Daksha plans to conduct a grand sacrifice with the aim of insulting Siva who has married his daughter Sati. He does not invite Siva and goes against the sastras by denying the share of the proceeds of the sacrifice to Siva. Sage Dadichi, the ardent devotee of Siva, advises Daksha about the foolishness of his stance and highlights Siva’s glories to show that He is the Supreme Truth. Daksha’s refusal to imbibe the teaching is typical of the human situation in general when power and pelf fuel arrogance and ignorance making one blind to the true source of all power and glory which is the Supreme Lord, pointed out Sri B. Sundarkumar in a discourse.
Sati attends this yagna uninvited and against the wishes of Siva. She is appalled at the gross ignorance of her father who not only does not acknowledge her presence but also begins to revile Siva in derogatory and offensive terms. He abuses Siva as being inauspicious, as He is always surrounded by ghosts and ghouls.
Pandemonium follows in the yaga sala when an angry Sati, unable to tolerate her father’s harsh words immolates herself in the sacrificial fire. Siva sends Virabadra to devastate the sacrifice, kill Daksha and punish those who sided with Daksha in the conduct of this sacrifice. Brahma seeks Siva and propitiates him with words of obeisance and glory. Brahma hails Siva as Rudra, the one who removes sorrow and pain. Brahma pleads on behalf of Daksha and wishes Siva to show mercy on him.
In reply, Siva says that Daksha’s evil doing is the cause of all havoc. But out of His mercy, Daksha is forgiven and a goat’s head is placed on his body. Siva bestows jnana on Daksha who then realises his foolishness.
Only when the eternal truth shines in the jnani’s innermost self is he not affected by the power and glory of worldly achievements.