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Chapter 284

Mahabharata English - SANTI PARVA

“Janamejaya said, ‘How O Brahmana, was the Horse-sacrifice of thePrajapati Daksha, the son of Prachetas, destroyed during the age ofVaivaswata Manu? Understanding that the goddess Uma had become filledwith rage and grief, the puissant Mahadeva, who is the soul of allthings, gave way to wrath. How, again, through his grace, was Dakshaenable to reunite the divided limbs of that Sacrifice? I desire to knowall this. Tell me all this, O Brahmana, truly as it occurred.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘In days of yore Daksha made arrangements forperforming a Sacrifice on the breast of Himavat in that sacred regioninhabited by Rishis and Siddhas where the Ganges issues out of themountains. Overgrown with trees and creepers of diverse kinds that spotabounded with Gandharvas and Apsaras. Surrounded by crowds of Rishis,Daksha, that foremost of virtuous men, that progenitor of creatures, waswaited upon by the denizens of the earth, the firmament, and the heavens,with their hands joined together in reverence. The gods, the Danavas, theGandharvas, the Pisachas, the Snakes, the Rakshasas, the two Gandharvasnamed Haha and Huhu, Tumvuru and Narada, Viswavasu, Viswasena, theGandharvas and the Apsaras, the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, theSadhyas, the Maruts, all came there with Indra for sharing in theSacrifice. The drinkers of Soma, the drinkers of smoke, the drinkers ofAjya, 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 tothat Sacrifice. The gods also, with their spouses, respectfully invitedthereto, came on their celestial cars and seated thereon shone likeblazing fires. Beholding them, the Rishi Dadhichi became filled withgrief and wrath, and said, ‘This is neither a Sacrifice nor a meritoriousrite of religion, since Rudra is not adored in it. Ye are certainlyexposing yourselves to death and chains. Alas, how untoward is the courseof time. Stupefied by error you do not behold that destruction awaitsyou. A terrible calamity stands at your door in course of this greatSacrifice. Ye are blind to it!’ Having said these words, that great Yoginsaw into the future with eyes of (Yoga) contemplation. He beheldMahadeva, and his divine spouse, viz., that giver of excellent boons(seated on the summit of Kailasa) with the highsouled Narada sittingbeside the goddess. Conversant with Yoga, Dadhichi became highlygratified, having ascertained what was about to happen. All the deitiesand others that had come there were of one mind with reference to theomission to invite the Lord of all creatures. Dadhichi alone, desirous ofleaving that spot, then said, ‘By worshipping one who should not beworshipped, and by refusing to worship him who should be worshipped, aman incurs the sin of homicide for ever. I have never before spoken anuntruth, and an untruth I shall never speak. Here in the midst of thegods and the Rishis I say the truth. The Protector of all creatures, theCreator of the universe, the Lord of all, the Puissant master, the takerof sacrificial offerings, will soon come to this Sacrifice and you allshall see him.’

“Daksha said, ‘We have many Rudras armed with lances and bearing mattedlocks on their heads. They are eleven in number. I know them all, but Ido 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 anygod that can be said to be superior to him. I am sure that this proposedSacrifice of Daksha will certainly be overtaken by destruction.’

“Daksha said, ‘Here, in this vessel of gold, intended for the Lord of allSacrifices, is the sacrificial offering sanctified by mantras and (rites)according to the ordinance. I intend to make this offering unto Vishnuwho is beyond compare. He is puissant and the Master of all, and unto Himshould sacrifices be performed.’

‘Meanwhile,’ continued Vaisampayana, ‘the goddess Uma, sitting with herlord, said these words.’

“Uma said, ‘What are those gifts, what those vows, and what are thosepenances, that I should make or undergo by means of which my illustrioushusband may be able to obtain a half or a third share of the offerings insacrifices. Unto his wife who was agitated with grief and who repeatedthese words the illustrious Mahadeva said with a joyous countenance,’Thou dost not know me, O goddess! Thou knowest not, O thou of delicatelimbs and low belly, what words are proper to be addressed to the Lord ofSacrifices. O lady of large eyes, I know that it is only the sinful, whoare bereft of contemplation, that do not understand me.[1404] It isthrough thy power of illusion that the deities with Indra at their headand the three worlds all become stupefied.[1405] It is to me that thechanters utter their praises in Sacrifices. It is to me that theSaman-singers sing their Rathantaras. It is to me that Brahmanasconversant with the Vedas perform their Sacrifices. And it is to me thatthe Adhvaryus dedicate the shares of sacrificial offerings.’

“The goddess said, ‘Persons of even ordinary abilities applaud themselvesand 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 applaudmy ownself. Behold now, O lady of slender waist, what I do. Behold theBeing that I will create, O thou of the fairest complexion, for(destroying) this Sacrifice (that has displeased thee), O my beautifulspouse.

“Having said these words unto his spouse Uma who was dearer to him thanhis own life, the puissant Mahadeva created from his mouth a terribleBeing whose very sight could make one’s hair stand on its end. Theblazing flames that emanated from his body rendered him exceedingly awfulto behold. His arms were many in number and in each was a weapon thatstruck the beholder with fear. That Being, thus created, stood before thegreat god, with joined hands, and said, ‘What commands shall I have toaccomplish?’ Maheswara answered him, saying, ‘Go and destroy theSacrifice of Daksha.’ Thus ordered, that Being of leonine prowess who hadissued from the mouth of Mahadeva, desired to destroy the Sacrifice ofDaksha, without putting forth all his energy and without the assistanceof any one else, for dispelling the wrath of Uma. Urged by her wrath, thespouse of Maheswara, herself assuming a dreadful form that is known bythe name Mahakali, proceeded in the company of that Being who had issuedfrom Mahadeva’s mouth, for witnessing with her own eyes the act ofdestruction which was her own (for it was she who had impelled her lordto accomplish it for her sake). That mighty Being then set out, havingobtained the permission of Mahadeva and having bowed his head unto him.In energy, strength, and form, he resembled Maheswara himself who hadcreated him. Indeed, he was the living embodiment of (Mahadeva’s) wrath.Of immeasurable might and energy, and of immeasurable courage andprowess, he came to be called by the name of Virabhadra–that dispellerof the goddess’s wrath. He then created from the pores of his body alarge number of spirit chiefs known by the name of Raumyas. Those fiercebands of spirits, endued with terrible energy and prowess and resemblingRudra himself on that account, rushed with the force of thunder to thatplace where Daksha was making preparations for his sacrifice, impelled bythe desire of destroying it. Possessed of dreadful and gigantic forms,they numbered by hundreds and thousands. They filled the sky with theirconfused cries and shrieks. That noise filled the denizens of heaven withfear. The very mountains were riven and the earth trembled. Whirl windsbegan to blow. The Ocean rose in a surge. The fires that were kindledrefused to blaze up. The Sun became dimmed. The planets, the stars, andconstellations, and the moon, no longer shone. The Rishis, the gods, andhuman beings, looked pale. A universal darkness spread over earth andsky. The insulted Rudras began to set fire to everything. Some amongstthem of terrible form began to smite and strike. Some tore up thesacrificial stakes. Some began to grind and others to crush. Endued withthe speed of wind or thought, some began to rush close and far. Somebegan to break the sacrificial vessels and the celestial ornaments. Thescattered fragments strewed the ground like stars bespangling thefirmament. Heaps of excellent viands, of bottles of drink, and ofeatables there were that looked like mountains. Rivers of milk ran onevery side, with clarified butter and Payasa for their mire, creamy curdsfor their water, and crystalised sugar for their sands. Those riverscontained all the six tastes. There were lakes of treacle that lookedvery beautiful. Meat of diverse kinds, of the best quality, and othereatables of various sorts, and many excellent varieties of drink, andseveral other kinds of food that might be licked and sucked, began to beeaten by that army of spirits with diverse mouths. And they began to castoff and scatter those varieties of food in all directions. In consequenceof Rudra’s wrath, every one of those gigantic Beings looked like theall-destructive Yuga-fire. Agitating the celestial troops they causedthem to tremble with fear and fly away in all directions. Those fiercespirits sported with one another, and seizing the celestial damselsshoved and hurled them on all sides. Of fierce deeds, those Beings,impelled by Rudra’s wrath, very soon burnt that Sacrifice although it wasprotected with great care by all the deities. Loud were the roars theyuttered which struck every living creature with dread. Having torn offthe head of Sacrifice they indulged in glee and shouts. Then the godsheaded 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 thisSacrifice). Knowing the fact of Uma’s wrath, the puissant Lord who is thesoul of all creatures has given way to wrath. I have not come here forseeing these foremost of Brahmanas. I have not come here urged bycuriosity. Know that I have come here for destroying this Sacrifice ofyours. I am known by the name of Virabhadra and I have sprung from thewrath of Rudra. This lady (who is my companion), and who is calledBhadrakali, hath sprung from the wrath of the goddess. We have both beendespatched by that god of gods, and we have accordingly come here. Oforemost of Brahmanas, seek the protection of that Lord of the deities,the spouse of Uma. It is preferable to incur even the wrath of thatforemost of gods than to obtain boons from any other Deity.’ Hearing thewords of Virabhadra, Daksha, that foremost of all righteous persons,bowed down unto Maheswara and sought to gratify him by uttering thefollowing hymn, ‘I throw myself at the feet of the effulgent Isana, whois Eternal, Immutable, and Indestructible; who is the foremost of allgods, 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]. Hispraises having thus been hymned, the great god, Mahadeva, suspending bothPrana and Apana (the two foremost of the five life-breaths) by shuttinghis mouth properly, and casting (benignant) glances on every side, showedhimself there. Possessed of many eyes, that vanquisher of all foes, thatLord of even the gods of all gods, suddenly arose from within the pit inwhich was kept the sacrificial fire. Possessed of the effulgence of athousand Suns, and looking like another Samvartaka, the great god smiledgently (at Daksha) and addressing him, said, ‘What, O Brahmana, shall Ido for you?’ At this juncture, the preceptor of all the deities adoredMahadeva with the Vedic verses contained in the Moksha sections. Thenthat progenitor of all creatures, viz., Daksha, joining his hands inreverence, filled with dread and fear, exceedingly agitated, and withface and eyes bathed in tears, addressed the great god in the followingwords.’

“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 hiskindness,–if the great Lord of all creatures is disposed to grant meboons,–then let all these articles of mine that have been burnt, eaten,drunk, swallowed, destroyed, broken, and polluted,–let all thesearticles, collected in course of these articles be of use to me. Eventhis is the boon I crave.’ Unto him the many long years, and with greatcare and effort, go not for nothing. Let illustrious Hara, the tearer ofBhaga’s eyes, said, ‘Let it be as thou sayest!’ Even these were the wordsof that illustrious progenitor of all creatures, that god of three eyes,that protector of righteousness.[1406] Having obtained that boon fromBhava, Daksha knelt down to him and adored that deity having the bull forhis mark, by uttering his thousand and eight names.’

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