CYAVANA – An asura (demon) sage


Cyavana was a son of the great teacher and priest of the demons, Bhrigu. Cyavana had become a great magician like his father, but he had grown old and blind. The Asvins, the Divine Twins, cured Cyavana of both his old age and blindness. After getting back his youth, Cyavana was extremely happy with theAsvins, who had won their fame as physicians to the gods. Now Indra had banned the Asvins from partaking of soma, the celestial drink. Cyavana promĀ­ised that he would help them get soma, even if it meant opposing Indra, king of the gods. Cyavana organized a soma sacrifice (soma-yaga) and invited all the devas, including the Asvins. Indra was furious to see the Asvins at the yaga and ordered them to leave. Consequently, Cyavana started a fight with Indra using all his magical powers. He made a demon called Mada out of the sacrificial fire and sent it to kill Indra. Indra attempted to use his vajrayudha, his war disc, to retaliate, but found all his limbs frozen. Indra prayed to his guru Brihaspati. And Brihaspati advised him to give up and apologize to Cyavana. Cyavana accepted Indra’s apology, but then Indra used that moment of truce to tear the demon sage into four pieces. These four pieces became the game of dice, hunting, wine, and women. And all still have magical power over men.

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