The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Efficacy of Suvarnamukhari which is chapter 33 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 thirty-third chapter of the Venkatacala-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 33 - The Efficacy of Suvarṇamukharī

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[Śakra and Others Eulogize Suvarṇamukharī]:—

Bharadvāja said:

1-2. Then the Heaven-dwellers, the chief of whom was Śakra, seated in the divine aerial chariots, followed that great river which followed Agastya. With the palms joined in reverence all the great sages followed that divine river that had newly descended and attended upon her with prayers.

3-4. Siddhas, Cāraṇas and Gandharvas who had gathered together in thousands, praised that eminent sage and that river with splendid hymns.

The people of the earth eagerly said: “Fortunately this water that is free from impurities and comparable to nectar has been obtained.” They expressed their delight and enthusiasm thus.

5. At the bidding of the Lotus-born Lord, the Wind-god spoke these words within the hearing of all the Devas:

[The Derivation of the Name Suvarṇamukharī as Explained by the Wind-Goo (Vāyu)]:—

Vāyu said:

6. To the good fortune of the worlds this river was brought by Agastya to the earth like Suvarṇa (gold) making the quarters reverberate (mukharīkṛta).[1]

7. Hence it will be well-known by the name Suvarṇamukharī praised by all the worlds in the abode of the Lord who has salvation as his asset (i.e. the bestower of salvation).

8. This Suvarṇamukharī is the most excellent of all the rivers. It should be served and resorted to. This is the directive of Brahmā.

[Agastya Describes the Greatness of Suvarṇamukharī Brought by Himself]:—

Bharadvāja said:

9. On hearing these words uttered by Wind-god thus, the Pot-born Lord became delighted. He was overwhelmed with surprise within himself. He experienced thrill all over his body (making the hair stand on end).

10. Thus this divine river caused great happiness to men by providing for bathing and drinking and other purposes. It attained great renown in the world.

11. At the behest of the Lotus-born Lord it is the celestial river Suvarṇamukharī by name itself that sanctifies all those who resort solely to it.

12. This excellent river crosses many huge mountains, forest regions and diverse lands in due order. It is nourished by many great rivers arising from those mountains.

13. Its waters are the sole means of curing the seriously sick and those who are attacked by diseases and of restoring them to normal health. They dispel all the distressing sensations, internal as well as external. They cause great welfare.

14. Excellent elephants engrossed in sports strike hard with their trunks whereby columns of water sprays are raised. It appears as if the river makes flower offerings to the Sun-god thereby with great delight.

15. Its waters are excessively pure and they support (i.e. they contain) fragrant white and red lotuses and lilies that render the faces of the quarters fragrant with their sweet scent. Those flowers are the sole receptacles of the good luck of bees.

16. Heavenly damsels are enthusiastic to take a plunge sportingly into the water of this river. The saffron applied in the parting line of the hair on their head renders the waters pink in colour. The Pārijāta flowers slipping down from their braids of hair make the waters fragrant with their sweet scents.

17. The waters cause auspiciousness. They are tasty and devoid of mud. They are exceedingly free from impurities. They are comparable to nectar. They dispel the sins of even the son of Indra.[2]

18. That river rises from the Agastya Śaila (mount Agastya). It has been brought to the earth by the Pot-born Sage. It is rendered splendid with many praiseworthy holy spots. Thus she falls into the Southern Ocean.

19. The waves of the Ocean came forward[3] favourably disposed to receive the river. They welcome it scattering the auspicious raw rice grains in the form of water sprays and holy lamps in that of gems and jewels.

20. Embracing her with his hands (in the form) of billows the Lord of Rivers honoured that river. The rumbling sound of the waves constituted his speech of welcome. Thus the Ocean delighted the River.

21. When the favourably inclined (River) came near his (Ocean’s) shore, the water (line) of the Storehouse of Waters increased along with the delighted waves.

22. Thus Agastya united that River with the Ocean. After eulogizing her and taking leave of her, the sage who had fulfilled his objective, went away as he pleased.

Arjuna said:

23. O holy Sir, the origin of the great river has been told by you. Now I am eager to hear about its efficacy.

[The Greatness of Suvarṇamukharī as Described by Bharadvāja]:—

Bharadvāja said:

24. It (i.e. the river) is destructive of sins. It is the sole cause of all welfare and prosperity. Listen to its greatness, O son of Pāṇḍu. I shall tell it to you.

25. When all the Karmas perish and the Jñānins (i.e. those who have acquired spiritual wisdom) come to their final birth, they get the opportunity to take their holy bath in Suvarṇamukharī. That shall bring about their identity with Brahman.

26. By remembering this Suvarṇamukharī even from hundreds of Yojanas away one shall be liberated from all sins. There is no doubt about it.

27. The bones of creatures deposited in the waters of Suvarṇamukharī become the steps for climbing up to the world of Brahmā.

28. Even when men take their bath in other waters (e.g. tanks, lakes or rivers) wherever they may be, if they remember Suvarṇamukharī at the time, they derive excellent benefit.

29. Men are assailed by crores of sins only until they get tlìe auspicious opportunity to take their holy bath in Suvarṇamukharī.

30. All the Tīrthas of heaven, firmament and the earth remember the river Suvarṇamukhari everyday in the morning for their own fulfilment.

31. Merely by being remembered Suvarṇamukharī that rises from Agastyācala and falls into the Southern Ocean, shall destroy sins.

32. With their innermost heart yearning for bath in Suvarṇamukharī Śakra and other Devas desire for birth in the human species.

33. Those who regularly consume the grains and vegetables nourished by the waters of Suvarṇamukharī are never afflicted with great sins arising from hundreds of consumptions of faulty foodstuffs.

34. The waters of Suvarṇamukharī weighing a Niṣka (about 15 grams) when drunk shall immediately destroy the sins of embodied souls, sins as huge as mountains.

35. Even after attaining human birth if people do not take their holy bath in the waters of Suvarṇamukharī, their birth is fruitless.

36. One bath taken in Suvarṇamukharī in accordance with the injunctions is on a par with crores of baths in Gaṅgā during the Parvans (Full-Moon day, New-Moon day etc.).

37-40. Among all the rivers Suvarṇamukharī is the most excellent one like Govinda among Devas, the Moon among luminaries, a king among men, Kalpaka (wish-yielding tree) among trees, like the sky among the great elements, like Māyā among all powers, like Gāyatrī among Mantras, like thunderbolt among weapons of Devas, Ātman among all the ultimate reals, like Rudrādhyāya among the Yajus Mantras, like Anant among serpents, like Himācala among mountains, like the shrine of Potrin (Varāha) among all holy spots and like mind among the organs of sensation.[4]

41. One who aspires for purity, welfare, auspiciousness etc. shall always remember, salute, glorify and mentally adore the splendid Suvarṇamukharī.

42-44. The following two Mantras should be recited: “I resort to you, O Suvarṇamukharī rising from Agastyācala, falling into the Southern Ocean and destroying all the sins. O mother of the universe, with your waters I wash my body burned and scorched by sins. Bestow on me excellent welfare.” One should recite these two Mantras perfectly after observing holy rites. By taking the holy bath then he shall become pure. He shall rejoice then.

45. Suvarṇamukharī was formerly created by Brahmā. It was brought (to the earth) by Agastya. It is the excellent embodied form of Mandākinī herself.

46. This divine (river) of such efficacy should be glorified by those who seek auspiciousness with a mind full of devotion. Those who desire splendid welfare must take their bath therein.

47. The holy rites of bath, charitable gifts etc. performed on the banks of Suvarṇamukharī during the lunar and solar eclipses shall be of unmeasurable benefit, O son of Pṛthā.

48. If the holy bath in Suvarṇamukharī is taken during the transit of the Sun from one Zodiac to another, at the time of holy Ayana (i.e. northern or southern transit of the Sun) or on the day of Vyatīpāta (a particular astronomical position), it shall redeem a crore of the members of the family.

49. By taking bath in the waters of Suvarṇamukharī during the rise of one’s birth-star or on one’s birthday in accordance with the injunctions one obtains welfare, good health, happiness and glory.

50. By taking the holy bath in the waters of Suvarṇamukharī one gets over the sin that causes evil dreams and obstacles, evil spirits, adverse Planets, Planets in maleficent positions etc.

51. By gifting a land as small as the space occupied by cow’s hoof on the banks of Suvarṇamukharī one shall obtain that benefit which is obtained by gifting away the entire earth.

52. By gifting in accordance with the injunctions a cow along with clothes and ornaments to a Brāhmaṇa on the banks of Suvarṇamukhari one attains the eternal Brahman.

53. For the sake of attaining benefits here and hereafter all types of charitable gifts should be offered on the banks of Suvarṇamukharī during auspicious occasions.

54. Japa, Homa, penance, charitable gift, rites unto the Manes and the worship of Devas performed on the banks of Suvarṇamukharī shall become hundred times more efficacious.

55. I shall tell you another excellent holy rite that should be performed every year on the banks of Suvarṇamukharī by those who seek happiness.

56-57. Daring the season of clouds after being hidden by the rays of the Sun when the sage Agastya gloriously rises once again (i.e. when the star Canopus is seen), the devotees should with great purity and concentration perform holy ablutions (and other rites) in this river. O scion of the family of Kuru. They dwell in the celestial abode for the period of a Kalpa.

58. Those who offer a gold replica of Agastya at that time in accordance with the injunctions attain the eternal Brahman, O son of Pṛthā.

Arjuna said:

59. What is that prescribed procedure whereby this holy rite should be performed, O great sage? Tell everything to me who am eager to know.

[The Prescribed Procedure Regarding Making a Gift of an Idol of Agastya]:—

Bharadvāja said:

60. A man of perfect mental control should calculate the day of the rise of Agastya (Star Canopus). In accordance with his capacity he should get gold image of that great sage prepared.

61. He should have brilliant golden appearance with matted hair tied up. In his lotus-like hands he holds a rosary of beads and a water pot.

62. He wears a soft bark garment. His form is gentle, beautifully marked and smeared with ash. Rudrākṣa beads constitute his ornament.

63. After making the replica thus the devotee should take his holy bath with perfectly controlled mind. He shall adorn the preceptor with scents, flowers etc. in accordance with the injunctions.

64. An Āḍhoka (256 handfuls) of rice grains should be formed into a heap and the gold replica of Agastya should be placed upon it along with two clothes. The devotee should worship the image.

65-67. He shall then recite the following Mantra: “Let Lord Agastya be highly pleased with this charitable gift—Agastya who paralysed Vindhya, who gracefully reduced the ocean into a mouthful of water, who became exceedingly refulgent by means of the brilliance of all the Devas beginning with Brahmā, the Pot-born Sage, my Lord who was bowed down to by all the Devas and Asuras.”

After reciting this Mantra, he should make over the gift with a stream of water poured over it. He shall be liberated from all sins and he shall attain (union with) the eternal Brahman.

68. There is no doubt about this that he will be liberated from all major and minor sins, whether committed in the previous births or in the current one.

69. All the Devas beginning with Brahmā, the great sages beginning with Sanaka, and the Jiving beings both mobile and immobile, shall become delighted undoubtedly.

70. After performing this holy rite of Agastya, the great sage, one shall feed Brāhmaṇas in accordance with one’s capacity ‘for the delight of the holy sage. Monetary gifts too shall be made.

71. A person who is not able to perform that rite, should devoutly propitiate Brāhmaṇas by gifts of gold, food-grains etc. according to his capacity.

72. That day shall not be allowed to pass off in vain. The devotee should celebrate it scrupulously. One should certainly perform some holy rite (on that day).

73. The river Suvarṇamukharī shall be glorified by Suras and Asuras. It is the mature fruit of the penance of the great sage Agastya.

74. Thus the origin as well as the efficacy of the great river has been fully recounted to you. Tell me, what more do you wish to hear?

Footnotes and references:


A popular derivation of the name of the river.


The only sin recorded against Jayanta is that he assumed the form of a crow and pecked at Sītā for which he had to lose his eye.


VV 19-22 give a romantic description of the confluence of the river and the sea.


Cf. BG X, Vibhūti-yoga, for the list of such topmost persons and things.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: