by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Legend of Lohasura Concluded which is chapter 29 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 twenty-ninth chapter of the Dharmaranya-khanda of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Note: There is a close similarity between the legends of Lohāsura and Gayāsura.
1. Henceforth listen to the acts of Demon Lohāsura. I shall also describe the well-known (exploits) of the hundred sons of Bali.
2-4. When the two elderly brothers attained the excellent region, ever since that time, Demon Lohāsura was assailed by the feeling of non-attachment. ‘What should I do? Where should I go, to which excellent spot for the purpose of performing penance? Who is that lord to be propitiated by me, whose limit neither gods nor sages nor men know?’ He began to think within himself very much. As that noble-souled demon was thinking thus, knowledge dawned on him.
5-7. ‘I shall propitiate that Lord alone who is free from blemish; who has Gaṅgā on his head; the Sun and the Moon in his eyes; Lord Nārāyaṇa in the heart and god Brahmā in his waist. Indra and other Devas, after being reflected in his person, visualize their soul like the Sun reflected in water.’
After resolving thus, the Daitya, due to his fright of terrible rebirth, performed very difficult penance that even great-souled persons could not perform.
8. For more than a hundred divine years, he performed the penance (first) by subsisting on mere water, (then) on inhaling the air only and (then) on decaying leaves only.
Thereupon, the Lord, the wielder of an excellent trident, became satisfied.
9-10. Welfare unto you; choose whatever is desired by you. Due to the power of your penance, O Lohāsura, there is nothing that cannot be given to you.
11-14. If you are pleased, I shall choose as a boon absence of old age of the body and no fear from death. Let it be in this birth alone, O lord. You must stay within my heart.
“Let it be so,” He said to that lord of Dānavas.
After getting the boon from Śiva fortunately, he performed a great penance again on the beautiful banks of Sarasvatī for the purpose of crossing the ocean of worldly existence. The penance continued for thousands, hundred thousands, and millions of years. Lord Indra too began to become afraid of the power of his penance. He became suspicious.
15-19. ‘Let me never be brought down from my position by Daitya Lohāsura.’ In an invisible form Indra came to the forest of the hermitage and disturbed his penance by shaking the great Asura and striking his body with powerful and cruel blows with fist by ruffians.
The Daitya stopped meditating and looked ahead and saw the attempt at the destruction of the power of penance wrought by Indra. A fight ensued between him and Indra and other ruffians, one against many. In that fight, the Devas were shattered by blows and their bodies became wet with blood. Shouting “Save, save”, they sought refuge in Keśava.
20-23. On hearing the words of the Devas, Vāsudeva, Janārdana, Keśava fought a battle with him for a hundred years. Extremely powerful due to the boon (of Śiva) he vanquished Nārāyaṇa. On being conquered by Lohāsura, Lord Nārāyaṇa invoked again and again Rudra and Brahmā. There was another attempt after their consultation as the body of Daitya Lohāsura became fresh. The next fight between the Daitya and Keśava was very fierce.
24-28. When the Daitya did not die, despite the power of Viṣṇu, Keśava caused him to fall on the ground suddenly. On seeing him fallen supine, the Pināka-wielding Great Lord imposed his form in his heart, though he is formless really. Brahmā stood at the neck of the demon Lohāsura. Standing on his legs, Puruṣottama pressed down his feet.
29. O demon, O Lohāsura, always preserve your verbal righteousness (true speech). What has been requested for by you of Rudra, has come about to you.
30. I, Viṣṇu and Rudra, we three excellent Suras, shall sit on you till the ultimate annihilation of all living beings.
31. O lord of Dānavas, the attainment of Śiva can be effected only through purity of devotion. How will you entertain the intention of dislodging Śiva?
32. He who tries to shake up the immovable ones, palaces, cities and Brāhmaṇas will be smeared with sin ere long.
33. One who has eschewed truth and piety, is to be shunned like cremation ground. You are truthful of speech. Welfare unto you. Do not displace the deities.
34. One should follow the paṃ whereby the faṃers and grandfathers have gone. The path of the good should not be transgressed.
36. Similarly you are endowed with devotion to Śiva due to the bonds of words (promise). O lord of Daityas, stay on the earth firmly. Do not transgress your words.
37. We shall grant boons to you; the deities are not to be dislodged.
38. On hearing those words of Brahmā, the lord of Dānavas became pleased. He addressed Brahmā, Keśava and Hara with pleasant words.
39-41. I stay bound by the word and not by your power. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra, these three excellent Suras, will stay on my body. In that case what is it that is not obtained by me? May this body of mine occupied by the three Suras be well-known all over the earth, due to my prowess, O excellent Suras.
42-43. The three Devas were delighted by the words of Lohāsura. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara replied to him: “Since the Daitya did not swerve from truth due to the binding power of truthful words, delighted and satisfied by that truthfulness, we shall grant unto you what is desired by you.”
They desire Tarpaṇa rite at the Kūpa (well) in Dharmāraṇya for the purpose of purity. O lord of Dānavas, your body itself shall be a holy spot.
O leader of Dānavas, by performing Pitṛtarpaṇa once before Dharmeśvara, the satisfaction will be ten times that of the satisfaction of the Pitṛs which they desire when Tarpaṇa is performed at Gayā twenty-one times. It is true undoubtedly.
Let there be never-ending satisfaction of the Pitṛs by the offerings of balls of rice here.
In the midst of the forms of Śiva, the rites of Śrāddha, offering of balls of rice and libations should be performed on the ground in Dharmāraṇya with faith. Similarly in our (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva) midst particularly.
51. (Defective Text) Your truthfulness unattainable in all the three worlds is stabilised in heaven.
52. By our words and truthfulness that shall be so, O most excellent one among Asuras. Your holy place has become superior even to Gayā, all over the earth.
53. Our occupation of your body is undoubtedly undistracted. We are bound with the bond of truthfulness firmly by you, O sinless one.
54. The benefit of offering balls of rice at Lohayaṣṭi on the fourteenth day as well as on the new-moon day is known as superior to that of Gayā and Prayāga.
55. On account of the truthfulness of Bali’s son, the satisfaction here is great. Do not have any doubt here. We are stationed in your body.
56-58. Sarasvatī of holy waters flowing from the region of Brahmā, shall flood (your) limbs after being united with me. The lord there is Maheśvara as well as the lord dwelling in Dvārakā. Viriñci (Brahmā) is also there. These three holy places will become well-known on the earth, nether regions, heaven and Yama’s abode, O most excellent one among Asuras, for the sake of satisfaction of Pitṛs.
59. I shall mention another great couplet (verse) sung by Pitṛs. It is the form of a command unto the sons. Listen to that, O sinless ones.
The Pitṛs said:
60. The holy place in front of Śaṅkara grants the region of Rudra unto men. It is conducive to the purification of the sins of those whose souls are polluted by sins.
61. On being offered water libations with gingelly seeds therein by an excellent intelligent son, the Pitṛs attain the goal of beatitude, even if they be in hell.
62-64. For the salvation of the Pitṛs, they highly praise the gift of cows with the Pitṛs etc. in view, after visiting Rudra and Keśava. We will gain great satisfaction, if balls of gingelly oil-cake are offered on the fourteenth day and on the new-moon day. So also will the Pitṛtarpaṇa (water libations unto the Pitṛs). There may be (ancestors) of unknown nativity and Gotra. One should offer balls of rice unto them. There is the Vedic Statement that when the ball of rice is offered, all of them go to heaven.
65. When the month of Bhādrapada arrives, those men who desire to attain merit, should eschew all other works and go to Lohayaṣṭikā. Listen to the Mantra for offering balls of rice unto those of unknown names and Gotra.
66. “May this ball of rice reach unto those dead ones in the paternal and maternal families and those of our Gotras
67-70. With this Mantra alone, O excellent one among Asuras, one should offer the ball of rice in front of me on the fourteenth day in the month of Nabhasya when the moon wanes.
There is no doubt that the satisfaction of the Pitṛs will be never-ending. By the offering of the ball of gingelly oil-cake the Pitṛs shall attain salvation.
By the libation of gingelly seeds at Lohayaṣṭi men all over the world shall be freed from the three debts. There is no doubt about it. If one takes the holy bath here and performs the rites of offering balls of rice and libations to the Pitṛs, they become satisfied over a period of complete day of God Brahmā.
71-72. On the new-moon day in the month of Bhādrapada, the man should perform Pitṛtarpaṇa at the Yaṣṭikā near the lake of Brahmā. Thereby his Pitṛs become satisfied until the ultimate annihilation of all living beings. The primordial deity Maheśvara, the lord, shall be pleased with them.
73-75. Those who have an intention of going on a pilgrimage to this holy place, should take their holy bath in the waters of Sarasvatī and perform libations with cow’s milk and white gingelly seeds. The satisfaction of the Pitṛs shall be never-ending.
He who wishes for the joy of the Pitṛs, should on the new-moon day perform Śrāddha with Saktu (flour of fried barley) and milk. Thereafter, he shall make a gift of cow at Rudratīrtha and of garments at Yamatīrtha.
76. He who wishes for the salvation of the Pitṛs should offer gold at Viṣṇutīrtha. Without Akṣata (raw rice), without Darbha grass, without any seat, one should obtain the benefit of Gayāśrāddha through water libations alone.
77-79. This act of Lohāsura has thus been narrated to you, O Brāhmaṇas. On hearing it, even a Brāhmaṇa’s slayer and a cow-killer become free from all sins.
When this narrative is listened to even once, the devotee attains that benefit which one gets by offering balls of rice in Gayā twenty-one times.
He who listens to this greatness (of this) gets the merit of gifts of forty million two hundred and one thousand and a hundred cows.