The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Lokapaleshvara (lokapala-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 12 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 twelfth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 12 - Lokapāleśvara (lokapāla-īśvara-liṅga)

Note: Lokapālas (Guardians of Quarters) and other Devas were driven out by Dānavas. They propitiated this Liṅga. A flame of fire-emanated from this Liṅga and burnt down all the Dānavas and re-instated Lokapālas in their posts. Hence the name of this Liṅga.

Śrī Hara said:

1-9. O goddess of Devas, know that Lokapāleśvara Śiva is the twelfth deity. Merely by visiting him, one is rid of all sins.

Formerly, O fair lady, thousands of groups of Daityas came out from the chest of Hiraṇyakaśipu. They were excessively powerful in their exploits. The entire earth consisting of mountains, parks and forests was pervaded (occupied) by them. Excellent penance groves and all the Yajñas were destroyed by them. Brāhmaṇas well-versed in the Vedas and Vedāṅgas were eaten up (by them). Sacrificial fire-pits were filled with liquor and dust particles. Sacrificial waterpots were broken. Earthen pots, utensils etc. were shattered to pieces. The earth was rendered bereft of study of the Vedas and utterance of Vaṣaṭ, Svadhā and Svāhā. The festivities of Yajña became defunct. Thereupon, the frightened guardians of the worlds sought refuge in Mādhava. With palms joined in reverence, all of them said: “We have been famished with hunger and distressed. O Lord! Denied our due share in the Yajñas, we have become weak and exhausted. Formerly we were saved by you from Namuci, Vṛṣaparvan, Mura, Hiraṇyakaśipu the terrible and Naraka. Similarly, O excellent one among Suras, do protect us now. Great danger has come to threaten us.”

10-17. On hearing their words the Lord wielding the conch, discus and club went forth and the Daityas entered the ocean. From there they used to come out during the night and kill excellent Brāhmaṇas, ascetics and the initiated ones engaged in holy rites, O goddess. Then, O beloved one, they (demons) went to Svarga. Śakra, the Lord of Devas, was defeated. In the same manner, they went to the Southern Quarter. Then Dharmarāja was subdued. After going to the Western Quarter the king of waters (Varuṇa) was conquered. In the North, O goddess, Dhanada (Kubera) was defeated by the Daityas. Becoming frustrated they sought refuge in Viṣṇu. Then ways and means were mentioned by Viṣṇu to the Devas. “O Devas: go to Mahākālavana. With mental concentration, purity and devotion, propitiate Śaṅkara, the Lord of all the benefactors of the world. There you will attain fulfilment (of desires) by his grace.”

On hearing these words of Kṛṣṇa of immeasurable splendour, the Guardians of Quarters went to the splendid Mahākālavana.

18-26. But they were prevented (from going) there itself by the Daityas holding various kinds of weapons. Again they fled and approached Lord Janārdana. They told him the terrible fact of how the three worlds were held restrained. Again the Guardians of Quarters were advised by Nārāyaṇa: “Do go to the excellent Mahākālavana in the guise of Kāpālikas. Perform holy rites and observances. Adorn, yourselves with skulls. Carry Khaṭvāṅgas and assume quietness. Embellish yourselves with the five Mudrās. All your limbs should be smeared with the holy ash. Shining tiny bells and anklets should be tied to the legs. Go thus to the excellent Mahākālavana in the company of Brahmā.” Thus, hearing the speech of Kṛṣṇa all those Guardians of Quarters came here, O great goddess, in the guise of Kāpālikas. There, the great Liṅga, a wonderful mass of refulgence, was seen and repeatedly eulogized by the Guardians of Quarters with different kinds of hymns and prayers.

Thereupon, a shooting flame of fire rose up from that Liṅga. It burned all the Dānavas and reduced them to ash. Realizing the greatness of the Liṅga they named it duly: “The great Liṅga is highly refulgent and has been duly served by the Guardians of Quarters. Hence it will become famous all over the earth by the name Lokapāleśvara.” After saying thus all the Devas protected by the Guardians of Quarters went to their respective regions. They were joyous as before.

27-35. Those men who visit the deity Śiva named Lokapāleśvara become rich with plenty in every birth. Neither poverty, nor pestilence, nor premature death will befall them. By visiting him, unparalleled prosperity will result always. The desire with which the deity is seen, will be realized. After death he will attain the greatest goal. By worshipping Lokapāleśvara, O goddess, one gets that benefit which is usually achieved when a horse-sacrifice is perfectly performed. Even he who casually visits Lokāpāleśvara Śiva, always rejoices in Svarga in the company of (or like) the Guardians of Quarters.

Those men who devoutly visit the deity during equinoxes, Mondays, and particularly on the fourteenth lunar day or the eighth one in both the Ayanas, will become invincible to enemies in a battle. On death they go to the inaccessible world of Śakra in an aerial chariot. In due course gradually they go to Varuṇaloka, Kuberaloka and then to Brahmaloka very rarely attained even by Devas. Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power has been recounted to you. Now listen to the mystery of Kāmeśvara.

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