The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes The Greatness of Bhutishvara (Bhuti-ishvara-tirtha) which is chapter 177 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 seventy-seventh chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 177 - The Greatness of Bhūtīśvara (Bhūti-īśvara-tīrtha)

Note: This chapter deals with different kinds of baths such as Āgneya, Vāyavīya, Vāruṇa, Brāhmya and Divya and decides that Āgneya bath (smearing holy ash all over the body) is the best bath.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-8. Thereafter, O king, a person should go to the Bhūtīśvara Tīrtha, the most excellent one among all the Tīrthas. Merely by visiting it, all the sins get dissolved.

At that holy spot formerly the Trident-bearing Lord of Devas sprinkled the holy ash on his body. Hence it is called Bhūtīśvara.

On a day of Puṣya or on one’s own birthday star, and particularly on a new-moon day, a man should take his holy bath in Bhūtīśvara. Thereby he shall be able to redeem a crore of the members of his family.

O king, listen to the benefit cited as accruing to one who devoutly smears his body with holy ash there in that holy spot.

He is honoured in Śivaloka for as many thousand years as there are particles of ash sticking to his body in the temple of Siva.

Bhasmasnāna (bathing in i.e. application all over the body of the holy ash) is remembered as the greatest of all modes of baths. It has been so said by ancient sages. It is mentioned in ail the Śāstras as the most excellent thing.

This Āgneya (fiery i.e. with holy ash) bath should be taken once, twice or thrice a day forever. The devotee’s sin perishes.

O leading scion of the family of Bharata, Vāyavya (pertaining to wind i.e. exposing the body to the dust particles raised by wind) bath is better than Divyasnāna (standing in the sun, divine bath). Brāhmya Snāna (bath within the Brahman-Vedic Mantra) is better than Vāyavya and Vāruṇa (dipping in the ocean) is better than Brāhmya.

9-18. Āgneya is better than the Vāruṇa, since it has been said so by the Self-born Lord. Hence with all effort one should perform the Āgneya bath.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

I am interested to hear the nature of this Āgneya, Vāruṇa, Brāhmya, Vāyavya and Divya type of bath.

Mārkaṇḍeya said:

Āgneya is the bath in the holy ash i.e. smearing oneself with the ash. Vāruṇa is the bath by plunging into the water of a river, lake or ocean. Brāhmya is the Vedic bath by sprinkling oneself with water while reciting the Mantra “āpohiṣṭhā” (RV X.9.1). Vāyavya is exposing oneself to the dust particles kicked up by cows.

The bath when the sun is seen (i.e. sun bath) is on a par with that in the Gaṅgā water. That Snāna is mentioned as the fifth one, the Divya (divine bath), O excellent scion of the family of Pāṇḍu.

Hence one who assiduously bathes in the Bhūtīśvara Tīrtha and adores Lord Iśāna becomes pure internally and externally.

Those who meditate on the greatest Paḍa (word, region, position) always at that holy spot, the subtlest one beyond the ken of the sense-organs, are undoubtedly blessed. That Tīrtha is the Tīrtha of salvation, the most excellent one of all the Tīrthas. Merely by visiting it, all sins utterly perish.

There, one should eulogize and adore Maheśvara. One gets a kingdom thereby. By Japa, the sins are eradicated. By meditation one attains infiniteness.

The Mantra for meditation: “Om, Śiva is the Lord of all Yogas, the Lord of all worlds, free from delusion and grief, can be known through the great knowledge; he is in the form of Jyotis (Luminary) with neither a beginning nor a middle; he is never produced. There is no word that can express him. He is immanent in all living beings.”

O Lord of men, one who goes there to that Tīrtha and takes the holy bath obtains the benefit of an Aśvamedha Yajña. Men who expect salvation do not, Alas, know the Lord who is thus!

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