The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Installation of Citrasharma Linga which is chapter 107 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 seventh chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 107 - Installation of Citraśarma Liṅga

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:

1-2. O Sūtanandana, it has been mentioned by you that sixty-eight holy spots of the Lord of Devas were established there. How were they installed? Do describe them completely. We are greatly interested therein.

Sūta said:

It is a very difficult question that you have put to me. Still I shall describe it after duly bowing down to the Pināka-bearing Lord.

3. Formerly, there was an excellent Brāhmaṇa in the city of Camatkāra here. He hailed from the family (Gotra) of Vatsa. The name of this highly renowned one was Citraśarmā.

4. He thought: ‘There is Hāṭakeśvara in Pātāla. I shall bring it here and devoutly worship it day and night.’

5. After resolving thus, he began to perform a penance later. Controlling himself and restricting his diet he reached the highest point of the penance.

6. Only after a long time, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Lord Śaṃbhu was pleased with him. He spoke to him courteously:

7-8. “O eminent Brāhmaṇa, request for a boon—whatever may be in your mind. Undoubtedly I shall gladly grant you (even) the kingdom of the three worlds. Hence, request for that which has been always lurking in your mind, even if it be very difficult to be obtained by all the human beings and all the Devas in particular.”

Citraśarman said:

9. O Lord, if you are pleased with me, if you wish to grant me a boon, O Lord of Suras, come here from Pātāla in the form of Liṅga.

10. May that Liṅga named Hāṭakeśvara which was installed by Brahmā and is stationed in Pātāla, come here quickly.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

11. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, all the Liṅgas in all the places are never to be shifted and disturbed. It is all the more so in the case of the primordial one installed by Brahmā himself.

12. Hence, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, install that Liṅga of gold thereof. It will become well-known in the world by the name Hāṭakeśvara.

13-14. A man endowed with devotion who worships it on a Monday or on the fourteenth lunar day in the bright half, O Brāhmaṇa, shall obtain through that adoration the benefit of worshipping the primordial Liṅga as well.

After saying thus, the Lord vanished from there.

15. Citraśarman erected a very charming palace-like shrine and devoutly installed a gold Liṅga there.

16. He performed its worship everyday in the manner enjoined in the scriptures. Thereupon, O Brāhmaṇas, that Liṅga there became well-known in all the three worlds.

17-18a. Thereafter, people from far-off places came there and began to worship it. A great rivalry born of jealousy arose in those Brāhmaṇas of better qualities who were present there. On noticing the activities of Citraśarman, they thought:

18b-24. ‘All of us are endowed with good qualities and are born in this same place. But (this Brāhmaṇa) though devoid of good qualities has become famous in all the three worlds by propitiating Hara. Therefore, we shall also propitiate Hara for that purpose so that we may have equality with him.

The holy spots of the Trident-bearing Lord in the world are remembered to be sixty-eight in number and Parameśvara shows his presence there thrice a day.

The number of our Gotras staying here is also sixty-eight having common characteristics with this man of foolish mind.

After propitiating the Three-eyed Lord, the Liṅga stationed in Pātāla has been brought by him.

In the same manner, all of us should propitiate Maheśvara by the power of penance and bring all the Liṅgas of the holy spots.

Śaṅkara will bring them unto the people of all the Gotras and decide which Gotra should be connected with which holy spot. Other things also shall occur as he pleases.’

25. Then all the excellent Brāhmaṇas happily performed penance difficult to be performed by all the creatures.

26. They performed the penance along with Japa, Homa, observance of fast and restraints of different kinds, oblations, adorations, offerings of presents, holy ablution, Dāna, and other things.

27. They installed a Liṅga of the Lord which became well-known by the name Dvijeśvara in a lofty palace comparable to a mountain.

28. They abandoned all their domestic activities and even sacrificial rites as well as everyday duties for the sake of mundane existence and continued to propitiate Maheśvara.

29. Although he was propitiated thus, O Brāhmaṇas, Parameśvara did not become pleased. He never attained the highest satisfaction.

30. When they never got any benefit even at the end of a thousand years of their propitiation of Maheśvara, all of them became angry.

31-33. “O Trident-bearing One, you became very pleased in a very short time with this utter fool Citraśarman. Still, O Parameśvara, we have not been taken into account though we have been worshipping Śaṅkara ever since our childhood and we have grown very old now. Hence all of us should enter fire and immolate ourselves. This is the conclusion we have arrived at. We will do it in front of you.”

34. Then all those excellent Brāhmaṇas brought fuel. Meditating upon Īśvara they prepared many funeral pyres.

35-36. They performed all the rites in accordance with the scriptural injunctions such as holy bath, Dāna etc., and kindled the holy fire. Thereafter, all those Brāhmaṇas were about to jump into the fire along with their sons, when the Lord who was pleased, granted them his vision.

37. He laughed boisterously and told all those excellent Brāhmaṇas in a tone as majestic as that of a rumbling cloud. Thereby he seemed to resuscitate them from death:

38-39. “O tigers among Brāhmaṇas, do not commit this rash act. I am particularly pleased. At my instance, you ought not to do so. Tell me what has been cherished within your heart so that I can grant it and go back to my own world.”

The Brāhmaṇas said:

40. O most excellent one among Suras, the sixty-eight holy spots in this sacred region near this city are glorified by people as the most blessed.

41. O excellent one among Suras, let those primordial Liṅgas be in contact with this holy spot, so that all our indignation may become quelled.

42. Though this fellow is devoid of good qualities he vies with all of us, thanks to the power of your Liṅga. Hence do like this.

Sūta said:

43. In the meantime, the Brāhmaṇa Citraśarman came to know that Maheśvara was about to grant the boon. Therefore, he said to Maheśvara out of envious rivalry:

Citraśarman said:

44-46. These Brāhmaṇas are arrogant due to their good qualities alone, O Lord of Devas. After performing a great penance they became inclined to abandon their life. Thus, you are propitiated by them. They want only to vie with me. So, O Lord of Suras, nothing should be given to them. If you set me aside and grant them their desire, I will fall into the fire along with these sons and wife, within your sight (presence). So do what is proper.

Sūta said:

47-52. On hearing his words the Moon-crested Lord thought thus in his mind: ‘What shall be the proper thing to do here? These tigers among Brāhmaṇas will perish on my account. This excellent Brāhmaṇa also who is on a par with the Gaṇas and who has achieved everything (may perish). Hence happiness should be provided to both by me, particularly to these Brāhmaṇas who reside here. I have always been thinking that all my holy spots should be brought by me in one place. The period of Kali age will be very terrible when holy spots and Tīrthas on the earth will perish. All the good Tīrthas have resorted to this holy spot out of the fear thereof. I shall bring all my Kṣetras also here.’

53. Then Maheśvara said to Citraśarman: “Listen to my words and later act accordingly.

54. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, let all my holy spots come here and let the Brāhmaṇas become delighted.

55. If you abide by my advice and abandon your rivalry with the other Brāhmaṇas, O highly intelligent one, I shall make your efficiency too very excellent.

56. Although the order of your Gotra as mentioned in the Vedas is the fourth, yet all those Brāhmaṇas will proclaim it as the first.

57. Further, O Brāhmaṇas, I shall bestow another honour on you. Undoubtedly you shall have sons, grandsons etc. as long as the moon and the sun shine.

58-59. There will be sons and grandsons and others in your family. When the rites of Śrāddha or Tarpaṇa are performed in accordance with the injunctions, the names of the members of the Gotra of the first one named Vatsa and later those of others will he remembered with devotion.

60. Then only they will offer the libations to the Pitṛs and the grandfathers and others, including relatives, friends and allies.

61. In your family, if the members are deluded and offer libations without (uttering) your name, to the Pitṛs, those libations will be fruitless.

62. That will be the case in regard to Śrāddha, Dāna and Tarpaṇa performed by you. So give up your arrogance and simply propitiate me.”

63-64. Though, he was already a Siddha, Śiva informed him that he would attain the highest Siddhi of a permanent nature.

After saying thus to the Brāhmaṇas and making him first though he was as yet last, the Lord said to those Brāhmaṇas: “May the palace (shrine of Śiva) be built now. With each of the Gotras kept in view, the excellent Liṅga has to be installed, O Brāhmaṇas, so that my passing into them shall take place.”

65. Then those Brāhmaṇas carefully chose the portions of the ground pleasing to the mind and joyously erected the palaces.

66. The palaces numbering sixty-eight were comparable to the peaks of Kailāsa. They installed different kinds of Liṅgas in them. They named them the same as before in the different holy spots.

67. After a lapse of some time, the Three-eyed Lord was propitiated after the installation of the Liṅgas by means of the power of penance. After some time, the Three-eyed Lord granted them vision and spoke these sweet words:

Śrī Bhagavān said:

68. O leading Brāhmaṇas, I am much pleased with you all today. Everything that has to be done in regard to me has been done by you.

69. Our Liṅgas and holy spots (have been changed) due to the fear of Kali age. So you are worthy of my commendation. This would not have been possible through others.

70. Hence, let the excellent Brāhmaṇas request for whatever has been cherished in the mind quickly so that I can immediately grant them even if they happen to be rare.

The Brāhmaṇas said:

71-72. O Lord, if you are pleased with us, O Lord of Suras, our names should always be uttered in all the Śrāddha rites in the same way as in the case of Citraśarman who has been made first though he was the last before. This may be done so that we can be on a par with that Citraśarman.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

73.74. If some young men endowed with the knowledge of scriptures were to come under your control, if they are masters of the Vedic lore, bring them up with the title of “Āmuṣyāyaṇa” (descendant of an illustrious family). They will be the permanent residents of the holy spot and they will perform the Śrāddha perpetually.

75. After saying this, the Lord of Devas vanished. Those Brāhmaṇas were very highly pleased and established themselves in that holy spot.

76. Thus, O leading Brāhmaṇas, all the holy spots and shrines which were afraid of (i.e. in danger of the influence of) Kali age live there permanently.

77. Thus those Brāhmaṇas attained Siddhi by the adoration of Īśvara. They became well-known in all the worlds as the perpetual performers of Śrāddha.

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