Part One (Puranic Sahastra)
कालिका पुराण (पुराण संहिता) কালিকা পুরাণ (পুরাণ সংহিতা)
Birth of Kama
नारायणं नमस्कृत्यं नरञ्चैव नारोत्तमं l
देवीं सरस्वतिञ्चैव ततो जायमुदिरयेत् ll
Narayanam Namaskritya Naranchaiva Narottamam l
Devim Sarasvatinchaiva tato Jayamudirayet ll
A group of sages inquire Sage Markandeya regarding the incarnation of Goddess Kali as Sati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. Sage Markandeya says that once Adi Prajapati Brahma, meditating upon Para Brahman, created his ten Manas Putras Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulah, Kratu, Vashishth, Bhrigu and Narad. Along with them, Brahma also created a woman named Sandhya, who was ethereally beautiful.
Brahma and all his Manas Putras looked at Sandhya with amazement. During that a handsome man was born from Brahma. The man asked Brahma “What is the purpose of my birth? What is my name?” Brahma said “The purpose of your birth is to seduce all. Devas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Sarpas, Daityas, Danavas, Vidyadharas, Rakshasas, Yakshas, Pishachas, Bhutas, Vinayakas, Guhyakas, Siddhas, humans, animals, birds, herbivores, arthropods, insects and aquatic creatures will be subject to you. Even myself, Vishnu and Rudra too will be subject to you.”
Prowess of Kama
After that, the Manas Putras of Brahma said “You will be known as Kama, Madan and Kandarpa. You will destroy Lord Shiva’s ego; your lust arrows will be more potent than Pashupatastra, Narayanastra and Brahmastra combined. Svarga, Martya, Patal and even Satyaloka will be subject to you. What else can be said?”
Markandeya said, the daughter of Brahma, Sandhya was bewitchingly beautiful, whose beauty could seduce even hermits. Kama, in order to test his arrows, shot Brahma, his Manas Putras and Sandhya with his lust arrows. Once infatuated, Brahma and his Manas Putras began to glance Sandhya with lustful eyes. Sandhya too returned their glances. Soon a lust driven Brahma spilled his semen virile. Kama, seeing the successful result of his test, was very much pleased.
Around this time, Lord Shiva was passing by through an aerial route. Upon seeing Brahma’s lust for his own daughter, Lord Shiva rebuked him thus “Do not you feel ashamed of your lust for your own daughter? Such act is unsuitable of a Vedic scholar of your stature. Daughter and daughter-in-law are to be honoured by one as his mother. And you due to your puny infatuation glanced your daughter with lustful eyes! Damn you.”
Upon hearing taunts of Lord Shiva, Brahma was embarrassed. From the semen Brahma spilled, were born Pitris. From Daksha’s semen was born Rati. However, the other Manas Putras of Brahma managed to control their senses. Although Sandhya did not conceive Pitris and Rati, but yet she was considered their mother as she was the cause of their birth.
Marriage of Rati
Brahma seethed in anger at his humiliation at the hands of Lord Shiva. Addressing the Supreme Lord, Brahma said “My Lord! This Kama is wicked and infatuated me with his lust arrows. Hence, this wicked Kandarpa will be incinerated by the flame of your third eye in better future.” Thus Brahma cursed Kama.
Kama panicked hearing this, and began to pray to Brahma “My Lord! I am innocent. You said yourself, Vishnu and Rudra are mu subjects. Hence I tested my boon. Have mercy on me, I am innocent.” Brahma said “You made me desire my own daughter Sandhya. Hence I cursed you. Now my anger is appeased. The day Lord Shiva will get married, you will get back your life.”
Daksha said “Oh Kama! This daughter of mine, Rati is born for you. Accept her as your consort.”
Kama thus accepted Rati like Lord Shiva accepts Ganga, Lord Vishnu accepts Lakshmi and Brahma accepts Savitri.
Brahma’s attempt to delude Lord Shiva
Thinking of Lord Shiva’s taunts, Brahma murmured “How dare Lord Shiva rebuke me for my desire for a woman? Who is that woman, who can seduce Him? Without the presence of such a woman, how can Kama delude Him? If Lord doesn’t marry, how will Lord Shiva fulfil His duties?”
Thinking thus, Brahma went to Kama’s abode. He then spoke “Kama, for the welfare of the creation, you must delude Lord Shiva by shooting Him with your arrows.” Kama said “To honour your command, my Lord, I will for sure delude Lord Shiva. But there should be a woman capable of seducing Lord, or else I will fail.”
Brahma created Vasanta (spring) and said “This Vasanta will be your comrade, oh Kama.
Brahma’s prayer to Devi
Brahma and his Manas Putras began to think, which woman is capable of becoming Lord Shiva’s consort? A thought stuck to Brahma and he said “The Aradhya Devata of Sandhya and Savitri, Mahadevi Kalika is capable of becoming Lord Shiva. Daksha, you must perform penances to appease Devi so that She incarnates as your daughter.”
Daksha thus went to the northern shore of Cosmic ocean and began to perform austerities by controlling his senses. Brahma too, after stationing himself at mount Mandar, began to praise Jagadhatri Kalika with a special hymn.
Appeased with Brahma’s hymn, Devi Kalika appeared before him. She was four-armed and seated on the back of a lion. She held a sword and a Vajra with her two left hands while both her right hands were held open, displaying Abhaya & Varada Mudras. Her hair was loose and she was of dark complexion.
An ecstatic Brahma, with his voice chocking with tears, prayed to Devi thus “ Become Lord Shiva’s consort.”
Devi’s assurance to Brahma
Bhagavati Kalika thus spoke to Brahma in a voice rumbling like clouds “Lord Shiva is Supreme Brahman, oh Brahma! He is above any desires, infatuation or temptations. But for sporting His divine play, Lord voluntarily becomes subject to me. The truth is I myself am His Maya, and in every Kalpa, I incarnate to assist Him. I will fulfil your desire by luring Lord Shiva. Know that for sure.”
Saying so, Bhagavati vanished. Brahma then rode on his swan to the abode of Kama, and narrated him all. Even after Brahma’s encouragement, Kama is afraid of approaching Lord Shiva who has a fierce form. Upset with Kama’s disinterest, Brahma sighs heavily. From his exhale are born Ganas of ferocious features. Armed with weapons like trident, noose, sword, bow, spear, goad, club, arrow, pestle and ploughshare, the Ganas were riding chariots. They screamed “Maro, maro” (kill, kill) as soon as they were born, and hence were named Marutas. Brahma convinced Kama to carry on the task of luring Lord Shiva.
Conversation between Brahma and Kama
Kama tries and fails to lure Lord Shiva. He narrates the woeful tale of his defeat to Brahma. When Lord Shiva was meditating on Mt. Kailash, Kama along with Rati and Vasant approached Him. The moment Lord Shiva came out of His trance, Kama deluded a flock of peacocks and other birds right in front of Lord Shiva. Vasant brought down spring at the cold, arid mountains; but nothing had its effect on the Transcendental Lord.
Devi’s boon to Daksha
Brahma assured Kama that his job will be easier once Bhagavati Kalika incarnates as Dakshayani, till then Kama must wait. On the other side, Daksha’s penance bears fruit. Devi Kalika appeared before him. She was four-armed and seated on the back of a lion. She held a sword and a blue lotus with her two left hands while both her right hands were held open, displaying Abhaya & Varada Mudras. She had three bloodshot eyes and She was radiant like a blue diamond.
Daksha was ecstatic. He sang a hymn to Bhagavati and asked for boons thus “Become my daughter. Marry Lord Shiva.” Bhagavati assured that She would take an incarnation at his home, as Dakshayani. But Daksha must always honour Her, as She would discard Her mortal frame otherwise. Saying so, Devi vanished.
Pleased with himself, Daksha returned to his abode. His wife Prasuti begat him thousand sons, who at the advice of Narad became hermits and went out to tour the world. At last, from the sacred union of Daksha and Prasuti, Bhagavati Kalika Herself incarnated. Daksha welcomed Her into the world with a hymn. Gods showered flowers on Her from the sky.”
Sati was devoted to Lord Shiva even in Her childhood. She was a perfect daughter and a source of joy who made Daksha and Prasuti proud parents.
Soon Sati grew up into a graceful lady, like the moon digit gradually grows from Amavasya to Purnima. With the permission of Her mother, Sati observed Nanda Vrata and worshiped Lord Shiva for one year, starting from the month of Ashvin.
During this period, Brahma with Savitri and Vishnu with Lakshmi paid visit to Lord Shiva at Mt. Kailash. They requested Lord Shiva thus “Oh Lord! Without your participation, smooth functioning of the creation is not possible. Hence, please marry and take up a wife.”
Lord Shiva said “The three of us are manifestations of Parabrahman. Hence, to fulfil your request, I must marry a woman who will participate in Yogic activities and will be able to withstand my radiance. Find such a woman, and I shall accept her as my consort.”
Brahma said “My Lord! There exists a woman of your desire. She is daughter of my Manasputra Prajapati Daksha, and she is performing penances to attain you as your husband. Please fulfil her wish and take up her as your consort.”
Lord Shiva said “So it be.”
Lord Shiva’s boon to Sati
Sati completed Nanda Vrata on Ashtami tithi of Shukla Paksha, in the month of Ashvin. On Navami, Lord Shiva appeared before Sati to confer boons to Her. Sati smiled bashfully upon seeing Lord Shiva Himself.
Despite knowing Sati’s wish, Lord Shiva said “What boon do you desire?” just to hear it from Sati. Sati bashfully could not say anything. Returning Lord Shiva’s smile, she said “bestow me with my desired boon.”
Meanwhile, Lord Shiva voluntarily came under influence of Kama, and said smiling “Become my wife.” again and again. Sati bashfully returned Lord’s smile and agreed.
Assured, Lord Shiva returned to His abode. Sati too went to Her mother and narrated to her Her meeting with Lord Shiva. After sometime, Brahma with Savitri visited Lord Shiva, who was missing Sati very much. Lord addressed Brahma thus “Go to Prajapati Daksha’s abode, and tell him that I desire to have his daughter as my consort. Tell him to make appropriate arrangements for Sati’s betrothal.”
Brahma obliged, and went to Daksha’s abode in Kankhal. By now Daksha came to know everything from Prasuti, and spoke of his worries thus “My daughter Sati wishes to marry Lord Shiva. How can that happen? How can we insignificant creatures approach Supreme Lord?” Brahma said “Do not worry. Sati has appeased Lord with her prayers, and Lord Shiva Himself desires to marry your daughter. He may soon send wedding proposal. Please cooperate by accepting.” Daksha said “It is my fortune that I will be betrothing my daughter to Lord Shiva.”
Brahma soon returned to Mt. Kailash. On seeing him, Lord Shiva asked “What did Prajapati Daksha say?” Brahma said “My Lord! Daksha is eager to betroth Sati to you. He is awaiting your arrival.” Lord Shiva said “Very well. Summon your other Manasputras and Devas to participate in my wedding procession.”Brahma obliged and his Manasputras as well as Devas arrived at Kailash the moment Brahma summoned them.
Marriage of Shiva & Sati
As told earlier, all Brahma’s Manasputras arrived at Mt. Kailash and they set out for Daksha’s abode. The Pramathas took out Lord Shiva’s wedding procession, which was also joined by Devas, Gandharvas and Apsaras, who sang and danced in joy. Soon the procession reached Kankhal. Lord Shiva and other guests were received by Daksha personally. There was an atmosphere of festival and joy everywhere. At request of Daksha, Brahma himself became the officiating priest and performed the marriage rites of Lord Shiva and Sati.
After the wedding was over, Lord Vishnu approached Lord Shiva and spoke to Him thus “My Lord! Like I am complete due to Lakshmi, you are now complete with Sati. Oh Lord, due to her, please become a householder now. Please protect Sati, and do not hesitate to kill the person who lusts for her.” All knowing Lord Shiva said “So be it.”
Meanwhile, Brahma got sexually excited upon seeing the radiant face of Devi Sati, and gazed at Her face again and again. Unable to control his lust, Brahma spilled his seed on the floor. Immediately, a mass of cloud rose from Brahma’s semen and began to thunder. Lord Shiva was mesmerised seeing Sati’s beauty. But even then, in order to fulfil the wish of His dearest devotee Vishnu, Lord Shiva aimed His trident at Brahma and threatened to kill him. The sages ran in panic upon seeing Lord Shiva’s wrath. Daksha too began to pray to Lord Shiva for sparing Brahma’s life.
Lord Shiva spoke to Daksha thus “Vishnu has prayed to me not to spare the person who lusts for her.” Just then Lord Vishnu intervened and began to pray to Lord Shiva thus “My Lord! Please do not kill Brahma. Brahma, myself and you take turns to create, sustain and annihilate the creation. How will these functions be executed if you kill Brahma?”
Lord Shiva said “I will fulfil my vow of killing Brahma. Thereafter I will create another Brahma who at my command will create. Hence, step aside.”
Lord Vishnu said “My Lord! Do not kill yourself.” Although Lord Shiva is all knowing, by feigning ignorance He asked Lord Vishnu thus “How am I same as Brahma? I clearly see him as distinct from myself.”
Lord Vishnu said “My Lord! Myself and Brahma are not separate from you. We are your parts, and you are the Supreme Brahman, devoid of any form or attributes. You are the soul pervading us. Brahma, myself and you are in reality three parts of yourself. It is you who through your threefold parts- Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra accomplish the tasks of creation, sustenance and annihilation. My Lord! Try to concentrate on yourself; try to comprehend the true nature of yourself.”
Although Lord Shiva was very well aware of the non duality of Himself, Lord Vishnu and Brahma, but yet for the benefit of His devotees Lord feigned ignorance and asked Lord Vishnu again and again to extol the Advaitavada. Appeased with Lord Vishnu’s service, Lord Shiva decided against killing Brahma.