The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Pashupateshvara (Pashupata-ishvara) which is chapter 130 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 thirtieth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 130 - Greatness of Pāśupateśvara (Pāśupata-īśvara)

Īśvara said:

1-3. Thereafter, O great goddess, a pilgrim should go to the shrine of the deity Pāśupateśvara situated on the eastern side of Ugraseneśvara, to the south-east of Gopāditya and to the south of Dhruveśa. It is destroyer of all sins. The Liṅga is situated to the east of Gopāditya (also). It fulfills all desires when one visits it. In this Yuga it is called by the name Santoṣeśvara.

4. Since the Lord is pleased with the ascetics there, the Liṅga is well-known all over the earth by the name Santoṣa.

5. O great goddess, this is a Yugaliṅga and the abode of Siddhis. It is highly lustrous. It is the place of Pāśupata devotees and is a panacea for persons who are afflicted with disease in the form of sins.

6. O renowned lady, four sages, Vāmadeva, Sāvarṇi, Aghora and Kapila have achieved their Siddhi in that Liṅga. They have attained Siddhi in the unsullied primordial Lord through that Liṅga.

7. In the forest, in the vicinity of that Lord, there is the spot of Lakṣmī called Śrīmukha. O great goddess, it is resorted to by persons of perfect mastery in Yoga.

8. Excellent Pāśupatas are engaged in the adoration of my Liṅga there. It is as a place of their habitation that the forest has been created by the goddess.

9. In the centre thereof, O lady of excellent hips, is situated a Liṅga facing east. The great sages, the devotees of Paśupati, beginning with Aghora have become Siddhas therein. They went to Śiva’s place with the present physical body itself.

10. Residence for ever in that auspicious shrine in the holy place of Prabhāsa, the abode of Suras and Siddhas, appeals to me very much. It is the most beautiful and most lovable of all holy spots.

11. O goddess, Pāśupatas are engaged in meditation on me there. All of them are my sons. They observe celibacy.

12. They have subdued their sense-organs. They are quiescent. They have conquered anger. Those Brāhmaṇas are performers of penance. By the power of that Liṅga, they have attained great Siddhis.

13. Hence, an excellent Brāhmaṇa resident of that holy spot, should always adore that deity.

The Devī said:

14-17. O Lord, O Lord of the chiefs of Devas, O redeemer from the ocean of worldly existence, have mercy on me and narrate to me details of the observers of holy vows in that highly meritorious shrine pertaining to you, the Pāśupata Yoga, the excellent greatness of the Liṅga, the ancient name of the deity and how it is to be worshipped by excellent men and how Pāśupatas attained heaven along with their physical bodies.

Īśvara said:

18-20. O fair lady, the great Yoga of Pāśupata is being enquired by you, so also, O lady of excellent vows, the power of the Liṅga as well as that of those who have adopted my Vrata in that Liṅga, O goddess. O lady of great refulgence, the primordial name of the Lord having no beginning is also being asked by you. O lady of excellent buttocks, the Pāśupata Vrata is great and its duration is very long. These devotees who observe this Vrata in the manner as has been mentioned, cause wonder unto me as well. My mind yearns (and is very eager) to bless them.

Sūta said:

21. O Brāhmaṇas, the goddess became highly surprised on hearing the words of Hara. She spoke these words to her husband, the Lord of all the worlds.

The Devī said:

22. O Lord, I too have earnestness and curiosity (to know) what your holiness did then? O great god, if I am your beloved, do tell it to me.

23. On hearing her words, Mahādeva spoke to her: “Listen, O goddess, I shall explain the activities of my devotees.”

24. On seeing their steadfast adherence to penance, the first Lord of Suras spoke these words to the devotees (who were) standing at the sides with bowed heads.

Īśvara said:

25. O Nandikeśa, do hurry to that place where my sons (devotees) perform my severe and elaborate Vrata which is very difficult to be performed (by ordinary persons).

26. By the power of that holy spot as well as of their constant devotion to me, those sages of excellent holy vows have achieved supernatural powers in their own physical forms.

27. Hence, O Nandin, do go to that splendid holy spot of Prabhāsa at my behest and invite them all on my behalf. Do bring them to Kailāsa quickly.

28. Take this refulgent lotus bud along with its stalk. Offer this bud (flower) on the top of the Liṅga and bring only this stalk here.

29. Dispatched thus by Śaṃbhu, the Lord of Devas, Nandin went to the Prabhāsa Kṣetra from the Kailāsa resort.

30. On seeing the Liṅga of the Trident-bearing Lord of Devas as well as those leading Yogins, he became overwhelmed with great surprise.

31. There some of them were engaged in meditation. Some had resorted to the practice of Yoga. Some explained the texts and others were pondering or conducting discourses.

32. Others were adoring the Liṅga. Still others were paying obeisance to it. Some were circumambulating and prostrating before the Liṅga with the eight limbs (touching the ground).

33. Some were eulogizing with Bhāvayajña (Yajña offered mentally), Some were worshipping by means of splendid flowers in the form of non-injury.

34. Some had Bhasma Snāna (bath by means of holy ash smeared over the body). Others were having bath with Gaṇḍukas[1] (?) In this manner the assemblage of the sages was engaged in feverish activity.

35. On seeing them in such a state and minutely observing everything pertaining to them, Nandin reflected thus mentally.

36-37. ‘I have come to this region. None takes cognisance of me. I have not been asked by anyone. ‘Where have you come from’? Whose guest are you? All of these are full of haughtiness. They never care to talk to me.’ After thinking thus he approached the Liṅga.

38. The flower was separated by cutting away the stalk and offered to the Liṅga by Nandin. After adoring the Liṅga of Paśupati, Lord Nandin carefully took up the stalk and spoke to the sages.

Nandikeśvara said:

39. I have come to the vicinity of your honours at the bidding of the Lord of Devas. The Lord of Devas commands the assembly of the groups of sages.

40. “All of you should go to that place where the eternal Lord is present. I shall go to the abode of Lord Bhava taking you all with me. Get up quickly. We shall go to Kailāsa, the most excellent one among mountains.”

41. All those Brāhmaṇas remained silent. They made gestures indicating “Nandin, you may go ahead. We shall come afterwards”.

42. On being intimated thus, Nandin hastened back. With his inner soul burning with rage, he reported everything (to the Lord).

Nandikeśvara said:

43. O Lord, I had been to that place where those Yogins stayed. Though I waited there, I was not welcomed by anyone.

44. O Lord, none of them even looked at me nor they spoke to me. O Lord, the lotus flower was placed by me on the top of the Liṅga.

45. O Lord Maheśvara, I informed the leading Yogins: “You have been commanded by the Lord of Devas: ‘Come here. Do not delay’.”

46. On hearing this, O Lord, those great sages said (intimated by gestures): “You go, ḍo not delay. We shall come close behind.”

47. O Lord, when this was intimated I came here quickly. Do take this stalk, O my Lord, be pleased to do (as you deem fit).

48. Here is a doubt of mine. It behoves you to dispel it now. O Mahādeva, how can they come without me. O Mahādeva, O Maheśvara, this is my doubt. Do tell me.

Īśvara said:

49. Listen, O Nandin, this is the mystery regarding those sages of purified souls. These Siddhas cannot be seen by others, even by Suras, barring me.

50. They have been sanctified by their devotion to me. They know the Yoga pertaining to Śaṅkara. Note this wonderful thing, O Nandin. I shall show it to you now.

51. You see the stalk brought by you here. They have penetrated it in a subtle form by means of the power of their Yogic achievement.

52. On being told thus then, Nandin was wonder-struck and his eyes beamed. He saw the great sages stationed in the centre of the stalk like atoms.

53. Just as minute dust particles are seen in the rays of the sun, so also the sages were severally seen in the centre of the stalk.

54. On seeing thus, the eyes of Nandin sparkled with wonder. In such a great state of wonderment he did not utter anything.

55. On noticing this curious thing the goddess spoke these words: “O great Lord, what is seen? O Maheśvara, why are you so elated with joy?”

56. As these words were uttered by the goddess Maheśvara spoke thus:

Īśvara said:

57. These noble souls are fully endowed with Yogic power. They are engaged in the Yoga pertaining to Paśupati. They have propitiated me stationed in the Prabhāsa Kṣetra and so have attained such spiritual powers. They have the power to go anywhere as they please.

58. When the Lord of Devas said thus, those sages of great splendour came out of the lotus stalk by means of Yogic Māyā. They circumambulated the Lord who stood away from the goddess.

The goddess said:

59. Why don’t these Brāhmaṇas of evil conduct look at me? This is surprising O Mahādeva, kindly do explain.

Īśvara said:

60-6la. These sages of great penance have great spiritual powers. They do not look at you because you are the Prakṛti.

On being told thus by the Trident-bearing Lord of Devas, the Daughter of the Mountain became furious. The lady of excellent buttocks with her anger expressed on the face, imprecated them:

61b-63. “O haughty men of evil conduct, you will face destruction due to infatuation for women. At the advent of Kali Age, you will become covetous of gifts from kings. You will be engaged in worshipping the Lord as means of living. You will be maintaining yourself by the money belonging to the Liṅga. In Kali Yuga, you will become fondly attached to prostitutes. You will become confused and boycotted by all the people as a result of the destruction of the property of the Lord (temple).”

64. When this curse was pronounced upon the noble-souled sages, all the chiefs of Suras propitiated Gaurī.

65. At the instance of the Lord of Devas, she became pleased once again. The Lord took up the stalk and threw it to the southern quarter.

66. That stalk fell in the middle of the Prabhāsa Kṣetra. That itself became a Liṅga well known as Mahānala.

67. At the advent of Kali Age, it came to be called Dhruveśvara. It is stationed to the north-east of Pāśupateśvara.

68. Earlier it was known by the name Anādīśa and afterwards as Pāśupateśvara. It thus stationed itself as the destroyer of sins in the great holy spot of Prabhāsa.

69. This holy spot of mine is excellent for the purpose of observing my Vrata. This Liṅga termed Anādīśa is the great Brahman.

70. There is no doubt about it that Brāhmaṇas will attain Siddhi and Mukti (liberation) here. They will attain salvation in six months with the same body.

71. May this Liṅga be visited for effecting liberation from the worldly existence. It is of difficult access unto ordinary people. It grants salvation. The mystic knowledge of Pāśupata is well established in this Liṅga.

72. He who devoutly worships this throughout the month of Māgha, attains the merit of performing all Kratus (sacrifices) and offering holy gifts.

73. Gold should be offered there by those who are desirous of getting the full benefit of a perfect pilgrimage.

74. Thus, O goddess, the sin-destroying greatness of Pāśupateśvara has been described duly for the sake of the liberation from the bondage of being a Paśu.

75. It is said that Brāhmaṇa is the most worthy of adoration among all the castes. Only he is authorised in the worship of Pāśupateśvara.

76. This Pāśupata Vrata that has become the first and foremost universal Vrata of all the deities, has been explained by me as the. well established pathway whereby the Devas proceed to all the Bhuvanas (worlds).

77. A Rudrādhyāyī (one who recites the Vedic Rudra Mantras) covered with holy ash and lying on the bed of holy ash becomes rid of all sins incurred by imbibing liquor, ravishing preceptor’s wife, stealing (gold) and slaying a Brāhmaṇa.

78. One should take up the holy ash uttering the Mantra beginning with the word Agni and smear his limbs therewith. Ash should be collected when the fire has cooled down in the abodes of the residents (of the holy spot).

79. Agni became Bhasma (holy ash), Vāyu became Bhasma. Jala (Water) became Bhasma, Sthala (the earth) became Bhasma. Everything became Bhasma. One who is not initiated should not touch these i.e. not smear it over the eyes.

80-81. It should be collected by Brāhmaṇas and never by Śūdras; a Śūdra is never eligible for the Pāśupata Vrata which is auspicious. I am born in every Yuga adopting the body of a Brāhmaṇa (only Brāhmaṇas are authorized in the auspicious Pāśupata Vrata).

82. There is no doubt about this that even base men placed in Karīṣa (holy ash) attain the region of Śiva whether it is in the house of a Cāṇḍāla or in a cremation ground, or in royal pathways or in the middle of highway.

Footnotes and references:


The reading should have been Guṇḍūṣa (water in the hollow of both palms).

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