Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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NAMUCHI. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A demon slain by Indra with the foam of water.

The legend of Namuchi first appears in the Rigveda, where it is said that Indra ground "the head of the slave Namuchi like a sounding and rolling cloud," but it is amplified by the commentator and also in the Satapatha Brahman and Mahabharata.

When Indra conquered the Asuras there was one Namuchi who resisted so strongly that he overpowered Indra and held him. Namuchi offered to let Indra go on promise not to kill him by day or by night, with wet or with dry. Indra gave the promise and was released, but he cut off Namuchi's head at twilight, between day and night, and with foam of water, which was according to the authorities, neither wet nor dry. The Mahabharata adds that the dissevered head followed Indra calling out "O wicked slayer of thy friend."

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