by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Sangameshvara (sangama-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 69 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 sixty-ninth chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Note: The Liṅga is situated at the confluence of Śiprā with other two rivulets and hence is called Sangameśvara. But the story of King Subāhu and Queen Viśālākṣī shows that the god brought about their union in two births and hence came to be known as the ‘union-making god’ (Saṅgameśvara).
2-8. In the realm of Kaliṅga, O goddess, there was a king named Subāhu. He was well-known all over the world as a highly pious person and a performer of Yajñas. His wife Viśālākṣī (‘one of wide eyes’) was the daughter of Dṛḍhadhanvan, a resident of Kāñcīpura, devoted to the duties and vows of a Kṣatriya. They had ardent mutual love. At midday the king used to have a headache. O my beloved, the medicinal concoctions prepared by physicians, and even the chief of those well-versed in the science of medicine, were of no avail. The pain increased day by day. When much time had elapsed in this manner, O goddess, Viśālākṣī who was greatly afflicted by the misery of her husband, said to the king:
“O Lord of the earth, old age befalls you with this headache. O Lord, the physicians are many. They are all experts in the different branches of the science. They endeavour to cure it. Still it is not subdued.”
On being asked thus, King Subāhu replied lovingly to his loving wife:
9-16. “O fair lady, the body of every embodied one undergoes both happiness and misery. It is in accordance with the previous Karmas that one gets happiness or misery.” Though she was thus enlightened by that king, O lady of excellent countenance, the queen continued to be deeply grieved for him out of her affection. She put the same question once again. The king very much tried to dissuade her. Yet she continued to ask him again and again. Thereupon the king laughed and said to the queen: “If you do desire to hear about the origin of this ailment, O fair lady, I will not narrate the real cause at this place. After going to Mahākālavana, resorted to by Siddhas and Gandharvas, I shall tell you if you still continue to have the curiosity. Tomorrow morning, I shall go there along with you, O lady of pure smiles.” On hearing his words thus the queen stood surprised and became eager to go to the auspicious Mahākālavana.
The night passed off. At dawn, the excellent king set off with his wife and surrounded by a great army. In due course, he arrived at the splendid Mahākālavana. The intelligent king camped on the banks of Śiprā.
17-26. Gaṅgā flowing along the triple path appears there through the nether worlds. The second river is Nīlagaṅgā. These two join with Śiprā. The Liṅga that is at the confluence of those (three) rivers, is Saṅgameśvara. It was adored by Gaṅgā along with Siprā and Nīlagaṅgā. Having arrived there, the queen who had been wondering about Subāhu, asked him lovingly: “Let the cause be recounted here. Earlier you had promised to me, O Lord, that the cause would be told here.” On being told thus by his beloved, King Subāhu said lovingly to his beloved, laughing repeatedly: “O lady of fair limbs, sleep comfortably. O uncensured (praiseworthy) one, we are rather tired now. I shall tell you the cause of the headache in the morning.”
That night passed off. Early in the morning, the excellent king recounted the greatness of Parmeṣṭhin:
“I was a base Śūdra always despising and decrying the Vedas. I committed breach of trust always and you too were likewise. A son was born to us. He was habitually of bad character and used to deceive Brāhmaṇas and Devas. Ugly and rough, the wicked fellow had the innate qualities of a sinful person. Then there was a terrible protracted drought lasting for twelve years. It terrified all living beings. I was separated from you as well as from the son. That made me distressed through misery. I was disgusted to the utmost.
27-37. I wished to die and presently these words were uttered by me: ‘I am devoid of merit. I am always engaged in thinking about sinful deeds. A reunion with my son and wife is very difficult. How can an extremely sinful person sleep in a carefree manner after committing fearful crimes! For the sake of his family, he commits crimes thus, but he has to extricate himself alone. Dharma alone is the greatest kinsman. Dharma alone is the greatest goal. Everything is achieved through Dharma. Hence one should resort to Dharma.’
Even as I was thinking thus, my life became extinct, O my beloved. Diverse kinds of tortures were experienced by me in crores of Narakas. I had uttered some words in praise of Dharma even at the time of death. Due to the merit thereof, I was born as a fish in the auspicious waters of Śiprā. You were born as a female vulture in the same excellent Vana. At the advent of rainy season, when the sun had entered the constellation Āśleṣā, I was carried off by the current of the three rivers and cast out of water surface. You seized me by the head, O beautiful lady, and tore me with your claws. O fair one, I was brought to the presence of Lord Saṅgameśvara by you. Simultaneously, O lady of excellent countenance, you met with your death at the hands of the fishermen (along with me). I visited thus Lord Saṅgameśvara at the time of death. I had a perfect ablution in the waters of Śiprā, Gaṅgā and Nīlagaṅgā. Merely by visting that Lord I was born as a king in the realm of Kaliṅga, O fair lady. I was saluted by all the kings. You were born as the beautiful daughter of Dṛḍhadhanvan, the king of Kāñcīpura, who was engaged in the holy vows and observances of Kṣatriyas.
38-51. Both of us attained royal status by visiting that Liṅga. I was torn by you with the claws and thrashed by them with sticks. At midday I remember this sorry incident and hence my headache. Due to the vision of this deity, I have the power to recollect previous births of mine. Thus, O fair lady, I have recounted what you had earlier asked me. Go hence, O fair lady, wherever you feel inclined to. I have to remain here itself. This deity Saṅgameśvara is to be resorted to.”
Thereupon that lady of blemishless limbs, with eyes like a blue lotus, uttered a shrill piteous cry and spoke to her husband: “O Lord, I too recollect the activities of the previous birth though they took place in the course of the life in a non-human womb. It is on account of the greatness of this Liṅga that we have regained human life in the families which are pure and devoid of impurities. Incomparable glory and prosperity has been attained. A kingdom devoid of thorns (enemies) too has been acquired. You gained a loving wife in me and I have got you, O king. This deity is well-known in all the three worlds by the name Saṅgameśvara (‘god bringing about union’). Due to the greatness of this deity there will never be our separation as in the case of Kṛṣṇa with Lakṣmī and Śiva with Pārvatī.”
After bowing down again, she said once more in her great excitement due to the Lord of Love: “Even in another birth of mine here, may Subāhu be my husband, O Lord, with your favour if you are really Saṅgameśvara (i.e. Lord bringing about union)
Then the king heartily looked at his beloved who was shaken (afflicted) by the arrows of the god of Love. He appeared to drink her with his eyes. He then spoke to the lady of tremulous eyes: “O Viśālākṣī, you have been acquired by me. You have been endowed with congenital nobility. You are embellished with good qualities and splendour. The benefit of my birth has been attained.”
Thereafter he held the hand of his beloved who was afraid and whose lips were trembling and entered his Antaḥpura saying, “Fortunately I have been bitten by the Serpent of Kandarpa (god of Love) now.” He thought within his mind that the worldly existence was insignificant.
52-63. O beautiful lady, he sported about in my city for a long time in the company of that queen. Thus the king got back his beloved to whom he recounted the (life) story. He enjoyed the kingdom along with her for an extended period of great festivities. After realizing that wealth is not permanent, he bestowed much wealth on supplicants. On account of such an unprecedented renunciation, all the three worlds wondered. After ruling the kingdom for a long time and enjoying extensive pleasures, the excellent king merged into that Liṅga along with his wife. Hence, O goddess, the deity became well-known as Saṅgameśvara.
If a devotee visits Saṅgameśvara Liṅga with great devotion, he will never be separated from his sons, brothers, wife and others. One who regularly visits Saṅgameśvara Liṅga obtains a benefit more than that of a thousand Rājasūya sacrifices. By visiting Saṅgameśvara one gets the benefit of the holy bath in Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Narmadā and Candrabhāgā. If one visits Saṅgameśvara Liṅga in the month of Śrāvaṇa, he will undoubtedly get the benefit of the pilgrimage to the shrine of Kārttikasvāmin. If one visits Saṅgameśvara Liṅga in the month of Aśvayuja (Āśvina), O lady of excellent countenance, it is as good as if he has performed a thousand Vājapeya sacrifices. If one visits that Saṅgameśvara Liṅga in the month of Kārttika, it is as good as his performing a thousand Rājasūyas. There is no doubt (about it). One who visits Saṅgameśvara during the period of the four months of rainy season attains my region, O my beloved, much desired (by all).
Thus the sin-destroying power of Saṅgameśvara Deva has been recounted to you, O goddess. Listen to that of Durddharseśvara.