The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness and glory of mahabala” 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 10 - The greatness and glory of Mahābala

Sūta said:—

1. There was a highly virtuous king Mitrasaha in the glorious family of Ikṣvāku. He was the greatest of skilled archers.

2. The virtuous and auspicious-natured lady Madayantī was his beloved wife, like Damayantī of Nala. She was known as a chaste lady.

3. Fond of hunting, once that king Mitrasaha went to a thick forest accompanied by a huge army.

4. Sporting about there, the king killed a wicked demon Kamaṭha who used to harass good men.

5. The demon’s younger brother, a deceitful sinner thought “I shall conquer him by deceitful means” and with this evil intention approached the king.

6. On seeing him humble in behaviour in seeking service under him, the king made him the chief cook without knowing his real nature.

7. After indulging in hunting sports for sometime in the forest, the king abandoned the game and joyously returned to his capital.

8. On the Śrāddha day of his father the king invited his preceptor Vasiṣṭha to his palace and fed him devoutly.

9. On seeing the vegetarian and non-vegetarian dish in which the demon in the guise of a cook had mixed human flesh, the preceptor said.

The preceptor said:—

10. O wicked king, fie upon you. Human flesh has been deceitfully offered to me by you. Hence you will become a demon.

11. On realising that it had been perpetrated by the demon, the preceptor pondered over and prescribed a timelimit of twelve years for the curse.

12. Thinking that the curse was unjustified, the infuriated king was about to return the curse with a handful of water.

13. Then the chaste and virtuous queen Madayantī fell at his feet and entreated him to spare the curse.

14. Out of deference for her entreaties the king desisted from cursing, but dropped the handful of water on his own feet which became deformed.

15. O great sages, from that day onwards the king became famous in the world as Kalmāṣāṅghri by the virtue of that water.

16. By the curse of his preceptor the leading sage, the king Mitrasaha became a terrible violent Rākṣasa, roaming in the forest.

17. Transformed as Rākṣasa and resembling Yama, the destroyer of the world, he roamed about in the forest devouring various living beings, men and others.

18. Once, somewhere in the forest, the king who was as hideous as the god of death saw a newly married couple—a young sage and his young wife indulging in sexual dalliance.

19. The demon habituated to eat human flesh in his distressed state due to the curse caught hold of the young sage in order to eat him like a tiger seizing a fawn.

20. The young woman, on seeing her husband seized by the demon, was much frightened and implored him with piteous cries.

21. In spite of repeated importunities the man-eating ruthless wicked demon cut off the head of the brahmin sage and devoured it.

22. The distressed, grief-stricken chaste lady lamented much. She gathered the bones of her husband and lighted a funeral pyre.

23. The brahmin lady desirous of entering the pyre in order to follow her husband cursed the Rākṣasa king.

24. The chaste lady entered fire after proclaiming “From now onwards if you become united with any woman in sexual embrace you will die.”

25. After undergoing the results of his preceptor’s curse to which there was a time-limit, the king regained his original form and joyously returned to his palace.

26. Madayantī who knew of the curse of the chaste brahmin lady prevented her husband who evinced a desire for sexual embrace. She was much frightened of widowhood.

27. The issueless king became disgusted with kingly pleasures. Eschewing all riches he went to the forest.

28. He saw the hideous form of Brahmahatyā closely following him, threatening him again and again and tormenting him.

29. Dejected in mind the king wanted to get rid of Brahmahatyā. He tried japas, holy rites, sacrifices and various other means.

30. O brahmins, when Brahmahatyā did not leave him inspite of the means like the ceremonial ablution in holy centres, the king went to Mithilā.

31. Distressed and worried by anxiety the king reached a park at the outskirts of the city. There he saw the sage Gautama approaching him.

32. The king advanced towards that sage of pure mind. He felt satiated on seeing him. He bowed to him again and again.

33. When the sage enquired of his welfare, the king heaved a sigh of grief and distress. Viewed mercifully by him the king felt pleased and contented. He said thus.

The king said:—

34. O sage, this endless Brahmahatyā harasses me. O dear, it is imperceptible to others but it threatens me at every step.

35. A brahmin boy had been devoured by me in the clutches of a curse. That sin cannot be suppressed even by thousands of expiatory rites.

36. O sage, I roamed here and there and tried various means to quell it. But it did not leave me off. Is it not due to my being a sinning soul?

37. Now it seems to me that I have attained the fruits of my birth because merely by your sight my heart is filled with bliss.

38. O fortunate one, I, the sinner, seek refuge in your lotus-like feet. Grant me peace, whereby I can be happy.

Sūta said:—

39. Implored thus by the king, the kind-hearted Gautama instructed him in the expiatory means for terrible sins.

Gautama said:—

40. O excellent king, well done You are blessed. Eschew all fear from sins. As long as Śiva is the ruler, there can be no terror to devotees who seek refuge in him.

41. O fortunate king, listen. There is another shrine well consecrated. There is a Śiva’s temple named Gokarṇa. It destroys all great sins.

42. Sins greater than the greatest cannot stay there. Śiva himself is present there in the name of Mahābala.

43. Mahābala is the emperor of all phallic images. It assumes four different colours in the four Yugas. It dispels all sins.

44. The excellent holy centre of Gokarṇa is on the shore of western ocean. There is a phallic image of Śiva, destructive of great sins.

45. Great sinners go there, take their ceremonial ablutions many times in the sacred waters and worship Mahābala. They have all attained Śiva’s region.

46. O king, you also go to Gokarṇa, the temple of Śiva. After going there and worshipping Śiva attain contentment.

47. Take your holy dip in the sacred waters there. Worship Mahābala. Thus you will be rid of sins and attain Śivaloka.

Sūta said:—

48. Advised thus by the noble-souled Gautama, the king highly delighted in the mind reached Gokarṇa.

49. He took his dip in the holy ponds and worshipped Mahābala. His sins were wiped off without the least vestige. He attained the great region of Śiva.

50. He who listens to this pleasing narrative of Mahābala goes to Śiyaloka along with the members of his family upto twenty-one generations.

51. Thus the extremely wonderful glory of Mahābala, the phallic image of Śiva, has been narrated to you. It dispels all sins.