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The Shiva Purana has twenty-four thousand shlokas. These are divided into six
samhitas or sections. The names of the sectiosn are jnana samhita, vidyeshvara
samhit, kailasa samhita, sanatkumar samhita, vayaviya samhita and dharma samhit.
Each samhita is further subdivided into chapters adhyaya!. "nana samhita has
seventy-ei#ht chapters, vidyeshvara samhita sixteen, kailasa samhita twelve,
sanathkumar samhila fifty-nine, vayaviya samhita thirty and dharma samhita sixty-
The Shiva Purana was recited by $edavyasa%s disciple &omaharshana, alternatively,
&omaharshana and The (ther Sa#es
There were many sa#es who lived in a forest named naimisharanya. (ne day, these
sa#es accosted &omaharshana and said, &omaharshana, you are blessed. )ou have
tau#ht us a lot, but we are still not satisfied. )ou have had the fortune of studyin#
under $edavyasa and there is nothin# that you do not know, past, present or future.
Tell us about Shiva, we do not know very much about Shiva.
&omaharshana replied, * will relate to you that which you want to know. +nd * am
not #oin# to make anythin# up. ,any years a#o, the sa#e -arada had wanted to find
out about Shiva from his father, .rahma. /hatever .rahma had instructed his son. *
am #oin# to relate to you.
+t the be#innin# of creation, there was nothin# in the universe. The universe was not
there either. *t was only the brahman divine essence! which was everywhere. The
brahman was neither hot nor cold, neither thick or thin. *t had no be#innin# and no
There was water everywhere. 'ord $ishnu manifested himself in his #reat form and
slept on the water. /hile $ishnu was sleepin#, a lotus flower padma! sprouted from
his navel. *t had many petals and its stem shone like a thousand suns. 0rom the cells
of the lotus .rahma was born. 1e be#an to wonder, There seems to be nothin#
around except for this lotus. /ho am *2 /here did * come from2 /hat am *
supposed to do2 /hose son am * 2 /ho made me2
.rahma thou#ht he mi#ht find the answers to these 3uestions if he explored the lotus
a bit. Perhaps he ou#ht to try and find the centre of the lotus. .rahma descended
down the stem of the lotus and wandered around for a hundred years. .ut he could
not find the flower%s centre. 1e then decided that he mi#ht as well #o back to the cell
from where he had been born. .ut despite wanderin# around the stem for another
hundred years, .rahma could not find the cell. .y then he was so tired that he #ave
up and rested.
Suddenly he heard the words, .rahma, perform tapasya meditation!.
.rahma meditated for twelve years. /hen the twelve years were over, the four-
armed $ishnu appeared before .rahma. *n the four hands $ishnu held a shankha
conch shell!, a chakra a bladed discus!, a #ada mace! and a padma. .rahma didn%t
know who this person was and he asked, /ho are you2
$ishnu didn%t directly answer the 3uestion. *nstead, he replied, Son, the #reat 'ord
$ishnu has created you.
/ho are you to call me a son2 demanded .rahma.
4an%t you reco#ni5e me2 came the reply. * am $ishnu. *t is from my body that you
have been created.
.ut .rahma was not convinced. 1e be#an to fi#ht with $ishnu.
/hile they were thus en#a#ed in fi#htin#, a shinin# lin#a Shiva%s ima#e! arrived on
the scene. *t seemed to have no be#innin# or end.
$ishnu said, .rahma, let us stop fi#htin#. There is a third bein# here now. /hat on
earth is this lin#a2 +nd where did it come from2 'et us try and find out what this is.
)ou adopt the form of a swan hamsa! and #o up. * shall adopt the form of boar
varaha! and #o down. 'et us try and find the extremities of this lin#a.
.rahma a#reed. 1e became a whilte swan and flew up. $ishnu became a white boar
and went down. They looked for four thousand years, but could not find the end of
the lin#a. So they returned to where they had started off from and be#an to pray.
They prayed for a hundred years. +fter the hundred years were over, the sound of om
was heard and a bein# with five faces and ten arms appeared before them. This was
,ahadeva or Shiva.
$ishnu said, *t is #ood that .rahma and * have been fi#htin#. *t is because of our
fi#ht that you arrived.
Shiva replied, /e are all three parts of the same entity and have been divided into
three. .rahma is the creator. $ishnu is the preserver and * am the destroyer. There is
another bein# named &udra who will be born form my body, but &udra and * are
really one and the same. 'et .rahma create now.
Shiva disappeared and .rahma and $ishnu #ave up their forms of a swan and a boar.
There was water everywhere. *n the water, $ishnu created a hu#e e## anda!. 1e
then himself entered the e## in his hu#e form.
,eanwhile, .rahma started to pray. 0rom the powers of his meditation he created
several sa#es rishis!. 6ardama, 7aksha and ,arichi were amon# them. ,arichi%s
son was 6ashyapa. 7aksha had sixty dau#hters and thirteen of them were married to
6ashyapa. The children of 6ashyapa and these dau#hters became adityas #ods!,
daityas demons!, danavas demons!, trees, birds, snakes, mountains and creepers.
Thus was the world populated.
+ bein# named &udra, who was none other than Shiva himself, was also born from
.rahma. &udra lived on ,ount 6ailasa. 7aksha%s dau#hter Sati was married to
.ut 7aksha and &udra did not like each other. 7aksha arran#ed a yajna sacrifice!
and he did not invite &udra to attend this sacrifice. +lthou#h Sati was not invited
either, she went to attend the ceremony . .ut 7aksha insulted her so much that Sati
#ave up her life in protest. This so an#ered &udra that he sent his companions to
destroy the sacrifice, disrupt the ceremony, and kill all the #ods who had #one to
attend it. This was done. .ut &udra was subse3uently pacified and brou#ht the dead
#ods back to life. The sacrifice was completed. Sati herself was reborn as the
dau#hter of the mountain 1imalaya and his wife ,enaka. She was known as Parvati
and she was a#ain married to &udra or Shiva.
There was an asura demon! named Tara. Tara%s son was Taraka.
Taraka wished to defeat the #ods. 1e therefore went to a place named ,adhuvana
and be#an to perform very difficult tapasya. 1e #a5ed at the sun and stood there with
his arms raised. 1e stood on one le# and that too, only on the toes of his feet. +
hundred years passed. 0or those hundred years, Taraka drank only water and had no
food to eat. 0or the next hundreds, he #ave up that also and lived only on air. +
hundred years were spent in performin# tapasya inside water, another hundred years
on earth and a hundred years more inside fire. 0or a hundred years he performed
tapasya upside down, standin# on his hands. +nd for yet another hundred years, he
hun# upside down from the branches of a tree.
The meditation was so difficult that .rahma was pleased. 1e appeared before
Tarakasura and said, * am pleased with your tapasya. /hat boon do you want2
*f you are pleased, replied Tarakasura, #rant me two boons. The first boon should be
that no one created by you should be as stron# as me. The second boon should be that
* should be killed only by Shiva%s son.
Shiva at that point of time had no sons. Sati had died and althou#h she had been
reborn as Parvati, she had not been married to Shiva.
.rahma #ranted Tarakasura the two boons. The demon went to a city named
Shonitapura and be#an to live there. +ll the other demons made Tarakasura their
kin#. Thanks to the boon. Tarakasura was so stron# tha the easily defeated the #ods.
1e con3uered the three worlds and drove the #ods out of heaven. 1e stole all their
belon#in#s and employed the #ods as his servants.
The despondent #ods went to .rahma and asked him to find a solution to the
* can%t, said .rahma. *t is because of my boon that the demon has become so
powerful. .esides, my boon says that Tarakasura can only be killed by Shiva%s son.
Shiva has #ot to have a son. 1e is now performin# tapasya in the 1imalaya
mountains. Parvati is also in that re#ion. 7o somethin# so that these two fall in love
with each other and marry.
The .urnin# of the 8od of 'ove
The #ods decided to follow .rahma%s advice. .ut how could it be ensured that Shiva
and Parvati fell in love with each other2 The kin# of the #ods was *ndra and the #od
of love was 6andarpa or ,adana.
*ndra summoned 6andarpa. )ou have to help us, said *ndra. There is no other way
out. Shiva is performin# tapasya in the 1imalayas. Parvati is also in the re#ion.
,ake sure that the two fall in love. That is your job.
6andarpa went to the place where Shiva was meditatin#. +nd as soon as the #od of
love appeared, the place took on the traits of a sprin# which was pernnial. 0lowers
bloomed and bees bu55ed amon# the flowes. 4uckoos san# and fra#ant bree5es
started to waft throu#ht the forest. Shiva tried to concentrate on his meditation. .ut
he kept #ettin# distracted.
/hile all this was #oin# on, who should arrive there but Parvati2 She was so
beautiful that Shiva was smitten with love for her. Parvati also seemed to like Shiva.
.ut life is never simple. Shiva was, after all, Shiva. 1e reali5ed that somethin# was
wron#. 1ow could his meditation have been disturbed2 1ow was it that the season
seemed to be sprin# althou#h it had no business to be sprin#2 /hen Shiva #lanced
around, his eyes fell on 6andarpa who was hidin#. 1e reali5ed that it was 6andarpa
who was responsible for all this mischief.
Shiva was an#ered. 1e had a third eye in the middle of his forehead. 0rom this third
eye flames sprouted and these flames burnt 6andarpa to ashes.
6andarpa%s wife was &ati. /hen &ati saw that her husband had been burnt to ashes,
her #rief knew no bounds. +t first she lost consciousness. /hen she recovered, she
lamented, /oe is me. /hat is #oin# to happen to me2 ,y husband, my love, where
have you #one2
The #ods and &ati sou#ht out Shiva. They explained that it had been no fault of
6andarpa%s. 1e had been asked to disturb Shiva%s tapasya because of the Tarakasua
problem. /hat would happen to &ati now2
Shiva replied, /hat has happened has happened. -othin# can be done about
kandarpa now. 1e will eventually be born in the city of 7varaka as 6rishna%s son
Pradyumna. &ati will then be reuntied with 6andarpa. .ut till such time, let her
The #ods dispersed, still despondent. The matter of Shiva and Parvati%s marria#e had
not pro#ressed at all.
.ut Parvati had fallen in love with Shiva and she didn%t know what she could do
about it. She thou#ht of Shiva all the time.
(ne day the sa#e -arada came and told her, Shiva is only pleased with tapasya.
/ithout tapasya, even .rahma and the other #ods do not #et to see Shiva. /hy don%t
you perform tapasya2
Parvati decided to do what -arada had asked her to. She asked her parents for
permission. 1er father a#reed with alacrity. +lthou#h her mother ,enaka was not at
all keen that Parvati should perform difficult tapasya, she too eventually a#reed.
Parvati #ave up her jewellery and handsome clothes. She wore deerskin instead.
There is a peak in the 1imalayas known as 8ouriskikhara. *t is there that Parvati
went for her tapasy. The meditation was very difficult. 7urin# the monsson Parvati
meditated while seated on the #round. *n the winter she mediated under the water.
/ild beats dared not harm her. +ll the #ods and sa#es assembled to see this
wonderful tapasya. The #ods and the sa#es also be#an to pray to Shiva. 'ord, can%t
you see that Parvati is performin# difficult tapasya2 They asked. -o one has
meditated like this before. -o one will meditate like this in the future. Please #rant
her what she wants.
Shiva adopted the form of an old brahmana the first of the four classes! and appeared
at Parvati%s hermita#e. Parvati welcomed the old man and worshipped him with
flowers and fruits.
/hy are you meditatin#2 asked the brahmana. /hat is it that you want2
* wish to have Shiva as a husband, replied Parvati.
)ou are indeed stupid. Said the brahmana. That is like #ivin# up #old for a piece of
#lass or #ivin# sandalwood for mud. 7oes anyone #ive up the water of the 8an#a and
drink water from a well instead2 ,arry one of the #ods instead, #o and marry *ndra.
Shiva is a stupid fellow. 1e has three eyes and five faces. 1is hair is matted and his
body is smeared with ashes. 1e wears snakes as #arlands. 1e is always accompanied
by #hosts, 1e has no clothes and no wealth. -o one knows who his parent are. 1e
live sin the forst and his throat is blue with poison. * think you are makin# a bi#
mistake. 0or#et about Shiva and don%t waste your life.
The brahmana%s words an#ered Parvati. *t is you who are stupid, she said. )ou don%t
know a thin# about Shiva. 1e is the lord of everthin#. )ou have insulted Shiva and
cursed am * that * made the mistake of worshippin# you. )ou are a#ain #oin# to say
somethin# nasty about Shiva. .ut before you can do that, let me #o away. * shall not
stay to hear Shiva insulted.
+s Parfati was about to depart, Shiva adopted his own form and said, /here are you
#oin#2 * thou#ht that you were prayin# for me. )ou can%t forsake me now. * am not
#oin# to let you #o. +sk for a boon.
Please marry me accordin# to the prescribed rites, replied Parvati.
Shiva a#reed and Parvati returned home.
Shiva called the seven #reat sa#es saptarshis! and asked them to #o to 1imalaya as
his messen#ers. The messa#e was that he wished to marry 1imalaya%s dau#hter
Parvati. 1imalaya was deli#hted to see the sa#es and even more deli#hted to learn
that Shiva wanted to marry Parvati. + date was fixed for the marria#e.
The day of the marria#e dawned. 8andharvas sin#ers of heaven! san# and apsara
dancers of heaven! danced. +ll the #ods came to 6ailasa to accompany Shiva on the
procession. 1imalaya had also #ot ready. 1e had built many #ates in front of his
house and had placed fla#s on them. The beauty of 1imalaya%s residence at that time
is impossible to describe. /hen the procession arrived at the residence, Parvati%s
mother ,enaka rushed out.
'et me see Shiva, she exclaimed. 'et me see my son-in-law. ,y dau#hter Parvati
has performed tapasya to obtain Shiva as a husband. 1e must be exceedin#ly
The first person ,enaka saw was $ishvavasu, the kin# of the #andharvas.
$ishvavasu was very handsome and, at first, ,enaka thou#ht that this was Shiva. .ut
when she was told that this was only a sin#er who entertained Shiva, she thou#ht that
Shiva would be more handsome. Then her eyes fell down on the handsome 6ubera,
the #od of wealth, and she thou#ht that this had to be Shiva. 6ubera was more
attractive than $ishvavasu. .ut ,enaka was told that this was not Shiva either. Then
came $aruna, more attractive than 6ubera. .ut this was not ,enaka%s son-in-law.
-or was her son-in-law the #reat #od )ama, handsomer than $aruna. The handsome
#ods *ndra, Surya and 4handra passed by. .ut -arada told ,enaka that these were
not Shiva, they were simply Shiva%s servants.
,enaka%s joy knew no bounds. *f these were the servants, what was the master #oin#
to be like2 She mistook .rahma, $ishnu and .rihaspati for Shiva, and each time
-arada told her that she was wron#. /here then was Shiva2 0inally Shiva came and
-arada pointed him out to ,enaka. +t the si#ht of her son-in-law, ,enaka fell
Shiva was surrounded by #hosts on all sides. The faces were fierce, their
complexions were dark and they made a tremendous racket. Shiva himself rode on
bull. 1e had three eyes, five faces and ten arms. 1e was smeared with ashes and the
moon adorned his forehead. 1e was dressed in a ti#er%s skin and a #arland of skulls
hun# around his neck. -o wonder ,enaka fainted.
/hen she recovered, she be#an to lament. She scolded 1imalaya, -arada and
Parvati for her misfortune. .rahma, the other #ods, and the sa#es tried to pacify
,enaka. .ut to no avail.
* will not permit my dau#hter to be married to Shiva, ,enaka said. * will #ive her
poison instead. * will throw her into a well and kill her. * will chop her up into pieces
with a weapon. * will hurl her into the sea. * will kill myself. * will #et Parvati
married to someone else. -ot to Shiva.
Parvit resolved, * shall not marry anyone other than Shiva. *s a jackal a fit
replacement for a lion2
$ishnu then tried to pacify ,enaka. .ut this did not succeed either. 0ianlly -arada
asked Shiva to display his beautiful form and Shiva obli#ed. This form is exhibited
only to those who are very faithful to Shiva. Everyone was charmed by this beautiful
form, even ,enaka. 1is body shone like a thousand suns and a crown sparkled on his
head. 1is clothes #littered and the lustre of his jewels put the stars to shame.
,enaka be##ed for#iveness for her foolishness and now there were no further
obstacles to the marria#e. 9nder .rahma%s supervision, the marria#e ceremony took
place and Shiva and Parvati returned to 6ailasa.
Shiva and Parvati%s son was Skanada or 6artikeya. /hen the baby was very small, it
#ot lost in some reeds. Six princesses discovered the baby in the reeds and each
wanted to brin# up the baby as her own son. +ll of them finally cooperated in
brin#in# up the body. These princesses were the 6rittikas and the boy came to be
known as 6artikeya.
The #ods #ot to know from -arada that 6artikeya had been brou#ht up by the
6rittikas. They came and appointed 6artikeya their #eneral. The army of #ods then
invaded Tarakasura%s city Shonitapura. + terrible fi#ht ra#ed for ten days. The #ods
completely decimated the demons and 6atikeya killed Tarakasura.
+fter the victory celebrations were over, 6artikeya was restored to his parents.
Tarakasura had three sons named $idyunmali, Tarakaksha and $iryavana. These
three be#an to perform tapasya. 0or a hundred years they meditated standin# only on
one le#. 0or a thousand more years they lived on air and meditated. They stood on
their heads and meditated in this posture for yet another thousand years.
.rahma was pleased at this difficult tapasya. 1e appeared before them and said,
/hat boon do you want2
,ake us immortal, answered Tarakasura%s sons.
* can%t make you immortal, replied .rahma. * don%t have the power. +sk for
somethin# else instead.
$ery well, then, said $iyunamali, Tarakaksha and $iryavana 8rant us the followin#.
'et three forts be made. The first will be of #old, the second of silver and the third of
iron. /e will live in these forts for a thousand years. +t the end of the thousand
years, the forts will become one. This combined fort will be called Tripura. +nd it
anyone can then destroy Tripura with only a sin#le arrow, that shall be the death
destined for us.
This rather unusual boon .rahma #ranted. There was a danava named ,aya who
was very #ood at buildin# work. .rahma asked him to build the forts. The #olden
fort was built in heaven, the silver one in the sky and the iron one on earth.
Tarakaksha #ot the #olden fort, $iryavana the silver one and $idyunmali the iron
one. Each of the forts was a bi# as a city and had many palaces and vimanas spaces
The demons populated the three forts and be#an to flourish. The #ods did not like
this at all. They first went to .rahma, but .rahma said he could not help them. +fter
all, the demons had #ot Tripura thanks to his boon. The #ods then went to Shiva for
help. .ut Shiva said that the demons were doin# nothin# wron#. +s lon# as that was
the case, he did not see why the #ods wre so bothered. The #ods then went to
$ishnu. $ishnu%s su##estion was as follows. *f the problem was that the demons
were doin# nothin# wron#, the solution was to persuade them to become sinners.
(ut of his powers $ishnu created a man. This man%s head was shaven, his clothes
were faded and he carried a wooden water-pot in his hands. 1e covered his mouth
with a piece of cloth and approached $ishnu.
/hat are my orders2 he asked $ishnu.
'et me explain to you why you have been created, replied $ishnu. * will teach you a
reli#ion that is completely a#ainst the $edas. )ou will then #et the impression that
there is no svar#a heaven! and no naraka hell! and that both heaven and hell are on
earth. )ou will not believe that rewards and punishments for deeds committed on
earth are meted out after death. 8o to Tripura and teach the demons this reli#ion,
which they are dislod#ed from the ri#hteous path. Then we will do somethin# about
The bein# did as he had been asked to. 1e and four of his disciples went to a forest
that was near Tripura and be#an to preach. They were trained by $ishnu himself.
Therefore, their teachin#s were convincin# and they had many converts. Even the
sa#e -arada #ot confused and was converted.
*n fact, it was -arada who carried news of this wonderful new reli#ion to kin#
6in#, he said, there is a wonderful new teacher with a wonderful new reli#ion. * have
never heard before. * have #ot converted.
Since the #reat sa#e -arada had #ot converted. $idyunmati also accepted the new
reli#on. +nd in due course, so did Tarakaksha and $iryavana. The demons #ave up
reverin# the $edas, they stopped worshippin# Shiva%s lin#a.
$ishnu and the other #ods then went to Shiva and be#an to pray to him. /hen Shiva
appeared, they told him that the demons had now become evil and should be
destroyed. They had even stopped worshippin# Shiva%s lin#a.
Shiva a#reed to destroy Tripura. $ishvakarma was the architect of the #ods. Shiva
called $ishvakarma and asked him to make a suitable chariot, bow and arrow. The
chariot was made entirely out of #old. .rahma himself became the charioteer and the
chariot was speedly driven towards Tripura. The #ods accompanied Shiva with
.y then a thousand years had passed so that the three forts had become a sin#le
Tripura. Shiva instilled a divine weapon known as pashupata into his arrow and shot
it at Tripura. The arrow burnt up Tripura into ashes in a split second.
/hile the celebrations were #oin# on, the shaven-heads reli#ious teachers arrived.
/hat are we supposed to do now2 they asked.
.rahma and $ishnu told them to #o and live in the desert. The last of the four eras
was kaliyu#a and in kaliyu#a, evil would rei#n supreme. /hen kaliyu#a arrived, they
were to come back and be#in their teachin# afresh.
Sita and the 6etaki 0lower
&omaharshana told the assembled sa#es, *t is easy to please Shiva. .ut Shiva must
never be worshipped with a ketaki or a champaka flower.
/hy, what is wron# with these flowers2 asked the sa#es.
'et me tell you about the ketaki flower first, replied &omaharshana.
&ama%s father 7asharatha asked &ama to spend fourteen years in the forest. So
&ama went to the forest with his brother 'akshmana and his wife Sita. The three of
them started to live on the banks of the river 0al#u. -ews reached the forest that
7asharatha had died in their absence and a shraddha funeral! ceremony had to
performed for the dead kin#.
&ama sent 'akshmana to a nearby villa#e to #et the necessary in#redients. Time
passed and 'akshmana did not return. &ama then went to #et the in#redients and look
for 'akshmana. .ut &ama too did not return. *t was almost noon and the ceremony
had to be performed before noon. *n desperation, Sita decided to perform the
ceremony herself. She went and bathed in the 0al#u river and lit an earthen lamp.
She then made the offerin#s pinda! to the dead ancestors herself.
*mmediately, a voice was heard. Sita, you are blessed, it said. /e are satisfied.
*n utter ama5ement Sita watched some disembodied hands appear in the air to accept
/ho are you2 +sked Sita.
* am your dead father-in-law, answered the voice. The funeral ceremony has been
successful. * have accepted your offerin#s.
.ut &ama and 'akshmana are #oin# to believe me, said Sita. They will never believe
that such disembodied hands appeared out of thin air to accept the offerin#s.
They have to. answered the voice. )ou have four witnesses. The first is the 0al#u
river. The second is the cow over there. The third will be the fire. +nd the last one
will be the ketaki bush.
&ama and 'akshmana returned and said, 4ook the food 3uickly. There is very little
time left. /e have to complete the funeral ceremony before noon.
Sita told them what happened, and naturally, the two brothers did not believe her.
They made fun of her and su##ested that she was lyin#. Sita called upon her four
witnesses, but each denied that it had seen anythin#. /ithout ar#uin# any further,
Sita cooked the food and &ama made offerin#s to his ancestors.
+ voice was then heard from the sky. /hy are you callin# us a#ain2 it said. Sita has
already satisfied us.
* refuse to believe that, said &ama.
*ndeed, it is true, retorted the voice. +sk the sun #od.
The sun #od confirmed that everythin# had happened just as Sita had said it had.
&ama and 'akshmana were ashamed that they had doubted Sita and were also
impressed with the power of her virtue. .ut Sita cursed the four false witnesses. She
cursed the 0al#u river that it would henceforth only flow under#round. She cursed the
ketaki flower pandanus odoratissimus! that it would never be accepted by Shiva as an
offerin#. She cursed the cow that its mouth would henceforth become impure. *t had,
after all, lied with its mouth. The hind sections of the cow would however continue
to be pure. +nd finally Sita cursed the fire that it would consume everythin#
That is the reason why a ketaki flower must never be used to worship Shiva.
-arada and the 4hampaka Tree
-or must a champaka flower be used.
*n the land of 8okarna there was a temple dedicated to Shiva. -arada decided that he
would #o and visit the temple. (n the way, he saw a flowerin# champaka tree and
stopped to admire it. + brahmana came there to pluck flowers from the tree. .ut
seein# that -arada was there, the brahmana refrained from pluckin# any flowers.
/here are you #oin#2 asked -arada.
The brahmana lied and replied, To be# some alms.
-arada went to the temple. ,eanwhile, the brahmana plucked flowers from the
champaka tree and placed them in a basket that he covered up well. -arada met the
brahmana a#ain on his way back from the temple.
/here are you #oin# now2 1e asked the brahmana.
The brahmana lied a#ain, 1ome, he said, * could n%t #et any alms.
-arada%s suspicions were aroused. 1e went to the champaka tree and asked, 1as that
brahmana plucked any flowers2
/hat brahmana2 replied the tree. * don%t know of any brahmana. -o one has
plucked any flowers.
-arada went back to the temple and discovered fresh champaka flowers lyin# there
on top of the Shiva lin#a. There was another devotee prayin# there. -arada asked
him, 7o you know who came to worship with these champaka flowers2
)es, * do, replied the devotee, *t is an evil brahmana. 1e worships Shiva every day
with champaka flowers. Thanks to Shiva%s blessin#s, he has completely brainwashed
the kin# and has secretly been stealin# the kin#%s wealth. 1e also oppresses other
-arada asked Shiva, /hy do you encoura#e such evil2
* am helpless, replied Shiva. * cannot resist it if someone worships me with
"ust then, a brahmana woman came runnin# with her tale of woe. 1er husband was
crippled. .ut they had mana#ed to #et some money from the kin# so that their
dau#hter could be married. They had also received a cow from the kin#. .ut the evil
brahmana was claimin# that half of whatever they had received was his. *t was due to
his #ood offices that the kin# had been so #enerous, he was sayin#. The evil
brahmana had already appropriated half of the money. .ut how was a cow to be
-arada then decided that somethin# needed to be done about the champaka tree and
the evil brahmana. +part from everythin# else, the champaka tree was a liar. -arada
cursed the champaka tree that its flowers would never be accepted by Shiva as an
offerin#. 1e cursed the evil brahmana that he would be born as a rakshasa demon!
named $iradha. .ut the brahmana had been a devotee of Shiva. So the curse was
3ualified by the stipulation that $iradha would be killed by &ama and would then
a#ain become a brahmana.
The door to Parvati%s place was #uarded by two of Shiva%s companions, -andi and
.hrin#i. .ut Parvati%s companions, "aya and $ijaya, didn%t like this at all. They
thou#ht that there should be a #uard who would be answerable to Parvati rather than
to Shiva. *t was Parvati%s place, not Shiva%s. ,oreover, Shiva was in the habit of
walkin# in at awkard moments, and -andi and .rin#i never stopped Shiva. "aya and
$ijaya asked Parvati to do somethin# about this.
Parvati took some clay of a pond and fashioned the clay into a very handsome son.
She dressed the son in beautiful clothes and jewellry. 1e was named 8anesha.
Parvati told 8anesha, )ou are my son. Stand at the #ate and do not allow anyone to
8anesha picked up a rod and be#an his duty as sentry. Parvati went to have a bath.
Soon Shiva turned up with his companions. /here are you #oin#2 asked 8anesha.
)ou cannot pass. ,y mother is havin# her bath.
* am Shiva, answered Shiva.
/ho is Shiva2 retorted 8anesha. * don%t know of any Shiva. )ou cannot #o in.
Shiva tried to i#nore 8anesha and enter, but 8anesha started to beat Shiva with the
rod. Shiva then asked his companions to remove this upstart. .ut they only #ot
thrashed by 8anesha in the process. -andi tried to #rasp one of 8anesha%s le#s and
.rhrin#i the other. .ut 8anesha uprooted a wooden door and beat them so hard that
they fled. The #ods and the sa#es all came to see what the uproar was about.
Shiva told .rahma, /hy don%t you try to pacify that creature2
.rahma advanced to reason with 8anesha. .ut 8anesha didn%t know .rahma: he
thou#ht that this was another one of Shiva%s companions. 1e therefore #rabbed
.rahma and tore off .rahma%s beard by the handful. .rahma fled in pain.
This had become a matter where Parvati felt her pride to be at stake. So she kept
8anesha supplied with weapons. The #ods attacked 8anesha with all sorts of
weapons. 1e drove them back.
$ishnu told Shiva, This fellow can only be killed with some trickery. (therwise, he
seems to be invincible.
8anesha flun# a mace at $isnu and hurt him considerably. 1e struck down Shiva%s
bow with another mace. $ishnu and 8anesha then be#an to fi#ht, with the sudarshana
chakra bein# used by $ishnu and maces by 8anesha. /hile this duel ra#ed, Shiva
crept up stealthily from behind and cut off 8anesha%s had with his trishula trident!.
This was the trickery that $ishnu had planned for.
/hen Parvati learnt of 8anesha%s death, her ire was roused. She #ot ready to destroy
the universe and everyone was alarmed. -arada was sent to Parvati as a messa#er.
1e was to try and pacify Parvati. .ut Parvati a#reed to relent only if two conditions
were satisfied. The first condition was that 8anesha should be brou#ht back to life.
The second condition was that 8anesha should be accepted as a #od and should enjoy
all divine ri#hts.
These conditions wre readily accepted. 8anesha%s headless body was cleaned and
bathed. .ut the head could not be found. *t had been lost in the heat of the battle.
Shiva sent his companions out with the head of the first livin# bein# that they saw.
This happened to be an elephant with one tusk. The elephant%s head was stuck onto
8anesha%s body and .rahma, $ishnu and Shiva combined their powers to brin# back
life to the dead body.
Shiva accepted 8anesha as his son. 1e also made 8anesha the lord of all his
companions, the #anas. That is why the elephant-#od is called 8anapati. *t was also
decreed that worship to any #od would be useless unless it was preceded by prayers to
4haturthi tithi is the fourth lunar day. 6rishnapaksha is that part of the lunar
fortni#ht durin# which the moon wanes. Since Parvati created 8anesha in the month
of 6artika and on chaturthi tithi in krishnapaksha, that is the day on which 8anapati is
8anesha and 6artikeya ;uarrel
Shiva and Parvati had two sons, 8anesha and 6artikeya. .oth sons wanted to #et
married. +nd Shiva and Parvati found it difficult to decide who should be married
first. The other one was bound to feel hurt. .oth the sons were e3ually dear to them.
They decided to have a test. They called 8anesha and 6artikeya to them and said,
/e have devised a competition. .oth of you have to travel around the world and
return here. /hoever returns first will be married first. That should be fair and
+s soon as these words were out, 6artikeya dashed out on his journey. .ut 8anesha
tarried and pondered. 1e reali5ed that this was a task that was impossible for him to
accomplish. 1e found it difficult enou#h to travel a couple of miles.
8anesha found a solution. 0irst, he bathed. Then, he made Shiva and Parvati sit on
two seats. 1e worshipped them and circled them seven times. +fter he finished
circlin# them. 8anesha said, -ow please make arran#ements for my weddin#.
/hat do you mean, exclaimed Shiva and Parvati. 7idn%t you hear what we said2 /e
asked the two of you to travel around the world and come back. )ou%d better hurry.
6artikeya has already left. *f you don%t take care, he will beat you to it.
.ut * have already been round the world seven times, replied 8anesha. 1aven%t *
circled the two of you seven times2 The $edas say that circlin# one%s parents is the
same thin# as circlin# the world. *f you do not wish to ar#ue that the $edas are
wron#, then you have to a#ree that * have circled the world seven times.
Shiva and Parvati could not very well ar#ue that the $edas were wron#. They
therefore had to accept 8anesha%s lo#ic. +rran#ements were made for his weddin#.
$ishvarua, the son of 6ashyapa, had two dau#hters named Siddhi and .uddhi. These
two were married to 8anesha with a lot of fanfare. 8anesha and Siddhi had a son
named 'aksha and 8anesha and .uddhi had a son named 'abha.
6artikeya returned to 6ailasa after travelin# around the world and discovered that
8anesha was already married and was already the proud father of two children. 1e
heard the entire story from -arada and felt that he had been cheated. 1e decided that
he would no lon#er live with his parents. 1e also decided that he would never marry.
That is the reason why 6artikeya is called 6umara, someone who is married.
6artikeya be#an to live on ,ount 6rouncha. Shiva #oes to visit him there on the day
of the newmoon amavasya! and parvati #oes to visit him on the day of the moon
+ lin#a is an ima#e of Shiva. There are several lin#as. /hichever is the place where
devotees con#re#ate, there Shiva manifests himself in the form of a lin#a.
1owever, there are twelve important lin#as and these are known as jyotirlin#as are
Somanatha, ,allikarjuna, ,ahakala, (mkara, 6edara, .hima-shankara, $ishvanatha,
Trymbaka, $aidyanatha, -a#esha, &ameshvara and 8hushnesha.
+ tirtha is a place of pil#rima#e. +t a tirtha named -andikeshvara, there is a famous
*n a city named 6arnaki there used to live a brahmana. 1e left his two sons with his
wife and went to visit the city of $aranasi. *t was then learnt that the brahmana had
died in $aranasi. 1is widow brou#ht up her sons and eventually married them off.
She became old and it was time for her to die. .ut death would not come. *t seemed
to the sons that their mother was hankerin# after somethin# and would not die until
her wish had been satisfied.
,other, they asked, /hat is it that you want2
* have always wanted to visit the tirtha of $aranasi, the mother replied. .ut now * am
#oin# to die without ever visitn# the place. Promise me that when * am dead, you will
take my ashes to $aranasi and throw them into the river 8an#a there.
/e will, said the sons. )ou can die inpeace.
The mother died and the sons performed her funeral ceremony. Then the eldest son,
Suvadi, set out for $aranasi with his mother%s ashes. The way was lon# and he
stopped to rest and spend the ni#ht in a brahmana%s house.
+ cow was tied in front of the house and it was time for milkin#. Suvati saw that
when the brahmana tried to milk the cow, the calf would not permit the milkin# and
kicked the brahmana. The brahmana then hit the calf with a stick. The brahmana
went away after the milkin#. .ut Suvadi was still there and and he heard the cow tell
her calf, * am distressed that the brahmana struck you. Tomorow * am #oin# to #ore
the brahmana%s son to death.
-ext day, the brahmana%s son came to do the milkin#. The cow #ored him with
horns so that he died. .u this meant that the cow had committed the sin of killin# a
brahmana. *mmediately, because of the sin, the while cow turned completely black.
The cow left the house. Suvadi followed, ama5ed at this stran#e si#ht. The cow went
to the banks of the river -armada, to the place named -andikeshvara. She bathed in
the river and became white once a#ain. This meant that the sin of killin# a brahmana
had been completely washed away. Suvadi marvelled at this and reali5ed what a
powerful tirtha -andikeshvara was.
1e was about to leave for $aransi after bathin# in the river himself, when he was
accosted by a beautiful woman.
/here are you #oin#, Suvadi2 asked the woman. Throw your mother%s ashes in the
river here. This is a far #reater tirtha than $aranasi.
/ho are you2 asked Survadi.
* am the river 8an#aa, came the reply.
The woman vanished and Suvadi did as he had been bidden. +s soon as he had done
this, his dead mother appeared in the sky and told him that she was immensely
#ratified. She would now #o strai#ht to heaven.
-andikeshvara is a wonderful tirtha because a brahmana woman named &ishika had
earlier performed very difficult tapasya there to please Shiva.
There was a forest named 6amada. *t did not rain there for a hundred years. The
leaves dried up and the dwellers of the forest started to suffer.
The sa#e +tri decided that he would meditate to try and brin# the rains. +tri%s wife
was +nasuya and she thou#ht that she mi#ht as well perform tapasya to#ether with her
husband. .oth of them started to pray to Shiva and it was very difficult to decide
whose tapasya was the more difficult. 0ifty-four passed and they meditated without
eatin# or drinkin# anythin#.
+tri%s meditation was finally over and he felt thirsty. 1e therefore asked his wife to
#o and fetch some water so that he mi#ht 3uench his thirst. /hile +nasuya was #oin#
to fetch the water, the river 8an# appeared before her.
* am pleased with your tapasya, said 8an#a. /hat boon do you desire2
*f you are pleased with me, replied +nasuya, please make a pond here and fill the
pond with your water.
8an#a obli#ed. +nasuya filled her water-pot from the pond and brou#ht the water to
her husband. +tri drank the water and found that it was far tastier than the water they
were used to. /hen he asked +nasuya why this was so, she told him what happened.
.oth husband and wife came back to the pond. +nasuya had earned a lot of punya
store of merit! thanks to her tapasya. 8an#a a#reed to stay on provided +nasuya
handed over to 8an#a whatever punya she had ac3uired in one year of tapasya. This
conditon +nasuya a#reed to.
,eanwhile, Shiva appeared and offered to #rant +nasuya a boon. +nasuya desire the
boon that Shiva would always be present in that forest. Shiva consented.
This sacred place is known as +trishvara tirtha.
4handra and Somanatha
Twenty-seven of 7aksha%s dau#hters were married to the moon-#od 4handra. (ne of
these wives was named &ohini and 4handra loved &ohini more than he loved the
other wives. The other wives felt ne#lected and they complained to their father.
7aksha repeatedly warned his son-in-law to devote himself e3ually to all twenty-
seven wives. .ut 4handra was in no mood to listen.
7aksha thereupon cursed 4handra that he would #radually fade away. 4handra
didn%t know what to do. 1e went and sou#ht advice from .rahma and .rahma told
him that the only rescourse was to pray to Shiva. 4handra went to Prabhasa tirtha and
made a lin#a on the banks of the river Sarasvati. 1e prayed to Shiva for six months.
+t the end of the tapasya Shiva appeared before 4handra and offered to #rant him a
boon. 4handra explained what the problem was.
/ell, said Shiva, 7aksha%s curse cannot be entirely i#nored. 'et us have a
compromise. 7urin# krishnapaksha you will wane. +nd durin# shuklapaksha the
bri#ht part of the lunar fortni#ht! you will wax. That should satisfy everybody.
4handra was deli#hted. The lin#a to which 4handra prayed is Somantha, the first of
the jyotirlin#as. Shiva is always present at that tirtha.
/hat about the second jyotirlin#a. ,allikarjuna2
)ou already know that 6artikeya felt cheated when 8anesha #ot married. 1e
decided that he would not live with Shiva and Parvati any lon#er, and be#an to live on
the mountain 6rouncha.
Parvati was miserable that her son had left her. She sent #ods, sa#es, #andharvas and
apsaras to brin# her son back. .ut 6artikeya would not return. Shiva and Parvati
then went to visit 6artikeya themselves, but 6artikeya would not let them #et too
Shiva and Parvati started to live at a place that was about six miles away from where
their son was livin#. They are always there, so as to be near their son. This place is
known as ,allikarjuna.
7ushana and ,ahakala
The third of the jyotirlin#as is ,ahakala.
The city of +vanti is on the banks of the river 6shipra Shipra!.
+ brahmana named $edapriya used to lived in the city of +vanti. 1e used to worship
Shiva everyday and he had brou#ht up his four sons to do the same. These sons were
named 7evapriya, Priyamedha, Suvrita and Suvrata.
-ot very far away, on a hill named &atnamala, there used to live an asura named
7ushana. 7ushana was evil, he could not stand the idea of the $edas bein# read and
the reli#ion prescribed in them followed. 1e went about destroyin# this ri#hteous
reli#on wherever he could. 7ushana #ot to know that in the city of +vanti there lived
four brahmanas who followed the ri#hteous reli#ion and worshipped Shiva. These
were 7evapriya, Priyamedha, Suvrita and Suvrata. Their father $edapriya had died
7ushana and his cohorts came and attacked the city of +vanti. They threatened to
kill the four brahmanas, but the brothers were not at all perturbed. They continued to
pray to Shiva. They bowed in obeisance before the lin#a.
Suddenly a tremendous sound was heard and a pit appeared in the #round in front of
the lin#a. Shiva himself appeared in this pit. 7ushana was burnt into ashes from the
force of Shiva%s roar. +nd Shiva put all of 7ushana%s soldiers to fli#ht.
The brahmanas prayed that Shiva mi#ht always be present at that place and Shiva
a#reed. This is the place that is known as ,ahakala.
$indhya and (mkara
The fourth of the jyotirlin#as is (mkara.
-arada had once #one on a visit to the mountain $indhya. $indhya worshipped
-arada. .ut because $indhya was sli#htly proud, he also said. * am full of all the
desirable objects that one can think of.
Perhaps, replied -arada. .ut ,ount Sumeru is superior to you, becaue the #ods are
$indhya decided to become the e3ual of Sumeru. 1e be#an to pray to Shiva. 0or six
months he prayed. /hen Shiva appeared, $indhya desired that Shiva mi#ht always
be present there so that he mi#ht become the e3ual of Sumeru.
The lin#a that $indhya worshipped as called (mkara.
-aranarayana and 6edara
The fifth of the jyotirlin#as is 6edara. *n one of $ishnu%s incarnations, he revealed
himself as the two sa#es, -ara and -arayana. These two sa#es prayed for a lon# time
in the hermita#e known as vadrikashrama. -ear this hermita#e there was a peak of
the 1imalayas named 6edara.
+fter the two sa#es had prayed to Shiva for a very lon# time, Shiva appeared and
said, * don%t understand why the two of you worshippin# me. *t is you who should be
worshipped. .ut since you have been prayin# to me, let me #rant you a boon.
-ara and -arayana desred that Shiva should always be present in the form of a lin#a
on the peak 6edara.
The sixth of the jyotirlin#as is .himashankara.
)ou know about &ama and &avana from the &amayana and you also know that
&ama killed not only &avana, but also his brother 6umbahakarna.
+ rakshasa woman named 6arkati used to live on the mountains named Sahya.
6arkati had been married to 6umbhakarna and her son was named .hima. (ne day,
.hima asked 6arkati, ,other, whose son am *2 /hy do we live alone in this forest2
6arkati said, 'et me tell you my sad story. * used to be married to the rakshasa
$iradha. .ut &ama killed $iradha. 'ater on, 6umbhakarna came and married me
here and you were born. 6umbhakarna had promised to take me to 'anka. .ut he
was killed by &ama and * never #ot to see 'anka. That is the reason we live here
alone. /e have nowhere else to #o.
.hima was very sorry to hear this story. 1e resolved to aven#e himself on $ishnu
because he knew that &ama had been an incarnation of $ishnu. 0or a thousand years
he prayed to .rahma with his hands raised up to the sky. /hen .rahma appeared,
.hima wished for the boon that he mi#ht become very stron#. This boon .rahma
The first tar#et of .hima%s attention was the kin# of 6amarupa. The kin#%s crime
was that he was devoted to $ishnu. .hima attacked the kin#, stole all his belon#in#s,
con3uered his kin#dom and imprisoned him and his wife. 1e then proceeded to
con3uer the rest of the world.
*n their prison, the kin# and his wife started to pray to Shiva. This news was brou#ht
to .hima by the rakshasa #uards and .hima decided to kill the kin#. 1e found the
kin# prayin# before a Shiva lin#a. /hen .hima raised his sword to cut off the the
kin#%s head, Shiva appeared from the lin#a and repelled the sword with his trident.
.hima flun# a spear at Shiva, but this too was driven back by the trident. /hatever
weapon was used by .hima, Shiva%s trident destroyed them all. 0inally, Shiva killed
.hima and all his rakshasa cohorts.
The #ods were #ratified and they craved that Shiva mi#ht always remain in the place
in the form of the lin#a.
$ishvanatha and $aranasi
The seventh of the jyotirlin#as is named $ishvanatha and it is located in the cityof
$aranasi or 6ashi.
$aranasi is a very sacred place. .rahma himself performed difficult tapasya there.
So difficult was the tapasya that $ishnu shook his head in disbelief. /hen $ishnu
shook his head, a jewel mani! fell down from $ishnu% ear karna!. The place where
the jewel fall is known as ,anikarnika and it is a famous tirtha.
$aranasi is not destroyed when the rest of the world is destroyed. Shiva himself
raises it on the point of his trident and protects it while destruction ra#es all around.
/hen the world is re-created. Shiva replaces $aranasi to its appointed place.
Shiva and Parvati once went to visit .rahma. .rahma be#an to chant hymns in
Shiva%s praise with all of his five mouths. (ne of the mouths however made mistakes
in the pronunciation of the hymns. This an#ered Shiva and Shiva severed the
offendin# head with a #a5e of his third eye. .ut this effectively amounted to the
killin# of a brahmana and Shiva committed a crime. The severed head therefore #ot
stuck to Shiva%s back would would not come off, no matter where Siva went. .ut
when Shiva arrived in $aranasi, the head fell off his back. Shiva reali5ed that
$aranasi was a special place and he resolved that he would always be present there.
8outama and Trymbaka
Towards the south of the country there was a mountain named .rahmaparvata. There
the sa#e 8outama and his wife +halya performed tapasya for ten tousand years.
/hile they were meditatin#, there were no rains in the forest for a hundred years and
there was a shorta#e of water. 'ivin# bein#s died from the drou#ht. 8outama prayed
to $aruna, the #od of the ocean and the rain. $aruna appeared and offered to #rant a
Please #rant the boon that it mi#ht rain, said 8outama.
* can%t do that, replied $aruna. That is beyond my powers. +sk for somethin# else
Then let us have a pond in the forest that will always be full of water, said 8outama.
This was within $aruna%s powers and the pond was created. The other sa#es also
be#an to use water from this pond. -ormally, 8outama sent his disciples to fetch
water. .ut the disciples complained that the wives of the other sa#es did not let them
take the water. So +halya herself started to fetch the water. The wives of the other
sa#es annoyed and pestered +hyalya, but she never reacted. These wives then
complained to their husbands about +halya and 8outama. +t first the sa#es did not
listen, but eventually, they were convinced that +halya and 8outama were wicked.
They therefore sou#ht to devise a plan so that these two mi#ht punished. They be#an
to pray to 8anesha.
/hen 8anesha arrived, the sa#es said, Please #rant us the boon that 8outama and
+halya mi#ht be banished from the hermita#e.
+lthou#h 8anesha reali5ed that this was an unfair boon, he decided to #rant it
because he reali5ed that the sa#es and their evil wives needed to be punished.
8outama had some fields of paddy and #rain. 8anesha adopted the form of a lean
and starvin# cow and be#an to eat up the crop. 8outama tried to drive away the cow
with a blade of #rass. .ut as soon as he struck the cow with the blade of #rass, the
cow fell down and died. This was a terrible calamity. *t was the killin# of a cow.
The other sa#es banished 8outama and +halya from the hermita#e. They had to set
up an ashrama hermita#e! that was a fair distance away. The other sa#es completely
disassociated themselves from 8outama and +halya. 8outama be#an to think of
ways of performin# prayashchitta penance! for the crime that he had committed. The
other sa#es told him that he would first have to travel around the world. +fter that, he
would have to pray very hard for an entire month. The next task was to circle
.rahmaparvata a hundred times and bathe in a hundred pots of water. This would
complete the penance. +ll this 8outama and +halya did. They also prayed for a lon#
time to Shiva.
Shiva appeared before them and offered them a boon. 8outama desired the boon that
the river 8an#a mi#ht always be present in the hermita#e. 8an#a said that she would
a#ree subject to the condition that Shiva and Parvati were also always present in the
hermita#e. Parvati and Shiva a#reed to do this. This established Trymbaka, the
ei#hth of the jyotirlin#as. The river 8an#a which flowed there came to be known as
the 8odavari. So Trymbaka is on the banks of the 8odavari.
/hat happened to the evil sa#es and their wives2 8outama asked that they mi#ht be
pardoned. They performed penance by circlin# .rahmaparvata one hundred and one
times, and be##ed for#iveness from 8outama and +halya.
&avana and $aidyanatha
The ninth of the jyotirlin#as is named $aidyanatha.
&avana, the kin# of the rakshasas, meditated in the 1imalayas so as to please Shiva.
0irst he prayed on ,ount 6ailasa, but Shiva did not appear. 1e then went to a place
named $rikshakhandaka which was a little towards the south. 1e prayed there, but
Shiva did not appear. &avana next du# a pit in the earth and started to pray inside the
pit. 1e established a Shiva lin#a inside the pit. Shiva still not appear.
&avana therefore decided that he would immolate himself. &avana, as you know,
had ten heads. 1e lit a fire and severin# his heads, be#an to offer them one by one to
the fire. /hen nine of the heads had thus been offered, Shiva appeared.
Enou#h is enou#h, said Shiva. /hat boon do you want2
Please #rant me the boon that * may be very stron#. +nd please restore my nine
heads, replied &avana.
These boons Shiva #ranted and the place where &avana prayed is known as
The #ods were not at all happy that &avana had become so stron#. They were afraid
tha the rakshasa mi#ht start to oppress them. They therefore sent -arada to create
some mischief. -arada met &avana and asked him why he was lookin# so happy.
&avana related the story of the boon.
.oon, exclaimed -arada. /ho believes in Shiva2 'et me see if you can lift up
,ount 6ailasa. *f you can do that, * shall indeed believe that you have become
*ncited by -arada, &avana returned to 6ailasa and lifted up the mountain. +s the
mountain shook, Shiva and Parvati were disturbed. Shiva cursed &avana that soon a
bein# would be born who would kill &avana. This bein# was of course &ama,
The tenth of the jyotirlin#as is named -a#esha.
There used to be a rakshasa name 7aruka. 1is wife was named 7aruki. They lived in
a forest on the banks of the western sea. Parvati had #ranted 7aruki the boon that
wherever 7aruki went, the forest would follow.
9sin# this forest as a base, 7aruka and 7aruki be#an to oppress the world. They
destroyed the yajnas and killed all the ri#hteous people. *n desperation, the survivors
went to a powerful sa#e named (urva. They told (urva that he alone could save the
world from the depredations of these rakshasas. (urva cursed the rakshasas that if
they committed any violence on earth, they would immediately die.
+s soon as the #ods #ot to know about this curse, they attacked the rakshasas. The
demons were in a fix. *f they did not fi#ht with the #ods, they would be slau#htered.
.ut if they fou#ht with the #ods, they would die because of (urva%s curse. They
decided that they would #o and live in the ocean. Thanks to the boon that 7aruki had
received from Parvati, the entire forest was also submer#ed in the ocean and became
the home of the rakshasas.
There the rakshasa lived. They did not return to earth. .ut they imprisoned and
killed any people who travelled in boats across the ocean.
*n this fashion, they once captured a vaishya the third of the four classes! who was
devoted to Shiva. The vaishya set up a lin#a in the prison and be#an to pray to Shiva.
/hen the rakshasas saw this, they attacked him with weapons so as to kill him. This
vaishya was named Supriya. Shiva #ave Supriya a pashupata, a divine weapon
associated with Shiva. /ith this the vaishya killed many demons. The remainin#
rakshasas were saved by Parvati%s intervention.
The lin#a that Supriya worshipped is -a#esha.
&ama and &ameshvara
The eleventh of the jyotirlin#as is named &ameshvara.
&avana had kidnapped Sita and &ama looked for her everywhere. 1e was aided in
his search by the monkeys. The search brou#ht them to the shores of the ocean.
/hile &ama was tryin# to decided how to cross the ocean, he felt very thirsty. 1e
therefore asked the monkeys to fetch him some water. .ut when the water was
brou#ht, &ama reali5ed that he should not drink the water without first prayin# to
&ama constructed a lin#a and worshipped it with many fra#rant flowers. Such were
the powers of &ama%s prayers that Shiva, Parvati and their companions appeared
before &ama. Shiva blessed &ama and &ama re3uested him to stay in that place
forever. *t is this lin#a, on the shores of the ocean, that is known as &ameshvara.
8hushna and 8hushnesha
The twelfth and last of the jyotirlin#as is named 8hushnesha.
To the south, there is a mountain named 7eva. + brahmana named Sudharma used to
live there. 1is wife was called Sudeha. 1usband and wife were ri#hteous and
re#ularly prayed to the #ods. They had only one reason for complaint< they had no
son. Sudeha was especially disturbed at this. (ther women tended to insult her
because she had no son.
Sudharma decided to conduct an experiment. 1e plucked two flowers and offered
them in front of a sacred fire. 1e mentally associated one of the flowers with havin# a
son and asked his wife to choose a flower. 9nfortunately, his wife chose the flower
that was not associated wtih havin# a son. 0rom this Sudharma concluded that they
were not #oin# to have a son and he did his best to console Sudeha. .ut Sudeha
refused to be consoled, she was miserable.
/hy don%t you marry a#ain2 asked Sudeha. Perhaps you will then have a son.
,arry my niece 8ushna.
-o, replied Sudharma. )ou love her now because she is your niece. .ut if she does
indeed have a son, you will become jealous and will come to hate her.
Sudeha convinced her husband that this would never happen. So Sudharma married
Every day, 8hushna made a hundred and one lin#as out of clay and worshipped
them. /hen the day%s prayers were over, she immersed the lin#as in a pond. /hen
one lakh lin#as had thus been worshipped, 8hushna #ave birth to a handsome boy.
Shiva had taken pity on Sudharma and 8hushna.
.ut when the son was born, Sudeha%s nature chan#ed. +s her husband had warned
her, she felt jealous. She thou#ht that 8ushna #ot more important and she was treated
like a maid. *n the middle of the ni#ht, Sudeha slew the boy with a knife and threw
the dead body into the pond. This was the pond where the lin#as had been immersed.
+s was her wont, 8hushna #ot up in the mornin# and be#an to worship a lin#a.
.lood was discovered on the bed, the boy could not be found and everyone raised the
alarm. .ut 8hushna was not distracted by this racket and did not leave her prayers.
Shiva was so impressed with 8hushna%s devotion that he restored her son back to life.
1e also wished to kill the evil Sudeha with his trident, but 8ushna be##ed for her
aunt%s life and Shiva spared Sudeha. Shushna%s act of for#iveness so impressed
Shiva that he wished to #rant 8hushna another boon, apart from restorin# her son.
8hushna desired that Shiva mi#ht alwaysbe present in a lin#a near the pond. This is
known as 8hushnesha.
+rjuna and Shiva
7uryodhana robbed the Pandavas of their ri#htful share of the kin#dom in a #ame of
dice. +s a result of this, the Pandavas had to spend many years in the forest. /hile
they were in the forest, $edavyasa came to visit the Pandavas. $edavyasa told them
that they should pray to Shiva. .ut since +rjuna was the best suited amon#st the
Pandavas for worshippin# Shiva, $edvyasa tau#ht +rjuna a special mantra
incantation!. Then he asked +rjuna to #o to ,ount *ndrakila and pray to Shiva
there. ,ount *ndrakila was on the banks of the river .ha#irathi.
+rjuna went to ,ount *ndrakila. 1e made a lin#a out of clay and started to pray to
Shiva. The news of +rjuna%s wonderful tapasya spread everywhere. +rjuna stood on
one le# and continualy chanted the mantra that $edavyasa had tau#ht him.
Suddenly, +rjuna saw a boar. +rjuna thou#ht that this fierce boar mi#ht have come
to distract him from his tapasya. +lternatively, it mi#ht be a relative of the several
demons that he had killed and therefore mi#ht wish him harm. Thinkin# this, +rjuna
picked up his bow and arrow and let fly an arrow at the boar. ,eanwhile, Shiva had
decided to subject +rjuna to a test and he had also arrived at the spot dis#usted as a
hunter. /hen +rjuna shot an arrow at the boar, so did Shiva. Shiva%s arrow struck
the boar in its hind3uarters and +rjuna%s arrow struck the boar in its mouth. The boar
fell down dead.
+ dispute started between +rjuna and the hunter about who had killed the boar. Each
claimed it for his own. They be#an to fi#ht. .ut whatever weapons were hurled by
Shiva were easily repelled all of +rjuna%s weapons. /hen all the weapons were
exhausted, the two started to wrestle.
+fter the fi#ht had #one on for a while, Shiva #ave up his dis#uise of a hunter and
displayed his true form to +rjuna. +rjuna wa ashamed that he had been fi#htin# with
the very person to whom he had been prayin#.
Please for#ive me, said +rjuna.
*t is all ri#ht, replied Shiva. * was just tryin# to test you. )our weapons have been
like offerin#s to me, you are my devotee. Tell me, what boon do you desire2
+rjuna wanted the boon that he mi#ht obtain #lory on earth. Shiva #ave +rjuna his
pashupata weapon. This was such a divine weapon that its possession made +rjuna
Sudarshana chakra a bladed discus! was $ishnu%s weapon. $ishnu received this
wonderful weapon as a result of Shiva%s #race.
,any years a#o, the demons oppressed the #ods and the #ods went to $ishnu for
deliverance. $ishnu said that the demons were so powerful, that he would first have
to worship Shiva if somethin# was to be done about the asuras. $ishnu went to
,ount 6ailasa and bean to pray to Shiva. 1e chanted many mantras, but there was no
si#n of Shiva. Shiva has a thousand names and $ishnu next started to chant these
names. Each day he chanted the thousand names and offered a thousand lotus flowers
Shiva decided to test $ishnu. (ne day, he stole a lotus flower from the thousand that
were to be offered. /hen $ishnu reali5ed that there was one lotus flower less, he
#ou#ed out his own eye and offered it in place of the missin# lotus flower. Shiva was
now pleased and appeared before $ishnu. 1e offered to #rant $ishnu a boon.
)ou know that the powerful demons have been oppressin# the #ods, said $ishnu. *
need a weapon to fi#ht the demons with. Please #ive me a weapon.
Shiva then #ave $ishnu the sudarshana chakra. +nd with this weapon, $ishnu killed
Shiva%s Thousand -ames
/hen the sa#es heard this story, they said, &omaharshana, what are these thousand
names of Shiva that you have mentioned2 &elate them to us.
&omaharshana obli#ed. 0or convenience, let us list out these thousand names in a
hundred #roups of ten each.
=! Shiva, 1ara, ,rida, &udra, Pushkara, Pushpalochana, +rthi#amya, Sadachara,
>! ,aheshvara, 4handrapida, 4handramouli, $ishva, $ishvamareshvara,
$edantasara-sandoha, 6apali, -ilalohita, 7hyanadhara, +paricchedya.
?! 8ouribharta, 8aneshvara, +shtamurti, $ishvamurti, Trivar#asvar#asadhana,
"nana#amya, 7ridaprajna, 7evadeva, Trilochana, $amadeva
@! ,adadeva, Patu, Parivrida, 7rida, $ishvarupa, $irupaksha, $a#isha,
Shuchisattama, Sarvapramanasamvadi, $rishanka.
A! $rishavahana, *sha, Pinaki, 6hatvan#a, 4hitravesha, 4hirantana, Tamohara,
,ahayo#i, 8opta, .rahma.
B! 7hurjati, 6alakala, 6rittivasah, Subha#a, Pranavatmaka, 9nnadhra, Purusha,
"ushya, 7urvasa, Purashasana.
C! 7ivyayudha, Skanda#uru, Parameshthi, Paratpara, +nadimadhyanidhana, 8irisha,
8irijadhava, 6uberabandhu, Shrikanatha, 'okavarnottama.
D! ,ridu, Samadhivedya, 6odandi, -ilakantha, Parashvadhi, $ishalaksha,
,ri#avyadha, Suresha, Suryatapana, 7harmadhama.
E! 6shamakshetra, .ha#avana, .ha#anetrabhida, 9#ra, Pashupati, Tarkshya,
Priyabhakta, Parantapa, 7ata, 7ayakara.
=F! 7aksha, 6armandi, 6amashasana, Shmashananilaya, Suksha, Shmashanastha,
,aheshvara, 'okakarta, ,ri#apati, ,ahakarta.
==! ,ahoushadhi, 9ttara, 8opati, 8opta, "nana#amya, Puratana, -iti, Suniti,
=>! Somarata, Sukhi, Sompapa, +mritapa, Soumya, ,ahatejah, ,ahadyuti,
Tejomaya, +mritamaya, +nnamaya.
=?! Suhapati, +jatashatru, +loka, Sambhavya, 1avyavahana, 'okakara, $edakara,
Sutrakara, Sanatana, ,aharshi.
=@! 6apilacharya, $ishvadipti, $ilochana, Pinakapani, .hudeva, Svastida,
Svastikrita, Sudhi, 7hatridhama, 7hamakara.
=A! Sarva#a, Sarva#ochara, .rahmasrika, $ishvasrika, Sar#a, 6arnikara, Priya,
6avi, Shakha, $ishakha.
=B! 8oshakha, Shiva, .hishaka, +nuttama, 8an#aplavodaka, .haya, Pushkala,
Sthapati, Sthira, $ijitatma.
=C! $ishayatma, .hutavahana, Sarathi, Sa#ana, 8anakaya, Sukirti, 4hinnasamshaya,
6amadeva, 6amapala, .hasmoddhulita-vi#raha.
=D! .hasmapriya, .hasmashyai, 6ami, 6anta, 6rita#ama, Samavarta, -ivritatma,
7harmapunja, Sadashiva, +kalmasha.
=E! 4haturvahu, 7urvasa, 7urasada, 7urlabha, 7ur#ama, 7ur#a,
Sarvayudhavisharada, +dhyatmayo#anilaya, Sutantu, Tantuvardhana.
>F! Shubhan#a, 'okasaran#a, "a#adisha, "anardana, .hasmashuddhikara, ,eru,
(jasvi, Shuddhavi#raha, +sadhya, Sadhusadhya.
>=! .hrityamarkatarupadhrika, 1iranyareta, Pourana, &ipujivahara, .ala,
,ahahrada, ,aha#arta, $yali, Siddhavrindaravandita, $ya#hracharmambara.
>>! ,ahabhuta, ,ahanidhi, +mritasha, +mritavapu, Panchajanya, Prabhanjana,
Panchavimshatitattvastha, Parijata, Para-vara, Sulabha.
>?! Suvrata, Shura, .rahmavedanidhi, -idhi, $arnashrama#uru, $arni, Shatrujita,
Shatrutapana, +shrama, 6shapana.
>@! 6shama, "nanavana, +chaleshvara,Pramanabhuta, 7urjneya, Suparna,
$ayuvahana, 7hanurdhara, 7hanurveda, 8unarashi.
>A! 8unakara, Satyasatyapara, 7ina, 7harma#a, +nanda, 7harmasadhana,
+nantadrishti, 7anda, 7amayita, 7ama.
>B! +bhivadya, ,ahamaya, $ishvakarma, $isharada, $itara#a, $initatma, Tapasvi,
.hutabhavana, 9nmattavesha, Pracchanna .
>C! "itakama, +jitapriya, 6alyanaprakriti, 6alpa, Sarvalokaprajapati, Tarasvi,
Tavaka, 7himana, Pradhanaprabhu, +vyaya.
>D! 'okapala, +ntarhitatma, 6alpadi, 6amalekshana, $edashastrarthatattvajna,
+niyama, -iyatashraya, 4handra, Surya, Shani.
>E! 6etu, $aran#a, $idrumacchavi, .haktivashya, +na#ha, Parabrahm-
amri#avanarpana, +dri, +dryalaya, 6anta, Paramatma.
?F! "a#ad#uru, Sarvakarmalaya, Tushta, ,an#alya, ,an#alavrita, ,ahatapa,
7ir#hatapa, Sthavishtha, Sthavira 7hruva.
?=! +ha, Samvatsara, $yapti, Pramana, Parmatapa, Samvatsarakara, ,antra-
pratyaya, Sarvadarshana, +ja, Sarveshvara
?>! Siddha, ,ahareta, ,ahabala, )o#i, )o#ya, Siddhi, ,ahateja, Sarvadi, +#raha,
??! $asumana, Satya, Sarvapaphara, Sukirti, Shobhana, Shrimana,
+vanmanasa#ochara, +mritashashvata, Shanta, $anahasta.
?@! Pratapavana, 6amandalundhara, 7hanvi, $edan#a, $edavita, ,uni, .hrajishnu,
.hojana, .hokta, 'okanantha.
?A! 7uradhara, +tindriya, ,ahamaya, Sarvavasa, 4hatushpatha, 6alayo#i,
,ahanada, ,ahotsaha, ,ahabala, ,ahabuddhi.
?B! ,ahavirya, .hutachari, Purandara, -ishachara, Pretachari, ,ahashakti,
,ahadyuti, +hirdeshyavapu, Shrimana, Sarvacharyamano#ati.
?C! $ahushruta, -iyatatma, 7hruva, +dhruva, Sarvashaska, (jastejodyutidara,
-artaka, -rityapriya, -rityanitya, Prakashatma.
?D! Prakashaka, Spashtakshara, .udha, ,antra, Samana, Sarasamplava,
)u#adikrida, )u#avarta, 8ambhira, $rishavahana.
?E! *shta, $ishishta, Shishteshta, Shalabha, Sharabha, 7hanu, Tirtharupa,
Tirthanama, Tirthadrishya, Stuta.
@F! +rthada, +pamnidhi, +dhishthana, $ijaya, "ayakalavita, Pratishthita,
Pramanajna, 1iranyakavacha, 1ari, $imochana.
@=! Sura#ana, $idyesha, $indusamshraya, .alarupa, $ikarta, .alonmatta, 8ahana,
8uha, 6arana, 6arta.
@>! Sarvabandhavimochana, $yavasaya, $yavasthana, Sthanada, "a#adadija,
8uruda, 'alita, +bheda, .havatmatmasamsthita, $ireshvara.
@?! $irabhadra, $irasanavidhi, $irata, $irachudamani, $etta, Tivrananda,
-adidhara, +jnadhara, Tridhuli, Shipivishta.
@@! Shivalaya, .alakhilya, ,ahachapa, Ti#mamshu, .adhira, 6ha#a, +dhirma,
Susharana, Subrahmanya, Sudhapati.
@A! ,a#havana, 6oushika, 8omana, $irama, Sarvasadhana, 'alataksha,
$ishvadeha, Sara, Samsarachakrabhrita, +mo#hadanda.
@B! ,adhyastha, 1iranya, .rahmavarchasi, Paramartha, Para, ,ayi, Shambara,
$ya#hralochana, &uchi, $irinchi.
@C! Svarbandhu, $achaspati, +harpati, &avi, $irochana, Skanda, Shasta,
$aivasvata, )ama, )ukti.
@D! 9nnatakirti, Sanura#a, Paranjaya, 6ailashadhipati, 6anta, Savita, &avilochana,
$idvattama, $itabhaya, $ishvabharta.
@E! +nivarita, -itya, -iyatakalyana, Punyashravanakirtana, 7urashrava,
$ishvasaha, 7hyeya, 7uhsvapnanashana, 9ttarana, 7ushkritiha.
AF! $ijneya, 7uhsaha, .hava, +nadi .hurbhuvakshi, 6iriti, &uchiran#ada, "anana,
A=! -itimana, 7hava, $asishtha, 6ashyapa, .hanu, .hima, .himaparakrama,
Pranava, Satpatchachara, ,ahakasha.
A>! ,aha#hana, "anmadhipa, ,ahadeva, Sakala#amapara#a, Tattva, Tattavit,
Ekatma, $ibhu, $ishvavibhushana, &ishi.
A?! .rahmana, +ishvaryajanmamrityujarati#a, Panchayajnasamutpatti, $ishvesha,
$imalodaya, +tmayoni, +nadyanta, $atsala, .haktalokadhrika, 8ayatrivallabha.
A@! Pramshu, $ishvavasa, Prabhakara,, Shishu, 8iriraha, Samrata, Sushena,
Surashatruha, +mo#ha, +rishtanemi.
AA! 6umuda, $i#atajvara, Svayamjyoti, Tanujyoti, +chanchala, +tmajyoti, Pin#ala,
6apilashmashru, .halanetra, Trayitanu.
AB! "nanaskandamahaniti, $ishvotipatti, 9paplava, .ha#a, $ivasvana, +ditya,
)o#apara, 7ivaspati, 6alyana#unanama, Papaha.
AC! Punyadarshana, 9darakirti, 9dyo#i, Sadyo#i, Sadasanmaya, -akshatramali,
-akesha, Svadhishthanapadashraya, Pavitra, Paphari.
AD! ,anipura, -abho#ati, 1rit, Pundarikasina, Shatru, Shranta, $rishakapi, 9shna,
AE! Paramartha, +narthanashana, +dharmashatru, +jneya, Puruhuta, Purushruta,
.rahma#arbha, $rihad#arbha, 7harmadhenu,7hana#ama.
BF! "a#addhitaishi, Su#ata, 6umara, 6ushala#ama, 1iranyavarna, "yotishmana,
-anbhutarata, 7hvani, +ra#a, -ayandyaksha.
B=! $ishvamitra, 7haneshvara, .rahmajyoti, $asudhama, ,ahajyotianuttama,
,atamaha, ,atarishva, -abhasvana, -a#aharadhrika, Pulastya.
B>! Pulaha, +#astya, "atukarnya, Parashara, -iravarananirvara, $airanchya,
$ishtarashrava, +tmabhu, +niruddha, +tri.
B?! "nanamurti, ,ahayasha, 'okavira#ranti, $ira, 4handa, Satyaparakrama,
$yalakapa, ,ahakalpa, 6alpaviriksha, 6aladhara,
B@! +lankarishnu, +chala, &ochishnu, $ikramonnata. +yuhshabdapati, $e#i,
Plavana, Shikhisarathi, +samsrishta, +tithi.
BA! Shatrupreamathi, Padapasana, $asushrava, Pratapa, 1avyavaha, $ishvabhojana,
"apaya, "aradishamana, 'ohitatma, Tanunapata.
BB! $rihadashva, -abhoyoni, Supratika, Tamisraha, -ida#ha, Tapana, ,e#ha,
Svaksha, Parapuranjaya, Sukhanila.
BC! Sunishpanna, Surabhi, Shishiratmaka, $asanta, ,adhava, 8rishma, -abhasya,
$ijavahana, +n#ira, 8uru.
BD! +treya, $imala, $ishvavahana, Pavana, Sumati, $idvana, Travidya,
-aravahana, ,anobuddhi, +hamkara.
BE! 6shetrajna, 6shetrapalaka, "amada#ni, .alanidhi, $i#ala, $ishva#alava,
+#hora, +nuttara, )ajna, Shreye.
CF! -ishshreyahpatha, Shaila, 8a#anakundabha, 7anavari, +rindama, &ajanijanaka,
4haruvishalya, 'okakalpadhrika, 4haturveda, 4hatrubhava.
C=! 4hatura, 4haturapriya, +mlaya, Samamlaya, Tirthavedashivalaya, $ahurupa,
,aharupa, Sarvarupa, 4harachara, -yayanirmayaka.
C>! -yayi, -yaya#amya, -irantara, Sahasramurddha, 7evendra,
Sarvashastraprabhanjana, ,unda, $irupa, $ikranta, 7andi.
C?! 7anta, 8unottama, Pin#alaksha, "anadhyaksha, -ila#riva, -iramaya,
Sahasravahu, Sarvesha, Sharanya, Sarvalokadhrika.
C@! Padmasana, Paramjyoti, Parampara, Paramfala, Padma#arbha, ,aha#arbha,
$ishva#arbha, $ichakshana, 4haracharajna, $arada.
CA! $aresha, ,ahabala, 7evasura#uru, 7eva, 7evasuramahashraya, 7evadideva,
7eva#ni, 7eva#nisukhada, Prabhu, 7evasureshvara.
CB! 7ivya, 7evasuramaheshvara, 7evadevamaya, +chintya,
7evadevatmasambhava, Sadyoni, +suravya#hra, 7evasimha, 7ivakara,
CC! Shreshtha, Sarvadevottamottama, Shivajnanarata, Shrimana, Shikhi-
shriparvatapriya, $ajrahasta, Siddhakhad#i, -arasimhanipatana, .rahmachari,
CD! 7harmachari, 7hanadhipa, -andi, -andishvara, +nanta, -a#navratadhara
Shuchi, 'in#adhyaksha, Suradhyaksha, )o#adhyaksha.
CE! )u#avaha, Svadharma, Svar#ata, Svar#akhara, Svaramayasvana, $anadhyaksha,
$ijakarta, 7harmakrit, 7harmasambhava, 7ambha.
DF! +lobha, +rthavit, Shambhu, Sarvahbutamaheshvara, Shmashananilaya, Tryksha,
Setu, +pratimakriti, 'okottaras-futaloka, Trymbaka.
D=! -a#abhushana, +ndhakari, ,akhaveshi, $ishnukandharapatana, 1inadosha,
+kshaya#una, 7akshari, Pushadantabhit, 7hurjati, 6handaparashu.
D>! Sakala, -ishkala, +na#ha, +kala, Sakaladhara, Pandurabha, ,rida, -ata, Purna,
D?! Punya, Sukumara, Sulochana, Sama#eyapriya, +krura, Punyakirti, +naymaya,
,anojava, Tirthakara, "atila.
D@! "iviteshvara, "ivitantakara, -itya, $asureta, $asuprada, Sad#ati, Satkriti, Siddhi,
DA! 6aladhara, ,ahakala, .huasatyapraryana, 'okalavanyakarta,
'okottarasukhalaya, 4handrasanjivana, Shasta, 'oka#uda, ,ahadhipa, 'okabandhu.
DB! 'okanatha, 6ritajna, 6rittibhushana, +napaya, +kshara, 6anta,
Sarvashastrahadvara, Tejomaya, 7yutidhara, 'oka#ranti.
DC! +nu, Shuchismita, Prasannatma, 7urjjeya, 7uratikrama, "yotirmaya, "a#annatha,
-irakra, "aleshvara, Tumbavina.
DD! ,ahakopa, $ishoka, Shokanashana, Trllokapa, Trilokesha, Sarvashuddhi,
+dhokshaja, +vyaktalakshana, 7eva, $yaktavyakta.
DEF $ishampati, $arashila, $ara#una, Saramandhana, ,aya, .rahma, $ishnu,
Prajapala, 1amsa, 1amsa#ati.
EF! $aya, $edha, $idhata, 7hata, Srashta, 1arta, 4haturmukha,
6ailasashikharavasi, Sarvavasi, Sada#ati.
E=! 1iranya#arbha, 7ruhina, .hutapa, .hupati, Sadyo#i, )o#avit, )o#i, $arada,
E>! 7evanatha, 7evajna, 7evachintaka, $ishamaksha, $ishalaksha, $rishada,
$rishavardhana, -irmama, -irahamkara, -irmoha.
E?! -irupadrava, 7arpha, 7arpada, 7ripta, Sarvabhutaparivartaka, Sahasrajit,
Sahasrarchi, Prabhava, Sni#ddhaprakriti, Sahasrarchi, Prabhava,
E@! .hutinashana, +rtha, +nartha, ,ahakosha, Parakaryaikapandita, -ishkantaka,
6ritananda, -irvyaja, $yajamardana, Sattvavana.
EA! Sattvika, Satyakirti, Snehakrita#ama, +kampita, 8una#rahi, -aikatma,
-aikakarmakrit, Suprita, Sumukha, Suksha.
EB! Sukara, 7akshinaila, -andiskandhadhara, 7hurya, Prakata, Pritivardhana,
+parajita, Sarvasattva, 8ovinda, +dhrita.
EC! Sattvavahana, Svadhrita, Siddha, Putamurti, )ashodhana, $arahabhrin#adhrika,
.hrin#i, .alavana, Ekanayaka, Shrutiprakasha.
ED! Shrutimana, Ekabandhu, +nekakrit, Shrivatsalashivarambha, Shantabhadra,
Sama, )asha, .hushaya,.hushana, .huti.
EE! .hutakrit, .hutabhavana, +kampa, .haktikaya, 6alaha, -ilalohita, Satyavrata,
,ahatya#i, -ityashantiparayana, Pararthavritti.
=FF! $ivikshu, $isharada, Shubhada, Shubhakarta, Shubhanama, Shubha, +narthita,
+#una, Sakshi, +karta.
)ou will notice that a few of the names are repeated so that the total number of
names do not 3uite add up to one thousand.
Shivaratri is the tithi lunar day! on which .rahma and $ishnu had worshipped
Shiva. + vrata is a special reli#ious rite that is performed. + vrata observed on
shivaratri the ni#ht dedicated to Shiva! is particularly important. *t brin#s undyin#
punya. (ne stays up at ni#ht and prays to a lin#a. (ne also has to observe a fast.
There used to be a hunter named &urudruha. 1e was not at all ri#hteous. *n fact, he
was 3uite evil and cruel. 1e killed many deer and he was also a robber and thief.
-aturally, &urudruha knew nothin# about shivaratri vrata.
.ut it happened to be shivaratri when the hunter%s parents, wife and children felt very
hun#ry. They asked &urudruha to #o and #et some meat so that they mi#ht eat. The
hunter went to the forest to kill deer, but could not find any. *t was already evenin#
and no #ame was to be seen. &urdruha found a water-hole and decided that he would
keep a vi#il there. Sooner or later, some animal was bound to turn up. 1e climbed up
onto a bilva tree that was by the side of the water-hole. +nd in case he should feel
thirsty, he kept a pot full of water next to him. There he waited.
Soon a doe turned up to drink water. The hunter picked up his bow and arrow.
/hen he did so, the tree shock and a few bilva leaves fell on a lin#a that was ri#ht
under the tree. .ilva leaves are sacred to Shiva. Some water spilled from the pot and
also fell on the lin#a. &urudruha did not of course know this.
.ut the doe saw the hunter. 7on%t kill me ri#ht now, said the does. ,y children and
husband are at home. 'et me #o and bid them farewell. /hen * return, you are
welcome to kill me.
The hunter was in no mood to let the doe #o. 7oes an animal return to be killed2 .ut
the doe took an oath and &urdruha let her #o.
+fter a short while, another doe turned up to drink water. The two does were sisters
and both of them married to the same deer. +s before, the tree shook and bilva leaves
and some water fell on the lin#a.
The doe saw the hunter and said, /ait for sometime before you kill me. 'et me say
#oodbye to my husband and children.
The hunter was reluctant to let the doe #o. .ut the second doe also took an oath that
she would return. So &urudruha decided to wait.
+fter the doe had #one, the deer turned up to drink water. +nd when the hunter
picked up his bow and arrow, bilva leaves and water a#ain fell on the lin#a.
The deer said, 1unter, let me #o now. * will come back and you can kill then. * wish
to bid adieu to my two wives and children.
The deer also took on oath that he would return and &urudruha let him #o.
+fter some time had passed, the two does and the deer came to where &urdruha was.
Each said, 6ill me and spare the others. They need to stay alive to look after the
children. The baby deer had also accompanied their parents. They said,6ill us. /e
don%t wish to stay alive when our parents are #one. The hunter was so surprised at
these developments that the tree shook a#ain. .ilva leaves and water fell on the lin#a.
Shiva now took pity on &urdruha and removed all evil thou#hts from his mind. The
hunter spared the deer. Shiva himself appeared before &urudruha and said, 0rom now
on your name will be 8uha. )ou will be so blessed that &ama will become your
This story demonstrates that even if shivaratrivrata is performed unconsciously, #reat
punya is obtained.
*n the city of +vanti there used to be a ri#hteous brahmana. 1e had two sons,
Sunidhi and $edanidhi. $edanidhi was wicked.
The kin# of +vanti was so pleased with the brahmana that he #ave him a #olden
ban#le as a present. The brahmana took it home and #ave it to his wife to store
safely. There it was discovered by $edanidhi. $edanidhi stole the ornament and
#ave it to a dancin#-#irl.
*t so happened that the kin# was watchin# a dance performed by the dancin#-#irl and
he noticed the ban#le on the #irl%s hand. 1e found out from the #irl that the ban#le
had been #iven to her by $edanidhi. 1e retrieved the ban#le and called the
brahmana. 7o you remember the #olden ban#le that * had #ive you2 said the kin#.
4an you please return it to me2 * need it.
The brahmana hurried home and asked his wife for the ban#le. .ut it could not be
found and they reali5ed that it was $edanidhi who had stolen it. $edanidhi was
banished from his parents% house.
1e wandered around here and there and be##ed food so that he mi#ht eat. (ne day,
he did not #et any food at all. That day happened to be shivaratri. .ut $edanidhi
didn%t know this. 1e saw several people #oin# to Shiva%s temple with all sorts of
offerin#s, includin# food, in their hands. The evil brahmana thou#ht that he mi#ht be
able to steal and eat this food. 1e followed the devotees to the temple and waited till
they should fall asleep.
/hen they did so, $edanidhi crept up to the place where the offerin#s had been
placed. This was ri#ht in front of the lin#a. *t was very dark there and $edanidhi
could not see very well. + lamp was burnin# and the shadow of the lamp fell on the
lin#a. $edanidhi tore off a piece of cloth from his clothin# and stuffed it into the
lamp so that it mi#ht burn better. The flame rose and the shadow on the lin#a was
.ut when $edanidhi was about to steal the food, the devotees awoke. They #ave
chase to the thief and shot at him with arrows. These arrow struck $edanidhi and he
)ama%s messen#ers arrived and wanted to take the evil brahmana to hell. .ut
Shiva%s companions also arrived and they would not permit $edanidhi to be taken to
hell. The brahmana had fasted on shivaratri day, he stay awake at ni#ht and he had
removed the shadow from the lin#a. These were acts of the faithful, even if they had
been performed unconsciously. $edanidhi%s sins were all for#iven.
Parvati once asked Shiva, 'ord, tell me, why do you wear a crescent moon on your
forehead2 /hat is the story behind this2
Shiva told her the story.
Earlier, Parvati had been born as Sati, the dau#hter of 7aksha. +s Sati, she had been
married to Shiva. Since 7aksha insulted her husband Shiva, Sati #ave up her life.
/hen Sati died, Shiva no lon#er found pleasure in anythin#. 1e be#an to live in the
forest and started to perform tapasya. Such was the power of the tapasya that any
trees or mountains that were near the place where Shiva was meditatin# used to be
burnt into ashes. +s Shiva moved from place to place, the earth started to burn and
wither away . The #ods were #reatly alarmed at these developments. They went to
.rahma to seek advice as to how the earth mi#ht be saved.
.rahma, said, 'et us take the moon #od 4handra with us and make a present of him
to Shiva. 4handra%s visa#e is so pleasin# that Shiva may feel happy and pacified.
The #ods placed 4handra in a pot of amrita a life-#ivin# drink!. They also had
another pot that was full of poison. /ith these two pots they went to Shiva and
offered him the pots.
.rahma said, The #ods have brou#ht you two pots. Please accept them.
Shiva first accepted the pot that contained the amrita. +s soon as he did this, the
crescent moon came out and #ot fixed to Shiva%s forehead. -ext Shiva accept the pot
of poison and touched it with his middle fin#er. 1e touched his throat with the fin#er
and the throat became blue. That is the reason why Shiva is known as -ilakantha,
blue of throat. +nd because the moon is like a crown to Shiva. Shiva is called
+t the si#ht of the moon, Shiva was pacified.
Parvati said, * understand about the moon now. .ut why do you always smear ashes
on your body2 /hat is the reason for that2
Shiva told her the story.
There used to be a brahmana who was descended from the #reat sa#e .hri#u. This
brahmana be#an a very difficult tapasya. The tremendous heat of the summer made
no difference to him. -or was he disturbed by the downpour of the monsoon. 1e
was only interested in meditatin#. /hen he felt hun#ry, he used to ask the bears, the
deer, the lions and the jackals to fetch him some fruits. The wild beasts had lost all
fear of him, they served him instead. 'ater on, the brahmana #ave up eatin# fruits
also. 1e ate only #reen leaves. +nd because leaves are called parna, the brahmana
came to be known as Parnada. 1e performed tapasya for many years.
(ne day, Parnada was cuttin# some #rass and his scythe slipped and sliced off his
middle fin#er. Parnada was ama5ed to find that no blood issued from the severed
joint. *nstead, a sap like that which issues from plants came out. Parnada%s vanity
knew no bounds. 1e reali5ed that his was due to the fact that he had been livin# on
#reen leaves for such lon# time. Parnada be#an to jump with deli#ht.
Shiva decided that Parnada needed to be tau#ht a lesson. 1e dis#uised himself as a
brahmana and arrived before Parnada.
/hy are you so happy2 asked Shiva.
4an%t you see2 replied Parnada. ,y tapasya has been so successful that my blood
has become like the sap of plants.
This sort of vantiy destroys the fruits of all tapasya, said Shiva. /hat have you #ot to
be so proud about2 )our blood has only turned into the sap of plants. /hat happens
when you burn plants2 They become ashes. * myself have performed so much
tapasya that my blood has becomes ashes.
Shiva sliced off his middle fin#er and ashes came out of it. Parnada was impressed.
1e reali5ed that there was nothin# that he could be proud about: here was a far #reater
hermit than he. 1e asked Shiva who he was and Shiva then displayed his true form to
Ever since that day, there have always been ashes on Shiva%s body.
There was a sa#e named Shilada. 1e once saw that his ancestors were bein# tortured
in hell. /hen he tried to find out why this was so, he was told that htis was because
Shilada did not yet have a son.
To obtain a son, Shilada be#an to pray to Shiva. 1e prayed for a thousand years. +t
the end of the tapasya, Shiva appeared and offered to #rant Shilada a boon. Shilada
wanted the boon that he mi#ht have a virtuous son.
+ few days later, when Shilada was plou#hin# the land, he discovered a baby boy on
the blade of theplou#h. The boy was as bri#ht as the sun and the fire. Shilada was
fri#htened and started to run away. .ut the boy called after him, 0ather, stop. 0ather,
stop, + voice was then heard from the sky. This voice told Shilada that this was the
son he had wanted. Since this son would make everyone happy, he was to be named
Shilada brou#ht nandi home to his mermita#e. 1e tau#ht his son the $edas, the arts
of the medicine and fi#htin#, dancin# and sin#in# and several other sacred texts. +ll
this -andi mastered within fifteen days.
/hen nandi was seven years old, two powerful sa#es arrived in Shilada%s hermita#e.
Their names were ,itra and $aruna. Shilada worshipped them and presented -andi
before them. The sa#es blessed -andi with the words, .e learned, be faithful to your
Shilada said, Sa#es, why didn%t you bless my son with a lon# life2
/e couldn%t, replied the sa#es. )our son is #oin# to die when he is ei#ht years old.
That is written in his stars.
Shilada was crestfallen to hear this, but -andi consoled his father. 1e promised his
father that he would do somethin# so tha this fate would have to be rewritten. 1e
would pray to Shiva. +nd when he met Shiva, he would ask of him a boon.
,eetin# Shiva, exclaimed Shilada. * had to meditate for a thousand years before *
could #et to meet Shiva. 1ow do you expect to meet Shiva in the one year tha tis left
/ait and see, father, replied -andi. Shiva is difficult to meet if you only perform
tapasya or thirst for knowled#e. The secret lies in faith and devotion. * will mana#e.
There is a river named .huvana. -andi entered this river and be#an underwater
prayers to Shiva . 1is efforts pleased Shiva so much that Shiva appeared before him.
/hat boon do you want2 asked Shiva.
Please #rant me the boon that * may be devote to you, replied -andi. * don%t want to
be born become old and die.
Shiva #ranted -andi the boon tha the and his father would #et to live in Shiva%s
residence in Shivaloka. Shiva%s companions are known as 2#anas. Shiva made
-andi #anapati, the chief of the #anas and retained him as a perpetu 2 companion.
Shiva also #ave -andi a wonderful #arland to wear. +s soon as he put this #arland
on, -andi became resplendent with three eyes and ten hands.
The smallest unit of time is nimesha. This is the amount of time it takes to blink.
0ifteen nimeshas make one kashtha and thirty kashthas are one kala. Thirty kalas
make one muhurta and thirty muhurtas are one day. Thirty days are one month. Each
month is divided into two lunar fortni#hts, shukapaksha and krishnapaksha. Six
months are called an ayana. There are thus two ayanas in a year. Three hundred and
sixty human years are e3uivalent to one year for the #ods.
The len#ths of the four yu#as eras! are defined in terms of years of the #ods, not in
terms of human years. There are four eras and their names are kritayu#a or
satyayu#a, tretayu#a, dvaparayu#a and kaliyu#a. Satyayu#a lasts for four thousand
divine years, tretayu#a for three thousand, dvaparayu#a for two thousand and
kaliyu#a for one thousand. This adds up to ten thousand divine years. The sandhyas
and sandhyamshas are the intervenin# periods between the yu#as and these add up to
two thousand divine years. Thus, the four yu#as taken to#ether last for twelve
thouand divine years.
*n a kalpa cycle!, each of the four yu#as occurs a thousand times. + kalpa has
fourteen manvantaras eras!. *n a manvantara, each of the four yu#as thus occurs
seventy one times. (ne kalpa corresponds to one day for .rahma. (ne thousand
kalpas are one of .rahma%s years and ei#ht thousand of .rahma%s years make one of
.rahma%s yu#as. (ne thousand such yu#as make up one savana and .rahma lives for
three thousand savanas. This period is known as a trivrita.
7urin# each of $ishnu%s days, one .rahma is born and dies. +nd durin# each of
Shiva%s days, one $ishnu is born and dies.
The sa#es aid, &omaharshana, you have not told us the story of the 3uarrel between
7aksha and Shiva which led to Sati%s death. )ou have only mentioned it in passin#.
Tell us the story now.
&omaharshana related the followin# story.
7aksha%s dau#hter Sati was married to Shiva. (ne day, the #ods, the demons and the
sa#es went to visit Shiva and Sati in the 1imalyas. 7aksha accompanied the other
#ods on this visit. /hen the #ods arrived, Shiva was seated and did not #et up. 1e
showed no special honour to 7aksha because 7aksha happened to be his father-in-
law. 7aksha interpreted this as a si#n of disrespect. 1e felt insulted.
Subse3uently, 7aksha arran#ed for a yajna and sent invitations to all his other sons-
in-law and their wives. 1e did not invite Shiva or Sati. .ut Sati heard about the
sacrifice and resolved that she would attend it, invitiation or no invitation. *n a
beautiful vimana, Sati travelled to her father%s house.
7aksha was not at all pleased to see Sati. *n fact, he i#nored her completely and
devoted all his attention to his other dau#hters. /hen Sati wished to know the reason
for this, 7aksha told her that this was because of her husband, who happened to be a
worthless fellow and did not deserve any respect. 1earin# this, Sati #ave up her life.
The mountain 1imalaya had prayed that Sati mi#ht be born as his dau#hter. Sati was
born as his dau#hter Parvati and married Shiva a#ain. This story you already know.
Several years later, 7aksha resolved to hold an ashvamedha yajna horse sacrifice! in
the 1imalayas. The #ods and the sa#es were all invited to this sacrifices, althou#h
Shiva was not amon#st the invites. The sa#e 7adhichi did not like this sli#ht to Shiva
and he boycotted the yajna in protest.
Parvati heard about this sacrifice and she be#an to incite Shiva to do somethin#.
Shiva created a bein# named $irabhadhra. $irabhadhra shone with ener#y and he had
thousands of mouths and eyes. 1is hair #listened like li#htin# and his hands were full
of all sorts of weapons. /hen he spoke, it was like thunder. 0rom his body,
$irabhadra created a female demon named .hadrakali.
/hat are our orders2, asked $irabhadra and .hadrakali of Shiva.
8o and destroy 7aksha%s yajna, was the order.
To help them in their endeavour, $irabhadra created several other demons from parts
of his body. +ll of them had a thousand arms and carried weapons. $irabhadra,
.hadrakali and these other demons headed for 7aksha%s sacrifice.
/hen they #ot there, they found that the sacrifice had already started and the sacred
fire was burnin#. The sa#es were recitin# hymns and the #ods were watchin#.
,usical instruments were bein# played. $irabhadra roared and the sound of the roar
was so terrible that several of the #ods be#an to run away. The earth shook with the
sound of the roar. There were tidal waves in the ocean.
7aksha was fri#htened. .ut he summoned up coura#e and asked, /ho are you and
why have you come here2
/e are Shiva%s servants and we have come to take part in the sacrifice, replied
$irabhadra and the other demons then proceeded to burn down the structure where
the sacrifice was bein# held. They tied up the priests and threw all the offerin#s
away. /ith their weapons, they attacked the #ods. /hatever resistance the #ods tried
to put up was taken care of by $irabhadra%s trident and .hadrakali%s spear. The
#oddess Sarasvati lost her nose and the #od +#ni lost his arms. The sa#e .ha#a had
his eyes #ou#ed out and the sa#e Pusha lost all his teeth. $irabhadra sliced off
7aksha%s head and #ave it to .hadrakali, who proceeded to kick it around as one
kicks a football. Thousand and thousands of #ods died and the sacrifice became a
$ishu tried to fi#ht it out and he and $irabhadra shot arrows at each other. .ut one
of $irabhadra%s arrows struck $ishnu on the chest and he fell down unconscious.
Spurred on by .rahma, the #ods be#an to pray to Shiva. These prayers pacified
Shiva and he asked $irbhadra and .hadrakali to refrain from causin# any further
.rahma asked, /hat about the #ods who have been killed2 Please brin# them back
Since Shiva%s an#er had been appeased, he restored life to the dead #ods. Those who
had lost parts of their anatomy #ot themb ack a#ain. .ut what was to be done about
7aksha2 1is head could not be found. + #oat%s head was therefore stuck onto
7aksha%s body. Thus restored to life. 7aksha be##ed for#iveness of Shiva.
Parvati .ecomes 8ouri
There were two asuras named Shumbha and -ishumbha. They meditated a lot and
pleased .rahma. .rahma thereupon #ave them the boon that they could not be killed
by males. 1avin# obtained the boon, the two demons started to oppress the world.
They drove the #ods out of heaven and the #ods went to .rahma so that a solution
mi#ht be found to the problem.
.rahma went to Shiva. )ou have to help the 8ods, he told Shiva. * have #iven
Shumbha and -ishumbha the boon that they cannot be killed by males. 0ind a way so
that a female is born out of Parvati%s body. She will kill Shumbha and -ishumbha.
* will try, replied Shiva.
/hen Shiva next met Parvati, he addressed her as 6ali. This an#ered Parvati, since
kali means black or dark.
/hy did you marry me if you thou#ht * was so dark2 she asked Shiva. /hy do you
pretened to love me2 4ursed is the woman who is not loved by her husband. * am
#oin# to perform tapasya so that * may become fair. * am #oin# to pray to .rahma.
Parvati went off to meditate. She meditated for many years.
There was a ti#er which saw Parvati meditatin#. *t was not a #ood ti#er at all, but an
evil one. *t thou#ht that Parvati would provide a #ood meal. *t sat down in the front
of Parvati to appreciate for a while the treat that was in store for it. Parvati did not
reali5e that the ti#er was plannin# to eat her. She thou#ht that it had sat down in front
of her because it wanted to protect her from other wild beasts. She thou#ht that the
ti#er was one of her devotees and she therefore entered the ti#er%s soul. +s soon as
she did this, all thou#hts vanished from the ti#er%s mind. -ow it was indeed one of
,eanwhile, .rahma arrived to find out who Parvati was meditatin#. Parvati said that
she wanted to become 8ouri, that is, someone who was fair. She was sick and tired of
bein# addressed as kali. .rahma #ranted the boon.
Parvati shed off all the dark cells kosha! from her body became 8ouri. 0rom the
cells emer#ed a dark-hued #oddess named 6oushiki. Parvali handed over 6oushiki to
.rahma. Endowed with weapons by .rahma, 6oushiki killed Shumbha and
Parvati returned to her husband as 8ouri.
/hat happened to the ti#er2 Shiva turned him into a man and he was employed by
-andi as one of Shiva%s #uards. 1e was named Somanandi.
The sa#e $ya#hrapada had a son named 9pamanyu. /hen he was small, he wanted
some milk from his mother. .ut he was not at all happy with the milk that his mother
#ave him. 1e complained that it did not taste like milk at all.
-aturally, said his mother. * did not #ive you milk. 1ow can we afford milk2 /e
are not rich. * powdered some rice and mixed it with water. That is what * #ave to
you as milk. 9nfortunately, you have tasted milk in your uncle%s house and you could
make out the difference.
9pamanyu%s mother be#an to cry. .ut 9pamanyu consoled his mother. 7on%t cry,
please, he said. * will pray to Shiva and #et milk for myself.
1is mother tau#ht him the mantra that was to be used for prayin# to Shiva. She also
tau#ht him another mantra which would summon up a terrible divine weapon named
a#horastra. This was just in case there was any dan#er.
9pamanyu went to the 1imalayas and started to meditate. 1e lived only on air and
chanted the incantation that his mother had tau#ht him. 1e prayed in front of an
earthen lin#a. 7emons came to disturb his meditation, but 9pamanyu paid no
attention to them. Shiva himself was impressed by 9pamanyu%s difficult tapasya.
.ut he thou#ht that he would test 9pamanyu first.
1e arrived in front of 9pamanyu in the dis#uise of *ndra and asked, 9pamanyu, what
are you doin#2
* am blessed that the kin# of the #ods has arrived before me, replied 9pamanu. * am
prayin# to Shiva.
ShivaG /hy pray to that useless fellow2 asked Shiva.
9pamanu could not stand this insult to Shiva. 1e summoned up a#horastra by means
of the mantra and let it loose at the person he thou#ht was *ndra. Shiva then
manifested himself in his own form and a#horastra was repelled by -adi, who had
also turned up. Shiva himself tau#ht 9pamanu all sorts of sacred knowled#e, and
arran#ements were made so that 9pamanyu need never suffer from a lack of milk.
6rishna once came to meet the sa#e 9pamanyu, many years after the milk incident.
9pamanyu tau#ht 6rishna the words of wisdom that he learned from Shiva: he also
tau#ht 6rishna to pray to Shiva. *t was by prayin# to Shiva that 6rishna obtained his
son Samba. 0or sixteen months 6rishna had to pray before Shiva appeared, to #rant
the boon re#ardin# the son. Parvati also #ranted 6rishna several boons.
Shiva was once sittin# on ,ount ,andara. Paravati came up from behind, so that
Shiva could not see her, and covered Shiva%s eyes with her two hands. Shiva could
not see and everythin# seemed to be dark to him. Parvati%s hands sweated from the
exertion and the sweat fell down on the #round. 0rom this sweat, a dark and fierce
creature was born and started to roar.
Parvati, said Shiva, /hat are you up to 2 0irst, you cover up my eyes so that * can%t
see. -ext, you roar so as to fri#hten me.
-ot *, replied Parvati. See for yourself. * wonder where this creature has come from.
She removed her hands and Shiva saw the bein# in front of them. *t is our son, said
Shiva. *t was born from your sweat when you covered my eyes. Since it was born
when my eyes were in darkness, let it be called +ndhaka.
+ndhaka was born blind, as Shiva was effectively blind when +ndhaka was born.
There was an asura named 1iranyanetra. *n other Puranas, this same asura is
referred to as 1iranyaksha.! 1iranyanetra had no sons. 1e therefore be#an to pray to
Shiva so that he mi#ht have a son. Shiva told 1iranyanetra that it was impossible for
him to have a son. 1owever, if he so desired, he could have their son +ndhaka and
brin# him up as his own son.
1iranyanetra #ladly a#reed to this.
7i#resssions on 1iranyanetra and
1iranyanetra was very stron# and powerful. 1e con3uered the three worlds and
drove the #ods out of heaven. 1e even took the earth down to the underworld. *n
desperation, the #ods prayed to $ishnu for deliverance.
$ishnu adopted the form of a boar varaha! and went down to the underworld in
search of 1iranyanetra. /hen he found the asura, he killed him with his sudarshana
chakra. 1e also killed several other asuras with his boar%s tusks. Then, he lifted up
the earth with his tusks and replaced it where it should be. So far as 1iranyanetra%s
kin#dom was concerned, $ishnu crowned +ndhaka kin# there.
1iranyanetra had a brother named 1iranyakashipu. This brother prayed to .rahma
and obtained a boon that made him virtually impossible to kill. +rmed with this boon,
1iranyakashipu con3uered the three worlds and drove the #ods out of heaven. The
#ods a#ain started to pray to $ishnu for deliverance.
$ishnu adopted the form of a lion and entered 1iranyakashipu%s captial. The lion
had a hu#e mane and sharp teeth and claws. The lion killed several asuras and this
news was brou#ht to 1iranyakashipu. 1e decided to kill the lion.
1iranyakashipu had several sons, one of whom was named Prahlada. Prahala alone
thou#ht that there was somethin# fishy about the lion and about the way it had
suddenly appeared. 1e thou#ht that the lion mi#ht very well be $ishnu in dis#uise.
Prahlada therefore tried to dissuade his father from fi#htin# the lion. 1e first asked
some of his soldiers to capture the lion, but they were all killed. 1iranyakashipu then
himself attacked the lion with all sorts of weapons. .ut all the weapons wre
exhausted and the demon could do the lion no harm.
0inally, the lion #rasped 1iranyakashipu and tore the asura%s heart out with its claws.
This was the narasimha half-man, half-lion! incarnation of $ishu.
1avin# killed 1iranyakashipu, $ishnu crowned Prabhlada kin#.
+ndhaka had been crowned kin# in 1iranyanetra%s kin#dom. Prahlada and
+ndhaka%s other cousins went to him and said, )ou are blind. /hat are you #oin# to
do with a kin#dom2 8ive it to us. (ur uncle made a mistake in acceptin# a blind son
+ndhaka was very hurt at these nasty words. 1e went away to the forest and started
to perform tapasya. 1e prayed to .rahma. 0or millions of years he stood on one le#,
with his arms raised hi#h, and prayed. -o one since that day has been able to
duplicate +ndhaka%s wonderful feat of meditation. 1e did not eat or drink at all. 1e
chopped off parts of his body and offered it to the sacrificial fire. *t came to such a
pass that there was no more meat of blood left in his body. *t had all been offered to
the fire. 1e was just a skeleton. *t was then that .rahma appeared before him and
offered a boon.
Prahlada and my other cousins have taken over my kin#dom, said +ndhaka. Please
#rant me the boon that * may be able to see. Please also #rant me the boon that * may
not be killed by #ods, demons, or humans, or even by the #reat $ishnu himself.
.rahma was in a fix. Earlier, many demons had asked for similar boons, but they had
#eneraly not mentioned $ishnu. So that , when the need arose, $ishnu had been able
to kill them. .ut here was an asura who askin# for the boon that even $ishnu would
not be able to kill him. This would make him virtually immortal.
Everythin# that you have asked for is possible, replied .rahma. .ut all bein#s have
to die. *ndicate the circumstances under which you will die and the boons will be
Since * have to die, said +ndhaka, 'et it be under the followin# conditions. *f * ever
wish to marry a beautiful woman who is like a mother unto me, let that be the hour
appointed for my death.
This condition was better than nothin# at all and .rahma #ranted +ndhaka the
boons. +ndhaka returned to his kin#dom. /hen Prahala and the other cousins learnt
that +ndhaka had become so powerful because of the boons, they not only returned to
him his kin#dom, but theirs as well. &emember that +ndhaka could now see.
The first thin# that +ndhaka did was to invade heaven. 1e defeated *ndra and the
other #ods and made they pay taxes to the demons. -ext he defeated the snakes
na#as!, the #andharvas, the rakshasas, the yakshas companions of 6ubera! and the
humans. Thus he be#an to rule over all the three worlds. 0or millions of years
+ndhaka ruled in this fashion. The reli#ion of the $edas suffered durin# this period,
since +ndhaka paid no attention to it.
(nce +ndhaka went to a visit tot he ,ount ,andara. The place was so beautiful that
he made up his mind to live there. Three of +ndhaka%s #enerals were named
7uryodhana, $i#hasa and hasti.
These three were explorin# the environment of ,ount ,andara when they came
upon a cave. +n ascetic was meditatin# inside the cave. 1e was dressed in the skin
of a ti#er, wore a #arland of skulls, his hair was matted and he wore a crescent moon
on his forehead. There was a beautiful woman near the ascetic. She was more
beautiful than any other woman in the three worlds. The three #enerals concluded
that this was the ri#ht wife for +ndhaka.
/hen the #enerals came back to +ndhaka and reported on what they had seen, the
asura kin# said, /hat are you waitin# for2 8o to the ascestic and ask him for the
7uryodhana, $i#hasa and 1asti went back to the ascetic. )ou are only an ascetic,
they said. )ou don%t deserve such a pretty wife. (ur master is the lord of everythin#
and he is immensely rich. 1e is also handsome because of a boon received from
.rahma. 8ive us this woman so that our master +ndhaka may marry her.
+sk your master to come and take the woman himself, replied Shiva, for the ascetic,
as you have already #uessed, was none other than Shiva. +nd the beautiful woman
+s soon as he heard this, +ndhaka #rasped his sword and came to fi#ht with Shiva.
The door to the cave was #uarded by -andi, and +ndhaka first had to fi#ht with him.
-andi easily defeated the asura and also defeated the asura soldiers who had
accompanied their kin#. .ut +ndhaka returned and a#ain a fi#ht ra#ed with -andi for
five hundred years. .rahma, $ishnu, *ndra and the other #ods also came to help in
the fi#ht with the demons.
The #eneral $i#hasa was a very stron# warrior. 1e opened his mouth wide and
swallowed up all the #ods, includin# $ishnu. So far, Shiva himself had not played
any part in the fi#htin#. .ut hearin# what $i#hasa had done, he ascended his bull and
came out to fi#ht. 1e killed $i#hasa and rescued the #ods from the asura%s stomach.
The asuras had a preceptor named Shukracharya who knew the art of brin#in# back
dead bein#s to life. So Shukracharya moved around the battlefield, brinin# back to
life any demons that were killed. This was not helpin# the cause of the #ods at all.
Shiva%s companions #an#as! captured Shukracharya and brou#ht him to Shiva. Shiva
promptly swallowed up Shukracharya.
Soon all the demons were taken care of, with the exception of +ndhaka. 1e
continued to fi#ht. $ishnu%s mace could do him no harm and he only lau#hed at
*ndra%s arrows. Some of the arrows did pierce the asura%s body. .ut whenever drops
of blood from his body onto the #round, asuras who were exactly like him in
appearance were created from this blood. +s a result, the battlefield was soon
populated with thousands and thousands of +ndhakas.
Shiva created a #oddess known as 7evi from his own body. 7evi was appointed the
task of drinkin# up the blood of the asuras before it could spill onto the #round. Thus
aided by 7evi, Shiva started to tackle the demons and soon there was only the ori#inal
+ndhaka left. Shiva flun# a trident at him. The trident struck +ndhaka on the chest
and the asura kin# fell down dead.
/hen the war was over, Shukracharya prayed to Shiva and was released from
There was another demon who wanted to marry Parvati as well. 1is name was &uru.
1e happened to see Parvati and decided that this was the woman who would be his
wife. 1e be#an to to perform tapasya so that his desire mi#ht be satisfied.
.rahma appeared before him and asked, &uru, why are you performin# such difficult
tapasya2 4an * offer you a boon2
That is a boon that not even * can #rant you, said .rahma.
.rahma departed and &uru continued with his meditation. This meditation was #oin#
on in a mountain named ,alaya. +nd such was the power of &uru%s meditation that
the mountain started to burn. The fires were so stron# that even Shiva and Parvati had
to run away from the mountain.
'ord, why are we runnin# away2 asked Parvati. /hy don%t you do somethin# about
* can%t, answered Shiva. This fire is on account of &uru%s tapasya and he is
performin# this tapasya so as to marry you. *t is up to you to do somethin# about
Parvati decided that she would. /hile they were conversin#, they saw a lion fi#htin#
with an elephant. Parvati slew the lion and skinned it. She wore the lion%s pelt as
clothin#. 1er hair became smeared with the lion%s blood. 1er appearance became
/ith a thunderous roar, Parvati went to where &uru was. &uru, she said. * have
come. * am Parvati. * am the one you have been prayin# for. -ow stop meditatin#.
&ubbish, replied the demon. Parvati is beautiful. 1er face is like the moon, her hue
is #olden, and her arms are like lotus stems. "ust look at yourself. )our looks are
terrible. )ou can%t be Parvati. )ou are lyin#. 8o away, * don%t want you.
Sayin# this, &uru struck Parvati with a mace. Parvati was an#ry at this and she hit
&uru with her fits. The two fou#ht, with &uru flin#in# boulders and trees at the
#oddess. Parvati used her nails and her teeth to #et at the demon. &uru created
several other asuras from his body. *n retaliation, Parvati created many #oddesses
known as shaktis from her body. The shaktis be#an to eat up the demons.
&uru fled. .ut Parvati pursued him to the ends of the earth. 1e fled to heaven.
Parvati followed him there. 1e fled to the underworld, but Parvati pursued him there
as well. 0inally, &uru could flee no more. Parvati cau#ht hold of him and tore off his
head with her nails. She then drank the demon%s blood. Parvati also skinned the
Thus it was that &uru was killed. (n her return to Shiva, Parvati #ave him the lion%s
pelt that she had so far been wearin# and Shiva donned it. 0or her own clothin#,
Parvati put on &uru%s skin.
+ 0alse Parvati
Shiva had once #one on a visit to a city named Shonitapura. 1e was accompanied by
many #andharvas and apsaras. Parvati was left behind in 6ailasa and Shiva felt
lonely without her.
1e called -andi and said, 8o to 6ailasa and ask Parvati to come here.
-andi went to kailasa and told Parvati that Shiva wanted her. Parvati said that this
would take a little time, since she wanted to #et ready first. -adi went back and
reported to Shiva what Parvati had said. Shiva waited for a little while, but Parvati
did not come. 1e therefore sent -andi a#ain to 6ailasa with the injuction that he
should not come back without Parvati.
The apasaras meanwhile decided that they would play a trick on Shiva. (ne of them
would dis#uise herself and pretend to be Parvati. +n apsara named 4hitralekha
a#reed to do this. +nother apsara named 9rvashi di#uised herself as -andi. (ther
apsara dis#uised themselves as companions of Parvati. So #ood were their dis#uises
that it was impossible to detect them as bein# false.
The false -andi then brou#ht the false Parvati to Shiva and said, Parvati has come.
1er companions, the other #oddesses, have also come.
Shiva was deli#hted. 1e was not able to detect that this was a false Parvati. /hile
they were havin# #reat fun, the real Parvati, the real -andi and the real #oddesses
turned up and there was utter confusion. -o one could tell the real ones from the false
ones. 0inally the mess was sorted out when the apsaras adopted their real forms.
-either Shiva nor Parvati were an#ry at this practical joke.
+nother 0alse Parvati
This is an incident from the time when Parvati went away to do tapasya so as to
become fair. .efore #oin# away to meditate, she called -andi to her and said, ,y
husband does not know the difference between real Parvatis and false ones. 6eep
careful #uard at the #ate and do not let any false Parvatis enter.
There was an asura named +di. 1e performed tapasya and wanted a boon from
.rahma which would make him immortal. .rahma refused to #rant him this, but
#ranted him the boon that +di would be very stron#. 1appy with this boon, +di
wandered around the 1imalayas and discovered -adi standin# #uard at the #ate to
/hat are you doin# here2 the asura asked -andi.
-andi reported the conversation that had taken place with Parvati.
The demon went away. .ut he soon returned, this time dis#uised as Parvati. 'est
-andi not let him pass, he slimed throu#h the #ate dis#uised as a snake. +nd once
inside the palace, he resumed his form of Parvati. 1e then went to meet Shiva. Shiva
did not reali5e that this was a false Parvati and he came forward to embrace +di. .ut
no sooner had Shiva embraced him, than the asura adopted his own form and tried to
kill Shiva. The two fou#ht and Shiva killed +di. .ut before dyin#, the asura played
1e told Shiva, * have a brother who is stron#er than me. 1e will return here in the
form of Parvati and will kill you. This was a blatant lie. +di had no brother.
The real Parvati returned after finishin# her tapasya. .ut Shiva thou#ht that this was
demon dis#uised as Parvati. 1e created many bein#s from his body so as to kill
Parvati. .ut Parvati also created many bein#s from her own body and these
swallowed up Shiva%s bein#s. /hen this had #one on thousands of times. Shiva
reali5ed that this must be the real Paravati.
Shiva and Parvati were united.
There were not more false Parvatis.
The sa#e Sanathkumara was .rahma%s son, Sanathumara had #one to visit )ama, the
#od of death. /hile they were conversin#, a shinin# vimana brou#ht a man to )ama
who immediately stood up to honour the #uest.
)ama worshipped him and said, * am honoured. * hope you had no problems on the
way. The vimana will take you to .rahma%s residence in .rahmaloka.
+fter this #uest had left, another shinin# vimana brou#ht another #uest who was also
worshipped in similar fashion by )ama.
Sanatkumara was mystified at this. 1e asked )ama, /ho are these two people2 *
have never heard of )ama worshippin# anyone in such #lowin# terms. These two
must be holy men indeed. They must have accumulated a lot of punya. /ho are
they2 Tell me their stories.
There was a city named $aidisha. The kin# who ruled there was named 7harapal.
-andi was cursed by Parvati that he would have to spend twelve years on earth as a
jackal. 1is crime was that, when Parvati had #one to perform tapasya, -andi had
permitted a false Parvati to enter Shiva%s palace. -andi was born as a jackal. The
jackal went to the confluence of the rivers $itasta and $etravati. There it set up a
lin#a and prayed before it, #oin# without food and water. +fter the twelve years
passed, the jackal died and adopted a shinin# form. *n this form, -andi returned to
6in# 7harapala had seen the jackal fastin# and prayin#. 1e also witnessed its
stran#e death. The kin#%s wonder knew no bounds. 1e erected a temple in that
wonderful place. 1e brou#ht several brahmanas to the temple and made them recite
the Puranas there. /hen 7harapala died, it was decided that he would #o to
.rahmaloka because of all this punya. This was the first #uest who had come before
)ama. Such are the wonderful virtues of worshippin# Shiva and the Puranas.
/hat about the second #uest2 asked Sanatkumara.
The second 3uest used to be evil. 1e had never donated anythin# in his life. .ut he
once heard the Paranas bein# recited and was completely converted. 1e arran#ed
many recitals of the Puranas on his own and donated #old to the reciters.
This punya was #oin# to take him to .rahmaloka. Such are the wonderful virtues of
hearin# and readin# the Puranas. 7oin# this is tantamount to worshippin# .rahma,
$ishnu and Shiva.
Shatanika and Shasranika
*n the re#ion named "ambudvipa, there used to rule a kin# named Shatanika. 1e was
the best amon# warriors. .ut he was also very reli#ious. 1e donated alms and treated
his #uests well. Every day, the brahmanas received #old and clothes from Shatanika.
/hen Shatanika died, his son Sahasranika became kin#.
Sahasranika also ruled well and ri#hteously. .ut he did not donate as much of alms
to the brahmanas as his father used to. They took their complaint to the kin# and said,
)ou do not #ive as much of alms to us as your father used to. ,any brahmanas have
already left your kin#dom. So will the others, unless you increase the alms you #ive
* have indeed heard that the donation of alms to brahmanas brin#s punya, replied
Sahasranika. * have also heard that all this punya takes one to heaven after death,
until the time one has to be born a#ain. Since my father accumulated all this punya by
donatin# alms to brahmanas, he must be in heaven. )ou are all learned brahmanas.
/hy don%t you tell me where my father is ri#ht now2
The brahmanas could not reply. They had no idea where Shatanika was. .ut later
on, they met a learned sa#e named .har#ava. .har#ava was so powerful that the
brahmanas were sure that he would be able to tell where Shatinika was. They be##ed
.har#ava to help them. .hara#ava was not very interested in helpin# the brahmanas.
1e was busy meditatin# and had no desire to waste his time on idle pursuits like
findin# out where dead people now were. .ut the brahmanas kept be##in# him and
.har#ava eventually a#reed.
The sun #od himself led the way and, followin# the sun #od, .har#ava went all the
way to )ama%s abode. *t was a lon# distance away.
The sun #od led .har#ava strai#ht to where the twenty-ei#ht crores of narakas hells!
were. The wailin#s of sinners who were bein# tortured could be heard. .efore they
could #o any further, their way was barred by a brahmana.
.har#ava, said the brahmana, )ou owe me a coin for services rendered. )ou have
not paid this and * am dead. Pay me the coin and only then can you proceed further.
* am not carryin# any coins on me, replied .har#ava. /hen * return home, * will
collect a coin and brin# it back to you. -ow let me move forward.
-onsense, said the brahmana. This is hell. 1ere payments are strictly on a cash
basis. There is no 3uestion of payin# up later. Pay or you shall not proceed. *f you
do not have any coins, why then , pay me one-sixth of all the punya that you have
earned throu#h your mediations.
.har#ava paid what was asked for and ed#ed forward. 1e was successively stopped
by a cowherd, a washerman, a tailor, a priest and a builder. To each of them
.har#ava owed some money and they would not let him #o until the debts were
cleared. *n each case, .har#ava parted with one-sixth of his punya so that he was left
with none at all.
/hen these accounts were settled, the sun #od led .har#ava to the hell where
Shatanika was. .har#ava was bewildered to find such a ri#hteous kin# as Shatanika
in a hell. The kin# was hun# upside down in a pot and was bein# boiled in oil.
.har#ava asked Shatanika, /hat is all this2 /hy are you in hell2 )ou had
accumulated a lot of punya throu#h your ri#hteous deeds.
-ot really, replied the kin#. * did donate a lot of alms, especially to brahmanas. .ut
all the money for the alms came from taxin# my subjects severely. So it brou#ht no
punya at all. 8o and tell my son that punya is best ac3uired by associatin# with
ri#hteous people. +nd most important of all, tell him to pray to Shiva in the month of
4haitra and on chaturdashi tithi fourteenth day of the lunar fortni#ht!.
/hen .har#ava returned, he related what he had been told to Sahasranika.
Sahasranika did not stop donatin# alms. .ut the money for such alms no lon#er came
out of the royal treasury. The kin# worked as a labourer and used this money for the
donation of alms. 1e also observed the vrata that his father had asked him to observe
in honour of Shiva.
There was a kin# named 8adhi. 1is dau#hter was name Satyavati. Satyavati was
married to the sa#e &ichika.
&ichika arran#ed for a spectacular sacrifice. Some rice puddin# was obtained from
the yajna and &ichika #ave it to his wife Satyavati. 1e said, Split this rice puddin#
into two halves. Eat half yourself and #ive the remainin# half to your mother. 1ere,
let me divide it. This is your half and that is your mother%s. /e are brahmanas. So
we will have a son who will display the traits of a brahmana. )our father is a
kshatriya and your mother will have a son who will behave like a kshatriya.
Sayin# this, &ichika went off to meditate in the forest. .ut mother and dau#hter
mana#ed to mix up their halves. *n the course of his meditations, &ichika reali5ed
that Satyavati was #oin# to #ive birth to a brahmana son who would display kshatriya
traits. Throu#h his powers, he mana#ed to postpone this birth by a #eneration. So
Satyavati #ave birth to "amada#ni. *t was "amada#ni%s son Parashurama who
exhibited all the kshatriya like characteristics.
8adhi%s son was $ishvamitra. $ishvamitra was born a kshatriya. .ut because of the
mixin# up of the rice puddin#, $ishvamitra turned out to be brahmana-like.
There was a kin# of the 1aihaya dynasty named +rjuna. 1e had a thousand arms.
1e had also obtained the boon that flamin# fire itself would be perpetually present on
the tip of his arrow. /henever he shot an arrow, the fire from the tip of the arrow
burnt up the tar#et. *n this fashion, +rjuna used to burn up villa#es, cities and forests.
1e once burnt up the hermita#es of sa#es. +nd one of the sa#es cursed +rjuna that he
would killed by Parashurama.
Parashurama learnt the art of fi#htin# from Shiva himself. /hile Parashurama was
away learnin# how to fi#ht, +rjuna arrived in "amada#ni%s hermita#e. "amada#ni had
a wonderful cow dhenu!, known as a kamadhenu because it produced whatever
objects one asked 6ama! from it. 9sin# this kamadhenu, "amada#ni treated +rjuna
and his entrie retinue to a royal feast.
+rjuna asked "amadan#i to #ive him this cow, but the sa#e refused. +rjuna then
asked his soldiers to forcibly take away the cow. .ut just as this was #oin# on,
Parashurama arrived. 1e killed +rjuna, slicin# off +rjuna%s thousand arms in the
1avin# disposed of +rjuna, Parashurama went off to meditate and pay another visit
Takin# advanta#e of Parashurama%s absence, +rjuna%s sons invaded "amada#ni%s
hermita#e. They killed "amada#ni. /hen Parashurama returned, he exacted
ven#eance for this evil deed. 1e killed +rjuna%s sons. Since +rjuna and his sons
happened to be kshatriyas, Parashurama also killed all the kshatriyas in the world. 1e
did this not once, but twenty-one times over. /hy twenty-one times2 The reason was
that there were twenty-one weapon-marks on the dead "amada#ni%s body.
.ut killin# was a crime and Parashurama had committed a sin. +s penance,
Parashurama donated cows and performed a lot of tapasya. 1e also arran#ed an
ashvamedha yajna. +ll this did not prove to be atonement enou#h. To complete the
penance, Parashurama sou#ht the advice of the sa#e 6ashyapa.
6ashyapa told him to perform the donation that is known as tulapurusha. + tula or
tuladanda! is a pair of scales. The person purusha! who is performin# the donation is
placed on one side of the wei#hin# scale. (n the other side are placed objects like
honey , clarified butter, molasses, clothin# and #old. The wei#ht of the objects bein#
donated has to be e3ual to the wei#ht of the person performin# the donation. This is
known as tulapurusha. Parashurama performed tulapurusha and was freed from his
There are several hells. Each hell is earmarked for a specific type of sinner.
+ killer of brahmanas, a false witness, a liar and a drinker of wine is sent to the hell
named rourava. Shukara is for thieves and killers of cattle. 6illers of kshatriyas and
vaishyas are also sent there. Those who commit infanticide are sent to taptalouha. +
person who insults his teacher or critici5es the $edas #oes to taptakhala. Those who
insult #ods, brahmanas or kin#s are sent to krimibhaksha. 'alabhaksha is reserved for
those who eat without offerin# food to the #ods. + brahmana who eats what he
should not #oes to vishasana.
Sellers of wine are to be found in rudhirandha and killers of bees in vaitarani. 4heats
are sent to krishna and destroyers of trees to asipatravana. + hunter of deer #oes to
vahnijvala, +#nimaya is for arsonists and sandamsha for those who fail to complete a
vrata. *f you accept your son as a teacher, you are sure to #o to shvabhojana.
The punishment is strictly in proportion to the crime committed. .ut penance
diminishes the severity of the sin. The best form of penance is prayer to Shiva. Even
if one merely remembers Shiva, that is enou#h.
The earth is divided into seven re#ions dvipas!, The names of these re#ions are
"ambudvipa, Plakshadvipa, Shalmalidvipa, 6ushadvipa, 6rounchadvipa,
Pushkaradvipa and Shakadvipa. These seven re#ions are surrounded by seven seas.
The names of the seas are 'avana, *kshu, Sarpi, 7adhi, 7u#dha, "ala, and &asa.
,ount Sumeru is ri#ht in the middle of "ambudvipa. To the north of Sumeru are the
mountains -ila and Shvetabhan#i and to the south of Sumeru are the mountains
1imavana. 1emakuta and -ishada. These mountains are full of all sorts of jewels.
"ambudvipa is divided into many parts varshas!. &i#ht in the centre, where ,ount
Sumeru is located, is *lavritavarsha. To the south of Sumeru are .haratavarsha,
6impurushavarsha and 1arivarsha. To the north of Sumeru is &amyakavarasha.
-ext to this is 1iranmayavarsha and further north is 9ttarakuruvarsha.
The four major mountains in *lavritavarsha are ,andara, 8andhamadana, $ipula and
Suparshva. They are respectively to the east, south, west, and north of Sumeru.
.hadrashvavarsha is to the east of Sumeru and 6etumalavarsha is to the west. (n the
top of ,ount Sumeru is .rahma%s famous city. The holy river 8an#a flows throu#h
the sky and divides into four. The names of these tributaries are Sita, +lakanada,
4hakshu and .hadra. Sita flows to the east of Sumeru, -anda or +lakananda to the
south. 4hakshu to the west and .hadra to the north.
.haratavarsha is bounded by mountain ran#es on the north and the sea on the south.
.haratavarsha is divided into nine parts. The names of ei#ht of these parts are
*ndradyumna, 6aseru, Tamraparna, Soumy, 8abhastimana, -a#advipa, 8andharva
and $aruna. The ninth part is an island surrounded by the ocean. (n the eastern side
of .haratavarsha live the kiratas, on the western the yavanas, on the southern the
andhras and ont he northern the turaskas.
The seven major mountains in .haratavarasha are named ,ahendra, ,alaya, Sahya,
Shuktimana, &iksha, $indhya and Pariyatra 0rom each of these mountains several
.haratavarsha is a sacred place. (nly those who have accumulated punya over a
thousand human lives #et to be born in .haratavarsha. Shiva is always present here to
offer salvation to the residents.
1ow far do the boundaries of bhuloka earth! extend2 These boundaries extend to
the furthest points that can be lit up by the rays of the sun and the moon. +bove the
re#ion of the sun is that of the moon. This is successively followed by the re#ions of
.udha ,ercy!, Shukra $enus!, ,an#ala ,ars!, .rihaspati "upiter!, Shani Saturn!
and the nakshatras stars!. -ext comes saptarshiloka, the circle of the seven #reat
sa#es the constellation 9rsa majoris!, These re#ions beyond the earth are known as
bhuvarloka. .eyond it is svarloka or svar#a heaven!. .huloka, bhuvarloka and
svarloka are destroyed in the destruction that comes at the end of a kalpa.
&e#ions which are further beyond are not destroyed at the end of a kalpa. The first of
these re#ions is dhruvaloka, the circle of the Pole Star. -ext come maharloka,
janaloka, tapaloka and satyaloka. *ncludin# the earth, there are thus seven re#ions
lokas! that have been mentioned.
9nder the earth is the underworld patala!. This is also divided into seven re#ions.
Their names are patala, sutala, vitala, nitala, mahatala, a#ryasutala and rasatala.
Each manvantara is ruled over by a ,anu and there are fourteen manvantaras in any
kalpa. The #ods devas!, the seven #reat sa#es saptarshis!, and the *ndra, chan#e
from one manvantara to another.
The first ,anu was Svayambhuva. The names of the #ods then were yama and the
names of the seven sa#es were ,arichi, +tri, +n#ira, Pulastya, Pulaha, 6ratu and
The second ,anu was Svarochisha. The names of the #ods then were tushita and the
names of the seven sa#es were +#nidhra, +#nivaha, ,edha, ,edhatithi, $asu,
"yotisvana and 7yutimana.
The third ,anu was (uttama. The names of the #ods then were rishabha and the
names of the seven sa#es were the urjjas. The individual names of the sa#es are not
The fourth ,anu was Tamasa. The names of the #ods then were satya and the names
of the seven sa#es were 8ar#ya, Prithu, +#ni, "anya, 7hata, 6apinka and 6apivana.
The fifth manu was &aivata. The names of the #ods then were raibhya and the names
of the seven sa#es were $edavahu, "aya, ,uni, $edashira, 1iranyaroma, Parjanya
The sixth ,anu was 4hakshusha. There were five types of #ods in the sixth
manvantara and their names were adya, prasuta, ribhu, prithu#ra and lekha. The
names of the seven sa#es were .hri#u, -aha, $ivasvana, Sudharma, $iraja, +tinama,
The seventh manvantara is the manvanatara that is now #oin# on. The seventh ,anu
is $aivasvata. The names of the seven sa#es are +tri, $ashishtha, .havya, 6ashyapa,
8outama, .haradvaja and $ishvamitra.
The remainin# seven manvantaras will come in the future.
The ei#ht ,anu will be Savarni. The Shiva Purana #ets extemely confused here and
it is not possible to make out clearly who the #ods will be in the future manvantaras.
.ut the names of the seven sa#es of the ei#hth manvantara are $iravana, +vanivana,
Sumantra, 7hritimana, $asu, $arishnu and +rya.
The nine ,anu will be &ohita. The names of the seven sa#es will be ,edhatithi,
$asu, .har#ava, +n#ira, Savana, 1avya and Poulaha.
The tenth ,anu will be ,erusavarni. The names of the #ods then will be
dvishimanta and the names of the seven sa#es will be 1avishmana. Pulaha, Sukriti,
+yomukti, $ashishtha, Prayati and -abhara.
The eleventh ,anu will be .rahmasavarni. The names of the seven sa#es will be
1avishmana, 6ashyapa, $apushmana, $aruna, +treya, +na#ha and +n#ira.
The twelfth ,anu will be 7harmasvarni. The names of the sa#es will be 7yuti,
+treye, +n#ira, Tapasvai, 6ashyapa, Taposhana and Taporati.
The thirteenth ,anu will be &ouchya. The names of the seven sa#es will be
6ashyapa, ,a#adha, +tivahya, +n#irasa, +treya, $ashishtha and +jita.
The fourteenth and last ,anu will be .houtya. The names of the seven sa#es are not
/hat about the #ods of the seventh manvantara, the era that is now current2 The
#ods now are forty-nine vayus, eleven rudras, two ashvinis, twelve adityas and ei#ht
The sa#es wished to know from &omaharshana the details of $aivasvata ,anu%s
The sa#e 6ashyapa%s son was $ivasvana or the sun. The sun was married to
Tvashta%s same as $ishvakarma! dau#hter Samjna. $ivasvana and Samjana had
three children, $aivasvata, )ama and )amuna.
Samjna could not however stand the stron# ener#y of her husband, the sun. 0rom her
own body she created 4hhaya, a woman who looked just like her. Samjna and
4hhaya could not be distin#uished from each other.
Samjna told 4hhaya, Stay here and retend to be Samjna. 'ook after my three
children, $aivasvata, )ama and )amuna. * am #oin# off to my father%s house. 7on%t
tell anyone that you are not Samjna.
* will do your biddin#, replied 4hhaya, .ut the moment someone #rasps me by the
hair, * will dvul#e the truth.
Samjna went to Tvashta%s house. /hen she had spent 3uite some time there, her
father #ot suspicious and wanted to know why she was not returnin# to her husband.
Samjna therefore adopted the form of a mare and be#an to live in the kin#dom that is
known as 9ttarakuru.
,eanwhile, the sun and 4hhaya had a son named Savarni. *t was clear that 4hhaya
doted on Savarni. *n comparison, )ama felt ne#lected. )ama was still very youn#
and in a fit of ra#e, he kicked 4hhaya. 4hhaya cursed )ama. )ama was very
surprised at this, since no mother curses her own son. 1e went and reported it to the
sun. The sun deduced that 4hhaya could not be )ama%s mother. 1e #rasped 4hhaya
by the hair and the truth came out.
The sun then went to Tvashta in search of Samjna. *t was discovered that Samjna had
done all this because she could not bear the ener#y of her husband. Tvashta chiselled
off some of the sun%s ener#y so that his radiance become muted.
'earnin# that Samjna had adopted the form of a mare, the sun adopted the form of a
horse. 1e went and met his wife. +s horse and mare, they had two children. These
were the twin #ods known as the +shvinis. They were also called -asatya and 7asra.
$aivasvata ,anu performed a yajna so as to have a son. 0rom the sacrifice, a
dau#hter *la was born. 4handra%s son .udha married *ia and they had a son named
Pururava. This was the ori#in of the lunar dynasty which started with Pururva.
'ater on, $aivasvata ,anu had nine sons. Their names were *kshvaku, Shivi,
-abha#a, 7hrishnu, Sharyati, -arishyanta, *sha, 6arusha and Priyavrata. These sons
were the ori#inators of the solar dynasty.
The assembled sa#es were #ratified at &omaharshana havin# recited for them the
Shiva Purana. They worshipped &omaharshana. .ut, warned &omaharshana, never
divul#e what * have told you, to those who are disrespectful or to those who do not
believe in #od.
&epeatly, Shiva himself appears in order to bless his devotees. + person
who donates the Shiva Purana, alon# with #old and a bull, #ets to live for ever in