The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Shankara’s Revelation of Himself to Parvati: Their Dialogue which is chapter 22 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the twenty-second chapter of the Kedara-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 22 - Śaṅkara’s Revelation of Himself to Pārvatī: Their Dialogue

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1. On being told thus by Viṣṇu, the Parameṣṭhin, all of them went ahead desirous of seeing the Pināka-bearing Maheśa.

2. On the other shore of the Ocean, Śaṃbhu was engaged in supremely profound meditation seated in the pedestal of Yogic posture. He was surrounded by the Gaṇas.

3. As a sacred thread he was wearing Vāsūki, the king of serpents, as well as the Nāgas Kaṃbala and Aśvatara on his chest.

4. Karkoṭaka was worn by him in the ears as ear-rings and Pulaha as bangles round his arms.

5. He appeared brilliantly shining with Śaṅkhaka and Padmaka as his anklets. Suras saw the blue-throated mysterious lord, the most excellent one among Devas, white in complexion like camphor and accompanied by the bull.

6. Then Brahmā, Viṣṇu, the Sages, Devas and Dānavas eulogized him with various hymns from the Vedas and the Upaniṣads.

Brahmā said:

7-9. Obeisance to Lord Rudra, the destroyer of Madana; to Bharga of plenty of excellence and fortune; to the three-eyed lord of heaven; to Bhīma (the terrible one) enveloped in rays. O Śeṣa-śāyin (lord identical with Viṣṇu lying on the serpent Śeṣa), obeisance, obeisance to you.

Obeisance to the three-eyed creator of the universe having cosmic form. You are the creator of all the worlds. You are the father, mother and the lord. You are endowed with the greatest mercy. O Supreme Lord, protect us.

10-11. While Devas eulogized thus, Nandin asked them: “What have you come for? What is in your mind?”

They said: “We have come to request Śaṃbhu regarding (accomplishing) the task of Devas.” In order to accomplish the task of Suras, Mahādeva who was engrossed in meditation was informed by Nandin, the noble-souled son of Śilāda:

12-14. “The groups of Suras beginning with (headed by) Brahmā, the groups of gods and Siddhas, O most excellent one among Suras, are particularly desirous of seeing you. They are seeking (your help) in their task. They are being threatened by the excellent Asuras and are being tormented by enemies. They have come here.

Hence, O lord of Devas, Suras must be protected now by you.” Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, Śaṃbhu was informed by Nandin.

Śaṃbhu of excessively furious nature, gradually came back (to normal state) from his spiritual trance.

The great lord, the Supreme Ātman said:

Mahādeva said:

15. O highly fortunate ones, what have you come here for? These Devas beginning with Brahmā have come near me. Tell me the reason for the same now (itself).

16-18. Then Brahmā spoke about the great task of Devas: “O Śaṃbhu, an extra-ordinarily painful and distressful situation has been created by Tāraka for Devas. O lord, we have come here to respectfully inform you about it. O Śaṃbhu, he can be killed by a son born of you. Tāraka, the enemy of Devas, can be killed only thus. My word cannot be otherwise. So, O lord Śaṃbhu, Girijā should be held by you with your right hand (in marriage) when offered by the Lord of the Mountains. Make her (your wife) by marriage, O lord of great magnanimity.”

19-20. On hearing the words of Brahmā, Śiva said laughingly: “(If and) when the most beautiful daughter of the Mountain is made my wife by me, all the leading Suras, sages and ascetics will become passionate and lustful. They will be incapable of traversing the great path (of salvation).

21-22. Indeed Madana has been burnt by me for the purpose of accomplishing the task of all. The slim daughter of the Mountain, Pārvatī of excellent waistline, has been already authorized by me then. O Brahmā, she will revive Madana back to life. There is no doubt about it.

23. Having this in view deliberation on what is to be done should be had, O Devas. A great and important work of Suras was accomplished by Madana when he was burnt.

24-25. All of you have been undoubtedly made free from lust by me. By putting in effort, all of you, O Suras, can become endowed with the greatest power of penance, just like me. We can accomplish even difficult tasks (thereby). All of us shall become happy and blessed with the greatest bliss.

26. You (can achieve everything) through penance. This has been forgotten by Madana. Kāma leads to hell. It is from it (Kāma) that anger is produced.

27. Confusion and bewilderment result from anger. The mind whirls on account of this bewilderment. Both lust and anger should be avoided and abandoned by you all, excellent Suras. All of you should honour and abide by my advice; and not otherwise, anywhere.”

28. Announcing thus the Bull-emblemed Lord enlightened Suras, the groups of sages and ascetics.

29. Śaṃbhu became silent and resumed his meditation once again. As before, he remained there surrounded by the Gaṇas.

30. On seeing (the lord) engrossed in meditation, Nandin dismissed all those Devas including Brahmā and Indra, saying to them laughingly:

31. “All of you go along the path you have come by. Do not delay.” Thinking that it should be so, all of them went back to their respective abodes.

32. When all of them had gone away, Bhava (Śiva) engaged himself in meditation keeping the Ātman within the Supreme Ätman and starting his thoughtful concentration.

33. The Lord identified himself with the Supreme Being that is greater than the greatest, that is very clean, free from all impurities, that has no hindrance whatsoever, that is unsullied, commits no fallacies and in which even poets and learned men lose their sense and become confounded.

34. No sun illuminates it, nor the fire nor the moon nor any other luminous body.[1] No wind (blows over it). It is not the object of thought or deliberation. It is beyond the subtle ones and the subtler ones.

35. It cannot be specifically pointed out. It is unimaginable. It is devoid of all aberrations. It is free from ailments. It is in the form of pure knowledge. Those who set aside (and renounce everything) go there (i.e. attain it).

36. It is beyond all words and sounds, having no Guṇas or decay and decline. It is (of the form of) the pure existence comprehensible through perfect knowledge. It is not easy to attain. It is that real thing which is mentioned by the Āgamas that are superior to the Vedas and constitute the Mantras.

37. The Pināka-bearing Lord, the Bull-bannered Īśvara, by whom the Shark-bannered (god of Love) was directly killed and who was Īśvara performing the penance, identified himself with the Supreme Being.

Lomaśa said:

38. At that time the goddess Girijā performed a very great penance. By that penance even Rudra reached the height of fear.

39. By means of her great penance goddess Pārvatī conquered Śaṃbhu, the bestower of all wealth, Sthāṇu, the sole being having his own form.

40-44. When the Bull-bannered Lord was won over by means of her penance by the goddess, the Pināka-bearing Lord of Devas became shaken from his spiritual meditation. He hastened to the place where Pārvatī was staying. There he saw the goddess surrounded by her friends and attendants. She was seated on an aītar. She resembled the digit of the moon. Immediately after seeing her, the god became a Baṭu.[2] In the form of a Brahmacārin (young celibate) Lord Bhava, the great Lord went in the midst of the attendants (of Pārvatī). The Lord in the form of a Baṭu spoke to them: “Why is this lady of slender body, beautiful in every limb, seated in the middle of the attendants? Who is she? Whom does she belong to? From where has she come? Why is this penance being performed?Let everything be described to me now, O friends, exactly as it has happened.”

45-47. At that time Jayā told Rudra about the ultimate cause of the penance: “This is the daughter of the Himālaya Mountain. She is desirous of getting Lord Rudra as her husband by means of penance. She sat here and performed a very great penance which cannot be excelled by anyone else. O Baṭu, understand my words. They cannot be otherwise (i.e. are perfectly true).

48. On hearing her words, Maheśa in the form of a Baṭu laughed and said thus, even as all the attendants were listening:

49. “O friends, this Pārvatī is foolish indeed. She does not know what is beneficial and what is not beneficial. Why should a penance be performed for the attainment of Rudra?

50. That Skull-bearing fellow is inauspicious. He has the cremation ground as his abode. He is Aśiva (inauspicious) but he is spoken of as Śiva (the auspicious one) in vain.

51. If Rudra, wooed by her were to join her, O friends, this slim lady will undoubtedly become inauspicious.

52. By Dakṣa’s curse, he has already become deformed. This rogue has been excluded from Yajñas. Highly poisonous serpents have become the very limbs of Śarva.

53. Rudra (smears himself) with the ashes of dead bodies; he wears the hide of an elephant as a cloth. He is very inauspicious. He is always surrounded by Piśācas (vampires), Pramathas (ghosts) and Bhūtas (goblins).

54. What has this lady of delicate features to do with Rudra? She is as though desirous of putting an end to her life like a Piśāca. Let her be prevented by (you, her) friends.

55-56. She is setting aside Indra who is charming, Yama who has great lustre, Nairṛta of large eyes, Varuṇa the lord of waters, Kubera, Pavana (the Wind-god) and Vibhāvasu (the Fire-god).”

Parameśvara said these and many other similar words in the place where she (Girijā) was engaged in penance even while her friends were listening.

57. On hearing these words of Rudra, in the form of a Baṭu, the chaste lady Śiva became angry with Maheśa who had assumed the form of a Baṭu.

58. “O Jayā, O chaste lady Vijayā, O beautiful Pramlocā, O highly fortunate Sulocanā, what has been done to iṇe is not proper indeed!

59. What have you all to do with this Baṭu, here now? A censurer of Devas has assumed the form of a Batu and come here.

60. Let this boy be dismissed, dear friends. Of what avail is he?”

(After saying this) she angrily spoke to Rudra who was in the form of a Baṭu.

61. “O Baṭu, go away quickly. You must not stay here now. Of what use is your non-sensical talk? It does not serve any purpose.”

62-63. Even after being rebuked by her thus, the Baṭu stood there itself steadily, laughed and spoke these words to Vijayā slowly and truthfully without delay:

“O slim lady, why is she angry? What is the reason thereof?

64. Only that should be spoken to all which is nice, pleasing. Why was that slender-bodied lady rendered furious by the aforesaid (true) words?

65. He who is called Śaṃbhu in this world is a mendicant, fond of mendicants. The anger would have been justified if a lie had been uttered by me.

66. This girl has lovely features but Sadāśiva has ugly and hideous features. This lass has (lovely) large eyes but Bhava has deformed (uneven-three) eyes.

67. How can she be fascinated by Rudra of such features as these? The husbands of women should be fortunate and always fond of love-making.

68. This girl has all good qualities in her. How is she charmed by one devoid of any quality? By whom has not Śiva been heard, seen or understood?

69. Sadāśiva is difficult of access to all living beings who are swayed by love. This lady of excellent waistline has become rather proud of her great penance.

70. Sthāṇu is always devoid of restraint. How will she attain him as her husband? O lady of large eyes, what has been said by me for which you are furious now?

71. As long as there is anger in men and particularly iṇ women, the whole of the merit acquired by them will become reduced to ash on account of that anger.

72-73. O slim and chaste lady, what is said is true. Kāma (love), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Daṃbha (arrogance), Mātsarya (jealousy), Hiṃsā (violence), Īrṣyā (envy) and Prapañca (fraud)—everything (good) perishes on account of these bad qualities. Hence it is proper on the part of ascetics to avoid love, anger etc.

74. If at all Īśvara is to be meditated on, he should be meditated on in the middle of the heart by learned men in the form of pure knowledge. Then he should be adored strictly adhering to the regular practice of sages by the ascetics. He should not be thought of otherwise.”

75. On hearing these words of Śaṃbhu, Vijayā spoke to Śarva: “Go away. There is nothing to be done here by you. O childish one, do not speak any other word.”

76. Thus Vijayā who was efficient in the use of words dismissed Sadāśiva who had assumed the form of a Baṭu and was engaged in arguments and disputes.

77-80. Maheśa suddenly vanished from there. But he appeared again to Girijā alone without being seen by any of those friends and attendants. Parameśvara assumed his own form and appeared in front of her suddenly. When the goddess meditated upon him in her heart, the lord of Devas stationed in her heart appeared in front of her, before her physical eyes, in the same form as she meditated upon. That chaste lady opened her eyes, Girijā of large wide eyes saw the lord of the chiefs of Devas, the great lord of all the worlds, with a single face and two arms. He was wonderfully clad in elephant’s hide. He had matted hair with the crescent moon above it. He had covered his body with the skin of an elephant.

81. The great serpents Kaṃbala and Aśvatara were stationed in his ears (as ear-rings). The lord of great lustre had Vāsuki, the king of serpents, as a necklace.

82. Even the bangles were made with serpents. These bangles of great value were made by Rudra very splendid and refulgent.

83. Śaṃbhu who appeared like this in front of Pārvatī, hurriedly spoke to her: “O beautiful lady, choose your boon,”

84-86. Overcome by great shyness, the chaste lady said to Śaṅkara: “O lord of Devas, you are my husband. Has this been forgotten by you that formerly you had destroyed Dakṣa’s Yajña and the reason why it had been destroyed, O lord? I am the same woman now born of Menā for the sake of the accomplishment of the task of Devas,[3] regarding the slaying of Tāraka, O lord of the chiefs of Devas. A son will be born of me to you.

87. Hence, O Maheśvara, my suggestion should be carried out by you. You must go to Himavān. You need not hesitate in this matter.

88. Accompanied by the sages, you request him for my hand,[4] O Mahādeva. There is no doubt about it that my father will act according to your request.

89. Formerly when I was Dakṣa’s daughter, when I was given to you by my father, the marriage rite was not performed by you in accordance with the injunctions laid down (in scriptures).

90. The Planets were not worshipped by the noble-souled Dakṣa. As it had been a matter concerning the Planets, the defect therein was very great.

91. Hence, it behoves you, O lord of good holy rites and great fortune, to perform the marriage rite in accordance with the injunctions for the accomplishment of the tasks of Devas.”

92-96. Then Mahādeva said to Girijā laughingly: “The entire great universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings, that is born was by its very nature deluded by you and enveloped by the three Guṇas.[5]

O Pārvatī, the principle of Mahat was born of Ahaṃkāra (i.e. Cosmic Ego), Tamas was born of the principle of Mahat. Ether was enveloped by Tamas.

Vayu was born of Ether; Agni was born of Vāyu. Waters were born of Agni and Earth was born of waters. The earth and other (elements) are mobile as well as immobile, O lady of excellent face. Everything that is visible is perishable. Know this, O proud lady.

The one being has become many. The being devoid of Guṇa has become enveloped by Guṇas. The self-luminous one that blazes always, has become joined with Parajyotsnā (great Moonlight). The independent one has become dependent. O goddess, a great thing has been achieved by you.

97-102. The entire universe has become pervaded by Māyā. By means of the great intellect, it has been thoroughly comprehended. It had been covered up by groups of Indriyas (sense-organs) by persons of good deeds, the souls of all oriented towards the highest good. (obscure)

What are those planets? What are those groups of stars? What things created by you are affected? Everything has been set free, O lady of excellent complexion, for the sake of Śarva. Our manifestation takes effect in the context of the Guṇas and their effects (products). Indeed, you are the Prakṛti of the nature of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. Hence you are capable of action continuously (i.e. are ever active). O lady of excellent middle, I am not. I will not go to Himavān. I will not request at all. By uttering the word ‘give’ a man attains insignificance and disrespect immediately. Understand these things, O gentle lady, and say what should be done by us at your bidding. O gentle lady, it behoves you to say everything.”

On being told thus by him, the lotus-eyed chaste lady said:

103. “You are the Ātman. I am Prakṛti. There is no doubt about it. Still, O Śaṃbhu, the great rite of marriage alliance should be performed.

104. The physical body is produced by Avidyā. You are the great Being devoid of physical body, indeed. Still adopt a covering in the form of a physical body in this manner.

105. At my instance, O Lord Śaṃbhu, create diversity and manifoldness. Request for me (my hand) and grant me (conjugal) felicity.”

106. On being told thus by her to follow (the conventions of) the world, the noble-souled Maheśvara accepted (her suggestion) saying “So be it” and laughingly went to his own abode (where) he was adored duly by the excellent Devas.

107-108. In the meantime, Himavān who was in a hurry to see Pārvatī came there along with Menā, his wife, surrounded by his sons and (other) Mountains.

109. Then Himavān was seen by Pārvatī along with the Mountains. The chaste lady stood up to honour him. She bowed down her head to her parents, brothers and all kinsmen.

110-11. The Mountain Himālaya of great fame embraced his daughter and placed her in his lap. With tears in his eyes he spoke these sweet words: “What is being done by you, O chaste lady of great fortune? Let everything be told to us who desire to hear it.” On hearing those sweet words, she spoke to her father:

112. “With great penance the destroyer of Madana has been solicited. My great task has been concluded, which is rather difficult for all to carry out.

113-114. Mahādeva was satisfied. He came to woo (to grant the boon). Then Śaṃbhu was told by me, ‘How is my marriage being performed, O Śaṃbhu, without my father now?’ Then the slayer of Tripura went away along the path he had come by.”

115. On hearing those words of hers, he attained great joy. The virtuous-souled one spoke to his daughter once again, in the company of his own kinsmen:

116-117. “We shall all go to our own abodes—we and all the Mountains. The Pināka-bearing, Bull-emblemed Lord has already been propitiated by her.” So said all the Suras with Himālaya at their head. All of them together eulogized Pārvatī with glorious and reverential words.

118. Even as she was being eulogized, Himālaya placed that lady of excellent complexion on his shoulders. All the Mountains eagerly surrounded her and brought her to his (Himālaya’s) abode.

119. The divine Dundubhi drums were sounded. Conchs and many musical instruments were played.

120. With a great shower of flowers she was brought home by him.

121. She was duly worshipped by many of them. The ascetic lady shining with great splendour, was worshipped by Devas, Cāraṇas, the great sages and all the groups of Siddhas.

122. On being worshipped, the goddess said to Brahmā, Devas, Pitṛs, Yakṣas and all others who had come:

123. “All of you who have come here, go to your respective abodes. Let Parameśvara be served to your fullest satisfaction.”

124. Thus then, Pārvatī who had gone to her father’s abode, shone splendidly with great refulgence. She was adored by the excellent Devas—she who ever remained thinking of Sadāśiva mentally.

Footnotes and references:


Cf. Kaṭha Upaniṣad 5.15.


Cf. The dialogue between Śiva, the Baṭu, and Pārvatī in Kālidāsa’s Kumārasaṃbhava V. 30-86. This does not mean that Kālidāsa borrowed it or based it on SkP as Kālidāsa lived before the compilation of SkP.


One is amused to hear Pārvatī telling this to the omniscient Śaṅkara.


This is called ‘Vara-preṣaṇa’. This custom was in vogue since the Vedic times (vide RV X.85.8-9).


VV 92-105. The Sāṅkhya-Vedānta theory of creation etc. seems here just out of place.

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