The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of the Lingas Installed by Kumara which is chapter 33 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 thirty-third chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 33 - The Greatness of the Liṅgas Installed by Kumāra

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:

1-4. With his body as huge as a mountain fallen on the ground, it appeared as though he was embraced by the Earth like a man of good qualities by a woman of good qualities.

On seeing him so, Devas were surprised. They sang the songs of victory repeatedly. Some of the Heaven-dwellers were afraid to go near him, thinking that perhaps Tāraka, the Daitya, might get up and kill them.

On seeing him fallen on the ground, Guha became dejected in mind, O son of Pṛthā. The highly intelligent Lord bewailed. He forbade the eulogy of Devas and spoke these words:

5-6. “O Suras, how do you eulogize me, the sinner who ought to be pitied- This (demon) who had been the lord of all the five (elements) cannot be called a creature of Prakṛti (i.e. he is divine). He is stated as born of a part of Rudra. One who is inimical to him is not like Rudra.

A (the following) verse (is) sung by the son of the Self-born Lord:

7. ‘After killing a heroic person, one is liberated from that sin by (giving) one thousand cows as a religious gift. Therefore, no person should be killed by learned men. Somehow they must avoid killing him.’

8. Though there is no blemish in killing a person of sinful conduct, still I bemoan as he was a devotee of Rudra.

9. Therefore, I wish to know some expiation, since, even great sins acquired (committed) by one, are dispelled by means of expiations.”

10. When the intelligent son of Śiva was bewailing thus, Vāsudeva, the sire of men, spoke these words from amongst Devas:

11. “O son of Śiva, if the Vedas, Smṛtis, Itihāsas and Purāṇas are authoritative, there is no sin in slaying a vicious person.

12. If a merciless man nourishes his own life by taking other people’s lives, his slaughter is conducive to his own welfare, otherwise that man will meet with downfall.

13. A person who kills a foetus in womb wipes off his sin by transferring it to a person who eats his food. A wife of wanton conduct transfers her sin to her husband. A disciple and a person on whose behalf the preceptor performs sacrifices dispel their sin by transferring it to the preceptor, and a thief does so by transferring it to the king.

14. If a capable person does not kill or curb a sinful person, he incurs half of the other man’s sins.

15. If sinners are not killed by the persons who stand by for the sake of protection, O Guha, to whom will the helpless world turn for refuge?

16. How can Yajñas and the Vedas by which the universe is held up and sustained, continue? Hence, merit has been acquired by you and no sin at all (in any sense).

17. Or, O Lord, if you have any special regard for the devotees of Rudra, I shall speak about the great and excellent atonement in regard to them.

18. (Through those atonements) a person is liberated from the sins accruing ever since his birth. He rejoices in the world of Rudra till the end of the Kalpa.

19. If a person repents after committing a sin, O Skanda, there is no atonement for him except the propitiation of Rudra.

20.[1] What else can be greater than (that Rudra) whose greatness even Brahmā is not competent to describe and about whom even the Vedas speak with great fear?

21. Who can be greater than Śrīkaṇṭha who retained in his throat (the great poison) Halāhala which was about to destroy the entire Cosmic Egg all of a sudden?

22. Who can be a greater Deva than he who became distressed in mind due to the distress of the Cosmic Egg and hence performed the Tāṇḍava dance of misery? Who can be greater than the god who is the slayer of Māra?

23. Who can be a greater person than that Lord on whose head the flow of the Celestial River that extended throughout the firmament, appeared just like the size of a drop of water?

24. All the holy rites beginning with Yajña are futile without the worship of Rudra. In this matter Dakṣa is a true and concrete example. Who can be a greater Lord than Rudra?

25-26. In the course of his battle with Tripura, the Earth was the chariot; Brahmā was the charioteer; I was the arrow; the Mandara mountain was the bow; and the Moon and the Sun were the two wheels of the chariot.[2]

Some propitiate him by means of the Yogic path. It is very difficult to be achieved for those who perpetually worship the void (śūnya).

27-34a. Hence he who wishes for worldly pleasures and liberation, should worship the Liṅga.

At the beginning of the creation, the Lord remained in the form of a Liṅga. īn trying to find its magnitude there was a dispute between me and Brahmā. But we were not successful in that attempt.

Since the entire universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings always becomes merged into the Liṅga, this is called the Liṅga of the intelligent Rudra by Devas.

If a person faithfully bathes the Liṅga with pure water, the entire universe beginning with Brahmā and ending with a blade of grass is propitiated.

If an intelligent man bathes that Liṅga with Pañcāmṛta, the entire universe along with Pitṛs is bathed and propitiated by nectar.

If a person worships the Liṅga with flowers of seasonal occurrence, there is no doubt about this that the entire universe is worshipped by him

If a clever man offers Naivedya (food offerings) in front of the Liṅga, the whole universe shall be fed by him. Such is the great benefit of the Liṅga.

Of what avail is much talk? Whatever is done unto the Liṅga, be it very little or be it much, it gives pleasure to all.

34b-38a. He who installs that Liṅga in a clean place with great devotion, shall be rid of all sins. He rejoices in the world of Rudra. He who installs a Śiva-Liṅga of splendid characteristics obtains the benefit which one gets by performing Yajñas everyday—so the learned men have said.

O Skanda, just as Agni is glorified as the mouth of all Devas, so also the Liṅga is the mouth of all the worlds. There is no doubt about it.

(Even) by starting (the installation of the Liṅga) one is liberated from ali the sins committed in the course of all the births. He shall redeem a hundred generations of his family both past and future.

38b-42. If a person builds a temple (for the Liṅga) made of clay, wood, baked bricks or stones, he derives the benefit successively increasing by a hundred times (per each type of construction).

If he puts up a rounded pinnacle on the top he rejoices in the world of Rudra till the end of a Kalpa in the company of twenty-one generations in his family. He will be as happy as Rudra.

Liṅga has such benefits. Hence it is superior to everything else. It is not inferior to anything.

Hence, O Mahāsena, it behoves you to install a Liṅga here. If anything that I have said is ugly, unpleasant or irrelevant, O Mahāsena, let Maheśvara himself who is the witness, the Supreme Being, speak out.”

When Govinda said thus, there was a loud shout of approbation, “Well done! Well done!”

43-47. Mahādeva then embraced Skanda and spoke these words: “Since you show great kindness towards ray devotees I am extremely delighted with you. But what Lord Vāsudeva, the sire of the universe, has said is so and not otherwise. What has been said by Yiṣṇu cannot be altered. It should be known that I am Hari and Harī is me. O (Lord) of holy rites, there is no difference between us as in the case of two lamps. He who hates him, hates me. He who follows him is my follower. He who knows this, O Skanda, is my devotee. Not otherwise.”

Skanda said:

48-51. I know thus (the fact) about you and Viṣṇu, O Śaṅkara. The ethereal voice at the time of slaying Tāraka said the very same thing that Hari who is devoted to virtue, said to me in regard to the Liṅga. I shall therefore, install the Liṅga that dispels all sins. One shall be in the place where the vow for slaying him was taken by me. The second shall be in the place where the Asura had been abandoned by Śakti and therefore he had become devoid of intrintic [intrinsic?] strength. The third one shall be in the place where he had been killed. It shall quell the sin of murder.

52. On saying this, the son of Pāvaka (i.e. Skanda) called Viśvakarman and said: “It behoves you to make three pure Liṅgas immediately.”

53. At the instance of Bāhuleya (i.e. Kumāra), the Celestial Carpenter made three pure Liṅgas and delivered them to Kumāra.

54-56. Then, along with Viṣṇu, Śaṅkara, Brahmā and others, he installed at the outset in the west, very nearby the extremely splendid Liṅga called Pratijñeśvara.[3]

On the eighth day in the dark half of the month of Caitra a devotee should perform all the rites, viz. holy bath, fast, worship and keeping awake at night. He will then be liberated from the sin of Pāruṣya (i.e. violence, cruelty, etc.). So said Maheśvara himself there for the sake of the pleasure of Skanda.

57. Then to the south-east of the lake where Śakti had come out (from Tāraka) he installed the second Liṅga.

58. That splendid Liṅga, the dispeller of sins, (was called) Kapāleśvara. He eulogized that Śakti too and installed her there.

59. Very near Kapāleśvara, he installed the goddess Kapā-likeśvarī in the northern quarter. They call this Śakticchidra.

60-62. Pātālagaṅgā (river Gaṅgā of the nether worlds) is very auspicious and it dispels all sins. After taking his holy dip there, Skanda who was extremely kind and compassionate, offered libations to Tāraka. He was then accompanied by all Devas. He offered the libation saying, “Let this water libation along with gingelly seeds be of everlasting benefit to the noble-souled devotee of Rudra, the son of Vajrāṅga, grandson of Kaśyapa.”

63-64. Then the delighted Maheśvara said even as Skanda was listening to it, “If a man takes his holy dip, observes fast and worships Kapāleśvara and the goddess on the fourteenth day in the dark half of the month of Caitra, he is liberated from the sin arising from destruction of brilliance (tejovadha?).

65. On this same lunar day, when the Yoga (i.e. conjunction of stars) is auspicious, if the day of the week happens to be Monday and the Karaṇa (astronomical period) is Taitila (name of the fourth Karaṇa), there shall be a combination of six auspicious things. If the devotee takes his holy dip and repeats the Rudra Mantra both during the day time as well as during the night, he shall go to the world of Rudra along with his physical body.

66. Very near Kapāleśa, the place is glorified as Śakticchidra. On the whole of the earth, there is no other holy spot equal to this.”

67. On hearing these words of Rudra, Skanda became extremely delighted. All the Devas too rejoiced and exclaimed “Well done! Well done!”

Footnotes and references:


The influence of the Śiva-Mahimna-Stotra is obvious on this and some of the following verses.


Cf. Mbh Karṇa 34.16-57.


The location of the three Liṅgas described in this chapter may be indicated as follows:

three lingas

NORTH TANK — Śakticchidra alias Kapāleśvarī;
LAKE SOUTH — Kapāleśvara;

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