The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “commencement of the war” 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 7 - Commencement of the War

Brahmā said:—

1. On seeing that miraculous feat of Kumāra, Viṣṇu and other gods became delighted. They were convinced of his prowess.

2. Keeping Kumāra at the head, shouting and roaring, purified by Śiva’s splendour they started to attack Tāraka.

3. When he heard about the preparation of the gods, the powerful Tāraka rushed to fight back the gods with a great army.

4. On seeing the great army of Tāraka approaching, the gods were surprised but roared like lions.

5. Then a celestial voice, prompted by Śiva addressed Viṣṇu and all other gods.

The celestial Voice said;—

6. O gods, keeping Kumāra at the head you have entered the lists. Defeating the Asuras in the battle, you will be victorious.

Brahmā said:—

7. On hearing the celestial voice, the gods became enthusiastic. Fearlessly they roared like heroes.

8. With their fear subsided, and keeping Kumāra ahead, the gods went to the confluence of the river Mahī and the ocean[1] desirous of fighting.

9. Immediately Tāraka, along with a great army, came to the place where the gods stood and was surrounded by them in a body.

10. Battle drums were sounded as loud as the rumbling sound of the clouds at the dissolution of the world. The harsh musical instruments were also played when he came.

11. The Asuras in the company of Tāraka roared and shook the ground with their thudding footsteps, leapings and bouncings.

12. Undaunted by that terrible noise, the gods simultaneously rose up to fight Tāraka.

13. Accompanied by the great army of the gods and the guardians of the quarters, lord Indra seated Kumāra on an elephant and rushed forward.

14. Great war-drums, Dundubhis, Bherīs and Tūryas, lutes, flutes and Mṛdaṅgas were sounded and the Gandharvas sang war songs.

15. Leaving the elephant to lord Indra, Kumāra got in an aerial chariot of wonderful build and studded with different sets of gems.

16. Seated in the aerial chariot, the son of Śiva endowed with good qualities and of great renown shone with great splendour. He was being fanned with lustrous chowries.

17. The lustrous umbrella presented by Varuṇa, shining with various gems was held aloft over his head. Beams of light as though of infinite moons shed great lustre around.

18. Indra and other gods of great strength, desirous of fighting, joined him with their own divisions of the army.

19. The gods and the demons stood in their arrays on the ground with a vast army ready to start the battle.

20. With the bards singing their songs of praise, the armies of the gods and the Asuras shone in their eagerness to pounce on and crush each other.

21. The two armies as vast as a wild jungle roared. They were terrific to the coward and pleasing to the brave.

22. In the meantime the rank and file of the Asuras and the gods, haughty of their strength and blazing with fury came together in a mutual clash.

23. A terrific tumultuous fight between the gods and the Asuras ensued. Within a moment the place was littered with severed heads and headless trunks.

24. Wounded and killed by great weapons, hundreds and thousands of heroic soldiers fell on the ground.

25. The arms of some were cut off by terrible blows from swords. Others lost their thighs in the battle of those honourable, heroic people.

26. The entire body of some was smashed by the maces; the chests and hearts of some were pounded by iron clubs; some were felled to the ground by spears and dragged with nooses.

27. The backs of some were torn with javelins and goads. Several heads chopped off by double-edged swords fell on the ground.

28. Hundreds of headless, limbless trunks were seen dancing and bouncing with arrows sticking to their hands.

29. Blood flowed like streams in hundreds of places. Hundreds of ghosts and goblins flocked there.

30. Jackals and vixens began eating the flesh. Numbers of vultures, kites, crows and carnivorous birds devoured the flesh of those falling down.

31. In the meantime Tāraka, the demon of great strength, came there with a huge army to fight with the gods.

32. On seeing the haughty warrior rushing on them, Indra and others, turned against him. Then a tumultuous sound arose from both the armies.

33. Duels were fought by the gods and the Asuras crushing each other, on seeing which heroes were delighted and cowards were terrified.

34. The Asura Tāraka of great strength fought with Indra, Saṃhrāda with Agni and Yama with Jambha.

35. Lord Varuṇa fought with Nairṛta and Bala. Suvīra, the king of Guhyas, fought with Vāyu.

36. Śambhu fought with Īśāna. Śumbha an expert in battle fought with Śeṣa. Kumbha the Asura fought with the Moon.

37. Kuñjara of great strength and exploit, an expert in different kinds of battles, fought with Mihira, using great weapons.

38. Thus the gods and the Asuras, fought duels using their full strength with resolution.

39. O sage, desiring to gain the upper hand and vying with each other, the powerful gods and the Asuras were equally invincible in the battle.

40. The fight between the gods and the Asuras desirous of victory over each other was very tumultuous. It was pleasing to the brave and terrible to the others.

41. The battle ground became impassable and awful with the corpses of the gods and Asuras lying there in thousands but it was very pleasing to the brave.

Footnotes and references:

1.

The scene of the battle between the gods and Asuras is placed in the Western India on the coast of the Arabian sea where the sacred river Mahī that issues from Sahyapāda hill falls into it. For details see Dr. Avasthi: Studies in Skandapurāṇa, pp. 128, 140, 160, 168.