The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Propitiation of Aruneshvara which is chapter 8 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 eighth chapter of the Arunacala-khanda (Purvardha) of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 8 - The Propitiation of Aruṇeśvara

Note: This chapter gives the Āgamic way of Śiva worship.

Gautama said:

1. Listen, O gentle lady, to the events that happened formerly in Kailāsa. I was asked by Śiva who wielded the Mem as his bow, to perform a pilgrimage and to see (i.e. pay a visit to) the Liṅgas.

2-8a. I went to various places, viz. Rudrakṣetra, Kedāra, Badarikāśrama, Kāśī in holy countries, the auspicious Śrīparvata etc. I visited the sacred cities, the chief of which is Kāñcī. I saw many self-born (i.e- natural) Liṅgas as well as those installed by sages, Devas, groups of learned men, Gaṇas and excellent Yogins.

O lady of great fortune and excellence, resorting to the different Tīrthas in the vicinity of Śiva, I wandered all over this earth along with my disciples. Thus, I visited all the Tīrthas, performed holy rites, penance and sacrificial rites and roamed over the earth. Always engaged in mentally reciting the name of Śiva, I bowed down to Śivaliṅgas. After visiting all the holy places over the earth, I resorted to this region. Here I saw three-eyed Lord Mahādeva with hair hanging down. I saw the mountain Liṅga well-known as Aruṇādri.

8b-1 1. Here the noble-souled Siddhas, the sages steadfast in their holy observances, serving Śoṇādri and taking fruits, roots and bulbous roots alone as their food, were seen by me.

I eulogized the great primordial Liṅga in the form of Aruṇācala which was formerly worshipped by the first Brahmā endowed with divine vision:

“The Vedas always eulogize you, O Lord of Aruṇācala, thus: ‘He is copper-coloured, ruddy, tawny. He is very auspicious.’

Obeisance to the copper-coloured one, one of morning-like hue, ruddy, to Śiva, the Supreme Soul

12. Obeisance to the Lord, the embodiment of all the Vedas, to the eternal oṇe, to the Lord of immortal form- Obeisance to Kāla melting with compassion, to the ocean of nectar worthy of being drunk through the eyes.

13. Obeisance to you full of fondness for your devotees, to the sanctifying one, to the destroyer of the Puras. O Lord of the Devas, visiting you bestows the benefits of all the holy rites.

14-18a. To the persons who have obtained your vision on the earth, there is no necessity to perform any other penance anywhere. This land of Karmans (i.e. Bhārata) has been obstructed by you (to the Devas). Devas themselves seek a residence here under your refuge. The fruit resulting from grasping the opportune time (?) has been obtained by me today. Whatever other penance has been performed by me is entirely the fruit of visiting you. O Lord of Devas, your form is wonderfully prosperous. Nowhere in the world a Liṅga in the form of a mountain have I seen on the earth.

O Lord of Devas, having three forms, your great body is seen as very charming with the three angular points united with the Sun, the Fire and the Moon (which are regarded as your eyes). (obscure)

18b-25a. Your wonderful Liṅga has been seen—the Liṅga that causes the three Kālas (i.e. Times, viz. Past, Present and Future) with the forms of the three Śaktis, which is of the nature of the three Vedas, and which has three angles as its parts. (obscure)

The Lord well-known as Śoṇādri is seen on the terrestrial region. He has assumed an extended form for the sake of protecting the three worlds.

Even if ignorant people merely have a view of him, he distributes all kinds of enjoyment among them, as he is a storehouse of sincere, unpretended mercifulness.

There is another Liṅga without worship. It is said to be Śūnya (‘void’). It is worshipped by Devas. It always bestows all boons.

Be pleased, O Śoṇācala, full of mercy; O Maheśvara, protect me. I am afraid of (this) worldly existence.

I sought asylum in you, O Lord, (as) you are affectionate to your devotees. Your wonderful and great form that is pleasing to the sight, has been seen.

Make me blessed, O ocean of mercy. I seek refuge in you who are worthy of being sought asylum in, O Lord.”

On being eulogized by me the Lord of Śoṇācala showed me the great divine form and said to me:

25b-30a. “I am much delighted with your eulogies and great devotion. Let your perpetual residence be here near me. Worship me always with the eternal offerings and enjoyments (available) on the earth. Perform austerities and show to everyone the greatness of this place. Formerly as you were residing on the peak of Kailāsa endowed with power of penance, I directed you to worship me on the Śoṇādri in the terrestrial region.

It is the form of my worship followed by the Seven Sages that shines in heaven. As you are superior (to others) by your penance, demonstrate similar (type of) respectful worship on the surface of the earth for the welfare of all beings, (obscure)

30b-34a. Worship me with great respect on the earth following the modes of worship prescribed in the Āgamas.

The divine form of my great worship can be seen in heaven by Devas. The terrestrial form (of worship) should be revealed and extended by you on the surface of the earth.

The greatness of my Aruṇācala form on the terrestrial region has already been described. I am much delighted with you. You are superior to those meritorious persons who worshipped me formerly. You reveal the mode of worship of Śiva on the earth.”

On being commanded thus, I bowed down to the Lord of Devas with great devotion to Bhava (i.e. Śiva). Paying obeisance to the Lord of Aruṇādri, I (respectfully) asked the Lord full of mercy:

34b-37a. “This fiery form is unapproachable. How can I worship this Maheśvara through the materials of worship befitting the mortal world? How can I literally carry out this behest? Suggest the means, O glorious Lord, whereby Your Lordship may be approachable.”

On being petitioned thus, the glorious Lord, the Lord of Śoṇācala, the immanent soul of everyone, the storehouse of mercy, blessed me as I bowed down:

37b-41. “I shall reveal the subtle Liṅgas on the surface of the earth. Offer me the requisite worship through the different types of holy rites prescribed in the Āgamas. Worship my subtle wonderful Liṅga endowed with the five sheaths, named Aruṇādrīśa. Worship it by means of the power of your penance.”

After commanding thus, the self-born Śiva, the great Lord, showed me his form of the nature of subtle Liṅga, devoid of impurities.

On seeing that subtle Liṅga devoid of impurities, the Liṅga that rose up by itself and which is enveloped by all the coverings, I became contented in my heart. Once again I submitted to Lord Śaṃbhu who is affectionate to those who resort to him:

42-47a. “It has come to this that the different types mentioned in the Āgamas cannot be seen directly. How can I know the different names of your forms that have become separated, O Lord of benign form, O my Lord? Who shall be your worshipping (priests)? Of what type is the temple? How are you to be eulogized? What is the procedure of the worship? Who are the attendants here? How should the region be protected? Who are your personal guards? How shall your human type of perpetual worship flourish? How can this be believed by men that many Devas have come? Be pleased, O great Īśāna. Command everything yourself.”

On being appealed thus the Lord of Śoṇādri himself commanded Viśvakarman who came (there):

47b-49. “You create a divine city named Aruṇa. Create also a divine temple of mine that shall be superior in qualities and brilliant with a number of great jewels. Make arrangements for all the ancillary things for the worship, such as the three types of musical instruments etc.”

The glorious Śiva mentioned the different names and the procedures of worship. Śiva, the embodiment of mercy and Lord of Aruṇācala, proclaimed Vratas (i e. vows and observances) also.

50-52. Listen from me about the attendants who have been created for the sake of worship:

“O Gautama, listen from me to the entire procedure of worship in the way of mortals. It is popular all over the world, for the sake of the welfare of all the worlds.

This incomparable, great fiery Liṅga named Aruṇādrīśvara is seen (in front of you). Let it be worshipped by you regularly.

Śakti, of perpetual rise and prosperity, who (resides) on the northern side of mine, should be joyously worshipped.

53. Her name is Apītakucā (‘one whose breast has not been sucked’). The greatness of her abode (is noteworthy). This Lord of Aruṇācala is inseparably accompanied by his beloved.

54. For the sake of festivities, Mahādeva should be worshipped, accompanied by Agasutā (‘daughter of the mountain’). Śiva is the bestower of enlightenment on the devotees. With the gesture of his hands, he offers freedom from fear.

55. He holds a deer and an axe in his hands. His face is always beaming with smile. Śaṃbhu, the Lord of Umā and Skaṇḍa, has divine jewels and gems as his ornaments.

56-57. With his refulgence he brightens all the worlds. He is endowed with unimpeded glory. In the auspicious festival of Śakti, Sundareśvarī should be worshipped. She shall be bedecked in all ornaments increasing the sentiment of love.

At the outset, the boy Gaṇapati, the delighter of prosperity should be worshipped.

58-60. Gaṇapati shall grace the place near me. He shall be worshipped with the food offerings (of various types) conducive to great prosperity.

Let the supreme Śakti be worshipped as stationed near me. She never leaves off my side. There is a red line beautifying her eyes. Let her be worshipped for the sake of festivities.

For the sake of festivities, Amṛteśvara (‘Lord of Nectar’) shall be worshipped at the tip of the eye. He is glorious. He is an expert in the Tāṇḍava (i.e. the violent dance of Śiva), with his feet sounding resonantly.

Another Śakti of great fortune, namely Bhūvināyakā shall also be worshipped.

61. At the entrance, Nandin and Mahākāla resembling the Sun (shall be worshipped). Let there be the arrangement for the worship of all my devotees.

62. The Mothers should be worshipped on the southern side along with Vighnaśāstṛ (‘the chastiser of obstacles’). In the southwest, Vināyaka, the destroyer of obstacles, shall be worshipped.

63. Let Skanda holding the Śakti be worshipped in the north-east corner. Thereafter the charming Liṅgas should be worshipped.

64-68. After worshipping in my temple, Dakṣiṇāmūrti (shall be worshipped) in the southern side. The idol in the west shall be the idol of the form of the Fire-god. In the north the idol of the form of Brahmā (shall be adored). In the east the idol with the deer and the earth (shall be worshipped). It shall have the qualities of all the Devas and shall be endowed with all Śaktis (powers). Then (the devotee shall worship) in the temple of goddess Apītakucā. It shall have (the installation of) all the Śaktis, surrounded by the wives of the Guardians of the Quarters. For the protection of the temple, one shall worship the goddesses Vaibha-vanāyikās. After worshipping the Kṣetrapāla endowed with all the Āvaraṇas (coverings), Aruṇagirīśvarī who comes to protect her son, shall be worshipped.

69. Kālī and other deities and goddesses of many kinds, such as Vidhipālakas (shall be worshipped). Every month arrangements should be made for celebrating different kinds of festivals with great display.

70. Create girls of divine forms engaged in the worship of Lord Śiva. They shall be conversant with the arts of dancing and singing. They shall be endowed with beauty of form and good fortune.

71-75. They must possess beautiful graces and charms. They shall be the bestowers of love and ever-pure and sacred.

For doing divine services command your disciples who are conversant with the Vedas and are brilliant due to their good conduct. They shall be amiable and well-behaved with pure minds. They should have had the (Śaiva) initiation. They shall be experts in the Āgamas pertaining to Śiva. They shall be clean and free from impurities.

For the popularization of the cult and conventions of Śaiva philosophy, command them to worship me.

Create persons who play on drums, who blow conchs, who play on the lute, cymbals and flutes. Create coppersmiths, people of good learning, experts in the four lores, different kinds of Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras approved of by Śiva.

In the four quarters, four Maṭhas (‘monasteries’) should be erected for the sake of the pilgrims and those who live in the holy spots as well as for the residence of sages and devotees of Śiva who have renounced (worldly) desires.

76-80. May the eminent sages staying in them protect the system of the worship of Śiva. The devotees of Śiva and the Pāśupatas shall beg for alms (for their sustenance). Let these and the others of Yogìc power and practice, as well as the Kūpālikas always protect this holy spot. All the kings of the past, present and future shall protect this spot without any disobedience to their commands.

Here is seen a great divine tree, the Bakula (Mimusops elengi). Let the devotees discuss and come to a conclusion in regard to the rites of Śiva here (under the tree).

Whatever monetary gift is offered here unto me for the acquisition of the other world not yet seen, shall yield everlasting benefit. That should be protected by the servants and followers of Śiva. I shall listen to the matter submitted by the devotees standing in front.

81. I shall get everything (procured) in accordance with their mental desire. I shall forgive thousands of the offences of those who worship me well.

82. Since this worship formulated as a human activity is mentioned in the Āgamas, I shall accept the entire worship mentioned in all the Āgamas.

83-85. The holy rites and activities of my followers and devotees shall be pleasing to me. Even what they resolve-within themselves is pleasing to me. O sage, go through all the Āgama topics; make different kinds of procedures of worship suitable to the occasion for protecting the worlds.

On the full-moon day a great worship shall be respectfully performed. Thousands of different kinds of Satras (‘sacrifices’) should be performed here. In the presence of this (Liṅga) different kinds of charitable gifts shall be made.

86. Those who offer inextinguishable lamps in my presence shall undoubtedly attain this brilliant fiery form.

87. Those who devoutly offer flowers growing in water, on trees, climbing plants and creepers to me shall become kings.

88-90. I shall myself be in front of them and defeat their enemies. The king who is superior in penance in any country will be given a better and more prosperous rebirth by me. After approaching (me) even the wicked-minded kings will undoubtedly become perfect devotees of Śiva.”

91. On hearing these words coming out of the mouth of Śaṃbhu, I got rid of all my sins. I bowed down to Śiva, the Lord of the mountain Śoṇācala, and submitted eagerly.

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