by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes the greatness of agnipaleshvara which is chapter 139 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 thirty-ninth chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.
1-19a. On the northern bank of Sābhramatī (the holy place called) Agnitīrtha is known. The holy place Tīrthapāleśvara is situated not far away in the north-eastern direction from her, where Caṇḍi has settled. That seat of the Yogamātṛs brings in complete welfare. There the great mothers have stayed with great effort and for favouring the world. A man of a firm vow, having stayed there for three nights, should go to that god Caṇḍikeśvara, the lord of gods. Having bathed in Sābhramatī near Mātṛtīrtha, he being fully concentrated, should go to Mātṛmaṇḍala. A man obtains the fruit of the gift of a thousand cows after having bathed at Agnitīrtha and seen Cāmuṇḍā. For him there is no fear from demons, evil spirits and goblins. O chief goddess, at the place where river Gokhurā has joined Sābhramatī, there are thousands of holy places. O Pārvatī, there a śrāddha should be offered with sesamum powder. (A man) having offered piṇḍas and fed brāhmaṇas, would obtain an undecaying position. There was a king Kukardama, who was most sinful, irresistible, wicked, foolish, who possessed ego, who censured brāhmaṇas, killed cows and children, who was most sinful and always indomitable. O chief goddess, when he was ruling in the city called Piṇḍāra, he died at an auspicious time. He who was dead, was born here as an evil spirit, O great goddess. He, of a yellow face, with his mouth parched up, having yellow hair, and harsh, very tall, having profuse hair, oppressed by hunger and thirst, subsisting on air, moved here and there. Accompanied by many evil spirits he wailed ‘Hā, Hā’. The evil spirits near him also said: “What should be done?” Those other wicked evil spirits also crying and oppressed by hunger, thirst etc., came in contact with the king. With the king they moved to many uninhabited countries. On the way neither water nor food was ever seen (by them). Those evil spirits of wicked forms moved on the earth. They ate the flesh of corpses and always drank blood. King Kukardama was thus always surrounded by them. Some time by chance he went to the hermitage of (his) preceptor. He had done religious acts in the former existence. Due to that he came in contact (with the preceptor).
19b-20. O master, O lord of the universe, tell (me).what religious deeds he did. This was a sinner, a wicked one, and troubled brāhmaṇas. How did he have good company. Tell it to me (though) difficult.
21-29a. I shall tell (you) all that this king had done in the previous existence. Listen (to it), O daughter of the (Himālaya) Mountain. O goddess, in his previous existence, he was a brāhmaṇa who recited the Vedas. Having everyday worshipped Mahādeva, and honoured guests, this best brāhmaṇa took his food. Due to the prowess of that religious merit, he became a king in the city of Piṇḍāra, and was known as Kukardama. Through his body and mind, he did not perform religious acts. Due to that (ill) luck, he died and became the king of the evil spirits. His face was dry, his figure was dry, his complexion was yellow, and he was fearful. O chief goddess, (the effect of) the religious deeds done in a former existence does not perish. Due to that religious merit he came in the company of the preceptor in the (latter’s) hermitage. Kahoḍa lived there. He saw the king of the evil spirits, whose face was dry, figure was dry, complexion was yellow, and who was fearful. His eyes were deep, he was a great sinner, and was accompanied by wicked evil spirits. His hair was raised, he had matted hair, he was of the nature of death, and was fierce. Seeing him like that at that time, the brāhmaṇa (Kahoḍa) was afflicted.
29b-31. At this charming, very wonderful place, viz. at the holy place of Agnipāleśvara, I always live. O king, you are our patron. How have your become the king of the evil spirits? On this auspicious earth, due to the result of which deeds have you become a wicked one, of a wicked form, of the nature of death, and fierce?
The evil spirit said:
32-39. O brāhmaṇa, listen to the sin I committed in the previous existence. I was king Kukardama in the city called Piṇḍāraka O divine one, listen to what I, living there, did. Formerly, (I indulged in) killing brāhmaṇas, telling lies etc. I harassed my subjects, always killed beings. I harmed the cows, and destroyed brāhmaṇas’ vows. O brāhmaṇa, I always remained without a bath. I hurt the good. I was always given to censuring Viṣṇu, and blamed the devotees of Viṣṇu. My conduct was bad, I was wicked, and was always accompanied by śūdra females. I ate anywhere, and was never intent on being pure. Due to that (evil) deed, O lord of brāhmaṇas, I died and reached the stock of an evil spirit and have become unhappy in many ways. The preceptor alone is the kinsman, the preceptor, the mother, the father of him who does not have a mother, a father, relatives and kinsmen. Realising this, O brāhmaṇa, please relieve me.
40-46. Listen, O best king. I shall do as you tell me. You will instantly attain salvation. There is no doubt about it. Even the pre-eminent evil spirits who are in your company, will also get release, especially at this excellent holy place.
Then, O chief goddess, that brāhmaṇa, having gone to the holy place, made them perform rites like offering water with sesamum-seeds. There is no (restriction as to) month or date. Repeatedly going to a holy place, one should perform rites like a śrāddha as formerly told by Brahmā to me. O goddess, when the (śrāddha-)rite was performed at the chief holy place, they were released and seated in an aeroplane they went to my city. O chief goddess, bathing and giving gifts at the place where Gokhurā has joined Sābhramatī, would secure the fruit of a crore of sacrifices. Salvation is said to be obtained there, where there would be (i.e. is) the holy place Agnitīrtha called Kapāleś-vara. It would certainly be true (and) true (only).