The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Ishaneshvara (ishana-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 16 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 sixteenth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 16 - Īśāneśvara (īśāna-īśvara-liṅga)

Īśvara said,:

1-7. O Pārvatī, know that the Liṅga named Īśaneśvara is the sixteenth deity. By merely seeing it, men become very prosperous.

Formerly, O goddess, all the Suras, the highly esteemed sages, Yakṣas, Gandharvas and Kinnaras were attacked and harassed by Tuhuṇḍa. The entire celestial park known as Nandana came under his control. He succeeded in taking the great elephant Airāvaṇa and keeping it at his gateway. The Lord of Dānavas took away (the horse) named Uccaiśśravas. He made attempts to destroy (ravish) all the celestial women. The pathway to Svarga became blocked due to his fear, O Satī. Thus divested of their rights, the Devas had mutual consultation.

At that time Nārada, the great sage of excessive refulgence, who knew the proper time, came there in the course of his peregrinations. The Devas bowed down to him and duly adored him. The evil acts done by Tuhuṇḍa were recounted to him as they had occurred.

8-14. By way of taking counsel with him, they asked the excellent sage Nārada: “O highly intelligent one, tell us. You know everything. O geat sage, when such an occasion as this arises, what should be done? O most excellent one among celestial sages, nothing in the three worlds is unknown to you.”

With his eyes slightly closed, he meditated for a short while and told them the remedy whereby all the miseries could be destroyed:

“O distressed ones, hasten ye all to the beautiful Mahākālavana. Establishing yourselves behind Indradyumneśvara, serve the excellent Liṅga named Īśāneśvara. Formerly in the Īśānakalpa Sage Īśāna, well-versed and engaged in the recital of the Vedas, easily attained a position on the head of Śaṅkara. By propitiating him, everything mentally desired is achieved.”

On hearing the words of Nārada the Devas became delighted in their minds. They went to the place where the great Liṅga was and all of them prayed:

15-24, “O Īśāna, O Lord of (Sage) Īśāna, O Tatpuruṣa, obeisance to you. Obeisance to you, O Vāmadeva; O great Aghora, obeisance, obeisance to you, O Sadyojāta. O threeeyed Bharga, O great Lord, O consort of Umā, obeisance, obeisance (to you). Obeisance, O Śiva; obeisance, O Bhīma; obeisance, O Śarva; obeisance, obeisance. Obeisance, O Śaṃbhu. Obeisance, O Rudra; obeisance, obeisance, O Virūpākṣa. Everything has been created by you, O Maheśvara, all the subjects including Devas, Asuras and human beings, all the mobile and immobile living beings, Brahmā, the Vedas, and everything worth knowing.

O Lord, the firmament is your head; the moon and the sun your eyes; the wind is your breath; the imperishable Agni is your refulgence. All the quarters are your arms; the great ocean is your belly. O Lord, the mountains are your thighs; the earth is considered your feet. Indra, Soma, Agni, Varuṇa, the Devas, Asuras and the great serpents devoted to you follow you humbly eulogizing you with different kinds of prayers. O Lord of the Cosmos, all the living beings are pervaded by you. If you are delighted, the universe is delighted. If you are angry, there is great danger and fear. You alone are the remover of all fears. You alone are the slayer of enemies. The destruction of the powerful Asuras has been performed by you. No one attained the great salvation by their own exploits. You are the sole creator and annihilator of all living beings here.”

25-34. After the propitiation, all of them began to make obeisance. In the meantime, O goddess, a great column of fire enveloped with smoke rose up from the middle of the Liṅga, whereby the Dānava Tuhuṇḍa, son of Muṇḍa, was burnt along with his armies that surrounded him.

Due to the power of this Liṅga Suras regained their respective rights. The delighted Devas named the Liṅga also. “We have ascertained that granting prosperity is the very nature of this Liṅga. Hence the deity will become well-known in all the three worlds as Īśāna. If the devotees propitiate the deity named Īśā neśvara, they will have renown, prosperity, pleasure and achievement of powers permanently. They will be always worshipped by Devas, Gandharvas and groups of celestial damsels and will go joyously to Svargaloka by means of brilliant aerial chariots.

There is no doubt about it that the devotees, whether they are Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas or Śūdras, whether they are women or virgins, will obtain all their cherished desires.

If a man strictly adheres to the observances and ardently visits the Lord, he will never incur any loss anywhere for a hundred births thence.

Those who daily see the deity named Īśāneśvara, O lady of great renown, shall always be efficient in all their activities.

Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power of Īśāneśvaradeva has been recounted to you. Let the power of Apsareśvara be heard.

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