The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Manifestation of Daksheshvara which is chapter 89 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 eighty-ninth chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 89 - Manifestation of Dakṣeśvara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Skanda said:

1. Again, O Agastya, Nārada who had approached the Goddess, went back to intimate to Hara all the news about the Goddess.

2. Nārada saw Śaṃbhu holding conversation with Nandin with the gestures of his index finger and bowed to him.

3. He sat on the excellent seat vacated by Śailādi exhibiting a bit of embarrassment and kept quiet for a short while.

4. By the facial expression (of Nārada) itself, the omniscient Lord knew the full details. Śaṃbhu asked the sage: “For what reason is this adoption of silence by you?

5. The natural state of the embodied ones consists of coming into existence and disappearing altogether. Even the divine bodies depart thus in course of time.

6. Everything that is visible is perishable, especially that which is not of independent nature. Hence, O Brāhmaṇa, what is surprising in this? Whom does Kāla not sweep off?

7. The coming into existence of a totally non-existent thing is not possible. There cannot be (total) negation of an existing one. Hence learned men do not get deluded.”

8. On hearing the utterance of Śaṃbhu, the eminent sage said thus: “Indeed what the Lord has uttered is true.

9-10. What should have occurred inevitably has happened. There is no doubt about it. But a mind-boggling anxiety torments me much. In fact, in your case, nothing gets decreased and nothing gets increased. Due to your immutability and perfection, there is neither loss nor gain to you. How can there be decrease or growth in you?

11. Alas! How can this wretched world devoid of Īśvara (Lord Śiva) exist (at all)? It will be a piteous state if some will not worship you from today.

12-15. Dakṣa, the patriarch, did not invite you to the Kratu. So on seeing the disrespect shown by him, Devas, sages and human beings too will begin to dishonour you. Of what avail is prosperity unto the people prone to disrespect? Even those who have overcome the fear of Kāla, have been insulted. Are they men of prestige merely because they are endowed with opulence?

14-18. Of what avail is their very long life and enormous wealth? Those who value honour as their asset do not get insulted at every step. I do not glorify those unumbrageous, insensible ones though they live long. Among all women that Satī, to whom honour was the asset is the most blessed. On hearing your censure she considered her life worthless like grass.” On hearing this, Mahākāla fully understood the demise of Satī. (He said:) “It is true, O sage, that the Goddess considered her life Worthless like grass.” When the sage kept quiet due to the fear of Mahākāla, Rudra became all the more fierce, flared up with the fire of excessive wrath. A great lustre manifested itself from that fire, rising from that wrath.

19. It became visible and assumed the shape of a colossal person (image). He was holding the great missile Bhuśuṇḍī. He was powerful enough to make Kālamṛtyu (god of Death) tremble. He bowed down to Īśa and said:

20. “O father, give me the order. What excellent service shall I offer to you? At your behest I can make a mouthful of the entire cosmos.

21-22. I can make a handful of all the seven seas and drink it up. At your behest I can convert Rasātala into Pātāla or vice versa and bring it off, O Īśa, sportingly. I can bring here Indra along with all the guardians of the world, dragging them with their tresses of hair.

23. Even if the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha were to assist him, I can, at your behest, render his missile ineffective.

24. Who are these pitiable wretches, sons of Ditijas and Danujas, weak and feeble in war? If anyone among them were to show his might, I shall crush him to death.

25-28. Shall I bind up Kāla in battle? Shall I strive to bring about the death of Mṛtyu? If I became furious in battlefield, O Maheśāna, none among mobile and immobile beings will be able to steady itself. This is because of the strength I derive from you. If I were to kick with my foot, the entire earth shall tremble along with Rasātala like the leaves of a plantain tree in the gust of wind. I can reduce to powder these Kulācalas (principal mountains) with a blow of my hand. Why say much? Command me. There is nothing that I cannot achieve with the support of your powerful feet. Know that whatever is thought of is (already) accomplished.”

29. On hearing this assertion of him, Īśa considered it accomplished. He joyously told him as though he had already done his duty:

30-32a. “O blessed one, you are a great hero among all my Gaṇas. You be highly well-known by the name Vīrabhadra. Quickly carry out my task. Destroy the sacrifice of Dakṣa. All those who show disrespect to you and those who come to their help should be slighted by you. Go ahead, my son, with splendid future.”

32b-36. After receiving this Ājñā (command) of Parameśvara respectfully (with his head) he circumambulated Hara and rushed ahead very fast. Thereafter Śaṃbhu created out of his breath hundreds of crores of other Gaṇas to follow him. Some of those Gaṇas went ahead of Vīrabhadra who had already left. Some followed him and some accompanied him on both his sides. The entire firmament was pervaded by them who excelled even the Sun with their brilliance. The peaks of the mountains were struck down by some. The roots and peaks of some mountains were uprooted by some.

37. After uprooting huge trees, some of them reached the courtyard of the sacrificial hall. The sacrificial posts were pulled out by some. Some of them filled up the sacrificial pits.

38. Some of the highly ferocious Gaṇas destroyed the pavilion. Some of them armed with tridents dug up the sacrificial altars. Some of them ate the cooked rice offering soaked in ghee. Others drank the curds and the ghee.

39. Some of them destroyed cooked rice heaped up like mountains. Some made the milk pudding their (regular) food. Some drank up the milk.

40. Some of them with their limbs nourished with sweetmeats smashed the Yajña utensils to pieces. Some with brawny arms crushed the handles of the sacrificial ladles.

41. Some broke the carts. Some swallowed the animals. Some whose rediance surpassed the splendour of fire, extinguished the sacrificial fire.

42. Others joyously wore the silk garments. Some appropriated the jewels heaped into a mountain already.

43. Even as Lord Bhaga was looking on, one of them deprived him of his eyes. Another infuriated Gaṇa felled down the row of teeth of Pūṣan.

44. The Yajña who assumed the form of a deer was seen fleeing by one of them. He beheaded it from afar with his discus.

45. One of them saw Sarasvatī going away and he cut off her nose. The pair of lips of Aditi were cut off by another infuriated Gaṇa.

46. Another one ripped off the arms of Aryaman. A certain Gaṇa forcibly took out the tongue of Agni.

47-53. Another attendant of great exploit cut off the testicles of Vāyu. A certain one bound Yama with cords and asked, “Where is Dharma if Maheśa is not worshipped at the outset?” Another Gaṇa caught Nairṛta by the hairs and dragged him up many times, saying, “The holy offering without the Deity (Śiva) was eaten up by you.” He kicked him with his foot. Another one caught hold of Kubera by the legs and shook him with force making him vomit the many Āhutis already taken in. There were the eleven Rudras in the same row as that of the guardians of the world. They were slighted by the Pramathas for their wrongful claim to the title of Rudra. Another Pramatha pressed the belly of Varuṇa with force and made him vomit out what had been offered without reference to Īśa. The thousand-eyed Indra of great intellect took up the form of a peacock, flew on to a mountain and watched the scene. The Pramathas bowed down to the Brāhmaṇas and said “Go away, go away.”

54. The Pramathas took to task the other Yājakas (performers of the Yajña). While the Yāga was thus devastated by the Pramathas who had come earlier, Vīrabhadra himself reached the spot surrounded by the army of Pramathas.

55. On seeing the sacrificial hall reduced to a pitiable condition on a par with a cremation ground by the Pramathas earlier, Vīrabhadra said:

56-58. “O Gaṇas, see. This is the state of the rites begun by the evil-minded ones without acknowledging Iśvara. Why should there be hatred for Maheśvara? Those who despise Mahādeva, the sole witness of all religious rites, and still engage in ritualistic acts, will attain a condition like this. O Gaṇas, hurry up; where is that Dakṣa of foul activity? Where are the Suras who partook of the offerings in the Yajña? Catch hold of all of them and bring them here.”

59. On hearing this command of Vīrabhadra when those Pramathas rushed forward, the infuriated Mace-bearing Lord was seen.

60. Though they were very strong and valorous, those Pramathas were brought to the state of dried leaves caught in the wild gust of wind by that (Mace-bearing One).

61. Thereupon due to the fright of Hari the Pramathas dispersed helter-skelter. Vīrabhadra on a par with the tornado at the time of annihilation, became all the more fierce.

62-63. He saw ahead the Śārṅga (name of Viṣṇu’s bow)-bearing Lord eulogized by his own attendants who were numerous, endowed with four hands and who had conquered the extremely powerful Daityas. On seeing the slayer of Daityas served (by those attendants) holding discus, maces, swords and Śārṅga bows, Vīrabhadra said:

64-67. “You are the Yajñapuruṣa here performing and supervising the great Yajña. By your vigour and power you act as the protector of Dakṣa, the enemy of the Three-eyed Lord. Either you bring Dakṣa and surrender him to me or fight with me. If you don’t care to surrender Dakṣa, you have to protect him with extra care. Mostly among the devotees of Śaṃbhu, you are cited as the foremost one, since, when the number of lotuses was one less than a thousand, you offered your lotuslike eye. The discus Sudarśana was granted to you by Śaṃbhu who was pleased. It is due to the assistance of that discus, that you defeat leading Danujas in war.”

68. On hearing this spirited speech of Vīrabhadra Viṣṇu desirous of probing his inherent strength spoke to him.

69-70. “You are more or less a son unto Śaṃbhu; you are foremost among the Gaṇas. Equipped with the command of the king (Śiva) you have become more powerful. Whosoever you may be, I am also competent enough to protect Dakṣa. I shall see your strength, how you will be able to take him away.”

71. On being told thus by the Śārṅga-bow-wielding Lord, Vīrabhadra encouraged the Pramathas to fight by means of the gestures of his eyes.

72. Thereafter the followers of Viṣṇu were told (taunting words) and were reduced to the state of animals picking up grass blades with their mouths (i.e. were brought to a humiliating condition).

73. Thereupon the infuriated Garuḍa-vehicled Lord struck each of them in the chest by means of a thousand arrows in the course of the battle.

74. Pierced in their chests, all the Gaṇas shed blood and attained in the battlefield the lustre of Kiṃśuka flowers in autumnal season.

75. The Gaṇas shone like elephants with ichor oozing down and like mountains exuding liquids reddened with minerals.

76-77. Then the leader of the Gaṇas laughingly told the chief of Vaikuṇṭha: “O Śārṅga-bow-wielding One, I know you. You are expert in fighting; but your fight has been confined to Daityas and leading Dānavas and not with the Pārṣadas (attendants of Śiva).” After saying thus a Bhuśuṇḍī was taken up in his hand by Vīrabhadra.

78. Immediately the Mace-bearing Lord took up his mace that used to reduce to powder the huge bodies of the leading Daityas resembling mountains. Thereafter Vīrabhadra struck Gadādhara with his Bhuśuṇḍī.

79-81. Clashing with his body, the Bhuśuṇḍī broke into a hundred pieces. Vāsudeva struck with force by means of a blow with Kaumodakī (name of the Gaḍā) the valorous Vīrabhadra who did not feel the pain at all. Thereafter Vīrabhadra took up a Khaṭvāṅga, struck the Mace-wielding Gadādhara in his brawny right hand and made the mace fell down. The infuriated Slayer of Madhu hit him with his discus.

82-84. On seeing the approaching discus, he remembered Śaṅkara. Due to the recollection of Śaṅkara, the discus became slightly crooked and coming into close contact with Vīra’s neck became perfectly Sudarśana (pleasing to the sight). With that discus the Lord of Gaṇas shone all the more like one wooed in the battle by Vīralakṣmī with the garland of victory. On seeing Sudarśana held up as an ornament of his neck, Hari slightly smiled with a trace of surprise. Then he took up his Nandaka (sword).

85. Even as the Siddhas stood watching in heaven he produced a bellowing sound Huṃ (Huṃkāra) and made the raised hand of Viṣṇu holding Nandaka paralysed stiff.

86-89. Seizing a brilliant trident he rushed against him wishing to kill Hari. Thereupon the king of Gaṇas was checked by a celestial speech: “Do not commit any rash deed.” Then Vīrabhadra, the most excellent one among the Gaṇas, left him alone and went over to Dakṣa shouting loudly: “Fie upon you who censured Īśvara! Why a person like you who has skill, whose opulence is so vast as this and who has assistance of the Devas, does not perform the sacred rite with Īśvara (present)? With the blows of my open hand I shall smash to pieces that defiled mouth with which Śiva was censured by you.”

90. After saying thus, he struck a hundred blows with the open hand and smashed the face of Dakṣa who said harsh words about Hara.

91. Thereafter, he chopped off the ears and other parts of those who had assembled there for the festivity, the chief of whom was Aditi.

92. The straight-plaited tresses of some of them were cut off by that excessively infuriated (Vīrabhadra); the hands of some were chopped off and the breasts of some also were cut off.

93. The Pārṣada tore up the noses of others. So also the favourite of Śiva pared off the fingers of still others.

94. He split into two the tongues of all those who censured the Lord of Devas and chopped off the ears of all those who listened to it then.

95. Some of them who consumed the sacrificial offering ignoring the Lord of Devas were tightly tied with cords round the neck and were suspended from the sacrificial posts with faces down.

96. The Moon, Dharma and others, the chiefs of whom were Bhṭgu and Marīci were excessively insulted by him.

97. These were the (other) sons-in-law of the evil-minded Dakṣa. He discarded Maheśvara and considered these more than Śiva.

98-101. Those holy pits, those sacrificial posts, those pillars, that pavilion, those altars, those utensils, those diverse sacrificial offerings, the various requisite things collected for the purpose of the Yajña, the various functionaries of the Yajña, those watchmen on duty and those Mantras—all were sportingly smashed and destroyed. The inauspicious affluence of Dakṣa went off (was destroyed) in a short while in the same manner as the riches acquired by deceiving others. When the great Kratu was brought down to such a plight by Vīrabhadra along with the Gaṇas, Brahmā (became sorry) for the omission (annihilation?) of the due rites. He informed Hara and brought him there.

102. Śiva was brought to that place where the sacrifice devoid of Śiva’s (adoration) had become like this. When Mahādeva came Vīrabhadra became very much ashamed.

103. He bowed down but did not say anything. The Lord himself understood everything. After propitiating the Lord of the chiefs of Devas, Brahmā spoke again:

104-109. “O storehouse of mercy, though Dakṣa is guilty, he should be shown kindness. O Śaṅkara, get all these reinstated as before.

O Śaṃbhu, let order be passed so that the Vedìc rites can be resumed as before. This rite shall be duly fulfilled with Īśvara (present).

O Parameśvara, in all those rites without invocation of Īśvara, there shall be thousands of obstacles in this manner.

If considered properly, this Dakṣa, the pitiable wretch, is a great devotee of yours, because by undertaking a sacred rite without Īśvara he has set an example for others.

Another person performing a holy rite by setting aside Maheśāna will have the same result as in the case of Dakṣa. Hence no one will (dare to) undertake any holy rite anywhere without Śiva, after having heard and understood (the consequences) of such an act of Dakṣa.”

110. On hearing the utterance of Brahmā thus, Lord Maheśvara smiled and commanded Vīrabhadra, “Reinstate everything as before.”

111-112. After getting the command of Śarva, Vīrabhadra rearranged everything as before except the face of Dakṣa. Those who censure Īśvara are certainly dumb animals. So Vīrabhadra, the Gaṇa, made Dakṣa goat-faced.

113. Thereafter the Lord took leave of Brahmā. His duty as a householder having been concluded, he went to Himaprastha accompanied by his Pārṣadas for performing penance.

114. Since no person will remain even for a short while bereft of some stage of life, the excellent Āśrama (stage of life) is beneficial.

115. Hence that Maheśvara, the bestower of the fruit of all penances, performed penance along with his Gaṇas. Brahmā instructed Dakṣa (as follows):

116-120. “Go to Vārāṇasī, if you desire to wash off the dirt of sins arising from censuring Hara. It is otherwise irremovable. After reaching the meritorious Vārāṇasī that removes masses of sins, do instal the Liṅga. Śaṃbhu will become pleased thereby. When Maheśvara is satisfied the entire universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings becomes satisfied. Excepting in Vārāṇasī nowhere else will your sin be removed. Expiatory rite for sins like Brāhmaṇa-slaughter has been laid down by learned men, but not for the censure of Hara. In that case, Kāśī alone (is the redeeming feature). If meritorious persons instal a Liṅga in Kāśī, it is as though all pious rites have been performed by them. They alone are the seekers of all aims of life.”

121. On hearing these words of Brahmā, Dakṣa hurried to Avimukta, the great holy place, and performed a great penance.

122. He duly installed a Liṅga and became engrossed in propitiating the Liṅga. He did not care to know anything in the world other than the Liṅga.

123. Dakṣa, the efficient patriarch, eulogized Maheśāna day and night, worshipped, bowed down to, mediated upon, and saw him alone.

124. Dakṣa thus meditated on the Liṅga of Īśvara with great concentration of the mind for 12,000 years.

125. In the meantime, Satī took the form of Umā, born of Menā, the chaste wife of Himālaya. By means of a severe penance, she attained the Pināka-wielding Lord as her husband.

126-128. Dakṣa continued to worship the Liṅga and remained steady in the penance. The Daughter of the Lord of Mountains had come to Kāśī with her husband. On seeing (Dakṣa) engaged in adoring Śiva Liṅga with steadiness of mind, the Goddess submitted to Hara: “O Lord, this devotee has become feeble on account of his penance. O ocean of mercy, do a favour unto this Prajāpati by granting him a boon.” On being told thus by Aparṇā, Śaṃbhu, the Lord, said to Dakṣa:

129-131. “O highly fortunate one, tell me the boon you will have. I shall grant you whatever is mentally desired by you.” On hearing this utterance of Īśa, he bowed down to Hara many times, eulogized by means of different kinds of prayers and on seeing Śaṅkara pleased, he spoke to the Lord of the chiefs of Devas: “If a boon has to be granted to me, let there be unruffled fixed devotion of mine to the pair of your feet. This is a great Liṅga which I have installed here. O Lord, you should station yourself in this Liṅga forever.

132. O Lord, O ocean of mercy, may the offence committed by me be pardoned. Let there be only these boons. Of what avail are other boons even if they be ever so excellent?”

133-136. On hearing this, the great Lord Bhava became all the more pleased and said: “Let what is uttered by you be so and not otherwise. I shall grant you another boon too. O Prajāpati, listen to it. This Liṅga that has been installed by you is Dakṣeśvara by name. If men serve this Liṅga, I shall undoubtedly forgive a thousand offences. Hence this should be adored by people. Due to the worship of this Liṅga you will be worthy of the esteem of everyone. At the end of two Parārdhas you will attain salvation.”

137. After saying thus, the Lord of the chiefs of Devas merged into that Liṅga. Dakṣa went home having realized all his desires.

Skanda said:

138-139. O Agastya, I have thus narrated the origin of Dakṣeśvara, On listening to this a creature is rid of hundreds of offences. If a man listens to this meritorious narrative pertaining to the origin of Dakṣeśvara, he is not touched by sins, even if he happens to be the committer of all crimes.

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