The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Origin of Tirthas like Saubhagyakupika which is chapter 134 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 thirty-fourth chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 134 - Origin of Tīrthas like Saubhāgyakūpikā

The sages said:

1-3. You have narrated the story of Somanātha as to how the Snow-rayed One was cursed by the furious Dakṣa.

Now tell us how Kāma suffered from leprosy and what was his fault. By whom was he cursed? Recount to us how goddess Śilākhaṇḍa (Khaṇḍaśila) and Saubhāgyakūpikā originated there.

Sūta said:

4. Formerly there was a Brāhmaṇa well-known by the name Hārīta. He performed his penance there in his Vānaprastha

stage.

5. He had a chaste lady as his wife. She possessed beauty and other exquisite qualities. Like Lakṣmī, the wife of the enemy of Madhu (Viṣṇu) she was the most beautiful lady in all the three worlds.

6. She was well-known by the name Pūrṇakalā. She had well-developed good qualities. On seeing her even the Lotus-born One fell victim to the influence of Kāma.

7. Once, with a desire to see Kāmeśvara (i.e. Lord Śiva), Manobhava (Kāma) too came there along with (his wives) Rati and Prīti.

8. In the meantime, she too came there for her bath. She stripped herself of all her garments and entered the water-pond.

9. Then on seeing the lady of splendid countenance, Kāmadeva too was hit in his heart by his own flowery arrows.

10. Wounded by his own arrows, he left Rati and Prīti, reached a lonely spot beneath a tree and slept there.

11. All his limbs experienced horripilation. He repeatedly heaved hot sighs with fiery colour (agni-varṇa) and long puffs, his eyes were filled with tears.

12. He then stood in the range of her vision and looked at her with fixed stare like a Yogin in the midst of his mental absortion meditating on the steady established Brahman.

13. She too stared at Kama who was standing lovingly in front of her, yawning and having various facial contortions. His whole body was trembling.

14. She was attracted by Kāma. She was fascinated by his extraordinary features. Her heart was pierced by the arrows of Kāma.

15. With great difficulty the lady of pure smiles came out of water and reached the bank. Then she stood within his view.

16. Then Kāma got up and came near her very slowly. With palms joined in reverence, he spoke to her respectfully:

17. “Who are you, O lady of large eyes? You have come to the water pond for bathing. But, O lady of beautiful limbs, you are out to ruin me. So listen to my word

18. O lady of beautiful smiles, I am famous in the world as the Flower-arrowed One. Even Devas have been subjected to mortification by me through my arrows.

19. On being struck down by my arrows, Rudra held his wife by means of half of his body, thereby casting off all shame.

20. Pierced by my arrows, Brahmā entertained lust for his own daughter and begot of her the Brāhmaṇas Vālakhilyas of such peculiar features.

21. Śakra was enamoured of Ahalyā, the beloved wife of Gautama. Because he was tormented by my arrows, he came down to the earth from heaven.

22. Thus, O lady of excellent eyebrows, even the Devas of superior status have been assailed by my arrows. What then about human beings, very fickle and almost like worms!

23. O lady of sweet smiles, the entire universe beginning with an insect and ending with Brahmā, has become mortified on account of my arrows.

24. Despite all those things, O splendid lady, O timid one, I have been reduced to this plight by you.

25. Hence, O highly esteemed one, give me the grand gift of sexual intimacy today lest my vital breaths should forsake my body.

Sūta said:

26. On hearing his words, she was in a great dilemma. On the one hand she was devoted to the vow of fidelity to her husband, but on the other hand, she was excessively assailed in the heart by his (Kāma’s) arrows.

27. The poor chaste lady was stranger to the perversity of love-lorn activity. She had grown up in the midst of hermits. She knew none else, nothing else.

28. She did not know what to speak and how to speak as is usually the case with those who are tormented by Kāma. She stood thus for a long time looking down and scratching the ground with the big toe of her foot.

29-31. In the meantime, the sun arrived on the setting mountain (the western quarter). Hermit Hārīta who maintained the sacred fires came back at the time of the elaborate rituals. He waited for her for a long time without taking food. He began to worry: ‘Why has she not come back? After taking her bath in the excellent Tīrtha, viewing that Candrakūpikā and visiting Kāmeśvara, the Lord of the Devas, the bestower of desired happiness on men (she should have come back by this time).’

32. Then in the company of his disciples, he looked for her here and there. Ultimately, he came to that place where both of them had been standing.

33. Being struck by his own arrows, Kāma was uttering many (overtures of love), but she was standing looking down with excessive bashfulness.

34. Concealed behind a hedge, he heard whatever was prattled by Kāma. He noticed her emotional fervour. Thereupon, he became furious and said:

35-37. “O sinner, you have afflicted my wife thus with the arrows. She has been an innocent chaste lady devoted loyally to her husband. She has been hit by you and made to stand with face down with excessive bashfulness. Hence you will be overcome with the fell disease of leprosy. You will be unpleasant to see. Even your wives will forsake you. On seeing you, she became enamoured of you. Thereby she transgressed her duty. She shall become senseless resembling a rock.”

38. Thereupon, Kāma prostrated down to him and pacified him: “O Brāhmaṇa, this beautiful lady was not known to me as your wife.

39. Therefore, she was told by me various kinds of words not suited to her. It is not her fault that she was acutely afflicted by my arrows.

40. Very well, she became infatuated, O sage, but no word was uttered by her. Hence, it does not behove you to curse her at all.

41. Herein it is my fault. Hence do chastise me. But, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, the curse against her is unbearable.

42. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, even Devas beginning with Rudra are unable to bear my arrows. Hence could she have borne? Why should she be turned into a rock?

43. Further, learned men say that sin is of three kinds, mental, verbal and the third one, physical. O leading sage, I am guilty of two types of sins, whereas she is guilty of only one type.

44. Your beautiful wife may have committed only one sin, but you want to mete out the full punishment. Are you not afraid of the future world?

45. A mental sin can be wiped off by mental anguish and regret. A verbal sin can be eradicated by pacifying him against whom something foul has been uttered.

46. A physical sin will disappear through atonement as mentioned in the scriptures on ethical conduct. O great sage, all those scriptures do lay down these.”

Hārīta said:

47. O Kāmadeva, her sin may be as you say if it refers to other matters. But in regard to your sphere of activity, the importance is that of the mind.

48-50. At the outset everything is mentally conceived. Then it is uttered by means of words. Then the physical act takes place. Hence it is the mind that is more important in regard to all matters always. For this reason I had to mete out a full punishment to her. Hence she will stay in this manner always, O mean fellow. You may do what constitutes your duty. I will not say anything.

Sūta said:

51. After saying thus, Hārīta, the excellent sage, went to his hermitage. Pūrṇakalā was turned into a rock at the same instant.

52. O Brāhmaṇas, Kāmadeva was seized by leprosy of terrible proportions. His nose, hands and legs became withered and he became repulsive to the eyes of onlookers.

53. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, when Kāma was afflicted with the disease and consequently lost interest in his routine activities, the process of creation in the whole universe stopped.

54. The whole world dwindled and deteriorated. There was no growth at all. Even the sweat-born living organisms faced ruin and destruction.

55-56. In the meantime, all the Devas were agitated with anxiety: ‘Why does the world including all aquatic and ground-born living beings decay? No child is seen at all anywhere. Nor is a pregnant lady visible. We hope Smara is all right.’

57. On coming to know that he was afflicted with a disease and had resorted to this holy spot all of them hurried to the place with mental agitation and worry.

58. They saw the Flower-weaponed One staying in Kāmeśvarapura meditating on Maheśvara. His features were hideous and ugly.

59. In their great distress, they said: “O Flower-weaponed One, what is this? You have become afflicted with the fell disease of leprosy! You have lost all enthusiasm.”

60. Overcome with excessive shame, he stood with face turned downwards. He narrated the entire account regarding Hārīta’s action and his curse.

61. Then the Devas said: “The sin perpetrated verbally shall undoubtedly perish in full by propitiating her.

62. So, Mind-born One, propitiate her in the form of a rock. Thereby your leprosy will perish and your refulgence will increase.

63. Since you have not incurred any sin except the verbal one (this atonement will be enough). Let there be the great activity of creation. Let the divine task be fulfilled.

64-65. If any other man afflicted with the disease of leprosy, though it may be a result of a sinful action of the body, takes his bath in your Kuṇḍa with great faith and touches this rock freed from sin, he will also be relieved from his sickness and the distress thereof.

66. This water pond shall become well-known in the world by the name Saubhāgyakūpa. It shall be destructive of all ailments. There is no doubt about it.

67. Itches of excessively putrid nature and scabies of the person taking bath here will disappear afrter [after?] viewing this rock.”

68. After saying this, the Devas went to the heavenly adode. Kāmadeva stayed there and performed the adoration.

69. Then, even when only a month elapsed, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, Smara regained that form which he originally had.

70. Then he made a temple for her with great faith and went to the place of his choice in his endeavour for creation.

71. The lady who had been standing with face lowered down when being cursed, became a fragment of rock. Hence, she is remembered as Khaṇḍaśilā.

72. If anyone devoutly worships her on the thirteenth lunar day, he will never face scandals arising from association with other men’s wives.

73. Kārttikeya, the son of Śaṅkara, has prescribed this rite in particular to a lustful woman. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, what has been said by me is the truth.

74. By propitiating the deity called Kāmeśvara installed by Kāmadeva, on the thirteenth lunar day, one shall attain all desired things.

75. Smara is in a personified form there along with Rati and Prīti, O tigers among Brāhmaṇas. He has an excellent palatial shrine as his resort.

76-79. One ugly in form and unlucky in his plight should worship him with flowers and saffron with great mental concentratrion on the thirteenth lunar day. That man is reborn as a handsome person endowed with conjugal felicity.

A woman abandoned by her husband and surrounded by co-wives should worship that deity along with excellent wives on the thirteenth lunar day with filaments of lotuses and saffron, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. She will enjoy conjugal felicity, O Brāhmaṇas. She will beget sons. She will have flourishing wealth and food-grain. She will be free from misery and grief. She will have no blemishes at all. She will be one praised all over the earth.

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