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Skanda Purana – Mahesvara Kandha – Arunacala Kandha Uttarvardha – 4

Chapter 10

Manifestation of the Fiery Liṅga

1Mārkaṇḍeya said: Intimate to me, O holy Lord, how Śaṃbhu, the eternal Lord, blessed Viṣṇu and Brahmā who were blinded with delusion.
2Nandikeśvara narrated: Listen. I shall relate everything in detail in the manner it occurred: what the Lord who is compassionate towards devotees did out of tenderness (to them).
3There arose between those two wranglers a mass of refulgence in the form of a Column (of Fire) filling up the chasm between heaven and earth.
4As it increased in size and pierced the cosmic egg, it appeared as though the exceedingly dark-blue firmament was raised upward.
5Due to the splendour of the Fiery Liṅga everything all round became pale. The quarters shone suddenly as though they were extended far off.
6It appeared as though the oceans were dried up by its exceedingly fierce and huge flames. The billows subsided and their agitation became reduced. They attained their original nature.
7Like some sparks emanating from that Fire-column, planets along with galaxies of stars shone as before in the firmament.
8Due to its red splendour all the mountains appeared to be painted with red chalk. They attained the splendour of Mars and the rising Sun.
9As the aquatic animals were illuminated due to the close contact of its refulgence, the oceans appeared to be formed and shaped by means of rocky slabs of ruby.
10The trees shone as though fresh grown clusters of corals had hung on them. The rivers shone as though they were full of full blown Kalhāra flowers.
11The earth appeared to be smeared with saffron. The quarters were covered with red lead as it were. The sky all round was seen to be completely pink in colour.
12The top lid of the Cosmic Egg was completely filled with its splendour like the skull (in the hand) of the Hide-robed Lord (Śiva) filled with blood.
13On account of that Column of Fire that increased in size thus the entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings assumed redishness in appearance.
14On seeing that wonderful Liṅga of Fire, the Four-faced and the Four-armed Lords abandoned their mutual anger. They thought thus to themselves:
15‘Has the Mass of Splendour of the rubies on the hoods of the serpents beginning with Śeṣa pierced through the earth and come up?
16Or have all the twelve Suns that commonly appear at the end of a Kalpa risen up simultaneously in between the sky and the earth?
17Or have the streaks of lightning after being scattered due to clash of clouds commingled together in the middle of the sky and begun to fall on the earth?
18This (Mass of Refulgence) dazzles and so diminishes the power of the eyes every moment by means of its lustre. All the other elements have been made to appear as though they are not different from itself. This Refulgence has been going on increasing.
19Although this is dazzlingly brilliant, it does not scorch. Unlike the fire, it does not burn the living beings nearby.
20By the transmission of the splendour of this Mass not only the universe but my body also has attained a red colour. How wonderful!
21From whom has this come out? What is its root? What is its place of origin? What is its base? By which power does it shine?
22What is its extent all round, sideways, above and below? How far has it gone down deep into the nether worlds?
23The mind is constantly eager to know all this. It appears to fly up in the sky and penetrate deep into the nether worlds.’
24Thinking thus with great keenness on account of the sight of the Column of Fire, both of them, Viṣṇu and Brahmā, became eager and anxious.
25With great pride Govinda looked at Brahmā with smile spreading over his lotus-like face and spoke:
26Viṣṇu said: O Brahmā, we both desire (to prove our) superiority over each other. As a matter of fact, this has come into existence like a test (of our superiority).
27Certainly it is not possible for either of us to know (both) the beginning and the end of this Mass of Splendour of incomprehensible nature.
28If either of us finds out the root or the top of this Self-born Splendour, he is the superior of us. He is the Lord of the worlds too.
29Nandikeśvara said: Thus both of them resolved in their minds to find out the root and the top of that exceedingly great Mass of Splendour. They rivalled with each other in their attempt for the same.

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