by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Extent of Prabhasa Kshetra which is chapter 4 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 fourth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
The Devī said:
2-3. O Lord of Devas, O Lord of the worlds, O Lord identical with the sacred places and holy rivers, do narrate in detail to me the greatness of Prabhāsa Kṣetra. How will you get pleased with men of confounded and wicked nature in the holy spot? Wherefore do Japa, Dana, Homa, Yajña and Tapas performed there become rites of everlasting benefit?
4. O Śaṅkara, do tell me how the sin accumulated earlier in the course of thousands of births gets dissolved.
6. If the Tīrtha is confined to one holy spot the mind will be free from doubts. When there is the multiplicity of Tīrthas the minds of men begin to waver.
7. Hence, O Lord of Suras, leave aside the entire mess of Tīrthas, and their details, and mention the greatness of Prabhāsa alone.
8. O Lord, it behoves you to narrate everything such as the extent of the holy spot, its boundary and its essential features etc. My curiousity is intense.
10. The greatest Siddhi is achieved at Prabhāsa. One attains the greatest goal at Prabhāsa. O fair lady, it is the place where I am permanently stationed.
11. I shall mention its extent along with all the boundaries. The holy spot comprises three distinct sections which I shall mention in due order.
14. The Garbhagṛha is in the form of a pericarp very dear to me. It extends to a Gavyūti (six kms.). I shall tell you about the frontiers of the Kṣetra in due order. O goddess, listen.
15. In length and breadth the frontiers are fixed at the beginning, middle and end. Taptodakasvāmī is to the east and Mādhava is to the west.
16. The ocean is to the south and the river Bhadrā is on the north. The Kṣetra with these boundaries extends to twelve Yojanas.
17. This is the Prābhāsika Kṣetra destructive of all sins. The Pīṭhikā is mentioned as stationed in the middle and it extends to five Yojanas.
18-19. The Pīṭha is mentioned as extending to five Yojanas lengthwise and breadthwise. It is beyond Nyaṅkumanya and to the east of Vajriṇī. It is to the south of Māheśvarī and to the north of the ocean. Now listen to the description of the Garbhagṛha.
21-22. Whatever Tīrtha is in between these two, O goddess of Devas, on the earth all the tanks, wells and lakes and all the shrines of the deities, the lakes and the rivers, the puddles and the whirlpools—all these are holy. All of them are destructive of all the sins.
23. By taking his holy bath anywhere (in the area) a man is honoured in the heavenly world.
25. O lady of excellent complexion, there are a crore Tīrthas in the part of Viṣṇu. It is said that there are one and a half crores in the middle part pertaining to Rudra.
26. Thus, O goddess, that holy spot has been described as having three divinities. O splendid lady, this holy spot is the greatest secret of all secrets and very dear to me.
27. Thus the assignment of the regions for the three and a half crores of Kṣetras (Tīrthas) has been explained.
The Yātrā (religious procession) should be understood as threefold. Listen to it, O lady of excellent countenance.
29. It is mentioned, O lady of excellent countenance, that the Icchāśakti (power of volition) is in the part pertaining to Brahmā. The Kriyāśakti (power of action) is glorified in the second part pertaining to Viṣṇu.
30-31a. O lady of excellent countenance, the Jñānaśakti (the power of cognition) is in the third part pertaining to Rudra.
Even a sinful man, a rogue or a person of the worst character shall become rid of all sins if he stays in the middle part.
31b-33. My great interest centres round Prabhāsa after leaving aside Himavān, mountain Gandhamādana, Kailāsa, Niṣadha, the lustrous Merupṛṣṭha, the charming Triśikhara (three-peaked one), the great mountain Mānasa, the beautiful parks of the Devas, the Nandana garden, the beautiful regions of heaven and all the Tīrthas and shrines.
34. O goddess, if a person stays there with restrained soul and concentration of mind, he shall be considered on a par with the one living with air alone as diet, even if he takes food thrice a day.
35. Despite being shaken by obstacles, if a man does not leave Prabhāsa, he actually frees himself from old age and death and the transient cycle of births and deaths.
36. O goddess, Yogic power may be obtained perhaps in the course of hundreds of births. But salvation cannot be obtained even after a thousand births.
37. But, O great goddess, those who continue to stay in Prabhāsa with determination shall undoubtedly attain liberation in the course of a single birth.
38-39. If the Brāhmaṇas of praise-worthy holy vows permanently residing in Prabhāsa perform the Japa of Śatarudriya together with Mṛtyuñjaya Mantra, in the very presence of Kālāgnirudra and resort to the southern quarter, they will get perfect knowledge within six months.
40. Śiva is extolled in the Veda under his name as well as synonyms. But the form of his soul is glorified as Śatarudriya.
45. They are stationed in the south of Someśa, meditating on Oṃkāra.
49. Animals of lower species also that have their abodes in Prabhāsa and die in due course (there) attain the greatest goal.
50-53. That Tīrtha of the Lord of Devas is a penance grove that (should) be kept as a closely guarded secret.
Recluses of controlled souls have to go about for eight months. A few roam about for four months and stay behind for eight months. In the case of those who have entered Prabhāsa, they have no (need of) religious tour (Vihāra). Yoga and Mokṣa (salvation) which are rare are attained by men here.
54. Hence one should not leave Prabhāsa and go to another penance grove. Those who do not resort to Prabhāsa are deluded and overcome by darkness of ignorance.
55-56. They are repeatedly born amidst faeces, urine and semen (i.e. in the wombs of mothers). These ten, viz. Kāma (love), Krodha (anger), Lobha (covetousness), Daṃbha (hypocrisy), Staṃbha (arrogance), Matsara (rivalry), Nidrā (sleep), Tandrā (lethargy), Ālasya (sloth) and Paiśunya (backbiting, depravity), always protect Someśa, the leader of the Tīrthas.
57. No sinner dying in Prabhāsa falls into a hell, if a man resolutely stays there as long as he lives (during his life time) (He attains this benefit).
58-59. The great benefit that is obtained by Śaivas, Pāśupatas (devotees of Śiva, Paśupati), by Sannyāsins known as Tridaṇḍins, Ekadaṇḍins and such other Sannyāsins, performers of Fire-worship (Agnihotrins), can be attained by means of performance of pilgrimage to Śrī Someśvara.
60. He who adores Someśa is on a par with the best among those who worship a Liṅga and who perform a penance.
62. The entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings is stationed in the Liṅga. Hence the Lord has always to be assiduously adored in the Liṅga.
63. It is my supreme form that is stationed by the name Śrīsomeśa. Through it alone I am engrossed in propitiating my own Ātman (soul) through the Ātman.
64. Who roaming through thousands of births is able to attain liberation without the adoration of Someśa?
65. Whatever inauspicious and evil act has been committed through the petty intellect of a human being shall get entirely destroyed through the adoration of Someśvara.
66. The sin that has been committed by creatures in the course of crores of births, gets perished by the adoration of Śrī Someśvara.
67. All the Tīrthas resorted to by those who get rid of their sins, themselves enter Prabhāsa for their own purification.
68. He who is called Kālāgnirudra by the expounders of the Vedas, has become established in Prabhāsa by the name Bhairava.
69. O goddess of Suras, I have assumed the form of Bhairava, settled in the centre of the holy spot, and thus destroy the entire evil (acts) of the people.
70. I have wandered all over the world of mobile and immobile beings. Still I am steady and established. Hence I am well-established at Prabhāsa by the name Bhairava.
72. O beautiful lady of Suras, he is one whose prowess has been extolled by the words of the Vedas, agnimīḍe etc. (I praise Agni—RV. L.l-17). The Liṅga was addressed by all the Devas by the name of Kālāgnirudra.
73. O goddess of Devas, Agni, Īśāna and Kālāgnirudra, these three names are oft-repeated. O lady of excellent countenance, since the Kalpas and Brahmās are innumerable, the names (of the Lord) in every Kalpa cannot be mentioned.
74. Thus it is a very great secret, O lady of excellent countenance. It has to be kept strictly concealed. But due to your great affection for me and the excess of devotion, it has been glorified by me to you.
75-79. The entire universe is established in Karmakāṇḍa (mass of rituals), which includes Yajña, Dāna, Tapas, Homa, Self-study of the Vedic texts, offering libations to ancestors, fasts, holy vows, the whole range of the hundreds of Cāndrāyaṇas, Ṣaḍrātras, Trirātras, visiting pilgrim centres etc. By means of these holy rites, people of the various stages of life such as celibate students, householder, Vānaprastha, etc. devoted to the holy rites laid down in the Vedas should ordinarily hope to earn merits. So also is the case of other people engaged in the auspicious rites of the layman. But, O goddess, unless one adores Someśa the leader of the Liṅgas, none can attain that great region. They cannot even espy it. It is extremely difficult to attain.
80-83. If the Lord of the universe, Bhairava Someśa is worshipped, all those attain salvation, those who die in Prabhāsa, O fair lady. They may be animals and birds of the lowest species, even ants, worms, insects, locusts etc. under water, the mobile and immobile beings, men, beasts, women, boys, girls, old men and women, eunuchs, dogs, donkeys, crows, Cāṇḍālas, Śūdras, Puṣkasas, other people of base births, fools, scholars, all despicable persons etc.
84. O auspicious lady, all those creatures that die in Prabhāsa are burnt by the fire of Kālānala Rudra, by the Kālarāja fire.
85. O goddess, my holy spot Prabhāsa is difficult of access to sinners. O lady honoured by people, a sinful soul does not get the opportunity to die there.
87. Other Lords of Gaṇas also, subject to my behest, guard this holy spot, O goddess of Devas. Listen to their names:
88-90. Mahāhala, Caṇḍīśa, Ghaṇṭākarṇa, Gomukha, Vināyaka, Mahānāda, Kākavaktra, Śubhekṣaṇa, Ekākṣa, Dundubhi, Caṇḍa, Tālajaṅgha, Bhūmidaṇḍa, the fierce Śaṅkukarṇa, Vaidhṛti, Tālacaṇḍa, Mahātejas, Vikaṭāsya, Hayānana, Hastivaktra, Śvānavaktra and Biḍālavadana. There are others with faces resembling those of lions, tigers etc. including Vīrabhadra.
91. Keeping Vināyaka at their head, they guard the Lord of Devas, Kapardin. They number eleven crores and thirteen million.
92-93. An Arbuda (one hundred million) of the Gaṇas have occupied the Prabhāsa Kṣetra. They are very fierce. They stand at every door with tridents and Mudgaras in their hands. They guard Prabhāsa Kṣetra, the abode of the Lord of Devas. They see to it that no one enters it with evil intention.
95. Kālākṣa is terrible and fierce. He is surrounded by eighteen crores of Gaṇas. The Gaṇa named Ghaṇṭākarṇa has occupied the southern gate.
96. The Gaṇa named Viṣṭara has occupied the western doorway. Daṇḍapāṇi is stationed in the northern doorway of the abode of the Lord of Devas.
97. He looks after the Yogakṣema (acquisition and preservation i.e. maintenance) of all purified souls in Prabhāsa. Bhīṣaṇākṣa is in the north-east and Chāgavaktraka is in the south-east.
98-99. Caṇḍanāda is in the south-west and Bhairavānana is in the north-west.
100. That holy spot of the Crescent-moon-crested Lord is not approachable to those persons whose minds are overwhelmed by the outcome of the evils of Kali Age.
101-102. Prabhāsa is resorted to by Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Yakṣas, Apsarās and serpents and Siddhas who remain invisible. They adore Someśa, the Lord of Devas, the destroyer of sins. Siddhas of the seven worlds and those who reside in Pātāla circumambulate Someśa Kālabhairava.
103-106. All theTīrthas and holy shrines of the earth circumambulate Lord Someśvara and eulogize the Liṅga there. The Tīrthas are Lākuli, Bhāvabhūti, Āṣāḍhi, Daṇḍa, Puṣkara, Naimiṣa, Amareśa, another Bhairava, Madhyama, Kāla, Kedāra, Kaṇavīraka, Haricandra, Śaileśa, Vastrāntikeśvara, Aṭṭahāsa, Mahendra, Śrīśaila and Gayā.
107. Brahmā, Janārdana, and the other Devas stationed in the universe come near the Agni Liṅga at the time of dusk and eulogize.
108. Sixty crores of thousands and sixty crores of hundreds of these go to Someśvara on the fourteenth day in the dark half of the month of Māgha.
109-110. At that time a devotee should offer the Ghṛtakaṃbala to Someśa, i.e. they are to collect together all these: Ghee, Rasa (juice), gingelly seeds, milk, water rendered fragrant with camphor and Kāśmīra (saffron).
111. This has to be done on the Śivarātri day. This is a secret and it is my favourite. It is impossible to reckon the merit that accrues when this is done.
112. If one desires one’s siddhi, O goddess, one should adore at the outset Bhūtavināyaka himself in the southern side.
114. There are hundred crores of Yogins. They have great interest only in Prabhāsa Kṣetra and nowhere else.
115-116. O beautiful woman of Suras, the splendid Kalā named Umā, about whom I have already mentioned, is established on the north-east of the Liṅga. O goddess, she is called Satī and she was the daughter of Dakṣa formerly.
117. Being angry with Dakṣa, the greatest Kalā abandoned her body and was reborn in the abode of Himavān. She became well-known by the name Umā.
118. Therefore, O goddess, they remained there along with you. They are remembered as the bestowers of boons. Nine crores of Cāmuṇḍās are stationed in that holy spot.
119. If a devotee adores you there on the eighth day in the bright half of the month of Caitra, he will not meet with poverty in the course of twenty-one rebirths.
120. If the Amā (New-Moon) united with Monday is attainable at any time, a devotee should visit Someśvara. Thereby he attains the benefit of a crore of Yajñas.
121. This holy spot is something to be treated as a great secret. It is destructive of all sins, since it is the place where eleven crores of Rudras are collectively present.
123-126. Umā too who is eulogized by all the Devas is present very near at the side. There is Nandin, the leader of Gaṇas of the Trident-bearing Lord of Devas. There are other leading Gaṇas who stand by the side of Mahākāla. There are the rivers Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Sarasvatī and other sacred ones, Nadas and Hradas. There are oceans, mountains, wells and trees. All the mobile and immobile beings have arrived at Prabhāsa. Other Gaṇas too are stationed there at Prabhāsa.
127. All have not been mentioned by me. At random I have mentioned a few here and there. If one desires the benefit of the sacred place, O goddess of Devas, one should worship the third Vināyaka there with great devotion.
128. Thus, O beautiful lady, at the entrance to the Agni Tīrtha there are stationed twelve, eight and twenty-four crores of rivers.
130. Of what avail is talking too much, O goddess? This holy spot is highly refulgent. It is impossible to describe it adequately to you eveṇ in the course of hundreds of crores of Kalpas.
131. Prabhāsa Kṣetra is the greatest of all the Tīrthas in the various quarters and of all the deities in the atmosphere, or on the earth. So also, O goddess, Someśvara is the greatest deity.
132. All the types of living beings such as the oviparous, viviparous, sweat-born ones and plants (coming out breaking through the ground) attain salvation if they meet with death at Prabhāsa. There is no doubt about it.
133. Thus the wonderful story of the Lord of Devas has been narrated. O goddess, the incomprehensible deeds of Śaṅkara have been narrated to you. He who reads, listens to this and eulogizes the Lord, all these people will attain salvation, destroying into smitherens the sins of Kali.