defeated the best of celestials in battle. The
latter, numbering thousands upon thousands, with mangled
bodies, those denizens of heaven, with Indra at their
head, deprived of energy and might, all repaired to
Brahman and sought his protection, afraid of the great
Asura Vritra. And the gods said, ’O best
of gods, O foremost of celestials, be thou the refuge
of the gods now crushed by Vritra. Indeed, rescue
us from this great fear.’ Then Brahmana,
addressing Vishnu staying beside him as also those
best of celestials headed by Sakra, said unto them
that were all cheerless, these words fraught with truth:
Indeed, the gods with Indra at their head, and the
Brahmanas also, should ever be protected by me.
The energy of Tvashtri from which Vritra hath been
created is invincible. Having in days of yore
performed ascetic penances for a million of years,
Tvashtri, then, ye gods, created Vritra, obtaining
permission from Maheswara. That mighty foe of
yours hath succeeded in smiting you through the grace
of that god of gods. Without going to the place
where Sankara stayeth, ye cannot see the divine Hara.
Having seen that god, ye will be able to vanquish Vritra.
Therefore, go ye without delay to the mountains of
Mandara. There stayeth that origin of ascetic
penances, that destroyer of Daksha’s sacrifice,
that wielder of Pinaka, that lord of all creatures,
that slayer of the Asura called Bhaganetra.’
Thus addressed by Brahman, the gods proceeding to Mandara
with Brahman in their company, beheld there that heap
of energy, that Supreme god endued with the splendour
of a million suns. Seeing the gods Maheswara
welcomed them and enquired what he was to do for them.
’The sight of ray person can never be fruitless.
Let the fruition of your desires proceed from this.’
Thus addressed by him, the dwellers of heaven replied,
’We have been deprived of our energy by Vritra.
Be thou the refuge of the dwellers of heaven.
Behold, O lord, our bodies beaten and bruised by his
strokes. We seek thy protection. Be thou
our refuge, O Maheswara!’ The god of gods, called
Sarva, then said, ’Ye gods, it is well-known
to you how this action, fraught with great strength,
terrible and incapable of being resisted by persons
destitute of ascetic merit, originated, springing
from the energy of Tvashtri (the divine artificer).
As regards myself, it is certainly my duty to render
aid to the dwellers of heaven. O Sakra, take
this effulgent armour from off my body. And, O
chief of the celestials, put it on, mentally uttering
“Drona continued, ’Having said these words,
the boon-giving (Siva) gave that armour with the mantras
(to be uttered by the wearer). Protected by that
armour, Sakra proceeded against the host of Vritra
in battle. And although diverse kinds of weapons
were hurled at him in that dreadful battle, yet the
joints of that armour could not be cut open. Then
the lord of the celestials slew Vritra, and afterwards
gave unto Angiras that armour, whose joints were made
up of mantras. And Angiras imparted those mantras
to his son Vrihaspati, having a knowledge of all mantras.
And Vrihaspati imparted that knowledge to Agnivesya
of great intelligence. And Agnivesya imparted
it to me, and it is with the aid of those mantras,
O best of kings, that I, for protecting thy body, tie
this armour on thy body.’