The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Uparicara Vasu Attains Liberation 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 Vasudeva-mahatmya of the Vaishnava-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 7 - Uparicara Vasu Attains Liberation

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Skanda said:

1. Then the king who was in the bowels of the earth, censured his own act (of giving a false judgement). He deeply repented and paid respect to those great sages. In his mind he muttered the three-syllabled Mantra of the Lord.

2. There, even in the chasm of the earth, the king respectfully and with great devotion, mentally worshipped Hari, the Lord of Devas, five times a day.

3. Then, Lord Vāsudeva, the protector of the world, was pleased with him (Vasu) who, even in adverse circumstances, worshipped him at the proper time and in accordance with the Śāstric injunctions.

4. Lord Viṣṇu, the conferer of boons, spoke of his own accord to Garuḍa, the best of birds, and of great velocity, who was standing near him.

The Lord said:

5-7. O highly fortunate, excellent bird, go by my order. King Vasu, the paramount sovereign of men, a pious soul who has resorted to me, has entered the nether worlds due to his fault of transgressing the Veda (Vedic injunction regarding sacrifices). Respectful prayer has been made by him. Therefore, approach him today, O Garuḍa. By my order make the king capable of moving through the sky—the king who is concealed in the chasm of the earth and is able only to move beneath (the earth). Don’t delay.

Skanda said:

8. Then Garuḍa, of the speed of wind, spread out his wings and entered the chasm of the earth, where Vasu of controlled speech was staying.

9. The son of Vinatā (Garuḍa) lifted him up with his beak and immediately flew up in the sky and left him there.

10. At that very moment, the king regained consciousness and again became one moving in higher regions. Along with his (physical) body he went to Svarga and got the supreme bliss.

11. O Brāhmaṇa-sage, in this way, on account of his disrespect for the truth (or saintly people), by his sinful transgressive speech, a state undeserving to performers of sacrifices was attained by that noble-souled knower of Dharma.

12. Only Lord Hari, the Supreme Man, was served by him (through devotion). Thereby, he got absolved of sins quickly, and obtained (stay in) Svarga.

13. There, he enjoyed different kinds of pleasures as desired by him. He lived there like another Indra, with his praises sung by Suras.

14. On one occasion, Acchodā saw him moving in an aerial car, bright like the sun, accompanied by a divine damsel called Adrikā.[1]

15. She was the mental daughter of the noble-souled, formless manes called Agniśvātta, who dwell in the domain of Soma.

16. The lady of pure smiles did not know her own ancestors due to their formlessness. She thought (king) Vasu as being her father. He too regarded her as his own daughter.

17-18. Seeing their mutual feelings of such (filial) nature, the manes cursed them: “O daughter, you will be the veritable daughter of this king on the earth.

O Vasu, it is definite that you will be (born as) a human being on the earth and give birth to this (daughter of ours) as your daughter from this very divine lady as your wife.

19. Both of them who were thus cursed by the manes (Pitṛs), bowed down to them, and prayed to them for absolving them from the curse. Then those compassionate ones spoke:

20. “It was due to the inevitability of such events that this curse was incurred by you. But that will contribute to welfare of you both.

21. O Vasu, in the twenty-eighth Dvāpara Yuga, you will be the son of noble-souled King Kṛtayajña on the earth.

22. Even there (on the earth), you will be endowed with all your present qualities, capable of moving in the sky, a leader of the great devotees of the Lord.

23. Having devoutly worshipped Viṣṇu as per procedure of the Pāñcarātra, you, along with your progeny, will worship Devas and us (Pitṛs) with the remnants (of Viṣṇu worship).

24. Then you will attain Svarga with a divine body. Having enjoyed heavenly pleasures, you will get to the domain of Viṣṇu.

25. O Acchodā, you too will be born with a part of yours from Adrikā in the form of a (female) fish. You will be well-known on the earth as Kālī.

26. There, in your girlhood (in an unmarried state), you will have Hari as your son from Parāśara. Through his grace alone you will get enjoyment in life and liberation (after death).”

Skanda said:

27. The king who was both imprecated and blessed by the Pitṛs, having been born of Kṛtayajña on the earth, became famous on account of his virtues.

28. As before (in his previous life), that knower of the procedure of worship of Devas and Pitṛs was a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. The great Indra gave his friend (Vasu) abundant wealth.

29. Indra gave him even the Flag of Victory (Vijayadhvaja) which was formerly obtained by him from Vāsudeva in Śveta-dvīpa, for destroying his enemies.

30. The king who could move about in the sky enjoyed very rare earthly pleasures. In the end he attained the celestial world (endowed) with a heavenly body.

31. Asa fruit of the balance of his meritorious acts in his previous birth, he enjoyed various kinds of pleasures as desired by his mind. He (then) developed intense aversion to worldly pleasures.

32. In a solitary place, on a peak of Meru, being pure, and sitting firmly on his seat, he meditated in the lotus of his heart on the consort of Ramā, the god worshipped by him with sacrifices.

33. Abandoning that celestial body, the sage, by his Yogic concentration of the mind, reached the disc of the Sun with his subtle body—the disc which is called the gate to salvation to perfectly firm Yogins.

34. His subtle body was burnt down by solar heat and lustre. He became extremely pure and of (i.e. endowed with) a body consisting of existence and consciousness. That blessed one became one whose ail residual traces of actions were wiped out.

35. Then by deities faster than wind, who are in the disc (of the sun), he was taken to the wonderful abode of Viṣṇu, called Śveta-dvīpa.

36 37. O sage, though the island is on the earth, it is extraordinary. After having reached this residence of the devotees of Hari by exclusive devotion to the Lord, it serves as a gateway to Goloka, Brahmapura, Vaikuṇṭha to those noble-souled devotees desiring to get to them.

38. O sage, those released from Śveta-dvīpa whose characteristics have been described before, resort to that particular domain for which they cherish a desire.

39. He became endowed with a divine body in that domain when released from Śveta-dvīpa. After reaching the world called Goloka, he obtained supreme delight.

40. In ṃis way, those who propitiate Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Brahman, by the Ekāntika Dharma (undivided devotion solely to Viṣṇu) become the liberated ones from Śveta.

41. Thus I have explained, O sage, whatever was asked by you regarding the state of the devotees exclusively attached to the Lord (Ekāntabhakta) and the description of Śveta-dvīpa.

Footnotes and references:


Pre-birth has been a popular motif in ancient Indian stories to explain the events of the present times. The Jātaka Tales (Buddhist and Jaina) are examples of the use of this motif in non-Bhahmanical literature. Brahmanical Purāṇas abound in such tales. The present episode explains the birth of Vyāsa from Parāśara in unmarried state to Satyavatī and her marriage with Śantanu.

The curse of Agniśvātta parents to their daughter Acchodā is used as a motif to explain a “future inevitable event” viz. Vyāsa’s birth from Satyavatī in an unmarried state. In Mbh, Ādi 63.58 Adrikā became a fish by Brahma’s curse and not by that of Agniśvāttas, the parents of Acchodā.

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