The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Dialogue between Narada and Jalandhara 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 Karttikamasa-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 17 - Dialogue between Nārada and Jalandhara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This chapter reveals the mischievous genius of Nārada, the partisan of Devas. He created enmity between Jalandhara and Śiva by misguiding him to bring the jewel-like consort (Pārvatī) of Śiva.

Nārada said:

1. He duly and devoutly worshipped me, O king, and laughingly spoke these loving words to me:

2. “O Brāhmaṇa, where are you coming from? Has anything been seen by you, O Lord, for which you have come over here? Command me (to comply), O sage.”

Nārada said:

3-4. O leader of Daityas, I went to the peak of Kailāsa casually. There I saw Śaṅkara seated with Umā in the great forest of Kalpa-trees, which extends to ten thousand Yojanas, which is illuminated excellently with Cintāmaṇi jewels and is full of hundreds of Kāmadhenus (divine cows).

5. On seeing that great wonderful thing I was surprised. I thought that such a prosperity and glory may or may not be present (anywhere else) in all the three worlds.

6. At that time, O king of Daityas, your glory too was remembered by me. I wish to survey the same. Therefore, I have come here to you.

7. Well I have seen your glory that is certainly devoid of jewels among women. I conclude that in the three worlds there is no one more prosperous than Śiva.

8. Although the celestial damsels, Nāga maidens and others are within your control, certainly they are not like Pārvatī in beauty.

9. The Four-faced Lord himself got drowned in the ocean of her beauty and lost his courage once. Who can be compared with her?

10. The enemy of Madana is devoid of sensuous attachment. Still he was whirled formerly in the forest of beauty by her sportingly, in the form of a Śapharī[1] fish(?) [a Śabarī lass?]

11. At the time of creation, Brahmā frequently looked at her form and then created the celestial damsels. But among them there was none on a par with Pārvatī.

12. Hence the prosperity and glory (of Śiva) who enjoys the jewel among women is the most excellent one. Your glory is not like that, O king of Daityas, though you are the possessor of all jewels.

13. After saying this, I took leave of him and went away. The king of Daityas became afflicted with, the fever of love on hearing about her (Pārvatī’s) beauty.

14. Then, deluded by Viṣṇu’s Māyā, he sent the son of Siṃhikā (Rāhu) as his messenger to the Three-eyed Lord too.

15. Rāhu went to Kailāsa that has the refulgence of the moon in the bright fortnight but, with the blackness arising from his own body, he made it (appear as though) it had the lustre of the moon in the dark fortnight.

16. On Īśa having been informed by Nandin, Rāhu entered. When he was urged by a gesture of the eyebrows of Śiva, he spoke these words:

Rāhu said:

17. O Bull-emblemed One, listen to the command of my lord who is worthy of being served by Devas and Serpents, who is the overlord of all the three worlds and is the possessor of all jewels.

18. “How can you have such a splendid wife as the daughter of Himavān, you who are a resident of cremation ground forever, who always bear the burden of bones and who are always naked?

19. I am the overlord of all Ratnas (jewels). She can be designated as a jewel among women. Hence she fits me and not you who beg for your own food.”

Nārada said:

20. While Rāhu was saying this, a terrible person issued forth from the middle of the eyebrows of the Trident-bearing Lord.[2] His voice resembled the sound of the powerful thunderbolt.

21. He had a leonine face with a rolling tongue and blazing eyes. He was huge with hair standing upright and the body dry and rough. He was like another Nṛsiṃha.

22. On seeing that person rushing at him in order to devour him, Rāhu became excessively frightened. He ran out quickly but the person caught hold of him (Rāhu).

23. With words as resonant and majestic as thunder, O mighty one, Rāhu said: “O lord of Devas, protect me. I have sought refuge in you.

24. (This fellow) has come here, O Mahādeva, to devour me, a Brāhmaṇa.” On hearing the words of that Brāhmaṇa, Mahādeva spoke then:

25. “He does not deserve to be killed because he is (only) a messenger and hence he is dependent. Let him go.” On hearing this, that person set Rāhu free in the open sky.

26a. After leaving off Rāhu, the person requested Rudra:

The person said:

26b-27a. Hunger afflicts me much. I am emaciated due to hunger utterly. O Lord, O Lord of Devas, what shall I eat? Command me.

Īśvara said:

27b. Eat the flesh of your own hands and feet. Be quick.

Nārada said:

28. On being commanded thus by Śiva, the person devoured the flesh of his own hands and feet till he was left with his head alone.

29. On seeing him left with his head alone, Śiva became highly delighted. Himself struck with wonder, he spoke to that person of terrible activities.

Īśvara said:

30. You are named Kīrtimukha. Be always present at my doorway. Those who do not worship you, are not liked by me.

Nārada said:

31. Ever since then Kīrtimukha is stationed at the doorway (of the temple) of the Lord. Those who do not worship (him) here at the outset, will find their worship futile.

32. Since Rāhu was set free by him at that desolate spot (Barbara) he became known on the earth as Barbarodbhūta.

33. Rāhu considered himself as if born again. He approached (the king of Daityas) and reported everything that happened to Jalandhara.

Footnotes and references:


Probably misprint (for Śabarī).


This is the story of the creation of Kīrtimukha, the demon-like figure which is found at the entrance of Śiva temples. He is generally worshipped before Śiva, the reason of which is explained in v 30.

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