by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Origin of Eminent Shiva Ganga Pool which is chapter 38 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 thirty-eighth chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
2. The fruits of all pilgrimages accrue to a man by a bath here. Besides, he gets free from all sins committed since birth till death.
3. O great preceptor! what for Gaṅgā happened to be there? In which Age did she come there? There is an intense curiosity within me.
4-7. Once upon a time when the gods after appeasing Lord Śiva, who usually mounts upon a bull, asked him to remain ever present in the Arbuda mountain, the radiant God himself proceeded to put up there. On his own he founded his worshipable Liṅga there. But that worshipable Liṅga was brought down by the great sage Vālakhilya. The Sage had done so due to excess anger for some reason. Then Lord Śiva made a promise before all gods saying that he would not move out of there under any circumstances and would stay there beyond any doubt. Since then and in the unchangeable march of great Time he has been present there.
8. Then the thought of Gaṅgā occurred in the mind of the everlasting God impelling him to think as to how could togetherness of his other half (i.e., Gaṅgā) be there at that place forever.
9. Then he thought of great ways of bringing along the caring and supreme Goddess Gaurī. Accordingly he ordered his loyal followers waiting upon him.
11-12. He told them, “I have a feeling that by taking resort to water, performance of the religious activity of penance can be possible. Hence all of you go and try to make a proper pool there in the interior region of the mountain. There, I shall put myself in the middle of the pool to observe the religious penance which can not be possible without water.” Hearing this, the group of his attendants hurried up towards the mountain region to make a good number of pools, which they finally made.
13. There was clean water in those pools where one could swim well. Taking a bath there was good enough to give pleasure. Then with the desire for company of Gaṅgā, he sought due permission of Gaurī.
14. Then with a view to observing the religious ritual associated with giving effect to his mental resolve, the God entered into the water and began to meditate on Gaṅgā—the purifier of the three worlds with its flow of water.
15. With his earnestly holding Gaṅgā within mind, Gaṅgā immediately appeared to give company to Śiva. As per Pulastya’s words, the God has been uninterruptedly making his entreaties to Gaṅgā there.
16. O king! Gaurī could not fully make out the purpose behind Śiva’s persistently observing the religious ritual connected with giving effect to his mental resolve. In the course of time, the Gods’ Sage Nārada happened to come there at a certain juncture while he was moving about here and there in the pursuit of Kaivalya Yajna.
17. He was taken aback to see Mahādeva in penance in the midst of water and his life-force to be completely taken over by desire.
18. How could the performer of Vrata (i.e., the religious activity connected with fulfilment of a mental resolve) be afflicted with desire as Śiva’s eyes evinced? How could it be possible? Thinking like this the Sage (i.e., Nārada) began to ponder.
19. Visualizing that Maheśvara’s (i.e., Śiva’s) enamourment of Gaṅgā was only through meditation which could be due to fear of Gauiī, he (i.e., Nārada) got surprised.
20. Then he narrated all efforts of Hara, i.e., Śiva and the intention behind it to Gaurī.
21. Then the Goddess hurried to the place where Maheśvara was. Her eyes were red and so also her body trembling with anger.
22. Seeing Maheśvari (i.e., Śiva’s better half) coming towards the place where Śiva was, with anger, Gaṅgā with her devout mind could understand everything and with fear spoke out.
23. She said, “With the Goddess being told about our being together by Nārada, she seemed to have come here with anger. Hence, you please do whatever you consider fit in the meantime.”
24-25. The gracious Mahādeva said, “O Jāhnavī! (i.e., Gaṅgā) the best action will be to go to my own abode in the mountain i.e. the Himalaya and bring the sensitive lady (i.e., Parvatī [Pārvatī?]) under control by propitiating her. Her loyalty to husband will be evoked by such action instantly. Otherwise, along with me, she will give a curse to you also.”
26. O virtuous king! as Rudra (an epithet of Śiva) said so, Jāhnavī came out of the pool and then proceeding towards Gaurī, appeared before her.
27-31. Ashamed of herself and with folded hands, Gaṅgā bowed down before her to pay homage and then spoke these golden words, “In olden time, when I fell off onto the Earth, your beloved upheld me on his head. You must be aware of this. As a result, he had a developed affection for the name Bhagiratha [Bhagīratha?]. It was solely due to fear of you that our togetherness was not possible. Now, O Goddess of gods! either as per your words or as per the good and pure wishes of Rudra, i.e., Śiva that I have been called for here. It is as per the directions of the Lord of the three worlds that I have come out before you to bare open the truth.”
32. The Goddess became glad to hear such words of hers and told her politely that she had put forth the right position.
33. Hence you may ask for any good boon as desired in your mind. Leaving aside the beloved Maheśvara who is the only medium of my pursuit of duty of loyalty to husband, you may ask for anything else.
34-36. Gaṅgā said, “Is it my misfortune that as wife of Śiva I have to be put on the sharp-edged iron-bar. Hence, grant me at least one day when I can have my playful fun with him. O Goddess of gods! let the road of Śiva to his abode take turn towards this pool especially on the thirteenth day of the rising period of moon in the month of Caitra, (i.e., March-April) when this pool becomes my abode. O daughter of the mountains! let this pool here in this mountain acquire fame with your grace, by the name of Śiva Gaṅgā on the surface of earth”.
37. Let this be so, said the Goddess to the great river Gaṅgā and then embracing each other, both parted.
38. Then as Gaṅgā left, Gaurī bringing her face down and after holding the hands of Śiva for a while, left for her abode moving around here and there.
39-40. O king! this is how the old story of this pool has been described. With sincerity and with all efforts, one needs to observe the religious ritual of taking a bath here especially on the fourteenth day of the rising period of moon in the month of Caitra, (i.e., March-April) as togetherness of both the God Śiva and Gaṅgā remains here on this day, the virtuous king.
41. (A bath) here dissipates all bad deeds and by donation of bulls to Brāhmaṇas here O best of kings! one is sure to attain residence in heaven for as many years as the number of hairs on one’s body.