The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Abhayeshvara (abhaya-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 48 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 forty-eighth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 48 - Abhayeśvara (abhaya-īśvara-liṅga)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: The Liṇga is called Abhayeśvara as it protected Brahmā and Viṣṇu from Dānavas.

Śrī Rudra said:

1-7. Know the forty-eighth deity, O my beloved. Merely by visiting him, one can avert the fear of worldly existence.

O lotus-eyed lady, at the end of the first Kalpa, i.e. Pādma, when the moon, the sun, and the constellations had vanished, when the earth and the heaven had been dissolved, Brahmā began to ponder: ‘How can the creation be effected?’

When he was vexed on this account, big drops of tears fell down from his eyes. A big tear-drop fell down from the noble-souled one’s left eye. From that drop of tear, a Dānava named Hārava was born. He had sharp curved fangs with a huge body. He had the lustre of powdered collyrium. From the right eye was born a Dānava known by the name Kālakeli. He was very tall and had a dark-complexioned body, with hair standing erect on it. He too had big fangs. The wicked fellow had a terrible face. He with a terrible form like that of Yama was unapproachable. He resembled a mass of collyrium. He with a noose in his hand was terrifying. The twosome arrived with threatening gestures as though they wished to kill Brahmā. They madly rushed at him.

8-15. Brahmā was gripped by fear. He fled from the scene and wandered. In the deep and vast expanse of waters, he saw a Being of unmeasured splendour, clad in yellow robes and holding a conch, discus and club. On seeing him, Brahmā who became all the more frightened, said: “Who are you, Sir, lying here when all mobile and immobile beings are extinct?” Thereupon Viṣṇu said: “I am the father of the Cosmos, the creator and destroyer of the worlds and one who sustains the worlds.” On being told thus by Kṛṣṇa of undistressed activities, the lotus-born Brahmā said: “I am the creator in all the three worlds. The entire universe, including Devas, Asuras and human beings, has been created by me.”

In the meantime, those two Daityas, arrogant of their inordinate strength, arrived there. On seeing them overwhelmed by hunger and so desirous of swallowing him, Brahmā spoke thus with his sprout-like lips quivering, to Kṛṣṇa with eyes like the petals of a lotus: “If you are being spoken of as some cause of this world, then it behoves you to kill these two terrible Asuras.” On hearing this, Viṣṇu realized that the misery was common to both. He said: “Rest for a while. The duel can take place afterwards.”

16-24. After saying this, he signalled to the two Daityas who were proud of their prowess and had a mutual understanding. They hurriedly rushed at Brahmā and Nārāyaṇa to kill them. On seeing that the two Dānavas were invincible in fight, Brahmā and Viṣṇu became frightened, perspiring and trembling all over the body. They spoke to each other what was befitting the place and context: “What should be done by me or by you? A great danger is imminent. What is to be done in this connection?” On seeing death imminent Brahmā said to Keśava: “O Kṛṣṇa, go immediately to the excellent Mahākālavana. It is said that even in Pralaya it cannot be destroyed. We will get protection there. I will be going there. You too proceed there, O Keśava.”

On being told thus by Brahmā, Kṛṣṇa accompanied him. They reached Mahākālavana but Maheśvara was not seen. Even as those two were roaming there, a period of ten thousand (years) elapsed. Then they saw that great fiery Liṅga of divine features to the south of Nūpureśvara. Then Brahmā and Viṣṇu directly requested the deity: “O Lord of Devas, be our refuge. We are tormented by the two Dānavas.” Thereupon, O Pārvatī, protection from fear was granted by the Liṅga. Pitāmaha then heard the roar of the two Dānavas. With his neck trembling, the terrified creator spoke to the Liṅga:

25-39. “Here comes our terrible death fast.” Then, O my beloved, Kṛṣṇa said: “O Lord, may freedom from fear be granted!” On hearing the piteous distressed words of Brahmā and Keśava, those two deities were placed within its belly by that Liṅga. The entire universe, including the sun, the moon and the mountains were seen there by them. The families of Siddhas and Gandharvas were seen. Many places full of mountains, big palm trees and creepers were seen therein. There were shrines with Mudrās. People of different castes and stages of life brightened the place, O goddess. The nether worlds with serpents and huge trees, the group of the seven worlds inhabited by Devas, Asuras and Rākṣasas were also seen by them. They came out of the belly all the more struck with wonder. O Pārvatī, the Daityas were seen immediately reduced to ashes by the Liṅga. Brahmā and Viṣṇu devoutly eulogized the great Liṅga. The delighted Liṅga then said: “What shall I give you both? O deities, seeing me never goes futile. It is very difficult to get.” Thereupon Brahmā and Viṣṇu chose the boon: “If a boon has to be granted to us, be the bestower of freedom from fear on men. Be the bestower of freedom from fear on those who adore with concentration and mental purity, those who perform Yajñas and those who remember you always. You will become well known on the earth by the name Abhayeśvara. Those who devoutly visit you will become contented and blessed. There will be no fear or fall in Saṃsāra. He will never be bereft of wealth, sons and wife. If an unfortunate, unhappy woman sees it (the Liṅga), she will undoubtedly become endowed with conjugal bliss. A virgin will obtain a splendid husband and a pregnant woman will give birth to a brave son. Men will obtain all the desires cherishing which they visit you. There is no doubt about this.” “It will be so.” Saying this, O great goddess, the Liṅga dismissed those two Devas, Brahmā and Viṣṇu, towards their abodes.

Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power of Abhayeśvara Deva was recounted to you. Listen to (the story of) Pṛthukeśvara.

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