There wasa demon named Vrkāshura. He had a great desire that whenever he would touch someone’s head, it would be burnt to ashes. Hoping to achieve such a benediction, he one day lit a sacred fire in a secluded place and began to offer pieces of flesh from his own body. By Vrkāshura’s severe austerity, Lord Shiva became very pleased and requested him to take his desired benediction.
Vrkāshura said, “O my Lord! I wish that the head of anyone I touch should be immediately burnt to ashes.”
Lord Shiva fulfilled this desire of the demon. Then, when Vrkāshura wanted to test the efficacy of this benediction by touching the head of Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva had to run away out of fear. Vrkāshura was not one to give up. Finally, being exhausted, Lord Shiva took shelter of Lord Krishna.
The Lord then appeared in the form of a boy before Vrkāsura and said to him in a sweet voice, “O hero, where are you going? What do you want? Why are you running after that crazy fellow? He is a drunkard. He wanders about naked in crematoriums. Why do you foolishly believe his words?”
Vrkāshura replied, “My dear boy, I was cutting the flesh from my bodily limbs and offering it in the fire of sacrifice just so that I could get the benediction that whoever’s head I touch would be burnt to ashes. Just to test this benediction, I wanted to touch Shiva’s head but he ran away in great fear.”
The Supreme Lord said, “Do not believe in the words of that crazy fellow. You are an intelligent man. If a madman awards a benediction, intelligent people never believe him. Still, if you doubt My words, you can test the benediction by touching your own head.”
Being completely bewildered by the sweet words of the Supreme Lord, Vrkāshura touched his own head so that it immediately became burnt to ashes. In this way, Lord Shiva was rescued from a dangerous situation.
Whenever a devotee is in trouble, the Supreme Lord protects him. However, if one is intoxicated by pride, He does not deserve to receive the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Lord Shiva became embarrassed because of his own activities. Thereafter, he offered his respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord and returned to his abode, Kailasa.