Lord Śiva's touch saved the demon from committing suicide; his bodily injuries immediately healed, and his body became as it was before. Then Lord Śiva told the demon, "My dear Vṛkāsura, you do not need to cut off your head. You may ask from me any benediction you like, and I shall fulfill your desire. I do not know why you wanted to cut off your head to satisfy me. I become satisfied even by an offering of a little water." Actually, according to the Vedic process, the śiva-liṅga in the temple or the form of Lord Śiva in the temple is worshiped simply by offering Ganges water, because it is said that Lord Śiva is greatly satisfied when Ganges water is poured upon his head. Generally, devotees offer Ganges water and the leaves of the bilva tree, which are especially meant for offering to Lord Śiva and Goddess Durgā. The fruit of this tree is also offered to Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva assured Vṛkāsura that he is satisfied by a very simple process of worship. Why then was he so eager to cut off his head, and why was he taking so much pain by cutting his body to pieces and offering it in the fire? There was no need of such severe penances. Anyway, out of compassion and sympathy, Lord Śiva prepared to give him any benediction he liked.
When the demon was offered this facility by Lord Śiva, he asked for a fearful and abominable benediction. The demon was very sinful, and sinful persons do not know what sort of benediction should be asked from the deity. Therefore he asked Lord Śiva to bless him with such power that as soon as he would touch anyone's head, it would immediately crack and the man would die. The demons are described in the Bhagavad-gītā as duṣkṛtīs, or miscreants. Kṛtī means "very meritorious," but when duḥ is added it means "abominable." Instead of surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the duṣkṛtīs worship different demigods to derive abominable material benefits. Although the duṣkṛtīs have brain power and merit, their merit and brain power are used for abominable activities. Sometimes, for example, materialistic scientists invent a lethal weapon. The scientific research for such an invention certainly requires a very good brain, but instead of inventing something beneficial to human society they invent something to accelerate death, which is already assured to every man. They cannot show their meritorious power by inventing something which can save man from death; instead they invent weapons which accelerate the process of death. Similarly, Vṛkāsura, instead of asking Lord Śiva for something beneficial to human society, asked for something very dangerous to human society. Lord Śiva is powerful enough to give any benediction, so the demon could have asked something beneficial from him, but for his personal interest he asked that anyone whose head would be touched by his hand would at once die. Lord Śiva could understand the motive of the demon, and he was very sorry that he had assured him whatever benediction he liked. He could not withdraw his promise, but he was very sorry in his heart that he was to offer him a benediction so dangerous to human society. Devotees of the Personality of Godhead never ask any benediction from Lord Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, and even if they ask something from the Lord, it is not at all dangerous for human society. That is the difference between the demons and the devotees, or the worshipers of Lord Śiva and the worshipers of Lord Viṣṇu.
While Śukadeva Gosvāmī was narrating the history of Vṛkāsura, he addressed Mahārāja Parīkṣit as Bhārata, referring to King Parīkṣit's birth in a family of devotees. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was saved by Lord Kṛṣṇa while in his mother's womb. Later, he could have asked Lord Kṛṣṇa to save him again, from the curse of a brāhmaṇa, but he did not do so. The demon, however, wanted to become immortal by killing everyone with the touch of his hand. Lord Śiva could understand this, but because he had promised, he gave him the benediction.
The demon, however, being very sinful, immediately decided that he would use the benediction to kill Lord Śiva and take away Gaurī (Pārvatī) for his personal enjoyment. He immediately decided to place his hand on the head of Lord Śiva. Thus Lord Śiva was put into an awkward position because he was endangered by his own benediction to a demon. This is an instance of a materialistic devotee's misusing the power derived from the demigods.
Without further deliberation, the demon Vṛkāsura approached Lord Śiva to place his hand on Lord Śiva's head. Lord Śiva was so afraid of him that his body trembled, and he fled from the land to the sky and from the sky to other planets, until he reached the limits of the universe, above the higher planetary systems. Lord Śiva fled from one place to another, but the demon Vṛkāsura continued to chase him. The predominating deities of other planets, such as Brahmā, Indra and Candra, could not find any way to save Lord Śiva from the impending danger. Wherever Lord Śiva went, they remained silent.
At last Lord Śiva approached Lord Viṣṇu, who is situated within this universe on the planet known as Śvetadvīpa. Śvetadvīpa is the local Vaikuṇṭha planet, beyond the jurisdiction of the influence of the external energy. Lord Viṣṇu in His all-pervasive feature remains everywhere, but wherever He remains personally is the Vaikuṇṭha atmosphere. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that the Lord remains within the heart of all living entities. As such, the Lord remains within the heart of many lowborn living entities, but that does not mean He is lowborn. Wherever He remains is transformed into Vaikuṇṭha. So the planet within this universe known as Śvetadvīpa is also Vaikuṇṭhaloka. It is said in the śāstras that residential quarters within the forest are in the mode of goodness, residential quarters in big cities, towns and villages are in the mode of passion, and residential quarters in an atmosphere wherein indulgence in the four sinful activities of illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling predominates are in the mode of ignorance. But residential quarters in a temple of Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord, are in Vaikuṇṭha. It doesn’t matter where the temple is situated; the temple itself, wherever it may be, is Vaikuṇṭha. Similarly, the Śvetadvīpa planet, although within the material jurisdiction, is Vaikuṇṭha.
Lord Śiva finally entered Śvetadvīpa Vaikuṇṭha. In Śvetadvīpa there are great saintly persons who are completely freed from the envious nature of the material world and are beyond the jurisdiction of the four principles of material activity, namely religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. Anyone who enters into that Vaikuṇṭha planet never returns to this material world. Lord Nārāyaṇa is celebrated as a lover of His devotees, and as soon as He understood that Lord Śiva was in great danger, He appeared as a brahmacārī and personally approached Lord Śiva to receive him from a distant place. The Lord appeared as a perfect brahmacārī, with a belt around His waist, a sacred thread, a deerskin, a brahmacārī stick and raudra beads. (Raudra beads are different from tulasī beads. Raudra beads are used by the devotees of Lord Śiva). Dressed as a brahmacārī, Lord Nārāyaṇa stood before Lord Śiva. The shining effulgence emanating from His body attracted not only Lord Śiva but also the demon Vṛkāsura.
Lord Nārāyaṇa offered His respects and obeisances unto Vṛkāsura just to attract his sympathy and attention. Thus stopping the demon, the Lord addressed him as follows: “My dear son of Śakuni, you appear very tired, as if coming from a very distant place. What is your purpose? Why have you come so far? I see that you are fatigued, so I request you to take a little rest. You should not unnecessarily tire your body. Everyone greatly values his body because only with the body can one fulfill all the desires of one's mind. We should not, therefore, unnecessarily give trouble to the body.”
The brahmacārī addressed Vṛkāsura as the son of Śakuni just to convince him that He was known to his father, Śakuni. Vṛkāsura then took the brahmacārī to be someone known to his family, and therefore the brahmacārī’s sympathetic words appealed to him. Before the demon could argue that he had no time to take rest, the Lord informed him about the importance of the body, and the demon was convinced. Any man, especially a demon, takes his body to be very important. Thus Vṛkāsura became convinced about the importance of his body.
Then, just to pacify the demon, the brahmacārī told him, "My dear lord, if you think that you can disclose the mission for which you have taken the trouble to come here, maybe I shall be able to help you so that your purpose will be easily served." Indirectly, the Lord informed him that because the Lord is the Supreme Brahman, He would certainly be able to adjust the awkward situation created by Lord Śiva.
The demon was greatly pacified by the sweet words of Lord Nārāyaṇa in the form of a brahmacārī, and at last he disclosed all that had happened in regard to the benediction offered by Lord Śiva. The Lord replied to the demon as follows: “I Myself cannot believe that Lord Śiva has in truth given you such a benediction. As far as I know, Lord Śiva is not in a sane mental condition. When he had a quarrel with his father-in-law, Dakṣa, he was cursed to become a piśāca (ghost). Thus he has become the leader of the ghosts and hobgoblins. Therefore I cannot put any faith in his words. But if you still have faith in the words of Lord Śiva, my dear King of the demons, then why don’t you make an experiment by putting your hand on your own head? If the benediction proves false, then you can at once kill this liar, Lord Śiva, so that in the future he will not dare give out false benedictions.”
In this way, by Lord Nārāyaṇa's sweet words and by the expansion of His superior illusion, the demon became bewildered, and he actually forgot the power of Lord Śiva and his benediction. He was thus very easily persuaded to put his hand on his own head. As soon as the demon did that, his head cracked, as if struck by a thunderbolt, and he immediately died. The demigods from heaven showered flowers on Lord Nārāyaṇa, praising Him with shouts of "All glories!" and "All thanksgiving!" and they offered their obeisances to the Lord. On the death of Vṛkāsura, all the denizens in the higher planetary systems, namely the demigods, the pitṛs, the Gandharvas and the inhabitants of Janaloka, showered flowers on the Personality of Godhead.