Lord Siva is popularly known as Shankara. The word Shankara is made up of two words, namely "shanka" and "hara". Shanka means doubt and hara means dispeller or destroyer. The word "Shankara" thus means He who dispels or destroys doubts. dispels or destroys all doubts. He rules over our disbeliefs and hesitations and establishes firm faith in us through his compelling nature. By dispelling our doubts and establishing faith, He destroys all our bondage.
Shankara or Sankara can also mean sankata + hara, that is he who destroys or ends all difficulties. Sincere prayers to Shankara can be very effective. The Lord is easily pleased with pure devotion and responds immediately. Siva is known for his boon giving nature, which at times causes trouble because when he is pleased he can be very generous even to the evil characters.
Brahma thought he might find the answers to these questions if he explored the lotus a bit. Perhaps he ought to try and find the centre of the lotus. Brahma descended down the stem of the lotus and wandered around for a hundred years. But he could not find the flower's centre. He then decided that he might as well go back to the cell from where he had been born. But despite wandering around the stem for another hundred years, Brahma could not find the cell. By then he was so tired that he gave up and rested.
Suddenly he heard the words, Brahma, perform tapasya (meditation).Brahma meditated for twelve years. When the twelve years were over, the Vishnu appeared before Brahma. Brahma didn't know who this person was and he asked,
Who are you? Vishnu didn't directly answer the question. Instead, he replied, Son, the great Lord Vishnu has created you.
Who are you to call me a son? Demanded Brahma.
Can't you recognize me? came the reply. I am Vishnu. It is from my body that you have been created. But Brahma was not convinced. He began to fight with Vishnu.
Shiva then assumed the form of a great pillar of fire (light linga) and appeared between the two fighting gods. Seeing this immense shaft of light stunned Brahma and Vishnu and they were quiet for a moment, wondering what such an unknown and mighty force might be.
They then heard an asariri (a disembodied voice) from the sky commanding them to listen. The voice then continued to say that the dispute of the two gods would be settled if one of them was able to ‘see’ the top or the bottom of the pillar of light before them.
At once, it was decided that Brahma would go up (towards the sky) and try to find the head of this pillar of Light (Shiva) and Vishnu would go down (under the earth) to find the foot of Shiva. It was agreed that whoever was able to find the limit (the head or the foot) would be superior to the other. Brahma then assumed the form of a swan and began his journey into the sky. Vishnu on the other hand, assumed the form of Varaha (wild boar) and bored through the earth to descend into the very depths of the world. The two of them went thus on their quest for thousands of years and even still could find no end to the pillar of light (as light has no limit). After proceeding in their quest for so long, the two of them began to tire and realize that they cannot find out end of this filler. This realization began to humble their ego and their arrogance.
Vishnu decided to end his search (becoming humbled) and proceed back to the earth. At the same time, Brahma saw a Ketaki flower slowly wafting downwards from the sky. He stopped the flower on its way down and asked it where it was coming from. On being questioned by the creator, the flower replied that it had been placed at the top of the pillar of fire and had fallen from there. Unable to find the head of the pillar, Brahma decided to end his search and instead use the ketaki flower as evidence of him having reached the head.Both Brahma and Vishnu came back to the earth in the end and when asked, Vishnu replied truthfully that he had been unable to find the feet of the fiery pillar even after a very long search going to the very ends of the universe. Brahma on the other hand lied by saying that he had in fact reached the head of the pillar of fire and that he had brought the ketaki flower from the top as proof of having reached there. This false claim angered Shiva and he revealed his true form & said, We are all three parts of the same entity and have been divided into three. Brahma is the creator. Vishnu is the preserver and I am the destroyer…
We three represent the three fundamental powers of nature which are manifest in the world viz. creation, destruction and maintenance. These powers exist perpetually. Creation is going on all the time. So is destruction and maintenance. All three powers are manifest at all times. We are inseparable.
Brahma that he would have no one to be worship as he was undeserving (as a result of his falsity) and ketaki flower that henceforth she shall not be used in the worship of Me (as she had given false testimony when questioned).
Brahma said to Shiva, Please forgives me!
All right, I forgive you, Shiva agreed. Still Brahma was not fully satisfied. He said to Shiva, You have to prove that you have forgiven me.
What kind of proof do you want? Asked Shiva.
You have to take incarnation in my family, declared Brahma. You have to take birth as my son.
Fine, fine, said Shiva. I shall take incarnation in your family. I will be your son.
Brhama He started meditating. So Brahma prayed to Shiva for five thousand years, but Shiva did not appear at all. One day, Brahma began shedding bitter tears because Shiva had failed to keep his promise. Brahma said, I cannot go on in vain. Even after seeing my tears, Shiva is not coming. I am crying like an infant, but he is deaf to my prayers. I have now decided to commit suicide. Shiva is a liar. He is not going to come. So the best thing is for me to immolate myself. After saying these words, Brahma committed suicide. As soon as he had done so, Shiva came out of Brahmas mouth. While coming out, Shiva was crying and crying, and at the same time Brahma was revived. Brahma was so happy to see his son. When he noticed Shivas tears, Brahma became very concerned. Why are you crying, why are you crying, my child? he asked.
Shiva said that he was crying while taking human incarnation because he was entering into world-ignorance. For this reason Brahma gave him the name Rudra, meaning he who cries pitifully.
At the beginning of every cycle Brahma is enjoined to create the worlds but his mind-born creation had failed and he fell into great sorrow. At that time he heard a voice form the heavens that said,
"Create through the union of Man and Woman." But he did not have the power to create Woman. Thinking that only through the grace of Shiva would he succeed, he resolved to gain the favor of Mahadeva through strenuous tapa.
Favoring His earnest bhakta, Shiva quickly appeared before him in the form of Ardhanarishwara.
"My child, oh my fortunate, dear son Pitamaha, I have instantly understood your hearts desire. For the increase of progeny you have until now performed tapa and thereby pleased me. I will grant your wish."
Speaking thus, Shiva manifested the godess Shivaa from His left side. His soul gladdened to its core.
Oh Shivaa, Your husband the God of Gods has protected me. Through His blessings I was brought forth to create. Time and time again I have created the Gods and sages from the power of my mind. But they do not follow my wishes and thus my creation has not flourished. Now I wish to create a Maithuni creation that will grow and flourish. But that creation will need the presence of Woman and for that my shakti is insufficient. All shaktis have you alone as their source so Sarveshwari I beseech You, give me the power to create Woman. Oh Jagannmata! I bow to you again and again. And I have one more wish, oh Ambika who dwells within all. Through Ishwara alone does the world moving and still grow and prosper so become the daughter of my son Daksha.
Hearing this prayer of the noble Brahma, Parameshwari Devi said "so be it" and gave Brahma the power to create Woman. Seeing Jagannamayi Shivaa Devi bring forth that shakti from between Her eyebrows, the best of gods, Shiva ocean of mercy laughed and said
" Oh Devi, Parameshthi Brahma has pleased you with his tapa. quickly and lovingly fulfill his request and be born as the daughter of Daksha. "
After that, Brahma powers of his meditation, he created several sages (rishis). Kardama, Daksha and Marichi were among them. Marichi's son was Kashyapa. Daksha had sixty daughters and thirteen of them were married to Kashyapa. The children of Kashyapa and these daughters became adityas (gods), daityas (demons), danavas (demons), trees, birds, snakes, mountains and creepers. Thus was the world populated.
Meanwhile, there was water everywhere. In the water, Vishnu created a huge egg (anda). He then himself entered the egg in his huge form.
Twenty-seven of Daksha’s daughters were married to the moon-god Chandra. One of these wives was named Rohini and Chandra loved Rohini more than he loved the other wives. The other wives felt neglected and they complained to their father. Daksha repeatedly warned his son-in-law to devote himself equally to all twenty-seven wives. But Chandra was in no mood to listen. Daksha thereupon cursed Chandra that he would gradually fade away. Chandra didn’t know what to do. He went and sought advice from Brahma and Brahma told him that the only rescourse was to pray to Shiva. Chandra went to Prabhasa tirtha and made a linga on the banks of the river Sarasvati. He prayed to Shiva for six months.
At the end of the tapasya Shiva appeared before Chandra and offered to grant him a boon. Chandra explained what the problem was. Well, said Shiva, Daksha’s curse cannot be entirely ignored. Let us have a compromise. During krishnapaksha you will wane. And during shuklapaksha (the bright part of the lunar fortnight) you will wax. Finally, Shiva put him on his head.
Daksha's daughter Sati was married to Shiva (Rudra).
But Daksha and Shiva did not like each other. Daksha arranged a yajna (sacrifice) and he did not invite Shiva to attend this sacrifice. Although Sati was not invited either, she went to attend the ceremony. But Daksha insulted her so much that Sati gave up her life in protest.
When Nandi informed Shiva about Sati's death, he became very furious. He angrily pulled out a locks of hair and dashed it against the mountain, which got divided into two parts. From one part manifested the valiant Veerbharda and from the other part Mahakali.
Veerbhadra and Mahakali were instructed by Shiva to destroy the yagya of Daksha and to kill all the people who were present during the time of Sati's death, including the deities and the sages.
After getting the instructions from lord Shiva, Veerbhardra marched with a huge army which included the mighty Shivaganas like Dakini, Bhairav and Kapalish etc. Goddess Kali to joined him with her army which consisted of all her nine incarnations like Katyayani etc. As the army marched on numerous auspicious signs were visible.
Daksha then prayed to lord Vishnu to rescue him from the imminent wrath of lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu preached Daksha and said-"Daksha! Since you have committed the greatest sin by dishonouring Shiva and Sati. Even I can not prevent the calamities which you are certain to face."As lord Vishnu was preaching Daksha suddenly there was a loud commotion. The army of Veerbhadra had arrived. Daksha was frightened and again prayed to Vishnu to save his life.Lord Vishnu again expressed his helplessness and told him that because of him all the deities too would have to suffer.
A terrible battle was fought between the armies of Veerbhadra and the deities. The deities got defeated and fled away. Daksha ran for his life and hid himself behind the attar where the yagya was being performed. But Veerbhadra pulled him out from there and severed his head. He then threw his head in the agni-kunda.
Brahma, the gods began to pray to Shiva. These prayers pacified Shiva and he asked Virbhadra and Bhadrakali to refrain from causing any further damage.Brahma request Shiva was subsequently pacified and brought the dead gods back to life. The sacrifice was completed.
Meanwhile, there was an asura (demon) named Tara. Tara's son was Taraka.Taraka wished to defeat the gods. He therefore went to a place named Madhuvana and began to perform very difficult tapasya. The meditation was so difficult that Brahma was pleased. He appeared before Tarakasura and said, I am pleased with your tapasya. What boon do you want?If you are pleased, replied Tarakasura, grant me two boons. The first boon should be that no one created by you should be as strong as me. The second boon should be that I should be killed only by Shiva's son.Shiva at that point of time had no sons. Sati had died and although she had been reborn as Parvati. She herself was reborn as the daughter of the mountain Himalaya and his wife Menaka.
Brahma granted Tarakasura the two boons. The demon went to a city named Shonitapura and began to live there. All the other demons made Tarakasura their king. Thanks to the boon. Tarakasura was so strong tha the easily defeated the gods. He conquered the three worlds and drove the gods out of heaven. He stole all their belongings and employed the gods as his servants.The despondent gods went to Brahma and asked him to find a solution to the Tarakasura problem. I can't, said Brahma. It is because of my boon that the demon has become so powerful. Besides, my boon says that Tarakasura can only be killed by Shiva's son. Shiva has got to have a son. He is now performing tapasya in the Himalaya mountains. Parvati is also in that region. Do something so that these two fall in love with each other and marry.
The gods decided to follow Brahma's advice. But how could it be ensured that Shiva and Parvati fell in love with each other? The king of the gods was Indra and the god of love was Kandarpa or Kamadeva or Madana.Indra summoned Kandarpa. You have to help us, said Indra. There is no other way out. Shiva is performing tapasya in the Himalayas. Parvati is also in the region. Make sure that the two fall in love. That is your job.Kandarpa went to the place where Shiva was meditating. And as soon as the god of love appeared, the place took on the traits of a spring which was perennial. Flowers bloomed and bees buzzed among the flowers. Cuckoos sang and fragrant breezes started to waft through the forest. Shiva tried to concentrate on his meditation. But he kept getting distracted.While all this was going on, who should arrive there but Parvati? She was so beautiful that Shiva was smitten with love for her. Parvati also seemed to like Shiva.But life is never simple. Shiva was, after all, Shiva. He realized that something was wrong. How could his meditation have been disturbed? How was it that the season seemed to be spring although it had no business to be spring? When Shiva glanced around, his eyes fell on Kandarpa who was hiding. He realized that it was Kandarpa who was responsible for all this mischief.Shiva was angered. He had a third eye in the middle of his forehead. From this third eye flames sprouted and these flames burnt Kandarpa to ashes.Kandarpa's wife was Rati. When Rati saw that her husband had been burnt to ashes, her grief knew no bounds. At first she lost consciousness. When she recovered, she lamented, Woe is me. What is going to happen to me? My husband, my love, where have you gone?
The gods and Rati sought out Shiva. They explained that it had been no fault of Kandarpa's. He had been asked to disturb Shiva's tapasya because of the Tarakasua problem. What would happen to Rati now?
Shiva replied, What has happened has happened. Nothing can be done about kandarpa now. He will eventually be born in the city of Dvaraka as Krishna's son Pradyumna. Rati will then be reuntied with Kandarpa. But till such time, let her simply wait.
The gods dispersed, still despondent. The matter of Shiva and Parvati's marriage had not progressed at all.
But Parvati had fallen in love with Shiva and she didn't know what she could do about it. She thought of Shiva all the time.
One day the sage Narada came and told her, Shiva is only pleased with tapasya. Without tapasya, even Brahma and the other gods do not get to see Shiva. Why don't you perform tapasya?
Parvati decided to do what Narada had asked her to. She asked her parents for permission. Her father agreed with alacrity. Although her mother Menaka was not at all keen that Parvati should perform difficult tapasya, she too eventually agreed.Parvati gave up her jewellery and handsome clothes. She wore deerskin instead. There is a peak in the Himalayas known as Gouriskikhara. It is there that Parvati went for her tapasy. The meditation was very difficult. During the monsson Parvati meditated while seated on the ground. In the winter she mediated under the water. Wild beats dared not harm her. All the gods and sages assembled to see this wonderful tapasya. The gods and the sages also began to pray to Shiva. Lord, can't you see that Parvati is performing difficult tapasya? They asked. No one has meditated like this before. No one will meditate like this in the future. Please grant her what she wants.
Lord Shiva then himself went to Parvati in the guise of a brahmin. Parvati on seeing a brahmin welcomed her with full honour.Shiva asked Parvati as to why was she doing penance. Parvati told him that she wanted to have Shiva as her husband. Lord Shiva, who was in the guise of a brahmin started cursing Shiva to see how Parvati reacted to it.Parvati replied that inspite of her penance Shiva did not appear, so she has decided to give up her life in burning pyre. After saying like this Parvati requested the Brahmin to go back and she herself entered into the burning pyre but remained unharmed Lord Shiva was very pleased to see her firm resolve and devotion. He again asked her as to what was the purpose behind doing such a tremendous penance.
Parvati told the brahmin; who in reality was Shiva himself that, she wanted to have Shiva as her husband at any cost. She said-"You say that lord Shiva does not possess anything - not even wealth. He does not put on clothes on his body. You also say that he is not fit to be a bridegroom of me. But all of your utterances prove your mean intelligence."
Parvati continuing with her statements said that Shiva was the most capable deity in all the three world. "There is no sin greater than condemning Shiva." Said Parvati.As Shiva, who was in the guise of Brahmin was about to say something Parvati said to one of her companion-"This condemner should be killed, if this is not possible then we must leave this place at once."As she was about to leave that place, lord Shiva revealed his true identity and by holding her hand said- "You have been my wife since time immemorial where are you going?"
Parvati became very pleased and her heart was filled up with extreme joy. She requested him to take to her father regarding their marriage. Lord Shiva agreed. Shiva called the seven great sages (saptarshis) and asked them to go to Himalaya as his messengers. The message was that he wished to marry Himalaya's daughter Parvati. Himalaya was delighted to see the sages and even more delighted to learn that Shiva wanted to marry Parvati. A date was fixed for the marriage.
Under Brahma's supervision, the marriage ceremony took place and Shiva and Parvati returned to Kailasa.
Shiva and Parvati's son was Skanada or Kartikeya. When the baby was very small, it got lost in some reeds. Six princesses discovered the baby in the reeds and each wanted to bring up the baby as her son. All of them finally cooperated in bringing up the body. These princesses were the Krittikas and the boy came to be known as Kartikeya.
The gods got to know from Narada that Kartikeya had been brought up by the Krittikas. They came and appointed Kartikeya their general. The army of gods then invaded Tarakasura's city Shonitapura. A terrible fight raged for ten days. The gods completely decimated the demons and Katikeya killed Tarakasura.After the victory celebrations were over, Kartikeya was restored to his parents.
Tarakasura had three sons named Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana. These three began to perform tapasya. For a hundred years they meditated.Brahma was pleased at this difficult tapasya. He appeared before them and said, What boon do you want?
Make us immortal, answered Tarakasura's sons.
I can't make you immortal, replied Brahma. I don't have the power. Ask for something else instead. Very well, then, said Viyunamali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana Grant us the following. Let three forts be made. The first will be of gold, the second of silver and the third of iron. We will live in these forts for a thousand years. At the end of the thousand years, the forts will become one. This combined fort will be called Tripura. And it anyone can then destroy Tripura with only a single arrow, that shall be the death destined for us.This rather unusual boon Brahma granted. Tarakaksha got the golden fort, Viryavana the silver one and Vidyunmali the iron one. Each of the forts was a big as a city and had many palaces and vimanas (spaces vehicles) inside.The demons populated the three forts and began to flourish. The gods did not like this at all. They first went to Brahma, but Brahma said he could not help them. After all, the demons had got Tripura thanks to his boon. The gods then went to Shiva for help. But Shiva said that the demons were doing nothing wrong. As long as that was the case, he did not see why the gods wre so bothered. The gods then went to Vishnu. Vishnu's suggestion was as follows. If the problem was that the demons were doing nothing wrong, the solution was to persuade them to become sinners.Out of his powers Vishnu created a man. This man's head was shaven, his clothes were faded and he carried a wooden water-pot in his hands. He covered his mouth with a piece of cloth and approached Vishnu.What are my orders? he asked Vishnu.
Let me explain to you why you have been created, replied Vishnu. I will teach you a religion that is completely against the Vedas. You will then get the impression that there is no svarga (heaven) and no naraka (hell) and that both heaven and hell are on earth. You will not believe that rewards and punishments for deeds committed on earth are meted out after death. Go to Tripura and teach the demons this religion, which they are dislodged from the righteous path. Then we will do something about Tripura.
The being did as he had been asked to. He and four of his disciples went to a forest that was near Tripura and began to preach. They were trained by Vishnu himself. Therefore, their teachings were convincing and they had many converts. Even the sage Narada got confused and was ಕಾಂವೆರ್ತೆದ್
In fact, it was Narada who carried news of this wonderful new religion to king Vidyunmati.King, he said, there is a wonderful new teacher with a wonderful new religion. I have never heard before. I have got converted.
Since the great sage Narada had got converted. Vidyunmati also accepted the new religon. And in due course, so did Tarakaksha and Viryavana. The demons gave up revering the Vedas, they stopped worshipping Shiva's linga.Vishnu and the other gods then went to Shiva and began to pray to him. When Shiva appeared, they told him that the demons had now become evil and should be destroyed. They had even stopped worshipping Shiva's linga.Shiva agreed to destroy Tripura. Vishvakarma was the architect of the gods. Shiva called Vishvakarma and asked him to make a suitable chariot, bow and arrow. The chariot was made entirely out of gold. Brahma himself became the charioteer and the chariot was speedly driven towards Tripura. The gods accompanied Shiva with diverse weapons.By then a thousand years had passed so that the three forts had become a single Tripura. Shiva instilled a divine weapon known as pashupata into his arrow and shot it at Tripura. The arrow burnt up Tripura into ashes in a split second.While the celebrations were going on, the shaven-heads religious teachers arrived. What are we supposed to do now? they asked.Brahma and Vishnu told them to go and live in the desert. The last of the four eras was kaliyuga and in kaliyuga, evil would reign supreme. When kaliyuga arrived, they were to come back and begin their teaching afresh.
Goddess Parvathi once, while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha's head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider. When Parvathi came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief Shiva ordered His aids to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganesha and Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva combined their powers to bring back life to the dead body.
Shiva accepted Ganesha as his son. He also made Ganesha the lord of all his companions, the ganas.
Shiva and Parvati had two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. Both sons wanted to get married. And Shiva and Parvati found it difficult to decide who should be married first. The other one was bound to feel hurt. Both the sons were equally dear to them.They decided to have a test. They called Ganesha and Kartikeya to them and said, We have devised a competition. Both of you have to travel around the world and return here. Whoever returns first will be married first. That should be fair and square.
As soon as these words were out, Kartikeya dashed out on his journey. But Ganesha tarried and pondered. He realized that this was a task that was impossible for him to accomplish. He found it difficult enough to travel a couple of miles.Ganesha found a solution. First, he bathed. Then, he made Shiva and Parvati sit on two seats. He worshipped them and circled them seven times. After he finished circling them. Ganesha said, Now please make arrangements for my wedding.What do you mean, exclaimed Shiva and Parvati. Didn't you hear what we said? We asked the two of you to travel around the world and come back. You'd better hurry. Kartikeya has already left. If you don't take care, he will beat you to it.But I have already been round the world seven times, replied Ganesha. Haven't I circled the two of you seven times? The Vedas say that circling one's parents is the same thing as circling the world.
If you do not wish to argue that the Vedas are wrong, then you have to agree that I have circled the world seven times.
Shiva and Parvati could not very well argue that the Vedas were wrong. They therefore had to accept Ganesha's logic. Arrangements were made for his wedding. Vishvarua, the son of Kashyapa, had two daughters named Siddhi and Buddhi. These two were married to Ganesha with a lot of fanfare. Ganesha and Siddhi had a son named Laksha and Ganesha and Buddhi had a son named Labha.Kartikeya returned to Kailasa after traveling around the world and discovered that Ganesha was already married and was already the proud father of two children.
When Kartikeya reached Kailash mountain he made salutations to lord Shiva and Parvati and without saying anything, went to Kraunch mountain to do his penance.
Parvati was very sad. She went to Kraunch mountain to meet Kartikeya accompanied by Shiva. When Kartikeya saw them coming he moved to another place. Lord Shiva and Parvati followed him and ultimately met him.
Bhagiratha was the renowned king forefather of Raghu Vamsa. His forefathers known as Sagaras were burnt down due to a curse. For the upliftment of those ancestors from the cursed state to get to the heavens, he wanted to bring the river Ganga to earth. The idea is that when Ganga waters touch the ash of Sagaras, they would be uplifted from their sin. He did very severe austerities and to get the permission from Indra. He gave permission to bring the Ganaga flowing in the heaven to the earth, however he told, coming down to earth would be the decision of Ganga.
So Bagirata again started his penance and prayed the goddess Ganga. She agreed to come down, but warned him that he should find a person who could withstand the force with which she will descend to earth! He agreed and found out that the refuge would be at Lord shiva. He did the austerities pleasing Lord Shiva. Appreciating his devotion and efforts, Lord agreed to hold the Ganga when she descends to earth. Ganga out of her pride and ignorance thought that the Lord won't be able to withstand the force! She came down with an intention to gush down the Lord with heavy force. Can the Lord, Who holds the entire world He created, be pushed down by a river? The Lord, who is the creator of the entire universe and who has taken the forms just out of the grace on creatures, arrested her flow in His matted hair! She tried her best to rush out of His matted hair, but in vain. Not a drop of water could escape! Bhagiratha, worried by this (as he would not get Ganga to earth otherwise), prayed to the Lord to show mercy on her. The Gracious Lord allowed the Ganga through a strand of His matted hair. Ganga then flowed humbly, gracefully and giving prosperity on her way to Patala. Thus the ancestors of Bhagiratha were resurrected by the holy water of Ganga.
On day Indra was going towards Kailash Mountain to have a 'darshan' of lord Shiva. Sage Vrihaspati was accompanying him.
Lord Shiva came to know about his arrival. He wanted to test his devotion towards him. While both Indra and Vrihaspati were still on their way. Lord Shiva met them on their in the guise of a hermit.
Indra did not recognize Shiva, who was sitting on the way disguised as a hermit. Indra inquired as to who he was and where he live. Lord Shiva sat quietly without saying a word. Indra repeatedly asked the same question, but each time Shiva remained quiet. Indra became furious and tried to attack lord Shiva with his Vajra.
Lord Shiva paralyzed the raised hands of Indra by his divine power. Shiva's eyes had reddened due to anger which made Indra very frightened sage Vrihaspati was able to recognize the real identity of the hermit as to who he was. He made salutations to lord Shiva and requested him to pardon Indra. Lord Shiva became pleased and diverted the power of his radiant eyes to the ocean. This way Indra's life was spared by Shiva. Lord Shiva then returned to Kailash mountain. Indra and Sage Vrihaspati to Kailash mountain. Indra and sage Vrihaspati too returned to their respective abodes.
The effulgence, which had been divided by lord Shiva into the Ocean resulted into the manifestation of a small child. This incident happened at the place where river Ganges submerged into the ocean.
The child was crying so ferociously that an environment of fear was created everywhere. The deities and the sages went to lord Brahma to satisfy their curiously. Lord Brahma assured then to find out the reason. He went to the seashore. The sea put the child in his lap and enquired about the name of that child and also about his future.
Meanwhile the child pressed lord Brahma's neck with such power that tears rolled down from his eyes. For this reason he named the child as Jalandhar. Lord Brahma told the sea that the child will become the mighty ruler of the demons. No deity would be able to kill him except Shiva.
The sea was very pleased by lord Brahma's predictions. After Lord Brahma returned to his abode, the sea brought that child to his home and brought up that child with great love and care.
Shukracharya, the guru of the asuras, recognized that Jalandhar was very powerful indeed. He crowned him the king of the asuras. Brahma ordered Shukracharya to wed Jalandhar with Tulsi, the daughter of Kalnemi. Tulsi was a very pious lady and an ideal wife. Because of her purity and chastity, Jalandhar was unconquerable.
As time passed, the asuras and the daityas became very strong under the able leadership of Jalandhar. In general, there was an increase of evil among the people. On seeing the headless Rahu, Jalandhar was perplexed and perturbed and asked Guru Shukracharya, the reason for Rahus condition. Then Shukracharya narrated the incidents of Samudra Manthan. Rahu had masqueraded as a devata and partook of the amrit. But even as the nectar reached his throat, Surya and Chandrama told Vishnu about Rahu, and Vishnu beheaded him with his chakra. To Jalandhar, the devatas stealing away the nectar and jewels appeared as the ultimate insult to the daityas. He decided to get the jewels back from the devatas.
Jalandhar sent his emissary by the name of Ghasmar to Indra. Boldly, nay rudely, the emissary entered Indras sabha. Without showing even common courtesy to the members he announced : the devatas should return the precious jewels of samudra manthan or else..
Indra was taken aback. Fear and surprise gripped him. How could Saagar, whose loyalty to the devatas was above board, demand such a thing? After all, the devatas had only taken the jewels, they could have taken away all the evil powers of the asuras and daityas, but they did not. Indra told the emissary Ghasmar that the claim of the devatas over the jewels was rightful and that the jewels will not be returned to Saagar or Jalandhar. Jalandhar seethed with rage when the emissary returned with the details of the events at Indras sabhagraha. Jalandhar gathered all the asuras and the daityas, appointed Shumbh and Nishumbh as the commanders and declared war with the devatas. There was a prolonged battle and both sides incurred heavy casualties. The asuras planned another strategy. The Dronachal parvat was famous for the medicinal plant that grew on it. The daityas thought that if this mountain could be thrown away then the devatas would be cornered. Sure enough, all the asuras got together and flung the Dronachal Parvat into the ocean. All the devatas fled and took shelter in the caves and crevices of the Sumeru parvat. Jalandhars victory was imminent. Guru Brihaspati, and the devatas who were hiding in the mountains then pleaded with Lord Vishnu, for succour from Jalandhar.
Vishnu decided to take immediate action, climbed his vehicle, Garuda, and set forth to the place of battle. But before leaving, Lakshmi intervened, Since Jalandhar is born of samudra, he is my brother. So, please do not kill him.
When Jalandhar saw Vishnu coming to the battleground he entered into a duel with Lord Vishnu. They first fought with arms, and then continued the combat without arms. The duel raged on without any result. Vishnu, too, admitted the prowess of Jalandhar. Then Vishnu told Jalandhar about his relationship with Lakshmi they are both born of Saagar and hence are siblings. Jalandhar, acknowledging the relationship, invited Vishnu and Lakshmi to stay in his palace. Meanwhile, he replaced all devatas' appointments with asuras. He confiscated all the wealth of the devatas, kinnars, gandharvas, yakshas etc. He was now the supreme ruler of all the loks.
Narad looking for Vishnu, visited Jalandhar's city. Jalandhar was extremely happy to play host to Narad. He told Jalandhar that his kingdom was no less than that of Kailash with the sole exception that Ma Parvati was with Shiva. Jalandhar then decided to steal Parvati from Shiva. Jalandhar sent Rahu to Kailash with a message for Shiva that he, the ash smeared yogi, with unkempt locks, wearing a garland of skulls, is not a befitting consort for the beautiful Parvati. Therefore, he should send Parvati to Jalandhar who is the king of all the three lokas. The moment Rahu concluded his speech, a very angry Shiva created a dangerous, horrifying human being from his eyebrows. The fearsome human had a face like a lion's, red eyes, and hair like sharp spikes. This organism decided to eat the headless Rahu. Rahu got scared and pleaded with Shiva to spare him he was a Brahmin and only an emissary of Jalandhar. Shiva caught hold of Rahu and hurled him in the sky and he careened into the earth. When Jalandhar heard of the fate of his emissary he was enraged. He gathered together the huge army of daityas and led them to battle. There were many bad omens when he left his palace but he was determined to fight Shiva.
Meanwhile, Shiva called for Vishnu and asked him why he had not killed Jalandhar. Further, he admonished Vishnu for residing with Lakshmi in the palace of Jalandhar. Vishnu explained the details of the birth of Jalandhar and that his death was ordained in the hands of Shiva. Both Shiva and Vishnu understood that the pious Tulsis devotion to her husband was giving Jalandhar unfailing strength. There was a need to do something about it. By this time Jalandhar with his huge army had reached the gates of Kailash. There was pitched battle among the devatas and daityaas. Whenever the devatas killed the daityas, Guru Shukracharya would restore them to life. Then, Shiva produced a fearsome girl from his mouth. She was Taaljangha. She took away Shukracharya and disappeared. The disappointed daityas started retreating. Then, Jalandhar played a trick. With his maya he created gandharvas and apsaras who started dancing. Shiva quickly forgave him and joined the dancers. This was just what Jalandhar had wanted. While Shiva was dancing, Jalandhar rushed to the side of Parvati with the intention of stealing her and making her his own. But Parvati, anticipating his evil plan, had turned invisible. Parvati called for Vishnu and expressed her anguish over the incident. Vishnu then decided to use the same trick on Jalandhar.
Tulsi was very worried about Jalandhar. She had ominous dreams portending disaster. While she was searching for Jalandhar in the forests, Vishnu took the form of Jalandhar, and stayed with the unsuspecting Tulsi. She believed him but later realized that this Jalandhar did not have the evil qualities that were so conspicuous in her husband. Since she had been deceived, she cursed Vishnu to become a stone and always stay at her feet. Vishnu accepted the curse but exhorted Tulsi to see that while her husband was spreading evil, she, in the capacity of a wife did not stop him. Thus, she became an accomplice. In sheer guilt, realizing the misdeeds of her husband, Tulsi died and fell at the feet of Parvati in atonement of her husbands sins.
After Tulsi Death The Jalandhars demon army trooped attacked Shiva.
Shiva inserted his big toe into the ocean and started to churn the water. From this churning, the terrible weapon known as the sudarshana chakra was created. Jalandhara ready to fight with chakra, but as soon as he starts fighting, the weapon sliced off his head. Jalandhara’s flesh and blood cluttered up the universe. Shiva had all of this sent to Yama, the god of death. Yama constructed a hell (naraka) named maharourava with this flesh and blood. After his death, Jalandhar's soul united with Shiva.
Lord Vishnu was very much saddened by the death of Vrinda. He took the ashes from the pyre and after applying them on his body started wondering here and there. The deities became very worried to see the condition of lord Vishnu. They went to lord Shiva and requested him to eliminate the false attachment with which Sri Vishnu was suffering. Lord Shiva sent the deities to goddess Parvati, saying that she would ceratainly help in this regard. The deities went to goddess Parvati and prayed to her. She became very pleased and with the assistance of Laxmi and Saraswati, gave some seeds to then. The deities sprayed those seeds on the pyre, on which Vrinda had given up her life. Three holy plants manifested from that pyre-Amla, Tulsi and Malti. Later on Tulsi and Malti attained to the Vishnuloka, by the virtue of their respective penance.
Shiva was once sitting on Mount Mandara. Paravati came up from behind, so that Shiva could not see her, and covered Shiva's eyes with her two hands. Shiva could not see and everything seemed to be dark to him. Parvati's hands sweated from the exertion and the sweat fell down on the ground. From this sweat, a dark and fierce creature was born and started to roar.Parvati, said Shiva, What are you up to ? First, you cover up my eyes so that I can't see. Next, you roar so as to frighten me.Not I, replied Parvati. See for yourself. I wonder where this creature has come from.She removed her hands and Shiva saw the being in front of them. It is our son, said Shiva. It was born from your sweat when you covered my eyes. Since it was born when my eyes were in darkness, let it be called Andhaka.Andhaka was born blind, as Shiva was effectively blind when Andhaka was born.Meanwhile there was an asura named Hiranyanetra. (In other Puranas, this same asura is referred to as Hiranyaksha.) Hiranyanetra had no sons.He therefore began to pray to Shiva so that he might have a son. Shiva told Hiranyanetra that it was impossible for him to have a son. However, if he so desired, he could have their son Andhaka and bring him up as his own son. Hiranyanetra gladly agreed to this.
Hiranyanetra was very strong and powerful. He conquered the three worlds and drove the gods out of heaven. He even took the earth down to the underworld. In desperation, the gods prayed to Vishnu for deliverance.
For Kill this demon demons oppressed the gods and the gods went to Vishnu for deliverance. Vishnu said that the demons were so powerful, that he would first have to worship Shiva if something was to be done about the asuras. Vishnu went to Mount Kailasa and bean to pray to Shiva. He chanted many mantras, but there was no sign of Shiva. Shiva has a thousand names and Vishnu next started to chant these names. Each day he chanted the thousand names and offered a thousand lotus flowers to Shiva.
Shiva decided to test Vishnu. One day, he stole a lotus flower from the thousand that were to be offered. When Vishnu realized that there was one lotus flower less, he gouged out his own eye and offered it in place of the missing lotus flower. Shiva was now pleased and appeared before Vishnu. He offered to grant Vishnu a boon.
You know that the powerful demons have been oppressing the gods, said Vishnu. I need a weapon to fight the demons with. Please give me a weapon.Shiva then gave Vishnu the sudarshana chakra.
Vishnu adopted the form of a boar (varaha) and went down to the underworld in search of Hiranyanetra. When he found the asura, he killed him with his sudarshana chakra. He also killed several other asuras with his boar's tusks. Then, he lifted up the earth with his tusks and replaced it where it should be. So far as Hiranyanetra's kingdom was concerned, Vishnu crowned Andhaka king there.
Hiranyanetra had a brother named Hiranyakashipu. This brother prayed to Brahma and obtained a boon that made him virtually impossible to kill. Finally, Vishnu (Narasimha Avathara) kills the Hiranyakashipu, Vishnu crowned his son Prabhlada king.
Andhaka had been crowned king in Hiranyanetra's kingdom. Prahlada (Hiranyakashipu Son) and Andhaka's other cousins went to him and said, You are blind. What are you going to do with a kingdom? Give it to us. Our uncle made a mistake in accepting a blind son from Shiva.
Andhaka was very hurt at these nasty words. He went away to the forest and started to perform tapasya. He prayed to Brahma. For millions of years he stood on one leg, with his arms raised high, and prayed. No one since that day has been able to duplicate Andhaka's wonderful feat of meditation.
He did not eat or drink at all. He chopped off parts of his body and offered it to the sacrificial fire. It came to such a pass that there was no more meat of blood left in his body. It had all been offered to the fire. He was just a skeleton. It was then that Brahma appeared before him and offered a boon.
Prahlada and my other cousins have taken over my kingdom, said Andhaka. Please grant me the boon that I may be able to see. Please also grant me the boon that I may not be killed by gods, demons, or humans, or even by the great Vishnu himself.
Brahma was in a fix. Earlier, many demons had asked for similar boons, but they had generaly not mentioned Vishnu. So that , when the need arose, Vishnu had been able to kill them. But here was an asura who asking for the boon that even Vishnu would not be able to kill him. This would make him virtually immortal.Everything that you have asked for is possible, replied Brahma. But all beings have to die.
Indicate the circumstances under which you will die and the boons will be granted.Since I have to die, said Andhaka, Let it be under the following conditions. If I ever wish to marry a beautiful woman who is like a mother unto me, let that be the hour appointed for my death.
This condition was better than nothing at all and Brahma granted Andhaka the boons. Andhaka returned to his kingdom. When Prahala and the other cousins learnt that Andhaka had become so powerful because of the boons, they not only returned to him his kingdom, but theirs as well.
Remember that Andhaka could now see. The first thing that Andhaka did was to invade heaven. He defeated Indra and the other gods and made they pay taxes to the demons. Next he defeated the snakes (nagas), the gandharvas, the rakshasas, the yakshas (companions of Kubera) and the humans. Thus he began to rule over all the three worlds.
For millions of years Andhaka ruled in this fashion. The religion of the Vedas suffered during this period, since Andhaka paid no attention to it.Once Andhaka went to a visit tot he Mount Mandara. The place was so beautiful that he made up his mind to live there. Three of Andhaka's generals were named Duryodhana, Vighasa and hasti.
These three were exploring the environment of Mount Mandara when they came upon a cave. An ascetic was meditating inside the cave. He was dressed in the skin of a tiger, wore a garland of skulls, his hair was matted and he wore a crescent moon on his forehead.
There was a beautiful woman near the ascetic. She was more beautiful than any other woman in the three worlds. The three generals concluded that this was the right wife for Andhaka.
When the generals came back to Andhaka and reported on what they had seen, the asura king said, What are you waiting for? Go to the ascestic and ask him for the woman.
Duryodhana, Vighasa and Hasti went back to the ascetic. You are only an ascetic, they said. You don't deserve such a pretty wife. Our master is the lord of everything and he is immensely rich. He is also handsome because of a boon received from Brahma. Give us this woman so that our master Andhaka may marry her.
Ask your master to come and take the woman himself, replied Shiva, for the ascetic, as you have already guessed, was none other than Shiva. And the beautiful woman was Parvati.
As soon as he heard this, Andhaka grasped his sword and came to fight with Shiva. The door to the cave was guarded by Nandi, and Andhaka first had to fight with him.
Nandi easily defeated the asura and also defeated the asura soldiers who had accompanied their king. But Andhaka returned and again a fight raged with Nandi for so many years. Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and the other gods also came to help in the fight with the demons.
The general Vighasa was a very strong warrior. He opened his mouth wide and swallowed up all the gods, including Vishnu. So far, Shiva himself had not played any part in the fighting. But hearing what Vighasa had done, he ascended his bull and came out to fight. He killed Vighasa and rescued the gods from the asura's stomach. The asuras had a preceptor named Shukracharya who knew the art of bringing back dead beings to life. So Shukracharya moved around the battlefield, brining back to life any demons that were killed. This was not helping the cause of the gods at all. Shiva's companions (gangas) captured Shukracharya and brought him to Shiva. Shiva promptly swallowed up Shukracharya. Soon all the demons were taken care of, with the exception of Andhaka. He continued to fight. Vishnu's mace could do him no harm and he only laughed at Indra's arrows. Some of the arrows did pierce the asura's body. But whenever drops of blood from his body onto the ground, asuras who were exactly like him in appearance were created from this blood.As a result, the battlefield was soon populated with thousands and thousands of Andhakas.Shiva created a goddess known as Devi from his own body. Devi was appointed the task of drinking up the blood of the asuras before it could spill onto the ground. Thus aided by Devi, Shiva started to tackle the demons and soon there was only the original Andhaka left. Shiva flung a trident at him.
The trident struck Andhaka on the chest and the asura king fell down dead.When the war was over, Shukracharya prayed to Shiva and was released from Shiva's stomach.
After coming out, Shukraharya eulogized Lord Shiva. Shiva became pleased with him and showered him with affection just like his own son. After being blessed Shukracharya went and rejoined the army of the demons.