The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Manifestation of Lord Vishnu to Agastya and Others which is chapter 38 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-eighth chapter of the Venkatacala-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 38 - Manifestation of Lord Viṣṇu to Agastya and Others

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Bharadvāja said:

1. Three days passed off while they were engaged in worship and prayers with their minds dedicated to Hari, the Lord of the universe.

2. On the third day while they were asleep at night they saw an excellent dream at the end of the fourth watch (Yāma = period of 3 hours).

3. They saw Puruṣottama pleased and with a smiling look. He had the conch, the discus and the iron club in his hands. He had come for granting them boons.

4. They got up with joyous hearts and came out of their houses. With due reverence, they took their holy baths in the sacred waters of Svāmipuṣkariṇī in accordance with the injunctions.

5. After duly performing all those rites that had to be performed in the morning all of them returned to their abodes to propitiate Lord Acyuta.

6. Seeing the good omen indicated by the birds on the way conducive to instant welfare, they thought that the favour of the Lord was within their reach.

7. Then they worshipped Janārdana, the maker of the three worlds. They eulogized him with different holy prayers described in the Vedas.

8. At the end of the prayers, O son of Kuntī, the excellent Pot-born Sage (Agastya) repeated the eight-syllabled Mantra of Hari (Oṃ namo Nārāyaṇāya) along with Śaṅkha.

9. An extremely mysterious brilliant light manifested (itself) in front of those persons who had thus dedicated their minds to Acyuta, the Lord of the universe.

10. It was stationed in the sky like the splendour of many crores of Suns, Moons and fires unified together in one place.

11. On seeing that brilliance all of them were immensely surprised. They meditated upon divine Nārāyaṇa, the embodiment of the greatest bliss.

12. The Lord was beyond the ken of speech and mind. He was shining with well renowned prosperity and glory. He had thousand (innumerable) eyes and was equipped with a thousand arms and feet.

13. He was charming with a lustre that was as brilliant as that of molten gold. He was terrific with curved teeth. He was too dazzling to be seen properly, (as) he emitted masses of flames of fire.

14. He shone with the Kaustubha jewel. He held Śrī on his chest. He was incomprehensible, without beginning or end.

15-17a. He inspired excessive fright (in everyone). He was omnipresent. He revealed the entire Cosmic Egg within himself. On seeing the Lord all of them with Agastya and Śaṅkha as their leaders, became delighted in their minds.

Oṇ seeing the Lord of the universe they bowed to him again and again.

The weapons of Hari that were wandering for the sake of protecting the worlds, came back to serve him, equipped with their own respective splendour and strength.

17b-23a. (The weapons were) the discus that had the lustre of the Sun, the divine mace, the sword Nandaka, the Puṇḍarīka (white lotus), (the conch) Pāñcajanya of terrific sound having the lustre of the Moon. It filled the entire Cosmic Egg. The sound of Pāñcajanya was extremely terrifying unto all the Asuras.

On hearing the sound of Pāñcajanya which was extremely mysterious and terrific all the Devas came there riding on their respective vehicles.

Brahmā, Rudra, Indra, the Yogins beginning with Sanaka, the sages chief of whom was Vasiṣṭha, Gandharvas, serpents and Kinnaras, Viṣvaksena, Garuḍa, the servants of Viṣṇu beginning with Jaya and those who are permanently of the same form (as that of the Lord) and residents of the Śvetadvīpa (all these came).

A wonderful shower of flowers from the celestial (Kalpa) tree fell thick over all of them delighting everyone’s mind through the excessive fragrance.

23b. The celestial damsels of beautiful eyes danced; the leading Kinnaras sang.

24-25. Suras, Gandharvas and Cāraṇas who were delighted and thrilled, eulogized. On seeing the Lotus-eyed Lord, who is fond of his devotees, pleased, they bowed down to him with eight limbs touching the ground and propitiated him with different kinds of hymns.

Brahmā and others said:

26. Be victorious, O Viṣṇu, O ocean of mercy. Be victorious, O lotus-eyed one. Be victorious, the sole bestower of boons in all the worlds. Be victorious, O suppressor of the agony of devotees.

27. Who knows you (fully), the endless one, the imperishable one, the quiescent one, one who is beyond the ken of speech and mind and is of the nature of consciousness and bliss?

28. They consider you minuter than the minutest; stouter (grosser) than the stoutest (grossest), the immanent soul. The scriptures call you Acyuta, Puruṣa and one beyond Prakṛti.

29. Among the embodied souls subject to the wiles of Māyā who is competent to describe you who are the embodiment of the essence of the Vedāntas and who are stationed within and without everything?

30. On seeing this extremely frightening form of yours all of us are shuddering with fear. Do adopt a calm and graceful form.

Bharadvāja said:

31. On being eulogized by Viriñca and others thus, the Garuḍa-emblemed Lord spoke earnestly in words and tones resembling the thunder of clouds.

[The Lord Adopts a Gentle Form at the Request of Brahmā and Others]:—

Śrī Bhagavān said:

32. I shall shed off this terrifying form. I shall assume a pleasing and quiescent form. Look at me without being agitated.

33. After saying this the Lord vanished and within the same moment he reappeared in a pleasant form, in an aerial chariot studded with gems and jewels.

34. His face resembled the disc of the Moon. He was quiet and calm. He had a lustre like that of the petals of a blue lotus. His robes were golden-coloured. He was adorned with ornaments set with gems and jewels.

35. In his four hands shone the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. On seeing that lover of Ramā all of them saluted him again and again.

36. The Lord made Brahmā and others satisfied by granting them what they desired. He then spoke to Agastya, the prominent sage who stood there in humility:

Śrī Bhagavān said:

37. O eminent sage, you have become strained and fatigued on account of the arduous holy rites performed now, with me as the object (of worship). I shall grant you all desired boons. Tell me.

Bharadvāja said:

38. On hearing the words of the Lord of Śrī, the Pot-born Sage bowed down to him again and again. With hair standing on end all over the body (due to thrill of joy) he spoke these words:

[At the Request of Agastya the River Suvarṇamukharī was Granted Superiority over Everything]:—

39. “The Homas that I have performed, the penances that I have practised, (the Vedic Mantras) that I have studied, whatever I have heard—everything has become fruitful, because I have been honoured by you.

40. I am the only righteous-souled person, O Lord, in all the three worlds, because even as I am in search of you, you have come in search of me.

41. Even before your (formal pronouncement of your) favour I have realized all my desires, O Mādhava. Even after thinking deeply I do not see anything that remains to be attained (by me) now.

42. Still out of fickleness this is being submitted, O Lord. May my devotion unto you be like this always.

43. Remember this that it was at the request of Suras that the river Suvarṇamukharī (was brought) by me. It destroys the mass of sins of those who take their bath therein.

44. That river has come very near the ridge of your mountain. Do make it blessed, O Lord of the worlds, by means of your blessings and favour.

45. Those who take their bath in the waters of Suvarṇamukharī and visit you stationed on the Veṅkaṭa (Hill) shall be the recipients of worldly pleasures and salvation.

46. Foolish persons of short span of life, who have slipped (dropped) down from the path of knowledge and yogic practice, are not competent to see you through holy rites, study of the Vedas and other sacred activities.

47. O Sire of the universe, be always present on this mountain. O Lord, grant your favours to everyone with beaming face. Bestow on them whatever object they may desire.”

Śrī Bhagavān said:

48. O Brāhmaṇa, what has been requested by you shall certainly take place. Indeed, an act of devotion to me, that is matchless in the entire world, has been performed by you.

49. Like the river Gaṅgā, O sage, this river Suvarṇamukharī shall be worthy of being sought after. It shall cause all desired prosperity even to the Suras.

50. Svāmipuṣkariṇī shall become united with the form of the river. It shall pass over to that divine river which is the resort unto all the Tīrthas.

51. O sage, due to your request I shall take up my residence for ever from now onwards on this mountain named Vaikuṇṭha.

52-54. Those who have washed all the dirt of the mass of sins by means of holy bath in Suvarṇamukharī and then visit me on this Vaikuṇṭha mountain with great concentration, shall become richly endowed with sons and all types of prosperity and glory on the earth. After death they will enjoy the pleasures of heaven till the end of the Kalpa. Thereafter they will attain my region shining with (divine) bliss alone. From that region they will not return (to the earth). In this matter there is no doubt at all.

55. O sage, out of deference for your request I shall look after all those who come here to visit me. I shall always grant them all the auspicious things desired by them.

56-57. I shall grant many sons to those who seek sons, riches to those who seek riches, complete quelling of all ailments to those who desire good health, redemption from misery to those who are assailed by acute adversity and all rare enjoyment of pleasures (to everyone) at all times.

58. There is no doubt about this that everyone will attain all those desires seeking which he or she has come and visited me.

59. Wherever they may stay, all those excellent men who remember me shall get the fulfilment desired by them by my favour.

[The Lord Grants Boons to King Śaṅkha and then Vanishes]:—

60. After saying this to that sage, the Lord glanced at Śaṅkha, the king. He spoke these words even as Brahmā and others were listening:

Śrī Bhagavān said:

61. O Śaṅkha, I am delighted at your devotion. Choose a boon desired (by you). I shall grant it. I shall be the bestower of boons on you who have become very emaciated on account of the penance.

Śaṅkha said:

62. O mighty one, I do not request for anything other than service unto your lotus-like feet. I request for that excellent goal which your devotees attain.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

63. O Śaṅkha, what is requested by you, shall certainly be so. What is it that cannot be obtained by those people who have become very excellent and meritorious on account of their service unto me?

64. You will be in the world of Indra till the end of the Kalpa. You will be attended upon by multitudes of celestial damsels. After enjoying various kinds of pleasures you will attain my world.

65. Thus, O king, Nārāyaṇa, the origin of the universe, a wish-yielding tree unto those who worship him, granted desired boons to Śaṅkha.

66. Then the Lotus-eyed Lord bade farewell to everyone beginning with Brahmā. Being eulogized by them with devotion the Lord vanished there itself.

[Conclusion of the Description of the Greatness of Śrī Veṅkaṭācala by Bharadvāja]:—

Bharadvāja said:

67. The power of Veṅkaṭādri has been recounted to you, O Ārjuna. On hearing this sanctifying story men are liberated from sins.

68. On being requested by Brahmā Hari cast off the form of Boar. Enchanting the universe with his Māyā the Lord of wonderful features rejoiced here.

69. Afterwards on being requested by Agastya and Śaṅkha the Lord granted them (i.e. assumed before them) a physical body fit for enjoyment of pleasures, a body that was pleasing to look at, extremely graceful and calm.

70. By remembering Nārāyaṇa, Veṅkaṭādri, Svāmipuṣkariṇī and this narrative people become liberated from sins.

71. In the whole of the Cosmic Egg there is no other holy spot on a par with Veṅkaṭādri. A Lord equal to Veṅkaṭeśa has never been before nor will there ever be.

72. A holy spot equal to Veṅkaṭādri has never been before, nor will there ever be. There is nothing anywhere on a par with the Lake Svāmitīrtha.

73. If people remember Veṅkaṭeśa everyday on getting up in the morning, the glory of salvation comes within their reach. There is no doubt about it.

74-75. Those who take bath in Svāmipuṣkariṇī Tīrtha with perfect restraint and visit Hari, the immanent soul of everyone, residing on Varāhācala, obtain the full benefit of a thousand horse-sacrifices and a hundred Vājapeyas. There is no doubt about it.

76-77. The excellent men who listen to the greatness of Veṅkaṭācala will enjoy great pleasures here in this world and hereafter in the other world, and then will attain salvation.

The greatness of Veṅkaṭācala has been briefly recounted to you. Henceforth the power of the great river will be described, O Arjuna.

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