Destruction of Daksha Yagna by Virabhadra

In the mean time, Daksha’s jealousy towards Bhagavan gradually picked up momentum and at a ‘Yagna’ organised by the former, there was no place for the usually reserved ‘Havis’ or a major part of the Yagna in favour of Lord Siva; the seat reserved for Siva was unoccupied and Sage Dadhichi pointed out the lacuna but was ignored. Sati Devi felt that Her father made a mistake and despite the denial of Bhagavan proceeded to the Yagna to ascertain the position.Very reluctantly, Bhagavan agreed and Sati was escorted by Nandi and Rudraganas. Daksha ignored his daughter’s entry and of the Rudraganas into the ‘Yagna’ Place. When confronted by Sati about Her husband’s absence, Daksha had openly ridiculed Siva as an uncouth, ill- deserving and uncivilised personality. Devi Sati could not take the insults about Her husband and thus produced Yogic Fire and ended Herself to unite with Bhagavan. As Nandi informed Siva of the tragedy, the latter threw a few of His hairs against a mountain in a heightened rage and the energy created thus broke the mountain into two parts; one half of it produced Virabhadra and another Bhadrakali whom Siva instructed for the destruction of Daksha Yagna, Daksha and whoever else attended the Yagna too. Virabhadra appeared at the site of the Yagna instantly along with a huge army of Sivaganas including Dakini, Bhairava and Kapalini while Bhadrakali entered the Place with the nine incarnations of Bhagavati like Katatyani. As Daksha got terrified of the consequences of the situation, he took refuge at Maha Vishnu who expressed His helplessness and reprimanded Daksha for his foolishness in provoking his own daughter to take away Her life. Vishnu Himself attended the Daksha Yagna and several Devatas too. Vishnu had to fight Virabhadra and Bhagavan’s party. It was rather ironical that this happened. A celestial voice confirmed that Virabhadra was invincible but meanwhile several Devas too were killed and Vishnu too desisted from the battle. Virabhadra severed Daksha’s head and threw it in the ‘Agnikunda’ (Fire pit) and returned to Rudra Deva along with his entourage.The irony of Vishnu’s fighting Virabhadra to defend Himself and the Devas many of whom were all killed and He himself had to be defensive had a background; indeed Vishnu was aware of this. A King called Kushva and Sage Dadhichi were good friends earlier but the ego (Ahamkara) of each other turned out to be mighty enemies. Kushva prayed to Vishnu and Dadhichi looked to Siva for help. Vishnu was pleased with Kushva’s penance and agreed to punish Sage Dadhichi and even used Sudarshana Chakra which proved futile, as Dadhichi was fortified with several years of devotion and Sacrifice along with constant ‘Japa’ (meditation) of Mritunjaya Mantra under the guidance of Sukracharya. Finally, Dadhichi condoned Kushva but did not excuse Vishnu and his Deities and gave the curse that they would all be turned as ash in a fight with Siva’s part- incarnation (Virabhadra). Eventually, Lord Brahma approached Maha Deva to pardon and revive the lives of Vishnu and Devas who were burnt in the battle with Virabhadra. A sobered and ever merciful Siva conceded to the prayers of Brahma that not only Vishnu be pardoned but those Devas who were burnt off in the cross fire with Virabhadra be revived but also allow a revitalized Daksha Prajapati with life by placing the Yagna’s Goat- head on to Daksha’s severed head thrown out by Virabhadra in the Fire pit and thus Daksha had a Goat- head thereafter. The ever grateful Daksha begged of Maha Deva for his pardon and prayed to Him with great sincerity and devotion everafter. He then performed a Yagna again with Maha Deva on the High Seat and with all the Devas to receive their blessings!

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at