Ram-faced Daksha (right) with Virabhadra form of Shiva
According to Hindu legend, Daksha is one of the sons of Lord Brahma, who, after creating the ten Manas Putras, created Daksha, Dharma, Kamadeva and Agni from his right thumb, chest, heart and eyebrows respectively. Besides his noble birth, Daksa was a great king. Pictures show him as a rotund and obese man with a stocky body, protruding belly, and muscular with the head of an ibex-like creature with spiral horns.
Daughters of Daksha
According to Vishnu Purana and Padma Purana, Daksha and his wife Prasuti had 24 daughters. The names of these 24 daughters are Sraddha (faith), Srilakshmi (prosperity), Dhriti (steadiness), Tushti (resignation), Pushti (thriving), Medha (intelligence), Kriya (action, devotion), Buddhika (intellect), Lajja (modesty), Vapu (body), Santi (expiation), Siddhika (perfection), Kirtti (fame), Khyati (celebrity), Sati (truth), Sambhuti (fitness), Smriti (memory), Priti (affection), Kshama (forgiveness), Sannati (humility), Anasuya (lit. without jealousy), Urjja (energy), Swaha (offering), and Swadha (oblation).
Of these, the 13 married to Dharma are: Sraddha, Srilakshmi, Dhriti, Tushti, Pushti, Medha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vapu, Santi, Siddhi, Kirtti. The other 11 are Khyati married to Bhrigu, Sati to Shiva(Bhava), Sambhuti to Marichi, Smriti to Angiras, Priti to Pulastya, Kshama to Pulaha, Sannati to Kratu, Anasuya to Atri, Urjja to Vasishtha, Swaha to Agni, and Swadha to Pitris.
According to Matsya Purana, Daksha and his wife Panchajani(daughter of Virani) had 62 daughters, not one of whom resembled their father. 10 of those daughters were married to Dharma, 13 to sage Kashyapa, 27 to Chandra, 4 to Arishtanemi, 1 to Kama, 1 to lord Shiva, 2 to sons of sage Bhrigu, 2 to sage Angiras, 2 to Krisasva. According to Padma Purana, when Daksha felt the number of women are still not sufficient, he decided to have 60 more daughters.
Sati was the daughter married to Shiva(Bhava). The 10 daughter's married to Dharma are (1) Maruvati, (2) Vasu, (3) Jami (4) Lamba, (5) Bhanu, (6) Urjja, (7) Sankalp, (8) Mahurath, (9) Sadhya, and (10) Vishva. The 13 daughter's married to sage Kashyapa are (1) Aditi, (2) Diti, (3) Danu (4)Arishta, (5) Sursa, (6)Surabhi, (7) Vinata, (8) Tamra, (9) Krodhvasha, (10) Ira, (11) Kadru, (12) Vishva, and (13) Muni. The 1 daughter married to Kamadeva was Rati.
The 27 daughters married to Chandra are (1) Kṛttikā (the Pleiades), (2) Rohinī, (3) Mrigashīrsha, (4) Ārdrā, (5) Punarvasu, (6) purbabhadrapada, (7) Pushya, (8) Asleshā, (9) Maghā, (10) Svāti (Arcturus), (11) Chitrā (Spica), (12) Purbaphalguni, (13) Hasta, (14) Rādhas, (15) Vishākhā, (16) Anurādhā, (17) Jyeshthā, (18) Mūla, (19) purbashādha, (20)Uttarashara, (21) Sravana, (22) Uttarphalguni, (23) Satabhisha, (24) Uttarbhadrapada, (25) Revati, (26) Ashwini, (27) Bharani. These 27 wife of Chandra are 27 Nakshatras (the constellations) which are on the moon's orbit.
Daksha found that Soma overly favored one daughter (Rohini) over the others, thus neglecting their needs and flouting his responsibilities. For this, Daksha cursed him to wither and die. Chandra Dev approached and worshipped Lord Shiva in order to be relieved of the curse, at Somnath. He gave Chandra the boon that in a month, he would grow for fifteen days in one half and in the other half he would keep losing one Kala (shade) per day and decrease in size. The place where Chandra Dev worshipped Lord Shiva came to be known as Somnath. Somnath means the "Protector of the Moon God". Legend has it that the first temple at Somnath was built by Chandra Dev himself.
Story of Sati and Shiva
Daksha is a Sanskrit word said to be a Prajapati or one of the Brahma's sons. The equivalent meaning in English is "competent." One of the daughters of Prajapati (often said to be the youngest) was Sati or Dakshayani, who had always wished to marry Shiva. Daksha forbade it, but Sati disobeyed him and did so anyway, finding in Shiva a doting and loving husband. Daksha disliked Shiva intensely, calling him a dirty, roaming ascetic and reviling the great yogi's cohort of goblins and ghouls.
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Daksha Yaga was an important turning point in the creation and development of sects in Hinduism like Shaktism and Shaivism. It is the mythology behind the 'Stala Purana' (Origin Mythology of Temples) of Shakti Peethas. There are 51 Shakti Peethas shrines all over South Asia. The story made Shree Parvati in the place of Sati Devi and lead to the mythology of Ganesha and Subrahmanya.
Daksha organised a huge yaga and intentionally avoided Shiva and Sati. Even though discouraged by Shiva, who told her not to go to a function where she and her husband was uninvited; the personal bondage with her parents made Sati ignore social etiquette and her husband's wishes. Sati without Shiva went to the ceremony. She was snubbed by Daksha and insulted by him in front of the guests. Sati unable to bear further insult ran into the Sacrificial fire and immolated herself. Shiva upon knowing the terrible incident in his wrath invoked Virabhadra and Bhadrakali by plucking a lock of hair and thrashing it on the ground. Virabhadra and Bhoota ganas marched south and destroyed all the premises. Daksha was decapitated and the yagnja shaala was devastated in the rampage. The Bhutaganas' celebrated victory by plucking the beard of 'Presiding Master' of the yagnja, Sage Bhrigu as a war souvenir. Daksha was later forgiven and given life by fixing a Ram (Male Goat)'s head and the yagna was allowed to complete, with the presence of all the divinity.
The story continues by the act of Vishnu in pacifying Shiva, who was in deep grief in seeing the half burned corpse of his beloved wife. Vishnu embraced Shiva to pacify him. Shiva unable to part with Sati took her corpse and wandered. The body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi fell in the places Shiva travelled. The places where the body parts Sati Devi's corpse fell came to be known as Shakti Peethas.
- The Matsya Puranam P-I (B.D. Basu) English Translation Ch #3, Page 10
- Vishnu Purana, Padma Purana
- Matsya Purana
- The Matsya Puranam P-I (B.D. Basu) English Translation Ch #5, Page 17
- Vishnu Purana, Vol-I, H.H. Willson. Book-I,Ch-#7, Page 109
- Vishnu Purana, Vol-I, H.H. Willson. Book-I,Ch-#7, Page 109-11
- Matsya Purana (Sanskrit) Ch #5, Sloka 10-12
- Matsya Purana (Sanskrit) Ch #5, Sloka 15-16
- The Matsya Puranam P-I (B.D. Basu) English Translation Ch #5, Page 18
- Matsya Purana (Sanskrit) Ch #6, Sloka 1-2
- the Horse-sacrifice of the Prajapati Daksha The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883–1896), Book 12: Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva: Section CCLXXXIV. p. 317. “I am known by the name of Virabhadra’’ and I have sprung from the wrath of Rudra. This lady (who is my companion), and who is called Bhadrakali, hath sprung from the wrath of the goddess.”
- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola