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Devi Parvati performing penance at Kanchipuram

(Ref: Skanda Purana - Arunachala Mahatmya - 3 to 4)

Devi KamakshiMeditation: I meditate on Devi Parvati performing at Kanchipuram under a mango tree on the bank of river Kampa.

Devi Parvati closing the eyes of Shiva: Once Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati were sporting in the Kailasha mountain. Devi Parvati in the mood of an young girl sportingly closed the three eyes of Lord Shiva from behind. When the eyes which were of the form of Sun, Moon and Fire were closed, there appeared a terrible darkness. Within half a moment crores of human years passed by and the universe went in the verge of destruction.

The suris praying to Lord Shiva: Seeing the untimely destruction, the suris found out the cause through their spiritual vision. They prayed to Lord Shiva to stop the destruction through this love sport. Lord Shiva told Gauri to leave off his eyes. The universe again became filled with light.

Lord Shiva telling Gauri to perform penance in Kanchi: Lord Shiva smilingly told Gauri that an improper act has been done since the universe met with destruction at an improper time. It is more so because She is the Mother of the universe. Gauri became repentant and asked for the way to atone this. Lord Shiva became pleased with the repentance and told Her to go to the city of Kanchi and perform penance on the bank of river Kampa under a mango tree. The penance will make the entire earth fruitful. The people will be uplifted and blessed by this penance.

Devi Parvati going to Kanchipuram: Devi Parvati went to Kanchipuram accompanied by friends. She went near the Kampa river. She saw the Ekamra mango tree laden with fruits and flowers, and filled with the chirping of birds and sound of cuckoos. She became pleased. However, the separation from Lord Shiva initially made Her mind sorrowful.

Vijaya consoling Her: Vijaya consoled Her saying that She is always united with the Lord. By devoting Her mind on the Lord during the penance, She will not feel the pangs of separation. Also, this penance will be an act which will establish Dharma in the world. Hearing this, Devi Parvati was consoled. She steadied Her mind to perform the penance.

Devi performing penance in Kanchipuram: She took away Her ornaments and wore rosaries of Rudraksha beads. She shed Her divine garments and wore garments made of barks of trees. She turned Her locks of hairs into matted hairs. She smeared Her body with holy ash. She sustained Herself with ears of corns alone. She took bath three times a day in the clear waters of the Kampa river. She made a Parthiva Linga and worshipped it. She continued to chant the Panchakshara Mantra of Shiva. She planted trees which removed the fatigue of living beings. She gave charitable gifts to guests who came there. During summer She performed penance in the middle of the five fires. During rainy season She performed penance laying on the bare ground. During winter She performed penance remaining in water. The great sages were surprised and came to visit Her. She extended Her hospitality to them. In this way She continued Her penance observing the code of religious conduct.

Lord Shiva testing Devi Parvati: Lord Shiva in order to test the Devi created a huge flood in the river Kampa. Her friends told the Devi to leave the place. However Devi Parvati decided not to forsake the worship. She told Her friends to leave. Then She embraced the Shiva Linga to protect it from the flood waters. She pressed it so hard that Her breasts made permanent marks on it. She was engulfed by flood waters but She did not forsake the Linga. She remained motionless in that posture meditating on Lord Shiva. She experienced ecstatic thrill which made Her hairs stand on its ends. An incorporeal voice then told Her that the flood has receded and She can leave the Linga. The Linga worshipped by Her will attain perpetual greatness and will be the bestower of boons.

Lord Shiva telling Devi to go to sage Gautama and perform penance at Arunachala: The incorporeal voice then told Her about the legend of Arunachala mountain, and instructed Her to go to sage Gautama and listen to the greatness of Arunachala. Thereafter to perform penance at Arunachala.

Devi Parvati leaving the Linga in the custody of the devas and sages: Devi Parvati then instructed the devas and sages to stay there and worship the Linga. The Linga which is marked by Her breasts and bangles will destroy sins and fulfill desires. She is known as Kamakshi because She is the fulfiller of desires.

Pilgrimage: Ekambareshwarar temple, Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu Ekambareshwarar temple, Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu The place of penance of Devi Parvati at Kanchipuram is identified with Kanchipuram Ekambareswarar temple in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.


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Last updated on Sep-2021

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