The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Description of Lolarka which is chapter 46 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-sixth chapter of the Purvardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 46 - Description of Lolārka

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: There are twelve Āditya (Sun-god) temples at Banaras. Lolarka [Lolārka?] is the most important and famous. It is located in the extreme south of Vārāṇasī, near the confluence of Asi and Gaṅgā. The two copper-plate grants of Gāhadwal kings (after their baths here) show its ancient importance (BCL 177).

Skanda said:

1. After the group of Yoginīs had departed, O Pot-born One, the Lord of Devas who was desirous of knowing the situation in Kāśī sent the Sun-god.

The Lord of Devas said:

2. O Seven-horsed One, go quickly to the splendid city of Vārāṇasī where Divodāsa, a Dharma incarnate, is the ruler.

3. Do something quickly so that the holy spot gets ruined due to the king’s transgression of the path of piety. But do not think lightly of that king.

4. If insult or disrespect is shown towards anyone treading the path of piety, that will surely recoil on oneself. Great sin too will befall.

5. If due to your intellectual skill he swerves from the path of virtue, O Sun, you can devastate that city with your fierce rays.

6. The notorious bad qualities of lust and anger, greed and delusion, rivalry and arrogance have no place in him. Hence even the god of Death cannot conquer him.

7. As long as the intellect is well-established in piety, as long as the mind is steadfast in piety, O Sun-god, whence can be the rise of obstacles in the case of men even in adversities?

8. O Bradhna (Sun-god), you are aware of the activities of all creatures. Hence you are called Jagaccakṣuḥ (‘The eye of the universe’). Go, then for the accomplishment of the task.

9. The Sun took the order of the Lord, and assumed another form capable of going along the sky both day and night. He then proceeded towards Kāśī.

10. The Sun was very much eager to see Kāśī. Though he had a thousand feet (rays), he still yearned for more feet (rays).

11. The state of being Haṃsa (‘one who goes continuously’) of the Sun became meaningful and fruitful because he was desirous of going towards Kāśī and so was proceeding along the sky continuously.

12. After reaching Kāśī, the Sun moved within and without (Kāśī) but could not see even the least of an instance of deviation from piety in the case of the king.

13. The Sun stayed in Kāśī for a year in various guises, but could not find any loophole in that righteous king.

14. The Sun sometimes became a guest seeking something very difficult to get; but he did not see anything rare to be got in the realm of that king.

15. Sometimes he became a beggar; sometimes he became a bestower of many things. Sometimes he became one in a wretched state and sometimes he became an astrologer.

16. Sometimes he performed rites beyond the pale of Vedas. Sometimes he established the philosophy of this-worldliness believing in only what is perceived.

17. Sometimes he became one with matted hair. Sometimes he remained a nude mendicant. He sometimes became a snake-doctor, and expert in antidotes against poisons.

18. Sometimes he became one well-versed in all heretical doctrines; sometimes an expounder of Brahma (Absolute). He became a juggler sometimes making people perplexed by creating illusions.

19. Sometimes he made chaste ladies much agitated through instructions in different kinds of vows and observances with many narratives as illustration.

20. Sometimes he became a Brāhmaṇa engaged in the vow of a Kāpālika; sometimes a Vijñānin (follower of Buddhist Vijñānavāda; sometimes a Dhātuvādin, alchemist—MW & Com.)

21. At some places he became a Brāhmaṇa; somewhere a royal prince, a Vaiśya or a Śūdra; somewhere he became a religious student observing celibacy; somewhere a householder and somewhere a forest-dweller.

22. Sometimes he became a recluse. Thus he tried to make the people confused. In some places, he became (posed to be) omniscient, an expert in all lores.

23. Thus the Lord of Planets wandered in Kāśī in different forms. But, nowhere did he find at any time any vulnerable point in the people.

24. The son of Kaśyapa (i.e. Sun-god) became very worried with thoughts and censured himself. “Fie upon being one who runs an errand for others, wherein no fame is obtained.”

Mārtaṇḍa said:

25. If I want to go back to Mandara now, the Lord will get angry immediately with me, because I have not fulfilled the task. He will become angry as though I am an ordinary servant.

26. If somehow I go there, how shall I stand in front of him like a foolish servant?

27. If I somehow go there accepting (pocketing) the insult, the Three-eyed Lord may stare at me angrily. Poison should be drunk by me then.

28. If I became a victim to the fire of wrath of Lord Hara like a moth, even the Grandfather (Brahmā) will not be able to save me.

29. Hence I shall stay here forever. I will never leave this. I shall establish my hermitage in Vārāṇasī in accordance with the injunctions regarding (permanent stay) in a holy spot.

30. If I stay back here without intimating the non-fulfilment of the task to Purāri (Śiva), I may incur sin; but Kāśī itself shall be the means of redemption from that sin.

31. Other sins too, whether great or small, of the good people who have entered Kāśī, become reduced entirely.

32. This sin has not been incurred by me knowingly. At the outset, it was ordained by Purāri himself: “May Dharma be protected.”

33. While the body is of quickly vanishing nature, if Dharma is protected by anyone, it is as though the three worlds have been protected by him. Of what avail are love and wealth, even if protected well.

34. If Kāma (love) is to be protected, why then was he made Anaṅga (bodiless), though he had been the bestower of happiness on many?

35. If it has been asserted by many that Artha (Wealth) should be always protected, then how did Hariścandra not protect it in the case of Viśvāmitra?

36. Dharma has been safeguarded by all, even at the cost of the body by Śibi and other kings as well as by Dadhīci and other Brāhmaṇas.

37. This Dharma itself arising from rendering service to Kāśī will certainly protect me even from the infuriated Rudra.

38. After attaining Kāśī very difficult to be attained, which sensible being forsakes it? Who will desire to collect worthless pieces of glass after giving up a jewel in one’s hand.

39. He who desires to go elsewhere leaving Kāśī, kicks off a treasure with his foot and wishes to get wealth through begging for alms.

40. Sons, friends, wives, fields and riches are obtained in every birth but Kāśī alone is not attained.

41. A great happiness that is very difficult to achieve even with the riches of all the three worlds has been acquired by that man by whom the city of Kāśī capable of redeeming the three worlds, has been attained.

42. Indeed the angry Rudra may cause some reduction in my splendour. But in Kāśī, I will achieve that splendour arising from the realization of the self.

43. Other luminaries shine with a modicum of light of a glowworm only as long as the splendour arising from Kāśī does not flourish.

44. Thus the dispeller of darkness, the eye of the universe, conversant with the power of Kāśī divided himself into twelve and established himself in the city of Kāśī.

45-47. O Pot-born One, the following are the twelve Ādityas (Suns): (1) Lolārka, (2) Uttarārka, (3) Sāṃbāditya, (4) Drupadāditya, the fourth, (5) Mayūkhāditya, (6) Khakholka, (7) Aruṇāditya, (8) Vṛddhāditya, (9) Keśavāditya, (10) Vimalāditya, (11) Gaṅgāditya, and (12) Yamāditya, the twelfth one, in the city of Kāśī. They always protect the holy spot from evil ones with dominant Tāmasa quality.

48. Since the mind of the Sun became very eager (Lola) to see Kāśī, the Sun in Kāśī acquired the name Lolārka.

49. Lolārka is established in the southern direction (of Kāśī) at the confluence of Asi (with Gaṅgā). He shall always make the inhabitants of Kāśī achieve and preserve the good.

50. By performing the annual pilgrimage on the seventh lunar day in Mārgaśīrṣa or on the sixth day falling on a Sunday[1], a man is rid of all sins.

51. Whatever sins have been committed by men during the year, are destroyed the very moment. One sees Lolārka on the sixth lunar day falling on Sunday.

52. By taking the holy bath at the confluence of Asi (and Gaṅgā), by propitiating the Pitṛs and the deities and by duly performing Śrāddha, one gets free from the indebtedness to the Pitṛs.

53. Whatever sacred rite is performed, like Dāna, Homa and Arcanā of the deities, at the confluence (of Asi and Gaṅgā) known as ‘Lolārka-Saṅgama’ is capable of according never-ending benefit.

54. The rites of holy ablution, Dāna etc. at Lolārka at the time of a solar eclipse shall undoubtedly be ten times more efficacious than that at Kurukṣetra.

55. On the Rathasaptamī day (i.e. seventh day in the bright half of Māgha) a devotee should take his holy dip at the confluence of Gaṅgā and Asi. Immediately he becomes free from the sins incurred in the course of seven births.

56. If anyone pays a visit to Lolārka on every Sunday, observing the vows of cleanliness, he will never have any misery in this world

57. He who visits Lolārka on Sundays or imbibes the water washing the god’s feet, will never have any misery, nor such skin-diseases as Pāma, Dadru or Vicarcikā (itches, scabs etc.).

58. If anyone even after staying in Vārāṇasī does not serve Lolārka, pains and miseries arising from hunger and sickness will certainly afflict him.

59. Lolārka is the first and foremost of all holy Tīrthas in Kāśī. Other Tīrthas are only subsidiaries. They are watered by its holy waters.

60. All the other Tīrthas existing in the entire range of the earth do not deserve even a fraction of one-sixteenth of the holy Tīrtha, of the confluence of Asi (and Gaṅgā).

61. From the holy ablution, at the confluence of Asi and Gaṅgā one gets the entire benefit that is acquired by the holy ablution in all the Tīrthas.

62. O sage, this is not a mere eulogical utterance, nor is it flattery. This is truly a statement of facts. It should be respectfully believed by all good people.

63. Where Viśveśvara is directly present, where there is the celestial river, there only sophists and jealous ones regard it as untrue.

64. All those foolish ones, arrogant of their power, who indulge in sophistical reasoning and say that this is a mere eulogical utterance, become worms in faeces in every Yuga.

65. O sage, indeed even all the three worlds will never be on a par with the greatness of anyone of the holy Tīrthas in Kāśī.

66. Kāśī should not be extolled before these atheists, those who are outside the ken of the Vedas, those who value the penis and the belly and the low-born ones.

67. Being scorched by the rays of Lolārka and being cut (obstructed) by the current of the river Asi, persons of great sins cannot enter Kāśī.

Being heated by the hands of brave persons brilliant like Lolārka and cut down by the edge of their swords, Kāśī-haters, the great sinners, cannot enter Kāśī.

68. On hearing the greatness of Lolārka, an excellent man never experiences misery in the ocean of sorrow in the worldly existence.

Footnotes and references:


BCL p. 279 notes that the annual pilgrimage of Lolārka Ṣaṣṭhī is in Bhādrapada.

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