by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Greatness of Akhandeshvara which is chapter 68 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 sixty-eighth chapter of the Avantikshetra-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
After taking holy bath in the Tīrtha, a man should visit the excellent Sura named Lord Mādhava. He is the bestower of all benefits. The Lord of Devas, the Lord of cosmos, grants him all desired objects.
Ānandabhairava there is bowed to by all the Devas. Merely by visiting him, one can destroy one’s sins entirely, O Vyāsa. Never can he be tortured by Bhairava. At the gateway of heaven, O Vyāsa, the man becomes fearless.
The combination of the (following) ten, O dear one, is called Daśālā: Jyeṣṭha month, bright half, tenth day, Budha (Wednesday), Hasta constellation, Garānanda Yoga (astronomical combination), Vyatīpāta, moon in Virgo, sun in the Vṛṣa zodiac (Taurus). At that time was Gaṅgā born. It is an auspicious occasion. If a man takes his holy bath on that day, he shall obtain the benefit of all the Tīrthas.
8b-9a. Henceforth, O Vyāsa, listen to the (story of a) great Tīrtha called Akhaṇḍa.
If one merely listens to it he shall avert the fault of Vratabhaṅga (interruption or break in Vratas).
9b-15. Once there was a Brāhmaṇa who was the most excellent one among the knowers of Brahman. He was well-known as Dharmaśarman. He was pure and was always engaged in good conduct. He used to observe many Vratas. He was a master of the Vedas and Vedāṅgas and had perfect control over his senses. But on account of some default, he could never conclude any Vrata properly.
Thus much time elapsed. Once Nārada of divine vision and great penance came to his house as a guest, O Brāhmaṇa.
The Brāhmaṇa thereupon got up with great respect. He duly received Nārada, O great one, in the manner laid down in the injunctions. After the adoration, the excellent. Brāhmaṇa asked the excellent sage: “O holy one, everything is known to you by means of your mind’s eye (intellectual vision). O sinless one, but on our part, I fear, there has been some fault. Due to the association of some sin there was interruption in the Vratas, certainly. O Lord, tell me the cause thereof. What is the fault involved here?”
16-20. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, what was formerly committed by you may be heard. You were a well-known Brāhmaṇa in Mahārāṣṭra, addicted to the habit of hoarding wealth. This Brāhmaṇa was named Brahmadatta. He used to censure Vedas and Brāhmaṇas. He was avaricious of wealth. He was aggressive to others. He was averse to the performance of all pious rites. He was an atheist not believing in Devas and Tīrthas. He used to take away other people’s wealth. He was after the wives of others. He was a robber and gamester. As old age set in, he lost his wealth. He began to wander here and there, as a base and fallen man. He came to the banks of a river in great agitation with the intent of thievery. He mixed with travellers. After some time, the evil, hated one became afflicted with sickness and died.
22. He was seen by Dharmarāja. On seeing the sinner he suddenly spoke out the following words of righteousness:
23-27. “Whatever was done by him were evil acts, sins, one and all. The sinner died on the banks of Godāvarī river. There is no reason for us to take action. On the banks of Gautamī, three and a half crore of Tīrthas come day and night when Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) is in Leo. Contact with them took place in his body through wind. Due to the efficacy of that merit again, there is so sufficient reason that can be offered by us to deal with him. He should not be seized by you. Let him be released, O my servants and attendants.”
Thus the Brāhmaṇa was released by them. He was again born as a Brāhmaṇa. It is due to the evils (of those years) that you have become a Vrata-bhaṅgī (one with broken Vratas).
The Brāhmaṇa said:
28-29. O holy Sir, by what means can all the sins be wiped off? What penance, what Dāna and what Tīrtha has to be resorted to? What is the merit whereby Vratabhaṅga can be averted?
30-33. Listen, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, Mahākālavana is well-known and it is there that there is a lake called Rudrasaras by the sage, the knower of truth. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, there are crores and crores of excellent Tīrthas there.
Hence, O Brāhmaṇa, it has become famous as the eternal Koṭi Tīrtha. To the north of that Tīrtha, there is another Tīrtha that bestows all desires. It is well-known by the name Akhaṇḍasaras. It is in the vicinity of Akhaṇḍeśvara. By merely visiting it, one shall obtain the benefit of all Yajñas. Hence, O dear one, go there by all means. Do not delay.
34-35. On hearing his words, the Brāhmaṇa went to Kumudvatī. He took his bath in Akhaṇḍasaras, O Vyāsa, visited Lord Maheśvara and instantly attained the worlds of meritorious persons, O Vyāsa. Such is the excellent great Tīrtha Akhaṇḍeśvara.
Footnotes and references:
Also called Daśaharā.