The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Kayavarohaneshvara (kayavarohana-ishvara-linga) which is chapter 82 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 eighty-second chapter of the Caturashiti-linga-mahatmya of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 82 - Kāyāvarohaṇeśvara (kāyāvarohaṇa-īśvara-liṅga)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: Kāyāvarohaṇa (Mod. Karvān, Baroda District, Gujarat) was the birth place of Lakuṭīśa [Lakulīśa], the 28th Avatāra of Śiva. He was the founder of the Pāśupata sect. He belonged to the 2nd century a.d. But the Purāṇa-author is not aware of the historical facts. This is a garbled version where Kāyāvarohaṇa is the name of the Liṅga to the south of Mahākālavaṇa.

According to this Purāṇic legend, after the destruction of Dakṣa’s sacrifice Vīrabhadra killed Tuṣita and other Devas. Brahmā came to Śiva at Mandara mountain with a request to restore the bodies of the Devas. Śiva advised them to go to this Liṅga which is to the south of Mahākālavana. The Devas propitiated the Liṅga and recovered their bodies.

Mahādeva said:

1-8. O Pārvatī, listen also to the origin of Kāyāvarohaṇa. Merely by listening to it, a man ceases to be embodied. While Brahmā was desirous of creation at the beginning of Vaivasvata Manvantara, Dakṣa, the Prajāpati, was born from his right thumb. The wife of the noble-souled one came forth from the left thumb. The Lord begot of her fifty daughters. All those were of blemishless limbs and lotus-eyed. The patriarch who had earlier lost his sons, placed these daughters in their place. He gave ten of them to Dharma, thirteen to Kaśyapa and twenty-seven to Indu (Moon-god). All the marriages were celebrated in the Divya (divine) mode. Rohiṇī became the ever-favourite of Candra. On behalf of the other twenty-six (daughters) Candra was cursed by Dakṣa, O Pārvatī. Dakṣa too was cursed by Candra and was rendered a Prācetasa. (Dakṣa) reborn as the son of Pracetas, performed a horse-sacrifice. O daughter of the Mountain, out of delusion, Dakṣa did not invite me. Havyavāha (Fire) took with him the shares of the Yajña of the groups of the Devas entirely.

9-22. O lady of wide large eyes, Havyavāha stood in the supportless firmament invoked by the Mantras, bearing the shares. You saw him there. Recollecting the previous enmity, O my beloved, you said to me: “You are the Lord of all the Devas, the goal and refuge unto them. You are Yajña, you are Vaṣaṭkāra, Hotṛ and Adhvaryu, O Lord of all Devas. How does the Yajña function without you? This Agni bears the shares of the Devas with fear. Dakṣa, the son of Pracetas, is arrogant indeed. Since he recollects the earlier enmity, so unless chastised, he will never give up. Dakṣa and Vahni should be made bereft of their Kāyā (body). O slayer of the Tripuras, O Śaṅkara, those Devas who have been invoked for the Yajña should all be made bereft of their bodies.” When this was spoken by you, O goddess of excellent countenance, I spoke thus: “O lady of pure smiles, this Dakṣa has been your father in the previous birth. O my beloved, Vahni is only one who obeys the orders. The Devas are but toys.” On hearing these words of mine, O my beloved, you became furious. You knitted the eyebrows and heaved deep breaths repeatedly. Out of anger you rubbed the tip of your nose with your hand many times. When the tip of the nose was being rubbed and pressed, O Daughter of the Mountain, a woman of four curved fangs and three eyes with knitted eyebrows was born. She had the finger protectors made of Godhā-skin. Over her girdle she had worn the coat of mail. She held a bow and a sword, a quiver and a flag-staff. She had a thousand faces, hundred arms and thousand feet and bellies. O goddess, she shook the earth with her turned feet. On seeing her of completely Tāmasika form, O goddess, bowed to by all the worlds, you named her Bhadrakālī and Māyā. A male being of similar features was created by me. He caused horripilation (due to fear) in the onlookers. With palms joined in reverence, he requested me repeatedly: “O Lord of Suras, command me. What shall I do?”

23-35. After guessing your mind, I gave him the charming name of Vīrabhadra and commanded him: “O Vīrabhadra, accompanied by this Bhadrakālī, go and fetch the haughty and terrible Dakṣa, the son of Pracetas, along with the Devas. O Gaṇādhyakṣa, destroy everything along with the Yajña and the attendants. You have innumerable good qualities and I am giving you a great army and to Bhadrakālī too a terrible army has been given. The never-ending group of the Mothers armed with Kapālakartrikās (scissors to cut skulls) also has been given to her.” Thereupon both of them, surrounded by the vast army, went to the place where Dakṣa, the son of Pracetas, was seated, performing Yajña. He was surrounded by the Devas along with the members of the assembly and Brāhmaṇas. Then, O Pārvatī, the Devas who had been confidently drinking the Soma juice in the Adhvara (Yajña), purified by means of Mantras, were held up by that army. Lord Śakra, the chief of Devas, who was seated in the middle of the Adhvara was terrified by the three-eyed Gaṇa armed with the trident. Yama (god of Death), who was engrossed in imbibing the Soma juice in the sacrifice, was dragged by the Gaṇa who was named Yama and who had the lustre similar to that of Yama. The heroic Lord of the Western Quarter, Varuṇa, was bound with a noose by Pāśa, the leader of the Gaṇas. O Parameśvarī, Anila (Wind) was struck by the Gaṇa named Prāṇa. In the Northern Quarter, O goddess, of the Adhvara, Naravāhana Kubera, the Lord of the Northern Quarter, was held along with his Nidhānas (Treasures). All of them employed by Vīrabhadra fought the battle terribly. There the terrifying Bhadrakālī too fought excessively. There were hundreds of women fighters adorned with human skulls, viz. Vikarālī, Mahākālī, Kālikā, Kalaśodarī, Prajvālajvalanākārā, Śuṣkamāṃsā, Atibhairavā etc. The Mothers armed with Kapālakartrikās killed the multitudes of Devas. On seeing the furious group of the Mothers striking and suppressing the Suras, the Devas called Tuṣitas came there eager to fight.

36-45. Some of them hurled Śaktis, some others Prāsas (spears). Some of them attacked with Tomaras and some with swords and Paṭṭiśas. The group of the Matṛs (Mothers) were afflicted and the Pramathas were troubled. Then the furious Bhadrakālī having the refulgence of six Suns assailed them in the battle with club, volleys of arrows, and swords and other weapons. The eyes of Bhaga and the teeth of Pūṣan were plucked from the face and shattered. She cut off the hands of Dinakara and the feet of Bhāskara. The eight Vasus who were expert in battle were struck with Musala (threshing rod). With their heads shattered, they fled vomiting blood. The Devas named Tuṣitas proud (of fighting in) battle were deprived of their bodies. Dakṣa, the son of Pracetas, was tightly tied with a noose. The remaining Devas became terrified and they sought refuge in Brahmā. At first Devas named Tuṣitas were deprived of their bodies. The Devas called Vasus fled. The Bhāskaras were afflicted in the battle. O great Lord, it is not known where Indra, Yama, Dhaneśvara, Varuṇa, the Lord of aquatic beings, and others had gone. Everything was destroyed by Bhadrakālī and the Gaṇa Vīrabhadra. The sacrificial post was broken. The Kalaśa (dome) was demolished. The great sacrificial hall was set on fire. The gateway of the Yajña-hall was shattered. On hearing their words Brahmā, the grandfather of the worlds, became compassionate. He came to the place on Mandara where I was stationed.

46-57. After eulogizing me, he made this statement: “The earliest Devas named Tuṣitas have been deprived of their bodies by Bhadrakālī, O Mahādeva. The Vasus have been overpowered and shattered, the Bhāskaras have been injured in the battle. The remaining ones have fled in various directions. How shall the Kāyāvarohaṇa (growing of the body once again) of the Tuṣitas take place?”

On hearing the words of Brahmā, O lady of excellent countenance, I said: “Let these Tuṣitas go to the holy spot Mahākālavana where Lakuṭīśa [Lakulīśa] has gone home after Kāyāvarohaṇa.[1] At my bidding the Brāhmaṇas, accompanied by four disciples, attained the Kāyās when Kaliyuga arrived after Dvāpara was over. All these are my disciples and comparable to me. They stayed on the earth contented and blessed for the purpose of protecting Brāhmaṇas. To the south of that Kṣetra (holy spot) there is an excellent Liṅga. It is divine and it bestows all riches. It accords Kāyā unto the Siddhas. With the favour of that Liṅga, these Suras will attain their Kāyās.” On hearing my words, O my beloved, those Tuṣitas went away delighted in the company of Brahmā to the place where the excellent Liṅga was present. With the favour of that Liṅga, excellent Kāyās were attained by them. Those Tuṣitas became the same as they were before. Hence the name Kāyāvarohaṇeśvara was given by the Devas. The deity shall be bestower of desired things and will be well-known. If the devotees go to the southern quarter and visit the deity Kāyāvarohaṇa with great devotion, Yama shall be their father (a protecting guardian). By visiting it alone, all those sins acquired in the course of thousands and crores of births become dissolved, not otherwise.

58-63. If the groups of Pitṛs who have gone to Naraka due to their Karmas, visit that Liṅga, they will become liberated. If people incidentally visit the deity Kāyāvarohaṇa, they will not return (to the earth) even in the course of hundreds and crores of births. By touching that Liṅga, even men who are great sinners will go to the great abode bereft of all sins. The deity Kāyāvarohaṇeśvara, tenaciously adored, grants kingdom, the eternal Svargaloka and other pleasures. Those who take their holy bath on the twelfth lunar day and then visit Kāyāvarohaṇeśvara pierce through the abode of Brahmā and attain the greatest goal. Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying power of Kāyāvarohaṇeśa has been recounted to you. Listen to Bilveśvara now.

Footnotes and references:


The author seems to have heard a confused tradition about Lakuṭīśa. Lakuṭīśa [Lakulīśa] is the 28th Avatāra of Śiva born in Kali Age. He was born at Kāyāvarohaṇa (Mod. Karvān, Baroda city). He then proceeded to Ujjain. He had four famous disciples. The author is not aware that Kāyāvarohaṇa is a place in Gujarat. The garbled version is based on the etymological meaning of Kāyāvarohaṇa—a Purāṇic way of creating legends.

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