The Vamana Purana, Part 12
BY: SUN STAFF
Dec 25, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of the Vamana Purana by Srila Vedya-vyasa, excerpted and categorized into various subject areas.
TALES OF LORD SHIVA
Daksha Performs a Grand Yagya
"This way, both Shiva and Sati lived above the clouds till the end of rainy season. When autumn season arrived, both decided on returning to Mandaar Mountain. Daksha had organised a grand Yagya in which he had invited all the prominent deities and sages except his own son-in-law, Shankar and his daughter, Sati."
Narad was surprised as to why Maheshwar- the lord of all splendours was not invited by Daksha. He was also curious to know why Lord Shankar had become a Kapaali (a mendicant). Pulastya told him that during the period of final annihilation, Lord Vishnu after waking up from his sleep found a divine entity, who possessed three eyes, who had a trident in his hands and who wore a Rudraksha garland around his neck. Lord Vishnu then created ego, which had its evil effects on both Brahma and Shankar. Lord Shiva in his arrogance asked Brahma, his identity and origin. Lord Brahma then arrogantly asked Shankar, his identity. This way, a dispute ensued that later on turned into a fight in which, Brahma defeated Shankar. Lord Shiva severed two of the five heads of Lord Brahma. But the second head fell and got stuck on Lord Shiva's left palm. Angrily, Lord Brahma created a terrific creature, which challenged Shankar and ridiculed him by saying that as he (Shankar) was a sinner, therefore, he would not dirty his hands by killing him.
Lord Shankar was ashamed of himself. He went to Badrikashrama and requested Lord Vishnu for some alms. Lord Vishnu asked Shankar to hit on his (Vishnu's) left arm. Shankar hit Vishnu's left arm with his trident and the impact resulted in the creation of three streams. The first stream went up in the sky and established itself as Akashganga. The second one was Mandakini, which was received by sage Atri. The third stream fell on the skull, which was stuck in Lord Shankar's left palm. This resulted in the manifestation of a divine child who was ferocious and well armed with bow and arrows. Shankar instructed him to kill that creature, which was created by Brahma.
A tremendous duel was fought between them, which was inconclusive for thousands of divine years."
Sati Gives up Her Life
Sage Pulastya says-
"O Narad! This way, Lord Shiva became famous as Kapaali. This was the reason why Daksha did not invite him. In the meantime, Jaya, sage Gautam's daughter went to see Sati at Mandaar Mountain. Seeing her alone, Sati asked about her two sisters, Jayanti and Aparajita. Jaya revealed to her that both of them had gone to their maternal-grandfather's (Daksha) Yagya. Jaya also told her that all the deities had been invited to the Yagya. When Sati heard this, she was grieved and angry with her father. In a fit of rage, she gave up her life. Seeing her lifeless body, Jaya started wailing. Lord Shiva arrived there and upon hearing Jaya's wails, asked her why Sati was lying on the ground. Jaya then narrated the whole story. Lord Shankar became so infuriated that it resulted in the creation of numerous Ganas among whom Veerbhadra was the most prominent one.
Lord Shiva accompanied by the Ganas went to the site where Daksha was performing the Yagya. A tremendous battle ensued between them and the deities and finally, the deities were overpowered and ran away from the site. Veerbhadra, finding the time opportune, entered the oblation site. When the deities saw him entering the oblation site, they returned and tried to prevent him from doing so. Again, an intense battle erupted between both the sides. The deities used all kinds of weapons but they could not control the onslaught of Veerbhadra and fled.
Veerbhadra then went near the sacrificial fire. The sages were terrified and ran towards Lord Vishnu who attacked Veerbhadra with arrows but it did not hurt him at all. Vishnu then attacked him with other divine weapons. But still, Veerbhadra succeeded in neutralising those weapons. Vishnu was enraged and attacked him with his Sudarshan chakra that Veerbhadra swallowed. This angered Lord Vishnu further. He lifted Veerbhadra and dashing him to the ground, pressed Veerbhadra's stomach as a result of which, the Sudarshan chakra came out from his mouth. But Lord Vishnu spared Veerbhadra's life. Veerbhadra then went to Lord Shiva and narrated his woeful tale of defeat. Lord Shiva instructed Veerbhadra to leave for a safer haven and himself went to the oblation site accompanied by Bhadrakali. The sages became scared on seeing his terrifying appearance.
Atonement of Lord Shankar
Lord Shiva had committed a grave sin of Brahmahatya. All his efforts of separating Brahma's skull from his left palm went in vain. In the meantime, an entity named Brahmahatya appeared before him and entered into his body.
Lord Shankar decided to go to Badrikashrama to atone for his sins. After reaching there, he became worried when he did not find Lord Vishnu. He went to take a bath in river Yamuna but as soon as he entered the river, the water dried up. He experienced this strange phenomenon at the Saraswati River as well. He then made pilgrimages to numerous sacred and holy places but still did not become free from Brahmahatya. Dejected, he ultimately went to Kurukshetra where he found Shri Narayana and requested him to free him (Shankar) from the sins of Brahmahatya. Lord Vishnu advised him to go on a pilgrimage to Varanasi where he would be liberated from his sins.
Following Vishnu's instructions, Lord Shankar went to Varanasi and visited all the sacred sites like Dashashwamedh temple, Lolarka temple and Keshav temple. While he was worshipping Keshav, he said- "Though I have become liberated from my sins, yet I fail to understand the reason why this skull still sticks in my hand." Keshav told him that his problems would be solved if he takes a bath in the lake, which was near the temple. Lord Shankar took a bath in that lake and ultimately the skull fell on the ground. The place where the skull had fallen later on became famous as Kapaalmochan.
The Destruction of Daksha's Yagya
Fearing Lord Shiva's wrath, Lord Vishnu went to Hrishikesh and remained aloof for quite some time. Shiva's anger generated so much heat that it was enough to melt the eight Vasus. As a result, a river named Sita started flowing from there. After being attacked by Lord Shiva, the deities fled from the scene.
Lord Shiva then opened his third eye and furiously looked at the flame burning in the Havan-kund. The next moment, the fire went off. Even Yagya was terrified and he took the aerial route in the guise of a deer. Lord Shiva chased him in the appearance of Kaal (Lord of death) with a bow and arrow named Pashupat.
In the end, Kaal (epithet of Shiva) was successful in killing the deer, which was Yagya in reality. After his death, Yagya's body was established among the stars. After narrating the tale of destruction of Daksha's Yagya, sage Pulastya then goes on to tell Narad that the names of the zodiacs had been given just according to their appearances for e.g. Aries (Mesh) appeared like a ram. Similarly, Taurus (Vrishabh) appeared like an ox and so on.