The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “kirata-arjuna dialogue” 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 40 - The Kirāta-Arjuna dialogue

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, listen to the sport of the great soul Śiva full of affection for the devotee and to the test of its stability.

2. Śiva immediately sent his attendant to fetch the arrow. The Arjuna too came there.

3. The Gaṇa and Arjuna reached the place simultaneously for the arrow. Arjuna rebuked him and took up his arrow.

4. The Gaṇa said—“O excellent sage, why do you take this arrow? The arrow is mine. Leave it off.”

5. O excellent sage, thus addressed by the Gaṇa of the Bhilla, Arjuna remembered Śiva and spoke.

Arjuna said:—

6. O forest-roamer, what do you say without understanding? You are a fool. This arrow had been discharged by me just now. How can it be yours?

7. It is engraved with my name in many lines. The feathers are mine. How does it become yours? You insist according to your wild nature.

Nandīśvara said:—

8. On hearing his words, the leader of the Gaṇas laughed and spoke to Arjuna who was in the garb of a sage.

9. O sage, listen. You are a sage in disguise. You are not a true sage. You do not perform penance. People are being deceived by you.

10. How can a saint utter a lie? Do not take me to be single-handed. Know me to be the commander-in-chief.

11. My master is sitting there with many hunters. In every respect, he is capable of destroying or blessing you.

12. It is his arrow that has been taken by you now. This arrow will never remain with you.

13-14. O sage, why do you wish to lose the fruit of your penance? Truly have I heard that penance is marred and wasted by theft, pride afflicted by deceit and the breaking of promise. Hence O sage, whence will you derive the fruit of penance?

15. If you do not give up this arrow you will be an ungrateful fellow. It was certainly to save you that my master discharged this arrow.

16. Your enemy has been killed by him and you have kept the arrow to yourself. Very ungrateful indeed are you. You are making your own penance fruitless.

17. You do not speak the truth. What you wish to gain thereby? If you have any need for the arrow, you may approach my master and request him.

18. He can give you many similar arrows. My master is here. Why don’t you request him?

19. Unmindful of his help to you, you wish him harm. This does not behove you. Eschew this fickleness;

20. On hearing his words, Arjuna, son of Pṛthā, was angry. After remembering Śiva, he spoke these measured words.

Arjuna said:—

21. O hunter, listen. I shall explain. Your words are not true. O forest-wanderer, I know you. You are true to the caste in which you are born.

22. I am a king. You are a thief. How can a war be pursued? I must fight with people equal in strength to me, never with base people.

23. Your master will be only like you. We are the benevolent donors and you the forest-dwellers, thieves.

24. How can the king of foresters be requested by me now? O forest-wanderer, why don’t you beg the arrow of me?

25. I shall readily give you the arrows. Certainly I have many. If a king docs not give what is taken, your objection may come up.

26 Then O forester, how can I simply give away the arrow, if what I am desirous of doing is not being understood?

27-28. Why should there be a long talk? Let your master come and fight with me. Defeating me in the battle, let him take the arrow and return to his abode. Why should there be any delay?

Nandīśvara said:—

29. On hearing these words of Arjuna who derived his strength from the mercy of lord Śiva, the forester spoke these words.

The forester said:—

30. You are ignorant. You are not a sage. Why do you invite death? Give up the arrow and stay here happily or you will come to grief.

Nandīśvara said:—

31. Thus challenged by the forester who derived his strength from Śiva and who was a Gaṇa, Arjuna, son of Pāṇḍu remembered Śiva and said.

Arjuna said:—

32. O forester, listen attentively to my words. If your master comes here I shall show my strength.

33. It does not behove me to fight with you. I shall fight with your master. The fight between a lion and a jackal is very ridiculous.

34. You have heard my words. You shall see my strength now. O Bhilla, return to your master. Do as you please.

Nandīśvara said:—

35. O sage, thus addressed by Arjuna, the Bhilla returned to the place where the general Kirāta, the incarnation of Śiva, stood.

36. He mentioned Arjuna’s talk in detail to lord Śiva, the great soul in the form of Bhilla.

37. On hearing his words, lord Kirāta was much delighted. It was Śiva dressed as a Bhilla who had come there with his army.

38. On seeing Kirāta with his army, Arjuna, son of Pāṇdu, took up his bow and arrows and faced him.

39. Then Kirāta sent the messenger again and through him delivered the message to Arjuna, the great soul.

Kirāta said:—

40. O sage, see this army coming. Give up the arrow and go away. Why do you seek death for a trifle.

41. Your brothers are in distress. Your wife is grief-stricken. I think your kingdom will slip off your hands, I am sure.

Nandīśvara said:—

42. It was just to test the firmness of Arjuna that the great lord said this, the great lord Śiva who had assumed that form to protect Arjuna by all means.

43. What the lord said, the Gaṇa of Śiva mentioned that to Arjuna in detail after approaching him.

44. On hearing that, Arjuna replied to the messenger “You shall tell your general that the reverse of what he says will happen to him.

45. If I were to give up the arrow that belongs to me I shall be the cause of ignominy to my family.

46. Well may my brothers be distressed. Let all my knowledge be fruitless. So, come on to fight with me.

47. No lion is ever frightened of a jackal. A king is never afraid of a forester.”

48. Thus replied by Arjuna the Bhilla returned to his master and conveyed all that Arjuna had said.

49. Lord Śiva, a Kirāta, heard the message and approached Arjuna along with his army.