The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “incarnation of mahalakshmi” 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 46 - Incarnation of Mahālakṣmī

The sage said:—

1. There was a demon Rambha who was the crest-jewel of the race of Daityas. From him was born Mahiṣa[1] the Dānava of great splendour.

2. That king of Dānavas defeated all the gods in battle and ruled over the kingdom of heaven seated on the throne of lord Indra.

3. The defeated gods sought refuge in Brahmā. With them Brahmā went to the place where Viṣṇu and Śiva[2] were present.

4. After reaching there and bowing to Śivā and Viṣṇu the gods narrated all their woeful tale in the proper order.

5. O lords, we are harassed by the wicked Mahiṣa. We have been ousted from heaven after our defeat in the battle-field.

6. We are wandering in this world of mortals without peace or happiness anywhere. O what pitiable plights we—Indra and others—have been led to!

7-8. The sinful Asura who has offered freedom from fear to the partisans of the Daityas, himself performs the ordained task of these—viz, the sun, the moon, Varuṇa, Kubera, Yama, Indra, Agni, wind, the Gandharvas, Vidyādharas and the good Cāraṇas and others as well.

9. Hence it behoves you to save us the gods who have sought refuge in you. O lords, please think of the means of killing him immediately.

10. On hearing the gods, Viṣṇu and Śiva were very angry. Their eyes rolled through anger.

11. Then a great splendour issued forth from the mouths of the infuriated Viṣṇu and Śiva and from the bodies of other gods.

12. The gods who were devoted to meditation on Durgā saw the mass of splendour blazing in all the ten directions.

13. That highly terrible splendour issuing forth from the bodies of the gods joined together and became a woman Mahiṣamardinī herself.

14. Her dazzlingly brilliant face constituted the splendour of Śiva, the hairs the splendour of Yama and the arms the splendour of Viṣṇu.

15-18. Her breasts were formulated by the splendour of the moon; the waist by that of Indra; the calves and thighs by that of Varuṇa; the hips by that of the earth; the feet by that of Brahmā; the toes by that of the sun; the fingers by that of Indra; the nose by that of Kubera; the teeth by that of the patriarch; the eyes by that of fire; the eyebrows by that of the dusk; the ears by that of the wind, her other limbs by that of other heaven-dwellers. Thus the goddess manifested herself on the lotus-seat.

19. On seeing her thus formulated by the mass of splendour of the gods, they attained great delight.

20. Observing that she had no weapons, Brahmā and other gods decided to make her fully equipped with weapons.

21. Then lord Śiva offered her a spear; Lord Kṛṣṇa gave her a discus; Varuṇa conch and noose.

22-23. The fire-god gave her Śakti; the wind-god a bow arid a quiver full of arrows; Indra the thunderbolt and a bell; Yama a big staff; Prajāpati a garland of beads; Brahma a water-pot and the sun the lustrous hair.

24-27. Kāla gave her a sword and a shining shield, the milk ocean a beautiful necklace, two fresh pieces of cloth, the crest-jewel, ear-rings, bangles, crescent-shaped ornaments, beautiful anklets, shoulder-pieces, a necklace and finger-rings. Visvakarman gave her a beautiful axe and the ocean various weapons, an impenetrable armour, a beautiful garland and a lotus.

28-29. Himavat gave her a lion and gems of various sorts. Kubera a vessel filled with wine. Śeṣa a Nāgahāra of wonderful workmanship, studded with various precious gems.

30. Thus honoured, the goddesss with these and other similar objects, ornaments, weapons etc. shouted loudly again and again.

31. The sky was filled with her terrible noise that echoed tremendously and made the three worlds agitated.

32. The four oceans shook and rolled. The earth quaked. Cries of victory were shouted by “the gods harassed by Mahiṣa.

33. Then the gods eulogised the great Śakti, Ambikā in the form of Mahālakṣmī with words choked with devotion.

34. On seeing the world agitated, the enemies of the gods got up with uplifted arms and with their armies ready for war.

35. The infuriated Mahiṣa rushed at the direction of the sound and saw the goddess who had pervaded the three worlds with her beautiful lustre.

36. In the meantime, crores of great heroes led by Mahiṣāsura came there with weapons..

37-38. Cikṣura, Cāmara, Udagra, Karāla, Uddhaṭa, Bāṣkala; Tāmra, Ugrāsya, Ugravīrya, Biḍāla, Andhaka, Durdhara, Durmukha, Trinetra Mahāhanu—these and many others, heroic and efficient in battle, came there.

39. As they, the masters of weapons and missiles, fought with the goddess in the battle a terribly long time elapsed.

40. Different weapons and missiles hurled by the hosts of enemies were rendered futile instantaneously by the power of the goddess.

41. Then the goddess hit and struck the hosts of enemies Gikṣura and others with her club, arrows, spear, Śakti and axe.

42. When his armies fell the demon Mahiṣa struggled with the hosts of soldiers that issued from the breath of the goddess.

43. He kicked some with the hoofs, hit some with the horns and others with his tail and snout.

44. After slaying the Gaṇas the chief of Asuras rushed at the lion of the goddess in order to kill it. Then she became wrathful.

45. He of great virility thrashed the ground with his hoofs, uprooted a mountain with his horns, hurled it and shouted.

46. O excellent king, heavy mountains hurled by him as he rushed all round fell in the battle-ground from the sky.

47. Clouds split by his horns were shattered to pieces. The ocean struck at with his tail throbbed and splashed water beyond the shores all round.

48. On seeing the demon Mahiṣa thus infuriated, Ambikā, the protectress of the gods, became ready to kill him.

49. She took up a noose and hurled it at him. She bound the Asura Mahiṣa. Then the demon abandoned his assumed guise.

50. Wielding Māyā, he became a lion. Soon as Ambikā tried to cut off his head he became armed with a sword.

51. She then struck him with the arrows, as he stood there with the sword and shield. He then became an elephant and struck at the lion with his trunk.

52. The goddess cut off his hand with her sword. The demon then assumed his original form.

53. He then agitated three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings. Then, Caṇḍikā of great honour and exploit became infuriated.

54. She drank the beverage again and again. With eyes rolliug she laughed aloud. The haughty Asura too, proud of his strength and exploit, roared.

55. He uprooted the mountains and hurled them at her. She too reduced them to powder and struck them with arrows.

56. With her face reddened as a result of the inebriation after drinking wine, and with her senses excited, she spoke in a tone as majestic as the rumbling of the clouds.

The goddess said:—

57. “O stupid fellow, O demon of ruined intellect, why are you stubborn in vain? None of the Asuras in the three worlds can stand before me”.

The sage said:—

58. Thus saying the goddess pounced on him, stamped on his neck and pierced him with her fierce spear.

59. Pressed with her foot and overwhelmed by her might the Asura seemed as good as half dead.

60. Still he continued to fight. His head was cut off with the sword and he was felled down on the ground.

61. Crying “Alas! Alas” loudly, his followers, afraid of the battle fled from the scene shouting “Save us, O save us”.

62. The god Indra and others, eulogised the goddess. The Gandharvas sang songs; the celestial damsels danced.

63. O king, thus the origin of Mahālakṣmī has been narrated to you. Now listen to the origin of Sarasvatī with a calm mind.

Footnotes and references:


According to MB. the Asura Mahiṣa was killed by Kārttikeya.


ŚP. mentions his death at the hands of Caṇḍī.