by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Greatness of Dharmahari which is chapter 4 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 fourth chapter of the Ayodhya-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Note: This deity [viz., Dharmahari] is to the south-east of Candra-Hari. It got its name from its founder (installer) Brāhmaṇa Dharma who propitiated Viṣṇu and was allowed to prefix his name to Viṣṇu’s idol. Its annual festival is celebrated on the eleventh day of the bright half of Āṣāḍha.
1. From the holy spot of Candrahari in the south-eastern direction, there is the deity by name Dharmahari who is the destroyer of the sins of Kali Age.
3. After arriving he conducted an extensive pilgrimage with great respect here. He was surprised on noticing the matchless glory of Ayodhyā.
4. Lifting up his arms, the Brāhmaṇa proclaimed joyously: “Oh! How very beautiful is this Tīrtha! Oh! How excellent is its glory!
5. No other city like Ayodhyā is seen. Being always stationed on the Discus of Viṣṇu, it never touches the earth.
6. As Hari Himself is stationed in it, with which (city) can it be compared? Oh! All the Tīrthas (here) are the bestowers of the world of Viṣṇu.
7. Oh, Viṣṇu! Oh, Tīrtha! Oh, great city of Ayodhyā! Oh, matchless glory! Which one stationed here is not worthy of praise? Everything hereof is extremely praiseworthy.”
8-9. After saying this, Dharma was overwhelmed with rapturous delight and danced there in various ways after observing particularly the glory of Ayodhyā.
On seeing Dharma dancing thus the yellow-robed Lord Hari who became kind and compassionate, manifested himself before him. Dharma bowed down to Hari and eulogized him with great respect.
12. Obeisance to the Lord with lotus-like feet; to the lotus-navelled one; obeisance to the Śārṅga-bearing one whose body is touched by the waves of the Ocean of Milk.
14. Obeisance, obeisance to Śrīdhara who has excellent tresses, nose and forehead; to the discus-bearing Lord who has good robes and good complexion.
15. Obeisance to you with good mighty arms. Bow to you having fascinating shanks. (Hail) to the Lord having good residence and learning; (obeisance) to the exceedingly divine macebearing Lord.
17. On being eulogized thus by Dharma, the liberal-minded Hṛṣīkeśa, the delighted Lord of Śrī, the Lord of the universe joyously spoke to Dharma, these words:
Śrī Bhagavān said:
18-19. O Dharma of good holy rites, I am delighted by this prayer of yours. O (Brāhmaṇa) conversant with Dharma, choose a boon, whatever appeals to your mind. The man who with alertness eulogizes me by means of this prayer attains all cherished desires. He is worshipped and is always endowed with glory and prosperity.
20. O Lord, if you are pleased, O Lord of Devas, O Lord of the universe, I shall install you (here) with my name (prefixed), O Sire of the universe.
21. After saying “Let it be so”, the Lord became Dharmahari. Merely by remembering Lord Dharmahari a man becomes liberated.
22. The devotee should take his bath in the waters of Sarayū with his mind full of pious thoughts and witness Lord Dharmahari. He shall then be liberated from all sins.
24. In case any evil has been committed knowingly or unknowingly, expiatory rites should be performed scrupulously for dispelling it.
25. By the due performance of the expiatory rite his sin perishes. Hence expiatory rites must be performed here in accordance with the injunctions.
26. If there is any break or omission of the daily routine of religious rites knowingly or unknowingly, or on account of being restrained by the king or others, in case a man is under duress, the expiatory rites should be performed by him with great care.
27. Here Lord Viṣṇu himself resides with great love. Hence the greatness (of this) cannot be described by human beings.
28. On the eleventh day in the bright half of Āṣāḍha, his annual festival is to be celebrated in accordance with the injunctions, O excellent Brāhmaṇa.
29. By taking the holy bath in Svargadvāra and by visiting Lord Dharmahari, the devotee shall be rid of all his sins and shall always dwell in the world of Viṣṇu.
31. O illustrious one, O knower of truth, tell me how the shower of gold took place? Why was Kubera frightened of King Raghu?
32. Narrate all this in detail, O (sage) of good holy rites. By listening to the (holy) tales and (divine) secrets my mind is not satiated.
33. Listen, O Brāhmaṇa, I shall tell you about the excellent origin of the gold. Hearing about it (i.e. the showering) causes great surprise to people.
34. Formerly there was a king (named) Raghu who caused the race of Ikṣvāku to flourish. He administered the entire world with excellent vigour and prowess of his own arms.
35-40. By means of his exalted prowess he had harassed his enemies who then (sang songs of) praise of his good reputation. As he protected his subjects very well and justly, his spotlessly pure glory spread in all the ten quarters.
By means of his conquest he accumulated a great lot of riches. He invaded different countries with fully equipped four divisions of his army. He won over all living beings and levied taxes and tributes through the threat of punishment.
The heroic king subjugated great kings with power and influence. Then he seized from them different kinds of precious stones. Powerful that he was, he conquered all the quarters and gathered together heaps of gems. Then the king returned to his splendid capital Ayodhyā.
41-42. Realizing (his duty), the king, through his well disciplined and excellent Brāhmaṇa (adviser) brought Vasiṣṭha, Vāmadeva, Kaśyapa and other excellent sages who had been living in different holy places.
43. Having learnt that they had arrived and on seeing them all staying like (so many) blazing fires, Raghu, the highly glorious conqueror of the capital towns of enemies, came out (of his palace) duly, as required by the rules of propriety.
44. The humble descendant of Kakutstha uttered the following pious words about his eagerness to perform a Yajña to those excellent Brāhmaṇas.
45-46. O all ye sages, listen to my words. I wish to perform a Yajña. It behoves you all to accord me permission for the same. O excellent sages, which Yajña will be befitting me now? Ye leading sages, ponder over this and tell me exactly.
The sages said:
48-51. Thereupon, the king performed the Yajña called Viśvadigjaya. It was very fascinating because of the various requisites that had been gathered together. His entire possessions were offered by him as monetary gifts.
The sages were rendered highly delighted and contented with different kinds of charitable gifts. With great reverence and respect, he gave everything he possessed to the brāhmaṇas.
When all of them had returned to their abodes after being duly adored, when the kinsmen had been rendered contented and when the sages were duly bowed to, that king of auspicious conduct instantaneously became resplendent like Devendra in heaven on account of the due performance of that sacrifice.
53-54. He came there to sanctify that king (by making him donate money) for the sake of the fee to be given to the preceptor.
The intelligent sage Kautsa came there to respectfully beg (the king) for the (payment of) fee to the preceptor who had angrily told him (Kautsa) thus when he (the preceptor) was repeatedly requested (to specify the fee to be given to him). (Viśvāmitra had said:) “Bring me immediately fourteen crores of gold pieces. That is my fee.” Kautsa came there to request Raghu, the ornament of kings, who had (unfortunately) already given his entire wealth as monetary gifts.
55-58. On seeing that he had come, Raghu, the scorcher of enemies, got up promptly and duly worshipped him. During his reception service, he used only earthen pots for the sake of the holy rites.
On seeing the collection of the requisites of such a nature for the worship, the eminent sage was dismayed. Without any joy he abandoned the hopes of getting the amount of fee and yet he spoke sweetly because he was an expert in making appropriate statements.
O king, may you be prosperous. I am now going elsewhere for fetching the fee to be given to the preceptor. I do not intend to request you as you have donated everything of yours as religious gift (and yourself) lack in funds. I am, therefore, going elsewhere.
59. On being told thus by the sage, Raghu, the conqueror of enemies’ cities, meditated for a short while. With his palms joined together in reverence and humility, he spoke to him thus:
60. O holy lord, kindly do stay in my palace for a day. I shall seriously endeavour for the sake of getting some money for you. Agastya said:
61. After saying these words of great liberal-mindedness, Raghu of exalted intellect, started with a desire for conquering Kubera.
62. As he was approaching, Kubera made him delighted in mind by conveying his oral message (regarding shower of gold) and offered him an endless downpour of gold.
63-65. The place where the shower of gold occurred is the excellent Svarṇakhani. He pointed out to the sage the mine thus offered by him (Kubera). Raghu dedicated that excellent mine to him. The eminent sage of superior good qualities accepted it, but took only what should be given to the preceptor. Everything else he respectfully returned to the king. The delighted Kautsa, the most excellent one among intelligent persons, granted him boons too.
66-68. O king, may you get a very good son possessing all the good qualities of your own family. This Svarṇakhani shall immediately bestow the desired benefits on you.
There will be a great Tīrtha here. It shall always dispel all sins. By taking holy bath here and making charitable gifts men shall obtain fortune and glory.
It is to be remembered that the annual festival should be celebrated on the twelfth day in the bright half of the month of Vaiśākha. At my instance, men will obtain all the different things desired by them.
69-71. After granting boons thus to the king, Kautsa who was delighted in his mind, set off for his own task towards the hermitage of his preceptor eagerly.
The contented king took the remaining amount. He gave gifts unto Brāhmaṇas duly and protected the subjects.
Thus the Svarṇakhani became celebrated on account of the eminent sage (Kautsa).
Footnotes and references:
The place where Kubera showered gold for Raghu is called ‘Svarṇa-khani’. That is to the south of Dharma-Hari. The story of sage Kautsa and his donor King Raghu is given in vv. 31-71. This generosity of King Raghu is beautifully described by Kālidāsa in Raghuvaṃśa.