The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Dhundheshvara (dhundha-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 3 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 third chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 3 - Ḍhuṇḍheśvara (ḍhuṇḍha-īśvara-liṅga)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: Ḍhuṇḍha is a Gaṇanāyaka. He was cursed by Indra for disturbing Raṃbhā’s dance and regained his former status by propitiating this Śiva Liṅga at Mahākālavana. Hence the Liṅga is named after him.

1-9. The third Liṅga, named Ḍhuṇḍheśvara, bestows happiness and heavenly pleasures. It destroys all sins of men and eradicates evils.

O goddess, Ḍhuṇḍha was formerly a Gaṇanāyaka (leader of Śiva’s attendants) in Kailāśa. He was lustful. His conduct was bad and his organs were overwhelmed with vices.

Once he casually went to the world of Śakra in his whimsical fancy. There Raṃbhā was dancing, displaying and depicting different kinds of emotions. Her glances, gestures of the hands, etc., were pleasing and splendid. She demonstrated Sūcividdha and other Karaṇas, Patākā and other Hastas (various postures, gestures, etc., of classical dance). The dance was attended with the proper gestures of the hands in accordance with the tempo and beating of the time.

The eyes of even Indra along with those of other gods were fixed on her facial expressions. He became thrilled in his mind and experienced horripilation. His face beamed with pleasure.

In the meantime, Ḍhuṇḍha was fascinated, O fair lady, by her graceful dances. As the inevitable future course of action would have it, he was overcome by lustul passion. Raṃbhā who was engrossed in the demonstration on the stage, was hit by him with a bunch of flowers.

On seeing this unjustified conduct of the Gaṇa, Śakra cursed him: “You have interrupted the dance on the stage. Hence, face the downfall in the mortal world.” Thus, O goddess, the Gaṇa was cursed by Śakra of unlimited brilliance.

Fallen into the mortal world, he lost his sense. His enthusiasm was blighted. His sense-organs became excited. He found himself in a wilderness and lamented again and again.

1019. ‘Alas! The fruit of injustice has been obtained by me. This was done by me out of delusion. A knowing (wise) person should always do what is moral and just. I have to resort to the path of moral behaviour whereby I may achieve Siddhi.’

Saying thus to himself, he performed penance in various places on the excellent mountain Mahendra, on Śrīśaila, Malaya, Vindhya, Pāriyātra and Yamālaya. Unable to achieve Siddhi, O goddess, he went to the great banks of Gaṅgā, Yamunā. Candrabhāgā, Vitastā, Narmadā, Godāvari, Bhīmarathī, Kauśikī, Śāradā, Śivā, etc. Ultimately he reached Carmaṇvatī, had his ablution there, and gave up all rites saying to himself: ‘Tīrtha is futile; penance is useless. Pilgrimage to the Tīrthas has not been fruitful. Though I wandered all over and performed sacred rites (of this land) my desire has not become fulfilled.’

In the meantime, an unembodied voice spoke consoling the leader of the Gaṇas: “Go to the holy spot of Mahākālavana. Mahākāla always brings about Siddhi. It is far superior to Prayāga and other Tīrthas on the earth. A highly meritorious Liṅga is present there. It fulfils all desires. Hasten to propitiate it in the vicinity of Piśāceśvara. Due to the favour of that Liṅga, you will go back again to the world of Śaṅkara, accessible to brilliant ones and always inaccessible to sinners.”

20-22. On hearing this ethereal voice then, the Gaṇa joyously went to the excellent Mahākālavana. There he saw that Liṅga, the splendid cause of all prosperity. With great devotion he adored the Lord of Devas.

O daughter of the Mountain, thereafter a voice came out from the centre of the Liṅga: “Ha! I am delighted, O dear one. What is it you desire, which I shall bestow on you?.”

Ḍhuṇḍha said:

23-27. O Lord of Devas, O Lord fond of those who seek refuge in you, if you are pleased, may my devotion towards your lotus-like feet be ever steady. O Maheśvara, if you are satisfied, give this boon soon. O Lord Parameśvara, let those men who visit you be instantly rid of sins on the surface of the earth.

On hearing the words of Ḍhuṇḍha, O lady of great renown, the Liṅga said: “Those who adore me with great faith will always be bereft of sins. They will realize all their cherished desires. They will become excellent Gaṇas. They will be worthy of adoration in all the worlds. The will be adorned with all decorations.”

28-36. Ḍhuṇḍha who thus obtained the boon, said again: “Let this Liṅga be renowned in the universe after my name.” O Pārvatī, the Liṅga that was pleased said: “Let it be so.” Ever since then, the deity became well-known as the great Ḍhuṇḍheśvara. Merely by visiting it, men will always attain Siddhi. If the devotees worship the great deity Dhuṇḍheśvara, all their sins from birth onwards will vanish instantly.

A man who devoutly visits the great Ḍhuṇḍheśvara Liṅga is the most meritorious one in the world. He alone is dear to me. By visiting Ḍhuṇḍheśvara, the merit accrued shall be more than what is expected out of a hundred Rājasūya sacrifices.

All the sins whether mental, physical or verbal, whether committed secretly, whether seen or not seen (by others), whether casually or incidentally perpetrated—all these vanish quickly by visiting Ḍhuṇḍheśvara.”

On being told thus by me, Ḍhuṇḍha was made the leader of the Gaṇas, due to the greatness of the Liṅga. He went to my world. He shone along with the other leaders of the Gaṇas. He became a greater favourite of mine.

Thus, O goddess, the power that destroys sins has been recounted to you. By listening to this or proclaiming it, one is honoured in my world.

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