The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Practice of Mahavidya which is chapter 62 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 sixty-second chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 62 - The Practice of Mahāvidyā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śaunaka enquired:

1. O Sūta, formerly the origin of Gaṇapa has been heard by us. How was Kṣetranātha born? Describe this to us who listen.

Sūta replied:

2. When the heaven-dwellers were harassed by the Daitya Dāruka, they bowed down to Śiva who was seated along with the goddess and said thus:

3-5. “O Lord, we are harassed by the Daitya Dāruka, who cannot be subdued by Suras and Asuras and who is extremely terrifying. We have been dislodged from our abodes. Excepting Ardhanārīśvara (Lord of half-man-half-woman form) no one else can kill that vicious one, neither Viṣṇu nor the Moon nor anyone else. Be a refuge unto us who are being troubled by him”

After saying this Devas said, “Save us, save us” and lamented.

6. Thereupon, Hara became highly sympathetic and merciful. Pārvatī took the black colour from his throat and created a fearful woman.

7-8a. She released her Śakti and transferred it to her. The splendid goddess then spoke these words: “Since you are very black your name will be Kālikā. O splendid lady, slay that wicked-minded enemy of Devas quickly.”

8b-12. On being told thus, Kālikā of loud roar, went up to him (Dāruka) and made him dead through her roar alone. His heart was split and he died along with his followers.

Then stationed in the cremation ground of Avantī, she roared loudly many times. Thereby the three worlds became maimed and mutilated as though dead.

Thereupon, Rudra assumed the form of a child for the sake of the universe. The Lord came near her in the cremation ground, crying.

Kālikā who became merciful, kept the crying child on her lap and suckled it at her breasts saying, “Do not cry.” Under the pretext of sucking her milk the boy drank up the anger arising from her body.

13. That anger had been very unbearable due to the poison coming out of the throat of Hara. After the furious nature had been sucked (by the child), Kālikā became gentle.

14-15. Having accomplished his mission, the child desired to abandon that form of a child. Thereupon, Devas became afraid of danger once again from Kālikā. They said, “O boy, do not abandon the child state. Have mercy.”

The child said:

16-20. You need not be afraid of Kālikā because the goddess has been made gentle. If you are afraid, I shall create other boys, viz. the sixty-four Kṣetrapālas (‘Defenders of the holy place’).

After saying this he created them from his mouth.

Maheśvara in the form of a boy spoke to those beings in the form of boys: “Twenty-five of you will stay in the heavenly worlds; the same number in the nether worlds and fourteen in the terrestrial world. You shall protect these regions. This person (i.e. I) shall be stationed in the cremation ground. The vehicle shall be a dog. The food offerings for you shall be the mixture of Rājamāṣa (i.e. a kind of pulse) and rice.

If any man performs any holy rite without first worshipping you, that rite of his shall be fruitless. It will be enjoyed by ghosts and demons.” After saying this, Lord Rudra vanished there itself.

21. The Kṣetrapālas stationed themselves in their respective places as appointed. In this manner, the creation of Kṣetrapālas has been recounted succinctly.

22-24. I shall tell the procedure of propitiation whereby they (the Kṣetrapālas) become pleased. “Om [Oṃ?] Kṣām obeisance to Kṣetrapāla.” This is the nine-syllabled great Mantra.[1]

A devotee should offer sandal-paste etc. with this Mantra; the mixture of rice and Rājamāṣa should be divided into sixty-four parts and offered along with Vaṭakas (pies) of the same number; sixty-four lamps, betel leaves and areca-nuts should be offered. The devotee then bows down straight like a rod and repeats the following great hymn:

25. “Oṃ (the Kṣetrapālas) have hair raised above, deformed eyes, red and tawny in colour. They have terrible forms. I bow down to Kṣetrapālas.

26-29a. I bow to these Kṣetrapālas of heaven: Ahvara, Āpakuṃbha, Iḍācāra, Indramūrti, Kolākṣa, Upapāda, Ṛtuṃsana, Siddheya, Valika, Nīlapāt, Ekadaṃṣṭrika, Irāpati, Aghahārī, Vighnahārī, Antaka, Ūrdhvapāda, Kaṃbala, Khañjana, Khara, Gomukha, Jaṅghāla, Gaṇanātha, Vāraṇa, Jaṭāla and Ajaṭāla.

29b-32. Ṛkāra, Haṭhakārī, Ṭaṅkapāṇi, Khaṇi, Ṭhaṇṭhaṅkaṇa, Jaṃbara, Sphuliṅgāsya, Taḍidruci, Dantura, Ghananāda, Nandaka, Phetkārakārī, Pañcāsya, Barbarī, Bhīmarūpavān, Bhagnapakṣa, Kālamegha, Yuvāna, Bhāskara, Raurava, Laṃboṣṭha, Vaṇija, Sujaṭālika, Sugandha and Huhuka. I bow down to these defenders of Pātāla.

33-36. Huṃkāra in all the Liṅgas; Bhayāvaha in the cremation grounds; Mahālakṣa in the terrible forest. Jvālākṣa is stationed in the abode(s); Ekavṛkṣa on the trees; Karālavadana in the night; Ghaṇṭārava resides in caves; Padmakhañja stays in water; Durārodha in the places where four roads meet; Kurava on mountains; Kṣetrapāla called Pravāha in streams; Maṇibhadra in treasuries; Rasādhyakṣa in Rasakṣetra (juicy field) and Koṭana in sacrificial chambers. These fourteen have pervaded the earth. (I bow down to them) the above named thus.

37. Thus I seek refuge in the Kṣetrapas numbering sixty-four. Let them be pleased. Let them be pleased. Let them be satisfied with my worship.”

38. If a pure and clean person worships the Kṣetrapas thus during all the holy rites, the Kṣetrapas become pleased with him and grant him what is desired.

39. Knowing this procedure in the liturgy regarding Kṣetrapas, Vijaya duly worshipped Siddheya in the manner mentioned and eulogized him.

40-41. After bowing down to the goddess, he worshipped Vaṭayakṣiṇī (i.e. the deity on the banyan tree).

Formerly, when Brāhmaṇas were brought from Kalāpa village by Nārada, a Brāhmaṇa widow named Sunandā had also come along with them in order to perform penance on the banks of the river Mahī.

42. She performed the holy rites (expiations) of Parāka,[2] Kṛcchra[3] and Atikṛcchra.[4] In the months of Jyeṣṭha and Bhādrapada she performed Trirātrika (i.e. a vow observed for three nights) rites of Sāvitrī twice.

43. That delighter of her family observed fast during the whole of the month of Kārttika. After performing the worship of seven Liṅgas, she always worshipped the goddess.

44-45. She took her holy bath in Mahī-sāgara-saṅgama during New-Moon days. By means of the different observances like these she shook off all her sins and went to the world of Umā where she was welcomed. With a part she was born as Vaṭayakṣiṇī on its banks.

46-48. Hara stationed in the Siddhaliṅga became pleased with her and granted her this boon: “If anyone performs my worship without worshipping her, that worship of his will be wholly fruitless. This has been said by me and it should be sustained by me.”

Hence one should always worship Vaṭayakṣiṇī stationed on the banyan tree with flowers, incense and food offerings, repeating this Mantra with devotion:

“O Sunandā, O Vaṭayakṣiṇī, you are worthy of being propitiated. Accept this worship of mine. Be pleased with me for all times.”

49. By worshipping, bowing down and craving the pardon of Vaṭayakṣiṇī, a man or woman always obtains all desired objects.

50. Vijaya of great intellect knew this greatness. With great devotion, he worshipped Vaṭayakṣiṇī stationed on the banyan tree.

51. Thereafter he eulogized Siddhāṃbikā and repeated the great Mantra named Aparājita pertaining to Viṣṇu and accompanied by regular practice.

52. Merely by remembering this great Vidyā, one can destroy all miseries. I shall communicate that Vidyā, O leading Brāhmaṇas. Listen.

53. The Aparājitā Vidyā

“Oṃ, obeisance to lord Vāsudeva. I bow to Ananta having thousand heads, to the Lord lying in the Milk Ocean, to the Lord having the body of Śeṣa for a couch, to the Lord having Garuḍa as vehicle, to the yellow-robed one. O Vāsudeva, O Saṅkarṣaṇa, O Pradyumna, O Aniruddha, O Hayaśiras (‘Horse-headed one’), O Varāha (‘Boar’), O Narasiṃha (‘Man-lion’), O Vāmana (‘Dwarf’), O Trivikrama (‘one who took three steps’ and covered the universe), O Paraśurāma, O Rāma, O bestower of boons, obeisance to you, salute to you. Kill, kill the Asuras, Daityas, Dānavas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Bhūtas, ghosts, vampires, Kuṃbhāṇḍas, Siddhayoginīs, Ḍākinīs, evil spirits beginning with Skanda,[5] evil stars and planets and others; burn, burn (these); cook, cook; crush, crush; destroy, destroy these; rout; put them to flight with your conch, discus, thunderbolt, iron club, mace and plough; reduce them to ash; obeisance to the thousand-armed one; O thousand-footed one, O thousand-weaponed one, be victorious, be victorious; defeat, defeat; O undefeated one, O unobstructed one, O thousand-eyed one, blaze, blaze; burn brightly, burn brightly; O Cosmic-formed one, O multi-formed one, O slayer of Madhu, O great Boar, O great Puruṣa, O Vaikuṇṭha, O Nārāyaṇa, O Padmanābha, O Govinda, O Dāmodara, O Hṛṣīkeśa, O destroyer of all Asuras, O controller of all, O dispeller of all miseries, O breaker of all Yantras, O destroyer of all serpents, O great Lord of all Devas, O Lord who releases one from all bondages, O destroyer of all enemies, O destroyer of all fevers, O preventer of all evil spirits, O subduer of all sins, O Janārdana, O delighter of people, obeisance to you. Svāhā.”

54. If a person repeats, recites, listens, remembers, retains or glorifies this Aparājitā, the great Vidyā pertaining to the Great Viṣṇu, he need not be afraid of violent winds, fires, thunderbolts, hail-storms, thunder showers, (dangers from) seas, evil spirits, thieves or beasts of prey.

55. If these words and syllables of this Mantra are repeated, memorized, worshipped with full accomplishment, one need not be afraid of the nocturnal darkness, women, royal household, poisons of various kinds, black magic of others to win over, to create hatred, to destroy, to kill or to imprison.

56. This is its (procedure): “Repeated obeisance to you, O fearless one, O sinless one, O undefeated one, O undaunted one, O immortal one, O unconquered one, O goddess attained by the repetitions, O goddess attained by the remembering ones, O entire one without parts, O Umā, O Dhruvā (‘fixed one’), O Arundhatī, O Sāvitrī, O Gāyatrī, O Jātavedasī, O Mānastokā (?), O Sarasī, O Sarasvatī, O Dharaṇī, O Dhāriṇī, O Saudāminī, O Aditi, O Vinatā, O Gaurī, O Gāndhārī, O Mātaṅgī, O Kṛṣṇā, O Yaśodā, O speaker of truth, O expounder of Brahman, O Kālī, O Kapālinī, O goddess capable of instantly increasing the size of limbs, protect, protect everything on the land, water and atmosphere; protect, protect from the harassments and troubles from all evil spirits. Svāhā.”

57-59. If a woman’s menstrua] discharge is obstructed, if there is abortion, if the children die (early), if a woman conceives only once, she must practise the repetition and retention of this Mantra [or this Mantra written or engraved in metal and tied to her]. She is not assailed by these defects.

(If a man holds it) he will always be victorious in battle, in royal household and in the game of dice. If this Mantra is engraved on a weapon used (in battle) he will win the war. It is always destructive of enlargement of the spleen, acute pain and all ailments of eyes. It destroys fevers, headaches etc. of all persons.

60. The Mantra is as follows:

“Kill, Kill kālī; move, move, Kālī; O Gaurī, blow, blow; Gaurī, O Vidyā, O Ālā, Tālā, Mālā, Gandhā, Bandhā, cook, cook; O Vidyā, destroy sin, kill (the effects of) bad dream; O destroyer of pains, O night, O dusk, O sound of drum, O goddess of mental velocity, O goddess with conch, discus, thunderbolt and spear, O destroyer of premature death, O goddess of the universe, O Draviḍī, O Drāviḍī, O beloved of Keśava, O goddess honoured by Śiva, O suppressor of the irrepressible, O Śarvarī (night), O Kirātī, O Mātaṅgī, Oṃ Hrāṃ Hraṃ Hraṃ Hraṃ, Krāṃ Kraṃ Kraṃ Kraṃ, Tvara, Tvara (hasten); suppress, suppress all those who hate me directly or indirectly; press, press; scorch, scorch; fell, fell; dry up, dry up; uproot, uproot those who hate me directly, indirectly; O Brahmāṇī, O Māheśvarī, O Vārāhī, O Vināyakī, O Aindrī, O Āgneyī, O Cāmuṇḍā, O Vāruṇī, O goddess with fierce lustre, O sister of Indra and Upendra, O Vijayā, O goddess increasing peace, welfare, and nourishment, O goad of Kāma, O milker of what is desired, O bestower of all desired objects as boon, O goddess staying in all living beings, make, make the remedial Vidyā of retaliation; O goddess who attracts, O goddess who enters, O goddess with garlands of flames, O Ramaṇī (‘one who gives pleasure’), O Rāmaṇī (‘one who causes one to give pleasure’), O Dharaṇī, O Dhāriṇī, O Manonmāninī (‘increasing honour’), protect, protect. O Vāyavyā (‘goddess pertaining to the wind’), O goddess with garlands of flames, O scorcher, O drier, O one with blue banner, O Mahāgaurī, O Mahāśrayā (‘great support’), Mahāmayūrī (‘great peahen’), O ray of the sun, O Jāhnavī (‘Gaṅgā’), O bell of Yama tinkling Kiṇi Kiṇi (?), O Cintāmaṇi (philosopher’s stone), O Surabhi (divine cow), Surotpannā (‘born of Suras’), O Kāmadughā (‘yielding whatever is desired’), let my task be achieved as desired. Svāhā, Oṃ Svāhā, Oṃ Bhūḥ Svāhā, Oṃ Bhuvaḥ Svāhā, Oṃ Svaḥ Svāhā, Oṃ Bhūr-Bhuvaḥ-Svaḥ Svāhā.

Let the sin go back whence it came, Svāhā, O Balā (‘strength’), Mahābalā (‘having great strength’), O achiever of what is not achieved. Svāhā.”

61. Thus Vijaya restrained himself and accomplished this Aparājitā Vidyā pertaining to Viṣṇu by means of the mind, intellect and concentration.

62. If a man merely reads this even without regular practice, O leading Brāhmaṇa, all his obstacles perish.

Footnotes and references:


The Mantra of nine syllables is: Oṃ kṣāṃ kṣetrapālāya namaḥ.


This penance consists in not taking any food for 12 days along with self-control and vigil (Manu X.215; Baudhāyana Dh. S. IV. 5.16; Yāj. Smṛ. III.20; AP 171.10). This dispels all sins:

japa-homa-rataḥ kuryād dvādaśāham abhojanam |
parāka eṣa vikhyātaḥ sarva-pāpa-praṇāśanaḥ ||
     —Prāyaścitta-Viveka, p. 515.


Kṛcchra is a general name for several penances. According to Sāmavidhāna Brāhmaṇa (I.2.1) “One should eat sacrificial food for three days only by day and eat nothing at night; then for three days more one should eat at night only; and should observe complete fast for three days.” This is the Kṛcchra penance.


Atikṛcchra—According to Manu XI.213, this penance consists in eating one morsel of food in the morning only for the first three days; for the next three days in the evening only, and observe fast for the next three days (Kane, HD IV, p. 130).


It is strange that god Skanda should be classed with evil spirits in the Purāṇa named after him.

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