The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Siddheshvara (siddha-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 11 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 eleventh chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 11 - Siddheśvara (siddha-īśvara-liṅga)

Note: As the name [i.e., Siddheśvara] indicates, this Liṅga grants Siddhis to its devotees, as happened in the case of those frustrated ascetics.

1-10. O goddess, know that the splendid Siddheśvara Liṅga is the eleventh deity. It is near Vīrabhadra. It bestows all Siddhis.

Formerly, in Devadāruvana, some Brāhmaṇas engaged in the practice of Yoga, vied with one another for the achievement of spiritual powers. With self-control they performed penance.

Some of them were strict vegetarians; some abstained from food. Others sustained themselves on the diet of leaves alone. Some were Dantolūkhalins (used to crush grains with teeth as mortar, i.e., ate only such grains). Others were Aśmakuṭṭas (i.e., ate only grains crushed with stones). Some of them were in the posture of Vīrāsana. Others imbibed smoke from fires kindled beneath, as they kept their feet up and faces down. Some of them were Abhrāvakāśikas (with open sky as their living room). Others performed Kṛcchra Cāndrāyaṇa and other expiatory rites with concentration. But none of them obtained the great Siddhi even after hundreds of years.

Bitterly distressed they thought: ‘How can Siddhi be gained? It is not obtained here even by means of severe penance. Formerly the sages had said: “Everything is obtained by means of penance. This universe is rooted in penance.” This scriptural statement of the former sages has become false. What is essential is the use of sacred Añjana (collyrium), medicated (magical) pills, moving with wooden sandals on, the Siddhi of swords, living in caves and the philosopher’s stone.’

Thus those would-be Siddhas thought in their bitter frustration. Giving up the holy rite of penance, they became agnostics and atheists.

In the meantime, an unembodied voice spoke consoling those Siddhas like a mother consoling her bosom-born son:

11-23. “O noble Sirs, do not belittle Śruti as false. On the surface of the earth neither penance nor righteousness are to be disparaged. The reason may be heard. O sages, no Siddhi will be achieved by you here. Those who desire Siddhis by vying with one another, will find that their penance is futile. There is loss of the power of penance due to lust. Through egotism, anger, covetousness and delusion there will be dismay and pride, undoubtedly. He who is devoid of contentiousness, free from lust and anger and performs his duty with ardour, attains the benefit of penance. He who is not influenced by desires, he who has single-minded concentration, he who is a believer in God and Śrutis and is faithful, attains the benefit of penance. He who looks upon other men’s wives like his mother and other people’s possessions like a lump of clod, enjoys the benefit of penance. The perfection of penance is seen only in a person like this, O Brāhmaṇas. You (people) performed the difficult task (i.e., penance) after vying with one another. Spiritual powers will never result therefrom even in the course of a thousand years. If you have any inclination to carry out my instruction with an unhesitating mind, then go ye all to Mahākālavana. With mental concentration, always propitiate the Lord of Devas, the bestower of Siḍdhis. Excellent Siddhi is attained by (simply) visiting that deity. Sanaka and others who were engrossed in Yogic practice resorted to the Lord and adored (Him) with ardour. Thereby they attained the greatest Siddhi. Formerly the very rare Siddhi of the sword was attained by King Vasumān by the power of the mere sight of this Liṅga. Pādukāgamana (going with the transporting sandals) was obtained by the noble-souled Haihaya. A thousand vehicles (horses) were obtained by the same son of Kṛtavīra. Formerly Adṛśyakaraṇa (the power of making oneself invisible) was obtained by Anūru. The achievement of Svarṇa (gold), Pādalepa (smearing the feet), Rasāyana (Elixir of life) and Añjana (magic collyrium) enabling one to see hidden treasures was obtained by visiting this Liṅga by different Siddhas.”

24-33. On hearing the words of the Ethereal Voice, those Siddhas were struck with wonder. They joyously arrived at the excellent Mahākālavana. They saw the excellent Liṅga that bestows all Siddhis. By visiting that Liṅga, they attained the greatest Siddhi. Ever since then, the deity became well-known as the greatest Siddheśvara. O goddess, on the earth no Siddhi will become inaccessible to those men who see the greatest deity Siddheśvara. Even those with emotional fervour who go to Siddheśvara incidentally, invariably become Siddhas. There is no doubt about it. Even one defiled with great sins, remembers Siddheśvara and becomes a Siddha certainly and one endowed with wisdom and prosperity. If one regularly visits the great Siddheśvara, a Siddhi cherished in the heart, comes within six months. He who visits Siddheśvara on the eighth and fourteenth lunar day, particularly in the dark half, shall see my palace. One without a son obtains a son; a poor man gets wealth; a seeker after learning achieves learning; and one who seeks a wife gets a wife. He who worships the deity on the day of the transit of the sun, or on a day of eclipse or on a Monday, redeems a hundred members of his father’s family besides himself, O my beloved. He then rejoices in my world as long as fourteen Indras reign. Thus, O goddess, I have recounted to you the sin-destroying power of the deity Siddheśvara. Now listen to that of Lokapāleśvara.

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