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HINDUISM MYTHOLOGY
 
 

Skanda Purana (Kartika Purana)

Skanda Purana

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KARANDHAM’S QUERIES

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 ancestors?’

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 fortunes.’

Mahakaal 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?’

Mahakaal 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.

Mahakaal replied—A 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 worshipped.

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.

ARUNACHAL SHIVA LINGA

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.

 

 

LORD SHIVA–THE SOVEREIGN CREATOR

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.

Similarly, Lord 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.

EXECUTION OF SHUMBH NISHUMBH & MAHISHASUR

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 them.

Having accomplished 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 directions.

Mahishasur–the 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.

Goddess Chamunda (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.

PARVATI RECEIVES ARUNCHALESHWAR’S GRACE

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 Mahishasur.’

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 SHONADRINATHAY.

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 Arunachaleshwar.

Vaishnava Khand

LORD VARAH SATISFIES PRITHVI’S CURIOSITY

Sutji then narrated the tale of Lord Varah to the sages, which he had heard from Sage Vyas—

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.



 
 


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