Essence Of Skanda Purana


Origin of Nagara, Shankha Tirtha, Achaleswara / Siddheswara Lingas

Deva Guru Brihaspati suggested to Indra Deva that Nagabila leading to Patala Loka from Bhu Loka be closed and that one of the sons of Mountain Himalaya viz. Mainaaka, Nandivardhana and Raktashringa could accomplish the task. Himalaya asked Raktashringa to do so but the latter replied that Indra had cut his wings already in the past.Indra agreed to carry Rakta -shringa by his hands, that the Mountain would be blessed with green trees, fruits and flowers;

that a Temple, Punya Tirtha and an Ashram for Sages would be constructed too.Indra also gave the boon to Raktashringa that on the top of the Mountain there would be a Nagar to live in by Vidwan Brahmanas; that a King named Chamatkar would administer the Nagar and that Hatakeswar Linga would be worshipped by one and all including Devas.That was how Nagabila was closed forever. The King Chamatkar went hunting in a forest and killed a deer and baby deers; while dying, the deer cursed the King to become a leper. The leper King took pity on a Brahmana and suggested to take bath in Shankha Tirtha which healed several persons of physical infirmities by taking bath and observing fatsting there on Chaitra Purnima. The Brahmana disclosed the background of the Tirtha that in the past there was one Sage named Likhit.His younger brother Shankha who was also a Tapasi ate a few fruits of Likhit’s garden, but the enraged Likhit said that as per the rules of the Ashram, the punishment to thieves was to have the culprit’s hands cut! Shankha whose hands were cut did harsh Tapasya to Maha Deva and obtained the boons of not only restoring the hands which were chopped but also forming a Tirtha known as Shanka Tirth.After Chamatkar left his kingdom since he became a leper, there was confusion in it and Parasu Rama killed the incumbent King in a spree of destroying Kshatriya Kings and Chamatkar was thus saved and built the beautiful Nagara which was donated to Brahmasas.Raja Chamatkar performed Tapasya to Siva subsequently and secured the boon of materialising Achaleswara Linga; this highly sacred Linga has the unique feature of its shadow of Its position always on the rear side only, irrespective of Sun’s movement! If one was unable to see the shadow then the concerned person’s life was stated to be in danger within the next six months! Muni Suta described that this Region of Chamatkara Pura comprised three other major Tirthas viz. Gaya Tirtha, Nrisimha Sthaan, and Gokarneswara Siva. In the past, the Region was known as Haataka Kshetra, but since it was donated away to Brahmanas, it came to be known as Chamatkarapura. Lord Indra blessed Raktashringa that ‘Parikama’ of the Mountain would bestow the fulfilment of one’s desires and a ‘Nishkama Parikrama’ would be a stepping stone to Moksha. Another Siva Linga popular as Siddheswara in the Region had the potency of retaining the youth of a devotee and the vision of past, present and future by continously reciting the Shadakshara Mantra : ‘Om Namah Sivaya’.

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