Once upon a time, during the exile of the Pandavas, Arjuna follows the advice of sage Veda Vyasa and goes to the Himalayas to perform penance to Lord Shiva. He made a Shivalinga and started to worship it. This is in order to obtain the Pashupatastra, which is capable of defeating all other weapons in war. So, Arjuna reaches the HImalayas and begins his penance to Lord Shiva. His penance became so strong that eventually, all the other sages there could not tolerate his level of austerity. So, all the sages approach Lord Shiva and inform him about the high intensity of Arjuna’s penance. Lord Shiva then tells the sages that he will see to it that the problem gets resolved soon.
Meanwhile when Arjuna is engrossed in his penance, a big wild boar roars and comes charging towards him. Arjuna is forced to stop his penance and opens his eyes. He takes his bow and shoots an arrow at the boar, but at the same time, another arrow also hits the boar simultaneously. Arjuna finds that a hunter has fired the second arrow from another side of the mountain. As he goes near him, the hunter claims that his arrow only killed the beast. Arjuna grows angry at this and argues saying that his arrow only killed the beast. Soon, the argument gets blown out of proportion and grows into a physical fight.
Both of them raised their bows once again and started shooting arrows at one another. A huge battle took place and they used all their arrows to attack and counter one another. Though the hunter’s quiver still had a lot of arrows, Arjuna’s quiver was empty. The hunter then shot an arrow at Arjuna and since he did not have any arrows to defend himself, he raised his bow as a shield. The hunter’s arrow broke Arjuna’s bow and he became very angry.
So, he pulled out his sword and charged towards the hunter chopping his arrows midair. The hunter fought Arjuna with his bow and after some time, using only his bow, he broke the sword of Arjuna. Arjuna was now beyond angry and throwing his broken sword aside, he started to fight the hunter barehanded. The hunter then set his bow aside and started to attack Arjuna with his bare hands. He hit Arjuna left and right and thrashed him fully. Arjuna was soon beaten black and blue and he fell to the ground. With his final bit of energy, Arjuna crawled towards the Shivalinga where he was praying and resumed his penance. The hunter was amused by this, but he did not interfere and just watched from the side.
Arjuna then offered flowers and a garland to the Shivalinga during his penance. As he opened his eyes, he was shocked to see the garland missing from the Shivalinga. He heard the hunter laughing loudly from the side and when he turned and saw, he found the garland on the hunter’s neck. Arjuna was very baffled by this and it was then, that the hunter changed his form and revealed himself to be none other than Lord Shiva himself. Arjuna bowed to him and asked his forgiveness for having fought with him.
Lord Shiva smiled and said that all this was a test to prove Arjuna’s dedication and he had passed with flying colours. Lord Shiva then asked him as to why he needed the Pashupatastra and for this, Arjuna said that he wanted this weapon in order to protect his loved ones from harm. Lord Shiva was impressed by his answer and instantly, he summoned the Pashupatastra and handed it to Arjuna. Thus having completed his objective, Arjuna then went back to live with the Pandavas.