The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “incarnation of lord shiva as 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 41 - The incarnation of lord Śiva as Kirāta

Nandīśvara said:—

1. On seeing him come, Arjuna meditated on Śiva and fought with him a terrible battle.

2. He was severely afflicted by the Gaṇas with many sharp weapons. Thus tortured by them Arjuna remembered lord Śiva.

3. Arjuna split the arrows discharged by Kirāta and his gaṇas. Then he thought upon Śiva.

4. When distressed by him, the Gaṇas fled to the quarters. Then Śiva summoned the chief Gaṇas. But they did not respond to his call.

5. Śiva and Arjuna of great strength and exploit fought each other with various weapons of war.

6. Taking pity on him Śiva approached Arjuna, but Arjuna hit him heavily.

7. Śiva split the weapons of Arjuna as well as his armour. Arjuna stood in his bare body.

8. Although afflicted by fear, Arjuna remembered Śiva and fought a duel with the general spiritedly.

9. The earth along with the oceans shook due to their fight. “What will happen now?” Thinking thus, the gods were distressed.

10. In the meantime, lord Śiva stood in mid-air and fought. Arjuna too did likewise.

11. Flying at each other, lord Śiva and the earthly king Arjuna fought with each other. On seeing that wonderful battle the gods were surprised.

12. Then Arjuna came to the ground, remembered the lotus-like feet of Śiva and caught hold of his feet deriving sufficient strength, thanks to his meditation on Śiva.

13. Catching hold of his feet, Arjuna whirled him. Lord Śiva, favourably disposed towards his disciples, laughed indulging in divine sports.

14. O sage, it was surely done by Śiva himself who is subservient to his devotees. It could not be otherwise as this was just to grant him his devotion.

15. Then Śiva smiled and revealed his wonderful auspicious form as he is always well disposed to his devotees.

16-17. On seeing that beautiful form, the form of the excellent supreme being as mentioned in the Vedas, Śāstras and Purāṇas, the form which Vyāsa had advised him to meditate upon, the form which bestows alt Siddhis, the form of Śiva, Arjuna was abashed and surprised much.

18. “Hā, this is Śiva, this is Śiva who has been chosen by me as my lord, the lord of the three worlds himself. O what a thing have I committed now!

19. Powerful indeed is the Māyā of the lord. It deludes even the wielders of Māyā. Why have I been deceived by the lord who concealed his own form.”

20. After thinking thus within himself he joined his palms in reverence and bending his head he bowed to the lord with pleasure. Then he spoke in a delighted manner.

Arjuna said:—

21. O great god, O lord of gods, O Śiva the merciful, O lord of all, my fault shall be forgiven by you.

22. What you have done? By concealing your own form you have deceived me now. Fie on me who fought with you, my master, O lord.

Nandīśvara said:—

23. Thus Arjuna, son of Pāṇḍu, repented. He fell at the feet of lord Śiva.

24. Cheering up in various ways the delighted lord Śiva, favourably disposed to his devotees, replied to Arjuna.

Śiva said:—

25. O Arjuna, do not worry yourself. You are a great devotee of mine. I have done this just to test you. Give up your sorrow.

Nandīśvara said:—

26. After saying this and lifting Arjuna with his own hands, the lord rid him of his bashfulness through his own lordly qualities.

27. Delighting Arjuna, son of Pāṇḍu, honoured by heroes, Śiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees, spoke to him with pleasure.

Śiva said:—

28. O Arjuna, foremost among the sons of Pāṇḍu, I am delighted. Choose your boon. By your hits and blows I have been worshipped by you. I consider it so.

29. This has been done by my own will. The fault is not yours. There is nothing which cannot be given to you. Choose whatever you desire.

30. In order to establish the rule of your fame among your enemies what you have done is auspicious. You shall not be struck with grief. Eschew all your feebleness.

Nandīśvara said:—

31. Thus addressed by lord Śiva, Arjuna stood carefully and spoke to Śiva with devotion.

Arjuna said:—

32. O good lord, O Sadāśiva, is your desire, is your compassion to be described by me? You are the favourite of your devotees, you are Śiva, the bestower of welfare.

33. After saying this, the son of Pāṇḍu eulogised Śiva the great lord, devotedly, in the manner approved of by the Vedas.

34. “Obeisance to you the lord of gods. Obeisance to you the resident of Kailāsa. O Sadāśiva, obeisance to you. Obeisance to you, the five-faced[1] one.

35. Obeisance to Kapardin (one with matted hair), obeisance to you, the three-eyed. Obeisance to the delighted one, obeisance to the thousand-faced.

36. O blue-necked one, obeisance to you. Obeisance to Sadyojāta. O bull-bannered one, obeisance to you with Pārvatī as your left half.

37. O ten-armed one, Obeisance to you the great soul. Obeisance to you holding the drum and the skull in your hands. Obeisance to you, the one wearing a garland of skulls.

38. Obeisance to you with the body refulgent like pure crystal and pure camphor, obeisance to you with the Pināka in your hand, obeisance to the bearer of the excellent Trident.

39. Obeisance to the one with the tiger hide[2] as the upper cloth; obeisance to the wearer of elephant’s hide.[3] Obeisance to you with your body encircled by the serpents. Obeisance to you the supporter of Gaṅgā.

40. Obeisance to you of splendid, reddish feet, worthy to be served by Nandin and other Gaṇas. Obeisance to you, the chief of Gaṇas.

41. Obeisance to one in the form of Gaṇeśa, followed by Kārttikeya. Obeisance to the bestower of devotion and salvation to the devotees.

42. Obeisance to you devoid of attributes. Obeisance to you possessed of attributes. Obeisance to one with and without forms, having digits and devoid of digits.

43. Obeisance to the one who blessed me in the form of Kirāta. Obeisance to the one who is fond of fighting with heroes, obeisance to the one performing various sports.

44. Whatever splendid form is seen, its splendour is yours. You are in the form of pure consciousness. You sport about inṣṭhe three worlds in different guises.

45. There is no limit to your excellences as that of the dust particles, or stars in the sky or rain-drops.

46. Even the Vedas cannot enumerate your good qualities. O lord, how can I, deficient in intellect, describe any?

47. Whatever be your nature, obeisance be to you. It behoves you to take pity. O lord, I am your slave, O lord Śiva, you arc my master.

Nandīśvara said:—

48. On hearing his words, lord Śiva, who was highly delighted spoke to Arjuna delightedly.

Śiva said:—

49. Of what avail is a long talk? Listen to my words. O son, choose your boon quickly. I shall give you everything.

Nandīśvara said:—

50. Thus urged by him, Arjuna bowed to Sadāśiva with palms joined in reverence and with head bending down. He spoke with words choked with devotion

Arjuna said

51. What shall I say? You are the immanent Soul of all. Still let my detailed explanation be heard by you, O lord.

52. Whatever danger I had from enemies has vanished at your sight. Please do that which may confer worldly Siddhis on me.

Nandīśvara said:—

53. After saying this and bowing to Śiva who is favourably disposed to his devotees, Arjuna stood by with shoulder drooping down and palms joined in reverence.

54. Seeing Arjuna, son of Pāṇḍu, the foremost of his devotees, lord Śiva was extremely glad and satisfied.

55. Lord Śiva gave him Pāśupata missile that could not be thwarted by anyone at any time and spoke thus.

Śiva said:—

56. I have given you my own great missile. You will become invincible thereby. You will reap success over your enemies through this.

57. I shall tell Kṛṣṇa also. He will help you. He is my own soul, my devotee and he carries out my task.

58. O Bharata, due to my power, you will rule over your kingdom unhindered. You shall perform righteous deeds of various kinds always along with your brother.

Nandīśvara said:—

59. After saying this and placing his hand over his head, Śiva vanished after being duly worshipped by Arjuna.

60. The delighted Arjuna, after obtaining the excellent missile from the lord, returned to his hermitage remembering devotedly his chief preceptor and Śiva.

61. When he arrived, his brother felt fully revived as the body with vital airs. They felt happy at his sight. Draupadī of good rites was also delighted.

62. The delighted Pāṇḍavas were not satiated by hearing the details from Arjuna and knowing that Śiva was satisfied.

63. There was a shower of flowers and the sandal paste in the hermitage for honouring Arjuna the enemy of the boar and the Pāṇḍavas.

64. By bowing to Śiva joyously and realising that the time-limit had arrived, they knew that success was at hand.

65. In the meantime, on hearing that Arjuna had returned, Kṛṣṇa came there to see him. He was very happy,

66. Therefore I say that Śiva is the dispeller of all miseries. He is always served by me. Let him be served by you.

67. Thus the incarnation of Śiva as Kirāta has been explained to you. He who hears and narrates this obtains all desires.

Footnotes and references:


On the five-faced form of Śiva see P. 34 note.


Once Śiva visited a forest in the guise of a mendicant and charmed the wives of the sages by his physical splendour. The sages resented his action, dug a pit and by magical arts caused a tiger to rush out of it. But Śiva slew the tiger and took his skin which he wore as a garment. Dawson HM. P. 299.


The elephant skin belonged to the Asura Gaja (or Gaya) who had conquered the gods and destroyed the sages. Śiva is said to have slain the Asura, ripped up his body, stripped of the hide and used it as cloak. See ŚP. Rudra. Yuddhakāṇḍa, Ch. 57.