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Shiva as Veerabhadra slaying the demon Andaka, Elephanta Caves

In Hindu mythology, Andhaka (अंधक) often refers to a malevolent asura, demon. Shiva assumed the Veerabhadra form to kill him.[1][2][3] His story finds mention in various Hindu texts, including Matsya Purana and Shiva Purana. [4]


The story goes like this. While in the mount Mandhar, a baby was born to Parvati and Shiva. Shiva was in a meditating posture and Parvati closed his eyes mischievously from behind. The boy appeared out of Parvati and Shiva’s sweat. Shiva explains to Parvati that since his eyes were closed, the baby was born blind and was called Andhaka (the dark/blind). Since he posed devilish qualities he was called Andhakasur (the blind demon). Hiranyaksh, a troublesome demon did intense penance to please Lord Shiva. Hiranyaksh wanted a son who possesses immense powers to rule the world. Shiva refused to grant such a boon. Instead he offered Andhaka to Hiranyaksh saying that Andhaka possesses all the qualities he was looking for, and to treat him as his son. Andhaka wanted more power and did intense penance to please Lord Brahma. Among many things, the boons he asked for included extraordinary vision and immortality. Everything was granted except the immortality. Instead, Lord Brahma asked him to choose when he could die. Andhakasur asked for a boon that he would die only when he aspires for a woman who he should never aspire for. With time Andhakasur turned more materialistic and less interested in austerities. By this time he has already conquered the world and the heaven. On a pleasure trip he along with his companions lands up in Mount Mandhar where Lord Shiva and Parvati lives. His companions tells of a sage and his beautiful wife. Andhaka sends his companions to bring her along. Shiva explains to them that they are Andhaka’s parents. The companions mistook it for a ploy and compels Andhaka for a fight. Shiva and Parvati will soon play a horrible role in the battlefield in many different forms, they told their sons Kartikeya and Ganesh that. The next morning, Shiva and Parvati's army reached the battlefield with Andhaka's army also vice-versa. Andhaka wants Parvati to be his. Parvati was furious on seeing Andhaka's huge army, so she invokes the eight Mother Goddesses, one Goddess was created, wearing the yellow robes and holding a rosary and waterpot, her name was Brahmani, another Goddess was created, wearing the pink robes, having eight hands holding two jars of honey while the rest are holding a lotus, discus, arrow, bow, rosary and mace, and riding a tiger, that Goddess's name was Vaishnavi, another Goddess was created, wearing the robes of white, having four hands holding a trident drum, and rosary while the last hand is in defending, riding a white taurus, that Goddess's name was Maheshwari, another Goddess was created having eight hands holding a bow, arrow, trident, mace, longsword, discus and shield, wearing the red robes, that Goddess's name was Kaumari, another Goddess was created, wearing the gold robes and holding a forked weapon, that Goddess's name was Indrani, another Goddess was created, wearing the blue robes and holding a sword, that Goddess's name was Varahi, another Goddess was created, wearing the bright robes of yellow, having four hands holding two lotuses and a rosary, one hand remains in defending, riding a lion, that Goddess's name wa Narasimhi and the last Goddess was created wearing the red robes, having eight hands holding a sword, longsword, bow, arrow, mace, shield and trident, riding on a lion, that Goddess's name was Chamundai. Lord Shiva takes the form of Veerbhadra, he did not manage to kill Andhaka. When Andhaka was bleeding from his hands, arms, legs feet or hands, a new clone of Andhaka appears, Veerbhadra tries again, but failed, Parvati ordered Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Narasimhi and Varahi to go on Veerbhadra's side while she will be teamed up with Chamundai, Brahmani, Indrani and Kaumari. So Parvati takes the form of Goddess Bhadrakali, with eighteen hands holding terrible weapons. She arrives on the spot with the four Matrikas and the other four. Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Narasimhi and Varahi were with Veerbhadra and Bhadrakali with Chamundai, Brahmani, Indrani and Kaumari. They have tried again to kill Andhaka, but there were so many clones of him everywhere over the battlefield. Goddess Bhadrakali has an idea that the Matrikas (four from Veerbhadra and four from Bhadrakali) should use their weapons and Bhadrakali will collect the blood of Andhaka's clones in her container and not let one drop of blood fall on the ground. Veerbhadra, along with Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Varahi, Indrani, Chamundai and Narasimhi all used their weapons and gave all the blood of Andhaka to Bhadrakali in her container. After that, the Matrikas fought and destroyed the huge army of Andhaka. After that was also finished, Chamundai, Brahmani, Indrani and Kaumari surrounded Andhaka from the north, Veerbhadra from the south, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Narasimhi and Varahi from the east and Bhadrakali from the west. Andhaka remained in the middle, so, with the strenuous effort, managed to kill Andhaka.

In Mahabharata[edit]

Some millions of years later, three of Andhaka's generals (Duryodhana [This is not the Duryodhana from the Mahabharata], Vighasa and Hasti) happened upon Shiva and Parvati in a cave, but did not recognise them. They thought that the woman was beautiful enough for their king, and so hurried back to tell him the good news.

Andhaka asked them to return and ask for the woman in marriage. Shiva refused and Andhaka rushed to the cave to do battle.

There then followed a battle that lasted for hundreds of years and involved many other gods and demons, but finally Shiva killed Andhaka by thrusting his trident through his son's chest. In some accounts, Lord Shiva held Andhaka on His (Lord Shiva's) trident until the Sun withered away Andhaka's sins. After that time, Andhaka was purified by the Lord's touch and became a Gana (attendant) to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The myth stresses Andhaka's unnatural lust for his mother, a product of his blindness and inability to recognize moral wrongs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stella Kramrisch (January 1994). The Presence of Siva. Princeton University Press. pp. 375–. ISBN 978-0-691-01930-7. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Charles Dillard Collins (1 January 1988). The Iconography and Ritual of Siva at Elephanta. SUNY Press. pp. 58–. ISBN 978-0-7914-9953-5. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  3. ^ George M. Williams (27 March 2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 54–. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  4. ^ B. K. Chaturvedi (2004). Shiv Purana. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. pp. 106–. ISBN 978-81-7182-721-3. Retrieved 28 August 2013.