The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Description of Somanatha which is chapter 48 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-eighth chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 48 - The Description of Somanātha

Note: This chapter describes the glory of the two Liṅgas called Somanātha near Siddheśvara at the Guptakṣetra and also of the Liṅga Hāṭakeśvara there.

Nārada said:

1. Henceforth, I shall relate comprehensively and clearly the greatness of Somanātha. He who listens to what I recount, shall be rid of sins.

2. Formerly, in Tretā Yuga, there were two exceedingly brilliant Brāhmaṇas (named) Ūrjayanta and Prāleya, hailing from Cauḍa Deśa,[1] O son of Pṛthā.

3-5. Once they came across a meaningful stanza in a Purāṇa. On seeing it, those two who were conversant with all schools of philosophy and scriptural texts, were thrilled. “The Lotus-born (Lord) recounted the Tīrthas beginning with Prabhāsa to Pulastya. What pilgrimage they have resorted to (i.e. their undertaking the pilgrimage is fruitless) if they have not taken their holy bath in Prabhāsa!”[2]

On reading this verse (they repeated it frequently), those two excellent Brāhmaṇas started immediately to take their bath in Prabhāsa.

6. After crossing and passing through rivers and forests gradually (in due order) they crossed the auspicious river Narmadā crowded with multitudes of great sages.

7. They (heard of) the greatness of the Guptakṣetra (the secret shrine) at Mahī-Sāgara-Saṅgama. After taking their bath there, they started for Prabhāsa through that (region).

8. As the path was desolate[3] they were exceedingly afflicted with hunger and thirst. Those two Brāhmaṇas became unconscious near Siddhaliṅga.

9-10. They boldly started after bowing down to Siddhanātha. They were scorched by the midday sun. They were tormented with excessive hunger and thirst. Their legs became stiff like pillars. Suddenly they fell senseless on the ground. After a short while, Prāleya spoke to Ūrjayanta.

11-14. He spoke with confidence and courage: “Dear friend, was this not heard by you? As a person becomes pale (and weak) in limbs due to pilgrimage, so Hara, the Lord of Soma, becomes more distressed (and well-disposed) on account of charitable gifts (in the form of physical suffering by pilgrims).”

When this was said and heard, they began to limp. Prāleya walked a short while lamely. Suddenly a Liṅga very difficult to be seen (due to its brilliance) split the ground and came up. An ethereal voice rose with a shower of flowers preceding the same, “O Prāleya, it is for your sake that this Liṅga has come up on the seashore. It yields the same benefit as Somanātha. O (Brāhmaṇa) of holy rites, stay here.”

Prāleya said:

15-16a. if it be like this, if this be true, I have resolved in my mind that before death I must go to Prabhāsa. This is definite.

16b-19a. Thereupon, Ūrjayanta too regaining consciousness came a-limping and saw the Liṅga that had emerged. He too took up the same stand.

Thereafter Bhava who manifested himself, made their bodies strong and sturdy by means of his sight. Thereafter, they went to Prabhāsa and to the abode of Śiva. Thus there happened to be two Somanāthas near Siddheśvara. Ūrjayanta in the west and the other one Prāleyeśvara.

19b-21. If anyone takes his holy bath slowly in the waters of Somakuṇḍa and in the waters of the ocean and Mahī and then visits both the Somanāthas, he is rid of the sins of the entire life.

Brahmā installed here in Mahīnagaraka, a Liṅga named Hāṭakeśvara far more beautiful than (the deity in) Pātāla. With great purity (in mind and body), he eulogized the Lord. Listen to it, O son of Pāṇḍu.

(Prayer) Hymn to Hāṭakeśvara

22-25. Obeisance to you, O Lord Rudra, O Bhāskara (Refulgent one), to the (Lord) of unmeasured refulgence. Salute to Bhava, to Rudra, to Rasa (Juice, Essence), to you identical with water, to Śarva in the form of the Earth. Obeisance to the Lord perpetually full of scents;[4] to Īśa. Repeated obeisance to you, Vāyu of good touch. Hail to the Lord of Paśus (individual souls), to Pāvaka (fire, the sanctifying one) of extreme splendour; to the terrible one; to the Lord in the form of Vyoman (firmament). Obeisance to you, solely of the form of sound. Bow to you, the great Lord, to Soma; obeisance to you, the immortal deathless one; to Ugra (fierce one); to the worshipping one; obeisance to you, the Karmayogin.

26-29. Thus the hymn was uttered in the form of the divine names. A man who, with purity, recites or listens to this prayer composed by Brahmā unto Hāṭakeśvara Liṅga daily attains merger with Aṣṭamūrti (i.e. Śiva). There is no doubt about it.

He who remembers with purity the Liṅga of Hāṭakeśvara shall be granted all boons by Brahmā by whom this was installed.

O Jaya, thus there are many holy Tīrthas of this sort in the meeting place of Mahī and the ocean. They have been succinctly described by me.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Coladeśa—The region of Coromandal coast south of Pennar.

[2]:

Prabhāsa—Somanātha near Verawal in Saurashtra. It is a famous Jyotir-liṅga and the scene of the fratricidal clash of Yādavas and that of the death of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma.

[3]:

They seemed to have travelled through what is called ‘the Desert of Cambay’.

[4]:

Cf sugandhim puṣṭivardhanam in Rudrādhyāya.

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