The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Birth of Someshvara (Soma-ishvara) which is chapter 14 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 fourteenth chapter of the Vastrapatha-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 14 - The Birth of Someśvara (Soma-īśvara)

Sārasvata said:

1-2a. Formerly revered sage Vasiṣṭha tormented by the grief (of the loss) of his son came to a small city in the great holy place Vastrāpatha on the bank of the river Svarṇarekhā to practise penance.

2b-3. Having bathed in the river in the north-east comer and having meditated upon God Śiva, when he thought with his mind, Rudra, having three eyes, came there and said: “O great sage, I am pleased with you. Tell me what I should do”.

Vasiṣṭha said:

4. If, O Mahādeva, you are pleased (with me) then I should be given a boon now. You should stay here as long as the Moon and the Stars exist (in the sky).

5. O God, you should always destroy the sin of those sinners who bathe here.

6. O Lord of Gods, take those people, who have committed sins (but) worship Śiva, to Śiva’s abode in aeroplanes.

Sārasvata said:

7. Saying “Let it be so” God Śiva, vanished. The very powerful Narasiṃha, having killed Hiraṇyakaśipu, gave the three worlds to Indra and himself went to Kālarudra.

8. Bali was born in his family, and he was very powerful. The very strong Bali brought the world under one umbrella. The earth had crops growing exuberantly, was well-watered, and had (ample) crops.

9. The flowers were fragrant; the fruits were juicy; trees bore fruits (even) from the trunks; honey (was found) in every food.

10. All Brāhmaṇas had mastered (all) the four Vedas; Kṣatriyas were proficient in fighting; Vaiśyas were intent on serving the cows; Śūdras were engaged in serving (other castes).

11. Nations were free from calamities of the season (and other) diseases; all people in them were delighted and nourished, always joyful, and always busy.

12. People had their bodies besmeared with saffron and aloe-wood (paste) and well-decorated; they were free from poverty, misery and death, and lived long.

13. Regions were lighted by lamps (and were bright) at night as by day. Men wandered as gods in the abode of gods.

14. The demon Bali ruled over the earth of the form of (i.e. resembling) Heaven. The palace everyday resounded with musical instruments.

15. The demon enjoyed the earth as the King of gods in Heaven. The Lord of gods was always pleased by Bali with sacrifices at that time.

16. There was no war between gods and demons. There was only one king; there was no war on the surface of the earth.

17. Kali may be hostile; (but) a lion does not fight with elephants; a fight does not always take place between serpents and mongooses, nor between cats and mice.

18-19. The entire world- immobile and mobile—had become friendly. Having roamed in the three worlds Nārada went to Indra’s garden. He did not see war in the three mobile and immobile worlds. Then great ache was produced iin his belly.

20. “I have nothing to do with a bath etc. What is the use of libation of water to the Manes of the deceased ancestors or with muttering prayers or sacrifices? All my behaviour is different.

21. “That is a bath where the elephants fight by striking with their tusks. That is twilight which is adorned with headless trunks that are struck down.

22. “That is libation of water in which goblins are satisfied with the blood coming up from the temples of elephants pierced by the strokes of lances.

23. “Kṣatriyas unreachable by elephants’ heads are killed in the battle. That is a sacrifice where elephants and best men are killed.

24-25a. “This sacrifice performed by Nārada into the fire of words is known in the three worlds. That is my daily worship of the gods where the ground is worshipped with the bodies with feet, heads, hands cut off, and entrails hanging.

25b-27a. “O Goddess, what have I to do with gods, or men on the earth, or with serpents in the nether world? I shall act in such a way that they do not fight with one another. From the Lord of gods and Upendra let Bali go to the Nether worlds; let my words come true.

27b-28. “When even by (sacrificing) his life or kingdom, he will please Dāmodara Hari, he will be Indra. The Lord of gods, being the killer of Vṛtra, will be deprived of his kingdom.

29. “When he will, after going to Vastrāpatha, worship Bhava with devotion, he will, being free from the (sin of) killing a Brāhmaṇa, again be the Lord of gods.

30. With the muttering (i.e. repeated thoughts) of this sort (i.e. anxiety shout the outcome of the war), Nārada, with the pain in his belly (i.e. mind) ceased, suddenly went into the vicinity of the Lord of gods.

31-32. Indra, mounted on a throne, remained in Nandana (garden). The very powerful king of gods, watching Raṃbhā, the beautiful divine lady, saw with astonishment, Nārada arriving there.

33-34. “Oh! (the behaviour of) Nārada seems hostile to me. Why does he not dance in a dance (party)? Why does he not sing when musical instruments are played upon?”

When Hari was (thus) thinking the sage got inclined to bathing with water.

35. Hari leaving the throne and getting up stood before (Nārada). Saluting him with a welcome, Hari said to Nārada:

36. “O great sage, today what brings you here? Is (everything) well with regard to your bath, prayers (offered in the morning, noon and evening) and sacrifices?”

37-38. Thus addressed, Nārada, laughed and said: “If this happens in my case, what have I to do with other (things)? O Lord of Heaven, I do not see you, who are lovely to the sight. As long as there is Bali’s rule, I have nothing to do with you.

39. “All Planets like the Sun are fixed in view of the measure of time. Clouds overflowed with offerings, being delighted, shower (water) on the earth.

40. “There was no death due to a disease etc. Yama was harassed by Dharma.

41. “That Lord of men (i.e. King Bali) enjoyed the earth under one umbrella. He was everyday praised by the groups of wandering singers and bands as ‘the Lord of the three worlds’, as ‘a great king’, as ‘proficient in the knowledge of fighting’, as ‘desirous of the breasts of the Glory (Lakṣmī) of the three worlds’.

42. “He is praised by the groups of the wandering singers and bands as ‘Brahmā, Kṛṣṇa, Hara, Indra on the earth, Sun, the Lord of wealth (i.e. Kubera)’.

43. “Without a war the hosts of demons are laughing; elephants in rut trumpetting; men, seated in chariots are wandering; Generals of army are amusing themselves among women.

44. “The sky shines with the smoke of sacrificial fire. The golden earth shines. The house void of the Vedas looks gay. The place for the sacrificial fire looks splendid with the hosts of the demons of Bali.

45. “Bali does not know (i.e. care for) you, the Lord of gods. All gods take their meals at Bali’s sacrifice. You yourself think of your enemy. I have told you this that is proper.

46. “Raṃbhā does not appear beautiful on the stage. Menakā does not care for you. Even Tilottamā regards King Bali as the Lord of gods.

47. “Urvaśī, of excellent hair, goes to him and talks with him. Mañjughoṣā, turning (away) her face, does not look at you.

48. “Pulomā does not have horripilation without Bali. Mantharā goes in front of Paulomī (Indra’s wife) and praises Bali.

49. “Nārada, Parvata, Hāhā, Hūhū and Tumburu praise Bali’s kingdom in the presence of Rudra. I have heard this.

50-51. “The sages are satisfied with the offerings of clarified butter in Brahmā’s house; they praise (Bali) in the presence of Brahmā. Thus I have told (you). “Whatever Bṛhaspati said, is not to be told.”

52-53. The Lord of gods, then, filled with anger, trembled. He said to the charioteer. “O Gaya, go; bring (my) sword, armour, and chariot. Let the Sun with the chariot, Maruta (Wind) with the elephant, Rudra with the bull, Yama with the buffalo play upon musical instruments for my fight today. Let Caṇḍī and Gaṇeśa go quickly.”

54. Seeing the Lord of gods (Indra) angry, the highly intelligent Bṛhaspati went among the sages and spoke what was proper for the occasion:

55-57. “Formerly Manu has advised four expedients to be used by a king against his enemy like conciliation. He should not inflict punishment for a matter that can be settled through conciliation. Therefore, let the best gods, calling Upendra, hold consultation. The entire world, the three worlds including the movable and the immovable, are under his control. When moves have failed, whatever there is good or bad should be reported to him. He alone would first go to the earth for our own interest.”

58. Respectfully told by the gods ‘All right’, the Lord of gods did likewise. From Satyaloka Viṣṇu came (down) to Mandāra mountain.

59. “Let the sages go there to fetch Janārdana.” Thus told Nārada came down from Heaven to bathe at Mandāra.

60. Gautama, Atri, Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra and Kaśyapa, (so also) Jamadagni, Vasiṣṭha came to Hari’s abode.

61. In the mountain that Nārada bathed in the water and offered his prayer. When he sat there, he saw the great sages Vālakhilyas.

62. Having politely saluted, Nārada said: “To take Viṣṇu to Heaven the sages have reached Mandara.

63. “It is proper if the sages see you.” Hearing these words the great sages were delighted.

64-66. Seeing them (i.e. the Vālakhilyas) of the size of a portion of thumb, who had gone to Hari’s abode, and who had gone to bathe in the water of Gaṅgā, Harī [Hari?] laughed before all of them. Then due to the importance of the future undertaking all of them, the sons of Brahmā, and (they) whose vows were praised, being full of shame and very angry spoke to one another: “Due to some mission of gods, this (Hari) will be a dwarf’.

67. All of them, advised by the sages, (and) Viṣṇu were propitiated. “Say when there will be the lucky release of Viṣṇu.

68. “When the holy place Vastrāpatha will be superior to Prabhāsa, there will be prosperity pervading the orb of Dhruva. So also the holy place Vastrāpatha will be (known as) ‘Yavādhika’.

69. “Seeing god Someśvara he will be free from censure. You will have a firm power capable of accomplishing what is impossible to accomplish.

70. “He who sees Somanātha at Vastrāpatha, sees (everything). Indra and Upendra embracing (each other) sat on excellent seat.”

Viṣṇu said:

71. What is your mission, O King of gods? I shall certainly do it.

Indra said:

72. Bali is a very powerful demon in the family of Hiraṇyakaśipu. He has occupied all this. He has made gods enjoy it.

73. O Keśava, the entire world has gone to Heaven. As long as Bali, recollecting the former enmity, is not disturbed, let him, deprived of his kingdom, resort to the last of the seven regions under the earth.

74. Let there be some king on the earth in the solar or lunar family.

Sārasvata said:

75-76. Hearing these words, and thinking to himself, Janārdana, speaking to him, “I shall do like that”, said to the sages: “Let the sages go there and perform a great sacrifice. I shall come there and subdue that Bali.”

77. Thus addressed, all the sages went to the hall of the sacrifice. A sacrifice in which everything was given as present to the Brāhmaṇas, was begun.

78. O King, in the Surāṣṭra country the holy place Vastrāpatha is well known. In its southern part is established the great city of Bali.

79. Outside the holy place a sacrifice in which everything was given as present to the Brāhmaṇas, Śukra invited all sages in the performance of the sacrifice. Bali, who was very much delighted, gave away various kinds of gifts.

80. Sumptuous meals were given in golden plates. A guest, a learned Brāhmaṇa is propitiated even with all the wealth. A sacrifice will be complete with gifts, (but) without gifts it will be futile.

81. During this time only Viṣṇu became a dwarf in the Madhyadeśa. He became a Brāhmaṇa, who had mastered the four Vedas, who undertook a pilgrimage. His belly was large; his hands were short; he was lame; he had a large head.

82. His chin was big; his shanks were fat; his neck was bulky; he was very greedy. He had put on white garments; he had tied the lock of hair on the crown of the head. He carried an umbrella, sandals, and a water-pot used by ascetics.

83. To see many holy places, he wandered over the earth. The Brāhmaṇa reached the holy place Vastrāpatha in the Surāṣṭra country.

84. Vāmana pondered at the bank of Svarṇarekhā river: ‘Shall I go to Someśvara Śiva after first seeing Bhava?

85-89a. ‘Having worshipped Someśvara I shall then go to Mandāra.’ Thus given to thinking Vāmana thought about the act: ‘Remaining here I shall certainly do as people always do. They worship Someśvara Bhava at the great holy place Vastrāpatha. The country is the best among countries; the mountain is the best of mountains; the holy place is the best among holy places; the river is the best among rivers. The forest is divine among forests; Bhava is the best of gods. When God Someśvara will become (visible) after piercing the land, then in the sky a divine holy place larger by a yava (a very small measure will appear).

89b-90a. He, engaged in propitiating Agni on the fourteenth of the bright half of Caitra, and with his hands raised up, would see Bhava at the time of (the appearance of) the Sun (i.e. in the morning).

90b-91. When the forenoon has passed, and the Sun is hanging down (i.e. setting), he with his entire body heated by the heat of fire, and, O beautiful lady, with a respectful offering with flowers, sees Śaṅkara, Somanātha, Śiva (i.e. propitious), calm, and saluted by all gods’

Sārasvata said:

92. Piercing the land, the Lord of gods, Someśvara, Mahādeva, of the form of phallus remained (there) till Brahmā’s day.

Someśvara said:

93. You are equipped through my favour. Your mission will succeed.

Thus addressed, Vāmana spoke back to God Maheśvara.

Vāmana said:

94. If, O Mahādeva, you are pleased, if a boon is to be given to me, then you should remain here in (this) phallus. Let the divine (phallus) remain before me.

95-96a. He, (even) a murderer of a Brāhmaṇa, a killer of a cow, or of a child, one committing perfidy against one’s teacher, stealing gold, who will worship this self-existent phallus in this city of Vāmana, is freed from all sins.

96b-97. That faultless man who (even) once worships Someśvara Hara, will go, after death, getting into an aeroplane, surrounded by divine ladies, praised by the Regents of Quarters, to the abode of Śiva in Heaven.

98. Crossing Brahmaloka, he will go to the world of Rudra. Saying (‘Let it be so’), Somanātha vanished there only.

99. Vāmana, having manifested the self-existent phallus of Somanātha, receiving knowledge and prosperity went to see Bhava Hara.

100. All rivers like Gaṅgā have remained in the water of Svarṇarekhā. There is no doubt that all the sins of those men or women, who listen to this origin of Bhava, are destroyed.

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