Avanti Kshetra Mahatmya

Devi Parvati asked Maha Deva as to why Mahakaal Kshetra was considered significant. Siva told her that Sanatkumara, the Brahma Manasa Putra (Mind-born Son of Brahma), had the same question too. The reply was that Bhagavan liked the Kshetra for more than one reason: It was the abode of Sapta Matrikas viz. Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Rudrani, Indrani, Kaumari or Kartikeyini, Varahi and Chamundi; there was a very fascinating Mahaakal Vana; a ‘Smashaan vatika’ immensely liked by Siva; a Kushasthali or Yagna Bhumi where Brahma performed a famed Yagna in favour of Chandra Shekhara Siva; a Maha Pashupati Vrata was executed by Devas as taught by Brahma and most importantly Siva did ‘Kapala vimochana’ or threw the Kapala (Skull) on the ground with which He begged alms from Devi Annapurni, seemingly as a parting gift to the grateful trees and plants of the ‘Mahaakaal Vana’ for their great devotion, but actually since the tremendous reverberation created by throwing the Kapala had killed all the Daityas headed by Haya who was versatile in innumerable Mayas (Illusions) and sought to stealthily  attack Devas who would have been caught competely unawares! Devas were grateful for Maha Deva’s kind mercy in averting the tragedy. Eventually this holy Place where Kapala Vimochan Temple was situated was known as Ujjain which had many other names viz. ‘Kanaka Shringa ’ which was already the abode of Vishnu even before Siva glorified it as the location of Kapala Vimochana as Brahma and Siva searched for Vishnu and found Him at Ujjainpuri already well known as the Mountain of Golden Peaks; ‘Kuthasthali’which Brahma selected for Vishnu to undertake the task of Preservation of Brahma’s creation by throwing ‘Kushagrass’ on Bhumi; ‘Avantipuri’  as Danavas defeated Devas who fled to Meru  and  approached Brahma for help when a Celestial Voice asked Devas to pray at Kushasthali where Siva was already present and after meditation by Devas, Swarga was restored to them (the word ‘Avan’ meant Protector and since Vishnu protected the Deities, Ujjainpuri was als known as Avantipuri); Kuthasthali was also known as ‘Ujjaini’  as Brahma gave boons to Demon Tripura for invincibility and  as the latter distressed Rishis and Deities Parama Siva terminated the Demon with His ‘Pashupatha Astra’ and the locale where the battle took place was known as ‘Ujjaini’; Ujjain was also called  ‘Padmavati’ since the Wealth secured from the churning of Ocean by Devas and Danavas for Amrit (Ambrosia) was distributed among Devas themselves, despite the unsucessful efforts made by Danavas in obtaining Ambrosia, but for Demon Rahu’s stealthy task of sitting in the Area apportioned for Devas for the distribution of Amrit and having his head sliced by Devi Mohini jointly appointed by Danavas and Devas for the distribution of the Amrit. Continuing the significance of Kapaala Vimochana Tirtha, Siva further informed Devi Parvati that this Holy Territory witnessed the killing of a Daitya called ‘Haalaahal’ by Matrikas at Siva’s invitation to perish him and since then became glorified as ‘Kapaala Matrika Nivas’.The Spot where ‘Kapala bhed’took place emerged a ‘Rudra Sarovar’whose water is so Pure and Sacred that by sipping it, bathed in, or preserved by devotees for consumption later on, has the impact of performing Aswamedha Yagna and laying a ladder with steps to Swarga. In fact there are countless Tirthas, each of which had a memorable history behind; for example, Shankaravaapi, Shankaraditya, Harasiddhi Devi, Vata Yakshini, Piscacha Tirtha, Kshipra Gupteswar, Hanumatkeswar, Vaalmikeshwar, Ankapaada Tirtha, Ladduka priya Ganesha, Kusumeswar, Markandeswar, Bhamani Devi, Brahmeswar,  and so on. Most significant of all these was Omkareshwar Tirtha from where the Trishul of Rudra chased Andhakasura to Patala; Siva’s ‘Simhanada’ (Lion’s roar) in the form of Simheswara frightened the demon. The Most Merciful Maha Deva noticed the demon’s genuine remorse and prayers and blessed him to join the Siva Ganas!
As regards the significance of Avanti Kshetra, Maha Deva Siva explained to Parvati that there were four major Rivers viz. Kshipra Nadi, Divya Nava Nadi, Neela Ganga and Gandhavati; eighty four Lingas in whom as many forms of Sivas resided; Eight Bhairava Rupas viz. Dandapaani, Vikrant, Maha Bhairav, Batuk, Baalak, Bandi, Shatpancha Shatak, and Apara Kaala Bhairav; Eleven Rudras viz. Kapardi, Kapaali, Kalaanatha, Vrishasan, Traimbak, Shulapaani, Chiravaasa, Digambar, Girisha, Kaamchaari and Sarpangabhushan Sharva; Twelve Adityas viz. Aruna, Surya, Vedanga, Bhanu, Indra, Ravi, Anjumaan, Suvarnaretha, Aha -Karta, Mitra, vishnu and Sanaatan; Six Ganeshas viz. Ruddhi Siddhi Daata, Kaamadaata, Ganapati, Vighna naashak, Pramodi, and Chaturdhi Vrata Priya; Eight Matrikas viz. Uma, Chandi, Eswari, Gauri, Ruddhida, Siddhida, Varayakshini and Veerabhadra; Maha Maya Sati who is called Kapala Matrika who has Seven Matrika Associates viz. Ambika, Sheetala, Siddhidayini, Ekaanamsha, Brahmani, Parvati, and Yogashalini; Eighteen Para Shaktis viz. Yogini, Bhagavati Kaumari, Shatkrittika, Charpat Matrika, Vara Matrika, Sarasvati, Maha Lakshmi, Yogini Matrika, Chathussashthi Yogini, Kalika, Maha Kali, Chamunda, Brahmachaarini, Vaishnavi, Vaaraahi, Vindhya vasini, Amba and Ambaalika; Four Dwarpalaks of Avanti Kshetra viz. Pingaleswar, Kayavarohaneswar, Bilvakeswar and Vidyamaan; Four Pavanputras viz.Hanuman, Brahmachari, Kumaresh and Maha Bali; and Ten Vishnu Rupas  viz. Vasudeva, Ananta, Balarama, Janaardana, Narayana, Hrishikesha,Vaaraaha, Dharanidhara, Vaamanarupa dhari and Seshasaayi.The importance of Avanti Kshetra got furthered enhanced by the Holy Presence of Maha Deva Himself who manifested in several forms as described above.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in