The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Destruction of Daksha’s Sacrifice which is chapter 199 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 one hundred ninety-ninth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 199 - Destruction of Dakṣa’s Sacrifice

Īśvara said:

1-3. Thereafter, O great goddess, a pilgrim should go to the shrine of Lord Kṛtasmara situated to the south thereof on the charming banks of Sarasvatī.

O great goddess, it has manifested itself and is destructive of all sins. I shall narrate how it originated on the earth.

Formerly when Kāma was burnt by me there, O lady of excellent countenance, Rati came there in great misery and lamented much.

4. On seeing her extremely grief-stricken I was moved with pity and so I told her: “O splendid lady, do not weep. Your husband will come to life again with my favour. There is no doubt about it.”

Devī said:

5. O lord, why was he burnt earlier by you? How will Lord Kāma regain his life. Do tell me this in detail.

Īśvara said:

6. O my beloved, formerly your father was Dakṣa. He begot a hundred young, fair-complexioned daughters of longish eyes.

7-8. At the outset he gave you who was well-known by the name Satī to me. Then he gave ten daughters to Dharma, viz. Śraddhā, Medhā, Dhṛti, Kṣamā, Anasūyā, Śuci, Lajjā, Smṛti, Śakti and Śruti. Then he gave two daughters as wives unto Kāmadeva. Their names were Rati and Prīti.

9-10. One daughter he gave to Vahni. She was Svāhā. Then he gave Svadhā to the Pitrṛṣ [Pitṛs?]. He gave twenty-seven daughters to the Moon-god. They are well-known as those beginning with Aśvinī. The last of them was Revatī and all of them are known to you and even to the people. O goddess, he gave thirteen daughters to Kaśyapa.

11-12. Formerly, Dakṣa, the highly intelligent one, gave these (to Kaśyapa): Aditi, Diti, Vinatā, Kadru, Siṃhikā, Suprabhā, Ulūkī, Anuviddhā, Sītā, Īrṣyā, Hiṃsā, Māyā and Niṣkrti [Niṣkṛti?], O lady of excellent countenance.

13. O daughter of the Mountain, then he gave five daughters to Varuṇa: Gaurī, Suprabhā, Vārttā, Sādhvī and Sumālikā.

14. O daughter of the Mountain, he gave five daughters to Kubera as wives viz. Bhadrā, Madirā, Vidyā, Dhanyā, and the splendid Dhanā.

15-18. Dakṣa, conversant with Dharma, gave ten daughters to ten Rudras: Jayā, Vijayā, Madhuṣpandā [Madhuspandā?], Irāvatī, Supriyā, Janakā, Kāntā, Subhadrā, Dharmikā and Śubhā. O my beloved wife, Dakṣa gave twelve daughters to Ādityas. They are: Prabhāvatī, Subhadrā, Vimalā, Nirmalā, Aṅṛtā [Anṛtā?], Tīvrā, Dakṣā, Aruṇā, Vidyā, Dhārapālā, Varcasā and (probably) Yoganidrā (mentioned in verse 18 in a curious phrase).

He gave to Viśvedevas the following daughters: Saṃsarpā, Saramā, Guhā, Mālā, Caṃpā and Jyotsnā.

19. He gave two daughters to Aśvins: Suveṣā and the splendid Bhūṣaṇā. One daughter was given to Vāyu. All these are well enumerated.

20-21. He gave Sāvitrī to Brahmā and Lakṣmī to the noble-souled Viṣṇu. After some time, O daughter of the Mountain, he performed a Yajña including monetary gifts on the great mountain Himavān. His sacrificial hall was richly equipped with all desirable items.

22-26. O lady of excellent countenance, all these assembled on that Yajña: the Ādityas, Vasus, Viśvedevas, Maruts, all the Lokapālas, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, the thousand-eyed Indra, Varuṇa, Yama, Dhanada, Kumāra, the Nadīs (rivers personified) along with the oceans, tanks, wells, lakes, puddles, Suparṇa, all the Nāgas, (serpants [serpents?]) in personified forms, Dānavas, Apsarās, Yakṣas, Kinnaras, Guhyakas. All these came with their wives and attendants and followers. The highly esteemed great sages and celestial sages who had mastered the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas were present there with their wives.

27. Śaṃbhu who had a garland of skulls as his ornament, who applied ash from cremation ground (all over his body) and who was not considered pure on that account was not invited.

28. Aśvinī and other sisters of yours who had arrived from here and there at Kailāsa, the most excellent one among mountains, spoke to you these words:

29-30. “O fair lady of excellent waistline, why do you stay back here complacently? All of us have set off for the Yajña of our father, along with our husbands. O lady of renown, all of us, the daughters, have been invited by him, but Dakṣa has not invited you because he is ashamed of Śaṅkara.”

31-32a. On hearing the words of those ladies, the infuriated Satī said: Fie upon you! O Dakṣa of evil conduct, what will I say to Maheśvara? How can I show my face?”

32b. After saying this, she gave up her own soul by herself by means of her power of penance and Yoga. She did not remember anything else.

33-34. Mahādeva observed that Satī became lifeless because she had to abandon him in view of the fact that he was a Kapālin (One having skulls round the neck). It was due to her Sense of shame that she had forsaken him. In order to destroy the Yajña, he despatched his Gaṇas. Hundreds and thousands of those terrible Gaṇas proceeded there.

35-59. They were deformed and had ugly features. Those mighty ones were innumerable. On observing that these Gaṇas with Vīrabhadra as their leader had been urged by Rudra, all the groups of the Devas along with Bhāskaras (i.e. Ādityas), Viśvedevas and Sādhyas set out for the battle. They were highly powerful with bows in their hands. They began to discharge sharp arrows. They met with one another. Pramathas clashed with Devas. Like the clouds pouring showers of water, they discharged volleys of arrows. Their elephant was pierced through the chest with their lance by the Gaṇas. Losing consciousness due to that attack, the elephant sat down. Then the elephant Airāvaṇa was hit on its forehead with fist.

40. Attacked forcefully thus, the elephant trumpeted terrible sounds and hurried to the Yajñavāṭa with great speed.

41-42. Viśvedevas were rendered breathless by him (Vīrabhadra) through huge, terrible arrows. The powerful Vasumān was dragged along with his bow. Ādityas were deprived of their brilliance by him in the battlefield. In the meantime, the Devas were thus routed by him.

43-47. Thereupon they sought refuge in Viṣṇu who was present there. On seeing all the Devas along with Vāsava routed, Viṣṇu became furious. He hurriedly discharged his Sudarśana. On seeing Viṣṇu’s discus Sudarśana rushing hurriedly, Vīrabhadra opened his mouth wide and gulped the discus into his belly.

O daughter of the Mountain, when the never failing discus was thus swallowed, Lord Viṣṇu became angry. He rushed at him seizing Śārṅga bow with his hand. He hit Nandin with ten sharp arrows and Bhṛṅgī with a hundred, Mahākāla with a thousand and Gaṇādhipa with ten thousand arrows. He pierced Vīrabhadra with ten thousand arrows and rushed at him.

48. The infuriated Viṣṇu hit him with his Gadā (i.e. mace). When he became distressed and covered with blood, he seized him by the feet and dashed him against the ground with great ferocity.

49. When he was struck on the ground, the discus came out with a lot of blood vomited but did not hit him.

50. O goddess, Vīrabhadra, the Lord of Gaṇas, had received a boon from Rudra. That was why he did not die even when afflicted, struck with the mace.

51. On seeing him fallen, all the Gaṇas got tormented by Viṣṇu’s valour and might, fled in every direction and proceeded to the place where Lord Maheśvara was present.

52. They recounted to him all the discomfiture they met with and also the exploit of Vīrabhadra. Thereupon, Maheśvara became infuriated.

53-55. Seizing his trident, he set off with his Gaṇas to Yajñavāṭa, the cause of all defeat. Viṣṇu was standing fighting with Vīrabhadra.

On seeing the angry Maheśvara coining, Viṣṇu considered that he (Śiva) was invincible or he would not be victorious. Hence he vanished. Śiva stood there furious. Along with Maruts, Vasus and Kinnaras, Indra too vanished from the scene.

56-57. O fair lady, only those Brāhmaṇas remained there in the sacrificial hall. On observing that Śaṅkara had arrived there furiously rolling his red eyes the terrified Brāhmaṇas performed Homa by means of Rudra Mantras. All those who remained around fled in all ten directions.

58-59. Mahādeva arrived there but could not see the Devas. He saw only the Brāhmaṇas. So he destroyed the Yajña there. Frightened of Śiva the Yajña assumed the form of a deer and fled with the bow in his hand, Lord Śiva closely pursued him. O great goddess, even today he is seen in the sky in the form of a constellation, (i.e. Mṛgaśīrṣa).

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