The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Simheshvara (simha-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 55 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 fifty-fifth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 55 - Siṃheśvara (siṃha-īśvara-liṅga)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: A lion was born out of the wrath of Pārvatī while performing penance for fair complexion. She sent the lion to Mahākālavana where he attained a divine form. Hence Pārvatī named the

Īśvara said:

1-9. Know, O beautiful lady, that the fifty-fifth deity is the Siṃheśvara Liṅga that destroys great fear (i.e. of Saṃsāra).

In the present Kalpa, O goddess of blue lotus-like eyes, a great penance was performed by you to attain me. It was very severe with keen observance of Vratas. Indeed, the three worlds were scorched by your terrible penance. Coming to know of your strenuous penance the Four-faced Lord of Devas approached you and said to you in auspicious words: “O daughter, what do you desire to gain? What unobtainable rare thing shall I grant you? Kindly desist from this painfully tedious penance at my bidding.”

The pleasing, truthful and beneficial words of the elder one firmly expressing his intent (varṇanirṇītavāñchitam) were listened to by you. You replied to Brahmā, after bowing to him with humility: “With a strenuous penance Śaṅkara was obtained as husband by me. But Bhava called me ‘Dark-complexioned one’ many times. My present penance is to ensure how I will become golden-complexioned instead of a black one and be reunited with my husband and how my husband Bhūtapati (Lord of the goblins, Śiva) would be favourably disposed towards me.”

On hearing your words, Lord Brahmā, the grandfather of the worlds, the bestower of boons, who is competent to grant boons, said: “It will be so. After some time, your desire will be fulfilled. Your form will become bright with splendour. You will be (known) by the name Gaurī.”

10-18. On hearing the words of Brahmā Parameṣṭhin, you became angry because the desire would be fulfilled after some time (in future). Due to your anger a lion was produced from your mouth. He was terrifying and excessively ferocious with wide open jaws. His shoulders were overgrown with manes. The beautiful tail was lifted up. His curved fangs made his face hideous. O goddess, you tried to jump into his jaws. Being hungry already the lion attempted to devour you, but he could not even look at you because of your superiority in penance. He was scorched suddenly by the power of your penance and splendour. He turned back in order to save himself. Thereupon, O lady who are a regular observer of holy Vratas, you took pity on the lion. From your breasts you produced milk on a par with nectar to give to the hungry lion. Still he felt himself burnt very much since he had a wicked intent. He said: “Mother, I have been scorched by your refulgence. I am wicked and ill-behaved. I am sin incarnate. Despite the fact that I have been created by you, I have become so evil-minded as to desire to devour you. Hence I am guilty of matricide, a slayer of elder ones. I will fall into hell.”

19-30. On hearing the words of your miserable son, O lady of large eyes, you spoke to the lion with maternal affection: “Dear son, there is a sin-destroying holy spot named Mahākālavana. At my bidding go there soon. In the vicinity of Kaṇṭeśvara Deva there is an excellent Liṅga made by the Lord himself. It issued from the leonine roar of the noble-souled Śaṅkara formerly in the course of the fight with Andhakāsura when Indra had been oppressed by him. On hearing your words, the lion went to Mahākālavana in rapid strides. The deity was seen instantly. By perceiving the Liṅga, the lion became endowed with a divine body. On account of your feeling of love towards the Liṅga, O Pārvatī, you assumed the form of a lioness and went there. O my beloved, soon you saw the lion that had become endowed with a divine body by the power of this Liṅga. On seeing the lion of great brilliance, you became excessively delighted. O goddess of excellent countenance, you named this Liṅga too. “This deity will become well-known on the earth as Siṃheśvara Deva because the lion became endowed with a divine body by perceiving the Liṅga.”

In the meantime, O lady with excellent Vratas, Brahmā came there surrounded by Devas. O beautiful lady, he spoke to you: “The lion that issued forth due to your anger is your son. Hence, O goddess, he shall undoubtedly be your vehicle. He who devoutly visits the Liṅga Siṃheśvara with concentration and mental purity, shall have everlasting celestial residence. By glorifying the Liṅga one is rid of sins; by seeing the Liṅga one realizes the good. By touching the Liṅga the devotee sanctifies his family upto the seventh generation.

31-36. He obtains all the desired things in abundance. When one visits Siṃheśa, the deity redeeming devotees from the ocean of worldly existence, one becomes liberated from births, old age and miseries. By seeing Śrī Siṃheśvara, one averts the fear of pythons, tigers, robbers and aggressive marauders. By seeing Siṃheśvara Śiva ardently, one attains that benefit which results from Yajñas, penances, Dānas etc. He who, with effort, visits the deity Siṃheśvara attains my world to which Suras and Asuras pay obeisance.”

After saying this, O my beloved, Brahmā went to his world. Your body which was formerly black-complexioned became fair with white complexion miraculously by the power of penance.

Thus, O goddess, the sin-eradicating power of Siṃheśvara Deva has been recounted to you. Henceforth listen to the story of Revanteśvara.

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