The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “hiranyakashipu 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 43 - Hiraṇyakaśipu is slain

Vyāsa said:—

1. O Santakumāra of great intellect, when that Asura was killed what did his elder brother, the great Asura, do?

2. O great sage, I am eager to hear this. O son of Brahmā, please narrate the same. Obeisance be to you.

Brahmā said:—

3. On hearing these words of Vyāsa, that great sage, Sanatkumāra spoke after remembering the lotus like feet of Śiva.

Sanatkumāra said:—

4. When his brother was thus killed by Viṣṇu in the form of a Boar, O Vyāsa, Hiraṇyakaśipu was distressed with grief and excited by anger.

5. Always fond of enmity with Viṣṇu that he was, he instigated heroic Asuras, fond of havoc, to work havoc among the people.

6. Receiving the command of their lord with bowed heads, the Asura fond of havoc worked havoc among the gods and the people.

7. Thus when the universe was utterly disturbed by the evil-minded Asuras, the gods abandoned heaven and roamed on the Earth unobserved.

8. After performing the obsequies and water oblations[1] to his departed brother, the distressed Hiraṇyakaśipu consoled his wife and others.

9. Then the emperor of the Daityas desired to make himself invincible, undying, unageing, unrivalled and sole ruler.

10. He performed a severe penance in the ravine of the Mandara mountain. Keeping his arms lifted up he fixed his eyes on the sky. He stood on the Earth on his big toes alone.

11. When he was perfoming penance, the gods accompanied by their forces defeated the Daityas and regained their lost seats.

12. The smoking fire of penance springing from his head, spreading all round scorched the worlds all round, above and below.

13. The gods scorched by that, abandoned heaven and went to Brahmā’s region. With their faces turned pale and deformed by his penance they informed the creator of every thing.

14. O Vyāsa, thus informed by the gods, the self-born Brahmā went to the hermitage of the Daitya accompanied by Bhṛgu, Dakṣa and others.

15. The Asura who had already scorched the worlds saw that the lotus-born deity had arrived. In order to grant him the boon Dhātṛ the grandfather of the worlds said—“Choose a boon.” On hearing the sweet words of the creator, the Asura of undismayed intellect spoke thus.

Hiraṇyakaśipu said:—

16-17. “O creator, O lord of subjects, never may I have the fear of death from weapons, missiles, thunderbolts, dry trees, mountains, water, fire and onslaught of enemies—gods, Daityas, sages, Siddhas or in fact from any living being created by you. Why should I expatiate on it? Let there be no death for me in heaven, on earth, in the day time, at night, from above or below, O lord of subjects!”

Sanatkumāra said:—

18. On hearing these words of the Asura, the merciful lotus-born deity bowed to Viṣṇu mentally and spoke—“O lord of Daityas, I am delighted. Attain everything.

19. Stop your penance which has already run on to ninety-six thousand years. You have realised your desires entirely. Stand up. Rule over the kingdom of the Dānavas.” On hearing these words, the Asura was pleased and beaming in his face.

20. He was coronated by Brahmā the great grandfather of the worlds. He became inclined to destroy the three worlds. The highly elated Asuras disturbed all righteous activities and defeated all the gods in battle.

21. Then the terrified Indra and other gods harassed by him got the permission of Brahmā and went to the milk ocean[2] where Viṣṇu was lying.

22. Considering him the bestower of happiness, they propitiated and eulogised Viṣṇu with various hymns. When he was pleased they told him their woeful tale.

23-24. On learning their misery in entirety, Viṣṇu, the delighted lord of Lakṣmī granted them boons. Getting up from his couch, Viṣṇu consoled the gods and the sages by means of different words befitting himself. The lord as refulgent as the fire said—“O leading gods, I shall kill the Daitya with force. Return to your own abodes fully assured, all of you”.

25. O great sage, on hearing the words of Viṣṇu, Indra and other leading gods, fully assured and satisfied, went to their abodes thinking that the younger brother Hiraṇyākṣa was already killed.

26-27. The noble soul Viṣṇu assumed the form partly of lion and partly of man. His head was matted and full of manes. Sharp fangs were his weapons. The claws were keen and pointed. The snout was finely shaped. The mouth was wide open. The body was terrible and refulgent like a crore of suns, blazing and powerful like the fire at the time of dissolution. He was identical with the universe. More words need not be used to describe him. When the sun was about to set, the lord went to the city of the Asuras.

28. The Man-lion fought with the powerful Daityas. He killed many of them. He held them up and whirled. Exhibiting wonderful prowess he smashed and crushed the various Asuras.

29. On seeing that omniformed lion, the son of the lord of Daityas, Prahlāda,[3] said to the king, his father.

Prahlāda said:—

“Is it the universe-formed lord who has come as the majestic lion?

30. The infinite lord in the form of Man-lion[4] has come within your city. Desist from fight and seek refuge in him. I see the terrible form of the lion.

31. Since there is none to fight him in all the three worlds, it is better that you submit to him and continue to be the ruler.”

On hearing the words of his son, the wicked Asura said “O son, why are you so afraid?”

32. Thus addressing his son, the king of the Daityas ordered the heroes among the Daityas—“O ye heroes, catch hold of this lion of hideous brows and eyes.”

33. At his behest the leading Daityas who desired to catch the lion approached him but they were burnt in a trice like the moths in the blazing fire attracted by its colour.

34. When the Daityas were burnt the king himself fought with the lion with all kinds of weapons, missiles, spears swords, nooses, goads, fire and the like.

35. O Vyāsa, a day according to the calculation of Brahma[5] passed by even as they fought with weapons in their hands, roaring heroically and furiously at each other.

36. Then suddenly the Daitya assumed many arms holding weapons. He looked angrily at the fighting man-lion and pounced upon him in a rush.

37. Then after a terrific battle fought by all sorts of weapons and missiles they were exhausted. Then the great Daitya himself seized up a spear and rushed at the man-lion.

38. He was seized by the lord of beasts with hands as powerful as mountains. He was placed on the knee, torn and scratched in the chest by the claws piercing every vulnerable joint in the body.

39. His heart lacerated by his claws was filled with blood. He lay dead like a log of wood, his limbs being reduced to powder.

40. When he was killed, the heroic Viṣṇu was pleased. He beckoned to Prahlāda who bowed to him. He crowned him king and then left for his abode that could not even be imagined.

41. Then the gods were delighted. They bowed to lord Viṣṇu who had finished their task and who deserved worship, O Brahmin. Thereafter Brahmā and others returned to their abodes.

42. Thus incidentally, I have narrated to you the story of Andhaka’s birth from Rudra, the death of Hiraṇyākṣa at the hands of the Boar, the annihilation of his brother Hiraṇyakaśipu by the Man-lion and the coronation of Prahlāda.

43. O foremost of brahmins, now listen to the prowess of Andhaka secured from the creator, his fight with Śiva and his acquisition afterwards of the leadership of the Gaṇas.

Footnotes and references:

1.

A handful of water mixed with sesamum is offered to the departed soul.

2.

See Note 200 P. 224

3.

Though son of the Asura Hiraṇyakaśipu, Prahlāda was an ardent devotee of Viṣṇu. He had to suffer much at the hands of his cruel father for devotion to Viṣṇu It was to avenge Prahlāda that Viṣṇu incarnated as the man-lion and killed Hiraṇyakaśipu.

4.

The story relates to Hiranyakaśipu the younger brother of Hiraṇyākṣa. Hiraṇyakaśipu was proud of his prowess and as blessed by Śiva, could not be killed in an ordinary way. He struck terror in the hearts of the gods whom he had ousted from their vantage positions. He was killed by Viṣṇu assuming the form of Man-lion.

5.

A Brāhma day consists of one kalpa equal to one thousand yugas or a period of four thousand, three hundred and twenty millions of years of mortals, measuring the duration of the world.