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Virabhadra – The fearful manifestation of Shiva

Shiva the supreme lord of this universe has many manifestations. Virabhadra is one such form of Shiva who was born from Shiva's lock of hair. He is the most fearful form of Shiva who was born to kill and destroy. Shiva's anger and wrath manifested into physical form through Virabhadra. Virabhadra destroyed the famous Ashwamedha Yagya organised by Daksha and struck a battle against him and other devas siding by Daksha.

Daksha was the mind-born son of Brahma and was created to establish society and culture on Earth. He had several daughters who married the saptarishis and other gods and gave birth to the human race. Sati was Daksha's youngest daughter and was the incarnation of Divine Feminine Adishakti. Sati from a very young age was attracted to Shiva and desired to be his wife. Daksha on the other hand despised Shiva and considered him unfit to be a God. He did not approve of Shiva's lifestyle as a hermit and hated his devotees which included ghosts, goblins, and other dreadful creatures. He was a staunch Vishnu devotee and considered Vishnu to be the Supreme God. His heart had no place for Shiva. When he heard that Sati was in love with Shiva, he burnt with fury. He immediately organised for a swyamvar to find a suitable groom for Sati. During the swyamvar, Sati called upon and Shiva and expressed her desire to be his wife. Shiva being devoted to Adishakti was bound to marry Sati. Daksha had no choice but to accept their marriage. However, his despise and hatred towards Shiva remained and he left no opportunity to insult him whenever anyone spoke of him.

One day Daksha decided to organize the biggest sacrificial ritual Ashwamedha yagya to honor the Gods. He invited all the gods except Shiva and Sati. When Sati came to know about the yagya she decided to confront her father and attend the yagya uninvited. When Daksha saw Sati present for the pooja, he started insulting her and Shiva in front of all the guests present. Sati was infuriated at her father's behavior. She could not bear her husband being insulted in front of everyone. She put herself on fire by invoking her inner kundalini fire. Before leaving her body she cursed everyone present there.

Saddened and angered with what happened Shiva plucked a lock of hair from his head. From this sprang out the fearsome Virabhadra and Bhadrakali. Shiva instructed Virabhadra to kill Daksha and destroy the yagya. Virabhadra along with his army struck a battle and started marching towards Daksha’s region. Daksha was scared as Shiva's anger was uncontrollable. The Universe shivered under Mahadev's wrath. Daksha called upon Vishnu to save him. Lord Vishnu was bound to attend to his call as Daksha was his sincere devotee. He was ashamed of Daksha's behavior however was duty-bound to protect his devotee. Virabhadra questioned Vishnu on how could he stand by Daksha as he was a sinner. Vishnu replied that he was duty-bound to fight. However, if defeated he would go back to his abode Vaikunta and let destiny take its course. There started the fearsome battle between Virabhadra and Vishnu The Universe trembled as the two mighty fought. Virabhadra cast a spell on Vishnu and defeated him. Vishnu accepted his defeat and went back to his abode. Now nothing could save Daksha from Virabhadra. Virabhadra found Daksha and beheaded him. Daksha’s wife Prasuti wept uncontrollably on losing her husband and daughter. She sought forgiveness from Shiva on her husband's behalf. Shiva’s anger calmed down and he brought Daksha back to life by replacing his head with that of a goat.

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