The story of birth of Kartikeya and his crowning – Shiva Purana
In Chapter 1 to 6 of Kumara-Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana, the story of birth and crowning of Kartikeya, son of Shiva & Parvati is narrated.
After marrying Parvati, Shiva went to a delightful brilliant, isolated place. Shiva indulged in dalliance with Parvati for a thousand years. Because of the dalliance of Shiva and Parvati, the earth quaked with the weight along with Sheṣa (the serpent) and Kacchapa (the tortoise). Then, Vishnu along with Brahma & gods went immediately to the mountain Kailasa and desired to see Shiva. Vishnu & other deities eulogised Shiva and asked to save them from Taraka, being harassed by him.
Birth of Kartikeya:
On hearing that, the great lord, an expert in Yogic theory, though free from lust, discharged the semen which fell on the ground. Agni became a dove and swallowed it with his beak which caused him burning sensation. Agni eulogised Shiva to get relieved from burning sensation. Hearing the words of Agni, Shiva the great lord spoke delightedly to Agni. Shiva said: --
“An improper action has been committed by you in swallowing my semen. Deposit carefully that semen in the womb of some good woman. You will become happy and particularly relieved of the burning sensation.” Then, Narada said: -
“O Agni, taking recourse to the following expedient you will be relieved of the burning sensation and be happy. You shall deposit this semen of Shiva in the bodies of the ladies who take their morning baths in the month of Magha.”
Meanwhile the wives of the seven celestial sages came there desirous of taking their early morning bath in the month of Magha with other observances of rites. After the bath, six of them were distressed by the chillness and were desirous of going near the flame of fire. Arundhati of good conduct and perfect knowledge saw them deluded and dissuaded them at the behest of Shiva. The six ladies stubbornly insisted on going there to ward off their chillness because they were deluded by Shiva’s magical art. Immediately the particles of the semen entered their bodies through the pores of hairs. The fire was relieved of their burning sensation. The women became pregnant and were distressed by the burning sensation. They went home. The wives of the sages cast off their semen in the form of a foetus at the top of Himalaya. They felt then relieved of their burning sensation. Unable to bear that semen of Shiva and trembling much, Himalaya became scorched by it and hurled it in the Ganga. The intolerable semen of lord Shiva was deposited by Ganga in the forest of Sara grass. The semen that fell was turned in a handsome good-featured boy, full of glory and splendour. He increased everyone’s pleasure. On the sixth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Margashirsha, the son of Shiva was born in the world. Out of joy, milk exuded from the breasts of Parvati. There was great jubilation everywhere.
The boyhood sports of Kartikeya
The powerful sage Visvamitra came and was delighted on seeing the unearthly splendour of that brilliant boy. He bowed him.
Shiva’s son said: --
“O great one of perfect wisdom, it is due to the will of Shiva that you have come here by chance. O dear, perform my purificatory rites in accordance with Vedic injunctions. From now onwards you remain my priest conferring your love on me.”
Vishvamitra said: --
“Listen, O dear, I am not a brahmin. I am a Kshatriya, son of Gadhi, famous as a servant of brahmins.”
Shiva’s son (Guha, Kartikeya) said: --
“O Vishvamitra, thanks to my favour, you now become a Brahminical sage. Vasishta and others will for ever regard you with respect. Hence, at my behest you shall perform my purificatory rites. Keep this as a great secret. You shall not mention it anywhere.”
Kartikeya was glad and conferred divine wisdom on the sage. Form that times onwards he became a great brahmin. Agni gave him a miraculous weapon, spear. Kartikeya took the spear and ascended the peak. He hit the peak with his spear and the peak fell. Ten thousand billion of heroic demons came there to attack him but were killed on being hit with the spear. There was great hue and cry.
The Earth, the mountains and the three worlds quaked. Indra the lord of gods came there. The four of great heroic strength including Skanda rushed to attack Indra. Afraid of Guha, Indra with all the gods went away to his region agitatedly. He did not know his secret. That boy remained there itself as fearless as before. Meanwhile the six ladies named Kṛttikas came there for bath, and they saw the lordly boy. All of them desired to take and fondle him. As a result, a dispute arose. To quell their mutual dispute, the boy assumed six faces and drank milk off their breasts. They were all satisfied. They took him to their region joyously. Feeding him with their breast milk they nursed and nurtured Śiva’s son who was more refulgent than the sun. Feeding him specially on the choicest delicacies day by day they brought up the boy prodigy. Once Kartikeya went to the celestial assembly and showed wonderful feats. The boy of wonderful miracles showed his rare splendour to the gods including Vishnu.
On seeing him, the gods and sages including Vishnu became surprised and asked the boy “Pray, who are you?” On hearing it he did not say anything in reply. He returned to his abode and remained concealed as before.
One day Parvati asked Shiva about her son. Shiva informed that the boy was taken by the Kṛttikas. “They are feeding him with their own breast milk they nurtured your son, as refulgent as the sun. Now, he is the son of the Kṛttikas in the forest. In their eagerness they named him Kartikeya lovingly.” On receiving the news of her son, Parvati was delighted. The lord sent his Gaṇas as his emissaries to the place where his son was staying. All the emissaries of Shiva went and haughtily encircled the abode of the Kṛttikas with various miraculous weapons in their hands. On seeing them the Kṛttikas were extremely terrified. They spoke to Kartikeya blazing with divine splendour. Kartikeya assured them to be out of fear.
In the meantime, Nandishvara the commander-in-chief informed Kartikeya:
“You are the son of Shiva, the annihilator of the universe. Shiva will be crowning you in the company of the gods. You will get miraculous weapons and will slay the demon, Taraka. You are brilliant enough to illuminate the universe.”
Kartikeya said: --
“I am fostered son of Krttikas. I am not severed from Parvati who is virtually my mother just as these ladies based on virtuous rites. You have been sent by Shiva. You are like a son unto Shiva. I am coming with you. I shall see the gods. After saying so and hurriedly taking leave of the Kṛttikas, Kartikeya started along with the attendants of Shiva.”
In the meantime, he saw an excellent, lustrous, and wonderful chariot, made by Viśvakarman. It was a commodious with a hundred wheels. It was beautiful and had the quickness of the mind. It had been sent by Parvati and was surrounded by the excellent attendants of Shiva. He got into the chariot along with them. Kumara reached the foot of a Nyagrodha tree at Kailash in the fast chariot along with Nandi seated to his right. Then all the gods, sages, Siddhas, Caraṇas, Vishnu and Brahma announced his arrival. Shiva, and Parvati highly delighted and jubilant came there and saw their son. On seeing his son, the great lord Shiva along with the great goddess Parvati was filled with pleasure and love.
The sages adored Kumara with the Vedic chants, the musicians by singing songs, and others by playing upon musical instruments. Then Shiva following the worldly convention delightedly placed Kartikeya on a beautiful gem set throne. Vishnu gave him a crown, a coronet and bracelets moulded and set in gems, his own necklace Vaijayanti and the discus. Shiva gave him the trident, the bow Pinaka, the axe, the arrow Pasupata, the weapon of destruction and the greatest lore. Brahma gave him the holy thread, the Vedas, the mantra Gayatri, the vessel Kamaṇḍalu, the arrow Brahmastra and the lore that destroys the enemy. Then Indra gave him a lordly elephant and a thunderbolt. The lord of the waters, Varuṇa, gave him a white umbrella and a necklace of gems to wear. The sun gave him a chariot as fast as the mind and a coat of mail with great equipments; Yama his own staff: the moon a vessel full of nectar. Agni lovingly gave him a spear; Nirṛti his own weapon and the wind his own weapon. Kubera gave him a mace; Shiva a spear; the gods different kinds of weapons and implements. The delighted lord of Kama gave him the weapon of love, a club, and his own lore with great pleasure. The ocean of milk gave him valuable gems and a splendid anklet set with gems. Himalaya gave him divine ornaments and garments. Garuḍa gave him his own son Citrabarhaṇa; Aruṇa a powerful cock Tamracuḍa. Parvati gave him power and prosperity smilingly and joyously. She gave him longevity too with great pleasure. Lakshmi gave him divine wealth and a great and beautiful necklace. Savitri gave him the entire Siddhavidya with joy. The other goddesses too who had come there gave him their respective presents. The Kṛttikas too did the same. There was great jubilation there. Everyone was delighted, especially Parvati and Shiva.
In modern world today also, Artificial Insemination is one way to give birth of a child.
In chapters 38 to 53 in Parvati Khanda of Shiva Purana, the story of wedding of Parvati with Shiva is explained.
After Shiva consented for marriage with Parvati, auspicious rites were started by the Himalaya on an auspicious day. The mountains Mandara, Malaya, Nisadha, Gandhamadana, Nila Trikuṭa, Citrakuṭa, Venkaṭa, Shrigiri, Gokamukha, Vindhya, Kalanjara and Narada came. The brilliant rivers, Shoṇabhadra, Godavari,Yamuna, Venika, Narmada and others came delightfully to be present at the marriage of Shiva and Parvati.
Himalaya requested Vishvakarman to decorate the entire city. He erected a large and spacious dais beautiful with side rostrums, altars etc. There were artificial lions. There were rows of storks. There were artificial peacocks, but very beautiful in appearance. Elephants with their mahouts and horses with their riders were so natural that none would say that they were artificial. The statue of Nandi was a prototype of the real Nandi. A brilliant abode of Vishnu called Vaikuṇṭha, with wonderful features, was created in a trice. Similarly, he erected Shiva’s mansion of various shapes and of great brilliance.
Invitation for Shiva’s wedding:
On reading the auspicious letter with joy, Shiva duly accepted the proposal. Then the delighted Shiva said: --
“O Narada, the marriage will take place after seven days from today. O sage, on my behalf, invite all the gods beginning with Vishnu, and sages, Siddhas, and others.”
Narada invited all of them approaching everyone severally. Vishnu and other gods who had arrived there desired to make Shiva’s procession to start. Then all the gods, demons, Nagas, Patangas, Apsarasas, sages and others approached Shiva.
Authorised by Shiva, Brahma performed all the rites conducive to prosperity, assisted by the sages. The sages Kashyap, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Gautama, Bhāguri, Bṛhaspati, Kaṇva, Sakti, Jamadagni, Parasara, Markaṇḍeya, Silapaka, Aruṇapsla, Akṛtasrama, Agastya, Cyavana, Garga, Siasda, Dadhichi, Upamanyu, Bharadvaja, Akṛtavraṇa, Pippalada, Kusika, Kautsa, Vyasa, with his disciples, and other sages came to Shiva. Urged by Brahma, they performed the sacred rites duly.
The Marriage Procession of Shiva:
Then Shiva called Nandi and other Gaṇas and ordered them to accompany Him. A thousand crores of Bhutas aud three crores of Pramathas went. Virabhadra went with sixty-four crores of Gaṇas and three crores of Romajas. Behind the Gaṇas, the enthusiastic gods, the Siddhas, the guardians of the quarters and others followed. Vishnu, seated on Garuḍa, Brahma with the Vedas, Shastras, Puraṇas and Agamas personified and along with sons, Prajapatis, Sanaka and other Siddhas, seated on the elephant Airavata in the midst of his armies, Indra, Shakinis, Yatudhanas Vetalas, Brahmarakṣasas, Bhutas, Pretas and Pramathas, Tumburu, Narada, Hāha, Huhu, Gandharvas and Kinnaras went ahead playing on their musical instruments with great delight. The Mothers of the universe, the celestial virgins, Gayatri, Savitri, Lakshmi, the celestial maidens, the wives of the gods, the mothers of the worlds went ahead with great joy.
Description of Shiva’s wonderful sport:
Mena desired to see the bridegroom of Parvati first. Then Shiva, realising her false pride in herself, spoke to Vishnu and Brahma that both of you go one by one accompanied by the gods to the threshold of the mountain. I shall follow afterwards. Every time, she saw processions passing one by one with beautifully dressed heads and splendid vast armies and exclaimed delightfully – “O this is Shiva”. But each time, Narada said “No”.
Then the army of Shiva came there consisting of wonderful arrays of Bhutas, Pretas and Gaṇas. Some were in the form of violent gusts of wind, producing hissing sounds with waving flags. Some had crooked faces. Others were deformed. On seeing the innumerable Gaṇas, Bhutas and Pretas, Menaka was terribly frightened instantaneously. On seeing Shiva in their midst, the mother of Parvati trembled. She saw Shiva who though devoid of attributes was better than those who had all the attributes, He was seated on the Bull. He had five faces and three eyes. He had ashes smeared over the body. He had matted hair with the crescent moon on His head. He had ten hands with the skull in one of them. His upper cloth was tiger’s hide. He held the bow Pinaka in one of his hands and the Trident in another. He had odd eyes, ugly features utterly dishevelled and untidy. He wore the hide of an elephant.
She was stunned, tremulous agitated and confused. You said to her “This is Shiva” and pointed Him out to her. On hearing words of Narada she fell on the ground.
On regaining consciousness, Mena lamented with great agitation and began to rebuke everyone. In faltering words, she frequently censured her sons at first and then scolded her daughter. Mena said: --
“I the innocent woman have been cheated. What shall I do? Where shall I go? Who will dispel my sorrow? My family is wrecked. My life is doomed. Where are those so-called celestial sages? I shall pluck out their beards. Where is that mischievous woman who came here by herself in the guise of the wire of one of them? By whose guilt have I been ruined now?” Saying this she turned to her daughter and began to say harsh words.”
Narada said: --
“The real handsome form of Shiva is not known by you. This form is assumed by Shiva in a sportive mood. It is not the real form. Hence, O chaste lady, cast off anger. Be calm. Leave off your obduracy. Do what is proper to be done. Give Parvati to Siva.”
On hearing Narada’s words, Mena spoke him — “O wicked one, get up and go away. You are base”.
The seven sages, Vasishta and others, came there and said: --
“We have come here to achieve a purpose. In this important affair how can we entertain opposite views? The very vision of Shiva is the greatest gain. He has come to your palace as the suppliant for your gift”. Though advised by them, Mena did not accept their proposal. Weak in knowledge she spoke to the sages in anger.
Then Himalaya himself came there extremely agitated. To convince her he spoke lovingly pointing to her the reality of the situation. Himalaya said: --
“You do not know Shiva. Shiva has many names and many forms. Seeing a peculiar, distorted form you have become excited. He has been realised by me. He is the protector of everyone. He is worthy of worship of the most adorable. He can bless and countermand. Do not be obstinate. Do not be grief-stricken. Get up. Hasten. O virtuous one, carry on your duties. Let me remind you of a former incident when Shiva came to our place in a hideous form and exhibited his sports. But on seeing his greatness we both consented to give our daughter in marriage to him. O beloved, keep that promise.”
After saying thus, the lord of the mountains stopped. On hearing it Mena said: --
“O lord, let my words be heard. You can carry out what I say. Take your daughter Parvati, tie her up and cast her down into a deep abysmal chasm. Or drown her in the deep sea and be happy. I am not going to give her to Shiva. If you give your daughter to him who is of hideous features, O lord, I shall certainly leave off this mortal frame.”
The, Parvati voluntarily spoke in a sweet voice:
“O mother, your noble intellect has become perverted. Why do you forsake virtue, you who ought to depend on virtue alone? This Shiva has no one else greater than him. He is Shiva. the source of everything. He is beautiful, pleasing and eulogised in all the Vedas. Shiva is the benefactor. He is the lord of gods. He is self-ruler. O mother, He is of many forms and names. He is served by Vishnu, Brahma and others. He is the support of everything. He is the creator and annihilator. He is free from aberrations. He is the lord of the three deities. He is indestructible and eternal. O mother, give me to lord Shiva. O mother, agree to my humble entreaty. I request you. If you do not give me to Shiva, I am not going to woo anyone else.”
On hearing these words of Parvati, Mena lamented much. She became angry.
Then Brahma came there quickly and narrated to her the principles of Shiva which ought to have dispelled her perverted knowledge.
But Mena continued to cry again and again. Then, Sanaka and other Siddhas came there and spoke lovingly. Siddhas said: --
This Shiva is the supreme being, the bestower of supreme happiness. Out of His sympathy He has granted His vision to your daughter. Then Mena said to them after sobbing frequently— “My riches are not to be given to Shiva of hideous form. Why are you Siddhas collectively attempting to make her exquisite beauty futile?”
All the gods, Siddhas, sages and human beings were bewildered. In the meantime, on hearing of her persistent obduracy, Vishnu a favourite of Shiva came there and spoke as follows.
Vishnu said: --
“You are the beloved mental daughter of the Pitṛs. You are endowed with all good qualities. You are wife of Himalaya himself. Yours is the excellent race of Brahma. Your well-wishers in the world are also like him (Brahma). You are really blessed. What more can I say? You are reputed to be a patron of virtue. Why do you then eschew virtue? May this be pondered over by you yourself. Can anything against you be mentioned by the gods, sages, or Brahma or by myself? You do not know Shiva. He is both possessed and devoid of attributes. He alone, during his divine sport, has incarnated himself in divine form. It was by the fascination of Parvati’s penance that He has come to your threshold. Hence, O wife of Himalaya, eschew your sorrow. Worship Shiva. You will have great pleasure. All pain will be quelled.”
When instructed by Vishnu, Menaka’s mind was somewhat softened. But she did not give up her obduracy. She did not consent to the proposal of giving her daughter to Shiva. Mena was deluded by Shiva’s magic. On hearing the pleasing words of Vishnu, the beloved of the mountain, the mother of Parvati became slightly enlightened and spoke to Vishnu. If He assumes a lovely form and body my daughter may be given to Him and not otherwise even if you attempt, it a thousand times. This is my firm decision. After saying thus Mena of steady resolve kept quiet. She was induced by Shiva’s will whose magical power deludes all.
Brahma pleaded with Shiva to assume the comely form. Shiva joyously assumed a wonderfully excellent and divine form and showed His mercifulness. Mena saw Shiva’s form. It was as refulgent as that of a thousand suns. Every part of the body was exquisite. The garments were of variegated colours.
On seeing Him in that form Mena stood stunned and said: - “O great lord, my daughter is indeed blessed, she by whom the great penance was performed. It is by virtue of that penance that you have come to my threshold. Pardon me for the heap of repulsive words.
After performing the conventional rites in accordance with the Vedic injunctions and the social customs they decorated Parvati with the ornaments provided by Shiva. Priest Garga solemnized the marriage of Shiva & Parvati.
The concluding ceremonies of the wedding of Shiva and Parvati were carried out joyously by the sages. The ceremonial ceremonies include head-bath, respect paid to the Pole star Dhruva, the rite of Hṛdayalambhana (husband touches the heart of the bride), Svastipaṭha, application of red powder by Shiva on the head of Parvati and the rite of Saṃsrava Prasanna. Then the sixteen celestial ladies - Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Savitri, Jahnavi, Aditi, Sachi, Lopamudra, Arundhati, Ahalya, Tulasi, Svaha, Rohiṇi, Vasundhara, Satarupa, Saṃjna and Rati, arrived to pay respect to the couple and to guide Parvati post marriage duties & techniques.
The resuscitation of Kama:
At that time, thinking that the hour was favourable, Rati requested Shiva to resuscitate her husband. Sarasvati and other celestial ladies said: --
“Obeisance to you, O lord, you are friend of the distressed, storehouse of mercy. Resuscitate the cupid. Make Rati jubilant.” On hearing their words, lord Shiva was delighted. Thanks to the nectarine glance of the Trident bearing lord, Kama came out of the ashes.
In morning, Vishnu and the other gods got up with joy, remembered the lord of gods and excitedly got ready. They got their vehicles ready for the departure to Kailasa and sent Dharma to Shiva. Shiva then, in accordance with the worldly customs, went through his morning routine. He took leave of Mena and the mountain. Shiva took leave of her and the mountain and set on journey with the gods jubilantly. The gods with the lord and His Gaṇas started on their journey silently.
Shiva by playing sports, educated the people that whatever seen is mortal, whether beautiful or ugly.
The Story of Anaraṇya and his daughter – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 34 & 35 of Parvati Khanda in Shiva Purana, the story of Anaranya and his daughter is narrated. The story revolves around Padma, a chaste woman.
The king Anaraṇya hailed from the race of the fourteenth Manu Indrasavarṇi. The great king Anaraṇya, born of Maṅgalaraṇya was very strong. He was a special devotee of Shiva and ruled over the seven continents. Having Bhṛgu as his priest, he performed a hundred sacrifices. He did not accept the position of Indra even when offered by the gods. Hundred sons were born to him and a beautiful daughter Padma who was equal to Lakshmi.
He was fonder of his daughter than of his hundred sons. He had five queens who were endowed with great qualities and fortunes and were loved by him over and above his life. The girl entered the prime of her youth in her father’s palace. The king issued letters of invitation for the requisition of good bridegrooms.
In the meantime, the sage Pippalada eagerly hastening back to his hermitage saw a certain Gandharva in an isolated place in the penance-grove. The Gandharva was an expert in the science of erotic. He was in the company of a woman. He was therefore completely submerged in the ocean of pleasure, sexual dalliance and was lusty. On seeing him the great sage became very lustful. He lost interest in penance and began to think of acquiring a wife. Thus, the good sage spent a long time with his mind utterly agitated by pangs of love.
Once while the good sage was on his way to the river Puṣpabhadra for taking his bath he happened to see the young maiden Padma who was as charming as goddess Lakshmi. The sage asked the persons standing by — “Who is this girl?” The people, afraid of the curse bowed to the sage and replied.
The people said: --
“This excellent lady, the repository of all good qualities, is the daughter of Anaraṇya and is called Padma. She is another Lakshmi (goddess of fortune). She is being wooed by great kings.”
On hearing the words of the people who spoke the truth, the sage became much agitated in the mind and was eager to possess her.
The sage took bath and worshipped his favourite deity Shiva duly. The lustful sage went to the council-chamber of Anaraṇya for the sake of alms. Immediately after seeing the sage, the king was struck with awe and bowed to him. He offered him homage (Madhuparka) and devoutly worshipped him. Out of love, the sage accepted everything and ultimately requested for the hand of his daughter. The king kept quiet, being unable to give any decisive reply. The sage repeated his request saying— “O great king, give me your daughter. Otherwise in a trice I will reduce everything to ashes”.
The king and his attendants were overwhelmed by the splendour of the sage. Staring at the old emaciated brahmin, they began to cry. The queens, knowing not what shall be done, lamented. The chief queen, the mother of the girl, fell unconscious in the excess of her grief. The brothers of the girl were agitated with sorrow. Everything and everyone connected with the king was overwhelmed with grief. In the meantime, the wise brahmin, the excellent preceptor of the king, as well as his intelligent priest came there.
The king bowed to them and paid homage. He cried before them. He explained to them everything and asked them what the proper step was to be taken immediately. The brahmin, the preceptor of the king and the scholarly priest were experts in sacred lore and polity. They advised the king in that matter. The preceptor and the priest said: --
“O wise king, listen to our beneficial words. Do not be anxious. In the company of your kinsmen turn your good attention to the sacred texts. O king, whether today or after a year, the princess is to be given to a deserving person, a brahmin or anyone else. In the three worlds we do not see more deserving person than this brahmin. Give your daughter to this sage and save your riches. O king, if all riches face the danger of destruction due to one object or person, the wise man saves everything by abandoning that object or person unless it be that who has sought refuge.”
On hearing the words of the wise, the king lamented again and again but ultimately offered his daughter fully bedecked in ornaments to the excellent sage. Accepting and marrying the beautiful maiden Padma, on a par with goddess Lakshmi, in accordance with holy laws, the delighted sage returned to his abode.
After giving his daughter to an old man, the king was much dejected in mind. Abandoning everything he went to the forest for performing penance. When the king went to the forest, the queen, passed away, due to the pangs of separation from her husband and daughter. Without the king, the respectable sons and officers of the king became unconscious. The other people thinking that the king was dead lamented much. Anaraṇya went to the forest, performed great penance, and worshipped Shiva with devotion. In the end, he attained Shivaloka free from all ailments.
The eldest son of the king, Kirtiman, virtuously ruled over the kingdom and tended the subjects like his own children. Thus, Anaraṇya saved his race and his wealth by offering his daughter to the sage.
After hearing the story of Anaraṇya including the anecdote of the offer of his daughter, the lord of mountains again asked Vasishta to narrate the story of his daughter. Vasishta narrated the story of Padma after the marriage with Pippalada.
The very old and venerable sage Pippalada returned to his hermitage along with his wife Padma and passed time in pleasure. He was not too much sensuous. He continued to perform his penance and holy rites in the forest and on the mountain. The daughter of Anaraṇya served the sage devoutly physically, mentally and verbally like Lakshmi serving Vishnu.
Once Dharma (Virtue) assumed the guise of a king by his magical power and seated in a beautiful chariot, happened to see on the way that lady of gentle smiles going to the celestial river for her holy dip. He was in the prime of fresh youth, glorious and lustrous like the cupid. On seeing Padma, he spoke thus, in order to know the innermost feelings of the sage’s wife. Dharma said: --
“O beautiful woman, you are Lakshmi herself; you are charming, you are worthy of a king; you are in the very prime of youth; you will be ever young; you are a lovely, sweet lady. You lack lustre and colour in the presence of the sage Pippalada who is old and weak. Cast off that ruthless old brahmin always engaged in penances. Look up to me a great king, heroic in sexual dalliance and agitated by Kama. A beautiful woman acquires beauty because of the merit of a previous birth. The beauty becomes completely fruitful only after embracing a man of aesthetic taste. I am the lover of a thousand beautiful women. I am an expert in the erotic science and literature. Abandon that husband and make me your slave.”
Saying this, he got down and was eager to catch her hands. Padma, the chaste lady then said: --
“Go away you sinful king. If you cast your lustful ogles at me, you will be doomed in a moment. How can I resort to you, lecherous and mad after women, after forsaking the excellent sage Pippalada whose body is sanctified by austerities? By the very touch of a person under the influence of women all merits are destroyed. He is a great sinner. His very sight promotes sins. Even if he performs holy rites, a person succumbing to the viles of women is always impure. The manes, the gods and all men despise him. Of what avail is knowledge, penance, repetition of sacred mantras, sacrifice, adoration, learning and charitable gift to him who is henpecked? Since you spoke to me viewing me with the feelings that I am your wife although I ought to have been viewed as your mother, you will have a gradual decline because of my curse.”
On hearing the curse of the chaste woman, Dharma cast off the guise of a king and assumed his real form. Dharma said: --
“O mother, know me as Dharma elderly and venerable to men of wisdom and preceptors. O chaste lady, I always consider other’s wives as mothers. It was to know your innermost feelings that I approached you. I knew your mind, still I was urged by fate. Only proper suppression, not the contrary, is carried out by you. Obeisance to Shiva who distributes happiness, misery, boons, prosperity, or adversity on all. Obeisance to Shiva who can make people enemies or friends, create affection or quarrel, to generate or destroy things. Obeisance to Shiva, by whom the primordial nature, the principles Mahat etc, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and others are created.”
After saying thus Dharma, the most venerable god in the universe stood in front of her, stunned but delighted at her chastity. But he did not say anything. Princess Padma was surprised on realising that it was Dharma and said: -
“O Dharma, you are the ever-present witness of all activities. O lord, why did you deign to deceive me to know my mind? What has been done already does not amount to any guilt on my part. You have been cursed in vain by me, but it was due to my ignorance and innate nature of woman. This sky, these quarters and the winds may get destroyed but the curse of a chaste lady will never be destroyed. In the Satya yuga you shine with all the legs. In the Treta yuga, one leg shall be defunct, O excellent god. Another leg too shall be defunct in Dvapara and the third one in the Kali age, O lord. In the latter half of Kali, all the legs will be chopped off. Again, in the Satya Yuga you will attain perfection. In the Satya Yuga you will be all-pervasive and in the other Yugas partially so. Let these words of mine be true and pleasing to you. I am now going to serve my husband. “
On hearing her words Dharma became delighted. Then Dharma, the son of Brahma, spoke to the chaste lady who had been speaking to him. Dharma said: --
“O chaste lady, you are blessed, you are devotedly attached to your husband. Take this boon. Your husband is the cause of your great protection. Let him be a young man with sexual vigour and righteousness. He shall be comely in appearance, good in conduct, eloquent in speech and perpetually stable in youth. Let him enjoy more longevity than Markaṇḍeya. Let him be richer than Kubera. Let him enjoy more prosperity and power than Indra. Let him be a devotee of Shiva on a par with Vishnu. Let him be a greater Siddha than Kapila. Let him vie with Brihaspati in intelligence and with Brahma in equanimity. You will be blessed with all the fortunes of your master as long as you live. Also, you will be perpetually young. Undoubtedly you will become the mother of ten sons who will be greater than your husband, they will have all good qualities and live long. Let your abode be endowed with all riches, brightly illuminated always and superior to even the abode of Kubera.”
Bestowing blessings upon her, Dharma returned to his abode. She sported about in secret with her husband who became a young man. She gave birth to sons who surpassed her husband in their good qualities. All kinds of riches were granted to the couple increasing their happiness. They were conducive to the prosperity here and hereafter.
A chaste woman brings prosperity, power and well-being.
The story of divine sports of Shiva to test Parvati’s Parents – Shiva Purana
In Chapters 30 to 36 of Parvati Khanda of Siva Purana, Shiva, prone to divine sports, assumed the guise of a dancer and then of a Brahmin to test Parvati’s parents.
Shiva approached Menaka. In the guise of a dancer with the skill of dancing and singing, he danced well and sang many songs in sweet voice. Shiva was bearing trident and other symbols. He had smeared the ashes all over His body. He was wearing a garland of bones. He had the sacred thread of a serpent. Mena took gems and jewels in gold vessels to give them to Him. But the dancer did not accept the gifts. He requested for the hand of Parvati and began to dance and sing again. Mena was surprised on hearing his words and she was furious. She rebuked the mendicant and wished to drive him out.
In the meantime, Himalaya (father of Parvati), the lord of mountains returned. He saw the mendicant in the human form in his courtyard. On hearing the details from Mena, he became very angry. He ordered his attendants to drive out the dancer. But none of them could push him out as he was hot to the touch like a blazing fire and very brilliant. Then the mendicant who was clever at diverse sports showed his endless great power to the mountain. The mountain saw him immediately transmuted into the form of Vishnu the four-armed, with crown earrings and yellow garment. Then the lord of mountains saw the four-faced deity, the creator of worlds, red in colour and reciting the Vedic hymns. Then the lord of mountains saw the form of the sun, the eye of the universe, much to his enthusiastic amazement. Then he saw him in the wonderful form of Shiva accompanied by Parvati. He was smiling and shining beautifully. Then he saw him in the form of a mass of splendor of no specific shape. It was unsullied, free from peculiar attributes and desires. It was wonderfully formless. Thus, he saw many forms and features there. He was surprised and delighted much.
Then the chief of mendicants begged of Himalaya and Mena the hand of Parvati as alms. He, the source of great enjoyment did not accept anything else. The lord of mountains deluded by Shiva’s magic did not accede to this request. The mendicant too did not take anything. He vanished from the scene. Then Himalaya and Mena realised that Shiva had deceived them and gone to His abode. After some pondering, they developed a feeling of devotion to Shiva who is the cause of salvation, the bestower of divine bliss.
Then Indra and other gods, went to Brihaspati’s abode, and asked him to go to the abode of Himalaya for the fulfilment of our task. He did not accept the proposal of the gods. Then remembering lord Shiva, Brihaspati rebuked the gods again and again and said: -
“All of you gods seem to be selfish in nature. You want to destroy other’s interests. Indeed, I will go to hell by disparaging Shiva. O gods, one of you shall go to the mountain. Let him urge the lord of the mountains and achieve the desired object. Afterwards the seven celestial sages will properly persuade the mountain. Except Shiva, Parvati will not marry any other person. Or, O gods, all of you go to Brahma’s region taking Indra with you. Tell Brahma all your details. He will get your work done immediately.”
On hearing it and consulting among themselves the gods went to Brahma’s Assembly. On hearing the words of the gods, Brahma said:
“Dear children, I am incompetent to decry Shiva. It is unbearable. It destroys all riches. It is the seed of all adversities. O gods, all of you go to Kailash and propitiate Shiva. Make Him go to Himalaya’s abode quickly. Rebuking others is conducive to destruction. Rebuking oneself is conducive to fame”.
On hearing Brahma’s words, all the gods went to Kailash. Going there and seeing Shiva they bowed to Him with bent heads and palms joined in reverence. The gods eulogised Shiva and said - “O Shiva, the merciful, we seek refuge in you. Be sympathetic. Obeisance be to you. You are the uplifter of the distressed, and an ocean of mercy. You save us from all our miseries and distresses.”
Shiva as Brahmin:
On hearing the words of the gods, lord Shiva agreed to the proposal. He made the gods return after assuring them smilingly. Hastening to their abodes, the gods rejoiced much considering their work fully fulfilled and praising Sadashiv. Then the lord Shiva, the lord of magic and free from aberrations went to the lord of mountains.
When the lord of the mountains was seated in his royal assembly along with Parvati and kinsmen, Sadashiv came there, in the meantime bearing a staff and an umbrella. He was dressed in divine clothes and had a shining mark on the forehead. He was in the guise of a saintly brahmin. He was repeating the name of Vishnu with devotion. He had the garland of crystal beads in his hand and the Salagrama stone round his neck. On seeing that extraordinary guest, Himalaya with his attendants stood up in reverence and prostrated before him with devotion. Parvati bowed with devotion to her dear lover in the guise of a brahmin. On realising him mentally the goddess eulogised him with great joy. The lord of mountains asked him “Who are you, please?” Immediately the chief of brahmins, spoke to the lord of mountains thus. The chief of brahmins said: --
“O foremost among mountains, I am a brahmin devotee of Vishnu, and a great scholar. My occupation is that of a matchmaker. I roam about on the earth. I go where I wish. I go everywhere. By the power of my preceptor, I am omniscient. I am simple-minded and by nature I help others and I am sympathetic and quell aberrations. I have come to know that you desire to give your daughter to Shiva, this daughter so tender like a lotus flower, of divinely excellent form and endowed with all accomplishments. To Shiva—who has no support, who is devoid of associations, who is deformed, who is without attributes, who resides in the cremation-ground, who has the form of a snake-catcher, who is a Yogi, who is naked, who has deficient limbs, who wears snakes as his ornaments, whose name and pedigree are unknown, whose conduct is bad, who has no sport, whose body is smeared with ashes, who is furious, who lacks in discrimination, whose age is not known, whose matted hair is ill worn, who supports all who roam about, who has garland of snakes who is a mendicant, who is engaged in following wrong-paths and who tenaciously discards the Vedic path. O mountain, this inclination of yours is not at all conducive to auspiciousness. O foremost among the wise, born of Narayana’s family, learn sense. For the marriage of Parvati, He is not at all a deserving person. On hearing of this, the public will smile in derision. O lord of mountains, see for yourself. He has not a single kinsman. You are the storehouse of great gems and jewels. He has no assets at all. O lord of mountains, you shall consult your kinsmen, sons, wife and wise counsellors, except Parvati.”
Saying this, the brahmin stopped. He took food and left the place with pleasure for his abode. Shiva is one who quietly indulges in His divine sports.
On hearing the words of the brahmin, Mena spoke to Himalaya with tears welling up in her eyes, due to grief. Mena said: --
“O lord of mountains, please listen to my words conducive to happiness. Please consult important devotees of Shiva regarding what has been mentioned by the brahmin. Many disparaging remarks about Shiva have been made by this Brahminical devotee of Vishnu. On hearing these words, my mind is very much dejected. I shall not give my daughter endowed with all good accomplishments to Shiva with ugly features, ignoble conduct and defiled name. If you do not accede to my request, I shall undoubtedly die. I will immediately leave this house or swallow poison. With a rope I shall tie Parvati round my neck and go to a thick forest. I would rather drown myself in the great ocean. I shall never give my daughter to him. Saying thus with great grief, Mena entered the chamber of anger. Casting off her necklaces she lay down on the ground sighing and sobbing.”
Shiva’s request to the celestial sages:
In the meantime, all those seven celestial sages were remembered by Shiva whose mind was agitated by the pangs of separation from Parvati. All those seven sages, as soon as they were remembered by Shiva, came there in person. Standing in front of Shiva and bowing to and eulogising Him, the seven sages of great austerity considered themselves blessed. They addressed Shiva: --
“O most excellent of all, formerly we had performed three kinds of penance; we had studied the excellent Vedas; we had made offerings in the fire, we had visited many holy centres; thus, whatever merit we have acquired verbally, mentally and physically that entire merit has now accrued to us by your blessing in remembering us. A man who worships you always shall be blessed. How can that merit be properly described, the merit of those whom you yourself remember? O Sadashiv, we have become the most excellent of all people by your remembering us. Usually, you never even come across the path of ambitions and aspirations of ordinary people. O lord, your vision, very difficult to be acquired. By seeing you today we have become the most respectable sages worthy of the worship of all the worlds. We have reached the highest position. If any duty is assigned to us, it will be a favour to us.”
On hearing their words, Shiva the great lord, said: --
“Sages are always to be adored and particularly you all. O brahmins, it was for a specific reason that you have been summoned here. My attitude of being helpful is known to you. That must be achieved, especially in the interest of the fulfilment of the desires of the world. Cause for great misery has arisen for the gods at the hands of Taraka the wicked. Boon has already been granted. He is invincible. What shall I do? A great penance has been performed by Parvati. That cannot be performed even by great sages. I must give her the great fruit thereof. Indeed, my vow is to render delight to my devotees. The fruit I bestow on her shall be conducive to her welfare. Hence, I wish to marry her.
At the request of Parvati, I went to the abode of the mountain in the guise of a mendicant. Clever in divine sports I thereby sanctified her. On hearing to know that I am the supreme Brahman, the couple were desirous of giving me their daughter with great devotion in accordance with the Vedic manner. On the inducement of the gods, to reduce the quality of devotion (of Himalaya and Mena) I took the guise of a devotee of Vishnu and rebuked myself. On hearing it they were dejected and have now lost interest in me and do not wish to give their daughter to me. Hence you all go to the abode of Himalaya and urge the excellent mountain and his wife. Speak out the words as venerable as the Vedas. Do everything necessary to get the matter straightened out and settled. I have agreed to marry her and have already granted her that boon.”
Visit of celestial sages to Himalaya:
The celestial sages bowed to Shiva and went by aerial path in the direction of the city of Himalaya. On seeing those seven sages, resplendent like the sun, coming along the aerial path from a distance, Himalaya was surprised and said: --
“The seven venerable persons, resplendent like the sun, are approaching me. These sages shall be worshipped by me now. We householders are really blessed, to whom great men like these, bestowing happiness on all, pay their visit. On seeing them Himalaya advanced to welcome them with due reverence.
Himalaya said: --
I am blessed. I am contented. My life is fruitful. I am the best person worthy of being seen in the three worlds. I am as pure as any of the holy centres. All this is because you, verily in lord Vishnu’s forms, have come to my abode. Perfect ones such as you, what special purpose can there be in visiting poor persons like me? Still, I am your servant. Some tasks there may be to be entrusted to me. Mercifully may it be spoken out. May my life be fruitful.”
The sages said: --
“Shiva is the father of the universe. Parvati is the mother of the universe. Hence your daughter shall be given to Shiva, the supreme soul. O Himalaya, by this activity your life will be fruitful.”
On hearing these words of the seven sages, the lord of the mountains bowed to them with joined palms and spoke thus. Himalaya said: -
“O, you seven sages of great enlightenment, what you have just now said has been already cherished by me by the will of Shiva. Now, a certain brahmin professing Vaishnava cult came here and spoke very critically about Shiva. Ever since, the mother Parvati has gone out of sense. Hence, she does not wish her daughter’s marriage with Shiva. She has entered the chamber of anger. I too am, you can say, out of sense. I am telling you the truth. I do not wish to give my daughter to Shiva who is apparently a mendicant.”
The seven celestial sages praised the magic of Shiva and sent Arundhati to Menaka. Arundhati said: --
“O Menaka, get up. I, Arundhati, have come to your house. The seven sages of sympathetic nature have also come. On hearing Arundhati’s voice, Mena got up quickly and bowed to her who was on a par with Lakshmi in her brilliance.”
Mena said: --
“We are blessed. Arundhati, the daughter-in-law of the Creator of the universe, the wife of Vasishta, has come here. O gentle lady, what for is your visit now? Please tell me specifically. My daughter and I are your slaves. Be merciful to us.”
Arundhati advised her in various ways and returned to the place where the sages were seated.
The sages said: --
“O lord of the mountains may our words, the cause of everything auspicious, be heard. Give Parvati to Shiva. Become the father-in-law of the world-destroyer. For the destruction of Taraka, formerly Brahma requested Shiva who is the lord of all and who does not beg of any one, to strive for this alliance. Shiva, the foremost of Yogis was not eager to marry. But since requested by Brahma, the lord agreed to take your daughter. Parvati performed a penance and the lord promised her. Thus, for these two reasons the lord of Yogis wishes to marry her.”
On hearing the words of the sages, Himalaya laughed but he was a little frightened. He spoke with humility. Himalaya said: --
“I do not see any royal paraphernalia with Shiva, He has none to support him. He has no assets. He has no kinsman. I do not wish to give my daughter to a Yogi who is extremely detached. If a father were to give his daughter in marriage to an unsuitable person, out of love, delusion, fear or covetousness, he is doomed. He will go to hell. Out of my own free will, I will not give her to the trident-bearing Shiva. O sages, whatever arrangement is befitting here, may kindly be carried out.
On hearing these words of the mountain Himalaya, Vasishta, the most eloquent among them replied: --
“O lord of mountains, listen to my words in every respect conducive to your welfare; they are not against virtue. They are true and shall bring about your joy here and hereafter. Statements, in ordinary language and in the Vedas, are of three forms.
Taking the firm decision on seeing her innumerable sufferings He came to the place of your daughter’s penance in the guise of a brahmin. After consoling her and granting her the boon He returned to His abode. It was for complying with her request that Shiva requested you for the hand of Parvati, O mountain. Both of you had accepted the proposal as you were drawn by devotion to Shiva. O lord of mountains, how is it that your mind has taken a somersault now? Please tell me. On being requested by the gods, the lord has sent us, the sages and Arundhati to you. O mountain, we instruct you plainly. By giving Parvati to Shiva, you will meet with great bliss. O lord of mountains, even if you do not give Parvati to Shiva out of your own free will, their marriage will take place because of the inexorable workings of fate. Shiva has already granted Parvati the boon at the time of her penance.
When danger was imminent at the hands of a brahmin, the chief of kings, Anaraṇya, saved his entire asset by giving his daughter to him. When he was threatened by the curse of brahmin his preceptors, wise kinsmen and people well-versed in the science of polity advised him hastily. O king of mountains, you too save your kinsmen by giving your daughter to Shiva. You can claim thus the gods too to your side.”
On hearing the words of Vasishta, Himalaya, with a dejected heart but laughing outwardly asked him about the details of the story of the king. Vasishta narrated the story of Anaranya and Padma to the lord of mountains and said: -
“After a week there is a very auspicious hour very rare to meet with. The presiding planet of the lagna is in the lagna. The moon is in conjunction with his son, Mercury as well as the constellation Rohiṇi. The moon and the stars occupy pure positions. The month is Margashirsha, and the day is Monday free from all defects. All the planets are in auspicious conjunction. They are not impacted by the evil planets. The Jupiter is in a position that is conducive to the birth of a good child and all good fortune to the bridegroom. O lord of mountains, give your daughter Parvati, the mother of the universe, the primordial Being to Shiva, the father of the universe. You will then get quiet and contentment.”
The mountains, Meru & others said: --
“Of what avail is a long discussion and deliberation now? She is born only for the purpose of the gods. Incarnating for the sake of Shiva, she shall be given to Shiva. Shiva has been propitiated by her and Shiva has also spoken to her.”
On hearing the words of Meru and others, Himalaya was greatly pleased, and Parvati laughed within herself. Arundhati too convinced Mena with reasoned statements and examples from various mythological legends. Then the wife of the mountain too was delightedly convinced. She entertained Arundhati, the sages and the mountain with a grand feast and then took food herself. Then the chief of mountains, freed from wrong notions and spoke with mind extremely delighted. Himalaya said: --
“O fortunate sages, please listen to my words. All my bewilderment has vanished since I have heard the story of Shiva. Everything that I possess, my body, wife, Mena, sons, daughter, assets and achievements and other things belong to Śiva and not otherwise. After saying so, he bedecked his daughter with various ornaments. Then he took them all and placed them on the lap of the sage saying, “These are the presents I have to give her.”
The sages said: --
“O mountain, you are the donor, Shiva is the mendicant, and the alms goddess Parvati. What else can be better than this?”
After saying thus, the sages of pure mind offered their blessings to the girl— “Be pleasing to Shiva.” They touched her with their hands and continued— “Everything will be well with you. As the moon in the bright half of the month, may your qualities increase.” After saying thus and offering fruits and flowers to the lord of mountains, the sages made him believe that the alliance was a settled fact.
After fixing the auspicious Lagna for the marriage and congratulating and complimenting one another the sages came to Shiva’s abode on the fourth day. After reaching the place, Vasishta and other sages bowed to Shiva and eulogised Him with different hymns. They then spoke to lord Shiva.
The sages said: --
“O lord Shiva, the lord of mountains and Mena have been urged with different kinds of statements and examples from mythological legends. Undoubtedly, he is enlightened. Parvati has been betrothed to you by the lord of mountains. It is not otherwise. Now please start for the marriage with your attendants and the gods. O great god, go to the abode of Himalaya and marry Parvati in accordance with the customs for the sake of a son.”
On hearing their words, lord Shiva who was delighted.
The Story of Parvati-Jatila dialogue – Shiva Purana
In Chapter 26 to 29 of Parvati Khanda of Siva Purana, there are dialogues of Shiva and Parvati whence Shiva came in guise of Jatila (an ascetic with matted hair) to test the penance of the goddess. He went to the forest of penance of Parvati. He took the form of a very old man with the body of a brahmin.
On seeing that brahmin of wonderful refulgence come, goddess Parvati worshipped Him with all the articles of worship.
Parvati said: --
“Who are you and whence have you come in the guise of a Brahmachari? You are making this forest refulgent by your splendour.”
The brahmin said: --
“I am an aged brahmin roaming about as I please. I am an intelligent ascetic bestowing happiness and helping others. Who are you? What is your parentage? Why do you perform penance in this isolated forest? Your penance cannot be surpassed even by the sages of eminent status. You are neither a small girl nor an old woman. You appear to be an auspicious young woman. How is it that you are performing this penance even when you are unmarried? O gentle lady, are you the wife of an ascetic who does not provide you with food and shelter and so leaving you has gone to another place? Tell me, in which family are you born? Who is your father? What are your undertakings? You are very fortunate. Futile is your interest in penance. Are you the mother of the Vedas? Are you Lakshmi or Sarasvati? I dare not guess who you are?”
Parvati said: --
“O brahmin, I am not the mother of the Vedas, nor Lakshmi nor Sarasvati. I am the daughter of Himalaya, and my name is Parvati. Previously I had been born as Sati, the daughter of Dakṣha. By Yogic means I cast off my body since my husband was insulted by my father. Even in this life, Shiva came to me but due to ill luck, He reduced Kama to ashes, left me and went away. O brahmin, when Shiva went away, I came out of my father’s house, being greatly dejected, to perform this steady penance on the banks of the celestial river. Even after performing this severe penance for a long time, I could not attain Him. I was just to consign myself to fire but on seeing you, I have stopped for a while. Now you can go. I shall enter fire since I have not been accepted by Shiva. Wherever I take birth I shall woo only Shiva.”
“After saying so, Parvati jumped into the fire in the presence of the brahmin although she was forbidden by Him again and again. Even as she jumped into the fire, it became as cool as sandal paste due to her ascetic power. The brahmin stopped her standing on her way as she was trying to go away and asked her laughingly. O gentle lady, I cannot understand anything. Your penance is wonderful. Your body is not charred by the fire. Still your desire remains unsatiated so far. Let me know about your desire; I am a brahmin who can bestow pleasure upon everyone. Please tell me everything truly and methodically. Since we have become friends, nothing should be kept a secret from me. I wish to ask you now. Whom do you wish to have as your husband? It is in you that the fruit of penance is seen. If your penance is for others or for the supreme object, wherefore should you perform it at all? You had a jewel in your hand, you cast it off and have taken up a base metal instead. Hence tell me the reason, truthfully, for this penance.”
Thus, asked by him, Parvati urged her maid. She of good rites made everything narrated to him through her maid.
The maid informed: -
“This my friend is the daughter of Himalaya, lord of mountains. She is the daughter of Menaka named Kali but famous as Parvati. She is not married to anyone, nor does she desire any other than Shiva for her husband. She has performed this penance for three thousand years. My friend has been performing severe penance at the bidding of Narada to make her beauty fruitful, to embellish her father’s race and to bless Kama. She has directed this penance to lord Shiva. O holy ascetic how is it that her desire is not fulfilled.”
The ascetic said: --
“The maid has said something, but I deduce only a huge joke therefrom. If it be true, let the gentle lady herself speak out.”
Parvati said: --
“I am telling you the truth and not a lie. Shiva has been wooed by me, by mind, speech, and action as well as by means of ascetic feelings.”
The brahmin said: --
“So long I had been desirous of knowing what our gentle lady craves for that she performs this great penance. I have now known it through your own words. I am now going away from this place.”
After saying these words to her when he proposed to go, goddess Parvati bowed to and spoke to the brahmin.
Parvati said: --
“O excellent brahmin, why do you go? Stay and tender me wholesome advice”.
When she said thus, the staff-bearing brahmin stopped and spoke. The brahmin said: --
“If you are stopping me with devotion, truly desirous of hearing then I shall explain everything whereby you may gain some wisdom. I know Shiva through and through with all His weighty attributes. I shall tell you the truth. The great lord is bull-bannered. His body is smeared with ashes. His hair is matted. He is clad in the hide of a tiger. He has covered His body with the hide of an elephant. He holds the skull. Serpents twine round His limbs. Poison has left a mark on his neck. He eats even forbidden stuffs. He has odd eyes and is awful. His birth and pedigree cannot be traced. He is devoid of the enjoyment of a householder. He has ten arms. He is mostly naked and is ever accompanied by ghosts and goblins. What is the reason whereby you wish Him to be your husband? O gentle lady, where has your wisdom gone? Think well and tell me.
You are a jewel among women. Your father is the king of all mountains. Why do you crave for a husband like this and that too by means of a severe penance? Discarding the life at home you yearn for a life in the forest. There is no matching beauty between you both. Your friend Kama was burnt by Shiva. He insulted you also by leaving you off and going elsewhere. His caste is not recognised. He has no learning or wisdom. His assistants are the ghosts. Poison is seen even in His throat. He also moves about in isolation. He is detached from everything particularly. Hence you cannot fix your mind in Him. Where your necklace and where the garland of skulls that he wears? Where your rich divine unguent and where the ash from the funeral pyre that He has on His body?
Real Form of Shiva explained by Ma Parvati:
On hearing these words of that brahmin, Parvati said angrily to the brahmin who discredited Shiva. Parvati said: --
“So long I have been thinking that someone else has come. Now everything has become clear. You are a person who cannot be killed. You have now come in the form of a student ascetic for the sake of deceiving me. Using false arguments, you have spoken fraudulent words. I know the real form of Shiva very particularly. I shall therefore explain Shiva’s reality. He is in fact devoid of attributes- But for some reasons He takes up attributes. How can He have a birth, he who is really attribute less but takes up attributes? Of what avail is learning to Him who is perfect and the supreme soul? At the beginning of the Kalpa, all the Vedas were given by Shiva to Vishnu in the form of breath. Who can be a good lord equal to Him? How can He be measured in age, He who is primordial to everything and everyone? Even primordial nature (Prakriti) is born of Him. Of what avail is then Energy to Him? With the threefold Energies, Shiva blesses those who worship Him always as the lord of Energies. Every individual soul becomes fearless and conquers death by worshipping Him. Hence His designation ‘the conqueror of death’ is famous in all the three worlds. Vishnu attains and retains his Vishnu-hood by His favour. Similarly, Brahma his Brahma-hood and the gods their godhood. Whenever the lord of the gods wants to see Shiva, he has to propitiate His gatekeepers, the ghosts etc. What is deficient in that lord? Does Sadashiv like me? Even if a person is perpetually poor for seven lives, after serving Shiva, his prosperity becomes unhampered. How can he find benefit inaccessible—he in whose presence the eight Siddhis (Superhuman faculties) dance always for the sake of propitiation with speechless mouths or with lowered faces. Although Shiva resorts to inauspicious things yet by thinking on Him everything becomes auspicious. His worship fulfils all desires. How can there be aberration in Him who always remains in an unmodified state. If, as you say, the ash from the funeral pyre is unholy, how is it that the same transferred to Shiva’s body is taken thence and worn on the head by the gods? How can He be easily realised, He who is the deity that creates, sustains, and annihilates the worlds, all the same who is devoid of attributes and is termed Shiva? The form of Shiva, the supreme soul, is that of Brahman, devoid of attributes. You have censured Shiva of immeasurable splendour and I have worshiped you, hence I have become sinful. On seeing a person who hates Shiva one should take bath along with one’s clothes. On seeing a person who hates Shiva one should perform expiatory rites. O wicked one, you profess knowledge of Shiva. But you should know that the eternal Shiva is not known at all. Whatever may be the form or feature of Shiva, He is still He is my favourite. He is without aberration and beloved of the good. Neither Vishnu nor Brahma can equal that noble soul. How can then the gods and others be? They are always dependent on Time and are not eternal. After realising this with my sharp intellect factually, I have come to this forest and am performing the elaborate penance for attaining Shiva. My ambition is to attain the supreme lord who is favourably disposed to His devotees and who blesses the distressed.”
After saying this, Parvati, the daughter of the mountain, stopped and meditated on Shiva with unaffected mind. On hearing the words of the goddess when the brahmin ascetic began to say something, Parvati whose mind was fixed on Shiva and who was averse to hear any disparaging remarks about Shiva spoke immediately to Vijaya, her maid.”
Parvati said: --
“This base brahmin must be prevented strenuously. He is inclined to say something again. He will surely censure Shiva. Not only does he who disparages Shiva incur sin but also, he who hears the same. A person who disparages Shiva is worthy of being killed by Shiva’s attendants. If it is a brahmin he must be dismissed, or the hearer shall go away from that place immediately. Let us leave this place at once and go elsewhere. Let there be no more talk with this ignorant man.”
Saying this, even as Parvati was about to step ahead, the brahmin manifesting as Shiva clasped his beloved. After assuming the handsome form in the manner Parvati had meditated upon and manifesting it to Parvati, Shiva addressed her while she stood with her lowered head.
Shiva said: --
“Where will you go, leaving me? You are not to be discarded again by me. I am delighted. Tell me what boon I shall grant you. There is nothing that cannot be given to you. From today I am your slave bought by you by performing penance. I have been bought by your beauty. Even a moment appears like a Yuga. O Parvati, O great Goddess, you are my eternal wife. Let this shyness be eschewed. You please ponder with your keen intellect. O steady-minded one, you have been tested by me in various ways. Let my guilt be excused in following this worldly game. Even in the three worlds I do not see a beloved like you. O Parvati, in every respect I am subservient to you. You can fulfil all your desires. O beloved, come on near me. You are my wife. I am your bridegroom. I shall immediately go to my abode—the excellent mountain, along with you.”
When the lord of the gods spoke in this way, Parvati rejoiced. Whatever distress she had felt during penance she cast off as something old. In fact, when the fruit is realised, the exertion felt during the process of undertaking perishes.
Shiva (in real form)-Parvati dialogue:
On hearing the words of Shiva, the great Soul and on seeing His pleasant form and features Parvati was delighted much. Goddess Parvati replied: -
“O lord of gods, you are my husband. Has it been forgotten by you why you destroyed the sacrifice of Dakṣa formerly with great tenacity? I am born of Mena for the achievement of the task of the gods terrified to the quick by Taraka. If you are delighted, if you are sympathetic, O lord, become my husband. With your permission I am going to my father’s abode. Let your pure great glory be made well known. O lord, you will please go to Himalaya. Be the mendicant and beg of him, me as your alms. Thus, you start your householder’s life. There is no doubt that my father with his kinsmen will accede to your request as he has already been urged by the sages lovingly.
Formerly as Dakṣa’s daughter I was offered to you by my father. But the marriage rites were not duly performed then. The planets were not worshipped by my father. Therefore, a great defect occurred in our marriage in regard to the planets. Hence, O lord, you will celebrate marriage in accordance with the rules for the fulfilment of the task of the gods.”
On hearing these words, Sadashiv was highly delighted. Laughingly and lovingly, He spoke to Parvati. Shiva said --
“See that our marriage rites are performed in the proper manner without deficiency. All the living beings Brahma and others are non-eternal. All these visible things are perishable. The attribute less took over the attributes. That which is self-luminous had other lights imposed on it. O gentle lady, I, the independent, have been made subservient by you. You alone are the great illusory power, the Primordial nature that creates. This entire universe has been made of illusion; it is held by the supreme soul with His great intellect. It is united and enveloped by the Gaṇas of the nature of pervading souls of meritorious deeds, akin to the nature of supreme soul. We two have created the universe different in attributes and actions for the sake of the devotees and with a disposition favourable to them. You are indeed the subtle primordial nature consisting of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. You are capable of perpetual activity. You are both possessed and devoid of attributes. Of all living beings I am the soul without aberration without yearnings. I take up bodies at the requests and wishes of my devotees.
O daughter of the mountain, I will not go up to Himalaya your father. I will not become a mendicant and beg of him for you.
O daughter of the lord of mountains, even a weighty person endowed with great qualities, even a noble soul, is considered base immediately after uttering the words— “Please give me”.
Parvati said: --
“You are the cosmic soul, and I am the cosmic nature. There is nothing to deliberate on this. We two are independent and subservient to the devotees. We two are both possessed and devoid of attributes. O lord Shiva, with effort, you will please do according to my request. O Shiva, beg of Himalaya for me. O great lord, be sympathetic. I am your devotee for ever. I am your wife for ever in ever birth. You are Brahman, the great soul, devoid of attributes greater than primordial nature, without aberration, free from yearnings, independent, great lord. Still, you are possessed of attributes too and enthusiastic in the uplift of the devotees. You sport about in your own soul engrossed in it and you are clever in your different sports. Take pity on me.”
Thus, addressed by her, Shiva of the noble soul, just to follow and imitate the worldly conventions thought that it should be so. Being desirous of doing so he rejoiced. Then Shiva vanished. With a great delight He went to Kailash.
The story of Sandhya & her marriage with Vasishta – Shiva Purana
This is the story of Sandhya i.e., dawn and dusk. The upper half of her body became the Prataḥ Sandhya (dawn) and the lower half of her body became the Shyaṃ Sandhya (dusk). Before the sunrise, when the day breaks, the period is called Prataḥ Sandhya (dawn). It delights the Gods. When the sun has set and assumed the hue of a red lotus, the period of Shyaṃ Sandhya (dusk) sets in. It is delightful to the manes.
A beautiful woman was born of the mind of Brahma. She was variously called Sandhya, Divakṣanta, Sayaṃ Sandhya and Jayantika, she was very beautiful with finely shaped eyebrows capable of captivating the minds of even sages. Sandhya performed a penance on the mountain Candrbhaga, cast off her body and was reborn as Arundhati, the daughter of the excellent sage Medhatithi.
Arundhati performed sacred rites as guided by Vasishta, the mental son of Brahma. Vasishta advised her to meditate silently on Shiva, the sole first cause of all the worlds with the mantra ““Oṃ Namaḥ Saṃkaraya Oṃ”. Vasishta advised her to take only water in the first and second Ṣaṣṭakalas (a period of 4 hrs.) and to observe complete fast [without even taking water] in third Sastakala. The rites were to be performed at the end of each Ṣaṣṭakala. Sandhya worshipped Shiva with the mantra and performed penance as per procedure explained by Vasishta.
A period of four Yugas elapsed during which she continued her great penance with mind fixed and duly concentrated on Shiva. Propitiated by her penance Shiva was greatly delighted. He revealed Himself to her within and without as well as in the heaven. Shiva became visible to her in the form in which she was meditating upon him. She rejoiced much on seeing in front of her, the lord Shiva with face beaming with delight, in the same form as she was meditating on. As she remained with eyes shut, Shiva entered her heart and blessed her with divine wisdom, divine speech, and divine eyes. She thus acquired divine wisdom, divine eyes, and divine speech. Directly perceiving the lord of Durga, she eulogized the lord Shiva.
Sandhya said: --
When Shiva vanished after granting her the boons, Sandhya too went to the place where Medhatithi was performing sacrifice. She entered the sacrificial hall without being observed by anyone. Meditating on that Brahmachari Vasishta, her tutor in the mode of austerities, Sandhya thought of him as her future husband, and entered the blazing sacrificial fire unobserved by the sages.
The god of fire sent forth her body to the pure zone of the sun. The sun severed her body into two halves and placed the same on his own chariot for the propitiation of the Pitṛs and the Devas. The upper half of her body became the Prataḥ Sandhya (dawn) and the lower half of her body became the Shyaṃ Sandhya (dusk). Before the sunrise, when the day breaks, the period is called Prataḥ Sandhya. It delights the Gods. When the sun has set and assumed the hue of a red lotus, the period of Shyaṃ Sandhya sets in. It is delightful to the manes.
At the end of the sacrifice, the sage found his daughter in the sacrificial pit shining lustrously like heated gold. With very great delight the sage took up the daughter, as though she were a sacrificial article. He bathed her and kept her on his lap. The great sage gave her the name Arundhati. Surrounded by his disciples he celebrated the event joyously. The word Arundhati means “one who does not hinder sacred rites in any manner whatsoever”. She acquired this name which later became well-known in the three worlds.
The divine lady grew up in the hermitage, Tapasaraṇya, on the banks of the river—Candrabhaga. When she reached her fifth year, the chaste lady sanctified the environs of the Tapasaraṇya and the river Candrabhaga, by virtue of her good qualities. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva got her marriage celebrated with Vasiṣṭha, the son of Brahma. She secured Vasiṣṭha and bore the auspicious sons Shakti etc.
Reference: Shiva purana, Rudra-saṃhita, Sati Khanda, Chapter 5, 6 & 7
Story of Engagement of Parvati with Shiva – Shiva Purana
Gods eulogised mother goddess of universe who is the personified energy of the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and Rudra, representing the three qualities Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. On being eulogised by Gods, the mother goddess said, “I shall take a full incarnation on the earth. Later, Sati became the daughter of Himalaya and Mena. On being advised by Narada, the goddess was named Parvati. Narada informed them about her auspicious signs and that Her husband will be a naked Yogi, nirguna. On hearing Narada’s words, both Mena and Himalaya were much distressed.
Mena wished to perform the marriage of her daughter with a handsome bridegroom. But Himalaya said: --
“The sage’s statement will never be false. If you feel affectionate towards your daughter, zealously instruct your daughter. Let her perform the penance with Shiva as the object, devotedly and steadily. If Shiva is delighted, He will marry her. Everything shall be auspicious.”
Discussions of Shiva & Parvati:
When a few days passed by, lord Shiva came there and said: --
“I have come to perform penance in secret on your top. Make arrangements so that my penance can be conducted without obstacles.”
Himalaya said: --
“O lord, my daughter who is eager to serve you, I have brought here with a desire to propitiate you. Let her serve you, the benefactor, for ever, along with two of her maids. O lord, if you wish to bless me, please permit her.”
On hearing his words, the great lord of the gods broke His meditation, opened His eyes, thought a little and spoke. Lord Shiva said: --
“O mountain, you shall come every day to see me, leaving your daughter in your abode. Otherwise, I cannot be seen. I am an ascetic, a yogi, never affected by illusion. O mountain, by contact with a woman, worldliness springs up; non-attachment perishes, and the virtuous penance is destroyed.”
Parvati said: --
“O Yogi, you perform this great penance because you possess the energy of penance. Your intellect is inclined to perform penance because you are a noble soul. That energy is the Prakriti, the cause of all activities. Everything is created, sustained, and destroyed by it. You are worthy of the worship, respect, and meditation of all living beings for ever, thanks to Prakriti.” Shiva laughed and said: -
“I am destroying the Prakriti with my great penance. I remain without Prakriti. Indeed, Prakriti should not be taken in by good people. They should remain unaffected eschewing all worldly conduct.”
Parvati said. --
O lord Shiva, based on what you said how can that Prakriti ceases to exist and how can you be considered beyond that Prakriti? All these (the universe etc) are bound by Prakriti continuously. Hence you shall not say anything, not do anything. Know that speaking, doing etc. is a Prakriti activity. Without me, you are attribute less and incompetent to perform any activity.
On hearing these words of Parvati based on the Samkhya system, Shiva replied to her, upholding the Vedanta’s point of view. Lord Shiva said: --
If I am the Brahman, the supreme lord, unsullied by illusion, comprehensible through spiritual knowledge and the master of illusion what will you do then?
Then, Shiva with the permission of Himalaya started penance there. Parvati approached Shiva every day with two maids for serving Him with devotion. Parvati served Him every day with great devotion, always thinking on the form of that Great Soul.
Kama reduced to ashes:
In the meantime, Indra, other gods and the sages, being harassed by Taraka demon, eagerly sent Kama there at the bidding of Brahma to unite Parvati and Shiva in love. After reaching there Kama tried all his tricks but Shiva was not at all agitated. He reduced Kama to ashes and vanished from there.
Penance of Parvati:
When Shiva had vanished after burning Kama, Parvati became extremely agitated due to His separation. Then, Narada asked Parvati to propitiate Him by performing a great penance. Narada taught her the five-syllabled mantra of Shiva (Om Namah Shivay) in accordance with the sacred law and informed that it yields all cherished desires, bestows all worldly pleasures and salvation, and appeals much to Shiva.
She performed penance in the excellent holy centre Shṛngitirtha which (later) acquired the title “Gauri-Shikhara due to her performance of penance thereon. Fixing her mind in Shiva alone she remained firm and steady. She gradually reduced her food intake and spent three thousand years in the penance-grove performing penance. Due to Parvati’s penance, the universe started scorching.
Consent for marriage by Shiva with Parvati:
Vishnu accompanied by Brahma & other deities went to Shiva. Vishnu said: --
“O Shiva, all the gods have come here to submit to you their misery perpetrated mysteriously by Taraka. The demon Taraka will be killed only by your self-begotten son and not otherwise. Accept Parvati for marriage. She is full of noble attributes.”
Shiva said: --
“If goddess Parvati, the most beautiful lady was to be accepted by me, she will be able to resuscitate Kama on account of the marriage. Then all the gods, sages and ascetics will become lusty and incompetent in the great path of Yoga. Kama was burnt by me for the achievement of universal goal. May you all stay free from lust certainly along with me. So, you can be endowed with the supreme bliss and be free from aberrations by means of spiritual contemplation. Kama leads to hell; lust to anger, anger to delusion and delusion destroys penance.”
Shiva became quiet after resorting to meditation again. The gods eulogised Shiva with many piteous entreaties. Shiva said: — “O, Vishnu, O Brahma, O Indra, and other gods, why have you all collectively come here in my presence? Tell me the truth.”
Vishnu said: --
“O Shiva, many kinds of miseries have befallen us due to the demon Taraka. It is for that that you have been propitiated by the gods. On hearing the words of the gods, Shiva said: --
“I know the sufferings you undergo from the demon Taraka. I shall remove them. Although I am not interested at all in dalliance, I shall marry Parvati for begetting a son.”
Test of Parvati:
Shiva asked Vasishta and other six celestial sages to conduct the test the resolve of Parvati to marry him. The sages went to Gauri-Shikara and said her: --
“Why do you perform this penance? Which God do you wish to propitiate? For what purpose? Please tell us now.”
Parvati said: --
“At the behest of the celestial sage I am performing this steady penance with the desire that Rudra be my husband.”
On hearing her words, the sages honoured Parvati mentally with pleasure but spoke these deceptive false words laughingly. The sages said: --
Narada is a quibbler. He misleads others. They narrate her, how Narada misled sons of Daksha. At his instance, they never went back home to their father. At another instance, there was a Vidyadhara named Chitraketu. The sage instructed him and made him detached from his house. He bestowed his instructions on Prahlada and made him suffer much at the hands of Hiraṇyakashipu.
He is a person who splits others’ intellect. Whomsoever this sage advocates his philosophy, very pleasing to the ears, generally the same person discards his hearth and home and begins to beg for alms. You too who are honoured by the wise have followed his advice and thus become a fool. That is why you are performing this severe penance.
The trident-bearing Shiva has an inauspicious body, is free from shame and has no home or pedigree. He is naked and ill-featured. He associates with ghosts and goblins and the like. At first, he married Sati, the chaste daughter of Dakṣha, eagerly but he could not maintain the household even for a few days.
He is single without a second and without attachment. He is after salvation, how can a woman put up with him. Cast off this foolish intention. You will benefit thereby. A befitting bridegroom for you is lord Vishnu endowed with all good qualities. He is a resident of Vaikuṇṭha, lord of wealth and is skilled in sports. O Parvati, with him we shall fix your marriage that will confer all happiness on you. On hearing these words, Parvati, the mother of the universe, laughed and spoke to the wise sages. Parvati said: --
“O excellent sages, what you have said may be true according to your light and wisdom; but O brahmins, my tenacity cannot be affected. When you glorify Vishnu as the abode of noble qualities or as a sportive deity I do not contradict. As to your statement that Sadashiv is devoid of attributes, I shall tell you the reason. Shiva is Brahman, unchanging and without aberration. He assumes shapes and forms for the welfare of his devotees. He does not make a show of worldly lordship. Shiva is a supreme bliss personified and an Avadhuta in form. The lord is devoid of attributes, unborn, free from illusion, of invisible movement and a cosmic Being. Shiva does not shower His blessings on the ground of faith, caste etc. I know Shiva truly only through the blessings of the preceptor. O brahmins, if Shiva does not marry me, I shall remain for ever a virgin. Truth, I tell you the truth.”
After saying thus and bowing to those sages, the daughter of the mountain stopped and remembered Shiva with an unruffled mind. On realising the resoluteness of Parvati, the sages hailed her and bestowed excellent blessings upon her. They immediately returned to Shiva’s abode.
The sages said to Shiva: --
“Please invite and summon Vishnu with his retinue, Brahma with his sons, lord Indra,70 all the sages, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, heavenly nymphs and others. All of them will jointly accomplish everything for you. There is no doubt about it. Go to the abode of Himalaya and marry Parvati in accordance with the customs for the sake of a son.”
Saying this and taking His permission the seven sages joyfully returned to their abodes praising the way of Shiva.
Himalaya on the urge of brothers & relatives, caused the letter of betrothal (engagement) to be written by Garga, his priest. He despatched the letter of betrothal to Shiva along with articles of homage through his kinsmen. Those people arrived at Kailash and handed over the letter to Shiva after applying the holy mark on his forehead. After being duly honoured by the lord, they returned highly delighted to the penance of the mountain.
The dialogues of Shiva and Parvati have lucidly explained the concepts of Samkhya and Vedanta and their relevance in human life.
Chapters 21 to 37 in Parvati Khanda of Shiva Purana
The story of birth of Sati & wedding with Shiva – Shiva Purana
Brahma ji did laudatory prayers to Goddess Durga and sought her blessings to take birth as Daksha’s daughter and become Rudra’s wife for the benefit of the universe.
Daksha begot of his wife sixty daughters. He performed their marriages with Dharma and others. Daksha gave ten of his daughters duly in marriage to Dharma, thirteen to Kashyap the sage, and twenty-seven to the moon. He gave two daughters each to Bhṛgu, Angiras and Kṛsasva. The other daughters were given to Tarkṣya. The sons and grandsons and descendants of these filled the three worlds. A detailed narration is not attempted here.
Birth of Sati:
After the birth of his daughter (Sati), Daksha Prajapati and his wife meditated on the mother of the universe with pleasure. Daksha, on seeing Sati blooming in the proper age thought within— “How shall I give my daughter to Shiva?” She too desired to attain Shiva. Her desire grew every day. After knowing her father’s idea, she approached her mother. Sati, the great Goddess of wide intellect, sought the permission of her mother to perform the penance with Shiva as the goal, for the happiness of her mother Viriṇi. Firmly resolved in her desire to secure Shiva as her husband, she propitiated him in her own house with the permission of her mother. She worshipped Shiva with great devotion and offered cooked rice with jaggery & gingelly seeds, Belva fruits & leaves, Palash, Daman & Brhati flowers, sacred threads & cloths. Keeping strict control over her diet and repeating various mantras she worshipped Shiva with different fruits, flowers and leaves fresh and readily available. The Goddess Sati who had assumed human form out of her will, became firmly devoted to the worship of Shiva on every day and month. Concluding all the sacred rites of Nanda, Sati began to meditate on Shiva with concentrated devotion. She was steady and she never thought of anyone else. She was completely engrossed in meditating on Shiva. She had reached the stage of the enlightened seers.
Eulogy of Shiva by Brahma, Vishnu & other deities and Shiva agreeing to marry:
Brahma, Vishnu & other deities approached Shiva with great joy and lauded Him with various hymns: -
After eulogising the great lord, all the Devas, Vishnu and others, stood silently in front of the lord with their shoulders stooping down with great devotion. On seeing Brahma and Vishnu in the company of their consorts, Shiva addressed them suitably and asked them the purpose of their visit.
Brahma said: --
O bull-emblemed deity, we have come here particularly for your sake. O great lord, some demons are to be killed by me, some by Vishnu, some by you and some of them would be killed by your son. The universe can attain peace and fearlessness only after destroying the demons. Though our real form is one, we are different in as much as our activities are different. If there is no functional difference, the difference in forms is meaningless. The same supreme Atman, lord Shiva manifests in three different ways due to Maya. The lord is independent in his divine sports. Vishnu and I have become united with our wives for the performance of our function. For the benefit of the universe, for the happiness of the devas, you must accept an auspicious lady as your wife. O great lord, you yourself as Shiva mentioned this to us formerly, “Brahma is the cause of creation, Vishnu is sustainer. I shall be the cause of dissolution in the form of Rudra, a Saguṇa form. I shall marry a woman and perform the excellent function.”
O Shiva, accept a beloved wife as a life companion in the same manner as Vishnu has taken the Goddess of the lotus (Lakshmi) and I have taken the goddess of speech. On hearing these words, Shiva spoke with his face beaming with a smile.
Shiva said: --
O Brahma, O Vishnu, both of you are always dear to me. On seeing you both, my delight is enhanced indeed. It is not proper for me to marry as I am detached from the world and engaged in penance. I always practise Yoga. Of what avail is a beloved to me in this world since I am in the path of abstinence delighting myself in my own soul, freed of attachment, unsullied, with the body of an ascetic, possessed of knowledge, seeing himself, free from aberrations and a non-reveller. Besides I am always unclean and inauspicious. Hence say now what can I do with a loving wife? Even as I am engaged in Yoga, I experience the mystic Bliss. Only a man devoid of perfect knowledge will make much of marriage and desire it. Considering your weighty words for the fulfilment of my promise and the goal of my task, I shall marry. She must be a Yogini when I practise Yoga and a loving woman when I indulge in love. There is another condition to which please also listen, O Brahma. If she evinces a disbelief in me or in what I say, I shall abandon her.
Brahma said: --
She is Uma. Formerly she manifested herself in the forms of Sarasvati and Lakshmi in order to fulfil her task. Lakshmi became the wife of Vishnu and Sarasvati mine. From her desire for the welfare of the world she has taken a third form. She is born now as Daksha’s daughter in the name of Sati. O lord, she will be an ideal wife. At present she is performing penance for securing you. She is firm in her austere rites. She desires you as her husband. Indeed, she is highly brilliant. Grant her the desired boon. Then lovingly marry her.
Vishnu said: --
O great lord, the lord of devas, marrying her please make the three worlds blessed with a leader with benignant look.
Sati granted the boon:
In the Hindu month of Ashvin (September-October), Sati observed a fast on the eighth day of the bright half and worshipped Shiva with great devotion. When her Nanda rites were concluded on the ninth day (Navami), while she was engrossed in meditation, Shiva became visible to her. On seeing Shiva directly, she bent her head from shyness, and she knelt at his feet.
Shiva said: --
O daughter of Daksha, of good rites, I am delighted by these rites you have observed. Choose a boon. I shall grant it whatever it may be. Suppressing her bashfulness when Sati spoke “As you please give unto me, O bestower of boons, the desired boon or the bridegroom of my desire, without any hindrance,”, did not wait for the completion of her request and said— “you be my wife.” She was highly delighted on obtaining the boon (or bridegroom) stationed in her mind.
Sati said: --
O great lord of Devas, lord of the universe, please take me with due marital rites in the presence of my father.
On hearing these words of Sati, Shiva, favourably disposed to His devotees, glanced lovingly at her and said— “So be it.” After receiving His consent, she returned to her mother with a fascinating gaiety. Shiva also returned to His hermitage. The parents who obtained the news through her friends were very glad and celebrated a great festival.
Sati’s marriage with Shiva:
While Daksha was constantly thinking of the procedure of handing over his daughter to Shiva, Brahma appeared and Daksha to offer his daughter to Shiva for whom she has been intended. On hearing these words of mine, my son Daksha was highly delighted. He said delightfully. “It is so. It is so.” Then, Brahma informed Shiva, Daksha has said “My daughter shall go to Him. She has been intended for Him. This has been my desire.” Rudra said to Brahma, “I shall go to his house accompanied by you and Narada. Remember your mental as well as physical sons—Marici and others. O Brahma, with all my attendants and with them I shall go to Daksha’s house.”
In the bright half of the month of Chaitra (March-April) on the thirteenth day when the star was Uttara Phalguna on a Sunday, lord Shiva started. The hides of elephant and tiger, the serpents, the crescent moon and the matted hair, all became fitting ornaments and embellishments at Shiva’s will. Then, Shiva reached Daksha’s abode seated on his speedy bull and along with Vishnu and others.
With great humility and boundless joy, Daksha along with his people welcomed Him. Then Daksha took Shiva within the house along with the devas and the sages. After performing the suitable worship, Daksha in the presence of respectable sages announced the marriage agreement. Then Daksha said to Brahma, his father, “the marriage rites shall be performed by you.” Then preliminary rites were performed. Daksha joyfully gave his daughter Sati to Shiva. There were great festivities
with songs and dances. Everything concluded auspiciously.
Then, Shiva said: — “O Brahma, all the rites of marriage have been performed extremely well. I am pleased. You officiated as the priest. What shall I give you as the nuptial fee?
Brahma said: --
“O lord of Devas, if you are pleased, please do as I request you with pleasure. For the purification of men from sins you will please stay for ever in this altar in this self-same form. If anyone visits this holy site on the thirteenth day in the bright half of Chaitra (March-April) when the star is Uttar Phalguna and the day is Sunday, may all his sins be quelled O Shiva; may his merits increase and may his ailments disappear. On hearing these words of mine, Shiva was pleased, and He said, “Let it be so”. After saying this, the Shiva in the company of his wife stayed in the middle of the altar creating a partial image of Himself. With the joyous consent of Daksha, Shiva seated Sati on the bull and then sitting Himself on it went to the Himalayan ridges. Vishnu, as also the Gods and sages with joyful beaming faces returned to their respective abodes.
Reference: Shiv Purana, Sati Khanda, Chapter – 14 to 18
The story of Narada and his arrogance – Shiva Purana
Once Narada the excellent sage, son of Brahma was inclined to perform penance. He found a beautiful cave (very convenient for penance) in Himalayan Mountain, near which a celestial river was flowing the leading sage. He performed the penance for a long time, seated firmly and steadily, keeping silent, controlling the breath and retaining the purity of the intellect, doing meditation and contemplation wherein the realisation “I am Brahman” is generated leading to the direct perception of Brahman.
When the great sage Narada was performing penance, Indra, the leader of deities doubted Narada’s intention and thought that the sage was yearning for his kingdom. To spoil the Narada’s penance, he commanded Kamadeva (Cupid). Kamadeva, accompanied by his wife (Rati) and Madhu, his friend, went to that place and employed all his arts. Spring too haughtily spread his prowess of diverse nature. But the mind of the sage (Narada) did not waver.
The mind of Narada did not waver, reason being, it was the very place where Shiva performed great penance. Shiva reduced the Kamadeva to ashes here who used to spoil the penances of sages. Rati wanted the resuscitation of Kama and requested the Deities. They appealed to Shiva, the benefactor of the whole world who said: after some time, Kama will come to life again. But none of his tricks will succeed here. It was due to this, Kama’s viles did not prevail upon Narada. Kamadeva went to Indra and narrated him his unsuccess. Indra was unaware of the true facts and was greatly surprised and he admired Narada.
After realising that his penance was complete, Narada concluded the same. Thinking that he had conquered Kamadeva, he was filled with pride. He was devoid of true knowledge and deluded by Shiva’s maya. Narada went to Kailasa to expatiate on his own achievement. Bowing down to Rudra, the sage arrogantly spoke about his conquest of Kama. On hearing it, Shiva advised Narada, “you are blessed, but never speak like this anywhere else, especially in the presence of Viṣhṇu”.
But Narada who was still under the influence of Shiva’s Maya did not take up his advice. Then the great sage went to Brahma’s loka. After saluting Brahma, he told him about his conquest of Kama as a result of his penance. On hearing that, Brahma meditated on Shiva’s feet and knew thereby the true cause. He then forbade his son.
Narada did not still take up the advice of Brahma. Then, Narada hastened to Viṣhṇuloka to boast of his achievement to Viṣhṇu. When Viṣhṇu saw Narada approaching, he could guess the purpose of his visit. He said, “you are blessed. I am sanctified by your visit. May I know where you come from and why you have come?” On hearing these words of Viṣhṇu, the sage Narada felt elated. He narrated his story in the same haughty manner. On hearing the arrogant words of the sage, Viṣhṇu remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and understood the true cause. He said, “O foremost among sages, you are blessed. You are the storehouse of austerities and large-hearted. O sage, lust and delusion rise only in the heart of that man who is devoid of the three types of devotion. Base passions bring all sorts of miseries instantly. But you are vowed to perpetual celibacy. You are ever endowed with knowledge and devoted to non-attachment. Unaffected by passion and highly intelligent by nature how can you be swayed by lust?”
On hearing words like these, Narada laughed within himself but spoke to Viṣhṇu humbly. He said, “what can Kama do to me if you remain favourable to me?” Saying so, the sage bowed to Viṣhṇu and left.
When Narada went away, Vishnu ji with his Maya created a big wonderful city. It was far more beautiful than heaven. The wealthy and prosperous king of that city named Silanidhi was preparing for the gorgeous celebration of Svayaṃvara (selection process of bridegroom) of his daughter. Brilliant princes coming from all the four quarters eager to court the princess. On seeing such a splendid city, Narada was enchanted. With his love kindled, he eagerly went to the palace threshold. When the sage reached the palace the king Śilanidhi adored him and offered him a seat on the splendid throne. He called his daughter Srimati and asked her to kneel down at the feet of Narada. He informed Narada, “her daughter has attained the marriageable age. She is in search of a qualified bridegroom”. He asked the sage to foretell her destiny.
By the time, Narada became an agitated victim of love and desired her. He said, “your daughter is endowed with all qualities. Her future husband will certainly be a splendid God, lord of all, unvanquished, heroic, on a par with Shiva, and Vying with Kamadeva”. Having said this, Narada took leave of the king. Narada who was agitated by love, went to Viṣhṇuloka somehow to acquire Viṣhṇu’s form to captivate her. He narrated his affair to Vishnu and requested his favour with a splendid form. On hearing these words of the sage Viṣhṇu, blessed the sage with a form like his own and the face of Hari (i.e., the monkey since the word Hari means a monkey also).
The great sage Narada hastened to the place where Svayaṃvara was to be held and where the princes had assembled. With his mind surging with love, he began to think, “She will choose only me since I am in Vishnu’s form”. The poor sage did not know the ugly character of his face. Considering the sage, a fool, the two attendants of Rudra sat near the sage and began to mock at him. The sage overwhelmed by love did not heed their whisper. He went on gazing at the princess Srimati and was eager to get her. In the meantime, the princess had come out and went in search of a suitable bridegroom went round the hall with the garland in her hands. On seeing the sage with the face of a monkey and the body of Vishnu she was infuriated. Failing to find a bridegroom of her choice she was afraid. She did not put the garland round the neck of anyone. Meanwhile Vishnu came there in the guise of a king. He was not seen by anyone. Only the princess saw him. Then on seeing Vishnu, she put the garland round his neck. The sage oppressed by love became excessively agitated.
The attendants said to Narada, “being deluded by love, you are desirous of getting her. Your effort is in vain. See, your face is as despicable as that of a monkey”. On hearing their words Narada was surprised. Deluded by Shiva’s maya he looked into a mirror. On seeing his face like that of a monkey he became infuriated. The deluded sage cursed the two attendants. Narada said, “Since you had mocked at me, you will become demons born of Brahminical semen and of that form”. Then, he went to Vishnuloka. Narada said to Vishnu ji, “you made me distressed for the sake of woman. O Hari, you shall experience misery in that human form which you imitated while proceeding with your deceptive tactics. Your allies will be those whose face you assigned to me. You shall get the misery of separation from a woman. You shall have the travails of a human being deluded by ignorance.” Thus Narada, deluded himself by ignorance, cursed Hari. Vishnu quietly accepted the curse praising the Maya of Sambhu. Thereafter Shiva withdrew his enchanting Maya whereby Narada became wise (as before) and free from delusion.
When the Maya vanished, he became as intelligent as before regaining perfect knowledge and becoming free from distress. He was surprised (at his own action in the meantime). He cursed himself after repenting again and again. On realising his mistakes due to illusion, Narada, the most excellent of the devotees of Vishnu, fell at his feet. He said, “O lord, I heaped curses on you. O master, please make them ineffective. I have committed a great sin. Certainly, I will be falling into a hell.”
Vishnu said, “deluded by your haughtiness you disobeyed the instructions of Shiva. The true bestower of fruits according to the actions, He has given you this result. Everything has happened in accordance with Shiva’s wish. He removes haughtiness. He is the supreme Brahman; the supreme Ātman, Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. He is free from the three Guṇas, changes and deviations. He is beyond Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. He is both Saguṇa and Nirguṇa (with and without attributes). He Himself availing of his own Maya manifests into three forms—Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. Different from Maya, the pure Being in the form of Shiva is the Sakṣin (cosmic witness) and moving about according to His Will and indulging in divine sport He blesses his devotees. O sage Narada, please listen to a good remedy that bestows happiness, removes all sins and yields worldly pleasures and salvation. Cast off all your doubts. Sing the songs of noble glory of Shiva. With your mind not turning to anything else, always repeat the hundred names of Shiva and his hymns. By his Japa all of your sins will perish instantaneously. O sage, perform His adoration. Worship him always. Hear and sing his glory. Perpetually pay Him homage. He who approaches Śiva by means of his body, mind and speech is a great scholar. He is called a living liberated soul. The sins which are at the root of worldly existence are destroyed certainly by the axe of Shiva’s name. It is my conviction that salvation is easy of access only to the person who has exclusive and unflinching devotion for Shiva and not for any other. After bowing to him and eulogising Him you will become free from all doubts. Thereafter you must go to Brahmaloka to achieve your wishes. After bowing to and specifically eulogising your father Brahma, you shall ask him many points regarding Shiva’s greatness with an endearing mind. Brahma, the foremost among the devotees of Shiva, will narrate to you the greatness of Shiva as well as the hymn of hundred names, out of love. After advising the sage Vishnu was pleased. Remembering, saluting and eulogising Shiva he vanished from that place.”
when Vishnu vanished, Narada roamed over the Earth seeing Shiva Lingas (in the various holy centres) with piety. On knowing that Narada of divine vision was wandering over the Earth, the two attendants of Shiva approached him who by that time had become pure in mind. They bowed to him and touched his feet. With a desire to secure release from the curse they spoke to him respectfully. The attendants of Shiva said, “O celestial sage, son of Brahma, we, your former offenders, are the attendants of Shiva. Induced by Shiva, you had cursed us when your mind was deluded by the illusory infatuation for the princess at the Svayaṃvara. No one is to be blamed for it. O lord, be pleased. Bless us now.” The sage replied lovingly, repenting (for his previous fury). Narada said, “O attendants of Lord Shiva, formerly my mind had been depraved. Certainly, it was Śiva’s will. In that state of delusion and crookedness of the mind I had unfortunately cursed both of you. What I have said is bound to happen. Still, I shall tell you the way of redemption from the curse. Please forgive my sin now. You will be born as demons from the semen virile of a great sage and due to his power, you will secure the commanding position of the king of demons endowed with prosperity, strength and valorous exploits. You will rule over whole of the universe as devotees of Shiva with your sense conquered. You will gain your former position after courting death at the hands of another form of Vishnu.”
Arrogance or the pride of superiority rests on the premise on the fear to be ordinary person. It attempts to fill our inner emptiness with ego rather than allowing that emptiness to blossom into humility. If we can allow ourselves to be at the same level of importance as others: not higher, despite our gifts, and not lower, despite our defects—Just ordinary – It will be the antidote to arrogance.
All the malice, pains and miseries trace to the ego and ignorance. Anger, jealousy, arrogance……originate basically from ego. 1. Shrimad Bhagavad Gita (chapter 5.7) declares, the qualified karma yogi is one who pure in his heart, who has controlled his mind and his senses overcomes his egoistic thinking and limited vision.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Second Samhita - Rudra-saṃhita: Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa, Chapter 2, 3, 4 & 5
In the city of Kampilya, there was a Somayaji family. Their son named Yajnadatta was an adept in the performance of sacrifice. He knew Vedas and Vedangas. He was a great scholar of Vedanta etc. He was honoured by the king. He was a liberal-minded donor and as such his fame had spread far and wide. His son (Guṇanidhi) was of a very handsome complexion. After the investiture with the sacred thread, he learned all the eight lore repeatedly. Yet, unknown to his father he indulged in gambling. He took plenty of sums from his mother and gave them over to other gamblers.
He eschewed all Brahminical ways and conduct of life. He was averse to the performance of Sandhya prayers and ceremonial ablutions. He began to speak ill of the Vedas, sacred texts, devas and brahmins. He did not follow the conventions and injunctions of the Smṛti code, He indulged in singing and playing. Actors, heretics etc. were his beloved friends.
Although his mother wanted him to meet his father now and then, he never went near his father. Engaged in extra-domestic activities Yajnadatta used to ask his wife “what is our son Guṇanidhi doing? He is not at home.” Then the woman used to say, “He has gone out just now. The poor woman since she had only one son deceived her husband thus. All sacred rites ending with Kesa Karma were performed in the sixteenth year of the son. Thereafter Yajnadatta performed the marriage rite of the son in accordance with the rules prescribed in the Gṛhya Sutras.
Her mother said to Gunanidhi, “your father is surely a great man, but he is of rash temperament. If he comes to know of your activities, he will beat you and will not spare me too. I conceal your nefarious activities from your father every day. Due to his good conduct and his affluent circumstances, he is honoured by all the people. Dear child, a good learning and association with men of saintly character constitute a great asset for brahmins. How is it that you do not gladly take interest in such things? Your ancestors and grandfathers had all earned the reputation of being good Vedic scholars, well learned in Sastras, and performers of sacrifices, especially Soma yagas. Shun the company of the wicked people, associate with good men, turn your attention to good learning and strictly adhere to Brahminical conventions. Emulate your father in form, fame and traditional activity. Why don’t you feel ashamed? Cast off your wickedness. You are nineteen now. This girl is sixteen years old. She is a good girl. Take her. Protect her. Your maternal uncles too are matchless in learning, conduct and pedigree and other things. You are not afraid even of them. Your paternal and maternal lineages are equally pure. See the brahmin boys of your neighbourhood. Even in our house see the disciples of your father. How humbly do they behave? Dear son, if the king hears of your evil propensities, he will cease to respect your father and may even suspend the regular maintenance allowance. Till now people used to call your activities the foolish blunders of an ignorant boy. Hereafter they may take away the traditional title of Dikṣita. People will curse and cavil at your father and me saying such evil words as “The son has adopted the wickedness of the mother. Your father has never been a sinner. He strictly follows the path of the Vedas and Smṛtis. Powerful indeed is Fate whence a boy like you is born of my womb!”
Although constantly advised thus by his mother, the wicked boy did not abandon his evil ways. For, an idiot indulging in vice is beyond redemption. Who is he that is not broken up by the evil influences of hunting, wine, slander, untruth, theft, gambling and prostitutes? The wicked fellow (Guṇanidhi) used to lay his hands on whatever he could see in the house, a cloth, a base metal etc. and take it to the gambling den, there to lose the same to his brother gamblers. Once he stole a very valuable ring of his father set with precious stones and gave it to one the of gamblers. It chanced that one day the Dikṣita saw it in the hand of the gambler. He asked the fellow — “Where did you get this ring from?” First the gambler did not say anything. When repeatedly asked he said — “O brahmin, you are unnecessarily accusing me of theft. It was your son who gave it to me. On the previous day I had won his mother’s upper garment. Do not think that I alone was the winner of this ring. He has lost many costly things to other gamblers as well. He has thus given gems, metals, silk garments, vessels, golden vases, and different sorts of copper and bell metal pots. In the whole world you cannot see such a useless poor gambler as he (your son). How is it that till now, O brahmin, you have not realised that your son is a ringleader of base gamblers, very clever in misdemeanour and unfair means? On hearing these words, the poor Dikṣita’s head bent down with shame. He covered his face and head with a cloth and quietly slipped back into his house. Yajjnadatta, the sacrificer, well versed in Vedic rites spoke thus to his wife who was a very chaste lady.
Yajnadatta said: — O mistress! where is that gambling rogue of a son, Guṇanidhi? Or let it be. Why should I ask for him? Where is that auspicious ring which you took off at the time of applying unguents on my body? Bring it quickly and give it to me. The mistress was frightened at these words. While she was engaged in arranging for bath and midday sacred rites she replied— “I am busy arranging the various articles of offerings for worship. While I was busy cooking the pudding, I kept the ring somewhere in some vessel just now. What a pity! I have forgotten it. I do not know where it has been kept.
Dikṣita said: — O truthful lady who has given birth to a base boy, whenever I asked “Where has the son gone?” you used to say, “Dear lord, just now he has gone out after finishing his lesson of the Vedas, in the company of two or three friends for revision of the lesson”. Where is your silk saree red like madder which I had presented to you and which used to hang down here in the house always? Tell me the truth. Do not be afraid. That gem-set golden vase which I had given you is also missing. That tripod with a velvet cushion which I had given you is nowhere to be seen. Where is that bell metal pot made in the South? Where is that copper pot made in Bengal? Where is that ivory casket intended for curios and trinkets? Where is that wonderfully fine statuette of a lady lighting a lamp, shining like the moon, and brought from the hilly province? Why should I unnecessarily speak much? O lady of a noble family, it is futile to be angry with you. I shall take food -only after I marry again! I am childless now since that wicked fellow has defiled the whole family. Get up and fetch me some water. Let me offer libations to him with gingelly seeds. Better to be issueless than have a wicked son who defiles the entire family. It is the traditional policy to abandon one to save the family. The Brahmana took his bath, performed his daily rites and married the daughter of a Vedic scholar the same day.”
Guṇanidhi, the son of the Dikṣita Yajnadatta, came to know of this. Regretfully he cursed himself and set off from that place. After wandering aimlessly for a long time, he, the wicked fellow, felt the abandonment keenly and losing all hopes halted at a place. He thought to himself: “Where am I to go? What shall I do? I have not studied much, nor am I rich enough. Only a wealthy man can be happy in a foreign land, although he has to face the fear of thieves there. I am born in the family of priests officiating in sacrifices. Why am I reduced to this wretched plight? Fate is powerful indeed, controlling all our future actions. I cannot even beg as I have no acquaintance, no money. Where shall I seek refuge? Every day, even before sunrise, my mother used to feed me with sweet pudding. Today whom shall I beg? My mother too is away from me.”
In the meantime, a certain devotee of Lord Shiva came out of the city taking with him various articles of offering. The devotee entered the temple of Shiva where he worshipped Him in the prescribed manner with sincere devotion. The brahmin boy, son of Yajnadatta, devoid of his mother and dismissed by his father, was very hungry by this time. He inhaled the sweet fragrance of the sweet puddings and followed the devotee. “If fortunately, these devotees of Shiva go to sleep after offering the eatables to Śiva, I shall eat these vast varieties of puddings and sweets in the night”. With this hope he sat at the threshold of the temple of Shiva watching the great worship by the devotee.
When the worship was over, the songs and dances of prayer were duly concluded, the devotees lay down and began to sleep. Immediately the young man entered the sanctum sanctorum of Shiva to steal the eatables left there. The lamp was burning very dimly. Hence to see the puddings clearly, he tore a piece of cloth from his lower garment and put that piece in the lamp as a wick thus making the lamp give a good light. Yajnadatta’s son gleefully took plenty of the sweets offered as eatables to Lord Shiva by the devotees. With sweets in his hands, he came out hurriedly. In his hurry he stamped on some person lying there who woke up immediately. “Who is that? Who is running away so fast? Catch him.” So shouted the man who woke up in a voice hoarse with fear. The brahmin boy (Guṇanidhi) who ran for life became blind. So, he was caught and killed by the watchmen on duty.
By the favour of Shiva or by the power of accumulated merit, the son of Yajnadatta could not partake of the offerings of eatables made to Lord Shiva. The terrible soldiers of Yama who desired to take him to Saṃyamani (the abode of Yama), approached him with nooses and clubs in their hands and bound him. In the meantime, the attendants of Shiva with tridents in their hands and tinkling anklets on their arms reached the spot in an aerial chariot in order to take him to Shivaloka. Shivagaṇas said: — “O attendants of Yama, leave this righteous brahmin alone. He cannot be punished since his sins have been burnt off.”
On hearing these words of Shiva’s attendants, the attendants of Yama became terrified and addressed the attendants of Shiva: Yamagaṇas said: — “O Gaṇas, this is a wicked brahmin who has broken the traditions and conventions of his family. He has disobeyed his father’s directions and has forsaken truthfulness or purity. He does not offer his Sandhya prayers. He does not take his ceremonial baths regularly. Leave aside his other activities. He has now transgressed and outraged the offerings of eatables made to Shiva. You can see this personally. In fact, he is not worthy of even being touched by people like you. Those who consume or outrage the offerings of eatables made to Shiva and those who offer these to others, the mere touch of these persons, it is said, is sinful. Even poison is not so dangerous when drunk. Never shall a person make use of Shiva’s property even if he were to die. It is granted that you are an authority on virtue. We are not. But O Gaṇas, if this fellow has at least a bit of virtue to his credit, please let us hear the same”.
On hearing these words of Yama’s attendants, the attendants of Shiva remembered the lotus-like feet of Shiva and spoke to them thus: — Shiva’s attendants said: - “O Attendants of Yama, Shiva’s ideas of Dharma are very subtle. They can be observed only by persons of subtle and keen vision, not by people like you whose aim is only the gross exterior. O Gaṇas, hear attentively what this son of Yajnadatta has done which has freed him from sins. The shadow of the lamp was falling on the top of the linga and this brahmin prevented it by adding a wick to the lamp at night, cutting a piece from his lower cloth. Another great merit he derived from listening to the names of Shiva, though casually, O attendants. He witnessed the worship that was being performed duly by a devotee. He was observing a fast and his mind was concentrated too. Let him go to Shivaloka along with us. As Shiva’s follower let him enjoy great pleasures there for some time. Then he will shake off his sins and become the king of Kalinga since he has indeed become a great favourite of Shiva. Nothing else need be mentioned now. Let all of you, emissaries of Yama, return to your own world with contented minds.” On hearing these words of Shiva’s attendants, the emissaries of Yama returned to Yama’s abode.
Dharmaraja said: — “O Gaṇas, listen attentively to what I say. Whatever I direct you to do, you shall do with loving devotion. O Gaṇas, you shall avoid those persons who bear on their forehead the mark of Tripuṇḍra besmeared with white ashes, persons who regularly dust their body with white ashes, persons who assume the garb and features of Shiva, persons who wear Rudrakṣas and keep matted hair, persons who imitate the dress or the features of Shiva, even for their livelihood or for the purpose of deception. Never shall they be brought here.”
Thus, freed from the emissaries of Yama, the brahmin boy became pure-minded and went to Shivaloka along with the attendants of Shiva. There he served Shiva and Parvati and enjoyed all sorts of pleasures. Afterwards he was born as the son of Arindama, the king of Kalinga. Known as Dama he was devoted to the service of Shiva. Even as a boy he carried on many acts of devotion to Shiva in the company of other children. When his father passed away, he became the king in the prime of his youth. In his kingdom he spread the ideals and tenets of Shiva lovingly. The king Dama was unconquerable. He stressed on furnishing temples of Shiva with lamps in plenty. Every temple was duly illuminated. With this act of piety alone, till he lived, the king Dama acquired ample prosperity. Finally, he passed away.
Spiritual Significance: A visit to temple, listening of prayers particularly at the time dying, accepting prasada and wearing the marks of Shiva (Tripundra, Rudraksas and white ash on body, can overweigh demerits done in lifetime.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Rudra-saṃhita: Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa Chapter 17 & 18
The story of dispute of Brahma and Vishnu – Shiva Purana
In Shiva Purana, the story of birth of Brahma ji and dispute with Vishnu ji has been written. The story has been told by Brahma ji to sages.
Brahma ji said to sages, “When Sri Narayana continued into to sleep amidst the waters, an excellent lotus of huge size came out of his navel as desired by Shiva. It was very beautiful with the brilliance of ten million suns. Shiva with Parvati created me from His right limb and placed through the umbilical lotus of Vishnu. Thus, it was that I came to be known as Lotus-born and conceived in a golden womb. I had four faces, red complexion and Tripuṇḍra-marked forehead. I was eager to go up on to the top of the lotus but could not reach. Then I heard an auspicious voice – perform penance. On hearing the voice of the sky, I exerted myself for twelve years in performing a terrible penance in order to see my progenitor. At the same time, the four-armed Sri Vishnu of beautiful eyes suddenly appeared before me in order to bless me. He was holding the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus in his hands. He was wearing the yellow silken cloth and had cloud-blue complexion all over his body. He had a crown. He was bedecked in great ornaments. His lotus-like face beamed with pleasure.” (Ch-7 /Sh.1-19)
Vishnu said, “Welcome, welcome to you, dear child, O Pitamaha of great brilliance. Do not be afraid. Undoubtedly, I shall confer on you all that you desire.” (Ch-7 /Sh.26)
Brahma said, “how is it that you speak of me trivially as - Dear child, me who am the cause of annihilation of everything, as a preceptor addresses his disciple?” Roused by the Rajoguna, Brahma further said, I am the creator of worlds, the direct activator of Prakriti, unborn, the eternal, all-pervasive Brahma. I am born of Vishnu. I am the soul of universe, the originator, creator, and the lotus-eyed. You must explain to me quickly why you speak like this. The Vedas speak of me invariably as self-born, unborn, all-pervasive, grandfather, self-governed and the excellent supreme Being.” (Ch-7 /Sh.28-32)
Vishnu said, “I know you, for the sake of creation of the world and support you are descended from my un-decaying limbs. You have forgotten me, the supreme soul, invoked by many, praised by many, all-pervasive, imperishable, ruler, the source and origin of universe, the long armed and the omnipresent lord. There is no doubt in this that you are born of the lotus from my umbilicus. I am the creator, sustainer and destroyer. There is no powerful person equal to me. I am the supreme Brahman, the greatest Truth. I am the greatest light. It was I who created the twenty-four manifest Tattvas. I have created the atoms. I have created the attributes. I have created the Intellect and the threefold Ego therein. I have evolved the five subtle elements, the mind, the body and the sense-organs. I have created the five elements Ether etc. and all created beings out of sheer sport. Realising this, O Brahma, seek refuge in me. I shall certainly protect you from all miseries.” (Ch-7 /Sh.33-42)
Brahma said, “On hearing these words, I, proud of being Brahma, became angry. Being deluded by illusion in a threatening attitude I asked him, who are you? Why do you talk so much? You are neither the lord, nor the supreme Brahman. There must be a creator of yours. Deluded by the illusion, I fought a terrific battle with Vishnu. Meanwhile a phallic image appeared before us in order to enlighten us and to settle out dispute. It had no beginning, middle or end. It was as furious as hundreds of the fire of death with thousands of leaping rows of flames. It was unequalled, inexpressible unmanifest universal Being. The Vishnu became unconscious by its thousand flames. When I too became senseless, Vishnu said to me. Oh, why do you contend with me now? A third person has now come. Let our quarrel cease. Let us examine this fire-Being. I shall go down to find the root of this matchless column of fire. You will please go up to examine its top.” (Ch-7 /Sh.43-52)
Brahma continues the story, “Vishnu assumed the form of a Boar. I became a swan immediately. Very white of complexion and endowed with wings on either side I flew up and up with the speed of the mind and wind. The body of Narayana was white & as huge as the mountain Meru. He had white sharp teeth. His brilliance resembled the sun at the time of dissolution. His snort was long and his roar tremendous. His feet were short. His limbs were of diverse colours. His form as the boar was of matchless firmness which assured his eagerness to be victorious, and he went down quickly. For a thousand years his downward course continued. The Boar did not find even the smallest trace of the root of the Linga. I too spent the same time in going up. I exerted myself and was exhausted. Unable to see the top I came down after some time. Similarly, lord Vishnu too became weary. He too rose up. He stood aside with a gloomy mind as he too was deluded by the illusion of Shiva. We bowed down to Linga at His back, sides and in front. Both of us, Hari and I, became eager to perform obeisance. Thus, performing obeisance and prayer to quell our earlier pride, we spent a hundred autumns therein.” (Ch-7 /Sh.54-69)
Brahma said, “we were eager to have a vision of the Supreme Brahman. Our haughtiness had been curbed. We waited there patiently. There arose the sound “Oṃ Oṃ” in the prolate accent. It was very clear. What shall be this great sound? Thinking like this I stood perplexed. Vishnu saw the eternal being’s manifestation on the right side of the Linga. First, he saw the syllable “A” and he saw the syllable “U” thereafter. He saw the syllable “M” in the middle and Nada (the mystical sound) in the form “Om” in the end. He saw the first syllable on the right like the blazing sphere of the sun. Thereafter he saw the syllable “U” dazzling like fire. In the middle he saw the syllable “M” glittering like the lunar sphere. Above that what he saw was the supreme Brahman, the greatest refuge. It was the pure Being beyond the Fourth (Turiya), the unsullied & free from extraneous harassment. It was single (isolated), void, free from exterior and interior though stationed in the exterior and the interior, devoid of beginning, middle and end, the primordial cause of Bliss, the truth, The Bliss and the Nectar. Vishnu thus meditated on the universal soul enveloped by the two Vedic sounds and wished to examine the source whence the Fire-column arose and to go deep down the unequalled fiery column. Then there came a sage who told him the essence of the truth. Vishnu realised that the sage himself was the great lord and the supreme Brahman embodied in the Sabda Brahman. (i.e., the mystic syllable Om). (Ch- 8/Sh.1-13)
The single syllable “A” is the source of the lord Brahma. The single syllable “U” is the source of Vishnu, the ultimate cause. The single syllable “M” is the source of Rudra. (Ch-8 /Sh.16-17)
Shiva revealed his form embedded in letters. The mantra beginning with Oṃkara with its Kalas five in number, consisting of the auspicious thirty-eight syllables, being pure as crystal, increases intelligence and is an effective medium of accomplishing sacred rites. The mantras in the Gayatri metre of twenty-four syllables and having four Kalas are conducive to enjoyment. The five-syllabled mantra of eight Kalas consisting of thirty syllables is employed for black magic. Mantras of Yajurveda consisting of twenty-five syllables and eight Kalas are used for conciliatory purpose. The mantra of thirteen Kalas consisting of sixty-one syllables is conducive to outcome, increase and destruction. The lord Vishnu secured these five mantras: —Mṛtyunjaya mantra, five-syllabled mantra, Chintamaṇi mantra, Dakṣiṇamurti mantra and the “tattvamasi” mantra which is Hara’s Mahavakya. Lord Vishnu performed Japa by means of these mantras. The lord Vishnu and I being glad at heart eulogised the boon-bestowing lord Shiva with appropriate words,—Shiva who was seen in the form of Kalas, Varṇas (syllables), Ṛk, Yajus, Saman, Īshana, Isa, Puratana Puruṣa (the ancient Being), the merciful, pleasing to the heart, hidden from all, ever auspicious, a great deity, of beautiful feet, bedecked with huge serpents, with legs, eyes and hands extending on all sides, the lord of Brahma, and the cause of creation, sustenance and destruction of the world.” (Ch-8 /Sh.41-53)
Brahma said, “On hearing his own eulogy from the mouth of Vishnu, the delighted Shiva revealed Himself along with his consort. He had five faces and three eyes, and the crescent moon on his forehead. He wore matted hair. He was white-complexioned and had wide eyes. His body had been dusted with the ashes. He had ten arms. His neck was blue in colour. Shiva, the merciful, who was delighted breathed the Vedas into Vishnu and conferred Perfect Knowledge on him, the secret of the supreme Atman.” (Ch-9/Sh. 1-6)
Shiva said to Vishnu, on asking about his worship:
“Worship my Linga and do always meditate upon the form which you see just before you. When I am worshipped in the phallic form I will be delighted and will bestow different benefits upon all people, all that they wish for in their minds. Whenever any misery befalls you, it shall be destroyed when my Linga is worshipped. You two are born of my own Prakriti, out of my left and right sides. I am the lord of everything. This Brahma, grandfather for all people, is born of my right side. You, Vishnu, are born of my left side. I am the supreme Atman. Delighted I shall confer boons and whatever you desire. May your devotion to me be steady. With my permission you can make my form in clay and perform adoration. After rendering different kinds of service like this sensibly you shall attain happiness. O Brahma, strictly adhering to my direction you carry on the work of creation. Dear child, dear Hari, you shall sustain the mobile and the immobile beings.”
Vishnu said, “O Sankara, the ocean of mercy, the lord of the universe, be pleased to hear. I shall do all these things strictly adhering to your behests. The rite of the worship of the Linga is instituted ever since in the world. Shiva installed in the Linga bestows worldly pleasures and salvation.” (Ch-10/Sh.27)
The story of dispute of Brahma and Vishnu symbolizes the disputes seen in the material world. Lord Buddha categorized pride into seven forms. One of the categories is “Pride by judging others” i.e., by comparing oneself with the people around, one become either too arrogant or too shy, depending upon one’s false judgement about others as well as oneself. Bhagavad Gita has listed humility or absence of pride as first virtue (13.7).
In fact, Supreme Consciousness reveals itself into non-matter (Jivatma) and matter (Prakriti), which take the form of material and living world. There is a principle of oneness among the constituents of this world. Hence, there is no cause for dispute.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Second Samhita - Rudra-saṃhita: Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa, Chapter: 7,8 and 9.
The Story of slaying of Shumbha & Nishumbha – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 9 & 10)
On hearing that Dhumralochana, Chaṇḍa, Munda and Raktabija were killed by the goddess, the great Asura of commendable valour ordered his invincible followers who were thrilled at the very mention of the war. At my behest the Daityas born of the race of Kalaka have all assembled here with their armies and along with Kalakeyas, Mauryas, Daurhṛdas and others. Let them march on with hopes of victory.
After ordering the demons, Shumbha and Nishumbha mounted on their chariots and set out. Their armies too followed them like swarms of moths rising from a mountain for their destruction. Mṛdangas, Mardalas, Bherikas, Diṇḍimas, Jharjharas and Anakas were sounded. The warmongers rejoiced in the battleground. Those who wore afraid fled away for their life. Glad in their martial dress the soldiers came in their healthy spirits to the battleground. Holding various weapons and missiles they teased one another each eager for his victory. Soldiers on elephants, looked at the enemy with indifference. In the company of the lord of Asuras they rejoiced in the battle. The sound arising from the guns rose up repeatedly making the gods tremble. A great darkness enveloped the sky. Even the chariot of the sun was not visible. Foot-soldiers set out in excessive numbers desirous of victory. Soldiers in chariots, on horsebacks, elephants and others set out joyously in crores and crores. The rutting elephants like massive black mountains spread their trumpeting sound in the battlefield. Camels resembling small hills produced hoarse sounds from their throats.
On seeing the army of the enemy advancing thus, Ambika kept her bow well-strung. She sounded her bell that distressed the enemy. The lion too shook his manes and roared. Seeing her bedecked in fine ornaments, holding weapons and stationed on the Himalaya Mountain Nishumbha spoke words full of sentiments like a man clever in understanding the emotions of beautiful women. “Even a petal of the Malate (Jasmine) flower thrown on the beautiful body of women like you may distress you. O goddess, how will you carry on a terrible war with the self-same handsome body of yours?”
After saying thus, the great Asura became silent. Chaṇḍika spoke to him— “O foolish Asura, why do you prattle in vain? Either fight or else return to Patala. The heroic demon, becoming infuriated, made a wonderful shower of arrows on the battlefield just as masses of clouds shower water during rains. Along with his arrogant followers the demon fought with sharp weapons as spears, axes, iron clubs, parighas, bows, Bhusuṇḍikas, javelins, horseshoe-edged arrows, and great swords. In that war great elephants looking like black mountains with foreheads pierced ran here and there. The banners of Shumbha and Nishumbha white like flying cranes fluttered here and there. The demons were shattered by Kalika like fishes. The dreadful horses were beheaded and killed in the battle. The other demons were devoured by the lion. In the battlefield streams of blood flowed. The dead soldiers floated. Their tresses of hair resembled the moss. Their upper cloths resembled the white foam. A great fight ensued where soldiers of equal rank fought with one another. The cavalrymen fought their counterpart; the elephant-riders with those on elephants: the charioteers with those on chariots and the foot soldiers with foot soldiers.
Then Nishumbha thought to himself— “A terrible period has set in now. Even a poor man may become rich and rich man poor if the time is adverse. Indeed, this lady is the ancient prakriti, the great Chandika come here to achieve the task of the gods and harass the army of the Daityas. She can never be an ordinary woman. It is inglorious to be killed by a woman or to kill a woman for those who desire to taste the pleasures of war. Still how shall we show our faces to the king of Asuras without fighting? After thinking thus and sitting in a great chariot driven by a charioteer he hastened to the spot where the lady consort of Shiva was present; the goddess whose youth was sought after by the celestial damsels.
He addressed her thus— “O goddess, of what avail is it if the mercenary soldiers are killed? If you desire to fight, let both of us clad in martial dress fight with each other. The goddess addressed Kali then— “See the foolish ambition of the two Asuras. Time the instigator of good and bad actions renders the mind work in a different way when adversity is imminent.” Then Nishumbha attacked Chaṇḍika as well as Kali with thousands of arrows. With the volleys of her arrows Shiva split into a thousand pieces the arrows discharged by the Asura. He then lifted his lustrous sword along with the shield and struck the lion on its head. With her great sword she split it too as the woodcutters do to a tree with the axe. When the sword was split, he thrust an arrow into her chest. The arrow too was cut. He then hurled the trident which powdered it with her fist. Prepared to die the heroic Asura seized a mace and rushed at her. She reduced the mace into powder with the edge of her trident. The demon shattered the trident with another mace. Then she struck Nishumbha with her sharp, terrible serpentine poisonous arrows that were accustomed to drink the blood of Asuras and brought him down to the earth.
When his younger brother of great honour and strength fell Shumbha was furious. The eight-armed demon seated himself in a chariot and came to the place where Chandika was present. She blew the conch Arindama, produced unbearable bow-twang; the lion shaking its manes roared. The whole sky reverberated with the threefold round. Then the mother of the universe laughed boisterously making all the demons tremble with fear. The gods shouted cries of “Victory” when she challenged the Asuras in the battle. The king of Daityas hurled a spear of shining flames which was struck down by a meteor. Chandika shattered the arrows discharged by Shumbha. He too split the arrows discharged by her into a thousand pieces. She lifted her trident and struck the great Asura. He fell unconscious.
Thereupon Nishumbha, regaining consciousness, seized his bow again and struck the goddess, and Kali and the lion with arrows. And the Danava lord, that son of Diti, putting forth a myriad arm, again covered Chaṇḍika with a myriad of discuses. The goddess then enraged, she, Durga who destroys the afflictions of adversity, split those discuses and those arrows with her own arrows. Then Nishumbha seizing his club rushed impetuously at Chaṇḍika to slay her outright, with the Daitya host surrounding him. As he was just falling upon her, Chaṇḍika swiftly clove his club with her sharp-edged scimitar. And he took hold of a dart. Chaṇḍika with a dart hurled swiftly pierced Nishumbha, the afflicter of the Immortals, in the heart, as he approached with dart in hand. When he was pierced by the dart, out of his heart issued another man of great strength and great valour, exclaiming “Stand!” When he stepped forth, the goddess laughing aloud then struck off his head with her scimitar; thereupon he fell to the ground.
The lion then devoured those Asuras whose necks he had crushed with his savage teeth, and Kali and Shivaduti devoured the others. Some great Asuras perished, being pierced through by the spear held by Kumara’s Energy; others were driven back by the water purified by the spell uttered by Brahma’s Energy; and others fell, pierced by the trident wielded by Shiva’s Energy; some were pounded to dust on the ground by blows from the snout of Varaha’s Energy; some Danavas were cut to pieces by the discus hurled by Vishnu’s Energy; and others again by the thunderbolt discharged from the fingers of Indra’s Energy. Some Asuras perished outright, some perished by reason of the great battle, and others were devoured by Kali, Shivaduti and the lion.
Seeing his brother Nishumbha slain, who was dear to him as his life, and his army being slaughtered, Shumbha in wrath spoke thus— “O Durga, who art tainted with the arrogance of strength, bring not thy pride here, thou who, trusting in the strength of the other goddesses, dost fight in exceeding haughtiness!”
The goddess spoke:
Alone verily am I in the world here; what other goddess is there besides me? See, vile one! that these goddesses, who have their divine power from me, are entering into me indeed. Then all those goddesses, Brahmani and the others, became absorbed into the goddess’ breasts; Ambika then remained alone indeed.
Whereas I existed with my divine power in many forms here—that has been drawn in by me, truly alone I stand now. You also keep steadfast in combat!
Thereupon commenced a battle between them both, the goddess and Shumbha, while all the gods and the Asuras looked on —a battle without quarter. With showers of arrows, with sharp weapons and with pitiless missiles both engaged anew in a combat which set all the world in fear. And the lord of the Daityas broke the heavenly missiles, which Ambika discharged in hundreds, with weapons that parried them. And the supreme goddess in merest play broke the heavenly missiles that he discharged, with fierce shouts, ejaculations, and other sounds. Then the Asura covered the goddess with hundreds of arrows, and the goddess enraged thereat split his bow also with her arrows. And when his bow was split the lord of the Daityas took up his spear. The goddess split it, as he held it in his hand, with a discus. Next the supreme monarch of the Daityas, seizing his scimitar and sun like shield, on which a hundred moons were portrayed, rushed at the goddess at that moment. Just as he was falling upon her, Chaṇḍika hastily split his scimitar with sharp arrows shot from her bow, and his shield also which was spotless as the sun’s rays. With his steeds wounded, with his bow split, without a charioteer, the Daitya then grasped his terrible mace, being ready to slay Ambika. As he was falling upon her, she cloves his mace with sharp arrows; nevertheless, raising his fist he rushed swiftly at her. The lordly Daitya brought his fist down on the goddess’ heart, and the goddess also smote him on his breast with her palm. Wounded by the blow of her palm the Daitya king fell suddenly on the earth; and again, indeed he rose, and springing upward he seized the goddess and mounted on high into the sky. There also Chaṇḍika, being without any support, fought with him. The Daitya and Chaṇḍika then fought at first with each other in the sky in a close combat, which wrought dismay among the Siddhas and munis; after carrying on the close combat for a very long time with him, Ambika lifted him up. then and whirled him around and flung him on the earth. When flung thus he touched the earth, he raised his fist hastily and rushed, evil of soul as he was, with the wish to kill Chaṇḍika. Seeing him, the lord of all the Daitya folk, approaching, the goddess then pierced him in the chest with a dart and felled him down on the earth. Shattered by the point of the goddess’ dart he fell lifeless on the ground, shaking the whole earth and its seas, islands and mountains.
When that evil-souled demon was slain, the universe became placid, the earth regained perfect well-being, and the sky grew pure. Portent-clouds, which were full of flame before, became tranquil, and the rivers kept within their channels, when he was stricken down there. All the bands of gods then grew exceedingly joyful in mind, when he was slain; the Gandharvas sang out sweetly, and others of them sounded their instruments, and the bevies of Apsaras danced; and favourable breezes blew, very brilliant grew the sun, and the tranquil sacred fires blazed freely, and tranquil became the strange sounds that had occurred in the regions of the sky.
After death of Shumbha and Nishumbha, the rivers with clear water flowed along their paths; the winds blew very gentle to the touch; the sky became clear. Fire-sacrifices were revived by the gods and the sages, Lord Indra and the gods felt blissful again.
This story of Uma is holy and meritorious. It describes the destruction of the king of Daityas. He who regularly reads this with faith enjoys all worldly pleasures inaccessible even to the gods and attains the abode of Uma hereafter by the very grace of the goddess.
The story of slaying Dhumralochana, Chaṇḍa, Muṇḍa and Raktabija – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 6, 7 & 8)
The story of slaying Dhmralochana, Chaṇḍa, Muṇḍa and Raktabija – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 6, 7 & 8)
On hearing the message of Shumbha, the King of Daityas, to resort him or his younger brother, conveyed by the messenger the Mahamaya, the goddess informed him her vow that She shall endeavour to make one alone as her husband who can shake off her pride, who can conquer her in the battle. No one else.
Death of Dhumralochana (Chapter 6):
On hearing these words of the goddess, the Asura Sugriva returned to his king and acquainted him with every detail. On hearing the report of the messenger Shumbha of stern rule angrily said to Dhumralochana, the foremost of his generals. O Dhumralochana, there is a beautiful lady on the snow-capped Himalaya Mountain. Go quickly and fetch her here. O excellent Asura, do not be afraid of this expedition. If she wishes to fight, you shall fight strenuously.
Thus, directed the Daitya Dhumralochana went to Himalaya and spoke to the goddess who was a part of Uma. “O lady, approach my lord. Otherwise, I shall kill you. I am accompanied by sixty thousand Asuras”.
The goddess said: — “O hero, yon are commissioned by the king of Daityas. If you kill me, what can I do for you? But I consider it impossible to go without a fight.” Thus, addressed, the Danava Dhumralochana rushed at her but was burnt with a mere Hunkara uttered by her. Since then, that goddess is called Dhumavati in the world. When propitiated she destroys hosts of enemies of her devotees. After Dhunirakṣa was killed, his army was crunched and munched by the infuriated lion. Those who were spared fled away.
Death of Chanda & Munda (Chapter 7):
On hearing that the Daitya was killed by the goddess, the valorous Shumbha was angry and bit his lips. He sent the Asuras—Chaṇḍa & Muṇḍa. The Daityas, thus ordered, went to the spot where Ambika was stationed. On seeing the goddess seated on a lion, possessed of Aṇima and other Siddhis and dazzling the quarters with her brilliance, the leading Danavas said. “O lady, hasten to approach Shumbha and Nishumbha. Otherwise, we shall kill you along with your Gaṇas and your lion. O lady, choose him as your husband. He is eulogized by the guardians of the quarters and others. You will attain a great bliss rare to attain by the gods.”
On hearing these words, the goddess Amba smiled and spoke interesting and truthful words. Lord Shiva, the great Brahman, the eternal god is without a second. Even the Vedas do not understand his reality. What then of Vishnu and others? I am His subtle Prakriti. How can I choose another as my husband? Even if she is overwhelmed by love does a lioness choose a jackal as her mate? Descend to Patalla all of you. If you have the power, fight.”
On hearing her provocative words, the Asuras said to one another. “We do not kill you as you are a woman. But if you desire for battle, be ready with your lion.” While they spoke thus the fight ensued. The arrows rained in the battle., sharp arrows from either side.
There at Ambika uttered her wrath aloud against those foes, and her countenance then grew dark as ink in her wrath. Out from the surface of her forehead, which was rugged with frowns, issued suddenly Kali of the terrible countenance, armed with a sword and noose, bearing a many-coloured skull-topped staff, decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger’s skin, very appalling because of her emaciated flesh, exceedingly wide of mouth, lolling out her tongue terribly, having deep-sunk reddish eyes, and filling the regions of the sky with her roars. She fell upon the great Asuras impetuously, dealing slaughter among the host, and devoured that army of the gods’ foes there. Taking up the elephants with one hand she flung them into her mouth, together with their rear men and drivers and their warrior-riders and bells. Flinging likewise warrior with his horses, and chariot with its driver into her mouth, she ground them most frightfully with her teeth. She seized one by the hair, and another by the neck; and she kicked another with her foot. And she seized with her mouth the weapons and the great arms which those Asuras abandoned and crunched them up with her teeth in her fury. She crushed all that host of mighty and high-spirited Asuras; and devoured some and battered others; some were slain with her sword, some were struck with her skull-topped staff, and other Asuras met their death being wounded with the edge of her teeth.
Seeing all that host of Asuras laid low in a moment, Chaṇḍa rushed against her, Kali, who was exceedingly appalling. Muṇḍa the great Asura covered her, the terrible-eyed goddess, with very terrible showers of arrows and with discuses hurled in thousands. Those discuses seemed to be penetrating her countenance in multitudes, like as very many solar orbs might penetrate the body of a thundercloud. There at Kali, who was roaring frightfully, laughed terribly with excessive fury, showing the gleam of her unsightly teeth within her dreadful mouth. And the goddess, mounting upon her great lion, rushed at Chaṇḍa, and seizing him by his hair struck off his head with her sword. And Muṇḍa also rushed at her when he saw Chaṇḍa laid low; him also she felled to the ground, stricken with her scimitar in her fury. Then the army, so much as escaped unslain, seeing Chaṇḍa laid low and most valiant Muṇḍa also, seized with panic fled in all directions.
And Kali, holding Chaṇḍa’s head and Muṇḍa also, approached Chaṇḍika and said, her voice mingled with passionate loud laughter— “Here I have brought thee Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa, two great beasts; thou thyself shalt slay Shumbha and Nishumbha in the battle-sacrifice.”
Thereon, seeing those two great Asuras Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa brought to her, auspicious Chaṇḍika spoke to Kali this witty speech, “Because thou hast seized both Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa and brought them, you, O goddess, shalt therefore be famed in the world by the name Chamuṇḍa!”
Death of Raktabija (Chaper 8):
After both the Daitya Chaṇḍa was slain and Muṇḍa was laid low, and many soldiers were destroyed, the lord of the Asuras, majestic Shumbha, with mind overcome by wrath, gave command then to array all the Daitya hosts,—“Now let the eighty-six Daityas, upraising their weapons, march forth with all their forces; let the eighty-four Kambus march forth surrounded by their own forces; let the fifty Asura families who excel in valour go forth; let the hundred families of Dhaumri go forth at my command. Let the Kalakas, the Daurhṛtas, the Mauryas, and the Kalakeyas, — let these Asuras, hastening at my command, march forth ready for battle.”
After issuing these commands Shumbha, the lord of the Asuras, who ruled with fear, went forth, attended by many thousands of great soldiers. Chaṇḍika, seeing that most terrible army at hand, filled the space between the earth and the firmament with the twanging of her bowstring. Thereon her lion roared exceedingly loud, O king; and Ambika augmented those roars with the clanging of her bell. Kali, filling the regions of the sky with the noise from her bowstring, from her lion and from her bell, and expanding her mouth wide with her terrific roars, had the predominance. On hearing that roar which filled the four regions of the sky, the Daitya armies enraged surrounded the goddess’ lion and Kali.
At this moment, to destroy the gods’ foes, and for the well-being of the lion-like Immortals, there issued forth endowed with excessive vigour and strength the Energies from the bodies of Brahma, Shiva, Guha and Vishnu and of Indra also, and went in the forms of those gods to Chaṇḍika. Whatever was the form of each god, and whatever his ornaments and vehicle, in that very appearance his Energy advanced to fight with the Asuras. In the front of a heavenly car drawn by swans advanced Brahma’s Energy, bearing a rosary of seeds and an earthen water-pot; she is called Brahmani. Mahesvara’s Energy, seated on a bull, grasping a fine trident, and wearing a girdle of large snakes, arrived, adorned with a digit of the moon. And Kumara’s Energy, Ambika, with spear in hand and riding on a choice peacock, advanced in Guha’s shape to attack the Daityas. Likewise, Vishnu’s Energy, seated upon Garuḍa, advanced with conch, discus, club, bow and scimitar in hand. The Energy of Hari, who assumes the peerless form of a sacrificial boar, she also advanced assuming a hog-like form. Narsimha’s Energy assuming a body like Narsimha’s arrived there, adorned with a cluster of constellations hurled down by the tossing of his mane. Likewise, Indra’s Energy, with thunderbolt in hand, seated upon the lord of elephants and having a thousand eyes, arrived; as is Shakra, such indeed was she. Then those Energies of the gods surrounded Shiva. He said to Chaṇḍika, “Let the Asuras be slain forthwith through my good-will.”
Thereupon from the goddess’ body there came forth Chaṇḍika’s Energy, most terrific, exceedingly fierce, howling like a hundred jackals. And she the unconquered said to Shiva, who was smoke-coloured and had matted locks, “Be you, my lord, a messenger to the presence of Shumbha and Nishumbha. Say unto the two overweening Danavas, Shumbha and Nishumbha, and to whatever other Danavas are assembled there to do battle— ‘Let Indra obtain the three worlds, let the gods be the enjoyers of the oblations; go to Patala if ye wish to live. Yet if through pride in your strength ye are longing for battle, come ye on then! let my jackals be glutted with your flesh.” Because the goddess appointed Shiva himself to be ambassador, she has hence attained fame as Shivaduti in this world.
Those great Asuras however, on hearing the goddess’ speech fully announced, were filled with indignation, and went where Katyayani stood. Then, at the very first, the arrogant and indignant foes of the Immortals in front poured on the goddess showers of arrows, javelins, and spears. And gracefully she clove those arrows, darts, discuses and axes, which were hurled, with large arrows shot from her resounding bow. And in front of her stalked Kali then, tearing the foes asunder with the onset of her darts and crushing them with her skull-topped staff. And Brahmani caused the foes to lose their courage by casting water on them from her earthen pot, and weakened their vigour, by whatever way she ran. Maheshvara’s Energy slew Daityas with her trident, and Vishnu’s Energy with her discus, and Kumara’s Energy, very wrathful, slew them with her javelin. Torn to pieces by the down-rush of the thunderbolt hurled by Indra’s Energy, Daityas and Danavas fell on the earth in hundreds, pouring out streams of blood. Shattered by the hog-embodied Energy with blows from her snout, wounded in their breasts by the points of her tushes, and tom by her discus, demons fell. And Narsimha’s Energy roamed about in the battle, devouring other great Asuras who were torn by her claws, as she filled the intermediate region of the sky with her roaring. Asuras, demoralized by Shivaduti with her violent loud laughs, fell on the earth; she then devoured those fallen ones. Seeing the enraged band of Mothers crushing the great Asuras thus by various means, the troops of the gods’ foes perished.
Raktavija, a great Asura, seeing the Daityas, who were hard-pressed by the band of Mothers, intent on fleeing, strode forward to fight in wrath. When from his body there falls to the ground a drop of blood, at that moment starts up from the earth an Asura of his stature. He, a great Asura, with club in hand fought with Indra’s Energy, and Indra’s Energy then struck Raktavija with her thunderbolt; blood flowed quickly from him when wounded by the thunderbolt. Thereupon stood up together fresh combatants, like him in body, like him in valour; for as many blood-drops fell from his body, so many men came into being, like him in courage, strength, and valour. And those men also who sprang from his blood fought there with the mothers in a combat, dreadful because of the sweep of their very sharp weapons. And again, when his head was wounded by the fall of her thunderbolt, his blood poured forth; therefrom were born men by thousands. And Vishnu’s Energy struck at this foe with her discus in the battle. Indra’s Energy beat that lord of the Asuras with her club. The world was filled by the thousands of great Asuras, who were his equals, and who sprang from the blood that flowed from him when cloven by the discus of Vishnu’s Energy. Kumara’s Energy struck the great Asura Raktavija with her spear, and Varaha’s Energy also struck him with her sword, and Mabeshvara’s Energy with her trident. And the Daitya Raktavija, that great Asura, filled full of wrath, struck every one of the mothers in turn with his club. By the stream of blood, which fell on the earth from him when he received many wounds from the spears, darts, and other weapons, Asuras came verily into being in hundreds. And those Asuras who sprang from that Asura’s blood pervaded the whole world; there at the gods fell into the utmost terror. Seeing the gods dejected, Chaṇḍika spoke with haste; she said to Kali, “O Chamuṇḍa! stretch out thy mouth wide; with this mouth do thou quickly take in the great Asuras, which are the drops of blood, that have come into being out of Raktavija at the descent of my weapon on him. Roam about in the battle, devouring the great Asuras who sprang from him; so, shall this Daitya with his blood ebbing away meet destruction. These fierce demons are being devoured by thee and at the same time no others will be produced.”
Having enjoined her thus, the goddess next smote him with her dart. Kali swallowed Raktavija’s blood with her mouth. Then he struck Chaṇḍika with his club there; and the blow of his club caused her no pain, even the slightest, but from his stricken body blood flowed copiously, and from whatever direction it came, Chamuṇḍa takes it then with her mouth. The great Asuras, who sprang up from the flow of blood in her mouth, Chamuṇḍa both devoured them and quaffed his blood. The goddess smote Raktavija with her dart, her thunderbolt, arrows, swords and spears, when Chauṇḍa drank up his blood. Stricken with that multitude of weapons, he fell on the earth’s surface, and the great Asura Raktavija became blood-less, O king. There at the thirty gods gained joy unparalleled, O king. The band of Mothers which sprang from them broke into a dance, being intoxicated with blood.
Thus, fighting with them sportively the goddess slew the Asuras along with Chaṇḍa and Muṇḍa. Though they had an inimical feeling these enemies of the gods attained in the end that world which her followers go to. Thereupon the devas attained great joy, O King. The band of Matrs who sprang from them dance, being intoxicated with blood. Here ends the eighth chapter called ‘The Slaying of Raktabija’ of Devi-mahatmya in Markandeya-purana, during the period of Savarni, the Manu.
Incarnation of Ambika and the story of slaying of army of Mahishasura and Mahishasura – Sri Durga Saptashati (Chapter 2 & 3)
There was a demon Rambha who was the crest-jewel of the race of Daityas. From him was born Mahiṣhasura the Danava of great splendour. That king of Danavas defeated all the gods in battle and ruled over the kingdom of heaven seated on the throne of lord Indra. The defeated gods sought refuge in Brahma. With them Brahma went to the place where Vishnu and Shiva were present. After reaching there and bowing to Shiva and Vishnu the gods narrated all their woeful tale in the proper order. That they are harassed by the wicked Mahiṣa. We have been ousted from heaven after our defeat in the battlefield. We are wandering in this world of mortals without peace or happiness anywhere. O what pitiable plights we—Indra and others—have been led to! The sinful Asura who has offered freedom from fear to the partisans of the Daityas, himself performs the ordained task of these—viz, the sun, the moon, Varuṇa, Kubera, Yama, Indra, Agni, wind, the Gandharvas, Vidyadharas and the good Charaṇas and others as well. Hence, it behoves you to save us the gods who have sought refuge in you. O lords, please think of the means of killing him immediately.
Incarnation of Ambika:
On hearing the gods, Vishnu and Shiva were very angry. Their eyes rolled through anger. Then a great splendour issued forth from the mouths of the infuriated Vishnu and Shiva and from the bodies of other gods. The gods who were devoted to meditation on Durga saw the mass of splendour blazing in all the ten directions. That highly terrible splendour issuing forth from the bodies of the gods joined together and became a woman Mahiṣamardini herself. Her dazzlingly brilliant face constituted the splendour of Shiva, the hairs the splendour of Yama and the arms the splendour of Vishnu. Her breasts were formulated by the splendour of the moon; the waist by that of Indra; the calves and thighs by that of Varuṇa; the hips by that of the earth; the feet by that of Brahma; the toes by that of the sun; the fingers by that of Indra; the nose by that of Kubera; the teeth by that of the patriarch; the eyes by that of fire; the eyebrows by that of the dusk; the ears by that of the wind, her other limbs by that of other heaven-dwellers. Thus, the goddess manifested herself on the lotus-seat. On seeing her thus formulated by the mass of splendour of the gods, they attained great delight.
Observing that she had no weapons, Brahma and other gods decided to make her fully equipped with weapons. Then Shiva offered her a spear; Vishnu gave her a discus; Varuṇa conch and noose. The fire-God gave her Shakti; the wind-god a bow arid a quiver full of arrows; Indra the thunderbolt and a bell; Yama a big staff; Prajapati a garland of beads; Brahma a water-pot and the sun the lustrous hair. Kala gave her a sword and a shining shield, the milk ocean a beautiful necklace, two fresh pieces of cloth, the crest-jewel, ear-rings, bangles, crescent-shaped ornaments, beautiful anklets, shoulder-pieces, a necklace and finger-rings. Visvakarma gave her a beautiful axe and the ocean various weapons, an impenetrable armour, a beautiful garland, and a lotus. Himavat gave her a lion and gems of various sorts. Kubera a vessel filled with wine. Shesha a Nagahara of wonderful workmanship, studded with various precious gems. Thus honoured, the goddess with these and other similar objects, ornaments, weapons etc. shouted again and again.
Slaying of Army of Mahishasura:
The sky was filled with her terrible noise that echoed tremendously and made the three worlds agitated. The four oceans shook and rolled. The earth quaked. Cries of victory were shouted by “the gods harassed by Mahiṣa. Then the gods eulogized the great Shakti, Ambika in the form of Mahalakṣmi with words choked with devotion.
On seeing the world agitated, the enemies of the gods got up with uplifted arms and with their armies ready for war. The infuriated Mahiṣa rushed at the direction of the sound and saw the goddess who had pervaded the three worlds with her beautiful lustre. In the meantime, crores of great heroes led by Mahiṣhasura came there with weapons. Chikṣura, Chamara, Udagra, Karala, Uddhaṭa, Bhaṣkala; Tamra, Ugrasya, Ugravirya, Biḍala, Andhaka, Durdhara, Durmukha, Trinetra Mahahanu—these and many others, heroic and efficient in battle, came there. the Asura Mahiṣa’s general, Chikṣura, fought with her; and the Asura Chamara attended by his cavalry fought along with others. The great Asura named Udagia with six myriads of chariots fought; and Mahahanu with a thousand myriads gave battle; and the great Asura Asiloman with fifty million; with six hundred myriads Yaskala fought in the battle; Ugradarsana with many troops of thousands of elephants and horses and surrounded with ten million chariots fought in that battle; and the Asura named Viḍala fought in the battle there, surrounded with fifty myriads of myriads of chariots. And other great Asuras in myriads, surrounded with chariots, elephants, and horses, fought with the goddess in that battle there. Now the Asura Mahiṣa was surrounded with thousands of ten million times ten million of chariots and elephants and horses in the battle there. With iron maces and javelins, with spears and clubs, with swords, with axes and halberds they fought in the battle against the goddess. They, the masters of weapons and missiles, fought with the goddess in the battle a terribly long time elapsed.
Different weapons and missiles hurled by the hosts of enemies were rendered futile instantaneously by the power of the goddess. Then the goddess hit and struck the hosts of enemies Gikṣura and others with her club, arrows, spear, Shakti, and axe.
The general Chikṣura, seeing that army being slaughtered, advanced in wrath to fight with Ambika. The Asura rained a shower of arrows on the goddess in the battle. The goddess, cutting asunder the masses of his arrows then as it were in play, smote his horses with her arrows and their charioteer; and split his bow forthwith and his banner raised high aloft; and with swift missiles pierced his limbs as he stood with shattered bow. His bow shattered, his chariot useless, his horses killed, his charioteer slain, the Asura armed with sword and shield rushed at the goddess. With the utmost celerity he smote the lion on the head with his sharp-edged sword and struck the goddess also on her left arm. His sword shivered to pieces as it touched her arm (O prince). Thereon red-eyed with anger, he grasped his pike, and he, the great Asura, flung it at Bhadrakali, as it were the Sun’s orb blazing brightly with its splendour from out the sky. Seeing that pike falling on her, the goddess hurled her pike, and it shattered that pike into a hundred fragments and the great Asura also.
When Mahiṣa’s very valiant general, was slain, Chamara, the afflicter of the thirty gods, advanced mounted on an elephant; and he also hurled his spear at the goddess. Down to the ground Ambika quickly struck it, assailed with a contemptuous hoot and rendered lustre-less. Seeing his spear broken and fallen, Chamara filled with rage flung a pike; and that she split with her arrows. Then the lion leaping up fastened on to the hollow of the elephant’s forehead and fought in close combat aloft with that foe of the thirty gods; but both then fell, as they were fighting, from the elephant to the ground. They fought closely locked together with most terrible blows. Then quickly springing up to the sky, and descending, the lion severed Chamara’s head with a blow from his paw.
And Udagra was slain in battle by the goddess with stones, trees, and other things, and Karala also was stricken down by her teeth and fists and feet. And the goddess enraged ground Uddhata to powder with blows from her club; and killed Yaskala with a dart, Tamra and Andhaka with arrows. And the supreme three-eyed goddess slew Ugrasya and Ugravirya and Mahahanu also with her trident. With her sword she struck Viḍala’s head clean down from his body. She despatched both Durdhara and Durmukha to Yama’s abode with her arrows.
When his armies fell the demon Mahiṣa struggled with the hosts of soldiers that issued from the breath of the goddess. He kicked some with the hoofs, hit some with the horns and others with his tail and snout. After slaying the Gaṇas the chief of Asuras rushed at the lion of the goddess to kill it. Then she became wrathful. He of great virility thrashed the ground with his hoofs, uprooted a mountain with his horns, hurled it and shouted. Heavy mountains hurled by him as he rushed all rounds fell in the battleground from the sky. Clouds split by his horns were shattered to pieces. The ocean struck at with his tail throbbed and splashed water beyond the shores all round.
Slaying of Mahishasura:
On seeing the demon Mahiṣa thus infuriated, Ambika, the protectress of the gods, became ready to kill him. She took up a noose and hurled it at him. She bound the Asura Mahiṣa. Then the demon abandoned his assumed guise. Wielding Maya, he became a lion. Soon as Ambika tried to cut off his head, he became armed with a sword. She then struck him with the arrows, as he stood there with the sword and shield. He then became an elephant and struck at the lion with his trunk. The goddess cut off his hand with her sword. The demon then assumed his original form. He then agitated three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings. Then, Chaṇḍika of great honour and exploit became infuriated. She drank the beverage again and again. With eyes rolling she laughed aloud. The haughty Asura too, proud of his strength and exploit, roared. He uprooted the mountains and hurled them at her. She too reduced them to powder and struck them with arrows. With her face reddened because of the inebriation after drinking wine, and with her senses excited, she spoke in a tone as majestic as the rumbling of the clouds.
The goddess said: — “O stupid fellow, O demon of ruined intellect, why are you stubborn in vain? None of the Asuras in the three worlds can stand before me”. Thus, saying the goddess pounced on him, stamped on his neck, and pierced him with her fierce spear. Pressed with her foot and overwhelmed by her might the Asura seemed as good as half dead. Still, he continued to fight. His head was cut off with the sword and he was felled down on the ground. Crying “Alas! Alas” loudly, his followers, afraid of the battle fled from the scene shouting, “Save us, O save us”.
The god Indra and others eulogized the goddess. The Gandharvas sang songs; the celestial damsels danced.
Nothing is impossible for the Ma Ambika. Even tremendous size of army of Mahishasura and stupendous power of Mahishasura could not stay before Ma Ambika.
Medha muni narrated the story of Durga Saptashati to the King and Vaishya. In chapter -1, he told the story of slaying of Madhu & Kaitabha by Ma Mahakali and Her worship done by Brahma ji to save him from the demons. The story goes as under:
Formerly in the Svarochiṣha Manvantara there was a king Suratha who was of great strength and exploit. He was very munificent, truthful, efficient in duties, a devotee of the goddess, an ocean of kindness and the protector of his subjects. Other kings became desirous of seizing his land. They laid siege to his capital Kola. The king had a terrible war with them. That king was defeated by his powerful enemies in the war. His kingdom was seized, and he was banished from his city Kola. The king went to another city of his along with his ministers. There too he was defeated by his enemies who had a large following. His ministers and officers became inimical to him due to adverse fate. They took away all the wealth from the treasury. The king left his city pretending to go out for hunting. Alone he got up on a horse and went to the dense forest.
Going about here and there, the king saw the hermitage of a great sage. It was shining all round with flower gardens. Everywhere the sound of Vedic hymns was heard. All the animals there were quiet and peaceful. The disciples and the disciples of their disciples moved here and there. Tigers and other ferocious and powerful animals did not harass the animals of less strength in that hermitage, thanks to the power of the leading brahmin. The king who was very kind and learned was welcomed and honored by the leading sage with pleasing words, accommodation and food and stayed there.
Once the king began to think anxiously — “Alas, my kingdom has been seized by my haughty enemies. I am unfortunate. My intellect is confounded. I have lost my splendor. The kingdom which had been well guarded by my ancestors is now enjoyed by my enemies. There was no king in this family as weak as I. What shall I do? Where shall I go? How shall I get the kingdom back? My hereditary ministers and counsellors have left me. I do not know which king they serve now. I do not know what plight they are in, after the ruination of the kingdom. My heroic soldiers, very enthusiastic in the battle, slayers of enemies, now serve another king. Huge elephants like mountains, horses fast as wind have gone away. Is the traditional treasury accumulated by my ancestors well-guarded or not? Thus, the very virtuous king became much deluded.
In the meantime, a Vaishya came there. The king asked him— “Sir, who are you? Why have you come here? Why do you appear to be very morose and dejected? Please tell me this, now.” On hearing the sweet words of the king, the leading Vaishya named Samadhi shed tears. He spoke to the king in words full of humility and friendship.
The Vaishya said: --
“O king, I am a Vaishya Samadhi, born of a rich family. Out of greed for my wealth I have been abandoned by my wife, sons, and others. I am depressed. O king, I have come here to the forest. I am worried about my sons, grandsons, wife, brothers, their sons, and friends. O lord, ocean of mercy, I am in dark about their welfare.
The king said: --
How is it that you love, even as senseless animals do, those sons and others who are of evil conduct and covetous for wealth and by whom you have been ousted?
The Vaishya said: --
O king, words loaded with substantial sense have been uttered by you. Still my mind is deluded by the tie of love.
The king and the Vaishya, both equally deluded then approached the sage Medhas. The valorous king accompanied by the chief of the Vaishyas bowed his head to the leading Yogi. With palms joined in reverence the king spoke to the sage: — “O holy lord, it behooves you now to dispel our delusion. Abandoned by the royal glory I have resorted to this dense forest. Still, I am not content and happy since my kingdom has been taken away. This Vaishya has been expelled from his house by his people, wife, and others. Still his sense of affinity and kinship with them does not go off. What is the reason hereof? Please say. Wise though we are, our minds are afflicted and agitated by delusion. This is great foolishness.
The sage (Medha muni) said: --
The great Maya in the form of the eternal Shakti is the material cause of the universe. It is this that drags the minds of all and makes them deluded. O lord, Brahma and other gods deluded by this Maya do not realize the truth. What then is the story of men?
The king said: --
O sage, who is that Goddess? Who is that great Maya who fascinates all? How was that goddess born? Please tell me.
The sage said: —
When the whole universe had been one great expanse of water, a vast sea, when Keshava, the king of Yogis, resorted to Yogic slumber and was sleeping on Sheṣhnaga, two Asuras were born of the dirt in the ears of Vishnu. They became notorious on the surface of the world in the names of Madhu and Kaiṭabha. They were terrible with huge bodies. They had the dazzling brilliance of the sun at the time of dissolution They had huge jaw bones. Their faces were hideous with curved fangs. They seemed to devour all the worlds. On seeing the lotus-seated deity in the umbilical lotus of the lord, the two Asuras shouted “Hey, who are you?” and attempted to kill him.
On seeing the two Daityas and observing that Vishnu was still lying in the vast milky ocean, Brahma eulogized Parameswari. Brahma said: --
O Mahamaya, save me, save me, O goddess favorably disposed to those who seek refuge in you, O mother of the universe, save me from these Daityas of hideous features. I bow to the great Maya, the Yogic slumber, Uma, Sati, Kalaratri, Maharatri, Moharatri, greater than the greatest, the mother of the three deities, the eternal, the bestower of the fruits of the cherished desires of the devotees, the protectress of the gods and the ocean of mercy. It is by your power that Brahma creates the world, Vishnu protects it, and Shiva destroys it at the opportune time.
O Mother, you are Svaha, Svadha, Hri, the unalloyed intellect, Tuṣṭi (satisfaction), Puṣṭi (nourishment), Shanti (peace), Kṣanti (forbearance), Kṣudha (hunger) and mercy itself. O mother, you are the Maya of Vishnu, the very consciousness, the great Shakti, Lajja (bashfulness) and Tṛṣṇa (thirst). You are Bhranti (Illusion). You appear in the form of Smṛti (Memory): you stay assuming the form of mother. You are Lakshmi in the house of those who engage themselves in meritorious activities. You are Jati (Birth), Vṛtti (cause of activity) and Vyapti (pervasiveness.) You pervade everything in the form of intelligence.
O Mother, please delude these unthwartable Asuras. O origin of the universe, please waken Vishnu the unborn lord.”
O king, on being requested by Brahma for the destruction of Madhu and Kaiṭabha, the mother of the universe, the great Vidhya, the presiding deity of all Vidhya, Shakti the enchantress of the three worlds manifested herself as Mahakali on the twelfth Tithi of the bright half of the month of Phalguna.
Then a celestial voice arose: — “O lotus-seated one, do not be afraid. I shall remove the thorn after killing Madhu and Kaiṭabha in the battle.”
After saying this and coming out of the eyes, mouth etc. of Vishnu, the great Maya stood before Brahma of unmanifested birth. Vishnu, the lord of gods stood up and saw in front of him the Daityas Madhu and Kaiṭabha. A battle ensued between Vishnu of unequalled splendor and the two Daityas lasting for five thousand years. Then there ensued a hand-to-hand fight. Deluded by the powerful great Maya, the excellent Danava spoke to the lord Vishnu— “Ask for whatever boon you desire to choose.”
Narayana said: — If you are pleased with me grant me this boon that I may kill you. I do not request for any other boon.
On seeing the earth covered by a great expanse of ocean they spoke to Keshava: — “Kill us in a spot where the earth is not covered with water.” After giving his consent the lord lifted his dazzling discus, placed their heads on his loins and cut them off.
Every person is deluded by ignorance, attachment, and desires which are caused by Maya created by feminine shakti. Worship of Ma Durga annihilates ignorance, attachment, and desires to liberate him.