The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Dialogue Between Narada and Indradyumna (Continued) which is chapter 11 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 eleventh chapter of the Purushottama-kshetra-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 11 - Dialogue Between Nārada and Indradyumna (Continued)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Jaimini said:

1. On hearing about the excellent devotion to the Lord from Nārada, the son of Brahmā, thus, Indradyumna became highly pleased and spoke to him:

Indradyumna said:

2. Learned men have taught me that association with saintly people is destructive of the ailment of worldly existence. O holy Lord, that has happened to me just now.

3. Viṣṇu, the Supreme Soul, greater than the greatest, has been directly visualized by you. Who else can be a better saintly person than you? And you have come to my abode.

4. By your presence, O holy Lord, my darkness of ignorance has been dispelled. Therefore, my mind prompts me to worship Nīlamādhava.

5-6. Wandering over all the worlds you know the whole of the universe. Therefore, let us get into the chariot and visit Nīlamādhava, the splendid ornament unto the holy spot named Puruṣottama. Many have told me that there are many Tīrthas there. If I know them directly from your words, they will be fruitful to me.

Nārada said:

7. Well, I shall show you the holy place and the Tīrthas present in that sacred place. I shall point out Śakti-Śaṃbhus[1] and tell you about the greatness of the holy place.

8. You will directly see the Lord of Devas who bestows his own self on the devotee. You will see him quickly as he will be in fourfold form in order to bless you.

9-10. By visiting him a man becomes a worthy receptacle of devotion.

After concluding their dialogue thus, both of them became pleased and carried out their daily routine of duties. As an auspicious time favourable to the departure, they fixed the fifth day in the bright half of the lunar month Jyeṣṭha, which happened to be a Wednesday. During the night the king and Nārada slept in the same place.

11-16. Then, when the day dawned clearly, Indradyumna, the excellent king, made the following proclamation for the entire kingdom to set out for Nīlādri along with kinsmen and armies and their assets:

“It has been decided that all of us will stay there for the whole of our life. Everyone will continue the same work for livelihood as has been allotted to him here. Let the kings proceed along with their women, ministers and retinue, together with chariots, elephants, horses, foot-soldiers and treasury. Let them be fully equipped and ready. Let the Brāhmaṇas go there along with their sacrificial fires. Let the merchants and traders proceed with their utensils, wares and merchandise. (The following shall proceed:) Those who are experts in politics and statecraft; experts in (the maintenance of) royal highways; astrologers; astronomers; experts in dances; persons well conversant with administrative work and polity;

17-23. those who are experts in dancing, singing and four types of musical instruments; those who are very clever in the excellent science of medicine for treating elephants, horses and human beings; those who have practical experience in the eighteen Vidyās and ancillary subjects; those who have excellence in magic and allied arts; highway robbers; adventurous thieves; those who knock away things even as the victim stands and stares; those who maintain themselves by narrating strange and wonderful tales: those who specially speak agreeably; panegyrists; bards; those who maintain themselves by means of sacred treatises; those who give relief from pain; gamblers; harlots; courtesans; pimps, lechers (lecherous persons); husbandmen; those who breed cows, sheep, goats, camels and mules; those who keep birds; fowlers; those who keep monkeys, tigers, and panthers; snake-charmers; cowherds; hunters; barbarians of various tribes and all others born in the Mālava land who obey my commands. Let them all proceed to their abode on the Nīla mountain with their respective assets. Let them be ready to build their own houses”.

24. The king who waited impatiently for the time of the journey, commanded thus. Thereafter he joined Nārada and spoke these words to the astrologer:

25-30. “O astrologer, you have already fixed up the auspicious hour. Whatever is required at the moment in the opinion of the priest, bring all those auspicious articles readily.”

O excellent Brāhmaṇas, on being commanded by him that astrologer brought all the required auspicious articles with the assistance of the priest. In the meantime that saintly king sat on his divine throne.

At the outset, the sacred rite of ablution for the sake of (a safe) journey was conducted by the Brāhmaṇas. Separate ablutions were performed repeating the different Sūktas[2] (hymns), viz. Śrī Sūkta, Vahni Sūkta, Varuṇa Sūkta, Pavamānya Sūkta and Abdhi Sūkta. All of them are contributory to increased auspiciousness. The waters of the different Tīrthas were used. Medicinal herbs and all types of sweet scents were used separately. After the ablution the water was wiped off by a silk cloth. With his brilliant body the king shone like smokeless fire.

31-35. The king wore a white cloth. He performed the rite of Ācamana. Then he wore the Pavitra of Darbha grass. He worshipped the groups of Manes called Nāndīmukhas in accordance with the injunctions. He performed the Homas by repeating Jaya and Rāṣṭrabhṛt hymns, and then the Gaṇahomas were performed scrupulously. Śaṅkhas (conchs) were blown; sweet perfumes spread everywhere. He performed the circumambulation of the holy fire that appeared white in colour without any smoke. The flame of the fire curled to the right side. Thereby it appeared to grant directly victory to the king who sought victory.

In order to destroy the vicious influence of Planets and to increase well-being, the king was served with the Grahakuṃbha (water pot consecrated to the Planets) at the end of the sacrifice unto the nine Planets.

The Mantras mentioned in the astrological treatises were repeated in the manner urged by the astrologer.

Thereafter, the auspicious embellishment and dressing rite was begun.

36-42. The silk cloths covered his body like an armour. The (white?) turban was splendid and brilliant with gem-set crown. The ears were adorned with the ring-shaped ear-omaments (Avataṃsas) and gem-set Kuṇḍalas (varieties of ear-rings and ornaments). The excellent king wore a neck-ornament of great value and a Hāra embellished with a central gem. Then he put on shoulderlets, armlets and rings. He wore round his waist three (fine) gold wires twisted into one waistband and touching the folds of skin above the navel. Then he wore an excellent girdle well set with different kinds of precious stones and having festoon-like clusters of pearls along with golden tinkling bells. He fastened very valuable anklets round his feet. In the mirror held in front of him, he saw his reflection as a well (dressed and) ornamented one.

He remembered Lord Śrīdhara, the slayer of Madhu, Viṣṇu, the abode of auspiciousness and the cause of glorious happiness, as by remembering him sins though multitudinous, perish. He sat facing East on a golden pedestal for the sake of auspicious decorations.

43. At the outset the king wore a garland of seasonal flowers with bright colours and sweet scent after it had been consecrated with Mantras by his own priest.

44. Then he (touched) clay, lamp, fruit, Dūrvā grass, curds and Gorocanā (i.e. a blight yellow pigment) after all of them had been sanctified by Mantras. Then he was given (the ceremonious) protection by means of (protective) white mustard.

45. The king then looked at himself (reflected) in the ghee prepared from cow milk. The lion-like king then looked at the reflection in the mirror consecrated by Mantras.

46. Good prospects were wished by the singing of Vedic hymns and loud chanting of Śānti (propitiatory) Mantras.[3]

He was accorded protection while proceeding along the path by means of Pathisūkta and Yajur Mantras.

47. The king was filled with heroism and fortitude through the auspicious verses of Purāṇas. His valour was revealed by the bards and heralds through panegyrics.

48. Within his lotus-like heart the king meditated upon the Garuḍa-emblemed Lord who, accompanied by Satyabhāmā, took away the heavenly Pārijāta tree. Then he took (the first) step with his right foot.

49. After circumambulating Sage Nārada who was standing in front, the king went up to the central main door guarded by cane-bearing attendants.

50-51. (As required in royal formalities) the attendants showed him the path. He proceeded with the family sacred Fire (Agnihotra) taken ahead (by the priests). There he saw to his right the Brāhmaṇas, standing ready reciting the Māṅgalya Sūkta (hymn for auspiciousness). They were brilliant in appearance and wore white silk clothes. They threw fried grains and com in front of the king along with flowers repeating words of blessings for his welfare.

52. The courtesans stood on the left side busily holding and waving the chowries. They wore shining, gorgeous costumes and bright ornaments. With smiling lotus-like faces they (appeared) exceedingly splendid.

53. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the king was devout and humble. He honoured Brāhmaṇas with garments, ornaments, garlands, sweet scents and unguents.

54. With the faith that Brāhmaṇas were the Lord Himself, he made those Brāhmaṇas delighted by (thus) honouring them,

55. With the permission of the king the minister gave suitable presents of cash, white doves, swans, a white horse and a white elephant to the courtesans, the bards as well as to the indigent helpless people.

56. The king then (intently) looked at the auspicious pitcher filled with water and kept beneath an arch of the stems (with leaves) of plantain tree—the pitcher embellished with mango-sprouts, garlands of white flowers and fruit. He viewed many other auspicious things also. A white umbrella was held above his head to ward off the heat of the sun.

57-58. He heard many musical instruments played, mixed with the sounds of hundreds of conch-shells blown simultaneously. Similarly the king heard auspicious songs and shouts of “Be victorious”.

Then he entered the palace to see Nṛsiṃha.

59-63. By remembering that Lord a man becomes recipient of all auspiciousness. Seeing that Lord Nṛhari from a distance, the Lord seated on a divine throne, he (the king) prostrated (in front of him) with the eight limbs touching the ground. With the words of the Upaniṣads he propitiated the Lord. He made obeisance to Durgā who stood on his right side—Durgā who liberates (devotees) from all adversities, looks (at the devotees) compassionately. He paid obeisance to the Goddess just near her feet.

Then the priest took off the auspicious garland from the idol of the Lord and put it round the neck (of the king) and applied sweet scents on his body. He joyously performed the Nīrājana rite (i.e. ceremonious waving of the lights) to the king and covered the head of the king (with a turban?).

The excellent king then circumambulated once again the two deities and placed them in the palanquin. They were kept ahead and he started (on his journey).

64-65a. He came out and saw at the external gate the chariot kept ready. Ten horses with the speed of wind had been yoked to it. The king circumambulated the chariot and got into it along with Nārada.

65b-66a. Various kinds of drums, viz. Ḍhakkā, Mṛdaṅga, Niḥsāṇa, Bherī, Paṇava and Gomukha were sounded. The musical instruments Mādhurī and Carcarī were played. Thousands of conch-shells were blown.

66b-68. There were crores of chariots belonging to the vassal kings. They were kept in rows and rows all round the chariot of Indradyumna. They were equipped with various kinds of weapons. They were adorned with flags and banners. The flag posts were tall. They were fitted with strings of bells made of gold and silver. There wre [were?] mirrors too attached to them. They were equipped with various mechanical devices. They had pleasing and majestic rumbling sounds.

69-70. The sounds of the infantry, the horses with the speed of wind and the elephants (were heard). The rumbling sounds of the chariots were mixed with the sounds of the marching of the foot-soldiers, the trumpeting of the elephants and the neighing of the horses. The sounds of the musical instruments too mingled with these. All these were heard by people like sounds of oceans at the time of the close of Yuga.

71. At that same moment the citizens too started equipped with their own requisites along with horses, donkeys, camels and porters.

72. In that tumultuous confusion when the whole nation had set out, swings, palanquins, ponies etc. were seen (proceeding ahead) in rows and rows.

73-76. Hundreds of members of inner apartments of the kings set out from the place. They were surrounded by eunuchs and guarded by officials and great armies. They roḍe in different kinds of vehicles.

The Yajvans (‘sacrificial priests’) started with their wives after placing the Agnihotra (sacrificial) fires and materials in the Śamyā vessels in different groups and carrying them in carts.

Bundles of books, utensils for the worship of deities, sacrificial twigs, Darbha grass, pots and pitchers, and the materials for Homa—all these they made other Brāhmaṇas to carry by means of other carts and vehicles.

77-81a. The vassal kings, ministers, servants, priests, Ṛtviks, the king’s administrative officials, slaves, those who had been employed in various kinds of services—all these set out with their belongings gathered together. Others went ahead. Those who had been employed in the treasuries took with them the entire treasure (cash etc.) and hastened ahead. The persons who attended upon the king on different occasions, gardeners and others, merchants and traders—all these took with them their respective merchandise and proceeded forth at the behest of the king. Excellent artisans and craftsmen with their guilds started along with the residents of cities, hamlets and rural parts. They had with them all the necessary implements for the practice of their professions or trades.

81b-84. On hearing the sounds of the drums, Bherīs, Paṭahas and Mṛdaṅgas beaten at the time of the journey of King Indradyumna, that pervaded all the cardinal points, all the people staying in rural outskirts became excited. They obeyed the commands of the king and started towards Nīla mountain.

Everyone went along the direct path most suitable to him. At the behest of the king they did not seek the main highway on account of haste. They went along the difficult path leading to Nīla mountain.

85-91. The eminent King Indradyumna, surrounded by residents of the whole city and the four army divisions, who were extremely delighted, shone in his chariot that was in the centre of the series of chariots proceeding ahead in a line of kings. The saintly king had the paraphernalia similar to that of Śakra.

His mind was pleased with the auspicious activities of the ladies of the city, their songs of welcome and good wishes and their showerings of flowers and fried grains—everything increasing the grandeur of the auspicious rite.

He joyously went ahead in the chariot to which horses having the speed of gusts of wind had been yoked, along the dustless path on the surface of the ground that had been levelled as though in quadrangles, and that was very cool under the shade of clouds raised by favourable winds. The way was shown to the king by those persons who had travelled through various lands and who knew thoroughly the ins and outs of the forests.

He went on observing the lands and territories as well as the forest regions on either side of the pathway. He was delighted and his pleasure was evident in his eyes. He reached the shrine of Carcikā[4] (Goddess Durgā) that marked the boundary of Utkaladeśa and was on their way. The deity was decorated with a garland of skulls.

92. The king got out of the chariot at Nārada’s behest. With great humility he bowed down to her with the eight limbs touching the ground and with great delight in his mind he eulogized her.

Indradyumna said:

93-97. Obeisance to you, O Goddess, O dispeller of all miseries and adversities. You are glorified through eulogies by Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva and others. You are the cause of all the worlds. O primordial Goddess, O supreme deity, be pleased. O Śivā, without you this universe cannot have any power (or endure) even for a monent. The accomplishment of all undertakings in the mortal world and all auspiciousness is the result of propitiating your feet, O eternal Goddess, and not otherwise. O supreme deity, you are the Śakti (power) of Viṣṇu, the Lord of mobile and immobile beings. It is through this Śakti that the Lord creates, protects and annihilates the universe. O Goddess, bless me so that with my own eyes I shall see the Lord residing in the Nīla mountain, the sire of mobile and immobile beings.

Jaimini said:

98-105. After eulogizing the Goddess as per advice of Nārada, the king got into the chariot quickly like the Sun climbing the Udaya mountain. Then he started quickly.

(Later on) when his vehicles (horses) became tired, the king halted the army on the banks of the great river Citrotpalā (modem Mahānadī). It was a famous region on account of the caves abounding in minerals. The forest was not at all thick there.

With the intention of performing the requisite rites of the late afternoon, the king entered the bathing Ghat along with his priest after it had been searched thoroughly and found to be devoid of poisonous thorns. The Lord of the subjects took his bath, performed the Tarpaṇa rites for Devas and Pitṛs and duly worshipped Viṣṇu.

Thereafter, the king honoured the vassal kings and the ministers and other officers by providing them with seats, resting places etc. Then the glorious king entered the inner apartment along with Nārada and with a delighted mind partook of his food as tasty and juicy as nectar.

When the sun set, the king concluded his evening rites quickly. As the moon rose, the king sat in the middle of the assembly of his subjects and vassal kings.

106. There in that assembly the king shone with all the characteristics of an emperor like the autumnal moon with the full disc in the middle of the luminaries.

107. The poets recited verses describing his fame as pure as nectar. Musicians of sweet and excellent voice sang well-composed songs of praise.

108. Thereafter, the courtesans who were proud of their beauty, youth and graceful charms danced in front (of them) keeping the perfectly correct musical timing, keynote and the proper gesticulations and movements of the body.

109. By means of poetical and prose compositions full of figures of speech and imagery and wonderful groupings of words, the bards and heralds eulogized him whose form and features were the most splendid and perfect in the world.

110. Thereafter the king honoured the prominent Vaiṣṇavas seated in the assembly with sweet scents, garlands and betel leaves which were well-approved and splendid in appearance.

111-112. At the bidding of the king many (vassal) kings had occupied their seats comfortably. King Indradyumna honoured hundreds of them befittingly with those articles which kings deserved.

Then in order to hear the story of the Lord that is destructive of all sins, the king respectfully requested Nārada, a favourite of the Lord, and the most excellent one among sages, who was comfortably seated on a throne he deserved:

Indradyumna said:

113-116. O holy lord, O abode of the Vedas and Vedāṅgas, O beloved one of the Lord, you alone know the life story of Viṣṇu with the vision of knowledge. If you are kind and considerate towards me, O sage, wash my heart with the nectar of the story of Hari as it has become very dirty with mud (sins, ignorance).

While the discourse between the sage and the king thus got mingled with dialogues like these, the doorkeeper, a servant of the Lord of Utkala, entered and reported to the king: “O Lord, the king of Utkala stands near the entrance. He is accompanied by his chief (ministers, officers etc.). He is waiting with presents (in his hands) and wishes to see the lotus-like feet of Your Highness.”

117-120. When the saintly king was informed thus by the doorkeeper, he became agitated. O Brāhmaṇas, he had been hearing about the holy spot of Śrīpuruṣottama. Since that holy spot was an ornament to his land, he was eager to listen to what he had to convey. So the king told the gatekeeper: “Without delay usher in the glorious king of Oḍhra land. Indeed, he is devoid of all impurities (sins) by having propitiated Viṣṇu on Nīla mountain. By seeing him all of us shall get our sins destroyed.”

On hearing his words the doorkeeper immediately ushered the king (of Utkala) into the assembly of King Indradyumna.

121-124. Immediately the king of Oḍhra entered along with his ministers, followers of Viṣṇu. He bowed down to the venerable pair of feet of Indradyumna with great respect.

The great king (Indradyumna) lifted him up and honoured that Vaiṣṇava by placing him in his own seat. Then he humbly spoke these words:

“O king, O Lord of Oḍhra, Are you happy and well in every respect? I hope the Lord whose abode is on the summit of Nīla mountain is victorious and your pure intellect is fixed on the lotus-like feet of the Lord. You are equal-minded towards all living beings. I hope your mind is devoted to Hari”.

125. On hearing his words, the overlord of Oḍhra became extremely delighted and surprised. With palms joined in reverence he spoke these words full of humility:

126. “O Lord, by your blessings I am happy in every respect. How will darkness prevail when the Sun blazes?

127. By the contact of your natural good qualities all the (other) kings have been won over by you. The Earth is blessed with you as her Lord like Amarāvatī with Indra.

128. While you rule over the earth, Dharma (Virtue) is always four-footed. (The words) ‘committing forbidden act’ can be heard of only in the Vedas, O king.

129. Various qualities of statesmanship and perfection in administration that abide in you, O Lord, serve severally as models to the (other) kings.

130. Even this much of your empire is inaccessible (to others), O most excellent king. The whole earth consisting of eighteen islands (being under your rule) is comparable to a single house.

131. You are fond of all living beings. If Brahmā had not created you, how could people get rid of grief when their sons and kinsmen died?

132. The Śruti says that ordinary kings are parts of Viṣṇu. You are the Lord himself. Who else is a mine of good qualities like you?

133-137. Nīla mountain is on the shore of the Southern Sea. It is surrounded by forests. It is not frequented by ordinary common people. It is there that the deity is present.

Now, it is heard that a storm has scattered sands over the Deity. As a result of it, there is famine, death, pestilence etc. in my kingdom too. Since you have come, there will be welfare all around in my case.”

When the king of Utkala concluded his speech thus, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, king (Indradyumna) honoured him duly and sent him off to take rest.

With great dejection he looked at Nārada and said: “O sage, what is this? I begin to doubt that everything for which I had endeavoured has become futile.” As he said this, Nārada who is a knower of all the three times, spoke to him:

138. “You should not be astonished at this. The most excellent one among Vaiṣṇavas, you are very fortunate. Indeed the desire of Vaiṣṇavas never goes unfulfilled.

139. You will certainly see Nārāyaṇa who is free from ailments—Nārāyaṇa the primordial deity, who is the cause of all the worlds and has adopted human form.

140-141. For the sake of blessing you he will incarnate on the earth. The entire universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings is under the control of Viṣṇu. He is not under the control of anyone. He is the supreme soul, the eternal one. The Lord can be won over only by means of devotion. He is affectionate to his devotees.

142. It is his Māyā whereby everything beginning with Brahmā and ending with an insect is well protected. How can he, O king, be dependent on others, except devout people?

143-144. The root cause of virtue, wealth, love and salvation is devotion to Viṣṇu. That alone is the means of knowing him. Withoṇt it there is no other way. Viṣṇu is really one, but he takes many forms by means of his Māyā. There is no source of happiness except that great soul.

145. There are other deities such as Śiva, Durgā and others. They are engaged in various Karmas. When worshipped, they grant what is desired. They too are dependent on Viṣṇu.

146. That Lord is the immanent soul. He is stationed in the hearts of Devas too. They grant benefits only as much as he directs.

147. O great king, you too are a Vaiṣṇava. You are in the fifth generation from the Lotus-born Lord. You are a master of the eighteen Vidyās (lores). You strictly adhere to good conduct.

148. The earth has been protected by you with justice. You are especially a worshipper of Brāhmaṇas. You will certainly see Viṣṇu in the holy spot by means of your physical eye.

149. In this matter Brahmā too has employed me, O king. When the excellent holy spot is reached, I will tell you everything.

150. Now the night is about to reach the third Yāma (period of 3 hours). Command the (vassal) kings now to go back to their respective apartments.

151. You too should go to the inner apartment and have a sound sleep.”

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Śakti-Śaṃbhus: The various Śakti-goddesses and Śiva-liṅgas installed in the Puruṣottama Kṣetra.

[2]:

These are various Sūktas pertaining to deities Śrī, Agni, Varuṇa, Pavamāna and the Sea.

[3]:

Śānti Mantras are propitiatory Mantras like (1) ā no bhadrāḥ (RV 1.89. 1-10), (2) svasti na indra (RV 1.89.6-10), (3) śam na indrāgnī (RV VII.35.1-11) and others. They are used in Śānti-rites on different occasions to avert evil and to pray for good.

[4]:

Now this goddess is worshipped at Banki in the Cuttack District of Orissa. The Purāṇa believes the earth as consisting of eighteen continents instead of the usual seven dvīpas.

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