The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 750,347 words

This page describes The Sports of Shiva and Parvati which is chapter 17 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 seventeenth chapter of the Arunacala-khanda (Uttarardha) of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 17 - The Sports of Śiva and Pārvatī

Sūta said:

1-2. On hearing his words, Mārkaṇḍeya spoke:

Mārkaṇḍeya said:

O holy Lord, what should be heard has been directly heard from you. Still I am overwhelmed with curiosity. So also are these sages. Let it be narrated how Gaurī, the great Goddess, performed a penance here.

Nandikeśvara said:

3. I shall recount that also in the manner as it has been understood by me. Listen with attention, O Mārkaṇḍeya of great intellect.

4. I hope you know that formerly Śiva married Satī, the Presiding Deity of chaste women, who was the daughter of Dakṣa.

5. (You know) how she became furious with Dakṣa, the Prajāpati who was malicious towards her husband, and how she cast off her body by means of Yogic power.

6. It is also known to you what had been done then by Vīra-bhadra obediently carrying out the behests of Śiva, viz. the enormous destruction of the sacrifice of Dakṣa.

7. You have heard about the cutting of the head (i.e. decapitation) of Dakṣa by the Gaṇas as well as the punishment meted out to the Devas, the chiefs of whom are Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Indra.

8. (You have learnt about) the knocking-off of the teeth of Ravi (the Sun-god), the chopping-off of the hand of the Fire-god and the discomfiture of the celestial women Aditi and others.

9. That Goddess took birth again in the abode of Himavān by the name Umā and another one, Pārvatī, also.

10. In the forest of Sthāṇu she was devoted to his service secretly. The Lord was disinclined to her. Hence he burned down Kāma by means of Kālavahni (i.e. fire of world-destruction).

11. Gaurī who stayed on the peak performed austerities. Thereby she pleased that Lord who had subdued all his sense-organs and gone away to an unknown place along with his Gaṇas (attendants).

12. The Lord married her. In a secluded spot he delighted that graceful lady saying “Rejoice”. He pleased her with various stories, incidents (i.e. acts) and love-sports.

13. On being requested by Rati who was distressed on being widowed, the daughter of the Mountain, who was performing penance on Kāmapīṭha, rekindled (i.e. re-suscitated) Kāma once again.

14. Again she was brought home by her mother Menā and her father Himālaya. She sported for a long time with her husband.

15. At that time (two demons) named Śuṃbha and Niśuṃbha obtained from Brahmā the boon that their death should never be at the hands of a male among Devas, Dānavas and human beings.

16. On hearing about this Devas became frightened. The Lord was secretly requested by the Discus-bearing Lord and others:

17-18. “O gentle Sir, do not be afraid. When (opportune) time comes, it shall be so manoeuvred that such Dānavas would be slain.” He (thus) granted freedom from fear to Viṣṇu and others.

The slayer of Andhaka then bade farewell to them. Then he went to the inner apartment and sported with the Goddess as before.

19. Once out of love, but pricking her weak points, Pārvatī was (jocularly) criticised as being black. In order to please him Kālīkā immediately cast off her skin.

20. Where the great Goddess willingly cast off her skin, there came up an excellent holy place named Mahākāśīprapāta (Mahākālīprapāta).

21. The black (Kālī) skin came to be known as Kauśikī. Kālī stayed on the Vindhya mountain performing penance. She killed both the Asuras who were lustful to her.

22. The Goddess performed penance on that charming peak Gaurīśikhara. Attaining the state of Gaurī (‘White complexioned’) she made her husband delighted.

23. Conceiving duly, [1] Pārvatī gave birth to the elephantfaced Heraṃba and the six-faced Senānī (i.e. Subrahmaṇya or Skanda).

24. Those who are conversant with the Āgamas say that those two are Viṣṇu and Brahmā who were born of the womb of the Goddess in order to purify themselves of the previous offence.

25. To the parents who were looking at the growing boys and who were immersed in the ocean of delight[2] the knot of love became firmer.

26. The couple played and sported in diverse ways sometimes by playing on the lute, on some occasions by painting and drawing pictures. Śiva and Śivā sometimes sported about by adorning each other.

27. Sometimes they talked about topics of learning and the Āgamas. On other occasions they sported about with wonderful objects. On some occasions they discussed the incidents and events of the worlds. Thus the couple diverted themselves.

28. Gathering of flowers, aquatic sports and playing on the swing were the means of diversion for the pair in the height of their passionate attachment to each other.

29. Sometimes they were welcomed and honoured by Maināka and on other occasions by Menā. The pair (i.e. Śiva and Pārvatī) were duly received and honoured by Himavān and adequately provided with amusements.

30. Śiva and Śivā played about for a long time, sometimes by playing at the dice, sometimes by means of music parties and on other occasions by sportful indulgence in charitable gifts.

31. Once, while playing with dice, Umā won the game. Therefore she seized the moon that was on the head of her Lord, annulated it and wore it as an ear-ring.

32. Thus the parents of the mobile and immobile beings stayed in various charming and fascinating places such as the Golden Mountain etc. and enjoyed for a long time hearty and romantic pleasures of love-play.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Strictly speaking Pārvatī did not conceive Skanda. Purāṇas give different versions of Heramba’s birth. When he is called the son of Śiva and Pārvatī, he is said not to have been born of Pārvatī (Brahma-Vaivarta and LP as quoted in Chitrav’s Pracīna Caritra Kośa p. 303).

[2]:

Varṣābdhau is probably a misprint for harṣābdhau ‘ocean of delight’.

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