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.