The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Greatness of Candrodbheda Tirtha which is chapter 51 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 fifty-first chapter of the Arbuda-khanda of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 51 - Greatness of Candrodbheda Tīrtha

Pulastya said:

1. Then the best of kings, follow up your pilgrimage by a visit to that place where the Moon pierces out to bloom. Brought into being by the Lord of the night (i.e., Moon) this centre of pilgrimage takes away sins of humans.

2. O king! after Lord Viṣṇu severed the head of Rāhu, he out of enemity had taken the vow on himself to eat away the Moon and the Sun to cause eclipse.

3. Then visualising that the demon (i.e., Rāhu) was on a venture to drink the unobtainable nectar, the Moon was taken over by fear and he headed towards the interior region of the Arbuda mountain.

4. Then piercing the surface of the mountain he made a well-entrenched burrow and remaining inside the pit he kept himself engaged in austere penance.

5. Then in the course of all-mighty time Maheśvara became pleased to appear before him and said that he might put forward the boon wished for in mind towards his welfare.

6-11. The Moon said, “O the best of gods! Rāhu has taken the vow to devour me. He is very strong and as a son of lioness he is indomitable by nature. The virtuous God, he has at present drunk the nectar and has taken hold of me who, as it is unaccessible. Earlier, when he failed in the race for nectar among the gods, he tried his best and entered the same race in the guise of assuming the form of God onto himself. However, as he, the rogue, managed to have the nectar for himself, he became free from death. That is how he became a source of fear for gods themselves. To pacify him, the gods then granted him the worshipable position of a planet and established him as such. I am afraid as he has promised to devour me on the Full Moon day. Out of fear of him, the best of gods, I have made this pit in the peak of this mountain through digging into it. Being deeper in shape, this pit is the best place, the God, for pursuit of penance. Hence do grace me and kill him.”

12-17. The God said, “He is very strong and tough, cannot be killed by gods and is non-contestable. It is certain that, taken over by anger, Rāhu will take you, in custody. However, for the upholding of your image, I shall devise some alternative. Whenever your eclipse (i.e., Lunar eclipse) occurs, people in the World will observe fittingly and desirably the religious activities of taking bath as well as making charities etc. As a result, there won’t be the slightest degree of grieving on your part. All such activities of them (i.e., the people) will lead to good deeds which cannot perish. My words will fructify beyond any doubt during the time of Lunar eclipse. There will be nothing different here due to the sole purpose of your undergoing penance on the peak of the mountain here. The Moon pierces out to bloom (i.e., Candrodbheda)—by this name, this centre of pilgrimage will be famous in the world. Those who will observe the ritual of taking a bath here on the day of your eclipse will never have rebirth in this world. It is certain that those who, after taking a bath here on Monday, take a look of the Moon, will earn a place of residence in the world of Moon.

18. Having said like this the God Hara (i.e., Śiva) disappeared from sight. The Moon also, the virtuous king, getting assured and pleased left for his own place.

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