In the chapter 38, Section 3 of Satarudra-Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of the description of Arjuna’s penance is mentioned.
To win over Kuravas, Arjuna went over impassable mountains for the practice of his steady rites. He met a Yaksha on the way and through him he slew many robbers. He was delighted in his mind and reached the excellent mountain. Near Ganga he saw a beautiful spot with Ashoka groves. It was excellent like the heaven. He halted there, took his bath and bowed to his venerable preceptor. He assumed dress and features according to his instructions. He curbed his sense organs and the mind and stood steady.
He made a clay idol of Shiva even and beautiful. In front of it he stood in meditation on the excellent heap of splendour. He took baths thrice a day. He performed various sorts of worship. He performed the Upasti form of worship of Shiva again and again.
Indra’s spies saw the splendour-column coming out of his head. They were frightened by it. They thought within themselves—“When did he come in? Indra must be informed.” Indra’s spies said:--
“O lord of gods, we do not know who it is. Some one is performing a penance in the forest, a god, a sage, the sun or the fire. We are scorched by his splendour and have come near you. We have told you the details. Please do what is proper.”
Thus informed by the spies, Indra, the enemy of mountains, understood whatever his son Arjuna desired to do. He dismissed them and decided to go there to test him. Indra assumed the form of an elderly Brahmin bachelor and went there to test him.
On seeing him come, Arjuna worshipped him. After eulogising him he stood in front of him and said—“Whence do you come now? Please tell me”
The lord of gods thus requested by him spoke with a hint at testing his courage, out of love. The Brahmin said:--
“O dear, why do you perform the penance in your prime of youth? Is it for salvation or for victory? In every respect this penance of yours is useless.”
Thus questioned by him he informed him of everything. The Brahmin said:--
“This is not proper on your part to pursue this penance for achieving happiness or for salvation by means of Ksatraic rites, O excellent scion of the Kurus. Indra is the bestower of happiness and not of salvation. O excellent one, it behoves you therefore to perform a more excellent penance.”
On hearing his words Arjuna was angry. Slighting it but humbly, Arjuna of good rites replied. Arjuna said:--
“It is neither for kingdom nor for salvation that this penance is resorted to. Why do you speak like this? I am performing this penance on the advice of Vyasa. O bachelor, go hence. Do you wish to cause my downfall? Of what use is this to you a bachelor?”
On being addressed thus he was delighted. He revealed his wonderfully beautiful form with all paraphernalia to him. On seeing the form of Indra, Arjuna was ashamed. Indra spoke to him again after consoling him. Indra said:--
“O dear, O Arjuna of great intellect, choose your boon, whatever you wish in your mind. There is nothing which cannot be given to you.”
On hearing the words of Indra, Arjuna replied “O father, bless me with victory. I am afflicted by enemies in every respect.”
“Your enemies, Duryodhana and others are very powerful. Droṇa, Bhisma, Karna and others are certainly invincible. Ashvatthaman, son of Droṇa and a part of Rudra, is extremely invincible. But they can be withstood through me. Listen to what is wholesome to you. O hero, none is capable of performing this Japa. Shiva is the greatest of all. Hence perform the Japa of Shiva now. Shiva is the lord of worlds, the mobile and immobile beings. He is the lord of heaven. He can do everything. He is the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation. I, Brahma and others, Vishnu the bestower of boons and those who crave for victory are the devotees of Shiva. Now onwards leave that mantra and worship Shiva with devotion through the rules laid down for the worship of his day phallic image and by contemplating on him. O Bharata, by your devotional feelings and modes of service, you worship Shiva. Your achievement will be unshakable. No doubt need be entertained in this respect.”
After saying this he called out his spies and said—“All of you shall be cautious and attentive in protecting him always.”
Thus alerting his spies for the protection to be accorded to Arjuna, Indra spoke again to Arjuna with his heart full of fondness and affection.
“O Gentle one, O terrifier of enemies, you shall not commit blunders in the administration of your kingdom. This mantra will be conducive to your glory. Always courage shall be maintained by an aspirant. Shiva the protector will give you riches and the fruits of your desire. This is undoubtedly true.”
After giving the boon to Arjuna, the lord of gods remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and went to his abode. The heroic Arjuna bowing to the lord of gods performed the penance with controlled mind with Shiva as his goal.
In the chapter 37, Section 3 of Satarudra-Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of instruction of Vyasa in the context of Siva’s incarnation as Kirata is mentioned.
Defeated by Suyodhana, the excellent Pandavas went to the forest Dvaita accompanied by their chaste wife Draupadi. Depending upon the cooking-pot given by the sun, the Pandavas spent their time happily. Durvasas the leading sage was induced by Suyodhana to go to the Pandavas in order to deceive them. Accompanied by his ten thousand disciples he approached them and asked for foodstuffs and other things for his disciples. After accepting it, Durvasas and other sages and saints were sent by the Pandavas for their ablution. By want of food, all the Pandavas were sad and resolved to cast off their lives.
Krishna appeared on being remembered by Draupadi. After eating a bit of vegetable he made them satiated at the very moment. On coming to know that the disciples were fully satisfied Durvasas went away. By the grace of Krishna, the Pandavas were freed from a difficult situation. Then they asked Krishna “O lord, what will happen now? A very powerful enemy has arisen. What shall be done at this moment?”
On being asked thus by the Pandavas, lord Krishna remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and spoke to them:
“O excellent Pandavas, now listen to the details of my experience involving service to Shiva. After hearing you shall act accordingly. I went to Dwaraka to conquer my enemies. After obeying the instructions of noble Upamanyu I propitiated lord Shiva. I propitiated him for seven months in the excellent mountain Baṭuka. Thus Shiva was pleased with me. Standing there himself he fulfilled all my desires. By his power I acquired excellent efficiency in everything. The lord, the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation is propitiated by me even now. You too serve Shiva who is the bestower of happiness to all.”
After saying thus and cheering the Pandavas, Krishna vanished from there and remembering the lotus feet of Shiva he hastened to Dwarka.
Pandavas then sent a Bhilla to test the virtues and the strength of Duryodhana. He understood the prosperity, rise and the virtues of Duryodhana and returned to the Pandavas again. On hearing what he had said, the Pandavas were very sad and in their distress spoke to one another. What shall be done now? Where shall we go? Though we can fight now we have been restrained by the bonds of truth.
In the meantime, Vyasa came there with the ashes decorating his forehead, with Rudrakṣa as an ornament and well bedecked in matted hair. He was repeating the five-syllabled mantra. He was fully engrossed in the love of Shiva. He was a heap of lustrous brilliance, a manifestation of virtue itself.
When they saw him they were delighted and they stood up to welcome him. Offering him a seat of deer-hide brightened by Kusha grass they waited in front of him. When he was duly seated they honoured him with great delight after eulogising him in various ways and saying “Ah! we are blessed”.
“O holy lord, by seeing you, we are all satisfied. We have attained the fruits of our austerities and our diverse charitable gifts. O grandfather, by seeing you, all our misery has disappeared, the misery that had been inflicted on us by the wicked people of ruthless activities. Misery disappears at your sight. Was there ever a time when it did not disappear? We know it truly. When a person reaches the hermitage of a sage efficient in all activities, if misery is not dispelled, fate alone is the cause there. Poverty, the cause of misery, will surely be dispelled. Such is the nature of great men. In the fulfilment of desires they are equal to the wish-yielding Kalpa tree. Thus the qualities of the great shall be observed objectively. A person becomes famous by merely resorting to them. The difference between the small and the great shall not be thought of. This is the nature of the great that they will always protect the distressed. The characteristics of the wretched and the miserable are conducive to his glory, for there lies before him an opportunity for strenuous efforts and for serving the good people. Thereafter it is one’s own destiny. No one is to blame for it. Hence O lord, when you are seen, everything auspicious takes place. By your mere arrival our minds are satisfied. Give us instructions whereby our misery can be dispelled.”
On hearing the words of the Pandavas the great sage Vyasa was delighted in the mind and said thus.
“O Pandavas, you need not be over-anxious. You are all blessed and contented. You have not let truth slip by. The noble nature of the good remains unchanged even at death. They do not forsake virtue. They fruitfully resort to Truth. As far as we are concerned, you and the Kauravas ought to be equal. Still our partiality is towards the virtuous. This partiality is approved by the learned. Virtue was at the outset abandoned by the wicked and blind Dhrtarashṭra due to greed. Your kingdom was seized. Undoubtedly you and they are his sons when your real father is dead. You are noble souls and hence you deserve to be viewed sympathetically. Afterwards his son was never dissuaded by him. If only he had done so, this calamity would not have occurred. Whatever has happened cannot be otherwise. He is wicked while all of you are virtuous and truthful. Hence evil will befall only him in the end, to be sure. The seed that has been sown will germinate into a sprout. Hence you need not feel distressed at all. Welfare will dawn on you. You need not entertain any doubt.”
Thus the Pandavas were consoled and cheered by Vyasa. Yudhishtira and others then spoke these words. The Pandavas said:--
“O lord, I have mentioned the truth. Even in the forest misery is being inflicted on us incessantly by the wicked and the evil-minded Kauravas again and again. O holy lord, please dispel our distress. Something auspicious shall be bestowed upon us. We have been advised by Krishna that Shiva shall be propitiated always. We have committed a blunder in not following his advice. May divine lead be given to us again now?”
On hearing these words, the delighted Vyasa, remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and spoke to the Pandavas with pleasure. Vyasa said:--
“O Pandavas, of virtuous mind, listen to my words. It has been truly stated by Krishna. Shiva is being served by me too. Let him be served by you with pleasure. Unequalled happiness shall always follow. It is only by not serving Shiva that miseries crop up.”
After considering everything, the great sage Vyasa pronounced Arjuna the most deserving among the five brothers in the worship of Shiva. The excellent sage spoke again to the Pandavas who were firmly established in virtuous rites. Vyasa said:--
“O Pandavas, all of you hear. I shall tell you, what is ever good and wholesome. Shiva shall be viewed as the great Brahman and the goal of the good. Beginning with Brahma and ending with infinity whatever is seen in the universe is Shiva’s form. It shall be honoured and meditated upon. Shiva, the dispeller of all misery shall be served by all. Due to devotion, Shiva becomes pleased in a short time. It is certain that the delighted Shiva bestows everything on his devotees. He gives worldly pleasures here and salvation hereafter. Hence Shiva shall be always served by those who desire the fruits of worldly pleasures here and salvation hereafter. Shiva, the divine Purusha himself, is the slayer of the wicked and the goal of the good. But one shall repeat the lore of Indra at the outset with steady mind. For a Kshatriya of great lustre this alone is conducive to welfare. Hence let Arjuna repeat the lore of Indra at first, steadily. In the beginning the lord will test him and will like to be satisfied with the test. If he is delighted he will remove all obstacles. The lore will yield the granting of the boon by Shiva.”
After saying this he called Arjuna and instructed him in the lore of Indra. Arjuna had his ceremonial bath and facing the east, he, of powerful intellect, received the lore. The great sage gave him the rules of procedure for a king. The liberal-minded Vyāsa thus spoke to Arjuna. Vyasa said:--
“O Arjuna, start from here and go this way to the beautiful mountain Indrakila. There standing beside the river Ganga, perform the penance well. The invisible lore will be beneficial to you. He gave him the blessings thus. The sage then spoke to all. May all the excellent kings stand by virtue? The result will be excellent in every respect. No doubt need be entertained in this respect.”
Blessing the Pandavas thus and remembering the lotus-like feet of Shiva, the great sage Vyasa vanished in a moment.
In the chapter 39 to 41, Section 3 of Satarudra-Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of killing of the demon Muka and Incarnation of Kirata is mentioned.
Arjuna performed the ablution duly, and the Nyasa (the mystic placing of fingers etc.) in accordance with the Shastric injunctions. He performed the meditation of Shiva with great devotion in the manner explained by Vyasa. Like a great sage, he stood on the sole of a single foot. He fixed one of his eyes at the sun and stood repeating the mantra. Repeating the five-syllabled mantra of Shiva the most excellent of all the mantras and mentally remembering Shiva with pleasure he performed the penance. The splendour of the penance was such that the gods were surprised. They went to Shiva again and told him sincerely.
The gods said:--
“O lord of all, a penance is being performed by a man for your propiation. O lord, why don’t you grant him what he desires.”
After saying this, the gods eulogised him in different ways. Fixing their eyes to his feet they stood there in agony.
On hearing their words the lord of benevolent mind, the delighted Shiva laughingly spoke thus to the gods, Shiva said:-
“O gods, you go to your abodes. Undoubtedly I shall carry out your task in every respect.”
On hearing those words of Shiva, they became assured. They therefore returned to their abodes.
In the meantime there came the demon Muka, instigated by the wicked Duryodhana, wielding Maya against Arjuna. O great Brahmin, he had assumed the form of a boar. He came along the path where Arjuna was staying. He was digging up the peaks of mountains and trees in plenty. He was roaring and grunting in diverse ways and was rushing at a great speed. On seeing the demon Muka, Arjuna remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and began to think.
“Who is this? Where does he come from? He seems to be very ruthless in actions. Certainly he is coming here to harm me. It occurs to me that he is my enemy, to be sure. Formerly many Daityas and Danavas had been killed by me. He may be one of those come here to wreak vengeance. Or he may be some friend of Duryodhana acting for his welfare. Verily he is a benefactor on seeing whom the mind becomes pleased. If on seeing anyone the mind is agitated he is surely an enemy. The conduct declares the family, the body declares the diet, the mode of speech declares the amount of learning and the eye indicates the affection. The concealed mind is revealed by the general mien, the mode of walking, the activities, the speech, the features of the eyes and the face. The eye is of four sorts—the resplendent, the impassioned the squinted and the ruddy. The features are likewise different, O scholars. It is resplendent, when friends meet. It is impassioned at the sight of the son. It is squinted in contact with the beloved and it is ruddy at the sight of the enemy. In regard to him my sense-organs are excited. He must be an enemy. Undoubtedly he shall be killed. I remember the words of my preceptor now—“O king, a person causing misery shall be killed by you by all means. No doubt need be entertained in this respect. It is only for this purpose that I hold the weapons. There is no doubt in this.” After thinking thus he placed the arrow ready there and stood up.
In the meantime, Shiva, favourably disposed to his devotees, assumed the wonderful form of an efficient hunter and came there along with his Gaṇas in order to slay that Daitya, to protect Arjuna as well as to test his devotion. The hunter had tucked up his lion-cloth and folded up Shiva’s banner. His body was lined with the white ash. He held a bow and arrows. He carried the quiver suspended over his back. The Gaṇas too assumed the form of hunters. Shiva too became the chief of Bhillas. The Commander-in-Chief started various sounds. The grunting sound of the boar too spread over the quarters.
Arjuna was excited by the sound that spread in the forest. Even the mountains were agitated by these sounds. “Oh, can this be Shiva the benefactor? I have heard about this as mentioned by Krishna. Vyasa too has mentioned and the gods too. Shiva is mentioned as the benefactor. Shiva is the cause of happiness. Even in dreams, misery does not befall those who worship him with devotion. If it happens at all, it is due to their previous activities. He can convert poison into nectar and nectar into poison. Whatever he wishes he certainly does. How can an efficient man be thwarted?
Devotees of yore and future devotees must keep their mind steady after considering all those aspects, whether one is in affluent circumstances or not, whether death is imminent or not or whether people praise or censure. Misery is quelled. Shiva is always the bestower of happiness through the merit and sin of individuals. Sometimes Shiva makes us miserable in order to test us. Since he is compassionate he is said to be the bestower of happiness ultimately. A gold piece can become pure only when it is put into the fire and purified. This has been heard by me from the Sage. Hence I shall attain blessed happiness through his worship alone.”
While he was musing thus, the boar came within the range of his arrow-discharge. In order to protect Arjuna, Shiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees, came there closely pursuing the boar. Between the two the animal rushed on and then halted. A wonderful horn was seen. Then both of them discharged the arrow. Shiva’s arrow hit the tail; Arjuna’s arrow hit the snout. Shiva’s arrow hit the tail and stopped at the snout. It struck the ground and entered it. Arjuna’s arrow pierced through the body. It came out of the tail and fell at its side. The boar who was a Daitya fell dead on the ground. The gods were much delighted. They showered flowers. Bowing down and eulogising, they cried shouts of victory. On seeing the cruel form of the Daitya, Shiva was glad and Arjuna was happy.
Shiva immediately sent his attendant to fetch the arrow. The Arjuna too came there. The Gaṇa and Arjuna reached the place simultaneously for the arrow. Arjuna rebuked him and took up his arrow. The Gaṇa said—“O excellent sage, why do you take this arrow? The arrow is mine. Leave it off.”
“O forest-roamer, what do you say without understanding? You are a fool. This arrow had been discharged by me just now. How can it be yours? It is engraved with my name in many lines. The feathers are mine. How does it become yours? You insist according to your wild nature.”
On hearing his words, the leader of the Gaṇas laughed and spoke to Arjuna who was in the garb of a sage. O sage, listen. You are a sage in disguise. You are not a true sage. You do not perform penance. People are being deceived by you. How can a saint utter a lie? Do not take me to be single-handed. Know me to be the commander-in-chief. My master is sitting there with many hunters. In every respect, he is capable of destroying or blessing you. It is his arrow that has been taken by you now. This arrow will never remain with you. O sage, why do you wish to lose the fruit of your penance? Truly have I heard that penance is marred and wasted by theft, pride afflicted by deceit and the breaking of promise. Hence O sage, whence will you derive the fruit of penance?
If you do not give up this arrow you will be an ungrateful fellow. It was certainly to save you that my master discharged this arrow. Your enemy has been killed by him and you have kept the arrow to yourself. Very ungrateful indeed are you. You are making your own penance fruitless. You do not speak the truth. What you wish to gain thereby? If you have any need for the arrow, you may approach my master and request him. He can give you many similar arrows. My master is here. Why don’t you request him? Unmindful of his help to you, you wish him harm. This does not behove you. Eschew this fickleness.”
On hearing his words, Arjuna, son of Pṛtha, was angry. After remembering Shiva, he spoke these measured words. Arjuna said:--
“O hunter, listen. I shall explain. Your words are not true. O forest-wanderer, I know you. You are true to the caste in which you are born. I am a king. You are a thief. How can a war be pursued? I must fight with people equal in strength to me, never with base people. Your master will be only like you. We are the benevolent donors and you the forest-dwellers, thieves. How can the king of foresters be requested by me now? O forest-wanderer, why don’t you beg the arrow of me? I shall readily give you the arrows. Certainly I have many. If a king docs not give what is taken, your objection may come up. Then O forester, how can I simply give away the arrow, if what I am desirous of doing is not being understood? Why should there be a long talk? Let your master come and fight with me. Defeating me in the battle, let him take the arrow and return to his abode. Why should there be any delay?”
On hearing these words of Arjuna who derived his strength from the mercy of lord Shiva, the forester spoke these words. The forester said:--
“You are ignorant. You are not a sage. Why do you invite death? Give up the arrow and stay here happily or you will come to grief.”
Thus challenged by the forester who derived his strength from Shiva and who was a Gaṇa, Arjuna, son of Pandu remembered Shiva and said. Arjuna said:--
“O forester, listen attentively to my words. If your master comes here I shall show my strength. It does not behove me to fight with you. I shall fight with your master. The fight between a lion and a jackal is very ridiculous. You have heard my words. You shall see my strength now. O Bhilla, return to your master. Do as you please.”
O sage, thus addressed by Arjuna, the Bhilla returned to the place where the general Kirata, the incarnation of Shiva, stood. He mentioned Arjuna’s talk in detail to lord Shiva, the great soul in the form of Bhilla. On hearing his words, lord Kirata was much delighted. It was Shiva dressed as a Bhilla who had come there with his army. On seeing Kirata with his army, Arjuna, son of Pandu, took up his bow and arrows and faced him. Then Kirāta sent the messenger again and through him delivered the message to Arjuna, the great soul. Kirata said:--
“O sage, see this army coming. Give up the arrow and go away. Why do you seek death for a trifle? Your brothers are in distress. Your wife is grief-stricken. I think your kingdom will slip off your hands, I am sure.
It was just to test the firmness of Arjuna that the great lord said this, the great lord Shiva who had assumed that form to protect Arjuna by all means. What the lord said, the Gaṇa of Shiva mentioned that to Arjuna in detail after approaching him. On hearing that, Arjuna replied to the messenger “You shall tell your general that the reverse of what he says will happen to him. If I were to give up the arrow that belongs to me I shall be the cause of ignominy to my family. Well may my brothers be distressed. Let all my knowledge be fruitless. So, come on to fight with me. No lion is ever frightened of a jackal. A king is never afraid of a forester.”
Thus replied by Arjuna the Bhilla returned to his master and conveyed all that Arjuna had said. Lord Shiva, a Kirata, heard the message and approached Arjuna along with his army.
On seeing him come, Arjuna meditated on Shiva and fought with him a terrible battle. Arjuna split the arrows discharged by Kirata and his gaṇas. Then he thought upon Shiva. When distressed by him, the Gaṇas fled to the quarters. Then Shiva summoned the chief Gaṇas. But they did not respond to his call. Shiva and Arjuna of great strength and exploit fought each other with various weapons of war.
Taking pity on him Shiva approached Arjuna, but Arjuna hit him heavily. Shiva split the weapons of Arjuna as well as his armour. Arjuna stood in his bare body. Although afflicted by fear, Arjuna remembered Shiva and fought a duel with the general spiritedly. The earth along with the oceans shook due to their fight. “What will happen now?” Thinking thus, the gods were distressed. In the meantime, lord Shiva stood in mid-air and fought. Arjuna too did likewise. On seeing that wonderful battle the gods were surprised. Then Arjuna came to the ground, remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and caught hold of his feet deriving sufficient strength, thanks to his meditation on Shiva. Catching hold of his feet, Arjuna whirled him. Lord Shiva, favourably disposed towards his disciples, laughed indulging in divine sports.
Then Shiva smiled and revealed his wonderful auspicious form as he is always well disposed to his devotees. On seeing that beautiful form, the form of the excellent supreme being as mentioned in the Vedas, Shastras and Puraṇas, the form which Vyasa had advised him to meditate upon, the form which bestows alt Siddhis, the form of Shiva, Arjuna was abashed and surprised much.
He joined his palms in reverence and bending his head he bowed to the lord with pleasure. Then he spoke in a delighted manner. Arjuna said:--
O Shiva the merciful, O lord of all, my fault shall be forgiven by you. What you have done? By concealing your own form you have deceived me now. Fie on me who fought with you, my master, O lord. Thus Arjuna, son of Pandu, repented. He fell at the feet of lord Shiva. Cheering up in various ways the delighted lord Shiva replied to Arjuna.
“O Arjuna, do not worry yourself. You are a great devotee of mine. I have done this just to test you. Give up your sorrow.”
After saying this and lifting Arjuna with his own hands, the lord rid him of his bashfulness through his own lordly qualities. Delighting Arjuna honoured by heroes, Shiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees, spoke to him with pleasure. Shiva said:--
“O Arjuna, foremost among the sons of Pāṇḍu, I am delighted. Choose your boon. By your hits and blows I have been worshipped by you. I consider it so. This has been done by my own will. The fault is not yours. There is nothing which cannot be given to you. Choose whatever you desire. In order to establish the rule of your fame among your enemies what you have done is auspicious. You shall not be struck with grief. Eschew all your feebleness.”
Thus addressed by lord Shiva, Arjuna stood carefully and spoke to Shiva with devotion. Arjuna said:--
“O good lord, O Sadshiva, is your desire, is your compassion to be described by me? You are the favourite of your devotees, you are Shiva, the bestower of welfare. Obeisance to you, the lord of gods. O Sadashiva, obeisance to you. Obeisance to you, the five-faced one. Obeisance to Kapardin (one with matted hair), obeisance to you, the three-eyed. Obeisance to the delighted one, obeisance to the thousand-faced. Whatever splendid form is seen, its splendour is yours. You are in the form of pure consciousness. You sport about inṣṭhe three worlds in different guises. There is no limit to your excellences as that of the dust particles, or stars in the sky or rain-drops. Even the Vedas cannot enumerate your good qualities. O lord, how can I, deficient in intellect, describe any? Whatever be your nature, obeisance be to you. It behoves you to take pity. O lord, I am your slave, O lord Shiva, you arc my master.”
On hearing his words, lord Shiva, who was highly delighted spoke to Arjuna delightedly. Shiva said:--
“Of what avail is a long talk? Listen to my words. O son, choose your boon quickly. I shall give you everything.”
Thus urged by him, Arjuna bowed to Sadashiva with palms joined in reverence and with head bending down. He spoke with words choked with devotion. Arjuna said:
“What shall I say? You are the immanent Soul of all. Still let my detailed explanation be heard by you, O lord. Whatever danger I had from enemies has vanished at your sight. Please do that which may confer worldly Siddhis on me.”
After saying this and bowing to Shiva who is favourably disposed to his devotees, Arjuna stood by with shoulder drooping down and palms joined in reverence. Seeing Arjuna, son of Pandu, the foremost of his devotees, lord Shiva was extremely glad and satisfied. Lord Shiva gave him Pashupata missile that could not be thwarted by anyone at any time and spoke thus. Shiva said:--
“I have given you my own great missile. You will become invincible thereby. You will reap success over your enemies through this. I shall tell Krishna also. He will help you. He is my own soul, my devotee and he carries out my task. O Bharata, due to my power, you will rule over your kingdom unhindered. You shall perform righteous deeds of various kinds always along with your brother.”
After saying this and placing his hand over his head, Shiva vanished after being duly worshipped by Arjuna. The delighted Arjuna, after obtaining the excellent missile from the lord, returned to his hermitage remembering devotedly his chief preceptor and Shiva. When he arrived, his brother felt fully revived as the body with vital airs. They felt happy at his sight. Draupadi of good rites was also delighted.
In the chapter 35, Section 3 of Satarudra-Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Saintly Brahmin is mentioned.
On realising the excellent devotion of Mena and Himavat towards Shiva, the gods became worried and they consulted one another eagerly. If the mountain were to give his daughter to Shiva with undiluted devotion, certainly he will attain salvation immediately. He is the receptacle of infinite gems. If he attains liberation, the name of the earth, Ratnagarbha (having gems within) will certainly be meaningless. He will cast off the stationary state of a mountain and assume a divine form. After giving his daughter in marriage to the trident-bearing lord he will go to Shiva’s region.
With the blessings of Shiva he will attain identity in form with the great god. He will enjoy all great pleasures there and then attain liberation. After discussing like this, the gods went to the abode of their preceptor. In order to achieve their self-interest they submitted to the preceptor thus.
The gods said:--
“O preceptor, please go to the abode of Himavat for the accomplishment of our task. Reproach lord Shiva and try to prevent the mountain’s excessive devotion to him. O preceptor, if the mountain gives his daughter to Shiva with great faith he will attain salvation. Let him stay on the Earth itself.”
On hearing the words of the gods, he thought over that and spoke to them. The preceptor said:--
“O gods, one of you shall go to the mountain for achieving the end. I am incapable of doing it. Or you all, including Indra, go to Brahma’s region. Tell him all your details. He will carry out your work.”
On hearing these words and reflecting thereon, the gods went to Brahma’s assembly. They submitted all the details to Brahma. On hearing their words and reflecting deeply Brahmā told them—“I shall not censure him, for that will yield misery to us and dispel out happiness for ever. O gods, you go to Kailasa and propitiate Shiva. Request that lord to go to the abode of Himavat. Let him approach the lord of mountains and censure himself. Censuring others is conducive to destruction and censuring oneself is conducive to glory.”
Then the gods hastened to Kailasa and bowed to Śhiva with great devotion. They mentioned everything in detail to him. On hearing the words of the gods, lord Shiva accepted their proposal. He laughingly consoled the gods and made them return without worry.
Then lord Shiva, who is favourably disposed towards his devotees, who is the wielder of Maya and who is free from aberrations, desired to approach Himavat. He assumed the form of a Brahmin Saint. He held a staff and an umbrella. He wore divine garments. A brilliant caste mark shone on his forehead. He had tied a Salagrama stone round his neck and held a string of crystal beads in his hand. He frequently repeated the names of Vishnu with devotion. He approached Himavat who was accompanied by his kinsmen.
On seeing him, Himavat and his attendants stood up and then prostrated before him. They performed Aṣṭanga salvation on the ground. Then the lord of mountains asked him “Who are you please?” The Brahmin Yogin replied immediately with reverence. The Saintly Brahmin said:--
“O mountain, I am a devotee of Vishnu known as Sadhudvija. I possess true vision. I am omniscient and I assist others. By the power of the preceptor I can go everywhere. O excellent mountain, by my divine knowledge, I have known something while I was in my abode. Listen. I shall mention the same with pleasure to you without any arrogance. You wish to give your daughter who is as comely as Lakṣmi to Shiva whose family and conduct are unknown.
O lord of mountains, this idea of yours is not conducive to auspiciousness. O most excellent one among the wise, born of Vishnu’s race, you should know this. O lord of mountains, see for yourself. He has no single relative. You can verify your relatives and your beloved. Ask Mena and others excluding Parvati. O mountain, the patient never likes the medicine but relishes undesirable diet. In the matter of gifting away Parvati, he is not the deserving person. As soon as this alliance is announced, the public will smile derisively. He is without support. He is unattached. He is ugly, devoid of attributes and unchanging. He is hideous. He resides in the cremation ground. He is naked and handles serpents He smears ashes as decoration. Serpents twine round his head. He has fallen from all stages of life. His ways are ever unknown. After saying these factual statements insulting to Shiva, Shiva of diverse sports, quickly returned to his abode.”
On hearing the words of the Brahmin, they thought thus—“What can we do with regard to him who is engrossed in adverse things?”
Then Shiva performed great sports delighting the devotees. He married Parvati aud carried out the task of the gods.
Thus the incarnation of lord Shiva as Sadhuveṣadvija, that carried out the task of the gods has been narrated to you.