Like Aditi, the mother of Adityas (including Indra), Danu is one of the wives of Kashyap Rishi who is the mother of Danavs. This Rigvedic Verse that describes the killing of the dragon Vritra by Indra says:

8 There as he lies like a bank-bursting river, the waters taking courage flow above him. The Dragon lies beneath the feet of torrents which Vṛtra with his greatness had encompassed.

9 Then humbled was the strength of Vṛtra's mother: Indra hath cast his deadly bolt against her. The mother was above, the son was under and like a cow beside her calf lay Danu.

10 Rolled in the midst of never-ceasing currents flowing without a rest for ever onward. The waters bear off Vṛtra's nameless body: the foe of Indra sank to during darkness.

Does this imply that Danu was killed or is she just lying by her dead son's side? Are there any scriptures that elaborate on this? If Danu was dead would that mean there were no more Danavs born after Vritra?

  • @Anurag Singh Well pointed out event about Danu, but it explains the birth of Maruts with symbolic meaning that they grown within the dominion of Vritra itself. Since RigVeda tells us the existence of Maruts during Indra-Vritra battle, this story of Purana tells us about an earlier event, which clears our question - how Maruts came into being. A fact which poetic Verses of RigVeda hardly explain. Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 8:27
  • @B.N.Bhaskar I am sorry. I actually mistook Danu with Diti. It was Diti whose son was divided into 49 parts. Danu is different from diti. I mistook Diti for Danu.
    – user9392
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


The question does not mention Mandala and Verse of RigVeda from where these two hymns are taken. However the name of Danu as mother of Vritra appears only in the Verse 32 of Mandala 1, it was easy to locate.

This Verse gives a detailed description of killing Vritra by Indra. The name of Danu appears only in the hymn (9)and it does not mention the killing of Danu. Let us examine the meaning of this hymn in detail which is not too difficult -

'nicha avaya abhavat Vritra putra' (happened to be laid down son Vritra}

'Indro asya ava Vadhir jabhar' {Indra has killed him, knowing}

'uttara surdharah putra aasit Danu'{ the left side of mighty son, came Danu}

'shaye sah vatsa na dhenu' { slept like cow over calf}

This kind of sentence stucture is typical of RigVeda which also continued in later scriptues{eg. Valmiki Ramayan} to some extant. And it gives a problem for translators, but it is difficult to understand which word is indicating 'deadly bolt' to translator. Any how, the couplet 'aasit Danu' clearly mean 'Danu came' and slept by the left side{uttara} of the dead body ofher son. The next hymn {10} clearifies where the dead body was placed - 'kasttana madhye nihitam shariram' {body was place in the midst of wood}.

The second question that danava were sons of Danu is a myth spread by some of the later scripture. RigVeda gives a different meaning of the term'danava'. a word "jir danum' appears quite frequently in RigVeda.{ref. RV.1.165.15 also RV.5.62.3} where it is used in the context of various gods like Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Maruts thereby meaning 'quick giver'. One can find the similar meaning in the dictionary of Spokensanskrit.org/. available on net.

The main problem is understanding RigVedic text and it usually arises when we try to explain through meaning provided by later scriptures which often contains symbolic meaning and we often take them literally.

  • 2
    Well the verse is hyperlinked in the question already you just have to click on the link no need for additional sleuthing :) Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 7:05
  • @Dr.VineetAggarwal I have just joined the site and don't know many details. Thanks for pointing out. You could have selected a better term than 'sleuthing' as it has a smack of animosity. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 10:06
  • 1
    Well Mr. Bhaskar I did put a smiley after the statement but if you notice just the 'animosity' not the 'friendliness' in the statement I would rather not comment anymore on your selective perception. Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 5:45
  • @Dr.VineetAggarwal Again I could not recognise the symbol. May I take my words back ? How can I miss a peers comment who touches the topics on RigVeda more than any one else - the prime topic of my interest. Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 12:55

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