Bhagawatam 176: Daksha curses Shiva; Nandi retaliates

Achutāya namah

Vidura enquired, “Shiva is the father for all animate and inanimate objects in this creation. There is none whom he dislikes. He is of a peaceful nature and is totally established in his own Self. He is the Lord of the universe. How could it be possible for anyone to dislike Him? What could be the reason for this enmity between Daksha and his son-in-law Shiva? Due to this enmity, Satidevi gave up her body, which should not been done. Please explain to me these details.”

Maitreya Maharishi replied, “Once upon a time Marichi and other Prajāpatis began a ritual known as Satra Yāga. To witness this Yāga, Gods, the different types of Fires (Agni) and all supreme saints together with their disciples assembled in the sacrificial hall.

Thereafter Daksha, who shone radiantly like the Sun which dispels darkness in entirety, entered into the grand assembly wherein everyone was seated. Due to the effect of his radiance, everyone assembled there, including Devatas, the Fires and the Maharishis were stunned and they stood up reverentially to welcome him.

Lords Brahma and Shiva were the only members who remained seated within that assembly. Barring Shiva and Brahma, all others profusely praised and honored Daksha Prajāpati.

Thereafter Daksha Prajāpati offered obeisance to the creator, the Self-born Lord Brahma, and with his permission took his seat. He now looked at Shiva, who had occupied a seat prior to his arrival and who did not even get up in reverence upon his arrival. He concluded that Shiva had done this deliberately to insult him.

With this he was deeply angered. He looked contemptuously at Shiva. With eyes that were spitting fire he said,

“Brahma-rishis, Devatas, the different Fires and other assembled guests in this assembly, please listen. I am going to explain the behavior of noble beings. Neither am I speaking out of ignorance nor out of jealousy. Therefore please listen attentively.

This Shiva is shameless. He is spoiling the good reputation of guardian-deities (loka pālaka). Due to arrogance he is disrupting the path treaded by noble persons. He is destroying good traditions.

Eṣa me śiṣyatāṁ prāpto yan me duhitur agrahīt

Pāṇi viprāgni-mukhataḥ sāvitryā iva sādhuvat 

Like a virtuous person he has, with fire as a witness and in the presence of great Brahmins, accepted my daughter’s hand in marriage. He has married my chaste daughter who is equal to Savitri. As my son-in-law he is also my disciple.

He who is monkey-eyed has married my daughter Sati, who has gentle deer like eyes. As I am his father-in-law, it is customary that he comes forward and welcomes me with full honour when I arrive. He did not follow the custom. Moreover he did not even have the courtesy to greet and welcome me through his speech. He did not honour me in any way.

This Shiva has totally discarded all Vedic rituals. He is impure. He is arrogant. He is ignorant of the customs and traditions. Giving my daughter to him in marriage is akin to preaching auspicious Vedic mantras to the undeserving. Much against my desire I have given my daughter Satidevi to him in marriage.

Letting his hair loose such that it flies in all directions, he roams in crematoriums. Evil spirits such as bhootas and pretas serve him at all times. It is not limited to this. Laughing and crying without apparent reason, he wanders everywhere like a mad man. He picks ash from the crematorium and applies it all over his body. The skulls of the dead form the chain that adorns his neck. Their bones are his ornaments.

The name Shiva actually symbolizes auspiciousness. But it is only for namesake that he has such a name. The truth is that he is inauspicious and impure. Like him, his friends too are conceited and haughty.

He is the leader of troops known as Pramatha gaṇās and Bhoota gaṇās who are predominantly filled with ignorance and inertia (tamo guṇa).

Oho! What a blunder I have committed by heeding Brahma’s advice. To this Shiva who is inauspicious, who is the leader of these ignorant bhoota gaṇās, who is of wicked mind and who is impure, I have given my chaste daughter in marriage”. In this and in many other ways, Daksha insulted Shiva, the resident of Kailasa.

Even after all this, Shiva was unperturbed. He did not develop any anger or aversion towards Daksha. Shiva, the supreme Yogi, considered these insults as worshipful prayers being offered to him by Daksha.

When the deeper meanings within Daksha’s insults are clearly understood, it will be clear that they truly are reverential worshipful prayers.

Seeing Shiva sitting pleasantly and calmly without any reaction, Daksha was even more infuriated. He now cursed Shiva. Holding water in his hand he said,

“This Shiva is the worst amongst the Devatas. In this Yagna ritual where Devatas such as Indra, Vishnu and others get their share of offerings, may he not receive any share of offerings!”

Many of those present in the assembly tried their best to prevent Daksha from cursing Shiva but it was of no avail. Daksha, who had succumbed to anger, did not heed their advice. Having cursed Shiva, he got up from his seat and left for his home.

Even then Shiva continued to sit calmly. He was unperturbed. However Shiva’s attendant Nandi, who was the leader of all Shiva’s troops, was extremely infuriated. Nandi’s mind now was trapped in the vice known as anger.

He retaliated by pronouncing a counter curse upon those amongst the audience who were in agreement with Daksha’s behaviour. He cursed, “This Daksha has feelings of duality in him. He is an ignorant fool. He considers this body, which is subject to destruction, as supreme. He insulted Shiva, the Lord who has never harmed anyone. Therefore may the Supreme Knowledge that exists within him, be lost totally.

Daksha considered his household to be everything. He is a fraudster who is inclined towards false dharmas. Influenced by the Vedic hymns that extol performance of Yagnas and other rituals with expectation of results, this Daksha has stepped on the wrong path. He is now focused upon performing those actions which will resultantly bless him with trivial material comforts. He is now driven by desire”.

Achyutāya Namah

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