Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about Dadhicha at the Urday website.

DADHYANCH, DADHICHA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] (Dadhicha is a later form.) A vedic Rishi, son of Atharvan, whose name frequently occurs.

The legend about him, as it appears in the Rigveda, is that Indra taught him certain sciences, but threatened to cut off his head if he taught them to any one else. The Aswins prevailed upon Dadhyanch to communicate his knowledge to them, and, to preserve him from the wrath of Indra, they took off his own head and replaced it with that of a horse. When Indra struck off the sage's equine head the Aswins restored his own to him.

A verse of the Rigveda says, "Indra, with the bones of Dadhyanch, slew ninety times nine Vritras;" and the story told by the scholiast in explanation is, that while Dadhyanch was living on earth the Asuras were controlled and tranquillised by his appearance; but when he had gone to heaven, they overspread the whole earth. Indra inquired for Dadhyanch, or any relic of him. He was told of the horse's head, and when this was found in a lake near Kurukshetra, Indra used the bones as weapons, and with them slew the Asuras, or, as the words of the Vedic verse are explained, he "foiled the nine times ninety stratagems of the Asuras or Vritras."

The story as afterwards told in the Mahabharata and Puranas is that the sage devoted himself to death that Indra and the gods might be armed with his bones as more effective weapons than thunderbolts for the destruction of Vrita and the Asuras.

According to one account he was instrumental in bring about the destruction of "Daksha's sacrifice."

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM