Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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SUMBHA and NISHUMBHA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] Two Asuras, brothers, who were killed by Durga.

These brothers, as related in the Markandeya Purana, were votaries of Siva, and performed severe penance for 5000 years in order to obtain immortality. Siva refused the boon, and they continued their devotions with such increased intensity for 800 years more, that the gods trembled for their power.

By advice of Indra, the god of love, Kama, went to them with two celestial nymphs, Rambha and Tilottama, and they succeeded in seducting the two Asuras and holding them in the toils of sensuality for 5000 years. On recovering from their voluptuous aberration they drove the nymphs back to paradise and recommenced their penance.

At the end of 1000 years Siva blessed them "that in riches and strength they should excel the gods." In their exaltation they warred against the gods, who, in despair, appealed in succession to Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, but in vain. The latter advised them to apply to Durga, and they did so. She contrived to engage the Asuras in war, defeated their forces, slew their commanders, Chanda and Munda, and finally killed them. \

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