The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The World of Vahni (Fire-God) which is chapter 11 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 eleventh chapter of the Purvardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 11 - The World of Vahni (Fire-God)

Agastya said:

1. O lady of good fortune and excellent lips, listen to the origin of Vaiśvānara (Fire-god) as narrated to Śivaśarman by Puṇyalīla and Suśīla.

2. When the sacred rite of Garbhādhāna (impregnation) was duly performed by him, his wife became pregnant in due course.

3. Thereafter, for the development (of the power) of the foetus, the rite of Puṃsavana was duly performed by that scholarly Brāhmaṇa before the period of the movement of the foetus, in accordance with the injunctions of the Gṛhya section of the Vedas.

4. In the eighth month, the Sīmanta rite that is conducive to the beauty and full development of embryo was performed by him and also the rite to facilitate easy delivery as he was the knower of all rites.

5-6. Then at an auspicious moment a moon-faced son was born to Śuciṣmatī. With his brilliance, he illuminated the lying-in-chamber destroying all evils. The stars at the time were in excellent positions. Jupiter was in Kendra (i.e., 4th, 7th or 10th house in the horoscope). The Lagna (time of the rising of Zodiac) was auspicious. All the good Planets were in their proper houses (of strong positions).

7. The boy born immediately became the cause of happiness to everyone among the inhabitants of Bhuvar and Svarloka. The winds wafted fragrance according aroma to all the quarters.

8. Great clouds showered heaps of flowers of pleasing smell. The divine Dundubhi drums were sounded. All the quarters became bright.

9. The rivers all around became very clear (of translucent water) along with the minds of all living beings. Darkness became reduced very much. All the dust particles settled down (became free from Rajas quality).

10. All animals became endowed with Sattva quality. The earth became splendid. The words everywhere became beneficial and pleasing to all living beings.

11-16. Tilottamā, Urvaśī, Raṃbhā, the splendid Vidyutprabhā, Sumaṅgalā, Śubhālāpā, Suśīlā and other excellent celestial ladies came there holding vessels joyously in their hands of which the bangles jingled. The vessels contained pearls, Yakṣakardamas (paste of camphor agallochum etc.), blazing diamond and Lapis Lazuli lamps, turmeric and other unguents, emeralds, conchs, oyster shells, curds, saffron, coral and ruby gems, good garlands of Gomeda, Puṣparāga and Indranīla stones. Thousands of Vidyādhara, Kinnara and immortal celestial women came there with auspicious materials in their hands or waving Cāmaras (Chowries). A number of beautiful ladies of Gandharvas, serpents and Yakṣas of sweet voice came there singing light musical pieces.

17-23. Many sages came there such as Marīci, Atri, Pulaha, Pulastya, Kratu, Aṅgiras, Vasiṣṭha, Kaśyapa, I (i.e. Agastya), Vibhāṇḍa, Māṇḍavi’s son, Lomaśa, Lomacaraṇa, Bharadvāja, Gautama, Bhṛgu, Gālava, Garga, Jātukarṇya, Parāśara, Āpastaṃba, Yājñavalkya, Dakṣa, Vālmīki, Mudgala, Śātātapa, Likhita, Śilāda, Śaṅkha, Uñcchabhuk, Jamadagni, Saṃvarta, Mataṅga, Bharata, Aṃśumān, Vyāsa, Kātyāyana, Kutsa, Śaunaka, Suśruta, Śuka, Ṛṣyaśṛṅga, Durvāsas, Ruci, Nārada, Tuṃburu, Uttaṅka, Vāmadeva, Cyavana, Asita, Devala, Śālaṅkāyana, Hārita, Viśvāmitra, Bhārgava, Mṛkaṇḍu along with his son (Mārkaṇḍeya), Dālbhya, Uddālaka, Dhaumya, Upamanyu, Vatsa and other sages and their daughters came there for the rite of Śānti (peace and auspiciousness) to the hermitage of Viśvānara.

24-26. Brahmā accompanied by Bṛhaspati, the Garuḍa-vehicled Lord, the Bull-emblemed Lord (Śiva) accompained by Nandi, Bhṛṅgi and Gaurī, Devas, chief of whom was Mahendra, Serpents residing in Pātāla, many great Oceans along with Rivers taking jewels with them, and many immobile ones assuming mobile forms came there in thousands. In that great festival, there was a (continuous) moonlight irrespective of the Moon’s presence in the sky.

27-28. Lord Pitāmaha (Brahmā)- himself performed the post-natal rites for the child. After pondering over the relevant Vedic passages, he gave the child the name Gṛhapati. “This boy is Gṛhapati by name.” The name which should be given on the eleventh day was duly assigned in accordance with the injunctions laid down. He repeated the Vedic passages meant for that purpose.

29-31. The passages are ‘ayam agniḥ[1] etc. ‘agne gṛhapate’ etc. The meaning of the Vedic passages—“This fire named Gārhapatya is the lord of the house. He knows fully well (the means of) wealth of the child (subject). O Agni, O lord of the house, stabilise before us food, fame and strength.” Brahmā cited other Vedic passages also. He blessed the child with blessings mentioned in the Mantras of all the four Vedas. After according him the protection special to infants, the Grandfather of all (i.e. Brahmā) set off riding his swan along with Hara and Hari.

32-34. All those who had come there talked to one another in praise of the child: “Oh, what a beauty! Oh, what a brilliance! Oh, all the limbs have exquisite characteristics! Oh, the good luck of Śuciṣmatī, Hara himself has manifested in front. There should be no surprise in the case of the devotees of Śiva. Rudra himself comes among the devotees of Śiva, because the worshippers of Rudra are identical with Rudra.” Then all of them went away to different places where they came from, after taking leave of Viśvānara with great delight.

55. Hence persons in householder’s stage yearn for a son. The eternal Śruti says, “Through the son (the father) wins all the worlds.”

36. The house of a son-less man is void; the acquisition of a sonless man is futile; the family of a son-less man is extinct. A man becomes unholy due to the want of a son.

37. There is no greater gain than a son; there is no greater happiness than (having) a son; there is no greater friend than a son either here or hereafter.

38-39. There are seven kinds of sons: (1) bosom-born, (2) wife’s son (through another), (3) a purchased son, (4) son given by others i.e., adopted son, (5) acquired by other means, (6) daughter’s son and (7) another one saved from a calamity.

One of these must be kept as a son by a sensible householder. The earlier ones are better than the later ones. The later ones are worse than the earlier ones.

The attendants said:

40. The rite of his coming out of the lying-in-chamber was performed by the father in the fourth month. (Formal) Annaprāśana (i.e. feeding with cooked rice) was done when half a year damped. Cutting of the forelock was performed duly at the end of a year.

41. On the day of Śravaṇa constellation, the ear-piercing ceremony was performed by him who knew the various rituals. In the fifth year (the father) gave him the Vrata (i.e., investiture with sacred thread) for increasing Brāhmaṇical splendour.

42. The intelligent Brāhmaṇa then performed the ceremony of Upākarma and taught him the Vedas. He (the son) duly learned the Vedas with Padapāṭha and Kramapāṭha along with the Aṅgas (ancillaries) for three years.

43. Exhibiting his qualities of modesty etc., the powerful son grasped all the lores from the mouth of the preceptor who remained only as a witness.

44-45. In this ninth year, Gṛhapati, the son of Viśvānara, began serving his parents. Having come to know of this, the celestial sage Nārada, the intelligent sage who roams about wherever he pleases, reached the hut of Viśvānara. He was offered Arghya and a seat, which he accepted duly and enquired of their welfare.

Nārada said:

46. O illustrious Viśvānara, O virtuous Śuciṣmatī, I hope, this child Gṛhapati acts according to your directions.

47. Indeed, to a son there is no other holy spot (or sacred water), Deva, preceptor, holy rite or pious observance excepting the words of his parents.

48. To a son there is no religious duty other than the directions of the parents in all the worlds. Because of the fact that the mother carried him in the womb and (later) nursed him, the mother is more worthy of respect than the father.[2]

49. After bathing himself with the waters dropping down from the feet of his mother, a son shall attain more purity than from the holy waters of even the celestial river (Gaṅgā).

50. A recluse who has renounced all activities is to be respected more than the father, but his mother should be scrupulously venerated even by an ascetic, who himself is to be venerated by all.

51. This alone is the most intense (fiercest) austerity; this alone is the greatest Vrata (vow, observance). This alone is the greatest pious practice, namely the propitiation of the parents.

52. I consider that the parents of other children of lower status are not as much worthy of respect as you two are worthy of the respect of this child Gṛhapati who has been well educated and hence is very polite as is evident from the features of his face.

53. “O Vaiśvānara, come here and sit on my lap. I shall examine the characteristic features (on your palm). Show me your right hand.”

54. On being told thus by the sage, the glorious boy took the permission of his parents and sat there humbly after bowing down to Nārada with devotion.

55-56. The sage then examined all the limbs of the boy[3], (particularly) the palate, the tongue and the teeth. He brought a long twine reddened with saffron and twisted it into three threads. He remembered Śiva, Pārvatī and Gaṇāḍhyakṣa and measured the boy from head to foot as he stood straight facing the north.

57. “A person who is equal in length horizontally and vertically extending to 108 Aṅgulas (1 Aṅgula = 1.75cm) (Horizontal measure is the extent with both the hands stretched out) will become a king, O Brāhmaṇa, like your son.

58. Your son has all the thirty-two (auspicious) characteristics. He has five parts exquisite and delicate, five long, seven red, six lifted up, three broad, three short and three deep and majestic.

59. This boy is long-lived, five of his parts are long and praiseworthy, viz., the arms, the eyes, the chin, the knee and the nose of this son of yours.

60. This boy is respectable with three parts short, viz., neck, calf and penis. This child is splendid with three aspects deep and majestic, viz., voice, mind and navel.

61. So also five parts of his are delicate and exquisitely fine, viz., skin, hair, fingers, teeth and finger-joints. He will gain the status of the Guardian of a Quarter.

62. He has six parts lifted up and raised, viz., chest, belly, curly locks of hair, shoulders, hands and face. It is seen here in this boy. So he will have great fortune and prosperity.

63. Seven parts are red, viz., the palms, the extremities of the eyes, the palate, the tongue, the lower lip, the upper lip and the nails. This bestows the happiness of a kingdom.

64. He has three parts broad, viz., forehead, hips and chest. With all refulgence, he will attain every type of glory and prosperity and not otherwise.

65. His hands as firm as the back of a female turtle are not intended for any hard labour. They indicate that he will get a kingdom. This child’s feet are very tender so far as walking along the road is concerned.

66. A line is seen in his (palm) starting from the back of the small finger extending without any break as far as the index finger. This indicates long life.

67. His feet are very strong, red and symmetrical. They are beautiful and exquisitely delicate. The heels are of the same size. The feet are smooth and free from perspiration. Hence they indicate prosperity.

68. The lines on the palm are very few and red. They indicate that he will be happy always. He will become the king of kings, as indicated by the thin and short penis.

69. He has large and conspicuous seat of the body, heels and thighs. His navel is spiral-shaped, moving clockwise. It is reddish in colour. This is the indicator of great prosperity.

70. If when he urinates, a single current flows spiralling clockwise, and if there is the smell of fish and honey in the semen, he will become a king.

71. Broad, strong and smooth, his thighs are indicative of his being habitually happy. The two arms hanging down with beautiful curves are capable of protecting the quarters.

72. The line on his palm is such that he is sure to be the lord of heaven. It has the designs of the scar Śrīvatsa, thunderbolt, discus, lotus, fish, bow and staff.

73. He has thirty-two teeth. His neck is curly like the trunk of an elephant having three folds like a conch-shell. His voice is like the note of a Krauñca bird, Dundubhi drum, swan and thundering cloud. Hence he will surpass even emperors.

74-75. His eyes are tawny-coloured like honey. Royal glory will never desert him. There are five lines on his forehead. He is splendid with leonine belly. The soles of his feet have lines going up. While breathing he gives off the fragrance of a lotus. When the fingers are stretched out, there is no gap between them. His nails are good. Thus he possesses all great characteristics.

76. But fate can pull down a person endowed with all good qualities, one marked by all characteristics and one with all Kalās (arts, digits) complete and pure as in the case of a full moon (being eclipsed).

77. Hence this child should be well guarded in every respect with all endeavour. When the fate is crooked, even good qualities turn into defects.

78. I am afraid, some calamity through celestial fire of lightning in this twelfth year (may befall him)”

After saying thus, that intelligent Nārada went away in the manner he had arrived.

79. On hearing the words of Nārada, Viśvānara along with his wife thought of the terrible fall of the thunderbolt then itself.

80. “Alas! I am doomed”, uttering these words he beat his chest. Agitated with the grief of his son, he fell into a great swoon.

81. The grief-stricken Śuciṣmatī too cried a lot unbearably with cries of distress and shouts of “Ha!” “Ha!” All her sense-organs became upset.

82. “Alas, my child, a storehouse of great good qualities! Alas! O my child carrying out the words of your father! Wherefore did you come into the womb of me, an unlucky woman?

83. O my son, you are my only child. I have fallen into a great ocean of grief, with all your good qualities for its waves. Excepting you who can save me?

84. Alas, my boy, free from impurities, having long eyes like a lotus! Alas, if the eyes of the general public are Cakora birds, you are the moon (having the sign of a deer)! Alas, my dear one, to the lotus-like eyes of your father, you are like the Sun! Alas, my child, you are the sole cause for the happiness of a thousand festivals of your mother!

85. O child with a face resembling the full moon! O child, your nails and fingers are exquisite. Your words are sweet like nectar. You are the ocean filled with the waves of nectar. Alas, you have been acquired by me through many sufferings! O Gṛhapati, what all things have not been done by me for obtaining you!

86. Alas, what oblation has not been offered by me to the different deities! O dear child, what holy spots have not been visited by me! What observances have not been practised! What medicines have not been taken in! What Mantras have not been repeated! What Yantras have not been resorted to! Everything for your sake, but you could be obtained only by good merits.

87. O my child, you who are the boat whereby I can cross the ocean of worldly existence, remove the weight of misery. You are the ocean of happiness. Show me your moon-like face, the essence (of everything). The hell named Put is extensive like an ocean. From the submarine fire thereof enliven your father through the showers of your nectar-like utterances.

88. The Devas are perfectly delighted on carefully scrutinizing all qualities, habits, full complement of arts, beauty and characteristic signs existing in one place. Perhaps that was why, Alas! they have all assembled simultaneously after coming to know that this would happen at the time of the great festival of his birthday.

89. O Śaṃbhu, O Maheśa, the merciful, O trident-bearing Lord, those who are conversant with the Vedas say that you are Mṛtyuñjaya (‘Conquerer of death’). If the god of Death brings about the death of this infant son bestowed by you, say, whose fall will not take place here thus!

90. Alas! O Vidhi (Brahmā), you had created an extensive ocean of good qualities, the depth of which cannot be gauged in the middle and which contains all essential gems. You created everything in the proper manner. If this boy is to be taken away by you, why was he created by you with great endeavour?

91. Alas! O Kāla, is not your queen one with a boy? The moon-like face of your son has not taken away your ability to kill. Therefore, you have (displayed) your ability to kill. Therefore, you have (displayed) your curved fangs resembling a dagger as sharp and hard as the thunderbolt towards this boy whose sportive play is like that of the excessively tender lotus fibre!”

92. After lamenting thus in various ways, she gave out hot, deep, long breaths, because she was scorched by the heat of the fire originating from the grief for her son. Thereby she dried up the hundreds of rivers with waves lifted up originating from the incessant flow of tears from her eyes.

93. On hearing her piteous lamentations, trees and creepers appeared to shed tears when the flowers dropped down, to cry through the chirping sounds of birds resembling cries of distress, and as though shook their heads moving by the gusts of wind.

94. With cries of distress, she wept bitterly. As though out of sorrow for her, all the quarters too cried along with her under the form of the echoes, with the caves of the mountains for their mouths. The birds, animals and trees were stunned.

95. On hearing the sound of the cries of distress thus, Viśvānara overcame the swoon and got up, loudly uttering “What is this? What? What is this? Where is Gṛhapati, my external vital breath, the lord of all sense-organs, the immanent soul?”

Agastya said:

96. On seeing the parents overwhelmed with grief, he (Gṛhapati) smiled and said: “Dear mother, why such a fear in you both?

97. I have been provided with a good protection for my body through the dust-particles of your feet. Even the god of Death cannot kill me. How can the feeble and insignificant lightning-fire?

98. Listen to my vow, dear parents. If I am your son, I shall do such a thing as would make the lightning afraid of me.

99. (I shall do so) after propitiating the omniscient Mṛtyuñjaya, the giver of everything unto the good, Mahākāla, the slayer of the god of Death, the lord who swallowed the poison Kālakūṭa.”

100. On hearing his words, the aged Brāhmaṇa couple had their distress calmed down, as though through an untimely shower of divine nectar. They said then:

101. “Whence does this shower of rain without a cloud, this outcome of divine nectar without the Milk Ocean, this brilliant moonshine without the Moon, delight us excessively?

102. Say again. Say again. What? What? Again and again ‘God of Death cannot kill me. How then can the feeble and insignificant lightning fire?’

103. A great means of remedy has been mentioned by you for removing our distress, namely the propitiation of Lord Mṛtyuñjaya.

104. Hence, O dear one, seek refuge in him. There is no one more beneficial than the Slayer of the god of Death, who can do more than what we wish for.

105. O dear one, is this not heard by you? Formerly the Slayer of Tripura protected Śvetaketu bound by Kālā’s noose.

106. Śiva made Nandin, the eight-year old boy, the son of Śilāda, who was grasped by Mṛtyu (Death), his own attendant (after saving him), the delighter of the universe.

107. He saved the three worlds after drinking the terrible Halāhala poison that issued at the time of the churning of the Milk Ocean and which resembled the fire at the time of the ultimate annihilation.

108. With the discus lifted up by the toe of his foot, he killed Jālandhara, the great Daitya of excessive arrogance, when he took away the wealth of the three worlds.

109. After making Viṣṇu his arrow, Dhūrjaṭi burned the three Puras formerly through the fire originating from the stroke of a single arrow.

110. Formerly, he kept Andhaka transfixed to the tip of his trident for ten thousand years, when he became deluded on account of the prosperity and glory of the three worlds and made him dried up through the Sun.

111. Even as Brahmā and others were watching, he reduced Kama to the state of Anaṅga (devoid of limbs, body-less) by a mere glance of his eye, though he was powerful enough to conquer all the three worlds.

112. (Defective text) Dear son, seek refuge in Śiva the protective jewel of the universe, who is the sole creator of Brahmā, Indra, Acyuta and others.”

113. Thus, after getting the permission of his parents and bowing down to their feet, he circumambulated them, consoled them earnestly and set off.

114-118. He reached Kāśī which is inaccessible even to Brahmā, Nārāyaṇa and others: Kāśī which was protected by Viśveśvara from the distress happening at the time of Mahāsaṃvarta (Prākṛtalaya, annihilation); which shone with the celestial river acting like a necklace around its grounds as though around its neck, the river (Gaṅgā) being white like a garland of snow; which warded off through Varaṇā and chopped off through the current of river Asi (‘edge of a sword’), the rebirth of the common people distressed on account of many worldly tortures. With his eyes distressed due to worldly affairs and calamities, extending as far as the ears, he, at the outset went to Maṇikarṇikā, which the wise men sang about as Kāśikā, because it made it possible for the devotees to attain Kaivalya (Mokṣa) by merely abandoning their body therein, while that Kaivalya is usually attained by means of steady practice of Yoga with its eight constituents (stages).

119. There he took his holy bath in accordance with injunctions, visited Lord Viśveśvara and bowed down to him, the saviour of all the living beings in the three worlds.

120. He was very glad within his heart, by repeatedly looking at the Liṅga. There is no doubt in this that this is clearly what is called the very bulbous root of the highest bliss.

121. “Oh! There is no one more blessed than I in all the three worlds consisting of mobile and immobile beings, because I have seen today the glorious Lord Viśveśvara.

122-123. The entire essence of the three worlds has become solidified in this (Liṅga) indeed, or is this the divine Ambrosia in a solid lump after coming out of the Milk Ocean? Or is this the first germinating shoot of the brilliant splendour of the realization of the Ātman or is it the excellent bulbous root of the bliss of Brahman (the ultimate goal), the Absolute (elixirlike) bliss of Brahman?

124. What is mentioned as formless and is stationed in the lotus-like heart of Yogins, has that assumed a form in the shape of this Liṅga?

125. Perhaps the entire Cosmic Egg (Brahmāṇḍa) is filled with (a flood of) different kinds of jewels. Or there is no doubt about this that this is the fruit of the tree of salvation.

126. Is this the braid of hair of Nirvāṇalakṣmī (‘Glorious Goddess of Salvation’) decorated with an excellent flower? Is this the bunch of flowers of Kaivalya Mallīvallī (‘the jasmine creeper of the bliss of liberation’) that bestows all the four Puruṣārthas on the eulogizer?

127. Or is it the joyous ball of play of Niḥśreyasa Srī (‘the glorious deity of ultimate liberation’)? Has the nectar-rayed Moon risen up from the eastern mountain of Apavarga (Salvation)?

128. Is this the Sun dispelling the darkness of worldly delusion? Or is it the glamorously beautiful romantic mirror of the beautiful maiden of eternal welfare?

129. Lo! It is known! It cannot be anything else. This is the wonderful citron fruit of many Karma-seeds of all embodied beings.

130. This is Viśvaliṅga, because in this Liṅga that bestows salvation, there is the final absorption of all the seeds of the universe (or all beings)—the seeds called Karma.

131. It is due to the rising of my good fortune that the great sage Nārada came then and said so. I am contented and blessed thereat.”

132-135a. Thus with the nectarine juices of the highest bliss, he performed Pāraṇa (concluding rite of holy observances).

Then on an auspicious day, he installed the Liṅga that bestows welfare on all and then took up terrible holy observances very difficult to be performed by persons of no control over themselves. Everyday that devotee of pure soul brought Gaṅgā water strained with a cloth and filled it into one hundred and eight pitchers. With this he bathed Śiva everyday. Everyday he used to offer a garland of blue lotuses wreathed with one thousand and eight flowers.

135b-139a. He used to have a diet of bulbous roots, and fruits once in seven and a half days and continued this for six months.

Then taking in withered leaves once in a fortnight, he spent another six months. Then he spent six months taking in only air and spent another six months drinking only drops of water. Thus he spent altogether two years.

On the twelfth year from his birth (Śiva in the guise of) the thunderbolt-armed Indra came near him, as though he would make what is uttered by Nārada a fact. Then he said: “Tell me what boon you want. I shall give you whatever is cherished in your mind. I am Indra, O Brāhmaṇa. I am pleased with your splendid holj vows.”

139b-141. On hearing these words of Mahendra, the son of the sage spoke sensibly and sweetly with the sweet voice of a parrot: “O Maghavan, O enemy of Vṛtra, I know you are armed with the thunderbolt. I won’t choose a boon from you. Śaṅkara is the giver of boons unto me.”

Indra said:

142. Śaṅkara is not someone different from me, O child. I am the lord of Devas. Cast off all your foolishness and request for an excellent boon from me.

The Brāhmaṇa said:

143. O Ahalya’s paramour, go away. O unholy enemy of Gotras (families, mountains), O chastiser of Pāka! It is definite that I will not request any other Deva than Paśupati.

144. On hearing his words, Indra became furious with reddened eyes. He lifted up his terrible thunderbolt and terrified the boy.

145. On seeing the Vajra (thunderbolt) having hundreds of lightning sparks, the boy remembered Nārada’s words and swooned with great fright.

146. Then Śaṃbhu, the consort of Gaurī, appeared in front dispelling the darkness (and said): “Get up, get up; welfare unto you.” He appeared to enliven him by gentle touches.

147-152. He opened the lotus-like eyes sleeping as though at the close of the day and got up. He then saw before him Śaṃbhu who had the lustre of more than a hundred Suns. On seeing the eye in the forehead, the Bull-emblemed Lord with a dark throat, he knew the Lord with moon for his crest-jewel, accompanied by the Daughter of the Mountain seated on his left side. He was shining with his matted hair. The trident and Ājagava bow formed his weapons. His limbs were shining like camphor, spotlessly white in colour. He was clad in the elephant’s hide. Recognizing him through his preceptor’s words and passages from Āgamas, he became excited with tears of joy. His throat became choked. Hairs standing on their ends covered him like a bodice. He stood as if stunned for a moment like the picture of a boy. He somehow steadied himself. Forgetting himself he found it impossible to eulogize or bow down to or submit anything (to Śiva). When the boy was in that predicament, Śaṅkara smiled and said:

Īśvara said:

158. O child Gṛhapati, you are known to be afraid of Śakra with the thunderbolt lifted up in his hand. Do not be afraid. I wanted to know you fully.

154. Neither Śakra, nor his thunderbolt, nor even the god of Death can harm my devotee. It was I who spoke to you in the form of Indra.

155. O gentle boy, I am giving you a boon. You will be the holder of the post of Agni (designated as Agni). You will be the mouth of all the Devas.

156. O Agni, you will be moving among all the living beings. You will get your realm as the Lord of a Quarter in between Dharmarāja and Indra (i.e. between South and East).

157. The Liṅga installed by you will be known after your name. It will be famous as Agnīśvara. It will increase the brilliance of everyone.

158. The devotees of Agnīśvara need not be afraid of the fire arising from lightning. They will never suffer from indigestion. They will never have premature death.

159. One who worships Agnīśvara, the bestower of all prosperities, at Kāśī is honoured in the world of Agni, though he may die by chance elsewhere.

160-162. Then he will come to Kāśī again. At the end of a Kalpa, he shall attain salvation.

A man who propitiates Agnīśvara on the western bank of Gaṅgā to the east of Vīreśvara, shall stay in the world of Agni along with his parents, his own kinsmen, friends and relatives. O Lord of a Quarter, get into this aerial chariot and go.

After saying this he brought his kinsmen, even as the parents were watching; he crowned Agni as the Lord of a Quarter. Śiva then merged into the Liṅga there.

The attendants said:

163. O Śivaśarman, this, the form of Agni—has been explained to you. What else do you wish to hear? We shall narrate. Tell us.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Vājasaneyī Saṃ. 3.30a.

[2]:

Cf. Manu II. 145.

[3]:

VV 55ff deal with Puraṇic Chiromancy.

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