by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Shivasharman Attains Salvation which is chapter 24 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-fourth chapter of the Purvardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
The Gaṇas said:
1-4. O Śivaśarman, we shall speak what you are destined to have in future. Listen. Here in the world of Viṣṇu you will enjoy all pleasures in plenty. For the period of a year of Brahmā you will be sporting about with groups of celestial damsels. Due to the residue of the merit acquired by dying in an excellent holy place, you will become a king in the city of Nandivardhana. You will acquire a kingdom without any rivals or enemies. You will have plenty of vehicles and divisions of the army. In the kingdom, all the learned men will be hale and hearty. They will be having charming golden ornaments. The people there will perform regularly virtuous rites of Iṣṭa and Pūrta.
5. There will be perpetual growth of vegetation. The fields will be very fertile. All the region will be excellent, the subjects noble and healthy. There will be plenty of cattle and pasture-lands.
6. It will have many rows of shining temples for the deities. Excellent sacrificial posts will be found in all the villages, prosperous and remarkable in every way.
7. There will be excellent man-made parks with plenty of flowers and perpetually fruit-bearing trees. All the plots of lands will have lakes and lotus-ponds in plenty.
8. There the rivers are Sadāmbhāḥ (Sad-ambhaḥ: having excellent, translucent water) but seldom are the people Sadaṃbha (Sa-daṃbha—having hypocrisy). The families (thereof) are of noble descent (Kūlināni) and not possessors of ill-gotten wealth concealed in the earth (Ku-līnāni).
9. There is Vibhrama (coquettishness) in women. There is no Vibhrama (ignorance, delusion) in learned men. Only rivers are Kuṭilagāminyaḥ (going along zigzag paths) and not the subjects in that land.
10. In that land the nights in the dark half of the month are full of darkness. The men are not Tamoyukta (possessed of Tamas quality). Only the women are Rajoyujaḥ (having menstrual flow of blood) and not men full of righteousness (i.e. they do not have the quality of Rajas.)
11. The people are Anandha (not blind) due to wealth and not food (not having rice). The chariot is Anayaḥ (an-ayas) (having no iron but gold-plated) but the king’s office is not Anayaḥ (a-nayaḥ: devoid of good policies).
12. There is Daṇḍa (staff, wooden handle) in axes, spades, chowries, umbrellas etc. but there is seldom Daṇḍa (punishment) due to anger or guilt.
13. Except in the case of gamesters nowhere else there is Paridevanam (playing with dice; lamenting). Only gamesters are seen Pāśakapāṇis (having dice in the hands/hands bound with ropes).
14. The talk of Jāḍya (chillness, sluggishness) is only in regard to water; only the middle part of women is Durbala (slender) and not men (weak). There, only the ladies are having hard breasts (Kaṭhorahṛdayāḥ) and not men (cruel in the heart).
15. There is Kuṣṭhayoga (medicinal preparation from the drug Kuṣṭha) in medicines alone but (attack of leprosy) not in men. There is Vedha (one hole) in excellent jewels and (Vedha—beating) not elsewhere. There is Śūla (trident) in the hands of idols but no Śūla (pain) in men.
16. There is Kaṃpa (trembling) due to Sāttvika Bhāva (affection and fidelity) and not due to fear in regard to anyone at any place. Saṃjvara (fever) in that city is due to love but Saṃjvara (distress for want of money) is not there. There is poverty but that of sinfulness.
17. There is scarcity of sin and not in regard to merit or commodities. Only elephants are Pramattas (in rut, mad) but not others. There is war only in lakes between waveṣ
18. There is cessation of the flow of ichor (Dāna) among elephants and not stopping of the flow in religious gifts (Dāna) among the people. There are Kaṇṭakas (thorns) on the trees and no Kaṇṭakas (troublesome persons) among the public. There are Vihāras (sports) among the people but nobody’s chest was without a necklace (Vi-hāra: necklessness).
19. There is Guṇaviśleṣa (separation from the string) only in regard to the arrows. There is a firm mention of binding (Bandhoktiḥ) only in regard to books (which require strong binding). Snehatyāga (eschewing oily and fatty substance, abandoning affection) is only in regard to Pāśupatas (and not in regard to others).
20. The usual talk about Daṇḍa (sacred staff) is among Sannyāsins (and not of Daṇḍa—punishment). Mārgaṇas (arrows) are only on the bows but there was no Mārgaṇa (begging) anywhere else. And only religious students beg as a ritual and hence are beggars (Sannyāsins are cordially invited for meals and need not beg).
21. There, only Kṣapaṇakas (Jaina recluses) have the impurities of the body (due to non-bath) and are seen so; generally the bees alone are fickle in their activities (wandering from flower to flower).
22-27. You will be ruling a kingdom consisting of all the virtues mentioned before. You will be righteous and conversant with the duties of a king. You will be heroic too.
You will possess all good fortunes and handsome features. You will be endowed with such virtues as heroism, liberalmindedness etc. You will have ten thousand queens, all beautiful women, who will have earned good reputation through their beauty. You will beget three hundred sons.
You will be famous by the name Vṛddhakāla. You will be awe-inspiring and capable of conquering the cities of foes. You will be victorious in many battles. You will propitiate suppliants with your wealth. You will be full of many good qualities. Your lustre will be like that of the full Moon. You will be a leading king with your tresses of hairs kept wet due to the incessant performance of Avabhṛtha Snāna (holy ablution as a valedictory rite after concluding sacrifices). You will be richly endowed with the quality of ably protecting the subjects. You will be making Brāhmaṇas delighted through your treasury. You will be meditating on the lotus-like feet of Govinda in your heart with care. You will be spending days and nights in discoursing on the exploits of Vāsudeva.
29. Then you are congratulated and blessed in a manner befitting your merits by all of them, through their words of benediction addressing you “O tiger among kings.”
31. The Lord of Kāśī is the bestower of riches in the form of salvation even when you only remember him. May he grant you knowledge free from all impurities.
32. The excellent kingdom free from foes has been acquired by you through merit. May the balance of the same merit bring about your inclination towards Viśvanātha.
33. May that Viśveśa be pleased with you—Viśveśa with whose favour long life, sons, garments and women, all prosperities, heavenly pleasures and salvation are easily available.
34. May that Viśveśa be present in your heart—Viśveśa, merely by listening to whose name all great sins will be split and dispelled.”
35. On hearing this continuous series of benediction you, king Vṛddhakāla, will remember this present incident with hairs standing on their ends.
36-37. Concealing your reactions and features, you will be giving them much wealth. At an auspicious hour, you will be entrusting the kingdom to your son. Accompanied by Anaṅgalekhā, the (chief) queen, you will go to Kāśī. You will be making many gifts and propitiating many people seeking various things.
38. You will instal a Liṅga named after you. It will be the cause of salvation. You will erect a big palace-like mansion there and dig an excellent well there.
39-40. You will duly perform the rites of establishing the sacred pot (Kalaśa) etc. and will make gifts of jewels, rubies, yellow silk garments, elephants, horses, cows, money, great banners and flags, umbrellas, chowries, mirrors and many other things essential for the Lord. You will then relax.
41. With the entire body emaciated and fatigued through holy vows, fasts and other restraints and observances, you will see a sage at midday in an isolated place.
42-43. His body will be extremely feeble. He may be having tawny matted hairs. He will appear as though the personified form of excellent piety. He will be captivating the minds of the people with the burden of his slender body placed on a firm staff. He will be seen coming out of the sanctum sanctorum and proceeding towards the main pavilion.
44-45. He will sit near you and will ask thus (questions) one after another: “Who are you? Why are you here? (Referring to Anaṅgalekhā) Who is this like a second person unto you? By whom was this palace (mansion) built? If you know, tell me. What is the name of this Liṅga? I almost do not know anything due to old age.”
46-48. On being asked thus by that old sage, then, you will say: “I am the well-known king Vṛḍdhakāla. I am a Southerner who have come with this my wife. I meditate on this Liṅga. But I do not pray for anything. O sage with matted hairs, Śiva has caused the erection of this palace. I do not certainly know the special name of this Liṅga.”
49-51. On hearing these words of the king, the old man with matted hairs said (will say): “Indeed one truthful statement has been made by you that you do not know the name of the Liṅga. I see you everyday sitting motionless. Certainly it must have been heard by you by whom the palace was constructed. Speak that to me, if you do know it for certain.”
On hearing these words you said (will say) thus:
52. “It is Śambhu who does things and makes others do. Do I utter a lie? Or, O sage, what do I gain with thinking like this (as to who built etc.)?”
53. After uttering this when you kept (will keep) quiet, that aged sage said (will say): “I am thirsty. Fetch some water quickly and give it to me.”
54-55. On being urged by him, you will bring water from the well and make him drink. Instantly, that aged sage becomes one shining with the lustre of the Full Moon, due to the fact that he drank that water. He turned (will turn) into a young man endowed with comely features like a serpent that has cast off its slough.
56-57. He was (will be) asked then by you who become surprised: “O honoured Sir, what is that power whereby you cast off your old age and shine now (as a youth)? O sage, if you have time, please tell me.”
The sage said (will say):
58. O king Vṛddhakāla, O highly intelligent one, I know you. I know this chaste wife of yours too.
60. She was given in marriage by him to the noble-souled Naidhruva. That Naidhruva passed away even before reaching the age of youth.
62. She was married to you, O king. She is always devoted to her husband. She came here along with you. She will attain the excellent salvation.
65. I know you too, O king. You were a Brāhmaṇa in your previous birth. A citizen of Mathurā, named Śivaśarman, you died at Māyāpurī.
66. Due to that merit, you attained Vaikuṇṭha and enjoyed all charming pleasures. Due to the residue of that merit, you became a king at Nandivardhana.
67. O King Vṛddhakāla, due to that very merit, you reached this holy spot of salvation. You will attain excellent salvation.
68. Listen to another point, O eminent king. Your statement that “It is Śambhu who does things and causes others do” is clear (and relevant).
69. A meritorious act (performed by oneself) should never be frequently boasted of. By saying “It has been done by me”, merit diminishes instantly.
71. Certainly, O sinless one, you have been directed by Viśvanātha and the palace etc. has been built by you. I know it.
72. Know that this Liṅga, named Vṛddhakāleśvara, O king, already existed since time immemorial. But you were the instrumental cause.
73. By seeing, touching, worshipping, hearing about and bowing down to the Liṅga Vṛddhakāleśvara one gets whatever is desired.
75. A man who takes his bath with the water of this well and who worships this Liṅga acquires fulfilment of whatever is desired by him in one year.
76. If Kālatamodaka water is drunk or touched, leprosy, swelling, itch, scab and phlegmatic attack are dispelled.
77. By resorting to it and drinking it many diseases are cured, such as indigestion, colic pain, diabetes, diarrhoea, difficulty in urinating, itches etc.
78. Fever due to the attack of evil spirits, recurring fever etc. quickly get subdued by resorting to the water of this well.
79. Before you, my old age and grey hairs became dispelled in a moment by drinking the water of this well duly. I have become a new man.
80. If Vṛddhakāleśvara Liṅga is served, one does not incur poverty; neither calamities nor ailments, no sin and no evil consequences of the sins occur.
81. At Vārāṇasī, the Liṅga Vṛddhakāleśvara to the north of Kṛttivāsa should be visited carefully by those who desire emancipation and fulfilment.
82. After saying this, the sage took that king by the hand along with the queen Anaṅgalekhā and became merged into the Liṅga.
83. By repeating ‘Mahākāla’, ‘Mahākāla’ a hundred times, one gets released from sins. No doubt need be entertained in this connection.
84. After enjoying many kinds of pleasures in the splendid city of Vaikuṇṭha, your ultimate liberation shall take place thus by seeing the enemy of Kaiṭabha (i.e. Viṣṇu).
85. Thus after hearing his own future from those attendants of the Lord, the Brāhmaṇa experienced horripilation due to exhilaration and saw Hariloka, beautiful and resplendent with ten million Suns.
Maitrāvaruṇi (Agastya) said:
86-88. O dear Lopāmudrā, that eminent Brāhmaṇa enjoyed charming pleasures. Casting off his life at Māyāpurī, and due to the power of that merit, he returned from Vaikuṇṭha and was born in the city of Nandivardhana. He enjoyed all worldly pleasures, begot handsome sons and entrusted the kingdom to them. He reached the city of Vārāṇasī and propitiated Viśveśvara. He then attained salvation.
89. By listening to this meritorious narrative of the Brāhmaṇa Śivaśarman one gets rid of one’s sins and attains the highest wisdom.
Footnotes and references:
The play on words (puns) in vv 8-21 is very interesting.