by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Greatness of Svamipushkarini: Redemption from Hells which is chapter 12 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 twelfth chapter of the Venkatacala-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
[Redemption from Tāmisra and other Hells Through Holy Bath in Svāmipuṣkariṇī]:—
The sages said:
1-2. O Sūta conversant with the essence of all things, O master of Vedas and Vedāṅgas, O holy lord, describe to us the greatness of Śrī Svāmipuṣkariṇī, merely by remembering which a man on the earth shall become liberated.
Śrī Sūta said:
3-8. Those who praise, those who take their holy bath in and those who speak about Svāmitīrtha never experience the tortures of the hells of twenty-eight types, viz. Tāmisra, Andhatāmisra, Raurava, Mahāraurava, Kuṃbhīpāka, Kālasūtra, Asipatravana, Kṛmibhakṣa, Andhakūpa, Sandaṃśa, Śālmalī, Lālābhakṣa, Avīci, Sārameyādana, Vajrakaṇaka, Kṣārakardamapātana, Rakṣogaṇāśana, Śūlaprotanirodhana, Tirodhāna, Sūcīmukha, Pūyaśoṇitabhakṣa, Viṣāgniparipīḍana etc. (a few missing). O Brāhmaṇas, by taking holy dip in Svāmitīrtha a man does not fall into any of the hells numbering twenty-eight.
9-10. If anyone steals wealth, children or wives of others, he is bound with Kālapāśa (Noose of the god of Death) by the terrible messengers of Yama and he is dropped into the terrible hell Tāmisra. He is kept there for a number of years. If the person takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not thrown into that (hell).
11-13a. A base man who is antagonistic to his mother, father or Brāhmaṇas is thrown into the hell Kālasūtra which extends over ten thousand Yojanas. He is cast into a copper-threshing mill which is heated by fire from below and by the Sun’s rays from above while the victim is afflicted with hunger. If he takes his holy bath in Puṣkariṇī, he is not thrown into that (hell).
13b-14. A man who transgresses the path laid down in the Vedas and clings to evil ways is thrown into the terrible hell Asipatravana by the servants of Yama. If he takes his bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not cast into that (hell).
15-17. A man who (exclusively) eats sauce of ground peas etc. in a different row, a man who, due to delusion, takes food without performing the five Yajñas, O Brāhmaṇas, is thrown into the hell Kṛmibhojana by the soldiers of Yama. He will be eaten by hundreds of worms. He will be compelled to eat the worms. He himself will be turned into a worm and will stay there till the sins are exhausted. If he takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not thrown into that (hell).
18-20a. If any person takes away the wealth of a Brāhmaṇa with (showy) friendliness or through force, if a king or his officer takes away the wealth of others (illegally), be is tortured by means of tongs heated in fire pits full of red hot iron balls in the terrible shell Sandaṃśa by Yama’s men. If he takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not thrown into that (hell).
20b-23a. If a base man carnally approaches a forbidden woman or if a woman carnally approaches a forbidden man, O Brāhmaṇa, they are compelled to embrace red hot iron (dummy of a) woman or man as the case may be. They will stand like this as long as the moon and the sun last. They are thrown into the terrible hell named Sūcī by the servants of Yama. If he or she takes the holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, they are not thrown into that (hell).
23b-24. A person who harasses or torments any creature in diverse ways and modes of affliction, is thrown into the terrible hell Śālmalī full of thorns. If he takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not thrown into that (hell).
25-26a. If a king or his servant closely follows a heretic, if anyone breaks the boundaries of piety and virtue, be is thrown into Vaitaraṇī. If he takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not thrown into that (hell).
26b-28. A person defiled by the contact of a Śūdra woman, a person devoid of cleanliness and good conduct, a person bereft of shame, a person who has abandoned (i.e. flouted the authority of) the Vedas, a person of perpetual brutish activities is thrown into Atibībhatsa (‘extremely hideous’) hell filled with putrid matter, faeces, urine, blood, phlegm, bile etc. by the servants of Yama. If he takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not thrown into that (hell).
29-30. If a person going on a hunt torments deer and wild animals through hounds and arrows, he will be pierced through by volleys of arrows in the other world by the servants of Yama. He is thrown into the hell named Prāṇarodha by the servants of Yama. If he takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha he is not thrown into that (hell).
31-32. If a hypocrite kills animals in a Yajña without the rites performed in accordance with the injunctions, O Brāhmaṇas, he is cast into the hell Vaiśasa in the other world by the servants of Yama. He is cut, shorn and chipped by the soldiers of Yama. If he takes bath in Puṣkariṇī, he is not thrown into that (hell).
33-34a. If a person compels his own wife of the same caste to drink semen virile, in the other world he is thrown into a pit of semen virile and compelled to drink it. If he takes his holy bath in Puṣkariṇī, he is not thrown into that (hell).
34b-36a. If a person waylays men and robs them, if a person administers poison, if a person burns down a whole village, or if a person steals the merchandise of a trader, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, in the other world he is thrown into the terrible hell named Vajradaṃṣṭra and kept there for a long time. If he takes his holy bath in Svāmitīrtha, he is not thrown into that (hell).
36b-37. There are many other hells in the other world, but by taking a bath into Svāmitīrtha a man does not fall into them.
By taking bath once in Puṣkariṇī one derives the benefit of a horse-sacrifice.
38. (By him) knowledge of the soul shall be attained directly as well as the four types of salvation. (His) intellect does not revel in sin nor shall there be any misery.
39. The benefit that is obtained by men through Tulāpuruṣadāna (i.e. making a gift of some stipulated articles weighed against the donor) is obtained by persons by taking holy plunge in Svāmitīrtha.
40. The benefit that is obtained by men by means of a gift of a thousand cows is obtained by men by taking holy bath in Svāmitīrtha.
41. By taking a holy dip in Svāmitīrtha a person immediately attains whatever he desires among (the objectives in life such as) virtue, wealth, pleasure and salvation.
42. Whether one has committed great sins or even has committed all sins, O Brāhmaṇas, one becomes purified immediately by taking bath in Svāmitīrtha.
43. By taking holy bath in Svāmitīrtha men shall obtain intellect, fortune, fame, wealth, knowledge, virtue, detachment and purity of mind.
44-45. Ten thousand sins of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter, ten thousand sins of imbibing liquor, ten thousand sins of carnally approaching the preceptor’s wife committed by habitual sinners, ten thousand sins of theft of gold and crores of the sins of associating with these sinners—all these are quickly dissolved by taking holy plunge in Svāmitīrtha.
46-47. All the sins on a par with the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter, the sin of drinking liquor, the sin of carnally approaching the wife of the preceptor, the sin of stealing gold and the sin of associating with these sinners—O believers in Veda, all these perish by taking holy bath in Svāmitīrtha.
[If Persons have no Faith in the Greatness of Svāmitīrtha, They will Fall into Great Hells]:—
48-49. No doubt should be entertained in the matter mentioned above. Otherwise the servants (of Yama) will place heated axe at the tip of his tongue. If anyone says that this is exaggerated praise, he shall fall into a hell. He should be known as a pig excluded from all holy rites.
50-52. Alas, the folly, alas, the silliness, the stupidity of (ordinary) people, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, who try to revel in other places and avoid this holy spot even while there is the Tīrtha named Svāmitīrtha which is destructive of all sins, which bestows the knowledge of non-duality on men, which yields worldly pleasures and salvation, which grants all desired objects always and is destructive of ignorance! Alas, the extent of (their) delusion which cannot be adequately expressed by me!
53-54. One who has taken his bath in Svāmitīrtha need not be afraid of the god of Death. Those men who visit Svāmitīrtha and take bath therein, eulogize it, praise it, touch it or bow down to it, do not drink the breast-milk of mothers (again) (i.e. get Mokṣa), O Brāhmaṇas.
55. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, the greatness of Svāmitīrtha has been narrated to you. It yields worldly pleasures and salvation to men. It dispels all sins.
Footnotes and references:
The different types of hells, the tortures therein and sins for which they are meant are detailed in different Purāṇas like MkP, PdP and others. They differ in some details from this chapter. These deterrent punishments are proclaimed in order to dissuade people from committing immoral acts.