The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes The Glory of Jatatirtha: Shuka Attains Purity of Mind which is chapter 20 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 twentieth chapter of the Setu-mahatmya of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 20 - The Glory of Jaṭātīrtha: Śuka Attains Purity of Mind

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: This Tīrtha is about two miles or so from Rāmeśvaram on the Rāmeśvaram-Dhanuṣkoṭi Road. It is opposite to Pāpahareśvara temple. The Tīrtha is about 300 sq. ft. in area.

Śrī Sūta said:

1. After taking the holy bath in the great Tīrtha of Lakṣmaṇa which is destructive of the sin of Brāhmaṇa’s slaughter, the pilgrim should go to Jaṭātīrtha for the sake of gaining purity of mind.

2. Excepting Jaṭātīrtha there is nothing that can remove the ignorance of those people whose minds are afflicted on account of the worldly existence which is full of births, deaths and old age.

3. There are certain persons in the world who desire salvation and so wish to gain purity of mind. They read Upaniṣads but do not meditate on them in silence.

4. Those who have fallen in the ocean of Vedānta where the Pūrvapakṣa (the prima facie view) is like a great crocodile, and Siddhānta (the final view) is a fish that makes it agitated, become deluded till perfect knowledge is attained. O Brāhmaṇas.

5. Those who seriously study the Upaniṣads for the sake of attaining purity of mind, begin to argue after studying (a little) and indulge in a quarrel.

6. Purity of mind cannot be attained through Vedānta which is the cause of great delusion and confusion. Hence, O eminent sages, we do not highly esteem Vedānta.

7. It you wish for purity of mind by an easy means, O ascetics, I loudly proclaim unto you all: “Do resort to Jaṭātīrtha.”

8. Formerly for helping everyone, this Tīrtha which is destructive of ignorance was created by Śaṃbhu himself on the Gandhamādana mountain.

9. The water in which the virtuous Rāma washed his matted hair after Rāvaṇa had been killed, O Brāhmaṇas, is called Jaṭātīrtha.

10-11. Taking holy plunge in the waters of Gaṅgā for sixty thousand years is on a par with taking the holy bath in Godāvarī once when the planet Jupiter is in the Zodiac Leo. The benefit of a thousand such baths when Jupiter is in Leo, and of (taking baths in) Gomatī in the course of years is obtained by a visit to Jaṭātīrtha.

12. If, O eminent Brāhmaṇas, men take a holy bath in Jaṭātīrtha, their minds shall become pure and their ignorance shall perish.

13. If ignorance is dispelled, one shall obtain perfect knowledge. Thereafter one will obtain salvation. Further, he shall be saturated with (the divine qualities of) existence, knowledge and bliss.

14. In this connection they cite the following ancient conversation between father Vyāsa and son Śuka.

15. formerly, O Brāhmaṇas, Śuka bowed down his head to and asked Vyāsa who is called Kṛṣṇa too. He was an excellent sage, who had purified his soul. He never swerved (from the path of piety) and was specially conversant with traditions and was an expert in all the Śāstras.

Śrī Śuka said:

16-20. O holy lord, O father, O omniscient one, tell me this excellent secret. What is it whereby I shall gain purity of the mind? What is that which destroys ignorance? What is that whereby knowledge is dawned (in the mind)? What is that whereby ultimately I shall get perpetual salvation too? Tell me that means out of affection for me.

Upaniṣads, Itihāsas, Purāṇas, etc. have been completely learned by me from you. But they have not purified my mind. Hence how shall I obtain purity of mind? O father, tell me how to gain purity of mind.

On being asked thus by Śuka, O excellent sages, Vyāsa mentioned to him the secret whereby Avidyā (Ignorance) is destroyed.

Vyāsa said:

21. O Śuka, I shall tell you the secret means of cutting the knot of Avidyā. It bestows purity of intellect on men and is destructive of the fear of birth, etc.

22. There is a Tīrtha well-known as Jaṭātīrtha on Rāmasetu on the highly meritorious Gandhamādana mountain. It destroys sins.

23. It was there that Rāma, Hari himself, cleaned his matted hair. Rāma, the glorious son of Daśaratha, granted a boon unto the Tīrtha.

24. “Those who come here and take their holy bath in the extremely sacred Jaṭātīrtha shall obtain purity of mind.” Thus he spoke.

25. By a mere holy bath in Jaṭātīrtha, men will obtain purity of intellect without Yajña, without perfect knowledge, without any Mantra to be recited, without observing fast.

26. By taking the holy bath here one will attain merit that is on a par with that of the gift of everything (or all kinds of Dānas). By means of this, one surmounts difficulties and attains meritorious worlds.

27. By taking the holy bath in Jaṭātīrtha of auspicious waters, one attains greatness. There is no other means of purification of the inner faculties (antaḥkaraṇa) than (bath in) Jaṭātīrtha.

28. No observance, no Japa, and no (propitiation of any other) deity will achieve that. It is conducive to wealth, fame and longevity, as is well-known in all the worlds.

29. It is the most sacred of all sacred things now, O Śuka. Jaṭātīrtha suppresses all sins. It is the most auspicious of all auspicious things.

30. Formerly, O Śuka, Bhṛgu, the son of Varaṇa, asked his father Varuṇa about a splendid and sacred means to attain purity of intellect. Varuṇa told him the means that is auspicious as well as yielding the purity of intellect.[1]

Varuṇa said:

31-34. If one takes the holy bath in Jaṭātīrtha on Rāmasetu on the meritorious Gandhamādana mountain, one shall certainly attain purity of intellect.

At the instance of his father, Bhṛgu, the son of Varuṇa, immediately went to Jaṭātīrtha, took his holy bath and obtained purity of intellect. On account of that purity, the persistence of ignorance stopped and Bhṛgu had perfect knowledge of non-duality from his father Varuṇa. O Śuka, he thus became one saturated with (the divine qualities of) uninterrupted existence, knowledge and bliss.

35. Durvāsas, a part of Śaṅkara, obtained purity of mind through holy ablution in Jaṭātīrtha. He too became saturated with the bliss of Brahman.

36. Dattātreya too, a part of Viṣṇu, took his holy bath in this Tīrtha. Thereby his mind became pure, O Śuka, and he became one with the form of (i.e. identical with) Brahman.

37. One who wishes for destruction of ignorance should certainly take the holy bath in the purest and the holiest Tīrtha named Jaṭātīrtha which is destructive of all sins.

38. Therefore, O Śuka, you too go to Jaṭātīrtha. O highly intelligent one, take your holy bath in that Tīrtha which bestows purity of mind and great merit.

39-41. On being told thus by his father Vyāsa, O Brāhmaṇas, the son Śuka went to Rāmasetu and the highly meritorious Gandhamādana mountain. He was desirous of taking his holy bath in Jaṭātīrtha which bestows purity. After taking the holy bath along with the requisite Saṃkalpa rite in Jaṭātīrtha sage Śuka obtained purity of mind. As the Ajñāna (ignorance) perished thereby, he attained his own real form, the form of the greatest bliss.

42. Those others too who are desirous of purity of mind, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, should take their bath in Jaṭātīrtha with great devotion.

43. Alas, even when the splendid Jaṭātīrtha which is like the wish-yielding cow (Kāmadhenu) is present, why do deluded people take delight elsewhere?

44. Merely by taking holy bath here, he who is desirous of worldly pleasures shall obtain worldly pleasures and he who is desirous of salvation shall obtain that. They will attain the same merely by taking their holy bath in Jaṭātīrtha. O Brāhmaṇas, the truth has been spoken by me.

45. It is possible that men will attain purity of mind through the merit of reciting the Vedas, through Yajña, through charitable gift, through penance, through holy rites, through the observance of fasts, through Japa and through Yoga.

46. But without all these things, O eminent Brāhmaṇas, merely by taking bath in the highly sacred Jaṭātīrtha, Brāhmaṇas will certainly obtain purity of mind.

47. It is not possible for me to recount the greatness of Jaṭātīrtha. Śaṅkara understands that Tīrtha. Hari knows it and so also does Brahmā.

48-49. A Tīrtha on a par with Jaṭātīrtha has never existed before. Nor will there be one in the future. If one offers Kṣetra Piṇḍa on the banks of Jaṭātīrtha, one will certainly obtain merit on a par with that of Gayāśrāddha. There is no doubt about it. If a man takes his holy bath in Jaṭātīrtha, he is never defiled by sins. He never suffers on account of poverty. He never falls into the ocean of Naraka.

Śrī Sūta said:

50-51. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, the power of Jaṭātīrtha has been recounted to you all. It was there that the Yogin, the son of Vyāsa, obtained purity of mind by taking the holy bath in the Tīrtha that rids one of sins. He obtained purity of mind that is the means of achieving perfect knowledge of non-duality (i.e. identity with Brahman).

52. He who reads this chapter and listens to it with concentration and mental purity, shall get rid of all sins. He will obtain the region of Viṣṇu.

Footnotes and references:


We meet with Bhṛgu, the son of Varuṇa, in Taittirīya Up. 3.1.1. but no Jaṭātīrtha is mentioned there, nor in Mbh where Bhṛgu is shown to have enlightened Bharadvāja in philosophy (Mbh, Śānti, Chs. 182-192). The names of Bhṛgu, Durvāsas, Dattātreya, Śuka are used to highlight the importance of the Tīrtha.

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