by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words
This page describes The Greatness of Venkatacala which is chapter 17 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 seventeenth chapter of the Venkatacala-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
[A Description of the Holy Place Śrī Veṅkaṭācala]:—
Śrī Sūta said:
1. I shall once again relate the greatness of Veṅkaṭādri to you all. Listen with great concentration and mental purity.
3-6. Devas, Sages, Siddhas, Saṇaka and other Yogins, the people of the regions Aṅga, Kosala, Karṇāṭa, Kāśī, Gurjara, Cola, Kerala, Pāṇḍya and all other lands visit this place along with their families to serve every year Lord Puruṣottama living on that excellent mountain. The Lord holds the conch and discus. He wears the splendid yellow robe. His chest is adorned with Kaustubha jewel. He gives immunity from fear to the devotees. The Lord of Devas has large eyes. He is the eternal Lord who can be known only through the Vedas.
8-10a. Brahmā, the grandfather of the world, celebrated the great festival of hoisting the flag of Śrī Veṅkaṭeśa in the month (when the Sun was in the Zodiac) of Kanyā (Virgo). Every year for the sake of visiting the Lord at the time of Brahmotsava of the Lord, all human beings, all Devas, Gandharvas, Siddhas and Sādhyas of great prowess gather there, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.
10b-11. Just as the Vedic lore is the best among all lores, Praṇava (Oṃ) among all Mantras, life (vital air) among all the dearest objects and the Wish-yielding Cow among all the cows, so the great mountain of Veṅkaṭa is the most excellent one among all sacred places.
13-16. The prominent mountain of Veṅkaṭa is the most excellent one among holy spots. Like the divine tree among trees, like wife among intimate associates, like Gaṅgā among Tīrthas and like Ravi (Sun) among luminaries, the great mountain Veṅkaṭa is the most excellent one among holy spots.
Like Vajra (thunderbolt) among weapons, like gold among metals, like Rudra among the followers of Viṣṇu and like Kaustubha among jewels, the great mountain Veṅkaṭa is the most excellent among holy spots. There is nothing else like this which increases the pleasure of Viṣṇu.
17-20. There is no other month like the month of Mādhava. There is no other Yuga equal to Kṛta. There is no scripture like the Vedas. There is no Tīrtha equal to Gaṅgā. There is no other gift equal to that of water. There is no pleasure equal to that of wife. There is no wealth on a par with agriculture. There is no other profit greater than life. There is no penance greater than fasting. There is no happiness greater than charitable gift. There is no other virtue on a par with mercifulness. There is no other luminary equal to the eye. There is no satisfaction on a par with eating food. There is no trade on a par with agriculture. There is no friend equal to Dharma. There is no fame equal to Satya (truthfulness).
21. Just like all these cited above, there is nothing equal to the abode of the Lord (Veṅkaṭeśa).
22. The chief of mountains named Veṅkaṭa is such a great holy spot, O eminent sages, the glorification (of which) dispels all sins. Salutation to it bestows all types of happiness in the world. The pilgrimage to it is worthy of being worshipped by Suras.
23-25. I again emphatically tell its greatness: All the Tīrthas reside there. Thus among all of them the chief Tīrtha is the lake named Śrīsvāmi (i.e. Svāmipuṣkariṇī).
How is its greatness to be described by me? On its western bank shines Bhūvarāha (Boar idol), the gentle idol in the act of embracing his beloved. He helps all the people of the world.
On the southern bank of Śrīsvāmipuṣkariṇī perpetually resides Veṅkaṭeśvara, the bestower of boons, with his body embraced by Lakṣmī.
26. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, the excellent greatness of the holy spot has been narrated to you. He who listens to this always is honoured in the world of Viṣṇu.
Footnotes and references:
This is the most important festival of god Veṅkaṭeśvara. It is celebrated in the month of Śrāvaṇa (August-September). For its description cf. VrP II.50-53. It is called Brahmotsava as it is believed to have been started by god Brahmā. Historically it started in CE 966 through the donation of the Pallava Queen Samavāi. Royal dynasties of the South generously supported this celebration.