by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of the Vanished Tirthas which is chapter 106 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 sixth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
The sages said:
Innumerable Tīrthas and Liṅgas got vanished there, O Brāhmaṇas. I shall describe them in the order of their importance. Listen and understand.
6-7a. (Liṅgas installed by the following persons were lost:) Liṅgas of (i.e. installed by) Ikṣvāku, Vasuṣeṇa, the noble-souled Kakutstha, Aila (Purūravas), Moon-god (Candradeva), the pious-minded Kāśīrāja, Agniveśa, Raibhya, Cyavana and Bhṛgu.
10b-11. When the ground was being filled with dust particles by those Rākṣasas who became ghosts and spirits, a miracle occurred there. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I shall narrate it to you. You must listen with concentration.
13. The shower of dust particles was suppressed (blown away) all round externally by the wind and the shower of dust never reached the ground nor was anything buried.
14. The spirits and ghosts became dejected. They lost their hopes for filling up. So they went to King Kuśa and lamented:
15-16. “O king, we created a downpour of dust particles there but it is being blown away in a hundred ways by the gusts of wind let loose by the Mātṛs.
O king, you should consider the means of restraining them, so that we can fill the ground all round with dust particles.”
17. On hearing their words, King Kuśa went to that holy spot, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, and propitiated Rudra.
18. At the end of a year thereafter, Lord Hara became pleased with him and said, “Request for anything that has been desired in your mind.”
19. Kindly see that, with your favour, the plot of land is covered soon by the dust particles poured by these ghosts.
20. O Lord, the group of ghosts was directed by me to fill it up. Since it is being guarded by the Mātṛs it cannot be filled.
21. Further, O Lord, there are Liṅgas there installed with the Mantras of the Rākṣasas. By the contact or sight (i.e. by touching or seeing them) thereof, destruction of the people may take place.
22. There is the just fear as laid down in the scriptures that Liṅgas should not be moved. We do not have recourse to anything else at all such as uprooting them (Liṅgas) etc.
23. Hence, O excellent one among Suras, let a way be adopted to ensure that there is no destruction of the Brāhmaṇas and the sages brought about by the Liṅgas.
24-25. Then Lord Rudra summoned the Mātṛs and said: “Let the spot where you all are stationed be vacated. There, at the bidding of Kuśa and for the benefit of all the worlds, the ghosts and spirits free from worry will shower dust particles day and night.”
The Mātṛs said:
26. O Bull-emblemed One, at your bidding we shall vacate this spot. But show us some other similar spot (to stay).
27. We would rather stay in this same holy spot created by Skanda by whom we have been installed and directed, “You must all stay here always.”
28-30. Then the Lord said: “I shall grant you all severally a spot more auspicious and greater than this spot. O highly esteemed ones, I have already in my possession sixty-eight holy spots where I am always present. All of you, at my bidding, shall divide yourselves into sixty-eight separate groups and stay there. You will all get honoured adoration.”
31-32. On hearing the words of that Lord the Mātṛs were delighted. They left the spot established by Skanda. They divided themselves into sixty-eight separate groups and settled in the sixty-eight holy spots forever.
33. The entire terrestrial region abandoned by them was filled with dust-particles by the spirits and ghosts working energetically day and night.
34. After granting him the boon thus, the Bull-vehicled Lord left, O Brāhmaṇas, along with all the Gaṇas.
35. Praised by all the Brāhmaṇas and ascetics Kuśa accepted their benedictions and went from there to the city of Ayodhyā.
Footnotes and references:
Numeral 10 is assigned to two verses in the printed text. The mistake is corrected in numbering the translated verses.