The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes In Praise of Ratneshvara which is chapter 67 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-seventh chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 67 - In Praise of Ratneśvara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: Ratneśvara Liṅga is in the middie of the road from Maidagin to Mṛtyuñjaya. (BCL 358).

Agastya said:

1-2. O Six-faced Lord, narrate to me the origin of Ratneśvara, the great Liṅga in Kāśī reputed to be made of jewels. What is the greatness of this Liṅga? By whom has it been installed? Describe this in detail, O delighter of the heart of Gauri.

Skanda said:

3. O sage, I shall tell you the greatness of Ratneśvara and how that Liṅga manifested itself on the earth.

4. O sage, I shall narrate how that Liṅga came to appear. This is a Liṅga the name of which, when heard, shall destroy sins accrued in the course of three births.

5-6. The jewels that were kept in a heep by the King of Mountains to the north of Kālarāja (Kālabhairava) became a Liṅga consisting of all jewels, due to the meritoriousness of that Mountain. It has the lustre of all the previous stones and the splendour of Indra’s bow (Rainbow).

7-9. The jewel of wisdom is obtained merely at the sight of that Liṅga.

After visiting Śaileśvara, Śiva and Śivā came to the place where, O sage, the Ratnamaya Liṅga constituted of jewels, had manifested itself. The vast region of the firmament was pervaded by its sparkling clusters of lustre. On seeing that splendid Liṅga created out of all Ratnas and not seen before, Bhavānī asked Saṅkara:

10-12. “O Lord of Devas, O Lord of the universe, O bestower of freedom from fear on all devotees, whence has this Liṅga come? Its root penetrates as far as Pātāla. With its flames and rays it permeates the sky fully. Through its lustre it illuminates the quarters. What is its name? What is its form? O dispeller of Bhava (worldly existence), what is its power? Mere sight of this delights my mind, which feels pleased here alone. O Lord, be pleased to describe it.”

The Lord of Devas said:

13. O Aparṇā, Listen. I shall tell you, O Pārvatī, what you have been asking, the features of this Liṅga, the receptacle of all brilliance.

14. O fair lady, for your sake a huge collection of jewels was brought here by your father Himavān, the Lord of Mountains.

15. All these jewels had been acquired by Himādri through his own merit. He kept all those Ratnas (jewels) as a heap here and went back to his abode.

16. O sinless lady, whether it is for your sake or for my sake, whatever is offered with great faith at Kāśī will bear the fruit in this manner.

17. This Liṅga named Ratneśvara has my form and features alone. In Vārāṇasī its influence is very great, indeed, O Umā.

18. It is the very crest-jewel of all the Liṅgas here. Hence its name Ratneśvara. It bestows the greatest jewel in the form of salvation.

19. O Māheśvarī, get a mansion erected for this Liṅga with this gold kept in a heap by your father.

20. The merit of installing a Liṅga can be easily obtained by getting the mansion of the Liṅga built by a person of manifested fervour.

21. Saying “So be it”, the goddess engaged the numerous Gaṇas beginning: with Somanandin in the construction of the mansion, O sage.

22. Within a Yāma (3 hours) a golden palace resembling the peak of Meru was built by the Gaṇas. The palace had many wonderful things enhancing its variegated character.

23. As evidenced by her beaming face, the goddess became highly delighted on seeing the completed construction of the mansion. She honoured the Gaṇas by distributing presents among them.

24. Again, after due obeisance, the goddess asked Mahādeva about the greatness of this Liṅga, O great sage.

The Lord of Devas said:

25. O Devī, this Liṅga has already been in existence as it is beginningless; but it manifested itself due to the greatness of the merit of your father.

26. This is the greatest among great secrets in this holy spot. It accords whatever is thought of. In Kali age, it should be carefully kept as a secret from persons of defiled intellect.

27. Just as a precious stone kept hidden in the house is not known to others, so also is this Liṅga evolved out of Ratnas in my house Avimukta.

28. If Ratneśa is adored, O Pārvatī, it is as though all the Līṅgas in the entire universe have been worshipped by them.

29. O Gaurī, if people were to adore Ratneśa Liṅga even by some mistake, they will invariably become kings ruling the seven continents.

30. By adoring once the Liṅga named Ratneśvara, a man obtains all the objects which in value or importance are on a par with jewels in all the three worlds.

31. Those who worship Ratneśvara Liṅga without any desire will become my Gaṇas in the end and see me here.

32. Oh goddess, by adoring Ratneśa, that merit is obtained which, it is proclaimed, is the merit of chanting the Rudriya Mantras a crore times.

33. With respect to this Liṅga that has been existing without a beginning there is an event that happened before. I shall tell you that wonderful legend which will destroy all sins.

34-36. Formerly there was a dancing girl here named Kalāvatī. She was an adept in the art of dance. Once in the month of Phālguna, on the Śivarātri day, she kept awake throughout the night, danced and sang very sweetly. She was clever in playing on musical instruments too which she herself played. That dancing girl thus propitiated Ratneśvara Mahāliṅga by means of triple symphony and returned to her desired land.

37. There that excellent dancer met with death. She became the daughter of Vasubhūti, a king of Gandharvas.

38. That was due to the merit she acquired through music, instrumental and vocal, and dance displayed before the Lord during the period of keeping awake on the Śivarātri night.

39. She became famous by the name Ratnāvalī. She was beautiful with exquisite form and features. She was clever in all fine arts. Her speech was very sweet.

40. O Pot-born One(?), she delighted her father Vasubhūti always as she was very clever in all Gandharva arts and a veritable mine of the gems of good qualities.

41. O sage(?), she had three female companions of great skill and cleverness. Their names were Śaśilekhā, Anaṅgalekhā and Citralekhā.

42. Along with those three girls she (Ratnāvalī) meditated on the goddess of speech in one place. The delighted Sarasvatī granted all of them all the arts.

43. O Gaurī, due to the latent impressions of her practice in the previous birth, Ratnāvalī imposed upon herself the auspicious vow and observance of Ratneśvara Liṅga.

44-45. Her vow was: “It is only after visiting the jewel-made Liṅga in Kāśī of Ratneśvara everyday that I will utter a word.” That excellent daughter of the Gandharva used to visit the Liṅga everyday accompanied by those friends.

46. Once after propitiating this excellent Liṅga of mine, that girl adored me with a series of sweet songs.

47. O Umā, all the three friends had gone away for circumambulation. Satisfied by her songs, remaining stationed in the Liṅga, I granted a boon:

48. “O Gandharva girl, he who has a name similar to yours and will have his dalliance with you this night, will become your husband.”

49. After imbibing the nectar-like words that issued from the Liṅga even as the nectar issued from the ocean, she became highly delighted as well as bashful too.

50. Thereafter, along the aerial path she went to her father’s house in the company of her companions when she joyously divulged the news of the boon to the companions.

51. She was congratulated by the companions saying, “Excellent! Good fortune! Good luck!” They said further: “Today your desire will become fulfilled, due to your adoration of Ratneśvara.

52. If to-night that person who will take away your virginity comes, that thief should be carefully fettered with the cords of your creeper-like arms.

53. (If he is fettered) that fortunate fellow, your lover, directed by Ratneśa can be seen by us in the morning as the person granting you your desired boon.

54. It is a miracle that you could see the Lord directly in the Ratneśvara Liṅga, due to your weighty merit, when we had gone away delightedly.

55. Wonderful is the outcome of the fortune of men. Wonderful is the excess of their merit. Realization of the desire occurs only to one while many are standing together in one place.

56. ‘It is the fate alone that becomes fruitful. Neither endeavour nor any other powerful thing.’ So say those who support the contention of those who give importance to fate. They speak truth not falsehood.

57. Your endeavour as well as ours is one and the same. But fate makes one fruitful as in your case, and not so in our case.

58. But, O friend, it is only what is generally believed by people that is given expression to by us incidentally. But actually the fulfilment of your cherished desire is clearly the same as that of ours.”

59. Even as they were speaking thus, a long, endless way was left behind by them in a moment as though it was very insignificant. They reached their respective abodes.

60. Again in the morning, they all got up and gathered together in one place. She was silent but was clearly seen by them as though she had been sexually enjoyed.

61. Remaining silent throughout, she reached Kāśī and took her bath in the waters of Mandākinī along with her companions. She visited my Liṅga named Ratneśvara.

62. After fulfilling the conditions of her vow and observances, she became nervously bashful with eyes shrinking like buds. On being persistently asked by her friends she said:

Ratnāvalī said:

63-66. After concluding the journey to the shrine of Ratneśvara when you all returned to your respective abodes, I continued to remember the nectar-like words of Ratneśa. After elaborate and scrupulous make-up and embellishment of the limbs, I entered the bed chamber. As I was overzealous for seeing him, my eyes were deprived of sleep. But due to the weightiness of the inevitability of the future events, I was led to a dreamy state forcibly. There had been two causes for my self-forgetfulness. Utter lassitude and the gentle touch of his limbs dispelled my consciousness. I was already helpless due to lassitude and further due to his touch.

67-70. I do not know what happened thereafter including who I was, where I was and who he was. As he was about to go out, dear friends, I stretched my arms to catch hold of him, when my bangles behaved inimically jingling excessively. I was brought to the state of wakefulness slightly on account of that loud sound. After being submerged in the nectarine whirlpool of continuous pleasure, I was forcibly made to fall within a moment into the flames of the fire of separation from him. I do not know to which family he belongs or to which land. I do not know what his name is. But, O friends, the great fire of separation from him distresses me very much.

71-75. My mind is excessively anxious with the hope of a subsequent contact with him. There is only one effective medicine for the vital breaths which are about to depart from the body, O friends, and that is seeing again that man enjoyed in the night. The chance for a second vision of him for me depends upon you all, O my companions. Which girl will utter a lie to her friends charming and affectionate? The vital breaths will continue within me if he is seen. Otherwise they will depart. The tenth state (of certain death) will get ready to afflict me.

On hearing these words of that distressed girl, they too experienced trepidation of the heart. They looked at each other and said:

The Girl Companions said:

76. O fair lady, how is he to be found out when neither his name, nor his native village, nor his ancestry are known? What means of remedy can be employed?

77-79. On hearing their words expressive of doubts, that girl could say only partially what she wanted to say. Before completing her statement she swooned. She evidently wanted to say, “O my friends, you have no power in the task of enabling me to meet him again.” Thereupon the female companions did everything necessary to remove distress and restore consciousness by applying cooling materials.

80. When she could not be brought back to consciousness from the swoon by means of the cooling process, Ratneśa-Snapanodakam [Snapanodaka] (the water with which the Ratneśvara Liṅga was bathed) was brought by one of the friends.

81. When she was sprinkled with it, she was revived from the state of swooning immediately, as though she woke from sleep. Just then she began to say, “Śiva! Śiva!”

Skanda said:

82. Even when there is great calamity and torment no devotee with abiding faith has any other remedy except the water with which the feet of the Lord have been washed.

83. Even those ailments within the body or outside the body (i.e. internal and external ailments) which are incurable, perish by touching (and sipping) the water of the Lord with great faith. Not otherwise.

84. He, by whom the water from the feet of the Lord has been resorted to, becomes pure within and without. No wretched state overtakes him.

85. The water from the glorious feet (of the Lord) shall dispel all the three types of distress—that caused by other living beings or bhūtas (elements), that by supernatural beings, and that caused by bodily ailments.

86. The daughter of the Gandharva got rid of her feverish ailment. Tender and decisively bold in her intellect and fully aware of what was relevant, she said thus to her companions:

Ratnāvalī said:

87. O Śaśilekhā, Anaṅgalekhā and Citralekhā, how are you all incapacitated to fulfil my desire? Where are your famous arts and skills?

88. With the favour of Ratneśvara, an effective means of getting at my lover has been perceived by me. You wish me well. So carry it out.

89. O Śaśilekhā, you draw all the Devas for the purpose of getting at the desired one. O Anaṅgalekhā, you draw all the young men moving about all over the earth.

90. O Citralekhā, you draw pictures of all those who are in the nether worlds embellished with the freshness of youth.

91. On hearing this, those companions praised her cleverness and drew the pictures of the young men richly endowed with prime of youth.

92. The Gandharva girl who was (fresh and beautiful) like dawn, looked at those kings and others possessing glorious forms above the state of boyhood and fully endowed with the vigour of manhood.

93. That girl of splendid eyes looked at all the Suras, but did not give up the unsteadiness of her eyes in regard to those heaven-dwellers.

94. Next even after seeing the sages and princes residing in the middle world (i.e. Earth) the love-lorn girl did not get any pleasure anywhere.

95. Thereafter, Ratnāvalī, a girl with excellent eyes extending up to the ears, saw the pictures of the young men of the nether worlds.

96. That Gandharva girl saw the young men of Daityas and Danujas but did not feel any attraction for them. She became all the more distressed by the arrows of Manmatha.

97. Her tender limbs became excessively distressed even when the nectarine rays of the moon touched her. Seeing the serpent youths she heaved a slight sigh.

98. Even when she saw those Bhogins (Serpents, enjoyers of pleasure) painted in the picture, it is surprising that the princess became for a moment as though she had enjoyed the pleasures.

99. She saw severally all the youths born of Śeṣa family, Takṣaka family as well as Vāsuki family.

100. After seeing the scions of the families of Pulīka, Ananta, Karkoṭa and Bhadra and other Nāga youths she saw Śaṅkhacūḍa.

101. Merely at the sight of Śaṅkhacūḍa she became excessively bashful. She experienced horripilation in every limb and joint.

102. From that excess of bashfulness her lover who deprived her of her virginity was inferred by Citralekhā, the most skilful of all.

103. Thereupon Citralekhā, clever in practical jokes, quickly threw the hem of a variegated cloth over the painting canvas and covered it.

104. Keeping quiet due to bashfulness, Ratnāvalī looked at Citralekhā with a crooked glance, while her lips throbbed.

105. Anaṅgalekhā was glanced at suggestively by Śaśilekhā. She removed the hem of the variegated cloth thrown over by Citralekhā.

106. The daughter of Vasubhūti, the splendid girl Ratnāvalī, saw Ratnacūḍa in the midst of the members of his (Ratnacūḍa’s) family.

107. At the very moment when he was seen, her eyes were filled with tears of joy. Her cheeks were covered with drops of perspiration.

108. Her creeper-like tender body trembled with hairs standing on ends all over. With eyes closed giving them the appearance of buds, she stood (motionless) as though painted in a picture.

109. Thereupon Citralekhā came near the distressed girl and comforted her: “Do not be worried, O Gandharva girl. Now your desire has been fulfilled.

110. O friend, do not grieve over (anything). Everything concerning this (lover) has become known, such as nature, land, name, lineage etc. Moreover he is easy of access, since he has been given to you by Ratneśvara.

111. Indeed, you have been made satisfied by Ratneśa through the acquisition of a befitting bridegroom. Get up. We shall go home. Ratneśa is the bestower of everything on us.”

112. As they were travelling by the aerial path they were seen by chance by Subāhu, a Dānava, residing in the nether worlds.

113. Carrying off all those four like a lion with awful fangs and jaw seizing hinds in a desolate forest, he set out towards his abode.

114. On seeing the Dānava with a countenance rendered hideous through his curved fangs and the eyes blood-red, those Gandharva girls began to tremble (through great fear).

115. “O mother, O father, save us. Alas! Fate, do not let this happen that is about to happen in a cruel way to helpless girls.

116. Alas! O Fate, what is it that we, the unfortunate ones, have done? Is even a sinful word ever uttered even mentally?

117. Excepting children’s toys, excepting the adoration of Ratneśvara and excepting the good acts by way of being the dependents of our parents, we do not know of anything self-willed.

118. We are going towards the nether worlds. We are wretched. We do not have anyone to help and lead. We are feeble girls seeking succour, O omnipresent Ratneśa, O Śaṃbhu, who are there to protect us?”

119. As the Gandharva girls were lamenting thus like afflicted ones seeking compassion the magnanimous Ratnacūḍa, the king of Serpents, heard them.

120. “Who is this uttering the name of my Lord Ratneśa, the great Lord of Liṅgas, the Lord who severs the bondage of Karma?”

121. Again he heard the cry of distress issuing from the mouths of those girls: “O Ratneśa, save, save us.” On hearing it, he seized his weapons and set out.

122. Ratnacūḍa saw that demon of evil activities who was excessively frantic and furious by imbibing liquid suet and human flesh.

123-126. He rebuked him thus: “O wretched one, O abductor of cultured girls, having come within my view, where will you go, you base one?

O evil-minded one, your life-breath will be knocked off by my arrows as my mind is determined to save the distress ones. So proceed ahead in your journey towards the city of Yama.

At the time of danger or even of utter annihilation, if people utter the name of Ratneśvara with terrified minds, they need not entertain fear from people like you.

If men are given succour by the great name of Ratneśvara, they need not be afraid of rebirths, old age, sickness, Kali age and the god of Death.”

127. After saying thus (to the demon), he assured and said, “Do not be afraid”, to those terror-stricken (girls) with their eyes turned towards his face like hinds sniffed at by a tiger.

128. After consoling the Gandharva girls thus, that son of the Serpent king drew the bowstring fully up to his ear and discharged the arrow.

129. That king of demons who became infuriated like a serpent kicked by foot, whirled with great force a huge iron bar that resembled the staff of the god of Death and hurled it.

130. If Ratneśvara Liṅga manifests prominently within the heart, even the thick staff of Kāla is but a small firebrand in his case.

131. With his great arrows, he (Ratnacūḍa) split the iron bar into two while it was in the middle (in the air) like the life of one of wicked activity gets cut short in the prime.

132-134. Thereafter, he discharged an arrow having the lustre of Kālānala (Death-fire) against the demon. That arrow entered his heart, searched scrupulously within (and understood the wickedness within his heart), dislodged the life breath within and returned to the quiver by itself. Probably the arrow of the serpent prince had gone to proclaim these things to the Maidens of the Quarters.

135. (The arrow might have said:) “If anyone wishes to enjoy happiness through articles acquired by illegitimate means, those articles along with his vital breaths do vanish. Where is his happiness then?”

136-138. After killing the Dānava in this manner, the mighty king of Serpents spoke to the girls: “Who are you? Whose daughters? How did you come into contact with this wicked demon? Where was Ratneśvara Liṅga seen by you all? By uttering the syllables constituting his name you could have got rid of the great dangers. You all tell it quickly so that I can get at the facts.”

139. On hearing these excessively loving and endearing words, the girls (whispered to each other) looking at each other’s face: “Who is this resembling someone seen before?

140. Who is this friendly person without an ulterior motive? He has somehow made his presence in the desolate wilderness staking his life. He has saved us, the girls.

141. The senses are fickle naturally, but on seeing him they have become relieved (i.e. calmed down) as if nectar has been imbibed (by them).

142. Even after seeing another more beautiful object, our eyes are not inclined to proceed elsewhere.

143. After tasting the sweetness of the nectarine words, our ears do not evince any expectation of grasping other words from the source.

144. These feet though they are usually active in moving about, have become lame even though they have perceived this youth who is the thief of the excellent jewel of our minds.”

145. Thus those girls spoke to each other in undertone. Though those girls had already seen him in the picture standing amidst (others), they did not recognize him.

146. Those fawn-eyed ones perhaps did not see him clearly because their eyes had been rendered blind due to the excessive agitation caused by the confrontation with the demon of extremely terrible form and features.

147-149. They spoke to that youth who had saved their lives: “Indeed, Sir, what has been asked by your esteemed self with an endearing mind, we shall explain completely. Please be attentive for a moment. This is the daughter of Vasubhūti, the king of Gandharvas, Ratnāvalī by name. This girl is a veritable mine of the gems of good qualities. We are her friends, following her always like a shadow.

150. Ever since her childhood, she has been going to Kāśī always for worshipping the Liṅga named Ratneśvara. She has been permitted by her father too.

151-152. A boon has been granted to her by the delighted Lord Śaṃbhu: ‘(Someone) having his name similar to yours, O virgin, will violate your virginity in dream. He will be your husband.’ This girl is excessively sad after enjoying the youth with whom she had dalliance during the dream.

153. She is further distressed much with the fire of separation from him. Through our skill in arts that youth has been shown to her in a picture.

154. She has been revived by seeing him painted in a picture, albeit the name of his residence or family was not known.

155-159. Thereafter, we bowed down to Ratneśvara. She was eager to return to her abode. We were also going along with her when in an isolated place in the aerial path, a certain base demon came there all of a sudden. Seizing us he entered the nether worlds. Subsequently your esteemed self, yourself have known the base fellow. Indeed, Sir, our personal information has been narrated to you. O storehouse of mercy, be gracious enough to reveal to us who you are. Ever since that evil demon was seen by us our eyes have become blinded as though lightning has struck them down. We are ones who flee due to fear, O saviour from fear; we do not know anything. Where are we? Who are we? Who are you? What has happened? What is about to happen?”

160. On hearing this, the prince of serpents, a meritorious soul with decent intellect, consoled those terror-stricken girls speaking thus:

161. “Come with me. I shall show Ratneśvara to you.” Inviting them thus, he led them to the tank of sports with pleasing excellent water.

162. The steps leading to the water were made of gems of different colours. Swans and ruddy geese were chirping loudly. It appeared as though the tank itself was welcoming them under the pretext of the shrill cries of the aquatic birds.

163. There in accordance with his instructions, they got into the sport tank along with their clothes, flowers and ornaments and then emerged therefrom.

164-165. After coming out, the Gandharva girls found themselves made invisible as it were. On seeing the temple of Ratneśa near Kālarāja, they spoke to one another in great surprises: “Is this a dream or reality? Or is this a playful trick of Ratneśvara?

166. Are we ourselves under some illusion? Are we not Gandharva girls at all? What is this, we do not know. This is something like the play of a juggler.

167. This is Gaṅgā flowing northwards, it is quite clear. This is the tank of Śaṅkhacùḍa. This is the temple of Śaṅkhacūḍa.

168. This is the Paṅcanada Tīrtha. This is the temple of Vāgīśvara, a visit to which results in the enhancement of eloquent speech.

169. This is Śaṅkhacūḍeśvara installed by Śaṅkhacūḍa. The visit to this Lord removes the fear arising from Kālasarpa (Black Serpent, i.e. god of Death).

170. This is the pool named Mandākinī, the receptacle of meritorious holy waters. Men performing all the water rites herein, do not re-enter the mortal world.

171. This is Goddess Āśāpurī on the splendid banks of Mandākinī. She was eulogized by Tripurāri (Śiva) when he was desirous of conquering Tripura.

172. Even today when she is adored by men, she fulfills the hopes and ambitions of the suppliants.

This deity Siddhyaṣṭakeśvara is to the west of Mandākinī.

173. By his adoration one will clearly get the eight Siddhis in one’s house. There itself is the holy pit named Siddhyaṣṭaka with waters free from Rajas (dust particles, Rajas quality).

174. One who takes his holy bath here and performs Śrāddha, shall go to heaven free from Rajas quality. Those eight Siddhis are corporeal spiritual powers granting all the Siddhis in Kaśi [Kāśī?].

175. This deity Mahārāja Vināyaka is the bestower of all Siddhis. If men bow down to him their obstacles perish.

176. This is the lofty palace of Siddheśvara shining with gold and having gem-set flagstaff and banners. By visiting this deity one shall attain Siddhis.

177. In the middle portion of the holy spot is the deity Madhyameśvara. By visiting this deity one can terminate one’s stay in the middle and nether worlds.

178. By adoring Madhyameśa ardently men shall become lords of the Earth extending to the oceans. Thereafter, one attains salvation.

179. Airāvateśvara Liṅga is towards the east thereof. It causes the achievement of the desired objects. In the banner thereof is seen the elephant Airāvata.

180. This is the place of Vṛddhakāleśvara built with jewels. On the night of every new-moon day, the Moon stays there along with the stars.

181. If the deity is visited by men, Kāla will not be powerful in the worldly existence. Kali will not be powerful. Truly, heaps of sins will not be powerful.”

182. Even as the excited girls were discussing Vasuvibhūti, the Ganḍdharva, came there hurriedly.

183-187. He had heard everything beginning with the news regarding the demon Subāhu; how his daughter Ratnāvalī who was pleased (on account of the boon from Ratneśvara) was abducted along with her friends while returning from the shrine of Ratneśvara in an isolated place in the aerial path; how he took them to Pātāla; how a fight ensued; how he was killed by Ratnacūḍa, a devotee of Ratneśa; how that demon Subāhu was killed by that great warrior wielding a big bow with a single arrow; how (Ratnacūḍa) who was asked about the news, brought them through the sport tank to Śaṅkhacūḍa’s tank which extended to Pātāla too; how they saw Kāśī when they emerged therefrom and; how they became extremely excited though they eagerly saw everything.

188. The king of Gandharvas saw his daughter as though she was reborn. The natural beauty of her lotus-like face was a bit faded due to fear lurking yet. She was there along with her friends.

189. He embraced her again and again, sniffed at her head and kissed her forehead. He took her on his lap and eagerly asked her about all the events.

190. She told him the details of the story of the abduction omitting the acquisition of the boon from Ratneśvara and the incident of the dream.

191. Understanding perfectly what Ratnāvalī was thinking in her mind through her facial gestures, Śaśilekhā narrated in clear terms everything in detail.

192. The king of Gandharvas became pleased and considered himself blessed. He joyously extolled the prowess of Ratneśvara.

Skanda said:

193-198. Listen, O excellent sage, O restrainer of the growth of Vindhya. Everyday Ratnacūḍa who had perfect control over his senses, used to come out from Nāgaloka through the path of the tank. After taking his holy bath in the waters of Mandākinī, he worshipped Ratneśvara offering eight handfuls of gems. Then he joyously placed eight golden lotuses (near the deity). Once during sleep, Ratneśa in the form of a Liṅga spoke to Ratnacūḍa, his devotee of steadfast vows: “You will rescue a girl abducted by a demon after defeating him in battle. She will become your wife.” That magnanimous king of serpents remembered this boon. After killing the demon he released the girl by his prowess. Through the path of the tank he brought her to the earth once again.

199-203. Thereafter he did as he was wont to do everyday. The wise youth worshipped the Liṅga, circumambulated and came out of the beautiful Maṇḍapa of Ratneśvara. Thereupon he was repeatedly pointed out to Vasubhūti, the king of Gandharvas, with the tip of the index finger by them, “This is that blessed youth.”

On seeing the prince of serpents, the king of Gandharvas became delighted with hairs standing on ends. His eyes beamed with smile in his face. He thought in his mind thus after seeing him, of youthful form and nobility of birth: ‘I am blessed. I have been favoured by Ratneśa by offering me an excellent bridegroom This girl too is blessed, because her husband is quite suitable to her.’

204-206. After thinking thus he called the charming youth to him and asked him his name and family. He considered the pros and cons and before Ratneśvara gave his daughter to him joyously he took him to the world of Gandharvas and performed all the auspicious rites. He honoured him with Madhuparka and made him hold her hand (in marriage ceremony). As required by the due marital rite, he gave him many jewels.

207. Śaśilekhā, Anaṅgalekhā and Citralekhā too informed their respective parents and wooed him as their husband.

208. After marrying all the four splendid Gandharva girls Ratnacūḍa went to the palace of his father along with them.

209-210. He went to his father like Praṇava proceeding towards Siva along with the four Śrutis. The king of serpents prostrated at the feet of his parents along with the newly wedded brides. He duly informed him about the grace of Ratneśa. He was congratulated duly by the parents and he spent the days happily along with them.

Īśvara said:

211. O Daughter of the Mountain, Ratneśvara is my immobile Liṅga. It bestows everything on everyone. It’s power is unparalleled.

212. In this Liṅga thousands of Siddhas have attained great spiritual powers. O lady of slender waist, till today this Liṅga remained hidden.

213. Ratneśa has been brought into manifestation through great jewels acquired through merit by Himavān, your father and a devotee of mine in all respects.

214. O Daughter of the King of Mountains, I love this Liṅga very much. This Liṅga should be assiduously worshipped in Vārāṇasī.

215. O Umā, O my beloved, by the blessings of Ratneśa many jewels are acquired, jewel of a son, jewel of a wife etc. and even heavenly pleasures and salvation.

216. One who bows down to Ratneśvara but dies elsewhere never returns from heaven even after hundreds of crores of Kalpas.

217. A devotee should observe fast on the fourteenth day in the dark half and keep awake at night in the vicinity of Ratneśvara. He will attain Sānnidhya i.e. proximity to me.

218. O my beloved, in your previous birth, due to your devotion to me, Dākṣāyaṇīśvara Liṅga was installed by you to the east of this Liṅga.

219. A man can avoid going to wretched state by visiting it. There your name is Aṃbikā and I am Aṃbikeśvara.

220. O lady of excellent waist, your son Ṣaḍānana is also in the form of an image there. O Umā, by visiting these three a man can avoid re-entry into a womb (i.e. is liberated).

221. The greatness of Ratneśvara has been described to you by me. It should be carefully kept secret from persons whose minds are defiled by the sins of Kali age.

222. He who reads always this narrative of Ratneśvara is never separated from sons, grandsons and cattle wealth.

223. On hearing the origin of Ratneśvara along with the legends thereon, an excellent bachelor obtains an excellent jewel of a girl, befitting his family. This is true.

224. A girl who listens to this fascinating legend with faith gets a good husband and will be a chaste lady.

225. On hearing this Itihāsa (legend) no man or woman will be distressed due to the fire of separation from the beloved ones.

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