The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes Karkoteshvara (karkota) or Karkotakeshvara (karkotaka-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 10 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 tenth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 10 - Karkoṭeśvara (karkoṭa) or Karkoṭakeśvara (karkoṭaka-īśvara-liṅga)

Note: When Nāgas were cursed by their mother, Karkoṭaka Nāga came to Mahākālavana, propitiated this Śiva Liṅga and became merged with it. Hence it is called Karkoṭakeśvara.

Śrī Mahadeva said:

1-9. O Pārvatī, know that the tenth deity is named Karkoṭeśvara whose mere sight prevents the effect of poisons.

Serpents had been cursed by their mother due to their non-obedience to her order: “Since my behest was not duly acted upon by you all, because it was an evil act, fire will burn you all in the Sattra (sacrifice) of Janamejaya.”

Ever since they heard the curse of their mother, the serpents were in constant fear of death. O lady of renown, they went to their respective places for the purpose of protecting their lives. Śeṣa went to Himālaya, O my beloved, to perform a penance. The serpent named Kaṃbala went to the world of Brahmā. The leading serpent Śaṅkhacūḍa went to Maṇipūra. Kāliya who was exceedingly frightened sub-merged himself in the water of Yamunā. So also those kings of serpents, O lady of splendid smiles, went to Kurukṣetra for the performance of penance, O lady of great renown. The serpent Dhṛtarāṣṭra went to Prayāga, O my beloved. The leading serpent Elāpatra went to the world of Brahmā. After bowing down to him, he asked: “We have been cursed, O Lord, in your presence, by our infuriated mother even as we were resting in the lap of our mother. How is it that she was not restrained by you at the time of the curse?”

Brahmā said:

10-16. Your mother was not forbidden by me due to the power of the inevitable future. Sarpasattra will indeed be performed by King Janamejaya. O dear one, at my behest you do go to Mahākālavana with great devotion. Go quickly for performing propitiatory rite for all the serpents. Propitiate the Lord of Devas in the vicinity of Mahāmāyā. There you will attain Siddhi by the grace of the Lord of Devas.

After going there, O goddess, Karkoṭa engaged himself in concentration. Stationed before Mahāmāyā, he propitiated the Lord. The Lord was pleased with him, O Lady of great fame, and granted him a boon: “Death and destruction will overtake only those serpents that are cruel, highly poisonous and sinful in conduct and not those who are pious. I am pleased with your devotion. Get merged with me.” Serpent Karkoṭa got merged into the Lord, O my beloved one. Lord Maheśvara became famous as Karkoṭakeśvara. Merely by his sight all ailments will be eradicated.

17-23. A devout man who worships that Lord shall redeem a hundred members of his family. He will become prosperous. The sick will be rid of ailments; the miserable of miseries. Due to the sight (of Lord Karkoṭeśvara) he shall instantly become free of sins. Those who regularly see Karkoṭakeśvara will obtain the fulfilment of all desires and in the end stay in my city.

Serpents will never afflict the family of those who see the Lord on the fifth or fourteenth lunar day or on a Sunday.

Even unfortunate women shall obtain perpetual bliss. A pregnant woman will get a healthy son, an ornament of the family. All malefic Planets perish. There is no fear of premature death. A man of devotion shall obtain even rare things and whatever he may wish mentally, due to the sight of Karkoṭeśvara.

Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power of Karkoṭeśvara Deva has been recounted to you. Listen to the great (glory of) Siddheśvara.

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