In the chapter 26, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Vaishyanatha is mentioned.
Formerly, in Nandigrama there was a prostitute known as Mahananda. She was very beautiful and a devotee of Shiva. She was very prosperous, rich and brilliant. She was bedecked in gems of different kinds. She was voluptuous in love. She was an adept in all lore of music. Queens and kings were delighted by her songs. She always worshipped Shiva and Parvati with great joy. She was interested in recounting the names of Shiva. She used to wear ashes and Rudrakṣa.
After worshipping Shiva, she used to dance with great devotion and sing the great glory of Shiva. She kept a monkey and a cock which she decorated with Rudrakṣas. She made them dance singing herself and clapping her hands. On seeing them dance, she, engrossed in devotion to Shiva, used to laugh lovingly along with her friends and attendants. The monkey, as a result of her instruction, danced before her, like a boy bedecked in Rudrakṣas as ear-rings, and shoulder-lets. The cock too was bedecked in Rudrakṣa tied round its tuft. It too danced along with the monkey delighting the onlookers. Thus, that prostitute indulging in these delightful pranks and pursuing devotional service to Shiva was very happy always.
Once Shiva assumed the form of a merchant and visited her house to test her. He had assumed the auspicious form of a devotee. His forehead was marked with Tripuṇḍra. He wore Rudrakṣa as ornaments. He was interested in recounting the names of Shiva. He was clad as a devotee of Shiva. He wore matted locks of hair. He had smeared ashes all over his body. Round his wrist was tied an excellent bangle set with gems.
The beautiful prostitute worshipped and welcomed the visitor with great joy. She made him sit with great respect. On seeing the excellent bangle round his wrist, she coveted the same.
She wished for the bangle set with nine gems. Vaishyanatha said: — “If your mind wishes for this excellent gem set ornament you can have it with pleasure. But what is the price you are willing to pay?”
The prostitute said: —"We are prostitutes flirting here and there and not chaste ladies. Undoubtedly the regular practice observed in our family is harlotry. If I take the bangle from you, I shall be your wife for three full days and nights.”
The merchant said: — “if your words are true, let it be as you say. I shall give you the gemset bangle. Be my wife for three days and nights. In this deal the witnesses are the moon and the sun. Repeat three times “True” and touch my heart.”
The prostitute said: —"I shall be your wife for three days and carry out all wifely duties. This is true. This is undoubtedly true.”
After repeating this for three times, with the moon and the sun as witnesses, Mahananda touched his heart with pleasure. After giving her the gem set bangle that merchant handed to her a gem set phallic image and spoke: - “this gem set phallic image is very dear to me. It shall be well-preserved strenuously and in secret by you.”
She said “Let it be so” and took the gem set phallic image. She kept it in the middle of the dancing platform and entered the house.
At midnight, suddenly there arose a fire in the middle of the dancing platform. The blazing fire helped by a forceful wind enveloped the dancing platform all of a sudden. When the platform was burning the prostitute got up suddenly in her bewilderment and let the monkey free untying it. Freed from the bondage the monkey in its fear ran here and there along with the cock and scattered sparks of fire. On seeing the phallic image burnt along with the pillar and smashed utterly, the prostitute and the merchant felt endless distress. On seeing the phallic image as it were his very soul burnt, the lordly merchant desired to end his life in order to know her mentality.
In great despair and sorrow the merchant told her in grief. Lord Shiva who had assumed a human body just for pleasure indulged in different sports. “O my beloved, when the phallic image is smashed and burnt, I do not desire to live. O gentle lady, prepare a pyre for me immediately through your servants. With my mind fixed in Shiva, I shall enter the fire.
On realising his tenacious decision, she was much distressed. Outside her house she caused the pyre to be made through her servants. Then the merchant who was only Shiva himself went round the blazing fire. Desirous of knowing her intentions he entered the fire firmly. on seeing him enter the pyre, the youthful maiden sympathised with him.
Mahananda said: —"Taking the gem set bangle I had taken the pledge that I shall be the avowed wife of this merchant for three days. This merchant, the avowed Shaivite, died of my activities. Hence, I shall enter fire along with him.”
Truthfully preceptors have ordained that a wife shall observe her duty. If I do likewise my truthfulness will not be marred. Abiding by truth is a great virtue. Great goal can be attained through truth. Heaven and liberation can be achieved through truth. Everything is founded on truth.
Although prevented by her kinsmen, she was obstinate in her resolve. The woman eager in the attainment of Satyaloka decided on giving up her life. She gifted away her property to leading brahmins. She meditated on Sadashiva. She circumambulated the fire thrice and stood ready to enter it. As she was going to jump in the fire with her mind fixed in his feet, Shiva, the soul of the universe, appeared in front and stopped her. On seeing the three-eyed lord of the gods, decorated by the moon’s digit, and as brilliant as crores of moons, suns and fires she stood as If stunned and frightened. The lord caught hold of the hands of the frightened and agitated lady, stunned, trembling and shedding (ears. He consoled her and spoke.
Shiva said: —"It is to test your truthfulness, piety, courage and steady devotion to me that I came near you assuming the form of a merchant. With my magic I produced the blazing fire and burnt your dancing platform. After burning the gem set phallic image, I entered fire myself. But you remembered the promise and entered the fire along with me. Hence, I shall give you such pleasures as are inaccessible to gods. Whatever you wish I shall give you. I am delighted by your devotion.”
This prostitute said: —"I have no desire for enjoyment on the earth, in the heaven or in the nether worlds. I do not desire anything except the touch of your lotus-like feet. My servants, my maids and my kinsmen are interested in seeing you. They have dedicated everything to you. Take them all along with me to your great region and quash the terrible fear of rebirth. Obeisance be to you.”
Appreciating her words, the great Shiva took all of them to his great region.
In the chapter 24-25, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Pippalada is mentioned.
There was a great brahmin and an excellent sage, Daddichi. He was born of Cyavana of Bhṛgu family. He was a great devotee of Shiva and very powerful. In the fight with Kṣuva, Vishnu and other gods were defeated by this sage who had the support of Shiva and they were cursed. His wife Suvarca was very noble and chaste. The gods were cursed by her. Pippalada, an expert in different kinds of sports and extremely brilliant was born of her.
Once Indra and other gods were defeated by the Daityas who had the support of the demon Vṛtra.
Then the harassed gods and the sages along with Indra immediately went to Brahma’s region and narrated their distress to him. On hearing the words of the gods Brahma, mentioned the details of what Tvaṣṭṛ was desirous of doing. This Asura has been created by Tvaṣṭṛ by means of his penance in order to kill you. The name of that Asura is Vṛtra. He is of great brilliance and the leader of all Daityas.
Brahma said, “There is a great sage Dadhīci of great penance and of full control of his sense-organs. After propitiating Shiva, he secured the boon of adamantine bones formerly. You all request for his bones. He will undoubtedly give them to you. Make the thunderbolt staff therewith and kill Vṛtra without hesitation.”
Indra accompanied by his preceptor and other gods went immediately to the excellent hermitage of Dadhici. They asked him with great reverence to give his bones of adamantine strength. The sage fond of helping others meditated on lord Shiva and abandoned his body. Immediately he reached Brahma’s region with his bondage of actions quashed. Indra then called the divine cow Surabhi to lick up the marrow etc. He directed Viśvakarman to make the weapon with the bones.
At his behest Vishvakarman made all the weapons with the sage’s bones—very firm and adamantine—that had the brilliance of Shiva. With his backbone he made the thunderbolt, arrow and the missile called Brahmashiras. With the other bones he made many other weapons. The infuriated Indra lifted the thunderbolt and rushed against Vṛtra like Rudra rushing against the god of death. Indra who was well prepared, cut off the peak like head of Vṛtra with the thunderbolt forcefully.
The chaste lady, Suvarca, desirous of attaining the world of her husband sat down and broke open her belly with a stone. The foetus of the child of the great sage! of brilliant divine body, came out. The great chaste lady became delighted, bowed to him and eulogised him. The chaste lady Suvarca followed her husband by means of the great transcendental meditation. Thus, the wife of Dadhici was re-united with her husband. After reaching Shiva’s region she served Shiva devotedly. The delighted Brahma named him Pippalada. Viṣhṇu and the gods said “O lord of the gods be pleased”. Then Rudra, the great lord in the form of Pippalada, performed a penance for a long time at the foot of the fig tree, with a desire to bestow benefit on the worlds. As Pippalada, following the convention of the world, performed the penance, a long time passed by.
After arranging and establishing Dharma with a desire for its good foundation, lord Shiva performed great sports. Once while going to the river Puṣpabhadra for his ablution, the great sage saw the beautiful youthful maiden Padma, a part of Shiva herself. Desirous of getting her, the sage traversing the world and an expert in following the established conventions went to the abode of king Anaraṇya, her father. On seeing him, the king bowed to him. The sage requested for the hand of his daughter. Thereupon the king was unable to say anything. He was silent. The sage repeated the request, saying “Give me your daughter devoutly. Otherwise, I will reduce everything to ashes along with you.”
The king was much frightened. He gave his daughter Padma, fully bedecked in ornaments to the old sage. After marrying Padma, the daughter of the king and a part of Shiva, the sage Pippalada joyously took her to his hermitage. After going to the hermitage, the aged excellent sage stayed there with that woman. The sage was not too indulgent. The daughter of Anaraṇya served the sage with devotion. Then the excellent sage Pippalada became a young man by means of his divine sport and sported with that young lady. Ten noble sons, all of them great sons, were born to the sage. They were equal to their father and increased the pleasure of Padma.
On seeing the harassment by the planet Saturn of every one irremediably, the sympathetic lord lovingly granted a boon to all the world. “For sixteen years from birth no man will have that affliction. Similarly, to the devotees of Shiva too. If Saturn were to disregard my instruction and harass men, he will undoubtedly be reduced to ashes.” Thus, afraid of him the excellent planet Saturn, though in aberration, does not afflict men at any time.
The story of Incarnation as Agnishvara -Shiva Purana
In the chapters 13-15, Section 3 of Satarudra–Samhita of Shiva Purana, the incarnation of Shiva as Agnishvara is mentioned.
In the city of Dharmapura on the banks of river Narmada, a sage, devotee of Shiva, Vishvanara lived. He became the lord of Agniloka. While in the stage of celibacy, he was devoted to Brahma yajna rites. He belonged to the Saṇḍilya lineage. He was pure, the storehouse of Brahminical splendour and had self-control. He followed the conduct of the virtuous. He was highly skilled in Shiva ethics. He was the foremost among the knowers of worldly conventions. He married with due rites the daughter of Kala who was really worthy of him. He maintained the sacrificial fires. He was devoted to the performance of the five daily sacrifices (Brahma Yajna - “homage to Brahman or the Vedas or the sages”; Deva Yajna-"homage to Gods and elementals."; Pitri Yajna-"homage to ancestors" Bhuta Yajna-"homage to beings"; and Manushya Yajna-"homage to men").
He practised the six sacred rites every day. He was fond of serving gods, manes and guests. His wife, Sucsmati requested him to give me a son equal to Lord Shiva. After consoling his wife, the sage set out for penance to the city of Varanasi where Lord Shiva himself is stationed. Reaching Varanasi immediately and seeing Maṇikarṇika, he was freed from three distresses acquired in the course of hundreds of births. He performed ablutions in all holy ditches, wells, tanks and lakes. He bowed to all Vinayakas and Sarva Gauri. He worshipped Kalaraja Bhairava who devours sins and eulogised Daṇḍanayaka and other Gaṇas, Adikeshava and others. He propitiated Keshava. He satiated sages and brahmins by means of “feeding thousand” and other rites. With devotion he propitiated the phallic images of Shiva by means of great worship and service. He performed the wonderful penance for full year by worshipping the excellent Viresa form of Shiva thrice a day who confers the blessings of a son immediately. On the thirteenth month while he was going to Viresa after taking bath in the Ganga River very early in the morning, the sage saw a child of eight years smeared with ashes all over the body, in the middle of the phallic image. On seeing him he was joyous and eulogised Shiva by various means. After eulogising thus, when the brahmin fell on the ground with the joined hands, the boy became the aged of the aged and spoke delightedly to the brahmin. Shiva in form of the boy blessed him that he shall become your son in Sucṣmati. I shall be known as Gṛhapati, pure and loved by all gods.
With great delight the brahmin returned home and told his beloved wife all those details. She became pregnant in due course. When the Lagna was auspicious, when the good planets stood in pairs, Shiva, the giver of happiness to all, was born as the son of Sucṣmati. Brahma, Vishnu, sages, gods, nagas, thousands of immobile beings came there in the forms of the mobile beings. Brahma himself performed the postnatal rite. After conferring blessings on everyone by reciting the mantras from the four Vedas, Brahma left the place.
In his ninth year, Narada came there to see Gṛhapati and informed that this boy who has all good qualities, who is characterised by all good features and who is possessed of all pure digits in their entirety. This child should be protected with all efforts. When the fate is adverse, even good qualities assume the state of defects. In the twelfth month from now I suspect a great danger to him from lightning and fire.” After saying this Narada returned to heaven the way he had come. Both parents lamented much. On hearing their lamentation, Grhapati, a part of Shiva assured them to propitiate lord Shiva to avert any of mishappening. He secured the permission of his parents and left for Kashi. He reached Kashi and worshipped phallic image with great penance. In the twelfth year of his life, the thunderbolt, armed Indra approached him as if fulfilling the utterance of Narada and asked him to seek a boon. Gṛhapati said: — “O Indra, I know you as armed with the thunderbolt. I do not want a boon from you. Shiva is the granter of boon to me.” Indra said: — “O child, Shiva is not separate from me. I am the lord of gods. Give up your foolhardiness and ask for a boon from me.” Gṛhapati said: — “O wicked one, O enemy of mountains, O chastiser of Paka, it is quite clear that I shall not ask any other god except Shiva for a boon.”
On hearing his words, lndra’s eyes turned red with fury. He raised his terrible thunderbolt and threatened the boy with dire consequences. On seeing the thunderbolt with the flames of lightning, the boy remembered the words of Narada. He became frightened and fell into a swoon. Then Shiva, the dispeller of darkness appeared in front. As though enlivening him with gentle stroking he said: — “Stand up. Stand up. May good come up to you.”
Seeing the lord with the eyes in the fore-head, blue-necked, bull-bannered, moon-crested, with Parvati occupying the left side, shining with matted hair, armed with the trident and Ajagava bow, possessed of limbs shining white like camphor, clad in the elephant’s hide, he recognised the lord as the great God described in the Agamas and statements of his preceptor. He was delighted and he evinced the thrill of hair. For a moment he stood motionless like the mountain Chitrakuta. He forgot himself like a man suddenly becoming rich. He was unable to eulogise or bow down or plead for anything. Then Shiva smiled and spoke. Shiva said: — “O child Gṛhapati, I know that you are frightened of Indra with the thunderbolt in his lifted hand. Don’t be afraid, I only wanted to know your nature. Neither Indra, nor the thunderbolt, nor even the god of death is powerful to molest my devotee. You have been terrified by me alone in the form of Indra. O gentle one, I shall grant you the boon. I confer the title of Agni on you. I authorise you to grant boons to whatever deity you think fit. O Agni, you will be moving in the midst of all mortals. Acquire kingship as the guardian of the quarter in the south-east. The phallic image installed by you will be known by your name. It will be known as Agnisvara and it will be conducive to the enhancement of all splendor.”
After saying this Shiva entered his phallic image.
A person who worships Agnisvara, the bestower of prosperity, at Varanasi, is honoured in the region of fire even if, by chance, he dies elsewhere.