by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,763,776 words
This page describes Manifestation of the Lord to the Eyes of Everyone which is chapter 3 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 third chapter of the Venkatacala-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Summary: Manifestation of the Lord to the Eyes of Everyone at the Request of Agastya.
Note: This and the following chapters follow closely the story in VrP, Part II, Chapters 3 ff. The names Viyad or Ākāśa and Dharaṇī remind us of Vedic Dyāvāpṛthivī and the finding of a baby daughter from the bowels of the earth is similar to the ‘birth’ (finding) of Sītā by Janaka while ploughing the sacrificial place.
Śrī Varāha said:
1. Well, I shall relate to you an ancient incident, O lady of excellent face. Listen to the meritorious episode, O great Goddess, along with the sequel and the future.
2-3. Formerly, O Goddess, in the Vaivasvata Manvantara in the first Kṛta Yuga, O sinless lady, Śrīnivāsa accompanied by Śrī and Bhūmi saw the great penance of Vāyu and came to the bank of Svāmipuṣkariṇī.
Śrī Varāha replied:
7-10. Agastya reached this place and visited the eternal Deva (Lord). He propitiated him for twelve years, delighting him again and again. He prayed for the presence of the Lord, “May Your Lordship be visible.” Hṛṣīkeśa who was accompanied by Śrī and Bhūmi (said as follows), O Dharā:
The Lord said:
O celestial sage, for your sake I shall be visible to all the embodied beings, but this Vimāna will never be visible. Till the end of the Kalpa, O great sage, I shall be undoubtedly visible in this place.
On hearing those words the sage became delighted and returned to his hermitage.
11-12. Thereafter, the Four-armed Lord became visible to human beings and others. Later on he will sit in the Vimāna worthy of being meditated upon by sages (?), being propitiated by Skanda and always served by Wind-god. Thus a great deal of time elapsed along with several sets of four Yugas.
[The Birth of a Son Named Ākāśarāja to Mitravarmā]:—
13-20. The twenty-eighth cycle of four Yugas started, O Vasundharā. At the end of Dvāpara the Bhārata war took place and then Kali Yuga set in. Vikramārka and other kings, Śakas and Śūdras and others will pass away without knowing or realizing me, O lady of excellent face. Then the mighty warrior Mitravarman born of the Lunar race will become the king of Tuṇḍīra Maṇḍala (country round Kāñcī) and reside in the city of Nārāyaṇapura. He will be supreme with great rise in good fortune. When that king rules over the earth righteously, the earth became (i.e. will become) productive of plenty of fruits without being cultivated. It was (i.e. will be) adorned with plenty of plants and vegetation. There was no natural calamity such as drought, too much of rain and the like. All the people were virtuous.
A charming daughter of the Pāṇḍya king was his wife. A son named Viyat (i.e. Ākāśa, Sky) was bora to him. He was an ornament unto the whole race. His wife named Dharaṇī was born of the family of Śakas. Entrusting the kingdom to his care, the excellent king Mitravarmā went to a meritorious penance-grove near Veṅkaṭādri.
[Padmāvatī Comes out of the Bowels of the Earth]:—
21-23. The great king named Ākāśa became an emperor. He observed the vow of having only one wife. The king was mentally attached to Dharaṇī (his wife). He cleared the ground on the banks of the river Araṇī for the sake of a Yajña (‘sacrifice’). When the surface of the ground was being ploughed by means of a golden plough, a girl was seen coming out of the ploughed land as he was scattering a handful of seeds. The girl was lying on a bed of lotuses. She was beautiful with all characteristic features.
24-25. She shone like a doll made of gold. On seeing her the king was struck with wonder. His eyes beamed like a full blown (lotus). Taking the child with him, he rejoiced in the company of his ministers saying repeatedly, “This is my daughter.”
An ethereal voice then spoke to him:
26-28. “It is true. This is your own daughter. Bring up this excellent-eyed girl.” Then delighted in his mind the king entered his city calling the queen Dharaṇī. He spoke thus: “Look at this girl granted by the Lord to me. She has come out of the earth. Since we are childless, this girl shall certainly be our daughter.” After saying this, king Viyat (Ākāśa) handed over the child to the queen.
[Birth of a Son Named Vasudāna to King ākāśa and His Wife Called Dharaṇī]:—
29-31. As soon as the child entered the abode, queen Dharaṇī conceived. King Viyat was extremely pleased on seeing the lady with beaming glossy eyes. He said: “O lady with splendid eyebrows, the creeper in the form of the continuity of my race has borne fruit.”
32. On the day of his birth divine drums were beaten. A shower of flowers fell on the abode (i.e. palace of the king). A gentle breeze pleasing to the touch blew.
33. To the persons who came to inform and congratulate him on the birth of the son the king gave as gift everything he had except the royal Umbrella and the Chowries.
34. He made a gift of a crore of tawny-coloured cows. More than a hundred bulls were gifted. On the auspicious twelfth day he performed all the post-natal holy rites. The boy was named Vasudāna.
Śrī Varāha said:
35. O gentle lady, the charming son of Ākāśa named Vasudāna grew up everyday like the crescent moon in the bright half of a month.
36. The sacred-thread investiture was duly performed. He was educated and trained by preceptors who had mastered the Vedic lore. He learned from his father the wielding of weapons and missiles along with their Mantras.
37. He learned the science of archery consisting of four divisions along with their ancillary subjects and subsidiary activities. Thanks to that powerful son, the father became extremely invincible to enemies.
38. He was as free from mud and stain as the sky in Summer along with the Sun. He was unbearable to look at like the sky at midday during the month of Vaiśākha.
Footnotes and references:
As the capital of the country Tuṇḍira or Toṇḍa Maṇḍala, it should have been identical with Kāñcī. But Nārāyaṇapura is on the bank of Araṇī—a river in Toṇḍa Maṇḍala (infra 5.46). And the path to it from Veṅkaṭādri (infra 5.38-46) confirms its being different from Veṅkaṭādri.
These are royal insignia which a ruling monarch is prohibited to gift.