The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “penance and marriage 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 28 - The penance and marriage of Śaṅkhacūḍa

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. As instructed by Jaigīṣavya, Śaṅkhacūḍa performed a penance in Puṣkara for a long time in order to propitiate Brahmā with devotion.

2. He concentrated his mind, controlled the senses and organs of activities, and muttered the mantra of Brahmā imparted by his preceptor.

3. Lord Brahmā, the preceptor of the worlds, went to Śaṅkhacūḍa who was practising penance at Puṣkara in order to grant him the boon soon.

4. Brahmā said to him: “Tell me the boon you wish to choose.” On seeing Brahmā, the king of Dānavas bowed to him humbly and eulogised him with words of devotion.

5. He requested Brahmā to grant him the power of being invincible to the gods. With a delighted mind, Brahmā said “Be it so.”

6. He gave Śaṅkhacūḍa the divine amulet of Śrīkṛṣṇa the most auspicious of all auspicious things in the universe, that yielded victory everywhere.

7. “You now go to Badari. There you marry Tulasī who is performing penance just at her own will.

8. She is the daughter of Dharmadhvaja.” Brahmā instructed him thus and vanished even as he was watching him.

9. Then Śaṅkhacūḍa whose penance had been fruitful in the holy centre of Puṣkara tied the most auspicious amulet round his neck.

10. At the behest of Brahmā, the Dānava whose desire had been achieved through penance went to Badarikāśrama[1] with delight beaming in his face.

11. The Dānava Śaṅkhacūḍa casually visited the place where the daughter of Dharmadhvaja, Tulasī was performing the penance.

12. The smiling beautiful gentle woman fully bedecked in ornaments cast loving glances at the great man.

13. On seeing that charming, tender, beautiful and chaste lady, he stopped near her and spoke to her sweetly.

Śaṅkhacūḍa said:—

14. “Who are you, please? Whose daughter? What are you doing? Why do you stay here and observe silence. Consider me as your devoted slave.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

15. On hearing these words she spoke to him lovingly.

Tulasī said:—

16. I am the daughter of Dharmadhvaja. I am performing penance. I stay in this hermitage. Who are you? You can go as you please.

17. The entire class of women is fascinating. It enchants even Brahmā, not to speak of others. It is censurable, poisonous and deceptive. It is illusion and a fetter to the devout and the faithful.

Sanatkumāra said:—

18. Tulasī thus spoke to the passionate Dambha and stopped. On seeing her smiling he began to say.

Śaṅkhacūḍa said:—

19. O gentle lady, what you said now is not entirely false. It is partially true also. Now listen to me.

20. You are the foremost among chaste ladies. I am not a lusty person of sinful nature. I think you too are not like that.

21. I come to you now at the behest of Brahmā. O gently lady, I shall take your hand by the Gāndharva rites of marriage.

22. I am Śaṅkhacūḍa, the router of the gods. O gentle lady, don’t you know me? Have I never been heard by you?

23. I am a scion of the family of Danu. I am a Dānava, the son of Dambha. In the previous birth I was the cowherd Sudāmā, a comrade of Kṛṣṇa.

24. Due to the curse of Rādhā I have become a Dānava now. By the favour of Kṛṣṇa I remember events of previous birth. I know everything.

Sanatkumāra said:—

25. After saying thus to her, Śaṅkhacūḍa stopped. Tulasī who was thus addressed truthfully and respectfully by the king of Dānavas, was delighted and she spoke smilingly.

Tulasī said:—

26. I have now been overpowered by you who have Sāttvika thoughts. That man is blessed in the world who is not overwhelmed by a woman.

27. Even though he may be the observer of sacred rites, if he is overpowered by a woman he becomes impure and unclean, so he remains for ever. The manes, gods and human beings censure him.

28-29. A brahmin is purified from impurity arising from births or deaths in the family, after the tenth day. A Kṣatriya in twelve days, a Vaiśya in fifteen days and a Śūdra in a month. This is what the Vedas enjoin. But a henpecked man can never be purified till death.

30. The manes do not receive willingly the balls of rice or holy waters offered by him. Nor do the gods accept his offering of fruits and flowers.

31. Of what avail are words of wisdom, penance, Japas, Homas, worships, learning or charitable gifts to that wretch whose mind is deadened by his thoughts of women?

32. You have been tested by me in order to know your knowledge and power. A woman must test her bridegroom before wooing him.

Sanatkumāra said:—

33. Even as Tulasī was saying so, Brahmā the creator came there and spoke these words.

Brahmā said:—

34. “O Śaṅkhacūḍa, why do you hold discussion with her? Marry her according to the Gāndharva[2] form of marriage.

35. You are jewel among men. And she, the chaste lady, is a jewel among women. The union of an intelligent lady with an intelligent man must necessarily be virtuous.

36. O king, unless forced who will abandon a chance of happiness? He who does so unforced is a brute. There is no doubt about it.

37. O chaste lady, why shall you test such a good and noble husband? He can suppress the gods, Asuras and Dānavas too.

38. O beautiful woman, you may sport with him for long, as you please, in different centres all over the world.

39. In the end, he will attain Śrīkṛṣṇa again in the Goloka. After he is dead, you will attain the four-armed lord in Vaikuṇṭha.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

40. After conferring blessings, Brahmā returned to his abode. The Dānava accepted her by means of the Gāndharva rite.

41. After marrying her he went to his father’s place. In the beautiful apartment he sported with her.

Footnotes and references:


Badarikāśrama, known as Badarī Nārāyaṇa or Badarīnātha is situated on a peak of the Himalayas in Garhwal. It has a temple of Viṣṇu in his dual form of Nara-Nārāyaṇa. According to Varāha Purāṇa (140.4-5) it is one of the three abodes of Viṣṇu on the Himalayas, the other two being Kokāmukha and Lohārgala. For details see Sircar ‘Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India’ (D. C. Sarkar) P. 219.


According to Manu (iii. 32) in the Gāndharva form of marriage, the bride and the bridegroom met each other of their own accord and their meeting consummated in copulation born of passion. It was called Gāndharva because it prevailed in a tribe called Gandharva which lived on the slopes of the Himalayas. It was considered the most natural form because the bride and the bridegroom attracted each other without any force or fraud. It became obsolete because it was performed without sacred rituals and originated from lust. See H.S. PP. 162-164.

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