The Skanda Purana
by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Procedure of Concluding the Vrata which is chapter 34 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-fourth chapter of the Karttikamasa-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Chapter 34 - The Procedure of Concluding the Vrata
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
1-2. O Brahmā, it is heard that alt Vratas have Udyāpana (concluding rites) too. No one shall obtain the benefit of the Vratas, if Udyāpana is not performed.
For the purpose of obtaining the benefit of the Vrata performed, the learned devotee should perform Udyāpana rite. Otherwise the excellent Vrata becomes futile.
3-4. In Kārttika too, O Lord, the most excellent one among Vratas is performed. If it is not attended with its regular Udyāpana, one will not get the benefit of the Vrata, as has been mentioned.
Hence, O Lord, tell the procedure for the Udyāpana of the Vrata of the month of Kārttika. I am the greatest of your disciples, who resorts to, you and follows you obediently.
5. I shall now describe the Udyāpana rite of the Kārttika Vrata succinctly along with the injunctions. It is destructive of all sins. Listen to it with great devotion.
6. For the sake of completing the Vrata and for propitiating Viṣṇu, the person who has undertaker, the Vrata should perform the Udyāpana on the fourteenth day in the bright half of Kārttika.
7. A splendid pavilion should be erected above the Tulasī plant. It should be rendered very gorgeous by means various metals. There shall be stumps of plantain trees.
8. Clusters and rows of lamps shall be placed in all the four quarters, rendering it very excellent. There should be four ornamental arched gateways rendered splendid by means of flowers and chowries.
9-10. At the doorways there should be gatekeepers made of clay (representing) Jaya, Vijaya, Caṇḍa, Pracaṇḍa, Nanda and Sunanda, Kumuda and Kumudākṣa. They should be devoutly worshipped in the four doorways.
11-14. At the foot of the Tulasī plant there should be the mystic diagram named Sarvatobhadra in four colours. It should be perfect, splendid and well-adorned. A pitcher full of gems should be placed on it. There the devotee should worship the Lord holding the conch, discus and iron club. He should be dressed in a yellow silken cloth and accompanied by Lakṣmī. The person undertaking the Vrata should worship Indra and other Guardians of the Quarters in the pavilion.
The devotee should be calm and reverential in attitude. He should fast on that day with great devotion. At night he should keep awake with auspicious songs and instrumental music.
15. Those who devoutly sing songs at the time of the Jāgaraṇa of the Discus-bearing Lord, become rid of masses of sins accumulated in hundreds of previous births.
16. Then on the full-moon day, he should invite thirty excellent Brāhmaṇas along with their wives. Or (it is enough if) one Brāhmaṇa (is invited).
17. He should take bath early in the morning and worship the Lord. Then he should prepare a levelled ground or altar and kindle the sacrificial fire thereon.
18. He should perform Homa with gingelly seeds and milk-pud-ding along with the recitation of the Mantra ato devā etc. (Ṛg-Veda 1.22.16) for the propitiation of the Lord of Devas as well as the Devas separately.
19. After concluding the remaining part of the Homa and honouring the Brāhmaṇas devoutly, he should give them monetary gifts in accordance with his capacity.
20. Then the devotee should worship a tawny-coloured cow there duly. Then he should give the cow with its calf to a Brāhmaṇa who has a large family.
21. He should then duly honour his preceptor and instructor in the Vrata along with his wife, by means of garments and ornaments. Then he should request those Brāhmaṇas for forgiveness.
22-24. “With your favour let the Lord of the Devas be always pleased with me. Let the sin that has been committed by me in the course of the last seven births be destroyed entirely by this Vrata. Let all my desires be realized and be fruitful. Let there be devotion to Han. Let me have the association with good people in every birth.”
After requesting for forgiveness thus, he should propitiate those Brāhmaṇas and bid farewell to them.
25. O eminent sage, he should give that image along with the cloth to the preceptor. Then the devout person undertaking the Vrata should take food himself accompanied by friends and the preceptor.
26. The Lord woke up on the twelfth day. He joined the Suras on the thirteenth day. He was worshipped on the fourteenth day, and so he was delighted then. Therefore, he is to be worshipped on this Tithi.
27-28. With the permission of the preceptor, he should worship the golden (image of the) Lord of the chiefs of Devas. A great procession should be taken on this full-moon day at Puṣkara.
Since after granting the boons Viṣṇu assumed the form of a fish, therefore what is given in charity, offered as Homa or repeated as Japa shall have everlasting benefit.
29-31. O Nārada, this procedure is to be followed in the month of Kārttika. One who performs well the Vrata of Kārttika in this manner obtains the stipulated benefit. Those who undertake this Vrata in the month of Kārttika are blessed ones. They are always to be honoured. Their accomplishment is fruitful. If they are engaged in devotion to Viṣṇu and perform the Vratas in the month of Kārttika, all the sins in their bodies perish instantaneously.
32. All the sins cry out like this again and again: “Where shall we go today? This man is about to perform the Kārttika Vrata.”
33. Hence there is nothing equal to the month of Kārttika. In the matter of burning down all the sins it is said to be like fire.
34. One who listens to the greatness of the Udyāpana rite of the Kārttika Vrata with full faith, or who expounds it, shall attain the Sāyujya of Viṣṇu.
35. How can a person incapable of Udyāpana etc. attain Siddhi (the fruit of the Vrata)? How is a creature liberated from the miserable worldly existence?
36. The man should with purity (in the mind and body) listen to the efficacy of Kārttika Vrata. He shall then obtain the benefit of Udyāpana and reside in the world of Viṣṇu.
Footnotes and references:
VV 5-36 describe the procedure of Udyāpana (the formal conclusion) of the Kārttika Vrata.