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Skanda Purana – Mahesvara Kandha – Arunacala Kandha Uttarvardha – 4

Chapter 24

Vajrāṅgada Attains Salvation

1Mārkaṇḍeya said: O Lord Nandīśa, the wonderful narrative of the two Vidyādharas, the narrative that is like the nectarine moon issuing forth from the ocean of the greatness of Bhava, has been heard.
2When did Vajrāṅgada attain Siddhi? How did he worship the Lord? How did the Lord of Aruṇa bless that humble devotee?
3Nandikeśvara replied: The King set aside all wish of returning to his own city. He desired to make his residence in the neighbourhood of its valley.
4Then his great army consisting of hundreds of divisions of elephants, horses and foot soldiers reached that place following the footsteps of the horse.
5The King, a veritable ocean of fortitude and courage of that type, was met by the priests, ministers, vassals, kings, generals and excellent friends.
6When that army arrived the King reverentially stationed it beyond the border of Aruṇādri.
7The devout King assigned all the wealth in his treasury and all the territories of great productive capacity for the worship of the Lord of Śoṇādri.
8As directed by his priest he got his own penance grove built in the vicinity of the hermitage of Gautama. There accompanied by his ministers he became engaged in the worship of Śiva.
9He placed his son named Ratnāṅgada in his position (i.e. throne). He propitiated Śoṇeśa by means of the enormous wealth sent by him.
10As Agrahāra (‘grant for sustenance of Brāhmaṇas’) he donated villages around Aruṇācala—villages which were abounding in reservoirs (like wells etc.) full of water and orchards bearing an abundance of fruits.
11Thanks to the splendour of Lord Aruṇa in the form of a Column of Effulgence, he built hundreds of tanks and lakes in this place which was mostly a desert and a wasteland.
12Being of a long-ranged vision, he granted very beautiful and excellent ladies from among his attendants for the sake of service unto Śoṇanātha.
13Since he was solely devoted to the worship of the Lord of Śoṇādri, he was congratulated by Agastya who had come there accompanied by Lopāmudrā.
14Everyday he took the holy bath in the lake called Navatīrtha and with very great purity he worshipped Pāpanāśa and Pravāleśa.
15The Lord of human beings propitiated everyday Goddess Durgā who had destroyed Mahiṣāsura and who dispels distress due to sins.
16He rendered various sorts of services every moment to the primordial Lord who is in the form of a Liṅga and who is worthy of being worshipped by Brahmā and Viṣṇu.
17He used to get up very early in the morning. After taking his bath the King performed three circumambulations on foot repeating the five-syllabled Mantra.
18On the full-moon day in the month of Kārttika he celebrated the great festival of lights pleasing to the Lover of Pārvatī and honoured in the three worlds.
19He performed the ablution of the Three-eyed Lord by means of thousands of gold pots filled with water rendered fragrant with various scents, Kahlāra flowers and camphor.
20He celebrated the great festival of riding in the chariot most honoured in the three worlds. He celebrated Tīrthotsava and other festivals every month beginning with flag-hoisting.
21Pure in his mind he performed the Aṅgapradakṣiṇā (i.e. rolling all the way) of the Śoṇa mountain extending to three Yojanas (= 36 kms.).
22He frequently eulogized (the Lord) repeating the names, O Lord of Aruṇācala, O Ocean of the nectar of sympathy, O Lord accompanied by Aruṇāmbā.
23Everyday he applied various articles such as Pañcāmṛta etc. and anointed (the Liṅga) with sandal pastes white with camphor.
24Beginning it in the morning he worshipped the Lord of Śoṇādri having the form of the Gaṇas by means of Kahlāra flowers dripping with liquefied musk.
25Pleased with the services and worship of that (King) of great self-control for three years, the Lord of Aruṇādri appeared to him in person.
26He was seated on the great bull resembling a snow-clad mountain. He was in close embrace with the Goddess seated nearby.
27Hymns of eulogy about his victory were being sung by Vasiṣṭha and other Brāhmaṇa sages, Nārada and other great sages as well as Nikuṃbha, Kuṃbha and other Gaṇas.
28He warded off the sins of all the worlds by means of benign glances that resembled the waves of the ocean of mercy and that constituted the abodes of Goddess of fortune.
29On seeing the Lord of the Devas King Vajrāṅgada became extremely glad. (Touching the ground) with the eight limbs of the body he made the obeisance.
30With palms joined in reverence and kept over the head the King made obeisance hundreds of times. With the clusters of the rays of lustre emanating from his sparkling teeth he seemed to wash his lotus-like feet as he submitted as follows:
31-32Vajrāṅgada said: O Lord of Devas, I may have committed many sins out of delusion. But out of them let this transgression of mine be forgiven. As he said this in exceedingly piteous tone, the Lord, the storehouse of mercy, the Lord of the universe, the Lord of Śoṇācala said to him:
33Śrī Maheśvara (Śiva) said: Do not be afraid, O dear one. Welfare unto thee. I have eight Mūrtis (i.e. forms). All of them have been freely assigned to all the creatures.
34Formerly you were Indra. On account of your pride you insulted me as I was stationed on the peak of Kailāsa. Therefore you were paralysed by me.
35When paralysed thus, you got ashamed. In a moment your pride vanished. You requested me for Śivajñāna which is the cause of all prosperity and magnificence.
36You were then commanded by me: “O Indra, descend to the earth and take incarnation as King Vajrāṅgada. Then you will obtain my grace.”
37Thereafter, this holy spot was evolved through (my) power. This is my resort. You had been foolish and hence you were punished. But (now) you are my great devotee.
38Now I am much delighted on account of your supreme services performed by you day and night, O King. So I am enlightening you[1].
39Ether, wind, fire, water, earth, the sun, the moon and Pumān (man i.e. Hotṛ)—these are my physical forms, and through these the universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings shines.
40I am Kāla (‘Time’) and I reckon all the objects, living beings and the paths. I am Śiva also, beyond all the Tattvas (i.e. Principles). There is nothing other than I.
41I am the boundless vast ocean of Cit (‘Consciousness’) and Ānanda (‘Bliss’). A few waves have risen from me. They call them Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Indra etc.
42Vāṇī, Lakṣmī, Kṣamā, Śraddhā, Prajñā, Svāhā, Svadhā etc. are my creative powers (Śaktis). I possess innumerable great Śaktis.
43This is Gaurī, my greatest Śakti. She is Māyā, the mother of the universe. It is by her that this universe is constantly enveloped and revealed and expanded.
44Accompanied by this Śakti I carry on the illusory show of creation, sustenance and annihilation. Thereby I watch and witness as I please this wonderfully variegated and picturesque universe.
45Your delusion has been dispelled by my greatness. You consider yourself not different from me, like a wave which is not different from the ocean.
46Thereafter attain the overlordship of the earth which is only one of my forms. By my favour, O great King, enjoy worldly pleasures to your satisfaction.
47Again in the capacity of Purandara enjoy heavenly pleasures for a long time, O King; certainly you will attain the identity of form with me.
48Nandikeśvara said: After saying thus the Lord vanished. King Vajrāṅgada was contented. Worshipping the Lord of Śoṇa he attained all types of pleasures.
49Thus, it has been mentioned to you, O good soul, how a devotee of Śiva develops and prospers. The eternal benefit of the circumambulation of Śoṇaśaila has also been recounted.
50What need is there of more (superfluous) talk? The circumambulation of Śoṇaśaila excels even a hundred great horse-sacrifices.
51One shall attain innumerable benefits by circumambulating Śoṇagiri on equinoctical days, days on which the Sun takes another transit, the transit from one Zodiac to another, on Vyatīpāta days and other Parvan days.
52There is no greater holy spot than Aruṇa; there is no greater Lord than Aruṇeśvara; there is no greater penance than circumambulation (of Aruṇācala).
53As Nandikeśvara narrated thus the son of Mṛkaṇḍu had a thrill of joy making his hair stand on end all over his body. He frequently shed tears of delight. It was as though he was immersed in the ocean of nectar.


[1] The following verses (39-44) give the tenets of Pāśupatism in a nutshell.

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