The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Origin of the Indradyumna Lake which is chapter 20 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 twentieth chapter of the Purushottama-kshetra-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 20 - Origin of the Indradyumna Lake

Jaimini said:

1. On being enlightened and urged by Nārada thus, the king eulogized in the following words, the compassionate Lord of the worlds.

Indradyumna said:

2. O Enemy of Mura, your lotus-like feet have not been worshipped (by me) in the course of previous lives. Therefore, I am subjected to the terrible effects of Karmas. O ocean of mercy, save me; I have become wretched.

3. How great are your lotus-like feet free from impurities, sunk beneath the crowns of Brahmā, Rudra and Indra and how small am I, a despicable and wretched fellow encompassed by masses of faeces, blood, flesh, urine and bones and everything (outward) covered by skin!

4. How can I know you, O Lord, because I am sick and wearied by wandering through worthless worldly affairs! Indeed, O Lord of Devas, only they do know you, they whose birth is illuminated by the light (of knowledge) born of misery.

5. O Lord, much misery has been experienced by me as a result of the sins committed in the course of many births. I have experienced many types of emotions too. The small happiness that has resulted from (a small quantity of) merit acquired is like (a little of) honey mixed with a mass of bitter things.

6. For the sake of happiness I performed holy rites, as a result of which I experienced worldly pleasures which have ultimately turned into misery. There is no other person as miserable as I.

7. O Lord, if only I had mentally worshipped you before, though my eyes had been directed towards other worldly objects, I could not have had the numerous births with all sorts of miseries to be experienced again and again.

8-9. I was born as a master as well as a slave; I have enjoyed various statuses and states such as a father, son, lover, mother, rich man, one worthy of being killed, one taking to violent means, husband, wife, lower animal, Sura etc. Ups and downs of diverse nature have been experienced on many occasions by me rolling in the courtyards of various worlds. O Enemy of Mura, this is not a desirable thing, because it involves keeping away from your lotus-like feet.

10-11. My treasury, this army surrounded by the entire wealth of the earth, amiable women in hundreds in their prime of youth with great charm and beauty, my royal circle rid of all thorns (i.e. troublesome elements) and my Empire—all these are extremely burdensome to me because I am deprived of your knowledge like a brute. O ocean of compassion, remove this burden forever, as it is always attended by distress.

12. O Lord merciful towards the wretched one, an elephant was liberated because it had remembered you.[1] It behoves you to save me with an attitude of compassion, O Lord, because I whirl and whirl like a waterwheel here.

13. In this situation which is similar to one in which a log of wood has got caught up in a rapid current, I do not have any kinsman (to help) other than you. The sinful intellect that has been fettered by feelings of affection and that has become emotionally fixated on worldly objects, should be broken away (by you).

14-17a. By day or night let not my (mind) move away from your lotus-like feet. This alone is my pressing request.

Fortunately during thousands of births, some have attained you, the ocean full of existence, knowledge and bliss. Do they find even an iota of happiness in the jugglery of mundane affairs, the source of many miseries?

Where is the bondage of Karmas, which cannot be broken on account of hundreds of knots causing much misery but very little of pleasure? Where is your lotus-like foot which is infinite, which has neither beginning nor end and which is the sole thing that grants pleasure?

Your Māyā is like an ocean. Mamatā (sense of possession, my-ness) is a whirlpool therein. Evil actions are like crocodiles in the middle of (the dangerous) pits. I have fallen into that ocean. I have no support. Take me to the shore by your benign, graceful side-glance.

17b-21a. I have abandoned what is conducive to my welfare. I am ever wandering to accomplish what is desired by others who have resorted to me to achieve their own ends. So I have become confused and stupid. O Lord who are compassionate by nature, save me.

Save me, O Viṣṇu, who are the only person worthy of being saluted to in the whole universe. I am running after insignificant things too much without attaining you, the root cause (of all), the great Lord. I am subjected to great stress and strain. I am extremely wretched.

O Lord of the universe, to be known only through Vedānta, O immutable one, you are competent to destroy masses of sins. Hence you are the sole cause of happiness. Still I have abandoned you (to seek happiness elsewhere), O Viṣṇu. Save me, a mean-minded fellow that I am.

The entire group of four kinds of living beings is asleep in the night of delusion created by you. In the end it is enlightened when the Sun of your knowledge rises. I seek refuge in you.

21b-25. You alone are the creator of all the worlds by successive turns. Your form is encircled by thousand of hoods. O most excellent one among Balins (powerful ones), I seek refuge in you, the Lord and master.

O Lord, you create and annihilate the worlds through your own Śakti seated in your lotus-like heart (chest). I bow down to the pair of feet of that support of the worlds in the form of Bhadrā (Subhadrā), the source of origin of Devas.

The group of these Cosmic Eggs is evolved out of the clusters of the rays of your discus, O Lord. It is in contact with your hand. It is pleasing to view. The name of that discus is Sudarśana. It is destructive of Daityas’ army. I bow down to you.

After eulogizing thus, the excellent king prostrated with eight limbs (touching the ground). He continued: “Save me, O Lord of the universe. O kinsman of the helpless ones, save me mercifully. I am sinking in the ocean of worldly existence. I am wretched. I am overcome with Tamoguṇa (darkness).”

Nārada said:

26. Be victorious, be victorious, O Nārāyaṇa, O Lord engaged in taking (devotees) across the boundless ocean of worldly existence; O Lord whose divinity is being contemplated upon by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana and other excellent Yogins; O Lord, in the activities of whose Māyā all the elements and living beings are superimposed (or transformed); O Lord of three principles; O Lord who hold three staffs (powers), whose divine knowledge is being praised by the Vedic Mantras, viz. Triṇāciketa,[2] Trimadhu[3] and Trisuparṇa,[4] who are identical with the Vedas, who are fond of Garuḍa on whom you are seated, who are fond of your devotees, who are the sole favourite of your devotees, whose form is hidden (and separated) by your own cluster of Māyās, who are Cosmic-formed, who are the illuminator of the universe, who have faces all round,[5] who have eyes all round, who have ears all round who have feet, heads and necks all round, who have hands, noses, tongues, skin, hair tresses and penises all round, who are identical with all the worlds, who are conducive to the happiness of all the worlds, who render help to all the worlds, who are bowed down to by all the worlds, who have graceful elegance, who are bowed down to by crores of Brahmās, Rudras, Indras, Maruts, Aśvins, Sādhyas, and groups of Siddhas; O sire of the three worlds including the entire Suras and Asuras; O Lord not know-able to anyone, repeated obeisance to you, obeisance to you.

Jaimini said:

27-28. Other kings who were there, learned priests well-versed in the Vedas, sages, Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, scholars, Vaiśya classes—all these eulogized the lotus-eyed Lord and Bala along with Subhadrā by means of hymns, prayers, Purāṇa passages, and ordinary poems.

29. Then Indradyumna said to the sinless priest that he should (make arrangements) for the worship of Vāsudeva duly accompanied by offerings.

30. That excellent king himself worshipped them in due order in accordance with the injunctions (and reciting) the proper Mantras following the instructions of Nārada.

31. With the twelve-syllabled Mantra[6] he worshipped Balabhadra, by worshipping whom Dhruva obtained the most excellent abode.

32. With the great and sacred Puruṣa Sūkta famous in the Vedas, the king worshipped Nārāyaṇa in accordance with his ability.

33-36. He worshipped Subhadrā with the Devī Sūkta[7] and discus Sudarśana with the Sudarśanī Sūkta.

After worshipping them devoutly in accordance with his affluence the excellent king gave charitable gifts with great devotion to eminent Brāhmaṇas in order to get the full favour (of those deities).

The king gave Tulāpuruṣa gift (things weighed against himself) and other great gifts. As a part of the horse-sacrifice, he gave crores of cows then. He gave cows with and without ornaments. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, a great pit was formed as they dug up with their hoofs. That pit was filled with the waters poured when charitable gifts were made. That became a Tīrtha of great merit.

37-40. If a man takes his holy bath there and offers libations to Pitṛs and Devas in accordance with the injunctions, he will undoubtedly get the merit of a thousand horse-sacrifices.

That lake was named after King Indradyumna.[8] It became very famous. If a man offers rice-balls here to his Pitṛs, he uplifts twenty-one generations of his family, and is honoured in the world of Brahmā. There is no Tīrtha greater than this because this has originated from part of the horse-sacrifice. Perhaps Gaṅgā may be equal to the lake Indradyumna. Thereafter the king began the construction of the Palatial Temple.

41-46. In an auspicious season, in a splendid, auspicious hour as proclaimed by astrologers, on a day in conjuction with a good constellation, he worshipped Nārada and other eminent Brāhmaṇas. The excellent king made them recite the Mantras connected with the holy rites of Svastivācana and Karmardhi,[9] and remembering the Lord of the universe he offered Arghya on the site of the palatial temple. He requested the Earth to give him a piece of land for the duration of the life of the Stars and the Moon. Along with the Vāstuyāga (i.e. sacrifice for the building site) he worshipped the artisans and masons.

With plenty of songs and instrumental music great celebrations were held. To the poor, the helpless and the disabled people, he gave everything they desired.

With due honour he bade farewell to the kings whose sins had been destroyed by viewing the incarnation of Hari and who were contented and blessed.

Then the excellent king presented sums in crores and crores to the stonecutters for bringing stones from many different countries.

47-51. The king joyously said this in the Assembly. “Everything that I had acquired by my heroic exertions from the eighteen continents has now been dedicated to the grace of the Lord of the universe. In the context of the campaign of victory, whatever strain I might have undergone shall become fruitful by supplying the necessary funds for the Mansion of Viṣṇu.

What shall be more fortunate unto me than this that I am propitiating Hari, the sire of mobile and immobile beings, with my wealth and glory acquired with my own pair of arms?

Śrī is always present in the lotus-eyed Lord. But I have many Śrīs originating from his blessings. What can the Lord do with it? (?)

The glory of that person who is a recipient of the benign glance of the Discus-bearing Lord of Devas is multifaced.

52-53. The eighteenfold goddess dances at the tip of the tongue of the Lord of the universe, by propitiating whom Vidhi attained the status of Brahmā (the Creator), Rudra that of Maheśvara (Great Lord) and Śakra that of the Lord of Heaven. I shall worship that eternal deity worthy of being worshipped by all the worlds.

54. The sin that had accumulated in three heaps has been vanquished by that noble soul by whom Kṛṣṇa was duly worshipped along with ancillary and subsidiary rites.

55. (Defective Text) This holy spot is the body where the Lord resides as the Cosmic Ego. His appearance and disappearance and continuous existence all are eternal.

56-59. One who worships the sire of the worlds who is directly embodied here shall achieve everything directly. He will be the recipient of the fourfold aim of life.

The prosperity of the kingdom has been acquired by me after spending much and undergoing a great deal of strain. That was solely due to the blessings of this Lord. Let that be fruitful at his lotus-like feet.

By means of the wealth taken from the ocean-girt earth I shall worship the Lord with all offerings. Until the effects of Karmas come to an end, let my imperialistic campaign be fruitful.

Of what avail is my wealth if I do not dedicate it to Viṣṇu along with my body and become rid of sins? Of what avail is my exertion if the necessary adjuncts for Vāsudeva are not secured by me?

Footnotes and references:


Reference to Gajendra-mokṣa in BhP VIII, Ch. 3.


One who has kindled the Nāciketa fire thrice.


The 3 Ṛcs—madbu vātā ṛtāyante etc. in RV 1.90.6-8.


Two groups of three mantras are given this name: (i) Ekaḥ suparṇaḥ etc. RV X. 114.4-6. (ii) brahmametumām etc. Tait. Āraṇyaka X. 48-50.


Cf. Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.16; also BG 13.13.


The twelve-syllabled Mantra is Oṃ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. But Dhruva, according to BhP IV, Chs. 8-12, got his pre-eminent position by devotion to Viṣṇu, and not to Balabhadra.


Devī Sūkta is Vāgāṃbhṛṇī Sūkta (RV X. 125) and not Śrī Sūkta.


Indradyumna ‘lake’ is not a naturally formed reservoir of water like Cilikā but only a tank at Puri.


Svastivācana and Karmardhi are the same as Puṇyāhavācana.

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