The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “outraging the modesty of vrinda” 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 23 - Outraging the modesty of Vṛndā

Vyāsa said:—

1. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, please narrate, O eloquent one, what did Viṣṇu do there? How did she err from her virtue?

Sanatkumāra said:—

2. After going to the city of Jalandhara, Viṣṇu thought of violating the chastity of Vṛndā.

3. The foremost among those who wield illusion, he assumed a wonderful body and stationed himself in a park of the city. He made Vṛndā see a dream.

4. The gentle lady Vṛndā, the wife of Jalandhara, though of pure rites, had a very bad dream at night on account of Viṣṇu’s power of illusion.

5. In the dream as a result of Viṣṇu’s power of illusion she saw the naked form of her husband anointed with oil and seated on a buffalo.

6. He was proceeding in the southern direction. His head had been completely shaved. He was wearing black flowers to decorate himself. He was being served by a number of Asuras. He was completely encompassed by darkness.

7. Later, towards the end of the night she had various bad dreams, such as the whole city was submerged in the sea, all of a sudden, along with herself.

8. Then the lady woke up still thinking of the dream she had had. She saw the rising sun with a hole in the middle and fading repeatedly.

9. On realising that it was a bad portent, the terrified lady began to cry. She did not feel happy at all in the spacious terraces and towers of the palace.

10. With two of her friends she then went to the park in the city. Even there she did not find herself at ease.

11. Then she, the dejected gloomy wife of Jalandhara, wandered from forest to forest. She was not conscious of even herself.

12. The wandering lady saw two demons of terrible leonine faces with shining curved fanglike teeth.

13. Terrified much on seeing them, the lady fled from there and saw an ascetic of calm countenance observing silence and accompanied by his disciple.

14. Putting her tender creeperlike hands round his neck due to fright she gasped out—“O sage, save me. I have sought refuge in you.”

15. Seeing the agitated lady followed by the demons the sage drove them back with a loud bellowing sound of “Hum”.

16. O sage, seeing them routed and terrified by the mere Huṃkāra, the wife of the king of Daityas was struck with a great wonder in her heart.

17. Freed from the fear she bowed down to the great sage with palms joined in reverence and prostrated herself in front of him. Vṛndā then spoke.

Vṛndā said:—

18. “O leader of sages, O ocean of mercy, O remover of harassment from others, I have been saved by you from this terrible danger from the wicked demons.

19. You are competent in every respect. You are omniscient. Yet I wish to submit something. Be pleased to hear it.

20. O lord, Jalandhara my husband has gone to fight Śiva. O holy one of good rites, how does he fare in the war? Please tell me.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

21. On hearing her words, the sage feigned a deceptive silence. Fully aware of the means of achieving his selfish ends he looked up sympathetically.

22. In the meantime two lordly monkeys came there and stood bowing down in front of him. At a significant gesture from his eyebrows, the monkeys rose into the sky again.

23. O great sage, within a trice, they came back taking with them his head, body and limbs and stood in front of the sage.

24. On seeing the head, body and limbs of her husband, Vṛndā fell unconscious, extremely pained at the misery of her lord.

Vṛndā said:—

25. “O lord, formerly you used to humour me with pleasant chats. How is it that you do not speak to me now, to your pious beloved?

26. How is it that you, by whom all the gods including the Gandharvas and Viṣṇu had been defeated, you who had conquered the three worlds, have now been killed by a poor sage?

27. O excellent Daitya, you did not know the reality of Śiva nor did you pay heed to my words ‘Śiva is Supreme Brahman.’

28. Having served you I found that it was not due to haughtiness but due to your association with bad men that you did all this.”

29. Saying these and other words of lamentation, his beloved wife strictly adhering to virtue, cried in diverse ways with a pained heart.

30. Then steadying herself a little, and heaving deep sighs of grief she bowed to the excellent sage with palms joined in reverence.

31. “O excellent sage, storehouse of mercy, eager to help others, O gentle sir, take pity on me and resuscitate my lord.

32. O great sage, I know that you are competent to enliven him again. Hence please resuscitate my beloved husband.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

33. After saying this, the chaste wife of the Daitya fell at his feet heaving sighs of grief.

The sage said:—

34. This Daitya cannot be enlivened because he has been killed by Śiva in the battle. Those killed in battle by Śiva never return to life.

35. Still, knowing the eternal Dharma that those who seek refuge should be protected, I shall resuscitate him urged by pity.

Sanatkumāra said:—

36. After saying this and restoring him to life, O sage, that sage who was Viṣṇu the foremost among those who wield illusion vanished from the scene.

37. Jalandhara thus revived to life by him stood up. Delighted in mind he embraced Vṛndā and kissed her face.

38. On seeing her husband, Vṛndā too was delighted. She forgot her sorrow. She considered everything a dream.

39. Delighted in the heart and with all the dormant passions kindled up, she sported with him for many days in the middle of that forest.

40. Once at the end of the sexual intercourse she realised that it was Viṣṇu. Vṛndā rebuked him angrily and spoke thus.

Vṛndā said:—

41. Fie on this misdeed of Viṣṇu in outraging the modesty of another man’s wife. I have now realised you as the wielder of illusion, appearing in the guise of an ascetic.

Sanatkumāra said:—

42. O Vyāsa, saying thus in great anger she showed her brilliant powers as a staunch chaste lady by cursing Viṣṇu.

43. “O base foe of the Daityas, defiler of other people’s virtue, O wicked one, take this curse from me, greater in force than all persons.

44. The two persons whom you made to appear in front of me shall become Rākṣasas[1] and abduct your wife.

45. You will be distressed on account of separation from your wife roaming about with Śeṣa ‘lord of snakes’[2] who posed as your disciple here. You will seek the help of monkeys[3] in the forest.

46. After saying this, Vṛndā entered fire though prevented by Viṣṇu who was fascinated by her charms.

47. O sage, then Brahmā and other gods, gathered in the sky accompanied by their wives in order to see the salvation of Vṛndā.

48. Then the great brilliance of the wife of Jalandhara immediately went to Śivaloka even as the gods stood watching.

49. The refulgence of Vṛndā became merged in Pārvatī. There was a great shout of “Victory” in the rows of the gods standing in the sky.

50. O sage, thus the great queen Vṛndā the excellent daughter of Kālanemi attained great salvation, thanks to the power of her chastity.

51. Viṣṇu thought of Vṛndā remorsefully. The smoke and dust from her funeral pyre covered his face. He stood there itself without any peace of mind though urged and consoled by hosts of gods and Siddhas.

Footnotes and references:

1.

The two Rākṣasas referred to here were Mārīca and Rāvaṇa who abducted Sītā, wife of Rāma, the seventh incarnation of Viṣṇu.

2.

The monkeys referred to here were Sugrīva, Hanūmān, Nala, Nīla and others.

3.

The expression ‘lord of snakes’ signifies Lakṣamaṇa, said to be the incarnation of Śeṣa.

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