The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Rama’s Discourse on Philosophy which is chapter 45 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 forty-fifth chapter of the Setu-mahatmya of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 45 - Rāma’s Discourse on Philosophy

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śrī Sūta said:

1-4. When the Liṅga was installed thus by Rāma, the doer of pleasant things, Hanumān came there all of a sudden, taking an excellent Liṅga with him. After bowing down to the heroic Rāma, the son of Daśaratha, Hanumān bowed down to Sītā, Lakṣmaṇa and then Sugrīva.

On seeing the scion of the family of Raghu engaged in worshipping that sand-Liṅga of Sītā along with the sages, the son of the Wind-god became angry.

With his effort gone in vain, he became excessively dejected (through exhaustion). Hanumān, the son of Añjanā, said to Rāma, the knower of Dharma:

Hanumān said:

5-11.1 am unfortunate and wretched, O Rāma. I am born in the world only to experience distress. I have been subjected to great stress and strain by the Rākṣasas of cruel activities in various ways.

Would that no other lady should give birth to a son like me. For boundless misery has been experienced by me in this ocean of worldly existence.

Formerly, I was distressed due to service, still move due to the war, but far more than that my misery is endless now, because you slight me.

O scion of the family of Raghu, you have been served by Sugrīva for the sake of his wife, and by the Rākṣasa, the younger brother of Rāvaṇa, for the sake of the kingdom. O Rāma, you have been served by me without any particular motive (or personal interest), O highly intelligent one.

I alone from among many monkeys have been commanded today by you to bring a Śivaliṅga from Kailāsa, the most excellent mountain. I promptly went to Kailāsa but did not see the Pināka-bearing Lord.

I propitiated the Bull-emblemed Lord accompanied by Aṃbā, by means of penance and obtained the Liṅga and have hurriedly come back, O Scion of the family of Raghu.

12-15. You have now installed another Liṅga made of sand, O lord, and you are worshipping the same along with the Devas, Sages and Gandharvas.

This Liṅga which has been brought by me from the Kailāsa mountain has been futile. Alas! I am unfortunate. My physical body is only a burden unto the earth, O great king, O Lord, O lover of Sītā. I am unable to bear this grief, O Scion of the family of Raghu. What shall I do? Where shall I go? I have no (other) goal. Hence I shall abandon this body as I have been slighted by you.

Śrī Sūta said:

16-17. Thus, O Brāhmaṇas, he lamented in various ways. The son of Wind-god prostrated on the ground like a log. He became agitated due to anger and grief.

On seeing him, the leader of the family of Raghu said this laughingly. Even as all the Devas, Sages, monkeys and Rākṣasas stood watching, he mollified the feelings of Hanumān and dispelled his misery.

Śrī Rāma said:

18-23. I know every activity of myself as well as of others; of everyone born, dead or yet to be born, O monkey. A creature is born and dies alone due to its own acts. It goes to bell. The Great Ātman (Paramātmā) is devoid of Guṇas. Knowing this truth do not grieve, O monkey. Always see that the Ātman is free from the three Liṅgas (? genders). It is unsullied, single, luminous like a flame. It is self-dependent (requiring no other support). It is free from modifications. Why do you feel grief that is an obstacle unto the knowledge of truth. Be firmly established in the knowledge of truth, O excellent monkey. Always meditate upon the Ātman that is self-luminous, O monkey. Get rid of the sense of my-ness for the physical body, etc. It is a hindrance to the knowledge of truth.

24-30a. Resort always to Dharma. Avoid injury to living beings. Serve good and honourable men. Curb all the sense-organs. Always avoid magnifying the faults of others. O monkey, always perform the worship of Śiva, Viṣṇu and other Devas. Speak the truth always. Avoid grief, O monkey. The ignorance of the identity with the Immanent Soul arises from objects of delusion. Splendid and inglorious illusion has been imposed on this as though it were real. This illusion by its power makes the objects appear splendid. When men are ignorant and deluded, O excellent monkey, they become attached (to worldly objects). Those who are bound by the force of attachment and hatred become subject to the control of Dharma and Adharma. Such people, Devas, animals, human beings, etc. fall into hell. Sandal-paste, Agallochum, Camphor, etc. are exceedingly splendid objects. (But) They become dirty by contact with the physical body. Then how can that body be conducive to happiness?

30b-35. All foodstuffs and edible objects are very excellent. But they are turned into faeces by contact with the physical body. How can that body be conducive to happiness? Water is fragrant and cool. But it is turned into urine due to contact with the physical body. Hence how can that lump (body) be splendid? O monkey, tell me now.

Clothes are extremely pure and white. But they become dirty due to contact with the physical body and sweat. How can it (the body) be splendid?

Let the highest truth be heard from me, O Hanumān, O son of Wind-god. In this deep abyss of worldly existence, there is no happiness at all. First a creature attains its birth. Then it goes through the stages of infancy and childhood. Afterwards it attains youth. Thereafter it meets with old age. Afterwards it dies and then undergoes rebirth.

36-40. It is the power of ignorance that makes man subject to misery. If that ignorance disappears, he obtains excellent happiness. The termination of ignorance is possible only through knowledge and not through action. Knowledge is indeed the knowledge of Supreme Brahman, which arises from the Vedāntic statements. That knowledge comes only to the one who is unattached and not to anyone else. It is the truth that the one (the disciple) acquires through the favour of the Ācārya (Preceptor) who is the most important authority. When all the desires that are lurking in his heart become eliminated, the man becomes immortal. He attains Brahman here itself. Whether this man is awake or asleep, taking food or standing by, the cruel god of Death always (at any time) drags him.

41. All hoardings end with destruction; all risings end in fall. Unions end in separation and life ends in death.

42-43. Just as ripe fruits have nothing to be afraid of except falling down, so also all men have nothing to be afraid of except dying. Just as a house, though it may have strong pillars, crumbles in due course into ruins, so also men being subject to old age and death, perish.

44. As days and nights pass, so the life span of men terminates. Bewail yourself; why do you bewail others?

45-51. Life passes away whether one stands steady or runs about, O eminent monkey. Death walks along (with us). Death sits along (with us).

After wandering in far-off lands, one returns along with death. Wrinkles occur on the body. The hair turns white. On account of old age, asthma, cough and other ailments, the body becomes worn out and shattered.

Just as one log of wood comes into contact with another in the great ocean, O monkey, and after coming into contact, they may get separated after a lapse of some time, so also is the case with wives, sons, kinsmen, fields and riches. To some places they go together, again they go elsewhere (i.e. are separated).

Just as someone standing on the road says to another traveller as he goes along, “I shall also come along with you” and they may then go together for some time, but afterwards, they may go elsewhere, in the same manner, O monkey, the association of wives, sons and others is transient. Along with the birth of the body, death too is certainly born.

52-58. In the case of death which is certain to take place, there is no means of avoidance. When this body perishes, the soul, in accordance with its Karma, O dear one, attains another body and so leaves the previous one. O monkey, all living beings do not remain in one place forever. In accordance with their respective Karmas, living beings get separated from one another. The physical bodies of living beings are born and perish too, O excellent monkey, but the Ātman is neither born nor does it die.

Hence, O son of Añjanā, think about the pure Brahman which is devoid of grief, is non-dual, which is perfect knowledge. It is of the nature of existence. Think about (it) day and night.

The action performed by you is the same as that performed by me. That performed by me is the same as that performed by you. Hence, O monkey, my installation of the Liṅga is your own installation of the Liṅga. Since the auspicious hour was soon passing off, the Liṅga was made of sand by Sītā and it was installed by me here. Hence do not be angry or sad. On this very auspicious day install the Liṅga that has come from Kailāsa.

59-60. Let this Liṅga become famous in all the three worlds by your name. The Liṅga installed by Rāma (Rāghaveśvara) should be seen only after seeing the Liṅga installed by Hanumān (Hanumadīśvara). Multitudes of Brahmarākṣasas have been killed by you, O monkey. Hence, by installing the Liṅga in your own name, you will become liberated.

61. Visiting the Śiva (Liṅga) given by Hara himself, the Liṅga named after Hanumān, and then visiting Rāmanātha, a man having his own objective achieved becomes blessed.

62. If one remembers the Liṅga of Hanumān and Rāmanātheśvara even from a distance of a thousand Yojanas, one shall attain Sāyujya.

63. If the Mahādevas, i.e. Hanumadīśvara and Rāghaveśvara, are seen by anyone, all the Yajñas have been performed by him. All penances have been performed by him (He gets the merit of these).

64-67. Śiva himself shines in eleven forms. He is always present in the following eleven Liṅgas: the Liṅga installed by Hanumān, the Liṅga installed by me, the Liṅga pertaining to Sītā, the Lakṣmaṇeśvara Liṅga, the Liṅga established by Nala the builder of the Setu, the Liṅgas installed by Aṅgada, Nīla and Jāṃbavān, the bejewelled Liṅga installed by Bibhīṣaṇa and the Liṅga that has been made by Indra and others and installed by Śeṣa and others.

68-72a. Hence in order to purify your sins, install Maheśvara. If, O highly fortunate one, you uproot this Liṅga made by Sītā and installed by me, I shall install the Liṅga brought by you.

The Liṅga that has been installed by me stands piercing through Talātala, Rasātala and Vitala and reaches Sutala and Pātāla. Who can be strong enough to break the Liṅga installed by me. Get up, O monkey, uproot this Liṅga installed by me. Install the Liṅga brought by you quickly. Do not be grieved.

72b-74a. On being told thus, the monkey who was ignorant of his own strength bowed to him and thought thus:

‘I shall quickly take out the excellent Sand Liṅga and install the Liṅga brought from Kailāsa eagerly. What trouble can there be to me in uprooting this Sand Liṅga?’

74b-79. After thinking thus mentally, Hanumān, the son of Wind-god, the powerful monkey, caught hold of that Sand Liṅga with his hand, even as all the Devas, Sages, monkeys, Rākṣasas, Rāmacandra, Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā were watching. He caught it with all his strength. Hanumān shook it with great effort, but he could not move the Sand Liṅga with his strength. Then the great monkey produced a chattering sound, lifted up his tail and pulled at (the Liṅga) with both the hands using all his strength.

Thus although the monkey, the son of Wind-god, tried to move the Liṅga in various ways, he was not able to move it.

80. The monkey, the son of Wind-god, encircled the Liṅga with his tail. He touched the ground with both the hands. Then he suddenly leaped into the sky.

81-83. But Hanumān, O Brāhmaṇas, fell on the ground at a distance of a Krośa (three kilometres) from the Liṅga and swooned. (As he fell) the entire earth consisting of the seven continents and mountains quaked. He vomited blood. His entire body trembled. As the son of Wind-god fell, O excellent Brāhmaṇas, a stream of blood flowed from his mouth, pair of eyes, nostrils, ear-cavities and anus. It became a pit of blood.

84-86. There was a great hue and cry among all the Devas, Asuras and human beings. Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa rushed to the place along with the monkeys and Sītā. They became very sad and grief-stricken, O Brāhmaṇas. Surrounded by the monkeys and accompanied by Sītā, those two powerful heroes shone on that Gandhamādana mountain like the Moon and the Sun accompanied by the stars at night.

87-90. They saw Hanumān with his entire body shattered to pieces. He had fallen unconscious on the ground and was vomiting blood through his mouth.

On seeing him all the monkeys cried “Alas! Alas!” and fell down on the ground.

Saying “O dear one, O dear one”, Sītā kindly stroked with her hands Hanumān, the son of Wind-god, who had fallen on the ground.

On Seeing Hanumān, the great monkey, fallen down Rāma placed him on his lap. He stroked his body with both the hands, O Brāhmaṇas. Shedding tears from his eyes, he spoke to the son of Wind-god.

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