by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Brihaspati, Rukmini and Other Kundas which is chapter 7 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 seventh chapter of the Ayodhya-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1. I shall describe anoṃer Tīrtha which is known as Kṣīrodaka. This Tīrtha is fascinating on account of its good qualities. It is situated to the north-west of Sītākuṇḍa. It is the abode of the mass of merits. It is destructive of all miseries.
3. With great pleasure, he concluded the sacrifice wherein monetary gifts were profusely and liberally distributed. At the close of the Yajña Kratubhuk (i.e. the Lord who accepts the offerings in sacrifice) appeared in an embodied form.
4. In his hand he held a gold vessel of great excellence filled with Havis. The excellent Vaiṣṇava refulgence had been mixed with that Havis. The king divided it into four parts and gave them to his wives.
5. The place where the milk which was very difficult to get was obtained, has become well-known as Kṣīrodaka. It is destructive of all sins. It became manifest with water (watery form). It is excellent and is a bestower of benefits.
6. By taking a holy bath there with great reverence, a wise man who has conquered his sense-organs, obtains all his desires and gets famous sons.
7-8. On the eleventh day in the bright half of the month of Āśvina, one should successfully perform the holy rite. He shall take his holy bath in accordance with the injunctions and offer charitable gifts to a Brāhmaṇa according to his capacity. By performing the worship of Viṣṇu duly as prescribed, he shall realize all his desires. He shall obtain sons too. Know that the man will duly obtain religious merits too.
9-10. There is a Tīrtha situated to the south-west of Kṣīrodaka Tīrtha. It is well-known as Bṛhaspati Kuṇḍa. It is decorated in an extraordinary manner (?) It subdues all sins. It is full of nectarine ripples of merits. It was here that the preceptor of Suras built his residence himself.
11. Accompanied by many groups of sages, the liberal-minded Bṛhaspati duly performed a Yajña there. That Kuṇḍa is beautiful and it bestows many benefits. The Kuṇḍa which has plenty of shade from the splendid leaves (of many trees) is inaccessible to sinners.
13. By taking the holy bath here and by making charitable gifts a man is liberated from sins.
14. The annual festival is to be celebrated on the fifth day in the bright half of the month of Bhādrapada. It is beneficial on other occasions too. A holy bath on Thursday yields much benefit.
15. He who performs the worship of Bṛhaspati as well as Viṣṇu at that place, becomes liberated from all sins. He rejoices in the world of Viṣṇu.
17-19. That person should perform Homa and then, standing in water, should give an idol of Bṛhaspati made of gold, to an extremely pure Brāhmaṇa conversant with the Vedas. The idol shall be given along with a yellow garment, after the holy bath, for the purpose of alleviating the affliction. The Homa should be performed in accordance with the injunctions for the Japa of the Planets. If this is performed thus the affliction caused by the Planet disppears. There is no doubt about it.
21. Viṣṇu himself stays there in the water. Out of love for his wife, he granted a boon and made it well-arranged and effective.
23. The annual festival is to be celebrated carefully with special effort on the ninth day in the dark half of the month of Kārttika, for the purpose of dispelling all sins.
24. By celebrating the annual festival even an impotent man begets a son. There is no doubt about it. The holy bath should be respectfully undertaken by a man or a woman.
25. After enjoying all kinds of worldly pleasures, they rejoice in the world of Viṣṇu. Particularly, if one desires fortune and glory, one should undertake the holy bath.
26. By taking the holy bath a man obtains all desires. For the propitiation of Rukmiṇī and Śrīpati charitable gifts must be given according to one’s capacity.
27-30. Brāhmaṇas should be particularly worshipped in accordance with the injunctions. The Lord of Lakṣmī should be meditated upon in this manner: He holds the conch, discus and iron club. He wears a yellow garment and garlands. He is eulogized by Nārada and others. He is seated on Garuḍa. He wears a crown (on his head). He is adorned by Mahendra and others. Kaustubha jewel can be seen on his chest. He is dark in complexion like a linseed flower. His eyes free from impurities resemble a lotus. For the purpose of acquiring all desires and benefits he is to be meditated upon thus.
If everything is performed thus, one shall realize all one’s desires. There is no doubt about it. After enjoying pleasures in this world, he rejoices in the world of Hari.
31-32. Henceforth, I shall recount another Tīrtha that dispels sins. It causes the annihilation of all the sins and defects of Kali. It inspires faith. It is exceedingly sacred. It is matchless and bestows all desired objects. It is well-known as Dhanayakṣa. It instils great confidence.
33-38. The Tīrtha is situated to the north-west of Rukmiṇī Kuṇḍa. It is very auspicious. There was abundant wealth of the saintly king Hariścandra. A formidable Yakṣa had been posted there for guarding the vast wealth.
Formerly Viśvāmitra, the sage, had defeated king Hariścandra, the performer of a great Rājasūya sacrifice. The sage confiscated the entire kingdom including the army consisting of four divisions (i.e. Elephants, Chariots, Cavalry and Infantry). The sage entrusted the entire wealth to the care of the Yakṣa. He was named Pramanthura. He was a jolly good fellow. As he guarded the wealth with very great care and effort, the intelligent sage became satisfied. The sage who had conquered his sense-organs spoke these sweet words with great pleasure:
39-40. Choose your boon, O (Yakṣa) conversant with Dharma, without any greed. Do it quickly. O intelligent one, I am particularly delighted with your great devotion.
O excellent Brāhmaṇa, if you wish to grant me a boon as desired by me, then O great sage, O Brāhmaṇa-sage, be pleased to render my body sweet-smelling. It has become obnoxious in odour due to the curse of the king.
41-43. When the Yakṣa spoke thus, the sage closed his eyes in meditation. He discerned him to be one deserving this on account of his great devotion. He bathed him with the Tīrtha water duly after respectfully performing the rite of Saṅkalpa. Within a moment he became one whose body was rendered very fragrant. Having become transformed like that, the intelligent Yakṣa stood in front of him bowing down his head with humility. He spoke these sweet words with palms joined in reverence:
44-46. Thanks to your mercifulness. I have become possessor of a fragrant body, O clever sage. Do something so that this holy spot may be well-known, O omniscient one. O Brāhmaṇa-sage, do exert yourself so that with your favour it shall become famous.
On being told thus, the sage thought for a short while with closed and motionless eyes. Being delighted with the Yakṣa, he spoke to him in a gentle tone:
47. O Yakṣa, this holy spot will attain matchless renown. This Tīrtha will become well-known as Dhanayakṣa.
48. It will bestow bodily beauty. It will instil faith and confidence. By taking the holy bath in accordance with the injunction (here), one will get rid of foul smell. Holy bath here should be carefully taken by those who are desirous of merit.
49-50. Charitable gift should be given as per one’s faith as well as financial capacity. Worship of Lakṣmī should be particularly performed. By means of holy bath and charitable gift (one should strive) for the propitiation of Lakṣmī in particular. O Yakṣa of good holy rites, by the worship of the nine Nidhis (Treasures) too (this shall be achieved). He will enjoy happiness in this world and rejoice in the other world.
O sinless one, these Nidhis will also be present in this Kuṇḍa. A special worship of these yields much benefit. The worship of Goddess Lakṣmī and of the Nidhis should be performed in the middle of water. Many kinds of cooked rice and different kinds of clothes should be given. Gold etc. should be given according to one’s capacity, but one should not be too miserly in spending money for this purpose. The charitable gift should be distributed scrupulously and secretly. Fruits and gold pieces should be given in particular. The holy bath taken on the fourteenth day in the dark half (of the month) yields much benefit. It should be performed with more intense faith by persons endowed with great faith.
58-60. The annual festival is to be celebrated on the fourteenth day in the dark half of the month of Māgha. Holy bath should be taken and libations to the Manes must be particularly offered. The devotee should say like this: “May the universe including Brahmā at the top and a blade of grass at the bottom be pleased”. Saying thus he should offer three handfuls of water as libations duly with the sacred thread over the right shoulder. One who does like this, O Yakṣa, never becomes deluded. One who takes bath here goes to heaven. One who takes bath here shall be happy.
61. O Yakṣa, at the outset your worship must be performed by a person who takes his bath. By your worship in accordance with the injunction the sins of men will perish.
63. The worship of Nidhis and Lakṣmī and particularly your worship, O Yakṣa (shall be performed so). The clever one who does like this shall attain all the desired objects.
64-65.One who seeks wealth shall obtain wealth; one who seeks sons shall beget a son; one who seeks salvation shall attain salvation. What is that which is not obtained here?
O Yakṣa, if anyone, out of delusion, does not take the holy bath here, you will take away his full one year’s merit.
66-68. After granting him boons like this, Viśvāmitra, the great sage, a storehouse of penance, vanished then.
Ever since then, that holy spot attained great fame. The entire ground of that holy spot is made of gold. It is studded with plenty of divine jewels. It is rendered splendid all round. O learned one, he who does like this attains the greatest goal.
70. Vasiṣṭha, the excellent storehouse of penance, resides there always. Arundhatī, of pure holy rites, is always near him.
71. If any intelligent man of great purity takes holy bath there especially along with offering Śrāddha, his merit is very excellent.
72. Vāmadeva too is present there, O sinless one. Vasiṣṭha and Vāmaḍeva are to be worshipped with great care.
73. Arundhatī, the chaste lady, is to be specially worshipped. Holy bath must be taken duly and charitable gift must be made according to one’s capacity.
74. There is no doubt about this that he will obtain all the desired benefits. He who takes holy bath here, shall become equal to Vasiṣṭha.
75. The annual festival is to be celebrated on the fifth day in the bright half of the month of Bhādrapada by a person with self-control as his Vrata. The festival should be celebrated in accordance with the procedure.
76. The worship of Viṣṇu should be performed here scrupulously and faithfully. He (i.e. the worshipper) shall be rid of all sins and be sanctified and honoured in the world of Viṣṇu.
77. Stationed to the west of Vasiṣṭhakuṇḍa, O eminent Brāhmaṇa, is the well-reputed Sāgara Kuṇḍa, the bestower of all desires, good things and accomplishments. By taking the holy bath here and by making charitable gifts one shall obtain all desires.
78. One who takes holy bath here on Parvan days, shall attain that imperishable merit which one attains through the holy bath in the sea on a full-moon day.
79. Hence holy bath must be taken here in accordance with the injunctions by those who desire a son. The special holy bath should be taken on the full-moon day in the month of Āśvina.
80. A man who does like this, O learned one, is liberated from all sins. By taking the holy bath here and by making charitable gifts according to one’s capacity, a man shall go to heaven.
82. They are the bestowers of all objects on men and on women in particular. All of them accord the greatest Siddhis; they bestow all desires and benefits.
83. Holy bath should be carefully and particularly taken by men for propitiation of the Yoginīs on the eighth day in the bright half of the month of Āśvina.
84. Holy baṃ and charitable gifts—all shall be fruitful here. Yakṣiṇīs and others can be won over here. There is no doubt about it.
86-87. Formerly, it is said, a clever sage named Raibhya, an ascetic, performed a great penance on the slopes of Himavān, abstaining from food and curbing his sense-organs. On seeing the elaborate penance the Lord of Suras became frightened. Zealously he despatched Urvaśī for causing obstacles in his penance.
88. On being sent by him, that lady with stately, elephent-like gait stayed near the excellent hermitage of Raibhya on the slopes of Himavān.
89-90. She (sported about) among the bowers of creepers and bushes of full-blown flowers in the forest, where birds chirped sweetly, where deer stood motionless on hearing the songs playfully sung by Kinnarīs and which had golden colour on account of the filaments and blossoms shaken and separated from Punnāga (Calophyllum inophyllum), Keśara (Rottleria tinctoria) and Aśoka. It appeared as though a second Meru mountain had been created by Brahmā. There Urvaśī shone like a receptacle of all the splendour that the Lord of Love with the flowery bow possessed.
91. She was (as it were) a nectarine river of very extra-ordinary beauty.
92. She appeared to be shining with the lustre of white pearls on account of the excellent complexion and refulgence of her limbs. She was embellished with youthful sweetness and youth.
93-98. As she turned her gaze backwards, her side-glances shed forth white lustre. With this she made her lips resemble fresh sprouts. A bunch of mango blossoms wherein bees were humming was hanging from each of her ears. She was (on the whole) like a Pārijāta creeper growing out of divine nectar. Her waist was slender. She had broad hips and fully developed breasts. Her complexion was fair. She was as though a spear (in the hands) of the god of Love who had sharpened his arrows on a whetstone.
The sage saw that lady of large eyes within that hermitage. It appeared that in order to deceive the Three-eyed Lord the god of Love who had been burned in the fire of the eye (of Śiva) had created the physical form of a maiden. On seeing that large-eyed lady who had tucked a creeper of the hermitage into her girdle and the flowers thereof into her ear-rings, the sense-organs of the sage became stirred and excited. He became extremely furious. Blazing with anger he cursed her.
99. Become exceedingly ugly, O woman, too proud of your beauty. It is for the purpose of causing obstacles in my penance that you have come near me.
100. On being cursed thus angrily by that sage that woman of splendid eyes joined her palms in reverence and spoke to the sage respectfully:
101. O holy lord, be pleased with me because I had been only a tool in the hands of others, fully dependent upon them. O sage of steady vows, how can I get redemption from your curse?
102-103. In Ayodhyā there is an extremely great and holy Tīrtha. Do take your holy bath therein and regain your great beauty. Certainly that Tīrtha will acquire fame after your name.
104-107. At the instance of that Brāhmaṇa, she performed everyṃing with great faith. She became a beautiful woman once again immediately. That holy spot became very famous.
If any person duly takes holy bath here, O excellent sage, he/ she will acquire great charm and beauty. There is no doubt about it.
The annual festival shall be on the third day in the bright half of the month of Bhādrapada.Viṣṇu should be worshipped by the people here for the attainment of all desired objects.
A learned man who does like this shall always live in the world of Viṣṇu. The man or the woman shall attain all desires.
108-110. To the south of Urvaśīkuṇḍa, O tiger among sages, is Ghoṣārka Kuṇḍa, a great Tīrtha that destroys ail the sins forever. By taking the holy bath here and making charitable gifts one is honoured in the world of Sun. There is no other Tīrtha anywhere on a par with this Tīrtha.
A man with festering sores and wounds, an impoverished person, a leper or one overwhelmed with misery shall attain all desires, if he takes the holy bath duly.
111-113a. The holy bath should with faith be performed particularly on Sundays. If desirous of going to the world of Sun-god, a holy bath should be performed on the sixth day in the bright half of the month of Bhādrapada or Māgha. The bath should be taken duly and carefully. The holy bath in the month of Pauṣa, particularly on Sundays, is highly beneficial. The holy bath on the seventh day coinciding with a Sunday, is excessively beneficial.
113b-115. Formerly there was a king in the solar race named Ghoṣa. He was the sole emperor of the entire earth girdled by the ocean. Due to his fame the spheres of the three worlds shone brilliantly. Remarkably refulgent due to his valour he appeared like another Sun. He had vanquished hordes of enemies by means of his powerful brawny arms.
116-121. Once that ruler entrusted the ministers with the administration of the earth. Interested in hunting, he wandered in the forest where many trees had grown thickly together. Though that king was handsome, yet his lotus-like hands became infested with worms due to the sins of the previous births indicating inauspiciousness. He was devoid of all pride. He happened to be hunting alone. Once while he wandered about here and there in the forest killing deer, boars and lions, he became oppressed with thirst. His body became utterly tired and emaciated. In front of him, the king saw a lake and sages engaged in taking holy bath and saying the Sandhyā prayers etc. Thereupon, the king duly performed the Ācamana rite and took the holy bath. Presently he assumed a divine body. His mind was filled with delight and free from impurities. He knew from the sages that it was a Tīrtha. He then recited the prayer pleasing to Sun.
The king said:
123. Obeisance to the lord, to the abode of refulgence. Obeisance to you, identical with the three (Vedas). Obeisance to you; to Vivasvān; to the lord conversant with Yoga; to the lord in the form of Sat (existence).
124. Obeisance to the gratest [greatest?] one; to the great lord; to the dispeller of darkness of the three worlds; to the unthinkable lord; obeisance to you always having brilliant refulgence.
125. Obeisance to one fond of Yoga; obeisance to Yoga; obeisance to the one conversant with Yoga always; obeisance to Oṃkāra; to the one in the form of Vaṣaṭkāra; to the one, embodiment of perfect knowledge.
126. Obeisance to Yajña; to the lord with Yajña as the measuring unit; obeisance to Havis; obeisance to the Ṛtvik; obeisance to the destroyer of sickness; obeisance to the one of good form; to the one who accords delight to lotuses.
127. Hail to the excessively gentle; to the one extremely fierce! Obeisance to the lord of Suras; salute to you partaking of the Satras (sacrifices); to the protector of devotees; to the one fond of the Ātman.
128. Obeisance to the perpetual brightener of the worlds; to the one who causes welfare to the worlds. Be pleased with me. I have bowed down to you now. I am devoted to you.
129. Even as he said thus Sun-god became himself pleased with the king. With a desire to do something pleasing to his devotee (Sun-god) promptly appeared before him. As the king bowed down his head with humility, he spoke these sweet words:
130. O great king, choose a boon. I am pleased with you. Here I am in front of you. I shall grant you the boon that is mentally desired by you.
The king said:
131. O lord, O infinite one, O Sun-god, if you wish to grant me a boon, may an image of yours named after me stand here permanently.
132-135. Let it be so, O lord of men. Your desire is a fascinating one. I will be pleased with those men who read this prayer composed and recited by you. O king, I shall give them all that they desire. This holy spot will become extremely renowned in the world after your name. One who takes the holy bath here, obtains all desires. The holy bath here shall always be undertaken by a devotee of mine. Whatever he desires he shall obtain it.
136. After granting this boon, the lord who was endowed with great compassion, Sun-god with a thousand rays, vanished.
137. The king installed an idol of Sun-god, that issued forth from the disc of the Sun. He himself worshipped that excellent idol.
138. That Kuṇḍa became well-known as Ghoṣārkakuṇḍa after the name of the king. By taking holy bath there a man shall shine and reside in the world of Sun always.
139. Thus, in accordance with the good injunctions the devotee should worship the idol of Sun with great devotion, free from impurities and with great respect. At the outset he shall take his holy bath in the nectarine Kuṇḍa. (Thereby) he shall attain wide reputation free from impurities. He shall reside in the world of Sun.
Footnotes and references:
VV 9-19 describe the efficacy of Bṛhaspati Kuṇḍa. It lies to the south-west of the above-mentioned Kuṇḍa. Its annual festival is celebrated on the 5th day in the bright half of Bhādrapada.
VV 20-30 describe Rukmiṇī Kuṇḍa lying to the south of Bṛhaspati Kuṇḍa. Its special day is the 9th day in the dark half of Kārttika (v 23).
VV 31-68 describe the Tīrtha called Dhana-Yakṣa. Its special day is the 14th day in the dark half of Māgha.
VV 69-76 describe Vasiṣṭha Kuṇḍa which lies to the north of the above Kuṇḍa. Its annual festival is celebrated on the 5th day in the bright half of Bhādrapada.
To the west of Vasiṣṭha Kuṇḍa is Sāgara Kuṇḍa (vv 77-80) and to the southwest of it lies Yoginī Kuṇḍa (vv 81-84).
VV 85-107 give an interesting story about how the celestial damsel Urvaśī approached Sage Raibhya (different from Sage Raìbhya of Mbb) to disturb his penance and was cursed to be ugly. Her beauty was restored at what is known as Urvaśī Kuṇḍa. Her annual festival is celebrated on the 3rd day of the bright half of Bhādrapada.
VV 108-139 describe how (the mythical) King Ghoṣa was cured of his festering wound by his bath in this Tīrtha and he installed Sun-god here, bearing the joint name of himself and Sun-god (Ghoṣārka).