The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Manifestation of Vishvakarmesha which is chapter 86 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-sixth chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 86 - Manifestation of Viśvakarmeśa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Pārvatī said:

1. The Viśvakarmeśvara Liṅga in Kāśī is very well-known. O Lord of Devas, narrate to me the origin of that Liṅga.

Devadeva said:

2. Listen, O goddess, I shall narrate the story that destroys sins, the charming story of how Viśvakarmeśa Liṅga manifested itself.

3. Formerly there was Viśvakarman who was another physical form of Brahmā (the Creator). He was the son of Patriarch Tvaṣṭṛ. He was (indeed) clever in all arts and crafts.

4. After being invested with the sacred thread, the boy was living in the abode of his preceptor (for education). He had his daily meal out of the alms of cooked rice he got. He served his preceptor duly.

5-7. Once, at the advent of rainy season, his preceptor said to him; “Make a hut for me where the shower of rain will not torment us. It should never collapse nor should it become old and dilapidated.” He was addressed thus by the wife of the preceptor: “O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, make a bodice for me befitting my limbs. It should neither be too tight nor too loose. It should be made of bark and not of cotton. Make it carefully so that it will always remain bright.”

8-9. He was commanded by the son of the preceptor: “Make a pair of sandals for me, on wearing which my feet can avert contamination with mud. It should net have any leather strapping. Even when I run it should be comfortable. With the sandals on, I should be able to wade through water as quickly as on dry ground.”

10-15. The daughter of the preceptor told him: “O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, you will, with your own hands, make a pair of gold earrings for me. Give me fanciful toys worthy of girls. These also should be made by you yourself out of ivory. O intelligent one, make domestic instruments too such as mortar and pestle; make them unbreakable. O excellent one, make foot-stools which will always be bright even without being washed. Also cooking pans and pots. O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, instruct me in the art of cooking too, so that the fingers do not get burned but the dishes get cooked properly. Also make a single-pillared house, out of a single piece of wood, O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, which I can hold (like an umbrella) wherever I wish.”

16. Those who studied along with him, those who were senior to him, all desired that something should be made by him.

17. O Daughter of the Mountain, he promised everyone: “Let it be so” but, afraid and worried, he fled and entered into the middle of a forest.

18. He did not know how to make any of the things which had been promised by him. He had decisively committed himself by assuring everyone that he would do everything.

19-25. That son of Tvaṣṭṛ cogitated thus: ‘What shall I do? Where shall I go? I am in the middle of the forest. Who will help me and guide my intellect? Whom shall I seek refuge in? The foolish fellow who undertakes to do something at the instance of the preceptor, his wife or his child but does not fulfil the same certainly falls into hell. The sole duty of a religious student is the ministration of service to the preceptor. How can I discharge my duty without carrying out his behest? By fulfilling the tasks entrusted by preceptors and elders, one can realize all one’s desires, not otherwise. Hence his (Preceptor’s) behest should be fulfilled. Staying here in this forest, how can I hope to carry out their instructions? Who will help me here? I am weak and deficient in intellect. Leave aside the case of the preceptor. Even in the case of another of inferior status, if one assents to something but does not carry it out, he incurs downfall. Ignorant and having none to assist, how am I going to do all these things undertaken out of fear for them? Obeisance to you, O inevitable fate!’

26. While that son of Tvaṣṭṭ, held up in the middle of the forest, was thinking thus, a sage was seen by him who had come there then only.

27-31. After bowing down to the ascetic seen in the forest, he said to him: “O esteemed Sir, who may you be? You have excessively pleased my mind. My body has been scorched due to feverish anxiety; but at your sight, it has become instantly cool as though it has dived through a mass of snowflakes. Has my previous Karma assumed your form of an ascetic and come here? Or are you Śiva himself, the ocean of compassion manifested before me? Whoever you may be, I offer obeisance to you. Instruct me as to how I shall be competent to carry out the task entrusted by the preceptor, his wife and his children? Tell me the procedure thereof. Give me intellectual assistance. You have come as a kinsman in this isolated place.”

32. On being requested thus in the forest by the religious student, the ascetic with his heart full of compassion advised him accordingly.

33. If a person approached as an authority on being asked for guidance misguides one, he is sure to fall into a terrible hell, to stay there till all the living beings are annihilated.

The Ascetic said:

34. O Brahmacārī, I shall tell you. Listen. Is this any mysterious thing? Due to the blessings of Viśveśa, even Brahmā has become clever in the act of creation.

35. If you, O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, propitiate the omniscient Lord Śiva at Kāśī, your name Viśvakarman (‘one who performs all tasks’) shall be truly meaningful.

36. With the blessings of Viśveśa in Kāśī, no desire shall be unattainable, even if it be for salvation; it is easily obtained. Mokṣa too difffīcult to achieve, is easy to people casting off their bodies here.

37. It is due to the great favour of Viśveśa that the ability to create things was obtained by Brahmā and the capacity to protect the creation by Viṣṇu.

38. If you desire the realization of your wishes, O boy, go to the abode of Viśveśvara presided over by the glory of ultimate salvation.

39. Indeed Śaṃbhu is the bestower of everything. On being requested for milk only by Upamanyu he granted him the entire ocean of milk.

40. To a person staying in Ānandavana, mass of piety is attainable at every step. In fact, what is it that cannot be obtained in Saṃbhu’s Ānandakānana and who is it by whom it is not obtained?

41. Who will not resort to that Kāśī where masses of great sins become reduced merely by the touch of the celestial river.

42. Even through crores of sacrifices such a mass of piety is not obtained, as is obtained at every step, while walking through the streets of Vārāṇasī.

43. If there is any desire for piety, wealth, love and salvation, go then to Vārāṇasī, go then to the sanctifier of all the three worlds.

44. Certainly men will attain the fruits of all desires, when Śarva, Viśveśvara, the bestower of everything, is resorted to in Kāśī.

45. On hearing the utterance of the ascetic thus, the son of Tvaṣṭṛ became highly pleased. He asked the ascetic himself the means of reaching Kāśī.

Tvaṣṭṛ said:

46. O excellent one among ascetics, where is that Ānandavana of Śaṃbhu where nothing existing in all the three worlds becomes difficult to get for Sādhakas (Aspirants)?

47. O sage, is it in heaven, or in the mortal world or in the abode of Bali? Where is that Ānandavana where there exist the Glory of Bliss?

48. It is the place where Lord Viśveśvara, the helmsman of all the worlds, imparts the Tārakajñāna (knowledge) whereby the devotees become identical with him.

49. It is the place where the Glory of Salvation is invariably easy of access to a person traversing Ānandavana. What to speak of lesser desires!

50-54. Kindly tell me, who will take me there to the city of Śaṃbhu? How should I go?

On hearing these words full of faith, that ascetic said: “Come. I shall take you. I too am desirous of going there. After obtaining human birth, if Kāśī is not resorted to, where is human birth once again? Where is Kāśī, the cause of welfare, the destroyer of the bondage of Karmas? If the human life is wasted by being bereft of the access to Kāśī, the future and the whole span of life, everything is gone waste. Hence in order to make this highly fickle human life fruitful, I will go to Kāśī. Come on, after setting aside Māyā (Delusion).” On hearing this, the son of Tvaṣṭṛ reached the city of Viśveśvara accompanied by that highly sympathetic sage. He regained the satisfaction of mind.

55-59. After taking him as far as Kāśī, O Pot-born One, the ascetic went somewhere unexpectedly. Then the son of Tvaṣṭṛ thought thus, ‘Indeed it is Viśveśa himself, the bestower of anything thought of on everyone. Though he is far off, he is present in the vicinity of those who steadily persist in the path of the good. If the Three-eyed Lord casts the benign glance on anyone, he is drawn very near to himself despite his being far off and he himself imparts instruction regarding the right path. Where was I, a lonely boy in the forest with mind bewildered due to anxiety? Where was that ascetic who advised me properly and brought me here? (A great disparity, indeed!) This is the playful pastime of this Three-eyed Lord whose devotee has nothing difficult to get. Where am I? Where is Kāśikā? (What a great difference between us!)

60. Śaṃbhu has not been propitiated by me anywhere in the previous birth. This is definitely known as an inference from (my being) an embodied being.

61. In this birth too, it is obvious that he has not been propitiated because I am only a boy. This is directly observed. How does he have the inclination to bless?

62. Yes, it is known! my devotion to the preceptor is the cause of propitiation of Saṃbhu; it is due to that that I have been blessed by the compassionate Viśveśa.

63. Or the Three-eyed Lord does not depend upon a specific cause like other gods. He blesses even the poorest man and the cause thereof is compassion alone.

64. If he has no pity on me, what accounts for my contact with the ascetic? In the form (of that ascetic) Śaṃbhu himself has certainly brought me here.

65. Neither charity nor performance of sacrifices, neither austerities nor Vratas can be the cause of Śaṃbhu’s pleasure. The cause thereof is his grace alone.

66. When one does not leave off the path ordained in the Śrutis and traversed by the good, this Lord Viśveśvara does have the greatest pity.’

67. After invoking the sympathy of Śaṃbhu, the son of Tvaṣṭṛ, with real purity, installed the Liṅga of Īśa and adored it with a steady mind.

68. He used to take bath everyday and worship Īśāna after bringing from the forest a huge collection of flowers blossoming in the changing seasons. He sustained himself by eating bulbous roots, roots and fruits alone.

69. When the son of Tvaṣṭṛ spent three years thus with the mind directed towards the propitiation of the Liṅga, the Lord, the storehouse of mercy, became pleased with him.

70-72. Coining out of that Liṅga itself, Bhava said: “O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, choose a boon, O boy who have determined in mind to work for the sake of the preceptor. I am pleased with your steady devotion. You will have the capacity to make the things in accordance with the request made by the preceptor, his wife and the two children of his.

73. O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, I shall grant you other boons too. I am satisfied with your adoration. O highly blessed one, listen to them. (It is due to the power) of this Liṅga of wonderful glory.

74-78. Like another Brahmā (the Creator) you will know how to make things out of gold and other metals, wood, stones, gems, jewels, flowers, clothes, camphor and other scented things, water, bulbous roots, fruits, skins and peels of things—nay of all things. Whatever people may be interested in, houses, temples etc. and whatever may be the mode of liking, you will be able to carry out the task to their full satisfaction. You will know how to create things, the mode of making the dresses of all kinds, varieties of dishes from lentils, all types of fine arts, the triple symphony etc.

79-80. Different kinds of machines and musical instruments, different types of weaponry, arrangement of artificial ponds and reservoirs of water, building of forts—you will know how to create all these in such a manner as to excel others. Due to my boon, you will master all the arts.

81-83. All (tricks of) jugglery and magical arts will be known to you. You will be clever in all tasks. Your intellect will be the most excellent one. Due to my boon, you will understand the mental predilections of everyone. Why say more? Whether in heaven or in Pātāla or here, you will know everything supernatural and superb.

84. O sinless one, your name shall be Viśvakarman because you will be knowing all the activities of all the worlds and of everyone.

85. What other boon should be given to you? Request for it quickly. There is nothing that cannot be given to you since you have been engaged in the adoration of the Liṅga.

86. Desired things should be granted even to that devotee of excellent mind who worships the Liṅga elsewhere. All the more so in the case of one who worships the Liṅga especially in Kāśī.

87. He by whom a Liṅga has been installed in Kāśī, has been adored in Kāśī and has been eulogized in Kāśī, is a mirror unto my form.

88. You are the bright and clear mirror of my three-eyed form, because you have adored the Liṅga in Kāśī. O son of Tvaṣṭṛ, O performer of religious vows, choose the boon.

89. He who setting me aside worships another deity in Kāśī, my capital city, is a poor wretch, deficient in intellect, deprived of (good things) and devoid of salvation. He has to be satisfied with lesser things.

90. Hence here in Ānandavana, I am to be worshipped by those who desire salvation, by Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Moon and Indra. No one else is adored here.

91. Just as you have come to Ānandavana and have worshipped me, so also other persons of meritorious deeds have worshipped and attained me.

92. You are to be blessed completely. Hence choose a boon that is rare and know that it is already granted. Oh, speak out; do not delay.”

Viśvakarman said:

93. O Śaṅkara, though this Liṅga has been installed by me, ignorant that I am, yet let others also be the recipients of excellent knowledge by propitiating it.

94. O Lord, you have to be requested for another thing too and you will grant it. When will Your Revered Lordship make me build your palace?

Devadeva said:

95. Let what you said be so. Those who worship your Liṅga shall become the recipients of excellent knowledge and well-initiated in the process of salvation.

96. When Divodāsa becomes the king due to the boon of Vidhi, then at my instance he will make you build my palace.

97-98. Kāśī has been renovated and colonized by that king. Due to Gaṇeśa’s Māyā, he will become disgusted with kingdom. At the advice of Viṣṇu, he will seek refuge in me. Abandoning the glory of royal bliss, which is fickle, he has attained (will attain) the glory of salvation here.

99. O Viśvakarman, go ahead. Endeavour to fulfil the command of the preceptor, since those who devoutly serve their preceptors are my devotees. Thee is no doubt in it.

100. Those who dishonour their preceptor, are worthy of being dishonoured by me. Hence do what is advised by the preceptor. That should be your desire.

101. Thereafter you will come to slay with me—(you) a sanctified soul carrying out what is beneficial to the Devas till you finally attain salvation.

102. Here, in your Liṅga, I shall abide forever as the bestower of their desire. The Glory of Salvation is not far from the devotees of this Liṅga.

103. Those who adore your Liṅga which is to the north of Aṅgāreśa, will attain at every step the fulfilment of their desires.

104. After saying thus the Lord vanished. The son of Tvaṣṭṛ went back to his preceptor. After carrying out many things desired by the preceptor, he returned to his house.

105. At his home too, he made his parents contented through his activity. After fulfilling properly their behests as declared by them, he came back to Kāśī.

106. The son of Tvaṣṭṛ is eagerly attached to the propitiation of his own Liṅga. That sensible devotee does not leave off Kāśī till today. He is continuing the activities pleasing to all the Devas.

Īśvara said:

107. O goddess, O daughter of the Lord of Mountains, all those Liṅgas in Kāśī efficacious in causing salvation and specifically asked by you, have been described by me to you.

108-110. They are: the Liṅga named Oṃkāra, Lord Triviṣṭapa, Mahādeva, Kṛttivāsas, Ratneśa, Candra, Kedāra, Dharmeśa, Vīreśvara, Kāmeśa, Viśvakarmeśa and Maṇikarṇīśvara, that which is worthy of my adoration named Avimukta, then O goddess, that which has my name i.e. Viśvanātha which is well -known in the universe and which accords happiness to the whole universe.

111. If after reaching Avimukta, Viśveśvara is worshipped by anyone, he does not take birth again in the course of hundreds of crores of Kalpas.

112. Yatis (mendicants) of well-controlled souls are allowed free movement for eight months. It is not desirable for them to stay in a place for a whole year, but only four months are enjoined.

113. In the case of those who have entered Avimukta free movement is not proper. Salvation is undoubted here. Hence, Kāśikā should not be abandoned.

114. One should not abandon Ānandavana and go to a penance-grove elsewhere, since, with my support, penance, Yoga and salvation—all belong to this place only.

115. Out of compassion for all creatures, this holy spot has been created by me. In this holy spot, all those who are desirous of Siddhi, do accomplish it.

116. On merely seeing Ānandavana all the sins of the past and present committed knowingly or unwittingly become destroyed.

117-118. It is easily obtained in Kāśī whatever one gets by means of great strain in practising severe austerities, by means of great Dānas (gifts), great Vratas, observances and restraints, great sacrifices, Yogic practices, repeated studies of the Vedanta Śāstras and resorting to all the Upaniṣads.

119. Living beings wander about after being fettered by the cords of Karma, unless and until they forsake their bodies in the abode of Viśveśvara.

120. O goddess, I sportingly grant unto even lower nonhuman beings in Kāśī in the end that place where even Yājñikas (performers of sacrifices) do not go.

121. All living beings having their residence in this holy spot of salvation, dying in due course, do attain the greatest goal.

122. Even a person attracted by worldly pleasures, even one who has no interest in piety, casting off the body here in due course, does not reenter the world.

123-125. In Vārāṇasī one gets every moment a crore times more the benefit obtained in Prayāga, O goddess, by taking the holy dip in the morning in the month of Māgha.

The greatness of this holy spot is something beyond the pale of words. Only a few parts have been mentioned by me out of love for you.

By listening to the narratives of the fourteen Liṅgas, an excellent man attains excellent respect and adoration in the fourteen (i.e. all) worlds.

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