The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “sati’s marriage festival” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 20 - Satī’s marriage festival

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:—

l-2. O lord Brahmā, the fortunate one, foremost of Śiva’s devotees, you have narrated the wonderfully auspicious story of Śiva. O dear one, what happened after that? Please continue to narrate the story of the moon-crested Śiva and Satī, the wonderful story that quells all sins.

Brahmā said:—

3. When Śiva who is sympathetic towards His devotees, desisted from killing me, all became fearless, happy and pleased.

4. All of them bowed with stooping shoulders, and palms joined in reverence. They lauded Śiva with devotion. They shouted cries of victory with pleasure.

5. At the same time, delighted and fearless, O sage, I eulogised Śiva with devotion by means of auspicious prayers.

6. O sage, the lord Śiva who was delighted in His mind and who is an adept in many a divine sport spoke to me within the hearing of all.

Rudra said:—

7. “Dear Brahmā, I am glad. You can be free from fear. You touch your head with your hand. Unhesitatingly carry out my behest.”

Brahmā said:—

8. On hearing these words of Lord Śiva adept in divine sports I touched my head and in the same manner bowed to Śiva.

9. When I thus touched my head I assumed the shape of his vehicle, the bull.

10. Then I was too much ashamed. I stood with my head bent down. Indra and other devas standing around saw me in that plight.

11. Ashamed that I was, I repeatedly bowed to Him and after offering prayers spoke to Him again: “I may be excused. I may be excused.”

12. “O lord, tell me the mode of atonement for my sin. Even killing is justifiable. May my sin be removed thereby.”

13. Thus addressed by me, Śiva, the lord of all, who is favourable, delightedly told me as I stood bowing to Him.

Śiva said:—

14. In this very form (of a bull) whereon I sit, you shall perform penance with pleasure in your heart and desire for propitiating me.

15. You will acquire the glory of being called “The head of Rudra” in the world. You will be the accomplisher of rites for brahmins of great repute.

16. Discharge of semen is the act of human beings and as you have done the same, you will be born as a man and be roaming over the earth.

17-18. When you wander over the earth in this form, people will be asking, “What is there on the head of Brahmā?” and you shall reply “Śiva”. Any body who has committed the sin of outraging the modesty of another man’s wife will be free from that sin if he eagerly hears your story.

19. Whenever people thus repeat your wicked action your sin will gradually subside and you will become pure.

20. O Brahmā, this is the atonement I lay down for you, being laughed at by the people and ridiculed by them.

21. The semen drops that fell in the middle of the altar-ground from you when you were excited by lust and seen by me will not be retained by any one.

22. Four drops of your semen fell on the ground. Hence so many terrible clouds causing dissolution shall rise up in the sky.

23. In the meantime, (when Śiva said so) in front of the devas and the sages, so many clouds emanated from the semen drops.

24. O dear one, four types of great clouds that caused destruction are the Saṃvartaka, the Āvarta, the Puṣkara and the Droṇa.[1]

25. O excellent sage, those clouds rumbling and roaring with hideous sounds dropping showers at the slightest wish of Śiva burst asunder in the sky.

26. When the sky was covered by those roaring clouds, Śiva and the Goddess Śivā were quite calm.

27. O sage, thereafter becoming fearless, I concluded the remaining rites of the marriage at the bidding of Śiva.

28. O excellent sage, a shower of flowers dropped by the devas with great pleasure fell on the heads of Śivā and Śiva and also on all their sides.

29-30. O Nārada, great festivities were conducted by the wives of the devas. Musical instruments were played, songs were sung, Vedic hymns were recited devoutly by groups of brahmins. The celestial damsels Rambhā and others danced zealously.

31. Then the delightful lord, the lord of sacrificial rites, following the conventions of the world, spoke to me as I was standing with palms joined in reverence.

Śiva said:—

32. O Brahmā, 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?

33. O eldest of devas, you can demand it even if it be hard to get. Tell me quickly, O fortunate one. For there is nothing which cannot be granted by me.

Brahmā said:—

34. O sage, on hearing these words of Śiva I humbly bowed to Him repeatedly with palms joined in reverence and said:—

35. “O lord of Devas, if you are pleased, if I deserve your blessings, O lord, please do as I request you with pleasure.

36. O lord Śiva, for the purification of men from sins you will please stay for ever in this altar in this self-same form.

37. O moon-crested God, I shall make my hermitage in its vicinity and perform penance to destroy my sin.

38-39. If anyone visits this holy site on the thirteenth day in the bright half of Caitra (March-April) when the star is Uttarāphālgunī and the day is Sunday, may all his sins be quelled O Śiva; may his merits increase and may his ailments disappear.

40. If a woman who is barren, one-eyed, ugly or unfortunate, visits this place she shall be freed from all these defects.”

41. On hearing these words of mine, Śiva was pleased and He said “Let it be so”. This made me very happy.

Śiva said:—

42. O, for the benefits of the people, I shall stay in this altar, with my wife Satī, in accordance with your words of request.

Brahmā said:—

43. After saying this, the lord Śiva in the company of his wife stayed in the middle of the altar creating a partial image of Himself.

44. Taking leave of Dakṣa, Śiva, the great lord, desired to depart along with his wife Satī. He was so fond of His own men.

45. In the meantime, the intelligent Dakṣa bowed humbly with palms joined in reverence and eulogised Śiva with devotion.

46. Viṣṇu, the gods and the Gaṇas bowed to and lauded Him shouting cries of victory with pleasure.

47. With the joyous consent of Dakṣa, Śiva seated Satī on the bull and then sitting Himself on it went to the Himālayan ridges.

48. Seated on the bull along with Śiva, the sweet smiling Satī of fine teeth shone like a black cloud near the moon.

49. Viṣṇu and other devas, Marīci and other sages, Dakṣa and the other people were all in a state of pleasant steady senselessness.

50. Some played on musical instruments, others sang sweetly the lustrous glory of Śiva. They all followed Śiva joyously.

51. Half the way Śiva took leave of Dakṣa with pleasure. Along with his followers Dakṣa returned to his abode thrilled by Śiva’s love.

52. Viṣṇu and other Devas, though permitted to go, followed Śiva with devotion and great joy.

53. With these, his wife and his attendants Śiva reached his abode in the beauteous surroundings of the Himālayas with very great delight.

54. After reaching his abode Śiva honoured the devas and the great sages and then bade farewell to them with respect.

55. Taking leave of Śiva eulogising and bowing to Him, Viṣṇu, as also the Gods and sages with joyful beaming faces returned to their respective abodes.

56. Śiva with boundless pleasure in the company of his wife—the daughter of Dakṣa, sported in the Himālayan region following the conventions of the world.

57. Then O sage, Śiva, the primordial creation, entered His residence in Kailāsa the best of mountains along with Satī and his attendants.

58. Thus I have narrated to you all how the marriage of the bull-vehicled lord took place formerly in the Manvantara of Svāyambhuva Manu.[2]

59-60. If any one hears this narrative with concentrated attention after worshipping Śiva at marriages, sacrifices or other auspicious undertakings, all the rites—of marriage or other auspicious undertaking—will always conclude without obstacles.

61. The bride will be blessed with happiness, good fortune, good conduct, and good qualities. She will be chaste and produce sons on hearing this auspicious narration.

Footnotes and references:


Saṃvartaka, Āvarta Puṣkara and Droṇa are the names of clouds that emerge at the advent of dissolution of the universe.


The time-durations become manifest as Manvantara, Yuga, Saṃvatsara and other relatively bigger and smaller units in the rotating wheel of time. The Purāṇas mention fourteen Manvantaras in order:

“(1) svāyambhuva, (2) svārociṣa, (3) auttami, (4) tāmasa, (5) raivata, (6) cākṣuṣa, (7) vaivasvata, (8) sāvarṇi, (9) dakṣasāvarṇi, (10) brahmasāvarṇi, (11) dharmasāvarṇi, (12) rudrasāvarṇi, (13) raucya-daiva sāvarṇi, (14) indrasāvarṇi

The fourteen Manvantaras derive their names from fourteen successive mythical progenitors and sovereigns of the earth. Svāyambhuva Manvantara is the first and is known after Svāyambhuva Manu who produced the ten Prajāpatis or Maharṣis and is so called because he sprang from Svayambhu, the Self-existent Brahman.

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