The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Origin of Ateshvara (Ata-ishvara) which is chapter 128 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 twenty-eighth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 128 - Origin of Aṭeśvara (Aṭa-īśvara)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-3. On seeing his daughter happy after being united with her desired husband, Satyasandha became highly pleased in his heart and felt that he had done his duty.

He resorted to the southern phase (side?) of the same Liṅga and seated himself in lotus posture firmly. He began the meditation properly thereafter. He saw the Atman within himself. With a sensation of horripilation, he released it through Brahmadvāra (cerebral aperture).

4. The Brāhmaṇas hailing from Camatkārapura came there for viewing the deity but saw his dead body.

5. It was dead, displeasing and lacking in lustre. It was not worthy of being touched. It was found not far from the Liṅga. They then prepared for the cremation thereof.

6. They prepared a large pyre and came in to take him out. Then they saw the corpse missing. It could not be seen anywhere.

7. They were overwhelmed with surprise. They repeatedly spoke about him in highly laudatory terms.

8. Then all of them reviewed the mode of worship of the Liṅga pertaining to him, in the middle of the twenty-seven (other Liṅgas).

9. Of all the Liṅgas, that Liṅga happened to be the bestower of desired things upon all devout creatures and the destroyer of all sins.

The sages said:

10. O highly intelligent one, when the line of the king of Camatkāra (pura) became extinct which other king became the overlord of Ānarta?

Sūta said:

11. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, when king Bṛhadbala was killed in battle, all the people accompanied by their sons and kinsmen came there.

12. They came to the place where King Satyasandha was engaged in penance. With great distress and sorrow they spoke to the King in his secret resort:

13-16. “This line of yours is extinct since none of your cousins and successors is present (alive). How shall the earth be sustained now?

In the state of anarchy, O excellent king, Mātsya Nyāya will prevail (i.e. a powerful one will prey upon weaker ones). Whether it is the whole country or a city or, more particularly, a village the same rule will hold good (everywhere).

Those who are enamoured of other men’s wives, those who adopt thievery as the means of sustenance—all these keep to the bounds of morality and decorum only because they are afraid of the king.

Hence, do stop your penance and rule over the kingdom that has come to you by succession. Take a wife for the sake of begetting a son.”

The king said:

17. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I have renounced the world. I am not eager to rule over a kingdom. Nor do I want to marry or beget sons.

18. Therefore, I shall tell the means of getting a leader of you all and his son. Thereby, a king of Ānarta ruling over the people shall be obtained.

19-20. When the entire Kṣatriya race, even those in the womb, was exterminated by the furious son of Jamadagni, Paraśurāma, in his furious onslaught, the wives of those Kṣatriyas, before their menstrual bath, approached Brāhmaṇas for begetting sons and not out of lust.

21. Sons were born who were full of refulgence and virility. Being Kṣetrajas (born of the wives) of kings they duly became kings.

22-23. Hence, O people, there are the wives of Bṛhadbala. Let Brāhmaṇas approach them after their menstrual bath and get befitting sons, leading Kṣatriyas. They will rule over the earth and protect the people.

24. Further, here there is the splendid Kuṇḍa of Vasiṣṭha, which bestows sons. A woman in her menstrual cycle who takes her bath there, becomes pregnant immediately. The beautiful one becomes Amogha-retā (one in whose womb semen never becomes futile) by taking bath here.

25. Those Kṣatriyas who were earlier born to Brāhmaṇas from Kṣatriya women, were born by its power undoubtedly.

26. On being wooed by a Kṣatriya woman the Brāhmaṇa had his bath with due utterance of the Mantras, and then had union with her.

27. It was, due to the efficacy of the Tīrtha that by a single sexual contact male issues (sons) were born to all (those Kṣatriya women) and no daughter at all.

28. All Mantras possessing the power of bestowing sons, which were found (incorporated) in the Vedas were utilized by Vasiṣṭha who was desirous of (the continuity of) Kṣatriyas.

29. If the bath is taken by a wedded pair, a good son will be born. Hence this Kuṇḍa is called Suputrada (‘Granter of a good son’).

30. Hence, O people, all the wives of Bṛhadbala should take their bath here in accordance with the injunctions.

31. There is no untruth in this nor is it blameworthy. For, there is this Śloka cited by earlier Ācāryas (preceptors):

32. “Fire is produced from water, Kṣatriyas from Brāhmaṇas and steel from rocks. Their refulgence spreads everywhere and gets dissolved in their original causes.”

33. On hearing those words of King Satyasandha the people informed the ministers about it.

34. All those wives of the king after their menstrual bath joyously courted and contacted very beautiful Brāhmaṇas.

35. They went to the Putrada Tīrtha created by Vasiṣṭha, had their bath therein and had intimate contact once only with Brāhmaṇas.

36. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, all of them gave birth to sons. The great king had one hundred five wives.

37. O Brāhmaṇas, one hundred five Brāhmaṇas had their sexual union with them.

38. Everyone of them begot excellent sons and increased the family. They caused prefect bliss to all the residents of the country.

39. The most excellent of those sons was well known all over the world by the name Aṭa and he became the Lord of Ānarta. He destroyed all enemies.

40. It was by him that the deity well-known as Aṭeśvara was installed with great devotion. If the deity is visited, the extinction of the family can be averted.

The sages said:

41-42. Why was he given this name Aṭa? This has been abandoned by the family. Do explain this, O Sūtaja. Was this name given by the ministers or Brāhmaṇas? Or by the mother? Tell this as we are very eager to hear it.

Sūta said:

43. That name was given neither by the mother, nor by the Brāhmaṇas nor by the ministers. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, it was given by the messenger of Devas stationed in the firmament.

44. How it was given, I shall explain. Listen with attention. It was the daughter of the king of Daśārṇa who gave birth to that king.

45-46. The fawn-eyed lady blessed with beauty and prime of youth obtained an excellent Brāhmaṇa. Desirous of the holy bath in the Putra Tīrtha she set off along with the Brāhmaṇa resembling Kandarpa. At the (first) sight of each other, their love became very intense.

47. Their mutual attraction was so much that they reached Sutaprada Tīrtha with very great difficulty. (They were so eager for union that they felt the journey to the Tīrtha very long and difficult.)

48. While going along the path, they indulged in sexual intercourse. They were very delighted due to ardent desire. So they cast aside shame.

49. The people censured them with words urging them to separate. By that time the semen had been discharged and the Brāhmaṇa tried to get up.

50-52. By that time an aerial voice caused by Devas announced: “Since this son was eagerly begot by the Brāhmaṇa while going along the Highway, he will become a king well known by the name Aṭa. He will be long-lived. He will have many sons and he will conquer the enemies.”

It was for this reason, O Brāhmaṇas, that he was called Aṭa.

53. He was a person who lifted up his family arising from it like the Moon. He gifted wealth to all suppliants. He came to this holy spot and installed an excellent Liṅga after his own name. O excellent Brāhmaṇas this Liṅga is the bestower of all desires of men.

54. One who worships it with great faith on the fourteenth lunar day in the month of Māgha will never have any sorrow regarding the continuity of his race.

55-56. A woman may be hundred years old but if she has great devotion to Śiva and takes her bath in Sutaprada Kuṇḍa and then visits Aṭeśvara, she will immediately attain a son who will increase the prosperity of the family. This is undoubtedly due to the favour of the deity. So says Kārttikeya.

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