The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Meritoriousness of Devotion to Shiva which is chapter 5 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the fifth chapter of the Kedara-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 5 - Meritoriousness of Devotion to Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Lomaśa continued:

1. When Viṣṇu went away, all those Devas along with the sages and all those who subsisted on that Yajña were totally vanquished by the Gaṇas.

2. He (Vīrabhadra) made Bhṛgu fall down and his beard and moustache were plucked and cut.[1] He got the teeth of Pūṣan uprooted after distorting and deforming them.

3. Svadhā was ridiculed and the sages were mocked there. In their fury, they showered the sacrificial fire with faecal matter.

4. The Gaṇas who had become excessively infuriated created unspeakable havoc. Out of great fear, Dakṣa hid himself beneath the altar.

5. After realizing that he was in hiding, he angrily dragged him out. Holding by the cheeks, he struck his head with a sword.

6. Thinking that the head could not be pierced or split through, the valorous Vīrabhadra pressed the shoulder down with his feet and wrung the neck.

7. On being wrenched off from the neck, the head of the vicious Dakṣa was taken away by the intelligent Vīrabhadra and thrown (lit. offered as oblation) into the blazing sacrificial pit instantaneously.

8. Other sages, Devas, Pitṛs, Yakṣas and Rākṣasas who yet stayed on were assaulted by the Gaṇas. All of them fled from the place.

9. The Moon, the groups of Ādityas, all the Planets, Stars and Constellations—all of them were displaced and shaken. They too were attacked by the Gaṇas.

10. Brahmā returned to Satyaloka. He was afflicted with sorrow for his son. He thought without being perturbed: ‘What action is to be taken now?’

11-15. As his mind was suffering, the grandfather of the worlds did not derive any happiness. With great effort, he understood all the wicked deeds of that sinner. He decided to go to the Kailāsa mountain.

Hiding on his swan, accompanied by all the Devas, the lord of great splendour reached the most excellent mountain. There he saw Śiva, Rudra, accompanied by only Nandin, staying alone.

He had matted hair and possessed great splendour. It was the lord who could not he grasped by the Vedas or their Aṅgas (Ancillaries). On seeing such a lord, Brahmā became greatly agitated.

He prostrated himself on the ground like a staff and began to plead for pardon, touching his lotus-like feet with the tips of the four crowns. He began to eulogize Śiva, the supreme soul.

Brahmā said:

16. Obeisance to Rudra, the quiescent Brahman, the supreme soul. You are the creator and sustainer (protector) of the universe; you are the great-grandfather (of the world).

17. Obeisance to the great Rudra, to the blue-throated one, to the creator, to the lord identical with the universe, to the seed of the universe, to the cause of the bliss of the worlds.

18-19. You are Oṃkāra; you are Vaṣaṭkāra, the prompter of the functioning of all enterprises. You are Yajña; you are the Yājñic rite. You are the cause of the functioning of Yajña; you alone are the protector of all the performers of sacrifice. You are worthy of being the refuge, O great lord, to all living beings. Save me, save me, O lord Mahādeva, I have been afflicted with the grief for my son.

Mahādeva said:

20. O grandfather, listen attentively to my words. The destruction of the Yajña of Dakṣa has Dot been carried out by me at all.

21-22. O Brahmā, there is no doubt about this that Dakṣa was killed by his own deeds. An act (rite) that causes pain to many others, should not be performed at all, at any time. O Parameṣṭhin, what befalls others will befall one too.

23. After saying this, Rudra accompanied by Brahmā and Suras went to the holy spot Kanakhala and to the sacrificial enclosure of the Prajāpati (Dakṣa).

24-26. Rudra saw what had been committed by Vīrabhadra. Svāhā, Svadhā, Pūṣan, Bhṛgu the most excellent one among intelligent beings (all had been injured by the Gaṇas). So also all the other sages and all the manes had been driven to that miserable plight. Many other Yakṣas, Gandharvas and Kinnaras who had been there were wounded, split and torn oīf. Some died in the battle.

27. On seeing that Śaṃbhu had come, Vīrabhadra prostrated himself like a log of wood by way of obeisance, along with his Gaṇas. Then he stood in front of Śiva.

28. On seeing Vīrabhadra of great strength standing in front, Rudra spoke these words laughingly: “O hero, what is this that has been done here?

29. Immediately bring here that Dakṣa by whom this unusual and inauspicious thing has been committed in the course of a Yajña, in consequence of which was (the present) fruit.”

30. On being ordered thus by Śaṅkara, Vīrabhadra hurriedly brought the headless trunk and placed it in front of Śaṃbhu.

31-32. Then Vīrabhadra of noble mind was enquired by Śaṅkara: “By whom has the head of the vicious Dakṣa been removed? Though he is a crooked fellow, O hero, I shall now give him life (revive him).”

On being told thus by Śaṅkara, Vīrabhadra submitted again:

33. “The head was dropped by me into the fire at the very instant, O Śaṅkara. The head that is left, O Śaṃbhu, is that of an animal and the face has been distorted.”

34. After knowing (the position), Rudra placed upon the headless trunk the deformed head of the animal. The head had a beard and it was terrible.

35. Thanks to the grace of Śaṅkara, Dakṣa regained his life. On seeing Rudra in front of him, Dakṣa became ashamed. Bowing down he eulogized Śaṅkara, the benefactor of all the worlds.

Dakṣa said:

36. I bow down to the excellent lord, the bestower of boons. I bow down to the most excellent lord of Devas, the eternal lord. I pay obeisance to Īśvara, the lord of Devas. I bow down to Hara, Śaṃbhu, the sole kinsman of the universe.

37. I bow down to the cosmic form of the lord of the universe, the eternal Brahman in the form of one’s own soul. I salute Sarva (Śiva) having the existence of one’s own mental creation. I pay obeisance to the excellent one, the bestower of boons.

Lomaśa said:

38. Rudra who was eulogized by Dakṣa, spoke laughingly in secret:

Rudra (Hara) said:

39. Four types of meritorious people always worship[2] me. They are: (those who are in misery), those who are thirsting for knowledge, the seekers of wealth and the possessors of spiritual knowledge, O excellent Brāhmaṇa.

40. Hence undoubtedly sages, possessors of true knowledge, are my favourites. Those who strive to attain me without spiritual knowledge are ignorant.

41. Merely by means of Karman (holy rites) you wish to cross the (ocean of) worldly existence.

42. Neither by means of the Vedas nor by means of charitable gifts, neither by sacrifices nor by penance at any place can they attain me.[3] But due to the power of Karman men get deluded.

43. Hence, be devoted to knowledge and perform holy rites with concentration and purity of mind. Be equally indifferent to happiness and misery and attain eternal happiness.

Lomaśa said:

44. Thus Dakṣa was advised by Śaṃbhu, the greatest god. After establishing Dakṣa there itself, Rudra went back to his mountain.

45. Similarly all the great sages beginning with Bhṛgu were consoled and enlightened by Brahmā. Instantaneously they became endowed with true knowledge.

46. Thereafter Brahmā went to his abode.

47. Dakṣa too achieved the excellent enlightenment through the utterance. Engrossed in the meditation of Śiva, the noble-minded one performed penance.

48. Hence Lord Śiva should be served by means of all possible efforts.

49. Those men who sweep the courtyard of Śiva (i.e. Siva’s temple) attain Śiva’s city and become worthy of the praise of the whole universe.[4]

50. Those who offer a mirror of great lustre to Śiva become attendants of Śiva and will be standing in front of Śiva.

51. Those who give chowries to the Trident-bearing Lord of Devas will themselves be fanned with chowries in all the three worlds.

52. The men who offer lamps to the temple of Mahādeva will become refulgent. They will be the illuminators of the three worlds.

53. Those who offer incense to Śiva, the great Ātman, will become famous. They redeem both the families (their own as well as that of their mothers).

54. Those men who offer eatables (Naivedya) in front of Hari and Hara with great devotion, attain the fruit of a sacrifice for every lump of boiled rice offered by them (as Naivedya).

55. Those excellent men who repair a Śiva temple in ruins attain two-fold benefit. There is no doubt about it.

56. Those who build a new temple by means of bricks or stones rejoice in heaven as long as their spotless fame stays in the world. O excellent brāhmaṇas, no doubt need be entertained about this.

57. Those highly intelligent brāhmaṇas who cause to build a palatial temple of many floors for Śiva, attain the greatest goal (i.e. Mokṣa).

58. Those who clean or whitewash a temple of Śiva built by themselves or by others attain the greatest goal.

59. Those who offer a canopy are meritorious men. They go to the world of Śiva and redeem their entire family.

60. Those who tie a ringing bell in a temple of Śiva will become refulgent and well reputed in the three worlds.

61. He who visits (Śiva’s temple) once, twice or thrice (a day) attains happiness whether he is rich or poor. He gets released from misery.

62. A religious faithful who offers worships unto Śiva, the great Ātman, redeems ten million members of his family and rejoices in the company of Śiva.

63. In this context they cite this ancient legend,[5] the conversation between the son of Indradyumna and the noble-minded Yama.

64. Formerly, in Kṛtayuga, there was a king named Indrasena. He was a great warrior ruling Pratiṣṭhāna. He was always interested in hunting.

65. Unfriendly to brāhmaṇas, he always indulged in horrible and cruel misdeeds. He was always devoted to worldly pleasures only. That wicked king nourished his own self through the lives of others.

66. Ever-addicted to drinking wine, he very much sought the company of other men’s wives. He coveted other men’s wealth. Brāhmaṇas were killed by him.

67. He defiled the bed of his preceptor. He always stole gold. All his followers too were of that nature. All the followers of that evil-minded king committed sins like him.

68. Thus that vicious king ruled the kingdom in diverse ways. Then, after a great deal of time, the wicked king died.

69. Then, this evil-minded Indrasena was taken away by the followers of Yama. The sinful king thus came to the presence of Yama.

70. Indrasena who was standing in front there, was seen by Yama. He stood up and bent his head (in honour of) Śiva.

71. Yama, the most excellent one among those who uphold virtue, rebuked his messengers. After releasing Indrasena who had been bound with nooses Dharmarāja (god Yama) spoke:

72-73. “O most excellent one among kings, go to the meritorious worlds and enjoy them as long as Indra stays in heaven, as long as the sun is in the sky. Be happy as long as the five elements exist. O great king, you are a man of meritorious deeds. You are a permanent devotee of Śiva.”

74. On hearing the words of Yama, Indrasena spoke: “I do not know Śiva. I am only a person interested in hunting.”

75-76. On hearing his words Yama spoke by way of explanation: “The words ‘āhara’ (eat), ‘praharasva’ (attack) were always uttered by you. As a result of that holy act, O bestower of honour, you are permanently purified. Hence you do go to the Kailāsa mountain, to Śaṅkara.”

77-78. Even as the noble-minded Yama was talking thus, the messengers of Śiva came there riding on bulls. They had great refulgence. They were blue-throated, with ten arms, five faces and three eyes. They had matted hair and wore ear-rings. Their heads were markedly adorned with the crescent moon,

79. On seeing them, Yama, the most excellent one among the upholders of virtue, stood up. He worshipped them all who resembled the great Indra.

80. All of them hurriedly spoke to Yama, the son of Vivasvān: “O lord of exalted fortune, did Indrasena of unmeasured splendour come here? He is the person who continuously uttered the name of the noble-minded Rudra.”

81. On hearing their words, Indrasena was honoured by Yama and placed in an aerial chariot. He was then sent to the abode of Śiva.

82. He was brought in by the excellent attendants of Śiva. Then Indrasena of unmeasured splendour was seen by Śaṃbhu.

83. Rudra stood up to welcome him, approached him and embraced the king. He made Indrasena sit on half of his seat and then said:

84. “O excellent king, what shall be given to you? What is your desire? I shall give you whatever is desired by you.”

On hearing the words of the great Śiva the king shed tears of joy. (Overwhelmed) by love, he could not say anything.

85. Then he was made a Pārṣada (Attendant) by the noble-minded Maheśa. He became famous by the name Caṇḍa. He was a favourite friend of Muṇḍa.

86. Merely by uttering the name of Rudra, the supreme soul, (former) sinful king Indrasena attained Siddhi.

87. By merely uttering ‘O Hari’, ‘O Hara’, the names of Śiva, the supreme soul, and of Viṣṇu, the wielder of discus, many men have been saved by Śiva.

88. No other god greater than Maheśa (Śiva) can be seen (found) in the three worlds. Hence Sadāśiva should be worshipped by all the means.

89. He should always be worshipped with leaves, flowers, fruits, even pure water, and with Karavīra. And he becomes a bestower of boons.

90. The flower of Arka (calotropis gigantea) is ten times more efficacious than Karavīra. The entire universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings is made with Vibhūti (the sacred ash).

91. It is always present in the courtyard of Śiva. Hence one should always besmear oneself with it.

Henceforth, listen to the merit, O excellent brāhmaṇas, of Tripuṇḍra[6] (three parallel horizontal lines on the forehead) drawn with sacred ash.

92. It is meritorious and it dispels all sins. Listen to it, O excellent brāhmaṇas.

There was a certain thief who was a great sinner. He was executed by the servants of the king.

93-95. A certain dog came there to eat him (his flesh) and stood over his head. Some ash sticking between the claws of the dog fell on the forehead of that sinner in the form of an impression similar to Tripuṇḍra. His body was without consciousness but the ash fell on it. Therefore the thief was taken to Kailāsa by the messengers of Rudra. Who can specifically describe the greatness of Vibhūti (holy ash).

96. The men whose limbs are adorned with holy ash are men of meritorious deeds. The men in whose mouth the five-syllabled (Mantra), viz. namaḥ śivāya exists are undoubtedly veritable Rudras.

97. Those who have a cluster of matted hair on their heads and those who have Rudrākṣa beads as their ornaments, are themselves Rudras in human form. There is no doubt about it.

98. Hence Sadāśiva should be regularly worshipped by men in the morning, at midday and in the evening. The time of dusk is very excellent.

99. By seeing Śaṃbhu during the morning, the sin of (committed at) the night is dispelled. By visiting Śaṃbhu at midday the sin incurred by men in the course of seven previous births becomes quelled. (The merit of seeing Śaṃbhu) at night cannot be adequately calculated.

100. The two-syllabled name Śi-va is destructive of great sins. The whole universe is sustained by those men from whose mouths the name issues out.

101. Even heretics and those who cling to false and heterodox doctrines attain the greatest goal and people who are devoted to sinful activities become sanctified if they hear the sound of the Bherī (big drum) placed in the courtyard of Śiva’s temple by people of meritorious deeds.

102. There is no doubt about this that even that animal attains Śiva’s presence, whose hide is used in connection with the Bherī, Mṛdaṅga, Muraja and other types of drums placed in Śiva’s temple by men.

103-104. Hence the devotee should offer various things pleasing to Śaṃbhu in accordance with the injunctions, viz. Tata and Vitata (stringed musical instruments such as lute etc.), Ghana (cymbals, bells and gongs), Suṣira (flutes), very valuable chowries, palanquins, beds, (singing) story poems, legends, devotional music etc.

105-108. By offering these things even sinners go to the world of Śiva. (The following people get even better benefits:) Men of good holy rites, noble-souled men proficient in the worship of Śiva, those who are engaged in the worship of Śiva according to the procedure acquired directly from the (oral) instructions of the preceptor, those persons of firm resolve who see the universe as the form of Śiva, persons of good conduct with perfect intellect, men who adhere to the discipline of castes and stages of life as well as others, brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas, śūdras and other men. Even a cāṇḍāla (devotee of Śiva) is excellent. He shall be a great favourite of Śaṃbhu. The whole of this universe including mobile and immobile beings is presided over by Śaṃbhu.

109-110. Hence it should be especially understood that everything is identical with Śiva. Śaṃbhu should be known by means of Vedas, Purāṇas, sacred treatises, Upaniṣads and different kinds of Āgamas. Sadāśiva should be worshipped by all people irrespective of their being with or without desires.

Lomaśa said:

111. I shall narrate an old legend describing an event that happened long ago.

Formerly there was a vaiśya named Nandin who lived in the city of Avantī.[7]

112. He engaged himself in meditation on Śiva and performed his worship. Everyday he worshipped a Liṅga that was in the penance grove.

113. He used to get up very early in the morning everyday. Nandī, the lover of Śiva, became excessively devoted to the worship of the Liṅga.

114. He bathed the Liṅga in Pañcāmṛta in the manner prescribed (in scriptures). He was always surrounded by brāhmaṇas who had mastered Vedas and Vedāṅgas (ancillaries to Vedas).

115-116. He was devoted to the worship of the Liṅga in accordance with the injunctions of the sacred treatises. After bathing the Liṅga duly, he always worshipped it with different kinds of wonderful flowers, pearls, aspphires, Gomedas (Himalayan gems), lapis lazuli, emeralds and rubies.

117. Thus Nandī of exalted fortune worshipped for many years that Liṅga stationed in a lonely spot with different kinds of offerings.

118. Once there was a Kirāta (a forester) who was interested in hunting and used to injure and kill animals. Being wreckless he always enjoyed hunting.

119. That wicked fellow of sinful activities used to wander in mountains and caves teeming with beasts of prey, killing the animals here and there.

120. In the course of his wandering that Kirāta, a habitual killer of animals, came by chance where the Liṅga had been duly worshipped.

121. He was extremely afflicted with thirst and looked for water (everywhere). He saw a lake in the forest and immediately entered the water.

122. The wicked fellow had placed everything he had got by hunting, on the shore. He gargled, drank some water and came out.

123-126. He saw in front of him the temple that had been wonderfully embellished. The Liṅga that had been excellently worshipped by means of different kinds of gems was seen (by him). After seeing the Liṅga, when he began to offer his worship, all the gems were tossed about here and there. Bathing of the Liṅga was performed by him by means of a mouthful of water. With one of his hands he offered Bilva leaves (Aegle marmelos) for the purpose of worship. With the other hand he offered venison. After prostrating himself like a stick he mentally took the solemn vow to perform worship (as follows):

127. “From today onwards I shall strenuously perform the worship. From today, O Śaṅkara, you are my master and I am your devotee.”

128. After having thus become a regular worshipper, the Kirāta returned home.

Nandī saw everything scattered here and there by the Kirāta.

129. Nandī became anxious and worried: ‘What flaw is this that has befallen me? Many obstacles have been mentioned in the case of one who is engaged in the worship of Śiva. Owing to my misfortune all those obstacles have beset me.’

130. After pondering thus for a long time, he washed the temple of Śiva. Nandī then returned to his house along the path by which he had gone.

131. The priest approached Nandī (as he was found) dejected in his mind. He spoke these words: “Why have you become dejected in your mind?”

132-133. Nandī then spoke these words to his priest: “O brāhmaṇa, impure things have been seen by me today in the vicinity of Śiva. I do not know at all by whom this has been caused.”

134-140. Then the priest spoke these words to Nandin: “The person by whom the offerings of gems etc. have been scattered is a deluded one. There is no doubt. He is a stupid fellow not aware of what should be or should not be done. Hence, O lord, do not worry in the least. Be pleased to go to that temple of Śiva in the morning along with me in order to see that wicked fellow. Thereafter, I shall do what should be done.” On hearing these words of his priest, Nanḍin remained in his house during the night with his mind extremely pained.

When the night passed, he called the priest and went to the temple of Śiva. Nandī went there along with that noble-souled one. Thereafter, what was done by that wicked one the previous day was seen.

Nandī performed the worship elaborately with different kinds of gems for the requisite things. The five ‘Upacāras (modes of service in the course of the worship) and recitation of Rudra hymns eleven times while bathing the god were duly performed. He eulogized Giriśa with various hymns and prayers in the company of brāhmaṇas. Two Yāmas (i.e. six hours) were thus spent by Nandī engaged in eulogy.

141. Indeed, at that time, there arrived (the Kirāta called) Mahākāla who was of the same form (as before). He was extremely powerful, very hideous and dreadful like the god of Death. He was valorous and armed with a bow in his hand.

142. On seeing him Nandī was excessively frightened and he cried. The priest too was suddenly struck with fear.

143. Everything was done by the Kirāta scrupulously as before. With the forepart of his foot he kicked aside the (previous) worship by Nandī and offered leaves of Bilva (instead).

144. The bathing rite was performed by means of the mouthful of water. The Naivedya (food offering) was the piece of flesh. Thus the Kirāta offered everything to Śiva.

145-147. He prostrated himself on the ground like a staff of wood. Then he rose up and went to his abode. On seeing that extremely wonderful incident, he (Nandī) thought about it for a long time. Along with the priest, Nandī was agitated in his mind as he pondered over this. Many brāhmaṇas, expounders of the Vedas, were invited by him. He recounted to them everything performed by the Kirāta and asked them: “What should be done, O brāhmaṇas? Let everything be explained accurately.”

148. All of them met together and ascertained the matter from the point of Dharma Śāstra. Then, all those brāhmaṇas spoke to Nandin who was extremely frightened and suspicious:

149. “This obstacle that has sprung up cannot be warded off even by Devas. Hence, O excellent vaiśya, bring that Liṅga to your own abode.”

150-151. He honoured their suggestion saying, “So be it”. Then Nandī dug out that Śivaliṅga, brought it to his own house and consecrated it duly after placing it on a golden pedestal rendered splendid by means of the nine precious stones. He then performed the Pūjā with various kinds of rites and articles of worship.

152. The next day the Kirāta came to the temple of Śiva and on glancing about could not see the Liṅga of Īśa.

153-157. Breaking his silence suddenly he shouted loudly and spoke thus: “O Śaṃbhu, where have you gone? Reveal yourself to me now. If you are not seen now, I will give up my body. O Śaṃbhu, O lord of the universe, O destroyer of Tripura, O Rudra, O Mahādeva, reveal your form yourself.”

Thus, by means of sweet words of apparent rebuke Sadāśiva was disrespected by the Kirāta. Then that heroic forester tore up his belly with his nails. Stroking his arms he said angrily, “O Śaṃbhu, reveal yourself. Where will you go abandoning me?”

158. After scolding thus, the Kirāta cut the flesh all round and took out the intestines. With his hand he threw them suddenly into that pit.

159-161. He steadied his heart and took bath in that lake. Similarly he brought water and Bilva leaves hurriedly. He worshipped the lord duly and prostrated on the ground stretching himself like a stick of wood. Thereafter the Kirāta remained there in the presence of Śiva engaged in meditation. Thereupon, Rudra surrounded by Pramathas, revealed himself to him.

162. The moon-crested lord Rudra who was white like camphor and who was refulgent with matted hair, grasped him by the hand and assuaged him consolingly.

163. “O heroic one of great intellect, you are my devotee. Choose a boon conducive to your own welfare. O highly intelligent one, (speak) whatever is intensely desired by you.”

164. On being addressed thus by Rudra, Mahākāla became joyous. Endowed with great devotion, he fell down on the ground like a stick of wood.

165-167. Then he spoke to Rudra: “I request for the boon. O Rudra, there is no doubt about (the fact) that I am your slave. You are my lord and master. Realizing this, grant me devotion unto you in every birth. You are my mother. You are my father too. You are my kinsman and friend. You are the preceptor. You are the great Mantra. You are always worthy of being known through the Mantras. Hence in the three worlds there is nothing else than you.”

168. On hearing these words of the Kirāta, devoid of desire, Śiva granted him the position of the chief of his attendants and the post of his doorkeeper.

169-173. Then the three worlds were filled with the sound of Ḍamaru (a kind of drum), with the booming sound of the big drum Bherī and the sound of conchs. Then thousands of Dundubhis and Paṭahas (different kinds of drums) were sounded. On hearing that sound "Nandi was surprised. He hurried to the place in the penance grove where Śiva was present surrounded by Pramathas. The Kirāta too was seen exactly like that by Nandi. Nandi who was surprised much, spoke these words humbly. He became desirous of eulogizing the Kirāta with great intentness: “Śaṃbhu was brought here by you. O scorcher of enemies, you are (his real) devotee. I am your devotee and have come here. Mention about me to Śaṅkara.”

174. On hearing his words, the Kirāta grasped Nandī by the hand and hurriedly approached Śaṅkara.

175. Lord Rudra laughingly spoke these words to the Kirāta: “Who is this person brought by you in the presence of the Gaṇas?”

176. Śaṅkara, the benefactor of all the worlds, was then informed by the Kirāta:

Kirāta said:

This is your devotee, O lord. He is always engaged in your worship.

177-178. Everyday you have been worshipped by him with gems and rubies, flowers of various kinds, with his own life as well as wealth. There is no doubt about this. Hence know that he is my friend, Nandin, O lord favourably disposed towards your devotees.

Mahādeva said:

179. I do not know, O highly fortunate one, Nandī, the vaiśya mentioned (by you), (but) O Mahākāla of great intellect, (I shall accept him) because you are my devotee as well as friend.

180. Those who are free from fraud, and are of lofty mind, are dear devotees of mine. They are excellent men.

181. He is your devotee and hence he is a dearer friend tome.

Thus both of them were accepted by Śaṃbhu as his attendants.

182. Then many aerial chariots of great lustre arrived there. That excellent vaiśya was redeemed by that excellent Kirāta of great refulgence.

183. By means of aerial chariots of great speed both of them arrived at Mount Kailāsa. They attained the state of having the same form as that of the noble-souled Īśvara.

184. Waving of the light was performed by Girijā to both of them along with Śiva. Thereupon, the goddess with a graceful gait of an elephant laughingly said to Śiva:

185-188. “Just as you are, so also are these, undoubtedly in form as well as mode of walking. They are well-honoured with smiles and friendliness. Hitherto you alone had been served by me, no doubt.”

On hearing the words of the goddess, the Kirāta and the vaiśya turned their faces aside immediately even as Śaṅkara was observing. (They said:) “We are to be sympathized by you alone, O three-eyed lord. We shall perpetually stand at your door. Obeisance, obeisance to you.”

189. Knowing their intention, Bhava laughingly said: “On account of your great devotion may your desire be fulfilled.”

190. Ever since then both of them became the gatekeepers. They stood at the doorway of Śiva, O brāhmaṇas. They had the vision of Śiva during midday.

191. One was Nandi and the other Mahākāla. Both of them were lovers of Śiva. Both of them joyously talked to Saḍāśiva who was one.

192-193. Mahādeva talked to them lifting up one of his fingers. Similarly Nandi said lifting up two of his fingers. Thus with the gestures and signs they stand at the entrance to the abode of the noble-souled (lord) Śaṅkara. O highly fortunate sages, listen.

194-197. Formerly the unlimited pious rites of Śiva had been proclaimed by Śailāda out of sympathy, O brāhmaṇas, for evil-minded living beings, sinners, impious people, blind ones, dumb beings, lame ones, those of ignoble births, evil-minded ones, cāṇḍālas, and other persons whatever their nature may be. If they are endowed with devotion to Śiva, they go to the presence of the trident-bearing lord of Devas. Those learned men who worship a Liṅga made of sand, go to Rudraloka undoubtedly.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Cf. BhP IV.5.13-26 for a close similarity in the description of the destruction and humiliation of persons in Dakṣa’s sacrifice.

[2]:

An echo of BG,VII. 16.

[3]:

Cf. BG XI. 46.

[4]:

VV 49-62 describe the fruit of different types of services rendered to Śiva. Some of these verses are illustrated by stories of Śiva’s devotees, the benefit derived by them by their particular act of devotion.

[5]:

VV 63-86 narrate the legend of Indrasena to show the efficacy of the syllables HA-RA uttered as a part of words of different meaning (e.g. āhara ‘bring’) simply because the name of god Śiva is indirectly pronounced by him.

[6]:

VV 91-96 describe the redeeming power of Tripuṇḍra.

[7]:

VV 111-193 relate the legend of two devotees—Nandin, a vaiśya, and Mahākāla, a Kirāta (a tribal). Śiva approved of the selfless devotion of the ignorant Kirāta and not the ostentatious worship of Nandin, the vaiśya. It was due to the request of the Kirāta that the rich vaiśya was redeemed by Śiva and absorbed as his gaṇa (attendant).

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