The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “previous 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.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 29 - The previous birth of Śaṅkhacūḍa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. When Śaṅkhacūḍa returned home duly married, after performing the penance and receiving the boons, Dānavas and others rejoiced.

2. Leaving their world and accompanied by their preceptor, the Asuras assembled and approached the Dānava.

3. They bowed to that resplendent Dānava their lord, humbly and eulogised him with love and respect. They stayed with him alone.

4. On seeing the family preceptor, Śaṅkhacūḍa, son of Dambha bowed to him with devotion and prostrated before him with respect.

5. After conferring his excellent benediction, Śukra, the family preceptor, narrated the tales of the gods and Dānavas.

6. He expatiated on the natural enmity of the two, the invariable defeat of the Asuras, the victory of the gods and the help rendered by Bṛhaspati.

7. With the consent of the Asuras, the preceptor Śukra made him the emperor of Dānavas, Asuras and

others with jubilant festivities.

8. The delighted Asuras were highly joyous. They offered him presents lovingly.

9. The son of Dambha, the heroic and valorous Śaṅkhacūḍa shone as the Emperor of Asuras.

10. Taking a vast army of Daityas, Dānavas and Rākṣasas and seated in his chariot, he marched quickly to the city of Indra[1] with the intention to conquer it.

11. The leader of the Dānavas going in the midst of his attendants shone as the moon in the midst of stars or as the sun in the midst of planets.

12. On hearing that Śaṅkhacūḍa was coming, Indra the king of heaven, accompanied by the gods made preparations for a fight.

13. Then a tremendous fight ensued between the Asuras and the gods delighting the heroic and terrifying the cowardly. It caused hairs to stand on end.

14. When the warriors roared in the battle, there was a tumultuous noise. The sound of drums and other instruments encouraged the warriors.

15. The powerful gods fought with the Asuras ferociously and defeated them. They were afraid and fled.

16. On seeing them fleeing, their leader Śaṅkhacūḍa roared like a lion and fought with the gods.

17. With his power and force he distressed the gods. The gods could not endure his dazzling brilliance. They fled.

18. The gods thus vanquished took shelter in the caves of the mountains. They lost their independence. They were subjugated. They lost their lustre like the frozen sea.

19. Thus the son of Dambha, the valorous leader of the Dānavas, conquered all the worlds and took up the powers of the gods.

20. He kept the three worlds under his control. He partook of all the shares in sacrifices. He became Indra and ruled the universe.

21. He carried the tasks of Kubera, Moon, Sun, Fire, Yama and Vāyu, according to his ability.

22-23. The great hero, the powerful Śaṅkhacūḍa became overlord of the gods, Asuras, Dānavas, Rākṣasas, Gandharvas, serpents, Kinnaras, Nāgas and in fact of all the people of the three worlds.

24. Thus Śaṅkhacūḍa enjoyed the kingdom of the worlds for many years. He became a great Emperor.

25. There was no famine, plague or pestilence in his realm. The planets were not inauspicious. There was no worry or sickness among the people. The subjects were happy for ever.

26. Even without being tilled, the earth yielded plenty of plants and vegetation. Many medicinal herbs grew up. Plants remained always fruitful and juicy.

27. The oceans yielded plenty of gems and jewels. Abundant flowers and fruits grew up on the Earth. Rivers

flowed with pure crystal clear water.

28. Excepting the gods all living beings were happy and free from distress. The people of four castes and stages of life maintained their respective duties and activities.

29. When he ruled, none was miserable in the three worlds. Only the gods were reduced to misery and that too by their fratricidal jealousy and enmity.

30. Śaṅkhacūḍa was a close friend of Kṛṣṇa, the resident of Goloka. He was powerful, and always engaged in devotion to Kṛṣṇa.

31. O sage, although he was a Danava, his nature was different. He was born as a Danava due to a previous curse.

32. O dear, thereafter, the defeated gods, deprived of their kingdom, consulted among themselves and went to Brahma’s assembly chamber along with the sages.

33. They saw the creator and bowed to and eulogised him. With distress they explained to him everything in detail.

34. After consoling the gods and the sages, Brahmā accompanied by them went to Vaikuṇṭḥa that yields happiness to the good.

35. Accompanied by the gods, Brahmā saw the lord of Lakṣmī decorated with a crown, earrings and a garland of wild flowers.

36-37. On seeing Viṣṇu bearing Śaṅkha, Cakra, mace and the lotus, the lord with four arms, yellow garments, accompanied by Nandana, Siddhas, Brahmā and other gods bowed to the lord along with the great sages. They eulogised him with palms joined in reverence.

The gods said:—

38. “O lord of the universe, lord of the gods, O lord of Vaikuṇṭha, save us who have sought refuge in you, O illustrious Viṣṇu, O elderly one in the three worlds.

39. O lord Viṣṇu, O lord of the three worlds, you alone are the protector of the worlds. O supporter of Lakṣmī, O Govinda, O the vital air of the devotees, Obeisance be to you.”

40. After eulogising thus, all the gods cried in front of Viṣṇu. On hearing it lord Viṣṇu spoke to Brahmā thus.

Viṣṇu said:—

41. Why have you come to Vaikuṇṭha inaccessible even to Yogins. What distress has befallen you. Tell me just here.

Samtkumāra said:—

42-43. On hearing the words of Viṣṇu and bowing to him with palms joined in reverence he narrated to him the activities of Śaṅkhacūḍa and the distress suffered by the gods.

44. On hearing that Viṣṇu who knew everything laughed. The lord then told Brahmā the secret of Śaṅkhacūḍa.

Lord Viṣṇu said:—

45. O lotus-born Brahmā, I know everything about Śaṅkhacūḍa, a great devotee of mine, of great splendour and who had been formerly a cowherd.

46. Hear all the details about him, the old narrative. There is nothing to be suspected. Śiva will necessarily perform what is good.

47-50. His region called Śivaloka is greater than the greatest. It is above everything. Śiva, the supreme Brahman, the great god shines there. He is the presiding deity of Prakṛtī and Puruṣa. He wears three Śaktis. He is both devoid and possessed of attributes.[2] He has the great splendour for his form. O Brahmā, the three deities bringing about creation etc. are born of him.[3] They are Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva endowed with Śāttvika and other attributes. He alone is the supreme soul. He sports there with Pārvatī. He is free from illusion. He is the formulator of the eternal and the non-eternal.

51. The Goloka is near it. Śiva’s cowshed is situated there. Kṛṣṇa having my form stays there at Śiva’s behest.

52. It is to tend his cows and bulls that he has been ordered by him. Deriving happiness from him he too sports there.

53. His wife Rādhā[4] is the mother of the universe. Her form is greater than Prakṛti. It is the fifth[5] sportive form.

54. Many cowherds and cowherdesses born of her live there. They are sportively inclined and follow Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

55. That very same (Sudāmā, now born as Śaṅkhacūḍa) has been fascinated by her by Śiva’s illusion. Cursed by Rādhā he is born as a Dānava to his distress.

56. Kṛṣṇa has already ordained that the death of Śaṅkhacūḍa will be by Rudra’s trident. Casting off his body he will become his comrade again.

57. O lord of gods, knowing this you need not have any fear. Let us seek refuge in Śiva. He will do everything conducive to our good.

58. You, I and the gods stand here fearless (due to that only).

Sanatkumāra said:—

59. After saying this and mentally thinking upon Śiva who, the lord of all, is favourably disposed to his devotees Viṣṇu went to Śivaloka accompanied by Brahmā.

Footnotes and references:


The capital city of Indra’s dominions, also called Amarāvatī, is situated in the vicinity of Mount Meru. It is also called Devapura, city of the gods.


See Note 286 P. 379.


See Note 272 P. 569(?). Cp Śiva-purāṇa Rudrasaṃhitā V. 30. 34-35.


Rādhā was a cowherdess and a favourite mistress of Kṛṣṇa. She is worshipped among the Vaiṣṇavas as an incarnation of Lakṣmī as Kṛṣṇa is of Viṣṇu.


The energies of Rudra, Viṣṇu and Brahmā are the three embodied forms of Primordial cosmic nature. There is a fourth Energy called Śivā of the attributeless Śiva. Rādhā is the supreme and sportive fifth form of Prakṛti.

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