The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Fruit of the Holy Bath in the Month of Margashirsha which is chapter 1 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 first chapter of the Margashirsha-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 1 - Fruit of the Holy Bath in the Month of Mārgaśīrṣa

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Summary: Fruit of the Holy Bath in the Month of Mārgaśīrṣa (Obtained by Gopīs).

Obeisance to Śrī Gaṇeśa

Here begins (the narration of) the greatness of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa.

Sūta said:

1. I salute Mādhava, Kṛṣṇa, who is the son of Devakī, the cause of delight to all the worlds, and the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation and who is fond of his devotees.

2. After bowing down to his progenitor (Viṣṇu), the consort of Ramā, the Lord of Devas, who was comfortably seated in Śvetadvīpa,[1] the Four-faced Lord (god Brahmā) asked him thus:

Brahmā said:

3. O Hṛṣīkeśa, the creator of the universe, O Lord of Devas, listening to whose glorification is meritorious, O omniscient lord of all, tell me what is being asked (presently).

4. Formerly this was declared by you: “Among the months, I am Mārgaśīrṣa.” I wish to know succinctly the greatness of that month.

5-6. Who is the Lord (Presiding Deity) of that month? What is to be given as gift? How is the holy bath to be performed? What is its procedure? What should be done by men on that occasion? O Lord of Ramā, what should be eaten? What should be spoken? What are the rites to be performed by way of worship, meditation, Mantras etc? Speak everything to me, O Acyuta.

Śrī Bhagavān said:

7-8. Well-asked by you, O Brahmā, the benefactor of all the worlds. When the holy rite of Mārgaśīrṣa is performed every other rite (may be deemed as) performed including Iṣṭāpūrta etc. (i.e. sacrifices, works of public utility like building of rest houses, digging of wells and tanks). O son, if any holy rite is performed in Mārgaśīrṣa, one gets that merit which is obtained by ablutions in all the Tīrthas, and by performance of all Yajñas.

9. By listening to the greatness (of Mārgaśīrṣa), O son, that benefit is obtained which a man obtains by the gift of Tulāpuruṣa[2] etc.

10-11. I have never been won over by men by means of Yajñas, study of the Vedas, charitable gifts etc., by taking bath into all the Tīrthas, by renunciation or by means of Yoga (practice). In other months I am not as easily won over as in the month of Mārgaśīrṣa by holy bath, charitable gifts, worship, meditation, vow of silence, Japa and other things. (Hereby) a secret has been revealed.

12. Thinking that it is the means of attaining me, Devas have created other Dharmas etc. and thus (the efficacy of) Mārgaśīrṣaka has been rendered a well-guarded secret by Devas, the residents of heaven.

13. Mārgaśīrṣa is the month that is conducive to attain me. Holy rites should necessarily be performed in it by those people of meritorious deeds who are devoted to me.

14. Those men in the region (land) of Bhārata who do not perform holy rites in Mārgaśīrṣa should be known as sinners. They are deluded by Kali Age.

15. O dear one, in the month of Māgha, when the Sun is in Capricorn, one gets that benefit which a man obtains in the eight months.

16. In the month of Vaiśākha hundred times the merit of Māgha is obtained. Thousand times that merit is obtained when the Sun is in Libra.

17. A crore times that merit is obtained when the Sun is in Scorpio. Hence Mārgaśīrṣa is superior (to all). So I always love it.

18. If a man gets up early in the morning and duly performs the holy bath according to injunctions, O my son, I am delighted with him and I give him even my own self.

19. In this regard, they cite the following anecdote. Listen to it, O son. Nanda,[3] the cowherd, was a noble soul who became very famous on the earth.

20. In his colony named Gokula there were thousands of cowherd lasses. O sinless one, their mind became attached to my form formerly.

21. I gave them the idea of taking holy bath in the month of Mārgaśīrṣa. Thereupon, holy bath was duly undertaken by them in the morning.

22. Worship was performed. Haviṣya[4] rice was consumed by them and they bowed down. When this procedure was followed I became delighted.

23. Verily a boon was granted to them by me as I was delighted. My own self was granted to them by me. Hence (the rites in) Mārgaśīrṣa should be performed by men in accordance with the injunctions.

Footnotes and references:


Śvetadvīpa: A mythical island in the Milky Ocean to the north of the world. It is the resting place of Mahā-Viṣṇu. (Mbh, Śānti 335.8-12, 336. 27-59).


Tulāpuruṣa: Weighing of a person (donor) against gold or precious metals etc. and distributing them to Brāhmaṇas as Dāna. For the procedure see MtP, Ch. 274.


The cowherd chief who protected Kṛṣṇa in his childhood. Kṛṣṇa’s childhood sports and pranks described in BhP X, Part i, took place at Nanda’s pḷace.


Haviṣya: Worthy of being oblated in a sacrifice ten materials such as rice, clarified butter etc. are enlisted as such (vide HD 11,1, p. 681).

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