Essence Of Skanda Purana


Pradosha Vrata-Procedure of Worship to Lord Siva and its Udyapan

Deva Guru Brihaspathi taught the Procedure of Worship to Bhagavan Siva on Kartika month’s Sukla Paksha Pournami or the full moon day; On that day, during the noon time one has to perform Puja formally to a Siva Linga; if the Puja is done to a Linga in a Village, it would be good, but outside village/Township is hundred times better; another hundred times better in a forest; and on a mountain top or a Tapovan, it is thousand times better!

At Pradosh time, the devotee should observe silence, light up thousand or at least thirty two lights with ghee (classified butter), perform ‘Shodasopacharas’ with flowers, fruits, incense sticks, sandal paste, naivedya (food offering) and so on. Later on, the devotee should execute hundred and eight ‘Pradakshinas’ or circumambulations and Namaskars followed by ‘Stuti’ or commendation as follows:
Siva Stuti:
‘Namo Rudraya, Neelaaya, Bhimaya Paramaatmaney,
Kapardiney Sureshaya, Vyomakeshaya vai Namah/
Vrushabhadwajaaya Somaaya Somanathaaya Shambhavey,
Digambaraaya Bhargaaya Umaakaanthaya vai Namah,
Tapomayaya Bhavyaya Sivasreshthaaya Vishnavey,
Vyalapriyaya Vyaalaaya Vyalaanaampathaye Namah /
Mahidharaya Vyaghraya Pashunam pathaye Namah,
Puraanthakaaya Simhaaya Shaardulaaya Makhaaya cha /
Meenaya Meena nathaaya Siddhaya Parameshtiney,
Kaamaanthakaya Buddhaaya Buddheenaam pathaye namah /
Kapothaya Vishishtaaya Sishtaaya Sakalaatmaney,
Vedaaya Veda Jeevaaya Veda Guhyaya vai Namah /
Deerghaya Deergha Rupaya Deerghaarthaya vinaashiney,
Namo Jagatprathishthaaya Vyomarupaaya vai Namah/
Gajaasura Mahaakaalay andhakaasura bhediney,
Neelalohitha Suklaaya Chanda Munda Priyaya cha /
Bhakti Priyaya Devaaya Jnaaney Jnaanavyaya cha,
Maheshaya Namasthubhyam Mahadeva Haraaya cha /
Trinetraya Tri Vedaya Vedaangaaya Namo Namah,
Arthaya cha Artha rupaaya Paramaarthaya vai Namah /
Viswa Bhushaya Viswaya Vishwanaadhaya vai Namah,
Shankaraayacha Kaalaaya Kaalaavayarupiney /
Aruupaaya Viruupaaya Sukshma Sukashmaya vai Namah,
Smashaana vaasiney Bhuyo Namasthey krutthi vaasasey/
Shashaanka Shekharayeshaa yograbhumishayaya cha,
Durgaya Durgapaaraya Durgaavayava sakshiney/
Linga Rupaaya Lingaaya Lingaanaam pathayenamah,
Namah Pralaya Rupaaya Pranavarthaya vai Namah/
Namo Namaha kaarana kaaranaaya Mrityunjayaaya atmabahva swarupiney,
Sri Thriyambikaayaasitikantha Sarva Gauripathey Sakala Mangala hetavey namah/
[My Greetings to Rudra, Nila, Bhima, Paramaatma, Kapardi (Jatajuta dhaari), Sureswara (Super Lord of Devaas), Sky coloured like thick haired Vyomakesha; Greetings to Vrishabhadwaja or Carrier of Flag with Bull Insignia, Soma accompanied with Uma, the Lord providing safety to Chandra, Bhagavan Shambhu, Digambara or the Wearer of clothes of all Dishas or Ten Directions (that is naked), Bharga or the resplendent personality worthy of devotion, and Umakantha. My veneration to the Embodiment of ‘Tapas’, Bhavya or the personification of Auspiciousness, Sivasreshtha, Vishnurupa, Vyalapriya or who has penchant for Snakes, has the Form of Snakes and is the Chief of Snakes; Mahidharaya or wears the brunt of Prithvi, Vyaghraya or Tigerlike, Pashupathi or the Lord of Beings, the annihilator of Demon Tripura, Lionlike and Yagnamaya. Greetings to Siva who is  Fishlike, the Lord of Fishes, Siddha, Parameshthi, the destroyer of Kamadeva or the alternate name of desire, the core of Knowledge and mental maturity, Sarva Sreshtha, Sadhu Purusha or the Essence of Goodness and Sarvaatmaney or the Soul of one and all. My adulation to Veda Swarupa, the Provider of Life toVedas, Vedagruhnaya or the inner tatva of Vedas, Dirghaya, Dirgha Swarupa, Dirghaartha Swarupa and Avinaashaya or Indestructible, the Creator of Universe, the All Pervasive, and the Destroyer of Demons Gajasura and Andhakaura. My exaltation to the Beloved of Bhaktas, Parama Deva, the hub of Gyan and the Source of knowledge, Mahesha, Maha Deva, Hara, Trinetra, Tri Veda, Vedanga, the means of Artha ( wealth), Kama (Desire) and Paramartha (Salvation).My respects to Viswabhusha, Viswarupa, Viswanadha, Shankara, Kaala and Kaala-avayava Rupa. My salutations to Siva who has no Rupa, has Vikruta Rupa, and ‘Sukshmakshma Swarupa’ or the Tiniest Form. My esteem to ‘Smashanavaasi’ or the Dweller of Grave Yards, Vyaghracharma dhaari or the Wearer of Tiger Skin, Chandra -sekhara or who sports Moon on His head and the Supreme God who sleeps on frightening grounds. My worship to Paramatma who is ‘Durgama’or unattainable and a limb to limb visualiser of Devi Durga. My devotion to Lingarupa, the Cause of Linga and the Cause of Causes or the Chief of Causes. My ‘Sashtanga Namaskar’to Maha Pralaya Rudra, the heart of Pranava or Omkara, Mritunjaya or the Triumph of Death, Sri Triambika, Nilakantha or the Blue Throated, Sharva, Gauripathey and ‘Mangala hethavey’ or The Origin and Foundation of Auspiciousness.] Whoever is desirous of performing Pradosha Vrata ought to recite the Siva Stothra; by so saying Guru Briahaspathi asked to perform the Padosha Vrata at once and take on Demon Vritrasura to secure Glorious Victory by the Grace of Maha Siva.Deva Guru also explained the background of Vritrasura who was cursed by Devi Uma Herself in his earlier birth as Chitrarath, a Celestial King. The latter was travelling various Dwipas by air and witnessed Siva with Devi Uma on His lap and joked that Siva too like human beings could not resist the temptation of women. Devi Uma cursed the King at once to give birth and assume the form of a Raakshasa and that was the origin of Demon Vritrasura.
‘Udyapana’ (Conclusion) of the Pradosha Vrata: Guru Brihaspathi explained the Procedure of Udyopana as follows: On a silver Murthi of ‘Vrishabha’ be arranged a Throne over which are to be seated Devi Uma on the lap of Bhagavan Siva; the details of Siva are Three Eyes, Five Heads and Ten Hands presented clearly; Devi Uma / Devi Maheswari’s Murthis be made of Gold. A cloth be wrapped on the back of Vrishaba Deva and the Murthis are arranged in a copper container.The Devotee should keep ‘Jaagaran’ or be awake through out the night with devotion and sincerity. ‘Panchamrit Snaan’ or Bathing with five items viz. milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar should be done with the following Mantras: Milk-Goksheera dhama Devesha Goksheerena maya kritam, Snapanam Deva Devesha Grihana Parameswara (Devesha! Deva Deveshwara! Parameshwara! Please accept cow’s milk with which I am bathing you); Ghee Snaan-Sapeershaa cha maya Deva Snapanam kriyatedhuna, Grihaana Shraddhaya dattham tava preethyartha meva cha (Now I am bathing you with ghee, kindly accept my offering); Madhu Snaan- Edham Madhu maya dattham tava thruptyartha meva cha, Grihaana Swam hi Devesha mama shanthiprado bhava (For your happiness Devesha! Kindly accept honey and bestow peace to me); Sugar- Sithaya Deva Devesha Snapanam kriyathey maya, Grihaana Shraddhaya datthaam Suprasanno bhava Prabho (I am bathing you with Sugar Prabho! Kindly be gratified and bless me). After Panchamrit Snaan, provide ‘Arghya Pradaan’ or offer sacred water; Paadyam or water for cleaning feet; ‘Aasanam’or Seating; ‘Aachamanam’(water for sipping); Yagnopaveetam ( Sacred Thread with Brahma grandhi suitable for executing Brahma Karmas like Vedic Yagnas), Vastram ( Cloth as a Present with blessings for longevity); Chandanam ( offering Sandal Paste with blessings to provide Sweet aroma like Life to the devotee); Dhupam ( offering Incense material to bless the devotee with Peace); Deepam-Deepam hi Paramam Shambho Ghritaprajjvalitham maya, Dattam grihaana Devesha mama Jnanaprado bhava ( I am offering Light with ghee to improve my Gyana); Aarathi: Deapavalim maya dattham grihaana Parameswara Aaraathirka pradaanena mama Tejahprado bhava (Parameswara! The Deep mala which is being offered be kindly accepted and aarthi given in your honour be blessed with radiance to me.) Thus fruits, lights, Naivedya or Food Offerings and ‘Taambula’ or betel leaves and nuts be offered step by step and observe a festive atmosphere with music, dance, bhajan and various devotional activities which are dear to Bhagavan Siva.
Pursuant to the successful conclusion of the Pradoshi Vrata, Indra joined the battle along with others; Vyomasura fought with Yamaraja, Thikshnakopa clashed with Agni Deva; Dhum and Athikopa struggled with Vayu Deva; Kubera was after Demon Kushmanda and many other stalwarts on either side fought fiercely with deadly weapons. Devas had a field day in smashing thousands of Demons happily utilising the bones of Dadhichi and the Danava soldiers resorted either to self defence or retreating from the battle. Vritrasur advanced into the thick of the encounter making such frightful sounds which reverberated across the Earth; there were continuous shootings of missiles far and wide and except lightnings of powerful arrows there was pitch darkness all around, coupled with panic stricken horror cries of death and destruction.With the blessings of Maha Deva who was pleased with the Vrata not only by Indra but various other Devas too, the mighty Demon Vrirasura fell with the final blow of Dadhichi’s backbone tactfully utilised by Indra and as soon as the battle concluded with victory of Devas, the remaining left over Danavas took to their heels to Patala and Indra was reinstalled as the King of Swarga.  

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