by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Glory of Ramanatha which is chapter 43 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 forty-third chapter of the Setu-mahatmya of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Note: Rāmanātha and Rameśvara are the two names of the same Liṅga installed by Rāma. The Southerners (the author of this Māhātmya is presumably so) prefer to call it Rāmanātha while we from the North called it Rameśvara.
1-7. Henceforth, I shall recount the glory of Rāmanātha, on hearing which a man on the earth is liberated from all the sins.
In Tretāyuga, men obtain in one year that much of merit which is obtained in Kṛtayuga in the course of ten years. The same merit is obtained in a month in Dvāparayuga and in a day in Kaliyuga. Crores of times of that merit is obtained in a twinkling of the eye undoubtedly by people who visit Rāmanātha.
Those who remember Rāmanātha, the great lord, the bestower of salvation, once, twice, thrice or always, or glorify him, are liberated from the cage of sins, O Brāhmaṇas.
8-14a. They attain Rudra along with Aṃbā. They attain Rudra, one with no duality, attributeless, of the nature of existence, knowledge and bliss. The Liṅga named Rāmeśvara was worshipped by Rāmacandra. By remembering it, one will not be oppressed by Yama.
Those men who worship the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara should not be considered mere human beings. They are undoubtedly Rudras themselves.
If a man does not worship the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara devoutly, he will be entangled for a long time in (the ocean of) worldly existence that is full of miseries.
If men visit at least once the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara, of what avail are the charitable gifts, holy rites, austerities and sacrifices to them?
If a man does not meditate on the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara (at least) for a moment, he is a sinner, an ignoramus, a dumb man, a deaf man, a sluggish fellow and a blind one. It should be known that he will always have a hole (in his pocket), i.e. he will forever be indigent. His wealth, fields, sons etc. shall be destroyed.
After attaining the rare birth as a human being, if men bow down to and worship the lord, their life alone is fruitful. They alone are contented and blessed (in life and not others).
Men who, with devotion, worship the great Liṅga Rāmanātha and those men who bow down to, remember and worship it, never see miseries nor do they go to the abode of Yama. Thousands of sins of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter, ten thousand sins of drinking liquor, perish entirely when Lord Rāmeśvara is visited.
20b-25a. Let those people who wish for perpetual enjoyment of pleasures and kingdom of heaven, bow down joyously to the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara at least once. Whatever may be the sins acquired in the course of crores of births, they always perish if Rāmeśvara is seen. If anyone remembers the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara through curiosity, covetousness or fear, or has a contact with it, he is never miserable here or hereafter.
One who glorifies or worships the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara, certainly obtains Sārūpya (‘identity of form’) with Rudra. There is no doubt about it.
Just as a well-kindled fire reduces fuel to ash in a moment, so also the vision of Rāmeśvara burns all the sins.
25b-29. The devotion to the great Liṅga of Rāmeśvara is remembered (i.e. known) to be of eight kinds:
They are: (1) great fondness for the people devoted to the Lord; (2) Taking delight in his worship; (3) Devoutly worshipping the Lord oneself; (4) Physical activity for the sake of the Lord; (5) Great deference for listening to the stories of his glory; (6) Symptoms of emotional outbursts (of devotion) in the tone, in the eyes, and all over the body; (7) Perpetual remembrance of the great Liṅga of Rāmeśvara; and (8) Sole dependence on the great Liṅga of Rāmeśvara for one’s subsistence.
If these eight types of devotion are present even in a Mleccha, he too is proclaimed as one entitled to be a partner in all the holy spots of salvation.
30-36a. It is certain that the ascetics of sublimated sexual urge shall attain salvation through the perfect knowledge of Brahman, acquired by means of listening to the Vedāntic texts, and by means of single-minded devotion. The same salvation can be attained by merely visiting the great Liṅga of Rāmeśvara without the (spiritual) knowledge arising from listening to the scriptural texts and without any strain, O Brāhmaṇas, as well as without detaching from worldly objects.
People of all the castes and stages of life can attain salvation thus, by visiting the great Liṅga of Rāmeśvara. The salvation that yields absence of rebirth will be attained without delay.
O ascetics, in the holy spot of Rāmeśvara, with the favour of Rāmanātha, worms, insects, Devas and sages are all alike.
Do not feel frightened thinking, ‘Many sins have been committed by me.’ Let not the people be proud thinking, ‘Meritorious deeds have been performed by me.’
When the great Liṅga of Rāmeśvara, Rudra accompanied by Aṃbā, is seen, the people are neither inferior nor superior. They are all equal.
36b-41. If a man devoutly sees the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara, even a person who has mastered the four Vedas does not become equal to him in the whole world.
Even a Cāṇḍāla who is a devotee of the Great Liṅga Rāmeśvara, is worthy of receiving charitable gifts. Charitable gifts should be given to him and not to anyone else even if he has mastered the three Vedas.
All the creatures seeing Rāmeśvara attain that goal which is attained by persons endowed with Yoga and by the sages of sublimated sexual urge.
Those men who stay in the holy spot of Śiva, Rāmanātha, O Brāhmaṇas, are (like Mahādeva) five-faced, with their heads adorned with the crescent moon. They have serpents for their ornaments. They are bull-emblemed. They are three-eyed. Their bodies are smeared with ash. Their crests have the shape of skulls. In fact they are Mahādevas, the lords with Aṃbās. There is no doubt about this.
42-46. Those men who joyously go to the holy spot of Śiva, Rāmanātha, obtain merits of horse-sacrifices for every step.
If one resorts to Rāmasetu and devoutly gives a village to a Brāhmaṇa for the propitiation of Rāmanātha, it is as good as though the entire earth along with mountains, parks and forests have been gifted by him.
If a man, with great devotion, offers unto Rāmanātha (at least) a leaf, a flower or a fruit or water, Lord Rāmanātha shall protect him day and night.
Devotion to the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, the compassionate Lord Śiva accompanied by Aṃbā, is very rare. The worship of that Lord too is (still) very rare. Eulogy and even remembrance is said to be very rare.
47-51. If men seek refuge in the Liṅga, Rāmanātheśvara, the three-eyed Mahādeva, with a devotionally inclined mind, they have (the greatest) profit, (the greatest) success, in this world as well as in the other world.
If anyone’s intellect centres round the great Liṅga, Rāmanātha, both day and night, he is indeed the most blessed one on the earth.
If anyone does not worship the Liṅga, Śiva Rāmanātheśvara, he is not qualified for the kingdoms of worldly pleasures and salvation.
He who devoutly worships the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara, is well-entitled to the kingdoms of worldly pleasures and salvation. There is nothing as meritorious as or more meritorious than the worship of Rāmanātha.
52-53a. If any deluded person hates the Liṅga Rāmanātheśvara, it is as though ten thousand sins of Brāhmaṇa-murder have been committed by him. That would be the cause of Naraka. Merely by conversing with him, a man may fall into a hell.
53b-54. The Devas are devoted to Rāmanātha. All the sacrifices are devoted to Rāmanātha. Everything is based on Rāmanātha. There is nothing other than he. Hence one should resort to Rāmanātha forsaking everything else.
55. If a man seeks refuge in the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, he will never be vexed or dejected. He will go to the world of Śiva.
56. By resorting to Rāmanātha one will attain a crore of times the merit of holy baths in all the Tīrthas and of the performances of all the Yajñas, penances and charitable gifts.
57. By meditating upon the Liṅga Rāmanātheśvara for two Ghaṭikās (48 minutes) one becomes capable of uplifting twenty-one generations of his family and is honoured in the world of Śiva.
58. He who visits for one day Rāmanātha, the great īśvara, becomes a rich man in this world and becomes Rudra on death.
59. He who gets up in the morning and remembers Rāmanātha, the great Īśvara, becomes Śiva on this earth with the same (physical) body.
60. Merely by seeing one who has visited the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, the sin of all other living beings perishes at that very time.
61. If a man sees the Liṅga Rāmanātheśvara at midday, thousand sins of liquor-drinking are wiped out instantly.
62. If a man devoutly sees Rāmanātha in the evening, his sin arising from carnally approaching the preceptor’s wife is destroyed.
63. If a man eulogizes Rāmeśvara in the evening with great hymns, thousands of his sins of theft of gold perish instantly.
65. If anything is not obtained by resorting to the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, it cannot at all be obtained by means of other holy activities.
66. If a person never visits the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, he should be known as an issue of a mixture of castes and not of the seed of his father.
67. If a man, on getting up early in the morning, repeats the word Rāmanātha three times, his sin of the previous day perishes instantly.
68-69. When the great Liṅga Rāmanātha is ever ready to protect the devotees (why go elsewhere?). When the food is already served (i.e. readily available), why should you go a begging?
When the great Liṅga, the storehouse of mercy, is propitiated, all distresses are wiped out like snow at the time of sunrise.
70. If a person remembers Rāmanātha at the time when the vital airs go out, he will not be reborn; he shall attain Śaṅkarahood.
71. A person who utters repeatedly thus “O Rāmanātha! O great Lord! O storehouse of mercy! save me”, is not at all harassed by Kali.
The living being who repeatedly utters, “O Blue-throated great Lord! O Rāmeśvara! O Sadāśivaī”, is never oppressed by sexual desire.
The person who continuously utters “O Rāmeśvara! O enemy of Yama! O consumer of the poison Kālakūṭa!”, is never afflicted by anger.
The man who builds a temple of Rāmanātha with wood, attains heaven along with three crores of the members of his family.
He who makes (the temple) with bricks, shall attain Vaikuṇṭha. He who makes it with rocky slabs, shall go to the region of Brahmā. He who makes the (Lord’s temple) with crystals and other slabs (of that type), attains the world of Śiva riding in an excellent aerial chariot.
78-80. He who makes the temple of Rāmanātha with copper with great devotion, attains nearness of Śiva and occupies half the seat of Śiva.
The man who joyously makes the temple of Rāmeśvara with silver, attains Sārūpya (‘identity of form’) with Śiva. He always rejoices like Śiva.
He who devoutly makes the temple of Rāmanātha with gold attains salvation in the form of Sāyujya (‘perfect identity’) with Śiva.
81. The rich makes the temple of Rāmanātha with gold. The poor makes it with mud. The merit of these two is said to be on a par with each other.
82-85. At the time of the holy ablution of the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the man who devoutly makes arrangements for music and dance during the three junctions (dawn, noon and dusk), for trumpets and other instruments of music, shall be liberated from great sins. He is honoured in the world of Rudra.
The man who gladly recites Rudrādhyāya, Camaka, Puruṣasūkta, Trisuparṇa, Pañcaśānti and Pavamāna and other hymns1 at the time of the ablution of the trident-bearing lord Rāmanātha, O Brāhmaṇas, does not fall into Naraka.
87. If a person performs the ablution of the great Liṅga Rāmanātha with ghee, his sin acquired in the course of all the births during the period of a Kalpa, perishes instantly.
88. The man who performs the ablution of the great Liṅga Rāmanātha with cow’s milk uplifts twenty-one generations of his family and is honoured in the world of Śiva.
89. The man who performs the ablution of the great Liṅga Rāmanātha with curds, shall be liberated from all sins. He is honoured in the world of Viṣṇu.
90. The person who anoints the Liṅga of Rāmeśvara Śiva with gingelly oil, at least once, with great devotion, shall stay in the abode of Kubera.
93. The ablution of the great Lord Rāmanātha with coconut-water, is glorified as destructive of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter and other sins.
94. The person who mashes ripe plantains and applies the pulp upon the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, destroys all sins. He is honoured in the world of Wind-god.
95. The person who bathes Rāmanātha, the great lord, with water that is purified (i.e. filtered) with a cloth, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, attains the world of Varuṇa.
96. The person who bathes Rāmanātha, the great lord, with sandal water, O Brāhmaṇas, shall attain the world of Gandharvas.
97-99. By bathing Rāmeśvara with the water rendered fragrant with flowers or with lotus or the water taken in a gold vessel, the devotee occupies the throne of Mahendra and rejoices with him.
If a person bathes the great Lord Rāmeśvara, O Brahmāṇas, with waters rendered fragrant with trumpet flowers, lilies, red lotuses, Punnāga and oleander flowers, he is liberated from great sins.
100-102. If the lord, the ocean of mercy, the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara, is bathed with waters rendered fragrant with other great flowers of good fragrance, the devotee is honoured in the world of Śiva.
By bathing the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara with pure water rendered fragrant with cardamom, camphor and Lāmajja (a kind of fragrant grass), the devotee becomes one of pure intellect. He attains the world of Agni, and enjoys all desired things.
103-109a. He who offers earthen pots for the ablution of Rāmanātha, shall live for a hundred years in this world, with all riches, realizing all desires.
By offering copper pots one obtains the status of Devendra. By offering silver pots one attains the world of Brahmā. By offering gold pots one is honoured in the world of Śiva. By offering jewelled pots one attains Sāmīpya (‘proximity with the deity’) type of liberation.
He who offers a milch cow, O Brāhmaṇas, for the ablution of Rāmanātha or for his Naivedya, obtains the merit of a horse-sacrifice. On death he obtains the dress and features of Śiva and goes to the world of Śiva.
If a person utters “O Rāmanātha in Rāṃasetu, in Dhanuṣkoṭi” and takes his bath anywhere, he attains the merit of the holy bath in Setu.
He who whitewashes the temple of Rāmanātha Śiva, attains a great merit which I cannot adequately recount even in a hundred years.
109b-115a. If a man renovates the temple of Rāmanātha Śiva, it should be known, O Brāhmaṇas, that his merit is hundred times that of the original builder.
He who renovates the dilapidated temple of Rāmanātha Śiva with great devotion, shall be able to burn down ten thousand sins of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter.
He who joyously lights lamps in front of Rāmanātha, breaks open the covering of Avidyā and attains the eternal Brahman.
He who offers ghee, oil, green gram, pulses, sugar, rice grains and jaggery to Rāmanātha, attains the region of Devendra.
By seeing, remembering and touching the great Liṅga Rāmanātha, sins are destroyed instantly.
He who offers a great bell and a mirror to Rāmanātha, stays in Śivapura for a long time, enjoying the pleasures of a hundred aerial chariots.
115b-117. He who respectfully offers drums such as Bherī, Mṛdaṅga, Paṭaha, Niḥsāṇa, Muraja, etc. as well as other musical instruments such as flutes, cymbals, etc. to Rāmanātha, the great lord, is honoured in the world of Śiva for many Yugas, enjoying aerial chariots and great pleasures, along with the sounds of musical instruments.
118. Whatever is offered with great respect with Rāmanātha in view, even if it be very little, yields infinite merit certainly in the other world.
119. Staying in the great holy spot Rāmeśvara in the presence of Rāmanātha, one attains salvation without any possibility of return (to Saṃsāra).
120-126a. The life passes on quickly; youth passes off quickly.
Riches vanish quickly; so also wives, sons and others. The wealth may be affected (confiscated) by kings and others. Houses, fields, etc. too are so affected. Everything such as the utensils and other domestic articles is momentary, O Brāhmaṇas. Hence, one should completely eschew indulgence in worldly affairs.
The great Liṅga Rāmeśvara dispels the agony of men in adversity. The lord should be listened to, glorified and remembered by learned men.
He who offers villages to Lord Rāmeśvara becomes Śiva himself at the destruction (death) of the body, as destined.
Rāmanātha, the great lord, is the most excellent one among the deserving for religious charity (Dāna). By offering (gifts) to him, O Brāhmaṇas, one attains infinite pleasure. It is true.
Sin (exists) only till one visits the great Liṅga of Rāmanātha. By giving him anything the man (donor) shall certainly become an emperor.
126b-132a. Those men who offer fans, flags, umbrella, sandal-paste, aromatic gum resin as well as copper, brass, silver, gold or bejewelled pots for the ablution of Rāmanātha are born as overlords of the whole world in their next birth.
Those who produce flowers for worshipping Rāmanātha certainly obtain the merit of a horse-sacrifice and other sacrifices.
There is nothing difficult of access if the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara is worshipped, bowed down to, remembered, heard and seen, O eminent Brāhmaṇas.
Masses of sins of a person become frightened immediately on seeing him proceeding on to serve and resort to the great Liṅga Rāmanātha.
If Rāmanātha, the great lord, is seen by men, of what avail are the Vedas, scriptural texts and resorting to Tīrthas?
134. One who offers pearls, ornaments, costly garments, etc. to Rāmanātha, never becomes distressed or miserable.
135. One who bathes the great Liṅga Rāmanātha with the waters of Gaṅgā (specially) brought for that purpose, is worthy of being worshipped even by Śiva. There is no doubt about it.
136-137. Before one dies, before one is assailed by old age, before one is faced with the defects and deficiencies of the sense-organs, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Mahādeva Rāmanātha, Śiva, should be saluted, worshipped, mentally pondered over and eulogized regularly.
138. There is no other holy rite on a par with the worship of the great Liṅga Rāmeśvara in all the Purāṇas and in all scriptural texts.
139. Those who devoutly worship Lord Rāmanātheśvara, the exceedingly merciful lord, become ever happy in this terrestrial world.
140. They enjoy worldly pleasures yielding great happiness along with their wives and sons. When this body perishes, they will attain perpetual salvation.
Śrī Sūta said:
141-142. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, the glory of Rāmanātha has been recounted to you all. He who listens to this always and recites this with devotion, obtains the excellent merit of doing service to Rāmanātha. He attains the merit of taking the holy bath in the great Tīrtha of Dhanuṣkoṭi.