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Skanda Purana – Mahesvara Kandha – Arunacala Kandha Uttarvardha – 4

Chapter 21

Śiva Praises Pārvatī

1-6aNandikeśvara said: Brahmā came there along with Sarasvatī, Mahāviṣṇu with Lakṣmī, Indra with Śacī and all the other Guardians of the Quarters also came. So also Gandharvas, groups of celestial damsels, Vasus, Suras, Gaṇas numbering thirty-three crores, other groups of sages, the eleven great Rudras, the twelve Ādityas, Bhairavas, Piśācas, Vetālas, Kaṭapūtanās, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Serpents, Bhūtas and all the other servants of Śiva. All of them were extremely joyous. All those hideous beings surrounded Maheśāna and came there in thousands. On seeing the activities of Yoginīs and Dānavas, the activities worthy of being praised by heroes and as terrible as the events at the time of the close of the Kalpa, all of them were extremely surprised.
6b-8(Partially defective text) On seeing the Lord present there Umā was greatly delighted. She gave up the pain of separation Jong grown in her. A thrill (of joy) made her hair stand on end. She trembled and perspired out of bashfulness; the lady of heavy breasts kept her eyes fixed on the toes of her feet. Getting down from the bull, Śiva grasped her hand. Smile spread (as if) all over his body and heightened the splendour of his throat. He spoke to her in love:
9-12aŚiva said: O blessed lady, why do you get excited like this without any reason? Since you are worthy of being propitiated by all, palms have been joined in reverence by me also. Don’t you know that our unity is like that of the moonlight and the moon? O Goddess of the Devas, immature tendency like this is ingrained in you since that beginningless period of time. O daughter of the Lord of the Mountains, with limbs as soft as the Śirīṣa flower, what a great incongruity between this delicate body of yours and the austerities, meditations and the like, befitting only hardy people!
12bI am Nārāyaṇa and you are Lakṣmī. I am Brahmā; you are Sarasvatī.
13You are the daughter of Varuṇa and I am the leader of Serpents. You are Rohiṇī and I am the Moon. You are Svāhā and I am the Fire-god. You are Suvarcalā and I am the Sun-god.
14You are Gaṅgā and I am the Ocean. You are the fertile land and I am Meru. You are Śacī and I am Indra. You are Rati and I am the god of Love.
15You are Buddhi and I am Rāja-Rāja (i.e. Supreme sovereign, Kubera?). You are Śamā and I am the Wind-god; you are the wave and I am the ocean. You are Prakṛti and I am Puruṣa.
16-17You are Vidyā and I am the knowable. O Pārvatī, you are the word and I am its connotation. I am supreme Lord and you, by the virtue of your being the order incarnate, are a part of mine. O Goddess, you are competent to create, sustain, annihilate, duly arrange[1], bless. Hence you must not entertain any difference between us as is done by ordinary unenlightened people.
18We are of the nature of Cit (‘consciousness’) and Prakāśa (‘light’ i.e. knowledge whereby everything is known). You have assumed a body of your own free will. You perplex me again and again and in vain feel jealous of me.
19-20A remedy for that is being devised by me. After saying this Īśa sat down and made her sit at his side. He made Gaurī get hidden in his own person as if out of bashfulness. When they lovingly merged into each other their pair of bodies became united into one.
21-24It was as though two objects were simultaneously perceived in close proximity[2](?). In one half it was as white as camphor and in the other half it is as red as red lead. The body of Śiva and Śivā that became a single Unit was highly wonderful. In one-half there was flowing tress. In the middle of the necklace there was a fennal flower (?). The body of the crescent moon-crested Lord had silk in one-half that was beautiful with a single anklet, ear-ring and bracelet. The body of the companion of Kubera shone with a single breast. After giving the Goddess (his own body) for residence, Vāmadeva spoke to her:
25-29a“Henceforth, O blessed lady, let there be no room for anger in you. Since you abandoned Guha who yearned for (your) breast-milk and went away for performing penance, you will be known by the name Apītastanī[3]. Stay thus near me. Let all the people propitiate Goddess Apītastanī and me, the Lord of Śoṇādri, and be happy in enjoying worldly pleasures and salvation. This Durgā, the destroyer of Mahiṣa, the deity born of your part, shall be present here itself, yielding the Siddhi of Mantras to men. Let this holy Tīrtha named Khaḍgatīrtha be destructive of all sins and sickness of human beings, even if they take their holy bath therein only once.
29b-32This Lord of Pravālagiri shall be destructive of sins. Let him be for the great welfare of men endowed with faith and devotion. This Gautama, O blessed lady, is a deserving person for your blessing. Let him have the benefit in accordance with his penance in the different worlds as long as the moon and the stars exist. These Seven Mothers are the sole mothers of the seven worlds. From today let them be present here for the glory of the worlds.
33-35Teachers, Bhairavas, Kṣetrapālakas and pupils shall also be present always in the holy place of Aruṇa. Here in the sacred place of Aruṇa I shall also remain by the name of Aruṇa. You also shall be here by the name of Aruṇādevī melting with kindness. Since Aruṇā and the Lord are always present here, all the Siddhis will be easily accessible in this holy spot of Aruṇa to those who entertain a desire for them.
36A person who listens to this story of the propitiation of the Lord of Śoṇagiri performed by the daughter of the King of Mountains shall get rid of enemies (such as lust, anger etc.) and easily attain heavenly pleasures and liberation.”


[1] The text uses terms of Śivāgama. Hence the reading should have been Pidhāna ‘concealment’ which is one of the five powers of Śiva enlisted here; Vidhāna ‘arrangement’ is already included in sṛṣṭi-sthiti ‘creation and sustenance’ and as such is superfluous. Devanāgarī MSS many times confuse ‘pa’ and ‘va’ due to similarity of forms of these characters. The editor of the Venkateshwar Press text has repeated this mistake. (Tr.)
[2] VV 21-24 describe the Ardhanārīśvara form of Śiva showing the union of Śiva and Pārvatī.
[3] The legendary etymology of the name of the Goddess at Aruṇācala.

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