The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Installation of Uma-Maheshvara which is chapter 48 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 forty-eighth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 48 - Installation of Umā-Maheśvara

Note: This story is a new contribution of this Purāṇa. The sonlesmess of Hariścandra, the curse of Umā and establishment of an Āśrama etc. are not found in Mbh, Padma and other Purāṇas.

Sūta said:

1. There itself in that very place is the hermitage of King Hariścandra. It is well-known and overgrown with various creepers and trees.

2. Penance was performed there by him after installing Umā and Maheśvara. Further he distributed different kinds of gifts to Brāhmaṇas according to their desires.

3. Formerly there was a king named Hariścandra, the son of Triśaṅku. The glorious king hailing from the solar race ruled over Ayodhyā.

4. While he was ruling virtuously there was no famine, no ailment and certainly no premature death. Nor was there any fear from thieves.

5. The clouds always showered rain at the proper time. The vegetation was luxurious. The waters were tasty and the trees bore fruits in all the seasons.

6. Daṇḍa (punishment; a staff measuring four Hastas) existed only at the place where dwelling place is built There was Gṛharodha (closing of houses; attacking of houses) only in the game of dice. There was only one Doṣākara (storehouse of faults; the Moon, the cause of night) and it was the Moon. Only owls were Priyadoṣas (fond of faults; fond of nights).

7. There was Snehakṣaya (decrease in oil or affection) only in lamps. There was Karagraha (holding of the hands; levying of taxes) in marriages only. There was Vṛttabhaṅga (violation of Vṛtta i.e. prosody or decorum) only in prose. There was Dānotthiti i.e. elevation of Dāna (ichor; bribery) only in the face of an elephant.

8. Thus the king was endowed with all good qualities and he had imperial authority. There was one great defect, that he was sonless.

9. Therefore he installed a Liṅga devoutly in the holy spot of Camatkārapura and performed very great penance for getting a son.

10. He used to meditate on Maheśvara and practised austerities: He sat inside five fires in the months of summer; during rainy season he stayed under the open sky; he resorted to water-lakes in Hemanta (winter).

11. Then at the end of a thousand years Maheśvara was pleased with him. He appeared before him along with Gaurí and surrounded by groups of Gaṇas (attendants).

12. He said: “I shall bestow boons. Request for anything desired. I shall grant it to you even if it be very difficult to get.”

13. Thereupon the king bowed down to him and eulogized through the Sūktas of the Vedas. With humility and palms joined in reverence he spoke:

14-16. “O excellent one among Suras, whatever there is worthy of being mentally cherished on the earth is in my house. My wives are beautiful. The kingdom is devoid of thorns. The enemies have been exterminated. My body is without ailment. Unlimited and vast is my wealth. I have only one source of unhappiness that I have no issue. Hence, O Lord Śaṅkara, if you are pleased, grant me a son.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

17. O excellent king, due to my favour, a son will be born to you ere long. There is no doubt about it Hence go home quickly.

Sūta said:

18. In the meantime Gaurī rebuked Mahādeva with eyes reddened due to anger. Then she spoke to the king:

19-20. “O big fool, since you did not bow down to me after Hara, I am going to curse you. You will beget a son as said by the Trident-armed Lord. But you will also meet with the sorrow arising from his death even in infancy.”

21. After saying thus, the goddess vanished along with Śaṃbhu and the attendants too.

22. After the acquisition of the boon and having received the curse as well, the king did not go home. He performed a great penance once again.

23. He installed Gaurī and Maheśvara in the same seat (pedestal) and then propitiated them together, with flowers and unguents.

24. The king offered special gifts to Brāhmaṇas. He lay on bare ground. He kept himself quite calm. He took food once in two days.

25. Then, at the end of a year the Bull-emblemed Lord appeared before him in the company of Pārvatī once again.

26. Thereupon the king bowed down before both of them duly and spoke these words humbly:

27-32. “Formerly, O goddess, my mind was overwhelmed with the flood of bliss. Hence I failed to bow down to you. It does not behove you to be angry on that account.

O goddess, you are always the occupier of half of the body of the Trident-bearing Lord. Hence, tell me how, when one of you is bowed to, you are not paid obeisance.

This is my opinion that you are always bowed to by one who bows to the Lord of Devas and when you are bowed to the Lord of Devas too is bowed to.

Still, you are also separately bowed to as together before. Now you have been mounted in the same seat. O goddess, you are worshipped along with him.

Hence be favourable to me. Let the boon given by the Enemy of the Puras earlier become fruitful immediately in regard to obtaining a son.

O goddess, it behoves you to do what is necessary to facilitate the birth of a son who will perpetuate the family line, who will be long-lived and whose valour will be steady with your favour.”

Śrī Devī said:

33. O king, my words cannot be otherwise on any account. Hence your son will meet with death though yet a child.

34. After giving you the sorrow arising out of early death, he will regain life ere long, with my favour.

35. Thereafter he will live long; he will be victorious and perpetuate your race as an emperor of great eminence. He will be munificent and will perform Yajñas. He will be one conversant whh virtuous rites.

36. So, O king, go home and rule over your kingdom as you desire. You will beget a son of great excellance as proclaimed by me.

37-38. If any other man worships me installed here in this form along with Lord Śaṃbhu, I will grant sons of his choice and other things also ere long. There is no doubt about this.

Śrī Mahādeva said:

39. O excellent king, once again beg of me whatever you desire. A visit of mine shall never be in vain. This is the truth that I speak.

Hariścandra said:

40. O Lord of Devas, I am blessed and contented. Excepting a son there is everything in my house. Now you have given me a victorious son capable of perpetuating the line.

41. Still I cannot disregard your behest at all. For this reason I shall request for a desired object.

42. I have been thinking of performing a Rājasūya for a long time. But all my ministers and friends dissuade me.

43. The reason is this. That Yajña is possible only when all the kings have been made to pay tribute. O Lord, they will not readily pay tribute without an actual fight.

44. When I opt for war they and my well-wishers oppose me though I am enthusiastic. They strictly abide by the path of good policy and ethics.

45. Hence, with your favour, may my Makha (Rājasūya sacrifice) be concluded without obstacles. I will not choose anything else.»

Sūta said:

46-48. Hara said: “It shall be so”, and vanished. After acquiring the boon, the king went to his abode. It was thus that Umā and Maheśvara were formerly installed by that king. Afterwards others too installed them. One who performs their adoration on the fifth lunar day for one full year, O Brāhmaṇas, with fruits placed on all the limbs of the idols of Umā and Maheśvara will get a son desired who will be capable of uplifting his race.

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