The Skanda Purana
by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Greatness of Markandeshvara (markanda-ishvara-tirtha) which is chapter 167 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 one hundred sixty-seventh chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Chapter 167 - The Greatness of Mārkaṇḍeśvara (mārkaṇḍa-īśvara-tīrtha)
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
1-8. O great sage, there is a Tīrtha on the southern bank of Narmadā distinguished with characteristic features. Do recount (glory of) this Tīrtha to me along with its origin.
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:
Formerly at the beginning of Kṛtayuga, I lived for a long time in Daṇḍaka (forest) on the excellent mountain Vindhya endowed with all qualities. I was regular in my diet and other habits and the groups of sages extended to me the greatest hospitality.
I lived there very happily for ten thousand years. Then I took leave of those sages, O blessed one. I came to the banks of Narmadā followed by my disciples.
Accompanied by multitudes of Brāhmaṇas, I made a beautiful, meritorious spot as my abode. It was destructive of all sins. It abounded in people of various sorts, such as celibate religious students, those well established in the life of a householder, ascetics, recluses who had controlled their diet as well as their minds fully, saints of esteemed honour and devoid of lust and anger.
I performed very severe penace for ten thousand years and propitiated Lord Vāsudeva, the creator and master of all. Resorting to the banks of Narmadā, I carried on my Japa, Tapas and observance of vows.
9-14. Thereupon, O Yudhiṣṭhira, the two gods (Śiva and Viṣṇu), granters of boons, resplendent like (two) Suns incarnate, embellished as it were (accompanied) by Umā and Śrī arrived there.
I bowed down to the Lords devoutly and spoke these words: I requested the Lords, the auspicious bestowers of boons: “I pray for adherence to righteousness, O highly esteemed Lords, and excellent devotion unto you both. Let me stay here in this spot like a young man of twenty-five years, without getting old and devoid of ailments, undoubtedly along with the Devas.”
On being prayed to thus by me, O son of Kuntī, those two Lords, Kṛṣṇa and Śaṅkara, became pleased, O Yudhiṣṭhira, to stay here and told me:
The Lords said:
Know that we are stationed here in this spot along with Devas including Vāsava.
After saying thus, the Lords vanished there itself.
I installed there both Śaṅkara and immutable Kṛṣṇa (Viṣṇu). I adored them with mental concentration. I felt contented (with my achievement).
15-25. A man who takes his bath there in the Tīrtha of Mārkaṇḍeśvara, whether it be Lord Parameśvara or Viṣṇu the Lord of the three worlds, shall go to the greatest region of Viṣṇu or Śiva.
A devotee should offer curd, milk, ghee, honey as well as Narmadā water, sweet scents, incense, splendid offerings of flowers and Naivedyas (food offerings) with full self-control.
With great devotion he should thus keep awake at night propitiating Viṣṇu. Remaining pure mentally and physically, O king, he should perform the holy ablution etc. The devotee should observe fast on the twelfth or fourteenth lunar day in the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha. The man devoted to Viṣṇu should carry out the adoration of the Lord. By doing thus he attains Viṣṇuloka and becomes one on a par with Viṣṇu.
A devotee of Maheśvara rejoices like a Gaṇa in the city of Maheśvara.
If a devotee performs with steady mind Śrāddha there with the Pītṛs in view, they undoubtedly attain everlasting satisfaction.
A Brāhmaṇa devotee should take his holy bath in Narmadā silently, with the mind fully controlled. He should perform Sandhyā prayers staying there itself. After performing the auspicious Japa, he should offer libations to the Pitṛs and Devas and human beings top duly.
Staying in front of Kṛṣṇa or of Mārkaṇḍeśvara, he should assiduously recite the Mantras of Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman.
If only a single Ṛk of Ṛgveda is recited he will derive the benefit of reciting the entire Ṛgveda; by reciting a single Yajus verse he will derive the benefit of the recitation of the entire Yajurveda; and by reciting a single Sāman the benefit of the entire Sāmaveda.
26-31. If only a single Brāhmaṇa is fed, it will be as though a crore of Brāhmaṇas have been fed.
A woman whose child is dead, a barren woman and one who successively begets only girls, should make the following arrangement. A Brāhmaṇa fully conversant with the principles of the Vedas, should repeat the Rudra Mantras duly. An auspicious Kalaśa (sacred waterpot) should be placed on the southern side of the Liṅga. Repeating eleven, times the Rudra Mantra (Rudrādhyāya) the devotee then pours water from the pot and bathes the deity. A woman who sponsors this, O leading king, obtains a sinless son destined to live long.
One who sees the groves of trees growing at the Mārkaṇḍeśvara Tīrtha, even from very far, is rid of such sins as arise from Brāhmaṇa-slaughter etc. So said Śaṅkara.
He who listens to this or reads it with devotion, O excellent king, becomes undoubtedly one purified of all sins.
In the case of those who read or listen, this brings about destruction of all sins. It is conducive to fame, long life and plenty of wealth. It is destructive of evil dreams