The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “story of anaranya” 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 34 - The Story of Anaraṇya

Vasiṣtha said:—

1. The king Anaraṇya hailed from the race of the fourteenth Manu Indrasāvarṇi,

2. The great king Anaraṇya, born of Maṅgalāraṇya[1] was very strong. He was a special devotee of Śiva and ruled over the seven continents[2].

3. Having Bhṛgu as his priest he performed a hundred sacrifices. He did not accept the position of Indra even when offered by the gods.

4. O Himavat, hundred sons were born to him and a beautiful daughter Padmā who was equal to Lakṣmī.

5. O excellent mountain, he was more fond of his daughter than of his hundred sons.

6. He had five queens who were endowed with great qualities and fortunes and were loved by him over and above his life.

7. The girl entered the prime of her youth in her father’s palace. The king issued letters of invitation for the requisition of good bridegrooms.

8. In the meantime the sage Pippalāda eagerly hastening back to his hermitage saw a certain Gandharva in an isolated place in the penance-grove.

9. The Gandharva was an expert in the science of erotics. He was in the company of a woman. He was therefore completely submerged m the ocean of pleasure, sexual dalliance and was lusty.

10. On seeing him the great sage became very lustful. He lost interest in penance and began to think of acquiring a wife.

11. Thus the good sage spent a long time with his mind utterly agitated by pangs of love.

12. Once while the good sage was on his way to the river Puṣpabhadrā[3] for taking his bath he happened to see the young maiden Padmā who was as charming as goddess Lakṣmī.

13. The sage asked the persons standing by—“Who is this girl?” The people, afraid of the curse bowed to the sage and replied.

The people said:—

14. This excellent lady, the repository of all good qualities, is the daughter of Anaraṇya and is called Padmā. She is another Lakṣmī (goddess of fortune). She is being wooed by great kings.

Brahmā said:—

15. On hearing the words of the people who spoke the truth, the sage became much agitated in the mind and was eager to possess her.

16. O mountain, the sage took bath and worshipped his favourite deity Śiva duly. The lustful sage went to the council-chamber of Anaraṇya for the sake of alms.

17. Immediately after seeing the sage, the king was struck with awe and bowed to him. He offered him homage (Madhuparka)[4] and devoutly worshipped him.

18. Out of love, the sage accepted everything and ultimately requested for the hand of his daughter. The king kept quiet, being unable to give any decisive reply.

19. The sage repeated his request saying—“O great king, give me your daughter. Otherwise in a trice I will reduce everything to ashes”.

20. The king and his attendants were overwhelmed by the splendour of the sage. Staring at the old emaciated brahmin, they began to cry.

21. The queens, knowing not what shall be done, lamented. The chief queen, the mother of the girl, fell unconscious in the excess of her grief.

22. The brothers of the girl were agitated with sorrow. O lord of mountains, everything and every one connected with the king was overwhelmed with grief.

23. In the meantime the wise brahmin, the excellent preceptor of the king, as well as his intelligent priest came there.

24. The king bowed to them and paid homage. He cried before them. He explained to them everything and asked them what was the proper step to be taken immediately.

25-26. The brahmin, the preceptor of the king and the scholarly priest were experts in sacred lore and polity. They advised the king in that matter.

The preceptor and the priest said:—

27. O wise king, listen to our beneficial words. Do not be anxious. In the company of your kinsmen turn your good attention to the sacred texts.

28. O king, whether today or after a year, the princess is to be given to a deserving person, a brahmin or anyone else.

29. In the three worlds we do not see more deserving person than this brahmin. Give your daughter to this sage and save your riches.

30. O king, if all riches face the danger of destruction due to one object or person, the wise man saves everything by abandoning that object or person unless it be that who has sought refuge.

Vasiṣṭha said:—

31. On hearing the words of the wise, the king lamented again and again but ultimately offered his daughter fully bedecked in ornaments to the excellent sage.

32. O mountain, accepting and marrying the beautiful maiden Padmā, on a par with goddess Lakṣmī, in accordance with holy laws, the delighted sage returned to his abode.

33. After giving his daughter to an old man, the king was much dejected in mind. Abandoning everything he went to the forest for performing penance.

34. O mountain, when the king went to the forest, the queen, passed away, due to the pangs of separation from her husband and daughter.

35. Without the king, the respectable sons and officers of the king became unconscious. The other people thinking that the king was dead lamented much.

36. Anaraṇya went to the forest, performed great penance, and worshipped Śiva with devotion. In the end, he attained Śivaloka free from all ailments.

37. The eldest son of the king, Kīrtimān, virtuously ruled over the kingdom and tended the subjects like his own children.

38. Thus, O mountain, I have narrated to you the auspicious story of Anaraṇya, how he saved his race and his wealth by offering his daughter to the sage.

39. O king of mountains, you too, give your daughter to Śiva, save the entire family and keep even the gods under your control.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Contrast Pargiter AIHS PP. 143, 246. Anaraṇya was born of Sambhūta.

2.

It is a division of the terrestrial world. The number of these divisions varies according to different authorities. It is usually seven. These are situated round the mountain Meru like the petals of a lotus flower and each being separated from the other by a distinct ocean. The central one is Jambudvīpa in which is included Bharata Khaṇḍa (India).

3.

It has not been possible to identify this river.

4.

See Note 47 P. 600