The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Brahmapushkara 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 Arunacala-khanda (Purvardha) of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 5 - The Greatness of Brahmapuṣkara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:

1. Śivabhakti (? Śivaśakti), Śiva’s devotion (? Śiva’s power), identical with the universe prepared to welcome the quiescent Gautama who came back to the door of the hut from the forest.

2. She saw Gautama served by his disciples as he returned. His head was covered with long flowing hair. His face was fully covered with a beard.

3. He shone like fire with flames on account of the exceedingly copper-coloured matted hair that had become clean and pure on account of the holy bath in the Tīrtha and in which beads of Rudrākṣa had been placed.

4. He was resplendent with the Tripuṇḍra marked with sacred ash on his wide forehead. He wore a white sacred thread as well as rosaries of Rudrākṣa beads.

5. He wore two red bark garments. His body was lean and emaciated due to penance. He repeated many Vedic Mantras causing delight to Rudra.

6. On account of his highly dignified speech he was (as if) possessed by Śaṃbhu and hence had a sameness (of the exalted tone like that) of Śaṃbhu. He was full of kindness and was a treasure of refulgence like the veritable Sun-god.

7. On seeing that noble-souled old sage who had resorted to the feet of Śaṃbhu, Gaurī joined her palms in reverence and began to bow down to him.

8. On seeing the Mother of the entire universe with palms folded in reverence, the sage wondered what the matter was. Preventing (her from bowing down), he himself saluted her.

9. “O Gaurī of great magnificence, welcome (unto you). O mother of the worlds, O storehouse of mercy, under some pretext you have come here to protect the devotees.

10. O goddess worthy of being honoured, it was as though you had realized an objective worthy of being respected formerly. Assuming separateness, we have come here along with (her) disciples and others. (obscure)

11. O goddess, if you have no sportive flash of your own Māyā, how can the worldly existence continue to be? (obscure)

12. Let it be. I am not competent to speak of the sportive flash of your own Māyā which it is ever impossible to decide specifically by your (people i.e. devotees). (obscure)

13. Be pleased to sit on the clean holy seat made of Kuśa grass, Let the Pādya and Arghya[1] duly offered by me be accepted.”

14. After saying this, the old sage devoutly worshipped Aṃbikā who was seated on the excellent seat made of Darbha grass brought by the disciples.

15. After completing the entire worship, (the sage) endowed with the feelings of devotion, himself sat on a seat after being permitted by Gaurī.

16. Washing the faces of the quarters with the moon-lightlike splendour of his teeth, with the hair standing on end all over his body through joyous thrill, he spoke in a choked voice with tears of joy:

17. “Oh, the greatness of lord Śaṃbhu of unmeasured splendour! The Lord fond of his devotees has directed you to protect good devotees.

18-20. O Aṃbā, is there anything not acquired, anything else yet to be obtained, by you? It is to point out the greatness of devotion that god Śiva (has directed you). The events at Kailāsa, the stay on the banks of Kaṃpā for penance and the directive of Aruṇācala—all this is known to me. O highly fortunate lady, you have yourself come to this hermitage of your devotee, out of affection. O goddess, the embodiment of mercifulness, tell me what I am to do.”

21. On hearing these words of that great sage who knew everything, Aṃbika eagerly spoke to him eulogizing him:

22. “This is the great magnificence of yours that Śiva, the Lord of Devas, himself commanded me that you should be seen. Among all the ascetics (it was you that he selected).

23. You are master of the Vedas and the Āgamas uttered by Śiva. It is on account of your penance that among the devotees of Śiva, you alone are (regarded as) the most honoured one by Śiva.

24. ‘I am staying here by the name Aruṇācala’, said Śiva. The greatness of this Acala (mountain) should be heard directly from you.

25. I have come to the presence of Aruṇācala in order to perform penance. It is only due to the sight of Your Holiness that Īśa himself becomes delighted.

26. (The opportunity) to converse with the devotees of Śiva and to worship Śivaliṅga—this is the benefit of being embodied (bom) in the world.

27. Hence, this greatness orally transmitted by you directly should be heard by me. Due to your knowledge and teaching, you are clearly (like) a father unto me.”

28. On hearing her words, Gautama, the storehouse of austerities, recounted the greatness of Aruṇācala after meditating on Giriśa:

29. “Whatever is being asked by you, as though it is not known to you, I know that you alone are the Māyā of Śiva, which is the (repository) of all knowledge.

30. Listening to the greatness of Śiva uttered by a devotee and to the teachings of Śaṃbhu (handed over to them)—this is the cause of your delight.

31. Those who glorify or listen to the glorification of Śiva in the world attain the same merit as the study and recitation of the Vedas.

32. All the austerities performed by me have become fruitful today, because I glorify the greatness as heard (by me) and as directed by Śaṃbhu.

33-39a. This wonderful greatness (has been obtained by me) by the favour of Śiva and Śivā.

O lady of faultless limbs, let this great ancient lore, the greatness of Aruṇācala, the cause of the destruction of sins, be heard. Listen how the Liṅga in the form of Aruṇācala manifested itself formerly.

The entire greatness of Aruṇācala cannot be expressed with a crore of mouths by a crore of Brāhmaṇas. Lord Śiva, the Lord of Aruṇācala, has been worshipped for the attainment of the eight (super-human powers) by Brahmā, Viṣṇu, the Moon, the Sun, the Fire-god and the Guardians of the Directions beginning with Indra. He has been adored by Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Vidyādharas, serpents, birds, divine sages and Siddhayogins for dispelling different kinds of sins, for fulfilling different kinds of wishes, This Lord has thus been propitiated.

39b-42a. On being visited, the Lord dispels sins, On being served he bestows whatever is desired. If he is glorified as Śoṇādri (i.e. Aruṇācala) by the people even from far he bestows salvation. The Yogins who meditate in their minds on the form of the column of effulgence well-known as Aruṇādri, shall obtain salvation in the form of Sāyujya (‘perfect merger’) with Śiva. What is given as charitable gift, whatever is offered as Homa, the Japa performed and the penances practised in the presence of Aruṇācala acquire everlasting benefit.

42b-46. Brahmā and Viṣṇu who are born of parts of the splendour of Śiva, became proud aṇḍ arrogant. With a desire to conquer each other, they fought arrogantly. In order to quell their pride, Sadāśiva, worthy of being meditated upon by Yogins, assumed the form of fiery splendour devoid of beginning, middle and end. Illuminating the ten quarters, he stood in between them. In order to see the beginning and end portions of that fiery column (Brahmā and Viṣṇu) assumed the forms of a swan and a boar and went to the firmament and to the nether worlds. On seeing them weary and distressed, the Lord, the storehouse of mercy, appeared in front of them and granted them the boon they desired.

47. On being requested by them the Lord of Devas assumed the form of an immobile Liṅga, well-known as Aruṇādri. He shines calmly yet brilliantly.

48. This effulgent Liṅga is always worshipped to the accompaniment of the sounds of divine Dundubhi drums, the songs and dances of celestial damsels and hundreds of showers of flowers.

49. Formerly ninety-six Brahmās had come up and passed away. Then a Brahmā came out of the navel of Viṣṇu and created the worlds.

50. Once that Brahmā was requested by Indra who was desirous of causing obstacles to the penance of Yogins. (So) he created a lovely and graceful woman.

51. On seeing that lotus-eyed lady full of graceful charms and other good qualities, Brahmā was pierced in his heart by the arrows of Kandarpa (i.e. god of Love). He became deluded.

52. On observing the lotus-seated Brahmā desirous of touching her, the excellent celestial damsel bowed to him and under the pretext of circumambulating him, she wished to go away.

53. While she was devoutly circumambulating, there sprang up four faces of Brahmā in the four directions instantaneously.

54-57. That maiden then assumed the form of a bird and flew into the sky. On seeing him approaching in the form of a bird, she resorted to Aruṇācala seeking refuge.

‘You are the Lord whose foot and head have not been seen by Brahmā and Viṣṇu. O Lord of Aruṇācala, protect me. O Lord worthy of giving refuge, I have sought refuge in you.’

While she was lamenting with excess of agony and fright, a certain hunter wielding a bow rose up from the immobile Linga Aruṇācala. He had the lustre of the sky overcast with clouds and he had fixed aṇ arrow to his bow. When the hunter was seen in front (of him) his (Brahmā’s) delusion was dispelled.

58-63a. Then the Lotus-born Lord became extremely humble and delighted in his heart. Then he bowed down to the 'Lord of Śoṇādri who is worthy of being resorted to:

‘Obeisance to you, the cause of the destruction of all sins, to the Lord wielding the Pināka bow. Obeisance to Śaṃbhu who has assumed the form of Aruṇācala and who is under the control of his devotees. Who, other than you, is competent to make his ignorant devotees refrain from misdeeds? This is impossible for (ordinary) persons to do. Destroy my physical body with your splendour because it has become sinful by (bad) intention. O Lord, the immanent soul of the universe, create another Brahmā for the purpose of the creation of the worlds.’

On hearing these words of Brahmā who was in a wretched condition, Śiva, the moon-crested Lord, the embodiment of mercy said:

63b-67a. ‘The period that has been formerly allotted to you cannot be changed or taken back. Which person in a position of power, defects such as Rāga (attachment) and others do not affect? Hence even if you are far way, worship this fiery Liṅga named Aruṇācala for dispelling all defects. All sins whether they are mental, verbal or physical perish quickly by visiting Aruṇācala. This Aruṇācala is destructive of all the sins of men through circumambulations, prostrations, recollections, worships and eulogies.

67b-71. I can rarely be seen in Kailāsa, peak of Meru or in my abodes on the various Kula mountains. I myself am Aruṇācala, on seeing the peak of which people will not only have the benefit of having their eyes but also the destruction of all sins and the acquisition of the vision born of knowledge.

Brahmā, born of a part of mine, formerly took his bath in Brahma Puṣkara[2] named after him. Thereby the delusion of that Lord of the universe vanished. You too take your bath in this Brahma Tīrtha, worship me, keep your palms joined in reverence, keep silent and circumambulate me. O soul of the universe, you will become free from ailments.’

72. Maheśa, the Lord of the universe, remained in the form of Aruṇācala after uttering these words. The Lotus-born Lord had a plunge in the lake. He duly worshipped the Lord, the destroyer of sins.

73. With his mind purified by means of the Yogic exercises of Yama, Niyama etc., the Creator duly worshipped the Lord of Aruṇācala clearly and with all requisite offerings and services. Thereby his sins being dispelled, he regained the lordship (of the universe).”

Footnotes and references:


After giving water to a guest on his arrival to wash his feet (Pādya) he was traditionally worshipped by offering Arghya consisting of water, flowers, dūrvā grass, unbroken grains of rice.


The beautiful lake Puṣkara near Ajmer in Rajasthan is famous since Mahābhārata days. Its association with god Brahmā is well-known in Purāṇas. We still have a famous temple of god Brahmā there.

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