The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 750,347 words

This page describes Installation of Goddesses at Bahudaka Tirtha which is chapter 47 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 forty-seventh chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 47 - Installation of Goddesses at Bahūdaka Tīrtha

Nārada said:

1. O Jaya (Arjuna), listen how Devīs have been installed by me after (due) propitiation, for the defence of this holy spot.

2. Just as the Ātman, Supreme Lord, pervades all living beings, so also the eternal Prakṛti, Supreme Goddess, permeates (everything).

3-5. One attains vigour and all excellences by the grace of the goddess Śakti. O son of Pṛthā, she is stationed in all living beings as Buddhi (intellect), Hrī (modesty), Puṣṭi (nourishment), Lajjā (shyness), Tuṣti (satisfaction), Śānti (peace), Kṣamā (forgiveness), Spṛhā (desire), Śraddhā (faith) and Cetanā (consciousness). Śakti originates from Utsāha (zeal), Mantra (counsel), and Prabhu (the Lord).

This alone is always the cause of bondage and salvation. Indra and others attained magnificence and prosperity by propitiating her.

6-8. The base and the lowly who do not honour Śakti and who slight her, meet with downfall even if they be leading Yogins. It is clear. They fall like those (Yogins) belonging to Kāśī.

Formerly there were some leading masters of Yoga (Siddhayogins) at Vārāṇasī. By slighting and insulting Śakti they met with a steep downfall.

Hence Śakti should always be worshipped by an embodied soul. On being delighted, she grants all desires. On being angry, she annihilates in a moment.

9. That Supreme Prakṛti exists in many different forms. Among them some great goddesses have been installed here. Listen to them.

10-11. Four great Śaktis are established in the four quarters (of this Tīrtha). Siddhāṃbikā was installed by Guha in the East. It is proclaimed that she was created from the primordial Prakṛti at the beginning (of the creation) of the universe. Since she was propitiated by Siddhas, she is (known as) Siddhāṃbikā.

12-15. Tārā was installed by me in the South, for the sake of the redemption of the Devas, as she has resorted to Kūrma (Viṣṇu, the Tortoise). Permeated by her, Kūrma, the sire of the universe, lifted up the Vedas. With his body possessed by her, Budha[1] will kill the Bauddhas (Buddhists) in crores, the sinners who destroyed the Vedic path. She is the daughter of the Mountain. She has been brought by me after due propitiation.

She is surrounded by crores of very fierce goddesses. With due deference to me, she has resorted to the southern quarter and stationed herself.

16-18. In the West is installed the splendid goddess Bhāskarā permeated by whom the discs of all the stars, the chief of whom is Bhāskara (the Sun), shine. They come and go quickly. This refulgent Śakti is of great power, O scion of the family of Kuru. She has been brought by me from Kaṭāha[2] after due propitiation and stationed here. She is always surrounded by crores and crores (of goddesses). She protects the western quarter.

19-21. In the northern quarter is installed the goddess Yoganandinī. She has come out from the body of the greatest Prakṛti formerly.

The four Sanas (Sanaka, Sanandana etc.) attained (perfection in) Yoga on being viewed through the pure vision of that Śakti (i.e. by the grace of that goddess). That goddess Yogīśvarī was well propitiated by Sanaka and others. She has been brought here after due propitiation from the Aṇḍakaṭāha (semispheroidal pan of the Cosmic Egg). She is surrounded by Yoginīs and is established in the northern quarter.

22. Thus these four great Śaktis are stationed perpetually. On being worshipped, they always bestow desired things; if angry they are capable of destruction.

23-26. Thereafter, nine Durgās have been brought by me. Listen to them. The greatest goddess is Tripurā by name. It was on being possessed by her that Śiva, the Lord of the universe, reduced the Tripuras (‘three cities’) to ash. Thereafter Lord Hara proclaimed her (by the designation) Tripurā. He himself eulogized her. Hence she is worthy of being worshipped by all the worlds.

After due propitiation, she was brought by me from the Amareśvara mountain. She is the bestower of desired things unto her devotees. She is near Bhaṭṭāditya.

27-33. Another great Śakti is the eternal Kolaṃbā. Keśava in the form of a Boar (‘Kola’) was entered into by her and he lifted up the Earth. Hence she was called Kolaṃbā by Viṣṇu and then eulogized and adored. O son of Pṛthā, that goddess was pleased by me by the Yoga of devotion. She who was on the mountain Varāha Giri was brought by me. She said to me: “There must be a Kūpa (‘well’) presided over by Rudrāṇī in the place where I stay, due to the kindness towards the suppliants. Without that well, I do not find any pleasure anywhere. Hence, O Brāhmaṇa, dig an excellent well yourself here.”

On being told thus by the goddess, I dug the well by means of the root of a Darbha grass. Rudrāṇī herself shone therein. Thereafter, I took my holy bath there, repeated the Mantras and propitiated the Devas. Thereafter, goddess Kolaṃbā, goddess of the universe, was adored. The delighted goddess thereupon spoke to me when I bowed down:

34-36. “I will always stay here. I have been delighted by you. I will destroy the evil of those men who take their holy bath in the well here, particularly on the eighth day in the month of Māgha, and worship me.

Near Meru there is a well of Rudrāṇī. It consists of all holy Tīrthas. It is stationed in a park where (flowers and vegitation) of all the seasons are (ever) present. This is that well itself.

37. O Nārada, the holy bath in this well is superior to that in Prayāga, Gaṅgā and Gayā in particular. It has been proclaimed so by me.

38-39. Therefore, at your instance, O ascetic, I have settled here accompanied by Guha. With (perpetual) alertness, I will protect this sacred lake. If the people worship me after worshipping Kumāreśa along with sixty crores of the goddesses etc. I will be the bestower of desired objects on them.”

Nārada said:

40. On being told thus then by the delighted goddess, O son of Pṛthā, I became rejoiced and replied thus to Kolaṃbā, the mother of the universe:

41. “Here, O goddess, you are the mother and cause of this well-protected holy spot. They who do not worship you, will have their pilgrimage rendered futile.

42. This holy sacred lake will become well-known by your name. You will be the goddess of this lake; you will be the goddess of this Tīrtha also.”

43. Thus, after performing a penance of long duration, this splendid great Durgā has been installed by me. Hence she is worthy of being always worshipped by wise and learned men.

44-46. In the same direction (i.e. east), a third (Durgā) has also been installed by me. The power of this Kapāleśī has been formerly recounted by Guha.

Blessed are those excellent men who visit her always. After worshipping Kapāleśvara, it is this Viśvaśakti who (should be worshipped).

Thus these three Durgās are installed and stationed in the eastern quarter. I shall mention the highly excellent three Durgās in the west.

47. The goddess who protects the whole of the Cosmic Egg, the goddess Suvarṇākṣī has been propitiated and installed in this Tīrtha.

48. If people bow down and worship this goddess with devotion, it is the same as though she has been worshipped along with thirty-three crores of goddesses.

49. Another great Durgā stationed there (named) Carcitā had been brought here with great devotion from the bottom of Rasātala by me.

50. This goddess is worshipped and meditated upon by many Devas and Daityas who wish to gain valour. She granted them heroism.

51. This great Durgā herself, later in Kali Yuga, will liberate valorously Śūdraka, the excellent hero who will be bound by thieves.

52. Thereafter, by propitiating her he will attain the leadership of heroes. He will attack the enemies, the chief of whom will be Kālasena, and kill them.

53. Hence she has to be propitiated always by men who desire to perform heroic deeds. Carcitā who is a great Durgā is stationed in the western quarter.

54. Similarly the third (Durgā) (named) Trailokyavijayā is also stationed in this quarter. It was by propitiating her that Rohiṇīpati (the Moon-god) attained victory in all the three worlds. She has been brought by me from the world of the Moon. On being worshipped she always bestows victory.

55. Thus these are (stationed) in the western quarter. Listen (to the goddesses) in the northern quarter. In the northern quarter are stationed three goddesses, the chief among whom is Ekavīrā.

56. The goddess named Ekavīrā is directly worshipped by Śiva. Being permeated by her, this Bhūtarāṭ (‘King of goblins’, i.e. Śiva) destroys the entire universe.

57. By means of the prowess of Ekavīrā he reduced the worlds to ash. When eleven Yugas become complete, he becomes distinguished by the ash (of the universe).

58. Ekavīrā is of this nature. She is the eternal Śakti. On being worshipped and propitiated she bestows everything desired by men.

59. She has been brought by me, O descendant of Bharata, from the world of Brahmā to this place after due propitiation. They know that even the very utterance of her name is destructive of wicked people.

60. The second goddess Durgā of great strength is Harasiddhi by name. O son of Pāṇḍu, she was brought here by me from Śīkottara after due propitiation.

61-65. While staying at Śīkottara, when Rudra was being solicited by Pārvatī, the Ḍakinī Mantra was told (communicated) to the goddess by merciful Śiva. The chaste daughter of the Mountain became deluded as a result of the power of the Mantra. She attacked Bhava (Śiva), ate his flesh and drank his blood. Thereupon, Harasiddhi, the great Durgā, the dispeller of anguish, came out from the body of Rudra. She was a great expert in Mantras. That goddess with a thousand arms attacked and assailed (Girijā). She liberated Giriśa and scolded and reviled her (?Girijā). Thenceforth, she is glorified in the world as Harasiddhi. Surrounded by sixty crores of goddesses she is worshipped by Suras.

66. By propitiating this goddess who destroys all defects, Sugrīva and others became exceedingly powerful and capable of annihilating groups of Ḍākinīs.

67. Hence one shall worship her mentally, verbally and physically. Ḍakinī and others will not approach (attack) (them).

68-70. After Harasiddhi Caṇḍikā, the ninth Durgā,[3] the third one (in the northern quarter) is stationed in the northeast corner. Even the Lord of Speech cannot adequately describe her.

It was she who formerly came out of the body of Pārvatī, killed Caṇḍa and Muṇḍa, the great Asuras, and ate them furiously.

There were a hundred Akṣauhiṇīs (of Asuras) and the Asuras Caṇḍa and Muṇḍa, still a mouthful of the goddess was not complete. Imagine how terribly powerful she can be.

71. It was she herself who became thirsty and drank the blood of (the followers of) Andhaka. Thereafter, Lord Bhava killed Andhaka.

72-73. She drank the blood of the demons Raktabījas. After Cāmuṇḍā had drunk the blood of thousand millions and crores of Daityas of sinful activities, she placed Raktaja at the disposal of the goddess.

O descendant of Bharata, she becomes contented by the salutations of devotees.

74. A holy Kuṇḍa of this goddess was got ready by me. It is splendid and auspicious. One will attain the benefit of all the Tīrthas merely by touching this.

75. Different kinds of Siddhis such as Harasiddhi, Devasiddhi and Dharmasiddhi, are obtained in this Tīrtha by persons engaged (in the worship of Caṇḍikā).

76. If a person worships the goddess, whether with a little quantity of materials or with a large quantity, Kātyāyanī surrounded by hundred of crores (of followers) bestows prosperity on him.

77. Thus these nine great Durgās are stationed in this Tīrtha here. The four Digdevīs (Goddesses of the Quarters) should always be worshipped by persons desirous of auspiciousness.

78-80. During the Navarātra (festival of nine days) of the month of Āśvina in particular, a devotee shall observe fast or take food once a day[4] and worship these goddesses by means of oblations, offerings of sweet cakes etc., libations, incenses and scents. These (goddesses) protect him in the streets and the cross-roads where three or four roads meet together. Ghosts, spirits, vampires etc. will not afflict him. Adversities and calamities flee from him and the Yoginīs please him.

81. One who seeks sons will get sons; one who seeks wealth will get wealth; one who is distressed due to sickness will be rid of it; and one who is in bondage will be liberated therefrom.

82-83. Whether a man or a woman, whoever acts devoutly and faithfully, shall attain all desired objects, whatever he or she thinks in his or her mind.

These goddesses are wish-yielding cows; they are on a par with the philosopher’s stone; they are like wish-yielding Kalpa creepers unto devotees. There is no substitute[5] for them.

84. Similarly there is Bhūtamātā (‘Mother of ghosts’) to the south of Harasiddhi. Her greatness is unparalleled. I shall recount it to you succinctly.

85. Formerly, it is said that, the learned Guha was crowned as the overlord of goblins, ghosts and vampires on the banks of the river Sarasvatī.

86. Lord Guha mercifully assigned the diet as follows unto them and kept all those ghosts within bounds (of decency):

87. “Whatever is offered unto the fire without Mantras, whatever is performed without Vedic sanction, whatever is done with anger without faith shall be for your consumption.”

88-89. Thereupon all those beings became delighted by consuming these. But after a lapse of some time, those ghosts and other beings began to attack Devas and swallow everything holy or unholy, offered faithfully or otherwise (indiscriminately). Thereupon those Devas, distressed with hunger, reported this to Guha.

90-91. On hearing it, Guha became furious like Kāla (i.e. god of death). As he became angry, a certain twelve-eyed female, too dazzling to be seen properly like a blazing cluster of fires, came out from the middle of his eyebrows. She bowed down to him and said, “O Lord, I am your Śakti. Quickly direct me on to a task of yours. What desire of yours should I carry out?”

Skanda said:

92-93a. Transgressing my behest, everything offered by human beings is being consumed by these base, sinful groups of ghosts, as they please. Hence bring them round quickly within the bounds (of decency). O splendid one, hundred crores of these goddesses will follow you.

93b-95. Saying “So be it,” the Śakti of Guha rode on a peacock and came to Sarojavana (Lotus-park) surrounded by the Devīs. There she saw the groups of ghosts.

96-98. After approaching them, the goddess struck them with different kinds of weapons. On being struck and hit in the course of the great battle, the spirits, the vampires and others began to propitiate that goddess in a piteous manner, in different guises. Some of them began to dance in the guise of Brāhmaṇas uttering the words of ascetics. They repeatedly said “O goddess, O lotus-eyed one, be pleased.” Then the delighted goddess spoke to them, “Let anything be chosen as you please.”

99-100. They said to her, “Save us, O goddess, be the mother of the Bhūtas (ghosts). We will never transgress the bounds laid down by Skanda. Alway grant boon to those who propitiate you thus.”

Śrīdevī said:

101. If people propitiate me thus on the New-Moon day in the month of Vaiśākha by means of ornaments of good luck, flowers, rice mixed with curd and adorations (articles of worship) all their adversities will completely vanish.

102-104. After granting this boon, the goddess surrounded by the ghosts began to rejoice. It was the goddess of such power that was brought here by me, O descendant of Bharata. One who bows down to her becomes liberated from all adversities.

The goddesses of such prowess here in this excellent holy spot, have been succinctly glorified by me. O Arjuna, they are fourteen in number and they are worshipped by leading men in fourteen excellent places.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Vide supra 40.255-259. As noted there this King is untraced in history.

[2]:

Kaṭāha is the (uppermost) protective crust of the universe (Brahmāṇḍa). This goddess was posted for the protection of Brahmāṇḍa.

[3]:

The following is the list of nine Durgās:

  1. Tripurā,
  2. Kolaṃbā,
  3. Kapāleśī,
  4. Suvarṇākṣī,
  5. Carcitā,
  6. Trailokya-vijayā,
  7. Ekavīrā,
  8. Harasiddhi,
  9. Caṇḍikā.

[4]:

“eat (articles of) a single type of grain.”

[5]:

‘doubt’ Venk. Edt.

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