Once, while on his way, the wicked asura (demon) Vrika met Sage Narada and asked him which of the trinity (Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma) could be most easily pleased. Narada, knowing his motive, quickly replied saying that Lord Shiva was very kind and could be pleased with utmost ease. He also told Vrika that once Lord Shiva is pleased, he grants any boon.
Happy with the answer, the demon proceeded to worship Lord Shiva at Kedarnath. He started taking pieces of flesh from his own body and offering them as sacrifices into the sacred fire. Vrikasura went on repeating this sacrifice until the seventh day when no more flesh was left. He then decided to cut his head off to be thrown into the fire, when suddenly Lord Shiva appeared in front of him and stopped him from killing himself.
Shiva was shocked to see the suffering Vrikasura had subjected his body to in order to please him, since he could be pleased with a simple offering of water from those who offered it with love and devotion.
He then told Vrikasura to ask for what he wanted. Vrikasura folded his hands and said, “May death come to whoever I touch upon the head with my hand.”
Lord Shiva was disturbed on hearing such a terrible request but he granted the boon as a word once given must be honoured.
With the boon of Lord Shiva,Vrikasura became invincible and all powerful. He started killing people by merely touching their heads. He then wanted to attack Lord Shiva too. Aware of Vrikasura’s motive, Lord Shiva asked Lord Vishnu to punish the demon.
Lord Vishnu, disguised as a Brahmin, went and spoke to Vrikasura. Vrikasura expressed his desire of destroying Lord Shiva to him. On hearing this, the Brahmin told him that Lord Shiva had lost all his powers due to a curse as a result of which his boon will not be effective anymore.Vrikasura did not believe what the brahmin said and thought that he was being fooled.
The Brahmin then asked Vrikasura to test it by trying on himself.He said it in such a reasonable and captivating way that the foolish Vrikasura, without any delay,placed his hand on his own head. In no time, his head split into two halves. This is how Lord Vishnu fooled Vrikasura to punish him and saved the world from this menace.
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