The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “abandonment of the body by sati” 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 18 - The abandonment of the body by Satī

The sages said:—

1. How did the goddess, daughter of Dakṣa become the daughter of Himavat and Menā after abandoning the body born of Dakṣa?

2. How was Rudra censured by Dakṣa the noble soul? What could be the cause whereby Śiva was censured?

3. O wind-god, formerly in the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara how was Dakṣa born due to the curse of Śiva? Please narrate.

Vāyu said:—

4. Please listen. I shall narrate the activity of the mean Dakṣa resulting in his insult to all gods due to his sinful blunder.

5. Once formerly, all the gods, Asuras, Siddhas and the sages went to the summit of Himavat in order to see the lord.

6. O Brahmins, the lord and the goddess were seated on a divine scat as they granted interview to the gods and others.

7. At the same time Dakṣa too had accompanied the gods in order to see Śiva his son-in-law and the goddess his own daughter.

8. In view of their dignity, the lord and the Goddess did not give any special preferential treatment to Dakṣa.

9. But deluded that he was, Dakṣa did not realise the greatness of the lord and the goddess. Thinking her to be his daughter he began to nurse a grudge and hatred against her.

10. Due to this enmity and further incited by Brahmā, Dakṣa after initiation did not invite them in the sacrifice.

11. He invited the other sons-in-law and honoured them severally.

12. On hearing from Nārada that they had assembled there, Satī went to her father’s abode after informing Rudra.

13-19. She stepped into the aeroplane along with her dear friends. It was a divine plane with doors on all sides; had good conditions; could be easily mounted. It was very charming. It shed golden lustre. It was studded with jewels of various sorts and had a canopy covered with pearls. It was decorated with stringed flower garlands. It had been wrought in molten gold; hundreds of bejewelled pillars supported it all round. The adamantine steps were neatly built. The columns and festoons were decorated with corals. The chief seat therein was studded with gems and covered with a silken cloth with flower-designs. Through every aperture rays of diamonds were diffused; a good gemset platform without dents shone. A flagstaff as pure as cloud decorated its front with the sign of the great Bull. It was studded with jewels. The main door was guarded by invincible Gaṇeśvaras wearing jewel-studded bodices and wielding canes in their hands. Many women, experts in playing on Mṛdaṅgas, flutes, Vīṇās and in music were seated there richly dressed and bedecked in ornaments.

20-21. Two Rudra virgins held the auspicious chowries and fans beautiful in their handles set with diamonds, and fanned the goddess. In the middle of the chowries the face of the goddess shone like a lotus in the midst of two fighting swans.

22-23. Sumālinī held over her head a pearl-stringed umbrella as white as the moon. The splendid umbrella shone above the face of the goddess as the moon's disc above the vessel of nectar.

24-25. Śubhāvatī of sweet smiling face sat in front of Satī and delighted her by playing at the game of dice. Suyaśas held the auspicious sandals of the goddess, studded with gems, in the middle of her breasts and served the goddess.

26-27. Another lady held the glistening mirror. Another held the fan. Another held the betelbox. Another held the charming parrot.

28. A certain lady held charming fragrant flowers. Another lotus-eyed lady held the repository of ornaments.

29-30. A certain lady held the unguent, good flowers and the auspicious collyrium. Other ladies did their respective duties. They sat around serving her. In their midst the goddess shone like the moon in the Autumn in the midst of a galaxy of stars.

31-32. Then after the blowing of the conch the great wardrum was sounded indicating the time of departure. Then hundreds of bugles and sweet-toned instruments sounded without being beaten (obstructed) along with the sounds of clapping the hands.

33-34. Then eight hundred groups of the thousand strong armed Gaṇeśas equal in brilliance to lord Śiva went ahead. In their midst, the glorious chief of Gaṇas, honoured by the moon and Nandīśvara sat on the Bull like Bṛhaspati on an elephant.

35-37. The divine drums were sounded in heaven. Clouds were divinely pleasing. The sages danced. Siddhas and Yogins rejoiced. Everywhere on the way the clouds in association with the gods and others made showers of flowers above the canopy. The goddess entered her father’s house as if in a moment.

38. On seeing her Dakṣa became infuriated which subsequently became the cause of his destruction. He worshipped her younger sisters too in an insulting manner(?)

39. Then the goddess spoke to her father in the midst of the assembly, relevantly unexcitedly and undemeaningly.

The goddess said:—

40. O father, the lord at whose bidding everyone from Brahmā to the Piśācas becomes subservient has not been duly worshipped.

41. Let that alone. Why did you slight me your eldest daughter in a despicable manner?

42. Thus addressed, the infuriated Dakṣa replied angrily “The younger daughters are better than you. They deserve my special reverence.

43. Their husbands evoke my respect and joy, for they are superior to your husband lord Śiva.

44. He is stiff-souled and you have resorted to him. So I dishonour you. He is antagonistic to me.”

45. Thus insulted the infuriated goddess spoke to her father within the hearing of all present there.

46. O Dakṣa, you insult my husband the lord of the world, whose insult no one has hitherto made.

47. The Śruti says that these are great sinners—viz. a stealer of learning, a traitor to the preceptor and an insulter of the Vedas and of the god. They deserve to be punished.

48. Therefore a terrible punishment befitting the great sin shall be meted out to you by divine intercession.

49. Since the lord of gods has not been worshipped by you, know that your family is defiled and ruined.

50. After saying thus to her father Satī abandoned her body and without fear went to mountain Himavat.

51. The glorious leader of mountains attained the fruit of his merits. It was for her that he had performed penance for a long time.

52. The goddess blessed the lord of mountains. Through her Yogic Māyā and at her own will, she made him her father.

53. When Satī rebuked Dakṣa and went away, the frightened and agitated Mantras too vanished. The sacrifice became hindered.

54. On hearing about the departure of the goddess, Śiva was angry with Dakṣa and the sages and cursed them.

55-57. O Dakṣa, since for my sake the sinless Satī had been dishonoured and the other daughters worshipped along with their husbands, these sons-in-law of yours will be born but not of a womb in the sacrifices of Brahmā in the Vaivasvata Manvantara. In the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara you will become a king as the grandson of Prācinabarhiṣ and the son of Pracetas.

58. O wicked one, there also I shall put up obstacles before you in all activities regarding virtue, wealth and love.

59. Thus addressed by Rudra of unmeasured splendour, Dakṣa abandoned the body and fell on the ground.

60. Then in the Cākṣusa Manvantara Dakṣa was born as the grandson of Prācinabarhiṣ and the son of Pracetas.

61. Bhṛgu and others were born in the Vaivasvata Manvantara in the sacrifice of Brahmā bearing the bodies of Varuṇa.

62. Then in the Vaivasvata Manvantara in the virtuous sacrifice of the wicked Dakṣa the lord created obstacles.