The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “hiranyaksha is slain” 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 42 - Hiraṇyākṣa is slain

Nārada said:—

1. I am not satiated by hearing the story of the mooon-crested lord Śiva including the annihilation of Śaṅkhacūḍa from you even as people are not satiated by drinking nectar.

2. Please narrate another story of that great soul, lord Śiva who indulges in divine sports delightful to the devotees, by resorting to magic practices.

Brahmā said:—

3. On hearing the story of the annihilation of Śaṅkhacūḍa Vyāsa the son of Satyavatī[1] enquired of the excellent sage, son of Brahmā, the very same matter.

4. Sanatkumāra narrated to Vyāsa—the son of Satyavatī—the auspicious and admirable story of lord Śiva.

Sanatkumāra said:—

5. O Vyāsa, listen to the auspicious story of lord Śiva in relation to Andhaka how the latter attained the leadership of Gaṇas from Śiva, the great soul.

6. O great sage, it was after a great fight with the gods and by propitiating lord Śiva again and again with Sāttvika devotion that he attained the leadership.

7. It is wonderful indeed, the greatness of Śiva is wonderful. Śiva protects those who seek refuge in him. He is favourably disposed to his devotees. He indulges in different kinds of sports.

8. On hearing about the greatness of the bull-bannered lord, the sage, son of Gandhavatī bowed to the great sage, son of Brahmā, with devotion and spoke these meaningful words.

Vyāsa said:—

9. O holy one, O lord of sages, who is this Andhaka? In which warrior family on the earth was this powerful great Andhaka born? What was his parentage? What is his importance?

10. O son of Brahmā, please let me know all this entirely along with its mystic secrets. You[2] have learnt this well from Kārttikeya of immeasurable enlightenment, the son of lord Śiva.

11. How did he obtain the leadership of the Gaṇas from Śiva of great splendour? Really that Andhaka was blessed since he became the lord of the Gaṇas.

Brahmā said:—

12. On hearing the words that son of Brahmā spoke to Vyāsa the father of Śuka[3] who desired to hear about the wonderful sports of lord Śiva which give prosperity to the hearer.

Sanatkumāra said:—

13. Formerly Śiva, the Emperor of the gods, kind to his devotees came to Kāśī[4] from Kailāsa accompanied by Pārvatī, the daughter of the mountain and his Gaṇas because he was desirous of sporting there.

14. He built his capital there. He appointed the hero Bhairava as its protector. Then he performed many sports, pleasing to the people, in the company of Pārvatī the daughter of the mountain.

15. Once he went to the mountain Mandara[5] to see its excellent grandeur. He sported much in the company of Śiva and the various principal heroic Gaṇas.

16. While sporting on the eastern ridges of the Mandara mountain, Pārvatī sportively and playfully closed the eyes of Śiva of fierce exploit.

17. She closed the eyes with her lotus-like hands which had the lustre of coral and golden lotus. When Śiva’s eyes were closed, a great darkness spread immediately.

18. By this contact with lord Śiva the rapturous rutting juice exuded from her hands became hot by the fire of the eye on his forehead and flowed out in copious drops.

19. Conception took place and a terrible inhuman being manifested itself. It was furious, ungrateful, blind[6], deformed, and black in colour. It had matted locks of hair and fine hair all over the body.

20. It sang, cried, laughed, danced, put out its tongue like a serpent and thundered fiercely. When this curious creature arose, Śiva smilingly spoke to Pārvatī.

Lord Śiva said:—

21. “You did it yourself by closing my eyes. O my beloved, why are you afraid of it now? On hearing these words of Śiva, Pārvatī smilingly took off her hands from the eyes.

22. When light spread everywhere the blind being appeared even more terrible. On seeing such a being, Pārvatī asked her lord Śiva.

Pārvatī said:—

23. O lord, what is this ugly hideous being that is born in front of us. Please tell me the truth. Why was it created? By whom? Whose child is it?

Sanatkumāra said:—

24. On hearing these words of his beloved, the sportively inclined mother of the three worlds and the cause of creation of the blind creatures, lord Śiva himself indulging in sports smilingly said:—

Lord Śiva said:—

25. O Pārvatī of mysterious activities, listen. When my eyes were closed by you, this being of wonderfully fierce might was born of my sweat. He shall be named Andhaka.

26. You are the cause of his creation though not in the natural way. He shall be guarded by the Gaṇas lovingly as well as by you along with your friends. His well being rests with you. O noble lady, pondering over this intelligently you shall do every thing.

Sanatkumāra said:—

27. On hearing the words of her lord, Pārvatī was very compassionate. Accompanied by her friends, she made arrangements for his safety in diverse ways and means as if he were her own son.

28. At that time, the Asura Hiraṇyākṣa desired to obtain a son at the pressure of his wife who was envious at the sight of many sons of her husband’s elder brother.[7] Accordingly he set out in the season of late winter.

29. He resorted to forest and performed penance for obtaining son. In order to see lord Śiva he performed a rigorous penance conquering the passions of anger etc. and remaining insensible to external sensation as does a log of wood.

30. The trident-bearing lord was pleased at his penance. O great brahmin he went there in order to grant him the boon. After reaching that spot, lord Śiva, the bull-bannered lord, spoke to the leading Daitya.

Lord Śiva said:—

31. “O lord of Daityas, do not curb your senses so much. Why have you taken up this sacred rite? Speak out what you desire. I am Śiva, the granter of desires. I shall grant whatever you desire.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

32. On hearing the pleasing words of lord Śiva, the Daitya Hiraṇyākṣa was delighted. He joined his palms in reverence and humbly bowed his head. Eulogising and bowing in various ways he spoke to lord Siva.

Hiraṇyākṣa said:—

33. O moon-crested lord, I have no powerful son befitting the race of Daityas. It is for this purpose that I have resorted to penance. O lord of gods, give me a powerful son.

34. My brother has five sons of infinite valour, Prahlāda being the eldest. I don’t have any son. My family is likely to be extinct. Who will inherit my kingdom after me?

35. He alone merits to be the son who enjoys either the inherited kingdom of his father or the kingdom of another taken by force. That father alone can call himself possessed of a son with such a son.

36. An abode in heaven is enjoined only for those who have sons as mentioned by the learned and the virtuous. All living beings are active in that respect.[8]

37. A person whose family is extinct cannot have higher regions.[9] It is for obtaining the son that people worship the deities.

Sanatkumāra said:—

38. On hearing these words of the king, the kind-hearted Śiva was satisfied and spoke thus—“O ruler of Daityas, there may not be a son born of your semen. But I shall grant you a son.

39. My son Andhaka has a prowess equal to yours. He cannot be defeated by any. You choose him as your son. Cast off your distress and accept him as your son.”

40. After saying this, the delighted lord gave the son to Hiraṇyākṣa.[10] Śiva, the great soul, the primordial lord of Bhūtas, the destroyer of Tripuras, the fierce god went away, accompanied by Pārvatī.

41. After getting a son from Śiva that Daitya circumambulated Śiva and worshipped him with many hymns. Joyously the noble Asura returned to kingdom.

42. Having obtained a son from Śiva, the demon of great and fierce valour conquered all the gods and took the earth to Pātāla.

43. Then the gods, sages and the Siddhas propitiated Viṣṇu of infinite vigour in the form of a Boar that constituted all sacrifices and all beings and was terrific in form.

44-46. He split the earth by beating and striking with his snout and entered Pātāla. He powdered hundreds of Daityas with his nose and the formidable curved fangs. He smashed the armies of the Asuras by kicking with his legs dazzling like lightning. He had a wonderfully fierce refulgence. With his Sudarśana dazzling like a crore of suns he chopped off the burning head of Hiraṇyākṣa and reduced the wicked Daityas to ashes. He was then delighted to crown his son Andhaka as the king of Daityas.

47. He returned to his abode. He lifted up the earth from the Pātāla by means of his fangs. He sustained the Earth as before.

48. Eulogised by the gods, the delighted sages, and Brahmā, lord Viṣṇu of huge body who had assumed the form of a Boar finished the task and returned to his abode.

49. When Hiraṇyākṣa the king of Asuras was killed by Viṣṇu assuming the form of a Boar,[11] the gods, sages and other living beings became happy.

Footnotes and references:


Satyavatī, mother of Vyāsa, was also called Matsyagandhā, Mīnagandhā or Gandhavatī. See V. 8 below


The reading tvayā for mayā suits the context.


Śuka was the son of Vyāsa. He is said to have narrated the Bhāgavatapurāṇa to king Parīkṣit.


See Note 227 P. 266.


See Note 36 P. 48.


For the conflict between the blind Asura Andhaka and lord Śiva, Cp. Matsya P. Ch. 179. For the symbolical interpretation of this episode see Matsyapurāṇa—A Study, PP. 275-277.


It refers to Hiraṇyakaśipu, the elder brother of Hiraṇyākṣa. The former had five sons while the latter had none. See V. 34 below.


The fourth Pāda of the Sanskrit text is obscure. Hence the present English translation of the relevant portion is conjectural.


The ancient Indian scriptures hold that a person cannot enter into heaven without having a son. The present context shows that this view prevailed even among the Asuras.


The custom of adopting sons prevailed in ancient India. The adopted son enjoyed all the prerogatives of the natural son. He could offer oblations to his adopted father when he expired and legally inherit his property. It is evident from the present context that the practice was in vogue even among the Asuras.


It refers to the Daitya Hiraṇyākṣa who dragged the earth to the depths of the ocean. Viṣṇu incarnated himself as the Boar, slew the Daitya and restored the earth to its original position.