Once, long ago Lord Vishnu was having his nap on the serpent king Sheshanaga, Goddess of fortune was massaging his feet and his attendants were serving him.
Lord Brahma chanced to come there. He asked Lord Narayana, “Who are you lying here like a haughty person after seeing me ? Get up, O dear see me I am your Lord, I have come here. Shastras say that a person should get up when someone elder to him arrives don’t you know that.”
On hearing these words Vishnu said “O dear ,Hail thee. Welcome, Please sit on this couch. How is it thy face is agitated and thy eyes look curious?
Brahma said “Dear Vishnu know me to have come here with the speed of the time, O dear one I am the protector of the world , your protector as well.”
Vishnu said “ O dear Brahma, the whole universe is situated within me, but your your way of thinking is like that of a thief , You are born from the lotus which have emerged from my navel, You are my son, your words are pointless therefore.”
Arguing with each other like this claiming to be the Lord, they got ready to fight.
Lord Vishnu sat on his Garuda, and Lord Brahma sat on his Swan and started to fight together, their attendants joined them.
Meantime the Devas witnessed the terrible fight of Lord Vishnu and Brahma from the heaven and scattered flowers on them.
Lord Brahma discharged unbearable arrows and many kinds of weapons on Shri Vishnu, And Lord Vishnu shot many arrows and weapons on Brahma, Later when the fight got worse Lord Vishnu discharged Maheshwara weapon against Brahma, annoyed by this Lord Brahma aimed Pashupata weapon on Shri Vishnu, These two weapons of the two Great Lords faced each other in a terrible clash.
Then the frightened Devas talked among themselves, as people do in the time of fight.They said “ Lord who holds the trishul,The supreme Bramhan who creates, sustaines, annihilates,without whose permission even a blade of grass cannot be split by any individual anywhere, Only he can stop this terrible war.”
Thinking thus they went to Kailasha the Abode of Lord Shiva, Where the Lord who wears the Moon as crown resided.
On seeing the abode of Lord Mahadeva,The Devas bowed down their heads and entered the Palace.
There the saw the supreme Lord shinning brilliantly on the gem-set throne with the company of Goddess Uma.
His right leg was kept over the knee of left; his beautiful lotus like hands were placed over the legs,his attendants were all around him, he had all good characteristic features.
He was being fanned by the ladies who were specialist in that art ,The Vedas were praising him, the Lord was blessing everyone.
On seeing the Lord, Devas shed tears of joy, and knelt down even from great distance.
The Lord said “ Dear children hail to thee, the fight of Shri Vishnu and Prajapati Brahma is already known to me.” Thus the consort of Gauri consoled the Devas with honey like speech sweetend with a smile in the manner of appeasing children.
Then the Lord announced his desire to go to the battlefield of Brahma and Vishnu, And the Lord, consort of Parvati mounted on a chariot went to the battlefield field where the terrible war was going on.
There In the battlefield, Panchamukhi Brahma( He had 5 heads that time) and Lord Janardhana were waiting for the results of the Maheshwara and Pashupata weapon hurled by them.
The flames of these weapons was burning the three worlds ,On seeing this Lord Mahadeva assumed the form of huge column fire and stood in middle of them.
This form of the fire column had no beginning neither end, seeing this form the both Lord asked “ What is this wonderful form? What is this column of fire which has risen up here, we should find out its begining and the end.
Saying so Lord Vishnu took the form of a Boar and went in search of the bottom ,Lord Brahma took the form of a Swan and went in search of the top.
When Lord Vishnu couldn’t find the root of the column he returned back to the battleground, but Brahma trying to prove his supremacy was going on flying to find out the top of the column,seeing this struggle of Brahma,which was useless Lord Shiva laughed and when his head shook, The Ketaki flower which was adorned in the head of Shiva fell down, when Brahma saw Ketaki he asked “from where are you coming from” Ketaki replied “ I don’t know” then Brahma asked Ketaki to lie for him to Vishnu that he had found the beginning of the column. Ketaki did as Brahma said.
Brahma went down and lied to Vishnu that he had found the beginning and Ketaki gave the proof, then Vishnu said “Oh Brahma you are greater than me” and worshiped him with Shodashopachara vidhi, seeing this Lord Shiva’s eyes turned red out of anger, He came to his real form and said “Brahma you are lying, There is no beginning nor end for this column” and he opened his third eye.
As he opened his third eye a ferocious being emerged from it, his complexion was dark and he was muscular, He said “ Oh Lord what shall I do? Lord Shiva opened his palms and there appeared a sword ,Lord Shiva said “O dear Worship this Brahma’s fifth head with your sword.”
The muscular being went and chopped Brahma’s head as it was a Brahma hatya the head got stuck to his palms, Lord Shiva named him Kala Bhairava.
Then Lord Shiva said “ O Brahma you lied to Vishnu in order to extort honour from people, Hnce you shall not be honoured by anybody.”
Then Lord Madhava asked Lord Shiva to forgive Brahma then Lord Shiva said “ O Vishnu the whole universe will be ruined if it loses the fear of the king, hence Brahma have mete out the punishment and bear the burden of administering this Universe.”
Then Lord Shiva said “ But Brahma I give you the boon which is very difficult to get,In all the Yagyas and Public sacrifices you will be the presiding deity, though the Yagya will be complete with all the ancillary rites and the offerings of monetary gifts it will be fruitless without you.
Tgen the Lord turned towards Ketaki and said “ Oh you Ketaki you have given a false witness, Get away from here. Here after I have no desire to include you in my worship.”
Ketaki said “ O Lord obeisance to thee , by not including me in your worship you are making my birth fruitless, O Lord be pleased and make my birth fruitful by forgiving my sin.The remembrance is said to put an end to all sins commited knowingly or unknowingly. I have seen you, how can the sin of uttering falsehood sully me?”
Then the Lord said “ It is not proper for me to wear you ,I am tge Lord of my words, and my words should stay true. My attendants and followers will wear you,and you will be used to decorate my alter, hence thy birth shall be fruitful.”
Then Lord turned towards Vishnu and said “ O Achyuta! you have followed the path of truth and have always said the truth, hence you will be known as ‘Satya Narayana’ and as the day you said the truth by accepting that you have not found the bottom was Purnima(full moon day) your devotees shall perform Satya Narayana puja on Purnima.”
Then Lord Brahma and Vishnu installed the Linga form of Shiva and worshiped him with Rajopachara vidhi by offering him Necklace,anklets, crown,silk garments, umbrella,rings,sandal paste,betel leaves and nuts, camphor,incence,bracelets,ear rings, flowers,lamps etc. The Lord was pleased and said “ This day, Phalguna, Krishna paksha, Chaturdashi shall be known as Mahashivaratri and this day will be most dear to me and Those who doesn’t worship me whole year but worships me on this day will get the fruit of worshiping me the whole year, and the day when I assumed the form of Linga was Marghashirsha month and it was Ardhra nakshatra , I will shower my blessings on those who worship on these two days.”
Thus by blessing all who were present there Lord Mahadeva returned to his abode Kailasha.
May Lord Hara shower his blessings on everybody!
Jai Shri Gouri Ramana!
Har Har Mahadev!