The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Dialogue between Jaimini and the Sages which is chapter 1 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 first chapter of the Purushottama-kshetra-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 1 - A Dialogue between Jaimini and the Sages

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Obeisance to Śrī Gaṇeśa. Here begins (description of) greatness of the holy place of Puruṣottama (Jagannātha).

1. After bowing down to Nārāyaṇa and then to Nara, the most excellent one among men, to goddess Sarasvatī as well as to Vyāsa, one shall utter “Jaya[1] (the Purāṇa).

The sages said:

2-6. O holy Lord, conversant with all the scriptural texts, the knower of the greatness of all the Tīrthas, formerly, when the glorification of the Tīrthas was taken up, it was mentioned by you that a great Tīrtha named Puruṣottama[2] was extremely sanctifying. It is there that the Lord of Śrī abides as a wooden idol in the course of his sports as a human being. On one paying a visit to him he bestows salvation. He directly grants the benefits of all the Tīrthas.

Do recount it in detail to us. By whom was that sacred place created?

Lord Nārāyaṇa is refulgent and self-luminous. He is the Supreme Puruṣa. How does he stay there in a form made of wood?[3] Do narrate it, O most excellent one among eloquent speakers, O Sage, O Sire of all the worlds. O Brāhmaṇa, we wish to hear it as we have great eagerness and interest in (listening to) it.

Jaimini[4] said:

Listen ye all, O sages. It is a great secret.

7. Those who are not the followers of Viṣṇu will not have any devotion to him. By glorifying him the entire darkness disappears.

8-9. Formerly, having heard it from the lotus-like mouth of Śaṃbhu, it has been said by Skanda that the Lord of the universe is omnipresent and sanctifier of all. There are other shrines and holy places which dispel all sins, but this holy place is the very physical body of that great soul. He himself stays here in his (actual) physical form. It is well-known by his own name.

10. All those who wish to stay there, have their sins destroyed. What to say of those who actually stay there and visit Gadādhara (i.e. Viṣṇu)!

11-12. Oh, it is indeed a great holy spot extending over ten Yojanas (i.e. 120 Kms). It has emerged out of the waters of Tīrtharāja (‘Chief of Tīrthas’ i.e. the Ocean). It is full of sands. In the middle the great mountain Nīlācala shines like a single breast of the Earth. It can be contemplated upon from very far-off places.

13. Formerly the Earth was lifted up (by the Lord) in the form of a Boar; he levelled it up everywhere and rendered it stable by means of mountains.

14-15a. Formerly Brahmā created the entire (universe) of mobile and immobile beings, all the Tīrthas, rivers and oceans. As before he fixed up all the holy spots and thought thus as he had been overburdened with the function of creation:

15b-17a. ‘How can I avoid the great task of creation once more? How can the creatures afflicted with Tāpatraya (‘the three types of miseries[5]’) be liberated?’

Even as Prajāpati (Brahmā) was musing thus an idea occurred to him: ‘I shall eulogize the great Lord Viṣṇu, the sole cause of salvation.’

Brahmā said:

17b-21. Obeisance to you, O Lord holding the conch, the discus and the iron club. O support of the universe, it is from the lotus coming out of your navel that I, the creator of the universe, was born. But, O Lord immanent in the universe, you alone know your own real form.

It is by your Māyā that the entire universe beginning with Mahat has been created. Śabda-Brahman (i.e. the Vedas which are considered the revealed word of Brahman and hence identical with Supreme Brahman) arose from your breath and became threefold (viz. Ṛg, Yajus and Sāman Vedas). Depending on that only as my source I created the world.

(Defective Text) You do not possess any attribute such as grossness, subtleness, longness, shortness etc. Just as the bangles and other (gold ornaments) are identical with gold, so also this universe of mobile and immobile beings is identical with you,[6] O Lord, in spite of different forms on account of the three different Guṇas (Sattva etc.)

22. O great Lord, O Lord of the universe, you are the creator and that which is to be created. You alone are the nourisher and what is to be nourished. You are the support and what is being supported as well as the upholder.

23. With a mind urged by you everyone performs auspicious as well as inauspicious acts. Thereby he attains the suitable goal ordained by you alone.

24. You are the goal, the Lord (the supporter) and the witness, O Supreme Lord. O sire of the mobile and immobile beings, O Lord, the immanent soul of everyone, O merciful one, O Lord of the universe, be pleased with me now (because) I have (submitted to) you as my refuge.

Jaimini said:

25-26. On being eulogized thus by Brahmā the Garuḍa-emblemed Lord, resembling a dark cloud, having the conch, the discus etc. as his symbols, appeared before him seated on the Lord of birds. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, his lotus-like face gleamed. His lips throbbed as he was desirous of speaking (something).

Śrī Bhagavān said:

27-30. O Brahmā, it appears that the purpose for which you eulogize me cannot be achieved. The beginningless Avidyā is firmly rooted. It cannot be severed by the bonds of Karmas. How can birth and death cease to be when it (i.e. Avidyā) predominates! Still, O sinless one, if you strive in regard to this, I shall tell you the means whereby it shall occur gradually. O Brahmā, I am you; you are I. The entire universe is identical with me. Think that your interest lies where my interest also lies and not otherwise.

31. There is a region on the northern shore of the sea and the southern bank of Mahānadī. That region bestows the benefit of all the Tīrthas on the earth.

32. O Brahmā, those men of good intellect who reside there enjoy the fruits of the merits earned in the previous births.

33-36. Men deficient in merits, or those who are not my devotees are not born there, O Lotus-born one. From the forest of Ekāmra (modern Bhuvaneshwar in Orissa) and up to the shore of the Southern Sea (the Bay of Bengal) every step is better than the previous one. It is gradually (one step after another) sanctifying. The Nīla[7] mountain that shines on the seashore, is a well-guarded holy spot on the earth, very difficult of access even unto you. It is difficult to be comprehended by Suras and Asuras. It is enveloped by my Māyā. Eschewing all (external) contacts, I dwell there in physical form. I dwell in Puruṣottama after going beyond the perishable and the imperishable.

37-40a. My shrine and the holy place of Puruṣottama is not at all affected by creation or dissolution.[8] After going there, O Pitāmaha, you will see me like this in the form in which you see me now, O Brahmā, the form that is marked by discus etc. Within the Nīla mountain, at the root of the holy fig tree, on the western side there is a pool well-known as Rauhiṇa[9]. I dwell on its bank. Those who see me there with the mortal eye and those whose sins are washed off by its water shall attain Sāyujya with me.

40b-44. Go there, O Lord of exalted magnificence. After seeing me if you go on meditating, another greatness of that sacred place shall become manifest to you. It will appear very strange even to you. It is not revealed by Śrutis, Smṛtis and Itihāsa and Purāṇa. On account of my Māyā it is not visible to anyone. Since you have eulogized me now, everything will be visible and manifest to you by my favour.

By staying there for a day (only) one attains that benefit which is mentioned as the merit acquired by pure souls (by visiting) all the holy Tīrthas, (by performing) rites, Yajñas and charitable gifts. (Defective text) By residing permanently there one attains the benefit of a horse-sacrifice.

After directing Brahmā thus, O Brāhmaṇas, Lord Puruṣottama vanished there itself, even as he was looking on.

Footnotes and references:


Jaya: Originally it was the name of Vyāsa’s composition on Kaurava-Pāṇḍava War. In course of time it came to be used for all Purāṇas and even the Rāmāyaṇa.


Puruṣottama Kṣetra: (Jagannātha) Puri, Orissa. It is also known as Śrī Kṣetra, Bhauma Kṣetra, Divya Kṣetra. The Purāṇa regards this region conchshaped and it is hence called Śaṅkha Kṣetra. Our Purāṇa states that it was originally the area of Śabaras (aboriginals) who worshipped Nīlamādhava.


The whole Purāṇa defends the wooden material used for god Jagannātha as ‘Dāru-Brahman’ (Wooden-Brahman, the Brahman of wooden material).


Jaimini: Jamini is said to be the author of a section of the Sāmaveda, of (Jaminīya) Brāhmaṇa and Upaniṣad, of the (Pūrva) Mīmāṃsā, of a Gṛhyasūtra and of a late version of Aśvamedha part of Mbh. Most probably there were more than one Jaimini. Mbh, Ādi 67.89 regards him as a disciple of Vyāsa and he was the Brahmā (Superintendent) of King Janamejaya’s Serpent-Sacrifice (Ādi 53.6).

The present narrator may be a different person, a namesake of that ancient sage.


The miseries are classified as Ādhyātmika, Ādhibhautika and Ādhidaivika.


Brahman or Viṣṇu is also the material cause of the universe.


The low range of sand-hills on which the temple of Jagannātha is situated (De 141). The epithet ‘mountain’ (-giri, -acala, -parvata) applied to this low sandhill is a Puranic glorification.


Every Sthala-Purāṇa claims this eternity to its Kṣetra, be it Purī or Karavīra.


Rauhiṇa Kuṇḍa: The tank in the compound of Jagannātha Temple. But the kuṇḍa mentioned here is probably lost. Another tank was actually built when the great Jagannātha Temple came up in the 12th cent. CE.

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