In the chapter 1 to 10 in Section 2.5 of Rudra-saṃhita (Yuddha-khaṇḍa), the story of building and destruction of Tripura (the three cities) of three sons of Taraka is told.
Boon for three castles:
When the Asura Taraka was killed by Skanda (Kumar Kartikeya), the son of Shiva, his three sons performed severe penances to seek a boom from Brahma. The eldest of them was Tarakakṣa, the middle one Vidyunmali and the youngest Kamalaksa. They sought a boon from Brahma: -
“Build three castles, the one of steel on earth, another of silver in the sky and the third of gold. These castles could join together during midday at the time of Abhijit when the moon shall be in the constellation Puṣhya, at the end of a thousand years. These cities shall never join otherwise. When these cities would join together, Shiva who embodies all the gods sitting in a wonderful chariot containing all necessary adjuncts, may, in his distorted sport, discharge a wonderful single arrow and pierce our cities.”
Brahma granted the boon and asked the Maya to build these castles for the Asuras. The Maya built the cities by means of his penance: the golden one for Tarakakṣa, the silver one for Kamalakṣa and the steel one for Vidyunmali. The three fort like excellent cities were in order in heaven, sky and on the earth. The castles had many Kalpa trees there. Elephants and horses were in plenty. Aerial chariots shining like the solar sphere. There were many palaces, divine minarets resembling the summits of the mount Kailasha. Celestial damsels, Gandharvas, Siddhas, and Caraṇas were also there. There were temples of Rudra. In every house, people performed the rites of Agnihotra. There were excellent brahmins well-versed in sacred texts and devoted to Shiva always. There were beautiful tanks, lakes, wells, rivers and huge ponds. There were very beautiful with plenty of fruit-bearing trees. There were time-indicators, playgrounds and different halls for Vedic studies. Thus, the Asuras, sons of Taraka, after acquiring the boons, lived there.
Misdeeds of Sons of Taraka & distress of Gods:
The three worlds came under sway of three sons of Taraka. The excellent sages and the Siddhas were destroyed. The entire universe was exterminated by them. The terrible Asuras took the entire share of the sacrificial benefits to themselves. They initiated evil activities. They prevented the sages from performing their virtuous rites. Later, the gods including Indra were defeated by them. Then, Gods approached Brahma and later Shiva for redressal of their grievances. They eulogised Shiva by various hymns and informed Shiva about entire activities of sons of Taraka. They sought redressal.
Shiva informed them, “Those Asuras are my devotees. O Gods, how can they be slain by us? They should not be slain as long as they continue their devotion to me. Yet, this reason may very well be intimated to Vishnu.”
Then, the gods with Brahma as their head went to Vaikuṇṭha and intimated to Vishnu about their misery. On hearing the distress of the gods as well as the vows observed by the Tripuras, Vishnu spoke as follows: “This is true that where the eternal virtue reigns supreme, no misery raises its head like darkness when the sun is seen.”
On hearing these words, the gods became miserable and dejected. They spoke to Vishnu: “How are we to go about our activities. How can our misery be dispelled? How can we be happy? How are we to remain firm? As long as the Tripuras are alive, how can we observe virtuous activities? All the residents of the three cities give troubles to us.”
On seeing them in that plight, distressed and humiliated, Vishnu thought within himself, “I am the benefactor of the gods. But what can I do in this affair? The sons of Taraka are the devotees of Shiva.” After thinking like this, he thought upon the Supreme Vishnu, the lord of sacrifices, the primordial Puruṣa. Immediately on being thought upon by Vishnu all the sacrifices came where Vishnu was stationed. The eternal lord Vishnu saw the eternal sacrifices and told them looking at the gods too including Indra. Vishnu said: “In order to destroy the three cities and to bring about prosperity in the three worlds, O gods perform the worship of lord Shiva along with the lord of sacrifices.”
On hearing the words of Vishnu, the intelligent lord of the gods and bowing to him lovingly, the gods eulogised the lord of sacrifices. The gods worshipped the Sacrificial Being in accordance with the rules governing the same with the complete rites. Then from the sacrificial pit rose up thousands of Bhutas of huge size and armed with tridents, spears, iron clubs and other weapons. The gods saw thousands of Bhutasanghas armed with tridents and spears and possessing various weapons such as staffs, bows, stones, etc. They had various missiles to strike with. They were in different guises. They resembled the destructive fire and Rudra. They were on a par with the destructive Sun. When they bowed to him and stood waiting in front, Vishnu saw them. The glorious lord of sacrifices who carried out the behests of Rudra, spoke to them. Vishnu said: “O Bhutas, listen to my statement. You are all very powerful and have risen up for fulfilling the task of the gods. All of you go immediately to the three cities. Go there, strike at, break and burn the three cities of the Asuras. O Bhutas, thereafter you can go away as you please for prosperity.
On hearing the words of the lord, the hosts of Bhutas bowed to the lord of the gods and went to the three cities of the Asuras. Immediately after their entry into the cities they were reduced to ashes like moths in the fire.
On realizing that all the gods were distressed and dejected in the mind. Vishnu said, “O good gods, these Asuras and the other residents of the three cities are virtuous. O gods, thanks to the worship of Shiva, their cherished desires are realised. Different means of enjoyment in the world are brought under their control. Hence these Asuras who are devoted to the phallic worship enjoy different kinds of pleasures and prosperity and salvation hereafter. Then putting obstacles in their activities of virtuous rites, by means of magic art I shall destroy the three cities of the Asuras quickly for accomplishing the task of the Asuras.”
Thus, lord Vishnu set himself to the task of interfering with the sacred rites of the Asuras. Hence such means shall be followed as will make Vedic Dharma disappear thence. Undoubtedly the Asuras will forsake their worship of the phallic emblem of Shiva. Deciding thus, Vishnu started ridiculing the Vedas for putting up obstacles in the virtuous activities of the Asuras.
Creation of Deceptive text to initiate Tamasika rites:
For causing obstacles in their virtuous activities, Vishnu created a Puruṣa born of himself. He had a shaven head, wore dirty clothes, held a woven wicker vessel in his hand and a roll of cotton in his hand which he shook at every step. His face was pale and weak. In a faltering voice he was muttering “Dharma, Dharma.” He bowed to Vishnu and stood in front of him. He spoke to Vishnu with hands joined in reverence. “O laudable, revered one, please tell me what my names are and what my place shall be.”
Vishnu said: “O intelligent one, born of me, you are certainly identical with me in form. Know why you have been created. I shall tell you. You are born of me. You can perform my task. You are my own. Certainly, you will be worthy of worship always. Let your name be Arihat. I shall assign to you a place afterwards. Now hear with reverence what is relevant to the context. You create a deceptive sacred text of sixteen hundred thousand verses, contrary to Srutis and Smṛtis wherein Varnas and Asramas shall be eschewed. Let that holy text be in Apabhraṃsa lauguage. Let there be emphasis on actions. You shall strain yourself to extend it further. I shall bestow on you the ability to create it. Different kinds of magic arts shall be subservient to you.”
The shaven-head said: :O lord, command me quickly what I shall do. At your bidding, all activities shall be fruitful. Saying this he recited the main tenet in the deceptive philosophy. “Heaven and hell are functioning here itself.”
Vishnu commanded him, “O intelligent one, they shall be initiated by you. They shall be taught strenuously. At my bidding you will incur no sin on that account. You shall go there for destroying the residents of the three cities. Revealing the Tamasika rites, destroy the three cities. After that, you shall go to the desert region and stay there carrying on your own duties and activities till the advent of the Kali age. When the Kali age begins let your Dharma be revealed. You shall then continue to do so by means of disciples and disciples’ disciples. At my bidding your cult shall certainly expand. Depending upon my permission and direction you will attain me as your goal.”
Then the ascetic of shaven head acting in accordance with Vishnu’s behest created four disciples of the like form as himself and taught them the deceptive cult. The four disciples with shaven heads followed the heretic cult. They had the wicker vessel in their hands. They covered their mouths with a piece of cloth. They habitually wore dirty clothes. They did not talk much. Delightedly they used to speak “Dharma is the great gain, the true essence” and some similar words. They held a besom broom made of pieces of cloths. They used to walk step by step very slowly because they were afraid of injuring living beings.
Then, bowing to Vishnu who carried out the wishes of Shiva, the deceptive sage went joyously to the three cities accompanied by his disciples. The sage of great self-control entered the three cities and created illusion. Stationing himself in a garden at the outskirts of the city, accompanied by his disciples he set his magic in motion. That was powerful enough to fascinate even the expert magicians. His magic was ineffective in the three cities by virtue of Shiva’s worship. Then the heretic sage became distressed. He mentally remembered and eulogised Vishnu many times, with an aching heart. He had been so dispirited and listless. On being remembered by him Vishnu mentally thought of Shiva. Receiving his behest by the process of thought forms he remembered Narada. Immediately after, Narada approached Vishnu. After bowing to him and eulogising him, he stood before Vishnu with palms joined in reverence. Vishnu spoke to Narada: “O dear, this is being mentioned to you at the bidding of Shiva. Go to the three cities immediately. The sage has gone there already for deluding the residents of the cities.”
On hearing his words, Narada went there quickly where the ascetic expert in magic was stationed. Then Narada approached the lord of the three cities. Narada said: “A certain sage, very virtuous and excellent master of lore has arrived here. He possesses complete knowledge of the Vedic lore. Many cults have been observed by me but none of them is like his. Seeing the eternal virtue in this cult we have got ourselves initiated into it. O great king, O excellent Asuras, if you have any interest in that cult, you shall get yourself initiated into it.”
On hearing his words full of significance, the lord of the Asuras was deluded and exclaimed with surprise in his heart. The Tripura ruler said: --
“O sage of pure mind, you shall perform my initiation. I shall become your disciple. On hearing the frank words of the ruler of the Asuras the heretic sage, professing to be eternal, spoke emphatically.” O excellent Asura, if you are prepared to act according to my behests, I shall initiate you, otherwise not, even if you strive for a number of times. The Asura said: “I shall carry out whatever command you are pleased to give. I will not transgress your orders. True. It is certainly true.
On hearing the words of the Tripura-ruler, the excellent sage removed the cloth from his mouth and spoke. “O lord of Asuras, take initiation in this most excellent of all cults. By this initiation you will become contented.”
Saying thus, the deceptive sage immediately performed the initiation of the ruler of the Asuras, in accordance with his cult observing all rules. When the ruler of the Asuras was initiated along with his brothers, the residents of the three cities too got themselves initiated. The entire Tripuras were filled with the line of disciples of the sage, an expert in great art of illusion. “Since Narada has been initiated, we too shall be initiated.” Resolving thus, the Asura approached the sage. On seeing his features, the Asura was deluded by his magic.
Arihat told him:
“The entire universe is eternal. It has no creator nor it is an object of creation. It evolves itself and gets annihilated by itself. There are many bodies from Brahma down to a blade of grass. They themselves are the gods for them. There is no other God. Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra are only the names of embodied beings just like my name Arihat etc. Just as our bodies perish when their time arrives, so also the bodies of all beings from Brahma to a mosquito perish when their time arrives. There is no other virtue equal to the mercy shown to living beings. Hence all men shall strenuously practise acts of mercy to living beings. Non-violence is the greatest virtue. Affliction of others is a great sin. Salvation is defined as non-dependence on others. Eating the food of our choice is heavenly bliss. The hoarding and amassing of vast wealth are useful only for the propitiation of twelve organs of senses. Of what avail is the propitiation of other things? The twelve organs of senses are the five organs of activity and the five organs of knowledge together with the mind and intellect. Happiness is heaven and misery is hell. Narrating his opinions to the leader of the Tripuras, the ascetic addressed the citizens with great zeal. One shall seek and enjoy happiness as long as the body is hale and hearty, as long as the sense-organs are not impaired and as long as the old age is far off. It is unnecessary to divide the people into different castes. When all are men who is superior and who is inferior? How can sons born of the same body or from the same body be of four different castes?”
Addressing the lord of the Asuras and the citizens thus, the sage with his disciples spoiled the Vedic rites in a determined manner. He then criticised the womanly virtues of chastity and manly virtues of continence etc. Similarly, he attacked and repudiated the divine rites, Shraddhika rites, sacrificial rites and holy observances and festivals, pilgrimages and anniversaries. Worship of Shiva, propitiation of his phallic form, adoration of Vishnu, Sun, Ganesh and other deities in accordance with the sacred texts were repudiated by him. The heretic sage, an expert in wielding magic art, foremost among the deceptive, criticised the ceremonial ablutions and charitable gifts that are made on auspicious occasions.
The glory that they had acquired by the boon of Brahma, the lord of the gods, went out forsaking them, at the behest of Brahma. When the Asuras had become so, when they had abandoned the worship of Shiva, when the virtuous rites of chaste women came to an end and evil conduct came to stay, Vishnu was apparently contented. Accompanied by the gods, Vishnu went to Kailas and intimated their activities to Shiva.
Shiva said: “there is no doubt in this that I will destroy the three cities of the Asuras if they persist in indulging in evil activities. But the great Asuras are my firm devotees. They shall be killed only by me, for they have been forced to abandon their excellent virtue under false persuasion. Let Vishnu or anyone else slay them now that they have been made to abandon their Dharma. The Asuras of the three cities have become devoid of devotion to me.”
Brahma said: “There is no sin in this, since you are the great lord, the great Brahman and the saviour of gods and sages always. It is at your own bidding that they have been deluded. You induced them to be deluded. Although the Asuras have forsaken their duties and your worship, they cannot be killed by others. Hence, O great lord, the saviour of the lives of the gods and the sages, the terrorists shall be killed by you for the protection of the good.”
Shiva’s Chariot to destroy Tripura:
Then the divine chariot of lord Shiva was built by Vishvakarman with devoted effort. The right wheel was the sun and the left wheel was the moon. The right wheel had twelve spokes. The twelve Adityas presided over them. The left wheel had sixteen spokes. The sixteen spokes of the left side wheel consisted of the sixteen digits of the moon. The six seasons constituted the rims of the wheels of the chariot. The Pushkara of the chariot was the sky. The inner side of the chariot was Mandara. The rising and the setting mountains constituted the poleshafts. Mahameru was the support and the Keshara mountains the sharp sides. The year constituted its velocity. The two Ayanas northern and southern constituted the junctions of the wheels and axles. The Muhurtas constituted the joints and the Kalas the pins of the yoke. The division of time Kaṣṭha constituted the nose of the chariot and the Kṣaṇas the axle-shaft. The Nimeṣas constituted the bottom of the carriage and the minutest divisions of time constituted the poles. The firmament constituted the fender of the chariot; Heaven and salvation the flag staffs; Abhṛamu and Kamadhenu constituted its harrows at the end of the shafts. The unmanifest principle formed their shaft and cosmic intellect the chariot’s reeds. The cosmic Ego cosmic corners and elements its strength. The cosmic sense-organs constituted the embellishments of this chariot on all sides. Faith was its movements. The six Vedangas were its ornaments. The Puraṇas, Nyaya, Mimaṃsa and Dharma Shastras constituted the side trinkets. The forceful and excellent mantras with their syllables and feet, of all characteristic features and the stages in life constituted the tinkling bells. Ananta embellished with thousand hoods constituted its fittings. and the main and subsidiary quarters, the pedestals of the chariot. The clouds Puṣkara and others constituted the gem-studded banners of glowing colours. The four oceans are remembered as the bullocks of the chariot. Ganga and other rivers shining in excellent female forms and decorated in all ornaments held the Camaras in their hands. Lord Brahma was the charioteer, the gods were holders of the bridle. Praṇava the Vedic divinity constituted the long whip of Brahma. The syllable A constituted the great umbrella, Mandara the side staff. The lord of mountains became his bow and the lord of serpents the bowstring. Goddess Sarasvatī in the form of the Vedas constituted the bells of the bow. The brilliant Vishnu became the arrow and Agni the spear-head. The four Vedas are said to be his horses. The remaining planets became their embellishments. His army came up from water. The winds were his feathers, wings etc. Vyasa and other sages were the drivers of the vehicle.
Shiva said: “O excellent gods, you will not fall even in your animalhood. Let the process of release from animalhood be practised. He who performs the divine rite of Pasupata will be released from animalhood.”
Hence all the gods and Asuras became the animals of the lord. Shiva became the lord of animals. Bhṛngin, the chief of all Gaṇeshas, surrounded by lord of Gaṇas and gods went speedily to destroy the three cities like Mahendra seated in an aerial chariot.
In the auspicious moment called Abhilaṣa Shiva drew the bow and made a wonderful and unbearable twanging sound. He addressed the great Asuras and proclaimed his own name. Shiva discharged an arrow that had the refulgence of countless suns. The arrow which was constituted by Vishnu and whose steel head was fire god blazed forth and burnt the three Asuras who lived in the three cities. It thereby removed their sins. The three cities reduced to ashes fell on the earth girt by the four oceans. Tarakakṣa was burnt along with his two brothers.
In the chapters 14-19 of Parvati Khanda in Shiva Purana, the story of Kashyap, Diti and their grandson Tareka is mentioned.
Diti and Aditi, both were daughters of Daksh Prajapati one of the Manas Putra (born of the mind) of Lord Brahma. Both of them were married to Rishi Kashyapa who was one of the Saptarishis. With Diti, Kashyap fathered all the Daityas / asuras while with Aditi he fathered all the devas, the eldest one being the sun who consequently came to be known as Aditya (son of Aditi).
Brahma’s son Marichi begot Kashyap who married thirteen daughters of Dakṣha. The eldest of them Diti bore two sons: Hiranyakashipu the elder and Hiraṇyakṣa the younger. When these two began to harass the gods, Vishnu assumed the forms of Man-lion and Boar and killed them. Then the gods became fearless and happy.
The distressed Diti sought refuge in Kashyap and observing the sacred rites she conceived. On coming to know of it, Indra entered her womb forcibly and cut it off many a time with his thunderbolt. By the power of her sacred rites, the child in the womb did not die as she was sleeping at that time, by a stroke of good luck. They were cut into seven pieces and so she had seven sons. These sons became gods by the name of Maruts. They all went to heaven along with Indra and were taken as his own attendants by the king of gods.
Diti repented to her husband for her action. She made the sage pleased by means of great service. Kashyap said: --
“Be pure and perform penance for ten thousand years of Brahma. When it is completed, you will have a son.”
Birth & Marriage of Vajranga, the son of DIti:
The penance was completed by Diti and from him she conceived and delivered of a son. That son of Diti named Vajranga (of adamantine limbs) was on a par with the gods. Befitting his name, his body was strong and powerful even from his very birth. At the bidding of his mother, he immediately abducted Indra, the lord of gods, the other gods and punished them in various ways. Seeing the distress of Indra and others, Diti became very happy. Indra and other gods became miserable due to their own actions.
Brahma got released the gods. Vajranga, a great devotee of Shiva, was delighted in his heart, and he of pure soul, without any aberration, spoke. Vajranga said: --
“To achieve his interest, Indra killed the foetus of my mother. He has now tasted the fruit thereof. Well may he rule over his kingdom. O Brahma, I did this only at the bidding of my mother. I have no desire for the enjoyments of any one of the worlds. Tell me the essence of real philosophy whereby I can ever remain happy, pleased in heart and free from aberrations.”
On hearing that, Brahma said: --
“Sattvic feelings constitute the essence of real philosophy. I shall lovingly create an exquisite lady.”
Brahma ji offered him a lady named Varangi. With chastity and faith, she served her husband lovingly in diverse ways. Her husband Vajranga of great lordly status was glad very soon on account of her service. He then spoke thus: --
“O beloved, what do you wish? What is it that you cherish in your mind? On hearing that, she bowed to her husband and revealed her desire.”
Varangi said: --
“O my good husband, if you are so pleased grant me a powerful son who will conquer three worlds and cause misery to Vishnu.”
On hearing the words of his beloved, he was disagreeably surprised and vexed. He was free from inimical thoughts. With perfect wisdom and Sattvic feelings in his heart he said: --
“My beloved wishes enmity with the gods. It does not appeal to me. What shall I do? Where shall I go? How can my vow be preserved from destruction? If my wife’s wishes are fulfilled, the three worlds will be much distressed, so too the gods and the sages. If my beloved’s desires are not fulfilled, I am sure to be cast into hell. In either case righteousness will be lost. This is what we have heard. After weighing both the alternatives, he agreed to the proposal of his wife. For that purpose, he performed another very difficult penance with great zeal with Brahma as the object of worship, for number of years. On seeing the great penance Brahma went to him for granting the boon. With a delighted mind Brahma told him “Speak out the boon you wish to have.”
He eulogised Brahma as well as craved for the boon as desired by his wife.
On hearing his words, Brahma said “So be it.”
Birth of Tareka, the grandson of DIti and his boons:
Then Varangi conceived and delivered of a son of huge body and great strength dazzling the ten quarters. At the same time, the phenomena of three varieties indicating great calamity and terrifying the worlds occurred in the sky, heaven, and earth. Then Kashyap Prajapati thought well and named the powerful demon Taraka. That heroic demon, with his manliness and valour manifesting quickly grew and developed with his steely frame like the lord of mountains. Then the demon Taraka, of great strength and exploit, endowed with a lofty mind, requested permission of his mother for performing penance. The permission having been secured, that demon performed a severe penance.
Brahma told him thus— “tell me what boon you want. A severe penance has been performed by you. There is nothing which cannot be granted to you”.
Taraka said: --
“O Pitamaha, if you are glad and ready to grant me two boons, there should certainly be no man equal to me in strength in this entire universe created by you. If a son born of Shiva becomes the commander-in-chief of an army and discharges weapons against me, let my death occur then”.
Brahma granted him two boons and hastened back to my abode. That great demon was crowned the king of the three worlds with the permission of Shukra, the preceptor of the demons. Then the great demon became the leader of the three worlds. He inaugurated his commanding position by harassing the mobile and immobile beings.
Afraid of him, Indra surrendered his Airavata (white elephant) and Kubera all his nine treasures. White horses were surrendered by Varuṇa, the wish-yielding cow Kamdhenu by the sages, and the sun out of fear for him surrendered his divine horse, Uchchaihsravas. The three worlds became void of all valuable things. The oceans the offered him their gems on account of fear. The entire earth became exuberant in productivity without being tilled and yielded what his subjects desired. Whatever riches the gods possessed, or the manes or others had, were forfeited by the wicked demon. Bringing the three worlds under his control, he declared Indra himself. He became the undisputed lord and ruled over them with perfect self-control. Dismissing the gods, he installed demons in their places. Some gods he engaged in his personal service.
The gods terribly tormented by Taraka, bowed to and eulogised Brahma, the lord of subjects with great devotion. On hearing the eulogy of the gods pleasing and true to facts Brahma was highly pleased and asked: “Why have you all come here? Tell me.”
The gods said: --
“The demon Taraka is very haughty. Driving us out with force he has taken possession of our positions. Please dispel our misery quickly. Wherever we flee we see Taraka. Agni, Yama, Varuṇa, Nirṛti, Vayu and other guardians of the deities are under his control. All of us are his servants. The charitable and virtuous activities are being seldom pursued in the worlds. The regions of our three worlds have been forcibly taken, Taraka have sinful and ruthless temperament. You are our final resort. We had some hope of victory in Sudarshan the discus of Vishnu. But even that discus has become ineffective in his neck where it has fallen as though it were a floral offering to a deity.
Brahma said: --
“O gods, the demon Taraka has flourished, due to my words of blessings. His destruction through me does not seem proper. Shiva is the most suitable agent to carry out your task. Thanks to the power of the boon granted by me, Taraka cannot be killed by me or by Vishnu or by Shiva or by any one of the gods. It is true. O gods, if there is a son born of Shiva, he alone can kill the demon, Taraka. O gods, it is certain that lord Shiva will marry her. Still, you shall pursue your endeavour.
The third eye of Shiva and death of Kamadeva:
Kama and his wife Rati have been powerful enough to conquer the three worlds through sentiments of love esp. in Vasanth. Indra remembered Kama for help.
Kama was deluded by Shiva’s illusion. Accompanied by his wife and Spring he went to the place where Shiva, the Yogi, was performing penance. After going there, the haughty Kama, deluded by Shiva’s magic power, first spread the enchanting power of Spring all around. The fragrant flowers of Mango and Asoka trees shone heightening feelings of love. The water lilies with bees hovering on them proved to be the causes for the rise of love in the minds of everyone. The sweet cooings of the cuckoos heightened emotions of love. The bright light of the moon scattered all around appeared to be the emissary of lovers and their beloveds. Thus, the vast diffusion of Spring caused the display of emotions of love. It was unbearable to the forest dwelling sages.
On seeing the untimely display of spring, Shiva the lord, who had assumed a physical body indulging in divine sports, thought it surprising. But He continued his severe penance. Enchanting all people, he spread his influence.
Kama could not find any vulnerable loophole in Shiva whereby he could enter Him. In the meantime, Parvati came there along with her two maids and brought various kinds of flowers for Shiva’s worship. Profiting by that opportune moment, Kama, by means of his arrow Harṣaṇa delighted the moon-crest god Shiva who was nearby. In order to make the trident-bearing lord take interest in her, Kama drew his bow very carefully and discharged his flowery arrow on Him. As was her usual practice she approached Shiva, bowed to Him, worshipped Him, and stood in front of Him (awaiting further instructions). Parvati was stared at by lord Shiva, while she was laying bare some of the limbs bashfully, as is natural to women in such circumstances.
On seeing Parvati, Shiva said:
“I feel great pleasure on merely seeing her. What pleasure shall I derive by embracing her?”
Thinking thus only for a moment, the enlightened Shiva became detached, honoured Parvati, and spoke.
“How wonderful and mysterious is the situation that has arisen! How is it that I have been deluded and fascinated? Though I am the lord and master, I have been perturbed by Kama.”
Shiva said: --
“How is it that obstacles have cropped up while I am performing the great penance? Who can be that wicked person who has made my mind highly perturbed? With love I have described in bad taste another man’s woman. I have contravened rules of virtue and transgressed the bounds of the Vedas.”
After thinking like this, the great Yogi, the goal of the good, surveyed all round, his suspicion having been aroused. He saw Kama stationed on His left side with his bow fully drawn and ready to discharge the arrow. Kama was haughty and so was very senseless. On seeing Kama in that attitude, instantaneously anger was aroused in lord Shiva, the supreme soul. Kama discharged his arrow, usually unerring on Shiva. The infallible weapon became futile on the great lord. When his endeavour became futile, Kama who was frightened much remembered Indra and all other gods. Third eye Shiva killed Kama.
There are two forces – positive and negative. Positive force is represented by Aditi who gave birth to Devas and Negative force is represented by Diti who gave birth to Datiyas. Positive forces preserve the world and negative forces destroys it.
In chapter 19-20 of Kumara Khanda in Rudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the episode of wedding of Sri Ganesh is described.
Once the loving parents Parvati and Shiva called their sons Sri Ganesh and Kartikeya and spoke as follows: - “O sons, both of you are good sons and equal in our eyes. The auspicious marriage will be celebrated of that boy who comes here first after going round the entire earth.”
On hearing their words, the powerful Kumara started immediately from the fixed point to go round the earth. Ganesh of excellent intellect stood there itself after pondering in his mind frequently with his keen intellect. “What shall be done? Where am I to go? I cannot cross the earth. He performed the ceremonial ablution and returned, home. He then spoke to his father and mother: -
“For your worship two seats have I placed here. Please be seated, dear parents. Let my desire be fulfilled.”
On hearing his words, Parvati and Shiva sat on the seats for receiving worship. They were worshipped by Ganesh and circumambulation was done by him seven times and bowed too seven times. Joining his palms in reverence and eulogising his parents agitated by love and affection, many times, Ganesh the ocean of intelligence, said: --
“O mother, O father, you please listen to my weighty words. My auspicious marriage shall be celebrated quickly.”
On hearing the words of the noble-minded Ganesh, Shiva and Parvati said: --
“You should do circumambulation the earth with all its forests. Kumara has already gone. You too start and return first.”
On hearing the words of his parents, Ganesh said: --
“O mother, O father, you two are intelligent and embodied virtue. Hence O excellent ones, you may be pleased to hear my virtuous words. The circumambulation of earth has been done by me frequently, for seven times. Why then, my parents should say thus?”
The parents said: --
“O son, when was the circumambulation of great earth was done by you, the earth consisting of seven continents extending to the oceans and consisting of vast jungles?
Ganesh said: --
“By worshipping you, Parvati, and Shiva, I have intelligently done circumambulation of the earth extending to the oceans. Is it not the verdict of the Vedas or the Shastras or any other sacred code? Is it true or otherwise? - “He who worships his parents and circumambulates them, will certainly derive the fruit and merit of circumambulating the earth. He who leaves his parents at home and goes on a pilgrimage incurs the sin of their murder. The holy centre of a son consists of the lotus-like feet of his parents. The other holy centres can be reached only after going a long distance. This holy centre is near at hand, easily accessible and a means of virtue. For a son and wife, the auspicious holy centre is in the house itself.”
These things are mentioned frequently in the Shastras and the Vedas. There is no doubt about it. Let my auspicious marriage be celebrated and that too very quickly. Otherwise let the Vedas and Shastras be declared false. Saying thus, Ganesh of excellent intellect, of great wisdom and foremost among intelligent persons assumed silence.
On hearing his words, Parvati and Shiva, the rulers of the universe, were very much surprised. Then, Shiva and Parvati praised their son who was clever and intelligent and spoke to him who had spoken the truth. Shiva and Parvati said: --
“O son, you are a supreme soul, and your thoughts are pure. What you have said is true and not otherwise. When misfortune comes, if a person is keenly intelligent, his misfortunes perish even as darkness perishes when the sun rises. He who has intelligence possesses strength as well. How can he who is devoid of intellect have strength? The proud lion was drowned in a well with a trick by a little hare. Whatever has been mentioned in the Vedas, Shastras and Puraṇas for a boy, all that has been performed by you, namely, the observance of virtue. What has been executed by you shall be done by anyone. We have honoured it. It will not be altered now.”
The celebration of Ganesh’s marriage:
In the meantime, Prajapati Vishvarupa became delighted and happy on knowing their intention. Prajapati Vishvarupa had two daughters of divine features. They were famous as Siddhi (Spiritual Power) and Buddhi (Intellect). (Another mainstream pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi, Siddhi, and Riddhi i.e., prosperity) They were exquisite in every part of their body. The lord Shiva and Parvati jubilantly celebrated the marriage of Ganesh with them.
Vishwakarma made all arrangements for the marriage. The sages and the gods were full of great joy. After some time, the noble Ganesh begot two sons, one each of his wives. They were endowed with divine features. The son Kṣema (Prosperity) was born to Siddhi. The highly brilliant son Labha (Profit) was born to Buddhi. (In Northern Indian variants of this story the sons are often said to be Shubh i.e., auspiciousness and Labha). They bestow happiness on everyone.
Narada said to Kartikeya: -
“While Ganesh was enjoying the inconceivable happiness, the second son returned after circumambulating the earth. After driving you out under the pretext of circumambulating the earth, they have celebrated the excellent and auspicious marriage of Ganesh. By this marriage that was celebrated, Ganesh has obtained two wives joyously. He has begot of his two wives of auspicious body
two sons, Kṣema of Siddhi and Labha of Buddhi.
The entire earth consisting of oceans and jungles has been traversed by you due to their deceptive behest. O dear, consider. If parents begin to deceive or particularly if our masters begin to deceive, won’t others also begin to deceive. Your parents have not done well. Just ponder over it. I don’t think their action has been good. This policy has been mentioned in the Vedas, Smṛtis and sacred texts. It has been intimated to you now. Do as you wish.”
After bowing to his father, the infuriated Skanda (Kartikeya0 went to the Krauncha Mountain though forbidden by his parents. “Even when forbidden by us why do you go?” Although he was prevented by saying this, he went away saying “No”. “O parents, I shall not stay here even a moment when deception has been practised on me eschewing affection towards me.” He went away saying so. Even today he is staying there removing the sin of all by his very vision.
Ever since that day, the son of Shiva, Kartikeya remains a bachelor. His name bestows auspiciousness in the world. It is famous in the three worlds. It dispels all sins, is meritorious and confers the sanctity of celibacy. In the month of Kartika, the gods, the holy sages and great ascetics go there to see Kumara. He who has the vision of the lord in the Kartika Nakṣatra in the month of Kartika is divested of all sins. He derives all desired fruits.
Parvati became grief-stricken by separation from Skanda. She piteously told her lord. “O lord, let us go there.” Shiva went to that mountain partially for her happiness. He assumed the pleasing form of Jyotirlinga named Mallikarjuna. On coming to know that Shiva had come there with Parvati, Kumara became unattached and was eager to go elsewhere. On being requested by the gods and sages he stayed in a place three Yojanas away.
On the full and new moon days, Parvati and Shiva are excited by love towards their son and they go there to see him. On new moon days, Shiva himself goes there. On full moon days, Parvati goes there certainly.
He who worships his parents and circumambulates them, will certainly derive the fruit and merit of circumambulating the earth. He who leaves his parents at home and goes on a pilgrimage incurs the sin of their murder. The holy centre of a son consists of the lotus-like feet of his parents. The other holy centres can be reached only after going a long distance. This holy centre is near at hand, easily accessible and a means of virtue. For a son and wife, the auspicious holy centre is in the house itself.
In Chapter 7 to 12 of Kumara-Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana, the story of slaying of Taraka by Kartikeya is narrated.
Shiva entrusted his son to the gods in order to kill Taraka. At the bidding of Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, and other gods jointly started from the mountain keeping Kumara (Kartikeya) in front. Keeping Kumara at the head, shouting and roaring, purified by Shiva’s splendour they started to attack Taraka. The powerful Taraka rushed to fight back the gods with a great army. Then a celestial voice, prompted by Shiva addressed Vishnu and all other gods. The celestial Voice said: --
“O gods, keeping Kumara at the head you have entered the lists. Defeating the Asuras in the battle, you will be victorious.”
On hearing the celestial voice, the gods became enthusiastic. Fearlessly they roared like heroes. With their fear subsided, and keeping Kumara ahead, the gods went to the confluence of the river Mahi and the ocean desirous of fighting.
Immediately Taraka, along with a great army, came to the place where the gods stood. Battle drums were sounded as loud as the rumbling sound of the clouds at the dissolution of the world. The harsh musical instruments were also played when he came. The Asuras in the company of Taraka roared and shook the ground with their thudding footsteps.
Accompanied by the great army of the gods and the guardians of the quarters, lord Indra seated Kumara on an elephant and rushed forward. Great war-drums, Dundubhis, Bheris and Turyas, lutes, flutes and Mṛdangas were sounded and the Gandharvas sang war songs. Leaving the elephant to lord Indra, Kumara got in an aerial chariot of wonderful build and studded with different sets of gems. Indra and other gods of great strength, desirous of fighting, joined him with their own divisions of the army. The gods and the demons stood in their arrays on the ground with a vast army ready to start the battle.
The battle between the gods and Asuras
In the meantime, the rank and file of the Asuras and the gods, haughty of their strength and blazing with fury came together in a mutual clash. A terrific tumultuous fight between the gods and the Asuras ensued. Within a moment the place was littered with severed heads and headless trunks. Blood flowed like streams in hundreds of places. Hundreds of ghosts and goblins flocked there. Jackals and vixens began eating the flesh. Numbers of vultures, kites, crows, and carnivorous birds devoured the flesh of those falling.
In the meantime, Taraka, the demon of great strength, came there with a huge army to fight with the gods. On seeing the haughty warrior rushing on them, Indra, and others, turned against him. Then a tumultuous sound arose from both the armies. Duels were fought by the gods and the Asuras crushing each other, on seeing which heroes were delighted and cowards were terrified. The battle ground became impassable and awful with the corpses of the gods and Asuras lying there in thousands but it was very pleasing to the brave.
In the meantime, Virbhadra reached the place furiously along with his heroic Gaṇas and approached Taraka who professed to be a great hero. Immediately after being hit hard with a trident by Virbhadra, Taraka fell unconscious on the ground. Regaining consciousness quickly Taraka, the excellent Asura got up and forcefully hit Virbhadra with his spear. In the same manner, the heroic Virbhadra of great brilliance hit Taraka with his sharp terrible trident. Fighting each other thus they hit each other with various weapons and missiles both being equally skilful in the art of warfare. Both were severely wounded by the mutual hits and thrusts but still they continued their fight with added vigour. On seeing the fight between him and Virbhadra, Narada went there and asked Virbhadra to desist from this fight. Killing him by you does not fit in. Virbhadra said: --
“O excellent sage, I will kill Taraka. See my exploit today. Let Vishnu and other gods listen to my words—I shall make the earth freed of Taraka today even without bringing my master here.”
Saying thus and taking up his trident, Virbhadra mentally meditated on Shiva and fought with Taraka, accompanied by Pramathas. Keeping Virbhadra at their head, and shouting fearlessly jubilantly, hundreds of the Gaṇas fought with the Asuras. The terrific mutual fights between the demons and the Gaṇas happened again and again. Ultimately the Gaṇas, experts in the use of great missiles, came out victorious and were jubilant. Defeated by the Gaṇas of great strength, the Asuras turned their faces and began to flee. They were distressed and agitated.
On seeing his army vanishing thus in flight, their protector, the Asura Taraka, furiously rushed at the gods and the Gaṇas. He assumed ten thousand hands and rode on a lion. In the battle that followed he felled the gods and the Gaṇas quickly. On seeing such a perpetration of Taraka, Virbhadra, the leader of the Gaṇas, became very furious. To kill him he took up his trident after remembering the lotus like feet of Shiva. In the meantime, the master stopped the war. He prevented Virabahu and others immediately in order to show his own might. At his bidding Virbhadra returned from the battle. The heroic leader of the Asuras, Taraka, was still in his unabated fury. After causing a great havoc, Taraka, the protector of Asuras, the most excellent among the brave, seemed invincible to the gods.
On seeing the gods terrified and slaughtered, Vishnu became furious and got ready to fight. Taking discus Sudarshan, the bow Sarang and other weapons with him, lord Vishnu rushed to meet the great Asura in the battle. A great fight ensued between Vishnu and Taraka. It was very fierce. It caused horripilation to the onlookers. Lifting up his club, Vishnu hit the Asura with great force, but the powerful Asura split it with his trident. The Asura Taraka then quickly hit Vishnu with his spear. On being hit thus, Vishnu fell unconscious on the ground. In a moment, Vishnu got up and in rage seized his discus that was blazing with flames, and he roared like a lion. Vishnu hit the king of Asuras with it. Overwhelmed by the forceful hit he fell on the ground. Taraka using all his strength immediately split the discus with his spear. Both Vishnu and the Asura, equally powerful, hit each other in the battle with unabated strength.
Boasting of Taraka and fight between him and Indra, Vishnu, Virbhadra:
Brahma said: --
“O Guha (Kartikeya), the fight between Vishnu and Taraka is not proper. It is futile. Taraka the powerful cannot be killed by Vishnu. He has been granted such a boon by me. None except you can be the slayer of this sinner. Please get ready to slay him. O son of Parvati you are born of Shiva for killing that demon. Formerly Indra and the guardians of the quarters had been conquered by him. Due to the power of his penance, the heroic Vishnu too has been threatened by him. The entire universe of the three worlds has been defeated by this wicked Asura. This sinful being Taraka shall be killed by you.”
On hearing these words, Kumara was delighted, and he laughed. “So be it”, said he.
Resolving to kill the Asura, the great lord, son of Shiva got down from the aerial chariot and stood on the ground. Running on foot, seizing his lustrous spear blazing like a meteor, the powerful warrior Kumara born of Shiva shone well.
On seeing the incomprehensible six-headed deity coming forward, fierce and unagitated, the Asura spoke to the gods derisively— “O this child indeed will slay the enemies!” I will fight with him single-handed. I will kill the soldiers, the Gaṇas and the guardians of the quarters led by Vishnu. Saying thus, the powerful Asura rushed at Kumara to fight with him. Taraka seized his wonderful spear and spoke to the gods.
Taraka said: --
“How is it that you all kept Kumara face to face with me? You gods are shameless especially Indra and Vishnu. These two impudent fellows are presumptuous enough to place a child in front of me. Why? I will kill the child too. They too will have it. But let the child leave from here and save his life.”
After saying this, hinting at Indra and Vishnu he turned to Virbhadra and spoke.
“Formerly in the sacrifice of Dakṣa, many brahmins had been killed by you, O sinless one, I shall show you the fruit thereof.”
Saying this and dispossessing himself of his own merit by that act of censure, Taraka the foremost among warmongers seized his wonderful spear. Then, Indra, Vishnu, Virbhadra & others fought forcefully.
Jubilation of the gods at the death of Taraka:
Kumara prevented Virbhadra from attacking Taraka by trident and desired the destruction of Taraka. Then the powerful Kartikeya of great splendour roared. Angrily he got ready for the fight. He was surrounded by a vast army. Shouts of victory were raised by the gods and the Gaṇas. He was eulogised by the celestial sages with pleasing words. The fight between Taraka and Kumara was terrific and unbearable. Both fought each other with spears in their hands. They were experts in different tactics of warfare. They were equally strong. They desired to kill each other.
Then a celestial voice rose appeasing the gods— “In this battle Kumara will kill the Asura Taraka. None of the gods need be anxious. All shall rest assured. For your welfare Shiva Himself is standing here in the form of His son.”
Taraka, hit Kumara angrily with his spear. At the blow of the spear, the son of Shiva became unconscious. He regained his consciousness in a few minutes. He was eulogised by the great sages. Kumara became furious like a maddened lion and was desirous of killing the Asura. The powerful Kumara hit Taraka with his spear. With massive heaps of fatal missiles, they hit each other. They had various ways of attack. They roared.
Kumara with his spear struck Taraka who had harassed the worlds. Immediately the Asura Taraka the ruler of the hosts of Asuras, although very heroic, fell on the ground with all his limbs shattered. The great warrior Taraka was slain by Kumara. When the powerful Asura was slain, other Asuras were killed by gods and Gaṇas. Thousands of them fled to Patala for their life. thus, the entire army of the Asuras disappeared. Thus, when Kumara came out victorious the gods were happy. The three worlds attained great pleasure. The delighted gods, Gaṇas and sages, Siddhas and Caraṇas eulogised Parvati, Shiva, and the son of Shiva. Then there was great jubilation with vocal and instrumental music and chanting of the Vedas.
The Victory of Kumara and the death of Bana and Pralamba:
Mountain Kraunca, harassed by Baṇa came there and sought refuge in Kumara. Skanda who was thus eulogised by Kraunca became delighted. Kumara hurled the spear aiming at Baṇa. Reducing the Asuras to ashes along with his army in a moment, the great spear returned to Kumara.
With great pleasure and observing the rules Skanda installed three phallic emblems of Shiva that quell all sins. The first is called Pratijneshvara, the second Kapaleshvara and the last Kumareshvara. The three can confer all the achievements. Thereafter, Kumara joyously installed the phallic image Stambheshvara, near the column of victory.
Then Kumuda the son of Sheṣa who was harassed by the Asuras came and sought refuge in Kumara. Another follower of Taraka—Pralamba who had fled from the battle with Taraka wrought great havoc with full force.
Eulogised by Kumuda and requested to slay the demon Pralamba, Kumara took up his spear after remembering the lotus-like feet of Shiva. He hurled the spear at Pralamba. Reducing that powerful Asura to ashes in a moment the spear carried out the job without strain and returned to Kumara. Then Kumara told the Naga child Kumuda— “Go home fearlessly. That Asura has been slain along with his army.”
On hearing the words of Guha, Kumuda, the son of the Naga chief eulogised and bowed to Kumara and went to Patella in great delight.
Vishnu and other gods eulogised kumara along with his followers for being freed from adversities and killing Taraka. Kumara granted them fresh boons in order. On seeing the mountains eulogising, the son of Shiva became very glad and said: --
“All of you, mountains will become worthy of being worshipped by the sages and resorted to by persons following the paths of action and knowledge. At my word you will be assuming the forms of phallic emblems, the special forms of Shiva. My maternal grandfather, the excellent mountain Himalaya, will become the fortunate bestower of fruits to ascetics.
The gods said: --
“By killing Taraka the lord of Asuras, and by granting boons thus, all of us including the mobile and immobile beings have been made happy by you. Now, it behoves you to go to Kailash with great pleasure, to the abode of Shiva to see your mother and father Shiva and Parvati.”
After saying thus, Vishnu and other gods went jubilantly to that mountain along with Kumara. They reached Shiva’s Mountain crying shouts of victory to Shiva. They entered the precincts with delight. Auspicious sounds arose. On seeing Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and other gods bowed to Shiva with devotion and stood there humbly with palms joined in reverence. Kumara descended from the aerial chariot in all humility and bowed joyously to Shiva and Parvati seated on a throne. On seeing their beloved son Kumara, the lordly couple Shiva and Parvati rejoiced much. After eulogising and bowing to Shiva frequently, Vishnu and other gods stood before him after placing Skanda ahead. On hearing the eulogy of the gods, Shiva, the self-ruler was delighted. The compassionate lord then laughed. Shiva said: --
“O Vishnu, O Brahma, O gods, listen to my words with attention. I am merciful. I shall protect you, the gods.”
Then, Vishnu, the other gods and the sages bowed to Shiva, Parvati, and Kumara joyously, and returned to their abodes in great delight singing the pleasant glory of Shiva, Parvati and their son.
In Chapter 13 to 18 of Kumara-Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana, the story of birth of Ganesh & crowning as chief of Ganas is narrated.
Once when Parvati was taking her bath, Sadashiv rebuked Nandi and came into the inner apartment. Parvati, seeing the untimely arrival of shiva amid her bath stood up. The goddess thought as follows.
“There must be a servant of my own who will be expert in his duties. He must not stray from my behest even a speck.”
Thinking thus the goddess created a person with all the characteristics, out of the dirt from her body. He was spotless and handsome in every part of his body. He was huge in size and had all brilliance, strength, and valour. She gave him various clothes and ornaments. She blessed him with benediction and said — “You are my son. You are my own. I have no one else to call my own”.
Ganesh said: --
“What is your order? I shall accomplish what you command.”
Parvati said: --
“O dear, listen to my words. Work as my gatekeeper from today. You are my son. Without my permission, no one, by any means, shall intrude my apartment. I tell you the fact.”
Then the son of the goddess, of great heroic power, stayed at the doorway armed with a staff with a desire to do what was good to her. At this very moment Shiva who is eagerly indulgent and an expert in various divine sports came near the door. Not knowing that he was Shiva, the consort of Parvati,
Ganesh said — “O sir, without my mother’s permission you shall not go in now. My mother has entered the bath. Where are you going now? Go away”.
On seeing him Shiva said “O foolish fellow, whom are you forbidding? O wicked knave, don’t you know me? I am Shiva, no one else, the husband of Parvati. O boy, I go in my own house. Why do you forbid me?”
When lord Shiva tried to enter the house, Ganesh became infuriated and struck him with his staff once again. Then Shiva too became furious. He commanded his own Gaṇas— “Who is this fellow here? What is he doing? O Gaṇas, enquire.”
The Ganas argue and wrangle with Ganesh:
The infuriated Gaṇas of Shiva at his bidding went there and questioned the son of Parvati who stood at the gate. Shiva’s Gaṇas said: --
“Who are you? Whence do you come? What do you propose to do? If you have a desire to remain alive go away from here. You go away from here. If not, your death is certain.”
Ganesh said: --
“I am the son of Parvati. You are the Gaṇas of Shiva. Both of us are thus equal. Let your duty be done, now. You are all doorkeepers. How is it that I am not? You are standing there, and I am standing here. This is certain. You must carry out the directions of Shiva. I have to carry out the orders of Parvati faithfully. You shall not enter the apartment either forcibly or humbly.”
The Gaṇas when decisively told by Ganesh became ashamed. They went to Shiva. After bowing to him they stood in front of him. Then they acquainted him with that news of wonderful nature. On hearing the detailed news mentioned by his Gaṇas, Shiva replied following the worldly conventions.
Shiva said: --
“O Gaṇas, a battle may not be a proper course. He is Parvati’s Gaṇa. But if we are going to be humble, there is likely to be a rumour: Shiva is subservient to his wife. O Gaṇas, this is certainly derogatory to me. That single-handed Gaṇa is a mere boy. What valour can be expected of him? You are all experts in warfare and reputed to be so in the world. You are my own men. How can you forsake war and demean yourselves? Hence, this war has to be fought by all means. Let what is in store happen.”
Ganesh’s battle with Ganas:
On seeing the excellent Gaṇas, fully equipped for war, coming, Ganesh said: --
“Welcome to the leaders of Gaṇas, carrying out the behests of shiva. I am only one and that too a mere boy carrying out the directions of Parvati. Yet let the goddess see the strength of her son. Let Shiva see the strength of his Gaṇas too. The fight between the parties of Parvati and Shiva is the one between a strong army and a boy. You are all experts in warfare and have fought in many a battle. I have never fought in a battle before. I am a mere boy. I am going to fight now. Still if you are put to shame, it will be shameful to Shiva and Parvati. But that will not happen to me. If I am put to shame, the contrary will happen to me. Parvati and Shiva will be put to shame but not I. O leader of the Gaṇas, the war shall be fought after realising this. You shall look up to your lord and I to my mother. Let what is destined to occur, occur. No one in the three worlds can ward it off.”
When thus taunted and rebuked they rushed towards him with big batons, decorating their arms and taking up different kinds of weapons. Nandi came first and caught hold of his leg. He pulled at it. Bhṛngi then rushed at him and caught hold of his other leg. Before the Gaṇas of Shiva had time to pull his legs Ganesh struck a blow at their hands and got his legs free. He smashed the gaṇas. Some fell on the ground, some fled in various directions, some got their legs broken and some fled to Shiva. Then Ganesh returned to doorway and stood there.
At this time, urged by Narada, all the gods including Vishnu and Indra came there. Standing in front of Shiva and bowing to him, they said— “O lord, be pleased to command us. What sort of sport you are indulging in, now?”
On hearing their words and seeing the Gaṇas completely shattered, Shiva told them everything. Then, He issued directives to Indra and other gods, to the Gaṇas led by the six-faced Kumara and to goblins, ghosts, and spirits to kill Ganesh. Whatever weapon they had was hurled on Ganesh with force. The six faced deity and the other gods who came there failed to use their weapons effectively. They were very much surprised.
In the meantime, goddess, the mother of the universe, of special knowledge, came to know of the entire incident and was very furious. The goddess created two Shaktis then and there for the assistance of her own Gaṇa. One Shakti assumed a very fierce form and stood there opening her mouth as wide as the cavern of a dark mountain. The other assumed the form of lightning. She wore many arms. She was a huge and terrible goddess ready to punish the wicked. The weapons hurled by the gods and the Gaṇas were caught in the mouth and hurled back at them. None of the weapons of the gods was seen anywhere around the iron club of Ganesh. This wonderful feat was performed by them. A single boy stirred and churned the vast impassable army in the same manner as great mountain churned the ocean of milk formerly. Indra and other gods were struck by him, singlehanded. The Gaṇas of Shiva became agitated and distressed then. All the gods and Gaṇas fled. They asked Shiva “O lord who is that excellent Gaṇa?”
On hearing their words, the furious Rudra became more furious and went there along with his Gaṇas.
By indulging in a great sport, the arrogance of the Gaṇas has been removed by you. The impudence of the gods too has been removed by giving this (Ganesh) much strength.
Narada said to Shiva: - “do not indulge in that sport. Please honour your own Gaṇas and the gods suitably and make them flourish. O bestower of the region of Brahman, please do not treat him leisurely but kill him in your play now.”
The head of Ganesh is chopped off during the battle:
Shiva called Vishnu and consulted him. Then with a great army and the gods, He, the three-eyed lord, stood face to face with him.
Vishnu, thinking within himself “He has to be killed only by deception and not otherwise” he stayed amid the army. “I shall cause him delusion. Then let him be killed by you. Without deception he cannot be killed. He is of Tamasika nature and inaccessible.” Thinking thus and consulting Shiva, Vishnu secured Shiva’s permission and was engaged in the activities of delusion. On seeing Vishnu in that manner, the two Shaktis handed over their power to Ganesh and became submerged. When the two Shaktis became submerged, Ganesh with more strength infused in him hurled the iron club in the place where Vishnu stood. Vishnu strenuously dodged the same after remembering Shiva.
Seeing his face on a side, the infuriated Shiva took up his trident with a desire to fight and came there. Ganesh, who had been rendered more powerful by Parvati and the Shaktis remembered the lotus like feet of his mother and struck him in his hand. Thereupon the trident fell from the hand of Shiva of supreme soul. Seeing this, Shiva took up his bow Pinaka. Ganesh felled that to the ground by means of his iron club. Five of his hands too were struck. He took up the trident with the other five hands. In the meantime, the heroic Ganesh endowed with the surplus power bestowed by the Shaktis struck the gods and the Gaṇas with his iron club. The gods and the Gaṇas smothered by that wonderful striker with the iron club went away to the ten directions. None of them remained in the battlefield. On seeing Ganesh, Vishnu said— “He is blessed. He is a great hero of great strength. He is valorous and fond of battle. Many gods, Danavas, Daityas, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, and Rakṣasas I have seen. In the entire extent of the three worlds, none of them can equal Ganesh in regard to brilliance, form, features, valour and other qualities.”
Ganesh whirled the iron club and hurled it at Vishnu. After remembering the lotus-like feet of Shiva, Vishnu took up his discus and split the iron club by means of discus. Ganesh hurled the piece of iron club at Vishnu which was caught by the bird Garuḍa and rendered futile. Thus, for a long time the two heroes Vishnu and Ganesh fought with each other. Then, the Trident-bearing deity came there and cut off his head with his trident. When the head of Ganesh was cut off, the armies of the gods and the Gaṇas stood still. Narada, then came and acquainted Parvati with the matter.
The Resuscitation of Ganesh:
After cutting off the head of Ganesh even as Shiva became sorry, goddess Parvati became furious. “O what shall I do? Where shall I go? Alas, great misery has befallen me. How can this misery, this great misery be dispelled now? “My son has been killed by all the gods and the Gaṇas. I shall destroy them all or create a deluge.”
Lamenting thus, the great goddess of all the worlds angrily created in a moment hundred and thousands of Shaktis. Shaktis who were thus created, bowed to Parvati, the mother of the universe and blazing brilliantly spoke— “O mother, be pleased to command.” The goddess said: --
“O Shaktis, O goddesses, now a great deluge shall be created by you at my bidding. You need not hesitate in this regard. Devour forcibly all these sages, gods, Yakṣas, Raakṣasas belonging to us and others.”
On being commanded by her, the infuriated Shaktis got ready to destroy the gods and others. These Shaktis attempted to destroy. Leaders of Gaṇas or Vishnu, Brahma or Shiva, Indra or Kubera, Skanda or the Sun—Shaktis began to destroy them. Wherever one looked, Shaktis were present. On seeing that Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, the other gods, Gaṇas and the sages began to doubt what the Goddess Parvati would be doing, whether she would create an untimely dissolution. They all gathered and discussed— “What shall be done now? In the meantime, Narada came there for the happiness of the gods and Gaṇas. He said— “Let us think and act together.” They then said. So long as the goddess Parvati does not favour us there will be no happiness. Narada and other sages went to Parvati to appease her anger. They then propitiated her. They eulogised her with many hymns. They sought forgiveness. They said: -
“The final dissolution seems near at hand. Your lord is standing here. O mother, you see him. What are we, the gods, Vishnu, Brahma and others? We are only your subjects. We stand here with palms joined in reverence. O great goddess, our guilts shall be forgiven. We are agitated and distressed. O Parvati give us peace.”
On hearing their words Parvati was pleased and she replied to the sages with her mind full of compassion. The goddess said: --
“If my son regains life there may not be further annihilation. If you can arrange for him an honourable status and position among you as the chief presiding officer, there may be peace in the world. Otherwise, you will never be happy.”
Thus, Narada and other sages returned and intimated to all the gods everything in detail. On hearing that, Indra and other gods joined their palms in reverence and piteously intimated to Shiva what had transpired there. On hearing what the gods said, Shiva spoke thus— “It shall be done accordingly so that there may be peace over all the worlds.”
“You shall go to the northern direction and whatever person you meet at first you cut off his head and fit it to this body.”
Then they carried out Shiva’s behests and acted accordingly. They brought the headless body of Ganesh and washed it well. They paid homage to it and started towards the north. It was a single-tusked elephant that they met. They took the head and fitted it to the body. After joining it, the gods bowed to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and spoke — “What has been ordered by you has been carried out by us. Let the task left incomplete be performed now.”
Then Brahma, Vishnu and other gods spoke after bowing to lord Shiva who is free from the ill effects of the attributes.
They said: — “Since we all are born out of your brilliant Energy let that Energy come into it by the recitation of the Vedic mantras. Saying so, they jointly sprinkled the holy water, invoked by the mantras on that body after remembering Shiva. Immediately after the contact of the holy water the boy was resuscitated to life and joined with consciousness. As Shiva willed, the boy woke up as from a sleep. On seeing the son of Parvati resuscitated to life, they all rejoiced, and their miseries came to an end. On seeing her restored to life, the goddess was greatly delighted.
Ganesh crowned as the chief of Ganas:
On seeing her son, Parvati was highly delighted. Taking him up with both her hands she embraced him joyously. He was honoured by the goddess who bestowed all Siddhis on him and touched him with her hand that removes all distress. She granted him boons with affection and said— “You have had great distress since your very birth. You will receive worship before all the gods. You will be free from distress. Vermillion is visible on your face now. Hence you will be worshipped with vermillion by all men always. All achievements certainly accrue to him who performs your worship with flowers, sandal paste, scents, auspicious food offerings Niranjana rites, betel leaves, charitable gifts, circumambulations, and obeisance. Shiva told the gods. “This is another son of mine.”
Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma said to the gods: -
“He is the remover of all obstacles and the bestower of the fruits of all rites. He shall be worshipped first, and we shall be worshipped afterwards. If he is not worshipped, we too are not worshipped. If the other deities are worshipped when he is not worshipped, the fruit of that rite will be lost. There is no doubt in this matter.”
To gratify Parvati, Gaṇesha was proclaimed as the presiding officer by all, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and others. Again, with a joyful mind, several boons were granted by Parvati to him.
Shiva said: --
“O son of Parvati, let your name be the most auspicious in the matter of quelling obstacles. Be the presiding officer of all my Gaṇas and worthy of worship now. O Ganesh, you are born in the first Prahara on the fourth day in the dark half of the Bhadra mouth at the auspicious hour of the moonrise. Since your form manifested itself from the good mind of Parvati, your excellent Vrata shall be performed on that Tithi itself or beginning from that day. It will be very auspicious and conducive to the achievement of all Siddhis. He shall perform worship with the Durva grass and observe fast. After a Prahara has elapsed in the night the devotee shall take bath and worship. The idol shall be made of metal, coral, white Arka flowers or clay. It shall be installed and worshipped by the devotee with all purity, with scents of various kinds, divine sandal paste, and flowers. A handful of Durva grass having three knots and without roots shall be used for worship. After worshipping you with various articles of worship like betel etc. and eulogising you with hymns, the devotee shall worship the crescent moon. Afterwards, he shall feed the brahmins joyously with sweets with due honour. He himself shall take sweets and avoid salt. Then the rites shall formally be dismissed. Then he shall remember Ganesh. Thus, the Vrata shall be concluded auspiciously. O Ganesh, he who performs your worship up to his ability, with faith, shall derive the fruit of all desires. The devotee shall worship you, the lord of Gaṇas with vermillion, sandal paste, raw rice grains and Ketaka flowers as well as with other services. They who devoutly worship you with acts of service will achieve success. Their obstacles will be quelled.”
When Parvati became free from fury, Shiva and Parvati behaved as before. Both Vishnu and Brahma took leave of Shiva and Parvati returned to our abodes.
Arrogance is the characteristic of Man’s nature. It needs to be curbed.
The story of birth of Kartikeya and his crowning – Shiva Purana
In Chapter 1 to 6 of Kumara-Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana, the story of birth and crowning of Kartikeya, son of Shiva & Parvati is narrated.
After marrying Parvati, Shiva went to a delightful brilliant, isolated place. Shiva indulged in dalliance with Parvati for a thousand years. Because of the dalliance of Shiva and Parvati, the earth quaked with the weight along with Sheṣa (the serpent) and Kacchapa (the tortoise). Then, Vishnu along with Brahma & gods went immediately to the mountain Kailasa and desired to see Shiva. Vishnu & other deities eulogised Shiva and asked to save them from Taraka, being harassed by him.
Birth of Kartikeya:
On hearing that, the great lord, an expert in Yogic theory, though free from lust, discharged the semen which fell on the ground. Agni became a dove and swallowed it with his beak which caused him burning sensation. Agni eulogised Shiva to get relieved from burning sensation. Hearing the words of Agni, Shiva the great lord spoke delightedly to Agni. Shiva said: --
“An improper action has been committed by you in swallowing my semen. Deposit carefully that semen in the womb of some good woman. You will become happy and particularly relieved of the burning sensation.” Then, Narada said: -
“O Agni, taking recourse to the following expedient you will be relieved of the burning sensation and be happy. You shall deposit this semen of Shiva in the bodies of the ladies who take their morning baths in the month of Magha.”
Meanwhile the wives of the seven celestial sages came there desirous of taking their early morning bath in the month of Magha with other observances of rites. After the bath, six of them were distressed by the chillness and were desirous of going near the flame of fire. Arundhati of good conduct and perfect knowledge saw them deluded and dissuaded them at the behest of Shiva. The six ladies stubbornly insisted on going there to ward off their chillness because they were deluded by Shiva’s magical art. Immediately the particles of the semen entered their bodies through the pores of hairs. The fire was relieved of their burning sensation. The women became pregnant and were distressed by the burning sensation. They went home. The wives of the sages cast off their semen in the form of a foetus at the top of Himalaya. They felt then relieved of their burning sensation. Unable to bear that semen of Shiva and trembling much, Himalaya became scorched by it and hurled it in the Ganga. The intolerable semen of lord Shiva was deposited by Ganga in the forest of Sara grass. The semen that fell was turned in a handsome good-featured boy, full of glory and splendour. He increased everyone’s pleasure. On the sixth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Margashirsha, the son of Shiva was born in the world. Out of joy, milk exuded from the breasts of Parvati. There was great jubilation everywhere.
The boyhood sports of Kartikeya
The powerful sage Visvamitra came and was delighted on seeing the unearthly splendour of that brilliant boy. He bowed him.
Shiva’s son said: --
“O great one of perfect wisdom, it is due to the will of Shiva that you have come here by chance. O dear, perform my purificatory rites in accordance with Vedic injunctions. From now onwards you remain my priest conferring your love on me.”
Vishvamitra said: --
“Listen, O dear, I am not a brahmin. I am a Kshatriya, son of Gadhi, famous as a servant of brahmins.”
Shiva’s son (Guha, Kartikeya) said: --
“O Vishvamitra, thanks to my favour, you now become a Brahminical sage. Vasishta and others will for ever regard you with respect. Hence, at my behest you shall perform my purificatory rites. Keep this as a great secret. You shall not mention it anywhere.”
Kartikeya was glad and conferred divine wisdom on the sage. Form that times onwards he became a great brahmin. Agni gave him a miraculous weapon, spear. Kartikeya took the spear and ascended the peak. He hit the peak with his spear and the peak fell. Ten thousand billion of heroic demons came there to attack him but were killed on being hit with the spear. There was great hue and cry.
The Earth, the mountains and the three worlds quaked. Indra the lord of gods came there. The four of great heroic strength including Skanda rushed to attack Indra. Afraid of Guha, Indra with all the gods went away to his region agitatedly. He did not know his secret. That boy remained there itself as fearless as before. Meanwhile the six ladies named Kṛttikas came there for bath, and they saw the lordly boy. All of them desired to take and fondle him. As a result, a dispute arose. To quell their mutual dispute, the boy assumed six faces and drank milk off their breasts. They were all satisfied. They took him to their region joyously. Feeding him with their breast milk they nursed and nurtured Śiva’s son who was more refulgent than the sun. Feeding him specially on the choicest delicacies day by day they brought up the boy prodigy. Once Kartikeya went to the celestial assembly and showed wonderful feats. The boy of wonderful miracles showed his rare splendour to the gods including Vishnu.
On seeing him, the gods and sages including Vishnu became surprised and asked the boy “Pray, who are you?” On hearing it he did not say anything in reply. He returned to his abode and remained concealed as before.
One day Parvati asked Shiva about her son. Shiva informed that the boy was taken by the Kṛttikas. “They are feeding him with their own breast milk they nurtured your son, as refulgent as the sun. Now, he is the son of the Kṛttikas in the forest. In their eagerness they named him Kartikeya lovingly.” On receiving the news of her son, Parvati was delighted. The lord sent his Gaṇas as his emissaries to the place where his son was staying. All the emissaries of Shiva went and haughtily encircled the abode of the Kṛttikas with various miraculous weapons in their hands. On seeing them the Kṛttikas were extremely terrified. They spoke to Kartikeya blazing with divine splendour. Kartikeya assured them to be out of fear.
In the meantime, Nandishvara the commander-in-chief informed Kartikeya:
“You are the son of Shiva, the annihilator of the universe. Shiva will be crowning you in the company of the gods. You will get miraculous weapons and will slay the demon, Taraka. You are brilliant enough to illuminate the universe.”
Kartikeya said: --
“I am fostered son of Krttikas. I am not severed from Parvati who is virtually my mother just as these ladies based on virtuous rites. You have been sent by Shiva. You are like a son unto Shiva. I am coming with you. I shall see the gods. After saying so and hurriedly taking leave of the Kṛttikas, Kartikeya started along with the attendants of Shiva.”
In the meantime, he saw an excellent, lustrous, and wonderful chariot, made by Viśvakarman. It was a commodious with a hundred wheels. It was beautiful and had the quickness of the mind. It had been sent by Parvati and was surrounded by the excellent attendants of Shiva. He got into the chariot along with them. Kumara reached the foot of a Nyagrodha tree at Kailash in the fast chariot along with Nandi seated to his right. Then all the gods, sages, Siddhas, Caraṇas, Vishnu and Brahma announced his arrival. Shiva, and Parvati highly delighted and jubilant came there and saw their son. On seeing his son, the great lord Shiva along with the great goddess Parvati was filled with pleasure and love.
The sages adored Kumara with the Vedic chants, the musicians by singing songs, and others by playing upon musical instruments. Then Shiva following the worldly convention delightedly placed Kartikeya on a beautiful gem set throne. Vishnu gave him a crown, a coronet and bracelets moulded and set in gems, his own necklace Vaijayanti and the discus. Shiva gave him the trident, the bow Pinaka, the axe, the arrow Pasupata, the weapon of destruction and the greatest lore. Brahma gave him the holy thread, the Vedas, the mantra Gayatri, the vessel Kamaṇḍalu, the arrow Brahmastra and the lore that destroys the enemy. Then Indra gave him a lordly elephant and a thunderbolt. The lord of the waters, Varuṇa, gave him a white umbrella and a necklace of gems to wear. The sun gave him a chariot as fast as the mind and a coat of mail with great equipments; Yama his own staff: the moon a vessel full of nectar. Agni lovingly gave him a spear; Nirṛti his own weapon and the wind his own weapon. Kubera gave him a mace; Shiva a spear; the gods different kinds of weapons and implements. The delighted lord of Kama gave him the weapon of love, a club, and his own lore with great pleasure. The ocean of milk gave him valuable gems and a splendid anklet set with gems. Himalaya gave him divine ornaments and garments. Garuḍa gave him his own son Citrabarhaṇa; Aruṇa a powerful cock Tamracuḍa. Parvati gave him power and prosperity smilingly and joyously. She gave him longevity too with great pleasure. Lakshmi gave him divine wealth and a great and beautiful necklace. Savitri gave him the entire Siddhavidya with joy. The other goddesses too who had come there gave him their respective presents. The Kṛttikas too did the same. There was great jubilation there. Everyone was delighted, especially Parvati and Shiva.
In modern world today also, Artificial Insemination is one way to give birth of a child.
In chapters 38 to 53 in Parvati Khanda of Shiva Purana, the story of wedding of Parvati with Shiva is explained.
After Shiva consented for marriage with Parvati, auspicious rites were started by the Himalaya on an auspicious day. The mountains Mandara, Malaya, Nisadha, Gandhamadana, Nila Trikuṭa, Citrakuṭa, Venkaṭa, Shrigiri, Gokamukha, Vindhya, Kalanjara and Narada came. The brilliant rivers, Shoṇabhadra, Godavari,Yamuna, Venika, Narmada and others came delightfully to be present at the marriage of Shiva and Parvati.
Himalaya requested Vishvakarman to decorate the entire city. He erected a large and spacious dais beautiful with side rostrums, altars etc. There were artificial lions. There were rows of storks. There were artificial peacocks, but very beautiful in appearance. Elephants with their mahouts and horses with their riders were so natural that none would say that they were artificial. The statue of Nandi was a prototype of the real Nandi. A brilliant abode of Vishnu called Vaikuṇṭha, with wonderful features, was created in a trice. Similarly, he erected Shiva’s mansion of various shapes and of great brilliance.
Invitation for Shiva’s wedding:
On reading the auspicious letter with joy, Shiva duly accepted the proposal. Then the delighted Shiva said: --
“O Narada, the marriage will take place after seven days from today. O sage, on my behalf, invite all the gods beginning with Vishnu, and sages, Siddhas, and others.”
Narada invited all of them approaching everyone severally. Vishnu and other gods who had arrived there desired to make Shiva’s procession to start. Then all the gods, demons, Nagas, Patangas, Apsarasas, sages and others approached Shiva.
Authorised by Shiva, Brahma performed all the rites conducive to prosperity, assisted by the sages. The sages Kashyap, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Gautama, Bhāguri, Bṛhaspati, Kaṇva, Sakti, Jamadagni, Parasara, Markaṇḍeya, Silapaka, Aruṇapsla, Akṛtasrama, Agastya, Cyavana, Garga, Siasda, Dadhichi, Upamanyu, Bharadvaja, Akṛtavraṇa, Pippalada, Kusika, Kautsa, Vyasa, with his disciples, and other sages came to Shiva. Urged by Brahma, they performed the sacred rites duly.
The Marriage Procession of Shiva:
Then Shiva called Nandi and other Gaṇas and ordered them to accompany Him. A thousand crores of Bhutas aud three crores of Pramathas went. Virabhadra went with sixty-four crores of Gaṇas and three crores of Romajas. Behind the Gaṇas, the enthusiastic gods, the Siddhas, the guardians of the quarters and others followed. Vishnu, seated on Garuḍa, Brahma with the Vedas, Shastras, Puraṇas and Agamas personified and along with sons, Prajapatis, Sanaka and other Siddhas, seated on the elephant Airavata in the midst of his armies, Indra, Shakinis, Yatudhanas Vetalas, Brahmarakṣasas, Bhutas, Pretas and Pramathas, Tumburu, Narada, Hāha, Huhu, Gandharvas and Kinnaras went ahead playing on their musical instruments with great delight. The Mothers of the universe, the celestial virgins, Gayatri, Savitri, Lakshmi, the celestial maidens, the wives of the gods, the mothers of the worlds went ahead with great joy.
Description of Shiva’s wonderful sport:
Mena desired to see the bridegroom of Parvati first. Then Shiva, realising her false pride in herself, spoke to Vishnu and Brahma that both of you go one by one accompanied by the gods to the threshold of the mountain. I shall follow afterwards. Every time, she saw processions passing one by one with beautifully dressed heads and splendid vast armies and exclaimed delightfully – “O this is Shiva”. But each time, Narada said “No”.
Then the army of Shiva came there consisting of wonderful arrays of Bhutas, Pretas and Gaṇas. Some were in the form of violent gusts of wind, producing hissing sounds with waving flags. Some had crooked faces. Others were deformed. On seeing the innumerable Gaṇas, Bhutas and Pretas, Menaka was terribly frightened instantaneously. On seeing Shiva in their midst, the mother of Parvati trembled. She saw Shiva who though devoid of attributes was better than those who had all the attributes, He was seated on the Bull. He had five faces and three eyes. He had ashes smeared over the body. He had matted hair with the crescent moon on His head. He had ten hands with the skull in one of them. His upper cloth was tiger’s hide. He held the bow Pinaka in one of his hands and the Trident in another. He had odd eyes, ugly features utterly dishevelled and untidy. He wore the hide of an elephant.
She was stunned, tremulous agitated and confused. You said to her “This is Shiva” and pointed Him out to her. On hearing words of Narada she fell on the ground.
On regaining consciousness, Mena lamented with great agitation and began to rebuke everyone. In faltering words, she frequently censured her sons at first and then scolded her daughter. Mena said: --
“I the innocent woman have been cheated. What shall I do? Where shall I go? Who will dispel my sorrow? My family is wrecked. My life is doomed. Where are those so-called celestial sages? I shall pluck out their beards. Where is that mischievous woman who came here by herself in the guise of the wire of one of them? By whose guilt have I been ruined now?” Saying this she turned to her daughter and began to say harsh words.”
Narada said: --
“The real handsome form of Shiva is not known by you. This form is assumed by Shiva in a sportive mood. It is not the real form. Hence, O chaste lady, cast off anger. Be calm. Leave off your obduracy. Do what is proper to be done. Give Parvati to Siva.”
On hearing Narada’s words, Mena spoke him — “O wicked one, get up and go away. You are base”.
The seven sages, Vasishta and others, came there and said: --
“We have come here to achieve a purpose. In this important affair how can we entertain opposite views? The very vision of Shiva is the greatest gain. He has come to your palace as the suppliant for your gift”. Though advised by them, Mena did not accept their proposal. Weak in knowledge she spoke to the sages in anger.
Then Himalaya himself came there extremely agitated. To convince her he spoke lovingly pointing to her the reality of the situation. Himalaya said: --
“You do not know Shiva. Shiva has many names and many forms. Seeing a peculiar, distorted form you have become excited. He has been realised by me. He is the protector of everyone. He is worthy of worship of the most adorable. He can bless and countermand. Do not be obstinate. Do not be grief-stricken. Get up. Hasten. O virtuous one, carry on your duties. Let me remind you of a former incident when Shiva came to our place in a hideous form and exhibited his sports. But on seeing his greatness we both consented to give our daughter in marriage to him. O beloved, keep that promise.”
After saying thus, the lord of the mountains stopped. On hearing it Mena said: --
“O lord, let my words be heard. You can carry out what I say. Take your daughter Parvati, tie her up and cast her down into a deep abysmal chasm. Or drown her in the deep sea and be happy. I am not going to give her to Shiva. If you give your daughter to him who is of hideous features, O lord, I shall certainly leave off this mortal frame.”
The, Parvati voluntarily spoke in a sweet voice:
“O mother, your noble intellect has become perverted. Why do you forsake virtue, you who ought to depend on virtue alone? This Shiva has no one else greater than him. He is Shiva. the source of everything. He is beautiful, pleasing and eulogised in all the Vedas. Shiva is the benefactor. He is the lord of gods. He is self-ruler. O mother, He is of many forms and names. He is served by Vishnu, Brahma and others. He is the support of everything. He is the creator and annihilator. He is free from aberrations. He is the lord of the three deities. He is indestructible and eternal. O mother, give me to lord Shiva. O mother, agree to my humble entreaty. I request you. If you do not give me to Shiva, I am not going to woo anyone else.”
On hearing these words of Parvati, Mena lamented much. She became angry.
Then Brahma came there quickly and narrated to her the principles of Shiva which ought to have dispelled her perverted knowledge.
But Mena continued to cry again and again. Then, Sanaka and other Siddhas came there and spoke lovingly. Siddhas said: --
This Shiva is the supreme being, the bestower of supreme happiness. Out of His sympathy He has granted His vision to your daughter. Then Mena said to them after sobbing frequently— “My riches are not to be given to Shiva of hideous form. Why are you Siddhas collectively attempting to make her exquisite beauty futile?”
All the gods, Siddhas, sages and human beings were bewildered. In the meantime, on hearing of her persistent obduracy, Vishnu a favourite of Shiva came there and spoke as follows.
Vishnu said: --
“You are the beloved mental daughter of the Pitṛs. You are endowed with all good qualities. You are wife of Himalaya himself. Yours is the excellent race of Brahma. Your well-wishers in the world are also like him (Brahma). You are really blessed. What more can I say? You are reputed to be a patron of virtue. Why do you then eschew virtue? May this be pondered over by you yourself. Can anything against you be mentioned by the gods, sages, or Brahma or by myself? You do not know Shiva. He is both possessed and devoid of attributes. He alone, during his divine sport, has incarnated himself in divine form. It was by the fascination of Parvati’s penance that He has come to your threshold. Hence, O wife of Himalaya, eschew your sorrow. Worship Shiva. You will have great pleasure. All pain will be quelled.”
When instructed by Vishnu, Menaka’s mind was somewhat softened. But she did not give up her obduracy. She did not consent to the proposal of giving her daughter to Shiva. Mena was deluded by Shiva’s magic. On hearing the pleasing words of Vishnu, the beloved of the mountain, the mother of Parvati became slightly enlightened and spoke to Vishnu. If He assumes a lovely form and body my daughter may be given to Him and not otherwise even if you attempt, it a thousand times. This is my firm decision. After saying thus Mena of steady resolve kept quiet. She was induced by Shiva’s will whose magical power deludes all.
Brahma pleaded with Shiva to assume the comely form. Shiva joyously assumed a wonderfully excellent and divine form and showed His mercifulness. Mena saw Shiva’s form. It was as refulgent as that of a thousand suns. Every part of the body was exquisite. The garments were of variegated colours.
On seeing Him in that form Mena stood stunned and said: - “O great lord, my daughter is indeed blessed, she by whom the great penance was performed. It is by virtue of that penance that you have come to my threshold. Pardon me for the heap of repulsive words.
After performing the conventional rites in accordance with the Vedic injunctions and the social customs they decorated Parvati with the ornaments provided by Shiva. Priest Garga solemnized the marriage of Shiva & Parvati.
The concluding ceremonies of the wedding of Shiva and Parvati were carried out joyously by the sages. The ceremonial ceremonies include head-bath, respect paid to the Pole star Dhruva, the rite of Hṛdayalambhana (husband touches the heart of the bride), Svastipaṭha, application of red powder by Shiva on the head of Parvati and the rite of Saṃsrava Prasanna. Then the sixteen celestial ladies - Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Savitri, Jahnavi, Aditi, Sachi, Lopamudra, Arundhati, Ahalya, Tulasi, Svaha, Rohiṇi, Vasundhara, Satarupa, Saṃjna and Rati, arrived to pay respect to the couple and to guide Parvati post marriage duties & techniques.
The resuscitation of Kama:
At that time, thinking that the hour was favourable, Rati requested Shiva to resuscitate her husband. Sarasvati and other celestial ladies said: --
“Obeisance to you, O lord, you are friend of the distressed, storehouse of mercy. Resuscitate the cupid. Make Rati jubilant.” On hearing their words, lord Shiva was delighted. Thanks to the nectarine glance of the Trident bearing lord, Kama came out of the ashes.
In morning, Vishnu and the other gods got up with joy, remembered the lord of gods and excitedly got ready. They got their vehicles ready for the departure to Kailasa and sent Dharma to Shiva. Shiva then, in accordance with the worldly customs, went through his morning routine. He took leave of Mena and the mountain. Shiva took leave of her and the mountain and set on journey with the gods jubilantly. The gods with the lord and His Gaṇas started on their journey silently.
Shiva by playing sports, educated the people that whatever seen is mortal, whether beautiful or ugly.
The Story of Anaraṇya and his daughter – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 34 & 35 of Parvati Khanda in Shiva Purana, the story of Anaranya and his daughter is narrated. The story revolves around Padma, a chaste woman.
The king Anaraṇya hailed from the race of the fourteenth Manu Indrasavarṇi. The great king Anaraṇya, born of Maṅgalaraṇya was very strong. He was a special devotee of Shiva and ruled over the seven continents. Having Bhṛgu as his priest, he performed a hundred sacrifices. He did not accept the position of Indra even when offered by the gods. Hundred sons were born to him and a beautiful daughter Padma who was equal to Lakshmi.
He was fonder of his daughter than of his hundred sons. He had five queens who were endowed with great qualities and fortunes and were loved by him over and above his life. The girl entered the prime of her youth in her father’s palace. The king issued letters of invitation for the requisition of good bridegrooms.
In the meantime, the sage Pippalada eagerly hastening back to his hermitage saw a certain Gandharva in an isolated place in the penance-grove. The Gandharva was an expert in the science of erotic. He was in the company of a woman. He was therefore completely submerged in the ocean of pleasure, sexual dalliance and was lusty. On seeing him the great sage became very lustful. He lost interest in penance and began to think of acquiring a wife. Thus, the good sage spent a long time with his mind utterly agitated by pangs of love.
Once while the good sage was on his way to the river Puṣpabhadra for taking his bath he happened to see the young maiden Padma who was as charming as goddess Lakshmi. The sage asked the persons standing by — “Who is this girl?” The people, afraid of the curse bowed to the sage and replied.
The people said: --
“This excellent lady, the repository of all good qualities, is the daughter of Anaraṇya and is called Padma. She is another Lakshmi (goddess of fortune). She is being wooed by great kings.”
On hearing the words of the people who spoke the truth, the sage became much agitated in the mind and was eager to possess her.
The sage took bath and worshipped his favourite deity Shiva duly. The lustful sage went to the council-chamber of Anaraṇya for the sake of alms. Immediately after seeing the sage, the king was struck with awe and bowed to him. He offered him homage (Madhuparka) and devoutly worshipped him. Out of love, the sage accepted everything and ultimately requested for the hand of his daughter. The king kept quiet, being unable to give any decisive reply. The sage repeated his request saying— “O great king, give me your daughter. Otherwise in a trice I will reduce everything to ashes”.
The king and his attendants were overwhelmed by the splendour of the sage. Staring at the old emaciated brahmin, they began to cry. The queens, knowing not what shall be done, lamented. The chief queen, the mother of the girl, fell unconscious in the excess of her grief. The brothers of the girl were agitated with sorrow. Everything and everyone connected with the king was overwhelmed with grief. In the meantime, the wise brahmin, the excellent preceptor of the king, as well as his intelligent priest came there.
The king bowed to them and paid homage. He cried before them. He explained to them everything and asked them what the proper step was to be taken immediately. The brahmin, the preceptor of the king and the scholarly priest were experts in sacred lore and polity. They advised the king in that matter. The preceptor and the priest said: --
“O wise king, listen to our beneficial words. Do not be anxious. In the company of your kinsmen turn your good attention to the sacred texts. O king, whether today or after a year, the princess is to be given to a deserving person, a brahmin or anyone else. In the three worlds we do not see more deserving person than this brahmin. Give your daughter to this sage and save your riches. O king, if all riches face the danger of destruction due to one object or person, the wise man saves everything by abandoning that object or person unless it be that who has sought refuge.”
On hearing the words of the wise, the king lamented again and again but ultimately offered his daughter fully bedecked in ornaments to the excellent sage. Accepting and marrying the beautiful maiden Padma, on a par with goddess Lakshmi, in accordance with holy laws, the delighted sage returned to his abode.
After giving his daughter to an old man, the king was much dejected in mind. Abandoning everything he went to the forest for performing penance. When the king went to the forest, the queen, passed away, due to the pangs of separation from her husband and daughter. Without the king, the respectable sons and officers of the king became unconscious. The other people thinking that the king was dead lamented much. Anaraṇya went to the forest, performed great penance, and worshipped Shiva with devotion. In the end, he attained Shivaloka free from all ailments.
The eldest son of the king, Kirtiman, virtuously ruled over the kingdom and tended the subjects like his own children. Thus, Anaraṇya saved his race and his wealth by offering his daughter to the sage.
After hearing the story of Anaraṇya including the anecdote of the offer of his daughter, the lord of mountains again asked Vasishta to narrate the story of his daughter. Vasishta narrated the story of Padma after the marriage with Pippalada.
The very old and venerable sage Pippalada returned to his hermitage along with his wife Padma and passed time in pleasure. He was not too much sensuous. He continued to perform his penance and holy rites in the forest and on the mountain. The daughter of Anaraṇya served the sage devoutly physically, mentally and verbally like Lakshmi serving Vishnu.
Once Dharma (Virtue) assumed the guise of a king by his magical power and seated in a beautiful chariot, happened to see on the way that lady of gentle smiles going to the celestial river for her holy dip. He was in the prime of fresh youth, glorious and lustrous like the cupid. On seeing Padma, he spoke thus, in order to know the innermost feelings of the sage’s wife. Dharma said: --
“O beautiful woman, you are Lakshmi herself; you are charming, you are worthy of a king; you are in the very prime of youth; you will be ever young; you are a lovely, sweet lady. You lack lustre and colour in the presence of the sage Pippalada who is old and weak. Cast off that ruthless old brahmin always engaged in penances. Look up to me a great king, heroic in sexual dalliance and agitated by Kama. A beautiful woman acquires beauty because of the merit of a previous birth. The beauty becomes completely fruitful only after embracing a man of aesthetic taste. I am the lover of a thousand beautiful women. I am an expert in the erotic science and literature. Abandon that husband and make me your slave.”
Saying this, he got down and was eager to catch her hands. Padma, the chaste lady then said: --
“Go away you sinful king. If you cast your lustful ogles at me, you will be doomed in a moment. How can I resort to you, lecherous and mad after women, after forsaking the excellent sage Pippalada whose body is sanctified by austerities? By the very touch of a person under the influence of women all merits are destroyed. He is a great sinner. His very sight promotes sins. Even if he performs holy rites, a person succumbing to the viles of women is always impure. The manes, the gods and all men despise him. Of what avail is knowledge, penance, repetition of sacred mantras, sacrifice, adoration, learning and charitable gift to him who is henpecked? Since you spoke to me viewing me with the feelings that I am your wife although I ought to have been viewed as your mother, you will have a gradual decline because of my curse.”
On hearing the curse of the chaste woman, Dharma cast off the guise of a king and assumed his real form. Dharma said: --
“O mother, know me as Dharma elderly and venerable to men of wisdom and preceptors. O chaste lady, I always consider other’s wives as mothers. It was to know your innermost feelings that I approached you. I knew your mind, still I was urged by fate. Only proper suppression, not the contrary, is carried out by you. Obeisance to Shiva who distributes happiness, misery, boons, prosperity, or adversity on all. Obeisance to Shiva who can make people enemies or friends, create affection or quarrel, to generate or destroy things. Obeisance to Shiva, by whom the primordial nature, the principles Mahat etc, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and others are created.”
After saying thus Dharma, the most venerable god in the universe stood in front of her, stunned but delighted at her chastity. But he did not say anything. Princess Padma was surprised on realising that it was Dharma and said: -
“O Dharma, you are the ever-present witness of all activities. O lord, why did you deign to deceive me to know my mind? What has been done already does not amount to any guilt on my part. You have been cursed in vain by me, but it was due to my ignorance and innate nature of woman. This sky, these quarters and the winds may get destroyed but the curse of a chaste lady will never be destroyed. In the Satya yuga you shine with all the legs. In the Treta yuga, one leg shall be defunct, O excellent god. Another leg too shall be defunct in Dvapara and the third one in the Kali age, O lord. In the latter half of Kali, all the legs will be chopped off. Again, in the Satya Yuga you will attain perfection. In the Satya Yuga you will be all-pervasive and in the other Yugas partially so. Let these words of mine be true and pleasing to you. I am now going to serve my husband. “
On hearing her words Dharma became delighted. Then Dharma, the son of Brahma, spoke to the chaste lady who had been speaking to him. Dharma said: --
“O chaste lady, you are blessed, you are devotedly attached to your husband. Take this boon. Your husband is the cause of your great protection. Let him be a young man with sexual vigour and righteousness. He shall be comely in appearance, good in conduct, eloquent in speech and perpetually stable in youth. Let him enjoy more longevity than Markaṇḍeya. Let him be richer than Kubera. Let him enjoy more prosperity and power than Indra. Let him be a devotee of Shiva on a par with Vishnu. Let him be a greater Siddha than Kapila. Let him vie with Brihaspati in intelligence and with Brahma in equanimity. You will be blessed with all the fortunes of your master as long as you live. Also, you will be perpetually young. Undoubtedly you will become the mother of ten sons who will be greater than your husband, they will have all good qualities and live long. Let your abode be endowed with all riches, brightly illuminated always and superior to even the abode of Kubera.”
Bestowing blessings upon her, Dharma returned to his abode. She sported about in secret with her husband who became a young man. She gave birth to sons who surpassed her husband in their good qualities. All kinds of riches were granted to the couple increasing their happiness. They were conducive to the prosperity here and hereafter.
A chaste woman brings prosperity, power and well-being.
The story of divine sports of Shiva to test Parvati’s Parents – Shiva Purana
In Chapters 30 to 36 of Parvati Khanda of Siva Purana, Shiva, prone to divine sports, assumed the guise of a dancer and then of a Brahmin to test Parvati’s parents.
Shiva approached Menaka. In the guise of a dancer with the skill of dancing and singing, he danced well and sang many songs in sweet voice. Shiva was bearing trident and other symbols. He had smeared the ashes all over His body. He was wearing a garland of bones. He had the sacred thread of a serpent. Mena took gems and jewels in gold vessels to give them to Him. But the dancer did not accept the gifts. He requested for the hand of Parvati and began to dance and sing again. Mena was surprised on hearing his words and she was furious. She rebuked the mendicant and wished to drive him out.
In the meantime, Himalaya (father of Parvati), the lord of mountains returned. He saw the mendicant in the human form in his courtyard. On hearing the details from Mena, he became very angry. He ordered his attendants to drive out the dancer. But none of them could push him out as he was hot to the touch like a blazing fire and very brilliant. Then the mendicant who was clever at diverse sports showed his endless great power to the mountain. The mountain saw him immediately transmuted into the form of Vishnu the four-armed, with crown earrings and yellow garment. Then the lord of mountains saw the four-faced deity, the creator of worlds, red in colour and reciting the Vedic hymns. Then the lord of mountains saw the form of the sun, the eye of the universe, much to his enthusiastic amazement. Then he saw him in the wonderful form of Shiva accompanied by Parvati. He was smiling and shining beautifully. Then he saw him in the form of a mass of splendor of no specific shape. It was unsullied, free from peculiar attributes and desires. It was wonderfully formless. Thus, he saw many forms and features there. He was surprised and delighted much.
Then the chief of mendicants begged of Himalaya and Mena the hand of Parvati as alms. He, the source of great enjoyment did not accept anything else. The lord of mountains deluded by Shiva’s magic did not accede to this request. The mendicant too did not take anything. He vanished from the scene. Then Himalaya and Mena realised that Shiva had deceived them and gone to His abode. After some pondering, they developed a feeling of devotion to Shiva who is the cause of salvation, the bestower of divine bliss.
Then Indra and other gods, went to Brihaspati’s abode, and asked him to go to the abode of Himalaya for the fulfilment of our task. He did not accept the proposal of the gods. Then remembering lord Shiva, Brihaspati rebuked the gods again and again and said: -
“All of you gods seem to be selfish in nature. You want to destroy other’s interests. Indeed, I will go to hell by disparaging Shiva. O gods, one of you shall go to the mountain. Let him urge the lord of the mountains and achieve the desired object. Afterwards the seven celestial sages will properly persuade the mountain. Except Shiva, Parvati will not marry any other person. Or, O gods, all of you go to Brahma’s region taking Indra with you. Tell Brahma all your details. He will get your work done immediately.”
On hearing it and consulting among themselves the gods went to Brahma’s Assembly. On hearing the words of the gods, Brahma said:
“Dear children, I am incompetent to decry Shiva. It is unbearable. It destroys all riches. It is the seed of all adversities. O gods, all of you go to Kailash and propitiate Shiva. Make Him go to Himalaya’s abode quickly. Rebuking others is conducive to destruction. Rebuking oneself is conducive to fame”.
On hearing Brahma’s words, all the gods went to Kailash. Going there and seeing Shiva they bowed to Him with bent heads and palms joined in reverence. The gods eulogised Shiva and said - “O Shiva, the merciful, we seek refuge in you. Be sympathetic. Obeisance be to you. You are the uplifter of the distressed, and an ocean of mercy. You save us from all our miseries and distresses.”
Shiva as Brahmin:
On hearing the words of the gods, lord Shiva agreed to the proposal. He made the gods return after assuring them smilingly. Hastening to their abodes, the gods rejoiced much considering their work fully fulfilled and praising Sadashiv. Then the lord Shiva, the lord of magic and free from aberrations went to the lord of mountains.
When the lord of the mountains was seated in his royal assembly along with Parvati and kinsmen, Sadashiv came there, in the meantime bearing a staff and an umbrella. He was dressed in divine clothes and had a shining mark on the forehead. He was in the guise of a saintly brahmin. He was repeating the name of Vishnu with devotion. He had the garland of crystal beads in his hand and the Salagrama stone round his neck. On seeing that extraordinary guest, Himalaya with his attendants stood up in reverence and prostrated before him with devotion. Parvati bowed with devotion to her dear lover in the guise of a brahmin. On realising him mentally the goddess eulogised him with great joy. The lord of mountains asked him “Who are you, please?” Immediately the chief of brahmins, spoke to the lord of mountains thus. The chief of brahmins said: --
“O foremost among mountains, I am a brahmin devotee of Vishnu, and a great scholar. My occupation is that of a matchmaker. I roam about on the earth. I go where I wish. I go everywhere. By the power of my preceptor, I am omniscient. I am simple-minded and by nature I help others and I am sympathetic and quell aberrations. I have come to know that you desire to give your daughter to Shiva, this daughter so tender like a lotus flower, of divinely excellent form and endowed with all accomplishments. To Shiva—who has no support, who is devoid of associations, who is deformed, who is without attributes, who resides in the cremation-ground, who has the form of a snake-catcher, who is a Yogi, who is naked, who has deficient limbs, who wears snakes as his ornaments, whose name and pedigree are unknown, whose conduct is bad, who has no sport, whose body is smeared with ashes, who is furious, who lacks in discrimination, whose age is not known, whose matted hair is ill worn, who supports all who roam about, who has garland of snakes who is a mendicant, who is engaged in following wrong-paths and who tenaciously discards the Vedic path. O mountain, this inclination of yours is not at all conducive to auspiciousness. O foremost among the wise, born of Narayana’s family, learn sense. For the marriage of Parvati, He is not at all a deserving person. On hearing of this, the public will smile in derision. O lord of mountains, see for yourself. He has not a single kinsman. You are the storehouse of great gems and jewels. He has no assets at all. O lord of mountains, you shall consult your kinsmen, sons, wife and wise counsellors, except Parvati.”
Saying this, the brahmin stopped. He took food and left the place with pleasure for his abode. Shiva is one who quietly indulges in His divine sports.
On hearing the words of the brahmin, Mena spoke to Himalaya with tears welling up in her eyes, due to grief. Mena said: --
“O lord of mountains, please listen to my words conducive to happiness. Please consult important devotees of Shiva regarding what has been mentioned by the brahmin. Many disparaging remarks about Shiva have been made by this Brahminical devotee of Vishnu. On hearing these words, my mind is very much dejected. I shall not give my daughter endowed with all good accomplishments to Shiva with ugly features, ignoble conduct and defiled name. If you do not accede to my request, I shall undoubtedly die. I will immediately leave this house or swallow poison. With a rope I shall tie Parvati round my neck and go to a thick forest. I would rather drown myself in the great ocean. I shall never give my daughter to him. Saying thus with great grief, Mena entered the chamber of anger. Casting off her necklaces she lay down on the ground sighing and sobbing.”
Shiva’s request to the celestial sages:
In the meantime, all those seven celestial sages were remembered by Shiva whose mind was agitated by the pangs of separation from Parvati. All those seven sages, as soon as they were remembered by Shiva, came there in person. Standing in front of Shiva and bowing to and eulogising Him, the seven sages of great austerity considered themselves blessed. They addressed Shiva: --
“O most excellent of all, formerly we had performed three kinds of penance; we had studied the excellent Vedas; we had made offerings in the fire, we had visited many holy centres; thus, whatever merit we have acquired verbally, mentally and physically that entire merit has now accrued to us by your blessing in remembering us. A man who worships you always shall be blessed. How can that merit be properly described, the merit of those whom you yourself remember? O Sadashiv, we have become the most excellent of all people by your remembering us. Usually, you never even come across the path of ambitions and aspirations of ordinary people. O lord, your vision, very difficult to be acquired. By seeing you today we have become the most respectable sages worthy of the worship of all the worlds. We have reached the highest position. If any duty is assigned to us, it will be a favour to us.”
On hearing their words, Shiva the great lord, said: --
“Sages are always to be adored and particularly you all. O brahmins, it was for a specific reason that you have been summoned here. My attitude of being helpful is known to you. That must be achieved, especially in the interest of the fulfilment of the desires of the world. Cause for great misery has arisen for the gods at the hands of Taraka the wicked. Boon has already been granted. He is invincible. What shall I do? A great penance has been performed by Parvati. That cannot be performed even by great sages. I must give her the great fruit thereof. Indeed, my vow is to render delight to my devotees. The fruit I bestow on her shall be conducive to her welfare. Hence, I wish to marry her.
At the request of Parvati, I went to the abode of the mountain in the guise of a mendicant. Clever in divine sports I thereby sanctified her. On hearing to know that I am the supreme Brahman, the couple were desirous of giving me their daughter with great devotion in accordance with the Vedic manner. On the inducement of the gods, to reduce the quality of devotion (of Himalaya and Mena) I took the guise of a devotee of Vishnu and rebuked myself. On hearing it they were dejected and have now lost interest in me and do not wish to give their daughter to me. Hence you all go to the abode of Himalaya and urge the excellent mountain and his wife. Speak out the words as venerable as the Vedas. Do everything necessary to get the matter straightened out and settled. I have agreed to marry her and have already granted her that boon.”
Visit of celestial sages to Himalaya:
The celestial sages bowed to Shiva and went by aerial path in the direction of the city of Himalaya. On seeing those seven sages, resplendent like the sun, coming along the aerial path from a distance, Himalaya was surprised and said: --
“The seven venerable persons, resplendent like the sun, are approaching me. These sages shall be worshipped by me now. We householders are really blessed, to whom great men like these, bestowing happiness on all, pay their visit. On seeing them Himalaya advanced to welcome them with due reverence.
Himalaya said: --
I am blessed. I am contented. My life is fruitful. I am the best person worthy of being seen in the three worlds. I am as pure as any of the holy centres. All this is because you, verily in lord Vishnu’s forms, have come to my abode. Perfect ones such as you, what special purpose can there be in visiting poor persons like me? Still, I am your servant. Some tasks there may be to be entrusted to me. Mercifully may it be spoken out. May my life be fruitful.”
The sages said: --
“Shiva is the father of the universe. Parvati is the mother of the universe. Hence your daughter shall be given to Shiva, the supreme soul. O Himalaya, by this activity your life will be fruitful.”
On hearing these words of the seven sages, the lord of the mountains bowed to them with joined palms and spoke thus. Himalaya said: -
“O, you seven sages of great enlightenment, what you have just now said has been already cherished by me by the will of Shiva. Now, a certain brahmin professing Vaishnava cult came here and spoke very critically about Shiva. Ever since, the mother Parvati has gone out of sense. Hence, she does not wish her daughter’s marriage with Shiva. She has entered the chamber of anger. I too am, you can say, out of sense. I am telling you the truth. I do not wish to give my daughter to Shiva who is apparently a mendicant.”
The seven celestial sages praised the magic of Shiva and sent Arundhati to Menaka. Arundhati said: --
“O Menaka, get up. I, Arundhati, have come to your house. The seven sages of sympathetic nature have also come. On hearing Arundhati’s voice, Mena got up quickly and bowed to her who was on a par with Lakshmi in her brilliance.”
Mena said: --
“We are blessed. Arundhati, the daughter-in-law of the Creator of the universe, the wife of Vasishta, has come here. O gentle lady, what for is your visit now? Please tell me specifically. My daughter and I are your slaves. Be merciful to us.”
Arundhati advised her in various ways and returned to the place where the sages were seated.
The sages said: --
“O lord of the mountains may our words, the cause of everything auspicious, be heard. Give Parvati to Shiva. Become the father-in-law of the world-destroyer. For the destruction of Taraka, formerly Brahma requested Shiva who is the lord of all and who does not beg of any one, to strive for this alliance. Shiva, the foremost of Yogis was not eager to marry. But since requested by Brahma, the lord agreed to take your daughter. Parvati performed a penance and the lord promised her. Thus, for these two reasons the lord of Yogis wishes to marry her.”
On hearing the words of the sages, Himalaya laughed but he was a little frightened. He spoke with humility. Himalaya said: --
“I do not see any royal paraphernalia with Shiva, He has none to support him. He has no assets. He has no kinsman. I do not wish to give my daughter to a Yogi who is extremely detached. If a father were to give his daughter in marriage to an unsuitable person, out of love, delusion, fear or covetousness, he is doomed. He will go to hell. Out of my own free will, I will not give her to the trident-bearing Shiva. O sages, whatever arrangement is befitting here, may kindly be carried out.
On hearing these words of the mountain Himalaya, Vasishta, the most eloquent among them replied: --
“O lord of mountains, listen to my words in every respect conducive to your welfare; they are not against virtue. They are true and shall bring about your joy here and hereafter. Statements, in ordinary language and in the Vedas, are of three forms.
Taking the firm decision on seeing her innumerable sufferings He came to the place of your daughter’s penance in the guise of a brahmin. After consoling her and granting her the boon He returned to His abode. It was for complying with her request that Shiva requested you for the hand of Parvati, O mountain. Both of you had accepted the proposal as you were drawn by devotion to Shiva. O lord of mountains, how is it that your mind has taken a somersault now? Please tell me. On being requested by the gods, the lord has sent us, the sages and Arundhati to you. O mountain, we instruct you plainly. By giving Parvati to Shiva, you will meet with great bliss. O lord of mountains, even if you do not give Parvati to Shiva out of your own free will, their marriage will take place because of the inexorable workings of fate. Shiva has already granted Parvati the boon at the time of her penance.
When danger was imminent at the hands of a brahmin, the chief of kings, Anaraṇya, saved his entire asset by giving his daughter to him. When he was threatened by the curse of brahmin his preceptors, wise kinsmen and people well-versed in the science of polity advised him hastily. O king of mountains, you too save your kinsmen by giving your daughter to Shiva. You can claim thus the gods too to your side.”
On hearing the words of Vasishta, Himalaya, with a dejected heart but laughing outwardly asked him about the details of the story of the king. Vasishta narrated the story of Anaranya and Padma to the lord of mountains and said: -
“After a week there is a very auspicious hour very rare to meet with. The presiding planet of the lagna is in the lagna. The moon is in conjunction with his son, Mercury as well as the constellation Rohiṇi. The moon and the stars occupy pure positions. The month is Margashirsha, and the day is Monday free from all defects. All the planets are in auspicious conjunction. They are not impacted by the evil planets. The Jupiter is in a position that is conducive to the birth of a good child and all good fortune to the bridegroom. O lord of mountains, give your daughter Parvati, the mother of the universe, the primordial Being to Shiva, the father of the universe. You will then get quiet and contentment.”
The mountains, Meru & others said: --
“Of what avail is a long discussion and deliberation now? She is born only for the purpose of the gods. Incarnating for the sake of Shiva, she shall be given to Shiva. Shiva has been propitiated by her and Shiva has also spoken to her.”
On hearing the words of Meru and others, Himalaya was greatly pleased, and Parvati laughed within herself. Arundhati too convinced Mena with reasoned statements and examples from various mythological legends. Then the wife of the mountain too was delightedly convinced. She entertained Arundhati, the sages and the mountain with a grand feast and then took food herself. Then the chief of mountains, freed from wrong notions and spoke with mind extremely delighted. Himalaya said: --
“O fortunate sages, please listen to my words. All my bewilderment has vanished since I have heard the story of Shiva. Everything that I possess, my body, wife, Mena, sons, daughter, assets and achievements and other things belong to Śiva and not otherwise. After saying so, he bedecked his daughter with various ornaments. Then he took them all and placed them on the lap of the sage saying, “These are the presents I have to give her.”
The sages said: --
“O mountain, you are the donor, Shiva is the mendicant, and the alms goddess Parvati. What else can be better than this?”
After saying thus, the sages of pure mind offered their blessings to the girl— “Be pleasing to Shiva.” They touched her with their hands and continued— “Everything will be well with you. As the moon in the bright half of the month, may your qualities increase.” After saying thus and offering fruits and flowers to the lord of mountains, the sages made him believe that the alliance was a settled fact.
After fixing the auspicious Lagna for the marriage and congratulating and complimenting one another the sages came to Shiva’s abode on the fourth day. After reaching the place, Vasishta and other sages bowed to Shiva and eulogised Him with different hymns. They then spoke to lord Shiva.
The sages said: --
“O lord Shiva, the lord of mountains and Mena have been urged with different kinds of statements and examples from mythological legends. Undoubtedly, he is enlightened. Parvati has been betrothed to you by the lord of mountains. It is not otherwise. Now please start for the marriage with your attendants and the gods. O great god, go to the abode of Himalaya and marry Parvati in accordance with the customs for the sake of a son.”
On hearing their words, lord Shiva who was delighted.
The Story of Parvati-Jatila dialogue – Shiva Purana
In Chapter 26 to 29 of Parvati Khanda of Siva Purana, there are dialogues of Shiva and Parvati whence Shiva came in guise of Jatila (an ascetic with matted hair) to test the penance of the goddess. He went to the forest of penance of Parvati. He took the form of a very old man with the body of a brahmin.
On seeing that brahmin of wonderful refulgence come, goddess Parvati worshipped Him with all the articles of worship.
Parvati said: --
“Who are you and whence have you come in the guise of a Brahmachari? You are making this forest refulgent by your splendour.”
The brahmin said: --
“I am an aged brahmin roaming about as I please. I am an intelligent ascetic bestowing happiness and helping others. Who are you? What is your parentage? Why do you perform penance in this isolated forest? Your penance cannot be surpassed even by the sages of eminent status. You are neither a small girl nor an old woman. You appear to be an auspicious young woman. How is it that you are performing this penance even when you are unmarried? O gentle lady, are you the wife of an ascetic who does not provide you with food and shelter and so leaving you has gone to another place? Tell me, in which family are you born? Who is your father? What are your undertakings? You are very fortunate. Futile is your interest in penance. Are you the mother of the Vedas? Are you Lakshmi or Sarasvati? I dare not guess who you are?”
Parvati said: --
“O brahmin, I am not the mother of the Vedas, nor Lakshmi nor Sarasvati. I am the daughter of Himalaya, and my name is Parvati. Previously I had been born as Sati, the daughter of Dakṣha. By Yogic means I cast off my body since my husband was insulted by my father. Even in this life, Shiva came to me but due to ill luck, He reduced Kama to ashes, left me and went away. O brahmin, when Shiva went away, I came out of my father’s house, being greatly dejected, to perform this steady penance on the banks of the celestial river. Even after performing this severe penance for a long time, I could not attain Him. I was just to consign myself to fire but on seeing you, I have stopped for a while. Now you can go. I shall enter fire since I have not been accepted by Shiva. Wherever I take birth I shall woo only Shiva.”
“After saying so, Parvati jumped into the fire in the presence of the brahmin although she was forbidden by Him again and again. Even as she jumped into the fire, it became as cool as sandal paste due to her ascetic power. The brahmin stopped her standing on her way as she was trying to go away and asked her laughingly. O gentle lady, I cannot understand anything. Your penance is wonderful. Your body is not charred by the fire. Still your desire remains unsatiated so far. Let me know about your desire; I am a brahmin who can bestow pleasure upon everyone. Please tell me everything truly and methodically. Since we have become friends, nothing should be kept a secret from me. I wish to ask you now. Whom do you wish to have as your husband? It is in you that the fruit of penance is seen. If your penance is for others or for the supreme object, wherefore should you perform it at all? You had a jewel in your hand, you cast it off and have taken up a base metal instead. Hence tell me the reason, truthfully, for this penance.”
Thus, asked by him, Parvati urged her maid. She of good rites made everything narrated to him through her maid.
The maid informed: -
“This my friend is the daughter of Himalaya, lord of mountains. She is the daughter of Menaka named Kali but famous as Parvati. She is not married to anyone, nor does she desire any other than Shiva for her husband. She has performed this penance for three thousand years. My friend has been performing severe penance at the bidding of Narada to make her beauty fruitful, to embellish her father’s race and to bless Kama. She has directed this penance to lord Shiva. O holy ascetic how is it that her desire is not fulfilled.”
The ascetic said: --
“The maid has said something, but I deduce only a huge joke therefrom. If it be true, let the gentle lady herself speak out.”
Parvati said: --
“I am telling you the truth and not a lie. Shiva has been wooed by me, by mind, speech, and action as well as by means of ascetic feelings.”
The brahmin said: --
“So long I had been desirous of knowing what our gentle lady craves for that she performs this great penance. I have now known it through your own words. I am now going away from this place.”
After saying these words to her when he proposed to go, goddess Parvati bowed to and spoke to the brahmin.
Parvati said: --
“O excellent brahmin, why do you go? Stay and tender me wholesome advice”.
When she said thus, the staff-bearing brahmin stopped and spoke. The brahmin said: --
“If you are stopping me with devotion, truly desirous of hearing then I shall explain everything whereby you may gain some wisdom. I know Shiva through and through with all His weighty attributes. I shall tell you the truth. The great lord is bull-bannered. His body is smeared with ashes. His hair is matted. He is clad in the hide of a tiger. He has covered His body with the hide of an elephant. He holds the skull. Serpents twine round His limbs. Poison has left a mark on his neck. He eats even forbidden stuffs. He has odd eyes and is awful. His birth and pedigree cannot be traced. He is devoid of the enjoyment of a householder. He has ten arms. He is mostly naked and is ever accompanied by ghosts and goblins. What is the reason whereby you wish Him to be your husband? O gentle lady, where has your wisdom gone? Think well and tell me.
You are a jewel among women. Your father is the king of all mountains. Why do you crave for a husband like this and that too by means of a severe penance? Discarding the life at home you yearn for a life in the forest. There is no matching beauty between you both. Your friend Kama was burnt by Shiva. He insulted you also by leaving you off and going elsewhere. His caste is not recognised. He has no learning or wisdom. His assistants are the ghosts. Poison is seen even in His throat. He also moves about in isolation. He is detached from everything particularly. Hence you cannot fix your mind in Him. Where your necklace and where the garland of skulls that he wears? Where your rich divine unguent and where the ash from the funeral pyre that He has on His body?
Real Form of Shiva explained by Ma Parvati:
On hearing these words of that brahmin, Parvati said angrily to the brahmin who discredited Shiva. Parvati said: --
“So long I have been thinking that someone else has come. Now everything has become clear. You are a person who cannot be killed. You have now come in the form of a student ascetic for the sake of deceiving me. Using false arguments, you have spoken fraudulent words. I know the real form of Shiva very particularly. I shall therefore explain Shiva’s reality. He is in fact devoid of attributes- But for some reasons He takes up attributes. How can He have a birth, he who is really attribute less but takes up attributes? Of what avail is learning to Him who is perfect and the supreme soul? At the beginning of the Kalpa, all the Vedas were given by Shiva to Vishnu in the form of breath. Who can be a good lord equal to Him? How can He be measured in age, He who is primordial to everything and everyone? Even primordial nature (Prakriti) is born of Him. Of what avail is then Energy to Him? With the threefold Energies, Shiva blesses those who worship Him always as the lord of Energies. Every individual soul becomes fearless and conquers death by worshipping Him. Hence His designation ‘the conqueror of death’ is famous in all the three worlds. Vishnu attains and retains his Vishnu-hood by His favour. Similarly, Brahma his Brahma-hood and the gods their godhood. Whenever the lord of the gods wants to see Shiva, he has to propitiate His gatekeepers, the ghosts etc. What is deficient in that lord? Does Sadashiv like me? Even if a person is perpetually poor for seven lives, after serving Shiva, his prosperity becomes unhampered. How can he find benefit inaccessible—he in whose presence the eight Siddhis (Superhuman faculties) dance always for the sake of propitiation with speechless mouths or with lowered faces. Although Shiva resorts to inauspicious things yet by thinking on Him everything becomes auspicious. His worship fulfils all desires. How can there be aberration in Him who always remains in an unmodified state. If, as you say, the ash from the funeral pyre is unholy, how is it that the same transferred to Shiva’s body is taken thence and worn on the head by the gods? How can He be easily realised, He who is the deity that creates, sustains, and annihilates the worlds, all the same who is devoid of attributes and is termed Shiva? The form of Shiva, the supreme soul, is that of Brahman, devoid of attributes. You have censured Shiva of immeasurable splendour and I have worshiped you, hence I have become sinful. On seeing a person who hates Shiva one should take bath along with one’s clothes. On seeing a person who hates Shiva one should perform expiatory rites. O wicked one, you profess knowledge of Shiva. But you should know that the eternal Shiva is not known at all. Whatever may be the form or feature of Shiva, He is still He is my favourite. He is without aberration and beloved of the good. Neither Vishnu nor Brahma can equal that noble soul. How can then the gods and others be? They are always dependent on Time and are not eternal. After realising this with my sharp intellect factually, I have come to this forest and am performing the elaborate penance for attaining Shiva. My ambition is to attain the supreme lord who is favourably disposed to His devotees and who blesses the distressed.”
After saying this, Parvati, the daughter of the mountain, stopped and meditated on Shiva with unaffected mind. On hearing the words of the goddess when the brahmin ascetic began to say something, Parvati whose mind was fixed on Shiva and who was averse to hear any disparaging remarks about Shiva spoke immediately to Vijaya, her maid.”
Parvati said: --
“This base brahmin must be prevented strenuously. He is inclined to say something again. He will surely censure Shiva. Not only does he who disparages Shiva incur sin but also, he who hears the same. A person who disparages Shiva is worthy of being killed by Shiva’s attendants. If it is a brahmin he must be dismissed, or the hearer shall go away from that place immediately. Let us leave this place at once and go elsewhere. Let there be no more talk with this ignorant man.”
Saying this, even as Parvati was about to step ahead, the brahmin manifesting as Shiva clasped his beloved. After assuming the handsome form in the manner Parvati had meditated upon and manifesting it to Parvati, Shiva addressed her while she stood with her lowered head.
Shiva said: --
“Where will you go, leaving me? You are not to be discarded again by me. I am delighted. Tell me what boon I shall grant you. There is nothing that cannot be given to you. From today I am your slave bought by you by performing penance. I have been bought by your beauty. Even a moment appears like a Yuga. O Parvati, O great Goddess, you are my eternal wife. Let this shyness be eschewed. You please ponder with your keen intellect. O steady-minded one, you have been tested by me in various ways. Let my guilt be excused in following this worldly game. Even in the three worlds I do not see a beloved like you. O Parvati, in every respect I am subservient to you. You can fulfil all your desires. O beloved, come on near me. You are my wife. I am your bridegroom. I shall immediately go to my abode—the excellent mountain, along with you.”
When the lord of the gods spoke in this way, Parvati rejoiced. Whatever distress she had felt during penance she cast off as something old. In fact, when the fruit is realised, the exertion felt during the process of undertaking perishes.
Shiva (in real form)-Parvati dialogue:
On hearing the words of Shiva, the great Soul and on seeing His pleasant form and features Parvati was delighted much. Goddess Parvati replied: -
“O lord of gods, you are my husband. Has it been forgotten by you why you destroyed the sacrifice of Dakṣa formerly with great tenacity? I am born of Mena for the achievement of the task of the gods terrified to the quick by Taraka. If you are delighted, if you are sympathetic, O lord, become my husband. With your permission I am going to my father’s abode. Let your pure great glory be made well known. O lord, you will please go to Himalaya. Be the mendicant and beg of him, me as your alms. Thus, you start your householder’s life. There is no doubt that my father with his kinsmen will accede to your request as he has already been urged by the sages lovingly.
Formerly as Dakṣa’s daughter I was offered to you by my father. But the marriage rites were not duly performed then. The planets were not worshipped by my father. Therefore, a great defect occurred in our marriage in regard to the planets. Hence, O lord, you will celebrate marriage in accordance with the rules for the fulfilment of the task of the gods.”
On hearing these words, Sadashiv was highly delighted. Laughingly and lovingly, He spoke to Parvati. Shiva said --
“See that our marriage rites are performed in the proper manner without deficiency. All the living beings Brahma and others are non-eternal. All these visible things are perishable. The attribute less took over the attributes. That which is self-luminous had other lights imposed on it. O gentle lady, I, the independent, have been made subservient by you. You alone are the great illusory power, the Primordial nature that creates. This entire universe has been made of illusion; it is held by the supreme soul with His great intellect. It is united and enveloped by the Gaṇas of the nature of pervading souls of meritorious deeds, akin to the nature of supreme soul. We two have created the universe different in attributes and actions for the sake of the devotees and with a disposition favourable to them. You are indeed the subtle primordial nature consisting of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. You are capable of perpetual activity. You are both possessed and devoid of attributes. Of all living beings I am the soul without aberration without yearnings. I take up bodies at the requests and wishes of my devotees.
O daughter of the mountain, I will not go up to Himalaya your father. I will not become a mendicant and beg of him for you.
O daughter of the lord of mountains, even a weighty person endowed with great qualities, even a noble soul, is considered base immediately after uttering the words— “Please give me”.
Parvati said: --
“You are the cosmic soul, and I am the cosmic nature. There is nothing to deliberate on this. We two are independent and subservient to the devotees. We two are both possessed and devoid of attributes. O lord Shiva, with effort, you will please do according to my request. O Shiva, beg of Himalaya for me. O great lord, be sympathetic. I am your devotee for ever. I am your wife for ever in ever birth. You are Brahman, the great soul, devoid of attributes greater than primordial nature, without aberration, free from yearnings, independent, great lord. Still, you are possessed of attributes too and enthusiastic in the uplift of the devotees. You sport about in your own soul engrossed in it and you are clever in your different sports. Take pity on me.”
Thus, addressed by her, Shiva of the noble soul, just to follow and imitate the worldly conventions thought that it should be so. Being desirous of doing so he rejoiced. Then Shiva vanished. With a great delight He went to Kailash.