The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 750,347 words

This page describes Yama’s Lamentation which is chapter 12 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 twelfth chapter of the Vaishakhamasa-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 12 - Yama’s Lamentation

Yama said:

1-2. Listen to my words, O Grandfather (Brahmā). I have been ignored and deprived (of my job), I take the transgression of my office as worse than death. If an employee does not do his duty, O Lotus-seated One, and if he appropriates the money of his master, he shall become a worm in a log of wood.

3. An intelligent man who, out of greed, misappropriates the wealth (of the master), is reborn, O Lord of the earth, as a lower animal and falls into hell (where he remains) for a period of three hundred Kalpas.

4. If (the employee) is disinterested in his work and does not carry it out properly, O Lotus-born One, he suffers (the tortures of) terrible hells. The man is reborn then as a crow.

5. He who is devoted to his own selfish ends and spoils the work of his master, is a sinning soul. He is reborn as a domestic mouse and continues thus for three hundred Kalpas.

6. The employee who is capable of doing his work but (does not do it) and stays behind in his house is reborn as a cat.

7. O Lord, I keep the subjects under discipline on the basis of justice at your bidding—the meritorious through merit and the sinful through sinful act.

8. The sages equipped with (the knowledge of) Dharma Śāstras (Ethical Texts) discussed and thought in detail at the beginning of the Kalpa. They decided the tortures to be meted out by me (by way of punishment).

9. I belong to you. Still I am not able to carry out your behest. Your decree on the earth has been broken by King Kīrtimān.

10. I am afraid of him, O Lord of the universe. He is staying somewhere ruling the oceangirt earth with the help of holy rites of Vaiśākha.

11-13. People have abandoned all holy rites; they do not worship the ancestors; they have discarded holy service to the sacred fire; they do not perform such holy rites as pilgrimage to the Tīrthas; they have abandoned both the paths, i.e., that of Karma and that of knowledge; they have ceased to practice control of the vital breath; they refrain from performing Homas and study of Vedas and they commit many sins. Still, they go to the world of Viṣṇu by performing the holy rites of Vaiśākha. Those men go there along with their fathers and grandfathers.

14-19. Not only that. All the dead forefathers, parents of the forefathers, their maternal grandfathers and their fathers and others go (to Viṣṇuloka).

They take along with them many others too including the ancestors of their mothers. There is a further headache, a further misery, O Lord.

The fathers of their beloved ones too go (to Viṣṇu’s world) after wiping off my record (of their Karma). A son born of the seed of the forefathers held in her womb by a maid servant, O lord (also goes to Viṣṇu’s world).

One does an act and the same one enjoys its fruit. But this rule is broken. One who knows everything, a person who has become omniscient in a family, redeems more than twenty-six generations of both the sides (that of the father and that of the mother). This is more than enough, O Lord. O dear one, all those born of their beloved ones, go to the highest region of Viṣṇu. I have nothing to do with this type of job and service.

20. One who is engaged in the holy rites of Vaiśākha leaves me behind and goes to Hāri. He becomes highly refulgent after ridding himself of all sins. He uplifts and redeems twenty-one generations of his family.

21. He leaves off my path and goes to Hari’s abode. O Lord, no man obtains that goal by means of performing Yajñas.

22. One who is equipped with (the merits of) all the Tīrthas, charitable gifts etc., austerities, holy Vratas and entire range of pious and devout activities does not obtain that goal.

23. By dying in Prayāga, or in the middle of fighting in a battlefield or by falling off the precipice (Bhṛgupatana) or at Kāśī, people do not attain that goal which is attained by one strictly adhering to the holy rites of Vaiśākha.

24. By taking the early morning bath, by worshipping the Lord, by listening to the narrative called “The Greatness of the Month”, and by performing the requisite holy rites pertaining to Viṣṇu, one shall become the sole lord of the world of Viṣṇu.

25. I consider the world of Viṣṇu, the Lord of the universe, limitless, O Lotus-seated One, because it is not yet filled up completely though flooded with crores and crores of people.

26-27. (Defective Text partially) By the entire abode of Mādhava the Grandfather (is ignored). Those who perform forbidden rites, those who perform only what is laid down (in the Vedas), the pure ones, the impure ones—all these perform the duties pertaining to Vaiśākha and they go to the world (of Viṣṇu) at the behest of the king who is our great enemy and more so of yours in particular.

28-3la. This king is to be curbed by you, O Lord of the worlds. Abandoning all other holy rites but by taking the Vaiśākha holy bath only once cultured people go to the abode of Hari, to Vaikuṇṭha. If this king whose sole resort is the feet of Viṣṇu is neglected by us, he will take the entire world (to Vaikuṇṭha), There is no doubt about it. This staff and record of Karinas is placed at your feet. The matchless guardianship of the worlds has been acquired by that king.

31b-35a. Of what avail is a child that is born causing pain to the mother, if it does not cause the downfall of the enemy (terribly hot) like the Sun in the month of Jyeṣṭha? If a young woman gives birth to a worthless child, or has a wicked son, her fame does not spread like the lightning of the cloud.

If a child does not redeem the forefathers from sin through his learning or strength, he, delivered on the earth, is only a disease affecting the belly of his mother.

If a son behaves perversely in regard to the pursuit of virtue, wealth and love, that son is called a slayer of his mother by good men. He is the meanest of all men.

35b-38. The mother of this king and the wife of this king have become well-known in the world through their holy rites. There is only one woman in the world who has given birth to a real hero. There is no doubt about it (his being the hero) as this (king) Kīrtimān is born for wiping off my records.

O Lord, this has never (before) been attempted by any Kṣatriya. Wiping off of the records is never heard of in the Purāṇas, O Lord of the worlds.

Excepting that king who is devoted to Hari, I do not know anyone else, O Lord of the chiefs of the worlds, who encourages others through proclamations by beating Paṭaha drums and obstructs the path to my place.

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