The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Glory of Various Tirthas which is chapter 9 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 ninth chapter of the Ayodhya-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 9 - The Glory of Various Tīrthas

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This chapter gives succinctly the importance of remaining Tīrthas such as Gayā Kūpa (vv 1-11), Piśācamocana (vv 12-14), Mānasa (vv 15-18), the river Tamasā (and traditional yet fine description of its natural beauty) and the hermitage of Māṇḍavya (vv 19-38), Sītā Kuṇḍa, Bhairava, Bharata (and his residence at Nandigrāma) (vv 46-54), Jaṭā Kuṇḍa where Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa got their matted hair removed (vv 55-58). The annual festival thereof is celebrated on the 14th day in the dark half of Caitra.

Agastya said:

1. To the south-east of Jaṭākuṇḍa is situated the great Tīrtha well-known as Gayākūpa. It bestows everything desired.

2. By taking the holy bath there, by giving charitable gifts according to his capacity and by performing Śrāddha-rite, an excellent Brāhmaṇa obtains everything he desires.

3. The manes (fathers and grandfathers), who may be in hells, go to the world of Viṣṇu when that Śrāddha is performed.

4-5. One shall become free from indebtedness to the Pitṛs, O Brāhmaṇa, when that Śrāddha is performed. The offering of rice-balls should be in accordance with one’s capacity. It has been directed by the Sages that a Śrāddha should be performed with barley grains, milk pudding, oil cake or jaggery in that Tīrtha. It is said that it causes satisfaction to the Pitṛs.

6. Śrāddha should be performed there by men endowed with faith. Their Pitṛs will be delighted. All the deities (too) will be delighted.

7-10. When the Pitṛs are satisfied, the devotee becomes prosperous and blessed with sons. The Pitṛs propitiated by means of Śrāddha grant many sons, prosperity and glory and abundant worldly pleasures to those who perform Śrāddha. There is no doubt about this.

Hence Śrāddha should be performed here ardently and in accordance with the injunctions by persons endowed with faith, who wish to gain cherished benefits. Particularly the Śrāddha offered to the Pitṛs at Gayākūpa becomes infinite in benefit.

When the new-moon day coincides with Monday, the Śrāddha should be performed to the Pitṛs. The Śrāddha offered thus has infinite benefit.

11. Even on other Mondays Śrāddha can be performed in accordance with the injunctions. It gives satisfaction to the Pitṛs. What is offered will yield infinite benefit.

12. To the east of this is the Tīrtha called Piśācamocana which is the most excellent among the excellent ones. It bestows benefits.

13-14. If one takes bath there and makes charitable gifts, one never becomes a Piśāca. Holy bath, charitable gift and Śrāddha should be particularly performed there with great effort by men endowed with faith.

The holy bath should be taken especially on the fourteenth day in the bright half of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa for getting rid of Piśācahood.

15. Very near it, to the eastern side, is the Tīrtha named Mānasa. It is the foremost among residences of meritorious persons. There the holy bath must be specially taken. One attains all desired benefits by taking the holy bath and by making charitable gifts.

16. Different kinds of sins, even if they were to be as huge as Meru, vanish due to the holy bath there.

17. Whatever sin, whether mental, verbal or physical, exists in one, shall become dissolved on account of the holy bath.

18. The (annual) festival of this Tīrtha should be particularly celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Prauṣṭhapada (Bhādrapada) by men of meritorious nature engaged in holy rites.

19. To the south of it is the river named Tamasā (mod. Tonse), the sole source of merit. It is destructive of great sins.

20-23. The holy bath and charitable rites performed here are always destructive of all sins.

There are many types of holy abodes of sages of purified souls on its banks that are beautiful and always yield fruits. There is the holy abode of Sage Māṇḍavya. It is destructive of sins. It is on its banks, O excellent sage. It is very fascinating everywhere. His penance-grove is very beautiful and very charming on account of the different kinds of trees. That forest from which the excellent river Tamasā originates is highly meritorious and holy. It is an excellent region.

24-28. By visiting it men will get all their sins destroyed. The penance-grove is rendered splendid, due to the various hedges and bushes in full bloom. It is very charming. A spreading network of creepers droops down. There are Priyaṅgu (Aglaia odorata) trees all round with plenty of flowers. There are Ketaka trees (Pandamus odoratissimus) in full bloom with many thorns. It is full of hedges of Tamāla trees (Indian cinnamon) of great fragrance, Karṇikāras (Pterospermum acerifolium), Bakulas (Mimusops elengi), Aśokas and excellent Punnāgas (Calophyllum inophyllum) all in full bloom. Bees hover round these flowers in great swarms. In some places the penance grove is resonant with (the sounds of) birds embellished with the pollen-dust of full-blown lotuses and moving about among the luscious fruits. In some places the sounds of aquatic birds, water fowls, beautiful gallinules in great inebriation and such other birds are heard. In some places the sounds of ruddy geese are heard; in some places flocks of Kadamba (a dark-grey-winged variety of geese) birds are seen; in some places, the sounds of Kāraṇḍava ducks are heard and in some places the sounds of overjoyed and excited swarms of bees fill the air.

29-32. It is frequented by the excited and overjoyed bees. It abounds in beautiful and fragrant flowers. In some places there are mango trees with plenty of blossoms and Tilaka (Symplocos racemosa) trees overgrown with creepers. It is frequented by delighted birds of different kinds and it is filled with the sounds of the flocks of Hārīta pigeons. Thus that penance grove has a charming look and it shines remarkably.

It appears blue with the dense growth of Nicula (Barringtonia acutangula) trees; it is beautiful with peacocks; it is pleasant on account of the chirping sounds of flocks of female birds inebriated and joyous. The overjoyed and excited bees settle down among the branches of the trees in full bloom. It is exceedingly splendid with the beauty of the fresh sprouts and tender shoots. It is rich in excellent fruits. Thus it possesses excessive splendour; it is charming and pleasant in every direction; it is the place where Sage Māṇḍavya performed his great penance. Due to the power of that sage this great Tīrtha is always pure and sacred.

33-36. To the east of it is the great holy hermitage of Sage Gautama. To further east is the hermitage of Sage Cyavana. This first hermitage, O excellent one among sages, is that of Sage Parāśara, your father, a storehouse of penance.

There are different kinds of Tīrthas and hermitages all round belonging to great ascetics on the banks of the river Tamasā. That river Tamasā, it should be known, is very auspicious and remarkably splendid all round with a number of sacrificial posts fixed therein. By taking the holy bath there, by making charitable gifts and by performing Śrāddha rites in particular, one shall achieve all desired objects. There is no doubt about it.

37. The holy bath taken there particularly on the fifteenth day in the bright half of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa is always conducive to the attainment of benefits by men.

38. Hence, O excellent sage, holy bath should be taken ardently by persons with minds devoid of impurities. It bestows all desired objects.

39. Henceforth, I shall recount another great and auspicious Tīrtha on Tamasā. It is well-known as Sītākuṇḍa. It is in the vicinity of Śrī Dugdheśvara.

40. The annual auspicious festival is celebrated on the fourth day in the bright half of the month of Bhādrapada. For the purpose of attaining all desired objects, Vighneśvara is to be worshipped. All obstacles will be destroyed merely by remembering him.

41. To the south of it is the deity named Bhairava, on seeing whom one is absolved of all sins. There is no doubt about it.

42-44. He is protected by Vāsudeva and kept there honourably for the sake of guarding the holy spot. His worship should be performed duly and with great effort. By showing great reverence to Bhairava, one will obtain all the benefits desired mentally.

The annual festival is to be celebrated on the eighth day in the dark half of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa there for the purpose of attaining all desired objects. Worship along with the offering of an animal should be performed by people. There is no doubt about this that they will attain all desired objects.

45. It is with the favour of Bhairava that the residence in a Tīrtha is free from obstacles. Hence his worship must be performed with great care.

46. To the north of this is the beautiful Bharatakuṇḍa. By taking holy bath here a man is liberated from all sins. There is no doubt about it.

47-53. The holy bath performed and charitable gift offered there shall have infinite benefit. Different kinds of cooked rice should be given. So also different kinds of clothes. The deities are to be worshipped with great care by means of ornaments, clothes etc. Formerly Bharata, the scion of the family of Raghu, the pure soul with fully conquered sense-organs, stayed in Nandigrāma[1] and meditated upon Rāmacandra. Seated there alone, he, dear to the earth, protected all the subjects.

The king named Bharata made a big Kuṇḍa. After installing Rāma’s image, that prince of subdued sense-organs performed (the worship). There is a great merit in that Kuṇḍa. It is associated with various meritorious activities. There are various flowers such as lilies, blue lotuses, white lotuses and red lotuses. It shines with various birds such as swans, Sārasa ducks, and ruddy geese. It is very pure with plenty of shade from the trees of the garden. The holy bath taken there is highly meritorious. It is devoid of impurities and is full of gaiety and bliss. If the devotee performs holy Śrāddha rites and bath with the Pitṛs in view, the Pitṛs become pleased with him. All the deities will be pleased with him.

54-58. Gold and cooked rice should be given in accordance with the injunctions to Brāhmaṇas. This must be performed with great faith by piously disposed men. To the west of it is the excellent Jaṭākuṇḍa where Rāma and others dropped and removed their matted hairs. Thus Jaṭākuṇḍa is well-known as the most excellent of all excellent Tīrthas. By taking the holy bath here and by making charitable gifts, one attains all desires. In the previous (? eastern) Kuṇḍas Bharata should be worshipped along with Śrī. In the Jaṭākuṇḍa Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa should be worshipped along with Sītā. The annual festival shall be on the fourteenth day in the dark half of Caitra.

Thus in accordance with the great injunctions one shall worship Rāma and Sītā (first), then in Bharatakuṇḍa one shall worship Lakṣmaṇa. The couple should take the holy plunge in the Amṛtakuṇḍa duly. Thereby the devotee dwells in the world of Viṣṇu as an embodiment of meritorious deeds.

Footnotes and references:


Mod. Nundgaon close to Bharata Kuṇḍa, 8 miles from Fyzabad (De 138).

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