The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Story of Jyeshthesha which is chapter 63 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 sixty-third chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 63 - The Story of Jyeṣṭheśa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Agastya said:

1. O Slayer of Tāraka, tell me what was done by Purāri (Śiva) after seeing Kāśī that gives delight to the eyes and was attained as fulfilment of his highly cherished desires.

Skanda said:

2. O husband of a chaste lady (Lopāmudrā), O Agastya, listen, I shall tell you everything in full. Kāśī was made a guest of his vision (i.e. attained) with great eagerness by the Moon-crested Lord.

3. Thereafter, Jaigīṣavya, an excellent sage, was seen living within a cave by Lord Saravajña (Śiva) whose mind is very affectionate towards his devotees.

4-5. Ever since the day Rudra set out to the Mandara mountain riding on the Lord of Bulls along with the Daughter of the Mountain, O Pot-born One, the blessed Jaigīṣavya of great intellect took a firm resolve:

6. ‘I shall take in even a drop of water only when I shall be able to see the louts-like feet of the Three-eyed Lord.’

7. O sage, perhaps due to his Yogic Dhāraṇā power or due to Śaṃbhu’s grace, Yogi Jaigīṣavya managed to survive without eating and without drinking.

8. None else but only Śaṃbhu knew this fact. For the same reason as soon as he returned from that place (Mandara), the Lord of Pramathas came there at the outset.

9. Hence men should perform great religious festival there on the fourteenth day in the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha or when Monday coincides with Anurādhā Star.

10. Therefore, that spot in Kāśī became a very important place of pilgrimage according merit. There the Liṅga named Jyeṣṭheśvara manifested itself.

11. Just as darkness vanishes as soon as the Sun rises, so sin incurred in the course of a hundred births is destroyed instantaneously as soon as the Liṅga is seen by men.

12. If a man takes his holy bath in Jyeṣṭhavāpī, offers libations to the ancestors and visits Jyeṣṭheśvara, he is not reborn on the earth thereafter.

13. There very near Jyeṣṭheśvara Gaurī who bestows all spiritual powers all-round, appeared as Jyeṣṭhā and Śreṣṭhā.

14. For the sake of increase in wealth, a great festival should be celebrated there on the eighth day in the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha and the devotees should keep awake during the night.

15. A woman who plunges herself into the Jyeṣṭhavāpī and bows down to Jyeṣṭhā Gaurī shall enjoy conjugal bliss and great fortune.

16. Since Śaṃbhu himself made his stay there at that spot, the great Liṅga there became well-known thereafter as Nivāsésa.

17. By resorting to Nivāseśvara Liṅga riches of all kinds abide in the house at every step.

18. After performing Śrāddha in accordance with the injunctions in Jyeṣṭha Sthāna, a most excellent man gives excellent satisfaction to the Pitṛs.

19. By making many gifts in accordance with his capacity in the Jyeṣṭha Tīrtha in Kāśī, a man attains excellent heaven and salvation as well.

20. At the outset, Jyeṣṭheśvara should be worshipped in Kāśī by men who seek welfare. Then Jyeṣṭhā Gaurī should be worshipped by men who desire to attain the state of being the most excellent one among all.

21. Thereafter, calling Nandin, Dhūrjaṭi, the storehouse of mercy, spoke these words even as all the Devas were listening:

Īśvara said:

22. O son of Śilāda, there is a beautiful cave here; you enter it quickly; therein stays my devotee, Sage Jaigīṣavya.

23. He practises great observances and restraints. Only the skin, bones and sinews are left of him. Fetch unto me my devotee, steadfast in his resolve to see me.

24. Ever since I left Kāśī and went to Mandara, a most beautiful (mountain), he has observed great restraints and has stopped taking in food.

25. Take this toy-lotus which will nourish him like nectar. Touch his limbs with this which will cause excellent nourishment.

26. Thereupon, Nandin took that toy-lotus of the Lord, bowed down to the Lord of the chiefs of Devas and entered the deep cave.

27. On seeing him with his mind fixed in the Dhāraṇā state and the limbs dried up in the fire of austerities, Nandin touched him with the lotus.

28. At the very touch of that lotus, that eminent Yogin became happy and fresh like a frog in a crevice at the end of summer, due to the association (touch) of rain.

29. Then Nandin immediately took the great sage with him, bowed down in front of the Lord of Devas and made him (the sage) fall at his feet.

30. Seeing Śaṅkara in front, Jaigīṣavya became bewildered. He bowed down to the Lord with the Daughter of the Mountain resting on his left side.

31. After prostrating himself like a log of wood on the ground and rolling round, the sage eulogized the moon-crested Lord with great devotion.

Jaigīṣavya said:

(Prayer by Jaigīṣavya)

32. Obeisance to Śiva, the quiescent, omniscient Lord of auspicious soul, the bulbous root (concentrated form) of the bliss of the universe, the cause of supreme delight!

33. (Obeisance) to the Lord endowed with form, without form and having different forms; to the three-eyed Lord eulogized by Vidhi (Brahmā) and Viṣṇu; to the cause of extreme blessedness.

34. Obeisance to you, the stationary one; obeisance to you, the mobile one; obeisance to you, the soul of all. Hail to you, the supreme soul!

35. Obeisance to the Lord cove table to the three worlds; to the Lord who burned down the physical form of Kama; obeisance to the Lord according special significance to things, to the entire (creation); obeisance to you having Śeṣa as your bracelet.

36. Bow to you, O Śrīkaṇṭha; obeisance to you having poison sticking to the throat; obeisance to the Lord whose feet are venerable unto Vaikuṇṭha (Viṣṇu); obeisance to the Lord of unobstructed prowess.

37. Obeisance to the Lord half of whose body is taken over by Śakti; obeisance to the Lord without physical form; to the Lord having excellent physical form; to the lord who prevents further acquisition of a body by an embodied soul when bowed down to even once.

38. Obeisance to the Lord identified with Kāla (Time); to Kālakāla (‘Slayer of god of Death’); to the Lord who devoured the poison Kālakūṭa; to the Lord having serpents for the sacred thread; to the Lord wearing serpents as ornaments.

39. Obeisance to you, O Khaṇḍaparaśu (Śiva); obeisance to the Lord wearing (on his head) the crescent moon; to the Lord who dispels the misery of everyone; to the Lord equipped with sword and shield.

40. Obeisance to the Lord sung about by Devas; to the Lord having the waves of Gaṅgā serving the purpose of a garland; to the consort of Gaurī; to the Lord of the mountain; to Giriśa; to the begetter of Guha.

41. Obeisance to the Lord having the crescent moon for his excellent ornament; to the Lord having the moon, the sun and fire as eyes; obeisance to you, O Lord with hides for robes; obeisance to you the quarters-clad (nude one).

42. To the Lord of the universe, to the elderly one, to you the dispeller of birth and old age; obeisance to the enlivener; obeisance to you, the dispeller of the sins of those who mutter prayers repeatedly.

43. Obeisance to the Lord holding the Ḍamaru (a hand-drum) in his hands; obeisance to you having the bow in the hand; obeisance to you the three-eyed one; obeisance to you, the eye of the universe.

44. Obeisance to the Lord holding the trident, O holder of Gaṅgā of the triple stream (flowing through three worlds); to the over-lord of the heaven, praised in all the three Vedas.

45. (Obeisance) to the Lord identified with the three Vedas; to the satisfied one; to the bestower of satisfaction on the devotees. Obeisance to you, the initiated one; obeisance to you, the Lord of Devas.

46. Obeisance to you, the Lord who have taken away all the sins completely; to the long-visioned one; to the Lord staying far off; to the Lord difficult of access; to the destroyer of defects.

47. O lord, O holder of the digits of the moon; to the Lord accessible only to those who are free from defects; obeisance to you, O Dhūrjaṭi, O Lord fond of Dhattūra flowers.

48. Obeisance to the intelligent one, the righteous one; obeisance to you, the protector of piety. O blue-throated Lord, obeisance to you; obeisance to you of red-blue complexion.

49. O Lord who fill with (endow with) prosperity and abundance of the three worlds, those who merely remember your names; obeisance to the Lord of Pramathas; to the Lord holding the Pināka in the raised hand.

50. Obeisance to the Lord of Paśus (individual souls); to the Lord releasing the souls from bondage; to the Lord removing great sins even when only the names are uttered.

51. (Obeisance) to the Lord beyond the Para (Unmanifest); to the Lord who redeems persons; to the Lord beyond cause and effect. Obeisance to the Lord whose acts are beyond comprehension; to the Lord whose stories are very sacred.

52. Obeisance to Vāmadeva; to the Lord half of whose body is female; to the Lord moving about on a bull; obeisance to Bharga; to Bhīma and to the remover of the fear of those who bow down.

53. Obeisance to Bhava; to the destroyer of worldly existence; obeisance to the Lord of living beings. O great Lord, obeisance to you; O Maheśa, O Lord of splendours.

54. Obeisance to the consort of Mṛḍānī; obeisance to you, the conqueror of Death; obeisance to you, the destroyer of (Dakṣa’s) sacrifice; to the Lord of whom the king of Yakṣas is a favourite.

55. To the performer of Yajña; to the bestower of the fruit of Yajñas; obeisance to Rudra; to the Lord of Rudras; to the Lord who rejects despicable cooked food; to you, O bestower of fortune.

56. Obeisance to the trident-bearing Lord; to the permanent lord; to the Lord moving about in the cremation ground; to the lover of Śivā; obeisance to Śarva, the omniscient one.

57. Obeisances to Hara, forbearance incarnate, O forgiver; to you identified with Kṣetrajña (individual soul); to one who is powerful; to the destroyer of Kṣiti (Earth); obeisance to you, fair-complexioned as milk.

58. Obeisance to you, O slayer of Andhaka; to the Lord devoid of beginning and end; to the sustainer of the earth; to īśa who is eulogized by Indra and Upendra (Viṣṇu).

59. Obeisance to the lover of Umā; obeisance to you, O Ugra (fierce one); to Ūrdhvaretas (of sublimated sexual urge i.e. who have controlled sexual energy); to the Lord having a single form; to the single one, whose form is great prosperity.

60. Obeisance to you of infinite capacity for action. Obeisance to the consort of Ambikā. You are Oṃkāra, Vaṣaṭkāra and you alone are the three worlds, viz. Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ and Svaḥ.

61. O Lord of Umā, you are all that exist here, visible or invisible. I do not know how to pray; you alone are one who enables the eulogizer to pray.

62. You are the person to be addressed; you are the speaker; you alone are the speech; I bow down to you, O Mahādeva; I do not know anyone else; O Maheśvara, I do not eulogize anyone else.

63. O Consort of Gaurī, I do not bow down to anyone else; O Śiva, I do not utter anyone else’s name; I am dumb in regard to the expression of another’s name; I am deaf is respect to listening to another’s story.

64. I am lame in regard to the act of approaching another (god) and blind in looking up to anyone else. You are the only lord; you are the only creator.

65. You alone are the protector and the annihilator. Diversity is a misconception of the ignorant. Hence you alone are the refuge more and more, again and again.

66-67. O Maheśvara, lift me up drowning in the ocean of worldly existence.

After eulogizing Maheśāna thus, Jaigīṣavya, the great sage, kept quiet before Sthāṇu (Śiva) like a pillar.

On hearing this prayer of the sage, the Lord adorned with the moon, became delighted and said to the sage, “Ask for a boon.”

Jaigīṣavya said:

68. If the Lord of Devas is pleased, O Lord of Bhavānī, O bestower of the remote (inaccessible) status (Mokṣa), let me not be far off from your lotus-like feet.

69. O Lord, this is another boon which should be. given without hesitation: May there be your presence in the Liṅga installed by me.

Īśvara said:

70. O blessed Jaigīṣavya, O sinless one, may everything mentioned by you take place. Further, I shall grant you another desirable boon.

71. The Yogaśāstra that will facilitate the achievement of salvation is passed on to you. You will be the foremost Yogācārya among all Yogins.

72. O ascetic, with my favour, you will understand correctly the secret of Yogavidyā whereby you will attain salvation.

73. You will be my devotee devoid of old age and death like Nandin, Bhṛṅgin and Somanandin.

74. There are many Vratas; there are many varieties of holy observances and restraints. There are many kinds of austerities and there are many types of Dānas.

75. There are many ways of attaining the good and destroying sins. But greater than everything else is the holy observance practised by you.

76. This is the greatest holy observance that food is taken in only after seeing me. If anything is eaten without seeing and visiting me, it means only consumption of sin.

77. He who takes in leaves, fruits or flowers without worshipping (me) shall become deluded with the regular intake of semen (as food) for twenty-one births.

78. Other Niyamas and Yamas do not deserve even a sixteenth part of the great holy observance practised by you.

79. Henceforth you will be near the feet of mine in every respect forever. Hence there itself you will certainly attain the glory of ultimate salvation.

80. The Liṅga named Jaigīṣavyeśvara in Kāśī shall be the most precious of all. There is no doubt in this that after serving (that Liṅga) for three years one will attain Yoga.

81. With my blessings, a devotee eagerly engaged in practising Yoga after entering the cave of Jaigīṣavya, shall attain the desired fulfilment within six months.

82. This Liṅga of yours should be assiduously worshipped and the beautiful cave should be visited by devotees who desire the greatest achievement.

83. Hence in this Jyeṣṭheśvara Kṣetra, your Liṅga that yields all spiritual powers will, on being seen, touched and worshipped, destroy masses of sins.

84. If Śivayogins are fed in this Jyeṣṭheśvara Kṣetra the benefit thereof shall be that of feeding ten millions for each one (of the Yogins so fed).

85. Jaigīṣavyeśvara Liṅga should be assiduously guarded, especially in the Kali age, from those of perverted intellect.

86. O ascetic, I shall make my presence felt in this Liṅga forever, in order to bestow Yogic powers on the aspirants.

87. Listen, O blessed Jaigīṣavya, I shall grant another boon. The prayer composed and recited by you will be highly conducive to the achievement of Yogic power.

88. It will subdue great sins; it will increase great merits; it will suppress all great fears; it will increase great devotion.

89-91. Nothing is impossible to attain through the recitation of this prayer. Hence it should be assiduously recited by excellent aspirants.

After granting this boon to him, the smiling destroyer of Kāma turned towards the Brāhmaṇas residing in the holy spot who had assembled there.

Skanda said:

By listening to this unparalleled narrative assiduously a sensible man becomes free from sins. That man is never tormented by calamities.

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