The greatness of Sivaratri Vrata ||33||

1The sages said: What was the name of that Kirita? What holy rite was performed by him? O great Brahmana, narrate it. We are very eager.
2We wish to hear everything. Let it be described exactly. Excepting you, there is no one else, O foremost one among eloquent people. Hence recount everything, O lord of Brahmanas, to us who wish to hear.
3On being told thus by the nobJe-souled Saunaka, (Lomasa) narrated every thing done by the Pushkasa (? Forester).
4Lomasa said: Once there was an excessively terrible vicious man named Canda . He used to associate with cruel people. He was roguish and of bad conduct. He used to terrorize all living beings.
5-6With a net that evil-minded one used to capture and kill fish incessantly. That wicked fellow killed different kinds of deer, beasts of prey and porcupine as well as rhinoceros by means of arrows. Sometimes he furiously killed birds. The sinner killed Brahmanas in particular. The forester of great sins was wicked himself and was a favourite of all wicked people. The wife of that Pushkasa was also very terrible, like him.
7-8Even as he amused himself thus, many years passed by. He continued to be engaged in those sinful activities and much time passed.
9Once that sinful fellow sat on a Bilva tree at night with the bow in his hand. He wanted to kill a wild boar and he kept awake even without winking. He had stored some water in his quiver, lest he should be distressed due to hunger and thirst.
10It was the fourteenth day in the dark fortnight of the month of Magha (January-February). He was looking in front for the animal and unintentionally he (plucked and) made many Bilva (Aegle Marmelos) leaves fall down.
11-15Sometimes in anger he plucked a number of Bilva leaves and dropped their down. Wafted (by the wind) they fell upon a Linga that was at the root of the Srivriksha (Bilva tree). Sometimes that wicked fellow gargled and that water fell on the Sivalinga. The leaves of the Bilva tree also fell. In such a manner, by sheer good luck and happy coincidence the action of that forester became a worship of Siva. With mouthfuls of water the great rite of bathing was performed; with the numerous leaves of the Aegle Marmelos the great rite of worshipping too was carried out in ignorance, O Brahmanas, by that evil-minded Pushkasa. On the fourteenth day in the black fortnight of the month of Magha when the crescent moon was about to rise (at dawn), that Pushkasa of evil conduct got down from the tree. Coming near the water-pond he began to catch (and kill) fish.
16The wife of that Pushkasa was known by the name Ghanodari. She was vicious and she used to steal other people’s wealth. She was engaged in committing sins.
17In the evening she started from her house and stood outside the city gates. Desirous of meeting her husband on his arrival, she was watching the road to the forest.
18-22When even after a long time her husband did not return, the huntress began to think: “All the other hunters and fowlers have returned in the evening today. The four cardinal points and the intermediate quarters have been covered with mass of darkness. Two Yamas (2 X 3 = 6 hours) have gone by in the night. Has the forester come yet? Was he torn to pieces by a lion because he had coveted the mane? Was he tortured and afflicted by the poison of serpents because he was about to remove the gems and jewels from the hoods of serpents? Did he meet death on being hit and struck by the tips of the curved teeth of boars? Did he fall down on the ground from the top of a tree which he climbed up because he coveted honey? Where shall I enquire? Whom shall I ask? To whom shall I go?” After lamenting thus in various ways, she returned to the house.
23Throughout that day, nothing was eaten by her. Even water was not taken in. The fowler’s wife spent the whole of the night thinking about her husband.
24At dawn when everything was free from impurities (i.e. darkness), the Pushkasi went to the forest in a hurry, taking with her food for him to eat.
25Wandering in the forest, she saw a big river. On seeing her own husband seated on its bank, she became delighted.
26She placed the food on the bank and began to cross the river. On seeing (her), he brought the fish caught in his net.
27By that time, Canda was told by her: “Come quickly. Take your food. I have observed fast throughout the day and food has been brought for your sake.
28What has been done by you today? What was done yesterday, O dull-witted one? Was not anything taken in by you, O stupid fellow? You sinner, did you refrain from taking food?”
29-30That couple of pure holy rites took their bath in the river. When he went (to the other bank) for taking his food a dog came that way. All the food was eaten by it. The fierce woman became infuriated and proceeded to kiIl the dog.
31“Our food has been eaten by this sinful wretch. What will you eat, O dull-witted one? You will have to remain hungry now.”
32-35On being (reproachfully) told thus by her, Canda who had become a favourite (devotee) of Siva , I spoke to her: “I have been gratified by the food that has been eaten by the dog. Of what avail is this perishable body bereft of long life? This ill-fated body of momentary existence is being worshipped in the world. Those who are overwhelmed by emotional attachments and go on nourishing their body, are foolish ones. They should be known as sinners, excluded from both the worlds. Hence abandon false pride and unrestrained anger. Be composed by means of discrimination (between good and evil). Be steady by means of the intellect based on reality (i.e. through knowledge of reality).”
36That fierce woman was extremely enlightened by the Puskasa then. That Puskasa had carried out the rite of keeping awake on the Caturdasi night.
37In view of the connection with Sivaratri, he attained that perfect knowledge which is undoubtedly produced at the time of Sivaratri.
38Two Yamas (i.e. six hours) passed and Amavasya started. Many Ganas deputed by Siva came there.
39Many aerial chariots also came there near him. Those aerial chariots and the Ganas were seen by him.
40The Pushkasa spoke to them with great devotion: “From where have you come? All of you wear Rudraksha beads.
41Some of you are riding in aerial chariots. Some have mounted bulls. All of you resemble the crystal. All of you have the crescent moon as coronet.
42All of you have matted hair. Hides arc your garments. (Bodies of) serpents have been worn as ornaments. You are equipped with all glorious features. Your heroism is like that of Rudra. Explain specifically and exactly what is proper unto you.”
43On being asked by Pushkasa, then, all the lotus-eyed Parshadas (attendants) of Rudra, the lord of Devas, said very humbly:
44Ganas said: O Canda, we have been sent by the great god Siva. Come on. Hurry up. Get into the vehicle along with your wife.
45The worship of the Linga of Siva has been performed by you at night. As a result of that good rite you have attained Siva’s presence.
46Told thus by Virabhadra, the Pushkasa too laughingly said the following words relevant to the occasion, in accordance with his own intellect.
47The Puskasa said: What (good) has been done today by me who have been a sinner, a violent tormentor, an evil-minded Pushkasa interested in hunting?
48I have been perpetually committing sins. How can I go to heaven? How was the worship of Linga performed? Let it be explained.
49My curiosity has been roused much. I am asking you for the exact state (of affairs). Explain, O deity of great fortune, everything in due order.
50As the Pushkasa put these questions properly, (Virabhadra) described the Saiva rites entirely with great joy.
51Virabhadra said: Mahadeva, the lord of Devas, Isvara, the lord of refulgent ones, Mahesa, the consort of Uma, is delighted today, O Canda.
52In the month of Magha, the worship of Linga was performed by you incidentally. It is the cause of the delight of Siva. Undoubtedly you have become sanctified today. The worship was incidentally performed on the Sivaratri night.
53O Canda, the leaves of the Silva tree were plucked by you who were on the lookout for a wild boar. At the same time, they fell on the head of the Linga. Hence you have become full of merits, O holy lord.
54Similarly the great rite of keeping awake was performed by you on the tree. The Lord of the universe is delighted dt that keeping awake.
55Under the pretext of watching (the arrival) of a wild boar, you had no sleep on the Sivaratri night. Nor did your wife sleep.
56The noble-souled lord, the most excellent one among Devas, is delighted on account of that fast and keeping the vigil. In order to please you, the lord of great magnanimity, the bestower of boons, granted you aII festivities.
57-60On being told thus by the intelligent Virabhadra, the Pushkasa got into the excellent aerial chariot even as the Ganas, Devas and all living beings were watching. Dundubhi-drums were sounded. Bherls and many musical instruments were played. The instruments like lutes, flutes and Mrdaiigas went ahead of him. The lords of Gandharvas sang; groups of celestial damsels danced. All the groups of Vidyadharas, Siddhas and Caranas eulogized. The Pushkasa was being fanned with chowries. He was honoured with various kinds of umbrellas. He was brought to Gandhamadana with great festivities and celebrations.
61This Canda attained the presence of Siva on account of that holy rite. By fasting on the Sivaratri night, he attained the greatest region.
62-63Even a Pushkasa and that too by means of an incidental (holy rite) attained Sadasiva. What then in the case of those who have great faith in attaining Siva, the great Atman? There is no doubt about this that those who offer flowers etc., fruits, scents, betel leaves and rich foodstuffs in this world to god Siva are Rudras themselves.
64Everything was incidentally performed by Canda a Pushkasa, who was of insignificant intellect. Still his action was fruitful.
65The sages enquired: What is the benefit? What is its purpose? By whom was it performed formerly? Wherefrom did this Vrata originate? By whom was it laid down, O holy lord, formerly?
66Lomasa said: When the entire universe was created by Brahma Parameshthin, the wheel of Time also was evolved formerly along with the zodiacs.
67There are twelve zodiacs and the main constellations are twenty-seven in number, for the sake of achieving the objectives.
68The Wheel of Time is very fierce with these zodiacs and constellations. Accompanied by this Kalacakra (‘Wheel of Time’), Kala sportively creates this universe.
69Kala creates, protects and destroys everything from Brahma down to a blade of grass, O Brahmanas. Everything is connected with Kala.
70Indeed Kala is very powerful. It is the only one (of its kind). (There is) nothing else than Kala. Hence all these (visible worlds) are of the nature of Kala. There is no doubt about it.
71The leader of all the leaders of the world is Kala at the outset because of Kalana (calculation?). The worlds are born therefrom. The creation comes next.
72From the creation, Lava (i.e. the smallest unit of time) is born. From Lava, Kshana (moment) is born; from Kshana, Nimisha (i.e. winking time) is born. This occurs continuously in all living beings.
73Sixty Nimishas make one Pala . Fifteen days and nights make one Paksha (fortnight).
74Two Pakshas make one Masa (month); twelve Masas make one Vatsara (year). Knowledge should be acquired from experts by a person desirous of knowing Kala.
75From Pratipad (first day of the lunar fortnight) if we calculate up to the full moon day, the fortnight becomes complete (Purna). Hence full moon day is called Purnima.
76The day on which the moon is complete is called Purna (Purnima). It is a favourite day of Devas. The day on which the moon vanishes is called Ama by learned men.
77It is a great favourite of Pitris beginning with Agnishvattas. All these thirty days have certain auspicious times. Listen to some special features of them, O excellent Brahmanas.
78-79Among the Yogas (particular division of time; there are 27 such Yogas) Vyatipata ; among stars Sravana; among Tithis (Lunar days) Amavasya (new-moon day) and Purnima (fullmoon day) and Sankrantis (i.e. when the sun passes from one zodiac to another) these should be known as sacred ones for the rites of charitable gifts. Ashtami (i.e. the 8th day in a fortnight) is a favourite of Sambhu and caturthika (the 4th day) of Ganesa.
80The fifth day (is a favourite) of the king of Serpents; the sixth day that of Kumara (Skanda). It should be known that the seventh day (is a favourite) of the Sun and the ninth day is a favourite of Candika.
81It should be known that the tenth day is (a favourite) of Brahma; the eleventh day that of Rudra; the twelfth day is a favourite of Vishnu; and the thirteenth day that of Antaka (i.e. god of death).
82-83The fourteenth day is a favourite of Sambhu. There is no doubt about it. The Caturdasi of the dark half which extends to the mid-night is a Tithi (Lunar day) on which one should observe fast. It is very excellent and is conducive to the attainment of Sayujya (identity) with Siva. The Tithi of Sivaratri is well-known as the destroyer of all sins. In this context they cite this ancient legend .
84There was a certain Brahmana widow of fickle mind. She loved a certain Candala. She became his beloved through sheer lust.
85A son was born to her and the Candala of evil mind. His name and soul were both vicious and he was unbearable. He was excluded from all holy rites.
86-87Urged by sinful nature, he began sinful actions always. He was a gambler, an addict to liquor, a thief and a defiler of the bed of his elders. He was a vicious hunter, a veritable Candala through his action also. Always engaged in evil actions and being vicious though he was, once he happened to go to the temple of Siva on the Sivaratri night. He stayed there in the presence of Siva.
88-89By chance he heard the scriptural texts of the cult of Siva from close quarters. Now and then, he happened to visit Siva in the form of Linga that was self-born. Though he was a wicked fellow he attained a meritorious birth due to the holy rite of staying in the presence of Siva and keeping awake on the Sivaratri night.
90He enjoyed pleasures in the meritorious worlds and spent there many many years. (Ultimately) he became the son of Citrangada with all the characteristics of a great king.
91He was known by the name Vicitravirya. He was very handsome and was fond of beautiful women. After attaining the vast kingdom, he became a very great supporter of all.
92Practising devotional services unto Siva, he became engaged in holy rites of the Siva-cult. He was desirous of performing the worship of Siva in accordance with the scriptural texts of the Saiva cult. He scrupulously performed the rite of keeping a vigil at night, in the presence of Siva.
93Singing the songs of praise of the deeds of Siva, he used to shed tears of joy frequently from his eyes. He used to experience a thrill of rapture.
94The whole life passed away thus, when he devoted his attention to the meditation of Siva. Indeed, Siva is easy of access to brutes as well as the wise and the learned.
95In order to serve and for the sake of obtaining happiness, the only (deity) is Sadasiva. By observing fast on the Sivaratri he obtained excellent knowledge.
96Everything is acquired, including equality with all living beings, through knowledge. After realizing Sadasiva alone, the immanent Soul of all, identical with all, he attained liberation. Without Siva there is no object here or elsewhere.
97Thus one obtains the rare knowledge of the Lord, unconnected with the terrestrial worlds. After obtaining the (spiritual) knowledge, the king became a beloved (devotee) of Siva.
98He attained the liberation of the form of Sayujya by observing fast on Sivaratri night. What had been obtained by him formerly has been told by me.
99Being bereaved of the daughter of Daksha (the furious lord Siva) struck his extensive mass of matted hair (on the ground). At that time, the deity well-known as Virabhadra. The destroyer of Daksha’s Yajna, was born from the forehead of Sivi the supreme Atman.
100Many have been redeemed formerly through the holy rite of Sivaratri. They achieved Siddhi formerly, O Brahmanas. The souls beginning with Bharata , achieved Siddhi.
101-102Mandhata, Dhundhumari, Hariscandra and other kings achieved Siddhi through this holy rite alone. Thereafter, Girija engaged himself in sports in the company of Girija, on the top of the king of mountains. The Supreme Lord (Paresa) in the company of Bhavani played the game of dice earnestly.