The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Rules pertaining to Prabodhini which is chapter 33 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-third chapter of the Karttikamasa-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 33 - Rules pertaining to Prabodhinī

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: Prabodhinī or Haribodhinī is the name of the eleventh day in the bright half of Kārttika. That is the last day of Cāturmāsa. This is regarded as one of the most auspicious days.

Īśvara said:

1. Listen, O excellent one among Suras, to the greatness of Prabodhinnī. It is destructive of sins. It causes increase in merits and yields salvation to the knowers of truth.

2. O Senānī (i.e. Kārttikeya), Gaṅgā brought into the world by Bhagīratha roars on the earth only till the advent of Haribodhinī in the month of Kārttika that dispels sins.

3. All the Tīrthas including the oceans and lakes roar (boast) only till the advent of Prabodhinī Tithi of Viṣṇu in the month of Kārttika.

4. By one fast alone on the Prabodhinī day (the benefit of) thousands of horse-sacrifices and hundreds of Rājasūyas (can be had).

5. A thing may be very difficult to get. It may be inaccessible in all the ṃree worlds consisting of mobile and immobile beings. But Pratibodhinī grants it, O Brāhmaṇa(?) if it is requested for.

6. If the fast is undertaken, O Brāhmaṇa, Haribodhinī easily grants all prosperity, progeny, knowledge, kingdom, happiness and riches.

7. By means of a single fast, Haribodhinī burns down sins equal (in size) to the Meru and Mandara mountains acquired (by the people).

8. He who fasts on the Prabodhinī day naturally and in accordance with the injunctions, O tiger among men(?), attains the benefit as mentioned.

9. The sin that has been acquired in the course of thousands of previous births is burned like a heap of cotton by keeping awake (in the night) on Prabodhinī day.

10. Listen, O Six-faced One, I shall describe the features of keeping awake (on Prabodhinī)[1] With its knowledge alone Janārdana ceases to be inaccessible.

11-15. There should be (devotional) songs, instrumental music, dance, readings from the Purāṇas, offerings of incense, lamps, food offerings, flowers, sweet scents, unguents, fruits, Arghyas, great faith, charitable gifts, restraint on the sense-organs, truthfulness, absence of censure, gaiety, good holy rites and wonderful (scenes etc.). People should be enthusiastic. They should not be lethargic.

The Lord should be bowed down to and circumambulated. The devotee should perform the Nīrājana rites of Hari every Yāma (3 hrs.) without any dejection in his mind, O highly fortunate one.

The Jāgaraṇa rite (keeping awake) of the Lord should have all these features. One who does so with full concentration of the mind is not reborn on the earth.

16. He who devoutly performs thus without any stinginess regarding the money to be spent, he who keeps awake on the day of Viṣṇu, merges into the Supreme Ātman.

17. If anyone worships Hari with the Puruṣasūkta everyday in the month of Kārttika, it is as good as worshipping Keśava for thousands of crores of years.

18. If a man worships everyday in the month of Kārttika in accordance with the injunctions as mentioned in Pāñcarātra (Āgama), he attains salvation.

19. He who worships Hari in the month of Kārttika uttering “Obeisance to Nārāyaṇa”, shall become liberated from the miseries of hells and go to the region devoid of sickness and ailment (i.e. Vaikuṇṭha).

20. He who recites the thousand names of Hari, reads the story of Gajendra Mokṣa (the liberation of the great elephant) will not take rebirth.

21. He who keeps awake on the twelfth day in the month of Kārttika, lives in heaven for thousands of crores of Yugas and hundreds of Manvantara.

22. Those who are born in his family, whether hundreds or thousands, attain the region of Viṣṇu. Hence one should observe the rite of Jāgaraṇa.

23. If a devotee eulogizes and sings songs in the last Yāma (of every night) in the month of Kārttika, O (son) of good holy rites, he resides in the Śvetadvīpa along with his ancestors.

24. O excellent sages(?), if the devotee offers Naivedya (foodstuffs) to Hari everyday at the close of the day in the month of Kārttika, he will reside in heaven for as many Yugas as there are (items or dishes in the Naivedya).

25. O tiger among sages(?), the worship with jasmine and lotuses brings about everlasting benefits. He who worships the Lord of the chiefs of Devas with them, attains the greatest region.

26. The man who fasts on the eleventh day in the bright half of the month of Kārttika and gives splendid water-pots in the morning, goes to my region.

27-28. On this day itself the awakening of Hari should be performed. Daitya Śaṅkhāsura was killed on the eleventh day in the bright half of the month of Śrāvaṇa. From that day Viṣṇu was asleep in the four rainy months in the Ocean of Milk. He woke up on the eleventh day in the month of Kārttika.

29-30. Hence the rite of Prabodhana (awakening) should be performed by Vaiṣṇavas on the Ekādaśī day:

“O Govinda, get up, wake up. O Garuḍa-emblemed One, get up. O Lover of Lakṣmī, get up. Make the three worlds auspicious.” The devotee shall utter this (Mantra) in the morning, blow conch, play on musical instruments, beat Bherī drums etc. There should be flutes, lutes, Mṛdaṅgas, dances, songs etc.

31. After awakening the Lord of Devas, and after performing his worship, the rite of the marriage of Tulasī should be performed in the evening.

32-33. Ekādaśī is always meritorious and that in the month of Kārttika is particularly so. When the day of Hari arrives, all the sins of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter etc. resort to cooked food. Therefore, he who takes cooked food on the day of Had, eats sins alone.

34-35. Hence, with all possible efforts one should undertake the Ekādaśī Vrata. If any base or vulgar man does not observe fast out of delusion, he will have invariably to remain in Naraka (hell) along with his Manes. The learned devotee should not give up the observance of fast during the days of post-natal or post-death pollution.

36-38. For the purpose of the holy rites Ekādaśī with Daśamī overlapping it in the morning, should be avoided.[2] Formerly, O Guha, fast was observed on such a day by Gāndhārī. So her hundred sons perished. Hence one should avoid that day (contaminated) by death.

One should observe fast on the Ekādaśī day with due performance of ablution, charity etc. The saintly king Rukmāṅgada performed it, but due to the association with Mohinī (Enchantress) (forgot it for a day. Despite that) he enjoyed pleasures in this world and in the end went to the city of Viṣṇu.

[So ends (the description of) the festival of waking up.]

[Now the greatness of Dvādaśī (twelfth day)[3] (is being recounted).]:—

39-42. Dvādaśī is mentioned as the bestower of merit. It is destructive of all the masses of sins. If Dvādaśī is served by one, of what use are these to him? Of what avail are charitable gifts, austerities, Vratas with observances of fasts, Yajña performances and dear sons? If even a single person is fed on Dvādaśī day, one gets that benefit which is obtained by feeding a crore persons everyday during famine on the (banks of) Gaṅgā.

If gift of food is made to a deserving person on the twelfth day in the bright half of a month, every lump of boiled rice so given is equal to the feeding of many Brāhmaṇas. How many, I do not know. O (son) of good holy rites, I do not know the greatness thereof.

43. If a person makes the gift of a Śālagrāma stone on the Dvādaśī day, he gets that benefit which one gets by gifting away the whole of the earth consisting of the seven continents at the time of solar eclipse on Gaṅgā.

44. O Brāhmaṇa(?), he who devoutly bathes Viṣṇu with Pañcāmṛta, redeems the entire family. He is honoured in the world of Viṣṇu.

45. On the twelfth day in the bright half of the month of Kārttika, there shall be a great festival. Beginning in the morning, the devotee should perform ablution, charity and other rites (and should be continuously engaged in it). He attains salvation. There is no doubt about it.

46-47. On the twelfth day in the month of Kārttika the devotee should worship Dāmodara with great devotion and faith after completing the ablution, Sandhyā prayers etc. If he does not offer cooked pulse as Naivedya, he is a mean fellow. We have heard that he will ever have to remain in hell.

48. Hence, O Brāhmaṇa, one should offer cooked pulse as Naivedya with great devotion on the Dvādaśī day in the splendid month of Kārttika. Otherwise he may go to hell.

49. If a man feeds couples on that day (he will have immense merit). When his merit comes to an end, I cannot mention, (i.e. It is not possible for me to say when the store of his merit will become exhausted.)

50-51. The devotee should worship Hari on the Dvādaśī day under the shade of a Dhātrī tree. He must feed Brāhmaṇas there itself. He himself should eat cooked pulse and other foodstuffs there itself. If anyone does so, he does not return (to the earth) even in the course of hundreds and crores of Kalpas.

52. After completing the worship of Dāmodara in the morning the rite of worship of Hari should be performed again at night, O Brāhmaṇa.

53-54. An excellent pavilion should be made near the Tulasī plant. It should be rendered beautiful with flag staffs and banners, garlands of flowers, various kinds of gems and pearl strings. There the devotee should worship Viṣṇu with full concentration and without any excitement at all.

55-57. According to the rules laid down in Pañcarātra Āgaṃa, he should complete the worship duly. There should be sweet-smelling flowers, raw rice grains etc., butter, curds, milk, solid ghee, different kinds of foodstuffs as Naivedya and perfumed water. Everything should be offered to Viṣṇu including betel leaves, cloves etc. Flowers of various kinds and sweet fragrance should be sprinkled with water and their splendid petals should be used for worship.

58. He should then worship with Dhātrī fruits and Tulasī leaves. After the Nīrājana rite, he should offer Mantra Puṣpa (flowers with utterance of Mantras).

59. The entire worship is performed without the rite of bathing but in accordance with the injunctions. After concluding the worship of Viṣṇu, the Brāhmaṇas should be honoured.

60-62. He shall worship them with devotion, O Brāhmaṇa, and give them fruits etc. After offering them betel-leaves, monetary gifts should be given in accordance with one’s capacity. Thereafter the elders, ancestors, mothers etc. should be worshipped duly. Then the intelligent devotee himself along with his wives should eat the Naivedya.

If anyone undertakes Dvādaśī Vrata thus in accordance with the injunctions, his (heavenly) worlds do not perish even in hundreds and crores of Kalpas.

63. Surrounded by sons and grandsons, he will enjoy various pleasures of a fascinating nature. At the end of those worldly pleasures, he shall attain salvation along with seven preceding generations.

64. Hence, O Nārada, the greatness of Dvādaśī of the Kārttika month cannot be described by me. How can it be done by other men?

65. One who reads this excellent efficacy of the auspicious Dvādaśī, or listens to it, O excellent sage, attains the greatest goal.

66. The saintly king Aṃbarīṣa performed this splendid Vrata and engaged himself in penance in accordance with the injunction. Thereby he attained salvation.

Footnotes and references:


The Jāgaraṇa rite is described in vv 10-30.


VV 36-38 state what day should be observed for Ekādaśī in case of overlapping with other Tithis.


VV 39-66 deal with details of celebrating the Dvādaśī day.

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