The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “story of usha” 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 51 - The story of Ūṣā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:—

1-2. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, a wonderfully excellent

story has been narrated with love and blessings by you. It is full of Śiva’s benediction. I wish to know more of the story of the moon-crested lord wherein he gave the Asura Bāṇa the position of the chieftain of his Gaṇas.

Sanatkumāra said:—

3. O Vyāsa, listen with reverence to the story of Śiva, the great Ātman wherein it is explained how he bestowed the chieftainship of his Gaṇas on the Asura Bāṇa.

4. Here is the good story of Śiva, the great lord. Here too is the story of Śiva’s fight with Kṛṣṇa when the former blessed Bāṇa.

5. Listen from me the most befitting and the highly meritorious legend of the sports of Śiva. It is pleasing to the mind and to the ears.

6. Marīci, the sage of great intellect, was the mentally created eldest son of Brahmā. He was a Prajāpati too.

7. His son Kaśyapa was a noble soul. He was the most excellent of all sages. He made the creation flourish well. He was devoted to his father and to Brahmā.

8. O Vyāsa, thirteen daughters of Dakṣa were his wives. They were of good conduct and very faithful to their husband, the sage Kaśyapa.

9. The eldest of the wives was Diti. The Daityas were her sons. The gods and others including the mobile and immobile beings were born to others.

10. The eldest Diti had the heroic sons Hiraṇyakaśipu the elder and Hiraṇyākṣa the younger.

11. Hiraṇyakaśipu had four sons. They were in order Hrāda, Anuhrāda, Saṃhrāda and Prahlāda.

12. Prahlāda was a great devotee of Viṣṇu. He had full control of his sense-organs. The Daityas were unable to destroy him.

13. His son Virocana was the most excellent of donors. He gave even his head to Indra who requested for the same in the guise of a brahmin.

14. His son was Bali who was a favourite of Śiva and a liberal donor. The earth was given by him to Viṣṇu who assumed the form of a dwarf.

15. His son Bāṇa became a devotee of Śiva. He was highly respected and intelligent. He was truthful and a liberal donor making thousands of charitable gifts.

16. Staying in the Śoṇita town[1] he ruled over the three worlds after defeating several rulers forcefully.

17. As a result of the grace of Śiva, the gods became the virtual servants of Bāṇa, the devotee of Śiva.

18-19. They were distressed by his enmity although he practised high virtues. In accompaniment of the instrumental music played by his thousand arms, by means of the Tāṇḍava dance he propitiated Śiva.

20. Śiva favourably disposed to his devotees was highly delighted and satisfied by his dance and he glanced at him with sympathetic eyes.

21. The lord of the worlds, worthy of being sought refuge in, the bestower of the desires of the devotees asked the great demon, the son of Bali, to choose a boon he liked.

Śiva said:—

22. The great Daitya Bāṇa, son of Bali, the foremost among the devotees and highly intelligent, bowed to lord Śiva with devotion and eulogised him.

The Asura Bāṇa said:—

23-24. O great god, lord of the gods, favourably disposed to those who seek refuge in you, O great Śiva, if you are pleased with me, be my guardian for ever. Be present with me as the lord of my city along with your sons and Gaṇas. O lord, be delightful to me in every respect.

Sanatkumāra said:—

25-26. Bāṇa son of Bali, deluded by Śiva’s deception, did not request anything else from lord Śiva who would have bestowed even salvation if asked though he is hard to please. Śiva, who is favourably disposed to his devotees, granted boons to him and stayed there lovingly along with his sons and his Gaṇas.

27. Once Śiva performed divine sports in Śoṇita, the beautiful city of Bāṇa, in the company of the gods and Asuras, on the banks of a river.

28. The Gandharvas and the celestial damsels danced and laughed. The sages performed Japas, bowed to, worshipped and eulogised him.

29. The Pramathas jumped and shouted; the sages performed sacrifices. The groups of Siddhas came and saw the divine sport of Śiva.

30. Mlecchas,[2] adversaries and evil-intentioned wranglers perished. The mothers[3] (Brāhmi etc.) sat facing him. The terrifying imps perished.

31. The worldly faults of those who had the good conception of devotion to Śiva were forgotten.

32. The sages and the Siddhas leapt and bounced on seeing the activities of the women. The seasons displayed their power and nourished it.

33. Gentle winds blew wafting the grey pollen dust. The flocks of birds eager after honey chirped on the trees.

34. The cuckoo cooed sweetly in the forests and parks, generating love, on the branches heavily laden with flowers.

35. Then being glanced at by Kāma who was not vanquished, the crescent-crested lord Śiva highly indulgent in sports spoke to Nandin.

The crescent-crested Śiva said:—

36. Go quickly from this forest and tell the dark-complexioned Pārvatī everything and bring her here from Kailāsa after she has bedecked herself.

Sanatkumāra said:—

37. “So be it” answered the secret messenger of Śiva who started on journey. Reaching there, with palms joined in reverence he bowed to Pārvatī and said.

Nandīśvara said:—

38. “O goddess, the great lord of the gods wishes to see you, his beloved, well-dressed. It is at his bidding that I say this”.

Sanatkumāra said:—

39. O excellent sage, then, at his importunity, Pārvatī, devoted to her husband, began to bedeck herself ardently.

40. “I am coming. You return and so inform the lord at my bidding”. The Nandin approached Śiva with the velocity of mind.

41. Śiva who was extremely agitated told Nandin again. “Dear, go again and fetch Pārvatī from there”.

42. “Yes, sir”, said he. He went to Pārvatī of sweet appearance and said: “Your lord wishes to see you beautifully and gorgeously dressed.

43. O goddess, Śiva is eagerly waiting for various sports. O daughter of the mountain, please go since the lord is distressed with passion”.

44-46. All the celestial damsels told one another—“Since lord Śiva is very eager to see Pārvatī being passionate, the lady whom this enemy of Kāma may woo will certainly be the queen of celestial damsels. She may sport with lord Śiva in the form of Pārvatī accompanied by the Gaṇas of Kāma. Kāma is indeed victorious over his foe.

47. If any lady, save Pārvatī, is able to touch Śiva, let her go there unhesitatingly and fascinate him.

48. The daughter of Kumbhāṇḍa.[4] Citralekhā said—“I desire to attract Śiva in the form of Pārvatī.

49. Just as Viṣṇu, by taking recourse to his yogic powers assumed the form of Enchantress (Mohinī)”.

50. On seeing the change of form of Urvaśī, Ghṛtācī adopted the form of Kālī and Viśvācī that of Caṇḍikā.

51. Rambhā assumed the form of Sāvitrī, Menakā that of Gāyatrī; Sahajanyā that of Jayā and Puñjikasthalī that of Vijayā.

52. The unnamed celestial damsels assumed the forms of unnamed mothers with effort by employing their art.

53. On seeing their forms, the daughter of Kumbhāṇḍa, taking recourse to the Vaiṣṇava and her own Yoga, knew everything and emulated the same.

54. Ūṣā, daughter of the Asura Bāṇa efficient in divine Yoga, assumed the wonderfully auspicious and divine form of Pārvatī.

55. Her feet were of excellent lustre. They shone like the great red lotus. They had all the divine characteristics bestowing every desired object.

56. Knowing that she wanted to indulge in love-sport with Śiva, the omniscient and omnipresent Pārvatī spoke.

Pārvatī said

57-59. O friend Ūṣā, chaste and honourable lady since you have adopted my form out of passion, so you will have the monthly course in the appropriate time in the Kārttika month. On the twelfth day in the bright half of Vaiśākha, you will undertake a fast. During the night while you are asleep in the harem, a man will come there and enjoy you. He has been made your husband by the gods. You will sport with him.

60. This is because you have been devoted to Viṣṇu ever since childhood without sinking into lethargy. She then mumbled to herself. “Let it be so” and was very bashful.

61. Then the goddess Pārvatī bedecked herself zealously and went to Śiva. She then sported with him.

62. O sage, at the end of the dalliance Lord Śiva vanished from the place accompanied by his wife, the Gaṇas and the gods.

Footnotes and references:


Śoṇitapura was the capital of Bāṇāsura, the ruler of Tripura. Dey identifies it with the town of that name on the bank of the river Kedāra Gaṅgā (See Note 23 P. 532). Avasthi identifies it with Bānagarh in the Dinajapura district of East Bengal. The above identifications are merely tentative, for Bāṇa is said to have ruled in Tripuri (Mod. Tewar) on the Narmadā river in Madhya Pradeśa, far away from the locus suggested by the scholars.


Mlecchas were wild ferocious tribes whose acts of violence caused vast devastations and destructions, struck terror in the social life of the country. They are said to have been repulsed and destroyed by lord Śiva.


Mātṛs are the divine mothers or personified energies of the principal deities reckoned variously as seven, eight, nine or sixteen in numbers. They are closely connected with the worship of Śiva and are described as attending on his son Kārttikeya to whom at first only seven Mātṛs were assigned.


The printed editions read Kūṣmāṇḍa for Kumbhāṇḍa. In fact, Chitralekhā, companion of Ūṣā, was the daughter of Kumbhāṇḍa—a reputed minister of Bāṇa. Cp. Verse 38 of the next chapter.

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