The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of Svamipushkarini: Sumati which is chapter 14 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 fourteenth chapter of the Venkatacala-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 14 - The Greatness of Svāmipuṣkariṇī: Sumati

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[The Story of a Brāhmaṇa Named Sumati]:—

Śrī Sūta said:

1-2. O ascetics, O ye all residents of Naimiṣa forest, I shall recount once more the greatness of Svāmitīrtha. Formerly, on account of his association with a Kirātī (‘huntress’) Sumati, a Brāhmaṇa, drank liquor. He took his bath in Puṣkariṇī and was liberated from the sin.

The sages asked:

3-4. Whose son was Sumati? How did he come (i.e. become addicted) to drink liquor? How was he enamoured of a Kirāta woman? O Sūta, the most excellent one among those conversant with the Purāṇas, kindly narrate this now in detail to us all.

Śrī Sūta said:

5-6. In the land named Mahārāṣṭra there was an orthodox Brāhmaṇa well-known as Yajñadeva. He was a master of the Vedas and Vedāṅgas. He was very compassionate, hospitable to guests and a regular worshipper of Śiva and Nārāyaṇa. That Yajñadeva had a son named Sumati.

7. He left his father and deserted his chaste wife. Devoted to an assembly of lecherous persons, he went to the Utkala land (Orissa).

8. In that land there lived a Kirāta woman (a Kirātī) who was young and of enchanting beauty. For a long time she tempted young men and took away all their wealth.

9. Sumati, the base Brāhmaṇa, went to her house. That huntress (Kirātī) caught hold of Sumati, (though) he was a Brāhmaṇa without wealth.

[Due to His Association with the Kirātī the Brāhmaṇa Named Sumati Incurs a Great Sin]:—

10-12. Sumati associated with her. He was solely interested in sexual union with her. From here and there he stole many things and much wealth and always handed them over to her. He sported with her for a long time. He took food in her house. He drank liquor along with her from the same goblet. Sporting about thus with her for a long time, eagerly engaged in sensual pleasures, he never remembered his parents or wife.

13. Once he went to the house of a certain Brāhmaṇa to commit theft along with the Kirātas. He too assumed the guise of a Kirāta.

14-15. He was rash and ferocious. With a sword in his hand he went to steal his wealth. With his sword he killed the master of that house, took away plenty of wealth and went to the house of the Kirātī.

The terrible, hideous, evil spirit of the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter followed him as he proceeded ahead.

16. Clad in dark-blue clothes, the terrible spirit with extremely red hair roared boisterously shaking heaven and earth.

17-18. Chased by the ogress, he wandered over the whole of the earth. Thus roaming over the entire earth once Sumati went to his own village. The evil Brāhmaṇa of vicious soul was frightened on being chased by that evil spirit. He went into his own house.

19. The devil of the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter pursued him and went to the house along with him. Saying “Save me, save me”, Sumati sought refuge in his father.

20. Saying to him, “Do not be afraid”, the father exerted himself to protect him. At that time Brahmahatyā spoke to his father:

Brahmahatyā said:

21-22. O Yajñadeva, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, do not accept him. He is a drink-addict. He is a thief. He is murderer of a Brāhmaṇa. He is a great sinner. He is antagonistic to his mother and father, a deserter of his wife. He is a sinner. He is defiled due to his association with a Kirātī. Leave him off. He is vicious.

23-24. If you agree to protect, O Brāhmaṇa, this son who is a great sinner, I will devour your wife, his wife, you as well as this son, O Brāhmaṇa. I will devour the whole family. Hence leave this son off. If you leave this son off, I will release all of you now.

25. It does not behove you, O highly intelligent one, to get the whole family destroyed for the sake of one member.

On being told thus by her, Yajñadeva spoke to her:

Yajñadeva said:

26. Affection for my son afflicts me. How can I forsake him?

On hearing that utterance of the Brāhmaṇa Brahmahatyā spoke to him:

Brahmahatyā said:

27-29. He has become fallen. He has been banished from the social system of castes and stages of life. Do not show any affection to this son. Even his sight is censurable.

After saying this, even as Yajñadeva was looking, that Brahmahatyā struck his son named Sumati with her palm. Crying out “O father, O father” he lamented much.

[Means of Getting Free from Brahmahatyā Suggested to Sumati by Durvāsas]:—

30-31. The father, mother and wife of Sumati lamented then.

In the meantime the great Yogī Durvāsas, the virtuous and excellent sage, a part of Śaṅkara himself, fortunately came there. On seeing that sage, the incarnation of Rudra, Yajñadeva eulogized and bowed to him. On behalf of his son he begged of him an asylum:

32-37. “O great Yogin, O Durvāsas, you are a part of Śaṅkara himself. Persons devoid of merit will never have a vision of yours. My son is slayer of a Brāhmaṇa, a drink-addict and a thief. Even the ogress of the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter has come to strike him down. Tell me the means whereby this son of mine shall be rid of the great sins and this terrible Brahmahatyā shall cease to be (i.e. to torment him) quickly. Take pity on my son. He is the only son of mine, O sage. I have no other son. If he dies, my family will become extinct and uprooted. There will not be anyone to offer riceballs to the Manes. So, O holy lord, O sage, take pity on us.”

38. On being told thus, Durvāsas, a part of Śaṅkara, meditated for a long time and said to Yajñadeva, the most excellent Brāhmaṇa:

Durvāsas said:

39. O Yajñadeva, an extremely terrible sin has been committed by your son. His sin cannot be expiated even by ten thousand modes of expiation.

40. Still I shall suggest an atonement for the suppression of that sin of your son. O Brāhmaṇa, listen (carefully) with your mind not distracted by anything else.

41. On the highly meritorious mountain Veṅkaṭādri which is destructive of all sins, there is a lake named Svāmipuṣkariṇī that bestows auspiciousness.

42-43. If your son takes his bath there he shall be rid of sins instantaneously.

[Sumati Liberated from Brahmahatyā Through Holy Bath in Svāmipuṣkariṇī]:—

On hearing these words of the sage Yajñadeva of great intellect took his son and went to Svāmipuṣkariṇī. He made his son bathe there—his son Sumati who was tormented by the evil spirit of the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter.

44-45. A sweet-toned ethereal voice said to the Brāhmaṇa:

“O Yajñadeva of good holy rites, O Brāhmaṇa of exalted magnificence, your son has become purified by means of this holy bath. O Brāhmaṇa, do not entertain any doubt. That Tīrtha has a power of this sort. It is an axe unto the tree of sins.”

46. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, the ancient legend has been recounted to you all. It yields the benefit of a Vājapeya sacrifice to those who listen and read.

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