The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Marriage of Hara and Gauri Celebrated 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 Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 26 - The Marriage of Hara and Gaurī Celebrated

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:

1. Brahmā then saluted Mahādeva. With palms joined in reverence, he said to Maheśvara, “O Lord, let the marriage be celebrated.”

2-4 On hearing his words, Lord Hara said thus: “O Brahmā, we are dependent upon you and Himādri. Whatever is proper and relevant may be done. We are under your control now.” Thereupon, for the sake of the marriage of Maheśa, Brahmā instantaneously himself created a divine city, splendidly set with gems and jewels. It extended to a hundred Yojanas and it was rendered beautiful with hundreds of mansions.

5-8. Mahādeva himself stayed in that city. The Lord thought of the Seven Sages. When they arrived, he sent them to offer the letter of confirmation regarding Aṃbikā. Accompanied by Arundhatī, they went to Himācala and delighted him and his wife by mentioning the good qualities of the Lord. They gave him the letter of confirmation. They were duly honoured and entertained by him. They returned from the Mountain and intimated everything to the Three-eyed Lord. He congratulated them. Thereafter, the Lord invited the entire universe for the marriage.

9-12. Excepting Daityas of wicked nature, ail of them came, the entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings. The universe with Viṣṇu as the leader and including Brahmā, proclaimed the greatness- of the enemy of the Puras. Brahmā said to him stationed in front on the Gandhamādana,[1] “O Deva, it is time for the marriage ceremony.”

Thereafter, the grandfather, with his eyes distended on account of excessive love, tied the Crescent Moon to his matted locks of hair.[2] With great delight, Viṣṇu himself made his matted hair splendid.

13-19. Cāmuṇḍā, tied to his head a large garland of skulls and said to Giriśa, “Beget a son, O Śaṅkara, who will kill the family of the leading Daitya and offer libations unto me with blood.”

The Sun himself with great delight fixed a red jewel with blazing fiery sparks and illuminating the three worlds with its refulgence, to the tuft of the Lord of Devas. The chief (Serpents) Śeṣa, Vāsuki etc., the splendid ones, sparkling with their splendour, offered themselves to īśvara in the place of ornaments. With different kinds of jewel-fittings, the Vāyus (i.e. Wind-gods) decorated the bull that had sharp pointed horns and also the lustre of the Himālaya mountain. Śakra held the elephant’s hide himself and stood in front.

Pretanātha saluted and offered a garland of human bones without ash of silver lustre on the skull. Vahni (i.e. Fire-god) gave a refulgent divine hide of deer. The Lord who was adorned thus by all the attendants shone well.

20. Then the officials of Himādri spoke these words to Vīraka, “Let there not be delay. Let Bhava be informed of this.”

21. With his hands joined together in reverence, Vīraka bowed down to the Lord and said: “These officials of Himādri want Maheśāna to hurry up.”

22. On hearing these words, the Lord said, “Yes, soon.” The Seven Oceans showed him the mirror.

23. There, the great Lord saw his own form identical with the universe. Then, with palms joined in reverence, the intelligent Keśava spoke to Sthāṇu (i.e. Śiva):

24-26. “O Mahādeva, Lord of Devas, O Śaṅkara, slayer of Tripura, you shine with this form that delights the universe, O Maheśvara, like another Maheśvara (‘Lord of festivals’).” Then the smiling Mahādeva was hailed saying, “Be victorious in all the worlds”. Taking hold of Viṣṇu’s hand, he slowly mounted the Bull. Thereafter, Vasus and Devas handed him the trident.

27. Dhanada accompanied by all the treasures stood nearby. Then Hara, the immanent soul of the universe, moved ahead with the trident in his hand.

28-29. With the sounds of the divine Dundubhi drums, showers of flowers, music, the dances of the celestial damsels and others, and the Loud shouts of “Victory”, the Lord went ahead. Brahmā and Viṣṇu of great lustre rode on the Swan and Garuḍa and went ahead keeping to the left and right sides of the Lord.

30-37a. The following persons then went behind the Lord: Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kadru, Suparṇajā, Paulomī, Surasā, Siṃhikā, Surabhi, Muni, Siddhi, Māyā, Kṣamā, the goddess, Durgā, Svāhā, Svadhā, Sudhā, Sāvitrī, Gāyatrī, Lakṣmī, Dakṣiṇā, Dyuti, Spṛhā, Mati, Dhṛti, Buddhi, Manthi(?), Ṛddhi, Sarasvatī, Rākā, Kuhū, Sinīvālī, Devī Bhanumatī, Dharaṇī, Dhāraṇī, Velā, the queen Rohiṇī etc. The mothers and wives of other Devas went to the marriage of the Lord of Devas. All of them rejoiced. Serpents, Garuḍas, Yakṣas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Naras (human beings), Oceans, Mountains, Cloud, Months, Years, the Vedas, Mantras, Yajñas, all the Vedic Dharmas, Huṃkāras, Praṇavas, the thousands of Itihāsas, crores of the Devas beginning with Mahendra and their vehicles too followed Mahādeva. There were crores and thousand billions of these.

37b. Innumerable lords of Gaṇas came there. Billions and trillions of Gaṇas followed behind (the Lord). Gaṇas having the colour of conch-shell were crores in number.

38-39. Gaṇas called Kekaras numbered ten crore; Vidyuts eight crore; Viśākhas sixty-four crore; Pāriyātrikas nine crore; glorious Sarvāntaka and Vikṛtānana went with six crores; Jvālākeśa went surrounded by twelve crores.

40. The glorious Samada with seven crores; Dundubha with eight crores; Kapālīśa with five crores; the splendid Saṃhlādaka with six crores.

41. Kundaka and Kuṃbhaka each with a crore. Viṣṭaṃbha, the chief of the Gaṇas, the most excellent of all, went with eight crores.

42. Pippala with a thousand; the powerful Sannāda too like that; Āveśana with eight; Candratāpana with seven crores.

43. Mahākeśa with a thousand; Nandi with twelve crores; Nāga, Kāla, Karāla and Mahākāla (each) with a hundred.

44. Agnika with a hundred crores. Agnimukha with a crore. Ādityamūrdhā and Dhanāvaha each with a crore.

45. Sannāga with a hundred; Kumuda with three crores. Amogha, Kokila and Sumantraka each with a crore.

46. Kākapāda with six crores; the Gaṇa called Santānaka with six crores; Mahābala, Madhupiṅga and Piṅgala (each) with nine crores.

47. Nīla with ninety; Caturvaktra and Pūrvapāt each with seventy; Vīrabhadra, Karaṇa and Bālaka each with sixty-four.

48. Pañcākṣa, Śatamanyu and Meghamanyu each with twenty crores; Kāṣṭhakoṭi, Sukeśa and Vṛṣabha each with sixty-four.

49-50. Viśvarūpa, Tālaketu and Sitānana each with fifty; Īśāna, Vṛddhadeva, Dīptātmā, Mṛtyuhā, Viṣāda, Yamahā and Bhṛṅgiriṭi, Aśanī and Hāsaka as well as Sahasrapāt each with sixty-four.

51. These and other leaders of the Gaṇas followed. They were innumerable and all of them were very powerful. All of them had a thousand hands. They wore matted locks of hair and crowns.

52. They had the crescent moon for an ornament. They were blue-throated and three-eyed. They were adorned with necklaces, ear-rings, armlets, crowns and other ornaments.

53. They were endowed with Aṇimā and other qualities (Siddhis). They were competent to curse as well as to bless. Leading chiefs of Gaṇas resembling crores of Suns came there.

54-55. The Gaṇas stationed in the nether worlds, sky and the earth (came there); the residents of all the worlds too came there.

Tuṃburu, Nāraḍa, Hāhā, Hūhū and the Sāmagas took up stringed instruments and played on them in the festival of Śaṅkara. All the sages and ascetics sang Vedic songs of great sacred nature.

56-57. They were delighted in their minds and repeated the sacred Mantras pertaining to marriage rites. Thus started Giriśa. He was fanned by Gaṅgā and Yamunā, while the Lord of the Waters held the umbrella. He was cheered and humoured by the different groups of women showering fried grains and holding various kinds of talks.

58-59. With great festivity, the Lord of Devas entered the abode of the Mountain, where golden domes shone. It was fitted with hundreds of arched gateways; there all the floors had been paved with lapis lazuli. It had a number of houses built of gems and jewels. While entering he was being eulogized.

60. Then Himācala was seen there extremely excited. When Mahādeva approached he began giving orders to his servants.

61. Then the Mountain requested Brahmā to accept the office of the preceptor. The intelligent (Mountain) entrusted Vāsudeva (Viṣṇu) with the entire burden of all the duties.

62-63. He said to him, “In this marriage, O Viṣṇu, how can the rites of Lājāhoma (‘offerings of the fried grain’) etc. take place, without the brother of the bride? Indeed my son Maināka is inside the sea.” Viṣṇu of great intellect spoke to him as he was in a predicament due to worry:

64. “In this matter, O Lord of Mountains, you need not worry at all. I am the brother of the mother of the universe. It is so and not otherwise,”

65. Then the Mountain was delighted. He brought the well-adorned Pārvatī to the assembly-hall surrounded by crores of friends.

66-67. Surrounded by his attendants, Śarva entered the marriage Pandal, the columns of which were made of sapphire, the shining ground of which had been paved with gold. It had been beautified with clusters of pearls and was illuminated with blazing medicinal herbs; it contained thousands of gem-set seats and was extended to a hundred Yojanas.

68. Then, the Mountain accompanied by his wife, became delighted while washing the feet of Bhava. He sprinkled the water on himself and on all the people (present there).

69. After giving Pādya, Ācamana, Madhuparka and a cow (as gift) the Brāhmaṇas began to ponder upon the procedure of Pradāna (‘giving the daughter in marriage’).

70. “I am giving you my daughter, the granddaughter of Kavyavāhas (Pitṛs).” After saying this the Mountain stood (silent). He did not know the particulars of Hara.[3]

71-73. Then he asked everyone about the family (of Śiva). No one knew that. Then Viṣṇu said this: “Why are the others being asked? He is of unknown family and parentage. Let him alone be asked. It is only the serpent that knows the feet of serpents, O Himācala. If he does not mention his Gotra (‘Lineage’), my sister should not be given.” Thereat all of them laughed loudly.

74-75. Within a moment all the laughter subsided. Everyone awaited what Hara would say. Then Hara pondered in various ways. He appeared to be a bit afraid—‘they may not give Pārvātī in marriage if I (Śiva) do not tell them my Gotra.’ He remained dumb, speechless due to bashfulness. O son of Pṛthā, he smlied. Then the leading persons said, “Be quick. The time is up.”

76. Hari spoke to Maheśāna who was afraid, “I shall name your grandfather and father.” “Listen, O mountain, to the procedure.”

77. “O Śambhu, to you the son of Ātman, to the grandson of Ātman”.

When this was said by Viṣṇu, all of them said, “Well-done! Well-done!”

78-79. The Lord too exhibited an intelligence more excellent than that of all others. Then the Mountain mentioned it and gave the goddess along with the formal libation of water. He dedicated himself to the Lord. The Mountain offered himself with water to the Lord, Then all of them were surprised. They praised the marriage rite.

80. The giver is the Lord of all Mountains. The presiding priest is the Four-faced Lord. The bridegroom is Paśupati himself and the bride is the Mother of the universe.

81. When the sages eulogized, when the great shower of flowers was being scattered and while the celestial musical instruments were being played, the Three-eyed Lord (formally) grasped the hand (of the goddess),

82. On glancing at the bashful goddess, the daughter of the Himālaya Mountain, the Lord was not satiated. Nor did she delight the Bull-bannered Lord to satiation.

83. The sages beginning with Brahmā gazed at the goddess of wonderful form and mentally sought refuge in Parameśvara (Śiva).

84. “Let us not lose sense over Pārvatī, like Nārada and Parvata[4] (over Śrīmatī).” Thereupon, he carried out the desire of everyone.

85. Then, Parameśvara was eulogized by the Devas and sages. He entered the auspicious altar containing the Fire-god in an embodied form.

86-89. By means of the Mantras prescribed in the Vedas, who were bodily present (there), he performed the Homa in the Agni of an embodied form. Hara circumambulated the fire three times and performed Lājā Homa (i.e. offering of the fried grains in the fire). Hari, the brother of Umā, smilingly said to him, “O Īśvara, many people have gathered. The pressure of the crowd of people is great. O Hara, all the ornaments should be guarded well with careful attention by you.” Then Hara said to him, “Do not over-guard it even from your own people. Request for something. I shall give you.” Then Viṣṇu said, “It is good, let my devotion to you be firm.” He granted that rare (boon).

90. Then both of them, Hara and Janārdana, who were pleased, gave as Dakṣiṇā Brahmā the protection of the creation; to Agni they gave shares in the Yajñas.

91-94. To Bhṛgu and others, he gave as Dakṣiṇā, the protection of the Vedas. Then there was a wonderfully pleasant time with songs, dances and feastings as they pleased and many kinds of festivities. After giving them gifts as they desired, he bade farewell to the whole world. Bhava then consoled the parents of the goddess who had been miserable. He consoled them with sweet words. He took leave of Himācala, Brahmā and Keśava and went to Mandara mountain. He was duly worshipped along with his followers by the Mountain.

95-96. When Lord Nīlalohita had gone along with Umā to his pure mountain, the Mountain Himavān began to cry. Who is that father of a girl whose mind is not agitated and excited?

The man who listens to, and studies this (description of the) marriage of the daughter of the King of Mountains with great purity, especially in the course of a marriage festival, attains auspiciousness and perpetual prosperity.

Footnotes and references:


The author has a vague idea about Mt. Gandhamādana. It seems, he believes it to bo a portable mountain for Śiva’s convenience.


An interesting ornamentation of Śiva as a bridegroom with a garland of skulls etc.


A tricky position. Viṣṇu took a philosophical stand and resolved the dilemma.


Both Parvata and Nārada were rivals for the hand of king Sṛñjaya’s daughter. When she preferred Nārada, Parvata quarrelled with him and cursed him (Mbh, Droṇa 55.9-14). The sages did not want to quarrel over Pārvatī who was already married to Śaṅkara.

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