The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,763,776 words

This page describes Caturbhujabhisheka (Caturbhuja-abhisheka) which is chapter 23 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 twenty-third chapter of the Purvardha of the Kashi-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 23 - Caturbhujābhiṣeka (Caturbhuja-abhiṣeka)

Śivaśarman said:

1. O Vidhi, O Lord of Satyaloka, O grandfather of all, I am desirous of submitting something but I do not dare to speak out due to fear.

Brahmā said:

2. What you are about to ask, what is lurking in your mind is known to me. You are desirous of asking me about salvation. These two Gaṇas will describe it to you.

3. There is nothing that is not known to these two attendants. They know everything whatever there is in the Cosmic Sphere.

4. After saying this, Brahmā honoured the attendants (and the Brāhmaṇa). After bowing down to the creator of the world, they too started joyfully.

5. Again they got into their vehicle and went towards Vaikuṇṭha. The Gaṇas were asked by that Brāhmaṇa while going ahead:

Śivaśarman said:

6. How far have we come? How much are we yet to go? O fair ones, I am asking another thing too. Be pleased to answer that too.

7. There are seven cities granting salvation, viz., Kāñcī, Avantī, Dvārāvatī, Kāśī, Ayodhyā—the fifth one, Māyāpuri and Mathurā.

8. Leaving off the other six cities, salvation has been stabilized only in Kāśī by the Creator. Then how is it that I have no salvation as yet?

9. I shall be grateful if you please clarify it to me.

On hearing these words of his, the Gaṇas spoke with due respect:

The Gaṇas said:

10. O sinless one, we shall tell you truthfully what you have asked. By Viṣṇu’s grace, we two know the past, the present and the future.

11. O Brāhmaṇa, that extent of space which is illuminated by the rays of the Sun and the Moon is called the earth having oceans, mountains and forests.

12. Above those is the sky, extensive and circular. The Sun is two hundred thousand Yojanas above the earth.

13. The Moon is seen a hundred thousand (Yojanas) above the Sun. The region of the stars is a hundred thousand Yojanas above the Moon.

14. Budha (Mercury) is two hundred thousand (Yojanas) above the stellar region. Śukra (Venus) is two hundred thousand Yojanas away from Budha and Bhauma (Mars) is two hundred thousand (Yojanas) away from Venus.

15. Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) is two hundred thousand Yojanas above Bhauma (Mars). Śauri (Saturn) is two hundred thousand Yojanas above Brahaspati, the priest of gods.

16. The region of the Seven Sages (Great Bear) is a hundred thousand Yojanas away from Śani. Dhruva (the Pole Star) is stationed a hundred thousand Yojanas away from the Seven Sages.

17. Whatever object there may be which could be reached by walking on foot is known as (included in) Bhūrloka containing oceans, continents, mountains and forests.

18. The space extending from Bhūrloka to the Sun is known as Bhuvarloka. The space from the Sun extending up to Dhruva is known as Svarloka, O Brāhmaṇa.

19. Maharloka is ten million Yojanas above the earth. Janaloka is calculated to be twenty million Yojanas above Bhūrloka by the people.

20. Tapoloka is forty million Yojanas from the earth. Satyaloka is spoken as eighty million Yojanas above the earth.

21. Vaikuṇṭha is above Satya. It is calculated as one hundred and sixty million Yojanas above the earth.

22. It is there that Śrīpati dwells in person. He is the bestower of freedom from fear on all. Kailāsa is sixteen times more than that. It is the abode of Śiva.

23. It is there that Śambhu, the Lord of the universe, dwells with Pārvatī, Gajāsya (Ganeśa), Skanda and others. He is regarded as Sakala (accompanied with Kalā i.e., Pārvatī or in his entire form) and the supreme one.

24. He assumes forms sportingly. The entire universe is a sport of that Lord. He is well-known as Viśveśa (Lord of the universe). This universe obeys his command.

25. He is the controller and chastiser of all. There is no one else to control him. He himself creates living beings. He himself protects them and eats them up (i.e., annihilates them).

26. He is spoken as Sarvajña (omniscient) and single. His activities depend upon his will. There is no one to make him act or desist from any activity.

27. He is Amūrta (having no visible form) and the supreme Brahman. He is described by Śrutis as Mūrta (having visible forms). He is omnipresent. He is eternal. He is the truth. He is devoid of Dvaita (duality).

28. He is far beyond Pradhāna which is beyond Mahat and other (causal) categories. As stated by the Śrutis, he is the blissful form of Brahman.

29. Even the Vedas do not comprehend him; neither Viṣṇu nor Vidhi know him fully. Words recede from him along with the mind after failing to reach him.

30. He is self-known. He is the great brilliant splendour stationed in the heart of everyone, comprehended by Yogins. He cannot be narrated and described. Means of valid knowledge do not comprehend him. Vedas alone know him.

31. Though he appears in many forms, he is formless. Though present everywhere, he is imperceptible. Though he is infinite, he has the form of the annihilator. Knower of all, he is devoid of activities.

32. This is the divine form of that Lord having the crescent moon for embellishment, a throat dark like Tamāla and a sparkling eye in the forehead.

33. The left half dazzles with the form of a woman, Serpent Śeṣa constitutes his splendid armlet and the matted hairs are perpetually washed by the excellent contact with the waves of Gaṅgā.

34. He is refulgent with the limbs smeared with the ashes of the body of Smara (god of Love) and great serpents for ornaments worn round the wonderful body.

35. He moves about in a vehicle in the form of the great Bull; he has the humming and twanging bow Ājagava; he has the upper garment made of elephant hide and five faces.

36. He is surrounded by extremely powerful Gaṇas who can frighten Mahāmṛtyu (the great god of Death); he accords protection to those who seek refuge; he is the cause of salvation unto those who bow down; he is beyond the ken of even mental powers; he is eager to bestow boons.

37. O Brāhmaṇa, his greater and lesser Rudra Forms pervade everything. Actually he is of the form of the Truth and is beyond all forms.

38. Though without shape and form, he has forms. Śiva alone is the cause of enjoyment of pleasures, and attainment of salvation. There is no one other than Śiva who bestows salvation.

39-40. Just as this visible and invisible world consisting of mobile and immobile beings has been handed over to the Consort of Pārvatī by that formless Being, so also the entire universe has been handed over to Viṣṇu by the Consort of Mṛḍānī, O Brāhmaṇa, and he sports about in his unfettered playful activities.

41. What is Śiva, so is Viṣṇu; what as Viṣṇu, so is Śiva; there is no difference at all between Śiva and Viṣṇu.

[Preparation for the Coronation of Viṣṇu (VV 42-52)]

42. At the outset, he summoned all the gods including Brahmā, Vidyādharas, serpents and others, Siddhas, Gandharvas and Cāraṇas.

43. He made a splendid throne on a par with his own throne and made Hari sit thereon. Then he made a charming umbrella.

44. It was beautiful with ten million ribs and designed by Viśvakarman. It was white in colour. The handle was embellished with jewels. Big pearls were suspended from it.

45. A wonderful pot shone above it. It extended to a thousand Yojanas. It was very splendid with all kinds of gems embedded therein.

46. It was embellished with chowries consisting of silken cords. There were all articles essential for the coronation of a king. There were all medicinal herbs.

47. There were five beautiful pots filled with holy waters from all visible holy spots and white mustard, raw rice grains and Dūrvā grass. They had come there themselves with the Mantras which inspired them.

48. Sixteen virgins were brought from each of the families of the Devas, Sages, Siddhas and Serpents. These virgins had auspicious articles in their hands.

49. There were musical instruments like Lute, Mṛḍangas [Mṛḍāṅgas?], Conches, War-drums (Bherī), Marus, Ḍiṇḍimas, Jharjharas, Ānaka drums, brass cymbals etc. and also light music.

50. With these sounds and chanting of the Vedic Mantras, the entire sky was filled. The lunar day was auspicious, the Lagna was splendid possessing the power of the Moon and the Stars.

51-53. A beautiful crown was placed on the head of Viṣṇu. He shone beautifully with the requisite auspicious threads etc. essential for the solemn ceremony. Mṛḍānī herself did the make-up and embellishment. The glorious goddess Śri accompanied him. Maheśa himself crowned him pouring the auspicious sacred waters. There in the Brahmāṇḍa Pavilion, all his riches and prosperity were passed on to Viṣṇu, everything that was Śiva’s and hitherto not gone to anyone else.

Then the Lord of Devas accompanied by his Pramathas eulogized Śārṅgin. Then he spoke the following words to Brahmā, the creator of the worlds.

54. “This Viṣṇu is worthy of my adoration. You too bow down to this Hari.” After saying this, Rudra himself bowed down to the Garuḍa-emblemed Lord.

55-58. Thereafter, Lord Viṣṇu, the excessively refulgent one was adored by all the Gaṇeśvaras, Brahmā accompanied by Devas, Sanaka and other Yogins, Siddhas, divine sages, Vidyādharas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, groups of celestial damsels, Guhyakas, Cāraṇas, Bhūtas, Śeṣa, Vāsuki and Takṣaka, birds, all the Kinnaras, and all mobile and immobile beings. They uttered, “Be victorious, be victorious” and “Obeisance to you, obeisance to you.”

Then in the assembly of the heaven-dwellers Hari was adored by Maheśa of great splendour, and all these who made loud sounds.

[Eulogy of Viṣṇu:]

59. “You are the creator of all living beings; you are the protector. You alone are the annihilator; you alone are worthy of being worshipped by all the worlds. You alone are the Lord of the universe.

60. You will be the giver of Dharma (Virtue), Wealth and Love. You will be the chastiser of persons of evil deeds. You will be invincible in battle even unto me.

61. O Viṣṇu, accept these three Śaktis handed over by me, i.e. Icchāśakti (power of will), Kriyāśakti (power of action) and the excellent Jñānaśakti (power of knowledge).

62. Indeed, O Hari, those who hate you should be scrupulously admonished by me. O Viṣṇu, excellent salvation should be granted by me to your devotees.

63. Accept this Māyā too. It cannot be dispelled by Suras and Asuras. Deluded by it, the entire universe will become bereft of knowledge. They will not have the least vestige of knowledge.

64. You are my left arm. This Pitāmaha shall be the right arm. You will be the progenitor and protector of this Vidhi too.”

65. Granting thus Vaikuṇṭha and entire Aiśvarya to Hari, Hara, the Consort of Umā, freely sports about in Kailāsa along with Pramathas.

66. Ever since then, Hari, the destroyer of the Dānavas, administers the three worlds wielding his mace and the bow Śārṅga.

67. Thus, O Brāhmaṇa, the situation of all the worlds has been recounted to you. Now we shall tell you the cause of salvation.

68. He who listens attentively to this great narrative, will go to heaven and shall attain salvation in Kāśī.

69-70. This narrative should be read scrupulously on the following occasions for the success of those activities: festivals, Yajñas, marriage celebration, all auspicious occasions, at the time of coronation, while installing deities, while relinquishing authority and while entering a new house.

71. One without sons shall get a son; one without wealth shall become rich; the sick becomes rid of the ailments and a man in bondage gets release.

72. This is to be used for Japa by those who seek welfare strenuously. It subdues all inauspiciousness. It is liked by Hara and Nārāyaṇa.

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