The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “battle of the gods” 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 16 - The battle of the gods

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. On seeing the Asura coming again, the gods including Indra trembled with fear. They fled together.

2. With Brahmā at the head they went to Vaikuṇṭha. All of them including Prajāpati eulogised Viṣṇu after bowing down to him.

The gods said:—

3. O Hṛṣīkeśa of long arms, O lord, O slayer of Madhu, O lord of gods, Obeisance to you, O destroyer of all Asuras.

4. O Viṣṇu, of the form of fish[1] who redeemed the Vedas through king Satyavrata, obeisance to you who sport about in the ocean of Dissolution.

5. Obeisance to you of the form of Tortoise who bore the mountain Mandara of the gods who were attempting to churn the ocean.

6. Obeisance to you O holy lord, of the form of Boar. Obeisance to you who hold the earth, the support of people. Obeisance to Viṣṇu.

7. Obeisance to you, the Dwarf. Obeisance to Viṣṇu the younger brother of Indra, the lord who deceived the king of Asuras in the guise of a Brahmin.

8. Obeisance to Paraśurāma who exterminated the Kṣattriyas, who rendered help to your mother. Obeisance to you who are angry and inimical to the evil beings.

9. Obeisance to Rama who delighted the worlds and who set the limits of decent behaviour. Obeisance to you the destroyer of Rāvaṇa and the lord of Sītā.

10. Obeisance to you of hidden knowledge; to Kṛṣṇa the great Ātman; the sportive paramour of Rādhā; Obeisance to him of diverse divine sports.

11. Obeisance to the preceptor of Yoga; Obeisance to you, O lord of Lakṣmī, of the form of Jaina and Bauddha; to you of hidden body and features and the censurer of the Vedas.

12. Obeisance to you of the form of Kalki; the destroyer of outcastes[2], Obeisance to him of infinite power and who establishes good virtue.

13. Obeisance to you of the form of Kapila of great soul and who expounded the doctrines of Sāṃkhya and Yoga to Devahūtī; O lord, obeisance to you the preceptor of Sāṃkhya.

14. Obeisance to great yogin and saint who expounds the great wisdom. Obeisance to the creator of the form of knowledge whereby the soul is delighted.

15. Obeisance to you of the form of Vedavyāsa who classified the Vedas and who wrote the Purāṇas for the welfare of the worlds.

16. Obeisance to you who are ready to perform the task of the devotees through incarnations of Fish etc. O lord, obeisance to you of the form of Brahman, the cause of creation, sustenance and annihilation.

17. Obeisance to the destroyer of the distress of your servants; the bestower of auspicious happiness. Obeisance to you wearing yellow robes, having Garuḍa for your vehicle[3]. Obeisance to the performer of all rites. Obeisance to the sole doer. Obeisance to the one worthy of being resorted to.

18. O thunderbolt for the destruction of misery etc. of the gods harassed by the Asuras. Obeisance to you lying on the Serpent-bed[4]. Obeisance to the one who has sun and the moon for his eyes.

19. O lord of Lakṣmī, O ocean of mercy, save us who have sought refuge in you. All the gods have been driven out of heaven by Jalandhara.

20. The sun has been dislodged from his post. Similarly the moon and the fire too have been removed. The Serpent-king has been removed from Pātāla and Dharmarāja has been dispossessed.

21. While men freely move about, the gods do not shine. We have sought refuge in you. Let measures for his annihilation be thought of.

Sanatkumāra said:—

22. On hearing these piteous entreaties of the gods, Viṣṇu the slayer of Madhu, the ocean of mercy, spoke in a thundering voice.

Viṣṇu said:—

23. “O gods, cast off your fear. I shall come to the battle-ground. I shall show my valour to Jalandhara.”

24. Having said this with distressed mind, Viṣṇu the enemy of the Asuras got up quickly. The god Viṣṇu who is favourably disposed to his devotees immediately mounted his vehicle Garuḍa.

25. On seeing her lord departing along with the gods, Lakṣmī, the daughter of the ocean, spoke with palms joined in reverence and tears welling up in the eyes.

26. “O lord, I am your beloved. If I am always devoted to you, O storehouse of mercy, how does my brother’s death be at your hands.

Viṣṇu said:—

27-28. Since I have been eulogised by the gods I shall go to the battle ground immediately. I can only show my valour to the Asura Jalandhara. He cannot be slain by me because he is a part of Śiva. Moreover Brahmā has said so. Further, you love him too.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

29. Having said this and seating himself on Garuḍa with the conch, discus, mace and the sword held in his hands, Viṣṇu hastened to the fight along with Indra and other gods.

30. Roaring like a lion and accompanied by the gods who blazed with Viṣṇu’s splendour, he reached the place where Jalandhara was waiting.

31. Then the Daityas afflicted by the gusts of wind set in motion by the wings in the speedy flight of the younger brother of Aruṇa (i.e Garuḍa)[5] were blown here and there like the clouds in the sky tossed about in a stormy whirlwind.[6]

32. Then on seeing the Asuras afflicted by the gusts of wind, Jalandhara rushed against Viṣṇu shouting out cries of bravery angrily.

33. In the meantime the delighted gods equipped with a vast army began to fight with their strength increased by the brilliance of Viṣṇu.

34. Seeing the army of the gods present there ready to fight Jalandhara commanded the invincible Asuras thus.

Jalandhara said:—

35. O Excellent Asuras, put up a stiff fight with Indra and other gods who are always cowardly though they have a huge army.

36-37. At my bidding let all these come out with their entire army—the Mauryas numbering a hundred thousand, the Dhūmras in hundreds, the Asuras and the Kālakeyas in crores and the Kālakas, the Daurhṛdas and the Kaṅkas in lakhs.

38. All of you come out readily equipped with many divisions of the army and different kinds of weapons. Be fearless and free from hesitations.

39. O Śumbha, O Niśumbha, destroy in a trice the insignificant gods who feel nervous in the battle field. You are extremely valorous.

Sanatkumāra said:—

40-41. Thus the Asuras clever and efficient in battle, commanded by Jalandhara on the one hand and gods equipped with the four sorts of fighting groups on the other fought one another with maces, arrows, javelins, spears etc. They hit one another with axes and spears.

42. The strong ones hit and struck with different weapons. The heroic gods supported and invigorated by Hṛṣīkeśa roared like lions and discharged sharp arrows.

43. Some fought with arrows of very sharp points; some with pestles and iron clubs and some with axes and spears.

44. Thus the fight between the gods and the Asuras was terrific. It was very fierce frightening the sages and the Siddhas.

Footnotes and references:


The god’s eulogy to Viṣṇu enumerates the various forms of Viṣṇu including his nine incarnations, viz. Matsya, Kūrma, Vārāha, Vāmana, Paraśurāma, Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, Buddha and Kalki. But it is not intelligible why it shall omit his Nṛsiṃha incarnation. Most probably some lines seem to be missing here.


The reference to the Mlecchas indicates that the author of the Purāṇa was aware of the barbarous tribes—Huns and others who perpetrated heinous atrocities on Indian people.


For details see Dange: the Garuda-legend in “the Legends in the MB.”.


Viṣṇu is represented as reclining on Serpent Śeṣa. A vivid picture of Śeṣaśāyī Viṣṇu is depicted on the outer wall of the Daśāvatāra temple at Deogarh. For this illustration see Agrawal, Matsya Purāṇa—A Study P. 200.


Garuḍa, the vehicle of Viṣṇu, is called Aruṇānuja, i.e. the younger brother of Aruṇa the charioteer of the sun.


The verse 31 and the first half of the verse 32 of this chapter are repeated in Ch. 17 after the verse No. 7.