The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Holy Spots in Varanasi which is chapter 97 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 ninety-seventh chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 97 - Holy Spots in Vārāṇasī

Note: The locations of most of these holy spots have been noted in previous chapters.

Agastya said:

1. O Son of Śiva, after listening to the future of Vyāsa, I am greatly surprised. Now, do narrate the details of the holy spots.

2. O Six-faced One, recount to me all those holy shrines that are located in Ānandakānana in the form of Liṅgas.

Skanda said:

3. O Pot-born One, I shall tell you how this very question was clarified unto the Goddess then by the Lord. Listen.

The Goddess said:

4. O Lord Maheśvara, do describe to me all those holy shrines and (the places) where they are located in Kāśī.

The Lord of Devas said:

5. Listen, O Large-eyed Goddess, Liṅga is called Tīrtha. A reservoir of water also is called Tīrtha because of its association with an idol.

6. The idols are (of) Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Arka (the Sun), Śiva, Vighneśvara etc. Where there is a Liṅga of Siva, that is indeed a Tīrtha.

7. Mahādeva in Vārāṇasī is mentioned as the first Tīrtha. To the north thereof the great well bestows Sārasvatapada (the position of a devotee of Goddess Sarasvatī).

8. Seen in the north-east of the holy spot, it dispels the bondage of a Paśu (individual soul). Behind it, Vārāṇasī in embodied form should be worshipped by men.

9. Assiduously worshipped, it always bestows comfortable residence (habitation). To the east of Mahādeva is the excellent Liṅga called Goprekṣa.

10-11. On visiting it, one acquires an excellent gift of cows as a fruit thereof It is known as Goprekṣa because, formerly cows were sent by Śaṃbhu himself from the World of Cows (Goloka) and they came to Vārāṇasī. To the south of Goprekṣa is (the Tīrtha) called Dadhīcīśvara.

12-13. As a fruit of visiting it, men will derive the benefit resulting from the performance of Yajñas. The Tīrtha (Liṅga) Atrīśvara worshipped by Madhu and Kaiṭabha is to the east thereof. By visiting that Liṅga assiduously, one attains the region of Viṣṇu. The Liṅga (named) Vijvara is known as situated to the east of Goprekṣa.

14. By worshipping it a man becomes free from fever instantly. To the east thereof is Vedeśvara, the bestower of the merit of reciting the four Vedas.

15. To the north of Vedeśvara are Kṣetrajña (Īśvara) and Ādikeśava. By visiting it, the three worlds are certainly seen.

16-17. By visiting Saṅgameśvara to the east thereof, one becomes sinless. The four-faced Liṅga named Prayāga installed by Brahmā, the four-faced Lord, bestows the world of Brahmā when worshipped. If Gaurī, the begetter of Śānti (peace) is worshipped there, she brings about peace.

18. To the east (the Liṅga named) Kuntīśvara should be worshipped by men on the banks of Varaṇā. As a result of the worship thereof, sons illuminating one’s own family are born.

19-21. The Tīrtha to the north of Kuntīśvara is the eddy named Kāpila Hrada. Merely by taking bath there and worshipping the Bull-emblemed Lord, one shall derive the full benefit of a Rājasūyayajṅa. If a Śrāddha is performed by the sons there, the Manes numbering crores and crores residing in hells beginning with Raurava pass on to the region of Pitṛs.

O sage, the Liṅga named Ānusūyeśvara is to the north of Goprekṣa.

22-24. By visiting it, women shall clearly attain the benefit of chastity.

To the east of that Liṅga is Siddhivināyaka who should be worshipped. One obtains that Siddhi (spiritual power) which one desires, as a result of making obeisance unto him.

The Liṅga of Hiraṇyakaśipu is to the west of Gaṇeśa. The well Hiraṇyakūpa is beyond that and it brings about abundance of gold and horses and wealth.

25. The Muṇḍāsureśvara Liṅga to the west thereof is also the bestower of spiritual power.

Vṛṣabheśvara to the south-west of Goprekṣa yields the desired fruit.

26. O sage, the Skandeśvara Liṅga is to the west of Mahādeva. By worshipping that Liṅga, men shall attain the state of living in the same world as I.

27-29. Verily by the side thereof are Śākheśa, Viśākheśa, Naigameyeśvara as well as other Gaṇas beginning with Nandin. Thousands of Liṅgas are installed by them. By visiting them, men shall attain the state of being in the same world as those Gaṇas. Śilādeśa, the destroyer of corrupt intellect, is to the west of Nandīśvara. There Hiraṇyākṣeśvara bestows great strength. He is auspicious and splendid.

30. To the south thereof is the Liṅga named Aṭṭahāsa that bestows all happiness (happiness unto all). To the north thereof, is the auspicious Liṅga named Prasannavadaneśa.

31. As a result of the auspicious vision thereof, a devotee stands with face beaming with pleasure. To the north of this is the holy pit (named) Prasannoda that bestows freedom from impurities on men.

32. To the west of Aṭṭahāsa are the Liṅgas named after Mitra and Varuṇa. They dispel great sins and bestow their worlds. They are to be worshipped.

33. To the south-west of Aṭṭahāsa is the Liṅga named Vṛddhavaśiṣṭha. By worshipping it men get great knowledge.

34. Kṛṣṇeśa installed in the vicinity of Vaśiṣṭheśa bestows the world of Viṣṇu. Yājñavalkyeśa to the south thereof increases spiritual energy.

35-36. Thereafter, one should worship Prahlādeśvara that increases devotional fervour and assiduously worship Svalīna Liṅga to the east thereof. With a desire to bless his devotees Śiva himself has merged therein. The goal of those who cast off their bodies in Svalīna is the same as has been laid down as the goal of those who wish for the greatest bliss and who always abide by spiritual knowledge.

37. Vairocaneśvara Liṅga is stationed in front of Svalīna. To the north thereof is Balīśa that causes great strength.

38-39. Bāṇeśa Liṅga (which is there itself, if) worshipped bestows all desires. To the east of Candreśvara is the Liṅga named Vidyeśvara. By resorting to that Liṅga, all the goddesses of learning become propitiated. Vīreśa to the south thereof is the deity that confers great Siddhis.

40. There itself is the Goddess Vikaṭā that redeems (the devotees) from all miseries. That Mahāpīṭha named Pañcamudra should be known as one that yields all Siddhis.

41. Great Mantras repeatedly recited there become fruitful quickly. Not otherwise. Sāgareśvara should be worshipped in the north-west corner of that Pīṭha.

42. Complete benefit of a horse-sacrifice will be derived by worshipping Sāgareśvara. Vālīśa to the north-east thereof is the preventer of birth in animal species.

43. To the north thereof is Sugrīveśa who destroys masses of great sins. Hanūmadīśvara there is the bestower of the merit of taking to celibacy.

44. There Jāmbavatīśvara who bestows great intellect should be worshipped. Āśvineyeśvara (the idol installed by the twin gods Aśvinīkumāras) should be worshipped on the western bank of Gaṅgā.

45-48. To the north thereof is Bhadrahrada filled with the milk of cows. A man who takes his holy dip in Bhadrahrada certainly attains that merit which one derives when a thousand Kapilā (tawny) cows are duly gifted away.

When the constellation Pūrvābhādrapadā falls on a full-moon day, that period is highly auspicious bestowing the merit of a horse-sacrifice. By visiting Bhadreśvara which is on the western bank of the Hrada (Eddy), a devotee shall attain Goloka (The World of the Divine Cows) due to the merit thereof. There is no doubt in this.

O sage, Upaśāntaśiva is to the south-west of Bhadreśvara.

49-50. One attains great peace by touching that Liṅga. By visiting Upaśāntaśiva Liṅga, a devotee gets rid of all evils and attains a heap of the good.

To the north thereof, is Cakreśa who causes prevention of the cycle of births in wombs.

51-52. To the north thereof is the Cakrahrada whirlpool that increases great merit. A man should take his bath in the Cakrahrada and worship Cakreśa. With the innermost soul purified, he will attain the world of Śiva. To the south-west thereof, there is Śūleśa. He should be visited with all efforts.

53. O lady of excellent complexion, formerly a trident was fixed there for the purpose of taking bath. In front of Śūleśa, a great deep lake came into existence.

54. After taking bath in the Hrada and visiting Lord Śūleśvara, men attain Rudraloka leaving behind the abyss of the worldly existence.

55. To the east thereof a severe penance was performed by Nārada. An excellent Liṅga was installed and an auspicious holy pit was made.

56. There is no doubt about this that after taking his holy bath in the auspicious Kuṇḍa and visiting Nāradeśvara a man will cross the extremely terrible ocean of worldly existence.

57. By visiting Avabhrātakeśvara to the east of Nāradeśvara one attains the goal free from impurities and gets rid of the mass of sins.

58. In front of it is the Tāmrakuṇḍa (Holy Copper Pit). One who takes a holy dip therein, does not resort to any womb (i.e. gets Mokṣa). To the north-west thereof is Gaṇādhyakṣa, the remover of obstacles destroying them completely.

59. There is the holy Kuṇḍa that removes obstacles there. One who bathes there never faces obstacles.

In the northern direction thereof, there is the excellent Anārakeśvara Liṅga.

60. There is the holy Kuṇḍa too named Anāraka. One who bathes there never falls in a hell.

To the north thereof in the charming banks of Varaṇā is Varaṇeśa.

61. O great sage, Akṣapāda, the holy Siddha and devotee of Paśupati, attained the ultimate fulfilment (Śivaloka) with this physical body itself.

62. To the west thereof is Śaileśa, the bestower of the desired greatest salvation.

To the south thereof is Koṭīśvara Liṅga, the bestower of everlasting Siddhis.

63. By taking a bath in the Koṭi Tīrtha and worshipping Koṭīśa, a man obtains the merit of a religious gift of ten million cows.

64. There is a Mahāśmaśānastaṃbha (‘pillar of the cremation ground’, otherwise known as Kulastambha—now known as Lāt Bhairava—BCL 192-193) stationed in the south-east direction of Kotīśa. Mahārudra stays in that pillar along with Umā.

65-68. By embellishing that pillar, a man (devotee) attains his (Rudra’s) foot.

There is the greatest Tīrtha named Kapālamocana there itself in the vicinity of Kapāleśa. One who takes the holy bath there gets the merit of a horse-sacrifice. The splendid Ṛṇamocana Tīrtha is on the northern direction thereof. A man who takes his bath in that Tīrtha becomes rid of the three debts.

There itself is the Aṅgāraka Tīrtha and the holy Kuṇḍa as bright as a burning coal. After taking the holy bath in the Aṅgāraka Tīrtha, one ceases to take rebirths. A man who takes the bath there on the fourth lunar day that coincides with a Tuesday is never assailed by ailments. He is never miserable.

69. To the north thereof is Viśvakarmeśvara Liṅga that bestows knowledge. To the right thereof is the splendid Mahāmuṇḍeśvara Liṅga.

70-72. There is also a well named Śubhoda. One must take one’s bath there positively (without fail).

A very splendid garland consisting of skulls was hurled there by me. Thereupon, Goddess Mahāmuṇḍā, the destroyer of sins, was born. A Khaṭvāṅga (skull-topped club) was held. That gave the origin to Khaṭvāṅgeśa. By visiting Khaṭvāṅgeśa a man becomes rid of sins.

To the south thereof is Bhuvaneśa and the holy pit is Bhuvaneśvara.

73. A man who takes his bath in the holy pit there, shall become lord of the worlds. To the south thereof, are Vimaleśa and the holy pit Vimalodaka.

74-75. After bathing therein and visiting Īśa, a man becomes rid of impurities. A Pāśupata devotee named Tryambaka became a Siddha there and reached Rudraloka with this selfsame physical body.

To the west thereof is the shrine of Bhṛgu which confers much merit.

76-78. By worshipping it in accordance with the injunctions, one shall attain the palace of Śiva. To the west thereof is Śubheśvara who bestows auspicious benefits. Sage Kapila, a devotee of great penance, became a Siddha there. There indeed in the vicinity of Kapileśvara is a beautiful cave. He who enters that cave does not enter any womb (i.e. is not reborn) anywhere. The well Yajñoda there bestows the merit of a horse-sacrifice.

79. This alone is Oṃkāra consisting of “A” and other syllables. I myself am Nādeśa on the northern bank of Matsyodarī.

80. Nādeśa is the great Brahman. Nādeśa is the greatest goal. Nādeśa is the greatest region that gives redemption from the miseries of worldly existence.

81-82. Jāhnavī (Gaṅgā) comes within the view of that Lord sometimes. That is called Matsyodarī. The bath therein is obtained through merits. O great Goddess, when Matsyodarī Gaṅgā reaches Kapileśvara to the west, that is a rare combination.

83. Uddālakeśvara Liṅga is to the north of Kapileśvara. By visiting it, the greatest Siddhi is attained by all.

84. To the north thereof is Bāṣkulīśa Liṅga, that yields the attainment of all objects and riches. To the right of Bāṣkulīśa is the Kaustubheśvara Liṅga.

85. As a result of its worship, one is never isolated from a heap of jewels. Śaṅkukarṇeśvara Liṅga is to the south of Kaustubheśvara.

86. By resorting to Śaṅkukarṇeśvara Liṅga, an aspirant obtains the greatest knowledge even today. Aghoreśa is at the entrance of the cave. There is an auspicious well to the north thereof.

87. It is famous by the name Aghoroda (the water of which gives redemption from worldly existence) and it bestows the merit of a horse-sacrifice. There are two splendid Liṅgas named Gargeśa and Damaneśa then.

88. In the place where they both attained Siddhi with this self-same physical body, a devotee should worship those two Liṅgas. Thereby he attains the desired Siddhi.

89. To the right side thereof is the great holy pit known as Rudrāvāsa. By worshipping Rudreśa there, one shall obtain the merit of ten million Rudras (i.e. chanting of Rudra-Sūkta ten million times).

90. O Aparṇā, when the fourteenth lunar day coincides with the Rudra-constellation (Ārdrā), bath in that holy pit is considered to be highly meritorious and exceedingly fruitful.

91. If a man takes his holy bath in the Rudrakuṇḍa and visits Lord Rudreśvara, he will certainly attain Rudra’s world at any place where he happens to die.

92. In the south-western direction of Rudra is the Mahālaya Liṅga. In front of it is the Pitṛkūpa, the greatest abode of the pitṛs.

93. A man should perform Śrāddha there and cast rice-balls into the Pitṛkūpa. The performer of the Śrāddha shall attain Rudraloka along with twenty-one generations of his family.

94. There is another big lake named Vaitaraṇī there facing the west. O Goddess, a man who takes his bath there never falls in a hell.

95. To the west of Rudrakuṇḍa is the Bṛhaspatīśvara Liṅga. By visiting it when the Puṣya constellation falls on a Thursday, a devotee obtains supernatual faculty of speech.

96. To the south of Rudrāvāsa is the excellent Kāmeśa Liṅga. Still to the south of it is the Mahākuṇḍa that fulfils the wish thought of (intensely) as a result of the holy bath.

97. The Yātrā (ceremonial procession) there on the thirteenth lunar day in the bright half of Caitra fulfils wishes.

The splendid Nalakūbara Liṅga is to the east of Kāmeśvara.

98-100. The sacred Kūpa (well) in front of it is the bestower of plenty of wealth and food-grains.

To the east of Nalakūbara are the Sūryacandramaseśvaras (Liṅgas installed by the Sun and the Moon). When worshipped they remove the mass of the darkness of ignorance.

To the right thereof should be seen Adhvakeśa who removes delusion.

The Siddhīśvara Liṅga there bestows great Siddhis. Maṇḍaleśa there itself bestows the position of a Maṇḍaleśa (Lord of a great county or tract of land).

101. To the east of Kāmakuṇḍa is Cyavaneśa, the bestower of plenty. Sanakeśa too is there itself and he bestows the merit of a Rājasūya sacrifice.

102. Behind it is the Sanatkumāra Liṅga that brings about Yogic Siddhis. To the north thereof is Sanandeśa, the enhancer of great (spiritual) knowledge.

103. To the south of it is Āhutīśa. When seen it bestows the merit of Homas. To the south thereof is Pañcaśikheśvara Liṅga that brings about merit.

104-105. To the west thereof is Mārkaṇḍeya Hrada, the lake that enhances merit. If a man takes his bath in that deep lake, why should be bewail anything further?

Bath and charity performed there bestows endless merit. To the north thereof is Kuṇḍeśa worshipped and bowed to by all the Siddhas.

106. O Brāhmaṇa, by visiting Kuṇḍeśa a man obtains that merit which is obtained in the course of twelve years after receiving Pāśupata initiation.

107. To the east of Mārkaṇḍeya Hrada is Śāṇḍilyeśa that bestows excellent merit. Behind it is Caṇḍeśa that removes as much sin as the religious observance at the time of solar eclipse does.

108. To the right of Kapāleśa is the holy pit (Kuṇḍa) named Śrīkaṇṭha. By taking his holy bath in that Kuṇḍa, a man will become a donor, due to the power of Śrī (Goddess of Wealth).

109-111. In the vicinity of that Kuṇḍa is Mahālakṣmīśvara Liṅga. A devotee should take his holy bath in the waters of that Kuṇḍa and worship Mahālakṣmī. He will be fanned by celestial damsels with their hands holding chowries. When the heaven-dwellers go to Matsyodarī from the heavenly world, it is this path alone that they take. They march through that path happily surrounded by their women. Hence, O excellent sage, that region is well-known by the name Svargadvāra (‘doorway to heaven’). The Liṅga to the south of that Kuṇḍa bestows the position of Brahmā.

112. Gāyatrīśvara and Sāvitrīśvara should be assiduously worshipped. Satyavatīśvara Liṅga is on the charming banks of Matsyodarī.

113-115. It should be worshipped to the east of those too. It causes increase in power of penance and prosperity. The great Ugreśvara Liṅga is situated in the eastern direction from Lakṣmīśa. By worshipping that Liṅga a man becomes Jātismara (‘capable of remembering previous births’). To the south thereof is Ugrakuṇḍa which by virtue of the holy dip therein surpasses even Kanakhala Tīrtha (in efficacy).

To the west of that Kuṇḍa is Karavīreśvara Liṅga. Due to the visit thereof men obtain destruction of ailments.

116. To the north-west thereof is Marīcīśa Kuṇḍa that is destructive of masses of sins. Behind it is Indra Kuṇḍa, O sage, as well as Candreśvara Liṅga.

117-118. In the southern direction from Indreśa is the splendid Karkoṭavāpikā (tank named after Karkoṭa). A devotee should take the bath in the waters of the tank and visit Karkoṭakeśvara. It is undoubted that he will obtain the overlordship of Nāgas (Serpents). Behind it is Lord Hara (Śiva) (named Dṛmicaṇḍeśa) who dispels the sin of Brāhmaṇa slaughter.

119. To the south thereof is Mahākuṇḍa that bestows the merit of attaining Rudraloka. To the west thereof is the great Liṅga well-known as Agnīśa.

120. To the east thereof is the Kuṇḍa named Āgneya which bestows Saloka (‘having the same world’) with Agni. It is the Kuṇḍa to the east of Āgneyeśvara. There is Śubhakuṇḍa to its south.

121. A man who bathes there in the Kuṇḍa stays in heaven along with the ancestor. To the east thereof is Bālacandreśa, the bestower of the goal of attaining Candraloka.

122. All-round Bālacandreśa there are many Gaṇa Liṅgas. By visiting those Liṅgas one attains the lordship of the Gaṇas.

123. In the vicinity of Bālacandra there is a well favourite with the Pītṛs. One who takes the holy bath there and performs Śrāddha redeems seven generations of ancestors.

124. To the east of that well is the meritorious Liṅga named Viśveśvara. To the east of Viśveśvara is Lord Hara (known as) Vṛddhakāleśvara.

125-126. In front of it is the well-named Kāloḍa which removes all ailments. If any man or woman drinks the water thereof, he (she) never returns to the mortal world even in the course of hundreds of crores of Kalpas. By drinking it, the one becomes rid of the fear arising from the bondage of births.

127. O Pot-born Sage, even at the time of the ultimate annihilation, there cannot be the destruction of what is offered at that well as (a religious) gift unto those whose souls are engrossed in Śiva.

128. Those men who resuscitate and renovate (shrines etc.) broken and in ruins there, attain Rudraloka and rejoice happily forever.

129-130. In the southern direction from Kāleśa is Mṛtyvīśa (Lord of death) who wards off premature death. The Liṅga named Dakṣeśvara is in the northern direction from that well. By worshipping it, even a thousand crimes (sins) perish.

131-132. The great Mahākāleśa Liṅga is to the east of Dakṣeśa. Indeed this entire universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings has been worshipped by the man who takes his bath in the Mahākuṇḍa and worships Mahākāla.

If one visits Antakeśvara to the south thereof, there is no fear of the god of Death.

133. O sage, to its south is Hastipāleśvara Liṅga. By worshipping it one attains the merit of making the gift of an elephant.

134. Airāvata Kuṇḍa and Airāvateśvara Liṅga are there itself. A man worshipping that Liṅga enjoys plenty of wealth and food-grains.

135. Mālatīśvara Liṅga to its south is conducive to welfare. Jayanteśa to the north of Hastīśvara bestows victory.

136. The auspicious Bandīśvara is to the north of Mahākāla Kuṇḍa. Bandi Kuṇḍa is famous in Vārāṇasī as the destroyer of great sins.

137-138. Through the holy bath there, making of gifts and performance of Śrāḍdha, one enjoys everlasting merit. The Liṅga is Dhanvantarīśvara and the Kuṇḍa should have been named thereafter. But, the name of the Liṅga is Tuṅgeśvara and the Kuṇḍa is named Vaidyeśvara.

139. Great medicinal herbs full of nectar and conducive to excellence of intellect have been cast therein. Hence through the bath therein and the visit to that Liṅga, all the ailments perish along with terrible sins.

140. To the north thereof is Halīśeśa, the destroyer of all ailments. The auspicious benefactor Śiveśvara is to the south of the deity named Tuṅga.

141. Jamadagnīśvara Liṅga is very auspicious and it is to the south of Śiveśa. Bhairaveśa is to the west thereof. There is a splendid well to the north thereof.

142. Merely by touching the water thereof one shall obtain the merit of performing all Yajñas. To the west of that well is Sukeśa, the bestower of Yogic Siddhis.

143-144. To the south-west thereof is Vyāseśa and there is a well of pure water. A man who takes his bath in the Vyāsakùpa and offers libations to Suras and Pitṭs, attains everlasting world wherever it is desired. To the west of Vyāsa Tīrtha is the great (a deep lake called) Ghaṇṭākarṇa Hrada.

145. If a devotee takes his bath in Ghaṇṭākarṇa Hrada and visits Vyāseśa, wherever he may happen to die, he would derive the merit of having death at Vārāṇasī.

146-147. Near Ghaṇṭākarṇa is the lake Pañcacūḍāpsaras. After bathing in the waters of Pañcacūḍa and visiting that Lord a man attains heavenly world. He will be a favourite of Pañcacūḍa (celestial damsel). To the south thereof is Gaurīkūpa that destroys all sluggishness.

148. To the northern direction of Pañcacūḍa there is the Tīrtha named Aśoka. Still to the north thereof is the great Mandākinī Tīrtha that destroys great sins.

149. She (Mandākinī) is highly meritorious in the heavenly world. All the more so, O sage in the mortal world. To the north thereof is Madhyameśa who sleeps in the middle of the holy spot.

150. A man will keep awake on the eighth lunar day in the month of Caitra, called Aśokāṣṭamī. He will never be miserable. He will always be cheerful.

151. The extent of Muktikṣetra (Kāśī, the holy spot of salvation) is one Krośa (3 Kms.) in every direction starting from this Madhyameśvara, the merit-giving Liṅga.

152-155. All the great-grandfathers always say this alone: “Will anyone born in our family take bath in the waters of Mandākinī, be pure in every respect and feed Brāhmaṇas, ascetics and Pāśupata devotees?”

A man who bathes in Mandākinī and sees Madhyameśvara shall stay in Rudraloka for a long time accompanied by twenty-one generations of his family.

To the south of Madhyameśa is the auspicious Viśvedeveśvara. By the worship of this deity, all the thirteen Viśvedevas can be deemed to have been worshipped. To the east thereof is Vīrabhadreśa the bestower of the position of the greatest warrior (Mahāvīra).

156. To its south is the auspicious welfare-bestower Bhadrakālī. There is a deep lake named Bhadrakālī Hrada, the bestower of great auspiciousness.

157. To the east thereof is Āpastambeśvara Liṅga the greatest bestower of knowledge. There is a meritorious Kūpa to the north thereof and Śaunaka Hrada is behind it.

158-159. The Liṅga to the west of the Hrada named Śaunakeśa Liṅga bestows excellent intellect. A man should take his bath in the lake there and visit Śaunakeśvara. Thereby he will obtain that divine knowledge whereby he will cross death. To the south thereof is Jaṃbukeśa who prevents birth in animal species.

160-161. To the north thereof is Mataṅgeśa, the instructor in the musical lore. To the north-west of Mataṅgeśa, there are many Liṅgas all-round installed by sages here. They bestow all Siddhis. Brahmarāteśvara Liṅga is to the south of Mataṅgeśa.

162. If one visits that Liṅga, one’s span of life is never cut in the middle. There is Ājyapeśvara Liṅga and also many other Pitṛ Liṅgas. Due to the service rendered to that Liṅga, all the great-grandfathers become pleased.

163-164. To the south thereof is the Siddhakūpa where there are thousands of Siddhas. Some of these Siddhas are in the forms of Wind and some Siddhas abide in the rays of the Sun. The Liṅga installed by them is called Siddheśvara. Merely due to a visit to it, one shall have all Siddhis free from impurities.

165. To the west thereof is the Siddhavāpī tank. If the waters are drunk and if the holy dip is taken, the tank bestows Siddhis. To the east of the Siddhakūpa is the Liṅga called Vyāghreśvara.

166. By visiting that Liṅga, men cease to be afraid of tigers and thieves. Jyeṣṭheśvara is to the south thereof. It bestows great Siddhis in the Jyeṣṭha Sthāna (in the region of the greatest).

167. To the south thereof is the Prahasiteśvara Liṅga, the abode of joys. To the north thereof is Nivāseśa who bestows the merit of residence in Kāśī.

168. There is a well Catussamudra Kūpa that bestows the merit of holy bath in the ocean. Goddess Jyeṣṭhā is there. On being bowed to, she bestows the greatest position.

169. To the south of Vyāghra Liṅga is the Liṅga named Caṇḍīśvara. to the north of it is the lake dug with a staffs (Daṇḍakhāta) which brings about joy to the Pitṛs.

170. Bath after an eclipse in Daṇḍakhāta bestows great merit. The cave Jaigīṣavyaguhā is there and the Liṅga there has the same name.

171. One who undertakes fast for three nights there, acquires knowledge devoid of impurities. To the west thereof is the Devaleśvara Liṅga which bestows great merit.

172. The deity there is Śatakāla in the vicinity thereof. The Consort of Umā disposed of a hundred Kālas, O Pot-born One, in the course of the manifestation of that Liṅga.

173. By visiting that Liṅga a devotee shall enjoy a hundred years’ life-span without break. To the south thereof is Śātātapeśa, the bestower of the merit of great Japas.

174. To the west thereof is Hetukeśa who is the giver of great benefit. To the south of it is Akṣapādeśa, the promoter of great (spiritual) knowledge.

175-176. In front of it is Kaṇādeśa. There is a well of meritorious waters. After taking bath in Kaṇādakūpa, a devotee should worship Kaṇādeśa. He is never forsaken by wealth, or food-grains. Bhūtīśa who causes the prosperity of good persons should be seen to the south of it.

177. To the west thereof is the Liṅga that is named Āṣāḍhīśvara and destroys sins. To the east thereof is Durvāseśa that causes plenty of fulfilment of all desires.

178. To the east of Vyāseśvara there are two deities, Śaṅkhalikhiteśvaras. They should be seen with effort in Kāśī. They are the promulgators of knowledge.

179. The merit that is obtained by concluding the due performance of the rite of Pāśupata Vrata can be obtained here instantly by seeing once the deities Viśveśas (Śaṅkhalikhiteśvaras).

180. To the north-east thereof is Avadhūteśa who is the promulgator of the knowledge of Yoga. The Avadhūteśa Tīrtha causes the destruction of all sins.

181. To the east of Avadhūteśvara is Paśupatīśvara Liṅga. By rendering service to that Liṅga men get rid of Paśupāśas (Karmic shackles of the individual soul).

182. To the south of it is Gobhileśa that bestows the fulfilment of great ambitions. Behind it is the excellent Jīmūtavāhaneśa Liṅga.

183. As a result of the service rendered to that Liṅga, one attains the position of a Vidyādhara. Mayūkhārka and Gabhastīśa are there in Pañcanada.

184. To the north thereof there is a great holy well named Dadhikalpa Hrada. Rare indeed is the holy bath in that well and the vision of the deity.

185. In the northern part of Gabhastīśa is Hara named Dadhikalpeśvara. If a man visits the Lord promptly he will stay in Tryakṣapura (City of the Three-eyed Lord) for the period of a Kalpa.

186. To the south of Gabhastīśa a devotee should visit Maṅgalā, the abode of the auspicious goddess Gaurī, and feed a Brāhmaṇa couple.

187. They should be adorned in accordance with one’s capacity. There is no end to the merit thereof. One circumambulation of Maṅgalā has the same merit as the circumambulation of the Earth.

188. To the north of Mukhaprekṣeśvara near Maṅgalā is the Goddess Vadanaprekṣaṇā. She is Goddess Śivā who causes all Siddhis.

189. To the north of Mukhaprekṣā there are two splendid Liṅgas named Tvaṣṭrīśa and Vṛttīśa. They say that a visit paid to those two deities has the same merit as that of the gift of a plot of land along with gold.

190. To the north thereof is Goddess Carcikā, a visit to whom is auspicious. In front of Carcikā is the Revateśvara Liṅga that causes peace.

191. In front of it is the Pañcanadeśvara Liṅga that is conducive to great auspiciousness. To the west of Maṅgalā is the great splendid well Maṅgaloda (‘a well of auspicious waters’).

192. To the west of Maṅgalā is the great splendid Liṅga of Upamanyu. Behind it is the Vyāghrapādeśvara Liṅga that removes the fear of tigers.

193. To the south-west of Gabhastīśa is Śaśāṅkeśa who removes mass of sins. To the west thereof is Caitraratha Liṅga that bestows divine goal.

194. To the west of Revateśa is Jaiminīśa, the destroyer of great sins. O excellent one among the sages, there are many Liṅgas of (i.e. installed by) many sages.

195. To the north-west of Jaiminīśa there is the Rāvaṇeśvara Liṅga. Due to paying a visit to it one ceases to have great fear of the Rākṣasas.

196. To the south thereof is Varāheśa. Māṇḍavyeśa is still to its south. Further south of it is Pracaṇḍeśa and Yogeśa is still to its south.

197. To the south thereof is Dhāteśa (? Dhātrīśa). Someśa is in front of it. To its south-west is Kanakeśa, the bestower of gold on the good.

198. To the north thereof are the five Liṅgas of the Pāṇḍavas conducive to the joy of the good. In front of it is Saṃvarteśa and Śveteśa is to its west.

199. Behind it is one Kalaśeśa and the Liṅga that bestows freedom from fear of the god of Death. O sage, it rose up from a pot when Śveta was fettered by Kāla.

200. To the north thereof is Citragupteśvara Liṅga that eradicates sins. Behind Citragupteśvara is Dṛḍheśa who gives great merit.

201. Graheśa is to the south of Kalaśeśa. The Liṅga there is excellent. A visit to that Liṅga subdues harassment by (malignant) Planets.

202. Behind Citragupteśvara is Yadṛccheśa granting great merit. Utathyavāmadeveśa Liṅga is to the south of Graheśvara.

203. To the south thereof are the auspicious deities Kaṃbaleśa and Aśvatareśa. There itself is the pure Liṅga worshipped by Nalakūbara.

204. To the south of it is Maṇikarṇīśa Liṅga and Paliteśvara is to its north. There itself is the Jarāhara Liṅga. Behind it is Pāpanāśana.

205. To its west is Nirjareśa and to the south-west thereof is Pitāmaha. Pitāmahasrotikā stream is also there and a Śrāddha performed there yields great merit.

206. To the south thereof is Varuṇeśa and Bāṇeśa is to still further south. Kūṣmāṇḍeśa in Pitāmahasrotikā brings about Siddhis.

207. To its east is Rākṣaseśa and Gaṅgeśa is to its south. To its north there are many Liṅgas. They are (called) Nimnageśas.

208. Vaivasvateśa is there and the Lord prevents Yamaloka (death). Behind it is Aditīśa and in front of it is Cakreśa.

209. In front of it is the great deity named Kālakeśa. He brings about visible proofs. The shadow (i.e. reflection of the deity) is seen there. One who sees it becomes free from sins.

210. Behind it is Tārakeśa and further ahead is Svarṇabhārada (‘the bestower of Bhāras of gold’). To its north is Marutteśa. Śakreśa is ahead thereof.

211-212. To its south is Raṃbheśa. Śaśīśvara is there itself. To the north thereof are Lokapeśas viz. many Liṅgas of (i.e., installed by) Nāgas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Kinnaras, Apsarās, celestial sages and groups of the Gaṇas. They bestow different kinds of Siddhis.

213. To the south of Śakreśa is Phālguneśa, the destroyer of great sins. To the south thereof is Mahāpāśupateśa who brings about great auspiciousness.

214. To the west thereof is Samudreśa. Īśāneśa is to its north. To the east thereof is Lāṅgalīśa who confers all Siddhis.

215. Those who worship without passionate attachment and hatred attain Siddhi. Salvation of these has been announced by me. O Goddess, they are not (ordinary) men.

216. In Lāṅgalīśa the ascetics Madhupiṅga and Śvetaketu attained excellent Siddhi with this self-same physical body.

217. There itself are Nakulīśa and Kapileśa. Both resort to my holy Vrata. It is a great secret.

218. In its vicinity is Prītikeśa. O my beloved, I take pleasure therein. Due to a single fast observed there, the benefit lasts more than a hundred years.

219. If during my Parva (i.e. Śivarātri) a devotee observes fast in Prītikeśa and performs a single Jāgaraṇa (keeping vigil), it is assured that he attains the position of a Gaṇa.

220. In the southern direction of the deity there is a tank of splendid waters. Imbibing the water thereof is conducive to the cessation of rebirths of men.

221-222. To the west of that holy water Daṇḍapāṇi (Staff-handed deity-like Bhairava) accords perpetual protection. There are three Liṅgas to the east, south and north thereof, viz. Tāra (Tārakeśa), Kāla (Kāleśa) and Śailādaja (Nandikeśvara). With faith in them a devotee should drink water and offer it to the lotus-like heart. Those excellent men by whom that water is drunk are blessed. They have achieved their objectives.

223. Mokṣeśa, the bestower of the sense of liberation, should be worshipped in the vicinity of Avimukta. Karuṇeśa the abode of compassion, is to the north thereof. A devotee should worship that deity.

224. Svarṇākṣeśa, the bestower of knowledge, is to the east thereof. To the north thereof, Saubhāgyagaurī should be duly adored for the purpose of full conjugal bliss and prosperity.

225-226. In the southern portion of Viśveśa, Nikuṃbheśa who brings about the prosperity of the holy spot should be assiduously worshipped. Behind it Vighnanāyaka, the destroyer of all obstacles, should be worshipped, especially on the fourth lunar day. Virūpākṣa who accords excellent Siddhis should be worshipped in the south-eastern direction from Nikuṃbheśa.

227. To the south thereof is Śukreśa who grants increase of sons and grandsons. To the north thereof is a great Liṅga named Devayānīśvara.

228. In front of Śukreśa is the deity named Kaceśa. He should be (properly) worshipped. By bathing in the Śukrakūpa one shall obtain the merit of a horse-sacrifice.

229. To the west of Śukreśa, Bhavānī and Īśa should be bowed down to. They are auspicious and they always accord to their devotee Bhakta (foodstuff) and Pota (raft for crossing the ocean of Saṃsāra).

230. Alarkeśa stationed in the eastern direction of Śukreśa should be worshipped. Madālaseśvara is there to the east thereof. He destroys all obstacles.

231. Gaṇeśvareśvara Liṅga is very great and it bestows all Siddhis. O Brāhmaṇa, it was installed by Raghunātha (Rāma) after slaying the king of Laṅkā.

232. By touching that Liṅga, even the slayer of a Brāhmaṇa becomes pure instantly. Another Liṅga that accords great merit, named Tripurāntaka, should be worshipped there.

233. To the west thereof is the splendid Dattātreyeśvara Liṅga. To the south thereof is Harikeśeśa. Gokarṇeśa is beyond that.

234. Ahead of it is a lake that destroys sins. Behind it is Dhruveśvara. In front thereof is Dhruvakuṇḍa that is extremely delightful to the Pitṛs.

235. Piśāceśa installed to the north thereof removes the state of a Piśāca (ghost or vampire). To the south thereof is Pitrīśa and Pitṛkuṇḍa is in front of it.

236. The great-grandfathers become pleased with men who perform Śrāddhas there. Ahead of Dhruveśa is Tāreśa (Praṇaveśa). The same deity is Vaidyanātha.

237. To the south-west thereof is Manu’s Liṅga that is great and that causes increase in the family. Priyavrateśvara Liṅga is in front of Vaidyanātha.

238. To the south thereof is Mucukundeśa. By the side thereof is Gautameśvara. To its west is Bhadreśa and to the south thereof is the Lord of Ṛṣyaśṛṅgin.

239. Brahmeśa is in front of it. Parjanyeśa is in the northeastern direction. To the east thereof is Nahuṣeśa. Viśālākṣī is in front thereof.

240. Viśālākṣīśvara Liṅga is there itself and it grants residence in Kāśī. Jarāsandheśvara Liṅga is to the south thereof and it destroys fevers.

241. In front of it is Hiraṇyākṣa Liṅga that confers gold. It should be worshipped. To the west thereof is Gayādhīśa and further to the west is Bhagīratha.

242. Ahead of it, O sage, and to the west of Brahmeśa is Dilīpeśa. There the Liṅga along with the holy Kuṇḍa bestows the desired benefit on a devotee who takes the holy bath.

243. Viśvāvasu’s Liṅga is there. Muṇḍeśa is there to the east. To the south of it is Vidhīśa. Still further to the south is Vājimedhaka (Vājimedheśvara).

244. A man should take the holy bath in Daśāśvamedhika and visit the excellent Liṅga. He earns the merit of ten horse-sacrifices.

245-246. To the north thereof is Mātṛ Tīrtha that removes the fear of rebirth of a man who takes his holy bath. One who takes the holy bath there, whether man or woman, attains the desired benefit, with the favour of the Mothers (Brāhmī etc.). To the south of your (Agastya’s) Kuṇḍa is the great Puṣpadanteśvara.

247. In the south-east direction thereof there are many Liṅgas installed by gods, sages and Gaṇas. To the south of Puṣpadanta is Siddhīśa who bestows the great Siddhi.

248. As a result of the adoration consisting of five Upacāras (services) the deity may accord great Siddhi in dream. By means of service unto Hariścandreśa men will attain kingdom.

249. To the west thereof is Nairṛteśa. Aṅgiraseśa is further to the south. To the south thereof is Kṣemeśa and Citrāṅgeśa is further to the south.

250-251. To the south thereof is Kedāra that bestows the state of being a follower of Rudra. In the region of south of Kedāra, hundreds and thousands of Liṅgas were installed by the kings of the lunar and solar races. In the direction south of Lolārka (the deity Arkavināyaka) fulfils all hopes and ambitions on being adored.

252. To the west thereof Karandhameśvara Liṅga bestows great benefit. To the west thereof Mahādurgā (great goddess Durgā) destroys great distresses.

253. Śuṣkeśvara Liṅga to the south thereof is adored by the dry river (i.e. Asi). Janakeśa is to the west thereof. Śaṅkukarṇa is to the north thereof.

254-255. To the east thereof is Mahāsiddhīśvara Liṅga that bestows all Siddhis. A man (of devout nature) should take the holy bath in the Siddhakuṇḍa and visit the great Siddheśvara Liṅga. He will achieve all the Siddhis. To the north-west of Śaṅkukarṇeśa is the Liṅga called Vāḍavya.

256. Ahead of it is Vibhāṇḍeśa. To the north thereof is Kaholeśa. The Liṅga there is Dvāreśvara and the goddess is the auspicious Dvāreśvarī.

257. Siddhi is achieved by the adoration thereof, according residence in Ānandakānana. There the guardians are, O sage, the Gaṇas of various forms and weapons.

258. There itself are Haridīśa Liṅga and Kātyāyana Liṅga. To the side thereof is Jāṅgaleśa and behind it is Mukuṭeśvara.

259-262. There itself the Kuṇḍa is free from impurities. It accords the merit of pilgrimage to all places. By bathing in Mukuṭakuṇḍa and visiting Mukuṭeśvara that merit is obtained which is considered to be the merit of pilgrimage to all the Liṅgas. This great earth (country) is the bestower of the Siddhi of penance and Yoga. O Sage, there are hundred thousands of Liṅgas conducive to Siddhi there. O Goddess, the only quarter, the northern one, in Vārāṇasī, is my favourite. There too, O my beloved one, I take more interest in Pañcāyatana (Oṃkāra). I am stationed there always at the time of creation, maintenance and also of annihilation.

263. He who knows thus, is never touched by sins. It is the truth, the truth. (I repeat) it is the truth again. O my beloved, three times the truth. It cannot be anything else.

264. If one wishes residence in my world, one should go there quickly. Only a brief statement about the Liṅgas has been made by me, O sage.

265. Some Liṅgas are devoutly installed twice or thrice. They have not been repeated. They should be adored faithfully in every respect.

266. These Liṅgas, Kuṇḍas, wells and tanks which have been described should be faithfully revered by men of good sense and intellect.

267-270. The merit of paying a visit to and bathing in there is ever more and more. Who is competent to reckon the number of the Liṅgas, wells, lakes, tanks and idols present here. Even the grasses growing in Ānandakānana are superior. No place elsewhere is fit for even the heaven-dwellers to take rebirth. Kāśī is full of all Liṅgas. It is the sole place of origin of all Tīrthas. If it is seen and served till the death of the body; it bestows heavenly pleasures and salvation. But, O Goddess, you alone are my greatest beloved, because of the power (of your) penance.

271-272. This Kāśī is naturally the ground of rest for me. Those who take (utter) the name of Kāśī, those who rejoice therein, are on a par with Śākha and Viśākha; they are like Skanda, Nandin and Gajāsya. O fair lady, they alone are my devotees, they alone are my pious attendants.

273-275. Only those who dwell in Ānandavana are real aspirers for salvation. If people are regular dwellers of Ānandavana, it is as good as though great penance has been performed by them, great holy rites have been performed by them and great charitable gifts have been made by them. They have taken their holy plunge in all Tīrthas; they are initiated in all Adhvaras (sacrifices). They have practised all pious rites. If people do not dwell in Ānandavana even in their last days, they all are mere burdens of the earth, whether they are Suras, Asuras, serpents or human beings.

276. Even a Śūdra (here) is better than one who has mastered the Vedas elsewhere. The former is one who has crossed the ocean of worldly existence and the latter is baser than the Śūdra.

277. Indeed he alone is Sarvajña (Śiva, the omniscient); he alone is Adhikekṣaṇa (Śiva, the surplus-eyed)—he who casts off the physical body in Kāśī and takes up a nectarine one.

278. By listening to this meritorious chapter that encompasses the secret of all Tīrthas, a man duly obtains the merit arising from visiting Kāśī.

279. If anyone reads this chapter in the morning everyday, indeed all the Tīrthas have been visited by him, not otherwise.

280. A sensible man who recites in low voice this chapter consisting of (references to) all Liṅgas is never harassed by Yama, his messengers or by sins.

281. If a man of meritorious soul remains pure and keeps mind in full concentration and recites mentally this chapter, he derives the benefit of Brahmayajña.

282. He who regularly recites this Adhyāya is (like) one who has bathed in all holy Kuṇḍas, (like) one who has sipped the waters of all the holy tanks, one who has adored all the Liṅgas.

283. Of what avail are other diverse stotras (Hymns to a deity) that accord only very little benefit? This chapter of great benefits should be regularly recited by those who love me.

284. By reciting once this great chapter, that benefit is obtained which is usually obtained when great gifts are given.

285. The benefit that is obtained by taking the holy bath in all the Tīrthas and by visiting all the Liṅgas can certainly be obtained by men by reciting this (chapter).

286. This alone is the most severe penance; this alone is the greatest Japa, namely the recitation of the chapter enumerating all the Liṅgas in Kāśī, O sage.

287. This Japa should never be given, should never never be given, to one who hates me, to an atheist, to one who is engaged in decrying the Vedas.

288-292. By repeating this Adhyāya all the sins are destroyed—the sin arising from slaying a Brāhmaṇa, cohabiting with a prohibited woman, eating forbidden edibles, enchanting and ensnaring the wife of the preceptor, stealing gold, slaying father and mother, killing a cow, destroying a foetus etc., all the great sins, known and unknown, all the minor sins committed verbally, physically or mentally. By my bidding undoubtedly these perish. There is no doubt in this that the learned one who repeats this chapter obtains sons, grandsons, wealth, food-grains, wife, lands, everything desired by the mind, heavenly and other pleasures and salvation.

293. Even as the Lord was narrating this story before the Goddess, Nandin came there, bowed down and submitted thus:

294-296. “The work of the construction of the great palace is completed. The chariot has been kept ready. Brahmā and other Suras have assembled. The Lotus-eyed Lord seated on Garuḍa is wailing at the doorway along with his followers. He has kept the leading sages in front waiting for the opportunity. All the people of holy rites in all the fourteen worlds have heard about the festival of (your) grand entry and have assembled.”

Skanda said:

297. On hearing these words of Nandin, the Lord accompanied by the Goddess got into the divine chariot and set out from heaven.

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