Other names: Daksha Prajaapati, Daksh Prajapati
According to the Mahabharata, the Prajapatis came into being from Brahma’s thumb. According to the Vedic belief, Prajapati was one of the Gods who were handed over the work of developing the universe. Prajapati is believed to be the original form of God by which few other Gods were born.
Swayambhu (appearing by self) Manu and Shatrupa had two sons (Priyavrata and Uttanapada) and three daughters (Akuti, Devhuti and Prasuti). Brahma’s first nine creations for the purpose of populating the world are called Prajapatis. Prasuti was married to Daksha Prajapati.
Some of Daksha’s other daughters include Bharani and Anuradha, married Chandra. Daksha found that Soma overly favored one daughter (Rohini) over the others, thus neglecting their needs and flouting his responsibilities. For this, Daksha cursed him to wither and die. The daughters intervened and made his death periodic, symbolized by the waxing and waning of the moon.
Of the ten daughters of Daksha and Prasuti, Sati was married to Shiva. Shiva always applied ash on his body, with snake coiled around his neck and wore a garland consisting of skulls (mundmala). Daksha always remained displeased with this peculiar dressing of Shiva. Daksha had once organized a Yagya (fire sacrifice). He invited family and friends for the yagya but did not invite Shiva on purpose. Shiva’s wife Sati went for the Yagya without any invitation.
Here she saw that a place was kept in the Yagya for every God except Shiva. She could not bear the insult of her husband and so gave away her life by jumping in the fire of the Yagya. Hearing the news, Shiva’s attendants rushed inside the ceremony hall and started attacking all the guests present there, however, the demons invoked by Bhrigu defeated Shiva’s attendants and they retreated back to his abode.
Upon hearing the news of his beloved wife’s death, Shiva was infuriated that Daksha could so callously cause the harm of his own daughter in so ignoble a manner. Shiva grabbed a lock of his matted hair and dashed it to the ground. From the two pieces rose the ferocious Virabhadra and the terrible Rudrakali. Upon Shiva’s orders they stormed the ceremony and killed Daksha as well as many of the guests.
Terrified and remorseful the others propitiated Lord Shiva and begged his mercy to restore Daksha’s life and to allow the sacrifice to be completed. Shiva, the all-merciful One, restored Daksha’s life, with the head of a goat. In his humility and repentance for his graceless and sinful acts, Daksha became one of Shiva’s most devoted, attendants.
One place that is associated with this Yagna of Daksha, and where it is supposed to have actually taken place according to the Sthala Purana, is today a temple by the name of Kottiyur, in a largely forested area of Kannur District, Kerala. Also the suburb of Kankhal near the holy city of Haridwar is believed to the place for Daksh’s yagya.
According to Charak Samhita, Brahmaji transferred the Ayurvedic teachings and knowledge to Daksha Prajapati who transferred it to Ashvinikumars.