The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “ganesha’s battle” 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.

Brahmā said:—

1. When Śiva told them thus, they came to a decisive resolution. They got ready and went to Śiva’s palace.

2. On seeing the excellent Gaṇas, fully equipped for war, coming, Gaṇeśa spoke thus to them.

Gaṇeśa said:—

3. Welcome to the leaders of Gaṇas, carrying out the behests of Śiva. I am only one and that too a mere boy carrying out the directions of Pārvatī.

4. Yet let the goddess see the strength of her son. Let Śiva see the strength of his Gaṇas too.

5. The fight between the parties of Pārvatī and Śiva is the one between a strong army and a boy. You are all experts in warfare and have fought in many a battle.

6. I have never fought in a battle before. I am a mere boy. I am going to fight now. Still if you are put to shame, it will be shameful to Śiva and Pārvatī.

7. But that will not happen to me. If I am put to shame, the contrary will happen to me. Pārvatī and Śiva will be put to shame but not I.

8. O leader of the Gaṇas, the war shall be fought after realising this. You shall look up to your lord and I to my mother.

9. What sort of a fight shall be fought? Let what is destined to occur, occur. No one in the three worlds can ward it off.

Brahmā said:—

10. When thus taunted and rebuked they rushed towards him with big batons, decorating their arms and taking up different kinds of weapons.

11. Gnashing their teeth, grunting and bellowing and calling out “See, See”, the Gaṇas rushed at him.

12. Nandin came first and caught hold of his leg. He pulled at it. Bhṛṅgin then rushed at him and caught hold of his other leg.

13. Before the Gaṇas of Śiva had time to pull his legs Gaṇeśa struck a blow at their hands and got his legs free.

14. Then seizing a big iron club and standing at the doorway he smashed the gaṇas.

15. Some got their hands broken, others got their backs smothered. The heads of others were shattered and the foreheads of some were crushed.

16. The knees of some were fractured, the shoulders of others were blasted. Those who came in front were hit in the chest.

17. Some fell on the ground, some fled in various directions, some got their legs broken and some fled to Śiva.

18-19. Now none among them stood face to face. Just as deer flee to any direction on seeing a lion, the Gaṇas, who were thousands in number fled in that manner. Then Gaṇeśa returned to doorway and stood there.

20. He was seen as the annihilator of all in the manner of Yama, the terrible god of death at the end of a Kalpa.

21. At this time, urged by Nārada, all the gods including Viṣṇu and Indra came there.

22. Standing in front of Śiva and bowing to him with a desire to secure good for him they said—“O lord, be pleased to command us.

23. You are the great Brahman, the lord of all, the creator, the sustainer and the annihilator of all created things. All are your servants.

24. You are intrinsically devoid of attributes but by means of your sports you assume Rājasika, Sāttvika and Tāmasika forms. O lord, what sort of sport you are indulging in, now?”

Brahmā said:—

25. O excellent sage, on hearing their words and seeing the Gaṇas completely shattered, lord Śiva told them everything.

26. O excellent sage, Śiva, the lord of all, the consort of Pārvatī, then laughingly told me, Brahmā.

Śiva said:—

27. O Brahmā, listen. A boy is standing at the entrance to my house. He is very strong. He has a staff in his hand. He prevents me from entering the house.

28. He strikes very dexterously. He has destroyed many of my Pārṣadas. He has forcefully defeated my Gaṇas.

29. O Brahmā, you alone should go there. This strong boy shall be propitiated. O Brahmā, you shall do everything to bring him under control.

Brahmā said:—

30. On hearing the words of the lord and unable to know the reality, being deluded by ignorance, O dear, I went near Gaṇeśa accompanied by the sages.

31. On seeing me approaching, the powerful Gaṇeśa came to me very furiously and plucked my moustache and beard.

32. “Forgive me. Forgive me, O lord. I have not come for fighting. I am a brahmin and shall be blessed. I have come to make peace and I will cause no harm.”

33. While I said thus, O brahmin, the heroic Gaṇeśa, the boy of great valour uncommon to the boys took up the iron club.

34. On seeing the powerful Gaṇeśa seizing the iron club I began to run away immediately.

35. The others too who were shouting “Go, Go” were struck down with the iron club. Some fell themselves and some were felled by him.

36. Some of them fled to Śiva in a trice and intimated to him the details of the incident.

37. On seeing them in that plight and on hearing the news, Śiva, an adept in sports became very angry.

38. He issued directives to Indra and other gods, to the Gaṇas led by the six-faced Kumāra and to goblins, ghosts and spirits.

39. At the bidding of Śiva they all desired to kill Gaṇeśa. Lifting up their weapons in a suitable manner they came there from all directions.

40. Whatever weapon they had was hurled on Gaṇeśa with force.

41. There was a great hue and cry in all the three worlds consisting of the mobile and immobile. The inhabitants of the worlds were in a great fix and uncertainty.

42. “Brahma’s life span is not over, but the whole universe is undergoing untimely destruction. Certainly it is due to Śiva’s wish.

43. The sixfaced deity and the other gods who came there failed to use their weapons effectively. They were very much surprised.

44. In the meantime, goddess, the mother of the universe, of special knowledge, came to know of the entire incident and was very furious.

45. O great sage, the goddess created two Śaktis[1] then and there for the assistance of her own Gaṇa.

46. O great sage, one Śakti assumed a very fierce form and stood there opening her mouth as wide as the cavern of a dark mountain.

47. The other assumed the form of lightning. She wore many arms. She was a huge and terrible goddess ready to punish the wicked.

48. The weapons hurled by the gods and the Gaṇas were caught in the mouth and hurled back at them.

49. None of the weapons of the gods was seen anywhere around the iron club of Gaṇeśa. This wonderful feat was performed by them.

50. A single boy stirred and churned the vast impassable army in the same manner as great mountain[2] churned the ocean of milk formerly.

51. Indra and other gods were struck by him, singlehanded. The Gaṇas of Śiva became agitated and distressed then.

52. Gasping frequently for their breath, being utterly shaken by his blows they gathered together and spoke to one another.

The gods and Gaṇas said'.—

53. “What shall be done? Where should we go? The ten directions have become visible. He is whirling the iron club right and left.”

Brahmā said:—

54-55. In the meantime the excellent nymphs came there with flowers and sandal paste in their hands. You and other gods who were eager to witness the fight came there. O excellent sage, the excellent pathway of the firmament was entirely filled by them.

56. Seeing the battle they were much surprised. Such a battle had never been witnessed by them before.

57. The earth with all the oceans quaked. As a result of the violent battle even mountains fell down.

58. The sky whirled with the planets and the stars. Everything was agitated. The gods fled. The Gaṇas too did likewise.

59. The valorous sixfaced deity alone did not flee. The great warrior stopped everyone and stood in front.

60. But the Gaṇas fought in vain with the two Śaktis. The weapons of the gods and the Gaṇas were broken and hence withdrawn by them.

61. Those that tarried went to Śiva. All the gods and Gaṇas fled.

62. Those who went in a body to Śiva bowed to him again and again and asked Śiva immediately “O lord who is that excellent Gaṇa?”

63. We have heard that battles used to be fought formerly. Even now many battles are being fought. But never was such a battle seen or heard.

64. O lord, let this be pondered over a little. Otherwise no victory is possible. O lord, you alone are the saviour of the universe. There is no doubt about it.”

Brahmā said:—

65. On hearing their words, the furious Rudra became more furious and went there along with his Gaṇas.

66. The entire army of the gods along with the discusbearing Viṣṇu shouted in jubilation and followed Śiva.

67. In the meantime, bowing to Śiva, the lord of the gods with palms joined in reverence, O Nārada, you spoke as follows.

Nārada said:—

68. “O lord of the gods, please listen to my words. You are the all-pervading lord and expert in various sports.

69. By indulging in a great sport, the arrogance of the Gaṇas has been removed by you. O Śaṅkara, the impudence of the gods too has been removed by giving this (Gaṇeśa) much strength.

70. O lord Śiva, your own wonderful strength has been known to the worlds, you who independently remove the haughtiness of everyone.

71. O lord who are favourably disposed to your devotees, do not indulge in that sport. Please honour your own Gaṇas and the gods suitably and make them flourish.

72. O bestower of the region of Brahman, please do not treat him leisurely but kill him in your play now.” O Nārada, after saying this, you vanished from the place.

Footnotes and references:


One is the terrible aspect of the Goddess personified as Kālī, Caṇḍī and Bhairavī, the other a beautiful yellow form named Durga with several hands and riding on a tiger in a fierce and minacing attitude.


The term ‘girivara’ the best of the mountain refers to the fabulous mountain Meru that was used for churning the ocean.