The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Greatness of the Rocks of Garuda, Varaha and Narasimha which is chapter 4 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 fourth chapter of the Badarikashrama-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 4 - The Greatness of the Rocks of Garuḍa, Varāha and Nārasiṃha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Skanda said:

1. O father, recount to me the greatness of Vainateya Śilā (Garuḍa’s rock). What is its merit? What is the benefit thereof? What is its greatness?

Śiva replied:

2-3. Garuḍa and Aruṇa of great strength and valour, were born of Vinatā’s womb to Kaśyapa. Aruṇa is the charioteer of the Sun-god. With a desire to become Hari’s vehicle Garuḍa performed a penance on the peak of Gandhamādana on the southern side of Badarī.

4. He restricted his diet to fruits, roots and water. He was unaffected by mutually opposed pairs (such as pleasure, pain). He was the most excellent one among those who performed Japa.

5-6. He, desirous of seeing Hari, continued the penance for thirty thousand years. He stood with only one foot on the ground. He performed the Japa without any ailment.

Thereafter the yellow-robed Lord equipped with his own weapons, directly appeared before him like the full Moon in the East. He spoke to him clearly with a tone as grave as the thundering sound of a cloud.

7. Still there was no external reaction (from Garuḍa). Thereupon, the Lord blew his conch. Still there was no visible response on the part of Garuḍa, the noble-souled one.

8. Then the Lord entered into him through his breath. He made him extraverted and shone in front of him outside.

9. On seeing Lord Hari, Garuḍa became free from fright. There was horripilation all over his body. With palms joined in reverence he eulogized thus:

Garuḍa said:

10. Be victorious, be victorious, O Lord whose abode is the minds of the people of the three worlds; O Lord who have suppressed the mass of sins; O Lord with excessive fragrance of the lotus-like pair of feet which are saluted by all the Devas; O destroyer of the forest of enemies; O refulgent one; O Lord with your lotus-like pedestal rendered graceful by crores of crowns of all the Suras and Asuras; O Lord who have dispelled the thick veil of darkness from the hearts of your own people; O Lord who, like the moon, dispel three kinds of distress with your feet; O Lord to whom the rise, sustenance and annihilation are graceful sports; O Lord who have increased the prosperity of the universe with the fame of your three-fold form; O Lord who are like a bee unto the lotus-like minds of your own people; O Lord who, like the Sun, illuminate the minds of those who have understood all the Vedas; O Lord whose feet have been saluted by your own men as well as sages; O Lord whose nails produced the waters[1] (of Gaṅgā) and purified the Devas; O Lord of all the worlds, the dust of whose feet mentally saluted by the sages, has become the essence of your favour. Obeisance to you, O Lord of worlds; obeisance to you.

11. Also; may the Lord protect me: the Lord who is accompanied by eight Śaktis; who wears the garlands of sylvan flowers; who shines in his yellow robes and flowers; whose feet shine like a lotus pool (?); and whose sense-organs are perfect.

12. Everyday may the Lord protect me: the Lord whose form shines within the lotus-like heart of devotees; whose fame originates from the suppression of the wicked Daityas; who built the bridge (at Rāmeśvara); who has protected all the people who resorted to him; and who is the Lord of all the worlds.

13. Let the Lord of great intellect protect me: the Lord who like the Moon dispels the three kinds of distress of mobile beings; whose refulgence is like that of the shining Sun; who, though single, assumes various guises through his Māyā.

14. This is the meritorious activity of the Lord who assumes forms in due consideration for the wishes of devotees; who even in infancy had chastened many kings; who follows the path of the Vedas, which is beneficent in many ways.

15. May this embodied form of Rāsa (rhythmic dance performed by Kṛṣṇa and Gopīs) protect us. He partakes of Yajña; he captivates the heart; he is cosmic-formed; he takes away the silk cloth of the women (Gopīs); he assumes many forms for the sake of protecting great men.

16. Let this Puruṣa who can be obtained (realized) by persons with love and devotion, who is the abode of all, who is delighted with the group of servants (i.e. devotees) (taking himself) as their own servant and whose glance is full of kindness, protects the universe.

17. With the tip of his nail with which he had pierced the neck of hyena, he pinched the breasts of the cowherd lasses. He has been sportingly given many forms by young women. Let this Śeṣa (?) be for (i.e. bring about) calmness and peace.

18. Let this Lord be the suppressor of all miseries for us: the Lord who is arme???h the rod of punishment for chastising people; who is ready for sanctifying the great men who follow the rules prescribed by himself.

19-20. Thus, the Lord was directly eulogized by the noble-souled Garuḍa.

The son of Vinatā invoked Gaṅgā flowing in three paths (heavenly, earthly and nether-worldly) in order to worship (the Lord). Thereupon (the holy river) directly appeared on the mountain. She had five faces. The son of Vinatā performed the worship of the feet with that water.

21-22. Then Garuḍa was told by Hari, “Let the boon be chosen”. He then said, “With your favour, may I become invincible to Devas and Daityas. May I be glorious with strength, vigour and valour. Let me be your sole vehicle. Let this rock be well-known after my name. It may be the dispeller of all sins. If this is remembered by men, they must not be afflicted by poison or sickness.”

23. After saying thus, the son of Vinatā remained silent. Saying, “It will be so”, Viṣṇu spoke these words conducive to the welfare (of all):

24-28. “You go to Badarī resorted to by Nārada. By taking your holy bath in Nāradatīrtha etc. and observing fast for three days with purity, it will be easy for you to have my vision there.” After saying this Viṣṇu vanished like lightning. Garuḍa joyously hastened to Badarī. He then went to Vahnitīrtha, resorted to the rock with devotion to him, took his holy bath in Nāradatīrtha and performed holy rites. Then he saw the Lord stationed in Nāradatīrtha. He bowed to him in accordance with the injunctions and at his bidding he went to his city. Ever since then, this rock is called Gāruḍī.

Skanda said:

29. O Lord of lords, recount to me the greatness of Vārāhī (rock). What is its merit? What is its benefit? How did it get this name?

Śiva said:

30-35. Having killed Hiraṇyākṣa, the enemy of Devas, in the battle and after lifting up the Earth from the nether worlds the Lord (Viṣṇu) came to Badarī. He stayed here till the end of the Kalpa. It is on account of the excellence of Badarī that the Lord stationed himself there. The Lord stationed himself there in the form of a rock. One should go there, take his holy bath in the pure waters of Gaṅgā and make charitable gift in accordance with his capacity. With his mind made calm and peaceful through the waters of Gaṅgā, he should sit and perform Japa day and night with full concentration of mind.

He will then begin seeing the rock as the Lord. Of what avail is much talk? Whatever the aspirant wishes for, he will realise quickly, even if it be very difficult to perform.

Skanda requested:

36. O Lord, recount to me the greatness of the rock Nārasiṃhī. With your favour I have heard rare things, O great Lord.

Śiva said:

37. After killing Hiraṇyakaśipu sportingly with the tip of his claws (nails), the Lord (in the form of Man-lion) (as if) blazed all over his body with the fire of anger. He resembled the fire appearing at the time of the ultimate annihilation of the world.

38. Devas came there. Full of kindness, they stood at a distance and eulogized the Lord who had sportingly taken his body (of Man-lion).

39. There Hari of great valour became delighted. He pervaded the excellent Suras and Asuras with his refulgence. He said, “Choose any boon that may cause great happiness to all the Devas.”

40. Then the Self-born Lord, the Lord of Suras, spoke these words with smiles lighting up his face:

“O Nārasiṃha, this form of yours is very fierce. It strikes terror into the hearts of all embodied beings. Withdraw this.”

41. The Lord did all these things duly, after depositing his divine body in many ways on the mountains etc. Then he said, “What task of yours should I perform now? O Devas who destroy your enemies, I am pleased (with you).”

42. “O Lord of cosmic form who have agitated (troubled) the world with this form, this is the boon desired by us that you shall have that four-armed form which is quiescent and causes internal happiness.”

43. With his divine vision Hari espied the universe and went to Viśālā. With the mind engrossed in playing in the waters of Gaṅgā, the Lord spoke to the Suras and Asuras.

44. Then the Devas saw the Lord stationed in the middle of the waters. Their fright subsided. With great feelings of devotion firmly rooted (in their hearts), they bowed down and circumambulated the Lord. Then they gradually went to their city.

45. Then all the sages and ascetics came there bending down with the weight of their devotion. With hands joined together in reverence, they eulogized Nṛsiṃha of wonderful valour with the following words:

The sages said:

46. Obeisance, Obeisance to you, O Lord of all the worlds, O Lord of the universe according freedom from fear, O Lord of cosmic form, O ocean of mercy, O Lord whose lotus-like feet are Tīrthas that should be resorted to, O Lord of Śrī, be kind.

47. You are one but appear manifold through your own Māyā, just as the water in different pots that differ on account of the limiting conditions thereof.[2] O Lord who take wonderfully variegated bodies in accordance with the wishes of the devotees, be pleased, O Lord having faces everywhere, O Lord, the maker of the universe.

48. Thereupon, the delighted Lord Nṛsiṃha of leonine valour spoke these charming words: “Let the boon be chosen from me.”

The sages said:

49-52. If the Lord is pleased, this is the boon desired by us that Viśālā should not be abandoned; O Lord of the worlds, kindly do (as we wish).

(The Lord said:) “Let it be so”. All the sages went to their hermitages. Nṛsiṃha in the form of the rock became engaged in sporting in the waters. By observing fasts for three days and being devoted to Japa and meditation, (a devotee) shall undoubtedly see the Lord directly in the form of Nṛsiṃha.

One who, with purity, hears this with faith and recites this shall be rid of all sins. He will obtain a residence in Vaikuṇṭha.

Footnotes and references:


When Vāmana (god Viṣṇu) assumed a cosmic form to deprive King Bali of his rule over the universe, he covered the upper world by his second step and his toe-nail scratched and punctured the outer shell of the Brahmāṇḍa and the outer water-sheath of the universe forced its way through the hole caused by Viṣṇu’s nail. It is said to be the heavenly Gaṅgā.


The usual illustration given by Advaita Vedāntins to show the relation between the Supreme Soul and individual souls and the reality of the Supreme Soul, the individual souls being his reflections only.

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