In the chapter 30, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Avadhuteshvara is mentioned.
Formerly Indra accompanied by Bṛhaspati and the other gods went to Kailasa in order to see Shiva. On knowing that Bṛhaspati and Indra were coming and in order to test their mind in their eagerness to see him, the lord indulging in different kinds of sports assumed the form of an Avadhuta. He was naked. He looked fierce and had the lustre of blazing fire. The Avadhuta blocked their way. He stood there with matted hair hanging loosely and the whole feature shining brilliantly.
Passing that way towards Shiva, Bṛhaspati and Indra saw the gigantic figure of wonderful features on the way. Without Knowing that they have met the Shiva himself, Indra who was arrogant due to his authority asked him as he stood in his way.
Indra said: — “Who are you? Whence have you come in this form of a naked Avadhuta? What is your true name? Tell me quickly and factually. Is Shiva in his abode? Or has he gone out? I am now going to see him along with my preceptor and the gods.”
When asked by Indra that Purusha who was lord Shiva himself who had taken that body sportively in order to quell his arrogance did not say anything. Indra asked him again; but Shiva whose ways are unknown, who was in the naked form and who was the creator of fanciful things did not say anything. Again Indra, the lord of heaven and the master of the three worlds, asked him. The great Yogin of great sports remained silent. Though asked by Indra again and again thus, lord Shiva remained silent desirous of quelling the arrogance of Indra. Then the lord of the gods proud of his suzerainty over the three worlds became furious and said rebuking the lord having matted hair.
Indra said: — “O you fool, even though I am asking, you are not giving me any answer. Hence I am going so kill you with my thunderbolt. O wicked fellow, who is there to protect you?”
After saying this and staring at him in fury Indra raised his thunderbolt in order to kill the naked person. On seeing Indra lifting up the thunderbolt, Shiva made his hand stunned. Then that Purusha, furious and terrific, with terrible eyes, blazed with his brilliance as though he would burn everything. Indra burnt within himself due to the anger resulting from the benumbed state of his hand like a serpent whose fury had been curbed by a magical formula. On seeing the Puruṣa blazing thus in his own brilliance Bṛhaspati knew him to be Shiva and bowed to him soon. Bṛhaspati of liberal mind kept his palms joined together and prostrated on the ground like a staff and eulogised him with devotion.
Brhaspati said: - “O great god, lord of the gods, favourably disposed towards those who seek refuge in you, O lord of Gauri, be pleased. O lord of all, obeisance is to you. Even Brahma, Vishnu and others are all deluded by your Maya. They do not know you really. If at all they know, it is only by your blessings.”
After eulogising lord Shiva, Brhaspati made Indra fell at his feet. Brhaspati, the intelligent one, bowed humbly and spoke thus: - “O great god, lord of the distressed, please raise me up, who have fallen at your feet. Do not be furious. Be kind and loving. O great god, be satisfied. Save Indra who has sought refuge in you. Fire originating from your eye in the forehead is coming out.”
On hearing the words of Bṛhaspati, the lord in the form of Avadhuta, the ocean of mercy, indulging in good sports, laughingly said:- “How can I withhold the fire that has come out of my eye due to anger? How can a serpent take up a slough that has been cast off?”
On hearing these words of Shiva, Brhaspati with his mind agitated due to fright spoke again with palms joined in reverence. Brhaspati said: — “O lord, devotees are always to be pitied. O Shiva, thus make your name Bhaktavatsala true. O lord of the gods, it behoves you to cast off this fire elsewhere. Please lift up Indra since you are the up-lifter of all devotees.”
Thus requested by Bṛhaspati, Shiva who bore the name of Bhaktavatsala was delighted soul and the dispeller of the distress of those who bow down, replied.
Shiva said: — “O preceptor of the gods, I am pleased with you. I shall grant you excellent boon. You will be famous as ‘Jiva’ because you have gifted life to Indra. I shall cast off this fire which has come out of the eye in my forehead, and which is unbearable to the gods, so that it will not afflict Indra.”
After saying this he took the wonderful fire, originating from his eye in the forehead in his hand and cast it off into the briny sea. Then that fire originating from the eye in the forehead of Shiva and cast off into the briny sea became a boy immediately. He became the lord of Asuras known as Jalandhara and Sindhuputra (Son of the Sea). At the request of the gods, lord Shiva slew him. After carrying out this task Shiva, the benefactor of the worlds in the form of Avadhuta, vanished from there.
The gods became happy and fearless. Brhaspati and Indra became free from terror and attained supreme happiness. After seeing the lord for whom they had come there, Bṛhaspati and Indra returned to their respective abodes joyous and contented.
In the chapter 27, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Dvijeshvara is mentioned.
Bhadrayu, a devotee of Shiva, attained the throne by conquering the enemies. The chaste lady Kirtimalini, daughter of Candrangada and Simantini, became his wife.
Once after the advent of spring, the king Bhadrayu entered a thick forest along with his beloved queen, for sport. In that beautiful forest, the king sported about along with his beloved who protected those who sought refuge in her.
Then, in order to test his steadfastness and piety, lord Shiva carried out his sports there itself along with Parvati. Shiva and Parvati assumed the form of a Brahmin couple and created an illusory tiger with their Maya. Not far from the place where the king stood, they began running in great fright on being pursued by the tiger. They cried and shouted too.
The king Bhadrayu saw both of them highly distressed and lamenting. The illusory Brahmin couple, extremely terrified, spoke to the king Bhadrayu. The Brahmin couple said: — “O great king, O foremost of the knowers of virtue save us both. O great lord, this tiger is rushing on in order to devour us. This beast of prey is like the god of death.”
After hearing the lamentation of the pair, the great king of great heroism immediately took up his bow, but the rushing tiger of Mayic origin, seized the Brahmin’s wife. The terrible tiger grasped the woman even as she was lamenting.” The king struck the tiger with sharp arrows; but it was not at all affected by them. It stood like a lofty mountain, which is not affected by showers. The powerful tiger, not at all pained by the missiles of the king, seized the woman forcibly and ran away in a hurry.
On seeing his wife seized by the tiger, the Brahmin was much bewildered and following the way of the world cried again and again. After crying for some time that Brahmin who was Lord Himself wielding his Māya, spoke to the king Bhadrayu dispelling his arrogance.
Dvijeshvara said: --
“O king, where are your great weapons? Where is your great bow that professes to protect? Where is your strength of ten or twelve thousand great elephants? Of what avail is your sword? Your conch? Of what avail is your learning in the lores of mantras and missiles? Of what avail is your might? Of what avail is the strength of your great missiles? All these have become futile, for you are incompetent to meet the onslaught of wild animals. The greatest duty of a Kṣatriya is the protection from injury. When that virtue hereditarily practised in your family is lost, of what avail is your life? Kings protect the distressed people who seek refìige in them with their very lives and assets. They are the knowers of virtue. Without that they are like a dead body. Better death than life that does not protect the distressed. A mendicant is better than a rich householder who does not possess charitable nature. Better to swallow poison or enter fire than cease to protect the oppressed, the helpless and the poor.”
On hearing his lamentation and the decrial of his prowess, the king thought within himself thus --
“Alas, my manliness is lost today due to the adverse fate. Today my fame has been quashed. Great sin has been acquired. The hereditary virtue has been smothered. I am unfortunate and confused in mind. Certainly my riches, my kingdom, my longevity will dwindle. By surrendering my own life, lovable though it is, I shall make this brahmin free from grief, this brahmin whose wife has been seized by the tiger and who is pained extremely.”
Having decided thus in his mind that excellent king Bhadrayu fell at his feet and spoke to him in conciliatory tone.
“O Brahmin, I am a base Kṣatriya bereft of strength. You take pity on me. O intelligent one, donot grieve. I shall give you what you desire. This kingdom, this queen, this body of mine, everything is subservient to you. What is the greatest thing that you desire?”
The Brahmin said:--
“What can a blind man do with a mirror? Of what avail is a house to him who lives on alms? What can a fool do with a book? Of what avail is wealth to him who is bereft of his wife? Hence I who am not satiated with the enjoyment of pleasures but I whose wife is snatched away desire your crowned queen. Let her be given to me.”
“I can give all my assets to the extent of the earth, my kingdom, horses and elephant’s aiíd even my body to anyone but never can I give away my wife.”
The Brahmin said:--
“Let it be the terrible sin of the slaughter of a Brahmin; let it be the sin of sipping wine, I shall quell it with my power of penance. What then the sin of enjoying another man’s wife? Hence give me your wife. I have no other desire. Certainly you will go to hell by your inability to protect the oppressed.”
At the words or the Brahmin, the frightened king thought to himself, “It is proper under the circumstance to give away my wife.”
Hence I shall give my wife to this deserving Brahmin and escape sin. Immediately thereafter I shall enter fire. My fame then shall be known.”
After deciding mentally like this, he kindled a blazing fire. He called the Brahmin and gifted away his wife with water. He took the ceremonial bath and became pure. He bowed to gods went round the fire thrice and meditated on Shiva with pure mind. He was just to fall into the fire with his mind fixed at the feet of Shiva, the lord of the universe when Dvijeshvara revealed himself and stayed him.
The king saw in front of him the five-faced, the three-eyed lord with the Pinaka in his hand, bedecked by the digit of the moon, with hanging matted hair shedding tawny lustre, having the brilliance of a crore of midday blazing suns, white as the lotus stalk fibre, wearing the hide of the elephant, with his head drenched by the waves of Ganga, having the necklaces of great serpents, bedecked in coronet, waistband, shoulderlet and shining bangles, holding in his hands, the trident, the sword, the missile Khaṭvanga, the dagger, the shield, the deer, the mystic sign of protection, the eight articles of worship and the Pinaka, seated on his bull and blue-necked.
Then from the sky divine showers of flowers fell. The divine instruments were played. The celestial damsels sang and danced. Vishnu, Brahma, Indra and other gods excluding Narada and other sages too came there eulogising. While the king was watching with palms joined in humility and devotion, there was great jubilation that enhanced devotional feelings.
The lord then spoke to him thus. “O king, I am satisfied with your devotion more than your piety. Mention the boon that you as well as your wife wish to choose. I shall undoubtedly give it to you. It was to test your feeling and emotions that I assumed the form of a Brahmin and approached you. She who was seized by the tiger is the goddess Parvati herself. It was an illusory tiger which could not be hit by your arrows. I wanted to test your courage by demanding your wife.”
On hearing the words of the lord, the king Bhadrayu eulogised and bowed to the lord with bent head.
“O lord, this alone is a great boon that you became visible to me searched by the sun of worldly existence. Since out of pity you wish to accord me a boon, I choose it as a great devotee does from his lord, the granter of boons. I a servant at your feet, along with my wife, the Vaisya Padmakara and his son Sanaya,”
The queen said:--
“O supreme God, Candrangada my father and Simantini my mother, I request the two to be joyously staying near you for ever.”
The delighted lord of Gauri, favourably disposed to his devotees said—“Let it be so” and granted them the boon they desired and then vanished in a moment.
In the chapter 29, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Krsnadashana is mentioned.
Ikshvaku and others were the sons of Manu Sraddhadeva of whom Nabhaga, was the ninth. Ambarisa was grandson of Nabhaga who was a devotee of Vishnu with whom the sage Durvasas was much pleased due to his devotion for Brahmins.
Nabhaga the son of Manu, highly intelligent, and with perfect control of his sense-organs stayed in the abode of his preceptors for studies for a long time. During this interval Ikṣhvaku and other sons had their due shares in the property without leaving any share for Nabhaga. At the behest of their father, the shrewd sons took their shares and enjoyed the kingdom with out any misery. They were fortunate.
After learning the Vedas with their sections and sub-sections, in due course, the Brahmacharin Nabhaga returned. On seeing his brothers Ikshvaku and others having taken their shares, Nabhaga desirous of his share told them affectionately.
“O my brothers you have taken your shares duly without leaving anything for me. I have now come for my share. Please give me mine.”
Then we had forgotten to allow your share. We shall certainly do it now. Our father is your share. Take him. On bearing the words of his brothers Nabhaga was surprised. He approached his father and said.
“O father, my brothers have taken their shares leaving me out. I had been to the preceptor’s abode for study as a student. When I returned I asked them to allot my share; they replied that you are my share. I have now come for that purpose.”
On hearing his words, his father Sraddhadeva was surprised. He consoled his son who was devoted
to truth and virtue.
O dear, do not pay heed to what they said. It was only to deceive you. I am not a share by any means, an instrument of enjoyment. Still since I have been given as a share by the deceitful persons I shall tell you the means of livelihood. Hear attentively. Brahmins are performing a sacrifice. Every sixth day the rites are marred.
O wise Nabhaga, you go there and praise them. Recite two Vaishvadeva sukatas there. That sacrifice will then become perfect. As soon as the sacrifice is concluded those Brahmins going heavenwards will give you delightedly the wealth left over in the sacrifice.
On hearing the words of his father, Nabhaga who considered truth as virtue went eagerly where the excellent sacrifice was on. In that sacrifice during the diurnal rites the intelligent son of Manu recited two Vaishvadeva suktas clearly. When the sacrifice was concluded the Angirasa Brahmins gave him the wealth left after the sacrifice.
Realising that he was taking the wealth left after the sacrifice, Shiva of divine sports manifested himself all of a sudden. He was beautiful in every limb, a glorious Puruṣa Kṛṣṇadarshana. It was to survey his emotional reaction and to bestow on him the perfect knowledge as his share that the lord manifested himself.
Lord Shiva desirous of testing Nabhaga the son of Manu approached from north and said: - “O man, who are you that take away my assets and wealth? Who has sent you here? Tell me the whole truth.”
On heaving his words, Nabhaga, son of Manu humbly replied to the Purusha Krsnadarshana. Nabhaga said:--
“This wealth of the sacrifice has been given to me by the sages. Why do you, O Krsnadarshana prevent me from taking it.”
On hearing these truthful words uttered by Nabhaga, the delighted purusha Krsnadarshana spoke:
“In our dispute the ultimate authority is your father. Go to him and ask him. What he says will be true and final.”
On hearing his words, the wise Nabhaga son of Manu, approached his father anxiously, and asked him about what he said.
On hearing what his son said, Manu Sraddhadeva remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and after recollecting spoke to him. Manu said:--
“Listen to my words: that Puruṣa is lord Shiva. Every object is his and particularly what is obtained from the sacrifice. That what is left over after the sacrifice is Shiva’s share. This argument is current among some intelligent people due to his will. Undoubtedly lord Shiva deserves everything. What then of the wealth left over in a sacrifice? More depends on the lord’s wish. O Nabhaga, the lord has come in that form in order to bless you. Go there. Propitiate him properly. Request him to forgive your fault. Bow to him well and eulogise him. That Shiva alone is the lord of all, the lord of sacrifice, the lord of everything. Vishnu, Brahma and other gods, Siddhas and the sages, O dear, are competent in their respective duties only due to his blessings. O foremost of my sons, go there quickly. Do not delay. Propitiate the great god, the lord of all by every means.”
After saying this, Manu Sraddhadeva, sent his son immediately to Shiva. After approaching him and bowing to him with palms joined in reverence and head bent down, the delighted Nabhaga of great intellect spoke to him humbly. Nabhaga said:--
“My father says that whatever there is in the three worlds is yours to be sure. What then about the wealth left over in a sacrifice? O lord, what I said before was done in error and ignorance. Please forgive the same. I propitiate you with my head bent down.”
After saying this, Nabhaga of dejected mind, eulogised lord Shiva Krsnadarshana with palms joined in reverence and with his head bent down. The pure-souled Sraddhadeva too with head bent and palms joined eulogised the lord and requested him to forgive his fault. In the meantime, Vishnu, Brahma, Indra and the gods, Siddhas and the sages came there. They were jubilant. They joined their palms in reverence. With great devotion they severally bowed down and eulogised.
Then the delighted Rudra, Krsnadarshana glanced at them with sympathetic eyes and smilingly spoke to Nabhaga. Krsnadarshana said:--
“What your father said is virtuous and true. You too spoke the truth. Hence you are good. There is no doubt in this. Hence I am delighted with your holy rites. Sympathetically I am conferring on you the eternal Brahman, the perfect knowledge. Be great and wise, O Nabhaga, along with the Brahmins immediately. Take all this wealth granted by me out of compassion. O intelligent one, enjoy all pleasures without any aberration. By my grace you will attain the good goal along with the Brahmin sacrifices.”
After saying this, lord Shiva vanished them itself even as all were watching. Vishnu, Brahma, the gods and all others went to their respective abodes after joyously bowing to that direction. Sraddhadeva too, accompanied by his son, went joyously to his abode. After enjoying extensive pleasures he went to Shiva’s city in the end.
In the chapter 28, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Yatinatha Hamsa (Swan) is mentioned.
On the mountain Arbuda (mount Abu) there lived a hunter Ahuka of Bhilla tribe. His wife observed some good rites. Both of them were great devotees of Shiva and worshipped Shiva. Once, this Bhilla went far into the forest for fetching food for his wife.
In the meantime towards the evening, Shiva assumed the guise of an ascetic and came to his house to test him. Ahuka came back then and lovingly worshipped the leading ascetic. In order to test his feelings, Shiva in the guise of an ascetic, indulging in great sports lovingly said to him in a piteous tone.
“O Bhilla, give me some place here to stay today. I shall by all means leave in the next morning; you will be blessed for ever.”
“O lord, what you say is true. But please listen to me. The room is not spacious enough to hold us all together.”
The ascetic wanted to leave. By that time, considering the trend of thought of her husband the Bhilla’s wife said: “O lord, give him room to stay. Do not turn out a guest. Consider the duty of a householder or virtue will be affected. You stay in the house along with the ascetic. I shall remain outside with immense weapons.”
On hearing the virtuous and auspicious words of his wife, the Bhilla thought thus. “How can I stay in the house after keeping my wife out? It will be sinful on my part if the ascetic goes elsewhere. Neither of the two courses is proper for a householder. What is destined to happen will surely happen. I shall stay outside.”
After thinking thus and insisting on it, he kept both of them within the house joyously, he stayed outside the house keeping all the weapons beside him. During the night the cruel beasts of prey tormented him. He too strenuously withstood them to the extent of his ability.
Thus fighting strenuously and although very strong, the Bhilla was devoured by the beasts of prey which seized him forcibly, as though indeed by his own adverse fate.
Getting up in the morning the ascetic saw the Bhilla of the forest devoured by the beasts of prey. He felt much dejected at it. Although the Bhilla’s wife too was distressed, she suppressed her sorrow on seeing the ascetic miserable and spoke thus.
She said: — “O ascetic, why are you sorry? What has happened is for good. Blessed and contented is he since the death has happened in this manner. O ascetic, reducing myself to ashes, I too shall follow him. Be pleased to arrange for the pyre. This is the eternal duty of women. On hearing her words which he thought to be proper, the ascetic arranged the pyre. She entered the pyre dutifully. In the meantime Shiva himself appeared before her and spoke praising her lovingly “O blessed lady, O blessed lady.”
Shiva said: — “O sinless lady, mention the boon you wish to have. I am pleased with your conduct. There is nothing which cannot be granted to you. I am utterly subservient to you.”
On hearing the words of Shiva yielding the greatest bliss she felt the highest pleasure. She did not remember anything. On seeing her in that state, Shiva was much delighted. He asked her again to mention the boon she wished to have.
Shiva said: — “This ascetic who is in my own form will assume the form of a swan in the next birth. He will lovingly unite both of you. This Bhilla will be born as Nala, the son of Virasena, in the excellent city of Niṣadha. There is no doubt in this. You will be born in the illustrious city of Vidarbha as the daughter of king Bhima. You will be famous as Damayanti endowed with all good qualities. After coming together you will enjoy royal pleasures. You will attain salvation too, inaccessible even to leading Yogins.”
After saying this, Shiva assumed the form of phallic image. He became stationary. He is thereafter remembered as Acalesha.
The Bhilla Ahuka was born as the son of Virasena in the city of Niṣadha. He was the great king Nala. Wife of Ahuka was born as the daughter of king Bhima in the city of Vidarbha. She became famous as Damayanti.
Shiva in the form of Yatinatha was born as a swan. He managed the marriage of Damayanti with Nala. It was due to the merit accruing from hospitality that lord Shiva gave them pleasure after assuming the form of a swan. The incarnation of Shiva as the swan adept in the art of intelligence, was the bestower of great bliss to Damayanti as well as to Nala.