Prabhasa Kshetra Mahatmya

In the final ‘Prabhasa Khanda’ of Skanda Purana, Sage Lomaharshana described to the Congregation of Munis headed by Suta Maha Muni at Naimisharanya the details of the Eighteen Maha Puranas and as many Upa Puranas. The Maha Puranas along with the number of Stanzas contained in each of them are: Brahma Purana (10,000 stanzas), Vishnu Purana (23,000), Siva Purana (24,000), Padma Purana (55,000), Vayu Purana (24,000), Srimad Bhagavata Purana (18,000), Narada Purana (25,000), Markandeya Purana (9000), Agni Purana (16,000), Bhavishyat Purana (14,500), Brahma Vaivarta Purana (18000), Linga Purana ( 11,000), Varaha Purana (24,000 ), Skanda Purana (81,000), Vamana Purana (10,000), Kurma Purana (17,000), Matsya Purana (14,000), Garuda Purana (18,000) and Brahmanda Purana (12,200).The Upa Puranas are Sanatkumara, Narasimha, Skanda, Siva Dharma, Durvasa, Narada, Kapila, Manu, Ushana, Brahmanda, Varuna, Kalika, Maheswara, Samba, Shaura, Parashara, Maricha and Bhargava. The Maha Puranas are broadly categorised covering the Gunas (Characteristics) of Satvik, Rajasic and Tamasic nature of Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, thus Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata, Narada, Garuda, Padma and Varaha Puranas of Satvik nature; Brahmanda, Brahma Vaivarta, Markandeya, Bhavishya, Vamana and Brahma Puranas of Rajasik nature; and Matsya, Kurma, Linga, Siva, Skanda and Agni Puranas of Tamasik nature.The major aspects covered in each of the Puranas are Sarga (Creation), Pratisarga (Destruction), Vamsa (The description of Dynasties), Manvantar and Vamshanucharit (about the events covering the generation next). Having thus given the background of the various Puranas, Sage Lomesh concluded the narration of Skanda Purana’s final ‘Khanda’with the following Invocation to Bhagavan Siva:
Om Namo Deva devaya Sivaya Paramatmaney,
Aprameya swarupaaya Vyaktaavyakta Swarupiney/
Twam Patir yoginaa mesha Twayi Sarva Prathishthitam,
TwamYagnastvam Vashatkaarastham Omkarah Prajapatih/

(My Greetings to You, Devadideva Paramatma Siva! You have a Sacred Form which is rootless with a ‘Saakara’ or Fully Manifested Form and at the same time a ‘Niraakara’ or of Unmanifested and Unknown Appearance. You are in the control of Yogis, and everything is established in You. You are the ‘Vashatkar’ (the knowledge content of enjoyble sound), the Omkar and the Prajapati.)

Bhagvan Siva told Devi Parvati that in Kali Yuga the World would be full of ‘Nastiks’ (non-believers of God), so-called ‘Hetuvaadis’or Reason-mongers and Sinners; they would neither have mental capability nor faith in themselves. They would tend to argue in circles foolishly and often dispute the very existence the Supernatural Force which created, preserved and destroyed the Universe. They would heckle at the purpose of visiting Punya Kshetras while Almighty created as many as three crore and fifty lakh Tirthas and Kshetras all over ‘Bharat’, the ‘Karma bhumi’, with the hope that human beings might avail the golden opportunities of visiting at least a few of these Sacred Places, either by decision, coincidence, or even by mistake! Maha Deva further told Parvati that with sincerity and devotion any Place was worthy of worshipping to the Supreme Energy and the existence of the available Tirthas was only suggestive, but some of these had definite ‘Mahatmya’and happened to raise strong faith so as to anchor one’s devotion to. On Earth, the Naimisha Tirtha and on Sky Pushkar Tirtha are well established. Also, there are Kedar, Prayag, Vipasha (Vyas), Urmila, Krishna, Vena, Maha Devi, Chandrabhaga (Chenav), Saraswati, Ganga Saagara Sangam, Kasipura, Shatabhadra, Sindhu, Godavari, Kapila,Shona, Payodhi, Kaushiki, Devakhat, Gaya, Dwaravati and Prabhasa. Emphasising Prabhasa, Maha Deva said that He materialised a highly powerful Linga there which had the radiance of Sun and the heat of Agni and the Sacred Mix of Three Shaktis viz.’Iccha’( Desire), ‘Gyan’ (Knowledge) and ‘Kriya’ (Devotional Acts). This is the Place where the most famous Somnath Linga manifested as ‘Swayambhu’ or on its own. Prabhasa Kshetra is known for attaining Siddhis and Salvation. Its East is adorned by the destroyer of darkness Suryanarayana, while the West has the abode of Madhava Deva, South has the Sea and North is Devi Bhavani. The Tirtha is five Yojanas wide and long square with Vajrini in East, Nyankumati in the West, Maheswari in the South and the Sea in the North. The Garbha Griha or the Sanctum Sanctoram is spread over from South to North by Sea to Kauraveswari Devi while from East to West is spread over from Gomukha to Aswamedhik Tirtha.Within the Garbha Griha are a number of Tirthas, Sarovars, Wells, and Deva Mandirs which are all sin-destroyers and Providers of Desires. The First Part of the Prabhasa Kshetra is dedicated to Maheswara, the Second Region is of Vaishnava and the Third Part is Brahma ‘Bhaga’. The Central Region has crores of Tirthas. The Brahma Vibhaga is stated to be dominated by Icchha Shakti, Vaishnava Bhaga is known for Kriya Shakti and the Rudra Bhaga is governed by Gyana Shakti. Bhagavan Siva stated that apart from Himalaya, Gandhamaadan, Kailas, Nishadh, Meru, Trikut, Manasarovar, Devodyan and Nandanavan, Prabhasa is one Place where He would like to accord significance. Those who stayed in the Kshetra and recite Mrithyunjaya Mantra and Shata Rudreeya on daily basis would secure Brahma Gyan within six months. Shata Rudra Mantra is denoted as the Soul of Siva Swarupa. Even mere stay in Prabhas is eventful without Bhakti bhava and worship with recitals and other acts would indeed derive far larger and unimaginable consequences. Since Somnath Linga is present at Prabhas, crores of Rudra’s manifestations are attracted from all over the Universe, especially on Vaishakha Chaturdasi. There is a concentration of Practitioners of Yoga, Sankhya and Pancha Ratras as they are readily dedicated to Prabhas which is considered as a happening Kshetra. Vedavadi Purush who is immersed in Veda Gyan known as Kaalagni Rudra or Kalabhairava Rupa is firmly seated in Prabahas. Death in Prabhasa is a sure climb-up to Kailasa. This Kshetra is protected by Vishwanath in South and Dandapaani in North. Various Ganaadhakshas who act as per the commands of Bhagavan include Maha Rudra, Chandisha, Ghantaakarna, Gomukha, Vinayaka, Mahanaada, Kaakavaktra, Subhekshana, Eakaksha, Dundubhi, Chanda, Taalajaghna, Bhumi Danda, Danda, Shankhukarna, Vaidhruti, Taaladanda, Maha Teja, Chipitaaksha, Hayaanana, Swavaktra, Vidaalavadana, Simhamukh, Vyaghramukh and Virabhadra.These Ganadhyakshas are led by Ganesha to guard the Kshetra. They keep an eye on the evil-doers and facilitate Bhaktas in their Rituals and other activities. Those who undertake bathings in the Kshetra attain the result equivalent to ten ‘Godaanas’. Those who die in Praachi Sarasvati would reach Siva Loka. Those who give away material such as Curd and Blankets have unique benefits. Those who provide food to a needy Brahmana at Brahmasthan secures benefits by a crorefold. As regards Soma Linga Swarup, it assumes Rigveda Form in the early morning, before noon time the Yajurved Form, afternoon the Linga assumes Sama Veda Form, and the evening time the Atharva Veda Form. In the Prahasa Kshetra, the Siva Swarup Soma Linga has the unique features of Nirbhaya, Nirmala, Nitya, Nirapeksha, Nirashraya, Niranjana, Nishprapancha, Nissanga and Nirupadrava. The Sparsha Linga of Someswara had been in existence since humanity arrived; Kalpas after Kalpas or ages after ages and each time there was a Pralaya and new eras commenced, Bhagavan assumed new Names with the change of Brahmas for the sixth time and the seventh one at present is called Shatanand as Siva’s name is Someshwara. The names in the first Kalpa of Brahma and Siva respectively were Virinchi and Mritunjaya, and the subsequent ones were Padmabhu and Kaalaagni Rudra, Swayambhu and Amritesh, Parameshthi and Anamaya, Surajyeshtha and Krittivasa, and Hemagarbha and Bharavanath.The eighth and the next Brahma-Someswara combination would be Chaturmukha and Prana natha. Similarly the names of Parvati Devi in the first Kalpa onward were Jaganmatha, Jagadyoni, Shaambhavi, Viswa Rupini, Nandini, Ganambika, and Vibhuti. The eighth to the eighteenth Devis would be Shubhra, Ananda, Vaama -lochana, Varaaroha, Sumangala, Mahamaya, Anantha, Bhutamata, Uttama, Pitru Kalpa and Dakshayani; the nineteenth was that of Parvati. The present name of Somanatha Siva emerged since Chandra deva performed severe Tapasya to Siva and secured the boon of creating Siva Linga to be named Soma Linga. Chandra Deva obtained several boons from Parama Siva that the devotees worshipping Someswara Linga would become free from various ‘doshas’ or deficiencies like ‘Bhuta dosha’ or threats from Supernatural Spirits like Dakinis, Pretas, Betals, Rakshasas, Nava Grahas, Putanas, Piscachas, Matrukas, Bala Grahas, Jvara rupi Grahas, and Vridha Grahas; diseases like Atisaara, Bhagandar, Pathari Rog, Mutra kruccha, and such others; Sarpa Doshas; ‘Chora Bhaya’ (Fear of Thieves) etc. would all be burnt like dry wood against fire. Kaalaagni Rudra’s presence in the Kshetra is the safest shield against any kind of problems, both mild and insurmountable alike. Bhagavan Siva told Parvati further that there might be crores of Tirthas but Prabhasa was unique as that was the seat of all the ‘Tatvas’of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva; Brahma was endowed with twenty four Tatvas, Vishnu with twenty five Tatvas and Siva with thirty six Tatvas. Thus Prabhasa is the most powerful Tatvamaya Kshetra, providing propitiousness to men and women of all ‘Varnas’, animals, birds and reptiles! This Glorious Tirtha comprises all the Pancha Bhutas or Five Elements of Nature with Brahma in the Form of Prithvi, Vishnu in the Form of Water, Rudra in the Form of Tejas (Illumination / Heat), Kubera in the Form of Vayu (Ether), and Sada Siva Himself in the Form of Aakasha (Sky).There are Eight ‘Adi Guhas’ or Original Caves signifying water viz. Amaresh, Prabhas, Naimisha, Pushkar, Aashaasdhi, Danda, Bharabhuti, and Laangali. Also, there are ‘Ati Guha’ Kshetras signifying Tejas viz. Harishchandra, Sri Shaila, Jaaleswar, Preetikeswar, Mahakaal, Madhyama, Kedara and Bhairava. Further, there are ‘Guha Gruhantara’ Kshetras signifying ‘Vayu’ viz. Gaya, Kasi, Kurukshetra, Kankhal Tirtha, Vimala Tirtha, Attahaasa, Mahendra and Bhima. Signifying ‘Akaash’ (Sky), Eight ‘Pavitratmak’ (hallowed) Kshetras are Vastrapath, Rudrakoti, Jeshyeswar, Mahalaya, Gokarna, Rudrakarna, Karnaaksha and Sthapa. There are also eight more Kshetras denoting ‘Prithvi’ (Earth) viz. Chhagal, Bruhasudh, Maakoth, Achaleswar, Kalanjaravan, Shanka -karna, Sthaleswar and Suleswar. Among all these, Prabhas is the abode of water and radiance representing both Siva and Vishnu, a vital fact unnoticed by several devotees! Lord Siva re-emphasised the fact that from the Sea in South to Kaureswari River born to Surya Deva the Region in between is Prabhasa literally meaning Radiance. That is why Devotees visiting Prabhasa Kshetra never miss having a Darshan of Surya Deva Temple and perform ‘Arka Puja’ and Daan. Not far from Surya Temple is the renowned Siddheswara Linga which fulfills the wishes of devotees from the days of yore known as Jaigeshaveshwar. In the earlier ‘Kalpa’, there was one Great Yogi named Jaigeshva who was an extraordinary devotee of ‘Mahodaya’, a Swayambhu Linga; as Parama Siva was fond of smearing ashes on His body, the Yogi too smeared ash and even slept on ashes. Mahadeva was pleased and gave darshan to Jaigeshwa, complemented on his spiritual efforts, blessed him to become popular as Yogacharya and granted him Salvation; the Mahodaya Linga came to be called as Jaigeshwara Linga and in Kaliyuga when Sages called Balkhilas attained Siddhis and the Linga came to be popular as Siddha Linga.

Another interesting incident was narrated by Parama Siva to Devi Parvati as to how Chandra was associated with Someswara Linga and Somnath Temple: As Chandra neglected his twenty seven wives viz. ‘Nakshatras’ (Stars) excepting Rohini, Daksha Prajapati who was the father-in-law of Chandra cursed him to fade away in his brightness and Chandra became dimmer by each day. He worshipped a Siva Linga established by Brahma Himself for long and Bhagavan Siva modified the curse of Daksha that Chandra would lose his sheen from Purnima onward till the end Krishna Paksha or the second half of the dark fortnight and gradually become brighter by each night subsequently from Amavasya of the dark month to Purnima again. The Place where the boon was granted by Siva to Chandra to partially reverse Daksha’s curse (to brighten up the first half and darken up the second half by each night) was Prabhasa derived from the word ‘Prabha’.Chandra requested Viswakarma, the Architect of Devas to design and develop the Prabhasa Region as also construct Someswara Linga Temple and appointed Priests to carry on the daily rituals of worship attend to the devotees.The name of Someswar had become synonymous with Eswara as Chandra. Siva came to adorn His Head with Chandra eversince he was born at the time of churning the Ocean, keeping the ‘Halahal’ (Poisonous flames) in His throat and Devi Mohini’s distribution or Amrit, Rahu Graha’s cheating into the queue of Devas, Chandra’s complaint and Rahu’s chase to Chandra and Siva’s rescue to Chandra.  Further, Chandra being the nearest luminous Planet to Earth, Lord Brahma bestowed special dispensations to him viz. to provide various ‘beejas’ (seeds) and ‘Aushadhis’ (medicines and medicinal plants). The beejas facilitate the production of rice, wheat, oils, grams etc.while plants enable to produce fruits, vegetables, sugar and such edibles besides medicines of innumerable variety of life giving and life sustaining nature. Chandra is also the Chief Controller of Brahmanas. Devotees who observe Bhakti, Snaan, Daan and worship at Prabhasa are bestowed with all kinds of benefits, especially when they recite the Mantra:

Om namo Devadevaya Siti kanthaya Dandine,
Rudraya Vaamahasthaya Chakriney Vedhase namah/
Sarasvati cha Savitri Devamata Vibhavari
Sannidhaney Bhavatwatra Tirthey Paapapranashiney/

This Mantra is common to any devotee performing ‘Snaan’ at any Tirtha.  To the South of Somnath is situated the Padma Tirtha. One should take a resolve even at Somnath that a devotee would resort to have the head tonsured and after the ‘mundan’ take bath and then enter the Padma Tirtha for a sacred bath in the Ocean as one should not enter it otherwise. It is the belief that the head hair carries all sins and thus needs to be removed before the Tirtha. For women however tonsure is not prescribed but making a symbolic cut would suffice.The following Mantra needs to be recited before a dip in the Ocean:

Om Namo Vishnu Guptaya Vishnurupaya the namah,
Saannidhye Bhava Devesha Saagare Lavanaambasi /

The devotees are then required to perform Tarpan to Devas, Rishis and Ancestors of three generations.Brahma is stated to have commanded Samudra Deva (the Ocean) that the salt water be converted as of Amrita Tatva. Near Agni Teertha, flows the Sacred River Saraswati which comprised Five Streams viz. Harini, Vajrini, Nyanku, Kapila and Sarasvati. Lord Vishnu instructed the River Sarasvati to carry out ‘Badabagni’ (Submarine Fire) from North of Bharat to Prabhasa Kshetra Westward into the Ocean. But Samudra was frightened as Badabagini was carried by Saraswati and high tides appeared as a result. Lord Vishnu advised that Badabagni should be sucked into the Ocean in very small quantities as through a needle’s eye; thus the same continues to be sucked in slowly and hence the fury of the tides due to the exhalation of Badabagni at Prabhasa.Besides the Someswar and Siddheswar, Agni Tirtha and Padma Tirtha and River Sarasvati, Prabhasa Kshetra also possesses Kapardeswar, Kedareswar, Bhimeswar, Navagraheswar, Eleven Rudras and Balarupadhari Brahma, Sweteswar, Bhaireswar, Kalkaleswar, Ukthunkeswar, Vaidyanareswar, Gauthameswar, Yogeswar, Pandaveswar, Pratyushewar, Anileswar, Prabhaseswar, Rameswar, Lakshmaneswar, Bhuteswar, Lomeswar, Ratneswar, Vainateneswar and so on as also Eleven Rudras and Brahmarupadhari Brahma. The visit of Prabhasa Kshetra is stated to be incomplete without the worship of three major Devis, viz. Mangla, Visalakshi and Chatvar: representing three types of Power that is, the Power of Will, the Power of Action and the Power of Knowledge respectively. Mangala Devi represents Brahma Shakti; Visalakshi represents Vishnu Shakti and Chatvar the Siva Shakti. Chandra performed rigid Tapasya to the Shakti of Will for thousand years and since Chandra’s will power was on test to secure propitiousness, the Devi was called Mangala. In a fierce battle between Devas and Danavas, the tricky Demons were elusive and Vishnu remembered Mahamaya called Visalaakshi or the Shakti with large eyes to overcome the Danavas. The Goddess called Chatvara Priya who was the embodiment of Knowledge with the ‘Amsa’ (Feature) of Siva was another Devi worshipped without fail at the Prabhasa. Most importantly, devotees to Prabhasa are blessed to perform Shraaddha / Tarpan at the Sacred Goshpada Tirtha. It has been stated that Pirtu Devas jump with joy that their sons, grand sons and great grand sons who arrived at the Tirtha expect that they would satisfy them with ‘Shraaddhas’with wheat / rice, til, honey, akshatas (rice with turmeric) and ‘kheer’ to quench their thirst and hunger: The Mantra says:

Pita Pitaamahschaiva Prapitaamaha eva tu,
Maata Pitamaheechaiva thathaiva prapitamahe/
Matamahastaspita cha prapita maha kaadayah,
tesham pinde mayadattho hyaksharyamupatishthatu,
Om namo Bhagavatey Bhatrey Somabhaumejya rupiney/

Right from Brahma and all Devas anticipate that the devotee would perform Tarpanas in their favour but also Rishis, Pitras, and deceased Parents of two generations.

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