by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Refuge to All Tirthas which is chapter 28 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 twenty-eighth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1-2. All the excellent Brāhmaṇas who were present in the assembly of gods, Prabhāsa and other Tīrthas in their personified forms heard these words (speech) of the preceptor of gods; it created great fear in their minds. They said to the Lord of Heaven (Indra):
3-7. “O Lord of chiefs of Devas, if the Yuga is to be so inauspicious, we are sure to be doomed. We cannot have any place in any of the three worlds. O Purandara, show us some place or haven of shelter. Whatever it may be, wherever it may be, indicate it clearly to us so that we can stay and pass the terrible Kali days there. The spot should be untouched by Mlecchas (barbarous people). O powerful one among Suras, it may be in Pātāla, heaven or mortal world, but it should be efficacious.”
“O Bṛhaspati, mention a place untouched by Kali in any of the three worlds, if you know it. It should be a place of refuge to the Tīrthas.”
8-15. On hearing the words of Śakra, Bṛhaspati thought for a long time and said, delighting the Tīrthas which were frightened:
“There is an excellent holy shrine named Hāṭakeśvara. It has been created by the fall of the penis of the Trident-bearing Lord of the chiefs of gods.
Staying there king Triśaṅku became rid of his sins. He shook off the Cāṇḍāla-hood and went to heaven along with his physical form.
There Lord Hāṭakeśvara guards the lower part and Lord Acaleśvara the upper part in Kali age.
An extent of five Krośa from Acaleśvara is not touched by Kali, due to the greatness of Hāṭakeśvara.
Hence, O Śakra, let all the Tīrthas go there with a part of theirs. Undoubtedly they will have no fear from Kali.”
16-18. On hearing his words, all the Tīrthas went instantaneously to the Kṣetra called Hāṭakeśvara, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.
For this reason that holy spot became most meritorious. It is the Tīrtha of Lord Hāṭakeśvara and is extremely destructive of major sins.
The sages said:
19-21. O Sūta, what has been narrated by you is highly wonderful. You have glorified the confluence of all the Tīrthas in that Tīrtha.
How do those holy spots get so much power? O highly intelligent one, describe all those Tīrthas in detail to us, as regards their names, places occupied and the efficacy, O highly esteemed one. Our curiosity is great indeed.
22-26. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the number of the Tīrthas amounts to three and a half crores. They have pervaded the entire area of Hāṭakeśvara Kṣetra and have stabilized themselves.
Even in the course of hundreds of years, it is impossible to describe all of them. In the first Kalpa at the beginning of the Svāyaṃbhuva (Manvantara) all the Tīrthas resorted to that auspicious Tīrtha and took refuge therein. Due to passage of enormous time, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, many of these Tīrthas and holy shrines have been destroyed.
But what I know I shall entirely (along with their efficacy) narrate to you. Listen with attention.
O excellent Brāhmaṇas, a man is rid of sins by listening to them, meditating upon them, taking the holy bath therein, touching them and making liberal gifts (at them).