The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “inauguration of daksha’s sacrifice” 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 27 - The inauguration of Dakṣa’s sacrifice

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:—

1-2. Once a great sacrifice was started by Dakṣa, O sage. To partake in that sacrifice, the celestial and terrestrial sages and devas were invited by Śiva and they reached the place being deluded by Śiva’s Māyā.

3-5. Agastya, Kaśyapa, Atri, Vāmadeva, Bhṛgu, Dadhīci, the revered Vyāsa, Bharadvāja, Gautama, Paila, Parāśara, Garga, Bhārgava, Kakubha, Sita, Sumantu, Trika, Kaṅka, Vaiśampāyana and many others along with their sons and wives arrived at the sacrifice of Dakṣa—my son.

6. All the devas, the guardians of the quarters of rising fortune, the subordinate devas with their offers of help and service attended the sacrifice.

7. From Satyaloka, I, the creator of the universe, was duly lauded and taken there along with my sons, followers and the embodied forms of the Vedas etc.

8. Viṣṇu was duly requested, respected and brought to the place of sacrifice from Vaikuṇṭha[1] along with his aide-decamp and followers.

9. Similarly others too, equally deluded, came to the sacrifice. Then Dakṣa who was ill disposed towards Śiva received them hospitably.

10. Large divine mansions of great value and brilliant lustre were erected by Tvaṣṭṛ[2] and assigned to them by Dakṣa.

11. In all those places they stationed themselves in a befitting manner after being duly honoured. They shone along with Viṣṇu and me.

12. In that sacrifice that was being performed in that holy place of Kanakhala,[3] Bhṛgu and other sages were made Ṛtviks by him (Dakṣa).

13. Viṣṇu himself was the presiding officer along with the Maruts. I was the Brahmā (a special officiating deity) the director and guide for Vedic rituals.

14. The guardians of the quarters became the gatekeepers and watchmen. They were well-equipped in arms and had many attendants to assist them. They were very enthusiastic.

15. In that altar, sacrifice itself was present in its beautiful embodied form. The excellent sages became the holders of the Vedas.

16. The sacrificial fire evinced its diverse forms in a thousand ways, during the sacrificial festivities, in order to receive the sacrificial offerings of Dakṣa.

17-18. There were eighty-six thousand Ṛtviks[4] in the performance of the sacrifice and sixty-four thousand Udgātṛs. The celestial sages Nārada and others acted as Adhvaryus and Hotṛs. They too were as many. The seven sages[5] (jointly and) severally repeated the Sāman hymns.

19. In his great sacrifice Dakṣa extended his invitation to Gandharvas, Vidyādharas, Siddhas, Ādityas, all the innumerable Nāgas along with their followers and sacrificial ritualists.

20. Brahminical, Royal and celestial sages, kings, with their friends, ministers, armies etc, Vasus[6] and other chief Gaṇadevatas—all of them were invited by him in the sacrifice.

21. With the proper initiation, tying of the holy thread round his wrist and Svastyayana[7] rites duly performed, Dakṣa along with his wife, shone well.

22. Dakṣa, the evil-minded, did not invite Śiva for that sacrifice, deciding that He was not worthy of taking part in the sacrifice because He was a Kapālin[8].

23. In view of the fact that Satī was the wife of Kapālin, she was not invited, though she was his beloved daughter, by Dakṣa who was blind to her qualities.

24. While the great festivities in the sacrifice of Dakṣa were being celebrated those who had assembled for the same were engrossed in their respective activities.

25. In the meantime, Dadhīci[9] a devotee of Śiva, realising that lord Śiva was not there became dispirited and spoke thus.

Dadhīci said:—

26. O ye all! celestial sages and others, pay heed to my words. Why has not Śiva taken part in the festivities of this sacrifice?

27. Of course, the chiefs of devas, the great sages and the guardians of the quarters have all come. Yet the sacrifice cannot be perfect and complete without the noble-souled, trident-holder Śiva.

28. The bull-bannered, blue-necked eternal Puruṣa the great Īśa is not seen here. Great scholars have affirmed, that all auspicious results happen due to Him alone.

29. O Dakṣa, if accepted by Triyambaka all inauspicious things become auspicious and fresh auspicious things take shape which will be greater than the greatest in a trice.

30. Hence the invitation to the great Śiva shall be extended by you yourself immediately or by Brahmā or by Viṣṇu the lord.

31. By all means Śiva shall be brought here by you along with Indra, the guardians of the quarters, the brahmins and the Siddhas in order to make the sacrifice complete and perfect.

32. All of you shall go where He is stationed. Immediately bring Śiva along with Satī.

33. O lords of Devas, everything shall be sanctified through Śiva, the supreme Self. If the consort of Śivā, the great Being, comes here, everything will be all right.

34. Since all merits accrue from thinking upon Him and repeating His names, the bull-bannered deity shall be brought with all efforts.

35. If Śiva comes here, the sacrifice will become sanctified, or it will remain incomplete and imperfect. I am telling you the truth.

36. On hearing his words, the foolish and evil-minded Dakṣa became furious in a trice and said mockingly.

Dakṣa said:—

37. Viṣṇu who is the prime cause of all deities and in whom the eternal virtue resides has been invoked here by me. What is it that the sacrificial rite lacks in?

38. Viṣṇu in whom all the Vedas, sacrifices and the different rites are founded has graced this place by his presence.

39. Brahmā, the grandfather of the worlds, has come here from Satyaloka along with the Vedas, Upaniṣads and the Āgamas.

40. Similarly, the king of devas himself has come along with all the devas. You too, the sages free from sins, have come.

41. Whoever is worthy of being included in the sacrifice and deserves honour has come. You all know the Vedic texts and their meanings. You all are steady in your rites.

42. Of what avail is Śiva to us in this place? O brahmin, of course I have given my daughter to Him but that was because I was persuaded by Brahmā.

43. O brahmin, this Śiva is not a man of nobility. He has neither father nor mother. He is the lord of goblins, ghosts and spirits and is incorrigible.

44. He is a haughty self-conceited fool with false prestige and hostility. He is unworthy of this sacred rite. Hence he is not invited by me.

45. Therefore you shall never make such statements as these henceforth. My great sacrifice has to be made fruitful by all of you.

Brahmā said:—

46 On hearing those words, Dadhīci spoke aloud within the hearing of devas and sages. His words were pregnant with meaning.

Dadhīci said:—

47. This sacrifice has become “Non-sacrifice” without the presence of Śiva. Indeed your destruction is imminent in this very sacrifice.

48. Saying this, Dadhīci walked out of the sacrifice of Dakṣa and immediately returned to his hermitage.

49. Then some important devotees of Śiva who were initiated in the Śaiva cult cursed Dakṣa and returned to their respective abodes.

50. When the sage Dadhīci and others staged a walkout, the evil-minded Dakṣa, inimical to Śiva, said mocking at them.

Dakṣa said:—

51. Gone is that brahmin favourite of Śiva named Dadhīci and others too of his ilk have gone out of my sacrifice.

52. This has become good. I approve of this always. O Indra, devas and sages, I am telling you the truth.

53. They are slow-witted and senseless. They are rogues indulging in false deliberations and discussions. They are out of the Vedic circle. These men of evil conduct shall be eschewed from sacrificial rites.

54. You all, brahmins, sages and devas with Viṣṇu at the head shall make my sacrifice fruitful.

Brahmā said:—

55-56. On hearing these words, the celestial sages deluded by Śiva’s Māyā performed the worship of the deities in that sacrifice. O great sage, I have thus explained how the sacrifice had been cursed. Now I shall explain how the sacrifice was destroyed.

Footnotes and references:


Vaikuṇṭha, also called Vaibhra, is the abode of Viṣṇu variously described as situated on the eastern peak of Mount Meru or in the Northern ocean.


Tvaṣṭṛ is identified with Viśvakarman, the divine architect. See Note No. 295, P. 389.


Kanakhala is a sacred town, near Haradvāra, on the Ganges where Dakṣa performed the great sacrifice in which Satī burnt herself. The river Gaṅgā is held very sacred at Kanakhala.


The priests (Ṛtvijas) participating in the Vedic sacrifices are usually four in number. They are (1) Hotṛ, Adhvaryu, Udgātṛ and Brahman corresponding to the four Vedas—Ṛg, Yajus, Sāman and Atharvan respectively. Each of the priests has three companions or helpers, the total no. is sixteen viz. Hotṛ—Maitrāvaruṇa, Acchāvāka, Grāvastut; Adhvaryu—Pratiprasthātṛ, Neṣṭṛ, Unnetṛ; Udgātṛ—Prastotṛ, Pratihartṛ, Subrahmaṇya and Brahman—Brāhmaṇācchaṃsin, Agnīdhra, Potṛ. See Āśvalāyana Śrauta Sūtra IV. 1.4-6.


See. Note No. 164 P. 163.


See Note No. 163 P. 162.


A set of Vedic Mantras recited for causing prosperity and good fortune.


Śiva is called Kapalin for He bears skulls of men (Kapāla) as ornament.


Dadhīci. Compare Mbh. XII, 20283, where he blames Dakṣa.

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