In Kerala, there is a Śiva temple which the locals of Thrikkakkara in Kerala claim was the one of King Mahābali because Śiva was his 'kuladeivam'[133][134] Kṛttiveseshvar is the name of the linga that was ordered by Śiva,[135] is to be placed on the spot where Gaja, who had obtained a boon from Śiva was slain.[136] Where Vidal and Utpal were slain also became the spot of a linga. Other major linga sites include, Nageshvara Jyotirlinga in Gujarat, commemorating the Daitya Daruka at Amerdak Kshetra. Śukracharya is also the guru of the Daityas and his temples can be found in several parts of India, also mostly with the Śaiva vibhuti mark on his forehead.

Mention in non-traditional sources

Some Daityas were so powerful that their stories are mentioned are non-traditional sources.

Jain scriptures mention a number of Daityas. For example, they mention the major historical persons[137] and identify them as hero[138] or villain[139] Jain texts such as the Adipurāṇa of Jinasena include in this list in descending order, Asvagriva, Tāraka, Naraka, Niṣumbha, Madhukatiabha, Prahlāda and Bali all as Prativasudevas. Bali is mentioned in several Jain works. These are the Jnatadharmakathā, where he conflicts with Nandimitra or Mandana and Dattadeva or Puruṣapundarika, the Jambudvipaprajnapti, Sthananga, and Avasyaka Niryukti wherein also he conflicted against Nandimitra or Mandana, Trisasti-salaka-purusa-charita, which mentions that Bali lusted for King Puruṣapundarika's wife Laxmivati, Harivaṅṣapurāṇa where Krishna goes into Pātāla to rescue the infants killed by Kaṅsa, Mahāpurāṇa wherein Bali starts a fire that enveloped Jain monks and the texts of Brhatkatha-slokasaṅgraha, Uttarapuraṇam, Vasudevahindi and Vinhuglyaga or Narayaṇastuti" wherein Viṣṇu asked Bali for a three strides of land and covers heaven, earth and Pātāla.

Buddhist scriptures also mention Daityas in a few stories. Daityas are mentioned in a story of Aryasura's Jatakamala wherein Indra is on the battlefield in a chariot and his forces are overwhelmed by the Daitya army. Indra is retreating but is faced with the decision to either retreat of turn and save the lives of birds and he decides the latter, from which after he turned in the direction of the Daityas, the Daitya army fled.[140]

List of Daityas

Daityas are said to have had many children. Mura had 7000 children.[56] The Mahabharata speak of hostile Mauravas fighters.[131] Andhaka warriors are also mentioned in The Mahābhārata. Bali is said to have had 100 children. Daityas are also to have mingled amongst prominent non-Daityas. For example, Anuhrada's daughter Bhadra with Yakṣa Rajatanabha in Vayu Purāṇa).[141]

Some of the notable Daityas mentioned in the Indian mythology include:

List of Known Daityas

Generation Name Parent(s) Region(s) of association Sampradāya Significance Boon Granted Defeated By
First Aswa Kashyapa That great Asura, son of Diti, known as Aśwa (Aśva),[142] became on earth the monarch Ashoka of exceeding energy and invincible in battle.[143][144]
First Aśwapati Kaśyapa Younger brother of Asśa and another son of Diti, was born as Hardikya, the king of the Mallas.
First Bhasmāsura Kaśyapa Rampur-Lukesvar region[145] Śaiva
(had done severe penance)[105]
Mata Mahalasa[146][147])
First Chandra Kaśyapa The foremost among the sons of Diti and handsome as the lord of the stars himself, became on earth noted as Chandra Varmana Kamvoja, the king of the Kamvojas (i.e. Kambojas).[148][4]
First Daityasena Kaśyapa Was kidnapped by the Asura Keshi, but in captivity, while her sister Devasena resisted and escaped, Daityasena continued to go with Keshi willingly and married him.
First Hiranyakśa Kaśyapa and Diti (eldest son) Śaiva[149]
First Hiranyakaśipu Kaśyapa and Diti Kratasucha (Barahban, Haryana)[150] Śaiva[151] He was also known as Daityapati. Brahma Narasimha
First Holika (or Sinhika) Kashyapa and Diti (their daughter) From Brahma, she couldn't perish if she entered a fire alone.[152]
First Maruts Kashyapa and Diti They were in Indra's Deva army.
First Sarabha Kashyapa A great Asura and son of Diti, was born on this earth as royal sage Paurava.
First Sivi Kashyapa A great Asura, known among the sons of Diti, became on earth the famous monarch Druma.
First Vajranga Kashyapa and Diti
Second Andhaka Hiranyaksha[20] (Adopted) From Brahma that obtained that no ordinary god would be able to kill him.[153] In another story, he was given a boon by Śiva, that no other god but Viṣṇu can defeat him.[105] When defeated by Śiva, he had agreed to Śiva's offer and became a member of his gaṇas. Defeated by Śiva, he accepted Śiva's offer to become his Gaṇa soldier.
Second Anuhlada (or Anuhrada) Hiranyakashipu[20] and Kayadhu
Second Bhutasantapana Hiranyaksha
Second Hlada (or Hrada) Hiranyakashipu[20] and Kayadhu Śaiva
Second Kalauabha Hiranyaksha
Second Mahanabha Hiranyaksha
Second Prahlada Hiranyakashipu and Kayadhu Simhachalam Hill,
Multan (especially Prahladpuri Temple),
Patala
Vaishnava
Second Putana Hiranyaksha
Second Śakuni Hiranyaksha (daughter)
Second Samhlada (or Samhrada) Hiranyakashipu[20] and Kayadhu Mentioned in the Mahābhārata as 'Bahlikapumgavah' or Bull of the Bahlikas.[154]
Third Adi Andhaka[20]
Third Ayushman Samhlada (in Viṣṇu Purāṇa) or of Prahlada (in Vāyu Purāṇa)[20]
Third Baka Andhaka[20]
Third Devamba She was the mother of Bali.
Third Gavesti Prahlada[104]
Third Jambha Prahlada[104]
Third Kala Hlada[155]
Third Kalanemi Prahlada[104]
Third Mayavi Hlada[155]
Third Nivatakavachas Prahlada Vaishnava
(had performed great austerities[20])
Third Nisunda Hlada[20]
Third Śiva Hlada[156]
Third Sivi Samhlada (in Viṣṇu Purāṇa) or of Prahlada (in Vāyu Purāṇa)[20]
Third Vashkala Samhlada (in Viṣṇu Purāṇa) or of Prahlada (in Vāyu Purāṇa)[20]
Third Virochana Prahlada
Fourth Arista Was a soldier in Bali's army, and was called a Daitya[157] Krishna
Fourth Bali (or Vairochana) Virochana Patala
(his capital, Gujarat)
Śaiva
Fourth Manthara Virocana Indra[158]
Fourth Sunda Nisunda[20] or Nikumbha[158]
Fourth Upasunda Nisunda[20] or Nikhumbha[158]
Fifth Bana (or Vairochi) Bali[20] and Vindhyavali His capital was Mahātāla.
Fifth Ganganapriya Bāna Performed severe penance for Brahma, for which he was gifted a silver chariot.[105]
Fifth Maricha Sunda[20] and Tataka
Fifth Subahu Sunda and Tataka
Fifth Taraka (or Kalanabha) Upasunda[20]
Sixth Kamalākṣa Tāraka Boon of strength from Śiva.
Sixth Vidyunmalin Taraka Boon of strength from Śiva.
Sixth Tarakakṣa Taraka Boon of strength from Śiva.
Other Ambarya Yugamarya Dandaka
(King of the region, Madhya Pradesh)
Boon of strength from Brahma. Narasimha[159]
Other Asvatamma From Śiva, that he will become one of the next set of Saptaṛṣis. He had fought in the Kurukṣetra War and was said to have been cursed by Kṛṣṇa. He was told by Sage Vyasa that if he seeks to get free of it, that he needs to perform worship of Śiva at the Rameshwaram (established by Śri Rama) pilgrimage.
Other Bhimasura Bhimpuri (modern Bhimora, Gujarat) He ruled Bhimpuri with great tyranny.[160]
Other Brhadisu Sudhanus
Other Brahmadatiya Bengal Was a Brahmin that was also a Daitya in Bengal[161] Brahmadaitya Puja is being celebrated on 1st of Magha month every year just after the next day of Deuli Mela on the bank of Ajay River.
Other Dadhmo Talaja
(Gujarat)
He was slain by Bhavani[162]
Other Daitya[163] Mentioned in the Varaha Purāṇa[164]
Other Daityanayaka[165] Mentioned in the Varaha Purāṇa[166]
Other Diteh putrah[167] Mentioned in the Varaha Purāṇa[168]
Other Hiranya
Other Indra Vahana Slain by Viṣṇu[169]
Other Jalodbhava[170] Sati Sara Lake
(King of the region, Kashmir)
Would cause darkness. Slain by Varaha.
Other Kaitabha Lola Yogini[171] Madhuvana, Savana (Śivana, Haryana)[172] Boon of a holy from Śiva.[173] His abode is Vanavasi on the Tungabhadra tributary in Uttar Pradesh.[23] Slain by Viṣṇu as in his normal Nārāyana form (according to Devi-Bhagavata) or as Hayagriva according to other Purāṇas.
Other Jalandhara (or Sankhacuda, Tul) After him the Tulsi plant is named, and tulasi (of Tul) it refers to Vrinda. His other form is Jwala Mukhi, with which he fought Vishnu's Narasimha form during a part of a battle.
Other Jambuka[174]
Other Karavira
Other Kartasvara or Hiranyasura
Other Kesi
Other Kumbha[158]
Other Madhu Lola Yogini[175] Savana (Śivana, Haryana)[176] His abode is Vanavasi on the Tungabhadra tributary in Uttar Pradesh.[23]
Other Mahalasa (or Mahaala) Kohlapur (Maharashtra) Slain by Laxmi.
Other Lavana Madhu and Khumbhinasi Slain by Rama.
Other Malaka[177] He deserted Viṣṇu's side, and so Sri (Viṣṇu's wife) didn't give support (i.e., wealth), resulting in Maraka stealing the golden vessel. Defeated by Laxmi.
Other Mahiṣa Mahishmati, Vindhya mountains Śaiva Brahma
Other Malla Jejuri (Maharashtra) Śaiva Considered to have come from the body of Madhu. He was a king of the Daityas.[178] (Daityanath in Martand Vijaya 11.26[179]) Brahma Defeated by Khandoba, and converted again to Śaivism from hedonism
Other Mani Jejuri (Maharashtra) Śaiva Considered to have come from the body of Kaitaba Brahma Defeated by Khandoba, and converted again to Śaivism from hedonism.
Other Marutvasura Jalandhara Brahma
Other Maya Mentioned in the Ṛgveda. Defeated and spared by Agni (whereas Namuci was instead slain) and agreed to help the Pandavas construct a palace for them.
Other Mridumarrya Haryana Śaiva
(a staunch devotee of Śiva in northern India around Haryana[180])
Other Mura
Other Murdhaja Mushtika Conquered Amravati. Slain by Durga.
Other Namuci Mentioned in the Ṛgveda. Slain by Agni.
Other Nandur Nimba Daitya Nandur Nimba Daitya village (King of the village, Maharashtra)
Other Nikumbha[158] He was called a "Daitya-chief."[158]
Other Pancajana
Other Raktabhoja[181] Jyotiba (avatar of Śiva)
Other Ratnasura[182] Jyotiba (avatar of Śiva)
Other Ruru[105] Born from the mouth of peacock of Skanda. Brahma Slain by Skanda.
Other Sambara (or Timidhvaja) Kulitara Mentioned in the Ṛgveda. called the "Lord of the Daityas,"[183] and an "Asura",[184] Defeated by King Divodas.
Other Sambhu[185] Mentioned in the Rāmāyana[186] He had killed Vedavati's father.
Other Sanghra Kashmir Slain by Indra, for trying to kidnap Indra's wife Saci.
Other Sankha Captured Amravati and defeated Indra, plundered the city[187]
Other Surapadman Brahma[68] Skanda
Other Talav (or Kalvo) Talaja
(Gujarat)
Associated with him is the Sahasralinga Talav. The shrine in the past had 1000 lingas.[188] He was slain by Bhavani.[162]
Other Talmegha He was born in a Brahmin family.[105] Sesasayi
Other Suvidyut[189] Mentioned in the Varaha Purāṇa.
Other Vakasura
Other Vegavan He had fought with Sambha[190]
Other Viradha Captured Amravati and defeated Indra, plundered the city[191] Brahma
Other Vidyut[192] Mentioned in the Varaha Purāṇa
Other Vrka Viṣṇu

Daityas in Iranian legends

See also: Zoroastrianism and Hinduism and The spread of Hinduism in the Iranian Plateau

Daityas are also mentioned in ancient Zoroastrian texts as good beings. It is believed that the homeland of the Aryans is located by the Daitya River as said in this Avesta quote, "Airyanem Vaijo vanghuydo daityayo," which Darmesteter translates as "the Airyana Vaejo, by the good (vanghuhi) river Daitya."[193] Though this river has not been identified yet, there are theories of its whereabouts. Kashmir has a river named Diti, which is said to have been an incarnation of Diti herself.[194] This river is also popularly called Chandravati or Arapath or Harshapatha.[195]

See also

References

  1. (Sanskrit: दैत्य, also known as Daiteys and Ditijas.
  2. They are also referred as Raksāsas.
  3. Śānti Parva XXXII; P. 244 Book of the women edited by Johannes Adrianus Bernardus Buitenen, James L. Fitzgerald
  4. The Śatapatha Brāhmana (14.4.1.1); P. 63 Studies in proto-history of India Dvārakā Prasāda Miśra
  5. Ādityas were the sons of Diti's sister Aditi and Kashyapa.
  6. As per mythology
  7. [1] Dictionary of ancient deities By Patricia Turner, Charles Russell Coulter
  8. Manusmṛti XII - 48
  9. Ṛg Veda 2.25.16
  10. P. 47 Epic Mythology By Edward Washburn Hopkins
  11. Name = "Hopkins p. 47"
  12. Name = "Hopkins p. 47"
  13. Name = "Narmada" Narmadāparikramā - Circumambulation of the Narmadā River: On the Tradition By Jürgen Neuß
  14. Yajnas means sacrifices.
  15. P. 744 Gazetteers: pt. 1 Surat District By Gujarat (India)
  16. Valmiki Ramayana 15cd-16ab; P. 116 The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: An Epic of Ancient India, Volume III: Aranyakāṇḍa - Sheldon I. Pollock
  17. Here heaven means Amravati.
  18. P. 56 Chapter 21, 5cd-6ab; Brahmapurāṇa By Renate Söhnen-Thieme, Renate Söhnen, Peter Schreiner
  19. P. 21 The sacred scriptures of India, Volume 6 By Chidatman (Swami.)
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 20.12 20.13 20.14 20.15 20.16 Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide By Roshen Dalal
  21. He was Krishna's son.
  22. P. 228 An Index to the Names in the Mahabharata: With Short Explanations and a Concordance to the Bombay and Calcutta Editions and P. C. Roy's Translation, Volumes 1-7 By Søren Sørensen
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Geography, Volume 1 By Subodh Kapoor
  24. Mahabharata, "Aranyaparva", 94.4
  25. 25.0 25.1 The Book of Demons By Nanditha Krishna
  26. It was called as the Golden City.
  27. He was also known as Hardiya.
  28. Vaṅśa Brahmana 1 of Sama Veda; Ancient History of Central Asia: Yuezhi-Gurjar History, Article No 01 By Adesh Katariya
  29. 29.0 29.1 P. 437 Oriental Translation Fund, Volume 52 The Viṣṇu Purāṇa: A System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition By H.H. Wilson
  30. It is located in Rajasthan.
  31. She was Bana's daughter.
  32. He was the grandson of Krishna.
  33. P. 93 The Hindu Temple, Volume 1 By Stella Kramrisch, Raymond Burnier
  34. It means slave.
  35. 35.0 35.1 P. 90 The Triumph of the Goddess: The Canonical Models and Theological Visions of By C. Mackenzie Brown
  36. It means (ahiṅsā).
  37. These methods are called as saman.
  38. Gifts means dana.
  39. Force means daṅda.
  40. 40.0 40.1 P. 257 Ancient Indian Literature: An Anthology By Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi, Inde).
  41. Some other Asuras such as Rāvaṇa had abducted Sita.
  42. P. 42 Studies in the Puranic Records on Hindu Rites and Customs By Rajendra Chandra Hazra
  43. It is a form of Durga.
  44. Here it implies that the doors of Pātāla were locked.
  45. P. 148 Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 68, Parts 1-2 By Asiatic Society, 1900 - Asia
  46. The word means that a person of very powerful features.
  47. He is the weilder of a plough as a weapon.
  48. P. 248 Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology, Volume 60 By Motilal Banarsidass
  49. It means Saturn.
  50. Śrimad Bhagavatam - Chapter 10: The Battle Between the Demigods and the Demons
  51. P. 244 The Penguin Book of Hindu Names By Maneka Gandhi
  52. "O lord, you have said that in the Varuna's Sabha are the Nagas, the chief Daityas, the rivers, and the oceans." - Mahabharata
  53. It also means Mulakathaya.
  54. Śiva's Warriors: The Basava Purāṇa of Palkuriki Somanatha
  55. P. 165 Anthropos By Zaunrith'sche Buch-, Kunst- und Steindruckerei
  56. 56.0 56.1 P. 74 Purāṇam, Volume 31 By All-India Kasiraja Trust
  57. He was the son of Bali.
  58. He was a Daitya.
  59. He was a Dānava.
  60. P. 48 Epic Mythology By Edward Washburn Hopkins
  61. Māyā then later in the Mahābhārata is asked to construct a palace for the Pandavas.
  62. He was the Son of Daruka.
  63. She is the daughter of Brahma.
  64. She is the sister of Srimata.
  65. He is the reincarnation of Karnata.
  66. She is Priyavrata's daughter.
  67. P. 28 Brahmapurāṇa By Renate Söhnen-Thieme, Renate Söhnen, Peter Schreiner
  68. 68.0 68.1 Tales of Gods in Hindu Mythology By V. Satish
  69. Harivaṅśa ii.410; P. 371 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland By Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
  70. P. 134 Sacred Animals of India By Nanditha Krishna
  71. He is also called as Kalvo.
  72. She was the daughter of Kalanemi)
  73. Mahābhārata 12.34:25-34
  74. P. 199 The Mahābhārata Patriline: Gender, Culture, and the Royal Hereditary By Simon Brodbeck
  75. P. 50 The Land of Fourteen Gods: Ethno-cultural Profile of Tripura By Gautam Kumar Bera
  76. It means who bears the title 'Devasura Guru' or Guru of both the Devas and Asuras.
  77. It means that the Lord Adored by the Devas and Asuras.
  78. It means Friend of the Devas and Asuras.
  79. It means Great Lord of the Devas and the Asuras.
  80. It means Great Base of the Devas and Asuras.
  81. It means Lord of the Devas and Asuras.
  82. It means Tiger of the Asuras.
  83. P. 23 South Indian Inscriptions, Tamil and Sanskrit, from Stone and Copperplate edited by Eugen Hultzsch
  84. It is worshiped by Asuras.
  85. It is worshiped by Suras.
  86. It is worshiped by Rākṣasas.
  87. P. 159 The Concept of Rudra-Śiva Through the Ages By Mahadev Chakravarti
  88. He was the son of Hlada.
  89. He was the son of Samhlada.
  90. 90.0 90.1 P. 387 Essays On Indo-Aryan Mythology-Vol. By Aiyangar Narayan
  91. P. 276 [Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal / 1 ] ; Journal of the Asiatic By Asiatic Society of Bengal
  92. It means family's God.
  93. P. 8 Census of India, 1961: India By India. Office of the Registrar General
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  97. P. 50 The aalayas of Andhra Pradesh: a sixteen-flower-garland By K. K. Moorthy
  98. It is in Tamil Nadu.
  99. P. 22 Hindu Vishva, Volume 27, Issues 4-11
  100. It refers to the grand-father.
  101. P. 50 Gajanan By S. P. Bansal
  102. P. Hindu gods and goddesses By M. Gupta
  103. Bhagavad Gitā 10.30
  104. 104.0 104.1 104.2 104.3 Indian Demonology: The Inverted Pantheon By Narendra Nath Bhattacharyya
  105. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Narmada
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  108. P. 102 Sun Worship in India: A Study of Deo Sun-Shrine By Anirudha Behari Saran, Gaya Pandey
  109. Rāmāyana, Chapter 107
  110. Bhāskara is the another name of Surya.
  111. He is the ceremonial priest.
  112. P. 94 Ásura- in Early Vedic Religion By Wash Edward Hale
  113. The Yatudhanas amongst the Rākṣasas were also staunch worshipers of Surya.[2]
  114. 114.0 114.1 P. 162 Ethnology of Ancient Bhārata By Ram Chandra Jain
  115. VIII.8.7.8
  116. 172.59-66
  117. P. 180 Hinduism: A Reader By Deepak Sharma
  118. P. 131 Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine: basic concepts By S. R. Sudarshan
  119. P. 226 The Upanishads, Volume 15 by Henry Frowde
  120. It means ceremonial sacrifices.
  121. It means ceremonial priests.
  122. It means fire ceremony priest.
  123. P. 307 The World's Major Languages edited by Bernard Comrie
  124. P. 294 The Myths of Narasimha and Vāmana: Two Avatars in Cosmological Perspective By Deborah A. Soifer
  125. P. 244 Book of the women edited by Johannes Adrianus Bernardus Buitenen, James L. Fitzgerald
  126. P. 372 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland By Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
  127. It is descending from Sanda to Armada.
  128. It is also called as brahminicide.
  129. P. 362 Researches Into the Nature and Affinity of Ancient and Hindu Mythology By Vans Kennedy
  130. P. 305 Ancient Indian Historical Tradition By F.E. Pargiter
  131. 131.0 131.1 The Mahābhārata, Volume 2: Book 2: The Book of Assembly; Book 3: The Book of the Forest
  132. Brahma Purāṇa, Adhyaya 41, Verse 133; P. 169 Sanskrit indices and text of the Brahmapurāṇa By Peter Schreiner, Renate Söhnen
  133. It means family's God.
  134. P. 8 Census of India, 1961: India By India. Office of the Registrar General
  135. Gajambaradhari is the other name for it.
  136. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SacredAnimals_134
  137. They are also called as 'Salakapuruṣas'.
  138. It is both 'Baladevas', and 'Vasudevas' or 'Nārayans'.
  139. It is also known as 'Prativasudevas'.
  140. P. 82-83 Once the Buddha Was a Monkey: Arya Sura's "Jatakamala" By Āryaśūra, Arya Sùra, Peter Khoroche
  141. P. 31 Yaksha sect and iconography By Ram Nath Misra
  142. same as Aśwaka/Aśvaka.
  143. cf: "King Asoka was the incarnation of Asura or demon Aśva" (Epic Mythology, 1968, p 62, Edward Washburn Hopkins - Religion).
  144. This epic reference to "Aśwa/Aśva" seems to allude to Mauriya connections with the Aśvaka/Aśva clan, as supposed by Dr H. C. Seth, Dr H. R. Gupta, Kirpal Singh and others. The Aśvakas (from Aśwa/Aśva = horse, horseman) were expert cavalrymen and followed horse-culture. They lived in Kunar/Swat valleys north of Kabul river, which was the habitat of Kambojas. Scholars like B. M. Barua, J. W. McCrindle etc also connect Mauriyas to north-west Punjab i.e. Taxila/Gandhara or Kamboja region. D.B. Spooner also invests Mauriyas with Iranian affinities (See: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1915, (Pt.II), pp 406, 416-17).
  145. It is in Maharashtra.
  146. It is a form of Viṣṇu according to Skanda Purāṇa.
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