The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “description of the fight between vishnu 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 39 - Description of the fight between Viṣṇu and Dadhīca

Brahmā said:—

1. In order to do something beneficent to Kṣuva, the lord Viṣṇu who is favourably disposed to his devotees assumed the form of a brahmin and went to the hermitage of Dadhīca.

2. The Preceptor of the Universe Viṣṇu resorting to deception for the realisation of Kṣuva’s purpose, bowed to the brahminical sage Dadhīca, the leader of devotees of Śiva, and spoke these words.

Viṣṇu said:—

3. O Dadhīca, O brahminical sage, engrossed in the worship of Śiva, O unchanging one, I am soliciting a boon from you, which you will please grant.

Brahmā said:—

4. Dadhīca, the most excellent of the devotees of Śiva, thus requested by the lord of Devas on behalf of Kṣuva, immediately replied thus.

Dadhīca said:—

5. O brahmin, your purpose has been understood by me. You have come here on behalf of Kṣuva. You are the lord Viṣṇu in the form of a brahmin due to your illusion.

6. O lord of Devas, O Viṣṇu, thanks to the grace of Śiva, the past, future and present, everything in the three periods of time is known to me.

7. I know you to be Viṣṇu, O observer of good rites, leave off your disguise of brahminhood. You have been propitiated by king Kṣuva of wicked intellect.

8. O lord Viṣṇu, I know your favouritism towards your devotees. Cast off this deception. Assume your own real form. Remember Śiva.

9. If any one is afraid of me in view of my being engrossed in the worship of Śiva, you will please tell me bearing in mind the true state of things.

10. With my mind drawn to the memory of Śiva, I never tell a lie. I am not afraid of devas or demons in the whole universe.

Viṣṇu said:—

11. “O Dadhīca of good rites, all sorts of fear are at an end for you. Since you are actively engaged in the worship of Śiva you are omniscient.

12. You will please say for once that you are afraid. Obeisance to you. At my behest please bear with Kṣuva the leader of kings”.

Brahmā said:

13. Even after hearing this request of Viṣṇu, the great sage Dadhīca, the most excellent of the devotees of Śiva, laughed and said fearlessly:—

Dadhīca said:—

14. “I am not at all afraid of anything anywhere at any time, thanks to the power of the Pināka-wielding Śiva, the lord of Devas”.

Brahmā said:—

15. Then, on hearing the words of the sage, Viṣṇu became angry. He lifted his discus and stood as if he would burn the excellent sage.

16. When hurled upon the brahmin, the terrible discus became blunted in the presence of the king, thanks to the power of Śiva.

17. On seeing the discus blunted at the edges, Dadhīca smilingly spoke to Viṣṇu, the cause of discrimination between the existent and the non-existent.

Dadhīca said:—

18. O lord Viṣṇu, formerly the famous terrible discus Sudarśana was secured by you with great effort.

19. That is the auspicious discus of Śiva. It does not kill me here. O lord Viṣṇu, furious at me you can endeavour to hurl all the weapons such as Brahmāstra[1] at me one by one.

Brahmā said:—

20. Viṣṇu, on hearing his words, thought that he was only a man devoid of virility and hence hurled at him all the weapons.

21. Thereupon the devas of crooked intellect rendered help to Viṣṇu who was engaged in fighting with a single brahmin.

22. Indra and others, partisans of Viṣṇu, hurled with force their own different weapons from all round. on Dadhīca.

23. Taking a fistful of Kuśa grass and remembering Śiva, Dadhīca of adamantine bones and self-control discharged it against all the Gods.

24. O sage, thanks to the power of Śiva, the fistful Kuśa grass of the sage became the divine trident equal in potentiality to the fire of the god of death.

25. That trident of Śaiva nature blazing around with the lustre exceeding the fire at the close of the Yugas wanted to burn the armed Gods.

26. All the weapons hurled by the devas of whom Nārāyaṇa and Indra were the most important, bowed down in reverence to that trident.

27. Bereft of their virility, the heaven-dwelling devas fled. Viṣṇu, alone, the foremost of those who make use of Māyā, remained there but he was afraid.

28. Viṣṇu, the lord, created out of his body millions of divine beings like himself.

29. O celestial sage, those Viṣṇugaṇas of heroic power fought with the single sage Dadhīca identical with Śiva.

30. Then withstanding the entire hosts of Viṣṇugaṇas, Dadhīca, the most excellent of the devotees of Śiva, burnt them all in the battle.

31. Then, in order to confound the sage Dadhīca, Viṣṇu, clever in the use of illusion, became multi-formed.

32. In that body of Viṣnu, the most excellent brahmin Dadhīca saw thousands of devas and living beings.

33. There were crores of Bhūtas, crores of Gaṇas and crores of universes in the body of multiformed Viṣṇu then.

34. On seeing all things spread there, Dadhīca, the son of Cyavana spoke to Viṣṇu, the all-pervading, unborn, lord of the universe, eulogised by the whole universe.

Dadhīca said:—

35. O long-armed one, cast-off this illusion. On consideration, this is only a sham appearance. O Viṣṇu, thousands of inscrutable things are known to me also.

36. I shall give you a divine vision. You will see in me the entire universe including you, Brahmā and Rudra. You shall then be alert.

Brahmā said:—

37. After saying so, the saintly son of Cyavana, of body fully infused with the brilliance of Śiva, showed the entire universe in his body.

38. Remembering Śiva in his mind and laughing fearlessly, the intelligent Dadhīca, the most excellent of the devotees of Śiva spoke to Viṣṇu, the lord of Devas, thus.

Dadhīca said:—

39. O Viṣṇu, of what avail is this illusion of yours or the power of Mantra. You shall give up this illusion and fight in a straight manner.

Brahmā said:—

40. On hearing the words of the sage, the fearless Viṣṇu became angry with the sage who had been infused with the brilliance of śiva.

41. The gods also rushed to the aid of lord Viṣṇu who was desirous of fighting with the sage Dadhīca of great valour.

42-43. In the meantime, Kṣuva of noble contact, came there. He prevented the motionless Brahmā, Viṣṇu and the gods from fighting. Even after hearing my words, the defeated Viṣṇu did not go near the sage, nor bowed to her.

44. Kṣuva who became agitated and distressed went near Dadhīca the great sage, bowed to him and requested thus.

Kṣuva said:—

45. O leader of sages, foremost of the devotees of Śiva, be pleased. Be pleased with Lakṣmī’s consort who is difficult to be perceived by the wicked people.

Brahmā said:—

46. On hearing the words of the king on behalf of the devas, the brahmin Dadhīca, the storehouse of penance, blessed him.

47. Then, on seeing the lord of Lakṣmī Viṣṇu and others, the sage was angry. Remembering Śiva, he cursed Viṣṇu and the devas.

Dadhīca said:—

48. Let the gods with Indra, the sages and the lord Viṣṇu be burnt in the fire of the anger of Rudra.

Brahmā said:—

49. After cursing them he looked at Kṣuva[2] and said—“O leader of kings, a brahmin is worthy of being respected by devas, kings and the best of other castes.

50. O leader of kings, only brahmins are powerful, and influential”. After saying thus clearly the brahmin entered his hermitage.

51. After venerating Dadhīca, Kṣuva returned to his abode. Viṣṇu also returned to his region and the devas to their respective places.

52. That place became a sanctified holy centre named Sthāneśvara[3]. Persons making pilgrimage to Sthāneśvara will attain the Sāyujya salvation with Śiva.

53. Thus I have briefly narrated the dispute between Kṣuva and Dadhīca and also the story of Brahmā and Viṣṇu who were cursed for being without the support of Śiva.

54. Whoever recites this portion containing the discord between Kṣuva and Dadhīca can conquer premature death. After death he attains Brahmā’s region.

55. If a person recites this section and enters the battle, he need not be afraid of death at all. He will come out victorious.

Footnotes and references:


It is a mythical weapon causing infallible destruction. It is so called because it is presided over by Brahmā.


The legend upholds the supremacy of the Brāhmaṇa over the other caste.


Sthāneśvara or Sthāṇvīśvara is mentioned by Bāṇabhaṭṭa in the third Ucchvāsa of the Harṣacarita written in the first half of the seventh century A.D. The earliest notice of this place by a foreigner is found in the record of the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Thsang who was the contemporary of king Harṣavardhana.


Sthāneśvara or Sthāṇvīśvara is mentioned by Bāṇabhaṭṭa in the third Ucchvāsa of the Harṣacarita written in the first half of the seventh century A.D. The earliest notice of this place by a foreigner is found in the record of the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Thsang who was the contemporary of king Harṣavardhana.

The city is identified with the modern town Thanesar in Karnal district, Haryana State. It derives its name from an ancient temple dedicated to lord Śiva.