The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “conversation between shiva and the emissary 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 35 - The conversation between Śiva and the emissary of Śaṅkhacūḍa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. Stationing himself there, the lord of Dānavas sent a leading Dānava of great knowledge as his emissary to Śiva.

2. The emissary went there and saw the moon-crested lord Śiva, of the refulgence of a crore suns, seated at the root of the Banyan tree.

3. He saw him sitting in a yogic pose, showing the mystic gesture with his eyes, with a smiling face and body as pure as crystal and blazing with transcendent splendour.

4-7. Śiva held the trident and the iron club. He was clad in the hide of the tiger. The emissary saw the three-eyed lord of Pārvatī, the enlivener of the life of the devotees, the quiet Śiva, the dispenser of the fruits of penance, the creator of riches, quick in being propitiated, eager to bless the devotees and beaming with pleasure in his face. He saw the lord of the universe, the seed of the universe, identical with the universe and of universal form, born of all, lord of all, creator of all, the cause of the annihilation of the universe, the cause of causes, the one who enables devotees to cross the ocean of hell, the bestower of knowledge, the seed of knowledge, knowlege-bliss and eternal.

8. On seeing him, the messenger, the leader of Dānavas, descended from his chariot and bowed to him as well as to Kumāra.

9. He saw Bhadrakālī to his left and Kārttikeya standing before him. Kālī, Kārttikeya and Śiva offered him the conventional benediction.

10. This emissary of Śaṅkhacūḍa, had full knowledge of the sacred texts. He joined his palms in reverence and bowing to him spoke the auspicious words.

The Emissary said:—

11. “O lord, I am the emissary of Śaṅkhacūḍa and have come to you. What is it that you desire? Please tell me.”

12. On hearing these words of Śaṅkhacūḍa, lord Śiva became delighted and spoke.

Lord Śiva said:—

13. O messenger of great intellect, listen to my words conducive to happiness. After pondering over this, without disputation, this shall be mentioned to him.

14. Brahmā is the creator of the worlds and father of Dharma. He knows virtue. Marīci is his son. Kaśyapa is Marīci’s son.

15. Dakṣa gave him his thirteen daughters, with pleasure. Among them the chaste lady Danu increased his fortune to a great extent.

16. Danu gave birth to four sons called Dānavas. They were vigorous and powerful. Vipracitti of great strength and valour was one of them.

17. His son, the virtuous Dambha of great intellect was the ruler of Dānavas. You are his excellent son, a pious soul, and the lord of Dānavas.

18. In previous birth you were a cowherd and an attendant of Kṛṣṇa. Among the cowherds you were virtuous. As a result of Rādhā’s curse, you are born as Dānava and have become the king of Dānavas.

19. You are casually born as a Dānava. You are really no Dānava. Realising your previous birth you leave off your inimical attitude to the gods.

20. Don’t be malicious towards them. You can enjoy your kingdom zealously. Do not try to expand your kingdom nor spoil it.

21. O Dānava, return their kingdom to the gods. Maintain my affection. Stay in your kingdom happily. Let the gods stay in their region.

22. Do not offend people. Don’t be malicious to the gods. The descendants of Kaśyapa are noble and indulge in pure activities.

23. Whatever sin is there in the world, even including that of slaughter of a brahmin, does not merit even a sixteenth part of the sin accruing from the offence towards kinsmen.

24. These and many such words of advice, auspiciously based on injunctions of Śruti and Smṛti, Śiva said to him enlightening him in an excellent manner.

25. The emissary who had been well instructed by Śaṅkhacūḍa who knew his duties well but who had been deluded by destiny spoke these words humbly.

The messenger said:—

26. O lord, what has been narrated by you is true. It cannot be otherwise. But let my submission based on certain factual elements be heard.

27. O lord Śiva, verily a great sin has been cited as the result of offence to kinsmen by you now. But does it concern only Asuras and not the gods? Please tell me.

28. If it applies to all alike, I shall consider it and let you know. Please tell me your decision at the outset and clear my doubts.

29. O lord Śiva, why did the discus-bearing lord Viṣṇu sever the heads of Madhu and Kaiṭabha[1] the excellent Daityas in the ocean of dissolution?

30. Your Majesty too, O Śiva, is famous as a partisan of the gods. Why did you fight with the Tripuras[2] and reduce them to ashes?

31. After divesting him of every thing why was Bali packed off to Sutala and other regions[3]? Did Viṣṇu go to his threshold as his uplifter?

32. Why was Hiraṇyākṣa[4] harassed by the gods along with his brother? Why were Śumbha[5] and other Asuras subjected to fall by the gods?

33. Formerly when the ocean was churned, the nectar was drunk off by the gods.[6] All the strain and stress was ours but the gods reaped the fruit of our endeavour.

34. The entire universe is but an object of sport of Kāla the supreme soul. Whomsoever and whensoever he pleases to bestow the riches he atttains them.

35. The enmity of the gods and the Dānavas is perpetual and sparked off due to some reason or other. By turns, subject to the whims of Kāla they enjoy victory or defeat.

36. Interference on your part in the dispute between the two is futile. This does not behove you, the lord who are equally in touch with both.

37. Your rivalry to us is excessively shameful since you are lord unto the gods as well as to the Asuras. You are the supreme soul.

38. In the event of your victory your fame is not enhanced. In the event of your defeat you suffer a great loss. Let this disadvantage be pondered over.

Sanatkumāra said:—

39. On hearing these words, the three-eyed lord laughed and spoke sweetly to the leading Dānava what seemed proper.

Lord Śiva said:—

40. We are subservient to our devotees. We are never independent. We carry out their tasks at their wish. We are not the partisans of any one in particular.

41. Formerly the fight of Viṣṇu with the excellent Daityas Madhu and Kaiṭabha in the ocean of dissolution was due to the prior request of Brahmā.

42. For the sake of Prahlāda, at the request of gods, Hiraṇyakaśipu was slain by him acting in the interest of his devotees.

43. Formerly I fought with the Tripuras and reduced them to ashes, only at the request of the gods. It is well known.

44. Formerly Pārvatī, the Mother of all, the goddess of all, fought with Śumbha and others and killed them only at the request of the gods.

45. Even today, the gods have sought refuge in Brahmā. And he along with the gods and the lord Viṣṇu has sought refuge in me.

46. O Emissary, paying heed to the request of Viṣṇu, Brahmā and others, I, though lord of all, have come here in the battle of the gods.

47. Really you are the foremost of the comrades of Kṛṣṇa, the great soul. Those Daityas who had been formerly killed are not on a par with you.

48. What is there excessively shameful in my fight with you, O king? I the lord have been urged humbly to carry out the task of the gods.

49. Go to Śaṅkhacūḍa and tell him what I have said. Let him do what is proper. I shall carry out the taṣk of the gods.

Sanatkumāra said:—

50. On saying this, Śiva the great god, stopped. The emissary stood up and returned to Śaṅkhacñḍa.

Footnotes and references:


The Asuras Madhu and Kaiṭabha born of the ears of Viṣṇu in the ocean at the end of a kalpa rushed against Brahmā who appealed for help to Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu extended his arms, seized the Asuras and slew them with his might.


For the destruction of Tripuras see Śiva-purāṇa Rudrasaṃhitā V. Ch. 10.


It refers to the legend of Viṣṇu who assuming the form of a dwarf craved from Bali the boon of three steps of ground and then stepping over heaven and earth in two strides left the nether region for Bali’s abode.


Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu were slain by Viṣṇu in his Boar and Man-lion incarnations respectively.


Śumbha, Niśumbha and other Asuras were killed by the Goddess Durgā at the instance of the gods.


It refers to the churning of the nectar from the ocean by the joint endeavour of the gods and Asuras. The gods drank the nectar while the Asuras were deceived by Viṣṇu and deprived of their legitimate right to drink the same.

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