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In Shiva Purana I heard it's mentioned that Shiva's army consisting of Bhūtas (bhūta gaṇa), Vetālas etc., molested many women who attended the Daksha Yagna. Is this true?

If yes, how is this action by Shiva's army justified?

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Lord Shiva's army (Army of Shiva Ganas with valiant Veerabhadra) didn't molest any woman.

Daksha Yajna is described in detail in Chapter 36 and 37 of Rudra Samhita (Sati Khanda) of Shiva Mahapurana. You can read those complete chapters from here, here, here and here.

I quote all actions done by Shiva ganas during Daksha Yajna from those chapters.

From Chapter 36 of Rudra Samhita (Sati Khanda),

देवानां ध्रं राष्टानां च तदासीत्समरो महान्।
तीक्ष्णतामरनाराचैर्युयुधुस्ते बलान्विताः।।९।।

Then the gods as well as the Šiva ganas started fighting with one another using the sharp spears and arrows.

वृषभस्थान् पुरस्कृत्य स्वयं चैव महाबलः।
महात्रिशूलमादाय पातयामास निर्जरान्।।१५।।

Mounted over the bull, the ganas were deputed in the front. Together with his forces Virabhadra holding a trident in his hand felled the god.

एते रुद्रसहायाश्च गणाः परमकोपनाः। आगता यज्ञविघ्नार्थं तं करिष्यन्त्यसंशयम्॥३१॥

These ganas with the help of Šiva, getting enraged are participating in the war for the purpose of total destruction and they shall return after doing so.

ब्रहोवाच
एवमुक्त्वा शितैर्बाणैर्जघानाथ रुषान्वितः।
निखिलांस्तान् सुरान् सद्यो वीरभद्रो गणाग्रणी:।
तैर्बाणैर्निहताः सर्वे वासवाद्याः सुरेश्वराः।।३८।।
पलायनपरा भूत्वा जग्मुस्ते च दिशो दश।
गतेषु लोकपालेषु विदुतेषु सुरेषु च। यज्ञवाटोपकण्ठे हि वीरभद्रोऽगमद्गणैः।।३९।।

Brahma said, “Thus speaking, Virabhadra, the best among the ganas of Šiva getting enraged, shot arrows at all the gods, who getting injured, fled away to all the ten direction. After the fleeing of the Lokapalas and the gods Virabhadra went to the place of yajña with his ganas.

वीरभद्रः शूलपाणिर्नानागणसमन्वितः।
ददर्श विष्णुं सन्नद्धं योद्धुकामं महाप्रभुम्।।४५।।

Virabhadra on the other hand holding a trident in his hand, accompanied with innumerable ganas found Visnu ready for Waging a War.

From Chapter 37 of Rudra Samhita (Sati Khanda),

वीरभद्रगणैस्तेषां लोकपालाः सवासवाः।
युद्धाञ्चक्रुस्तथा सिंहनादं कृत्वा बलान्विताः॥५।

Mighty Indra and other Lokapalas then started fighting with the ganas of Vīrabhadra roaring like a lion.

गणानां लोकपालानां द्वन्द्वयुद्ध भयावहम्।
अभवत्तत्र तुमुलं गर्जतां सिंहनादतः।।६।।

Roaring like the lion, the Sivaganas fought a terrific battle with Indra and Lokapalas.

यमेन सह सड्यार्म महालोको गणाग्रणी:।
चकार तुमुलं वीरो महादेवं स्मरन्मुदा।।१२।।

Mahāloka the chief of his ganas, meditating on Siva in his mind, delightfully fought a horrible battle with Yama.

नैर्ऋतेन समागम्य चण्डश्च बलवत्तरः॥
युयुधे परमास्त्रैश्च नैर्ऋर्तिं निविडम्बयन्।।१३।।

The valorous Canda, attacking Nirrti with his astonishing types of Weapons, fought with him.

वरुणेन समं वीरो मुण्डश्चैव महाबलः।
युयुधे परया शक्त्या त्रिलोकीं विस्मयन्निव।।१४।।

The immensely strong Munda, carrying the divine Weapons, fought with Varuna, carrying the huge spear.

वायुना च हतो भूङ्गी स्वास्त्रेण परमौजसा।
भृङ्गिणा च हतो वायुस्त्रिशूलेन प्रतापिना॥१५॥

Bhring the glorious one, attacked over the wind god, with his trident, while the wind god wounded Bhringi with his weapons.

कुबेरेणैव सङ्गम्य कूष्माण्डपतिरादरात्।
युयुधे बलवान्वीरो ध्यात्वा हदि महेश्वरम्।१६।।

The valorous, Kusmandapati, with his mind devoted to Mahesvara, started fighting with Kubera.

योगिनीचक्रसंयुक्तो भैरवीनायको महान्।
विदार्य देवानखिलान् पयौ शोणितमद्भुतम्।१७।।

The leader Bhairavi in association with the yoginis, tore out the bodies of the gods and drank their blood.

क्षेत्रपालास्तथा तत्र बुभुक्षुः सुरपुङ्गवान्।
काली चापि विदार्यैव तान्पपौ रुधिरं बहु॥१८॥

Ksetrapalas, devoured the gods. Mahakali on the other tore out several gods and drank their blood.

स्वचक्रमादाय महानुभाव क्षुकोष चातीव भवैकभत्ता।
महाबली तैर्युयुधे प्रवीरैः सङ्क्रुद्धनानायुधधारकोऽस्त्रैः॥२२॥

The valorous lord Visnu who is the sole protector of the world, carrying his cakra, started fighting with several of the Sivaganas.

ततः प्रजापतिं धर्म कश्यपं च प्रगृह्य सः।
अरिष्टनेमिनं वीरो बहुपुत्रं मुनीश्वरम्।॥४७॥
मुनिमङ्गिरसं चैव कृशाश्वं च महागणः।
जघान मूर्ध्नि पादेन दत्तं च मुनिपुङ्गवम्॥४८।।

Thereafter the heroic Mahagana Virabhadra caught hold of Prajapati, Dharma, Kasyapa, Aristanemi the sage with many sons, the sages Angira and KrSasva and the great sage Datta and kicked all of them on their heads.

विडम्विता स्वधा तत्र सा स्वाहा दक्षिणा तथा।
मन्त्रास्तन्त्रास्तथा चान्ये तत्रस्था गणनायकैः॥५६॥

The gana's leaders then attacked over Svadhā, Svāhā, Daksiņā, mantra, tantra and all others who had been present there.

ववृषुस्ते पुरीषाणि वितानाग्नौ रुषा गणाः।
अनिर्वाच्यं तदा चक्रुर्गणा वीरास्तमध्वरम्।।५७।।

The ganas of Siva, getting enraged, showered filth and rubbish, over the sacrificial fire. The heroic ganas absolutely polluted the sacrifice.

तच्छिरस्तस्य दुष्टस्य दक्षस्य हरवैरिणः।
अग्निकुण्डे प्रचिक्षप वीरभद्रो गणाग्रणी:।।६१॥

Thereafter Virabhadra- the leader of the ganas, dropped the head of the inimical Dakşa in the sacred fire of the fire-altar.

You can see nowhere Veerabhadra, Bhringi, Nandi, Mahaloka or any other Shiva Gana misbehaved with women. They just fought with Devas and destroyed the Yajna.

  • Svadhā, Svāhā, Daksiņā are women. They are the wives of agni. – Sarvabhouma Jan 23 '17 at 14:59
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    @SreeCharan Yeah. But they didn't molest them. Molest is different from physical assault. – The Destroyer Jan 23 '17 at 15:00

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