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Skanda Purana – Mahesvara Kandha – Arunacala Kandha Uttarvardha – 4

Chapter 11

Viṣṇu’s Exploration of the Lower Part of the Liṅga

1Nandikeśvara narrated: Thereupon, Brahmā assumed the form of a swan capable of crossing the path of (i.e. flying high up in) the sky. “I shall see his top”, said he and made attempts for the same.
2Viṣṇu of strong physical body assumed the form of a boar having the capacity to penetrate through the earth as easily as though he was at a play.
3He was eager to return after finding out its root. His hair upon the body was erect as though it were artificial(?). With his curved teeth he broke through the earth.
4Keeping his face downward that great boar began tearing off the ground by means of his snout. Thereby he appeared as though he was bowing down to the Column of Splendour.
5He was extremely enthusiastic; he filled the whole of Pātāla with his grunting sound (hitting the ground) with his hard chest playfully. Thus he began to enter Pātāla.
6Wherever he entered, the disguised boar (i.e. Viṣṇu who had assumed the form of a boar) saw the very same Column of Fire standing in the same manner (as before).
7From the hole in the ground that was torn up some serpents such as Śeṣa etc. were seen (coming out) like the shoots of that Fiery Column.
8The primordial Tortoise that was stationed as the bulbous root of the Golden Mountain as well as its support was seen by Acyuta.
9Nearby, at the ankle of the earth, the Elephants of the Quarters were seen stationed as bearing the burden. On account of their rut they were moving slowly yet gracefully.
10By the enemy of Madhu (i..e. Viṣṇu) that frog also was seen—the frog on whose back the entire sphere of the earth was established.
11Adhokṣaja (i.e. Viṣṇu) saw that supporting Śakti also, by whose blessing Śeṣa, Kūrma (‘Tortoise’) and others are capable of bearing the burden.
12-13The Lotus-eyed Lord (i.e. Viṣṇu) saw all the seven Pātālas, viz. Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Nitala, Talātala, Pātāla, and Mahātala in due order. With great wonder he saw all the residents of that place with diverse shapes and sizes.
14He went beyond the city of the son of Virocana (i.e. Bali) named Bhogavatī. He went deeper into the other abodes of the Daityas deeper down in caves.
15‘Oh! It is seen. Oh! It is seen.’ So thought Mādhava in his mind regarding the root. Like a person of immature mind he continued the search with his curiosity increasing (at every step).
16The boar penetrated far beneath the ocean, but the Column of Refulgence was seen just as before unaffected and unaltered.
17Only the earth was rent and split; the ocean was shaken and stirred; but the root was not seen by Viṣṇu in the form of a boar.
18After having wandered thus with extremely agitated mind (for thousands of years) Viṣṇu who had playfully assumed the form of a boar did not succeed in seeing its root.
19With his hoofs bent and broken, with his curved teeth pounded and crushed, with his body injured and shattered and with his snout impaired and fractured, that boar underwent a great deal of strain.
20With fatigue he began to gasp for breath. His original pride that had been unrestrained finished instantaneously along with his desire to search for the root of the Column of Refulgence.
21Though his vow had not been fulfilled, he was eager to return. But the Lotus-eyed Lord was not able to take even a single step.
22Due to fatigue his eyes became blind. He was caught in the middle of Pātāla. But that Refulgence itself showed him the path.
23With great difficulty he came out of the boundless ocean. But the boar in disguise (i.e. Viṣṇu) became drowned in the ocean of profuse sweat.
24The continuous lustre of the Fiery Column dragged him up as if by means of a rope. Janārdana returned with great difficulty to the immobile forest.
25‘Since the root of this Storehouse of Splendour has not been seen by me, the top region also could not at all have been seen by the Creator (i.e. Brahmā).
26I shall turn back and go to that place where previously this Mass of Splendour first manifested itself. I shall then seek refuge in Śiva.
27Indeed, he alone is far superior to all. Since that Lord had been forgotten by me with my eyes blinded with delusion, such a great calmity as this has taken place with evil consequences.’
28Deciding thus, the Lotus-eyed Lord got rid of his arrogance and returned to that place where that Column having excessive refulgence manifested itself.

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