The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Origin of Krittivasas which is chapter 68 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-eighth chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 68 - The Origin of Kṛttivāsas

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This Liṅga is to the north-cast of Maidagin. It is one most ancient Liṅga in Kāśī. The temple was destroyed by Aurangazeb and a mosque was built but it is opened to Hindus on Śivarātri day.

Skanda said:

1. Listen to another event, O eminent Brāhmaṇa, that happened there. It causes great wonder and dispels great sins.

2. While Maheśvara was narrating the story of Ratneśa thus, there was heard a great tumultuous cry everywhere, “Save, save.”

3. “This son of demon Mahiṣa, the demon Gajāsura is coming here, crushing all the Pramathas. He is haughty and proud due to his prowess.

4. Wherever he sets his foot, the ground (under his feet) shakes there due to his weight.

5. By the force of his thighs trees fall down. On being hit by his baton-like arms, mountains and their peaks get crushed to powder.

6. Getting entangled with his hairs, clouds leave off the sky but do not give up the blue colour due to the contact thereof.

7. By the heavy exhalation of his breath oceans get surged up with high tides, while rivers along with aquatic animals, become full of heavy waves.

8. The body of this demon, an adept in sorcery, is nine thousand Yojanas in height and as many in girth.

9. The tawny colour and the glaring lustre of his eyes has gone over to lightning-streak, which is not given up even today (by it). And here he dashed hurriedly.

10. Whichever quarter this irresistible Dānava approaches, it becomes level and even throughout without ups and downs, as if by the terror of him certainly.

11. Having acquired boons from Brahmā, this demon considers the three worlds as insignificant as a blade of grass (thinking within), ‘I cannot be killed by women or men overwhelmed by lust.’

12. The Trident-wielding Lord knew that the great Daitya rushing towards him could not be killed by anything else and hit him with the trident.

13. Pierced through by the trident (and raised aloft) the demon Gajāsura thought that he was made to resemble an umbrella. He said to Hara (Śiva):

Gajāsura said:

14. O Trident-armed Lord of Devas, I know that you are the slayer of Smara (Lord of love). O destroyer of Puras, my death at your hands is conducive to my welfare indeed.

15. I wish to submit something. Please attend to what I say. I tell you the truth, not the untruth. O Mṛtyuñjaya (‘conqueror of death’) consider this.

16. You are the only Lord worthy of the reverence of all the worlds. You are stationed above the entire universe and I am now stationed above (you). Hence this is my victory!

17. If I am to die at the tip of your trident I am blessed. I have been favoured. Everyone has to die in due course of time. But a death like this is conducive to welfare.

18. On hearing these words of his, the Lord of Devas, the storehouse of compassion, Saṃbhu laughingly replied to Gajāsura, O Pot-born One:

Īśvara said:

19. O Gajāsura with great manliness as your asset, I am delighted. Mention a boon befitting you. I shall grant it, O Asura of good intellect.

20-21. On hearing this, that great Daitya replied to Maheśvara:

Gajāsura said:

O Lord with the quarters for your robes, if you are pleased, O three-eyed one, always wear this hide of mine. It has been sanctified by the fire from your trident. It fits you in size. It is smooth to touch. It has been won as a stake in the battlefield.

22. May it always have a pleasing odour. May it always be very tender. May it always be free from impurities. May it always be an excellent decoration.

23. O Lord, though it was subjected to the flames of the fire of great penance for a long time (or as it had survived the fire of your third eye), this hide has never been burnt. Hence it is the storehouse of merit and fragrance.

24. If my hide Rad not been meritorious, O quarter-clad one, how could it have come into contact with you in the battlefield?

25. O Śaṅkara, if you are pleased, grant me another boon. From today onwards, may you have the name ‘Kṛttivāsas.’

26. On hearing these words of his, Śaṅkara said, “So be it” and further said to that Daitya whose mind was purified by devotion:

Īśvara said:

27-28. O storehouse of merit, O great Daitya, listen to another rare boon. You have cast off your body in a battle in the great holy spot Avimukta. May this holy body of yours become my Liṅga in this holy spot, the means of salvation, the bestower of salvation on all here.

29. This will be known by the name Kṛttivāseśvara. It will be destructive of great sins. It will be at the top (i.e. greatest) of all Liṅgas. It will be the most excellent.

30. It will be the most excellent of all the Liṅgas in Vārāṇasī, even of the greatest ones. It will be the most excellent one (among them) like the head.

31. For the sake of the welfare of men, I shall stay here along with the members of my family and followers. When this Liṅga is visited, worshipped and eulogized, the man will become blessed. He will not reenter the world.

32-38. I shall stay in the Kṛttivāseśvara liṅga in order to bless all those who stay in Avimukta—Rudras, Pāśupatas, Siddhas, sages, philosophers, quiescent ones, men with control of sense-organs, those who have conquered anger, persons unafflicted by the opposing pairs (such as pleasure and pain), those who do not have possessions, those who are devoted to me, those who are desirous of salvation, those who are equally unaffected by honour and insult, and those who view a lump of clay, a stone and a piece of gold alike.

Undoubtedly three times everyday, ten thousand crores of Tīrthas approach Kṛttivāsa. All these become rid of their sins when they approach Kṛttivāseśvara: Men of Kali and Dvāpara ages with foul and sinful intellect, those who do not follow the practice of the good, those who are averse to truthfulness and cleanliness, those who are carried away by Māyā, hypocrisy, covetousness, delusion and egotism, Brāhmaṇas partaking of the cooked food of Śùdras, gourmets, gourmands, too greedy ones, and those whose minds are far removed from Sandhyā prayers, holy baths, Japas and adorations. They will attain salvation easily like persons of great meritorious deeds.

39-41. Hence Kṛttivāseśvara Liṅga in Kāśī should be resorted to by men. Salvation which cannot be easily achieved elsewhere in thousands of births can be obtained in Kṛttivāseśvara Liṅga within a single birth. The sins committed in the previous births shall perish slowly due to penance, Dāna etc. But if Kṛttivāseśvara is visited they perish immediately. Men who worship Kṛttivāseśvara Liṅga have actually entered my body. They are not reborn.

42. In Avimukta, people should stay here. They should chant Śatarudriya Mantras and Lord Kṛttivāseśvara should be visited again and again.

43. By worshipping Kṛttivāsas in Kāśī, one obtains that benefit which is obtained when seven crores of Mahārudra Mantras are chanted flawlessly,

44. On the fourteenth day in the dark half of Māgha a devotee should observe fast, worship Kṛttivāseśa and keep awake at night. He will attain the great goal.

45. He who celebrates great festival on the full-moon day in Caitra month around Kṛttivāseśvara Liṅga will not enter any womb.

46. After saying this, the Quarter-clad Lord of Devas accepted the great hide of Gajāsura and wore it.

47. O Pot-born One, there was a great celebration of a festival on that day when the Quarter-clad attained Kṛttivāsatva (state of wearing the hide).

48. When the trident was lifted up at the place where the Daitya was impaled on the trident and raised up as an umbrella, a great holy Kuṇḍa (pit) took shape (was formed).

49. A devotee should take his holy bath in that Kuṇḍa, offer libations to the ancestors and visit Kṛttivāseśvara. He will be blessed.

Skanda said:

50. Listen, O Agastya, to what happened in that Tīrtha. By the power of that Tīrtha crows got transformed into swans.

51-53. Formerly there was a religious festival at Kṛttivāsa on the full-moon day in the month of Citrā. The cooked rice offered was obtained and kept in a heap by many priests. O Brāhmaṇa, birds flocked there on seeing it and they began to fight with one another in the sky for the cooked rice. The crows with limbs not developed well began to crow in harsh sounds when hit by the crows of fully developed limbs. The weaker ones were struck down by the stronger ones.

54. On being struck down, they fell down into that Kuṇḍa from the sky above. Since they were destined to live further, the crows were saved. They were transformed into swans.

55-56. People assembled there for the festival became surprised. Pointing out to them with their fingers, they exclaimed, “See, O Lord! Even as we were watching, the crows which fell into the Kuṇḍa here became Dhārtarāṣṭras (swans with black-feet and beaks), due to the power of this Tīrtha.”

57. Ever since then, O Pot-born One, that Kuṇḍa near Kṛttivāsa became well-known in the world by the name Haṃsa Tīrtha.

58. Those who become highly defiled in their souls due to excessively dirty, sinful activities become pure instantaneously when they perform all the water rites at Haṃsa Tīrtha.

59. One should always live in Kāśī, should bathe in Haṃsa Tīrtha, Kṛttivāsa should be visited and the greatest position (Mokṣa) should be attained.

60. O sage, at every step, there are many Liṅgas in Kāśī. But Kṛttivāseśvara Liṅga is remembered as the head of all the Liṇgas.

61. After propitiating Kṛttivāsa with the mind full of devotion, one attains the benefit arising from the worship of all the Liṅgas in Kāśī.

62. Whatever rite is performed in the vicinity of Kṛttivāsa—Japa, Dana, Tapas and Homa, libations and adoration of the deity, becomes endless in its benefit.

63. This Tīrtha has been in existence from times immemorial, O Pot-born One. It manifested itself, due to the presence of Lord Maheśa.

64. These Siddha Liṅgas become concealed in the different Yugas. Buy by the presence of Śaṃbhu, they manifest themselves again.

65. Around Haṃsa Tīrtha, O sage, there are ten thousand and two hundred Liṅgas installed here by excellent sages.

66. Everyone of these Liṅgas, beginning with Kātyāyaneśa and ending with Cyavaneśa, accords spiritual powers to the residents of Avimukta.

67. The great Lomaśeśa Liṅga was installed by Lomaśa to the west of Kṛttivāsas. If a devotee visits it, where is the fear of the god of Death?

68. The great auspicious Mālatīśa Liṅga is to the north of Kṛttivāsa. By adoring that Liṅga a king becomes lord of elephants.

69. The Liṅga called Antakeśvara is stationed to the north thereof. One even with great sins becomes rid of all sins by visiting it.

70. The great Janakeśa Liṅga at its side is the great bestower of knowledge. By worshipping that Liṅga knowledge of Brahman is attained.

71. To the north thereof is Bhairava of dark-coloured limbs and a huge image By visiting it men can ward off the sight of Yama.

72. Goddess Śuṣkodarī with awful eyes is also there to the north of Kṛttivāsa. She devours the obstacles of Kāśī.

73. To the south-west of the goddess is the Vetāla (Spirit, ghost) named Agnijihva. Adored on Tuesday, he bestows all desired objectives and powers.

74. There is the Vetālakuṇḍa there that dispels all ailmerits. Cuts, tumours and other ailments and pain vanish when the waters of the Kuṇḍa come into contact with them.

75. A devotee who scrupulously takes his holy bath in the Vetālakuṇḍa and bows down to Vetāla shall obtain all the desired objectives difficult of access to all embodied beings.

76. There is the Gaṇa there with two arms, four feet and five heads. Immediately after visiting it, sins are destroyed and split into a thousand.

77. O Sage, to the north thereof is Rudra, the terrible one, with four horns (Vedas), three feet (the Savanas), two heads (the Prāyaṇīya, introductory rite, and Udayanīya, concluding rite). He has seven hands (the Vedic Metres).

78-81. O Pot-born One, he (Lord Rudra) cries out as follows, in the shape of Vṛṣa (Bull, Dharma) and bound in three ways (by means of Mantras, Brāhmaṇas and Kalpas): “Those who are evil-intentioned ones in Kāśī and those who bring in obstacles to Kāśī—it is to cut them off that I am holding the dagger. Those who are pious-minded in Kāśī and those who remove obstacles in Kāśī—it is to make their families flourish that I hold the Amṛta jar in my hand.”

If a devotee visits Vṛṣarudra and worships him with devotion and great means of service, he is never assailed by obstacles.

To the northern quarter of Rudra is the serpent deity named Maṇipradīpa.

82-83. Beyond it is Maṇikuṇḍa. It is a great holy Kuṇḍa that dispels poison and ailments. A devotee should take his holy ablution in the Kuṇḍa and visit the serpent-deity. He should obtain a kingdom full of jewels and rubies, abounding in elephants, horses and chariots and richly endowed with excellent wives and sons.

84-85. There is no doubt in this that if Kṛttivāseśvara Liṅga in Kāśī has not been visited those people will be mere burdens of the world.

Skanda said:

Those men who hear the origin of Kṛttivāsa and visit his Liṅga will attain welfare. There is no doubt about it.

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