In the chapter 8-10 in Section 4 of Kotirudra-saṃhita of Shiva Purana, the story of greatness of Mahabala is mentioned.
Gokarṇa situated on the shore of the western ocean in Kanara district, destroys the sin of brahmin’s slaughter and other sins and yields the fruits of all desires. At Gokarṇa there are crores and crores of Shiva’s phallic images. At every step there are innumerable holy centres. In the Kṛta (Satya) Yuga the phallic image of Mahabala is white; in the Treta it is deep-red; in the Dvapara it is yellow and in the Kali age it is dark in colour. Mahabala, though it has pervaded the regions as far below as the seven nether worlds, will become soft when the terrible age of Kali arrives.
That phallic image secured by the Rakṣasa Ravaṇa as a result of severe penance was installed by Gaṇanayaka at Gokarṇa. All the gods, the Gandharvas, the Pitṛs, Siddhas, Garanas, Vidyadharas, Kiṃpuruṣas, Kinnaras, Guhyakas, Khagas, different types of Pisacas, Betalas, the powerful Daiteyas, Śeṣa and other serpents, the Siddhas and the sages, eulogise and bow to lord Mahabala. They get their cherished desires. The worship of Mahabala on the fourteenth day in the dark half of the month of Magha yields salvation particularly even to the sinners.
The Story of Saimini & Mahabala:
A girl named Saimini was the outcaste woman, who was a brahmin girl in her previous birth. She was married to a certain brahmin boy duly by her father. After getting a husband she indulged in sexual dalliance with him and maintained her auspicious rites. Then her youthful husband, the brahmin boy became distressed with a great ailment. Due to the misfortune of Saumini he died.
When the husband passed away, the woman was much distressed, dejected and despondent. For some time, she maintained her pure conduct. She remained in the house, a well-behaved lady. Thereafter, though a widow, her heart became defiled by lustful feelings because she was still in her prime of youth. She then transgressed the limits of decency. Coming to know of her misdeeds defiling the family her kinsmen gathered together, caught hold of her hair, took her far off and abandoned her.
A leading Shudra saw her roaming about in the forest, took her to his house and made her his wife. She then became very fond of sexual intercourse, began to take in meat and indulged in drinking wine. She bore that Shudra a daughter too.
Once while the husband had gone somewhere, Saumini the erring woman drank wine and badly wanted meat. In her cattleshed outside, goats and sheep had been tethered along with cows. It was dusk when nothing could be visible due to darkness. She then took a sword and went out. She killed a calf taking it to be a goat without much consideration. After taking it within she realised that it was a calf. The terrified woman blurted out “Shiva, Shiva”, thanks to some previous merit. She meditated on Shiva for a short while. But the desire for meat overwhelmed her. She minced the meat of the calf and ate it up with great relish.
When a long time elapsed thus, Saumini died and went to Yama’s abode. Yama went through her antecedents and taking into consideration her merits and demerits he sent her back from hell to be born in an outcaste family. She was born as a congenitally blind girl out of the womb of a Chaṇdala woman. Her complexion was as dark as the dying embers. During her infancy her father and mother died. She was not married to anyone. She became infected with leprosy and was utterly defiled. Emaciated and distressed with hunger, blind and moving about with a staff in her hand, she somehow subdued her gastric fire by the leavings of food of the Chaṇḍalas nearby. With great difficulty and sufferings, she passed a major portion of her life. When old age affected her limbs, she was subjected to unending grief and distress.
Once she came to know of travellers going to visit Mahabala and Gokarṇa on the Shiva festival day. Then prompted by a desire for clothes and meals she walked slowly to beg of the general public. In the outstretched hands of the suppliant woman, a meritorious traveller hurled a bunch of Bilva leaves. When that bunch fell into her hands, she felt it again and again and realising that it was not edible she cast it off dejectedly. That bunch of Bilva leaves cast off from her hands during the night, fortunately fell on the top of a Shiva’s phallic image. Thus, on the Shiva Chaturdasi night though she begged of the travellers again and again she did not get anything through the intercession of fate. Thus, unwittingly she observed the rites of Shiva Chaturdasi and kept awake during the night and obtained great bliss.
Then in the next morning, overcome with great grief the dejected woman returned to her native place alone slowly. Exhausted by long starvation, and faltering and staggering at every step she somehow covered the long distance but fell down unconscious. Seated in an aerial chariot brought immediately by Shiva’s Gaṇas, thanks to Shiva’s mercy, she went to Shiva’s region. At the outset the unchaste woman had cried out Shiva’s name unwittingly, she acquired a great merit whereby she reached the divine abode of Mahabala. At Gokarṇa on Shiva’s Tithi during the night she had kept awake and observed fast. She had performed the worship of Shiva’s image with Bilva bunch. That was the fruit of a meritorious action performed unconsciously. She was liberated thanks to the grace of Mahabala.
Thus is the great image of Mahabala, destructive of sins and the bestower of the highest bliss instantaneously.
The story of king Mitrasaha & Mahabala:
There was a highly virtuous king Mitrasaha in the glorious family of Ikṣvaku. He was the greatest of skilled archers. The virtuous and auspicious-natured lady Madayanti was his beloved wife, like Damayanti of Nala. She was known as a chaste lady.
Fond of hunting, once that king Mitrasaha went to a thick forest accompanied by a huge army. Sporting about there, the king killed a wicked demon Kamaṭha who used to harass good men. The demon’s younger brother, a deceitful sinner thought “I shall conquer him by deceitful means” and with this evil intention approached the king.
On seeing him humble in behaviour in seeking service under him, the king made him the chief cook without knowing his real nature. After indulging in hunting sports for sometime in the forest, the king abandoned the game and joyously returned to his capital. On the Shraddha day of his father the king invited his preceptor Vasiṣṭha to his palace and fed him devoutly. The demon in the guise of a cook had mixed human flesh in the food of the preceptor.
The preceptor said: — “O wicked king, fie upon you. Human flesh has been deceitfully offered to me by you. Hence you will become a demon.”
On realising that it had been perpetrated by the demon, the preceptor pondered over and prescribed a timelimit of twelve years for the curse. Thinking that the curse was unjustified, the infuriated king was about to return the curse with a handful of water. Then the chaste and virtuous queen Madayanti fell at his feet and entreated him to spare the curse. Out of deference for her entreaties the king desisted from cursing, but dropped the handful of water on his own feet which became deformed. From that day onwards the king became famous in the world as Kalmasanghri by the virtue of that water.
By the curse of his preceptor the leading sage, the king Mitrasaha became a terrible violent Rakṣasa, roaming in the forest. Transformed as Rakṣasa, he roamed about in the forest devouring various living beings, men and others. Once, somewhere in the forest, the king who was as hideous saw a newly married couple—a young sage and his young wife indulging in sexual dalliance. The demon habituated to eat human flesh in his distressed state due to the curse caught hold of the young sage in order to eat him like a tiger seizing a fawn. The young woman, on seeing her husband seized by the demon, was much frightened and implored him with piteous cries. In spite of repeated importunities, the man-eating ruthless wicked demon cut off the head of the brahmin sage and devoured it. The distressed, grief-stricken chaste lady lamented much. She gathered the bones of her husband and lighted a funeral pyre. The chaste lady entered fire after proclaiming “From now onwards if you become united with any woman in sexual embrace you will die.”
After undergoing the results of his preceptor’s curse to which there was a time-limit, the king regained his original form and joyously returned to his palace. Madayanti who knew of the curse of the chaste brahmin lady prevented her husband who evinced a desire for sexual embrace. She was much frightened of widowhood. The issueless king became disgusted with kingly pleasures. Eschewing all riches, he went to the forest. There he was tormented the thought that he killed the sage. Dejected in mind the king wanted to get rid of Brahmahatya. He tried japas, holy rites, sacrifices and various other means. When Brahmahatya did not leave him inspite of the means like the ceremonial ablution in holy centres, the king went to Mithila. There he saw the sage Gautama approaching him. The king felt satiated on seeing him. He bowed to him again and again. When the sage enquired of his welfare, the king heaved a sigh of grief and distress. The king said: — “O sage, this endless Brahmahatya harasses me. A brahmin boy had been devoured by me in the clutches of a curse. That sin cannot be suppressed even by thousands of expiatory rites. I tried various means to quell it. But it did not leave me off. Is it not due to my being a sinning soul? Now it seems to me that I have attained the fruits of my birth because merely by your sight my heart is filled with bliss. I, the sinner, seek refuge in your lotus-like feet. Grant me peace, whereby I can be happy.”
Implored thus by the king, the kind-hearted Gautama instructed him in the expiatory means for terrible sins. Gautama said: — “O excellent king, well done You are blessed. Eschew all fear from sins. As long as Shiva is the ruler, there can be no terror to devotees who seek refuge in him. There is a Shiva’s temple named Gokarṇa. It destroys all great sins. Shiva himself is present there in the name of Mahabala. Mahabala is the emperor of all phallic images. It assumes four different colours in the four Yugas. It dispels all sins. Great sinners go there, take their ceremonial ablutions many times in the sacred waters and worship Mahabala. They have all attained Shiva’s region. Worship Mahabala. Thus, you will be rid of sins and attain Shivaloka.”
The king highly delighted in the mind reached Gokarṇa. He took his dip in the holy ponds and worshipped Mahabala. His sins were wiped off without the least vestige. He attained the great region of Shiva.
The story of origin of Vaṭukas – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 13 in Section 4 of Kotirudra-saṃhita of Shiva Purana, the story of Vatukas is mentioned.
Once a Asura named Andhaka resorted to the deep ditch of the ocean and kept the three worlds under his control. He harassed the gods. He used to come out of the ditch and harrass the people. Then he re-entered the ditch. The gods were grief-stricken. Imploring Shiva again and again, they mentioned their miseries to him. On hearing the words of the gods, the lord Shiva agreed to slay that Asura Andhaka.
Shiva said: “O gods, proceed with the army. I too shall come along with the Gaṇas.”
When that terrible antagonist of the gods and the sages came out of the ditch, the gods went and occupied it. The Asuras and the gods fought a terrible battle. By the blessings of Shiva, the gods became very strong. Attacked and tormented by the gods, the Asura returned to the ditch when he was pierced through with the trident by Shiva, the supreme soul.
Remaining there he meditated on Shiva and prayed— “On seeing you at the hour of death, one becomes identical with you instantaneously.” Thus eulogised, the delighted Shiva spoke to him— “Mention the boon you wish to have. I shall grant it to you.”
On hearing these words, the Asura said again after bowing to and eulogising Shiva with pious feelings. Andhaka said: — “O lord of gods, if you are delighted grant me the auspicious devotion to you. Taking unusual compassion on me, be stationed here.”
Requested thus, Shiva hurled that Asura into that ditch. He himself stood there in the form of a phallic image with a desire to help the world. If a man worships Andhakesha every day, his desires are fulfilled within six months. The brahmin who worships the beneficent phallic image for his livelihood for six months becomes a Devalaka, the worshipper of idol for subsistence. He is not authorised in ordinary rites of brahmins.
The Story of Devaloka:
There was a brahmin Dadhichi who was well-versed in the Vedas and highly virtuous. He was engrossed in his devotion to Shiva and was interested in Shiva’s lore. His son was known as Sudarshana whose wife was Dukula. She was born of a defiled family. The husband was always under her control. He had four sons. Of course, he used to worship Shiva every day.
Once, Dadhichi had to go and live in another village along with his kinsmen. The kinsmen did not let him go back. While leaving home, Dadhichi, the excellent devotee, had already instructed his son, “Be devoted to Shiva.”
Sudarshana’s son also worshipped Shiva. Once, on a Shivaratri occasion when all observed fast, Sudarshana had his sexual intercourse with his wife and then performed the worship. But before he performed the worship, he abstained from taking bath. For this misdeed Shiva was infuriated and said:
“O knave, you had sexual intercourse with your wife on the occasion of Shivaratri. Without taking bath you performed the worship. You are an indiscreet fellow. Because you have done this consciously, be sluggish and insensible. You are an untouchable person for me. Avoid touching me.
Cursed thus by lord Shiva, Sudarshana, the son of Dadhichi, attained insensibility immediately, deluded by Shiva’s. Maya. Meanwhile Dadhichi, the excellent devotee of Shiva, returned from the other village and heard the details. He too was rebuked by Shiva. Hence, he felt much distressed. He cried— “Oh I am doomed by this foul deed of my son.”
The father then worshipped Parvati with excellent rites, sincere devotion and perseverance for the happiness of his son. Sudarshana himself performed the worship of Parvati with great devotion adopting the path of Chaṇḍi worship and with auspicious hymns. Thus, by various means and with sincere devotion the father and the son propitiated the goddess Parvati who is favourably disposed towards her devotees. By the devotion of their service Chaṇḍika was delighted. She adopted Sudarshana as her son. For the sake of her adopted son, she herself implored Shiva. Shiva who was angry had become quite calm. The son also was delighted. Then realising that lord Shiva the bull-bannered deity was delighted, she bowed to him herself and placed the son on his lap.
Making the ablution of the son with ghee, Parvati handed over to her son Sudarshana the three-stringed sacred thread with a single knot and imparted instruction in Shiva Gayatri consisting of sixteen syllables. Then the brahmin boy performed the Saṃkalpa puja (worship by mental conception) sixteen times with the five-syllabled mantra with the word Shri prefixed to Shiva. Beginning with ceremonial ablution and ending with the concluding obeisance he worshipped the bull-bannered deity by means of devotional mantras, musical instruments and adorations in the presence of the sages. He recited various names of Shiva. Then the delighted Shiva said: --
“Wealth, foodgrain etc. whatever is offered to me shall be taken by you. There is no sin in this action. In the rites concerning me you will officiate as the chief, especially so in the rites concerning the goddess. Ghee, oil etc., everything offered to me shall be taken by you. When the Prajapatya rite is performed only one of you shall be there. Then alone is the worship complete. Or everything becomes fruitless. The Tilaka must be made round. Then you shall take bath. Sandhya prayers to Shiva shall be offered and his Gayatri repeated. After rendering service to me at the outset, the other rites shall be performed according to the family tradition. When everything is thus performed there shall be welfare. Your blemishes have been excused by me.”
After saying this, the supreme soul Shiva consecrated his four sons as Vaṭukas in the four quarters. After keeping Sudarshana as her son with herself she granted boons to his sons and blessed them in several ways.
The Goddess said: — “Between you two whoever becomes my Vaṭuka shall be victorious. No doubt need be entertained in this respect. He who worships you has worshipped me too. You shall perform your duties always.”
Thus, boons were granted to the noble Sudarshana and his sons by Shiva and Parvati out of pity for the welfare of the worlds. Because they had been established by Shiva and Parvati they are known as Vaṭukas. Those who neglect penance are known as Tapodhamas.
In the chapter 5-7 in Section 4 of Kotirudra-saṃhita of Shiva Purana, the story of greatness of Nadikeshvara is mentioned.
A noble brahmin in city named Karniki on the western bank of river Reva, born of the family of Utta, entrusted his wife to the care of his two sons and went to Kashi. The brahmin died there itself. On getting the news the two sons performed the obsequies. The wife looked after the sons, seeking their welfare. After bringing up the sons she divided the assets. She reserved some amount for her funeral expenses. After sometime when she was going to die, she made pious gifts of various sorts. Providentially she did not die. The son observing her ailments said: -
“O mother, what is amiss that you suffer so much. Please tell us so that we shall carry it out with pleasure.”
On hearing these words, she said— “There is much that is amiss. If you do the same, I shall die happily.”
The elder son replied— “Please do mention. I shall do the same.” She then replied: -
“O son, I had a great desire to go to Kashi. That was not to be. Now I am dying here. My bones shall be cast off into the waters of the Ganga assiduously. That pious act will bless you, to be sure.”
The son said: — “O mother, you shall die peacefully and with confidence. I shall carry out your task first and then attend to mine.”
After saying this, he handed water to her and went to his house. Remembering Shiva, she died in the meantime. After performing her obsequies and the monthly Shraddha he started on his journey. The elder son who was famous as Suvada took her bones and started on his pilgrimage. He engaged a servant to accompany him. He consoled his wife and sons. He performed Shraddha, Dana and other pious rites. He then set out from his house after Mangala Smarana accompanied by the servant. He walked about twelve kilometres that day and when the sun set, he halted at the house of a certain Brahmin in the auspicious village of Viṃsatigrama. He performed Sandhya and other rites duly. He recited the hymns of prayer to Shiva of wonderful activities. The brahmin stayed there accompanied by the servant. The night had passed by two muhurtas when something surprising happened.
There was a fine cow tied up in the courtyard. The brahmin of the house who had gone out returned after nightfall. On seeing the cow, tethered in the courtyard, not yet milked, the distressed brahmin desirous of milking it told his wife. In order to milk the cow, he called his wife quickly and said “O beloved, the cow is not yet milked.” Thus, urged she brought the calf. The owner of the house, dragged by the leg the calf kicked. Infuriated by the kick of the calf, he hit the calf severely with the pieces of firewood. Hit by him the calf became utterly exhausted. Due to anger neither the cow was milked nor the calf was untied by the brahmin. For the pleasure of getting milked, the cow mooed loudly. On hearing the mooing sound of the cow, the calf said: -
“O mother, why do you cry? What is the misery that has befallen you? Please tell me lovingly.” On hearing this, the cow said.
“O son, listen to me. Although I am unable to express my grief adequately, you have been hit by the wicked man. Hence, I am distressed.”
On hearing his mother’s words, the calf taking his stand by the principle of previous action replied enlightening his mother. “What should be done? Where should we go? Since the results are bound by previous actions, we experience joy or sorrow accordingly. This is a wrong notion that another man gives us sorrow or pleasure. This is also an illusory concept that it is I who do this or that. Misery or happiness results from our own actions. Hence action is prominent and everything is founded on action. All the living beings are bound by action. They are not to be bewailed by you.
On hearing these words of her calf full of wisdom, the distressed cow sorrowing for her calf, said thus. The cow said: — “O dear son, I know fully well that all the people are subservient to their actions. Still, seized by Maya I feel much distressed. I have cried a lot but the sorrow has not subsided.” On hearing these words, the calf spoke to her again. The calf said: — “If you know thus, can anything be gained by crying? Hence leave off your sorrow.”
On hearing the words of her son, the distressed cow heaved a deep sigh and spoke to the calf. The cow said: — “My distress will disappear only when a similar misery befalls the brahmin. I am telling you the truth. Tomorrow morning, I shall hit him by my horns. No doubt, when hit he will lose his life.
The calf said: — “The fruit of previous actions we experience now. What is the fruit you are going to reap as a result of this brahmin-slaughter? When merits and demerits are on a par one takes birth in Bharata. O mother, when they are wiped off by enjoyment or suffering, liberation is achieved. Sometime the action is destroyed, some time the action results. That is why you have begun to perform this misdeed. Whence am I your son? Whence are you, my mother? This fond consciousness of sonhood and motherhood is futile. Ponder. Where is mother? Where is father? Where is husband? Where is wife? Know that none belongs to anyone here. All reap the fruits of their own actions. O mother, knowing thus you cast off your misery strenuously. If there is a desire for pleasure hereafter you shall do good deeds here.”
The Cow said: — “O son, I know this but delusion does not forsake me. I am much distressed by your misery. I shall return tit for tat. I know the place that dispels the sin of brahmin-slaughter. Going there I can get rid of the sin of Brahmin-slaughter.”
On hearing these words of the mother cow, the calf observed silence. On hearing this wonderful dialogue between the two, the pilgrim brahmin was surprised and he thought within himself. “I shall leave in the morning only after seeing the wonderful sequel. I shall go to that holy spot myself.” He and his servant went to sleep. When the day dawned, the owner of the house got up. Awakening the traveller, he spoke these words. The brahmin said: --
“Why do you sleep? It is already day-break. Go on your journey to the place where you desire to go.”
He replied — “Please listen, O brahmin, there is an acute pain in the stomach of my servant. We will stay a little longer and go thereafter.” Creating such a pretext the man continued to sleep, desiring to know the details of the wonderful incident that had surprised him much.
At the time of milking, the brahmin who wanted to go somewhere on some business spoke to his son. The father said: — “O son, I am going out on some business. Dear, you shall carefully milk our cow.” After saying this, the brahmin left the house. Thereafter the son got up and untied the calf. The cow approached him herself for being milked. The brahmin’s son, eager for milk, took the distressed calf hit by his father near the cow in order to tie it up. The infuriated cow hit him with her horn. The boy, hit in a vulnerable point, fell unconscious. People gathered there, saying— “O, the boy is struck by the cow. Fetch water? fetch water?” By the time they attempted to do something, the boy died. When the boy died, there was a great hue and cry. His mother was struck with grief. She cried again and again. “What shall I do? Where shall I go? Who can remove my grief?” After lamenting thus, she struck the cow and let it off. The cow which had been white in colour turned black immediately.
On seeing this surprising event the brahmin traveller set out and followed the cow as it ran away. Lifting up its tail, the cow ran off to the river Narmada. Coming near the Nandikesha shrine, it dipped itself into the waters of the Narmada thrice. It regained its white colour and went away the way it came. The brahmin was surprised. Blessed indeed is this holy centre that removes the sin of Brahmin-slaughter. The brahmin and the servant took their baths there. After the holy dip they started on their journey praising the river. On the way they met a beautiful maiden fully bedecked in ornaments.
She said: — “O brahmin-traveller where do you go in such bewilderment? Eschewing all deceit tell me the truth here. On hearing these words, the brahmin narrated everything truthfully. The brahmin was again addressed by the women, “Stay here”.
On hearing her words, the brahmin stopped and replied humbly — “Speak out what you desire to say. She said again “In the holy spot that you have just seen, cast off the bones of your mother. Why shall you go elsewhere? Your mother will assume a divine form and will immediately attain the good goal of Shiva. In the month of Vaisakha on the auspicious seventh day in the bright half, Ganga comes here always. Today is that seventh day. The river is in the form of Ganga there.” Saying so the lady vanished. She was Ganga herself. The brahmin returned. As soon as he cast off half the bones of his mother from his bundle into the holy river, a wonderful incident happened. He saw his mother endowed with a divine form. She said — “You are blessed. You have fulfilled your duty. The family has been sanctified by you. May your wealth, food-grains, longevity and line flourish.” Blessing her son frequently, she went to heaven. With contented soul he returned to his abode.
By worshipping at Nandikesha with devotion, people become freed from all sins such as the slaughter of a Brahmin etc. At Nandikesha, Shiva appeared to save Risika, the chaste lady of a Brahmin from powerful Asura named Mudha and blessed her. Ganga also promised to stay there for a day in the month of Vaisakha.
Results are bound by previous actions; we experience joy or sorrow accordingly. This is a wrong notion that another man gives us sorrow or pleasure. This is also an illusory concept that it is I who do this or that. Misery or happiness results from our own actions. Hence action is prominent and everything is founded on action. All the living beings are bound by action. They are not to be bewailed by you.
In the chapter 3-4 in Section 4 of Kotirudra-saṃhita of Shiva Purana, the story of Anasuya & Atri is told.
Atri was the son of Brahma & great sage of perfect knowledge. There was severe drought for very long period. Anasuya, the wife of Atri said to her husband, “I cannot bear the distress of living beings. Atri sat in yogic pose and the meditated-on Shiva through his own soul. Anasuya made a beautiful clay image through mantras in accordance with the rules, she worshipped Shiva through mental modes of service. After serving Shiva repeatedly she eulogised him with devotion.
Anasuya circumambulated her lord and Shiva. After prostration she went round anticlockwise too. On seeing that beautiful lady, the Daityas and Danavas were excessively agitated by her brilliance. They kept themselves away as people do from a blazing fire.
As long as the sage was engrossed in Praṇayama, the gentle lady continued her service. The couple thus engaged in their activities remained there, alone. On account of his penance and her worship the gods and the sages, Ganga and the rivers came there in order to see them with pleasure. On seeing his penance and her service they were surprised. On seeing their wonderful activity, they asked one another. “Which of the two—the penance or the service, is the greater?” They themselves replied — “Arti’s penance is good but Anasuya’s service is better”. Others said “Difficult penances had been performed by sages of yore but nothing like Dadhici’s penance was ever performed by any”. After praising them thus, they went away but only Ganga and Shiva were left.
Ganga said: — “Delighted in worshipping us the chaste lady is too much engrossed in virtuous rites. I shall help her and then go.” Shiva too, drawn by the meditation of Atri, stationed himself there in full digits. He did not go to Kailash. Anasuya decided pot to eat anything.
Once that great sage Atri woke up and spoke to his wife “Give me water.” Of course, the chaste lady took the water pot and went into the forest. (But she began to muse) “Whence can I fetch water? What shall I do? Where shall I go? How can water be fetched?” Wondering thus she saw Ganga. By the time she went over to her, Gaṅgā, the most excellent river, assumed a beautiful form and spoke to her.
Ganga said: — “O gentle lady, I am delighted with you. Where are you going? Tell me now. O fortunate lady, you are blessed. I shall truly carry out your behest.”
On hearing her words, the wife of the sage, was greatly surprised. She replied with great pleasure: O beautiful lady with eyes like lotus-petals, whence have you come? Please tell me the truth.
Ganga said: — “O chaste lady, on seeing the service rendered by you unto your lord and to Shiva the great soul and on taking view of your holy rites, I am staying near you. I am Ganga come here attracted by your worship. Choose whatever you wish.”
On hearing what Ganga said, the chaste lady bowed to her and said— “If you are pleased madam, give me water now.”
On hearing her words Ganga said— “Dig a pit.” She then made a pit in a trice, came and stood before her. Ganga entered the pit which became full of water in surprise, Anasuya took the water and said: - “If you are delighted, if you have sympathy for me, you will please stay here till my husband comes.”
The delighted Ganga said— “O sinless lady, you will give my water to Atri.” When Ganga said thus, Anasuya acted accordingly. She gave the divine water to her lord and stood before him. The sage performed the Achamana duly with great pleasure and drank the divine water. On drinking it he derived great happiness.
“O this is not the water usually drunk by me.” After thinking thus, he suddenly looked all round. On seeing the trees dry and withered and the quarters rough and arid, the excellent sage spoke to her “No rain has fallen?” On hearing what he said, the beloved lady replied in the negative. He then asked her whence she brought that water for him.
When he said this, Anasuya was much surprised. She then thought within herself. “If I tell him the truth it will be the exhibition of my greatness. If I do not tell him, it will be a violation of my rites. I shall tell him in a manner to avoid the contingencies. Even as she was musing thus, she was asked again and again. “O lord, please hear me. I shall tell you what has happened.” Anasuya said: --
“Thanks to the power of Shiva and you merit, Ganga has come here herself. This is her water, to be sure.”
On hearing this, the sage was surprised in his mind. Remembering Shiva mentally he spoke to his beloved with great pleasure. Atri said: — “O beautiful lady, whether you speak truth or lie, I cannot believe it. This is something rare. If I see that myself, I shall believe it, not otherwise.”
On hearing his words, the beloved wife spoke to the husband: — “O lord, please come with me if you wish to see Ganga, the foremost among the rivers.” After saying this and remembering Shiva, the chaste lady took her husband to the place where Ganga was present. Going there and seeing the beautiful pit full to the brim with water, the excellent sage said— “She is blessed.” “Is this the fruit of my own penance or of somebody else?” After saying this the leading sage eulogised her with devotion. Then the sage took a clean bath in that excellent water. The sage performed the routine rites. Anasuya too, of good rites, performed likewise. Then Ganga told her “I am returning to my place.” When this was said, the chaste lady spoke to the leading river again.
Anasuya said: — “O goddess if you are delighted, if you are kind to me, you will stay in this penance-grove for ever.”
The sage said likewise— “O leading river, you shall stay. O goddess, be favourable to us and bless us with your support.” On hearing his pleasing words, the leading river Ganga was delighted in her mind and spoke to Anasuya. Ganga said: — “I shall stay back for helping the gods if you pass on to me a year’s merit accruing to you by worshipping lord Shiva. I am not so much satisfied with charitable gifts, or ceremonial ablutions in the holy centres or sacrifices or the practice of Yogic rites as I am satisfied with chastity. If you seek for welfare, you give up that merit for the benefit of the world, then I shall become steady and stable here.”
On hearing these words, the chaste Anasuya passed on a year’s merit to Ganga. On seeing this performance of Anasuya, a chaste woman, Lord Shiva was delighted and appeared out of his earthen phallic form. Shiva said: --
“O chaste lady, on seeing this activity of yours I am delighted. Mention the boon you wish to choose, since I am very fond of you.”
Then the couple glanced at the wonderfully beautiful form of Shiva. On seeing five-faced Shiva they were much surprised. Bowing to and eulogising Shiva, the benefactor of the worlds, the couple endowed with great devotion spoke to him after worshipping him. The couple said: --
“O lord of gods, if you are delighted, if the mother of the universe is also delighted, please stay in this penance-grove and be the bestower of happiness to the worlds.”
Then the river Ganga was delighted. Shiva too was pleased. They stayed at the hermitage of the excellent sage. Lord Shiva, the destroyer of miseries was known as Atrishvara. Ganga too stayed in the pit by her magical power. Thence onwards there is a perennial supply of water in that pit deep only by a hand’s length. Ganga flows gently there.
Chastity is much better than giving charitable gifts, or ceremonial ablutions in the holy centres or sacrifices or the practice of Yogic rites.
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.
In the chapter 34, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Sunartakanata is mentioned.
When goddess Parvati, daughter of Himavat, performed the pious penance in order to attain Shiva, after going to the forest, Shiva was much delighted at her austerity. He approached to test her conduct and out of pleasure to grant her the desired boon. The delighted Shiva revealed his real form to her and told Parvati, “Mention the boon you wish to have.”
On hearing the words of Shiva and on seeing his excellent form, Parvati was delighted. She spoke to him after paying her homage. Parvati said:--
“O lord of gods, if you are delighted, if a boon shall be granted to me, O Shiva, you be my lord and husband. Please take pity on me. With your permission I shall go to my father’s abode. O lord, you shall approach my father. In the form of a mendicant and making your spotless fame known, beg me of my father and make the householder’s life fruitful. O lord Shiva, it behoves to marry me with due rites for the fulfilment of the task of the gods. O lord, you are without aberrations. Please fulfil my desires. You are favourably disposed to the devotees. I am always your devotee.”
Thus requested by her, Shiva who is favourably disposed towards his devotees said “So be it” and vanished from there. He returned to his mountainous abode. After making her beauty fruitful, Parvati returned to her father’s abode jealously in the company of her female friends. On hearing Parvati’s return, Himavat accompanied by his attendants and his wife Mena joyously came to see his daughter. On seeing her delighted, both of them received her suitably and made gifts to Brahmins and others* the auspicious mantras of the Vedas were chanted.
In the meantime Shiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees and indulging in good sports, assumed the form of a dancer and approached Menaka. He held the horn in his left hand and the small drum in his right. He carried a bundle of patched garments on his back. He wore a red cloth. He appeared to be an expert in dance and music. Then the lord in the form of a dancer performed various dances joyously in the yard of Menaka and sang sweetly. With great pleasure he exhibited a variety of splendid sports. The citizens including men, women, children and old women gathered there suddenly to see him.
The people were fascinated and Mena too was highly delighted. Immediately Mena whose mind was in exultation, thanks to his clever feats, went to give him potfuls of gems and jewels. He did not accept those gems. He wished to have Parvati for his alms. Eagerly he began to dance and sing again. On hearing bis words Mena was surprised. She became furious as well. She rebuked the mendicant and wanted to drive him out.
In the meantime the lord of the mountains returned from the Ganges. He saw the mendicant in the form of a man standing before him in the yard. On hearing from Menā all the details he too was infuriated. He ordered his attendants to drive out the mendicant. No one could drive him out. He was blazing and brilliant like a big fire and could not be touched. The mendicant exhibited his infinite power to the mountain. Immediately the mountain saw him assuming the form of Vishnu, then the form of Brahma and in a trice that of the sun. Then he saw him in the excessively wonderful form of Shiva accompanied by Parvati. He was exquisitely handsome and brilliant. He was laughing. Thus he saw him in various forms. He was much surprised and extremely delighted. Perfect knowledge then dawned on Mena and the lord of mountains. They thought: “The lord Shiva has deceived us and returned to his abode.
Our Parvati, who has performed a hard penance, shall be given to him, thinking thus they became extremely devoted to Shiva. Shiva performed the marriage rites duly with Parvati delighting all devotees. Thus, the incarnation of Shiva as Sunartaka naṭa fulfilled the desire of Parvati.
In the chapter 36, Section 3 of Satarudra-Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Ashvattaman is mentioned.
A part of the celestial sage of great intellect Bṛhaspati, the self-possessed and prudent Droṇa was born of Bharadvaja but not of any womb. He was the foremost among the archers, heroes, a brahminical sage, well-versed in all lore, of great fame and brilliance and the most excellent of all the wielders of weapons and missiles. Learned men knew Droṇa as the most excellent, skilful in the lore of archery as well as the Vedas, of variegated activities, and as one who made his race flourish. He was the instructor of the Kauravas. He was the most well known among the six Maharathas among the Kauravas.
The most excellent BrahminDroṇa performed an elaborate penance with Shiva in view for obtaining a son in order to help the Kauravas. The delighted lord Shiva appeared in front of Droṇa. On seeing him, the Brahmin Drona whose heart was highly delighted bowed to him with palms joined in reverence and eulogised him. Satisfied and pleased with his eulogy and penance, lord Shiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees told Droṇa—“Mention the boon you wish to choose”.
On hearing the words of Shiva, Droṇa bowed low and said—“Please give me a son born of your part who will be invincible to every one and who will be very powerful. On hearing the words of Droṇa, Shiva said, “So be it.”
Droṇa returned to his abode highly delighted and free from illusion. He joyously narrated all the details to his wife. Taking the due opportunity, lord Shiva, the annihilator of all and very powerful was born as Droṇa’s son through a part of himself.
He became well known as Aśvatthaman on the earth. He was heroic, had lotus-like eyes and he could reduce the strength of his enemy. Securing the permission and behest of his father that famous hero helped the Kauravas in the Mahabharata war. By resorting to that powerful hero, Bhisma and other Kauravas became invincible even to the gods. Fearing him, the Paṇḍavas, though they were great heroes and very skilful, became incapable of conquering the Kauravas.
At the instance of Krishna, Arjuna, performed the severe penance of Shiva and obtained a divne missile duo to Shiva’s boon. He then conquered the Kauravas, though the great hero Ashvatthaman was born of a part of lord Shiva.
Due to his devotion to the Kauravas, he exhibited his full vigour. He destroyed the sons of Paṇḍavas though they were trained in warfare by Krishna and other great heroes. He had the strength that could not be withstood by the enemy. On seeing Arjuna dejected by the death of his son but rushing on him along with Krishna he fled away from the battle-field. He discharged the divine missile Brahmastiras on Arjuna. Then a fierce splendour enveloping all the quarters manifested itself. Sensing danger to his own life Arjuna was much distressed. Losing all his brilliance and highly frightened he spoke to Krishna becoming utterly exhausted. Arjuna said:--
“O Krishna, what is this? Whence it has arisen I do not know. This unbearable fiery splendour comes from all sides. On hearing the words of Arjuna, Krishna the most excellent among the devotees of Shiva meditated on Shiva and Parvati and then spoke to Arjuna.”
“Know this to be the most powerful Brahma missile of Ashvatthaman. There is no other missile to counteract this. Immediately think of Shiva, your lord, the protector of the devotees who had given you a weapon capable of every action. Counteract the fiery splendour of the Brahma missile with your Saiva missile.”
After saying this Krishna himself meditated on Shiva for that purpose. On hearing the words of Krishna, Arjuna remembered Shiva, touched water, bowed to Shiva and discharged the Saiva missile. Although the Brahmastiras missile never goes futile and cannot be counteracted, it subsided before the splendour of the Saiva missile. Knowing that this happened by the influence of Shiva, Ashvatthaman, born of Shiva’s part and delighted in heart at Shiva’s wish, was not at all sorry.
Then the son of Droṇa wishing the world to be rid of Pandava lineage desired to kill the child in the womb of Uttara. The powerful Ashvatthaman hurled the excessively lustrous Brahma-missile that could not be countermanded by any other missile, aiming it at the womb of Uttara. Then Uttara the daughter-in-law of Arjuna, burning within due to that missile and agitated in the mind eulogised Krishna. Then meditating on Shiva mentally, bowing to and eulogising him, Krishna understood that to be the missile of the son of Droṇa. By means of his missile—the brilliant Sudarshana, bestowed on him by Shiva for his protection, he saved her at the behest of Shiva.
Ashvatthaman then knew that Krishna had assumed his form at the behest of Shiva and did it as he was the foremost among the devotees of Shiva, slowly refrained from the thought of destroying Uttara. Then the leading devotee of Shiva, the delighted Krishna, made all the Paṇḍavas fall at the feet of Ashvatthaman for pleasing him. Then Ashvatthaman, son of Drona, highly delighted in the mind, blessed the Pandavas and Krishna with various boons.
Incarnating thus on the earth in the form of Droṇa’s son, lord Shiva performed various sports. The incarnation of Shiva Ashvatthaman of great strength and exploit is even now alive on the banks of the river Ganga bestowing happiness on the three worlds.
Incarnation of Shiva as Sureshvara – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 32, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Sureshvara is mentioned.
The intelligent son of Vyaghrapada, Upamanyu, the beloved of the good, became the son of a sage in another birth. He achieved great attainments then. Upamanyu, the son of Vyaghrapada, while yet a small child stayed in his uncle’s house along with his mother. Due to adverse fate he was very poor. Once he tasted a little milk in his uncle’s hermitage. Approaching his mother he implored for milk, yearning for it. On hearing the words of her son the pitiable mother went in and thought of a proper means to satisfy the child. She ground some seeds and grains she got by gleaning, into a paste with water. She gave this artificial milk to her son after fondling and coaxing him. After drinking the artificial milk given by his mother the boy said “O, this is not milk” and cried again. On hearing the cry of her son, she wiped off his lotus-like eyes and said in grief.
The mother said:--
“How can we the dwellers of the forest for ever have milk? Without the grace of Shiva we can never have milk. O son, only that can be attained what we had dedicated to Shiva in our previous birth. We need not worry in this matter.”
On hearing the words of his mother, the son of Vyaghrapada excessively fond of his mother, freed of his grief, replied to her,
“O blessed mother, do not grieve. Cast off this sorrow. If Shiva is the benefactor, everything will result in welfare. O mother, listen to me. If there is lord Shiva anywhere, sooner or later I shall achieve the ocean of milk”.
After saying thus with pleasure and repeating “Let there be a welfare”, he bowed to his mother and left her. He began to perform penance. It was on the mountain Himavat that he went to perform his penance with pure mind taking nothing in except air. He installed Shiva’s phallic image of clay after making a pedestal for it with eight bricks. He invoked Shiva along with Parvati into the phallic image with devotion. He repeated the five-syllabled mantra. The boy worshipped Shiva with leaves, flowers and other things.
Due to the penance of the boy Upamanyu, the great soul, the whole world consisting of the mobile and immobile beings blazed as it were. In the meantime, requested by Vishnu aud others, Shiva assumed the form of Indra in order to test his devotion. Parvati took the form of Saci. The Gaṇas became the gods, Nandin became the elephant Airavata. Everything belonging to Shiva became that of Indra. Then Shiva accompanied by Parvati and the Gaṇas, and assuming the form of Indra went to the hermitage of Upamanyu in order to bless him. Shiva in the form of Indra said:--
“O boy of good rites, I am pleased with you and your penance. Mention the boon you wish to have. I shall give you whatever you desire. There is no doubt about this.”
The boy replied with palms joined in reverence, “I choose devotion into Śiva.”
On hearing it Indra said—“You do not know me the lord of the gods, the lord of the three worlds, Indra, bowed to by all the gods. O Brahmin sage, be my devotee. Worship me alone on every occasion. I shall grant you every benefit. Leave off Rudra devoid of attributes. Enough of Rudra devoid of attributes. What purpose of yours can be achieved by his worship? He is out of the caste of the gods. He has become a Pisacha.
On hearing these words, the son of the sage considered them an obstacle to his austerities. Repeating the five-syllabled mantra he told him who had come to create obstacles. Upamanyu said:--
All this has been mentioned by you indulging in insult of Shiva. Incidentally you have mentioned that Shiva, the lord of the gods, is attributeless as well as Pisacha. You do not know Shiva, lord of the chiefs of gods, the father and progenitor of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha and greater than Prakṛti. I choose the boon from that deity, whom the philosophers call eternal, the single, the multitude, separate from the existent and non-existent and the unmanifest. I choose the boon from that deity whom the knowers of reality consider free from causations, disputes and the bestower of the principles of Sankhya and Yoga. There is no greater entity than lord Shiva who is beyond the attributes. He is the cause of all causes. He is the most excellent of Brahma, Vishnu and other gods. I do not wish to take a boon from you or Brahma or Vishnu. Nor do I want any boon from any other god. Let Shiva be the bestower of boons on me. Of what avail is speaking much? I tell you the truth and my decision. I do not request any other god except Shiva.
I infer that I have committed sins in the previous birth since I am forced to hear the insult to Shiva, on hearing which one shall shed his own mortal body at the very same moment. He goes to Shiva’s region thereby. After saying thus, Upamanyu who was prepared to die cast off his desire for milk and got ready to kill Indra. He took some ashes from the receptacle and invoked it with the mantra Aghorastra. Thereafter discharged it against Indra and roared.
Remembering the feet of Shiva, his favourite deity, he got ready to burn himself. He stood there bearing the fiery pose. When the Brahmin was engaged thus, the lord in the form of Indra warded off the fiery pose of the Yogin by gentle means. At the behest of Shiva, Nandin the favourite of Shiva delightedly caught hold of the Aghorastra discharged by him, in the middle. Assuming his own form with the moon for his crest, lord Shiva revealed it to the Brahmin.
Thus Shiva was seen seated on his bull accompained by the goddess. He was surrounded by the leading Ganas and the divine weapons, the trident and others. Then Upamanyu was swept by the waves of the ocean of delight and he prostrated on the ground like a staff, with his mind humble with devotion. In the meantime the smiling lord Shiva called him saying “Come on, Come on” and kissed him on the head. He granted him boons.
“Dear Upamanyu, I am pleased with your excellent behaviour. O Brahmin sage, you are very firm in your devotion. I just desired to know you thoroughly. Enjoy the pleasure of eating sumptuously forever along with your kinsmen. Be ever happy and free from misery. Be devoted to me. O fortunate Upamanyu, you have been made eternally my son today. Parvati, here, is your mother.
Then considering his great penance, the delighted Shiva gave ten boons to the sage Upamanyu. He bestowed on him the knowledge of Shiva and his rites. He instructed him in the vows of Shiva. He gave him fluency of speech and efficiency. He bestowed his own region on him. After granting him the boons, lord Śiva took him with both the hands, sniffed at his head and showed him to the goddess saying: “This is your son.” Listening with pleasure and placing her hands on his head she granted him the everlasting status of a son. She gave him undecaying, compressed ocean of milk, the prosperity and power of yoga, the undying knowledge of Brahman and the great assets. After receiving from Shiva and Parvati the excellent boons, and the eternal status of their son, he rejoiced much.
“O lord of gods, be pleased. O supreme lord, be pleased. Grant me the greatest devotion unto you, divine and unswerving. O great god, give roe great faith in persons devoted to you, the state of being your servant, your great affection and your constant presence.”
“O dear Upamanyu, O sinless one, you are blessed. You are especially my devotee. Whatever has been chosen by you has been given to you. Be unaging and undying and free from misery. Be respectable to all, free from aberrations and the foremost among devotees. O excellent Brahmin, yon will have undwindling kinsmen, family and race. Your devotion to me will be permanent.”
After saying this and granting him all excellent boons, the lord vanished from there, accompanied by Parvati and the Gaṇas.
Incarnation of Shiva as Jatila – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 33, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Jatila (Student-ascetic) is mentioned.
After abandoning her body when she was insulted by her own father in the sacrificial hall, Sati, the daughter of Daksa, was born of Mena and the mountain Himavat. Desiring to attain Shiva as her husband, she went to the dense forest and performed a pure penance. She was attended upon by two of her friends. In order to test her penance, Shiva an expert in various kinds of sports sent the seven sages to the penance grove of Pārvati. The sages went there and thoroughly tested her. As she was strenuous in her effort they could not dissuade her from her penance. They returned and bowed to Shiva. After mentioning all the details to him and obtaining his permission they returned to heaven eagerly.
When they had gone to their abodes, lord Shiva, the cause of excellent sports, desired to test Shiva’s activity himself. Then the lord assumed the pleasant, self-controlled and wonderful form of a student-ascetic. He looked very old and had assumed the body of a Brahmin. He was shining with brilliance. He had a staff and an umbrella. He was mentally delighted. Assuming this form of a Jaṭila (one with matted hair), the delighted Shiva, favourably disposed to his devotees went to the penance-grove of Parvati. There he saw the goddess Parvati, seated on the dais surrounded by her friends. She appeared like the pure digit of the moon.
On seeing the goddess, Shiva who had assumed the form of a student-ascetic approached her eagerly and lovingly. On seeing the Brahmin visitor of wonderful splendour, quiet with hairy limbs, bearing the staff and hide of deer, the aged bachelor with matted hair and the water-pot, she welcomed and worshipped him with all the articles of worship.
The goddess Parvati enquired after the health of that aged bachelor respectfully after worshipping him with great joy. “O most excellent one among the knowers of the Vedas, who are you, please, in the guise of a student-ascetic and whence have you come illuminating this forest?
On being asked thus by Parvati, that Brahmin replied immediately with great pleasure in order to test the feelings of Parvati. The student-ascetic said:
“I am a Brahmin bachelor going about here and there as I please. I am a saint pleasing and helping others undoubtedly.”
After saying this, the bachelor Shiva stood near her concealing his real form. The student-ascetic said:
“What shall I say, O great lady? There is nothing to be mentioned. A great calamity seems to have happened, extremely confusing. In your fresh youth, the means of good enjoyment and the cause of happiness through all requisite articles of pleasure, you are performing this penance in vain. Who are you? Whose daughter are you? Why are you performing a penance in this desolate forest? Your penance is such as cannot be outdone even by sages of elevated souls.”
On hearing his words, Parvati laughed and spoke to the excellent student ascetic with reverence. Parvati said:--
“O Brahmin bachelor, listen to the details of my wife. I am born in Bharata in the house of Himavat. Formerly my birth was in the house of Dakṣa. I was then Sati, the wife of Shiva. On account of my father’s insulting my husband I cast off my body by means of Yoga. O Brahmin, in this birth too, Shiva came my way due to merit but he reduced Kama to ashes, abandoned me and went away. When Shiva went away I was overwhelmed with grief. A bit ashamed, I came away from my house to this place for performing penance after being initiated by the statement of my preceptor. Mentally, verbally and through activities too, Shiva has been chosen by me as my husband. I am telling you the truth and not falsehood. I know that this is an extremely inaccessible object. How can I achieve it? Still, thanks to the great zeal, this penance is being pursued by me now. Leaving off Indra and other gods, Vishnu and Brahma I wish to obtain Shiva as my husband really.”
On hearing these firm words of Parvati that Jaṭila Rudra laughingly spoke again. Jaṭila said:--
“O gentle lady, O daughter of Himavat, what is this idea that has struck you? You are performing this great penance for obtaining Shiva after leaving off all the gods. I know that Shiva. Listen. I shall tell you that bull-bannered Shiva wears matted hair and is ill-mannered. He is an isolationist for ever. Particularly he is a detached fellow. Hence it does not behove you to get mentally entangled with him. O gentle lady, your features etc. and those of Shiva are ill-matched. I do not like this. But do as you please.”
After saying this, Shiva in the guise of a student-ascetic rebuked himself in her presence in order to test her. On hearing his intolerable words, Parvati replied extremely infuriated at him who was engrossed in insulting Shiva. Till now I thought that you would be some one fit to be killed. But now it is quite clear that you are not to be killed. You are some foolish knave in the guise of a student-ascetic. O fool, Shiva has been insulted by you. Hence, I am infuriated. You do not know Shiva. You are averse to Shiva. Since I had already welcomed and honoured you I am now distressed. The accumulated merits of the person who insults Shiva without knowing reality are reduced to ashes. One should perform expiation after touching a Shiva-hater. Shiva alone is the great lord. Assuming many guises through his Maya, Rudra may appear in any form. But the beloved of the good, having no aberrations, lavishly bestows all desired things on me.
After saying this, Parvati expatiated on Shiva’s principle, where Shiva was explained as attributeless and unchanging performing the penance of Brahman. On hearing her words, the Brahmin began to say something; but by that time, Parvati whose mind was attached to Shiva and who was averse to Shiva being insulted, immediately spoke to her friend Vijaya.
“Friend, this base Brahmin must be prevented. He is going to speak again. He is sure to insult Shiva. It is not only the censurer of Shiva who becomes sinful but also him who listens to such insults. A rebuker of Shiva shall be slain by all means by Shiva’s attendants. If he happens to be a Brahmin he shall be abandoned. He shall go away from that place immediately. Let us leave this place and go elsewhere. Do not delay, lest there should be any further talk with this ignorant man.”
After saying this Parvati was just to walk away when Shiva revealed himself and caught hold of her cloth. After assuming that divine form which Parvati was meditating upon, Shiva spoke to her as she stood face downwards. Shiva said:--
“O Parvati, where are you going, leaving me? You cannot be forsaken by me. You have been tested by me O faultless one, you are really steady in your devotion to me. Desirous of knowing your feelings I have approached you in the guise of a student-asectic and spoke these diverse words. O Parvati, I am delighted at your steady devotion. Mention the boon that you have cherished in your mind. There is nothing that cannot be given to you. I have been made your slave from now onwards by means of your penance. Due to your beauty, even a moment seems to expand into Yoga. Leave off your bashfulness. You are my eternal wife. O beloved, come on, I shall go to my hilly abode along with you.”
When the lord of gods said thus, Parvati rejoiced much. Whatever misery she experienced in performing the penance, she cast off immediately. On seeing that divine form of Shiva, Parvati replied to the lord with face lowered due to bashfulness. Parvati said:--
“O lord of gods, if you are delighted, if you have pity on me, be my lord and husband.”
Thus requested by Parvati Shiva took her hand duly and went to Kailasa along with her. On getting him as her lord, she carried out the task of the gods. Thus, the incarnation of Shiva in the form of a student-ascetic was to test the feelings of Parvati.
In the chapter 31, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Bhikuuvarya is mentioned.
There was a king in the land of Vidarbha, named Satyaratha. He was virtuous, regularly observing truthfulness and a favourite of great devotees of Shiva. The king ruled over the kingdom virtuously observing piety to Shiva. Once, a great fight ensued between that king and the Salvas who laid siege to his city with many armies puffed up with their strength. The king of Vidarbha had a terrible fight with them. But his armies were destroyed and he was killed by Salvas due to adverse fate.
When the king was killed in the battle by the Salvas, the terrified soldiers who survived death fled along with the ministers. His crowned queen who was pregnant and who had been imprisoned by the enemies escaped from the city, during the night. Coming out of the city the grief-stricken crowned queen slowly went very far in the eastern direction with her heart set on the lotus-like feet of Shiva. Early in the morning next day after she had traversed a long way, the queen saw a pure lake, thanks to the mercy of Shiva. After reaching the banks of the lake the distressed beloved of the king, of tender body, resorted to a shady tree for rest and stay. Fortunately in an auspicious and meritorious hour the queen gave birth to a son endowed with all divine characteristics. The thirsty mother, the wife of the king, entered the lake for drinking water but as willed by fate she was devoured by a crocodile in the water.
The son bereft of father and mother, distressed by hunger and thirst at the time of birth, cried out. When the new born baby was weeping and wailing in the forest, Shiva, the immanent soul and protector, was moved to pity.
A wandering beggar woman came there accidentally, urged mentally by Shiva, the dispeller of fear. She was a widow and was herself carrying her one year old son. She saw an orphaned child weeping there. On seeing an infant boy in the desolate forest that Brahmin woman was surprised and pondered over the situation in diverse ways.
“An extremely wonderful thing has been seen by me now. It cannot be conceived by the mind or explained in words. This infant whose umbilical cord has not been cut lies on the bare ground. He has no mother. He is weeping but he is very brilliant. He has no parents or persons to help him. What might have caused this? Alas, how strong is power of fate. I do not know his parentage. There is none who knows him. Whom can I enquire about the details of his birth? But I feel drawn towards him. Without knowing his birth and parentage I shall not touch him, although I wish to nourish him and bring him up as a child born of me.”
While the excellent Brahmin lady was musing thus, Shiva favourably disposed to his devotees, took pity. Lord Śhiva, bestower of happiness on devotees in every respect, unconditionally for ever, by himself assumed the form of a mendicant. The mendicant who was lord Shiva himself suddenly came to the place where the doubting Brahmin lady, desirous of knowing the details, was standing. The lord whose ways are unscrutable, who is the storehouse of mercy and who assumed the form of the leading mendicant laughed and told the Brahmin lady. The mendicant said:--
“O Brahmin lady, do not entertain any doubt in your mind. Do not be sorry. Protect this pure boy, your adopted son, lovingly. Ere long you will attain a great glory through this infant. Nourish this extremely brilliant infant by all means.”
That Brahmin lady respectfully and lovingly asked Shiva, the storehouse of mercy, in the form of a mendicant who spoke thus. The Brahmin lady said:--
“At your behest I shall nourish and bring up this boy as though he is my own son. There shall be no; doubt in this. You have come here by my good fortune. Still I wish to know the particular details and facts about him. Whose son is he? Who are you that have come here? O lord, O excellent mendicant, again and again the thought occurs to me that you are Shiva, the ocean of mercy and this infant had been your devotee formerly. Through some defect in his past actions he has attained this plight. After experiencing it he will surely attain glory, thanks to your bliss. It is by your Maya that I have been deluded. I had lost my way. In order to protect him I have been urged by you to come over here.”
Shiva in the guise of a mendicant spoke to the Brahmin lady who had attained perfect knowledge by seeing him and who evinced the desire to know the details. The mendicant said:--
“O brahmin lady, listen with pleasure to the antecedents of this boy. O sinless one, I shall mention all the details to you. This boy is the son of Satyaratha, king of Vidarbha a great devotee of Shva and devoted to his duty. Listen, the king Satyaratha was killed by his enemies in the battle. His excited and distressed wife set out from the palace at night. She came here in the morning and gave birth to this boy. Due to thirst she got into the lake and as fate would have it, was seized by the crocodile.”
Thus he narrated to her all the details, the manner of his birth, the death of his father in the battle and that of his mother due to the crocodile. Then the Brahmin lady who was surprised asked the mendicant of perfect knowledge in the form of a Siddha, again. The Brahmin lady said: -
“O mendicant how was his father, the king, killed in the midst of his enjoyment of excellent pleasures, by his enemies the Salvas in a few days? How was the mother of this infant devoured by the crocodile so suddenly? How did he happen to be orphaned and helpless ever since his birth? How are it that my son too is very poor and a beggar? O mendicant, how will these two sons attain happiness? Please tell me.”
On hearing these words of the Brahmin wife, the delighted mendicant, lord Shiva himself, said laughingly. The mendicant said:--
“O brahmin lady, I shall answer all questions in detail. Listen with attention to this excellent narrative. The father of this boy, the king of Vidarbha, was the excellent king Paṇḍya in his previous birth. That king was a devotee of Shiva. He ruled over the entire earth virtuously. Quelling all disturbances he made all the subjects happy and contented. Observing fast and other rites in the day and night on a Trayodashi (thirteenth) day, once, he worshipped Shiva at dusk. As he was worshipping Shiva at dusk in the course of his holy rites there arose a great noise, in the city, hideous in every respect. On hearing that noise, the king left the worship of Shiva unfinished and went out of his palace suspecting the arrival of enemies. In the meantime, his powerful minister came near the king catching hold of the enemy king. On seeing the enemy king, he was extremely agitated by anger. Disregardful of the right course he caused him to be beheaded. Without concluding the worship of Shiva, the defiled king, confused in mind and bereft of auspiciousness, took his food at night with pleasure.
He was born as the king of Vidarbha. He observed holy rites of Shiva during this birth also since there was a hindrance to his worship of Shiva (during the previous birth) he was now killed in the midst of his enjoyment. His son in the previous birth was born as his son in this birth too but he was bereft of riches due to the break in the worship of Shiva. The mother of this boy had killed her co-wife in the previous birth. Hence due to that sin, she was devoured by the crocodile in this birth. Thus their activities have been narrated to you. People having no devotion to Shiva and not worshipping him attain poverty.
This son of yours was an excellent Brahmin in his previous birth. He spent his life in accepting gifts but he did not perform holy rites, like sacrifice etc. O Brahmin lady, hence your son has incurred poverty. Seek refuge in Shiva in order to ward off that sin. Let the worship of Shiva be performed by these two sons. Only after the investiture with the sacred thread will Shiva bestow glory.”
After instructing her thus, Shiva in the form of a mendicant, favourably disposed towards his devotees revealed his real self to her. On coming to know that he was lord Shiva the Brahmin lady bowed to and eulogised him with choking words full of devotion.
Even as the Brahmin lady stood watching, Shiva who had taken the form of a mendicant vanished there itself. When the mendicant disappeared, the care-free Brahmin woman took that boy and her son home. Their sacred rites and the investiture with the sacred thread were performed by the Brahmins. They grew up thus devoted to the worship of Shiva in their own house.
Once when the prince went to the river for his bath without the Brahmin boy, he found an excellent pot of treasure. Thus four months elapsed as the two boys continued their worship of Shiva. As they continued the worship of Shiva again with great joy, a year elapsed in the very same house. After a year had elapsed, the prince once went to a forest along with the Brahmin boy. There a Gandharva came by chance and gave his daughter in marriage to the prince. The prince ruled over the kingdom without any check or hindrance. He considered the Brahmin lady who brought him up as his mother and the Brahmin boy as his brother. In name of Dharmagupta he continued to propitiate the lord of gods and enjoyed pleasures along with the princess in the kingdom of Vidarbha. Thus the incarnation of Shiva as the Bhiksuvarya bestowing happiness on the prince Dharmagupta has been narrated.
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.