The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,344,335 words

This page describes The Greatness of Shri Vishveshvara which is chapter 99 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-ninth chapter of the Uttarardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 99 - The Greatness of Śrī Viśveśvara

Vyāsa said:

1. Listen, O Sūta, to the (activities of the) life of the Lord of Devas, of Viśveśa, the great Ātman, in the manner narrated to the Pot-born One by the Śaravana-born Lord (Kārttikeya).

Agastya said:

2. O Senānī (Commander-in-chief i.e. Kārttikeya), do narrate to me what the Lord did after coming out of the Nirvāṇa Maṇḍapa accompanied by the Devas and Indra.

Skanda said:

3. I shall describe what Śaṃbhu did after reaching Śṛṅgāra-Maṇḍapa from Mukti-Maṇḍapa, keeping Brahmā and Viṣṇu as forerunners.

4-7. The Lord sat facing the East along with us and the Goddess. Brahmā sat on his right and Śārṅgin (Viṣṇu) sat on his left side. He was fanned by Mahendra and surrounded by the sages. He was silently served by the Gaṇas with arms lifted up. They were standing at the sides with respectful veneration to the utmost. Śaṃbhu raised his right hand and showed the Liṅga to Brahmā and Viṣṇu saying: “Look. This is the greatest splendour. This alone is greater than the greatest.

8-14.[1] This alone is my immobile form that accords the highest Siddhi. These are Pāśupata devotees, Siddhas observing celibacy ever since childhood. They have conquered their sense-organs. They are fully engrossed in their penance. They are free from impurities due to their knowledge of the five topics (entities)[2] (or the four Vedas, Itihāsas and Purāṇas). They lie down on a heap of holy ash. They have mental restraint. They are well-behaved. They are Ūrdhvaretas (They have sublimated their sexual energies). They are always engaged in the adoration of the Liṅga. Their sense-organs and minds do not turn towards anyone else. They are always pure on account of Vāruṇa (shower) and Āgneya (ash) baths. Their food consists of bulbous roots, roots and fruits. Their eyes are dedicated to the Supreme Being. They are truthful. They have conquered anger. They are devoid of delusion. They do not possess anything. They do not desire anything. They have no sense of identity with the body etc. They have no sorrow. They are free from ailments. The are Nirbhagas (i.e. have abandoned riches), Nirupāyas (do not employ means of expendiency); they have no contact with others; their hearts are free from impurities. They have crossed the terrible ocean of the worldly existence. They have no doubts. They are free from sins. They are free from opposing pairs (e.g. pleasure-pain). They have certain firm views. Their activities are uncontaminated by egotism. They are always my great favourites. They are my sons in my own form. These are to be adored and bowed to, thinking them to be I myself, by those who solely worship me.

15. If they are adored, I become pleased undoubtedly. In this holy spot of Viśveśvara, Śivayogins should be duly fed.

16-19. If each one is perfectly fed, it has the merit of feeding ten million persons. This Viśveśvara is Lord of the universe himself in the form of a stationary being.

He brings about all the Siddhis of all persons who are devoted to him. I may be manifest sometimes and sometimes unmanifest.

O Devas, I stay in this Ānandakānana as I please, independently for the purpose of blessing all devotees here for ever.

I shall be staying in the form of a Liṅga, bestowing the object thought of. All the Liṅgas (whether) they are self-born or not, always come to see this Liṅga.

20. There is no doubt about this that I stay in all the Liṅgas. But this is the greatest of my forms as a Liṅga.

21. O heaven-dwellers, it is as good as I have been seen directly by the person by whom this Liṅga was seen faithfully with a pure vision.

22. May the Devas listen along with the sages. If one hears about this Liṅga, all his sins accumulated in the course of a birth perish in an instant.

23. In one remembers this Liṅga, all the sins accumulated in the course of two births necessarily perish immediately at my behest. There should be no doubt about it.

24. With this Liṅga in view, if one sets out from his house, all the sins accumulated in the course of three births perish instantly.

25. O immortal ones, by seeing this Liṅga, one gets the merit arising from a hundred horse-sacrifices invariably, due to my blessings.

26. O Suras, the merit of a thousand Rājasūya sacrifices accrues merely by the touch of this self-born Liṅga of myself, of Viśveśvara.

27. Merely by offering flowers along with a palmful of water with devout feelings, one attains the merit of (offering) a hundred Suvarṇas (gold pieces).

28. By performing the worship alone with great devotion of this king of Liṅgas, the merit of adoration with a thousand golden lotuses is obtained.

29. By performing the great adoration of this Liṅga with Pañcāmṛta as the main constituent, one obtains all the four aims of life.

30. O immortal ones, if an excellent devotee bathes the Liṅga of mine with the waters filtered and purified through a cloth, he obtains the merit arising from a hundred thousand horse-sacrifices.

31. If anyone devoutly smears the Liṅga with sweet-smelling sandal juice, he will be smeared (in heaven) with scented Yakṣakardama (mixture of camphor, agallochum, musk and Kaṅkola) by celestial damsels.

32. By offering sweet-smelling incense (a devotee) becomes the receptacle of divine scent. By lighting lamps of clarified butter, he moves about in an aerial chariot in the form of a radiant splendour.

33. By offering a lamp with camphor-wick once, a devotee attains white splendour of the body like camphor and becomes three-eyed with an eye in forehead.

34. By offering Naivedya alone, an intelligent devotee will enjoy great pleasures and reside on the Kailāsa Mountain at the rate of a Yuga for each particle of boiled rice.

35. If anyone offers rice pudding with ghee and sugar unto Viśveśa, it is as though all the three worlds including Devas, Pitṛs and human beings have been propitiated by him.

36. Great indeed is the merit of one who offers Mukhavāsa (perfume to make the breath fragrant), mirror, beautiful chowries, awning and comfortable couch.

37. It is somehow possible to calculate the number of the jewels in an ocean; but who can calculate the merit of the offerings of Mukhavāsa etc.?

38. He who devoutly offers the means and materials of worship like beīī, water-pot etc. in any abode (temple) shall stay here near me.

39. If a devotee makes arrangement for either vocal, instrumental music or dance for propitiating me, in front of him there shall be great triple symphony.

40. One who makes arrangement for pictures and paintings in my mansion, shall enjoy great pleasures of diverse kinds staying before me.

41. By bowing to Viśveśvara once in the course of life, a wise man becomes the lord of the earth with his feet bowed down to by all the three worlds.

42. If a devotee visits Viśveśvara but dies elsewhere, he will undoubtedly become liberated in the next birth.

43. How can there be rebirth if the name of Viśveśvara is at the tip of the tongue, the story of Viśvanātha in the ear and the regular meditation of Viśveśa in the mind?

44. After seeing Viśvanātha’s (my) Liṅga if one rejoices, he will be counted as one among my Gaṇas, because he has the strength of the merit.

45. If one repeats during the three Sandhyās (morning, midday and evening) everyday Viśveśa, Viśveśa and Viśvanātha I too shall utter the name of that meritorious devotee.

46. O Suras, this great Liṅga is worthy of being worshipped even by me for ever. Hence it should be assiduously worshipped by Devas, sages and human beings.

47. If Viśveśvara is not seen and if Viśveśvara is not remembered, they are seen by the messengers of the god of Death and they have to recollect (experience) the sufferings of the womb.

48. If this Liṅga is bowed to, they will be bowed to by Suras and Asuras. When considered against a single bow to the Liṅga, the position of the Guardian of a Quarter is worthless. There is downfall from the position of a Guardian of a Quarter, (but) there is no downfall from the obeisance to Śiva.

49. May all the groups of Devas, sages and Gaṇas listen. I shall speak the truth and that too for helping others. Nowhere within the worlds of Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ, Svarga, Mahaḥ and Jana, is there a Liṅga equal to Viśveśa.

50. Neither in Satyaloka, nor in Tapoloka nor in Vaikuṇṭha, Kailāsa and Rasātala is a Tīrtha anywhere on a par with Maṇikarṇikā, or a Liṅga like Viśveśa.

51. There is no Liṅga equal to that of Viśvanātha. There is no Tīrtha other than Maṇikarṇikā. There is no splendid penance grove anywhere else on a par with my Ānandavana.

52. The whole of Vārāṇasī is full of Tīrthas. Its very name is ‘Tīrtha of all Tīrthas’. There itself is the highly sacred Maṇikarṇikā, the very ground of my happiness.

55.{GL_NOTE::} From the site which is my royal palace, the city extends in between the north and the east; to the left it is three hundred hands (up to Hariścandreśvara) and to the right it is two hundred hands (up to Gaṅgā Keśava—Comm.).

54. In Gaṅgā, Maṇikarṇikā extends to five hundred hands north to south. It is the very essence of the three worlds. It is the basic support of the great soul. Those who resort to it lie in my heart (They are of the form of Sat—Comm.).

55. In this Ānandakānana of mine, this Liṅga which is the abode of nectar (of Salvation) and from which the radiance of the Self originates has come out by itself from the bottom of the seven Pātālas out of compassion for the devotees.

56. The greatest punishment for those people who resort to this Liṅga after indulging in reasoning alone is this that they will never cease to be born and reborn in the womb.

57. Whatever is beneficial (or desirable) to oneself should be offered to this Liṅga by people who are devoted to me. Neither here nor elsewhere does the sin committed by sinners perish as it perishes here.

58. If any Liṅga here is worshipped by highly intelligent ones stationed far away, the Glory of Salvation shall abide in them along with auspicious things given by me alone.

59. O Viṣṇu, listen, O Creator (Brahmā) listen; may all the Devas, sages and the Gaṇas listen. This Liṅga gives the greatest Siddhi unto the good, due to being in my vicinity. There is not the slightest change in this regard.

60. If the wealth earned by means of good merit is offered to this Liṅga that is the means of the achievement of all Siddhis. I accord to them the Nirvāṇapada (Position of Salvation) that is the means of obtaining every happiness beyond measure and which affords freedom from fear.

61. Lifting up the hand, I assert again and again that, in this world having the three Vedas, only three things are essential: Viśveśa Liṅga, Maṇikarṇikā water and the city of Kāśī. This is the truth, threefold truth.”

62. Then the Lord got up along with Śakti, performed the excellent worship and merged into the same Liṅga. The Suras uttered, “Be victorious, be victorious” and eulogized the Lord.

Skanda said:

63-64. O son of Mitra and Varuṇa, O highly intelligent one, only a part of the great efficacy of the holy spot Avimukta has been narrated. It dispels sins. I have narrated it to you in accordance with my understanding because you are being distressed due to separation from Kāśī. Ere long you will reach the excellent Kāśī.

65. The Sun has come to the peak of the mountain of setting. To you as well as to me, this is the time for silence.

Vyāsa said:

66. On hearing this, O Sūta, the sage along with Lopāmudrā bowed down to the Son of Umā repeatedly and set out for the Sandhyā prayers.

67. After learning well the secret of the holy spot of the Moon-crested Lord, Agastya with a firm mind became engrossed in the meditation of Siva.

68. O Sūta, who is capable of adequately describing the exalted greatness of Ānandakānana even in a hundred years.

69. The greatness has been recounted to the Pot-born One by Skanda in the same manner as it was narrated to the Goddess by the noble Lord.

70. O excellent one, it has been narrated to you as well as Śuka and others. Now tell me what you have been desirous of asking me. I shall narrate it to you.

71. On hearing this meritorious chapter that is destructive of all sins and that accords all the benefits desired, a man will become contented.

Footnotes and references:


VV 8-13 describe the Pāśupata way of life.


Pañcārthājñāna—Knowledge of the Oṃkāra (Consisting of A, U, M, Nāda and Bindu (*); or the knowledge of the Mantra of five syllables ‘śivāya namaḥ’.

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