Yayati in his conversation with Ashtaka mentioned about two-legged, four-legged and six-legged animals.

"Yayati answered, 'After falling from heaven, the being becometh a subtile substance living in water. This water becometh the semen whence is the seed of vitality. Thence entering the mother's womb in the womanly season, it developeth into the embryo and next into visible life like the fruit from the flower. Entering trees, plants, and other vegetable substances, water, air, earth, and space, that same watery seed of life assumeth the quadrupedal or bipedal form. This is the case with all creatures that you see.' ...............

"Ashtaka asked, 'After death, the body is burnt, or otherwise destroyed. Reduced to nothing upon such dissolution, by what principle is one revived?' Yayati said, 'O lion among kings, the person that dies assumes a subtil form; and retaining consciousness of all his acts as in a dream, he enters some other form with a speed quicker than that of air itself. The virtuous attain to a superior, and the vicious to an inferior form of existence. The vicious become worms and insects. I have nothing more to say, O thou of great and pure soul! I have told thee how beings are born, after development of embryonic forms, as four-footed, six-footed creatures and others with more feet. What more wilt thou ask me?'

[SECTION XC, Sambhava Parva, Adi Parva, The Mahabharata]

Although Yayati mentioned that there are beings with more than six foot. He did not tell explicitly any number more than six.

Do scriptures of Hinduism mention any other numbers restricted to legs of creatures other than two, four and six?

1 Answer 1


Yes there is mentioning of a creature called as "Sarabha" , having eight legs , who dwells in snow mountains and is foe of elephants and lions etc. i.e. he is a eight-legged beast.

This Sharabha creature is mentioned in Mahabharata -Shanti Parva- Rajadharmanushasana Parva- Chapter 117. This is a story of a dog transformed into various animals like lion ,tiger ,elephant etc. by a sage.

अष्टपादूर्ध्वनयन : शरभो वनगोचर : |
तं सिहं हन्तुमागगच्छन्मुनेतस्य निवेशनम् ||13 ||

P 253 Some time after one day, a slayer of all animals, possessed of great strength inspiring all creatures with fright, having eight legs and eyes on the forehead, viz., a Sarabha, came to that spot. Indeed he came to that very hermitage for the object of slaying the Rishi's lion. Seeing this, the sage transformed his lion into a Sarabha of great strength. The wild Sarabha, beholding the Rishi's Sarabha before him to be fiercer and more powerful, quickly fled away, from that forest.

This fabulous creature Sarabha is also mentioned in Yoga-vasistha - Book VII - Nirvana prakarana part 2 -Chapter CXXXI - Bhasa's account of the worlds.

पादाष्टकैरावलितात्मपृष्ठो मृतेऽम्भसः क्लेशकृतात्ममृत्युः ।
समाः शतार्धं शरभोऽहमासं क्रौञ्चाचले काञ्चनकन्दरासु ॥ 36 ॥

pādāṣṭakairāvalitātmapṛṣṭho mṛte'mbhasaḥ kleśakṛtātmamṛtyuḥ |
samāḥ śatārdhaṃ śarabho'hamāsaṃ krauñcācale kāñcanakandarāsu || 36 ||

I lived for half a century as a Sarabha, a wild animal with eight legs; I dwelt in the caves of Krancha mountain, and brought on my death by falling down from a craig, in attempting to fight with the raining clouds on high.

Thus in hinduism scriptures a eight legged creature is also mentioned.

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