by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes the importance of sacred ash which is chapter 105 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the one hundred fifth chapter of the Patala-Khanda (Section On The Nether World) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.
Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.
The sages said:
1. What did the illustrious Rāma do thereafter? What did the magnanimous sages do after that?
2-9. When Rāmacandra was seated comfortably, (so also) Bibhiṣaṇa, the lord of monkeys, the best sages said to Śambhu: “Tell us a meritorious tale.” Having heard their words, Śaṃ-kara said to Pārvatī: “This is the extremely beautiful house of a certain brāhmaṇa. It is adorned with a lovely garden, wells and creepers. It has (as it were) invited Cupid by means of the rows of humming bees. The sun is, as it were, proceeding to ascend to the mid-day position. We (shall) have bathed in the water of a beautiful well, and (shall have) put on fine garments. We (shall have) besmeared (our bodies with) thick, excellent sandal paste ground (i.e. mixed) with musk. We (shall) have firmly braided hair ornamented with the wreaths of the sallakī (flowers). Having tasted the tāmbūla that is large and dense and excellent and being glad and delighted, we shall remain comforting each other on a bed that is strewn in an auspicious house furnished with artificial jets, full of notes of peacocks along with sweet songs (sung) outside. If the face having a broad smile and red lips will be kissed, then we shall have enjoyed the fruit of the mundane existence.”
10-14a. Having heard these words spoken, the sages got angry and said: “Why have you told us these very auspicious words now? Due to your attachment to your beloved you made an unmeaning talk. You did not do our words (i.e. what we had asked you).” Then from the face of Śambhu who was full of anger, a very wonderful flame went out; and she too had a terrible face. She seized the wife of a certain sage and was intent upon fleeing quickly, but was frightened on seeing Rāma. Rāma too said, “I shall free the brāhmaṇa-woman.” Again and again talking of liberating (the brāhmaṇa-woman), he went by Puṣpaka only.
14b-17a. Rāma did not remember (i.e. he forgot) to fix the arrow onto the bow. Śambhu also, seeing very auspicious forests and abodes, and strange cities, did not remember Rāma. Then in a moment Rāma reached the great mountain Lokāloka. Then Rāma, seeing the mountain full of houses and paths (said to the brāhmaṇas): “O illustrious brāhmaṇas, tell me which way the brāhmaṇa-woman has gone.”
17b-20a. They said: “This way she has gone to the dark side of the mountain.” Rāma with a pale face thought: ‘Oh, it is bad’. Then Śambhu, of great lustre, gave matchless light. Due to the prowess of that light, Rāma went after that female deity to whom sacrifices are offered for destructive and magical purposes. The great region was full of darkness and without beings. From the primordial egg to the fragment of a broken jar, it spread over a hundred crores of yojanas.
20b-23a. In the darkness was settled a great silver (piece of) land. There was the city of Nārāyaṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu), having lustre like that of a crore of suns. Seeing it, the best sages along with Rāma, were amazed. Thinking (i.e. they thought): ‘What is this? How can we enter it? Could it be the fire at the time of the end of the world due to the magic power of the highest lord? Shall we die today or shall we have bliss?’
23b-30. When the sages, along with Rāma, were thus full of anxiety, Śambhu said: “O Rāma, listen to what I tell you today. For you I have brought about this illusion. This is no wonder. This is the great city of Nārāyaṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu). It is bright with lustre. It can not be destroyed by heat or cold. It is accessible through knowledge (only). It is not visible to the (physical) eyes. Look above at Brahmā and others who are worshipping it. Look in all directions at the pure sages who are worshipping it. Look at the four Vedas, praising the Highest Position (i.e. the highest god). O Rāghava, see this Highest Lustre which the meditating sages like Sanaka, resorting to abstract meditation, are meditating upon. See also this Romaśa going round and saluting. Look at these crores and crores of best sages like Vālakhilya. Look at the Highest Position (i.e. the highest god) being worshipped by all women like Lakṣmī. It is described as the Brahman having a form and without a form. The ignorant do not (i.e. cannot) see it. (Only) those having the eyes of knowledge (can) see it.”
31-34. On (hearing) the words of Śambhu all worshipped Acyuta, so also Girikarṇī, Tulasī, Mallikā and Māruta. (They saw) the high-souled ones worshipping the illustrious Janārdana. They saw Nārada having matted hair and a lute, uttering loudly the word (i.e. name) Nārāyaṇa, having a large beard and a sacred thread. He too thought to his mind: ‘Who is this?’ He (i.e. Nārada), full of joy, fell at the feet of Śambhu.
35-36a. The sage mentally muttered the five-lettered incantation dedicated to Śiva. “I am blessed;I am favoured; today my life is fruitful, (since) I have known your place which is saluted by Brahmā and others, which is inaccessible”.
36b-42. Then Śambhu said to Nārada: “Do not say so. Behave with me in such a way that they do not recognise me. Go quickly and tell Viṣṇu about my arrival in a short time.” Then, he hurriedly went and informed Viṣṇu of everything. Then he, the yogin, taking the auspicious water with materials for worship, along with Lakṣmī, and surrounded by crores and crores (of followers), seizing Nārada with his hand went (forth to greet him). The word Viṣṇu does not fit in the verse! He, having Garuḍa as his banner said: “Salutation, salutation to Śaṅkara.” Viṣṇu honoured all with materials of worship and water for washing the feet. He, of an immeasurable intellect, made them enter (i.e. took them into) the auspicious Narāyaṇapura (i.e. city of Viṣṇu). Then remaining in the best house, Nārāyaṇa said: “How have these come (here)? Who is this king of great glory? Human beings cannot enter this (place). This is inaccessible even to Brahmā and others.”
43-46a. We, dressed as sages, have come (here); and this valourous king is Rāmacandra who is a portion of you. O Keśava, he desires to see your wife.
Nārāyaṇa (i.e. Viṣṇu) saying, “All right”, said to Rāma “Enter (here)”. Then having entered the residence, having seen Lakṣmī, and bowing through modesty he saluted her, and said (these) meritorious words (to her): “I am blessed; there is no doubt about it. Tell me what you feel.”
Śrī Devī said:
46b-48. O Rāghava, you are young; you are attracted by love for sensual enjoyments; you are handsome. That Sītā, beautiful in all limbs, is your wife. Formerly you were separated from her, and being afflicted due to separation from her were, as it were, sinking. Tell me all that or you will not speak. Words accompanied by smile attract the hearts of young persons.
49-53. Having heard all those words, Rāmabhadra who was restrained and composed, having bowed down his lotuslike face, desired to go out from there. Having tormented the best among the Raghus, with a lotus—an arrow of Cupid—goddess Padmā, to whom Padmavana was dear, went out after him. Knowing Rāma to be one devoted to his only wife, they came to the king (i.e. Rāma) whose entire body was trembling and whose steps were faltering. Seeing that Śiva and Viṣṇu were very much amazed. “Oh, the firmness of his mind! His heart is not subjugated by Cupid. See his controlled steadiness. Rāma is well-known due to that. In every respect he has auspiciousness. Nothing inauspicious is (to be found) anywhere (about him).” Then Rāma said (these) words: “O lord, I would go.”
54-60. Then, Rāma, permitted by Viṣṇu, went, along with the sages, along with Śambhu and Nārāyaṇa, by the Puṣpaka (plane). He quickly went to the Lokāloka (mountain), and thence to the sweet ocean. From there he went to the islands and seas and then to Jambūdvīpa. He stayed in the hermitage of Bhāradvāja on the bank of Gautamī. Bhāradvāja, the best among the sages and the glorious one, having bathed in the great river and surrounded by his disciples, saw the Puṣpaka (aeroplane). The great sage then duly worshipped Rāma of mighty arms, so also Śiva, Nārāyaṇa, and the sages, and said to them: “O you best ones, please enjoy (yourselves) in my hermitage.” On (these) words of the sage, Rāma somehow said, “All right!” Then Vasiṣṭha spoke (these) words to Rāma who had bathed in the great river, who had made offerings to deities etc. and who desired (i.e. was about) to take food: “O Rāma, religious merit would be lost if the obligatory śrāddha is not performed”.
Śrī Rāma said:
61-64a. O revered one, if a śrāddha is missed on a new-moon day, on an eclipse-day, at the time of great portentous calamity, at a sacred place, at the time of the passage of a planetary body through a zodiacal sign, it is done again. An obligatory śrāddha should not at all be done again. These are your words. As when the death of my mothers took place, and when it was the mourning period, the obligatory śrāddha was not at all performed. But it was performed, as told by you, at the time of a great portentous calamity etc.
64b-66a. All these sages and this brāhmaṇa Śambhu are here. The decision will be fully made from their mouth (i.e. by them).
All the sages, deciding together, said to Śambhu: “O best brāhmaṇa, tell us everything (since) you are great
66b-68. The (obligatory) śrāddha may be avoided (on such occasions). (But) it should be done again. I am telling about (the circumstance when) the period of impurity has approached, and when there are (other) obstacles. They prescribe all śrāddhas like the monthly, or offering jars of water, and all other śrāddhas, so also the annual śrāddha (to be performed) after the impurity period (is over).
69-70a. There is no doubt that all (the śrāddhas) that were avoided due to the difficulty caused by the period of impurity, should be performed immediately after it. In the same way all monthly śrāddhas, the annual śrāddha, or (any other śrāddha not performed) due to any other difficulty, should be performed immediately after the period of impurity.
70b-74a. One desiring merit should perform a śrāddha on the eleventh day of the dark fortnight. If it is not performed at that time, then it is done on the new-moon day, (or) it should be performed without difficulty on (any of the) subsequent days. O Rāma, the śrāddha which should have been performed on the new-moon day in the dark fortnight, was not performed. If the month of the day of death is not somehow known (i.e. if the day is known but not the month), then the day in Mārgaśīrṣa or Māgha is recommended for the śrāddha. But when the day is not known, but the month is known, the annual śrāddha should take place on the new-moon day of that month.
74b-76. If the day or the month of the death or going away of a person is not known, then that day (on which the news is got) should be taken as a day for the performance of the śrāddha. If that also is not known, i.e. due to not knowing the day or the month, one of the three, viz. new-moon day of Āśvina or of Mārgaśīrṣa or Māgha may be taken (as the day on which the śrāddha should be performed). The waxing of the moon should be taken for the śrāddha month after month.
77-82. The Nitya (i.e. obligatory) śrāddha, the Kumbha śrāddha should be performed even in the intercalary month, so also on an eclipse day, day of the birth of a son etc. or of an expiatory rite. When everything is planned, there is no fault in performing it even in the intercalary month. When the rite of śrāddha is at hand, if the man who has to perform the śrāddha, is unwell, he should appoint his wife, brother or his disciple to perform it. In his absence the rite called śrāddha does not suffer. He should appoint (i.e. invite) one who would eat (the food at the śrāddha and feed him) according to his capacity at an obligatory śrāddha; so also at the monthly śrāddha performed on a new-moon day, other than the day on which the person is dead. If he is unable, he should appoint his son or a brāhmaṇa. The śrāddha to be offered by a man who is appointed to do a royal job or employed as a servant, should be got done by a brāhmaṇa; so also in case of all difficulties. The best brāhmaṇas do not perform a śrāddha in the morning.
83-88. No such restriction about time is ordained in the case of occasional śrāddhas. The course for one who is separated from his wife is said to be his sister’s or daughter’s son (obscure!). The latter should be near him. The date for a śrāddha to be performed every month should be touching the afternoon. When the new-moon day spreads over two days, it should be touching the afternoon. When the day ends between the two sunrises or when there is sameness the next day is recommended (for śrāddha). That new-moon day which lasts for two afternoons is sama (i.e. same). When the day ends between two sunrises, then the former is recommended; when it comprises two sunrises, the latter is recommended; and when it has sameness, the latter is (ordained). When the moon has waned, the śrāddha should be done on the parvan day. She (i.e. tithi) is feasible on the eighth part of the new-moon day.
89-90a. If she has not passed the eight parts, that should be taken as covering the midday, and that should be the day when a śrāddha is offered to one individual only. That day should be taken (for śrāddha), which covers the evening of a parvan day. That new-moon day which lasts for a part of the afternoon should be accepted for a śrāddha etc.
90b-92a. On the day of the death (anniversary) the day for the śrāddha would be three watches in the evening. When it has ended then, as told before, it should be performed during the three watches on the next day. Among the śrāddhas, the śrāddha performed on the next day brings about the destruction of the eldest son. When the day of the deceased has arrived, the śrāddha of the full-moon day should be performed. For a brāhmaṇa it is laid down to be covering the midday.
92b-93a. Please tell us about the rule to be fully followed in the case of a śrāddha-rite or rites to be performed by a mortal, so also the occasional rites.
93b-96. When the day for the śrāddha has stood by, a man, being restrained, should, on the previous day, invite best brāh-maṇas endowed with the characteristics of a (good) brāhmaṇa. (On this day) he should eat once only. He should observe celibacy, and should not talk to the low-born ones. The performer of the śrāddha should perform brushing his teeth, anointing his body or clipping his nails on the previous day and should avoid these on the next day. He should follow the rules that are laid down; and should avoid all this. If the worship is to be done thrice, he should worship his deity in the morning.
97-101. If he who knows how to perform the rites, worships (his deity) at sunrise, then he should sleep on the (bare) ground and should do so on getting up in the morning. Having performed the rites to be performed in the morning after taking a bath, he becomes free from the three debts (to sages, gods and manes) and goes to that highest Brahman. He who worships Śiva at the time of sunrise, becomes lustrous like the sun and is honoured in the heaven of Śiva. He who worships after a ghaṭikā (i.e. 24 minutes) after sunrise, becomes bright like Rudra and is honoured in the heaven of Śiva. If he worships the lord in the second ghaṭikā (of the day), he becomes radiant like Vāyu and is honoured in the heaven of Śiva.
102-105. He who would perform Śiva’s worship in the third ghaṭikā, becomes bright like Kubera and is honoured in Śiva’s heaven. He who devoutly worships Śiva in the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh ghaṭikā becomes like a god in Śiva’s heaven. The worship should be done at that time at which it is ordained. Or he should take a vow, observe restrictions and should worship. He should observe the rule according to his capacity in the formalities. O lord, would a rite be (a proper rite), if the rule is violated?
Śrī Rāma said:
106-109. Where should the worship of Śaṅkara be done-of Śaṅkara who is the god of gods, who is of unlimited prowess, who destroys sins when remembered, and who also gives salvation when remembered, who is auspicious, who is of an auspicious form, who knows the auspicious essential truth, who is Soma (i.e. Śiva), who is best adorned, whose eyes are best, who shines, who is of the form of Vedas, who is formless, who knows the essence of the Vedas, who knows the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas, who is to be known and cannot be known, who is a meditating saint, whose body is like cow’s milk, who takes delight in bathing with cow’s milk, who looks after the cows, who has three eyes, who has the three eyes in the form of the triad (of the Vedas) and who is powerful.
110-114. In between the questions he showed Rāma auspicious knowledge. He, seated as it were he had become a post, with his eyes fixed on the tip of his nose, with the stream of tears of joy trickling from his eyes and touching his cheeks, held in the lotus of his heart god Śiva whose body was very glossy like milk and was very charming. In the body of Rāma the reflection was seen. Seeing Śambhu having four hands and three eyes reflected thus, all the sages, Viṣṇu and the lord (Śiva) were very much amazed. Seeing Rāma, auspicious and of a bright form, remaining in Śambhu’s chest, they kept mum for half a watch. He, referring to his question, said: “Please tell the whole thing.”
115-117. According to one's desire worship is done of a stable image or of an unstable one. If an image etc. is not acquired, (then) the principal (thing) is Phallus worship. In that case also a man should carry on worship according to his authority. The Phallus worship, faulty or without a fault, is fruitful. The worship of an image, if faulty, does not become fruitful. The worship of a Phallus, fixed one or unstable, is recommended.
118-125. I shall (now) tell about the worship of an unstable (image etc.); so also about its installation and dismissal. No sage anywhere knows both these. The meditating saints always install the lord of gods, Śaṅkara, in their lotus-like hearts, take care of him, worship him and then take him out. The sacrificial priests have a great rite in worshipping the three-eyed god in fire. All the worshippers install the great lord on the Phallus of Śiva. The installation of the Phallus (should be done); its worship should be performed; it should then be dismissed; the great Phallus of Śiva should be put on (the body); it should be decorated, be highly excellent, should be fashioned with gold, or silver, or with portions of silver; the top of it should be arranged with portions of bamboo, or tendrils of creepers, or with wood, or it would be arranged with a piece of cloth or with clay. It should be surrounded with a piece of cloth made fragrant; it should have a pair of washed garments, and endowed with a seat of clay. It should be without cold or heat, and should be endowed with four feet. It should have a portion of a hedge, and without worms and insects.
126-129a. Having covered on all sides that (Phallus of) Śiva with a soft, washed garment, and having put him (i.e. it) on an altar, one should again cover the lord; this, O Rāma, is said to be the decoration in front of the god. It should be installed, and the recitation (of the hymn) of the great lord should be done in a secluded place. Or it should be placed at the root of a wall or on an altar; so also in a protected region; and he should appoint a protector (to look after it). He should, along with restrictions, bring about the union with Prāṇa (i.e. the vital breath) etc.
129b-130a. This installation of the highest lord is said to be Rājasa (i.e. endowed with the quality of passion). The Sāttvika (i.e. of the nature of goodness) is that which is (kept) near oneself. The Tāmasa (i.e. of the nature of darkness) is again (like this):
130b-136. It should be worn so as to touch the body or would cover the entire body. The chief one is wearing it on the head. Brahmā had done like that. Wearing it by keeping it under the crown is said to be auspicious. Wearing it on the forehead is (also) recommended, as Lakṣmī had worn one auspicious one. Bāṇa had worn it on the head and also on the right (part of the) chest. The great meditating sage Harakarṇa had worn iton his ear. Some excellent demons fashioning one of iron, cut a part of their body and wear it there. Weak men having no abodes should wear it on their heads. Wearing it near the knot of the lower garment etc. is said to be most mean. When they get what is left over, it should be worn on the head. Those whose conduct is the meanest, and those who are sinners, should always wear a Liṅga. The wonder is: It is not in Yama’s world.
Śrī Rāma said:
137. How does the worship of Śambhu change the (visit) to hell due to the writing firmly done by Citragupta on the forehead (of a person)? How does it destroy a sin?
138-143a. It destroys all the sin committed during hundreds of existences. Due to the destruction of all the sins and the recollection of the great god, the word bhasma (sacred ash) is mentioned. The wearing of (i.e. besmearing with) bhasma—the ash is excellent. As fire would destroy a writing on a tablet, in the same way besmearing the forehead with ash would destroy the writing of Yama. On its application to the face the sin done by the part above the ears would perish. On applying it to the neck sins due to enjoyments had by the throat would perish. (Its application) to the arms (destroys) the sin committed by the arms. (Its application) to the chest (destroys) sins committed by the mind. (Its application) to the navel (destroys) sins committed by the male generative organ. (Its application) to the back (destroys sins) committed by the anus. O Rāma, by applying it to the two sides (of the body) the sin due to embracing the wife of another man etc. perishes.
143b-149. In every case the application of bhasma (i.e. the sacred ash) is recommended to be in three lines. (Due to it) the holding of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, and of the three fires (is secured). For the protection of the three worlds the application was done by him. Bhasma that is consecrated and put on (i.e. applied to) the fifteen places (of the body) is auspicious—the two visceras (like the lungs etc.), the pair of the arms, above the visceras. It is accepted by all to be applied by all bodies for the purpose of worship. There is no doubt that those who eat the sacred ash, who sleep on the sacred ash, and who have their bodies smeared with the sacred ash, and bathe with (i.e. apply) sacred ash, are always freed from sins. It is said to be giving a triple power at the initiation of a brāhmaṇa. It is a protector at the time of the birth of men, and at the time of being possessed by a ghost. It is a remedy for all for the destruction of the poison of a serpent etc. A devotee of Viṣṇu or any other man who bathes with sacred ash or has applied sacred ash, excels in his acts.
Śrī Rāma said:
150. Tell me all that: First (tell me) the importance of the sacred ash; (tell me) how it prolongs life and how it is preserved.
151-152a. It is the cause of increasing (the span of) life in the three kinds of men. (Merely) by touch it destroys sins, so also cold and hot, and it gives Śiva’s position. In this matter I shall tell you an ancient account.
152b-156. There was a brāhmaṇa named Dhanañjaya belonging to Vasiṣṭha’s family. He had a hundred wives endowed with form and beauty. One of them, Śāmākā, gave birth to (a son named) Karuṇa, O Sage. O Rāma, he had (a large number of) ascetic sons according to the number of wives. The father made an unequal distribution (of wealth) among them. Then there was a great enmity among the brothers. It is universal that men of the same stock have enmity (among themselves). Then (once) this Karuṇa along with hosts of sages went to the bank of Bhavanāśini to see Narasiṃha.
157-162a. A certain brāhmaṇa had brought an excellent lovely fragrant fruit for (offering it after) seeing Nṛsiṃha. Karuṇa took that excellent fruit and smelt it. The hosts of brāhmaṇas (that were present) there joined him with a curse (i.e. cursed him): “O you of a sinful mind, from now onwards be a bee for a hundred years. The end of your curse will be (done) by the magnanimous Dadhīci.” Then, he who had become a bee, said to his wife: “O auspicious one, I am turned into a bee. (Please) look after me.” Saying so, and being like that (i.e. a bee) he wandered here and there. Then his kinsmen of a sinful resolve, having come to know him to be like this (i.e. to be turned into a bee), having attempted to kill him, threw him into oil.
162b-167. Taking (i.e. finding) her husband to be dead, the woman of a slim waist was afflicted. To appease her grief goddess Arundhatī said: “O you of a bright smile, I shall bring him back to life with sacred ash only.” Then she gave Arundhatī the sacred ash from the sacred fire. She threw it on the dead being (the dead man) with the Mṛtyuñjaya hymn. Then the woman of a bright smile fanned (her dead husband) gently with a fan. Then due to the power of the sacred asḥ, the being (i.e. the man) got up. Then when a hundred years were over, a kinsman killed (him). When the husband died, that chaste woman of a bright smile was afflicted. The chaste woman sought the refuge of Dadhīca, the best brāhmaṇa and a sage, a great devotee of the great lord (Śiva). The brāhmaṇa, a treasure of penance, said (to her):
168-171. Bhasma (i.e. the sacred ash) alone brought back to life Jamadagni, a treasure of penance, who was bereft of life (i.e. who was dead); so also Kaśyapa who was like that (i.e. who was dead); so also (it brougḥt back to life) gods, (other) beings, and even me in olden times. Therefore, O sinless one, with the sacred ash only I shall bring back to life your being (i.e. your husband).” Saying so the venerable Dadhīca sought the succour of the great lord (i.e. Śiva). Taking the sacred ash in his hand and consecrating it with a hymn, he brought back to life the husband of that very chaste woman. At the touch of the hand of the great lord, Karuṇa became free from the curse. Going to (i.e. regaining) his original form, he went to his own hermitage.
172-174a. The chaste woman invited Dadhīca to her house for food; she solicited the brāhmaṇa sage (to take food); and then the brāhmaṇa ate (food). When the best brāhmaṇa had eaten food, a crore of (his) disciples came (there); so also gods with their bodies smeared with the sacred ash came (there). Having saluted Dadhīca, they approached him with a desire (to know) Śiva.
The gods said:
174b-178a. O you highly intelligent one, formerly our knowledge had disappeared. Seeing Gautama’s wife we were affected by love. We outraged her who had gone through the auspicious rite of marriage. The knowledge of us who longed for her, perished. Then, all of us (turned into) ghosts went to the sage Durvāsas. He said: “Now (only) I shall remove the entire sin of you by means of the Śatarudriya hymn, consecrated by Śambhu (i.e. Śiva) himself. He also gave it to me for appeasing (the sin due to) the murder of a brāhmaṇa etc.”
178b-180. Saying so, Durvāsas gave the excellent bhasma (the sacred ash) to us. Then, all of us, whose minds were perverted, became at that moment only free from sins after our bodies were smeared with the sacred ash to the accompaniment of the Śatarudriya hymn. This is a wonder. We know the power of bhasma to be like this.
181 -185a. I shall tell you in brief the power of the bhasma of (i.e. sacred to) Śiva. Even in hundreds of years it is not possible to tell it in detail. Now I shall tell you the old account of the two gods, Viṣṇu and Śaṃkara, (so also about) the destruction of (the sin due to) the murder of a brāhmaṇa. Formerly at the time of the deluge (of the creation) of Brahmā in an awful ocean, the great illustrious Viṣṇu lay in the water of (i.e. caused by) the deluge. Two hundred ‘eggs of Brahmā’ (i.e. worlds) reached his two sides. Twenty were by the side of his two feet, and twenty near his head. The lord held the ‘egg of Brahmā’ as a pearl (worn) on the nose.
l85b-191. Certain excellent sages like Lomaśa, were practising great (i.e. severe) penance in the circle of (i.e. his round) navel. They were propitiating the great god. Then Viṣṇu of great lustre, with a desire to create (the world) thought; being intent upon profound meditation, he did not see anything. Due to great grief he repeatedly cried aloud. In the meanwhile, seeing an extraordinary lustre, Viṣṇu, through fear, closed his eyes. He (who possessed that extraordinary lustre), having a body, and lustrous like cow’s milk, came there and collected the pair of the row of a crore of ‘Brahmā’s eggs’ in his couple of hands; he held to his bosom the lustre produced by the crore of ‘Brahmā’s eggs’. One ‘egg of Brahmā’ (i.e. a world) jumped up and fell into his two hands. Not being able to see him, Viṣṇu (desiring) to see him, praised him, the immutable one, who was like that and who was (adorned) with all ornaments.
192-200a. Salutation to you, the god of gods; salutation to you the eternal and immutable one. I do not know you; (but) you know (me). My repeated salutations to you. I do not know your (true) state. Your lustre is difficult to look at. I seek the refuge of you who have put one merald ear-rings, who are adorned with a row of golden necklaces, who have put on a jewelled ring, who are illustrious, who have put on ornaments on your arms and viscera, whose eyes are slightly red, bright and long (i.e. broad), who view (sharply) like an arrow, who have an (additional) eye on your forehead, who are immutable, whose eyebrows create the illusions of Cupid’s bow, who are the lord, whose lovely nose is high, whose cheeks are spotless, whose smile is gentle, whose face is pleased, who are mighty, who appear (charming) like the young moon, who have put on the red garment of wisdom, who have devised the anklets of the Vedas. O mighty one, give me sight. Be the refuge of one that is doomed by ignorance and that is helpless, blind and pitiable.
Then he (i.e. Śambhu) gave him divine sight capable of seeing himself. Then Viṣṇu, seeing the three-eyed Śambhu standing before him, said (to him): “Who are you? I do not recognise you of a great glory. I am able only to salute you but not to recognise you.”
200b-201a. I shall give you knowledge. Bathe in the ocean. After that have bath with (i.e. apply) sacred ash, and after that I shall give you knowledge.
The lord said:
201b-203a. Nowhere is there water fit for my bath.
Thus addressed, he with ‘Brahmā’s egg’ touching his body, sat there. It was not proper for Viṣṇu to bathe in thigh-deep water. Śambhu laughed (and said): “Oh, there is too much water for (your) bath.”
203b-210a. Then god Śiva looked at Viṣṇu with the eye on his forehead; and looked at him whose subtle limbs had disappeared with his left eye. Then Viṣṇu, having a subtle and cold body was (thus) told by Śambhu: “O Viṣṇu, take a bath; this deep lake is fashioned”. Then Viṣṇu was not able to enter that deep lake prepared on Śiva’s lap for bathing. Viṣṇu said: “There is no way to get into the lake. O god, give me a way (to enter it).” Then Śambhu said to him: “O mighty one, formerly this large (quantity of) water was a crore yojanas deep. When you entered it, it has become thigh-deep. When you are (already) standing there, how do you say you have no entrance? In this deep lake of mine I see that this thigh (of you) is of the measure of eight fingers. Get in; I shall give a touch to (i.e. support) your feet. One sentence uttered by me is a staircase; it is Veda that has come out of my words.”
210b-21la. Nobody here has the ability to climb up (the staircase of) words. It is possible to grasp a tangible object. How can the scriptures be grasped?
211b-214a. A man has no capacity to grasp or climb up objects. Accept this great Veda.
Then Hari too accepted it. He, with his hands bent due to lack of strength, was as it were falling. (Then) Viṣṇu said to Śiva: “It is not possible for me to hold it.” Śiva laughed, as it were dropping into the great deep lake. (He said): “O Keśava, having gone up the staircase, please take a bath.”
214b-217. He (i.e. Viṣṇu), having duly bathed there (i.e. in the great deep lake) where the Veda had become the staircase and the water was thigh-deep, came out, and said: “I have bathed. What next is to be done?” Then Śambhu said to Viṣṇu: “Tell me whether you are thinking or not thinking of something in your mind.” Hari said: “(I am) not (thinking of) anything.” Then Śambhu said to him: “Having purified yourself with the bath with (i.e. the application of) sacred ash, you will know the highest auspicious object; for that is recommended for one who is initiated. I would protect that.”
218-222. Then Śiva took (i.e. scratched) the sacred ash on his chest with his nail, consecrated it with Om and the Gāyatrī (hymn) of the form of Brahman, took it with (i.e. between) his fingers, and with (the accompaniment of the hymn of) five syllables he threw it on the head and all limbs of Viṣṇu. Gazing on him with tranquil eyes, Śiva said to Viṣṇu: “Live (long). Meditate on what there is in your heart.” Then he was intent upon meditation. In his heart he saw a lamp of a long (i.e. big) shape and very bright. Viṣṇu said to Śiva: “I have actually seen a lamp.” Śiva said: “O Viṣṇu, your knowledge is not mature. Eat the sacred ash. (Then) your knowledge will be complete.”
223-233. I shall eat the sacred ash. Formerly I have bathed with (i.e. applied to my body) the sacred ash.
Seeing the lord, accessible through devotion (only), Viṣṇu ate the sacred ash. (Then) there was a great wonder: In a moment Viṣṇu became one having the lustre of a ripe bimba fruit and having the complexion of a pure pearl. Since then this Viṣṇu is pleased and is (of a) white (complexion). Then again he became engrossed in meditation, and in the lamp saw a man who was like a pure crystal, who was Śiva with three eyes and two hands, who gave a boon with the right hand and fearlessness with the left, whose body was like that (of a child) of five-years, whose brilliance was like that of a myriad moons, whose-ear-rings were made of emeralds, who was adorned with a row of necklaces, who was handsome due to a jewelled ring, who had put on ornaments on his arms and chest etc., whose lips were small and red, whose eyes were long and reached his ears, whose eyes were sharp like arrows, who had an eye on his forehead, who was immutable, whose eyebrows created the illusion of Cupid’s bow, who was the lord, whose lovely nose was high, whose cheeks were spotless, whose smile was gentle, whose face was pleased, who looked like the young moon, who was mighty, who had put on the red garment of wisdom, who had devised the anklets of the Vedas, who had put a jewelled Om in the left finger (i.e. finger of the left hand), and who was immutable. Then Viṣṇu became (i.e. looked upon himself as) blessed. Then Śambhu said: “O Viṣṇu, what did you see in your heart?” Viṣṇu said: “First I saw a man of gentle body.” Saying so, Viṣṇu fell at the feet of Śiva.
234. I do not know the power of the sacred ash, or whence can I know your prowess? Salutation to you, salutation to you. I seek your refuge.
235. O illustrious one, ask for a boon which you desire with (i.e. have in) your mind.
Having then heard the words of Śiva, Viṣṇu chose an excellent boon.
236-239. O Śambhu, let me always have devotion for the couple of your feet.
Then having granted the boon Śambhu said these (words) to Viṣṇu: “Being happy with the application of the sacred ash, you will be my devotee.”
Thus I have told you from the beginning the great knowledge due to (the application of) the sacred ash. Therefore, O you all gods, apply sacred ash carefully.
The gods had their eyes dilated due to wonder (and said:) “Let it be so.” He who every day listens to this meritorious, excellent account, is freed from all sins, and goes to the position of Śaṃkara.