The Skanda Purana

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

This page describes Rama Returns to Ayodhya which is chapter 33 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-third chapter of the Dharmaranya-khanda of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 33 - Rāma Returns to Ayodhyā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Rāma said:

1-5. At the behest of Śrīmātā, I shall repair the ruins of the holy place. I may be permitted. I shall make gifts unto you duly.

After performing an excellent Yajña, O Brāhmaṇas, gifts should be given to deserving persons. Nothing is to be given to an undeserving person. If given, it cannot be conducive to happiness.

A deserving person shall redeem both (the giver and the receiver) like a boat. An underserving person should be known as similar to a ball of iron which is of a destructive nature.

O Brāhmaṇas, Brāhmaṇahood does not come up automatically by birth alone. Brāhmaṇical action has the power in the world. How can there be the fruit, if a man does not act (in a Brāhmaṇic way)?

Hence, really venerable Brāhmaṇas, truthful in utterance, should be highly venerated when the rite of Yajña is to be performed. May you all be pleased to have mercy on me.

Brahmā said:

6-9. Thereafter all of them assembled and consulted one another. Some of them said to Rāma then: “We live on gleanings of ears of corn. We are absolutely contented and we are devoted to righteousness. We have nothing to do with the acceptance of gifts.

A potter is on a par with ten Sūnās (Sūnā=butcher’s place). A seller of liquor is on a par with ten potters. A harlot is on a par with ten distillers and liquor vendors. A king is on a par with ten harlots.

Acceptance of gift from kings is terrible. Undoubtedly this is true, O Rāma. Hence we do not wish the acceptance of a gift, as it is terrible.”

10. Some Brāhmaṇas observed the vow of taking food once a day. Some were observing Amṛta-vṛtti i.e. subsistence on what one gets without asking or begging from another person. Some were called Kuṃbhīdhānya as they stored grain in one pitcher only (not more than that); while some were engaged in the six duties of Brāhmaṇas (viz. performing sacrifice as a Yajamāna, sacrificer or conducting another person’s sacrifice, studying and teaching the Vedas, giving and accepting gifts).

11-19. All of them have different attitudes and qualities. They have been installed by the three gods. Some of them said: “O Brāhmaṇas, how can we accept gifts without clear instructions from the three gods? We do not even chew betel-leaves prepared and offered by a woman as it is said to be a gift.”

Thereupon, Rāma consulted the noble-souled Vasiṣṭha. Along with his preceptor, he remembered Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva and others. Even as they were remembered, those gods came to that place. They came in groups of chariots shining like millions of suns. They were suitably worshipped by Rāma with great joy. Everything was intimated to them by Rāma, the highly intelligent one:

“At the bidding of the presiding deity I am repairing the ruins in the holy place of Viṣṇu in Dharmāraṇya near Dharmakūpa (‘well of piety’).”

Then, all those Brāhmaṇas made obeisance to the three gods with great delight, since their desires were fulfilled. Offering Arghya, Pādya etc. in accordance with the stipulated injunctions, they worshipped them with great faith.

After resting for a short while, those Devas—Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva and others, spoke to Rāma of great power, who stood with joined palms due to humility.

The Devas said:

20-24. Since, O Rāma, the enemies of Devas, Rāvaṇa and others, have been slain by you, all of us are delighted thereby, O crest-jewel of the solar dynasty. Reconstruct the great holy place and attain great fame (thereby).

On getting their permission, the son of Daśaratha was delighted. Desirous of obtaining infinite merit by the reparation of the ruins (ruined holy place), the lord of the earth commenced the work in the very presence of the Devas.

He constructed an altar on the levelled ground in the east. It was splendid and huge like a great mountain. On it he built the external halls, the domestic halls and many Brahmaśālās of splendid shapes and types.

25-27. They were equipped with reservoirs and domestic utensils. They were full of crores of gold pieces and filled with juice, garments etc. They were richly furnished with wealth and grains. They contained all metals. After completing all these, he gave them unto the Brāhmaṇas. Ten cows yielding plenty of milk were given to each. Four thousand four hundred villages also were given to each.

28-32. Rāma gave these to the Brāhmaṇas who were masters of three Vedas. Those excellent Brāhmaṇas were established by the three gods—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Hence they became famous as Trayīvidyas.

After making wonderful gifts of this sort to the Brāhmaṇas, the lord of men considered himself as one who had done his duty. When the ruins were repaired, the Brāhmaṇas who were formerly settled by gods Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śaṅkara were worshipped by Rāghava. Thirty-six thousand excellent merchants possessing cows were given by the Devas Viṣṇu, Śiva and others to them, for the sake of attending upon them. Wisdom was granted to them by the delighted Śiva.

33. White horse and chowries were given to them. A dazzling sword was also given. Thereafter, they were urged to serve the Brāhmaṇas.

34. During the rites of marriage etc., there must always be the chowries. They are extremely auspicious. A splendid sword should be held then in the hand as my symbol.

35. The worship of the preceptor should always be performed and also that of the family goddess. Again and again in times of prosperity, monetary gifts conducive to affluence should be made.

36. On the eleventh day in a lunar fortnight and on Saturday, monetary gifts should be given to Brāhmaṇas old and young by “my” i.e. Rāma’s order.

37. Merchants in the districts (Maṇḍalas) who were pure and engaged in their mercantile business were made special executors of Rāma’s order (to the service of Brāhmaṇas). These (merchants) were a hundred and twenty-five thousands.

38. King, the rulers of districts, should be known as Māṇḍalīkas. Those excellent Vaiśyas (merchants) were given by Rāma for the purpose of attending upon the Brāhmaṇas.

39. Rāma gave with due installation ceremony two chowries and a sword to the Sun-god, his family deity.

40. He installed Brahmā along with the four Vedas, and also Śrīmātā of great power as well as Hari, the lord of the sky.

41. For the purpose of removing obstacles, he installed Gaṇa (Gaṇeśa) stationed in the south doorway as well as other deities.

42-46. Seven-storeyed palaces were caused to be built by that heroic person.

Whenever a person performs any (howsoever minor) auspicious rite conducive to prosperity, such as birth of a son, post-natal rites of a child, the first occasion of feeding a child, tonsure, performance of a hundred thousand or ten million Homas, performance of sacrificial rites, worship of the foundation-deity of a house or the pacificatory ceremony of Planets or any great festival—whatever gift in the form of money or food-grains, garment, cows, gold as well as silver, he gives to Brāhmaṇas, Śūdras, destitutes, helpless and blind ones, first of all he should always give the share of Bakulārka and Śrīmātā for the purpose of completing the work without obstacles.

47. “If transgressing my injunction, a man does it otherwise, there shall undoubtedly be obstacles in his rites.”

48-52. After saying thus, with a delighted mind, Rāma caused all these things to be built: tanks dedicated to the Devas, splendid ramparts with all the requisite adjuncts of a fortress, extensive main streets, pools, lakes and tanks. He caused Dharmavāpīs and wells to be dug. So also other wells created by the Devas. After extensively building these in the charming holy place of Dharmāraṇya he gave them to the chief Brāhmaṇas among Traividyas with great faith. He who goes against Rāma’s edict inscribed on copper plates or omits anything, has his ancestors fall into hell. Thereafter there shall be no progeny.

Then he called the son of Wind-god. Rāma said to him:

53-54. “O great hero, O son of Wind-god, you shall be worshipped. For the sake of protecting this holy place, you maintain your presence here.”

The son of Añjanā bowed down and accepted that command with his head.

After repairing the ruins (of shrines thereof) thus, Rāghava became one who had perfectly accomplished his task.

55-58. With a delighted inner soul (mind), he worshipped Śrīmātā and bowed to her. He also bowed to other holy places.

The Devas including Brahmā returned to their respective abodes.

They granted blessings to Rāma: “All your desires will be fulfilled. The rehabilitation and establishment etc. of the Brāhmaṇas has been done excellently well by you. Something endearing to us also has been done by you, the meritorious one.”

Eulogizing Rāma thus, those Devas went to their respective abodes.

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