by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Shiveshvara (shiva-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 37 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 thirty-seventh chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Śrī Hara said:
In the beautiful Mahākālavana, there lived formerly in the Brahmakalpa, a king named Ripuñjaya. He was ardently devoted to the protection of the subjects. He took no cognizance of anything other than worship of gods, Vrata, Dāna, meditation, self-study of the Vedas, holy rites and protection of the subjects. He looked after the subjects. Protected like children, all the subjects flourished in happiness, bereft of old age and death. They were blessed with sons, wealth and food-grains and they realized all their desires. O my beloved, the entire Mahākālapura was pervaded by his radiance alone.
8-16. I told Gaṇeśa: “Dear son, go to my dear city of Mahākālapura ruled by King Ripuñjaya.” On being told thus by me, O goddess, he joined his palms in reverence and said, “So be it.” He went to the mortal world with the delight of carrying out my order manifest on his face. When the Śivagaṇa had gone, O goddess of bright smiles, I became satisfied. It
is, indeed, rare to find a servant of the Lord, who is efficient as well as endowed with wisdom and power of reasoning.
He (Gaṇeśa) assumed the guise of a mendicant holding many medicinal herbs. Keeping a drum suspended from his shoulder, he proclaimed: “Who is possessed by spirits? Who has been administered poison? Who is afflicted by blemishes and failures? Who has an acute chronic ailment? I shall cure
it. Who is sonless? Let him be blessed with a son by resorting to the power of my Mantras. I am a physician conversant with all compounds and mixtures. I am the bestower of all desired objects.”
On hearing his words, the populace flocked to him with evident eagerness and curiosity. There were children, women and old men as well. He removed their ailments, even the most incurable ones. They were highly delighted and they began to worship him. They propitiated him with gold, jewels, garments, money, fooḍgrains, villages, cities etc. Thus he stayed there for fourteen years keenly watching for a vulnerable point in the king. He could not find one.
17-24. That Śivagaṇa in the guise of a mendicant thought thus: ‘It is very difficult to find fault with this king. He is so popular. He is brilliant and heroic. He is highly intelligent and invincible.’ He then concealed himself in the dense growth of creepers and brushes in an almost ruined garden.
In the meantime, the chief queen of that king, so solicitous of public welfare, called Nirjarā, sought the help of the mendicant. She was dearer to the king than his own life. She was unrivalled in beauty. Having no son, she wanted one because she had many co-wives. She had heard that the mendicant was one who could grant everything desired by the citizens. The beautiful lady eagerly sent her female companion named Sunandā to the abode of the mendicant secretly even as she herself was in the Antaḥpura itself but watchful. The companion searched for him throughout the city and came across him sitting, musing with the alms he had received. She bowed to him free from mental anguish. For the sake of the matter on hand she spoke to him: “O holy Sir, the chief queen is dearer to the king than his own life. The queen is barren and so she wishes to see you secretly. You are merciful and have bestowed on the subjects almost all that they desired.”
On hearing this, the Śivagaṇa had a suitable opportunity. He said to her:
The Bhikṣu said:
25-32. O fair lady, how dare you speak this improper thing like, “Come to the palace unknown to others.” Only a very rash and venturesome person can be seen moving about anonymously in the city. Realize this, O fair lady, and hasten to the Antaḥpura. I will not come there without the king’s express order.
On hearing the words of the mendicant she became agitated in her mind. She went back to the Antaḥpura in a hurry and reported it to the queen. On hearing the words of her female companion, the queen became distressed. She spoke to her: “O Sunandā, how can the king be persuaded to permit the mendicant to come over here before he proceeds elsewhere?” Sunandā who always spoke befitting words, spoke thus tactfully: “You are the beloved one of the king, dearer to him than his own life. Hence you pretend to the king that you are ill and disturbed in your mind. For that reason the king will carry out your suggestion.”
At this time the king entered the Antaḥpura desirous of seeing the queen. He saw the queen, his beloved, distressed. With his mind melting with love, the king asked her:
The King said:
Oh queen! What a nasty look you have taken on! You speak as though you are dispirited. What misery overwhelms you? Who has misbehaved thus?
33-40. On hearing the words of the king, the queen spoke these words: “I have no sons, O king. Hence I have no pleasure or interest. To those who have no sons, any sports or pastimes give but pain and misery. All the sonless ones in the world are wretched ones. Persons bereft of sons are miserable. There is no redemption unto one without a son or a daughter. Happy are those persons in the world who embrace their children, their own bosom-born sons, although soiled with dust and lisping incoherently. It is for this reason that I have become excessively disgusted. But now a means for obtaining a son has been found out by me. A certain mendicant has come here. He has the form of the eternal Lord, the veritable God (Himself). It is heard that he has unobstructed power in all matters. Here all the people, including women and children, have sought refuge in him. O king, we shall become blessed with sons with the favour of the mendicant. I have no doubt about this in my mind.”
On hearing her words the king, accompanied by his beloved, went to the dilapidated park and saw the mendicant. As soon as he was seen by the king, the mendicant turned into a Liṅga. On seeing this great miracle, the king became humble with devotion. He duly worshipped that Liṅga, the transformation of the mendicant.
On being addressed thus by the lion-like king, the mendicant in the form of the Liṅga replied to the king: “O king, a son will be born to you.” Ever since then that highly intelligent king along with his wife joyously sought refuge in that Lord in all respects.
By the grace of the Lord of Devas, a very powerful son was born to him. He was pious-minded, renowned, majestic and superior in qualities.
Thereafter, I came here from Mandara out of curiosity and saw the Gaṇa in the form of a Liṅga with the king as the attendant. By my lordly Yogic power, my.city was created there. It shone remarkably due to the various jewels and their lustre. It was resorted to by different Siddhas. An auspicious eternal spot was given by me, O goddess of excellent complexion. It is to the north of Mārkaṇḍeyeśvara Deva. Ever since then this deity is remembered as Śiveśvara.
Those who always adore the excellent Śiveśvara will become excellent Gaṇas rid of all sins.
Those who visit Śiveśvara after realizing that the world can have an infant also as a preceptor, shall be granted excellent knowledge by me at the close of their lives.
After considering that salvation is rarely obtained and the worldly existence is excessively terrible, this Śiveśvara should be resorted to, because he brings about non-recurrence of rebirth. Whatever may be his plight, if a man resorts to Śiveśvara, he attains that goal which is obtained by Yajñas and Dānas. A man who, with restraint and purity, listens, reads or recites this narrative is rid of all sins. Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power of Śiveśvara Deva has been recounted to you. Listen to (that of) Kusumeśa hereafter.