The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'It behoveth thee, O slayer of Madhu, to expound to me that knowledge which thou hast acquired through the grace of Durvasa! O foremost of all persons endued with intelligence, I desire to know everything about the high blessedness and all the names of that high-souled one truly and in detail! 1
"Vasudeva said, 'I shall recite to thee the good that I have acquired and the fame that I have won through the grace of that high-souled one.
[paragraph continues] Verily, I shall discourse to thee on the topic, after having bowed unto Kapardin. O king, listen to me as I recite to thee that Sata-rudriya which I repeat; with restrained senses, every morning after rising from bed. The great lord of all creatures, viz., the Grandsire Brahman himself, endued with wealth of penances, composed those Mantras, after having observed especial penances for some time. O sire it is Sankara who created all the creatures in the universe, mobile and immobile. There is no being that is higher, O monarch, than Mahadeva. Verily, he is the highest of all beings in the three worlds. There is no one who is capable of standing before that high-souled Being. Indeed, there is no Being in the three worlds that can be regarded as his equal. When he stands, filled with rage, on the field of battle, the very odour of his body deprives all foes of consciousness and they that are not slain tremble and fall down. His roars are terrible, resembling those of the clouds. Hearing those roars in battle, the very hearts of the deities break in twain. When the wielder of Pinaka becomes angry and assuming a terrible form merely casts his eye upon deity, Asura, Gandharva, or snake, that individual fails to obtain peace of mind by taking shelter in the recesses of even a mountain-cave. When that lord of all creatures, viz., Daksha, desirous of performing a sacrifice, spread his sacrifice out, the dauntless Bhava, giving way to wrath (at Daksha's slight of him), pierced (the embodied) sacrifice, shooting his shaft from his terrible bow, he roared aloud. Indeed, when Maheswara became angry and suddenly pierced with his shaft the embodied form of sacrifice, the deities become filled with grief, losing happiness and tranquillity of heart. In consequence of the twang of his bow-string the whole universe became agitated. The deities and the Asuras, O son of Pritha, all became cheerless and stupefied. The ocean rolled in agitation and the earth trembled to her centre. The hills and mountains began to move from their bases and ran on every side. The vault of the welkin became cracked. All the worlds became enveloped in gloom. Nothing could be seen. The light of all the luminaries became darkened, along with that of the sun himself, O Bharata! The great Rishis, penetrated with fear and desirous of doing good to themselves and the universe, performed the usual rites of propitiation and peace. Meanwhile, Rudra of terrible prowess rushed against the deities. Filled with rage, he tore out the eyes of Bhaga. Incensed with wrath, he assailed Pushan with his foot. He tore out the teeth of that god as he sat employed in eating the large sacrificial ball (called Purodasa). Trembling with fear, the deities bent their heads to Sankara. Without being appeased, Rudra once more placed on his bow-string a sharp and blazing arrow. Beholding his prowess, the deities and the Rishis became all alarmed. Those foremost of gods began to pacify him! Joining their hands in reverence, they began to recite the Sata-rudriya Mantras. At last Maheswara, thus praised by the deities, became gratified. The deities than assigned a large share (of the sacrificial offerings) to him. Trembling with
fear, O king, they sought his protection. When Rudra became gratified, the embodiment of sacrifice, which had been pierced in twain, became once more united. Whatever limbs of his had been destroyed by the shafts of Mahadeva, became once more whole and sound. The Asuras possessed of great energy had in days of yore three cities in the firmament. One of these had been made of iron, one of silver, and the third of gold. With all his weapons, Maghavat, the chief of the deities, was unable to pierce those cities. Afflicted by the Asuras, all the deities then sought the protection of the great Rudra. Assembled together the high-souled deities addressed him, saying, 'O Rudra, the Asuras threaten to exert their destructive influence in all acts! Do thou slay the Daityas and destroy their city for the protection of the three worlds, O giver of honours!' Thus addressed by them, he replied, saying, 'So be it!' and then made Vishnu his excellent shaft-head. He made the deity of fire his shaft-reed, and Surya's son Yama the wings of that shaft. He made the Vedas his bow and the goddess Savitri his excellent bow-string. And he made the Grandsire Brahma his charioteer. Applying all these, he pierced the triple city of the Asuras with that shaft of his, consisting of three Parvans and three Salyas. 1 Indeed, O Bharata, the Asuras with their cities, were all burnt by Rudra with that shaft of his whose complexion was like that of the sun and whose energy resembled that of the fire which appears at the end of the Yuga for consuming all things. Beholding that Mahadeva changed into a child with five locks of hair lying on the lap of Parvati, the latter asked the deities as to who he was. Seeing the child, Sakra became suddenly filled with jealousy and wrath and resolved to kill him with his thunder. The child, however, paralysed the arm, looking like a mace of iron, of Indra with the thunderbolt in it. The deities all became stupefied, and they could not understand that the child was the Lord of universe. Verily, all of them along with the very Regents of the world, found their intellects stupefied in the matter of that child who was none else than the Supreme Being. Then the illustrious Grandsire Brahma, reflecting with the aid of his penances, found out that that child was the foremost of all Beings, the lord of Uma, Mahadeva of immeasurable prowess. He then praised the Lord. The deities also began to hymn the praises of both Uma and Rudra. The arm (which had been paralysed) of the slayer of Vala then became restored to its former state. The Mahadeva, taking birth as the Brahmana Durvasa of great energy, resided for a long time at Dwaravati in my house. While residing in my abode he did diverse acts of mischief. Though difficult of being borne, I bore them yet from magnanimity of heart. He is Rudra; he is Shiva; he is Agni; he is Sarva; he is the vanquisher of all; he is Indra, and Vayu, and the Aswins
and the god of lightning. He is Chandramas; he is Isana; he is Surya; he is Varuna; he is Time; he is the Destroyer; he is Death; he is the Day and the Night; he is the fortnight; he is the seasons; he is the two twilights; he is the year. He is Dhatri and he is Vidhatri; and he is Viswakarma; and he is conversant with all things. He is the cardinal points of the compass and the subsidiary points also. Of universal form, he is of immeasurable soul. The holy and illustrious Durvasa is of the complexion of the celestials. He sometimes manifests himself singly; sometimes divides himself into two portions; and sometimes exhibits himself in many, a hundred thousand forms. Even such is Mahadeva. He is, again, that god who is unborn. In even a hundred years one cannot exhaust his merits by reciting them.'"
375:1 Durvasa is regarded as a portion of Mahadeva. The question of Yudhishthira, therefore, really relates to Mahadeva although the name that occurs is of Durvasa.
377:1 A Parvam is a knot. Reeds and bamboos consist of a series of knots. The space between two knots is called a Salya.
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