The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Marriage Celebration of Shiva and Parvati: Auspicious Festivities which is chapter 26 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-sixth chapter of the Kedara-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 26 - The Marriage Celebration of Śiva and Pārvatī: Auspicious Festivities

Lomaśa said:

1. Then those excellent Mountains beginning with Meru became bewildered. They all addressed Himavān, the great Mountain, simultaneously.

The Mountains said:

2. O Mountain, let the offering of the daughter in marriage be performed today. It, is your good fortune that the glorious Śaṃbhu has been obtained by you (as the son-in-law). No hesitation should be entertained within your heart. So let her be given to Īśvara (Lord Śiva).

3-4. On hearing the words of his friends and on being urged by god Brabmā, Himālaya made this good resolve. He made the offer with the Mantra “O Parameśvara, I am giving this daughter to you as your wife. Accept her.”[1]

To this great Rudra, to Śaṃbhu, the Lord of the Devas, to Maheśa his daughter was given by the noble-souled Lord of Mountains.

5-6. The lotus-eyed couple were brought out from the altar. Pārvatī and Parameśvara were made to sit outside the Vedī (altar) by the preceptor, the noble-souled Kaśyapa. Then for the sake of Havana (offering into the sacred fire) the (sacred) fire was invoked, O Brāhmaṇas.[2]

7-10. Brahmā was seated on the seat of Brahmā (the priest presiding over a sacrificial ceremony) near Śiva, while the rite of oblation to the fire was going on. The sages who were experts (in their field), who were conversant with various schools of philosophy, conversed with one another. Some of them who were engaged in Vedic discussion, expatiated on what has been accepted (in the Vedas). “It is like this.” “It is not like this.” “It is like this and not otherwise.” “It should be done.” “It should not be done.” “It should be (partially) done and (partially) not be done.” As they said like this the medley of their voices was heard in the place near Śiva (in the presence of Śiva). Sticking to their own opinions, they were speaking to one another. All of them were devoid of the knowledge of Reality. Their intelligence (and knowledge) was limited to the Vedas only.

11. On hearing the words of those (Vedic scholars) who were desirous of defeating one another, Nārada laughed and spoke these words in the presence of Śiva:

12-14. “You are all great disputants taking delight in Vedic discussion. But, O Brāhmaṇas, keep quiet, meditating on Sadāśiva in your hearts. He is the Ātman, the Supreme Soul, greater than the greatest. Obeisance to that Lord who is the immanent soul of all, by whom this universe is created, through whom everything functions and in whom the whole universe becomes merged. That Lord is present now in. the abode of the Lord of Mountains, O Brāhmaṇas. It was from his mouth that all of you clever people were born.”[3]

15. Those excellent Brāhmaṇas were spoken thus by Nārada. Those excellent Brāhmaṇas were enlightened by means of words of advice.

16. As the Yajña was going on, Brahmā, the grandfather of the worlds, saw the feet and the beautiful moon-like nails of the goddess.

17. On seeing them the Lotus-born Lord was immediately agitated (sexually). Being overwhelmed by the god of Love, his semen was discharged on the ground.

18. As the semen virile trickled down, the grandfather (Brahmā) became ashamed. That thing worthy of being concealed and very difficult to be overcome, he pressed down by means of his feet

19. Many thousands of sages, the Vālakhilyas, were born therefrom. All of them approached him crying out, “O father, O father.”

20-21. Those Vālakhilyas were then told by Nārada who got very angry (with them): “O ye Baṭus, all of you go to the mountain Gandhamādana. You must not stay here. You are not wanted (here).”

On being ordered thus by Nārada, all the Vālakhilyas hastened to that mountain.

22-23. Then Brahmā was consoled by Nārada through auspicious words. By that time, the rite of oblations to fire (Havana) by noble-souled Maheśa was concluded and the Brāhmaṇas engaged themselves in Śāntipāṭha.1 The cardinal points, i.e. the whole of the world became pervaded by the great Brahmaghoṣa (‘loud sound of chanting the Vedas’)

24. Then the Nīrājana rite was performed to the Lord by the wives of Devas. Similarly, he was adored and worshipped by the wives of the sages.

25. The auspicious and charming young ladies too, of the Lord of the Mountains, performed the rite of Nīrājana. Those who were experts and conversant with good music (delighted everyone) with songs. Similarly the great sages (propitiated the Lord) by means of eulogies.

26. Himālaya, the noble-minded great Mountain, gave them very valuable gems and jewels. He was delighted and he wished to please others.

27. The Lord who was stationed on the altar along with his wife and the groups of Suras and Siddhas, shone then. The sole (i.e. the most) handsome one (the Lord) in the universe was accompanied by all his Gaṇas and Pārṣadas. He was delighted in his mind.

28. In the meantime, the sages, Gandharvas, Yakṣas and many others with Brahmā and Viṣṇu at their head came there.

29. The noble-souled great Lord of Mountains endowed with the greatest refulgence, honoured and worshipped all of them and gave them good gems and jewels, clothes, ornaments, betel leaves and scented water.

30. Then all the leading Suras duly honoured Śiva and took their food. All of them gathered together and rejoiced.

31-32. They sat in rows and took food with Liṅgins and Śṛṅgins (types of Gaṇas). Some of the Gaṇas sat separately. Nārada and others pleased the Lord with witty remarks and jocular comments of different sorts. The group of Caṇḍī with many female attendants took their food. All of them had their (respective) vessels.

33-34. Vetālas and Kṣetrapālas shared their food equally. So also Śākinīs, Ḍākinīs, Yakṣiṇīs, the Mothers and others.[4] There were sixty four Yoginīs and Yogins too. There were others too: ten crores of Gaṇas and a core of noble souls.

35. So also, all the sages and others beginning with learned Devas. Other Yogins have already been mentioned by me.

36-38. Yoginīs have also been mentioned. I shall mention their food to you. Some of them brought the pure (raw) meat of rhinoceros and ate it along with the bone. Some who were hungry ate their entrails. Some of them brought huge and heavy heads of buffaloes. Some of them danced. Other Pramathas began to cry and shriek. Some of them in the form of Rudra remained quiet. Others remained staring at still others.

39. Bhairava who was standing in the middle of the circle of Yoginīs began to dance. Others, Bhūtas and Vetālas blurted out “Don’t, Don’t”.

40. On seeing their festivities like this, the slayer of Madhu spoke these words laughingly to Śaṅkara, the benefactor of the worlds:

41-42. “Prevent these Gaṇas, these inebriated fellows now. What should be done on this occasion should be done with wisdom, O Mahādeva. So prevent them.”

On hearing it, Lord Rudra said to Vīrabhadra:

Rudra said:

43-47. Prevent those mad and heedless ones and particularly the intoxicated ones.

Vīrabhadra was told thus by Śaṃbhu, the great god (Parameṣṭhin). On being ordered by the intelligent Vīrabhadra and prevented by him, the reckless Pramathas kept quiet. In the middle of Yoginīs, Bhūtas, Pramathas, Guhyakas, Śākinīs, Yātudhānas, Kūṣmāṇḍas, Kopikarpaṭas (?) and others, Bhūtas, Vetālas, Kṣetrapālas and Bhairavas—all these intoxicated Pramathas and others became calm.

Thus the marriage celebration was very elaborate. It was performed by Himādri with great auspiciousness and splendour.

48. Four days passed. With full mind, with great sincerity, the worship of the Trident-bearing Lord of Devas was performed by Himādri.

49-52. After worshipping and adoring Mahādeva with robes, jewels and ornaments as well as with big and small gems, he became engaged in worshipping Viṣṇu. Himavān worshipped and honoured Viṣṇu along with Lakṣmī with splendid robes and ornaments. So also he honoured Brahmā. He honoured Lord Indra along with his preceptor (Bṛhaspati) and Indrāṇī. He honoured the Guardians of the Quarters severally.

Caṇḍī too was honoured along with Bhūtas, Pramathas and Guhyakas with robes and jewels and different kinds of gems and jewels. All others too who had come there were worshipped and honoured.

53. Thus all the Devas, Sages, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, Vidyādharas, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, human beings and groups of celestial damsels were duly honoured.

Footnotes and references:


This is formal Kanyādāna.


This is Agnisthāpana and Homa or Havana. Sacred fire is ‘established’ and ghee is oblated into it with mantras. The difference of opinion among the Brāhmaṇas referred to in vv 7-10 is due to the great divergence about the number of āhutis (obiatìorts) and the mantras to be recited, in different Gṛhya-sūtras. See Grhyasūtras of Āśvalāyana (1.7.3 and 1.4.3-7), Āpastaṃba (IV. 1: prescribes 16 āhuti’s and 16 mantras), Mānava (1.8).

As the marriage rite is not completely described (including important rites such as Saptapadī, Lājāhoma) it is difficult to ascertain the Gṛhya-sūtra followed by the author. Positive mention of Nāndīmukha tentatively points to Baudhāyana Gr. S.


Cf Brāhmaṇo’sya mukham āsīt—RV, X. 90,12.


Recitation of passages from Vedas and Upaniṣads as part of the valedictory ceremony.

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