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It is well-known that Shiva's son Ganesha is the general of Shiva's army of Ganas. What is not as well-known, however, is that Vishnu also has an army, led by the god Vishvaksena. The Skanda Purana describes Vishvaksena's birth in Tirupati, as I discuss here. And Vishvaksena plays an important role in the Sri Vaishnava sect, as I discuss here and here.

But Vishvaksena is supposed to be the general of Vishnu's army, and yet I hadn't heard of Vishvaksena ever leading this army into battle. But now I've come across such a story, in this excerpt from the Sthala Purana of the world-renowned Tirmala Venkateshwara temple in Tirupati. It talks about how three Asura brothers named Devajit, Mrityujit, and Satrujit once threatened the the three worlds, so the gods sought help from Vishnu in Tirupati, and as a result Vishnu's army led by Vishvaksena came and defeated the Asuras.

Devajit, Mrityujit and Satrujit were three brothers. They were demons, descendants of Hiranyaksha, and experts in spreading illusion. They obtained a boon from Brahma that no God could kill them. They troubled everyone and were a menace to all. Due to their atrocities, the Gods, who enjoyed a share in sacrifices hitherto, lost it. The demons usurped that. Consequently, sages could not carry on penance. Sacrifices had to be given up. The Sun did not shine. Fire did not burn. None could oppose the three demon brothers. Gods had to approach the Lord residing on Narayanachala for protection. The Lord deputed Vishwaksena to eliminate the demons. Vishwaksena, accompanied by his mighty forces and powerful chiefs, marched. He attacked the demons, who gave a fierce fight. It looked as though the sky was burning. Then Devajit released is illusory powers against Vishwasena. Vishwaksena's army fell in a swoon. But Kedhavi, a minister of Vishwaksena, who as also a master of the same craft, neutralised the powers of ie demon. Most of the demons army perished. Mrityujit then put his illusory powers into action. Satrughna, from Vishwaksena's army immediately cut off the ornaments on Mrityujit's head. A fierce battle took place. Kalagni, another minister of Vishwaksena put into action his illusory powers and destroyed most of the demons' army. The demon fell down struck by the force released by Kalagni.

At last, Vishwaksena released the Narayanastra, the most powerful. It rushed to the enemy like the great fire at the time of destruction of the Universe. Oceans trembled and mountains quivered. The Gods and sages witnessing the battle thought that the world was going to end. Finally, Narayanastra reduced to ashes the demons' army and the demons. Everyone sang the praise of Vishwaksena and his army and departed.

My question is, what scriptures describe this story if Vishvaksena defeating three Asura brothers? As I discuss here, the Sthala Purana of the Tirupati temple consists of extracts from various Puranas, so which Purana is this passage from? This passage comes right after an account of Vishvaksena's birth, which is apparently from the Vamana Purana as I discuss here. So could this story also be from the Vamana Purana?

All I could find so far is a single verse from the Venkateshwara Ashtotthara hymn of the Varaha Purana, which alludes to this story:

Salutations to Sri Venkatesa, who destroyed hordes of asuras, led by Devajit!

But do any scriptures actually tell the full story?

Also, on a side note do any other scriptures mention Vishvaksena's attendants Kedhavi, Shatrughna, and Kalagni? I discuss four of Vishvaksena's attendants in my question here.

  • This is quite similar to Tripura Dahana by Lord Shiva. – Surya Jan 1 '16 at 3:37

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