by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Vidyapati Reports to Indradyumna which is chapter 9 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 ninth chapter of the Purushottama-kshetra-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1-8a. When the Brāhmaṇa returned in the evening and when (the place) was crowded with Suras, at the time of the worship of Mādhava, a violent gust of wind blew. It scattered the golden sand everywhere. Thereby the eyes of the Devas became afflicted and they were unable to see Śrīkānta. Then, O Brāhmaṇas, they meditated on Puruṣottama. Those heaven-dwellers remained steady for a Muhūrta in meditation. At the conclusion of their meditation they saw the heap of sand particles and not Mādhava, Nor did they see even Rauhiṇa Kuṇḍa. Then they became agitated. They became extremely anxious and lamented much: “Alas! Alas! What a great misfortune has befallen us all of a sudden! Śrīśa (the Lord of Śrī) who is charming unto the eyes became invisible within a moment. O Puruṣottama, what is the fault that has been seen in us? You have abandoned all your servants simultaneously. You are not to be seen. It is for our sake, O Lord of the universe, that you adopted a physical body. Why do you then leave us helpless in the forest?
8b-16. O Lotus-eyed One, you have abandoned us who are only the glorious powers of your own person. Why do you render us, the heaven-dwellers, as good as dead all of a sudden?
It is because we constitute your own parts that all those who perform Yajñas worship us for propitiating you, O Yajñapuruṣa (Lord, the personification of Yajña). We grant the benefits as directed by you. Your own (Cosmic) Ego forms our body. We sustain ourselves by means of your blessings.
(We are afraid) where are we to flee now that you have become indifferent to us. Of what avail are our abodes in the firmament without being able to see you, O Mādhava?
Without you we shall be unsuccessful and unhappy, roaming about in wilderness. Your face is like the full moon without the spot. It exudes exquisite beauty and happiness. If we are not going to see your face, we shall not go to the heavenly abode. We shall undertake a great penance and stay here itself, observing all holy rites. We shall subsist on the products of the forest. We will grow matted hair and put on bark garments until we can see you, O Lotus-eyed One.
O ocean of natural sympathy and mercy, it behoves you to save us, the wretched ones. We are helpless and in a dejected state of mind. We have resorted to you alone as our refuge.
Being unable to see you, we are sinking in the ocean consisting of grief only. O Lord of the universe, redeem us by means of your auspicious, benign glance acting like a boat.”
17. Even as all the heaven-dwellers were talking thus (incoherently) an unembodied speech issued forth:
18-19. “In this matter, O Suras, it does not behove you to engage yourselves in futile efforts. From now onwards the vision of the Lord will be very difficult to get on the earth. One shall attain the same benefit of direct vision by bowing down to this place (where the Lord was originally). Go to Brahmā and know the exact reason.”
20-25. On hearing it all the Devas approached Brahmā. When they heard the details of the blessings of Yama and the incarnation of the wooden form, all of them were satisfied in their mind and returned to heaven.
The Brāhmaṇa Vidyāpati who got into the chariot thought thus: ‘My purpose has been achieved, since Nīlamādhava was seen. I shall go all round this holy spot and observe. I shall circumambulate this excellent holy spot named Śrīpuruṣottama which has not been visited before. It is exceedingly meritorious and its glorification dispels sins and impurities. I shall then go away quickly.
My friend has advised me that this holy spot on the shore of the sea is adorned by the Nīla Mountain. Those who circumambulate the forest that dispels all sins acquire hundred times the benefit that one gets by circumambulating the earth.’
After thinking thus, the excellent Brāhmaṇa wandered all over the holy spot observing the forest full of different kinds of trees.
26. It was resounded with the chirping of the different kinds of birds. The humming bees hovered there. The sun’s rays did not penetrate it. It was full of groves of shady trees.
27. It was full of the flowers of all the seasons. It had been rendered splendid by creepers, bowers and hedges. It was noisy with the quacking of ducks and the cackling of geese in their different watery resorts.
28. It shone with red lotuses, white lotuses, lilies and full-blown blue lotuses. Neither the water nor the creepers etc. were without flowers.
29. After circumambulating the holy spot quickly, the excellent Brāhmaṇa proceeded ahead observing fast and meditating. The intelligent one reached Avantī by the close of the day.
30. Even while he was far off, the messengers had informed the king about his arrival, O Brāhmaṇas. On hearing it King Indradyumna became exceedingly pleased.
31. After worshipping Janārdana he sat there with a delighted mind along with the learned Brāhmaṇas eagerly waiting for his arrival.
32-34. In the meantime, O Brāhmaṇas, that Vidyāpati hurriedly entered and came in front of the king. The pathway was ceremoniously shown to him by the ushers with canes in their hands, while the gatekeepers went ahead (of him). He was followed by the curious and enthusiastic citizens. He had kept the excellent Nirmālya of the deity called Nīla Mādhava in his hand.
On seeing him the king got up from his excellent seat. Saying “O Lord of the universe, be pleased”, he approached him.
35-41. “Today my life has become fruitful by realizing the Karma of this birth, because I see Mādhava here in the form of this Nirmālya garland.
I bow down to the garland that has surpassed the fine fragrance of the celestial trees through the acquisition of a matchless perfume from the head of Mukunda. It (the garland) has made the swarm of bees blind and has destroyed the sins of all the worlds by means of its sweet scent wafted by the wind.
I bow down to the garland consisting of the flowers that have come into contact with the brilliant unguent on the body of Viṣṇu, by coming into contact with the dust issuing from whose lotus-like feet Brahmā and others have attained great wealth.
(I bow down to that garland) which laughs at her co-wife Padmā (Lakṣmī) whose abode is (also) the lotus-like heart (of Viṣṇu) and which is proud of having stayed in the lap of Viṣṇu. (It appears to laugh) by means of the opening flowers.
Where did this brilliant garland stay and acquire greatness (as a result of which) it stayed on the body of the Lord, the storehouse of fortune and prosperity, for a long time pervading (encircling) all his limbs?
Be victorious (O Lord), an ornament unto the peak of the Nīla Mountain, O glorious (Lord) who dispels sins and agony of those who bow down. Save me. I have sought refuge in you.”
Saying thus in words choked with tears, the king bowed down his head (till it touched) the ground. He experienced a thrill.
42-47. The Brāhmaṇa Vidyāpati who had destroyed all his sins, stood in front of the king in a divine body meditating on Mādhava.
With his refulgence the highly intelligent one (seemed) to wash off the sins of all the worlds. He spoke thus: “May the Lord whose abode is on the summit of Nīla Mountain bless you. This is the command of the Lord of Śrī, revealed in the form of this garland. You are to visit him who is abiding in the excellent holy spot. He is the bestower of salvation directly.”
Having spoken thus, he put the garland round the neck of the king. The king got up and on seeing the garland suspended over his chest, considered that the Lover of Śrī had directly come to his heart. He placed both the hands on his own head with half-closed eyes. With his face wet with tears of joy he eulogized Han.
48. Be victorious, O Lord who are skilled in the art of creation, sustenance and annihilation of all the worlds, who have sportingly assumed the Cosmic Body and who bear the burden of as many Cosmic Eggs as there are hairs (on your body).
49-51. O Immanent Soul of all, O Lord, the dispeller of the agony of those who bow down (to you), O Lord whose lotus-like feet have become variegated due to the crowns of Brahmā, Indra and Rudra, O Lord, always interested in saving the wretched, the helpless and those who have fallen into adversity, O ocean of the waters of sympathy that is genuine (never pretended), O Lord greater than the greatest, O Lord of the universe, O Lord ever affectionate to your devotees, save me, the miserable one. I have you alone as my refuge. I am completely overpowered by the primordial Nescience (Avidyā).”
52-56. After eulogizing thus, the king sat on his throne. He was surrounded by householders, religious students, ascetics and forest-dwellers.
He honoured and revered Vidyāpati in the company of Brāhmaṇas who had performed Yajñas and were well-versed in the eighteen Vidyās (lores) and who were in the company of many old servants whose leaders were the ministers and (who sat there) silent.
The king made Vidyāpati sit on a high pedestal of honour and asked him the full details beginning with enquiry about his welfare.
With joy and very great attention he enquired about the greatness and features of the holy spot Puruṣottama and of Viṣṇu with blue sapphire for his body.
On being asked about his own experience by the Kṣatriya, the Brāhmaṇa narrated in detail (all his activities) beginning with the entry into the island of Bhillas and ending with the plunge into the ocean. He gave full report about the excellent holy spot.
57-59. He mentioned everything in due order such as the climbing of the Nīla Mountain, the viewing of Nīlamādhava, the holy bath in the Rauhiṇa Kuṇḍa, the greatness of the Banyan tree, the eight beneficent deities such as Nṛsiṃha, the situation of the eight Śaktis and the length and extent of the holy spot as noticed (by him) while driving in the chariot.
60. On hearing that matchlessly wonderful story previously mentioned by that pilgrim, the king became extremely pleased. Delighted in his mind he spoke to him once again:
61-62a. O holy lord, I heard from you what has been already heard. O excellent Brāhmaṇa, now describe unto me the form of Viṣṇu idol of blue sapphire. Describe it as it actually is.
62b-65. Verily, I shall describe to you the divine idol of the Lord of the universe. By seeing this idol with the ordinary mortal eye one becomes a person deserving salvation. This idol of blue sapphire is very ancient. It is worshipped everyday by Suras, the leaders among whom are Brahmā, Rudra and Indra.
This divine garland is put (on the idol) by Devas in the course of their worship. It never fades, nor is it devoid of its fragrance. Even when many days have passed, this garland is still like this. This garland has originated from the earth.
66. I have destroyed all my sins by eating the divine presents and offerings as well as the Nirmālya, O king. Don’t you notice that I have a superhuman splendour?
67. Even if it is swallowed once, hunger, thirst and weakness never harass one. The unseen can be inferred by means of what is seen.
68-69. O king, both worldly pleasures and salvation are present there simultaneously. Old age, ailment, grief and other miseries have no place there. It is the place where the Lord of the universe is directly present. The Lord has a delightful, beaming face. His eyes resemble petals of a full-blown blue lotus. He bestows immortality and salvation on those who resort to him.
Footnotes and references:
This might be factually correct. The Coromandal Coast (including the coast of Orissa) is devastated with stormy winds every few years. The small stone idol of those primitive people must have disappeared under some sand-dune. The total disappearance of Rauhiṇa pond shows that the storm was very powerful.