The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Kantakashoshani (Kantaka-shoshani) which is chapter 317 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 three hundred seventeenth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 317 - Greatness of Kaṇṭakaśoṣaṇī (Kaṇṭaka-śoṣaṇī)

Īśvara said:

1-6. Thereafter, O great goddess, a pilgrim should go to the shrine of the goddess Kaṇṭakaśoṣaṇī situated to the north of Devakula and to the south of Unnata (Raised Mound).

I shall describe the origin thereof, O my beloved. Listen with attentive mind. The following excellent Brāhmaṇas began their Yajña on the southern side of Unnata (Raised Mound).

They were: Bhṛgu, Atri, Marīci, Bharadvāja, Kaśyapa, Kaṇva, Maṅki, Sāvarṇi, Jātūkarṇya, Vatsa, Vasiṣṭha, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Manu, Yama, Aṅgiras, Viṣṇu, Śātātapa, Parāśara, Śāṇḍilya, Kauśika, Gautama, Gārgya, Dālbhya, Śaunaka, Śākalya, Gālava, Jābāli, Mudgala, Ṛṣyaśṛṅga, Vibhāṇḍaka, Viśvāmitra, Śatānanda, Jahnu and Viśvāvasu.

7. These and other sages, O splendid lady, built the Yajña-Vāṭa on the excellent banks of Ṛṣitoyā and performed the worship by means of different kinds of sacrifices.

8-9. The whole atmosphere was rapturous with the notes of flutes and lutes, dances of Devas and Gandharvas, loud chanting of the Vedas, the sweet, fragrant smokes of Yajñas, Homas, Agnihotras and the flavour of the sacrificial ghee. It was given additional glory by the divine sages and excellent Brāhmaṇas belonging to all the Vedic Śākhās (Branches).

10. On seeing such a place, highly powerful Daityas came from the middle of the ocean for destroying the Yajñas.

11. The Daityas of huge bodies, large bellies, dark colour, hanging beards and eyebrows, protruding tips of noses, red eyes, red hairs etc., were adepts in the employment of Māyā (illusory tactics, black magic jugglery etc.)

12-14. O lady of excellent countenance, all the Daityas entered the place of Yajña. On seeing these people of terrible forms and features, some of the sages fell down. Others entered Patnīśālā and Havirdhāna. The Ṛtviks stood stunned in the centre of the chamber completely tongue-tied.

15-16. O goddess, when this happened to the noble-souled sages, the Adhvaryu of great splendour and refulgence was courageous enough to perform Agnihotra respectfully. Being a knower of suitable Mantras he kindled the sacrificial fire and performed Homa therein for the sake of destroying the Rākṣasas.

17. O goddess of Lords, when the Havis was poured the holy fire, goddess Śakti instantly rose up armed with Śakti and trident. The highly resplendent deity held a leathern shield in her hand.

18. Those Daityas who had come to destroy the Yajña were killed by her. Then the sages eulogized her by means of different kinds of hymns and prayers.

19. Excessively pleased with them, the goddess spoke to those sages, “O sages, do choose your boons. I shall grant you excellent boons.”

The sages said:

20-21. O goddess, O suppressor of Asuras, all our tasks have been accomplished. Our Yajñas were saved by you. If at all any boon is to be given, do stay here in this holy spot with a desire for the welfare of the sages. The thorns, in the form of the Daityas, have been squeezed dry. Hence, O goddess, this ‘Kaṇṭaka-Śoṣaṇī’ (the destroyer of thorns) shall be your permanent name from now onwards.

Īśvara said:

22-23. After saying “It shall be so”, the goddess vanished then. If a man worships her on eighth or ninth lunar day, he will not have fear from Rākṣasas and Piśācas. The man will acquire the greatest Siddhi. There is no doubt about it.

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