by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Akrureshvara (akrura-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 39 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-ninth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Note: A Siva Gaṇa Bhṛṅgiriṭi was cursed by Pārvatī for denying her motherhood and was exiled to the earth. By performing penance at Mahākālavana, he realized the oneness of Siva and Pārvatī by visualizing Siva’s Ardhanārīśvara form. At this he eschewed his cruelty (in penance). Hence this Liṅga became known as Akrūreśvara.
Śrī Hara said:
1-7. Listen to the description of Akrūreśvara, the thirty-ninth deity. Merely by seeing this men’s intellect becomes pure and excellent.
Formerly at the beginning of the Kalpa, O beautiful lady, the entire group of the three worlds, including the mobile and immobile beings, was created by you alone in the form of the great Śakti. Then you were eulogized by the Devas along with Kṛnnaras and great Serpents. The different kinds of Gaṇas began to circumambulate you. Others prostrated before you and uttered prayers. But one of them Bhṛṅgiriṭi did not make the obeisance. He had become cruel in the intellect and arrogant due to pride of great magnitude thinking thus, ‘Mahādeva is the only God. Of what avail to me is this lady?’ When he did not come near you, you approached him and said: “Why don’t you perform adoration, circumambulation or eulogy (of mine)? You are one of my devotees and, therefore, under iṇy control. You have been made by me, my son. You being thus, O Lord of Gaṇas, why do you behave as a self-willed one?”
8-17. On hearing this, Bhṛṅgiriṭi became angry and said to you haughtily: “O Pārvatī, I am not your son. I am Śaṅkara’s son. He alone is both my mother as well as my father. Day and night I seek refuge in him who is Parameṣṭhin. You too, O Pārvatī, have resorted to him and taken refuge in him. If I have to salute you, I will have to salute all the Gaṇas.”
On hearing these words of Bhṛṅgiriṭi, O timid lady, you said to Bhṛṅgiriṭi, the Lord of Pramathas: “Although you are my son, why do you speak so impolitely to me? The skin, flesh, blood and the entrails of a son are inherited from the mother, O Gaṇapa; the nails, teeth and skeleton of bones, penis, speech and head and also semen the son derives from the father’s body.”
On hearing thus, Bhṛṅgiriṭi by his Yogic power immediately shed off everything beginning with flesh etc., the part belonging to the mother. Ever since then, O lady of excellent thighs, he retained only the nails, teeth, bones and the nose. His mind became cruel and the eyes reddened due to anger. He left you and came to me very much distressed with grief. Then, O my beloved, you cursed Bhṛṅgiriṭi: “Since you adopted a ruthless attitude and became evil-minded, you will undoubtedly proceed to the mortal world.”
18-27. On being told thus by you, O goddess, Bhṛṅgiriṭi, the Gaṇa, fell down into the mortal world like a meritorious person when his merits are exhausted. He went to the Puṣkara Dvīpa with a mind directed towards penance. There he stood for ten Padma years (crores of years) on a single leg with the hands raised up. By that severe penance, the universe got burnt. Thereafter, O lady of beautiful waist, all of us, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śakra and others along with the Devas went to him. After approaching him, I said to him thus: “Enough of this ruthless penance that exterminates the world. When you are stationed thus, the group of all the three worlds has become bereft of consciousness. Withdraw this terrible austerity that scorches the worlds excessively. O dear son, may Pārvatī be prayed to. She will grant you a boon. With her favour you will be liberated from the curse.”
He was told thus. You, O Maheśvarī, were prayed to by him. Bhṛṅgiriṭi, the Gaṇa, became humble due to devotion and prayed to you with great respect. Then, O lady of large eyes, you told him: “At my bidding, O son, go to the beautiful Mahākālavana. There you will become Akrūra (‘free from cruelty’). You will come again to Kailāsa which is resorted to by Siddhas and Gandharvas.
The Liṅga is in front of Aṅkapāda. It is a great Liṅga and will continue (to exist) for seven Kalpas. Merely by seeing it the intellect becomes auspicious, splendid. Men who are ungrateful, faithless, cruel, treacherous, highly sinful and accursed—all these attain Svarga by seeing this Liṅga.
28-39. Having become cruel-minded Keśihan (Kṛṣṇa) killed Kaṃsa. Accompanied by Baladeva he left Mathurā city and went to Mahākālavana. There he propitiated Maheśvara and acquired Akrūratva (‘absence of cruelty’). Perpetual fame was also acquired by him.”
On hearing your words, Bhṛṅgiriṭi, the Gaṇa, became a believer. Saying, “So it shall be,” he went to Mahākālavana. He propitiated the Lord by means of a different and severe penance. In the meantime, O goddess, you rose up from the centre of the Liṅga. Half of your body was mine and the other half was your own. In one half the matted hairs were tied up by the great serpents. The other half was beautified with plaited hairs. One helf was embellished with Patravallī (paintings of creepers, etc.). The other half was shining with the crescent moon. One half was beautified with pearl necklaces, while the other half was encircled by serpents. Then, O goddess, Bhṛṅgiriṭi saw that great miracle and thought thus within his heart: ‘I committed a blunder due to ignorance. Umā and Śaṅkara together constitute one eternal physical form. The single form that cannot be specifically distinguished, appears as two differently.’ Even as he was thinking thus humbly with devotion, O Pārvatī, you said: “Dear son, I am pleased; choose a boon.”
He said: “O my mother, O Maheśvarī, if you are pleased, let this deity be named Akrūreśvara and may it be well-known thus. It is due to the greatness of this Liṅga that the ruthlessness of my intellect has vanished. You are mentioned, O goddess, as the sole cause of all living beings. You are the personified form of the mass of merits. You are the ultimate goal of those who resort to merits. You are the father, mother, friend, kinsman and the sole great cause. Make this holy spot the most meritorious and destructive of the sins of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter etc., the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation and that which yields the desired objects.”
40-48. You said, “So let it be,” in a sweet voice. “O dear child, I shall bring about everything that pleases you. O golden-lustred son, nothing on your behalf is difficult for me to do. Men may be even engrossed in sins. But if they even incidentally see the deity named Akrūreśvara in this holy spot, they will invariably become Gaṇas on a par with you.
Those men who eulogize devoutly the name of this Liṅga shall be liberated from mental sins and will go to everlasting Svarga.
A man who after taking his holy bath duly adores it, shall be rid of all sins and will attain the Solar Sphere. By touching this Liṅga, a man attains longevity, health, prosperity, everything desired, and the merit of gifting a thousand cows.
A devotee should take his holy bath in Mandākinī Kuṇḍa and worship Lord Akrūreśvara with different kinds of flowers. Even if he is tainted with great sins, he will go to Svarga seated in a divine aerial chariot. He will stay there for a period of four Kalpas. He will be sung about by Gandharvas.”
On being told thus, O goddess, that Gaṇa, liberated from the curse, came to me along with you. O lady of excellent countenance, has this been forgotten by you? Thus the sin-destroying power of Akrūreśvara Deva has been recounted to you, O goddess. Listen to that of the great deity Kuṇḍeśvara.