The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Manikarnikeshvara (Manikarnika-ishvara) which is chapter 16 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 sixteenth chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 16 - Greatness of Maṇikarṇikeśvara (Maṇikarṇika-īśvara)

Pulastya said:

1. O best king! then one has to go to that sin-destroyer centre of pilgrimage widely heard of and known by the name Maṇikarṇikā.

2. O king! the great Bālakhilya and other sages had attained Siddhi (perfection) here. The pond they had built up inside a cave in the charming mountain is a remover of sins.

3. O king! by their taking a seat, a great astonishing event happened there. Listen to that.

4. There was a Kirāta woman (i.e., belonging to the degraded mountain tribe) named Maṇikarṇikā who was very dark, ugly, having a horrible shape.

5. Once, with the sun right over head during noon, she became thirsty. She came there and entered into the water. But soon Rāhu had a mouthful of the sun (i.e., leading to solar eclipse).

6. In the meantime she got a body of celestial appearance. When the sages saw, they found her coining out of the middle of the water.

7-9. Her husband who was in a hurry to look for her came there and unhappy with the sorrows of separation from wife asked that woman, “My wife had come here. If you happened to see her please tell me fast. This boy is born out of her. He is crying repeatedly affected by thirst and hunger. If you beautifuleyed woman have seen her, please tell. Without her this boy of mine will die.”

The woman said:

10. O my husband! I am that wife of yours. By the power of this centre of pilgrimage, I have got this celestial appearance which is even difficult for gods.

11. You also go and have a bath quickly in the water. You will also obtain that excellent appearance like me.

12. Then he, along with his son entered into that water for a bath. But, O King! with the Sun coming out coincidentally at that time, he again got back his usual ugly appearance.

13. With sorrow, he embraced death in that condition in the pond. On her part, overwhelmed with grief for the husband’s death, she decided to die.

14. Having prepared the pyre with selected pieces of wood to bum the dead body she set fire to it.

15. O good king! it was a matter of great surprise for everyone to see her courage and her being full of mercy.

The sages said:

16. You have got the wonderful appearance which is even difficult for gods to get. So, O beautiful woman! Why are you following this sinful man?

The woman said:

17-19. O great Brāhmaṇās! I am a devoted wife always engaged in the service of my husband. What shall I do with the beautiful appearance without my husband? Ugly or beautiful, poor or wealthy, whatever one may be, there is no other way than this singular aspect of having a husband for women in the three worlds. O eminent sages! this boy of mine has come to you as resort. Joined as I am with my husband, I will enter the funeral fire.

Pulastya said:

20. This is how she brought it to the notice of the sages as well as of all others about her decision made with full determination. In return, all assembled there became full of mercy within themselves and began to look in the direction of the body on the pyre.

21. Then at that time, the great sages brought her husband alive. He was endowed with saintly appearance and with all supernatural traits.

22. In the meantime, as desired in their minds a space craft full of celestial maidens arrived there.

23. So in this way the sages on their own brought the couple back to life. The couple then offered to the sages their homage and started for Heaven.

24-25. Then all those sages told that woman Maṇikarṇikā, “O auspicious woman! please ask for boon as we have been pleased with you. We are pleased with your quality of devotedness to your husband and especially your truthfulness. A sight of us never goes in vain.”

Maṇikarṇikā said:

26-27. O Sages! if you are pleased, grant me the boon too with pleasure. Let the great worshipable Liṅga here be named after me. Such is the wish in my mind at this time. I do not need any other thing. With all your blessings, I am going to Heaven now.

The sages said:

28. O one with a beautiful face! let this centre of pilgrimage be known as having the worshipable Liṅga after your name. This pilgrimage centre goes by your name as Maṇikarṇikā.

Pulastya said:

29. She went to Heaven along with husband and the sage, Bālakhilya, sincere in observance of religious austerities stayed there with the boy.

30. Religious duties like taking a bath and making of charities here in Maṇikarṇikā on the day of solar eclipse produce the same fruits as in Kurukṣetra.

31. O King of kings! taking a bath here with the mind centered, results in simultaneous realization of desires of the mind alongside the very action of bathing.

32. It is due to this that everyone with all efforts must nurture the habit of taking bath here. One must make charities here in this pilgrimage centre according to one’s capacity and offer libations to godly sages and forefathers.

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