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Descendents of the daughters of Kardama and Svayambhuva Manu.
The sacrifice performed by Daksha.
Svayambhuva Manu and Shatarupa had three daughters- Akuti, Devahuti and Prasuti. Although he also had two sons- Priyavrata and Uttanapada, Manu gave his daughter, Akuti, to the sage, Ruchi, on the condition that their son would be given to him so that he could raise the child as his own. Manu made this unconventional arrangement because he knew that the Supreme Lord would appear as Ruchi’s son.
Thereafter, when Lord Yagya appeared as the son of Akuti, along with a female child named Dakshina, who was a partial expansion of the goddess of fortune, Manu was glad that Ruchi would not have to be aggrieved at the loss of his only child. Later on, Yagya married Dakshina and begot twelve sons who became the demigods called Tushitas, while He Himself took the post of Indra.
After marrying Anasuya, the daughter of Kardama, Atri Muni was ordered by Lord Brahma to create progeny. For this purpose, the great sage went along with his wife to a valley of the mountain named Riksha, where the River Nirvindhya flows, to perform austerities. While concentrating his mind, by means of pranayama, Atri stood on one leg for one hundred years, subsisting on air alone. Being so engaged, Atri prayed, “May the Lord of the universe, of Whom I have taken shelter, kindly be pleased to offer me a son exactly like Himself.”
As a result of his breathing exercises, a blazing fire came out from Atri’s head, and upon seeing this, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva came to his ashram, accompanied by other demigods, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Siddhas, Vidyadharas and Nagas. Upon seeing the three principal deities of the universe before him, seated upon their carriers- a swan, Garuda and a bull, and holding their respective symbols- kusha grass, a chakra, and a drum- Atri approached them with difficulty because he remained standing upon one leg. After offering his obeisances by falling down upon the ground like a rod, Atri stood up, and by seeing their smiling faces, he became overjoyed to know that they were all very pleased with him.
Still, after a brief moment, Atri had to close his eyes, for he was almost blinded by the effulgence of the three principal deities. Finally, after gaining his composure, Atri began to offer prayers with words that were both sweet and meaningful: “O Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva, I had prayed to the Supreme Lord, Who existed before the creation. But since all three of you have appeared here, I am now bewildered. I know that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is One, but has divided Himself into three for the purpose of directing the modes of material nature. Now, please be kind upon me and let me know which of you is actually the lord of the universe.”
Upon hearing this, the three great deities smiled and replied, “My dear brahmana, we are all the same person upon whom you were meditating, and so you will receive three sons that represent a partial manifestation of our potency.”
Then, as Atri looked on, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara suddenly disappeared from that place. Actually, Atri Muni did not have a clear conception of the Supreme Lord. Since all three are the lords of the three universal departments- creation, maintenance and destruction- they all appeared before him to fulfill his desire.
Thereafter, Soma, the moon-god, was born as a partial representation of Lord Brahma- the great mystic Dattatreya was born as a partial representation of Lord Vishnu- and Durvasa was born as a partial representation of Lord Shiva.
Shraddha, the wife of Angira, gave birth to four daughters and two sons- Brihaspati and Utathya.
Havirbhu, the wife of Pulastya, gave birth to Agastya and Vishrava. Vishrava’s first wife, Idavida, gave birth to Kuvera, and his second wife, Keshini, gave birth to Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana.
Kriya, the wife of Kratu, gave birth to 60,000 sages known as the Valakhilyas.
Markandeya Rishi and Ushana, who is also known as Kavi, as well as Sukracharya, were born as the grandsons of Bhrigu’s two sons.
Daksha begot sixteen daughters through his wife, Prasuti. Thirteen were given in marriage to the sage Dharma, one to Agni, one to the Pitriloka, and the youngest was given to Lord Shiva. One of Dharma’s wives, Murti, gave birth to Shri Nara-Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the time of Nara-Narayana’s appearance, the minds of everyone became peaceful, and all directions appeared to be filled with joy. Music was heard coming from the heavenly kingdom, and flowers were showered from the sky. The Gandharvas and Kinnaras sang, the Apsaras danced, and the great sages chanted the Vedic hymns.
When the Lord appeared, Brahma and the other demigods offered their respectful prayers. After receiving their worship, Nara-Narayana Rishi glanced upon the demigods with great mercy, and thereafter, He departed for the Gandhamadana Hill.
Daksha’s daughter, Svaha, married Agni and gave birth to three sons that accepted the sacrificial offerings on behalf of the demigods. From them, came forty-five descendents, so that altogether there are forty-nine fire-gods.
Daksha’s youngest daughter, Sati, married Lord Shiva, but because she gave up her body before reaching the age of puberty, she did not have any children.
Although Lord Shiva was faultless, his father-in-law used to criticize him unnecessarily. Sati had personally chosen Lord Shiva, but Daksha was never satisfied with her selection because her husband acted very unconventionally, he presented a very poor appearance, and he didn’t even bother to construct a residence. Once, the great prajapatis were performing a sacrifice in which all of the leading demigods, rishis and fire-gods were assembled, along with their followers.
When Daksha, the leader of the prajapatis, entered the assembly, his bodily luster illuminated the entire sacrificial arena, minimizing the importance of all others that were present there. Indeed, due to Daksha’s influence, everyone respectfully stood up to receive him, with the exception of Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma, being the leader of the assembly, adequately welcomed Daksha, but the latter became very angry and offended when he saw how Lord Shiva had slighted him by remaining silently seated.
His eyes glowing with rage, Daksha addressed the assembly: “Please hear me with attention, for I am not speaking out of envy or ignorance. Shiva has polluted the path of gentle manners, and by doing so, he is spoiling the good reputation of the demigods. By marrying my daughter, he has become my subordinate. Yet, he is so shameless that he did not even bother to stand up to receive me, or offer me any words of welcome.
He lives in filthy places like crematoriums, and his companions are all ghosts and demons. He does not bathe regularly, and he decorates his body with ashes and garlands that are made of skulls and bones. Going naked like a madman, he sometimes laughs and sometimes cries, and thus he is Shiva, auspicious, in name only. It is because of Lord Brahma’s request that I gave my chaste daughter to him, even though he is devoid of cleanliness and good behavior.”
Because of his anger, Daksha did not even want to acknowledge that Brahma was his father, and so he referred to him merely as “parameshthi”, the supreme teacher. In this way, Daksha indirectly accused Brahma of being less intelligent for having advised him to hand over his beautiful daughter to such a nasty fellow.
After speaking to the assembly, Daksha washed his hands and mouth. Then, while looking at Lord Shiva as if he were an enemy, Daksha cursed him, saying, “Lord Shiva, who is the lowest of the demigods, should no longer receive a share of the sacrificial offerings!”
After saying this, Daksha angrily stormed out of the assembly, despite the attempts of others to pacify him. Actually, this so-called curse was a great blessing for a devotee like Lord Shiva, for it gave him the opportunity to avoid the association of the materialistic demigods.
Although Lord Shiva remained calm and tolerant, one of his principal associates, Nandishvara became enraged and so he counter-cursed Daksha and the brahmanas that had sided with him.
Nandishvara said, “Whoever, due to envy, has accepted Daksha to be more important than Lord Shiva, will become bereft of all transcendental knowledge. Because Daksha is simply attached to his body and sex-indulgence, and is thus devoid of any good intelligence, he will soon receive the face of a goat!”
“May those who have insulted Lord Shiva due to having become as dull as matter by the cultivation of materialistic education, continue in the cycle of repeated birth and death. Since the brahmanas who supported Daksha perform religious rituals only for the purpose of maintaining their bodies, let them become bereft of all discrimination as to what is fit to eat and what is not. Let them beg for money by going door to door, simply for the purpose of gratifying their senses.”
After hearing this, Bhrigu retaliated on behalf of the hereditary brahmanas by condemning the followers of Lord Shiva with a strong brahminical curse: “Those who follow Lord Shiva will become atheists, and thus diverted from genuine Vedic principles. The devotees of Lord Shiva are so foolish that they try to imitate him by having long hair, and they subsist upon wine, flesh and other such abominable things. Because they blaspheme the brahmanas, who are true followers of Vedic principles, the devotees of Lord Shiva must be considered to have already come under the sway of atheistic doctrine.”
While such cursing and counter-cursing was going on, Lord Shiva became very morose, and then, without saying anything, he suddenly left the assembly, followed by his disciples. Thereafter, the prajapatis continued worshiping the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, by the performance of sacrifice for one thousand years. Then, at last, after taking the avabhrita-snana at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna, they returned home.
Thereafter, the tension between Lord Shiva and Daksha continued for a long time. Then once, Daksha performed a vajapeya sacrifice and afterwards he commenced another great sacrifice called the Brihaspati-sava. Because Lord Brahma had appointed him the chief of all prajapatis, Daksha had become very puffed-up, and so he dared to perform these sacrifices without inviting Lord Shiva. It is a fact that one can satisfy Lord Vishnu even without worshiping the various demigods, but on the other hand, He wants that his great devotees should be satisfied first. Therefore, the fact that Daksha purposely neglected Lord Shiva, the greatest Vaishnava, was not befitting.
The great demigods and rishis came from all over the universe to attend Daksha’s sacrifice, and thus Sati could hear them conversing as they flew overhead in their celestial airplanes. When Sati saw how the wives of the denizens of heaven were gorgeously dressed and decorated with fine ornaments, she addressed her husband with great anxiety.
Sati said, “My dear Lord Shiva, your father-in-law is preparing to perform a great sacrifice. All of the other demigods have been invited, along with their wives, and so we may also go, if you desire. My sisters and their husbands are certainly going there to visit their relatives. Therefore, I also want to dress up and go there, wearing the ornaments that were given to me by my father. Due to our family feud, I have not visited my father’s house for such a long time and so I am very anxious to see my relatives. I know that you are very exalted and thus do not care for these social functions, but I am a poor woman, and so I want to go. How can a daughter remain undisturbed after hearing that some festival is taking place at her father’s house? I know that we have not been invited, but there is no harm if one goes to the house of a friend, husband, spiritual master or father without an invitation. My dear lord, please be kind upon me and fulfill my desire.”
Although he very well remembered Daksha’s malicious and heart-piercing words, Lord Shiva smilingly replied, “My dear beautiful wife, it is true that one may go to a friend’s house without an invitation. But this is true only if such a friend does not find fault with one and become angry, due to being in the bodily conception of life. It is a fact that education, austerity, wealth, beauty, youth and family heritage are desirable qualities, but if one becomes proud because of possessing them, he loses all good sense and cannot appreciate the glories of spiritually exalted personalities.”
“One should not go to anyone’s house who looks upon his guest with raised eyebrows and angry eyes. The pain that is caused by an enemy’s arrows is not as great as that which is caused by the sharp words uttered by a relative, for such grief continues to burn one’s heart day and night.”
“My dear Sati, although you are Daksha’s pet daughter, even if you go without me, he will not honor you, because of your being my wife, and thus you will regret your connection with me. Materially puffed-up persons, who are always disturbed in body and mind, cannot tolerate the spiritual opulence of self-realized souls. Because I am always offering obeisances unto Lord Vasudeva in pure consciousness, I naturally respect all living entities, in whose bodies He resides.”
“My dear wife, because your father is envious of me, he will surely insult you if you go there. If you are still thinking to go, then I must warn you that for a respectable person like yourself, an insult from a relative is equal to death.”
As Lord Shiva became silent, Sati was seen moving this way and that, on account of her indecision. She was very anxious to see her relatives, but at the same time, she was afraid to do so because of her husband’s warning. Feeling very aggrieved because Lord Shiva had forbidden her to go, Sati began to tremble as tears fell from her eyes. Indeed, due to becoming very agitated, she gave her husband such a hurt look that it appeared as if she would burn him to ashes. Finally, while breathing very heavily due to her anger and bereavement, Sati departed impetuously for her father’s house, having lost all good intelligence because of womanly weakness.
Seeing Sati leave, Lord Shiva’s disciples, headed by Maniman, who were ready to sacrifice everything for their lord, quickly followed her, along with thousands of Yakshas. Knowing that Lord Shiva did not want his wife to go alone, they seated Sati upon Nandi, the bull, and gave her the bird that she kept as a pet. Indeed, they arranged a very pompous and royal procession by covering her with a nice canopy and providing musical accompaniment along with the sounding of conch shells and bugles.
When Sati arrived at her father’s sacrificial arena, which was filled with the sound of Vedic mantras, out of fear of Daksha, none of the assembled demigods or sages received her very well. Although her mother and sisters welcomed her in a very pleasing manner, with gladdened faces and moistened eyes, Sati did not reply. Even though she was offered a nice seat and various gifts, Sati refused to accept anything because her father had neither welcomed her nor asked about her welfare. Then, when she saw that no arrangements had been made in the sacrificial arena for offerings to be made to her husband, Sati became so angry that she appeared ready to burn Daksha with her red-hot eyes.
Upon seeing her mood, Lord Shiva’s followers were prepared to kill Daksha, but Sati checked them. Then, within the hearing of all, Sati chastised her father, saying, “Lord Shiva is the foremost personality, and he is beloved by all due to his being free from enmity. Thus, it is only you who could be envious of him. Your only business is to find faults in others whereas Lord Shiva magnifies whatever good qualities he sees.”
“Still, it is not astonishing that a person who has accepted the body as the self should always engage in deriding great souls. You consider my husband to be inauspicious, but do you think that Lord Brahma is a fool? He accepts the flowers that have been offered at the lotus feet of Lord Shiva and places them upon his head with great respect. If one hears blasphemy of the Lord or His representative, he should block his ears and go away if he is unable to punish the offender. But, if one is able to, then he should forcibly cut out the blasphemer’s tongue and then, after killing him, he should give up his own life.”
“Since you are my father, and because others might accuse my husband of having employed me to do what he could not- I will not kill you. Instead, I will give up this abominable body that I have received from you. If someone has swallowed poisonous food, the best treatment is to vomit.”
“My dear father, the opulence of Lord Shiva is impossible for you or your flatterers to imagine, because persons who perform great fruitive sacrifices for gratifying their bodies can hardly understand the position of self-realized souls. I am very ashamed of my bodily relationship with you because you are an offender at the lotus feet of Lord Shiva. Indeed, whenever my husband addresses me as Dakshayani, I become very morose. Now, I will give up the body that I had received from you.”
After saying this, Sati, who was dressed in saffron colored cloth, sat on the ground, facing north. After purifying herself by touching water, she closed her eyes and began to absorb her mind in meditation upon the lotus feet of Lord Shiva. Then, as Sati gradually raised her life-air to between her eyebrows, she meditated upon the fiery air that is within the body. As a result, Sati became engulfed in a blazing fire, and in this way she gave up the body that her father had given her. She did this so that she could have another birth that would allow her uncontaminated association with her lord.
A tumultuous uproar resounded all over the universe, as the denizens of heaven exclaimed, “Oh! Why has Sati, the wife of the most respectable demigod, quit her body in anger? How could Daksha have been so cruel to his own daughter, who was such a chaste and exalted girl? Obviously, he is so heard-hearted that he is unworthy of being called a brahmana. Daksha will surely become infamous for having offended the Supreme Lord, and for failing to prevent the death of his own daughter.”
While the members of the assembly spoke amongst themselves in the same way, the followers of Lord Shiva prepared to kill Daksha with their weapons. To atone for having failed to protect their mistress, they were ready to give up their own lives, after first killing the offender.
As the ghosts and Yakshas rushed at Daksha, however, Bhrigu quickly offered oblations into the southern side of the sacrificial fire, while uttering mantras from the Yajur Veda meant for counteracting those who disrupt sacrificial performances. Instantly, thousands of demigods, named Ribhus appeared from the fire, and due to being invested with Soma’s energy, they were extremely powerful. Thus, by dint of the superior brahma-tejas, when the Ribhus attacked Lord Shiva’s followers with half-burnt wood from the sacrificial fire, they panicked and began fleeing in all directions.
When Lord Shiva heard from Narada about Sati’s suicide and the defeat of his followers at the hands of the Ribhu demigods, he became furious. Lord Shiva had not rejected the possibility that Sati might resolve the family dispute. But now, with this ugly turn of events, he decided to kill Daksha in retaliation, and for this purpose, he snatched a hair from his head while biting his lip with rage. Laughing like a madman, Lord Shiva dashed that blazing hair onto the ground, and as a result, a fearful black demon named Virabhadra was created. As tall as the sky, and bright as three suns, the demon had thousands of arms, sharp teeth, and blazing hair. Adorned with a garland of human heads, he stood before Lord Shiva with folded hands and inquired, “What shall I do, my lord.”
Lord Shiva ordered Virabhadra, who was the personified anger of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus fully confident of his prowess, “Go and kill Daksha, and destroy his sacrifice!”
After circumambulating Lord Shiva, Virabhadra departed, along with many of Lord Shiva’s followers, all of whom created a tumultuous uproar. As Virabhadra ran with his uplifted trident, his bangles appeared to roar, and he looked fearful enough to kill even death itself.
Meanwhile, the assembly at Daksha’s sacrificial arena began to perceive an encroaching darkness, and while speculating about it, they came to understand that it was being caused by a dust storm. With great anxiety, they said to one another, “There is no wind, no herd of cows, nor is it possible that this dust storm could be caused by a mob of plunderers, for the powerful King Barhi is still ruling the earth. Is the dissolution of the world now at hand?”
The women, headed by Prasuti, replied, “This dangerous condition is the result of Daksha’s insulting behavior, which caused the innocent Sati to give up her body as we all looked on. At the time of dissolution, Lord Shiva laughs and dances proudly, and with his trident, he pierces the rulers of the various planets.”
While such talk was going on, Daksha began to see fearful omens in the sky and upon the land. Thereafter, Lord Shiva’s followers surrounded the sacrificial arena and began to create disturbances. They were all of short stature having black and yellowish complexions, and they menacingly wielded their various weapons. Some pulled down the pillars that supported the pandal, some entered the ladies’ quarters, and others began to destroy the sacrificial arena. While still others engaged in breaking the sacrificial paraphernalia and extinguishing the sacrificial fire, others passed urine on the sacrificial arena.
Some of Lord Shiva’s followers blocked the way of the fleeing sages, and others arrested the demigods who tried to escape. Maniman captured the chief priest, Bhrigu, and Virabhadra arrested Daksha. Chandesha caught hold of Pusha and Nandishvara arrested Bhaga.
To take revenge for the previous insulting behavior, Virabhadra violently tore off Bhrigu’s moustache. Next, he caught hold of Bhaga, who had moved his eyebrows during the cursing of Lord Shiva, and after angrily throwing him upon the ground, he put out his eyes. Virabhadra then knocked out Daksha and Pusha’s teeth, since both of them had shown them as an insult to Lord Shiva. Finally, Virabhadra sat down on Daksha’s chest and tried to cut off his head with various weapons. When all of his attempts proved futile, Virabhadra next tried to cut off Daksha’s head with the use of mantras, but still he could hardly even scratch the skin.
Virabhadra then saw the wooden device that had been used for killing the sacrificial animals, and by using it, he was finally able to cut off Daksha’s head. Upon witnessing this, Lord Shiva’s ghostly followers cheered with joy, while the brahmanas began to wail with grief. Virabhadra then picked up Daksha’s head and threw it as an offering into the southern side of the sacrificial fire. In this way, Lord Shiva’s followers destroyed Daksha’s sacrifice, and finally, after setting fire to the whole arena, they departed for Kailash.
Having been defeated and injured by Lord Shiva’s soldiers, the brahmanas and demigods went to take shelter of Lord Brahma. After offering their obeisance to the Grandsire, they anxiously explained all that had taken place. Actually, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma had foreseen what would happen, and for that reason they had not attended the Daksha-yagya.
After hearing from the demigods, Lord Brahma replied, “You cannot become happy by performing a sacrifice, and at the same time, blaspheming a great personality. By excluding Lord Shiva from his share of the sacrificial offerings, you have all become offenders at his lotus feet. Therefore, you must go and surrender unto him by falling down at his lotus feet without any mental reservations, and in this way, he may become pleased. Lord Shiva is so powerful that he can immediately destroy all of the planets, along with their presiding deities. Because he has become very aggrieved due to the loss of his wife, as well as Daksha’s cruel words, it behooves you to go and beg for his forgiveness.”
Thereafter, Lord Brahma escorted the demigods and great sages to Lord Shiva’s abode, which is known as Kailash Hill. While on the way, they passed over the Saugandhika forest, where Alakapuri, the abode of Kuvera is situated. The whole area was astonishingly beautiful, due to the forests that were filled with all varieties of fruit trees and flowers, as well as the lakes, which abounded with lotus flowers and swans. The demigods admired the bathing ghats, whose stairways were made of vaidurya stone.
At Kailash Hill there were many waterfalls, whose pleasing sounds combined with the crowing of peacocks and humming of bees. The whole area was inhabited by Kinnaras and Gandharvas, along with their beautiful consorts, the Apsaras, and within the caves lived Siddhas, in the company of their wives. The entire region was filled with the very best of trees, such as the parijata, tamala, tala, arjuna, mango, kadamba, champaka, ashoka, malati, mallika, madhavi and bakula, so that the scented breezes served to agitate the minds of the celestial women for further sexual enjoyment.
Indeed, due to an abundance of desire trees, the abode of Lord Shiva appeared to resemble the planet of Lord Krishna in the spiritual world. Because of the many varieties of lotuses and other fragrant flowers, the entire forest seemed to be one great garden wherein all kinds of animals roamed, including the musk deer.
In Kailash there are two rivers, the Nanda and Alakananda, which are sanctified by the dust from the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda. The celestial damsels come to bathe in these rivers after having diminished their lust by engaging in sexual enjoyment with their husbands. After the damsels of heaven bathe, the water becomes yellowish and fragrant due to the kunkum from their bodies. For this reason, the elephants that come to bathe, along with their wives drink the water, even if they are not really thirsty.
The demigods saw a small lake named Alakananda, where Sati used to bathe, and finally they came to a place where they saw a great banyan tree, one hundred yojanas tall. Due to the shade of this tree, the air was permanently cool, and because there were no birds’ nests, the atmosphere was calm and quiet. The demigods saw Lord Shiva sitting underneath this tree, and because his expression was very grave, it appeared as if he had given up all anger.
Lord Shiva was seated upon a deerskin, and was surrounded by great souls like Kuvera, Narada and the four Kumaras. Due to his body being smeared with ashes, he appeared to be like an evening cloud, and his hair was decorated with the symbol of a crescent-moon. Because he was engaged in speaking about the Absolute Truth, the forefinger of his right hand, which held a string of rudraksha beads, was in the mode of argument. His left leg was placed upon his right thigh, and his left hand was resting upon his left thigh, a sitting posture that is called virasana.
The demigods and brahmanas offered their obeisances to Lord Shiva with folded hands. In turn, when Lord Shiva saw Lord Brahma before him, he stood up and then bowed to touch his feet, as did all of the sages, headed by Narada. After being worshiped, Lord Brahma smiled, to conceal his fear that Lord Shiva might still be enraged.
Lord Brahma then said, “My dear Lord Shiva, I know that you are the controller of the entire material manifestation, and thus you create, maintain, and annihilate it exactly as a spider creates, maintains and winds up its web.”
“My dear lord, devotees who have fully dedicated their lives unto your lotus feet certainly see the Paramatma within everyone, and thus do not discriminate between one living entity and another. They never become overwhelmed by anger like animals that see nothing without differentiation. Those persons who see everything with differentiation, who are attached to fruitive activities, and who are so mean-minded that they become pained upon seeing the flourishing condition of others, and thus give them distress by uttering harsh words, have already been killed by providence. For this reason, there is no need for them to be killed again by an exalted personality like you. Materialists are bewildered by maya, and so a saintly person compassionately does not take their offenses seriously or try to retaliate.”
“My dear lord, you are never bewildered by the influence of the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus you should be merciful toward those that are bewildered. You are a shareholder of the sacrificial offerings, but the foolish priests neglected you and as a result, you destroyed everything. Now, because the sacrifice remains unfinished, please do the needful to restore it and then take your rightful share. Let Daksha get back his life, Bhrigu his moustache, Bhaga his eyes and Pusha his teeth. In addition, let the brahmanas who have been injured by your soldiers become healed, by your grace.”
Lord Shiva replied, “My dear father, I do not mind the childish offenses of the less-intelligent demigods. I have punished them just to bring them back to the right path. Since Daksha’s head has already been burned to ashes, he shall receive the head of a goat. Bhaga will be able to see his share of the sacrifice through the eyes of Mitra. Pusha will be able to chew only through the teeth of his disciples, or if he eats independently, he will have to be satisfied with dough made from chickpea flour (besin atta). Bhrigu will get the beard from the goat’s head that is given to Daksha. The demigods and priests who have agreed to give me my share of the sacrificial offerings will recover from all of their injuries. However, those whose arms were severed will have to work with the arms of the Ashvini-kumaras, and those whose hands were cut off will have to work with the hands of Pusha.”
Everyone was satisfied with this arrangement and thereafter, Bhrigu invited Lord Shiva to come to the sacrificial arena. Thus, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, and all of the demigods and sages went to the place where the sacrifice had been demolished. Under Lord Shiva’s direction, Daksha’s body was joined with the head of a goat that was to have been offered in sacrifice. As soon as the goat’s head was joined to his body, Daksha regained consciousness, and upon awakening from his slumber, he saw Lord Shiva standing before him.
Due to seeing Lord Shiva with a respectful attitude, Daksha’s heart, which had been polluted by envy, became immediately cleansed. Daksha wanted to offer suitable prayers to Lord Shiva, but as he sorrowfully remembered the death of his daughter, Sati his eyes filled up with tears, and his voice choked up so that he could not speak. Having come to his senses, Daksha pacified his mind with great endeavor.
Then he prayed, “My dear lord, I committed a great offense, but you are so kind that instead of withdrawing your mercy, you have exhibited your great favor by punishing me. I did not know your glories and thus I criticized you in the assembly of demigods and rishis. As a result, I was destined to glide down to hell, but you have saved me from that fate by punishing me and thus bringing me to my right consciousness.”
After being pardoned by Lord Shiva, Daksha took permission from Lord Brahma and resumed the performance of his sacrifice, with the help of the brahmanas. First, the sacrificial arena was purified and for this purpose, a method of offering oblations into the fire called purodasa was employed. After the sanctity of the sacrificial arena had been fully restored, when Daksha offered ghee into the fire as mantras from the Yajur Veda were being chanted, Lord Vishnu appeared there, riding upon the shoulders of Garuda.
The Lord’s great effulgence diminished the luster of all others present, and in His eight hands he held a conch shell, wheel, club, lotus flower, arrow, bow, shield and sword. Due to His various ornaments, the Lord’s entire body resembled a blossoming tree, beautifully decorated with various kinds of flowers. The Lord’s enchanting smile captivated all those who saw Him, especially the devotees. The white chamaras that appeared on both sides looked like swans and the white canopy overhead appeared like the moon.
As soon as Lord Vishnu became visible, all of the demigods and sages, including Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, offered their obeisances by falling down straight before Him. Thus, even though Brahma had previously referred to Lord Shiva as supreme, now both he and Lord Shiva fell prostrated before Lord Vishnu, to offer their respectful obeisances.
The demigods and sages then stood before Lord Vishnu with folded hands and offered their prayers with great awe and veneration. Everyone admitted their own faults, and glorified the Lord to the best of their ability.
Lord Shiva prayed, “My dear Lord, my mind and consciousness are always fixed upon Your lotus feet, which are worshiped by all liberated sages. Because my mind is engaged in this way, I am no longer disturbed by persons who blaspheme me, claiming that my activities are not pure.”
Lord Vishnu replied by instructing Daksha about His supreme position: “O twice-born one, I am the original cause of all causes, but because I expand Myself to act through My material energy, My different grades of representations are variously named. Thus, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva are not different from Me, nor are any of the other living beings. Only one who is in ignorance thinks that Lord Shiva or anyone else is independent of Me. Just as no one considers the head and other bodily limbs to be separate from the whole body, so My devotees see everything in relationship with Me.”
Thereafter, Daksha worshiped Lord Vishnu by resuming his sacrificial performance. After completing the sacrifice, he very respectfully worshiped Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva separately, with their respective shares of prasada. Finally, after satisfying all others present, Daksha took his avabhritha bath, and he felt completely satisfied because he was once again situated on the correct path of religion. The demigods then blessed Daksha so that he might always increase in piety, and thereafter, they departed for their respective abodes.
After giving up her body, Sati was born as the daughter of Menaka and the king of the Himalayas. Later on, she once again accepted Lord Shiva as her husband, since that is their eternal relationship.
Maitreya concluded, “My dear Vidura, I heard this story of the Daksha-yagya from Uddhava, the great disciple of Brihaspati. If one hears and describes this narration with faith and devotion, he will certainly become cleansed of all the contamination of material existence.”