The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “dialogue between kshuva and dadhica” 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 38 - The dialogue between Kṣuva and Dadhīca

Sūta said:—

1. After hearing these words of Brahmā of immeasurable intellect, Nārada the brahmin was surprised and he lovingly asked him thus.

Nārada said:—

2. Please tell me for what reason did Viṣṇu go to the sacrifice of Dakṣa along with the devas but leaving off Śiva, for there so much of ignominy was in store for him?

3. Does not Viṣṇu know Śiva who has the power of dissolution? Why did he fight with his Gaṇas like a foolish insensible man?

4. O Merciful one, this is my great doubt. Please clarify it O lord, narrate the story of Śiva to us that heightens the enthusiasm in our mind.

Brahmā said:—

5. O excellent brahmin, listen with pleasure to the story of the moon-crested lord which dispels our doubts.

6. O sage, formerly Viṣṇu lost his knowledge by the curse of Dadhīca. He, therefore, went to Dakṣa’s sacrifice along with the devas in order to help Kṣuva.

Nārada said:—

7. Why did the excellent sage Dadhīca curse Viṣṇu? What harm was done by Viṣṇu to Dadhīca by helping Kṣuva?

Brahmā said:—

8. There was a king of great splendour named Kṣuva. He was the friend of Dadhīca, the sage of very great potentiality.

9. Formerly a great dispute, well known in the three worlds, took place between Kṣuva and Dadhīca in the context of their penance. This caused great disaster.

10. Dadhīca, a great devotee of Śiva and a Vedic scholar said—A brahmin alone is the noble person in the three higher Varṇas. There is no doubt.

11. O great sage, on hearing the words of Dadhīca, the king Kṣuva deluded by his pride due to wealth and glory said thus:—

Kṣuva said:—

12. A king holds in his body parts of the eight guardians of the worlds. Hence a king is the most excellent lord of all Varṇas and Āśramas. He is the supreme lord.[1]

13. The Vedas say clearly that the king consists of all devas. Hence, O sage, I am that great deity.

14 Hence a king is nobler than a brahmin. Take the example of Cyavana. Hence I am not to be disrespected by you. I am to be honoured always.

Brahmā said:—

15. On hearing that opinion of Kṣuva, O excellent sage, which went contrary to Vedas and Smṛtis, Śukra became angry.

16. Dadhīca of great splendour became angry because it affected his prestige, O sage. With his left fist he hit Kṣuva on his head.

17. Kṣuva on being hit struck Dadhīca with the thunderbolt. The king of evil mind became angry and roared loudly.

18. Dadhīca on being struck by the thunderbolt remembered Śukra who was one of his ancestors.

19. Śukra of Yogic powers approached the body of Dadhīca who was hit by Kṣuva and rejoined the broken limbs.

20. After rejoining the organs as before of Dadhīca, Śukra a leading devotee of Śiva, the initiator of Mṛtyuñjayavidyā said.

Śukra said:—

21. Dear Dadhīca, after worshipping Śiva the lord of everyone, I am going to tell you the highly potential Vedic mantra Mahāmṛtyuñjaya.

22. We worship the three-eyed lord Śiva, the lord of the three worlds, the father of the three spheres, the lord of the three guṇas.

23-25. Lord Śiva is the essence, the fragrance of the three Tattvas, three fires, of every thing that is trichotomised, of the three worlds, of the three arms and of the trinity. He is the nourisher. In all living beings, everywhere, in the three Guṇas, in the creation, in the sense-organs, in the devas and Gaṇas, he is the essence as the fragrance in a flower. He is the lord of devas.

26-27. O excellent brahmin of good rites, He is called the nourisher because it is from Him the supreme Puruṣa Śiva that the Prakṛti, the different Tattvas from Mahat to the different Indriyas, Viṣṇu, Brahmā, the sages, Indra and the devas derive their nourishment.

28-29. Worship that immortal deity Śiva with sacred rites, penance, self-study of the Vedas, yogic practices, meditation, observance of truth and other means. You will be freed from the noose of Yama. The lord is the cause of both bondage and salvation.

30-31. In my opinion this Mṛtasañjīvanī mantra is the most excellent of all. Repeat these mantras regularly remembering Śiva with devotion. After Japa, Homa and recitation of the mantras observe fast, but you can drink water day and night. If the meditation is conducted in the presence of Śiva there is no fear of death from anywhere.

32-33. Nyāsa and other ritualistic rites shall be observed. Śiva shall be worshipped duly. Śiva who is favourably disposed to his devotees shall be propitiated. I shall also mention the observance of meditation. It is after this meditation that the mantra shall be repeated as long as the purpose is realised due to Śiva’s power.

34. I worship the three-eyed Lord Śiva, the conqueror of death who is accompanied by (Pārvatī); who pours water on his head from two vessels held in his lotus-like hands, by means of the other pair of hands; who has placed the two hands with the pots on the lap; who usually holds in his hands the Rudrākṣa garland and a deer and whose body is rendered cool and wet by the nectar exuding from the moon worn on the head.

Brahmā said:—

35. After instructing the excellent sage Dadhīca thus and remembering lord Śiva, O dear, Śukra returned to his abode.

36. On hearing his words, the great sage Dadhīca went to the forest for penance thinking upon Śiva with great pleasure.

37. Going there he performed penance repeating[2] the mantra named Mahāmṛtyuñjaya in accordance with the rules and remembering Śiva with great pleasure.

38. After repeating the mantra for a long time and propitiating Śiva with penance, he delighted Śiva named Mahāmṛtyuñjaya—the conqueror of great death.

39. O great sage, Śiva who is favourably disposed towards his devotees became delighted by that Japa and appeared before him lovingly.

40. On seeing his lord Śiva, the great sage was highly pleased. After bowing to him with devotion and in accordance with rules he eulogised him with palms joined in reverence.

41. O dear one, O sage, Śiva told the son of Cyavana (Dadhīca)—“Please tell me what boon (you require)”

42. On hearing the words of Śiva, Dadhīca, the most excellent devotee, spoke to Śiva who is favourably disposed to his devotees, with palms joined in reverence and a formal salutation.

Dadhīca said;—

43. O great lord, lord of Devas, please give me three boons viz. adamantine bones, impossibility of being killed and absence of distress.

Brahmā said:—

44. On hearing the words mentioned by him, the delightful great lord gave Dadhīca the three boons saying “so be it”.

45. After securing the three boons from Śiva, the great sage, who strictly followed the Vedic path, was delighted and went immediately to kṣuva’s abode.

46. Having secured indestructibility, adamantine bones and absence of distress from Śiva, he kicked the king on the head with the root of his foot.

47. Kṣuva, the king who was haughty by the favour of Viṣṇu, became angry and hit Dadhīca on his chest with his thunderbolt.

48. The thunderbolt was incompetent to destroy Dadhīca the noble-souled, thanks to the power of lord Śiva. The son of the creator (Kṣuva) was greatly surprised.

49. On thus seeing the indestructibility, absence of distress and adamantine bones of Dadhīca the great sage, Kṣuva, the son of the creator, became surprised at heart.

50. Defeated thus by Dadhīca who was the server of Mṛtyuñjaya and who resorted to Śiva, Kṣuva went to the forest immediately and propitiated Viṣṇu, the younger brother of Indra.

51. The lord Viṣṇu satisfied with his worship revealed himself to him in the divine form of the Garuḍa-bannered deity.

52. On seeing the lord with his divine vision, he bowed and eulogised him with pleasing words.

53. After worshipping and eulogising the invincible lord, lauded by Indra and others, he devoutly bowed down his head and submitted thus to him.

The king said:—

54. O Holy lord, formerly I had a humble friend, a certain brahmin renowned as Dadhīca who knew all virtuous acts.

55. He cannot be killed by anyone at any time due to the power of Śiva. He got this boon after propitiating Śiva, the conqueror of death who is free from sickness.

56. In the open assembly, that Dadhīca of great penance, contemptuously kicked me with his left leg on my head.

57. O Viṣṇu, he told me haughtily—“I am not afraid of anybody”. Having obtained favours from Mṛtyuñjaya he is incomparably haughty.

Brahmā said:—

58. On coming to know of the indestructibility of Dadhīca of noble soul, Viṣṇu thought upon the unrivalled power of lord Śiva.

59. Having thus remembered Śiva, Viṣṇu told Kṣuva the son of Brahmā immediately—“O noble king, brahmins need not be afraid of anything even a bit.”

60. O king, especially the devotees of Śiva have no fear at all. He would curse me along with the devas and trouble me.

61. O noble king, my destruction will also take place from the leader of Gaṇas at Dakṣa’s sacrifice due to his curse. Of course I will be rising up again.

62. O leader of kings, the completion of the sacrifice will not take place. Of course O king, I shall strive for your victory over Dadhīca.

63. On hearing the words of Viṣṇu, the king Kṣuva said—“So be it”. He remained there alone, eager to achieve his desire.

Footnotes and references:


The king embodies the essence of eight Lokapālas and as such he is a divine being. Cp. Manu. Ch. 7. He is authorised to maintain the system of four Varṇas and Āśramas but none of the sacred texts—Śrutis and Smṛtis—empowers him to rule over the Brāhmaṇa Varṇa. Cp. G. Dh.S. “rājā sarvasyeṣṭe brāhmaṇavarjam |”.


Lord Śiva is called “the Conqueror of Death”. The mantra for the propitiation of that God for the conquest of Death is also called “the Conqueror of Death”. The mantra runs as follows: “Tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhim puṣṭivardhanam. Urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyormukṣīya māmṛtāt.”