The Padma Purana

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

This page describes the story of shivasharman which is chapter 1 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 first chapter of the Bhumi-khanda (section on the earth) 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 1 - The Story of Śivaśarman

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Om, salutation to Śrī Gaṇeśa.

The sages said:

1-2. O glorious Sūta, O you who know the significance of the essence of everything, (please) listen to the terrible doubt, destroying understanding, that has occurred to us. Some describe in the Purāṇas that when Prahlāda was five years old he pleased Keśava (i.e. Viṣṇu).

3. How did (the war) between gods and demons come about? How did the demon fight with Viṣṇu? He, killed by Viṣṇu, entered his body.

Sūta said:

4. This was formerly known (i.e. conceived) by Kaśyapa and was composed by the intelligent Vyāsa. It was formerly narrated by Brahmā himself before (i.e. to) the lord Vyāsa.

5. I shall, O brāhmaṇas, describe the same before (i.e. to) you. The cause of the doubt that arose was removed by Brahmā.

Vyāsa said:

6. O Sūta, O glorious one, listen to (the account) of the birth of Prahlāda as told in the Purāṇas and as heard (i.e. learnt) from other (sources).

7. As soon as Prahlāda, the greatest among the devotees of Viṣṇu and honoured by gods, was born, he resorted to the path of Viṣṇu, giving all happiness.

8. With his sons he went to the battle-field to fight with Viṣṇu. Being killed by Viṣṇu, he entered Viṣṇu’s body.

9-10a. Listen to the birth of just this magnanimous one. The brave one, going with his sons to fight with Viṣṇu, entered Viṣṇu’s lustre, which he obtained through his own lustre.

10b-11 a. O glorious one, I shall narrate in brief the account of that hero—how that powerful one was born in the former Kalpa.

11b-12a. At the extreme point in the west of the ocean, there was a city by name Dvārakā. It was full of all magnificence and all prosperity.

12b-13a. There perpetually lived a divine (man) knowing abstract meditation, and the best among those who knew abstract meditation, known as Śivaśarman, who was well-versed in all Vedas and sacred texts.

13b. He had five sons who were well-versed in (all) branches of knowledge.

14. (They were:) Yajñaśarman, Vedaśarman, Dharmaśarman, the glorious Viṣṇuśarman, who knew their own duties.

15a. The fifth one was Somaśarman, who was greatly devoted to his father.

15b. The best brāhmaṇas knew no other duty than devotion to their father.

16a. The magnanimous ones (always) had thoughts about him (only).

16b-17a. Seeing their devotion, the intelligent, best brāhmaṇa Śivaśarman, thought: ‘I shall extort (these) learned men.

17b-18a. They do not have that feeling in their mind which is found in the devotees of Viṣṇu. I shall, therefore, find it, and will do so thoughtfully.’

18b. Due to the favour of Viṣṇu, he had all superhuman faculties.

19-20a. O best of Brāhmaṇas, he conceived a fine idea to suggest to them (what their duty was). The best brāhmaṇa, the best among those who knew Brahman, knowing a remedy due to the lustre of his penance, adopted it.

20b-2la. Then Śivaśarman presented before them a trick. He showed their mother to be dead of a great fever.

21b-24a. They saw their dead mother, and said (these) words to their father: “O glorious one, she, who nourished us in her womb, has, casting her body, been dead. Having left (us), she has gone to heaven. O father, what can be said (by us)?” Śivaśarman, the excellent brāhmaṇa, called his eldest, most devoted son, Yajñaśarman and said to him.

Śivaśarman said:

24b-25a. With this very sharp and whetted weapon cut off her limbs and throw them here and there.

25b-27. The son did it as he had heard (i.e. received) his father’s order. He came back, and again said (these) words to his father: “O father, I have done everything as I was ordered. Today (i.e. now) entrust to me some other work. O father, I shall do it all, (even though) it (enemy/thing) be difficult to subdue or procure”.

28-30. Having ordered the glorious one, devoted to his father, the brāhmaṇa (i.e. Śivaśarman), thinking of the second son, called (him viz.) Vedaśarman (and said to him): “Go by my order; being stupefied by passion of love (i.e. sex) I cannot stand without a woman (by my side).” He presented, by means of his magical power, a woman full of all charm (before Vedaśarman). (He told him:) “O boy, determined for me, bring this woman to me.”

31 a. Thus told, he said: “I shall do what is very dear to you.”

31 b-33a. Having saluted his father, and having gone from there, he said to her: “O respectable lady, my father tormented by the arrow of love, seeks you. So be favourable to him who is old. O you beautiful lady, O you one whose all limbs are charming, resort to my father.”

33b. Thus (i.e. these words) spoken by Vedaśarman were heard by the woman created by magic. The woman said:

34-35a. “I do not at all long for the company of your father who is afflicted with old age, whose mouth has malady due to phlegm, and who is now afflicted with diseases, who is feeble, who is sick and old.

35b-36. I desire to dally with you, I shall do what is very dear to you. (I desire to dally with you) who are adorned with good fortune like a (handsome) form, and with gems of virtues, who are endowed with divine characteristics, who possess a divine form and great prowess.

37. What will you do with (your) old father? O you who destroy the pride (of others), by enjoying my body you will obtain all things difficult to obtain.

38a. O brāhmaṇa, there is no doubt that I shall give you whatever you desire.”

38b-41. Hearing these disagreeable and evil words,

Vedaśarman spoke:

O respectable lady, your words are unjust, improper and mixed with sin. Do not talk like this to me who am devoted to my father and who am innocent. O auspicious one, I have come to you and am soliciting you for my father. Do not talk something else; (please) resort to my father. O you respectable lady, O you beautiful one, there is no doubt that I shall give you everything in the three worlds, with the mobile and the immobile—even more than the kingdom of gods.

The woman said:

42. If, for the sake of your father, you are thus capable of giving me (anything), then show me, today only, the great gods with Indra.

43. Indeed you are able to give me now what is difficult to be obtained. O glorious one, show me what power you possess.

Vedaśarman said:

44. O respectable lady, see the power of my penance. The best gods, Indra and others, being invited by me, have come.

They said to Vedaśarman:

45. O best brāhmaṇa, what should we do? O brāhmaṇa, we shall give you, whatever you ask for. There is no doubt about it.

Vedaśarman said:

46. If the gods are pleased with me and are inclined to favour me, then they should give (i.e. produce in) me pure devotion to the feet of my father only.

47. (Saying) “Let it be so”, the gods left as they had come. (The woman) seeing (the gods had come) like that said to him: “I have seen the power of your penance.

48-49a. I have nothing to do with the gods; if you want to give me (what I want) and if you are taking me for your father, then do that (which is) dear to me; O brāhmaṇa, cutting off your head with your own hand, give it to me.”

Vedaśarman said:

49b-50a. Today I have become blessed; I have been free from the three debts.[1] O respectable lady, I shall give my head; O beautiful one, do take it.

50b-51 a. Having cut off his own head with a whetted and sharp weapon, the best brāhmaṇa, gave it to her and laughed.

51b. She took it, covered with blood, and went to the sage.

The woman said:

52-53. O brāhmaṇa, your son, Vedaśarman, has sent this head; take it; he had himself cut off his own head. For you, he, devoted to his father, gave me his head. O best brāhmaṇa, enjoy me.

54-56a. The brothers (of Vedaśarman) saw the daring act of Vedaśarman. Their bodies trembled (and they said to) one another: “Our virtuous mother died with real intentness. This glorious, virtuous one died for the sake of (our) father. He is blessed, he has become fortunate (as) he has done an auspicious (deed) for (our) father.”

56b-58. Thus the virtuous brothers talked (to one another). The brāhmaṇa heard these words full of devotion, and knowing that his son, Vedaśarman, had cut off his (own) head, said to Dharmaśarman: “Take this head”.

Footnotes and references:


Ṛṇatraya—Everyone that is born has three debts to pay off, viz. Devaṛṇa, Ṛṣiṛṇa, and Pitṛṛṇa. The first is paid off by performing sacrifices, the second by learning the Vedas and the third by begetting a son.

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