The Mahabharata Home
"Janamejaya said, 'How O Brahmana, was the Horse-sacrifice of the Prajapati Daksha, the son of Prachetas, destroyed during the age of Vaivaswata Manu? Understanding that the goddess Uma had become filled with rage and grief, the puissant Mahadeva, who is the soul of all things, gave way to wrath. How, again, through his grace, was Daksha enable to reunite the divided limbs of that Sacrifice? I desire to know all this. Tell me all this, O Brahmana, truly as it occurred.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'In days of yore Daksha made arrangements for performing a Sacrifice on the breast of Himavat in that sacred region inhabited by Rishis and Siddhas where the Ganges issues out of the mountains. Overgrown with trees and creepers of diverse kinds that spot abounded with Gandharvas and Apsaras. Surrounded by crowds of Rishis, Daksha, that foremost of virtuous men, that progenitor of creatures, was waited upon by the denizens of the earth, the firmament, and the heavens, with their hands joined together in reverence. The gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Snakes, the Rakshasas, the two Gandharvas named Haha and Huhu, Tumvuru and Narada, Viswavasu, Viswasena, the Gandharvas and the Apsaras, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Maruts, all came there with Indra for sharing in the Sacrifice. The drinkers of Soma, the drinkers of smoke, the drinkers of Ajya, the Rishis, and the Pitris came there with the Brahmanas. These, and many other living creatures belonging to the four orders, viz., viviparous and oviparous and filth-born and vegetable, were invited to that Sacrifice. The gods also, with their spouses, respectfully invited thereto, came on their celestial cars and seated thereon shone like blazing fires. Beholding them, the Rishi Dadhichi became filled with grief and wrath, and said, 'This is neither a Sacrifice nor a meritorious rite of religion, since Rudra is not adored in it. Ye are certainly exposing yourselves to death and chains. Alas, how untoward is the course of time. Stupefied by error you do not behold that destruction awaits you. A terrible calamity stands at your door in course of this great Sacrifice. Ye are blind to it!' Having said these words, that great Yogin saw into the future with eyes of (Yoga) contemplation. He beheld Mahadeva, and his divine spouse, viz., that giver of excellent boons (seated on the summit of Kailasa) with the highsouled Narada sitting beside the goddess. Conversant with Yoga, Dadhichi became highly gratified, having ascertained what was about to happen. All the deities and others that had come there were of one mind with reference to the omission to invite the Lord of all creatures. Dadhichi alone, desirous of leaving that spot, then said, 'By worshipping one who should not be worshipped, and by refusing to worship him who should be worshipped, a man incurs the sin of homicide for ever. I have never before spoken an untruth, and an untruth I shall never speak. Here in the midst of the gods and the Rishis I say the truth. The Protector of all creatures, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of all, the Puissant master, the taker of sacrificial offerings,
will soon come to this Sacrifice and you all shall see him.'
"Daksha said, 'We have many Rudras armed with lances and bearing matted locks on their heads. They are eleven in number. I know them all, but I do not know who this (new Rudra) Maheswara is.'
"Dadhichi said, 'This seems to be the counsel of all that are here, viz., that Maheswara should not be invited. As, however, I do not behold any god that can be said to be superior to him. I am sure that this proposed Sacrifice of Daksha will certainly be overtaken by destruction.'
"Daksha said, 'Here, in this vessel of gold, intended for the Lord of all Sacrifices, is the sacrificial offering sanctified by mantras and (rites) according to the ordinance. I intend to make this offering unto Vishnu who is beyond compare. He is puissant and the Master of all, and unto Him should sacrifices be performed.'
'Meanwhile,' continued Vaisampayana, 'the goddess Uma, sitting with her lord, said these words.'
"Uma said, 'What are those gifts, what those vows, and what are those penances, that I should make or undergo by means of which my illustrious husband may be able to obtain a half or a third share of the offerings in sacrifices. Unto his wife who was agitated with grief and who repeated these words the illustrious Mahadeva said with a joyous countenance, 'Thou dost not know me, O goddess! Thou knowest not, O thou of delicate limbs and low belly, what words are proper to be addressed to the Lord of Sacrifices. O lady of large eyes, I know that it is only the sinful, who are bereft of contemplation, that do not understand me. 1 It is through thy power of illusion that the deities with Indra at their head and the three worlds all become stupefied. 2 It is to me that the chanters utter their praises in Sacrifices. It is to me that the Saman-singers sing their Rathantaras. It is to me that Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas perform their Sacrifices. And it is to me that the Adhvaryus dedicate the shares of sacrificial offerings.'
"The goddess said, 'Persons of even ordinary abilities applaud themselves and indulge in the presence of their spouses. There is no doubt in this.'
"The holy one said, 'O Queen of all the gods, I do not certainly applaud my ownself. Behold now, O lady of slender waist, what I do. Behold the Being that I will create, O thou of the fairest complexion, for (destroying) this Sacrifice (that has displeased thee), O my beautiful spouse.
"Having said these words unto his spouse Uma who was dearer to him than his own life, the puissant Mahadeva created from his mouth a terrible Being whose very sight could make one's hair stand on its end. The blazing flames that emanated from his body rendered him exceedingly awful to behold. His arms were many in number and in each was a weapon that struck the beholder with fear. That Being, thus created, stood before the great god, with joined
hands, and said, 'What commands shall I have to accomplish?' Maheswara answered him, saying, 'Go and destroy the Sacrifice of Daksha.' Thus ordered, that Being of leonine prowess who had issued from the mouth of Mahadeva, desired to destroy the Sacrifice of Daksha, without putting forth all his energy and without the assistance of any one else, for dispelling the wrath of Uma. Urged by her wrath, the spouse of Maheswara, herself assuming a dreadful form that is known by the name Mahakali, proceeded in the company of that Being who had issued from Mahadeva's mouth, for witnessing with her own eyes the act of destruction which was her own (for it was she who had impelled her lord to accomplish it for her sake). That mighty Being then set out, having obtained the permission of Mahadeva and having bowed his head unto him. In energy, strength, and form, he resembled Maheswara himself who had created him. Indeed, he was the living embodiment of (Mahadeva's) wrath. Of immeasurable might and energy, and of immeasurable courage and prowess, he came to be called by the name of Virabhadra--that dispeller of the goddess's wrath. He then created from the pores of his body a large number of spirit chiefs known by the name of Raumyas. Those fierce bands of spirits, endued with terrible energy and prowess and resembling Rudra himself on that account, rushed with the force of thunder to that place where Daksha was making preparations for his sacrifice, impelled by the desire of destroying it. Possessed of dreadful and gigantic forms, they numbered by hundreds and thousands. They filled the sky with their confused cries and shrieks. That noise filled the denizens of heaven with fear. The very mountains were riven and the earth trembled. Whirl winds began to blow. The Ocean rose in a surge. The fires that were kindled refused to blaze up. The Sun became dimmed. The planets, the stars, and constellations, and the moon, no longer shone. The Rishis, the gods, and human beings, looked pale. A universal darkness spread over earth and sky. The insulted Rudras began to set fire to everything. Some amongst them of terrible form began to smite and strike. Some tore up the sacrificial stakes. Some began to grind and others to crush. Endued with the speed of wind or thought, some began to rush close and far. Some began to break the sacrificial vessels and the celestial ornaments. The scattered fragments strewed the ground like stars bespangling the firmament. Heaps of excellent viands, of bottles of drink, and of eatables there were that looked like mountains. Rivers of milk ran on every side, with clarified butter and Payasa for their mire, creamy curds for their water, and crystalised sugar for their sands. Those rivers contained all the six tastes. There were lakes of treacle that looked very beautiful. Meat of diverse kinds, of the best quality, and other eatables of various sorts, and many excellent varieties of drink, and several other kinds of food that might be licked and sucked, began to be eaten by that army of spirits with diverse mouths. And they began to cast off and scatter those varieties of food in all directions. In consequence of Rudra's wrath, every one of those gigantic Beings looked like the all-destructive Yuga-fire. Agitating the celestial troops they caused them to tremble with fear and fly away in all directions. Those fierce spirits sported
with one another, and seizing the celestial damsels shoved and hurled them on all sides. Of fierce deeds, those Beings, impelled by Rudra's wrath, very soon burnt that Sacrifice although it was protected with great care by all the deities. Loud were the roars they uttered which struck every living creature with dread. Having torn off the head of Sacrifice they indulged in glee and shouts. Then the gods headed by Brahman, and that progenitor of creatures, viz., Daksha, joining their hands in reverence, addressed that mighty Being, saying, 'Tell us, who thou art.'
"Virabhadra said, 'I am neither Rudra nor his spouse, the goddess Uma. Nor have I come here for partaking of the fare (provided in this Sacrifice). Knowing the fact of Uma's wrath, the puissant Lord who is the soul of all creatures has given way to wrath. I have not come here for seeing these foremost of Brahmanas. I have not come here urged by curiosity. Know that I have come here for destroying this Sacrifice of yours. I am known by the name of Virabhadra and I have sprung from the wrath of Rudra. This lady (who is my companion), and who is called Bhadrakali, hath sprung from the wrath of the goddess. We have both been despatched by that god of gods, and we have accordingly come here. O foremost of Brahmanas, seek the protection of that Lord of the deities, the spouse of Uma. It is preferable to incur even the wrath of that foremost of gods than to obtain boons from any other Deity.' Hearing the words of Virabhadra, Daksha, that foremost of all righteous persons, bowed down unto Maheswara and sought to gratify him by uttering the following hymn, 'I throw myself at the feet of the effulgent Isana, who is Eternal, Immutable, and Indestructible; who is the foremost of all gods, who is endued with high soul, who is the Lord of all the universe.' [Here follow five and half slokas which appear to be interpolations]. His praises having thus been hymned, the great god, Mahadeva, suspending both Prana and Apana (the two foremost of the five life-breaths) by shutting his mouth properly, and casting (benignant) glances on every side, showed himself there. Possessed of many eyes, that vanquisher of all foes, that Lord of even the gods of all gods, suddenly arose from within the pit in which was kept the sacrificial fire. Possessed of the effulgence of a thousand Suns, and looking like another Samvartaka, the great god smiled gently (at Daksha) and addressing him, said, 'What, O Brahmana, shall I do for you?' At this juncture, the preceptor of all the deities adored Mahadeva with the Vedic verses contained in the Moksha sections. Then that progenitor of all creatures, viz., Daksha, joining his hands in reverence, filled with dread and fear, exceedingly agitated, and with face and eyes bathed in tears, addressed the great god in the following words.'
"Daksha said, 'If the great god has been gratified with me,--'if indeed, I have become an object of favour with him,--if I have deserved his kindness,--if the great Lord of all creatures is disposed to grant me boons,--then let all these articles of mine that have been burnt, eaten, drunk, swallowed, destroyed, broken, and polluted,--let all these articles, collected in course of these articles be of use to me. Even this is the boon I crave.' Unto him the many long years, and with great care and effort, go not for nothing. Let
illustrious Hara, the tearer of Bhaga's eyes, said, 'Let it be as thou sayest!' Even these were the words of that illustrious progenitor of all creatures, that god of three eyes, that protector of righteousness. 1 Having obtained that boon from Bhava, Daksha knelt down to him and adored that deity having the bull for his mark, by uttering his thousand and eight names.'
315:1 i.e., Thou, however, art not so; therefore, it is a matter of surprise that thou shouldst not yet know me. The sense is not at all difficult, but K.P. Singha skips over it.
315:2 Both the vernacular translators have erred in rendering this line. What Mahadeva says to Uma is, how is it that you have thus been stupefied? It is thou that stupefiest others! To see thee stupefied has created surprise in me.
318:1 Mahadeva is called Virupaksha in consequence of his three eyes, the third eye making his features dreadful to behold. He is also called Tryaksha for his possession of three eyes.
Next: Section CCLXXXV