The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “chopping of bana’s arms and his humiliation” 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 55 - The chopping of Bāna’s arms and his humiliation

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:—

1. O dear sage, Sanatkumāra, O omniscient son of Brahmā, obeisance be to you. A wonderful story has been narrated to me by you.

2. When Śiva was made to yawn and lie flat by Viṣṇu through the Jṛmbhaṇa missile, in the course of the war and when the army of Bāṇa was slain, what did Bāṇa do? Please narrate.

Sūta said:—

3. On hearing these words of Vyāsa of immeasurable refulgence, the great sage, the delighted son of Brahmā, replied.

Sanatkumāra said:—

4. O Vyāsa of great intellect, listen to the highly wonderful story of Kṛṣṇa and Śiva who indulge in sports in accordance with the worldly conventions.

5. When Śiva sportively lay flat on the ground along with his sons and Gaṇas, Bāṇa the king of Daityas came out to fight with Kṛṣṇa.

6. With the horses mobilised by Kumbhāṇḍa, and holding various weapons and missiles, the powerful son of Bali performed an incomparable fight.

7. On seeing his army destroyed, the lord of the Daityas became infuriated. The powerful son of Bali fought an incomparable battle.

8. Lord Kṛṣṇa the great hero with additional strength derived from Śiva roared loudly in the battlefield considering Bāṇa as insignificant as a blade of grass.

9. O great sage, he made the twanging sound on his wonderful bow called Śārṅga and frightened what little remained of Bāṇa’s army.

10. The intervening space between heaven and Earth was filled with the great sound originating from the twang on his bow.

11. Drawing the string of his bow upto the ear, the infuriated Viṣṇu discharged sharp arrows, as furious as serpents, on Bāṇa.

12. On seeing the arrows coming, Bāṇa the son of Bali, split them even before they reached him, by means of arrows discharged from his bow.

13. Lord Bāṇa, suppressor of enemies roared again. The Vṛṣṇis thinking of Kṛṣṇa were afraid and dejected.

14. Thinking upon the lotus-like feet of Śiva, the haughty son of Bali discharged his arrows at Krṣṇa the most valorous.

15. Thinking upon the lotus-like feet of Śiva, the powerful destroyer of Asuras, Kṛṣṇa split them before they reached him by means of his own arrows.

16. Rāma and other Vṛṣṇis, the powerful ones agitated by anger, slew their respective opponents.

17. Thus the tumultuous fight between the two strong armies went on for a long time aggravating the wonder of the spectators.

18. In the meantime the infuriated king of birds suppressed the army of Bāṇa striking all with his wings.

19. Seeing his army routed and himself oppressed, Bāṇa, the powerful lord of Daityas, son of Bali, foremost among Śiva’s devotees, was infuriated.

20. Thinking upon the lotus-like feet of Śiva, the thousand-armed Bāṇa displayed his valour unbearable to his enemies.

21. The destroyer of heroes discharged simultaneously an unlimited number of arrows on Garuḍa, Kṛṣṇa and Yadus separately.

22. O sage, he hit Garuḍa with an arrow, Kṛṣṇa with another, Bala with a third. The powerful hero hit others too.

23. Then Kṛṣṇa the great lord, of great valour, of the form of Viṣṇu, the destroyer of demons, became angry and roared in the course of the battle.

24. Thinking upon Śiva he hit Bāṇa and his terrible army simultaneously with the good arrows discharged with force from his bow.

25. Viṣṇu split his bow and umbrella as well as other things. Without being excited he killed and felled his horses by means of his arrows.

26. Bāṇa the great hero roared furiously. He hit Kṛṣṇa with his iron club and Kṛṣṇa fell on the ground.

27. O celestial sage, Kṛṣṇa got up immediately and fought with Bāṇa, the great devotee of Śiva. It was to keep up the worldly sport that he fought thus.

28. A great battle went on for a long time between Kṛṣṇa who was Viṣṇu or Śiva himself and that strong Asura who was the most excellent devotee of Śiva.

29. O great sage, the powerful Kṛṣṇa fought for a long time with Bāṇa. Deriving strength at the instance of Śiva he became furious.

30. At the bidding of Śiva, lord Kṛṣṇa, the destroyer of heroic enemies, chopped off several arms of Bāṇa by means of Sudarśana.

31. Only his four beautiful arms were left. Thanks to the grace of Śiva, the demon too was freed from pain.

32. Forgetting himself, Kṛṣṇa who assumed a great prowess, attempted to cut off the head of Bāṇa. Then Śiva got up.

Śiva said:—

33. O lord, son of Devakī, O Viṣṇu, what was ordained by me formerly has been accomplished by you who always follow my dictates.

34. Do not cut off the head of Bāṇa. Withdraw your weapon Sudarśana. At my bidding the discus shall always be rendered ineffective with regard to my people.

35. O Viṣṇu, this unfailing discus and victory in battle were formerly bestowed on you by me. Hence you withdraw from the battleground.

36. O lord of Lakṣmī, you did not hurl this discus at Dadhīca,[1] Rāvaṇa, Tāraka, Tripuras and others without my consent.

37. You are a great Yogin, the supreme soul and the exciter of men. Hence you ponder over this yourself. You are engaged in the welfare of all living beings.

38. I have granted him a boon that he will not fear death. These words of mine shall remain true for ever. I am pleased with you.

39. O Viṣṇu, sometime back he became haughty enough to say “Give me battle” while he scratched his arms and forgot his goal.

40. Then I cursed him—“Ere long, the person will arrive and cut off your arms. You shall be cured of your haughtiness”.

41. (Turning to Baṇa) At my bidding Viṣṇu has cut off your arms. Now withdraw from the battlefield. Go back to your abode along with the married couple.

Sanatkumāra said:—

42. Saying this and uniting them in friendship, lord Śiva returned to his abode along with his sons and Gaṇas.

43. On hearing the words of Śiva, Kṛṣṇa withdrew Sudarśana. With his body unwounded, the victorious Kṛṣṇa entered into the harem.

44. He consoled Aniruddha and his wife. He accepted the jewels given in plenty by Bāṇa.

45. They took Ūṣā’s friend Citralekhā the great Yoginī also with them. Kṛṣṇa who accomplished his task at the bidding of Śiva was immensely pleased.

46. After mentally bowing to Śiva, Viṣṇu took leave of Bāṇa and returned to his city along with his followers.

47. On the way he conquered Varuṇa who had opposed him in various ways. After reaching Dvārakā he celebrated the event jubilantly.

48. After reaching Dvārakā he dismissed Garuḍa. Seeing his friends and joking with them he roamed about as he pleased.

Footnotes and references:


It refers to the incident of the battle between Viṣṇu and Dadhīca. Cp. Śiva-purāṇa Rudrasaṃhitā II Ch. 39.

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