by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Origin of Arkasthala which is chapter 13 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 thirteenth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
The Devī said:
1-2. O great Lord, Savitṛ stationed on the lathe was whetted and scraped by his father-in-law lovingly. The particles of fieriness of the son-in-law fell in Prabhāsa profusely. O Lord, what was it transformed into at Prabhāsa? Do tell me.
3-4. O goddess of great renown, I shall narrate to you the ancient ancedote [anecdote?], the physical incarnation of Lord Arkasthala in Prabhāsa.
Listen, O goddess, I shall expound the excellent greatness of Sūrya. If a man listens to it with devotion, he is liberated from all sins.
5-6. O great goddess, Ravi was fixed on the lathe in Śākadvīpa for more than a hundred years. While Vibhāvasu (Sun-god) was being whetted and scraped, O my beloved, particles of his fiery splendour fell down in Prabhāsa, which took the shape of a Sthala (holy ground).
7. O goddess, earlier it was completely of gold on the earth, but due to the (evil) influence of the Kali Age it has become a mere rock now.
10. In Kali Age he is glorified in all the three worlds by the name Arkasthala. The deity was self-installed soon after the incaranation.
12-14. O goddess, the deity is the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation. He is the destroyer of ailments and misery. The particles of his fiery splendour spread over in an area of five Yojanas from south to north and five Yojanas from east to west. It extends to the north of the ocean upto Māheśvarī Nadī (river) and to the west of Nyaṅkumatī upto Kṛtasmara, O great goddess. This area was completely overspread by the auspicious particles of his fiery splendour.
15. O great goddess, twelve Yojanas were covered by it. Its subtlest refulgence issued forth from the primordial splendour.
17. Within this area, O goddess, the solar splendour has spread. Thereby the holy spot extending to twelve Yojanas, was rendered sacred.
18. The middle of its centre is my abode, O beautiful woman. O great goddess, my holy spot exists in the centre of the refulgent solar zone.
19. O goddess, it is like the pupil in the middle of the eye. From the east to the west, O goddess, it extends from Gomukha to Āśvamedhika.
21. Since that abode of mine is illuminated by the refulgence of Arka (Sun), it has become well-known by the name Prabhāsa in this Kalpa, O my beloved.
22. An excellent man who sees Sūrya in the form of Arka there, shall be rid of all sins. He is honoured in the world of Sun.
24. Since the Sun was born in the world there in the form of Arka (the plant Calotropis gigantea), so in the course of taking food there, a leaf of Arka plant should always be avoided.
25. After a visit to Arkasthala, if a man takes food on Arka leaves, it is as though cow’s meat has been eaten by him, O beautiful lady.
26. It is as though Bhāskara (the Sun-god) has been eaten by him. That man becomes a leper. Hence all efforts should be made to eschew the leaves of Arka (from food).
27-28a. If a pilgrim visits Arkabhāskara for the first time, O goddess, he should, after the visit, give a she-buffalo to a learned Brāhmaṇa. The buffalo may be copper-coloured. It should be offered along with a red cloth. Thereby Bhāskara becomes pleased.
28b-29. In the vicinity thereof, O highly esteemed one, not very far off in the south-eastern corner, there is the Liṅga remembered as Siddheśvara, O goddess, this Liṅga bestows all Siddhis. It is adored by all the three worlds.
30. Formerly in Kṛtayuga it was known by the name Jaigīṣavyeśvara. O my beloved, it becomes well-known as Siddheśvara in Kali Age.
31-33. On seeing the deity, O goddess, a man attains all the Siddhis.
On being scorched by the brilliance of the Sun, the Rākṣasas named Mandehas and the Śālakaṭaṃkaṭas went to Pātāla. O my beloved, in Kali Age only the crevice exists but there is no passage leading to Pātāla.
34. Yoginīs and Mothers Brāhmī etc. guard that place. One should worship the groups of Mothers at night on the fourteenth lunar day in the dark half of the month of Māgha, by means of oblations and floral offerings. Thereby Siddhi is achieved.
35. Thus, by listening to the story of the whetting of the body of Bhānu, eulogized by Hara, Brahmā and Viṣṇu, one goes to the world of Divākara at the close of one’s life. Indeed Bhānu is the cause of all holy rites and feelings.