The Shiva Purana (English translation)

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “sati’s casting off of her body and the subsequent disorder” 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.

Chapter 30 - Satī’s casting off of her body and the subsequent disorder

Nārada said:—

1. When Satī, Śiva’s beloved became silent what happened there? O Brahmā please tell me.

Brahmā said

2. Observing silence and remembering her lord with great respect, Satī the Goddess calmed down and sat on the ground in the northern wing.

3. Having sipped water duly, covering up her body entirely with her cloth she closed her eyes and remembered her lord. She then entered the yogic trance.

4-5. Keeping her face steady she balanced the winds Prāṇa and Apāna[1]. She then lifted up the wind Udāna from the umbilical region, stabilised it in the cardiac region took it through the throat and finally fixed it in the middle of the eyebrows.

6-7. She desired to cast-off her body due to her anger with Dakṣa. She desired to burn off the body and retain the pure wind by yogic means. In this posture she remembered the feet of her lord and nothing else.

8. Her body divested of its sins fell in the yogic fire and was reduced to ashes, O excellent sage, in accordance with her own wish.

9. The loud shouts and cries of “Hā. Hā” of those who witnessed it spread everywhere on the earth and rose up in the sky. Everything was surprisingly wonderful and terrifying to the devas and others.

10. “Alas, Śiva’s beloved Goddess, nay his deity, Satī has cast-off her life. Who is that wicked person who angered her?

11. See the unholy unspiritual misdeed of Dakṣa the patriarch, the son of Brahmā whose subjects are the mobile and immobile creatures of the world.

12. Alas, Satī, the noble beloved of the bull-bannered deity has become dispirited. She ought to have been honoured duly.

13. This patriarch of hardened heart, inimical to the Brahman, will definitely become infamous in the whole world.

14. Since he refused to comply with the request of his own daughter he will be falling into a terrible hell after death due to his own guilt.

15. When people were saying thus on seeing the selfimmolation of Satī, her attendants rose up in anger with their weapons.

16. They had been waiting near the door numbering sixty thousand. Those powerful attendants of lord Śiva became furious.

17. Those attendants of Śiva shouted exclamations—Ha Hā, fie, fie, no, no, loudly and frequently.

18. The quarters were pervaded with the shouts of Ha, Ha. The devas and sages who had assembled there were struck with fear.

19. Consulting one another, the attendants lifted their weapons furiously and the atmosphere was pervaded with the sound of their arms.

20. O celestial sage, some of them excessively stricken with grief cut off their limbs with their weapons, some their heads, some their faces, with the sharp lethal weapons they had.

21. Thus about twenty-thousand of those attendants courted death along with Satī. It was very surprising.

22. Such of the attendants of the noble-souled Śiva who survived, jumped up with their weapons to kill the furious Dakṣa.

23. On seeing the force of their onslaught, O sages, the holy sage Bhṛgu poured offering in the Dakṣiṇa fire with the Yajur mantra to quell the obstructors of sacrifice.

24. While the sage Bhṛgu[2] was pouring the offerings, thousands of powerful demons—Ṛbhus[3] rose up.

25. O excellent sage, a terrible fight ensued between Śiva’s attendants and the demons who had firebrands for their weapons. Their hair stood on end when people heard the uproar.

26. The attendants were killed by the Ṛbhus of powerful valour and favoured with Brahminical splendour. They were forced to run without difficulty.

27. It had been the desire of Śiva of the great Śakti that the attendants were killed and routed quickly. It was a wonderful scene.

28. On seeing this, the sages, Indra and other devas, the Maruts, the Viśvedevas, the Aśvins and the guardians of the quarters kept silent.

29. Some of them went to request and consult with Viṣṇu frequently for preventing obstacles. They were greatly agitated.

30. The sensible devas, Viṣṇu and others, became agitated on pondering over the results of Pramathas’ destruction and routing.

31. Such was the obstacle to the sacrifice of Dakṣa who rivalled with Śiva, who was wicked and who professed to be a kinsman of Brahmā, O sage.

Footnotes and references:

1.

The system of Yoga enjoins the control of vital airs viz. “prāṇa” and “apāna” in some particular position.

2.

See Note No. 299 P.

3.

Ṛbhus: They are the sons of Sudhanvan, a descendant of Aṅgiras, severally named Ṛbhu, Vibhu and Vāja. Through their assiduous performance of good works they obtained superhuman powers and became entitled to receive praise and adoration.