The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes The Liturgy of Ganeshvara which is chapter 61 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the sixty-first chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 61 - The Liturgy of Gaṇeśvara

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1. Thereafter, Ghaṭotkaca left Kāmakaṭaṅkaṭā there. Followed by his son, the intelligent one went to Dvārakā through the sky.

2. On seeing that Rākṣasa coming with another Rākṣasa as his follower, the soldiers residing in Dvārakā raised a great hue and cry.

3. In every village nine hundred thousand chariots were kept ready and they said, “Two Rākṣasas have come. Let them be forced to come down by means of (our) arrows.”

4. On seeing those warriors of the Yadu clan armed with weapons, Ghaṭotkaca lifted up his huge arm and proclaimed in a loud voice:

5-6. “Know me, O heroes, to be the Rākṣasa son of Bhīma. I am Ghaṭotkaca, highly beloved of Vāsudeva. I have come here for the sake of paying obeisance to him. Report to the Lord of the Yādavas that I have come here along with my son.” On hearing these words, they intimated the same to Kṛṣṇa.

7. The Lord who was in the assembly said, “Let him come here quickly.” Thereupon, they brought Ghaṭotkaca into the city of Dvārakā.

8. Along with his son, he saw (on the way) beautiful forests and parks, mountains for sports and mansions. Then he entered the assembly hall.

9. There he saluted Ugrasena, Vasudeva, Sātyaki (some Yādavas), chief of whom were Akrūra and Rāma. Then he saluted Kṛṣṇa.

10. As he fell down at his feet along with his son, Kṛṣṇa embraced him. After granting him his blessings he made him sit near him. Then he asked:

11. “O son, a tiger among Rākṣasas, the perpetuator of the line of the Kurus, I hope, all is well. Wherefore is your current visit?”

Ghaṭotkaca replied:

12. O Lord, by your favour I am happy in every respect. Let the reason be heard as to why I have come here.

13. This is my son born of the wife suggested by Your Lord-ship. He will put a question to you. Let it be heard. It is for that that I have come.

Śrīkṛṣṇa said:

14. Dear boy, O grandson of Muru. You do speak anything. Ask me whatever you wish. Just as Ghaṭotkaca is very dear to me, so are you also.

Barbarīka said:

15. After bowing to you, the primordial Lord, mentally, intellectually and by means of concentrated meditation, I put this question: “O Mādhava, what is that whereby the creature who is born, attains welfare?

16-17. Some say that virtue is conducive to welfare. Others say that it is good fortune, masterliness, sacrificing food, suppression of the sense-organs, penance, materials (of worship), enjoyment of pleasures and liberation. Thus, there are hundreds of things causing welfare, O Puruṣottama. Tell me decisively what will be conducive to the welfare of myself and my family.”

Śrīkṛṣṇa said:

18-20. O dear boy, different excellent causes of welfare- are prescribed for different castes.

To the Brāhmaṇas, penance is the root of all causes. Control of sense organs, study of the Vedas, expounding virtue (Dharmas)—these are mentioned by learned men as conducive to (their) welfare.

In the case of Kṣatriyas, it is power and force that is glorified as worthy of being achieved. Chastisement of the wicked ones and protection of the good people (—these are also conducive to the welfare of Kṣatriyas).

In the case of Vaiśyas, it is breeding of cattle, agriculture and perfect knowledge of arts and crafts.

21 -22. In the case of a Śūdra, it is service rendered to the twice-born castes. Living like this, he may be on a par with a Vaiśya. Or he shall subsist on different kinds of arts and crafts, thereby rendering service to the twice-born castes. He should be devoted to his wife (alone); he should nourish his servants. He should be pure and faithful. He should perform prostrations and repeat Mantras. He should never cease to perform the five Yajñas.

23-25. You are born in the family of Kṣatriyas. Listen to what you must do. At the outset acquire power of unparalleled nature. Thereby chastise the wicked ones. Protect the good. Thus you will attain heaven. Power is obtained, dear son, by the great favour of goddesses. Therefore, perform the rites of propitiation of goddesses for obtaining power.

Barbarīka said:

26. Which goddess should I propitiate and in which shrine? In which holy spot? Tell me after making your mind favourably disposed to me.

Sūta said:

27-31. On being asked thus, Lord Dāmodara meditated for a short while and said:

“Dear boy, I shall tell you the holy spot where you will perform the penance. At Mahī-sāgara-saṅgama, there is the holy spot well-known as Guptakṣetra.

All the different goddesses in the three worlds have been brought there and unified by Nārada of exceedingly noble soul.

The four goddesses of the quarters there and the nine Durgās are to be propitiated by you. Their unity is difficult to get.

Worship them everyday, dear son, with flowers, incense and unguents, eulogies and material offerings, till they are satisfied with you.

When the goddesses are propitiated, nothing is inaccessible: power, wealth, fame, sons, beautiful wife, heaven, liberation and excellent happiness (—everything is attained). It is the truth that has been spoken to you.”

Sūta said:

32-35. After saying thus to Barbarīka, Kṛṣṇa said to Ghaṭotkaca:

“O noble Ghaṭotkaca, your son is certainly a noble-hearted one. Hence a second name ‘Suhṛdaya’ is given to him by me.”

After saying this the Lord embraced him and propitiated him with different kinds of wealth. Then, the Lord directed Barbarīka to go to Guptakṣetra. He bowed down to Kṛṣṇa, the Yādavas and his father. He took the permission of all of them and went to Guptakṣetra.

With the permission (of Kṛṣṇa) to go, Ghaṭotkaca went to his forest.

36-38a. Remembering the virtues of his son, he protected his own kingdom along with his wife.

The intelligent Suhṛdaya built his hermitage in Dagdhasthalī. He worshipped the goddesses three times a day with holy rites and meditations. As he continuously propitiated with flowers, incense and offerings of various kinds, the goddesses became delighted in the course of three years.

38b-40. They appeared before him and granted that noble-souled one that rare power which no one in the three worlds had. They said: “O highly refulgent one, you stay here itself for some time. By the association of Vijaya, you will attain more of welfare.”

On being told by all the goddesses, he remained there itself.

41 -43. Then there came a Brāhmaṇa hailing from Magadha. His name was Vijaya. That excellent Brāhmaṇa traversed the entire earth on foot. At Kāśī he attained Vidyābala (the power of learning) and came here for the purpose of practice. He worshipped the seven Liṅgas, the chief of which was Guheśvara. In order to achieve the fruit of learning, he propitiated the goddesses for a long time. Thereupon, the goddesses were delighted with him and spoke these words to him in a dream:

44. “O good Sir, practise your learning in the courtyard, in front of Siddha-mother. This devotee Suhṛdaya will assist you.”

45. On hearing those words in the course of the dream, Vijaya got up and went near the goddess. He then sought the grandson of Bhīma.

46-51. On hearing the words of the goddess he consented to help him. On the fourteenth day in the dark half Vijaya observed fast. After taking his bath and remaining pure, he worshipped the Liṅgas and the goddesses severally. After taking his holy bath and observing fast, Barbarīka remained at his side. Then on the night of the first day, he went in front of Siddhāṃbikā. He made the mystic sacrificial diagram in the shape of vagina and nine hands. In the eight quarters he fixed eight pegs along with the Sūtra(?) (thread). Wearing deer-hide in the company of Barbarīka, he tied up the tuft of (his) hair. After performing the rite of Digbandha with protective mantras, he started the main rite in the middle of the mystic diagram, in the excellent sacrificial pit with the three Mekhalās (borders).

After offering the sword made of Khadira (C atechu) whetted by means of the Mantras and fixing pegs all round he said to Barbarīka:

52. “Remain here pure and clean without sleeping. Repeat the hymn of the goddess so that there is no obstacle, while I perform the holy rites.”

53-54. Having said this, while Barbarīka of great strength stood by, Vijaya of great self-control, performed the rites (known as) Śoṣaṇa (drying up), Dāha (burning) and Plavana (flooding). Then he seated himself comfortably. He repeated one hundred and eight times the Mantra: “Guṃ, Obeisance unto the preceptors.” After bowing down to the preceptors, he began the holy rite of Gaṇeśvaras.

55 -56. I shall now tell the greatest Mantra of Gaṇapati. It is short but full of deep meaning. It accomplishes every task and bestows all Siddhis (supernatural powers).

57. This great Mantra consists of seven syllables, viz. Oṃ, Gāṃ, Gīṃ, Gūṃ, Gaiṃ, Gauṃ, Gaḥ.

Oṃ the sage (seer) of the Mantra of Gaṇapati is Gaṇaka by name; the deity is Vighneśvara; the seed is Gaṃ; Oṃ is its (spiritual) power; its utility and application is for the purpose of worship, Japa, sacred mark on the forehead, anything desired in the mind or for Hama.[1] The aspirant is to apply the sacred mark on the forehead at the outset. ‘Oṃ Gaṃ, Obeisance to Gaṇapati’—this (is) the Mantra for (at the time of applying) the sacred mark. On the sacred mark new unbroken rice grains are to be applied with the MantraOṃ Gaṃ, Obeisance to Gaṇapati’.

Thus (is) the Mantra for sacred mark on the forehead. With this Mantra he shall offer three handfuls of flowers to Gaṇeśa. With the original (Mūla or Mahā) Mantra he should offer here sandal paste, scents, flowers, incense, light, food offerings, areca nut, betel leaf etc. Thereafter he should repeat the Mūla Mantra by way of Japa. According to his capacity he can repeat one hundred and eight times, thousand times, hundred thousand times or a crore times. For the sake of Homa, one-tenth of the times, he should invoke the fire saying “O Gaṇeśa fire, I invoke you”. “Oṃ Svāhā unto Gaṇapati”. With this Mantra he should perform the rite of Homa by means of pills of aromatic resin gum. This is the application. This is the great liturgy of Gaṇeśvara.

If anyone practises this excellent Mantra at the time of obstacles, all obstacles perish and what is desired in the mind is achieved.

58-60. Ḍākinīs, demons, terrible ghosts and enemies perish. Others can be won over and controlled.

Knowing this liturgy of Gaṇeśvara, Vijaya applied the sacred mark duly and repeated the Mantra one hundred and eight times. He performed Homas one-tenth times with the pills and worshipped Siddhivināyaka. Then at night he worshipped Siddheya kṣetrapāla.

Footnotes and references:


This Mantra is a Kavaca (Protective armour) in BsP (Brāhma 29-9ff) as follows:

Gaṃ svāhā mūlamantro’yam praṇavena samanvitaḥ |
Gām namo hṛdayam seyam
Giṃ śiraḥ parikīrtitam
Śikhāṃ ca gūṃ namo jñeyam
Gaiṃ namaḥ kavacam smṛtam
Gauṃ namo netram uddiṣṭam
Gaḥ phaṭ kāmāstram ucyate

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