The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “destruction of daksha’s sacrifice (3)” 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 22 - The destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice (3)

Vāyu said:—

1. At that time a chariot resembling a thousand suns and with the emblem of a bull on the banner cloth appeared in the sky.

2. The splendid chariot had two horses and four wheels. Several divine weapons and missiles had been kept ready therein. It was embellished with jewels.

3. It was driven by the same charioteer who drove Śiva’s chariot in the latter’s war with the Tripuras.

4. At the bidding of Śiva, Brahmā brought the excellent chariot to Vīrabhadra and spoke with palms joined in reverence.

5. “O lord Vīrabhadra the eternal moon-crested lord commands you to mount the chariot.

6. O great-armed one, Śiva, stationed near the hermitage of Raibhya along with Śivā, is witnessing your unbearable exploit.

7. On hearing his words and Blessing Brahmā, the heroic leading Gaṇa mounted the divine chariot.

8. In the excellent chariot where Brahmā sat as the charioteer the splendour of Bhadra increased like that of Rudra, the enemy of the Tripuras.

9. Then keeping an excellent conch shining like the full moon, in his mouth, the powerful Bhānukampa blew on it.

10. At the sound of the conch resembling that of the swan, the fire in the belly of the gods blazed with fear.

11. In an instant the quarters including open spaces and crevices were filled up and thronged with leading Yakṣas Vidyādharas, serpents and Siddhas who desired to witness the battle.

12. Then Nārāyaṇa as the cloud inflicted pain on the Gaṇas as the cattle, through a great shower of arrows from his bow.

13. On seeing Viṣṇu coming and discharging arrows Bhadra took up his bow and showered thousands of arrows.

14. He took up the divine bow and slowly drew it like Śiva who drew the bow Meru.

15. As the bow was drawn a loud report was produced shaking the earth.

16. Then the chief of Gaṇas, of fierce valour and glory took an excellent arrow blazing like a serpent.

17. His hand in contact with the opening of the quiver for taking up the arrows appeared like a serpent wishing to enter an anthill.

18. The arrow lifted and held in the hand shone like the young one of a serpent held within the mouth of a great serpent.

19. With his stout and sharp arrow, the infuriated Bhadra who resembled Rudra, hit the unchanging Viṣṇu on his forehead.

20. Viṣṇu thus insulted and hit on the forehead became angry with the chief of Gaṇas like a cow or bull becoming angry with the lion.

21. Then he hit the serpent like arm of the chief of Gaṇas, with a cruel, pointed great arrow resembling the thunderbolt.

22. The powerful Vīrabhadra too, with a great velocity discharged an arrow brilliant like ten thousand suns again at his arm.

23. Viṣṇu hit Bhadra. Bhadra hit Viṣṇu. O brahmins both of them hit each other.

24. The tumultuous hair-raising fight between the two discharging the arrows on each other in quick succession then ensued.

25. On seeing their mutual noisy battle the sounds of “Hā-Hā” raised by the aerial wanderers rose in the sky.

26. Then Bhadra hit in the broad chest of Viṣṇu with an arrow that shone like the sun and the tip of which blazed like fire.

27. Acutely hit by the arrow that fell sharply, Viṣṇu suffered great pain and fell into swoon.

28. He regained consciousness instantaneously and got up. He discharged his weapons against Bhadra.

29. The chief of the army of Śiva stopped all the missiles discharged from Viṣṇu’s bow by means of terrible anti-missiles.

30. Then Viṣṇu with eyes reddened by anger discharged an arrow in which his name had been engraved and which had never been obstructed anywhere, against the Gaṇa chief. Showering arrows, lord Bhadra split the arrow into pieces on the way before it reached him.

31-33. Then within an instant he split the bow with a single arrow and the wings of Garuḍa with the two arrows. This was a wonderful feat. Then by his Yogic powers Viṣṇu let loose from his body thousands of terrific gods holding conch, discus and the club. Bat the mighty Bhadra burnt all of them instantaneously by means of the fire of his eyes like Śiva who burnt the Tripuras.

34-36. Thus infuriated Viṣṇu raised his discus in a hurry and attempted to hurl it on the hero. On seeing him in front with the discus lifted up, the chief of the Gaṇas smiled and without any strain made his hand stiff and benumbed. With his limbs turned numb, Viṣṇu became incapable though he was desirous of hurling the unequalled and terrible discus.

37-39. Gasping for breath with a hand holding the discus he stood idly, immobile like a stone, like the soul without a body, like a bull without a horn or like a lion without its fangs. So stood Viṣṇu. On seeing Viṣṇu in a miserable plight the infuriated Indra and other gods took up their weapons. They hastened to fight with the chief of Gaṇas like cows or bulls attempting to fight with a lion.

40-41. On glancing at them as a lion glances at the deer, Bhadra of Rudra’s body, the hero surrounded by excellent heroes, benumbed them with a boisterous laugh.

42. The right hand of Indra who desired to release the thunderbolt it held remained steady as painted in a picture.

43. The hands of others too became fixed, as the activities of idle men at the start remain unprogressive.

44. Thus the gods with their efficacy thwarted in the battle were rendered incapable of standing in front of him.

45. Frightened by the splendour of Vīrabhadra they could not stay further in the battle. In that fierce battle they fled even with their benumbed limbs.

46. The mighty Vīrabhadra hit the fleeing warriors, with sharp arrows like the cloud hitting the mountains with sharp showers.

47. The multitudinous arms of Vīrabhadra, resembling iron clubs, shone with their various shining weapons like serpents with fiery flames.

48. The hero discharging weapons and missiles shone like Brahma discharging (creating) all living beings.

49. Just as the sun covers the earth by his rays so the hero enveloped the quarters by means of his arrows.

50. The arrows of the Gaṇa chieftains embellished with gold and flying in the firmament like lightning became the standard of comparison.

51. The great arrows took away the lives of the gods even as the water snakes squeeze the lives out of the frogs. They drank their blood as though that were wine.

52. The hands of some had been cut off. The faces of some had been split. Some gods fell on the ground with their sides lacerated and bruised.

53-54. With their limbs shattered by the arrows, joints

severed and eyes dislocated they fell dead on the ground. Some desired to enter the earth and some wished to go up to the sky. Being unobstructed they merged into one another. Some entered the earth. Others entered the caves of mountains. Others went up to the sky. Still others entered the water.

55-56. With the gods with their limbs cut off, the hero shone like Bhairava who had seized people and like Śiva who had burnt the three cities.

57. Thus the entire army of the gods was dejected and looked hideous. They had their bodies mutilated by the Gaṇeśvara.

58. Then a terrible stream of flood from the bodies of the warriors began to flow striking terror in the living beings.

59. The ground of the sacrificial rites drenched with the blood shone like the goddess Kauśikī who had killed Śumbha with her garments wet with the blood.

60 When the extremely terrible battle had concluded the earth quaked as though frightened terribly.

61. The ocean was agitated with the surging waves, foams and whirlpools. Meteors fell portending great evil. Trees shed down their branches.

62-64. The quarters looked gloomy. Inauspicious wind blew. Ah, the adverse working of the fate. This is a horse-sacrifice. The sacrifìcer is Dakṣa himself. Dharma and others are the councillors. The Garuḍa-bannered deity is the patron. Indra and other gods take their shares directly. Still the sacrificer, the sacrifice and the priests are beheaded immediately.

65. Hence no such action shall be performed that is not indicated in the Vedas, and that which excludes Śiva and is taken up by the wicked.

66. A person devoid of devotion to Śiva docs not attain the fruit of any rite even though he may perform holy rites and sacrifices.

67. Even after committing great sin, if any one worships Śiva with devotion he is liberated from the sin. No hesitation need be made in this respect.

68. Of what avail is much talk? If any one censures Śiva, the charitable gifts he makes, the penance, the sacrifice, the homa, everything goes in vain.

69. Then the gods including Viṣṇu and the guardians of the quarters pierced by the arrows discharged from the bow of the chief of Gaṇas and overwhelmed by great pain fled from the battle.

70. The warriors of the gods with their hair dishevelled moved about. Some sat exhausted with their huge bodies. Some fell with their faces cut and some perished.

71. Some fell in adversity with their garments, ornaments, weapons and missiles scattered. Eschewing their pride, arrogance and strength they fell evincing signs of dejection.

72. Destroying Dakṣa’s sacrifice, performed in the wrong way, by means of weapons the invincible lord of Gaṇas shone amidst the leading Gaṇas like the lion in the midst of bulls.