The secret loves of Usha, the daughter of the Asura Bana, and Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna, are intense. The sage Nareda apprises Krishna and Balarama, that Indra is again in dread of the demons, and especially of Bana, who has acquired the particular favour of Siva, and who is therefore not to be easily subdued. The conference ends by Nareda's going to Sonapur, the capital of the demon, to endeavour to impair the friendship between Bana and Siva, whilst Krishna and his brother await the result.
The excessive arrogance of Bana, in his anxiety to match himself with Vishnu, has offended the latter, who has accordingly departed for Kailas, after announcing that Bana's anxiety shall be alleviated whenever his banner falls. Parvati has also gone to Kailas, after announcing to Usha that she will shortly behold her lover. Usha is impatient for the boon conferred by the goddess.
Aniruddha is violently enamoured of a damsel he has seen in his sleep, and despairs of discovering who she is, when Nareda comes opportunely to his aid, and informs him that she is the daughter of Bana; on which Aniruddha determines to go to his capital, first propitiating Jwalamukhi by penance, in order to obtain the means of entering a city surrounded by a wall of perpetual flame. The goddess is the form of Durga, worshipped wherever a subterraneous flame breaks forth, or wherever jets of carburetted hydrogen gas are emitted from the soil.
Bana's banner has fallen. His minister and wife endeavour to prevail on him to propitiate Siva, in order to avert the evil omen, but he refuses.
Bringi, a servant of Durga, precedes Aniruddha to prepare the goddess to grant his request. As he proceeds in his aerial car, he notices the countries of Orissa, Bengal, Behar, Oude or Ayodhya, Prayaga, Hastinapur or Delhi and Kurujangal or Tahneser, whence he comes to Jwalamukhi.
Aniruddha repairs to the shrine of the goddess round which goblins sport, and upon the point of offering himself as a sacrifice, is prevented by the goddess and receives from her the power of travelling through the air.
Usha and Chitralekha, her companion, receive a visit from Nareda, in whose presence the latter unfolds a picture containing portraits of all the chief characters in Swerga, Patala, and on earth, or Indra, and other gods; Sesha, Takshaka and the Nagas, and different princes, as the kings of Magadha, Mathura, Avanti, Madra, Mahishmati, and Viderbha, Yudhishthira, Krishna, Baladeva, Pradyumna, and finally Aniruddha, whom Usha recognizes as the individual seen in her dream, and of whom she is enamoured. Nareda recommends that Chitralekha be sent to Dwaravati to invite Aniruddha, whom he enables to fly thither, whilst he remains in charge of Usha, whom he sends to the garden to await her lover's arrival.
Aniruddha and Chitralekha arrive at Sonapur and the former is united to his mistress.
Aniruddha is detected by Bana. An engagement ensues. Krishna, Baladeva, and Pradyumna coming to the aid of the prince, the day is going ill with Bana, when Kartikeya, Ganesha, and Siva and Chandi come to his succour. Notwithstanding the presence of his allies, Bana has all his thousand arms cut off by Krishna except four. Siva advances to the aid of his votary, when a combat ensues between the gods which combat Brahma descends to arrest. The gods embrace one another. Parvati and Brahma support Bana to make his submission.
Vishnu declares he is less sensible of the wounds inflicted by Bana, than of the regret he feels at his presumption in contending with Siva. The latter consoles him by telling him he only did a warrior's duty, and that military prowess is independent of all motives of love or hatred.
Parvati then brings Usha to the spot, and by her desire, and that of Siva, Bana gives his daughter to Aniruddha. Siva then elevates him to the rank of one of his attendants, under the name of Mahakala.