The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Ashtashashti Tirthas which is chapter 108 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 eighth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 108 - The Aṣṭaṣaṣṭi Tīrthas

Note: Chapters 108-110 enumerate the 68 Tīrthas, their locations and names of Śiva associated with them. Hāṭakeśvara is the best Tīrtha.

The sages said:

1-2. O Sūtaja, you said that the holy spots numbered sixty-eight. Do narrate and enumerate them mentioning their names. Further, you do describe all the other holy spots and Tīrthas situated on the earth. We are very much eager to listen about them.

Sūta said:

3-5. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the Tīrthas that you asked me about and which number sixty-eight, and other holy spots that are situated on the earth were afraid of Kali age and had entered Rasātala.

O tigers among sages, this Kali yuga is so very sinful. This very same question was put to Parameśvara by Pārvatī formerly. O Brāhmaṇas, for the sake of pilgrimage, you are now asking me about them.

6. Formerly, Lord Maheśvara was seated on the peak of Kailāsa along with all the groups of the Gaṇas. He was occupying an excellent seat.

7. The Amaras (Devas) had come for making obeisance to the Lord, O leading Brāhmaṇas, and when all of them had gone back to heaven, the goddess who had occupied half the seat, spoke these words:

The Devī said:

8. O Mahādeva, O Lord of Devas whose crest-jewel has been washed by Gaṅgā, do tell me the greatness of the Tīrthas if you consider me your beloved.

9. The number of the Tīrthas on the earth is thirty-five million. Do enumerate them along with their names now:

10. O Lord, O Lord of Devas, do describe the many Tīrthas and holy places to me in a manner easily understood by embodied beings. By glorifying all the Tīrthas great merit is obtained.

Īśvara said:

11. O beautiful lady, the word Tīrtha refers to all the righteous rites and all the virtuous holy spots. Do listen with mental concentration.

12. Mother is a Tīrtha; father is a Tīrtha; association with good men is Tīrtha; so is thinking of doing righteous things and also observing restraints and abstentions.

13. So also are the meritorious stories of the celestial sages, the place of resort of excellent sages and Devas too, O My beloved beautiful lady.

14. If parts of lands are holy, they are glorified as Tīrtha. By seeing them, by remembering them and by taking bath in them, all the creatures are liberated from sins arising from hundreds of births.

15. Further, all sinners, all those who commit breach of trust, shall become rid of them by bathing in the Tīrthas.

16. So also, O lady beautiful in every limb, all the sins perish. Even if the embodied beings incur sins by slaying a Brāhmaṇa, those sins undoubtedly get destroyed by the contact of the Tīrthas.

17. Formerly, the skull of Brahmā got stuck up to my hand. By contact with Tīrthas and by taking bath in them it dropped off.

18. In view of this, all should take their holy bath in all the Tīrthas and shrines with the mind fully endowed with devotion, without being diverted to other things.

19. By means of this holy bath, all men attain the benefit thereof. O large-eyed one, my place of resort is destructive of all sins. It bestows all cherished things equally on men and women.

20. O goddess, this has always been maintained as the greatest secret. It has not been mentioned to anyone by me, not even to Devendra who had enquired about it.

21. O fair lady of excellent countenance, it is being mentioned to you because of your being my beloved. The sixty-eight Tīrthas should be frequented by men with adequate devotion.

22. All these are my resorts and they destroy sins. O beautiful lady, by my power they bestow desired things undoubtedly.

23-24. Whatever may be the desire cherished in the heart, a man shall take his holy bath in the Tīrtha and then worship Maheśvara. If Hari is worshipped by men while thinking of one’s meritorious deeds, O excellent lady, men are rid of their sins incurred earlier merely by remembering them, let alone their direct sight and touch.

25. O beautiful lady, these Devas beginning with Śakra, and Nārada and others have attained heaven by worshipping me.

26. I shall mention them severally and in detail. With the mind in concentration, O goddess of Devas, listen to them by their names:

List of Tīrthas:

27. Vārāṇasī, Prayāga, Naimiṣa the next one, the highly meritorious Gayāśiras, the sacred Kurujāṅgala,

28. Prabhāsa, Puṣkara, Viśveśvara, Aṭṭhāsa[1], Mahendra, Ujjayinī,

29. Marukoṭi, Śāṅkukarṇa[2], Gokarṇa the excellent holy spot, Rudrakoṭi[3], Sthaleśa, Harṣita and Vṛṣabhadhvaja,

30. The holy spot Kedāra, the holy spot Madhyamakeśvara[4], the holy spot Sahasrākṣa and the other one Kārttikeśvara,

31. In the same way, Vastramārga[5], Kanakhala, Bhadrakarṇa, the famous holy spot named Daṇḍaka,

32. The holy spot called Tridaṇḍa and also Kṛmijāṅgala, the holy spot Ekāmra[6], the holy spot Chāgalaka,

33. O goddess of Devas, then the holy spot Kāliñjara[7] and the other one Maṇḍaleśvara, Kāśmīra, Marukeśa, the splendid Hariścandra,

34. Puraścandra, Vāmeśa, Kukkuṭeśvara, Bhasmagātra, Oṃkāra, Trisandhyā and Virajā,

35. Arkeśvara, Nepāla, Duṣkarṇa, Karavīraka[8], Jāgeśvara and then, O goddess, the excellent mountain Śrīśaila,

36. Ayodhyā, Pātāla, the great Kārohaṇa[9], the meritorious river Devikā[10], Bhairava and Pūrvasāgara (eastern ocean in Bay of Bengal),

37. Saptagodāvarī Tīrtha (seven mouths of Godāvarī joining the sea) is also cited, then Nirmaleśa, the splendid Karṇikāra,

38. Kailāsa, Jāhnavītīra, Jalalīṅga, Vāḍava, Badarī, Tīrthavarya and also Kotitīrtha [Koṭitīrtha?],

39. Vīndhyācala, Hemakūṭa, Gandhamādana, the holy spot Liṅgeśvara, and then Laṅkādvāra,

40. Naleśvara, Madhyeśa, Kedāra, Rudrajālaka, what is named Suvarṇa and the other one, O lady of beautiful thighs, Ṣaṣṭikāpatha.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Aṭṭhāsa: in Birbhum Dist. of Bengal, a Śakti Pīṭha.

[2]:

Śaṅkukarṇa: the southern portion of Banaras (De 177)

[3]:

Rudrakoṭi: on the Narmadā near its source (De 171)

[4]:

Madhyamakeśvara: A sacred Śaiva place on Mandākinī (De 116)

[5]:

Vastramārga: Region round Girnar.

[6]:

Ekāmra: Śiva Kāñcī, Tamilnadu.

[7]:

Kāliñjara: in Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh.

[8]:

Karavīraka: Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

[9]:

Kārohaṇa: Karwan in Baroda District, Gujarat, It was the native place of Nakulīśa, the founder of Pāśupata Sect.

[10]:

Devikā: southern portion of Sarayū in Oudh, Uttar Pradesh.

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