The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Manifestation of Shankara which is chapter 14 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 fourteenth chapter of the Arunacala-khanda (Uttarardha) of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 14 - Manifestation of Śaṅkara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nandikeśvara said:

1. Endowed with common sense and discrimination, he (i.e. Viṣṇu) looked at Brahmā smiling twice over and came to the conclusion that, the top (of the Column of Fire) had not been seen by him.

2. He thought: ‘That Lord of Devas alone is competent to bless me, the immature, innocent one and to break the pride of this Brahmā. He is the protector and Lord of all living beings.

3. Due to my inability to see the root of the Column of Refulgence, I think, my pride and arrogance has disappeared and devotion to the Three-eyed Lord has been generated.

4. Since I am rid of haughtiness, that Maheśvara is being eulogized now, that Lord from whose right and left limbs we were born.

5. The pride of Brahmā has not been eradicated till now. Therefore, he has got a false witness. Thus Brahmā desires to deceive me.

6. Therefore, now that Śaṅkara alone should be sought as a refuge by me, because he is competent to dispel all miseries.

7. Except him (i.e. Śaṅkara) who else can be the protector of one who has perpetrated an offence, is ungrateful and malicious towards the elders? I shall eulogize (that) Śaṅkara.’

Viṣṇu prayed:

8. Be victorious, O Lord, with the forms of Pṛthvī (i.e. element earth) and Āpaḥ (i.e. water). Victory to you, O Lord, in the form of Prabhākara (i.e. the Sun). Be victorious, O Lord, in the form of Amṛtakara (i.e. the Moon).

9. Be victorious, O Lord, in the form of Vaiśvānara (i.e. the fire). Be victorious, O Lord, in the form of the bearer of smell (i.e. the wind). Be victorious, O Lord, in the form of Hotṛ (i.e. the priest who performs sacrifice); be victorious, O Lord, in the form of Ether.[1]

10. Protect me, O Lord, who are beyond the three Guṇas; save me, O Lord, with the body of Kāla (i.e. Time or Death). Save me, O Lord, with inexhaustible prosperity; save me, O merciful one.

11. You are the creator of all the worlds, the protector of all embodied beings. Excepting you who else is the annihilator of all living beings?

12. You are the minutest of all minute things. You are the greatest of all great ones.[2] You alone occupy this universe both internally and externally (i.e. are both immanent and transcendent to the world).

13. The Nigamas are your breaths. The universe is the magnificence of your craftsmanship. You belong to your own self and knowledge is your Ātman, O Lord.

14. The immortal ones, Dānavas, Daityas, Siddhas, Vidyādharas, human beings, living beings, birds, mountains and Śikhins (i.e. peacocks etc.)—all these are you alone.

15. You are the heaven; you are salvation; you are Oṃkāra; you are Adhvara (‘sacrifice’). You are the Yoga-practice. You are the supreme consciousness, O Īśvara. What is it that you are not?

16. You are the beginning, the middle, and the end of all mobile and immobile beings. Assuming the form of Kāla, you measure the entire universe.

17. The one greater than the greatest, the chastiser, the Lord, blesses all. How shall this Śiva, Dhūrjaṭi, be directly visible to me?

18. It is by seeing him and seeking refuge in him that one attains salvation. Or I shall eulogize that Refulgence that has occurred here in accordance with my intellect.

19. On hearing it the Lord with ears all round shall become kind.

After deciding thus Lo rd Viṣṇu began to eulogize.

20. Viṣṇu bowed down to that Column of Refulgence as Parameśvara, considering him as the Lord of the universe, the Lord devoid of beginning, middle and end, though he was forcibly prevented by Viriñca (i.e. (Brahmā) smilingly.

Śrī Viṣṇu said:

21. Be victorious, O Lord Mahādeva, O bull-emblemed Vāmadeva, O destroyer of god of Death, O destroyer of the sacrifice, O blue-throated one, O Lord with the moon as the crest.

22. Be victorious, O Śaṃbhu, O Śiva, O Īśāna, O Śarva, O three-eyed one, O Dhūrjaṭi, O enemy of god of Love, O enemy of the (three) Puras, O Sthāṇu, O Bhava, O Maheśvara.

23. Be victorious, O Īśa, O Khaṇḍaparaśu, O trident-bearing one, O Paśupati, O Hara, O omniscient one, O Bharga, O Bhūteśa, O skull-bearing one, O Nīlalohita.

24. Be victorious, O Rudra, O Pināka-bearing one, O Lord of Pramathas, O holder of Gaṅgā, O Vyomakeśa, O Giriśa, O Parameśvara.

25. Be victorious, O Bhīma, O hunter of deer, O Lord wearing hides, O storehouse of mercy, O Lord having fire as semen virile, one who dwells on Kailāsa perpetually.

26. It is at your behest that the Wind blows, the Serpent (i.e. Śeṣa) bears the burden of the earth; the Sun and the Moon shine and the Cosmic Egg floats in the ocean.

27. All the luminaries move about in the sky. O Lord, everything happens at your bidding. Brahmā and I are competent to create and sustain the universe.

28-31. After creating (everything) you contribute to its nourishment; the earth gives birth to the plants; the oceans do not overflow the boundary. All these are (instances of) your greatness.

Great Siddhis such as minuteness etc. are the greatness (in you), not common to others. How can I neglect you who are eulogized by the Immortal Ones and others?

When we are devoid of worries, we forget you and remember you during difficulties. You entertain no anger towards the devotees. You are always gracious unto them.

When you cover up the desire to grant devotion, men are deluded and suffer bondage. When you grant them devotion, they have enlightenment and get salvation.

32. On being eulogized like this by the Discus-bearing Lord with palms joined in reverence, the Lord of Paśus (i.e. individual souls), the storehouse of mercy appeared, though the Lotus-born One was deriding as he was haughty.

Footnotes and references:


VV 8-9 describe the eight forms (‘aṣṭa-mūrtis’) of Śiva.


Cf. Kaṭha Up. 1.2.20.

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