Kratudhvamsin - Destroyer of the Sacrifice
Previously I mentioned a yagna where Shiva Bhagawan is asked to go away. The story concerning this name illustrates the consequences of not
inviting inviting Him at the proper time.
The Devas and Asuras are eternally at war. I don't normally use the words "Gods" and "Demons" because this can cause people to misinterpret the point of the pauranika stories. The Devas are mostly good though sometimes like Indra in the episode of the sacrificial horse they do the wrong things. The Asuras are mostly evil though some (Bali and Prahlada come to mind) are good. But they have a lot in common. For one thing they are brothers. Their father is the Maharshi Kashyapa. Their mothers are his two wives. Aditi is the mother of the Devas who are for that reason also called Adityas. Diti is the mother of the Asuras who accordingly also called Daityas. Then why do we worship one set and not the other? The names of the mothers hold a clue. Aditi means infinity. The Devas may sometimes have their personal agendas but even when pursuing that, they do so in ways which are beneficial in the long run. It should be noted that Indras actions did manage to bring about the descent of the Ganga which has been a plus for mankind. Diti is the opposite of infinity. The Daityas are short-sighted. They may engage in dharmic acts but only as means to some strategic end in their quest for power, totally overlooking the real purpose of Dharma.
In one such war betwen the Devas and Daityas, the Asura side was led by Taraka. (His three sons were mentioned in the story of Tripurari) He also did tapa for the purpose of acquiring immortality and when he too was denied, he too tried to get de facto immortality with a trick. He asked that his death only come about through the son of Shiva Bhagawan. As Shiva Bhagawan had no wife let alone children, this seemed like a pretty unlikely ccurrence. In the end Shiva Bhagawan did marry and His son Skanda Bhagawan led the army of the Devas to victory. I won't recount that whole story here, it is told in many Puranas and Kalidasa has written a great poem called Kumarasambhava on the subject.
The wife of Shiva Bhagawan was Sati the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. (In that avatara. In truth Shivaa is eternally united with Her husband.) After his mind-born children like Narada and the Sanatakumars had refused to create the worlds, Brahmaji and His wife had another set of children through more normal means. These are the prajapatis like Daksha, Kardama, Kashyapa etc. They obeyed their fathers wish to perform creation. (Which is why Brahmaji is known as Pitamaha or "Grandfather".) Daksha was proud of his position and achievements and did not think much of his wild, unkempt, and not at all "respectable" son-in-law. Once he decided to perform a great yajna at Prayaga to which all the Devas were invited -- with one notable exception. The word Bhagawan means one who is entitle to a share (of the sacrifice.) So this was quite a snub. By his action Daksha was denying the divinity of Mahadeva. Not that He cared. For Him, the actions of even such "great" beings are on the same level as we would consider the barking of dogs. But Sati took it more personally and plus She was eager to visit her parents again.
Arriving at the yajna escorted by Nandi and the hosts (ganas) of bhutas, She was shocked to find indifference and downright mockery instead of a warm welcome. In anger, she rebuked Her arrogant father and entered the sacrificial fire. The ganas attempted to punish the wicked man but were defeated by his power. When they got back to Kailasa and mournfully recounted what had happened, Shiva Bhagawan, normally so calm blazed forth in anger and tore out two locks of his hair. One became Virabhadra, and the other Bhadrakali, two fearsome and powerful beings who set forth with the intent of teaching Daksha a lesson. Even the most powerful amongst the Devas and Rshis were unable to block their advance. They overturned and defiled the yajna and cut off Dakshas head.
Shiva Bhagawan later came to the scene and when he beheld the corpse of His beloved he hoisted it onto His shoulder and began to dance. Shiva Bhagawan is Nataraja -- the Lord of dance and when he performs his Tandava dance it signals the end of the world. Fearing this outcome, Vishnu Bhagawan took his Sudarshana Chakra and cut up the corpse of Sati into 18 pieces which were scattered all over Bharata. These are the 18 Shakti pithas, the greatest places for the worship of Mataji. Longtime list members will remember C. Nageshwar Rao. He did a yatra of these 18 pithas. In each of them Shiva resides along with Shakti.
After his destructive energy was distributed in this way, Shiva Bhagawan became calm again. The Devas and Rshis begged Him, the protector of the Vedas to restore the yajna and allow it to be completed. He relented and returned Daksha to life, replacing his severed head with the head of the sacrificial goat. Then he returned to Kailas to continue His solitary tapa. (Later Sati, was reborn as Parvati the daughter of Himalaya.) Daksha is the archetype of those who believe in karma for its own sake. Contrary to popular misconceptions, Advaita Vedanta is not against karma and the rituals enjoined in the shastras. For the grhastha, they are mandatory, no ifs ands or buts. However it does say they must be done not for their own sake or for material gain or prestige but out of a sense of duty as an offering to Bhagawan. Failing to recognize this was Dakshas sin. His head was replaced by the head of the sacrificial animal. The yajna cannot just be an external process you sit down for then walk away from. It must be internalized. You must "be" the yajna. So from that standpoint, Shiva Bhagawan did not "destroy" the yajna but on the contrary He was the one who ensured it was properly carried out.
OM Kratudhvamsine namah