The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Siddheshvara (siddha-ishvara-linga) [2] which is chapter 59 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-ninth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 59 - Siddheśvara (siddha-īśvara-liṅga) [2]

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: King Aśvaśiras was a great devotee of Viṣṇu. When Kapila, the great Siddha, and Jaigīṣavya visited him, he declared Viṣṇu (and not Śiva) as the supreme God. Kapila, an Avatāra of Viṣṇu, showed his original form as Viṣṇu. Kapila advised him to go to Mahākālavana and propitiate the Siddheśvara Liṅga. But being a staunch devotee of Viṣṇu, he merged in the Viṣṇu form of the Siddheśvara Liṅga.

Śrī Mahādeva said:

1-9. O my beloved, know that Siddheśvara Liṅga is the fifty-ninth deity. By seeing it men acquire Siddhi.

There was a king named Aśvaśiras. He was extremely righteous. He performed Aśvamedha Yajña with plenty of Dakṣiṇā. He joyously performed Avabhṛtha (valedictory) bath and was seated surrounded by Brāhmaṇas. While that saintly king was seated thus, there came the glorious Siddha Kapila conversant with the efficacy of various kinds of medicinal herbs and expert in Mantras (spells) and Tantras (magical formulae and rituals). The glorious Jaigīṣavya, king of Siddhas, too arrived there.

The king got up with great joy and soon performed the customary rites of duly welcoming them.

Those two were duly adored and were properly seated. Those eminent sages were glorious and powerful, characterised by forgiveness and of pure religious vows and desirous of salvation. Those sages were richly endowed with learning and humility and strictly devoted to the practice of celibacy. They were engrossed in the task of creation, maintenance and annihilation (of the world). They resembled the rising sun and their lustre was on a par with that of the Fire-god. They had a mass of brilliant halo around them and they were too dazzling to be seen by low type of men.

The king approached them with humility, prostrated before them and put this question after joining the palms together in reverence.

Aśvaśiras said:

10-20. O excellent sages, I have heard that there is no greater god than Janārdana. If meditated upon and worshipped, he bestows liberation from the worldly bondage. When Hṛṣīkeśa is remembered all the inauspicious things of men arising from crores of births get annihilated. Why then should one not bow down to Hari? It is by propitiating Jagannātha that Śakra and other heaven-dwellers stay joyously in Svarga and become endowed with divine lustre. If the Garuḍa-emblemed Lord is pleased, different kinds of miseries arising from births, deaths, old age and ailments get dissolved immediately.

On being asked thus by that renowned king, those Siddhas, expert in the perfect knowledge of Siddhis, spoke to the king: “O king, who is this Nārāyaṇa of whom you speak? We both are Nārāyaṇas, O king, who are visible to you.”

Aśvaśiras said:

Both of you are Brāhmaṇas and Siddhas. Through penance you have burnt down sins. How can you be Nārāyaṇas?

He further said: “Janārdana holds a conch, a discus, a club in his hands. He is clad in yellow robes. Hṛṣīkeśa is seated on Garuḍa. Who can be equal to him?”

On hearing the words of the king, those Siddhas, expert in Yogic feats, assumed the form of Nārāyaṇa and displayed it to him. Due to the great power of his Mantras, Kapila himself became Viṣṇu instantly, clad in yellow robes and holding the conch, discus and club in his hands. At the same moment Jaigīṣavya became Garuḍa. This aroused a great deal of curiosity in the royal household.

21-33a. On seeing such a wonderful spectacle of the eternal Lord Nārāyaṇa seated on Garuḍa, the king was no doubt surprised but he submitted: “O Siddhas, I may be pardoned but Viṣṇu is not like this. Brahmā is born from the centre of a lotus coming out from his navel. Rudra issues from Brahmā and that Viṣṇu is the greatest Lord.” On hearing these words of the king those excellent Siḍdhas, the great preceptors of Yoga and experts in making use of Mantras, created a great Māyā (magical illusion). Kapila became a lotus-navelled one and suddenly through his Yogic power became Prajāpati (Brahmā) in the centre of the lotus. Jaigīṣavya turned into Rudra and became stationed on his lap. The king witnessed the miracle and was fascinated by the Yogic feat. Out of dismayed curiosity, he spoke again with his neck shaking: “The Lord of the universe is not like this. This is the jugglery of the Yogins. The glorious Hari is omniformed and is remembered as omnipresent and bestower of everything.”

Then, O Daughter of the Mountain, as soon as the speech of the king concluded, all over the royal assembly hall crores and crores of creatures were seen. There were mosquitoes, bugs, lice, bees, birds, animals, both domesticated and wild, such as horses, cows, mares, lions, tigers, buffaloes and others as well. On seeing such a multitude of living beings, the king became mystified in his mind. When he reflected, ‘what could this be?’ he suddenly realized everything and knew the greatness of Jaigīṣavya and the noble-souled Kapila.

With palms joined together in veneration, King Aśvaśiras asked the Brāhmaṇas devoutly: “What is this, O excellent Siddhas? By the power of what penance was such a capacity acquired? Today my very birth has become fruitful. Today my learning has borne fruit. The working of my mind has become fruitful by the sight of both of you.”

33b-41. On hearing his words Kapila spoke these words: “O king, there is an excellent Liṅga in Mahākālavana. It is well-known by the name Siḍdheśvara. It is always adored by Siddhas. It is stationed to the east of Saubhāgyeśvara and it bestows conjugal bliss and freedom from illness. By the potency of that Liṅga excellent Siddhi has been acquired, O excellent king, by Jaigīṣavya, a Siddha, and by me. Hence do go to the splendid Mahākālavana, O mighty-armed one. There you will see the Lord of all holding the conch, discus and club, Lord Viṣṇu stationed in the form of Liṅga. He will grant you Siddhi. Sanaka and many others have become Siddhas there, O king.”

On hearing the words of the noble-souled Kapila, King Aśvaśiras hastened there. There near Siddheśvara Deva he saw (once again) those two Siddhas. There were many other Siddhas and Siddhanāthas. Coming to know that Siddheśvara Deva was adored by multitudes of Siddhas and realizing that Viṣṇu was stationed in the centre of the Liṅga, the excellent king worshipped him with great fervour of meditation.

42-51. Then the delighted Lord said: “O king of excellent holy vows, choose a boon; I shall grant you everything desired by you.” On hearing the words of the Liṅga, the king said thus: Listen to it. “O Lord, if you have pity on me, if you are pleased, O Lord, O Acyuta, reveal to me your great form. This alone, O Lord, has been a constant desire in my heart ever since my birth, O Jagannātha, ‘When will I see Janārdana?’ This, the most excellent one of all boons, I wish to receive from you that you become well-known over the earth as Siddheśvara.”

On hearing the words uttered by the king, O lady of excellent countenance, the Liṅga said: “O excellent king, neither the groups of Devas, nor Asuras, nor the great sages have understood my supreme form. I am Kṛṣṇa turned into the Liṅga. The sages equipped with a knowledge of Mantras, who have attained my world, do not actually know me, O king. Brahmā and others, these Devas meditate only on my refulgence seen here in the form of the Liṅga. Hence no one is competent to see my great form. With my favour Yogins purified in the course of many births become liberated from worldly bondage and enter my body.” Even as he was saying thus, Siddhi was attained by the king. He assumed the form of Viṣṇu and got merged into the Liṅga.

52-56. Hence, O goddess, the Liṅga has become very famous as Siddheśvara. Those men who devoutly see it get eternal Siddhi. They may gain the Siddhis of Añjana (collyrium), Pādalepa (smearing the feet), Pādukā (sandals i.e. ability to move about anywhere), Guṭikā (magic pills) and Khadga Siddhi (Siddhi of the sword). Mahāsiddhi (Ultimate Siddhi) is rare. There are other Siddhis too, such as those obtained through divine medicines, those through Mantras, Laghimā (weightlessness) etc. Then there are the Siddhis of piety, wealth, love and of salvation which is the most excellent. All these are obtained by visiting Śrī Siddheśvara. Thus the sin-destroying power of Siddheśvara Deva has been recounted to you. Listen to that of Mataṅgeśa.

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