Yatinatha Avatar Shiva Story

Story of Yatinatha avatar of Shiva. Mahadeva has taken many avatars which have been dealt with in the Puranas especially the Shivapurana. Some of them were to test the devotion of his devotees. The story of Shiva’s Yatinatha avatar is as follows. A person called Ahuka who belonged to the hill-tribe lived near the mountain named Arbuda. His wife was Ahukaa who was a very pious woman. Both Ahuka and Ahukaa were great devotees of Shivasankar. They always performed propitiatory rites in worship of Shiva. Once, Mahadev decided to test the depth of devotion of the couple. Siva disguised as a Yatinatha (great sage) and went to the dwelling of the couple. Ahuka was away in the forest in search of eatables like fruits and roots. He came back soon and on seeing the sage he saluted him and worshipped.


Yatinatha informed him that he sought a place to stay overnight and asked whether he could accommodate him in his hut. Ahuka said that their hut was just enough for himself and his wife and it would be very inconvenient for the sage to stay there. The sage was about to return. Immediately, Ahukaa came out and asked her husband to accommodate the sage overnight, it would be inappropriate to turn down the request of a guest. Ahuka agreed and called back the sage. He also decided to sleep outside to let the guest sleep inside the hut. And so Yatinatha went to sleep inside and Ahuka slept outside. While sleeping, a wild animal came, attacked Ahuka and killed him. Ahukaa was very much worried and she decided to die jumping in to the funeral pyre of her beloved husband. Arrangements were made for the funeral of Ahuka.

Yatinatha Avatar of Shiva Story

The sage was very much sorry for whatever had happened. Ahukaa quietly tried to jump in to the husband’s funeral pyre. Immediately, Yatinatha manifested as Lord Shiva and blessed the couple to become Nala and Damayanti in the next birth. He also made it clear that he himself would take birth as a ‘Hamsa’ (swan) to unite them. In the next birth, Ahuka appeared as Nala, the son of king Virasena in the country of Nishadha. Ahukaa took birth as Damayanti the daughter of king Bhima in the country of Vidarbha. Lord Shiva took birth as a swan. It was the swan who worked as the mediator for initiating love between Nala and Damayanti. One of the five Sanskrit Mahakavyas (epic poems) named Naishadha Charita written by Harsha deals with the story of Nala and Damayanti.

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