The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Kalakaleshvara (kalakala-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 18 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 eighteenth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 18 - Kalakaleśvara (kalakala-īśvara-liṅga)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This Liṅga [i.e., Kalakaleśvara] arose due to a heated quarrel (Kalakala) between Śiva and Pārvatī. Śiva recounts this to Pārvatī!

Śrī Śiva said:

1-8. Know the well-known Kalakaleśvara as the eighteenth deity. Merely by seeing him, quarrel never breaks out. He subdues all miseries. He rids one of all sins. He suppresses sickness, serpents, fire and thieves. He bestows what is desired.

O goddess, there arose a quarrel between you and me formerly. I shall describe it in detail. Listen with single-pointed attention, O splendid one.

O lady of excellent complexion, when you were born as the daughter of Himavān, O my beloved, I wedded you in accordance with the injunctions laid down.

When the marriage ceremony with you was completed you were known by the name Mahākālī, O lady of excellent countenance. You were so (i.e., black) in complexion too. Your colour was akin to that of a blue lotus. Your locks of hairs were black and curly.

O lady of excellent countenance, after the celebration of the marriage, once you were seated in the midst of the Mātṛs on a raised platform with your lustre on a par with black collyrium.

“O beautiful Kālī, O my beloved one, come and sit by my side. You will shine remarkably in your black lustre against the fair background of my body, like a black serpent entwined round a white sandal tree, or like the night in the dark half. You are the means to avert the evil eye.”

9-19. O goddess of charming smile, O Daughter of the Mountain, you were told thus by me.

Then you uttered the following words in a faltering voice: “Why did you not call me thus (Kālī) when the glorious Seven Sages, the masters of the Vedas, were sent by you for the sake of my hand?

Then my father Himavān, the king of Mountains, also was requested by you for my hand. At that time, why did you not call me Kālī? When you uttered in excessive distress, ‘O Nārada, do go for my sake; may Pārvatī be sought after soon,’ at that time why did you not call me Kālī?

This common adage is true; it never becomes false: ‘All get humiliated by the stupidity exhibited by themselves.’

Indeed, one who implores and solicits gets only rebuff and gets one’s head completely shaved. Oh! By means of long practice of austerities I sought after you! Hence this insult at every step. O Dhūrjaṭi, I am not crooked, terrible or hideous. I am not of mean birth. I am not one who moves about aimlessly. I am not defiled, nor envious; but you are well-known as Saviṣa[1] (‘one with Kālakūṭa poison’). You are mainfestly Doṣākarāśraya (‘support of the storehouse of faults’; ‘the support of the moon’). You are Akulīna (‘having no family’), Vṛthācāra (‘moving aimlessly’: ‘one rendering Ācāras futile’). You are always resorted to with Mātsarya (‘vying with one another’). I do not take away eyes. There you alone are the aggressive one. Let Āditya know you (find out). He is Lord Sun-god Dvādaśātmaka. O shameless one, no one’s teeth have been pulled out by me. Lord Pūṣan knows it. He is Dvādaśātmā and the cause of the day. There is Śūla (head-ache, trident) on your head. Hence you insulted me with your own faults.

20-29. You call me Kṛṣṇā (black) though you are well known as Mahākāla (excessively black). This also is a general rumour. Where is your Pravara, O Hara? I say this to cite examples, not out of hatred. Listen, but it behoves you to forgive (me for the same). An ugly man considers himself more handsome than others until he looks at his face in a mirror. When he sees a hideous face in the mirror he considers it (to be) another person, not himself. Not so in the case of others. Even a heretic feels repugnance towards a person deviating from truth and piety as if towards a despicable reptile. All the more so in the case of pious person.” Thus you told me, O goddess and I created an uproar: “O Daughter of the Mountain, you are ignorant of yourself! O Mṛḍā, you profess to be scholarly! It is true I am like your father in respect of various limbs. Hardness leads to obduracy(?); slaying of many due to many minerals (dhātu also means constituents of the body); crooked from all (sides?), unworthiness of being a resort like snow (the text needs emendation).” You were told thus by me, O goddess. Again you spoke these words: “Still every bad quality has become transmitted to you due to the contact with the wicked ones. Ānekajihvatva (‘having many tongues,’ or ‘unreliable speech’) has come to you from the pythons; Snehavaijana (‘absence of viscidity’, ‘want of affection’) from the ashes; Hṛtkāluṣya (‘wickedness or darkness of the heart,’ ‘dark spot within’) from the moon; Durbodhatva (‘incomprehensibility,’ ‘want of understanding’) from your bull; cowardice due to long residence in cremation ground. On account of your shamelessness, there is nudity in you; from the skull, want of mercy. Your mercifulness has long disappeared.”

30. Thus, O splendid lady, a terrible quarrel causing fear ensued. When it took place, all the three worlds began to quake.

31-38. Devas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Kinnaras and Rākṣasas became afraid on account of that uproar. Then a Liṅga manifested itself piercing through the ground. From the middle of the Liṅga a pleasing, splendid voice arose consoling the Devas and all the three worlds consisting of mobile and immobile beings.

Leading Devas named the Liṅga Kalakaleśvara Śaṅkara which became well-known after the name of the sound (noise). If anyone devoutly adores Lord Kalakaleśvara, neither Rākṣasas, nor Piśācas (ghosts), neither Vināyakas (hindering or obstacle-creating deities) will cause obstacles, O beautiful lady. There will never be a quarrel in the house. By seeing the Lord, O beloved one, one gets a housewife of good habits, beauty and fortune. She will give birth to many sons and will possess much wealth.

If the devotees visit Lord Kalakaleśvara on the fourteenth lunar day, they will never have any misery, old age, sickness or premature death. They need not be afraid of enemies, O daughter of the Mountain. The world they go to, shall be eternal. O goddess, as long as fourteen Indras reign (they will be present there). Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power (of this deity) has been recounted to you. Merely by listening to this, one will get welfare here and hereafter.

Footnotes and references:


The double meanings of these epithets are interesting.

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