The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the account of shivaduti which is chapter 31 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the thirty-first chapter of the Srishti-khanda (section on creation) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 31 - The account of Śivadūtī

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Bhīṣma said:

1-2. O revered one, the killing of Bāṣkali is a great wonder I have heard (the account) being narrated by best brāhmaṇas (that Viṣṇu) had taken the form of Trivikrama (i.e. Vāmana) when he had formerly subdued Bali, the son of Vairocana who even now stays in Pātāla.

3. (Tell me now as to) how Nāgatīrtha came into being, and also (tell me about) the origin of goblins, and how Śivadūti came there and who made her auspicious.

4. O great sage (tell me) who took Puṣkara into the intermediate space. Tell me all this as (you told me) about the killing of Bāṣkali.

5. Formerly (i.e. when he subdued Bali) god Viṣṇu had trodden upon the earth. What is the reason for the second treading for which he (again) did it?

6. Tell me all that accurately and as it took place, for it destroys sins, and should be heard by him who desires his well-being.

Pulastya said:

7. O king, you have put on me this load (i.e. volley) of questions through curiosity only. O best king, I shall tell you all as it happened.

8. The subduing of Bāṣkali (took place) in connection with the steps of Viṣṇu. You have heard all that. I have narrated all that to you.

9-10. When the age of Vaivasvata (Manu) set in, Viṣṇu again did it. The three worlds were occupied by Bali. Powerful Viṣṇu, having gone all alone, subdued Bali like that in a sacrifice. The lord of gods again trod upon the earth.

11. O king, Vāmana appeared like that. Vāmana having become Trivikrama, again became Avāmana (non-Vāmana).

12. O you descendant of the Kuru (-family), I have told you all (about) this becoming visible (of Viṣṇu). O you of a great vow, listen as to how the place sacred to the Nāgas (came about).

13-15. Ananta, Vāsuki and the very powerful Takṣaka, Karkoṭaka—the chief of Nāgas, and also another Nāga (named) Padma, Mahāpadma, as well as Śaṅkha, and Kulika, the undefeated one: these were the heirs of Kaśyapa and had occupied the world. Their issues also ocoupied this world. These (issues) were crooked, performed fearful acts, had sharp mouths, and were strong with poison.

16. Seeing dull persons, they reduced them to ashes in a moment. O king (merely) by seeing them people perished (i.e. died).

17-18a. Day by day very terrible destruction took place. All the beings seeing their destruction sought refuge with the great god Brahma.

18b-19a. O king, with this object in mind all the beings saw the ancient (god) born from a lotus and named Brahmā and said to him:

19b-22a. The beings said: “O lord of gods, the origin of the worlds, O highest god, protect us from the great-souled serpents of sharp fangs. We, the extremely distressed ones, day by day are seeing (i.e. anticipating) fear. All men, beasts and birds will be reduced to ashes. O god, you fashioned the creation of the world; but that is being destroyed by the serpents. O grandsire, considering this, do what is proper.”

Brahmā said:

22b-23a. I shall undoubtedly protect you. Go to your (respective) residences without anguish and fear.

23b-24a. Thus addressed by Brahmā, who had manifested his form, all the beings, being very much pleased, returned (home) after having praised the self-born one.

24b-25a. When the beings had left, Brahmā who was very angry, called the serpents led by Vāsuki and cursed them.

Brahmā said:

25b-27. The wicked ones are day by day eating the beings. Men and beasts, bitten by serpents, are perishing. (He said to them:) Since you are always destroying the men born of (i.e. created by) me, therefore due to my terrible wrath, you you will meet with a terrible destruction in the future Vaivasvata Manu-ages.

28-29. Similarly king Janamejaya, of the Lunar dynasty will burn you in blazing fire by (performing) serpent sacrifice; and the son of your mother’s sister (viz. Garuḍa) will (also) swallow you. Thus all of you of wicked hearts will perish.

30a. I curse the thousand families (i.e. the effect of my curse will last) till only one family (of the serpents) survives.

30b-3la. When Brahmā spoke like this, the excellent serpents, trembling, fell at the feet of Brahmā and said these words to him):

31b-32. “O revered sir, O you cause of the beings, our species is crooked. O god, you have effected in us profuseness of poison, cruelty and biting. Then how do you curse us now?”

33. Brahmā said: “Granted that I have made you of crooked hearts. Then, why say much? You (should) always eat without anxiety.";

34. The serpents said: “O lord of gods, fix a rule and allot separate places (to men and us) and bring about an agreement between men and us.

35. You have given us this curse that a man (called) Janamejaya will bring about a great destruction of the serpents in a serpent-sacrifice.”

Brahmā said:

36. There will be a man, best among the knowers of the Veda, by name Jaratkāru[1]. Jaratkanyā will be given to him (in marriage). A son will be born to her.

37. That brāhmaṇa will be your protector and the purifier of your family. I shall also bring about an agreement between the serpents and men.

38-39a. So listen with concentration to my order. I have given you three places of residence, viz. Sutala, Vitala and the third called Talātala.[2] You will go there.

39b-41. By my order, enjoy there pleasures of various kinds. Remain there till the seventh Kala i.e. the kalpa period. Then at the beginning of the Vaivasvata the son of Kaśyapa, Suparṇa the relative of all gods, the devourer of all serpents, will be born.

42. Then the progeny of the serpents will be burnt by fire. There is no doubt that your progeny will be (burnt by fire). Those serpents who are cruel and wicked will perish. This (statement) will not be falsified.

43a. You should eat that being which is possessed by death and also (you should eat) a man when (he) has done harm to you.

43b-44a. Of those men, who are endowed with charms against snake-poison or spells or snares, you should be afraid. Do not entertain any other idea in your mind. Otherwise you will perish.

44b-45a. When Brahmā finished speaking thus all the serpents went to the place named Sutala. All (the serpents) lived in the lower world enjoying pleasures. They lived there comfortably.

45b-46. Thus having received a curse and a favour from Brahmā, they lived in (the lower world viz.) Pātāla with their hearts pleased. Again when (some) time passed, they thought like this:

47. ‘There will be born a king of the Bharata race, and a descendant of Pāṇḍu who, through some (stroke of ill) luck, will destroy us.

48. How is it that the grandsire, the lord in (i.e. of) the three worlds, the creator, and the one respected by the world cursed us?

49. We have no other recourse than god Brahmā. That god stays in Vairāja, the best residence.

50. Now, that god, living in Puṣkara, is performing a sacrifice. Going (there) we shall propitiate him. Being pleased he will grant (us) a boon’.

51. Thinking thus, all the serpents, having reached the sacrificial mountain, resorted to its slope.

52. Seeing the serpents fatigued like that cool streams of water, turned towards the north, came out and delighted all.

53. O best among the Bharatas, as a result of those (streams) Nāgatīrtha was formed. Some call it Nāgakuṇḍa; others call it a river.

54-55a. The sacred place is the holiest of all and destroys (i.e. removes the effect of the) poison of serpents. Serpents do not cause any harm to any member of the family of those mortals who bathe there on the fifth day of Śrāvaṇa.

55b-56a. There is no doubt that Brahmā gives an excellent place to those men who offer Śrāddha to their dead ancestors in that region.


56b-59a. Realising the fear of the serpents, Brahmā again said the words which he had uttered before: “That fifth day (of Śrāvaṇa) is blessed, removes all sins and is auspicious, since the work of the emancipation of the serpents was done on that day. They befriend him who completely avoids pungent and sour (things) on this day and bathes (an image of) a cow with milk.”

Bhīṣma said:

59b-60a. You (please) tell me how Śivadūtī was born and how she was installed.

Pulastya said:

60b-61a. O king, a power called Śivā, sprung up from the matted hair of Rudra, and determined to (practise) penance went to Nīlagiri. Listen to (the account of) the vow in her (honour).

61b-62a. ‘Practising penance, I shall devour the entire world.’ With this intention, the beautiful young woman accomplished (the vow of) the five fires.

62b-65a. When that goddess was practising excellent penance, there lived in the wealthy city called Ratnākhya in the middle of the ocean, a demon by name Ruru, who was very lustrous and to whom a boon was given by Brahma. That lord of demons, fearful to all gods, wealthy and respected by many hundred thousands of excellent demons, was like another Namuci.[3]

65b-66. After a long time he went to the city of the regent of the quarter. He, desirous of conquering, and adorned with an army liked enmity with gods. When that great demon rose up, the water of the ocean increased with a great speed.

67-69 Possessed of many sharks, crocodiles and fish it inundated the peaks of mountains. A huge, fearful army, having in it many groups of the enemies of gods, having a variegated beauty due to various armours and weapons, consisting of excellent warriors, set out of the water of the ocean. Elephants, with demon-warriors (on their backs), with moving bells, and endowed with supremacy, and very much demonstrating their similarity with large fish by means of their own figures, moved out.

70. Lakhs and crores of horses, tied with golden strings, resembling rohita fish, arranged in order in the water also quickly moved out with them (i.e. elephants).

71-72a. Similarly, chariots, having the speed of the Sun’s chariot, with wheels and sticks and with unrent bamboos, with banners moving (on their tops), made a noise. In the same way warriors, with excellent missiles in their hands, hidden in boats and desiring to cross (the ocean in the boats), victorious in every battle and the followers of the demon shone very brightly.

72b-73a. When in the fights the gods fled, the demons particularly pursued all of them.

73b-74a. Then all groups of gods, distressed with fear and fleeing went to that excellent Nīlagiri, where the goddess herself had remained.

74b-76a. That goddess, Raudrī (i.e. sprung up from Rudra), endowed with penance, blessed one, and the excellent power of Śambhu, causing destruction, and known as the night of the destruction of the world, and having eyes like blooming lotuses, seeing the gods distressed with fear and confounded, asked them through amazement:

76b-77a. “I am not seeing any (cause of) fear for you. How is it that all gods, led by Indra, have fled away?”.

The gods said:

77b-78. This Ruru, the lord of demons, of a fearful valour and surrounded by great complete army is coming. Therefore, we being distressed, have sought the resort of you, the goddess.

79. Hearing these words of gods she laughed loudly. From the mouth of her who was laughing, excellent ladies came out.

80-81. They all held nooses and goads; their breasts were stout and raised; all held tridents, all were fearful; their mouths had goads in the form of large teeth; they had put on crowns; they bit their lower lips; they frightened the mobile and the immobile with the sounds of their hissing.

82. Some had put on white garments; some had put on variegated garments. The garments of some were dark-blue; some had a strong desire to drink blood.

83. Their faces had various forms; their dresses were of various kinds, so also their bodies. That goddess, causing absence of fear among the gods, was thus surrounded by them.

84-85a. No sooner did she say to the gods, ‘O gods, do not be frightened; well-being to you’, than the demon Ruru came with his complete army[4], to that excellent Nīla-parvata, in search of gods.

85b-86a. Seeing in front of them the army of gods with the goddess, the demons came there saying, ‘Wait, wait’.

86b-90a. Then a great war was waged between them, when all the demons who had come to the battlefield, whose bodies were pierced with arrows, who were moving on the ground, whose staffs were broken in anger, and who were creeping (i.e. moving) like serpents, with the wounded horses, the broken chariots, the injured elephants and the foot-soldiers, with their chests pounded by the mace that came out from the heart of that Śakti (i.e. that goddess), with their heads cut off with axes and broken with pestles, with their bellies pierced with the tips of tridents, and with their necks cut off with excellent swords, fell (on the ground) in the war, except Ruru.

90b. Then seeing his army destroyed Ruru created (malignant) illusion.

91. Gods and goddesses were deluded by that (illusion) on the battlefield. Everywhere pitch-darkness prevailed due to the malignant illusion.

92. Then the goddess (i.e. Śivadūtī) struck the demon with great power. When the demon was struck by her, the darkness (caused) by the demon passed away.

93-94. When the illusion came to an end, the demon Ruru quickly entered Pātāla. There too the angry goddess, along with (other) goddesses stood before Ruru, the lord of demons, who had gone there before.

95-96a. Cutting off Ruru’s head with the tips of her nails, and taking off his skin, she speedily went out of Pātāla, and again came to the Puṣkara (Tīrtha) and to the mountain (called Nīlagiri), along with the bright and multi-formed army of the maidens (created by her).

96b-98a. The gods saw with amazement the goddess holding Ruru’s head and skin and remaining at the place of her penance. Then the magnanimous, hungry and bewildered goddesses (created by Śivadūtī) stood surrounding her and implored her:

98b. “O goddess, we are hungry; give us excellent food.”

99. Thus addressed, she pondered over the food to be given to them. But she did not get the food though she very much thought about it.

100. Then she meditated upon the mighty Mahādeva, the lord of beings. He, the three-eyed highest soul, stood up (before her) as a result of her meditation.

101. Rudra said to that goddess: “What is the mission that you desire to tell me? O you goddess, the great creator of illusion, tell me what is in your mind.”

Śivadūtī said:

102. O you god, in a goat you remain in the form of a goat. These will eat you with great respect as their desired food.

103. O lord of gods, please give them something as their food. Otherwise the mighty ones, desiring food will put me (and roast me) on an iron-spit.

104. The hungry ones may even forcibly devour me. Taking me to be like this (please) prepare (i.e. bring about) food quickly.

Rudra said:

105. O Śivadūtī, I am telling you one (incident) that took place in another (i.e. previous) yuga. My attendants destroyed Dakṣa’s sacrifice (being performed) at Gaṅgādvāra.

106. There (i.e. at that time) sacrifice, being (i.e. turning himself into) a deer ran fast. He was pierced by me with an arrow and (as a result) he was sprinkled with blood (i.e. started bleeding.

107-108. Then Ajagandha sprang up. Gods gave me the (same) name (saying:) ‘You yourself are Ajagandha’. I shall give (these goddesses) other food also. O you Kālarātri of great lustre and beautiful one, listen to (the name of) the food suited to these (goddesses, now) being told by me.

109-110a. Let that woman, who, while pregnant, puts on or touches the garment of another woman and especially of a man be the food of some of these (goddesses) on the earth, O you chief goddess.

110b-111. Also let them forcibly seize the child of such a lady till that child becomes a year old, and then let them remain well-pleased for many hundreds of years. Let others, who will not be worshipped, find a flaw in the lying-in chamber.

112. Also, (some goddesses) seizing new-born infants will live in houses, fields, lakes and also in gardens.

113. Those and others possessing the bodies of those women who always weep, will satisfy themselves (by eating) such women.

Śivadūtī said:

114-115. O Śaṅkara, you have given them (food) which is despised and which would inflict pain on them. You do not realize that you should give them some special food. O Śaṅkara, please do not give them food which would cause shame to them, and which would cause pain to the beings.

Rudra said:

116-117a. When, formerly, in Avanti, I (got) Skanda shaved, (that is) when the auspicious tonsure-ceremony[5] of Kumāra (i.e. Skanda) took place, the mothers, having come there, prepared unprecedented food.

117b. Groups of gods came from the world of gods to enjoy the food of (i.e. prepared by) the mothers.

118-121. At that olden time in their house best gods like Brahmā and Gandharvas, celestial nymphs, Yakṣas and Guhyakas, mountains like Meru and rivers like Gaṅgā, as well as all serpents, elephants, Siddhas, birds and killers of the demons, female goblins with vampires[6] and surrounded by all planets had gathered. What should I say, O goddess? All that was created here by Brahmā was given.

Śivadūtī said:

122. For these goddesses give me food which is inaccessible in heaven, which is oily, mixed with jaggery, tasty and well-cooked and which is intended for them, and which is not enjoyed by anyone else before, O great god.

123. Thus addressed Maheśvara, the god of gods, told them in the vicinity of Pārvatī about their food:

124. “I have accomplished the food prepared in many ways. All that is exhausted. And no other (kind of food) is seen here.

125. Tell me what I should today give to you who have come (to me). I have especially to give something quite new.

126-127. I shall give you as food which has never been tasted before by anyone. Below my navel are these two circular long and fruit-like testicles. Even with this food you will have great satisfaction.”{GL_NOTE::}

128. Receiving that great favour all the goddesses saluted Śiva. Śarva said these words to them:

129-130. “The wealth, beasts, sons, wives and houses etc. of those who perform auspicious deeds without laughing, will be given to you by me; and also whatever else is in your mind. Those who by laughing have long teeth (i.e. show their teeth) (will) become poor.

131. Therefore, one who is wise, should not indulge in censuring or laughing (at others). In this world you will be known as mothers.

132-133a. The lineage of those men, who, along with their relatives and kinsmen, prepare (articles from) a lotus, grams, and also cakes and sorts of bread with (i.e. having the shape of) testicles, as an offering, is not cut off.

133b-134. A man who has no son, gets a son; he, who desires wealth, obtains it; he, being handsome, lucky, enjoyer, well-versed in all sciences, is honoured in Brahmā’s world with (i.e. being taken in) a vehicle to which swans are yoked.

135. O Śivadūtī, thus I have given them food. Does it bring shame to you? Please listen to what I said:

136-142. Be victorious, O goddess, Cāmuṇḍā; victory to you who snatch away beings. Victory to you who are omnipresent; O goddess Kālarātri, salutation to you. O you (goddess) endowed with the universal form, O you Virūpākṣī (of deformed eyes), O you Trilocanā, O you Bhīmarūpā (i.e. of a terrible form), O Śivā, Vidyā, Mahāmāyā, Mahodarā, Manojayā, Manodurgā, Bhhīmākṣī, Kṣubhitakṣayā, Mahāmārī, Vicitrāṅgī, O you to whom singing and dancing are dear, O you auspicious one, O Vikarālī, Mahākālī, Kālikā, Pāpahāriṇī, Pāśahastā, Daṇḍahastā, Bhīmahastā, Bhayānakā, Cāmuṇḍā, Jvalamānāsyā, Tīkṣṇadaṃṣṭrā, Mahābalā, Śivayānapriyā, Devi, Pretāsanagatā, Śivā, Bhīmākṣī, Bhīṣaṇā, O you goddess, Sarvabhūtabhayaṅkarī, Karālī, Vikarālī, Mahākālī, Karālinī, Kālī, Karālavikrāntā, Kālarātri, salutation to you. O you goddes, salutation to you who hold all weapons and who are saluted by all gods.

143. Śivadūtī, who was thus praised by Parameṣṭhin Rudra, the great goddess was pleased and said these words:

144a. “O lord of gods, ask for a boon which you have in your mind.”

Rudra said:

144b. O goddess of a beautiful face, being present every where grant boons to those men who praise you with this eulogy.

145-146a. May he, who climbing up this mountain, worships you with devotion, have sons, grandsons and prosperity.

146b-147a. He, who hears this eulogy rising from (i.e. about) the goddess, becomes free from all sins, may obtain (i.e. obtains) the highest bliss.

147b-148. If a king, who has lost his kingdom, being controlled and pure, (praises) while observing a fast, (the goddess) on the ninth, or eighth or fourteenth (day of a month), he regains his kingdom, free from enemies, after a year.

149-151a. This power endowed with knowledge is called Śivadūtī. O king, he, who listens to this (eulogy) with great devotion, being free from all sins, would obtain the highest salvation. He, who, after having bathed in the water of the Puṣkara (Tīrtha), recites this (eulogy), gets all this fruit, and is honoured in the world of Brahmā.

151b-152a. That house, in which a written (copy) of this (eulogy) is kept, has no fear of terrible fire or fear due to thieves etc.

152b-154. A wise man, who devoutly worships this remaining in a book-form, has everything desired by him—(even) the three worlds with the mobile and the immobile. Many sons are born (i.e. he gets many sons, and also he gets) wealth, grains, and excellent ladies; and also quickly gets gems, horses, elephants and servants. All this will certainly take place in the house in which this is kept in a manuscript-form.

Footnotes and references:


Jaratkāru—a great sage who married a sister of Vāsuki.


The seven lower regions under the earth are: Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasātala, Talātala, Mahātala and Pātāla.


Namuci—a demon slain by Indra.


Caturaṅga sainya—a complete army consisting of elephants, chariots, cavalry and infantry.


Cūḍākarman—Ceremony of tonsure.


Vetāla—a kind of ghost—particularly a ghost occupying a dead body.

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