The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “birth of shankhacuda” 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 27 - The birth of Śaṅkhacūḍa

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. O sage, now listen to another story of Śiva lovingly, by listening to which the devotion to Śiva is stabilised.

2. The story narrates how the heroic Dānava Śaṅkhacūḍa who harassed the gods was killed by Śiva in the battle by means of his trident.

3. O Vyāsa, listen lovingly to the story of Śiva, divine, holy and destructive of sins. I shall narrate the same because of my affection to you.

4. The sage Kaśyapa son of Marīci and grandson of Brahmā was a virtuous Prajāpati engaged in creation. He possessed great learning.

5. Dakṣa gave him his thirteen daughters in marriage. The descendants of these women are many and they cannot be enumerated easily.

6. The whole universe consisting of gods and others the mobile and immobile is born of them. Who in the three worlds can mention this in detail?

7. Listen to what is relevant to the context wherein the divine sports of Śiva too can be seen. It is conducive to the increase of devotion. I am narrating the same.

8. Among the wives of Kaśyapa the excellent lady Danu was one. She was very beautiful, chaste and tenderly nurtured by her husband with all devotion and love.

9. Many powerful sons were born to that lady Danu. Their names are not mentioned O sage, by the fear of dilation.

10. One of them is Vipracitti who was very powerful and valorous. His virtuous son Dambha of self-control was a great devotee of Viṣṇu.

11-12. No son was born to him. Hence the hero became worried. He made the preceptor Śukra his initiator and learnt the mantra of Kṛṣṇa. He performed a great penance in the holy centre Puṣkara[1] for a hundred thousand years. Seating himself in a stable pose he performed the Japa of Kṛṣṇa mantra for a long time.

13. While be was performing the penance, an unbearable refulgence sprang up blazing from his head and spread everywhere.

14. All the gods, sages and Manus were scorched by that. With Indra ahead they sought refuge in Brahmā.

15. Bowing to Brahmā, the bestower of riches, they eulogised him and narrated to him this event.

16. On hearing that, Brahmā accompanied them to Vaikuṇṭha in order to tell the same to Viṣṇu in its entirety.

17. After going there they stood humbly joining their palms in reverence. After bowing to him they eulogised Viṣṇu the lord of the three worlds, the great saviour.

The gods said'.—

18. “O lord of gods we do not know how this happened to cause this. Please tell us. By what refulgence have all of us been scorched?

19. O friend of the distressed, you are the protector of the distressed and dispirited servants. Save, O lord of Lakṣrnī who are worthy of being sought refuge by us.

Sanatkumāra said:—

20. On hearing these words of Brahmā and other gods, Viṣṇu who is favourably disposed to those who seek refuge, said laughingly and lovingly.

Viṣṇu said:—

21. “O gods, be calm and unperturbed, do not be afraid. No deluge will take place, this is not the time of dissolution.

22. The Asura Dambha a devotee of mine is performing a penance seeking for a son. I shall bestow a boon and quieten him.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

23. O sage, on being consoled thus, Brahmā and other gods became encouraged and they returned to their respective abodes.

24. In order to grant the boon, Viṣṇu went to Puṣkara where Dambha was performing penance.

25. On reaching there Viṣṇu consoled Dambha who was repeating his name and told him the pleasing words—“Mention the boon you wish to be granted.”

26. On hearing his words and seeing Viṣṇu standing in front, the Danava bowed with great devotion and eulogised him again and again.

Dambha said:—

27. “O lord of gods, Obeisance be to you, O Lotuseyed one, O lord of Lakṣmī, O lord of the three worlds, please take pity on me.

28. Please give me a powerful and valorous son who will be your devotee, who will be invincible to the gods and who will conquer the three worlds.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

29. On being thus requested by the lord of Dānavas, Viṣṇu granted him the boon. O sage, making him desist from the penance he vanished from the place.

30. When Viṣṇu went away, the lord of Danavas performed obeisance to that direction and returned home, his penance having been fulfilled and his desires realised.

31. Within a short time, his fortunate wife became pregnant. Illuminating the inner apartments of her abode by her brilliance she shone much.

32. O sage, it was Sudāmā a cowherd, one of the leading comrades of Kṛṣṇa who had been cursed by Rādhā, that entered her womb.

33. At the proper time the chaste lady gave birth to a brilliant son. The father invited sages and performed the post-natal rites.

34. O excellent brahmin, when the boy was born there was great jubilation. On an auspicious day the father named him “Śaṅkhacūda.”

35. In the abode of his father he grew up like the moon in the bright half. Learning all lores in childhood he became resplendent.

36. With his childish sports he increased the parents’ delight. He became a special favourite of all the members of the family.

Footnotes and references:


Puṣkara is a sacred forest near Ajmer in Rajasthan. There is a celebrated lake where Brahmā set up a phallic image of Śiva. It is a famous place of pilgrimage in Rājaputānā.