The battle between Lord Shiva and Lord Ram is considered to be the most fierce battle in Treta Yuga. Let us try and understand why Lord Shiva battled with Lord Vishnu’s incarnation, Lord Ram. This story takes place in the time when Lord Ram was performing the Ashwamegh Yagya. According to the rules and regulations of Ashwamegh Yagya, only a King who is well known for his strength throughout other kingdoms could perform the Ashwamegh Yagya. Thus, Ashwamegh Yagya could not be performed by any King. The king performing this Yagna should be worthy enough to perform this Yagna; only then the Ashwamegh Yagya would become successful.Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Thus, according to the rules for the success of the Yagna. A Yagna would be performed in the kingdom, post which the Shyam Karan horse would be released without a rider. The horse would only be covered with a caparison which would have the flag of the kingdom. This lets the other Kings know as to which kingdom the horse belongs to. Thus according to the rules of Ashwamegh Yagya, the kingdom where the horse reaches needs to surrender themselves under the rule of the King performing the Ashwamegh Yagya, or if the King wished to challenge the authority of the King performing the Ashwamegh Yagya, he needs to capture the horse.
Lord Ram was a very well known King, and no King dared to challenge Lord Ram’s army. The King, who dared capture the Ayodhya Kingdom’s horse, had to face defeat after fighting with the mighty Ayodhya kingdom’s army. The Ayodhya Army was led by Lord Ram’s brother Shatrugna. The army also consisted of mighty warriors like Lord Hanuman, Sugriv, and Bharat’s son Pushkar. Thus, Lord Ram’s Ashwamegh Yagna was very popular at that time because it was believed that even Gods could not defeat the mighty Ayodhya’s army.
During one such Ashwamegh Yagya, Lord Ram’s horse reached the kingdom called Devpur. This kingdom was ruled by a king called Veermani, who was known to be an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. King Veermani had two sons named Roopangad and Shivangad; they were considered great warriors. It was a well-known fact that King Veermani had performed austerities and sought blessings from Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva had promised King Veermaani to protect his kingdom from any invasions. Thus, no king would dare to invade King Verrmani’s kingdom, Devpur.
When Ayodhya kingdom’s horse reached Devpur, King Veermani’s son Roopangad captured the horse and sent out the word for the Ayodhya kingdom’s army to fight a war and free the horse. Roopangad was well aware of the promise Lord Shiva had made to his father. Thus, he confidently challenged the army of Ayodhya and took the horse to present in front of his father. When King Veermani got to know about this incident, he told Roopangad that Lord Ram was a friend of Devpur and asked the horse to be returned. To which Roopangad informed his father that he had already challenged the army of Ayodhya for war, and returning the horse would lead to the insult of Devpur. King Veermani grew nervous as he knew that this war would be very destructive in nature. King Veeramani gathered his army and both his sons and reached the battlefield as this war was now inevitable.
When the army of Ayodhya got to know about the horse being captured in Devpur, the mighty army under the guidance of Shatrughna, Lord Hanuman, Sugriva and Pushkar set out towards the kingdom of Devpur. Lord Hanuman informed Shatrughna that they would need to inform Lord Ram about this war because Lord Shiva himself protected the kingdom of Devpur. Shatrughna told Lord Hanuman it would be an insult to the army if Lord Ram had to fight a war when all were still alive. Ayodhya’s mighty army reached the battlefield, and a vehement war had started between both the army. Bharat’s son Pushkar started fighting King Veermani with his arrows. Lord Hanuman started fighting King Veermani’s bother Veersingh, and both brothers Roopangad and Shivangad started fighting with Shatrughna.
The army of Devpur was not able to inflict any damage on the Ayodhya Army. Lord Hanuman’s attacks were too strong for Veersingh to handle, and he was grievously injured. Shatrugna’s attack knocked out both Roopangad and Shivangad. Even King Veermani could not stand against the weapons unleashed by Pushkar and fell unconscious on his chariot.
After coming back to consciousness and realizing his army’s defeat was near, King Veermani called upon Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva, keeping his side of the promise, asked his army to descend on earth and help King Veermani’s army. Nandhi, Bhringi, and Veerbhadra led Lord Shiva’s army. Lord Shiva’s army attacked the military of Ayodhya and inflicted severe damage on the army. A fierce battle broke out between Lord Hanuman and Nandhi. Pushkar started fighting with Veerbhadra, and Shatrughna started battling against Bhringi.
Pushkar’s weapons were proving to be of no use against Veerbhadra, and Pushkar was killed in this encounter. Bhringi also badly injured Shatrughna. Nandhi and Lord Hanuman were fighting a battle that no one had witnessed until now, but then, in the end, Nandhi managed to injure Lord Hanuman, using Shiv Astra. Lord Hanuman informed Shatrughna that there is no other way for them to win this war without the help of Lord Ram.
The army of Ayodhya called upon Lord Ram for help. Lord Ram understood that his army was in trouble and immediately reached the battlefield along with Lakshman. Looking at Lord Ram and Lakshman arriving towards the battlefield, Ayodhya’s army was confident that they would emerge victorious in this war. Lord Ram was outraged to see the dead body of Pushkar as he was still very young to die. Lord Ram told Veerbhadra that he would meet the same fate as Pushkar.
Lord Ram understood that normal weapons would prove useless against the army of Lord Shiva. Thus, Lord Ram evoked his magical weapons or Astras that he acquired from Maharishi Vishwamitra. A fierce battle broke out between the Ayodhya army and Lord Shiva’s army. Lord Shiva’s army could not withstand Lord Ram’s attacks, and all the warriors, including Nandhi, Bhringi, and Veerbhadra were grievously injured in this encounter. Lord Shiva’s army could sense their end and decided to call upon Lord Shiva for help. Seeing his army in trouble, Lord Shiva appeared on the battlefield immediately.
All the Gods, including Lord Brahma, had appeared in the sky to witness this mighty war. Upon Lord Shiva’s arrival, Lord Ram put his weapons down and prayed to him. Lord Ram prays to Lord Shiva and says that” oh God of all Gods! It was with your blessing that I defeated Ravana, and my army is considered to be the greatest because of your blessings, and I am performing this Ashwamegh Yagya with your blessings itself. Thus, I request you to end this war at once.” Hearing Lord Ram’s prayer, Lord Shiva answers that ” Ram, you are the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Thus, I do not wish to fight you, but it is my moral duty to keep my end of the promise to King Veermani. Thus, I want you to fight this war.” Lord Ram agreed to engage in the battle with Lord Shiva and picked up his weapons.
A fervent battle took place between Lord Ram and Lord Shiva. Lord Ram understood that there is no other way to end this battle and evoked the mighty Pashupatastra, a weapon gifted to him by Lord Shiva himself.
Lord Ram told Lord Shiva, “oh God of all Gods! While giving this mighty weapon to me, you told me that no one could withstand the power of this weapon. Thus, I am using this weapon against you with your permission.” The mighty Pashupathastra hit Lord Shiva and became one with Lord Shiva. Post which Lord Shiva told Lord Ram that ” Ram, you have impressed me with your warfare skills. Thus, I am ending this war.” Lord Shiva then asked Lord Ram to ask for a boon.
Lord Ram replied, ” hey God of all Gods! Many people from both sides, including a young boy Pushkar, have lost their lives fighting this war. Thus, I request you to bring all the warriors back to life.” Lord Shiva brought all the dead soldiers back to life and left the battlefield with his army. This was how the most fierce battle of the Treta Yuga unfolded.