The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Introduction: Markandeya’s Query which is chapter 1 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 first chapter of the Arunacala-khanda (Uttarardha) of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 1 - Introduction: Mārkaṇḍeya’s Query

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Obeisance to Śrī Gaṇeśa. Here begins the second half of the Greatness of Aruṇācala.

Vyāsa said:

1. The sages residing in the forest of Naimiṣa spoke to Sūta:

The sages said:

Describe to us the most excellent one among the holy places of Śiva.

Sūta said:

2. Listen ye all to what has been formerly heard by Mārkaṇḍeya directly from Nandīśvara. I shall narrate it, O sages. Listen with respect.

Mārkaṇḍeya[1] requested:

3. O Nandīśvara,[2] the greatness of Mādhyameśvara[3] has been recounted by you. Everything has been listened to with, attention by me also with a mind melting with devotion and faith.

4. Still, O lord of Devas, O storehouse of mercy, tell me further what I am going to ask you with reverence.

5. There is nothing here in the three worlds that is not known to you in all the Āgamas and Purāṇas externally and internally.

6. In the matter pertaining to heavenly pleasures and ultimate salvation of men it is the earth that is of special significance in order to make different persons devoted to different aims and purposes do all the requisite holy rites (here).

7. As it has been mentioned by yourself, the aim of men is of three types, viz. happiness on earth, enjoyment of pleasures in heaven and final liberation.

8. The first two become exhausted and used up by the dwindling-down of merit, but the third one does not become reduced or wasted away because it does not depend upon Karmans at all.

9. It has been mentioned by you that it can be achieved through pure (spiritual) knowledge. But pure knowledge is difficult to be obtained by all embodied beings.

10. Where, in which holy place, is that pure knowledge secured by all embodied beings merely through the worship of Śiva without making a detailed study of the scriptures etc.?

11. The intellect of all embodied beings does not engage in the various activities connected with the acquisition of knowledge, yogic practice and holy rites, and regular behaviour—not even those prescribed in Śaiva Āgamas.

12. Let this be told to me: What is that holy spot, by the greatness of which embodied beings will acquire pure knowledge through a modicum of holy observances.

13. Let that holy spot be mentioned where salvation can be obtained even by immature ones by applying sacred ash, wearing Rudrākṣa beads or by remembering the Lord (even) once.

14. Let me be blessed with the information regarding that holy spot where, without any obstacle, salvation will be achieved by embodied beings by staying there even without the consciousness thereof.

15. Let that holy spot be mentioned where salvation can be attained even by immobile beings, creatures of animal species and persons born in mixed castes.

16. After saying this the son of Mṛkaṇḍu (i.e. sage Mārkaṇḍeya) with the other noble-souled leading sages fell at the pair of the lotus-like feet of the son of Śilāda, the ocean of all Āgamas.

Footnotes and references:


A famous ancient sage, son of Mṛkaṇḍu. He became immortal by Śiva’s grace. He is said to survive the extinction of the world (Pralaya). He played an important advisory role to Pāṇḍavas by narrating old legends etc. (See Mahābhārata, Vana, Chs. 188-191, also Śānti and Anuśāsana Parvas).


The chief of the attendants of Śiva—“another body of Śiva” according to VR VII.16.15. He was the (adopted?) son of sage Śilāda and was himself a great sage credited with a treatise on grammar. His close association with Śiva transformed him in public imagination as being a vehicle of Śiva.


A place on the bank of Mandākinī sacred to Śiva. It is one of the Pañca-Kedāras, viz. Kedāranātha, Tuṅganātha, Rudranātha, Mādhyameśvara and Kalpeśvara—all situated in the Himalayan chain in Garhwal (U.P.).

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