The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “incarnation of dvijeshvara” 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 27 - The incarnation of Dvijeśvara

Note: This Chapter has a close resemblance with the second canto of Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa.

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O dear, listen, I shall expound to you the incarnation of Śiva the great soul as Dvijeśvara (a leading Brahmin) along with Śiva. It is pleasing to the good.

2-3. O dear, I have already described to you the excellent king Bhadrāyu whom Śiva blessed in the form of a bull. In order to test his steadfastness and piety the lord manifested himself again in the form of a leading brahmin. I shall mention that same story.

4. Conquering the enemies through the power of Ṛṣabha in battle, Bhadrāyu attained the throne, O dear.

5. O brahmin, the chaste lady Kīrtimālinī, daughter of Candrāṅgada and Sīmantinī, became his wife.

6. O sage, once after the advent of spring, the king Bhadrāyu entered a thick forest along with his beloved queen, for sport.

7. In that beautiful forest, the king sported about along with his beloved who protected those who sought refuge in her.

8. Then, in order to test his steadfastness and piety, lord Śiva carried out his sports there itself along with Śivā.

9. Śiva and Śivā in their own divine sports assumed the form of a brahmin couple and created an illusory tiger with their Māyā.

10. Not far from the place where the king stood, they began running in great fright on being pursued by the tiger. They cried and shouted too.

11. O dear, the king Bhadrāyu, the leading Kṣatriya worthy of being sought refuge in, saw both of them highly distressed and lamenting.

12. O leading sage, the illusory brahmin couple, extremely terrified, spoke to the king Bhadrāyu.

The brahmin couple said:—

13. O great king, O foremost of the knowers of virtue save us both. O great lord, this tiger is rushing on in order to devour us.

14. This beast of prey is like the god of death. It is terrifying to all living beings. Knower of virtue that you are save us before it pounces on us and devours us.

Nandīśvara said:—

15-16. After hearing the lamentation of the pair, the great king of great heroism immediately took up his bow, but the rushing tiger of Māyic origin, seized the brahmin’s wife.

17. The terrible tiger grasped the woman even as she was lamenting—“O lord, O husband, O Śiva, O, preceptor of the universe.”

18. The king struck the tiger with sharp arrows; but it was not at all affected by them. It stood like a lofty mountain, which is not affected by showers.

19. The powerful tiger, not at all pained by the missiles of the king, seized the woman forcibly and ran away in a hurry.

20. On seeing his wife seized by the tiger, the brahmin was much bewildered and following the way of the world cried again and again.

21. After crying for some time that brahmin who was lord Himself wielding his Māyā, spoke to the king Bhadrāyu dispelling his arrogance.

Dvijeśvara said:—

22. O king, where are your great weapons? Where is your great bow that professes to protect? Where is your strength of ten or twelve thousand great elephants?

23. Of what avail is your sword? Your conch? Of what avail is your learning in the lores of mantras and missiles? Of what avail is your might? Of what avail is the strength of your great missiles?

24. All these have become futile, for you are incompetent to meet the onslaught of wild animals.

25. The greatest duty of a Kṣatriya is the protection from injury. When that virtue hereditarily practised in your family is lost, of what avail is your life?[1]

26. Kings protect the distressed people who seek refìige in them with their very lives and assets. They are the knowers of virtue. Without that they are like a dead body.

27. Better death than life that does not protect the distressed. A mendicant is better than a rich householder who does not possess charitable nature.

28. Better to swallow poison or enter fire than cease to protect the oppressed, the helpless and the poor.

Nandīśvara said:—

29. On hearing his lamentation and the decrial of his prowess, the king thought within himself thus—

30. “Alas, my manliness is lost today due to the adverse fate. Today my fame has been quashed. Great sin has been acquired.

31. The hereditary virtue has been smothered. I am unfortunate and confused in mind. Certainly my riches, my kingdom, my longevity will dwindle.

32. By surrendering my own life,, lovable though it is, I shall make this brahmin free from grief, this brahmin whose wife has been seized by the tiger and who is pained extremely.”

33. Having decided thus in his mind that excellent king Bhadrāyu fell at his feet and spoke to him in conciliatory tone.

Bhadrāyu said:—

34. O Brahmin, I am a base Kṣatriya bereft of strength. You take pity on me. O intelligent one, do not grieve. I shall give you what you desire.

35. This kingdom, this queen, this body of mine, everything is subservient to you. What is the greatest thing that you desire?

The Brahmin said:—

36. What can a blind man do with a mirror? Of what avail is a house to him who lives on alms? What can a fool do with a book? Of what avail is wealth to him who is bereft of his wife?

37. Hence I who am not satiated with the enjoyment of pleasures but I whose wife is snatched away desire your crowned queen. Let her be given to me.

Bhadrāyu said:—

38. I can give all my assets to the extent of the earth, my kingdom, horses and elephants aiíd even my body to anyone but never can I give away my wife.

39 The sin that accrues by indulging in sexual intercourse with another man’s wife cannot be wiped off even by hundreds of expiatory rites.

The Brahmin said:—

40. Let it be the terrible sin of the slaughter of a brahmin; let it be the sin of sipping wine, I shall quell it with my power of penance. What then the sin of enjoying another man’s wife?

41. Hence give me your wife. I have no other desire. Certainly you will go to hell by your inability to protect the oppressed.

Nandīśvara said:—

42. At the words or the brahmin, the frightened king thought to himself, “It is a aw to withhold protection. It Is proper under the circumstance to give away my wife.”

43. Hence I shall give my wife to this deserving brahmin and escape sin. Immediately thereafter I shall enter fire. My fame then shall be known.”

44. After deciding mentally like this, he kindled a blazing fire. He called the brahmin and gifted away his wife with water.

45. He took the ceremonial bath and became pure. He bowed to gods went round the fire thrice and meditated on Śiva with pure mind.

46. He was just to fall into the fire with his mind fixed at the feet of Śiva, the lord of the universe when Dvijeśvara revealed himself and stayed him.

47-49. The king saw in front of him the five-faced, the three-eyed lord with the Pināka in his hand, bedecked by the digit of the moon, with hanging matted hair shedding tawny lustre, having the brilliance of a crore of midday blazing suns, white as the lotus stalk fibre, wearing the hide of the elephant, with his head drenched by the waves of Gaṅgā, having the necklaces of great serpents, bedecked in coronet, waistband, shoulderlet and shining bangles, holding in his hands, the trident, the sword, the missile Khaṭvāṅga, the dagger, the shield, the deer, the mystic sign of protection, the eight articles of worship and the Pināka, seated on his bull and blue-necked.

50. Then from the sky divine showers of flowers fell. The divine instruments were played. The celestial damsels sang and danced.

51. Viṣṇu, Brahmā, Indra and other gods excluding Nārada and other sages too came there eulogising.

52. While the king was watching with palms joined in humility and devotion, there was great jubilation that enhanced devotional feelings.

53. The vision of the lord increased his pleasure. The incessant tear-drops smeared his body. He had horripilation and choked throat. With palms joined in reverence, he eulogised the lord.

54. The supreme lord, the storehouse of mercy and his consort Pārvatī were very much delighted. The lord then spoke to him thus.

55. “O king, I am satisfied with your devotion more than your piety. Mention the boon that you as well as your wife wish to choose. I shall undoubtedly give it to you.

56. It was to test your feeling? and emotions that I assumed the form of a brahmin and approached you. She who was seized by the tiger is the goddess Śivā herself.

57. It was an illusory tiger which could not be hit by your arrows. I wanted to test your courage by demanding your wife.

58. On hearing the words of the lord, the king Bhadrāyu eulogised and bowed to the lord with bent head.

Bhadrāyu said:—

59. O lord, this alone is a great boon that you became visible to me searched by the sun of worldly existence.

60. O lord, since out of pity you wish to accord me a boon, I choose it as a great devotee[2] does from his lord, the granter of boons.

61-62. O great god, my father Vajrabāhu with his wife, O lord, I a servant at your feet, along with my wife, the Vaiśya Padmākara and his son Sanaya, O great lord, make all of us residents near you.

Nandīśvara said:—

63. Then the queen, his wife, Kīrtimalinī propitiated Śiva with devotion and requested for an excellent boon.

The queen said:—

64. O supreme God, Candrāṅgada my father and Sīmantinī my mother, I request the two to be joyously staying near you for ever.

Nandīśvara said:—

65. The delighted lord of Gaurī, favourably disposed to his devotees said—“Let it be so” and granted them the boon they desired and then vanished in a moment.

66. Acquiring the grace of the trident-bearing lord, Bhadrāyu, enjoyed several pleasures lovingly in the company of Kīrtimālinī.

67. Unimpeded in the exercise of his power he ruled the kingdom for ten thousand years. Then he entrusted his son with the kingdom and went to Śiva’s presence.

68. The king Candrāṅgada and the queen Sīmantinī devoutly worshipped Śiva and attained his feet.

69. Thus the great incarnation of lord Śiva as Dvijeśvara has been described by me. It was the bestower of great bliss on Bhadrāyu.

70. He who reads or listens to this holy narrative of Dvijeśa incarnation of Śiva of pious fame, goes to Śiva’s region.

71. He who listens to this every day or narrates this with attentive mind does not swerve from his duty and attains salvation hereafter.

Footnotes and references:


Compare Raghu. II. 53.


Read bhaktoṃ(?) for tyakto(?) in the printed Skt. text.