The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “destruction of daksha’s sacrifice (1)” 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 20 - The destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice (1)

Vāyu said:—

1. Then he saw the great Satra of the gods of great splendour the chief of whom was Viṣṇu. The satra had all the paraphernalia—the flags of various colours etc.

2. Good grass was scattered in straight lines. The sacrificial fire was well-kindled. It was embellished with glittering sacrificial vessels of gold.

3. The rites were performed neatly in accordance with the rules found in the Vedas by the sages who were experts in sacrifices and who performed the rites properly.

4. Thousands of celestial damsels were there. The Satra was attended by the Apsaras. The sweet sound of flutes and lutes spread and was enhanced by the sound of Vedic hymns.

5. On seeing all this, the heroic Vīrabhadra of great exploits roared like a lion or a majestic rumbling cloud.

6. Then a hurrah of joy, filling the sky and superseding the sound of the ocean was produced by the lords of gaṇas.

7. Overwhelmed by the great sound the frightened heaven-dwellers ran helter-skelter dropping their garments and ornaments.

8. “Has the great Meru been burst? Is the earth pierced through? What is this?” the gods, began to scream and shout.

9. Some abandoned their lives due to fear like lordly elephants in a thick forest on hearing the roar of the lion.

10. Mountains crumbled. The earth quaked. Winds rolled and reeled. The ocean was agitated.

11. Fires did not blaze. The sun did not shine. Neither the planets nor the stars nor the other luminary bodies shone.

12. In the meantime lord Bhadra in the company of Bhadras and the goddess Bhadrā reached the brilliant sacrificial altar.

13. On seeing him, Dakṣa stood steady and firm though he was frightened. He spoke angrily “Who are you? What do you wish?”

14-15. On hearing the words of the wicked Dakṣa, Vīrabhadra of great splendour and of majestically rumbling sound like the cloud smilingly looked at Dakṣa, the gods and the Ṛtviks. He spoke the relevent words full of meaning without the least excitement.

Vīrabhadra said:—

16. We are the followers of lord Śiva of great splendour. We have come for our share. May that be given to us.

17. If the share has not been allotted to us in the sacrifice let the reason be mentioned or let the gods fight with me.

18. When they were told thus by the chief of Gaṇas the gods headed by Dakṣa said—“The mantras are our authorities. We are not the lords.”

19. The Mantras said—“O gods, your minds are oppressed by Tamas. Hence you do not deserve the first share. Worship lord Śiva.”

20. Though advised by the Mantras the gods with deluded minds did not offer the share to Bhadra. They desired to drop him out.

21. When their truthful and wholesome words went in vain the Mantras turned away from that place and went to the eternal Brahmaloka.

22-23. Then the chief of Gaṇas spoke to the gods headed by Viṣṇu, “You have not accepted the mantras being proud of your strength. Since we have been dishonoured by the gods thus in this sacrifice, I will drive out your arrogance along with your lives.”

24. After saying thus the infuriated lord burnt the sacrificial altar with the fire of his eyes as Śiva had burnt the three Puras.[1]

25-26. Then the lords of gaṇas of mountain-like huge bodies uprooted the sacrificial posts and tied them to the necks of the Hotṛ priests by means of ropes. They broke and powdered the sacrificial vessels of various shapes and sizes dissolved them in water anḍ hurled all the appendages of the sacrifice in the currents of the Gaṅgā river.

27-28. There were heaps of foodstuffs and beverages; milk flowed like rivers exuding nectar; curds formed smooth slimy slush. Sweet smelling meat and foodstuffs lay in heaps high and low. There were juicy beverages, and foodstuffs to be lapped up. The heroes ate, chewed and scattered them.

29-30. The heroic Bhadras born of Vīrabhadra’s body hit and split the haughty gods including the guardians oi the quarters by means of discus, thunderbolts, spears, Śaktis, nooses, iron clubs, iron rods, swords, axes, Bhindipalas and huge battle-axes

31-32. “Chop off and split” “Hurl quickly” “Let him be killed” “Take away and strike” “Peel and tear off” such ruthless words full of excitement, usual in wars and jarring to the ears arose from the lords of Gaṇas.

33-36. Some rolled their eyes, gnashed their fanglike teeth and bit their lips and palates. They pulled out the sages in the hermitages and killed them. They took away sacrificial ladles and spoons and hurled them into fire and water. They broke domes, gemset platforms. They sang, shouted and laughed again and again drinking blood-like wine. The leading Gaṇas danced.

37. Pounding up the gods including Indra, the leading Gaṇas, strong like lordly bulls, elephants and lions, of unrivalled glory, perpetrated hair-raising deeds of destruction.

38. The Pramathas rejoiced, struck, ran, prattled, danced, laughed and jumped about.

39. Some of them evinced a desire to seize the watery clouds, some jumped up to seize the sun; others wished to blow along with the wind.

40. Some wielded weapons and rushed through the sky like peaks of mountains; tossed the gods like the Garuḍa tossing huge pythons.

41. Some looking like the black clouds uprooted the houses, windows, daises, hurled them into water and roared.

42. The doors, door-frames and walls of the sacrificial mansion were upset; the windows, ceiling frames, the halls were destroyed utterly. The complete edifice of sacrifice crumbled helplessly like a statement without foundation.

43. While houses were being dismantled, the women shrieked and cried helplessly “O husband” “O Child” “O father” “O brother” “O mother” “O uncle.”

Footnotes and references:


The three cities or castles of the Asuras Tāraka, Vidyunmālī and Maya were received as gifts from Brahmā pleased by their penance. These were destroyed with a single shaft by Śiva who was annoyed at their savage activities. Prof Agrawal considers the burnings of Tripuras as historical event.

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