In the chapter 27, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Dvijeshvara is mentioned.
Bhadrayu, a devotee of Shiva, attained the throne by conquering the enemies. The chaste lady Kirtimalini, daughter of Candrangada and Simantini, became his wife.
Once after the advent of spring, the king Bhadrayu entered a thick forest along with his beloved queen, for sport. In that beautiful forest, the king sported about along with his beloved who protected those who sought refuge in her.
Then, in order to test his steadfastness and piety, lord Shiva carried out his sports there itself along with Parvati. Shiva and Parvati assumed the form of a Brahmin couple and created an illusory tiger with their Maya. Not far from the place where the king stood, they began running in great fright on being pursued by the tiger. They cried and shouted too.
The king Bhadrayu saw both of them highly distressed and lamenting. The illusory Brahmin couple, extremely terrified, spoke to the king Bhadrayu. The Brahmin couple said: — “O great king, O foremost of the knowers of virtue save us both. O great lord, this tiger is rushing on in order to devour us. This beast of prey is like the god of death.”
After hearing the lamentation of the pair, the great king of great heroism immediately took up his bow, but the rushing tiger of Mayic origin, seized the Brahmin’s wife. The terrible tiger grasped the woman even as she was lamenting.” The king struck the tiger with sharp arrows; but it was not at all affected by them. It stood like a lofty mountain, which is not affected by showers. The powerful tiger, not at all pained by the missiles of the king, seized the woman forcibly and ran away in a hurry.
On seeing his wife seized by the tiger, the Brahmin was much bewildered and following the way of the world cried again and again. After crying for some time that Brahmin who was Lord Himself wielding his Māya, spoke to the king Bhadrayu dispelling his arrogance.
Dvijeshvara said: --
“O king, where are your great weapons? Where is your great bow that professes to protect? Where is your strength of ten or twelve thousand great elephants? Of what avail is your sword? Your conch? Of what avail is your learning in the lores of mantras and missiles? Of what avail is your might? Of what avail is the strength of your great missiles? All these have become futile, for you are incompetent to meet the onslaught of wild animals. The greatest duty of a Kṣatriya is the protection from injury. When that virtue hereditarily practised in your family is lost, of what avail is your life? Kings protect the distressed people who seek refìige in them with their very lives and assets. They are the knowers of virtue. Without that they are like a dead body. Better death than life that does not protect the distressed. A mendicant is better than a rich householder who does not possess charitable nature. Better to swallow poison or enter fire than cease to protect the oppressed, the helpless and the poor.”
On hearing his lamentation and the decrial of his prowess, the king thought within himself thus --
“Alas, my manliness is lost today due to the adverse fate. Today my fame has been quashed. Great sin has been acquired. The hereditary virtue has been smothered. I am unfortunate and confused in mind. Certainly my riches, my kingdom, my longevity will dwindle. By surrendering my own life, lovable though it is, I shall make this brahmin free from grief, this brahmin whose wife has been seized by the tiger and who is pained extremely.”
Having decided thus in his mind that excellent king Bhadrayu fell at his feet and spoke to him in conciliatory tone.
“O Brahmin, I am a base Kṣatriya bereft of strength. You take pity on me. O intelligent one, donot grieve. I shall give you what you desire. This kingdom, this queen, this body of mine, everything is subservient to you. What is the greatest thing that you desire?”
The Brahmin said:--
“What can a blind man do with a mirror? Of what avail is a house to him who lives on alms? What can a fool do with a book? Of what avail is wealth to him who is bereft of his wife? Hence I who am not satiated with the enjoyment of pleasures but I whose wife is snatched away desire your crowned queen. Let her be given to me.”
“I can give all my assets to the extent of the earth, my kingdom, horses and elephant’s aiíd even my body to anyone but never can I give away my wife.”
The Brahmin said:--
“Let it be the terrible sin of the slaughter of a Brahmin; let it be the sin of sipping wine, I shall quell it with my power of penance. What then the sin of enjoying another man’s wife? Hence give me your wife. I have no other desire. Certainly you will go to hell by your inability to protect the oppressed.”
At the words or the Brahmin, the frightened king thought to himself, “It is proper under the circumstance to give away my wife.”
Hence I shall give my wife to this deserving Brahmin and escape sin. Immediately thereafter I shall enter fire. My fame then shall be known.”
After deciding mentally like this, he kindled a blazing fire. He called the Brahmin and gifted away his wife with water. He took the ceremonial bath and became pure. He bowed to gods went round the fire thrice and meditated on Shiva with pure mind. He was just to fall into the fire with his mind fixed at the feet of Shiva, the lord of the universe when Dvijeshvara revealed himself and stayed him.
The king saw in front of him the five-faced, the three-eyed lord with the Pinaka in his hand, bedecked by the digit of the moon, with hanging matted hair shedding tawny lustre, having the brilliance of a crore of midday blazing suns, white as the lotus stalk fibre, wearing the hide of the elephant, with his head drenched by the waves of Ganga, having the necklaces of great serpents, bedecked in coronet, waistband, shoulderlet and shining bangles, holding in his hands, the trident, the sword, the missile Khaṭvanga, the dagger, the shield, the deer, the mystic sign of protection, the eight articles of worship and the Pinaka, seated on his bull and blue-necked.
Then from the sky divine showers of flowers fell. The divine instruments were played. The celestial damsels sang and danced. Vishnu, Brahma, Indra and other gods excluding Narada and other sages too came there eulogising. While the king was watching with palms joined in humility and devotion, there was great jubilation that enhanced devotional feelings.
The lord then spoke to him thus. “O king, I am satisfied with your devotion more than your piety. Mention the boon that you as well as your wife wish to choose. I shall undoubtedly give it to you. It was to test your feeling and emotions that I assumed the form of a Brahmin and approached you. She who was seized by the tiger is the goddess Parvati herself. It was an illusory tiger which could not be hit by your arrows. I wanted to test your courage by demanding your wife.”
On hearing the words of the lord, the king Bhadrayu eulogised and bowed to the lord with bent head.
“O lord, this alone is a great boon that you became visible to me searched by the sun of worldly existence. Since out of pity you wish to accord me a boon, I choose it as a great devotee does from his lord, the granter of boons. I a servant at your feet, along with my wife, the Vaisya Padmakara and his son Sanaya,”
The queen said:--
“O supreme God, Candrangada my father and Simantini my mother, I request the two to be joyously staying near you for ever.”
The delighted lord of Gauri, favourably disposed to his devotees said—“Let it be so” and granted them the boon they desired and then vanished in a moment.
In the chapter 29, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Krsnadashana is mentioned.
Ikshvaku and others were the sons of Manu Sraddhadeva of whom Nabhaga, was the ninth. Ambarisa was grandson of Nabhaga who was a devotee of Vishnu with whom the sage Durvasas was much pleased due to his devotion for Brahmins.
Nabhaga the son of Manu, highly intelligent, and with perfect control of his sense-organs stayed in the abode of his preceptors for studies for a long time. During this interval Ikṣhvaku and other sons had their due shares in the property without leaving any share for Nabhaga. At the behest of their father, the shrewd sons took their shares and enjoyed the kingdom with out any misery. They were fortunate.
After learning the Vedas with their sections and sub-sections, in due course, the Brahmacharin Nabhaga returned. On seeing his brothers Ikshvaku and others having taken their shares, Nabhaga desirous of his share told them affectionately.
“O my brothers you have taken your shares duly without leaving anything for me. I have now come for my share. Please give me mine.”
Then we had forgotten to allow your share. We shall certainly do it now. Our father is your share. Take him. On bearing the words of his brothers Nabhaga was surprised. He approached his father and said.
“O father, my brothers have taken their shares leaving me out. I had been to the preceptor’s abode for study as a student. When I returned I asked them to allot my share; they replied that you are my share. I have now come for that purpose.”
On hearing his words, his father Sraddhadeva was surprised. He consoled his son who was devoted
to truth and virtue.
O dear, do not pay heed to what they said. It was only to deceive you. I am not a share by any means, an instrument of enjoyment. Still since I have been given as a share by the deceitful persons I shall tell you the means of livelihood. Hear attentively. Brahmins are performing a sacrifice. Every sixth day the rites are marred.
O wise Nabhaga, you go there and praise them. Recite two Vaishvadeva sukatas there. That sacrifice will then become perfect. As soon as the sacrifice is concluded those Brahmins going heavenwards will give you delightedly the wealth left over in the sacrifice.
On hearing the words of his father, Nabhaga who considered truth as virtue went eagerly where the excellent sacrifice was on. In that sacrifice during the diurnal rites the intelligent son of Manu recited two Vaishvadeva suktas clearly. When the sacrifice was concluded the Angirasa Brahmins gave him the wealth left after the sacrifice.
Realising that he was taking the wealth left after the sacrifice, Shiva of divine sports manifested himself all of a sudden. He was beautiful in every limb, a glorious Puruṣa Kṛṣṇadarshana. It was to survey his emotional reaction and to bestow on him the perfect knowledge as his share that the lord manifested himself.
Lord Shiva desirous of testing Nabhaga the son of Manu approached from north and said: - “O man, who are you that take away my assets and wealth? Who has sent you here? Tell me the whole truth.”
On heaving his words, Nabhaga, son of Manu humbly replied to the Purusha Krsnadarshana. Nabhaga said:--
“This wealth of the sacrifice has been given to me by the sages. Why do you, O Krsnadarshana prevent me from taking it.”
On hearing these truthful words uttered by Nabhaga, the delighted purusha Krsnadarshana spoke:
“In our dispute the ultimate authority is your father. Go to him and ask him. What he says will be true and final.”
On hearing his words, the wise Nabhaga son of Manu, approached his father anxiously, and asked him about what he said.
On hearing what his son said, Manu Sraddhadeva remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and after recollecting spoke to him. Manu said:--
“Listen to my words: that Puruṣa is lord Shiva. Every object is his and particularly what is obtained from the sacrifice. That what is left over after the sacrifice is Shiva’s share. This argument is current among some intelligent people due to his will. Undoubtedly lord Shiva deserves everything. What then of the wealth left over in a sacrifice? More depends on the lord’s wish. O Nabhaga, the lord has come in that form in order to bless you. Go there. Propitiate him properly. Request him to forgive your fault. Bow to him well and eulogise him. That Shiva alone is the lord of all, the lord of sacrifice, the lord of everything. Vishnu, Brahma and other gods, Siddhas and the sages, O dear, are competent in their respective duties only due to his blessings. O foremost of my sons, go there quickly. Do not delay. Propitiate the great god, the lord of all by every means.”
After saying this, Manu Sraddhadeva, sent his son immediately to Shiva. After approaching him and bowing to him with palms joined in reverence and head bent down, the delighted Nabhaga of great intellect spoke to him humbly. Nabhaga said:--
“My father says that whatever there is in the three worlds is yours to be sure. What then about the wealth left over in a sacrifice? O lord, what I said before was done in error and ignorance. Please forgive the same. I propitiate you with my head bent down.”
After saying this, Nabhaga of dejected mind, eulogised lord Shiva Krsnadarshana with palms joined in reverence and with his head bent down. The pure-souled Sraddhadeva too with head bent and palms joined eulogised the lord and requested him to forgive his fault. In the meantime, Vishnu, Brahma, Indra and the gods, Siddhas and the sages came there. They were jubilant. They joined their palms in reverence. With great devotion they severally bowed down and eulogised.
Then the delighted Rudra, Krsnadarshana glanced at them with sympathetic eyes and smilingly spoke to Nabhaga. Krsnadarshana said:--
“What your father said is virtuous and true. You too spoke the truth. Hence you are good. There is no doubt in this. Hence I am delighted with your holy rites. Sympathetically I am conferring on you the eternal Brahman, the perfect knowledge. Be great and wise, O Nabhaga, along with the Brahmins immediately. Take all this wealth granted by me out of compassion. O intelligent one, enjoy all pleasures without any aberration. By my grace you will attain the good goal along with the Brahmin sacrifices.”
After saying this, lord Shiva vanished them itself even as all were watching. Vishnu, Brahma, the gods and all others went to their respective abodes after joyously bowing to that direction. Sraddhadeva too, accompanied by his son, went joyously to his abode. After enjoying extensive pleasures he went to Shiva’s city in the end.
In the chapter 28, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Yatinatha Hamsa (Swan) is mentioned.
On the mountain Arbuda (mount Abu) there lived a hunter Ahuka of Bhilla tribe. His wife observed some good rites. Both of them were great devotees of Shiva and worshipped Shiva. Once, this Bhilla went far into the forest for fetching food for his wife.
In the meantime towards the evening, Shiva assumed the guise of an ascetic and came to his house to test him. Ahuka came back then and lovingly worshipped the leading ascetic. In order to test his feelings, Shiva in the guise of an ascetic, indulging in great sports lovingly said to him in a piteous tone.
“O Bhilla, give me some place here to stay today. I shall by all means leave in the next morning; you will be blessed for ever.”
“O lord, what you say is true. But please listen to me. The room is not spacious enough to hold us all together.”
The ascetic wanted to leave. By that time, considering the trend of thought of her husband the Bhilla’s wife said: “O lord, give him room to stay. Do not turn out a guest. Consider the duty of a householder or virtue will be affected. You stay in the house along with the ascetic. I shall remain outside with immense weapons.”
On hearing the virtuous and auspicious words of his wife, the Bhilla thought thus. “How can I stay in the house after keeping my wife out? It will be sinful on my part if the ascetic goes elsewhere. Neither of the two courses is proper for a householder. What is destined to happen will surely happen. I shall stay outside.”
After thinking thus and insisting on it, he kept both of them within the house joyously, he stayed outside the house keeping all the weapons beside him. During the night the cruel beasts of prey tormented him. He too strenuously withstood them to the extent of his ability.
Thus fighting strenuously and although very strong, the Bhilla was devoured by the beasts of prey which seized him forcibly, as though indeed by his own adverse fate.
Getting up in the morning the ascetic saw the Bhilla of the forest devoured by the beasts of prey. He felt much dejected at it. Although the Bhilla’s wife too was distressed, she suppressed her sorrow on seeing the ascetic miserable and spoke thus.
She said: — “O ascetic, why are you sorry? What has happened is for good. Blessed and contented is he since the death has happened in this manner. O ascetic, reducing myself to ashes, I too shall follow him. Be pleased to arrange for the pyre. This is the eternal duty of women. On hearing her words which he thought to be proper, the ascetic arranged the pyre. She entered the pyre dutifully. In the meantime Shiva himself appeared before her and spoke praising her lovingly “O blessed lady, O blessed lady.”
Shiva said: — “O sinless lady, mention the boon you wish to have. I am pleased with your conduct. There is nothing which cannot be granted to you. I am utterly subservient to you.”
On hearing the words of Shiva yielding the greatest bliss she felt the highest pleasure. She did not remember anything. On seeing her in that state, Shiva was much delighted. He asked her again to mention the boon she wished to have.
Shiva said: — “This ascetic who is in my own form will assume the form of a swan in the next birth. He will lovingly unite both of you. This Bhilla will be born as Nala, the son of Virasena, in the excellent city of Niṣadha. There is no doubt in this. You will be born in the illustrious city of Vidarbha as the daughter of king Bhima. You will be famous as Damayanti endowed with all good qualities. After coming together you will enjoy royal pleasures. You will attain salvation too, inaccessible even to leading Yogins.”
After saying this, Shiva assumed the form of phallic image. He became stationary. He is thereafter remembered as Acalesha.
The Bhilla Ahuka was born as the son of Virasena in the city of Niṣadha. He was the great king Nala. Wife of Ahuka was born as the daughter of king Bhima in the city of Vidarbha. She became famous as Damayanti.
Shiva in the form of Yatinatha was born as a swan. He managed the marriage of Damayanti with Nala. It was due to the merit accruing from hospitality that lord Shiva gave them pleasure after assuming the form of a swan. The incarnation of Shiva as the swan adept in the art of intelligence, was the bestower of great bliss to Damayanti as well as to Nala.
In the chapter 26, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Vaishyanatha is mentioned.
Formerly, in Nandigrama there was a prostitute known as Mahananda. She was very beautiful and a devotee of Shiva. She was very prosperous, rich and brilliant. She was bedecked in gems of different kinds. She was voluptuous in love. She was an adept in all lore of music. Queens and kings were delighted by her songs. She always worshipped Shiva and Parvati with great joy. She was interested in recounting the names of Shiva. She used to wear ashes and Rudrakṣa.
After worshipping Shiva, she used to dance with great devotion and sing the great glory of Shiva. She kept a monkey and a cock which she decorated with Rudrakṣas. She made them dance singing herself and clapping her hands. On seeing them dance, she, engrossed in devotion to Shiva, used to laugh lovingly along with her friends and attendants. The monkey, as a result of her instruction, danced before her, like a boy bedecked in Rudrakṣas as ear-rings, and shoulder-lets. The cock too was bedecked in Rudrakṣa tied round its tuft. It too danced along with the monkey delighting the onlookers. Thus, that prostitute indulging in these delightful pranks and pursuing devotional service to Shiva was very happy always.
Once Shiva assumed the form of a merchant and visited her house to test her. He had assumed the auspicious form of a devotee. His forehead was marked with Tripuṇḍra. He wore Rudrakṣa as ornaments. He was interested in recounting the names of Shiva. He was clad as a devotee of Shiva. He wore matted locks of hair. He had smeared ashes all over his body. Round his wrist was tied an excellent bangle set with gems.
The beautiful prostitute worshipped and welcomed the visitor with great joy. She made him sit with great respect. On seeing the excellent bangle round his wrist, she coveted the same.
She wished for the bangle set with nine gems. Vaishyanatha said: — “If your mind wishes for this excellent gem set ornament you can have it with pleasure. But what is the price you are willing to pay?”
The prostitute said: —"We are prostitutes flirting here and there and not chaste ladies. Undoubtedly the regular practice observed in our family is harlotry. If I take the bangle from you, I shall be your wife for three full days and nights.”
The merchant said: — “if your words are true, let it be as you say. I shall give you the gemset bangle. Be my wife for three days and nights. In this deal the witnesses are the moon and the sun. Repeat three times “True” and touch my heart.”
The prostitute said: —"I shall be your wife for three days and carry out all wifely duties. This is true. This is undoubtedly true.”
After repeating this for three times, with the moon and the sun as witnesses, Mahananda touched his heart with pleasure. After giving her the gem set bangle that merchant handed to her a gem set phallic image and spoke: - “this gem set phallic image is very dear to me. It shall be well-preserved strenuously and in secret by you.”
She said “Let it be so” and took the gem set phallic image. She kept it in the middle of the dancing platform and entered the house.
At midnight, suddenly there arose a fire in the middle of the dancing platform. The blazing fire helped by a forceful wind enveloped the dancing platform all of a sudden. When the platform was burning the prostitute got up suddenly in her bewilderment and let the monkey free untying it. Freed from the bondage the monkey in its fear ran here and there along with the cock and scattered sparks of fire. On seeing the phallic image burnt along with the pillar and smashed utterly, the prostitute and the merchant felt endless distress. On seeing the phallic image as it were his very soul burnt, the lordly merchant desired to end his life in order to know her mentality.
In great despair and sorrow the merchant told her in grief. Lord Shiva who had assumed a human body just for pleasure indulged in different sports. “O my beloved, when the phallic image is smashed and burnt, I do not desire to live. O gentle lady, prepare a pyre for me immediately through your servants. With my mind fixed in Shiva, I shall enter the fire.
On realising his tenacious decision, she was much distressed. Outside her house she caused the pyre to be made through her servants. Then the merchant who was only Shiva himself went round the blazing fire. Desirous of knowing her intentions he entered the fire firmly. on seeing him enter the pyre, the youthful maiden sympathised with him.
Mahananda said: —"Taking the gem set bangle I had taken the pledge that I shall be the avowed wife of this merchant for three days. This merchant, the avowed Shaivite, died of my activities. Hence, I shall enter fire along with him.”
Truthfully preceptors have ordained that a wife shall observe her duty. If I do likewise my truthfulness will not be marred. Abiding by truth is a great virtue. Great goal can be attained through truth. Heaven and liberation can be achieved through truth. Everything is founded on truth.
Although prevented by her kinsmen, she was obstinate in her resolve. The woman eager in the attainment of Satyaloka decided on giving up her life. She gifted away her property to leading brahmins. She meditated on Sadashiva. She circumambulated the fire thrice and stood ready to enter it. As she was going to jump in the fire with her mind fixed in his feet, Shiva, the soul of the universe, appeared in front and stopped her. On seeing the three-eyed lord of the gods, decorated by the moon’s digit, and as brilliant as crores of moons, suns and fires she stood as If stunned and frightened. The lord caught hold of the hands of the frightened and agitated lady, stunned, trembling and shedding (ears. He consoled her and spoke.
Shiva said: —"It is to test your truthfulness, piety, courage and steady devotion to me that I came near you assuming the form of a merchant. With my magic I produced the blazing fire and burnt your dancing platform. After burning the gem set phallic image, I entered fire myself. But you remembered the promise and entered the fire along with me. Hence, I shall give you such pleasures as are inaccessible to gods. Whatever you wish I shall give you. I am delighted by your devotion.”
This prostitute said: —"I have no desire for enjoyment on the earth, in the heaven or in the nether worlds. I do not desire anything except the touch of your lotus-like feet. My servants, my maids and my kinsmen are interested in seeing you. They have dedicated everything to you. Take them all along with me to your great region and quash the terrible fear of rebirth. Obeisance be to you.”
Appreciating her words, the great Shiva took all of them to his great region.
In the chapter 24-25, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Pippalada is mentioned.
There was a great brahmin and an excellent sage, Daddichi. He was born of Cyavana of Bhṛgu family. He was a great devotee of Shiva and very powerful. In the fight with Kṣuva, Vishnu and other gods were defeated by this sage who had the support of Shiva and they were cursed. His wife Suvarca was very noble and chaste. The gods were cursed by her. Pippalada, an expert in different kinds of sports and extremely brilliant was born of her.
Once Indra and other gods were defeated by the Daityas who had the support of the demon Vṛtra.
Then the harassed gods and the sages along with Indra immediately went to Brahma’s region and narrated their distress to him. On hearing the words of the gods Brahma, mentioned the details of what Tvaṣṭṛ was desirous of doing. This Asura has been created by Tvaṣṭṛ by means of his penance in order to kill you. The name of that Asura is Vṛtra. He is of great brilliance and the leader of all Daityas.
Brahma said, “There is a great sage Dadhīci of great penance and of full control of his sense-organs. After propitiating Shiva, he secured the boon of adamantine bones formerly. You all request for his bones. He will undoubtedly give them to you. Make the thunderbolt staff therewith and kill Vṛtra without hesitation.”
Indra accompanied by his preceptor and other gods went immediately to the excellent hermitage of Dadhici. They asked him with great reverence to give his bones of adamantine strength. The sage fond of helping others meditated on lord Shiva and abandoned his body. Immediately he reached Brahma’s region with his bondage of actions quashed. Indra then called the divine cow Surabhi to lick up the marrow etc. He directed Viśvakarman to make the weapon with the bones.
At his behest Vishvakarman made all the weapons with the sage’s bones—very firm and adamantine—that had the brilliance of Shiva. With his backbone he made the thunderbolt, arrow and the missile called Brahmashiras. With the other bones he made many other weapons. The infuriated Indra lifted the thunderbolt and rushed against Vṛtra like Rudra rushing against the god of death. Indra who was well prepared, cut off the peak like head of Vṛtra with the thunderbolt forcefully.
The chaste lady, Suvarca, desirous of attaining the world of her husband sat down and broke open her belly with a stone. The foetus of the child of the great sage! of brilliant divine body, came out. The great chaste lady became delighted, bowed to him and eulogised him. The chaste lady Suvarca followed her husband by means of the great transcendental meditation. Thus, the wife of Dadhici was re-united with her husband. After reaching Shiva’s region she served Shiva devotedly. The delighted Brahma named him Pippalada. Viṣhṇu and the gods said “O lord of the gods be pleased”. Then Rudra, the great lord in the form of Pippalada, performed a penance for a long time at the foot of the fig tree, with a desire to bestow benefit on the worlds. As Pippalada, following the convention of the world, performed the penance, a long time passed by.
After arranging and establishing Dharma with a desire for its good foundation, lord Shiva performed great sports. Once while going to the river Puṣpabhadra for his ablution, the great sage saw the beautiful youthful maiden Padma, a part of Shiva herself. Desirous of getting her, the sage traversing the world and an expert in following the established conventions went to the abode of king Anaraṇya, her father. On seeing him, the king bowed to him. The sage requested for the hand of his daughter. Thereupon the king was unable to say anything. He was silent. The sage repeated the request, saying “Give me your daughter devoutly. Otherwise, I will reduce everything to ashes along with you.”
The king was much frightened. He gave his daughter Padma, fully bedecked in ornaments to the old sage. After marrying Padma, the daughter of the king and a part of Shiva, the sage Pippalada joyously took her to his hermitage. After going to the hermitage, the aged excellent sage stayed there with that woman. The sage was not too indulgent. The daughter of Anaraṇya served the sage with devotion. Then the excellent sage Pippalada became a young man by means of his divine sport and sported with that young lady. Ten noble sons, all of them great sons, were born to the sage. They were equal to their father and increased the pleasure of Padma.
On seeing the harassment by the planet Saturn of every one irremediably, the sympathetic lord lovingly granted a boon to all the world. “For sixteen years from birth no man will have that affliction. Similarly, to the devotees of Shiva too. If Saturn were to disregard my instruction and harass men, he will undoubtedly be reduced to ashes.” Thus, afraid of him the excellent planet Saturn, though in aberration, does not afflict men at any time.
The story of Incarnation as Agnishvara -Shiva Purana
In the chapters 13-15, Section 3 of Satarudra–Samhita of Shiva Purana, the incarnation of Shiva as Agnishvara is mentioned.
In the city of Dharmapura on the banks of river Narmada, a sage, devotee of Shiva, Vishvanara lived. He became the lord of Agniloka. While in the stage of celibacy, he was devoted to Brahma yajna rites. He belonged to the Saṇḍilya lineage. He was pure, the storehouse of Brahminical splendour and had self-control. He followed the conduct of the virtuous. He was highly skilled in Shiva ethics. He was the foremost among the knowers of worldly conventions. He married with due rites the daughter of Kala who was really worthy of him. He maintained the sacrificial fires. He was devoted to the performance of the five daily sacrifices (Brahma Yajna - “homage to Brahman or the Vedas or the sages”; Deva Yajna-"homage to Gods and elementals."; Pitri Yajna-"homage to ancestors" Bhuta Yajna-"homage to beings"; and Manushya Yajna-"homage to men").
He practised the six sacred rites every day. He was fond of serving gods, manes and guests. His wife, Sucsmati requested him to give me a son equal to Lord Shiva. After consoling his wife, the sage set out for penance to the city of Varanasi where Lord Shiva himself is stationed. Reaching Varanasi immediately and seeing Maṇikarṇika, he was freed from three distresses acquired in the course of hundreds of births. He performed ablutions in all holy ditches, wells, tanks and lakes. He bowed to all Vinayakas and Sarva Gauri. He worshipped Kalaraja Bhairava who devours sins and eulogised Daṇḍanayaka and other Gaṇas, Adikeshava and others. He propitiated Keshava. He satiated sages and brahmins by means of “feeding thousand” and other rites. With devotion he propitiated the phallic images of Shiva by means of great worship and service. He performed the wonderful penance for full year by worshipping the excellent Viresa form of Shiva thrice a day who confers the blessings of a son immediately. On the thirteenth month while he was going to Viresa after taking bath in the Ganga River very early in the morning, the sage saw a child of eight years smeared with ashes all over the body, in the middle of the phallic image. On seeing him he was joyous and eulogised Shiva by various means. After eulogising thus, when the brahmin fell on the ground with the joined hands, the boy became the aged of the aged and spoke delightedly to the brahmin. Shiva in form of the boy blessed him that he shall become your son in Sucṣmati. I shall be known as Gṛhapati, pure and loved by all gods.
With great delight the brahmin returned home and told his beloved wife all those details. She became pregnant in due course. When the Lagna was auspicious, when the good planets stood in pairs, Shiva, the giver of happiness to all, was born as the son of Sucṣmati. Brahma, Vishnu, sages, gods, nagas, thousands of immobile beings came there in the forms of the mobile beings. Brahma himself performed the postnatal rite. After conferring blessings on everyone by reciting the mantras from the four Vedas, Brahma left the place.
In his ninth year, Narada came there to see Gṛhapati and informed that this boy who has all good qualities, who is characterised by all good features and who is possessed of all pure digits in their entirety. This child should be protected with all efforts. When the fate is adverse, even good qualities assume the state of defects. In the twelfth month from now I suspect a great danger to him from lightning and fire.” After saying this Narada returned to heaven the way he had come. Both parents lamented much. On hearing their lamentation, Grhapati, a part of Shiva assured them to propitiate lord Shiva to avert any of mishappening. He secured the permission of his parents and left for Kashi. He reached Kashi and worshipped phallic image with great penance. In the twelfth year of his life, the thunderbolt, armed Indra approached him as if fulfilling the utterance of Narada and asked him to seek a boon. Gṛhapati said: — “O Indra, I know you as armed with the thunderbolt. I do not want a boon from you. Shiva is the granter of boon to me.” Indra said: — “O child, Shiva is not separate from me. I am the lord of gods. Give up your foolhardiness and ask for a boon from me.” Gṛhapati said: — “O wicked one, O enemy of mountains, O chastiser of Paka, it is quite clear that I shall not ask any other god except Shiva for a boon.”
On hearing his words, lndra’s eyes turned red with fury. He raised his terrible thunderbolt and threatened the boy with dire consequences. On seeing the thunderbolt with the flames of lightning, the boy remembered the words of Narada. He became frightened and fell into a swoon. Then Shiva, the dispeller of darkness appeared in front. As though enlivening him with gentle stroking he said: — “Stand up. Stand up. May good come up to you.”
Seeing the lord with the eyes in the fore-head, blue-necked, bull-bannered, moon-crested, with Parvati occupying the left side, shining with matted hair, armed with the trident and Ajagava bow, possessed of limbs shining white like camphor, clad in the elephant’s hide, he recognised the lord as the great God described in the Agamas and statements of his preceptor. He was delighted and he evinced the thrill of hair. For a moment he stood motionless like the mountain Chitrakuta. He forgot himself like a man suddenly becoming rich. He was unable to eulogise or bow down or plead for anything. Then Shiva smiled and spoke. Shiva said: — “O child Gṛhapati, I know that you are frightened of Indra with the thunderbolt in his lifted hand. Don’t be afraid, I only wanted to know your nature. Neither Indra, nor the thunderbolt, nor even the god of death is powerful to molest my devotee. You have been terrified by me alone in the form of Indra. O gentle one, I shall grant you the boon. I confer the title of Agni on you. I authorise you to grant boons to whatever deity you think fit. O Agni, you will be moving in the midst of all mortals. Acquire kingship as the guardian of the quarter in the south-east. The phallic image installed by you will be known by your name. It will be known as Agnisvara and it will be conducive to the enhancement of all splendor.”
After saying this Shiva entered his phallic image.
A person who worships Agnisvara, the bestower of prosperity, at Varanasi, is honoured in the region of fire even if, by chance, he dies elsewhere.
In the chapter 20, Section 3 of Satarudra–Samhita of Shiva Purana, the incarnation of Shiva as Hanumat is mentioned.
Shiva gave blessings to give birth to a son with his power to Anjani, the daughter of Gautama, for Rama’s work. In due course Shiva was born of it in the form of a monkey named Hanumat to Anjani & her husband Kesari. He had great strength and exploit.
Early in the morning he took the disc of the sun for a small fruit and wanted to eat it. At the request of the gods, he left it. Knowing him to be an incarnation of Shiva of great power the gods and the sages granted him boons. At her behest the bold monkey went to the sun every day and learnt all lore from the sun without any strain.
The excellent monkey, a part of Shiva approached Sugriva, a part of the sun, at his behest, after getting the permission of his mother. Sugriva who had been exiled by his elder brother Bali who enjoyed his (Sugriva’s) wife, stayed on the mountain Ṛṣyamuka long with Hanumat. The intelligent monkey became Sugriva’s minister and did everything beneficial to him in every respect. He made him enter into a pleasing alliance with Rama who came there along with his brother and who was sad because his wife had been abducted by Ravaṇa.
Rama slew the powerful monkey Bali who was a sinner as he enjoyed his brother’s wife and who professed to be a great hero. Then at the behest of Rama, Hanumat went out in search of Sita along with many monkeys. On knowing that she was in Lanka. the leading monkey quickly jumped across the ocean, never before crossed by any and reached Lanka. There he performed wonderful exploits and handed over the excellent token of recognition of his lord Rama to Sita. He dispelled the sorrow of Sita. Taking a token from her he turned back to go towards Rama. On the way he broke Ravaṇa’s park and killed many Rakṣasas. At the same time he killed Ravaṇa’s son also along with many Rākṣasas. That fearless monkey of great exploits wrought a havoc there. When the powerful Ravaṇa bound him with oil-dripping cloths and set fire to them, the monkey, a part of Shiva himself, jumped about and making that a pretext burnt the city of Lanka. After burning Lanka except the mansion of Vibhiṣaṇa, the heroic leader of monkeys jumped into the ocean to extinguish the fire.
Then Hanumat reached Rama’s side without delay and handed over the crest-jewel of Sita. At his behest, monkeys gathered many mountains and built a bridge in the ocean.
At the time when he was about to cross the ocean, Rama installed a phallic image of Shiva and worshipped it with a desire to be victorious. Securing his boon of victory, he crossed the ocean, surrounded Lanka with the monkeys and fought against the Rakṣasas. The heroic Hanumat slew many Asuras and protected Rama’s army. He enlivened Lakṣmaṇa by the medicinal herb Sanjivani when he was wounded by Meghanada’s javelin. He slew the demon Ahiravaṇa and brought Rama and Lakṣmaṇa from his place to their own after guarding them well.
Hanumat quickly carried out the tasks of Rama by all means, made the Asuras bow down. Himself a leader of devotees, he made Ma Sita and Rama happy. He established the cult of devotion to Rama in the world.
Indeed, he was the Incarnation of Shiva the lord and uplifter of devotees. He was the life-saviour of Lakṣmaṇa and the destroyer of the arrogance of all Daityas. He was the heroic Hanumat who carried the tasks of Rama always. In the world he is called Rama’s messenger. He is favourably disposed to his devotees.
The Story of Durvasa Rishi & King Ambrasia – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 19, Section 3 of Satarudra–Samhita of Shiva Purana, the incarnation of Shiva as Durvasa and his story is mentioned.
Atri, son of Brahma, was a great sage. He was the husband of Anasuya. At the direction of Brahma, he went to the mountain Ṛkṣakula accompanied by his wife in order to perform penance there, with the desire to get son. On the banks of the river Nirvindhya, the sage performed a great penance for a hundred years. A holy flame of fire came out of him. The worlds were almost burnt by that flame. Indra and other gods and the celestial sages too were afflicted by it. Then, gods, brahma and Vishnu went to Rudra’s abode. After eulogising him Vishnu mentioned to Shiva his grief caused by the flame due to the penance of Atri. Then the three deities Brahma and others went to the hermitage of Atri immediately to grant him the boon.
On seeing them, the sage Atri said: — “O Brahma, O Vishnu, O Shiva, you are worthy of being worshipped by the three worlds. You are lords and masters and the cause of creation, maintenance and annihilation. Accompanied by my wife, I meditated only on a single lord for obtaining a son, that lord whoever he may be, who is famous as Isvara. How is it that you three deities, the foremost among the bestowers of boons have come here? Please dispel my doubt and then grant me the desired boon”.
The three deities replied “O great sage, what has occurred is in accordance with what you have conceived. We three are great lords and equally leading among the granters of boons. Hence three sons originating from our parts will be born to you. They will be known in the world as enhancers of their parent’s reputation.”
After saying this, the three deities returned to their abodes joyously. After securing the boon, the sage joyously returned to his hermitage accompanied by Anasuya. The part of Brahma was born as the moon in Anasuya from the great sage. Hurled by the gods into the ocean he alone could come out of it. The part of Vishnu was born of that lady, wife of Atri, as Datta by whom the great path of renunciation was expanded. The part of Shiva was born of that wife of Atri as the excellent and leading sage Durvasas, the enhancer of Brahminical splendour, propagated excellent virtue.
Story of Durvasas & King Ambarisa:
The king Ambariṣa, a scion of the solar dynasty, was king of seven continents. He observed the rite of Ekadashi regularly with steady restraint. The king had the firm resolve that he would perform the rite of breaking fast on the Dvadasi day.
Coming to know of his regular observance the excellent sage Durvasas, approached him with many disciples. The king was about to take his breakfast realising that very little of Dvadasi was left on that day when the sage came there. The king invited him for food. Then the sage Durvasas went away for his ceremonial ablution, accompanied by his disciples. In order to test the king, the sage purposely delayed there. Realising that there would be violation of sacred injunction otherwise, the king took in a small quantity of water and waited for the arrival of the sage.
In the meantime, the sage returned. Knowing that the king had already had his breakfast, the sage, who had assumed that form for the testing of piety, became very furious with the king. He spoke very harsh words for testing his piety. After saying this he stood up, his eyes turned red due to fury and attempted to burn him. Immediately, Sudarshana the discus of the lord blazed forth to protect the king and burn the sage unmindful of the fact that he was the part of Shiva. It had been deluded by the Maya of Shiva. In the meantime, an unembodied celestial voice spoke to Ambariṣa, the noble soul, the devotee of Brahma and Vishnu. The celestial voice said: — “O king, this discus had been given to Vishnu by Shiva. It is now blazing against Durvasas. Quieten it. It was to test your piety that this great sage came. Seek refuge in him. Otherwise, there will be a great destruction.”
Ambariṣa said: — “If I possess the merit of charity and sacrifice, if my spiritual duty has been well performed by me, and if our family considers brahmins godly, let the weapon of Vishnu turn calm. If our lord, favourably disposed to his devotees, is delighted with my devotion let this missile Sudarshan become quite calm.”
The discus Sudarshan that originally belonged to Shiva became calm in all respects. Knowing him to be Shiva’s part, the king Ambariṣa, who had regained the composure of mind bowed to the sage whom he realised as Shiva’s incarnation come there to test his vow. The sage, born of Shiva’s part, was much delighted. He took his meals and granted him the desired boon. Then he returned to his abode.
Through the condition stipulated by Kala in the form of a sage he conducted the test of Rama, son of Dasharatha. At the very same time Lakṣmaṇa was obstinately sent in by Durvasas. Rama immediately forsook his brother in accordance with the earlier agreement.
He had tested the resoluteness of lord Krishna too. At the request of Brahma, Vishnu was born as the son of Vasudeva in order to ease the burden of the Earth as well as to protect the good. Lord Krishna slew the wicked, the great sinners, those who harassed the brahmins and the knaves. He protected all good men and brahmins.
Krishna, son of Vasudeva, showed great devotion to Brahmins. Every day he fed many brahmins with many juicy articles. The fame that Krishna was especially devoted to the brahmins spread everywhere. Desirous of seeing him, the sage approached Krishna. He tied Krishna and his consort Rukmiṇi to the chariot and sat himself in the chariot. Krishna bore the chariot delightfully. The sage descended the chariot. He was delighted at the steadfastness of Krishna and blessed him with the boon that his body would become adamantine.
Once the excellent sage Durvasas was taking bath in the celestial river Ganga when he became naked. He became a curious object of sight and was ashamed. Draupadi who was taking bath there provided him with the cut-piece of her garment and thus saved him from dishonor. As the piece of cloth reached him being carried by the current, the sage covered his private parts with it. He was therefore pleased with her. He granted her the boon of ever-increasing folds of cloth. Later, Draupadi made the Paṇḍavas happy due to that boon.
That holy sage gave directive to Vishnu and destroyed two wicked kings who had insulted him in the form of two young ones of swans. By his excellent Brahminical splendor he established the path of renunciation.
The story of Shankhacuda – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 27 to 40, Section 2.5 of Rudra-saṃhita (Yuddha-khaṇḍa) of Shiva Purana, the story of powerful Shankhacuda and his slaying by Shiva is mentioned.
One of the wives of Kashyap rishi was Danu. Many powerful sons were born to that lady Danu. One of them was Vipracitti who had a virtuous son Dambha. Dambha was a great devotee of Vishnu. He performed a great penance of Vishnu at Pushkara (near Ajmer) and secured a boom from him to beget a powerful son who could win over three worlds. Later, he became father of a brilliant son who was named Shankhacuda.
Shankhacuda performed a penance in Puṣkara for a long time in order to propitiate Brahma with devotion. He secured a boom to get power of being invincible to the gods. Brahma gave him the divine amulet of Srikrsna that yielded victory everywhere. Brahma advised him to go to Badarikashram and marry Tulasi, the daughter of Dharmadhyvaja. Brahma informed him that she has also performed great penance. Shankhacuda went to Badarikashram and expressed his desire to Tulasi to marry her with gandharva rites. After marrying her, he returned to his father’s place.
Fight of Gods & Danvas:
Then, Shukracharya came there and narrated about the natural enmity of gods and danavas. On hearing this, Shankhacuda marched quickly to the city of Indra with the intention to conquer it. On hearing that Shankhacuḍa was coming, Indra the king of heaven, accompanied by the Gods made preparations for a fight. Then a tremendous fight ensued between the Asuras and the gods. Both fought ferociously. With the power and force Shankhacuda distressed the gods. The gods could not endure his dazzling brilliance. They fled. Thus, the son of Dambha, the valorous leader of the Danavas, conquered all the worlds and took up the powers of the gods. He became Indra and ruled the universe. He carried the tasks of Kubera, Moon, Sun, Fire, Yama and Vayu. There was no famine, plague or pestilence in his realm. The planets were not inauspicious. There was no worry or sickness among the people. Except the gods all living beings were happy and free from distress. Shankhacuda was always engaged in devotion to Kṛiṣhṇa.
Thereafter, the defeated gods, deprived of their kingdom, consulted among themselves and went to Brahma’s assembly chamber along with the sages. After consoling the gods and the sages, Brahma accompanied by them went to Vaikuṇṭḥa that yields happiness to the good. The gods explained their distress to Vishnu and sought refuge in him.
Lord Vishnu said: — “O lotus-born Brahma, I know everything about Shankhacuḍa, a great devotee of mine, of great splendour and who had been formerly a cowherd, Sudama. Shiva will necessarily perform what is good. Sudama, now born as Shankhacuḍa, has been fascinated by Radha by Shiva’s illusion. Cursed by Radha he is born as a Danava to his distress. Krishna has already ordained that his death will be by Rudra’s trident. Casting off his body he will become his comrade again. O lord of gods, knowing this you need not have any fear. Let us seek refuge in Shiva. He will do everything conducive to our good.”
Gods requested Shiva for help:
Then, Vishnu went to Shivaloka accompanied by Brahma. On seeing Shiva of perfect features, Vishnu and Brahma eulogised him together after bowing to him with palms joined in reverence. They explained about the Danava Shankhacuḍa who has divested of all powers of gods and ousted them. They expressed him that except he, none of the gods can kill Shankacuda. Please kill him and render the worlds happy.
On hearing these words of the distressed Vishnu and Brahma, Shiva laughingly spoke: — “O dear Vishnu, O Brahma, cast off your fear from all sides. Certainly, something good will result from the activities of Shankacuda. At the proper time I shall redeem you from the curse. Go to Rudra, resident of Kailash, who has my excellent and perfect form. He has manifested himself for the task of the gods with a separate form and features. It is for this purpose that the lord assuming my form fully and perfectly stays on the mountain Kailash favouring the devotees by being subservient to them. There is no difference in him from us both.
Then, Brahma and Vishnu went to Kailash taking the gods with them. The gods requested Rudra to slay Shankacuda the king of Asura and the destroyer of the gods. “On hearing the words of the gods, Rudra said: — “O Vishnu, O Brahma, O Gods, return to your own abodes by all means. I shall kill Shankacuda along with his followers and attendants. After bowing to lord Shiva, Vishnu went to Vaikuṇṭha and Brahma to Satyaloka. The god and others went to their own abodes.
Rudra made his friend the lord of Gandharvas his messenger and sent him in a wonderful chariot hurriedly to Shankacuda joyously. At the bidding of lord Rudra, the emissary went to the city of the Asura which was superior to Indra’s Amaravati and Kubera’s Palace.
Puṣpadanta informed the Rudra’s message: — “Give back kingdom to the gods and their authority. If not, fight with me. The gods have sought refuge in me, the lord of the gods and the benefactor of the good. I the infuriated will certainly slay you. I am Rudra, the destroyer. I have granted protection to all the gods. I am the holder of the chastising rod for the wicked and favourably disposed to those who seek refuge in me.”
On hearing these words of Puṣpadanta, the king laughed, then spoke to him. Shankacuda said: —"I will never return the kingdom to the god. I shall fight with you who are a partisan of the gods.”
On hearing these words of Shankacuda, the emissary of Rudra laughed aloud and then spoke haughtily to the lord of the Asuras. Puṣpadanta said: — “Great king, you cannot face the Gaṇas of Shiva. Then how can you face lord Shiva himself? So, return their positions of authority to the gods entirely. O excellent Danava, do not regard Shiva an ordinary deity. He is indeed the lord of the lord of all. Indra and other gods abide by his commands. The Siddhas, the patriarchs, the sages and the serpent lords all follow suit. He is the overlord of Vishnu and Brahma. He is both possessed and devoid of attributes. By a mere twitch of his knitted eyebrow everything is dissolved. Shiva is the perfect form of gods, the cause of the annihilation of the worlds, the goal of the good, the destroyer of the wicked. He is free from aberrations. He is greater than the greatest. Return their kingdoms to the gods as well as their positions of authority. O dear, thus you will fare well. Otherwise, terror will strike you.”
On hearing this, the valorous king of the Danavas, said: — “I shall neither give up kingdom nor the positions of authority, without a fight with him. This is certain. I tell you the truth. Go and tell Shiva exactly what I have said to you. Let him do what is proper. Do not talk much.”
On hearing those words of the emissary, the infuriated emperor of the gods, Shiva spoke to Virabhadra and other Gaṇas: - “O Virabhadra, O eight Bhairavas, the frontier guards, let the Gaṇas start along with my sons. at my bidding. Let those strong ones be ready and fully equipped with weapons. Let Bhadrakali start with her army for the war. I start just now for slaying Shankhacuḍa”.
Having ordered thus, lord Shiva started along with his army. In the meantime, Kartikeya and Gaṇesha, the overall generals of the army, came near Shiva joyously, fully equipped with weapons and ready for war. The eight Bhairavas the terrible eleven Rudras, the eight Vasus, the twelve Adityas, Indra, the fire god, the moon, Vishvakarman, the Ashvins, Kubera, Yama, Nirṛti, Nalakubara, Vayu, Varuṇa, Budha, Mangala, the other planets and the valorous Kamadeva went with lord Shiva. Ugradaṇḍa, Ugradaṃṣṭra, Koraṭa and Koṭabha too went. The great goddess Bhadrakali herself with hundred arms was seated in an aerial chariot studded with gems. She was wearing a red cloth and a red garland. She had smeared red unguents over her body.
When the messenger returned, the valorous Shankhacuḍa went in and told his wife Tulasi all the details. He crowned his son as the lord of Danavas. He entrusted his wife, his kingdom and his riches to the care of his son. He called his general, the Kalakeyas Mauryas, Dauhṛdas and the Kalakas and ordered him to be ready for the war with Shiva.
They stationed near the Travancore hills and the southernmost part of the Western Ghats. Shankhacuḍa sent a leading Danava of great knowledge as his emissary to Shiva. On seeing Shiva, the messenger joined his palms in reverence and bowing to him spoke the auspicious words: - “O lord, I am the emissary of Shankhacuḍa and have come to you. What is it that you desire? Please tell me.” On hearing these words of Shankhacuḍa, lord Shiva became delighted and spoke: - “In previous birth you were a cowherd and an attendant of Krishna. Among the cowherds you were virtuous. As a result of Radha’s curse, you are born as Danava and have become the king of Danavas. You are casually born as a Danava. You are really no Danava. Realising your previous birth, you leave off your inimical attitude to the gods. Don’t be malicious towards them. You can enjoy your kingdom zealously. Return their kingdom to the gods. Let the gods stay in their region.”
The messenger said: — “O lord, what has been narrated by you is true. If it applies to all alike, I shall consider it and let you know. Why did the discus-bearing lord Vishnu sever the heads of Madhu and Kaiṭabha the excellent Daityas in the ocean of dissolution? Your Majesty too, O Shiva, is famous as a partisan of the gods. Why did you fight with the Tripuras and reduce them to ashes? After divesting him of everything why was Bali packed off to Sutala and other regions? Did Vishnu go to his threshold as his uplifter? Why was Hiraṇyakṣa harassed by the gods along with his brother? Why were Shumbha and other Asuras subjected to fall by the gods? Formerly when the ocean was churned, the nectar was drunk off by the gods. All the strain and stress were ours but the gods reaped the fruit of our endeavour. Your rivalry to us is excessively shameful since you are lord unto the gods as well as to the Asuras. You are the supreme soul.”
On hearing these words, the three-eyed lord laughed and spoke sweetly to the leading Danava what seemed proper. Lord Shiva said: — “We are subservient to our devotees. We are never independent. We carry out their tasks at their wish. We are not the partisans of any one in particular. Formerly the fight of Vishnu with the excellent Daityas Madhu and Kaiṭabha in the ocean of dissolution was due to the prior request of Brahma. For the sake of Prahalad, at the request of gods, Hiraṇyakasipu was slain by him acting in the interest of his devotees. Formerly I fought with the Tripuras and reduced them to ashes, only at the request of the gods. Formerly Parvati, the mother of all, the goddess of all, fought with Shumbha and others and killed them only at the request of the gods. Even today, the gods have sought refuge in Brahma. And he along with the gods and the lord Vishnu has sought refuge in me. O Emissary, paying heed to the request of Vishnu, Brahma and others, I, though lord of all, have come here in the battle of the gods. Go to Shankhacuḍa and tell him what I have said. Let him do what is proper. I shall carry out the taṣk of the gods.”
Fight of Shiva’s Army:
The emissary returned and mentioned the words of Shiva. On hearing that, the valorous Danava Shankhacuḍa accepted the alternative of a fight. He commanded his army against Shiva. Shiva too hastened to urge his army and the gods. Both the hosts of the gods and the Danavas fought righteously. In that great war many divine and miraculous weapons were hurled. For a long time, the great combat between the gods and Danavas continued, terrible and tumultuous but delightful to the heroes. Then the gods were defeated by the Danavas.
On seeing the defeat of the gods and others and on hearing their cries of fear, Shiva was greatly infuriated. With his brilliance he enhanced the strength of his Gaṇas. Commanded by Shiva, the great hero Kartikeya, son of Shiva fought fearlessly with the hosts of Danavas in the battle. The Danavas wounded in their bodies by the numerous arrows of Kartikeya fled in fright. Those who remained were killed. On seeing the wonderfully terrible fight of Kartikeya, Śhankhacuḍa became furious and himself got ready for the battle. His volley of arrows was terrifying. The gods Nandishvara and others fled. Only Kartikeya stayed behind in the battle field. The king of Danavas showered mountains, serpents, pythons and trees so terrifyingly that it could not be withstood. Oppressed by that shower Kartikeya looked like the sun enveloped by thick sheets of frost. In the meantime, Kali went to the battle ground again at the request of Kartikeya to devour the Danavas and to protect her own people. Nandishvara and other heroes, the gods, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Rakṣasas and serpents followed her. Assuming a heroic form, lord Shiva entered the battle ground. On seeing Shiva, Shankhacuḍa got down from the aerial chariot, bowed with great devotion and fell flat on the ground. After bowing to him he immediately got into his chariot. He speedily prepared for the fight and seized the bow and the arrows. The fight between Shiva and the Danava went on for a hundred years and they fought fiercely. After a long battle, the powerful lord Shiva suddenly seized his trident in order to slay him. In order to prevent him then, an unembodied celestial voice said— “O Shiva, do not hurl the trident now. Please listen to this request. O Shiva, by all means, you are competent to destroy the entire universe in a trice. What doubt then in regard to a single Danava Shankhacuḍa? Still, the limit imposed by the Vedas should not be disregarded by you, the lord. O lord Shiva, it has been mentioned by Brahma, that, as long as he wears the armour of Vishnu and as long as his wife maintains the marital fidelity, Shankhacuḍa has neither death nor old age. Please make those words truthful.”
On hearing this celestial voice, Shiva said “So be it”. Vishnu came there at the wish of Shiva. Shiva, who is the goal of the good, commanded him. Then, in the guise of an old brahmin, Vishnu, the foremost of those who wield magic, approached Shankhacuḍa and told him. The aged brahmin said: — “O lord of Danavas, give me the alms for which I have come to you. I shall not say openly what I wish to have from you who are favourably disposed to the distressed. I shall tell you when you have promised me first. With face and eyes indicating pleasure the king replied affirmatively. Then the deceptive Vishnu in the form of a brahmin said— “I am the suppliant for your armour.”
On hearing that, the lord of Danavas, a well-wisher of the brahmins and of truthful word handed over the divine armour, his vital breath, to the brahmin. Then in the guise of Shankhacuḍa Vishnu approached Tulasi and enchanted her for the protection of gods.
In the meantime, the lord of Danavas approached Shiva without the armour. He took up his trident that blazed to slay Shankhacuḍa. That trident whirling round over the head of Shankhacuḍa for a while fell on the head of the Danava at the behest of Shiva and reduced him to ashes. Then it rapidly returned to Shiva.
After slaying him thus, Shiva went to Shivaloka seated on his bull, joyously, accompanied by Parvati, Kartikeya and the Gaṇas. Vishnu went to Vaikuṇṭha. Krishna became complacent. The gods went to their abodes with great delight. The universe regained normalcy. The whole earth was freed of obstacles. The sky was pure. The whole world became auspicious.
For the larger good of universe and for peace, prosperity and longevity, the benevolent Shiva fought on behalf of Gods and killed Shankhacuḍa.
In the chapter 13 to 25, of Rudra-saṃhita (Yuddha-khaṇḍa), there is a story of Jalandhara & Vrinda.
once Brihaspati and Indra went to Kailash, to see lord Shiva. Shiva wished to test their knowledge. Accordingly, the lord stood blocking their path in the naked form with matted hair and beaming face. Brihaspati and Indra were walking on gleefully. On their way they saw this wonderful person of huge size. Without realising that the person who stood there blocking their path was Shiva himself, Indra who was proud of his authority said to him.
Indra said: “O, who are you? Where have you come from? What is your name? Tell me truly. Is the lord Shiva in his apartment or has he gone anywhere?”
Shiva did not say anything. Indra repeatedly asked him. But the naked person did not say anything. Then Indra became enraged. Rebuking the lord with matted hair he spoke: “O evil-minded one, though asked you did not reply to me. Hence, I am going to kill you with my thunderbolt. Who can save you?”
After saying this and looking at him ferociously Indra raised his thunderbolt in order to kill him. On seeing Indra lifting up his thunderbolt, Shiva prevented the fall of the thunderbolt by making his hand benumbed. Then Shiva became furious. His eyes became terrible. He blazed with his burning splendour.
On seeing him resplendent, Brihaspati realised immediately that he was lord Shiva himself and bowed to him. Then the noble-minded Brihaspati joined his palms in reverence. He prostrated before him on the ground and began to eulogise the lord variously. After eulogising Shiva, the benefactor of the worlds thus Brihaspati made Indra fall at the feet of Shiva. Brihaspati entreated Shiva to raise up Indra fallen at his feet and quieten the anger rising from his eyes.
On hearing these words of Brihaspati, Shiva, the ocean of mercy, spoke in a thundering stentorian voice. Lord Shiva said: — “O Brihaspati, how can I take up the fury that has already come out of my eye? A serpent does not wear again the slough that has been cast off.”
Brihaspati said: — “O holy lord, indeed the devotees should be pitied always. O Shiva, thus please make your name Bhaktavatsala (favourably disposed towards the devotees) true. O lord of gods, you deserve to cast elsewhere the fierce brilliance. O uplifter of all devotees, raise up Indra.”
Shiva said: — “O dear one, I am delighted by your eulogy. I shall grant you the excellent boon. Henceforth you shall be famous as Enlivener because you have conferred life on Indra. I shall cast off this fire born of my eye in the forehead intended to kill Indra lest it should afflict him.”
On saying this he held that wonderful brilliance born of the eye in the forehead and cast it off in the briny ocean. Then, Brihaspati and Indra became contented and went away to their abodes joyously.
Birth & marriage of Jalandhara:
The brilliance of Shiva born of the eye in the forehead and cast off into the briny sea at the confluence of Indus immediately assumed the form of a boy. The baby Jalandhara cried. Brahma visited the place to know the source of cries of baby Jalandhara and found him there. Then he called Shukra who performed his coronation. Brahma then took leave of the ocean and disappeared. Ocean nurtured the boy with diverse great means. The boy grew into a beautiful youth of exquisite limbs and wonderful splendour. Then the ocean invited the great Asura Kalanemi and requested him to give his daughter named Vṛnda in marriage to his son. He gave his beloved daughter to Jalandhara. Those Asuras who had been formerly defeated by the gods and had sought shelter in Patala came fearlessly to the Earth and resorted to him.
Once the brilliant Bhargava came. On seeing the preceptor coming, the Asuras were delighted in their minds and bowed to him. Seeing the headless Rahu seated there, Jalandhara said to Bhargava: “O lord, by whom was this done to Rahu? By whom was his head cut? Please tell me.”
Bhargava narrated the entire story of churning of the ocean by Devas & Asuras. The enemies of the Asuras extracted jewels from the ocean. The gods seized the nectar and drank it deceitfully. The episode that Vishnu cut off the head of Rahu as he was drinking the nectar along with the gods.
Then on hearing about the churning of his father, the heroic son of the ocean, the valorous Jalandhara became furious and his eyes turned red with anger. He called his excellent emissary Ghasmara and sent to heaven where all the gods were present. Ghasmara informed them message of Jalandhara: — ‘'0 base god, why was my father, the ocean, churned by you with the mountain? Why were all the jewels of my father taken away? What you have done is not proper. Return all of them to me immediately. Otherwise, you will run the risk of the annihilation of your kingdom.”
Indra said: - “He gave shelter to the mountains who were terribly afraid of me. Others too, some of my enemies, the Asuras, were formerly saved by him. It was due to this that I took away his jewels. Those who oppose me can never remain happy. I am telling you the truth.”
Battle of Gods & Jalandhara:
On hearing it, the lips of the Asura throbbed with anger. Desirous of conquering the gods, reached the heaven along with his force. He blew his conch. Then a battle between the armies of the gods and Asuras ensued. Bhargava resuscitated the Asuras killed in the battle with the Vidhya of Amṛtajivini and drops of water infused with mantras. The sage Angria too resuscitated the gods in the battle with the divine herbs frequently brought from the mountain Droṇa. Then, Bhargava suggested Jalandhara to uproot the mountain Droṇa with your arms and hurl it into the ocean.” With his powerful arms, the Asura brought the mountain Droṇa and hurled it immediately into the ocean.
On seeing the gods being killed Brihaspati went to the mountain Droṇa and found that the mountain Droṇa had been removed by the Asuras. Brihaspati was terrified. He returned and said dejectedly: - “O gods, run away, all of you. There is no trace of the great mountain Droṇa. Certainly, it has been destroyed by the Asura, the son of the ocean. Jalandhara is a great Asura. He cannot be conquered since he is born of a part of Shiva.”
Battle of Vishnu & other Gods with Asuras:
All the gods including Indra, struck by the king of the Asuras all round, lost courage and fled in all directions. With Brahma they went to Vaikuṇṭha. All of them including Prajapati eulogised Vishnu after bowing down to him. Vishnu said: — “O gods, cast off your fear. I shall come to the battle-ground. I shall show my valour to Jalandhara.”
Having said this and seating himself on Garuḍa with the conch, discus, mace and the sword held in his hands, Vishnu hastened to the fight along with Indra and other gods. The delighted gods equipped with a vast army began to fight with their strength increased by the brilliance of Vishnu. Jalandhara said: — “O Excellent Asuras, put up a stiff fight with Indra and other gods who are always cowardly though they have a huge army.”
The fight between the gods and the Asuras was terrific. It was very fierce frightening the sages and the Siddhas. With their bodies cut and pierced by the weapons of the Asuras, the gods including Indra became distressed in mind by fear and they fled from the battle. On seeing the gods fleeing, Vishnu hastened to the battle ground seated on his vehicle Garuḍa. By means of his discus Sudarshan he diffused his splendour all round. The lord Vishnu who was highly infuriated cut off the heads of countless Asuras by means of the arrows discharged from his bow. Seeing Vishnu suppressing and pounding the Asuras, Jalandhara rushed at Vishnu to fight with him. Then a great battle ensued between Vishnu and Jalandhara. Both of them equally powerful had a fight with weapons and then hand-to-hand hitting each other with arms, fists and knees. Fighting with the Asura for a long time, Vishnu was surprised and felt dejected. Vishnu said: — “O excellent Asura, you are blessed. You are invincible in war. Since you are a great lord, you are not at all afraid of even great weapons. I am delighted by this fight with you. You are really great. O lord of Asuras, choose a boon. I am pleased at your valour. I shall give you anything even that which cannot be given, whatever is in your mind.”
On hearing these words of Vishnu, skilled in magic, the intelligent king of the Asuras replied thus: “O Brother-in-law, if you are pleased give me this boon. You stay in my house with all your followers, my sister and myself.”
On hearing these words of the great Asura, lord Vishnu, the lord of gods, said distressingly— “So be it.”
Stay of Vishnu & Lakshmi in Jalandhara city:
Then Vishnu came to the city called Jalandhara along with his followers, the gods and Lakshmi. Then the Asura Jalandhara returned to his abode and stayed very delightedly in the company of his sister and Vishnu. Thereafter Jalandhara appointed Asuras in the authoritative posts of the gods. Joyously he returned to the Earth. Making gods, Gandharvas, Siddhas, Serpents, Rakshasas and human beings, the denizens of his capital, he ruled over the three worlds virtuously. The gods were reduced to be mere slaves.
Narada’s visit to city Jalandhara:
The distressed gods mentally sought refuge and eulogised Shiva. Shiva called Narada and commissioned him with a desire to carry out the task of the gods. Narada went to the gods in the city of the Asuras. Gods explained him the entire situation and their misery. On hearing it, the great sage Narada, the merciful, consoled and assured them. After consoling the gods, the sage went to the assembly chamber of Jalandhara to see the favourite Asura. On seeing the excellent sage, Jalandhara said: — “O brahmin, whence do you come from? What did you see here? O sage, what is the aim of your present visit here?” Narada praised Jalandhara for his achievements and brilliance. On hearing his praise, Jalandhara showed all his glory to Narada. On seeing it, the wise Narada, eager to realise the interests of the gods, spoke to the king of Daityas, Jalandhara, induced by the lord. Narada said: — “O foremost among heroes, you have everything conducive to prosperity. You are the lord of the three worlds. What wonder that you possess all excellent things available in heaven, earth and nether worlds. But O Jalandhara, your mansion is deficient in the most excellent of all ladies. You deserve to bring that.”
Jalandhara said: — “O celestial sage, O Narada, obeisance be to you, O holy lord. Where is this most excellent of all ladies? Please tell me now.”
Narada said: — “Kailasa is very beautiful and it possesses all sorts of things conducive to prosperity. Shiva lives there assuming the form of a naked Yogin. His wife Parvati is exquisitely beautiful in every limb. She is charming and has all the characteristics of a beautiful lady. This occurs to my mind, O valiant Jalandhara that there is none more prosperous in the three worlds than Shiva who possesses the most excellent of all ladies.”
After saying this, the world-renowned celestial sage, Narada, pursuing his attempt to help the gods departed from there by the aerial path.
Rahu’s visit to Kailash:
When Narada departed to heaven after taking leave of the Daitya, the king of Daityas became harassed with pangs of love. Jalandhara said: — “O Rahu of great intellect, go to the mountain Kailas and ask the yogi to give up his wife for me, the enjoyer of all excellent things. Inform him that all the excellent things of the three worlds have come into my possession.”
On hearing his words Rahu went to Kailash and spoke to Shiva: - “I am the messenger of the lord of the three worlds, worthy of being served for ever by Daityas and serpents. The son of the ocean Jalandhara became the lord of all Daityas and now he is the lord of the three worlds. He is the emperor of all. The daughter of Himavat is the most excellent of all ladies. She deserves him better than you who live on alms. He is the enjoyers of excellent things. You are a mere naked ascetic and a Yogin. Surrender your wife unto him.”
When Rahu spoke thus, a terrific being resonant like the thunder came out from the space between the eyebrows of the trident-bearing deity. He had a leonine mouth with a moving tongue; his eyes shed fiery flames; his hair stood at its end; his body was dry and rough. He appeared to be the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu. He was huge in size. He was very terrible. He immediately rushed at Rahu. The terrified Rahu asked Shiva to save him. On hearing the words of the brahmin, the great lord, favourite of the distressed and helpless, spoke to his Gaṇa to leave him.
Battle of Shiva and Jalandhara:
Rahu informed the entire episode Jalandhara. Jalandhara ordered the entire divisions to start the fight. The gods went to Kailash and requested Shiva to fight with Jalandhara. On hearing the words of the gods, Shiva laughed and called Vishnu. Vishnu informed him about his defeat and he being staying in the mansion of Jalandhara. Shiva agreed to kill the great Daitya Jalandhara. In the meantime, the Daityas went accompanied by a vast army to Kailash and roared like a lion. On hearing the tumultuous roar of the Daityas, lord Shiva became very furious. He ordered Ganas, Nandi and others got ready for the battle. Then a terrible battle was fought between ganas and the Daityas. With the power of Sanjivini, Bhargava resuscitated the forces of the Daityas. Ganas informed Shiva about it. On hearing it, lord Shiva became terribly furious. A terrible Kṛtya came out of Rudra’s mouth. The terrible Kṛtya roamed the battleground devouring the great Asuras and seized Bhargava. On seeing Bhargava seized, the invincible armies of the Daityas became dejected and faded in their faces. They fled from the battle ground. On seeing the army of the Daityas dispersed and frightened of the Gaṇas, the leaders Shumbha and Nishumbha and Kalanemi obstructed the army of the Gaṇas and clashed with Nandi, Ganesh and Kartikeya. Then, Virbhadra accompanied by a crore goblin rushed in. The Kuṣmaṇḍas, Bhairavas, Vetalas, Yoginis, Pisacas, Ḍakinis and Gaṇas came there with him and fought. Thus, Nishumbha and Shumbha, the great Daitya Kalanemi and the other Asuras were defeated. Then Jalandhara furiously fought with Nandi, Ganesh, Kartikeya, Virbhadra and others. On seeing Virbhadra fallen, the terrified Gaṇas abandoned the battle ground shrieking and fled to lord Shiva. On seeing Ganas dejected, Shiva enquired after their health. The Gaṇas then intimated to him everything in detail. On hearing it, lord Shiva assured them of freedom from fear increasing their enthusiasm.
Then the great lord Shiva assumed a terrible form went to the battle-field on his bull. On seeing him, Jalandhara rushed at Shiva discharging thousands of arrows. Thousands of leading Daityas, Kalanemi, Nishumbha, Shumbha and others rushed at Shiva, biting their lips. Shiva afflicted the Daityas with the gusts of wind raised by the arrows. On seeing his army on the rout, the heroic son of the ocean Jalandhara became very furious and hit the bull-bannered Shiva of indefatigable endeavour, with an incessant volley of arrows. Laughingly, lord Shiva split all the arrows of Jalandhara. Then, considering Shiva more powerful, Jalandhara the Daitya, created the illusion of Gandharvas that mysteriously fascinated even Shiva.
On seeing Shiva concentrated in the dance. Jalandhara went to the place where Gauri stood. With his demoniac Maya he assumed the form of Shiva. On seeing Shiva coming, the beloved of Shiva came out. On realising that he was the demon, the terrified Gauri vanished immediately. Unable to see her who disappeared in a moment like lightning, the Daitya immediately went to the place where lord Shiva stood in order to fight him. Parvati remembered lord Vishnu mentally. Immediately she saw the lord seated near her. Parvati commanded him to make the chastity of Daitya’s wife violated. Otherwise, that Daitya cannot be killed.
Vishnu & Vrinda:
Vishnu went to the city of Jalandhara and thought of violating the chastity of Vṛnda. He assumed a wonderful body and stationed himself in a park of the city. He made Vṛnda see a dream. The gentle lady Vṛnda, the wife of Jalandhara, though of pure rites, had a very bad dream at night on account of Vishnu’s power of illusion. In the dream as a result of Vishnu’s power of illusion she saw the naked form of her husband anointed with oil and seated on a buffalo. He was proceeding in the southern direction. His head had been completely shaved. Later, towards the end of the night she had various bad dreams, such as the whole city was submerged in the sea, all of a sudden, along with herself. The terrified lady began to cry. Terrified lady wandered here and there and saw an ascetic of calm countenance observing silence and accompanied by his disciple. She bowed down to the great sage with palms joined in reverence and prostrated herself in front of him. In the meantime, two lordly monkeys came there taking with them the head, body and limbs of Jalandhara and stood in front of the sage. On seeing the head, body and limbs of her husband, Vṛnda fell unconscious, extremely pained at the misery of her lord. Vrinda said, “O excellent sage, storehouse of mercy, eager to help others, take pity on me and resuscitate my lord.” The sage said: — “This Daitya cannot be enlivened because he has been killed by Shiva in the battle. Those killed in battle by Shiva never return to life. Still, knowing the eternal Dharma that those who seek refuge should be protected, I shall resuscitate him urged by pity.”
After saying this and restoring him to life, that sage who was Vishnu the foremost among those who wield illusion vanished from the scene. Jalandhara thus revived to life by him stood up. Delighted in mind he embraced Vṛnda and kissed her face. On seeing her husband, Vṛnda too was delighted. She forgot her sorrow. She considered everything a dream. Delighted in the heart and with all the dormant passions kindled up, she sported with him for many days in the middle of that forest. Later, she realised that it was Vishnu. Vṛnda rebuked him angrily and spoke: - “O base foe of the Daityas, defiler of other people’s virtue, O wicked one, take this curse from me, greater in force than all persons. The two persons whom you made to appear in front of me shall become Rakshasas and abduct your wife.” The two Rakshasas referred to here were Maricha and Ravaṇa who abducted Sita, wife of Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. You will be distressed on account of separation from your wife. After saying this, Vṛnda entered fire though prevented by Vishnu who was fascinated by her charms. Then the great brilliance of the wife of Jalandhara immediately went to Shivaloka.
Unable to see Parvati, the king of Daityas returned to the battle ground. After a great fight, Lord Shiva hurled the discus Sudarshan which resembled a crore sun and the fire of dissolution. Blazing the heaven and the earth, the discus hit Jalandhara and severed his head with wide gaping eyes. His splendour that came out of his body merged into Shiva just like the splendour that came out of the body of Vṛnda and merged into Parvati. The gods, Siddhas and great sages were delighted. Making showers of flowers they sang his glory loudly. Thus, the entire universe of the three worlds regained their earlier health and normalcy much when the son of the ocean was killed by Shiva of infinite forms.
In the chapter 1 to 10 in Section 2.5 of Rudra-saṃhita (Yuddha-khaṇḍa), the story of building and destruction of Tripura (the three cities) of three sons of Taraka is told.
Boon for three castles:
When the Asura Taraka was killed by Skanda (Kumar Kartikeya), the son of Shiva, his three sons performed severe penances to seek a boom from Brahma. The eldest of them was Tarakakṣa, the middle one Vidyunmali and the youngest Kamalaksa. They sought a boon from Brahma: -
“Build three castles, the one of steel on earth, another of silver in the sky and the third of gold. These castles could join together during midday at the time of Abhijit when the moon shall be in the constellation Puṣhya, at the end of a thousand years. These cities shall never join otherwise. When these cities would join together, Shiva who embodies all the gods sitting in a wonderful chariot containing all necessary adjuncts, may, in his distorted sport, discharge a wonderful single arrow and pierce our cities.”
Brahma granted the boon and asked the Maya to build these castles for the Asuras. The Maya built the cities by means of his penance: the golden one for Tarakakṣa, the silver one for Kamalakṣa and the steel one for Vidyunmali. The three fort like excellent cities were in order in heaven, sky and on the earth. The castles had many Kalpa trees there. Elephants and horses were in plenty. Aerial chariots shining like the solar sphere. There were many palaces, divine minarets resembling the summits of the mount Kailasha. Celestial damsels, Gandharvas, Siddhas, and Caraṇas were also there. There were temples of Rudra. In every house, people performed the rites of Agnihotra. There were excellent brahmins well-versed in sacred texts and devoted to Shiva always. There were beautiful tanks, lakes, wells, rivers and huge ponds. There were very beautiful with plenty of fruit-bearing trees. There were time-indicators, playgrounds and different halls for Vedic studies. Thus, the Asuras, sons of Taraka, after acquiring the boons, lived there.
Misdeeds of Sons of Taraka & distress of Gods:
The three worlds came under sway of three sons of Taraka. The excellent sages and the Siddhas were destroyed. The entire universe was exterminated by them. The terrible Asuras took the entire share of the sacrificial benefits to themselves. They initiated evil activities. They prevented the sages from performing their virtuous rites. Later, the gods including Indra were defeated by them. Then, Gods approached Brahma and later Shiva for redressal of their grievances. They eulogised Shiva by various hymns and informed Shiva about entire activities of sons of Taraka. They sought redressal.
Shiva informed them, “Those Asuras are my devotees. O Gods, how can they be slain by us? They should not be slain as long as they continue their devotion to me. Yet, this reason may very well be intimated to Vishnu.”
Then, the gods with Brahma as their head went to Vaikuṇṭha and intimated to Vishnu about their misery. On hearing the distress of the gods as well as the vows observed by the Tripuras, Vishnu spoke as follows: “This is true that where the eternal virtue reigns supreme, no misery raises its head like darkness when the sun is seen.”
On hearing these words, the gods became miserable and dejected. They spoke to Vishnu: “How are we to go about our activities. How can our misery be dispelled? How can we be happy? How are we to remain firm? As long as the Tripuras are alive, how can we observe virtuous activities? All the residents of the three cities give troubles to us.”
On seeing them in that plight, distressed and humiliated, Vishnu thought within himself, “I am the benefactor of the gods. But what can I do in this affair? The sons of Taraka are the devotees of Shiva.” After thinking like this, he thought upon the Supreme Vishnu, the lord of sacrifices, the primordial Puruṣa. Immediately on being thought upon by Vishnu all the sacrifices came where Vishnu was stationed. The eternal lord Vishnu saw the eternal sacrifices and told them looking at the gods too including Indra. Vishnu said: “In order to destroy the three cities and to bring about prosperity in the three worlds, O gods perform the worship of lord Shiva along with the lord of sacrifices.”
On hearing the words of Vishnu, the intelligent lord of the gods and bowing to him lovingly, the gods eulogised the lord of sacrifices. The gods worshipped the Sacrificial Being in accordance with the rules governing the same with the complete rites. Then from the sacrificial pit rose up thousands of Bhutas of huge size and armed with tridents, spears, iron clubs and other weapons. The gods saw thousands of Bhutasanghas armed with tridents and spears and possessing various weapons such as staffs, bows, stones, etc. They had various missiles to strike with. They were in different guises. They resembled the destructive fire and Rudra. They were on a par with the destructive Sun. When they bowed to him and stood waiting in front, Vishnu saw them. The glorious lord of sacrifices who carried out the behests of Rudra, spoke to them. Vishnu said: “O Bhutas, listen to my statement. You are all very powerful and have risen up for fulfilling the task of the gods. All of you go immediately to the three cities. Go there, strike at, break and burn the three cities of the Asuras. O Bhutas, thereafter you can go away as you please for prosperity.
On hearing the words of the lord, the hosts of Bhutas bowed to the lord of the gods and went to the three cities of the Asuras. Immediately after their entry into the cities they were reduced to ashes like moths in the fire.
On realizing that all the gods were distressed and dejected in the mind. Vishnu said, “O good gods, these Asuras and the other residents of the three cities are virtuous. O gods, thanks to the worship of Shiva, their cherished desires are realised. Different means of enjoyment in the world are brought under their control. Hence these Asuras who are devoted to the phallic worship enjoy different kinds of pleasures and prosperity and salvation hereafter. Then putting obstacles in their activities of virtuous rites, by means of magic art I shall destroy the three cities of the Asuras quickly for accomplishing the task of the Asuras.”
Thus, lord Vishnu set himself to the task of interfering with the sacred rites of the Asuras. Hence such means shall be followed as will make Vedic Dharma disappear thence. Undoubtedly the Asuras will forsake their worship of the phallic emblem of Shiva. Deciding thus, Vishnu started ridiculing the Vedas for putting up obstacles in the virtuous activities of the Asuras.
Creation of Deceptive text to initiate Tamasika rites:
For causing obstacles in their virtuous activities, Vishnu created a Puruṣa born of himself. He had a shaven head, wore dirty clothes, held a woven wicker vessel in his hand and a roll of cotton in his hand which he shook at every step. His face was pale and weak. In a faltering voice he was muttering “Dharma, Dharma.” He bowed to Vishnu and stood in front of him. He spoke to Vishnu with hands joined in reverence. “O laudable, revered one, please tell me what my names are and what my place shall be.”
Vishnu said: “O intelligent one, born of me, you are certainly identical with me in form. Know why you have been created. I shall tell you. You are born of me. You can perform my task. You are my own. Certainly, you will be worthy of worship always. Let your name be Arihat. I shall assign to you a place afterwards. Now hear with reverence what is relevant to the context. You create a deceptive sacred text of sixteen hundred thousand verses, contrary to Srutis and Smṛtis wherein Varnas and Asramas shall be eschewed. Let that holy text be in Apabhraṃsa lauguage. Let there be emphasis on actions. You shall strain yourself to extend it further. I shall bestow on you the ability to create it. Different kinds of magic arts shall be subservient to you.”
The shaven-head said: :O lord, command me quickly what I shall do. At your bidding, all activities shall be fruitful. Saying this he recited the main tenet in the deceptive philosophy. “Heaven and hell are functioning here itself.”
Vishnu commanded him, “O intelligent one, they shall be initiated by you. They shall be taught strenuously. At my bidding you will incur no sin on that account. You shall go there for destroying the residents of the three cities. Revealing the Tamasika rites, destroy the three cities. After that, you shall go to the desert region and stay there carrying on your own duties and activities till the advent of the Kali age. When the Kali age begins let your Dharma be revealed. You shall then continue to do so by means of disciples and disciples’ disciples. At my bidding your cult shall certainly expand. Depending upon my permission and direction you will attain me as your goal.”
Then the ascetic of shaven head acting in accordance with Vishnu’s behest created four disciples of the like form as himself and taught them the deceptive cult. The four disciples with shaven heads followed the heretic cult. They had the wicker vessel in their hands. They covered their mouths with a piece of cloth. They habitually wore dirty clothes. They did not talk much. Delightedly they used to speak “Dharma is the great gain, the true essence” and some similar words. They held a besom broom made of pieces of cloths. They used to walk step by step very slowly because they were afraid of injuring living beings.
Then, bowing to Vishnu who carried out the wishes of Shiva, the deceptive sage went joyously to the three cities accompanied by his disciples. The sage of great self-control entered the three cities and created illusion. Stationing himself in a garden at the outskirts of the city, accompanied by his disciples he set his magic in motion. That was powerful enough to fascinate even the expert magicians. His magic was ineffective in the three cities by virtue of Shiva’s worship. Then the heretic sage became distressed. He mentally remembered and eulogised Vishnu many times, with an aching heart. He had been so dispirited and listless. On being remembered by him Vishnu mentally thought of Shiva. Receiving his behest by the process of thought forms he remembered Narada. Immediately after, Narada approached Vishnu. After bowing to him and eulogising him, he stood before Vishnu with palms joined in reverence. Vishnu spoke to Narada: “O dear, this is being mentioned to you at the bidding of Shiva. Go to the three cities immediately. The sage has gone there already for deluding the residents of the cities.”
On hearing his words, Narada went there quickly where the ascetic expert in magic was stationed. Then Narada approached the lord of the three cities. Narada said: “A certain sage, very virtuous and excellent master of lore has arrived here. He possesses complete knowledge of the Vedic lore. Many cults have been observed by me but none of them is like his. Seeing the eternal virtue in this cult we have got ourselves initiated into it. O great king, O excellent Asuras, if you have any interest in that cult, you shall get yourself initiated into it.”
On hearing his words full of significance, the lord of the Asuras was deluded and exclaimed with surprise in his heart. The Tripura ruler said: --
“O sage of pure mind, you shall perform my initiation. I shall become your disciple. On hearing the frank words of the ruler of the Asuras the heretic sage, professing to be eternal, spoke emphatically.” O excellent Asura, if you are prepared to act according to my behests, I shall initiate you, otherwise not, even if you strive for a number of times. The Asura said: “I shall carry out whatever command you are pleased to give. I will not transgress your orders. True. It is certainly true.
On hearing the words of the Tripura-ruler, the excellent sage removed the cloth from his mouth and spoke. “O lord of Asuras, take initiation in this most excellent of all cults. By this initiation you will become contented.”
Saying thus, the deceptive sage immediately performed the initiation of the ruler of the Asuras, in accordance with his cult observing all rules. When the ruler of the Asuras was initiated along with his brothers, the residents of the three cities too got themselves initiated. The entire Tripuras were filled with the line of disciples of the sage, an expert in great art of illusion. “Since Narada has been initiated, we too shall be initiated.” Resolving thus, the Asura approached the sage. On seeing his features, the Asura was deluded by his magic.
Arihat told him:
“The entire universe is eternal. It has no creator nor it is an object of creation. It evolves itself and gets annihilated by itself. There are many bodies from Brahma down to a blade of grass. They themselves are the gods for them. There is no other God. Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra are only the names of embodied beings just like my name Arihat etc. Just as our bodies perish when their time arrives, so also the bodies of all beings from Brahma to a mosquito perish when their time arrives. There is no other virtue equal to the mercy shown to living beings. Hence all men shall strenuously practise acts of mercy to living beings. Non-violence is the greatest virtue. Affliction of others is a great sin. Salvation is defined as non-dependence on others. Eating the food of our choice is heavenly bliss. The hoarding and amassing of vast wealth are useful only for the propitiation of twelve organs of senses. Of what avail is the propitiation of other things? The twelve organs of senses are the five organs of activity and the five organs of knowledge together with the mind and intellect. Happiness is heaven and misery is hell. Narrating his opinions to the leader of the Tripuras, the ascetic addressed the citizens with great zeal. One shall seek and enjoy happiness as long as the body is hale and hearty, as long as the sense-organs are not impaired and as long as the old age is far off. It is unnecessary to divide the people into different castes. When all are men who is superior and who is inferior? How can sons born of the same body or from the same body be of four different castes?”
Addressing the lord of the Asuras and the citizens thus, the sage with his disciples spoiled the Vedic rites in a determined manner. He then criticised the womanly virtues of chastity and manly virtues of continence etc. Similarly, he attacked and repudiated the divine rites, Shraddhika rites, sacrificial rites and holy observances and festivals, pilgrimages and anniversaries. Worship of Shiva, propitiation of his phallic form, adoration of Vishnu, Sun, Ganesh and other deities in accordance with the sacred texts were repudiated by him. The heretic sage, an expert in wielding magic art, foremost among the deceptive, criticised the ceremonial ablutions and charitable gifts that are made on auspicious occasions.
The glory that they had acquired by the boon of Brahma, the lord of the gods, went out forsaking them, at the behest of Brahma. When the Asuras had become so, when they had abandoned the worship of Shiva, when the virtuous rites of chaste women came to an end and evil conduct came to stay, Vishnu was apparently contented. Accompanied by the gods, Vishnu went to Kailas and intimated their activities to Shiva.
Shiva said: “there is no doubt in this that I will destroy the three cities of the Asuras if they persist in indulging in evil activities. But the great Asuras are my firm devotees. They shall be killed only by me, for they have been forced to abandon their excellent virtue under false persuasion. Let Vishnu or anyone else slay them now that they have been made to abandon their Dharma. The Asuras of the three cities have become devoid of devotion to me.”
Brahma said: “There is no sin in this, since you are the great lord, the great Brahman and the saviour of gods and sages always. It is at your own bidding that they have been deluded. You induced them to be deluded. Although the Asuras have forsaken their duties and your worship, they cannot be killed by others. Hence, O great lord, the saviour of the lives of the gods and the sages, the terrorists shall be killed by you for the protection of the good.”
Shiva’s Chariot to destroy Tripura:
Then the divine chariot of lord Shiva was built by Vishvakarman with devoted effort. The right wheel was the sun and the left wheel was the moon. The right wheel had twelve spokes. The twelve Adityas presided over them. The left wheel had sixteen spokes. The sixteen spokes of the left side wheel consisted of the sixteen digits of the moon. The six seasons constituted the rims of the wheels of the chariot. The Pushkara of the chariot was the sky. The inner side of the chariot was Mandara. The rising and the setting mountains constituted the poleshafts. Mahameru was the support and the Keshara mountains the sharp sides. The year constituted its velocity. The two Ayanas northern and southern constituted the junctions of the wheels and axles. The Muhurtas constituted the joints and the Kalas the pins of the yoke. The division of time Kaṣṭha constituted the nose of the chariot and the Kṣaṇas the axle-shaft. The Nimeṣas constituted the bottom of the carriage and the minutest divisions of time constituted the poles. The firmament constituted the fender of the chariot; Heaven and salvation the flag staffs; Abhṛamu and Kamadhenu constituted its harrows at the end of the shafts. The unmanifest principle formed their shaft and cosmic intellect the chariot’s reeds. The cosmic Ego cosmic corners and elements its strength. The cosmic sense-organs constituted the embellishments of this chariot on all sides. Faith was its movements. The six Vedangas were its ornaments. The Puraṇas, Nyaya, Mimaṃsa and Dharma Shastras constituted the side trinkets. The forceful and excellent mantras with their syllables and feet, of all characteristic features and the stages in life constituted the tinkling bells. Ananta embellished with thousand hoods constituted its fittings. and the main and subsidiary quarters, the pedestals of the chariot. The clouds Puṣkara and others constituted the gem-studded banners of glowing colours. The four oceans are remembered as the bullocks of the chariot. Ganga and other rivers shining in excellent female forms and decorated in all ornaments held the Camaras in their hands. Lord Brahma was the charioteer, the gods were holders of the bridle. Praṇava the Vedic divinity constituted the long whip of Brahma. The syllable A constituted the great umbrella, Mandara the side staff. The lord of mountains became his bow and the lord of serpents the bowstring. Goddess Sarasvatī in the form of the Vedas constituted the bells of the bow. The brilliant Vishnu became the arrow and Agni the spear-head. The four Vedas are said to be his horses. The remaining planets became their embellishments. His army came up from water. The winds were his feathers, wings etc. Vyasa and other sages were the drivers of the vehicle.
Shiva said: “O excellent gods, you will not fall even in your animalhood. Let the process of release from animalhood be practised. He who performs the divine rite of Pasupata will be released from animalhood.”
Hence all the gods and Asuras became the animals of the lord. Shiva became the lord of animals. Bhṛngin, the chief of all Gaṇeshas, surrounded by lord of Gaṇas and gods went speedily to destroy the three cities like Mahendra seated in an aerial chariot.
In the auspicious moment called Abhilaṣa Shiva drew the bow and made a wonderful and unbearable twanging sound. He addressed the great Asuras and proclaimed his own name. Shiva discharged an arrow that had the refulgence of countless suns. The arrow which was constituted by Vishnu and whose steel head was fire god blazed forth and burnt the three Asuras who lived in the three cities. It thereby removed their sins. The three cities reduced to ashes fell on the earth girt by the four oceans. Tarakakṣa was burnt along with his two brothers.
In the chapters 14-19 of Parvati Khanda in Shiva Purana, the story of Kashyap, Diti and their grandson Tareka is mentioned.
Diti and Aditi, both were daughters of Daksh Prajapati one of the Manas Putra (born of the mind) of Lord Brahma. Both of them were married to Rishi Kashyapa who was one of the Saptarishis. With Diti, Kashyap fathered all the Daityas / asuras while with Aditi he fathered all the devas, the eldest one being the sun who consequently came to be known as Aditya (son of Aditi).
Brahma’s son Marichi begot Kashyap who married thirteen daughters of Dakṣha. The eldest of them Diti bore two sons: Hiranyakashipu the elder and Hiraṇyakṣa the younger. When these two began to harass the gods, Vishnu assumed the forms of Man-lion and Boar and killed them. Then the gods became fearless and happy.
The distressed Diti sought refuge in Kashyap and observing the sacred rites she conceived. On coming to know of it, Indra entered her womb forcibly and cut it off many a time with his thunderbolt. By the power of her sacred rites, the child in the womb did not die as she was sleeping at that time, by a stroke of good luck. They were cut into seven pieces and so she had seven sons. These sons became gods by the name of Maruts. They all went to heaven along with Indra and were taken as his own attendants by the king of gods.
Diti repented to her husband for her action. She made the sage pleased by means of great service. Kashyap said: --
“Be pure and perform penance for ten thousand years of Brahma. When it is completed, you will have a son.”
Birth & Marriage of Vajranga, the son of DIti:
The penance was completed by Diti and from him she conceived and delivered of a son. That son of Diti named Vajranga (of adamantine limbs) was on a par with the gods. Befitting his name, his body was strong and powerful even from his very birth. At the bidding of his mother, he immediately abducted Indra, the lord of gods, the other gods and punished them in various ways. Seeing the distress of Indra and others, Diti became very happy. Indra and other gods became miserable due to their own actions.
Brahma got released the gods. Vajranga, a great devotee of Shiva, was delighted in his heart, and he of pure soul, without any aberration, spoke. Vajranga said: --
“To achieve his interest, Indra killed the foetus of my mother. He has now tasted the fruit thereof. Well may he rule over his kingdom. O Brahma, I did this only at the bidding of my mother. I have no desire for the enjoyments of any one of the worlds. Tell me the essence of real philosophy whereby I can ever remain happy, pleased in heart and free from aberrations.”
On hearing that, Brahma said: --
“Sattvic feelings constitute the essence of real philosophy. I shall lovingly create an exquisite lady.”
Brahma ji offered him a lady named Varangi. With chastity and faith, she served her husband lovingly in diverse ways. Her husband Vajranga of great lordly status was glad very soon on account of her service. He then spoke thus: --
“O beloved, what do you wish? What is it that you cherish in your mind? On hearing that, she bowed to her husband and revealed her desire.”
Varangi said: --
“O my good husband, if you are so pleased grant me a powerful son who will conquer three worlds and cause misery to Vishnu.”
On hearing the words of his beloved, he was disagreeably surprised and vexed. He was free from inimical thoughts. With perfect wisdom and Sattvic feelings in his heart he said: --
“My beloved wishes enmity with the gods. It does not appeal to me. What shall I do? Where shall I go? How can my vow be preserved from destruction? If my wife’s wishes are fulfilled, the three worlds will be much distressed, so too the gods and the sages. If my beloved’s desires are not fulfilled, I am sure to be cast into hell. In either case righteousness will be lost. This is what we have heard. After weighing both the alternatives, he agreed to the proposal of his wife. For that purpose, he performed another very difficult penance with great zeal with Brahma as the object of worship, for number of years. On seeing the great penance Brahma went to him for granting the boon. With a delighted mind Brahma told him “Speak out the boon you wish to have.”
He eulogised Brahma as well as craved for the boon as desired by his wife.
On hearing his words, Brahma said “So be it.”
Birth of Tareka, the grandson of DIti and his boons:
Then Varangi conceived and delivered of a son of huge body and great strength dazzling the ten quarters. At the same time, the phenomena of three varieties indicating great calamity and terrifying the worlds occurred in the sky, heaven, and earth. Then Kashyap Prajapati thought well and named the powerful demon Taraka. That heroic demon, with his manliness and valour manifesting quickly grew and developed with his steely frame like the lord of mountains. Then the demon Taraka, of great strength and exploit, endowed with a lofty mind, requested permission of his mother for performing penance. The permission having been secured, that demon performed a severe penance.
Brahma told him thus— “tell me what boon you want. A severe penance has been performed by you. There is nothing which cannot be granted to you”.
Taraka said: --
“O Pitamaha, if you are glad and ready to grant me two boons, there should certainly be no man equal to me in strength in this entire universe created by you. If a son born of Shiva becomes the commander-in-chief of an army and discharges weapons against me, let my death occur then”.
Brahma granted him two boons and hastened back to my abode. That great demon was crowned the king of the three worlds with the permission of Shukra, the preceptor of the demons. Then the great demon became the leader of the three worlds. He inaugurated his commanding position by harassing the mobile and immobile beings.
Afraid of him, Indra surrendered his Airavata (white elephant) and Kubera all his nine treasures. White horses were surrendered by Varuṇa, the wish-yielding cow Kamdhenu by the sages, and the sun out of fear for him surrendered his divine horse, Uchchaihsravas. The three worlds became void of all valuable things. The oceans the offered him their gems on account of fear. The entire earth became exuberant in productivity without being tilled and yielded what his subjects desired. Whatever riches the gods possessed, or the manes or others had, were forfeited by the wicked demon. Bringing the three worlds under his control, he declared Indra himself. He became the undisputed lord and ruled over them with perfect self-control. Dismissing the gods, he installed demons in their places. Some gods he engaged in his personal service.
The gods terribly tormented by Taraka, bowed to and eulogised Brahma, the lord of subjects with great devotion. On hearing the eulogy of the gods pleasing and true to facts Brahma was highly pleased and asked: “Why have you all come here? Tell me.”
The gods said: --
“The demon Taraka is very haughty. Driving us out with force he has taken possession of our positions. Please dispel our misery quickly. Wherever we flee we see Taraka. Agni, Yama, Varuṇa, Nirṛti, Vayu and other guardians of the deities are under his control. All of us are his servants. The charitable and virtuous activities are being seldom pursued in the worlds. The regions of our three worlds have been forcibly taken, Taraka have sinful and ruthless temperament. You are our final resort. We had some hope of victory in Sudarshan the discus of Vishnu. But even that discus has become ineffective in his neck where it has fallen as though it were a floral offering to a deity.
Brahma said: --
“O gods, the demon Taraka has flourished, due to my words of blessings. His destruction through me does not seem proper. Shiva is the most suitable agent to carry out your task. Thanks to the power of the boon granted by me, Taraka cannot be killed by me or by Vishnu or by Shiva or by any one of the gods. It is true. O gods, if there is a son born of Shiva, he alone can kill the demon, Taraka. O gods, it is certain that lord Shiva will marry her. Still, you shall pursue your endeavour.
The third eye of Shiva and death of Kamadeva:
Kama and his wife Rati have been powerful enough to conquer the three worlds through sentiments of love esp. in Vasanth. Indra remembered Kama for help.
Kama was deluded by Shiva’s illusion. Accompanied by his wife and Spring he went to the place where Shiva, the Yogi, was performing penance. After going there, the haughty Kama, deluded by Shiva’s magic power, first spread the enchanting power of Spring all around. The fragrant flowers of Mango and Asoka trees shone heightening feelings of love. The water lilies with bees hovering on them proved to be the causes for the rise of love in the minds of everyone. The sweet cooings of the cuckoos heightened emotions of love. The bright light of the moon scattered all around appeared to be the emissary of lovers and their beloveds. Thus, the vast diffusion of Spring caused the display of emotions of love. It was unbearable to the forest dwelling sages.
On seeing the untimely display of spring, Shiva the lord, who had assumed a physical body indulging in divine sports, thought it surprising. But He continued his severe penance. Enchanting all people, he spread his influence.
Kama could not find any vulnerable loophole in Shiva whereby he could enter Him. In the meantime, Parvati came there along with her two maids and brought various kinds of flowers for Shiva’s worship. Profiting by that opportune moment, Kama, by means of his arrow Harṣaṇa delighted the moon-crest god Shiva who was nearby. In order to make the trident-bearing lord take interest in her, Kama drew his bow very carefully and discharged his flowery arrow on Him. As was her usual practice she approached Shiva, bowed to Him, worshipped Him, and stood in front of Him (awaiting further instructions). Parvati was stared at by lord Shiva, while she was laying bare some of the limbs bashfully, as is natural to women in such circumstances.
On seeing Parvati, Shiva said:
“I feel great pleasure on merely seeing her. What pleasure shall I derive by embracing her?”
Thinking thus only for a moment, the enlightened Shiva became detached, honoured Parvati, and spoke.
“How wonderful and mysterious is the situation that has arisen! How is it that I have been deluded and fascinated? Though I am the lord and master, I have been perturbed by Kama.”
Shiva said: --
“How is it that obstacles have cropped up while I am performing the great penance? Who can be that wicked person who has made my mind highly perturbed? With love I have described in bad taste another man’s woman. I have contravened rules of virtue and transgressed the bounds of the Vedas.”
After thinking like this, the great Yogi, the goal of the good, surveyed all round, his suspicion having been aroused. He saw Kama stationed on His left side with his bow fully drawn and ready to discharge the arrow. Kama was haughty and so was very senseless. On seeing Kama in that attitude, instantaneously anger was aroused in lord Shiva, the supreme soul. Kama discharged his arrow, usually unerring on Shiva. The infallible weapon became futile on the great lord. When his endeavour became futile, Kama who was frightened much remembered Indra and all other gods. Third eye Shiva killed Kama.
There are two forces – positive and negative. Positive force is represented by Aditi who gave birth to Devas and Negative force is represented by Diti who gave birth to Datiyas. Positive forces preserve the world and negative forces destroys it.
In chapter 19-20 of Kumara Khanda in Rudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the episode of wedding of Sri Ganesh is described.
Once the loving parents Parvati and Shiva called their sons Sri Ganesh and Kartikeya and spoke as follows: - “O sons, both of you are good sons and equal in our eyes. The auspicious marriage will be celebrated of that boy who comes here first after going round the entire earth.”
On hearing their words, the powerful Kumara started immediately from the fixed point to go round the earth. Ganesh of excellent intellect stood there itself after pondering in his mind frequently with his keen intellect. “What shall be done? Where am I to go? I cannot cross the earth. He performed the ceremonial ablution and returned, home. He then spoke to his father and mother: -
“For your worship two seats have I placed here. Please be seated, dear parents. Let my desire be fulfilled.”
On hearing his words, Parvati and Shiva sat on the seats for receiving worship. They were worshipped by Ganesh and circumambulation was done by him seven times and bowed too seven times. Joining his palms in reverence and eulogising his parents agitated by love and affection, many times, Ganesh the ocean of intelligence, said: --
“O mother, O father, you please listen to my weighty words. My auspicious marriage shall be celebrated quickly.”
On hearing the words of the noble-minded Ganesh, Shiva and Parvati said: --
“You should do circumambulation the earth with all its forests. Kumara has already gone. You too start and return first.”
On hearing the words of his parents, Ganesh said: --
“O mother, O father, you two are intelligent and embodied virtue. Hence O excellent ones, you may be pleased to hear my virtuous words. The circumambulation of earth has been done by me frequently, for seven times. Why then, my parents should say thus?”
The parents said: --
“O son, when was the circumambulation of great earth was done by you, the earth consisting of seven continents extending to the oceans and consisting of vast jungles?
Ganesh said: --
“By worshipping you, Parvati, and Shiva, I have intelligently done circumambulation of the earth extending to the oceans. Is it not the verdict of the Vedas or the Shastras or any other sacred code? Is it true or otherwise? - “He who worships his parents and circumambulates them, will certainly derive the fruit and merit of circumambulating the earth. He who leaves his parents at home and goes on a pilgrimage incurs the sin of their murder. The holy centre of a son consists of the lotus-like feet of his parents. The other holy centres can be reached only after going a long distance. This holy centre is near at hand, easily accessible and a means of virtue. For a son and wife, the auspicious holy centre is in the house itself.”
These things are mentioned frequently in the Shastras and the Vedas. There is no doubt about it. Let my auspicious marriage be celebrated and that too very quickly. Otherwise let the Vedas and Shastras be declared false. Saying thus, Ganesh of excellent intellect, of great wisdom and foremost among intelligent persons assumed silence.
On hearing his words, Parvati and Shiva, the rulers of the universe, were very much surprised. Then, Shiva and Parvati praised their son who was clever and intelligent and spoke to him who had spoken the truth. Shiva and Parvati said: --
“O son, you are a supreme soul, and your thoughts are pure. What you have said is true and not otherwise. When misfortune comes, if a person is keenly intelligent, his misfortunes perish even as darkness perishes when the sun rises. He who has intelligence possesses strength as well. How can he who is devoid of intellect have strength? The proud lion was drowned in a well with a trick by a little hare. Whatever has been mentioned in the Vedas, Shastras and Puraṇas for a boy, all that has been performed by you, namely, the observance of virtue. What has been executed by you shall be done by anyone. We have honoured it. It will not be altered now.”
The celebration of Ganesh’s marriage:
In the meantime, Prajapati Vishvarupa became delighted and happy on knowing their intention. Prajapati Vishvarupa had two daughters of divine features. They were famous as Siddhi (Spiritual Power) and Buddhi (Intellect). (Another mainstream pattern associates him with the concepts of Buddhi, Siddhi, and Riddhi i.e., prosperity) They were exquisite in every part of their body. The lord Shiva and Parvati jubilantly celebrated the marriage of Ganesh with them.
Vishwakarma made all arrangements for the marriage. The sages and the gods were full of great joy. After some time, the noble Ganesh begot two sons, one each of his wives. They were endowed with divine features. The son Kṣema (Prosperity) was born to Siddhi. The highly brilliant son Labha (Profit) was born to Buddhi. (In Northern Indian variants of this story the sons are often said to be Shubh i.e., auspiciousness and Labha). They bestow happiness on everyone.
Narada said to Kartikeya: -
“While Ganesh was enjoying the inconceivable happiness, the second son returned after circumambulating the earth. After driving you out under the pretext of circumambulating the earth, they have celebrated the excellent and auspicious marriage of Ganesh. By this marriage that was celebrated, Ganesh has obtained two wives joyously. He has begot of his two wives of auspicious body
two sons, Kṣema of Siddhi and Labha of Buddhi.
The entire earth consisting of oceans and jungles has been traversed by you due to their deceptive behest. O dear, consider. If parents begin to deceive or particularly if our masters begin to deceive, won’t others also begin to deceive. Your parents have not done well. Just ponder over it. I don’t think their action has been good. This policy has been mentioned in the Vedas, Smṛtis and sacred texts. It has been intimated to you now. Do as you wish.”
After bowing to his father, the infuriated Skanda (Kartikeya0 went to the Krauncha Mountain though forbidden by his parents. “Even when forbidden by us why do you go?” Although he was prevented by saying this, he went away saying “No”. “O parents, I shall not stay here even a moment when deception has been practised on me eschewing affection towards me.” He went away saying so. Even today he is staying there removing the sin of all by his very vision.
Ever since that day, the son of Shiva, Kartikeya remains a bachelor. His name bestows auspiciousness in the world. It is famous in the three worlds. It dispels all sins, is meritorious and confers the sanctity of celibacy. In the month of Kartika, the gods, the holy sages and great ascetics go there to see Kumara. He who has the vision of the lord in the Kartika Nakṣatra in the month of Kartika is divested of all sins. He derives all desired fruits.
Parvati became grief-stricken by separation from Skanda. She piteously told her lord. “O lord, let us go there.” Shiva went to that mountain partially for her happiness. He assumed the pleasing form of Jyotirlinga named Mallikarjuna. On coming to know that Shiva had come there with Parvati, Kumara became unattached and was eager to go elsewhere. On being requested by the gods and sages he stayed in a place three Yojanas away.
On the full and new moon days, Parvati and Shiva are excited by love towards their son and they go there to see him. On new moon days, Shiva himself goes there. On full moon days, Parvati goes there certainly.
He who worships his parents and circumambulates them, will certainly derive the fruit and merit of circumambulating the earth. He who leaves his parents at home and goes on a pilgrimage incurs the sin of their murder. The holy centre of a son consists of the lotus-like feet of his parents. The other holy centres can be reached only after going a long distance. This holy centre is near at hand, easily accessible and a means of virtue. For a son and wife, the auspicious holy centre is in the house itself.
In Chapter 7 to 12 of Kumara-Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana, the story of slaying of Taraka by Kartikeya is narrated.
Shiva entrusted his son to the gods in order to kill Taraka. At the bidding of Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, and other gods jointly started from the mountain keeping Kumara (Kartikeya) in front. Keeping Kumara at the head, shouting and roaring, purified by Shiva’s splendour they started to attack Taraka. The powerful Taraka rushed to fight back the gods with a great army. Then a celestial voice, prompted by Shiva addressed Vishnu and all other gods. The celestial Voice said: --
“O gods, keeping Kumara at the head you have entered the lists. Defeating the Asuras in the battle, you will be victorious.”
On hearing the celestial voice, the gods became enthusiastic. Fearlessly they roared like heroes. With their fear subsided, and keeping Kumara ahead, the gods went to the confluence of the river Mahi and the ocean desirous of fighting.
Immediately Taraka, along with a great army, came to the place where the gods stood. Battle drums were sounded as loud as the rumbling sound of the clouds at the dissolution of the world. The harsh musical instruments were also played when he came. The Asuras in the company of Taraka roared and shook the ground with their thudding footsteps.
Accompanied by the great army of the gods and the guardians of the quarters, lord Indra seated Kumara on an elephant and rushed forward. Great war-drums, Dundubhis, Bheris and Turyas, lutes, flutes and Mṛdangas were sounded and the Gandharvas sang war songs. Leaving the elephant to lord Indra, Kumara got in an aerial chariot of wonderful build and studded with different sets of gems. Indra and other gods of great strength, desirous of fighting, joined him with their own divisions of the army. The gods and the demons stood in their arrays on the ground with a vast army ready to start the battle.
The battle between the gods and Asuras
In the meantime, the rank and file of the Asuras and the gods, haughty of their strength and blazing with fury came together in a mutual clash. A terrific tumultuous fight between the gods and the Asuras ensued. Within a moment the place was littered with severed heads and headless trunks. Blood flowed like streams in hundreds of places. Hundreds of ghosts and goblins flocked there. Jackals and vixens began eating the flesh. Numbers of vultures, kites, crows, and carnivorous birds devoured the flesh of those falling.
In the meantime, Taraka, the demon of great strength, came there with a huge army to fight with the gods. On seeing the haughty warrior rushing on them, Indra, and others, turned against him. Then a tumultuous sound arose from both the armies. Duels were fought by the gods and the Asuras crushing each other, on seeing which heroes were delighted and cowards were terrified. The battle ground became impassable and awful with the corpses of the gods and Asuras lying there in thousands but it was very pleasing to the brave.
In the meantime, Virbhadra reached the place furiously along with his heroic Gaṇas and approached Taraka who professed to be a great hero. Immediately after being hit hard with a trident by Virbhadra, Taraka fell unconscious on the ground. Regaining consciousness quickly Taraka, the excellent Asura got up and forcefully hit Virbhadra with his spear. In the same manner, the heroic Virbhadra of great brilliance hit Taraka with his sharp terrible trident. Fighting each other thus they hit each other with various weapons and missiles both being equally skilful in the art of warfare. Both were severely wounded by the mutual hits and thrusts but still they continued their fight with added vigour. On seeing the fight between him and Virbhadra, Narada went there and asked Virbhadra to desist from this fight. Killing him by you does not fit in. Virbhadra said: --
“O excellent sage, I will kill Taraka. See my exploit today. Let Vishnu and other gods listen to my words—I shall make the earth freed of Taraka today even without bringing my master here.”
Saying thus and taking up his trident, Virbhadra mentally meditated on Shiva and fought with Taraka, accompanied by Pramathas. Keeping Virbhadra at their head, and shouting fearlessly jubilantly, hundreds of the Gaṇas fought with the Asuras. The terrific mutual fights between the demons and the Gaṇas happened again and again. Ultimately the Gaṇas, experts in the use of great missiles, came out victorious and were jubilant. Defeated by the Gaṇas of great strength, the Asuras turned their faces and began to flee. They were distressed and agitated.
On seeing his army vanishing thus in flight, their protector, the Asura Taraka, furiously rushed at the gods and the Gaṇas. He assumed ten thousand hands and rode on a lion. In the battle that followed he felled the gods and the Gaṇas quickly. On seeing such a perpetration of Taraka, Virbhadra, the leader of the Gaṇas, became very furious. To kill him he took up his trident after remembering the lotus like feet of Shiva. In the meantime, the master stopped the war. He prevented Virabahu and others immediately in order to show his own might. At his bidding Virbhadra returned from the battle. The heroic leader of the Asuras, Taraka, was still in his unabated fury. After causing a great havoc, Taraka, the protector of Asuras, the most excellent among the brave, seemed invincible to the gods.
On seeing the gods terrified and slaughtered, Vishnu became furious and got ready to fight. Taking discus Sudarshan, the bow Sarang and other weapons with him, lord Vishnu rushed to meet the great Asura in the battle. A great fight ensued between Vishnu and Taraka. It was very fierce. It caused horripilation to the onlookers. Lifting up his club, Vishnu hit the Asura with great force, but the powerful Asura split it with his trident. The Asura Taraka then quickly hit Vishnu with his spear. On being hit thus, Vishnu fell unconscious on the ground. In a moment, Vishnu got up and in rage seized his discus that was blazing with flames, and he roared like a lion. Vishnu hit the king of Asuras with it. Overwhelmed by the forceful hit he fell on the ground. Taraka using all his strength immediately split the discus with his spear. Both Vishnu and the Asura, equally powerful, hit each other in the battle with unabated strength.
Boasting of Taraka and fight between him and Indra, Vishnu, Virbhadra:
Brahma said: --
“O Guha (Kartikeya), the fight between Vishnu and Taraka is not proper. It is futile. Taraka the powerful cannot be killed by Vishnu. He has been granted such a boon by me. None except you can be the slayer of this sinner. Please get ready to slay him. O son of Parvati you are born of Shiva for killing that demon. Formerly Indra and the guardians of the quarters had been conquered by him. Due to the power of his penance, the heroic Vishnu too has been threatened by him. The entire universe of the three worlds has been defeated by this wicked Asura. This sinful being Taraka shall be killed by you.”
On hearing these words, Kumara was delighted, and he laughed. “So be it”, said he.
Resolving to kill the Asura, the great lord, son of Shiva got down from the aerial chariot and stood on the ground. Running on foot, seizing his lustrous spear blazing like a meteor, the powerful warrior Kumara born of Shiva shone well.
On seeing the incomprehensible six-headed deity coming forward, fierce and unagitated, the Asura spoke to the gods derisively— “O this child indeed will slay the enemies!” I will fight with him single-handed. I will kill the soldiers, the Gaṇas and the guardians of the quarters led by Vishnu. Saying thus, the powerful Asura rushed at Kumara to fight with him. Taraka seized his wonderful spear and spoke to the gods.
Taraka said: --
“How is it that you all kept Kumara face to face with me? You gods are shameless especially Indra and Vishnu. These two impudent fellows are presumptuous enough to place a child in front of me. Why? I will kill the child too. They too will have it. But let the child leave from here and save his life.”
After saying this, hinting at Indra and Vishnu he turned to Virbhadra and spoke.
“Formerly in the sacrifice of Dakṣa, many brahmins had been killed by you, O sinless one, I shall show you the fruit thereof.”
Saying this and dispossessing himself of his own merit by that act of censure, Taraka the foremost among warmongers seized his wonderful spear. Then, Indra, Vishnu, Virbhadra & others fought forcefully.
Jubilation of the gods at the death of Taraka:
Kumara prevented Virbhadra from attacking Taraka by trident and desired the destruction of Taraka. Then the powerful Kartikeya of great splendour roared. Angrily he got ready for the fight. He was surrounded by a vast army. Shouts of victory were raised by the gods and the Gaṇas. He was eulogised by the celestial sages with pleasing words. The fight between Taraka and Kumara was terrific and unbearable. Both fought each other with spears in their hands. They were experts in different tactics of warfare. They were equally strong. They desired to kill each other.
Then a celestial voice rose appeasing the gods— “In this battle Kumara will kill the Asura Taraka. None of the gods need be anxious. All shall rest assured. For your welfare Shiva Himself is standing here in the form of His son.”
Taraka, hit Kumara angrily with his spear. At the blow of the spear, the son of Shiva became unconscious. He regained his consciousness in a few minutes. He was eulogised by the great sages. Kumara became furious like a maddened lion and was desirous of killing the Asura. The powerful Kumara hit Taraka with his spear. With massive heaps of fatal missiles, they hit each other. They had various ways of attack. They roared.
Kumara with his spear struck Taraka who had harassed the worlds. Immediately the Asura Taraka the ruler of the hosts of Asuras, although very heroic, fell on the ground with all his limbs shattered. The great warrior Taraka was slain by Kumara. When the powerful Asura was slain, other Asuras were killed by gods and Gaṇas. Thousands of them fled to Patala for their life. thus, the entire army of the Asuras disappeared. Thus, when Kumara came out victorious the gods were happy. The three worlds attained great pleasure. The delighted gods, Gaṇas and sages, Siddhas and Caraṇas eulogised Parvati, Shiva, and the son of Shiva. Then there was great jubilation with vocal and instrumental music and chanting of the Vedas.
The Victory of Kumara and the death of Bana and Pralamba:
Mountain Kraunca, harassed by Baṇa came there and sought refuge in Kumara. Skanda who was thus eulogised by Kraunca became delighted. Kumara hurled the spear aiming at Baṇa. Reducing the Asuras to ashes along with his army in a moment, the great spear returned to Kumara.
With great pleasure and observing the rules Skanda installed three phallic emblems of Shiva that quell all sins. The first is called Pratijneshvara, the second Kapaleshvara and the last Kumareshvara. The three can confer all the achievements. Thereafter, Kumara joyously installed the phallic image Stambheshvara, near the column of victory.
Then Kumuda the son of Sheṣa who was harassed by the Asuras came and sought refuge in Kumara. Another follower of Taraka—Pralamba who had fled from the battle with Taraka wrought great havoc with full force.
Eulogised by Kumuda and requested to slay the demon Pralamba, Kumara took up his spear after remembering the lotus-like feet of Shiva. He hurled the spear at Pralamba. Reducing that powerful Asura to ashes in a moment the spear carried out the job without strain and returned to Kumara. Then Kumara told the Naga child Kumuda— “Go home fearlessly. That Asura has been slain along with his army.”
On hearing the words of Guha, Kumuda, the son of the Naga chief eulogised and bowed to Kumara and went to Patella in great delight.
Vishnu and other gods eulogised kumara along with his followers for being freed from adversities and killing Taraka. Kumara granted them fresh boons in order. On seeing the mountains eulogising, the son of Shiva became very glad and said: --
“All of you, mountains will become worthy of being worshipped by the sages and resorted to by persons following the paths of action and knowledge. At my word you will be assuming the forms of phallic emblems, the special forms of Shiva. My maternal grandfather, the excellent mountain Himalaya, will become the fortunate bestower of fruits to ascetics.
The gods said: --
“By killing Taraka the lord of Asuras, and by granting boons thus, all of us including the mobile and immobile beings have been made happy by you. Now, it behoves you to go to Kailash with great pleasure, to the abode of Shiva to see your mother and father Shiva and Parvati.”
After saying thus, Vishnu and other gods went jubilantly to that mountain along with Kumara. They reached Shiva’s Mountain crying shouts of victory to Shiva. They entered the precincts with delight. Auspicious sounds arose. On seeing Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and other gods bowed to Shiva with devotion and stood there humbly with palms joined in reverence. Kumara descended from the aerial chariot in all humility and bowed joyously to Shiva and Parvati seated on a throne. On seeing their beloved son Kumara, the lordly couple Shiva and Parvati rejoiced much. After eulogising and bowing to Shiva frequently, Vishnu and other gods stood before him after placing Skanda ahead. On hearing the eulogy of the gods, Shiva, the self-ruler was delighted. The compassionate lord then laughed. Shiva said: --
“O Vishnu, O Brahma, O gods, listen to my words with attention. I am merciful. I shall protect you, the gods.”
Then, Vishnu, the other gods and the sages bowed to Shiva, Parvati, and Kumara joyously, and returned to their abodes in great delight singing the pleasant glory of Shiva, Parvati and their son.
In Chapter 13 to 18 of Kumara-Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana, the story of birth of Ganesh & crowning as chief of Ganas is narrated.
Once when Parvati was taking her bath, Sadashiv rebuked Nandi and came into the inner apartment. Parvati, seeing the untimely arrival of shiva amid her bath stood up. The goddess thought as follows.
“There must be a servant of my own who will be expert in his duties. He must not stray from my behest even a speck.”
Thinking thus the goddess created a person with all the characteristics, out of the dirt from her body. He was spotless and handsome in every part of his body. He was huge in size and had all brilliance, strength, and valour. She gave him various clothes and ornaments. She blessed him with benediction and said — “You are my son. You are my own. I have no one else to call my own”.
Ganesh said: --
“What is your order? I shall accomplish what you command.”
Parvati said: --
“O dear, listen to my words. Work as my gatekeeper from today. You are my son. Without my permission, no one, by any means, shall intrude my apartment. I tell you the fact.”
Then the son of the goddess, of great heroic power, stayed at the doorway armed with a staff with a desire to do what was good to her. At this very moment Shiva who is eagerly indulgent and an expert in various divine sports came near the door. Not knowing that he was Shiva, the consort of Parvati,
Ganesh said — “O sir, without my mother’s permission you shall not go in now. My mother has entered the bath. Where are you going now? Go away”.
On seeing him Shiva said “O foolish fellow, whom are you forbidding? O wicked knave, don’t you know me? I am Shiva, no one else, the husband of Parvati. O boy, I go in my own house. Why do you forbid me?”
When lord Shiva tried to enter the house, Ganesh became infuriated and struck him with his staff once again. Then Shiva too became furious. He commanded his own Gaṇas— “Who is this fellow here? What is he doing? O Gaṇas, enquire.”
The Ganas argue and wrangle with Ganesh:
The infuriated Gaṇas of Shiva at his bidding went there and questioned the son of Parvati who stood at the gate. Shiva’s Gaṇas said: --
“Who are you? Whence do you come? What do you propose to do? If you have a desire to remain alive go away from here. You go away from here. If not, your death is certain.”
Ganesh said: --
“I am the son of Parvati. You are the Gaṇas of Shiva. Both of us are thus equal. Let your duty be done, now. You are all doorkeepers. How is it that I am not? You are standing there, and I am standing here. This is certain. You must carry out the directions of Shiva. I have to carry out the orders of Parvati faithfully. You shall not enter the apartment either forcibly or humbly.”
The Gaṇas when decisively told by Ganesh became ashamed. They went to Shiva. After bowing to him they stood in front of him. Then they acquainted him with that news of wonderful nature. On hearing the detailed news mentioned by his Gaṇas, Shiva replied following the worldly conventions.
Shiva said: --
“O Gaṇas, a battle may not be a proper course. He is Parvati’s Gaṇa. But if we are going to be humble, there is likely to be a rumour: Shiva is subservient to his wife. O Gaṇas, this is certainly derogatory to me. That single-handed Gaṇa is a mere boy. What valour can be expected of him? You are all experts in warfare and reputed to be so in the world. You are my own men. How can you forsake war and demean yourselves? Hence, this war has to be fought by all means. Let what is in store happen.”
Ganesh’s battle with Ganas:
On seeing the excellent Gaṇas, fully equipped for war, coming, Ganesh said: --
“Welcome to the leaders of Gaṇas, carrying out the behests of shiva. I am only one and that too a mere boy carrying out the directions of Parvati. Yet let the goddess see the strength of her son. Let Shiva see the strength of his Gaṇas too. The fight between the parties of Parvati and Shiva is the one between a strong army and a boy. You are all experts in warfare and have fought in many a battle. I have never fought in a battle before. I am a mere boy. I am going to fight now. Still if you are put to shame, it will be shameful to Shiva and Parvati. But that will not happen to me. If I am put to shame, the contrary will happen to me. Parvati and Shiva will be put to shame but not I. O leader of the Gaṇas, the war shall be fought after realising this. You shall look up to your lord and I to my mother. Let what is destined to occur, occur. No one in the three worlds can ward it off.”
When thus taunted and rebuked they rushed towards him with big batons, decorating their arms and taking up different kinds of weapons. Nandi came first and caught hold of his leg. He pulled at it. Bhṛngi then rushed at him and caught hold of his other leg. Before the Gaṇas of Shiva had time to pull his legs Ganesh struck a blow at their hands and got his legs free. He smashed the gaṇas. Some fell on the ground, some fled in various directions, some got their legs broken and some fled to Shiva. Then Ganesh returned to doorway and stood there.
At this time, urged by Narada, all the gods including Vishnu and Indra came there. Standing in front of Shiva and bowing to him, they said— “O lord, be pleased to command us. What sort of sport you are indulging in, now?”
On hearing their words and seeing the Gaṇas completely shattered, Shiva told them everything. Then, He issued directives to Indra and other gods, to the Gaṇas led by the six-faced Kumara and to goblins, ghosts, and spirits to kill Ganesh. Whatever weapon they had was hurled on Ganesh with force. The six faced deity and the other gods who came there failed to use their weapons effectively. They were very much surprised.
In the meantime, goddess, the mother of the universe, of special knowledge, came to know of the entire incident and was very furious. The goddess created two Shaktis then and there for the assistance of her own Gaṇa. One Shakti assumed a very fierce form and stood there opening her mouth as wide as the cavern of a dark mountain. The other assumed the form of lightning. She wore many arms. She was a huge and terrible goddess ready to punish the wicked. The weapons hurled by the gods and the Gaṇas were caught in the mouth and hurled back at them. None of the weapons of the gods was seen anywhere around the iron club of Ganesh. This wonderful feat was performed by them. A single boy stirred and churned the vast impassable army in the same manner as great mountain churned the ocean of milk formerly. Indra and other gods were struck by him, singlehanded. The Gaṇas of Shiva became agitated and distressed then. All the gods and Gaṇas fled. They asked Shiva “O lord who is that excellent Gaṇa?”
On hearing their words, the furious Rudra became more furious and went there along with his Gaṇas.
By indulging in a great sport, the arrogance of the Gaṇas has been removed by you. The impudence of the gods too has been removed by giving this (Ganesh) much strength.
Narada said to Shiva: - “do not indulge in that sport. Please honour your own Gaṇas and the gods suitably and make them flourish. O bestower of the region of Brahman, please do not treat him leisurely but kill him in your play now.”
The head of Ganesh is chopped off during the battle:
Shiva called Vishnu and consulted him. Then with a great army and the gods, He, the three-eyed lord, stood face to face with him.
Vishnu, thinking within himself “He has to be killed only by deception and not otherwise” he stayed amid the army. “I shall cause him delusion. Then let him be killed by you. Without deception he cannot be killed. He is of Tamasika nature and inaccessible.” Thinking thus and consulting Shiva, Vishnu secured Shiva’s permission and was engaged in the activities of delusion. On seeing Vishnu in that manner, the two Shaktis handed over their power to Ganesh and became submerged. When the two Shaktis became submerged, Ganesh with more strength infused in him hurled the iron club in the place where Vishnu stood. Vishnu strenuously dodged the same after remembering Shiva.
Seeing his face on a side, the infuriated Shiva took up his trident with a desire to fight and came there. Ganesh, who had been rendered more powerful by Parvati and the Shaktis remembered the lotus like feet of his mother and struck him in his hand. Thereupon the trident fell from the hand of Shiva of supreme soul. Seeing this, Shiva took up his bow Pinaka. Ganesh felled that to the ground by means of his iron club. Five of his hands too were struck. He took up the trident with the other five hands. In the meantime, the heroic Ganesh endowed with the surplus power bestowed by the Shaktis struck the gods and the Gaṇas with his iron club. The gods and the Gaṇas smothered by that wonderful striker with the iron club went away to the ten directions. None of them remained in the battlefield. On seeing Ganesh, Vishnu said— “He is blessed. He is a great hero of great strength. He is valorous and fond of battle. Many gods, Danavas, Daityas, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, and Rakṣasas I have seen. In the entire extent of the three worlds, none of them can equal Ganesh in regard to brilliance, form, features, valour and other qualities.”
Ganesh whirled the iron club and hurled it at Vishnu. After remembering the lotus-like feet of Shiva, Vishnu took up his discus and split the iron club by means of discus. Ganesh hurled the piece of iron club at Vishnu which was caught by the bird Garuḍa and rendered futile. Thus, for a long time the two heroes Vishnu and Ganesh fought with each other. Then, the Trident-bearing deity came there and cut off his head with his trident. When the head of Ganesh was cut off, the armies of the gods and the Gaṇas stood still. Narada, then came and acquainted Parvati with the matter.
The Resuscitation of Ganesh:
After cutting off the head of Ganesh even as Shiva became sorry, goddess Parvati became furious. “O what shall I do? Where shall I go? Alas, great misery has befallen me. How can this misery, this great misery be dispelled now? “My son has been killed by all the gods and the Gaṇas. I shall destroy them all or create a deluge.”
Lamenting thus, the great goddess of all the worlds angrily created in a moment hundred and thousands of Shaktis. Shaktis who were thus created, bowed to Parvati, the mother of the universe and blazing brilliantly spoke— “O mother, be pleased to command.” The goddess said: --
“O Shaktis, O goddesses, now a great deluge shall be created by you at my bidding. You need not hesitate in this regard. Devour forcibly all these sages, gods, Yakṣas, Raakṣasas belonging to us and others.”
On being commanded by her, the infuriated Shaktis got ready to destroy the gods and others. These Shaktis attempted to destroy. Leaders of Gaṇas or Vishnu, Brahma or Shiva, Indra or Kubera, Skanda or the Sun—Shaktis began to destroy them. Wherever one looked, Shaktis were present. On seeing that Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, the other gods, Gaṇas and the sages began to doubt what the Goddess Parvati would be doing, whether she would create an untimely dissolution. They all gathered and discussed— “What shall be done now? In the meantime, Narada came there for the happiness of the gods and Gaṇas. He said— “Let us think and act together.” They then said. So long as the goddess Parvati does not favour us there will be no happiness. Narada and other sages went to Parvati to appease her anger. They then propitiated her. They eulogised her with many hymns. They sought forgiveness. They said: -
“The final dissolution seems near at hand. Your lord is standing here. O mother, you see him. What are we, the gods, Vishnu, Brahma and others? We are only your subjects. We stand here with palms joined in reverence. O great goddess, our guilts shall be forgiven. We are agitated and distressed. O Parvati give us peace.”
On hearing their words Parvati was pleased and she replied to the sages with her mind full of compassion. The goddess said: --
“If my son regains life there may not be further annihilation. If you can arrange for him an honourable status and position among you as the chief presiding officer, there may be peace in the world. Otherwise, you will never be happy.”
Thus, Narada and other sages returned and intimated to all the gods everything in detail. On hearing that, Indra and other gods joined their palms in reverence and piteously intimated to Shiva what had transpired there. On hearing what the gods said, Shiva spoke thus— “It shall be done accordingly so that there may be peace over all the worlds.”
“You shall go to the northern direction and whatever person you meet at first you cut off his head and fit it to this body.”
Then they carried out Shiva’s behests and acted accordingly. They brought the headless body of Ganesh and washed it well. They paid homage to it and started towards the north. It was a single-tusked elephant that they met. They took the head and fitted it to the body. After joining it, the gods bowed to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and spoke — “What has been ordered by you has been carried out by us. Let the task left incomplete be performed now.”
Then Brahma, Vishnu and other gods spoke after bowing to lord Shiva who is free from the ill effects of the attributes.
They said: — “Since we all are born out of your brilliant Energy let that Energy come into it by the recitation of the Vedic mantras. Saying so, they jointly sprinkled the holy water, invoked by the mantras on that body after remembering Shiva. Immediately after the contact of the holy water the boy was resuscitated to life and joined with consciousness. As Shiva willed, the boy woke up as from a sleep. On seeing the son of Parvati resuscitated to life, they all rejoiced, and their miseries came to an end. On seeing her restored to life, the goddess was greatly delighted.
Ganesh crowned as the chief of Ganas:
On seeing her son, Parvati was highly delighted. Taking him up with both her hands she embraced him joyously. He was honoured by the goddess who bestowed all Siddhis on him and touched him with her hand that removes all distress. She granted him boons with affection and said— “You have had great distress since your very birth. You will receive worship before all the gods. You will be free from distress. Vermillion is visible on your face now. Hence you will be worshipped with vermillion by all men always. All achievements certainly accrue to him who performs your worship with flowers, sandal paste, scents, auspicious food offerings Niranjana rites, betel leaves, charitable gifts, circumambulations, and obeisance. Shiva told the gods. “This is another son of mine.”
Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma said to the gods: -
“He is the remover of all obstacles and the bestower of the fruits of all rites. He shall be worshipped first, and we shall be worshipped afterwards. If he is not worshipped, we too are not worshipped. If the other deities are worshipped when he is not worshipped, the fruit of that rite will be lost. There is no doubt in this matter.”
To gratify Parvati, Gaṇesha was proclaimed as the presiding officer by all, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and others. Again, with a joyful mind, several boons were granted by Parvati to him.
Shiva said: --
“O son of Parvati, let your name be the most auspicious in the matter of quelling obstacles. Be the presiding officer of all my Gaṇas and worthy of worship now. O Ganesh, you are born in the first Prahara on the fourth day in the dark half of the Bhadra mouth at the auspicious hour of the moonrise. Since your form manifested itself from the good mind of Parvati, your excellent Vrata shall be performed on that Tithi itself or beginning from that day. It will be very auspicious and conducive to the achievement of all Siddhis. He shall perform worship with the Durva grass and observe fast. After a Prahara has elapsed in the night the devotee shall take bath and worship. The idol shall be made of metal, coral, white Arka flowers or clay. It shall be installed and worshipped by the devotee with all purity, with scents of various kinds, divine sandal paste, and flowers. A handful of Durva grass having three knots and without roots shall be used for worship. After worshipping you with various articles of worship like betel etc. and eulogising you with hymns, the devotee shall worship the crescent moon. Afterwards, he shall feed the brahmins joyously with sweets with due honour. He himself shall take sweets and avoid salt. Then the rites shall formally be dismissed. Then he shall remember Ganesh. Thus, the Vrata shall be concluded auspiciously. O Ganesh, he who performs your worship up to his ability, with faith, shall derive the fruit of all desires. The devotee shall worship you, the lord of Gaṇas with vermillion, sandal paste, raw rice grains and Ketaka flowers as well as with other services. They who devoutly worship you with acts of service will achieve success. Their obstacles will be quelled.”
When Parvati became free from fury, Shiva and Parvati behaved as before. Both Vishnu and Brahma took leave of Shiva and Parvati returned to our abodes.
Arrogance is the characteristic of Man’s nature. It needs to be curbed.