The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “fight between the rank and file of the ganas and the asuras” 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 20 - The fight between the rank and file of the Gaṇas and the Asuras

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:—

1. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, a wonderful story has been narrated by you, wherein the sanctifying sports of Śiva the great lord are included.

2. Now take pity on me and tell me with pleasure. O great sage, when released by that being where did Rāhu go?

Sūta said:—

3. On hearing the words of Vyāsa of immeasurable intelligence, the great sage, the delighted son of Brahmā, replied.

Sanatkumāra said:—

4. Rāhu had been let off in the land of the outcastes.[1] He too became an outcaste and came to be known in the world as such.

5. Considering that as his second birth he became humble. He became free from haughtiness. He slowly wended his way to the city of Jalandhara.

6. After approaching Jalandhara the lord of Daityas, he explained everything concerning Śiva in detail, O Vyāsa.

7. On hearing it, the powerful son of the ocean, the excellent lord of Daityas, Jalandhara became furious from head to foot.

8. Then the infuriated excellent Daitya commanded the entire army of the Daityas to enter into the fray.

Jalandhara said:—

9-10. Let all the Asuras such as Kālanemi and others set out with their entire divisions; Śumbha, Niśumbha and other heroes; the descendants of Koṭivīra, the scions of the family of Kambu. Daurhṛdas, Kalakas, Kālakeyas, Mauryas and Dhaumras—let all these start for the fight.

11. After ordering thus, the lord of the Asuras the valorous son of the ocean set out quickly accompanied by crores of Daityas.

12. Then Śukra and Rāhu with his head severed went ahead of him. In his quick jerky movement, his crown became dislodged and fell on the ground.

13. The sky was entirely enveloped by clouds as in the rainy season. Many ill omens occurred portending great slumber.

14. On seeing his enterprise, the gods including Indra went to Kailāsa, the abode of Śiva without being observed.

15. After going there and seeing Śiva, the gods including Indra, bowed to him with stooping shoulders. They joined their palms in reverence and eulogised.

The gods said:—

16. O great lord, lord of the gods, O Śiva the merciful, obeisance be to you. Save us who have sought refuge in you.

17. O lord, we are very much distressed by this harassment. All including Indra are deposed and compelled to stay on the earth.

18. O lord, how is it possible that you do not know this adversity of the gods? Hence in order to protect us please kill him.

19. O lord, Viṣṇu who was assigned by you the task of protection is now unable to protect us.

20. He is also subservient to him and stays in his mansion along with Lakṣmī. All of us gods stay there obeying his behests.

21. O Śiva, we have approached you unobserved by him. That powerful son of the ocean is coming hither to fight with you.

22. O omniscient lord, you shall kill Jalandhara in the battle without delay. Save us who have sought refuge in you.

Sanatkumāra said:—

23. After saying this, the gods including Indra bowed to him and stood humbly glancing at the feet of lord Śiva.

24. On hearing the words of the gods the bull-bannered deity laughed. He called Viṣṇu immediately and spoke these words.

The lord Śiva said:—

25. O great Viṣṇu, the distressed gods harassed by Jalandhara have sought refuge in me.

26. O Viṣṇu, how is it that Jalandhara was not killed in battle by you? Leaving off your own Vaikuṇṭha you have gone to his mansion?

27. As I wanted to be free and sportful, I had appointed you for the protection of the good and the curbing of the wicked.

Sanatkumāra said:—

28. On hearing the words of lord Śiva, Viṣṇu replied humbly bowing down with palms joined in reverence.

Viṣṇu said:—

29. He was not killed in war by me because he was born of a part of yours. Moreover he is Lakṣmī’s brother. Please kill him.

30. O lord of the gods, he is very powerful, heroic and indefatigable by all the heaven-dwellers and others too. I am telling you the truth.

31. In fact a war was fought with him by me in the company of the gods. But my strategy was ineffective in regard to this great Dānava.

32. I told him “I am delighted with your valour. Tell me the boon you wish to have”. On hearing these words of mine he chose an excellent boon.

33. “O great Viṣṇu please stay in my mansion subservient to me along with my sister,[2] the gods and myself.” So I went to his mansion.

Sanatkumāra said:—

34. On hearing the words of Viṣṇu, lord Śiva who is favourably disposed to his devotees laughed and said delightedly and sympathetically.

The great lord Śiva said:—

35. O Viṣṇu, foremost among the gods, please listen to my words attentively. I will kill the great Daitya Jalandhara. There is no doubt about this.

36. Go back to your abode fearlessly. Let the gods too go back without fear and hesitation, considering the ruler of the Asuras already killed.

Sanatkumāra said:—

37. On hearing the words of lord Śiva, the lord of Lakṣmī immediately went to his abode without doubts along with the gods.

38. In the meantime, O Vyāsa, that valorous king of the Daityas went along with the well-equipped Asuras to the outskirts of the mountain.

39. Accompanied by a vast army he laid siege to Kailāsa. He stood there like the god of death roaring like a lion.

40. On hearing the tumultuous roar of the Daityas, lord Śiva of great sports, the destroyer of the wicked, became very furious.

41. The great lord of various sports, the enthusiastic Śiva commanded his powerful Gaṇas, Nandin and others, severally.

42. Nandin, Vighneśvara, Kumāra and all other Gaṇas, at the bidding of Śiva hurriedly got ready for the battle.

43. The infuriated and invincible Gaṇas descended from Kailāsa heroically shouting war cries and leaping to fight.

44. Then at the ridges, valleys and sides of Kailāsa, a terrible battle was fought between the leaders of the Pramathas and the Daityas. Weapons clashed with weapons.

45. The whole earth shook resonant with the sounds of great war drums, Mṛdaṅgas and conches that inspired the heroes as well as the sounds of elephants, horses and chariots.

46. The whole atmosphere was filled with javeline, iron clubs, arrows, great pestles, iron rods, pikes etc. as if strewn with pearls.

47. With the dead elephants, horses and foot soldiers, the earth shone in the same way as before when great mountains were scattered, smitten by the thunderbolt of Indra.

48. With the groups of Daityas killed by the Pramathas, and with the Gaṇas killed by the Daityas, the whole ground was filled with suets, flesh and streams of blood. It became so marshy as it became impassable.

49. With the power of Sañjīvanī, Bhārgava resuscitated the forces of the Daityas killed by the Pramathas in the battle again and again.

50. On seeing them, all the Gaṇas were agitated and terrified. They intimated to the lord of the gods what Śukra did.

51. On hearing it, lord Śiva became terribly furious. He became terrific blazing the quarters as it were.

52. A terrible Kṛtyā came out of Rudra’s mouth. Her calves were as stout as Palmyra trees. Her mouth was huge and deep like mountain caverns. With her breasts she crushed huge trees.

53. O excellent sage, she rushed immediately to the battle ground. The terrible Kṛtyā roamed the battleground devouring the great Asuras.

54. Fearlessly she rushed amid the battle-field where Bhargava was stationed surrounded by the leading Daityas.

55. O sage, she enveloped the whole sky with her terrible brilliance. She split the ground she trod; she stuffed Bhārgava into her vaginal passage and vanished in the sky.

56. On seeing Bhārgava seized, the invincible armies of the Daityas became dejected and faded in their faces. They fled from the battle ground.

57. The army of the Daityas became scattered and split in their terrific fear of the Gaṇas like bundles of grass split and scattered when blown by the wind.

58. On seeing the army of the Daityas thus dispersed and frightened of the Gaṇas, the leaders Śumbha and Niśumbha and Kālanemi became infuriated.

59. All the three powerful Daityas obstructed the army of the Gaṇas showering arrows like the destructive clouds in the rainy season.

60. The volleys of arrows discharged by the Daityas enveloped all the quarters and the atmosphere like huge swarms of locusts. They shook the hosts of Gaṇas.

61. Split by hundreds of arrows, the Gaṇas shed streams of blood. They resembled the red Kiṃśuka flowers of the spring season. They did not know what to do.

62. On seeing their army thus shattered, the infuriated leaders Nandin, Gaṇeśa and Kārttikeya hurriedly checked the rushing Daityas.

Footnotes and references:


The country of Varbaras or Barbaras is identified with the Ābir (Ābhīra) Deśa in the south-west in the Indus delta. Barbaras were the wild people associated with Yavanas and Khasas. There is a reference to the town Barbari or Barbarikā in Skanda Purāṇa ( and Barbaricum or Barbaricon by Periplus and Ptolemy. For details see Awasthi: Studies in Skanda Purāṇa PP 100-101.


Lakṣmī, produced at the churning of the ocean, became the daughter of the ocean. Thus she could be the sister of Jalandhara who was the son of the ocean.

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