The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “dialogue between vishnu and virabhadra” 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 36 - The dialogue between Viṣṇu and Vīrabhadra

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:—

1. Indra mocked at Viṣṇu who was engrossed in his own arguments. He, the bearer of the thunderbolt, was desirous of fighting Vīrabhadra along with the other devas.

2. Then Indra rode on his elephant, the fire-god rode on a goat, Yama rode on his buffalo and Nirṛti rode on a ghost.

3. Varuṇa rode on a crocodile; the wind-god rode on a deer; Kubera sat in his chariot Puṣpaka and he was ready and alert.

4. The others in the hosts of devas, Yakṣas, Cāraṇas and Guhyakas all very powerful, rode on their own respective vehicles.

5. Seeing their enterprise, Dakṣa with blood rushing to his face in his excitement approached them along with his wife and spoke.

Dakṣa said:—

6. Depending on your support and strength alone have I begun this great sacrifice. Such brilliant persons as you, are authorities in the achievement of all good actions.

Brahmā said:—

7. On hearing these words of Dakṣa. the gods including Indra set off immediately in their readiness to fight.

8. Indra and other devas and the guardians of the quarters, deluded by Śiva’s Māyā fought with their full power.

9. A great fight ensued between the devas and the gaṇas. Those powerful warriors fought with each other with sharp spikes, iron clubs etc.

10. Conchs were blown. Drums were beaten in that great war festival. Battle drums were sounded both big and small.

11. Being encouraged by that sound, the devas in the company of the guardians of the quarters hit and thrashed the attendants of Śiva.

12. O excellent sage, on account of the incantations of Bhṛgu,the attendants of Śiva were routed by Indra and other guardians of the quarters.

13. Their defeat was effected by Bhṛgu the sacrificial priest, for the continuance of the worship of the deities and for the satisfaction of Dakṣa who had been initiated in the sacrifice.

14-15. On seeing his people defeated, Vīrabhadra became infuriated. He asked the goblins, ghosts and spirits to keep back. The attendants riding on bulls were sent to the front ranks. Accompanied by his forces and wielding his great trident he felled the devas.

16. The attendants of Śiva hit and thrashed the devas, the Yakṣas, Sādhyas, Guhyakas and Cāraṇas with their javelins, spears and tridents.

17. Some were split with swords and smashed with iron-clubs. The devas were hit and smothered with various weapons by the attendants of Śiva.

18. Thus defeated, the devas left one another in lurch and fled to heaven.

19. Only the guardians of the quarters, Indra and others, had the courage and strength to stay behind in that terrible battle with what little enthusiasm they had.

20. Indra and others collectively approached Bṛhaspati in that battlefield and asked him humbly.

The guardians of the quarters said:—

21. O dear preceptor Bṛhaspati, intelligent and merciful, please tell us quickly how we can be victorious.

Brahmā said:—

22. On hearing their words, Bṛhaspati remembered Śiva and spoke to Indra who was confused and confounded to slove the difficulty.

Bṛhaspati said:—

23. O Indra, what Viṣṇu had said before has taken place now. I shall explain it further. Listen attentively.

24. There is the presiding deity of sacrifices who dispenses the fruits of all sacrifices. He does it with reference to the performer. He is not independent of the performer.

25-26. Neither Mantras nor medicinal herbs, nor black magic, nor worldly activities, nor the Vedas, nor the two systems of Mīmāṃsās, nor other sacred texts based on Vedic passages are able to know Śiva—so the ancient authorities say.

27. Lord Śiva is not unknowable entirely. He can be known by devotees who have no other refuge though he is unknowable through thousands of Vedic passages without devotion. So says the great Vedic passage.

28. Sadāśiva shall be known through his own blessings by mental tranquility and supreme vision without aberrations and distractions.

29. But, O Lord of devas, in the matter of discussion about what shall be done and what not, I shall explain the aspect of fulfilment of our desire. Hear that in your own interest.

30. It is your childishness that prompted you to be present here in the sacrifice of Dakṣa along with the other guardians of quarters. What shall you do with the exhibition of your valour?

31. These infuriated assistants of Rudra have come here to stop the sacrifice and they will do it undoubtedly.

32. There is no remedy to prevent the destruction of the sacrifice. True, I am telling you the truth.

Brahmā said:—

33. On hearing these words of Bṛhaspati the guardians of the quarters, dwellers in heaven including Indra fell athinking.

34. Then, remembering Śiva mentally Vīrabhadra surrounded by the heroic attendants of Śiva spoke to Indra and other guardians of the quarters.

Vīrabhadra said:—

35. “On account of your childishness you came here for this glorious act. I shall now offer you Avadāna (i.e. I shall cut you to pieces). Come near me.

36-37. O Indra, O Agni, O Sun, O Moon, O Kubera, O Varuṇa, O Wind, O Nirṛti, O Yama, O Śeṣa, O Devas and Asuras, O clever ones, come here. I shall give you Avadānas. The boon will be tasted by you till you are satiated.”

Brahmā said:

38-39. Saying so, Vīrabhadra, the leader of the attendants became furious and hit all the devas with sharp arrows. Severely wounded by the arrows, Indra and other leaders of devas fled in all the ten directions. When the guardians of the quarters and other devas had fled, Vīrabhadra came very near the entrance of the sacrificial chamber along with the Gaṇas.

40. Then all the sages who had assembled there were terribly afraid and bowing to Viṣṇu and desirous of informing him said thus:—

The sages said:—

41-42. “O lord of Lakṣmī, lord of devas, O great lord, lord of everyone, save the sacrifice of Dakṣa. Undoubtedly you are the sacrifice, the performer of sacrifice, the sacrifice embodied, ancillary to sacrifice and the protector of sacrifice. Please save, save the sacrifice. There is none else than you to protect it.”

Brahmā said:—

43. On hearing these words of the sages Viṣṇu, desirous of fighting with Vīrabhadra went ahead.

44. The powerful Viṣṇu, the four-armed discus-bearing Viṣṇu, fully equipped, came out of the sacrificial chamber along with the devas.

45. The trident-wielding Vīrabhadra accompanied by the different Gaṇas saw Viṣṇu the great lord desirous of fighting and ready for it.

46. On seeing him Vīrabhadra knit his eyebrows and his face became awful. He met him as the god of death meeting a sinner or the lion meeting an elephant.

47. On seeing Viṣṇu in such a manner Vīrabhadra the suppressor of enemies, surrounded by the Gaṇas became furious and said.

Vīrabhadra said:

48. O Viṣṇu, how is it that you set at nought the affirmation of lord Śiva? Why were you haughty?

49. Can you dare to transgress the affirmation of lord Śiva? Who are you? In the three worlds who is your saviour?

50. Why did you come here? We do not know that. How did you become the guardian and saviour of Dakṣa’s sacrifice? Explain it.

51. Haven’t you seen what Satī did? Haven’t you heard what Dadhīci said?

52. You too came to Dakṣa’s sacrifice for the sake of sacrificial gifts. O long-armed one, I shall now offer you Avadāna[1] (i.e. I shall cut you to pieces).

53. O Viṣṇu, I shall split your chest with my trident. Who is your protector who dare come near me?

54. I shall dash you to the ground. I shall burn you with fire. I shall pound you after burning you.

55. O Viṣṇu, of evil conduct, O the worst of Śiva’s haters, don’t you know the greatness and sanctity of lord Śiva?

56. Still O long-armed one, if you stand face to face with me wishing for a fight I shall rout you, if at all you can steady yourself.

Brahmā said:—

57. On hearing the words of Vīrabhadra, Viṣṇu the intelligent lord of Devas, laughed gleefully and said:—

Viṣṇu said:—

58. O Vīrabhadra, listen. I shall tell you. I am a servant of Śiva. Do not call me inimical to Śiva.

59. At first I had been requested repeatedly by Dakṣa foolishly, since he is too much addicted to rituals and did not know the true state of facts. He wanted me to protect the sacrifice.

60. I am subservient to my devotees, so also is lord Śiva. O dear one, Dakṣa is my devotee. Hence I came to this sacrifice.

61. O heroic one, you have the features and splendour of Śiva, you are born of Śiva’s fury. O lord, you are the receptacle of exploits; listen to the vow taken by me.

62. I shall withstand you. You can try to stop me. Let whatever is destined to happen, befall. I shall definitely show my prowess.

Brahmā said:—

63. When Viṣṇu said thus, the long-armed (Vīrabhadra) laughed and said “I am glad to know that you are a favourite of our lord”.

64. Then the delighted Vīrabhadra, the leader of the Gaṇas, laughed and stooped humbly and spoke to lord Viṣṇu,

Vīrabhadra said:—

65. O great lord, I had said thus in order to test your feelings. Now I shall speak in real earnest. You listen with attention.

66. As Śiva, so you. As you, so Śiva. O Viṣṇu, thus speak the Vedas at the bidding of Śiva.

67. O lord of Lakṣmī, all of us are the servants of Śiva. We work at the bidding of Śiva. Still due to respect we speak and argue thus.

Brahmā said:—

68. On hearing these words of Vīrabhadra, Viṣṇu laughed and spoke these words beneficent to Vīrabhadra.

Viṣṇu said:—

69. O great hero, unhesitatingly fight with me. Hit all over my body by your arrows. I shall return to my hermitage.

Brahmā said:

70. Saying thus, he stopped and got ready for the fight. The powerful Vīrabhadra too got ready in the company of his attendants.

Footnotes and references:


Avadāna means a sacrificial gift as well as cutting one to pieces.

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