The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Indradyumna Returns after Visiting Brahma which is chapter 23 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 twenty-third chapter of the Purushottama-kshetra-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 23 - Indradyumna Returns after Visiting Brahmā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nārada said:

1-6. O gatekeeper, this is a saintly king of great fame (named) Indradyumna. He is an emperor and the foremost among devotees of Viṣṇu. He has come to see Brahmā. Let him go ahead if you give him permission.

On being told thus Maṇikodara said to Nārada: “O holy lord, he who has accompanied you, does not seem to be an ordinary person. Let this resident of the mortal world wait for a short while over there where you see the Guardians of Quarters, Pitṛs and overlords of the Manvantaras. You will kindly go in and inform the Lotus-born Lord and then admit him in. After going near the entrance to the Assembly Hall, he will go in along with the Guardians of Quarters.

The Four-faced Lord is now listening to singing with concentrated mind. It is necessary for us employed as doorkeepers to wait for the proper opportunities. I am only a slave to you and to your father. Be pleased. Do not be angry with me.”

7-12. On being told thus Nārada went in and bowed down to Brahmā, the Lord of the worlds, and prostrated with the eight limbs (touching the ground). Then the king’s (arrival) was reported to him.

With a side-glance he commanded him to fetch Indradyumna. The Lord did not say anything because he was attentively listening to the song. His mind had been attracted by the divine songs and music. After understanding the gesture Nārada brought the excellent king in.

Thereupon he was closely observed by Śakra and others. Seeing Pitāmaha, the creator of the worlds, from a distance, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the king thought him to be Hari himself of the wooden idol.

The king went ahead slowly bowing down, with palms joined in reverence, eulogizing him, falling down (by way of prostrating) and going on with faltering steps due to fright and awe of the place. At the bidding of Nārada the king stood a little away.

Listening to the meritorious holy anecdotes of the Lord of the Daughter of the Ocean that were being sung, O great Brāhmaṇas, the Four-faced Lord remained seated for a short while.

13-16. He was fanned by Sāvitrī and Śāradā (who stood) on either side. The Self-born Lord was eulogized by the Vedas assuming pure bodies.

He began calculating the units of time such as Kalā, Kāṣṭhā, Nimeṣa etc. up to the cycle of Yugas.

In the case of persons who have gone to his (Brahmā’s) world, there is no old age, birth or death; there is no change of form, colour, feature etc. There is neither mental affliction nor physical ailment; there are no divisions such as Manvantara etc., cycles of Yugas etc. There is nothing like the close of a Kalpa etc. He is the Supreme Lord himself.

At the close of the song, he spoke to the king laughingly:

17-20. “O noble Indradyumna, you are the beloved of the Lord himself. This world named Satya which is inaccessible to others has been known by you (i.e. reached by you).

Sages who have destroyed their sins and are desirous of coming here, stand engaged in penance till the ultimate annihilation of all living beings.

This is the abode of the wonderful qualities of sentience etc. of all the living beings created in the fourteen worlds.”

Thereafter he honoured the excellent king. The extremely delighted Grandfather knew his object; still he asked him:

21. “Why have you come here? What is in your heart? Tell me. When I am seen, there is nothing which cannot be obtained. Is it nectar that is desired by you?”

Indradyumna replied:

22-29. You are the Immanent Soul, O Lord. How can there be anything not known to you? Still the question put by you, O Lord, indicates your compassion for me.

Obeying your behest humbly as conveyed by your son (Nārada), I performed a thousand horse-sacrifices. At their close the Lord of everything past, present and future appeared before me in wooden form.

It is on account of your plentiful blessings that I am able to see such a Lord, the lotus-eyed one. That is why I came to your world.

O Lord, construction of a palatial shrine unto that Lord has been begun by me. If you yourself were to go over there and install the Lord of the universe. O creator of the worlds, your blessings to me shall be fruitful.

It is for this purpose, O Lord of the universe, that I have come to your world to see your lotus-like feet in the company of Nārada.

Be pleased with me. Do this. You alone are the Lord of the worlds. You alone are that Lord of the worlds (viz. Jagannātha). There is no difference between you two, O Lord. You are the installer and the installed. You are the knower and what is to be known.

Jaimini said:

30-37. At the end of his entreaty thus the great sage Durvāsas bowed down to him and fell (at his feet) with eight limbs (touching the ground). Then he stood near with palms joined in reverence. Stooping low down due to humility, he spoke to Brahmā, the Sire of the worlds:

“O Lord, O creator of the worlds, the Guardians of Quarters along with Pitṛs and overlords of the Manvantaras have been standing at the gate for a long time like wretched people, as they have been prevented by the gatekeeper. Hence command (the gatekeeper). Let them see your lotus-like feet.”

On hearing the words of Durvāsas then the Lord of Devas laughed and spoke these words: “Indeed there is no occasion for these people, but since they are deluded, they are jealous of Indradyumna. This king is a living-liberated soul. He has destroyed all Karmas and masses of sins. He is the fifth one in my line of progeny. He is a Vaiṣṇava eagerly devoted to Viṣṇu.

But these people have attained their life aims of enjoyment of pleasures by the performance of holy rites. Indeed Devas seek an entry here only by performing penances. By my blessings, these have come here for attending upon me. Still, permitted by you, let them come to see me.”

Thereupon, by the words of Durvāsas those Devas entered.

38-45. They bowed down to Brahmā from a distance, near the singers (and saw) Indradyumna, the king, conversing with palms joined in reverence.

As the Guardians of Quarters bowed down to him, the Lord of the universe blessed them with his benign glance and respectfully continued to speak to Indradyumna:

“It is true that a Mansion was built by you for the installation of the Lord. But this is not that time. O king, neither your kingdom nor your successors exist now.

In the course of the time when the songs were sung, much of your time has passed. Indeed a Manvantara consists of seventy-one divine Yugas (i.e. cycles of four Yugas according to human reckoning). Your dynasty has become extinct. Crores and crores of kings have passed away. The Lord and the ultimate Mansion—these two alone remain. Now it is the first Yuga of the Second Manu Svārociṣa. Since you have stayed near me, there is neither death nor old age (to you). There is no change of seasons nor the flow of time.

Hence, O great king, go to the earth. Make the Lord and the Mansion your own and come here quickly. Or I shall go over there immediately after you.

46-49. You first go to the earth. By the time you gather together the essential things in plenty, O highly fortunate one, I too shall come.”

After commanding Indradyumna thus, the Lord, the Grandfather (of the world), spoke to the Devas who stood in front of him stooping down their necks in humility with palms joined in reverence. They were awe-struck and their eyes were fixed to the feet of the Lord. The Lord then spoke with affectionate but grave words, O Brāhmaṇas: “Why have you all heaven-dwellers come here simultaneously? What is your task that has to be carried out by me? Tell me without delay.”

Jaimini said:

50. On hearing these words of Brahmā the Devas became rid of their fever (i.e. worry). All of them became delighted. They spoke to Lord Brahmā thus:

The Devas said:

51-54. How did that Lord of Blue Sapphire (body) who had been formerly worshipped by us on Nīla mountain vanish? How did he assume the wooden body now and manifest himself at the close of the sacrifice of King Indradyumna? It is to know the reason for this that we have come here to propitiate your lotus-like feet. Be pleased. Kindly tell us.

When this was requested by the Devas, the Lotus-seated Lord (said): “O Devas, this is a great secret. Previously it was never disclosed to anyone. All of you have come together. You have been waiting for a long time. So I shall tell you this excellent secret of the Suras.

55-62. In the previous Parārdha (half of a full day of god Brahmā) Janārdana of blue sapphire body occupied the holy spot of Śrī Puruṣottama and did not leave it. Now this is my second Parārdha. Manu, the son of the Self-born Lord (Svāyaṃbhuva), was functioning in the Śvetavārāha Kalpa. That was the time of morning of the first day. In the middle one of all the worlds (i.e. on the earth), the Lord of wooden body will stay on for the duration of my whole life honouring (us).

The Lord is my Ātman, O Suras, and I am identical with him. In this universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings, there is nothing apart (outside) from us both.

Resorting to Yoga Nidrā (Yogic Slumber) the Lord Puruṣottama lies down on his couch in the Śveta island in the middle of the Milk Ocean. He is the root of all the worlds, the primordial cause. His hair (on the body) are called Kalpadrumas. They are marked with conch and discus.

This tree is stationed in their middle. O Suras, it is presided over by the Super-sentience. It is the Satyapuruṣa (the Real Person) arising from the waters of the ocean.

63-68. In order to enjoy the pleasures of the three worlds, Janārdana of the wooden body was meditated upon (and worshipped) by pursuing the path of devotion in the course of many thousands of births.

I have been distressed much on account of the repeated creation, sustenance and annihilation. Therefore, the Lord was requested by me formerly for the destruction of the terrible worldly existence, for the annulment of all Karmas, for the liberation of all in all the worlds.

The various activities connected with the practice of Yoga such as Dhāraṇā (Retention), Dhyāna (Meditation) etc. are very difficult. Lord Puruṣottama manifested himself for the sake of granting salvation without all these difficult practices.

This holy spot is the mysterious body of this Lord. This cannot be discussed (specially) or thought of by means of the testimonies that apply to ordinary holy rites (?)

The Lord is the bestower of the fourfold aim of life in accordance with how one conceives him. He can be meditated and worshipped in the manner (the devotee chooses).

Persons who have destroyed the masses of their sins gradually by visiting him on the earth, become purified souls and they deserve salvation.”

Jaimini said:

69. On hearing these nectar-like words of the Lotus-born Lord, the Devas were delighted. They thought thus within their contented minds:

70. ‘Our Deva-hood is not permanent. We shall cast it off and go to the earth. In this holy and most excellent shrine, we shall worship the Lord with great self-control.’

71-73. On seeing the Suras with faces beaming with pleasure, Brahmā (said): “The Lord has manifested in order to bless Indradyumna. His idol has already gone there. It will speak of itself (everything). The Lord favourably inclined towards his devotees will grant many boons.

I will go to the Mansion of Indradyumna in order to install the Lord. You will also go there.

74-77. Let Indradyumna go first in order to gather together the requisite things for the installation. All of you shall be divested of your official duties. You shall assist him there.

Now the first Manvantara has passed, O Suras. Accompanied by Indradyumna, O excellent Suras, you shall all go there. He is the maker of the palace and the idols. Hence he is the owner. So let him gather together all the necessary articles along with his assistants.

If his progeny or any one connected with him remembers, Padmanidhi will go at my behest to the earth.

78-80. He will go there for the sake of gathering together all the articles for the installation.”

On seeing the Śrī (glory, splendour, prosperity) of Brahmā, Indradyumna was delighted in his mind and struck with great wonder. He bowed down to the Sire of the universe. Obeying his behest with a low bow, he came down to the earth along with the Devas whose tenure of duties had come to an end. Brāhmaṇas were duly encouraged (for performing the holy rites).

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