The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “demon muka is killed in the context of the incarnation of kirata” 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 39 - The demon Mūka is killed in the context of the incarnation of Kirāta

Nandīśvara said:—

1. He performed the ablution duly, and the Nyāsa (the mystic placing of fingers etc.) in accordance with the Śāstric injunctions. He performed the meditation of Śiva with great devotion in the manner explained by Vyāsa.

2. Like a great sage, he stood on the sole of a single foot. He fixed one of his eyes at the sun and stood repeating the mantra.

3. Repeating the five-syllabled mantra of Śiva the most excellent of all the mantras and mentally remembering Śiva with pleasure he performed the penance.

4. The splendour of the penance was such that the gods were surprised. They went to Śiva again and told him sincerely.

The gods said:—

5. O lord of all, a penance is being performed by a man for your propiation. O lord, why don’t you grant him what he desires.

Nandīśvara said:—

6. After saying this the gods eulogised him in different ways. Fixing their eyes to his feet they stood there in agony.

7. On hearing their words the lord of benevolent mind, the delighted Śiva laughingly spoke thus to the gods,

Śiva said:—

8. O gods, you go to your abodes. Undoubtedly I shall carry out your task in every respect.

Nandīśvara said:—

9. On hearing those words of Śīva, they became assured. They therefore returned to their abodes.

10-13. In the meantime there came the demon Mūka, instigated by the wicked Duryodhana, wielding Māyā against Arjuna. O great brahmin, he had assumed the form of a boar.[1] He came along the path where Arjuna was staying. He was digging up the peaks of mountains and trees in plenty. He was roaring and grunting in diverse ways and was rushing at a great speed. On seeing the demon Mūka, Arjuna remembered the lotus-like feet of Śiva and began to think.

Arjuna said:—

14. Who is this? Where does he come from? He seems to be very ruthless in actions. Certainly he is coming here to harm me.

15. It occurs to me that he is my enemy, to be sure. Formerly many Daityas and Dānavas had been killed by me.

16. He may be one of those come here to wreak vengeance. Or he may be some friend of Duryodhana acting for his welfare.

17. Verily he is a benefactor on seeing whom the mind becomes pleased. If on seeing anyone the mind is agitated he is surely an enemy.

18. The conduct declares the family, the body declares the diet, the mode of speech declares the amount of learning and the eye indicates the affection.

19. The concealed mind is revealed by the general mien, the mode of walking, the activities, the speech, the features of the eyes and the face.[2]

20. The eye is of four sorts—the resplendent, the impassioned the squinted and the ruddy. The features are likewise different, O scholars.

21. It is resplendent, when friends meet. It is impassioned at the sight of the son. It is squinted in contact with the beloved and it is ruddy at the sight of the enemy.

22. In regard to him my sense-organs are excited. He must be an enemy. Undoubtedly he shall be killed.

23. I remember the words of my preceptor now—“O king, a person causing misery shall be killed by you by all means. No doubt need be entertained in this respect.

24. It is only for this purpose that I hold the weapons. There is no doubt in this.” After thinking thus he placed the arrow ready there and stood up.

25-26. In the meantime, Śiva, favourably disposed to his devotees, assumed the wonderful form of an efficient hunter and came there along with his Gaṇas in order to slay that Daitya, to protect Arjuna as well as to test his devotion.

27. The hunter had tucked up his lion-cloth and folded up Śiva’s banner. His body was lined with the white ash. He held a bow and arrows.

28. He carried the quiver suspended over his back. The Gaṇas too assumed the form of hunters. Śiva too became the chief of Bhillas.

29. The Commander-in-Chief started various sounds. The grunting sound of the boar too spread over the quarters.

30. Arjuna was excited by the sound that spread in the forest. Even the mountains were agitated by these sounds.

31. “Oh, can this be Śiva the benefactor? I have heard about this as mentioned by Kṛṣṇa.

32. Vyāsa too has mentioned and the gods too. Śiva is mentioned as the benefactor. Śiva is the cause of happiness.

33. He is called “the bestower of salvation” because he bestows salvation upon his devotees. Undoubtedly welfare befalls those who remember his names.

34. Even in dreams, misery does not befall those who worship him with devotion. If it happens at all, it is due to their previous activities.

35. That must happen whether big or small. The fault is particularly that of the action that has begun to fructify.

36. Or Śiva may dispel the misery by his will, after one has experienced the fruits of one’s action big or small.

37. He can convert poison into nectar and nectar into poison. Whatever he wishes he certainly does. How can an efficient man be thwarted?

38-40. Devotees of yore and future devotees must keep their mind steady after considering all those aspects, whether one is in affluent circumstances or not, whether death is imminent or not or whether people praise or censure. Misery is quelled. Śiva is always the bestower of happiness through the merit and sin of individuals. Sometimes Śiva makes us miserable in order to test us.

41. Since he is compassionate he is said to be the bestower of happiness ultimately. A gold piece can become pure only when it is put into the fire and purified.

42. This has been heard by me from the Sage. Hence I shall attain blessed happiness through his worship alone.”

43. While he was musing thus, the boar came within the range of his arrow-discharge.

44-45. In order to protect Arjuna, Śiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees, came there closely pursuing the boar. Between the two the animal rushed on and then halted. A wonderful horn was seen.

46. Then both of them discharged the arrow. Śiva’s arrow hit the tail, Arjuna’s arrow hit the snout.

47-48. Śiva’s arrow hit the tail and stopped at the snout. It struck the ground and entered it. Arjuna’s arrow pierced through the body. It came out of the tail and fell at its side. The boar who was a Daitya fell dead on the ground.

49. The gods were much delighted. They showered flowers. Bowing down and eulogising they cried shouts of victory.

50. On seeing the cruel form of the Daitya, Śiva was glad and Arjuna was happy.

51-52. With an excessively happy mind Arjuna said—“O this is a huge Daitya. He had assumed this wonderful form and had come here to kill me. But I have been saved by śiva. Lord Śiva has given me keen intelligence. There is no doubt in this.”

53. After thinking thus Arjuna repeated Śiva’s name. He bowed to Śiva and eulogised him again and again.

Footnotes and references:


The battle between Arjuna and Śiva disguised as Kirāta over the possession of an arrow that killed the boar, as described in Chs, 39, 40, 41 here, forms the main theme of Bhāravi’s Kirāiarjunīya.


Cp. Pañcatantra I.44.

ākārairiṅgitairgatyā ceṣṭayā bhāṣitena ca |
netravaktravikāraiśca lakṣyate'ntargataṃ manaḥ ||