The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,142,515 words

This page describes Ruins of Dharmaranya Repaired 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 Dharmaranya-khanda of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 35 - Ruins of Dharmāraṇya Repaired

Nārada said:

1-3a. O revered Sir, O Lord of the lords of Devas, O creator and annihilator of worlds, what did Raghunātha who transcends the Guṇas though endowed with them, and who is the highest means of achieving salvation, do after establishing duly the Vedabhavana and excellent Brāhmaṇas? What rites did the Brāhmaṇas perform in their own abodes when Raghunātha went to Ayodhyā?

Brahmā said:

3b-8. (The Brāhmaṇas) were engaged in Iṣṭa and Pūrta rites. They were quiescent. They desisted from taking monetary gifts. The excellent Brāhmaṇas ruled the forest. To Rāma the chief priest narrated the greatness of the holy place, the greatness of Prayāga, the excellent benefit from Triveṇī, the greatness of the sacred place at Prayāga and that of Śuklatīrtha, the greatness of Siddhikṣetra, that of Kāśī as well as of Gaṅgā. O Nārada, all these were described by Vasiṣṭha. So also the greatness of other Tīrthas. The benefit of bath and monetary gifts and similar rites performed at Suvarṇā in Dharmāraṇya and Hari Kṣetra, a bit better than that of those performed at Vārāṇasī, was also narrated.

On hearing thus, Lord Rāma was highly delighted in the mind. Desirous of taking a pilgrimage once again he came there.

9-10. Accompanied by Sītā, with his brother Lakṣmaṇa assisted by Bharata and a large army in front, followed by Śatrughna, Rāma, the noble-minded one, the knower of Dharma, went to the city of Moheraka.[1] After going there he asked Vasiṣṭha:

Rāma enquired:

11-13. What (rite) should be performed in the great holy place Dharmāraṇya, O excellent Brāhmaṇa? Is it gifting away things, observances of vows, holy ablution or penance that is the best? Is it meditation or sacrifice or Homa or Japa that is the best, or is it best to gift away things or observances of vows, holy ablution or penance? By performing any of these in this holy place, O excellent Brāhmaṇa, one gets released from Brāhmaṇa-slaughter and other sins. Kindly tell me how it (takes place).

Vasiṣṭha said:

14-18. O blessed one, perform an excellent Yajña in Dharmāraṇya everyday for a hundred years.[2] It will give ten million times the merit.

On hearing it from his preceptor, he began the Yajña on a large scale. On that occasion, Sītā joyously intimated to him: “O dear lord, formerly some Brāhmaṇas who had mastered the Vedas had been selected by you; those Brāhmaṇas were created by Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa and they have been staying in Dharmāraṇya since Kṛta and Tretā Yugas. Call them only and the sacrifice can be performed the better through them.”

On hearing it, Lord Rāma invited the Brāhmaṇas then and, as before, they were established in this city of Moheraka.

19. He got the Yajña performed duly by means of those Mehi Brāhmaṇas numbering eighteen. They were Traividyas of great intellect.

20-21. They were Kuśika, Kauśika, Vatsa, Upamanyu, Kāśyapa, Kṛṣṇātreya, Bharadvāja, Dhāriṇa, the senior excellent Śaunaka, Māṇḍavya, Bhārgava, Paiṅgya, Vātsya, Laugākṣa, Gāṅgāyana, Gāṅgeya, Śunaka and Śaunaka.

Brahmā said:

22. King Rāma concluded the sacrifice through these Brāhmaṇas duly. After honouring the Brāhmaṇas devoutly, Rāma performed the Avabhṛtha (holy valedictory bath).

23-24a. At the conclusion of the Yajña, Rāma was requested by Sītā modestly: “O virtuous one, at the conclusion of this sacrifice give the sacrificial fee, and a city after my name may be immediately founded.”

24b. On hearing the words of Sītā, the excellent king did so accordingly.

25. For pleasing Sītā, a danger-free place was given to those Brāhmaṇas by King Rāma.

26. He named it Sītāpura[3] and the name became well-known. Śāntā and Sumaṅgalā are the two deities presiding over it.

27. Getting up and extremely delighted, he granted to learned Brāhmaṇas twelve villages in front of Moheraka.

28-30. He went to another holy place on the banks of River Kāśyapī. Some Brāhmaṇas who knew Dharma were brought by Rāma.

Immediately he went to Dharmālaya, O sage, where formerly a very great penance was performed by Dharma, wearing garlands and holding a water-pot.

Ever since that time, the place is well-known as Dharmālaya. The son of Daśaratha gave sixteen great gifts (Mahādānas) there.

31-32. Fifty villages including Sītāpura extending up to Satyamandira were given to the Brāhmaṇas for the prosperity of his own family at the instance of Sītā and at the behest of his preceptor.

33-36. The Brāhmaṇa families consisted of eighteen thousand Brāhmaṇas including Vātsyāyana, Upamanyu, Jātūkarṇya, Piṅgala, Bhāradvāja, Vatsa, Kauśika, Kuśa, Śāṇḍilya, Kāśyapa, Gautama, Chāndhana, Kṛṣṇātreya, Vatsa, Vasiṣṭha, Dhāraṇa, Bhāṇḍila, Yauvanāśva, Kṛṣṇāyana, Upamanyu (a repetition), Gārgya, Mudgala, Maukhaka, Puśi, Parāśara and Kauṇḍinya.

37-44. The names of the fifty-five villages[4] are given in due order[5]: Śītāpura, Śrīkṣetra, Muśalī, Mudgalī, Jyeṣṭhalā, Śreyasthāna, Dantālī, Vaṭapatrakā, Rājñaḥpura (Rājapura), Kṛṣṇavāṭa, Deha, Loha, Canasthana, Koheca, Candanakṣetra, Thala, Hastināpura, Karpaṭa, Kannajahnavī, Vanoḍahanaphāvalī (?), Mohodha, Śamohoralī (?), Govindaṇa, Thalatyaja, Cāraṇasidḍha, Sodgītrābhājyaja, Vaṭamālikā, Godhara, Māraṇaja, Mātramadhya, Mātara, Balavatī, Gandhavatī, Īāmlī (?), Rājyaja, Rupāvalī, Bahudhana, Chatrīṭa, Vaṃśaja, Jāyāsamraṇa, Gotikī, Citralekha, Dugdhāvalī, Haṃsāvalī, Vaihola, Caillaja, Nālāvalī, Āsāvalī and Suhālī.

These fifty-five villages were founded by Rāma himself and donated to those Brāhmaṇas.

45-46. In order to attend on them, Rāma made arrangements for thirty-six thousand Vaiśyas and Śūdras four times them in number.

Gifts of cows, horses and clothes, gold, silver and copper were made to them with great faith and joy.

Nārada said:

47. Those Brāhmaṇas, the masters of the Vedas, were eighteen thousand in number. How did they share the villages, the wealth produced in the villages, clothes etc. and the ornaments etc.? O virtuous one, narrate that unto me.

Brahmā said:

48. At the end of the sacrifice, the sacrificial fee was accepted by all Ṛtviks. Everything such as the great gifts (Mahādāna) etc. was offered to them only.

49. The common villages and the great holy places were allotted to those people who used to stay there.

50. At the instance of Vasiṣṭha, the villages were allotted to the Brāhmaṇas by the brave scion of the Raghu family, so that Brāhmaṇas (resident therein) were not banished (from their residence).

51. Grain was indeed given to the Brāhmaṇas and unlimited quantity of wealth was also donated. Thereafter Rāma spoke to Brāhmaṇas with joined palms:

52-55. “Undoubtedly in my kingdom, all of you should conduct yourselves like the Brāhmaṇas of Kṛtayuga and Tretāyuga of olden days. Whatever you require—money, food-grains, vehicle, clothes, jewels, gold etc. and wealth in the form of golden jewellery, copper, silver etc., you may freely request me. Now and afterwards you make the request in the fitting way. You can always send an oral message, O excellent Brāhmaṇas. Whatever desire you express, I shall fulfil it, O lords.”

56-59. Thereafter Rāma addressed courteously the servants etc.: “The orders of the Brāhmaṇas should not be transgressed. They are to be carefully carried out. Whatever they request for comply with it immediately. He who serves the Brāhmaṇas after bowing down to them, that Śūdra attains heaven. He shall attain wealth and sons. Otherwise he will undoubtedly remain poor. A barbarous man or an unclean Mleccha or Daitya or Rākṣasa, whoever brings in obstacles shall be reduced to ash instantly.”

60. Then the extremely delighted Rāma circumambulated the Brāhmaṇas. As he was about to start, he was greeted by the Brāhmaṇas with blessings.

61. All the Brāhmaṇas followed them up to the borderline. All of them with their eyes full of affection returned to Dharmāraṇya and were bewildered. They fainted after reaching Dharmāraṇya.

62-65. After doing everythings thus, Rāma started towards his own city. Kāśyapas and Gargas of firm observances felt satisfied that they had done their duty. Accompanied by their wives, friends and sons, they were seated in the honoured seat of the preceptors.

Rāma reached the excellent city of Ayodhyā. On seeing Rāma, all the people became joyous. Then Rāma, the pious-souled one, desirous of protecting the subjects, ruled the kingdom. The virtuous, wise Rāma made Jānakī pregnant for the continuation of the line of the Sun.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Moharapura, 14 miles to the north of Vindhyācala (town) in the district of Mirzapur—De 56.

[2]:

No mention in VR. This is the glorification of Dharmāraṇya.

[3]:

This city said to have been founded by Rāma on the bank of River Kāśyapī is probably the same as modern Sitapur in U.P. as the villages given by Rāma are round about Sitapur.

[4]:

The editor of the Veṅkaṭeśa Press edition notes that some names of the villages are ‘Aśudha’ incorrect? For their identification see Note.

[5]:

Some villages can be located as follows: Dugdhāvalī (Dudhauli), some 3 miles from Pisawan, Sitapur District; Gandhavatī (It should be ‘Gandhavalī’) corresponding to modern Gandhuli in the Sindhauli sub-division of Sitapur District; Dantāli (Dateli) 10 miles from Hargaon. Further research for identification is desirable.

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