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Mohini-murti bewilders Lord Shiva.
After hearing about how the Supreme Personality of Godhead had assumed the form of a woman to captivate the demons and enable the demigods to drink nectar, Lord Shiva went to the abode of Lord Vishnu, accompanied by his wife, Uma, and surrounded by his ghostly companions.
After being very respectfully received and comfortably seated, Lord Shiva worshiped Lord Vishnu and smilingly said, “O all-pervading Lord, master of the universe, You are the root cause of everything, and the supreme controller of all controllers. Because You are the cause of all causes, nothing can exist without You, although we are certainly distinct from You, in a relationship of cause and effect. At the same time, it is You alone Who are the cause and the effect, so that although You appear to be two, You are actually the Absolute One. In other words, there is inconceivably and simultaneously oneness and difference between the cause and effect- or Yourself and everything else.”
“O my Lord, I, Lord Brahma, and the great rishis are born of the mode of goodness, but still, we are bewildered by Your illusory energy and thus cannot understand what this creation is. Therefore, what can be said of others?”
“My Lord, although I have witnessed all of Your multifarious incarnations, I now wish to see the form that you have taken as a beautiful woman. I am very eager to see that form by which You captivated the demons and enabled the demigods to drink nectar.”
Just as Lord Shiva wanted to see the form of Mohini-murti, which captivates the entire world- Lord Vishnu was also thinking of how to captivate Lord Shiva as well. Thus, while gravely smiling, the Lord replied, “O best of the demigods, I shall now show you My form, which is very much appreciated by those who are lusty,”
When the Lord assumed the form of Mohini-murti, the demons were certainly captivated, but the demigods were not. Lord Vishnu therefore knew that Lord Shiva could not become bewildered by even the most beautiful materially created woman. After all, when Cupid once tried to agitate Lord Shiva, in the presence of Parvati, he failed to do so. Instead, he was burned to ashes by the blazing fire that emanated from Lord Shiva’s eyes. Therefore, Lord Vishnu had to think twice about what kind of beautiful form would bewilder even Lord Shiva, the husband of Mayadevi.
Actually, Lord Shiva’s request was certainly a joking affair, for he was confident that since even the demigods had not become agitated by Mohini-murti, there was no question of his being disturbed. On the other hand, by accepting Lord Shiva’s request as a challenge, Lord Vishnu decided to impersonate such a feminine form that would immediately merge Lord Shiva into an ocean of lusty desires. Thus, in effect, Lord Vishnu told him, “I will now show you My form as a woman, but if you become agitated by lusty desires, do not blame Me.”
After saying this, The Lord immediately disappeared, and so Lord Shiva remained standing there with Uma, looking for Him here and there, with moving eyes. Thereafter, Lord Shiva saw a very beautiful woman playing with a ball in a nice forest nearby, which was full of flowering trees. As the woman bounced the ball on the ground, Her breasts trembled, and because of their weight, and the heavy flower garlands that She wore, Her waist appeared to practically break with every step. Her two soft feet were reddish, like coral, and her face was endowed with broad and pretty eyes that restlessly moved as the ball bounced from her hand. Because Her hair was scattered over Her face, She appeared even more beautiful, and as She played with the ball, Her sari gradually became loose. The beautiful woman tried to bind Her hair with Her delicate left hand, while continuing to bounce the ball with Her right, and thus Her appearance became all the more captivating.
As Lord Shiva looked at this woman, who was manifested by the Lord’s internal potency, She sometimes glanced at him and smiled slightly with bashfulness. Indeed, as Lord Shiva continued to watch the beautiful woman, he completely forgot himself, as well as Uma, his most lovely wife, and his associates, who were all standing nearby.
When the ball fell from Mohini-murti’s hand and rolled some distance, She chased it. Then, while Lord Shiva continued to watch her, a breeze suddenly blew away Her fine dress. As Lord Shiva gazed upon each and every part of the woman’s beautifully formed body, She also looked at him with restless eyes. Thus, Lord Shiva became convinced that she was attracted to him, and so he also became very much attracted to Her, and wanted to touch Her. Because Lord Shiva’s good sense had been stolen away because of his lusty desires to enjoy Mohini-murti, he became so mad after Her that even in the presence of his wife, he did not hesitate to approach Her.
The beautiful woman was naked, and so when She saw Lord Shiva coming, She became extremely bashful. Thus, while continuously smiling, She kept moving here and there, hiding amongst the trees. Because his senses were greatly agitated, due to being victimized by lusty desires, Lord Shiva ran after Mohini-murti, just as a lusty elephant chases a she-elephant. After running at great speed, Lord Shiva caught Her by the braid of Her hair and dragged Her close to him, so that even though She was unwilling, he was able to embrace Her tightly in his arms. At this, the woman of Yogamaya presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead began squirming like a snake, and thus she somehow managed to release Herself from the clutches of Lord Shiva’s fond embrace.
As Mohini-murti ran away, Lord Shiva pursued Her, as if harrassed by an enemy in the form of lusty desires. While following the beautiful woman, Lord Shiva involuntarily discharged semen, even though his discharge of semen never goes in vain, and wherever it fell upon the surface of the earth, gold and silver mines later appeared.
Although Lord Shiva had followed Mohini-murti wherever She had gone- near the shores of lakes and rivers, to the mountains, forests and where great rishis reside- after having fully discharged his semen, he could understand that he had been victimized by the illusion that had been created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, he restrained himself from any further maya.
Mohini-murti had dragged Lord Shiva to so many places, especially to the ashrams of the rishis, just to show how he had become mad after a beautiful woman. In this way, the Lord warned the rishis never to think of themselves as liberated, but instead, remain very cautious about the association of women. After being so bewildered, Lord Shiva could all the more realize his position in relation to the unlimited Supreme Lord, Vishnu. Thus, he was not at all surprised at having become bewildered, but instead felt very proud of having such an exalted master. Upon seeing Lord Shiva unagitated and unashamed, Lord Vishnu became very pleased and resumed His original form.
Lord Vishnu said, “O best of the demigods, although you have been amply harassed by My potency in the form of a woman, you are now once again established in you natural position. May there be all good fortune for you.”
My dear Shambhu, who else within this material world but you can surpass My illusory energy? Although people in general are attached to sense enjoyment, and thus are conquered by the influence of My illusory potency, this maya will no longer be able to bewilder you.”
Lord Vishnu lifted up and embraced Lord Shiva, who had fallen to the ground to offer his obeisances. Then, after circumambulating the Lord and taking His permission, Lord Shiva returned to his own abode, Kailash, along with his wife and associates.
There, in great jubilation, Lord Shiva told Uma, “O Goddess, you have now seen the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is the master of everyone. Although I am one of the principal expansions of His Lordship, even I became illusioned by His energy. What then can be said of others? Previously, when I had finished performing mystic yoga for one thousand years, you had asked me upon whom I was meditating. Now, you have seen that Supreme Person, Whom even the Vedas cannot understand.”