The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Pushpadanteshvara (pushpadanta-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 77 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 seventy-seventh chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 77 - Puṣpadanteśvara (puṣpadanta-īśvara-liṅga)

Note: Puṣpadanta was a Gaṇa of Lord Śiva. Sage Śini was performing penance for having a son. Śiva asked his Gaṇas if one would like to go as Nimi’s son. None replied. Puṣpadanta explained to Śiva the unwillingness of Gaṇas to go to wretched Mṛtyuloka. At this Siva got infuriated and cursed him. Puṣpadanta deeply repented. Pārvatī advised him to go to Mahākālavana, propitiate the Liṅga, which Puṣpadanta did and was restored to his position. The Liṅga propitiated by Puṣpadanta became well-known after him.

Śrī Mahādeva said:

1. O goddess, listen to the (story of the) Liṅga named Puṣpadanteśvara, the seventy-seventh deity. Merely by seeing it, one can avert the necessity of staying in a womb.

2-11. Formerly a Brāhmaṇa named Śini had no son. He worried about a son and thought of many penances for that purpose, such as having air alone as his food, water for food, being without any food, keeping the arms lifted up, taking in greens, bulbous roots and fruits as his intake, eating leaf alone, eating one or two leaves etc. ‘Penance like these and others are for (i.e. lead to) welfare but one of these penances I shall resort to for the sake of great benefit. But for the sake of cessation of obstacles, I shall first propitiate Īśvara.’

After thinking thus in his mind, he performed the penance of keeping the arms and feet(?) lifted up. With these two the purpose will not be difficult to achieve nor will there be any fault. Therefore, the sage performed such a penance for twelve years. On seeing his performing the penance and observing great vows and rites, O goddess, I was requested by you while on Mandara of many charming caves:

“This great sage is performing a very severe penance ruthlessly for the sake of a son. With his brilliance he brightens the mountain and dries up water reservoirs. Due to his penance very difficult to be performed, the heaven-dwellers have become agitated. Big Vyālas (pythons or tigers) have become bewildered; lordly mountains have become distorted; the sages have sunk into oblivion; and the heaven and earth tremble. Brāhmaṇa Śini who is Ayonija (not born of any womb) desires a son who should be Ayonija. You are the Yoni (sources or origin) of all good qualities; you are the Yoni of penance; you are the penance itself; you are the greatest abode, O Lord having Fire, Sun and Moon as eyes. O Sarveśvara (Lord of all), why is not a son as desired given to the Brāhmaṇa?

12-17a. O preceptor of Suras and Asuras, why don’t you give a son unto him? O Śiva, at my request, make the gift of a son to this Śini who has eradicated all defects by means of penance and who has established his own self within Brahman. The great sage is very much distressed due to the difficult penance. Established in his due observances, he dispelled the splendour of all great luminaries by means of his own brilliance like the sun dispelling darkness. Why should the exertions of your devotees be fruitless, O Lord of gods? When the sun has risen, darkness can never exist. O Lord of Devas, it is not proper to subject your devotee to the great pain of misery.”

O goddess, O daughter of the Mountain, I was requested thus by you to be compassionate to the Brāhmaṇa, for giving him a son in particular.

l7b-22. Out of due deference to you, O goddess, the Gaṇas were summoned by me: Rudras, Harabhaktas (devotees of Śiva), Kūṣmāṇḍas, Gaganacārins (sky-walkers), Romaraudras, Mahānīlas, Śikhāvantas (Tufted ones), Kokilas, etc. Many others too of diverse types, such as Kālāsyas, Haripiṅgalas, Jaṭājūṭadharas (wearing matted hairs), Citras, Vīthinakṣatracārins (movers through asterisms), Nīlagrīvas, Kṛṣṇamukhas, Piṅgadhauta-Jaṭāsaṭas (those with tawny or white matted hairs and manes), Jvara, Ḍiṇḍi, Mahākāla, Lāṅguli, Maheśvara, Ghaṇṭākarṇa, Viśākha and all the remaining Gaṇas, Vṛṣārūḍhas (those riding bulls), Kāmatulyas (comparable to Kāma), Kāmarūpabalas (having form and strength as they wished), Śūlacandradharas (holding the trident and the moon). All these were of equal exploits. All of them came there at my behest and stood with palms joined in veneration.

23-35. Eulogizing by means of diverse kinds of prayers, they said thus with a concentrated mind: “O Lord, what should be done by us here? May the command be given.”

After hearing the words of the Gaṇas and after realizing such a devotion, I glorified the great power of the penance of Brāhmaṇa Śini: “Śini, the excellent Brāhmaṇa, is performing a penance for the sake of a son. At my instance who among you will offer himself as the son of the Brāhmaṇa? I shall grant him all the desires, everything wished for. Now the sage desires for a never-aging son, immortal son. Let my words be carried out immediately and let the Brāhmaṇa be liberated from his difficulty. The ardent desire of my devotee does not deserve to become futile.”

On hearing my words, all of them stood with faces turned downwards and necks trembling. All of them were engaged in deep thought. No one spoke anything. No one looked at anything. Then the respected Puṣpadanta spoke suddenly: “O Lord, without knowing my own mind, I, on account of the compassion for the Gaṇas, say that the Gaṇas will not leave you off and go to the earth. Undoubtedly they will stay here forever in your vicinity. After enjoying the excellent joy, how will they enter human womb that is despicable, full of Rajas and Tamas qualities and always very wretched? How will we forsake Svarga and go to the greatest hell?”

O lady of wide, large eyes, Puṣpadanta, the leader of the Gaṇas, committed the blunder of speaking thus because he was nudged by the inevitable future. I told him thus: “Since you did something to displease me, do fall into the mortal world.”

After cursing Puṣpadanta, Vīraka was thus urged by me: “At my bidding, dear son, do be the son of the Brāhmaṇa. I shall grant you everything you wish.”

36-43. On being told thus, O goddess, Vīraka became the son of the Brāhmaṇa. Puṣpaḍanta was excessively distressed and he lamented. He repented much and sighed frequently saying: “Alas, that birth is fruitful where men carry out the commands of their masters. It is proclaimed that those servants who carry out the commands of the masters with single-minded attention are very rare. They will attain merit (Dharma) and wealth (Artha) and their family is redeemed by them. Devas become pleased with those who are devoted to the masters. The duties of those who serve are very mysterious and very difficult even for Yogins to perform. It cannot be known on what (condition or act) the Lord can be propitiated and by means of what thing. The Lord will be very difficult to be propitiated. Even if there is a single fault, the Lord becomes angry. Even acts to oblige him become futile. Hence service is too difficult to be performed. A master, a serpent and fire get hotted up soon. Hence they are to be resorted to and served carefully by those who are desirous of protecting themselves. I had disobeyed the command of the Lord. Hence I have been forced to fall on the earth. (I wonder) to what worlds I may have to proceed to, like a sinner who destroyed a foetus.” After lamenting thus many times he sought refuge in myself. He repeatedly bowed down and spoke in a piteously distressed voice:

44-54. “I am distressed. I am devoid of wisdom. O Śaṅkara, I bow down unto you. O Lord of Devas, be pleased. Forgive my offence. Dependents do not fulfil the tasks of the Lords through anger. Be pleased, O Lord of the chiefs of Devas, unto this wretched and miserable devotee. At your bidding, I am ready to be born as an insect or worm. I am a devotee, O Lord, well-established in the state of being your son.”

On hearing these words of Puṣpadanta, O Pārvatī, you were overwhelmed by affection and you spoke thus: “Do go, son, at my bidding to the splendid Mahākālavana. Propitiate the Liṅga soon. It will be named after you. Son, your glory shall continue to be, till all the living beings are annihilated.”

When this was advised by you, O goddess of excellent countenance, I too said: “O son, my words cannot be untrue in any manner. By visiting my Liṅga you will become my favourite. You will get into the aerial chariot of Puṣpapāda. Being adored with flowers you will attain the eternal position. Along with me and the Gaṇas you will joyously move about. Dear one, I shall also not be happy without you. I shall also come to the splendid Mahākālavana. I am always pleased by this pure devotion. You will be made the leader of Gaṇas. Undoubtedly you will become one who helps the worlds after going to that holy spot certainly.”

55-67. Thus, O goddess, the leader of the Gaṇas, Puṣpadanta, was advised by me. Honoured and keeping silence at my behest, he propitiated the Liṅga in the splendid Mahākālavana, to the north of Durvāseśa. The Liṅga told him suddenly: “O excellent one among the Gaṇas, I am delighted. I shall be well-known after your name. I have granted you my favour now.”

In the meantime, O goddess, I went there along with you, Śakra and other Devas and the different kinds of Gaṇas. Puṣpadanta came to my vicinity once again delighted, seated on a splendid flower-bedecked seat and showered with flowers. I embraced him and placed him on my lap. A place for rest was granted, O Viśālākṣī, and instructed thus: ‘The men who visit the Liṅga adored by you on the earth will go playing to Svarga by Puṣpaka. They will become Gaṇādhyakṣas adorned with everything desirable. They will be so till fourteen Indras complete their rule. By the visit, the sins of this birth as well as of the previous one perish. Thereafter, with my favour, all knowledge will be revealed. He who adores (it) on Mondays, eighth or fourteenth lunar day, rejoices delightedly along with the Devas in heaven always. He shall be accompanied by seven generations of maternal and paternal families. A man should get up at dawn. Without speaking to anyone he shall visit Puṣpadanteśvara. He obtains the benefit of a horse-sacrifice. Even a wicked one who visits is liberated from sins. After death, he goes to Gandharvaloka surrounded by Vidyādharas. He who visits daily will never have the line broken. He becomes Gaṇādhyakṣa for the period of a day of Brahmā. After enjoying the prosperity in seven worlds and pleasures, he will become an emperor on the earth and come to my lap.

68. Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power of Puṣpadanteśvareśa has been recounted to you. Listen to (that of) Avimukteśvara.

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