The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Rite of Kushmanda-navami which is chapter 31 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 thirty-first chapter of the Karttikamasa-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 31 - The Rite of Kūṣmāṇḍa-navamī

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vālakhilyas said:

1. The ninth day in the bright half of the month of Kārttika is the day on which Dvāpara Yuga commenced. For the purpose of charitable gift the Navamī must be present in the forenoon. For the purpose of fast the Navamī must be present in the afternoon.

2. On this day a Daitya named Kūṣmāṇḍa was killed by Viṣṇu. The creepers of pumpkin gourd (Beninkasa cerifera) grew from the hair of that Daitya.

3. Hence through a gift of Kūṣmāṇḍa one certainly attains the benefit. People should celebrate the festival of Kṛṣṇa on this Navamī day itself.

4. The festival of the marriage of Tulasī should be celebrated in accordance with the injunctions laid down in one’s own branch of the Vedas. There is no doubt about this that he will earn the merit of giving away a virgin (in marriage).

5-8. On the ninth day in the bright half of the month of Kārttika, one should prepare a golden image of Hari along with Tulasī. With perfect control over the sense-organs he should worship that splendid image with great devotion and in accordance with the injunctions. He should observe the Vrata for three days. Similarly he should perform the rite of marriage as per injunctions. The three days should be inclusive of the Navamī. If the Navamī overlaps the previous Tithi of Aṣṭamī (eighth lunar day) it shall extend to the midday.

If anyone grows Dhātrī and Aśvattha trees in one place and then celebrates this festival, his merit will not perish even in hundreds of crores of Kalpas.

9-10. Formerly, Kiśorikā, the daughter of Kanaka, celebrated the marriage rite of Tulasī in the evening with great devotion. Then the beautiful one got free from the stigma of widowhood. Hence the rite of the marriage of Tulasī should be performed in the evening.

11. This rite shall necessarily be performed by Vaiṣṇavas every year. I shall describe its procedure so that the rite shall be complete with ancillary details.

12. One should make a splendid image of Viṣṇu with a Pala (25 grams) of gold. According to one’s capacity the weight of gold can be half, one-fourth, one-eighth or one-sixteenth of what is said above.

13. The rite of Prāṇapratiṣṭhā (rite of infusing with life) of Tulasī and the idol of Viṣṇu should be performed after which the devotee should awaken the Lord by the prayers etc. mentioned before.

14. The worship should be accompanied by all the sixteen Upacāras (services) and repetitions of the Puruṣasūkta. Recollecting the time and place, he should perform Gaṇeśa’s worship there itself.

15. After performing the rite of Puṇyāhavācana the rite of Nāndī Śrāddha should performed. Thereafter he should bring the idol of Viṣṇu near that of Tulasī to the accompaniment of the sounds of musical instruments and chantings of the Vedic Mantras.

16-17. The image of Viṣṇu should be placed there and covered with cloths. This Mantra shall be recited: “O Lord, come, O Lord Keśava, I shall worship you. I shall give Tulasī unto you. Be the bestower of all desires.”

Arghya, Pādya and Viṣṭara (seat) should be offered three times.

18-20. Then Ācamanīya should be offered three times. Reciting the following Mantra the Madhuparka shall be offered:

“The Madhuparka consisting of curds, milk and ghee is placed in a pot of bell-metal. O Vāsudeva, accept this. Obeisance to you.”

After performing the rites of smearing the turmeric paste and anointing with oil, Tulasī and Keśava should once again be worshipped at the time of Godhūli (about half an hour before sunset). The idols should be placed separately facing each other. Auspicious Mantras should be chanted.

21. When the sun is still visible slightly, the devotee should utter his Gotra, Pravara (line of ancestors) etc. up to three generations and begin the Saṃkalpa as follows:

22. “O Lord having no beginning, middle or end, O protector of the three worlds, accept this Tulasī with all marital rites.

23-24. I am giving you for wife this (Tulasī) born of the seed of Pārvatī, stationed in the ashes of Vṛndā, Tulasī which has no beginning, middle or end and which has been nurtured by me like my own daughter by means of waterpots and regular service. I am giving you your own beloved Tulasī. O Lord, accept her.”

25. After offering Tulasī thus, he should worship both. At night, he should keep awake with all the festivities associated with a marriage ceremony.

26-28. Then early in the morning he should worship Tulasī and Viṣṇu after establishing fire while reciting the twelve-syllabled Mantra (viz. oṃ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya). One hundred and eight Homas should be performed with milk-pudding, ghee, honey and gingelly seeds. Then after oblating offerings meant for sacrificial fire, the Pūrṇāhuti is offered. After duly honouring the preceptor, the remaining part of the Homa should be concluded.

After informing the Brāhmaṇas about the observances kept up in the course of the four rainy months in the manner they had happened, he should complete the other one too:

29. “O Lord, this Vrata has been performed by me for propitiating you. O Lord Janārdana, if it is deficient, let it be perfect and complete with your favour.”

30. One should not carry out the rite of Pāraṇā in the fourth quarter of the constellation Revatī in conjunction with Dvādaśī (twelfth lunar day). If he does so, his Vrata shall be in vain.

31. Then he should give unto the Brāhmaṇas those substances (foodstuffs) which were eschewed in the course of the four rainy months or the month of Kārttika. Thereafter he should eat all those things given up by him when he was observing the Vrata.

32-33. Husband and wife should take food together in the company of Brāhmaṇas. After the meal they should eat the leaves of Tulasī that have fallen on the ground. Those who eat (Tulasī leaves) shall be rid of all of their sins.

34. At the end of a meal if one eats sugarcane, Dhātrī fruit or Koli-fruit (Jujube), he has no more Ucchiṣṭa (i.e. no necessity to rinse the month).

35. If anyone of these three has not been eaten, he must be known as a man of Ucchiṣṭa (impure due to not having rinsed the month) for the whole year. There is no doubt about it.

36. Then in the evening Tulasī and Vāsudeva have to be worshipped with the splendid sugarcane stumps. Thus he shall have fulfilled everything.

37-38. Then the devotee shall bid farewell to Hari after giving wedding gifts etc.:

“O Lord, go to Vaikuṇṭha along with Tulasī. Accepting the worship offered by me, be contented always. O most excellent one among Suras, O great Lord, go back to your own abode. O Janārdana, go to that place where Brahmā and other Devas are present.”

39. After bidding farewell thus, the devotee should give the idol etc. to the preceptor. Then the man shall be contented and blessed.

40. He who performs this marriage rite of Tulasī every year with devotion, shall certainly be endowed with wealth and foodgrains. In this world as well as the other, he shall get wide renown.

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