The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Appearance (Origin) of Somanatha which is chapter 7 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 seventh chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 7 - The Appearance (Origin) of Somanātha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1-4. After hearing the excellent greatness there, the goddess asked Śaṅkara once again with words coming (profusely) through the throat due to eagerness and delight:

The Devī said:

O Lord of Devas, O Lord of the worlds, O conferor of blessings unto the devotees, obeisance to you, O Maheśvara, richly endowed with all knowledge.

Obeisance to the noble-souled one, to the slayer of the Tripuras, to the suppressor of Tāraka. Obeisance to you who bestowed the ocean of milk on the child (viz. Upamanyu) of the leading sage endowed with perfect concentration and mental purity.

Obeisance to you, the creator of all the worlds. O Lord identical with all everywhere! Obeisance, to the creator of all. Obeisance to Bhava (the origin of all). Obeisance to Ābhava (having no birth). Obeisance to you, the eternal one, to you who are omnipresent.

Īśvara said:

5. O goddess, what do you ask? Everything has been narrated by me. If still you have any doubts, you may ask, O beautiful lady.

The Devī said:

6. When did that name Someśvara come into existence? At what time did it take place? What name did it have first? What will be the name of the Liṅga now?

7. O Lord, he whose power is such, has not been described by you before. The greatness of the other deities of the Tīrtha has been described by you. Nothing like the greatness of Śrīsomeśa has been expounded.

Īśvara said:

8. I was in existence even formerly in the form of Sparśa Liṅga. O goddess, none of the men here knew me in my real form.

9. In the great Kalpa when the Pratisañcara (re-absorption into the origin) of Brahmā took place the name of the Liṅga too originated. This shall be different and occur again and again.

10. Six Brahmās have passed away. The present Prajāpati who is well-known as Śatānanda is the seventh one, O goddess.

11. When this Brahmā became eight year old, O goddess of Devas, from that time onwards I became well-known as Someśa.

12. O Pārvatī, listen to those names that occurred in the periods that elapsed after the sleep and dissolution of Brahmās.

13. When the first grandfather Brahmā called Viriñci existed, the name Mṛtyuñjaya of Somanātha was glorified in that period.

14. When the second (incumbent) Brahmā well-known by the name Padmabhū became Brahmā, the Liṅga (Somanātha) was called Kālarudrāgni, O auspicious lady.

15. When the third one well-known as Svayaṃbhū became Brahmā, the name of the Lord was glorified as Amṛteśa.

16. When the fourth one well-known as Parameṣṭhin became Brahmā, O auspicious lady, the name of the Lord was remembered as Anāmaya.

17. When the fifth one remembered as Surajyeṣṭha became Brahmā, O Aṃbikā, the name of the Lord was mentioned as Kṛttivāsa.

18. When the sixth one well-known (by the name) Hemagarbha became Brahmā, the Lord was glorified as Bhairavanātha.

19. The present Brahmā is remembered as Śatānanda and the name of the Lord now is Somanātha.

20. Hereafter when the future Brahmā will be known as Caturvaktra, the name of the Lord shall be Prāṇanātha.

21. In the case of Brahmā of the past and those of the future, the respective name continues till the other one is eight years old. With reference to the difference of Sandhyā and Sandhyāṃśa (Twilight of Yugas and part of twilight between Yugas) they are Viṣṇu, Ananta and Sanātana.

22. Thus the names of the Lord have been described briefly by me. They cannot be expounded in detail because of the greatness of time (required for it).

The Devī said:

23. Wonderful indeed, O Lord of the chiefs of Devas, is what has been said by you. How is it that the names mentioned before have escaped my memory?

24. Mention the reason hereof in detail, O Lord of the worlds, with a desire to bless me as well as for the sake of the welfare of all living beings.

Īśvara said:

25. Since, O my beloved, O great goddess, you take incarnation in every Kalpa due to the power of Prakṛti, you do not have the recollection.

26. In the Āvaraṇas (coverings) constituted by the Tattvas, you have been established as the first. O lady of excellent countenance, along with me you incarnate in the middle of the (Cosmic) Eggs.

27. You manifest yourself again and again for the sake of blessing the worlds. In the first Kalpa (you were) Jaganmātā. In the second (you were) Jagadyoni.

28. In the third (Kalpa) you were (known by the) name Śāmbhavī and in the fourth Viśvarūpiṇī. In the fifth you were named Nandinī and in the sixth Gaṇāṃbikā.

29. Vibhūti (is your name) in the seventh Kalpa and Subhūti in the eighth. Ānandā in the ninth Kalpa and Vāmalocanā in the tenth.

30. (You were called) Varārohā in the eleventh and Sumaṅgalā in the twelfth. You are cited as Mahāmāyā in the thirteenth Kalpa.

31. You were glorified by the name Anantā in the fourteenth Kalpa, Bhūtamātā in the fifteenth and were remembered as Uttamā in the sixteenth.

32. Then in the seventeenth Kalpa (i.e. Pitṛkalpa) you became well-known as the highly lustrous daughter of Dakṣa, known by the name Satī.

33. Due to the insult at the hands of Dakṣa you forsook your body. Formerly you stationed yourself as Umā filling the digit of the moon.

34. Then, when the Vārāha Kalpa began, O beautiful lady of Suras, you were propitiated by Himavān and made his daughter.

35. Then, O goddess, you performed a wonderful penance very difficult to be performed and obtained me once again as your husband. You are now called Pārvatī.

36. I have my abode in Kailāsa, O lady of excellent countenance. O goddess of Devas, I thus sport with you till the end of the Kalpa.

37. This happens four times. Then for the sake of the killing of Mahiṣa, you were born as Kṛṣṇapiṅgalā (black-and tawny-coloured) in Dvāpara along with Viṣṇu.

38. You were born on the earth in nine crores of different ways with various names such as Kātyāyanī, Durgā etc.

39. O beautiful lady, your Kalpa names mentioned before have been enumerated by me beyond the thirteenth Kalpa.

40. O beautiful ladys [ladies?] the past, present and the future names—all of them—should be known thus till Brahma Kalpa.

The Devī said:

41-44. O Tripurāntaka (Destroyer of Tripuras), the name Somanātha has been cited by you before. How is it considered permanent? Since the moons are many in view of their names and births (that name cannot be steady and permanent). At the end of seventy-one Caturyugas when a Manvantara is complete, the Moon, the Sun and the Devas are destroyed again and again. So also the seven sages, Suras, Śakra, Manu and the kings, his sons. They are simultaneously created and dissolved as before. Now, O Lord, it behoves you to clarify this duly and exactly.

Īśvara said:

45. A pertinent question has been asked by you, O goddess. It is a secret that is destructive of sins. I shall fully explain to you what has not been narrated to anyone before.

46-47. Now there is the Brahmā here well-known as Śatānanda. When he is eight years old, the first Manu (is born). He shall be the first. In his Manvantara Rohiṇīpati (i.e. Moon) is born at the outset from the bowels of the ocean along with Lakṣmī, Kaustubha etc.

48. The Liṅga named Kālabhairava was propitiated by him with great penance lasting for fourteen (Catur) Yugas.

49. On seeing his wonderful penance, O beautiful lady, I became pleased. That Niśākara (Moon) was told by me, “Choose your boon.”

50. At that time, O goddess, O auspicious lady, he eulogized with devotion and said:

Candra said:

51. O Lord of the Devas, if you are pleased, if I am eligible for a boon, O Lord, let your name be Somanātha throughout the life-span of Brahmā.

52. May this deity alone be the family deity for all the other Śītaraśmis (Moons) who, are to be born in the other Manvantaras too.

53. O Lord, may they all be stationed in this holy spot and propitiate (You) throughout their life-span. May this continue till the dissolution of Brahmā.

54. May your name Somanātha become famous in the Brahmāṇḍa consisting of mobile and immobile beings. O Lord of Devas, O one of luminous Liṅga, I pay obeisance to you.

Īśvara said:

55. After saying “Let this be so” I got merged into the Liṅga. Thus, O goddess, the reason has been explained to you entirely.

56. Since this was asked by you earlier, it has been explained leaving no doubt, though it is brief. Only a sample of the qualities of Śrīsomeśa has been narrated to you. The details thereof are incomprehensible (innumerable) like jewels in the sea.

57. It is confounding to those who are not his devotees but is conducive to the augmentation of the intellect of his devotees. Deluded persons do not perceive my real form as they are confused.

The Devī said:

58. O Śaṅkara, O Lord of Suras, the greatness of the luminous Liṅga is of such a nature. Where in that holy spot does that Liṅga stand installed?

Īśvara said:

59. O goddess, listen with care. Try to comprehend after listening. This Prabhāsa Kṣetra is the greatest holy spot and it is my favourite.

60. It is the place of stay of Devas too. It extends to twelve Yojanas (12x12 = 144 Kms.) The Pīṭha is glorified as measuring five Yojanas.

61. My abode is in the middle thereof, O goddess. It extends to a Gavyūti (3 Kms.), O goddess. That which is called Devikāmukha is on the north of the ocean.

62. It is to the east of the Vajriṇī (a local river) and extends as far as the river Nyaṅkumatī. The width is four (Yojanas) and the length is five Yojanas.

63. Thus the Kṣetrapīṭha is explained. Hereafter listen to the Garbhagṛha. It extends from the ocean in the south to Kauravī in the north and from Gomukha in the east upto Aśvamedhakā in the west.

64. This is my abode, O goddess, which I never forsake. The Liṅga is stationed in its middle as it has already been explained to you.

65-66. Near the ocean, in the western quarter, three hundred Dhanvantaras (the distance of three hundred Dhanus i.e. 1200 Hastas) to the west of Kṛtasmara stands the Liṅga of great prowess. It is the self-manifested Lord Śaṅkara, the Supreme Lord who stands installed there.

67-69. O goddess, in between these, near Someśa, in the fourteenth section, two hundred Dhanus (400 Hastas) in extent is my Karṇikā (pericarp) in the form of a circle. It is my favourite, O Pārvatī, living beings, worms, insects, locusts etc. the beings of superior and middling types as well that die in due course of time, get rid of their sins and go to my world.

70. The northern or southern transit of the time of death need not be taken into account. In regard to those who die in the middle of the Kṣetra all the times are auspicious.

71. For the purpose of the welfare of all living beings, O great goddess, the primordial Nātha (Lord) Śarva brought the Ādyatattvas (the primordial principles) and illuminated the Kṣetra of great refulgence where men can achieve Siddhis.

72-73. One who is wise, O goddess of Devas, may be assailed by hundreds of obstacles but, O goddess of Suras, he shall take a solemn vow (to stay behind) as long as he lives. Due to the greatness of that holy spot and of Sthāṇu of miraculous activities, he goes to the greatest region by reaching which one does not feel pain or misery.

74. Ordinarily one suffers repentance after committing thousands of sins. But he gets relieved from them in Prabhāsa. He does not go to the city of Antaka (god of death).

75. After realizing that Kali Age was terrible, cruel and insensitive to sufferings of beings, O goddess of Devas, Vighnanāyaka had been appointed there for the sake of protection.

76-78. By the side of Kālāgnirudra, Vighnanāyaka whose valour is on a par with that of Rudra, has been engaged for the protection (of the holy spot) from sinners like those who are inimical to Brāhmaṇas, those who raise futile arguments over devotion to Śiva, Brāhmaṇa-slayers, ungrateful ones, those who have no chance of redemption, those hated by the general public, those who are hated by the elders, the thorns unto the Tīrthas and shrines, those who are engaged in all kinds of sins and those of contemptible acts.

79-81. O goddess of Devas, the deity restrains sinners and guards the holy spot. If men perpetrate sins in the holy spot and kill Brāhmaṇas, O beautiful lady, listen the fate they attain. O lotus-eyed one, they are born as sons of whores for ten thousand years according to the divine reckoning. At the end thereof, they become Brahmarākṣasas. Thereafter, when the sins are quelled they attain ignominous births.

82-85. Hence by all means one should avoid committing sins there. Sins committed elsewhere become quelled in this holy spot. But a sin committed in this Kṣetra brings about the state of Piśācas and fall into hells.

O beloved, the Lord is sympathetic to the devotees. He bestows the greatest position even on the lower types of creatures but not on those who hate Brāhmaṇas.

Those who meditate with concentration, those of souls practising Yogic rites after restraining the sense-organs, who perform the Japa of Śatarudriya residing in Prabhāsa, are undoubtedly blessed.

86. If anyone goes to the excellent Prabhāsa Kṣetra, he should continue to employ such means as will not necessitate going out of it.

87. O beautiful lady, this has to be guarded as a secret. It should not be given to anyone and everyone. O my beloved, this Śāstra has to be guarded well like one’s own life.

88. He by whom this scriptural text that illuminates the Prabhāsa Kṣetra has been composed should be known as Śiva himself who has adopted human characteristics (form).

89. O Pārvatī, I stand occupying his physical form. He is honoured, adored and meditated upon like me. There is no doubt about it.

90. O goddess, in Kali Age the excellent Prabhāsa Kṣetra is very difficult to attain. It is the truth, nothing but the truth. Thrice I aver that it is the truth, O beautiful lady of Suras. Out of affection for you, now I shall expound something special.

91. Someśa is my favourite among those Liṅgas that are in Bhūrloka. The Guṇas (good qualities) present in this Liṅga are known to me.

92. Only I know. No one else at any rate knows it. I am worthy of being adored in other Liṅgas too by Suras and Asuras.

93. O goddess, we ourselves adore this Liṅga.

94. There is a time when there is neither Brahmā, nor the earth nor the Sun; everything is the Lord of the worlds alone. At that time, O renowned one, we shall adore it.

95. After the dissolution of Brahmā, this great Liṅga will protect this holy spot by adopting the future role (existence).

96. Ten crores of Liṅgas come from the Gaṅgādvāra at midday. O lady of excellent countenance, and get merged in this Liṅga.

97. All the Tīrthas all over the earth and those in the sky always come (here) for the sake of the ablution of this Liṅga.

98. Blessed indeed are those men who have settled in Prabhāsa and who will visit Someśvara who releases people from the fear of worldly existence.

99. There is no doubt about this that all the sins perish in the case of those who remember Someśvara with mental purity.

100. O goddess, this Kṣetra is remembered always as the most favourite of mine. It is fascinating even unto the groups of sages, and Siddhas. O goddess, all those living beings that die in this holy spot, reach a spot beyond heaven. There is no doubt.

101. Even the Devas with Brahmā and Viṣṇu as their leaders do not know it either through Sāṃkhya or Yoga or the Pāśupata system.

102-103. Kaivalya (Salvation) which is devoid of dirt and attachment is obtained in this Liṅga. O renowned one, Devas and the others wander over mundance [mundane?] existence as long as they do not realize the Three-eyed Lord, Someśvara. The Kṣetra is mentioned as Prabhāsa. I am undoubtedly the Kṣetrajña.

104. This great prowess of Someśvara has been mentioned to awaken you. Those men who read this will attain that region of the Moon-crested Lord.

105. The men who have sought refuge in Someśvara with devotion, never again get involved in the fearful cycle of worldly existence of terrible features.

106. The twice-born ones who have resorted to Dakṣiṇāmūrti and perform the Japa of Śatarudriya are not reborn in this world. They have attained the other shore of this ocean of worldly existence.

107. Only a general outline of Śrīsomanātha has been narrated to you. It is partial. In the course of many years or many Yugas even, it cannot be told through one mouth.

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