Dakṣa | Who is Dakṣa as per the Vedic literature?

Dakṣa is called as prajāpati or Father of beings. He is a familiar figure often mentioned in the Puranas.

There appear to be three Dakṣas across multiple manvantaras.

Dakṣa from the First Manvantara Period

The first manvantara belonged to the Svāyambhuva manvantara. Dakṣa had married Prasuti, the daughter of the Manu Svayambhu and Shatarupa.

One of his 24 daughters was Satī, also known as Dākṣāyaṇī, who married Śiva.

What happened between Shiva & Dakṣa?

Once a misunderstanding developed between Dakṣa and Śiva due to the apparent disrespect shown by Śiva.

When Dakṣa performed a big yajña, he ignored Śiva completely and did not invite him. This aloofness of Dakṣa was the time of the marriage of Shiva and Sati.

Despite Daksha’s unwillingness for the wedding between Shiva and Sati, the ritual was held in due course with Brahma serving as the priest.

Tensions between Shiva and Daksha further arise when Daksha starts to dislike Shiva because of Shiva’s odd appearance and behaviour.

However, wanting to visit her relatives, Sati sought to rationalise this omission and reasoned that as a family, such formality was unnecessary.

Shiva tried to stop her as he knew that Daksha would humiliate her, but when she was not convinced, he sent her with his gana attendants. She did this against Śiva’s warning.

Sati was received by her mother and her sisters, but Daksha was furious by her uninvited arrival and humiliated her and mocked Shiva.

Being incensed by the callous behaviour of her father, she gave up her body in the hall of sacrifice itself.

As per the accounts given in the Bhāgavata, she sat in deep meditation and burnt her body to ashes in yogāgni or the fire generated by the yogic meditation.

Enraged by this tragedy, Śiva created two ferocious deities — Virabhadra and Bhadrakali, who wreaked mayhem at the sacrificial place. Virabhadra desecrated and destroyed Dakṣa’s sacrifice by his destructive Tandava dance. Daksha was decapitated by Virabhadra.

Due to the pleading of the other Devas, he restored Dakṣa his life. His severed head was substituted with that of a goat. Dakṣa’s regrets and apology once again restored the good relationship between them.

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