The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “beginning of the war and the conversation with the messengers” 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 45 - The beginning of the war and the conversation with the messengers

Sanatkumāra said:—

1-3. Andhaka, the great Daitya king, deluded and smitten by Kāma’s arrows drank wine and started from his palace. He walked like an elephant in rut. His eyes were roving. He was accompanied by many of his soldiers. He was fierce and walked majestically like heroes. He saw the cavern guarded by Vīraka, standing at the entrance. He exhibited the characteristic reactions of a moth approaching a lamp and glancing at it eagerly and lovingly. Already the burning fire of passion had scorched him and therefore afflicting hits from Vīraka had no effect on him.

4. He was attacked with stones, trees, thunderbolts, water, fire and serpents. He was threatened with weapons and missiles. He was afflicted by Vīraka repeatedly but ineffectively and asked. “Who are you? Why have you come here?”

5. On hearing his words, Andhaka made no reply but began to fight Vīraka when surprisingly and unbelievably he was defeated by Vīraka in the battle.

6. When his sword was shattered to pieces he fled from the battlefield divested of his conceited pride. His throat was parched with hunger and thirst. He was aggrieved.

7. Prahlāda and other important Daityas then fought with Vīraka. Though they were terrible themselves they were defeated by hundreds of weapons. Finally their minds were held in check by the goad of shame.

8. Virocana, Bali, Bāṇa, Sahasrabāhu, Bhaji, Kujambha, Śambara, Vṛtra and others of great valour, fought there.[1]

9. These were defeated by the Gaṇa Vīraka in the course of the battle and split into two. At the end of the fight when many Dānavas were killed, the Gaṇas of Siddhas shouted “Victory.”

10-11. When packs of Jackals began to dance in the midst of the putrefying suets, fat and flesh, when beasts of prey, ghosts and spirits began to roam in the terrible slough of slushy blood, when the Daityas were smashed thus, the trident-bearing lord consoled Pārvatī and said.

Śiva said:—

“O beloved, formerly I had performed the great Vrata called Mahāpāśupata.

12. The strength that I derived therefrom is exhausted whence this fall of the immortals at the hands of the mortals. O goddess, merit has declined due to the physical contact with you.

13. I will create a wonderfully divine and terrible forest and going there I shall perform still more severe vrata whereby, O beautiful lady, you shall be free from fear and sorrow.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

14. After saying this, the noble soul went to a holy and terrible forest. He proclaimed loudly his intention and performed penance highly illuminated.

15. Śiva performed penance for a thousand years the like of which could not be performed by the gods or Asuras. Pārvatī stayed behind in Mandara mountain awaiting for the return of the lord.

16. The chaste lady, endowed with good conduct remained alone in that cavern. She was terrified and distressed. Of course she was guarded by her son Vīraka.

17. Then the Daitya whose mental steadiness had been shattered by the arrows of Kāma, became bold and haughty due to the boons that had been granted to him. He came to the cavern accompanied by his soldiers.

18. Forsaking food, drink and sleep, the infuriated Daitya accompanied by his army fought with Vīraka a very wonderful battle for five hundred, five days and nights.

19-21. Various weapons were used by the Daityas—Swords, javelins, slings, maces, sharp missiles, arrows with crescent-shaped tips, arrows with prolonged iron pikes, tortoise-shaped heads with blazing steel pointed hooks, sharp spear, axes, iron clubs of diverse sorts, iron balls, rocks, branches of trees and various divine missiles. Vīraka was attacked with these weapons and he fainted at the entrance to the cavern. His body was pierced by the sharp weapons hurled by the Daityas. The various weapons barred the entrance to the cave.

22-23. Vīraka was covered by the weapons and could not be extricated. The goddess Pārvatī was afraid at the sight. From within the cave she remembered Brahmā and Viṣṇu.

24. Thus remembered by the goddess, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Indra and others assumed female forms and came there.[2]

25. Sages of great dignity, Siddhas, Nāgas and Guhyakas became women and entered the cavern where Pārvatī was staying.

26-27. Since it was not customary to enter the harem of kings they assumed female form of wonderful features and entered the cavern of Pārvatī for heroic activities.

28. Thundering sounds of clouds, as at the end of a Kalpa, were produced by these thousands of women. Drums were beaten and conches were blown.

29. Meanwhile Vīraka of wonderfully fierce valour regained his consciousness and stood up. He seized the weapons of the warriors and hit the Daityas with them.

30. Brāhmī stood opposed to the Daityas with the staff in her hand. Gaurī became very furious. Nārāyaṇī held conch, mace, sword, discus and bow in her hands.

31. Biḍaujasī set out holding the thunderbolt and the handle of the ploughshare in her hand. Her complexion was golden. The sky constituted her forelocks. In her fierce velocity thousands of streams of current were let loose.

32. The goddess of thousand eyes, fought steadily in war, undaunted and invincible with hundreds of Daityas. The goddess of fire was of none too gentle face and Yāmyā was fierce with staff in her lifted hands.

33. Nairṛti held a fierce bow and a sharp sword in her lifted hands. The female form of Varuṇa set out for fight with noose in her hands.

34. The female form of fierce storm took up hunger for her physical body and held goad in her hand. The female form of Kubera held a mace in her hand, blazing like the fire at the end of a Kalpa.

35. The female form of the lord of Yakṣas was sharpfaced and hideous. The female form of Nāga was terrible with claws for her weapons. These and hundreds of other goddesses set out for the battle ground.

36. On seeing this limitless vast army, the Daityas were bewildered, pale in the face, excited and dismayed frightened and dejected in the heart.

37. All these celestial damsels, the chief of whom was Brahmāśakti and the general Vīraka of terrible valour pacified the mind of Pārvatī, the daughter of the lord of mountains and assured her.

38. The important ones among the Daityas and others who possessed strength derived from the boons granted to them, thought, in their minds, of their death or retreat and fought an unprecedented great battle with the ladies.

39. Making Vīraka of terrible valour and wonderful intellect, her general, Pārvatī fought a wonderful battle in the company of her friends and allies.

40. Thinking upon Viṣṇu and looking towards the southern direction the Daitya king, the heroic son of Hiraṇyākṣa, quickly made a fierce array of soldiers with Gila at the head.

41. He made the frontal array terrific by the force of regular service. By the time this was done, the infuriated lord came there. Clad in hides he had the lustre of a thousand fiery suns at the end of a Kalpa.

42. On seeing lord Śiva arrived after the lapse of a thousand years, the delighted women in the company of Vīraka fought a very great battle.

43-44. Pārvatī bowed her head to Śiva. She exhibited great valour to her lord. The delighted Pārvatī fought a terrific battle. Śiva embraced her and then entered the cavern. The numerous women that had gathered were dismissed. Pārvatī honoured Vīraka by hundreds of gifts and appointed him as the keeper of the gate.

45. Then the Asura chief, very clever in statesmanship, unable to see either Pārvatī or Śiva sent his emissary Vighasa immediately to Śiva.

46. He was one whose limbs were shattered by the weapons hurled by the gods and the Gaṇas. He entered the cavern, bowed to Śiva and spoke these words haughtily.

The messenger said:—

47. “I have been sent by him and so I have entered this cavern. You have nothing to do with a woman. Surrender this young and beautiful lady.

48. Usually you are an ascetic. Carry on that. Thinking “Should a sage be offended?” I have observed forbearance within my tender mind. But O sage, you are not a real ascetic but only my enemy.

49. You are extremely inimical to the Daityas. Show your might in fighting with me. O wicked ascetic, I shall send you to Yama’s abode befitting the nether worlds.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

50. On hearing these words conveyed by the emissary, the great three-eyed lord, the goal of the good, the destroyer of the pride of the wicked, the wearer of skull-garlands spoke furiously burning with grief.

Śiva said:—

51. Manifestly your words are fierce. Hence hasten. Fight with me if you have the might.

52. Of what avail are the wives and riches, be they ever so beautiful, to a feeble man in the world? Let the haughty Daityas proud of their strength come. I have already thought of this and acted accordingly.

53. How can a feeble man maintain even his physical body? Let them do whatever they are ordained to do. I shall also do whatever I have to do. There is no doubt in this.

Footnotes and references:

1.

It is incomprehensible how four generations of the Asuras represented by Hiraṇyakaśipu, Prahlāda, Virocana and Bali and could be contemporaneous, and fight together in the battle against the Asuras.

2.

The Śakti or Energy of a god is represented as his female counterpart. Each energy is personified and functions individually. The Purāṇas depict the gods and their Energies fighting against the Asuras. In fact the god and his Energy are identical. There is no characteristic mark distinguishing the two.