The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Lotaneshvara (lotana-ishvara-tirtha) which is chapter 220 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 two hundred twentieth chapter of the Reva-khanda of the Avantya-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 220 - The Greatness of Loṭaṇeśvara (loṭaṇa-īśvara-tīrtha)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

1-7. Thereafter, O Lord of the earth, a person should go to the excellent Loṭaṇeśvara Tīrtha on the northern bank of Narmadā. It is destructive of all sins.

The sins accumulated in the course of seven births are destroyed at the very instant of visiting the Lord of Devas.

The sins incurred since childhood, the sins committed during youth all perish by visiting the Lord of Devas.

Yudhiṣṭhira said:

The great (sanctifying) activity (efficacy) of Narmadā is amazing to all the three worlds and has been entirely narrated by you, O Brāhmaṇa. It is destructive of all sins.

I wish to hear about one great Tīrtha that yields the benefit of all the Tīrthas taken together. Have pity on me and describe it quickly.

Many questions of very rare (solutions) in all the worlds, O excellent one, have been heard (as clarified by you) by me along with my kinsmen.

O foremost one among those conversant with all the questions, after hearing this sole question, with your favour, I shall go (to it) along with kinsmen.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said:

8-18. Excellent! Excellent! O highly intelligent one! There is nothing difficult to attain in all the three worlds to a person like you whose mental power is like this.

O leader of the descendants of Bharata, one who knows Dharma (piety), Artha (wealth), Kāma (love) and Mokṣa (liberation) at the proper times, is an intelligent one and this is his duty. Hence I shall tell you the splendid answer to this question. On hearing it, men on the earth are liberated from all sins.

Narmaḍā is the most excellent one among all the rivers. She is auspicious and identical with all the Tīrthas. A special efficacy thereof is said to be in the confluence of Revā with the Ocean.

On seeing Revā coming on, O excellent king, the great Ocean bowed down to her. On being united with Revā he thought, ‘Who is this excellent over coming into contact with me?’

After reflection he realized that it was the great Revā originating from a Liṅga. (To express his deep reverence) the great Ocean went on rolling (itself before her) when he approached face to face. Where the great river Narmadā entered the Ocean, a Liṅga of the chief Lord of Devas arose there.

The highly esteemed Narmadā, the most excellent one among the rivers, that had originated from a Liṅga, got merged into the Liṅga. Hence she is the most meritorious.

One who stays near Narmadā always and drinks her waters, is on a par with one initiated in all the Yajñas and drinks Soma juice everyday.

A man who takes his holy bath at the confluence there and worships Loṭaṇeśvara attains the benefit of (the performance of) a horse-sacrifice.

O king, all the sins committed verbally, mentally or physically, become dissolved on approaching Loṭaṇeśvara.

19-27. A special rite has been prescribed for Kārttikī by Śaṅkara. O excellent king, listen to it, as it is destructive of all sins.

On coming to know of the approaching Kārttikī (full-moon day of Kārttika), one should observe fast on the fourteenth lunar day and then take his holy bath in the waters of Narmadā.

Then he should offer libations to Pitṛs and Devas and perform Śrāddha duly. He should worship Loṭaṇeśvara and keep awake at night. His life is fruitful. All his activities are fruitful.

If Loṭaṇeśvara is not seen with full concentration of the mind, those persons are no better than lame ones. Their life is futile.

In the family of a true devotee none will attain ghost-hood and none will be reborn in a base womb.

One should go to the confluence and duly perform the rite of ablution. The rite of keeping awake (at night) should be observed with a provision for meritorious songs and dances.

After the night turns into dawn, the devotee bows to and invokes the Great Ocean and takes the holy bath in accordance with the injunctions laid down.

The Mantra for Āmantraṇa (Invocation)

“Om, obeisance to you, the Lord of the Tīrtha in the form of Viṣṇu. O Lord, be present in the briny Ocean while I take bath.”

The Snāna Mantra:

Agni is the depositor of the semen virile in the body. It is lustrous. Viṣṇu is the navel of Amṛta.”

Uttering thus the truthful statement, O son of Pāṇḍu, the devotee takes bath in the Lord of rivers.

28-38. A man might have committed many sins in the course of hundreds and thousands of births, but he dispels all the clusters of sins by taking a bath once in the briny ocean.

O leading member of Kuru family, this all-pervading great Ocean is of divine origin. Hence, otherwise (without Mantra) the Ocean should not be touched by learned men even with the tip of a blade of Darbha grass.

Argha Mantra:

“O receptacle of the store-house of all jewels, you are the most important of all jewels. O chief Lord of all immortal ones, accept the Argha. Obeisance to you.”

Thereafter the devotee offers libation to the Pitṛs, Devas and human beings. The devotee comes out of the river and gets the Śrāddha performed by eminent five Brāhmaṇas resembling the Guardians of the worlds.

The Lokapālas are to be installed duly and duly worshipped (by worshipping those Brāhmaṇas alone). Then the devotee should confess his good and evil acts to them.

The devotee confesses to them whatever sin has been committed ever since childhood, in the course of youth and old age and then submits the same to the Guardians of the worlds.

The devotee utters it as follows: “Whatever inauspicious act has been perpetrated ever since childhood, in the course of various births (or ever since birth) has been entirely confessed to the Brāhmaṇas. Their presence is in all my situations.”

After uttering so the devotee shall roll in front of them. After getting their permission the devotee has to perform the holy bath.

O excellent king, the Śrāddha too has to be performed duly to the Pitṛs. If this is performed, O excellent king, all the sins shall perish.

If anyone is curious to know about himself, analysing his auspicious and inauspicious activities, then listen to his procedure as follows:

39-49. After taking the holy bath in the great Tīrtha, the man goes ahead rolling. A man of righteous actions goes towards the river and a man of evil actions to the opposite side.

Thereby the evil-doer shall realize his previously accumulated sins. After taking the holy bath in the excellent Tīrtha he should duly make Dāna.

After worshipping Loṭaṇeśvara, he is rid of all sins. After adopting a non-crooked way of life, he is rid of all sins.

Hence, O excellent king, after becoming aware of this by means of all efforts, all men should bathe at the place where Hara is present.

After taking the holy bath in accordance with the injunctions, O protector of the earth, he should adore and honour Brāhmaṇas who have mastered the Vedas for the purpose of quelling all the sins.

O excellent king, that Tīrtha has all these good features. Listen attentively to the greatness of that Tīrtha.

A man who takes his holy bath there in that Tīrtha, offers libations to Pitṛs and Devas, devoutly performs Śrāddha to Pitṛs there and makes Dāna (gifts) of cows, plots of land, gingelly seeds and gold to Brāhmaṇas is honoured in Svargaloka for a hundred crore and sixty thousand years. He goes to Svarga seated in an excellent aerial chariot.

At the confluence of Revā and the ocean one gets the same benefit as one derives through holy bath taken in all the Tīrthas on Narmadā.

By giving gold, silver, copper, jewels, pearls, cows and bulls, plots of land and good grain as charity (Dāna), one obtains everlasting benefit.

Undoubtedly all auspicious and inauspicious actions bear their fruits.

50-55. Listen to the meritorious benefit of one, whoever be that man, O Yudhiṣṭhira, who casts off his life there in the Tīrtha with devotion.

After sporting about in the Palace of Śiva for crores of years, he is reborn as a Brāhmaṇa conversant with the Vedas and Vedāṅgas in a pure family. He will live for a hundred years richly endowed with sons and grandsons, wealth and foodgrain. He shall be free from all ailments.

One attains by worshipping Loṭaṇeśvara in the month of Kārttika when the constellation Kṛttikā is present, the same benefit as acquired by worshipping Somanātha in the course of twelve pilgrimages.

O son of Kuntī, by visiting Loṭaṇeśvara one gets the same benefit as at Gayā, Gaṅgā, Kurukṣetra, Naimiṣa and Puṣkara.

A man who devoutly listens to this auspicious text being read shall go to Rudraloka after being rid of all sins.

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