WE WILL NOW move on to the next jyotirlingam, Bhimashankara in Dakini. Most people will identify Bhimashankara as the one in Maharashtra, near Pune. But as you will see from this account in the Shiva Purana, it is not that simple. The Bhimashankara account will take more than one column.
Suta said, “After this, I will tell you about the greatness of Bhimashankara. As soon as a man hears about this, he obtains everything that he desires. In the region known as Kamarupa, to ensure the welfare of the worlds and make people the recipients of fortune and happiness, Shankara himself took an avatara. O lords among sages! I will tell you about the reason why Shankara, who brings welfare to the worlds, took an avatara. Listen lovingly. O Brahmanas! Earlier, there was an immensely valiant rakshasa named Bhima. He caused misery to all beings and always destroyed dharma. He was the extremely strong son of Kumbhakarna and Karkati. When Kumbhakarna, who caused terror to the worlds, was killed by Rama, along with his mother, he resided on Mount Sahya. Along with her son, the rakshasi also resided on Sahya. Bhima was crooked and terrible in valour. He caused misery to the worlds. On one occasion, while still a child, he questioned his mother, Karkati. Bhima asked, “O mother! Who is my father? Where is he? Why are you alone here? I wish to know everything. Please tell me the truth now.” Thus asked by her son, the wicked rakshasi replied to her son: “I will tell you. Listen.” Karkati replied, “Your father was Kumbhakarna, Ravana’s younger brother. The immensely strong Rama killed him and his brother. On one occasion, the rakshasa Kumbhakarna came here. O son! In those earlier times, he forcibly enjoyed me. The immensely strong one left me here and went to Lanka. I have not seen Lanka. I have resided here. My father’s name was Karkata and my mother was known as Pushkashi. My husband was Viradha, killed by Rama earlier. When my beloved husband was killed, I remained with my parents. My parents are now dead. A rishi reduced them to ashes. The great-souled Sutikshna was Agastya’s disciple. When they went there to devour him, he used his excellent austerities to destroy them. Since that earlier occasion, I resided on this mountain, miserable and alone. I lived here, afflicted by grief. I was without support and without a refuge. At that time, the rakshasa who was Ravana’s younger brother arrived here. He had intercourse with me. Leaving me, he went away. After that, you, the immensely strong and valiant one, were born. Having obtained a support again, I spent my time.” Hearing these words, Bhima, terrible in valour, was enraged. He thought, “What will I do against Hari? He has killed my father and my maternal grandfather. He killed Viradha also and has caused many kinds of miseries. If I am a true son, I will make Hari suffer.” Having made up his mind, Bhima left, to torment himself through great austerities directed towards Brahma.” (Note the reference to both Mount Sahya and Kamarupa.)
“With his mind fixed on dhyana, he performed those great austerities for one thousand years. He raised his hands up and stood on one foot, fixing his eyes on the sun. Bhima, the son of a rakshasa, remained in that posture. An extremely terrible energy rose up from his head. Scorched by this, devas sought refuge with Brahma. They devotedly prostrated themselves before the creator and used many kinds of hymns to praise him. All of them, including Vasava, informed him about their miseries. Devas said, “O Brahma! Because of the rakshasa’s energy, the worlds are about to suffer. O Vidhatri! In truth, please grant the wicked one the boon he desires. Otherwise, all of us will be burnt down by his fierce energy. Therefore, please grant him what he wishes for and save all of us from destruction.” Hearing their words, Brahma, the grandfather of the worlds, went there, so as to grant him a boon. Brahma addressed him in these words, “I am pleased. Ask for the boon that is in your mind.” Hearing Vidhatri’s words, the rakshasa replied. Bhima said, “O lord of devas! O one who is seated on a lotus! If you are pleased and if you wish to grant me a boon, please grant me unmatched strength.” Saying this, the rakshasa prostrated himself before Brahma. Brahma gave him the boon and returned. Having obtained unmatched strength from Brahma, the rakshasa returned home.”
“Bhima prostrated himself before his mother and proudly said, “O mother! Behold my strength now. I will cause great carnage among devas, headed by Shakra, even if Hari helps them.” Saying this, Bhima first defeated devas, along with Vasava. Terrible in his valour, he ousted them from their positions and occupied those positions. When the immortals requested Hari, Bhima defeated him also in a battle. Delighted, the daitya then started to conquer the earth. He first went to defeat Sudakshina, the lord and king of Kamarupa. There was an extremely terrible battle between the two. As a result of Brahma’s powers and the strength of the boon, the asura defeated the great and extremely valiant king, though his refuge was Shiva. Bhima, terrible in his valour, defeated the lord and king of Kamarupa. He then bound him and struck him. O Brahmanas! He seized his entire kingdom and everything allied to it. The king was Shiva’s servant. He loved dharma and was loved by Hara. The king was extremely devoted to dharma. Nevertheless, the wicked Bhima seized him, bound him in chains and imprisoned him in solitary confinement. There, the king created an excellent parthiva image. Desiring welfare, he started to worship Shiva. In his mind, he invoked Ganga through many means to perform bathing and other rites required for Shankara’s worship. Following the norms decreed for a parthiva image, the excellent king undertook dhyana and other rites. He prostrated himself, used the mudras and an asana and chanted hymns. He happily did everything required to worship Shankara. He used his knowledge to perform japa with the panchakshara mantra, prefixed with Pranava. He did not find the time to do anything else. His wife was a virtuous lady, known by the name of Dakshina. The king’s beloved also happily worshipped a parthiva image. The couple was singleminded in its worship of Shankara, who ensures welfare to devotees. They were constantly engaged in worshipping Shiva.”
Devas clasped their hands, prostrated themselves and spoke to Shiva, ‘please slay the Rakshasa named Bhima, who is causing miseries. O Mahesha! O Lord! Please show us your compassion. Please do not delay’
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“The rakshasa was deluded because of the boon and his insolence. He destroyed sacrifices and rites and said, “Let everything be given to me.” O excellent rishis! With many soldiers who were evil-souled rakshasas, he brought the entire earth under this control. He destroyed the dharma of the Vedas, the dharma of the sacred texts, the dharma of the smriti texts and the dharma of the Puranas. He conquered and enjoyed everything himself. Devas, along with Shakra, and rishis suffered. Extremely miserable, Brahmanas were expelled from the world. Along with Vasava, all devas and rishis were incapacitated. With Brahma and Vishnu leading them, they went and sought refuge with Shankara. They praised Shankara, who brings welfare to the worlds, with many kinds of hymns. Along the auspicious banks of the river Mahakoshi, they pleased him. They created a parthiva image and following the norms, worshipped it. In due order, they praised him with many kinds of hymns and prostrated themselves. In this way, devas used hymns to praise Shambhu. Pleased, Shiva addressed the gods in these words, “O Hari! O Vidhatri! O devas! O all the rishis! I am pleased with you. Ask for a boon. What do I have to do for you?” O Brahmanas! Shiva spoke to them in these words. Devas clasped their hands, prostrated themselves and spoke to Shiva, “O lord O devas! You know everything. You are established in the mind of every person. You are inside everyone and there is nothing that is not known to you. O protector! Nevertheless, listen. Following your command, we will tell you about our miseries. O Mahadeva! Please cast a glance of compassion towards us. There is a powerful rakshasa, the son of Karkati and Kumbhakarna. As the result of a boon he has obtained from Brahma, he constantly oppresses devas. Please slay the rakshasa named Bhima, who is causing these miseries. O Mahesha! O lord! Please show us your compassion. Please do not delay.” All the gods spoke in this way to Shambhu, who is affectionate towards his devotees. He told devas, “I will kill him.” Shambhu continued, “The king who is the lord of Kamarupa is my supreme devotee. O devas! Go and tell him that this task will be accomplished soon. The great king Sudakshina is the lord and king of Kamarupa. In particular, he is my devotee. Let him continue to worship me. The wicked daitya, known as Bhima, has obtained a boon from Brahma. But there is no doubt that I will kill the one who has made you suffer.” After this, all the delighted gods left that place. They went and told the great king what Shambhu had said. After informing him, devas were filled with great delight. They, and all the maharshis, quickly returned to their own abodes.”