Lord Shiva's Pastimes with Demons


Lord Siva Creates the Demon Virabhadra
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

Sep 17, CANADA (SUN) — Lila pastimes with the transcendental demons.

Siva Creates the Demon Virabhadra

"Thus Lord Siva, being extremely angry, pressed his lips with his teeth and immediately snatched from his head a strand of hair which blazed like electricity or fire. He stood up at once, laughing like a madman, and dashed the hair to the ground.

A fearful black demon as high as the sky and as bright as three suns combined was thereby created, his teeth very fearful and the hairs on his head like burning fire. He had thousands of arms, equipped with various weapons, and he was garlanded with the heads of men.

When that gigantic demon asked with folded hands, "What shall I do, my lord?" Lord Siva, who is known as Bhutanatha, directly ordered, "Because you are born from my body, you are the chief of all my associates. Therefore, kill Daksa and his soldiers at the sacrifice."

Purport: Here is the beginning of competition between brahma-tejas and siva-tejas. By brahma-tejas, brahminical strength, Bhrgu Muni had created the Rbhu demigods, who had driven away the soldiers of Lord Siva stationed in the arena. When Lord Siva heard that his soldiers had been driven away, he created the tall black demon Virabhadra to retaliate. There is sometimes a competition between the mode of goodness and the mode of ignorance. That is the way of material existence. Even when one is situated in the mode of goodness, there is every possibility that his position will be mixed with or attacked by the mode of passion or ignorance. That is the law of material nature. Although pure goodness, or suddha-sattva, is the basic principle in the spiritual world, pure manifestation of goodness is not possible in this material world. Thus, the struggle for existence between different material qualities is always present. This quarrel between Lord Siva and Bhrgu Muni, centering around Prajapati Daksa, is the practical example of such competition between the different qualitative modes of material nature.

Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, that black person was the personified anger of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he was prepared to execute the orders of Lord Siva. Thus, considering himself capable of coping with any power offered against him, he circumambulated Lord Siva.

Many other soldiers of Lord Siva followed the fierce personality in a tumultuous uproar. He carried a great trident, fearful enough to kill even death, and on his legs he wore bangles which seemed to roar.

At that time, all the persons assembled in the sacrificial arena--the priests, the chief of the sacrificial performance, and the brahmanas and their wives--wondered where the darkness was coming from. Later they could understand that it was a dust storm, and all of them were full of anxiety.

Conjecturing on the origin of the storm, they said: There is no wind blowing, and no cows are passing, nor is it possible that this dust storm could be raised by plunderers, for there is still the strong King Barhi, who would punish them. Where is this dust storm blowing from? Is the dissolution of the planet now to occur?

Prasuti, the wife of Daksa, along with the other women assembled, became very anxious and said: This danger has been created by Daksa because of the death of Sati, who, even though completely innocent, quit her body as her sisters looked on.

At the time of dissolution, Lord Siva's hair is scattered, and he pierces the rulers of the different directions with his trident. He laughs and dances proudly, scattering their hands like flags, as thunder scatters the clouds all over the world.

The gigantic black man bared his fearful teeth. By the movements of his brows he scattered the luminaries all over the sky, and he covered them with his strong, piercing effulgence. Because of the misbehavior of Daksa, even Lord Brahma, Daksa's father, could not have been saved from the great exhibition of anger.

While all the people talked amongst themselves, Daksa saw dangerous omens from all sides, from the earth and from the sky.

My dear Vidura, all the followers of Lord Siva surrounded the arena of sacrifice. They were of short stature and were equipped with various kinds of weapons; their bodies appeared to be like those of sharks, blackish and yellowish. They ran all around the sacrificial arena and thus began to create disturbances.

Daksa's Sacrificial Ritual is Disturbed
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

Some of the soldiers pulled down the pillars which were supporting the pandal of sacrifice, some of them entered the female quarters, some began destroying the sacrificial arena, and some entered the kitchen and the residential quarters.

They broke all the pots made for use in the sacrifice, and some of them began to extinguish the sacrificial fire. Some tore down the boundary line of the sacrificial arena, and some passed urine on the arena.

Some blocked the way of the fleeing sages, some threatened the women assembled there, and some arrested the demigods who were fleeing the pandal.

Maniman, one of the followers of Lord Siva, arrested Bhrgu Muni, and Virabhadra, the black demon, arrested Prajapati Daksa. Another follower, who was named Candesa, arrested Pusa. Nandisvara arrested the demigod Bhaga."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4:5:3-17

"The great sage Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, all the personalities present were very much satisfied in heart and soul upon hearing the words of Lord Siva, who is the best among the benedictors.

Thereafter, Bhrgu, the chief of the great sages, invited Lord Siva to come to the sacrificial arena. Thus the demigods, accompanied by the sages, Lord Siva, and Lord Brahma, all went to the place where the great sacrifice was being performed.

Purport: The whole sacrifice arranged by King Daksa had been disturbed by Lord Siva. Therefore all the demigods present there, along with Lord Brahma and the great sages, specifically requested Lord Siva to come and revive the sacrificial fire. There is a common phrase, siva-hina-yajna: "Any sacrifice without the presence of Lord Siva is baffled." Lord Visnu is Yajnesvara, the Supreme Personality in the matter of sacrifice, yet in each yajna it is necessary for all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, to be present.

After everything was executed exactly as directed by Lord Siva, Daksa's body was joined to the head of the animal meant to be killed in the sacrifice.

Purport: This time, all the demigods and great sages were very careful not to irritate Lord Siva. Therefore whatever he asked was done. It is specifically said here that Daksa's body was joined to the head of an animal (a goat).

When the animal's head was fixed on the body of King Daksa, Daksa was immediately brought to consciousness, and as he awakened from sleep, the King saw Lord Siva standing before him.

At that time, when Daksa saw Lord Siva, who rides upon a bull, his heart, which was polluted by envy of Lord Siva, was immediately cleansed, just as the water in a lake is cleansed by autumn rains.

Purport: Here is an example of why Lord Siva is called auspicious. lf anyone sees Lord Siva with devotion and reverence, his heart is immediately cleansed. King Daksa was polluted by envy of Lord Siva, and yet by seeing him with a little love and devotion, his heart immediately became cleansed. In the rainy season, the reservoirs of water become dirty and muddy, but as soon as the autumn rain comes, all the water immediately becomes clear and transparent. Similarly, although Daksa's heart was impure because of his having slandered Lord Siva, for which he was severely punished, Daksa now came to consciousness, and just by seeing Lord Siva with veneration and respect, he became immediately purified."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4:7:6-10

Mani and Malla

Siva Shankara Battles Mani and Malla

Long ago there lived two powerful demons named Mani and Malla. They had acquired power through penance, and had become very proud. Mani and Malla were brothers, and both had gathered a large army of demons. They subjugated other kings and became emperors of the devil's kingdom, tyrannizing the people and harassing the demigods and holy men. They even threatened Lord Indra, the king of the demigods in heaven. They troubled the rishis and munis whenever they were performing their sacrifices, and these had to be discontinued, threatening religion.

The rishis appealed to Vishnu for help, but Vishnu knew that this was Shankar's job, so Vishnu took the rishis along to Shankar's Kailas mountain. Vishnu asked Shankar, "Mahadeva, you must be knowing Mani and Malla, the two brother demons who after performing austerities had come to get your blessing. Now they can only be destroyed by you." "Yes, it's true," said Shankar, "but why such a hurry." "Lord," Vishnu went on, "They have made life miserable."

Shankar is compassionate by nature, so he had pity on the rishis. He reassured the rishis, "Do not worry. I shall destroy the demons and re-establish religion." Shankar dashed his matted hair, and from it a female demon was created. Her name was Ghritamari (Ghrita = butter, ghee). Shankar entrusted her with the job of destroying Mani and Malla, and she was of great help to Shankar in the fight. Ganpati was a leading general of the army.

Sharikar took the form of Bhairav and Parvati became Shakti, and was named Mhalsa. The divine splendour dwelt in the heart of Bhairav. The moon became his horse of bright white. Shankar held in his hands the trisul (trident), the "damaru" (drum shaped like an hour-glass), and a huge "khanda" (two edged sword).

On pratipada day of the bright half of Margashirsh, Mani came to fight with a huge army of demons. The battle went on for six days uninterruptedly. At the end Mani was wounded and fell unconscious. When he recovered consciousness he felt sorry and began to praise Bhairav who was standing before him. He prayed, "Save me!" Bhairav told him to ask for a boon, Mani said, "Now let your foot remain on my head, and let me remain for ever near you." Shankar generously granted this request and Mani died. Then all the Demons lost courage and fled.

The demigods tried to win the friendship of Mani's brother, Malla, but Malla did not listen. Instead he stood ready to fight a second war. At the end Malla too was defeated and like his brother he too begged Shankar for liberation, and Shankar granted him liberation. After the death of Malla, his five sons also attacked Bhairav. Their names were Kumbh, Suchil, Devgandharva, Lohargala, and Mahabahu. The day when the war ended was the sixth day of the bright half of Margashirsh, which became later known as Champashashti.

Shankar gave Mani the privilege of remaining always standing in his presence, and Malla got "moksha" from his hand. Shankar for ever joined Malla's name with his own. Thus joining "Malla" and "an" (enemy) became "Mallani" (The enemy of Malla), which later became "Malhari" (the vanquisher of Malla).


Sacrificial Fire

"As for the benedictions given by demigods like Lord Siva, there is the following historical incident cited by great sages. Once, Lord Siva, after giving a benediction to a demon named Vrkasura, the son of Sakuni, was himself entrapped in a very dangerous position. Vrkasura was searching after a benediction and was trying to decide which of the three presiding deities to worship in order to get it. In the meantime he happened to meet the great sage Narada and consulted with him as to whom he should approach to achieve quick results from his austerity. He inquired, "Of the three deities, namely Lord Brahma, Lord Visnu and Lord Siva, who is most quickly satisfied?" Narada could understand the plan of the demon, and he advised him, "You had better worship Lord Siva; then you will quickly get the desired result. Lord Siva is very quickly satisfied and very quickly dissatisfied also. So you just try to satisfy Lord Siva." Narada also cited instances wherein demons like Ravana and Banasura were enriched with great opulences simply by satisfying Lord Siva with prayers. Because the great sage Narada was aware of the nature of the demon Vrkasura, he did not advise him to approach Visnu or Lord Brahma. Persons such as Vrkasura who are situated in the material mode of ignorance, cannot stick to the worship of Visnu.

After receiving instruction from Narada, the demon Vrkasura went to Kedaranatha. The pilgrimage site of Kedaranatha still exists near Kashmir. It is almost always covered by snow, but for part of the year, during the month of July, it is possible to see the deity, and devotees go there to offer their respects. Kedaranatha is for the devotees of Lord Siva. According to the Vedic principle, when something is offered to the deities to eat, it is offered in a fire. Therefore a fire sacrifice is necessary in all sorts of ceremonies. It is specifically stated in the sastras that gods are to be offered something to eat through the fire. The demon Vrkasura therefore went to Kedaranatha and ignited a sacrificial fire to please Lord Siva.

After igniting the fire in the name of Siva, he began to offer his own flesh, by cutting it from his body to please Lord Siva. Here is an instance of worship in the mode of ignorance. In the Bhagavad-gita, different types of sacrifice are mentioned. Some sacrifices are in the mode of goodness, some are in the mode of passion, and some are in the mode of ignorance. There are different kinds of tapasya and worship because there are different kinds of people within this world. But the ultimate tapasya, Krsna consciousness, is the topmost yoga and the topmost sacrifice. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, the topmost yoga is to think always of Lord Krsna within the heart, and the topmost sacrifice is to perform the sankirtana-yajna.

Although Vrkasura continued his sacrifice for six days, he was nevertheless unable to personally see Lord Siva, which was his objective; he wanted to see him face to face and ask him for a benediction. Here is another contrast between a demon and a devotee. A devotee is confident that whatever he offers to the Deity in full devotional service is accepted by the Lord, but a demon wants to see his worshipable deity face to face so he can directly take the benediction. A devotee, however, does not worship Visnu or Lord Krsna for any benediction. Therefore a devotee is called akama, free of desire, and a nondevotee is called sarva-kama, or desirous of everything. On the seventh day, the demon Vrkasura decided that he should cut off his head and offer it to satisfy Lord Siva. Thus he took bath in the nearby lake, and without drying his body and hair, he prepared to cut off his head. According to the Vedic system, an animal which is to be offered as a sacrifice has to be bathed first, and while the animal is wet he is sacrificed. When the demon was thus preparing to cut off his head, Lord Siva became very compassionate. This compassion, however, is a symptom of the quality of goodness. Lord Siva is called tri-linga, "a mixture of the three material qualities." Therefore his manifestation of the nature of compassion is a sign of the quality of goodness. This compassion, however, is present in every living entity. The compassion of Lord Siva was aroused because the demon was offering his flesh into the sacrificial fire. This is natural compassion. Even if a common man sees someone preparing to commit suicide, it is his duty to try to save him. He does so automatically. There is no need to appeal to him. Therefore when Lord Siva appeared from the fire to check the demon from suicide, it was not as a very great favor to him.

The demon was saved from committing suicide by the touch of Lord Siva; his bodily injuries immediately healed, and his body became as it was before. Then Lord Siva told the demon, "My dear Vrkasura, you do not need to cut off your head. You can ask from me any benediction you like, and I shall fulfill your desire. I do not know why you wanted to cut off your head to satisfy me. I become satisfied even by an offering of a little water." Actually, according to the Vedic process, the siva-linga in the temple or the form of Lord Siva in the temple is worshiped simply by offering Ganges water because it is said that Lord Siva is greatly satisfied when Ganges water is poured upon his head. Generally, devotees offer Ganges water and the leaves of the bilva tree, which are especially meant for offering to Lord Siva and the goddess Durga. The fruit of this tree also is offered to Lord Siva. Lord Siva assured Vrkasura that he becomes satisfied by a very simple process of worship. Why then was he so anxious to cut off his head, and why was he taking so much pain by cutting his body to pieces and offering it in the fire? There was no need of such severe penances. Anyway, out of compassion and sympathy, Lord Siva prepared to give him any benediction he liked.

When the demon was offered this facility by Lord Siva, he asked for a very fearful and abominable benediction. The demon was very sinful, and sinful persons do not know what sort of benediction should be asked from the deity. Therefore he asked Lord Siva to be benedicted with such power that as soon as he would touch anyone's head, immediately it would crack, and the man would die. The demons are described in the Bhagavad-gita as duskrtis, or miscreants. Krti means very meritorious, but when duh is added it means abominable. Instead of surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the duskrtis worship different demigods in order to derive abominable material benefits. Sometimes such demons as material scientists discover lethal weapons. They cannot show their meritorious power by discovering something which can save man from death, but instead they discover weapons which accelerate the process of death. Because Lord Siva is powerful enough to give any benediction, the demon could have asked of him something beneficial from human society, but for his personal interest he asked that anyone whose head would be touched by his hand would at once die.

Lord Siva could understand the motive of the demon, and he was very sorry that he had assured him whatever benediction he liked. He would not withdraw his promise, but he was very sorry in his heart that he was to offer him a benediction so dangerous to human society. The demons are described as duskrtinas, miscreants, because although they have brain power and merit, the merit and brain power are used for abominable activities. Sometimes, for example, the materialistic demons discover a lethal weapon. The scientific research for such a discovery certainly requires a very good brain, but instead of discovering something beneficial to human society, they discover something to accelerate the death which is already assured to every man. Similarly, Vrkasura, instead of asking Lord Siva for something beneficial to human society, asked for something very dangerous to human society. Therefore Lord Siva felt sorry within himself. Devotees of the Personality of Godhead, however, never ask any benediction from Lord Visnu or Krsna, and even if they ask something from the Lord, it is not at all dangerous for human society. That is the difference between the demons and the devotees, or the worshipers of Lord Siva and the worshipers of Lord Visnu.

While Sukadeva Gosvami was narrating the history of Vrkasura, he addressed Maharaja Pariksit as Bharata, referring to King Pariksit's birth in a family of devotees. Maharaja Pariksit was saved by Lord Krsna while he was in his mother's womb. Similarly, he could have asked Lord Krsna to save him from the curse of a brahmana, but he did not do so. The demon, however, wanted to become immortal by killing everyone with the touch of his hand. Lord Siva could understand this, but because he had promised, he gave him the benediction.

The demon, however, being very sinful, immediately decided that he would use the benediction to kill Lord Siva and take away Gauri (Parvati) for his personal enjoyment. He immediately decided to place his hand on the head of Lord Siva. Thus Lord Siva was put into an awkward position because he was endangered by his own benediction to a demon. This is also another instance of a materialistic devotee's misusing the power derived from the demigods.

Without further deliberation, the demon Vrkasura immediately approached Lord Siva to place his hand on Lord Siva's head. Lord Siva was so afraid of him that his body trembled, and he began to flee from the land to the sky and from the sky to other planets until he reached the limits of the universe, above the higher planetary systems. Lord Siva fled from one place to another, but the demon Vrkasura continued to chase him. The predominating deities of other planets, such as Brahma, Indra and Candra, could not find any way to save Lord Siva from the impending danger. Wherever Lord Siva went, they remained silent.

At last Lord Siva approached Lord Visnu, who is situated within this universe on the planet known as Svetadvipa. Svetadvipa is the local Vaikuntha planet beyond the jurisdiction of the influence of the external energy. Lord Visnu in His all-pervasive feature remains everywhere, but wherever He remains personally is the Vaikuntha atmosphere. In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated that the Lord remains within the heart of all living entities. As such, the Lord remains within the heart of many low-born living entities, but that does not mean that He is low-born. Wherever He remains is transformed into Vaikuntha. So the planet within this universe known as Svetadvipa is also Vaikunthaloka. It is said in the sastras that residential quarters within the forest are in the mode of goodness, residential quarters in big cities, towns and villages are in the mode of passion, and residential quarters in an atmosphere wherein indulgence in the four sinful activities of illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling predominate are in the mode of ignorance. But residential quarters in a temple of Visnu, the Supreme Lord, are in Vaikuntha. It doesn't matter where the temple is situated, but the temple itself, wherever it may be, is Vaikuntha. Similarly, the Svetadvipa planet, although within the material jurisdiction, is Vaikuntha.

Lord Siva finally entered Svetadvipa Vaikuntha. In Svetadvipa there are great saintly persons who are completely freed from the envious nature of the material world and are beyond the jurisdiction of the four principles of material activity, namely religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. Anyone who enters into that Vaikuntha planet never comes back again to this material world. Lord Narayana is celebrated as a lover of His devotees, and as soon as He understood that Lord Siva was in great danger, He appeared as a brahmacari and personally approached Lord Siva to receive him from a distant place. The Lord appeared as a perfect brahmacari, with a belt around His waist, a sacred thread, a deerskin, a brahmacari stick and raudra beads. (Raudra beads are different from tulasi beads. Raudra beads are used by the devotees of Lord Siva.) Dressed as a brahmacari, Lord Narayana stood before Lord Siva. The shining effulgence emanating from His body attracted not only Lord Siva but also the demon Vrkasura.

Lord Narayana offered his respects and obeisances unto Vrkasura, just to attract his sympathy and attention. Thus checking the demon, the Lord addressed him as follows: "My dear son of Sakuni, you appear very tired, as if coming from a very distant place. What is your purpose? Why have you come so far? I see that you are very tired and fatigued, so I request you to take a little rest. You should not unnecessarily tire your body. Everyone greatly values his body because with this body only can one fulfill all the desires of one's mind. We should not, therefore, unnecessarily give trouble to this body."

The brahmacari addressed Vrkasura as the son of Sakuni just to convince him that He was known to his father, Sakuni. Vrkasura then took the brahmacari to be someone known to his family, and therefore the brahmacari's sympathetic words appealed to him. Before the demon could argue that he had no time to take rest, the Lord began to inform him about the importance of the body, and the demon was convinced. Any man, especially a demon, takes his body to be very important. Thus Vrkasura became convinced about the importance of his body. Then, just to pacify the demon, the brahmacari told him, "My dear lord, if you think that you can disclose the mission for which you have taken the trouble to come here, maybe I shall be able to help you so that your purpose will be easily served." Indirectly, the Lord informed him that because the Lord is the Supreme Brahman, Certainly he would be able to adjust the awkward situation created by Lord Siva.

The demon was greatly pacified by the sweet words of Lord Narayana in the form of a brahmacari, and at last he disclosed all that had happened in regard to the benediction offered by Lord Siva. The Lord replied to the demon as follows: "I myself cannot believe that Lord Siva has in truth given you such a benediction. As far as I know, Lord Siva is not in a sane mental condition. He had a quarrel with his father-in-law Daksa, and he has been cursed to become a pisaca (ghost). Thus he has become the leader of the ghosts and hobgoblins. Therefore I cannot put any faith in his words. But if you have faith still in the words of Lord Siva, my dear King of the demons, then why don't you make an experiment by putting your hand on your head? If the benediction proves false, then you can immediately kill this liar, Lord Siva, so that in the future he will not dare give out false benedictions."

In this way, by Lord Narayana's sweet words and by the expansion of His superior illusion, the demon became bewildered, and he actually forgot the power of Lord Siva and his benediction. He was thus very easily persuaded to put his hand on his own head. As soon as the demon did that, his head cracked, as if struck by thunder, and he immediately died. The demigods from heaven began to shower flowers on Lord Narayana, praising Him with all glories and all thanksgiving, and they offered their obeisances to the Lord. On the death of Vrkasura, all the denizens in the higher planetary systems, namely the demigods, the pitrs, the Gandharvas and the inhabitants of Janoloka, began to shower flowers on the Personality of Godhead.

Thus Lord Visnu in the form of a brahmacari released Lord Siva from the impending danger and saved the whole situation. Lord Narayana then informed Lord Siva that this demon, Vrkasura, was killed as the result of his sinful activities. He was especially sinful and offensive because he wanted to experiment on his own master, Lord Siva. Lord Narayana then told Lord Siva, "My dear lord, a person who commits an offense to great souls cannot continue to exist. He becomes vanquished by his own sinful activities, and this is certainly true of this demon, who has committed such an offensive act against you."

Thus, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana, who is transcendental to all material qualities, Lord Siva was saved from being killed by a demon. Anyone who hears this history with faith and devotion certainly becomes liberated from material entanglement as well as from the clutches of his enemies."

Krsna Book, Chapter 88

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.


| The Sun | News | Editorials | Features | Sun Blogs | Classifieds | Events | Recipes | PodCasts |

| About | Submit an Article | Contact Us | Advertise | HareKrsna.com |

Copyright 2005, HareKrsna.com. All rights reserved.