Biographies | Daitya
Vishnu Puraan, 1/13 says that Namuchi was the son of Viprachitti (son of Maharshi Kashyap and Danu) and Sinhikaa (daughter of Maharshi Kashyap and Diti), the sister of Hiranyakashyap, she got burnt while burning her nephew Prahlaad). It means that he was the grandson of Kashyap.
He had several well-known brothers - Shalya, mighty Nabh, Vaataapi, Ilval, Khasrim, Andhak, Narakaasur, Kaalnaabh, Mahaaveer, Swarbhaanu (Raahu), Vaktrayodhee. MBH, G-3-Youth/16 says that Maya Daanav was his brother.
The legend of Namuchi first appears in the Rig Ved, where it is said that Indra ground "the head of the slave Namuchi like a sounding and rolling cloud,". It is mentioned in Shatapath Braahman and Mahaabhaarat too.
When Indra conquered the Asur, there was one Namuchi named Asur who resisted so
strongly that he overpowered Indra and held him as a prisoner. Namuchi offered to
let Indra go on the promise that he would not kill him by day or by night, and
with any kind of weapon which is wet or dry. Indra made the promise and got released.
Later on the advice of Vishnu, he cut off Namuchi's head at twilight (between day
and night), and with foam of sea, which was according to the authorities, neither
wet nor dry. The Mahaabhaarat adds that his severed head followed Indra calling out
"O wicked slayer of thy friend."
Namuchi had a great Var that he should not be killed by any weapon, wet or dry; and he should not be killed in day or night.
According to MBH, Shalya, 43 Indra had made a pact with him that he would not kill him with any weapon, wet or dry; and he should not be killed in day or night. But one day when it was fog, he killed him with foam and his Vajra. The severed head followed Indra saying, "O killer of a friend, O wretch." At this Indra sought shelter with Brahmaa and told everything that happened. Brahmaa suggested him to perform a sacrifice and take bath in Arunaa River with proper rites, that would make him free of sin. Indra did the same and he got free of sin. Namuchi's head also fell down in the same river, so he also got many eternal regions.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 03/26/13