Śaṅkhacūḍa threw mystic missiles at Lord Śiva. He also, like a cloud pouring rain, showered arrows on him. He used different kinds of illusory methods that were invisible and bewildering to the demigods and Lord Śiva’s followers. Seeing this, Lord Śiva released his supernatural māheśvara missiles and these quickly destroyed the illusions, divesting them of their brilliance. Then the powerful Lord Śiva suddenly grabbed his trident-a trident that could not be withstood even by great persons-so as to slay Śaṅkhacūḍa. But to stop him, an unembodied heavenly voice boomed, “O Śiva, do not throw the trident now. Listen to this request…There is no doubt that you are able to destroy the universe in a second. So what would be the difficulty in destroying this one Dānava, Śaṅkhacūḍa? Still you should not ignore the rules of the Vedas. O great one, rather make it truthful and fruitful. Understand that Lord Brahmā has stated that as long as Śaṅkhacūḍa wears the armor of Lord Viṣṇu -namely, the amulet around his neck-and as long as his wife maintains her marital faithfulness, he can neither die nor grow old. He is under these boons. Therefore, please make these boons truthful by not violating them.”
Lord Śiva replied, “So be it.”
At that moment Lord Śiva desired to see Lord Viṣṇu, and so Lord Viṣṇu appeared there. Lord Śiva told Him what he desired and Lord Viṣṇu agreed to help him.
So, dressed as an aged brāhmaṇa, Lord Viṣṇu, foremost in mystic power, approached Śaṅkhacūḍa and requested, “O King of the Dānavas, please grant my request. You give away in charity all kinds of wealth and riches, so please grant me what I desire. I am a quiet, peaceful, aged brāhmaṇa. I am very hungry and thirsty. But first make your promise, and then I will tell you what I want.”
The king, with a kind face and a pleasing eye, swore to Him that he would give Him whatever He asked for. So the brāhmaṇa said affectionately, “I would like your amulet.”
Śaṅkhacūḍa, a well-wisher of the brāhmaṇas who spoke the truth, thus handed over to the disguised Lord Viṣṇu his divine amulet.
Then Lord Viṣṇu assumed the form of Śaṅkhacūḍa and went to Tulasī Devī’s palace. When He approached the entrance, He created the appearance of a victory homecoming, causing others to beat their drums and to shout, “Victory.”
Tulasī Devī was awakened from sleep. On hearing the sounds, the chaste woman was ecstatic. She eagerly peeped through the windows onto the road. When she realized that her husband had returned, she observed all auspicious rites and offered cash gifts to the brāhmaṇas. Then she beautified herself.
Lord Viṣṇu went to Tulasi’s apartment.
When she saw the Lord and thought He was her husband, she was gladdened. She bathed His feet, offered obeisances to Him, and sobbed. Then she had Him sit on the jeweled throne and handed Him the auspicious betel leaf that had been made fragrant with camphor. She said, “Today my life has become happy. For my beloved, who went to fight, has now returned home.”
Drinking him in with wide eyes and a smiling face, Tulasī Devī sweetly asked him about the events of the battle. “My lord, how did you do in the battle with Lord Śiva? He is the protector of the demigods and the annihilator of countless universes. You have returned cheerfully after defeating the great lord. How did you beat him? Tell me all about it.”
Lord Viṣṇu laughed and said sweetly, “When I reached the battlefield, there was a terrible clamor. A big battle then followed. The demigods fought the demons, and each side was eager for victory. The demigods defeated the demons. But then I fought the powerful demigods. Those whom I defeated sought shelter of Lord Śiva. Then Lord Śiva, to help them, fought me for a long time. My dear wife, Lord Śiva and I fought continuously for a year. All the demons were killed. Then Lord Brahmā made us agree to peace. Thus, at Lord Brahmā’s order, the powers of authority were re-assigned to the demigods…So, I have come home and Lord Śiva has gone to Śivaloka. All have returned to health and normalcy. Thus the trouble has ended.”
Lord Viṣṇu then lay down on the bed with Tulasī Devī and became close with her.