by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Greatness of Kundalakupa (Kundala-kupa) which is chapter 148 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 forty-eighth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
It was there, O great goddess, that a thief Rūpakuṇḍalahāraka (‘who removed the beautiful earrings’) became a Siddha.
O goddess, a man who takes his holy bath there becomes free from the sin incurred from stealing as a result of the power of bathing therein. O goddess of Devas, no one belonging to his family shall ever be a thief or a ruthless one, for seven generations.
For the redemption of sinners killed by weapons, the pilgrim should perform rites like offering balls of rice etc., particularly on the Śivarātri day.
The Devī said:
5. O Lord, O most excellent one among speakers, tell me in detail how (the Kūpa) associated with earrings became famous on the earth.
6. Listen, O goddess, to the sin-destroying, highly meritorious story, on hearing which a man becomes rid of sins acquired in the course of a hundred births.
7. There was a king named Sudarśana who was very intelligent and the sole emperor of the earth. That was because he had observed fast on Śivarātri day and also a result of the greatness of Prabhāsakṣetra.
8. He was very rich and blessed. He ruled over the subjects assiduously. His kingdom was very prosperous and rendered brilliant by (residing) Brāhmaṇas. It was flourishing and was devoid of lecherous persons and thieves.
9. In that beautiful region, his city was splendid and divinely blessed, adorned with ramparts and consisted of persons of all the four castes.
10. In that beautiful and excellent city, King Sudarśana ruled the kingdom free from all thorns (enemies and traitors) along with his kinsmen. This prosperous king was the son of Hiraṇyadatta born of a Gāndhāra princess.
12. The eminent king enjoyed all pleasures along with her. A great deal of time passed thus while he enjoyed diverse pleasures.
13. He performed great Yajñas and made many religious gifts. O lady of excellent holy vows, (thus) he passed his days in the company of his wife.
14. Once, O lady of excellent countenance, during the Śivarātri (festival) in the month of Māgha, he happened to recollect his previous birth. He called his wife and said:
15. O fair lady of excellent countenance, I have to observe the Śivarātri Vrata. Indeed it was due to the efficacy of this Vrata that this kingdom has been gained by me.
The queen said:
16. O great king, what you have told me amounts to this that the power (of this Vrata) is very great. My heart (mind) is surprised. Tell the reason hereof to me.
The king said:
17-19. Listen to the greatness of that Tīrtha, especially of fasting on Śivarātri day. O my queen, on the Śivarātri day, I had gone to that primordial Tīrtha named Prabhāsa. It is highly splendid. It is the veritable entrance to the heavenly world. It is a beautiful and charming city of Śiva. It is the most excellent Tīrtha causing the fulfilment of onés desires. It is a flourishing city, always resorted to by pious people. This Tithi (i.e. fourteenth lunar day) is the most excellent one of all Tithis.
20. Men of all cities and countries came there, O beautiful lady, in order to observe the holy fast on the Śivarātri day.
22. He observed fast in the company of his wife. This wife was highly chaste and endowed with beauty and youth.
23-24. She was bedecked with all ornaments including oscillating necklaces and girdles. The merchant and his wife eschewed lust and anger. They headed towards the holy spot. He had his bath and wore white garments and remained pure. They performed every rite devoutly in accordance with the injunctions. They observed vigil at night too.
25. I was (then) born in a good Śūdra family. I was a regular worshipper of deities and Brāhmaṇas. But there I was present as a thief and sinner resorting to thievery.
27. O lady of excellent countenance, I was lying hidden near the Kuṇḍa waiting for an opportunity to find a fault on the part of the wife of the merchant.
28-30. The whole of that night was spent by me keeping awake in the isolated place. But I also listened to the sounds of songs and auspicious chantings of the Vedic passages and witnessed the dances.
There were sounds of clapping of hands and holy books were being read. The night was about to come to a close and I was waiting there when the ever smiling wife of the rich merchant had some painful experience of suppressed evacuation of bowels. Distressed due to that, she came out of the temple.
31. I tore away her ears and leapt into the water where I stayed. A great hue and cry was raised by the residents of the city.
32. On hearing the tumult and the lament due to the slitting of the ears, the police and the servants of the royal administration ran here and there.
33. With torches and weapons in their hands, I was thoroughly searched by those people. But the gold was not found by them as it lay hidden in my mouth.
34. With a keen-edged sword they cut off my head and searched everywhere with torches in their hands. They did not see even a bit of gold.
35. Leaving me there all of them went to the king and reported to him, “The fellow has been killed by us instantly but nothing was found out.”
36-38. Having told thus, they went to their respective places. My kinsmen who became very afraid, dug a pit on the northern side of Brahmatīrtha, O my beloved, and put my head and body together. Thus I was kept covered in the excellent Tīrtha named Prabhāsa. I became a Jātismara (one capable of remembering previous births) by the power of Śivarātri (rite and vow).
39. O lady of excellent complexion, this flourishing kingdom free from thorns (i.e. enemies and traitors) has been acquired by me. This is the efficacy of Prabhāsa due to the fasting on Śivarātri day. This is the benefit that has been received by me. Hence I shall once again go there and observe fast.
The queen said:
40. We shall go there where your skull had fallen. If, on breaking the skull gold is seen I shall become convinced of your story. There is no doubt.
The king said:
42. On hearing the words uttered by the king she also decided to go there for the observance of fast on Śivarātri day.
43. Along with his wife, he got into a chariot bedecked with gold and yoked with fast running horses and went to Prabhāsa Kṣetra.
44-45. O lady of excellent complexion, they observed the Vrata in the Prabhāsa Kṣetra and came to Brahma Tīrtha. They then dug up everything, slit the corpse and took up the gold. (The king showed it to the queen.)
46-47. The king’s wife was convinced. She went to the greatest spot where they had the excellent benefit. On seeing that miraculous event all the people were surprised.
49. That holy Kuṇḍalakūpa Tīrtha that destroys all sins is situated there.
50-51. In the month of Śrāvaṇa a devotee should take his holy ablution in the Kūpa in accordance with the injunctions. O goddess, he should perform a special Śrāddha too. Then he should adore Citrāditya. He is thereby honoured in the world of Śiva.
52. Thus everything regarding the benefit of Śivarātri has been mentioned to you. It grants worldly pleasures and salvation. It is destructive of all sins.
53. A man who reads this everyday or listens to this shall be rid of all sins. He is honoured in Rudra-Loka.