Largest of all the
Puranas. Contains eighty eight thousand and one hundred Shlokas
(stanzas). Has seven parts- Maheshwar, Vaishnava, Brahma, Kashi, Avanti,
Nagar and Prabhasa. Purana got its name from Skand (Kartikeya) the son
of Lord Shiva. Birth of Skand; its reason and effects constitute the
main theme. Kartikeya was the commander of the gods’ army and had killed
the demon Tarkasura.
contains 7 chapters.
contains 20 sections.
Skanda Puran begins with the
eulogy of Lord Shiva--
YASYAGYA JAGAT SRISHTA VIRANCHIH PALKO HARIH;
SANHARTA KAALRUDRAKHYO NAMASTASMAI PINAKINE.
Salutations to Lord Shankar who has entrusted the job of creation to
Lord Brahma--Who has instructed Lord Vishnu to nurture the world and who
himself acts as the supreme annihilator.During ancient times, once, Sage
Shaunak had performed a grand 'yagya' at his hermitage in Naimisharanya
forest. Many sages had thronged Naimisharanya to attend it. One of them
was Sage Lomesh.After the yagya was over, all the assembled Sages
requested Sage Lomesh to narrate the divine tales of Lord Shiva.
Sage Lomesh said--Daksha-Prajapati
had got his daughter, Sati married to Lord Shiva. Once, he had performed
a grand yagya in which he had invited everybody except his own son-in-law.When
Sati learnt about the yagya, she sought Lord Shiva's permission to
attend that yagya. Lord Shiva tried to convince her that it was not
proper to attend a ceremony in which one had not been invited. But Sati
did not pay any heed and was bent upon attending that yagya. Ultimately,
Lord Shiva had no option but to give his conscent. But he did not forget
to send his 'Rudraganas' with her for her protection.
When Sati reached
her father's place, she saw a grand yagya being performed. A large
number of people had been invited--the deities, the sages and the
Sati became sad
because Daksha had invited everybody except her husband. She knew quite
well that it was a deliberate decision on part of her father, not to
invite Lord Shiva. But, she got infuriated when she found that Daksha
had not even kept Shiva's share in the yagya while the 'shares' of other
deities had been kept.
When Daksha saw
Sati, he was enraged---How dare you come here? Your husband is an
embodiment of inauspiciousness. He is the Lord of the spirits, ghosts
and all types of mean powers. This was the reason why I did not invite
The insult heaped on her husband
in front of everybody devastated Sati. She felt so humiliated that she
decided to give up her life. Before any one could understand, she jumped
into the sacrificial fire and was charred to death. All the deities
present there were stunned by this sudden development. All the
'Rudraganas' mourned Sati's death with deep sorrow.Meanwhile, Lord Shiva
got the sad news from Narad. He got mad with anger and uprooted some
hair from his scalp. He then dashed the hair against a mountain. There
was a thundering sound and Veerbhadra manifested within a split second.
Lord Shiva ordered him to punish Daksha for his evil deed, which caused
the death of Sati.Veerbhadra proceeded with a huge army of spirits,
ghosts and marudganas to punish Daksha. When he reached the oblation
site, Daksha and all the other deities became scarred. But, Sage Bhrigu
came at the deities' rescue and told them not to worry. He then chanted
few mantras, which helped the deities to win the first round of the
The defeat of his
army enraged Veerbhadra to such an extent that he created havoc in the
ranks of deities' army. He showered volleys of arrow on them, which
forced the deities to make a hasty retreat from there. Veerbhadra dashed
Sage Bhrigu against the ground and uprooted his beard. He then severed
the head of Daksha and threw it in flames of sacrificial fire.Lord
Brahma took the refuge of Lord Shiva and requested him to stop
Veerbhadra from causing further death and destruction. Lord Shiva told
Brahma--'Nobody else but Daksha himself was responsible for his
death.But, Lord Brahma requested Lord Shiva to make Daksha alive once
again. Lord Shiva then went to Daksha's place and fixed a goat's head on
the trunk of Daksha's body. This way Daksha became alive once again
albeit with a goats body. He was very ashamed of his behaviour and
requested Lord Shiva to forgive him. Lord Shiva blessed him and said--
"Salvation can not
be attained merely by performing the rituals. If you are desirous of
salvation then engage yourself in virtuous deeds with."
Sage Lomesh told the assembled
sages--- One who brooms the courtyard of Shiva temple attains to Shiva
loka. Those who make offerings of incense to lord Shiva not only
liberate himself from the bondage of this world but also both his
'Kulas'. One who gets constructed a Shiva temple or renovates it,
attains incomparable virtue. One who chants the holy mantra 'OM NAMAH
SHIVAY' daily and begins his day by visiting Shiva temple in the morning
becomes absolved of all his sins.
Sage Lomesh narrated
the tale, which described how Indra lost heaven after he showed
disrespect to Vrihaspati--
Once, Indra was enjoying the
songs sung by Gandharvas when sage Vashishth arrived. But, Indra was so
engrossed in music, that he forgot to welcome his distinguished guest.
Sage Vashishth was enraged by his behaviour and went away fuming with
anger.When the demon King Bali--the lord of Patalloka, learnt about this
incident he attacked Indraloka with a large army. A fierce battle took
place in which all the deities were defeated. Bali and his army brought
all the wealth to Patalloka. But the demons were not destined to be the
owner of this plundered wealth for too long as the whole wealth got
submerged into the ocean. Bali was surprised and asked Shukracharya
about the reason. Sage Shukracharya revealed to Bali that he could not
enjoy the splendours of deities' wealth because he had not performed 100
The deities, after
being defeated went to seek Lord Vishnu's help. Lord Brahma was also
present with them. After giving a deep thought to the whole issue, Lord
Vishnu advised them to patch up with the demons so that all the wealth
could be retrieved from the ocean bed.The deities went to Patal-loka and
convinced the demons to participate in the churning of the ocean. When
the process of churning of the ocean began, Mandarachal mountain was
used as a churner and the serpent -Vasuki as the rope.Both the parties
immersed the Mandarachal mountain into the ocean but it sank down, as
there was no base upon which it could be placed. So, Lord Vishnu took
the form of a tortoise and held the mountain on his back.
Churning of the
ocean resulted into the emergence of many things like Chandrama, Surabhi
(cow), Kalpa tree, Kaustubh, Uchchaihshrava (Horse), Eravat (elephant),
goddess Laxmi, poison, ambrosia, intoxication etc.When poison emerged
from the sea bed, neither the deities nor the demons made any claim for
it. The poison was so venomous that the whole world started getting
inflamed by it. Lord Shiva then drank the Halahal poison and thus the
world was saved.Lord Vishnu accepted goddess Laxmi as his consort.
When Dhanvantri appeared with a
pot of ambrosia in his hands, a demon named Vrishparva snatched it from
him. All the demons then fled to Patal loka with the pot of
ambrosia.Lord Vishnu disguised himself as an enchanting beauty and went
to Patalloka. There, he found all the demons quarrelling among
themselves. Each of them wanted to have his own share of ambrosia.The
demons were stunned by Mohini's beauty the moment they saw Lord Vishnu
in the form of a beautiful lady. Mohini took control of the ambrosia pot
and summoned the deities to Patal loka.
All the deities and
demons were made to sit in separate rows. Mohini then started
distributing ambrosia to the deities. A demon named Rahu, who had
disguised himself as a deity was also sitting among the deities. Hardly
had Rahu gulped down some ambrosia then Mohini severed his head on the
information given by chandrama (Moon).The severed head of Rahu tried to
take revenge by swallowing chandrama, who took the refuge of Lord Shiva.
Shiva kept chandrama within the lock of his hair. Meanwhile, Rahu too
came chasing chandrama and Lord Shiva wore his head as a garland in his
After the death of Sati, Lord
Shiva became aloof and engaged himself in an austere penance. His lack
of interest in performing his duties resulted into the predominance of
sin in the world.A demon named Tarakasur had received a boon of
invincibility from lord Brahma. Only a child and nobody else could kill
him. Tarakasur, being drunk with power started to torment the deities.
All the deities
eulogized Lord Brahma and they heard a heavenly voice saying---
'Nobody can kill
Tarakasur except Shiva's son. So you must put all your efforts to help
Shiva get married.'
The deities were
aware that after the death of Sati, Shiva had lost all interest in life
and was living like a recluse. Nevertheless, they wanted to give a try.
So they went to Himalaya, who had no progeny at that time and requested
him to beget a girl. Himalaya agreed, as he was aware of the misdeeds of
Tarakasur.In course of time, Himalaya's wife, Mena gave birth to a girl
child who was in fact the reincarnation of Sati. The girl child was
named Girija.Girija was brought up with great love and care. When she
attained the age of eight, Himalaya once took her to the cave where Lord
Shiva was doing penance. Initially, Shiva was little hesitant to meet
Himalaya because Girija was accompanying her father and he had vowed
never to put his glance on any woman after the death of Sati. But, Later
on he relented and allowed both of them to meet him whenever they liked.
Now, Girija made it her habit to visit Lord Shiva regularly. She used to
look after all the needs of Shiva while he was engrossed in his penance.
Even after the
passage of a long time the deities' wishes did not look like getting
fulfilled, as Shiva remained as nonchalant as ever. So, the deities
requested Kamadeva's help in sowing the seeds of love and passion in
Shiva's heart.Kamadeva went to the place where Lord Shiva was doing his
penance. He tried to sow seeds of compassion in Shiva's heart only to
receive his wrath. Lord Shiva was infuriated by the efforts of Kamadeva.
He opened his third eye as the result of which Kamadeva was charred to
death.Rati started wailing inconsolably at the death of her husband but
Girija assured her that she would try to bring Kamadeva back to
life.Girija commenced her penance to please Lord Shiva. There was a
great turmoil in the world on account of her penance. Lord Vishnu led
the deities to Shiva and requested him to marry Girija so that the world
could be protected from the torments of Tarakasur. Finally, Shiva gave
his conscent and went to the place where Girija was doing penance.
there, Lord Shiva found Parvati engrossed in her penance. Parvati was
surrounded by her few trusted companions.Lord Shiva decided to test
Parvati's devotion towards him. So he disguised himself as a hermit and
asked her companions about the reason why Parvati was doing such a
severe Penance. Jaya, one of Parvati's companions informed him that her
friend was doing penance in order to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Jaya
also informed Lord Shiva that her friend Girija was the daughter of
Lord Shiva, who was in the guise
of a hermit said---'Why is this tender girl so eager to marry Shiva who
is an embodiment of inauspiciousness--who carries a skull in his hand
and who lives in a crematorium. How can your friend think of marrying
one who has been expelled by Daksha from the yagya ceremony? Does your
friend know that Shiva wears a snake around his neck and is surrounded
by numerous spirits and ghosts?'
Parvati, who had
been listening to all those nonsensical utterances, told Jaya---'This
fellow seems to abhor Shiva. We should not talk to this evil person.
Tell him to leave at once.'Lord Shiva was extremely pleased by Parvati's
unwavering devotion towards him. He appeared in his original form and
said--'You can ask for anything you wish.'
replied--- 'O Supreme Lord! I am the same Sati for the sake of whom you
had destroyed Daksha's yagya. Don't you recognize me? There is a great
purpose behind my reincarnation. A son born to us would kill Tarakasur.
So go to my father and request for my hand in marriage.'But Lord Shiva
refused to make a request to Himalaya considering it as an undignified
act. He then returned to the place where he had been meditating.After a
while, Himalaya and Mena arrived there and asked Parvati how her penance
had been progressing. Parvati narrated the whole incident how Lord Shiva
had finally given his conscent to marry her.Himalaya and Mena were
extremely pleased by this good news.
Later on Lord Shiva sent the
Saptarishis with the proposal of marriage to Himalaya. Himalaya received
his distinguished guests with respect and enquired about the purpose of
their visit. The Saptarishis replied--'We have come to request you to
give your daughter's hand in marriage to Shiva.'After consulting his
wife, Mena and other mountains, Himalaya agreed to accept Shiva as his
son-in-law. The Saptarishis then returned and conveyed the good news to
Shiva.The preparation for marriage ceremony started being made. Finally
the marriage procession proceeded towards the bride's home. The marriage
procession consisted of all the deities, apsaras, gandharvas even
spirits and ghosts.
Sage Garg Supervised
the rituals of marriage ceremony. Vishwakarma constructed the canopy,
where marriage ceremony was supposed to take place.After the marriage
was over, Himalaya performed the ritual of Kanyadan and this way Shiva
returned with his consort.
Lord Shiva and
Parvati lived happily at Gandhamadan Mountain enjoying every bit of
their conjugal life. Once it so happened that a small quantity of
Shiva's sperm fell on the ground while he was enjoying intimate moments
with Parvati. As a result, tremendous amount of heat was generated and
the whole world started burning.Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu instructed
Agni to employ some means so that the destruction caused by Shiva's over
flowing sperms could come to an end.Agni went to Gandhamadan mountain in
the guise of a hermit. He requested Parvati by saying---'O Mother!
Please give me something as alms. I have nothing but my hands as a
Parvati kept Shiva's sperms on
his palm, which was eaten up by Agni. Parvati was enraged to see this
and cursed Agni--"You have shown disrespect to me. From today onwards
you would become omnivorous. The sperms which you have devoured would
cause unbearable inflammation in your body."
As the result of
Parvati's curse, Agni really started experiencing unbearable
inflammation in his body. He requested Lord Shiva to reveal the means by
which his pain would come to an end. Lord Shiva instructed Agni to
implant those sperms in any woman's womb to get rid of the unbearable
inflammation.Thus, Agni, who was suffering from extreme heat that
generated in his body, sat at a lonely place waiting eagerly for a woman
to arrive there.He did not have to wait for too long, as six Kritikas,
shivering with cold arrived there to warm themselves. The sperms of
Shiva entered into their bodies through the pores. These six Kritikas
respective husbands learnt about their pregnancy they cursed them. As a
result they got transformed into 'Nakshatras' and established themselves
in the sky. But, they aborted their respective foetus at Himalaya
mountain before getting transformed into six constellations. The holy
Ganges carried that foetus to a secluded place, which was covered with
dense bushes of reeds.In course of time, Lord Kartikeya manifested from
those reed bushes. He had six heads. The deities were delighted at the
birth of Kartikeya. Lord Shiva along with Parvati went to the place
where Kartikeya had incarnated. Parvati took young Kartikeya in her
Lord Shiva assured
the deities, who were also present there that Tarakasur's days were
numbered. The deities's army then proceeded towards the battlefield.On
their way, the deities heard a heavenly voice--'You can defeat the
demons only if you fight under the leadership of Kartikeya.'
Now all the deities requested
Kartikeya to become their leader. Menawhile, Devasena--the daughter of
Mrityu arrived there and requested Kartikeya to become her husband.
Kartikeya accepted Devasena as his wife. This is the reason why he is
also known as Deva senapati.Karitkeya was leading the deities' army,
mounted on an elephant. The army had all the deities in its rank- Indra,
Varun, Vayu, Kuber, Dharma Raj, etc.Both the rival armies met at an
island situated between Ganga and Yamuna. Tarakasur had come with a
large army, which boasted of many brave and mighty warriors.
The battle commenced
and the first phase was dominated by the demons. The deities could not
stand up to the might of demons. Even Indra was severely wounded when
Tarakasur attacked him with his deadly weapon- 'Shakti'. On seeing the
level of destruction caused in the deities' army, King Muchkunda, who
was on the side of the deities' attacked Tarakasur. In the ensuing
battle Muchkunda got injured and fell down on the ground. He got up
furiously and tried to kill Tarakasur with his Brahmashtra. Sage Narad
told him that Brahmashtra would be of no use as Tarakasur had been
blessed with invincibility against mortals. Narad said--'Only Kartikeya
is capable of killing Tarakasur. So, you all need to have patience till
Kartikeya accomplishes his mission.'
Veerabhadra was fighting a dual bought against Tarakasur. He had already
caused indescribable losses to the demons. While the fight was going on,
Tarakasur realized that it was not easy to defeat him. So, he decided to
use his illusionary powers, which helped him in acquiring ten thousand
hands. The deities ran away from the battle field, when they saw
ferocious Tarakasur approaching them.Lord Vishnu instructed Kartikeya to
kill Tarakasur before it was too late. Kartikeya chased Tarakasur with
his deadly weapon- Shakti in his hand. A fierce fight took place between
both of them. Kartikeya attacked Tarakasur with his Shakti. Tarakasur
retaliated by hitting him with his own Shakti. The assault was so severe
that Karikeya lost his consciousness for few moments.
regained his consciousness, he got up quickly to fight against
Tarakasur. Once again a fierce battle commenced. Kartikeya remembered
his parents in reverence and released his Shakti in the direction of
Tarakasur.Tarakasur died instantly. The deities were delighted at the
death of their tormentor.
eulogizes the virtues of Shivaratri in the following words--'The
fourteenth day of the dark half of a month is dedicated to the worship
of Lord Shiva and is famously known as 'Shivaratri'. It destroys all the
sins committed by a man.Sage Lomesh then narrated a tale, which
emphasized the greatness of Shivaratri--
Once upon a time a brahmin widow
developed an illicit relationship with a 'Chandal' (a low caste man).
Later on she gave birth to a son who was named Dussah. Her son had all
the bad qualities one can think of-- a gambler, a drunker, a thief, a
One day, Dussah went
to a Shiva temple with the intention of committing robbery. It was the
festive night of Shivaratri and people had thronged the temple in a
large number. So, he did not get an opportunity to steal temple
property. He remained awakened for the whole night waiting for an
opportune moment but his wishes remained unfulfilled. He spent his time
listening to the divine tales of Lord Shiva that was being narrated by
the temple priest. Though he was a sinner yet he took his next birth in
a royal family on account of his two virtuous deeds--he had remained
awakened for the whole night of Shivaratri and he had listened to the
tales of Shiva. In his next birth, he was born to a king named
Chitrangad and he himself was named Vichitraveerya.Vichitraveerya was a
great devotee of Lord Shiva. He ultimately united with lord Shiva and
manifested as Veerabhadra at the time when Lord Shiva had shaken his
head violently after hearing the sad news of Sati's demise.There are
numerous instances of people attaining salvation by observing a fast on
Shivaratri. The names of some great devotees to do so are King Bharat,
Mandhata, Dhundhumar, Harishchandra etc.
While the deities
hailed the glory of Kartikeya for having killed Tarakasur, Kartikeya
himself was saddened by his act. He told the deities--'I regret for
having killed Tarakasur because he was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Is
there any way to atone for my sin?'
Lord Vishnu consoled
him---'Killing a wicked person, who nourishes himself on the blood of
innocent people, is not a sinful deed. But, still, if you feel guilty
then there is no better way to atone for your sin than worshipping Lord
Shiva. Install Shivalingas and worship them with deep
devotion.'Kartikeya instructed Vishnukarma to make three divine
Shivalingas. Later on Kartikeya installed these Shivalingas at three
different places and worshipped them with appropriate rituals. In course
of time these three holy places came to be known as Pratigyeshwar,
Kapaleshwar and Kumareshwar. Kartikeya, while worshipping at Kapaleshwar
sprinkled holy water on the Shivalinga and prayed so that Tarakasur's
soul rested in peace. He also offered sesame seeds to lord Kapaleshwar
and prayed --
'May my offerings
made in the form of sesame seeds reach Tarak--the descendant of Sage
This way, Kartikeya
was absolved of his sins.
A demon named Pralamb had escaped
unharmed in the battle fought between the deities and demons. As the
deities were busy installing Shivalingas at different places, Pralamb
started to torment their families in their absence. The deities got this
information from Kumud who appeared at the time when the deities were
digging up a reservoir near 'Siddheshwar' temple.All the deities
requested Kartikeya to do something. Kartikeya released his fiery
weapon, Shakti in the direction of Pralamb. Shakti pierced the heart of
earth and went right up to Patal loka where Pralamb lived with the
surviving demons. All the demons were killed within few moments.
A long tunnel had
been created as the impact of Shakti's penetration of the earth. This
tunnel was later on filled up with the water of Patal Ganga and became
famous as 'Siddha-koopa.'
There is an amazing
tale related with the birth of Kaalbhiti. During ancient times there
lived a sonless brahmin named Manti in Kashi. He did an austere penance
to get a son. At last, lord Shiva became pleased by his devotion and
appeared. Lord Shiva said--'You will be blessed with an enlightened son
who would liberate your whole clan.'
In course of time Manti's wife
became pregnant but amazingly did not deliver a baby even after a long
time. Four years passed like this but Manti's wife did not deliver the
child. Manti was perplexed by this unusual event so he asked the baby,
who was still in his mother's womb as to why he was hesitant to come
out.The child replied that he feared 'Kaal' and this was the reason why
he was not taking birth. The child said--'If you can assure me of
protection from 'Kaal' then I shall certainly take birth.' How could
have Manti given such an assurance. So he took refuge in Lord Shiva.Lord
Shiva ordered four of his ganas to go and convince the baby. The names
of these five ganas were Dharma, Gyan, Vairagya Aishwarya and Adharma.
They assured the baby by saying--'Get rid of your fear. We assure you
that each four of us (Dharma, Gyan, Vairagya and Aishwarya) will never
The fifth gana named
Adharma on the contrary promised not to caste his evil Shadow on the
baby. These assurances were enough for the baby to come out from the
womb. But, even after taking birth the child was trembling and wailing
in fear.The ganas said--Manti! Your child is still fearful of the Kaal.
He is trembling and crying inspite of the best of our efforts to drive
away is fears. So he will become famous as Kaalbhiti (one who is fearful
Kaalbhiti grew up to
be a virtuous person. He used to engage himself in various kinds of
austerities. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva.One day, as Kaalbhiti
was meditating under a 'bael' tree (wood apple), he went into his
trance. The joy experienced during trance period was something, which he
had never experienced before. He decided to regularly meditate under
that tree. He did penance for one hundred years standing on his toe.Lord
Shiva became pleased by his devotion and appeared in the guise of a
human being. Lord Shiva said--'O Great soul Please discontinue with your
penance. I have brought some water for you! Please quench your thirst!'
refused to take water from an unknown person. He requested Lord Shiva to
reveal his identity. Kaalbhiti also inquired Lord Shiva about his
religion and conduct. Lord Shiva told him that he was beyond any
religion or conduct.When Kaalbhiti refused to have water, Lord Shiva dug
up a large pit and emptied the pot into it. After that he
disappeared.Kaalbheeti stood fixed at that place, being stunned by the
disappearance of Lord Shiva. Suddenly, an effulgent Shivalinga appeared
under that bael (wood apple) tree. Kaalbheeti worshipped that
shiva-linga which was radiating light in all directions.Now, lord Shiva
appeared and blessed Kaalbheeti to become free from the fear of
Kaal(Death). From that day onwards the Shivalinga situated there became
famous as Mahakaal. Before disappearing once again, Lord Shiva
instructed Kaalbheeti to preach Sage Karandham who was expected to visit
him shortly. Kaalbheeti himself became renowned as Mahakaal because he
had been successful in conquering death.
As predicted by Lord
Shiva, king Karandham arrived at the place where Mahakaal (Kaalbheeti)
was staying. First of all he worshipped Lord Mahakaal and subsequently
went to meet sage Mahakaal (previously Kaalbheeti).King Karandham had
numerous doubts regarding the rituals of Shraddh so he asked
Mahakaal--'How does the rituals related to 'tarpan' satisfy the dead
Mahakaal replied--The souls of
dead ancestors are capable of accepting whatever is offered to them.
Time and distance does not matter to them. They accept only the essence
of whatever is offered to them and not the gross materials as
such.Karandham posed his second query--'I think a soul, after it has
abandoned the mortal body is bound by its own karma. Then, how, can the
dead ancestors be expected of giving us blessings and changing our
replied---Not all Pitras (dead ancestors) are bound by their karma.
Pitras belonging to different classes like deities, 'asuras' and
'yaksha' are unembodied and formless (amurta). Similarly, the dead
ancestors of all the four castes are called 'murta Pitras' (with form).
These seven types of Pitras are considered to be eternal and powerful.
They also transcend the law of Karma. A total number of 31 ganas are
subordinate to them. The rituals of Shraddh are performed for the
pacification of these seven eternal Pitras. These seven Pitras are the
ones who shower blessings on the performers of Shraddh
rituals.'Karandham's next question was--'Some people are of the view
that one can attain salvation only by taking refuge in Lord Vishnu.
While some think that only Lord Brahma is capable of giving salvation.
There are many people who consider Lord Shiva as the supreme liberator.
What do you have to say on this?'
replied--'God is one. The three deities you have named even they
eulogize each other. It is nothing but foolishness to grade them as
superior, average or inferior. The thing, which matters most in the path
of salvation, is individual's unflinching faith and devotion. Any deity
in whom he has total devotion is capable of giving salvation.Karandham
then requested Mahakaal to describe the appropriate rituals related with
the worship of Lord Shiva.
devotee who puts on 'tripund' mark on his forehead, chest and both the
shoulders while worshipping Lord Shiva is blessed to see the divine
appearance of Lord Shiva. He should enter the temple premise with a pure
heart. After entering the temple he should purify the Shiva linga by
removing all the unnecessary articles which may be lying there. He
should then fill up four 'Garuas' (drinking pot with a curved spout)
with water. Articles like milk, curd clarified butter, honey and
Sugarcane juice are kept to the left side of Shiva linga.The devotee
should then come out of the temple and worship the 'dwarpalas'. After
that, deities like Kuldevta, Nandi, Mahakaal Dhata and Vidhata are
Once again he should
enter the temple and sit in front of the Shivalinga and meditate on Lord
Shiva. While performing 'ardhya' he should make offerings of articles
like water, akshat, Kusha grass, sandalwood, flowers, mustard seeds,
milk, curd and honey.Having offered ardhya, a devotee should perform the
ritual of ablution with water, milk, curd, honey, clarified butter, and
sugarcane juice in the given order.
While performing this ritual the devotee should also offer dhupa
(incense) and chant
'OM HOOM VISHVAMURTAYE NAMAH'.
Some other deities whom a devotee
must worship along with the worship of Lord Shiva are Ishan, Tatpurush,
Sadryojat etc. A devotee must also not forget to worship Shiva's
trident. While doing this he should chant
TRISHUL DHANUH KHADGA KAPAL KUTHAREBHYO NAMAH.
A devotee should conclude his
worship by begging for Lord Shiva's forgiveness for any mistake that he
might have committed while performing the rituals.
Once, Sutji had gone to
Naimisharanya. All the sages residing there asked him about the
manifestation of Arunachal Shivalinga.Sutji recounted a tale when Sage
Sanak had posed the same query to Lord Brahma -- 'Lord Brahma had told
Sanak-Son, once Lord Vishnu and I witnessed an effulgent Pillar. It had
manifested from nowhere and was limitless in size. It's radiance put the
whole world ablaze. Both of us worshipped that marvelous pillar by
chanting vedic mantras.'Actually, that effulgent pillar was a
Shivalinga. Lord Shiva manifested from it after being pleased by our
devotion. We requested him to minimize his size and establish himself in
the form of Arunachal Shivalinga.'
'Lord Shiva agreed
to minimize his size as well as his effulgence by establishing himself
in the form of 'Arunachaleshwar'.The holy place of Arunachaleshwar
remains untouched while the whole world gets submerged in water at the
time of deluge.
The sages then asked
Sutji how Lord Shiva had created the universe.
Sutji replied---Lord Shiva
commenced creation by his own will. Vishnu manifested from the left side
of his body while Brahma from the right side. He then attributed the
qualities of 'Rajas' and 'Satva' to Brahma and Vishnu respectively. From
then onwards Lord Brahma took the responsibility of further creation and
Lord Vishnu became the preserver of the world.Later on Lord Brahma
created his ten Manasputra (Marichi etc,) by his will and Daksha
Prajapati from his right thumb. He also created the brahmins from his
mouth, Kshatriyas from both his arms, Vaishyas from both his thighs and
Shudras from both his feet respectively.Both, the deities and demons
came from the lineage of Sage Kashyap, who himself was Marichi's son.
Not only that Kashyap also fathered different species like Marut, Nag,
Yaksha, Gandharva and apsaras.
Brahma had also created Manu who is believed to be the person from whom
human race originated. All the sages as well as the Kshatriyas are the
descendants of Sage Atri. Yakshas originated from Pulastya whereas
Rakshashas were the descendants of Pulah. Agni as well as Sages like
Chyavan was the descendant of Bhrigu. Many famous sages came from the
lineage of Vasishth. These are the names of few prominent sages, whose
descendants have populated the earth.Thus, Lord Shiva is the Sovereign
creator because he created Brahma--the creator.
The demons named Shumbh and
Nishumbh had received boons from Brahma according to which no deity,
demon or Man could kill him. Shumbh and Nishumbh became excessively
arrogant and started tormenting the deities. All the deities including
Lord Vishnu went to Lord Shiva and requested for his help. Lord Shiva
assured them that both the demons would be killed at the opportune time.
The deities were satisfied and returned back to their respective
abodes.Parvati was of dark complexion. She thought that Shiva would be
more affectionate towards her if she somehow discarded her dark skin.
She eventually discarded her dark skin at a place and it instantly got
transformed into 'Kali Kaushiki'. She then did an austere penance at
Vindhyachal mountain. At that time, Shumbh and Nishumbh lived there.
When both the demons saw goddess Kali Kaushiki her divine beauty
infatuated them. But Goddess Kali Kaushiki ultimately killed both of
her mission, Kali Kaushiki did a tremendous penance at 'Gauri-peak' and
regained her fair complexion. In course of time she became the mother of
Ganesh and Kartikeya. Once, goddess Parvati went to Arunachal mountain
where Sage Gautam was doing penance. She was so enchanted by the scenery
over there that she decided to do penance. She instructed goddess Durga
to stand guard till she accomplished her penance. She also ordered the
two goddesses Subhaga and Dhundhukumari to keep a watch in all
demon sent a female messenger to convince Parvati into marrying him. The
female messenger disguised herself as a female hermit and tried to
impress all the three goddess who were keeping surveillance by praising
the glory of Mahishasur--
'O beautiful ladies!
Why is your mistress living in such a secluded place? She is worthy of
living in a royal palace. There is nobody among the deities who is fit
enough to marry her. But, Mahishasur--the lord of all the three worlds
is certainly fit to become her husband.'But all the three goddesses
drove the female messenger away. Ultimately, Mahishasur came accompanied
by a large army to forcibly abduct goddess Parvati. The commotion caused
by the demons disturbed Parvati's meditation. She instructed Durga to
kill all the demons.Goddess Durga transformed her appearance. Now she
looked ferocious in her new appearance. She was well equipped with all
sort of lethal weapons and was mounted on a lion. She thundered loudly
and challenged Mahishasur. Countless 'yoginis' manifested from her body.
These yoginis attacked Mahishasur's army and killed many demons. The
whole battlefield was splashed with blood.
(Durga) severed the heads of 'Chand' and 'Mund' with her chakra.
Mahishasur was enraged and he attacked goddess Durga. Some other demons
like Prachanda, Chamar, Mahamauli, Mahahanu, Ugravaktra, Vikataksha and
Dahan also came forward to help him but each one of them was killed by
goddess Durga.Now, Mahishasur's anger crossed all limits and he
menacingly ran towards goddess Durga. A severe battle was fought between
both of them. When Mahishasur realized that the goddess was dominating
the battle, he started changing his guises frequently. He tried to dodge
goddess Durga by transforming his appearance into that of a boar. But,
goddess Durga kept on chasing him. Then, Mahishasur became a lion. This
way he kept on changing his appearances frequently to avoid getting
killed by goddess Durga. Once he transformed himself into a buffalo but
goddess Durga attacked him.
This way, Mahishasur
was forced to change his appearance frequently on account of relentless
attack by goddess Durga. Ultimately Durga killed him. Goddess Durga
picked up his severed head and danced in joy. The deities were relieved
at the death of Mahishasur.
Goddess Durga then
went to the place where goddess Parvati was still doing penance. She
held Mahishasur's head in one hand and a sword in the other.Goddess
Parvati said---'O Vindhyavasini! You have accomplished an impossible
act. If it were not for you I would not have been able to accomplish my
own penance. Now, you should get rid of this skull and create a holy
spring bathing in which would destroy your sin acquired by killing
Goddess Durga hit
ferociously at a huge rock breaking it into pieces. A large pit was
created which was soon filled up with underground water. She then took
her bath in it by chanting NAMAH
In the meantime, an amazing
incident took place. While goddess Durga was taking her bath with
Mahishasur's skull in her hand, a Shivalinga, which was struck in
Mahishasur's throat fell down. This Shivalinga later on became famous as
'Papanashan Shivalinga'. She then released the skull and came out from
the pond.Arunachaleshwar (Lord Shiva) became pleased by Parvati's
devotion and appeared before her. Lord Arunachaleshwar then made Parvati
to sit by his left side. The next moment Parvati's identity mingled with
that of Lord Arunachaleshwar. The place where this incident took place,
there is situated a grand temple of goddess Apitastani and Lord
contains 2 sections each with 14 and 12 sub-sections respectively. In
order to simplify the presentation of information here, the 2 sections
will be combined into one with all 26 sub-sections listed as sections.
Sutji then narrated
the tale of Lord Varah to the sages, which he had heard from Sage
Once, while Narad was wandering
about, he reached Meru mountain where he saw the abode of Lord Brahma.
He also saw a giant sized entity, just next to Brahma's abode. The
person possessed four arms and his face resembled a boar. The person
held a conch and a chakra in his two hands--The remaining two hands were
in the postures of giving blessings. Narad was very surprised to see
that divine person being surrounded by Sages like Vashishth, Atri,
Markandeya and Bhrigu. After paying his eulogy to him, he stood in a
corner.In the meantime, Prithvi (earth) arrived there with her two
companions--Ila and Pingla. She was curious to know about the identities
of various mountains, which Lord Varah had established on her.Lord Varah
told Prithvi about the prominent mountains---Mountains like Sumeru,
Himavan, Mandarachal, Vindhyachal, Pariyatrak, Mahendra, Malay,
Sinhachal and Gandhamadan are situated to the north of Himalaya.
The mountain ranges
situated to the south of Himalaya are Arunachal, Hasti, Gridhachal and
Ghatikachal. Sages believe that in Satyayuga Lord Vishnu had his abode
at Anjan Mountain, while in tretayuga, dwaparyuga and Kaliyuga he has
his abode at Narayangiri, Sinhachal and Shrivenketachal
respectively.Lord Varah and Prithvi flew away towards Venkatachalgiri
mounted on Garuda.
On their way,
Prithvi requested Lord Varah to reveal the sacred mantra, chanting of
which makes him pleased.
said--'The secret mantra that pleases me to no limits is ---OM
NAHAM SHRIVARAHAY DHARANYU UDDHARNAY SWAHA. This mantra is
capable of liberating a man and also brings all sort of worldly
accomplishments to him.In the first Krita yuga, a Manu named Dharma had
realized me by continuously chanting this mantra. Even Indra regained
the control of heaven by chanting it. Anant--the lord of all serpents,
chanted Varaha mantra and as a result became capable of holding the
earth on it's hood.'
Lord Varah then narrated the tale
of Padmavati's manifestation to Prithvi. He also revealed to her that
Padmavati was the reincarnation of Vedavati and had manifested so that
she could become his (Vishnu) consort.Lord Varah said---Once upon a time
there lived an emperor named Akash. One day he ordered his men to get
the land situated at the bank of Arani ploughed so that a grand yagya
could be organized there.As the land was being cultivated, the plough
suddenly struck against something. People ploughing the field dug up
that place and were surprised to find an infant girl, crying loudly.The
news of girls' manifestation spread like a wild fire. The emperor became
extremely happy since he had no progeny. He brought up that child as his
own daughter. This way the baby girl was brought up like a princess. She
was named Padmavati. Padmavati proved very lucky for the emperor, as the
emperor, who was still sonless till then was blessed with a son. This
male child was named Vasudan.
One day, Narad
visited the palace and met both the children. He was impressed by
Vasudan's intelligence but Padmavati appeared to be shy and absorbed in
her own thoughts. Narad lovingly called her and instructed her to spread
her left palm. Narad was amazed to find signs, which predicted
Padmavati's marriage to Lord Vishnu. Everybody living in the palace
became happy after getting this news. Narad then went away.
Continuing with the
tale, Lord Varah said-- One day, while Padmavati and her companions were
playing in the garden, they saw an equestrian approaching them. He held
a bow and arrows in both his hands.The stranger asked all the girls
whether they had seen a wolf. Apparently the stranger was on his hunting
spree. Padmavati angrily reminded the stranger that hunting was strictly
prohibited in that area and hence he should go back home.The stranger
was stunned by Padmavati's beauty and said--'I am Ananta from
Venketachal mountain. People also call me Veerpati. Can I have this
beautiful lady as my wife.'
Padmavati's companions angrily
rebuffed Anant who then galloped back on his horse. These unfortunate
girls were unable to recognize Lord Vishnu who had come disguised as
Anant.After reaching his palace, Anant found it very difficult to
concentrate on his work. His mind was occupied by the thoughts of
Padmavati. One day, while he was sitting in a thoughtful mood,
Vakulmalika (a maid servant) arrived there and requested him to come
down for lunch. But, Sri Hari (Anant) was lost in the thoughts of
Padmavati. On being asked by Vakulmalika, Sri Hari narrated the
following tale to her ---
In treta yuga, when
I had incarnated as Ram, Ravan had deceit- fully abducted my
consort--Sita. But fortunately she was not Sita but Agni's consort
Swaha. Before this incident could occur,Agni had already taken Sita to
Patalloka and kept his own wife 'Swaha' in her place. Indra's act had
special purpose behind it--to avenge Swaha's death,who was Vedavati in
her previous birth and who had committed suicide after being touched by
the same demon.Actually, Agni's consort 'Swaha' was 'Vedavati' in her
previous birth. So, in reality Ravan had abducted Vedavati instead of
Sita. Later on, I thanked Agni and promised him that I would make
Vedavati my consort in Kaliyuga. The same vedavati has taken birth as
Padmavati. You must go and convince Padmavati to become my
consort.Vakulmalika went to Narayanpur and informed the king about Sri
Hari's desire. Emperor Akash was extremely delighted at the prospect of
having Sri Hari as his son-in-law. An auspicious day was chosen for the
marriage and thus, Lord Sri Hari got Padmavati as his consort.
Once, Sutji narrated
the tale of king Pareekshit to all the assembled sages---
Pareekshit ruled over Hastinapur.
One day he went into a forest on a hunting spree. He saw a deer and
managed to injure it with his arrow. But the injured deer disappeared
from his sight. Pareekshit chased the injured deer in the direction it
had disappeared.He reached a place where sage Shamik was engrossed in
his meditation. Pareekshit enquired sage Shamik if he had seen that
injured deer. Bur sage Shamik being in deep meditation did not respond
to Pareekshit query. This made Pareekshit extremely angry and he wrapped
a dead snake around Shamik's neck as a punishment for not having
answered his question. But, it made no difference to Sage Shamik and he
continued with his meditation. Pareekshit went back fuming in anger.
Shringi was the son
of Sage Shamik. When he saw a dead snake coiling around his father's
neck, he cursed--'Whoever has tried to insult my father will not live to
see the seventh day because a takshak nag would bite him to death.'
When sage Shamik
learnt about his son's curse, he reproached his son and sent a disciple
named 'Daurmukh' to inform Pareekshit so that he (Pareekshit) could take
some preventive measures. Daurmukh went and narrated the whole incident
to king Pareekshit.Pareekshit became very scarred and he started living
on a canopy that had been constructed in the middle of river Ganges on
his instructions. Now he felt secured and safe.Meanwhile a poor brahmin
named Kashyap came to know about the curse that poor Pareekshit had
received. He knew how to cure a person bitten by snake. So he thought
that it was an excellent opportunity for him to receive monetary awards
from the king. So, he proceeded towards the place where Pareekshit was
On his way, Kashyap
met a brahmin who in reality was takshak in disguise. Takshak was on his
way to kill Pareekshit. He asked Kashyap about the reason he was going
to meet Pareekshit. Kashyap revealed to Takshak that he could neutralize
the influence of poison in any person bitten by a snake. Takshak wanted
to examine the authenticity of Kashyap's statement, so he inserted his
poisonous fangs into the trunk of a huge tree. A man was sitting on the
branches of that tree. The tree as well as the man was charred to death
within no time.
brought the tree and that man back to life. Takshak was stunned by this
unbelievable act. He asked Kashyap how much he expected as reward from
the king. Kashyap revealed the amount, which he expected from Pareekshit
in lieu of giving him a fresh lease of life. Takshak gave lot of wealth
to him as a bribe and Kashyap went back home satisfied.Takshak then
summoned all his companions and instructed them to go to the place where
Pareekshit lived, disguising themselves as hermits. All the serpents
went to meet Pareekshit impersonating as hermits and offered fruits to
him. According to his plan,Takshak had hidden himself within a plum
fruit. He bit Pareekshit as soon as he got a chance. Pareekshit died
instantly.Janmejaya was crowned as the next king. Meanwhile, people
started criticizing the treacherous conduct of Kashyap, which had
resulted in the death of king Pareekshit. He decided to make a
pilgrimage to Venketachaleshwar so that he became liberated from his
Sutji narrated a tale to all the
assembled sages--During ancient times, a brahmin named Ramkrishna did an
austere penance at Venketachal mountain. He remained immobile during the
entire course of his penance resulting into the development of mole
hills all over his body.Indra was scarred by Ramkrishna's penance and
caused a heavy downpour for a week. All the mole hills were washed away
from Ramkrishna's body.Lord Srinivas became pleased and appeared before
him. He blessed Ramkrishna by saying--'This holy place, where you have
performed a great penance will be named after you as Krishna teerth.
Anybody who makes a pilgrimage to this place will be liberated from all
Venketashwar, Sutji says---
'A man, who has the
good fortune of seeing the divine appearance of Lord Srinivas even for a
moment, attains salvation.
All the sages then
requested Sutji to tell about some other places of pilgrimage situated
on Venketachal mountain.
replied---There are about one hundred and eight holy places situated on
Venketachal mountain. Among all these holy places, six are considered to
be capable of bestowing salvation---Swami pushkarini, Akash ganga,
Papvinashan, Panduteerth, Kumar dharika teerth and Tumbu teerth.
Describing how Vayudeva had once
assured Anjana that he would take birth as her son, Sutji told the
sages---Anjana, being issue less even after a long married life, decided
to do penance in order to beget a son. Sage Matang advised her to go to
Akashganga teerth where her wishes would get fulfilled. Sage Matang also
described the geographical location-- 'At a distance of ten yojans
towards south is situated Dhanachal mountain, which is believed to be
the abode of Lord Nrisimha. Brahma teerth lies in its vicinity. At a
distance of ten yojans south of Brahma teerth, flows river
'Suvarnamukhari'. Venkentachal mountain is situated to the north of this
river and the holiest place called Swamipushkarni is situated among its
numerous peaks. You should visit that place and take a holy dip in its
water. After that you should seek the blessings of Lord Varahaswami and
Lord Venketeshwar. You should then go towards north of Swami teerth and
you would reach Akashganga.'
Acting as per
Matang's instructions, Anjana went to Akashganga teerth and did her
penance. Finally Lord Vayudeva appeared before her and promised to
incarnate as Hanuman.
The Sages asked---'O
revered sage! We would like to know more about Purushottam Kshetra,
where there is a majestic wooden idol of Lord Vishnu.'
Sage Jaimini replied--The
sacrosanct place of Purushottam Kshetra is graced by the presence of
Lord Jagannath. During ancient times, Lord Varah had rescued Prithvi
from the clutches of Hiranyaksha--the mighty demon who had abducted her
to Rasatala. After Prithvi had been established in its original
position, Lord Brahma commenced his creations. Lord Brahma wondered
about the means by which human beings could get liberated from three
major types of sorrow---Adhyatmic (spiritual), Adhidaivik (deities
wrath), Adhibhantik (related with this world). He sought the help of
Lord Vishnu who eulogized the greatness of Purushottam Kshetra and
advised him to go there. Lord Vishnu said-- 'Purushottam Kshetra is
situated at the sea-shore, to the south of river Mahanadi. This
sacroscant place of mine does not get affected by deluge. I dwell at
this holiest place as 'Lord Purushottam'. There is a holy pond called
Rohin in the vicinity. Anybody who takes a holy dip in that pond gets
absolved of all his sins. O Brahma! You must pay a visit to Purushottam
kshetra where spending a day bestows virtues greater than all the
austerities combined together.'
This way,Lord Brahma
went to Purushottam kshetra as per the instructions of Lord Vishnu.
Lord Brahma soon
after reaching Purushottam kshetra sat down and started meditating. He
was so engrossed in his meditation that he remained in that state for a
very long time. This resulted into total chaos as Yamaraj found that his
power of causing death had no effect on people living in Purushottam
kshetra. Worried as he was, Yamaraj rushed towards Neelachal mountain
and sought Lord Vishnu's intervention in the matter.
Lord Vishnu smiled
and signaled goddess Laxmi to say something. Goddess Laxmi said--'O
Suryanandan! Anybody residing at this holy place is freed from the
vicious cycles of birth and death after becoming absolved of all his
sins. This is the reason why you are experiencing this unusual problem.
The whole world except this holy place will come into your
Yamaraj was amazed
by this revelation so he asked Laxmi--'I would like to know why such a
privilege is being given to this place?'
Laxmi replied--'O Ravinandan! At
the time of deluge when the whole world was submerged in the water sage
Markandeya was struggling to find a secure place for his survival.
Although he was blessed with an unusually long life of seven kalpas but
still he needed a place to live in. He started swimming and finally
managed to reach Purushottam kshetra, which had remained unscathed by
the turbulence of the deluge. There he saw a divine tree called 'Akshay
Vat'. Markandeya continued to swim along the coast wondering how that
place had managed to remain unaffected by deluge when the whole world
had been submerged. Suddenly he heard a voice, which appeared to be
coming from the direction of the Akshay Vat--'O Markandeya! Don't worry!
Take my refuge and you shall be protected.'
Markandeya was very
surprised and looked all around. He kept on swimming and saw Lord
Vishnu, who was engrossed in his yoga nidra in ksheer sagar. I (Laxmi)
was also present there. Markandeya eulogized Vishnu in the following
way--'Salutations to the supreme lord- the source of all creations! O
Jagannath! Protect me from getting drowned.'
Lord Vishnu opened
his eyes and found Markandeya gasping for breath. On realizing the
gravity of the situation he said--'Raise your head and look at the top
of this Kalpa Vat. You would find an infant sleeping on a leaf of the
Kalpa Vat. The infant is none other than Kaal himself. You should enter
inside his (Kaal's) body through his opened mouth and live peacefully as
there is no other place for you to live in.'
into Kaal's body as per the instructions given by Lord Vishnu and was
amazed by the expanse of his belly, which appeared like a bottomless
pit. He also saw all the fourteen Bhuvans existing within Kaal's belly
including all the creatures-deities, sages, siddhas, gandharvas, etc.
Markandeya wandered all over the place and after getting tired came out
through Kaal's opened mouth. He found Lord Vishnu was still present
there accompanied by his consort-Laxmi. Markandeya made salutations to
both of them and narrated his experiences he had inside Kaal's
belly.Lord Vishnu blessed him and made a revelation--' The place you had
visited few moments ago is beyond the limits of creation or deluge. The
name of this holiest place is Purushottam kshetra and it is my permanent
abode for I do not leave it even for a moment.'Markandeya was very
impressed and requested Lord Vishnu to allow him to live there. Lord
Vishnu replied--' O Brahmarishi! I shall remain at Purushottam-kshetra
till the end of this kalpa. I shall also create a sacrosanct place,
which would enable you to become immortal.'
Sage Markandeya then
dug up a reservoir with the help of Vishnu's chakra. He did an austere
penance to please lord Maheshwar as the result of which he was indeed
blessed with immortality. In course of time, this reservoir became
famous as 'Markandeya kund'.
Dwelling in length
upon the majesty of Purushottam kshetra, goddess Laxmi said--Purushottam
kshetra resembles a conch in shape and is graced by the presence of lord
Shiva. Towards its north is situated a temple of lord Neelkanth. A
famous shiva linga named Kapal mochan is also situated in the vicinity.
One who makes a pilgrimage to Kapalmochan becomes liberated from gravest
of sins. A temple of goddess Vimla devi is also situated nearby.
Purushottam kshetra is considered
to be supreme among all the places of pilgrimage and for this very
reason it is aptly named 'Teerth Raj'. A divine pond called Rohin kund
is also situated nearby. Anybody who takes a holy dip there is freed
from the vicious cycles of birth and death. It is believed that the
increased level of water at the time of deluge ultimately recedes and
disappears into this pond.
said--' O Dhanraj! This holy place is beyond your jurisdiction because
people living there never experience death. It is well protected by
eight goddesses from all the eight directions. The names of these eight
goddesses are Mangla, Lamba, Kaalratri, Marichika, Vimla, Sarvamangla,
Ardhashini and Chandrupa. How can lord Rudra be absent when Rudrani has
manifested herself in eight forms, so, he has manifested himself in
eight different forms as well- Kapalmochan, Kshetrapal, Yameshwar,
Markandeyeshwar, Ishan, Bilveshwar, Neelkanth, and Vateshwar.While
describing the majesty of Purushottam kshetra, goddess Laxmi revealed to
lord Brahma--' In the coming satya yuga there would be a king named
Indradyumna and would be famous for his unflinching devotion in lord
Vishnu. Being pleased by the king's devotion, lord Vishnu would
ultimately manifest himself from a wooden structure to bless him.
Vishwakarma would then carve out four idols (Jagannath, Balbhadra,
Subhadra and Sudarshan chakra) from the wooden block all of which would
be installed by none other than you (Brahma).'
Once, while sage
Jaimini was describing the greatness of Purushottam kshetra to the
assembled sages, all of them curiously asked him--
' Where is
Purushottam kshetra situated ?
Jaimini replied --'
Utkal is situated at the eastern coast of Bharatvarsha. At the time of
deluge, when everything gets submerged in water Utkal remains unaffected
and it is the very place from where the knowledge of the Vedas spread in
all directions. The residents of Utkal are not only learned but also
very prosperous. There is not a single person in this land who is not a
devotee of lord Vishnu. All the people belonging to the four prominent
castes (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) diligently follow their
respective dharma. This holy place never experiences natural calamities
of any kind.'
Sage Jaimini then
went on to narrate the tale of king Indradyumna to all the assembled
'In satya yuga there
lived a noble and virtuous king named Indradyumna, who ruled over the
province of Malva. He was a great devotee of lord Vishnu. One day, while
worshipping in a temple, he asked the priest-I have a wish, which still
remains unfulfilled. I have a deep desire of seeing lord Jagannath with
my mortal eyes. Is there any means with the help of which I can get my
The royal priest had
no answer to the king's query so he kept quiet.Suddenly, he saw a group
of pilgrims coming towards the temple. He thought that perhaps one of
them might be having an answer to the king's query. When the pilgrims
arrived at the temple, the royal priest posed the same question to them.
One of the pilgrims answered--' There is a place called Odhra, where is
situated a grand temple of lord Jagannath. This sacrosanct place is also
famously known as Purushottam kshetra and is situated at the foothills
of the Neelachal mountain. There is a holy pond called Rohin situated
nearby. At the eastern bank of this pond is situated a majestic temple
of lord Vasudev. The idol of lord Vasudev is made of 'Indraneel'
diamond. To the west of this temple lies 'Shabardeep' hermitage, from
where starts a path leading to Jagannath temple.'
Having said this,
the pilgrim disappeared from everybody's sight. Not only Indradyumna but
all the pilgrims were equally amazed by his sudden disappearance.
Indradyumna was convinced that lord Jagannath had himself come there in
the guise of a pilgrim. Now, his desire of visiting Purushottam kshetra
became even more intense. Indradyumna instructed his priest to find out
the exact location of Purushottam kshetra by sending somebody over
there. Later on, the priest went home and sought the help of
Vidyapati-his younger brother in this regard. Vidyapati readily agreed
to help his brother and one fine day he proceeded on his journey with a
select group of his trusted friends.
After a long and
arduous journey all of them reached 'Ekamravan' forest, situated at the
foothills of Neelachal mountain. The thought of being so near their
destination made everybody extremely excited. But, despite their best of
efforts they could not find Shabardeep ashram. Being tired, all of them
decided to take rest for a while and then recommence their efforts to
find out the location of Shabardeep hermitage. Finding a huge tree, all
of them took rest under the shade of that tree. Suddenly, they heard a
heavenly voice, which appeared to be coming from the western direction.
They followed the voice and reached Shabardeep ashram in a short time.
There they saw a large gathering of devotees. One of the devotees, whose
name was Vishvavasu, curiously asked Vidyapati--'It is not easy to reach
this place. From where are you coming and where do you intend to go? You
must be tired--wait, till I return with some refreshment for all of
Vidyapati was not in
a mood to waste his time, as he was aware that Indradyumna was eagerly
waiting for him to return. He told Vishvavasu-- I have a difficult
mission to accomplish so, I am not in a position to waste my time. I am
the younger brother of the royal priest of king Indradyumna. The king
has vowed not to have a single morsel of food till he makes a pilgrimage
to Purushottam kshetra. He has sent me with a specific purpose of
finding the exact location of Purushottam kshetra and the easiest route
leading to it. So, help me reach the temple of lord Jagannath as soon as
Vidyapati--' I have heard this prophesy of Indradyumna's possible
arrival at Purushottam kshetra in the near future. Not only that, I have
also heard that Indradyumna would become so impressed with Purushottam
kshetra that he would settle down there for good after renouncing
requested Vidyapati to follow him and started negotiating the steep
heights of Neelachal mountain. Vidyapati followed him through the curvy
and arduous paths of the mountain. Having walked for sometime,
Vishvavasu pointed towards a pond and said--This pond is famously known
as Rohin kund. The kalpa vat that you see towards the east of this pond
is considered to be so sacrosanct that a sinner becomes liberated of all
his sins once he comes under its shade. Lord Jagannath's temple is
situated between Rohin kund and the kalpa vat. Go ahead and have a
darshan of lord Jagannath for whom you have undertaken such an arduous
Vidyapati's joys knew no bounds
as he had been waiting for this moment for a long time. First he
purified himself by taking a holy dip in Rohin kund and then went inside
the temple to worship lord Jagannath. He worshipped lord Jagannath by
chanting the sacred pranav mantra.After the worship was over, Vishvavasu
requested Vidyapatito visit his place which was nearby. Vidyapati agreed
and accompanied Vishvavasu to his place. Vidyapati was given a royal
treat by his host, which made him wonder as to how could Vishvavasu
arrange all the luxurious things at such a remote place. He could not
control himself and asked Vishvavasu-- Even a king would have found it
difficult to treat his guest as lavishly like you! I am amazed how you
could make arrangements for all these things at a remote and secluded
place like this! How do you manage this?
It is not as difficult as you believe. Since Purushottam kshetra is a
sacrosanct place and it is frequently visited by the deities who make
divine offerings to lord Jagannath. I collect the residuals of whatever
is offered to Jagannath from the temple and bring it home. So, I really
don't have to make any special efforts to accumulate divine food stuffs.
On account of eating these divine food stuffs, not only we have been
blessed by eternal youth but also we are never troubled by old
age.Vidyapati was very impressed and requested Vishvavasu to become his
friend. He also reminded Vishvavasu that he wanted to return as soon as
possible so that the king could go on a pilgrimage to Purushottam
kshetra. But, Vishvavasu made a shocking disclosure to Vidyapati and
said-- King Indradyumna will never be able to have a divine glimpse of
lord Jagannath as the lord is soon going to disappear. But, don't
disclose this fact to the king otherwise he would get disheartened and
abandon his plan of making a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. Finally,
when the king in his utter frustration would try to end his life after
not being able to have a divine glimpse of Neelmadhav, the most gracious
lord will appear in his dream and instruct him to get constructed four
wooden idols of Jagannath, Balbhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan chakra.
his mission, Vidyapati proceeded on his return journey and once again he
visited Purushottam kshetra, which fell on the way. He picked up a
garland, which had been offered to Neelmadhav by some deity.Finally,
when he reached Malwa he found king Indradyumna eagerly waiting for him.
After presenting the garland to the king, he narrated his experiences he
had at Purushottam kshetra--' O king! Lord Jagannath's idol is made of
Neelmani diamond and is very ancient. Even the deities have deep regards
and undiluted reverence for lord Jagannath and are frequent visitors to
Purushottam Kshetra. The garland, which I have given you, was in fact
had been offered to Lord Jagannath by the deities- these flowers do not
wither and have fragrance lasting for eternity. Purushottam kshetra
remains untouched by old age, sorrow or disease and gives salvation to
anybody, who goes on a pilgrimage over there.'
Indradyumna had been waiting for
this moment for a long time- the moment when he would get a chance to go
on a pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. Revealing his great plan to
Vidyapati, he said--' Now, the time has finally come for me to go on a
pilgrimage to Purushottam kshetra. I also intend to develop that holy
place as a prominent place of pilgrimage. I would shift my subject to
that holy place and perform one hundred Ashwamedha yagyas once I reach
there. I also intend to devote rest of my life in the worship of Lord
conversation was going on, the ever wandering sage-Narad, arrived there
and informed Indradyumna how pleased were the deities after learning of
his holy intention of developing Purushottam kshetra into a major place
of pilgrimage. Narad also dwelt on length on the virtues of Jagannath's
worship. Indradyumna, thinking that Narad might prove to be of great
help during the course of pilgrimage because of his vast travelling
experience, requested him to accompany him to Purushottam kshetra. Narad
readily agreed to accompany the king and said--' O king! I shall reveal
to you the importance of all the holy places that we come across in the
course of our pilgrimage.'
Indradyumna left for Purushottam kshetra followed by a large procession,
that consisted of his subject, all the ministers and army officers. The
entourage touched the bank of river Mahanadi by evening. Deciding to
take rest and spend the night there, king Indradyumna first took his
bath and then worshipped Lord Jagannath. After the king had taken his
bath, all the rest of the people also took their bath and then everybody
sat down to have their dinner. After the meal was over, while
Indradyumna was busy discussing with his ministers on the future course
of action, somebody came with the news that the king of Utkal had
arrived. Indradyumna ordered the messenger to bring the esteemed guest
with all the honour and respect. The king of Utkal arrived and broke a
disturbing news-- ' Indradyumna, I am afraid your intention of having a
divine glimpse of Lord Jagannath is not going to fructify as lord
Neelmadhav has presently concealed himself beneath a huge heap of sand
caused by a ferocious sandstorm. The fallout of this inauspicious
incident has been extremely adverse on my kingdom-- as my people are
experiencing acute famine.
shocked, especially the thought of not getting a chance to have a divine
glimpse of lord Neelmadhav made him dejected- he saw all his efforts
going in vain. But, Narad consoled him by saying --' Don't worry! Lord
Neelmadhav is extremely merciful and he will certainly give you an
opportunity to have his divine glimpse.'
Continuing with the tale of
Indradyumna, sage Jaimini told all the sages--' Next morning,
Indradyumna and his entourage crossed Mahanadi on boats and reached
Ekamrachhetra where they worshipped lord Purushottam. After that they
worshipped on their onwards journey and reached Kotishwar Mahalaya where
they worshipped lord Tribhuneshwar with appropriate rituals. Lord
Tribhuneshwar appeared after becoming pleased and blessed Indradyumna
that his wish of seeing lord Jagannath was soon going to be fulfilled.
Lord Tribhuneshwar then instructed Narad--' O great soul! After reaching
Purushottam kshetra, help Indradyumna perform one hundred yagyas as per
the instructions given by lord Brahma. I along with goddess Durga, dwell
at the entrance of conch shaped Purushottam kshetra. Although, presently
lord Jagannath has concealed himself beneath a heap of sand yet very
soon he is going to manifest himself. Indradyumna should get constructed
a magnificent temple of lord Jagannath at the same place, where once
existed his idol and presently which is hidden beneath the heap of sand.
Later on, Vishwakarma would then carve out four idols from a single
piece of wood, which would subsequently be installed by Lord Brahma
himself. Finally, Indradyumna's wish of seeing lord Jagannath would get
Narad assured lord
Tribhuneshwar that all his instructions would be followed in letter and
spirit. The procession then left for the place indicated by Lord
After reaching the temple of
Neelkanth-Mahadev, all of them worshipped Mahadev and Durga. They then
visited the temple of lord Nrisimha, situated under a sandalwood tree at
the foothills of Neelachal mountain.King Indradyumna was anxiously
waiting for the moment he would have a divine glimpse of lord Jagannath.
He requested Narad to take him to the place where Jagannath had hidden
himself beneath the heap of sand. Narad took him near a Banyan tree and
said--' Look at this huge Banyan tree that is two yojans in height and
whose trunk is spread in the area of one yojan. To the north of this
Banyan tree and to the north of Nrisimha temple lies the place where
lord Neelmadhav used to have his dwelling sometime ago but who has
presently concealed himself. Now, the time is not very far when you
would see lord Jagannath with your mortal eyes.'
Indradyumna bowed in
reverence to the place where lord Jagannath was supposed to re-manifest
himself in the near future. He eulogized the lord as if he were already
present there and this was true as Jagannath's idol was indeed present
there albeit hidden beneath heaps of sand. He prayed--' O lord! You are
the one in whom every living creature ultimately takes refuge. My only
wish is to be able to see your idol, which is presently hidden beneath
heaps of sand.'Hardly had Indradyumna finished his prayer when he heard
a heavenly voice--'O king! Do not worry! The day is not far when you
would see me with your mortal eyes. You just need to follow Narad's
instructions and your wish will be fulfilled.
Narad told Indradyumna--' Now, we
should install an idol of lord Nrisimha near Neelkanth's temple for this
is the very place where you will be performing one thousand Ashwamedh
Yagyas in the days to come. So, your first priority should be to get
constructed a magnificent temple of lord Nrisimha. I plan to stay here
for five more days as Vishwakarma will be needing my help in carving out
the idol of lord Nrisihma.'
Leaving Narad alone
near the Neelkanth temple, Indradyumna went near the sandalwood tree,
which was at a little distance from the temple, and was surprised to
find Sughat- Vishwakarma's son waiting for him. He requested Sughat to
construct a grand temple with its main entrance facing west. Sughat
constructed the temple within four days. On the fifth day, Narad arrived
there with an idol of lord Nrisimha, which had been carved out by
Vishwakarma. An auspicious day was chosen for installing the idol. After
the idol had been installed, every body including king Indradyumna,
Narad as well as the people accompanying the procession worshipped Lord
Sages, who had been
listening to the tale narrated by Jaimini with rapt attention till then
asked--' What did Indradyumna next do after the idol of Lord Nrisimha
had been installed?'
Sage Jaimini replied--' After the
idol of Lord Nrisimha had been installed, Indradyumna began making
preparations for Ashwamedha yagya. He sent invitations to all the
deities, learned brahmins and sages. When everybody arrived, he made a
special request to Indra to remain present at the oblation site till the
completion of one thousand Ashwamedha yagyas.Indra assured Indradyumna
of his full cooperation and advised him to go ahead with his plan of
accomplishing one thousand Ashwamedha yagyas. Finally, Indradyumna
performed the first yagya under the supervision of learned priests. This
way, he was able to successfully accomplish nine hundred and ninety nine
yagyas without any problem. Finally, when the last Ashwamedha yagya was
being performed, Indradyumna had a divine glimpse of Lord Vishnu while
he was engrossed in his meditation. Indradyumna narrated his experience
to Narad to which he got a reply that it was a good omen, which proved
that the king was going to see Lord Jagannath with his mortal eyes.
After the rituals of
final yagya ended, Narad advised Indradyumna to perform the rituals of
'Purnahuti' to mark the end of Yagya ceremony. Narad then went on to
say--' A tree is considered to be the partial incarnation (Ansha avatar)
of Lord Vishnu for each of his hair that falls on the earth gets
transformed into a tree.' Narad, then pointing towards a tree told
Indradyumna-- ' The almighty Lord has manifested himself in the form of
this tree. Now, you should make preparations to get this tree installed
on the great altar inside the temple.'
The tree to which
Narad had pointed was unique in the sense that it had only four branches
on it. Indradyumna, following the instructions ordered his men to uproot
the said tree and then install it on the 'Mahavedi' inside the temple.
But, at the same time he was wondering as to who would carve out the
four idols of Jagannath, Balbhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan chakra.
Suddenly, a heavenly voice was heard--' Lord Vishnu would manifest
himself on the sacred altar on his own. An old carpenter, who is
standing among you, should be sent inside the temple premise. The main
door of the temple should then be shut and nobody should try to enter
the temple till the idols are ready. One more thing to be kept in mind
is that all of you should keep on beating drums so that nobody hears the
sound emanating from the carving of the idols. Anybody, who hears this
sound, is doomed to become deaf. Similarly, anybody who tries to see the
act of idols being made shall loose his power of sight.'
elaborate arrangements as per the instructions given by the heavenly
voice. The old carpenter was sent inside and the main door of the temple
shut. On the fifteenth day, Lord Jagannath manifested himself along with
Balbhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan chakra. Once again heavenly voice was
heard which said--' O king! Get all the four idols coloured on the basis
of the complexion of the respective deities. The colour of Jagannath's
idol should be dark blue similar to that of dark clouds. Similarly, the
idol of Balbhadra should be coloured in white just like his fair
complexion. The colour of goddess Subhadra's idol should be reddish just
like the rising Sun. Sudarshan chakra should be painted deep red. Either
the descendants of Vishvavasu or your royal priest are entitled to
participate in the consecration ceremony of the idols in future events.'
again following the instructions, got the idols coloured in the way
specified by the heavenly voice. After that, all the four idols were
adorned with beautiful apparels and ornaments. Now, they really looked
divine in their new looks. Looking at the divine idols of Jagannath,
Indradyumna went into trance. Seeing his condition, Narad advised not to
waste time and seek any boon from lord Jagannath because the sole
purpose for which Jagannath had manifested himself was to bless him and
to fulfill his wish. Indradyumna immediately realized what Narad meant
to say. He eulogized lord Jagannath in the following way--' O Jagannath!
Help me out from the sorrows of this world. I don't aspire for anything
Subsequently, Narad and the whole
entourage, which had come along with king Indradyumna worshipped lord
Jagannath, Balbhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan chakra. Lord Jagannath was
worshipped amidst the chanting of dwadashakshar mantra while Jagannath
was worshipped with Purush sukta. Similarly, Subhadra and Sudarshan
chakra were worshipped amidst the chanting of Devisutra and vedic verses
respectively. Finally, donations were made to the brahmins and everybody
was sent off with respect.
King Indradyumna was anxious to
get performed the rituals of consecration as soon as possible, so he
asked Narad--' I am not aware of the proper rituals that are employed in
the consecration of an idol. I need your help in this regard.'Narad then
made a list of articles required for the consecration of idols and
instructed Indradyumna to make arrangements for all those items. He also
instructed the king to get constructed a grand palace for Lord Brahma,
who was supposed to arrive shortly to perform the consecration ceremony.
Narad said--' Get constructed three chariots for all the three deities.
The chariot meant for lord Jagannath should have a mast on its top with
the figure of Garuda on it. Similarly, Balbhadra's chariot should have a
mast with a plough drawn on it whereas Subhadra's chariot should have a
mast with a beautiful lotus drawn on it. The number of horses pulling
the chariots of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra should be Sixteen,
fourteen and twelve respectively.'
It did not take much
time to construct the three chariots as per the instructions given by
Narad. Very soon lord Brahma arrived there, accompanied by all the
deities, to perform the consecration of the four idols. On seeing Lord
Brahma, Indradyumna's joys knew no bounds and he paid his obeisance to
the creator. Lord Brahma said--' See how fortunate you are. All the
deities and sages have come here to help you in your cause.'
Lord Brahma then
performed the rituals of consecration on the auspicious day of ashtami
of the bright half of the hindu month Vaishakh. The day was Thursday and
the Nakshatra was Pushya.
Dwelling on length about the
auspicious days on which Rath Yatra should be taken out, sage Jaimini
told the assembled sages--' The combination of 'Teej' falling in the
month of Vaishakh (bright half) and Rohini nakshatra, is considered to
be extremely auspicious. A king should get constructed three chariots on
the above mentioned day. The entire path along which the chariots as
well as the procession is supposed to pass should be decorated with
beautiful flowers and banners. On the second day of the bright half of
the hindu month-Ashadh, all the three deities are worshipped and
subsequently installed on their respective chariots, which are then
pulled by the devotees. The procession then passes through the major
routes of the city so that people can pay their obeisance. After
reaching Gundicha Nagar, the procession should stay there for seven days
on the bank of Bindu teerth. On the eighth day, all the chariots should
begin their return journey. This famous Rath yatra lasts for nine days.
Once, sage Shaunak
asked Sutji about the means, which enabled human beings to attain
salvation in Kaliyuga.
Sutji recounted a tale -- Once,
Kartikeya had posed the same question to kartikeya. Emphasizing on the
importance of pilgrimages, Lord Shiva had told him that in kaliyuga
anybody could attain salvation by going on pilgrimage to holy places.
Giving names of some prominent holy places and rivers, Lord Shiva had
told Kartikeya that some of them were capable of fulfilling any wish of
a man, while some gave salvation. The names of some prominent rivers
Lord Shiva had given were Ganga, Godavari, Narmada, Tapti, Yamuna,
Kshipra, Gautami, Kaushiki, Kaveri, Tamraparni, Chandrabhaga, Sindhu,
Gandaki, Sarswati, etc. According to Shiva all these rivers were not
only capable of fulfilling any wish of a man but also giving salvation.
Naming some prominent holy places, Lord Shiva had told Kartikeya that
Ayodhya, Dwarka, Kashi, Mathura, Avanti, Kurukshetra, Ramteerth, Kanchi,
Purushottam kshetra, Pushkar kshetra, Varah kshetra and Badrikashram
were capable of liberating a man from the sorrows of this world.'
Lord Shiva had told
Kartikeya-- 'Anybody who goes on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya becomes
absolved of all his sins. Lord Hari dwells at Dwarka and does not
abandon it even for a moment. A devotee, who takes a holy dip in river
Gomti and then pays obeisance to lord Krishna, attains salvation even if
he is ignorant. In the same manner, one who takes a bath in the holy
Panchganga at Varanasi, becomes free from the cycles of birth and death.
Anybody, who goes on a pilgrimage to Kashi and pays obeisance to lord
Vishwanath, is freed from all the bondage of this world. Great
importance has been attached to the performance of 'tarpan' at
Vishramteerth and anybody who performs the rituals of tarpan with sesame
seeds and water, his ancestors are freed from the tortures of the hell.
Taking a holy dip in Kotiteerth at Avantipuri, in the hindu month of
Vaishakh and worshipping lord Mahakaleshwar too absolves a man of all
his sins. Donating gold either at Kurukshetra or Ramteerth, on a solar
eclipse day, helps a man in attaining salvation. Going on a pilgrimage
to Purushottam kshetra and worshipping lord Jagannath after taking a
holy dip in Markandeya sarovar, bestows incomparable virtues. Badrinath,
the dwelling place of lord Vishnu, is considered to be the supreme place
of pilgrimage and even its remembrance is capable of giving salvation.
Virtues attained by the performance of various deeds (tapa, yoga,
samadhi), appear to be insignificant as compared to virtues attained by
going on a pilgrimage to Badrikashram.
Kartikeya asked lord
Shiva--' How did this sacrosanct place originate? Who is the presiding
deity of this place?'
replied--' Badrikashram is an eternal city and lord Narayan is its
presiding deity. A mere sight of Badrikashram is enough to free a man
from all the bondage of life. There are numerous other holy places
situated in the vicinity, Kedarnath being one of them.'
To emphasize the significance of
Badrikashram, lord Shiva narrated the following tale to Kartikeya--' In
Satyayuga, lord Vishnu existed in his physical form at Badrikashram for
the benediction of human beings. But, in Tretayuga, only sages had the
privilege of perceiving him with the help of yoga. At the advent of
Dwapar things changed drastically and lord Vishnu just disappeared from
Badrikashram. Deities became worried and asked lord Brahma about the
reason that made lord Vishnu disappear. Even lord Brahma had no answer
to this question. Thinking that lord Vishnu must have gone to Ksheer
sagar-his eternal abode, all the deities led by Brahma went there. They
eulogized Vishnu, who emerged from the Ksheer sagar. But, none of the
deities except lord Brahma could see him. Lord Vishnu told Brahma that
the main reason why he disappeared from Badrikashram was the flawed
intelligence and arrogance of the deities. Brahma informed the deities
whatever Vishnu had told him. All the deities were ashamed of themselves
and returned to heaven with long faces. Feeling pity on the deities, I
(Shiva) disguised myself as a sanyasi and carried lord Vishnu's idol
from Naradteerth to Badrikashram and installed it over there to uplift
the sagging morale of the deities. This is how lord Vishnu once again
graced Badrikashram with his presence. Even a grain of 'prasad' had at
Badrikashram is enough to liberate a man from all his sins.
Once, on being asked by some
sages about the significance of the hindu month- Kartik, Sutji narrated
the following tale-- 'Once, Narad had asked lord Brahma the same
question. At that time Lord Brahma had revealed to Narad that 'Kartik'
was supreme among all the months just as lord Vishnu is supreme among
all the deities and Badrikashram is the crown of all the places of
pilgrimage. According to Brahma all these three would have greater
significance in Kaliyuga as compared to any other yuga. Kartik is very
dear to Lord Vishnu and any virtuous deed done during this month never
goes without being rewarded. One important characteristic of this month
is that all the deities live in the proximity of human beings for the
entire period of the month and accept everything that is offered to
them. Penance done in this month or donations made during this month is
believed to give Imperishable virtues. There is a special significance
of donating food grains during this month. Similarly, worshipping
Shaligram during this month also has great significance. Observing
austerities during this month or worshipping lord Vishnu with
appropriate rituals liberates one's ancestors from the tortures of the
hell. Worshipping lord Vishnu with petals of Lotus helps him to become
absolved of all the sins committed in his previous many births.
Worshipping lord Vishnu with tulsi leaves helps one in getting cured of
Continuing with the description
of the significance of various months, Sutji said-- 'Once, while lord
Vishnu was engrossed in his 'yoganidra' at Shwetdweepa, lord Brahma
arrived there and requested him to describe the importance of
Margashirsh. Lord Vishnu had told him that a devotee aspiring for
unification with him, must observes austerities during this month.
Describing the proper method of observing austerities lord Vishnu had
said that one should get up early in the morning and after performing
the ritualistic 'achaman', he should remember me by chanting my one
thousand names. Next, he should take his bath according to the rituals
mentioned in the scriptures, as follows-- He should remove some soil
from near the roots of tulsi plant and pluck few tulsi leaves. Holding
both the things in his hand, he should chant either Gayatri mantra or
the mantra, 'om namo narayanay', so that they become sanctified. While
taking his bath, it is a must to eulogize Ganga in the following way- '
O Ganga! Though have manifested from Vishnu's feet and hence called
Vaishnavi. Myself being a devotee of lord Vishnu, you should protect me
from all the possible sins I am likely to commit in my whole life.' A
devotee should say this prayer for seven times and take the same number
of holy dips in the river. He should then put on tidy clothes and
perform 'tarpan' in the names of all the deities sages as well as
Continuing with his tales, Sutji
said--' Once, king Ambarish asked Narad about the reason why lord Vishnu
had special liking for the hindu month-Vaishakh. Narad's answer was that
Vaishakh had been given special privilege by lord Brahma himself and is
believed to fulfill all the wishes of a man. No other month is as dear
to Lord Vishnu as Vaishakh. The sin raises its ugly head only till a
devotee has bathed before sunrise in the month of Vaishakh but once he
has taken his bath all his sins just disappears. This is also the period
when all the deities are believed to dwell in all the rivers, ponds,
lakes, apart from the holy rivers. Great significance has been attached
to doing charitable deeds in this month, especially providing water to
thirsty. Similarly, donating certain articles like umbrella, fans,
shoes, all have their own importance. One who gets constructed an inn
for the comfort of the travelers and provides water to them attains
imperishable virtues. No charitable deed can ever match the virtue of
donating food grains and one who accomplishes this great act can be
aptly called a 'Pita' (Father).
Once, on being asked by sage
Bhardwaj and few others about the grandeur of Ayodhya, Sutji replied--'
Ayodhya, a sacrosanct city is based on the bank of river Saryu. It is
the very city where the famous king Ikshavaku ruled once upon a time.
The term Ayodhya means unconquerable and consists of three root letters:
a- symbolizing Brahma, y-symbolizing Vishnu and dh-symbolizing Rudra. It
is a place where lord Vishnu has his abode for eternity and does not
leave it even for a moment. According to the scriptures Ayodhya is based
on Sudarshan chakra. It is well expanded in the radius of one yojan. Its
eastern boundary stretches up to one yojan from a place called
'Sahastradhan'. Similarly, the western front stretches up to one yojan
from a place called 'Sama', the southern up to one yojan from the bank
of Saryu and its northern boundary up to one yojan starting from the
bank of river Tamsa. In ancient times, a brahmin named Vishnu Sharma had
performed an austere penance at Ayodhya. Lord Vishnu had appeared after
becoming pleased by him and had created a holy place by digging up the
earth with his Sudarshan chakra. Anybody, who takes a holy dip in
Chakrateerth becomes absolved of all his sins.
contains 8 sections.
Once, Shaunak and
few other sages asked Sutji as to how could a man become free from the
bondage of the world. They also inquired whether there was an existence
of any such holy place capable of liberating a man from heinous of sin.
Sutji replied--' Ramteerth is
supreme among all the places of pilgrimage. A mere sight of this holy
place is enough to free a man from the bondage of this mortal world.
Going on a pilgrimage to Rameshwar gives virtues similar to what is
attained by performing all the yagyas. One, who takes a holy dip at Setu
Rameshwar, attains to Vishnuloka. Merely by sleeping at the sea shore of
Rameshwar a man gets absolved of heinous of sins like brahmhatya, etc. A
man is blessed if his remains are consigned to the holy waters at
Rameshwar after his death. Scriptures say that five types of sins are as
grave as the sin of brahmahatya--
One, who criticizes
A selfish person who
cooks food only for himself,
One who destroys
well laid path making it difficult for people to tread upon,
One who accepts food
from a 'chandal' and
One who sells food
grains to a chandal. But, all these just disappears once the sinner
All the sages were curious to
know about the holy places in the vicinity of Rameshwar. Sutji
replied--Sri Ram replied went into exile accompanied by Sita, his
consort and his younger brother, Laxman. Ravan, the demon king who ruled
over Lanka deceitfully abducted Sita. Subsequently, Sri Ram befriended
Sugreev and killed Bali, who harboured enemity against him. Sugreev sent
monkeys in all directions to find out where Sita had been kept by Ravan.
Later on Sri Ram reached Mahendra Parvat accompanied by Laxman, Hanuman,
Sugreeva, Jambavan, Nal and may more brave warriors. They stayed for a
brief period at Chakrateerth, where Vibhishan came to see Sri Ram.
Eventually Vibhishan was nominated the king of all the demons by Sri Ram
to the great displeasure of his brother Ravan.
Sri Ram and his army
faced an uphill task of reaching Lanka for they had to cross the ocean,
which lay as a great barrier between them and their destination. Samudra
(ocean) revealed to Sri Ram that Nala had divine powers and whatever he
would throw in the Ocean would not sink down but keep on floating. Nala
tried to check the authenticity of Samudra's statement by throwing a
huge rock into the ocean, as he himself was not aware of his powers. To
the sheer amazement of everybody present there the rock started floating
on the surface of the ocean instead of sinking down. All the rest of the
monkeys tried to emulate Nala's feat by throwing huge rocks into the
ocean and to their own surprise found that the rocks did not sink. This
was how a bridge was built and across the ocean which made it possible
for Sri Ram and his army to cross the ocean. Then length of Setu
Rameshwar Bandh is hundred yojan and it is ten yojan broad. There are
many holy places situated on the bridge prominent among which are
Chakra-teerth, Paap-vinashan teerth, Sita -sarovar, Mangal- teerth,
Amrit-watika, Brahma-kund, Hanumat- kund, Agastya-teerth, Ram-teerth,
Laxman-teerth, Jaya-teerth, Laxmi-teerth, Agni-teerth, Shiv-teerth,
Shankh-teerth, Yamuna-teerth, Ganga-teerth, Koti-teerth, Manas-teerth
and Dhanushkoti teerth.
Describing how Sri Ram had
installed Rameshwar linga, Sutji said--' After killing Ravan, Sri Ram
enthroned Vibhishan as the king of Lanka. While returning to Ayodhya he
made a brief stop at Gandhamadan mountain. Since the thought of having
killed a brahmin (Ravan) kept on tormenting him, he decided to atone for
his sins. So, he installed the idol of Rameshwar linga at Rameshwar
setu. Rameshwar linga is so sacrosanct that all the holy places, sages
and ancestors are believed to exist within the temple premise of
Maheshwar linga. Being installed by Sri Ram himself, this particular
linga has special significance attached to it. One who goes on a
pilgrimage to this holy place is certain to attain salvation even if he
were a 'Mlechha' (born in a low caste).
Once, sage Vyas went
to meet Yudhisthira, who requested him to describe the significance of
Sage Vyas replied-- ' O king!
Once, Dharmaraj-Yudhisthira did an austere penance to please lord Shiva.
As usual, Indra became scarred because he thought that Dharmaraj was
doing penance with the intention of acquiring Indraloka. He and other
deities went to seek the help of lord Brahma, who did not have any clue.
So, all of them went to Kailash mountain to seek Lord Shiva's help.
Since Shiva was aware of Dharma's motive, he explained to the deities
that there was nothing to worry about. But, Indra was not satisfied and
the thought of loosing his kingdom continued to torment him.
instructed a beautiful Apsara named Vardhini to go to the place where
Dharma was doing penance and disturb him by corrupting his thoughts.
Vardhini went to the place where Dharma was engrossed in his penance and
was successful in disturbing him. When Dharma opened his eyes he found a
beautiful Apsara in front of him. Vardhini asked Dharma--' O Lord! What
is the objective with which you are doing such an austere penance? Being
an embodiment of virtuosity yourself, you prevail in the whole world.
So, in a sense you already the lord of the world - what else do you
Dharma told Vardhini
that he was doing penance with the objective of having a divine glimpse
of lord Shiva. Vardhini informed him that Indra was scarred of losing
his kingdom and hence had sent her to disturb his penance. Dharma was
pleased by her truthfulness and wanted to reward her for that. Vardhini
expressed her desire of having her abode in Indraloka for eternity and
also of having a place of pilgrimage named on her. Dharma blessed her
after which she returned to Indraloka.
Dharma once again
engrossed himself in penance. Ultimately, Lord Shiva became pleased and
appeared before him. ' Ask for any boon and it shall be bestowed to
you', said Lord Shiva. Dharmaraj replied -' O lord! I want this place to
be named after me. I also request you to grace this place by your
presence.' Lord Shiva blessed him and fulfilled both his wishes. This
was how Dharmakshetra got its name. Subsequently, lord Shiva appeared in
the form of Dharmeshwar linga in accordance with the second wish of
Dharmaraj. After his penance was over, Dharma also had created a holy
reservoir over there which is believed to absolve a man of all his sins.
On being asked by
Yudhisthira about the life-style of people in Kaliyuga, sage Vyas
replied-- 'There will be a widespread prevalence of sinful deeds and
lack of moral values in Kaliyuga. People would become untruthful and
would become critical of revered sages. Moral values would decline to
such an extent their minds would be preoccupied by nothing else but the
thought of sex. In Kaliyuga women will feel most insecure and even her
near and dear ones would become untrustworthy - men belonging to their
own gotras would try to exploit her. Brahmins would be criticized
because of their inappropriate conduct- They would become arrogant,
would start trading their knowledge and would not follow the teachings
of the Vedas.
Kshatriyas would become cowards and a mere reference of battle would be
enough to scare them. Majority of people would indulge in immoral deeds
like gambling and consume variety of intoxication. They would always
look out for an opportunity to grab other's wealth by deceitful means.
Married women would not fulfill their obligation towards their husbands.
Cows would give lesser milk and trees would bear fewer fruits. Young
girls would become pregnant at the raw age of eleven years. Brahmins, by
their conduct would undermine the importance of holy places and would
indulge in excessive eating and drinking. In Kaliyuga, people would not
give any importance to caste system. Kings would loose their kingdoms
and Mlechhas would become the rulers. Treachery, enemity and disrespect
towards elders would become the norms of the day.
Once, on being asked by Narad
about the importance of Chaturmasya, lord Brahma said--' Chaturmasya is
the period of four months during which lord Vishnu is believed to take
rest in ksheer-sagar. So quite naturally, all the oceans, rivers and
ponds are believed to attain divinity due to the presence of Lord Vishnu
in ksheer-sagar during this period. This is the reason why great
importance has been attached to taking holy bath during this period. A
devotee, who observes austerities related with Lord Vishnu during these
four months, becomes absolved of all his sins. All the deities are
believed to dwell within Lord Vishnu during this period. Going on
pilgrimage to holy places and taking holy dips in rivers bestow
A devotee must not
forget to perform the rituals of 'Tarpan' after taking his daily bath.
He should also observe abstinence and avoid indulging in sensual
pleasures during this period of four months. There is special
significance of making donations during this period, especially donating
Continuing with the importance of
austerities observed during Chaturmas, Lord Brahma said--' Human-beings
are bundle of desires and long for worldly things. So, there is a great
importance of abstinence and forsaking things, which one is very fond
of. One who relinquishes his most favourite thing during this period
gets the same thing in abundance in the next world. A householder, who
renounces his family life for the sake of his devotion during this
period, becomes free from the tortures of recurring births and deaths.
Similarly, relinquishing the use of chilly in one's food during this
period helps him to acquire great fortune. Renouncing silk cloths during
this period gives imperishable joy. One should avoid wearing black
cloths during this period. Combing and shaving are prohibited during
A devotee should
worship Lord Vishnu on the auspicious day of Kark sankranti. Normally
black plums are offered to Lord Vishnu while worshipping. Celibacy is
believed to be the best austerity and anybody who observes it during the
period of chaturmas, never experiences sorrow in his life.
Once, on being asked
by Narad about the proper methods of performing Shodash upachar rituals,
lord Brahma said --'In normal circumstances, when lord Vishnu is
worshipped by employing the rituals of Shodashopachar it is considered
as 'Tapa'. But, when the same rituals of shodashopachar are employed to
worship lord Vishnu during chaturmas, it is considered as 'Mahatapa'. In
the same manner, all the austerities that are observed during Chaturmas
attain greater importance.
Lord Brahma then went on to
elucidate the proper method of performing the rituals of
'Shodashopachar'--' "A particular 'mahasukta' of Yajurveda consisting of
sixteen ' richas are chanted while worshipping Lord Vishnu. Similarly
richas like 'sahastra-sheersha purushah' and fifteen others are
considered to be most appropriate for the worship of almighty Vishnu.
First of all, a devotee should perform the ritual of 'nyas' by mentally
associating all the sixteen richas with different organs of the body as
per the instructions given in the smritis. The same rituals of 'nyas'
are then performed on the idol of lord Vishnu or Shaligram. After that
an invocation is made to Lord Vishnu by chanting the first richa of
Purush sukta--'Sahashtra sheersha Purushah' with a slight modification
i.e. by adding 'om' in the beginning of the mantra. Similarly, Lord
Vishnu and other 'Parshads' should be installed at the place of worship
by chanting the second richa- 'Purush evedam'. With the chanting of
third richa, Lord Vishnu's lotus feet are washed after which 'ardhya' is
offered with the holy water collected from all the seven seas and other
holy rivers. Subsequently, the ritual of 'achaman' is performed amidst
the chanting of fifth richa. The ritual of ablution is then performed in
which the idol of Lord Vishnu is bathed amidst the chanting of the sixth
richa. The idol is adorned with beautiful apparels amidst the chanting
of seventh richa.
Similarly, a sacred
thread is offered to Lord Vishnu amidst the chanting of eighth richa
while sandalwood paste is smeared on the idol amidst the chanting of
ninth richa. Subsequently, amidst the chanting of tenth, eleventh,
twelfth and thirteen richas, flowers, incense, lighted lamp and naivedya
are offered to the deity respectively. Naivedya should consist of
cereals. While performing 'aarti' the fourteenth richa should be
chanted. A devotee should then circumambulate around the idol amidst the
chanting of fifteenth richa. Imagining himself as an inseparable part of
lord Vishnu, he should meditate amidst the chanting of the sixteenth
contains 5 sections.
Once, sage Vyas
narrated the following tale to all the assembled sages-- ' Once, while
wandering about, sage Narad arrived at Vindhyachal mountain. He was
received with great honour and respect by Vindhyachal mountain. But,
when the time arrived for Narad to take his leave, he took a deep sigh,
which made Vindhyachal extremely perplexed and he asked Narad if
anything was wrong. Narad replied--' Your rival-Meru mountain is
superior to you in every respect and this is the fact I am lamenting
about. My deep sigh is just the indication of my worried state of mind.'
was filled with inferiority complex and started waiting for an
opportunity when he could prove his superiority to Meru mountain. He
thought--' Perhaps Narad was right for even Lord Surya has great respect
for Meru's might and this is the reason why he circumambulates my
adversary. If I am able to beat Meru in height then may be Lord Surya
would start circumambulating me and this way I shall prove my
superiority to Meru.'
started increasing his height and in a short time its peaks became
invisible. The fallout of this amazing incident proved to be quite
catastrophic for the world because even Lord Surya was left stranded at
a particular point in the horizon. As a result, one part of the earth
became too hot for any life to exist. Similarly, the other half of the
earth became unbearably cold. The time became still and everything went
haywire in the world.
All the deities
became extremely worried and went to Lord Brahma to seek his help. Lord
Brahma advised them to go to Kashi and seek help from sage Agastya.
Deities were pleased at their good fortune of getting a chance to visit
Kashi. Deities, after reaching Kashi paid a visit to 'Manikarnika
teerth' and took their bath. Subsequently, they went to Vishwanath
temple and worshipped Lord Vishwanath. At last, they reached the
hermitage of Agastya where he was busy worshipping a self made
Shivalinga. The entire hermitage was crowded with young pupils of
Agastya. After the pleasantries having been exchanged, sage Agastaya
asked the deities about the purpose of their visit.
When Agastya learnt
of the problem created by Vindhyachal, he agreed to help the deities
despite fully aware of the fact that once he left Kashi it would not be
possible for him to see his dearest Kashi once again at least in his
present birth. Before leaving for Vindhyachal, he sought permission from
Lord Bhairav. He then reached the place where Vindhyachal had obstructed
the path of Surya. Lopamudra, his wife accompanied him.
found Agastya starring angrily at him he became scarred and immediately
minimized his size. Sage Agastya was pleased that his objective had been
achieved without making any effort but he knew quite well that once he
left the place Vindhyachal would regain his mammoth size. So he decided
to do something so that Vindhyachal could not obstruct the path of
Surya. He worked out a plan according to which he instructed Vindhyachal
to wait for him until he returned after accomplishing his pilgrimage.
Vindhyachal agreed assuming that Agastya would return in a short time.
his good fortune of escaping Agastya's wrath, which could otherwise have
threatened his very existence. Sage Agastya then went away never to
return and Vindhyachal kept on waiting for his arrival. This way, the
path being cleared, Surya was once again able to move freely on its
orbit without any problem and as a result normalcy returned to the
On the other hand,
Agastya who was not at all happy leaving his dearest Kashi was desperate
to get there back as soon as possible. But, he knew that his wish was
going to remain unfulfilled. While wandering about, he reached Kolapur
where he worshipped goddess Mahalaxmi. When goddess Mahalaxmi appeared,
he asked her whether he would ever be able to reach Kashi in his present
life. Goddess Mahalaxmi replied--' Your wishes will be fulfilled in the
coming nineteenth dwapar, when you would incarnate as Vyas and would
contribute a great deal in the propagation of the Vedas and Puranas.
There is a sacrosanct place of Kartikeya not very far from here. Go
there and pay your obeisance to Lord Kartikeya and he would unravel the
mysterious aspects of Kashi to you.'
Sage Agastya and his
wife Lopamudra then went to the mountain called Sri Shail, where
Kartikeya lived at that time.
After travelling for
sometime, both of them arrived near Sri Shail mountain. Pointing his
finger towards the mountain, Agastya told his wife--'One, who has a good
fortune of seeing the peaks of this mountain, never takes a second
Lopamudra replied in
amazement--' If the sight of this mountain was capable of giving
salvation then why do you long for Kashi?'
Sage Agastya then
went on to clarify that there were many other holy places capable of
giving salvation. Prayag is one such place. It is capable of bestowing
all the four 'Purusharth' to man-Dharma, Arth, Kaam and Moksha. Apart
from Prayag, there are many more holy places like Naimisharanya,
Kurukshetra, Gangadwar, Avanti, Ayodhya, Mathura, Dwarka, Badrikashram,
Purushottam kshetra which are capable of giving salvation to a man. But
none of these places can match Kashi because Kashi is incomparable.
Sage Agastya and his wife
Lopamudra circumambulated Sri Shail Mountain and climbed up Lohit
mountain where they found Lord Kartikeya. Both of them eulogized
kartikeya by singing vedic hymns in his praise. Lord kartikeya was
extremely pleased by their devotion and said- O revered sage! You can
understand Kashi's importance by the fact that, though I am capable of
reaching any place according to my wish but still, here I am doing this
austere penance for the attainment of Kashi. I must confess that I have
not been successful in my efforts till date. If any body thinks that he
can attain to kashi just by performing austerities than he is totally
wrong. Kashi can never be attained to until and unless one has the
blessing of Lord mahadeva. And one who is fortunate enough to have
reached Kashi must under no circumstances leave it till he is alive. O
Agastya! You are blessed because you had the good fortune of residing at
Kashi. Please allow me to touch your body, which has acquired holiness
due to its proximity to Kashi.' Having said this, Kartikeya touched
different parts of agastya's body as if he were touching the sacred soil
Sage Agastya asked
Lord Kartikeya how the sacrosanct place, Kashi came into being. He also
asked how Kashi became famous as a place capable of giving salvation to
revealed to Agastya that once Parvati had asked Lord Shiva the same
question. Lord Shiva had told her--' At the time of deluge when every
thing had submerged in the ocean and darkness prevailed everywhere, only
BRAHM-the embodiment of truth existed at that time and nothing else.
BRAHM, the absolute truth is indescribable and inexpressible. No name
can be attributed to HIM. HE is the absolute truth, the ultimate
knowledge, the infinite, the omnipresent and the eternal bliss. Though
basically formless HE attained a form on account of HIS own wish. That
form is none other than me. Later on I created Prakriti from my body.
All three of us (Shiva, Parvati and Kashi) manifested simultaneously by
the grace of 'Aadi purush' (The Almighty God).'
Continuing with the
tale of Kashi's greatness, Kartikeya told Agastya-' There is no holy
place as dear to Lord Shiva as Kashi, which is not abandoned by him as
well as his consort-Parvati even at the time of deluge. Lord Shiva named
this holy place- Ananda van, because it gave immense joy to him.
Subsequently, Lord Shiva and goddess Jagdamba put a glance on the left
portion of their respective bodies as the result of which a divine
entity manifested himself who was none other than Lord Vishnu and who
was named Purushottam by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva after blessing
Purushottam went away. Later on, Lord Vishnu created a divine reservoir
with his sudarshan chakra and filled it up with his sweat. He then
engaged himself in an austere penance. Lord Shiva once again appeared
along with Parvati and blessed Vishnu by saying-' This holy place will
become famously known as Manikarnika because this is the very place
where I had once lost my diamond ear-ring.'
Lord Vishnu made a
request to Shiva --' May this place fulfill the wishes of those who seek
salvation. Since it is blessed with your eternal presence hence its
another name would be Kashi.'
Lord Shiva assured
Vishnu by saying- ' This sacrosanct place is very dear to me and no
event takes place here against my wish. Even if a person living here
happens to be a sinner he has nothing to fear because I protect him. One
who lives far from Kashi but remembers it with reverence becomes
absolved of all his sins.'
There is a
magnificent Shiva-linga at Kashi famously known as Kashi Vishwanath.
Here is situated one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Just as the Sun is
visible in the whole world despite its presence at a particular point in
the horizon, in the same manner Kashi has its influence throughout the
length and breadth of the world.
contains 9 sections.
Once, goddess Parvati requested
Shiva to describe the significance of Mahakaal teerth. Lord Shiva
replied-" Once, Sanatkumar- one of the manasputras of Lord Brahma had
gone to his father's abode, situated at a place near Meru mountain. Sage
Vyas arrived there and asked him the same question. Sanatkumar had
revealed to him that all kinds of sins loosed their evil influence at
Mahakaal teerth. He had also told him that it was called 'Peetha'
because Matrikas had their abode over there. Anybody, who is fortunate
of leaving his mortal body at this holy-place, is freed from the vicious
cycles of birth and death. This place is very dear to Lord Shiva and is
also called by various other names like Ekamrak-van, Mahakaal-van and
Once, lord Shiva
arrived at Mahakal forest with a skull in his hand. All the trees and
vegetation were delighted to find him in their midst. They requested
lord Shiva to remain their forever. Lord Shiva told them that it was not
possible for him to stay there forever but on being requested once again
agreed to stay there for at least a year. After one year, when the time
for departure came he released the skull from his hand as a memorial.
When lord Brahma came to know of
this incident, he instructed all the deities to reach Mahakal forest
without wasting any time so that a grand yagya could be performed at the
place where Shiva had left the skull. All the deities went to the said
place and worshipped Lord Shiva by employing the rituals of Pashupat
vrata, which Lord Brahma had taught them. Lord Shiva became pleased by
their devotion and said--' Perhaps you all are not aware that there was
a specific objective behind my act of releasing the skull from my hand.
This act of mine was done to protect your lives but it seems you are
unaware of its significance. In a way, all of you have already received
my blessings in advance for your deep devotion. What else do you wish
Deities were amazed
by Shiva's statements and were wondering what Shiva was trying to
convey. So, they requested Shiva to unravel the mystery so that they
could understand what he meant to say. Lord Shiva told them-' The
followers of Maya were planning to kill you while you were busy doing
penance but no one of you was aware of their evil motive. I came to know
about this in my deep state of meditation and dropped the skull from my
hand. As soon as the skull touched the ground a thunderous sound was
made as the result of which all the demons were killed instantaneously.'
All the deities
thanked Lord Shiva for protecting their lives. In course of time this
particular place became famous as Kapal mochan temple and is presently
situated in Ujjain.
Once, sage Vyas
requested Sanatkumar to reveal why Ujjainipuri was known by various
names like Kanakshringa, Kushasthali Avanti and Padmavati.
Once, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva arrived at Ujjainipuri in search of
Lord Vishnu, who had disappeared from his abode. To their pleasant
surprise they found Lord Vishnu staying there. Both of them requested
Vishnu to allow them to stay at Ujjainipuri and said-' O Lord! When did
you create such a magnificent place with golden mountain peaks? Allow us
to live in this beautiful city for we can not live in your separation.'
requested Brahma to make his abode in the northern part of the city
while Shiva was told to make southern part as his abode. Lord Vishnu
then told them-' Since you have referred to this place as a city of
golden mountain peaks therefore from now onwards it would become famous
as 'Kanchan Shringa' (golden peaks)'.
Sanat kumar then
went on to explain why Ujjainipuri was also called Kusha sthali-' Having
created the world, Lord Brahma requested Lord Vishnu to nurture it. Lord
Vishnu agreed on the condition that Lord Brahma provided him a pious
place on the earth from where he could perform his duty. Brahma then
picked up a handful of kusha grass and threw down on the earth. This way
Lord Vishnu performed his duty as the nurturer of the world sitting on
the seat of Kusha grass. This is the reason why this place came to be
known as Kusha sthali.'
Sanat kumar then
described how Ujjainipuri also came to be known as Avanti puri-' Once,
after being defeated by the demons, deities fled to Meru mountain. Later
on they went to Lord Brahma and sought his help. Lord Brahma took all
the deities to Lord Vishnu. Hardly had they reached the abode of Vishnu
and offered their obeisance, then they heard a heavenly voice- 'There is
a sacrosanct place called Kushasthali in the forest of Mahakal van. This
holy place is graced by the presence of Lord Mahadeva. Go there and
engage yourself in austerities and you will certainly become the master
of the heaven once again.'
the deities went to a place called Paishachmochan situated in
Kushasthali and engaged themselves in various austerities. As
prophesized by Vishnu, the deities indeed defeated the demons and became
the ruler of heaven. The term 'Avan' means 'the protector' and since it
had protected the deities hence it became famous as Avanti.
Sanat kumar also
described how Kushasthali also came to be known as Ujjaini-' Once, a
demon named Tripur did an austere penance to please Lord Brahma. When
Brahma appeared he expressed his wish of becoming immortal. Lord Brahma
fulfilled his wish as the result of which Tripur became arrogant and
started tormenting the deities. The deities sought the help of Lord
Shiva, who assured them that he would kill the demon. Subsequently, Lord
Shiva did kill Tripur with his most lethal weapon 'pashupat ashtra'
after a fierce battle. The place where this incident took place became
famous as Ujjaini because of the fierce battle fought between Shiva and
Continuing with the
tale which described the reason why Ujjainipuri also came to be known as
Padmavati, Sanatkumar told Vyas-' During the time of ocean churning
ambrosia had also emerged from the ocean bed along with many other
valuable things. The demons wanted to drink ambrosia so that they could
become immortal but the deities were against this idea. Very soon, the
arguments turned into a major dispute and both the sides started
quarrelling. Narad requested Lord Vishnu to do something in this regard.
Lord Vishnu disguised himself as a beautiful lady and was successful in
infatuating the demons. Finally, he started giving ambrosia to the
deities who after drinking it became immortal. A demon named Rahu was
sitting in the rows of the deities after changing his guise. Lord Vishnu
was unable to recognize Rahu and gave some ambrosia to him mistaking him
to be a deity. But, hardly had Rahu gulped down Ambrosia and before it
could reach down his throat, Vishnu severed his head. Rahu's head became
immortal as the result of ambrosia's influence. This incident had taken
place at Mahakal forest. Later on all the deities distributed the whole
wealth, which had emerged from the ocean among themselves. This is the
reason why Ujjainipuri came to be known as Padmavati because Padma is
another name of Goddess Laxmi.
Sanatkumar says-' Once, Parvati
requested Lord Shiva to explain why Avantipuri was considered so holy by
the devotees. Lord Shiva told her that it was so because there were
numerous holy places situated over there. Lord Shiva had told her-'
There are four holy rivers flowing through the different regions of
Avantipuri- Kshipra, Divya-nav, Neelganga and Gandhavati. There are
temples belonging to eighty four shiva lingas, eight Bhairavas, eleven
Rudras, Twelve Aadityas, six Ganeshas and twenty four goddesses. Not
only this there are also temples of Lord Vishnu and Brahma. Avantipuri
is spread in the radius of one yojan. There are temples belonging to ten
different incarnations of Lord Vishnu- Vasudev, Anant, Balaram,
Janardan, Narayan, Hrishikesh, Varah, Dharnidhar, Vaman and Lord Vishnu
himself taking rest on Sheshnag. Apart from these there are many other
holy places situated at Avantipuri, which enhances its sanctity and
reason why Narmada had to descend down to earth, Sutji narrated a tale
to the assembled sages-' Once, sage markandeya was taking rest at the
bank of river Narmada where Yudhisthira accompanied by Draupadi arrived
there. Yudhishthira curiously asked Markandeya about the reason he had
chosen the bank of Narmada as his resting place when there were so many
other holy places of greater significance. Sage Markandeya recounted a
tale, which said how some sages had requested king Pururva to bring down
river Narmada to the earth so that the whole world becomes liberated
from its sins. Describing the holiness of Narmada, sages had told
Pururava- ' The holy Narmada is capable of liberating the whole world
from its sin. So, you should find means so that Narmada descends down to
earth.' Later on, Pururva did an austere penance to please Shiva. When
Lord Shiva appeared before him, Pururva expressed his wish. Shiva
instructed Narmada to descend down to earth but she told him that she
needed a base for that to happen. Lord Shiva then instructed Paryank-
the son of Vindhyachal mountain to hold Narmada while she descended down
to earth. Prayank agreed to do that and this was how Narmada came down
on earth. Initially, the whole world was flooded with the waters of
Narmada but at the request of the deities she minimized her size.
Narmada blessed Pururva and instructed him to perform the rituals of
tarpan in the name of his ancestors so that they became liberated from
their sins. Pururva complied and thus by performing tarpan liberated all
Having finished his
tale, Markandeya told Yudhishthira that one who takes a holy dip in
Narmada attains virtues similar to that of performing Ashwamedh yagya.
Markandeya says-' O Yudhishthir!
King Purutkutsu was Samudra in his previous birth and had been cursed by
Brahma. The descent of Narmada on earth made the deities extremely
delighted and they requested Narmada to give them the privilege of
experiencing her divine touch. But, Narmada refused to give them that
privilege on the pretext that she was still unmarried and it would not
be proper for her to do so. All the deities then requested her to become
the consort of Purukutsu to which she agreed. This way, Narmada married
Purutkusu. After getting married, Purutkutsu requested her to liberate
his ancestors so that they could attain to heaven. Narmada readily
obliged and this way Purutkutsu contributed in his ancestors' departure
Manu ruled over Ayodhya during Swayambhuva manvantar. One day, while he
was going to sleep, he heard a peculiar sound, as if numerous small
bells were ringing. He was perplexed and could not ascertain the cause
of that sound so he asked sage Vashishth about this. Sage Vashishth made
a revelation by which Manu was startled. Sage Vashishth told him- There
is a holy place called Tripuri situated at the bank of river Narmada.
The sound that you heard last night emanated from the small bells
attached to number of aircraft kept on the roofs of the residences of
such people who are virtuous. O king! Only Narmada is capable of giving
salvation to lowly of sinners.'
Manu was highly
impressed and decided to go to Tripuri along with his whole clan. All of
them took holy dips in the Narmada and became liberated from all their
sins. Manu performed a grand yagya at the bank of Narmada to which all
the sages and hermits were invited. Narmada became pleased by his
devotion and expressed her willingness to fulfill any wish that Manu
Manu requested her
help in bringing down Ganga and other holy rivers to earth. Narmada
blessed him and said- In the first half of tretayuga, one of your
descendants named Bhagirath would accomplish this great feat of bringing
down holy Ganga to earth. In the second half of the same era other holy
rivers like Kalindi, Saraswati, Sarayu, and Mahabhaga would also
Yudhishthir-' Sage Jamdagni was a great devotee of Shiva and he lived in
Narmadapur. He spent his day chanting mantras in the praise of Lord
Shiva. Once, he performed an austere penance, which lasted for a month.
Ultimately, Shiva manifested himself from the Siddheshwar Linga and
appeared before him. Lord Shiva asked Jamdagni to ask for any thing he
wished for. Jamdagni expressed his desire to have Kaamdhenu so that he
could perform his rituals and other religious obligations without any
problem. Lord Shiva blessed Jamdagni and disappeared. The next moment,
Jamdagni found Kaamdhenu standing in front of his hermitage.
Now, Jamdagni got
everything that he wished for. This way, he was a happy and contented
life until one fateful day when he was killed by a greedy king named
Kartaveerya, who subsequently took Kaamdhenu along with him. While the
greedy king was still on his way, Kaamdhenu cursed him that very soon
not only he but the whole caste of Kshatriya would be liquidated by
Parshuram- Jamdagni's son, as punishment for having committed such a
ghastly sin of killing an innocent sage. After cursing Kartaveerya,
Kaamdhenu went to her original abode-the heaven. Later on, when
Parshuram learnt of his father's slaying, he liquidated Kartaveerya and
the whole caste of Kshatriya as had been prophesized by Kaamdhenu.
requested Markandeya to describe what a sinner had to go through in
Yamaloka and also that what kind of a person should be considered as the
most ghastly sinner.
' Donating food to needy people is an extremely virtuous deed and there
is no virtuous deed greater than this. A person who donates cereals can
be aptly called 'Annadata'- one who provides food. One who has never
donated cereals in his lifetime is definite to go to hell and has to
tread an arduous path leading to it that is ridden with prickly thorns,
pointed nails and other sharp objects. The entire path leading to hell
is extremely dark and covered with large pits. The path is also covered
with unbearably hot sand spilled all over the place. The sinner is
forcibly taken by the Yamdoots despite their reluctance. The sinners
repent for the sins they have committed but it is of no use to them, as
they will have to reap the fruits of their evil deeds. They have to
undergo all sorts of painful experience- they are forced to pass through
fire and pits full of filth.
Those sinners who have atoned for
their sins are not treated so harshly by the Yamdoots. After they appear
before Yamraj, Chitragupta reminds them of all the sins they had
committed. Thereafter, Yamraj orders his attendants to purify the
sinners by putting them into the ocean of the Hell. There are
Twenty-eight types of hells- Atighora, Raudra, Ghortama, Dukhjanani,
Ghorrupa, Tarantara, Bhayanaka, Kaalratri, Ghatotkata, Chanda,
Mahachanda, Chndakolahala, Prachanda, Varagnika, Jaghanya, Avaraloma,
Bhishni, Nayika, Karala, Vikarala, Vajravinshti, Asta, Panchkona,
Sudirgha, Parivartula, Saptabhauma, Ashtabhauma and Deerghamaya. Each of
the latter hell is more horrific than the former.Sinners have to undergo
unbearable pain and sufferings in the hell. They are tied up by very hot
iron chains and hanged down from trees. Yamdoots attach hot and heavy
iron balls to their feet and thrash them with hot iron rods. They are
then put into wells of filth. The tongue of a liar is rooted out with
brute force and a person, who shows disrespect to his elders and
teachers, his mouth is filled with hot sands and boiling oil. Similarly
immoral women, who do not fulfill their obligation towards their
husbands, are thrown into a horrific hell named Lohakumbh. O
Yudhishthir! A man's life is too short and uncertain. One is not sure
when his final call would come. So, one should try to lead a virtuous
life to the best of his ability.'
contains 2 sections.
Sutji once narrated the following
tale to the assembled sages- In ancient times there lived a mighty king
named Trishanku. He belonged to Suryavanshi dynasty. One day, he asked
sage Vashishth whether there was any such Yagya by performing which, he
would be entitled to go to heaven with his physical form. Sage Vashishth
laughed at his naive query and told him that there was no such Yagya by
performing which a man could go to the heaven with his mortal body. But,
Trishanku was not satisfied by Vashishth's answer and so he went to ask
the same question to Vashishth's sons who were one hundred in number.
But even they corroborated their father's statement. Trishanku got
infuriated and threatened them that he would appoint somebody else as
his royal priest to get the same yagya performed as they all lacked the
required knowledge and competence. Vashishth's sons also got angry and
cursed him to become a 'chandal' (a low caste person). The next moment
Trishanku indeed became a 'chandal' and was so much ashamed of himself
that he decided to go to the forest after relinquishing his throne. He
called his son -Harishchandra and narrated the whole tale of his misery.
Before going to the forest he appointed Harishchandra as his successor.
One day, while
wandering in the forest, Trishanku met sage Vishwamitra and narrated his
miserable tale to him. Since Vishwamitra was a competitor of Vashishth,
he took it as a golden opportunity to prove his superiority to his
adversary. So, he assured Trishanku that he had the requisite power to
send anybody to heaven and said- ' I shall help you perform a grand
yagya, which would allow you to attain to the heaven with your mortal
body. But before that you will have to go on a pilgrimage so that you
become pure once again.' Both Vishwamitra and Trishanku set out on a
pilgrimage and reached 'Arbudachal' where they met sage Markandeya.
After the pleasantries were over, Markandeya asked Vishwamitra about
Trishanku, who was standing quietly. Vishwamitra revealed everything to
Markandeya and said - I had taken a vow not to take rest until Trishanku
got absolved of the evil influence of the curse given by Vashishth's
sons'. I have not achieved success in my objective till date, so I have
decided to renounce the world.
in such desperation, Markandeya consoled him and instructed him to go to
Haatkeshwar where taking a holy dip in Patal Ganga would purify
Trishanku and solve all his problems.Both Vishwamitra and Trishanku
reached 'Haatkeshwar' and bathed in the holy Patal Ganga. To his
pleasant surprise, Trishanku found that he had indeed become purified
and all the lowly qualities had vanished within no time. Vishwamitra was
delighted as the first condition for Trishanku's departure to Heaven had
been met. He decided to go to Brahma loka to request Lord Brahma to be
present at the Yagya which was to be performed for the success of
Trishanku's departure to heaven. But before leaving, he instructed
Trishanku to make all the necessary preparations before his return.
Brahma loka, Vishwamitra narrated the whole story to Lord Brahma and
requested him to grace the Yagya by his presence. Lord Brahma told him
that it was just impossible for any mortal to attain to heaven in his
physical form but he added that if Trishanku performed the rituals
diligently then he would certainly attain to heaven after his death.
Vishwamitra did not like Brahma's words and challenged him that no power
on earth could stop him from sending Trishanku to Heaven.
instructed Trishanku to make preparation for the Yagya. After everything
was ready, Vishwamitra initiated Trishanku into the rituals of Yagya.
Trishanku made offerings in the sacrificial fire at the instruction of
Vishwamitra. The deities readily accepted all the offerings that were
made to them. This way, the yagya continued for twelve long years but
still there was no sign of Vishwamitra's desire of sending Trishanku to
heaven getting fulfilled. Trishanku became dejected and told him about
his decision to renounce everything and spend rest of his life doing
penance as chances of attaining to heaven appeared impossible. He was
also sure that Vashishth's sons would make fun of him if he went back to
his kingdom without achieving his objective. But, Vishwamitra consoled
him and said--' No power on earth can stop you from going to heaven with
your physical form. You just need to have some patience and your desire
will be certainly fulfilled.'
to please Lord Shiva as he was convinced that Shiva was the only deity
who could help him achieve his goal. He eulogized Shiva by singing hymns
of praise in his name. At last, Shiva appeared before him and expressed
his desire of fulfilling any wish of Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra requested
Shiva to bestow on him the power of creation just like Brahma had. Lord
Shiva blessed him and disappeared.Now, Vishwamitra was eager to test his
powers so he began creating different things. He created Sun, Moon,
Stars, oceans, Rivers, so on and so forth. In a short time the whole
world was filled by his creations resulting into chaos all over. As the
result of his creations, every natural thing became double in number-
one that had already been created by Brahma and the second created by
Vishwamitra. Now there existed two suns, two moons, so on and so forth.
Vishwamitra's amazing deeds had catastrophic fallout on the natural
course of events.
Deities were scarred
and rushed to seek the help of lord Brahma. They told Brahma that if
Vishwamitra was not stopped the whole world was doomed to destruction.
Lord Brahma appeared before Vishwamitra and ordered to stop doing
creations. Vishwamitra told him that he was ready to do that if Brahma
helped Trishanku attain to heaven with his mortal body. Seeing no other
option, Brahma accepted Vishwamitra's condition. This way, Vishwamitra
was able to send Trishanku physically to heaven with the help of Lord
contains 11 sections.
Once, while describing the origin
of puranas, Sutji told the sages who had assembled at Naimisharanya-'
Lord Shiva had first revealed the contents of Skanda puran to Parvati at
Kailash Mountain. Lord Brahma and few other deities were also present
there at the time when Shiva was narrating the tale. Subsequently,
Parvati narrated this tale to Skanda, Skanda to Nandi and Nandi to sages
like Sanak, etc. and finally Sanak narrated it to Vyas. Now I am going
to tell you the same tale which Vyas had narrated to me.'
Sutji began by
saying-' During ancient times, Lord Brahma once did a very austere
penance resulting into the manifestation of all the four Vedas. Later
on, all the eighteen Puranas too appeared from his mouth. These eighteen
Puranas were- Brahma Puran, Vishnu Puran, Shiva Puran, Bhagawat Puran,
Bhavishya Puran, Narad Puran, Markandeya Puran, Agni Puran, Brahma
vaivarta Puran, Linga Puran, Padma Puran, Varah Puran, Skanda Puran,
Vaman Puran, Kurma Puran, Matsya Puran, Garuda Puran and Vayu
Puran.Apart from these eighteen main Puranas, there are also similar
number of secondary Puranas known as Up- Puranas. These Up- Puranas are
- Sanat kumar, Narsimha, Skand, Shiva Dharma, Durvasa, Narad, Kapil,
Manu, Ushana, Brahmand, Varun, Kalika, Maheshwar, Saamb, Saura,
Parashar, Maarich and Bhargava.'
Sutji then went on
to describe the other features of each Purana-' Brahma Puran contains
ten thousand shlokas in it whereas Padma Puran contains fifty-five
thousand shlokas. Similarly, there are twenty-three thousand shlokas in
Vishnu Puran. Vayu Puran contains the tales related with Lord Shiva and
it contains twenty-four thousand shlokas in it. Similarly the remaining
Puranas like Bhagawat, Narad, Markandeya, Agni, Bhavishya,
Brhmavaivarta, Linga, Varah, Skanda, Vaman, Kurma, Matsya, Garuda and
Brahmanda Puran contain 18,000, 25,000, 9,000, 16,000, 14,500, 18,000,
11,000, 24,000, 81,100, 10,000, 17,000, 14,000, 18,000 and 12,200
Sutji told the sages
that all the Up- Puranas owe their origin to the main Puranas which are
eighteen in number. He also revealed to them that they could be
categorized into three main types- Satvik, Rajas and Tamas. Satvik
Puranas contain the tales of Lord Vishnu while Rajas Puranas contain the
tales of Brahma and Tamas Purans contain the tales of Agni and Rudra.
One of the chief characteristics of Puranas is that each of them is
divided into five sections- 'Sarg' (Description of how creation began),
'Pratisarga', 'Vansh' (Description of prominent dynasties), 'Manvantar'
and 'Vanshanucharit' (Tales related with the descendants of the famous
On being asked by the sages about
the prominent places of pilgrimage, Sutji named many holy places but
according to him Prabhas Teerth was the crown of all the places of
pilgrimage and was incomparable. Recounting a tale when Parvati had once
asked Lord Shiva the same question, Sutji said-' At that time Shiva had
told Parvati that Prabhas Kshetra was supreme among all the holy places
and capable of liberating a man from all his sins. He had also told her
that due to prevalence of sins in Kaliyuga people would not attain
virtues despite going on pilgrimages. Shiva had also told her that this
was the reason why he had created numerous holy places and kept them
secret so the holiness of these places remained intact. I have
manifested myself in the form of a divine Shiva linga at Prabhas
kshetra. The whole universe has originated from it and merges into it
ultimately at the time of deluge. The Shiva linga is called Somanath and
very few people are aware of it's existence. This Shivalinga continue to
exist since it's manifestation in a particular kalpa named Bhairav long
ago. Unfortunately, people of kaliyaga under the influence of all
pervading ignorance would fail to recognize the importance of holy
places. Such people would try to demean the value of holy places and
make fun of those people who go on pilgrimages. Being blinded by their
superficial intelligence they would try to find faults with rituals and
religion. Such would be the condition of the mortals in kaliyuga that
they would criticize everything that is religious and spiritual in
nature. How can one expect from these unfortunate people of kaliyuga to
understand the significance of Prabhas kshetra and which is revered even
by me ?'
Parvati, who had
been listening to the tale with rapt attention, became even more curious
to know about Prabhas kshetra. So she requested Lord Shiva to shed more
light on the other important aspects of this sacrosanct place. Lord
Shiva, continuing with his description of Prabhas kshetra, said- ' This
sacrosanct place has temples of three deities on it's three sides. To
its east is situated a grand temple of Surya Narayan while there is a
magnificent temple of Madhav to it's west. In the same way there is a
beautiful temple of goddess Bhavani to the north of Prabhas kshetra and
towards it's south lies the ocean. This holy place is spread in the area
of five yojans and is divided in three major areas- Maheshwar, Vaishnav
and Brahma. There are about one crore temples related with different
deities in Vaishnav and Brahma kshetras while Maheshwar kshetra contains
one and half crore temples. As the name implies, each area has been
named after one God forming the Trinity. Anybody who has the good
fortune of living in the central part of Prabhas kshetra becomes
absolved of all his sins even if he has committed most abhorrent sins.
The significance of this holy place can be understood by the fact that a
man born there does not take a second birth and attains salvation. One
whom scholars of the Vedas call 'Kaalagni Rudra' is famously known as
Bhairav in Prabhas kshetra.
Emphasizing on the significance
of Someshwar linga and its deep association with the Vedas, Lord Shiva
told Parvati-' The divine Someshwar linga exists since time immemorial
and will remain for eternity. This revelation descended on me while I
was engrossed in a deep state of meditation. Someshwar Linga has deep
association with the Vedas and it enhances their sanctity by
establishing itself in each of them at different periods of time during
the day. During morning time Someshwar linga establishes itself in the
Rigveda, during noon in the Yajurveda, during afternoon in the Sama veda
and during evening time it establishes itself in Atharva veda.
asked Lord Shiva about the reason why Somnath was known by so many
different names. Lord Shiva said- ' Since the time this divine linga
first manifested itself very few blessed souls had the knowledge of it's
existence. Brahma has a life span of one kalpa at the end of which even
he ceases to exist giving way to his successor- a new Brahma. In the
same manner this divine Linga acquires a new name at the end of each
kalpa. The present kalpa is seventh in order as six kalpas have already
passed. The name of the present Brahma is Shatanand and this divine
Linga is presently famous by the name of Somnath. Similarly it was
famous as Mrityunjay during the time of Brahma named Virinchi. During
second kalpa this Linga was famous as Kalagnirudra and the name of
Brahma was Padmabhu. The third kalpa had Swayambhu as Brahma and the
Linga was famous as Amritesh. The name of the fourth Brahma was
Parmeshthi in fourth kalpa and the linga was famous as Annamay. In the
same way the names of the fifth and sixth Brahma were Surajyeshtha and
Hemagarbha respectively and the names of the Linga during their periods
were Kritiwas and Bhairav Nath respectively.'
Lord Shiva also
revealed to Parvati that the next kalpa- eighth in order would have
Chaturmukh as Brahma and the divine Linga would be known as Pran
Nath.Goddess Parvati then asked Shiva about the exact location of the
Linga in Prabhas Kshetra. Lord Shiva told her that the sacrosanct place
of Prabhas Kshetra was situated between the plains of two rivers Vajrini
and Nyankumati. He also told her that the eternal Linga was not very far
from the sea coast. Dwelling at length about the good fortunes of those
living in Prabhas kshetra, Lord Shiva told her-' Anybody who does not
abandon this holy place despite his hardships and troubles is certain to
attain to my abode. One who has the good fortune of dying at Prabhas
kshetra attains salvation. There will be prevalence of sins in Kaliyuga.
As a result of this people would experience all sorts of hurdles and
problems in their lives. To minimize their sorrows and to lessen their
miseries, I have personally instructed Ganesh not to abandon this place
even for a moment. Of all the Lingas present on the earth, Somnath is
specially dear to me.'
reason why this sacrosanct place was named Prabhas, Lord Shiva told
Parvati- ' I dwell in the entire area stretching between the ocean in
the south and river Kaureshwari. Being situated at the western coast,
this entire area is radiated by Surya's light for a relatively longer
period of time and hence it has been named 'Prabhas' meaning luster.
This is the reason why there is situated a grand temple of Lord Surya in
Prabhas Kshetra. Not far from this Surya temple is situated a
magnificent temple of Lord Siddheshwar, which was famously known as
Jaigishavyeshwar in ancient times.'
Lord Shiva then went
on to describe why Siddheshwar was called Jaigishavyeshwar during
ancient times-' There lived a sage named Jaigishavya in previous kalpa.
He used to daily worship a Shiva linga named Mahoday, which had
manifested on its own. Keeping in view Shiva's fondness for ashes, he
used to smear it on his body hoping to please his deity. Not only this
he even slept on ashes. He thus led an extremely austere life. At last
he was able to please Lord Mahoday by his devotion. When Lord Mahoday
appeared before him and expressed his willingness to fulfill anything he
wished but Jaigishavya wanted nothing but total devotion in his deity
(Mahoday). Lord Mahoday blessed him with immortality and said-' There
would be nobody as powerful as you. Your feats achieved in spiritual
things will be unmatched and you would become famous as 'Yogacharya' or
teacher of Yoga. One who regularly worships this particular Linga which
you have been worshipping with such deep devotion till now is certain to
get absolved of all his sins.' Having blessed Yaigishavya thus, Lord
Mahoday disappeared from his sight. After this incident, Mahoday linga
also came to be known as Yaigishavyeshwar. In course of time, when the
Kaliyuga of that Kalpa arrived, some sages named 'Balkhilyas' had gone
to the same place and worshipped Lord Mahoday. Similarly, many more
sages went there and attained 'siddhi' or accomplishment. This is how
this Linga came to be known as 'Siddheshwar' (the lord of all
accomplishments). There are many holy places in the vicinity like Siddha
linga, which was installed by lord Surya. Anybody who worships this
linga on the auspicious day of trayodashi of the bright half of the
hindu month Chaitra attains virtues similar to the accomplishment of
Parvati asked Lord
Shiva about the reason Chandra deva had to install a Shiva linga at
Prabhas Kshetra. Lord Shiva replied that Daksha had got married twenty
seven of his daughters to Chandra Deva. Chandra Deva was very attached
to Rohini, who was one of them and neglected others. When Daksha came to
know about this he cursed Chandra Deva as the result of which he lost
his luster and started waning day by day. The worried Chandra Deva did
an austere penance for thousand of years to please Lord Shiva. At last
Lord Shiva became pleased and appeared before him. Subsequently, Chandra
Deva got a divine Shiva linga installed by Brahma and worshipped it for
thousand of years. Lord Shiva appeared once again and expressed his
willingness to fulfill any wish Chandra Deva expressed. Chandra Deva
requested Lord Shiva to dwell in the very Shiva Linga he had been
worshipping till then. Lord Shiva revealed to him that there was no
question of dwelling in the Shiva Linga as he had never abandoned it in
the first place. Chandra Deva had regained his luster on account of his
arduous penance. Lord Shiva blessed him and said- ' Since you have
regained your luster (Prabha) by dint of your austere penance, this holy
place will become famous as 'Prabhas Kshetra'. This Linga would be named
upon you and become famous as Somnath Linga.'
Chandra Deva thus, Lord Shiva disappeared. Later on Chandra Deva
instructed Vishwakarma to build a magnificent temple at the sight. He
also built a city nearby so that all the priests who were supposed to
supervise the rituals of worship could live there.
Dwelling on length
about the significance of getting one's head tonsured at holy places,
Lord Shiva told Parvati-' A man should get his head tonsured whenever he
gets an opportunity to visit a holy place because hair are believed to
contain all the sins he has committed. There is a holy place called
Padma teerth, not far from Somnath temple. A devotee should first get
his hair removed at Somnath teerth and then immerse them at Padma
teerth. This way he becomes absolved of all his sins. Women should have
a symbolical cut of their hair. It is necessary to perform the rituals
of tarpan in the names of ancestors after the head tonsuring ceremony.
According to the scriptures, an ocean is considered holy and nobody
should its holy water in an impure state. While bathing a devotee should
chant the following mantra-
namo Vishnu guptaaya Vishnu rupaaya namah;
Saannidhye bhava devesh saagare lavanaambhasi.'
There are about five
crore Shivalingas submerged in the ocean near Somnath. There are also
other holy places situated nearby like Agnikunda, Padma sarovar etc.
On being asked by Parvati about
the emergence of river Saraswati at Prabhas Kshetra, Lord Shiva narrated
the following tale to her-' The holy Sarswati flowing in Prabhas kshetra
constitutes of five different streams- Harini, Vajrini, Nyanku, Kapila
and Saraswati. Lord Vishnu once instructed Saraswati to carry 'Badwanal'
(Submarine fire) and dump it in the ocean near Prabhas kshetra. After
taking permission from Lord Brahma, her father Saraswati flew towards
her destination. Ganga became sad at her departure so she asked her as
to how could she have a glimpse of her now that she was going to such a
distant place. Saraswati consoled Ganga by saying that she would be able
to see her whenever she looked eastwards. The swift currents of
Saraswati penetrated the earth and reached Patal Loka carrying Badwanal
along with her.She continued to move beneath the ground towards her
destination. As she reached Prabhas Kashetra, four learned sages, who
were well versed in Vedas arrived there and invoked Saraswati to give
them the privilege of separate bath by dividing herself in four
The names of these
sages were Hiranya, Vajra, Nyanku and Kapil. While Saraswati was about
to comply with their request, suddenly Samudra arrived there and he too
expressed the same wish. Thus Saraswati divided herself into five
different streams- Harini, Vajrini, Nyanku, Kapila and Saraswati.
Eventually, when Saraswati reached near the ocean, Badwanal whom she was
carrying was surprised to see the high tides rising in the ocean. He
thought that the Samudra was frightened of his fury so he asked
Saraswati- Why is the ocean scarred of me? Saraswati inflated his ego by
saying that who would not be scarred of him. Badwanal was pleased and
wanted to grant her a boon. Saraswati remembered Lord Vishnu, who
instantly gave his divine appearance in her heart. She narrated the
whole story and sought his advise. Lord Vishnu advised her to ask
Badwanal to make his appearance small like the eye of a needle.
Saraswati, following the advise of Lord Vishnu asked Badwanal to become
small like a needle and keep sucking the ocean. Subsequently, Saraswati
summoned Samudra and told him to accept Badwanal to which he agreed.
This way Samudra devoured Badwanal, who continues to suck the water of
the ocean even today as per the instructions given by Saraswati. It is
believed that tides are nothing but the manifestation of Badwanal's
exhalations. This was how Saraswati emerged in Prabhas kshetra.
Lord Shiva revealed
to goddesses Parvati that Prabhas kshetra boasted of possessing many
more Shiva lingas apart from the famous Somnath Shiva linga. He also
gave names of some of the prominent Shiva lingas situated over there and
said- ' To the North-East of Somnath temple is situated a grand temple
of lord Sarveshvar Deva, who is also famously known as Siddheshwar. The
reason behind this is that Shiva linga over there had been installed by
the 'siddhas' (accomplished ones) in ancient times. People who are
desirous of acquiring siddhis throng this holy place and engage
themselves in austere penance. To the east of Siddheshwar temple is
situated one more temple called Kapileshwar. It has been named after
sage Kapil, who had installed the Shiva linga over there. A Shiva linga
named Gandharveshwar is also situated nearby. This particular Shiva
linga had been installed by a gandharva named Dhanvahan. To the east of
Gandharveshwar temple is situated Vimaleshwar temple. It is believed
that anybody suffering from tuberculosis gets cured after he worships in
that temple. Dhandeshwar linga was installed by Kuber, who was bestowed
with the lordship of wealth on account of his austere penance.'
Lord Shiva told
Parvati that there were also temples of three goddesses in Prabhas
Kshetra apart from Shiva temples. These three goddesses were Mangla,
Vishalakshi and Chatwar representing the three types of power-will
power, power of action and power of knowledge. Lord Shiva said-' The
pilgrimage to Prabhas kshetra is believed to be incomplete until and
unless these three goddesses have been worshipped. Goddess Mangla
represents the power of lord Brahma (Brahma shakti) while goddess
Vishalakshi that of lord Vishnu. Goddess Chatwar represents my power.
Goddess Mangla holds the privilege of getting worshipped first. During
ancient times Chandrama did an austere penance for thousand of years and
all the deities including Lord Brahma had gone there to witness his
amazing feat. At that time goddess Mangla had blessed them and this was
how she got her name.'
Lord Shiva then went
on to describe how goddess Vishalakshi got her name-' A fierce battle
had taken place between the deities and demons during Chakshus
manvantar. Lord Vishnu fought along with the deities and helped them in
defeating the demons. Demons fled towards the south but were chased by
the deities. Realizing that it was not easy to annihilate the demons,
Lord Vishnu remembered goddess Mahamaya and sought her help. Mahamaya
appeared instantly and looked at Lord Vishnu with her large eyes. This
is how she got her name. In the present kalpa she is also known as
Lalitoma. To the south of Vishalakshi temple is situated the temple of
goddess Chatwarpriya. Goddess Chatwarpriya is the saviour of people
living in that area. Anybody who worships her on the auspicious day of
Mahanavami with appropriate rituals is blessed.
Once, few sages
asked Sutji about the means by which Lord Vishnu could be realized in
kaliyuga- the era dominated by sin and decaying moral values.
Sutji started by
describing how Lord Vishnu on seeing the prevalence of sin in Dwapar
yuga had to take incarnation as Krishna to liberate the world from the
sinners. He also described in detail all the incidents culminating into
the killings of many cruel demons -Kaaliya serpent, Chanur, Shishupaal
and ogress like Putna. He gave in depth description of the events
leading to the war of Mahabharat and how the infighting among the mighty
Yadavas led to their destruction. He told them how a fowler mistook
Krishna's feet to be a deer and killed him.
Sutji also told the
assembled sages how the magnificent city of Dwarka had been submerged in
the ocean ultimately. He revealed to them that the passing away of
Krishna marked the advent of Kaliyuga and the situation became even
worse. On finding how difficult it was to realize lord Vishnu in the
Kaliyuga- the era dominated by sin, some prominent sages decided to seek
Lord Brahma's help in this regard. After reaching Brahma loka, they
eulogized Brahma and received his blessings. Lord Brahma told them to go
to Patal loka and meet Prahlad, the supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu who
according to Lord Brahma was in a better position to help them.
All the sages went to Patal loka
as per the instructions given by Lord Brahma. There they not only found
Prahlad but also the most charitable king-Bali. After the pleasantries
were exchanged, they came to the real issue and said-' We are very much
distressed by the prevailing situation where it appears that the evil
forces have overshadowed the virtuous ones. The ways shown by the Vedas
are no longer in practice and the Brahmins are being tormented by the
Shudras, who have become the rulers. We have come with a request and a
desire to know whether there was any possibility of realizing Lord
Vishnu in this dark era of 'Kali'. If yes then where can we find Lord
Prahlad, being an
ardent devotee of Vishnu himself, understood quite well, the desperation
with which a devotee seeks his Lord. So he told them-' By the grace of
Almighty Vishnu, I am revealing to you the name of that sacred place
which has remained a secret till now. Kushasthal Puri is a divine city
situated on the western coast. Nearby is the place where river Gomti
meets the ocean and at this convergent point is situated the sacrosanct
city called Dwarawati Puri, where you can find Lord Vishnu in all his
glory of sixteen kalas. Blessed be the Dwarka Puri, which The almighty
Vishnu has chosen as his abode and where he dwells in his glorious
Chaturbhuj form. This is the very place, which even liberates the most
fallen sinner from all his sins. There is a famous temple of Lord
Trivikram at the bank of river Gomti and not far from this temple is a
divine pond. Anybody desirous of salvation must bathe in this pond for
the fulfillment of his wish. It is believed that before leaving for
heaven, Lord Krishna had transferred all his divine powers into the
Trivikram idol. So, there is no place as holy as Dwarka and if you are
desirous of having a divine glimpse of Lord Krishna then you must visit
All the sages
thanked Prahlad for sharing his secrets with them because nobody else
except Prahlad was aware of the fact that Lord Vishnu had given Dwarka
the privilege of being his abode. These revelations made them more
curious about Dwarka, so they requested Prahlad to disclose how the holy
Gomti descended down to Dwarka.
Prahlad began by
describing the virtues of going on a pilgrimage to Dwarka-' The mere
resolution of going on a pilgrimage to Dwarka is enough to liberate
one's ancestors from the tortures of the hells. Each step that a devotee
takes towards Dwarka gives virtues similar to what is attained by
performing Ashwamedh Yagya. One who encourages others to go on a
pilgrimage to Dwarka certainly goes to Vishnu Dhaam.'
switched over to the second part of the sages' question and said-' There
is an interesting tale describing how sage Vashishth had brought down
Gomti from the heaven to earth. At the time of deluge when the whole
world had submerged in water, a lotus flower manifested from Lord
Vishnu's navel on which was seated Brahma. Lord Vishnu instructed him to
perform his duty as a creator to which Brahma agreed. First of all
Brahma created his ten manasputras (Sanak, Sanandan,etc.) and sought
their help in increasing the population of the world by becoming
householders. But, all of them were extremely virtuous and did not show
any inclination towards getting married. Ultimately all of them went to
the western coast and engaged themselves in austere penance. Their
penance continued for a number of years after which 'Sudarshan chakra'
appeared before them. As all of them looked up in bewilderment, they
heard a heavenly voice -' O sons of Brahma! Very soon the almighty
Vishnu is going to manifest himself. The 'Chakra' you are seeing is his.
You all must perform the rituals of 'ardhya' in the name of Lord Vishnu
to show your reverence towards him.' All the Manasputras eulogized
Sudarshan-Chakra with deep devotion. All of them wished that there were
a holy river, with whose water they could perform the rituals of ardhya.
But to their utter dismay there was no such holy river nearby. They then
remembered Lord Brahma, who immediately understood what they desired.
Lord Brahma instructed Ganga by saying-' Ganga! Go to the earth, where
you would be known as Gomti. Sage Vashishth will lead you to your
destination. Just follow him like a daughter follows her father.'
Finally, when sage
Vashishth followed by Gomti reached their destination, all the
Manasputras were delighted. They eulogized Ganga and expressed their
gratitude to Vashishth for bringing Ganga on earth. All of them thanked
Vashishth by saying-' Since you have brought Gomti on earth, you would
be considered as her father.' They offered 'ardhya' to Gomti and
subsequently eulogized Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appeared after being
pleased and blessed them-' Your unflinching devotion in me has pleased
me no bound. Since you did this penance with the objective of Moksha
(salvation), this place would become famous as Moksha Dayak (giver of
salvation). This sacrosanct place would also be called Chakra teerth
because of Sudarshan chakra, who informed you all of my manifestation at
Dwarka Puri. I assure you that I won't abandon this sacrosanct place
even for a moment.'
This way, all the
Manasputras were finally successful in their objective of offering
ardhya to Lord Vishnu with the holy water of Gomti. At last, Gomti
having fulfilled her mission for which she had descended down to Earth
merged with the ocean. Lord Vishnu disappeared from there and
Manasputras continued to live there.