It is a well-known event that Mahadeva destroys the sacrifice of Daksha when Devi Sati destroys herself in the sacrifice. But it happened in the Pitri Kalpa.

Destruction of Yajna of Daksha is the symbolism of the fact that Devas due to their arrogancy are stupefied to such level that they proceed to exclude Lord Rudra himself from the sacrifice. And thus finally Devas are punished. The punishment to the Devas due to committing this crime is also described in Taittariya Samhita of YajurVeda 2.6.8 as:

The gods excluded Rudra from the sacrifice; he pierced the sacrifice, the gods gathered round it (saying), 'May it be right for us.' They said, 'Well offered will this be for us, if we propitiate him.' That is why Agni is called the 'well offerer' (svistakrt). When it was pierced (by him) 3 they cut off (a piece) of the size of a barleycorn; therefore one should cut off (a piece) the size of a barleycorn. If one were to cut off more, he would confuse that part of the sacrifice. If he were to make a layer and then to sprinkle, lie would make it swell on both sides. He cuts it off and sprinkles it; there are two operations; the sacrificer has two feet, for support. If he were to transfer it (to the Brahman) crosswise, he would pierce the unwounded part of the sacrifice; lie transfers it in front; verily he transfers it in the proper way. They transferred it for Pusan. Pusan having eaten it lost his teeth; therefore Pusan has pounded food for his share, for he has no teeth. The gods said of him, 'He has lost (his teeth), he is not fit for the offering.' They transferred it to Brhaspati. Brhaspati was afraid, 'Thus indeed will this one fall on misfortune.' He saw this Mantra; 'With the eye of the sun I gaze on thee', he said, for the eye of the sun harms no one. He was afraid, 'It will harm me as I take it.' 'On the impulse of the god Savitr, with the arms of the Açvins, with the hands of Pusan I take thee', he says; verily, impelled by Savitr, he took it with the holy power (Brahman) and with the gods. He was afraid, 'It will harm me as I eat.' 'Thee with the mouth of Agni I eat', he said, for nothing harms the mouth of Agni. He was afraid, 'It will harm me when I have eaten.'

The story described in the Vedas are eternal truths. The Gods change in each Manvantara. As the punishment to Gods by Lord Rudra is ordained by the Vedas themselves, so punishment to arrogant Devas should happen in every Manvantara.

So, did the destruction of the sacrifice of Daksha also occur in the present Vaivasvata Manvantara? If so, how did it happen?

1 Answer 1


Yes, the destruction of sacrifice of Daksha also happened in present Vaivasvata Manvanatara. This chapter of Shanti Parva of Mahabharata clearly describes it:

"Janamejaya said, 'How O Brahmana, was the Horse-sacrifice of the Prajapati Daksha, the son of Prachetas, destroyed during the age of Vaivaswata Manu? Understanding that the goddess Uma had become filled with rage and grief, the puissant Mahadeva, who is the soul of all things, gave way to wrath. How, again, through his grace, was Daksha enable to reunite the divided limbs of that Sacrifice? I desire to know all this. Tell me all this, O Brahmana, truly as it occurred.'

Daksha excludes Lord Rudra from sacrifice but still other Gods due to their arrogancy reach there and Mahadeva creates Virabhadra to destroy the sacrifice:

Unto his wife who was agitated with grief and who repeated these words the illustrious Mahadeva said with a joyous countenance, 'Thou dost not know me, O goddess! Thou knowest not, O thou of delicate limbs and low belly, what words are proper to be addressed to the Lord of Sacrifices. O lady of large eyes, I know that it is only the sinful, who are bereft of contemplation, that do not understand me. It is through thy power of illusion that the deities with Indra at their head and the three worlds all become stupefied. It is to me that the chanters utter their praises in Sacrifices. It is to me that the Saman-singers sing their Rathantaras. It is to me that Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas perform their Sacrifices. And it is to me that the Adhvaryus dedicate the shares of sacrificial offerings.' "The goddess said, 'Persons of even ordinary abilities applaud themselves and indulge in the presence of their spouses. There is no doubt in this.' "The holy one said, 'O Queen of all the gods, I do not certainly applaud my ownself. Behold now, O lady of slender waist, what I do. Behold the Being that I will create, O thou of the fairest complexion, for (destroying) this Sacrifice (that has displeased thee), O my beautiful spouse. "Having said these words unto his spouse Uma who was dearer to him than his own life, the puissant Mahadeva created from his mouth a terrible Being whose very sight could make one's hair stand on its end. The blazing flames that emanated from his body rendered him exceedingly awful to behold. His arms were many in number and in each was a weapon that struck the beholder with fear. That Being, thus created, stood before the great god, with joined hands, and said, 'What commands shall I have to accomplish?' Maheswara answered him, saying, 'Go and destroy the Sacrifice of Daksha.'

And destroying everything, finally the sacrifice is also destroyed:

Of fierce deeds, those Beings, impelled by Rudra's wrath, very soon burnt that Sacrifice although it was protected with great care by all the deities. Loud were the roars they uttered which struck every living creature with dread. Having torn off the head of Sacrifice they indulged in glee and shouts. Then the gods headed by Brahman, and that progenitor of creatures, viz., Daksha, joining their hands in reverence, addressed that mighty Being, saying, 'Tell us, who thou art.'

The Mahabharata before mentioning this story also tells a slightly different story about how sacrifice of Daksha was destroyed. In it Lord Mahadeva himself goes (not Virabhadra) and destroys it himself. And it was also in the presence of Parvati. It means that it is story of destruction of Dakshas Yajna either of Chakshusa Manvantara (when present Parvati might have born or it is Parvati of previous Kalpas. (There were many Parvatis as I discuss in my answer here). The story is in this chapter of Shanti Parva:

Beholding the deities depart, the excellent daughter of the king of mountains, addressed her divine spouse, viz., the Lord of all creatures, and said, 'O illustrious one, whither are those deities headed by Sakra going? O thou that art conversant with the truth, tell me truly, for a great doubt has filled my mind.'

"Maheswara said, 'O lady that art highly blessed, the excellent Prajapati Daksha is adoring the gods in a Horse-sacrifice. These denizens of heaven are proceeding even thither.'

"Uma said, 'Why, O Mahadeva, dost thou not proceed to that Sacrifice? What objection is there of thy going to that place?'

"Maheswara said, 'O highly blessed lady, the deities in days of yore made an arrangement in consequence of which no share was assigned to me of offerings in all Sacrifices. Agreeably to the course that was sanctioned in consequence of that arrangement, O thou of the fairest complexion, the deities do not give me, following the old custom, any share of the sacrificial offerings.' "Uma said, O illustrious one, among all beings thou art the foremost in puissance. In merit, in energy, in fame, and in prosperity, thou yieldest to none, and thou art, indeed, superior to all. In consequence, however, of this disability in respect of a share (in the Sacrificial offerings) I am filled with great grief, O sinless one, and a tremor overtakes me from head to foot.' "Bhishma continued, 'The goddess (Parvati), having said these words unto her divine spouse, the Lord of all creatures, O monarch, remained silent, her heart burning the while in grief. Then Mahadeva, understanding what was in her heart and what her thoughts were (for wiping off that disgrace), addressed Nandi, saying, 'Wait here (by the goddess). Summoning all his Yoga force, that Lord of all lords of Yoga, that god of gods, that wielder of Pinaka, possessed of mighty energy, quickly proceeded to the place (where Daksha was sacrificing) accompanied by all his terrible followers and destroyed that Sacrifice. Amongst these followers of his, some uttered loud cries, and some laughed terribly, and some, O king, extinguished the (Sacrificial) fires with blood; and some, possessed of awful faces, pulling up the sacrificial stakes, began to whirl them. Others began to devour those that were ministering to the Sacrifice. Then that sacrifice, thus afflicted on every side, assumed the form of a deer and sought to fly away through the skies.

Thus the Shanti Parva of Mahabharata itself tells about destruction of sacrifice of Daksha two times which was witnessed by Parvati (not Sati).

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