by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of Ajapaleshvari (Ajapala-ishvari) which is chapter 58 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 fifty-eighth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
One engaged in adoring that deity shall obtain excellent medicines and valuable treasures of Pātāla, present in the centre of the holy spot.
5. The earlier name of that goddess was Bhairavī.
6. O beautiful woman, he was afflicted by diseases. So he came to this holy spot. Goddess Bhairavī was adored by him in this Kṣetra for five hundred years.
7. The goddess who was pleased said to that excellent king: “Do not strain yourself, O saintly king, I am pleased with your devotion.”
8. On being told thus, the wise king joined his palms together. With his eyes dimmed with tears of joy, he bowed down and said to the goddess:
9. “O goddess, if you are pleased with me and if I deserve boons, may all the ailments in my body be destroyed and expelled.”
10. On being told thus the goddess said to the king again: “O great king, all will happen as mentioned now.”
11. As soon as it was uttered by the goddess, all the ailments came out severally from the body of the king in the form of goats.
12. These were definitely five thousand fifty of them. When this happened, the king was again addressed by the goddess:
13. “O king, take full care of these ailments in the forms of goats. They will be your servants carrying out your behests.
14. Your name will become well-known in the world as Ajāpāla and after your name, my name Ajāpāleśvarī shall spread over the earth till the Caturyuga is complete.
15. When pleased, I shall undoubtedly grant eightfold Aiśvarya (prosperity and power) to the person who adores me here on the eighth and fourteenth lunar days.
16. On the eighth lunar day in the bright half of the month of Aśvayuj, the devotee should circumambulate Someśa three times. He should keep me in the centre, bathe me and adore me separately. No fear or sorrow shall befall him, O king, for three years.
17. A barren woman, a sick one and an unlucky one should perform worship in front of me on the ninth lunar day of the half and month mentioned before. It shall enhance her pleasure.
18-19. After saying this, the goddess vanished there itself. Staying in the middle of the holy spot of Prabhāsa Kṣetra, that king of unequalled valour righteously reared those transformations of ailments into goats. He fed them with various kinds of medicinal herbs causing their nourishment.
20. The goats were nourished thus for more than a hundred years. A big place for storage was built by Ajāpāla.
21. Then due to her (the deity’s) favour the king became extremely valorous. An ornament unto the solar race, he became the Lord of all the seven continents.
The Devī said:
22-23. O Lord, this origin of the goddess Ajā is wonderful. I wish to know further the great, miraculous story of that king. O Lord of Devas, how did that king rule the earth consisting of seven continents by himself alone? How were those Ailments kept?
25. Aja was the son of Raghu. He excelled him in valour. By propitiating Bhairavī, he transformed the ailments into groups of goats.
30. The Saptarṣis (seven sages) of quiescent disposition were appointed as the Brāhmaṇas, speaking pleasing things. Nāgas (Serpents) were put in the guardroom and Gandharvas were made to attend musical performance.
31. The group of celestial damsels was engaged in dramatic performance. Vidyādharas were assigned musical instruments. Gaṅgā and other rivers were made in-charge of preparation of beverages. Hutāśana (Fire-god) was given the charge of Gārhapatya (culinary duties).
32. The divine architect Viśvakarman was engaged by him in Aṅgasaṃskāra (the duties of a barber for massage etc.). All the kings stood before him ready to serve him.
33-34. They faltered in their steps due to their dazzling jewels. On seeing them, Rāvaṇa said to Prahasta, his doorkeeper: “Tell me, who have all come to my place in order to render service?”.
The demon-attendant armed with his staff bowed before him and said:
35-36. “This is Kākutstha, this is Māndhātā, this Dhundhumāra, this Nala, this Arjuna, Yayāti, Nahuṣa, Bhīma, Vidūratha the scion of the family of Raghu—these and many other kings have come here to your place for rendering services. But Ajāpāla has not come here.”
37. The furious Rāvaṇa said: “Send a messenger quickly.”
38-40. “O Dhūmrākṣa, go. Tell Ajāpāla at my behest: O king, either come to render service or pay tribute. If not I will make you headless by means of my sword Candrahāsa.”
On being told thus by Rāvaṇa, Dhūmrākṣa flew like Garuḍa, reached that beautiful city and entered the royal abode. There he saw Ajāpāla coming alone but surrounded by his goats.
41. His hairs were dishevelled. His robes were loose. He was having a golden blanket round his body. There was a staff on his shoulder. He was dust-covered and surrounded by the ailments.
42. He was like a murderous (ferocious) tiger ready to destroy and resist all onslaughts. He was killing the groups of enemies simply by writing down their names on the earth.
43. He appeared to have had his bath and food. He was seated in his place blessed and contented like Manu. On seeing him, Dhūmrākṣa was delighted in his mind. He spoke out what was spoken by Rāvaṇa.
44. After a defiant reproach and a suitable reply Ajāpāla dismissed Dḥūmrākṣa back and attended to his duties.
45. The king summoned Jvara (fever) and spoke thus, “Go to the abode of the king of Laṅkā and do as you are ordered.”
46. Directed by Ajāpāla, Jvara went through space. After going (to Laṅkā) he made the Rākṣasa king Rāvaṇa tremble.
47. Rāvaṇa realized that it was the highly terrible Jvara and said: “Let the king stay away. I don’t have anything to do with him.”
48. Then the younger brother of Dhanada, the king (Rāvaṇa), became free from fever. Thus there are millions of his other activities.
49. O goddess of Devas, there are innumerable such acts of Ajāpāla having a crown resplendent like the sun. This goddess was propitiated by such an intelligent king Ajāpāla. The deity suppresses all ailments. She destroys all torments.
50. If a man is desirous of enjoyment of pleasure, he should worship her in accordance with the injunctions, devoutly offering scents, incense, ornaments, garments and other things.
51. Thus the origin of Ajādevī has been fully narrated to you. It suppresses all miseries and destroys all sins.
Footnotes and references:
Dilīpa was the father of Raghu according to VR and Mbh. “Dīrgha” is a new name not traceable (as Dilīpa’s son) both in VR and Mbh.
Fictitious big names. None of them was a contemporary of Rāvaṇa.