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Skanda Purana – Mahesvara Kandha – Arunacala Kandha Uttarvardha – 4

Chapter 15

Brahmā Prepares to Eulogize Śiva

1-6aNandikeśvara said: Bursting asunder the Column of Refulgence, the Lord manifested himself and was seen by both of them. He resembled the moon that breaks through the evening cloud and appears (in the sky). He was seated on a lordly bull white like the peak of Kailāsa. He had matted hair on his head with the (digit of the) rising moon as the crest. He wore a garland of skulls of demons and (also) of Āragvadha (Cassia fistula). He had five faces all having serpents as ear-rings, eyes shining on the broad foreheads and throats having the stain of poison. All the faces were bright. He held in his hands a trident, a skull, a Ḍamaru (drum), a deer, an axe, a bow, pure Khaṭvāṅga (i.e. skull-topped club), a sword and a serpent. Ash was sprinkled all over his body. The elephant-hide served as the upper garment for him. He was adorned with all ornaments. He was eulogized by all the Devas. He wore a tiger’s skin as his cloth. He was seen by them thus.
6b-8On seeing that form of Bliss the Lotus-eyed Lord danced. Unable to understand anything, the Lotus-born Lord became confounded. With his eyes indicating pleasure Maheśvara congratulated Viṣṇu and with an angry sound of Huṃ he lifted up the Four-faced Lord.
9He said thus: “On account of pride due to your authority both of you had become vain and puffed up. You need not feel ashamed at this. This is the usual way of persons in authority.
10After observing (critically) my greatness Hari became enlightened but not so in the case of this Lotus-born One who is of deceitful mind and is vicious.
11When I was laughed at for having five faces, he was chastised. Then he indulged in sexual dalliance with his own daughter and he was punished by me.
12How can this third offence be endured? Therefore, let there not be any installation of Brahmā anywhere[1].
13This Ketaka Bunch gave false evidence. Never again hereafter shall it be placed on my head[2].”
14After cursing those two Giriśa spoke affectionately to Viṣṇu:
15-16Śrī Maheśvara said: O dear one, do not be afraid. I am pleased with you who are endowed with devotion. Indeed you are bora of my person. You are particularly Sāttvika. As before you are the foremost among the devotees of Maheśvara all over the world. Henceforth you will never be deficient in devotion to me. Devotion that increases every moment is conducive to salvation.
17When the Three-eyed Lord granted his blessings to Hari who was devoid of pride and equipped with devotion, Brahmā became frightened. After making due obeisance and bowing down he began to eulogize.


[1] The legend explains why Brahmā-worship is not popular. But the curse is not so much effective, as we do find temples of Brahmā not only at Puṣkara (Rajasthan) but in South India also.
[2] This part of the legend explains why Ketakī is not used in the worship of Śiva.

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