The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Reunion of the Goddess with Shiva which is chapter 12 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 twelfth chapter of the Arunacala-khanda (Purvardha) of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 12 - The Reunion of the Goddess with Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:

1. When the great sage served by the ascetics spoke thus, Girijā cast off her suspicion (about sin) based on the slaughter of a devotee of Śiva.

2. Then from the firmament there spoke a voice delightful to the ears:

“O Daughter of the Mountain, do not go for the atonement of the sin.

3-4. Let the nine holy rivers (Tīrthas), viz. Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Sindhu, Godāvarī, Sarasvatī, Narmadā, Kāverī, Śoṇa and Śoṇanadī be present here in the rocky surface torn off by your sword, O Goddess. Perform the rite of expiation of sin (i.e. aghamaṛṣaṇa) here.

5. In the coming Aśvayuja (i.e. Āśvina) month on the day with the constellation of Jyeṣṭhā take your plunge in the Khaḍgatīrtha[1] (i.e. the holy lake made with the sword) along with the Liṅga. Stay here for a month.

6-12a. After completing the ablutions corresponding to the three times (morning, midday and evening) prescribed for the pressing of Soma, lasting a month which is measured(?) by the Guardians of the Quarters, you will attain purity from sins. Then you install the Liṅga sticking to your hand in front of the Tīrtha (for the purpose of blessing the worlds) and come up. By taking bath in this excellent Tīrtha and worshipping Śiva in the Liṅga, one can attain the destruction of the three kinds of distress. There is no doubt about it that all the three worlds will attain the same. Install the Liṅga that removes all the sins in the presence of the holy water. Install it with firm devotion for the perpetual welfare of the worlds. During Uttarāṣāḍhā associate with Devakī(?) with great festival for ten days. Take the sacred valedictory bath on the day of Kṛttikā which is the holy star pertaining to the Fire-god. In the evening worship my body, i.e. the mountain Śoṇācala, duly. Thereafter I shall show you my fiery form. If this is done by you, it will be conducive to the protection of the worlds.”

12b-13. On hearing these words as well as the words of the great sage, the Daughter of the Mountain began to carry out both the suggestions by means of penance. Without any excitement (i.e. calmly), she pierced and tore open the rocky surface with her sword.

14-15. Instantaneously there arose the nine holy rivers there. Meditating upon the Liṅga that remained in the demon’s throat, the Daughter of the Mountain plunged into that Tīrtha with the permission of the sages. All the nine Tīrthas had a crystalline lustre.

16-18. But since Gaurī remained within, the entire Tīrtha became dark in colour, thanks to her lustre. While the Daughter of the Mountain remained within the Tīrtha for thirty days, the mind of Śaṃbhu that had been scorched by the pangs of separation became restless. She created within the water lotuses by means of her glorious splendour, a forest of blue lotuses by means of the eyes and lilies by means of her smile.

By that stay in water of the Goddess all the worlds became free from torments, contented and blessed with the fruits belonging to the different seasons.

19-21a. At the end of the month, she got up and performed the festival of the Goddess. In the month of Kārttika with the constellation named Kṛttikā[2] at the beginning of the night, she worshipped the Liṅga in the form of Aruṇādri with requisite materials and services achieved through penance. The Mother of the universe eulogized the Liṅga:

21b-27a. “Obeisance to you having the form of the universe, to the Lord having Śoṇācala for your body; obeisance to the Lord with the Liṅga in the form of the fiery mountain; to the destroyer of all sins. Your pervasive extent and greatness could not be measured and determined by Brahmā and Viṣṇu. You are calm, though you have the fiery form, for the sake of bringing about the blessing of the worlds. You create the groups of Tattvas (i.e. cosmic constituents) through Śakti. You have the features of the (universe-destroying) Kāla (‘god of Death’).

O Lord of Aruṇādri, O excellent one among mountains, O ocean of beauty and charming grace, this is a wonderful form of yours comprehensible through the Vedas and worshipped by Suras. You are mentioned as the seed of all refulgences. O Maheśvara, O Lord, indeed your refulgence is divine and supreme, the refulgence that was seen formerly by Brahmā and Viṣṇu who were seeking the same. O Lord of Devas, I am sanctified by your vision today. Show me your divine form, the supreme one that dispels all defects.”

27b-31a. While the Goddess was praying to Śiva in the form of Aruṇādri (he) became manifest and covered the entire universe with his refulgence. A supreme effulgence was seen—a splendour resembling crores of rising suns, equal to a crore of moons and on a par with a crore of universe-destroying fires. Along with the sages, the Mother of lotus-like eyes, with her heart filled with surprise and wonder, bowed down with great devotion. She was delighted too. Then from that massive storehouse of brilliance—Aruṇādri—stood up a Puruṣa of sweet tone and golden complexion who spoke these words:

31b-35. “I am delighted with your austerities performed in my abodes and holy spots. This fiery form has been seen by you now. O Goddess in the form of the universe, you shall protect the worlds by various means. You do perform penances on the earth. What else is desired by you? The mass of darkness of yours that had risen up has entirely become calm and subdued due to the brilliance of my eyes and by looking at this fiery brilliance. This wicked Mahiṣa who worships the Liṅga, has adopted my devotion in an irregular manner without proper initiation. On the advice of an atheist, this Liṅga that was placed in his throat, had been (once) swallowed by him.

36. He had no belief and faith in me, though I stayed in his throat in the form of the Liṅga. Gradually he attained the charming life (birth) of a sage.

37. This Mahiṣa who has been killed by you, had been a devotee of mine. Meditating on and worshipping me, he attained the state of a leader of Gaṇas.

38-44a. Since he had been wearing my Liṅga for a long time, O Goddess, he had his own Siddhi. Hence neither lack of faith iṇ the Śivaliṅga nor dishonour to the devotees of Śiva should ever be indulged in by the devotees desirous of liberation. If the Liṅga is worn by anyone out of campulsion [compulsion?] without any initiation, it does not give him any benefit. Further it kills him like a thunderbolt.

But in this matter there is no blemish in you because you have destroyed all defects by looking at Śoṇācala. Your eyes have become fruitful. (Defective Text) The wet nurse has rendered help unto you by suckling your son(?) She has made you Apītakucā (‘one whose breasts have not been sucked’) and therefore endearing to the devotees and their protectress. Expiation has been spoken to you by being present here on the day with the constellation Kṛttikā. Be therefore the deity named Apītakucā. Conclude the remaining part of the worship for the sake of blessing the devotees. Be the personification of sympathy and worship me. Be the heroine Apītakucā.”

44b-48. On hearing these exceedingly consoling words of the Lord, Aṃbikā bowed down to him and requested him: “O Lord of Devas, this refulgence has been shown by you who are endowed with grace. It has been seen by Devas and human beings directly in the month of Kārttika at the great festival on the conclusion of my holy observances. Let your great refulgence be seen (on the day) with the constellation named Kṛttikā. By seeing this supreme brilliance every year, let all the creatures be liberated from all sins.” The words, “So be it” were uttered by the Lord of Devas. He then vanished within the mountain.

49-54. Thereafter, Aṃbikā circumambulated the (mountain) along with her companions and attendants. She made the Liṅga of the form of Aruṇādri one of the emeraldine lustre by means of her refulgence of cloudlike dark brilliance spreading all round. While she walked slowly emitting the lustre of her lotus-like feet, she (appeared to) spread on the ground all round petals of lotuses along with sprouts.

By means of the refulgence of her eyes she appeared to worship Śoṇādri all round with innumerable petals of full-blown golden lotuses and blue ones.

She was served by the womenfolk of the Guardians of the Quarters beginning with Indra. She was propitiated by the groups of Mothers, with the offerings of scents, ornaments etc.

She was surrounded by the women of the Suras who carried umbrellas, chowries, golden pitchers, fans, fruits etc. She was accompanied by the maidens of ascetic families. Thus, she circumambulated Aruṇādri which was self-luminous.

55-61. She was desirous of Sāyujya (union) with Śiva. Therefore the Daughter of the Mountain circumambulated the mountain Aruṇādri as if it were the sacred marital fire.[3] While she was circumambulating step by step, with great devotion, the Devas, the leading Suras sent by Śaṃbhu, surrounded her. Sarasvatī came there along with Brahmā and Ramā (i.e. Lakṣmī) along with Viṣṇu. The Daughter of the Mountain was accompanied by all the wives of the Guardians of the Quarters. Granting boons by (pouring) water, she appeared to obstruct Devendra(?) (the Rain-god). She appeared to cool down the Lord in the (fiery) form of the Lord of mountains. By means of the penance she remembered the Lord as inseparable from her. She seemed to make it known how proper it was to undertake the difficult task of staying under water. She wanted, as it were, to advise the sages about the means of measurement of the Devas(?) gradually and so she engaged herself in penance to continue, as it were, the play she had learned and practised formerly. She thought about herself scorched by the pangs of separation and also about Śiva in a similar state, and therefore to cool both she stayed under the water of all the Tīrthas that rose up on the rocky surface.

62-65a. She stood herself in the midst of the five fires (as if) desirous of speaking out the superiority of the world(?)—the Pañcāgnis (‘five fires’) that destroy sins, that could not be easily performed and that brought about the culmination of desires. After having attained it, she stood there to calm it down.

She wanted to wash the Liṅga that had been smeared with the blood flowing from the neck of Mahiṣāsura. She wanted to wash it with the pure waters of that Tīrtha.

A beautiful city named Aruṇa was built by Viśvakarman for the pleasure of the Lord of Śoṇādri, the Lord of the Goddess Apītakucā.

65b-72. The courtesans staying on the tops of the mansions of that city appeared to be desirous of conquering the Amara (celestial) ladies. They had surpassed the clouds and lightning [(1) because the mansions were very tall and (2) because they had brilliant refulgence]. On the lofty tops of the mansions in that city the courtesans sat and sang.

The city shone with Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Gandharvas and Vidyādharas. Golden chariots moved about in that city. It shone with eight main highways that appeared to be the feet of the fabulous animal Śarabha. It was adored by the eight Guardians of the Quarters. It consisted of Siddhas (i.e. persons endowed with the eight Siddhis (or super-natural powers). They were the dependents of Aṣṭamūrti (‘eight-formed god’ i.e. Śiva). They had the eight-fold (eight different types of) devotion. They had their attention turned towards the eight parts of the army or court. It consisted of the people of the four castes and was further developed by the people of subsidiary castes.

It contained many halls and chambers where gold dazzled and made it difficult to be looked at. Various kinds of musical instruments—conchs, Dundubhi drums, Nissānas (wardrums), Mṛdaṅgas and Murajas (types of drums), flutes, lutes, cymbals etc. were being played there. It was rendered brilliant and resonant with the talks of people and the sound of the recitation of Vedic Mantras of great sages with their minds directed towards Śiva. It can be resorted to in the day in order to have the vision of the divine form of the Bull-emblemed Lord. Both in the night and the day, always equal brilliance is seen because of the sparkle and refulgence of the nine gems through which the nine Planets exhibit their power to grant prosperity.

73-75. Viṣṇu stood in front and lovingly served the Lord. The thousand-eyed Śakra came there along with the groups of Suras. A shower of flowers endowed with divine fragrance fell all round.

The wind, cool on account of its close contact with the waters of the celestial Gaṅgā, blew rendering the faces of the quarters wholly fragrant by means of its sweet scent.

76. Tossing and shaking the clusters of vegetation with the tips of his horns, the haughty and excited bull bellowed frequently.

77. All the seasons themselves gladly served him by means of their proper seasonal and pleasing flowers.

78. Siddhas of different kinds of features and the great sages as well as Suras with great enthusiasm and eagerness came there along with Gaṇas. They were desirous of seeing (the Lord and the Goddess).

79. A handful of the great essential extract as a token of the observance of the holy rites and consisting of powdered saffron mixed with camphor dust was scattered all round.

80. Then the whole universe was filled with the sounds of conchshells, flutes and trumpets accompanied by the sounds of various kinds of drums such as Mṛdaṅga and Mardala as well as Paṭaha and Dundubhi and also that of Jhallarī (‘cymbals’). These instruments were played by Suras.

81. Surrounded and accompanied by sages and Devas and in accompaniment to the songs of the music party of Tuṃbura interspersed with the continuous dances of the celestial damsels, the Bull-emblemed Lord was seen there seated on his bull.

82. Śiva, the receptacle of sympathy, the enemy of the god of Love and great on account of his fortitude, gracefully approached Śivā who was standing with the head bent low. Dispelling her bashfulness he placed her on his lap and became delighted.

83. Accompanied by Lalitā, his beloved, and surrounded by the assembly of Suras and leading sages, he witnessed the graceful dances of the celestial damsels to the accompaniment of music. He repeatedly witnessed this with great eagerness.

84. Then Śiva accepted the extremely fragrant collections of scents, the chief among them being sandalwood of great auspiciousness, handed over by the Lord of Suras, along with the varieties of musk sent by mount Himālaya.

85. His excellent hands were eagerly moving restlessly for the close embrace of the covering of the budlike breasts of Apītakucā. They were adorned. They were beautified by means of garlands. They were smeared (with unguents) whereby they turned white.

86. After getting the Daughter of the Mountain who was fascinating on account of the auspicious scents applied over the hard, protruding, plump, budlike breasts, Śiva dispelled all his pangs of separation.

87. Then the Lord of Aruṇaśaila himself asked the Daughter of the Mountain to request for the desired boon. She had become emaciated because of the separation from him, but it was mitigated by means of hundreds of diversions and amusements.

88. The Daughter of the Mountain bowed down to the Enemy of the Puras (i.e. Śiva) with great eagerness. For the sake of the protection of the three worlds, she requested for the following boon from the Lord of Śoṇagiri who was liberal-minded and joyous and ready to bless.

Footnotes and references:


So called as Pārvatī’s sword pierced the rocky earth. The emerging water is a mix of the nine sacred rivers mentioned in vv 3-4 above. Some streams representing these rivers are still shown on the hill.


This means the full-moon day in Kārttika—the most important day of the festival of Arunācala.


Marriages are to be solemnized in the presence of fire. The most important rite in marriages is Saptapadī. But this is to be done on the north of the marital fire. Pārvatī was the consort of Śiva. Hence the semblance between Aruṇādri and marital fire.

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