Chapter 21: Parvati's Penance
Chapter 21 of the Skanda Purana
Translated and annotated by Dr. G.V. Tagare (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Ltd) pp. 181-196
1. The chaste girl grew up day by day and shone very much. Living in the house of Himalaya, she reached the age
of eight years.
2. At that time Maheśa was performing a great penance in a valley of Himalaya. He was surrounded by all
the groups of Ganas, Virabhadra and others.
3. Accompanied by Pārvati, the intelligent Himavan went to Maheśa engaged in this penance, in order to
see his sprout-like feet.
4. When he arrived thus in order to see (the Lord), he was stopped by Nandin who was standing at the entrance. Then
for a moment he stood steady.
5. The mountain Himavan informed through Nandin. Śambhu (i.e. Śiva) was informed by Nandin that the
Mountain had come to see him (i.e. Śiva).
6. On hearing his words, Parameśvara
spoke these words to Nandin: "Bring the Mountain here."
7. Saying "So be it" and honouring
(his words) Nandin brought the Mountain Himacala to Śankara, the
benefactor of the worlds.
8-10. He saw (Śiva) the lord
of everyone engaged in penance with his eyes closed. He had matted hair with
the digit of the moon as an ornament. He could be understood only through the
Vedanta and was stationed in the Supreme Soul. On seeing him, Mountain Himācala
of unimpaired inherent strength, bent down his head and saluted him. He then
attained the greatest joy. Himalaya, the foremost among those conversant with
the use of words, spoke these words to the Lord who is the sole cause of
auspiciousness to the universe:
11-13. "I am lucky, O Śankara,
the great lord, thanks to your grace. I shall come here everyday, O lord, to
pay a visit along with this (daughter of mine). It behoves you, O lord of
Devas, to grant me permission. On hearing his words, Maheśvara, the lord
of Devas, (said):
"O Mountain, you may come here everyday
to meet me after keeping this girl in the house. Otherwise there would be no
audience with me."
14. With his neck bent down the
Mountain replied to Giriśa: "Why should I not come along with this (girl)?
Let that be told."
Śambhu who was performing the
holy rites, laughingly spoke these words to the Mountain:
15. "This slender-bodied girl of
good lips and exquisite speech should not be brought near me. I am forbidding
16. She heard Śambhu's harsh
words, devoid of blemishes and free from any desire. On hearing the words
uttered by that ascetic, Gauri laughed and spoke to Śambhu:
17-18. O Śambhu, you are
endowed with the power of penance. You are performing a great penance. This
inclination for performing penance you have because you are noble-souled. But
let this be pondered over: Who are you? Who is the subtle Prakrti, O holy lord?
On hearing those words of Pārvati,
Maheśa spoke these words:
19. "I am destroying Prakrti by
means of the greatest penance itself. In fact, O lady of good eyebrows, I will
stay without Prakrti. Hence nothing that has been evolved out of Prakrti
should be accumulated together at any time by Siddhas."
20. What has been said by you, O Śankara,
by means of ‘Parā' speech, is it not Prakrti? In that case how are you
21-22. O lord, of what avail is our
disputation and argument? Whatever you hear, whatever you see and whatever you
eat, O Śankara, is entirely the evolute of Prakrti. An untrue speech is
meaningless. Why should penance be performed after going beyond Prakrirti?
23. O Lord Śambhu, just now on
this mountain Himalaya you have met Prakrti. But you cannot understand it, O Śankara.
What have we to do with (i.e. what is the propriety of) oral dispute and
argument, O Lord?
94 If your statement that you are
beyond Prakriti be true, you need not be afraid of me now, O Śankara.
25. Then Lord (Śankara)
laughed and replied to Girijā:
26. Serve me everyday, O Girijā
of excellent speech.
27. After saying thus to Girijā,
Maheśa spoke these words to Himalaya: "Here itself, on this very ground, I
shall perform a great penance with concentration on the ultimate truth.
28. Permission should be granted to
me for performing the penance, O Lord of Mountains. Without (your) permission
it is not possible to perform penance."
29. On hearing these words of the
trident-bearing Lord of Devas, Himavān laughed and spoke these words to Śambhu:
30. "The entire universe along with
Devas, Asuras and human beings belongs to you. I am an insignificant person, O Mahadeva.
What can I give you?"
31. On being told thus by Himavan, Śankara,
the benefactor of all the worlds, laughed and respectfully said to the Lord of
Mountains: "You may go."
32. Permitted to go by Śankara,
Himavan went to his abode. Everyday he came there along with Girijā to pay
33-35. Thus some time passed when
the father and the daughter continued their visits and service. But
Śankara was difficult to be tackled and won over. S urns began to worry
about Pārvati. ‘How will Śankara join Girijā?' was the thought
worrying the minds of Sums. They asked: "O Brihaspati, what should we do now?
Tell us. Do not delay."
36-37. Brihaspati spoke the
following good words (of advice) to Mahendra: "O Mahendra, this must be done by
you. Let it be heard. This task can be carried out only by Madana (the god of
Love), O King. None else will be competent for it in all the three worlds. The
penance of many ascetics has been upset by him. Hence Mama (god of Love) should
be requested (in this matter) immediately."
38. On hearing the words of Guru
(Brhaspati, the preceptor) Indra sent for Madana. Madana who accomplished (his)
tasks came there on receipt of the call.
39. Accompanied by Rati and Mādhava
(i.e. the spring season) the flower-armed deity came to the assembly in front
of Mahendra and spoke these proud words in a manner captivating the minds of
40. "Why have I been called today,
O Śacipati (i.e. Indra)? Tell me what work should I do? Do not delay.
41. The moment they think about me,
the ascetics meet with their downfall. You do know, O Indra, my valour and
42. Parāśara, the son of Śakti,
knows my power and vigour. Thus many other sages such as Bhrigu do know it.
43-44. Brhaspati too knows it, as
well as the wife of Utathya.1 Bharadvāja was born of her
begotten by Guru and was thus illegitimate. Guru had then said, Bharadvāja
[Bear two (sons) simultaneously (conceived)']. Prajāpati (Brahmā)
knows my heroism and powerful valour.
45. Krodha (Anger) is my kinsman.
He has great strength and valour. By both of us, this great universe consisting
of mobile and immobile beings has been conquered (and liquidated, i.e. excited
and stirred up). Everything beginning with Brahmā and ending with a blade
of grass, the whole world of mobile and immobile beings, has been (flooded and)
overwhelmed by us."
46. O Madana, you are capable of
always conquering us. (But) go immediately to Maheśa for accomplishing the
task of Suras. Unite Śambhu with Pārvati, O highly intelligent one.
47. On being requested thus by
Devas, Madana, the enchanter of the universe, went away (from that place)
immediately in the company of celestial damsels.2
48. That wielder of a great bow
made the twanging sound of his flowery bow. He took with him charming and
fascinating arrows. That hero, the sole conqueror of the worlds, the most
excellent one among warriors, Smara, was then seen on the grounds of the
49-50. Then all these celestial damsels
came there, viz. Rambhā, Urvaśi, Punjikasthali, Sumlocā, Miśrakeśi,
Subhagā and Tilottamā. There were others also to render different
kinds of assistance to Madana. These damsels were seen by Ganas (attendants of Śiva)
along with Madana.
51-53. All the Ganas were suddenly
enchanted by Madana. Rambhā (was approached) by Bhrngi, Urvaśi by Canda,
by Virabhadra and Puñjikasthali by Canda(?).
Tilottamā and others were surrounded by the Ganas then, who had become mad
and abandoned all shame although they were high-minded and learned.
The whole of the earth was pervaded
by cuckoos, though it was not the proper season (i.e. the spring).
54-55. Aśoka, Campaka,
mangoes, Yūthis (jasmine), Kadambas (Nanclea Cadamba), Nipas (Ixoma Bandhucca),
Priyālas (Buchamania Latifolia), Panasas (jak fruit trees), Rajavrksas, Carāyanas
(?), vine creepers, and Nāgakesaras (Mesua Roxburghii), plantains, Ketakis
(Pandanus Odoratissimus) etc. -- all these trees were in full bloom and they
were rendered beautiful by bees.
56-58. By the contact of Madana Kalahamsakas
(swans became intoxicated in the company of female swans, he-elephants with
she-elephants and peacocks with peahens. Though all these had been free from
lust due to the qualities arising from contact with Śiva, they now became
The highly refulgent Nandi, the son
of Śailāda and of immeasurable (infinite) valour, pondered over
this: Why have these become so all of a sudden? This must be the working of Raksasas
or of gods.
59. In the meantime Madana took up
his bow and fixed five arrows to it, O Brāhmanas. He resorted to the shade
of a Devadāru tree.
60-62. He saw Śambhu
performing his penance. The Lord was seated on an excellent seat. He was the
lord of all Pamamesthins (creators). He kept Ganga (within his matted hair).
His throat was blue in colour like Tamāla (dark-barked Xanthochymus Pictorius).
He had matted hair. He had the crescent moon (as an embellishment). All his
limbs were marked by the coiled bodies of many serpents. He had five faces. His
gait was in long strides like that of a lion. He was fair in complexion like
camphor. He was accompanied by Parā. Madana was desirous of piercing the
fierce ascetic Maheśa, very difficult of access and the most excellent
among highly refulgent ones. In the company of Mādhava (spring) he was
about to hit Śiva with his arrow when Girija, the mother of the universe,
came there. She was surrounded by her friends. She approached Sadā Śiva,
the most auspicious of all auspicious ones, for the sake of worship.
63. She placed a garland of golden
flowers on Nilakantha. At that time she had a rare splendour. She appeared very
beautiful with white rays (diffused all round). The mother of all people looked
(lovingly) at the handsome face of Śiva. Then her eyes bloomed and
expanded widely as she smiled.
64. At that time Śambhu was
hit and pierced with the arrow called Mohana (‘the Enchanter') suddenly. On
being hit, Śambhu opened his eyes slowly. The lord saw Girija like the
ocean viewing the digit of the moon.
65-67. She had a beautiful
delightful face. Her lips were like the Bimba fruit (Momordica Monadelplia).
Her eyes brightened with her smile. Her teeth were fine and excellent. She
appeared as though she had come out of fire (i.e. she was resplendent). She
had a slender body with a beautiful and wide face. Gauri had all the signs of
pleasure (within). She was capable of enchanting the entire universe. It was
she who created the three worlds along with Brahmā and others. Making use
of the qualities of Rajas, Sativa and Tamas, she caused the origin, sustenance
and annihilation (of the worlds). That enchanting goddess, the sole cause of
auspiciousness of all auspicious things, was seen in front by Hara who was
68. On seeing Girija, the
sanctifier of all the worlds, lord Bhava became fascinated. At her sight he was
afflicted by Madana. Śiva's eyes suddenly became expanded due to surprise.
69. The lord of the universe, the
lord of Devas (began) to look around. With the mind pained much, Sada Śiva
70. "I am engaged in penance. I am
devoid of blemishes. Yet how was I enchanted by this girl? Whence, why and by
whom was this done causing my displeasure ?"
71-72. Then Śambhu looked in
all directions earnestly. Madana was seen by him in the south with the bow
lifted up. The god of Love bent his bow like a circle; kept it ready, drawn in
order to pierce and wound Sada Śiva. But by the time he was able to
discharge the arrow, O Brāhmanas, he was stared at by Maheśa angrily.
73. He was looked at with the third
eye by the greatest lord.
Madana was instantly encircled by
clusters of flames. There was a loud wailing among Devas who stood there
74. O Mahādeva, lord of Devas,
be the bestower of boons on Devas. It was to help Girijā that Madana had
been sent now.
75-81. In vain was Madana of great lustre
burned by you. It is by you alone, the sole kinsman of the universe, that the
task of Suras should be carried out by means of your great splendour. O lord Śambhu,
(a son) will be born of her and by him alone can our objective be achieved. O Mahādeva,
Devas are very much afflicted by Taraka. For that purpose grant life unto this
(Madana) and woo Girijā, O lord of exalted fortune. (Please) be capable of
accomplishing the task of Devas. All of us, the heaven-dwellers, were protected
by you from the I demon in the shape of an elephant. Certainly we have been
saved from the Kālakuta poison (by you), not otherwise (by anyone else).
Undoubtedly we have been protected from Bhasmāsura by you, O Lord of everyone.
This Madana came here for accomplishing the task of Suras. Hence he should be
protected. That will be a great help to us (also). Without him, O Śankara,
the entire universe will be ruined. How can you also be devoid of Kāma
(Love)? Let this be pondered over by your own intellect.
82-88. Then Maheśvara who was
overwhelmed by anger, spoke to Devas: "You must all be without Kāma. It
cannot be otherwise.
It was when Kāma was kept at
the head, that all the Devas including Vāsava had a fall from their positions.
They were overwhelmed by misery and became wretched.
Certainly Kāma is the cause of
a fall into hell in the case of all living beings. This Ananga (‘Bodiless one')
is an embodiment of misery; understand what I say. Tāraka too whose
conduct of life is very bad will be devoid of Kāma. How can a man commit a
sin without Kāma? Hence for the sake of peace ‘and calmness unto everyone,
Kāma was burned by me. Let the mind be directed towards penance by you
all, Suras, Asuras, the great sages and other living beings. The entire
universe has been rendered by me rid of love and anger. Hence I will not
resuscitate this sinner, the cause of misery, O Suras; keep waiting for that
sole form which is not other than (you all), which yields spiritual pleasure
and enlightenment and which is characterized by bliss. It is difficult to gauge
89. On being told thus by Śambhu
Paramesthin, all the great sages spoke to Śankara, the benefactor of all
90. "What has been said by Your
Honour, O Śambhu, is indeed exceedingly conducive to our welfare. But we
shall say (something) which may be listened to attentively and comprehended
91. This universe was permeated by Kama
and Krodha (anger) even while it was being created. Indeed the whole of it is
in the form of Kāma. That Kāma is not killed.
92. O Mahādeva, it was by Kāma
that the four (aims in life) named Dharma (virtue), Artha (wealth), Kāma (love)
and Moksa (salvation) have been given a single (composite) form. That Kāma
is not killed.
93. It was by Kāma that the
universe of the nature of everything from Brahmā to an immobile being has
been united together. How was that Kāma, very difficult to be tackled
indeed, burned by you?
94. The universe decays and
declines due to Kāma. The universe is protected and sustained by Kama. The
universe is produced by Kāma. Hence Kāma is very powerful.
95. It is from Kāma that the
fierce Krodha (anger) takes its origin. You yourself have been won over by
Krodha. Hence, O Mahādeva, it behoves you to resuscitate Kāma.
96. Indeed, O lord, the mighty
Madana has been brought under control by you. Only a man of power can exercise
his power because of being powerful."
97. Though he was entreated thus by
the sages, Hara's anger became doubled. He became desirous of burning (everything)
by means of his third eye.
98. The Pināka-bearing, Bull-emblemed
Rudra, Sada Śiva was bowed to and eulogized by the sages, Cāranas,
Siddhas and Ganas.
99. On account of his anger, after
burning Madana and leaving off that mountain named Himavān, he vanished
100. The lofty-minded goddess Girijā
saw that the Lord had vanished and that Manmatha had been burned along with the
cuckoos, mango trees, bees and Campaka flowers.
101. On seeing Madana burned down,
Rati began to cry for a long time shedding tears. The goddess pondered over
this with .great dejectedness. She was anxious as to how to win over Rudra.
102. After pondering over this for
a long time, the chaste lady Girijā fainted. Rati saw Girijā whose
beauty was very great, who was high-minded and crying, and spoke:
103-104. "Dear friend, do not get
dejected. I shall resuscitate Madana to life. For your sake, O wide-eyed lady,
by means of penance I shall propitiate, Hara, Rudra, Virapaksa, the lord of
Devas, the sire of the universe. Do not be anxious, O lady of beautiful lips
and buttocks. I shall revive Madana back to life."
105. After consoling thus the
daughter of the Mountain the chaste lady Rati immediately (proceeded to)
perform a great penance. The lady of excellent waistline performed the penance
in order to get back her husband.
106. She performed the penance at
the very same place where Madana was burned by Rudra, the Supreme Soul. Narada
saw her performing the penance.
107-108. He hastened to the side of
the beautiful lady Rati and said: "Whom do you belong to, O lady of wide eyes?
What for are you performing the penance? You are a young woman richly endowed
with beauty and great conjugal felicity."
On hearing the words of Nārada,
she became very angry. She spoke these harsh words in a sweet manner:
109. You have been recognized by
me; you are Narada.3 Undoubtedly you are a bachelor. O (sage)
of holy rites, it behoves you not to show your form (V.1. you desire to have a
look at the women of others).
110. Go back along the path you
have come by. Do not delay. O Batu, you do not know anything. You are only a
111. You are a leader among the
following groups of people:
Those who are passionately devoted
to other men's wives, insignificant persons, libertines, those who indulge in
vices, those who are stubborn and those who do not perform any holy rites.
112. On being rebuked thus by Rati,
the excellent sage ‘Nārada himself hurriedly went to Śambara, the
113-114. He intimated to the king
of Daityas that Madana had been burned by Rudra who had become furious. Then he
continued: "His wife is a noble-minded lady. Bring her here, O highly fortunate
one. Make her your wife, O mighty one. Among all those beautiful ladies who
have been brought by you, that Rati, the wife of Madana, will be the most
115. On hearing these words of the
celestial sage of sanctified soul, he went to that place where the highly
splendid lady was staying.
116. On seeing Rati, the large-eyed
enchantress of Madana, Śambara, the cause of the grief of Devas,
laughingly said these words:
117. "O slender-bodied lady, come
along with me. Enjoy my kingdom and its pleasures as much as you wish, O gentle
lady, by my favour. Of what avail is the penance?"
118. On being told thus by Śambara
of great soul, that slender-bodied queen of Madana spoke these words in sweet
119. "I am a widow, O mighty one.
It does not behove you to speak thus. You are the king of all the Daityas with
all the (royal) characteristics."
120. On hearing these words, Śambara
who was deluded by lust, became desirous of catching hold of her hand. He was
prevented by Rati.
121-122. She pondered over his
invincibility mentally and said: "O foolish one, do not touch me. You will be
burned (by the fire) arising from my contact. My words cannot be otherwise.
Then Śambara of great splendour said laughingly:
123. "O proud lady, do you want to terrify me with many threats (like these)? Go ahead to my
abode quickly. Of what avail is so much talk? "
124. The slender-bodied, lofty-minded lady was forcibly taken to his great city by Śambara
who was addressed thus (by Rati).
125. She was made the head in charge of his kitchen, under the name Māyāvati.
The sages asked:
everything authorized by Pārvati regarding bringing Madana back (to life)?
The slender-bodied beloved of Madana was abducted by Śambara. Subsequent
to this, O Suta, what happened there? Let it be described.
127. On seeing that Śiva had gone away after burning Madana with his great prowess, the
beautiful lady Pārvati stayed there itself and engaged herself in penance.
128. The slim lady was enquired 4 by her father and mother:
"O girl, come
back to our abode quickly. Do not exert yourself. It does not behoove you to
129-132. On being told thus by both of them, Girijā spoke these words:
I am not coming
home, O mother, O father. Listen to me clearly. This is a true statement of
mine full of Dharma (virtue) and Artha (prosperity), whereby you
will be contented and delighted.
greater than the greatest. The mighty Madana was burned by him. I shall bring
that Śiva to my presence here itself. Śambhu is difficult of access
to those beings who wish for a home (and homely comforts). Hence, O mother, I
am not coming home. Let all these things be pondered over.
133. Himavan of
great refulgence then said to his daughter:
is bowed down to by Devas themselves cannot easily be propitiated. Indeed it is
impossible for you to attain him. Hence you go back to your own abode."
134. With her
throat choked up by and filled with tears Menā said to her daughter: "O slim
girl, proceed homewards quickly."
Pārvati laughed and said to her mother:
"Listen to my
vow, dear mother. Indeed, with my great penance I shall fetch that clever
(lord) here itself and woo him. O lady of excellent complexion, I shall destroy
the Rudratva (dreadfulness) of Rudra."
137. Abandoning all pleasure, the lofty-minded daughter of the Mountain performed the
propitiation of Śambhu by means of profound meditation.
of Girijā's friends attended upon her, viz. Jayā, Vijaya, Mādhavi,
Sulocana, Suśrutā, Śrutā, Suki, Pramloca, Subhaga, Śyama,
Citrāngi, Cāruni, Svadha and many others such as the beautiful lady Devagarbhā
For performing the great penance, the lady of sweet laughter built an altar exactly at the
place where Madana was burnt by the noble-souled Rudra. She established herself
141-142. She refrained from drinking water and subsisted on leaves. Thereafter, she avoided
green leaves and took up only dried ones. Later on she stopped eating the dried
leaves too when the lady of slender waist became famous as Aparnā.5
143. After a lapse of a great deal of time, the chaste daughter of the Mountain gave up drinking
water and became engaged in subsisting on air only. Then she supported her body
on a single big toe.
144. With the greatest contentment, the chaste lady propitiated Śankara by means of
austere penance, for the sake of the delight of Śankara too.
to the noblest of mental feelings, (the goddess) the cause of the
auspiciousness of all auspicious things, performed the greatest penance for
the delight and pleasure of Maheśa.
she performed the penance for a thousand divine years. Then, accompanied by his
wife, Himalaya came there to his daughter Pārvati who had determined (to practice
penance). (In the capacity of a) trustworthy adviser, he spoke to Mahāsati
"Do not get
afflicted and don't strain yourself, O Mahadevi, O beautiful one, by performing
is Rudra seen? O girl, undoubtedly he is devoid of love and attachment. You are
very young and slim. Due to this penance you will become confounded
undoubtedly. I am speaking the truth. Hence, O lady of excellent complexion,
get up and go home immediately. What have you to do with that Rudra by whom
formerly Madana has been burnt because he was devoid of any feeling? O sinless
one, how will (i.e. can) you solicit him (as a husband)?
151. Just as
the moon stationed in the sky cannot be grasped, so also Śambhu is
difficult to be attained. O girl of pure smiles, understand this."
the chaste lady was told so by Menā, Sahya Mountain, Meru, Mandāra
On being urged
thus by these, the slim girl Pārvati of pure smiles, who was engaged in
the penance, spoke to Himavān laughingly:
154. "Has what
had been said by me before been forgotten by you, father? O mother, has it been
forgotten by you? O my kinsmen, listen to my vow now itself.
means of my penance, I will gratify Śankara, the benefactor of the worlds,
(although) this great lord is detached and devoid of attachment because Madana
has been killed by him. All of you go. You need not worry in this matter. By
means of my penance I will bring him here; I will bring (that lord) by whom
Madana was burnt and by whom the forest of the mountain was burnt. Indeed Sada
Śiva can be conveniently served through the great power of penance.
Understand him, O exceedingly fortunate ones. It is true. I am saying the
daughter of the king of Mountains—she who habitually spoke very little—conversed
thus with her mother Men (father) Himalaya and also with Meru and Mandara.
Mountains went away the way they had con while glancing (this way and that).
160. When all
of them had gone, the chaste lady with the greatest being as her object of desire,
performed the penance surrounded by her friends.
161. By that
great penance the entire universe consisting mobile and immobile beings became
scorched. At that time a Suras and Asuras sought refuge in Brahmā.
162-164. O lord,
the whole of this universe, mobile an immobile, has been created by you. It behooves
you to save us Devas. None other than you can be capable of protecting us.
these words, Brahma pondered over them mentally. He understood that a great
fire had been produced by the great penance of Girijā. Having realized it,
Brahma immediately went to the wonderful Ocean of Milk.
he saw Lord Visnu sleeping on his excellent and exceedingly splendid couch
named Sesa. The pair of his fee was continuously served (kneaded) by Laksmi. He
was served b Tārksya (Garuda) with stooping neck and standing a little
away lie was also served by Śri, Kānti, Vrtti, Daya and others Visnu
was accompanied by the nine Śaktis. He was surrounded by his Pārsadas
(attendants). Kumuda, Kumudvān, Sanaka Sanandana, Sanatana of exalted
fortune, Prasupta, Vijaya, Arijit Jayanta, Jayatsena, Jaya of great lustre,
Sanatkumāra of excellent power of penance, Nārada, Tuthburu and
others served him ant attended upon him. The great conch of Visnu, named Pāñcajanya
his iron club Kaumodaki, the discus Sudariana and the exceedingly wonderful bow
Śārnga—al1 these were seen in embodied form by Paramesthin.
All the Suras
and the Dānavas came very near Visnu, the great Atman. On the shore of the
Ocean of the great Atman they spoke to Visnu, the lord of all Paramesthins:
save us, O great Visnu, save us who have beer scorched and who have sought
refuge in you. We have been scorched by the severe and dreadful penance of Pārvati."
The great Lord sat up on his couch Śesa and said:
shall go to the Supreme lord Siva along with you all. O Suras, we shall pray to
Mahādeva in the matter of Girijā. There itself, we shall do something
so that the Pinaka-bearing lord of Devas will be led to grasp her hand and
175. Hence we
shall go to that place where the great Lord Rudra is seated, where the greatest
cause of auspiciousness (viz. Śiva) is engaged in a severe penance."
hearing the words of Visnu, all Surasand Asuras said: "We will not approach the
Uneven-three-eyed god (Virupāksa) of great lustre. He will burn us in the
same manner as he has burnt the unconquerable Madana formerly. There is no
doubt in this matter."
Visnu, the great lord, laughed and said: "All of you need not be afraid. Sada Śiva
is the embodiment of auspiciousness. He is the destroyer of fear of all Devas.
He will not burn (you). Hence, O clever ones, all of you must go along with me.
I seek refuge
in Śambhu who is the ancient Purusa, is the overlord of excellent form,
who is greater than the greatest and is engaged in penance. His form is the
greatest one and he is greater than the greatest."
- This refers to Brhaspati's rape of his pregnant sister-in-law (brother Utathya's wife).
- VV 47-58 give a beautiful description of the romantic transformation of Śiva's penance grove.
- Rati rebukes Narada for his
overtures (vv 109-111). Narada takes revenge by instigating Śambara, King
of Daityas, to abduct Rati. He made her the chief of his kitchen under the name
Mayavati (vv 113-125).
- If the reading Vicaritā is emended as Nivarita, the meaning would
be "was prevented".
- Explanation of Pārvati's epithet ‘Aparnā'. Cf. Kālidāsa's Kumārasambhava
- Parvati, being Śakti, speaks so confidently, as she knows her close relation of
being identical with Śiva.
Chapter 21 of the Skanda Purana, translated and annotated by Dr. G.V. Tagare (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Ltd) pp. 181-196