Andhaka (Blind One) is the blind demon born to SHIVA and PARVATI in the following way: Parvati was joking with Shiva and covered up his three eyes with her hands. As she did this, the entire cosmos fell into darkness. Parvati’s hands began to sweat as they covered Shiva’s potent third eye. From the sweat of her hands, heated up by the third eye of Shiva, arose Andhaka, an angry black blind demon.
   Andhaka is thus considered the son of Parvati, but when the childless demon king HIRANYAKSHA, after performing strict austerities, requested a son as a boon from Shiva, he gave him Andhaka. After a short time, Hiranyaksha died and Andhaka became the king of the demons. After horrific austerities, in which he offered every ounce of his own flesh to a sacrificial fire, Andhaka was given a boon. His request was very strange: If he were ever to desire the most desirable woman of all, he asked to be destroyed. The “most desirable woman of all,” however, could only have been his own mother, Parvati. Eventually, he did in fact manifest this desire, and he was impaled by Shiva on his trident. Existing half-dead there, Andhaka became purified and a complete devotee of Shiva and Parvati and ceased being a demon.
   Further reading: Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978); E. Washburn Hopkins, Epic Mythology (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986); Stella Kramrisch, The Presence of Siva (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univer-sity Press, 1981).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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