The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,763,776 words

This page describes Manifestation of Vireshvara which is chapter 83 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 eighty-third chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 83 - Manifestation of Vīreśvara

The Queen said:

1. O king, pay attention. I shall describe the actual mode of performing this Vrata, its benefit and the desired deity.

2. Formerly this Vrata was recounted by Nārada, the son of Brahmā, to Ṛddhi, the wife of Kubera, of glorious countenance who was desirous of a son.

3. It was duly performed by that goddess and the son Nala Kūbara was born. Due to this Vrata sons have been acquired by many other women too.

4. Gaurī conversant with the mode of the rite should be duly worshipped along with the child sucking the breast milk with upturned face.

5-10. On the third day in the bright half of Mārgaśīrṣa, the devotee places a pot upon which a copper pot is placed. This copper pot is (to be) filled with rice grains. A cloth, new, untorn and coloured with turmeric is to be placed (as a cover) on the copper pot. It will be of very fine texture. A splendid lotus blossomed by the rays of the Sun is placed upon it. An idol of Brahmā made of four gold coins (eighty Rattīs) is placed on the pericarp of the lotus and is adored devoutly with jewels, silk clothes etc., flowers of various kinds, and with sweet fruits such as oranges etc., sandal-paste and other fragrant substances, camphor and musk, Naivedya offerings such as milk pudding etc., and sweetmeats of diverse shapes and sizes and with incense in which Agallochum is prominent. At night the devotee and his people should keep awake in a flower-bedecked pavilion keeping the sleep away performing great festivities.

11-15. In the sacrificial pit a Hasta in diameter the Brāhmaṇa conversant with Mantras should consign into the fire full-blown thousand lotuses after soaking them with ghee and honey repeating the Mantra Jātavedase.

He should make the gift of a newly calved, tawny-coloured, well-behaved milch cow to the preceptor, with befitting ornaments. After devoutly observing the fast, the couple will wear fresh clothes.

In the morning of the Caturthī day, the joyous couple should honour the preceptor with clothes, ornaments, garlands and monetary gifts. The idol with all the requisite appurtenances should be given to the Ācārya. The couple observing the Vrata should repeat this Mantra.

16. “O creative energy! O Goddess conversant with the mode of creation of the universe and creating diverse things! Propitiated by this splendid Vrata, grant us a son who will continue the lineage.”

17. A thousand Brāhmaṇas should be fed with great devotion. (The Vrata-observing couple) should break the fast with the remaining food.

18. O king, it is thus that I wish to observe the Vrata along with you. Do this favour unto me for the sake of the acquisition of the desired benefit.

19. The excellent king heard this with great delight in his mind. O sage, the Vrata was duly observed and she became pregnant.

20-22. Gaurī who was propitiated with devotion was requested by the pregnant woman: “O Mahāmāyā, grant me a son born of a part of Viṣṇu. As soon as he is born, he will go to the heaven and return here. He will be a great devotee of Sadāśiva and become well-known in the entire world.

Without being fed at the breasts, he will instantly be a sixteen year old boy. O Gaurī, make if possible that such a son is born to me.”

23. The words “So it will be” were uttered by Mṛḍānī who was much pleased with the devotion. In due course she gave birth to the son with the Mūla star at his nativity.

24. Even as she lay in the lying-in-chamber she was informed by the ministers, her well-wishers, “O queen, if you seek (the well-being of) the king abandon the son born under the malignant star.”

25. On hearing the words of the ministers she who considered her husband as her deity and who was wise in following what is expedient, abandoned the son who was acquired in that manner.

26-30. She summoned the nurse. The queen spoke this to her, “There is the Mātṛkā deity named Vikaṭā in the great Pañcamudra Mahāpīṭha. Dear nurse, place this child in front of her and submit thus, “This child is granted by Gaurī. He has been placed in front of you by the queen who desires the well-being of the husband and who has been urged by the ministers.” The nurse listened to the speech of the queen. She placed the child, gracefully shining like the moon, in front of Vikaṭā and went home. Then Goddess Vikaṭā summoned the Yoginīs and said, “Take the child immediately before the Mātṛgaṇa (group of Mother-deities) and do as they bid you do. Protect the child with great effort.”

31-34. At the instance of Vikaṭā, the Yoginīs went through the sky and took him to the place where Brāhmī and other Mothers were. The Mothers are Brahmāṇī, Vaiṣṇavī, Raudrī, Vārāhī, Nārasiṃhikā, Kaumāri, Māhendrī, Cāmuṇḍā and Caṇḍikā. The group of Yoginīs bowed down and placed in front of the Mothers that boy who had the lustre of the Sun. On seeing the beautiful boy sent by Vikaṭā, they simultaneously asked the child, “Who is your father? Who is your mother?”

35-39. On being asked by the Mothers thus he did not say anything. Then the group of Mothers said to the great Yoginīs: “This (boy) is marked with excellent characteristics. He deserves a kingdom. O Yoginīs, he should be taken back to that place without delay, where the great goddess Pañcamudrā, the bestower of desires, stays. By resorting to her the glory of salvation does not remain far away from man.

There is salvation at every step, everywhere in Kāśī, the creator of auspiciousness. Still that Pīṭha is specially the cause of all spiritual powers. By resorting to that Pīṭha and due to the great blessings of Viśveśvara, Siddhi shall accrue to this child having the shape and size of a sixteen-year old boy.”

40-41. Thus with the blessings of the group of Mothers the boy was instantly brought to the Mahāpīṭha marked with the five Mudrās at the instance of the Mothers. Thereafter from the heaven he came here to Ānandakānana and performed an extensive penance of divine quality.

42. Umādhava (Lord Śiva) became pleased with the very severe penance of that prince of steady mind and sense-organs.

43. Śaṅkara manifested himself to him in the form of a Liṅga and said, “I am pleased, O son of a king; speak out the boon (you will have).”

Skanda said:

44-45. Seeing the Liṅga consisting of speech (Vedas) with all rediance [radiance?], standing before him penetrating through the seven nether worlds, due to the blessing of the Supreme Almighty, he bowed down lying on the ground like a log of wood and eulogized Dhūrjaṭi joyously through the Sūktas (hymns) with Rudra as their deity—the Sūktas he had repeatedly practised in the previous birth.

46. Then Lord Maheśvara, the bull-emblemed Lord of Devas became pleased with his penance and said:

Devadeva said:

47. Choose a boon. By means of the penance performed by you, your tender body has been subjected to pain by you though still a boy in body. My mind has been captivated hence.

48. On hearing the repeated speech of Śiva urging him to accept the gift of a boon, he became delighted experiencing horripilation. He requested for the boon.

Kumāra said:

49-52. O Mahādeva, O Lord of Devas, if a boon has to be granted to me, Your Lordship shall stay here always alleviating the distress due to the worldly existence. O Śaṃbhu, do favour the devotees by granting what they desire, even as you are stationed in this Liṅga. They will get their desires realized even without showing the ritualistic Mudrās etc. O Lord, you grant the great Siddhi to those who merely visit, touch and bow even without chanting the Mantras. You must bless always those who are devoted to this Liṅga mentally, verbally and physically. This is my boon.

On hearing about the boon he wished to have the Lord in the form of the Liṅga said:

53-55. “O Vīra, let what you, the son of a devotee of Viṣṇu, said, be real. Since your father King Amitrajit is a devotee of Viṣṇu, you are born with a part of Viṣṇu. You are son of one who is engrossed in devotion to me also. After your name this Liṅga will be known, O Vīra, as Vīreśvara Liṅga. At Kāśī it will bestow the cherished desires of the devotees, nay all that they think of. From today, O Vīra, I shall stay in this Liṅga always.

56. Undoubtedly I shall grant great Siddhi unto those who resort to me. But no one will understand my greatness in the Kali age.

57-59. He who understands fortunately, will obtain the great Siddhi. Whatever Japa is performed, Homa is offered gifts are donated and deities adored and pious works such as renovation of dilapidated shrines etc. done, all these cause everlasting benefit.

As for you, you will attain the kingdom inaccessible to all other kings, enjoy pleasures of unlimited extent and in the end will attain Siddhi.

The city of Vārāṇasī is the most beautiful one in the entire world.

60-64. There, the confluence of the rivers Asi and Gaṅgā is meritorious. Above that the Hayagrīva Tīrtha is more meritorious. It is here that Viṣṇu in the form of the horse-necked god accords what the devotees yearn for. Gaja Tīrtha is better than Hayagrīva-Tīrtha. It is here that one obtains the benefit of the gift of elephants, merely by taking a holy bath.

Kokāvarāha Tīrtha is more meritorious than Gaja Tīrtha. By worshipping Kokāvarāha people will cease to take births.

Dilīpa Tīrtha in the vicinity of Dilīpeśvara is more excellent than Kokāvarāha. It dispels sins immediately. More than this is the Sagaratīrtha in the vicinity of Sagareśa.

65-69. By getting himself immersed therein, a man averts getting immersed further in the ocean of misery. More auspicious than Sagara Tīrtha is the Saptasāgara Tīrtha, by taking the holy dip where a man attains the merit of taking the holy bath in all the seven seas. Better than Saptābdhitīrtha is the Tīrtha well-known as Mahodadhi. An intelligent man who takes his holy bath there at least once, burns the great ocean of sins. More meritorious than this is the Caura Tīrtha in the vicinity of Kapileśvara. Sins of stealing gold etc. shall perish by taking a holy bath there. Haṃsa Tīrtha in the vicinity of Kedāreśvara is more worthy of adoration. There I lead the embodied beings to Brahman in the form of a Haṃsa (Swan).

70. Beyond that is the highly meritorious Tīrtha of Tribhuvana-Keśava. Men who take bath there do not enter the mortal world.

71. More than that is the Govyāghreśvara Tīrtha where both of them (Cow and Tiger) attained Siddhi by eschewing their natural enmity.

72. O Vīra, more excellent than this is the holy spot named Māndhātṛ Tīrtha where that king (i.e. Māndhātā) attained the position of an Emperor.

73. More meritorious than this is the Mucukunda Tīrtha. A man who takes his holy bath there is never attacked by enemies.

74. Pṛthu Tīrtha is a greater and higher means of all welfare than that. A man who visit Pṛthvīśvara there, will become Lord of the earth.

75. More than that is the highly Siddhi-bestowing Tīrtha of Paraśurāma, where the son of Jamadagni became liberated from the sin of killing Kṣatriyas.

76. Even today a sin due to the murder of a Kṣatriya perishes by means of a single bath performed knowingly or unknowingly.

77. A Tīrtha that causes welfare better than that is indeed that of Kṛṣṇa’s elder brother, where Baladeva became liberated from the sin of murdering a Sùta (narrator of Purāṇas, Romaharṣaṇa).

78. The Tīrtha of King Divodāsa of excellent intellect, is also there. A man who bathes there at any time does not slip from knowledge till the end.

79. A great Tīrtha better than that is destructive of all sins. It is there that Bhāgīrathī stands visible directly in the form of an image.

80. If one takes the holy bath in the Bhāgīrathī Tīrtha, offers Śrāddha with a correct knowledge of its procedure and makes gifts to deserving persons, he will never be in a womb again.

81. O Vīra, Harapāpa Tīrtha is also on the banks of Bhāgīrathī. By taking the holy bath there, multitudes of great sins become destroyed.

82. A man who visit Niṣpāpeśvara Liṅga there becomes rid of sins, O Vīra, at that very instant (of visiting the Liṅga).

83. Daśāśvamedha Tīrtha is considered more excellent than that. By taking the holy dip there, one attains the benefit of ten Aśvamedhas (horse-sacrifices).

84. They call Band! Tīrtha a better bestower of auspiciousness, O Vīra. By taking bath there, the man will be liberated from the worldly bondage.

85. Formerly many Devas were imprisoned by Demon Hiraṇyākṣa. They were fettered too and they eulogized Jagadaṃbikā (Mother of the universe).

86. The Mother of the universe, who was bowed to by those Devas who had been freed from the fetters is being sung about since then as Bandī. Even now she is prayed to by men.

87. Bandī Tīrtha that breaks great fetters is there itself. One who bathes there is liberated from all bonds of Karmas.

88. O king, Bandītīrtha in the city of Kāśī is highly excellent. A man who bathes there will attain salvation due to the blessings of the goddess.

89. More excellent than that is well-known as Prayāga Tīrtha where Prayāgamādhava is the bestower of the benefit of all Yāgas.

90. Kṣoṇī-Varāha Tīrtha is a better bestower of auspiciousness than that. A man who bathes there is never born in brutish (non-human) species.

91. Kāleśvara Tīrtha is greater and more excellent than that. Kali and Kāla do not affect and torment the excellent man who bathes there.

92. There itself is Aśoka Tīrtha, more auspicious than that. A man who bathes there never falls into the ocean of misery.

93. O son of the king, purer than that is the Śukra Tīrtha. The excellent man who bathes there is not reborn through semen virile.

94. Better merit-bestowing than that is the excellent Bhavānī Tīrtha, O king. If one takes bath there and visit Bhavānī and Īśa, one is never reborn.

95. Prabhāsa Tīrtha is well-known as the bestower of auspiciousness on men more than that. It is in front of Someśvara. One who takes bath there is never born into a womb.

96. Beyond it is the Garuḍa Tīrtha destructive of the poison of worldly existence. After adoring Garuḍeśa and taking bath therein one does not meet with an occasion to feel sorry.

97. O Vīra, beyond that is the meritorious Brahma Tīrtha in front of Brahmeśvara. By taking his holy bath there, a man attains Brahmavidyā.

98. Beyond it is Vṛddhārka Tīrtha and thereafter is Vidhi Tīrtha. A man who bathes there proceeds to the world of Ravi (Sun) free from impurities.

99. Thereafter is the Nṛsīṃha Tīrtha that averts great fear. Why should one be afraid of even Kāla (god of Death) after bathing there?

100. Batter bestower of merit than that on men is the Citraratheśvara Tīrtha. If one takes bath there and makes gift, one does not see Citragupta.

101. Beyond that is the meritorious Dharma Tīrtha stationed in front of Dharmeśa. One shall be free from indebtedness to ancestors after performing Śrāddha etc. there.

102. Beyond it is the Viśāla Tīrtha free from impurities and the bestower of extensive benefit. Having bathed there and visited Viśālākṣī, one is never reborn in a womb.

103. Jarāsandheśa Tīrtha is in the vicinity of Jarāsandheśa. One who bathes there never becomes deluded by the afflictions of the fever of worldly existence.

104. Beyond that is the Lalitā Tīrtha that augments conjugal bliss. If one bathes there and adores Lalitā one never becomes poor and miserable.

105. Beyond it is the Gautamī Tīrtha that washes off all sins. After bathing there and offering balls of rice (to the Manes) one never bewails anything.

106-112. (There is) a series of Tīrthas beyond it, viz. Gaṅgākeśava Tīrtha, Agastya Tīrtha, Yoginī Tīrtha, Trisandhyākhya Tīrtha, Narmadā Tīrtha, Ārundhateyaka Tīrtha, Vaśiṣṭha Tīrtha, the excellent Mārkaṇḍeya Tīrtha. All these Tīrthas are the bestower of merit. The latter is more (efficacious) than the former (preceding). Then there is the excellent Tīrtha named Khurakartari. By performing Śrāddha and other rites a man will get rid of sins. Beyond it is the saintly King’s Tīrtha named Bhagīratha Tīrtha. It accords excessive merit. If anyone makes the gift of even the least of things there, it becomes everlasting in benefit even at the close of the Kalpa. More than these Tīrthas, more than the three crores of Liṅgas, O Vīra, this Vīreśvara Liṅga will be extremely excellent. If a man bathes in the Vīra Tīrtha and worships Vīreśa, it is as though he has bathed in all these Tīrthas, and not otherwise. If anyone worships Vīreśvara Liṅga at night it is as though three crores of Liṅgas have been worshipped by him here.

113. Vīreśvara Liṅga should be assiduously resorted to by the person who wishes for Lakṣmī, the bestower of salvation as well as worldly pleasures.

114. If a man performs a single act of Jāgaraṇa (keeping awake at night) and worships Vīreśa on the fourteenth lunar day, he does not take the body consisting of the five elements.

115. This Liṅga should always be worshipped by those who have attained Siddhis as well as those who wish for Siddhis, because it causes the realization of all desires pertaining to this world as well as the other world.

116. If a man bathes Vīreśa with Pañcāmṛta, he will attain the merit of a crore of pots of Pañcāmṛta bath for each moment’s duration.

117. There is no doubt in this that with a single flower offered to Vīreśa one will get the benefit of offering a crore of flowers elsewhere.

118. No doubt or hesitation need be felt in this regard that by offering a single Āhuti in the vicinity of Vireśvara, one will attain the benefit of a crore of Homas done perfectly.

119. Even the least thing offered to Vīreśa gives inexhaustible benefit. In the Naivedya (food offering) the devotee gets the benefit of offering a crore of lumps of boiled rice for every lump that he offers.

120. If anyone repeats Mahārudra Mantra once or makes someone else repeat it once in the presence of Vīreśa, certainly he will attain the benefit of repeating Rudra Mantra a crore of times.

121. Whatever is performed by men observing Vratas such as the rite of Vratotsarga etc. (formal concluding rite after observance of vows etc.) will undoubtedly increase by a crore of times.

122. If the devotee performs eight Namaskāras (prostrations) in front of Vireśvara, he will obtain the benefit of eight crores of Namaskāras. There is no doubt about this.

123. O Vīra, with my favour this Vireśvara Liṅga shall be the abode (cause) of all riches. There is no doubt about it.

124. Even as they are alive, by my behest, men will have knowledge, entitled Tāraka (the redeemer). Hence this Liṅga should be resorted to by those who seek auspiciousness.”

125-127. On hearing this, the heroic son of Amitrajit said again after bowing down to the Lord of Devas with fully realized desires: “O Lord of Devas, all these Tīrthas have been narrated to me. O Lord, be pleased to recount other Tīrthas too. Kindly narrate the Tīrthas beginning with Ādikeśava and concluding with Bhagīratha Tīrtha. On hearing about these a man becomes free from sins.”

128. On hearing this speech (request) of the prince, Maheśāna began to recount the Tīrthas in Gaṅgā.

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