The war between Devas and Demons fought for the custody of Tara, Brihaspati's wife who had been abducted by Chandra is known as the Tārakāmaya War and it is given in detail in Chapter 6 of the Vishnu Purana.

I came across a book called The Purana Index that mentions something interesting about it:

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Is this correct? Indra does kill Virochan however, as mentioned in the Kedar Kanda of the Skanda Purana the circumstances are very different. Virochana is extremely generous, so Indra approaches him in the form of an old beggar and asks him for his head and the Daitya actually obliges!

So my question is - Did Indra kill Virochana and Vishnu kill Kālanemi at the time of Tārakāmaya war?


Yes, Lord Vishnu Killed Kalanemi and Lord Indra Killed Virochana in Tarakamaya War. It is mentioned in Brahmanda Purana 3.72.

20-21a. It is he by whom all those Daityas were killed in the battle called Tarakamaya (the war caused by the abduction of Tara by Candra) after adopting a body consisting of (the essential spirit of) all Devas and holding all sorts of weapons. Kalanemi who was arrogant on account of his great prowess, was killed by him.

This chapter is dedicated in the praise of Lord Vishnu and author is indicating Lord Vishnu by Him.

79-80. Prahlada was defeated by Indra in the battle that followed the churning of the ocean for the sake of nectar Virocana who was the son of Prahlāda and who always attempted to slay Indra was killed by Indra himself by means of his exploits in the Tarakamaya battle.


Did Indra kill Virochana Did Vishnu kill Kālanemi at the time of Tārakāmaya war?

Yes , Lord Vishnu Killed Kālanemi at Tārakāmaya war. This story is described in Harivamsha Purana. - chapter 48 - Kaalnemi Vadha eimination of Kaalnemi .

In this chapter we find the story of Lord Vishnu Killing Kaalnemi in Tārakāmaya war.The chapters from 42-48 are about Tarakamaya war. Here are the shlokas -:

सम्मुष्णन् दानवं तेजं: समरे स्वेन तेजसा |
चिच्छेद बाहुं चक्रेण श्रीधर: कालनेमिन: ||46||

saMmuShNan dAnavaM tejaH samare svena tejasA |
chichCheda bAhuM chakreNa shrIdharaH kAlaneminaH ||1-48-46

Then wiping out the gumption of the demon kAla-nemi with his own shrIdhara, aka viShNu with his disc severed the hundred arms of kAla-nemi…

तच्च वक्त्रशतं घोरं साग्निचुर्णाटहासीनम् |
तस्य दैत्यस्य चक्रेण प्रममाथ बलाद्भरि: ||47||

tat cha vaktra-shataM ghoraM sa agni-chUrNa aTTahAsinam |
tasya daityasya chakreNa pramamAtha balAt hariH ||1-48-47

Further, shrIhari with that disc sudarshana rived the hundred macabre heads of that demon kAla-nemi that have stentorian laughs like the blaring trebuchets, or catapults that launch glaring fireballs – golaka utkshepaNa yantrA-s; teShAm mahA shabdaH…

स छिन्नबाहुर्विशारा न प्राकम्पत दानव : |
कवन्धोSवस्थित: संख्ये विशाख इव पादप: ||48||

sa chChinna bAhuH vi-shirA na prAkampata dAnavaH |
kabandho avasthitaH saMkhye vi-shAkha iva pAdapaH ||1-48-48

Although his arms are chopped off and his heads are cut off, that dAnava kAla-nemi did not flinch the least but still stood in the battle like the trunk of a tree shorn of all its branches…

तं वितत्य महापक्षी वायो: कृत्वा समं जवम् |
उरसा पातयामास गरुड: कालनेमिनम् ||49||
स तस्य देहो विमुखोविशाख: खात् परिभ्रमान |
निपपात दिवं त्यत्वा क्षोभयन धरणीतलम् ||50||

taM vitatya mahA-pakShau vAyoH kR^itvA samaM javam |
urasA pAtayAmAsa garuDaH kAlaneminam || 1-48-49
sa tasya deho vi-mukho vi-shAkhaH khAt paribhraman |
nipapAta divaM tyaktvA shobhayan dharaNI-talam ||1-48-50

Spreading both of his sweeping wings, assuming the speed of a tempest, garuDa with a single bump of his chest knocked kAla-nemi down… felling that faceless, armless truck of that demon so far vaulting on the sky onto earth in one fell swoop…

तस्मिन्निपतिते दैत्ये देवाः सर्षिगणास्तदा |
साधु साध्विति वैकुण्ठं समेता: प्रत्यपूजयन ||51||

tasmin nipatite daitye devAH sa rShigaNAH tadA |
sAdhu sAdhu iti vaikuNThaM sametAH pratyapUjayan ||1-48-51

When that daitya kAla-nemi is thus eliminated all the gods with sages began to praise nArAyaNa saying “Good Lord! Good heavens!

Indra killing Virochana

Indra Killing Virochana is also mentioned in Matsya Purana-Chapter XLVII -

At the time of churning of the ocean for the nectar Indra conquered Prahlada.And then he killed the son of Prahlada in Tarakamaya war ;for the latter was always after the life of Indra.

  • Thank you for a detailed answer! But the Harivamsha verses dont seem to contain any reference to the Tarakamaya.:( Sep 14 '17 at 14:09
  • @Dr.VineetAggarwal does that mean Virochana’s head was restored later by Indra or Vishnu following the event described in Skanda purana? Otherwise how do we explain two version of Virochana’s death
    – Ketan
    Dec 14 '19 at 20:53
  • 1
    @Ketan am not sure how the two can be reconciled unless these are two similar events that happened in different Kalpas Dec 28 '19 at 12:25

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