The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “search for karttikeya and his conversation with nandin” 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 4 - Search for Kārttikeya and his conversation with Nandin

Nārada said:—

1. O lord of people, O Brahmā, O lord of gods, what happened after that? Narrate it to me kindly besides the description of Śiva’s sports.

Brahmā said:—

2. O sage, after the son of Śiva had been taken over by the Krttikās some time elapsed but the daughter of Himavat had no knowledge of the same.

3. Meanwhile Pārvatī beaming with her lotus like face told her husband Śiva, the lord of the gods.

Pārvatī said:—

4. O lord of the gods, listen to my auspicious words. O lord, you have been attained by me, thanks to my previous merits.

5. Although you are the most excellent among the Yogins, O lord, you became desirous of dalliance. But my dalliance with you was interrupted in the middle by the gods.

6. O lord, your semen fell on the ground and not in my womb. Where did it go? Among the gods by whom could it have been concealed?

7. O lord, infallible is your semen, how can it be fruitless? Or has it developed into a child somewhere?

Brahmā said:—

8. O great sage, on hearing the words of Pārvatī, the lord of the universe called the gods and the sages and laughingly said to them.

Lord Śiva said:—

9. O gods, listen to my words. Has Pārvatī’s statement been heard by you? Where has my unfailing semen gone? By whom has it been concealed?

10. If he, out of fear, falls at my feet quickly he may not be punished. If a king, competent enough, does not rule firmly he will be harrassed by the subjects. He cannot be a protector.

Brahmā said:—

11. On hearing the words of Śiva and after consulting one another they replied one by one. They were so afraid of the great lord.

Viṣṇu said:—

12. Let those who have concealed your semen incur the sins of those who utter lies, of those who outrage the modesty of preceptor’s wife, and of those who are engaged in insulting the preceptor always.

Brahmā said:—

13. Let him who has concealed your semen anywhere in the holy centres of Bhārata be debarred from the privilege of serving or worshipping you.

The guardians of the quarters said:—

14. Let him who has concealed your semen suffer continuously from the pang as a result of that sinful action.[1]

The gods said:—

15. Let him who has concealed your semen incur the sin of that stupid person who does not fulfil the promise he himself has made.

The wives of the gods said:—

16. Let her who has concealed your semen be deprived of mother and kinsmen and incur the sin of those base women who hate their husband and carry on an affair with another man.

Brahmā said:—

11. On hearing the words of the gods, Śiva the lord of the gods threatened Dharma and others the cosmic witnesses of all activities.

Lord Śiva said:—

18. The infallible semen of mine, has not been concealed by the gods. By whom could it then have been concealed?

19. All of you are the witnesses of all actions always. Has it been concealed by you? Have you come to know of it? Please narrate.

20. On hearing the words of Śiva they nervously looked at one another and spoke before the lord one by one.

Brahmā said:—

21. The infallible semen of Śiva, infuriated at the intervention in the course of his sexual dalliance, fell on the ground. This was observed by me.

The Earth said:—

22. I was unable to bear the terrible semen. Hence I dropped it into the fire. O lord, please forgive me.

The fire said:—

23. O Śiva, assuming the form of a dove I gulped the semen but could not bear the terrible thing. Hence I immediately dropped it on the mountain Kailasa.

The mountain said:—

24. O lord of the worlds, I too was unable to bear the terrible thing. O lord, I dropped it in the Gaṅgā.

Gaṅgā said:—

25. O lord of the worlds, I too was unable to bear your terrible semen. O lord, completely exhausted, I dropped it in the grove of Sara plants.

Vāyu said:—

26. O Śiva, the semen that fell among the Śara plants immediately became a very beautiful boy on the holy banks of the celestial river.

The sun said:—

27. On seeing the crying boy, O lord, I went to the western mountain, urged by the revolving wheel of time, being unable to stay there at night.

The moon said:—

28. Taking the crying boy, the Kṛttikās returned to their abode. O Śiva, they went to Badarikā hermitage.

The waters said:—

29. O lord, taking the crying child with them and feeding him with their own breast milk they nurtured your son, as refulgent as the sun.

The dusk said:—

30. Now, he is the nursling son of the Kṛttikās in the forest. In their eagerness they named him Kārttikeya lovingly.

The night said:—

31. They never let the boy go out of their sight. He is the object of their love, dearer to them than their own lives. Verily he who nurtures, possesses the son.

The day said:—

32. They fed him on the choicest delicacies. They gave him the rarest garments and excellent ornaments.

Brahmā said:—

33. On hearing their words, the destroyer of Pura[2] became glad. In his joy he gave monetary gifts to the brahmins.

34. On receiving the news of her son, Pārvatī was delighted. She distributed a crore of gems and much wealth among the brahmins.

35. Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī, Menā, Sāvitrī and all other women, Viṣṇu and all other gods gave much wealth to the brahmins.

36. Urged by the gods, sages and mountains, the lord sent his Gaṇas as his emissaries to the place where his son was staying.

37-39. O Nārada, he sent Vīrabhadra, Viśālākṣa, Śaṅkukarṇa, Parākrama, Nandīśvara, Mahākāla, Vajradaṃṣṭra, Mahonmada, Gokarṇāsya, Dadhimukha who was comparable to the blazing flame of fire, a hundred thousand Kṣetrapālas, three hundred thousand Bhūtas, Rudras, Bhairavas, and innumerable others of the same exploit as that of Śiva and of hideous features.

40. All the emissaries of Śiva went and haughtily encircled the abode of the Kṛttikās with various miraculous weapons in their hands.

41. On seeing them the Kṛttikās were extremely terrified. They spoke to Kārttikeya blazing with divine splendour.

Kṛttikās said:—

42. Dear boy, innumerable soldiers have encircled the house. What shall be done? Where are we to gc. A great danger has beset us.

Kārttikeya said:—

43. O good women, O mothers, cast off your fear. When I am here what fear need you have? Although I am a boy I am invincible. Who can thwart me?

Brahmā said:—

44. In the meantime, Nandīśvara the commander-inchief sat in front of Kārttikeya and said.

Nandīśvara said:—

45. O brother, O mothers, listen to my auspicious mission. I have been commissioned by lord Śiva, the annihilator.

46. O dear, all the gods, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva and others are holding a jubilant conference at Kailāsa.

47. At that time Pārvatī addressed Śiva the benefactor of all, in that assembly urging a search for you.

48. Śiva asked the assembly severally about you in order to get you back. They too replied in a suitable manner.

49. They said to Śiva that you were here in the abode of Kṛttikas. Dharma and others who are the cosmic witnesses of all righteous and unrighteous activities revealed your whereabouts.

50. Formerly Pārvatī and Śiva indulged in their secret sexual dalliance. The semen of Śiva seen by the gods fell on the ground.

51. The earth dropped it into the fire, the fire on the mountain, the mountain in the Gaṅgā and the Gaṅgā transmitted it to the grove of Sara plants by her following currents and waves.

52. There you developed into a boy, the lord with the mission of fulfilling the task of the gods. There you were picked up by the Kṛttikas. Now you shall come down to the Earth.

53. Śiva will be crowning you in the company of the gods. You will get miraculous weapons and will slay the demon Tāraka.

54. You are the son of the annihilator of the universe and these (Kṛttikas) are impatient to gain possession of you as the dry tree tries to conceal fire within its hollow though it is incapable of holding it.

55. You are brilliant enough to illuminate the universe. You do not fit in well in this abode just as a majestic elephant fallen in a deep well does not retain splendour.

56. You can shed splendour if your brilliance is not hidden just as the sun illuminates the world only when it is not hidden by the cloud.

57. In the matter of omnipresence in the universe you alone are Viṣṇu, O Śiva’s son. The all-pervading sky is not pervaded by anything else.

58. A Yogin is not entangled in the activities of nurturing himself. The soul is not involved in the physical activities.

59. You are the creator of the universe, you are the lord. Your place is not among these. You are a mass of attributes and splendour as the soul of a Yogin.

60. O brother, those who do not know you are of damned intellect. Although the toads and lotuses are in the same pond toads are not honoured.

Kārttikeya said:—

61. O brother, you know everything. You are perfectly wise possessing the knowledge of the past, present and future, since you are an attendant of Śiva. Hence no praise of yours is specially called for.

62. O brother, people get reconciled to whatever form of species of life they are born. Their own actions are responsible for their birth and they are satisfied.

63. The Kṛttikās are wise women of Yogic practice. They are the digits of Prakṛti. They have helped in nurturing me with their own breast milk.

64. I am their fostered son. They are my own part and parcel. I am born of Prakṛti and the semen of the lord of Prakṛti.

65. O Nandikeśvara, I am not severed from the daughter of the lord of mountains who is virtually my mother just as these ladies on the basis of virtuous rites.

66. You have been sent by Śiva. You are like a son unto Śiva. I am coming with you. I shall see the gods.

67. After saying so and hurriedly taking leave of the Kṛttikās, Kārttikeya started along with the attendants of Śiva.

Footnotes and references:


The original of this translation is defective.


Śiva is called Purasūdana, Tripurāri or Purāri, “the slayer of Pura”, for he destroyed Bāṇa who was called Tripurāsura because he had received in gift three cities from Śiva, Brahmā and Viṣṇu.