The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes Origin of Apsara Kunda which is chapter 153 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 fifty-third chapter of the Tirtha-mahatmya of the Nagara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 153 - Origin of Apsarā Kuṇḍa

Sūta said:

1-3. Further, there is another excellent Tīrtha there called Rūpatīrtha. A man who properly takes his holy bath there becomes handsome even if he is ugly.

Formerly, Lord Brahmā, the creator of the world, brought into being the vast creation of the four types as mentioned.

Thereafter he thought: ‘I shall create a divine Apsarā, Devamāyā, endowed with all the characteristics of beauty.’

4-5. He took a Tila (a gingelly seed, minute part) from all the Devas and created a highly wonderful female being,[1] on seeing whom Pitāmaha himself became excited.

6. Then, the Lotus-born One sent her to Kailāsa: “O fair lady of pure smiles, go and bow down to Mahādeva.”

7. Then, she hurriedly went to the excellent mountain Kailāsa. There she saw Śaṅkara seated along with Pārvatī.

8. On seeing her, even Śaṅkara was extremely surprised. Seeing that Pārvatī was by his side, he did not openly look at her because he was afraid.

9. Endowed with great faith and keeping the palms joined in reverence, she bowed down to Maheśvara and (began to) circumambulate him.

10. When she came to the southern side, Mahādeva whose eyes were attracted by her, created a southern face of his.

11. As the splendid lady came to the west in the course of her circumambulation, the western face was created by him.

12. In this manner, when she came to be in the north, the northern face was created by Lord Śaṃbhu who was afraid of Gaurī. (Hence) O Brāhmaṇas, he did not move his neck even a bit.

13. In the meantime, Nārada the leading sage (came there) and bowed down to Pārvatī and Maheśvara. Then he spoke to Pārvatī:

Nārada said:

14. See the misdemeanour of your husband. On seeing a beautiful lady, four faces have been evolved by him.

15. O goddess of Suras, I know this. All men know this that there is no woman like you.

16. But, O Pārvatī, on their coming to know that Lord Śaṅkara is attached to another woman, you will be the object of derision of all the wives of all Devas.

17-18. O goddess, do you know how Śiva’s mind works? He broods over this harlot censured by intelligent people. He will bring her and settle her in his own palace. But, O splendid lady, overwhelmed by shame, he does not express it in words.

Sūta said:

19. On hearing the words of Nārada, she found that her dear Lord had four faces. Realizing that Hara had become deformed, she was overwhelmed with anger.

20. Adopting the practice of chief of queens, the Daughter of the Mountain quickly closed all the eyes of the Lord.

21. In the meantime, all the mountains all round began to shatter. All the oceans transgressed their limits.

22. Pralaya appeared there, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. Then the next day of Brahmā dawned with the re-appearance of creation.

23. Because of the closing (of the eyes) there was Pralaya. It is called the night of Brahmā, the Prajāpati. Everything becomes flooded with water.

24. Then all the Gaṇas with Bhṛṅgī and Nandin as leaders came there. The celestial sage (Nārada) became afraid and he spoke to the Goddess of Suras:

25. “O senior-most lady of Suras, leave off the eyes of the Lord. Otherwise there will be the utter annihilation of this world.”

26-27. Though requested thus, the goddess did not take away her hands.

Then another eye in the forehead was created by the Lord who was moved with pity, so that the worlds could be preserved. He could not prevent the goddess dearer to his own life.

28. Devas said to Aṃbikā, O Brāhmaṇas: “Since he has three eyes, the Lord of Suras is glorified as Tryaṃbaka.”

29. Then the goddess, the Daughter of the Mountain, left the Lord. With the eyes turned red due to anger she spoke to Tilottamā who was standing in front:

30. “O sinful woman, my lover has been deceived by you through your beauty and converted into one with four faces. So be hideous and ugly quickly.”

31. Then instantaneously her nose became flattened, her hair withered and her teeth elongated. Her eyes were rendered sunken within and her belly protruding.

32. On observing her body transformed thus, the excellent Apsarā trembled. With palms joined together in veneration, she spoke:

33-34. “O goddess, I have been sent by Brahmā for the sake of paying obeisance to the Trident-bearing Lord and to you all as well. So I have come here. Hence, it does not behove you to curse me because I am not blameworthy. Nor am I attached. It behoves you to do a favour unto me.”

35. On hearing her piteous but truthful words, Pārvatī regretted (her action) and said to her lovingly:

36-39. “It is due to the innate nature of women that I got angry with you. Hence I got enraged with you all of a sudden. But now let us go to the earth. You do come with me.

There is a Tīrtha there created by me myself for the sake of holy ablution on the third lunar day in the bright half of the month on Māgha. Its waters are green from impurities and it bestows beauty. A woman who gets up early in the morning before the solar disc is visible and takes her holy bath (therein) shall certainly become beautiful.

I take my holy bath there on the third lunar day in the month of Māgha always. Today, it is the same day. I have decided to take my bath. I shall go there.”

Sūta said:

40. After saying thus, the goddess took Tilottamā to the Rūpa Tīrtha in the holy spot of Hāṭakeśvara.

41. There the goddess of Suras took her bath herself as per injunctions and after her, Tilottamā also bathed with great devotion.

42. Thereupon the lady became very lustrous, in fact more lustrous than what she was formerly in complexion.

43. Then she was highly satisfied. Overwhelmed with surprise, she bowed down to the goddess of Devas. She spoke in vioce choked with delight:

44. “O great goddess, I have regained my beauty permanently with your favour. I shall now go to the world of Brahmā. It behoves you to permit me.”

Gaurī said:

45. O my daughter, your visit to me cannot be futile. I shall grant you a boon. Hence do pray for whatever is cherished in your heart without hesitation.

Tilottamā said:

46. O splendid goddess, I shall also make my own Tīrtha in this holy spot. Let it attain renown all over the earth with your favour.

47. At the end of every year, you too should take your holy bath there for the sake of the benefit of all women. It should bestows beauty and conjugal felicity.

Gaurī said:

48. O splendid lady, for your sake, I will always take my ablution at the Tīrtha made by you, on the third day of the bright half of Caitra at mid-day.

49-50. Undoubtedly I do so at your instance and for the sake of the benefit of all women. A woman who takes her bath there on that day, will become happy. She will be one loved and liked by all the women on the earth.

51. Even a man who takes his bath there with great devotion will become very handsome for seven births and also enjoy conjugal felicity.

Sūta said:

52. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, on being told thus by the goddess, the celestial damsel made a big Kuṇḍa filled with pure water.

Footnotes and references:


Hence named ‘Tilottamā’.

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