The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes The Marriage Ceremony of Shiva which is chapter 24 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-fourth chapter of the Kedara-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 24 - The Marriage Ceremony of Śiva

Summary: The Marriage Ceremony of Śiva: The Arrangement for Accommodating Devas and Others.

Lomaśa said:

1. Similarly, the Lord of Mountains with the greatest joy, made all arrangements for the sake of his daughter. (The Mountain) of exalted magnanimity made Garga (the priest) in-charge and decorated the place for the auspicious ceremony with the greatest magnificence.

2. He sent for Viśvakarman and eagerly made him build the hall (for the ceremony of marriage). It was very extensive and exceedingly fascinating with raised seats.

3. It extended to ten thousand Yojanas, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. The hall was of very fine quality with various specimens of wonderful workmanship.

4-7. Everything mobile and immobile was equally charming.[1] The mobile one was excelled by the immobile one and the immobile one was excelled by the mobile one. There dry ground was excelled by water. There people did not know clearly which was water and which was dry ground. In some place there were lions and in some other places there were swans and cranes of great lustre. In some place there were very beautiful artificial peacocks. So also there were artificial elephants, horses and deer.

8. (People could not find out) which were real (animals) and which were unreal (i.e. artificial) ones created by Viśvakarman. Similarly wonderful gatekeepers were made.

9. There were men drawing bows. They were immobile but appeared (life-like) like mobile ones. Similarly, there were (statues of) horses with horsemen and elephants with elephant-riders.

10. There, were some men holding flowers and sprouts and being fanned by chowries. Some persons shone there, wearing garlands.

11. There were many artificial banners made there. (The statue of) Mahālakṣmī, born of the Ocean of Milk, was stationed at the gateway.

12. There were well-caparisoned artificial elephants and horses along with elephant-riders and horsemen. They appeared like real ones.

13. There were artificial chariots with charioteers. They were like real ones. In order to confuse everyone, assembly halls and courts of justice were created.

14. At the main gate of the hall (a statue of) Nandin was made by him. It was as white as the pure crystal just like Nandin (in real life).

15. Above him there was a great divine aerial chariot embellished with gems and jewels. It shone and it was rendered splendid by means of sprouts, umbrellas and chowries.

16. On the left side there were two elephants resembling those made of pure saffron. They had four tusks. They were sixty years old. They were noble-souled and exceedingly refulgent.

17. Similarly on the right side two horses had been made. They had armours on. Viśvakarman had made Guardians of the Quarters too endowed with gem-set, jewel-studded ornaments.

18. The sixteen Prakṛtis were realistically made by that intelligent one. All the Devas were depicted (by way of statues) by Viśvakarman (in life-like) poses.

19-21. Similarly all the sages and ascetics, beginning with Bhṛgu, Viśvedevas, along with their Pārṣadas (retinues) and Indra in his true form (were made by him). All those noble-souled ones were realistically depicted by the intelligent (Viśvakarman). Such a Maṇḍapa of a divine form was made by him. It was divine and divinely fascinating with many wonderful features. In the meantime there came Nārada in front of him.

22-25. It was directed by Brahmā that Nārada came to the house of Himavān. Nārada saw in front of him (a statue of) himself depicting him as one endowed with humility and modesty.

Seeing that artificial (statue) Nārada became confused. The sage of great fame then became engaged in viewing (the various things) made by Viśvakaman.

He entered the Maṇḍapa of Himavān, studded with gems of various colours. There were (statues of) Rambhā and golden pitchers. The Maṇḍapa was rendered splendid by them. It had a thousand columns.

Then Mountain Himalaya entered the Maṇḍapa surrounded by his own people. He welcomed and adored the sage and enquired of him what should be done (by him).

Nārada said:

26. Those noble-souled lords have come with Indra at their head. So also the great sages surrounded by the Gaṇas. Mahā-deva has come for the marriage celebration riding on his Bull.

27-30. (The first two hemistiches in verse 29 should have preceded verse 26.)[2]

Then after hearing his words the excellent Mountain Himavān adored him duly and spoke to Nārada the following great words very praiseworthy and sweet:

“Go to Śaṅkara along with these Mountains, viz. Maināka, Sahya and Meru, O highly intelligent one. Be quick and bring here Śiva whose feet are worshipped by both Suras and Asuras and who is accompanied by Devas and the excellent sages.”

31. Thinking that it should be so, that noble-souled one, the most excellent among sages, went quickly along with those leading Mountains. Hastening, he came to Śaṃbhu immediately.

32-34. Then Mahādeva was seen surrounded by Devas. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, all the Suras and those who were close followers of Rudra asked Nārada: “Let this be spoken to us since we ask. (Otherwise) it is not spoken. Does each of these Mountains, Sahya, Maināka and Meru, want to give his daughter to Śaṃbhu? What is going on now?”

35-40. After keeping Brahmā in front of him (?), then Nārada, the excellent sage of great splendour, meaningfully spoke to Viṣṇu. Resorting to a lonely place, Nārada spoke these words to Surendra: “A great abode has been built up by Tvaṣṭr. All of us are fascinated by it. Has what had been done by you to that noble soul formerly, entirely been forgotten by you, O Lord of Śacī? Therefore, he is desirous of defeating you even while living in the abode of the noble-souled Mountain.

Oh, (I) have been deluded by that shining replica, that image of great likeness. Similarly Viṣṇu too has been made by him holding conch, discus, iron club etc. Brahmā too has been made by him. A bull of the nature of Māyā has been made by him and also the serpent Aśvatara. Similarly understand, O lord of the immortal ones, that many other things too have been carved by him.”

41-43. On hearing his words, Devendra spoke these words to Viṣṇu: “I shall see it and return quickly. Wait here. l,et me find it, under what pretext has he done this. He is dejected and distressed on account of (the death) of his son.”

On hearing his words, Janārdana, the lord of Devas, spoke these words laughingly to Śakra who had become frightened:

44-48. “Formerly you had fallen into a swoon, O Indra, (in a clash) with Nivātakavacas. There the Vidyā (Magic Spell) Amṛtā was brought by me for rendering service (to you). It was due to the power of that great Vidyā that you could make this Himavān and other excellent Mountains devoid of wings. It was at my instance that all of them were made wingless, O Vāsava. Thanks to the power of the Mahāvidyā, Tvaṣṭṛ entered the Maṇḍapa now and did this by means of his Māyā. Stupid fellows desire to win success. There is not even an iota to be afraid of.”

Thus Viṣṇu consoled those Devas who were arguing thus. They then said to Nārada:

49. “Does or does not the Lord of Mountains give his daughter? Let this be ascertained quickly. What has been done by him today? Speak everything, O Nāraḍa, obeisance to you.”

50. On hearing it, Śaṃbhu said these words laughingly: “If Mountain Himalaya gives his daughter to me, what have I to do with Māyā? O Viṣṇu, tell me exactly.

51. This is opined by learned men conversant with Logic (Nyāya) that the fruit must be achieved by some means or other. Hence all of you with Indra at your head seek only the object of desire. Go ahead quickly.”

52. At that time even Śiva, the immanent soul of the universe, was deluded by god of Love having only five arrows. The lord of Bhūtas (goblins) has been (afflicted) by a greater Bhūta (i.e. god of Love). What will be the condition of others?

53. Śaṃbhu is highly splendid. In spite of that he has been won over by the bodiless lord of Love, just like an ordinary man of no culture.

54. Indeed Madana is very powerful. By him this entire universe including Devas and sages has been conquered by means of his mature prowess.

55. Indeed Anaṅga (god of Love) is the powerful king of alt living beings and particularly of Devas. His order is strong.

56-57. With the womanly form of Pārvatī, Madana is invincible in all the three worlds. On seeing that lady, all the clever sages, Devas, human beings, Gandharvas, Piśācas, Serpents and Rākṣasas—do not dare to transgress the order of the noble-souled Madana.

58. O Brāhmaṇas, Madana cannot be pierced (vettum = ‘to understand’ also) by the power of penance or charitable gifts except through humility.

59-61. Hence the great anger of Anaṅga is excessively powerful. On seeing īśvara thus deluded by Madana, Mādhava who was. conversant with the proper use of words, said these words: “O lord, do not worry. What has been said by Nārada (is true). Everything wonderful that has been created in the Maṇḍapa by Tvaṣṭṛ was actuated by lord Madana.”

Then Śaṅkara said to Madhusūdana:

62-63. “Indeed this Maṇḍapa has been made by Tvaṣṭṛ as one covered by Avidyā (Ignorance). But we will say, O Viṣṇu, that the Maṇḍapa (is made by him) alone. O highly fortunate one, marriage too has Avidyā as the foot cause. Hence let us all go now for marriage celebration.”

64-65. Keeping Nārada at the head, all the Devas including Vāsava and accompanied by Himavān went to the mansion of very wonderful features and variegated in form made by Viśvakarman. Therefore, that sacrificial chamber was excellent and very holy. It was honoured by many persons. That intelligent one (i.e. Viśvakarman) made that sacrificial chamber one that captivated the mind and was endowed with various wonderful features.

66. On entering, all the leading Suras and the sages were seen by Himavān who stood up in honour of them.

67. Similarly for their sake pleasing mansions were made by him. Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Pramathas, Siddhas, Devas, serpents and groups of celestial damsels could live in them happily. He made parks and gardens here and there for their sake.

68. On their behalf very valuable bathrooms with shower jets and enclosed spaces for toilet were made by him. They shone wonderfully. Those had been made by that noble-souled (Viśvakarman).

69. Amply spacious abodes for the purpose of the residence of all the Devas and the sages of sanctified souls were made by him.

70. Thus Viśvakarman expanded many abodes suitably and befittingly for those who stayed there.

71-73. Wherever these Bhairavas and others sat, Viśvakarman made abodes for them in those very same places. For Bhairavas, Kṣetrapālas, others who resided in the fields (sacred spots), the residents of cremation grounds, those who stayed on Nyagrodha trees (banyan trees), those staying on Aśvattha (the holy fig) trees, those who moved about in the sky, wherever they were seated, very beautiful great mansions were built by Viśvakarman. They were extremely suitable to those spirits.

74. Suras, along with Indra, Yakṣas, Piśācas, Rākṣasas, the groups of Gandharvas, Vidyādharas and celestial damsels were accommodated along with Gaṇas there alone by Himavān himself.

Footnotes and references:


This description reminds us of the Maya-sabhā in Mbh, Sabhā, 3.


The wrongly ordered hemistiches:) On hearing the words of Mountain Himavān, the sage thought that it should be so and spoke these words to the King of Mountains.

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