The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes Lord Shiva Fascinated by Mohini which is chapter 12 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the twelfth chapter of the Eighth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 12 - Lord Śiva Fascinated by Mohinī

The son of Bādarāyaṇa (Śrī Śuka) said:

1-2. When god Śiva (the bull-bannered god) heard that Lord Hari infatuated the Dānavas in a female form and made the hosts of gods to drink the nectar, he ascended his bull along with goddess Pārvatī, and surrounded by all the hosts of goblins, paid a visit to the region where god Viṣṇu (the killer of Madhu) was residing, with a view to see him.

3. God Śiva (the source of the world) who along with his consort Umā (Pārvatī) was reverentially received by the Lord (Viṣṇu) and was seated comfortably, returned his respects with compliments and spoke smilingly.

Śrī Mahādeva said:

4. “Oh God of gods! Pervader of the universe! The Lord of the Universe of which you are the embodiment![1] You are the soul, the source[2] and the controller of all things.

5.[3] Your honourable self is that Brahman which is the Reality and pure consciousness—the Brahman wherefrom proceed the beginning (the emergence), the end (the destruction), the middle (the sustenance) of this universe, but who, due to his being unchangeable is not affected by these (changes); who constitutes this, the external thing (or the object to be enjoyed) as well as ‘I’, the other (the enjoyer of that object).

6. Meditative sages desirous of (attaining) the final beatitude do not seek any other blessings. They renounce attachment to both (this and the other world) and adore your lotus-feet.

7.[4] You are that perfect Brahman, immortal, attribute less and hence untouched by misery; absolutely and essentially blissful but not subject to modifications. Though one without a second, you are distinct from everything else. You are the cause of the origin, maintenance and dissolution of the universe, and the controller of all jīvas. Though sought after by them, you expect nothing from them.

8. You alone are one, both gross and subtle, the cause and the effect. Just as there is no difference in the subeffect called gold whether moulded (into an ornament) or (kept) unmodified (in its original form)[5] it is through ignorance that difference is superimposed on you, by people. The attribution of difference is due to guṇas or modifications, and you are absolutely free from them.

9.[6] Some (viz. the followers of the Vedānta) regard you to be the Brahman; while others (i.e. Mīmāṃsakas) consider you to be Dharma. Some (i.e. Sāṃkhyas) think you to be the Supreme Controller transcendental to both Prakṛti and Puruṣa. Others (the followers of the Pāñcarātra school) regard you as one endowed with nine powers,[7] while some others (followers of Yoga) know you to be the Supreme Person (Mahā-puruṣa), (while) you are changeless and self-dependent absolute.

10. Neither I nor god Brahmā (whose duration of life is of two parārdha years), nor sages of whom Marīci is the chief, though created from the Sattva quality, can comprehend the (real nature of the) universe created by you (much less your real nature). Oh Lord, how can demons and human beings and others whose minds are deluded by Māyā and who are of inauspicious rājasic and tāmasic origins,[8] or whose behaviour is wicked due to the influence of rajas aud tamas, can understand (You or Your creation comprehensively).

11. You are essentially knowledge itself. As such you know everything—(such as) all of your own work, the creation, continuance and destruction of the universe, the activities of beings, their bondage and emancipation from the mundane existence. Just as, Vāyu (the air) enters everything mobile and immobile as well as the sky, you, being the soul of everything and the very knowledge itself, pervade everything.

12. Your incarnations, while indulging in sportive activities with guṇas, have been witnessed by me. As such, I desire to behold that form of a young damsel assumed by you.

13. As we have a great curiosity, we have eagerly come to see that (female) form whereby Daityas were fascinated and gods were enabled to drink nectar.

Śrī Śuka said:

14. Being thus entreated by god Śiva, the wielder of the trident, Lord Viṣṇu gave out a hearty laugh, and replied in words pregnant with deep meaning.

The Lord replied:

15. When the jar of nectar passed (into the possession of the Daityas), the female form was assumed by me for exciting the curiosity of Daityas (and thus beguiling them) with a view to accomplish the interests of gods.

16. Oh! The best of gods! As you are curious to see it, I shall presently reveal to you that form which excites amorous passions and which is highly appreciated by passionate persons.

Śrī Śuka said:

17. While speaking thus, the venerable Lord immediately vanished at that very spot, while god Śiva, the Source of the Universe, along with his spouse Umā, waited there wistfully casting his glances in all directions.

18. Thereupon in a garden among trees blossoming with variegated flowers and reddish foliage, he saw a lovely damsel with a girdle round her waist clothed with a brilliant silken raiment, engaged in playing with a ball.

19. At every step she appeared as if getting broken in her waist, by the heavy weight of her big breasts, shaken by her movements of bending and rising along with the movements of the bounding ball, as well as with the weight of her precious solid pearl necklaces, and was taking her foliagelike tender feet here and there (from place to place).

20. Due to the quick (impredictable) movements of the ball in different directions, the pupils of her longish unsteady eyes appeared agitated. Her countenance appeared all the more beautiful with her cheeks shining with the resplendent pair of ear-rings and with her dark glossy tresses.

21. With her beautiful left hand she was tightening her loosened silken raiment and her dishevelling braids of hair and was hitting the ball with the other hand, she appeared as if enchanting the world with her own deluding powers.

22. Beholding her playing with the ball, the god lost his balance of mind by her side glances, accompanied with a covert smile caused by some slight bashfulness, while sporting with the ball. His mind became agitated by the exchange of mutual gazing of the woman. He became oblivious of himself, of his consort Umā and of his own attendants.

23. When the ball slipped from her hand and went to a long distance and she ran after it while the wind blew away her fine silken garment along with the girdle. And indeed (even) god Śiva stood gazing.

24. Beholding that exquisitely charming damsel with such winsome side glances and enchanting the heart, god Śiva fixed his heart on her indeed, when she showed to be enamoured of him through her ogling.

25. Being deprived of his wisdom, sense of decency and discernment, by her, and overcome with erotic passions evoked by her, he lost his sense of shame and approached her even while (his divine consort) Pārvatī stood gazing.

26. Seeing him approaching, she, being stripped of clothes, became extremely abashed. She concealed herself behind the tree laughing but did not linger (anywhere).

27. The divine Śiva whose senses (control of mind) were robbed away[9] (by the damsel) and was overpowered by passions, pursued her as the leader of elephant would follow a she-elephant.

28. Running after her with great speed, and seizing her by the locks of her hair, he dragged her near him and hugged her in his arms, despite her unwillingness.

29. Being closely embraced by god Śiva, like unto a she-elephant by an elephant, she wriggled to and fro (within his arms) and got her hair dishevelled.

30. Having extricated herself from the arms of the great god, she ran away fast, despite her big hips, as she was the Māyā (deluding potency) created by the Lord, Oh dear king.

31. Being completely overwhelmed with passion, like that by his enemy, the above-described Rudra followed the footsteps of the damsel, created by Lord Viṣṇu of miraculous exploits.

32. While running after her, the semen of Śiva of unfailing procreative capacity, went on escaping like that of a big bull-leader of a herd pursuing a fecundable Cow or as that of a rutting leader-elephant running after a fertilizable she-elephant.

33. Oh ruler of the earth! The various places on earth where the seed of that great-souled god fell, became the areas of silver and gold ores.

34.[10] Thus in the course of his pursuit (of the damsel), god Śiva was found (pursuing her) on the banks of the rivers and lakes on the mountains, in forests and gardens and whereever sages lived.

35. When his semen was completely escaped, he realized that he had been befooled by the Māyā of God Viṣṇu and he recovered himself completely from that delusion, Oh great king.

36. They say that god Śiva who thus fully realized the greatness of Lord Viṣṇu, his own soul, and the soul of the Universe, did not regard it (his being deluded) as in any way wonderful in the case of the Lord of incomprehensible prowess.

37. Perceiving that Śiva is unaffected by remorse and the sense of shame, Lord Viṣṇu (the slayer of demon Madhu) was highly pleased, and assuming his male form, he addressed him thus.

The Lord said:

38. I am glad that even though you have been deluded by my (irresistible) Māyā (deluding potency) in the form of a damsel, Oh dear one! you, of your own accord, have recovered your normal state of passionlessness or ego-lessness born of devotion (which is impossible in the case of any other god. Hence I address you as) the greatest god.

39. What man, with the exception of you, whence once caught in the snare of delusion, can overcome My Māyā which brings forth various objects (of enjoyment) and becomes extremely difficult to get over, by persons lacking in self-control.

40. This Māyā consisting of attributes (viz. Sattva, rajas and tamas) functions under my control (who am the Time-spirit,) for the purpose (of creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe), by means of the parts (such as rajas, sattva and tamas). She shall not henceforth overpower you.

Śrī Śuka said:

41. In this way, he (god Śiva) who was honoured by an embrace by Lord Viṣṇu bearing the Śrīvatsa mark on the bosom, took his leave of him, (respectfully) circumambulated him and returned to his own abode along with his retinue.

42. Later on, while being eulogized by great sages, the glorious god Śiva (the source of the Universe) lovingly spoke to his spouse Pārvatī about the Māyā which was a part of the Soul (of the Universe, viz.) Lord Viṣṇu, Oh scion of Bharata.

43. “Have you observed the deluding potency of the Unborn Supreme Person, the transcendental Deity whereby I, prominent one of his digits (rays), became helpless and succumbed to delusion? What to speak of others who are not the masters of their own selves?

44. He is that same Eternal Ancient Person, unaffected by Time, and incomprehensible to the Vedas,—The Person about whom you enquired of me at the end of my deep yogic meditation which lasted one thousand years.”

Śrī Śuka said:

45. Oh Child! In this way has been related to you the exploit of Lord Viṣṇu, the wielder of Śārṅga bow by whom the great mount (Mandara) was supported on his back while the ocean was being churned (for getting the nectar).

46. Never and in no way shall fail the exertions of a person who constantly chants or listens to the account of this (glorious deed of Hari), or the chanting of the glorious attributes of the Lord of excellent renown relieves one of all the troubles of saṃsāra.

47. I bow unto the feet of the Lord who though beyond the reach of the evil ones, is accessible through devotion; who, deluding the enemies of gods by assuming the disguise of a young damsel, made the foremost of gods who resorted to him to drink the nectar churned out of the (milky) sea, and who fulfils all the desires of those who approach him (for asylum).

Footnotes and references:


Jāgan mayā—Whose body is constituted of the sentients and non- sentients in the universe—Bhāgavata Candrikā,


hetu—The efficient cause and not extraneous ones like adṛṣṭaPadaratnāvalī


Deleted by Padaratnāvalī


According to Bhāgavata Candrikā Brahman being the material cause is not different from everything else.


Bhāgavata Candrikā regards this view as that of Vaiśeṣikas who, through ignorance, believe that this universe exists independent of Brahman.

Padaratnāvalī takes vihata as a v.l. for vihita and states ‘inasmuch as difference is overlaid on you through ignorance, it is ipso facto destroyed i.e. null and void’.


Padaratnāvalī thinks that the theories about God mentioned here are held by the followers of Vedānta and of Smṛtis, Purāṇas, Pañcarātra and by Ekāntins who regard God as Mahāpuruṣa who is changeless and absolute.


Bhāvāratha Dīpikā enumerates the powers of the Lord as follows:

Vimalā, Utkarṣiṇī, Jñāna, Kriyā, Yoga, Prahvī, Satyā, Īśānā, Anugrahā.


abhadraṃ rājasaṃ ca tāmasaṃ ca vṛttam utpattir yeṣāṃ te.—Bhāvāratha Dīpikā


Padaratnāvalī’s v.l. pramathitendriya [pramathitendriyaḥ]—whose senses were extremely provoked.


Anvitārthaprakāśikā. remarks that hereby Lord Viṣṇu demonstrated to the sages how even god Śiva had fallen from his yogic status, and thus indirectly emphasized that they should keep themselves aloof from women.

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