Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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AURVA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A Rishi, son of Urva and grandson of Bhrigu. He is described in the Mahabharata as born of the sage Chyavana by his wife Arushi. From his race he is called Bhargava.

The Mahabharata relates that a king named Kritavirya was very liberal to his priests of the race of Bhrigu, and that they grew rich upon his munificence. After his death, his descendants, who had fallen into poverty, begged help from the Bhrigus, and met with no liberal response. Some of them buried their money, and when this was discovered the impoverished Kshatriyas were so exasperated that they slew all the Bhrigus down to the children in the womb. One woman concealed her unborn child in her thigh, and the Kshatriyas being informed of this, sought the child to kill it, but the child "issued forth from its mother's thigh with lustre and blinded the persecutors. From being produced from the thigh (uru), the child received the name of Aurva.

The sage's austerities alarmed both gods and men, and he for a long time refused to mitigate his wrath against the Kshatriyas, but at the persuasion of the Pitris, he cast the fire of his anger into the sea, where it became a being with the face of a horse called Hayasiras.

While he was living in the forest he prevented the wife of King Bahu from burning herself with her husband's corpse. Thus he saved the life of her son, with whom she had been pregnant seven years. When the child was born he was called Sagara (ocean); Aurva was his preceptor, and bestowed on him the Agneyastra, or fiery weapon with which he conquered the barbarians who invaded his country.

Aurva had a son named Richika, who was father of Jamadagni

The Harivansa gives another version of the legend about the offspring of Aurva. The sage was urged by his friends to beget children. He consented, but he foretold that his progeny would live by the destruction of others. Then he produced from his thigh a devouring fire, which cried out with a loud voice, "I am hungry; let me consume the world." The various regions were soon in flames, when Brahma interfered to save his creation, and promised the son of Aurva a suitable abode and maintenance. The abode was to be at Badavimukha, the mouth of the ocean; for Brahma was born and rests in the ocean, and he and the newly produced fire were to consume the world together at the end of each age, and at the end of time to devour all things with the gods, Asuras, and Rakshasas. The name Aurva thus signifies, shortly, the submarine fire. It is also called Badavanala and Samvarttaka. It is represented as a flame with a horse's head, and is also called Kakadhwaja, from carrying a banner on which there is a crow.

BADAVA [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] ' A mare, the submarine fire.' In mythology it is a flame with the head of a horse, called also Hayasiras, `horsehead.'


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