The Skanda Purana
by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes The Glory of Dhanushkoti: The Jackal and the Monkey Liberated which is chapter 35 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 thirty-fifth chapter of the Setu-mahatmya of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Chapter 35 - The Glory of Dhanuṣkoṭi: The Jackal and the Monkey Liberated
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
Note: This story is a contribution of this Purāṇa to show how this Tīrtha absolves a person of the worst immoral acts. This Durvinīta is untraced in Mbh, VR, PI and PE.
1-2. O Sage Durvāsas, O highly intelligent one, O sage very clever in matters remote and proximate, who was this person named Durvinīta who carnally approached the wife of his preceptor? Whose son was he? How did that Brāhmaṇa instantly get rid of
the sin arising from sexual union with the wife of his preceptor by taking the holy bath in Dhanuṣkoṭi? It behoves you to recount this in detail to me, as I listen to it attentively.
3-8a. Formerly, there was a Brāhmaṇa of vast learning named Idhmavāha in the land of the Pāṇḍyas. His wife was Ruci. He had a son named Durvinīta. Even while the son was only a child, the father died. So, Durvinīta performed the obsequial rites of his father and stayed for some time in the house with his widowed mother.
For twelve years there was no rain, and thus a great famine spread in the land. So he went to another land along with his mother. He came to Gokarṇa where there was plenty of food grains. There he stayed with his widowed mother for a long time.
8b-13. After the lapse of a long time, Alas! Durvinīta became more and more deluded in his intellect as a result of his sinful deeds of previous births. On account of lustful attachment, his mind went astray. He was assailed by the arrows of Kāma. Even as his mother went on protesting “Do not, do not” this sinner violently pulled her down. Lustful and deluded he had a sexual union with her, O excellent Brāhmaṇa.
After the discharge of the seminal fluid, Durvinīta became sad. He pondered over his sin and cried bitterly. He was extremely grief-stricken. He thought thus, ‘Alas! I am the worst one among great sinners. I have committed a great sin, because under the influence of passion (Kāma) I have had sexual union with my own mother.’ After thinking thus, he went to sages. Condemning himself, he spoke thus to the sages:
14-19. “O Brāhmaṇas, tell me the means of expiation for the sin of carnally approaching the wife of the preceptor. Do have pity on me. O Brāhmaṇas, conversant with the principles of scriptural texts, if I can have redemption by dying, I shall undoubtedly die. Whatever atonement is suggested by you, O Brāhmaṇas, whether death or anything else, I shall carry it out. It is true.”
On hearing these words of his, some eminent sages, kept quiet. They came to the decision, ‘Conversation with this fellow will bring about sins (to them).’ So some sages kept quiet. Some sages shouted: “You are vicious. You have carnally approached your own mother. You are the worst among great sinners. Go away. Go away.”
Those excellent Brāhmaṇas said these and many other similar words. The merciful, omniscient Kṛṣṇadvaipāyana who was a storehouse of mercy prevented them and spoke to Durvinīta:
20-26. “Go immediately to Dhanuṣkoṭi on Rāmasetu, along with your mother. When the Sun is in the Zodiac Capricorn in the month of Māgha, take your holy bath there along with your mother. There should be no break in the middle of the month. You should conquer the sense-organs and anger. You must avoid doing wrong to others. You must observe fast for the whole of the month. You will be purified of the sin of carnally approaching the wife of the preceptor. There is no sin which does not perish by the holy bath in the Setu. Dhanuṣkoṭi is praised in Śrutis, Smṛtis and Purāṇas as destructive of the five (great) sins.
Hence go quickly to Dhanuṣkoṭi along with your mother. O Brāhmaṇa, treat my words as authoritative like the words of the Vedas.
Even crores of great sins are not worthy of serious consideration of the person who has taken his holy bath in Śrīrāmadhanuṣkoṭi. O son of a Brāhmaṇa. Other means of atonement have been mentioned in Manusmṛti, etc. Therefore, go to Dhanuṣkoṭi that is destructive of great sins.”
27-31. On being told thus by Vyāsa, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, Durvinīta bowed down to Vyāsa and left for Dhanuṣkoṭi along with his mother.
When the Sun was in the Zodiac of Capricorn in the month of Māgha, he observed fast continuously for a month along with his mother. He conquered his sense-organs and anger. He took his holy bath in Śrīrāmadhanuṣkoṭi with due performance of the rite of Saṃkalpa. He bowed down to Rāmanātha with devotion three times (everyday).
At the end of the month he performed the Pāraṇā rite (i.e. breaking the fast) and became purified in intellect. Accompanied by his mother he came back to Vyāsa in order to intimate to him the details. After bowing down to Vyāsa, Durvinīta spoke these words:
32-34. O holy Sir, O ocean of mercy, O Dvaipāyana the Great One, thanks to your mercifulness. I took my holy bath along with my mother in Rāmadhanuṣkoṭi in the month of Māgha. I carefully observed fast for the whole month. I bowed down to Maheśvara regularly.
Henceforth, O holy lord Vyāsa, fond of your devotees, what should be done by me? O sage, instruct me in this regard accurately.
On hearing these words of Durvinīta, sage Vyāsa who was a part of Nārāyaṇa, spoke to Durvinīta:
35-40. O Durvinīta, your sin resulting from your union with your mother has gone today. The sin of your mother too arising from her union with you has perished. In this matter no doubt should be entertained. It is the truth that has been mentioned by me.
Your kinsmen, the folks connected with you and the other Brāhmaṇas—all these will accept you, O Durvinīta, along with your mother, due to my favour. You are pure now due to your holy plunge in Dhanuṣkoṭi.
Take a wife unto you and perform the holy rites of a householder. Avoid injuries to living beings. Resort to the eternal virtue. Serve the good and noble people always with a mind endowed with devotion. Do not eschew the daily rites, the chief of them being the Sandhyā prayers. Control the sense-organs. Worship Hara and Hari.
41. Do not speak ill of others. Do not be jealous at any cost. Do not be sad and aggrieved on seeing the prosperity of another man. It is futile.
42-48. Look at the wives of others always as though they were your mother. Never forget the Vedas that you have learned. Do not insult guests. Perform the Śrāddha rite on the day of the Pitṭs. Do not slander others even in your dreams. Read Itihāsas, Purāṇas, ethical treatises, Vedānta and Vedāṅgas. Repeat the names of Hari and Śaṅkara without hesitation and shyness. Apply Tripuṇḍra marks and smear the whole body with Bhasma repeating the Mantras of the Jābāla Upaniṣad. Always wear Rudrākṣa beads. Be devoted to the injunctions regarding cleanliness and good conduct. With Tulasī and Bilva leaves, worship Nārāyaṇa and Hara once, twice or thrice everyday.
Always eat the Naivedya food mixed with Tulasī leaves and sprinkled with the water with which the Lord’s feet have been washed. Eat the Naivedya in front of the deities, Śaṃbhu and Nārāyaṇa. Perform the Vaiśvadeva rites and oblations for the purity of the cooked food.
49-54. Propitiate eminent ascetics devoted to Brahman with cooked foods when they visit your house. Similarly serve other old people, helpless persons, sick ones, religious students, etc.
Render service to your mother. Be devoted to religious meditation. Meditate upon the deities of the Mantras and perform the rite of Japa of the five-syllabled great Mantra (namaḥ śivāya) along with (preceded by) Praṇava (Oṃ) and also the eight-syllabled Mantra (oṃ nārāyaṇāya namaḥ) as well as other Mantras, O Brāhmaṇa, with purity (of mind and body).
Similarly always perform other holy rites prescribed in the Smṛtis. If you carry out all these things, you will attain salvation on death.
On being told thus by Sage Vyāsa, Durvinīta bowed down to him. After performing everything told by him, he attained salvation on death.
His mother too died in due course. Due to her holy plunge in Dhanuṣkoṭi, she attained the greatest salvation without any return to the earth or rebirth.
55-56. Thus, O Yajñadeva, the salvation of Durvinīta and his mother, due to the holy bath in Dhanuṣkoṭi, has been recounted by me. You too, O Brāhmaṇa, take this son of yours for the sake of the purification of his sin of Brāhmaṇa-murder, and go to Dhanuṣkoṭi, the bestower of salvation.
57. On being advised thus by Durvāsas, Yajñadeva took his son and went to Rāmadhanuṣkoṭi, the bestower of salvation.
58. After going there, O jackal, O monkey, that Brāhmaṇa stayed there for six months with his son observing all restraints and curbs.
59. He took his holy bath in Dhanuṣkoṭi for six months along with his son. At the end of the six months, an unembodied voice spoke to Yajñadeva:
60-64. “The sin of Brāhmaṇa-murder of the son of Yajñadeva has been set aside. Your son, O Yajñadeva, has been liberated from the sins of stealing gold, drinking liquor, association with the Kirāta woman, and other sins. O Yajñadeva, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, do not entertain any doubt.”
After saying thus, the unembodied voice stopped. Yajñadeva who heard the utterance of the unembodied voice became glad. He served Rāmanātha in the company of his son. With great delight he bowed down to Dhanuṣkoṭi and accompanied by his son returned to his own land, his own village and his own abode. There, he lived happily for a long time along with his wife and son. He was extremely joyous.
65-66. O jackal, O monkey, thus the liberation from great sins, of Sumati, the son of Yajñadeva, has been recounted to you both by me. It was due to his holy bath in Dhanuṣkoṭi. Hence, both of you go to Dhanuṣkoṭi for the purification of your sins. Otherwise it is not possible to attain purity even with ten thousands of rites of atonement.
Śrī Sūta said:
67-70. On hearing these words of Sindhudvīpa, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, the jackal and the monkey quickly travelled along the great path. With great difficulty they went to Dhanuṣkoṭi and took their holy baths in its water. They were liberated from all their sins. They occupied an excellent aerial chariot. They were showered with flowers by Devas. They had great refulgence. They were adorned with necklaces, armlets, crowns, bracelets, etc. They shone with chowries waved by celestial women. After going to the beautiful city of Devas, they shared (occupied) half the throne of Indra.
Śrī Sūta said:
71-73. Thus the liberation from the sin of the jackal as well as the monkey has been narrated to you all. O Brāhmaṇas, their liberation was due to their holy bath in Dhanuṣkoṭi.
He who devoutly listens to or reads this chapter obtains the benefit of actual holy bath in Dhanuṣkoṭi. That man immediately obtains salvation which is not of easy access even to Yogins.