The Skanda Purana
by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of Somanatha which is chapter 63 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 sixty-third chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Chapter 63 - Greatness of Somanātha
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
1-3. Now there is an excellent Liṅga there named Someśvara. It is well known in all the three worlds. It was installed here by the Moon-god himself.
One who makes it a point to stay there for a year and adores it on every Monday, becomes relieved even of awful ailments.
There is no doubt that he is relieved of even tuberculosis, leaving aside (smaller ailments, like) leprosy etc. Hence by all means a man distressed with ailments should worship it.
4. Formerly the Moon-god propitiated it when he was afflicted by the ailment of tuberculosis. He became one with a body free from ailments like King Pāṇḍya.
The sages said:
5. O Sūtaja, how did Soma, the Lord of the medicinal herbs, become afflicted by tuberculosis formerly. How did he get the relief?
6. O highly intelligent one, narrate this to us in detail. So also relate the auspicious story of that Pāṇḍya king.
7. Formerly the Lord of night (Moon) married in the presence of Fire-god and Guru (Preceptor, Bṛhaspati), the twentyseven daughters of Dakṣa.
8. They are being glorified by excellent Brāhmaṇas well-versed in astrology by the name Nakṣatra (Star). Of them Aśvinī is the first. All of them are endowed with qualities like beauty, liberal-mindedness etc.
9. Out of them all, Rohiṇī was the most beloved to the Lord of night, dearer than his own life.
10. Hence he abandoned all the other daughters of Dakṣa and stayed with Rohiṇī day and night.
11. Hence all of them who had thus become unfortunate became all the more distressed with passion (love). They went to Dakṣa with faces drenched with tears and said;
12. “Dear father, we have been given by you to a sinner as his wife. He does not lovingly give us (enjoyment) even on the Ṛtu days (i.e. prescribed days after the menstrual flow, for cohabitation).
13. Hence we shall cast off our lives entering fire ere long. O highly exalted one, we are telling you the truth.”
14. On hearing their words, Dakṣa was also distressed. He himself took them all and went to Śaśin (Moon-god).
15. In the presence of all of them, Dakṣa, the Prajāpati (Patriarch), spoke to the Lord of night, rebuking him repeatedly with very harsh words:
16-18. “O base Lord of night, O foolish one, is this proper on your part to do. It is what is censured in the Dharmaśāstras (codes of ethics), O base one excluded by the good. Even when the Ṛtu days come, you do not speak lovingly to my daughters. Don’t you know Dharmaśāstra? One who does not go to his wife after she has had Ṛtu bath undoubtedly incurs the awful sin of foeticide.”
19. On hearing his words, the Lord of night became ashamed. With face bent down, he spoke to Dakṣa: “I shall carry out your behest.”
20. Thereupon, Dakṣa became delighted in his mind. He left all his daughters to the care of the cool-rayed Moon, took leave of him and went back to his own abode.
21. But Candra did everything as before. He ignored all other daughters of Dakṣa and continued his passionate association solely with Rohiṇī.
22. Then all those miserable ones again went to their father and spoke to him with tears in their eyes, words befitting that occasion:
23-26. “O father, this is our greatest sorrow in our heart that a misfortune hated by all women has befallen us.
Your effort has been rendered ineffective by that lecherous fellow of wicked soul. Your authority has been flouted by him in our case.
We cannot bear in our heart that misery at all. That Candramas is diverting himself with Rohiṇī always.
Particularly despite the fact that he has been prohibited by your order, the Lord of night has done this. Permit us now to cany out our intention in this regard. Distressed by the misery of absence of conjugal felicity, we shall give up our lives.”
27. On hearing their words, Dakṣa became very angry. He went to the Lord of night and cursed him:
28. “O sinner, my advice of righteous import has not been followed by you. So the fell disease of tuberculosis will oppress you.”
29. After saying thus, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Dakṣa went away. Candra was instantly afflicted by tuberculosis and began to decline in strength day by day.
30. He became emaciated. Incompetent to continue the dalliance of love, he forsook Rohiṇī too and roamed all over the earth.
31. He began asking physicians about the ways and means of curing the disease of tuberculosis. Controlling his sense-organs, he had the medication of herbs of diverse kinds.
32. Still the Lord of night was not rid of the tuberculosis. Due to the terrible imprecation of Dakṣa he grew more and more emaciated every day.
33. Thereupon, he eschewed the excellent medication. He became endowed with ardent faith. In this attitude of disgust, he undertook pilgrimage to holy spots.
34. Roving over the tīrthas and shrines, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, he arrived at the excellent holy spot of Prabhāsa.
35-36. The Lord of night took his holy bath there and gained purity. After visiting the deity of Prabhāsa, he wanted to go elsewhere when he saw the sage named Romaka standing in front. The sage was a man of esteemed holy vows. He was endowed with vigour due to penance. He was one who took pity on all living beings.
37. On seeing him, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Candra afflicted with the disease of tuberculosis bowed to him and spoke loudly and respectfully exhibiting the disgust he felt:
38-40. “O eminent Brāhmaṇa, I have become utterly exhausted as a result of the disease of tuberculosis. I seek refuge in you. Kindly do something to cure this.
O highly esteemed one, many physicians have been consulted by me. I have taken medicines prescribed by them in diverse ways but I am getting weaker and weaker every day.
If you cannot give any suggestion for quelling the disease, I will cast off my body.”
41. O Lord of night, even the curse of an ordinary person cannot be altered; the curse of Dakṣa of immeasured splendour is all the more so.
42. So I shall give you an advice commonly accepted, whereby your tuberculosis can surely be cured.
43. There is nothing which cannot be given by the Tridentbearing Lord of Devas, if he is pleased. Hence propitiate him at my instance.
44-45. Satī stays (Read satyā vāsaḥ instead of satyam vāsaḥ in the Text) always in sixty-eight Tīrthas on the earth. Install the Liṅga in all of them, O Lord of night, for removing (the disease). Then propitiate the Liṅga every day with a mind sanctified by faith. There is no doubt, you will get relief from tuberculosis.
46. On hearing his words, the Lord of night became delighted. He installed the divine Liṅgas of the Trident-bearing Lord in the holy place of Prabhāsaka marking them with his names. He devoutly worshipped them.
47. Thereupon the great Lord was pleased and appeared before him. He said, 1 shall bestow boons. Request for whatever is desired by you.”
48. O Lord of Devas, I am immensely tired and exhausted by the disease of tuberculosis. I have sought refuge at your feet. Save me from it. I do not request for anything else.
49. On hearing his words the Bull-emblemed Lord summoned Dakṣa there itself and spoke respectfully:
50. This Candra, your son-in-law, has been cursed by you. This is not good. Hence at my behest do bless him now.”
51. He has a crooked mind. I gave him a sound advice of righteous import. After undertaking to abide by it before me he failed to do it and he became untruthful in his words.
52. So, O Bull-emblemed Lord, for the sake of my daughters I cursed him angrily. Even what I utter jokingly cannot become changed.
The Lord of Devas said:
53. At my bidding, this Lord of night will see all your daughters impartially from now onwards. There is no doubt.
54. Hence let him waste away for a fortnight and wax again for a fortnight. Thereby your words can be true along with my favour.
55. Then Dakṣa said “So be it” and went to his abode. Lord Śaṅkara said to the Moon again:
56. “O Moon, you can once again request for something desired. I shall grant everything even if it be rare.”
57. O Lord of Devas, if you are pleased, if a boon has to be granted to me, you must be present always in the Liṅgas installed by me for the welfare of all the worlds.
The Lord said:
58. At your request I shall be present on all Mondays in the sixty-eight Liṅgas installed by you.
59-61. After saying thus the Lord of Devas vanished. Candra too joyously and impartially saw them all. He saw the daughters of Dakṣa impartially as he remembered the words of Śaṅkara. They also became delighted thereafter. It was thus, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, that Someśvaras came into being there in the sixty-eight Tīrthas and in the others thereafter.