The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “goddess (devi) attains fair complexion” 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 25 - The goddess (devī) attains fair complexion

Vāyu said:—

1. Then circumambulating the lord and restraining the pangs of separation she went to the mountain Himavat.

2. Out of love she selected the same spot for her penance where she had formerly performed the same along with her friends.

3-7. She visited her parents at their house and bowed to them. Informing them of her intention and securing their permission she went to the penance-grove and discarded her ornaments. She took her bath and assumed the holy dress and features of ascetics. She performed the very difficult penance. She meditated upon the lotus-like feet of her lord. She conceived the same in Śiva’s external phallic emblem in accordance with the injunctions. In the three junctions of time every day she worshipped the same with the flowers and fruits of the forest. Thinking thus—“He alone, after assuming the form of Brahmā, will grant me the fruit of this penance”, she conducted the penance.

8. After some time had elapsed, seeing her performing the penance a huge tiger approached her with wicked intention.

9. The body of that animal of wicked soul became stiff and benumbed when he approached her.

10. Even after seeing the tiger that approached her with wicked intention the goddess (devī) did not turn away from her pious thoughts like ordinary people.

11-12. The animal with his body stunned and overwhelmed with hunger, stood there in front of her glancing perpetually at the goddess and thought, “My prey is nothing else.” Virtually this became his cherished goal.

13. Mercy was generated in the heart of the goddess who thought, “He is the perpetual performer of contemplation on me and my protector from the wicked animals.”

14. By this feeling of mercy the threefold dirt of the tiger perished and he realised the goddess.

15. His hunger receded. The benumbed stiffness subsided. His congenital wickedness disappeared. Contentment set in.

16. Realising his contentment with great piety he waited upon the goddess as a sudden devotee.

17. He roamed about the penance-grove as a router of wicked animals and wicked souls.

18. The penance of the goddess increased and became gradually acute. Meanwhile the gods sought refuge in Brahma due to the pressure of the Daityas.

19. The gods submitted to him how Śumbha and Niśumbha inflicted pain on them due to their strength derived from the boons.

2G-21. On hearing the distress of the gods Brahma grew merciful. He knew how Daityas could be destroyed. On being requested he went to the penance-grove of the goddess along with the gods reflecting in his mind that the liberation of the gods from misery could be achieved through his effort.

22-23. Brahmā saw the goddess, the mother of this universe, the mother of Trinity, the daughter of the lord of mountains, the foundation of the universe, firmly engaged in penance. On seeing her he was delighted.

24. On seeing that Brahmā had come along with the gods, the goddess offered him Arghya and received him with words of welcome.

25. Replying suitably and congratulating her the lotus-born Brahmā asked her the purpose of her penance as though he did not know.

Brahmā said:—

26. What is being striven for, O goddess, by means of this penance? The benefits of penances are under your control.

27. The fruit of the penance has been obtained by you in having obtained lord Śiva as your husband, who alone is the lord of all worlds.

28. Or all this is only a form of your divine sport. But this is surprising how you can bear separation from the lord.

The Goddess (devī) said:—

29. When at the beginning of creation as mentioned in the Vedas you are born of lord Śiva you are the first of my creation, my first-born son.

30. When for multiplying the subjects, Śiva was born of your forehead you became my father-in-law and so elder to me.

31. When the lord of mountains, my father became your son you became my grandfather, O grandfather of the worlds!

32. How can I inform you, the arranger of worldly existence what happened at the harem with my husband?

33. Of what avail is this talk? I wish to get rid of my dark complexion through legitimate remedies and obtain white colour.

Brahmā said:—

34. O goddess, why did you perform a severe penance for this purpose? Was not your wish alone sufficient for that? Indeed this is only your sport

35. O mother of the universe, your play too benefits the worlds. Hence some benefit pleasing to me may be sought through it.

36. Two Daityas, Śumbha and Niśumbha to whom I had granted boons have turned arrogant. They are harassing the gods. Their destruction is only through you.

37. Do not delay. For a short while be steady. The Śakti that is to be released now shall be their death.

38. Thus requested by Brahmā, the goddess, daughter of the mountain, cast off her outer skin and became white.

39. The outer sheath thus cast off became Kauśikī who is known as Kālī, the virgin with the lustre of’ the black cloud.

40. She is the Śakti in the form of Māyā, the Yogic slumber of Viṣṇu. She held the weapons, conch, discus, trident in her eight great arms.

41. She had three traits: gentle, terrible and a mixture of the two. She had three eyes. She was moon-crested. She had not experienced the sexual contact of any man. She was invincible and beautiful.

42. This eternal Śakti was given to Brahmā by the goddess (devī) as the would-be destroyer of Śumbha and Niśumbha, the leonine Daityas.

43. A very powerful lion that came there, was given to her as vehicle by the delighted Brahmā.

44. He fixed her abode on the Vindhya mountain. He ordained her worship by the gift of meat, fish, pies and wine.

45-46. That Śakti, approved of by Brahmā, the creator of the universe, bowed to her mother Gaurī and Brahmā in due order. Surrounded by many Śaktis equal to her and born of her she proceeded to the Vindhya[1] ready to slay the leading Daityas.

47-48. The leading Daityas were killed by her in battle, the Daityas whom the arrows of Kāma pierced in the minds and her own arrows split and pierced in the bodies. That battle is not described here as it has been described elsewhere. It can be guessed through other sources as well. I shall resume the present description.

Footnotes and references:


See p. 623 note 69.