The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Svamipushkarini: Dharmagupta which is chapter 13 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 thirteenth chapter of the Venkatacala-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 13 - The Greatness of Svāmipuṣkariṇī: Dharmagupta

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[The Story of Dharmagupta]:—

Śrī Sūta said:

1. I shall recount the greatness of Svāmitīrtha once again out of respect for you all, O residents of Naimiṣa forest.

2. There was a great king named Nanda. He was born of the Lunar race. He ruled righteously over this oceangirt [ocean-girt?] earth.

3-4a. He had a son who is remembered by the name Dharmagupta. Nanda entrusted the burden of protection of the kingdom to his son. The old king who had controlled his sense-organs and mastered (craving for) food entered a penance grove.

4b-5. When the father had gone to the penance grove, the king named Dharmagupta protected the earth. He was conversant with virtue (Dharma). He was skilled in statesmanship. He worshipped Devas, the chief of whom is Indra, by means of many kinds of Yajñas.

6-7a. To Brāhmaṇas he gave monetary gifts and land grants. When that king was ruling, all the people were devoted to their duties. There were no depredations of thieves etc. in that kingdom.

7b-10. Once Dharmagupta mounted his excellent horse, O eminent Brāhmaṇas, eager to go ahunting. He roamed about iṇ the forest very terrible due to lions and tigers. The quarters in the forest were covered with Tamāla (Indian Cinnamon), Tāla (palm tree), Hintāla (marshy date tree) and Kurabaka (red amaranth). The spaces in between the cardinal points echoed with the humming sound of the swarms of inebriated bees. All the lakes in the forest were full of water and abounded in golden lotuses, white lotuses, blue lotuses and water lilies. There were many ascetics who graced the forest.

11. While king Dharmagupta roamed about in the forest, O Brāhmaṇas, night befell him enveloping all the surrounding quarters with darkness.

12. The king endowed with humility performed the evening prayer (Sandhyā) in the forest and repeated the Gāyatrī Mantra, the mother of the Vedas.

13-14. Afraid of lions, tigers and other (wild animals) the prince resorted to a tree. A certain bear that was frightened of a lion came near the prince. A certain lion roaming in the forest chased the bear. The bear chased by the lion came to the tree and climbed it.

15. On climbing the tree the bear saw the king of noble soul and great strength and exploit perched on the tree.

16-18. On seeing him the wild bear said to the king: “O eminent king, do not be afraid. Let us both stay here the whole of the night. A lion of very huge body with great strength aṇḍ large curved teeth has come to the foot of the tree. He is excessively terrible. During the first half of the night you may go to sleep being protected by me. I will remain awake. Thereafter, O king of great intellect, protect me as I sleep during the later half of the night.”

19. On hearing his words the son of Nanda went to sleep. Then the lion told the bear, “Let this king who is asleep be given away to me.”

20. The bear who was conversant with virtue said to the lion, O excellent Brāhmaṇas: “You do not know righteousness, O king of beasts roaming in the forest.

21. Those who are guilty of breach of trust will face great difficulties in the world. The sins of those who are treacherous to friends cannot be destroyed even by means of ten thousand Yajñas.

22. One can somehow expiate for all the sins such as that of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter etc., but the sin of the treacherous ones will not perish even after crores of rebirths.

23. O lion, I do not consider Meru too heavy to the surface of the earth. I consider a treacherous fellow burdensome and very heavy (to the earth).”

24-27. On being told thus by the bear the lion kept quiet. When Dharmagupta woke up, the bear went to sleep on the tree. Thereupon, the lion spoke to the king, “Give away this bear to me.” On being told thus by the lion the king unhesitatingly dropped to the ground that bear that had gone to sleep placing its head on his lap! While being dropped down by the king, the bear supported himself by holding on to the tree. Fortunately he did not fall on the ground from the tree. Then the bear approached the king and angrily spoke these words:

28. “O king, I am a scion of the family of Bhṛgu. My name is Dhyānakāṣṭha. I can assume any form I wish. I have assumed this form of a bear.

29. Why did you let me down while I was asleep though I am devoid of any sin, O king? By my curse you shall instantly become insane. You will be roaming about over the earth.”

30. After cursing the king thus the sage spoke to the lion: “You are not (really) a lion. You are a great Yakṣa, a minister of Kubera.

31. Out of your ignorance once you joyously sported about in the company of women in the presence of Gautama on the mountain Himavān.

32. By chance Gautama came out of his hut to fetch sacrificial twigs. On seeing you naked he pronounced a curse:

33. ‘Since you remained in my hermitage today without any clothes on, you will undoubtedly be turned into a lion today.’

34. Formerly you were a Yakṣa and a minister of Kubera named Bhadra. It was through the curse of Gautama that you obtained the form of a lion.

35. Indeed Kubera is by nature righteous. His servants too are like him. Hence why do you kill me, a sage and resident of the forest?

36-37. O lord of beasts, I know all this through the power of meditation.”

On being told thus by Dhyānakāṣṭha he immediately abandoned the form of lion and resumed the form of Yakṣa, the minister of Kubera. With palms joined in reverence he bowed down to sage Dhyānakāṣṭha and said:

38-42a. “O great sage, today all those previous events have been recollected by me. At the time of cursing me Gautama had mentioned about the end of the curse as well. Gautama, the eminent sage, had said to me thus, O Brāhmaṇa: ‘When you carry on a conversation with Dhyānakāṣṭha in the form of a bear, you will get rid of this form of lion and will regain the form of Yakṣa.’ Since my form of lion has been destroyed now, I know you, O great sage, as the pure ascetic named Dhyānakāṣṭha who can always assume any form he likes.”

After saying this, the eminent Yakṣa bowed down to Dhyānakāṣṭha, got into an excellent aerial chariot and went to Alakāpurī.

42b-43. On seeing the excellent king in the form of a mad man the ministers took him to his father’s presence on the banks of Revā. To him they intimated the mental derangement of his son.

[At the Instance of Jaimini Dharmagupta Takes His Holy Bath in Svāmitīrtha whereby His Madness Disappears]:—

44-46. After knowing the account of his son, Nanda, the father, took the son immediately to the presence of Jaimini. To him he reported the story of the son from the beginning:

“O Holy Lord Jaimini, my son has become insane now. O great sage, tell me the means of curing his madness.”

47. On being requested thus, Jaimini, the eminent sage, meditated for a long time. After meditating long he said to king Nanda:

48. “It was on account of the curse of Dhyānakāṣṭha that your son became mad. I shall tell you the means of getting liberated from his curse.

49-53a. On the sacred mountain Veṅkaṭādri which is destructive of all sins and consists of many kinds of minerals, on the banks of Suvarṇamukharī there is a very great Tīrtha named Svāmipuṣkariṇī. It is the holiest of holy Tīrthas; it is the most auspicious of all auspicious places. It is mentioned in the Vedas; it is highly meritorious; it dispels the (great) sins like Brāhmaṇa-slaughter etc. O highly intelligent one, take your son there and make him bathe therein. Immediately his madness will disappear. There is no doubt about that”

On being told thus Nanda bowed down to Jaimini, the eminent sage, took his son and went to Svāmipuṣkariṇī.

53b-57. There he made his son take his bath with the requisite holy observances. Merely by taking his bath the son got rid of his madness instantaneously. King Nanda too took his holy bath in the waters of Svāmipuṣkariṇī.

Along with his son, the father stayed there for a day, worshipping Veṅkaṭeśa, Śrīnivāsa, the storehouse of mercy. Nanda took leave of his son and went to the forest for penance.

After the father had departed the son, king Dharmagupta, offered much wealth devoutly to Veṅkaṭeśa, O Brāhmaṇas. He gave money, food-grains and land to Brāhmaṇas.

58-60. Thereafter, he went to his city along with his ministers. He righteously protected the kingdom inherited from his father and grandfather and rendered it devoid of thorns (i.e. enemies and troubles). O Brāhmaṇas, Dharmagupta was highly virtuous.

Those man who are afflicted with madness, epileptic fits, evil spirits etc., O eminent Brāhmaṇas, shall be liberated from them by taking the holy bath here in Puṣkariṇī. It is the truth, truth alone that I speak.

61. He who goes to another Tīrtha abandoning Svāmipuṣkariṇī, leaves off the tasty cow’s milk and requests for the juice of spurge (i.e. a kind of plant having milky juice).

62-64. All those men who take their bath in any water anywhere repeating (the name) ‘Svāmitīrtha’ three times, O Brāhmaṇas, will go to Brahmā’s region.

Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, the auspicious story of Dharmagupta has been related to you. Merely by listening to this the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter perishes.

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