Chapter Fourteen
LORD VISNU APPEARS

Sankhacuda threw mystic missiles at Lord Siva. He also, like a cloud pouring rain, showered arrows on him. He used different kinds of illusory methods that were invisible and bewildering to the demigods and Lord Siva's followers. Seeing this, Lord Siva released his supernatural Mahesvara missiles and these quickly destroyed the illusions, divesting them of their brilliance. Then the powerful Lord Siva suddenly grabbed his trident--a trident that could not be withstood even by great persons--so as to slay Sankhacuda. But to stop him, an unembodied heavenly voice boomed, "O Siva, do not throw the trident now. Listen to this request...There is no doubt that you are able to destroy the universe in a second. So what would be the difficulty in destroying this one Danava, Sankhacuda? Still you should not ignore the rules of the Vedas. O great one, rather make it truthful and fruitful. Understand that Lord Brahma has stated that as long as Sankhacuda wears the armour of Lord Visnu --namely, the amulet around his neck--and as long as his wife maintains her marital faithfulness, he can neither die nor grow old. He is under these boons. Therefore, please make these boons truthful by not violating them."

Lord Siva replied, "So be it."

At that moment Lord Siva desired to see Lord Visnu, and so Lord Visnu appeared there. Lord Siva told Him what he desired and Lord Visnu agreed to help him.

So, dressed as an aged brahmana, Lord Visnu, foremost in mystic power, approached Sankhacuda and requested, "O King of the Danavas, please grant my request. You give away in charity all kinds of wealth and riches, so please grant me what I desire. I am a quiet, peaceful, aged brahmana. I am very hungry and thirsty. But first make your promise, and then I will tell you what I want."

The king, with a kind face and a pleasing eye, swore to Him that he would give Him whatever He asked for. So the brahmana said affectionately, "I would like your amulet."

Sankhacuda, a well-wisher of the brahmanas who spoke the truth, thus handed over to the disguised Lord Visnu his divine amulet.

Then Lord Visnu assumed the form of Sankhacuda and went to Tulasi Devi's palace. When He approached the entrance, He created the appearance of a victory homecoming, causing others to beat their drums and to shout "Victory".

Tulasi Devi was awakened from sleep. On hearing the sounds, the chaste woman was ecstatic. She eagerly peeped through the windows onto the road. When she realised that her husband had returned, she observed all auspicious rites and offered cash gifts to the brahmanas. Then she beautified herself.

Lord Visnu went to Tulasi's apartment.

When she saw the Lord and thought He was her husband, she was gladdened. She bathed His feet, offered obeisances to Him, and sobbed. Then she had Him sit on the jewelled throne and handed Him the auspicious betal leaf that had been made fragrant with camphor. She said, "Today my life has become happy. For my beloved, who went to fight, has now returned home."

Drinking him in with wide eyes and a smiling face, Tulasi Devi sweetly asked him about the events of the battle. "My lord, how did you do in the battle with Lord Siva? He is the protector of the demigods and the annihilator of countless universes. You have returned cheerfully after defeating the great lord. How did you beat him? Tell me all about it."

Lord Visnu laughed and said sweetly, "When I reached the battlefield, there was a terrible clamour. A big battle then followed. The demigods fought the demons, and each side was eager for victory. The demigods defeated the demons. But then I fought the powerful demigods. Those whom I defeated sought shelter of Lord Siva. Then Lord Siva, to help them, fought me for a long time. My dear wife, Lord Siva and I fought continuously for a year. All the demons were killed. Then Lord Brahma made us agree to peace. Thus, at Lord Brahma's order, the powers of authority were re-assigned to the demigods...So, I have come home and Lord Siva has gone to Sivaloka. All have returned to health and normalcy. Thus the trouble has ended."

Lord Visnu then lay down on the bed with Tulasi devi and became close with her.

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