The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Kumara Becomes Commander-in-chief of the Deva Army which is chapter 29 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-ninth chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 29 - Kumāra Becomes Commander-in-chief of the Deva Army

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

(i) Legend of Arbuda.

Nārada said:

1. As she was going ahead, the daughter of the Mountain saw a friend of her mother. She had great refulgence. She was the deity of the Mountain. Her name was Kusumāmodinī.

2. That deity looked at the daughter of the Mountain with her mind agitated and overcome with affection. After embracing her, she asked her loudly, “Where are you going?”

3. She told her everything regarding the cause of her anger with Śaṅkara. Thereafter the daughter of the Mountain mentioned this to that deity honoured by her mother:

4-6. “O uncensured (i.e. praise-worthy) one, you are the presiding deity of the Lord of the Mountains. You have always been present here and you have been greatly affectionate to me. Therefore, I shall tell you what should be done now. If any other lady were to enter the premises of the Pināka-bearing Lord, O splendid lady, you must mention it to me. I shall later on do what is befitting in that respect.” When that deity said, “So be it”, the goddess went towards the Mountain (her father).

7-8a. Renouncing her ornaments and other things, the daughter of the Mountain put on bark-garments. There on the great beautiful peak which was rendered extremely splendid with various mysterious features, she performed penance while her son protected her.

8b-11. During summer, she scorched herself in the midst of the Five Fires. During rainy season, she spent the time in water. During Hemanta (i.e. early winter) she sat (and slept) on bare ground. She performed the penance without any intake of food.

In the meantime, a powerful Daitya, son of Andhaka named Āḍi, the brother of Baka, performed an extensive penance, because he wished to defeat Hara.[1] He did not forget the old enmity, because Daitya Andhaka, the enemy of the immortal beings, had been defeated by Giriśa. He was on the lookout for an opportunity (to take revenge) in secret. He knew that the daughter of the Mountain had gone away.

12. Brahmā who was delighted with his penance came to him and said, “O excellent one among Asuras, tell me, what you wish to acquire by means of penance?”

13-14. The Daitya said to Brahmā, “I choose exemption from death.”

Brahmā said:

O Asura, there is no living creature without death. O lord of Daityas, an embodied being has to meet with his death from one cause or other.

On being told thus, the lion-like Daitya spoke thus to the Lotus-born Lord:

15. “When my form is changed, O Lotus-born Lord, let my death take place. Otherwise, I should be immortal.”

16. On being told thus, the delighted Lotus-born Lord said, “So be it”. On being told thus, the Asura, established in the kingdom of Daityas, considered it to be immortality itself.

17. He came to the abode of the Slayer of the Tripuras. On arrival, he saw Vīraka stationed at the entrance.

18. Āḍi assumed the form of a serpent and deceived him. Unhindered by Vīraka, he entered the place near Hara.

19. He forsook the form of the serpent. Deluded in his mind, the great Asura, in the guise of Umā, wanted to deceive Giriśa.

20-21. He assumed the form of Uraā, very exquisite and unbelievably beautiful. It was perfect in every limb and it contained many signs and symbols of recognition (of being Umā). On account of the delusion of his intellect, he attempted to kill Giriśa. For that purpose the Daitya had kept within the vaginal passage some hard adamantine teeth with sharp points.

22-25. After assuming the form of Umā thus, the Daitya stationed himself near Hara. On seeing that great Asura, Giriśa was delighted and he embraced him thinking him to be the daughter of the Mountain (due to similarity) in every limb. He asked him (her), “Oh, your feelings are perfectly genuine. You are not a fake (i.e. impersonation of the) daughter of the Mountain. O lady of excellent complexion, you have understood my desire and come here. Separated from you, I feel all the three worlds a void. You have come back to me in a delighted (mood). This is but proper.”

On being told thus, the Asura in the guise of Umā concealed his activities and spoke:

26. “I went away to perform penance at your calling me ‘Kālī’ (black). But I did not have any pleasure in the same. Therefore, I have come near you.”

27-32- On being told thus, Śaṅkara had some doubt and he thought thus: ‘The lady of slender body became angry with me directly. She is steadfast in holy observances. But without realizing her desired object, she has came back. What is this? I am doubtful about it.’ He thought this in secret. Then he thought about the various signs of recognition. He did not see the scar in the shape of a lotus on the left side, nor the curly hair over the folded skin. Thereupon the Pināka-bearing Lord understood that it was the magical deception of the Dānava. With a slight smile on his face, he fixed the terrible Rudra missile in his penis and did everything to fulfil the desire of the Daitya. The Asura cried aloud making (piteous and) terrible shrieks. He became utterly dead.

Vīraka did not know about this killing of the leading Asura. When the Daitya was killed, the deity of the Mountain was informed of the fact by the Wind-god, that went there quickly. She intimated this to the daughter of the Mountain.

33. The goddess heard the same from the Wind-god. Due to anger, her eyes became excessively red. She saw her son Vīraka with an afflicted heart.

34-35. “You have abandoned me, your mother, agitated due to affection. Thereby you provided an opportunity for women (to go in) for Śaṅkara’s secret activities. Hence your (?) mother will be rough, hard, insentient, devoid of heart, rock and similar to the syllables Gaṇeśa (Gaṇeśākṣarasadṛśa?)

36. When the daughter of the Mountain uttered this curse, (her) anger came out of her mouth in the form of a lion of great strength.

37-40. Afterwards the goddess regretted and let off the lion of terrible jaw with great mane round the neck. He continued to shake his strong tail. His mouth was fierce like a cave with terrible curved teeth. The tongue was lolling from the gaping mouth. His belly was thin (in size). He was desirous of eating.

Then the chaste gentle lady endeavoured to be stationed (i.e. enter) in its mouth.

After realizing the mental inclination of the goddess, the Four-faced Lord came to the hermitage that was an abode of riches. After coming, Brahmā spoke to Girijā in polished speech:

41. “O goddess, what are you desirous of obtaining? What rare thing can I give you?”

On hearing it, the daughter of the Mountain said with due reverence to elders:

42-43. “Śaṅkara has been obtained by me through the extremely difficult process of penance, as my husband. Bhava called me many times ‘black-complexioned one’. I shall be golden-complexioned with his love secured. I must be able to be on one side of the Lord of goblins, my husband, without any hesitation, whatsoever.”

44. On hearing her words, the Lotus-seated Lord spoke: “Let it be so. Further you will be the occupant of half of the body of your husband.”[2]

45-46. There upon a lady of the bright lustre of a blue lotus came out of her body. She was very terrible. She had three eyes. She had a bell in her hand. There were many kinds of ornaments covering (i.e. decorating) (her) limbs. She had put on a yellow silken robe. Thereupon, Brahmā spoke to the goddess of the lustre of the blue lotus:

47-50. “At my bidding and through the contact of the body of this daughter of the Mountain, you have attained blessedness of satisfaction, You are single (entire) without parts(?) You have the previous form(?).

Let this lion that has come out of the anger of the goddess, O lady of excellent face, be your powerful vehicle as well as the emblem in your flag. Go to the Vindhya mountain. There you will perform the task of Devas, after killing Śuṃbha and Niśuṃbha, the commanders of the army of Tāraka. This Yakṣa, named Pāñcāla, has been given to you, O goddess, as your servant. He has a hundred thousand Yakṣas as his followers and attendants. He has hundreds of great Māyās.”

51-59. On being told thus, the goddess Kauśikī said to Brahmā, “Let it be so.” After Kauśikī had gone, all the good qualities that she had acquired in her previous birth, came to her by themselves. They resorted to her.

After realizing her ambitious desire, Umā regretted the same. Censuring herself, she went near Giriśa. As she was going in, Vīraka who held a gold (-topped) staff, stopped her with great care. He said to her angrily, “Stop. Stop. Where are you going? You have no business here. Go away, lest I should rebuke you. A Daitya who had assumed the form of the goddess, entered (this abode) in order to deceive the Lord. He was not seen (by me). He was killed by the Lord. After he had been killed, I was rebuked by the intelligent Nīlakaṇṭha. I have been commanded earnestly: ‘Dear son, nobody should be allowed to go in by you.’ Hence, even if you were to be standing at the entrance for many years, you will not gain entry. Go away, only one shall enter (this abode) (i.e.) my mother who is very affectionate towards me. She is the daughter of the Lord of Mountains, Pārvatī, the beloved of Rudra.”

On being told thus, the goddess thought in her mind:

60-62. ‘Oh, that was not a woman! It had been a Daitya! The Wind-god did not see him clearly. In vain was Vīraka cursed by me, overwhelmed by anger. What should not be done is being done generally by the deluded (stupid) persons overwhelmed by anger. Reputation is destroyed by anger; Anger destroys stable prosperity and glory. Without understanding all the facts I cursed my son. Mishaps easily befall those who misunderstand facts.’

63. After thinking thus, the daughter of the Mountain had her face lowered due to shame, her face that had the lustre of lotus. She spoke to Vīraka thus:

64. “Q Vīraka, I am your mother. Let not your mind be confused. I am the beloved wife of Śaṅkara, the daughter of Himālaya mountain.

65. O son, do not entertain any doubt because of your error in noting the present state of my body. This whiteness of ray complexion has been granted to me by the Lotus-born Lord who had been propitiated.

66. You have been cursed by me because the events brought about by the Daitya had not been known. It was thought that a woman entered (the place) while Śaṅkara was seated there alone.

67. It is impossible to revoke the curse, but I shall tell you this. You will be born of Śilāda in a rock of human shape.

68-73. In the holy forest of Arbudāraṇya[3] which yields heavenly pleasures and liberation unto men, O Vīraka, there is the Liṅga called Acaleśvaraliṅga. It yields the same benefit unto men as the Viśvanātha liṅga at Vārāṇasī. Its benefit is equivalent to that of ten pilgrimages to Prabhāsa. It is said that by taking one trip to the great mountain Arbuda, the same can be acquired. By performing penance in this place and by casting off the essential ingredients of the body (i.e. by dying) in this place, men will never become Saṃsārin (i.e. subjected to births and deaths), as Maheśvara himself has uttered. If (a pilgrimage to) Arbuda could be (performed) by persons who are miserable due to frequent births and they can resort to it, why should they remember Vārāṇasī and Kedāra? It is not necessary. There you shall propitiate Lord Bhava. Bearing the name Nandin, you will come here quickly and will attain the status of gatekeeper.”

On being told thus, Vīraka experienced the greatest pleasure. His hair stood on end. He bowed down to her, eulogized his mother with various words and spoke to her:

74-75. “I am blessed, O Goddess, because I will get the rare (blessing of) human birth. This curse is in the form of a blessing, particularly in the Arbuda Mountain, because very near it is the holy meeting place of Mahī and the ocean.

76-77. (If the earth had the form of a cow) this region would constitute the udder of the earth. It is between the mountain and the sea. I shall go there and attain great merit, thanks to the devotion to Bhava. Then, O mother, I shall return.” After saying this, he became the son of a rock.

The goddess entered the abode of the Moon-crested Lord.

The end of the narrative of Arbuda

78-81. On seeing her, the Three-eyed Lord said to her, “Fie upon women!’ She bowed down to him and said, “This is true. Not false. Women who constitute the insentient part of Prakṛti surely deserve censure. It is by the favour of Puruṣas (men, souls) that they are liberated from the ocean of worldly existence.”

Thereupon, the delighted Hara said to her, “O splendid lady, you are a befitting one now. I shall confer upon you a son, O splendid one, whereby you will attain fame.”

Thereupon Hara, the abode of many mysterious features, sported with the goddess.[4]

82. Thousands of years (passed by). Devas who were impatient-minded urged Fire-god to know about the activities of Śaṅkara.

83. In the form of a pigeon, Fire-god deceived the gatekeeper stationed at the entrance and entered the place near Hara.

84-85. The Lord of Devas saw him. Observing that Pārvatī had bent down, he said to Fire-god, “What has been done by you is not proper. O vicious one, my excellent semen virile has been emitted from its source. Take it or I wilt burn you down with ray fury.”

86. He (Fire-god) became frightened and imbibed it up. Since he was the mouth of all Devas, those Suras were made bewildered and excited along with Fire-god.

87. Breaking open the bellies of these (Suras) the semen virile of Maheśvara came out and that became a lake of mercury extending to a hundred Yojanas.

88. Vahni (Fire-god) too became excited. He discharged it (i.e. Śiva’s semen) into Gaṅgā. Burning within herself that goddess cast it off by means of her waves.

89-90. Thereby it became the Śveta (white) mountain famous in the three worlds.

In the meantime, Vahni was called to Himālaya by the Seven Sages who were performing Homas. They invoked him through the power of Mantras. After coming there, Vahni accepted his share of what was offered as Homa.

91. On another day (still) stationed there, he saw their wives who were on a par with the trunk of the golden plantain tree (in complexion). They were like the digit of the moon (in beauty).

92-95. Looking at them with full-blown eyes, Vahni was overcome by sexual desire. He thought again, ‘It is not justifiable (i.e. proper) that I should be excited too much (at the sight of these ladies). I am loving the chaste wives of the Brāhmaṇas. Those ladies do not entertain love for me in return. This is a very serious sinful crime. It is clear that I will perish like a blade of grass. By committing this, my fame will be destroyed. The ignominy will last as long as the moon and the stars stay.’

After thinking thus in various ways, he went into a deep forest. He was unable to restrain his mind even through numerous means. Thereupon that love-lorn one became unconscious.

96. Then his wife named Svāhā understood his misdemeanour. On understanding it, she thought in her mind; she was greatly delighted.

97-98, ‘Since I am with him for a long time he is treating me with indifference and contempt. He has abandoned me, his own wife, and has begun to desire carnal gratification from the wives of the noble-souled Seven Sages. Therefore, I shall assume the form of these ladies and sport about with him.’

There was an exceedingly splendid lady named Śivā. She was the wife of Aṅgiras.

99-101. (Svāhā) assumed her form and approaching Fire-god, she said: O Agni, I have been scorched by the god of Love. It behoves you to love me in return. If you don’t do so, O Lord, consider me (no better than) dead. O Hutāśana, I am the wife of Aṅgiras and my name is Śivā. I came here along with all of them. They too will come here in due order. You are our perpetual lover and our mind is constantly fixed in you.”

102. Already afflicted with love, he had his sexual intercourse with her. When he was delighted, that gentle lady too became delighted. She came out of the middle of the forest.

103-107. She thought thus,‘If they see this form of mine in the forest, they will falsely attribute to the Brāhmaṇa ladies, the fault coming from Fire-god. Hence, I shall protect this and become a Garuḍī.’ Assuming the form of Suparṇā, she saw the Śveta mountain abounding in stems of reeds (Śara) and guarded by Rākṣasas and Piśācas. She soared suddenly to the top of the mountain and deposited the semen virile in a golden pot because she was unable to bear it. She assumed the forms of the remaining wives of the noble-souled Seven Sages and had amorous dalliance with Fire-god. But she could not assume the divine form of Arundhatī.

108-109. It was on account of the power of penance (of Arundhatī) as well as the regular services rendered by her to her husband that Svāhā could not assume her. form.

O leading scion of the family of Kuru, Agni’s semen virile was deposited by her like that six times in that pot. It was deposited by Svāhā on the first day in the dark half of the lunar month of Caitra. Thereupon Fire-god bewailed and swooned on account of his misery.

110-113. ‘Alas, sin has been committed by me.’ Thinking thus, he resolved to cast off his physical body. Thereupon an ethereal voice said, “Do not die. This is the inevitable future. O Fire-god, who is free from (the shackles of) future destiny. It was due to the inevitability of the future events that other men’s wives were resorted to by you, though mentally. In the great sacrifice of Śvetaketu you will suffer from indigestion brought about by continuous (pouring in of) offerings of ghee. But give up your sorrow. These were not they (i.e. the wives of the Seven Sages). It was your owṇ wife Svāhā. It behoves you to see your son in the pitcher on the Śvetaparvata.” Thereupon, Fire-god went there and saw his son, the Holy Lord.

Arjuna asked:

114-115. Why did Svāhā assume the forms of those six (ladies), O great sage? They are ail devoted to their husbands. They are chaste ascetic women (refulgent) like fire; Svāhā was guilty. Was she not afraid of those six (ladies)? For, O sage, they are competent to burn the entire universe through their devotion to their husbands.

Nārada replied:

116-120. This is true, O most excellent one among the descendants of Kuru. Listen to that reason also why they did not curse her (though) their forms had been assumed by her. Due to their ignorance, those six wives took their baths in Gaṅgā at the place where formerly the semen virile of Rudra had been cast off by Fire-god. Therefore, they got excited with passion and they were deluded by that brilliance (of semen virile). Bashful (to come in the presence) of their husbands, they remained in secret on the banks of Gaṅgā.

On observing this opportunity, Svāhā wanted to fulfil her desire. She entered their bodies and took away their refulgence (semen virile). The wife of Vahni sported with him as has already been mentioned by me.

121. It was because they remembered this service, O descendant of Bharata, that she was not cursed by them. For curse should not be given to a person who has helped.

122. On coming to know by means of their (spiritual) knowledge that they had become impure, the great sages abandoned the six of them except (the seventh) the gentle lady Arundhatī.

123. The holy lord Viśvāmitra sought refuge in Kumāra. He composed a divine hymn to Mahāsena.

124. It consists of one hundred and eight names. By repeating them, sins are destroyed and one shall attain perfect knowledge.

Hymn to Mahāsena

[Note: Although Skanda is hailed here as the highest and the most prominent deity in this hymn, in Vedic literature he has little prominence.]

125. You are Brahmavādī (expounder of the Vedas); you are Brahmā and Brahman, Brāhmaṇa-vatsala (one who loves Brāhmaṇas), Brahmaṇya (one friendly to Brāhmaṇas), Brahmadeva (Lord of Brahmā), Brahmada (bestower of the Vedas), Brahmasaṅgrāha (epitome of the Vedas),

126. Paraṃ Paramaṃ Tejas (the supreme and the greatest refulgence), Maṅgalānāṃ ca Maṅgalam (auspiciousness in the auspicious things), Aprameyaguṇa (one of immeasurable good qualities). You are Mantrāṇām Mantraga (i.e. you are present in the Mantras).

127. O Lord, you are Sāvitrīmaya (identical with the Sāvitrī Mantra). You are Aparājita (unvanquished) everywhere. You are the Mantra identical with Lord Śarva. You are the most excellent one among those deities of six syllables.

128. You are Mālī (having a garland), Maulī (wearer of a crown), Patākī (having a banner), Jaṭī (having matted hair) Muṇḍī (having a shaven head), Śikhaṇḍī (having a tuft), Kuṇḍalī (decorated with ear-rings), Lāṅgalī (having a ploughshare), Bāla (boy), Kumāra (infant), Pravara (perfect one), Vara (the most excellent one).

129. You are Gavāṃputra (son of Gaus i.e. cows or rays etc.), Surārighna (destroyer of the enemy of the Suras), Saṃbhava (birth), Bhavabhāvana (sanctifier of worldly existence), Pinākin (holding the Pināka bow), Śatruhan (slayer of foes), Śveta (white one), Gūḍha (hidden one), Skanda, Karāgraṇī (leader of makers and creators),

130. Dvādaśa (twelfth one), Bhū, Bhuva, Bhāvī (one who will be born), Bhuvaḥ Putra (son of Bhū), Namaskṛtaḥ (one who is saluted or bowed to), Nāgarāja (identical with the king of serpents), Sudharmātmā (excessively righteous-souled), Nākapṛṣṭha (vault of the Heaven), Sanātona (the eternal one).

131. You are Bhartṛ (lord, the supporter), Sarvabhūtātmā (the immanent soul of living beings); you are Trātā (saviour); you are Sukhāvaha (conducive to happiness); you are Śaradakṣa (clever in discharging arrowa), Śikhī (having tresses) Jetā (conqueror), Ṣaḍvaktra (six-faced), Bhayanāśana (destroyer of fear),

132. Hemagarbha (golden-wombed one), Mahāgarbha (large-wombed), Jaya (victory), Vijayeśvara (lord of victory). You are the Kartā (maker). You are Vidhātā (creator), Nitya (permanent one), Nityārimardana (ever-suppressor of foes),

133. Mahāsena (having a great army), Mahātejas (having dazzling refulgence), Vīrasena (having heroic army), Bhūpati (king), Siddhāsana (i. one occupying the posture called siddha or ii. one who has perfected the postures), Surādhyakṣa (presiding deity of Suras), Bhīmasena (one who has a terrible army), Nirāmaya (devoid of ailments),

134. Śauri (identical with Kṛṣṇa), Yadu (identical with Yadu), Mahātejas (one who has excessive brilliance), Vīryavān (endowed with heroism), Satyavikrama (of truthful exploit), Tejogarbha (having refulgence within), Asuraripu (enemy of Asuras), Suramūrti (having the form of Suras), Surorjita (having the prowess of Suras),

135. Kṛtajña (? grateful or one who is conversant with what is done), Varada (bestower of boons), Satya (truthful), Śaraṇya (one worthy of being a refuge), Sādhuvatsala (one who is affectionate to good men), Suvrata (one of good holy rites), Sūryasaṅkāśa (resembling the sun), Vahnigarbha (having fire within), Bhuvaḥkaṇa (identical with even a bit of earth),

136. Pippalī (Prob. a Sāman of that name, acc to MW 628, bestower of sensual enjoyments), Śīghraga (one who goes quickly), Raudrī (terrible one), Gāṅgeya (son of Gaṅgā), Ripudāraṇa (terror of enemies), Kārttikeya (son of the Kṛttikās), Prabhu (lord), Kṣānta (one who forgives), Nīladaṃṣṭra (one with blue curved teeth), Mahāmānas (lofty-minded),

137. Nigraha (one who curbs), Nigrahāṇām Netā (leader of those who curb and restrain). You are Suranandana (delighter of Suras), Pragraha (hospitable), Paramānanda (having supreme bliss), Krodhaghna (destroyer of anger), Tāra (one with a high tone), Ucchrita (lofty one),

138. Kukkuṭī (having cock as emblem), Bahulī (identical with pleiades), Divya (divine), Kāmada (bestower of desired objects), Bhūrivardhana (of the abundant increase), Amogha (infalḥble) Amṛtada (the bestower of nectar), Agni (identical with Fire-god), Śatrughna (slayer of enemies), Sarvamodana (delighter of all),

139. Avyaya (immutable), Amara (immortal), Śrīmān (endowed with glory), Unnata (lofty one), Agnisambhava (born of Agni), Piśācarāja (king of ghosts), Sūryābha (having the lustre of the sun), Sivātmā [Śivātmā?] (identical with Śiva), Śivanandana (son or delighter of Śiva),

140. Apārapāra (one like-the boundless vast expanse), Durjñeya (incomprehensible), Sarvabhūtahiterata (one who is engaged in the welfare of all living beings), Agrāhya (one who cannot be comprehended), Kāraṇam [Kāraṇa] (cause), Kartā (agent, doer), Parameṣṭhī (stationed in the supreme excellence), Parampada (the highest region),

141-142. Acintya (one who cannot be thought of), Sarvabhūtāmā (the immanent soul in all living beings), Sarvātmā (one who is the soul of all). You are eternal.

Thus that Lord of all living beings was eulogized by Viśvāmitra, the great sage, by enumerating these one hundred and eight names. The Lord was delighted and appeared in front of him. He spoke thus to the leading sage: “Let (the boon) be chosen.

143. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, my eulogy has been composed by you (well). This will be conducive to the achievement of the desires of living beings on the earth.

144-147. Fortune will flourish in the family of that person who reads this regularly. Neither Rākṣasas nor Piśācas, neither goblins nor mishaps cause obstacles in that house where they eulogize me thus. He will not have evil dreams. The person who is bound will be liberated from bondage. By the power of this hymn (prayer) the man will attain a divine status. It behoves you to consecrate me by means of those consecratory rites mentioned in the Vedas, since a life without coṇsecratory rites is said to be like that of a brute. You too, by the boon granted by me, will become a Brahmarṣi.”

148. Then the sage performed his post-natal holy rites. Further at the bidding of Lord Skanda, he took up the work of his priest.

149-152. Thereupon, Vahni came there and saw his son Guha who had six heads, ears twice as many and twelve eyes, arms and feet. He had only one neck and one body. He looked at Kumāra who was a mere lump of flesh on the first day. On the second day it had the form of an individual. On the third day he became an infant. On the fourth day he became a complete (i.e. full grown) one. He was consecrated on the fifth day. He saw Fire-god. Thereupon, O son of Pṛthā, Pāvaka (Fire-god) embraced him and kissed him. He addressed him as “O son” and granted him the Śakti missile himself.

153-157. He received the Śakti and bowed down to Fire-god. He then climbed on to Śvetaśṛṅga, seeing and surveying all the ten directions with his faces. He shouted terribly striking terror into the whole universe including the Asuras. Then, with his Śakti he split the peak of Śveta mountain that extended to a hundred Yojanas and that was surrounded by ten thousand billions of Rākṣasas. With a single stroke it fell down on the earth in smithereens. Those Rākṣasas who were the perpetual enemies of Dharma (virtue, piety) were smashed. Then the ground all round was agitated (i.e. quaked heavily) and was shattered completely. All the mountains became frightened. Everyone cried aloud as though at the time of ultimate deluge. All the living beings shouted loudly, “Save, save (us).”

158-163. On hearing this, Devas spoke to Indra collectively: “He by whom the three worlds have been agitated by means of a single blow, O Vāsava, will instantaneously destroy the entire universe if infuriated. But we have been created by Brahmā for the purpose of protection. That task of protection should be carried on always even if (our) vital airs be on the point of departure. If the universe is being agitated even as we watcḥ and observe, fie upon the birth of heroes (like us)! Indeed, immediate death is more praiseworthy. Therefore, O Vāsava, it behoves you to resist him along with us.” On being told thus Śakra said “So be it”, and went to him along with Devas in order to make his vigour more impetuous. That fierce, impetuous and unssailable army of Devas began to bellow and roar. On seeing it Guha roared like ocean.

164. On account of that loud sound, the army of Devas ran here and there irrationally, resembling the ocean excited and thrown up.

165. On seeing Devas arrived (there) desirous of killing him, the son of Fire-god discharged from his mouth increasing flames of fire.

166-167. He burned the armies of Devas rolling on the ground. With their heads and bodies blazing, with their weapons and vehicles burning brilliantly, they appeared like the clusters of stars dropping down suddenly from the firmament. While being burned thus, they sought refuge in the son of Fire-god.

168. Devas said to the wielder of the thunderbolt, “O Śatakratu, discharge the thunderbolt.” Śakra who was told thus by Devas, hurled the thunderbolt against Skanda.

169-173. (The thunderbolt) discharged by him, O excellent one among the descendants of Kuru, hit the right side of Skanda. On account of the blow from the thunderbolt the right side of the noble-souled Skanda split and another person was born. He was youthful. He had golden armour and other equipments. He held a Śakti. He had divine ear-rings. He became well-known as Śakha. He too roared in a mysteriously wonderful manner. Then once again the infuriated Indra pierced (i.e. wounded) the chest of Skanda. There also a person like him was born. He became well-known as Naigameya. The four persons beginning with Skanda roared and rushed at him. Thereupon Indra abandoned the thunderbolt. With palms joined in reverence, he sought refuge in him. Skanda, the most excellent one, granted freedom from fear to him as well as to his army.

174. Thereupon the delighted gods played upon the musical instruments. On account of the blow from the thunderbolt,, excessively powerful daughters (girls) were also born to him.

175-179. These terrible ones carry away the infants still in the wombs or immediately after being born. These Śiśumātṛs (‘Infant Mothers’) are seven, viz. Kākī, Hilimā, Rudrā, Vṛṣabhā, Āyā, Palālā and Mitrā. The infant (Lord Kumara) enriched by the vigour and vitality of these (mothers) became excessively terrific. The son born as a result of the blessings of Skanda was the fearful Lohitākṣa. Thus the mysterious group of Skandamātṛs (named) Vīrāṣṭaka (‘eight heroic ones’) has been recounted. This group has to be devoutly worshipped always. It bestows, peace and calmness after subduing all types of Apasmāras (‘epileptic fits’). Śrī (‘glory and prosperity’) assumed a body and approached and served Skanda who had golden armour and necklace, who was clad in red robes and had youthful lustre, the most excellent one in all the three worlds. Śrī resorted to him herself and bowed down to him.

180-181. All the Devas bowed down to him when Śrī conjoined him and said, “O Lord of golden complexion, be the benefactor of all the worlds. May you be our Indra, O Lord, for the sake of the welfare of the three worlds.”

Skanda enquired:

182. O excellent Suras, what does Indra do to all the worlds? How does Sureśvara (Indra) always protect the groups of Devas.

Devas said:

183. Indra bestows upon all living beings, strength, splendour, progeny and happiness. Sureśvara grants intelligence and everything they inherit.

184. He takes away (everything) from those who are vicious in their activities. He grants (everything) to those who adhere to good activities. Very powerful in his own activities, he instructs and commands all living beings.

185-186. He becomes the sun where there was no sun (before); there shall be moon where there was no moon (before); there shall be fire and wind, the cause (and sustenance) of life on the earth. This should be done by Indra. Indra has vast power and potentiality. O hero! be our Indra; kill Tāraka. Obeisance to you.

Indra said:

187. O mighty one, of powerful arms, you be Indra, causing happiness to all of us. Ō Skanda, I bow down to you and pray. Kill Tāraka and protect us.

Skanda said:

188-189. You alone rule over the three worlds. May you alone be Indra forever. I shall perform the tasks of Indra but the status of Indra is not desired by me. You alone are the Lord. Welfare unto you. You are the king of the three worlds as well as my king. O Śakra, what bidding of yours shall I carry out? Tell me.

Indra said:

190. If this statement is true, if it has been decisively uttered by you, O excessively powerful one, be invested with the powers of the Commander-in-chief of Devas.

Skanda said:

191. For the destruction of Dānavas, for the sake of the achievement of the objectives of Devas and for the sake of cows and Brāhmaṇas, let your words be so.

192-194. When this was uttered, there arose a very loud shout of the Suras as well as of all the living beings. It caused a quiver in all the three worlds. They eulogized him saying, “Be victorious.” They played on the musical instruments. They danced. They eulogized him and made applauses. On account of that noise, the daughter of the Mountain became surprised. She said to Śaṅkara, “O Lord, what is this overpowering noise?”

Rudra said:

195-196. It is the different kinds of words and utterances of the delighted Suras that are heard now, O gentle lady, since a son has been born to you. O meritorious lady, your son will wipe off the tears of the heaven-dwellers, of chaste ladies, of cows and of Brāhmaṇas.

197-198. While he said thus, the goddess became very eager to see him. Since Śaṅkara of great splendour had a great deal of affection for his son, Bhava along with his Gaṇas rode on his bull together with the goddess. Eager to see his son, he came there with great enthusiasm.

199-203. Then Brahmā, the Prajāpati (‘Lord of created beings’) said to Mahāsena: “Go ahead to meet your father Mahādeva and your mother, O Lord. Your birth at the outset was due to the mingling of the semen virile of these two.”

After saying “So be it”, Mahāsena of immeasurable soul adored his father Maheśvara, and his mother. Pārvatī and Parameśvara embraced their son for a longtime and blessed him. They were extremely delighted. The delighted Śaṅkara handed over to him the essential principle of Siddhasāra(?). The goddess who was pleased and delighted extremely, granted him liberation from Prakṛti. In the meantime, the six goddesses (i.e. wives of the Sages) came there.

204-206. They had been abandoned by the sages. They addressed him “O son”. Pārvatī then said, “This is my son and not yours”. Svāhā said, “Mine.” Fire-god also said, “Mine.” Rudra said, “Mine.” The divine river (Gaṅgā) too said, “Mine.” They argued and quarrelled with one another terribly. Indeed, O son of Pṛthā, the love for one’s son is very powerful. What is it that it does not cause one to do?

207. Then (the Lord) laughingly told them, “Argument is not proper. Guha is son unto all of you. Let the boon be chosen from me.”

208. Then the six goddesses said, “Let heaven be everlasting unto us.” Guha said to them, “So be it”. Śakra said thereafter:

209-211. “The rival Devī (‘shining star’) Abhijit who is (really) the younger sister of Rohiṇī is vying (with her), O Skanda, because she is desirous of getting the status of the elder and a separate identity. Ever since then I am confused. Therefore fix (her) in her proper place.”

When he said “So be it,” then Kṛttikās went to heaven. That star (Abhijit) shines as though it has seven heads. It is the star with Vahni (Fire-god) as the deity.

Then Svāhā said to him, “I am not a favourite with Agni of great flames. Therefore, grant me his favour and love as well as perpetual stay with him.”

Skanda said:

212-215. Whatever Brāhmaṇas offer into the sacred fire such as Havya and Kavya, they will offer them with your name. Your residence shall be along with him forever.

Fire-god prayed for shares in the sacrifices and also for sons.

He (the Lord) said, “From today do obtain the shares in sacrifice.” The others requested, “You, be our reputed son.”

“It shall be so”, said Skanda to them. Indeed it was a rare (privilege). Then all the Yogins, Sanaka and others, joined together and crowned him on that mountain as the overlord of all Yogins.

216. Thereupon, the Yogins called him Yogīśvara.

The Devas were delighted and they played on different kinds of musical instruments.

217. With him (Skanda) crowned (thus) the Śveta mountain shone like the very beautiful Udaya (rising) mountain with the sun radiant with (many) rays.

218-219. Then Devas, Gandharvas and celestial damsels began to dance. The loud sound of all the delighted living beings was heard. Thus the entire universe along with Indra stationed on the Śveta mountain never reached satiety by looking at the delighted Skanda.

Footnotes and references:


VV 8-32 narrate the story of demon Āḍi’s attempt on Śaṅkara’s wife by assuming Pārvatī’s form (cf. MtP 155). Āḍi-Baka war was between Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra. It has nothing to do with this legend.


This explains Ardhanārīśvara (‘Half man-half woman’) form of Śiva.


Arbuda is Mount Abu in the Aravali range in Rajasthan. Vasiṣṭha’s hermitage was here, it is a sacred hill to Jains also.


The following story of the birth of Skanda, the parental claim of Śiva, Pārvati, Agni, Svāhā, the river Gaṅgā and six Mothers forming Kṛttikā (Pleiades) in the sky is repeated twice in Mbh, Vana 225, 226, 231; Anuśāsana 85, 86.

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