The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “description of shiva’s wonderful sport” 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 43 - Description of Śiva’s wonderful sport

Menā said:—

1. O sage, I shall first see the bridegroom of Pārvatī. Let me have an idea of the form and features of Śiva for which she performed the great penance.

Brahmā said:—

2. Thus, urged by ignorance, O sage, she went to the terrace along with you to see Śiva.

3. Then Śiva, realising her false pride in herself, spoke to Viṣṇu and me as a part of His wonderful sport.

Śiva said:—

4. “At my bidding, O dear ones, both of you go one by one accompanied by the gods to the threshold of the mountain. I shall follow afterwards.”

Brahmā said:—

5. On hearing it Viṣṇu called all and told them of his suggestion. The gods then walked in accordance with that suggestion enthusiastically.

6. O sage, the lord of the universe, let Menā stand on the terrace and see the procession along with you in order to make her mind confused.

7. In the meantime, seeing the splendid vast army, O sage, Menā became delighted as usual.

8. At the head of procession came the beautiful fastidious Gandharvas, dressed in rich clothes and bedecked in fine ornaments.

9. They rode on different vehicles. They played on musical instruments. Flags and banners of various colours and sizes fluttered on their chariots. The heavenly nymphs accompanied them.

10. On seeing Vasu,[1] the lord of Vasus, along with Vasus, Menā became delighted and exclaimed—“O this is Śiva”.

11. O excellent sage, you told her “These are only the attendants of Śiva. This is not Śiva, the bridegroom.”

12. On hearing this, Menā fell athinking “A person greater than this! Hā, how will he be!”

13. In the meantime she saw Maṇigrīva,[2] the other Yakṣas and their vast army with twice the splendour of Vasus.

14. On seeing the lustrous Maṇigrīva the lord of Yakṣas, Menā was delighted and said—“This is Śiva, the bridegroom of Pārvatī.”

15. “This is not Śiva, the bridegroom of Pārvatī. He is only an attendant of Śiva” said you to Menā, the wife of the mountain. By that time the god of fire passed by.

16. On seeing his splendour twice that of Yakṣas, she said “This is Śiva, the bridegroom of Pārvatī” but you said “No”.

17. By that time Yama passed by with twice the splendour of the previous one. On seeing him delighted Menā exclaimed “This is Śiva”.

18. “No” said you. By that time Nirṛti, the lord of Puṇyajanas, passed by having twice the splendour of Yama.

19. On seeing him the delighted Menā said “This is Śiva”. “No” said you to her. By that time Varuṇa passed that way.

20. On seeing his splendour twice that of Nirṛti, she said “This is Śiva, the bridegroom of Pārvatī”. But you said “No”.

21. By that time Vayu passed by with twice the splendour of Varuṇa. On seeing him the delighted Menā said “This is Śiva”.

22. “No” said you. By that time Kubera, the lord of Guhyakas, passed by with twice the splendour of Vāyu.

23. On seeing him the delighted Menā said “This is Śiva”. “No”, said you to her. By that time Īśāna passed by.

24. On seeing his splendour twice that of Kubera, she said “This is Rudra, the bridegroom of Pārvatī”. But you said “No”.

25. Then came Indra, the most important of all the gods, the lord of the three worlds, endowed with divine refulgence and who had twice the splendour of Isāna.

26. On seeing him Menakā said—“This is Śiva”. “Not he”, said you then “This is Indra, the lord of gods”.

27. By that time the moon passed by with twice the splendour of Indra. On seeing him she said “This is Siva” and you denied it.

28. By that time the Sun passed by with twice the splendour of the moon. On seeing him she said “It is he”. You said to her “No”.

29. By that time Bhṛgu and other sages, all highly lustrous and accompanied by their disciples, passed by.

30. On seeing Bṛhaspati in their midst Menakā said:—“This is Śiva the master of Pārvatī”. Then you said “No”.

31. By that time Brahmā passed by. He was in an excellent from of lustre, praised by excellent sages and looking like an embodied Dharma itself.

32. O sage, seeing me the highly delighted Menā said—“This is Pārvatī’s husband”. You said to her “No”.

33-35. In the meantime lord Viṣṇu came that way. He looked glorious and splendid, dark-blue like the fresh cloud and having four arms. He had the handsome features of numberless cupids. He wore yellow garments. He was the king of heaven with eyes resembling the petals of a lotus, and looked very calm. He had Garuḍa as his vehicle. He possessed all the characteristic signs conch etc. He was bedecked in crown and other ornaments. He wore Śrīvatsa on his chest. He had an uncommon splendour that was incomprehensible

36. On seeing him Menā’s eyes became dazed. With great delight she said—“This is Śiva himself the bridegroom of Pārvatī. There is no doubt about it”.

37-39. On hearing Menakā’s words you said—“No, this is not the lord, the cause of protection and enjoyment. This is not the bridegroom of Pārvatī. This is Viṣṇu, the officer-in-charge of the marriage-party of Śiva and a great favourite of Śiva. The bridegroom Śiva is better than him. O Menā, it is impossible for me to describe his beauty. He is the lord of the entire universe, the lord of all, the Self-Emperor”.

Brahmā said:—

40. On hearing your words, Menā thought her daughter auspicious, rich, fortunate and harbinger of happiness for the three families.

41. Her face was beaming with pleasure and her heart was delighted. Frequently congratulating herself on her good luck she said:—

Menā said:—

42. By the birth of Pārvatī, I have become blessed in every respect. The lord of mountains too is blessed. Every thing connected with me is blessed.

43. Her would-be-husband is the lord of these leaders of great lustre whom I have seen now.

44. How can I describe her good luck even in hundred years? It is impossible to describe it when I see the lustre of these leaders.

Brahmā said:—

45. Thus spoke Menā with her mind full of love and hope. By that time Śiva, the wonderful source of enjoyment and protection, came that way.

46. He showed himself in his real form free from change of illusion. O dear, the Gaṇas of wonderful forms proved to be the dispeller of Menā’s pride.

47. O sage Nārada, on seeing Him come, you lovingly pointed him out to her as the bridegroom of Śiva and spoke to her.

Nārada said:—

48. This is Śiva Himself, O comely maiden, see. It was for him that Pārvatī performed a great penance in the forest.

Brahmā said:—

49. Thus addressed by you the delighted Menā stared at the lord with joy; the lord Īśāna of wonderful features and of wonderful attendants.

50. Immediately the army of Śiva came there consisting of wonderful arrays of Bhūtas, Pretas and Gaṇas.

51. Some were in the form of violent gusts of wind, producing hissing sounds with waving flags. Some had crooked faces. Others were deformed.

52. Some were awful with overgrown moustaches and beards. Some were lame. Some were blind. Some held staffs and nooses and some great iron clubs in their hands.

53. Some rode on peculiar vehicles. Some played on horns. Some played on Ḍamarus. Some played on Gomukhas.

54. Some had no faces. Some had distorted and deformed faces. Some had many faces. Some had no hands. Others had deformed hands. Some of them had many hands.

55. Some had no eyes. Some had many eyes. Some had no head. Some had deformed heads. Some had no ears. Some had many ears. The Gaṇas had all types of dresses and features.

56. Such and other innumerable deformed Gaṇas, heroic and terrible, strong and strenuous passed by, O dear.

57. O sage, you pointed out the Gaṇas of Śiva to her with your finger and said—“O lovely lady, see the attendants of Śiva and Śiva Himself.”

58. O sage, on seeing the innumerable Gaṇas, Bhūtas and Pretas, Menakā was terribly frightened instantaneously.

59-61. On seeing Śiva in their midst, the mother of Pārvatī trembled. She saw Śiva who though devoid of attributes was better than those who had all the attributes, He was seated on the Bull. He had five faces[3] and three eyes. He had ashes smeared over the body. He had matted hair with the crescent moon on His head. He had ten hands with the skull in one of them. His upper cloth was tiger’s hide. He held the bow Pināka in one of his hands and the Trident in another. He had odd eyes, ugly features utterly dishevelled and untidy. He wore the hide of an elephant.

62. She was stunned, tremulous agitated and confused. You said to her “This is Śiva” and pointed Him out to her.

63. On hearing your words she fell on the ground like a tender creeper blown by the wind. Menā the chaste lady was grief-stricken.

64. “What is this? I have been deceived for being too ambitious. Of what use is it to see this deformity?” Saying this, Menakā fell unconscious there in a trice.

65. Her maids exerted themselves in various ways and attended on her. Then gradually she, the beloved of the lord of mountains, regained consciousness.

Footnotes and references:


Vasu is the chief of the eight Vasus who in fact are personifications of natural phenomena, viz. water, pole-star, moon, earth, wind, fire, dawn and light. Cf. Note 163, P. 162.


Maṇigrīva is one of the sons of Kubera, distinct from Maṇibhadra who is also a Yakṣa.


On the five-faced form of lord Śiva see Note 25 P. 34.