The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Granting of Boons to Durvasas which is chapter 85 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-fifth chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 85 - Granting of Boons to Durvāsas

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Skanda said:

1. I shall narrate unto you, O Agastya, the meritorious story in the manner recounted by Purārī (Śiva) to Pārvatī, the mother of the universe.

2-3. Formerly Durvāsas, a great ascetic, excessively refulgent and irascible, wandered over this earth consisting of oceans, mountains, forests, rivers, big lakes, villages, towns and cities. Ultimately he reached Ānandakānana of Śaṃbhu.

4. On seeing the whole of the pleasure-grove of Śaṃbhu beautified with many palaces and consisting of many ponds and lakes, he became delighted.

5. On seeing at every step the beautiful huts of the sages who had conquered the excessive fear of the god of Death, Durvāsas became surprised.

6. On seeing the trees with blossoms pertaining to all the seasons, having plenty of shade and glossy tender sprouts, yielding excellent fruits and entwined by excellent creepers, the sage became pleased.

7-11. Durvāsas was exceedingly delighted on seeing the excellent Pāśupata devotees whose limbs were all embellished with holy ash. Their heads were covered with matted hairs. A loin cloth alone constituted the robe of everyone of them. They were engrossed in meditating on Smarāri (Śiva). Big bottle gourds were tucked in their armpits. The Huḍutkāra (Huḍ-like bellowing sound) produced by them was louder than the rumble of clouds. Their sole possessions were a Karaṇḍa (cane-vessel for holding the Liṅga), a staff and a drinking pot. In certain places, he saw the Tridaṇḍins (Sannyāsins having three staffs) devoid of possessions and contacts, not afraid of even Kāla because they had sought refuge in Viśveśa. In certain places he saw life-long celibates conversant with the mystic doctrines of the Vedas. On seeing the Brāhmaṇas in Kāśī with hairs turned tawny because of their daily bath in Gaṅgā, Durvāsas rejoiced all the more.

12. “In Kāśī there is a unique sense of satisfaction in the domesticated animals, a special lustre in the animals of the forest such as the deer etc. and an excessive joy seen in birds and other creatures not so very manifest elsewhere.

13. This spot is the abode of excellent welfare. Where is such a spot available to the immortal ones in heaven? In the creatures of this place too, it increases the greatest pleasure.

14. Far superior are these animals that wander in Ānandavana with permanent bliss, and not the Devas who resort to Nandanavana.

15. Better to be a Mleccha (Barbarian) resident of Kāśī with an auspicious future, than a Dīkṣita (initiated Vedic Brāhmaṇa) elsewhere, who does not merit salvation.

16. The entire earth, the heavenly world and the world of serpents, do not attract my mind in the same way as this city of Viśveśvara.

17. Though I have been wandering all over the earth nowhere else did my mind gain steadfastness as it has here.

18. In the entire Cosmic Egg, this must necessarily be the most beautiful city.” After eulogizing thus, Durvāsas attained some steadiness of the mind.

19. Though that sage of excessive penance performed the austerities for a long time, he did not attain any fruit thereof. Then he got excessively angry.

20. “Fie upon me, a defiled ascetic! Fie upon my penance which is difficult to be performed! Fie upon this holy spot of Saṃbhu that deceives all!

21. I shall do something to bring about such a state as no one gains salvation here.” Saying thus he was about to curse. Then Śiva laughed loudly.

22. A Liṅga appeared there and it became well-known as Prahasiteśvara (‘Lord of boisterous laugh’). On visiting this Liṅga, men will attain delight at every step.

23. The surprised Maheśitā (Śiva) said in his mind: ‘I offer obeisance to ascetics like this again and again.

24. These Brāhmaṇas became unduly indignant with the place where they perform penance, where they have built their hermitages for penance and where they have been established.

25. If they do not get the least of what they have only just thought of, they are overwhelmed with anger that deprives them of the glory of austerities.

26. Still ascetics should be honoured by those who desire their own welfare. Why mind this in regard to the ascetics whether they are hot-tempered or otherwise?’

27. Even as Maheśāna thought within himself thus, the fire due to the anger of the (sage) pervaded the entire firmament.

28. Since the entire expanse of the sky was permeated by the masses of columns of smoke arising from the fire of his anger, the sky retains its great bluish colour even today.

29. Then the attendants (of Śiva) became agitated like the waters of the ocean at the time of the ultimate annihilation. They asked one another, “What! What is this!!”

30. Roaring and making gestures of threat and lifting their weapons in their hands, the Pramathas stood in readiness allround the abode of Śaṃbhu.

31. “Who is Yama? Who is Kāla? Who is Mṛtyu (Death)? Who is the Antaka (destroyer)? Who is Vidhātā (creator)? Who are these Devas (like Indra)? When we are angry, who can be our enemy?

32. We shall drink fire like water. We shall turn all the mountains into powder. We shall convert all the seven oceans into desert region.

33. We shall pull up Pātāla or pull down heaven. We shall make a mouthful of the entire sky.

34. We shall shatter the entire cosmos into pieces. We shall hurl Kāla and Mṛtyu against each other like palm fruits.

35. Or we shall be swallowing the universe excluding the city of Vārāṇasī where the creatures become liberated soon after death.

36. Whence is this mass of smoke? Whence is this mass of flames? Who is deluded by arrogance and conceit and does not know Rudra, the conqueror of the god of Death?”

37. Prattling and boasting thus, the attendants of Saṃbhu, the strikers of fear into even great terror, built a rampart that touched the sky.

38-46. They split the fire of Pralaya (arising from the anger of Durvāsas) into many pieces as though they were rocky boulders. The following Gaṇeśānas unassailable to others like thunderbolt, checked even the movement of the wind in Kāśī. They were: Nandin, Nandiṣeṇa, Somanandin, Mahodara, Mahāhanu, Mahāgrīva, Mahākāla, Jitāntaka, Mṛtyuprakaṃpana, Bhīma, Ghaṇṭākarṇa, Mahābala, Kṣobhaṇa, Drāvaṇa, Jṛṃbhin, Pañcāsya, Pañcalocana, Dviśiras, Triśiras, Soma, Pañcahasta, Daśānana, Caṇḍa, Bhṛṅgiriṭi, Tundin, Pracaṇḍa, Tāṇḍavapriya, Piciṇḍila, Sthūlaśiras, Sthūlakeśa, Gabhastimān, Kṣemaka, Kṣemadhanvan, Vīrabhadra, Raṇapriya, Caṇḍapāṇi, Śūlapāṇi, Pāśapāṇi, Kṛśodara, Dīrghagrīva, Piṅgākṣa, Piṅgala, Piṅgamūrdhaja, Bahunetra, Laṃbakarṇa, Kharva, Parvatavigraha, Gokarṇa, Gajakarṇa, Kokilākhya, Gajānana, I (i.e. Skanda), Naigameya, Vikaṭāsya, Aṭṭahāsaka, Sīrapāṇi, Śivārāva, Vaiṇika, Veṇuvādana, Durādharṣa, Duḥsaha, Garjana and Riputarjana.

47. When those warriors were agitated, all the three worlds shook and became bewildered by the flames of the anger of Durvāsas.

48. The Sun and the Moon had their lustre dimmed by the refulgence of the Gaṇas and so (out of pity) were permitted by them to enter Kāśī.

49. Umādhava (Śiva) checked the army of Pramathas, which was highly perturbed (saying), “This sage, the son of Anasūya, is a part of mine.”

50. Thereafter Śaṃbhu of great refulgence, the storehouse of compassion, came out of the Liṅga of Durvāsas thereby saving the city from the curse of the sage.

51. “Let not the curse of the sage be an obstacle to the people’s salvation at Kāśi.” Pitying thus the Lord became directly visible to him.

52. He said: “I am pleased, O sage of excessive wrath; unhesitatingly choose what boon is to be given to you by me?"

53-58. Thereupon, O Agastya, the sage who had raised his hand for cursing became ashamed. He said, “Becoming blind with anger, I of an evil intellect, have committed a serious crime.” He repeatedly said, “Fie upon me who have been over-povered by anger! Fie upon me who attempted mentally to curse Kāśī that bestows freedom from fear on all the three worlds!

Kāśī alone is the means of salvation to all those who are immersed in the ocean of misery, who are extremely distressed due to the frequent coming and going (i.e. transmigration) and whose necks have been fettered by Karrnas.

To all the creatures, Kāśī alone is the mother who accords the milk of great nectar and who leads them to the highest position. There can be no comparison between Kāśī and a mother. The mother conceives one in the womb and Kāśī releases one from the womb.

If anyone also curses Kāśī of such excellence, he himself will get cursed; but Kāśī will never.”

59. On hearing these words of Durvāsas, the Three-eyed Lord became exceedingly delighted with the added pleasure due to his praise of Kāśī.

60. The intelligent one who eulogizes Kāśī, he who keeps Kāśī in his heart (is blessed, for) a fierce penance has been performed by him, a crore of sacrifices have been performed by him (by such a person).

61. If the two syllables “Kā-śī” find a place at the tip of the tongue of anyone, he is of highly gifted intellect. He will never be conceived in a womb.

62. One who utters the two-syllabled Mantra, namely Kāśī, in the morning, conquers both the worlds and attains the position beyond all the worlds.

63. O son of Anasūyā, what knowledge you have gained due to the merit of eulogizing Kāśī now has not been acquired before (by you) by means of penance.

64. O sage, a Dīkṣita who eulogizes and adores me is not as dearly loved (by me) as one who is fond of eulogizing Kāśī. This is the truth.

65. Through the eulogy of Kāśī I derive a pleasure the like of which I never get through religious gifts, sacrifices or penance (performed by devotees).

66. If Ānandakānana is eulogized with genuinely sincere mind by anyone, it is as though I have been perfectly eulogized with all the Sūktas occurring in the Śrutis.

67. O ascetic, O son of Anasūyā, all your desires shall be fulfilled; you will have the greatest knowledge that is destructive of the great delusion (Saṃsāra).

68. Mention, O sinless one, what other boon is to be granted to you, because sages like you alone are worthy of the praise of good men.

69. It is only one who is competent and capable by the performance of penance who can become angry. What can one who is incompetent do, even when he is angry? He is like one who is (destitute, and) bereft of means of sustenance.”

70. On hearing this, Durvāsas eulogized the Lord clad in elephant hide. He experienced horripilation due to excess of delight and prayed for a boon.

Durvāsas said:

71-73. O Lord of Devas, O Lord of the universe, O Śaṅkara, the merciful, O destroyer of great sins and crimes, O enemy of Andhaka, O destroyer of Smara, O Mṛtyuñjaya (‘conqueror of death’), O Ugra, O Lord of goblins, O Lord of Mṛḍānī, O three-eyed Lord, if the Lord is pleased with me, if a boon is to be granted to me, let this Liṅga be called Kāmada here. O Dhūrjaṭi, let this pond of mine be called Kāmakuṇḍa.

Devadeva (Śiva) said:

74-78. Let it be so, O sage of great splendour, O excessively irascible one; this Liṅga named Durvāseśvara installed by you will be Kāmeśvara (by name) bestowing desired things on men. An intelligent man who takes his holy bath in Kāmakuṇḍa that has been your resort, at Pradoṣa (dusk) when Trayodaśī (thirteenth day) coincides with Saturday and visits Kāmeśa Liṅga installed by you, will never be subjected to the tortures of Yama due to the fault effected by lust. Many sins committed in the course of many births become destroyed instantly, due to the holy dip in the waters of Kāma Tīrtha. By resorting to Kāmeśvara desires will become fulfilled.

79-81. After granting these boons, Śaṃbhu merged into that Liṅga.

Skanda said:

By propitiating that Liṅga all the desires were attained by Durvāsas. Hence Kāmeśvara should be carefully adored in Kāśī always by those who have great desires. For the quelling of great sins they should take the holy bath in Kāmakuṇḍa. A meritorious man who reads this Kāmeśvarākhyāna and the sensible one who listens to it, all of them become free from sins.

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