The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “destruction 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 37 - Destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:—

1-2. Mentally meditating on Śiva, the remover of all adversities and seated in his divine chariot, the powerful Vīrabhadra took up all the great miraculous weapons for his fight with Viṣṇu and roared like a lion.

3. Viṣṇu, the powerful, loudly blew his conch “Pāñcajanya” delighting his own people.

4. On hearing the sound of the conch, the devas who had fled before leaving off the battle-field returned quickly.

5. The guardians of the quarters including Indra roared like lions and fought forcefully with the Gaṇas of Vīrabhadra.

6. A noisy terrible fight ensued between the Gaṇas and the guardians of the quarters, both roaring like lions.

7. Indra fought with Nandin; the fire-god with Aśman and the powerful Kubera fought with Kūṣmāṇḍapati.

8-9. Nandin was hit hard by Indra with the thunderbolt that had a hundred spikes. Indra was hurt in the middle of his chest by Nandin with the trident.

10. Nandin and Indra both equally powerful fought with each other gleefully, and hit each other in diverse ways with a desire to overpower each other.

11. The infuriated fire-god hit Aśman with his (spear). He too hit back the fire god with his trident of very sharp point.

12. Mahāloka, the heroic chieftain of the Gaṇas, remembered Lord Śiva with joy and fought with Yama.

13. Caṇḍa, the brawny, grappled with Nairṛṭa and mortified him with many great miraculous weapons.

14. The powerful hero Muṇḍa fought with Varuṇa surprising the three worlds with his great spear.

15. Bhṛṅgī was struck by the wind god with his weapon of great force. Vāyu was struck (in return) by Bhṛṅgī with a powerful trident.

16. Meditating on Lord Śiva in his heart, the strong and heroic Kūṣmāṇḍapati clashed with Kubera and fought terribly.

17. Splitting up all the Devas, the great leader of Bhairavī in collaboration with the circle of Yoginīs, drank much of their blood.

18. Desirous of gobbling up the leading devas, Kālī split them and drank their blood. Kṣetrapāla too did the same.

19. Then Viṣṇu, the slayer of enemies and who was excessively brilliant, hurled his discus and fought with them. The discus seemed to burn the ten directions.

20. Kṣetrapāla saw the discus coming on. He ran to the place and bravely caught hold of it.

21. On seeing the discus held in his mouth, Viṣṇu the conqueror of enemies’ cities caught hold of his throat and made him spit out the discus.

22. Regaining his discus, Viṣṇu the sole sustainer of the world, of great dignity became very angry. In that infuriated state he took up different weapons and fought with the brave warriors.

23. Viṣṇu fought a great battle with them by hurling many weapons and evincing boisterous display of his terrific exploits.

24. Bhairava and others displayed their strength furiously by hurling several weapons and by fighting with him.

25. Vīrabhadra saw their battle with Viṣṇu of unequalled splendour, returned and clashed with him in a great battle.

26. Then Viṣṇu of great brilliance lifted up his discus and fought with Vīrabhadra.

27. O sage, a terrible fight provoking harripilation (horripilation?) took place between Mahābali and Varuṇa with various weapons.

28. Thanks to the Yogic power of Viṣṇu, innumerable soldiers terrible and wielding conch, discus and mace in their hands emerged from his own body.

29. They too fought against Vīrabhadra who continued to shout. These strong groups of warriors were as strong as Viṣṇu and had various weapons with them.

30. Remembering Śiva, his lord and hitting them, who were as lustrous as Nārāyaṇa with his trident, he reduced them to ashes.

31. The most powerful Vīrabhadra struck Viṣṇu in the chest playfully with his trident in the course of the battle.

32. O sage, hit suddenly by that blow, Viṣṇu Puruṣottama, fell unconscious on the ground.

33. Then arose a wonderful brilliance as terrible as the fire at the time of dissolution. It seemed to burn all the three worlds. It was severe and terrifying even to great heroes.

34. That glorious lord, with eyes red by anger, got up again. The best of beings lifted up his discus and stood ready to strike.

35. Vīrabhadra of no weak soul, nay, identical with lord Śiva, held his terrific discus luminous like black sun suspended and motionless.

36. O sage, thanks to the power of Śiva, the great lord controlling Māyā, the Cakra held in the hand of Viṣṇu became stunned and motionless.

37. Viṣṇu who was kept stunned by Vīrabhadra of eloquent words who was the lord of the Gaṇas, remained motionless like a mountain.

38. O Nārada, when he became benumbed and stunned, Viṣṇu repeated formulas for redemption from torpidity.

39. O sage, becoming freed from the stunned state, Viṣṇu became infuriated and took up his bow and arrows.

40. O dear sage, Viṣṇu’s bow was attacked with three arrows by Vīrabhadra whereupon it split into three in a trice.

41. Then Viṣṇu was enlightened by the great voice that the great Gaṇas were invincible. He therefore thought of vanishing from the scene.

42. On coming to know that all this was bound to happen brought about by Satī, so unbearable to all others, all of us went to our respective worlds after duly remembering Śiva, the independent lord of all.

43. When I returned to Satyaloka the grief of my son afflicted me much. In my miserable plight I pondered over what shall be done by me.

44. When Viṣṇu and I had gone, accompanied by Devas and sages, all those who were left there, those who maintained themselves through sacrifices, were utterly defeated by the Gaṇas.

45. On seeing the disorder and utter destruction of the great sacrifice, the sacrifice itself being afraid assumed the form of a deer and fled.

46. Vīrabhadra seized it as it, was fleeing up the sky in the form of a deer and beheaded it.

47-48. Then the heroic Mahāgaṇa Vīrabhadra caught hold of Prajāpati, Dharma, Kaśyapa Ariṣṭanemin the sage with many sons, the sages Aṅgiras and Kṛśāśva and the great sage Datta and kicked all of them on their heads.

49. With the tip of his fingers he cut off the tip of the nose of Sarasvatī and of Aditi the mother of devas. Vīrabhadra showed his exploits thus.

50. Similarly the infuriated Vīrabhadra with eyes blazing, cut off the other devas too and threw them on the ground.

51. Even after mutilating the chief devas and sages, he never became calm like the king of serpents whose anger had been aroused.

52. After uprooting his enemies, like a lion the elephants of the forest, Vīrabhadra surveyed all the quarters frequently to know “who is where”.

53. He struck and smashed Bhṛgu while the valorous Maṇibhadra[1] kicked him on his chest and plucked off his moustaches.

54. Caṇḍa forcibly plucked off the teeth of Pūṣan[2], who had formerly laughed and showed his teeth while Śiva was being cursed.

55. Nandin plucked out the eyes of Bhaga who was felled over the ground with anger because it was he who winked at Dakṣa while cursing.

56. Svadhā, Svāhā, Dakṣiṇā Mantras and Tantras, all those who were there were molested and mortified by the leaders of Gaṇas.

57 The Gaṇas furiously showered filth and rubbish on the sacrificial fire. The heroic Gaṇas made the sacrifice inexpressibly impure.

58. After coming to know that Dakṣa had hidden himself behind the altar due to his fright, Vīrabhadra dragged him out with force.

59. He was caught hold of by his cheeks, his head and was struck with the sword. Due to the yogic power of Dakṣa it could not be split.

60. Thinking that his head could not be pierced or cut with weapons he kicked his chest with the foot and wrested the head with his hand.

61. Vīrabhadra the leader of the Gaṇas threw the head of the wicked Dakṣa, the enemy of Śiva, into the fire-pit.

62. Vīrabhadra whirling the trident in his hand looked splendid indeed. The angry Raṇākṣa and Saṃvarta looked like the blazing mountains.

63. After killing them without difficulty Vīrabhadra in his fury burnt them in the fire like a blazing conflagration consuming moths.

64. Seeing Dakṣa and others entirely burnt, he laughed boisterously filling the three worlds with the sound.

95. He was surrounded by heroic glory. Then a divine shower of flowers originating from the celestial park fell over Vīrabhadra accompanied by his Gaṇas.

66. Cool breezes blew gently fragrant and pleasing. Divine drums sounded simultaneously.

67. The hero who had accomplished his duties went to Kailāsa quickly like the sun who quells darkness.

68 On seeing Vīrabhadra who had fulfilled his task, lord Śiva was pleased and he made him the presiding officer of his Gaṇas.

Footnotes and references:


Maṇibhadra is the brother of Kubera and chief of the Yakṣas. He is the tutelary deity of travellers and merchants.


Puṣan is represented as toothless. The cause of his being toothless is variously explained. See H. M. P. 250. According to the present text, it was Caṇḍa, the follower of Vīrabhadra who uprooted his teeth.

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