The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “shiva’s incarnation as yaksheshvara” 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 16 - Śiva’s Incarnation as Yakṣeśvara

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O great sage, listen to the Yakṣeśvara incarnation of Śiva, that dispels the arrogance of the arrogant and lets the devotion of the good flourish.

2. Formerly, the powerful gods and the Daityas motivated by the desire to gain their selfish ends churned the milk ocean for achieving nectar.

3. When the churning of the milk ocean started as the gods and demons wanted nectar, poison blazing as the fire of dissolution came out at first.

4. O dear, at the sight of it, the gods and the daityas were highly agitated and frightened. They fled from there immediately and sought refuge in Śiva.

5. After seeing Śiva, the crestjewel of all the gods, all of them including Viṣṇu devoutly bent their heads and bowed to Viṣṇu with devotion.

6. Then the delighted lord Śiva favourably disposed to the devotees, quaffed off the terrible poison afflicting gods and Asuras.

7. The lord retained obliquely the acute poison that he drank, in his neck. He shone much thereby and became Blue-necked.

8. Released from the burning sensation of the poison thanks to the blessings of Śiva, the gods and the Asuras began to churn again.

9. O sage, many gems came out of it, but O sage, it was the nectar that the gods and the Dānavas prized much.

10. Not the Asuras, but the gods drank the nectar, thanks to the favour of Viṣṇu. Then a great battle ensued between them inflicting pain on both.[1]

11. A mutual clash occurred between the gods and the Dānavas, O sage. The moon was eclipsed by Rāhu and fled in terror of Rāhu.

12. He went to the abode of Śiva extremely agitated by fear and sought Śiva’s protection. Saying “Protect me O Lord, protect me” he bowed to the lord and eulogised him.

13. Lord Śiva, the bestower of protection to the good, and favourably disposed to his devotees, wore the moon on his head as the latter had sought refuge.

14. Then Rāhu too, came there. He bowed to and eulogised lord Śiva with reverence by means of sweet words.

15. Realising his desire, Śiva fixed on to his neck his head that had been formerly cut off by Viṣṇu, and that was known as Ketu.

16. Then the Asuras were defeated by the gods in the battle. By drinking nectar the gods had become powerful and gained victory.

17. Deluded by Śiva’s Māyā, Viṣṇu and others became very haughty. Their strength began to take root and sprout within them.

18. O sage, then Lord Śiva, the suppressor of arrogance, became a Yakṣa. He hastened to the place, O sage, where the gods were stationed.

19. On seeing Viṣṇu and all other gods arrogant in their minds, lord Śiva, the lord of Yakṣas and the suppressor of arrogance spoke.

Yakṣeśvara said:—

20. O ye gods, why have you all assembled here. What is your goal? Tell me the reason as I ask unto you.

The gods said

21. O lord, a terrible battle took place here wherein all the Asuras were killed. The few that remained fled away.

22. We are great heroes and powerful slayers of the Daityas. How insignificant in strength are those Daityas in front of us!

Nandīśvara said:—

23. On hearing the arrogant words of those gods, lord Śiva, the suppressor of arrogance, in the form of Yakṣa said.

Yakṣeśvara said:—

24. O ye gods, you listen to my words with attention. I shall tell you the truth that will dispel arrogance.

25. Do not be arrogant. There is another lord who is the creator and annihilator. You have forgotten the great lord. You boast too much but you are devoid of strength.

26. If you are proud and think that you know your strength to be great, O gods, split this blade of grass placed by me, with your own weapons.

Nandīśvara said:—

27. Saying this, śiva in the form of Yakṣa, the goal of the good, placed a blade of grass before them and dispelled their arrogance.

28. Then Viṣṇu and other gods professing to be heroic exerted their manliness and hurled their respective weapons.

29. But the weapons of the gods, were rendered fruitless before the power of Śiva, the destroyer of the arrogance of the deluded.

30. Then a celestial voice arose that dispelled the surprise of the gods—“O gods this Yakṣa is Śiva who removes the arrogance of the arrogant.

31. The lord himself is the creator, sustainer and annihilator. The living beings are powerful thanks only to his power. Otherwise they are not powerful.

32. Deluded by the power of his illusion you have become arrogant and have not realised lord śiva, who is the very knowledge embodied.

33. O hearing the celestial voice they became divested of their arrogance. They had realised Yakṣeśvara. They bowed to and eulogised him.

The gods said:—

34. O lord of the gods, the dispeller of arrogance, O Yakṣeśvara of great sports, O lord, your Māyā is wonderful.

35. Even now we are deluded by this Māyā of yours in the form of Yakṣa. Hence, separated from you we began to speak arrogantly before you.

36. O lord, thanks to your grace, alone, knowledge has dawned on us. O Śiva, you alone are the creator, sustainer and annihilator, none else.

37, You alone are the initiator and the withdrawer of all powers. You are lord of all, the great soul, the unchanging, the unrivalled.

38. In the form of Yakṣeśvara you have removed our arrogance. With sympathy and kindness we think we have been blessed by you.

39. Then the Yakṣanātha blessed the gods enlightened them with various instructions and vanished there itself.

40. Thus has been described the pleasant incarnation of Śiva called Yakṣeśvara that bestows pleasure, satisfaction and protection of the good.

41. The narrative is sacred; it dispels all arrogance; it bestows peace, worldly pleasure and salvation upon all good men.

42. The intelligent man who listens to or narrates this with devotion attains all desires. Then he attains salvation.

Footnotes and references:


The text of the fourth foot of this verse is corrupt.