The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “the punishment of the gods” 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 21 - The destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice (2): The punishment of the gods

Vāyu said:—

1. The chiefs of gods headed by Viṣṇu and Indra were terribly afraid. They fled in excessive fright.

2. Seeing that the gods had fled uninjured and thinking that those who deserved to be punished remained unpunished the leading Gaṇa became angry.

3-4. He took up the all-destroying trident and looked up. He vomitted flames from his mouth, chased the gods as the lion chases the elephants. His gait as he pursued them resembled that of an elephant in its rut.

5-7. Then he agitated the army of the gods as the lord of elephants in rut stirs up a lake, shedding different hues blue, grey and red. He wore a tiger’s skin as his cloth which was inlaid with excellent gold and pearls. Cutting, piercing, moistening, tearing and pounding, Bhadra moved among the hosts of the gods like fire consuming dry grass.

8-9. As he walked about speedily armed with a spear all alone, the gods thought him to be numbering a thousand. The infuriated Bhadrakālī excited by the fight pierced through the gods in the war holding spears shedding flames.

10-11. Bhadra born of Rudra’s anger shone in her company as the fire at the time of dissolution with a lustre pale and smoky due to smoke. Pursuing the gods in the course of war, Bhadrakālī shone as the flame of fire at the end of the Kalpa that burns the universe.

12-15. Bhadra the leader of Rudragaṇas angrily kicked the sun and his horse on the head sportively with his left leg. The heroic Gaṇeśvara, Bhadra with self-control hit Pāvaka with his swords, Yama with iron-clubs, Rudras with his spear and Varuṇa with iron clubs. Holding the axe he hit Vāyu with it and Nirṛti with big clubs. The war was a sportive game for him. He attacked the gods and the sages antagonistic to Śiva.

16. Then the lord cut off the tip of the nose of Sarasvatī as well as of the mother of the gods with the tip of his nail.

17. With a dagger he chopped off an arm of Vibhāvasu, and the tongue up to two inches from the tip, of the mother of the gods.

18. The lord nipped off the right nostril and the nipple of the left breast of Svāhā with his nail-end.

19. The impetuous Bhadra uprooted the eyes of Bhaga large and lustrous like the lotus.

20. With the end of his bow he hit Puṣan’s pearl like row of teeth. Thereafter Puṣan could not utter words clearly.

21. Then the lord stamped the moon with his toe, as though he was only a worm and ground him on the ground.

22. The infuriated Bhadra cut off the head of Dakṣa and handed it over to Bhadrakālī even as Vīriṇi, wife of Dakṣa was lamenting.

23. Taking up the head resembling the fruit of a palmyra the goddess played with it like a ball in the battlefield.

24. Then the sacrifice itself was hit and smashed with feet and hands like fallen women hit by their husbands.

25-26. Catching hold of by the neck, Ariṣṭanemi, Soma, Dharma, Prajāpati Aṅgiras, father of many sons, Kṛśāśva and Kaśyapa, the powerful chiefs of Gaṇas of leonine exploits rebuked and hit them on the heads with fists.

27. Just as in Kaliyuga women of noble families are molested and defiled by paramours forcibly so also the women and the daughters-in-law were molested by Bhūtas and Vetālas.

28-30. Thus the sacrificial spot appeared like a desolate forest. The domes were smashed. The posts were broken. The festivities ended. The hall was burnt. The portals and festoons had crumbled. The army of the gods was uprooted. The sages were killed. The Vedic chant had subsided. The population had dwindled. The distressed women shrieked. The appendages were spoiled.

31. The excellent gods fell on the ground with their arms, thighs and chests pierced, with the heads cut off with the trident.

32. When thousands of gods were killed and their bodies lay sprawled on the ground, the chief of Ganas entered the place of sacrificial fires.

33. On seeing that Bhadra resembling the deadly fire had come the sacrifice was afraid of death and fled assuming the form of a deer.

34. Bhadra pursued him drawing his great bow, terrible due to the twanging sound of the firm bow-siring, and discharging the arrows.

35. He sounded the bow by drawing the string to the ears like the thundering cloud. The bowstring, heaven, sky and earth reverberated.

36-37. The sacrifice was terrified on hearing the sound, “O I am doomed”, he thought. He was trembling with the legs shaking. His lustre disappeared. He ran in the form of a deer. The heroic Bhadra. with a half curved arrow, decapitated him.

38. On seeing the sacrifice thus insulted, Viṣṇu was infuriated and got ready for a fight.

39-41. Garuḍa the devourer of serpents and the king of birds bore him speedily over his shoulders. The god Indra and others who had escaped helped him as if ready to abandon their lives. Seeing them along with Viṣṇu like the lion viewing the jackals the lord of Bhūtas laughed. He looked like a lion without distress.