Asikni (goddess)

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In Hindu mythology, Asikni (Sanskrit: असिक्नी, romanizedAsiknī, lit.'the dark one' or 'night'), also known as Panchajani and Virani, is a consort of Daksha in the Puranic pantheon. Most scriptures mention her as the mother of 6000 sons and 60 daughters.

The wife of Daksha
Other namesPanchajani, Virani, Virini
Personal information
ParentsVirana or Panchajana (father)

Etymology and epithetsEdit

The Sanskrit word "Asikni" means 'dark' or 'night'; it can also refer to "a girl attending woman's apartment".[1][2] The word is used in the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE) to describe the river Chenab.[3][4][a]

She is also known by the patronymic "Panchajani" and "Virani".[7]



Puranas differ about her parentage.

Devi-Bhagavata Purana,[7] Kalika Purana,[8] Garuda Purana, and Brahma Purana[9] note Asikni to have been born of Brahma's left thumb. According to the Bhagavata Purana[10] and Shiva Purana,[11] she was the daughter of Prajapati Panchajana.

Brahma Purana,[9] Brahmanda Purana,[12] Vayu Purana,[13] Kalika Purana, Kurma Purana,[14] Padma Purana,[15] Garuda Purana,[16] and Shiva Purana[11] note her to be the daughter of Prajapati Virana.[17]


The broad theme is common to Vayu Purana,[18] Bhagavata Purana,[8] and Brahma Purana.[9][7][b]

Daksa was delegated by Brahma to inhabit the world; he went on to create Gods, Sages, Asuras, Yaskhas and Rakhashas from mind but failed to be further successful.[7][9][c][d] Upon a successful penance, Vishnu granted Asikni as his wife and urged him to engage in sexual union.[7][10][e]


Through their union, numerous children were born.[8] A common theme spans across the Brahmanda Purana,[12] Bhagavata Purana,[10] Linga Purana[19][f], Garuda Purana,[16] Kurma Purana,[14] Shiva Purana,[11][17] Vishnu Purana,[20][21] Vayu Purana,[20][13] Padma Purana[15][g], and Brahma Purana[9] in this regard.[8]

Daksha and Asikni initially produced five thousand sons, who were known as Haryasvas.[7] They were interested in populating the Earth but upon the advice of Narada, took to discovering worldly affairs instead and never returned back.[7][h] Daksha and Asikni again produced another thousand sons (Sabalasvas), who had similar intentions but were persuaded by Narada to the same results.[7][i] An angry Daksha cursed Narada to be a perpetual wanderer and this time, he birthed sixty daughters from Asikni.[8][j] They were married off to different sages and deities, and went on to give birth to various species.[8][9][k][l]

Shiva Purana notes that thereafter Shiva had himself reincarnated within Asikni's womb; Asikni was widely respected and eulogized by all Gods during this span.[11][m] In the tenth month, Asikni gave birth to Sati; she and Daksa went on to take good care of her.[11][n]


  1. ^ Mentioned in RV 7.20.25 and 10.75.5.[5] Medieval literature notes it to be a river of pilgrimage.[6]
  2. ^ Other Puranas typically skip the detailed narrative of Vishnu's boon.
  3. ^ Brahma Purana notes Daksa to have also created Gandharvas from his mind.
  4. ^ Brahmanda Purana and Vayu Purana gives a longer list of creations inc. plants, human beings, ghosts, serpents, deer, flesh-eating demons, and birds. Va. P. also mentions that Mahadeva had rebuked him, after the mind-created species failed to propagate.
  5. ^ Asikni is noted to be supporting the entire world in Vayu Purana.
  6. ^ Does not mention her as Asikni. Suti and Virini are used instead.
  7. ^ Does not mention her as Asikni. Uses Virini and note her to be Daksa's "maid-servant"!
  8. ^ Both Bh. P and Sh. P. note Brahma to have consoled a grievous Daksa after this loss.
  9. ^ Bhagavat Purana and Shiva Purana note the sons to have already started a penance at the confluence of Sindhu (to fulfill their duty) both the times, before being led astray by Narada. Bh. P. also describes the sayings of Narada in detail. Kurma Purana skips the case of Sabalasvas.
  10. ^ In Vayu Purana, Narada is cursed with the perennial pain of staying in a womb. In Kurma Purana, he is cursed to be issue-less.
  11. ^ Marriage list is as follows:
  12. ^ Vishnu Purana notes these sixty daughters to have been created from His mind.[21]
    Agni Purana notes the same.[22] Further, there is no mention of Asikni or their 6000 sons.[22]
  13. ^ This was the result of a boon granted by Shiva to Daksa, much prior to his marriage, as the result of a long penance.
  14. ^ "Sati", true to the boon (see prev. note), desired for Shiva since an early age and went on to marry Him. Also, see Daksha Yajna myth.


  1. ^ Gandhi, Maneka (1993). The Penguin Book of Hindu Names. Penguin Books India. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-14-012841-3.
  2. ^ Williams, Monier; Leumann, Ernst; Cappeller, Carl (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages. Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House. p. 120. ISBN 978-81-208-3105-6.
  3. ^ Habib, Irfan (2001). "Imaging River Sarasvati: A Defence of Commonsense". Social Scientist. 29 (1/2): 48. doi:10.2307/3518272. ISSN 0970-0293. JSTOR 3518272.
  4. ^ Sharma, B. R. (1957). "ON SAPTÁ—IN THE ṚGVEDA". Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute. 18: 298. ISSN 0045-9801. JSTOR 42930810.
  5. ^ Neelis, Jason (2011). "TRADE NETWORKS IN ANCIENT SOUTH ASIA". Early Buddhist Transmission and Trade Networks. Mobility and Exchange within and beyond the Northwestern Borderlands of South Asia. Brill. p. 193. JSTOR 10.1163/j.ctt1w8h16r.9.
  6. ^ Salomon, Richard (1979). "Tīrtha-pratyāmnāyāḥ: Ranking of Hindu Pilgrimage Sites in Classical Sanskrit Texts". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. 129 (1): 112, 115. ISSN 0341-0137. JSTOR 43376115.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Mani, Vettam (1975). "Aksini". Puranic Encyclopedia: a comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. pp. 57–58.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Mani, Vettam (1975). "Dakṣa". Puranic Encyclopedia: a comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 192–193.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Söhnen-Thieme, Renate; Schreiner, Peter (1989). Brahmapurāṇa: Summary of Contents, with Index of Names and Motifs. Wiesbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-3-447-02960-5.
  10. ^ a b c Tagare, Ganesh Vasudeo (1976). The Bhagavata Purana: Part II. Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology. Vol. 8. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 803–809.
  11. ^ a b c d e Shastri, J. L. (1950). The Siva Purana: Part I. Ancient Indian Tradition and Mythology. Vol. 1. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 252, 328–335.
  12. ^ a b G. V. Tagare (1958). Brahmanda Purana - English Translation - Part 2 of 5. pp. 407–414.
  13. ^ a b Tagare, G. V. (1988). Bhatt, G. P. (ed.). The Vayu Purana: Part II. Ancient Indian Tradition and Mythology. Vol. 38. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 478, 494–497.
  14. ^ a b Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (1951-01-01). Kurma Purana Full (Parts 1 and 2). pp. 142–143, 177.
  15. ^ a b N. A., Dehpande (1988). G. P., Bhatt (ed.). The Padma Purana: Part I. Ancient Indian Tradition And Mythology. Vol. 39. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 47.
  16. ^ a b J.L. Shastri (1957-01-01). Garuda Purana English Motilal 3 Volumes In 1. pp. 20, 24–25.
  17. ^ a b Klostermaier, Klaus (1985). "THE ORIGINAL DAKṢA SAGA". Journal of South Asian Literature. 20 (1): 96. ISSN 0091-5637. JSTOR 40872713.
  18. ^ Long, J. Bruce (1977). "Dakṣa: Divine Embodiment of Creative Skill". History of Religions. 17 (1): 57. doi:10.1086/462778. ISSN 0018-2710. JSTOR 1062496. S2CID 162060462.
  19. ^ Shastri, J. L. Ed. The Linga-purana. p. 242.
  20. ^ a b "PUI Cologne Scan". p. 226, 229. Archived from the original on 2021-07-11. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  21. ^ a b Hara, Minoru (2009). "Divine Procreation". Indo-Iranian Journal. 52 (2/3): 231. doi:10.1163/001972409X12562030836697. ISSN 0019-7246. JSTOR 24664700.
    Also, Schreiner, Peter (2013). Visnupurana : Althergebrachte Kunde über Visnu (in German) (2 ed.). Verlag der Weltreligionen im Insel Verlag. ISBN 9783458734956.
  22. ^ a b J. L. Shastri, G. P. Bhatt (1998-01-01). Agni Purana Unabridged English Motilal. p. 44.

External linksEdit